Thursday, October 28, 2010

recording our worship

So if you know me..even just a know I love music. I've always loved music. And you know I love singing. In recent years however, I don't just like 'music' and I don't just want to 'sing'. I love WORSHIP. I love singing to Jesus. That's the easiest way I know how to communicate my feelings to Him. When I sing I am expressing my deepest feelings of love, gratitude, and joy. I can sing to Him when feelings of despair or sadness wash over me. It just overflows from the deepest part of my being.. it's something I can't even explain in words.

For years I had dreams of recording an album and actually was very close to doing just that as a teenager. I wanted to record an album for ALL the wrong reasons. SELFISH reasons. You know..fame, money, praise, ect. In the end I allowed the fear of failure to take away that dream by choosing to walk away (something I still regret at times).

But God is good. He is faithful. And he keeps his promises. This coming Sunday I will have the opportunity to record LIVE at Petra Christian Fellowship with an amazing group of musicians from our Worship Department! I am beyond excited to have this opportunity. Although I walked away from music years ago my dream of recording never died. The one thing that did change was my heart. I have no desire to be rich and famous (well rich wouldn't be so bad--teehee). My only desire is to bring glory to JESUS. The one who saved me. The one who has changed me (and continues to change) from the inside out. The only one who is worthy of fame. My desire (and the desire of the team) is to bring glory to Christ, bring others to know him, and help those who do know him enter straight into his throne room. We can only do that with HIS anointing.

I have had the time of my life working on this project and working with such gifted musicians. It is insane to watch a song go from lyrics and simple melody lines to an all out completed (and pretty rockin') song! God has gifted me in singing but I didn't get much in the creativity department (and that's fine). So it just boggles me to watch these guys make music! We have a pretty cool team and I'm so blessed to be working with everyone involved.

So come on out to Petra this Sunday! We'll be recording both services (9 am and 11am). We need all the voices we can get. So come and worship with us (then you can say you're on an album too)! If you can't join us please cover us in prayer!! Thank you friends!!:)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a nap (and some cookies)

So I've decided that every Wednesday I will post about the little things.
I will choose one little thing for the day that brings a smile to my face or has brightened that particular day.

Today that little thing was a NAP.
( it's only 11:00am)
The Byler household has not been getting enough sleep over the last several weeks
(for many reasons).
We are all a tad tired and cranky.

After rushing around this morning to get Sophie off to school and a trip to the store, I wasn't feeling well (I've been having bouts of dizziness the last couple of days--probably thanks to my crazy low blood pressure). I decided I had to lay down for a few minutes before making several dozen cookies for Friday's Big Fall Fest!

I told Ruby she could watch a movie, but she said "I want to lay down with you and snuggle" :) I fell asleep for 10 minutes or so as Ruby rubbed my back and twirled my hair. I woke up and she was smiling at me and said "hi Mama, can we bake cookies now?"

I'm glad I decide to stop and rest and snuggle my baby (well she's my baby for now).
These are the little moments I will cherish forever a
nd I'm going to enjoy them instead of feeling guilty.

Well, I'm off to bake cookies (and hopefully sneak a few licks from the bowl afterwards)

(a short time later..cookies are in the oven and Ruby is napping is a good day)
Here is a peek at our baking session.

:) the little things.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

taking off the mask.

Do you care what people think about you? Do you want everyone to like you? Do you hope to impress others with your mothering skills, your charm, or even your latest blog posting??? I don't. HA! I unfortunately care about some of these things TOO much. I'm 30 (almost 31) years old and I still want EVERYONE to like me. I cannot sleep if I know someone is mad at me or just plain doesn't like me. Why do I care? Um, good question. I also secretly hope that everyone thinks I have it together. I do not (shocking, I know). Hence the name of my blog..beautiful MESS!

I am currently learning the art of striving for excellence vs. perfectionism. I am also learning who I am in Christ. I'm learning to care only what God thinks of me and desires from me...not what all 400 facebook friends think of me. I'm finding so much rest in that. It is completely and totally exhausting to try to please everyone (not to mention completely and totally pointless).

So I really didn't want to go deep into this subject (sorry for the rambles...I really can't help it sometimes) but was hoping to make light of my short-comings and expose some of my imperfections--you know just put it out there--you may love me after this, you may be annoyed, you may relate, or you may think I'm odd..but that's OKAY! It's me. I don't want to live behind a mask. I don't want to play pretend. SO...

(this is scary

1. I ramble..a lot

2. I've struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life (probably caused from trying to please/impress everyone) -- although I am finding great victory in this area after receiving prayer and healing!

3. My bedroom often looks like that of a 15 year old. I just can't keep it clean??

4. I found 5 empty water bottles in my purse yesterday (better than last year, when I found a hamburger in it..remember that!?)

5. I have a learning disability. I'm still mortified about it to this day and try to keep that on the down low but there ya go..

6. I'm super impatient

7. I make up scenarios in my head that have never happened and probably never will happen but I plan out what I am going to say if/when this scenario plays out. Does anyone else do that? (I know one of you who does, but won't mention names:))

8. I used to drink (a lot) for fun but also to keep my anxiety and depression at bay (it didn't really work all that well, if you can imagine that)

9. I would have a unibrow if it wasn't for the fabulous invention of tweezers

10. I'm hoping the majority of you still like me after reading this! :o)

So there. I'm not perfect. Never will be (on this side of heaven anyway). And I no longer want to strive to be perfect, or to be loved by all. I'm just gonna strive to please HIM. Strive to be more like him. Strive to be who HE created me to be.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Super Size Me.


I know I'm a little behind the times but I just watched

I don't know what else to say.

But there will be some changes in this household.
I need to ponder what these changes will be
(and discuss with Andy, who was equally disturbed)!

I do know...
No more fast food.
No more school lunches
(which we only buy when I want to sleep an extra 10 min--guess i'll go to bed 10 min early).
And you know what?
I AM going to get those chickens I was thinking about!
And I AM going to start a garden this spring
(and take care of it)!

Like I said, I need to ponder some more.

Any movie or literature suggestions on this subject would be appreciated.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Share Your Compassion

I was delighted today as I was going through my mail to find a letter from one of our Compassion children, Elias. Elias is a 7 year old boy from Guatemala. My family has committed to sponsoring Elias financially ($38 a month) and we are committed to praying for him and his family daily. I smiled as he wrote that he was enjoying school (he struggled last year and asked us to pray) and was surprised when he said he keeps our picture in the drawer by his bed. We have totally fallen in love with Elias, a little boy we've never met but is a part of the Byler family. My children speak daily of Elias and they NEVER forget to pray for him at dinner (even if mommy and daddy do forget).

If you know me, you know I carry a burden for the poor, the hungry, and the orphaned. I always have. My parents raised me to be aware of the needs around me and the importance of helping others. As I grew into adulthood the burden grew. It was growing because I wasn't doing anything to help those less fortunate than me. I just felt sorry for them. What good does that do anyone?

In addition to sponsoring children, and having the opportunity to go on several missions trips, I've determined to bring awareness to these issues. Wait--I don't like how that sounds--these are not issues, they are human beings. People living and breathing, RIGHT NOW. How can we as fellow human beings NOT do something!? What if you hadn't been born in America? What if you were trying to figure out how you were going to feed your children dinner? What if your only hope was that someone would answer the call of love and sponsor your child?

Let me share a excerpt from Kay Warren's book 'Dangerous Surrender'

"It's very easy for us to remain aloof and untouched by the suffering that defines the existence of the vast majority of people on this planet. I have read that if you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of the people in this world! If you have any money in the bank and some in your wallet and some spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8 percent of the world's wealthy"

Luke 12:48 To whom much is given, much is required.

I know times are 'tough' with the economy but we are STILL more fortunate than most in the world. Consider giving up your daily Starbucks and brewing your coffee at home, or gather your spare change on your dresser and start a "Compassion Jar"...I'm sure if you get creative you can come up with $38 a month.

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish" -Mother Teresa


I pray that each person that reads this will see how blessed you are and I pray that you go straight from this blog to the Compassion website (I'll add a link) and change the life of one child.

"If you can't feed one hundred people, then just feed one" - Mother Teresa


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the little things.

It doesn't take much to make me happy. A good cup of coffee, the sound of the screen door slamming in the summer, laundry blowing on the line, reading a book by the woodstove--all these things bring a smile to my face and give me that warm fuzzy feeling.

Check out my new coffee mug! Oh how HAPPY it makes me!!! I don't know what it is but there is just something so cozy about walking out of a coffee shop with the little styrofoam cup warming your hands (especially on a day as raw and cold as this one). I've always loved it BUT always felt a tad guilty about the wasted money and even worse about throwing the cup in the trash--not very "earth friendly". Now I can pretend I just walked out of the coffee shop but without the guilt!
I LOVE IT!! Like I said, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

I think there is a lot to be said about appreciating the little things in life. It can get us through those hectic days with a smile. So what little things make
YOU happy? What gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling? Do tell.

Well here's to the little things! Enjoy your day...I'm off to make some decaf to fill my mug.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Make Me a Servant

Have you ever heard God speak so clearly you could not deny it was him? Have you ever wished that maybe he had said something else? For the last year and a half I've been wrestling with what I knew I heard God speaking to me. He was clearly telling me that I am called to serve my family JOYFULLY, put more time and thought into making our home a place of peace and security for my family, I am to serve my husband even on the days I don't feel like it, and I need to make hospitality a priority..even if my house isn't as fabulous as I'd like it to be.

Now obviously I love my family and they are my number one priority but in recent years I've been getting by with doing the bare minimum. You know..trying to figure out what to have for dinner at 5:30 only to realize I don't have half the ingredients the recipe calls for, so I make grilled cheese (again). Or letting the house get a tad to messy and then panicking when someone unexpectedly pulls in the driveway to visit (i dead seriously hid in my bedroom once so I didn't have to answer the door and explain the mess)! Or just having a really crappy attitude as I did my chores for the day and making my family completely miserable with me.

But God continued to speak to my spirit. Serve your family. Not because you love them but because you love me and I am calling you to this. Serve me by serving them. I heard him but WAIT! I have other plans God!! Bigger, better plans!! I have dreams and hopes and I think you could REALLY use me in this other area (an area where people would see me and praise me). Don't you want to give me the desires of my heart? My desire is not to be June Clever. I will love my family and take care of them but I also want to be out in this broken, hurting world making a difference..not washing dishes 4x's a day in the seclusion of my tiny house.

Just recently I decided that if God has spent a year trying to get my attention on this matter then maybe there was good reason. Maybe I should hear him out and give this "serving my family" thing a try. So I decided I would wake up the next day at the crack of dawn, prepare a hot breakfast, clean furiously all day, taking a break only to prepare our meal from scratch, and of course I needed a dessert! I did all these things..but I was overwhelmed with feelings of stress, anger, anxiety, annoyance, etc, etc. I had decided to take action and serve but my heart was not that of a servants. God wanted a servants heart not just the service. Now what?

I laid it at HIS feet. I asked him to transform my heart. I asked him to fill me with his joy. I asked him to fill me with the desire to serve my family the way he was asking me to. Can you guess what happened? Yep, slowly but surely I began to feel a change. It didn't happen overnight and I'm still allowing him to work in me and change me but I can honestly say, I find great joy in making a hot, yummy meal for my family every night. I enjoy getting up early to get the coffee brewing so I can pour a cup for Andy. I enjoy serving my kids by just sitting on the floor and reading to them or playing their favorite game. I enjoy bringing glory to God by washing my dishes with a happy heart. I no longer think God has asked me to serve my family as a punishment or to make me miserable. I think he just wants to show me more of who he is. Jesus was a servant. His heart was that of a servant's. He did everything he did to bring glory to his Father. If I want to be more like Christ (which is my greatest desire) than I need to be willing to die to myself everyday and put my family above my dreams, hopes, and desires. God knows my desires and I truly believe that someday he WILL use me in those areas but if I can't humbly serve here in my home for the people I love the most than how can he possibly use me to serve outside of my home to a hurting world?

I love the ways of God. I love that he knows what we need and even if correction is what we need he does it with such gentleness and love. And BOY is he patient!!! :)

So what is God speaking to you? Are you listening or stubbornly standing your ground?


PS Have a testimony to share? I seriously would love to hear how God has/or is moving in your heart and life! Let's encourage one another!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Here Goes Nothing...

Well..I'm gonna do it...become a blogger, I mean. I have SO many thoughts in this little head of mine (hence all the facebook and twitter updates) that I thought I'd share some of them here...with you. Especially for some of my techno-challenged friends who do not have a facebook (Missy, Glenda, Holly..yeah I think you're the only 3)! This blog will probably be random, as I can be quite random myself:) We'll see where this'll probably get a glimpse of the Byler household, my love for Jesus and leading others to his throne through worship, my aching heart for the poor, needy, and orphaned, and you might even see a tad of my twisted humor!:) So I hope you'll join me and I hope you enjoy my random musings!