A Song for Sunday–We Are

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We Are–James Tealy, Hillary McBride, Chuck Butler, Ed Cash

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that’s not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up, sleeper, lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows, conquer death
Make the most of the time we have left

Today felt like one of “those” days, for no good reason. On the surface, all was well. I got to sleep in. My husband made breakfast for the family. We got to spend time together as we did a few things around the house and the yard. But in spite of how smoothly the day was going, I was a bit anxious and edgy, although I couldn’t say exactly why.

Since I am now the music director for the evening Mass every Sunday, I grabbed my phone and listened to “We Are” on YouTube while tackling the laundry and a few other chores. This was the new song for tonight. I know myself well enough to know that sometimes, the anxiety just needs to be pushed aside, so I worked away at the song and hoped that it would go well–not just for my sake, but for the people I would be leading.

Once we arrived at the church, I was finally able to calm my mind and settle into the prayerful atmosphere. As I listened to the readings, and as I led the music, I felt that wonderful, familiar peace come over me. In spite of all the worries that had been hanging over me all day–worries that I couldn’t quite identify, but still couldn’t chase away–I felt calm. As I played and sang, I felt like I was exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. I can’t say I always know that I am doing what God intends for me, but when I do, there’s nothing like it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

Whatever your light for the world is, don’t hide it. Push aside the uncertainty, the doubts, the obstacles that might be in your way. Let your light shine, because that’s how God’s work gets done. However small each of us might be, we can all make a difference in our own way, a way that no one else can quite duplicate.

And with all the challenges out there–watch the evening news for a few minutes, on the off chance that you don’t know what I mean–it would seem that the world really needs more light right now.

We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

A Song for Sunday–The River

The River — Jordan Feliz

I know a place where we can go
To lay the troubles down eating your soul
I know a place where mercy flows
Take the stains make you whiter than snow
Like a tide, it is rising up deep inside
A current that moves and makes it come alive
Living water that brings the dead to life, oh-oh-oh-oh

Plenty of songs go right by me when I have the radio on. If I were asked 10 minutes later what I’d just heard, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Every once in a while, though, something grabs my attention, and in those cases, Shazam is my favourite tool. It identifies songs for me, and then saves them so I can look them up later.

This is one of those songs. It didn’t just go by, it struck me as authentic, worth a careful listen, because I could hear something genuine in his singing. Curious, I checked out Jordan Feliz’s official site. This comes straight from his About page:

Some years from now, the name Jordan Feliz might be the obvious answer to a trivia question that goes something like this:

 

What artist launched his career as a hard-touring heavy metal singer, then switched gears to become a church worship leader, before finally signing a Nashville record deal and making his mark as a songwriter and soulful R&B-groove-pop artist?

Well, if the question comes up some day, you’ll already know the answer: Jordan Feliz.

So that’s where the authenticity comes from: he’s lived it. Switching gears like that means redefining yourself, first of all within yourself, then to the people around you. This takes courage, conviction, perseverance. This takes faith. I don’t know the details of Jordan’s story, and what made him do a U-turn. What matters is that he did it, and through his music, he is sharing his story and acting a witness for others.

The most inspiring U-turn in the Bible is arguably the story of St. Paul. He is one of my favourite saints, just because of the sheer nerve I believe it would have required to change direction as he did. He was one of the fiercest persecutors of the new Christians, actively tracking down believers in order to have them arrested and imprisoned. (Summary here, Bible passage here). His powerful encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus led him to change his entire life. He became an apostle himself, bringing the gospel to the gentiles. In the process, the former persecutor became persecuted himself. He was a very powerful and effective witness for God because of the change he lived out in his own life.

It’s obvious that God chose St. Paul for a special mission, but what about us? We can all be witnesses to our faith, and it doesn’t have to be in spectacular ways. The way we live our lives every day can be powerful, because

There is only one type of person God has used powerfully throughout history: He does incredible things with the people who make themselves available to him; it is the prerequisite for mission.

— Matthew Kelly, Beautiful Mercy

If we think we aren’t good enough in some way, if we worry about what others might think or say, or if we listen to any number of possible excuses, fear can hold us back. Maybe a U-turn is needed in your life–I’ve been through a couple of my own–and you wonder if you have the courage to embrace it. That’s where prayer comes in. Instead of listening to the fear, we can choose to be hopeful. We can think about what we are able to do, rather than what we think we can’t do. We can choose to be open to God’s lead, instead of relying only on ourselves. When we make ourselves available, incredible things happen!

We’re going down to the river
Down to the river, down to the river to pray
Let’s get washed by the water
Washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace
Let’s go down, down, down to the river (You will leave changed)
Let’s go down, down, down to the river (Never the same)

For Diane, With Love – The Other Side

In March of 2015, Diane Van Bommel, a beloved friend and relative, suspected the return of her cancer. Soon after, this was confirmed, and while still hopeful, she started to prepare, not knowing how much time she would have left. She asked me to write a song for her funeral, to celebrate her new life on “the other side”, and to comfort her family and friends with the knowledge that she was safe and not so far away. She passed away on December 26, 2015. It was an honour and a privilege to sing for her. For those who have asked, here is the video, along with the lyrics.

The Other Side                                                  (c) Tina Pumfrey, SOCAN, 2015

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

He measured out my days, He sure did make them full, poured out so many blessings over me

No one’s future can be told, trust in Him, let it unfold,

and thank Him for the love along the way

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And you know, He kept me safe, I never lost my way,

And no matter how lonely the valley, He’ll bring you home

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And I’m singin’ Amen, Amen, Hallelu – u – jah!

To read Diane’s many words of wisdom, visit http://www.divbblog.wordpress.com and http://www.godgivesblessings.wordpress.com.  Her legacy will live on through her writings.

Weakness As Strength

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“Your weaknesses are the key to the unimaginable bigger future that God has envisioned for you. Your strengths are probably already bearing all the fruit they can. They will continue to bear those good fruits in your life, but at some point they will begin to plateau. Your richer, more abundant future is intimately linked to your weaknesses.” Matthew Kelly

A Song for Sunday–Living the Dream

Living the Dream–Downhere

This song comes across as a little tongue-in-cheek, but maybe that’s just because of where I’m at livin’ my own dreams. Sometimes it’s hard to sort out exactly which parts of our everyday existence are helping us to live our dreams. Responsibilities can feel like burdens or distractions from what we really want to be doing, and sometimes a crisis really throws us off course for a while… or at least, that’s the tendency, to think we’re being drawn away from the path we should be on. But what if right here, in the middle of the mess, is exactly where we’re supposed to be?

Usually, I’m trying to live my dreams by squeezing little bits of time into the cracks between working at my job, driving the kids to where they need to go, getting the household chores done (or at least trying to). But then there are moments when I realize that all of those everyday things aren’t just distractions, they aren’t just things in my way.

As for me, I’m singing a new song.
I’m not gonna dwell inside
Some alternate reality

I feel free
I’m making the best of it
I’m seeing with eyes that find the heart and soul of true beauty

Lately, I’ve taken to calling certain irritations “problems of privilege”. Sure, doing housework isn’t necessarily my idea of fun, but these jobs are tied to a blessing–I have a family. My property taxes are going up? I that “problem” because I have a house. The car needs to go to the shop? I try to remind myself to be thankful that I have a car. I’m exhausted by week’s end, yet again? I have so many things to keep me busy because of the people in my life. How could I not be thankful for them?

Everyday, love makes the promise
That we can be great
If we wanted and
We are living the dream.

Highs and lows we’ll take on together,
Choosing joy whatever the weather, and
We are living the dream,
Living the dream,
Living the dream.

This is the dream.

This song is a good reminder that the dream is not off in some distant “someday”, but right here, around us today, if we just look at things a little differently. Even in the tough times, and I’ve had a few, God’s blessings surround us, if we just try to open our eyes see them.

CD Launch Party–Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the CD Launch Party. It was a great time! I love the fact that it filled up with people who were happily visiting and enjoying conversation while listening to the music. It was a very friendly atmosphere–what an awesome way to celebrate! Thanks to all the friends and acquaintances who came out, to the new people I met that evening, and to the restaurant staff.

cd launch band2As for my band, I can’t thank them enough for the great job they did, and all the enthusiasm they show for what we’re getting ourselves into. They are all excellent musicians, and I am so happy to have them on board. Jim Brown shares his awesome skills on the bass, Del Metcalfe burns it up on the guitar, and Eugene Metcalfe amazes all with his dexterity on the drums. (Sorry Eugene, I tried to find a photo where you weren’t hiding behind the mic stand, no luck.)

My son, Tate, hopped on board too, as the opener, and added his fiddling flair to a tune during our first set. I can’t wait to see what else he gets up to as a musician, I’m sure this cd launch tate & meis just the beginning for him. My whole family deserves thanks, for their wonderful support, and for their patience with the practices. They’ve heard the songs many times over and they haven’t complained (too much, haha)!

Another big thanks goes out to Al and Lisa at UCB Radio for having me in for an interview during the preceding week, and to Jay Smith and Corey North over at CKXS for their awesome promotion all week long as the artist in the Local Spotlight. It’s great to have media outlets willing to promote local artists. Both stations were a great help in getting the word out.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better event. I would do it all over again, exactly the same way, in a heartbeat. I’m so very grateful that it went well! Now we’re focusing on getting ready for upcoming public events in Waterloo (solo appearance) and Chatham (full concert with the band). Details will be posted soon. I hope to see lots of people there! God has put the music in my heart, along with a drive to get it out there, and the means to make it happen, one small step at a time. I feel very blessed, because in the end, I don’t want to keep these songs at home in my music room–connecting with listeners is what makes it all worth it.

A Song for Sunday–I’m Free

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I’m Free–Tim Neufeld (feat. the Glory Boys)

Sometimes Christians are accused of being too serious, too sombre. This foot-stompin’ tune most definitely is not! It is just overflowing with positive energy, and I love it. It takes the familiar message of Amazing Grace and rocks it with a down-home feel. Reading the lyrics here does not do it justice–give it a listen if you have a minute. I dare you not to enjoy it!

My burden fell with a sound like thunder
The hour I first believed
My chains were gone and the fear no longer
Had a hold on me.