Friday, February 22, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 64 Notes of Encouragement

So much has transpired in the past 2 days:

  • a long phone conversation with my previous producer leading to the decision to have him be the producer of my Christmas CD (meet Eric Copeland - President of Creative Soul Records)
  • many e-mail exchanges, music file sharing and talks about budget 
  • a miracle - in the sense that Eric gave me a much lower price than expected (because of all his past experiences, he has come up with ways to make this more affordable to artists like me so I am now able to move forward sooner than I thought!)
AND.....I have received some encouraging notes from readers and I want to share them!

Reader # 1:

My dear friend,

You and Tom have been in my thoughts and prayers often the past few days.  I want to encourage you to keep going forth with your vision and dream for what God has placed in your heart.  What I've seen in my own life and in the lives of others I've seen step into their destiny and into the place God is directing them is this: it seems like things come against us and our dream when things are on the brink of God moving us more into where He wants us to be.  The enemy does not want you to doing what you are doing or for you and Tom to move into all God has for you.  ______ and I have been experiencing a lot of the same things the past few months since moving into this new area of our lives.  

Our car totally died a few months ago and God told us not to take out any more loans but to trust Him to provide another vehicle.  Since quitting my job as office administrator it's been very tight financially.  Since we feel right now that I'm not to get another job, it's tight.  I have to keep fighting to not go get another job.  It's been a challenge to be without a car the past few months.  

Sometimes I fight also with doubt about the things I feel like God is telling me to do in the near future.  God has been giving some specific scriptures to stand on and I keep them with me and try to speak them over myself everyday.   I'm sure you have already done this, but ask God to give you specific scriptures to stand on.  One scripture I felt drop into my spirit to pray over you and Tom when I heard about all that has been happening to you guys this week is this:

Isaiah 54:17 -Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.

Psalm 18:33

Amplified Bible (AMP)
33 He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.

We love you guys and continue to keep you in our prayers.  

Reader # 2

Dear Frances, oh my word what the past several days have been put forth to you and Tom. You both have been on my mind and I know so many friends are praying for you. Isn't it just the time you needed to hit one of those pot holes in your life? 

So often we are on the verge of success and darkness overcomes us. What if the Lord would turn His heart from us when bad things happen to good people. He knows the struggle you are going through. Thank God He hears us when we call..or cry out to Him during these times. When I was your age I did not have Jesus in my heart like you do, and I was always blaming or complaining to someone about my bad "luck" (no such thing as luck).

It's according to Gods Plan with you Frances. 

Take a peek at what our ancestors had to struggle with.....It takes my breath away what men, wives and oh those children must have suffered through. But God is love....God is love.

Please know our prayers are with you and Tom.

Peace and Love,
Gary & Annette

Reader # 3

After catching up on the blog today, she decided to call me and tell me that Tom needs to pick a different animal for his life.  If the elephant really is turning on him, stepping on him and taking bites out of him, he needs to re-think this.  Agreed.  But I'm afraid I've influenced him.

We laughed.  I asked her what her animal would be. 

"A Giraffe" she said without any hesitation.  "Because I'm always sticking my neck out".

Love it!  

Thank you everyone for your prayers, laughs and words of encouragement.  

 P.S.  (Did you know that you can leave comments, but make yourself anonymous if you want - that way everyone who is reading can enjoy the comments - like a little blog family that is supporting me - just a thought)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 62 Is it worth it?

Michael W. Smith has been one of my favorite artists since I was a young girl.  I really love his music.

Today his music made me cry.

This morning my car wouldn't start.  Wouldn't even turn over!  Dead.

Jumped in vehicle # 2 and headed to work.  Cried all the way there.  Listening to his song "Grace" didn't help stop the tears.  In fact, it made them worse....but I let them fall.

Why is following your heart so hard sometimes?  Life throws so many things at us that try to steal them away or get you to quit.

As I watched Tom struggle to do the little things with his injured thumb (from yesterday) and realize that next week holds another lay up for him (surgery on his other hand) which cuts into our finances....I began to feel overwhelmed.  How can I keep pursuing my dreams when we struggle so much financially at times like this?

Early this morning I got a quote from the other producer.  It's much lower than the first producer's price.  That's encouraging.  But the car problem, the struggle I saw in Tom and the overwhelming reality of life, in stark contrast to my dreams, made me cry.

When you listen to a song that moves you in your soul, you don't think about how much it cost to record it. When you go to a show and are moved by the music, the lights, the violin, the singers.....did you consider how much it cost for them to put on the show?  Of course not.  Who cares?!

In the beauty of moments like this, we don't care.  We just know that our soul is soothed.  We grab on to hope.  We feel like we can go on - just by the touch of a song.  That's why we go to a show.  That's why we listen to music.  It lifts us.

As you read this blog, now you are beginning to get a glimpse into what might have gone into that one single moment.

Is it worth it?

When I'm on this side of it - blogging, setting goals, getting prices, starting dead cars, feeling overwhelmed, I wonder if it is worth it.

When I'm the one listening to the song that makes me cry and gives me hope, I'm so glad Michael has recorded his songs.  The details don't matter.  I just know that I've been moved.

So, I will keep going.  For the joy of that one moment when it all comes together and someone cries because of what they hear.

Surely it is worth it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 61 Eaten by elephants

This week isn't starting off much better than last week.

Last Monday night we hit a deer after a long trip home from MI.

Last night (Monday night) my mother fell and hit her head and was taken to the emergency room.

Today I got a call at church from the local medical clinic saying I needed to come and get my husband.  He had cut his finger severely and couldn't drive 'because he is shaking' the nurse said.

We spent the afternoon in the emergency room.  Fortunately, though the finger is badly sliced from a press brake in his shop, the bone is not broken.  He was scheduled to have surgery on his other hand next Wednesday.  That will put him out of commission with both hands.  Not a great idea when you are a self-employed machinist and metal fabricator.

We just kept saying how grateful we were that it didn't cut his finger off. 

We both laughed when he said his elephant turned on him, stepped on him and then took a big bite out of him.  He's catching on to this whole elephant thing.  Maybe I should switch to a soft fuzzy caterpillar analogy.

So tonight, I am trying to re-send the Christmas songs to another producer that I thought I sent last night, but apparently never went through.  Then, I am calling it quits. 

I rarely see my husband traumatized, but he was definitely shook up (or should I say cut up) today.  He thinks a batch of chocolate chip cookies or a cherry pie could make him feel better.

He's probably right.  But the elephants would probably eat them all first.

Monday, February 18, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 60 Take a deep breath

I received the project cost for doing a Christmas CD from one of the producers I've been considering.

About $30,000.00 give or take a few $.

It's taken me most of the weekend to recover.  Though I knew it would be over $20,000.00, somehow I wasn't prepared for 30k.

Just for perspective......I read an article recently where they listed what the music industry generally spends on a new start-up "pop" artist.  4 Million bucks.  $200,000.00 for the recording.  This is a generalization of course, but if I just think about that figure, $30,000.00 is nothing right?!

WRONG.  (that mental game isn't working well)

Take a deep breath with me.  Say the word....MIRACLE with me.   : )

So now that I've had the weekend to recover, tonight I sent off a demo of the songs to another producer - the one I've been using for years.  Each producer brings something different to the table (just like anything in life).  So it's sometimes a matter of choosing the one that makes sense overall.  The new guy offers a fresh spin on things, my regular producer offers experience and history and a new alignment with WORD and The Gospel Music Association.  Both could be advantageous for us artists.

Now I wait for a response from him to see what he can do.

Either way, I'm still recovering.....

Take another deep breath.

P.S. Tonight my husband compared the project he's working on to an elephant.  (He's getting the idea of eating it one bite at a time).  He said his elephant is gaining weight and he can't eat it fast enough.   Ha ha ha!  I know the feeling.  BIG elephants here in Newville, PA these days.