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Songs for Insecure Seasons

Friends, during these insecure and anxious times, music can soothe our souls. I’ve curated a Youtube Playlist here with lyrics for you to listen to and/or meditate on. God bless you.

All is not lost
Is not lost
Mm-mm
All is not lost
Is not lost
Mm-mm
[Verse]
The pain
Of life
I know
It well
It knows
Me well
The road
To peace
I know
Is hell
I know
It well
[Chorus]
All is not lost
Is not lost
Mm-mm
All is not lost
Is not lost
Mm-mm
May the seeds of peace be scattered
Birthing trees whose shade gives us rest
May the seeds of peace be scattered
Birthing trees whose shade gives us rest
May the seeds of peace be scattered
Birthing trees whose shade gives us rest
May the seeds of peace be scattered
Birthing trees whose shade gives us


“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness seems to veil His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath His covenant and blood
Support me in the ‘whelming flood:
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When the last trumpet’s voice shall sound,
O may I then in him be found.
Clothed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before his throne.

Words by Edward Mote (1797-1874) and others
Music by Francis Blight (PRS)

He Will Hold Me Fast by Keith Getty

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight, When He comes at last!He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Taste and See by James E. Moore

Taste and see, taste and see 
the goodness of the Lord.
Oh, taste and see, taste and see 
the goodness of the Lord, of the Lord.

1 I will bless the Lord at all times.
Praise shall always be on my lips;
my soul shall glory in the Lord;
for God has been so good to me. (Refrain)

2 Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us all praise God’s name.
I called the Lord, who answered me;
from all my troubles I was set free. (Refrain)

3 Worship the Lord, all you people.
You’ll want for nothing if you ask.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
in God we need put all our trust. (Refrain)

Bifrost Arts: On Lamentation in Worship

I have an extended list of Music4Stillness on Instagram in highlights. @hi_im_summer

Faith

Noonday Prayer

Noonday Prayer comes from the monastics, (yes, monks!) which offered prayers after the Jewish pattern of praying, seven times a day. In modern times, you’ll find all seven prayer times still being said within monestaries, but now people will generally do just one or two of the offices (prayer times) during their private daily prayer time. I chose to begin sharing Noonday Prayer with you because I realized that in my own life, I found great benefit to morning and evening prayer, but it was often during the middle of the day that I would get lost in anxiety, stress, or hurt and not have the time to pull my Bible out or even the clarity to start praying. I really wanted a way to ground myself in God’s words and prayer but had a hard time wading into prayer waters. Noonday Prayer gives me the framework for getting wet–connecting to him by setting aside what I was doing and taking a few minutes to turn toward him within this formal framework. Friends, I hope that you will find, as I have, Noonday Prayer to feed you, comfort you, and grow you closer to God. Below you will find the general format. Feel free to use it to follow along as we pray together.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as
it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Except in Lent, add    Alleluia.

Psalm

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

 Romans 5:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Malachi 1:11

Thanks be to God.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
     hallowed be thy Name,
     thy kingdom come,
     thy will be done,
         on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
     as we forgive those
         who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
     but deliver us from evil.


Lord, hear our prayer;

Let us pray.

And let our cry come to you.

The Officiant then says one of the following Collect. If desired, the
Collect of the Day may be used.

Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to
direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all
our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into
all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessed Savior, at this hour you hung upon the cross,
stretching out your loving arms: Grant that all the peoples of
the earth may look to you and be saved; for your tender
mercies’ sake. Amen.

Almighty Savior, who at noonday called your servant Saint
Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles: We pray you to illumine
the world with the radiance of your glory, that all nations
may come and worship you; for you live and reign for ever
and ever. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, “Peace I give to
you; my peace I leave with you:” Regard not our sins,
but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and
unity of that heavenly city, where with the Father and the
Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen.

Free intercessions may be offered.

Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God

Exclectic Mix of Songs of Psalm 8

Don’t be afraid to click through songs that aren’t your thang.

Love

The Misters

In the late 1980’s, I spent one of my favorite summers driving the Monorail at Disneyland. It was a ton of fun being high above the park; driving guests from the Original Disneyland Hotel to the Tomorrowland Station and then back. As the driver, I was seated up front in the “nose cone” of the train. It wasn’t very big, but allowed up to 5 guests to sit with me. Guests generally had to wait quite a bit longer to ride in the front of the monorail– it was a coveted place to sit because it was private, quiet, and offered a panoramic view of the park. The wait was a deterrent–rarely did I see guests more than once and generally speaking, the monorail was more about fun than it was about transportation.

My other mode of transportation during the 1980’s.

Celebrities and dignitaries were a different story however. Often these people and their families were escorted into Disneyland via the hotel entrance and my nose cone. The chances of seeing them multiple times as they entered and exited the park was much higher. The summer I turned 18, I had the joy of driving one particular family multiple times as the visited the park early Sunday mornings. The Hanks/ Wilson family would show up at my glass air-suctioned door with baseball hats pulled down tight and smiles open wide. Their combined laughter and enthusiasm was infectious, and as Rita made sure every one was seated, Tom always greeted me by name, looked me in the eye and gave me a big toothy beautiful smile. Tom’s booming joyful voice would ask me how I was, make small talk, then ask me a question about the specifics of my job, like “How fast have you really got this thing going when no one was watching Summer?” or “If you could take this thing out on the open mono-road, where would you take us?” The questions were always funny and I loved getting to banter with him.

In the last few years I’ve seen both movies about Mr. Rogers. The first one, a documentary, taught me a whole lot about Fred Rogers, a gentle man I had spent quite a bit of time with while at my babysitters house before I became old enough to go to Kindergarten. The second one, staring Tom Hanks as Fred, suprised me–almost unsettled me and left me longing to see it again–to let it touch even deeper. I didn’t realize that the movie was going to contain such painful themes and be more about Fred Roger’s effect on others, than a bio about his life. Now knowing Mr. Roger’s better, I should have expected that his movie would not shy away from deep human truth, but would bring validation for hurting hearts both with simplicity and kindness. This movie was exceptional. I watched Tom Hanks disappear into Mr, Rodgers without even realizing it. The movie touched something in me that made me want to be a better, kinder, more open, giving and loving human. This Mr. Rogers had a real effect on me, but as the weeks have passed, I have come to realize that it wasn’t just Mr. Rogers. You see, before I had gotten to know the real Fred Rogers, I had already spent the summer with the real Tom Hanks. I believe that I felt his performance so deeply because, in my experience, Tom Hanks had already been the in-the-flesh Mr. Rogers to me. You see, we had already met and I knew the truth I was watching played out on screen.

As one of hundreds of Disney cast members, Tom Hanks made me feel special. Each time he and his family came, he spoke my name and I instantly felt seen. As he asked me questions, he contradicted that terrible childhood teaching that told me I shouldn’t be seen nor heard– that I wasn’t important. His eyes said I was someone worth talking to, worth getting to know–both intelligent and interesting. And his smile…seriously, that Tom Hanks smile! When he smiled at me, I felt seen. I went away from these moments with joy believing I might actually be as wonderful as Tom Hanks seemed to think I was.

I think that’s exactly what Mr. Rogers did for the world too. He saw us all. He reached out and told us the truth, assured us that we weren’t alone and then sent us away believing that we were more than we had imagined we were. Thank you Mr. Hanks for being Fred in my life. I feel the positive impact of your generous influence on me even today.

Love

Leaving Security; Why It’s Time For Me To Be Scared

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I read an article in 2014 about human trafficking.  It shocked me and quite literally threw me off my axis.  The following months I spent hours researching to see if it was true or some sort of overhyped emotional ploy that was actually quite rare.  Sadly, it wasn’t over hyped or rare.  Human trafficking is, in reality, a global evil that is rampant and involves people being trafficked for labor, sex, and/or organ harvesting.

If you have followed me for very long, you know that I am passionate about supporting people and organizations who have stepped in to rescue and rehabilitate victims, who are working to prevent victimization to the poor and marginalized, and who are working to change laws and partner with governments to stop the exploration of  humans.  It’s a messy and complicated situation which makes it hard to talk about, but I have felt that it’s important enough to take a deep breathe and talk about it any way.

These last few years have redefined me; they have shifted me. [pullquote]God has broken my heart.  Now he is carefully using those sharp and crumbling pieces to create a more beautiful and useful one for his glory.[/pullquote]I am headed to Moldova at the end of the month to learn about and support a ministry with orphan care and transitional housing. It’s a small piece of this ugly puzzle, but it is a piece.  You see, I no longer feel comfortable sitting behind my computer and educating people or raising money.  There is an indescribable tension that I’m living with now.  It’s the tension between knowledge and action, God-calling and comfort.  I am mature enough to know that if I avoid or ignore this tension, I am not only betraying myself but God.  So while Moldova is far away and in a scary part of the world, I am choosing to leave the security of my Southern California life and go.  Bob Goff recently sent out a challenge to those who want to be change makers but don’t know how to start.  He said “Buy a plane ticket and go.  Let God break your heart and show you where to find a new one.” And that is exactly what I am doing friends.

In the next few weeks I will be answering the Why Moldova? question, but for now, can I ask you to do something for me?  Would you pray?  I would love for you to pray for Jesus to:

  • protect my heart from fear
  • provide a close connection to someone living in Istanbul
  • provide all of the supplies that I need for the work I will be doing and the time to put it together
  • cover my family in his deep and precious peace

With great love and affection for all of you! XOXO

Summer

PS I want to share with you my new favorite quote…Hope it rocks you too!

“There is a difference between being too scared to do hard things and doing hard things scared.” Shannon Martin

and my addition to the quote is…Lean into the fear, lean onto Jesus and let it all go.   So hey!  Let’s do hard things scared!

Love

Sunshine

My dad started calling me Sunshine 2 weeks before he passed away. The first time, I thought I had just heard him wrong. The second time, I figured he was confused, maybe the stress of his illness and news that his days were short, had caused him to mistake Sunshine for Summer. But when I arrived and he called out on that 3rd early morning, “There is my Sunshine!” my heart melted because I could see in his eyes that my new name was intentional.  This intentionality allowed me to feel so loved that it changed our relationship.  I found it easy to be with him and care for his body when previously it would have scared me.  It made me strong and secure in who I was as his youngest and only adopted child.  It also gave me the peace to let him go as he finished his life here with us. 

Nicknames, whether they are good or bad, have such an impact on us, don’t they? They can humiliate or belittle us if used in hatred, or they can offer inclusion, affection, and confidence if they come from someone, like my dad, who loves us.  Nicknames have the power to permanently label us and sadly, we often find it easier to accept the labels that are harsh over the affectionate or true ones given to us. I often dismiss the truth and uphold the label-lies.

Friends, what if we silenced the voices of self-hatred in our own heads and listened only to the names Jesus has already given us? Beloved, Forgiven, and Daughter are true and life changing names that he is intentionally whispering in our ears and  writing on our hearts.  If every time I approached him I heard him greet me with his love-names for me, I would begin to live in them and the reality of them over my life would change me,  just as I began to do with my sweet nickname Sunshine.  Allowing these truth-names to replace lies will enable us to live with full hearts, more stable self-worth, and the confidence that comes from being more fully focused on the reality of who Jesus is and who he says we are. 

The too few weeks my dad called me Sunshine broke me in the best way. My heart became softer and I was able to experience deep joy in the midst of deep pain.  Easily setting myself aside, it was simple to be light to my dads darkness because of the new name and reality that he bestowed on me. Honestly,  I had no idea that these death weeks would cap off my disappointed relationship with my dad with this precious and longed-for daddy love that he openly gave me. 

Sisters, I know this is exactly what God wants for us too. He wants to fill our lives full with the truth of his great affection so that we can live in and live from his unending, unbending love for us.

Xoxo,

Summer

Love

Bookmarks and Closing Chapters

This week has been bookmarked by marriage celebrations.  Sunday started things off with my niece’s beautiful wedding and today it ends with my own 27th anniversary.  In between these two occasions, I have spent hours observing and quietly honoring the final few pages of my parents 45 year marriage. The timing of these has made it a bittersweet but thoughtful week.
[pullquote]Marriage starts out with a hopeful celebration,  continues with spouses working through cycles of stretching, brokenness, and rebuilding, and closes it’s final chapter, with a sweet whisper of gratitude.[/pullquote]

My niece’s marriage is beginning like my parent’s marriage most likely did, with two people believing that life would be better together and hoping that the joy they found in each other would last a lifetime.  They must have believed that their love would be enough to overcome step children, ex-wives, adopted children, a multitude of past hurts, and a sizable age difference.  Then as they moved through the ordinary years, I’m sure that they encountered, as my husband and I have, the marriage cycle of struggle, brokenness, and rebuilding–all  covered with grace, tears, laughter, hard work, and periods of deep connection and loneliness.  And now as they  finish this final chapter, their love for each other has again been adjusted as they sacrificially love each other with kindness and grace.  Marriage now for them is gentle and sweet and letting go of almost everything else, they find joy in smiles, kind words, touching each other, and their nightly devotions.

My parents have never sat down and shared with me the secret of a long marriage, but I’ve seen them live it.  My dad and mom have encountered good times and bad and through it all they have remained committed to each other because they remained committed to Jesus.  He is the sacred tie that binds them together.  Both of them love Jesus and because of that, they have learned to love each other well.   While I am heartbroken that my dad will not be with us much longer, I am forever grateful for the example of marriage that they placed before me.  Today as I celebrate my marriage, it only seems fitting to recommit myself to Jesus and my husband in their honor.

XOXO,

Summer

Faith

Going Out and Coming In

My dad joined my life before my first birthday.  He was a larger than life character in his Corvette and as the story goes,  I wasn’t so fond of him.  When I would hear his car pull up for a visit, I would crawl as quickly as I could to the front door to try to shut it.  I don’t remember those days of course, but it’s easy to imagine that I probably wasn’t too fond of my dad’s old school, lay down the law ways. Nevertheless, I soon became his 5th child by marriage and his legal child a few years later through adoption.

W.E. Green is the kind of dad that made me feel safe when I was young.  He was strong and had a gregariousness that made people notice and respect him.  He was a manager by profession so he has always known how to run things and make them happen.  As a child I saw him as unbreakable, constant, and generous; and that made me feel loved.

I am grieving over his illness and the thought of him dying today.  Lying quietly with eyes filled with  tears, I began replaying in my mind scenes and stories of our life together–trips in the many motor homes we owned, Winchell’s Donuts and Church on Sundays, the horse races, and everyday snapshots like watching him walk around the neighborhood with our dogs, peeking at him when he takes a deep breath to pray over the thousands of meals we have had together and seeing him in his office with his Marilyn Monroe picture near him and using his pen to pay bills and then placing it in his lifelong pen holder.

Security is the theme that was impressed on my heart by these scenes.  Throughout my life my dad has always made me feel secure.  I never wondered if he would provide for me or if he would be there.  I never wondered if I would be safe or if he would allow me to be placed in danger.  I never wondered if he really knew what to do or was faking it.  Nope, he was and has continued to be a source of security for me and I realized that his secure presence is really what I’m grieving today.

God’s word is a faithful friend in grieving and Psalms 121 is speaking to my hurting heart. It says in verse 7 and 8,  “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”[pullquote] “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”[/pullquote]  I love that God gently reminds me that ultimately HE is my security from now until I’m with him.  He urges me not to fall into fear.  It’s a sweet way that Jesus is hugging me and whispering, “I’ve got your back.”  But even better is that I know that this verse is also for my dad– who is completely confident in Jesus, who has kept his life and will keep it safe all the way to the throne of God and forever.

Hanging tightly to the promises of God and forever grateful for all of your sweet comments, prayers, and hugs.

XOXO,

Summer