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When the kids arrived, having experienced trauma layered on trauma, they were a couple of angry little hyenas.

Every morning, our son woke screaming in anger. For hours.

We found the music on K-Love soothed them.

You can read more about that in Our Three Songs, a post I wrote a little over two years ago. 

This morning, I woke (in slight disgruntlement at the early hour) to my son singing at a decibel level to rival any bass-thumping stereo system on the road today.

When we turn on the radio, he listens for a few minutes, eyes narrowed.

“Is that K-Love?”

I confirm, and he nods, satisfied.

If it’s not K-Love, I have 30 seconds to change the tuner before he begins to complain.

He’s happier, more confident. So is our daughter. They sing with smiles brightening their faces.

Things are definitely not perfect, and the hours of therapy in which we still participate are responsible for much of their gains.

The music of K-Love is just as responsible for their improved outlook.

Today is the last day of the pledge drive. K-Love is on the air in the USA because of listener support.

Hypervigilant.org is a proud business partner supporter of K-Love.  

I encourage you to support their ministry. I have seen firsthand the changed lives.

You can donate at 800-525-5683 or at www.klove.com

 

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Michael Jackson is Famous!

In college, I heard a guy on the radio and absolutely loved his rollicking piano sound. His name was Keith Green. Yes, he had big hair, but I was a child of the 70’s and 80’s. And, back* then, we didn’t have things called internet or cell phone or iPad or even laptops, so I couldn’t learn every little thing about him like BieberFeverFreaks can.

*For the record, I’m not THAT old, but lived in a limited-technology bubble. I wrote school papers on an old manual typewriter my freshman year. Yikes.

Go ahead and laugh if you like (I just did…wow, the hair). I loved the music and got my hands on a tape. Exuberant, I burst into study group waving the cassette.

“Look! This guy is amazing on a piano. Have you heard of him? I want to find out if he’s going to be in concert near here sometime soon.”

My friends looked at each other, then at me.

“I don’t think he’s going to be in concert anytime soon. Definitely not around here.”

Confused, I asked, “Why? What’s wrong with here?”

With a wry smile, my buddy said, “Well…he died in a plane crash in 1982. I hear once you get to heaven, you don’t really want to come back. Not even for a concert.”

I was stunned.

How could this guy sound so alive on the radio? (Yes, I understood the concept of a recording. It was just a shock.)

***

My son’s face at dinner revived this memory. (No, he does not have similar hair, nor beard.)

Our boy waved his spoon. “Did you know there is a guy named Michael Jackson?”

Hubby and I exchanged a glance. “Yes…”

Michael Jackson is a really great new musician. He’s very famous and he has some cool songs!

our little guy enthused about his new find.

“Are you learning a song in music?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “we’re learning about him for Black History Month at school. Do you like his music?”

I didn’t really want to break it to him. Hubby eased into it. “His music has been around for a long time. I used to listen to him when I was your age.”

Shock crossed our son’s face. “Really?”

I agreed. “Yep. He’s not new, just new to you. I was eight the first time I heard him sing ‘Beat It’ with one of my friends. And…unfortunately, he passed away.”

I watched a look flit across his features, one I recognized. “Oh.”

As he went back to shoveling food into his hollow leg, I watched him for a few moments.

He seemed okay. For a kid who’s lost so much, maybe this was just another mild disappointment. He didn’t seem anywhere near as devastated as I’d been about my “new” artist.

That’s probably just because he hasn’t seen Thriller yet.

On second thought…we’ll probably wait a few years to show him that one. No need to start the night terrors again.

***

My tastes have changed considerably, but I still like guys with cool hair. I wrote about a couple of my favorites here.

Who’s your favorite singer?

 

 

Piano

My mom brought a stack of my old piano books. I have a keyboard but only played it a couple times in the last three years…and my last serious practice was over 10 years ago.

It’s shocking how fast my fingers are getting back in the groove.

Been a while since you picked up that guitar, violin, harmonica?  Too long since you played your xylophone or harpsichord? It’s time to create music again.

So tell us…what’s YOUR instrument?

Let’s make some joyful noise, people.

My Life’s Soundtrack

Today’s Writing101 Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Music plays in my head all day. Choose three songs…the choice is almost as impossible as picking my favorite organs. (The ones that keep me kickin’, not the musical instruments.)

However, I must admit, three happen to be currently at the top of my cerebral playlist.

First, a quick backstory for those who haven’t read other posts:

Hubby and I adopted two kids (5 & 7 when they came to us via foster care). My good friend, an English teacher, says bambinos are “children,” not kids. “Kids” are baby goats. In our case, “kids” is accurate; a herd of goats might have been less destructive. More often, we call them the wild hyenas.

During the first six months, if they were conscious, we couldn’t let them out of our sight. With one who didn’t conk out until after midnight, and one who woke screaming almost every morning at 3 am, sleep was a pipe dream (pun intended).

Our social worker frequently made clear her opinion that we were under-qualified as parents, and all four of us were terrified she would show up and pack them off to destinations unknown. Both children communicated mostly by screaming, crying, and shrieking. We prayed things would get better, but just weren’t convinced it would happen. Some days, Hubby and I were ready to give up (and so were the hyenas).

The first time I heard Mandisa’s song Overcomer, we were in the middle of HellonEarth. I cried. A lot.

Pretty sure drivers around me thought I was inebriated.

Staring at a stop sign                      (actually, at a red light)
Watching people drive by                (yep, there they go…take me with you!!)
T Mac on the radio                          (in this case, Mandisa on the radio)
Got so much on your mind             (will these kids survive to age 18? Will we survive them?)
Nothing’s really going right             (are you reading my mind?)
Looking for a ray of hope                (ANY DAY NOW)
Whatever it is you may be going through  (what are we NOT going through?)
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you  (thank God.)

You’re an overcomer                       (not feeling it)
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round    (if you say so…)
You’re not going under                      (sure feels like drowning)
‘Cause God is holding you right now  (rescue me!)
You might be down for a moment    (no kidding)
Feeling like it’s hopeless                   (that’s right)
That’s when He reminds You          (hey….)
That you’re an overcomer                (I am?)

You’re an overcomer                      (I SO AM! We are GOING TO MAKE IT!)

By the end of the song, I felt so much better and incredibly encouraged. The kids now know this song by heart, and we all belt it out together when KLove plays “our” song.

For almost two years, our boy woke up screaming. PTSD is a nasty, horrible affliction no one should have to experience, especially a child. About halfway through the second year, he heard the Newsboys sing “God’s Not Dead.” Something about that particular song resonated with him, particularly the line about “roaring like a lion.”

He’d been roaring for a really long time (both figuratively and literally). Slowly, we began to experience a change. Instead of being startled awake by screams, we were serenaded. Loudly, mind you (this kid can project like no child I’ve ever heard), but singing instead of screaming. Bliss.

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to bring a revolution somehow
Now I’m lost in Your freedom
In this world I’ll overcome

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
Roaring, He’s roaring, roaring like a lion

Finally, the one we sing with double meaning, TobyMac’s Me Without You. Without God, we’d be drowning. Without each other, we’d be sunk.

Flashback
Stepping through the scene
There’s You and there’s a very different Me
Touchdown, You had me at believe
You had me at believe, You did

Where would I be?
You rescued me
You are mine, I am Yours
You rescued me
And I am Yours forever
You saved me, remade me,
Where would i be?

I’d be packing my bags when I need to stay
I’d be chasing every breeze that blows my way
I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It’s true
That’s me without you
Don’t know where I’d be without you

This last, even more than the others, my boy and I have claimed for ourselves. Whenever it plays, he shouts, “Mama, our song!” If we’re home, we dance around the kitchen.

For a child who was constantly packing bags (or having them packed on his behalf) and who had a 3 cm hole in his tiny heart, this song is profound. Who knows where he’d be? Definitely packing bags, and perhaps not alive much longer, if God had not brought him straight to us.

So. Those are my three. What are yours?

**Due to the fact that I’m in the middle of filing taxes (I procrastinate every year…I’m nothing if not consistent…), I sort of cheated and reposted one I wrote earlier.  

Coffeeshop

It must be 70’s day. I try to be still, but the pulsing, frantic music sounding across the room makes this impossible. How am I supposed to write with my foot tapping?

My favorite place, this unusual nook. Once a brick shell, deteriorating and filled with weeds, the building is now warm, welcoming and filled with music. Smells of savory turkey sandwiches, fresh-ground local coffee, cinnamon and pumpkin waft on the mild currents.

Reclaimed wood wainscoting warms the exposed brick walls; I count wormholes as I wait. Pewter-hued wallpaper sporting spaghetti clouds and orange birds wraps one corner, coordinating with the vintage orange leather couch near the door.

Almost everything in the building, other than the couches (which are still used traditionally), was scrounged or re-purposed. Left-over metalwork scraps welded into counter supports, wooden furniture dragged from old buildings, sanded and varnished, metal fittings welded into uncommon art.

Polished concrete counters match the floor.Speakers hang at just the right angle; as the lunch crowd streams in, music weaves through the crowd, loud but not overwhelming. The room’s industrial feel is balanced by antique coffee accouterments and a large red ceramic cat.

The clientele, like the building, is eclectic.

In boots and olive BDUs, soldiers grab lunch next to the “I think I’m elegant” lady, in jewels, purple sweater and loud-print scarf. She sips her chai, notices my glance and fixes her gaze on a point over my head.

Businesswomen chat at each other over their laptops. Each has a business pitch; neither is listening. The beat, now understated, sways me a bit.

An iPad addict, staring at his screen, is chewing but oblivious to the piquant combination of pesto and sriracha on his sandwich; the art guy with unkempt hair, a regular, is altogether relishing the same sandwich.

College students in “yeah-I’m-a-rebel” pajama pants giggle over textbooks. (I wish I could show them a picture of my college roommate and me, coffee-shopping in pajamas. Good luck with your Jammie Revolution, girls.)

It’s ten to one. Without warning, conversations end, plates disappear and tables empty en masse. A lonesome melody soundtracks the departure.

See you tomorrow?

Our Three Songs

Music plays in my head all day. Choose three songs…the choice is almost as impossible as picking my favorite organs. (The ones that keep me kickin’, not the musical instruments.)

However, I must admit, three happen to be currently at the top of my cerebral playlist.

First, a quick backstory for those who haven’t read other posts:

Hubby and I adopted two kids (5 & 7 when they came to us via foster care). My good friend, an English teacher, says bambinos are “children,” not kids. “Kids” are baby goats. In our case, “kids” is accurate; a herd of goats would have been less destructive. More often, we call them the wild hyenas. During the first six months, if they were conscious, we couldn’t let them out of our sight. With one who couldn’t conk out until after midnight, and one who woke screaming almost every morning at 3 am, sleep was a pipe dream (pun intended). Our social worker frequently made clear her opinion that we were under-qualified as parents, and all four of us were terrified she would show up and pack them off to destinations unknown. Both children communicated mostly by screaming, crying, and shrieking. We prayed things would get better, but just weren’t convinced it would happen. Some days, Hubby and I were ready to give up (and so were the hyenas).

The first time I heard Mandisa’s song Overcomer, we were in the middle of HellonEarth. I cried. A lot. Pretty sure drivers around me thought I was inebriated.

Staring at a stop sign                      (actually, at a red light)
Watching people drive by                (yep, there they go…take me with you!!)
T Mac on the radio                          (in this case, Mandisa on the radio)
Got so much on your mind             (will these kids survive to age 18? Will we survive them?)
Nothing’s really going right             (are you reading my mind?)
Looking for a ray of hope                (ANY DAY NOW)
Whatever it is you may be going through  (what are we NOT going through?)
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you  (thank God.)

You’re an overcomer                       (not feeling it)
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round    (if you say so…)
You’re not going under                      (sure feels like drowning)
‘Cause God is holding you right now  (rescue me!)
You might be down for a moment    (no kidding)
Feeling like it’s hopeless                   (that’s right)
That’s when He reminds You          (hey….)
That you’re an overcomer                (I am?)

You’re an overcomer                      (I SO AM! We are GOING TO MAKE IT!)

By the end of the song, I felt so much better and incredibly encouraged. The kids now know this song by heart, and we all belt it out together when KLove plays “our” song.

For almost two years, our boy woke up screaming. PTSD is a nasty, horrible affliction no one should have to experience, especially a child. About halfway through the second year, he heard the Newsboys sing “God’s Not Dead.” Something about that particular song resonated with him, particularly the line about “roaring like a lion.” He’d been roaring for a really long time (both figuratively and literally). Slowly, we began to experience a change. Instead of being startled awake by screams, we were serenaded. Loudly, mind you (this kid can project like no child I’ve ever heard), but singing instead of screaming. Bliss.

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to bring a revolution somehow
Now I’m lost in Your freedom
In this world I’ll overcome

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
Roaring, He’s roaring, roaring like a lion

Finally, the one we sing with double meaning, TobyMac’s Me Without You. Without God, we’d be drowning. Without each other, we’d be sunk.

Flashback
Stepping through the scene
There’s You and there’s a very different Me
Touchdown, You had me at believe
You had me at believe, You did

Where would I be?
You rescued me
You are mine, I am Yours
You rescued me
And I am Yours forever
You saved me, remade me,
Where would i be?

I’d be packing my bags when I need to stay
I’d be chasing every breeze that blows my way
I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It’s true
That’s me without you
Don’t know where I’d be without you

This last, even more than the others, my boy and I have claimed for ourselves. Whenever it plays, he shouts, “Mama, our song!” If we’re home, we dance around the kitchen. For a child who was constantly packing bags (or having them packed on his behalf) and who had a 3 cm hole in his tiny heart, this song is profound. Who knows where he’d be? Definitely packing bags, and perhaps not alive much longer, if God had not brought him straight to us.

So. Those are my three. What are yours?

**Images found on Google.

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