Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I have a confession. I am not a groupie. There isn’t a band on the planet I’d wait in line to buy tickets for or put up with a huge crowd to see them in concert. My daughter begged me to attend some music festival – Warped Tour? I think my audible sigh was heard all the way in Wyoming when she told me her friend’s mom said she’d take them. Thank. God.

I don’t have anything against concerts or people who attend them, I just prefer a more intimate setting, like my earbuds in place. 😉 I have enjoyed smaller settings like living room concerts and jam sessions, and we just finished up the Resound Conference two weekends ago which is a worship conference featuring some great speakers and bands with an audience of less than 500 people. I can do that. That’s more my speed.

Confession #2: I’ve always had this annoying habit of falling for bands (their music and sound) without being able to name the band members. I mean no disrespect, it’s just not my thing. Maybe it should be. I can aspire to that, I guess. Is that surprising considering I’m a people person? If you want to know band member names, ask my daughter.

I LOVE MUSIC! I have tunes to suit my every mood. I’m friends with a lot of musicians and love them dearly. I even remember all of their names. Ha! For time’s sake, I can’t promote them all in this post, so I chose just one. My friend, neighbor, and the most peaceful man I’ve ever met. He’s one of my favorites:

davewilton1 by Jarrod Reno

Photo by Jarrod Reno

Dave Wilton

He’s an incredible musician, songwriter, music producer, and recording/mixing/mastering engineer. Dave plays in two Indie Rock bands, A Boy & His Kite and Loud Harp. If you’re my real-life friend, you’ve heard me mention both many times.

Loud_Harp_Piano by Ray Rushing

Photo by Ray Rushing

In 2011, Dave and Asher “accidentally” formed the band Loud Harp. I’m so glad they did. Their music soothes my soul! You can read all about them on their site: loudharp.com (Asher is amazing too! Check him out!)


Photo by Jarrod Reno

In 2012, A Boy & His Kite’s single, “Cover Your Tracks” was included in the film and soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2:

Dave’s lyrics and music embody such depth of soul and spirit.

I don’t know how he feels about his Twilight fame, but I can tell you it is his joy to make great music and help others do the same. He is currently building a new studio and running a Kickstarter campaign to finish it. Want to kick something in? Click here: http://davewilton.com/newstudio/

We’re nearing the end of the challenge! Have you been checking out my other challenger’s posts?

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/



Read Full Post »

It feels good to be writing again after all the tragedy of the past few months. Today I’m honored to be featured over at themitchroush.com. His monthly series, “Music Changed Me” showcases people he knows and loves sharing the music that has impacted their lives. My piece focuses on disliking the word “secular” being used to label songs that are sacred to me, and the love song I have on repeat during this season of healing.

I’ve known Mitch for over 20 years, and oh the stories I could share about him. Ha! He’s an incredible man. Take some time to get to know him through his writing. He does an excellent job weaving faith and creativity throughout all he does.

It brings joy to my soul to hear him describe me this way: “Niki is one of the most eloquent feather-rufflers I know. An edgy soul, not out of attention, but out of a fierce love that has no other way of being expressed. She’s passionate and wants nothing more than for everyone to have a place at the table.”

Thank you, Mitch. That means a lot to me!

Here’s a teaser:

Music is one of my love languages.

If my inner 80’s child were to make you a mix tape and share with you the soundtrack of my life, you’d grin and possibly groan at the quirky variety of my musical tastes.  I bet you’d find something that suits your tastes too. Now and then, I get stuck on a song to help me through a particular season, repeating it until the music cleanses me or the season passes.

– See more at: http://www.themitchroush.com/music-changed-me-13-love-on-repeat

Read Full Post »

My life has been a series of turning points, so it took me awhile to decide what the biggest one has been so far. I slowly traced who I am and my current life back to its inception at York College. I was seventeen when I received my acceptance and scholarship letters. They were the apex of my dismal senior year. I counted the days until my friend Erin’s parents pulled into my driveway and loaded up my life for the long drive to York, Nebraska. I wasn’t able to look back for a long time.


I quickly made friends, double pierced my ears as a sign of independence, immersed myself in college life, boys, music, and…oh yeah, my studies. I met men and women who shaped and challenged me. I fell in and out of love. I formed friendships that have endured to this day. I played fast pitch softball with an amazing team of girls. I sang my heart out and performed in plays with some of my favorite people on campus. I stayed up half the night playing cards. I skipped chapel as many times as allowed without serious repercussions. I served on the Student Council and as a social club president. I perfected the egg burger with cheese during my work-study in the student center. I discovered there was more to my faith than what I had preached at me as a child. I worked hard and played hard. Then I met and married my amazing husband.

I wasn’t born at York College, but that is where I came to life. I honor that here with my drawing of the big water tower that passersby see on their way to Lincoln or Grand Island on Interstate 80. Oh how I love that landmark. 🙂

My kids are still deciding what their turning points are, but go read the nostalgic turning points of my friends:

Don at Expatriatism

Freebie at Free To Be Too Much

Girl at GirlyGeeky


Read Full Post »

I can’t remember where I got the CD. I think it was one of those $5 items Family Christian Stores sets out by their registers, but I’m hardly ever in there, so I can’t be sure. Regardless, it became my summer go-to CD, lifting me up when I felt crappy, helping me release pent-up tears, and most importantly, reminding me that I’m loved (always) and I’m not alone (ever).

I have a feeling that JJ Heller is a kindred spirit, and her music speaks to me. One song in particular became my summer anthem as I ministered with and trained the teens and sponsors who came on SABBATH, our summer program for SEVENS. I can’t think of a single person that this song isn’t relevant to. We all long to be loved without condition and we’ve all felt despair and cried out for something or someone. Even those who don’t believe in God find themselves in this pit and cry out for love and rescue. May they all find what they’re looking for and so much more. Here are the lyrics and the YouTube video.

What Love Really Means

By JJ and Dave Heller

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night “Dear God won’t you please…
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

*Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means, what love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner then he would’ve stayed
And she says…


He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”
Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said, “I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
And I’ve watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen I’ll, I’ll tell you that I…”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love, the love that you never knew

THAT is how I want to love people. JUST like that.

Read Full Post »

I met Megan last summer through Dr. Zack and instantly knew we’d be friends. I believe we actually prayed her into our lives, but that’s a story for another day. She is one of the sweetest people I know and I’m glad to call her friend. Back in January when she was one of the first to find out about my miscarriage, she didn’t offer advice or answers, she just hugged me and told me she was sorry. She has continued to encourage me the past few months when we see one another each week. I bring this up because I have her CD and several of the songs really touch my heart. One in particular has been very healing for me. She wrote it long before we met, but the first time I heard it I wept like she was singing it for and to me. I’ve tried to figure out a way to put the song in this post, but I guess wordpress won’t allow the file. So the words are printed below and I’ll send you to her myspace page where you can listen to the song (and others) and even purchase it if you so choose. Her CD is also available on iTunes.

She has an amazing voice and heart for people and I’m so glad to know her! She’s currently working on her second CD project and God is growing her as a musician as she grows closer to Him, so please keep my friend in your prayers. When we had her over for dinner a few weeks ago, I grilled her about her music and life so I could write about her here, but her bio is so well written that I decided to use that instead.

Award-winning songwriter and lead worshiper Megan Isaacson is all about connecting the thirsty to the River of Life. Megan knows what it means to thirst. Growing up in a broken home, Megan tried to fill her emptiness with religion and music, but soon learned that only Jesus Christ could heal her wounds and satisfy her thirsty soul. She began to let the joy of the Lord be her strength and that joy has fueled a music ministry that has taken her all across the U.S. and beyond.

Megan hit the road with her music for the first time in 2000, when she traveled to Australia with the Continental Singers and has been on the move ever since. For four years she toured as an actress and worship leader with Dare 2 Share Ministries, Intl. She also served as the youth worship director at Grace Church of Arvada in Colorado. In 2005, Megan released her debut album, “Close”, produced by guitarist and producer Dave Beegle. This project included the song, “My Worship”, which was named Song of 2005 at the Gospel Music Association’s Music in the Rockies seminar. The following spring, Megan was honored to perform alongside Chris Tomlin, Third Day, Barlow Girl and others in the Songwriter Showcase during GMA Week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Now, as founder of River Wild Ministries, Megan is single-minded about inviting God’s people to quench their thirst with living water. In her words:

“My dream for this ministry is Psalm 69: 30-33: ‘I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. The poor will see and be glad — you who seek God, may your hearts live! The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.’ (emphasis mine)

“We live in an age of boredom, depression, apathy – sometimes especially when it comes to Christianity. Even people who have been believers for years find it hard to ‘find God’ from day to day. To these hungry, tired, broken people, I believe God says ‘come.’ This is my heart’s cry: to reconnect the thirsty to the river of life – Jesus Christ. What does that have to do with worship? Everything. Only when we restore God to his rightful place – the center of our universe – and give him the glory he deserves, can we truly be satisfied. And I believe with John Piper that, wonder of wonders, ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.’ Although we are strangers in a foreign land, we have not been forgotten by our God, who longs to satisfy us completely.”

Isn’t she amazing? I’ve been so excited to share my friend and her music with you. While her website is currently under construction, you can visit her myspace page and listen to a few of her songs there. She’s also on Youtube.

Her album “Close” made me laugh and cry. It’s available for purchase, AND I’m giving you the opportunity to win a copy of it here on MY Journey. Leave me a comment or email me to let me know you want it. As an added bonus, the first person to tell me what the song “You Had Me At Hello” is about, will get their name entered in the drawing twice. We’ll draw for a winner next Thursday, so go check her out on myspace, tell your friends and family about her, enter the drawing, and don’t forget to listen to the song that’s been a healing balm to my heart the past few months. Here are the lyrics:

By Megan Isaacson

(Verse 1)
Tears form, you turn away
Words just won’t reach far enough
To explain away the pain
Your eyes search mine for answers
But all I can offer is this

Answers are overrated, clichés fall short
When your world comes tumbling down
Even though your heart’s breaking this one thing’s sure
That the One who holds the universe is
holding your hand in His own

(Verse 2)
Fear and uncertainty
Fuel arguments made by your mind
Against your heart’s agony
But this battle’s not over
Sometimes the victory’s found in surrender

I know it’s dangerous to dream of love
Or dare to hope for peace
But He who sees your pain has called your name
And purchased your release

Read Full Post »

I’m interrupting my Promoting Friends Week for this special post. Keep entering to win the give aways. We’ll continue with the friends and give aways posts on Monday. I’m going to need a few days. Though I don’t know this family personally, my own pain is too recent and I am grieving with them right now.

Singer/Songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest daughter Maria was killed last night. Her brother was backing out of the driveway and didn’t see her. I cannot imagine the horror of this situation and the pain they’re feeling right now. Please pray for their family. His music has been an encouragement to me and my family over the years. It has offered hope, challenge, comfort, wisdom, reminders to love those close to you, and so much more.

Before we were married, Benny and I knew we wanted to adopt someday and we had chosen China as our first adoptive country – before it became one of the biggest focuses of couple seeking international adoption. Several years ago Steven Curtis Chapman was at the Youth Specialties conference we were at and he sang his song When Love Takes You In and showed the video about adoption. It featured his daughter Shaohannah and it made both of us cry. We were so touched by it, and though it seemed to us at the time it was a sign to keep dreaming about our future Chinese daughter, I know now it was about a different kind of adoption.

I think we interpreted those messages and the overflowing compassion in a different way than God may have meant for us. I’m not sure if foreign adoption is still in our future, but I can tell you that we’ve already “adopted” hundreds of children, teens, and adults over our 15 years of marriage. God has placed so many brokenhearted people in our path and used us to show them that “love” and “home” and “family” can be real words in their vocabularies, and I am so grateful. We too have been adopted as sons and daughters into a family bigger than our own. Sometimes we need that reminder. I want to share the video he showed that night and the lyrics for the song. I hear it now and think of our friends on the streets.

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

I want to leave you with one more song. His latest hit single, Cinderella, was inspired by Maria and Stevie Joy, his two youngest daughters. I don’t know if God gave him this song for such a time as this, but I do know that God holds every tear we shed and He never abandons us. I cling to this truth for myself as well as the Chapmans and everyone who has grieved the loss of a child. Pray for comfort and joy for this family.

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,
Without a care in the world.
And I’m sittin’ here wearin’ the weight of the world on my shoulders.
It’s been a long day and there’s still work to do,
She’s pulling at me saying “Dad I need you!
There’s a ball at the castle and I’ve been invited and I need to practice my dancin'”
“Oh please, daddy, please!”

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone

She says he’s a nice guy and I’d be impressed
She wants to know if I’d approve of a dress
She says “Dad, the prom is just one week away,
And I need to practice my dancin'”
“Oh please, daddy, please!”

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone
She will be gone.

Well, she came home today
With a ring on her hand
Just glowin’ and tellin’ us all they had planned
She says “Dad, the wedding’s due six months away
And I need to practice my dancin'”
“Oh please, daddy please!”

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t wanna miss even one song,
(even one song)
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone

Read Full Post »

I thought I’d pass along something that made me smile. 🙂

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: