Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ups and Downs

Hello again readers. :)

I know it's been a while since I have written to you, partially because life has been a little bit crazy and partially because I procrastinate. Yet, I always seem to have an idea knocking on the door of my brain trying to get out onto my journal, napkins, receipts or whatever is able to be inked... (or typed I suppose).

In my first blog post I mentioned posting other people's work, so today I'd love to share one of my buddies artistry. His name is Louie Hogan and he made this video for a film class in high school. He used one of my favorite Jon Foreman (Switchfoot lead vocalist) songs as the background, so be sure to listen to the lyrics.  Besides the subtle and gentle approach Louie took to the film style, I think he did a great job matching the tone and message of the song. 

For those of you who haven't heard it, let me just say it's a song about ups and downs. It's a song about realizing that broken and lost people belong to someone--and if not any earthly family, we know they belong to God. So, watch it, let it sink in. I can't help but find myself convicted and motivated to have open eyes and a compassionate heart towards the lost, which I believe to be the point of the song. 

Somebody's Baby by Jon Foreman video by Louie Hogan

Can I ask you to respond to this film? I have been thinking a lot about taking action regarding people in need, yet I find myself thinking too much and not acting upon those thoughts and convictions. Maybe you can relate. You see, I feel so often that there is nothing I have to offer people in need that will truly make a lasting impact on their lives, because I will probably never start a non-profit to feed the hungry or educate the homeless or build a school over seas. However, it doesn't mean I have nothing to do. And it's time for me to make a change, so why not make it with me? 

Like many artists, I realize that there is a whole lot of creativity that you cannot touch. That kind of creativity looks like a smile on someone's face because of a compliment they have received. Or the healing tears of a hurting, single mother who's emotional needs have been cast to the side so that her children can make it through the week. It is listening, supporting, building others up, cheering them on, bringing them together, thinking about someone else's needs and taking action to fill those needs. This creativity is beautiful and it may take practice, but it doesn't require an artistic "eye" but a creative and selfless heart. When the paintbrush is held by the heart and not by the hand. Help someone whose ups and downs are too much for them to go through alone. Don't we all know someone who could use that support? Create a wonderful beautiful friendship of care and tenderness. Love others, for this is creativity at it's finest (if you ask me). ;)

Keep creating! Abstract or literal! I'm right there with ya!

Q Berry

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Discipline of Confession

Hello blogging world. Today I have a song to share with you. Eventually I'd love to make some posts about song-writing and the different processes I use to write music and/or lyrics. Unfortunately I'm battling a bug so I don't feel up to it today, but that's no need to keep from sharing a bit more creativity with you, right? Anyway, there are a few other things I'd like to write to you before posting the song.

If you haven't already figured it out from my previous posts, I am a Christian. Let me preface what I'm about to write with full comfort and honesty that I am absolutely a sinner, saved by God's wonderful grace. Now, that might not mean much to you because you might have had Christian friends or leaders in the past that have really hurt you or taken advantage of you, and preached a false gospel in order to get your money, talent, or resources. If that is you, let me just say I am deeply sorry you have been hurt. If I could give you a hug and pray for you in person, I would be there in a second. While the internet is wonderful for vast communication, I wish there weren't physical restrictions sometimes. Continuing on, there are so many inaccurate portrayals of Jesus Christ in the Christian community...and there probably will always be; but there are also authentic Christians who love Jesus and want to accurately represent Him to the world.

Maybe you are wondering why I even take the time to write this...

I do so because I believe there is a need to make a distinction between the false teachers who pastor churches; the con artists of the church; those who care more about their own public image rather than God's public image and more about the money they can bring in rather than the money they can give away. 

I prefer not to be associated with this group of "Christians" who are really just frauds in sheep's clothing. Beware of Christians who say they are Christians just because it fits their social profile or it provides a place for them to influence the naive when they might not otherwise have influence. Don't be foolish about who you follow...and don't feel any pressure from me to follow me. 

I have no desire to control you, manipulate you, get money from you...hurt you. My hope is that within the pages of my blog, you would have a greater desire to know Jesus Christ, but I will never pressure you to do that. I might encourage you to do so, but that is just a natural reaction to knowing God myself. It is His love that has changed my life completely. I could find no greater joy than to see you choose to follow Christ. But, that is your choice to make. If you ever feel like I am pressuring you, I'd appreciate your feedback and accountability. :) 

I write all of this because I don't want you to feel like I'm trying to subtly sneak in a word about God within my posts with hopes that you will be under my "spell" or something. God is simply the source of my life, so it is very natural for me to write about Him. I have no hidden agenda. 

And, I cannot help but thinking about those of you who might read this and have flashbacks of the charismatic Christians I described heart breaks to think of the confusion and pain you might have been caused. I pray you will never find that here. Once again, I welcome your input and concerns.

So, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy this song. :) It's straight from my living room to yours!

Q Berry

The Discipline of Confession:

Just when I think I can't break more
The phone rings
And another low blow to my heart
Just when I fear my spirit is too worn
My mouth somehow sings
And Your hands mend every broken part

I call on You, Jesus
When my heart mourns
Only You bring true peace
I look to You, Jesus
When my eyes are blind
Only You restore my belief
I fall on You, Jesus
When my knees are failing
Only You can lift me to my feet
I cry to You, Jesus
When I am betrayed
Only You, Jesus understand
Because You were betrayed by me

Father, forgive us
We know not what we do
Father, forgive us
We know not what we do
Father, help me forgive them
As You've forgiven me
'Cause I don't want hatred
To be my legacy

I call on You, Jesus
When my heart mourns
Only You bring true peace
I look to You, Jesus
When my eyes are blind
Only You restore my belief
I fall on You, Jesus
When my knees are failing
Only You can lift me to my feet
I cry to You, Jesus
When I am betrayed
Only You, Jesus understand
Because You were betrayed by me

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Place

So I thought maybe you would like to know what part of my home looks like. Sometimes having an idea of where somebody comes from helps me to understand them better. :) Besides that, my place hasn't always looked as nice as it does now. To give you and idea, here is a picture of my living room before Joel and I went to work at it with paint. (Well...and a bit of decorating)

Notice the "patched" holes in the wall left by the previous tenant.

(My wonderful family)
(Mom, Dad, and Tyler)

(My adorable husband)
(My favorite place to read)

(My "recording studio" and my place for writing,
brainstorming, creating...hence the messiness. Smile.)

Now as you can see a little paint can make a big difference in your home. Besides that, it is not an expensive way to warm up a room. It completely changed the feel of our home and we only painted part of one of our walls. :) 

If you so choose to paint a room or a wall, I will leave you with a parting tip: I recommend choosing coordinating colors to tie your room together. They don't all have to be the same shade, but something that will help your room make sense and feel welcoming. 

For example, there is a blue/grey on the wall, pillow, and rug. As well as the ivory of the couch and rug. 

Keep creating! Have fun, get messy, and enjoy the end product!

From my living room to yours,

Miss Q Berry

Friday, August 27, 2010

Made possible by: the Great Refurbisher

I have a question for you to ponder: 

Who are your sponsors? 

Who are the people who cheer you on? That try to make your dreams come true? Encourage you to work hard at your passions? Stick with you when you appear to be failing? Pray you through tough times in your life?

Sponsors can be anybody. Some people have many, some people have none. When I sit back and look at my life, I can get pretty overwhelmed...I have so many people rooting for me. It's good to be reminded, especially when I don't feel like people should believe in me.

My husband is one of my sponsors and a very thoughtful man. We have been married just over a year now and I don't mean to brag, but I have yet to hear of a better wedding gift than what he gave me. Now, before I tell you what he gave me, let me explain why it is so meaningful to me.

I have been playing the piano since I was a little girl. Playing the piano is peaceful, calm, a way for me to let go of worries. It's the foreign language I was meant to learn and speak. Being home schooled was ideal for my love of the piano. And although I was not the most disciplined student in school as a kid, I would spend *hours on end practicing the piano. 

*Now before you say, "oh I wish my child would practice the piano that much" just know that practicing an instrument does not necessarily sound good. In fact, it most likely doesn't sound good. That is why one practices, so they can sound good. ;)And believe me, I grew up constantly irritating my siblings with my obsessive practicing.

Anyhow, as I grew older, and school became more demanding...I spent less and less time practicing, and more time on other things. College demanded a huge sacrifice to my progress as a pianist, not that I regret continuing my education, it's just the nature of where I chose to go and what I chose to study. Those of you who go away to college can probably relate in some way. Priorities shift. Time becomes a hotter commodity when you've got an average of 50 hours of class time and homework each week. Not only does time present limitations, but so does an accessible piano. I am not complaining. I was so blessed to go to a school with several accessible pianos and authentic keyboards (no "key-tars" here).

So, when Joel and I married, some good friends of ours (Ryan and Mel Clouse) had inherited an upright piano which they didn't need (having an upright and keyboard of their own already). For about two years this piano sat on their front porch outside. I wish I had a picture to show you, it was quite the sight! Well our friends told us we could have the piano when we got married since we would then have a place to house it. I was so thankful to have my very first piano of my own! Even though it was a little beat up, I didn't mind. A piano is a piano. So, a few days before the wedding, I inquired of Joel if he was able to get the piano from the Clouses. He simply said, "they got rid of it".

Considering it was a few days until our wedding, I remained considerably calm (at least on the outside). On the inside I was devastated/annoyed/frustrated that Joel hadn't even told me or give me fair warning. I wanted to ask so many more questions but I knew I should just let it go...after all, it wasn't the end of the world and that piano isn't the only one on earth; so I rationalized...and wisdom suggested not to get into a fight days before our wedding. ;)

So the wedding came and we went on our honeymoon to Victoria B.C. and came back home to our L.A. apartment a week later. When we walked in, I opened the door to this beauty:

I was so overwhelmed with joy and excitement I started crying a little! :) It was the piano from the Clouse's porch, only Joel spent the whole summer secretly refurbishing it for me. Now, MY name was painted on the front and Joel inscribed our wedding date on the inside of the lid:

This gesture filled my heart with joy and thanksgiving. Joel must have spend hundreds of hours making this piano beautiful for me. It was his way of saying: you can do it! I believe in you! :)

The piano is beautiful on the outside because I have a kind and hard-working husband. AND it is beautiful on the inside because after a year of enduring (well, more like avoiding) a terribly sharp high C#, we got it tuned (thanks Mom and Dad!). They have sponsored me. So, now you can see why I brag about my husband's wedding gift to me!

Think about those sponsors of yours. 

Do you have any? If you do, hang onto them. They are the ones who help allow the process for you to be "refurbished" inside and out. They are the grace-givers. They are the ones who choose to love you even if it means you will misunderstand them. 

I am like my piano. Sometimes it feels like life has left me outside on the porch. Like the dramatic temperature changes have damaged my high C# until it is out of tune and painful to hear. How could anyone use or want an old abandoned piano? Perhaps the maker of the piano...

How do I get refurbished?

There is only one way.

Sanctification is like a metaphysical refurbishing. I believe God uses sponsors in our life to stay by our sides during the process of sanctification. I mean, it can be painful to have unnecessary but familiar things removed from our lives. Isn't just like God's love to give us people to cheer us on through those transformations? 

Maybe you're not sold on the idea that God's love could be so intentional or intense for you that He would sand you down, wipe off the saw dust, dry rot, termite damage (you name it) you with a beautiful mahogany stain and even tune your rusty strings. But I encourage you, it is. The love of God for you finds no obstacle too big to transform your life! There is no betrayal, lie, or dishonorable action that He doesn't long to forgive and begin the refurbishing so you can be a beautiful reflection of His intense love and devotion to you.

I love how Paul encourages the Thessalonians to accept the process of refurbishing:

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Not only is Paul confident in God's ability to transform, but also His faithfulness to continue the transformation until Christ comes! This is such good news. And Paul would know better than anyone. 

Before Paul wrote letters to the early churches, he was Saul. He murdered christians. He led others to do the same. He was a "really bad dude" as Mike Mercer, my pastor from Beaverton Foursquare puts it. But then, God decided to encounter Saul on one of his murderous journeys.

God did not force Saul to change. But, let's be honest, if you were Saul and someone offered you a clean slate, true and lasting forgiveness, and essentially a "get out of jail free" card (except INFINITELY better!), wouldn't you take it? The only reason you wouldn't is because you'd either be an idiot or too proud to refuse such grace and mercy.

Anyhow, Paul wasn't just writing about something he wasn't familiar with. He knew the transforming power of God's loving hand. Even the corrective love of God made sense to Paul because he knew he needed it to keep his "whole spirit, soul and body" blameless until Christ's return. 

Why do I love my piano so much? It's not just because my handsome husband took the time to restore it to even better than it was before it was is because I have hope that no matter my sin, my flaws, my evil thoughts, my struggles are not too overwhelming for God to change. 

The process is long. It is at times painful. But I've got my mind fixed on what the finished product will look like. What she will sound like. My sponsors remind me when I get side-tracked. My piano is a good reminder. It's like God saying to me: I can take what some call "junk" and make it of great value. He's an expert at it.

You were made possible by God. Think on what the end-product of you should look like. Are you allowing the refurbishing needed in your life? Do you invite sponsors to encourage you and love on you in the midst of the process? Let me encourage you! Let God do the work needed to make you beautiful inside and out! Let people help you! We ALL need a sponsor. You certainly are not alone!

So, from my living room to yours:

Let the refurbishing begin and continue!

   Miss Q Berry

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

...To yours

I was making a post-card this morning to send to a friend when I realized how much fun I was having. You know how special it felt as a little kid to retrieve the mail from your mailbox and find something handwritten just to you? My heart still jumps a little when I receive mail. It makes me feel special to know someone took the time to think of me and what I need. One area I could use improvement in is the art of letter-writing. But being a bit of an artist, I can be picky with the effort put into a letter; particularly the appearance. Sometimes I feel like it has to look "perfect" before I send it. (I'm working on getting over that). 

Anyhow, I had so much fun making my little post-card this morning, I decided I'd show you how to make one yourself. :) 

What you'll need:

  • Two pieces of the same sized colored/decorative paper or card-stock
  • Needle
  • Thread with a color that compliments your paper choice
  • Scissors
  • A recipient in mind :)
Now, place the paper color face out (the colorless sides of each paper should be "sandwiched" together). Get your needle and thread and start by piercing each piece of paper in one of the corners. This will be your starting/stopping point. For you visual learners, I've fanned mine out for you to see. Do you see the red thread?

Now, pick a stitch pattern. Whatever you want! :) I have chosen to do mine by hand, but I'm sure you could use a sewing machine to accomplish the same idea. Below is a mid-way picture of what stitching pattern I landed on:

And NOW...the finished product! :) Send a letter to someone who needs a little extra encouragement. Imagine the big smile you'll help put on their face by taking a little time to show them you love them! Have fun! It doesn't have to look perfect. ;) Happy post-carding!


                     Q Berry

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From my living room...

"Q berry"
That would be me as favorite nickname
And as I am one of many (Q berries that is)
I decided to entitle my blog "This Q berry"
I am one person with one voice
As are you
May we never use that as an excuse to avoid using it
You would probably not pick me out of a crowd
I am simple silly & love to sing
This blog is a place for creativity life & music
Mine & yours
Post whatever you'd like (be polite please)
Your ideas & dreams
I hope you discover your creative side (and/or enjoy mine)
This project is founded with the hope you find love & joy on the pages of my blog
It is but a small window into my world
So without further adieu: from my living room to yours...
    Miss Q berry