Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Posts tagged ‘blessings’

*** Celebrating and Sharing *** Our Top 10 Reasons for Celebrating a Birthday

Happy Birthday banner colorful

Birthdays are for celebrating!

Here are our top ten reasons for celebrating a birthday:

10

Beginning the next year of possibility and promise with a party!

9

Another year of being here!
* 365 sunrises and sunsets *

8

We love surprises, especially when they are presented in colorful wrappings.

7

Birthdays are a good time to remember the blessings of the past year
and of life in general.

6

Being with friends and family is the best gift of all.

5

Making an effort to have special times is part of the joy of life!

4

Celebrating a birthday communicates a message of thankfulness

for life

and joy

and hope

and time invested in each other.

3

CAKE!
Something yummy for your tummy!

2

The rituals and celebrations of life are like treasures for the heart.

1

And…. the number one reason we celebrate birthdays is…

Uniqueness

We recognize the infinite value of each unique person
and what they bring into the world

    and into our hearts

Hearts  red with white border

And that is something to celebrate!

Dr Seuss Motivational Quotes Youer than you

Fearfully and wonderfully made scripture

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Happy Birthday with number 3 candle  Our Worship Sounds Music blog is celebrating a birthday today! 

  We’ve been here for 3 years now, and in that time we have learned so much.

  We’ve published 106 posts and 17 pages.

  We’ve shared our hearts and God’s love.

  We’ve heard from you as you have shared your thoughts or a word of encouragement.

  We’ve been blessed to have blog visitors from 183 countries.

  You have re-shared our posts and helped them reach more people than we ever could have on our own.

  Our posts have also been shared on ChurchMag, The Worship Community, Cued In, and Worship Links, plus several other websites and blogs.

  We have found expression for our faith and our love for the Lord.

  And finally, unbelievably, we’ve had very close to 100,000 page and post views in only 3 years.  Right now, the number stands at 99,000 +, and we don’t know when we’ll reach that milestone.  The wonderful truth is that it really doesn’t matter whether that happens today or a few days from now.  The important thing is that our purpose remains the same.   We are here to bring glory to God and to encourage and inspire the body of Christ.  We will continue to do our best to share inspiration, encouragement, hope, faith, and worship with anyone who is seeking the Lord.  We are very aware that all of the numbers only have meaning because they represent the opportunity to minister to people like you.  We pray for you, and we are thankful for your prayers as well.

We are so thankful to God and to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His love and His life in us.  He is our Sustainer and the Joy of our hearts.  We thank Him for this ministry and for everthing that He has done with it, far beyond anything that we could have thought or asked.

We are also thankful for YOU and for your life and ministry.  Thank you so much for spending some of your valuable time with us and for sharing our posts and pages with others.  God Bless YOU!

Blog Birthday thank you

Blessed by amazing grace of God

 

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Why I Love to Sing in the Choir

I have always loved music, and I love to sing; but the reasons that I love to sing in my church choir are are so much deeper than that.  Here are the top ten reasons why I love to sing in the choir at my church:

MY  TOP  TEN  REASONS
FOR  JOYFULLY  SINGING  IN  THE  CHURCH  CHOIR

choir smiling1.  Singing in my church choir gives me an opportunity to express my love for the Lord.

I am so thankful for God’s love and mercy and for the sacrificial life and death of Jesus and the victory of His resurrection.  How else could I express the profound spiritual understanding of the goodness of God that goes beyond words and is only revealed in my heart through the work of God’s Holy Spirit?  Someimes, within the congregation, it is only through musical praise that I feel I have done all that I can do, with God’s help, to share the message of God’s salvation and His incredible love for me and for all of mankind.  

“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people.  Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him; talk of all His wondrous works.  Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”   Psalm 105:1 – 3 sing a new song to the Lord

2.  Singing in my church choir is more than a hobby or an activity.  It is a calling.

What an incredible privilege it is to know that God has allowed me to have the ability to participate in something that brings Him glory as those who love the Lord assemble together for worship!  He has made each of us with particular gifts and talents.  I believe that the calling to minister through these gifts is what gives faithful choir members the passion to continue their service and to strive for excellence in expressing their praise to the Lord.

There is a lot of  * JOY  * in fulfilling your calling and in giving praise to the Lord, who has given us everything we’ve ever had and all that we ever will have!

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!  I will sing and make melody!  Awake, my soul!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn!  I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to You among the nations.  For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let Your glory be over all the earth.”  Psalm 108:1 – 5

Lift up His name!

Lift up His name!

3.  Singing in my church choir allows for a type of expression of praise to the Lord that could not be accomplished in any other way.

Although I love all kinds of music and all kinds of arrangements, there are some songs, some lyrics, and some messages that just would not have the same intensity of expression if they were shared in any other way than through choral singing.  The Hallelujah Chorus is one such example.  Can you imagine it as a solo?  It just would not have the same impact.  There is something about voices joined together as a choir to share a message for God’s glory that is just a very unique means of expression.  Although Tom Fettke’s “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name” or Heather Sorenson’s “God of Heaven” would still have a beautiful melody when sung as a solo, the impact would not be as great as if a choir were singing these worshipful anthems and joining their hearts and souls to bring glory to God in a soaring or contemplative or victorious or joyous choral arrangement.

“Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to the sons of men!  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!”   Psalm 107:21 & 22

Serve Him with gladness4.  Singing in my church choir allows me to participate in the overall ministry of leading in worship, which is a joy and a privilege.

As long as I have a voice, I want to use it to praise God.  I don’t want to miss an opportunity to use my voice and even the expression on my face to proclaim God’s goodness through all of the musical praise during congregational worship.  I realize that the choir is not just there to sing an anthem or to perform.  We are there to worship and to lead in worship.  Whether we are singing a new song or an old song, a hymn, a worship song, a choral anthem, or a musical benediction, it is a joy to share these messages of hope and faith with the people of God and to gather in God’s name for the purpose of bringing Him glory.  

“Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.”   Psalm 107:31 & 32 Sing to the Lord a new song all the earth

5.  Singing in my church choir and in other Christian choirs has given me many opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ in many settings, throughout my home country and in other countries as well.

Whether a choir is singing in an outdoor setting, a shopping mall, a small church, a prison, a nursing home or assisted living center, a juvenile detention center, a community center, a state capitol building, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D. C., or in a great concert hall in Australia or a public school in Russia, the opportunity to bring glory to God and to share the message of His love and mercy is a blessing and an incredibly humbling miracle of God’s grace!  If God had not saved a wretch like me, I would have no message to share anywhere!  

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.  Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.  For the Lord is good:  His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.”   Psalm 100 (all verses, 1 – 5)

Psalm 107:8

Psalm 107:8

6.  Singing in my church choir and in other Christian choirs has implanted incredibly profound messages within my heart and soul through the lyrics of the songs that I have been able to sing.

I have been incredibly blessed to invest time in learning these wonderful words and then have had the blessing of remembering them so often as the Lord uses them to speak to my heart over and over again.  Often, the words of sacred choral anthems are either entirely scripture, based upon scripture, are paraphrases of scripture, or contain some scriptural content.  Singing them helps me to learn and to remember scripture passages and spiritual truths.  As a choir member, I am not just singing these songs once a week on Sunday morning.  Because of the work aspect that goes into preparation for sharing these messages in worship, we really live with these incredible words, and they have a deep impact in our lives.  What a joy it is to sing these messages, live these truths, and share these words of truth and hope, faith and love, blessing and victory, challenge and mercy, and ministry and grace!

“O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord all the earth.  Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.  For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised.”   Psalm 96:1 – 4a Bless the Lord O my soul

7.  Singing in my church choir and in other Christian choirs has allowed me to get to know so many wonderful people who love the Lord and have a heart of service.

A choir becomes a family as we serve together and care for one another.  We pray for one another.  We love each other and share God’s love with each other.  There is an incredible bond when you have worshiped and cried and smiled and laughed and worked and learned and prayed together.  I can sing a wrong note or sing in the wrong place, and my choir family just considers such things to be part of the process of learning the music and growing in faith and in musical expression together.  I have never heard anyone groan or complain about singing the same portion of a song over and over in order to get it right.  We embrace our humanity as we strive to sing beyond our own abilities in order to bring God glory.

“Blessed are those who dwell in Thy house, ever singing Thy praise!   Selah”    Psalm 84:4

8.  Singing in my church choir allows me to participate in something that is so much bigger than my self.to God all praise and glory

The spiritual and emotional and mental messages that flow out of the marriage of music and lyrics in each song become so much more meaningful as I sing with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I know something of their stories and their lives.  I know when someone is singing about God’s healing for broken hearts with deep emotion that flows from their own fountain of personal pain.  I know when someone is singing of the joy of the Lord even when they have just experienced a personal loss.  I know when the message of Christ’s victory over death has very personal meaning to one of my dear sisters or brothers.  I know when the hearts of all of us are touched with God’s mercy and when the joy is so real that I am amazed that it is not visible in the air around us.  So, not only is the sound and the arrangement something that I could never accomplish on my own.  The collective testimony of this group and the way that God is ministering to our individual hearts as we sing (and to us and through us as a choir) create an impact through the very real and heartfelt sharing of musical testimony that extends far beyond myself or any one individual.

“O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also.  The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.  O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”   Psalm 95:1 – 7a give God the glory

9.  I believe that singing praise to God is the closest thing to Heaven that I can experience on this earth.

What could be better than the times when I have the blessing of joining my own voice and heart with the voices and hearts of a group of people whose desire is to praise God, encourage God’s people, share the story of who God is and what He has done, tell the good news of Jesus, and bring blessing and honor and glory to God?  The Bible speaks of the singers and the musicians and of choirs.  The scriptures talk about the voice of God and how He rejoices over us with singing.  There is something special about the way that God created us to use music as a form of expression that goes far beyond words.  If is much more that the music itself.  It is about how God Himself speaks through the music and then allows us to speak to Him and about Him through the music.  

“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and wonderful are Thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty!  Just and true are Thy ways, O King of the ages!  Who shall not fear and glorify Thy name, O Lord?  For Thou alone art Holy.  All nations shall come and worship Thee, for Thy judgements have been revealed.”  Revelation 15:3 & 4 Praise continually

10.  I love to sing in my church choir and in other Christian choirs because of the incredible songs that God has inspired men and women to write, which then become part of my own spiritual journey.

I believe that before a spiritual song can touch the hearts of people, God must first touch the heart of the song-writer (composer) of the song.  I believe (and know!) that every song begins with a revelation of truth from God or a new way of looking at or expressing a truth already known.  It is like experiencing my own spiritual journey as I try, then make mistakes, and then try again in rehearsal, while simultaneously experiencing the revelations that flow from the spiritual journeys of others.  I have learned so much, and my own journey has been blessed beyond words by the profound spiritual truth that I have learned through the songs I’ve been priveleged to sing with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  To me, a choir rehearsal is not just working on music.  It is a time of worship.  I have wept as my heart has been moved by the message of a song.  I have reached out to grab the hand of a friend.  I have felt my heart swell until I thought I might burst.  I have experienced joy so great that I was amazed to find my feet still on the floor.  My soul has been convicted and stirred.  My heart has been broken and mended and strengthened and challenged.  My faith has grown.  I have walked through deep valleys and enjoyed the view from some mountaintops… all while praising the Lord through the songs that he has inspired men and women to write and then to arrange for choir, for the blending and unity of hearts and minds and souls as we learn and grow and rejoice together in this lovely, human expression of the eternal and divine that we call choir.

“The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.  Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be offered on the altar.  And when the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel.  The whole assembly worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.  When the burnt offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshipped.  And Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer.  And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshipped.”  II Chronicles 29:26 – 30

What a blessing a joy it has been to sing in church choirs and in other choirs made up of my brothers and sisters in Christ!  I will continue to praise the Lord through choral music for as long as I have the opportunity.  I am so thankful to God for my salvation and for His presence in my life.  I cannot help but sing.

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd, with thanksgiving to God for giving me something of eternal meaning and worth to sing about, and with love and appreciation for my favorite Choral Director, Travis L. Boyd, for giving me a love song in this life.

I am also thankful for all of the wonderful choral and band directors and voice and piano teachers who have taught me so much about music and then about singing and playing music for more than the here and now.  They include:  Dr. Jon Duncan, Dr. Bill Green, Dr. Terry Segress, Eugene Beck, Steve Westmoreland, Dr. Charles Jurrens, Mrs. Betty Westomoreland, Dr. Robert Reynolds, Faye Casey, John Robinson, Steve Smith, John Casey, Dr. Charles Chapman, Dr. Merle Taff, Lillian Loe-Stoddard, Eugene Butler, Dr. Irving Bunton, Lloyd Pfautsch, Wynn Anne Hook, Ron Stanton, Eph Ely, and John Gerber, who was directing the invitation hymn when I laid down my music and left the choir loft to say “yes” to Jesus.

Sharing this post:  In order to share this blog post with your choir, congregation, or worship team, a link to this post may appear in a newsletter, bulletin, or e-mail.  In addition, reprint information is provided below (as a result of the volume of inquiries). Link to the post:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/why-i-love-to-sing-in-the-choir/

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REPRINT INFORMATION FOR THIS ARTICLE

Non-paid publications:   This article may be re-printed in non-paid publications (church newsletters, bulletins) without further permisson, provided that the author’s name is posted at the end of the article, along with the link to our blog:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com

Paid publications:  To reprint all (or a portion) of the article in a paid publication, permission must be obtained.  You may comment on this post in order to request permission, stating the type of publication (and terms) plus providing a return e-mail address for a reply from us.  Your comment will not be seen by others since comments to our blog are not seen publically unless we approve them, and we will reply within 48 hours (unless providentially hindered).

Internet postings:  In order to post this article online on your own site (other worship blogs, music ministry or church websites), you must have a working link back to our blog, with a notation that states: This article, and many others, can be found on the Worship Sounds blog at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com  In addition, the article must be posted in its entirely.  If it is going to be online, we prefer that the original wording stays intact.  An edited version might read differently from our intent.

So, online postings must:

1.  Contain the statement previously mentioned.
2.  Be un-edited, posted as written.
3.  Contain the author’s name at the end of the article, as it appears in the blog post.

We will stand by our words and prefer to have the opportunity to answer any inquiries about the content of the article ourselves. Let us hear from you! We would love to hear about how the Lord has used the message of this article to encourage and inspire your choir, worship team, or congregation.  If you can do a follow-up comment after sharing it, that would be a real blessing to us. Thank you so much for your interest in spreading the word about the very vital and incredible experince of being a part of a worshipping choir and worship ministry in general.  It is an indescribable blessing.

…And we all thank You, Lord, for allowing us to have a part in leading others to worship You!!”

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Here are two of my favorite choral anthems, written by my husband, Worship Minister and Composer Travis L. Boyd.

For more information about this anthem, with purchasing links, click on the title to go to our Sound Cloud page for “Jesus, My Redeemer”.  There is also a set of other Publishers’ demos on our Sound Cloud.

For more information about this anthem, with purchasing links, click on the title to go to our Sound Cloud page for “Praise God”. There is also a set of other Publishers’ demos on our Sound Cloud.

Information about additional Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Vocal Solos, and Congregational worship music by Travis L. Boyd, which can be found on our Worship Sounds Music website, is below.

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Click this image to go to our WorshipSounds website.

Click this image to go to our WorshipSounds website.

Find Worshipful  CHORAL  MUSIC  for your Choir at  WORSHIP  SOUNDS  MUSIC! Worship Sounds music offers downloadable Choral Anthems for Adult Choirs, Senior Adult Choirs, and Student Choirs in several voicings (SATB, SAB, SSATB, 2-Part, SSAA, and TTBB).  Many of our anthems also have Full Orchestrations available, and some also have downloadable Mp3 Accompaniment Tracks.  In addition, we offer Vocal Solos, with most available in 3 keys, Solo Accompaniment Tracks, and Congregational worship music. You can find all of this at http://www.worshipsounds.com

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Looking for answers for yourself or for a friend? Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/ Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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The Secret Life of a Special Needs Parent

The Secret Life of a Special Needs Parent

A revelation of grace, grief, joy, love, blessings, and challenges

We're in this together.

We’re in this together.

There are certain facts that are true for every loving parent and child.

*  Every child is different, and their needs vary significantly throughout the constant changes of growth and development.
*  Every parent seeks to meet the needs of their child or children, no matter how challenging those needs may be.
*  Every loving parent tries to stay in tune with the heart of their child, to know and even anticipate their needs.
*  No matter what a parent experiences in caring for and loving a child, the love and the joy over-ride everything else.
*  The two most important goals of most parents are to help their child go through all of the developmental stages in their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical growth and to help their child learn how to become an independent and contributing adult with the skills, knowledge, wisdom, character, and faith they will need to live a life of meaning and purpose.

keep trying signFor parents of children who have special needs, these basic facts and primary goals are the same. However, the methods of achieving these objectives can be vastly different, often with much different expectations and a highly individual timetable for development that is discovered only through continued effort and the constant need to adapt to the individual child’s own pace in learning and in reaching developmental milestones. For some children, a developmental timetable can be relatively predictable. However, many children with special needs seem to have their own internal pace. Developmental experts can make predictions. Teachers and therapists and parents can set goals, but the true timetable for learning and developmental progress cannot be set externally. It is revealed by time. Sometimes, the developmental milestones are met more quickly than anyone expected, and sometimes progress can seem to take place, only to be followed by regression. Sometimes, progress happens but takes a long time. Parents of special needs children come to know the unpredictability of progress all too well. Special needs parents also learn to re-evaluate the very concept of progress. If, for a special and wonderfully made child, the “norms” are not the norm, hope for progress in every area possible must still be kept alive.  For some, progress can mean the absence of regression.  Even if hopes from progress and positive change must be adapted somewhat for the individual situation, those sparks of hope are fanned by the deep love of parents for precious little hearts and souls.

difficult road aheadI certainly cannot speak or write for every special needs parent or for every kind of situation. Special needs can be physical, emotional, mental, developmental, academic, sensory, social, behavioral, functional, or medical. (I am not a special needs professional, so I may be leaving something out.) The term “special needs” can also apply to any kind of combination of various types of needs. However, it’s not the needs that special needs parents want others to see. It’s the child. Certainly, an awareness of special needs can be crucial, but recognizing the child within is even moreso. It’s as though a parent of a special needs child has begun a journey with an uncertain destination, incomplete road maps, and a set of broken tools. The compass has no needle, so direction is unsure. The spyglass has a broken lens, so you can’t see what’s ahead. The GPS keeps chanting “Recalculating, recalculating…” inside your mind as you deal with an unfamiliar landscape. Your watch has stopped working, so there is no accurate timetable or way to measure progress made against whatever progress might be possible. Your cell phone has a low battery, so it’s difficult to communicate with your family and friends. They are still there for you, and they also love and know your child; but it’s hard for them to invest enough time to truly know and understand what you are experiencing along the way. Your pain comes through in spite of the dropped calls, but sometimes they don’t know what to do or say. The rest of your immediate family is travelling with you and your special needs child, and hopefully your spouse is with you in every way as you face the journey together.

family journey in the fall

Your other children each have their own journey, with their own issues and needs along the way. They need you to travel with them as well, so you are simultaneously experiencing very real life journeys that are vastly different, depending upon the needs and special needs of each of your children.  In addition to all of the common struggles of growing up, your other children also face unseen hurdles and even their own griefs as they love and try to protect their special needs sibling. There are a lot of things about having a special needs sibling that can be very difficult, but you try to teach your other children along the way that love and thankfulness are the keys to enjoying life moment by moment with their special needs sibling, while also grieving for them at times. So, as parents, you are not only dealing with your own feelings and griefs and questions and challenges (in relation to the challenges faced by your special needs child), but you are also dealing with helping your other children to understand, cope, grieve with hope, love without condition, and handle their own feelings regarding everything related to their special needs brother or sister.

For parents, it’s incredibly hard to balance the unknown aspects of the journey with your special needs child (and each of your family members’ own struggle with the family’s journey on that road) while also experiencing the milestones and life changes of growing up with your other children. These milestones and life changes have been revealed to the very core of your heart as something that cannot be taken for granted. On the one hand, they are incredibly sweet since you recognize what a miracle each of them is for the child as you witness the wonders of growth and change. On the other, you grieve inside for the fact that these same milestones and life changes are not all going to happen or are not going to happen in the same way for your special needs child. The balancing act becomes one of grieving while rejoicing, often without revealing your heart in the moment (so that the internal struggle does not diminish the joys of very real accomplishments and life changes for the child who is moving forward). When the waves of grief wash over you, you eventually learn to immediately focus your thoughts on all of the blessings of life with your special needs child and all of the victories, from the most minute to the biggest of the big, that have happened in the life of your special needs child and in your heart as you have loved and cared for him or her. Thankfulness is the only antidote to grieving that I know. It is the lifeline that will pull you out of the crashing waves of grief and into the presence of Christ.

Gratitude is ...

One of the many blessings that is a part of life with the incredible gift of your special needs child is the fact that there is a sharpened and very keen level of awareness of the need to be more fully aware in all of life. If I am more aware of the pain and challenge and difficulty and loneliness in my life, I must also become more aware of the joys and blessings and victories and wonderful moments and graces within the tough moments. Here are some examples of the ways that this awareness of the need to become more aware  manifests itself in my life as a special needs parent.

> In my moments of the most acute need, when I am dealing with some aspect of now or of tomorrow, I can become so aware of the fact that the challenge is mine to face that I could miss the sweetness of possessing this need. Here is part of the fuller awareness that I need to find and to remember:
I have this need because of an infinitely incredible gift.
*  I have this need because of life and because of love.
*  I have this need because somehow God saw something within me that could be made beautiful with the help of a precious little soul who has become my teacher.

every journey begins with first step

> In moments when hopelessness begins to creep into my heart, I can become so aware of feeling overwhelmed that I miss the lessons of holding on to hope. I can even miss the truth that hope is at its most powerful when the answer or solution or resolution or realization of that hope seems the most remote.
I have this hope, and I hold on to this hope, because I will never give up seeking to make life better and more full and loving for my child.
*  I have this hope because I know that there are people who have never given up on me, and I have seen how powerful this force of hope can be in my own experience.
*  I have this hope because all things are possible through Christ.
*  I have this hope because when desperation has caused me to lose my hold on hope, I fall into the hands of my Father, who surrounds me with His love and with the knowledge that all hope is found in Him.
*  I have this hope because life has infinite value and because I have been blessed.

My help comes from the Lord

> In moments when a victory happens, I sometimes become acutely aware that there is almost no one that can really grasp the significance of this victory because so few see the entirety of the struggle. I can become so aware of the loneliness of incomplete knowledge that I miss all of the blessings that should be my focus.
This victory has happened because of the will and the spirit of a little trooper who keeps on trying and is often so blissfully unaware of the fact that this moment was long in coming that nothing dims his joy.
*  I can rejoice in this victory because it means that all of the investment of time and love and care and therapy and intervention (which was valuable in itself, even without and before tangible results) has produced a positive change that has made life better in some way for my much-loved child… which, in turn, gives hope and motivation to keep going!
*  I can rejoice in this victory because it is a reminder that even though I may feel alone sometimes and even though there is no one (other than Travis and I) who has seen all of the parts of the story of our Logan from the beginning until now, I meditate on the fact that we have not been alone. We (my husband, my family, and I) have had each other, and we have had the presence of God with us every step of the way, even in the hardest moments that no one else has ever seen. I can also recall and rejoice in the fact that there are so many wonderful people who have loved our Logan (and still do) and who have been a part of his journey and ours in very significant ways, helping both him and us to reach the vantage point from which we can look back and see all that has taken place. The feeling of loneliness and of recognition that few can fully grasp a victory is replaced with thankfulness for family and friends and teachers and therapists and specialists and doctors and volunteers in support organizations and respite volunteers and Sunday School teachers and workers, and child care givers, and special family friends who have cared for Logan, and Choir and Missions and Vacation Bible School teachers and helpers at church, and people who volunteer to serve as a “shadow” for Logan and focus on his needs, and every kind stranger who has ever spoken a word of encouragement.

uphill road

It’s really difficult to explain this crazy roller coaster of parenting a special needs child. There are moments of sheer terror or panic and moments of thrills and laughter. There are many times when my heart and my life feels so full of love, and many times when the uncertainty, the questions, and the challenges threaten to attack my peace and steal my joy. There’s so much more involved in the experience than could possibly be contained in this article. While it can be exhausting to experience so many emotional highs and lows involved in the blessing of parenting all of our children and particularly our son who has special needs, there is also a strength that is born out the the knowledge that for every awareness of difficulty and acknowledgement of pain, there are blessings and joys that come to light with the re-focus.

It’s the secondary focus on the awareness of the flip side (to every difficulty) that reveals burdens shared and lifted, victories gained, spiritual lessons, simple joys, and love… always love.

And many, many times, that side (the blessing side, which we see by faith and also because it is very real) is what we’ve learned to see first. We choose to see the positives. There are a lot of blessings! There is a lot of joy!

Many things are the same for us and for other special needs parents as for any parent and child. Highs and lows are experienced in every family. Challenges and heartbreaks come. Victories and heart-warming moments come, too. There are moments of recognition and realization that are so significant and memorable that they become part of the story of every parent and child. Moments of realization with other children might be about discovering an ability or talent that can be nurtured. A moment of realization with Logan might be a flash of recognition that we have been praying the same prayer (that this would be the year, the month, the day when he would finally learn to chew and be able to eat real food) for six years now. A moment of victory with another child might be all A’s on the report card. With Logan, a recent moment of victory involved Logan finally doing something that most children do as a pre-schooler. Last year, there was a day when Logan took a paper out of his backpack when he got home from school and showed it to me. It was the first time he’d ever done that (at age 7 rather than at 2 or 3). A couple of weeks ago, Logan again brought me a paper; but this time, he spoke to me about it.  It was the first time he’s ever brought me a paper and told me about it…at age 8 (almost 9). He brought me this paper (I scanned it so that you could see it here), and he said, “Look, Mama! It’s Logan’s beautiful heart!” I could not have said it better myself.

"Logan's Beautiful Heart"  It's purple construction paper with a heart-shaped cut-out.  A dyed coffee filter is glued to the back of the construction paper so that it shows through the heart shape.

“Logan’s Beautiful Heart”
It’s purple construction paper with a heart-shaped cut-out. A dyed coffee filter is glued to the back of the construction paper so that it shows through the heart shape.

We certainly cannot deny the fact that our Logan is a child who has special needs. More importantly, though, Logan a little boy. He loves to have fun and be silly. He loves to run and play. He may not be able to experience everything in the same way as his brothers, but he experiences everything with his whole heart. When he’s happy, he is whole-heartedly happy. He makes others happy, too! Logan does have a beautiful heart.

A beautiful life may be different from the lives of others, but it is still beautiful.

A beautiful life may be different from the lives of others, but it is still beautiful.

Every special needs parent, like us, learns to see beyond the needs, the challenges, the diagnosis, and the uncertainty of the the future to the precious and wonderful gift of their child. There will always be many questions about tomorrow. There are questions about how much progress Logan is going to be able to make. There are questions about how independent he is going to be able to become. There are questions about who will care for him when my husband and I no longer can. In addition to those concerns about the future, there are many needs right here and now. With our five other boys and all of their needs, it is hard to find enough time to do all that we need to do for Logan. He is getting special therapy for his eating issues twice a week, but he also needs a lot of one on one time (as do all of our boys). He needs us to read to and with him, to do math flash cards with him, to play board games with him, and to teach him to do household tasks. There is so much that can be done and so much that will need to be done in and for his future. However, we can’t let ourselves get so caught up in all of the tasks and all of the unknowns that we miss just simply loving and relating to Logan right now. We need to enjoy him, and there is much to enjoy. From his affectionate nature to his quirky sense of humor, to his fun personality and all of the things that he is learning, Logan is an awesome little boy. Developmental targets and statistics and academic goals and plans for the future are all very important, but Logan’s beautiful heart and soul are the most important.

faith makes things possibleSo, while we don’t want to sugarcoat a life that has major challenges and many heartaches that no one else sees, we choose to look for the blessings.

While it’s true that we are always aware of human emotion and human reactions to life’s challenges, we are on a journey toward having a sharpening of vision. Our spiritual eyesight is responding to the lessons of the heart and soul and learning to see blessings first. When we look at our Logan, we do see infinite blessings. We know that many, many others see the blessing of Logan, too, and that’s really what we want as parents.

We want to know that when you look at our child, you see a little heart and soul that is a blessing of uncalculable and infinite worth.

–This post was written by Cynthia Boyd

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NOTE: Even though this post is fairly long, it still feels as though I have published it in an incomplete state. There is so much more to write and so much more to learn and experience. There is so much in my heart, and I haven’t been able to put it all into words yet. I can see the value in sharing the words that are already here, even though there is more to come and much more to understand. So, here are the thoughts that have made their way into this revelation of life. I hope they bring understanding and help someone. If this post touches your heart, please share it with others, using this link: http://familysong.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/the-secret-life-of-a-special-needs-parent/

For more on the story of our personal journey, read this post: http://familysong.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/one-brave-little-boy/

Or, read some of the other posts in our “Special needs, Special blessings” category at: http://familysong.wordpress.com/category/special-needs-special-blessings/

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Obstacles road signNote: I love this little sign. The figure is not stopped by the obstacle, he jumps right over it. Parents of special needs children, this is you! You are an overcomer of obstacles, a stubborn warrior who will not give up, and a tidal wave of love that cannot be stopped. Sometimes, this is my sign, too. And, sometimes, I need a sign that is a little bit different. Sometimes I need the sign that shows the little figure being lifted over the obstacle or carried through the storm by the strong hand of Father God, and sometimes I need the sign that shows the little figure and his family camped out in front of the obstacle, working and hoping and praying for victory. If you pan back a little farther on my camp out sign, you will see that the ground on which our campsite stands is not really earth. It is the hands of God, where He is holding us as we wait and work and believe that this obstacle will be conquered. If you don’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I can assure you that nothing else would help you more with all of the challenges of life, and nothing else will make you more aware of your blessings and give you more hope for eternity. If you have questions about life and eternity and God and purpose, please go to our page called, “Do You Know Jesus” at this link:
http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

There, you will find links to many web pages that have been designed specifically to answer any question that you might have. Some of these pages even have the capability to be translated into multiple languages. Let us know if you find the anwers you are seeking. We are praying for you!

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Here’s a music video with some precious photos of special needs children and Moms and Dad. It will bless you!

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Top Twelve Music and Worship Ministry Thankfulness List

Thankfulness blossoms best when watered daily.

Thankfulness isn’t only for November.  We can be thankful for all the ways that we are blessed all year long!

“Sing to the Lord with Thanksgiving; make melody to our God upon the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds,
He prepares rain for the earth,
He makes grass grow upon the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens which cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor His pleasure in the legs of a man:
But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
in those who hope in His steadfast love.”

Psalm 147: 7 -11

TOP  TEN  year round Thankfulness list
for those in positions of Music Ministry leadership (and for those who support worship ministry through participation in worship and through encouragement):

(When we remember to be thankful, we count our blessings and multiply our praise!)

1.   A God of Love and Mercy
He is the One who has chosen to give His only Son so that we may know Him, have abundant life on earth, and live with Him eternally in Heaven.  He gives us a reason to sing, to play, and to praise Him.

2.   The gift of Music
Our creator God chose the beautiful gift of music to allow us to express the depths of feeling that words alone could never capture.   Through this, He gives us a glimpse of His creative work in our lives.   How beautiful Heaven must be!

3.  The body of Christ…His people!
Those who love, who serve, who give, who bless, who mourn with hope, who reach out to one another, who offer compassion, who forgive one another, who go, who pray, who worship, who weep with those in sorrow, who find joy, who seek the Lord, who long for righteousness, who rejoice in the truth, who overwhelm us with the beauty of their hearts…God’s people!

4.  The call to serve
We are still amazed to be broken vessels who seek to help other broken vessels worship our Creator and the Lover of our souls.

5.  Faithful volunteers in Music and Worship Ministry
We are not called to be Soloist in Chief.  We cannot do this alone.  We are called to lead others, to help them find the song of their praise.  From our Choir and Praise Team members to our Church Orchestra and Rhythm Section, to our (too often) unsung heroes in the Technical and Media booth, to those who work with Children, Youth and pre-schoolers in their Worship ministries. to those who work with interpretive arts such as banner-making, signing, or drama, every one of our Music and Worship Ministry volunteers is a blessing and a valuable member of the team!  Only with these faithful hearts joining the song can we offer to God the gift of harmony in praise.

6.  Accompanists
When years of training, a passion for excellence, a servant’s heart, and a director’s dream are all found in one person, we call that person an accompanist or instrumentalist.  Though the instruments they play may vary, their role is vital and supportive, enhancing every message in song.  These are the folks who have already been rehearsing and are prepared to play and accompany at a time when everyone else is just beginning to learn the song.

7.  Encouragers
Though none of us depend upon accolades or actively seek them, an encouraging word lifts our spirits.   Most touching to our hearts is to know that a message in song has touched the heart of someone else.

8.  The songs
Choosing a favorite song would be like choosing which drop of water fell first into the sea.   There are so many.  We have the privelege of living with words and music of profound beauty and a depth of spiritual insight.   Our lives are constantly impacted by messages of hope, grace, love, mercy, power, and eternity….

9.  New mercies every day, grace in infinite abundance to cover all of our short-comings and sin, and God’s help to gain victory in our journey to become more like Jesus
We need closeness in our relationship with God, a need for closeness that is made all the more apparent by anything that reminds us of our own humanity.   We need Jesus.  We need cleansing, forgiveness, the heart of a worshipper, the soul of a seeker, and a willingness to lay down our burdens before Him and carry His cross.

10.  Surrender and vulnerability
Only through our willingness to place our talents in God’s hands and recognize that they are all His gifts to be used for His glory can we ever truly minister.  For Worship Leaders, Choir Directors, Ministers of Music and Worship, Choir members, Orchestra members, Praise Teams, Praise bands, rhythm sections, drama and movement teams, technical teams, accompanists, ….. for all who lead in worship in any way…..surrender is our highest goal.

11.  A worshipping congregation
God inhabits the praises of His people!  The scriptures never say that God only inhabits the praises of those who are a part of the Music and Worship leadership team.  It is important that all of our hearts join together in worship.  The holy moments that take place when God meets us where we are, at the point of our need, and is enthroned on our praise… words fail…

12.  A supportive and worshipping Pastor and Ministerial Staff
What a joy it is to serve with others who love the Lord and have a passion to seek Him and to worship Him.

Here is a song of Praise and Thanksgiving for you!  Click this link to hear our Soundcloud Publisher’s Demo of Travis’ choral anthem, “Give Thanks to the Lord”, published by Shawnee Press.

http://soundcloud.com/travis-l-boyd/give-thanks-to-the-lord-ttbb

“Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1

“Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for He is gracious, and a song of praise is seemly.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars,
He gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.”

Psalm 147: 1 – 5

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Post written by Cynthia A. Boyd

Don’t miss our  FREE  CHORAL  ANTHEM  PDF offer!   Check out the blog post entitled, “Free Choral Anthem PDF for Your  Choir or Ensemble”

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Do you know Jesus? 

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Blessings through surrender

** THE  SONS  OF  JUBAL**

The Georgia Baptist Convention’s Sons of Jubal are a large Men’s Chorus from all over the State of Georgia, Directed by Dr. Jon Duncan.  The Sons of Jubal meet together for a retreat to rehearse, introduce new members, and learn new music in January each year.   Then, they present worship concerts in Churches and other venues once a month except in the months of December, June, and July.   Many of these men are full-time or bi-vocational Ministers of Music and Worship, and some hold other positions of leadership and service within their home churches and within the Georgia Baptist Convention.   Travis has been a member of this group since January of 2009.  It has been a joy for him to have the opportunity to meet and serve with these gifted and dedicated men.   It has also been a great learning experience for him to travel around the state to present worship concerts in various churches.  We are getting to know the state, the communities, the churches, ministers, and ministries, the needs, and the people of Georgia through the experiences and relationships that have come our way because of this group and the women’s choir, The Jubalheirs.

The Sons of Jubal have sung several songs written by Travis.  Before we moved to Georgia, they were singing  “God is Faithful”  and had recorded it as the title song on one of their CDs.  They have also sung some of the TTBB arrangements done by Travis for The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma.   The Sons of Jubal Ensemble, directed by Steve Brown,  is currently singing Travis’  a cappella arrangement of  “(I Am a) Friend of God.”   The current repertoire of the full choir includes Travis’ song, “A Prayer for the Saints,” which was recently recorded on a new Sons of Jubal CD titled “Washed Away”.  We are thankful that the ministry of the Sons of Jubal will allow these songs to touch many hearts.

For us, the song that we will always associate with The Sons of Jubal is  “Where You Want Me to Be.”   Though the song has also been performed by The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma and was part of the Churchmen’s 50th Anniversary Concert repertoire, directed by both Dr. Ken Gabrielse and Dr. Bill Green, “Where You Want Me to Be” was originally arranged in TTBB voicing for The Sons of Jubal and is dedicated to the group and to Dr. Jon Duncan.  It has seemed very fitting that the first Sons of Jubal song on which Travis sang a solo was “Where You Want Me to Be.”   In this, and in many ways, the Lord has confirmed in our hearts his calling to our current church home and place of service in Georgia after many years of serving in Oklahoma.  The true message of the song, “Where You Want Me to Be”  goes far beyond geographical location, however.   It’s a message for every Christian, one that our Christina brothers and sisters in both Oklahoma and Georgia and all over the world can take to heart.  “Where You Want Me to Be”  is about surrender.  It is only through surrender to God’s sovereignty that we find peace in a broken world.   It is through surrender to His call that we find joy in serving.  It is through surrender to his Holiness that we are humbled and see ourselves as we are…in need of a Savior, in need of His presence and guidance in our lives, and in need of His mercy.   Ultimately, it is in surrender to His plan for our lives that we find our purpose and draw upon His strength to become what He made us to be.   It is this unity of purpose in seeking to glorify the Lord in all of life and through the gift of music that has drawn our hearts to the wonderful people that we have met in Georgia, and we look forward to many more years of serving together and bringing praise to our God.  As we all choose to surrender ourselves and seek to reflect His light more and more, we are right where He wants us to be.

Travis and Cindy Boyd

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Look for this identifyling Title / photo thumbnail for “Where You Want Me to Be” on both our Adult Choir Music Page and our Shopping Cart page on the WorshipSounds website.

Look for this identifyling Title / photo thumbnail for “Where You Want Me to Be” on both our Adult Choir Music Page and our Shopping Cart page on the WorshipSounds website.

“Where You Want Me to Be” on our Worship Sounds Music Website
http://www.worshipsounds.com
“Where You Want Me to Be”  is available as an SATB or TTBB Choral Anthem on the ‘Adult Choir’  page on our website.
The PDF Master for this anthem can be purchased and downloaded for $15.00, with no additional per copy cost.  You are given permission to print as many copies as needed for your own choir and accompanists.
*  There is a Vocal Solo version of “Where You Want Me to Be” on our website’s Home Page in the left sidebar.  The cost of the Vocal Solo PDF is $5.00, with permission to print copies as needed for your Soloist and Praise Band (chord symbols included on music) or Accompanists.  You’ll find the Vocal Solos on our website’s “Vocal Solos” page.
*  There is a Full Orchestration for “Where You Want Me to Be” that will work with either the Choral Version or the Vocal Solo version of the song.  The bundled PDFs for the Orchestration can be purchased for $30.00 and include a Full Score, String Reduction for Keyboard, and reproducible parts for all string, wind, and percussion instruments.
There is an Accompaniment Track for “Where You Want Me to Be” that features the Full Orchestration and works for either the Anthem or the Vocal Solo.  The Accompaniment Track is available as an Mp3 download for $10.00.

Here’s our recording of the “Where You Want Me to Be” Accompaniment Track (with Solo demonstration vocal) on Sound Cloud.


(Note:  On the website, you can hear this as you view a video demo that also shows the vocal line.
Please remember that this track provides a demo of the Full Orchestration and the track also works with the Choral Anthem.)

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Our WorshipSounds Music website
provides worshipful and affordable music
for your Choirs, Ensembles, Orchestra, Congregation, and Soloists!

Click on the photo above to go directly to our Worship Sounds Music website.

Click on the photo above to go directly to our Worship Sounds Music website.

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PERFORMANCE VIDEO:  View  The Sons of Jubal worship concert performance video of   “Where You Want Me to Be” below.  On our website, you can also view the music as you listen and watch a computer demo of either the SATB or TTBB Choral (or the Vocal Solo).
Blessings to you as you surrender to serve right where He wants you to be!

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Other songs written by Travis L. Boyd that were mentioned as a part of the recent or current repertoire for the Sons of Jubal are also still available.

*  “God is Faithful” is available from Lorenz Music.  http://www.lorenz.com/product.aspx?id=10_2978M

*  “A Prayer for the Saints”  is available on our website, as an SATB anthem and in a worship pack for use in congregational praise.

In addition, The Jubalheirs have sung or are currently singing the following anthems, also available on our website:

*  “Much More Than a Song”

*  “Greater”

*  “For the Glory of God”

Find “A Prayer for the Saints” (A modern hymn available both as an SATB anthem and as a Worship Pak, with Vocal Solo music, lead sheets for rhythm section, and reproducible half page size hymn sheets for insertion in a bulletin or hymnal) on our Worship Sounds Music website @ http://www.worshipsounds.com

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Here is a link to a CNN Video about the Sons of Jubal trip to a Choral festival in N. Korea in April of 2012.  The video includes an interview with the group’s Director, Dr. Jon Duncan.

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2012/04/29/nr-n-korea-baptists.cnn#/video/world/2012/04/29/nr-n-korea-baptists.cnn

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Here’s a link to a press release about the Sons Of Jubal’s April, 2012, trip to North Korea and China.   http://sojtrip2012.org/sons-of-jubal-press-release/#more-67

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Do you know Jesus? 

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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