Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Psalm Hidden in My Heart

Psalm 139 has always intrigued me. Years ago I memorized the entire psalm and God has spoken to me many times through His words hidden in my heart. I am comforted knowing that "all the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be."

The words of this psalm mean so much more to me now.

My heart feels as if it is going to burst with love for my God and our sweet little one we are anticipating when I read, 
"13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth."

God is not only talking about me, but is describing that He sees our baby. He is not hidden from him/her. His hand is on me and He has been creating this new life in me before I knew it was there!

I will enter the 2nd trimester of my pregnancy on Saturday. I am thrilled to reach this milestone and thankful for the health of our sweet baby. I am also hoping the nausea starts to fade REAL soon. :)

So, the Telfords are once again experiencing a major plot change, but one we are anxiously awaiting. Please pray for us as we begin this journey of parenthood. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Plot Change 10 Years in the Making

There have been few moments in my life when I've been open enough to stop talking and listen to God speak. It is not an audible voice I hear, but an overwhelming realization that He is with me and whatever He has placed on my heart & mind screams, "PAY ATTENTION!"

2 months ago, I experienced one of those moments. A passion & what I considered a calling I received at 18 collided with my 28 year old self. 

At 18, I was the same spunky, creative, goofy blonde. During that season, my heart raced for God. I sponsored my first Compassion child, spent time in solitude with Him daily and was about to begin college as a psychology major, hoping to be a counselor. My experience with my parent's divorce inspired me to help others. The death of my uncle, who was an alcoholic plagued by bi-polar disorder always haunted me. I wanted to help people who were stuck, controlled and eaten up with mental disease or addiction. I had a family friend tell me he was certain God would call me to be a missionary.

I told Jason and a few of my friends about the crazy plans I felt God had laid on my heart. But as time went on, my path changed and I thought God had shifted those dreams to someone else. 

In the Dominican this Summer, the Lord brought these dreams back to my heart. I shared them with my friend Alysha and confidently she said, "I believe this is still something God wants you to do. Don't give up."

So I didn't. 

And during a meeting when our Pastor was casting vision and sharing dreams of where Cross Point is headed, the dreams God had given me were awakened, given purpose & points of action. 

God was speaking loud and clear. 

Today, I began a new adventure at Cross Point, a place that has been our church home for 6 years & my employer for almost 4 1/2. I am now serving as the Missions Coordinator alongside Ryan Bult, Missions Pastor. I will be assisting Ryan with administrative duties, coordinating local mission opportunities in the middle TN region, & making sure the word get's out about ALL opportunities, local, regional & global that Cross Point is connected to. I will get to begin and strengthen partnerships with local ministries to meet the needs of God's people. 

My former boss jokingly says, "Miranda's leaving the creative department to be a missionary." I guess that prophesy was true. :)
  
I am completely confident about where God is leading me. I have been watching doors swing open and God has been pushing me to walk through them while my heels are dug in the ground! What I've learned most during this transition is that dreams, desires & instructions God gives you, demand obedience

And when He speaks, you don't want to miss it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I Learned About Love from The Help

Who You love I'll love, is a line from Chris Tomlin's song, "I Will Follow." This is hard to live out when it comes to your enemies and those you love that have hurt you.

I witnessed this lived out in the movie, inspired by the book, The Help.

The Help takes place in the 60's during the time of segregation. It tells the story of how the black maids felt & what they experienced during this time in our history. One of the most emotional parts of the story is when one of the main characters, Aibileen is explaining the main role of the maid's job: To love and raise the children of the white families they are working for.

A recurring scene is Aibileen telling the 2 yr old, Mae that she raises, "You're kind, You're smart, You're special." She has Mae repeat this phrase back to her in the mornings and in moments where she knows Mae could be doubting these truths.

Aibileen, like all of the maids, had to leave her own children behind each day to work for these families.

-It would be easy to say, "This child is not my responsibility, their parents should be raising them!"
-It would be easy to take out your anger and frustration on the children.

Aibileen chooses to love a white child that is a product of her hateful, disrespectful parents and a stigma that should have NEVER existed. And I believe that many women loved like Aibileen, without condition or restriction.

Are you tired of fighting love? Is there someone you need to forgive and through that forgiveness you can love them again? Do you need to accept the abundant, unconditional love of God?

Treat yourself and go see this movie or read the book. It is a beautiful story of how far we've come as a society and how much more we could love.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

He Stole My Heart

Now love is like an ocean
Take it down to the depths
Yeah I'm taking you with me
Taking every step to steal your heart

I'm gonna steal your heart away


Life is like a shadow

It never stays in one place
I'm standing here anyway
However long it takes to steal your heart

Gonna steal your heart away

"Steal Your Heart," Augustana

Thankful He never gives up on us. Even when we choose to steal our hearts back. 

But for today I willingly leave it in His hands.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why Did I Wait?

Pouring sweat
Cement boogers
Dust boogers :)
Dirty hands
Undrinkable water
Cold showers
Little sleep
Germs
Sore muscles
Bug bites

These things didn't bother me a bit. I spent so many years thinking they would.

Poverty
Hunger
Orphans
Sickness
Lost Souls
Racial Conflict
Sexual Predators
Abuse
Tragedy
Abandonment

These things kept my mind and heart broken. I saw and heard about these things from the people of the DR and the family from Cross Point that went with me.

But COMMUNITY and HOPE. Those are the two things I can't get off my mind and learned so much more about. 

COMMUNITY: Through hearing some of the stories of God's faithfulness and love from my Cross Point team and the G.O. Pastors and leaders, I experienced community like I never have before. G.O.'s mission statement is all about changing the world through relationships. I left this week knowing all of G.O.'s staff in Santiago are family now.

"G.O. Ministries seeks to empower passionate, Local Leaders serving inside their cultures to Redeem people, Renew communities and Restore Creation by developing dynamic International Partnerships in Ministry that result in mutual transformation."

HOPE: It was everywhere. To see the church and feeding center Cross Point has spent years building, COMPLETE! Oh, what a feeling. Kids were flooding in to get a hot meal and love. The church was nearly full on Sunday with Haitian families, Dominican children and Americans, worshiping together. The kids understood the Good Samaritan story when we did our skit. They listened. God was speaking.

We went to a place called the hole one afternoon. It is a landfill slum where people live in extreme filth, danger and poverty. The kids litterally jump into your arms for you to hold them. Others tightly grasp your hand. We made sure to tell them all, "Jesus te ama." The words to this song came to my head as I was walking through the slum. I sang them to the little boy I was holding, 

"There will be hope for the hopeless. Rest for the weary. A day when ALL wrong is made right. They will see God."

Hope, not despair. 

We heard stories of how far the hole has improved. 10 yrs ago it was a much darker place. G.O. has built a church/feeding center there and Pastor Felix just opened a water purification building where people can get clean water. 

There are so many plans for more life change. I can't wait to go back and experience new things. I keep asking myself, "Why did I wait so long to go on this trip?" But I know this was God's timing. I cried a lot. It was a joke that if I wasn't crying then we weren't doing things right. :) I needed to see the World through the eyes of Jesus. I will truly never be the same.

Take a moment and check out all that G.O. Ministries is doing. Pray about how you can help. And enjoy this sideshow of our week, doing our part to change the World.

2011 Videos: Cross Point Church 2011: "Cross Point Church 2011 from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Time for an Update Folks

My first post of 2011 stated 3 areas I wanted to cultivate, change and pursue.

-The Dominican Republic trip with the church was my pursuit

-Cutting down my spending habits on things I don't need was my change.

-Spending time with the women on our vocal team at Cross Point was what I wanted to cultivate.

PURSUIT: I'm all packed for the DR. Tomorrow will be a long day at work, then I'll come home, double ck that I have everything I need, and then try to sleep before we have to be at the airport at 7:30 AM on Tuesday. This is really happening. :) I can't wait to love on the people we meet, especially the kids. I'm excited to worship with the community on Sunday. And I'm thrilled I'm going with my husband, one of my sweet friends Alysha and several teenage girls that I love!

CHANGE: I was better about spending less money in January and February. I went shopping with my birthday money only at the end of February. But slowly through the busyness of March and April at work, I began to find myself in Target more often and a new obsession, Francescas. Shopping is something that gives me temporary relief from stress. Instead of giving it to God, I buy a new top, or two. When I was on vacation in June, I made an agreement with myself that I would not step foot in Target until after the DR, nor would I buy anything unnecessary for myself. Confession: I've been to Target twice since making this pact, but only to buy two birthday presents and shop (with Jason present) for the DR trip. :)

CULTIVATE: Finally, all of our Girls Night's (a small group I started for the women on our vocal team) were such a blessing. I handed over the reigns to several of our volunteers to speak and encourage the team. We saw the Lord work during our meetings and I have loved watching so many of the women grow as worship leaders. 

One of the best things I learned was from Lindsey Appiah, (Charge Student Minstry, Choir and Sunday Worship team volunteer)

"We are not just worship leaders when we are on the platform. We have the responsibility to usher in the Holy Spirit every time we step through the doors of Cross Point."

Yes!

I've enjoyed getting to know some knock out women who inspire me. The one challenge I gave to the girls that I haven't invested in yet is to use my musical gifts outside of the church walls. To start singing at a nursing home, hospital, prison, etc. I hope to find an opportunity for our vocalists to serve in an environment like this together.

I ask that you continue to pray for me. Pray as I begin my journey to the DR. Pray as I work on realizing daily that I have all that I need, and a new item from the store won't make my worries go away. Pray that I will speak with truth and love as I lead the vocalists on the team at Cross Point! 

To the rest of 2011!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Singing before Bed

Last night I was laying in bed, talking to God & asking forgiveness for desiring the things of this world more than Him. Suddenly the words of a worship song I haven't sang in years popped in my head:

"You are the only one I need
I bow all of me at Your feet
I worship You alone

You have given me more than

I could ever have wanted
And I want to give You my heart and my soul

You alone are Father

And You alone are good
You are alone are Savior
And You alone are God

I'm alive, I'm alive

I'm alive, I'm alive"

I love the thought that through surrender, through realizing that He is all we need, we come alive! I began singing the song in my head. But then quietly sang it out loud (I didn't want to wake up Jason) 

:)

It was a reminder that I can worship God though song, anytime. Not just on Sundays. I want to make these moments a consistent part of my musical.

Today I challenge you to take some time in the car, in the bathroom :), when you get home and sing to Him. 

No matter what your voice sounds like!

Monday, June 6, 2011

If I Ever . . .

Last Summer my friend Hannah and I tried out for American Idol. You can read about our journey HERE

We didn't make it past round 1!

I used to love this show, but don't really watch it anymore. I feel in their attempts to find the unique, they end up settling for lots of mediocre talent and sound a-likes. 

But, I still like to day dream about being on the show. Not to get famous but to experience the rush of performing in front of an audience like that!

Here are some of the songs I would sing if I was on the show:

"Turn the Page," Bob Seger
"Mary Jane," Alanis Morissette
"Barracuda," Heart
"The Story" Brandi Carlile
"Stupid" Sarah McLachlan
*My Birth Year Song, "Dirty Laundry," Don Henley OR "Faithfully," Journey, but a broken down version like, Lauren Rose's. 

A girl can dream! :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A God You Can Trust?

I had dinner with my friend Jessica Esch on Thursday night. She is an incredibly beautiful, talented, smart woman. We got to know each other a little better & I was so grateful for the time spent with her. Our blogs share similar joys and frustrations with ourselves and this life. :)

I shared with her how life can bring things that are unexpected. The flood was definitely an unexpected occurrence that we hope will never happen again. But I learned to have faith in God and his provision during that time and if it happens again, we will be ok. I trust that we will be ok.

She is currently going through a couple of transitions. In fact, this weekend she was going to start moving her stuff from her apartment into her newly renovated house! 

And not 24 hours after our dinner, Jessica's apartment burned down. She lost everything including her Border Collie, Sammy Mac.

I sobbed for two hours. Jessica was one of the many friends that showed up the first day to help us gut our home & comfort us. I wanted to hug her, I thought about all of the beautiful clothes she had, her pictures, her memories, & her sweet dog. I can't imagine the intense pain she felt watching it all go up in flames. I realized that my meeting with Jess was ordained by God.

But that is not the only reason why I was crying. My faith was tested. Do I truly believe what I told Jess on Thursday? 

Do I have faith in God through the uncertain, not just the predictable?

This incredible song written by Benji & Jenna Cowart has been speaking to my heart during this time. Please take a listen and take a moment to pray for my friend Jess.

"Blessed are you who’ve chosen to choose
The right way no matter the cost
You do what you say when you say what you do
Not counting the gain or the loss
And blessed are they who hold on to faith
When everything’s coming undone
Day after day you stand in the face
Of the wind and the rain and the storm

They will see God
They will see God

Blessed are you the cheated and used
Your heart is so broken and spent
And though you could run
Grace overcomes
And you choose to forgive once again
And blessed are they who hold on to faith
When everything’s coming undone
Day after day you stand in the face
Of the wind and the rain and the storm

They will see God
They will see God

There will be hope for the hopeless
Rest for the weary
A day when all wrong is made right
There will be light in the darkness
His love is returning
And finally faith will be sight

They will see God
They will see God
They will see God
They will see God

Blessed are you who’ve chosen to choose
The right way no matter the cost"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cultivate Her Day!

It's a Cultivate Her blog post day! Click HERE to check out my thoughts on what's next for me and my family and tour the blog to read more insightful posts from women leaders. This ministry challenges women to pursue God-sized dreams for their life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Original

I'm not a songwriter. I've only written 1 song. I wrote it at age 18. 
Today, I'm going to let you listen to a piece of my musical from 10 years ago.

In this recording I'm singing my song WAY out of my range because I wrote it on my piano at home which was probably 2-3 steps flat. My piano was never tuned. My alto tone is stretching to soprano, which is not my strength. I really didn't know what my range was then. :)

As hard as it is for me to listen to myself singing this (and not analyze it to death), I'm going to be brave and let you listen.

Not because I want you to hear my song, to get a pat on the back or praise, but because it is refreshing for me to remember this girl. 
*A girl who loves music. 
*A girl who was brave enough to share what God had creatively given her. 
*A girl leaving home for the first time to find herself.

I AM THAT GIRL!
This is my song, "A Peace Where You Dwell." Lyrics below.
video
Wandering, without a cause
To find a connection to fill a void
Searching for the answers that aren't reliable
Praying for a peace where You dwell

My fighting and striving has led me nowhere
But I find myself where I belong

You know why my heart aches
You hold out Your hand
You ask me to trust You
Still I look for someone
When you were always there
You're the only one worth searching for

I have traveled for hours
Just for one voice to hear
Let down by the ones that I love most
Knowing Your voice was calling me

My fighting and striving has led me nowhere
But I find myself where I belong

You know why my heart aches
You hold out Your hand
You ask me to trust You
Still I look for someone
When you were always there
You're the only one worth searching for

You ask me to seek You
And only then will I find You
I want to give of my whole heart
To be found by You

You know why my heart aches
You hold out Your hand
You ask me to trust You
Still I look for someone
When you were always there
You're the only one worth searching for
"I wanna rock-n-roll
I wanna give my soul
I'm wanting to believe
I'm not too old
Don't want to make it up
Don't want to let you down
I want to fly away
But I'm stuck on the ground . . .
 

Something's gotta break
You gotta swing the bat
Too many years of dying
Why is that?"

Matthew Perryman Jones, "Save You"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stuck on a Lyric

I have to be honest. When I first heard Laura Story's song, "Blessings," I couldn't get past the chorus. "What if Your blessings come through raindrops . . ." 

Really? That seems so childish.

I wondered why so many people loved and couldn't stop talking about this song.

But I took some time to listen to the STORY behind Laura Story's song and I can certainly relate. Laura and her husband learned to have a different perspective during times of sickness.

Lord, forgive me for shutting my ears to the truths of this song because I was hung up on one lyric. 

Shame on me for being SO childish.

We are ending the service tomorrow at all of our campuses with this song after Blake Bergstrom shares a message on, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." 

I have mourned for many, many years over the loss of feeling good, healthy, my best. But how often do I mourn over my wondering heart that chooses the things of this world over Christ, far too often. 

"We pray for healing
For prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things" 

Very thankful for a broken heart tonight and a new perspective on what are truly blessings in my life. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Message from Jhude

In October 2009 we started sponsoring Jhude, a little boy from the Philippines through Compassion International. His mother Analyn writes us every 2-3 months and we have all of her letters on our refrigerator. Jhude is now 7.

Today, we received a letter.

Today is also the 1 year anniversary of the flood.

Last Spring, our creative team picked an incredible song to close our Shattered Dreams series at Cross Point. That song was "Beautiful Things," by Gungor. We sang it on May 9th, the Sunday after the flood devastated Nashville.

Lyrics from the song would pop in my head as we were rebuilding our home. This flower bush bloomed for the first and only time a few weeks after the flood. 

"All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground at all?"

I kept all of the cards we received and put them in this photo album.
"You make beautiful things."

And on the anniversary of the flood, I read these words from Analyn,

"Jhude will graduate this coming April 1, 2011. And this coming June he will be in Grade I. And Jhude had recited some of their poem but just two sentences,
'You make beautiful things out of us,
You make beautiful things out of dust.'
And he is very happy about it because even if he goes to sleep he would gladly recite it."

God, we hear You. We see You. We feel You.

Thank you for speaking to us through a sweet little boy from far away. 

You can watch our service from May 9th, 2010 here:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's a Girl to Do When it Rains?

Yesterday morning Jason informed me that we might face flooding again. I could see his anxiety.

It was this time last year that water rose and flooded our home 3 inches high within.

Jason started researching and gathering facts. Today we were concerned that the streets around our house might flood based on Jason's experience last year and the estimated rise of the river that was predicted. We took precaution and put things up high just in case before heading to Jason's parents to stay tonight. I know our anxieties will get easier with time and experience with the river. It is just hard watching it rise.

But at times, I still ask God, "Why? Why would this happen again? We live in a predicted 500 yr flood plane, not 1 yr!" My heart hurts for my husband who is reliving his traumatic experience and working through fears of our house being flooded again.

My heart sank on Monday night when I heard a tornado touched down near my friends in Arkansas.

30 minutes ago I got a call from a dear friend letting me know her cousin was injured in the tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa. It took 3 hrs to find him and remove him from the debris. But they can't find his girlfriend who was with him.

So tragic. 

These lyrics keep coming to my mind.

"If all that’s good and true
comes from heaven
Then what’s a girl to do
when it rains? 
And I’m saying
Why, why, why, why?
I’m shaking a fist in the dark,
and I’m asking
Why, why, why, why?
Why does it keep getting harder
To say thanks?"

Nichole Nordeman, "To Say Thanks"

I don't know what to say as I pray to God right now. I just know He is with me and that He knows my heart. He is comforting souls in this moment. Many are finding Him for the first time. 

He is still in control.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Foo Fighters - Come Alive

"I lay there in the dark and I close my eyes
You saved me the day that you came alive
Nothing more to give
I can finally come alive
Your life into me
I can finally breathe
Come alive
I lay there in the dark
Open my eyes
You saved me the day that you came alive"

Well,

AMEN! :)

Foo Fighters, "Come Alive"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why Easter?

Easter (and Christmas) are the most demanding times for me at work. 

I've been planning/prepping marketing pieces for weeks and coordinating bands and production crews for our campuses. 

It is so easy for me to forget that Easter is a time to remember and celebrate Christ's death and resurrection. 

The gift that saved us.

I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be a part of the experiences at Cross Point. This year I am leading worship at our Dickson and Downtown campuses!

Join me in praying for those who don't know Christ that choose to come to Easter services at Cross Point and churches all over the World this weekend. May they see Him through His people and experience His love. 

If you live in the Nashville area and don't have Easter plans yet, we would love to see you at one of our services! Click here for address info.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Problem of the Versus

I've always had a good ear when it comes to music. My parents put me in piano lessons after hearing me (at the age of 5) tinker out "Right Here Waiting" on my Fisher Price piano. 

But my ear is stronger than my singing voice. My ear knows what it wants my voice to do, but something doesn't translate. My ear wants to hear perfection. 

It leaves a strong taste of dissatisfaction.

I have this same problem when it comes to my head versus my heart. My heart loves to rule.

"I'm a war of head versus heart
And it's always this way
My head is weak, my heart always speaks
Before I know what it will say"
Death Cab For Cutie, "Crooked Teeth"

I over analyze everything and base my decisions on feelings. I run into this time and time again in my marriage. 

-This doesn't feel right. 
-I used to feel different.
-I don't feel like it.

My head tries to fight back. Rational thoughts take a swing at my irrational feelings, but the heart knocks out their teeth!

As I navigate through these two sets of "versus," I've come to the conclusion that,

I can't let my ear tell me my voice it's never good enough.
AND
I can't let my heart question every decisions my head helps me make.

I'm going to work on finding the volume knobs on my ear and heart. I need to turn them down just a bit. I hope to one day say with much satisfaction,

"Ahhhh, that's sounds and feels much better." :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Cause You knew how You'd save me
before I fell dead in the garden,
And You knew this day
long before You made me out of dirt."
Caedmon's Call, "Table for Two"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blackbird

It's hard to believe it's been almost 6 months since my first post.

I've learned that in order to soar, you have to be able to fly.

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise."

LEARN TO FLY.


When I started my blog, I had just discovered my wings.

But I had never used my wings. I didn't know what shape they were in. 

-They have some holes. 
-They are weak in some areas. 
-They need to be stretched.

Instead of mending my broken wings, I've recently put them away instead.

It's time to pull them back out, fix what is torn, and learn to use them.

"You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

SCORE!

This post is not about sports or landing a hot guy or gal.

Tonight Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won the Oscar for best original score for The Social Network. Take a listen to my favorite track from that movie. 
Without music, most movies would loose much of their emotional connection. 

I'll never forget the day Matt Singleton recommended I listen to a composer named Thomas Newman. Little did I know, I was already a fan of Thomas' work, Six Feet Under, Shawshank, American Beauty, The Green Mile, Pay it Forward and so on.

The reason why I like the track above and Thomas' work is because of the juxtaposition between dark and light. There is something devastating and hopeful about these songs.

I often listen to Thomas' music and think about my life.

Although it would be nice if Mr. Newman composed my life's musical score, I like sharing the role of score composer between God, myself and my friends. My Life as a Musical often looks something like this:

*Jason picking up his guitar from time to time to play and sing
*Listening to my favorite music in the car and attempting to sing like my idols
*Hearing many friends play and sing music that communicates God's love every Sunday
*Being a fly on the wall as my co-workers write songs
*Constantly having a song in my head
*Finding harmonies in every song I hear

What musical moments influence your life's musical score?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just Dance

I was a dancer before I was a singer. 

I took dance classes for 13 years. I always got compliments on being a good dancer but I was really just a fast learner and a good performer. I fooled a lot of people. :)

So, dancing has been a HUGE part of my musical. I was on the drill team in high school, the Marshall Mavettes. hehe!
I love watching So You Think You Can Dance. Some insanely beautiful story telling happens on that show. 

Today, I thought I would have a little fun and reveal a top secret video of some of my friends and I playing, Just Dance. You will have to watch it four times to catch each performance. . . 

ENJOY!
video

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Power of Paper and a Pen

When I moved to Nashville I was working a temp job answering the phone so I had LOTS of free time during the day. I decided to serve in a ministry at Cross Point called Notes and Cards.

The Notes and Cards team sends encouraging notes to those who are in the hospital, sick, had a baby, a death in the family, etc. Sometimes I would know who I was writing to. Often I had never met the person I was sending a note to, but was thankful God gave me an opportunity to love on them in this way.

Last Friday I got a prayer card in the mail from my mom's church in Marshall, TX. It was from the Pastor.

Today, 4 more showed up in my mail box. Some people knew me and some did not.
 
I was reminded that sometimes a hand written letter or card means so much. Our fingers are better at typing now, but our hearts still long to received notes from someone's handwriting we recognize.

My Gran has never sent an email. She doesn't get on Facebook. She can't send a text message.

But she writes me letters.

One of the first things I looked for after the flood damaged our home was the letters I have saved from her.
So take a moment sometime soon and send a card or a letter to someone you love. I promise, it will make their day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Innocent

Today, while listening to the special at Cross Point, a song by Taylor Swift, "Innocent", I couldn't help but think about the very first blog post I ever wrote. 

It was in September 2008. I was a guest blogger on Jenni Catron's blog. You can read the post here.

My heart re-lived these thoughts today.

I'll leave you with some of my favorite lines from "Innocent,"

"Wasn't it easier in your lunchbox days?
Always a bigger bed to crawl into
Wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything?
And everybody believed in you?

It's all right, just wait and see

Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been
You're still an innocent
You're still an innocent"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

28

Today I turned 28. 

I was on my way home from a doctor's appointment this afternoon and noticed God's present to me. A beautiful sunset. I wanted to pull over so many times to capture it but caught the tail end when I got home:


The past couple of weeks have been hard. I've avoided my blog because I didn't want to complain or be negative (I care too much about what people think). I've struggled with anxiety again. It has felt foreign to me because I haven't felt anxious the past 6 months. Work has been very busy. I haven't felt good and have had some other health issue's pop up recently that have caused concern. 

While talking to one of my nurses yesterday she said something that gave me peace,

"Miranda, you are too young to be going through all this pain but you know what? 

You are going to be ok."

Today, I feel so loved. I got over 100 birthday wishes from friends and family. My boss sat me down and encouraged me as soon as I walked in the door. My pastor sent me birthday wishes all the way from India! My parents/in-laws made sure I knew I was loved and I received my gifts on time all the way from Texas! My friends started making plans to celebrate me. My husband has been the best friend/caretaker/encourager/partner/etc.!

28 is a year I'm excited about. I'm hopeful for physical healing. I'll continue to work on emotional and spiritual healing. I'm going on a mission trip with my husband for the first time. The Telford's may have a little one in the works by the end of 2011. :)

So, I can say with confidence that I'm definitely going to be ok. And maybe even more than ok. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flawless

Last night I got to see The Civil Wars perform at the Basement in Nashville. 


After the show, I was swooning over the sounds, melodies, harmonies, textures, and tones I heard. And maybe I was swooning over Joy and John too. :)

You see, there is a lot of music out there these days. A lot of good and A LOT of bad. Creative art forms will never run out of content.

There are few singers who can:

*keep consistent pitch
*sing flawlessly while making it their own

Joy Williams is one of those singers. 

And John Paul White keeps up really well. :) 

You could tell that both of them have worked on molding to the other's phrasings.

Other singers I have witnessed do this well are:

-And my friend Amanda Stott Young :)

I'll leave you with this cover The Civil Wars did last night. Being in a 90's Rock Cover band, I was totally having a moment here. :)

video

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fish and Ponds

When I'm in my hometown, Marshall, TX, I feel like a BIG fish in a little pond when I sing.

When I'm in my new home, Nashville, TN, I feel like a little fish in an ENORMOUS pond when I sing.

After I sang at my sister's wedding last night I probably got 20 compliments on how well I did. Many people said I should have a record deal by now. That I'm a star.

I found myself telling people, "I'm just a drop in the bucket in Nashille. There are so many talented people there."

I prefer being a big fish. Why?

Because of the pat on the back. The recognition. The praise.

Because when I'm the big fish, it's all about me.

Artists crave positive feedback. If we don't hear someone say we did well, we will doubt our abities. I've got to be confident in my talent without recognition. I have to know the purpose of my talent.

I'm going to work on being a content small fish, thankful for the other small and big fish in the big pond.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Band

The other day a friend of mine sent me a link to a Foo Fighters song preview off their new album. He then said, "because for some reason I associate Foo Fighters with you. . .now I'm not sure why"

Well, that's because they are my favorite. band. EVER! (rock sign)

Their music keeps rock legit. Their lyrics are heavy, playful and redemptive at times. Dave Grohl can scream at the top of his lungs, then sing with a sweet smooth tone. 

And these dudes are funny.

So, in my musical, the Foo Fighters have a starring role. 

"Everlong" is one of their best songs and one of their goofiest videos. :) Enjoy (Circa 1997)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who Am I?

My twitter profile description reads, 

Worship Leader
Creative Arts Coordinator at Cross Point
Lead Singer of The Vandelays

But recently I was reminded of a sermon I've heard Pete preach a couple of times about not letting your gifts, talents & titles define who you are.

When I was little people would try to scare me by saying I could loose my talent if I used it in the wrong way. Obviously that rarely happens. Ke$ha is a perfect example. :)

But what if I woke up one day and couldn't sing? What if God took away opportunities to lead worship? What if I loose my job, have to change jobs or move? What if I never sing an angst 90's rock song again? 

Who am I?

I'm God's child. I'm a sinner in need of constant forgiveness. I was created in the image of God.

I'm Miranda Brooke McKay Telford, a silly, lovable, friendly gal. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"It’s only love, 
It’s only pain,
It’s only fear that runs through my veins
It’s all the things you can’t explain
That make us human"


Civil Twilight, "Human"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lay Still

On Tuesday, I had the 3rd MRI of my life. The 1st at age 11, the 2nd at 17, and this one at 27. All were taken in hopes of finding out why I had seizures and migraines.

My results came back NORMAL. Luckily every MRI has come back normal. I'm very thankful.

I guess after 10 years I forgot how nerve wracking this experience is. They strap your head into a mask helmet, put cushions over your ears and then place you in a tunnel where your face is only an inch from the top and the sides of your body have little room to move. 

And you are not supposed to move.

You must lay still, minute after minute.

The machine is loud as it takes pictures and if you focus on your current situation, you will panic. You have to breath deep and wait patiently for it to end.

As I lay there, still, trapped & scared, I began to think about the many times in my life when I wanted to escape the pain of a situation. I was reminded that every uncomfortable situation has a season. Some are longer than others, some a mere second and some may last our entire life. 

But there is always "an end." 

And even if the end of a situation doesn't come in this life, it will end when we see God face to face.

So, when we feel trapped and stuck, flailing our arms and screaming "Let me out!", we must take a moment to breath deep, gather our thoughts and be still. Focusing on the pain, frustration, and "the end" will cause us to panic every single time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"And the heart she feared frozen
Still beats 
Still marches on"

Brooke Fraser, "Ice On Her Lashes"

Monday, January 3, 2011

YA, YA, YA!

When people ask me about my role at Cross Point, I often describe myself as the "Whip Cracker."

"Giddy up boys!"

"Design this graphic, film this video, update the ftp site!"

"Ya, Ya, YA!" :)

I make sure stuff get's done in our Creative Department. I do my best to keep us on track. 

But in 2011, I need some folks in my life to crack the whip at me!

Here are three areas that I want to continue to cultivate, change and pursue.

To invest. 2010 began the start of "Girls Night" with the female vocalists at Cross Point. Our next meeting is January 31st and I want to start the year off with a bang. I'm praying I will continue to invest in these talented women, helping them use their talents for God's Glory and change the negative attitudes and motives that can cause much damage to our hearts.

To know that I have enough. I love to shop. I love new things. I LOVE being creative in this way. But it's time for me to get a healthy perspective on this love. To set limits. I have MORE than enough clothes, accessories, shoes, make-up, & decorations for my house. I made sure my home was back to beautiful after the flood. But I keep hearing God say, "When will it be enough?"

To go to the Dominican Republic. Cross Point started a church in the Dominican years ago and now it is almost done! The church goes on 1-2 trips to the DR a year. Two years ago I wrote a note on Facebook about my trouble with fear and OCD. I said at that point that I wanted to go to the Dominican sometime soon. Recently, I was on Facebook and noticed my sweet friend Allyson post that she wanted to go to the DR. 

She is 15. 

She is my motivation to FINALLY commit to this trip. 

I'll be expecting lots of whip cracking this year so don't hold back. :) 

How can I pray for you? What is an area you would like to cultivate, change or pursue?