This Weekend

Hey guys!
I’m off to lead worship for a womens’ retreat tonight and am eager for the study as well. On Saturday, I’ll be heading over to Elgin for the Praise Jesus Coffeehouse. It’s a house coffeehouse, so come casual. If you come early, you can even grab a bite to eat..usually burgers or dogs. Donations are accepted. Doors open at 6:30, music starts at 7:30.

See you soon!
-a

What A Weekend!

Hey guys!
Just back from a great weekend in St Louis. I was able to partner with the Church of God at Baden in North St Louis for their annual “Jesus In The Streets” Fest they host each year.

Pastors Don and Deb Sharpe and their whole crew there hosted a wonderful event with free food, a cake walk, games for the kids, free clothes, free toiletries and free music too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It felt like the whole neighborhood came out. There were so many kids there. It was just beautiful. They had a drawing for a free girls’ and boys’ bike that they gave away at the end of the event.

It was amazing. Pastor Don gave me the chance to share that afternoon before I played my set. It was easy to share on the hope for the kids I saw playing games and running around in that church playground. I actually began my speaking session by playing “Imagine Me” by Kirk Franklin as loud as we could through that sound system. I ran off from behind the mic to go dance with a couple of the ladies that were really enjoying that song! The whole point in it was to imagine what each of these kids could be if they were given the chance to fly, to develop the gifts God’s given each one of them. I think it went well.

I finished my set and followed up with a couple of kids worship songs for the little ones that gathered eagerly for the bike drawing…that was really fun.

The next morning, we ran late, took a couple of turns we were unsure of and got to church after the service started ๐Ÿ™ Not a way to start for the one leading worship and giving the message..that was me ๐Ÿ˜‰

We sang a few songs and then I shared. These guys are already so active in serving each other and serving their community. I hope that my words simply brought encouragement.

I sang a couple songs from the “Purple Flowers” project Ed Bialach remastered for me and met some really sweet folks. One of the gals I met had gone through Lymphoma just 5 years ago herself. We connected straight away and she offered to take a family portrait of Tim, Josh and I for a website she’s developing on folks who are living with and walking in their cancer healing….it was just wonderful.

It was quite a gift to have my husband Tim there and my son Joshua. They jumped in to help tear down the tents and clean up, and really, they are just a blast to be with! Joshue is growing to be more and more like his Dad, patient, kind and giving..that is a gift, my friends.

Till next time..
-a

Jesus In The City

Hey guys…I’m going down to work with Pastor Don and the crew at the Church of God at Baden in East St Louis this weekend. These guys are having their annual street fest with food, music, free clothing, and activities for the kids. I’ll do a set from 3:00-3:45 and I’ll share at a couple of sessions as well…One is on “Defending Widows and Orphans” from 2:25-3:00 and the other is called “3,2,1 Takeoff!” from 4:30-5:15.

Sunday Morning at the same addy, I’ll share some of my story with cancer, play the songs off the “Purple Flowers” project and finish up with some worship…It should be a great time of celebration…

Hope you can make it out…

The concert in the park…

Hey guys, my bad. I haven’t updated all summer. It was a busy one. Stayed on our fest grounds with Joshue for almost a month, came home for a week, went out to the Guild with Jan and some new folks too, home for a week and a half, and off for vacation in Bushnell.

Well today, I went out to Palmer Park in Janesville, WI to join some really sweet folks who really love Jesus in an outreach they had there. Free food and music from noon to five. I had the 3-4 slot and Colleen Davick from back in the Seeds days joined me to play some flute, whistle, some bgv’s and a djembe. Great, great fun.

I had the opportunity to share about our community, Jesus People USA and two of our larger outreaches, Cornerstone Community Outreach, and our fest, Cornerstone Festival. Just a wonderful time of celebrating with our Lord.

This is also Thyroid Cancer awareness month so I was able to share about my journey with it and hopefully, bring more awareness of it. More folks are being diagnosed with thyroid cancer over every other type of cancer right now.

To see the hope of Christ bringing so many things to life….Living with cancer, instead of feeling threatened by it. The chance to see people with broken lives being rebuilt by the Love of God at our shelters…unbelievable blessings, you guys.

Going in for my scans and possible treatment this next week, so today, was a celebration of God’s love and mercy not just for me, but for us all..
peace,
-a

Tapestry and Cornerstone

Wow, the Tapestry went really well. A great turnout and just a gift to share the evening with Glenn Kaiser, a mentor and friend.

The set went great. ย I hope I’ve communicated how much of a gift it was to share that night and to share those songs. It was quite a blessing for me…”a party inside” is actually what I said as I shared my story. Remember, I was unsure whether I’d be able to sing at all…God continues to floor me. ย I had several guests come up and join me..Hilde Bialach from the Crossing, Tom Cameron, my pastor and longtime friend, Colleen Davick from the Seeds days and another friend who checked on me just about everyday while I was in treatment for the cancer…Thanks for the harmony, Laura! ย Our visuals guy captured a great vid of Tom and I playing one of the songs..check it out here…http://youtu.be/peep6ZKMQmM

I’m out at the Fest grounds now and doing a lot of weeding down in our community garden and in my own heart ๐Ÿ˜‰

I get the opportunity to read and pray a lot right now. I’m asking God to open my heart up to receive more fully who He really is. If any of you have known me for any amount of time, you know of my struggles with fear. Unbelievable, isn’t it? His mercies new each day, unbelievable grace, immeasurable love and still yet, the “record” in my mind skips each time an uneasy scenario plays out. Forgive me, Lord.

That reflex reaction has been changing for some time now. It may not ever be perfect because I am part of an imperfect world, but I know it continues to change and I am more free in Christ. That skip in my mind that plays over and over, is being filled by His Holy Spirit even as we speak. Thy will on earth as it is in heaven…free and full of His light.
peace to you,
-Aracely
ps…see you at Cornerstone ๐Ÿ™‚

pps…I’ll be playing at Silvie’s Lounge on July 18 from about 9:20-9:55 right after I get back from the Fest…Hope you can make it!

A Gig! :-)

Hey guys…I’m playing my first gig since my surgery back in November…I’m just floored. I’ve had some incredible time with the Lord this past bit. A lot of soul searching and listening. He knows exactly what we need, when we need it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I wish I would’ve kept you guys more aware of all that was going on, but God knows, maybe I’ll get a chance to share with you in person. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll be opening up for Glenn at the Tapestry Fellowship on Irving Park this next Friday…doors open at 7:30 with a $5 donation…I’ll play for a bit, then Glenn will play and share from his new release, “Cardboard Box” Hope you can be there..

Songs from the Deep: An Urban Blues Narrative
Tapestry
3824 W. Irving Park
Chicago, IL
Friday, June 17 ยท 7:30pm – 10:00pm

hmmm…

I’ve been off this for a bit while I’ve been squirming, but God is an amazingly loving Father. I can count three times when fear has just gotten so big in me that I can’t see. He faithfully sends someone around, either physically or even by phone, to remind me not to be afraid and that He has me…really, in every sense of the word. That just floors me.

I thank you for all your prayers and am looking forward to getting some more info from my doc tomorrow. A friend of mine encouraged me that my days were already numbered before one of them came to be. The challenge is to just rest in the One who loves more deeply than anyone I can ever encounter here.

Funny, that’s something I know in my head, but the movement from the head to the heart can be startling.

Anyhow, guys…really looking forward to heading out to share of His faithfulness once I know some more about my health. I’m putting a couple of dates together as we speak. I’ll post them as soon as things come together…

peace and strength to you,
-Aracely

Oswald Chambers

Hey guys…I was reading in “My Utmost For His Highest” a couple of days ago and was struck by the reading, “The Way To Permanent Faith”ย  It’s a pretty meaty reading, but a quick paraphrase is that God allows dark times in our lives through His sovereignty so that we can know His care through the good and bad.ย  Until we go through the dark times, our faith is based on feelings and blessings.

It’s funny, I didn’t so much think of this disease I’m walking through, but about this depression I’m grappling with. I’ve been so puzzled by it. This reading really ministered to my soul.

I was up really early that morning and prayed for our house; the outreaches, our businesses, our families. It wasn’t about me, it was about the people around me.ย  It wasn’t the first time, but I don’t do it as much as I wish I did.

Oswald Chambers went onto to say that “Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it’s not yet permanent.” Wow…I wondered about my recent struggles with not being able to lead worship here in my home church. I’m part of a team, but my voice is limited and I can’t lead a congregation right now.ย ย  Maybe I can’t do it, or maybe I’m too scared to try at this point.ย  Either way, the thought about serving my own goals, rather than the heart of God pierces my soul.ย  Is it possible to have too much of our identity hidden in the things we do, rather than who we are in Christ?ย  You better believe it…

So maybe this season, is not just about listening for Him, but about allowing Him full reign in my heart and my life, however that may look.

Once more, I stand corrected and wait to hear from the One who does all things well.

peace and strength to you this day,

-Aracely