Monday Mentor Songwriter Appreciation

For this week’s Monday Mentor post, I decided to pay homage to a few of my favorite songwriters. I didn’t mention the singers’ names or the song titles because I wanted to focus only on the craft, the writers’ abilities to tap our emotions through their carefully chosen tools of diction, imagery, juxtaposition, metaphor, simile, personification. I admire their art.

Songwriters are amazing artists. The masters of the craft can take a story and lay it out before us in three minutes. When they mix their lyrics with the right music, they make art that moves us to laugh, dream, think, sing and love.

I am always inspired by quotes and lyrics. What is your favorite song lyric? Why is it so powerful? What special meaning does it have for you?

The Indian summer both of us laughing

Hackberry trees and fireflies flashing

So many holes in the soles of our shoes

You don’t choose life, life chooses you

Floatin’ on a raft we built from scrap wood

Mosquito scratching felt so good

And I’ve never seen eyes your color of blue

You don’t choose love, love chooses you ~ Rodney Clawson

 I’d change it if I could, but I’m really not that strong

I might be understood if I knew where I belong

I might fly beyond this room

And kiss the cheek of the moon ~ Wayne Kirkpatrick

If I could reach the stars I’d pull one down for you
Shine it on my heart so you could see the truth
That this love I have inside is everything it seems
But for now I find it’s only in my dreams ~ Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Tommy Sims

 But every time you hold me

You take away some lonely

Everytime you love me

The further away I get from the edge ~ Pete Sallis

Questioning those in powerful position
Running to those who called His name
(But) Nobody knew His secret ambition
Was to give His life away ~ Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Wayne Kirkpatrick

Oh, it seemed like a holy place, protected by amazing grace
And we would sing right out loud, the things we could not say
We thought we could change this world with words like “love” and “freedom”
We were part of the lonely crowd inside the sad café ~ Don Henley, J.D. Souther, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey

Would I know by sight if I met you in the street
Clandestined collision by shuffling feet
I’ve only seen your face on museum walls
But your everpresent eyes don’t miss the sparrow’s fall. ~ Justin Vigeant

In open fields of wild flowers, she breathes the air and flies away
She thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses in no simple language
Someday she’ll understand the meaning of it all ~ Matt Bronleewe, Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Steve Mason

You’ll see mountains and the valleys

And the rivers far down below

Oh the high road might get lonely

But it’s the only way to go ~ Pete Sallis

And I don’t know how it gets better than this

You take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless

I don’t know why but with you I’d dance

In a storm in my best dress, fearless ~ Hillery Lindsey, Liz Rose, Taylor Swift

 Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses

You been out ridin’ fences for so long now.

Oh, you’re a hard one, I know that you got your reasons

These things that are pleasin’ you can hurt you somehow ~ Don Henley, Glenn Frey

Just to know, just to know that you love me gives me hope to carry on
What can this world do to me? No, no
Just to know, just to know that you’re with me
On all these roads I traveled on
When all I have is gone, I confess my dependence on you ~ Jamie Slocum

I run from hate, I run from prejudice
I run from pessimists, but I run too late
I run my life or is it running me, run from my past
I run too fast or too slow it seems
When lies become the truth
That’s when I run to you ~ Tom Douglas, David Wesley Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott

 And now I’m singing my songs

Standing up on a big and bright stage, yeah

And I do my dance while the music plays

But when the music stops

Am I doing the walk? ~ Steven Curtis Chapman

Even when you’re gone,
Somehow you come along just like
A flower pokin’ through the sidewalk crack
And just like that
You steal away the rain, and just like that
You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
Sing like a bird, dizzy in my head
Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night ~ Jeremy Bose, Blair Daly, J. Harding, Matthew Shafer

Seasons

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.     Luke 2:19

I know that I can hardly compare the events in my life to a divine miracle with the purpose of saving mankind. But still, when I think about the little things God has done to make me happy, I’m just amazed.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Really, I have. The times when I wasn’t writing were the times when I felt most empty, depleted.

I’ve always loved music. There was a period in my life when I had nothing to do with music. There was a part of me that died. Then I discovered contemporary Christian music.

I remember sitting at my mother’s house, watching the Dove Awards. Prior to that show, I had no idea that people could actually combine their faith with a Christian message. I said, “Next year, I’m going to be there.” I was. I meant in the audience. But God had other plans. He put me backstage.

There was a period in my life when contemporary Christian consumed my life. Sadly, I wonder if I made it my idol. Every weekend I was at a concert. I had the time of my life. There was not one celebrity I hadn’t interviewed nor one concert I hadn’t attended. Back then. Things are different now.

Today I ponder those things in my heart, like Mary. Again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not comparing these minor details to the divine. But God let me live the life I always dreamed about—for a little while.

I’ll never forget all the GMA weeks, especially the first time I met Michael W. Smith, my hero, the namesake of my child. My friend invited me to tag along with her to their interview. I almost flipped out when he entered the room. I almost passed out when I saw the articles I had written about him in his press kit while I was sitting there in the room looking at him in person.

I never dreamed that I would meet him again on many occasions. I never dreamed that he would call my house for an interview—and I would hang up on him, on accident, of course. He was so gracious and forgiving. I never dreamed I would find myself sitting at a table at media event and having someone bring him to my table for another brief introduction. I never dreamed I would get an invite to his album release party. Today I pity the poor man, having to put up with a loony stalker like me. At least I was harmless.

And the list goes on. There are so many little things, things that make me tear up, things that make me smile, things that make me giggle like a little girl. I’ll never forget blinding Peter Furler with the flash of my Canon Rebel during an Atlanta Fest concert—and then he wanted to talk cameras with me afterwards because he was thinking of buying one too. I’ll never forget going to a Newsboys album release event with Shrimp on the Barbie! I’ll never forget Phil Joel, the bass player with the beautiful long blond hair, holding my older son and running about the place, having a blast.

I’ll never forget doing a phone interview with Toby Mac while he was at a London airport or sneaking around backstage at an Audio Adrenaline concert, politely asking Ben Cissell if he would mind posing with me for a photograph. He was my favorite drummer at the time. I saw him play one night at cozy little gathering at Jammin’ Java in Franklin. Ah, fun!

I’ll never forget gawking at all the celebs at the Renaissance Hotel during GMA, especially Christafari. They were so different. I’ll never forget seeing Three Crosses for the first time. I fell in love with their music, and I still listen to them. I think about the blurb I used in the article I wrote about them in RELEASE magazine, something about miles to go before they sleep. I guess we were talking about life on the tour bus.

I remember chatting with Steven Curtis Chapman at his album release party and hearing my older son tell him at the Lifeway store in Nashville that Smitty was his favorite singer. I remember the first time I saw him play live at a little outdoor concert. I still have the BEST photo I’ve ever taken in my life, all blown up into the size of a poster. Thank you Steven Curtis. I wish I could play guitar like you.

I remember running into Brad Olsen at what is now Kangaroo Market in my own hometown. I miss that quirky sound of The Waiting. I treasure meeting Jamie Slocum and Phil Keaggy and Wayne Kirkpatrick and Nicole C. Mullen and all the guys from Third Day and Shaun Groves and Lori and Micah Wilshire. The list goes on.

Oh my, God has been so good to weave all these beautiful people into the tapestry of my life, even for the fleeting moment that it has been.

Those days are long gone. But God is opening new doors for me now. Different doors, but equally exciting doors. My prayer is that I will take each opportunity as a gift. That I will always remember that if anything good happens in my life that I am not the least bit responsible, for without Him I can do nothing. I pray that I’ll never allow my writing to become an idol but that I will take the gift that He has given me and use it to encourage others and to point them to His Kingdom.

Things happen in our lives for a reason. There is a season to everything.

I just found out that one of my stories (not my novel, not yet) will be published in a hardbound collection of stories sold at Barnes & Noble and at Walmart. Wow. God is so good. I wrote that story from the heart on a whim and sent it without worrying about whether or not it would be published. I am floored that I’m actually going to be able to step into a store and see my words in print.

I will treasure the moment and ponder it in my heart. It may last only a season, but I am thankful for every little thing He gives.