Girl Talk : Music, Songwriting & Wholeheartedly Pursuing Your Dreams

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Having girlfriends is the best.thing.ever.  Someone with whom you can swap stories, giggle and share life’s wonderful moments. There’s so much wisdom that I have gained from the amazing women in my life; whether about the best product to get rid of dreaded frizz or advice on how to live my life with passion.  My life is better because of the girlfriends in it.  That’s why I started “Girl Talk“.

This is my friend Lynette.

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She is amazing! Incredibly thoughtful and inspiring, it’s impossible to leave her presence and not feel encouraged.  She exudes grace and it’s obvious that there are incredible things in store for her life.  I’ve only just had the opportunity to get to know her, but my life has already been enriched because of it.  Her music is absolutely beautiful and I love hearing her heart for worship and seeing others step into their purpose.  She just released a new worship single, In Your House and it’s great! You should totally go check it out here.

She has graciously agreed to share a bit of her heart and story with us all today.  I had tears in my eyes the first time I read her responses below. Her bravery, tenacity and wholeheartedness are not only inspiring, but contagious.  I’m so excited to highlight her awesomeness on the blog!

LAH – Can you tell us a little bit about your story and what has brought you here?

Lynette – Music and songwriting feel as if they have always been a part of my story.  For nearly as long as I can remember I’ve had a song in my heart and a melody on my lips.  As a very young girl, I was kind of shy and a bit quiet.  Yet even then I always felt like my truest, most confident self when I was singing.  I think that’s what really helped me start to realize that music, songwriting and singing were more than a hobby and really things that were connected to my purpose for being.  Growing up I really tried to seize every opportunity to learn and grow musically, I sang in everything from school and church choirs to semi-professional musical theater and private recitals.  Getting around other musicians really helped stretch me and encouraged me to explore.  While I’ve had a lot of really amazing experiences and worked with a lot of really talented people, I think singing in church and leading worship has been the most shaping.  Being on team has helped me get better as a musician and songwriter, but mostly I think it’s made me a better person, because the objective is always bigger than me, than us, than the music…and I love that!

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LAH – How long have you been involved in music?  Have you always dreamed of doing what you are doing now?

Lynette – Music has always sort of been in my world.  It has always been something I’ve loved and felt a passion for.  However, it took me a long time to admit that it is something I wanted to devote my life to.  For a long time, it felt silly to say, “I feel like I’m called to music full-time.”  It felt scary to admit that my best chance at making my best contribution to this generation was through song.  I think part of it was that I was always really successful academically, and felt pressure to “do something” with that… You know, because it was “serious” Whatever that means haha.  What I realized along the way was that those “serious” things were things (for me) that I could mostly accomplish on my own.  When that dawned on me, suddenly it became a lot easier to say, “Music is what I’m called to,” because I knew that this required God to move on my behalf…this was something I couldn’t do all on my own.  And frankly, that’s the kind of life I want to live.  I always want to live a life where I leave room for the miraculous.  If God’s not in it…I’m not interested in it.

LAH – When did you write your first song?

Lynette – I think I was about 6 or 7.  I did a rewrite to a silly Christmas song…and made it about Jesus.  It’s embarrassing but kind of cute in retrospect.  I continued writing on and off over the years.  But I really started to hone it in late high school and college.

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(Sisters!)

 LAH - Tell us a little bit about your writing process.  Where do you find your inspiration to write?

Lynette – I think we can find inspiration in anything.  In Paris, I found the city itself to have a very creative and inspiring spirit.  So I would just go for walks in neighborhoods.  DC is a little bit different, so I’ve found reading great books helps and I’ve also really taken to finding green spaces…to just observe people and nature. 

I’m a huge believer in journaling.  I don’t think journaling has to take any particular format.  It just has to be something that will work for you…but it has to be something that is done consistently.  So many of my best ideas have been developed out of old journal entries. 

I am also a big believer in setting up some sort of discipline around songwriting (and practicing).  I’m highly motivated by goals and prizes, so I structure my writing process toward that (because I know then I’ll actually do it ).  I also really like to set up writing sessions with other songwriters, because I find that helps to motivate me (because I never want to show up to a session empty-handed).

Another essential element in my process is the edit. In fact, I think a lot of the art is in the edit.  I believe we have to be willing to define and refine our ideas.  This is often the hardest step.  It is so easy to get attached to certain elements of a song. However, if we are willing to edit, we’ll end up with better songs.  That being said there is a fine line between being neurotic (i.e. trapped by perfectionism and over editing) and being a good steward (i.e. refining your art but also being willing to “publish”…Seth Godin has some great thoughts on this that can be found in his book “Linchpin”).  If I’m not sure…I try to show my song to another person (I have a few trusted friends and fellow songwriters that I go to regularly. I know these people will tell me the truth in love.)

LAH – What are some of the biggest obstacles you have faced in going after your dreams? How have you overcome them?

Lynette – Gosh, this is such a hard question.  Frankly, I still feel like this is a work in progress.  But if I had to answer, I would say “doubt and confusion.”  I’m pretty type A, so I like to assess situations, develop a “course of action” (with wise counsel) and then just get after it, step by step.  So when things don’t fit within the “course of action” I can get feel confused or discouraged or distracted. 

What’s funny is that this is an area I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the last year.  In September of 2012, I released my first full length project.  It was a really big deal.  I’d done a massive kickstarter campaign (raising over $26,000), so I could “do it right,” hiring industry professionals and amazing session players to make the project really top-notch.

I had a project. I had a band, I had a plan, etc. In November, we did a huge showcase, inviting media and industry pros, which went super well…we were ready to launch this thing into the stratosphere.  It was awesome.  I was excited.  Plus, on top of all of that, I felt like I was really hitting my stride in terms of worship ministry.  Our team was in a great place, growing in number and maturity.  We were writing new songs, leading our congregation to deeper and deeper places of worship, and growing together in unity and devotion to the Lord…It was beautiful.

And then I found out that within a few short months I would be living in a different country. 

Needless to say, I was beside myself.  I was so sad and confused. I felt like I just couldn’t understand what was going on. 

I had felt like I was right where I was supposed to be in my life.  God’s favor had been with me in thing after thing, door after door was being opened to me…and then this.

 I was like, “umm, what?!”  Moving didn’t fit.  It was hard to see how to move forward with what God had entrusted me with in that context.   Yet, over the course of this year, I have seen God working in my life and on my behalf time and time again.  The path before me still feels unclear at times, but I know that God is in control.  Now more than ever, I know what it feels like to really just trust God step by step.  And now more than ever, I realize that being a steward of my gift is dependent on my heart and not my circumstance.  To “live wholehearted” means to live and breathe and sing and write and cry and rejoice and worship before the Lord with ALL that I am regardless of my circumstance…and I love that this year has given me a tangible expression of that.  Has it been hard?  Yes, absolutely. But I am so grateful that my life and my testimony speak the same message.  I think that sounds a little insane, but I am so grateful that all the stuff that I loved  to talk (wholeheartedness and stewardship) about with my worship teams and friends and family (and basically anyone who would listen), I can now TRULY say I’ve lived and walked and talked in the valleys, on the mountaintops, in the desert places and at the river’s edge.  I love that I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is for me, He loves me and that He goes with me…wherever I may be.

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LAH – I am loving your blog, Wholehearted Chronicles! Can you tell us a bit about your heart in starting it? 

Lynette – First, I’d like to say that I don’t particularly fancy myself an author or a blogger.  I’m a songwriter, a singer, a musician and a worship leader…not an author. But, here I am blogging. Needless to say, The Wholehearted Chronicles was really born out of obedience.

Wholeheartedness is a theme that is and has been indispensable to me my life, my music and in worship ministry.  If you were to walk into my house you would see four words scrawled on my wall:  Wholeheartedness, Stewardship, Gratitude and Generosity.  These are words that I try to live by…they are words that shape my world and worldview.  I truly believe that we must “live wholehearted” always and in everything if we are to live fully. This is a message that I feel so passionately about that I decided to set aside my own misgivings about my “credentials” and just write about a message that has changed my life and the lives of many others.  I really desire to see worshippers across the Earth connect with their God-given gifts and talents in a way that honors the heart of God and blesses others.

Read more here: http://lynettemusic.com/the-wholehearted-chronicles/

And here: http://lynettemusic.com/genesis-breakthrough-belongs-wholehearted/

LAH - Where’s your favorite place that you’ve ever lived? You mentioned living in Paris and I for one would LOVE to hear more about that.  It sounds magical. 

Lynette – Well, I always say that every place I’ve lived has had its own charms and highlights.  But Paris really captured my heart.  Sure, it has this mystically beautiful cityscape, but there is truly that “je ne sais quoi” about Paris.  There is something just stunning and magical and wonderful about that city. (Can you tell I love it…and miss it every day!? Haha) 

I will say that part of what I loved about Paris was that I always felt it had a really creative spirit about it (I’m clearly not the first to think this, so many great creative and artists have lived and worked there).  It has this way of turning even the most cynical among us into poets and lovers.  And I’ll never really be sure how or why but I just immediately fell in love with the people there.

Plus, no one does bread like the French!!

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LAH - What is one thing you would say to someone who may be feeling like the dreams in their heart are impossible?

Lynette – Impossible is a fallacy. Your dream might feel impossible.   But if it’s a true heart dream…something that you feel God’s fingerprint on…it’s not actually impossible.  Sure, lots of things are difficult… Most (worthwhile) things take hard work… Many things require discipline… But you have to trust that God has uniquely fashioned you to bring to the Earth the gift He has entrusted you with!  Plus, He never asks us to do it alone…so there’s that! 

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 Don’t you just love her!?!?  I, for one, am incredibly inspired and grateful that she took the time share the wisdom she had gained through the journey.  If you want to follow along on her adventure you can find her on Twitter, Facebook , YouTube or her blog.

 

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LocalLove: Cherry Blossoms

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This is undoubtedly my favorite time of year! One of the perks of living in Washington, DC is that once a year the trees in the city explode into clouds of my favorite color… PINK.

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With my family in town this weekend I used it as an excuse to play tourist in my own city.  I love taking the time to explore places in DC that I would normally fly right past in the midst of my daily routine.

Of course we couldn’t resist a little photo shoot fun while surrounded by all the beautiful blossoms.  Apparently posing runs in the family.

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It’s all fun and games until you get hit the face with a cherry blossom branch. :) 

Here’s a few more fun details from our cherry blossom adventure.  If you haven’t done so already, I’d encourage you to check out all the fun events that take place as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC each year.

If you’re like me and can’t get enough of the DC cherry blossoms, check out my friend Erica and her husband’s blog, Bakers Tell Stories,  for an incredible video and even more (and professional) photos of this year’s cherry blossoms. Absolutely gorgeous work!

If you’re local I hope you’ve had a chance to check out the loveliness. If DC isn’t home, plan a trip next year!  You won’t regret it! (unless you stand to the left on the metro escalator… locals aren’t responsible for what happens if you do that :) )

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WSP: Flowers & Friendship Bracelets

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This weekend was amazing for a million and one reasons… I kicked it off with a manicure and to my surprise they offered complimentary champagne (yes please!)…I spent some quality time with the amazing Erica of Erica Baker Photography at a new favorite spot, Tryst…. I had a fun Spring inspired photo shoot with the ever-fabulous ladies of Tomboy... I met Eileen’s newest little heartthrob… My family came to visit and we celebrated my littlest sister’s birthday.  The rest of the weekend included… sunshine… cherry blossoms… peeps… the Easter Bunny… Simon Says… dandelion crowns… cupcakes… jelly beans…the playground…the coolest co-work space, Canvas… Minion Rush… Veggie Tales… snuggles… new baby cuteness… a picnic on the Potomac…and a whole bunch of flowers.

Hope your weekend was just as sparkly!

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Prioritize Happy

Have you noticed how busy life can get? Responsibilities and appointments and commitments and errands and projects and meetings and a bunch of other words that sound really….umm… grown up, all start to snowball and suddenly you find yourself at the point of no return.

Life has taken over.

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If you’re not careful, you can find yourself in a place going through the motions of life, at breakneck speed without even realizing what’s going on.

I’m calling a time out.


While all of those things are important and have their time and place… what’s more important is that you take time to actually LIVE life.

What are the things that just make you happy for no reason?

Enjoying a moment in the sunshine…

Your child’s beautiful smile…

A 5 minute coffee break all to yourself…

Getting lost in a good book…

Going for a run…

Stopping to smell the roses…

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Whatever it is, take a moment to prioritize what makes you happy.  It doesn’t make you a selfish person.  In fact, if you take those small moments to value yourself, you’ll have more to give to those around you.

What are the things that make you happy?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

I’m going to go buy myself some flowers now :-)

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Spotlight

I love this song. This is not new news. I’m pretty sure just about everyone loves this song.  I love this particularly version of the song for a specific reason though.  No, not just because of Pharrell’s hat and bedazzled shoes.  It’s something that he does.

He shares his spotlight.

So cool right? Those kids are legit.  Isn’t that what it should be about? Using what you have to make someone else look good.

We all have our own spotlight in one way or another.  I’m convinced when we choose to use our spotlight to highlight someone else, it doesn’t diminish what we have but instead magnifies it.

So why don’t we try something today?  

Instead of worrying about our own success/appearance/accomplishments why don’t we use that same energy to show off what someone else is doing?

It’s just going to make you happy.  Trust me.

 

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WSP : Raspberries & Rest

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I loved this weekend…like for reals.  Filled with so many unexpected fun moments…

It included quality time over margaritas with one of my besties, Angie…talking dreams & life with wonderful friends from Charlottesville…#frenchfriday…hyacinths & daffodils… Be Flirty… Eastern Market….crayons…sunshine…a kazoo concert… incredible social media workshop with Mikhail of ParkerMather (do yourself a favor and go check them out!)…homemade chocolate chip cookies… marathons of “The Voice”… DC Worship Leaders Initiative (seriously one of the coolest things I get to be a part of)… No Doubt sing-a-long in the “burbs”… snuggle time with my roomie & Modern Family… Macaroni Grill… naps…Starfish Project… and an amazing day at CapCity Kingstowne.

Hope your weekend was just as pleasant!

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