Playing Piano for Worship 101

I was taught piano by my mom (music conservatory trained) from a young age, before preschool, to play the piano. I am classically trained but also trained to play for church/worship. These are two differing philosophies. While both are fun and rewarding, one, classical, is played to show off your skills and the composer’s skills and one, worship, is to show off God. The key to being successful in leading hearts into worship lies in whether or not you have adequately prepared, and I do not mean having the chord sheets or notes ready or memorizing the song, though that is a tiny part of it. “You cannot teach what you do not know.” You will never lead another to worship if you are unfamiliar with the concept. You must worship as a lifestyle. Loving God, studying the Bible, praying, serving Him and others, loving people are all forms and extensions of worship to God. When you live in that and keep humble, God will play through your fingers when the time comes to smooth out any imperfections or distractions during live worship after you have practiced ahead of time and lived in this state of worship. As you are diligent to God, He rewards with blessings of being able to share that and draw them in. And do not underestimate the power of a sustain pedal and inflection- building up a song vs. quiet moments of contemplations. Be ok with pauses. Be comfortable in your skin. You play for God and not people. That is a key ingredient. I always sing, out loud or in my mind, while I play. When you mean it, you play from the heart fearlessly and just play for Jesus, like it is you and He in the room. I do this whether I play for Jesus alone or play before thousands of people gathered to worship Jesus. Same thing. Numbers never matter, but your heart does. I detest emotionless playing for worship. God deserves our passion, our putting of ourselves and intention into what we play for Him. We represent His worthiness to be worshipped when we play so it must reflect that. It is an honor and a privilege to lead worship from the piano and He blesses those who do it well, meaning from a heart of constant worship and dedication to God. Nothing is better, so do it right, do it well. Go with God!! ❤

Hello, Everyone!

People from 54 different countries have read my blogs this month. 54! That is mind boggling! So, I wanted to say… Hi, everyone! I have traveled extensively and have family all over the world and love learning about everyone everywhere, so please leave a comment and teach me something about your country. I am Tonya and live in Central Florida. It is hot here, in the 90’s now because summer is here. 🙂 I love God dearly and am married to a good man and have two beautiful but active children. I am a doctor but only do consultations now as we opted for me to stay home and homeschool the kids, which is wonderful as we can do extra art, music, playing and serving God together in our community. Anyway, just wanted to introduce myself and hope you do the same back. Thank you for reading my thoughts and words. Love you so much. God loves you even more! ❤

The Power of Positive Positivity

Cheesy. True. Being positive is a habit that may be formed through practice and intention, like everything else. Good and bad habits are formed this way. The benefits of positivity are huge. Lights in this world are not negative. The world is negative and increasingly dark but we who are commanded to be lights in the darkness must be positive. It can only be done as a by-product of close relationship to God through time spent with Him in prayer and Bible reading. Being positive/optimistic is easy with God close, the goal/choice to be made to count onr’s blessings and be positive intentionally and practice. It is an honorable goal. More importantly, it is required as a Christian. We represent God in earth as Christians and we need to take that seriously and obey and honor Him. ❤

Trailer Park Playground

When I was young, pre-10, I lived in a rough and ready, salt of the earth trailer park with my parents and sister. My sister was an indoor child, preferring Barbie dolls of which mom made homemade clothes for (gag!). I preferred action. I loved riding my bike a lot, plating on our gym set a lot, pretending to be a super hero (Incredible Hulk mostly, don’t laugh), play the piano or bounce for hours on the rebounder on too-rainy days, etc. But my favorite outdoor thing was the trailer park playground. I could usually round up some other action-oriented kids and play wild imaginary adventures on the jungle gym. It was an effort to reach my short chunky legs between the really wide bars to go up, took a lot of strategy. I would learn some secular songs the kids sang (we were only allowed to listen to Christian or a little country), we would fight, we made up with a friendly slug in the arm, we would play again. The sandbox was enormous and whole world’s were reenacted therr, best after a good rain when we could build up mountains. The swings were the real ones that squeaked and we’re about 30 feet tall. We tried our best to go all the way around the top. And a lot if life was lived on that pkayground. Mostly alone, sometimes there were other people, but even then I was never alone and prayed. I had real talks about God, asking Him if He would give me super strength. And I honestly believe He did. It just was a different, more usable form of strength. And I owe a lot to that playground. I take my kids a lot. Something about them sparks the imagination and critical thinking, and who knows maybe some talk time with God. 🙂

The Power of Dreaming

Dreaming, exploring possibilities in your mind, thinking out goals visually, is extremely powerful. There was a true story of a Prisoner of War veteran who mentally survived a war camp for 7 years, much of which was spent in solitary confinement. Upon rescue, he was asked how he survived and he replied that he kept visualizing getting better at golf, his favorite hobby. He pictured the swing, the putts, the greens, the sand traps, the air on his face, etc. And upon release, he started playing the best golf game of his life. This is the power of dreaming/visualization. And I had a dream growing up that I have kept mulling for decades over of a cabin in the woods with windows that allow the morning sun to stream in rays onto my bed, coffee in hand basking in the warmth of the light, like a morning kiss from heaven. I am dressed in a sheer white nightgown and the woods are teaming with life and the song of the birds. It is just me and God. That peaceful scene is how I picture heaven and its serenity has calmed my soul in very muddy, dark circumstances. The grimmer the environment, the lighter the soul lifts with the vision. It is powerful and a gift from God to help survive the rough. He is so good!

A Beautiful Morning

All mornings are beautiful when you wake up with a clear conscious, count your blessings and focus on God. (In fact, you sleep better when those things are true of uour night too. Come to think of it, days are better if that is also true of tour day. Lol) But this morning was particularly beautiful. The sun was just as bright but hidden a tad behind a thin veil of clouds. There was a refreshing breeze that tickled my hair to fly around a bit. The birds were singing their morning praise and breakfast songs. Walking was sweet in conversation with the Lord, like walking with my best friend and Savior. I realized something exquisite, a new truth I had never fully embraced and indeed embraced it (sorry, that is between my Lord and I). And the walk was refreshing in every way. Getting back to the house, everyone was still asleep so I sat and rested on the porch swing, enjoying the mockingbird in our bistro vines searching out their breakfast. God is peace and joy. And if you walk with Him, you are too. I am ready for the day. I love you. Have a beautiful day! ❤ 

Around the World in One Day

Amazingly and humbly, I report to you, dear friend, that my little truth/encouragement blogs of late have been around the world in one day! And today, for the first time ever, more people read them in various parts of the world (and every continent except Antarctica- no one ever reads from there lol) than in my wonderful USA. It is amazing. 13 different countries! I am amazed always at how God works. He put art and music and writing and passion for beautiful creations of God in me, welded them into my being, forging me to write, to paint, to quilt, to play piano, to sing, to hike, to photograph, to teach children, to encourage. Then, as if that weren’t enough, He blesses me richly when I do what He designed me to do!! I am humbled by my Lord. I am amazed by Him and celebrating right now. And my goal is to share truth of God (the only eternal truth) and encourage people in their unique journey with God. I did not always have that goal. Once I wanted, being the extrovert that I am lol, wanted to share every thought in my head with the entire world but really more about me. This part year, God worked on my heart through many humbling and heart-breaking experiences, and He had molded my little broken but newly restored-by-Him heart into one that warmly beats just for Him. I write for Jesus, for God who I love with all my heart. It is His story I long to share, His handiwork I long to display, His truth I have to tell and His love I wish to share. You are never alone. I am never alone. And no matter what else goes on around us, God is peace and joy and love eternally and everything good when we humbly pray to Him and ask Him to save us then stay in prayer and read His Words, the Bible to strengthen us. Writing is something I have to do, I have no voice in the matter, but I celebrate God’s blessings on me today for only writing for Him. God is so loving good!! Praise God!! ❤❤❤