Wednesday, October 13

Buy My CD!

My new CD is now available for purchase in two mediums!

I know, I know, you say, "Where the heck have you been??? We were about to send out a rescue operation!" Well, I've been in many places, doing many things, but the important one right now is the production of this new and professional CD!

I'm truly excited about and happy with this new CD. It's been a work in progress for a while now. Some of the songs will be familiar, but will be updated. My last CD was recorded just after high school, so I've grown a lot musically since then. This CD also includes a bonus recording of Franz Schubert's Ave Maria, a classic and beloved favorite.

If you are old school and like to have a physical copy of CDs, you can visit my sales page at kunaki.com here. Kunaki is a great company that I have used to professionally produce this new CD. You'll have it delivered to you promptly.


If you just want the mp3 files for your music player, you can purchase the entire CD or any songs you like on iTunes. Just search gabriela frei and you'll find me!


 The entire playlist is as follows:
1+ Fiat
2+ Present Moment
3+ Transfigure
4+ He Is Come (my Christmas song)
5+ Surrender
6+ Let Me Live (my prolife song)
7+ Leap of Faith (brand new recording!)
8+ What Love is This/Peace In Jesus (brand new recording!)
9+ Love Song (brand new recording!)
Bonus+ Ave Maria  (Schubert)


I am blessed to be able to share with you a piece of my heart through this album, a glimpse into my spiritual journey with the Lord. I pray it is a blessing for you as well. If you decide to purchase one, thank you with all my heart. I am honored and grateful.

All glory be to God, forever and ever Amen. 

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Friday, August 27

Encouragement

I am the type of person, that when you tell me I can't do something, I say, watch me.

And then I usually proceed to bend over backwards, half out of determination, half out of obstinance, to accomplish said impossible task.

Sometimes my stubbornness gets the better of me, and I wind up regretting that I set out to prove myself. Other times, I look at my results and say, check it out, world. I SO rocked that accomplishment. Who says I can't do it?

I find that I am irritated and insulted when someone tells me that they in fact know me better than I know myself, and they are certain I would fail at a certain goal. This especially gets under my skin when the offender is someone close to me, whom I respect and love, and whose affirmation and belief in me I desire very much.

I don't know if you struggle with this same thing. I am feeling somewhat discouraged and annoyed, but I want you to know that I believe in you. Whatever your goal may be, the only thing keeping you from accomplishing it is yourself. If there is something you want to attempt, you figure out what you need to do in order to accomplish it, and you go for it.

Don't ever doubt yourself. You may in the end find that something is honestly and objectively beyond your capacity, but you will be proud of your effort if it was honestly all that you could give. And that is always something to be proud of.

Don't let anyone tell you that you are not good enough, that you are weak, that you are incapable. God has created you with incredible gifts, with limitless potential, if only you will believe in yourself.

So go and do something you never thought possible. Believe in yourself. Believe in the One that made you who you are, because you are fearfully, awesomely, wonderfully made, with a purpose, to do greater things than anyone could ever imagine.

Tuesday, August 17

Need to Focus & Surrender (+ more new music stuff!)

I've been working on a music project for the past couple of weeks (hence, the sporadic blog posts). Not quite ready to announce what it is just yet (SOON I PROMISE), but I was reminded once again of how all my music is and must be Christ-centered. I was feeling rather frustrated in my efforts. Things were good, and maybe even really good, but they weren't right or perfect or just so.  

I couldn't figure out why I wasn't having the success that I thought I should be having. After all, I was trying my best to get it done. And then I realized that, with all my effort, I had forgotten to seek the Lord, to ask for His blessing and seek His guidance in accomplishing what is after all something devoted to His praise and glory.

It's so easy to forget sometimes the simple act of placing ourselves solidly in His hands, truly surrendering all our actions to His holy will. Even though the thing I was trying to do was something for His glory, I had forgotten to pray for His guidance, so that what eventually was accomplished would be according to His plan.


Lord Jesus, help me never to forget You. You have been so good and so gracious to me, that sometimes, because things are good, I forget to thank You, and I forget to ask for Your direction. You are my strength. You are my truth. You are the reason things are so blessed. You are all that matters. Please give me that grace never to forget You, even for just a second. I want You always to be front and center, the first one I think of when I wake and the last Name on my lips when I go to sleep. You are my everything. Amen.



Music Website Update
New videos are up on my website as well as new audio. There's a new video featuring the song "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" by Josh Groban - this is one of my favorite songs of his (See it here). Also I've added a 3rd audio playlist, featuring praise and worship anthems (the 1st player is all original songs of mine, and the 2nd is wedding specific). God bless you and to Him be all the glory.

Wednesday, August 11

Longing for More (+ More Music Videos!)

I got to see one of my favorite priests in the world today, as well as benefit from his extensive wisdom and beautiful sermons. He is the pastor of one of the local churches for which I provide music for funerals. It never ceases to amaze me how beautifully and perfectly he captures the fragility of our existence, and yet our profound tie to eternity, to God. Thank God for him and all the work he does for the glory of God.

His sermon today focused on the fact that we are made for more than this earth can offer. He made the observation that no longing or desire exists without an objective and logical satisfaction for that urge. For example, man feels the desire for food, and such a thing as food exists. A duck has the inclination to swim, and there exists such a thing as water. Birds have the tendency to fly south for the winter, and there exists such a thing as air to hold them up.

In the same way, as St. Augustine puts it, our hearts are restless, ever searching for something higher, greater, more perfect. Our hearts long for that Higher Being, and there exists a God who created us to love Him and only Him. He does not leave us in the absurd position of desiring the impossible.  Rather, He places within our hearts a need for Him, and waits with open arms for us to find our way to Him. He alone is the satisfaction we seek, the answer to our deepest questions, the fulfillment of our most basic desire: our desire to live. He is Life, He is Love, He is God.

I'm so grateful to be alive. I'm so grateful for life, for blessings big and small, for unexpected grace and unplanned hope. God is so good and merciful. Never forget to be grateful to be alive, and to tell the people in your life how very much you love them. For you don't know the day or hour when God will call you or someone you love home. Don't miss a chance to tell them how much they mean to you.























On a music note, I'm happy to announce that I have a few more new videos up on my website, as well as new audio in my song players. I hope you enjoy them all.

 + Shout To The Lord Video - a note about this one, I actually composed a second verse for this song specifically for weddings. This is another of my all-time favorites.

 + Breathe -  Another powerful praise and worship anthem, very dear to my heart.

Check back soon to www.gabrielafrei.com as I'll be adding new audio tracks as well as announcing some cool news. 

To God be the glory.

Monday, August 2

From This Day Forward and TWO NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

I love weddings. More than that, I love singing for weddings. I can't tell you how my heart simply exults to see a man and a woman stand before God, before family and friends, and profess to all how very much they are in love with and committed to each other.

I remember my own wedding, the excited flurry of preparation, the nervous waiting in the rear of the church, the timid glance up the aisle to meet the eye of my beloved. Ah, to live that day again and again... well, thank goodness for 2000 photographs and 8 hours of videotape to help jog my memory!


I had the blessing on Saturday past to sing for a wedding in a town not too far from my own here in Florida. The church was simply stunning. There was a gorgeous mural of Christ offering His Heart in love to the world towering over the altar.

He remains there in open invitation, beckoning all to come as they are, and leave better, stronger (to quote Glenn Beck). I fell in love all over again.

And then weeks of preparation and practice came to fruition. 20 minutes of prelude and 3 processional hymns later, the bride and groom stood before the altar of God and confessed to the world that yes, they had fallen deeply in love, enough to say "forever" to each other. Enough to profess in holy sacrament that through God's grace, they'd stand together through sickness, health, wealth, poverty, even monotony and especially child-raising (an arduous task, believe me!).

It makes my heart revel in the beauty of love, of life, of finding that person who makes your heart beat a little faster. As Emily Bronte put it, "Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same." 

I have the best job in the world. I get to be there, somewhat behind the scenes, a fly on the wall observing the happiest day of your life. Sometimes I know you, sometimes I don't, but I'm always tremendously happy and excited for you to begin this wonderful new chapter, this journey of companionship, growth, and deepened love.

Sam Keene puts it aptly: "We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly." Perfectly, as in through the eyes of the only Perfect One, the Lord, who alone loves us fully and without our deserving it.

We must follow His example and look at our loved one not with rose-colored glasses, but with eyes wide open, a gaze purified by love and refined by grace, able to see past the imperfection, to the beauty within (and if you're lucky, without!).

I wanted to share with you two songs (and hopefully, more as I finish editing them) from this wedding. I hope you enjoy hearing something a little different from me, namely, praise and worship songs as opposed to my originals.

Here are Blessed Be Your Name and How Great Is Our God. Click on the name to link through to my videos. Enjoy!!

To God be the glory.

Tuesday, July 27

New Song: Come (A Prayer of Hope)

I'm happy to introduce my newest song here to you all: Come (A Prayer of Hope).

This is a rough, live cut of the song from a funeral I sang for today. Hence the random looking over to my right. I was making sure that I kept the song to an appropriate length to cover Communion.





I wrote this song specifically for funerals, to be a song of consolation, of encouragement, of return to the Lord. Through His love and strength alone do we conquer adversity and emerge from trial.

I welcome your thoughts. It's a brand new song, still "under construction." This is actually a short version, as there were only a few people at this funeral. I hope you enjoy it. I also have a brand new audio recording on my website of "Lord, When You Came To The Seashore." Listen here.

Lyrics:

Come (A Prayer Of Hope)
June 25, 2010

~*verse one*~
There is no pain He has not felt,
No sadness He doesn’t know; He holds all your tears in His hand.
Your cross, He carries with you, the heavy load you bear.
Give it all to Him. Give it all to Him. Give it all to Him:
You do not walk alone.

~*chorus*~
Come to Him, you who labor and are tired.
Come to Him, you with sorrows you can’t bear.
Come into His presence, feel His tender love.
Come, His love will carry you.

~*bridge*~
He lifts us from the flood that threatens us.
He shelters us from the weapons of our foe.
He heals us with His tender touch of mercy.

He loves us more than we could ever know.
He loves us more than we could ever know.
He loves us more than we could ever know.

~*chorus*~
Come to Him. Come to Him.
Come to Him, you who labor and are tired.
Come to Him, you with sorrows you can’t bear.
Come into His presence, feel His love. Come, His love will carry you.

© Gabriela Frei 2010

Wednesday, July 14

Watch Me on TV!

Well, to be honest, you're really watching the Lord Jesus on TV, as this is a televised Mass. But I'm providing the music, which is pretty awesome in my book.


I got the opportunity to share my gift of music with two local parishes as well as with the people in Southwest Florida who suffer the incredible burden of being limited to their homes. The shut-in community is extensive here in this area, as Florida is Retirement Central for much of America. I considered it a real honor to play a role in making the Mass more special for their viewing, even though it is the reception of Our Lord's most precious Body that is the true gift.

I wanted to share that link with you all, just in case you wanted to see me live in action. This particular video is of the Mass from this past Sunday, July 11th, at St. Raphael's Parish in Lehigh Acres, Florida. The pastor, Father Dennis Cooney, actually concelebrated my marriage ceremony in 2008, as well as led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land that my family was so blessed to go on. He is very special to me.

Enjoy!
Click Here to Watch!

Tuesday, July 13

how to retain your sanity.

I've been pondering of late that I really could make better use of my time.

Matthew is now 14 months, and such a precocious little bugger. He's into everything and onto everything and his preferred mode of movement is running full throttle into everything. So I have my hands full 24/7 just keeping up with the Kid.

But in those precious moments of spare time, it's all I can do not to just launch myself onto the nearest couch and enter into full veggie mode.

I've never been much of a TV watcher. My siblings would always rave about the latest TV show that is a "must watch this summer," and I would always be woefully out of touch. Not this summer, baby!

Ok, so maybe I'm still out of touch in regards to the "cool shows," but I still have watched more television in the past 6 months than ever before in my life. And granted, I have needed it for more than one reason.

1) I needed the relaxation from chasing the Chubb.
2) I needed to put my feet up and unplug myself for a while.
3) I needed to hear a voice other than my own, with a vocabulary at least as sophisticated as a junior high student... (although that's sometimes a stretch...)

But I feel as though little by little, I can start to engage my brain cells a bit more and stretch myself intellectually again. Yikes, even the thought is intimidating...

But I am slowly reconnecting with my love of literature, catching up on some quality reading while the Bubbs sleeps. My latest page turner, Catcher in the Rye, was a satisfactory accomplishment that everyone tells me ought to have been read while I was in junior high... ah well, better late than never...

So I ask you all. Doesn't matter if you are a Mommy with bubbas of your own to chase, or a recent (or not so recent) college grad, high school grad, whatever: how do you continue to challenge yourself intellectually now that the summer is upon us, or now that a constant pitter patter of little feet fills the formerly silent air of contemplation?

Even though I am a Mommy, I feel there is no reason I can't continue to grow, to challenge myself, to think and ponder deeper things... I just might have to squeeze it in between Dr. Seuss and diaper changes now.

Sunday, July 4

Thank You All

I just noticed that my little counter is over 1000 visits.


Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing in my life since I started blogging.


I can't express the joy and peace that sharing has brought me.
It's just nice to get some things out, to know that someone out there is reading and perhaps being blessed, either by my joys or struggles.


Hopefully, I've helped you in some small way.


I have definitely been both helped and blessed.


You've watched Matthew grow. You've experienced my learning curve with motherhood.
You've been updated on my music. You've (hopefully) grown through my ministry.




All in all, I'm so very content and grateful you're here.


And I'm keeping up the fighting and running the race, per God's grace and for His glory.
  
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! 
Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. 
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, 
With thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 4:4-7

God Bless America

The Declaration of Independence was signed today.
Read it. Remember it. Guard it with your life.
We are and forever ought to be free and independent,
One nation, under God,with liberty and justice for all,
enshrining life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Happy Independence Day, and may God forever bless America.

 IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...

...We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.


I am proud to be an American. 
This is a great land, and her people have done incredible things.
God bless our leaders, that they might have wisdom.
God bless our troops, that they might have strength to keep us safe.
God bless all citizens,
May we never forget who we are, or what our forefathers paid 
that we might live, believe, work, study
as a free people. 


+amdg+

Thursday, July 1

A Gift? For Me?

I had an interesting conversation yesterday which, although only lasting but a minute, has left me pondering til now.

I was chatting with a woman I don't know at a mommy group event, and she was commenting on how her daughter (she was a grandmother) was married and soon to give birth to a baby, and how she herself was irritated with her son-in-law.

Being the devotee of love stories and babies that I am, naturally I was curious and conveyed my interest.

She continued to remark on how her son-in-law (foolish man that he was) did not think that he needed to give his wife a "congratulations on bearing my first offspring" present. How dare he. What is he thinking? She is going to all this trouble, and he's not going to reward her on this momentous occasion?

Needless to say, I was surprised at her vehemence. She then went on to account for the absurd (albeit sweet and sentimental) gift that he had bestowed on his wife on their wedding day. He had given her a handkerchief.

Now I must interject my own opinion here: this was not just any old handkerchief. It was delicate and fragile, a work of art (per the grandmother's scornful description), embroidered on one side with her daughter's maiden name and date of birth, and on the opposite with her married name and date of the wedding.

Swoon.

But the grandmother confided both in me, and apparently with her son-in-law as well, that in their family, jewelry was always given as a gift on momentous occasions, and in her opinion, he ought have given her a diamond (even though she had plenty).

Wow.

After my short discussion, or rather, listening session with this austere woman, I was left pondering. What is the nature of gift giving? What should go into such a practice? Are you giving a gift for yourself or really taking into mind the person receiving?

At my university, there was much discussion regarding the 5 Love Languages. They are as follows and I believe self-explanatory:

1) Physical Touch
2) Words of Affirmation
3) Quality Time
4) Acts of Service
5) Gift Giving/Receiving

I can't stress enough how important it is both to know your own love language and that of the person(s) in your life that you love, be it a significant other, friends, or family.

Your love language is how you best receive love, and in turn, the love language of your loved one is how they best receive it.

This post is dealing directly with the issue of giving gifts. Some people are good at giving gifts. Some people are good at receiving them.

I am both. I love to give gifts to people, and honestly enjoy getting things for others. I put thought into each gift, into the likes/dislikes of the person receiving, and I try to make each gift personal and meaningful.

One of the most precious gifts I've ever received was when Jonathan wrote me a song for my birthday while we were still dating. It was sappy and sentimental, and absolutely wonderful and heart-melting. I still remember all the words and hum it occasionally. It makes me smile without fail.

I have a friend who is 1000 times better than I at giving gifts, and she never ceases to amaze me, outdoing herself every time. She never expects anything in return either, and I hope that somehow, all of us are loving her the way she needs to be loved in return.

Otherwise, I can imagine it gets increasingly difficult, giving and giving without receiving anything at all in return.

So I wonder, what is it to give a gift? How much of it ought be telling other people what you want/like, as if life were a gigantic gift registry? How much of it is depending on others to care enough to discover your own love language?

Was it right that this grandmother tell her son-in-law exactly how he should gift his wife, because she knows her daughter? Should he have done a better job in getting to know her desires?

Or is there an element of self-revelation in the gift he chose to give?

I think that we have to be careful in this. There are 3 options I see:

1) You can tell people how you are best loved, and elucidate the things you most would like to receive. Then you must be patient and allow them to take it or leave it...

2) You can simply wait and allow the person to little by little discover how you are loved, trusting they have both the desire to know you at that deep level and the desire to give you what you most want.

3) You can allow the person gifting you to reveal their particular way of loving you through their particular gift. This I think is tricky, because you have to trust that the person won't be lazy or not interested in putting the effort to really love you through their gift.

But I have faith in people that love. I believe that love conquers all.

I believe that a gift from the heart has tremendous value, regardless of what it is.

Then again, diamonds are always a girl's best friends. As are shoes. And chocolate. ;)

+amdg+

Tuesday, June 29

Me, Myself, and I

I have a running conversation going... with myself.

I don't know if it's just me, but I find myself constantly conversing with myself... either with little reminders, comments about my current activities, venting, rejoicing...

I guess I consider myself good company. Better than being annoyed with or trying to avoid me.

I was telling Jonathan about this habit of mine, and he was curious, and kept asking what kind of things would I say? And I couldn't really describe it, as it's more of a stream of consciousness kind of thing.

I find it to be reassuring, calming, and even a little satisfactory. I can tell myself the things that I could never voice aloud to another soul, whether from embarrassment or fear of being judged. I can be honest with myself (for the most part).

Am I alone in this? I hope not. If you can't talk to yourself, how can you honestly expect other people to enjoy your company?

It doesn't help that for the majority of my day, I'm at home with a 13 month year old, who  compensates for his lack of vocabulary with volume, enthusiasm, and gesture.

And so I take comfort in the one adult voice and presence that I can depend on 24/7: me. I may not be the most unique, enthralling, or challenging of conversationalists, but I'm all I've got to work with.

Thanks, Lord, for the gift of my own good company. And thanks, too, for always being there Yourself, listening to my crazy ramblings with good humor, and entering so often into my self-conversation.

Friday, June 25

New Song: Come (A Prayer of Hope)

Yes, dear readers. You get not one, but two posts today... basically because I'm super excited to announce that I've finally finished a new song!

Wow, has it been a long time since I was able to announce that! The last song I completely finished was back in 2008. Graduation from the university, getting married, having a baby, life just somehow happens in the blink of an eye.

But I knew that in His time, another one would come. I have to admit, I do have 6 or 7 sheets of paper with lyrical works in progress on them... a verse or two here, a chorus and bridge there. Works in progress that I will someday return to, when the winds change and inspiration beckons.

The back story for this new song is unlike any of my others. I wrote it specifically for a funeral. Not for a specific funeral, mind you, but specifically for a funeral.

That has lately been a large part of how I contribute to my little family's financial stability. I play piano and sing for funerals. Dreary, you say? Somber and altogether unpleasant? Ah, but I beg to differ.

I have the distinct and unique privilege of being a fly on the wall on two of the most momentous days in a person's life: their wedding and the funeral of a loved one, be it husband, wife, mother, father. I am very humbled to offer what I can to make these days as beautiful and appropriate as possible.

I in a small way contribute to their joy on their wedding day, and I hope I alleviate a small portion of their sorrow on that funeral day, when they say their earthly farewell to someone well loved.

And so I got to thinking that I would like to write a song of hope, of comfort, and of compassion specifically intended for people in mourning. The Lord knows our every sorrow, and carries our cross with us. He holds every tear in his Hand, and counts them precious. We must give to Him our sorrow, our heavy burdens. We must come to Him with our weariness. Coming into His presence, feeling His tender love, our crosses become a bit easier to shoulder, knowing that we do not walk alone.


For His joy is our strength; His peace is our shelter; His love is our guide. He lifts us from the threatening flood and shields us from the weapons of our foe. His tender touch floods us with mercy and healing. He loves us more than we could ever know.

So we must always come to Him.

I hope to have a recording of this new song done soon. Jonathan always tells me that it's so good to get things done while they are fresh, while you are still riding the wave of excitement and adrenaline that inspiration provides. Thank you all for your love and support.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

+amdg+

Who Am I, Lord?

I have been meditating, really ruminating, on the Gospel reading from last Sunday. I wrote a bit on my thoughts on the question the Lord presents to us all, asking "Who do you say that I am?"

And then it struck me yesterday that the question must necessarily be reversed, that we must daily come to Jesus and say, "Lord, who do YOU say that I am?"

We cannot look to the world, to our peers, to secular media to define who we are. These means of definition will either fall radically short of the beauty and dignity we possess, or will present us with lies regarding our identities.

Jesus alone can reveal to us who we are, if we are patient and humble enough to endure the revelation. For we are all far from perfect, and must be open to seeing the truth of our weakness and shortcomings, if we would embark with the Lord on the journey of our growing in holiness. Acceptance is the first step, but only the first step of many.

I was thinking about this specifically in regards to the gifts the Lord in His infinite wisdom chooses to bestow. I have been unbelievably blessed with a gift in music. I know others who are blessed with gifts of relating well to others, of communication, of prayer, of wisdom, of knowledge... There is no end to the myriad of gifts the Lord bestows to us His warriors.

And then I fell prey to the temptation to compare myself, and I thought, Lord, I will never be able to do what she does. I will never speak like he does. I could never accomplish...

And then the Lord allowed me to realize something. Firstly, He does not create us empty-handed. Secondly, He creates us with a purpose and a mission.

He does not create us empty-handed. What an encouraging thought, especially in this time of confusion. The Lord has given each and every one of us a powerful and beautiful gift to use for His greater glory and the spreading of His name. That is not a wistful thought or a possibility, but a certainty.

The certainty of our gift results in the responsibility to come to the Lord and discern what our gift is. Then we have not the choice, but the challenge and the call to use that gift we've been generously given to do mighty works for His glory. With great power comes great responsibility.

We must never for a second doubt that we have been given a tremendous gift to be used for His glory. If you question it, you simply have not yet discovered what you have been given. As the priest from my church so succinctly put it, "Have you asked Him yet? No? Why don't you just ask?"

I don't know why I don't ask simple questions of the Lord more often. "Who are You, Lord? Who am I? What have You given me so that I might glorify You?" These simple questions produce simple answers, that in turn find a place in the magnificent tapestry of a life lived in union with the Lord.

You too have a tremendous gift waiting in your arsenal. Don't doubt that, not for a second. Let no one cause you to doubt, or to fear that you have nothing to contribute, nothing to offer. For you are fearfully, wonderfully, perfectly made. He has not created you empty-handed, but sends you into this world armed and ready for battle, prepared to give glory to His name.

Discover what is your gift, then use it without fear. Allow the Lord to guide you, and you cannot go astray.

He has not created us empty-handed. He gives us good gifts, and sends us forth to do His mighty work, to be His light to a world full of darkness.

+amdg+

Wednesday, June 23

New Lease on Life

I'm excited to launch a new template for this lovely blog. It had to be done.

I feel as though every few months, I get this urge to change. Usually it bursts forth in a crazier-than-normal cleaning frenzy, that usually lasts late into the night and produces bags of garbage and/or donations for Goodwill. I call it my need to de-clutter. Definitely not a bad thing (although Jonathan sometimes runs for cover as I break out the 409, Windex, and my hardcore cleaning gloves...).

Well, this time that urge evinces itself in the need for renevatio, or rebirth of this blog into a new creation. So Behold... THE NEW TEMPLATE FOR 3M (that is, Music, Ministry, and Motherhood)!

So refreshing to have something new to look at. Amazing how a simple change can launch a whole new spurt of creativity... still waiting for the spurt... ok, I'll just have to make do with what I've got.

But I do have some creative progress to report: a MUSIC UPDATE at long last!

For the past few weeks, I've been hard at work with a previous un-tackled musical challenge. A gentleman contacted me and asked if I'd consider putting music to some words he'd written. The song was about the Sign of the Cross, and he wanted a light and catchy melody for 5th/6th graders to learn and be able to sing along.

I rose to the occasion and accepted the challenge. I thought to myself, I'm fun, I can do light and catchy... and thus the St. Andrew's project began.

I must say, I'm pleased with the outcome, and as I sat in the St. Andrew's parish office yesterday, observing 3 cute ladies tapping their feet and humming along, I knew that I'd hit a musical home run. The gentleman too was pleased with the musical adaptation of his words (and being a lyrical composer myself, I know that lyrics are like children - you want to give them the best appearance possibility to present to the world). I was grateful that he was happy.

But it was a new and challenging experience to work with someone else's words. I have an organic process for writing music: it involves a flash of divine inspiration, furious scribbling down of lyrics, humming melodies in my head as I write, and then sitting at the piano for a few hours banging out the finished product. It's quite another thing entirely to put a melody to someone else's creation.

But I was excited to try something new, something different. I have my own style of playing the piano and of writing lyrics, and working with Dr. Macedonio's words gave me insight into a different lyrical style. I enjoyed it tremendously.

He was so pleased, he gave me a second set of lyrics to start working on, a Christmas lullaby!

I feel as though I've ascended to a new level of artist - one that involves paid commission work not unlike Michelangelo or Raphael... ah, but I have still so far to climb to reach those heights!

But it's an honor just the same, to be asked to give new life to words, to give them rhythm and movement.

Feel free to listen here, on my music website. On the right side, there's a music player titled "Let It Be Done To Me," and the track is titled "We Love To Sing."

God bless you all, and thank you for your support!

+amdg+

Tuesday, June 22

Why Can't You Just Take A Nap????

Ah, the days when the cub is sick... 


It used to be that nothing could ever slow me down. Not sleeplessness, not sickness, not homework, not anything. I was a machine! 


And now, God has chosen in His infinite wisdom to bestow upon an automatic "take-a-breather" mechanism: my one year old and his occasionally malfunctioning immune system. 


Behold, the days of runny noses and watery eyes and moaning and groaning and gnashing of teeth are upon me! And I'm forced to step outside myself and once again learn to put the needs of another WAY FAR before my own. 



I've discovered that it's easy to put the needs of another before your own when you feel the cause is noble and honorable and commendable. I found that I would gladly get up in the middle of the night to feed my baby, because he needed me, because it was fulfilling, because it was good and right. I was proud to serve. 


But I've also discovered that when my baby is sniffly and germy and wet and whiny, giving up my own plans and schedule to tend to his needs becomes an heroic effort as opposed to an honor. He's less apt to entertain himself, and more likely to sit at my feet and cry, content only with 100% of my attention. 


It's frustrating, when I have a to-do list the length of my arm, schedules to keep to, things to get done... 


But I'm coming to see that the Lord is calling me to a change in perspective and in purpose. There will always be things to do. But my little one will be little for such a short time. Soon enough, he won't need me anymore. And then I will look back longingly at this beautiful time when all he wants to do is cuddle his mama, and wonder why I didn't take advantage. 


And that applies to life in general. Sometimes, we are so caught up in the tasks, the business, that we lose sight of the present moment, the loveliness of life right now. The Lord is good in giving me reminders to slow down and bask in His goodness now, even if that goodness comes in the form of Matthew fighting off disease like a champion. 


All he needs to be happy is my attention. There's really nothing so important, that needs to be done right this second, that justifies my refusal to spend that time with my best guy. 




Lord, help me to be patient when it counts. Help me to love when it's hard. Help me to put myself aside when no one is watching. Help me be less of me and more of You. Amen.

Sunday, June 20

A Father is a Wonderful Thing...

Happy Father's Day! My prayer is that you all are blessed with good and godly men in your lives that are a true example of Christian manliness.


Our fathers can and ought be the first example of bravery, of honor, of trustworthiness. They ought teach their sons how to be men, how to love women properly. They ought inspire their daughters to value themselves and wait patiently for the man who will show them the honor and respect that they deserve.


Our fathers can and ought be a reflection of God our Father. They ought bear witness to Him in their every word and deed. In honoring and loving our fathers, we are better able to enter into relationship with God.


I have been blessed with two wonderful men in my life, whom I celebrate today.


My father is a man of few words, a man of honor and courage, who fights for life daily and gives me a clear example of what it means to trust in the Lord with all my heart.
 
My husband is a wonderful, godly, and loving man, who never fails to show me how very much I am cherished. He has jumped headfirst into the role of father, at first hesitant and now confident, and makes our son laugh like no one else. I am honored to be his wife and to have the opportunity to love him and be loved by him a little more each day.


These men are an example to me of our Heavenly Father's love. I have truly been blessed by their testimony. I know that some are not so fortunate. Regardless, find that man in your life, whether it be a father, a grandfather, a husband, boyfriend, priest, friend, or even a stranger showing you a random act of kindness, and thank them today. For today is a day to remember those men who have loved us, some with great sacrifice to themselves.


And never forget that even if you have no one to celebrate this Father's Day, you have a loving Father in Heaven that sees your every accomplishment and is proud, catches your every tear in His hand and counts it precious, and longs for the day He will welcome you home with wide open arms.


My father on earth has sacrificed so much that I might become a happy, well-rounded, intelligent, and loving woman of God. My Heavenly Father sent His only Son to die so that I might live. I have so very much to be grateful for.




For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father! ~Romans 8:15



Saturday, June 19

Who Are You, Lord?

This Sunday's Gospel asks such a significant question: "Who do you say that I am?"

Not "Who do your parents, or your peers, or your friends say that I am, but Who do YOU say that I am?"

I feel like this Gospel is a terrific confirmation of my post from yesterday. Not only do I have the inner conviction that I must be ready to proclaim my love and devotion to my Jesus, but now He Himself is asking me who I say He is.

Do I know? Can I answer?

The priest from my church today in his homily said that when people wonder what Jesus is like, he tells them, "Well, have you asked Him?" 

And it struck me as profound. The answer to knowing Who Jesus Christ is comes from having that deep and personal relationship with Him. Asking the question, "Who are You, Lord" marks the beginning of a journey walking together. If we ask, He begins to reveal Himself. The more we wonder, the more we come to know.

And the incredible grace is that He longs to reveal Himself. He desires us to know Him. He wants us to fall so deeply in love with Him, so that He can purify that love and make it more like His.

Lord, I want to know You, so that I can answer with confidence when asked Who You are.

"Lord, You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Amen.

Friday, June 18

Passion and Hope

Ah, life. How you unceasingly fill up with things that take me away from writing. 


No matter. Here I am, where I've been all along, pondering, meditating, learning, and growing.


Update: Jonathan, Matthew, and I had a lovely trip to California, celebrated Matthew's 1st birthday in true fashion with family, and really have enjoyed a beautiful couple of months. I will have an update soon on all the music stuff that has developed and been keeping me busy. God is good!






I was at my prayer group last night, and heard a talk that has left me wanting more from my life in regards to spiritual growth. This talk, among other nuggets of gold, emphasized the need to live a life with single-minded purpose and passion, fixated on the Lord and the path He has set before us.


Especially in these turbulent times, we must above all know who we are and what we believe. We will be tested. We might be persecuted. We will be called upon to give testament to the truth. And we must be ready.


I for one have renewed my resolve to be ready. I have renewed my desire to study, to immerse myself in His Word, to run hard after Him. I want to be able to lead others both through my actions and through my words. I want to be able to defend him with faith and with reason. Our faith is at the same time wondrous and sound.


Another nugget of gold from this beautiful talk has stayed with me. I apologize if this post seems somewhat scattered, but I decided better to share a few things that appear unconnected, than not to write at all. This second truth that struck me was the difference between natural hope and supernatural hope.


I have a tendency to expect good things. I think to myself, I am a good person, I strive to do the right thing, I make good choices... ergo I ought be rewarded with goodness in my life! It makes perfect sense in my mind.


And yet, good things don't always happen to good people. Often, terrible things happen to good people, and no reason for them can be found. In these circumstances, we think to ourselves, how could that possibly have happened to such a good person? It's easy to equate bad things happening with bad things done. If I am good enough, this will all turn right again.


But that's unfortunately not how it works. Back to that distinction in hopes: natural hope is the hope that believes, if I do good, good will be done to me. If I believe strongly enough for long enough, my prayer will be answered a resounding yes! If we rely only on this hope, we can often be disappointed and disillusioned, asking, God, why didn't You come through for me? I prayed and I believed and I trusted, but the bad still occurred.


This is where supernatural hope comes in. This is the type of hope that does not disappoint, according to Romans 5. This type of hope is the one that proclaims unceasingly, His will be done above all else. With this hope in our hearts, we can pray and trust and ask, but at the end of the day, we cling to the assurance that what comes to pass is in our best interest according to His will. And that assurance can never disappoint.


With this hope in our hearts, we can only ever be at peace, sweetly surrendered at all times to His will, confident in His provision for all our needs. Oh, how I long for that peace, that trust, that hope.


I want to live my life focused on Him. I want to hope and never be disappointed.


Will you join me?

Wednesday, April 21

Easter Prayer

"Jesus, You are King:
Triumphant Lord and Master of all.

Death could not hold You nor contain You:
You broke its shackle, and You have released us from its curse.

Help us to remember that we are an Easter people,
A Resurrection people, and Alleluia is our cry, our song, our praise to You.

Free us from our graves,
Help us rise from them singing.

Help us to remember this is our time of resurrection too.
This is our new springtime.

You have said, BEHOLD: I do something new.
Help us to claim Your Resurrection.

Help us to go forth, Your empty vessels,
Heads held high, proudly proclaiming to the world:
HE IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN.

For that world unbelieving will mock and scorn, "Where is your God now?"

We cry out in jubilation: He is not in the empty grave.

Roll away the stone, for He is ALIVE. He is here. He is risen."

Forever and ever, world without end, AMEN.  

Tuesday, April 20

Let This Cup Pass Me By...

Ever have "one of those days"?


You know the kind I mean... those days when the simplest thing can tinge your day with difficulty, can burden your soul, can reduce you to tears and doubts.


Today was one of those days for me. (I know, I know, reusing blog photos...)


Even though I know that my husband is probably my most consistent reader, having this blog still feels like a confessional, like I'm sending my spirit out into the world like a dove to find dry land. There's a degree of anonymity, of release, of freedom in sharing my humble thoughts with an audience that, regardless of what the truth might be, at least to me seems captive and engrossed in my day-to-day doings and musings.


And so I share with you my weaknesses, my fears, my wee difficulties, in the hopes that you might somehow understand, commiserate, or at least know. Knowing someone out there knows spreads some of the weight around.


I started this blog to chronicle my quest to balance my life as musician, as mother, and as minister. Lately (and by that, I really do mean the past few days), I've been struggling a bit with my role as mother.


Take today for example: Matthew generally takes a solid nap in the mornings, and I count (oh how much do I count!) on having that blissful, blessed time to myself to do the things that I WANT TO DO. Today was no exception: I cheered to myself as the baby went down oh-so-nicely for his nap, and thought to myself: "Ok, I can finally sit down and finish reading that book, well, AFTER I clean up the house, and exercise, and scarf down some lunch, and get those business emails done..."


I'll bet you can tell where this is going... I got done all the things that I HAD TO DO, but when that blissful, special time came for me to relax... I heard a not-so-musical cry from the baby room, and that was the end of that.


I can't tell you how many times that has happened over the last 11 months. But it got to me today. My heart literally sank, and I couldn't shake this feeling of disappointment.


I have to confess, I'm TERRIBLE at relaxing. I always would rather work, work, WORK for an intense hour, get everything done, and then settle in for some quiet, peaceful reading. Problem is, now that I have a wee man on my hands, my time for me shrinks weekly, and my need for it grows exponentially.


I love my lil man, but he is a demanding child who requires (read: commands) much of my attention and energy. It's hard not to feel smothered by a baby who just wants you 24/7 (although he is really cute). As a mother, you are never off duty. And it's definitely wearying.




I can promise you this: it's worth every second. My son is so unbelievably sweet and loving. But it is hard. And some days, I just need to get things out there and out of me. I don't have any answers or deep ponderings or wisdom to offer with this post. But I know I'm not alone. And I know I'm so blessed. And I know, above all, that I love my Matthew with every fiber of my being.

Wednesday, April 7

Empty Yet Satisfied

I read another Steady Mom blog post delving into the beauty of emptiness. Emptiness is a concept that our modern world shuns. And yet, surprise surprise, it is a lifestyle to which our Lord calls us, if we are to be ready to follow Him at a moment's notice (click here to read my thoughts on the immediacy of Christ's call).


I must confess, this idea of emptying myself, of decluttering, of untethering myself from the materially unnecessary is daunting and uncomfortable. I like the security provided by possessions, by financial success.


I like the comfort of going with the crowd, following convention. If there's anything that terrifies me, it's the thought of being judged, of being found wanting, of not meeting expectation or causing disappointment.


And who, might you ask, is that judge? Shamefacedly, I'll admit that too often my judges are the people around me, who in my mind are constantly evaluating my actions and reactions.


I forget a lot that in the end, His opinion and His alone is the one that truly matters.


And so I must empty myself of my preconceived notions, my baggage, my biases. I must set aside worldly ambitions and aspirations. I must loosen my grasp on material possessions, and be ready at a moment's notice simply to go where I am called.


For He does call, when we are open to listen. He gives us tasks and challenges so to spread the message of hope and love that only He can give to a world that is truly in need.


He needs us to be empty, so that His Love can better flow through us.


Only then can we truly be satisfied, never having anything of our own, but always full to the brim with purest Love. In giving that love away, we constantly receive more, and our capacity to give and receive increases. The gift of Love, given and received, never ends.


"The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite."

Monday, April 5

Ink and Pages

""Someone once said that reading is a dress rehearsal for life. Through a well-crafted story we experience the good, the bad, and the ugly without any of the consequences. We get to learn from others' mistakes."

 I read this quote on one of the blogs I currently follow: Steady Mom. It got me to thinking about the beauty of reading-the exciting journeys and adventures it inspires- and the incredible power of the imagination.

I am an avid reader... at least I used to be, before life happened and my son was born.
Now if I get 30 minutes of reading in, it's a fabulous day for "me" time.

Don't get me wrong, I relish every second spent with my little guy. But on those lovely days when he sleeps for three hours and I get the opportunity to delve back into reading, I am reminded of how very much I enjoy this activity and how grateful I am that my mother so strongly encouraged me to read. She opened up the world to me, and I intend to do that for my children. No endless hours in front of a TV for them! (A strong proclamation considering the only child I have right now is a 10-month old...)

I just finished two books that when juxtaposed reveal such interesting truths about love, relationships, and the appearance of perfection. The first, Perfect Life by Jessica Shattuck, is an examination of the friendships and relationships experienced by a group of college friends some years after graduation.

The second, Recipes For A Perfect Marriage by Morag Prunty gives a portrayal of two marriages, that of a woman living in New York, and that of her grandmother in Ireland.

Both books, while the former is secular to the core and the latter full of spiritual wisdom, illustrate the principle of illusion: all that glitters is not gold, and what can appear to be a perfect relationship can be anything but. 


I often look at other people's relationships and wonder how they make it look so easy. I look at my own relationship, and sometimes miss the good in worrying about the difficult (but only sometimes: there's so much to be grateful for).

It's amazing how many times we can focus on the perfect, this illusive ideal that somehow manages to become the standard. I know in my head that perfect is impossible to accomplish. But my heart longs to be perfect, to have it all together, to be "that mother, that wife, that woman" that other women want to be more like. 

Sometimes I look at other women, and I want to be like them. I think to myself, "Man, she's got it so easy. Her kids ..., her husband ..., whereas my son ... and my husband ..." Or I could covet someone else's financial security, someone else's house, someone else's good fortune...

But that's where reading such books as Perfect Life and Recipes comes in handy. All that glitters is not gold. I may have my own crosses to bear, but I have no idea what someone else's challenges may be. We must be careful what we wish for. What appears to be perfect often times is anything but.

Many times, we can present a front of perfection to the world as a wall behind which to hide the reality of our problems and trials. If we could just appear to have it all together, maybe then everything would simply be okay.

I am so grateful for all that I have. I have a wonderful music ministry, which God continues to expand in His will and time. I have a beautiful marriage, which is not perfect, which is continuing to blossom, and which brings me joy unlike anything else. I have a wonderful son who teaches me unceasingly and calls me daily to sainthood. I have so many blessings. So what if life is still hard sometimes? The challenges keep me from complacency and stagnancy, keep me reaching to Jesus for the strength and grace to persevere.

Little by little, I'll learn from my own mistakes. I'll take what I can from other's mistakes. I'll keep moving forward, keep living life. Lord, keep my eyes focused on You, rather than on those around me. You alone are perfect, and can bring me to perfection. And that is good enough for me.

Thursday, March 18

The Fifth Station.

Having a cold makes me realize just how blessed I am.

This might seem a paradoxical statement. But the realization that having this cold is possibly the most wretched thing I have experienced so far this year gives me an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

I have it so easy.

There are people all around the world whose countries have been ravaged by earthquakes (my mother's homeland of Chile no less). There are children starving for food and for love. There are the sick, the dying, the poor, the lonely.

And I suffer from a measly cold. That's the worst thing in my life right now.

God, I am overwhelmed by Your goodness and our generosity to me. I am thankful for my small crosses that I bear diligently and perseveringly. Thank You, Lord, that the crosses of others are not my own, and give me the grace to give aid as I am able. May I be Simon of Cyrene for Jesus.

Let us not be so quick to pity ourselves and cry about our situation, our cross, our difficulties. It could be so very much worse, and for many, it is.

Thank You, Lord, for my cross. Thank You for the strength to carry it daily. Give me the grace to embrace it lovingly. Amen.

Monday, March 15

A Son Comes Home

As you know, I spend my Sunday afternoon/evenings leading the music for the Teen Mass at my home parish. This is both a blessing and a challenge. Sometimes, it is difficult for me personally to enter deeply into the liturgy, as I am focused on my responsibilities.

But then God breaks into my reverie, interrupts my contemplation, and presents me with something new to consider, something that didn't jump out to me while planning the music.

Yesterday's Gospel was the story of the Prodigal son. I looked up the word "prodigal," and it literally means "to squander, to drive away" (Thanks Merriam-Webster). I have always had a tough time with this reading. I identify 100% with that older brother. He dutifully obeys and honors his father. He works hard and achieves much. He is the "perfect" son, and worse, he knows it.

Friday, March 12

Movie Critic 101 - The Broadway Melody of 1929

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be paying tribute to the entire lineup of Best Picture winning Oscar movies, I would have chuckled nervously while giving you a weird look and thinking to myself, "Yeah right. There's no cute guys in those old flicks. Why would I ever be interested in those?"

Thursday, March 11

Clean House, Clean(er) Spirit

It's incredible how quickly clutter collects in a home.

Sometimes I open a closet and am astounded at how much unnecessary stuff has accumulated, that we don't need and wouldn't miss, but just can't bring ourselves to get rid of.


I have to confess, I am a pack rat. I have boxes full of little notes from people, awards I won in high school, pins I used to collect, etc ad nauseum. And I never look at any of it. But it's there if I ever felt the urge to relive the good old days. Which I might. You never know...

But the point is that I don't. And I should be able to part with these things, but I have difficulty letting go. I've realized that as detached as I consider myself to be, there are still so many things in my life that I couldn't bear to part with. Have you played that Game, the one where your house is on fire and you can only grab ONE THING? I'm terrible at this game. Well, I should say I used to be terrible at it. Now I grab my son. Period. But I'm the one that, after Matthew is safely outside in the arms of the firefighter, I go BACK IN to the burning ruins to scour for those things that somehow make my life livable...

Or do they? If I had, had, HAD to, I could let go. But since I don't have to, I'd rather just hold on to my memories, thank you.

And then, out of the blue, I read this: "Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new!" (Isaiah 43:18-19). But Lord, I was comfortable with the way things were. I liked the familiar.

And then He rocks my world, flips it on its head, changes something radically. And I learn to let go of the unimportant, the trivial. It's time to step into a new day of freedom.

So as Jonathan and I worked to de-clutter our home (and hopefully benefit people in need as a result), it has a similar effect of de-cluttering my spirit. As I let go of physical things I don't really need or want, I ponder in my heart the spiritual weights that keep me in bondage. I let go of those too.

And by doing both, I breath a little easier, feel a little lighter, and look forward to something new.

Saturday, March 6

May I Have the Envelope Please?

Nothing superbly philosophical or intriguing about this blog post.

But don't let that turn you away, oh faithful friend and confidant in this journey of baring my soul!

Jonathan and I were watching a video on YouTube yesterday, and it became painfully apparent to me, how ill-educated I am when it comes to Oscar-winning films.



I can name most if not all major Disney characters,
but when it comes to truly magnificent cinematography, my film experience has been appallingly sparse.

And so, a new quest begins.
 
I'm starting at the beginning... well, really with #2, as the first movie to win Best Picture in 1929, "Wings," is not yet available on DVD. But the next year's winner, "The Broadway Melody of 1929", is on our Netflix que and will arrive sometime next week. I'm excited to broaden my horizons with film that has been deemed of quality.

I will let you know my progress. This will  be an exciting and new addition to my blogosphere: Gaby's Oscar Education. Or shall we call it, a foray into a potential new life calling: Gaby the Film Critic... Don't worry, I won't quit my day job.

Feel free to let me know your favorites, and I will anticipate them with glee. I'm planning to watch them in order to the present, excluding the few I have already seen (which is quite a few... I'm not a complete virgin when it comes to films of good quality!).

I'm excited to expand my horizons a bit. Jonathan and I have relished many a quiet evening with wine and a good movie. Now, the difference will be a) I will be judging for myself movies that have been judged first-rate, and b) I will be opening my thought process and judging critieria to you, my faithful and beloved compadres.

Enjoy the show.

Friday, March 5

NEW CD!

At last, at last, at last!!!

Since I graduated from high school, I've been selling and/or giving out copies of a CD that I recorded that summer before college. I was never 100% happy with it, and always yearned for the time/$$$ to record a new one that I could really be proud of.

HERE IT IS.
With new and improved recordings of Fiat, Let Me Live, Transfigure, and other favorites, I present to you my new CD: Let It Be Done Unto Me.


I am so proud of this new CD. My wonderful husband Jonathan got me a terrific digital piano for my birthday/Christmas this past year, and is it ever awesome! It's a Kawai ES1, and I couldn't be happier with it. Best of all, I can hook it up to my computer, along with a microphone, and voila: a new CD recorded in under a week, just in time for the Women of Faith, Women of Action conference. At which I sold a LOT of CDs!


If you would like to order a copy of this new CD, sample the songs here on my website, then contact me and I'll be happy to get you a copy.

A Good Sort of Pride

My name is Gabriela Frei, and I am proud to be an American. 

 I have the distinct honor of being a first generation American. My mother hails from Chile, South America, and her parents are 100% Italian and Danish. My father is Cuban, and his family escaped from Cuba when he was 5 years old, on one of the last ships before they shut everything down.

I am 100% American. Although I cherish my Italian, Danish, and Cuban heritage, I am American. And I am proud of that fact. I love my country.

Thursday, March 4

Know Thyself.

How do you love?

Are you full of passion, sparks flying, endless soaring on cloud nine?
Are you twitter-patted and silly, hearing violins and seeing rainbows soaring?
Are you solid and enduring, captivated once and loving forever?

How do you show love?

Are you a giver of gifts? Do you exude affection? Are you a servant?
Are your words a expression of love? Are your time and presence gifts in themselves?

How do you receive love?

Do you crave a warm touch? Do you relish time spent with your beloved? Do you require affirmation to know you are loved? Do gifts provide that assurance? Do acts of service convince you?

Know thyself, the Oracle proclaimed. If you cannot know yourself in this most essential of needs, your need to show and receive love, you cannot hope to progress further into knowledge of yourself.

In our love, we most reflect God. In loving others, we are a vessel of God to them. In opening our hearts to receive love, we encounter our Lord in others. Without love, we are a cacophony of sound, tales "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" (Macbeth).

We are told there is so much to know, to unfold, to discover in the world. There are adventures to be had, books to read, subjects to study, places to go, beauty to see. And yet, the most profound depths are in fact within ourselves. Here in the silence is the place designated for us to encounter our Maker. In this stillness, we are meant to find Him - "Be still and now that I am God" (Psalm 46).

We often forget that we are ourselves an untapped wealth waiting to be uncovered. I am a mystery even to myself. It takes a lifetime to know fully who I am, and yet I cannot know what I am meant to be without this process of self-discovery and increasing awareness.

Because I am all that I have to work with. And yes, progress can always be made, and perfection can be coaxed from the unwieldy. But if we cannot make that effort to discover who we are, then we have no starting point from which to understand the world.

Know thyself. Be true to yourself. Uncover Truth within yourself. For He who is Truth has imprinted Himself within your heart, leaving hints as to His being. He calls continuously, and in knowing the truth of you, you discover more of Him.

And He is love.

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