Summer 2012 is almost here and we have been super busy this Spring. The kids are all doing really well. We had a spell with a couple of them struggling with respiratory issues, but all seems to be much better now. Here is an update on all of the ELS.
Trinity is 3 and a half years old. She is just finishing preschool. And, she had her dance recital last week. She is a wonderful dancer, full of energy and ideas. She loves to make new friends, tell stories and learn about family history. She still has a very low and unique sounding speaking voice. It’s fun to hear her talk. And, she talks with those big brown eyes too.
Leeland will turn 2 this Summer. He is so much fun. He loves his siblings so very much and enjoys doing everything that they do. He really loves baseball and has mastered his swing along with sound effects. He’ll also say “homerun” or “strike” when he (pretend) hits the ball. He was on breathing treatments for several weeks and as I would hold him in my lap he would point to the television with the remote control saying “baseball, baseball, baseball.” I would (sometimes) let him watch part of a game if I could find one on tv. He is a joy!
Trinity’s dance recital
Moustapha and I attended a friend’s wedding at the Hyatt Lost Pines. This is a pic from the golf cart ride to the wedding ceremony.
Listening to my album mixes has become a regular occurance for all of us. Luckily, the kids all really like the music. I’m hoping they are a good test market for the target audience. 🙂 If so, we’re making a really popular cd.
Bakri is nearly finished with first grade. It has been a wonderful year of growth for him. He has made some great friends. And, his reading abilities have amazed us. He loves to read big books and will spend hours reading. He is also great at spelling and art. Here he is on “all art day” doing a chalk painting on the sidewalk of his interpretation of Boats at Saintes-Marie. He still loves baseball and he and Maddux have enjoyed another year of playing on the same team.
Maddux, second from the left, is five and a half years old. He is graduating from pre-k soon and he will officially be a kindergartener. He loves his school and friends. Maddux learned to read and write this year. It helps to have an older child working along side other children. So, while Bakri was working on reading, Maddux was picking it up too. Now he can read everything. He will tell me when I’m in a left turn only lane or that I’m not supposed to cross a double white line or read any sign on the side of the road. He keeps me on my toes and remembers everything!
Trinity at the water park
Leeland, Maddux and Bakri
We are looking forward to a fun Summer. My album will be finished soon, so I will have lots of work to do as far as marketing and delivering all the products to those that pre-ordered it. It’s an exciting time. We’ll try to swim a lot and play a lot this Summer too. Enjoy your Summer. Enjoy your life. It’s a gift. “Give thanks to the Lord. For He is good, so good to us!”
I was really encouraged by so many of you after my last post. Telling you that I’ve had doubts in my life, and that I’ve been discouraged, at times, by the words of others was difficult. It was humbling. But, it was honest. And, many of you said you have felt the same thing in your own lives and that it encouraged you to hear a little of my story.
So, that got me to thinking about the power that we have to encourage one another. When we see gifts in our friends, let’s tell them.
Do you have a friend who is an encourager? Tell him/her. Let them know what it means to you to see them encouraging others and how they are making a difference. Do you have a friend who has the gift of great counsel? Do they listen well and give great advice? Are they wise? Tell them. Are they a gifted photographer, artist, amazing mother or father, teacher, singer, community leader, blogger, friend, etc.? Tell them! I know that the negative words that are said can have such a powerful impact, almost crippling us from doing the things that we should do. But, I believe that we can overcome the negativity, and overcome those that just want to discourage us, by rising above and choosing to encourage others. I believe that God intends for us to do just that. Just a thought for this Friday.
Isaiah 40:28-31 says:
“Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He doesn’t grow tired or weary. His understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted. Youths will become tired and weary, young men will certainly stumble; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.”
And, below I share with you a photo of something I looked at everyday while in Nashville. It reminded me of several special ladies in my life who I love with all of my heart. Ladies that encouraged me every chance they got. I don’t believe this sign in this place was an accident. God is reminding me that He is with me. To wait. To be ready. To encourage others and to be encouraged. Be blessed, dear friends. Love, Rebekah
I’m not sure exactly when it started. But, somewhere along the way I stopped believing I could sing.
I have been singing my entire life. I remember my mother telling me repeatedly that my elementary school choir teacher told her that I had a voice that would stay. I “would always be able to sing,” she said. She told me that over and over. I should have believed it. But, at some point, I stopped believing. I sang at special events in High School, one musical (which I auditioned for to be in the chorus and got one of the leads), talent shows, and the National Anthem anytime I was asked. But, I wasn’t in the school choir and didn’t get any additional singing training at that time. I didn’t sing much in college. All the girls that lived with me during that time would beg to differ. Because, I always had a song in my head and heart. And, if I was walking or moving, I was singing while I was doing it. But, I didn’t join the choir. I wasn’t a part of any University singing groups. I took one singing class toward my degree. And, I sang at my sorority house a lot. However, I never found a church home in college and kind of lost my voice along the way.
In Los Angeles, just after college, I pursued an acting career and worked in Public Relations (my degree Concentration at the University of Texas.) I sang karaoke with friends a number of times and was drawn to church communities where the worship music was amazing. And, I sang in the weddings of some of the most special and amazing friends anyone could ever hope to have on this earth. But, I still didn’t sing as a big part of my life.
After moving to Houston, getting married, and then having our first son, I felt drawn to sing at our church and be a part of worship leading as a background singer. I felt the calling, but I didn’t understand it. Even meeting with the worship leader at the time, I never would have expected him to ask me to sing with him and the team for the next two years. But, he did. That is when I began to sing, to really sing again. Nearly seven years ago. When the calling that God has on my life began to really become clear to me. I was a wife, a new mother of an infant and I was living in a new city. And, I finally started listening to the right voice.
Even at my high school reunion, I heard someone mock me. This wasn’t even someone that I graduated with or had ever met before. He/she said “oh, just wait, I bet she is about to start singing the National Anthem.” ha. ha. ha. I was hurt. I helped plan the reunion with several of my friends. I took time away from my new baby to work on planning. And, to hear that, my feelings were hurt. And, I heard them saying (in my mind) “she can’t sing. She should just go away.” But, those voices, the ones that said “I can’t” are not more powerful than the one that says “I can.” And, “I should” and “it’s not about me” so “buck up and get out there and sing your heart out to the Glory of God, girl, because that is what you were made to do!”
God has a mighty plan for me. And, He has a mighty plan for You.
Even being asked to lead worship at my home church now over three years ago, I still believed it was my heart, and not my voice that put me in this position. I know that is true in part. It is my heart, but I can also sing well with my whole heart and voice.
Sunday night I was a part of a concert at our home church. This was a very special concert celebrating the gifts of our church community and many local Houstonians. All the works presented were arranged, composed or written by Houston composers. Many of whom were in the room. I had the honor of singing three of my songs. Three songs that I’ve written. Three songs that are going to be on my first album coming out this year. One of them, an updated arrangement of a hymn with an original chorus. Each of the songs I am proud of. Each of them I am inspired by. And each one I was blessed to share. Two of my talented friends accompanied me on piano and guitar. Making the fact that they were done acousticly (a departure from the record) really special. They came alive. I was happy. I felt the Holy Spirit through it all.
The talent on display that night was amazing. The classically-trained voices, the perfect harmonies, flawless melodies, the skill of the conductors and musicians. It was all very beautiful and moving. It is this kind of night in recent years when I would feel like I wasn’t a singer. I’m not trained. At least I haven’t had a voice lesson since I was in the Woodlands Youth Chorale many many moons ago. And, I don’t sing perfectly. At least it’s not what I consider perfect. I hear the perfect melodies of others, the way they sing with ease and hit high notes that give me chills. I’m amazed and I love it. It’s not me. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t sing.
God gave me a voice. He’s given me melodies to sing, lyrics to inspire and a heart that is willing and ready to share with others. I can sing. I am a singer. I have a God-given gift of song. Writing music is a huge part of that gift, but singing it and connecting to it and to others through it and to God through it and connecting others to God through it, that’s my gift. I know now that God has given me this gift and he’s given me amazing opportunities to use it. I am going to believe in Him. Believe in His plan, and the hope and future He has for me and my family.
In Romans 15, God’s word says ,”May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Listen to God’s voice. He has a plan for you. Gifts He wants you to use for His good. Maybe you haven’t tried it yet. Maybe you’ve been using your gift as a hobby for 28 years and now is time to live it! Be encouraged today. And, don’t be afraid to use your gifts and be who you were made to be.
Rebekah to read more about Rebekah’s journey to make her debut studio album in Nashville with producer, Marshall Altman, visit www.rebekahme.com
Coming home has been amazing. I’ve loved every second I’ve spent with my family. Especially the chaotic ones that remind me why I love being a mother and a wife and make me appreciate those brief moments of bliss and peace.
The first week I was home my littlest El- Leeland, was so sweet and clingy. Constantly asking me to hold him. “Hold you, Momma?” How can I resist that? But, he is over thirty pounds, so holding him while doing everything else can be a bit challenging. Making dinner, for example is nearly impossible. But, we’ve figured it out. This week he has asked me to hold him less and I think is feeling more and more confident that I’m sticking around.
Our daughter, Trinity, seemed to grow up a little while I was away. She says things like “actually” when correcting me. And, “perhaps” when suggesting an alternative way of doing something. She is delightful and I am so happy to spend so much time with her.
Maddux, our second oldest had pneumonia before I left for the first week. He was better before I left town and was able to attend school the entire time I was gone. This week, however, he seemed to be ill again and we confirmed a pretty serious ear infection at his doctor’s office on Tuesday. So, he missed school. He is getting better now. But, we’ve had many breathing treatments and lots of prayers for our Maddux.
Bakri, our oldest, is doing great. He adjusted well to me being gone, but he loves having me home. He is really opinionated on which songs he likes best. Loving certain lyrics or guitar parts and wanting to hear them over and over. It’s fun. We had a field trip with his first grade class this week. He was awesome on his field trip. First graders are a little wild and kooky. What a fun and crazy age. His teacher promises me that they are not like that at school. Bakri was just happy to see the Birds and the California Sea Lions. He knows what he loves at the Houston Zoo.
Rebekah & Audrey
Being in Nashville and recording with my producer and friend, Marshall Altman afforded me so many amazing opportunities. One of those was the people I got to meet and the people I worked with. The musicians that played on the record are so unbelievably talented. I can’t wait to share with you more about each of them and let you hear the amazing work they did on this record. I am really blown away!
In addition to amazing musicians working on my album, one of my favorite artists- Audrey Assad came by the studio on one of her days off from touring. http://audreyassad.com/desktop/
She was refreshing, smart and talked with me about my “project” telling me she couldn’t wait to hear it as she headed out the door. Awesome. I became a fan of Audrey’s after finding her through Marshall. He produced her first album- House You’re Building and her most recent release- Heart. Both are amazing. Just listening to them would make any artist want Marshall Altman to produce their record. I’m just saying. 🙂 Oh, and, many of the musicians who played on “Heart” played on my record. Which, by the way, is still nameless. I think naming this record should be about the body of work as a whole. At least that’s how I am feeling at the moment. And, I think having that as a title of a track on the record is even better. It reinforces the direction and my hope for others as they listen and hopefully encourage others to listen too. I’ll get there soon. And, share it with you all.
Marshall Altman, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam and Audrey Assad
Until then, keep looking up. And, keep knowing that I am eternally grateful to all of you who care about me and my family and this project that God has laid on my heart to share with many.