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On Assignment

Not much surprises me about people anymore, but every once in awhile, someone comes along who helps me to remember that life isn’t all about getting what you want.  When I started working for a large company 15 years ago, I didn’t think I’d stay more than a couple of months.  I reasoned that I wasn’t the corporate type and this was just to get me by for awhile.  Then, as he often does, God changed my heart and introduced me to a godly woman who stole my heart and made me want to stay.  She used to call her job her “marketplace assignment.” I supported her as an admin for four or five years until she moved on and I supported many other great people as an admin in the years that followed. 

Then in my seventh year, I was assigned to support a VP who was a bit different than most senior executives I’d come across.  The first day I met him, he kissed me on the cheek, much like a father would his daughter.  I was surprised because it was so relational, not at all inappropriate really.  Most execs would shake your hand and say “hey, great to meet you!”  But this guy was different because he wanted to know about my family, and he wanted me to know about him and his family.  Turns out he LOVES opera… at that time, I was singing with local orchestras.  His family and he would come to hear me sing. 

While I was assigned to him, I learned a lot about writing and speaking and balance in life.  I was always amazed at how his attitude was so positive and forward looking.  I know he went through low times in his life and career, but I rarely recall any trace of despair on his face.  I know that look of hope… it’s Jesus.

I don’t work with him anymore in my current marketplace assignment, but I am still affected by his outlook on life.  Our households still keep in contact occasionally and I hope we never lose touch. 

That’s the kind of person I want to be… each day should have something meaningful in it.  It’s all part of the daily process of serving God.  I work as an admin, but my job is much more than that… I’m on “assignment.”

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Be careful what you pray for…

So this morning I was logging on to my www.reverbnation.com account to check stats.  I don’t live or die by statistics, but sometimes it’s a nice shot in the arm when you go up a point or two.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that I am now number ONE for the Anderson area in Christian/Gospel… WOW!!!  I was hoping for top 10, but number ONE!  Wow! 

Just yesterday, I was complaining to God that I didn’t know where my job was going and that I felt sometimes sort of aimless and unfocused.  Isn’t that just like God… to give me far abundantly beyond anything I asked or thought?  In my market place assignment, I deal with numbers all day long and usually, they’re just numbers, but today, the number “ONE” is not a lonely number. :) 

Thanks, God!

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Is it? Could it be?

Let’s face it, this world is not an easy place to live. We humans are sometimes cold-hearted. We say unkind words. We act selfishly and we have an enormous capacity to hold a monster grudge, and that’s all before we’ve had our morning coffee. It’s so easy to feel like revenge and bitterness is justified. Our flesh cries out not just to even the score, but to get one up on the world, even if the person we hurt isn’t the person to made the score uneven in the first place.  We’re very good at keeping track of how we’ve been wronged because we blindly trust our feelings.  However minute the gesture, we sacrifice the relationships we have just a little bit each time we level criticism, or exact bitter revenge, or even flash a cold facial expression. The playing field never really gets leveled because bitterness and revenge are never satisfied. Bitterness and revenge give birth to bitterness and revenge. The feeling of getting even, of getting ahead is addictive to our flesh and it gives us a false sense of power. We conveniently turn our eyes away from who we are in our sinful flesh and we focus instead on the shortcomings of others.  We feel better, but we’re not.

What if we released our “right” to bitterness and revenge?  Is it possible that healing and restoration can come from giving it up?  Could it be true that Jesus’s sacrifice was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices?  God could be the ultimate scorekeeper if he wanted to be, and if he chose to reign in that way, as Psalm 130:3 says, “who could stand?” The scripture doesn’t actually answer that question in words, but the understanding is that no one could stand because God is so righteous and we are so unrighteous. The interesting thing is, Psalm 130:4 goes on to say that God offers forgiveness, that we might learn to fear him. ERRRK!  Wait a minute — God offers ME forgiveness? But I thought it was me who was wronged.  Well, yes… but God is also wronged when we refuse to give up our “right” to revenge or feelings of bitterness in exchange for the freedom of His grace.  It’s like taking God’s free gift of grace and throwing it out with the garbage, like it’s all rubbish. God is not unfamiliar with the way the human heart works, with our desire to be ahead of the game. Afterall, he created us, and he knew we would need something… someONE to break the nasty cycle of bitterness and revenge that comes with the sin that overpowers people.

Enter stage right(eous)… Jesus.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Warts and All

I remember going to my college mentor one day when I was probably about a sophomore in college.  I sat in his office in tears and I remember saying to him, “Everyone has it all together, but I’m not like them.  I’m not strong.  I don’t have it all together.”  Everyone around me seemed to have promising music careers ahead of them and seemed very focused on what they wanted.  They didn’t sit in their mentors’ offices crying about this stuff.  I was not focused, I didn’t know who I was, and I was convinced that somehow, God had passed me over for those things.  I was probably 19 years old then.  My mentor looked at me with a great deal of compassion and said, “Oh sweetie, no one has it all together. No one is perfect except the Lord.”  Those words changed everything.  Just hearing them lifted a burden off of my young shoulders.

I knew the Lord growing up.  I gave my heart to him when I was 7 years old at church camp at Yellow Creek Lake Church of God in northern Indiana.  I was raised in church, but I think it was at this point, in my mentor’s office that I began a journey of knowing who God wanted me to be, warts and all.  It was OK to be imperfect, to not have it all together.

Funny how I still need to be reminded of that, not because I think I’m so fabulous, but to take the weight off my shoulders again, remind myself I don’t have to be perfect. 

I don’t have it all together.  There.  I said it.  :)  That’s the Lord’s job.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Simmer Simmer Simmer

Someone once asked me what my process was for writing songs. Up to that point, I hadn’t really given any conscious thought to what my process was, but growing is good, so I gave it some thought. There are several components to writing that I think are important… sort of foundational (but not necessarily in this order):

1. Concept
2. Lyrics
3. Tune
4. Notation
5. Feel

Sometimes good song ideas come quickly, and sometimes they take time to sort of “ferment.”  I keep a collection of thoughts that I want to write about, and sometimes I never visit them again, but it’s a resource to draw on if I need it.  They’re usually a mix of things including, but not limited to: “Ah-ha!” moments from sermons I hear, conversations with friends, references from scripture, or observations I’ve made about life.  If I am having trouble completing a phrase or a train of thought, I stop and pray, and ask God to clear my mind of whatever distractions I may have.  It usually frees up any writer’s block and it helps me remember why I’m writing in the first place, so it’s good.

Generally, lyrics or a thought concept come to me first, but I think the lyrics and the music are equally important.  I’ve heard some really terrific lyrics that were set to OK music, and I’ve heard some great music with so-so lyrics.  My feeling is that if I’m writing a song, I want the best of both worlds for the song that I’m writing.  I don’t get upset if I can’t put the two together right away, but I don’t release anything that I am not at peace about.  There have been times when I’ve written a chorus and couldn’t “hear” the verses, but six months later, I revisit it and the verses come.  When I’m writing, patience is a virtue.

Unfortunately, drama and conflict in a person’s life tend to be great fertilizer for new songs.  If I’m experiencing something particularly difficult or hurtful in my life, I pray about it and I make notes.  So I guess what I’m saying is, if you hurt me, you might end up immortallized in song, so look out!  lol  (without naming names, of course.)

Sometimes I write in guitar chords, sometimes I use a combination of Roman numeral notation and numbers to indicate the degrees of the scale for melody.  Both of those things I learned in college.  I like the latter combo better only because it’s like using “movable Do” (like as in Solfeggio).  It irritates non-theory people who try to read my notation sometimes, but I’m happy to translate it later.  I don’t usually use traditional notation (cleffs, notes, etc.) only because I don’t have my computer set up to write it all down.  That’s a goal I hope to achieve this year.

Lastly, I want to make sure that all of these things have a particular ‘flow’ to them.  If there’s a melody line or a train of thought that doesn’t lay well, it may be time to go back to the drawing board to correct it.  Once that is finished, it’s time to have others listen to it and get feedback. 

So there it is… my process.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
Link

NEW EP RELEASE!!! Glory to Glory

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve posted my first extended play release, Glory to Glory!  (click on the redlink above.) I hope you can take a few minutes to visit and listen.  I think you’ll be blessed, I hope you’ll smile and most of all, I hope you will hear something in this music that helps you discover more about who Jesus is. 

Blessings!

Jenny :)

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Pilgrim’s Progress

So back in October last year, I was talking about a recording project that my friend and I were working on.  The project is complete and is now posted on this link.  I don’t have the store set up yet, but it won’t be long.  After that it will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Google, etc.

http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/jenniferkauffman

I promised God when I agreed to do this that I had no personal agenda for it, no designs on where it would go.  I know that God has plans for it, so my prayer right now is that I would follow his path. I’m enjoying the adventure along the way. :)

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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