Kimberly Gunn Music Blog

Put It In His Hands! 

Be encouraged today...Over the past couple of days I've spoken to several people who are going through different things from finances, ministry-related problems, to relationship problems; looking at their situation/resources and based upon what's in their hands becoming discouraged about it. I, too have been struggling to some degree. But yesterday in prayer God reminded me that my resources don't override Him as being the Source. In Matthew 14:13-21, after a long day of ministry and performing miracles, Jesus' disciples were ready to send the multitudes away because in their hands, they saw ONLY two fish and five loaves of bread. But after Jesus instructed them to put it in His hands, He blessed it, broke it, and distributed it and the Bible says that the multitudes ate and were satisfied AND they had leftovers! Be encouraged in knowing that if you are a disciple of Christ and you are occupying the Kingdom until He returns that though your resources in your hands are minimum, when you put it in God's hands He will make it a miracle! And not only will you eat, not only will you be satisfied, but you will have abundance (leftovers)! Declare that! Don't allow your situation be it ministry related, finances, health, or relational, etc. to tell you otherwise. Trust God with your situation/resources. Put it in His hands knowing that He is the Source. Jesus will turn your minimal into a miracle!

You Make the Difference 

This week....I felt like walking out. I felt numb, overwhelmed, inadequate, and in over my head. I cried myself to sleep and woke up worried. Every classroom teacher experiences a year or even years like this. And every good teacher over stresses about whether they are effective...It comes with the territory. I prayed and asked God for the insight to reach my kids and some encouragement. He provided. 

Today, I ran into one of my former parents whose child was transferred to another class at the beginning of the school year. The parent was very reserved, so I never really said much to her; we were cordial and our conversation was limited. So when her child transferred to the other class, even though I was heartbroken, I didn't think much of it. I remember the student being unusually distraught- overcome with emotion. But again, I didn't think anything of it. 

Well when I saw the parent today, I just made the comment of how proud I am of the student and how I miss her in my classroom. The parent in concurrence, tells me that at the end of the school last year, she applied and her child was accepted into one of the magnet schools or private schools (I couldn't remember which one) in the district, but her child wanted to wait to see if I was going to be her teacher for this upcoming school year. So when she found out I was her child's teacher, seeing the excitement of her child, she declined the spot.  The morning she found out her child was being transferred to another class, she received another opportunity for her child to be apart of this school and declined the offer for the second time. That afternoon when the child came home from school, she learned the news of the transfer.

What parent would decline an offer for his/her child to be in a specialty school? A parent who knows that teachers are the ones who have the ability to provide his/her child with quality education, one who is firm yet loving, and one who teaches accountability and responsibility in addition to academics. Though it was challenging in the beginning, the student is thriving in fourth and doing well. She hugs me every chance she gets and it was the encouragement that I needed.

I take my job seriously. Sometimes too seriously. But it's encouraging to know it's not in vain. Your character/reputation always precede you. Proverbs 12 talks about the benefits of being a hard worker in comparison to a lazy person. A hard worker will always find a way to lead and get what he wants.  If you work hard, you will get a fortune.  It's important to never quit and always show yourself some compassion; self love. 

Sometimes we can be our own worst critic. Every "i" wont be dotted, every "t" will not be crossed. But no matter what don't quit.  In the words of Cheryl Perkins, when you want to throw your hands up and quit, throw your feet up instead and let God carry you.  He sees what you need.  Do your part. You make a difference and can make an impact in someone's life.

The Love Again Initiative 

The Love Again Initiative was created to bring an awareness to mental health and the importance of self care/self love. With educating and providing resources to the community, we can shed light on mental illnesses and break the stigma on mental health that affects so many lives and families. Through this initiative, I want to coordinate programs/events that is geared towards mental health, provide individuals/families with incentives for making their mental health a priority, make the Love Again Vlog series more effective and reach a larger audience, and inspire others in song, "Clap for Me", a song about self love. Any donation to this initiative is greatly appreciated

I'm very passionate about mental health because I know all too well how it affects individuals and families. I simply want to dispell some of the stigmas behind mental illnesses and create a healthy dialogue about the importance of mental health from a holistic approach. You can help me by simply donating to the cause or booking Kimberly Gunn Music for your next upcoming event. Click on the link. Any donation to this initiative is greatly appreciated.

The Love Again Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/donate/2003732286393863/

Cheers! 

CHEERS!  It has been SIX years.... SIX years since I released new music (not counting my Christmas single in 2015). And this one I gave it my all. I'll never forget the day I went to Audrey, my writing consultant and she challenged me to go beyond the surface level in my writing; be vulnerable enough to share my story. I cried...I cried because the scariest thing to for me to be is vulnerable. What if people don't like it? What if people reject it? What will people say if I'm opened about my struggles? What is that one thing that I need to talk about through my music that no one knows about me? 

Through those vulnerable moments, Clap for Me was written. It's the anthem song for the overcomer; a celebration of life. No matter if you are an ex-convict just trying to make a fresh start in life, a single mother/father trying to make ends meet, a spouse/significant trying to get out of an abusive situation, a person trying to overcome an addiction, a student just trying to get through school.... or if you're like me and you're just thankful for a peace of mind; that you didn't decide to quit on life in the darkest moments before you were able to see a little sunshine in your now season, this song is for you! It's time out for awaiting for an applause from others... I'm gonna #CLAPFORME #CHEERS

Intentionally released on October 4th in honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct 6th - Oct 12th).

 

It Takes a Community  

It Takes a Community

It literally takes a COMMUNITY to get through this. We got home last night after spending a four day weekend with my cousins all at my parents house. My parents, baby sister, and nephews, showed us the greatest hospitality, giving up their beds, making sure all eleven people had warm food to eat EVERYDAY (and we ate well), and keeping us comfortable and entertained to keep our minds off the storm. Even though our circumstances were unfavorable, spending time with the family helped the time to go by. 

Arrived home last night to one of our neighbors watching over our house. Before we could get out the car, he was in the driveway. While he decided to stay and ride out the storm, he also watched over our house and gave us updates throughout telling us if any damages were done to our house. Then after the storm passed, he got up some of our debris in our yard and got his blower to blow off our driveway and some of the others. Got into the house with lights and water working...thank you Jesus! 

So this morning we decided to get up and do something different as well. Though we were unable to volunteer in the shelters (yet), or help out others who were affected by Hurricane Matthew, we decided to start within our own neighborhood. We noticed that some of our neighbors had debris in their yard so we decided to rake yards and help out our neighbors in need. When we did it, we noticed some of our other neighbors doing it too. Now most of the debris has been removed and our neighborhood is somewhat back to normal. Kindness goes a long way. If this experience hasn't taught me anything, it has taught me the true meaning of community...it takes a village...praying for those who were immensely affected by the storm.

Don't Let Anyone Talk You Out of Your Blessing 

 “It is better to trust God in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Proverbs 118:8 

I recently went through a situation in which I’d made a decision on a situation and I sought out the advice of others to receive confirmation/ guidance in this particular area.  Well this one friend, though knowledgeable and helpful in this area, gave me advice (that was not so good) based upon her experience.  It didn’t sit well in my spirit.  I’d allowed it to plant doubt and fear in my heart.   As a result, I didn’t go through with it.  It was only later when an opportunity presented itself and I was denied that I realized I had allowed someone to talk me out of a blessing. 

Ever went through a situation in which God was leading you to do something and you didn’t because you allowed someone to talk you out of it?  “Oh, that’s not going to work?  I tried it and it didn’t work. Why you doing that? That’s hard…” All of the riff raft you know you shouldn’t be listening to but because someone in whom you’ve trusted  said no, you decided to value their opinion instead of trusting God. 

I’ve learned a valuable lesson.  Never allow someone to talk you out of your blessings.  Everyone have experiences that are uniquely designed for them.  That’s why it’s a personal experience.  You can be in the same situation but have a different result, outcome, and perspective all because that situation is designed specifically for you.  What God has for you, it’s for you.  So what you may not have the credentials for that job position or you may not have the proper credit score for that new car or house but if you took the leap of faith to trust Him, God will give you favor in the situation.   There is favor on your life!  So make sure you trust God over the opinion of others. 

Seeking out the counsel of others is always important before making a decision especially if it’s one that will alter your lifestyle or state of living.  However, make sure it is godly counsel.  Some people will intentionally talk you out of your blessings because they don’t want to see you do better them.   They may try to plant the seeds of doubt just so they can go after the blessing instead.  So use spiritual discernment when seeking out advice.  God’s answer will precede His peace concerning a situation. 

Most importantly, remember that the journey you take in life will be one of faith not fear; it’s a faith walk.  Things we encounter in life require unwavering faith.  You have to that faith that can withstand any situation, any circumstance, and in negativity that comes your way because the greater the risk, the greater the faith. 

Be encouraged in knowing that the God we trust is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think, according to the power that works in you (Ephesians 3:20-21).  No matter what obstacle comes your way, trust God.   And we know that all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  As it relates to my situation, I know the favor of God is on my life and that when one door closes another will open.  I’m going to trust God continue to go through my first decision (follow my first mind) and wait for another opportunity to present itself (it will.)  Next time you see say, “Trust God.”

How Can I Sing when I'm Sick? 

I ran across this article by Molly Shorter on www.christwillmusic.com that I found very informative because I know this situation all to well.  I struggle with a lot respiratory issues, have a lot of allergies and sinus infections, and I also live in a climate that isn't always friendly to those who struggle with these ailments.   Each person deals with it differently, however, because I'm now learning how to listen to my body, have a respiratory/allergy regime, I have learned how to be proactive in these situations instead of reactive.  So what do you do as an artist when you are sick? Check out this article.

"What do you do when you're scheduled to sing, and you have a sore throat? Do you reschedule your date to sing, or do you try to muster through and sing anyway? What if you're scheduled to sing for an event that you can't cancel?

This is on my mind because I seem to be surrounded by sick musicians. It's flu season. And, over the past month, at least half of the singers I work with have come down with the flu or some type of upper respiratory ailment. There's more coughing and sneezing filling the stage than singing right now.

For a singer, a simple cold can put your voice out of commission. The flu or bronchitis can really mess up those vocal cords and put a halt to any special music that you've been scheduled to sing. Prevention is the best policy. Protect yourself by taking your vitamins, eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, and washing your hands often. But, what if you do catch a cold or cough, and you are scheduled to sing at an event that you can't cancel? What do you do then?

First, and most importantly, take it to the Lord. Ask for His guidance and help. Then, begin to prepare to sing. If your throat is sore or your head is stopped up, your vocal range is going to be lower than normal. Find a song with a lower key track and try it. Sing the lowest key possible. Don't attempt any high notes. Those will only result in your voice cracking or no sound at all coming out.

Also, don't try a complicated song. Look for one that has a simple melody and, the less complicated, the better. Once you have a song chosen and before you try singing, drink hot tea with honey in it. The honey will coat your throat and give temporary help so you can get through your song. Repeat this right up until the time you are scheduled to sing. If it's not possible to take a mug of hot tea on the stage with you, then have your pockets filled with cough drops to use until time to sing.

Some time ago, I had one of those upper respiratory ailments. I had been sick for almost a week. Sunday was quickly approaching; I had to sing. Saturday afternoon, I went before the Lord with my cup of hot tea in hand and presented my request before the Throne of Grace. I needed to be able to sing for church the next day. He granted my request! Praise His glorious Name! I was able to sing!

So, if you find yourself in the same situation, and you can't reschedule, give it to the Lord, choose a low-key song, grab a mug of hot tea with honey, and prepare to sing."

"Christmas Presents" 

For days, I've been compelled to write something about my upcoming holiday single entitled, "Christmas Presents"; its conception and how it came about, etc."  Each time I would write, however, I just couldn't find the adequate words to describe the purpose in writing the song.  That's until today.  As I was scrolling through my timeline, I came across a post.  When I read it I was like, "That's it!" It was everything I wanted to say and it confirmed everything I wanted convey in the message of "Christmas Presents".  Before I share the song's conception, I want to include this excerpt of message that was posted by my friend, Melissa Polite. 

"So I was driving from work this morning listening to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and I never really paid attention to the lyrics...but in the song it speaks about repentance, accepting Jesus as your Savior, and that He is a healer. Well it got my mind going about how much we go through the emotions every year concerning Christmas. We sing the festive songs, shop & decorate, cook ect.  But how can some of us believe in Jesus being born but not believe why He was born, [His cruxcifixion], and resurrection from death? We sing these songs but do we believe what we sing? We say these clichés, but are we living the life He leads? We shop, shop , shop but do we realize what CHRISTmas is really about?

The world has commercialized everything so much that there is no longer any simplicity nor any substance. Everything concerning the things of God has become shallow, callous, and meaningless to people. At one point this time of year, it was special, it meant peace, love, and unity.  It has now become artificial. We have gotten soo far away from the truth that its ridiculous. We have gotten greedy and selfish as a nation. Let's get back to basics."

How profound is this statement?  It's truly time to get back to the basics and put CHRIST back into Christmas.  This statement alone is how I came up with the concept of "Christmas Presents".

When writing this song (thank you to Margo Valencia for the idea), I started reflecting on my childhood experiences during this time of year.  It was somewhat jovial.  It was the time of year in which we wrote out our Christmas lists, ensured we were on our best behavior because we wanted "Santa" to give us our desired gifs, put up our Christmas lights and Christmas tree, and my brother and I rehearsed and recited our Christmas parts and songs for the annual play.  On Christmas day,  my brother and I would wake, open our Christmas presents, and then my parents took us to church for the annual Christmas service.  So Christmas was one of my favorite times of the year because it was one of the many memories I have of my family being together.

The music...oh the music!  There were certain songs that I absolutely loved to hear.  When they play on the radio, you knew that Christmas was official.  Songs like Silent Night by the Temptations, This Christmas by Donny Hathaway, Merry Christmas Baby, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, etc. we heard or played throughout the day.  These memories and elements is what makes "Christmas Presents" so special to me.

"Christmas Presents" has that smooth, contemporary, yet retro soul sound that will appeal to various people of all ages from all facets of life. I wanted something that was upbeat to describe this time of year.  It's sound will literally make you want to dance, rock side to side, or snap your fingers to say the least. The title of the song is a play on words- Presents vs. Presence. It's message is thought provoking.  I wanted to convey that after we open our presents and after the family get-Ttogethers, the true gift of Christmas is when the Father gave His Son to the world.  It describes the attributes of Jesus.  "He is...my love, He is...my joy. He is the light, the love, the peace.  He reigns forevermore.  He is Emmanuel, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Holy One, that's what you are to me."  The greatest gift we can receive is to open our hearts to receive the presence of God. 

There's a saying that says, "We want His presence more than the presents."  It is so true.  While giving and receiving presents are great, it's only temporal.  Next year, there will be a new Christmas list.  But the presence of God is eternal.  It's something that never changes.  But as we continue to enter into His presence, we are forever changed. One of my favorite parts of the song says, "The gift of a King, who came to redeem, me from all the mistakes I've made, and on this holiday, the greatest gift I need, is to open my heart, and receive, Your presence."

I want to encourage you this holiday season to remember Christ in Christmas.  It is my prayer that when you listen to Christmas Presents, it will give you a new or greater appreciation of who Jesus is and compel you to worship Him.  Even if this time of year is extremely difficult for you. If you've experienced death during this time of year, a beloved family member or friend is gone, receive a bad diagnosis from doctor, having financial difficulty, or finding it hard to forgive someone, etc. the presence of God is awaiting you.  For everything you need is in the presence of God.  It is the greatest present to receive.

Pre-order your copy of "Christmas Presents" today.  Bless someone with it.  It is a great gift to give or receive.

 

Being A Voice in the Wilderness 

I am reading the book "Never Give Up" by Joyce Myers.  Myers is one of my favorite authors because her books are so practical that you are able to make application in every area of your life.  Her book, "Never Give Up" is a book packed with examples of people who pursued their goals relentlessly.  In the book, she talks about her challenges she overcame in life and she also profiles over fifty individuals who prevailed against all odds to hold onto their dreams/vision.  One of the individuals in which she highlights in her book is Marian Anderson.  Since I was little, I've always been fascinated with her story.  This is why...

Marian Anderson was born in 1897, in the "Negro Quarter" of Philadephia.  Her family was extremely poor and when her dad died unexpectedly when she was ten, her mother had to work dead end jobs to support Marian and her sisters.  Marian's amazing singing ability made a way for her to enjoy opportunities otherwise unavailable to her.  She began singing in the choir of the Union Baptist Church, where people quickly noticed the quality, range, and richness of her remarkable voice.  But they also knew Marian's family could not afford formal vocal training for her, so the church sponsored a benefit concert, with ten year old Marian as the featured soloist, to pay for her voice lessons.

Her family couldn't afford piano lessons either, so she taught herself to play.  When she wanted to learn how to play the violin, she took a job scrubbing steps to make money to buy her own instrument.  Obviously, she was fiercely committed to her music.  At one point, she went to apply for admission to a music school in Philadephia and was treated rudely by a young receptionist. When Marian expressed her desire to pursue enrollment, the young woman replied,"We don't take colored."

At the age of nineteen, Marian was introduced to well-known voice teacher Giuseppe Boghetti, who was her teacher, coach, and friend for years.  As her abilities and exposure grew, she began receiving invitations to sing and even to tour.  With her confidence strong and with strong supporters around her, she arranged to sing at New York's  town hall in 1924.  The concert was so poorly attended and so negatively reviewed that she considered abandoning music altogether.

But Marian soon bounced back.  She went on to win a voice competition sponsored by the Philadephia Philharmonic Society and then to triumph over more than three hundred other contestants in the Lewisohn Stadium competition.  She began touring again, and in 1928, she sang solo recital at Carnegie Hall.

In 1939, despite her remarkable accomplishments, Anderson was still denied opportunities because of racism.  That year, the owners of Washington DC's Constitution Hall refused to allow her to sing because of her race.  When Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the president of the United States, heard what happened, she invited Marian to sing at the Lincoln Memorial instead.  Approximately seventy-five thousand people attended that outdoor concert.  That event was significant moment in the advancement of civil right in America and gave many other people who suffered from racism and injustice the courage to pursue their dreams.

Anderson went on to become the first African American to appear as a soloist at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.  She also sang at inauguration ceremonies and received many prestigious awards.    As her outstanding career came to a close, she launched her 1956 farewell tour with a triumph concert at a place that once refused to even allow her inside its doors- Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Marian Anderson is my hero and a testament that no matter what doors seem closed to you today, keep going and never give up.  Perseverance, determination, and opportunities that seem impossible today will open for you tomorrow.

Psalm and the Songs of Solomon (PS3) 


Writing has always been a means of therapy for me.  Growing up in a small secluded area in the deep south (boonies), there wasn't many things I could get into.  My parents religiously went to church for what seemed to be all day.   If the church doors were opened (and they usually had a key) we were there.  During the weekdays we went to school, came home and went to church.  On the weekends, it was just church.  I didn't go to many parties or hangout spots and I didn’t have many friends.  So communication was a struggle for me; I kept everything bottled up inside.   But I was in the church choir and I LOVED to sing.  I jumped at every opportunity to sing.  So I found myself singing and writing often.   It was the only way I could remain sane from the things I faced on a daily basis.  Writing and singing became my best friends.  It was the only outlet I had. To this day, it is the thing that I would do three o’clock in the morning without pay.  It is my passion...

As I reflect back on my childhood, I am reminded of the story of David. David grew up in his father's pasture tending to his father's sheep.  It's amazing, those same lessons he learned in his father's pasture help prepare him for his position later in life as king.  David is one of the most prominent and memorable rulers of all time. David wrote almost half of the book of Psalms. The book of Psalms is a collection of poems, prayers, hymns etc. comprised together with music. This book along with the Song of Solomon does a wonderful job of capturing every emotion of humanity in its book. 

One of the assignments I believe God has called me to fulfill on earth is encouraging others to walk in their God- given purpose.  One of the saddest things for me to see is people going through identity crisis.  Some people go their entire lives not knowing who they are, what they have been called to do, and walking in that calling.  The saying, “if you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs,” is true.  People work their entire lives to attain wealth and success, however, they haven't scratch the surface of what they have been placed on this earth to do.

I love coming into contact with people who are passionate about what they do.  That’s the essence of The Psalms and the Song of Solomon Show (PS3)- people sharing  stories of how they overcame challenges and obstacles in life to walk in purpose.    These are the stories of business owners, entrepreneurs, singers, musicians, authors, photographers, educators, cancer survivors, fitness trainers, fashion consultants, etc of all walks of life with a mission and purpose.  I’m inspired to know so many who are taking/have taken steps of faith and are walking into their destiny.

I’m so excited about PS3 and the opportunity to share these stories to the world in hopes that it will also inspire and empower others to discover their purpose.  It is my prayer that it will not only encourage but provoke people to change and walk out their assignments on earth. PS3 will launch Summer 2014!!!!