[Note from Steph: I still remember the day my friend Jesse Romero called me up and said “Stephanie, I’ve met a new Catholic recording artist who is uh-mazing. She’s on fire for God and her music rocks. You totally should interview her on your radio show!”
And with that my friendship with recording artist Amanda Vernon was born. Back then, we were both single girls praying for a godly spouse and dreaming about raising a family one day. Today, we’re both married with a houseful of little ones. God is good!
It’s been my joy to watch Amanda’s journey of faith and family life unfold these past few years. When her newest CD featured the song “Cleaning and Scrubbing” which includes lyrics of the famed Ruth Hamilton poem I’ve talked about on my blog, I knew I had to invite Amanda to share the story behind her song with me.
Enjoy hearing from Amanda today, and be sure to visit her site and check out her music: www.AmandaVernon.com]
“The Better Part” – Guest Post by Amanda Vernon
“ArtPrize” is an international art competition held in my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This year my song, “Cleaning and Scrubbing,” (based on the traditional nursery rhyme) won the Pop/Electronic Music category. It is a highlight of my career. Beyond being an award-winning tune, I hope my music celebrates the often unsung triumph of parenting young children.
“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ‘til tomorrow
Babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby / And babies don’t keep”
As I worked to turn the poem into a pop song for our two very young children, I remarked to my husband that it sounded a little sad. “Yeah, it is sad,” said my beloved. “Why do you think it’s sad?” I asked. “Because the house would be so dirty,” was his candid reply.
We apparently have different perspectives about the sentimentality of raising our kids!
A mysterious blend of joy and sorrow accompanies the promise to receive children lovingly from God and raise them in the faith. This commitment permits me from many other good things (like a sparkling-clean house, social events in the evening, advancing to great heights in my career, etc.) On the other hand, spending peaceful moments with our kids reminds me of Jesus’ words to Saint Martha.
You may know the story. While Martha’s sister Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, Martha ran around, flustered about housework. Jesus said to her, “…you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42.)
I may not be able to sit at the feet of Jesus the same way Mary did, but where can I find His image more clearly than in the face of a little child? Being present to our children is the “better part” of life. It is the part that will last far beyond the housework, the social events, or my music career.
“Hallelujah, angels sing / Hallelujah, while she sleeps
Hallelujah, now I see / Like I should / Life is very good” –Cleaning and Scrubbing
There is some sadness in surrendering other things to be an attentive parent. But struggle purifies love. Years from now, when our children are grown, the love we cultivate today will help them stand strong against whatever challenges they face. That’s the triumph of parenthood. No matter the good things we give up, the better part will not be taken from us.
[From Steph: I hope y’all have a chance to check out Amanda’s website today, and listen to the song samples from her newest CD. The song “Valentine” chokes me up every.single.time. I just learned that Amanda and her family are in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to expand her ministry. Hope you can check out the Kickstarter video here to learn more about Amanda and her fam.
…and final P.S. If any of y’all are wondering what products Amanda uses in her curly hair that makes it look so utterly GORGEOUS…one of these days I am determined to find out for all our curly hair sakes! ;o) ]