The Fragrance of Love: Pandora

by Cathy Baker

I LOVE Pandora.

Yes, this is an instance where the word “love” is used a bit frivolously but we don’t have a month o’ likeness, so here goes.

Do you listen to music while writing, doing crafts, reading, etc?

There are moments I crave silence but when I hibernate upstairs in my writing nook you can be sure Pandora is playing on my laptop.

My go-to writing music is George Winston’s channel. It’s purely instrumental—perfect for writing. The last thing I need is lyrics competing for my attention.

Get Into The (Writing) Groove: The Absolute Best Pandora Stations for Writers by Script Chix offers some great options for those in search of a channel.

Pandora is free, but with that comes occasional ad disruptions. You have the option to pay double digits and hear music ad-free, but I have no problem hitting the mute button. I’d rather save my few extra bucks for coffee.

So, I’m curious. Do you listen to music while writing or performing other tasks? If so, what’s your favorite station? 

“Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that
startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stay in Step with the Spirit Via Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs


The 31 Day Writing Challenge is Underway!








by Cathy Baker

{ Day 7 }

It’s no wonder Brian has “threatened” to secretly videotape me during the day. I can’t explain it, but when 70’s music cranks, so do I. Floors get swept, dishes get washed and books get dusted—all while pulling out my favorite ’70’s dance moves.

Music has been a part of my life since I can remember. I shared a few music milestones in a 2009 post so I’ll spare you a repeat here. I didn’t, however, share the role hymns and spiritual songs have played, and continue to play, in my grace story.

Divorced twice by the age of 27, I was laden with shame, defeat, and little hope.

I’d left my first husband for another, and the “another” left me the following year. Though the rubble of consequences still falls at times, I thank God for allowing me to hit rock bottom—and hard. It was only then that I came to understand my desperate need for a Savior.

I became a Christ-follower in a duplex on the outskirts of town and the following year, God blessed me with an amazing husband (celebrating 24 years this month!) who encouraged me to stay home with my two young sons that I adored (and still do.) I was, and continue to be, overwhelmed by His grace and mercy.

So imagine my hearing an old-school tune like Babbie Mason’s After All a few years down the road. Many a day I wept listening to these words as they precisely mirrored my own life. Today, decades later, the lyrics still stir a gut-wrenching gratefulness way down deep.

Praising God in Song

After All

Verse One
I heard you calling. I felt you knocking. But I drew
further from You every day. I knew better, still, my heart grew colder. And
I just kept on going my own way.

But after all was
said and done with me. After all
my pride then my fall. I was so amazed
to still find you there. After all I’ve done You still loved me after

Verse Two
Your eyes said welcome. Your arms were
open. How could I ever doubt Your love was real. You never mentioned all
my past rejections. Words can’t express the way that makes me feel.

Verse Three
To freely forgive is so hard to do. But You completely
forgave. And now I will spend my whole life with You. After all, forever
and always.

Staying in Step with the Spirit: The word “music” is used 90 times in scripture (NIV version). One indication of the Spirit-filled life is the desire to sing. Whether it’s singing about God or to Him, it delights His heart (and ears!)

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Just as the voice of a child sounds angelic to his/her parents regardless of age or ability, You too delight in the sound of our hearts raised high for Your glory. What’s one particular psalm, hymn, or spiritual song that ushers you immediately into the presence of the Lord?


Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. -Martin Luther


#Write31Days:{ Day 1 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Our Senses
{ Day 2 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Less Clutter
{ Day 3 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Healthy Relationships 
{ Day 4 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via God’s Creation
{ Sunday }
{ Day 6 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Specific Prayer


Photo by Haley Rivera on Unsplash

Creating Unforgettable God-Glorifying Gatherings

Every other Wednesday, you’ll be greeted with a NEW gathering idea. Most times, the focus will be on tea gatherings but I’ll be sure to include girlfriend gathering ideas along the way as well. On Wednesdays in between, you’ll find favorite recipes, along with thoughts and ideas on hospitality in general. 

Today, I’d like to begin by sharing some basic tips on planning a tea party, with our main focus on relationships rather than hosting the so-called perfect tea. Keep your gathering as simple as you’d like. Feel free to choose none, one, some, or all of the tips below! 

  • Prayer is to our gathering what a tablecloth is to a tea party—foundational. Everything else is built upon it. From the get-go of our preparations, let’s begin praying for those God would have us invite. We never know what God has up His divine sleeve! By immersing our time in prayer we provide an opportunity for an unforgettable God-glorifying gathering.
  • Invitations. Is there anything more inviting than a handwritten note? With the big picture in sight, any type of invite will work (yes, even a call, email or texting) but taking the time to write a note is pretty special these days.
  • Music. Choosing instrumental selections for background music is ideal. Piano, harp, Windham-Hill, etc. Play it lightly. If guests are having to raise their voices, even a tad, it’s too loud.
  • It’s nice to keep in mind that not all care for tea (gasp!) so we’ll want to offer an option such as coffee, hot cider, etc., based on the season.
  • Non-scented candles are always a must. Some, like myself, are allergic to strong aromas and trust me, the last thing we want is Frasier fir mixing with Earl Grey. 🙂
  • Greenery. If snipping from our yards, we’ll want to be sure to give it a quick spray in the kitchen sink to remove any pesticides or bugs that may want to crash our tea time. Nothing says Welcome! like a spider creeping over a cup.
  • And last, but not least, there’s the empty chair. Leaving one chair empty at our table is a tangible reminder to everyone that Christ is present and desires to fellowship with us. 

Do you have a tidbit or two you’d like to share? I welcome the opportunity to learn from you.

Questions? Feel free to leave it in the comment box area, email, or message me via Facebook. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll try to find it for you!

The Sweet Melody of Prayer

Music stirs my soul into a divine frenzy.
Rarely do I drive without it—especially on the Sunday mornings. But this wasn’t the case yesterday.
Music was playing when I cranked ‘ol faithful (’99 CRV) but I quickly punched the knob to turn it off when I felt impressed to pray for Brian (who played at our Cherrydale campus), for Brandon (leading worship in Ohio), and for specific members of our family. 
Within a couple blocks, I began praying for a friend’s daughter, uncertain of her needs, but certain of the One who did. 
A mile down the road, a man in our life group who just had heart surgery came to mind as I passed his daughter’s sub-division.
A few minutes later, I passed our former church — praying God’s blessings, discernment, and glory to fall upon that place. 
Drawing closer to Summit Church, I prayed for the ladies study on Tuesday night, asking God to keep us focused on Him…and not our space, or lack thereof. More ladies have decided to join us in the past week. Praising God, and trusting Him too. 
As I pulled into a parking space, the silence caught me off guard. I’d not turned the radio on! No music had played—or had it?

“What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my
mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my
mind also.” 1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV
 Oh, the sweet melody of prayer!

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