Author: tlmusic

My name is complicated. My parents named me Theresa. My friends call me "Pinky." My professional title is "Ms. Lindell." Choose one.
Living Room Memories

Living Room Memories

I am going to be a part of the songwriting conference hosted by Sara Groves and Art House North in August. For the first time, I am participating in their songwriter prompt session. So, about two weeks ago, I was given the following prompt. Write a song 1) starting with a question, 2) using only 3 chords in the chorus, 3) mentioning a specific room in your house, and 4) addressing someone you haven’t talked to in a long time.

So, this isn’t necessarily the deepest song I’ve ever written, but it came pretty fast, which hasn’t happened in a while. I also wasn’t sure I was going to be able to write something with a prompt in less than a month, but I was, so that is fun!

Maybe not the best grammar, but the chorus just came in a matter of minutes. It is about the good memories that songs inspire, even years later. And, about a good friend who we hadn’t gotten together in a very long time, but when we did, we sang the songs from years earlier, and it both made a memory and brought old memories back to life. All the random capitalized words refer to favorite mutual songs that my friend and I have. All the references are are either Needtobreathe or Mat Kearney, which we got to see in concert, in case you are curious.

Living Room Memories

Where have you been? It seems that life has dealt a heavy hand // Will you sing with me again? We’ll travel back in time; You pick when

I may not be your Brother, but let me be your shelter

Oh, how it fills my soul singing songs from six years ago/You and me on my windowseat making living room memories, yeah/I’d cash in all my daydreams for the return of your company

An economics text held in the couch for years, sweet evidence/Of the place you always sat doing homework eating peanut M&Ms

Give The Conversation one more play, you know I can stand the rain

I’d play them all again tonight in a City of Black and White/Yes, I know it’s a Hard Love, but we don’t Be Here Long

Emma’s Song

Emma’s Song

I have thousands of kids. Not biologically, obviously. But, between my attachment to camp kids back in the day, my experiences in Alaska, and my love for my students in Greenville, IL, there is just a lot of heart felt moments for a lot of kiddos. This time of year always pulls at the heart strings as well, since it is graduation time 🙂

This song was a song I wrote earlier this year for a kid of mine. She loves ballads, and somehow still loves listening to my music (and, if you are reading this, you well know I don’t write many ballads). She struggles with a lot of fears and inadequacies. I have wanted to write her a song for some time, but it takes a while to find the right words. One morning, near the end of the summer, I woke up and this entire chorus was already in my head. I heard a voice in me say, “Get up! You need to write this down!” It took several more months (until almost Christmas) to write the rest of the song, but I see the chorus as a gift from God. Words straight from his mouth to her heart. The bridge has some imagery from Isaiah and is probably one of the most fun chord walk-downs I’ve done! Emma: this song is for you!

Emma’s Song

In the silence, your thoughts are so loud/You’ve been trying all by yourself to sort them out/Can I tell you something once told to me when I needed a truth to sing?

You don’t have to be perfect to be you/Where you see a defect, I see a miracle of His deliverance already proved/You don’t have to be perfect to be new

You’re staring at some childhood photographs/Dare you ask, ‘Who’s the carefree girl smiling back?’/Though you have yet to feel the same, you are brave when you walk this road of grace

You don’t have to be perfect to be you/Where you see a defect, I see a miracle of His deliverance already proved/You don’t have to be perfect to be new

Can a wound forget the past? Are there streams in this wilderness?

Can a barren wasteland be more than countless grains of sand?

Can it reach full bloom?

You don’t have to be perfect to be you/Where you see a defect, I see a miracle of His deliverance already proved/You don’t have to be perfect to be new

Behold, He is making all things new! All things new

The Order of Melchizedek

The Order of Melchizedek

Wow – it has been about 7 months since I’ve written a new song to post on the monthly song blog. But, COVID teaching and releasing an album…all the things. Those things get in the way of songwriting. Who knew?

But, this one was a fun one to write. After writing a song with Mephibosheth in it, why not write a song about Melchizedek? There’s actually more Biblical chapters about Melchizedek, but we really have no idea who he is, really. He is a king back in Abraham’s day, known to be “king of Salem,” which modern scholars believe could be Jerusalem. We know he is also a priest. He just shows up on the scene, blesses Abraham, and Abraham gives him some of his wealth. The end.

Or so you think…then David, in a Psalm that seems to be more of a Psalm of prophecy than anything else (especially since most of David’s psalms are quite different), he shares that there will be a king, who is also a priest “in the order of Melchizedek.” So, not like the Levites, but like this mysterious guy who shows up and seems greater than Abraham.

Fast forward to the New Testament. Just when you think this isn’t amounting to much, the author of Hebrews focuses in on these ideas for several chapters. There is only ONE worthy to be both priest AND king after Melchizedek…and it’s Jesus! No other king could handle the role of priest. No other priest could be both the perfect sacrifice and the mediator. Only Jesus brings complete salvation through the ONE sacrifice of Himself. And Melchizedek, as a priest and king, foreshadows Jesus. He is priest and king in the same historical place that Jesus will reign forever (Jerusalem). The mystery that surrounds him makes him even more like Jesus.

So, when challenged to write a song, I knew it couldn’t be just about Melchizedek…there’s not enough of his narrative. But, to point to Jesus-that was a fun song to write. I don’t know if it will ever get any air time at a concert or in studio. But, if you get to hear it, I hope you enjoy it 🙂

The Order of Melchizedek

He came out of nowhere without family ties/The first mediator of God the Most High/Setting the precedent as the lone archetype/Greater than Abraham; Larger than life

He set the table with the bread and the wine/But the name Melchizedek was the preeminent sign/Even king David said there was one next in line/And everything points ahead to Jesus Christ!!

He’s priest forever in order of Melchizedek/He reigns with righteousness from His throne in Jerusalem/The greatest has come to the least of us/He has sworn and will not change His mind!/He’s a priest forever in order of Melchizedek

Now every priest who came from the house of Levi/Made atonement day after day that could never suffice/But Jesus completely saves through one sacrifice/All who approach by faith for all of time

This ancient king, shrouded in mystery/Pronounced the blessing extending forward through time /To the Great High Priest who is our King of Peace Our sin’s sure defeat, with His head lifted high

The Stories Are True

The Stories Are True

Released 4/3/21!!!

This is concept album of the Old Testament! Never heard one? I hadn’t either! So, I thought it was about time to make one!

I’m hoping that as you listen, you will find out that the stories are true! And not only that, but so much of the characters share the same struggles that we do today. As I sing, I remember God’s faithfulness to His people then, and that He is faithful to His people still today.

Here is a listing of tracks, along with the Scripture they came from. As always, the full lyrics and stories behind the writing of the songs is available on my blog page!

1.  In the Beginning – Genesis 1-2. 2.  The Wrestler – Genesis 32:22-32

3.  Pillar of Fire – Exodus 13:21-22. 4.  Know You More – Exodus 33:18-23

5.  Praise in the Wilderness – Exodus-Joshua, Israelites in the wilderness

6. Gideon – Judges 6-7. 7.  Life From Ashes – I Samuel, life of David

8.  Mighty Is He – Psalm 93. 9.  Mephibosheth – 2 Samuel 9

10. Solomon’s Prayer – 1 Kings 8. 11. A Remnant – 1 Kings 19

12. Jehoshaphat – 2 Chronicles 20. 13. Find the Melody – Zephaniah 3

14. The River Runs – Psalm 42; Jeremiah 2:13; Ezekiel 47; Matthew 5; Revelation 22

A Look Inside

A Look Inside

A Look Inside was my first studio album, released March 15th, 2019!

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The album is available on all online platforms and I have a few hard copies left!

Track List: 1. Rather Have Loved 2. Will You Say It Again? 3. Displacement 4. This Is Who I Am 5. Through My Eyes 6. Over the Edge 7. His Heart 8. Empty Spaces 9. Rescue Me From Me 10. On My Side 11. Eternity Echoes 12. Divine Trade

If you want the lyrics to any song on the album as well as the story behind the song, head to my Blog Page and type the song title into the search bar!

Mighty Is He

Mighty Is He

Wow, friends! It has been 6 months since I’ve been able to post! I was having a friend (none other than the infamous Lauren Schwaar who plays piano for this song!) rebuild my website. I was also in the midst of finishing this second album and trying to get it out to you all!! This is the last song I hadn’t written a blog post about.

This is because it is this song was rewritten only a month before I took it to Nashville! I wrote this song originally in high school. I was given a verse calendar by a friend, and one day the verses were Psalm 93:3-4 “The seas have lifted up, Oh Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice, the seas have lifted up their roaring waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty.” I looked up the Psalm and it was only 5 verses long, so as a junior in high school, I wrote a song! It was mediocre in melody for the verses, but the chorus was pretty neat and echoed vs. 4 of the Psalm.

Then, I realized I really wanted a Psalm song to go on the new album. I am saving quite a bit of my Psalm songs for a potentially future album, but this one just felt like it should go – but it really wasn’t a strong song.

At the beginning of this BSF year (Bible Study Fellowship), my teaching leader Vicki gave a doctrine talk about God’s Sovereignty and Kingship over all creation, and as we were reading Genesis 1 also read Psalm 93. In this midst of her talk, all I could hear in my mind was a new verse to this song: “The Lord is king, he reigns: even at the beginning his Spirit rested on the waves…” and the hope was born in me that this song COULD make the new album. What a fun time it was to dwell on all the ways God has controlled the chaos of the waters from creation until now.

I then needed a new bridge as well once the new song structure started to take shape. Praise to God after all the reflections on how he controls the water, the song just COMES ALIVE! It begins with his control over the waters at creation as he calms chaos and calls order into being. Then, it heads into how he controlled the waters for His people, a symbol that He watches over those who fear Him and seek His face. And then it brings it full circle to Jesus, who calms the storm, and also calms the storms that rage within us. And, as a good friend once told me, all Psalms find their culmination in Jesus! And is this not so true? From the Lordship he displayed over creation, to His Sovereignty over all things, to the ways He physically controlled water while He was fully man and fully God here on the earth: He is the fulfillment of this Psalm!!!!

And this Psalm turned into a wonderful jam session with my good friend Lauren, and a student of mine, who, 17 at the time, was the same age I was when I originally wrote the chorus. She is a senior, headed to U of I in the fall, and does some radically awesome background vocals. I hope you enjoy it! As I write this blog post, you’ll be able to hear the song in 6 short days 🙂

Mighty Is He

The Lord is King; he reigns/Even at the beginning His Spirit rested on the waves/Oh the strength and majesty/ That are His to tame the waters now and in every age

The seas have lifted up/They’ve lifted up their voices/The pounding surf it calls/Out from the shore

Mighty is the thunder of the ocean rollers/Mighty are the breakers of the sea/But the Lord on High, He is mightier than these/Oh, so mighty, so mighty is He

The Lord is King; he reigns/He established the world and His throne from all eternity/Oh the strength and majesty/That are His to set into place the ocean’s boundaries

The seas have lifted up/They’ve lifted up their voices/The pounding surf it calls/Out from the shore

Mighty is the thunder of the ocean rollers/Mighty are the breakers of the sea/But the Lord on High, He is mightier than these/Oh, so mighty, so mighty is He

When we come to the waters/When we stand with our feet on the shore/With the faith of our fathers/We’ll see a way where there was no way before/When skies grow darker/When we fear that there’s no solid ground/He walks on the water/At his word all tempests bow

Mighty is the thunder of the ocean rollers/Mighty are the breakers of the sea/But the Lord on High, He is mightier than these/Oh, so mighty, so mighty is He

Pillar of Fire

Pillar of Fire

As expected: the start of school was insane.  So, I missed September’s post!

But, I’m hopefully headed to the studio THIS WEEKEND with my girls in my discipleship group to make another awesome addition to album 2!  The song I’m about to share date 5-6 years ago, but it is a good one!  I’ve always had it in mind to put on the Old Testament album.  It is called “Pillar of Fire” and is referencing the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites through the wilderness during the daylight, and the pillar of fire during the night.  

This song was written in the midst of a really long bout of illness (not anything super serious).  I had a common cold, turned strep, turned bronchitis, etc.  I was new enough to teaching that I just took meds and kept going.  Then, my dad put me on bedrest over Thanksgiving break, and I spent the next two months going to bed at like 7:30.  It was a bit crazy.  But, during those times, I penned the start of the song: “The night is long, my eyes are tired…searching for the glimmer of light on the horizon…can you blame me?”  I thought that might be part of a chorus, but then at some point when messing around on my guitar, the chorus just came unexpectedly, and I knew that was the verse.  The chorus says, “Oh pillar of fire, I’ve heard your stories of rescue and ransom for all my life.  Oh pillar of fire, will you come be my song, be my anthem within this night?”  

I think that we need to remind ourselves of the power of the stories we hear about God’s faithfulness.  The Israelites were called to do that, and I think we are too!  Especially when things are hard, or not as we expected them to be.  And, there is so much to be said about having His Presence with us in the middle of the darkness.  I think we have strength we wouldn’t have on our own, to walk through it, because He is with us.  That’s the cry of this song.  I’m excited to hear how it turns out!
 Pillar of Fire
The night is long, my eyes are tired
Searching for the glimmer of light on the horizon
Can you blame me?
When my fight is gone, when hope runs dry
Am I standing in the Presence of Life?
Do You walk in the nighttime?
Can You save me?
Oh, Pillar of Fire
I’ve heard Your stories of rescue and ransom for all my life
Oh, Pillar of Fire
Will You come be my song, be my anthem within this night?
Burning bright, bright, bright

Can I be honest?  I have a frail heart
That’s still afraid to walk through the shadows:  I battle the fear 
That I’ve been left here alone
With steps so small, I feel like I’m falling behind
Tell me I can hold to the promise that You are constant
And I am never on my own

Convince me You are here
Darkness with You near
Is better than the dawn
You are my song

Blessed Is He

Blessed Is He

Here we are at the end of quarantine (or at least, I hope.  I am praying everyday that I get to start school hybrid!). I didn’t get all of my rewrites done, but wow: did I get a chance to write some fun tunes this season.  New music is always in the works, but maybe not quite as fast during school.  My last summer songwriting adventure was getting a really, really fun melody/music structure stuck in my head mid-July, and then realizing Psalm 1 would go nicely with it, and the result was the following song!

I have always loved Psalm 1 because it was the first Scripture I was prompted to memorize back when I was in first grade Sunday school, at least substantially (more than one verse).  I remember memorizing it, saying it to my teacher, getting my prize (probably candy, who knows!), and feeling so proud.  What a Psalm though – a Psalm that promises that the righteous flourish like trees planted near streams, evergreen, all that they do comes to fruition.  Jeremiah 17 has a awesome parallel passage, along with the drastic comparison to the wicked, who do not flourish.  

At the start, it was just an extremely fun song to write and put music to the words from Psalm 1 in as pleasing and true to the Scripture way as possible.  But, then, I was reflecting on Proverbs and a lot of passages I was led to in my summer study – one of them being Isaiah 11, where it says that His (meaning, Jesus’) delight is in the fear of the Lord.  The wise man in Psalm 1 has delight in the law of the Lord.  But then, that passage in Isaiah 11 comes right after chapter 10, where it describes Israel as the tree that was cut down.  They were not able to live up to the righteous standards of God’s covenant people.  But, in chapter 11, this figure whose delight is in the fear of the Lord, He is the shoot that comes forth from the stump of Jesse.  Could this be the only righteous man spoken of in Psalm 1??  I don’t necessarily think so, because by His life and death, and through His Spirit, we can live righteously.  So, the end of this song brings in these ideas, and it was pretty rad!  Hope you enjoy the big combining of these beautiful imageries!

Blessed Is He

Blessed is he who does not walk          
On the path that sinners take                
Nor does he choose to tarry            
Where the scoffers have strayed          

But his delight is in the law of the LORD     
Both day and night, he is drawn to adore       

Like a tree near the streams        
With leaves evergreen          
At peace when the heat comes        
He bears fruit in season            
Oh, blessed is he              

Not so the wicked for they are  
Like chaff the wind blows away      
They will not stand in the judgment 
Where the righteous will say

That our delight is in the law of the Lord
Both day and night, we are drawn to adore

Like a tree near the streams 
With leaves evergreen
At peace when the heat comes
We bear fruit in season
Oh, blessed are…

But we’ve seen the deadened tree as it was felled      
Our withered leaves littering the fertile ground      
Is there none to revive the lifeless unrighteous?        
But from the roots of Jesse shoots a final bough      
Rising up from the stump in Spirit power          
His delight is the vine we can abide in             
Come take hold of the life He has provided 

For the tree guarded in Eden
Reaches out to all who receive Him
And we are the seedlings
Bearing fruit every season
Oh, blessed are we
Oh, blessed is He

So I Wait

So I Wait

Well, as summer has been in full swing, I’ve slowed down with the songwriting a bit.  But, I’ve been in Nashville getting tunes ready for the next album.  Things are sounding great and we are getting close!  Only a couple of songs left!! Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a song from Psalm 1 that will hopefully be pretty rad, and I have only one rewrite left!  Here is the second to last rewrite.  It has been retitled, “So I Wait.”

This song is from Psalm 130.  It has the famous lines, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits.  In his word, I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for morning.”  In my original song, I didn’t include the watchmen idea because I felt like several worship songs in the 90s used that idea out of context.  This Psalm opens with: “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord.  Hear my voice.  Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If you, Lord, kept a record of sings, Lord, who could stand?  But, with you there’s forgiveness so that you may be feared.”  The original song was far too wordy, but did capture the element of being stuck in a miserable, destitute place because of sin.  But, it wasn’t a hopeless place.  

When working on the rewrite, I penned these words from the Psalm to a melody: “Lord, if you, if you kept a record of sin, who could stand.  But with you, there’s forgiveness, so I wait with the watchmen.”  I realized that the watchmen idea was such perfect imagery by the Psalmist.  I’ve only had one particularly scary instance (that I won’t recall to you now) of being awake and attentive in the middle of the night and waiting for the morning to come.  I needed the morning to come to bring clarity and light to my situation.  Our hope in the Lord in the dark places of sin is SO like that.  When we are in the midst of really dark situations because our own sinful desires have gotten us there, but we cry out for help to the Father: help is on its way.  It is as sure as the morning. 

The second verse starts with, “So keep my soul awake to the night, with eyes set on your promise.”  I had this sense that I was supposed to tie this Psalm into the parables that Jesus gives about waiting for the return of the Father.  The foolish servant doesn’t expect his master’s return.  The wise virgins await the groom prepared.  The foolish don’t.  I don’t want to become deadened to my sin and the weight of sin in this world and not be ready for His return or His work in my life.  That is what the second verse becomes about.  It ends with “’cause I don’t want to be left outside, when Your redemption comes calling.”

But, the glorious part of this song is when the Lord brought himself back into it.  So, the bridge takes us into the parables: we wait with the watchmen and the servants, the oil burning as the virgins wait, all the imagery Jesus gives.  And then God was so good to connect Jesus and His work on the cross and His return with the Psalm: “We are waiting with hope in the sureness of the dawn, with hope that the dark won’t overcome, with hope in the strength of the  Risen Son; Our Hope.”  

The last part of this writing that was so fun was that two good friends of mine were in the writing process with me and helping me pick out some seriously good, but non-conventional, chord progressions.  It was a seriously fun and life giving song to write!  So, I hope you enjoy it!

So I Wait            

Out of the depths I cry
Father, hear my voice
I’m in a dark of my own design
The grim whole of my choices

Lord, if You, if You kept a record of sin, 
Who could stand?
But with You, there’s forgiveness, so I wait 
With the watchmen

So keep my soul awake to the night
With eyes set on Your promise
‘Cause I don’t want to be left outside
When Your redemption comes calling

With the watchmen and the servants
Oil burning with assurance
You’re returning though no one knows when
We are waiting
With hope
In the sureness of the dawn
With hope
That the dark won’t overcome
With hope
In the strength of the Risen Son
Our Hope

Dreams Cannot Stay Dreams and Give It All We Got

Dreams Cannot Stay Dreams and Give It All We Got

Double feature time!!  Some of you may know that I’ve been busy during quarantine (which is now over, but not…we’re in stage 3…I still don’t know what that means though besides be safe and in small socially distant groups…still sounds quaratine-ish to me!). I’ve been working on taking several older songs that I felt like had potential and rewriting them, or parts of them.  I’m actually getting quite close to finishing my list!  I only have one left!  These two I finished within the last month, and they kind of go together, in a way, so I thought I’d share!  

Dreams Cannot Stay Dreams was a song that I wrote before I started my teaching career – during the summer that I was interviewing for jobs.  I wrote it right after I accepted a position.  The first line remained the same: “This is the time, this is the place, my fears and I meet face to face.”  I was attempting to capture the anxious/excited emotion of what it looks like to set out on your own and begin a new chapter of life.  I had this sense that so much could go right, and potentially, so much could go wrong.  Either way, however, this is what I had been preparing for and what God had been preparing me for, and it was time to go make an attempt!  A key idea that got carried through into the rewrite was originally stated “I couldn’t fail when it was just a dream.”  But, you can’t succeed either.  We aren’t guaranteed success at what we do – even if it is something God honoring.  In the rewrite, the end of the chorus now says, “I could fail if I proceed, but I’ll never know lest I believe that dreams cannot stay dreams.  So, watch me set them free!”  This idea that we are called to be brave and bold in love anyway.  It was a bit odd to rewrite this song from a 10 year later position….hoping to still catch the original feelings. But, it was very cool to reflect on what God has done and write the bridge line: “I trust You hold the plans that redeem dreams yet to be.”  This idea that God grows dreams in us, at times, and sometimes our dreams and aspirations are of our own making, but as we submit to Him, he is at work redeeming our dreams.  And His plans (or “dreams” so to speak, even though I’m not sure God has dreams) for us will succeed: we are promised that.  What a hope!!  So, those are the first set of lyrics below!

The second rewrite wasn’t nearly as labor intensive. I knew I just needed to make the third verse and bridge better.  The song took in too many ideas about what is wrong with the educational system (and there is a lot, mind you).  But, since the chorus focuses on wanting to love students well with the one chance we have in a year to impact them, I wanted to cut out all the words I had written about government control over education, educators who don’t care but just do it for a paycheck, etc.  It’s a call for those who are in the same position as myself to stand strong and love well (the song Hard Love by Needtobreathe comes to mind here.  A much better song than mine, and you should give it a listen.  It’s not about education, just simply about loving well) despite the fact that there will be obstacles to that.  Students’ home lives or apathy or distrust of authority can all play into the fact that it is hard for them to trust that our love is genuine.  We still gotta Give It All We Got anyway.  Hope you enjoy!

Dreams Cannot Stay Dreams

This is the time, this is the place
My fears and I meet face to face; checkmate
So much unknown yet so much to hope in
Knowing You’re here with me lessens the weight

Oh Lord, may Your Presence require my fears to flee

If my dreams don’t pan out
I will still have what I have now:
A faith that’s burning through the trials of doubt
Whether I fail or succeed
I know that dreams cannot stay dreams
So I’ll cross the threshold of reality

Shoulders are set, squared to the present
I see what I’m up against, but I keep moving
Can’t dwell in the past, so I don’t look back
Unless it’s to take in the breadth of Your faithfulness

Oh Lord, may Your vision inspire my feet to leap

As I stand at this chance
Help me lay it in Your hands

I trust You hold the plans
That redeem dreams 
Yet to be

Give It All We Got

Packing ‘em in like we don’t care
No, we got no room to spare
Adolescent sardines wearing jeans
Come waltzing through this classroom scene
I just hope it’s not too late to begin to make a change
In attempt to reverse what we feel

Tripping over the backpacks, walking down the aisles
Hoping that they learn something worthwhile
So few smiles, I find myself asking why
Why they all seem void on the inside
The time I have is not enough, to show them all a simple love
Together we might prove that it is real

We’ve got one shot; better learn to give it all we got
On this timecard called life
Make our trademark loving every lonely heart
Before they give up to get by

You know what I can’t stand is the arrogance
That says some kids are just dead ends
I can’t see their futures, but I won’t assume ‘em
I have a hope for late bloomers
There are times that just one phrase is enough to turn the page
To reveal a truth they’ve never seen

It’s not hopeless though the system’s broken
We’ve still got a platform to meet the need
So let’s jump the hoops ’cause we’ve got to still believe