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Sometimes ♫ I Don’t Wanna Sing

Depression can be like a deep, dark, hole in your soul.  When you’re in that place, sometimes it feels like you will never get out.  Not because the hole is too big to climb out of, but because the hole is you.  At least for me, despair rarely feels like something that’s happening to me, caused by something outside affecting me.  It feels like it is part of me, a fundamental part, at the core of who I am… and it will never change, and there’s no point in trying to escape it, because it’s where I belong.

When I look back I see
The person that I was
Staring back at me.
Same confusion,
Same despair.
I become the she that I was there.
Caught in the moment,
Panicking, still.
No escape.
No free will.

If you’ve never been depressed, or if your fundamental years were free of depression, you may well have no clue what I meant by that.  If you’ve been depressed for very long, and especially if you were depressed as a child, as I was, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you are in that place, please know that it is not you.  No matter how much a part of your life it seems, you can come out of it without giving up who you are, regardless of its cause.

But you will probably need help to come out of it.  Psychologists and well meaning friends and loved ones can help sometimes, for some people, but that often falls far short, and sometimes makes things worse.  Sometimes the best solution is the one that seems the most desperate, so we never even consider it.  Sometimes, you have to look up.

I spent over a decade in that place, resigned to always being there.  I spent nearly another decade trying, and mostly failing, to claw my way out, with the help of a really great friend, who kept trying to convince me that it wasn’t part of me.   I never believed him, but I was trying anyway, for his sake.  I was also working on my spiritual walk, drawing closer to God every day, and one day God just picked me up and pulled me out of that pit.

And suddenly that deep darkness was gone, but I was not.  I was left reeling, almost in shock over the sudden change.  It took me quite a while to adjust to the change, the sudden loss of such a huge part of my life.  I was happy, don’t get me wrong, it was a relief I don’t think many people can relate to, but it had been part of my life for so long, part of my self-identity, and I had had no idea that it was something other than me, that whole time.  Something riding on my shoulder, pushing me down.  I was intact, I was whole, and it was not a part of me after all.

But sometimes
When I look up I see
The person that I could,
Maybe, someday be.
No delusion,
No more fear.
Possessed of a mind that’s free and clear.
In those moments,
Hope abounds.
And all is great,
And I am found.

(The poem quoted here is titled “Sometimes” by me – Tammy Bowles.  I don’t mind if you share it but please give the reference.)

I don’t think anything anyone said could ever have convinced me of that fact.  If you’re in that place right now you probably think I’m crazy for believing I was healed, or maybe you just think it’s well and good for me, but your case is hopeless.  I understand.  I truly do.  But please give God a chance.  Ask Him to help, and then let Him (He’s a gentleman, He won’t take the reigns from you, you have to hand them over).

If any of this seems a little too esoteric, I apologize.  I am still a little uncomfortable sharing at this level in the open, but if you would like to talk about this stuff in more detail please feel free to contact me.

I’m not saying that I never see that dark place anymore.  God pulled me out, and I no longer live there, but there are times that I find myself looking back in.  Hormone spikes can send me in that direction.  I found out a few months ago that the wrong medication could send me back there as well.  It always feels so familiar that it takes me a little while to figure out what has happened.

In the midst of that last medication-induced bout of depression God gave me a couple of lines and told me to write the rest of this song, because I needed to hear the ending.  It’s a funny thing to be told to write what you need to hear, but it worked out in the end.

I shared this song on my Facebook page a while back, and have sung it at church a few times.  I was going to wait to share it here until I got some music and a better recording, but something tells me I need to share it now…  Perhaps someone out there needs to hear the ending as well.





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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy father’s day to a couple of great dads! :)

I know it’s been a really long time since I posted… I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks here.

In any case, I wanted to post something for Father’s Day, so I thought I’d share one of the first songs I ever wrote.

My earthly father’s pretty darn cool, too, here’s a couple of pics for ya:

Dad in his hippy days

My Dad

<-- he's glaring at me for uploading that pic










My dad is probably the hardest working person I’ve ever met.  He worked an average of 80-90 hours per week through my entire childhood (at one point he held 2 full-time jobs and a part-time all at the same time), but still tucked me into bed every night when he got home.

The few hours he had left he spent working on stuff around the house for us, and somehow still found time to complete an associates degree (and most of a bachelors) in electrical engineering from home.  I remember sitting on a chair next to him at the kitchen table at night watching in awe as he built circuits and fixed things with his soldering iron.

Some of my fondest memories are of all the times my sister and I cajoled him into playing guitar for us (not that he didn’t love playing, he was just tired!).  Now that I think about it, it had to be amusing for him to have his little daughter begging to hear “House of the Rising Sun”.  I could have listened to him play for days on end.

He still plays for me every once in a while… now that his shoulder injury is healed and he’s cut back to halfway normal working hours I’m hoping I’ll get to hear a lot more.  He played backup for me once at his church (I sang flat the whole time, it was awful lol), and we’re hoping to do more songs that way.  Perhaps I can get him to let me record a video at some point…

In any case, that’s my dad, and I love him to pieces.  Isn’t he great!?  :)


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Will we gladly labor?

I wasn’t planning on posting a song this weekend.  I have a lot of work to do, and really should be off doing it.  But we sang a song in church last night, one we’ve sung a few times in the past, that got stuck in my head, so I figured I’d better go look up the lyrics so I could sing the whole thing and eject it (I generally have to hear a whole song through a time or two before I can get it unstuck).  Anyway, I did manage to find the lyrics after some searching, and went to see if there was a recorded version on YouTube.

To my shock, the only versions I’m able to find anywhere leave out the last, and what I consider to be the most important verse of the song.  Before I go futher, let me share the lyrics with you so you’ll know what I’m talking about:

When He Calls I’ll Fly Away

1. There was once a time when, in my heart, I was condemned to die;
I was walking in my sinful ways.
Jesus paid the ransom for my soul, I bade this world goodbye;
When He calls me I will fly away.

When He calls me, I will answer “Here am I!” — I am ready, if He wants me to die.
There’s a mansion now awaiting me on high — I am going there by and by.
I have made my preparation, from this world a separation;
I am walking on God’s highway, when he calls I will fly away.

2. I could never think of turning back into this world of sin.
I’m rejoicing in the gospel way.
I am longing for the time when heaven I shall enter in —
I am ready should he call today.

3. If He needs me in this harvest, helping gather in the sheaves,
I will gladly labor on below.
If on earth my work is finished, and it’s time for me to leave,
When He calls me I’ll be glad to go.

Here’s the thing.  It really bothers me that this third verse has been left out in the popular recordings.  It doesn’t really surprise me, but it does bother me.

One of the biggest temptations we face as Christians (and when I say we, I definitely mean myself included, as this is absolutely my biggest problem) once we’ve gotten our own affairs more or less in order, is to just sit back and wait.  This problem is huge in the church, because it’s the temptation that most affects Christians that have been around a while.

Most people aren’t that likely to sit back saying, “I’m ready to come home, Lord” or “Lord, come quickly”.  Some don’t believe, and to them this entire idea is ridiculous.  Some are busy reveling in their pet sins and figure they’ve got plenty of time to straighten up before the end.  Some have people depending on them.  Some have goals, either in their personal lives or in their ministries, that they’re trying to complete.  Some just love their lives and aren’t ready to leave yet.

But those of us who truly believe, have more or less gotten our acts together, and who are tired, for one reason or another, often fall into the trap of just sitting around begging God to bring us home.  I’ve wasted years of my life this way.  In my case, it’s because I don’t enjoy life here at all.  I’m in pain, all the time, and I’m almost always tired.  Further, I have no children dependent on me sticking around, and at least right now, no clear ministry.  The promise of a place with no more disease or pain, where I get to spend all of my time singing praises, is overwhelmingly appealing to me.

Songs that remind me of that blessed promise really speak to me, as they do to most of the older Christians I know.  There are some services where every single song we sing is about going on home, and I don’t usually pick the songs, so I know this feeling resonates with others.

Here’s the thing, though.  We have a JOB to be doing.  I wasn’t intending for this post to get this long, so I won’t go into all of the scriptures, but they’re abundant.  We’re not supposed to be sitting around waiting to go home, we’re supposed to be out in the world sharing the good news, making disciples, and making a difference in the world.

This is a great song, when you read it all the way to the end, but without the last verse it’s just another temptation.  It’s just another great melody distracting us from what we’re really supposed to be doing.  There’s no harm in looking forward to the life to come, but we need to do so acknowledging that, for whatever His reasons, God hasn’t come back and He hasn’t called us home yet.

I have a policy that I won’t let myself sing a song unless I can agree fully with it’s lyrics.  This one’s a tough one for me, but I’m singing the song, so I am endeavoring to live up to it.  If He needs me in this harvest, I will gladly labor here.  I just hope He gives me a better picture of what I’m supposed to be doing soon.

Oh, and I recorded the song, just so it’ll be out there somewhere in full.  It’s not the best recording, it’s a capella, and I was probably singing too low, but here it is :P


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Why are you striving?

I know I just put up a song in my last post, but I went for several months there where I couldn’t really sing, let alone record, and I’m excited to be able to get back to recording some. Besides, my keyboard is acting up, so typing much is a huge pain right now.

By Your Side by Tammy Bowles

(Original artist: Tenth Avenue North)

Please feel free to leave comments and critiques, just don’t be too mean about it :)  I’d welcome a discussion on the lyrics as well.


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What do I know of holy?

Haven’t put up a new song in a while, no music for this one but I think it turned out pretty well…

What Do I Know of Holy by Tammy Bowles
(Original artist: Addison Road)

Please let me know what you think, or if  you have any trouble with the player or anything.  I can take criticism, just keep in mind that I’m recording with a laptop mic and have no fancy software, so I can only do so much with the quality.  Thanks for listening :)


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God is not dead.

I’ve been trying to get a good recording of this song for a while.

My crappy recording setup means that I can only use something if I can record the entire song all the way through without any screw-ups… ever tried to do that?!  It’s hard.  And half the time when I do manage, I go back to edit and find I forgot to actually hit “record”, arg!

In any case.  I finally got a halfway decent recording of this one.  I’ve been working on it for weeks.  I hope you enjoy it, or, I at least hope it doesn’t hurt too much to listen to it.

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day by yours truly
(Original artist: Casting Crowns)

Merry Christmas! :)


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There CAN Be a More Beautiful You

There’s a new song that’s been played on Christian radio quite a lot lately called “A More Beautiful You” by Jonny Diaz. It’s a very catchy song, and I loved it the first time I heard it. The more I hear it though, the more it bothers me.  Unfortunately, I keep singing along, despite myself, and I have a feeling a lot of people absolutely love the song.

You can listen to the song here:
Or find the full lyrics here:

The first verse is great. It looks at a 14 yo girl who’s looking at a magazine and feeling bad because she’s not perfect like the model she’s looking at. I can’t really identify with that, I’ve never really been concerned with that kind of thing myself, but I know a lot of girls are, and I’m sure Mr Diaz had great intentions with the song. Who doesn’t want to help people realize their inner beauty?

The problems I have start with the chorus, and the overall message of the song.

There could never be a more beautiful you

The fact is, there CAN be a more beautiful you. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are not perfect. That’s the entire point of the Christian message. If we were perfect the way we were Christ never would have had to die for us. Non-Christians are not perfect the way they are, they need a savior to cover their sins with His blood. Christians are not perfect the way we are, we should constantly be striving to put off the old self and conform to Christ. Without a constant struggle to improve ourselves, we cannot be right with God.

There can be a more beautiful you, and he or she looks an awful lot more like Christ than you do now.

Don’t buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

This part bugs me on another level. Were we made to fill a purpose that only we can do? I can’t think of a scripture that supports this idea. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s not there. It’s a popular idea…. We’re all unique and great and God made each of us for a specific reason and purpose and task. There’s a perfect mate for us out there and God made him/her as a perfect match and together we’ll make the perfect family yadda yadda yadda. Yeah, it’s a great thought. But I don’t think it’s Biblical.

God does not need you. Yes, God wants you to come to Him. He cares for you so deeply that even if you were the only one left on this earth worth saving He would have made a way to bring you home. He came and died for you. He wants you to return that love and to work in His kingdom, helping to save others and bring them home. But he doesn’t need you. He is all powerful, almighty, and all knowing. If you’re a Christian, you chose to accept Him as Lord, and He’s made a place for you in His body. Sure, there is work for you to do, but if you turn away from Him tomorrow and go your own way… if you lay down your cross and stop doing the work He’s apportioned to you, He will find another worker to fill the position. You are not so unique that God can’t live without you. God does not depend on you. If you believe you are indispensable to God you are believing a lie. 

We should be secure in our faith, and we should be more concerned about our hearts than our bodies. There’s no reason to turn anorexic or get surgery because you want to look like the model in a magazine. In that I applaud Mr Diaz. But the chorus teaches something that is antithetical to true Christianity. There CAN be a more beautiful you, and you should always be striving to become that person.

The second verse is much like the first, but lays out a now-21-year-old who has made compromises in her life. Setting up a picture of someone who has done wrong and now needs to repent, but still has a bad self-image. The bridge confuses me a bit.

So turn around you’re not too far
To back away be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late you can be saved
If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear they can all be washed away
By the one who’s strong can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears dry all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world
He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl

“You’re not too far to back away and be who you are” – So she’s really not this person who has made mistakes in her life and needs to fix them? She’s really this innocent little girl who she used to be? What kind of nonsense is that? The second two lines are right on. It’s never too late, and you can be saved. In fact, it’s right on up to the last 3 lines, then it loses me again. “He’ll take your dark distorted view and show you truth and you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl” what does that mean? It probably wouldn’t sound odd except for the context of first few lines here, when you combine them it sounds like she’s just been looking at her life wrong and really she’s not bad at all, she hasn’t made compromises and done anything wrong, she’s just looking at everything the wrong way.

This song is confusing at best, and I’m sure Mr Diaz didn’t have bad intentions, but it reeks of psycho-babble that has nothing to do with Christianity. Since the chorus, that’s repeated over and over, is so misguided I just can’t help but be offended by it when I hear it now. It’s too bad, because it really is a great song, musically.


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online karaoke

So I had an account on kSolo for a while, to amuse myself, and then they up and got bought out by myspace… so I had to re-record everything if I wanted to bother, and I didn’t want to bother for a while. I needed some stress relief the other day though so I recorded a few songs again.

They suck, for the most part, but I had fun with it anyway.

Since I do this kind of thing at 3am in my pj’s I wasn’t about to turn my webcam on :P so it’s just the song, no video.

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Awesome Praise Songs Playlist

I just discovered this site, and had to see what it had. Here’s a collection of 75 of the best praise songs out there… it’s wont’ load inline, so click here to load the player (flash) in a new window.

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Little Red Box

Anyone who spent much time in Sunday School, upon reading through my list of Praise Songs might just come back thinking I’ve forgotten a certain popular kid’s song in the list.
One of the most popular songs in jr church when I was growing up was one that went something like this:

  • If I had a little red box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    to put the devil in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and SMASH HIS FACE (pound fist into hand)
    and put him back again!

  • But if I had a little white box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    To put my Jesus in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and *SMOOCH*SMOOCH*SMOOCH* (while pretending to kiss something in your hand)
    and share him with a friend (offer your hand to a friend).

Now, we all know that songs that incorporate actions are very good at keeping the attention of children, and a simple song like that will be remembered for years to come. I’m also certain that the original intent was probably very good. However, there’s a reason that song never made it to my songs list…

Jude 1:9-10 (NRSV) reads:

But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct.

We are told to “resist the devil and he will flee”, this is right and good. However, much like the song I quoted above, and other songs (“Demon Killa” comes to mind), it is popular in some circles to go around provoking the devil…

When I see this, my mind immediately flashes to a standard scene in every horror and creature movie where some horrible monster or villain, who has been harassing some character through most of the movie, has finally been outsmarted and trapped by the character. The overconfident character then stands there taunting the monster and bragging about their wit. Anyone who’s seen one of these movies knows that this is the point at which the monster or villain shows it’s true power, and the overconfident character almost always ends up eaten, killed, or severely injured.

Christ has conquered death and won the victory, but until His return, the earth is still Satan’s domain. Satan is not some pathetic, broken and chained monster that we should taunt and provoke for kicks. He’s an angel, albeit a fallen one, and because he has been defeated he is even more determined to bring as many of us down with him as possible. Take care not to underestimate him, lest you wind up like the sons of Sceva.

When face to face with the devil, never allow yourself to stoop to foolishness or arrogance. — do not slander or insult, rather, say a prayer, and allow the Lord to do the rebuking. Romans 16:20 says that the God of peace will soon crush satan underneath your feet, but that does not mean we should act like he’s there already.

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