Music By Laurel Jean

Music By Laurel Jean
Music with a Message and a Mission

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Laurel Jean's Scrapbook

Sharing God's Guiding Glimpses into my Life of Music and Ministry

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Music and Ministry

Here I am, sharing Music and Ministry with the children of Rockville Presbyterian Church, Wadmalaw Island, SC.

It was great helping this congregation celebrate Father’s Day, Vacation Bible School Graduation and the beginning of summer, all in one service! One of my most memorable conversations from yesterday (June 21) took place with Andrew, age five. He “gave me the silent treatment” when I asked his age and grade in school, so I started naming off various grades. When I said “high school”, he impatiently blurted out, “Do I look like I’m in high school?” (Now, that’s really a keeper!)

Pastor Mark asked Miss Audrey, Zack, Ethel and me to join his Sunday School class, Prior to yesterday’s Worship. In addition to participating in an inspirational discussion of Colossians, we were given an opportunity to share more about the outreach and Children’s Chaplaincy that are such an important part of this Ministry.

Talking about “my” kids, I thought of T, with whom I was blessed to work only the day before, and B, who I’m told placed fourth in her division of this year’s National Braille Challenge. It is such a joy to know these and the other young people whom God has placed in my life!

So many reasons to celebrate Father’s Day, and give thanks to my “Heavenly Dad”!

Colossians 1:17: “He (Jesus) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

God bless you, and keep His Song in your heart!

Laurel Jean

Friday, June 19, 2009

Columbia, SC, Mission Outreach and Children's Chaplaincy

Slim (my long, white cane) and I are pictured here with Nancy Moore and her guide dog Luna to my left, and Audrey Gunter with her guide dog Zack to my right. They serve respectively as President and Immediate Past President of Dixie Land Guide Dog Users.

Yesterday, Music by Laurel Jean was honored to appear with Dixie Land Guide Dog Users at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind Summer Teen Program, held at the Ellen Beach Mack Center for the Blind in Colombia, SC. Eleven teens, along with Commission faculty and staff (both blind and sighted) shared an afternoon of music, entertainment and lively conversation.

We listened as our younger blind brothers and sisters shared their goals with us. Some expressed interest in radio broadcasting and communication; one young man looks forward to being a groundskeeper; one young lady hopes to be a fashion designer; and another dreams of flying for the first time on a commercial airplane.

We discussed some of the challenges we face as members of the blindness community, and laughed at the silly things that some sighted folks have said to us.

We encouraged the kids to use whatever mobility tool each chooses (a long, white cane; a guide dog; or a sighted “human guide”) competently and confidently. My fellow Dixie Landers and I believe that the key to educating the sighted community is a more active presence of the blindness community in the community-at-large.

Thanks to my technical assistant, Arleigh Baker, for his help with the creation of accessible handouts for the kids.

All of us are looking forward to making more visits such as these in an effort to encourage our blind brothers and sisters of all ages!

Thank you, for your ongoing prayers and support!

God bless you, and keep His Song in your heart!

Laurel Jean

Music Ministry, Eastern Kentucky

Big thanks to all who helped make this past weekend’s Music and Ministry in Eastern Kentucky a success. “Seeing and Being God’s Light” was the theme on Saturday, June 13. Music By Laurel Jean was honored to be the main presenter for this year’s Prime Time Retreat, Church of the Nazarene, Eastern Kentucky District. The retreat was held on the beautiful Mount hope Church Campground, where we were hosted throughout the weekend.

Sunday, we were up bright and early, on the road to Paris, KY, to help God’s kids of all ages celebrate Vacation Bible School Graduation at Paris Church of the Nazarene. Then, Sunday evening, we were off to another of God’s Family Rooms and Evening Worship just down the road at the Flemingsburg Church of the Nazarene.

It is always such a joy to meet more of my brothers and sisters in Christ! God bless you, and keep His Song in your heart!

Laurel Jean

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Tune For Summer, 2009!

After several blessed weeks of Music and Ministry in Illinois, we’re getting “in tune for summer” here in sunny South Carolina! The month of June was off to a productive start as the mailman brought a double armload of packages to my door. Thanks to Mary in Texas, for sending Braille devotional materials to share with “my” kids!

Back in 2000, Mary was a music student attending the Summer Institute of the National Resource Center for Blind Musicians in Bridgeport, CT when I first met her. Since then, she has followed my Ministry and kept me updated on her life, too! Mary is currently the “Arts Tip” Host on WRR Classical 101.1 FM, Dallas/Fort Worth.

Last Thursday, June 4, I was honored to attend the Eighth-Grade Graduation of one of “my” kids, 15-year-old T, here in Charleston. T is no stranger to hard work. He and his great-grandpa arrived early Friday morning to do more work with his Pac Mate. He’s looking forward to using this specialized computer in school this fall!

As T and his grandpa headed for home on their motorcycle, I prepared for more guests to arrive! The week before, I had received a phone call from Tanya. Tanya is the granddaughter of Josie, a Braille transcriber from Indiana whom I was privileged to meet while presenting for the 75th Anniversary of Lutheran Blind Mission, St. Louis, MO, back in 1998. Josie, who has also kept in touch with me, had been planning a trip to Charleston to attend Tanya’s daughter’s Graduation. Josie told Tanya that, aside from watching her great-granddaughter graduate, the one thing that she wanted to do was to visit my Charleston Headquarters. We had a nice visit. Josie even received her own presentation of “Vision Thru Your eyes”, a song that I love to sing especially for those sighted folks who volunteer to better the blindness community.

I said goodbye to Josie, just in time for 13-year-old S to arrive. She spent the weekend with me. We attended the bridal shower of Nancy Smith, President of Dixie Land Guide Dog Users. I helped S to bake a big batch of cookies for the occasion. We also took several walks. Throughout the weekend, S was able to hone some of her independent living and cane travel skills.

Another highlight of the weekend was the celebration of Pastor Don’s 40th year in Ministry, at Grace United Methodist Church. A big thanks to everyone at Grace for their ongoing support of Music By Laurel Jean, my Outreach and Children’s Chaplaincy.

I continue to be amazed by God’s handiwork. He brings His children together across the miles, through the years, from generation to generation.

Psalm 145:2 “Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever.”

Stay tuned for more updates. God bless you, and keep His Song in your heart!

Laurel Jean

A Little About Me

My photo
God continues to bless me with a busy and fulfilling life. Even after thirty-plus years, my music and ministry keep going and growing. Blind from birth, I am n avid user of Braille and the long, white cane, in addition to a variety of mainstream and access technology. While my blindness does not define me, I consider it to be a unique gift from God. With this gift comes my opportunity to serve as an advocate on behalf of my fellow members of the Blindness community, living and serving among blind and sighted folks of all ages, on all walks of life. To learn more about my music, ministry and outreach, please visit my Web site, and be sure to stay tuned to my Blog!