Lighthouse String Ensemble

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NEWS

08/09/12

It's been a long time since we updated.  The band is in the process of a few small changes.  We are updating our site and schedule.  Hoping to see you somewhere along the way.  May God's blessings be on you all!

01/11
/10

Hey there.  Just wanted to highlight a couple of things that took place last year that we are very thankful for.  On November 5, 2009, we had the absolute privelege of sharing a singing engagement with our musical heroes & friends, Jerry & Tammy Sullivan, at Hunter Station Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL.  It was truly a wonderful event.  Jerry & Tammy are some of the nicest people you ever want to meet.  The songs they shared with us remind us of the urgent need to share the gospel with everyone we meet along the way.  

Here are a few photos from that night:


   

 
It was so much fun being with the people who inspired us to start playing as daddy and daughter so many years ago.    

Another incredible event that took place was the car accident I was involved in on the night of December 12, 2009.   It had been raining hard for a couple of days and my truck hydroplaned.  It flipped and hit some trees.  When I awoke from the impact, the vehicle was upside down, water was coming in on me and my feet were pinned between the steering wheel and driver door.  I wiggled my feet free and had to kick out the rest of the windshield to climb out and walk down the road to get help.  Thankfully, my little girl wasn't in the vehicle with me that night.  I stayed two nights in the hospital and suffered a broken fibula, nasty cuts on my hand hands (requiring stitches), I cut my right thigh muscle in half and received lots of bad bruising but PRAISE GOD I'M ALIVE!  I know He was with me that night.  From all accounts, I should be paralyzed at the least!  The steering wheel was crushed into the driver seat.  I had my seat belt on but God allowed me to come out of that area so that my legs were not crushed!  It was a terrifying ordeal but He had His hand on me and it made Christmas for me and my family a whole lot more meaningful. 

Here is a photo of what's left of my truck:







I still can't believe I lived through this and came out as well as I am.  The bones and bruises will heal.  For some reason it was not my time to go Home.  I stand amazed once again at how remarkable our Lord is.  

Hold your loved ones close tonight and always!

Love, 

Amanda
  
                                                                                                            

10/12/09

 Hello, friends.  God is so good.  I tell you, a fire has been stirring within me.  God has been working on me!  Over the past few years, He has been making His amazing love real to me in a way I have never experienced in my life before.  Imagine that:  A kid raised in church from birth to adulthood and I feel like I've just come into the arms of my Savior for the first time.  You know, pain teaches us hard lessons.  Disappointment and heartache, sickness and betrayal all threaten to snatch our sanity and our peace away but if we are Children of the Light, God is at work in those things.  I believe nothing can come to me unless it goes through His hands first.  Each circumstance has to meet with His approval before it reaches me.  In other words, God knows that people are going to fail us;  He knows that hard times are going to come to our door, yet He promises that He will work it all out for our good.  All of it.  Even death.  Doesn't it feel good to know that we may hurt but it will ultimately lead us to a better place?  It will teach us to be wise and to trust Him.  Ever experienced loss of any kind?  Ever felt helpless?  Overcome with the hardships of life?  It is during those times that we are in a position of great opportunity in Christ.  It may not seem like it but He is there on the scene with us, wanting to lead us onto something good.  

Did you know that He is FOR you?  He is 100% for you in every way.  Even in chastisement, He is seeking for your ultimate good.  We foolish humans sometimes think what we experience cannot possibly lead to anything good but God is looking ahead to the unseen.  Every word of instruction in the bible is for your ultimate good.  Every word printed has a purpose to work toward our ultimate good.  There are no words included meant to try to derail you or cause you to fall; every single word is there to lead you into His haven of rest.  How much happier we would all be if we could TRUST in that thought - that God is ALWAYS FOR US and we can count on Him to make "all things work for good to those who love Him".  

I'm so glad my time on earth isn't about me; it's about Him.  It isn't about what I do: it's about what He did and still does today.  I can't build a tower up to Heaven with my good deeds.  I can't earn enough merits to make me worthy of His love.  Oh the years I spent focusing on ME and how I could make myself worthy.  I ran on the hamster wheel of "its-up-to-me" which only led to despair and frustration (and no lasting peace) when my flesh would rise up once more to trample me.  

Friends, if your peace resides in your measure of how well you are doing, then you will not hold onto it for very long.  We should all strive daily to live a life pleasing unto the Lord but I believe our MOTIVATION for good works is even more important than the works themselves.  I used to work out of fear of Hell or punishment.  I convinced myself that it was up to me to stay out of Hell.  I had to prove to God that I was worth Heaven.  "Look at me, God!  Ain't I holy enough?"  All the while I was on this cycle of highs when I performed well and unbelievable guilt and angst when I failed God.  My peace was continually threatened.  I had no security in Christ because it all hinged on ME.  It was up to me to make myself good enough.  I let relationship with my Lord sink into the shadows of the sweat of my toiling to win God's favor.

Then came understanding into my life via the stormy adventures of the last few years.  I suffered through hardships that threatened to take my sanity but God worked them all out for my good and He taught my heart to rely on Him.  I realized that it is all about Him.  Every bit of it.  It's about what He did on Calvary and what He does for me every day of my life.  I am finally able to lay my hammer down knowing that His work is why I am going to Heaven, not mine.  He knew I'd never be able to do enough in my human effort to afford salvation and so that is why He died for me.  And because He loves me so much, I live a life of gratitude for a gift I can't possibly deserve.  It was His love that made Him go to the cross for me; and because of that Love, I want Him more and more.  Yes, obedience is required; but when you are free to love Him and realize His love for you, you will desire to be obedient to such a God full of amazing grace, enough for sinners. 

I'm walking in His love every day.  I tell you, it's amazing to feel the liberty of Christ's amazing love.  When you realize it and soak it in, it brings astounding peace and joy into your life.  I want to serve Him because He loves me so well.  I want to live a life pleasing to Him because He gives me unfailing love every day of my life, despite my faults and failures.  No one else in this world has ever or will ever fill me like Jesus does.  If, God forbid, I were to lose my home, my job, my family and friends - yet if I have Jesus, I am never going to be alone or unloved.  I would still be richly, infinitely loved.

Attitudes change when you come into the realization of His love for you.  I used to be terribly self righteous as a young person.  I saw the sinners all around me and I thanked God that I wasn't like they were.  They were living nasty, selfish lives.  I was happy to point out their gross sins while I studied to make myself worthy to judge.  How breath taking it was when God's love became real to me and I found the person in the mirror was the rogue sinner!  Me!  All those things I thought I did in the name of God were so small in the shadow of the cross.  Look at what HE DID!  How could I ever gloat again about my own miniscule efforts.  And how could I ever count myself worthy enough to judge another again?  We can recognize a person who is lost pretty easily.  Our response should always be to HELP them instead of simply pointing at them while they lay there spiritually thirsting to death.  Let them realize His love in a real way and they will serve Him out of gratitude and pursue Him as they experience His peace that passes all understanding.  Let's get ourselves and our own agenda out of the way and let people realize that love. 

I believe Christians need to ask themselves why we serve; why we work.  If it is because of anything other than love, then maybe we need to return to the basics of relationship again.  The basis of any relationship should be love.  Would God require anything less than that?  If we look at our God and see anything other than the one our heart loves and longs for then all our works may be null and void.  We either work for Him (out of love) or we work for ourselves (out of fear, guilt, whatever).  If we work without loving, we work with no power.  We put our stamp and leave our mark and it is all about us once again.  And we have built nothing.  There should be joy.  There should be rest.  There should be a fire kindled in our hearts to shower our master with love in return, however small and feeble a human is capable of doing.  It's simply about Love in it's purest childlike form.                       

Folks, it is absolutely incredible to finally be living a life for Christ motivated by love and gratitude.  I can't believe it took me so long to realize and accept His unfailing love for me.  Perfect yet?  Absolutely, positively NOT.  I'm an imperfect person trying to fight off the same temptations I faced yesterday but praise be to God, I'm captured by His grace, resting in His love and depending on His provisions from day to day. 

My sweet Savior has the same kind of love for you.  Be an encourager to one another until we get home!

Love,
Amanda Smothers

Hebrews 3:13  "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."

                                                                                                             01/23/09 

 

We’ve been some busy bees this past cold weather season. Celebrating the new year,kicking off  2009 with new places and friends. Singing and playing new music with a new member of the group. Calvin Bodiford comes to us from Luverne, Al. He is a veteran  who served our country during the Korean war as well as the Vietnam war. Calvin has been a

music teacher for many years and specializes in mandolin, guitar and violin. He is one of the last great fiddle players in our area, and we are proud to have him on board with us. We’re pretty excited about the upcoming year and  we are praying that the Lord will continue to bless our Ministry. He’s been so good to us.  He has helped us through some rough spots this past year. We’ll keep on giving him the honor, glory, and praise for it. He has  opened doors for us to go and take our music to worship services with new faces and places. Speaking of that…We are very pleased to have some coming up in the near future and we’re ready to get out on the road. Check out the Schedule page to see our dates and locations.


We’ve had a lot of sick folks among our families and we would like to ask you to
keep us in your prayers. Pray for the nation to return to God. The road still looks rough and rocky ahead. We have made it this far on the prayers of our elders, brothers and sister like you. We covet them.


We are looking to see your smiling faces at one of our picking and grinnings SOON! Keep those toes warm!


God bless,
Mike, Amanda, Ray, Hugh and Calvin


THE LIGHTHOUSE STRING ENSEMBLE
 

 

01/09/08

Goodbye 2007, hello 2008!  We can look back on the past year and say that God blessed LSE tremendously!  We grasped so many new opportunities and experiences.  We met so many wonderful people and we made new friends that I’m sure we’ll share for years and years to come. 

 

In May we released our fourth CD called “Fully Convinced” and it has been a great addition to the merchandise we sell for the band.  We’ve received lots of great feedback on the quality and content of the disc. 

 

Then in August we had the unforgettable opportunity to trek to Bean Blossom, Indiana to participate in the festival there.  Though it must have been hot enough to boil blood, and despite the fact that our van broke down at the gates, and discounting the fact that it took hours to fix, the Lord showed up to save the day by way of a willing vessel and God’s amazing acts of love.  We will never forget you, Bean Blossom.  And we waved goodbye to whatever pride we had left while the tractor was pulling our vehicle down to the stage.  Ah, the crowd must have known we came from Alabama with a banjo on our knee.

 

And, all of the marvelous churches who adopted us and welcomed us into their services; we could not have asked for better treatment.  I often think that we have eaten enough church pot luck meals to feed a small third world country.  We leave our mark on the grocery table.  LSE will NOT go hungry.  God’s blessings are abundant.  And we have partaken in them like swine to a mud hole. . . . and now our waist lines are paying the price.  But still, our hearts are swelling with satisfaction as we realize that the South is still alive with good, Christian brothers and sisters.  Whether the house be big or small, city, town or country, the Word is still being preached and we have enjoyed every minute of stopping in to visit with each congregation.  We send out a hearty THANK YOU to everyone. 

 

Thanks also to all the radio and television stations, festivals, nursing homes, club events and all else who have chosen LSE.  We feel like fat, hand-picked tomatoes when you could have picked much bigger ones from the vine. 

 

Now, on to 2008.  We look forward with much anticipation and expectation about what God is going to do.  We’ve got new venues on the schedule, new doors opening up to us.  We’ve got new instruments and equipment and we’ve raring to go.  The thought of seeing dear old friends again fills us with excitement.

 

I’ve been writing a lot of new songs and hope to write more.  I’m sure we will incorporate those songs into a new list that will spice up the current repertoire.  Daddy wants to work in some more bluesy and mountain music in 2008 and he’s been learning a lot of new tunes, so many that I can’t keep up. 

 

And I wanted to really take a little time to mention how much we appreciate our good buddies and band mates, Ray and Hugh.  Never have we ever met two more admirable fellows.  Ray loves bluegrass more than anyone I’ve ever seen on planet earth.  I really believe he will die with a banjo on his knee and a smile on his face.  He has been our hero more times than most people know.  Many hotel nights have been spent on his tab just because he loves what we do.  Without him, I know we’d be scrambled eggs.  He keeps us laughing and we know that he’s just one Goo-Goo Cluster away from a diabetic sugar overdose that will send him hurling into a wild hyper frenzy that would make an 8 year old kid look like a sleeping cat.  We saw it in Nashville and learned our lesson.  Never offer him one.  He’ll eat it and you will have to peel him off the ceiling too.  Despite his aching knees, Ray never misses an event.  He simply can’t get enough.  And we thank his lovely wife for lending him to us so graciously.  We know we give him back after we’ve worn him out too many times.  At least we feed him, huh?

 

And Hugh, glorious Hugh.  He’s a 23 year old contemporary version of the Darlin’ Boys.  We’ve been trying to get him to talk to us for years now but he just stands there, smiling, ready to do whatever he can to bring joy and sunshine to a bunch of lunatics who can be hard to love at times.  When we didn’t have a bass player, he agreed to learn and he’s just fit in like peas and carrots, like pot roast and heartburn, ever since.  And never once have I heard him complain. . . well. . . . I don’t really hear him talk at all. . . .but he doesn’t fuss at all when we’ve been riding in the van for 4 hours and Abby (my 3 year old) decides it’s time to scream bloody murder and throw Cheetos all over the place.  He never complains when I ask him to play in F-sharp or E-flat.  He never speaks harshly when Daddy gives him the wrong directions that send us driving 40 miles out of our way.  No, just give him an ample supply of giant-sized Dr. Peppers and he’s as happy as a lark.  Need to make a bass player out of a sound man?  No problem.  Hugh is willing.  Need a work horse who will carry 150 pounds of equipment?  No problem.  Call Hugh.  Need a babysitter who will wipe noses and catch lightning fast toddlers who are hurling into orbit?  Hugh is waiting for the word.  Need someone to sew you a new dress?  Don’t call Hugh.  Call your Grandmother, but just know that Hugh is dynamite and we are extremely thankful for all he does and all he puts up with and one day, ONE DAY we will all pass out from shock when he actually utters a word.  And he’s single.  Did I mention that?  Ladies?  Call me.  Don’t tell Hugh.      

 

Anyhoo, LSE is entertaining the idea of adding a new member to the band.  We are just in the very early stages at the moment but we are praying that the Lord will work it out.  If all goes as planned, you should expect to meet him somewhere along the road. 

 

God is good.  Jesus is our hope and salvation.  We are humbled by His incredible love and mercy.  What a Savior we have. 

 

You can check out my artwork by clicking here:  Amanda's Art

 

Love,

Amanda  

 

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