Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I'm watching the "Nightly News". There are saying how glad a lot of people are to have 2008 behind them. I'm inclined to agree. There is much from 2008 that I would love to forget! It was a rough one. But, I look forward with hope to 2009. I know that God is in control of all things and my challenge is to truly trust Him and believe that all that He does is for His glory and our good (to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose).
We have spent the last few days watching "The Lord of the Rings". On Monday we watched "The Fellowship of the Ring". Last night we watched "The Two Towers". Tonight we watch "The Return of the King". There are so many good "lessons" in these movies as I watch them. My favorite quote from the first movie is this... an exchange between Frodo and Gandalf:
"Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought."
There are so many things that "I wish had never come to me..." but need and want to believe that these things were meant to be. It also is a challenge to me "to decide what to do with the time that is given to [me]."
My goal is to glorify God... it is to honor Him, to say "yes" to whatever He asks me to do. I'm encouraged that in these stories of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Men, that, "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." (spoken to Frodo).
I am just one person. But, in the hands of God... well... who knows what could happen?!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Safer Than a Known Way

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown",
and he replied,
"Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God,
that shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way."
~M.L. Haskins~

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I finally have a day when I don't have to go out until this evening. That doesn't mean I do nothing today. I have about 5 loads of laundry waiting to be done, 6 loaves of bread, a few dozen cookies, gifts to wrap, phone calls to make for the weekend, preparations for Sunday, planning for Christmas dinners next week...
For this morning, though... I'm taking it easy for a little while. Ah... feels good.

Friday, December 12, 2008

He Knows My Name

Our family watches lots of movies. Every Friday night is movie night (and sometimes in between Fridays). The day after Thanksgiving we watched "Jingle All The Way". It's a fairly funny movie... considering our Governor has the main role. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when the main character, who has been trying all along to find this one particular "doll" (action hero) for his son, ends up (through all kinds of crazy circumstances) portraying the action hero in the Christmas parade. The action hero guy is supposed to pick a kid out the crowd to give him a special edition "doll". He spots his son in the crowd and calls his name. The son doesn't realize it's his dad and is amazed that the super hero guy knows him. He says to his friend, "He knows my name!!". That one line really struck me. There's a song we sing at our church called "He Knows My Name", talking about God, who created us and knows us! He is intimately acquainted with us. Psalm 139 says "...You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know is completely, O Lord... You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."
In thinking about this today, I'm comforted that He (God) knows my name. "I have a Father, who calls me His own. He'll never leave me no matter where I go. He knows my name. He knows my every thought. He sees each tear that falls and hears me when I call."

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm starting to think that I am too (is it one "o" on to, or 2?) dependent on the Internet. For a few days my laptop wasn't working and I had major attitude problems. Good grief... how could something become so addicting? It's back up and running now, obviously. But while it wasn't working I did find (hmmm "find"?) more time to read or practice or do household chores than when my computer was working. While the computer and the Internet are wonderfully fabulous tools which enable me to do research, buy Christmas gifts or connect with dear friends on the other side of the globe, I have allowed it to take over much of my time and energy. Sometimes my family suffers ("not now, I have to finish this one thing online..." "wait a few minutes until this email is done" "I'm coming to bed in just a minute"... "Daddy can read you a bedtime story, I'll be there soon..." Sigh.
I hope to make some changes in this.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Convenient Christianity

This is from today's reading of "Our Daily Bread". I find this so true!

"So many television programs, so little time to watch them. Apparently that’s what our culture thinks, because now technology allows us to see an hour-long program in just 6 minutes or less! The Minisode Network has pruned episodes of popular series into shorter, more convenient packages for interested viewers. “The shows you love—only shorter” is how it’s advertised. All to make our life more convenient.

Some have tried to make the Christian life more convenient. They choose to practice Christianity on Sunday only. They attend a religious service at whatever church makes them most comfortable. They give a small offering and are nice to fellow churchgoers—nothing that requires much effort on their part. That way they can have the rest of the week to themselves, to live as they please.

That would be a convenient Christianity. But we know that following Jesus is a lifestyle and not a Sunday-only convenience. Being a “disciple” calls for giving up our lives for Him (Matt. 16:25). It’s about living as Jesus calls us to live, daily giving up our plans and purposes for His. A relationship with Him causes us to be concerned with our thoughts, decisions, attitudes, and actions—all to make our life joy-filled for us and pleasing to God. — Anne Cetas

The Christian life is more than just
A prayer of faith made in the past;
It’s dedicating every day
To live for Christ and what will last. —Sper

Faith in Christ is not just a single step but a life of walking with Him."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The joys of being in a musical family

Check out this Thanksgiving day "jam session" with my niece and son. We learned "The Office" theme song and were practicing it and my sister-in-law recorded it. Voila, it's now on You Tube.

More things for which I am thankful...

....for the privilege of living and working in France for 5 years. A part of my heart is still there. I remember a thanksgiving day (which they obviously don't celebrate in France) when I was in class at the Sorbonne Universite and went to lunch with an American friend at McDonalds in Paris. Weird thanksgiving for me, but fun anyway.

....that I live within 45 minutes of my little brother and his family. I love that we are so close by!
....that we lived near my husbands family for 10 years in NJ before moving out here.
....for the rain!
....that we get to live in my hometown
....for the ability to see, hear, taste, smell and touch

...more coming

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am thankful for....

...God's presence, He is faithful no matter what. His love and faithfulness endure forever. He never changes. He is totally trustworthy. He is in control of all things. He is God, He is great, He is good.
...My husband Jim whom I grow to love and admire more and more every day
...My four children, who are more and more fun all the time. They are great kids!
...My Dad, who is still healthy and active at age 86
...A roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear
....Music. Most of my life involves music.... music for school, music for church, music just to relax and enjoy. I express myself best through music. I am so thankful God gave me music!
...Hot showers
...Orange juice
...A fire in the fireplace (on days when burning is permitted) when it's cold outside
...good books
...good friends
...a few days off from school

more later...

Friday, November 21, 2008

From Elisabeth Elliot

I just had to quote this article from Elisabeth Elliot. It breaks my heart.

"Give Them Parking Space, But Let Them Starve to Death

Another moral threshold was crossed when a tiny baby boy, at the specific request of his parents and with the sanction of the Supreme Court of Indiana, was starved to death in a hospital. "Infant Doe" (he was not allowed the usual recognition of being human by being named), born with Down's syndrome and a malfunctioning esophagus (the latter could have been corrected with surgery), died, as the Washington Post (April 18) stated, "not because he couldn't sustain life without a million dollars worth of medical machinery, but because no one fed him." For six days the nurses in that Bloomington hospital went about their usual routines of bathing and changing and feeding all the newborns except one. They bathed and changed Baby Doe but they never gave him a bottle. Over his crib was a notice, DO NOT FEED. Several couples came forward, begging to be allowed to adopt him. They were turned down.

What went on in that little box during those six terrible days and nights? We turn our imagination away. It's unthinkable. But if I were to think about it, and put down on paper what my mind saw, I would be accused of playing on people's feelings, and of making infanticide (yes, infanticide--call it what it is) an "emotional issue." Let me suppose at least that the baby cried--quite loudly (at first). One report says that he was placed in a room alone, lest his crying disturb others (others, perhaps, who were capable of helping him).

Joseph Sobran, in his column in the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, suggested that "opposition to infanticide will soon be deplored as the dogma of a few religious sects who want to impose their views on everyone else." The language sounds sickeningly familiar.

There has been a conspicuous silence from those who usually raise shrill protest when other human rights are violated--the rights of smokers, homosexuals, and criminals are often as loudly insisted upon as those of children, women, and the handicapped.

The handicapped? What on earth is happening when a society is so careful to provide premium parking spaces to make things easier for them, but sees no smallest inconsistency when one of them who happens to be too young to scream, "For God's sake, feed me!" is quietly murdered? It is in the name of humanity, humaneness, compassion, and freedom that these things occur, but never is it acknowledged that the real reasons are comfort and convenience, that is, simple selfishness. "Abortion not only prefers comfort, convenience, or advantage of the pregnant woman to the very life of her unborn child, a fundamentally good thing, but seeks to deny that the life ever existed. In this sense it is a radical denial not only of the worth of a specific life but of the essential goodness of life itself and the Providential ordering of its procreation" (R.V. Young, "Taking Choice Seriously," The Human Life Review, Vol. VIII, no. 3.)

But weren't we talking about infanticide and haven't we now switched to abortion? The premises on which abortion is justified are fundamentally the same on which infanticide is seen as civilized and acceptable. What Hitler used to call eugenics is now called "quality of life," never mind whether the life in question happens to be the mother's or the child's. Death, according to three doctors who put the issue out into the open in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1973, is now considered an option in the "treatment" of infants; in other words, a mortuary may now replace the nursery. One cannot help thinking of the antiseptic "shower rooms" of the Third Reich, where the unwanted were "treated" to death. Nor can one forget the words of Jesus, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40, KJV).

Can any Christian argue that the smallest and most defenseless are, by virtue merely of being too small and too defenseless, not His brethren"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"The things that will destroy America are peace at any price, prosperity at any cost, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the getting-rich-quick theory of life." – Theodore Roosevelt.

I just had to quote this again. The more I ponder this, the more I think it is right on.
These things will also destroy the family... and the church. I'm seeing some of these things more and more in the church and it distresses me. I'm talking about "the church" in general... not one specific church, although I can rightfully pick on American Evangelical churches since I'm a part of one.

Here are some other things that destroy: Selfishness, gossip, dishonesty and pride (as opposed to true humility). I'm sure there are other things.

For the record... these are all things that I readily see in me. If I'm not careful and praying for change in my own heart I could be party to the destruction of my own family or church or nation.
Thank God, He is in the business of changing hearts and lives...even mine!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Mark any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush. (I don't even know what this is)
11. Calamari
12. Pho (nope, don't recognize this either)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (??)
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
Foie gras
Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects - I don't think so!
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - no
46. Fugu- huh?
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi - another huh?
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini - no
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis - Now that I know what it is... no way.
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail - uh... no
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some great quotes

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil." C.S. Lewis

"Knowledge is knowing that the tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting a tomato in a fruit salad." (from a local Insurance Newsletter)

"The things that will destroy America are peace at any price, prosperity at any cost, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the getting-rich-quick theory of life." – Theodore Roosevelt.

(I would add to that last quote.... the things that will destroy the church!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Always learning

...and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth..."
I'm taking this verse totally out of context. Some days I feel like I'm always "supposed to be" learning but somehow never quite arrive. I'm 51 years old and still feel like I don't know anything. Sure I know a few things but really, will I ever arrive? Some days are good and I feel confident, happy, etc. Other days, well.... not so much. Those are days I want to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me.
I'm having one of those days/weeks. I'm sure there is a reason for it. I'm sure there's something I'm supposed to be learning and having yet "gotten it". ("You still don't get it, do you, Jean?") I do believe that God is patient and an excellent (perfect)teacher. "The LORD is merciful and gracious, He is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever." (Psalm 103:8-9). This gives me hope.
I guess that has to be the bottom line. My hope has to be in God and not in anyone or anything else. "On Christ,the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." May I learn to keep my feet on the rock.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's that time of year! Music preparations fill my time. It's not a "flurry" of activity but a "blizzard" of activities. Although I love music and all that goes with it, I look forward to some extended time of quiet to read, pray, think and write. That will happen sometime between Christmas and New Years Day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What to do now...

"I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for He wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus. He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message that God gave to the world at the proper time." I Timothy 2:1-6

So - what do we do now?
1) Pray - (for our new President) so that we can live in peace, godliness and dignity.
2) Pray - because it pleases God our Savior
3) Pray - because there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile us to God - the man Christ Jesus.
4) Pray - because Jesus gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone! This is our message!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pray. Vote.

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding."
(Daniel 2:20)

Whoever is elected I believe God is in control. My hubby and I spent quite a lot of time over the weekend praying for the election.
Please pray. Please vote.
Whoever is elected, that person will need the prayers and support of us all.
Ultimately, God is the one who "changes times and seasons, who removes kings and sets up kings."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Talents" Total

The money is not yet all in, but so far (with most of it in) we made nearly $2500!!
There were some really creative ideas... Backpack "painting", Christmas Ornaments, Go-cart racing, yard sales, recycling, baking, bracelets, and music CD's. That's about 3 month's worth of missionary support for our missionaries!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Worship Matters

The "Worship Matters" website today had a great article. I've quoted part of it here. There are certain tensions that church musicians face.... "is it performance?" "is it 'just for church'?" "Do we do the latest music just because it's the latest music?" "Should we do music to "entertain" or "hook" people so they'll come back?"
This article so clearly expresses my heart (and my husband's) for our ministry.


"Let me be clear: we should strive for excellence for the glory of God. But competing with the world’s production standards should never be our ultimate goal. The world will almost always “out-WOW” the church in terms of production quality.

More importantly, our talent and expertise are not what we rely on to draw people to Christ. It’s the gospel, proclaimed and demonstrated through a group of ordinary believers who have an extraordinary Savior. It’s our humility, joy, servanthood, power, integrity, and love, all produced by our relationship with a risen Savior. As Paul put it, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” ( 1 Cor. 2:2-51 Corinthians 2:2-5 [2]For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. [3]And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, [4]and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, [5]that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
). Ultimately, we don’t want anyone’s faith resting in the power of our performance or the creativity of our stage designs, but in the power of the gospel.

The Church As Production Company
The New Testament gives no indication that the church is responsible to put on lavish productions for the purpose of evangelism or edification. That’s because the church isn’t a production company. Performances, plays, and productions, despite the evident fruit at times, were never meant to be the main instrument of evangelism for the church. The main instrument is a body of believers who have been redeemed through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, and who have now been called to proclaim the excellencies of him who called them out of darkness into his marvelous light ( 1 Pet. 2:91 Peter 2:9 [9]But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
). How do they do that? Primarily by preaching the gospel, by doing good, and by keeping their “conduct honorable, so that others may see their good deeds and glorify God when Christ returns” ( Heb. 13:16Hebrews 13:16 [16]Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
; 1 Pet. 2:121 Peter 2:12 [12]Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit to learn about the ESV.
). In other words, it’s more a matter of faithful living than lavish productions."

Read the whole article here: Worship Matters

I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jesus Thank You

Week after week I put together songs for worship. Some weeks it just falls into place so easily. Other weeks it feels like nothing "fits". This was one of those weeks, until late this afternoon. I had finished looking through all 8 (2 inch thick) binders of music, as well as my file folder thingy, after which I went online to a website I use to scope out new music, and there I found it... a new song for Sunday. All the rest of the songs fell into place. The new song is "Jesus Thank You" and ties in perfectly to the theme of the message for Sunday. Just now, as I was typing this, I thought about how this song and finding it caused the rest of the service to fall into place is like our lives (my life). As soon as I focus on the cross and what Jesus did for me (and get my focus off all the other stuff) then things really do fall into place and I'm walking through the house singing "Your blood has washed away my sin, Jesus thank you. The Father's wrath completely satisfied, Jesus thank you. Once Your enemy now seated at Your table, Jesus thank you."
That pretty much says it all for me this evening.


A friend just tagged me in her blog. Now I'm tagging a few others.
Try to answer these questions with one word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Where is your significant other? office
3. Your hair color? brown
4. Your mother? Eleanor
5. Your father? Robert
6. Your favorite thing? piano
7. Your dream last night? forgotten
8. Your dream/goal? transformation
9. The room you’re in? Den
10. Your hobby? Scrapbooking
11. Your fear? Kids getting injured
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here.
13. Where were you last night? Movie
14. What you’re not? thin
15. One of your wish list items? grand piano
16. Where you grew up? America
17. The last thing you did? Facebooked!
18. What are you wearing? clothes
19. Your tv? old
20. Your pet? 4
21. Your computer? Dell
22. Your mood? quiet
23. Missing someone? Mom
24. Your car? van
25. Something you’re not wearing? Fedora
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? hot
28. Love someone? Yes!
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When was the last time you laughed? this morning
31. Last time you cried? yesterday


Sunday, October 26, 2008


I wrote about using "talents" to raise support for our missionaries. Our yard sale didn't yield very much, but I sold all 40 of my CD's! (with a request for more!).
One week from today we find out how much we all raised. I'm looking forward to that!
So far with our investment (as a family)of $100 we have earned $420 with the hope for more.

So far, so good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Things That Last

We're having a yard sale today. We went through a bunch of stuff yesterday to get ready for this, including some very old things of my parents and grandparents. Things made or built 50+ years ago were really made to last. Things that are made these days I think are made to last maybe about 5 years (if you're lucky).

I was thinking earlier this week about things that last. My best friend called this week, we talked for 85 minutes! Our friendship has lasted 25 years already. My husband and I have been married 18 years and hope to make to at least 50 years (we were both older when we got married).

The Bible says that only 2 things really last forever... God's Word (the Bible) and People. This makes me ponder how I should be spending my time. Talk about investing long term... This is the best investment: Spending time with God (reading the Bible) and spending time with people, investing in their lives. I don't do either of these very well. I get "busy" with so many other things that don't last.

All this stuff we have out in the driveway today is just "stuff". What's really important is God's Word, my relationship with Him and with the people around me.
I know this, but want to live Lord, help me to spend wisely, on things that are lasting.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Preparing the Next Generation

Check out this article from Worship Matters. (I don't know how to do a "link" thing yet, where you post a web address and you can just click on it... so I guess you'll have to copy and paste this. OR - you can go the right side of this page and click on the Worship matters blog!)

This is an admonition to me particularly to prepare the next generation. Both my husband and I were trained "in church" to use our music "in church" and I want to do the same thing. We've done that a little but I need to do more of it.
This goes for other areas of life and ministry as well. What am I doing... what are we doing... to train the next generation to serve?

"Somebody's Got to Move"

I get a "devotional" every day in my email from Ron Hutchcraft (and also from Elisabeth Elliot).
Let me tell you... God DOES speak today. Yesterday's from Ron Hutchcraft was really timely about moving forward when others are saying it's time to "retreat" (quit). That sure is a temptation at times.
Today's email from Ron was also very timely. (And it's the same thing I've been "hearing" in a few other places lately) God is saying something to ME. Maybe someone who reads this blog (Ted, Maureen and Jim are the only ones I know for sure, but anyway...) maybe someone else who reads this will be encouraged/challenged as I was. Here it is:

"Closing. That's what they call the day that you sign all the final papers to buy your home. I remember it well. It was a long time ago, but, I know that you're finally allowed to start moving in after your closing. You see, we sat with the previous owner in the attorney's office and I got to write enough checks to wallpaper at least one wall! Now, they wouldn't let us move anything in until closing day. That's the law. It was still the home of the previous owner until that day. But as soon as we left that office the truck could roll, and it did. And all our stuff could get moved in. This all has to be carefully timed. One family has to be out before another family can move in, right? Sure! What if we had rolled up with our truck and the previous owners were still there? We can't both live there! One has to move out before the other one can move in.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Somebody's Got to Move!"

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews 12:15. God is showing us here that there are two things that can't live in the same house at the same time. Well, actually, in the same heart. There's no way they can co-exist. Here's what it says, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Now, with the stress you have you sure don't want to miss God's grace; you don't want to miss His sustaining love. But this says you can, you can miss God's grace! How do you do that? Well, by having this other guy living in your heart. It talks about having "no bitter root." If bitterness is living in your heart, grace cannot move in. One or the other has to go.

Could it be that part of your stress and part of your struggle is that poisonous root of bitterness in your heart? I mean, maybe you've been hurt, rejected, abused, maybe disappointed, and there's a growing resentment in your heart. Notice growing. It says the bitter root grows. Bitterness and anger never stand still. They keep growing, they start to "defile many," to spill over into our other close relationships.

Just last week a mother told me about how she'd been hurt some years before and how her heart, she said, had grown hard. She said, "Now my hard heart is affecting my husband, my children." You see, it was bitterness that turned it hard. The irony is that a grudge actually chains you emotionally to the person you dislike. "I don't like so and so, so I'll think about her a lot." That's what happens! Unforgiveness is like this emotional cancer and it eats you up inside. It may be costing you God's sustaining grace. They can't live in the same house at the same time!

Isn't it time to release that bitterness? Hasn't it done enough damage? It isn't hurting the person you're bitter toward. It's hurting you, and probably others you love. Bitterness can only be moved out by something called forgiveness. Going to the great Forgiver, the One who said of those who had just nailed Him to a cross, "Father forgive them," and you say to Him, "Lord give me the grace to release this person, to forgive them, to release them to You. Not to excuse them, but to choose to treat them not as they treated me, but as you've treated me, Jesus.

In the words of Colossians 3:13, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Forgiving is the beginning of healing the damage of the past. There's a truck full of God's grace pulled up in front. He's waiting to move that grace into your heart and your life as soon as the bitterness moves out!"

Lord, help me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

What I did on my birthday

What I did on my birthday:
Went to school to play for High School choir - they sang "Happy Birthday" to me (in various keys and tempos) then went to Wilson school for their choir. They also sang to me!
After lunch with my hubby and daughter at Home Town Emporium I went to the Doctor where I got to read my book for 45 minutes before seeing the Doc. It really wasn't wasted time... I got to read, found out that my carotid arteries are clear and good, got some migraine medicine samples and went home.
Once home my kids made birthday cake (they called it "Cabbage pudding" to try to trick me). They also made supper and set a beautiful table.... table cloth, beautiful placemats, nice dishes, candles, etc.
This evening I'm watching a romantic movie with my hubby while the kids clean up the kitchen. Ah.... this was a good one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Talents" for Missions

Our church recently gave out $20 to anyone who wanted to "invest" it and return the increase in November. It's sort of like the parable of the talents in the Bible, where the master leaves and gives a certain amount of "talents" to his workers. Some invest it and return 10, 20 times as much. One man just buried his talent in the ground and didn't make anything. We're hoping to get back in even 10 times what we were given! This money will go to our missionaries, who we have not been able to support as much this year.

There have been some really creative ideas! One of them is a go-cart race (happening today!). Also, my daughter and a friend baked cookies and made bracelets and sold those. We're planning on using some of our money to advertise for a yard sale next weekend.
I decided to record myself playing piano (sounds really vain, doesn't it?). I borrowed a nifty recorder thing from a friend (it's worth about $400!!), shut myself up in my house for a few hours yesterday and played piano. My son edited it down to 1 hour (taking out page turn noises, sniffing, temper tantrums when I messed up, etc). Today we made labels and he'll finish burning the CD's.

I'll post back on here the results after our "Harvest Party" in a few weeks.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I opened my Elisabeth Elliot devotional this morning and found this... the whole post is really good. If you want to read it, check out the link in my list of blogs that I read. It's really good. (Also the C.S. Lewis quote for today on this page is excellent!!)

"The word humdudgeon is a new one to me and I like the sound of it. It means "a loud complaint about a trifle."Heard any of those lately around your house? One mother thought of an excellent antidote:all humdudgeons must be presented not orally but in writing, "of two hundred words or more." There was a sudden marked reduction in whining and complaining."

Things about which I am tempted to complain this morning (but it would be less that 200 words).
Our car needs 2 new tires
My 16 year old son has the chicken pox
I have a headache

Well, I guess it's really not that much. In the grand scheme of things these are really minor irritations (well, for Joseph it's more of an irritation than that I guess). I really am glad for:

orange juice
a week off from school
cooler weather
a house to live in
food to eat
clothes to wear
my family
and the list goes on and on and on....

There is much to be thankful for.
I think I'll choose contentment today instead of humdudgeons.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Time Passages

I remember when my boys took their first steps. It seems like yesterday. I just watched one of my twin sons drive off with his dad for "driving practice". I took my other son out yesterday to practice just driving around the neighborhood (right turns, left turns, right turns, left turns... no U-turns yet). I almost cried at the realization that this is yet another new phase in their lives as well as ours. It seems like they just started walking.... right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Before I know it they'll be out of High School and on their own. I don't know where the time went.
All that advice I heard when they were babies about enjoying every moment. They were right.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


We happened to be watching public TV tonight... Rick Steves Europe. He was talking about Poland and spent quite a lot of time talking about WWII and the Jewish Holocost. It's painful to watch and see what happened during that dark time of history. At the Auschwitz death camp approximately 4 million Jewish people were executed.

This made me think of something from the Presidential debate last night. There was a question about Israel (don't remember exactly what it was). Both candidates said that we don't want to have "another Holocost". I wish I could have asked a question of them both about abortion. I should have looked up the facts, but I think it's about 50 million babies that have been killed since 1973! One picture of the death camp in Poland showed a huge pile of shoes (to give a visual image of just how many people were killed). Imagine how many pairs of baby shoes that would be!

Coming up in a few weeks, on October 21st is "Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity". Please check out their website. I plan to participate in this, to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.
Maybe someday the world will see the horrible holocost that has been going on for the past 35 years and do something to stop it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"To Tell the Truth"

We have the Presidential debate on TV. My husband was just saying how great it would be if we could see a banner running across the bottom of the screen with the actual TRUTH, FACTs as opposed to what is being said (on BOTH sides!).

I do appreciate it when the candidates actually answer the questions directly. It doesn't happen very often. I just found this clip on abortion. At least on this issue it's pretty clear where they each stand.

Monday, October 6, 2008

God's ways or man's ways

I just finished book #2 in a series called "Chronicles of the Kings" (or something like that). It's a series based on the kings of the Old Testament. The book I just finished last night was about King Hezekiah. In this book he has just become king and decided to make major reforms in his kingdom. Judah had given herself over to rampant idolatry which had caused them to be slaves to another nation (Assyria). I'm finding so many parallels to our times (thinking of the financial crisis in particular).

Hezekiah committed himself to follow God's laws unswervingly in the face of opposition (and in the face of "common sense"). I am struck with how often (most often) God's ways simply don't make sense to us, but His ways are best (higher, greater, wiser). Throughout Israel's history God's ways don't make human sense, but when they trusted in Him and His ways, they were delivered. Think about the Exodus from Egypt, about Joshua facing Jericho (marching around the walls? C'mon! You gotta be kidding!), David facing Goliath, and the examples go on and on.

Toward the end of the book Hezekiah is faced with some choices as to how to defend his kingdom against impending attack from the Assyrians. Should he send tribute to them? Should he marshall his forces, build up his troops and weapons? Make sure the city's water supply is taken care of? God confronts him thorugh the prophet Isaiah, who tells him that first and foremost he should rely on God.... not on man's wisdom, not on military might, not on natural resources. He does this and the Assyrians leave!

I've been pondering all this today. I just read in Proverbs 3, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Then in Jeremiah 17.... "Cursed is the man who trusts in man (then a description of the man who trusts in man... a dried up bush in the desert), but Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord (described as a tree planted by streams of water).

With our current financial crisis, with all the stuff we face, with "global warming" and so many other crises. What will I choose? What will we choose? Go with Hezekiah's God (and our God!) and be a tree planted by streams of water (bearing fruit, not withering) OR - Go with man's wisdom and be like a dried up bush in the desert?
I want to be the tree.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fancy concert duds

Here we are in our "concert duds". My son and daughter are in the concert choir at the High School and my son is also in the Madrigal choir.
The concert went well. *whew* Now we prepare for Christmas music. But, tomorrow I sleep in.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Concert clothes

My son tried on his tux tonight for our concert tomorrow. He's smiling, but really not very comfortable.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Concert Week

I am the accompanist for three choral groups, one Middle School and two High School groups. This week is "Concert Week"... we have our first performance of the year on Thursday night. This week is rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals and then performance day. Friday is OFF for me! This year I have two of my own kids in choral groups. One of them (my 16 year old son) is in the Madrigal choir and "gets to" wear a tuxedo! My daughter is in concert choir and will be decked out in a long black dress. If nothing else we'll sure look "smashing". I'm hoping the music will also go well. I plan to post a picture on here after it's all over.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Power of Words

I just saw the theme for the "Desiring God" conference... "The Power of Words and the Wonder of God". I'm intrigued by this. I have seen and see constantly the power of words. "The power of life and death is in the tongue" it says in Proverbs. James talks about the tongue being a "fire" and asks "who can tame it?".

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." But they do. They hurt us. They hurt our families. They hurt our ministries. And the hurt they cause can fester. Criticism from the body of Christ is not always constructive, and when it's not, it can emotionally kill us."

Careless words can and do hurt. They "pierce like a sword" it says in Proverbs. I have been "stabbed" a bunch of times and so have those I love. So it makes me want to be careful myself to "let no unwholesome word come out of my mouth" (from Ephesians 4:29). I don't want to be responsible for harm caused by my careless words. Someday I will give account for every one of those careless word spoken! (Matthew 12:36)

I don't say a lot to others (but my husband gets an "earful" at times.) I'm glad to be a more quiet person. At least I have time to think about what comes out of my mouth before I just blurt something out and later regret it. However... just because I don't SAY things doesn't mean I don't think them. So many things go through my mind that I'd LIKE to say but don't. This is God's mercy! Still.... I'm thinking them. Maybe it's fear or pride that keeps my mouth shut, or maybe sometimes it is knowing that if I were to really "speak my mind [heart]" then it could cause some real damage.

It comes down once again to the heart. Words come from the heart... "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks". But my heart still needs to be changed. Lord, change my heart!
"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing (acceptable) to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Teach Out of Your Failures"

I just found this on "Revive Our Hearts".

"Teach out of your failures. Teach out of what God has shown you where you did blow it, where you didn’t trust Him, what you learned through that, where God found you, about the addictions that you had, about the ways that you failed. Teach out of your life, and help those who are coming behind you to be guarded and protected in their steps. My life is so much richer today as I’m getting older because of older people who have poured into my life."

"Teach out of your failures"... how else can anyone learn except by finding out what doesn't work or where we've made mistakes. I can teach my kids things because I've "been there, done that" and know a little bit more than they do where to walk and how to do a few things. Same thing with teaching piano. Goodness... I've made so many (and continue to) mistakes. I can tell and show my students how NOT to do things and maybe show them a few things I've learned along the way to make better music.
May I learn to pour into others' lives the things I've learned "the hard way" and do so with grace, mercy, patience and love.

So... why did I start this anyway??

So now I'm writing my second "post" and wondering what in the world I've gotten into. Sometimes I do this... jump into something because it strikes my fancy, or I want to try something new. I'm not exactly sure why I started this. I was, in part, inspired by a friend of mine (see "The Reformed Mexican" blog). Starting up a blog, for me, is a little like jumping into the Pacific Ocean and not knowing how to swim and then realizing I've already drifted away from the shore. I guess I've got to learn how to swim or I'll drown! So, if I flounder - be patient. I'm learning.
So, I'm back to where I started. Why am I doing this? I just read (well, re-read) a post from "Worship Matters" about blogging to worship God. It seems to me that all I do should be to glorify God... even "blogging". So now my challenge is to do that here. The Westminster Confession says that "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever". I hope that something I write here will glorify God and that if anyone even reads this [stupid] thing, that they receive some kind of encouragement from it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Key to My Heart

I chose this title for a couple of reasons...

1) I'm a pianist and express my heart best while playing the piano (hence the name "keys"... you know, like piano keys). I'm not as good expressing myself verbally... I do much better in writing but if you want to know my heart, it comes out in the way I play.

2) In the Bible (book of Isaiah) is this: "The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high... He will be the sure foundation of your times (and boy do we need a sure foundation in these times!!), a rich store of wisdom and knowledge (and we also need tons of wisdom and knowledge); the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure." Isaiah 33:5-6
I'm a slow learner, but this is one thing I'm learning... fearing God, honoring Him, reverencing Him, living in awe and respect of Him, while at the same time knowing that He is GOOD and His love endures forever... fearing God is the key to having a happy heart, having a solid foundation and finding true wisdom and knowledge. The only way to truly know all this is to come into relationship with this great and awesome God through Jesus Christ! He really is the key!

So, there it is... my venture into blogging.