Sunday, December 30, 2012

Forget the past

"I will no longer waste my time relieving the past, instead I will spend it worrying about the future."

Haha....  Truthfully, this is how I often live.  I spend a lot of time reliving the past and, alternately, worrying about/planning the future.  This morning my husband spoke about these words from Isaiah in the Old Testament.

“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands."

Isaiah 43:19

Most New Year's eve I reflect on the past year and look forward to a New Year.  This year want to take seriously the words from Isaiah and forget about what's happened.  I'm a little anxious about the New Year. So many things seem so uncertain.  I pick a "word" for the New Year.  I haven't picked one yet.  Last year's word was "contentment".  I feel I was/am pretty content.  This year.... hmmmm.... I don't know yet.  I want to live expectantly, to trust wholeheartedly, to take risks, to be bold, but there is a certain amount of fear.  

So, what should my "word" be this year?  What about your word?  

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Today was such a relaxing day.  I want a whole string of days like this.  We had a fire in the fireplace, junk food out and a puzzle starting on the dining room table.  It actually felt like vacation today!
I don't want it to be Sunday tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Would You Want to Know?

If you could know what the new year holds, would you find out?  When I opened my email this morning, there was a link for horoscope with a subject line something like "find out the future".  In some ways it's tempting.  But, what if the year has a lot of bad news?  I wouldn't want to know that!  
I've been pondering my "word" for the year.  Every year I choose a word for the year.  I pick a word that expresses what I want to "work on" or one that I Hope for.  Last year I chose the word "Contentment".  My husband chose the word "Hope".  
As I think about this last year, I feel I was content but also challenged to make some changes.  I've been learning a lot about faith.  I need to trust God for every moment.  True faith doesn't need to know what tomorrow holds.  True faith trusts in the Sovereign love and power of God, our Father who loves us.
I still have a few days to think and pray about my word for 2013.  
I have a fair amount of anxiety about the future as I look at the news... "The Fiscal Cliff"...  unrest in the Middle East, increasing violence in our country in places like malls, theaters and Kindergarten classes.
I wonder about my job(s) (of which I have 3)... my husband's work (he also has about 3-4 jobs)... our own personal debt and the future for our children.  How stable are our jobs?  How stable is anything, really?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Neither were they thankful

2 Timothy 3:1-4 Amplified version
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].
For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.
[They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
I was working in the kitchen, getting things ready for the morning when heard the news about all the sales for "Black Friday".  Some have been camping out in front of stores since yesterday morning!  It used to be that stores would not decorate for Christmas or advertise for Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving. Is anyone truly thankful?   
Can we not just take even ONE day to set aside and thank GOD for all He has given us and how He has blessed us?  Instead people are lined up, camped out, elbowing their way toward the front of a line to buy something that probably don't need with money they don't have.  
Those words from Paul to Timothy came to mind as I was working in the kitchen.  "in the last days difficult times will come... " .  Look at how Paul describes them and see if they don't sound like today!  "lovers of self, lovers of money.... ungrateful, unholy....".  Seeing this fleshed out before my eyes makes me both scared and sad.  Scared because things really are getting worse, and our society has lost its moral footing.  There is no fear of God, there is no more decency, no modesty, no common courtesy (or at least very little of these things!).  It makes me sad because God has given us so much.  He gives us life and breath every day!  He makes the sun rise and set.  He sets the starts in place.  He changes times and seasons.  We think we've done it all!  How foolish are we?  
In Paul's letter to the Romans chapter 1 he says,
"They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.  21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles."

My husband preached on giving thanks last Sunday.  One thing he mentioned was that sometimes we need to be thankful for things like hunger and thirst, for when we truly know hunger and thirst then we are truly grateful for food and drink.  We (I) should be thankful for what we have but also for what we lack because God is working in our hearts to be truly blessed and truly thankful.

I am thankful.  I am blessed.  I am glad I will be with family tomorrow, relaxing, giving thanks and not camping out on hard cement to get my hands on some new toy.  God has given me/us so much.  
Let us give thanks!

and more...

33. New tooth brush
34. Headache is almost gone
35. Cool breeze coming into the house
36. Electricity so I can run my oven, computer, lights, etc.
37. That God uses misfits! :)
38. Fresh bread baking
39. Clean, comfy socks
40. Tissues

Monday, November 19, 2012

Still more....

26. Clean teeth!
27. Christmas music (for the record, I'm not listening to it yet, just practicing it)
28. Red Converse High Tops from my husband
29. C.S. Lewis books
30. Oranges
31. Hazelnut coffee
32. The wastebasket in the living room that has been there for as long as I can remember.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


19.  Scars on my hand that show God's healing
20. "The Messiah" - fabulous music and inspiring words
21. The colors of the trees on our street, bright orange, red, green, yellow...
22. Sleep
23. Rain
24. The ability to speak another language. It is SO cool!
25. Contentment

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Partial list of things for which I am thankful

1. Hot water
2. Orange Juice
3. Shelter
4. Food
5. My husband!
6. My four wonderful children
7. The ability to work
8. My jobs (plural, because I have 3 part time jobs)
9. Health
10. Sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell
11. Intelligence (although some would doubt that in me)
12. The ability to play the piano
13. A week off from school coming up
14. Our Cats (they are so cute!)
15. Our Dogs (mighty protectors of the yard...:) )
16. Our extended families.
17. Supper cooking in the oven
18. Firewood

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I am Thankful for...

...for an unexpected break today.  I came home from school not feeling well today and found out that my piano lesson was canceled.  I am thankful for an unexpected afternoon on the couch to rest.

Monday, November 12, 2012

One Generation shall commend Your works to another.

Thoughts come to me at the strangest times.  I think those must be the times when the Lord speaks more clearly to me.  I was talking with someone yesterday morning before church about my family and "the Drug Store" in Exeter.  More and more people will refer to "the Drug Store" with great fondness of a simpler time.
One of the events of the "Drug Store Years" for my family came around this time of year.  It was the time when my grandfather and father would make "Titrating solution" for the orange growers.  I'm not exactly sure what it was for but I know it was important.  We had a huge tank in which the solution was made.  From there we had an "assembly line" that included my grandmother, my mom (obviously my grandad and dad) and us four kids.  The gallon bottles were filled, a piece of foil was placed over the mouth of the bottle, the cap went on, a string was tied around the bottle top to secure it into place and then red wax was used to seal it on the top.  The bottles were set aside for local orange growers.  (There may have been other steps.  Those are the ones I remember).  For me it wasn't so much what we were doing but it was that we were all together and doing something for our community.  It was a family thing and I still have really fond memories of those times.  I think my brother has the titrating tank now, and there are much more advanced ways of accomplishing the same things.  I can't even begin to understand it.
All this made me think about, in another sense, telling stories from one generation to another.  My kids will hear this story (and the older I get the more they will hear it I'm afraid!) and someday they might tell their children about "the Drug Store days".

 In Psalm 145 it says,   "I will exalt you, my God and King and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise.  No one can measure his greatness. 
Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; 
let them proclaim your power. 
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles.  Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue I will proclaim your greatness.  Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness."  

How much more should I be telling my children about God's mighty acts and His faithfulness in my life and in the lives of their ancestors!  I have stories going back several generations of how God was mighty and faithful in the lives of my family.  My husband has similar accounts to relate to our children.  It's important to pass on family heritage and history and even more important to remind them of God's faithfulness, grace, mercy and power on behalf of His children throughout the ages.  
One generation proclaims to another....

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Today marks 11 years since we arrived here in California (well, on Tuesday that is).  I am thankful for the past 11 years.  It hasn't all been wonderful.  In fact, some of it has been downright sad and upsetting.  But, I am thankful for God's planning of the "curriculum" of my life  He knows what He's doing.  His ways are perfect.  God is worthy of trust.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nine and Ten

I am thankful for:
November 9th - Where I grew up and the sense of history and roots we have here.  We spent a few hours at the new property of our neighbors.  They bought an old, historic home not far from here.  I have many memories of that place!
November 10th - A day completely off and the time to clean!  Right now my kitchen looks like the cupboards "threw-up" all over the floor.  I've been cleaning, sorting, and throwing things away.  I'm treating myself to a half hour break to drink some coffee and check in on cyber friends.  I'll go back to work in a few minutes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Thankful for Thursday evening! 
That means tomorrow is Friday and I sure need it to be.
I'm so thankful that days are only 24 hours and that each morning is a new start!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm a little behind on this...

30 days of gratitude for the month of November.  
I am thankful for....

1 - ... another Autumn here in Exeter.
2 - ... a new school, new job and new students.
3 - ... a day off and sleeping until 11 a.m.
4 - ... "The Messiah" rehearsal and the wonderful words and music that resonated in my soul.  "All we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.      Amen.."
5 - ... my wonderful husband who does so much for us all!  He makes breakfast for Rachel, makes lunches for Rachel, me and himself, does so much work around the house and yard.
6 - .... the right and privilege to vote.
7 - ... the Lord is King, He is Eternal, He reigns over all things.  In spite of the election results, He is God and I can trust in Him.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October is _____________ month.

It seems like every month is National "something" month!  It's either Breast Cancer awareness, or some kind of "_____________  history month" (fill in your favorite nationality here).  I just heard online, from Facebook (so it must be true, right?) that this is also National Anti-bullying month.   While I think we go overboard on special days and months (Talk like a pirate day was last month), this is one I thing that needs to be talked about.
At the school where I work we have been talking about bullying and, in fact, will have an anti-bullying assembly this week.  Some kids are not even aware of it at school, but some are keenly aware because they have been the victim of it OR the perpetrator of it.  It's been going on as long as I can remember.  I was one of those kids that was "teased" (bullied?) in school. In some ways it's not a big deal because, well, we've all endured it.  But in other ways it's a huge deal because of what it has caused in people's lives.
We've heard a lot about it in recent months... kids who are bullied on social media networks, at school, through text messaging, etc.  and then end up attempting suicide or actually succeed in taking their own lives. It's truly a tragedy when this happens.
In doing some training in this area over the past few months I saw that, it's not just kids that are bullied, it can be anyone!  I saw a clip (again, from Facebook) about a news reported that got an email from a viewer criticizing her for her weight.  This is a form of bullying!
Bullying not only happens in the school and online.  It happens in the church.  My husband and I were bullied big time!  People hungry for power and control use words and actions to belittle someone else.  They spread gossip, they criticize instead of offering help!  Think of the results of such words and actions.  In our case in led to the demise of a church.  And now there are people still without a church because of this!
Think of the results of teasing/bullying someone in school for being, in any way at all, different... in the case of some we've heard of in the news and those we know personally.... death by suicide.

"Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.
Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus defines bullying as when a person is
"exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons". He defines negative action as "when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways"."
I'm seeing bullying in this upcoming election!  I saw evidence of this in watching Vice President Joe Biden treating Paul Ryan with contempt, laughing, and interrupting (82 times!) him.  He was just a bully!  I don't like bullies!  To quote Captain America, "I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from."  
My answer to all of this.... bullying at school, on the job, in a Presidential race, in a church... just "be nice!!"
Think about your words before you say them.  Think what will be true, kind AND necessary.  Let your words pass those three tests before they come out of your mouth or before you click "enter" on the computer!  Think how your words, and actions could affect someone else!  Stop the bullying, wherever you find it!!  Here's a link to find out how to help  
What if we just all treated each other with kindness, love and respect?  That could make a world of difference for someone!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Well that's over!  I had an evaluation today.  Nothing like having your supervisor observing your "performance"... no matter what you do!
When I play the piano I always feel a little more nervous when there are other pianists listening, and especially piano teachers, music teachers, etc.  It's un-nerving just knowing they know music and know every little mistake I make.  The same felt true today as I was observed teaching my French class.  I am such a new teacher and I have SO much to learn!  As nerve-wracking as this was (and I'm so glad this one is over) I look forward to learning what I need to do to improve!  I want to be a good teacher!
How thankful I am that the Lord keeps working in me and with me, making me and teaching me to be all HE wants me to be.  His observation and evaluation of me is only to help me, change me and make me like Jesus.  I want to be all HE wants me to be.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Be Still My Soul

A Message from Jim Newman:
A saying we often hear is that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I think we might
agree we could add a third one: Change! As much as we might enjoy the comfort of sameness and security in our lives, we can't escape the inevitability of change. It's going to happen. Some changes are good, even quite enjoyable and exciting, but others bring fear and feelings of insecurity. Your focus and perspective can make all the difference how you weather the changes that come your way.  I love the change of seasons, though not quite as much here in California. In the Northeast where I was raised I found great joy as each new season arrived. The winter was always enjoyable because of the first snowfalls, fires in the fireplace, and, of course, the celebration of Christmas. But as the cold grey days lingered on I would eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring with all of its newness, gentle colors, warmer weather and new growth. Summer
meant the end of school and the time of vacations, summer camp, though, at times boredom. So my favorite season is and always has been autumn. I loved the startup of school and seeing all my old friends again. The cool, crisp weather with the brilliant fall colors and falling leaves are still one of my favorite things in life. The fun of raking up the leaves and jumping in them was fun, too. I can still hear the crunching of the dry leaves as I would take walks in the woods, picking up acorns as I went.  There are some changes which are not at first very enjoyable. The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult and dreaded things in life. It brings
way too many changes, along with all the uncertainty and fear of what might lay ahead. We've had way too many of those changes this past year or so!  Here at the church we are in the midst of another type of change. We find ourselves in the process of searching for a new pastor after the retirement of our much loved pastor, Tom Elson. As someone has said, "We may not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future!" As we go through this time together we don't go through it alone. The Lord will not leave us or abandon us. He gives us hope as we wait upon Him. This time can be as exciting, beautiful and fresh as the autumn if we keep our eyes on the Lord and trust in Him.  As we go through this season of change, whether it be in your personal life, or together as a part of our church, the words of an old, familiar hymn;  "Be Still  My Soul," continue to bring comfort and hope to our troubled hearts.

  "Be still, my soul! The Lord is on thy side;  Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change He faithful will remain. 
Be still, my soul! Thy best, thy heavenly Friend thro' thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still my soul! Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. 
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last. 
Be still, my soul! The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul! The hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord, 
when disappointment, grief and fear are gone. Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored. 
Be still, my soul! When change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Horse is Dead... Stop Beating it!

Well, that's it.  The battle over "contemporary songs/choruses" vs  "hymns from the hymnbook" is over.  It's a sad thing that there is no willingness to make one little change.  I'm sad and discouraged.  I realized today that the more we go around and around about this, the further we get away from true worship.  I'm pretty sure this does not please the Lord.  It's simply not worth trying to introduce a new chorus if it takes our hearts and minds away from a focus on the Lord.  I'm tired and sad.
The ironic thing is, in our previous church there was (seemingly) an unwillingness to sing even one "old hymn".      This, along with some other things, led to a split and eventually the demise of the church.  I re-iterate what I said a few blog posts ago.... "Why can't we just get along?"  Why can't we live and worship together in harmony?
But there it is... we're done beating this horse.  It's dead.

Monday, September 10, 2012

In Remembrance

“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew." - President George W. Bush. Rememering the heroes of 9-11.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's been going on for a very long time and I don't know the answer to the problem of musical tastes when it comes to worship music.
You would think that in churches people would bend and flex.... listen to and learn from, give and take, yield from time to time in love out of the best interests of others.  I wish it were so.  It just never seems to be that way.  We used to be in a church where most of what we sang was contemporary choruses, accompanied by keyboard, guitar, drums and bass.  It was like pulling teeth to get them to sing a hymn every now and then.  Now we have the opposite problem.  We sing hymns 99% of the time accompanied by piano and occasionally a trumpet but every now and then I add a chorus from "the black song book"...  and then we get complaints about it.  Sigh...
What is the answer?  Somebody please tell me?  How can we "be in community" and show we love each other so that the world will know we belong to Christ if we are divided on what types of songs we sing to worship God?  How can we hope to attract unbelievers to Christ when we take our stand on things like the copyright date on a song?  How sad it must make the Lord to whom we gather to sing praises!
Please, can't we just get along?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

There's Only One Possible Answer

I gave quizzes in each of my classes today (which means I now have quizzes to grade... all evening).  For some of the questions there are a few different possibilities of answers.  For others, there is only one possible answer.
Today went really well for me (maybe because it was a quiz day and it was quiet in my classroom for 20 minutes each period while they were taking their quiz?).  I had had a rough day on Tuesday... didn't feel prepared, didn't connect well with the students, felt just "out of it".  I re-evaluated what I did and didn't do.  I planned better for the next day.  It was okay... not spectacular, but okay.  I knew something needed to change.
Today, knowing my absolute weakness and inability to creatively teach and interact with the students, I got to school early enough to get down on my knees in my empty classroom and pray.  I prayed for help to teach them creatively, to connect with them, to really care about them as people and not just students.  I prayed for my students.  I told the Lord that I absolutely needed (and need) Him to do this job that He gave to me to do!
I think the Lord delights in answering prayers of dependence on Him.  He gave me some creative ideas, helped me to relax and enabled me to connect with my students as they came in.  I just talked with them about their day and their week.  It was good! I had fun and I think the kids did, too! I finished the day just so grateful for the Lord's enabling!

For me, this is the only possible answer to me having a good day!!

Friday, August 31, 2012


They call this produced church, or, as the video says, "Contmporvant" (contemporary and relevant at the same time).  Apparently this is THE way to "do" worship is most contemporary churches.  I know that we just don't fit this mold.  Watching this video made me kinda laugh and cry at the same time.  I laughed because of the truth of what I say and cry for the same reason.  I don't want "church" like this.  And, to be honest, I don't know how many people actually want this in a worship service.  What happened to the genuine, the real, the heartfelt... the normal?  While I think we should do all things in an excellent way and strive to present our best to the Lord there are times I long for a service with an out of tune piano and singing heartfelt hymns and choruses followed by teaching from the Bible and practical application for today.  I long for a place where people love each other, where they spend time in the study of God's Word, where they pray for and with each other.... a place where people are real and normal.  
Who can really measure up to the standard presented in this video?   Where is the place for normal pastors and worship leaders? 
I guess we just don't fit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And I was doing so well writing on here every few days.
I'm in the middle of my third week of  teaching High School French.  So far so good.  But, I've never been more tired than I am right now.  (except maybe when my kids were babies... and that was a long time ago)
I feel bad for every wrong impression I've had of public school teachers. (Okay, and I may have judged them too.)   I have worked in the public school system for a number of years already, but as an assistant.  There is SO much more work as a teacher.  I work on lessons plans every night and will be grading quizzes and homework this weekend.
Teachers are vastly underpaid.

Aside from that:
I'm learning that I need the Lord's help every. single. day.   He helps me, inspires me, strengthens me, gives me wisdom, helps me stay calm.  He is good and His faithful love endures forever!
He has given me this job and I rely on Him to do with me as He chooses where He has placed me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oh la la!

I had NO idea there would be so much paper work!
My goal for this first week of school is to survive.  I've made it through today.  Thank God it's a short week.  Now to get geared up for tomorrow and Friday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today I finished setting up my classroom!  My room is ready... now I need to get ME ready.  School starts in  5 days!

Monday, August 6, 2012

All I Need

Back to school week.  We have done some shopping... gotten clothes, pencils, paper, etc.  We're getting ready for school to start.  Michael is getting ready to move to Ohio for school.  Joseph is getting ready to move back there for a third year.  Debra is getting ready to start at C.O.S.  Lots of changes, lots of preparations.
It's important to have all we need to be prepared for the task ahead.  I'm getting ready.
How wonderful to have all the resources I need!
This past week I spent much time with my best friend, Debby, who teaches French at Black Forest Academy in Germany.  She helped me sort out some things for this coming school year, she gave me lots of tips on things and she corrected my French on occasion (which needs lots of correction!).  Her help was invaluable!
This week I am attending training sessions for "Cooperative Learning" and "Engagement".  This is so good, and will also be very helpful.
I have lists and lists of Internet resources, more than I will ever be able to use.
I will have the help of colleagues, administrators, staff and the support of friends and family.  I have a TON of resources.  It's great!
As Debby reminded me this past week, even with all the tools I have... all the help, all the resources, my sufficiency in not in all these things.  My sufficiency is in Christ!
How wonderful to know that He knows all things.  He knows my students.  He knows me.  He created our brains, our bodies, the languages we speak.  He gave wisdom and skill to people way smarter than me to help me.   The source of life is GOD.  The source of all wisdom is Christ.  When I have Christ, I have all I need!
 “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
Colossians 2:3

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Saturday, August 4, 2012

You shall not pass!

If you do not study....
You shall not pass!
Yep, this is going in my classroom!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

 This would be me, except for the smiling part.  The past few days have been just "one thing after another".  I'm finding myself juggling appointments, car, vet, doctor, school district office, college orientations, bills, jobs, etc....


Friday, July 27, 2012

Through Christ...

Who strengthens me.
I had a rough morning.  I was feeling overwhelmed with so many things so decided to take a walk in the neighborhood.  I walked, prayed, cried, then turned my heart to Scripture and songs.
As I was walking around a nearby baseball field I began thinking about the verse "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me".  I started to think through all the things that have me anxious and overwhelmed...
"I can teach French, through Christ, who strengthens me.",
"I can say goodbye to my boys as they go to college, through Christ who strengthens me.",
"I can adjust to a "new normal" at home with all the changes, through Christ who strengthens me."
"I can trust God for our finances, through Christ who strengthens me".  
"I can _______________  through Christ who strengthens me."

"Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you...
Behold, I am the Lordthe God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?"
from Jeremiah 32

Thursday, July 26, 2012

So many changes ahead.  It's a little (okay, a LOT) overwhelming at times.   It's so good to know that God is in control.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, 
He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lessons from the Garden

I worked in and around the roses this morning.  We've had an overabundance of "goathead" stickers around the roses.  We've even started a "collection" of the ones that get tracked into the house.  So far we have a jar half-full of them!
So, it was time to clean them up, water the roses, rake, hoe and get that part of the yard looking half-way decent.  While I was doing this, as I was doing all this I began to think of so many things....

1) I did a lot of weeding.  Some of the weeds came up easily and others I had to really pull on to get them out by the roots.  Weeds, left unattended, begin to choke out the good plants.  Bitterness is like a root, like a weed that goes down deep and if not uprooted will continue to spread... to grow more thorns, and hurt all those around.  Unforgiveness, bitterness, and past hurts, need to be uprooted and thrown away.  "No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground.  He comes to make His blessing flow far as the curse is found."

2) I noticed some of our rose bushes were really over-grown and no longer had blossoms.  Roses and other growing things need to be pruned to be healthy.  Not all growth is good.  Sometimes things need to be pruned for more fruit to grow.  When things are cut away maybe new growth is on the way.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

3) Praying mantis.  While I was raking, I felt something on my arm.  I looked and saw a tiny praying mantis.  I brushed it off but thought, "this little thing is always "praying"... shouldn't I?  God made that little bug for a purpose (not sure what it is), and it does what it was made to do.  God made me for fellowship with himself, to talk with Him,  to love Him, to pray... for those around me.  So, I did that.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

4) "One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth." I had this little phrase going through my head all morning.  It was good to just work with my hands (and back!) and have time to think, to pray, to ponder.  "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."

5) I remember my brother telling me a joke he heard once.  "Do you know what God's name is?  It's Andy.  "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me...."  (you know, from the hymn "In the Garden" - "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.  And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.")  We planted a tree next to the roses.  It's a Coastal Redwood.  It should grow kinda quickly.  It's in memory of my nephew, Andy.  He passed away last year.  Being there in the garden helps me think of him, remember him, and reminds me to pray for his parents and sister (my brother and his family).

Lessons learned today:
- Get rid of all bitterness.  Pull it up by the root and get rid of it.  Don't let it take root any more.
- Trim unnecessary growth.  Get rid of things that are not needed to make room for better things.
- Pray at all times.  Be a "praying woman" (as opposed to a "praying man"tis) sorry for the pun! 
- Enjoy times of silent labor... practice the Presence of God at all times.
- Treasure those closest to you, hug them, tell them you love them, pray for them.  Look for daily reminders of God's Presence.

Monday, July 23, 2012

J'y Vais (I'm going)

There are so many things to do, and so much going on.... so many changes ahead.

I should be studying and reading in French, listening to French, immersing myself completely in French.
I should be organizing things in the kitchen because once school starts I'll once again be frustrated as I open cupboards and drawers only to have Tupperware tumble out.
I should be walking, or swimming, or something physical to exercise....
I should be planning meals, making menus, baking bread, cleaning my house...
I should be practicing the piano a few hours every day to stay "in shape" musically...

So many things I would really like to do.  So, what do I do instead?
I sit and stare blankly at my computer, or watch mindless TV.
I write in this Blog.

"Allez, leve-toi!"  (I tell myself.  C'mon, get up!)

How do you climb a mountain?  One step at a time.
How do you eat an elephant (horrible thought, really)?  One bite at a time.

"Allez, pousse-toi!" (C'mon, push yourself!)

"Bien, j'y vais. Mais d'abord, une tasse de thé".  (Okay, I'm going.  But first, a cup of tea!) :)

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13, NIV).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Time passages

That was then....  (1960)

This is now.... (2012) 

Friday, July 13, 2012

What we need

"I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone-dead.
"Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God.
   "If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I'll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night.
"You still have a few followers of Jesus... who haven't ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world's ways. They'll walk with me on parade! They've proved their worth!
"Conquerors will march in the victory parade, their names indelible in the Book of Life. I'll lead them up and present them by name to my Father and his Angels.
"Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the  churches." Revelation 3:1-6

What the church needs is the Word of God and the Spirit of God working through His Word.  What we don't need is more activity, more gimmicks, more programs, more contemporary music, more marketing, etc.
In order for something (i.e. the church or a person) to grow it must be alive.  In order for someone to grow it must be born.  John - chapter 3 tells us that we must be born from above.  This is a work of God.  When we believe, place our trust in what the Lord Jesus has done for us in giving His life for us, we are born anew.  We become new creations see 2 Corinthians 5 and are truly alive!!  No amount of activity from the outside will revive a person.   
It's time to get back to the basics of Prayer, the Word of God and the Spirit of God working through His Word.  A spiritual work can only be accomplished through the Spirit of God.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Big changes a comin'!  
This past week has been full of changes....

*My beautiful niece got married in a fabulous Santa Barbara wedding.  My husband was privileged to perform the ceremony and did a wonderful job!
*Another (also beautiful) niece got results from her Law School Admissions Test... 96 percentile!!!
*My daughter passed the DMV written test and is now learning to drive.
*Me - - - well, I got offered a job teaching French at a nearby High School, and after a few heart - searching/gut-wrenching days, decided to take it!  I will dearly miss my choir kids but I'm excited for this new adventure!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

20 Seconds of Courage

I just watched "We Bought a Zoo"... cute movie!  It was based on a true story, which I had not realized before.  There were a lot of good/heart warming/funny things in the movie but the one thing that's sticking with me was this phrase; "All it takes is 20 seconds of courage".  The main character refers to this and you see it at different points in the movie.
20 seconds is not long at all.  Just having 20 seconds of courage might be all it takes to make some incredible changes!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm Rowing Back

I'm sure other people have thought of this but it really just struck me last night.  My son watched "Titanic" (well, the last half or so) and described to me the awfulness of people leaving in lifeboats while others on the ship (or already in the water) were screaming and crying... and dying.   People all around us are dying without Christ.  I see it in my hometown where so many are really GOOD people.  I mean, they are kind, generous, devoted, loyal to their own and to this town.  But, without a relationship with Christ, they are dying and don't know it.  
I left town for a number of years and worked as a missionary in France, in Italy and then lived in New Jersey where we preached the gospel and saw lives changed.  Now, here we are back in my hometown.  These are my people.  These are my roots.  
We are faced with some choices.  The easiest choice is to save ourselves, to row away to be comfortable and safe and provide for our family.  The other choice is to stay and row towards the sinking ship, climb aboard and help.  
We don't like to think about people's eternal destinies, but God is very clear about it.  There is a hell.  There is a place of eternal punishment and suffering.  And the people all around us are either going there or they are going to heaven, a place of eternal  life and joy and peace.  Because of what Jesus has done for us in dying on the cross to pay for our sins we can spend eternity with Him.  Because of our sin... in nature in by choice, we are destined for hell.  Jesus came to rescue us!  "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".(Romans 3:23) "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord." (Romans 6:23)  "He came to His own and His own received Him not, but to all who did receive Him, to those who believed on His name, He gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12).   
Who wouldn't want to believe that "everybody goes to heaven"??  I mean, sure!  Wouldn't we all like to believe in a happy ending for everyone regardless of choices made in this life?  So many people believe this!  It's much more comforting to think that when someone dies they go to heaven (or "cease to exist" as some claim) than to wonder and think they perhaps your loved one has just gone to a place of eternal punishment! "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31
I don't want to get into arguments - I just want to help rescue people.  And the people the most dear to me are right here in my hometown.  
So, instead of rowing away and plugging my ears to their cries, I'm staying and doing all I can to help rescue the perishing.
  1. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
    Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
    Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
    Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
    • Refrain:
      Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
      Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
  2. Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
    Waiting the penitent child to receive;
    Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
    He will forgive if they only believe.
  3. Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
    Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
    Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
    Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
  4. Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
    Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
    Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
    Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Corporate Worship or Concert

I went to a special worship service yesterday honoring our graduates.  I was excited for our seniors and for the worship service.  As the service began we were asked to stand for a time of "worship".  What happened was not "corporate worship". It was really good singing, it was heartfelt and the words were wonderful.  The only thing was, it wasn't "corporate".  The people up front were singing their hearts out.  They were so "into it" and some in the "audience" were also "into it", but for the most part everyone else just stood there with their mouths closed.  The arrangements of the songs were complex (beautiful but complex) and well crafted.  It could have been a song on Christian radio!  But, as much as we wanted to sing, we really couldn't.  We didn't know their arrangements and couldn't follow where they were going.  It was more like a concert.  They were enjoying their time of worship but we were left to just stand there and watch.  Honestly it felt a little uncomfortable watching them.  Shouldn't we be focusing on the Lord? Shouldn't we be watching somewhere else?  I wasn't sure what to do.  I wanted to sit down and read something while they finished their songs.  It was awkward.  It reminded me of an article I read a few months ago.  Here is an excerpt:

"When we think about the legacy of the 16th century Reformation our minds quickly go to such sublime themes as justification by faith and the priesthood of all believers.  However, if you actually lived in the 16th century, the biggest “felt” impact of the Reformation was in the area of worship.  Prior to the Reformation, worshippers were largely passive.  They watched as the Latin mass was sung, Psalms were chanted and the priest consecrated the Eucharist.  The Reformation was a stark reminder that the word liturgy means the “work of the people.”   The Reformation spawned an explosion of congregational hymn writing which produced such remarkable hymns...A Mighty Fortress is our God, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, O For a 1000 Tongues to Sing and Blessed Assurance.  Within a few generations the church was singing again!  Worship was active, not passive.
In our own day we have seen another explosion of wonderful hymn-writing.  Great hymns such as How Deep the Father’s Love for Us(Stuart Townend), How Great is our God  (Chris Tomlin), Blessed be Your Name (Matt Redman) can be heard in churches across the nation.  Having preached in dozens of churches across the nation I have observed that contemporary worship services are almost invariably led by worship bands.... The result is hundreds, if not thousands of worshippers, all standing and listening to the worship band, but not actively singing themselves.  The worshippers are, to be fair, more engaged perhaps than at a concert, but, nevertheless, we are seeing increasingly passive worshippers.  A hard fought battle of the 16th century may need to be fought all over again.
I have a proposed solution which is not all that radical, but could make the difference.
First, worship bands should emphasize acoustical sound rather than electronically amplified sound.  In other words, we need a “worship unplugged” movement.  We can increase the number of musicians and instruments if necessary and, in the case of very large sanctuaries, a modest acoustical amplification might be desirable.  But  the goal would be to primarily hear people singing and worshipping God rather than hundreds of people watching the worship band worship God...
Also, worship bands must reflect more on the “singability” of a proposed worship song.  In the post-Reformation period when so many new hymns were being written, they were specifically written for the church to sing.  This means that, generally speaking, they were simple rhythms set to predictable meters and were musically kept within a “normal” musical range for average voices.  Today’s worship songs are normally taken from the music industry.  These songs are far more complex, rarely have a regularized meter, were written to be “performed,” recorded and put out by professional singers.  Even highly trained worship bands spend hours learning complex rhythms, various musical bridges and irregular vamps between various parts of the song.  The goal often is to try and reproduce as close as possible how it sounded when it was professionally performed.   Musicians may not realize how exceedingly difficult this is for the average congregation.  If you add to this the fact that choruses have a much shorter “shelf life” than a typical hymn, then the turnover rate merely adds to an already challenging situation from a purely musical point of view.  Thus, contemporary worship bands must either learn to write songs specifically for public worship (Stuart Townend is already doing this), or take performance level songs and adapt them into an act of worship."
I've done a lot of thinking, reading and studying worship for the past several years.  I'm more and more convinced that what happens in a lot of contemporary churches is not truly corporate worship but more like a concert.  I'm sure the people who attend those churches, are familiar with their particular "set" of songs and the way their band leads is just right for them, but for someone new and un-initiated, it would be an uncomfortable experience.  I'm still thinking, reading and studying as I attempt to help others worship God.  I don't know if there is one "right way" to "do" worship, but what I do know is that I'd rather be a participant, raising my heart, soul and voice in worship than stand and watch while a few people "perform" for us.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Leaf in My Table

It happened the other day.  I took the leaf out of my kitchen table.  The table was just too big for the four of us and I didn't want to sit there over supper missing the boys and their spots at the table.  The table is set for four right now.  I don't like it, but it's an adjustment we have to make.
We started out 21 1/2 years ago as just the two of us and our round kitchen table.  Pretty soon it was four of us (with two high chairs at the table).  Next it was 5 of us... two booster seats, two regular chairs and a high chair.  We added the leaf to the table to fit more of us.  By the time there were six of us we were at an oblong table, and sometimes that felt too small.
Now, the table is getting smaller again.  The boys are off to college.  We are four.  In another few years we'll be back to just the two of us.
I'm looking forward to the day when we put at least two leaves in the table to fit kids and grandkids!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Read This

I love it when I come across something someone else has written that expresses what I'm thinking so well.
Here is an example of that.  Worship Unplugged.  Go read it now.  I'll wait.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's Been a While

My life has been insanely busy for the past month or so.  Here's what's been going on:
*Our high school put on a production of "Footloose", it ended last weekend.  I put in many, many hours of rehearsal and playing for the show.  It went very well and was a lot of fun but also extremely tiring.
*This month is choral festivals - concert last week, festivals this next week, competition and choir trip at the end of the month.  We have 7 choral groups at our school and I play for 6 of them (occasionally helping with the 7th).
*Played for two funerals in the past month, both of them older gentlemen who were WWII veterans and find upstanding citizens.  I'm seeing a generation passing away before my eyes.  When I say "gentlemen", they truly were in every sense of the word.  
*We picked up our son from the airport this afternoon.  He's home for Spring break and just narrowly escaped the horrible tornadoes that ripped through much of the midwest yesterday.  The storms passed just south of where he goes to school in Ohio.
*We have now gone two months without using credit cards and feel pretty darn good about that!  The Lord continues to provide for us as we trust in Him (instead of trusting in the credit card companies!).  We still have mountains of debt, but are whittling away at it.
*Three of my friends have been diagnosed with cancer in the past 4 months.  Two are "okay", having caught it early on.  One of them has stage 4 cancer but is fighting it.  Her faith inspires me as I read her updates.
*I'm reading through the devotional book "Jesus Calling" and loving it!  Nearly every day I am touched and challenge by the message to draw near to the Lord and trust in His loving care.
*Lastly -  in spite of some (very) difficult days last month I have a sense of hope for the future as I lean more on the Lord and NOT on my own understanding.
Yeah - It's all gonna be okay!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't Make Your Pastor a Statistic?

Don't Make Your Pastor a Statistic?
This is a great article. I hope people will read it and consider what it says. Unfortunately, we are one of "statistics".

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Three "C's"

The words for this year are "CONTENTMENT" (mine) and "COURAGE" (my husband's).  I'm failing at the whole contentment thing right now.   I need a change in perspective.  Maybe my husband's "word"  would be a better one for me.  Things at work are challenging at best.
There's a third "word".... I realized this the other day as I was helping my daughter with a costume for her High School dance class.  She is wearing a shirt with the word "CHANGE" on it.  I'm thinking this might be a very accurate word for this year.  We are not sure if my husband will have a job in another 6 months.  There are some changes at "work" for him.  This could be a very exciting time and I really would like to have that attitude.  Right now I don't.  These 3 words are going to all be important for me/us in the next year.  We'll (I'll) need Courage to face whatever is ahead as we anticipate Change.  We'll (I'll) also need Contentment to simply rest in what the Lord is doing and trust that He will not only guide but provide.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Contentment is my word for the year.  I'm working on this in different areas.  The main verse that came to mind is "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."  I Timothy 1:8

Since the beginning of the year we have been on a budget, we have not used credit cards.  We are following Matthew 6 that talks about "Seeking God first".  It's been a wonderful experience trusting God and not running to other things, other "means" to satisfy.  
I have a feeling this is going to be quite an interesting year!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Desh - Miami University of Ohio - Collegiate Chorale

I love all the different kinds of music we get to learn and perform. This is one we'll be starting to work on next week. It's beastly hard, but will be SO MUCH FUN!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's like a collision in my head.  I'm reading "One Thousand Gifts" (and loving it!).  It's dove-tailing perfectly with  my own personal study on "Contentment".  I'm also doing a new Bible study called "The Lord's Table".  It's all very positive. Then there's other stuff going on that rattles me and messes up my "zen".  All the positive "good feelings" I'm feeling from the other stuff is colliding with the $%& and I'm in a quandary as to how to respond.  Bleh.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Process

I was reminded yesterday that sometimes "the Christian life" (weird phrase as I think about it) is not "three steps forward, two steps back", i.e. gradual progress.  Sometimes it's just staying pointed in the right direction without even moving..... just being pointed in the right direction counts!  Yes, it is a process, but sometimes you can't quite move ahead and it's okay to at least have your head facing forward.
These things are a process:
Healing - of body, mind, soul
Journeys - whether it's an actual journey or a figurative one
Learning - yep, and that comes with study and practice
Forgiveness - and that's where I am.
Today I'm pointing in the right direction.

Monday, January 2, 2012

This Year's Word


  1. He believes that people can find peace and contentment in living simply.
  2. There was a look of perfect contentment on her face."
I'm kinda liking that first example... "finding peace and contentment in living simply."  This goes along with some other commitments we are making as a family this year.  We will be living within our means (what a concept!) and being creative with (and thankful for) what we have.  This will all be wrapped up in trusting God, in resting in His Sovereign goodness and control.   You know, in Star Wars (the very first one) when Luke is trying so hard with all the equipment to blow up the Death Star and then he hears Obi Wan's voice saying "use the Force"...  Yeah, it feels kinda like that.  We're going to stop trying so hard using so many other means to find peace and satisfaction.  We're going to trust God.  It's a much more relaxed "stance".  Although, even this morning I'm finding myself in a bit of a panic about some things.  I need to (and just did) take a deep breath and let go.  The Lord knows my/our needs.

These are some Scripture passages I'll be looking at more in depth over the coming weeks and months:
Matthew 6:25-24
Phillipians 4:11-13
I Timothy 6:6-8
2 Corinthians 12:9-10