Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I hate discomfort. Anyone out there feel that way, too?

And today I feel discomfort. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Pain in the body, heartache in the soul, and pressure in the spirit.

Aaaarghhhh! Good thing we have the Word.

I opened to Psalm 31 and found these encouraging verses:
"7 I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, 8 And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place."

He knows my every pain and ache and need. He has not left me to the enemy, but has continued to keep me with new mercies. He has set my feet in a wide place -- I will not fall...

I guess that means that not only will I make it through the day, but I will survive the situations at hand. That is good news. Has it removed the pressure? No, I still feel it. Is the heartache completely remedied? No, it is still hurting. Is my headache and soreness gone? Well, Tylenol has certainly helped, but I still feel the tension.

So why boast in the Word?

Because it is a tower of strength, a refuge, a present help in trouble. It has encouraged me. I once again see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have not been translated (not this time -- there will be times when that happens, too.) For now I still need to face the situations, walk through the tunnel, wrestle with my will and tangle with emotions. I still have some things to do which will exercise my obedience. And that is not only okay but actually good.

But I have been reminded that He is with me, His mercy will see me through, and He knows everything I face. He has not forsaken me!

And that is absolute comfort.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Quick Update

It is 7:15 and we will soon head out for some good Mexican food. But I promised a report ASAP so here it it: Julia did not make it into the finals. Two Chinese girls, the fellow from Chile, a girl from southern Ca., and a thirteen year old guy from Pasedena participated in the final round and Meng Su from China went home with the $3000 grand prize. The other finalists each received $750 and the semi-finalists (including Julia) each received $500. Every young guitarist received a medal from Christopher Parkening. It was a wonderful day!

Hallmark finished up the interview at the very end of the day and we all finally headed home where, as I said, we met up with our hosts and will head out to eat. Rough life, eh?

More later...

Late, Short, & Sweet

Pepperdine University sits loftily above the coast of the Pacific looking over Malibu, Ca. Glorious. Truly, it is. The buildings are cream colored stucco with terracotta tile roofs. The entrance is lined with palms and orange flowers. Outdoor furniture beckons you to rest a moment longer in the breeze-filled sunlit path. Julia asked a contestant from Spain if he was considering attending Pepperdine. He chuckled and said he couldn't; he would be too distracted.

The recital hall where the competition will take place tomorrow (Julia will play at 11:35 Ca. time for the first round) is acoustically divine. What a sound! This should be a total blast. Julia is pretty psyched and is really enjoying meeting everyone. Tomorrow Christpher Parkening will personally greet them all as he awards them each a medal for participating. She is quite excited, to say the least.

The family here is wonderful. We feel adopted and absolutely at home. I think that we may make this an annual vacation spot (well, you can't blame me for dreaming, can you?) But God's provision has been bounteous. Isn't it always?

Will post with competition results as soon as we return home tomorrow evening. God is certainly doing a good work. We simply need to sit back and see what it will look like!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

2 1/2 Hours Later... no nap...

I'm not one to nap. At best, I take power naps, you know, the twenty minute variety. But that was not to be today.

I started checking blogs and playing MasterWord. Then I tried to rest but to no avail. Rick and Jules headed out to play tennis and now I'm feeling a bit alone. That happens when the crew leaves me behind to play tennis. Let's just say, I feel pretty out of it right about then. Oh, well. Rick assures me that I will be back to normal someday. I just wonder if I will ever play tennis again. They (the fam folks who play) are miles ahead of me now in performance ability and it's hard to imagine I will ever catch up -- or even want to try. It's a bit intimidating at any rate...

So I am now on her computer (Alice MacAller's -- I used Brandon MacAller's before) playing more games, stopping to pray every now and then, and letting you all know that I miss home and the gang and all the Memorial Day preparations. Don't forget to cut a big bouquet of bridal veil spirea for the table centerpiece. It wouldn't be the same without it! And tell Merrick what this day is all about -- you know, the veterans, the sacrifice, the freedoms that we cherish such as religious liberty, and all. For that matter, maybe you should visit such topics with the whole bunch of ya'all! It probably bears repeating. You can probably tell I am sad to miss the day at home. Oh, well...

We're just going to hang out here for the rest of the day. My ankle is pretty swollen and could use some "up" time. Alice and Brandon will prepare a wonderful meal, I am sure, and maybe we will rent a "specially picked by Julia" birthday video to view in the upstairs family room -- the one with the mountain top view looking down on dozens of terracotta roofed homes and meticulously landscaped patios with heaps of mountains and ocean on the horizon. You know the type, don't you? You see them in "Diagnosis Murder" all the time.

All right, I better stop talking like that or you'll forget I'm homesick and you won't feel sorry for me any more!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

I'm a West Coaster Now

It is 2:00pm here in southern Ca. (For my friends and fam back home it is 5:00pm and I wonder what everyone is doing... )

Our hosts' home is situated atop a mountain viewing the whole of Thousand Oaks (or so it seems.) In the far distance, on a clear day, which is probably rare here, one can see the ocean. The house is a beauty -- we are living in the lap of luxury, being served graciously. At the moment I am in his office, Rick is napping, and Julia is playing some of her songs for our hosts. I just overheard him ask her to spend a month here. the sun is shining, tropical flowers are in bloom, and the ocean is just over the hill. If I was her, I might just consider it! :)

Tomorrow we will head to Pepperdine campus to check out the recital hall and familiarize ourselves with the campus. Hallmark has set up a crew to record Julia on Tuesday as she arrives for the competition. They will even record the competition. This is interesting business, indeed...

But for now, I may join hubby for a snooze. Have to get turned around ASAP!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Playing Catch Up

The new washer/dryer were finally working this afternoon and ever since I have been getting every single piece of dirty clothing in the house, both upstairs and down, washed and dried and folded. Putting the piles away will be up to them. I have one load left -- yeah, it's late. But I wanted to have it all done before leaving for California tomorrow. Looks like I should make it.


Some capsulizations (don't look now, but I may have just coined a word...) -- just so you know my thoughts on certain things:

1. God is God. He decided to give us the responsibility of choice which results in obedience or disobedience, responding or disregarding, calling on His name or rejecting such a privilege. That's called free will. That's how He decided to do it.

2. God is God. He reigns over all, causing His will to be accomplished. That's called the Sovereignty of God. That way He gets the final say (hooray!)

3. God is a Mystery. That's why we have a free will and He has Sovereignty. If you figure it out, let me know. I may or may not agree with your conclusions...

4. There is not a single soul on this planet who will live a life free from pain inflicted by others. Sin abounds. If we don't learn how to get free from the residue of wounds we accrue, we will live in bondage. Guaranteed. It's not His plan for us. He paid for our freedom and healing. Paid in full.

5. Acting in pretense before God and others will not suffice. We must have real love, passion, and devotion. Lord, help me to live with a single heart toward You.

6. Some day we will all be in heaven (if we call upon His name...) That will be a day worth waiting for!


Tomorrow we take Julia to California. She competes on Tuesday. Keep an eye on the rest of my kiddos, those of you still in the North Country. I will miss them!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Babying Continues

I know that nobody wants to see me push myself too hard and take 5 giant steps backward again. But surely this scene is an old one for everyone around here: Plunk! She's down again -- warming up that easy chair in the family room.

But here I sit anyway. My foot seems to only want to do so much and then it shouts for rest.

The dilemma: How do I know when my lazy nature is taking advantage of this? When do I push on and when do I stop? I am afraid I am prone to enjoying this resting bit too much.

He will have to lead -- as always.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Day at a Glance

7:30 a.m. - Sears delivers my new jumbo mama sized washer and dryer. Set up didn't go so smoothly. Old houses never seem quite ready for the newest technology, so hubby will move an outlet and run some extra hose tomorrow.

9:00 a.m. - Plan for lemon squares to be made, laundry to be done, rooms to be cleaned. Company is coming tonight.

1:30 p.m. - Head to Potsdam with my honey for an appointment with Dr. Henline. He is very pleasantly surprised by how well my ankle is doing. Tells me I'm free to continue wearing the sandals that I've chosen and that I can even try to walk "gingerly around the house" with a flat foot!

3:15 p.m. - Trip to Hackett's for needed washer hose. On to P&C for fresh fruit and veggies for tonight's guests. Cold cuts for dinner as well.

5:00 p.m. - Time in the chair with foot up, playing computer games. I've discovered MasterWord -- it's free and a bit challenging. I like that.

6:00 p.m. - Grab a sandwich, help prepare for Julia's musicale.

7:20 p.m. - Guests begin to arrive. Some of these people have never been to our home. For others it will be the first time in quite a while. This is such fun -- such an interesting group. Their common denominator is Julia and/or music. It was her last opportunity for a scheduled audience to help her prepare for competition. It was fun to have them all here meeting one another and sharing our home with us.

9:45 p.m. - Sitting with family and friends awaiting the final results of AI. We all knew, whether we wanted it or not, that Taylor would win. It didn't much matter to me, since Elliott would have been my first choice. It is fun if you ask me...


Interesting observation: the folks in our home tonight and yesterday seemed very aware of the specialness of our family. They sensed Godliness and His order and it blessed them. They don't all know it was that, but some of them did.

One woman, a Unitarian, made this comment: Every time I see your family I wish we had such a model. We made a choice to not have the Christian structure of family. We have a loving community, but I do wish we could have the structure of family that Christians have. We are quite liberal, you know. But I think we have missed out on something.

Another woman suggested that I must be quite proud of my children. I acknowledged that indeed I was -- proud of their accomplishments and their strength of character, but most of all proud that they all love each other and get along so well. She seemed to marvel. It was an accurate statement; she had known that to be true of them. She felt it certainly was wonderful and unusual, very unusual.

If we walk honestly before God and men, the unsaved marvel. When the world sees God in us, they shake their heads in wonder and amazement. This is foreign to them, and they recognize something they need. This is good. This will preach, as they say. This is what they call credibility. We become genuine in their eyes, because indeed it is the Spirit of God at work. We are the real deal, as real as it gets. We are Christ on earth to the dying world around us. So let's shine, shine, shine...

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Mark 5.16

Oh, God, be glorified in our lives!


In spite of the cameras and relative strangers invading every moment, we all survived the day quite nicely. They were actually pleasant and the experience was a blast. But now it is over. My daughter told her husband yesterday morning as they were envisioning our anticipation, "Mom is most glad that her house got cleaned and picked up!" She was pretty accurate in that statement. How do they know us so well?

But today is on to the next event, or two...

I'm not complaining -- well, not exactly -- when I say that I don't prefer "hurdle" seasons. You know, living from one happening to another with eyes focused only on the next short term goal. I panic a bit when my gaze is moved from the finish line. I prefer the sweeping perspective of marathon racers. They are running with the whole of the race in mind. Funny. For them the challenge is to not get lost in the moment. I guess every type of race presents its own difficulties and tests.

But like it or not, for the next several days we are hurdle jumping. There is an awareness of the track stretching beyond, but for now, that next obstacle is in my way and I need to concentrate on successfully catapulting myself and those in my charge safely over. So, get that stride right, pace it correctly, gather extra strength, and -- P-U-S-H -- up we go. Stretch and reach forward. Lift that knee up and out so it doesn't catch on the way over. Careful now. Clear that toe. Ahhhh -- success. But don't think about it now. There's another hurdle just steps away. Get that stride right, pace it correctly, gather extra strength, and -- P-U-S-H -- up we go!

If my high school coach could only see me now...

Let the saints be joyful in glory. Let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth! Amen! Our God reigns, in all things and in all places! Let His people give Him praise always!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Hallmark Day, Not A Kodak Moment

They arrived last night to meet the family and make us more comfortable. (I think they may need as much time getting used to us!) One TV journalist who drove in from Ohio and will head home to Vermont tomorrow, and one associate producer up from Brooklyn, are both staying at a Chipman B&B. I bet Marion Acres is having a great time with this! She is a sweet lady who will love having such special guests.

At any rate, they will return this morning at 8:00am and spend 10 hours with us, filming whatever interests them. There should be plenty from which to choose. They will set her up at the table with school books, catch her practicing in the front room, take a walk by the river for some quiet question time, follow her to SUNY Potsdam to film her lesson with Dr. Rubio, head to Canton for her studio session with NPR's Todd Moe, home again, home again - jiggety, jig - for an acoustic jam session at 3:30pm with friends (actually, I'm guessing this is at church since I don't have a drum set in my music room), back to the house to teach a favorite guitar student (Cameron Dennis), and last but not least, the grand finale: Sinclair Family Dinner night with the whole crew. Whew!!

All this will be whittled down to a mere 3-4 minutes of air time footage to be viewed on New Morning, a Hallmark TV morning show hosted by Timberly Whitfield. You will see that it is Hallmark's version of early morning TV, presented in a less newsy and highspeed fashion. The stories are aimed at getting us to quietly consider some of the more important life issues, although they do not espouse any one faith in particular. Interesting.

And how did they get Julia's name? When we asked, the associate producer, an artsy creative type who is quiet and always observing, hesitated, saying, "Let's see, how can I make this long story simpler. My boss, John, is friends with the PR man for Christopher Parkening. They are all into guitar, classical, where I work - they love it - so my boss told me to do a story on the participants of this competition. It was narrowed down to Julia and one other guy, Travis, from Oregon. In the end, we went with Julia."

We don't know if it was the homeschool aspect of her bio, or her family relationship stuff (she wrote about how Dad first taught her guitar and how the whole family is musical.) But whatever it was, God has brought her to this -- a Hallmark Day. It should be a whole bunch of fun, and I'm just happy to be tagging along!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Comment and An Answer

Comment: [Our local homeschool support group presented a concert and art display, and my children participated.]

How do you stand it? You must be so proud of all your children..thankful for all they have allowed God to do in their lives. Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of shaping so many little lives, I just think about His power and greatness. I'm not capable, yet He is. When the gravity of the situation seems too much to handle, I remember that as long as I'm willing, He's there. He works. Often I cry out to him and ask for help with these little ones, for their training, teaching, and help with exactly how to love them, before I even finish uttering the request, He is granting it.

I know all this, yet times like last night
help to encourage me to keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep trusting. Every once in awhile it gets a bit crazy around here (and I'm sure you don't even understand that one little bit!) Especially when mom is unprepared. Like I was this morning. YET, I remember what you wrote about reaping. When that season for me comes, I want it to look a lot like yours. So, again I can you stand it? You must be praising His name more than ever! I know I am.

I am blessed, way over the top blessed -- blessed to overflowing by ALL my children. I consider each one to be a trophy of God's grace in my life. For starts, without Him -- without His Word, they would not exist. They would not be. Period. I was a "no kids for me" feminist. His Word transformed my heart to believe and understand the beauty of a life created by Him for His purpose, and the incredible privilege of teaming with Him to see it accomplished. I thank Him always for the power of His wonderful Word. Where would I be today without it? Not here, not experiencing this richness, not reaping all that I am reaping.

Secondly, I understood from His word that my part was one of stewardship. They are His. Knowing that allows me to seek His will for them and not my own, and it grants me absolute confidence that He will provide for them, since they are His own. How did He dare entrust such beauty to me? For this I also learned to trust in His wisdom. "All things work together for good..." If they will seek Him, them even my mistakes will work for their good. Amazing...

Knowing that He was the one with final ownership, that He was their heavenly Father, that He was the ultimate authority, caused me to walk in fear -- a healthy fear. I would answer to Him for my care of them. I wanted to honor Him in my mothering. It caused me to seek after diligence, and to thrust my failure upon His mercy. He has been my equipper, and my shield in times of failure.

Thirdly, my love for Him has always been my motivation. Receiving His love allowed me to love Him in return, and that opened my heart to genuinely love them. Oh, how I love them! How I believe every Word, every promise for them. There is not a doubt in my mind and heart that He has wonderful things for them. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that I know right well. I act upon that knowledge, I speak that knowledge, I base my life upon that knowledge. Faith is released for them because of that knowledge. We must KNOW that He is for them, that He has beautifully and wondrously created them, that they are incredibly precious in His sight -- so precious that He died for them! They are WONDERFUL!!

People wonder how our kids can all be so free to seek Him in their own way, how they can be so supportive of one another without any sense of envy or strife or jealousy, how they can walk in such leadership and confidence. We all know that it is ultimately His doing, but I also believe that we have encouraged them to cheer each other on, because we cheer them on. We have joyfully accepted God's design in their lives. It doesn't matter if they have this gift or that gift. It doesn't matter if they fail when they step out and try something. We are not embarrassed by that. We do not expect them to be something God has not made them to be. They are free to explore and discover their unique giftings, and as a family we celebrate freely and enthusiastically any gift discovered. If it is academic, hooray! If they are administrative, hooray! If they sing, hooray! If they painted a wonderful picture, hooray! If they understand the insides of a computer, hooray! If they enjoy gardening, hooray! Are you starting to see? We rejoice over every gift and never put them down for a failure. We just recognize where the lack is as well as the "endowment", and we determine that God has called them to use the gift He has given. It all comes from Him, so it is all GOOD! It is ALL GOOD!!

Well, I didn't expect to write a book, although maybe I will consider using this as a topic someday! I could go on and on. And you already have one of the world's longest comments! But it is your own fault. You brought up my children and the joy I have in them! I will end here, but if I raised any questions or thoughts, just let me know. I'll be glad to say more! :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Full Hearts

Some seasons are filled with emotional extremes, your heart fluctuating between ecstasy and agony.

Last night my heart felt ready to break, it was so full of sadness and pain. Situations had arisen that were not pleasant -- crushing and disheartening, in fact. The ache was acute and there was nothing to do but pray. Peace was found, but the ache continued. Sometimes it is just like that. Sometimes a swollen, broken heart just needs time to recover.

This afternoon I looked out my back window and saw my daughter Danica donning garden gloves and plowing through the overgrown perennials, yanking out weeds in her stead. Instantly my heart was ready to burst, this time with effusive joy! Warm and tender memories of working side by side in years past flooded my soul, enhanced with the pleasure afforded by a tidy, straight garden border and clumps of orderly plantings. Ahh...! Pure delight. I could smell the soil covered roots, feel the sweat rolling down her back and the weariness of that same back bending over again and again. Wonderful!

I marvelled at how swollen my heart was once again. And it is still recovering from such ardent, wistful pleasure.

And in all these things, I will give Him praise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stay True

Children are more astute than we often think. They may not be able to verbalize an awareness of insincerity, but they innately perceive disingenuousness.

With that in mind, as parents we must always be aware of our motives. They must be pure. If we propose to be acting with our children's interests in mind, but the bottom line is actually a concern for us, they will intuitively know. And it is crushing for them, even though they are probably not able to comprehend the damage or communicate the hurt. In the spirit realm, the harm is real. The enemy of their souls will wreak havoc and minister rejection and sorrow of heart. This is real disappointment. The very ones intended to be looking out for their best interest are actually more concerned with their own interests.

Pretense in this arena will not carry the day. Children need genuine, legitimate care.

So what to do if we examine our hearts and find that we are more concerned about their behavior because of its reflection on us? We can try to muster up care. "Johnny, I want you to learn how to be respectful because of the promises given in the Word to children who show respect." Right words, but what was the true spirit? You cannot bluff the Spirit of God.

Are you truly wanting only their best, or do you have some self-interest at heart? Are your words of instruction or your disciplinary action really because you want to better them, or are you actually more concerned about what the on-lookers might be thinking? If you get the words right but cannot get a right heart, be honest with Him. It comes down to the same ol' thing. Repent, seek His help, obtain grace, and let Him change your heart.

Whatever else you do, be honest -- first with Him, and then with the kids. They all will know anyway.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A Recital

We forgot to get a poster up at church (or anywhere yet, for that matter!) So here' s some info:

Julia Marie Sinclair

In concert at the First Presbyterian Church, Potsdam

7:30pm, Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Julia will be playing her
Parkening International Guitar
Competition program

You are all invited -- she needs a great audience to get her in shape for judges!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Reality Here

They have lost three of four parents in 6 months time. That is quite a change in the family makeup. Liz originally expected to have 4 grandparents at her wedding; now she will have one. That is quite a change in the wedding scene.

They are in the Lord's hand; all three of them were believers. Is there any better comfort? Still, there is a sorrowing, not as those without hope, but indeed, sorrowing as people who will miss those who have been dear to them.

And such is life in this realm. It really is this way. There is sorrow, there is joy. There are beginnings and there are endings. There is sunshine with flowers then gray skies and barrenness. This sounds vaguely familiar. "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven."

Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. It is all real, it is all a part of life. And His is the strength and grace that will get us through to eternity.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reaping That Honor (Second-hand)

As we entered Dunn Hall it was abuzz with excitement and few seats were left. People were busily milling about, some dressed in shirts and ties or dresses, some dressed in the standard student attire of jeans and T-shirt. The stage was set with tables full of neat piles of certificates in vinyl binders or frames.

I found a seat and, looking up, recognized Renee Zehr a few seats over. Later I discovered she was also there to receive an award for essay writing (congrats, Renee!) "Just exactly what is this?" I asked. "The Honors ceremony for all the departments," was the quick reply. "Oh," came my intelligent response, "Jamie told us he was getting an award but wasn't sure what it was all about."

May I say that is typical of my phlegmatic/choleric son? His prof had asked him to attend a gathering because he wanted to give him an award. That's all he knew. "Jamie!" I had exclaimed. "Were you going to tell us?!" (It had slipped into the conversation rather unintentionally.) "Why? It's probably not a big deal," came his also typical response.

But now he was standing on the stage, looking good in his dress slacks and shirt and tie, one of three from the computer science department to be awarded today. The Dean's opening remarks had been full of great praise for all these students. "These are the students that inspire others. These are the students that cause those of us who teach and guide them to find joy in what we do." No, no big deal...

Afterward I was able to meet his professor. He was most generous in his comments regarding Jamie. In a moment or two Jamie excused himself to move on to his next class. Immediately upon his departure, the professor turned to me and beamingly informed me, "Jamie is a star in the department! I am so glad to have him and will encourage him to continue. He is a tremendous addition for us!" "Why, thank you. I'm glad to hear that. He certainly has enjoyed his semester's work there."

Yup. I was glad I went. After all, I celebrated his first step, his first word, his first infield hit, Friendship Clubhouse Awards, and a myriad of other accomplishments. So even if this had been a small one, I wouldn't have missed it. But it was more than small. In one semester he had become a star!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Life Choices for Moms

Reading my daughter's post of May 8 I vividly recalled such hours, days, and weeks. Actually, I recalled such years. Monotonous duties with little variation strung together for weeks on end can leave one with a sense of meaningless existence. In reality, that which is done apart from His will is meaningless existence. But none-the-less, the tedious chores involved with the grand task of being home with little ones day in and day out can cause most of us to lose our bearings. What are we doing all day? What does this amount to? Who will ever read about this in the paper or remember us in some historical text? Maybe those feminists have a point. At least they get paid for doing what they do. We work hard all day, and for what? Seems like those paychecks are slow in coming.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

For in due season we shall reap. I like that.

I have reached a season of reaping. I can tell you with absolute confidence that every ounce of energy you invest in your children and home today will not be regretted tomorrow. Every ounce squandered, however, will be a sorrow to you in the days to come. So choose wisely.

Knowing what that means for you in your situation is your responsibility. He liberally gives wisdom to those who ask. So ask, by all means, ask. But then do accordingly. Activate faith -- you must lay hold of hoped for substance and act on it. Raising children is definitely that. We sow today, looking for future results. We must know that the outcome will be as He promised, or our monotonous chores would be foolish indeed. But they are not foolish, not mindless, not pointless -- because of Him. His truth is forever.

So step back, recall once again where you will be in twenty years and what you want to see in your life. Children who love the Lord, love you, and are strong in character are worth any investment now.

Trust me. They are so worth it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Past Few Days

Idyllic. Madison, Wisconsin is somewhat idyllic. Clean store fronts. Neat streets with shady trees. Tidy yards with fences and lilacs in bloom. Houses off the set of Father Knows Best. Midwest. Music Manish. If I had no purpose in life other than searching for happiness on earth, I would consider relocating to Madison. It is that kind of place.

I also met some great folks. Great in many ways. But most of them were less than perfect -- surprise, surprise. Sin is present in everywhere. People without Jesus are still lacking a Saviour. Even in Madison, Wisconsin, God is needed.

But it was still a pleasure to see such a quaint, story-book setting. Quite nice.


A few weeks ago I agreed with God that it was time to seriously confront some giants in my life. I looked at Judges and Joshua and learned that compromise is disobedience. We teach our children that ideally obedience has three components; it is instant, cheerful, and thorough. So here I am, considering that last one. I want to be thorough in driving out the enemies of God in my life. None of this half- heartedness for me.

Now, trust me, I was not so gullible as to believe that this would be a piece of cake. I knew there would be some difficult challenges. But knowing ahead of time does not make it any easier. Yikes! I have had some painful moments -- make that hours and days. And poor Rick. He gets dragged into this, too. How can he avoid it when we are one in so many ways? So, he is going through the mucky muck with me. What a sweetheart...


Tomorrow is one of the May birthday celebration days. Merrick and Jamie were born on the 13th and 10th respectively. The month is lining up to be a busy one, so we will lump them together and do cake and presents and appreciation tomorrow evening. They are my guys! What a great and special celebration it will be!


Julia has been tagged by Hallmark television! We are hopefully going to host a TV journalist on Monday, May 22. He wants to document a "day in the life of Julia Sinclair." This is too much fun, for sure! Will keep you posted.


A good report from the doctor on my ankle. So far, so good. He is happy with the progress, even though there is still a long to go. That's okay with me. I'm in this for the long haul. Although, I would not complain about an outright miracle either!


Some dear friends were raiding my garden today, digging up perennials that had multiplied and spread. One of them commented about how they were getting the overflow. In great kindness, she implied that it was a picture of her spiritual relationship with me, as well as other ladies. Truly, God wants us to have an abundance of truth, life, and love so that others can freely partake.

But we also had to chuckle as I pointed out all the weeds tangled in the roots of one particular flower. "Don't forget to remove them before planting this or you will have more junk than blooms." Hmmmm. That is a pretty accurate picture as well. It's the old addage: eat the meat and spit out the bones. Sorry, but as far as I can tell, I will be human for years to come...


God is all my joy forever. He is my source of perfect peace in troubled times. When life is pleasant, knowledge of His goodness fills my heart with praise. In every place, in every time, He is my all in all -- everything I need, all I desire. His purity is beauty, His love is comfort, His grace is joy, His joy is strength.

Forever and always I will sing His glorious praise! May He be praised in all the earth! Amen!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Quickie

Supper is about to be served in Kenosha at the Brown residence. I just helped assemble shiskebob (is that how you spell it? I don't have time to check right now since hands are already being washed and wonderful smells beckon me.)

But I did want to say that Rick and I arrived and are enjoying delightful company and conversation!

Will fill you in on more later...

See you!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More Phone Calls

My, but technology does play an important part in our lives, doesn't it?

The awaited call from CPS's producer finally came through. If you read my previous post, you know that some of us here at the Sinclair household auditioned for the CPS summer productions of Always, Patsy Cline and The Sound of Music. Here's the scoop.

For the two youngest girls there were no parts - I told them ahead of time that their height was against them. In The Sound of Music they definitely want the seven children to be stepping stones, and the girl cast as Liesl was shorter than Camilla. That took care of that!

They have small parts for me in The Sound of Music -- I will be a nun in the nun's chorus as well as play Frau Zeller in the ballroom scene, the wife of Herr Zeller. She probably has one line, but I bet she doesn't have to move around much! As for Always, Patsy Cline what I've been asked to do is huge yet somewhat insignificant. I have agreed to be the understudy for Louise, the friend of Patsy Cline. There are only two roles in the entire show so they are very big. I will need to learn every line and all the staging but only will perform one time. There are eight shows altogether. Still, it is a real privilege. I hope I do a good job for them and earn some credibility in their eyes.

As for our Carina -- they have asked her to play Patsy Cline herself! Wow!! That is one huge part and will be tons of work for her. She is excited, probably beyond words, as is Mom. That means that the one night I get to perform I will be able to play across from her, as her best friend. What fun that will be!

So, all in all, we are happy. I wish that Liesl had been taller and Mom sure would have loved to have gotten the role instead of the understudy, but... this is totally good. Looks like my summer will be busy enough!

Fun Phone Calls

Okay, not all phone calls are fun. This one was for two reasons. Shane from The Watertown Daily Times spoke with Rick just now. Eavesdropping quickly allowed me to understand that he was interested in Julia. Word is out about the upcoming competition.

Shane: Is she available to talk with me today at 2:30? I will come to your house.
Rick: Let me make sure she doesn't have any lessons and will be free.
Julia: No lessons, Dad.
Rick: She is free at 2:30.
Shane: See you then.

The two reasons:
1) It's just plain fun to know that Julia will be in the newspaper (come on, cut me some slack -- I am a proud mom, you know...)
2) They are all scurrying to clean the house without hardly a word from me. (I guess even they have some pride about all this as well!)

And for those who showed interest in my local theater exploits -- the Sinclairs have not heard yet about any roles. Amy Flack from CPS said they were still working on final casting decisions and hopefully would be in touch with us tonight or tomorrow.

Patience. Gotta love it...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Snips and Clips

The world of Playmobil has ventured forth once again. The family room floor has been transformed into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a Toymaker's House. Inventive ideas flow freely as Merrick is engrossed in his fantasyland. I love this, in spite of the mess. I would actually allow him to leave it out for days were it not for his little niece who will visit tonight. Too soon this Playmobil season will be left behind as he reaches for something more grown-up in nature. Ah, such is the reality of it all!


This morning my honey and I slipped out of a quiet, sleepy house in the wee morning hours (5:10 am to be precise.) We were the volunteer drivers for Crane Performance Series (CPS) guest director from NY. He needed to catch a mid-morning flight out of Syracuse. It was pretty fascinating to hear stories of life in the audition halls and dance classes of the NY theater district. Maybe there will be a theater district in heaven? Well, maybe a chorus line or two?


Speaking of CPS, three daughters and I stuck out our necks and joined in the crowd of fellow thespian hopefuls who auditioned for two summer productions: Always, Patsy Cline and The Sound of Music. We should hear soon about the outcome. But whatever the final cast looks like, I have to say that I had a blast. Yes, hop-along herself auditioned. And yes, I was honest with them and let them know that movement would not be a forte this season. (Now come on, you can't blame me if I was tempted to stretch the truth a little and promise them pirouettes and high kicks -- after all, there are minimal roles for stationary people in musical theater...)

But back to having a blast. I got to do quite a bit of acting as there were several readings they asked me to do. I got to sing a little -- it was disappointing when they cut me off so early. But I sang, none-the-less. As for dancing, I will leave that to your imagination. Then we sang in groups, read in groups, talked theater in the hallways, and dreamed of the fun it could be. I must admit, I do love this stuff! So, if nothing more comes of it, I will have enjoyed myself in a way that I have not in a very long time. And what's life without a bit of adventure now and then?

Trust me, if I get a happy notice saying, "You've been asked to play _____", you will be the first to know!


Tonight is our family dinner night. Fun, fun, and more fun. And this time of year it includes the next round of competition for American Idol. I must also admit, I love that stuff, too. I guess it makes me think of the good ol' days when evenings of TV included variety shows like Hollywood Palace, Ed Sullivan, The Dean Martin Show, etc. Those shows were an hour of musical numbers with a bit of comedy thrown in. American Idol is the only show in years that offers plain old musical entertainment (and for those who cannot condescend to watch the show, I understand. I used to feel the same way until I sat and watched 10 minutes one evening. That was it for me -- I was hooked! Some of these folks are really, really good!) So you can bet we will be tuned in and having a great time!


Jesus will forever be my heart's desire. I will always serve Him. He's the top! (sorry Mr. Porter...)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ah, To Be Young At Heart

The age old search for the fountain of youth is ever present in our culture. I guess there is something appealing about the zest and energy of youth, the beauty and freshness of that springtime season. But the search seems to be aimed at appearance rather than a mindset.

"Young At Heart" -- I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember that oldie but goodie. My mom and I used to hum along with this tune as it played on our old Connie Francis album -- you know, the large round black plastic kinds?

"And as rich as you are, it's much better by far to be young at heart."

The Bible commends those with a childlike faith, no matter what their age. Caleb had zeal that surpassed most of his younger counterparts. When we wait on the Lord our strength is renewed.

"Don't you know that it's worth every treasure on earth, to be young at heart?"

People spend untold fortunes seeking physical youth - creams, potions, exercise machines, surgery, dyes, colors. You name it, it's been tried. I admit, I've even tried some of it! But more than youthful skin and physique, I am seeking a youthful heart.

"You can go to extremes with impossible schemes. You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams. And life gets more exciting with each passing day. And love is either in your heart or on its way."

There is an innocence found in youth. Hope abounds. Reckless abandonment rules the day. A willing heart to trust and try. When these things become rooted in faith, mountains are moved - or taken, if you are Caleb.

And youth is ever looking ahead. Have you ever noticed that your five year old celebrates his birthday today and tomorrow begins planning his six year old party? The future is always in his heart and his mind. As Christians, this is the secret to a youthful heart. We have a future, a guaranteed future. We just need to fix our sight on it; get a bead on it, never let it go. It is a hope-filled destiny, an eternity of serving Him. And it begins here and now. No one can take that from us!

"And if you should survive to a hundred and five look at all you'll derive out of being alive. And here is the best part - you'll have a head start, if you are among the very young at heart."

Life is long at times. Some days are gray, some seasons cold. Some harvests are poor and weeds overwhelm. Sometimes we take a fall, a headlong tumble down the mountain side.

But the heart of a child allows him to climb up onto Daddy's lap and rest, finding absolute comfort and peace. And in time, when Daddy says, "Hey, do you want to spend the day with me hiking to the lake?" that child-heart leaps with joy. Nothing is impossible with Daddy. All fear has melted away and reckless abandon rules again. After all, this is Daddy. Everything will be alright.

~ Oh, Lord, grant me a child-heart of faith and confidence today, that I may venture forth with You. Renew this crusty heart and make it youthful once again. Let me not grow weary, as those with age are prone to do, but let me rise up with eagle's wings. I am not ready to be finished yet! ~