Monday, July 31, 2006

Ruth: lesson 3

Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife: and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. (emphasis added)

Scripture here and in many other places does not speak vaguely regarding who gives life. It is clearly credited to the Lord. That is an important truth to cling to and search through for those immersed in this present culture. It is contrary to the very basis of all we have learned apart from His Word. It flies in the face of evolution theories. Life is not mere happenstance, a physiological formula to be applied -- and misapplied. I daresay, for those who are bold enough to search it through thoroughly, it may raise questions regarding family planning and the intervention of the creation of life. After all, if He is the one who gives conception, do we really want to deny it? Just thinking out loud...

Back to our text. Little did Ruth or Boaz know, or ever know, that this child would allow them the privilege of contributing to the lineage of David, and therefore of Jesus. It always amazes me to discover what we don't know but what He does know.

I remind myself regularly (well, perhaps not regularly enough) that I am participating in a long line of history. I am who I am in part because of the lines that went before me. And the lines following will be impacted by who I am and what I choose. Generations, even those several steps down the line, follow after me and either gain or suffer.

I am thankful for the grace and mercy of God that brings redemption to me and to those following me. He reigns above all -- even above my choices and yours. But I am also humbled and sobered by the role I play in this grand enterprise of kingdom building. I want to do my part and do it well.

"Lord, help me this day to choose wisely. And hear my heart when I cry out to You saying, 'I want to do my part and do it well.' Amen."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Lessons From Ruth

Ruth's response to Naomi's commands: All that you say to me I will do.

Couple that with all we know of Ruth: her sacrificial living, her faithfulness to Naomi, her kindness, and her willingness to work hard. She has left it all behind -- home, family, culture, and gods -- to serve Naomi and her God.

Now hear those words again. Listen to her tone of voice as she speaks. All that you say to me I will do.

Could her mother-in-law have been more pleased? Can you hear the gentleness, the devotion, the loyalty, the love in those precious words? These are words of a woman who has realized that nothing she would scheme could possibly be better. She would gladly obey, no matter what.

Our dear Father is longing to hear those same words every day, from you, from me. For those same reasons. Nothing I would scheme could possibly be better.

"Lord, make my life like Ruth's, full of sacrifice, faithfulness, kindness, and hard work. And may my love and devotion to You be seen daily as I take up my cross and follow, breathing words of love that say, 'All that You say to me I will do.' Let me bless Your heart today and always as I walk in obedience, joyfully and willingly."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Nun shoes anyone?

I am in need of a pair of solid toe sling back shoes, black leather, 1"-1 1/2" heels, size 7ish (I can try 6 1/2 or larger - I'm happy to stuff toes with tissue!) Any body seen such a thing -- or have such a thing? Thanks!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Contemplations a plenty when you have children

When you have children you always dream, wonder, envision, and hope. The possibilities are endless, and yet you know that more than anything you want them doing the exact and perfect will of God. Prayer becomes a regular activity and the Holy Spirit a dear companion. And in some seasons, when cross roads are encountered, crying out -- loud crying out -- becomes part of the mix.

Then the prophet comes along, adding clarification. "Thank You, Lord, for prophetic insight." The Bible warns against those who take little heed to the prophet's words. I don't want to be one of them. So that goes in the mix.

I have no problem believing that God has great things for my children, greater than I can even imagine. Sometimes letting go and letting Him design those plans is hard, but still I am filled with hope.

We are looking at two daughters who stand at life junctures. "Open doors of success" said the prophet to one. Now to support her and help her discover those doors. A year of Bible school abroad is considered for another. Which school -- where and when. Decisions needing attention NOW. Yet I know it will be simple. He does not move frantically. Sometimes things move quickly, but never frantically.

Whew -- am I glad about that! So I will relax in my spirit but work diligently while it is still day. And the whole time I will pray.

Help me, Lord, to be fervent in prayer, always looking to You for Your guidance and wisdom. They are all precious in Your sight.

Friday, July 21, 2006


She waltzed into my kitchen with a bag chock-full of fresh from the garden, still wet from washing, herbs. A variety of pungent aromas were released with one quick peek. Mmmmm. A handful of chopped garlic alongside such wonderful stuff and you don't have to ask a creative cook to get imaginative twice. Fortunately I had chicken breasts in the freezer and a hungry family (what's left of it -- the rest are vacationing without me and having a great time, I hope!)

Then it was off to evening rehearsal for The Sound of Music. I am without a vehicle so scrounging up rides is sometimes a trick. After a few calls I contacted a dear neighbor who wasn't headed into Potsdam but would give me a ride. When the wife arrived a bit later she handed me the keys and said, "Just drop me back home and take the car yourself. That way you will have a ride home all lined up as well." Good friends are a treasure!

My world-wanderers are home, safe and sound. One daughter is in the Berkshires with Daddy, the other is babysitting for neice and nephew just up the street, and Jamie is catching up all the laundry.

I am excited because Jamie took up better eating habits while abroad. I had been thinking about our need as a family to review our diet patterns -- we've gotten a bit sloppy -- and this will provide fresh incentive to "get back on track." Time to get the mill out again and make fresh flour and bread, buy only brown rice, and limit the sugar (that is the hardest one for yours truly!)

Soon a friend will pick me up for an 8:00 a.m. meeting with her interior decorator to discuss colors for her new home. What delicious fun -- color!! This is definitely playtime in my book!

Then at long last tomorrow will arrive with my honey and all my other honeys returning home, back to the routine of real life. Good-by to pool and game room, and so long to museum and shopping excursions. Ah, well -- vacations were not meant to last forever. This mom and wife eagerly anticipate their homecoming!

So this was just plain newsy once again, covering more than just yesterday. And He is the thread that holds it all together. He is my joy in the morning, my shield at night, and my peace always, my constant companion and friend. What would I do without Him in my life?

"Oh what joy is mine!"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Just Newsy

1.) A dear friend has been helping me wallpaper an upstairs bedroom. When she discovered that my family was gone and I was without a vehicle, she swept into town with wallpaper sizing, we gooped it on, we jumped in her car and headed to Potsdam where we quickly found clearance paper, did a quick grocery run, sped home where she managed to get some paper on the walls. She returns tomorrow to do some more!

2.) Team Spain 2006 is in flight as I write, traveling home with hearts full of passion, memories full of stories to tell, and, if the siblings are lucky, their suitcases are full of souvenirs as well! If you read this and think to pray, it would be appreciated.

3.) My rehearsal schedule for the Sound of Music is full this week. Involvement in this show has been good for me. I have upped the amount of exercise for my foot and am regaining a bit of vocal technique. I'm even feeling determined to lose those few extra pounds gained through this lazy winter...

4.) The family is enjoying a vacation without Mom (that would be Dad, G&G, Ryan and Danica, and our three youngest - Liana, Camilla, and Merrick.) You can find photos here if you are interested! But with all my charges absent my mornings are lazy. Today I stirred ever so slowly, my eyes taking time to adjust to the bright light of the open windows. As consciousness overtook me, I reminded myself that it was time to rise. But my body wanted to linger a bit longer, so, remembering that no one needed my immediate attention, I rolled over, snuggled with my pillow, stretched down to my toes (I do that carefully these days), and enjoyed the delicious comfort of my bed for a bit longer than usual. Don't worry -- I was still up a bit before 7:00! But it was a leisurely arising!

5.) The sky is blue, the grass is green, the flowers are in bloom, the colors of summer are filling my view. The air is fresh, the breeze is gentle, the sounds of summer are present, all drifting onto my summer porch. I will soon peruse another musical score before heading out to a rehearsal. My daughter will kindly lend me a ride. Life goes on. Psalm 92 says that "The righteous shall...still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to delcare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

6.) God is good -- always! Oh, how I love His name, how I exalt in His faithfulness and mercy! Be blessed today in all you do, and serve Him gladly! Love Him -- love Him -- love Him!

Monday, July 17, 2006


Coffee in one hand, Bible and notebook in another, and my laptop plugged in and waiting for me, I make my way down the narrow steps to my summer room, the side porch that hubby lovingly built for me some years ago. The door is wide open all through the summer months, morning and night. It somehow affords a sense of outdoor living for the season, something to be cherished here in the North Country!

I make the coffee and sip it alone these days. We used to share these moments, but now she is gone and no one else is a morning person. Times do change and some things must be left behind. I really do believe that the reality of time in this world along with the sin in it (and they are related, I believe) are the source of all pain and sorrow. "Life is brutal," said a Christian sister. I feel like such a downer when I express such thoughts, until I read Psalm 90.

"The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

"Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow..."
How's that for harsh reality! Talk about a bummer. But the conclusion made is this:

"So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom."

These are some simple thoughts from a mother watching seasons come and go, seeing children blossom and grow again and again; a woman growing older and wondering where the time has gone as she recounts decades now rather than months and years; a person hoping that she won't be forgotten in this new and later season of life, fearing sometimes that it may be too late to do certain things, having to trust once again in His perfect plan; a daughter of the most High God remembering that nothing matters more than eternity with Him, resolving once again to set my affections on things above and not cling to earthly "stuff and nonsense".

Ah, yes. We come to this place of taking stock of our lives again and again, for varying reasons in varying times; we discover over and over that He alone is worthy, He alone can give eternal life. This world is passing away and the things in it will evaporate like morning mist. Recognizing this is how we "gain a heart of wisdom".

Oh, to be understanding of that, to accept that, and therefore to learn to number my days.

Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.


Tribute to Patsy
Photos, Too

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's Gettin' Pretty Bad

Our director for The Sound Of Music is disciplined about ending times. If the rehearsal is slated to finish at 9:30 pm, we do. So, true to fashion, as the final "1-2-3" count of our waltz ended she called out, "That's it! It's 9:30 -- see you all next time!" No more run-throughs for us.

I turned to my dear friends, Mike and Renee, explaining that I would need to call for a ride. But Rick and Carina, my only sure hitch, would be tied up until 10:45 pm. "Could I just come to your house, call from there, and hang out for a while?" "Sure," said Mike with a yawn. When we got there I called and left the message on Carina's cell phone to give a call to the DeVoe's where I would be waiting.

We sat and had refreshments, shared stories and laughs, looked at scripts being considered for a dinner theater project, laughed and talked some more. We were having a good time, in spite of the fact that they were both tired. I assured them that they could head to bed and I would just wait. But one story led to another.

At 10:45 pm the phone at long last rang. I answered it rather chipperly (don't you love to coin words?) and my honey's voice replied, "Hello, Renee." "This isn't Renee!" I exclaimed with a giggle and a twinkle (simple things still amuse me!) "Did you get my message?" I queried. "Yes," he said, "is there something wrong with the car?"

Grand pause.

"Do I have a car here?" came my faltering response. Perplexed, I continued, "I do? Oh..."

Another pause, then laughter broke out from every quarter. My guests were rolling off the couch, my husband and daughter were in stitches, and I was roaring. Tears filled my eyes as I gasped for breath. "Tell her to be careful or she'll wet her pants!" was the advice I could hear over the phone from my daughter.

Sure enough, I had driven. It was all coming back to me now.

After a few more minutes of uncontrollable laughter, Mike graciously picked himself up off the floor and drove me back to the parking area. When he noticed that my van was right next to the door and that we had practically walked right past it to get to his car, he fell into hysterics all over again. So did I.

It is getting bad, for sure. And I have more stories just like this one to verify my words. So if you find that I forget something, please have patience with me. It may get worse yet!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dear Ruth and Excited Mama

Consequences. Sometimes I hate thinking about consequences, especially consequences I have caused that affect others negatively. How many times have I counseled someone struggling because of consequences that have unjustly touched them? It seems downright unfair.

Yet it is inescapable. And it is unpleasant to think about. And it seems like too weighty a thing to consider. But consider it we must.

Ruth 1:13 ...oh, how I grieve for you that the Lord has punished me in a way that injures you. TLB

Such things do happen. Ruth's daughters-in-law were feeling the effects of someone elses error, just like other innocent people feel the effects of mine. My children and husband, for instance. My friends and neighbors as well. And sometimes it is even a stranger that must bear the result of my poor choice.

The comfort in all of this? His grace and mercy. For starters, we can know His forgiveness.

But thanks be to God, His mercy is not only for the offender! His Word promises something glorious for the innocent bystander as well. God's wondrous ability to work all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose is cause for rejoicing! When you walk with Him, in His light, there is never a lack of victory. It doesn't matter what others have done that have negatively affected you.

And if you were the cause and are now like Ruth, feeling the burden of bringing about such difficulty, the light at the end of the tunnel is the knowledge that He can work blessing out of the unpleasant consequences that are now touching some other person's life as well as your own.

Reading Ruth reminded me once again of the responsibility I have as I walk out my life among others. What I do affects them. I can bring pain or comfort, injury or healing, life or death.

I choose this day to bring good things. And when I fail, I will exalt in His unfailing mercy.

Thanks be to God!


Carina opens at Kingston Theater tonight. This is one excited Mama!!

I had my first rehearsal for The Sound of Music last night. I am singing first soprano with the nuns choir and also Frau Zeller (I get to say, "Shhhhhhh!" -- pretty exciting, eh?) It was such fun to be working under a director after sooooo many years away from theatrical performing. This is one excited Mama!

Team Spain 2006, on which three of my kids and one son-in-law are a part, are doing great and experiencing wonderful things! One excited Mama!

We are tearing out carpet, painting floors, wallpapering and painting walls, and freshening up a bedroom for daughters. Been dreaming about doing this room for years. Gotta love it in spite of all the work. One excited Mama!

Enough excitement for now. And in all reality, somehow the gravity of life holds me in place more than it once did. How does she put it? And all God needs is gravity to hold me down.

I think I'm more firmly in place than I used to be. (But still excited!)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mountain Girl I'm Not -- Dancin' Girl I Am

Most of you know that I've slowed down a bit these days. Not voluntarily, but of necessity. And I will be the first to admit, it has been "worked together for good" in more than one way.

But somehow the rest of the world didn't slow down as well. A simple example: laundry. You can possibly imagine the laundry around here (ten people call this place home -- oops -- another one was just added. Make that eleven.) And for some reason they make as many piles of dirty laundry as always.

Take that very practical example and imagine it in every realm. My mind staggers. Not only is there a mountain before me, but a whole range -- everywhere I look! I'm trapped, or so it seems! Let me just say that I have suffered a bit from feeling overwhelmed. To put it plain and simple it "kind o' takes the stuffing out of this ol' girl at times."

So back to the basics I go. You know, those scriptures that help us at such times.

Such as: They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
is what it says. Even if I've waited, wait more!! And it says I will be strong again. Hallelujah!! I can hardly wait! (Oops -- there it is again. That problem of waiting...)

Or: I lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.
"Lift up my eyes" --
look to Him is what I am told to do, not to my own abilities or strategies or energies. Whew -- good thing. I'm pretty spent. (But I may not look up too much. They say that "climbing a mountain one step at a time" is the best way to get to the top.)

And one of my favorites: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
"I will be with you..."
I suppose that means He sees the mountains, too. And something tells me His view is better than mine. I guess if He can get me through the waters, He can handle a mountain or two as well.

So, although I don't consider myself a mountain girl, that's my portion for the moment. Or maybe for several moments. At any rate, one step at a time will do it, even if my steps are a bit slow and tentative.

We'll get there. He promised.


Beans! (I hope that expletive doesn't offend anyone...) Try to think of when the last time my husband asked me to a dance. I know you probably can't say for sure when that may have been, but let me give you a clue: NEVER!!

And last night he wondered if I would like to go to the alumni dance at SUNY Potsdam! That may seem strange to you, but honestly, dancing is not as hard as plain old walking. The steps can be small, quite predictable (most dance floors are just plain flat), and very simple. At the Nordberg wedding we kicked up quite the storm!

Well, wouldn't you know, I had just restricted myself to a night on the couch because the ankle was acting up a bit (okay, alot.)

Beans! Do you suppose I will have to wait 28 more years for another invite? Here's hoping not!

Friday, July 07, 2006

There's No Biz

I'm just returning home from a two night stint with Always, Patsy Cline at the Clayton Opera House. Carina's opening night was fabulous but tonight was even better. As her director said, "Now you own the part. I might as well go home -- you don't need me anymore!" The crowd was hers from the first few notes and her partner in crime, Louise (played by Kathleen Miller), won their hearts as well. She is terrific!

The Opera House itself is a charmer. What a trip! Stepping foot inside of that building automatically transports you to another time. The stage floor is slanted -- something I had never actually seen in such a small theater. It is in the early stages of rennovation and still remained a bit of a fire trap. I do hope they can collect all the finances needed to "shine 'er up and get 'er humming again". The building is a treasure.

A young woman emerged from the audience the first night and invited Carina and a few others to spend the next day at her summer home on Grindstone Island. She didn't have to ask twice. And everyone who went was sure glad they did! The property has been in the family since the 1920's and was rich in history. Photos proudly displayed on the walls of the large open living room told the story of the house and this family's possession of it. Another slice of history; another stepping back in time to a quieter, simpler life. The people on this island still live, in many ways, that quieter, simpler life -- at least for a few months of each year. We travelled by boat to get there and sampled a bit of life away from traffic, TV, and convenience stores. Indeed, there were not even non-convenience stores! Everything must be purchased and boated across. Better keep it simple if you want to enjoy your weeks there! What a delightful treat from Him that afternoon turned out to be!

But now we are home. The thrill afforded by performing a successful show has already been left behind. Carina must grab a few quick hours of sleep before heading off to an extra long work day (after all, she has to keep those clients of hers happy after missing yesterday and today!)

And I must get up, take stock of the home and the kids and the cupboards and the laundry -- you get the drift. But most of all I will hopefully hear some stories of the days comings and goings, and maybe even discover a little bit of their heart. Not much else really matters, now does it?

Monday, July 03, 2006

In All Places

For an evening in time I was transported to Sebrina's world. Well, okay, maybe not quite, but pretty close.

Twinkle lights glittered on the rows of potted shrubs that lined the walkway -- every walkway. Luscious bouquets of white roses filled the tables as well as scented pillars of ivory hue. Every corner of the yard had been attended to with candle chandeliers gracefully dangling from tree limbs, floating above tables and chairs, completing each cozy nook. A Victorian carriage house, its wainscoating boasting a fresh, rich hue, had been transformed into the beverage room with rose-lined punch bowls on white battenburg lace tablecloths, beautiful Persian carpets, and vintage buffets hosting family photos from bygone years.

Alright -- hopefully you get the picture because the details thought of by our gracious hostess were innumerable. One could write a book (look out, Martha Stewart!)

Why all the fuss? A daughter -- a gorgeous daughter, an only daughter -- was wed, and now was the time to celebrate. The band played, we danced, we laughed at stories told, and we shed a tear or two as Dad held his little girl for their special song. Weddings are the beginning of a marriage; marriage is meant to last a lifetime and that is this couple's intention. That is worth celebrating, always, and most definitely in this day and age. May the details of their marriage be as well attended to as this beautiful beginning. That is what a successful marriage requires -- no -- demands. It is vital that energy, creativity, and attentiveness is invested in this most noble of relationships. May they have the stamina and determination to build a marriage that lasts a lifetime. In Him they will.

Meanwhile a third of my crew is in Spain with Team Spain 2006. They are ministering to the church there and doing outreach on the streets. Sun, Mediterranean blue, and stucco fill their sights. The Spanish language grows in familiarity. They are adjusting to the rhythms of the culture surrounding them and falling in love with a people. God loves these people, too. May they grow in love for them and find the strength needed to continue to bring a blessing to them. In Him they will.

Oh, how I praise His name. How wonderful and amazing He is! He is everywhere present, providing all that we will ever need, whether in the midst of a wedding celebration or on the beach in Spain. What a wonderful, amazing God we serve! Praise His name forever more!