Friday, April 27, 2007

Openin' Night!

High Button Shoes

What a fun, fun show! I love it!

Friday & Saturday, 7:30pm

You ought to come!


Saturday, 1:19 am.

Another openin' done. Great success, no matter how you look at it!

Attendance: we added as many chairs as we possibly could, then had to turn people away, asking them to return tomorrow evening. (Some are guestimating that we had over 600.)

Performance: almost flawless. One person said in strict sincerity, "This was the best high school show I have ever seen. Really." The kids truly outdid themselves. It was incredible.

Growth curve: huge. I have seen many young lives positively influenced in significant ways through this time together. May it continue!

Financial: great donations. Will get an exact count tomorrow.

Fun: tons!!

And here's the thing - there's still tomorrow night in case you missed this one. (But you may want to come early.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Tailor's Shop

"This one is cut from a different cloth. She's not like the rest of the family." So said the prophet about my third daughter.

The following night.

"I have a word for that young man with the curly hair. Who is he?" queried the man of God. Rick answered him, laughing and saying, "That's my son!"
"This guy is different, too. Huh," he says with puzzlement, "he's also cut from a different cloth."

I smiled to myself, knowing that years ago God showed me a wonderful secret about children: they are all unique. You've heard me say before that I think of them as treasure chests. Each one abounds with booty, but just exactly what that booty is must be discovered.

Consequently, we tried hard to free our children from wrong expectations on our part. We rejoiced with every interest they pursued, even if it was not one we had dreamed of for them. Care was taken to not compare them one to another. And they were encouraged to understand that God had made them special and unique. They were allowed to explore various activities or studies.

If they failed at some endeavor, we didn't make excuses, nor did we frown at them. We were not embarrassed by any inabilities. And we didn't shield them from their inabilities. We simply helped them determine whether this was a good pursuit for them, making it clear that just because a sibling or friend had done it was no reason to expect it was for them. We taught them to rejoice with another's success, even if they had not tasted of it themselves. There is no need to protect them from failure. They must learn to face it, understand why it happened, and at times, recognize that someone else is better at this than me and that is okay.

As they were released to discover their own fields of interest, they flourished and grew in confidence. They know that they may never be the world's best at anything (few of us are...) But they know that they can hear His voice, respond to the Spirit's prompting, and step out with confidence in Him. He is always pleased with obedience and service. That is something that everyone can do.

So to hear a prophet of God identify their uniqueness through the spoken word brought a smile to this mother's heart. They are different. We've encouraged them to be themselves and I am confident that was His plan. After all, He made them that way.

Friday, April 20, 2007

One More Down - How Many To Go?

Well, we added the full band (minus one trombonist) last night. What a great sound! The music for High Button Shoes is excellent - rousing, saucy, corny, and sweetly melancholy. Jule Styne, the composer, also penned works you may be more familiar with such as Peter Pan, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Gypsy. He was pretty good at what he did!

These are the rehearsal days of "ups & downs". One minute everything is looking pretty rough and I heave a sigh, wondering if we will ever be ready and, "What can I do to help them?!" The next minute all is running smoothly and I am lost in the magic that music, dance, and nostalgic comedy can create. The kids are loving the show and the fruit of their labor is beginning to show.

But more than just musical theater is being produced. I see many of them doing things they've never done before - delivering lines, sashaying across the stage, twirling out a waltz step, and dancing in line with all their comrades. They are encouraging one another - "Way to go, Pontdue! You sound great, Oggle! Floy is terrific, Jeremy! Hey, we look pretty good on this number!"

So on it will go. One more week until we open. It's a big week. Lots of push needed. The first few rehearsals are tech rehearsals and we will be adding lights, sound, sets, effects, etc. The first attempts at putting it all together can be pretty deflating. It seems as though everything that was well learned is now falling apart, and the things that were weak before have disintegrated! But, hopefully, by mid-week it will all be gelling - lights, sound, sets, orchestra, dance, lines, costumes, props, entrances. Oh, there is so much involved in a production!

But most of all, we are "gelling". We are working well together, growing in love and esteem for one another, showing deference and care. The truly good stuff is happening. So upward and onward we go!

Hope we see you there! You will love "New Brunswick, N-J!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Longest Day

This morning found me up and taking my two boys to college campus for their 8:00 class. I know, that's not so very early. But the week has already been long with lots of late nights.

I found myself at the church by 10:00am to sort through staging and finish up choreography in time for the 12:30-5:00pm dance rehearsal. I waltzed, polka-ed, did some soft shoe, and even a bit of the can-can (oh, also some Russian kicks and jumps.) I ran through (literally) chase scenes for the Keystone Ballet. And we finished off the afternoon with a crazy "cake-walk" type dance.

Whew! Not bad for an old lady who sat around all last year. Boy, am I out of shape!

I managed to walk in my front door at 5:30pm, set the little man up for the supper being prepared by all the girls that came home with me (oh, and Peter - sorry, Pete, I almost forgot!) Once they were on track, I headed upstairs for a few minutes of R&R. Twenty minutes later, I climbed out of bed, and boy was I stiff! Oh, well. Stretch that ankle and get moving! I have a three hour rehearsal (6:30-9:30pm) and it's no time to lag!

Whew! So the last note was sounded, the final line read; the chairs were straightened out, the church door was locked, and at last I'm home.

And bed never looked so sweet!


*Edit 1:09am
As you may surmise if you check the time, I am not sleeping yet. Ah, yes. This seems to be my plight when I direct shows. At this stage of the game I lay in bed hearing melodies and wondering how to help the kids with certain scenes. Or I think of undone jobs. I dutifully sit up in bed and, with pen in hand, scratch down whatever nagging detail has danced through my head - as if I haven't had enough dancing already. But since I've been doing that for an hour now I at last succumbed to the notion of writing some more of the playbill (a job that is quite behind by now.)

Perhaps when I've written enough song titles and looked up enough spellings of names (this is any playbill content writer's nightmare - a misspelled name!) sleep will overtake me. I do hope so. I have an early morning radio show to do tomorrow morning (actually, that would be this morning.)

Isn't it good to know that even I am His problem? Not to mention, all my dilemmas, including sleep or lack thereof. Right now, that is truly good to know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sundry, for sure

Just sundry thoughts from me today.

The gray skies seem okay when you're busy. At least you think they are. Then you realize that your thoughts are clouded and you can't help but wonder - would sunshine bursting out upon the scene, bringing a clear blue sky, possibly render clarity to your thought process as well? I, for one, would be glad to find out!

We are experiencing wonderful meetings at our church. Prophets are revealing God's marvelous plans for prosperity, blessing, deliverance, renewing, enlargement. No good is withheld, every evil is set to naught. This is a mighty God we serve whose love is boundless. On nights such as these, we get an even bigger glimpse of this love. (He is never stingy with revelation of His love.) It is amazing.

High Button Shoes, the musical I am directing for our home school group, is most promising. The leading man is doing a phenomenal job, setting a good standard for all of us. Costumes are always fantastic when a certain lady is involved - and hooray - she is! Sets are charming and innovative (for us; we have a shoestring budget and little backstage room, but wagons have been introduced this year - platforms on wheels which render simpler movement, hopefully.) And the music sparkles. If you like "turn of the century" tunes (the old century, that is), dance of all kinds, slapstick comedy ala Keystone Cops, corny jokes, and Model-T Fords, this is a show for you. Or if you just want an evening of fun entertainment, this may just what you are looking for. So consider joining us on April 27 & 28. Show starts at 7:30pm!

The shooting in Virginia is sobering, but not be surprising. Our culture slips farther from God, His principles pooh poohed, so why should we wonder at lawlessness creeping in? Sin cannot be condoned in one arena without making a show in another. God doesn't present a buffet to be picked at, taking whatever strikes our fancy. What is more - we don't even get a menu. The bablanced meal is of His choosing; He prepares, we partake and benefit from His careful choice of nutrition and delight. So if we pass on one thing, we pass on it all. And that is sobering. Time to pray for revival. We need a cultural turn around. Our nation needs to fall on its knees and honor Him once again.

I'm feeling a bit tired, but I'm still plugging away. Eternity always looms ahead, a future of unending existence in His presence. That is enough to keep this faint heart moving on. His beautiful presence.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Poor Will Always Be With Us

As Jesus walked among the crowd their needs pressed in upon Him. Brokenness, sickness, and demonic oppression was everywhere present. Still He walked with quiet confidence, calm determination, and gentle strength. He was not flustered or stressed.

As we walk through this world following the ordained path before us the needs will press in upon us. Sin and its ugliness has touched everything and everyone. Our enemy has wreaked havoc in lives, young and old. Still we can walk as He did, for His very Spirit is within us.

When assaulted we can, with quiet confidence, address our enemy. If temptation flaunts itself in our face we can, with calm determination, say, "I'm not going that direction - I'm headed this way." As the needs of those around us are revealed, overwhelming and at times pressuring us, we can, with gentle strength, speak words of comfort and encouragement to the hurting and brokenhearted.

Today I consider the list before me of needs in my life and the lives of many others. My ability to comprehend all that is represented here is stymied. Most assuredly my resources are far too limited to be of service in these countless situations.

But I can pray. I can invoke His help. His resources are not limited, His hand is not too short, His grace is not ineffectual.

At times I myself am the answer to that prayer. At times I am not. That is for Him to determine.

Once again I find rest and peace. He is too wonderful.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Freebie Kind of Day

I woke to another morning of snow and sleet. This is no surprise to a veteran North Country resident, especially when fall was virtually snow-free. I've learned that if you don't get it on one end, you can be sure to get it on the other. I must admit to all those who exalted last November at our good fortune in weather, "I told you so."

Still, the sun will come. Warmth will penetrate the earth, waking the dormant green fields, bringing transformation. Telltale buds will pop on boughs, promising shade in the heat of blazing sun. I may be tempted to keep my abundant gardens in place one more year. (I have thought often and seriously of giving away many plants and replacing my generous beds with sod. They are too much for me these days - is that age or a change of priorities? I prefer to be involved with community theater or missions. What can I say?)

I daily thank God for my youngest four children who are still home with me each day. Every day they are my best and finest purpose for those 24 hours. My husband depends on me in many ways for their ongoing establishment in His kingdom. What a responsibility! What a privilege! Each one is a treasure to be polished and prepared. There is nothing that pleases me more than to be with them, impart to them, and see them prosper in Him. I know that these are the days I will cherish always. And so I pray for wisdom to use each hour carefully. They do slip away so quickly.

Today is one of those "unslated" days - the calendar is open, apart from those perpetual lists that would hound us if we are not careful. I do have errands to run, but no one is needing me at a specific time. I can do groceries whenever, drop a daughter off for her duties anytime in the day, work on the script at 2:00pm or 2:00am - it matters not. True, the above mentioned treasures need me to function and homemaking demands will hem me in, but I don't mind that. On a free day, it is a favorite choice of activity. It has become a source of therapy. Once upon a time, preparing a meal was drudgery and laundry a chore. Now it is therapeutic. Amazing what God, time, and experience can do to a person. (Let me make something clear: I also still love to sit with a good book or even stoop to watching a great flick. They are also favorites!)

Whatever your day contains, "do all things heartily as unto the Lord." He will be most glorified that way!


*Edit (40 minutes later...)

My bubble has been burst - my day will need to be scheduled. Ah, yes, I live amongst others who need vehicles at certain times and need my presence at appointed hours.

Acknowlegdment: Even this is in His hand.
A glad heart is mine.
"Do all things heartily as unto the Lord."

I think someone close to me recommended that scriptural exhortation for today. ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Broken Record?

Ephesians 4.29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Just another reminder (see the section on "tongue") of the importance of those little things called words. They are power packed. Let's make them Holy Ghost power!

When I consider the fact that my words, my very words, have the ability to impart grace, I am amazed and thrilled. I have heard the word grace defined as divine enablement.
The Geneva Study Bible says this: "By grace he means that by which men most profit with regard to going forward in godliness and love."

And the Bible says that we can use our tongue for those kinds of means. I can put grace into my children's lives. I can impart divine impetus to my husband. Hallelujah! How wonderful! How freeing! That can be our portion. We can believe that God will help us to do that because it is His will!

So don't grow weary today. If your tongue is unruly, don't be dismayed. Look to Him. Repent readily (I don't care if it is every 3 minutes all day long, and neither does He!) Repentance is the key to breaking sin. That repentance must not only be toward God, but must also be directed at the offended. Don't hesitate to repent to your kids. They not only deserve it but they benefit greatly from hearing your genuine repentance in two ways.

First, it cleans your relationship with them. You cannot and should not gloss over your sin against them. They are complete people who deserve your complete respect. Even though you may feel that they cannot understand, in the spirit realm the slate is wiped clean. It is as necessary for you as it is for them. Don't let the enemy have any foothold. Christ died just for this reason: our sin. Humble yourself and accept His cleansing quickly and thoroughly. He does not grow weary of giving mercy so do not let yourself grow weary in asking!

Second, regular and consistent repentance models for your children an important lesson: how does mom or dad deal with failure? When they see you acknowledge sin before them they learn humility. When they observe you obtaining mercy from Him they learn where to turn for help in time of need. When you are doing this regularly they learn that His mercy never runs out.

Tell me, are there any more important life messages that you need to impart today? And these lessons come because we are all sinners saved by grace. It sure doesn't get any better than this!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rejoicing Together

Yesterday we celebrated His resurrection. That alone, if nothing more is ever added, will be enough to celebrate throughout eternity.

But in church we celebrate with one another as well. We are family. And yesterday there were many to rejoice with.

Dr. Young was there for his first service since his surgery. How good it was to see him home, sitting right where he belonged. Linda's family was there, too; she also had just been through a successful cancer surgery. They were glad to be home. And Ron, who hasn't been able to attend since open heart surgery in December, was in the second row - how wonderful to see him take his usual place amongst the congregation.

Dr. Blewett's son, Ken, was present, on leave from duty in Baghdad, Iraq. His wife Kelly joined him in Atlanta before they flew north. We had all prayed that they would be able to meet there and have that extra time together. God provided. As Ken's name was called we all stood in a united ovation to welcome him, hopefully signaling to him our deep appreciation for what he is doing, for what he stands for. We pray for his safety and effectiveness. Tears fill my eyes even now, thinking of how much I esteem him and those like him - leaders who take their place and sacrifice in ways that we only imagine. Ken's entire family was there, tall, beautiful young men and women. What a treasure they are.

And our smallest member, little Jacob, a baby born in an untimely fashion, still barely weighing in at 6 pounds even though he is now several months old, made his first Sunday appearance. How wonderful - healthy and strong, in spite of his size. We love him; we've all invested in him through prayer and care to his family. Our hearts are knit.

That's how it is with all those I've mentioned: our hearts are knit. We are kin. We rejoice with one another. We weep with one another, too.

But yesterday was a day of rejoicing. And it was wonderful.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Easter celebration! What a glorious morning to share with believers! Exaltations of His triumph. Remembrance of mercy bestowed, of a life changed forever. Realization once again of manifold blessings.

I look down the row and see daughters worshiping, some with babes in arms, sons dancing and playing before the Lord. Once again I acknowledge that there is no guarantee in this world. They could all be gone tomorrow. The only guarantee is the one promised and won at Calvary. And they have entered in. The guarantee now stands for them as well as me.

Guaranteed eternity with Him, in His presence, with sons and daughters. Forever. What a promise.

I have so much to celebrate. I am eternally grateful.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Scrips, Scraps, and "Tongue"

My daughter Julia is sending in a song for the American Idol song contest. If you think you would be interested in voting (winner is chosen by popular vote - scary, I know...) you need to be a registered American Idol Song voter. So register here and do it today! It won't be happening for a couple of weeks, but you may as well get the first step done!


Yesterday my oldest daughter Danica popped over to make some of our traditional Easter breads: cardamom braids and cheese braids. Her youngest sisters got on board and we had beautiful loaves all over the kitchen by the time they were finished. Ah! Such a feeling of accomplishment!


When we gather around the table these days the number is significant (17 if you count Jameson, who doesn't actually eat with us.) It is always busy, a bit noisy, and interesting. Treasured times, no doubt.


My husband and I do a weekly radio show. Last week we discussed the use of the tongue to affirm and bless. Ah, that little member, how powerful it is, how hard to tame. It requires a vigilance to rule this fiery and troublesome part. Reminders are always welcome and usually needed. So we reviewed the power of the tongue to bless and to curse, to build and to tear down, to hurt and to heal. It is always worth considering the effect of our words, because like it or not, they will have impact. Better to choose carefully what that impact will be.

One big trick is realizing that even children deserve the utmost of respect. They are, after all, His heritage, His creation. Are we speaking positively? Would they feel uplifted by the things we are sharing with others, or are we joking at their expense? Have we stereo-typed them, labeling them with something that will be hard for them to shake, limiting the power of God in their young lives? Or are we speaking life-giving words that free them from sin patterns and deny the enemy his wretched way?

So often we assume they are too young to be aware, too little to matter. We become careless. But their tender souls are sensitive, readily damaged; their trust and self-worth is easily hurt. On top of that, the enemy of their soul is listening, ready to assign troublesome thoughts or bondages accordingly. This is serious business only to be acknowledged by the sober-minded; this is the beginning of finding help. How can this unruly member be controlled? Thanks be to Christ and the work of the Spirit in our lives!

Through thorough repentance we release our children from wrong thinking and deep hurts. Once the slate is cleaned, a new vantage point is gained. We begin to understand the power of the spoken word. A realization that we can partner with the Almighty fills us with awe and appreciation. Although it levies a grave responsibility, it also allows for positive movement away from the destruction of the enemy and sin toward Christ and His life-giving power. Through carefully chosen words of truth, we impart grace, strength, joy, and encouragement. We impart! We build! We dispel the power of darkness and put the Father of lies to flight!

The creation of young men and women of God is our task. Even that two year old belongs to Him and is filled with destiny. We, through declaring the truth of the Word, can work with Him in shaping that young life for fulfillment of His plan.

So take it from one of the older moms. The words you sow today will reap fruit someday. Let it be good fruit.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More Than a Good Idea

We read over his words. Each one of my children was absorbed as I spoke the proclamation aloud. Such great words; we were captivated. But more, we were impacted by the relevance they had today.

Oh, to participate in a nation who united to cry out to God. What a privilege.

But ours is the privilege to call on His name today in spite of circumstance, whether the crowd agrees or not.

This was a reminder we all needed to hear. May I suggest a read-through for your family? You will benefit, I feel certain. Give it a try before devotions. You will feel inspired anew.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Today is my honey's birthday. Yup, he's 53.

And I don't quite get it. Why does it seem so strange to think that he is 53 years old? Why is it hard to fully comprehend and believe?

Time is quite a baffling thing.

Eternity sounds better to me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

My Day Off

For the next two days I have no musical rehearsals, no meetings (that I remember anyway), and no scheduled outings except music lessons and grocery shopping tomorrow. I am hoping to rest enough to beat this nagging cold. It just may happen. Pizza has been ordered for tonight and I think we will just watch a movie. It is especially fun because both daughters are here for an overnight with grandkids in tow (but only one son-in-law; the other one is in California. We will miss him!) All day long we've been exalting in having a pajama party - we are all loving just hanging out with no real plans except being together. This mom thinks it is as good as it gets!

With a break in the action I have actually had time to think ahead to the very special weekend coming up. I like Easter to be well celebrated, so with daughters here we've discussed menus and dinner invitations. And what to wear.

Time for online shopping. Mom has been "absent" practically all day searching for bargains and shirts that match, shoes that will finish it off just right, and dresses in correct sizes. It is challenging, but the only other option is a trip to Syracuse, and that is costly, tiring, and time-consuming. Today, the .com world seemed much easier.

A big score for modern technology in my book.