Saturday, August 30, 2008

Have You Heard?

Pretty interested in McCain's new running mate. She's got me excited, but I'm keeping it in check until I can find out a bit more and chew on this whole thing. But...

I like her.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Barbara Cook was the Broadway soprano ingenue from 1951-1971. Her voice was considered flawless, her stage presence charming. She retired from the Broadway scene in the early 70's to begin a multi-decade career in the cabaret/concert arena. Her success has been astounding. So much so that she received an unusual honor.

In 2006 the Metropolitan Opera Theater hosted her in a solo concert -- it was only the second time they had done a solo evening. Decades before, they had hosted one for the illustrious Vladimir Horowitz.

What an amazing honor! Adding to the specialness was this: she would sing the first ever non-classical program on their stage. A double honor!

I recently purchased the CD of this performance and I was dazzled. Enamored by the stories she tells, moved by her pianissimo tones that float into nothingness, entertained by the jokes and twinkling eyes that can actually be heard, and enthralled by the fabulous quintet backing her, this is a CD that I will reach for again and again.

I think, for me, learning that this woman -- who performed so wonderfully for two hours straight with velvet tone and well crafted phrasing -- was 78 at the time, was exhilarating! I was much more than merely impressed.

People are impressed all the time. They make note of the exceptional; they talk about it, write about it, record it and compare it. But they may remain personally passive. It does not mean they have been moved to hope again, dream bigger, and even scheme a little.

As I have dared to sing along I have been inspired to do all of that, and maybe even a little more. But if I don't accomplish all I imagine (because trust me, I have been known to imagine much) I have been moved to hope, dream, and scheme a little once again.

My husband recently shared about Caleb taking that mountain, having requested that mountain after waiting with focus and determination. He did not lose heart, he did not give up, he did not let his vision die or dim.

I want to live with clarity of purpose, with dreams and intentions, stretching and growing, experiencing new adventures. I want to accomplish God-sized things, even when I am 78.


Caleb takes his mountain.

Barbara Cook sings at the Met.

Darlene Sinclair ???

Only the Lord knows how that one will read, but I'm confident in Him that it'll be good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gold Digger

The elderly gentleman had a long list of credentials -- dean of the school of theology here, head of the department of theology there, participation on boards of translators, pastoring -- to name a few. All wonderful.

He began speaking and I wondered just exactly what he would bring to us. As he began I was doubtful. Speculation caused me to conclude that it might be a display of academic prowess. That may fascinate some, but I tend to get lost and, honestly, bored.

He spoke about prayer and some basic truths. We always need reminders, but this was truly basic stuff. "Come on, now, you're speaking to the choir here, not the 'newbies'."

Then suddenly he brought us to John. He was going to expound upon abiding in the vine. I sat up and shut up. This was no subject for amateurs. These are scriptures of profound implication. One must dig down deep to discover these hidden treasures. Breaking this passage into consumable bites for even "mature believers" is challenging, and I, for one, listened intently. I was not disappointed.

He spoke about abiding. He taught about branches and vines; fruitfulness and pruning; bad, good, and best. It was rich indeed. So rich we all went home realizing we had feasted, and feasted well. We will be chewing for days.

This man knows this passage. He lives this truth. His practice of abiding in Christ was clearly evident as the life of Christ and the eternal principles of the true vine were revealed in his words to us. This was not head knowledge, but heart knowledge. His life had been God's to use and great fruit had been borne.

His true credentials were at last on display.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Out My Kitchen Window

Three flowering hydrangea trees line the side of my barn. Over the years they've displayed differing tendencies. The middle guy is large and healthy, standing upright, full of blooms, round and robust. Almost a perfect specimen.

To the left of him is the runt, his growth stunted by hazardous North Country winters. Falling ice crushed him one February. That spring I gently pruned and staked him to regain stature. For two summers he worked to catch up, but as would often be the case he was again subjected to winter's cruelty. Ice from the roof above fell once again, leaving his trunk broken completely off. For three summers I have left him untouched, watching numerous shoots grow up, pinching here and there but not knowing how to help. This year, with encouragement from an experienced gardener, I severely pruned, bound the small remaining branch to a sturdy stake and waited. Two months later he is small (maybe 1/8 the size of his neighbor) but proud, boasting several large cream tinged with pink clumps of blossoms. He shows great promise. I am expectant and excited!

At the end of the row is my wayward friend, full grown and laden with blooms but insisting on tilting in an unfashionable angle. Late in the spring I found a large stake. Driving it into the ground I struggled to force him into an upright position. Tying him to the stake I could feel his pull against his new confinement. Now, with branches drooping from the weight of innumerable blooms, he is bowing over, almost touching the ground. It is clear; I will need a much bigger stick with heavy, thorough binding if I hope to get him in line. And I do still hope to get him in line. His blooms are beautiful; once he is upright and in proper position his presence will lend a perfect completion to my little line-up.

How like my little hydrangea trees we all are.

How faithful is He in knowing and doing that which is right for each one of us.

Lord, I want to bloom fully, produce beauty, and stand proudly and uprightly as You desire. I know I need the touch of your hand, the care of the Master in my life. Whatever it takes, Lord. Whatever it takes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

blue, blue grey, blue

A little heavy of heart these days. Is it the weather? I think not. Is it the realization that life is ephemeral? I think not, although that is challenging. Is it some other foolish thing that really doesn't matter in the face of eternity? I think it may be.

Silly, foolish me.

The joy of His salvation is my strength. It's time to look at eternity once again, time to let go one more time. This place is not my real home. The troubles of this world are not worthy of my concern. How sad to be troubled by nonsense, to let such trivial things steal what is mine in Him.

Oh, the sweet, sweet love of Jesus. Oh, the deep, deep joy of knowing that eternity will be spent in His presence.

Let me lift my eyes. Let me take good counsel.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Me? Looking For Something New?

We are contemplating some new theatrical adventures for yours truly. Looking and praying for wisdom in use of this most precious of commodities -- time. And a second most precious commodity -- creative energy.

I've entered a different season of life, one I've never quite experienced before. But not entirely. Although I am older with many adult children, I still have three school children at home in need of investment of both time and creative energy. They are the primary recipients of such treasure and rightfully so. It is bar far my greatest joy to give myself for them. I know now not only by faith but from experience that investing in my children provides a guaranteed return. They will benefit, I will benefit, the kingdom of heaven benefits, and God benefits. It is the wisest of all investment choices for one blessed with the stewardship of young lives.

But this new adventure would not overlook that investment -- it would simply accommodate it in a different way. That is part of the weighing -- will the balances remain even in the long run or will too much have been given away, too much that belongs to husband, home, and family. After all, that is my primary calling -- always.

So as I dream and as we pray, as we consider how to best steward time and creative energy, I am confident of His hand to help guide. And however He leads there will be ample adventure.

Because, after all, you know me and so does He -- always looking for a new adventure!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Favorite Verse

Jeremiah 15:16
Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

Jeremiah is warning the children of Israel of impending judgment. He is facing derision, hatred, and scorn. And now, after obedience to the Word of God, he is realizing destruction is imminent -- and he is in the midst of an unGodly people. He cries out to God for protection and God promises him deliverance.

But in the midst of his plea for mercy, he acknowledges his love for God's words. He reminds God that he himself has suffered rebuke, that he did not sit with the mockers and partake of their sin.

I have always loved verse 16. Surely His word has been my source of great rejoicing in all situations. When life would have left me undone, His word was my strength. As sorrows overwhelming swirl around, His word has been an anchor. Darkness floods my pathway, but His word brings light, hope, and peace.

I love His Word.

"Oh, Lord, may I ever cling to the goodness of Your Word of truth. In this sin-darkened world full of brokenness and despair, deception and self-centered ways, hopelessness and foolish living, may Your Word bring light, joy, peace passing understanding, and truth. May I be bold enough to share the goodness of Your Word in a place where Your goodness is not cherished, in a world where the enemy has blinded eyes, in situations flooded with selfish notions of what is true. May I shine Your grace and mercy in all places where You send me. Let me be a faithful and bold servant of Your love, mercy, and truth. Amen."

Jeremiah 15:16
Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.