Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Weekly Letters

My nephew recently sent us a letter. He tells of experiencing the heights of glory when sharing about Jesus with someone, then shares about finding himself thrust into the lowest depths of despair when considering his wife. He has not heard from her in over a month and has had no visit from her since November. Indeed, I think he has had no visitors at all since our last visit to him on Feb. 2.

He has gobbled up most of the books I left him. He is not allowed to receive books in this new prison, so I'm grateful beyond words for that brief window of opportunity to send them to him. They included: The Hiding Place, The Screwtape Letters, Profiles in Courageous Manhood, Your People Shall Be My People, Know Why You Believe, God Meant It For Good, The Peace Child, Born Again, and Safely Home.
"...I've read most of them, and I know already that I'll be reading alot of them many times over. Thank you."

I write a letter each Monday. It is primarily newsy, with trite and endless chatter about the happenings here at home. I try to describe in some detail the events including the many people that he knows. And I always end with a scripture verse and brief discussion of its meaning.

I have no choice but to write these letters. It only takes a "think" or two and I am painfully aware of the emptiness surrounding him. I am confident that every connection to the outside world is cherished. My letters are undoubtedly read over and over again. I've considered writing them on the computer and printing them, but I feel just as confident that the personal aspect of a handwritten letter brings a human touch to him that he otherwise does not experience.

"There are days I'm inexplicably happy, and then within the span of one day, I'll be inconsolably miserable. Well, inconsolable except by a kind letter or undeserved smile."
A tear was shed by yours truly. How simple a letter is, how practically effortless, and yet it is a beacon in his dark world.

You tell me -- would you have a choice about writing that weekly letter? I count it nothing but pure, God-given ministry. Apparently Kenny does, too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taking Our Places

The scene: the midnight hour, Gettysburg, July 3, 1863
The players: Union and Confederate armies -- their generals and commanding officers

Stage L - Union headquarters, Stage R - Confederate headquarters
Props - maps

The men gather around, listening to the commanding general as he points to maps, asks for counsel, sits and ponders, then proposes his plan. Some moderation is considered before the plan is finalized. After hours of deliberation they depart, with the knowledge of deeds to do, strategies to lay out, and assignments to deliver. A few short hours of rest will pass.

The scene: the pre-dawn hour, Gettysburg, July 3, 1863
The players: Union and Confederate forces, generals, commanding officers, and infantrymen

Stage L - Union front, Stage R - Confederate front

Officers meet with battalion leaders, giving careful instruction in every detail of how their strategy must play out, calling out the various men to receive their specific duties for this event, with each assignment tailored to the talents and strengths of the given man. The task at hand would utilize many men, and these leaders were entrusted now with that precious commodity: the very lives of these soldiers.

They are now off, these young men full of vision, hopes, dreams, and zeal for the cause. The older men with years of experience would stay behind, watching the battle from behind, having done their part now, their part of lending wisdom gleaned from battles and difficulties. They've imparted all they could to these young men, and now the battle was in their hands.


Modern day scene: CFC auditorium stage, April, 2009
Players: 1st group: seasoned men of God who have walked with Him for many years
2nd group: believers of various ages ready for marching orders - eager to hear the
call and receive the equipment needed for the cause

The seasoned men gather in prayer, looking for wisdom from God. They offer the needs and situations to Him for His plans and strategies. They turn to the ready soldiers of God. As they lay hands on them some are singled out -- called to be leaders of men. They are the ones who must bring them into battle, yell out the directions to point them in the right direction, and encourage them in the face of the enemy. The seasoned men of God are passing out the strategy, supplying the tools and equipment. But then it is up to those empowered. They must walk forth and do the work. With zeal and excitement young men and women eagerly receive the words. With care and humility others accept the tools of intercessory prayer or gifts of healing. It is now time to move ahead.

The time always comes for the future to be handed over to the next generation. For those of us who have been at this for decades, the time is here. And they look pretty ready.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Our God Reigns!

Our God is a righteous God.
And He reigns!

Our God is love.
And He reigns!

Our God is Mighty in Battle.
And He reigns!

Our God is Prince of Peace.
And He reigns!

Our God is true.
And He reigns!

Our God is Holy.
And He reigns!

Forever His truth shall reign. Forever.
I have no fear!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

Seven thirty-five p.m. and most of the guests have gone on their way. Seven thirty-five p.m. and I realize that another Easter celebration has passed.

This is my favorite holiday. For those who believe, this is a day of victory. Jesus is alive! He has conquered death. Songs of praise and exultation rang out as we joined our voices in loudest strains of joy in the morning's service of worship. The recollection of a precious salvation wrought for me through His death on Calvary's tree is never old. Somehow it is as wonderful today as when I first understood -- in fact, it is more wonderful.

Every year we welcome visitors to join our family for Easter dinner. This year four tables were set to accommodate 36 happy banqueters. We feasted on roasted pork loin, roasted herbed potatoes, asparagus, baby carrots with dill, cardamom bread, feta stuffed olives, and a fabulous spread of desserts. New friends and old laughed away the afternoon. Many hands washed many plates. It took some time, but soon every glass was sparkling and every plate was stacked.

Now they have gone. We finish watching Anne of Avonlea, a series we started viewing a few nights ago. Family is here with me, and that is a favorite way to end such a day.

Some day, because of that first Easter morning, we will all be in heaven together -- forever!

Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Signs of the Times

Easter decorating
Uncle Merrick played x-box football while his niece and nephew helped Nana decorate. Liana and Camilla even willingly abdicated this task.
Times, they are a changin'.

Anne of Green Gables
The older girls (Brietta, Carina, and Louissa) excitedly blanketed themselves with fleece covers and snuggled on couches to watch this all-time favorite. Liana and Camilla, vaguely familiar with this oft quoted movie, wandered to and from the room (well, eventually Camilla joined in and was even caught tenderly sighing, "Oh... I love Matthew...")
Times, they are a changin'.

Mom is too tired to stay up to greet an overnight guest but has absolute confidence that her girls (and the other add-ons) will help this guest get fed and settled in an appropriate manner. They are quite able to do so.
Times, they are a changin'.
I used to do lots of little girls' hair. Now they do mine.
Times, they are a changin'.

Rick's Birthday
I once was responsible for planning this celebration. This year, Carina is planning and hosting the event.
Times, they are a changin'.

That's the way it always goes, so they say. I'm discovering that they are right.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The King & I

So here's the word from a friend's perspective:
"Darlene is the 'I'!"

Yup, I'm the "I" in The King & I. Or Mrs. Anna. Or Mrs. Leonowen. Or the schoolteacher.

Community Performance Series (CPS), based at Crane School of Music in Potsdam, hosts a community theater production each summer and this year we do The King & I.

It's a lot of lines for this ol' gal to learn, but I really think I can do it. I'm sure gonna give it my best shot. I tend to have that paradigm. You know, the thought that says, "If I'm going to do this, it deserves my best effort."

So, aside from Seussical adventures, which are deserving my first attentions for now, I will be venturing into the world of Siam in 1862 -- hoop skirts and all!! Can you think of anything more fun?

I can't!