Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 10, 13, 18, & 28

May tends to be busy. Musical rehearsals and productions, test days, concerts, etc. Add to that the above very special days: birthdays of 4 of my children.

So, the birthday child gets a card, a gift, and special greetings. Maybe even a dinner. But the party tous en famille happened today. Scores of celebrants crowded around the porch, enjoying the first grilled burgers of the summer, sharing words of appreciation with our birthday kiddos, delighting in beautifully decorated cakes and desserts, oohing and ahhing over gifts, and enjoying this reason to pause and remember God's gift of life. He does all things well and it is a pleasure to recite our awareness of graces and talents and character traits invested in these people we have grown to treasure.

I can readily imagine years going by without words accurately describing our affection. It could be neglected for untold time. That's sad. Therefore I'm grateful for the cycle of months and years, the reminder the calendar brings each year of these precious lives in our midst. We get to tell them all we've seen God do in them and through them. It is wonderfully good stuff. I love it!

So, today Merrick, Liana, Julia, and Jamie were all reminded that they are anointed leaders amongst their peers. They received words of love and encouragement, such as...

Merrick: "I appreciate your enthusiasm. You are a person who plans and envisions. You are fun!"

Liana: "I appreciate your ability to show God's love to children and for your example of true worship. You are strong and gentle and beautiful. You bring God into situations."

Julia: "You've shown real maturity in seeking God for His answer. I admire that. I love how you always take time for people, and you listen attentively to everyone. Thank you for loving me."

Jamie: "I appreciate your unflinching conviction, your genuine worldview and how it shapes your life choices. You are an example within your own generation. I LOVE to hear you teach."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Living Lessons from Galatians 4.19

Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ's life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. (The Message)

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you... (NKJV)

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you... (KJV)
Paul writes of travail, intense laboring with pain and sorrow and anguish, a birthing -- so that he might see Christ formed in these, his beloved Galatians. He writes in present tense; the story isn't completed. He is writing while yet in the pangs of childbirth.

He had travailed on their behalf once before, when he first saw them established in the knowledge of Christ's provision. His previous labor had brought them deliverance from idols and gained them salvation through Christ.

But here we are, finding that they have wandered from the solid truth of the gospel, embracing the law, rather than the liberty of grace. And so, he finds himself once again in the pains of childbirth, desperate to see them go on to maturity, committed to their continued well-being.

The passage does not imply a need for renewed regeneration. Paul is, however, clearly concerned about their need to apprehend Christ -- that they might be, as Matthew Henry wrote, "...more confirmed and established in the faith of the gospel." They were in danger of being side-tracked, not maturing, failing to grasp all He had for them.

And so Paul labored once more. He travailed, anguished. He felt pain and sorrow. I'm willing to bet that he spent time on his face, weeping before God, moaning with grief for the lost time, the lost treasure in their heavenly account. Not afraid, but deeply moved with sadness.

Childbirth is arduous, exhausting, inescapable. Waves of discomfort, (dare I say it?) pain, sweep over you. I distinctly recall saying to my doctor, when in the midst of such pain and sorrow, "It's a good thing there's a baby at the end of all this."

Paul travailed with hope. He had a vision, a goal. He entrusted God with his labor -- the first time, the second time, and I'm sure, every time.

I will do the same.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Memorable Birthday Moments

Little buddy laid in his hospital bed, telling the doctor that he just wanted to be home for his birthday.

Initially I thought there might be an outside chance. But as surgery became a realization rather than suggested option, the chances decreased in manifold measure. We had to begin to break the news to him that it would not be happening.

Tears of sadness and emotional disappointment swept over him. Time and time again. On Thursday night, as midnight approached and he was watching the clock, the tears flowed once again. These parents prayed with him, asking God to make his birthday special and memorable, even if it was not what he had hoped for.

And prayer is heard.

Friday breakfast hour arrived. He opened the gift bag we presented to him. Not too impressive, I think he felt.

But then the parade began. Friends with gifts, balloons, cards. A birthday gift bag from the hospital gift shop, a birthday lunch tray replete with a "candled" bowl of green jello. (Hey, you do what you can do!) One after another, the parade continued. Siblings all streamed in with birthday wishes and treats. More cards, candy, toy cars, and action figures. One dear couple brought him a brand new Wii game! Now his eyes were really lighting up! Cards with money -- one with $50 (that's more than this boy has ever had all at one time!)

Love, prayers, gifts, hugs -- he was showered with love and attention. Two of his favorite guys spent the whole evening with him playing Wii, watching cartoons, and holding his hand when pain swept him away.

So, if you want a really special birthday, just let God arrange it. He does much better than I do!

And if you feel like playing a game of Wii, I know one young man who is a ready contender these days!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

In Thanksgiving for Motherhood

Little Miss Pink we dubbed her, although the pinkest part was her clothing. The rest was all peaches and cream. And beauty that arrested this mother's heart, as first born marvels do. I was speechless, aching with awe. So this was mother-love. Who could have known?

Dark haired, red all over, entirely different, but overwhelmingly lovely. Pouting lips and squeals. She won my heart all over again with her perfection. "How is that possible," this still somewhat new mother wondered. Thoroughly won, my heart was hers. Love was multiplied, not divided.

Red-headed, delightful, and a joy to my heart. When we traveled people would ask how I got such a pleasant baby, so happy all the time. A deep joy she brought to my heart. I was learning more about enjoying every moment and she made it easy to learn.

Robust and gentle, quiet with a husky cry, soon to have blond curls and lopsided dimples. A man-child. A boy who would someday boast of his first pair of pocket pants. My pride and joy. This mother's heart could barely contain such pleasure. I held him close, knowing...

A girl was given me of sweet and pleasant disposition. Her ivory skin, peachy hair, and blue eyes charmed me. She was our gift. We understood more and more clearly. Treasure was within, and her gentle nature needed careful tending. Such beauty, delicate and fine.

Brunette, round, and dimpled. Adorable in every way. This daughter with gray blue eyes and dark locks would be my Follette girl -- the babe I had imagined as a sister all those years ago. Now she was mine to snuggle and cuddle and love beyond imaginable measure. God knew.

She arrived amidst songs of praise and prayer to the Father of Life. Gratefulness flooded my soul for her precious life. She was mine to discover. He entrusted her to me, this babe with twinkling eyes and precocious smile. A Princess girl, mine to love, mine to share. His gift.

An eternal soul. God granted me partnership in creating such a wondrous beauty. She brought to me an awareness of the bigness of this plan -- He was delighted with her; she was His desire. And I was His plan for her and how completely I loved her. I was in awe once again.

A final blessing. Unexpected in many ways. Cherished from the first, protected by God, this second man-child allowed me to be poured out in even greater measure. He is the son of my old age, I say. Small of stature but a profound revelation of God's power. And His great love.

Thank you, God, for all you've given so generously to me, and for allowing me to experience the gift of motherhood.
To be a mother, this is the rarest gift in the world. Forbid, that we just have children and that is all - when everyday offers the unwrapping of wondrous, holy grace. Ann Voskamp

Friday, May 06, 2011

An Evening of Entertainment!

Do you love the rustle of silk, the playfulness of lace ruffles, the elegance of gold brocade?

Have you had the privilege of admiring the graceful minuet danced by ladies and gentlemen thus adorned?

Do "happy ever afters" and "once upon a times" charm you into a smile?

Perhaps you should join us for an evening of such pleasures:

CFA Drama Group Presents

Cinderella's Glass Slipper

Book by Vera Morris
Music & Lyrics by Bill Francoeur

May 13 & 14
7:30pm curtain

CFC Auditorium

Donations Gladly Accepted!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Swirls of Details

It's that season again -- musical theater production week is right around the corner, a quick U-turn on my calendar and there it is!

What does that mean to me, the director? My mind spins with thoughts of scenes yet to be mastered, dances to be practiced, lines wanting more definition of character.

And for a director like me who, of necessity, has her hands involved in props, costumes, playbills and ad sales, theater set-up, etc. the list of details continues.

1. When will that bulk order of buttons arrive?
2. Who can create the lace cuffs and collars?
3. Will I be able to borrow 3-5 more ball gowns from the nearby university theater department?
4. Plan a photo shoot with 2-3 costumed students.
5. Where can I find a "throne" this time around?
6. Add a basket and bread to the props list.
7. Send out a request for more student artwork, student reports, photos, etc. for the playbill.
8. Oh, dear, speaking of the playbill... student info must be collected -- SOON!
9. Contact sound guys to order new mics.
10. Should I buy some gold gimp to add that really special touch to those royal long coats?
11. Time to start the next list. This one is too long...

...okay. Next page...

Well, I won't bore you with the next page. Or the next. Or the next...

You get the point.

Where would I be without pen and paper to sort out such thoughts in the wee morning hours? Lists are my proverbial saving grace these days. Merely proverbial, mind you.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

My Appreciation for Josh

I've known him all his life; I watched him as a baby, laughed at his boyhood antics, patiently encouraged him as a youth, and more recently had the privilege of seeing him become a man of God filled with zeal and purpose. It has been good. Very good.

And tonight he successfully completed a crowning accomplishment. Josh played his hour long senior recital, including works by Schumann, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Liszt. And he played wonderfully! As one friend said, "He triumphed!"

My hat is off to Josh for the dedication to see this through. It was a job well done!

Wonderfully well done!