Saturday, March 31, 2007

red sky in morning

I woke up this morning with the feeling that i may be getting better. the sky was red this morning which I think is beautiful, but doesn't that old proverb say that red sky in morning mean sailor's take warning??

Friday, March 30, 2007


I did not realize when I posted that last bit about being tired that I was, in fact, coming down with a good, old-fashioned chills and fever and sore throat and achy head, cough-your-lungs-up and blow-your-nose-till-it's-chapped flu. Yep -- ironically, after making a commitment last week to not watch so much TV, that's all I've had the energy to do for the last coupla days. I forgot how much I love MASH! (lots of great observations from all the dynamics of that show, but don't have enough healthy brain cells right now to put them into coherent thought)

So, before my latest dose of Nyquil kicks in, I thought I'd just post a 'hello'.

Maybe I'll take this opportunity to post some of my favorite quotes...yeah, that's what I'll do. then I can still appear intelligent and engaged with my blogging buddies. (i know it's cheating, but what else do you want me to do?!?)

Here's one that I carry with me in the front of my daily planner (which is all shot to heck now that I've been in bed for three days):

"A well-ordered heart is to love
the right thing
in the right way
with the right kind of love."
-- St. Augustine

Monday, March 26, 2007


If there were some kind of contraption that would pull all of the interesting and thought-provoking ideas out of my brain and transcribe them into a post, this would be a HUMDINGER!

Unfortunately, I am plain old weary and unable to put the energy into typing letters that form words that form sentences and paragraphs onto this page.

i'll be back soon....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Art & Fear -- a review

So, I decided to stop watching TV on weeknights. I have way too much thinking and reading and writing I'd like to do in my lifetime, and since we've been reminded recently that
"We are becoming who we will be -- forever"
I decided I'd better get cracking! I also decided that -- for now anyway -- I'd stop spending a lot of time on other church websites. Don't get me wrong -- this has been a hugely valuable (and fun!) resource for me in my ministry role at church. I've found, however, that it is way too easy to get discontent with what God is doing right here where His Kingdom meets mine in Broome County, NY.

My first goal is complete -- to finish reading this great book, Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I could complete a review in one sentence...


But, maybe you'd like a few more details??

What does the title mean?: It wasn't till the second-to-the-last page that the authors really described this fully. In their words,
The question was: Do artists have anything in common with each other? Like any good question, that one quickly generated a flurry of relatives: How do artists become artists? How do artists learn to work on their work? How can I make work that will satisfy me? For young artists filled with energy and idealism, the answers seemed just around the corner. Only as the years passed did we begin to encounter, with increasing frequency, a much darker issue: Why do so many who start, quit?
Although, I have no reason to believe (or disbelieve) the authors are church attenders or Christ followers, all that they wrote to the artist as an individual could be applied to what we try to do together as a community of artists in the church. I especially appreciated the practical and, yet, thoughtful way the authors 'de-mystified' the process of artmaking and art appreciating. By adding context to statements like, "ARTMAKING INVOLVES SKILLS THAT CAN BE LEARNED" and "ART IS MADE BY ORDINARY PEOPLE" and the fun Q & A spoof,
Q: Will anyone ever match the genius of Mozart?
A: No.Thank you.
Thank you. Now can we get on with our work?
allows the reader to relax and believe that maybe -- just maybe -- this desire to be known as an artist is not just some kind of pie-in-the-sky, what-the-heck-have-you-been-smokin' hoke.
Another myth that gets busted by the authors is the ever-popular artist declaration: "I'm only able to work when I'm feeling inspired!" According to the authors and in the words of my highschool friend, 'That's BULL Ca-Ca!!'
"...artmaking can be a rather lonely, thankless affair. Virtually all artists spend some of their time (and some artists spend virtually all of their time) producing work that no one else much cares about. It just seems to come with the territory. But for some reason -- self-defense, perhaps -- artists find it tempting to romanticize this lack of response [from the art viewer], often by (heroically) picturing themselves peering deeply into the underlying nature of things long before anyone else has eyes to follow.
Romantic, but wrong. The sobering truth is that the disinterest of others hardly ever reflects a gulf in vision. In fact there's generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist's work. The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. ... The point is that you learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art. The best you can do is make art you care about -- and lots of it!
I'm gonna stop here 'cuz I'm afraid to climb on a soapbox!! (And, that's just the first chapter...we haven't even gotten to the 'FEAR' part) I might continue this in my next post...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

new music review

1. He Will Rejoice (Zephaniah 3:17) Trevor Morgan
2. By His Wounds (Isaiah 53:5) Third Day's Mac Powell, Steven Curtis Chapman, Brian Littrell and Casting Crowns' Mark Hall3. Waters Gone By (Job 11: 13-20) Hyper Static Union's Shawn Lewis4. To The Only God (Jude 24-27) David Crowder and Shane & Shane5. Glory Revealed (Isaiah 40: 3-5) Candi Pearson-Shelton6. Altar Of God (Psalm 43:4) Josh Bates7. Come, Worship The King (Jude 25) Michael W. Smith with Shane & Shane8. Who Is Like You (Exodus 15: 2, 11, 13) Starfield's Tim Neufeld9. Restore To Me (Psalm 51: 9-12) Third Day's Mac Powell and Candi Pearson-Shelton
10. You Alone (Revelation 15:3-4 and Psalm 34:4-5) Brian Littrell

I listen to New Release Tuesday podcast each week. Often, I listen while I work on stuff in the office and don't notice all that is being discussed. BUT -- last week, I heard an interview with the podcast host and Mac Powell (of Third Day) and David Nassar about a new compilationon project they had produced.

Well, I have loved Mac Powell ever since I heard him first at a concert ON Daytona Beach in the spring of 1998, so that got my attention and I started listening more closely but it wasn't till I heard the theme of the project that I dropped everything, got onto good 'ol (use that 'cuz I've got free shipping there) and ordered a CD before the podcast was even over.

The album is called Glory Revealed (check out the promo the guys sitting around on the floor strumming guitars!) In executive producer, David Nasser's words, "My passion for this project was to call a generation back to God's Word....We want people to walk away [from listening to the music] more passionate about the Word of God."

Recently, in my new role as worship coordinator I've been paying a lot more attention to worship music and have been kind of surprised how few 'scripture songs' are written anymore. I love much of the worship music being written today, but I guess I've been surprised how few new songs are being written like those kind of scripture songs I sang when I was a kid -- "This is the Day", "From the Rising of the Sun", "Beloved Let us Love One Another" and the like.

So the CD arrived yesterday and I've been immersing myself in the music ever since. This project is excellent. Each song is straight from Scripture and was created with the worship leader and congregation in mind. Musically the album has the feel and tone of blue grass -- really lush acoustic instrumentation and beautiful, accessible harmonies. Powell's description is 'stripped-down and organic.'

Another thing I love about compilation projects is the matching of the voices and talents of different artists. As you can see from the track list above, this project is full of recognizable artists. However, the songs are so musically 'tight' that I am not thinking about who is singing -- each song speaks for itself and really just showcases the truth and beauty of Scripture.


Who wants to join me for a road trip?? I'd LOVE to get to one of these shows!

p.s. -- if you are on the worship team at U.C., get your pickin' fingers ready -- you're going to be seeing some of these songs in our service orders soon!!

p.p.s. -- Hey, Z -- did you notice track #1 was written just for YOU?!?

Monday, March 19, 2007

I found this on a website I was checking out,
It's called, "Management is behind you all the way"

i love it!

in response to last post...

from my daily reading from Ransomed Heart ministries....

Awkward Love


Honest communication in love is the only way to live and grow in friendships. There are ebbs and flows. There may be real hurt and disappointment. But with the grace of God firmly holding us, it is possible to nurture and sustain deep friendships. We are designed to live in relationship and share in the lives of other women. We need one another. God knows that. We have only to ask and surrender, to wait, to hope, and, in faith, to love. We must also repent.

For a woman to enjoy relationship, she must repent of her need to control and her insistence that people fill her. Fallen Eve demands that people “come through” for her. Redeemed Eve is being met in the depths of her soul by Christ and is free to offer to others, free to desire, and willing to be disappointed. Fallen Eve has been wounded by others and withdraws in order to protect herself from further harm. Redeemed Eve knows that she has something of value to offer; that she is made for relationship. Therefore, being safe and secure in her relationship with her Lord, she can risk being vulnerable with others and offer her true self.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable . . . The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers . . . of love is Hell. (C. S. Lewis,
The Four Loves)

Captivating , 181–82)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

my birthday

I turned 36 years old on Friday.

This is the first year I actually felt kind of depressed about my age.

I'm not sure why.

In fact, my 9 year old daughter told me that I was one of the youngest moms of all her friends.

Then, my husband gleefully reminded me that I'd been out of school longer than I had been in school.

Maybe it's less about my age and more about the season of life my husband and I are now in. Our oldest son is on his way to turning sixteen. SIXTEEN!! I love that my kids are teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers, but it is sobering -- no TERRIFYING -- to think of all that we hope to teach them still. And time is just flying by.

So, i'm home from church today. Celebrated my birthday with a dinner out last night and all that rich food did not make my stomach happy. (or is it just a sign of old age to go along with the sun-spots on my face and hands??) With an unscheduled quiet morning on my hands, I dusted off my journal and took a sort-of inventory of my life up to now.

I'm thankful.

I'm blessed.

I have a lot of work to do.

The list of years became less about numbers and credentials and more about people. I realize that I have fought hard for the relationships that are most vital to me -- my family, my God. I also realize -- in that dispassionate inventorying of my life's years -- that there are many relationships I've let go of. Some for reasons of the reality of time and space that distances us. Some for reasons of chemistry -- something just didn't click between us. Some for reasons of fear and self-protection. For so many, many, many years (I'd say about 35 1/2 -- unless I shouldn't count the year before I could walk and talk) I haven't really known who lived inside this skin I'm in. I haven't really known if it was OK to know her, let alone to be her.

Even with the passive-agressive battle I've fought against the true self God intended, sometimes my life circumstances have allowed certain parts of that self to thrive -- but always the results were switching back and forth between one or the other lens of a pair of binoculars. And so -- certain relationships would begin to form based on the one part of myself that happened to be showing (like my grandmother's slip beneath her dress) -- whether it be the creatively-chaotic girl who made all her siblings and cousins plan plays and circuses and musicals that never happened or the adolescent who cried for hours on end because her friends didn't seem to love Jesus or the teenager whose body was more mature than her heart and who just really, really liked boys or the college roommate who could care less about college and just wanted to be married or the terrified 19-year-old bride or the exhausted new mommy or the financially broken married couple desparate to get food on the table and a house for our four kids or the professionally employed business woman or the grieving victim of abuse or the misunderstood artist or the mom of four busy kids who have dreams and desires of their own (but who refuse to clean their rooms or care about their homework) or the girl who loves classic rock, the smell of cigar smoke and the taste of a cold beer (preferrably on the sand of some Caribbean island) or the woman who loves Jane Austen, beat poetry and hopes to someday visit every coffee dive across Europe -- preferrably alone. That doesn't even take into account the chic who loves to sit in her bathrobe and watch old episodes of Matlock and Magnum P.I.!

What a wacky combination! How is a girl to edit that all down to a couple of sentences for a relationship classified ad??

Consider this statement from Frederick Buechner:

Starting with the rather too pretty young woman and the charming but rather
unstable young man, who together know no more about being parents than they do the far side of the moon, the world sets in to making us what the world would
like us to be, and because we have to survive after all, we try to make
ourselves into something that we hope the world will like better than it
apparently did the selves we originally were. That is the story of all our
lives, needless to say, and in the process of living out that story, the
original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us hardly end up
living out of it at all. Instead, we live out all the other selves which we are
constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s
weather. (Telling Secrets)

If I were to add one sentence to Buechner's quote it would be that not only have I lived out all those selves like a variety of coats and hats -- each of those selves is looking for relationships -- other people -- that would serve as the perfect accessory (maybe like umbrellas and scarves?).

Even as I write, I hear the Holy Spirit's encouragement to accept the gift of a variety of friendships and levels of relationship...just as He is asking me to accept the entirety of the person He has created me to be. The root of the problem is the identity crisis of my soul -- the restless part of me that is 'constantly putting on and taking off' selves 'like coats and hats against the world's weather.'

To sum up: I am so grateful for the foundational relationships in my life -- my parents, my God and now, because of a deep, deep grace that I dont' deserve, but treasure without indifference, my husband and children. I could stay there and be a thankful woman.

I could stay there. But I'd be disobeying God. I am convinced this is true.

I want to grow into this part of the DNA God has given me that is free to actively love anyone in my sphere of living and yet truly know and live with just a few. I desire to live out of the entirety of the woman God has created me to be in pursuit of this next level of relationship.

I am thankful that in this thirty-sixth year of my life I have a renewed hope in that possibility.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

what i want to hear Jesus say

beautiful comments on that last post, you guys. thanks.

i have thought and thought about my own answer to that question and don't really know what to say because everything will be new and different than anything i can imagine. i would love to hug him and hear his voice. i love the thought that i'll be able to express love without any feelings of self-conciousness or awkwardness. i remember when i was a little girl i loved to hug my uncles that lived far away because they always smelled of good cologne...this makes me wonder what Jesus' scent will be??

then i can't get away from the stories i've thought about -- both Elijah in the OT and the blind-man Bartameus in the NT (probably others, too) where God/Jesus asked THEM the question...basically, "What would you like me to do for you?" I can imagine Jesus asking me this. Not like a genie-in-a-lamp kind of thing, but a loving, gleeful question that is something like, "You've made it here. What do you want to do first??" And, for once in my life, I might be able to answer that question from the truest part of me -- instead of the classic female response, "I dunno..what do YOU want to do??"

And then again, maybe that's exactly what I'll ask!

Monday, March 05, 2007

i can only imagine...

I was listening to an old Derek Webb podcast today. At the close of the interview with Derek Webb and Donald Miller, the interviewer asked this question:

"When you die and go to heaven, after hearing God saying 'Well done, good and faithful servant' what would you most like to hear God say to you??"

I've been pondering this question all day. What would your answer be??
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