Sunday, December 28, 2014

Song for Sunday: See this Tiny Baby

It's the third day of Christmas and also a Sunday. The Sunday after Christmas is a low-attendance Sunday at many churches. It's too bad, because it is a great time to be at church. The exuberant joy of Christmas Sunday and the solemn joy of Christmas Eve have given way to a relaxed joy and people are friendly and welcoming.  Advent is over, Christmas has come. There is still the wonder of Christmas carols and the special decorations aren't down yet. It's fun to be there. Try it next year.


I love babies. Everyone who knows me, knows that. So I enjoyed the choir anthem last week, a new one for me. This one about Jesus, in his mother's arms. The King of the Universe, helpless and cared for by a teenage girl and her carpenter husband.

It's a beautiful song, inviting us to look at the baby. And who doesn't like to look at a baby?


Enjoy the song!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sing for Sunday: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do You Hear What I Hear?  A Christmas classic with both haunting and bright elements. The bell choir at our church played it this morning. It goes like this on the handbells:




(Handbell Choir of Grace Bible Church)

The words that catch me today are those of the last verse: "Pray for peace people everywhere!"

Let's do that!



(Third Day singing "Do You Hear What I Hear?")





Merry Christmas 
And may the blessings of our Savior be yours!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Song for Sunday: Ebony and Ivory

Black lives matter.

That statment should be so self-evident that it doesn't need to be said, but that is not the case in our hurting and broken world.  I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment on any specific case, but the overall picture is one of separation, fear and hostility. It's not supposed to be that way.

Today is the third Sunday in Advent and has also been declared "Black Lives Matter Sunday" by some churches and denominations:

Rev. Debora Jackson of the American Baptist Minister's Council says this on the Council's Facebook page

 
I want to share this note that churches are coming together to participate in "Black Lives Matter" Sunday on this Sunday, December 14....It seems so appropriate on this 3rd Sunday of Advent that our somber spirits would be lifted through solidarity. We pray that our "purple" of mourning could be turned to the "rose" of joy, united as the body of Christ to proclaim the good news, to release the captives, to help others see, and to liberate the oppressed. Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." I encourage you to acknowledge this coming together in your houses of worship. We as people of faith are called to lead. As Executive Minister Dwight Stinnett noted in his update from the Great Rivers Region meeting with pastors in St. Louis, "...We are in for the long haul and not for the media moment."


Back in 1982, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney sang a song begging for racial harmony. The lyrics are simple but it was a major hit when it first came out. McCartney wrote the song,  planning from the beginning to peform it with Stevie Wonder, a musician he greatly admired.

McCartney had seen a skit in which English Comedian Spike Milligan tried to play a song on a piano with the black and white keys separated...which of course didn't work. He got the idea for the song there.

The songs simple plea for all of us to live together in harmony resonates today. May it be our prayer as well.




God bless!



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Creche: 2014 Edition




It's Advent and I have just passed the fourth anniversary of this blog. I am in something of a re-start mode just now as I had an unplanned hiatus for a few months.

The very first blog post I wrote was about our Advent tradition of Jordan setting up the creche on his own. I have written about the tradition two other times as well.

Jordan's Strange Creche
A Broken World ... Seeking Peace
Jordan's Creche for this Year


 




This year Jordan said he was going for
something bizarre. I told him unusual
 was fine, chaotic was not. This is what he
came up with. Notice you are looking at the
back of the stable.













On either side, animals are grazing or resting.














The full effect is different, but peaceful. I like it. It reminds us that we don't know what that first Christmas really looked like.


A blessed advent to you and yours! May the hope of Christ be realized in your home.




What's your favorite holiday tradition?



Photos (and Creche set-up) by J. Parry

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Song for Sunday: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence


It's Advent.

I did go Christmas caroling with church folk to church folk today. That notwithstanding we aren't really using Christmas music in worship yet, though.

Here's a good explanation:

Advent Thoughts

Meanwhile, this hymn was used three times in our worship service this morning, It was rung by the bell choir, played by the organ as an offertory and sung by the congregation.

It is a moving advent hymn with a deep message. Good lyrics to give attention to. May it be a blessing for you as you listen.




A blessed advent to you. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Song for Sunday: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart


This morning, the students at the church where I help out with the youth program sang this song and made an excellent Thanksgiving presentation. They were directed by one of the parents who also helped put the program together.

I really like this song and it's message. I hope you do, too.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Song for Thanksgiving: We Gather Together

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing..."

The Thanksgiving hymns are some of my very favorites, and this one tops the list.

Enjoy it and Happy Thanksgiving!!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

(Belated) Song for Sunday: New York State of Mind

I got to go to a Billy Joel tribute concert the other day. The performers sang Billy Joel and Elton John songs backed up by full orchestra (which my husband was playing in.) I don't know much Elton John, but I love Billy Joel.

The singer/pianist said that this song was one of the first they decided to put in the show because it allowed for a perfect marriage between the music and orchesta. And it did!!


So enjoy "New York State of Mind" and imagine it played with symphony orchestra.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Freedom 5K

Last Saturday, I ran my first 5K. It took me 45 minutes and 56 seconds, but I ran every step.

Partly, I did it as a challenge. I turned 50 this year and wanted to try something new, perhaps to prove I could. At first, I wanted to climb Mt. Washington, but my family decided they weren't up for that and it's not something to try alone. So, when I saw the poster for the 5K I thought I'd go for it.

I also did it for a cause. This 5K was sponsored by Loved By Route One to raise awareness of domestic sex trafficking, This is a ministry of the Emmanuel Gospel Center in Boston. Women from the ministry provide a website listing resources for women exploited by the sex industry and visit the women with flowers or small gift bags. They offer support and compassion.

Human trafficking is a horrible reality. Women, children and men are all victims. They are bought and sold for the sex industry, factory labor, farming, soldiering, and domestic servanthood. It happens in every country and in many industries.

Here are some resources on the extent of the problem:

humantrafficking.org
Polaris Project
Slavery: A Global Investigation


Some of the many ministries working to combat this evil:

American Baptist Churches USA: International Ministries
Salvation Army
All Hands In



So... do something... give money, volunteer, talk about this, keep your eyes open for victims, pray, run a 5K... just don't ignore this.


What will you do?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Getting Organized -- Pantry!

I have a wonderful pantry. It came with the house I inherited and my brother -in-law fixed it up before we moved in.

The thing is, though, over three years it had gotten into a mess. And I mean, a mess!

Here. I'll prove it.



Pretty bad, eh? I'm not sure how I stood it.

So, I emptied it out, wiped it down and reorganized it. I even donated some stuff and threw out some junk. 
Here's the "after" version:




Jordan did get a pic of the "unseemly" bag of potatoes on the floor: 


 But overall, much better, I'd say:




 How are your organization projects coming along?

Photos by J. Parry

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Taking Orders ... Impaired Driving

Recently, I obeyed a direct order from my teenage son.

I do not, as a general policy, believe that parents should take orders from their children. It is supposed to be the other way around. So, maybe I should explain.

It was actually the first day of high school in our homeschool. We progressed quite well through academics and I planned on cooking a special meal for the evening. I took a nap to try, unsuccessfully, to rid myself of a headache and then went downstairs. I got my shopping bags and keys. My son asked me what I was doing. I told him I was going grocery shopping for his treat.

He looked at me and said, "Bed. Now." ........and I climbed obediently back up the stairs and into bed.

Later I was a bit chagrined at myself for simply doing as I was I told. Then I thought about it. I believe it was a good thing that I did just that. Why? Here are a few reasons:

That headache was debilitating. My driving would have been impaired. I could have harmed myself or someone else or worse. I did not belong on the road and apparently my judgment was impaired enough that I didn't realize it. So, it's a good thing that someone stopped me from getting behind the wheel, regardless of the fact that the someone was 36 years my junior and in my care besides.

It set an example for Jordan. Someday, for whatever reason, he may be impaired and wanting to drive. If someone tries to stop him, in that moment he just might remember that his mother accepted the fact that she could not drive when she was told not to. Stranger things have happened.

It empowered Jordan. He learned that it works when you tell an impaired person not to drive. If I had disciplined him for speaking up, that might have given him a different message and someday when the driver he is with is drunk, or distracted, or exhausted, he might  keep quiet. We don't want that.

I still maintain that teenagers do not get to order their parents about or set the house rules. But there are moments ...


Your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chocolate-Drizzled



I enjoy chocolate. So much so that I will go out of my way to get it. Some days I feel I simply must have it.

When I say I enjoy chocolate, I mean sweetened chocolate of course. Chocolate on it’s own tests terrible. Really terrible. I gave a taste of baker’s chocolate to the kids once during a unit study on chocolate. The looks on their faces were of sheer disgust. Can’t say I blame them.

One day recently I found that the only chocolate in the house was a tin of unsweetened cocoa powder. I really wanted some chocolate so it was time to get innovative. It actually took a few days to perfect this recipe but the result is quick, easy and very chocolatey.

Grease a loaf pan and fill with about 4 cups of flaky cereal, such as Special K. Cheerios might work, too.  Set aside.

Melt a stick of butter over low heat.
Stir in:

3        Tablespoons of granulated sugar
  Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

Cook for about one minute until ingredients are well blended. Pour mixture over cereal. Refrigerate for 30- 60 minutes.

Enjoy.


We found it delicious. Let me know how you like it.

What’s your favorite chocolate recipe?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Song for Sunday: For the Fruit of All Creation



We sang this song in church this morning and two parts grabbed my attention.

In our worldwide task of caring
for the hungry and despairing,
in the harvests we are sharing,
God's will is done.


and

For the wonders that astound us,
for the truths that still confound us,
most of all that love has found us,
thanks be to God.


The first, I suppose, is because of the spotlight those words shine on missions and justice ministry.  We are called to serve our neighbors, wherever they may be. 

 The second, because I have been reading An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'engle and that story emphasizes the mysterious nature of God. We really can't understand God fully. We must, for now, except some darkness in our comprehension of Him.

It is also a beautiful hymn, written in 1970 by Fred Pratt Green and using the tune of the Welsh folk song, 
Ar hyd y nos. I hope you enjoy "For the Fruit of All Creation."





Sunday, September 7, 2014

Song For Sunday: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

This Rolling Stones hit was mentioned in the sermon this morning and so found it's way here as today's "Song for Sunday."

The sermon was based on Psalm 131:


Psalm 131

A song of ascents. Of David.

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore.


It reminded us that God is our only source of true satisfaction. Mick Jagger's lyrics talk about the real and the phony, and make the right point, though without intentionally pointing us to the real God. Not getting satisfaction is a reality in this world. 


Oh, right and it's a fun song to listen, too. Here's a link to some facts about it. 

Here's the Rolling Stones, singing (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction


Saturday, August 23, 2014

“Not Rare Enough”


So I did the Ice Bucket Challenge. I dumped ice water over myself to raise awareness for ALS. The video is below, just to prove I did. Kinda silly, I suppose.

I could have just sent money to an ALS related charity or skipped the whole thing. It’s like being volunteered to make cookies for the bake sale. You didn’t say you would so you don’t have to.

But my sister, my son and I were nominated by my brother. I am doing the challenge. My sister donated and will give an additonal donation for each niece and nephew who participates. For us, it’s personal. 

My son never actually got to meet my dad, though they are much alike in looks and personality. My father had died four years before Jordan was born – died of ALS.

I remember that Dad’s doctor at Lahey Clinic in Burlington said that ALS was the diagnosis he most dreaded giving. There is no cure and no effective treatment for the disease, just a few ways to make patients more comfortable and perhaps add a few weeks to their life spans.

ALS is a degenerative motor neuron disease. My father had the “bulbar onset” meaning the first symptoms affected his speech and breathing. He died two years after diagnosis, in 1995. People with symptoms beginning in the arms or legs usually live a little longer. With ALS, muscles can not strengthen. The nerves connected to them stop working. People lose the ability to walk, eat, speak and breathe. The intellect remains intact.

My father was a generous, hard-working and helpful man who loved his family. He enjoyed making people laugh. His jokes were famous in our circle of friends.

Shortly after his diagnosis, a man at church asked what my father had. My father said that it was Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). “That’s rare isn’t it?” asked the man. “Not rare enough,” quipped my dad. And it still isn't. It won't be until no one gets it all. Nineteen years after my father’s death, ALS remains incurable and largely untreatable.

Humor remained a part of my father’s life to the end. When he could no longer speak, his favorite gesture – used even on his final night – was the thumbs up sign. It showed his good attitude and lack of fear. Later, a group of us would walk in the ALS walk, under the name “Team Thumbs Up.”
           

I still my miss dad and wish my son could have known him.

So that’s why I dumped water on my head. And here’s the video to prove it: 


(I did nominate three people, but you have to know me personally to find out who they are, for the sake of their privacy.)


Have you done the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?





Links:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nigerian Girls .. not to be forgotten.

It seems that the world has moved on from the story of the kidnapped and missing Nigerian Girls. There's been no news, really, apparently nothing new tor report.

But, those girls ... and it's not just them, actually, there are others living the same nightmare... are still out there, still afraid, very possibly abused in a 100 ways, possibly "married." They still need finding, they still need prayer.

So I had an idea... perhaps there are people who would wear a bracelet bearing a girl's name until that girl is safely returned to her home. The bracelet would remind you to pray and also create opportunities for you to remind others of the plight of the girls (and others).

I am thinking to keep it simple. Here's what to do.

Choose a name (I don't have a complete list, so sadly some girls are listed as "unnamed girl" with a number. Remember, God knows her name. Special blessings on those of you who take one of those 54 as it will be easier to assign the named people.) If you are already praying for a particular girl by name you may want to choose that one.

Let me know which name you choose and I will add your name here. Once all the names are taken, feel free to choose one again. The more people involved the better.

Make a bracelet the says "Pray for (girl's mame)"-- you can use a plastic bracelet and a sharpie, letter beads and twine, or whatever works. Feel free to make an anklet, necklace, etc instead of a bracelet.

Wear your bracelet all the time and pray for your girl, using any opportunity to explain what it is about.

That's it!

Here are the names.


1. Deborah ​
2. Awa ​
3. Hauwa ​
4. Asabe ​
5. Mwa ​
6. Patiant ​(Louise)
7. Saraya ​
8. Mary ​
9. Gloria ​
10. Hanatu ​
11. Gloria ​
12. Tabitha ​
13. Maifa ​
14. Ruth ​
15. Esther ​
16. Awa ​
17. Anthonia
18. Kume ​--( Melinda)
19. Aisha ​
20. Nguba ​
21. Kwanta ​
22. Kummai ​
23. Esther ​(Barbara)
24. Hana ​
25. Rifkatu ​
26 Rebecca ​
27. Blessing ​
28. Ladi ​
29. Tabitha ​
30 Ruth ​
31. Safiya ​
32. Na’omi ​
33. Solomi ​
34. Rhoda ​(Linda)
35. Rebecca ​
36. Christy ​
37. Rebecca ​
38. Laraba ​
39 Saratu ​
40. Mary ​
41 Debora ​
42. Naomi ​
43 Hanatu ​
44. Hauwa ​
45. Juliana ​(Rachel)
46. Suzana ​
47.Saraya ​
48. Jummai ​
49. Mary ​
50. Jummai ​
51. Yanke ​
52. Muli ​
53. Fatima ​
54. Eli ​
55.Saratu ​
56. Deborah
57. Rahila ​
58. Luggwa ​
59. Kauna ​
60. Lydia ​
61. Laraba ​
62. Hauwa ​
63. Confort ​
64. Hauwa ​
65. Hauwa ​
66. Yana ​
67. Laraba ​
68. Saraya ​
69. Glory ​
70. Na’omi ​
71. Godiya ​
72. Awa ​
73. Na’omi ​
74. Maryamu
75. Tabitha ​
76. Mary ​
77. Ladi ​
78. Rejoice ​
79. Luggwa ​
80. Comfort ​
81. Saraya ​
82. Sicker ​
83.Talata ​
84. Rejoice ​
85. Deborah ​
86. Salomi ​
87. Mary ​
88. Ruth ​
89. Esther ​
90. Esther ​
91. Maryamu
91. Zara ​
93. Maryamu
94. Lydia ​
95. Laraba ​
96. Na’omi ​
97. Rahila ​
98. Ruth ​
99. Ladi ​
100 Mary ​
101. Esther ​
102. Helen ​
103. Margret
104. Deborah
105. Filo ​
106. Febi ​
107. Ruth ​
108. Racheal
109. Rifkatu
110. Mairama
111. Saratu ​
112. Jinkai ​
113. Margret
114. Yana ​
115. Grace ​
116. Amina ​
117. Palmata
118. Awagana
119. Pindar ​
120. Yana ​
121. Saraya ​
122. Hauwa ​
123. Hauwa ​
125. Hauwa ​
126. Maryamu
127. Maimuna
128. Rebeca
129. Liyatu ​
130. Rifkatu
131. Naomi ​
132. Deborah
133. Ladi ​
134. Asabe ​
135. Maryamu
136. Ruth ​
137. Mary ​
138. Abigail
139. Deborah
140. Saraya ​
141. Kauna ​
142. Christiana
143. Yana ​
144. Hauwa ​
145. Hadiza ​
146. Lydia ​
147. Ruth ​
148. Mary ​
149. Lugwa ​
150. Muwa ​
151. Hanatu ​
152. Monica
153. Margret
154. Docas ​
155. Rhoda ​
156. Rifkatu
157. Saratu ​
158. Naomi ​
159. Hauwa ​
160. Rahap ​
162. Deborah
163. Hauwa ​
164. Hauwa ​
165. Serah ​
166. Aishatu
167. Aishatu
168. Hauwa ​
169. Hamsatu
170. Mairama
171. Hauwa ​
172. Ihyi ​
173. Hasana
174. Rakiya ​
175. Halima ​
176. Aisha ​
177. Kabu ​
178. Yayi ​
179. Falta ​
180. Kwadugu
181. Unnamed Girl 1
182. Unnamed Girl 2
183. Unnamed Girl 3
184. Unnamed Girl 4
185. Unnamed Girl 5
186. Unnamed Girl 6
187. Unnamed Girl 7
188. Unnamed Girl 8
189. Unnamed Girl 9
190. Unnamed Girl 10
181. Unnamed Girl 11
182. Unnamed Girl 12
183. Unnamed Girl 13
184. Unnamed Girl 14
185. Unnamed Girl 15
186. Unnamed Girl 16
187. Unnamed Girl 17
188. Unnamed Girl 18
189. Unnamed Girl 19
190. Unnamed Girl 20
191. Unnamed Girl 21
192. Unnamed Girl 22
193. Unnamed Girl 23
194. Unnamed Girl 24
195. Unnamed Girl 25
196. Unnamed Girl 26
197. Unnamed Girl 27
198. Unnamed Girl 28
199. Unnamed Girl 29
200. Unnamed Girl 30
211. Unnamed Girl 31
212. Unnamed Girl 32
213. Unnamed Girl 33
214. Unnamed Girl 34
215. Unnamed Girl 35
216. Unnamed Girl 36
217. Unnamed Girl 37
218. Unnamed Girl 38
219. Unnamed Girl 39
220. Unnamed Girl 40
221. Unnamed Girl 41
222. Unnamed Girl42
223. Unnamed Girl 43
224. Unnamed Girl 44
225. Unnamed Girl 45
226. Unnamed Girl 46
227. Unnamed Girl 47
228. Unnamed Girl 48
229. Unnamed Girl 49
230. Unnamed Girl 50
231. Unnamed Girl 51
232. Unnamed Girl 52
233. Unnamed Girl 53
234. Unnamed Girl 54
    *Pam is making a bracelet for all 54 unnamed girls. 

 Thoughts always welcome! God bless your efforts!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Yeah, that,

So I am in Ocean Park, ME. 'Cause it is beautiful and a bit of a change is nice.

CYC is going on now (which is why I am visiting now, really.)


Today I witnessed something I had to report to the men's camp director. I was in the soda fountain, getting a Raspberry Lime Rickey. As a stood in line, I became aware of a young man from the camp interacting with an elderly couple who were using mobility aids --the man a wheelchair, the woman a cane. The Judson man (that's what CYC calls it's male campers) stood in line for the couple, ordered their food and twice refused their offer to pay for his ice cream saying it wasn't necessary. He noticed the man was wearing a veteran's t-shirt and thanked him for his service.

I couldn't help but smile.

Then, I have been a believer in Christian camp for 30+ years.


I am not the only one convinced. Sometimes people join the community and just "click." That seems to have been the case with this year's chaplaincy duo. Never having been with us ever, they seemed to know what to expect and what was needed. The husband of the team even blogged about the experience. Check out what he had to say here.

See, it's not just me.

I also saw a  variety of posts on Commitment Night from people who couldn't attend but wished they could or shared other memories of their experiences. Not all entirely positive but everyone had some good memories. Not to mention some of the alumni who (like me) were present in person.. for the 35th, 40th or 48th time.

What's been your experience with summer camp?





Tuesday, August 12, 2014

(Belated) Song for Sunday: The Tears of a Clown

Robin Williams is dead and many people are shocked. They didn't know that the comedian battled depression. Many figured such an amazingly funny person must be happy.

Check your perceptions. Class clowns are often trying to divert attention for something -- an incompetence in some area, a learning disability, having missed something because of inattention....or depression.

Back in 1971, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles performed The Tears of a Clown. It's lyrics are an authentic expression of the experience of many. Of course, song lyrics can only go so far. The deep pain of so many defies true expression.


So in memory of not only Robin Williams, but all of the other class clowns and comedians who have died by their own hand and in hopes that this will help raise awareness and ease the struggle for others, The Tears of a Clown is today's Song for Sunday. 


 


God bless your journey.


 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Song for Sunday: Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day. The weather is nice -- sunny and cool. I got to worship, work with youth, celebrate a graduation with friends.

Today also would have been my Mom's 74th birthday. My friend Paul rode the PanMass challenge in memory of his wife but also my mother, in honor of his sister-in-law, but also my sister. We are grateful for him.

There is someplace I would rather be than here today, but that isn't what's happening.

So I try to enjoy today as it is... full of worship, work, celebration, memory, and longing. And it's a Beautiful Day, so the U2 song of that name became today's Song for Sunday.




What songs are you enjoying today?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What I'm Reading

Once in a while I post about what I am reading.

I have signed up for my library's adult summer reading program. I am supposed to read and review books, each of which will count towards our town's goal of reading 10,000 books. If we make it the School Superintendent and Town Administrator will jump in the local lake.

So.. I think I am supposed to read stuff from the adult section of the library. I have read the biblical book of James and I guess that counts.

For fiction, though, I was for some reason drawn to reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle. I was recalling the rune contained in it, went to look at it, and ended up reading the whole story. It's a good one, too. If you haven't read L'Engle's time quintet, I strongly recommend going for it.

That lead me to remember something from the story line of A Wind in the Door, the second book in the quintet. So I read through that, too. It's about stopping seeking our own pleasure and maturing. That is actually what lead me to read James, because that book focuses on maturing in faith and action.

So that's what I'm reading. Haven't decided if I'll review them for the adult program yet, and I need  a new book. Very open to suggestions.


So what have you been reading? 
Why were you drawn to that book?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Song for Sunday: Change My Heart Oh God

The youth I work with sang this last Sunday and it grabbed my attention. God has been working on changing my heart in a few ways, so this is a good song for me right now.

Plus, in exactly one week, CYC starts and their theme this year is "Clay in the Potter's Hand." (There is still room if you know a teen who would enjoy the program.)


So, all in all, this became today's "Song for Sunday." I hope it's a blessing to you.

Change My Heart Oh God
by Eddie Espinosa


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

He has a Job

My son has a job.


Oh, he's had little jobs before, like cutting a neighbor's bushes, but this is a bit bigger. Hours every week.


It's actually a volunteer job. It involves two things: helping a librarian plan and present a science program for elementary kids and developing activities on a gaming server for the same age group.


His work does involve showing up for planning sessions, preparation times, and lessons. It also involves a lot of self-directed hours. Almost all of the server work has been "on his own."


It's crazy to think he's old enough to have a job. I want him to still be little!! On the other hand, it's great to see him grow into these responsibilities. He's learning how to manage his time, handle anxiety and deal with slacking coworkers. It has been a fabulous experience for him.


Of course, it also means this is a different kind of summer for us. We have to plan our family time around his schedule. (My husband is a school teacher and so sets his own hours --and there are plenty of them-- in the summer. I am a stay at home Mom) But this change is just a harbinger of the greater changes to come as he moves toward adulthood. I guess small steps like this are good as they make big changes later less overwhelming.




Anyway, he has a job.


What changes are going on with your children and family?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Song for Sunday: Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

We sang this in church this morning and it struck a chord, especially the lines "The cup of water given for thee still holds the freshness of thy grace."  Not sure why this is grabbing my attention at this time. I wonder what it is I should be doing.

So here is today's Song for Sunday: "Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life"

Where cross the crowded ways of life,
where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife,
we hear thy voice, O Son of Man.

In haunts of wretchedness and need,
on shadowed thresholds dark with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed,
we catch the vision of thy tears.

The cup of water given for thee
still holds the freshness of thy grace;
yet long these multitudes to see
the sweet compassion of thy face.

O Master, from the mountain side,
make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
among these restless throngs abide,
O tread the city's streets again;

Till all the world shall learn thy love,
and follow where thy feet have trod;
till glorious from thy heaven above,
shall come the city of our God.



~Frank Mason North, 1903, Public Domain

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Celebrating a Life

Today's post has two purposes.

First, it is a restart of sorts. I haven't posted much recently and am now planning to get back to writing regularly. I hope to write three posts a week.

The second purpose is to remember a CYCer and speak out against drunk driving.

Tom was a fun-loving young man of faith whose life, along with that of his best friend, were cut short on July 17, 2010 by a drunk, drugged driver who was traveling in the wrong direction down the highway. She died, too. Tom left a young wife (he was only 24) and two young boys (ages three and one when he died). Tom is only one of far too many tragically taken this way.

You can read more about Tom here.


So I make my annual plea:


Don't drink and drive.

Take the keys.  

Appoint a designated driver.

Call a cab. 

We've all had enough heartache.

Also, Tom's family has started a foundation in his honor called the  The Thomas J. Serewicz Sr. Foundation For Kind & Responsible Living, Inc.

This coming Sunday in central Mass, they will hold a fundraiser and memorial picnic.

Here is their description of the event:

We hope you can join us for our old-fashioned picnic. Relax on your blanket in the sun, play backyard games with family and friends,: Frisbee, blowing bubbles, target games, get a team together for sack races, volleyball, badminton, etc. Or sit inside and just visit or play cards, etc. Grab some summer reading from our second hand book table, enjoy something to eat on us, and just get away from it all and enjoy. Bring your fishing gear if you have a license and want to fish (for a minimal donation). All the while helping a great cause. The day is filled with free fun, and the opportunity to give freely to our fundraising efforts. Bid on some nice things in our silent auction, including passes to Davis Farmland and Megamaze, a 30 minute massage, and some other gift items from our vendors. This year a portion of our proceeds will go to Teen Challenge program, assisting teens and others who are struggling to overcome addictions. Help us to bring something wonderful to the world in honor of Tommy's life and love. 


If you live near there, stop by and join the fun!


And remember, sober driving only.

 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Money Watch

It wasn't so long ago that there were certain things you could count on when shopping or eating out:


Buying a bigger bag or larger amount of something was cheaper than buying a smaller one.

Purchasing  a  combination deal -- say a sandwich, drink and chips -- was cheaper than buying the three items separately

Things like that.


Well, lately I have been noticing something:

I needed 24 oz of chocolate chips. It was $1 cheaper to buy two 12 oz packages than a 24 oz package.

I went to a coffee shop and discovered that it would be cheaper to buy my sandwich and tea separately than to purchase Combo #5, which included the same items.

At one gas station, instead of lining up the selection buttons from left to right in order of price, they put the button for the cheapest grade in the middle.

Today, I found toilet paper rolls 2 for $1. However, the packages of four were 2 for  $5 -- so eight  rolls for $5 instead of four. Packs of 12 were $7 and packs of 20 were $12, all for the same type of roll. I bought the individual ones, though some people might think the convenience of  the package worth the extra money. Which is fine if they know they are paying it.

Have some people been tricked? Is that the stores' intention?

I have no idea. I just thought I'd mention it so you could be on the lookout.

Anything similar in your area?


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Song for Sunday: The Blessing

I love babies. I mean really love them.

Today I get to watch one. So I am kinda keyed into them.

At church this morning, two beautiful girls visited from an Episcopal church and performed a sacred dance as part of our worship. In the Episcopal Church, they baptize infants and the dance was originally for a baptism. They song they used is called "The Blessing" and is sung by a parent to a child.

The song was written by Brendan Graham and David Downes and it is very beautiful. It is today's Song for Sunday.




What songs have touched your heart lately?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ongoing Prayers

There's nothing to report, I guess, so the Nigerian girls are largely fading out of the news.

The thing is, they are still out there, real girls, needing help.

I do not pretend to know what governments, NGOs and traditional hunters should do. Many people are pressuring the authorities to hurry up and find and rescue those girls. The authorities have reminded people that it will do no good to rescue them if the rescue ends in their deaths.


I do know that there are frightened girls, hurting families, uncertainty.

I also know that God is aware of all that and that He does know what is best.

So I keep praying for Kume. (See more here.) I pray for her protection, for her family and for her classmates. I pray for the authorities and, yes, even for the Boko Haram, that they may release the girls unharmed.

I hope I do not forget as the days drag on and there is little to report.

Please keep praying, too.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Song for Sunday: Father I Adore You

I learned this at camp years ago. Maybe we sang it in Sunday School, too. Often, we signed it as well. The repetition made it easy to learn the signs.

A simple song, for worship. A lovely round.

It was written in 1972 by Terrye Coelho Strom and has become a standard.

So here it is for Fathers' Day Song for Sunday.



This song is, of course, about my heavenly Father.  I would like to also say about my earthly father. He was a hard working man, a retail manager, who was always generous and very funny. He supported my childhood and young adult endeavors in dozens of ways. 

In 1995, my father died of Lou Gherig's Disease or ALS a horrible, progressive motorneuron disease. He maintained a postitive attitude and his sense of humor throughout the course of his illness and even on his deathbed. 

I will always remember him. 

Love you Dad.