Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring and Warfare

It was a dark and stormy night and that's not just a story line. Big storms with high winds and rain dumped water in the Rowdy Girls room when shingles came loose. CB walked into a puddle of water, thinking 'someone' dumped her pj's and princess panties during the night and didn't quite make it to the potty. Grandpa climbed into the attic and found the damages. Meanwhile Rowdys, CB and I dressed for winter, because the wind is howling and the temperatures are about 40 degrees lower than yesterday, which was beautiful and warm. Such is spring in Texas.

Now we are all watching Princess and the Frog on DVD. I love the music--New Orleans jazz, all original by Randy Newman. The story is classic good versus evil, and evil is portrayed very graphically through black magic and voodoo. It's easy to see that is a counterfeit to God's goodness with all the dark masks and skulls and crossbones and other symbols of death. The tricky part is the white magic/voodoo, which is the counterfeit Light. Just as in "real life" those choices present themselves to us. Usually not in the form of black/white magic or good/bad voodoo, but as more subtle temptations.

I love the lightning bugs in the movie, always there to show just enough light to choose the correct path. May God give us eyes to see and ears to hear so we always have His Way and His Voice guiding us. May His Word be a light to our feet and a lamp to our path. I thank Him that the weapons of our warfare are powerful to pull down strongholds and to war against an enemy that does not always show up in darkness, but masquerades in light. Most of all I love that the movie shows that Love is the power that overcomes. It is the power that raised Christ from the dead! And raised Ray the lightning bug from being squashed underfoot to his destiny as a light in the nighttime.

On this first day of Spring, when we begin to celebrate new life in nature, enjoy some Princess and the Frog and some of Jesus' power too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It Might as Well be Spring

Tis the season when in Texas trees bloom gloriously, mindless and heedless of high winds (gusts to 40 mph three days this week), possible freezing temperatures overnight, or hail with thunderstorms. Yesterday it was sunny and 72. Today it rained a little as a thunderstorm skirted the town, and tonight we have a fire in the fireplace.

Our days are longer. In fact we have daylight past 6:30 PM. DST begins Sunday morning so all of that changes in a couple of days. In less than 15 hours the school districts and universities in town will close the doors for a week of Spring Break. Well deserved by students and teachers, administrators and staff!

My teaching break began yesterday evening. Today I cleaned the floor and bathrooms, did some laundry, scheduled my studio recital, worked out at the gym for almost 2 hours, prepared greeting cards for family and friends, located an industrial sized hole punch at an office supply, organized some files, mailed all the cards, answered lots of email, repaired some clothing articles, and listened to several podcasts and playlists. Cause I'm on Sprang Brake!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Organ Recital

Some events, moments, or seconds in life are so extraordinary that one wonders if one really experienced it. Or was it a dream? An invention of the mind? Wishful thinking? I once saw a completely vivid double rainbow while in an isolated area of Colorado. It was so brilliant that a camera could not capture the color, the stillness, the vibration of two, side by side rainbows over Great Sand Dunes National Monument. It is captured in my mind as a gift from God, that I was in that place at that time in that circumstance with eyes to see.

Two years ago we were driving down a rutted mudcaked road in the Ozarks, trying to find blueberries when we saw a brilliant blue bird flying right in front of our car, as if he were leading us into the field. Once again, a camera would not capture that experience, but it is etched in my memory.

Last week I received an email from a musician friend about an upcoming organ recital at First Baptist Church on Friday, March 5. The Nichols-Simpson Organ was installed there just two years ago and many fine and well trained organists from our area and from far away have performed on it. I had the extraordinary experience of getting to tour the organ right after it was built. Harmony Club had a meeting at the church, and the late Dr. John Campbell played on the organ and then led us up the narrow flights of stairs, through the extremely narrow passage ways behind the great pipes to view the crawl spaces and see the tiny pipes. It was like peering into God's closet! I felt as though I were invading a sacred place where music is formed in the depths of the earth--like a place where babies are made before they are conceived or something absolutely secretive and awesome is revealed to only a select few people.

Muffin and I went to the recital last night to hear Nathan Laube, twenty-one year old organist extraordinaire. It was an experience that rocked my world! I feel like slapping myself to see if I'm still here after hearing that performance on that organ. He played Die Fledermaus. I have played that many times in an orchestra. All the parts were there. All the voices of all the instruments were there. Every nuance of every phrase was in the performance. He played Bach. I thought I would weep. I closed my eyes and just drifted up to the throne of God and worshipped as he played on and on and the Holy Spirit and I climbed into waterfalls of sound and facets of light and ribbons of color. I thought I couldn't stand any more.

Then Nathan played Jongen, Mozart, and Durufle. The sonata ended with a toccata that was perfection. After many ovations Nathan honored us, and the memory of Dr. John Campbell who died exactly one year ago, with an exquisite Andante by Widor that was so sweet it did make me weep. At the intermission of the recital I saw one of the organists who teaches at a local university and asked her how this music was even possible. Was I really hearing something so extraordinary? Was he actually playing as flawlessly and musically and expressively as I thought he was? Was it actually possible to have memorized over two hours of music so complicated and intricate and have just given us that gift? Her response is that she thought Nathan might have four brains. The technical skills combined with the memory and musicality of such a monumental work left me stunned. Almost no one spoke or moved for several seconds at the end of the final performance. Thank you Nathan Laube for your gift of music. Thank you God, for your gift of Nathan Laube.

Scale of 1 to 10

I haven't posted for awhile. I have no particular reasons or excuses. Each week is the same in many ways. Mondays include Reunion Group. Tuesday mornings I'm part of a Sozo team in ministry to an individual who has a great ministry, yet needs to be free of many generational bondages. Wednesday morning is Bible study, a.k.a. Sozo ministry training. And Monday-Wednesday are full of students as well. Evenings I go to the health club for Body Flow. Thursdays vary with communications, meetings, and errands.

So the variations in schedule are in the Lord's time, place, and people. For example the ministry day two weeks ago was "unscheduled" by six inches of snow. Three weeks ago it was two hours of intense ministry with three of us praying and following the Holy Spirit. This week two of us met for just an hour and great freedom resulted. When a student is sick or needs to miss for another reason I can spend a few minutes praying or practicing or sorting out music. This week in a break I sat quietly and soaked in the Lord's presence while listening to quiet instrumental music. He showed me some beliefs I had that were simply ingrained in wrong ideas about myself and had been there since I was a child.

We all have those beliefs. For example:
How many sides on a Stop sign?
What color is a Stop sign?
How many sides on a Yield sign?
What color is a Yield sign?

Most of your answers are 8, red, 3--for the first three questions. If you were born before 1988 your answer for question four may have been "yellow". However, Yield signs were changed in the 1990's to red and white. Really! Our perceptions and our thinking are skewed by our circumstances too often. God is better than we think He is, so....
we need to change the way we think!

On a scale of 1-10 I may not be accomplishing on a level of 9-10 every week as far as my schedule appears. But my perceptions are changing and my expectations of daily life are changing as well.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Make Me Smile Monday

The Rowdy Girls, in their greenness and orangeness.

The Cheese Siblings, in her curliness and his charm.

And a music "story" emailed from a dear friend.

The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play. "Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."

During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof

Repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."

At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star Spangled Banner." And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!