Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rebuilding

I used Joy & Mike's bathroom as an object lesson in Bible class today.  Our study is on Sensible Strategies for Belonging.  Today's lesson was titled Regaining a Genuine Self.  Just to explain the progression of the discussion, the leading questions were:

1. Who in your life do you label mature and why? (Muffin- He acts like himself in the midst of difficulty, establishes an accurate community identity, enjoys each community member, parents and matures the community, and gives life to those without a family through spiritual adoption)

2. Why do people with underdeveloped "joy centers" appear to do just fine for the first 20 or 30 years of life then collapse?  They isolate to cope, so we don't see them fall apart until they are married and have children or go into the work force. 

3. Do you know any high functioning adults who are responsible in many areas of life but have difficulty maintaining successful and enduring relationships?   Do you know any "child adults" who only take care of themselves often at the expense of others?  
 
So this is where the bathroom analogy hit me.  Their bathroom looks good except for a crack in the floor, which we know is indicative of a much bigger problem.  When the experts told them what was needed they said to prepare with a trash truck that would hold two tons of materials, because they know how much needs to be removed before the renovation can begin.  Making a comeback to be a mature adult after 20 or more years of thinking like a child because of a broken life isn't easy, but it is a possibility if the right people are there with the trash truck doing the renovation and Jesus is involved. Several people sitting in our study are evidence to a "renovated life."  One was locked in a room for long periods of time for 11 years by a step father who didn't want to deal with her while her mother was on business trips.  Another reverted to her "child self" and tried to commit suicide six times before finding that Jesus was there for her even in her past.  God is good.  All the time. He never changes. That means that He is there now. He was there then. He will be there tomorrow.  I love Him!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A lovely President's Day God Moment

Last Thursday Nannie was in a car accident while I was teaching a group lesson, or precisely as I was arriving at the church to teach the group lesson. In my hands I had the NFMC bulletin of prescribed pieces along with notes for parents for the lesson.  In the car I had all my Baby Music supplies and instruments and violin in the trunk, as well as a pile of mail for some neighbors that was mistakenly delivered to my house.

Leaving the church in a great hurry, I was careful to pick up my violin, the NFMC bulletin and the extra parent notes.  I hadn't seen the bulletin and notes since then.  And I could not find them in the house or in the car.  I was feeling pretty crazy this afternoon after many minutes of looking for the book, needing the information it contains for registering my students for a festival.  I just finished saying, "Lord, I need that bulletin.  Please show me where it is."

The doorbell rang.  No one rings the doorbell on lesson days. Everyone just comes inside. There stands the neighbor whose mail I delivered to her late in the evening after Nannie was released from the ER and having x-rays.  She had my bulletin and extra notes in her hand along with yesterday's newspaper article.  She said, " I wondered if you needed this, then I read the article and realized that you really need it.  I also work with 4 and 5 year olds with disabilities at a rural school district and we use music as therapy all the time.  I'm so impressed with what you are doing." I had stacked their mail on top of the bulletin and notes and handed it all over to her without noticing the extra bulk.

Wow!  Thanks, Lord for the bulletin, for a new neighbor, and for the connection.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Back to Reality

So we had an awesome visit, and two very cramped flights, to see Joy and Mike.  When we visited the Capitol city in the past we would stay in hotels and sight-see during the day while our daughters worked and attended classes.  At night they would come see us at the hotel and eat carry out from their favorite restaurants with us.  Now that Joy and Mike own a house in a cozy neighborhood we don't get out too much, but that's really our fault.  It's just so comfortable at their house and there are meals to cook and laundry to wash, dry and fold.  In the past two weeks I have experienced a deep freezing cold spell that stopped our city and all activities, a brief thaw, followed by another day of ice and snow, followed by a six day trip.



Arriving in late afternoon to 80 degree weather was almost a shock.  I tried to focus on chores and organizing activities for the days ahead and that was fortunate and wise. Thursday morning I indulged in a pedicure and ran errands
then came home to finish laundry and change clothes for a Pilates training session.  I came home to plan a group lesson, viewing a video and taking notes, then transcribing them as a hand-out for parents.  Only seven students came to the lesson--some of them without parents.  Just as I arrived at the church to teach them, my phone showed a voice mail message from Nannie.  I quickly listened to is as I tuned some violins.  She had been hit by a driver who ran through a red light, downtown, at a busy intersection.


Clouds from above--in flight  I call this one an
angel wing. Below, pop corn and fleecy blanket. 


At that moment I had my violin and several others that were severely out of tune as a result of extreme weather changes, three students who were attending without parents and who had no rides, and no way to contact parents to come get their children.  Thank God for His goodness!  She was not seriously injured and Brother G was able to meet her there and stay with her until I could meet them at the doctor's office.  Then we went to the ER for x-rays and then back to her home.  She has a large bruise on her knee, and seat belt bruising, but no broken bones.  The final reports are not yet in. The other driver was cited for running the red light and for disobeying child restraint laws. She had a rent car from Enterprise. Neither Enterprise nor her personal insurance has contacted my Mom's agent.  The collision shop has not made a decision on whether or not the 10 year old Buick is totalled.  Mom's agent has adviser her to wait another week to ask for a rent car. Her insurance company may, or may not, pay for a rent car for "a few days", perhaps 2 or 3, or less.  In other words, no one is taking any responsibility.

Yesterday the advice was to wait, move slowly and see what the liable driver's insurance had to offer. Today the advice was to move quickly to find another car for Nannie. Nannie had a list of things she did NOT want--Asian made cars; cars with unusual colors like pink, yellow, green, or purple; cars with gear shift in the console column; cars with "too many new functions to learn"; SUV's; too many miles on them; anything that required payments.  What did she want?  " I don't know anything at all about cars.  I'm completely dependent on you and Muffin."

Muffin did the shopping. Found a car. It, of course, has gear shift in the console. He took her to see it and it seems to have passed the Nannie test for today.  Meanwhile I had a consultation for music with a bride and her mother, cleaned house, we purchased nail clippers for Scooter, 15 gallons of drinking water, fresh produce, and went out for dinner.  And all of that only took ten hours.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Awesome Story



This is Joy,
our Awesome Third Born Daughter.                     The Awesome House where she lives.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                  


                                                                    Awesome husband, Son-in-Law, Mike.





And these are the Awesome Flowers Mike bought for our Awesome Daughter, Joy.  Gerbera Daisies  


and Hydrangeas.

Here are the Awesomes, dressed for a ball. 

 We visited them last week end and for three additional days.  A life long friend of our Fourth Born Awesome Daughter (not pictured in this post), came to the Awesomes Home to visit.    She moved from Texas and works just a few blocks from the Awesome House and lives all alone until her dearly beloved husband of almost five years moves from Texas to live with her at the end of May. She is lonely.  We invited her to come over for homemade soup.  She can't tell us what she does at work or she will have to kill us, but we still love her and fed her soup.   Here she is sitting with Awesome Daughter of the Third Born Placement in the McFamily.

This is an embassy near the Awesome House. 

Another of the neighborhood embassies.

Yet another one.

Yep. Another embassy. 

 No.  This is the National Cathedral.  Just passing by it inspires me to take photos. 


The Awesomes have high pressure jobs. When they come home they like to cuddle in the basement and watch big screen TV.  This is Glee on the big screen. 

A gift from work one day. 

After work, she receives invitations to Awesome events. 

In Awesome places. Like the same bowling alley named for this man.

The Awesome couple lives about 150 yards from this Awesome Church--City Church DC.  It rocks!
video


After all that awesomeness, this is what I do at their house.
The END.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Emerging from The Big Quiet

 The temperature began to rise during the night of the fourth day of silence enforced by the storm.

 By morning the welcomed sunshine created shadows, but  even the low temperatures were no match for full sun on the pavement.  Let the thawing begin!

 At noon a river of snowmelt gushed in the streets and floated sheets of ice with it.  Driving was particularly hazardous in dodging the ice chunks.


 If you zoom in, you can see the pipe still contains a solid chunk of ice where water was flowing from the building at the motor bank.  This photo taken at about 3 pm. after several hours of temperature in the lower 30's.
 Some streets were cleared by front end loaders--all that is available in southern states.

 And some streets were only cleared by Mr. Sunshine and had to wait 2-3 days.
Likewise areas on the north sides or in deep shady areas.  Last night we had a light dusting of new snow. But temperatures are expected to rise to the 50's by tomorrow.  I totally understand why Minnesotans run and frolic like rabbits when the sun comes out and the snow melts in April or May.

Last week I could have done anything I wanted to during the four "snow days."  I had a good book and lots of music and plenty of practicing to do. Instead I chose to listen. I sat in stillness for many hours. I listened to sermons, music, teaching of various subjects, podcasts, and recorded scripture.  And I listened to the Holy Spirit.  I asked Him questions and tried to discern His answers.  I still have more questions, but here are some of those that were answered.

Q: Why are so many states experiencing this storm, the hardship, isolation, and severity of it all?
Q: What is the significance of the violence of the storm, the thunder, lightening, hail, sleet, snow, wind, and low temperatures? The length of duration?
Q: What is the significance of world events at this time? The violence in Cairo, Egypt and the demands that Mubarak leave office?
Q: What is my part in all of this, in the Big Picture and Scheme of Life?

A:  In learning to minister to individuals who have experienced trauma we learn that the two sides of the brain have been disconnected in their cooperation with each other. The side that experiences and the side that processes feelings no longer work together.  I began to see that as a huge problem for the USA as a whole:  Brain Trauma of a Nation with no cooperation between the two sides of the head.

Sometimes in ministry and prayer a loud sound will reset those two sides.  There is evidence of this, but I won't go into that in this post.  So, when praying for a person with deep trauma if they know a loud clap, or sharp sound is coming and that signifies the resetting of their brain, there is a great calm and peace that follows and progress in healing follows that.  It's as if the sharp sound stops the effect of the lasting trauma and a new direction begins.  For example when Jesus hung on the cross and spoke "Father into thy hands I commit my Spirit" what followed was darkness and a loud sound from heaven that split the veil of the temple in two parts from top to bottom, thus opening a way into the Holy of Holies that had never been there before!  And then three days of silence passed while Jesus was leading all captivity captive and setting them free to live eternally.  His blood was cleansing, freeing, giving access, resetting everything in the spiritual realm, enabling us to die to ourselves and allow Him to live through us, reclaiming all dominion and authority, healing all diseases, conquering our inner hurts and iniquities, will power, broken hearts, and releasing us from poverty into His riches!  Glory! ( I learned much of that in yesterday's sermon from our pastor. Thanks, David!)

So we had these great claps of thunder and lightening and lost power and traffic stopped for three days and violence poured forth in Egypt. All of that certainly got the attention of many who would have foraged on with business as usual.   I believe God "re-set the brains" of many of us to think as He thinks with a perspective of Love. To spend time with our families, or in silence or creativity or even on Facebook reconnecting with friends. At the end of three days the violence in Egypt turned peaceful and negotiations began.  The people are being heard.  The way of the Lord is being prepared in Egypt. And as for my part, well I blogged about it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day Three

I don't remember three snow days in one year for our school system, let alone three consecutive days.  One year we had freezing temperatures for eleven and a half days while there was ice on the ground, but not this much snow and ice at once. And most of the water mains broke, which was a terrible mess. Every intersection was covered in a fountain of ice from the breaks.  This is rather extraordinary, however, to have temperatures in the teens and below with ice and snow east, west, north, and south of us. All schools are closed. All government offices, churches, clinics, and many businesses. The Mall is open for a few hours today. Grocery stores are open for awhile.  Hospitals are open for sure!

So, what are we doing with all this time and isolation?  Facebook entries are WAY up.  My laundry is done. My bathrooms are clean. I can't find my newspapers so I'm reading online. I taught some violin lessons by Skype and some theory lessons by phone. The Suzuki Association has a Parents as Partners offering online through February 28th which my studio subscribed to, at least six of us did.  I've watched all of those and they are extremely helpful.  I watched the DVR'd  TV programs and I've listened to my favorite playlists several times.  I baked some biscotti--chocolate almond--and shortbread cookie dough is chilling in the fridge. Thankfully I'm low on eggs and butter or I would be baking too much!  I tried to build a fire in the fireplace, but the wood was too wet for the amount of kindling that I had.  Power companies have urged turning down thermostats to save energy and prevent further rolling blackouts (had one for three hours on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning).  That means we should all get off our sofas, chairs, and derrieres and do something to get warm.  My choice to warm my muscles is cleaning house or yoga poses.  I can turn up the music and listen while I do those.

Then I read a blog post by a young woman that really touched my heart. A couple of days later another young lady responded to it. They both battle lies--the kind of thoughts that batter you down and tell your self worth it is useless.  Those confessions dig up my feet and my hands and my guts and cause me to rise up in anger at the source of the lies. But the confessions also tell me that my dear friends are not equipped, which means that perhaps more of my friends, my daughters, and their friends are not equipped either.  Rise up, precious ladies!  Listen to your Bible recordings.  Play uplifting music all the time!  Read truth, not fiction or lies!  Build up your spirit!  A strong spirit is cultivated.  Feed it the milk of the Word--comfort food--Psalms are great.  Feed your spirit the meat of the Word--meat changes your body and builds it up--the gospels and Paul's letters are perfect.  Feed your spirit by praying--if you have received a prayer language this is perfect. If you haven't received, ask for it.  We are building ourselves up in our most holy faith!  When you pray, let Him warm your heart and protect it, guard it, with His truth.  And stay in fellowship with others who love Him--a triple braided cord is not easily broken!

I listened to four sermons yesterday on Snow Day Two.  I was reminded of some of the points in the paragraph above while listening.  Then I wrote the following response to the two blog posts I mentioned earlier.


Dearly Loved Women,
I try to read every one of your posts, because I know several of you well.  Allow me to comment, please.  
We are each His favorite child.  He is interested in You and everything that interests you.  Your dreams delight Him. Your thoughts concern Him.  Your every breath is part of Him, because He breathed into you and gave you Life.  Then He gave His only Son--think about it! His only child, the only One. The perfect One. The One who delighted Him the most of all!  He gave Him for us so that we might have ETERNAL LIFE with them (Father, Son & Holy Spirit).  He gave us life twice!  And keeps on giving.  He is so excited about you that He leaps and spins in the air and sings over you with shouts of joy!  Doesn't that resemble a sports event, or a reality TV show finale?  He loves you that much every minute--loves your mistakes as well as your accomplishments.  Which one of you doesn't delight in watching a child learn to crawl or pick up an object or say a first word.  Our efforts delight Him just as much as our finished works!  Oh How He loves you and Me!  Doesn't that just make you want to sing and dance and cry and laugh?  His love is unconditional and unchanging.  You cannot do anything at all to mess it up.  He always accepts your repentance and shows you His ways.  They are new every morning!  Great is His faithfulness!  I hope that each of you will delight in this truth and that the Truth will set you free of every lie, every time one comes up!  Just say to the lie, "My Father loves Me and that is the Truth!".  
Blessings to each of you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Waco missionaries restoring life in Uganda one brick at a time | Wacotrib.com

Once upon a time there were two school girls who played the violin at two different junior high schools. The director of the orchestra at one school invited one of the girls to rehearse with the other school's orchestra so the lone girl could practice with more orchestra students who were involved in All Region Orchestra. That was 1963. I was the lone girl from my school who was invited to share a music stand with Janice Moore (McCall), and we became friends instantly. Between our last year in junior high and our first year in high school, where we would see each other every day in orchestra for the following three years and double date twins one year, Janice and some other girls our age from First Baptist Church were in a car accident. Janice was thrown from the car and had a serious head injury. She was in a coma for many days. The Lord had a destiny for her life and much prayer was answered. I don't know much about those days of recovery except that as she healed she "did some goofy things" as the brain injury recovery was described. She didn't remember much of it anyway.
After graduating we saw each other briefly and infrequently, but our families paths crossed often. While Janice was in Baylor University and I was at Texas Tech we both met the loves of our lives and married. Our families continued to live in our home town and our grandmothers lived next door to one another in a nursing home before they both changed residencies to heaven. Janice's younger brother married someone who is a fellow member of a music club. I knew that Janice and husband left Nigeria due to violence there and returned to Waco to teach and be a family physician in a clinic. I hope you will take ten minutes to read this article about their lives in Uganda, where they moved a few years ago.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thunder/Rain/Hail/Lightening/Rain/Sleet/Snow


Yesterday, January 31, 2011, was a beautiful day.  Sunny, clear, about 71 degrees and not much wind.  The geese near the lake were out of water, soaking up the sunshine.  
Good idea.  About 4:00 pm a storm came in and we had thunder, rain, hail, lightening, more thunder, heavy rain, more hail, then it changed to sleet and snow.  Everything in town except the hospitals and a very few offices is closed. No county services open. No city services open. No schools open. No clinics open.  No day care open. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.  It is 16 degrees now at 5 pm.  We've had snow showers off and on today.  Scooter and I are inside wearing our winter gear.  So far I've taught violin lessons via Skype when the internet cooperates.  Three lessons were successful.  I did three others over the telephone and actually gave theory ear training sample tests by iphone.  Technology is wonderful!



Our backyard.

My very wise husband suggested that I clear the snow off the air conditioner before running it today. 
Wise guy.
Front yard.  Notice the drift near the mail box.  No sign of a sidewalk at all.

Scooter tracks.

Side of the yard through the window screen.  Wind chills are headed to minus 11 tonight.  

Sun peeked out a bit and made some shadows.

The treacherous curb where the ice pooled before the snow fell.  It is one big crunchy mess!

Footprint.  Never touched the sidewalk the snow is so deep.