24 June 2012

We'll Miss This

The lake.  The dunes.  The friends. 
When I think of the friends we'll miss, I get tears in my eyes.
And it seems like only yesterday that we arrived, knowing no one.
(Or maybe like five.)
Like yesterday, but really like ten years ago, we know the friends that well.
When it has actually been just shy of two.

21 June 2012

When I see these flowers up agains a white wall, I think, How beautifl.  How striking.  How lovely to have a tiny, tall flower garden.

But I've read recently how much Adam and Eve grieved to see the first leaf die on this earth, and marvel how much we've become accustomed to this leaf-death.  I look at the flowers again, and see the brown this time.  Not just the green, the red, the vibrant black centers. 

I see the fallen red, the red on the ground.  The dead red. 
The dead red that should have been living.

And I think of living green.  Fields of it. 
In heaven, where even the plucked flowers will never fade.  I long to be there.

I've been reading a lot these last few weeks about being ready for heaven, ready to enjoy that living green that far exceeds any spring green we've witnessed on our waxing-old earth.  About learning here to speak Canaan's languae.  I've read how out of place the Christian is in this world, how nobly peculiar we each will be as we follow our Jesus, taking up our crosses.

Isn't any sacrifice worth heaven?  Isn't it always worth dwelling, for example, on the true, the noble, the right, the pure...?  Isn't it worth seeming a little strange to our friends sometimes, strange because we are so ardently seeking our God that we stand out, even dangerously so?

Daniel thought it was worth everything.  His very life.  If he hadn't, he would not have, as a prisoner of the conquering king, requested a different diet from the rest.  He wouldn't have prayed three times every day in front of an open window, knowing full well it was against the law to do so.

And lately, we've been singing--memorizing--songs about heaven.  Songs about how life on this earth is exile from home, but Jesus is coming soon.  And the songs go through my mind all day, and bring my heart more in tune with the longing for home.  The real home.

20 June 2012

The New Best Hot Weather Idea

We've been trying to save money on air conditioning, but let's just say studying when it's hot is, well, hard.  So we've made a wading pool.  It's also known as a bathtub.  We just fill the tub ankle-deep with cold water, set a folded up towel outside to step on when we're leaving the wading pool, and that's it.  We've been amazed at how long the water stays cool (or at least feels cool to our feet), and it will get us through another hot one today.

19 June 2012

Fruit Stacks

There's a meal we like to call haystacks.  Chips or rice or both, followed by beans, lettuce, olives, onions, tomatoes, avocados, maybe a salsa (or if you're strange, ketchup) on top.  At least, that's the order I put it in.  Others do it differently.  Like the rice below the chips?  Totally wierd.

Somewhere along the line, I thought it would be yummy to do something similar with fruits, and that's what we're having for supper.  As I type.

Recently, I learned to make my own Graham crackers.  But this week, the last week before comps, I'm not up to much baking.  Besides, it's like 93 outside and I'm not in the mood to heat up the house.

So we've layered the store-bought Graham crackers, some soy yogurt, strawberries, mangos, frozen blueberries, dried cranberries, and coconut.  But it's good with any kind of fruit. 

Do you have any fast (like twenty minutes or less), cool, hot weather recipes that get you through the summer?  I'd love to hear about them!

18 June 2012

Sometimes We Get Caught By Storms

 Sometimes, we go to the beach, coming away and resting a while with fellow laborers--just to enjoy the sun and water and sand for a few Sabbath hours.  We don't think of studies, or exams, except to say what a blessing it is that God set aside a day for us to get away from them.  Even though we're all getting our master's degrees because we want to.  We like to study.  We like to learn.  We like to breathe the fresh air, too.

Sometimes, when we're at the beach, we see a storm coming.  We move quickly, and then even more quickly, because that lightning for sure must have been right off shore.  The boats are getting away, and we're trying to get away, too.  That happens in life, too, right?  We see the danger a little later than would have been best, and we scurry and huff and puff and do the very best we can, only to learn we are out of shape.  Dreadfully out of shape.  Maybe it was all that enjoyment of studies.

So sometimes we just don't run quite fast enough, and our only hope is in Jesus.  The wind is whipping the trees so much that we don't dare linger under them, and the lightning is coming fast enough that we don't dare stand in the open.  The rain comes down so hard that we're drenched to the bone in less than a minute flat, and we can only be grateful it's a warm rain.  Especially when we take a wrong turn in the frenzy of the moment, not seeing clearly because of that warm rain and not taking enough time to think because of the danger at our very right hand.

 We keep walking and walking and curving around the wrong way, just sure that around the next corner another path leading back the right way will show up.  But it doesn't, exactly, for quite a while, and then we decide to take the well-traveled path once and the less traveled path once--any path makes all the difference, really.  One says we've been curving around to the left too much.  Another says you can see the edge of a slope over there, and we really ought to find the bottom.  Surely the parking lot was on that side of the hill.

Before long, we just might see a power line, which means there must be a road.  Sure enough, and the road is like a sauna, with the rain on its over-heated surface.  We come to the stop sign.  144th?  Well, we remember the park and its parking lot being on 138th.  We're a bit far out of the way, wouldn't you say?  We'll ask directions at a house--one we can see from the road.  Yes, that will be safer.  Counsel is great, but don't put yourself in overmuch danger when you're seeking it.

They must be nice here.  They're growing flowers.

Sure enough, the woman of the house offers to show us the trail.  In the rain.  She walks with us a short space, but then stops in her tracks.  "Wouldn't it be better if I drove you?"  Well, now that you mention it, that would be nice.  Because sometimes we can't weather a storm on our own.  And sometimes there's nothing to rescue but God Himself, the God who has power over the storm.  And sometimes He does it through someone who doesn't mind her car seats getting wet while she drives the extra six miles or so.  And sometimes He does it both ways.

11 June 2012

Parenting, Napoleon, Beethoven, and Exams

I'm studying for comprehensive exams (comps)--Beethoven, his third symphony, and also therefore Napoleon.  So my ears perked up a bit when we read about Napoleon for worship last night.  Worship?! you say.  Yes, at worship.  He just happened to be mentioned on the right day, I guess.  I think you'll see why.

"The character of Napoleon Bonaparte was greatly influenced by his training in childhood.  Unwise instructors inspired him with a love for conquest, forming mimic armies and placing him at their head as commander.  Here was laid the foundation for his career of strife and bloodshed.  Had the same care and effort been directed to making him a good man, imbuing his young heart with the spirit of the Gospel, how widely different might have been his history."
Signs of the Times, October 11, 1910.

And how widely different might have been the history of Europe itself.

07 June 2012

We're Sorry Your Arm is Broken

In honor of someone we love who recently broke her arm,
I thought I would share the sympathy I received when I broke my arm. 
The first time, anyway.  I was six. 
This is one of my treasured childhood possessions.
{Click a picture to see a larger image.}

 My brother's class at school took it upon themselves to make me a book,
from whence these photos come.  I smile to myself, picturing the adults these children have become, and their innocent and heartfelt expressions of sympathy.

 If I had found it, I would also have included a photo of myself, triumphant with my very hard and brilliantly pink cast.  Or the numerous stickers from the doctor that filled my little sticker book.
"This is a chocolate chip cookie," he declairs, as if certain I will not otherwise know.  Next page over, they have me dreaming of ice cream.
In actuality, what I most desired {and delightedly received} was cinnamon toast.
But the blueberry pie in the hospital wasn't bad either.

{Sorry for the duplicate.  I'm having no success deleting one.}

 In these cases, the picture must be worth a thousand--
or at least the few they would have written--words.

And finally the teacher, who like my grandmother, wrote with pictures.  Which I loved, and still love.

03 June 2012

When You're a Choir Family, Christmas Starts Now

When you sing in choir, or play in band, Christmas comes in October.
When you're a choir director, Christmas comes in June. 
Or maybe July.  Or at the latest, August.  You've got to order.

So when you're not only a choir director but also a composer, and you're on summer break, or at least sort of on summer break, you clip videos and recordings and post them for the first time on youtube.  You reply to a question on choralnet, and hope they like your piece enough to buy it.  For all 100 choir members. 
Even 20 choir members would be exciting. 

{All self published, at this moment in time, like quite a few
composers do to get started these days.} 

Isn't it exciting?  I'm so proud of my husband for his talent and the way he uses it all for God's glory.  And I really like his music--fun, challenging, Biblical, beautiful. 
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

02 June 2012

Your Value

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? 
and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
Fear ye not, therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows.  {or baby robins}
Matthew 10:29-31

01 June 2012

I meant to write something profound.  I meant to tap into the vast stores of blog posts I've been wanting to share with you even while I've lacked the time.  But I'm sleepy.  So I'll just wish you a happy, resting Sabbath, bright with all the joy-flowers of the soul, the ones that bloom under the Son of Righteousness.