Sunday, January 30, 2011

Two Super Great Peeps: Check.

The only topics left undocumented from last weekend concern my dearest Kathy and my darling Philip. So they get a combo post.

Philip sent me away. He took vacation days, fueled up my car and kissed me good bye. In my absence, he managed the household with great skill and his own personal touch. I had pre-cooked for the weekend, so he was free to tackle some major cleaning behind the stove....ugh, what a MAN:) Even when the baby "took ill", he still managed to oversee the basic housecleaning so that I wouldn't have to do it before the Mom's came to dinner Monday night.

The kids had a blast with dad in charge. Evidently, they played games, watched movies, and ate REALLY good food. With new found wisdom, Philip understood how challenging it would be for me to return from my solitude into a bustling home. He made every effort to minimize my culture shock. When I drove up Saturday night, the house was tidy, candles were lit, and the tv was off. (He will admit, the tv was warm, but off ---he saw my headlights turn into the drive:)

I missed my family while I was away, but not too much. Before the conference, I was able to spend some concentrated time on Thursday and Friday with my dear friend, Kathy. We shopped and ate and talked, and laughed and ate and shopped. We are simple folk indeed. I am always amused that our tastes - both literally for food, and figuratively for apparel, books, and accessories - are VERY similar. I'm never sure whether to be comforted by the existence of such a kindred spirit or just plain ol' freaked out.

Baby Kate accompanied us on most of our jaunts. I am so ABSOLUTELY grateful for that precious child. We begged God for years for that little angel and I was thrilled to be around her. She's a trooper too. In years to come, she'll fit in quite nicely with the stairstepped Johnson sisters when we Momma's want to get the girls together. Let's see...when Kate is 13, Liz will be 14, Mari 18, Ash 22 and Ardyn 24. Kath and I will be barely in our 50's and I just think that screams "CRUISE!"

Thank You, God, for loving me through Philip and through Kathy. They know me so well, and still want to love me more. Grace. Thank You for loving us well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Notes: More or Less

**This post will only interest those who enjoy children's worship. And even the great majority of them might succumb to sheer boredom by paragraph two. Go brew some coffee and read someone else's blog today:)

The second day of the Children's Worship Conference was just as useful as the first, even though I got a bit of a late start.

I found it very difficult to leave my 20 hour haven called Hampton Inn. The only people I really knew from the conference were running late as well, and so we "conferred" over a second cup of coffee in the Hampton lobby. They have been music ministers for many years and I enjoyed hearing their response to the previous days' offerings.

As I arrived on campus, my first session was "Moving Forward in Children's Choirs with Technology" presented by John Woods (Assoc Pastor music/Worship, Northside Baptist Church, Victoria, TX) & MJ Gallop (Minister of Music, Valley Mills Baptist Church, Waco, Texas). These guys are buddies and they seem to really know their stuff. I missed the first few bullets about planning and communicating with parents, but picked right up with rehearsal pointers.

Skype - have a message recorded from the composer of the music your working on.
- have an "expert" or just "someone else" send a message or comes better from "someone else"
- have a message from a missionary

Music Exploration - give each kid a card. Have them write a sentence of praise. Then have them select things like "fast, slow, loud, soft" for their song's style and then even choose instruments to be included. Brainstorm and come up with a melody for their lyrics and RECORD their creation.

Recording can also create a "performance atmosphere"...when the kids begin to lose interest, say, "Ok, give it your best...we're going to record this next song." This also gives them the opportunity to critique themselves and suggest improvements like "somebody carried that ssss way too long" or "we weren't together on that word". Ownership will solidify interest and excellence.

Games for Kids

for iphone/ipad
**Music Draw
**leaf trombone

web based

In a section called "Sharing" they mentioned the importance of promotion, feedback, recruitment, contributing, and building on past successes. There are some tools to utilize in order to work in these directions.

They suggested having parents sign a "Photo/Audio/Video/Travel" release form at the beginning of the season. This way you are free to post photos to facebook or make a promo/ performance video.

They said PICNIK was easy and free to upload photos.

For recording rehearsals, they mentioned
Mikey for iphone

all for $99...zoom H1 being their fave.

They also mentioned
GarageBand for mac
Audacity which is free

Flip Video ($129) for fast recording of rehearsals and the best quality for $$
JayCut is free editing
Animoto is free for a 30second can upload your own music and longer productions cost just a few dollars.
both post directly to YouTube hassle free.

They strongly encouraged building a facebook page for the choir....builds identity, common place for photos, videos, announcements, etc.

After the session, I was able to ask them what they would ask for if they could build a "dream rehearsal space". They listed...

magnetic white board with staff written on it.
projector for laptop (or flatscreen tv)
long VGA cable for connecting laptop for games, lyrics, skype etc.
Cubbies for each member (I'm not convinced about this one, but I guess it's wise)
an ipod center for early arrivers and for incentive...5+ ipod touches loaded with apps mentioned earlier.
keyboard with rhythm/ recording capabilities
sound system of course. (I think a remote control for cd would be fantastic...or I suppose I could have the cd's loaded on one of the ipod touches and just run it into system.)

Next was the KeyNote address by Dennis & Nan Allen.

They warned to "Be Careful"

Be Careful to not miss an opportunity.
...more examples of kids in their ministry who weren't "singers" but ended up being gifted worship leaders.
...used the story of Paul in NT. Stuck in prison...used the time to write letters and sing hymns. Made the most of his opportunities and God blessed many through his obedience.

Be Careful to not miss the message.
...Dec 17, 1903: Wright Bro get a plane off the ground for 12 seconds. They telegram home, "We have actually flown 120 feet. We'll be home for Christmas." The telegram operator read the message and exclaimed, "Great! The boys will be here soon." He totally missed the central message. They had flown!

...what is our message to the kids? performance is most important? costumes can be stressful? diction and melody are the most important thing?? NOPE. keep the message of Christ clear and centralized as the priority.

Be Careful to hear the Right Voice.
...familiar voice, trusted voice. John 10: good sheep hear, recognize, follow my voice.
...story of Tommy Dorsey...singer who tragically lost his wife and newborn baby. Went mute in his despair. months later, the first words he uttered were, "Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on through the night. I am weak, I am tired, I am worn...." He waited to hear the right voice and he found his own in the process.

Nan concluded by singing "When all is said and done". (She said she totally wished she had written this song and smiled.)

Before lunch, I attended "Training Drills" with Sandy Stephenson (Children's Minister, Double Oak Community Church, Birmingham, Alabama)
"Kids love to play games and do fun activities. Games increase participation and learning comprehension and retention. Use games to teach rhythm, melody, singing skills,and and following a musical score."

Fudge is a game where you stand in a row and pass down the action in a 4 beat round.

Hat Palmer's cd "Movin..." is Instrumental 4/4 that can be used with many activities.

Bean bag toss with large see-through chart for bingo.

Hokie Pokie with flash cards...."You put your forte in, you put your forte out..."

Google: Free powerpoint games for teachers for things like jeopardy. ($3-5) find the flea for quiz questions

Airhead rhythms
Blue/Raspberry/eighth-two sixteenths

McDonalds rhythms
happy face / "yum" / quarter
fries / "french fries" / eighths
burger / "hamburger" / eighth - 2 sixteenths
pie / "apple pie" / two sixteenths - eighth
nuggets / "chicken nuggets" / 4 sixteenths

Coke, pepsi, Dr Pepper, Mt Dew, Cup for quarter rest, etc

Sit in circle...each kid has flash card. "Call them" by clapping their rhythm.
They answer by clapping it back. a "missed call" means they turn their card over and the last one in it wins it.

Step bells are great to teach skip/step/same/jump + higher/lower/repeat

"One Two Three. Echo Me" book

I spy with the music

Windmill races for steady breath support (videos)

Create rhythm on board by having two kids toss a bean bag back and forth without dropping. Their number is how many notes they get to add to the string of notes on the board. After several have contributed, go back and add bar lines as a class.

The last session was my favorite. And I have NO notes. We began creating improvised original music from the moment we walked in.

The teacher's name was David Talaguit. He is from the Philippines and moved here when he was 16. He is a gifted music educator in the Mesquite ISD and he LOVES Jesus! His passion for the Lord and enthusiastic encouragement for people to MAKE music was simply inspiring.

After 50 minutes, we had learned a new scripture song, enhanced it with hand motions, put it to music with Orff instruments, written additional lyrics that we presented in ostinato with motions as small groups. THEN we added a 30 second story with drama that went along with it. We also improvised melodies to a two chord ostinato and I got to be a soloist:) So incredibly fun.

**I want instruments for MP3!!!! Someday:)

Then it was time for final doorprizes (of which I won none) and a hearty good bye.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interview with the Big Guy

cdj: How does it feel to be 15?

LP: I'm not feeling anything yet. I don't feel different.

cdj: What would you like to accomplish this year?

LP: Passing school. That's about it...and earning enough money for square toe boots...that's what I'm workin toward. Oh, and I'm gonna work out some more to, uh, get more muscle.

cdj: When you get your permit, where will you go first?

LP: Grocery store with you:)

cdj: What has God been teaching you lately?

LP: That God is not finished with me yet. He has a purpose for me and how my life is going right I'm just gonna wait and see what happens. I just need to do what's required of me right now: work, school, household things, putting my family first.

cdj: Who do you look up to?

LP: My parents and God most of all. JW - cause that dude has been through some times, but he's still goin. He's run into a lot of bumps in the road, but he's managed to go around them or through them.

cdj: What's your favorite thing to do?

LP: That is a question I cannot answer. There are no favorites, but I like baseball, hunting and fishing most.

cdj: Do you think you are like your dad?

LP: Uh, yeah. Leading people and doing what I think is right. I look like him a little. I'm gonna try to not let money burn a whole in my pocket...that's gonna be a tough one to change.

cdj: What characteristics did you get from me?

LP: Using what I do best and making good of it. Like your thing that you do best is playing the piano and music and leading people to worship. I use hunting to provide meat for our family. I use fishing as a quiet time. I use baseball to encourage younger kids.


Numbers 21:4-9

From Mount Hor [Moses and the Children of Israel] set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way.

And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food."

Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.

And the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us."

So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live."

So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live."
(emphasis - cdj)

They were impatient and rebellious.
They griped about there being no food, then contradicted their own complaints and confessed hatred for the food that was there.

God is not pleased.
He punishes them by sending snakes. Not just snakes to scare them. Snakes to bite them and cause them to die.

They repent. They cry for mercy.
God's solution: make a bronze snake. If anyone is bitten, he can look upon the image and be healed.

The pastor at Summit preached on this passage Sunday. I'm not sure he worded this next point exactly this way, but it's close:) Isn't this interesting...

of their punishment and pain
became the SOURCE
of their healing and hope.

I wonder if the same could be said about the cross.

As he continued his sermon, I began to think about the Israelites. God had rescued them from the wicked Pharaoh. But BEFORE he delivered them from the bad guys, He had delivered them from His own Holy wrath during the Passover and the plague of the firstborn.

The Bible says, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling".

This image of salvation is not so much a mass exodus of frightened refugees from Egypt as they flee and cry: "Oh, God...this is terrifying...fleeing from the evil one...I trust the Lord will make our path clear".

I believe it to be more like small, frightened families, trembling as they huddle together in their homes with fresh lamb's blood still dripping from the door and other surfaces, silently staring wide-eyed at each other as they wait and pray, "Oh, God...this is terrifying...facing the Holy One...I trust the Lord to stay clear."

Here is a passage from "Radical" by David Platt.

"Picture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. As he kneels before the Father, drops of sweat and blood fall together from his head. Why is he in such agony and pain? The answer is not because he is afraid of crucifixion. He is not trembling because of what the Roman soldiers are about to do to him. We can rest assured he was not a coward about to face [the bad guys]. Instead he was a Savior about to endure divine wrath.

The modern gospel says,

'God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Therefore, follow these steps and you can be saved.'

Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, 'You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.'

The former sells books and draws crowds.

The latter saves souls.

Which is more important?"

"It was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace my fears relieved."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mom's Night Out

Last night was my night to host a Mom's Night Out for Moms with Preschoolers. I am so grateful for two big dining tables. All eleven moms had a place to eat supper and visit without meeting needs or answering questions or cutting meat.

Dinner discussions touched on these points: infant growth percentages, raw milk, exercise, dads, chicken feet, homeschooling co-ops, 100th day celebrations at elementary school, gardening, over-protective parents, technology, communication, recipes, and shoes.

The group-effort menu included spicy chili topped with cheese, jalapenos, and sour cream; mushy rice(I'm a nerd), savory green bean casserole, thick, buttery cornbread, a yummy cheeseball with crackers, a brightly colored fruit salad, warm apple crisp, mini cookie dough bites, and the choice of water or sweet tea.

We welcomed 3 adorable nursing infants to the mix. Our strict policy allows for NON-verbal, nursing children only:) My own offspring were in violation due to a scheduling oversight by their parents. They did a great job remaining occupied and unseen while the ladies enjoyed adult conversation.

I am always tickled at how long women can chat. Moms were coming and going, but there was more than four solid hours of uninterrupted conversation filling our space. It was such a pleasure to experience the laughter and friendship permiating my home as these beautiful momw shared a night "out".

Thank You, God, for sister travelers. Thank You for the encouragement and understanding we can offer one another. You have blessed us beyond measure and we know that full well as we gather together in Your name.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is one of those nights when I need to blog so badly about so many things. But I am simply too tired. So in an effort to maintain my own accountability. I will sketch out the topics at the forefront of my mind and hopefully return later to flesh them out.

* the second half of my notes from the children's worship conference

* my fun spree with KF

* recap of Mom's Night Out this evening

* The story from Numbers where the Lord sent snakes

* birthday blog for Landen from yesterday

* the funny story about 3 chickens and a rabbit

* a brag session on Philip for all he accomplished in my absence this weekend

More later:)

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Notes

noun, verb
1. a meeting for consultation or discussion.
2. the act of conferring or consulting together; consultation, esp. on an important or serious matter.

I've been to marriage conferences, worship leader conferences, MOPS conferences, parenting conferences, writer's conferences, preschool education conferences, women's conferences. And now, I can add "children's worship conference" to the list of merriment.

I am a conference NERD. It's one of my favorite places to be. Vast amounts of information set to a schedule in climate controlled, neat & tidy rooms filled with polite, yet enthusiastic, like-minded people...wowwie wow wow.

Now I'm sitting in the hotel with a cup of decaf "fixin" to post a blog:)


(the following is a speedy version of my notes from today's sessions...please don't feel obligated to read any further...I just want to document it, and this is more fun than emailing myself:)

I attended "The Multi Grade Choir" presented by Angela Irby. She is the Music Associate at The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson. She coordinates choirs for over 150 kids. She had a great attitude and spirit for touching the lives of the next generation of worshippers.

She encouraged us to think "smarter" not "harder" work to grow...with an emphasis on worship. She showed a GO FISH video - that is a personal favorite in the Johnson living room; and suggested "Modern Kid's Worship" - the collection MP3 is working on for our Spring Concert. So...not a lot of help there, but major confirmation that I'm not completely off base.

She reminded us that
*Worship is a way for kids to pray.
**God commands all to praise and worship Him.
***Worship is a personal gift kids can give to God.
****Worship is a way to experience God.
*****Worship can touch the heart.

She told us to "keep it moving" when it came to the pace of rehearsals, and gave some practical ideas for using games and finding volunteers. She suggested using a punch card for incentives. The child gets his card punched for attendance, promptness, scripture memory, quiz questions, etc. They must get their card completely punched in order to attend the end of year party for free.

She also told us about something new she is trying this year: a broad emphasis on "worship arts" - learning the ART of worship. We are to consider tapping into the children's interests like photography, dance, set & prop design, drama, song writing, black light movement, and audio/visual media.

Next, I attended "Using Diverse Arts in Children's Ministry" with Nan & Dennis Allen. This friendly couple has co-created several children's musicals - one of which MP3 presented last month. It was a kick to be within a few feet of the folks who composed and arranged the music that's been in my heart and on my mind for months.

He began by explaining that music IS his life. He is the pianist/assoc music minister at his church. He composes/arranges/conducts for a living and for the love of it. Then he paused and said, "But I am NOT a singer." (long pause) He continued, "We need to get away from the notion that we are leading children's are touching the lives of future worship leaders and they may NOT be merely singers."

He supported his position by stating "the Bible says,the angels SAID 'Glory to God in the highest'--no where does it say they SANG!"

He listed & showed examples of...

hand bells
charcoal sketching
dowel rod choreography
black light movements
stomp rhythm/dance
boom whackers - **note to google that one:) possible areas of exploration and learning. He encouraged us to get to know our kids and customize our ministry to expose and enhance the gifts that God has already given think OUTSIDE the box in order to nurture a love for God and a natural enjoyment of worshipping Him.

Tonight, the children's choirs of the host church presented a premier of a musical entitled "That's So Daniel". I must say. They did a good job. From what I gather they had very few rehearsals, and with that in mind, I rate it "pretty good". I guess I just assumed that with a kajillion people in the congregation and 75 kids in the choir, it would be "amazing". Not so. I figured with 75 kids, the soloists would be fantastic. Nope. Just good.

Biggest disappointment was the sound. Some mics were not on. They fed back. Levels were up for the wrong soloist. I wouldn't have such high expectations, except that the director made an enormous deal about how tonight's performance was being recorded and would be put on the web for other churches to view as an example. I'm thinking they have seriously reconsidered that idea.

What was good about it? One song included a boys' rap choreography ensemble: VERY cool. The guy who played DANIEL was hilar! He is a natural, and absolutely kept the show going....due in part to the fact that his headset had no apparent malfunctions while EVERY other voice amplification device DID!

Ok, we're speaking blessings, here...the kids smiled and they seemed to enjoy the project. Stage was simple and great! I noticed that spot lights were an integral part of the staging since half the lines happened center stage in present day, while the other half are elevated stage right in Biblical era. The drama itself was very funny. The songs were good...what I could HEAR OF THEM. (I'll stop.)

Thank You, God, for bringing me here this weekend. Thank You for planting seeds of truth in my heart and sending wise and experienced friends to nurture and encourage my efforts. You are the ONE TRUE GOD and You ALONE deserve our praise. Help me bring along and disciple and serve and lead MANY young worshippers. Help me know them. Help me make each one feel KNOWN and encouraged and strengthened in the gifts You've given them. I love You!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Movie Night: Scene 2

Saturday, Philip and I went to see "The King's Speech".


What a wonderful film. Wonderful.

Philip thoroughly enjoys a movie based on a true story, so he was not frightened away by the lead actor from Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". Colin Firth is literally adorable in this film. Or perhaps, it is the stammering King George VI who is endearing and attractive. Either way, I was drawn in to the heart of the story and came away richer for it. Geoffrey Rush steadily moved up my list of favorite actors as each scene advanced.

This movie is filmed beautifully. Its slow pace and calm progression are artfully supported by careful symmetry and classic settings.

This is the story of two men who struggle with their place in the world. One enjoys true relationships, yet longs for fame. The other resents his inherited renown while living in the pain of not being truly known. One offers boldly authentic friendship. The other must face his fears to receive all that is being offered.

Philip and I typically refuse to see movies with an R rating. This show contained no violence and no sex. This rating was obviously given for language alone. (There are moments when the king's frustration escalates to such an extent that he loses his temper and he surprisingly seems to curse quite fluently, as opposed to his usual stuttered slur.) Without the context of rage or insult, the crude language serves as more of a comic relief than an offence.

Were it not for the expletives, I would encourage even my young children to watch this touching movie about rising to one's calling by way of courage, humility and the strength offered through relationships based on trust and honesty.

'The King's Speech' Trailer

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Movie Night: Scene One

Much to my husband's delight, this weekend I agreed to see not one, but TWO movies. In a THEATRE!! Stepping out, people!

The first was "True Grit". I've never seen the earlier version...Clint Eastwood? John Wayne? I get all those westerns mixed up. Anyhow. Never saw it.

While the Coen Brothers' remake had all the murders, revenges, horse chases, and hangings one would expect from any respectable representative of the western genre, there was more. The central character was a 14 year old, well-spoken & savvy young girl who sort of made it Anne of Green Gables meets Tombstone.

The cinematography was wonderful. The acting was excellent. The two main heroes bantered back and forth in an ironic blend of vain obstinance and comical leisure. I appreciated the visible filth of the characters. Oily hair, horrible teeth, same clothes as yesterday, etc. (Shows like Big Valley and Bonanza always bothered me because even as a child, I could not reconcile the actors pristine appearance with the absence of showers and toothpaste.)

Another detail I enjoyed was that the rough, seemingly uneducated characters never uttered the stereotypical drawl like "I ain't gonna letcha" and "You arta sit a spell and thank on that". To my delight, the stiff, formal feel of dialog without contractions made the interactions far more humorous. Imagine each of these lines delivered in chopped rhythm through rotting teeth and a cheek full of dripping tobacco... "I do not aim to let you go." "That plan did not pan out like I thought it would." "I do not regret killing that man."

The soundtrack was gorgeous. Several voicings and unexpected arrangements of a traditional hymn or two subtly lay beneath the adventure and suspense. Wonderful!

This movie is graphically violent with literal bloodshed. Despite the redeeming qualities of charming character development and humorous wit, the plot resolved with little redemption. Perhaps that was the point.

Finally, as the credits rolled, Philip and I lingered in our seats. We believe one mustn't leave until one has seen and heard all there is to see and hear. So we sat. That is when I discovered the funniest line in the movie--a movie set in the dead of winter-- a movie in which not one single actor wore fewer than 3 layers of clothing in any given scene. These words were buried in a list of grips and extras.

"Matt Damon's abs double: Buster Coen"

Very funny.

'True Grit' Trailer

**context clues reveal that it was indeed John Wayne...not Clint Eastwood. He won awards apparently. I'm a nerd.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Monday, January 17, 2011...

Outside my window...cold, damp, and dreary.

I am remembering...all the hours Philip and I were able to spend together over the last SEVERAL days --celebrating & dating.

I am thankful for...the toaster oven and coffee pot. Not sure my mornings would be as welcoming without them.

I am creating...a room swap on paper. Each girl wants a chance to sleep in her own room. We'll set the purple room up as a guest room, slash movie room, slash reading & writing & play room. The pink one will have 3 beds and all non-choking hazard toys. (Though Elizabeth will not be able to sleep alone, she will be able to play alone.) One princess at a time can enjoy the guest bed in solitude...not counting the ever-anticipated Friday Movie Night Partays!

I am DFW this weekend to hang out with my dearie, and attend a Children's Worship Conference. I am SO excited. (That was an understatement.)

I am reading...Made to Crave by Lysa T. and I just started the Jonah Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer.

I am hoping...we are able to find the last library book on our list to return tomorrow. Not sure where it could be. (The search was the catalyst for the room swap...somebody help me.)

On my much better my emotions are THIS January without a nursing infant. ReeeeCalibrated, people:)

From the learning rooms...Lessons have been postponed until evening. Philip will be working late and so we'll need something to keep us occupied.

Noticing toes are cold.

Pondering these words... "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come!"

From the kitchen...sad, unimaginative meals that indicate a strong need for a grocery run.

Around the house...Liz & Oscar-dog are napping in their respective nests while the other 5 monkeys are "looking for that library book".

One of my favorite how Elizabeth sings with me.

To participate or simply enjoy more day books, visit The Simple Woman.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Prayer for Children

I am sorting through one of my infamous piles. I found a laminated bookmark with these words in calligraphy - I bought it at a conference a few years ago. Thank You, God, for timely reminders.

Pray for your children...

...that they will know Christ early in life. (Psalm 63:1)

...that they will have a hatred for sin. (Psalm 97:10)

...that they will be caught when guilty. (Psalm 119:71)

...that they will be responsible. (Daniel 6:3)

...that they will respect their authorities. (Romans 13)

...that they will desire Godly friends. (Proverbs1:10-11)

...that they will be kept for the right spouse. (2 Corinthians 6:14)

...that they, as well as those they marry, will be kept pure until marriage. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

...that they will be single-hearted,willing to be sold out to Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:1-2)

...that they will learn to totally submit to God and resist Satan. (James 4:7)

...that they will be protected from The Evil One: spiritually, emotionally, physically. (John 17:15)

...that they will be hedged in so they cannot find their way to wrong people or places. (Hosea 2:6)

Thursday, January 06, 2011


It's late.
I should be in bed.
I'm waiting for a load of clothes...

All my darlings are sweetly slumbering. What a week this has been! It was only a week ago that my college buddy, John, went to be with Jesus. I've been hesitant to blog or facebook. I just needed to process quietly. (Yes, I CAN do that:)

Yesterday was Luke's 13th birthday. We had a wonderful day, but my heart was somewhat geared toward the memorial service and John's family. Conflicting emotions competed for my attention and seemed to weave a pattern of quiet confusion on the underside of the day's events. In the midst of mourning and celebrating and reminiscing and contemplating the frailty of life, I got a text from my closest childhood friend.

Rachel was facing a birth day of her own. Over the past 37 weeks, doctors have explained that prenatal sonograms indicated "severe neurological abnormalities and deformities". They prognosticated (is that a word? i hope so, because it was very fun to type:) They prognosticated slim chances for this baby making it to full term and fewer that he would thrive long outside the womb.

This was information almost too much to bear on a daily basis. So many "unknowns". But that child was known by His Heavenly Father...knitting him together and knowing his name.

As we returned home from church, we got another text, "Austin Chase is here! One hour and counting..."

Tonight - thirty hours later - both Rachel and Austin face continued physical challenges, but they are doing miraculously better than some had expected.

So we keep praying.

And hoping. Not in a specific outcome, but in the Character of God, who never changes and never sleeps and has the whole world in His hands...especially the tiny little babies.


I'm not a crisis girl. Or maybe I am. Much of the time, I tend to polarize my existential position between the extremes of blissful ignorance and freakish fear. Sort of like "I can't know that" vs. "the world's coming to an end". AND back and forth we swing.

But somewhere in the balance is where the most effective living happens. It's true: the world IS coming to an end...but maybe not before lunch already. And it is true that I can't know everything, but it wouldn't hurt to avail myself to unknown possibilities, even if they seem quite frightening.

This week, I have a renewed sense of urgency with which to live, but also a calm assurance that the compassionate Creator is alive and attentive to His perfect plan which is for our good and His glory. I have hope.

I will not live in fear that Philip will be taken. He may. I will not ignore the idea that our exchange of a kiss for a lunchbox tomorrow morning might be our last. But I will not fear it.

I will not be distracted by potential pitfalls and pain. I will not be deceived by the notion that I am guaranteed another day of happiness or health. I will not be devoted to the past nor the future. I will acknowledge eternity in my heart and set my mind on things above.

1 Peter 1:13-25
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


I always sign my messages, "Enjoy today!"

It is an honest hope and blessing for each person to discover some amount of God's joy in each day...regardless of circumstance.

One of my OBU friends was killed in a hunting accident Thursday. I remember John as a kind - and charmingly goofy- gentlemen who loved Jesus and loved life. I can picture his smile right now...even though it's been 20 years since I've seen it.

Philip was sitting with me when I read the news...tears just began to flow...I've been missing my dad for the last couple days...all my kids went hunting with their dad this morning...probably a lot of complicated emotions, but a deep sadness and sense of shock came over me. I know the Lord is not shocked, and I fully trust Him.

This morning as I sent a message to his wife, I locked up as I closed the note. "Enjoy today?" Really? How could she possibly?

Less than a week ago, she posted this on her blog. Our only hope for discovering joy is in the arms of a kind and compassionate God who has promised to withhold anything we cannot handle, and provide everything we need. Praise Him.

Thank You, God, for John Franklin and his undeniable friendship with You:)