Monday, March 31, 2008

YES!!! 12:50 this afternoon, while I was still unshowered and in my running clothes, slaving away at Spring Cleaning....I received a strange telephone call.

What?! Are you kidding me? Would I like to go to the Cardinal's home opener...seriously?!!! Well.....YEAH! I mean...I have a couple of logistical problems to solve, but....YEAH!

PROBLEM #1: Game starts in 2 hours....gates open in 15 minutes.... traditional Opening Day Ceremonies begin in 1 1/2 hours....can't miss Opening Day ceremonies - that's the point afterall....clydesdales, mustang convertibles, Lou Brock, Red Schoendist, Stan-the-Man, Ozzie, team introductions....O-K, we'll meet at the stadium at 2:00....PROBLEM SOLVED!

PROBLEM #2: Riesa is at school and it doesn't get out until and arrange to pick her up in 15 minutes and bring her home...let her watch a movie until the boys get home...PROBLEM SOLVED!

PROBLEM #3: The boys need a ride home at 3:20....that's easy Dan and ask for a ride....oh! how will they get in the locked house?....hide key in secret school and leave message for Grant....ride with Mr. Hayes, key hidden under rock, we're at game, take care of Riesa....PROBLEM SOLVED!

PROBLEM #4: Steve is still at work and needs to come home and get ready to and tell him we need to leave the house in 30 minutes....ask him to leave NOW, please....PROBLEM SOLVED!

PROBLEM #5: No dinner for Riesa and boys....can't order pizza when we're not leftovers in fridge....a-ha!....we have canned soup and we have cheerios....PROBLEM SOLVED!

PROBLEM #6: I am unshowered....aaahhhh!....make 9 phone calls....take worlds-fastest shower ever....change Cardinals jerseys 3 times....ready....PROBLEM SOLVED!

PROBLEM #7: Long-time dear friend and Cardinal pal calls to invite me to watch the game with her this afternoon....we'll order Duffy's pizza....oh, dear....should I tell her I'm going?....and that it was her brother who invited us?....Yikes!....I'm in trouble....O-K, I can do back and leave cowardly message admitting that I can't accept her invitation....tell her why....PROBLEM SOLVED?....or just begun?

PROBLEM #8: Traffic is majorly backed up at 7th avenue....can't get to stadium....all lots are full....we'll never get inside for the clydesdales and the convertibles....Noooooooo!!!!....hop out of car leaving husband to find parking....sprint few blocks to "Eat Rite" to hook up with our hosts who hold the all-important tickets....power-walk to stadium....push politely through crowds to gate....politely grab magnet....find seats....ALL PROBLEMS SOLVED!

Ahhhhh....Opening Day in STL....there's nothing quite like it.

Yeah, O-K, so we got rained out after the 3rd inning, but Skip Shumaker's picture-perfect play in left field made it all worthwhile. I'd take that over a Pujols' homerun any day - oh, yeah, we got one of those too, just for good measure.

Oh, and my predictions for Opening Day Lineup were pretty darn close. And definitely closer than those other guys who cared enough to float their lineups! Thanks for makin' me look good, boys! :-)

My lineup is in blue...Tony's in red.

Schumaker - LF Schumaker - LF

Ludwick - RF Ludwick - RF

Pujols - 1B Pujols - 1B

Ankiel - CF Glaus - 3B

Glaus - 3B Ankiel - CF

Molina - C Molina - C

Miles - 2B Izturis - SS

Izturis - SS Wainwright - RHP

Thompson - RHP Miles - 2B

It's Opening Day in STL!!

Rain, Rain go away!

If you need something more, go visit one of my favorite STL sports columnists/radio dudes for his latest on the Redbirds: Bernie Miklasz

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Resurrection Hymn

A few years ago, Pastor Meyers introduced us to this hymn which celebrates the final bodily resurrection of the saints. It portrays the truly Christian view that death, while not overwhelmingly fearful for the believer, is not a state to which we look forward with anticipation. Our hope lies, not in "dying and going to heaven", as I believed most of my life, but in the resurrection when these very bodies we now inhabit will be raised up and glorified for service in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

Since, of course, our resurrection is inextricably linked to Christ's, this is one of my favorite Easter hymns! If you go to Cyber Hymnal you can hear the tune; though the sound is a trifle mechanical and the meter a tad slow for a hymn of celebration, you can at least discern the melody!

Jesus Christ, my sure Defense
And my Savior, ever liveth;
Knowing this, my confidence
Rests upon the hope it giveth
Though the night of death be fraught
Still with many an anxious thought.

Jesus, my Redeemer, lives;

I, too, unto life shall waken.

Endless joy my Savior gives;

Shall my courage, then, be shaken?
Shall I fear, or could the Head
Rise and leave His members dead?

Nay, too closely I am bound

Unto Him by hope forever;

Faith’s strong hand the Rock hath found,
Grasped it, and will leave it never;
Even death now cannot part
From its Lord the trusting heart.

I am flesh and must return

Unto dust, whence I am taken;
But by faith I now discern
That from death I shall awaken
With my Savior to abide
In His glory, at His side.

Glorified, I shall anew

With this flesh then be enshrouded;
In this body I shall view
God, my Lord, with eyes unclouded;
In this flesh I then shall see
Jesus Christ eternally.

Then these eyes my Lord shall know,

My Redeemer and my Brother;
In His love my soul shall glow—
I myself, and not another!
Then the weakness I feel here
Shall forever disappear.

They who sorrow here and moan

There in gladness shall be reigning;
Earthly here the seed is sown,
There immortal life attaining,
Here our sinful bodies die,
Glorified to dwell on high.

Then take comfort and rejoice,

For His members Christ will cherish.
Fear not, they will hear His voice;
Dying, they shall never perish;
For the very grave is stirred
When the trumpet’s blast is heard.

Laugh to scorn the gloomy grave

And at death no longer tremble;
He, the Lord, who came to save
Will at last His own assemble.
They will go their Lord to meet,
Treading death beneath their feet.

Oh, then draw away your hearts

Now from pleasures base and hollow.
There to share what He imparts,
Here His footsteps ye must follow.
Fix your hearts beyond the skies,
Whither ye yourselves would rise.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Life For Yours

Pastor Joshua Anderson, while teaching a Sunday school class on marriage this past summer, referenced and recommended a little book by Thomas Howard which I finally found time to read on Spring Break.

In Hallowed Be This House, Mr. Howard illustrates the way in which the Christian principles of sacrificial living are lived out in the home. Room by room, he forces us to step back, pay attention to what happens in that room, then recognize that these ordinary, daily activities - even when engaged in out a sense of duty, even when they appear endlessly dull, and even when we fail to recognize them as such - are services rendered to one another which embody the Gospel. My life is laid down in exchange for your life in these ordinary routines...I die that you might live.

The 128 wisdom-packed pages defy summarizing and must simply be read in their entirety by anyone who desires to find joy in the monotony of daily life at home. Here is one excerpt to whet your appetite:

Not, of course, that everyone goes skipping and whistling about his tasks. The father is not obliged to caper along behind his plow, any more than the mother is called upon to be singing canticles of bliss over the suds all day long. The hour after hour, year after year routine is no doubt unexciting; and more often than not, this "love" of duty takes the form of of simply doing it because it is the next thing...Nobody supposes for a moment that it is all ecstatic. Learning to love is like learning anything else: a great deal of it is a matter of fumbling through the steps until they become automatic and habitual. The saints would tell us that their freedom and joy stand at the far end of long years of getting into habits of Charity. It is not all ecstatic. The household duties of love are very much like our human existence itself: glorious and sparkling when you think of the big things - Creation and Resurrection and the Vision of God; but handed to us from hour to hour, year to year, in muted, plain forms.

Which is the whole point about kitchens, and about households, and about families, and about ordinariness itself. The splendid mysteries are there, acknowledged and celebrated in common-place routines...through which we may glimpse huge vistas of joy. The man following the plow along thousands of miles...or sitting in endless committee meetings, or the woman cooking ten thousand meals and washing a hundred thousand dishes, and both of them doing it, really, for the sake of the other and for their children - are these not cases in point of the vast thing that Charity is about; namely, exchanged life? My Life For Yours? And do Christians not believe that, fully revealed, this Charity will turn out to be ecstatic, hilarious, and splendid beyond all imagining? Otherwise, what is all the imagery of heaven about? It is either a lot of whistling in the dark, an opiate concocted by the worst sort of wizard to keep us meekly at our plows and our stoves, (as Marx and the lib people will have it), or it is True.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


WHY isn't this guy screaming?

WHY do people continue to participate in this event year after year?

WHY did my brother feel compelled to send me this photo?

WHY did I feel similarly compelled to share it with you?


Hey, at least it's not baseball, which OBVIOUSLY no one is interested in!


Am I THE ONLY ONE who gives a rip?!!

C'mon Cardinal Nation: take my challenge! Pick your opening day line-up. Pleeeeease. Yes, I AM whining now!

Look, don't be afraid to admit you read my blog by posting your picks. It's can't help yourself. No need to hide your addiction anymore...really.
I know you're out there............

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Redbirds Lineup

So, here are MY picks for Opening Day Lineup:

Schumaker - LF
Ludwick - RF
Pujols - 1B
Ankiel - CF
Glaus - 3B
Molina - C
Miles - 2B
Izturis - SS
Thompson - RHP

This line-up is similar to today's - we had a DH against Baltimore, I switched up Miles for Kennedy, plus another minor change or two.

This is really quite an impressive line-up, both offensively and defensively. Now we just have to wait and see what our pitchers can do.

Tell me what YOUR picks would be for Opening Day...uh...everyone except April, that is. She has been officially banned from commenting on my baseball blogs!! Hah!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Heavens

The image of God manifest in man's ingenuity, makes images and accomplishments such as these aaccessible! The first 2 photos are from Endeavor's most recent launch:

These next images were featured this month at NASA's "Astronomy Picture of the Day" site and they add significance to the following passage from C.S. Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet:

Ransom became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of "Space": at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness which was supposed to separate the worlds. He had not known how much it affected him till now - now the very name "Space" seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam....No: space was the wrong name. Older thinkers had been wiser when they named it simply "the Heavens."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Remember the Lusitania!

Why had I never heard of the Lusitania until a couple years ago when I found this book on the bargain table at B&N?

I picked it up because I have a morbid attraction to disasters-at-sea...partially because the microcosm of culture that exists on a cruiser provides a fascinating study in humanity, but even more so because it seems to me the most terrifying way to die.

The Titanic's famous story has intrigued me on a number of levels, as it has many people; then a few years back I heard about the USS Indianapolis, whose harrowing account is told in In Harm's Way. I highly recommend this book. It's fairly gruesome reading at times - none of the men in my family could stomach it - but the same story is recounted, somewhat less explicitly in a version for children called, Left for Dead. My boys never finished it either...nightmare inducing if you read it at bedtime, they tell me.

So....back to the Lusitania. She was a passenger liner whose sinking by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland, and the subsequent loss of life, was the pivotal moment which initiated the United States' gradual descent toward entry into WWI.

The author introduces us to the major political players of the day, the controversies surrounding the development and use of the new technology known as "submarines," as well as many of the passengers aboard the Lusitania. Though, at times, the book is a bit dry in historical detail, I came away knowing the issues surrounding the escalation toward WWI, plus I added to my reasons NOT to take a cruise!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's Almost Here!

Just in case you hadn't noticed.....I wanted to point out the subtle countdown clock to your left. Is anyone else excited?! Are these warm days infecting anyone else with baseball fever?!

Can't wait!

From the Trunk IV

The following is a very lengthy paper I wrote at age 23, during the months between my roommate's death and the trial of her murderer. I struggled fiercely with the idea of capital punishment during those months, because it was no longer just an abstract idea about which I could philosophize. Now it had a face and a name, and that personal aspect necessarily influenced my thinking, causing me to re-evaluate my long-held belief that execution of a criminal was O-K. I was also troubled by the attitudes of some Christians which I perceived, at the time, as vengeful and hateful.

In retrospect, I think I misunderstood these people, and my own ability to judge was clouded by my emotional attachment to the situation. I found it difficult to distinguish between my desire for personal vengeance, my belief that this man should be shown the love of Christ through his people, and the duty which the state has to execute justice.

In my memory, this paper had been a diatribe against capital punishment, but as I read through it the other day, I realize it only expresses hesitation regarding modern criminal punishment practices. I have, hopefully, matured in my understanding - I am less optimistic about the "rehabilitation" of repeat offenders of violent crimes, and because of a greater awareness of the depth of human depravity, I believe capital punishment is not only appropriate, but necessary. I still believe we would do well to carefully and biblically examine the way our justice system operates. (BTW, I have not corrected errors in wording, grammar, logic, biblical interpretation, etc...this is the essay in its original form. I was just a "Kid"!)

The Christian and Criminal Punishment

by: Lori Waggoner - 1989

In determining what a Christian's reaction to and involvement in modern day systems of justice should be, we must first determine his role and the extent of that role in a non-Christian world. Some would argue that, because our citizenship is in heaven and our hopes and goals are "other-earthly", we need not be concerned with the aspects of earthly citizenship. However, God has ordained that we live out our existence here on earth even after our new birth and clearly we cannot, nor does He ask us to, evade the accompanying responsibilities. What exactly is the essence and nature of our responsibility?

First, we must clarify that our responsibilities are not primarily political, though they may have political implications or significance. The fact that governmental systems ultimately make the "rules" and determine how the forces of good and evil must be met, requires some political/governmental involvement if we wish to affect change. Keep in mind though, that affecting political change is only a vehicle - a political means of reaching a non-political goal. When we recognize the necessity for such involvement, we are compelled to address, from a Biblical standpoint, our attitude and response to government

Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, and I Peter 3:13-17, all speak to our response to governmental authority. Romans says that rulers are ordained by God and we are therefore subject to their powers. They are not a threat to us, but rather a deterrent of evil and are authorized to execute punishment on those who exercise evil. That makes for fairly easy interpretation to those of us in the "free world" whose government's values adhere reasonably close to traditional Judeo-Christian values. But what significance do these passages hold for those Christians who suffer under stifling regimes that actively persecute the church of God and demand the church's dispersion? Is their only choice to submit to those authorities who view their spiritual activity as evil and separate themselves from the church? I should think not. Most would agree that Divine authority exceeds, and thereby limits, human (or governmental) authority so that if a political mandate violates the law or character of God, then we are exempt from obedience; however, we recognize that our non-compliance may subject us to punishment by that government according to their law.

Obviously, we will at times find our commitment to the principles and ways of God to be diametrically opposed to a government's position. Scripture demands that we acknowledge and respect authority, but it does not necessitate that we adopt their values as a means of subjecting ourselves to them. Our values are derived from Scripture alone and do not conform to the public policy of the day. Government may restrict the ways in which we implement our values in society, and when they do, we should seek reform through non-violent, legal means.

We conclude then, that achieving our goals may require political involvement or invoke political opposition, yet the goals themselves are not political.

I would suggest that our primary goals and responsibilities are societal. In stating that, I am not advocating a "social gospel" as it is known today. Society cannot and will not attain redemption by achieving the highest societal good. I am simply recognizing that "society" is a sum representation of its individual parts, the people. That is precisely where our Christian obligations lie - with individual people or, in Biblical terms, our "neighbor."

What are our obligations toward our neighbor and how are they met? The first and most obvious answer is LOVE. We have a clear Biblical injunction to love our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves. Whenever I make a decision for myself, I view it from every possible angle and evaluate what effects it will have on each aspect of my life - physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. I seek to do that which will have the strongest positive implications in the most areas of my life. In this way, I demonstrate that I love myself. Loving my neighbor in the same way, then, would require that I use the same criteria when making a decision that will affect his or her life. Does this decision maximize the good that could result on their behalf? That is, after all, what true love is...seeking the other's highest good.

It is fitting to recall that Christ summed up the law in two commandments: first, love God with all your being and secondly, love your neighbor as you love yourself. In doing this, you will have fulfilled the entire law. Someone in the crowd asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Christ related the story commonly known as "The Good Samaritan." A dying stranger on the side of the road became the Samaritan's neighbor. He recognized the man as wounded and suffering and went beyond himself to heal the wounds and alleviate the suffering. If those who suffer are my neighbors, then all men are my neighbors, for to be human is to suffer. If all men are my neighbors and I am to love my neighbor, then it follows that I am to love all men. True love is always demonstrative.

Let us also consider here the biblical injunction to treat others as we would want to be treated. To make this determination on someone else's behalf, we must place ourselves in the same context by assuming their circumstances and , as far as possible, adopting their mindset. This cannot be achieved absolutely, but it does guarantee more empathetic decision making concerning another party.

These Biblical responsibilities to our fellow man - love and equitable treatment - warrant careful consideration and thoughtful implementation into the very fibre of our lives.

How do our attitudes toward government and society relate to our views of criminal punishment? If I understand God's ordination of governmental systems as equivalent to his sanction of their methods and values, then not only do I find great inconsistencies in God, I also find it unnecessary to involve myself in reversing the injustices done by such government, for in doing so, I would be indirectly thwarting the purposes of God. A few isolated passages of Scripture might lend themselves to such interpretation, but a closer look at the whole will lead to a different conclusion. We approach government with respect and we obey the law, but we evaluate the principles behind those laws very carefully from a Christian worldview.

I acknowledge that these authorities possess the power to mete out punishment for the doer of evil but I have not resigned myself to their discretion in wielding this power. We already noted that governments, especially those filled with unregenerate men, can and do make judgements that conflict with our concept of what is morally and biblically right. Our allegiance must be with the teachings of Christ. I find our current system of criminal punishment by extended isolation and capital punishment not in accordance with New Testament teaching.

The Old Testament is filled with laws concerning justice for those who exercise evil. For instance, one passage frequently referenced by those who favor capital punishment is Exodus 21:6, which states that whoever strikes a man so that he dies, shall himself be put to death. However, the next few verses also command that a man must be put to death for hitting or cursing a parent. "Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth," etc. is the precedent set in Exodus and repeated again in both Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Each time it is set in a context that requires death for numerous charges of varying degrees. We would find appalling the insinuation that one who curses his mother or father must be put to death today, but we cannot select only those OT laws which suit our purpose. Either they all apply or none do. How can we know? We must look to the New Testament to see if the precedent is negated or upheld.

Very early in the Gospel of St. Matthew (chapter 5), we find Christ addressing His disciples on several issues of the law, one of which happens to be the "lex talionis," or the law of retaliation. His words: "It used to be said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' but I am telling you not to resist evil. Whoever strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. Or if a man wants to sue you in court for your coat, give him your cloak as well. If a man forces you to take him a mile, take him two miles." Each of the actions here are wrong and seem to deserve some kind of retribution, but Christ says NO! Give to them even more than they ask for or take from you. This is anything but natural! In fact, one of the ugliest, most hideous results of the fall and original sin is the desire we have for revenge - we want to hurt those who hurt us (or we want someone else to hurt them).

We, as claimants of salvation through Christ, should be inherently different in our rationale than the natural man, but I find it startling how many believers assume the same position on vengeance and retribution as staunch unbelievers whose hearts are full of bitterness, envy and hatred. Scriptures are full of teaching such as, "Do not take vengeance into your own hands; stand back and let the Lord punish if He wills." "Do not return evil for evil." "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink." Christ left us a perfect example. When He was insulted, He returned silence. When He suffered at the hands of the Romans, He did not threaten revenge. He simply committed Himself and His persecutors to the One who judges righteously.

When Christ came, He did not offer a spirit of condemnation (except to the hypocritical religious rulers), but a spirit of compassion. "A man who is not sick does not need a physician," He said. The sicker a man is, the great his need to be healed; likewise, the more ungodly a man is, the more desperately his need for redemption!

Who better to help those enslaved to wickedness to understand that there IS redemption through Christ than the Redeemed Ones? Can we not, as recipients of the grace of "God, minister that grace to others? Certainly we are not pious enough to consider some more deserving than others simply because some manifestations of our fallenness are more visible than others. We are all equally depraved and in need of Christ's forgiveness and restoration. Ephesians tells those of us who have been forgiven and cleansed to forgive in the same way Christ has forgiven us. Obviously, Christ's forgiveness is necessarily different than ours in that it satisfies God's requirement for our justification. We cannot offer justification through our forgiveness, yet we are commanded to forgive as we have been forgiven. What characterizes the forgiveness of Christ toward us? Reconciliation, pardon and restoration.

Christ reconciles us to God - He removes the barriers so that a relationship of love and friendship can be established. He can do this perfectly, not only because He is God, but also because he suffered on our behalf. He empathizes with our humanness because He entered our pain and suffering, taking it upon Himself. We must also bear the pain and suffering of those who have hurt us in order to break down the barriers and to establish a relationship of love and friendship.

In His forgiveness, Christ also extends pardon. Although we still undergo some of the natural consequences of our sin, we escape condemnation and we no longer face the prospect of eternal separation from God (death). He reconciles us and takes away the penalty.

But there is more. Christ not only sets aside His right to vengeance by freeing us from death, He offers us life....restoration. Over time, He teaches us and leads us to a place of higher understanding. Sometimes we rebel, but He continues to prod, teach and lead - always in love - for He is a gracious and patient God. Can we not put aside our claim to revenge and offer the same forgiveness that we have been granted? If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven.

It is important to note that God does not look over our sin - He is too holy for that. Neither does He completely refrain from inflicting punishment. Hebrews tells us that He chastises His own, but He does so sovereignly, knowing what will ultimately minister grace to each heart. His chastisement, in the end, produces righteousness.

Are our systems of punishment ministered in love and an attitude of forgiveness with the goal being reconciliation, pardon and restoration accompanied by the production of righteousness? Quite the contrary. They often do no more than heighten the anger, bitterness and hostility that already fill the criminal's heart. Neither do the current systems contribute to the prisoner's reformation.

Three basic approaches have been used in the recent past to bring about reform. Early on, the Quakers placed their criminals in total isolation with nothing but a copy of the Bible. In later years, hard labor was instituted as the means to reform. Today, psychiatric care is supposed to offer the most thorough recovery. All of these have failed miserably and crime rates continue to escalate.

Where has the church been throughout these changes? The church is wrapped up in her own interests and, in her pride, has forgotten to minister to the needy. Christians must become concerned with the criminal population, offering them love and forgiveness in tangible ways...through physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual reform. Christ's earthly ministry was to the whole person and ours should be no less.

We need to collectively address the issues and come to Biblical conclusions and then proceed to involve ourselves in instituting change. The mind and heart of the criminal are complex, and they need understanding just as much as the rest of the human race. I do not advocate the elimination of punishment altogether, I only advocate a serious re-evaluation of the methods and principles behind them. We know from experience and, more importantly, from Scripture that it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Why then, would not the kindness of God ministered through His children, lead the criminal to repentance?

The task is great and requires the committment of many believers willing to offer compassion and forgiveness unreservedly. May God give us the heart and widsom to face the issue of criminal punishment realistically and Biblically and the courage to challenge other to join us in the pursuit of justice, mercy and forgiveness.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

From the Trunk III

Welcome to the 1988 Chattanooga Tri-State Home Show! Sign here for your free personality analysis:

Your signature suggests that:

You have a strong desire to acquire knowledge.

You have a way of influencing others with your ideas.

You have a tendency to talk too much at times.

At times you are overly frugal.

You are a strong individualist but will listen to others' points of view.

You attempt to hide the fact that you are sentimental.

You surmount obstacles easily and bounce back.

So, in other words, I am a:


I'd say they pretty much nailed it! And I really haven't changed all that much in 20 years!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

From the Trunk II

Here are some artists' renderings of "Yours Truly" from the old trunk through which I am rummaging.

This first one was created by my 22-year-old niece, Marcia (Julian's mom), when she was about 6-7 years old. This portrait of me - apparently she perceived me as a clown - would not lead you to guess her future in art, but today she is a very talented artist at a local college. This drawing was accompanied by a little note that reads: "I love you sweet ant Lori." So cute.....
This next one also represents a distortion of reality...I am portrayed, not as a clown, but as a young, trim, bikini-sportin' Betty. I was young. That part's true. This was given to me in anticipation of a long-awaited vacation at Destin Beach.

Finally, Ricky Mims, a friend from college days, based this drawing on a photo taken at a church outing in Pensacola, and it's a fairly accurate representation of how I looked at the time. I have lost touch with him, but he had aspirations of becoming an animation artist for Disney...I wonder if he ever made it.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Brag, Brag, Brag tonight I saw a side of my son that I didn't know existed. Not only did he speak and act well, HE SANG A SOLO!! And it was a fairly long solo too. AND.....he sounded really good!!

Oh - my - gosh!! All I could do was wag my head in disbelief. It was pretty cool. When people came up and said he did a good job, I knew those weren't just obligatory remarks, but well-deserved.

I'm proud of him. I couldn't sing a solo to save my life! I can't even do karaoke....shoot, I get nervous when I sing with a whole choir full of people!

Way to go, Grant!

I wasn't able to get any good photos...this is the best I could do. Here he is on his knees confessing his own guilt and pleading Margaret's innocence.

Shakespeare in a Week

For about 10 years now, Providence has been producing a Shakespeare play in a week's time. Granted, the set and costumes are not at all elaborate, and the quality of the performances varies greatly from year to year. I'm hopeful for this year.

Tonight is the first of 2 performances. Grant is Borachio, the scoundrel friend of Don John who orchestrates Hero's downfall. This is one of my top 5 Shakespeare favorites...maybe even top 3. I love the sarcastic banter between Beatrice and Benedick. Their initial encounter:

I wonder you will still be talking, Signior Benedick: nobody marks you.

What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?

Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.

Then courtesy is a turncoat. But it is certain that I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly I love none.

A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humor for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.

God keep your ladyship still in that mind! So some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratch'd face.

Scratching could not make it worse, 'twere such a face as yours were.

Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.

I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer.

If you haven't seen the Kenneth Branaugh/Emma Thompson version, it is well worth watching. Very well done. Even if you don't think you like Shakespeare, this one is hard not to enjoy!

I'm sure I'll be plaguing you with pictures and a report on how it turns out!

From the Trunk I

I am sorting through an old trunk which contains some tangible memories of my past, including pictures, newspaper articles, cards and letters I've received, plus random notes, journals and papers I've written throughout the years.

Some of it is quite comical....did I really used to think that? Some of it is surprising....did I really write that at age 17? And some of it is plain old sentimental....

I think I may share some of these items over the next few weeks....those that are fit for public consumption, that is. The following quote doesn't fit any of the categories above, but still rings true to me as it did when I first collected it 20-some years ago. I don't know who said it or where I found it, but think about it:

"What causes us to like new acquaintances is not so much weariness of our old ones, or the pleasure of change, as disgust at not being sufficiently admired by those who know us too well, and the hope of being admired more by those who do not know so much about us."

Thursday, March 6, 2008


The surprise highlight of the Michael Buble concert was the opening gig.

The group Naturally 7 hails from New York and perform acapella - or as they prefer to call it, vocal play. All harmony and instrumentation are performed by the human voice...the drummer, bass and electric guitar were highly impressive, while the harmonica was original and very well-done.

Initially, I was certain they were utilizing background percussion to supplement their vocals, but was astounded when each of them "played their instruments" individually. Wow! These are some seriously talented guys who are comparable to, and might even eclipse, such groups as The Nylons, m-pact, Octapella and rockapella. These are all accomplished and talented acapella mens groups, but I think Naturally 7's instrumentals have surpassed them all. Their sound is more authentic...especially the bass and drums, and their voices are strong and rich.

Check 'em out here or on i-Tunes.

Michael Buble matter how you pronounce it, the bottom line is: the guy can sing.

Once again, my hubby and I were the beneficiaries of our friends' generosity and were invited to see him perform last evening here in STL. Each of us was disappointed at his risque sense of humor and bawdy jokes, gestures, etc., not only because it was coarse and largely inappropriate, but because it borrowed time from his vocal performance, which - go figure - is why we were there in the first place.

I suspect that as he ages and matures - he's 31 now, but looks about 18! - maybe some of these elements will disappear from the show, because, as my friend pointed out, his talent and stage-presence render it entirely unnecessary. Following is a brief excerpt from his web-page BIO:

Foster first discovered Bublé seven years ago when he caught the aspiring star performing at the wedding of former Canadian Prime Minster’s daughter. The son of a British Columbia-based salmon and herring fisherman, Bublé spent the months his parents were away with his music-loving Italian grandfather, who introduced him to the singers who would become Bublé’s idols: Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, Sinatra, Ray Charles, and Elvis Presley. “These guys were triple threats,” he says. “They could sing, they could dance, they could act. They were entertainers, and I believe that’s a lost art now.

Bublé honed his skills as a showman through years of performing in hotel lounges and smoky bars — gigs his grandfather, a plumber, helped the underage singer secure by trading his plumbing services. By the time Foster met him 2000, Bublé already knew exactly what he brought to the table — a warm, engaging voice and unassailable taste in music. His debut album was an international smash, going Top Ten in the U.K. and Canada, and earning him his first Juno award for Best New Talent in 2004. The follow-up, It’s Time, sold more than 5.5 million copies, and has remained on the Billboard Traditional Jazz charts for a staggering two years, and in the Number 1 slot for more than 80 weeks, an all-time record."

His song-selection last night was quite varied - he even threw in some James Taylor - but I was a little disappointed not to hear more from the American Songbook. It was still a fun and memorable evening...if nothing else, I'll remember "chiefin' a cig" off a poor college tacky is THAT?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Today in STL

The Garden in Winter
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Frosty-white and cold it lies
Underneath the fretful skies;
Snowflakes flutter where the red
Banners of the poppies spread,
And the drifts are wide and deep
Where the lilies fell asleep.

But the sunsets o'er it throw
Flame-like splendor, lucent glow,
And the moonshine makes it gleam
Like a wonderland of dream,
And the sharp winds all the day
Pipe and whistle shrilly gay.

Safe beneath the snowdrifts lie
Rainbow buds of by-and-by;
In the long, sweet days of spring
Music of bluebells shall ring,
And its faintly golden cup
Many a primrose will hold up.

Though the winds are keen and chill
Roses' hearts are beating still,
And the garden tranquilly
Dreams of happy hours to be
­In the summer days of blue
All its dreamings will come true.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Habitual Trust

When we are acutely aware of the vanity and desolation of this world, our wise brother, John Newton, admonishes us to remember that we have "a powerful guard, an infallible guide at hand to conduct us a better land where we shall be at rest and at home." He then encourages us thus:

"In the meanwhile, the best method of adorning our profession, and of enjoying peace in our souls, is simply to trust him, and absolutely to commit ourselves and our all to his management. By casting our burdens upon him, our spirits become light and cheerful; we are freed from a thousand anxieties and inquietudes, which are wearisome to our minds, and which with respect to events, are needless for us, yea, useless. But though it may be easy to speak of this trust, and it appears to our judgement perfectly right and reasonable, the actual attainment is a great thing; and especially so to trust the Lord, not by fits and starts...but to go habitually trusting through all the changes we meet, knowing that his love, purpose and promise are unchangeable. Some little faintings perhaps none are freed from; but I believe a power of trusting the Lord in good measure at all times, and living quietly under the shadow of his wing, is what the promise warrants us to expect, if we seek it by diligent prayer; if not all at once, yet by a gradual increase. May it be your experience and mine!"

First Day of School

I just dropped Riesa off at her new "school." It's really a day program that provides social opportunities for her and doesn't resemble school in any way, but that's what she calls it, so that's what WE call it!

I was a little nervous about dropping her off with people I have only met face to face on 2 occasions. Because she is uncommunicative, a heavy sense of responsibility and apprehension accompany sending her into the unknown. Riesa, on the other hand, was very happy this morning and walked in confidently like she'd been going there every day for years. She had not the least hesitation or apprehension.

My hope and prayer for her now, is that she will find meaningful friendships like she had in Festus, and that she will be kept from harm.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I Caused Thy Grief

Here is a great Paul Gerhardt hymn that PRPC choir will sing on Sunday. Though we are only singing 3 of the 12 original stanzas (those in pink), our director sent them all to us for our meditation. I pass them onto you for your edification as well. If you aren't familiar with Paul Gerhardt, check him out. His contributions to Christian hymnody are significant. Maybe I'll post about him sometime soon.......

Upon the cross extended,

See, world, thy Lord suspended.

Thy Savior yields His breath.

The Prince of Life from Heaven

Himself hath freely given

To shame and blows and bitter death.

Come hither now and ponder,

'Twill fill thy soul with wonder,

Blood streams from every pore.

Through grief whose depth none knoweth,

From His great heart there floweth

Sigh after sigh of anguish o'er.

Who is it that hath bruised Thee?

Who hath so sore abused Thee

And caused Thee all Thy woe?

While we must make confession

Of sin and dire transgression,

Thou deeds of evil dost not know.

I caused Thy grief and sighing

By evils multiplying

As countless as the sands.

I caused the woes unnumbered

With which Thy soul is cumbered,

Thy sorrows raised by wicked hands.

'Tis I who should be smitten,

My doom should here be written;

Bound hand and foot in hell.

The fetters and the scourging,

The floods around Thee surging,

'Tis I who have deserved them well.

The load Thou takest on Thee,

That pressed so sorely on me,

It crushed me to the ground.

The cross for me enduring,

The crown for me securing,

My healing in Thy wounds is found.

A crown of thorns Thou wearest,

My shame and scorn Thou bearest,

That I might ransomed be.

My Bondsman, ever willing,

My place with patience filling,

From sin and guilt hast made me free.

Thy cords of love, my Savior,

Bind me to Thee forever,

I am no longer mine.

To Thee I gladly tender

All that my life can render

And all I have to Thee resign.

Thy cross I'll place before me,

Its saving power be o’er me,

Wherever I may be;

Thine innocence revealing,

Thy love and mercy sealing,

The pledge of truth and constancy.

How God at our transgression

To anger gives expression,

How loud His thunders roll,

How fearfully He smiteth,

How sorely He requiteth—

All this Thy sufferings teach my soul.

When evil men revile me,

With wicked tongues defile me,

I'll curb my vengeful heart.

The unjust wrong I'll suffer,

Unto my neighbor offer

Forgiveness of each bitter smart.

Thy groaning and Thy sighing,

Thy bitter tears and dying,

With which Thou was opprest—

They shall, when life is ending,

Be guiding and attending

My way to Thine eternal rest.