Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I am thankful for men who have devoted their lives to teaching.  

This school year, my boys' lives have been enriched by their male teachers, who have not only inspired and challenged them academically, but who have also taken the time to build relationships that helped keep them grounded and secure.

However tough and independent they may appear, teenage boys need to know that they are cared for, especially by the men in their lives.  The teaching profession demands much and offers little in return (in terms of both money and gratitude), so I give thanks to God for those who have extended themselves beyond the duty of teaching to the grace of loving and relating to my sons.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Musical Monday: Sentimental Schmaltz

You probably know me as a self-proclaimed despiser of Christian music that is emotional, schmaltzy, or sentimental, either in its lyrics or its style.  My prejudice is partly due to associations but, I confess, it's also partly due to arrogance.  Afterall, I am too intellectually astute to be sucked in by such flagrant, shallow appeals to my emotions!

Or not.

Truth be told, I can't stomach this kind of music as part of a Sunday service, but in other contexts, if I drop my guard, I can be quite moved.  And here I am admitting it publicly!!  How humiliating!  Guess I'm not so high and mighty afterall...and I really do have a heart of flesh.

For those of you who are like me, try not to "analyze" these songs as either a musical or theological snob...just relax and be open-hearted.   You might even enjoy them!   And...you might not.  (Rule #1: IGNORE the multiple key changes!)

I have been encouraged by both of these lately - the lyrics are actually rich,  and I thought I'd offer you the chance to EXPERIENCE the same. 

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
A song of God's faithfulness and the hope of the resurrection 

How Great Thou Art
A proclamation of the majesty of God's creative and redemptive works 

I know this isn't the most recent or popular version, but this one includes the important second verse...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hymn to God: Donne

Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness
by John Donne

Since I am coming to that Holy room,
Where, with Thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made Thy music; as I come
I tune the instrument here at the door,
And what I must do then, think here before;

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my south-west discovery,
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die;

I joy, that in these straits I see my west;
For, though those currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me? As west and east
In all flat maps—and I am one—are one,
So death doth touch the resurrection.

We think that Paradise and Calvary -
Christ's cross and Adam's tree - stood in one place;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

So, in His purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord;
By these His thorns, give me His other crown;
And as to others' souls I preach'd Thy word,
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own,
"Therefore that He may raise, the Lord throws down."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Your Opinion, Please

I have two questions.  Feel free to chime in whether or not you qualify as a grammar nerd. 

#1:  What's wrong with this picture?

#2:  Do you suspect the error was missed by editors or intentionally overlooked?  Explain your reasoning.  (I will share my own opinion after I hear from some of you!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

When To Say When

My youngest has tried repeatedly this school year to find a word whose definition I don't know.  Out of the blue he confidently asks, "Mom, do you know what ________ means?"   Each and every time he's convinced that this is the one that's gonna stump me.  May I very humbly say that so far, he has been entirely unsuccessful?  (OK, so maybe I failed on the "humbly" part...)

One afternoon, out of frustration, he burst out, "Are there any words you don't know?!"  I assured him there are LOTS and LOTS of them.  In desperation, he grabbed the dictionary off the shelf and chose a random word.  Although I had never heard it before, I thought I detected some Latin roots and took a stab at it, coming close enough that he considered me right and moaned in frustration.  That, my friends, was the end of that little game.  The child finally figured out when to say when!

But...apparently, said child's soul was not satisfied, because he inherited an indefatigable competitive gene from his mother and maintains his desperate desire to conquer her in some way.  So these days, his challenges have nothing to do with language and everything to do with brute strength.  Hmph. (cheater!)

Each time he throws the gauntlet, I initially refuse...but usually end up giving in. (Yes, I am still a sucker for a double-dog-dare!!)

It just so happens that when I accept, The Dad just so happens to be waiting subtly in the wings, camera-in-hand, so he can document my thoroughly feminine feats for all posterity.

"Hey, Mom.  I bet you can't squat this tree trunk." [he demonstrates]

"I'm sure you're right, Son."  [long pause] "But...I think maybe I can.  How many reps?"  *SNAP*! 

In a skirt even...sheesh!!
"Hey, Mom.  Watch this!"  [he proceeds to shoulder-press the kitchen table]  "Think you can do that?"

"Oh no.  I'm quite sure I can't."  [very long pause]  "But...........perhaps I can."  *SNAP*!

"Hey, Mom.  Think you can beat me at arm wrestling?"

"Ummmmmmmm...NO."  [perpetual pause...during which child gloats with triumphant "Gotcha!" grin]

I mean c'mon!  Look at this:

Then look at this:

Yeah right.  I too know when to say when! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordsmith Wednesday


animus (n) Latin - mind, breath, spirit


animal - a being with a mind, breath and a spirit

animate - to infuse with spirit

animosity - a spirit of opposition

pusillanimous - small, weak or faint of mind

unanimous - of one mind

inanimate - without breath/life

equanimous - of an equitable or placid spirit

magnanimous - large-spirited

animadvert - to turn one's spirit away from
Feel free to contribute!  There ARE more!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just My Luck

Yesterday morning, I pulled into my neighborhood BP, noting that gas was $3.859 per gallon.  (What's up with that 9/10ths thing anyway??  Does 3.859 really sound so much cheaper than 3.86?  I mean seriously...). 

I chose my pump, went through the whole debit card swipe thingy and then remembered that this is their one pump that doesn't work with debit.  So...I hopped in my car and pulled around to the other side of the building to start over.  As I got out of the car, I glanced up and saw that the sign had changed to: "$4.099"!!!!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!!  In the 30 seconds it took me to switch pumps, gas increased by TWENTY FOUR CENTS PER GALLON!?!?  


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


 I suspect it requires a special "gift" to turn your 14-year-old son's orthodontist appointment into an emotional experience.  Apparently, I have that gift.

Before she laid out the plan for Eric, this poor lady made the mistake of asking some rather simple questions. 

"So, you have 2 sons?  Are they good friends?"

Easy enough: "They haven't always been, but yes...they are now!"

She probably wished she had stopped right there.  Instead, she inquired further:

"Are they good to you?"

As I began to answer, I found myself tearing up and hardly able to speak.  It wasn't because I never realized until that moment that my boys ARE good to me.  But being asked the question and speaking it aloud, forced me to recognize what  a blessing it is!

My boys are playful and teasing with me.  They talk to me about their lives and beliefs.  They even treat me with more than the obligatory respect (usually...).  As they have matured over the past 2 years, and as they have watched me struggle, they have become sensitive, gentle, tender and affectionate.  And I can say with certainty that they would defend me to the point of death.

Now, that's enough to bring tears to the eyes of anyone with a beating heart, right?  Even if it IS in the orthodontist's office!!

I thank God for my 2 sons...who are good to me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Musical Monday: Norah Jones

I absolutely adore Norah Jones.  She's lovely.  And the girl can sing ANYTHING perfectly. 

Norah sings Johnny Cash:

Norah sings Elvis:

Norah sings Waylon Jennings: (w/ Willie)

Norah sings Hank Williams:

Norah sings Sinatra:
(and Cole, and a dozen others!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordsmith Wednesday

The non-static, ever-morphing nature of language can leave us confounded at times.  A simple monosyllabic utterance can have so many meanings...some of which contradict each other.  Take for example the word "SICK."

sick (adj) - suffering from an absence of physical health
unwell, ill, indisposed, ailing, nauseated, diseased, infected, feverish

sick (adj) - suffering from an absence of mental health
disturbed, troubled, distressed, loco, psychotic

sick (adj) -  especially unwholesome in nature
appalling, troubling, disgusting, morbid, grotesque, gruesome, sadistic, morbid, perverted, frightening, twisted, warped

sick (adj) - especially admirable in nature
impressive, astonishing, stunning, awesome, rad, groovy, tight, sweet, out-of-sight, mind-blowing, gnarly  

sic (v) - to incite to action (variant of "seek")
attack, ambush, assail, assault, pursue, strike

[sic] - (L) - "thus"; as in, "thus it was in the source I am quoting"; AKA: this is not MY mistake...I know better, thank you very much!

It's beautiful, this thing we call language!  So don't allow yourself to be mystified or frustrated by the reality that the same word can mean the opposite of itself!  I mean...c'mon!  That's totally SICK!  And so is this cute little ditty by Shel Silverstein:

'I cannot go to school today, '
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
'I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more-that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut-my eyes are blue-
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke-
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is...Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play! '

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Today I return thanks for the privilege of daily showers.  I'm actually quite serious.  As I peruse the websites of several ministries who labor for The Gospel in areas of extreme poverty (including those I have linked to at left), I am struck over and over again with the absence of water in these places and our own easy access to it.

Though I can imagine living without many of my luxuries - and yes, I admit that imagining is a relatively cushy exercise in comparison to actually making those sacrifices - but I can not even conceive of living for weeks on end without a shower and freshly laundered clothes.

Thank you, Lord, for the abundance of hot, running water. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Musical Monday: Jessica Molaskey

There is yet another member of the Pizzarelli family I'd like you to meet:  Jessica Molaskey, wife of John Pizzarelli.

Jessica has recorded 5 albums of show tunes, jazz classics, cabaret, and American pop standards, with a few original compositions thrown in.  Her voice is smooth, feminine and full of good cheer, and she knows how to choose the right songs for her voice. 

My 2 favorite albums happen to be her first two:

Pentimento - lots of fabulous tunes from the roaring 20's

It's a Good Day - tunes from Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee and Gershwin, among others.  Another collection of happy songs.

The album links take you to iTunes where you can give her a listen.  LOVE this music!  In the meantime, here is a song from Pentimento...the ONLY one I could find on YouTube!