Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chainsaw Chorus

A storm blew in a few days ago. It blew in, blew through, and blew some things over.  When the storm blew past, a chainsaw chorus started to play around the neighborhood.  Chainsaws started playing at their various pitches from all around.   The song of a storm became the song of a neighborhood cleaning up, the sound of people checking on each other, the sound of recovery occurring.  There was a death in our community with this storm, and there is also the sound of grieving losses of something that is not replaceable. 
Picking up some branches, listening to the chainsaws, I thought of the song that resonated with me with the last tornado, “God of Wonders.”  A severe storm, not one of my favorite natural occurrences by any stretch of the imagination, does serve to remind me that God is indeed a God of wonders.  Some of those wonders the very dangerous storms.  And, once the storm has passed, He is the God of wonders as we start loving our neighbors.  The song of the storm, the song of the chainsaw – it’s the same chorus of the wonder God who teaches us to love Him and our neighbors.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sisters of Chalk and Grade Books

We worked together for a few years, forging a sweet friendship in a short time.  The five of us are all so different and yet complimentary in ways only the Master Planner could have put together.  It’s been several years now since we worked together, years when each of us drifted our own ways and on our own paths.  A recent evening reunion left me once again thinking through the memories of these wonderful women and what a gift they were and are in my life.  We walked through lesson plans, prayed over and dreamed dreams for our students, spent moments comforting each other in the times of frustrations, and had more times of laughter than I can count.  I think about these special women and how important and different each is….

A sweet southern spirit of hospitality, she loves her children with a fierceness that is belied by a graceful charm.  This woman has found she is much more capable than she might of thought years ago and has a new confidence to match.  It sits well on her, as this is strength of faith and not one made by a person that becomes haughty.  She still has moments where I believe she doubts herself.  I wish she knew her smile conveys not only the temporary sadness and anger at the hardness life presents at times, but also the long lasting joys of motherhood and friendship.  An encourager and a lover of hope, you are a dear friend.

A firecracker, she sparkles with bright colors and vivacious laughter.  With the heart of a soaring bird and the spirited energy of a beach girl, a technical scientific mind is thrown into the mix to create a whirligig of potential and laughter and survivor’s strength.  I love her curiosity about all things scientific, with a constant prodding to investigate and understand why God has made the way the way the world is.  With a whole world of things to learn, the possibilities are open wide and boundless before her; and I can just see her running through the scientific field gathering as many proverbial flowers of knowledge as her arms can carry.  A momma, a wife, a grandma; you inspire me to learn and laugh and seek God’s heart, you are a dear friend.

A rock for so many, I’m not sure she knows how many depend on her as a source of strength.  And yet, her strength is real because it is from a depth of faith, and not brittle from being solely person dependent.  With a work ethic that amazes me, she keeps working to provide for her family and provide a better life for those she works with.  Such a heart, big as the ocean and yet can view the world with a realists eye.  A mom and a daughter, you seek to and encourage me to make the world a better place, you are a dear friend.

A sunbeam embodied, she lights up people by seeking to show them God’s Holy Spirit by her words and actions.  Joy bubbles up in her, as well as a fierce fighting passion for those she loves.  She’s a momma with a passion for growing those around her, both her children and those children that are part of her brood of youth brought into her life by God’s path.  The faith of a child with a warrior prayer life, and the shine of God’s love, you are a warming and refreshing influence and are a dear friend. 

A friendship forged in the classroom, over 10 minute lunches and hours of classroom preparation, chalk dust and report cards, term papers and curriculum; each of them are so special to me.  I’m so glad that they are part of my life.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Pie is a Lot like a Concert

I had the opportunity last Saturday to sing and have great fun in participating in a gospel concert as part of a pay-it-forward opportunity for Miracles Can Happen Boys Ranch.  The ranch is a private non-profit boys home where teaching family and love is the order of the day.  Following the concert was a pie supper with many wonderfully yummy treats to share. 

Before the concert, there were many hours of practice.  We met regularly, normally gathering in the family room with dogs running around.  Songs were tried out, weeded through, and then slowly crafted into something that we would be okay with sharing.  In practice, we all had times when we had to keep working to find the harmony, listen to chords, and count through timing.  In the course of practice times, a list evolved and assumed an order of music.  More demanding songs would follow with something that would either be easier or would give the lead a break.  Pacing the songs was another decision, when to go with a slower or faster song.  Discussion, laughter, tea drinking to soothe overworked throats, and lots of music go into creating this or any other musical event we do.

The day of the concert, I spent the morning in the kitchen making pie.  As I was reading recipes, preparing ingredients, mixing, and baking; I was thinking about how making pie and preparing for a concert are a lot alike.  First the crust was made.  Ingredients were measured, mixed, and then just the right amount of ice cold water is added in to create a good dough.  Just as the musical choices start as a broad selection that get selected through and mixed together, the dough becomes the list of songs. 

After the dough is made, the filler gets the attention. Lemon, apple, berry, chocolate, or varieties of other flavors are there to choose from.  The sugar, corn starch, flour, and other ingredients are mixed; when the recipe is right, they are prepared for cooking.  When the music list is created, more work is done on those specifically; sweetening the notes and making it work until the harmony is tightly and comfortably working.


Heating the oven, it’s time to bake the final creation.  Either browning the crust or a light meringue, the smells fill the kitchen with pastry and fruit.

The concert arrives, creating the final mix of sound and song.  All of the hard work pays off.  The last song is sung, and it’s time to share pie with friends and take a moment to catch your breath.