Clarinet Lessons

Clarinet: An instrument of discipline inflicted on children in order to instill a love for any other musical instrument except the one whose reed repeatedly cuts their lower lips!

Okay well my childhood clarinet lessons were not really torture but were generally awful experiences. Yet in spite of those sliced open lower lip memories, they did teach me one important thing: you must follow the sheet music if you want to please the teacher. Reading an Amish prayer this morning, brought me back to my lessons.

As you are my light
So shine in me
As you are my life
So live in me
As you are my faith
So adorn me
As you are my joy
So be pleased with me
As I am your dwelling
So live in me
As I am your instrument
So live in me.

From "Amish Prayers" 
Compiled by Beverly Lewis

Christ Himself is our sheet music and His every step was a note written by the hand of God. If we will lovingly yield our lives to Him, His Spirit will use us as instruments to play a part of Heaven’s symphony through our very ordinary everyday lives!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV

Remembering Jesus in Memory Care

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4 ESV

My favorite people to sing with are my Thursday morning friends in the memory care wing of Sunshine Christian Home. We had a great group this week and they totally loved singing “Up From the Grave He Arose!” In Psalm 27 David asks the Lord for the right to dwell in the House of the Lord –ALL- the days of his life. All our days includes when we are older, weaker and frail. Even in those years God loves coming alongside and delights in giving us a song! If you have not yet known the blessing of serving in Nursing Home Ministry you are missing out. There is a wonderful connection of the blessing that God wants to pass from one generation to the next! I hope you enjoy hearing their voices as we sing my absolute favorite Easter Hymn. Blessings all!

Memories of Mom and the Power of Simple

My mother was a science fiction writer and had some short stories published by the time she was in her teens. When her first novel was accepted by a publisher, their contract came with the requirement that she cut her manuscript in half. Mom cried off and on while she typed a shortened version over the next two weeks, saying various angry things about Avalon publishers. But once she fought through slicing and dicing that story mom went on to have another 7-8 books published. A copy of her first book, “The Sea People” © Avalon Books 1959 sits proudly on my bookshelf next to a few others.

Did mom ever become a famous writer? Well, other than working as an instructor for “The Famous Writer’s School” the short answer is no. But mom was moderately successful, with her fourth book (Sons of the Wolf) published both in the U.S. as well as Germany, Italy and the UK. Whatever our ability level, we who work in words often fall into the trap of elaborating a scene, an idea or a character till only we are in love with our story. But longer is rarely better and less is usually more. Consider the brevity of the parable of the prodigal son. In just 495 words Jesus shares a story that has touched more lives and changed more hearts than all the works of Shakespeare, Twain, and Jane Austin combined. He tells us about a son who left the simple life of a family farm for the glittering complexity of a distant city. There the son lost all that his father had given him and wasted everything he had trying to be somebody important. But the oinking of the pigs soon made it clear that his dream job had ended up being just feeding hogs. There in the pigpen, Jesus tells us that, “He came to himself.” In that single moment of clear thinking, he remembered his father. On the way home, the prodigal son carefully rehearsed a list of apologies and explanations, but on his arrival, he was immediately interrupted by his joyful father’s welcome. To every one of us who have come home to a childlike faith in Jesus, God gives a story to tell. The less distance we put between the story He gives us and the heart of our neighbor the better. Every story is a pathway to somewhere and the story of grace should be a simple pathway that ends with a Father who is waiting to celebrate our return!