Monday, April 30, 2007

Musical Impressions of a Six-Year-Old

"Oh magnify the Lord... "

I sat in the front seat of the little, red car beside my mom. My little gut was churning, or it would have been if I had known what a gut was. At the time all I knew was that things were really tight inside and I nearly felt sick. The Christian radio station happened to be playing the Maranatha Singers at that moment and it was at once beautiful and terrible.

"For He is worthy to be... For He is worthy to be praised..."

An outside observer would have thought from the expression on my face that I was being hauled away to my death. It very nearly felt like it... I was on my way to kindergarten... and I wasn't ready for the shake-up.

My school had a drive that ran between the preschool building and the main school/church building (it was a Christian school). A chorus of elderly ladies opened doors for good little kids who got out with bookbags and ran up the stairs to their classrooms.

We pulled alongside the elderly lady who was supposed to open my door for me.

"In your presence Lord, the mountains melt like wax..."

and I did the only thing any self-preserving six-year-old would do...

"I lift my hands, and worship you oh, Lord! I lift my hands, and worship you oh Lord!"

I locked my car door.

K, so Kindergarten was just a little traumatic... and I loved/hated the music playing on the radio as I went to school each morning... I thought that nothing that happened between home (safe) and school (scary) could be good. Therefore, as beautiful as it might be, the music on the radio between 8 and 9 am was of the devil.

Glad I grew out of that stage, cause I found this song today and I still love the song, the message, and the presentation.

~ Andrew

Monday, April 23, 2007

Reflections On A Merely Starlit Night

"Weird dream," he thought as he rubbed his eyes and sat up in bed. A cammo-print, nylon blanket hung from the bunk above him providing a wall of normally scarce privacy. Staring into space for a few seconds the soldier allowed his mind to wander and awaken.

He picked up his laptop, which always slept beside him on the bunk, and opened it. That Mac sound would let his room-mate and work partner know he was awake... if the guy were around. Lately he'd been out when midnight rolled up. The schedule was weird and after a couple of months it was still hard to sleep through the afternoon and wake up in the middle of the night. Afternoon workouts were good, but getting to sleep after was sometimes a trick.

Hitting enter, the soldier sent off two text messages to get in touch with his reality. This Instant Message mobile thing on his wife's phone was so awesome. He got up and changed into uniform. "Whew! Dang, I wish the laundry was back."

He sat down at the desk and began to take stock of the situation. His partner was gone, probably to pick up their midnight meal. That was the system since they couldn't leave at the same time; at noon the soldier got chow and brought it back, midnight the other guy did the same. It worked.

Just as he was getting settled behind the desk, his partner brought in the food and sat down. A couple minutes later the soldier's wife answered his texts and got online for a little bit. It was Sunday at home, a good Sunday for an old movie and a long nap. It sounded really good.

After his wife got off, the soldier's dad popped up: "Hey, it's Dad, just doing some bookwork, how are ya?" It was good to hear from him.

Things settled down into the normal monotony of a regular work day... er, night... er, shift.

Because the soldier had been drinking coffee since coming on shift, it was only a little while before he needed to visit the restroom. An annoying task in a place where the facilities were unlit porta-johns that lay down two flights of stairs and about forty feet from the building in which the soldier lived. This was a daily adventure which he was glad most people were spared.

In fact, he was walking back to the building and thinking about how strange this daily... er, shiftly experience was when he decided to write about it. Looking up at a sky with no moon and just a few stars he hit upon a title... "Reflections On a Merely Starlit Night".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Our Hope

Who taught the Sun where to stand in the mornin'?
And Who told the Ocean, "You can only come this far"?
And Who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well, I know my Redeemer lives,
I know my Redeemer lives,
All of Creation testitfies,
This Life within me cries:
"I know my Redeemer lives."

The very same God that spins things in orbit,
Runs to the weary the worn, and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory.

Now I know my Redeemer lives,
I know my Redeemer lives,
Let all Creation testify,
Let this Life within me cry
I know that my Redeemer lives!

He lives to take away my shame,
He lives, forever I'll proclaim,
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive and there's an empty grave,

And I know my Redeemer lives!
I know my Redeemer lives!
Let all Creation testify,
Let this Life within me cry
I know my Redeemer lives!

I know that I know that I know that I know that I know!

Because He lives I can face tomorrow!

I know, I know, I know!

He lives! He lives!

I spoke with Him this mornin'!


The Irony...

...of it all. How could I have known that just a few hours after posting the previous Bible study thoughts I would learn that Andrew's deployment is being extended an extra 3 months? I felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me.

I spent most of yesterday running the gamut of emotions from anger, to sorrow, to unbelief, to disappointment, to confusion, to asking God "WHY?? I've give everything! Why do You keep requiring more? What do you want from me?"

Andrew and I got to hang out together last night online. I told him everything I was thinking and feeling and wondering. And this morning I woke up to an email from him. I've included an excerpt here. (Okay, so I can never be mad at God for long...He gave me such a wise and loving husband!)

"This too shall pass, and underneath are the everlasting arms. God is carrying us through this, Cass. We can't see Him, but we CAN know Him and that is what He desires through this. God generally wants us to accept, obey, then understand... okay, so we really have no choice but to obey... but He still wants us to accept this from Him. He only gives us things for our good. He only gives us good things. Gosh! That's what faith must be - agreeing with Him against all odds that what He says is good... is good. Those who would please God, must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Andrew is my rock. And God is our strength.

And the words of the previous post still stand.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Notes from Mom's Bible Study

"Your Heavenly Father will never lead you anywhere that His grace will not sustain you. He will never place more upon you than He will give you grace to bear. When the path before you seems hopelessly long, take heart. Lift up your eyes. Look ahead to that day when all suffering will be over."

Lord, at times when I am hurting, my natural instinct is to cry out for relief. But I don't want to forfeit the blessings that You can bring to me and to others through my suffering. Thank You that You use suffering to make us more mature, more like Your Son, who suffered for us. Help me to embrace the pain and to allow You to fulfill all Your purposes in and through my life. Amen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Audition Worked!

So, I auditioned for this play and just found out that I was chosen to be one of the 15 ladies in the ensemble! So that means I'm a townsperson, for one, who knows what else, yet, and I get to sing a lot!

My younger cousin who is headed off to acting school in a few months is going to make this her last local performance. It'll be so fun to share this with her!

More updates later!

On Dwelling In Caves

If ever I wanted to do a case study about what effects dwelling in caves had on the psychology of Ancient Man, I suppose this would be the opportune time. My current abode is indeed very cave-like. The walls are of grey concrete plaster, except where the plaster has come down to reveal the block that fills in the skeletal structure of poured concrete beams. Oh, it's an odd construction to be sure.

Aside from the greyness of the walls, a lack of light lends itself nicely to the overall sense that I have been flung into a different age. There are essentially two main sources of light in this room. While both lights are flourescent, their radiance seems to be quickly and nearly completely absorbed by the towering, grey ceiling of concrete. The ceiling itself is punctuated occasionally by pieces of rebar, some pointing straight down and others bent in some way.

There were windows here at one time, or at least space for windows... the sand bags filling those spaces between the concrete keep out light while protecting against bullets and mortars.

Yes, overall I think this would be the golden opportunity to do a case study in Cave Dwelling Psychology... Hey, if I can develop a thesis and give lectures after the army, I should be able make a mint at Berkeley or some place! I guess I'd have to leave out the part about having been in Iraq if I was going to lecture at Berkeley. Ah well.

My wife reminded me of this song today and, while I know we are not close to the end of this year, I feel like we've come far enough for me to dedicate this to her.

"Looks like we made it,
Look how far we've come my baby,
We mighta took the long way,
We knew we'd get there someday,
They said: "I bet they'll never make it"
But just look at us holdin' on,
We're still together,
Still goin' strong."

Cassidy, I love you with all my heart, in some ways our life together has taken the long way, but we know we'll get there in God's timing because He is leading us. I look back over just the last few months and I see how much we have grown together and individually and I am so proud of you, of us, and of who we are in Christ.

"Ain't nothin' better,
We beat the odds together
I'm glad we didn't listen,
Look at what we would be missin'
They said: "I bet, they'll never make it"
But just look at us holdin' on,
We're still together,
Still goin' strong."

Every day we are beating the odds together, because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. This time is passing and we are not listening to anything that does not agree with what our God has mapped out for us.

"You're still the one I run to,
The one that I belong to,
You're still the one I want for life
You're still the one that I love,
The only one I dream of,
You're still the one I kiss goodnight."

I can't wait to kiss you goodnight every night for the rest of our lives, Kid. I love you!

"I'm so glad we made it, look how far we've come my baby."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Easter Song

Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
That you can be born again!

Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ is risen from the dead!

The angel up on the tombstone
Said "He is risen, just as He said!"
Quickly now, go tell His disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead!

Joy to the world!
He is risen! Hallelujah!
He is risen! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Jenny's First Baby Shower

Nope. It's a diaper cake!

Cute decorations! A clothesline? Genius.

Jenny opening gifts as her sister, Rachel, assists.

Sisters and Mom ~ Rachel, Jenny, Joanna, Rebecca, and Jan.
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