Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

Before the week slips completely away…

As we head into the big Memorial Day weekend, you just might find yourselves eating some graduation cake and something or two cooked over the grill, putting flags on graves and gathering with friends and family for some fellowship.

Russ and I have a graduation and a double birthday celebration to look forward to…because some little dudes in our lives will be turning another year older…

So before all that merriment ensues, I wanted to share a little about our visit to City of Praise Church last Sunday.

Our church has begun a partnership with this congregation and quite a few of their members ventured out to visit us one weekend.

Russ and I were kind of touched that they would make the effort to worship with us, so we found a weekend where we could go there for their 11:00 service. We were joined by three other class members this past Sunday.

Pastor BJ told us we would be welcomed warmly and promised it would be a lively service.

He was right on both counts.

I have never been hugged so many times by so many people nor have I been so blessed.

I don’t just mean I felt blessed.

I mean THEY kept blessing me…just speaking blessing over me.

Then there was the pastor who in the midst of the worship songs admonished us to just focus on the Lord…whatever we brought in with us…leave at the door.

He said that over and over…

Leave it at the door…just leave it at the door…don’t bring it in with you today…just leave it at the door…..

because he must have realized some of us are slow to listen and there may have been a blonde lady in the third pew that needed to be told repeatedly to forget everything except how wonderful Jesus is.

Cause she finally did.

Finally forgot about the worries and the cares and the things I am always and forever asking Him to do and fix and take away and give.

And I just entered into praise about who He is <3

And they just kept inviting and welcoming the Holy Spirit and He most assuredly felt welcome because it was impossible to not sense His Presence among us.

The message was honest and powerful…about asking ourselves all the time…”Why do I do what I do?”

And how if it is for recognition or thanks or notoriety…well…that’s not the right answer.

We do what we do…I do what I do…because I love Jesus…and it is my joy…and my job….to serve Him.

We knew it would be a longer service than we are used to so when the pastor apologized to the ladies who were going to be setting up the bake sale in the back that he was ending early …

so they better get scooting to get the table set up…

I looked at my watch for the first time and realized we had been enveloped in this precious service for 1 hour and 58 minutes….

Apparently we were two minutes shy of the usual service time.

All in all….

Best.Day.Ever.   <3

 

Just a random from the Journey <3

I have been reminiscing a bit about my piano lesson days thanks to attending a recital at our church and having about ten days worth of life application lessons in my morning devotions because the author was a concert pianist of sorts.

While she is able to pull all kinds of teachings from her years of disciplined practice and study, my recollections produce a gamut of emotions including slight trauma, minor pangs of guilt, heavy doses of longing and fits of giggles.

I would probably need counseling to sort it all out; but in a nutshell, I had a great desire to play the piano well but no disciplined drive to motivate me to do the work and no natural musical talent.

Or at least not the in the measure that my dad had.

My dad could play a song just by listening to it. He tuned pianos after he retired from the Air Force and he did the fine tuning by ear.

By ear.

Perfect pitch.

He understood rhythm and timing and it was more than he could stand when I didn’t.

And that would be where the minor trauma came in…but let’s skip that and move on to the guilt and fits of giggles.

Because back when I took piano, recitals were as rigorous as boot camp.

There was no carrying a book up with you or having your teacher lovingly sit beside you on the bench with her arm gently resting behind your back.

Oh no.

I grew up in the 60’s when piano lessons and teachers were as serious as the white patent leather shoes and ankle socks we wore with our spring frocks as we sat in hard-back chairs and waited our nervous turn to be called up to play.

I was probably in 5th or 6th grade the last year I took piano.

My recital piece was Beethoven’s Fur Elise. With two dots over the u…but sorry…not sure how to produce that either.

I still get kind of sweaty when I hear it played on the Pandora Classical station.

That spring I was more interested in playing outside and riding my bike than practicing, so my mom would set the timer and call me in every 30 minutes to play through my sheet music.

The idea was that retention would come from the repetition.

Good idea…but I would zip through it as fast as I could and then head back out to my friends.

Well…apparently all that discipline helped me get the first bit down because to this moment I can tell you it goes like…nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah naaaaaaaahhhhh nah-nah-nah-naaaaah nah-nah-nah….repeat a time or two and then…

I hit a blank.

Just like I did that fateful Sunday afternoon in the basement of the Lexington Avenue Baptist Church as my hands would hover over the keys, willing my mind to remember what came next.

Our teacher had told us if we forgot, we should just go back and start fresh.

In front of all those eyes, I started that piece over and over and over…until…well…I have blocked from my memory how it finally came to the place where I could get up and slink back to my seat.

However; I still vividly remember my mother’s reaction. In living color and surround sound.

Apparently I had given her the apex of the most embarrassing moments of her life, and considering she was older when she had me so that was pretty impressive.

She also informed me, in no uncertain terms as we exited the building, that my piano lesson days were F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D.

I was both completely mortified and strangely elated.

It was weird.

It still makes me sad that I couldn’t muster the discipline to play through that song mistake free on that Sunday afternoon.

And there is still a longing somewhere in me to be able to sit down at a piano and produce music.

But it also makes me laugh in the way that I was actually super relieved to be freed from the lessons and practice.

And she was wrong.

I did way more embarrassing things than that over the years.

I don’t really have a point to this today except maybe that I hope you can laugh at my eleven year old self.

We need to laugh and share our stories.

The real ones…the ones with no point except to share the parts of the journey that contributed to who we are today.

The parts where we were red-faced and goofy and that still make us stop and ponder just what happened there and how would we do it differently.

It’s what makes us human.

In a photoshopped world where we can carefully calculate our persona and create a phony sense of “this is the real me” even though it is only the cute parts of our quirkiness that we are willing to expose, it’s kind of freeing to ponder those moments that are filed away…and sometimes to just share with people you care about.

People like you.

Thanks for sharing the journey every week.

And if you are getting stuck on the opening bars of the song you were supposed to know by now…maybe it’s nice to know you are in good company <3

I missed you <3

If you stopped by yesterday, I took a personal day…but I did think of you.

Honest I did.

It’s not that I had writer’s block – actually I have not experienced writer’s block yet.

What I experience are time blocks…and road blocks…and “how in the world do I know which of these dozen ideas hopping around in my brain are what You want to say, God?” blocks.

So I pray…what to say and how to say it…but yesterday it seemed silence was the best choice.

Silence and quiet are of short commodity in this world.

Televisions play in waiting rooms and even over my head as they clean my teeth.

People are constantly on cellphones or plugged into headphones.

We have satellite radio so we don’t have a lull between stations when traveling.

A moment of silence at a ballgame or even in the middle of a church service can seem awkward and lasts F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

And I am finding that along with the running dialogue that goes on in my head all the time…

which involves a replay of the last few conversations I have had, plus what I should have/could have/wish I had said, plus how I will handle what I think might happen, plus what I need to do, plus a dual pep-talk and surrender speech all going on a loop…

my ears have developed a low, dull ringing that tests assure me is just another delight of getting…gulp…older.

And so silence….being quiet before the Lord…to hear the still…small…voice…

takes effort and intention and concentration.

But it is sooooo worth it.

As the heavens are higher than the earth…so are My ways higher than your ways…and my thoughts more elevated than your thoughts…Isaiah 55:9

Photo by Russ Reimer <3

If you will look for me with your complete and whole heart…you will find Me…Jeremiah 29:13

In quietness and confidence … this is where you will find your strength…Isaiah 30:15

Just stop…be still and cease striving…and simply KNOW…that I am your Elohim…your God ….  I will be exalted…lifted up above the noise and tumult…above the spinning thoughts of your own thinking and the noise of this world…so be silent before Me…rest in Me… based on Psalm 46

May we each find moments of peace and quiet during the busy-ness of business here on planet earth.

In the silence, I pray you do not hear ringing in your ears…but the song of your Abba Father sung sweetly over your life today.

 

 

 

One nation…under God <3

Russ had to fly out of Bloomington Regional airport yesterday.

As he waited for the incoming plane to empty for boarding, he said about fifteen army rangers came off to attend the funeral of the young man who was killed in Afghanistan.

He said all the waiting passengers stood and clapped in respect and appreciation.

I may have cried.

Then and now.

Prayers for those who carry on here even as they grieve the loss of friends and family who gave their lives in service to this country.

Prayers for those who served and survived and yet bear the scars of war on their bodies and their hearts, their minds and their spirits.

Prayers for our leaders and those who have been placed in positions where difficult decisions must be made that ensure the greater good for all.

Prayers that our nation and its leaders would seek the face of God – His wisdom, His guidance, His direction , His heart.

Prayers for mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, children and grandchildren…aunts, uncles, friends…all who daily watch the chaos that is global knowing their loved ones are on the front lines.

I am not wise nor do I profess to know much and understand the politics and logistics and nature of kingdoms and democracies and such.

But I know what it is to love people deeply and to be helpless beyond prayer for their safety and well-being.

I am sure you do as well.

So today…

we pray

<3

 

So. much. rain.

More. Rain.

That’s the story here and in many parts of the country.

Last night Russ and I followed the Weather Channel coverage of areas that have been hard hit with flooding and it was so sad.

We watched with horror as a school bus attempted to cross a flow of water on a road – something we are all clear we are never to do, right???

The water was deeper and the current stronger than anticipated.

This huge yellow carrier of small children began to float and then almost capsized as it leaned dangerously on its side.

The reporter narrated the whole thing like a sporting event, as if we couldn’t see it playing out. He was merciful enough to quickly jump to the end where the bus made it through somehow and all the kids were safe.

Except for the part where they probably will have nightmares and an irrational fear of yellow and buses for a while.

Or a lifetime.

The driver made a decision and put the kids in peril that were under his or her care.

Due to circumstances beyond their control (which also happens to be the theme of the devotions I am studying this week), these little ones were subjected to a wild ride, no small amount of upheaval and came close to a serious, if not permanent, change to their young lives.

It makes me think of our journeys and how sometimes there seem to be forces driving the trajectory of our lives that take us right into the most unpleasant of situations.

We are like a first grader, clutching our backpack as our world is dragged along in a current that threatens to overturn all that is sacred in us and to us.

We look around for help, but our fellow travelers are grasping for stability with their own white-knuckle grip.

And at those times, we who have given all to follow Christ, might be tempted to think God has abandoned us completely. Oswald Chambers refers to it as “those times when God seems like an unkind friend”.

Many years ago, I was going through a season where everything that could possibly be shaken was coming on like Ninja blender.

I remember drawing a huge roller coaster in my journal pages that featured deep ups and downs and a tiny little cart perched at the top of a doozy of a drop. It had a little stick figure me in it and I sat before the Lord and told Him…this is what I feel like.

In the silence that followed my presentation, four words were impressed on my heart that I think of often.

I

made

the

track

It was all I needed to know.

Even though life was throwing twists and curves that I didn’t understand and the path was bewildering, I knew my life was and is in the Hands of the One who designed it.

No matter what….

He is a good Father.

And you and me…we are loved by Him.

He’s got this…

and He’s got us…

and He will get us safely home <3