Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Samantha Sings

As a parent, some of my favorite moments have been watching my kids 'perform'. Whether it was soccer or basketball games, dance recitals, musicals, talents shows or school plays, to the best of my ability, I made it a point not to miss one of them. It's such a thrill to watch them blossom and shine, and use the wonderful gifts God has placed in each one of them.

It's also especially gratifying to see them 'grown-up', and being each others' biggest fans and 'bestest' friends. I was a little slow with this blog post, and Leah sort of beat me to the punch on it... but it's all good, because she, too, is braggin' on her baby sister.

Over the past 2 weeks, we had the pleasure to see Samantha perform. Brad, Leah & Ashley all came in for Samantha's Children's Theatre rendition of Cinderumplestiltskin. It was fun to see, and so great to have the kids around... Nate was working, and we missed him!

This past week Samantha sang at a coffee house at Grove City College and Bruce & I were blown away by her performance, once again. She sang 4 songs and my personal favorite was a unique rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Uncle Tom lent me his video camera so I could tape it and share with her sisters, and now... with you!!

Here are the links on YouTube if these videos don't play for some reason.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Girl Talk 'n at

With our 3 daughters geographically scattered, I've determined to make it a point to visit with them regularly. Bruce & I sometimes drive the hour to Grove City to take Samantha out to dinner. A few weeks ago, we had a wonderful time with Ashley & Nate, and last weekend, Samantha & I had a glorious day of shopping!

This past week, I was able to take a quick trip to Michigan to spend some one-on-one with Leah. Brad was out of town for a few days. It was loads of fun to hit a couple of the many shopping malls in that area. They are some of the nicest I've ever been to. I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend quality time of easy conversation and laughter. And, of course, we topped the evening off, with chick flicks!

Some of my best memories are of the occasional times the girls and I would stay up all night with a Jane Austen movie marathon! We also watched our share of Steeler football, and NCAA basketball (Bruce, too, for those), but there's a certain ... bond... that's formed in the unified assurance that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett will get past their pride and prejudice, or that Joe and Patricia will finally find a home for their luggage.
I am especially looking forward to this weekend, when we are all going a GCC Children's Theatre musical performance of The Stinky Cheese Man, with Samantha in the role of Cinderella! They say, One whiff and you'll never be the same again.
Last year she had a role as Snow White. She's a princess, for sure, but I hope this doesn't make me the wicked Step Mother or Nasty Queen Mum!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's a bird; it's a plane; it's ????

I recently read on interesting article titled, Leadership Heroes!

The article is written by a guy who is a Leadership Coach and has discovered the powerful role 'heroes' play in our lives. Chad Hall begins his coaching relationships with the question, "Who are your heroes?"

The article got me thinking about who my heroes are.

Hall has made some observations regarding the impact heroes make in the way leaders define themselves through their role models. And because we all 'lead' something, his observations likely apply to you and me...

It's healthy to have heroes. Having heroes demonstrates that we've thought about what kind of person we want to be. Our heroes embody traits we already have, or want to have. This self-awareness becomes the fuel in us for our 'journey'.

Hall cites four categories of heroes: Familiar, Famous, Faith, and Fictional. Having personal heroes in 2 or more of these categories provides balance. With a little introspective effort, we can list the qualities and characteristics we admire most in our heroes, and adjust our 'thinking' and 'doing' as a result.

And, he recommends regularly spending time with them... whether it be reading about them, or watching them on the big screen, or browsing old photo albums, or visiting them.

Hall says its beneficial to share who your heroes are with a spouse, or a friend. My spouse is actually one of mine!! ;-)

Who are your heroes? I hope you have some! Better yet, I hope you are one!

Over The Rainbow, Way Up High

April showers... yep! We had some doozies here on Friday. I happened to be driving in one of them. Hadn't heard those claps of thunder, or seen those sizzles of lightning in a while. At times, it was actually hard to see due to the very heavy rain.
I was driving on I-79, headed north to Grove City College, where our daughter Samantha was leading worship with the Women's Worship team in a special event that evening. The rain had let up just a bit, but the sky was still very black with storm clouds. I was concentrating on not hydroplaning in the ruts of the road, and as I rounded a bend, I was startled at what I saw. A huge, double rainbow, with the most vivid, brilliant, living colors I've ever seen in a rainbow, was right before me, highlighted against the backdrop of the black clouds. To the west, the sun had broken through as the clouds were yielding to blue sky.

I was thinking at that point, that there's some kind of significance in this majestic sight. I relaxed my grip on the steering wheel and grabbed my cell phone and took a few pictures as best I could while driving. You can't see the second rainbow very well in this photo, tho', but it appeared almost as an echo of the other one. After a few minutes, I'd passed through it, and it was behind me, but I thought about it the rest of the drive to Grove City.

The girls did a beautiful job of leading worship. The combined sound of piano, guitar, violin, flute and bongo, accompanying the tight harmony of about 10 rich and strong voices, was in itself an inspiration! The second song we all sang was a favorite of mine... Revelation Song (Kari Jobe) ... and the second verse came alive for me...
Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
To You the only wise King
The lyrics are taken from the book of Revelation (Chpt. 4), and describe what John saw as he entered the throne room of God.

My mind immediately skipped back to my sudden encounter with the rainbow. It became a word-picture to me, and it made me smile. Jesus is on His throne, right smack in the middle of our torrential moments. We can't always see it, but when the Light of the Son challenges the darkness, at just the right time, and at just the right angle, His Promise suddenly materializes, tho' it was there the whole time. And it's accompanied by flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder, blessing and honor, strength and glory and power!
A rainbow is caused by the reflection and refraction of the rays of the sun infused into falling rain. When God infuses His energy into a situation, it becomes jaw-dropping awesome.
The name of the worship event that evening ... Infusion.
Gen. 9:13 "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

There Are Giants in the Land

This past weekend, Bruce & I took a quick trip to visit Ashley & Nate. It is CHERRY BLOSSOM time in the capitol, and the Tidal Basin area was like a fluffy forest. It was raining, but, think... pretty-in-pink.

Washington is a beautiful city. I think that every American should visit Washington D.C. once a year just to visit the monuments, to remember the tenets our nation was founded upon, to meditate upon the great words of former leaders, and to honor those whose lives were lost in service to our country. The city has such a concentration of 'historical markers', that I was inspired again as I read the words of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and FDR. Words that were spoken in critical times for our land, and words that stirred my soul. Those men now seem like larger-than-life giants of courage and insight, tho' we know they were ordinary men, just like us. Many of the monuments testify to a deep faith in God as the foundation for leadership and hope. The monuments cause us to remember our roots, and challenge us to get back to what we aspire to be.

In our Wednesday night small group study, we've talked about how important it is for families to have their own 'historical markers'. It's fun to celebrate and remember happy events... like birthdays and wedding anniversaries. And it's paramount to mark the milestones of the journey God has walked with us, to remember the times He has intervened in our family affairs, often miraculously. In Old Testament times, at significant moments, God told the people to build altars... monuments... so they would remember, and tell their children the story of their lives and heritage.

Brad has begun a series of messages entitled, Epic -- The Story We Find Ourselves In. The messges are some of the best I've ever heard, and I don't say that because he's our son-in-law. ;-) His messages have been 'wowwing' me before I'd even met him. I'd sure encourage you to take the time to listen in. You can hear them as podcasts (Brad Leach) on iTunes, or on the Church of the King website.