Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ryan Pittman Shares His Testimony



This video is very sweet. Be inspired.

Convenient Organ Recitals

Since my husband and I are singing in a choir that is made up for the purpose of helping a masters' degree candidate achieve his conducting requirement at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN, we've been called upon to attend several rehearsals on Sunday afternoons.

Last Sunday we dutifully attended rehearsal, but it was over just in time to zip across town for an organ recital at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church. Ken Cowan played solo.

My son was interested only in playing his OWN organ on Sunday, but I do wish he could have heard Mr. Cowan play.

Such a young man, and such skill! I think he played the entire repertoire without mistake!

His Bach was eloquent. "Dance Macabre" was a variation of his own, and delightful. I thought it would be the best of the program, but he ended with variations on a hymn by Max Reger, and that was superb.

I was glad to have heard his program. Something to think about for my son to work on!

It has been such a great spring to take advantage of these fantastic and FREE concerts! We haven't had such a musical year since I can remember. Love it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

IMO

Hot topic warning!

Last Friday evening my husband and I went to see "October Baby." My daughter saw the "Hunger Games," which series of books I read a couple months ago.

"October Baby" is a thoughtfully executed story of an abortion survivor, confronted with issues of self acceptance.

"Hunger Games" is a picture of a dystopian  futuristic society. Need I explain more?

Both movies have a different way of presenting the same message: Life is of value.

One movie is emotionally wrenching (I cried throughout the movie). The other story shocks.

"October Baby" is sad for different reasons. It might be that it is beautifully filmed, with emotive sound track and well-acted, or that we feel the pain of Hannah (the main character), or that we grieve for those sacrificed to selfish motives.

Tale as old as time.

"Hunger Games" is another version of the gladiator games of Rome. (Another old tale). The main character is an appealing young girl, spunky, smart, and doomed. Yes, the books are violent. I suppose the movie is too.

So we have arrived. We've come to a society again, that places little value on human life.

In ancient societies Baal worship demanded the human sacrifice of the first-born. How many times is it the first-(to be) born aborted? Baal worship was all about good crops, peace and prosperity. If a child interferes with the pursuit of an education or a job, why not sacrifice it for the hoped-for prosperity? It seems so much the same.

If entertainment is at its best when we feel the terror of the unknown---death---vicariously, what is the difference between the arenas of ancient Rome or some reality show where you fight to the death?

God had a different idea when He created Life. He wanted it to be eternal.

He reminded His people of the mandate through Moses: "Thou shalt Not Kill."

Yes, sin changed things. He provided a plan of salvation. Another old and precious tale.

In my opinion, things haven't changed much throughout human history. We still need a savior. We still need to do good. We still need to put our minds on things above.  And we should still think of human life as a gift, because it is.

It is almost a miracle with every conception.



Friday, March 23, 2012

Signs of Spring

Two woodticks already this spring, brought in by the dogs most likely. They are healthy looking little critters, and I'm sure winter was a snap for them.

Organic as I am I do not allow pests in the house, therefore I use strong medicine to keep bugs off of the pets. All three.

I can't control what's outside, but I try to control what's in.

A mallard duck pair has taken possession of the fish pond. This is not a big pond: only 200 gallons at most. They find it sufficient for their needs, however, and sit on its edge all day except for brief dunkings. The dogs find the ducks fascinating, but do not bark at them as they do for squirrels. I'm glad. Surely nesting season will give them cause for moving on soon. For now I enjoy them cozily nestled nearby.

Standardized Tests arrived this morning. They will keep us busy over the next week. They are also a sign of spring.

Beyond our acre the world springs on.

Last night my husband and two of our children presented the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association at an Environmental Fair. Very interested people showed up to talk to them. This is good for the bees. Perhaps more people will take the step of keeping bees, or at least inviting someone to come and keep bees on their land.

Perhaps by now it is apparent that we keep bees primarily not for the honey, but the good they do for our world. The entire diversity of our food sources is affected directly by bees and other pollinators. We must do all we can to preserve bees.

May I recommend another book? Gene Stratton-Porter wrote many wonderful nature-related novels decades ago. She herself was a fascinating person, complex and questioning. It comes through in her novels.

My mother loved "Girl of the Limberlost." I loved "The Harvestor." Other favorites were "Freckles," and "Song of the Cardinal."

I found a copy of the one she wrote about beekeeping at a used book sale. "The Keeper of the Bees." It sat on the shelf for some time, not compelling enough for the time being. Little did I know what an impact it would have!

It is the last book Stratton-Porter wrote, and perhaps the most pivotal. Her whole views of nature were shaken by bees.

About the time we were getting involved with beekeeping I got the book down and started reading. I took her insights on bees as instructive as her insights on other natural phenomena.

What surprised me was the conclusion she made in the course of the story. Stratton-Porter was always, her whole life, an ardent Darwinist. Until she worked with bees.

For someone as strongly  Darwinian as she to honestly and candidly change is remarkable in itself, but she did, and in doing so influenced many others.

Shortly after she wrote the book she was in a car accident and died soon after.

Bees are God's gift. Plants need them, bees need plants. Bees operate as a co-dependent mass--as neurons in a brain---impossibly existing in any other way. They are created to enable survival on this planet.

I was chuckling one time during a beekeeping lecture at a university--the lecturer, a professor, could not bring herself to use the word "evolve" in her talk about bee development. I believe most beekeepers are closet creationists. No one will admit it openly, but they see the utter impossibility of bee evolution. 

Isn't it funny when we all know something to be true, but can't say it for fear of condemnation?

This applies to so many things! Politics, social obligations, education.

What a spring. It's 2012!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Juxtaposition

I have a good friend who told me about this earthquake prediction this week. I hadn't heard about it until last Sunday, but since the Mexico one hit today, hours before the big prediction, just as a 7.2 hit 50+ before Japan's 9.0 earthquake last spring, it might be that another big one is on its way. At least it's worthy of note.

One day earthquakes might be predictable, and it would save so many lives! That would be wonderful. Who knows? Maybe these people are on to a good theory, not are just hype and chaos seekers.


I don't think they fit in the "prophecy" category, at least.

March 20-22, 2012 Next Mega Earthquake, AXIS Shift / US Could Be Next!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Logging

Just to keep up-to-date:

What a weekend!

Musically, that is.

On Friday evening there was an organ donor who blessed our family-----yes, it was free. (We hauled it with the much appreciated help from friends) It was an unexpected blessing and my son is $150 richer, to "Pay Forward" as the donor suggested---and playing the organ has been a delight for him.

He's playing as I write, and it is quite nice. We'll have to start working on pedal skills soon.

Saturday brought us first to Pipedreams' Bach celebration at Plymouth Congregational Church, the last of five concerts that day. (Swimming lessons prevented us from the first four, which I'm sure were lovely! Next year...)

Great performances, and we especially enjoyed Philip Brunelle's. He played his "own" organ, as he has been organist and music director at that church for some time. Clearly he had confidence in the instrument.

Bach is a FAVORITE, always.

Off to Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley for a concert by the Concordia Chapel Choir. My son sings bass 1 in this ensemble. The director, Michael Smith is apparently retiring soon, and this performance was as near to perfection as I could discern! Such perfect balance and great selection of pieces. There were 11 of us there (no planning could have achieved such a great family turn out!!) to cheer and witness this concert.

So good to see my son, always.

Yesterday we had a choir rehearsal and another excellent choir concert to attend!

We also got to church, had my brother-in-law, his wife and my niece overnight.

There. I logged in. Such a great weekend!

Check out http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/calendar/ to join us on future organ concerts. We fit them in whenever we can!

Now it is off to violin and piano lessons...!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Checkpoint

I hope you take the time to be aware of what is happening in Israel these days.

It is tempting to crawl under a rock and shut out the happenings in the world, but that is neither responsible nor wise.

We all should be aware of the tugs and pulls of nations, the natural events of earthquakes and storms, the trends of societies, and the everyday dispatches that make up the life of earth.

And of course, measure them as any Christ-follower would, with the Holy Spirit's help.

Recently I have been made more aware of the rampant problem of-------illiteracy.  BIBLICAL ILLITERACY.

I'm going to ask a pointed question here. Have you read the whole Bible?

Have you read all of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy?

Have you ever read the Prophets of the Old Testament?

Have you read all of the Letters?

I am SURE you have read a gospel. Perhaps John?

Have you ever read the Word, cover to cover?

Even if you are not a believer it would be wise to read the Bible. It adds to your overall education. You will not see it or understand it with the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit, but you will be educated.

If you are a Believer, you MUST read the Bible. It is God's word to you. God reveals Himself to you.

And you should really have the WHOLE picture.

The clip below illustrates the importance of Biblical literacy.  As Pastor Hilsden declares, new believers in Africa, Asia, and all over the world read the Word at face value, and they understand and believe. They need no ivory tower elitist theologian to interpret the word for them. God leads them. They are believers, and God speaks to them through His Spirit. They understand.

A long time ago, when I was questioning some theological viewpoint I'd assumed growing up, someone told me a valuable reminder. Read the Word. Don't try to over-interpret. Take it first at face-value, and see it in light of ALL of Scripture. Find the path that incorporates ALL of Scripture, not the one that slices and dices, picks and chooses.

And DON'T follow MAN. Follow God. Watch the fruit of any man who teaches the Word. No one is perfect, and people who show the fruits of the Spirit are far more trustworthy than those who do not. Edify each other. Disciple each other. Exhort one another. Try the spirits.

READ THE WORD. All of it. Trust the Lord to reveal His truth to you. Don't trust men.

Challenge yourself to get it read in a month. It 's a really good book! Reviews are practically everywhere! Join the elite group of those who've read it all, rather than the elitist group who think they get it all. (They don't---think Union Theological Seminary and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer actually found Christ in America, but not attending UTS!)

May the Lord reveal Himself to you, through His word TODAY!

Pastor Wayne Hilsden speaking at 'Christ at the Checkpoint' in Bethlehem...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break

We've actually taken a week to re-vamp our lives since our two "at home" college students have a week off this week.

It's unusually warm here these last weeks of solar winter. The trees are budding, the snowdrops are up, the crocus is coming.

I am imagining that our bees are finding pollen if they survived the winter.

It hasn't been easy to have them 25 miles away. It's a production to visit and check on them for my husband. Far easier it was to just "run outside" and see if there was life in the hives.

Because of the late summer drought last year we had no honey to harvest. It is questionable if the bees had enough to get through the winter, mild as it was.

Bees must maintain a temperature in the 90's year round to survive, and in order to do that on cold days they must have adequate supply of their energy food: honey. Sometimes the hive eats its way into a corner and the rest of the honey may be opposite from where the queen cluster moves.

They are in trouble then. Bees don't move all that quickly in their hive-mode. They can starve before they get to their supply.

But most of the time bees do what bees do. They manage or die as the fate of weather and circumstance dictates.

Believe it or not, this time of year is particularly critical in bee management. If it is warmish, the hive starts producing young bees, and re-generation activity is pretty intense. Sometimes the bees are simply too strung out with baby bee care and living to manage a late winter cold snap, and the whole hive perishes.

Beekeepers can help a little with sugar syrups and pollen patties, but sometimes it isn't enough. It really borders on miraculous when a hive makes it through a Minnesota winter!

Besides spring(ish) cleaning, we've all been reading, playing new music, dog-sitting (Daisy is here for a week whilst her masters and mistress gallivant in England!) and trying out some new recipes. (One was good, one was REALLY bad)

I'm unmotivated to study for my securities exam, so I'd better start cracking the whip on myself before long.

I ran out of fuel. I'm sort of far from my honey supply right now, apparently.

Other fun news: my organ loving son closed a deal on an old church organ (electric, of course) with full pedals. He found it at a particularly interesting tag sale. I guess we'll be doing a little hauling over the next few days. The deal was so good, but it only stands until Friday---so we have to hop to it on getting it!

I read "Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn today. It's a quick read, and the story isn't all that great, but the subject matter is worth the time to take a look. I am always interested in matters spiritual (wait, you knew that...?:)) and the book is right up that street. Interesting ideas and coincidences from the last 10 years. Believe in it or not, it gives pause for wonder.




Monday, March 12, 2012

March Music

I've noticed  that March is always a month great for concerts, as people are starting to get out more after winter, musical groups and choirs are starting to perform their repertoire begun since Christmas, and Bach has his birthday (good for several performances in his honor!). Holy Week brings performances of "Messiah," and colleges start senior recitals.

With all the wonderful choices of music to hear it is extremely hard for me to CHOOSE!

I made a good decision yesterday, though.

My husband, son and I went to the second "Pipedreams" birthday bash---celebrating 30 years of the radio program.

It was at Wayzata Community Church, and there were eight organists, each playing something unusual for organ, or something relatively unknown.

Almost two hours of music, and very worthwhile.

I particularly enjoyed a piece from Iceland. It really evoked the land of fire and ice!

Tonight there is a concert at Orchestra Hall that is just too expensive for us to swing, ($54/ticket) but it would be great. One of Israel's foremost singers (Dudu Fisher) is giving a performance there. I'm sure it will be fun.

Next weekend my son will sing with the chapel choir at his college. We plan to attend, but in so doing will miss a rehearsal for another choir my husband and I sing in.

This is March madness, not of the basketball kind.

This smorgasbord of musical events is delectable, but frustrating!

A least the Northern Lights Chorale is performing in April. April 22. Sunday afternoon, 2:30. Benson Great Hall, Bethel University.

As far as I know, I am going to be playing a flute solo, opening a section of the concert. I'm a little nervous already, but it will be fine! My flute teacher, Mary Roberts Wilson, would be so happy! The old flute still gives joy.

I think it's going to be a really fine concert! Consider yourself invited!


We will be singing the following program:


Set 1: The Spiritual Life

Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal Alice Parker
Crucifixus Antonio Lotti
For God Commanded Angels Felix Mendelssohn
Witness Jack Halloran

Set 2: The Sea of Life

Light of a Clear Blue Morning Arr. Craig Hella Johnson
The Sounding Sea Eric Barnum
I 've Been in the Storm So Long Jeffery L. Ames
We Rise Again Arr. Stephen Smith


Set 3: Life Songs of our Neighbors

Fogarty's Cove Arr. Ron Smail
Feller From Fortune Arr. Harry Somers
Cliffs of Dooneen Arr. Mark Sirett
Loch Lomond Arr. Jonathan Quick


Set 4: The Spanish Life

Canto de Granada Norman Luboff
Ritmo Dan Davison
Tango to Evora Arr. Jon Washburn
Vamos A Bailar Dan Davison

3900 Bethel Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55112



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

60 and Sunny

What a beautiful day!!!

Just found out that this "alkaline diet" thing REALLY works! Got my blood test back and there is MAJOR improvement from my November test!  

I'm also enjoying a little chocolate mousse yogurt from Aldi this morning. (Yogurt is alkaline..)

Don't feel like it's a harsh diet at all! Rejoice with me...


It's going to be gorgeous today, and I'm hoping it's a great day for you!

Thankful that we can trust the Lord with the affairs of the world, and our own.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Islamic Connection to Rome




I watched this this evening, and I think it is worth sharing.

Thoughts

Just read my friend's blog. eternal rewards. She has a habit of being thankful every Thursday. What a great idea. I'd like to be more thankful. I am thankful. I have infinite blessings from the Lord.

There are those days, though, when you just feel grief.

Tornadoes in Indiana--all over the central U.S., false teaching, disappointments, politics, personal failures, sickness, sin.

Last night we heard about a professor at Wheaton College, where my husband and I both attended, who has been arrested for child pornography.

Does this not grieve?

It nauseates.

No one can point the finger without first accusing the self, but I do grieve over the fall of such a mighty college. I grieve. I do not judge. I know we are all sinners. But how far we have fallen.

The Bible predicts that in the end even the elect will be deceived. Israel, the wife of Jehovah, will flower again. The church, the bride of Christ, will be persecuted. Together they will see Christ's kingdom come on earth. Scripture plays out before our eyes!

The Swedish online news  The Local, gives such a grievous reason for the naming of the new little princess. Perhaps it is just surmise. Perhaps not. Perhaps the noose is tightening on Israel. Scripture indicates that the world will turn against her. How quickly this is happening. It's breathtaking.

People don't forgive. Apparently, the royal family in Sweden has not forgiven a grievous crime. It reminds me of the feuds of the south, described so poignantly in Huckleberry Finn. If a conflict is not resolved it festers and blooms in the stink flower of ongoing generations. What a warning to us as parents!

Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

I heard a preacher say---I don't raise my children to see a better life, I raise them to expect persecution.

Grievous. We have seen our lives become so island-like. There are days when it seems we stand alone in an ocean of unfamiliarity and antagonism.

I've had a new idea about Republican politics this week. I voted for Rick Santorum in the primary, but it seems Romney will take the lead. As a Christian, I feel real repugnance voting for someone whose spiritual beliefs so distort my own, but with the incredible ties Mormonism has with Freemasonry---the direct parallels, and the incredible influence of Freemasonry on our country since the time of the American Revolution---I see that George Washington and Mitt have a lot in common. Perhaps we understand more now about the ends of Mormonism or Freemasonry, but we've been under their influence for quite some time.

It is the End that concerns me.

So then we focus on the task ahead. We become single-minded. We see the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Truth of Christ. The Holy Word, the wisdom of our Lord God. We see the love of Christ all around us, and we live the gospel of peace.

And we are comforted.

God bless you today, and may His Spirit fill you and encourage you. We stand on a narrow path, and it leads to a good end.

I am thankful for the Bible. It has the words of life.


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Clearing

The air is crystal clear outside despite the extra moisture everywhere. All is calm, and we never had much wind during the storm, but the heavy snow did extensive damage to our weak, drought affected trees.

Standing guard before our home is an old white pine. It reaches a dizzying height, and I have loved it since we moved into the house.

It lost several limbs yesterday, weighed down by the heavy snow. It was disheartening to hear a "crack" and see a huge branch crash to the ground. All the biggest branches are now gone.

We must have gotten 1/2 a foot of snow yesterday.

Also gone today is a remarkable blogger named Andrew Breitbart. I enjoyed observing his escapades, reading his blog and seeing his viewpoint.

Powerline's Tribute to Andrew Breitbart

Unexpected losses.