Rock and Roll

Our family loves music. We love jazz, classical, inspirational, and we love rock music! We are picky about what the kids listen to, but we do let them listen to a variety of music. We talk about it…the feelings it brings up, the artists’ motivation for writing the music, and we talk about the lives of the artists themselves.

Our church is known for having amazing Christian rock music! Steele Croswhite is a pastor and music minister at our church, and having a former-rock-star-turned-pastor has given us the chance to be a part of a really amazing Christian music movement! Hubby plays bass in one of the smaller bands, and our family has been getting more involved in making music at home…which has been a real blessing.

This summer, Eldest had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks at the School of Rock’s boot camp. He and his cousin spent two weeks playing guitar and singing from nine to three with bands made up of of kids around their age, and then performed on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. It was a great experience for him, and he learned an amazing amount in a short time. He now plays his guitar constantly and has been hoping to be a part of a youth band at church soon.

I was so proud of the way Eldest came through…he is a child who does not like to put himself forward, and he struggled a little finding the courage to take a lead roll. But he did it! That was a lesson that he needed to learn, and it was a blessing that he was able to. But for me, the biggest blessing of all was when he came home the second day of camp and said:

“Mom, I like camp and all and I’m learning a lot. But I don’t want to be a rock star….I just want to use music to worship God.”

Ah! I couldn’t have been prouder if he had just won American Idol.

It’s hard sometimes to balance popular culture with Christian values. Impossible, sometimes. But I think it’s important to find ways to be in the world and not of it, to let our lights shine and use whatever talents God gave us for His glory. Kind David, after all, was a sort of a Rock Star in his time…and there is something wonderful about hearing the words he put to music so long ago woven into guitar riffs and sung with joy!

Here are some photos of the “joyful noise”….a medley of Woodstock bands and other rock….

“Green River” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

The cousins


Clay Creations

Yellow Lab

Middle Child has been busy this summer with a new hobby….making tiny animals out of polymer clay. I’m still busy working on getting my house in order, but I wanted to share these because I think they are just too cute! She molds them, bakes them, and then paints them with tiny brushes. When they’re dry, we paint them with clear nail polish to seal in the colors. That’s a quarter they are standing next to, to give you an idea of the tiny scale!

Little Lamb

Spotted Turtle

Tabby Cat
Squirrel with removable acorn

Turtle Love

passing envelopes

He tucked the money in, licked the seal, and placed it on the table. We looked at the envelope glumly, sighed a little. “I wish it were more,” he said. “We’re not in a good place right now to be doing this, but I want to help all we can.” I ran my hand over his back, thanked God for his heart, tried to dismiss the feeling of need rising within me with a prayer.

“God always provides,” he said, as though he’d read my thoughts. “We’ve never regretted giving.” And that was so true that the peace couldn’t help but settle in.

The envelope went with us to church, to be given with peace and thanksgiving. That same morning….a tap on the shoulder. A different envelope pressed into my hand. Four times what we gave was folded there….a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. A gift of love.

Laughter and tears, honor and humility. That’s how God works. We are safer with nothing but the grace of God and the blessing of our brothers and sisters in Christ than we are with a storehouse of riches of our own…the riches can be taken in the blink of an eye, but nothing can take away the eternal blessing of the Church…the body of believers, the Bride of Christ, His hands and feet here in the world while it lasts and in heaven forevermore.


The Dog Food Post (from the archives)

I’ve been observing our dog lately, and I think I am finally gaining some understanding as to her eating habits. What appeared at first to be just plain old random picky-ness now, after some consideration and experimentation, seems to follow a precise set of rules:

1. If it’s on your plate, I will eat it. Even if you plate is on the table. Even if what is on your plate is toxic to dogs. Especially if what is on your plate causes doggy GI distress, vomiting and profuse diarrhea.

2. If the cat is eating it, I will eat it. Even if I have to do so with the cat hanging off my muzzle, making interesting hissing noises.

3. If it’s on the floor, I will eat it (as long as it’s not dog food).

4. If it’s plain, brown dog kibble, I will not eat it until I have verified that there is no other food available to steal, beg, or pilfer. Then I will give you a nasty look as I begrudgingly eat only the amount necessary to tide me over until you leave something better out on the counter.

5. If it’s plain, brown dog kibble that comes in small pieces and therefore looks like it should belong to the cat, I will probably eat it.

6. If it’s a new brand of plain, brown, large dog kibble that cost you more money than it should have, I will not eat at all for three days. After three days, I will eat the dog food only while you are not looking.

7. If you put the dog food on a plate, stir it up with a spoon, and pretend to eat it yourself while making lots of satisfied human noises and professing loudly that it’s too bad this is people food, and then finally you put the food into my dish and pretend to walk away, I will eat it because I thoroughly enjoy watching you make a complete fool of yourself.

So! There you have it. The Dog Food Rules, as clearly exhibited by our Labradoodle, Maddy.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

A post from the archives…

Oh, yummy….Jan found a recipe for Oatmeal Chip cookies that’s Gluten free and soooo good! She found it at the Southern Living website. Here’s the recipe:

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (substitute soy and dairy free)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. gf vanilla extract
1 tsp light corn syrup
4 1/2 cups gluten free oats (Bob’s Red Mill are the most reasonably priced!)
1 cup semi sweet gf chocolate chips
1 cup GF candy coated chocolate pieces (dark chocolate M&M’s…yum!)
2 teaspoons baking soda

beat sugars and butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and next 3 ingredients, beating until combined. Stir in oats and remaining ingredients.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake, in batches, at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool

At Wisdom’s Table

We gather around the kitchen table’s golden wood, tousled hair not yet brushed for the day. I with my cup of coffee, they with the taste of oatmeal still on their tongues. We pull up wooden chairs and the children fold legs under, adjusting to make themselves fit. We’ve come to the table, to open the day.

Our Bible has seen better days, waterlogged and dogeared and stained on both covers. I pull out the handbook, the memory verse cards, and pass Youngest her tattered Bible coloring book and a rainbow of crayons. For now, listening needs an activity for little hands. We pray, asking for guidance and blessings on our day.

I flip open to Matthew 13:44, read aloud. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

What did Jesus mean? I ask them. And Middle Child offers: Heaven is more important than anything else, so we should do whatever we can here to build the Kingdom. I shouldn’t be, but I am surprised at how she understands. I think of my own heart: What’s clear right now becomes harder to live as the day continues, slips the mind the farther away we are from morning’s quiet dedication.

Again, I flip through worn pages to find Proverbs, Eldest’s favorite lately. We read of Wisdom, calling in the streets: Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city. “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding. I can almost see it, Wisdom’s little house. The door is open, and from the street I can see Wisdom’s table set with fine china and linen napkins. Ever the gracious host, she lays out good bread made with loving hands, meat and fruit and vegetables and cheese. A centerpiece of blood-red roses spills over her table’s oaken glow.

And the 9th chapter of Proverbs ends with juxtaposition of Wisdom and Folly: The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way. “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!”But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.” And this I can see, too…I see how Folly calls, how the world sneaks in and chokes out wisdom with its loud distractions, its brash voice, with its lure and lust and empty promises. I see how, if I don’t make a conscious effort to check in with Wisdom, I might pass by her open door and drift away, might eat what Folly has to offer….a carnival feast of spun sugar, hot dogs on paper trays, mouths stained red with candy, fingers sticky, time and money spent on things that are so quickly consumed. Standing on the litter of the remains, her guests are too full of emptiness and soul-sick, frantically looking for more. I’ve eaten here before, felt the ache of excess while the emptiness I sought to fill remains.

It’s a daily struggle, to keep perspective. The buried treasure is so quickly forgotten. The things I must sell to secure it, empty as they are, seem to gain value and become harder to part with as the day goes on. The push and shove of daily life, the bustle and distraction of the world start to drown out Wisdom’s quiet invitation. The ease of Folly’s call grows louder as the flow of the crowd seems to carry me in her direction. Lord, let me return again and again to You. Let me return as distractions take my focus away from you. Let me return to your Word and Wisdom as often as I drift, as many times as it takes.

Throughout this day, may I return to the golden quiet of our Bible time together. As the day unfolds and distractions creep in, may I return to this table and remember where my treasure lays, may I pour all I am into that treasure and not into the void that has nothing to give back. May I pass by the noise and glut and lure of Folly’s call, pass by the lights and trinkets and smoke and mirrors of her carnival that distorts and distracts. May I join the progression of weary travelers, the pilgrimage to Wisdom’s abundant table. May we join hands together there, bow our heads in thanksgiving, and feast on that which will truly fill and will never run empty.

behind the scenes

Life has been busy in the last month…I am working a little behind the scenes to find a new format for blogging and a schedule for life that includes writing times and guidelines that I can follow without getting overwhelmed. I am working on getting home life in order and the family on a schedule we can live with, which is taking time because I want to make sure it lasts. In the meantime, here’s a picture or two and I am putting some “re-runs” up until I can get back to business as usual!