Thursday, April 28, 2005

When troubles come

I've recently been taken into the confidence of two people who are very dear to me as they have both shared some painful situations in their lives. I'm very concerned about both of them. Even though the troubles my close friends are dealing with are their own and not mine, I still bear a burden. My heart is heavy too, and I groan within. I feel weak and vulnerable because their troubles could just as easily be mine in an instant, and besides, I want to help. I want to carry some of their burden for them, but I can't. The burden that a concerned friend carries is not the actual load. Oh, what can I do? What can I do?

I can listen well, I can be there, I can pray.

There is something we can do together. We can enter together into the presence of the Lord. I want us to walk in together - side by side. If we must have different trials on our own paths of life, let us then come together to worship God.

As Psalm 33:20-22 says:
"Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Let Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in Thee."

Monday, April 25, 2005

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!

Back at Vladimir's for Benny's cello.

Ben wants me to change my blog background to something a little more interesting. I don't know what he means by that. I can't think of anything more interesting than black words on white. Can you? I mean, it doesn't get anymore classic than this. Besides, I like my little purple link words. Sorry Ben, I'll keep it just like it is. ; - )

We did add a new category to my blog similar to Ludwhig's "Immortal Ravings." Mine's called "Food for Thought." For the longest time my "Fellow Gourmets" showed up in an ugly little black font so we fixed that too.

It snowed Saturday, and we woke up Sunday morning to a little accumulation. I was going to photograph a spring flower with snow in the background for you to see, but it had all disappeared by the time we drove in from church. Hopefully that will be our last chance to see snow this season. I mean, enough's enough.

Even with the snow, Spring Fever's hit me hard. I have a huge urge to throw down my books and run outside. I want to float slowly down a river on a raft. Yeah, like Huck Finn. I wanta sit under a tree chewing on a piece of grass all day lookin at the birds and bees, and such. But alas, we still have a few more weeks of school to go, and besides, grown-ups aren't supposed to feel like that. In reality, I wouldn't be happy sitting around all day anyway. Just ask my family. My idea of a rip-roaring good time is to have enough free time to clean out a closet. Now, that's my kind of recreation. (Although, I do enjoy a nice walk every day with my good friend, my hubby.)

My girls and I will go to exercise class later today. That'll be fun. There's something about going to a big room filled with mirrors and other out-of-shape people that creates just the perfect atmosphere for exercise. I don't know why. It just does.

That's all for now. Oh, and by the way, ask the Pea sometime to post the complete lyrics to "Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer." Nat King Cole sings it. It's a great sing-along song and I know once you hear it you'll go around singing it all the time like we do. (S.O.G. probably knows it already. You can get her to sing it to you. She knows this real versatile tune that she sings all her songs to. She knows LOTS of songs and they all go to the same tune. It's really neat.)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Testing, testing

The last blog I posted called "The goings on" went on a rampage and won't let me open my blog site and others have not been able to comment on it. Sooo I'm posting this one to see it having a new post magically fixes things where I am allowed to go to my own site. Thank you very much! >:-

Oh, and don't try to comment on yesterday's blog. If you want to leave a message - leave it on today's. In fact, would someone leave a comment here just so I can see if I am up and working? Thanks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The goings on

Taking a break from acronyms in my blog title. Titles are so important since they draw your readers in, but too much of a good thing is bad. I'm quite handy with catchy titles. Can't you tell?

Let's see, I've recently critiqued movies and Broadway shows. I've uncovered hidden identities. What's left? Guess I could just catch you up on what's been going on.

Been helping Amy get ready to take her AP English Language Exam. This'll take place in a week and a half. Friday she'll take her last 3 hour practice exam - so be praying for her about that and for the real exam. Those of you who have taken this three hour exam in the past know what she's in for. :-(

Benny and I have still been studying Hebrew. It's actually pretty cool now. We are in Vol. 2 of the textbook series and we are simply translating excerpts right out of the first chapters of Genesis. It takes me a while on one day to copy the Hebrew out of the book and then on another day I translate word by word looking at parts of speech, tense, suffixes, prefixes - things like that. Ben and I work separately these days because you just need some time, a quiet place, and a working brain to do it. I actually enjoy that kind of mental exercise.

Something Ben and I are working through together is Algebra. Haven't done Algebra a whole lot with my kids. They've been learning it on their own. But this time, I decided I wanted to go right through the whole course with him. This doesn't come natural to a humanities-type person like myself, but I'm actually enjoying this as well.

(I can sense the skeptics out there thinking, "Yeah, right. You say you enjoy rigorous study just because there might be some impressionable minds you're trying to indoctrinate into thinking that learning is supposed to be fun. I don't buy it." That's what some of you are thinking alright. But I can only speak for myself when I say that learning something new and totally outside of your area of expertise is gratifying. I like to be challenged and explore new areas in life while sitting in my own home. I am a homebody, remember.)

Tonight, Rob lead the bible study on Acts 11. Studying God's Word is actually the most exciting intellectual learning experience I know of. Just think of it - you can ALWAYS learn something new and very relevant to your life. I mean, tonight we talked about the nature and fruit of salvation, how a person operates within his family and church as he comes to God, and five things that make up a healthy church. We touched on other issues, too. And that's all from one chapter! I guarantee you that the next time we read it, we could talk about the same subjects or bring up others and never grow tired of these things. No wonder the Bible is called the Living Word - the depths and far reaches of it literally have no end!

Candace and I went to her college, IUK (Indiana University Kokomo), and took in an art exhibit created by a painter from Mexico. Mexico City to be precise. He grew up in the slums of the city and one day saw an art exhibit and became immediately inspired to become an artist. And a fine artist he has become - quite good actually. He uses vibrant colors to portray symbolic creatures and people. Each one of his paintings has a moon or a sun in it - and he paints with swirling strokes and uses lots of paint to create depth and texture. Some animals seem to leap out of the picture at you. Good feast for the eyes - and for the heart.

OK, one more thing. Let's see, I'll have to put this very delicately.
Let's pretend that there was this woman, and her oldest son went to college in a far away place called Texas. This woman missed her son and thought of him often wanting only the best things to happen to him. She wanted him to have a happy life and not be left out of any good thing in life. So one day on around May 8th, her son was to have his 20th birthday. This mother thought and thought about the best way for her son to celebrate his birthday with his friends even though he wouldn't technically be with them on his actual birthday. She wondered if there was some kind of harmless and fun activity that the students could do together where nobody gets hurt and everybody has fun. Preferably something to do with water, because her son just LOVED water. Hum, this is a nice beginning for a story. Wonder how it will end?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The SOG Identity

Urgent alert! We have just discovered through reliable sources that SOG is not who she claims to be! You look surprised – I was too, I’ve known her for years, but I have proof.

As you know, she has several aliases: Joy, Granny, Mom, Mrs. Jones (there are probably others), but in her blazon confidence, she has recently been known to use the name, SOG, which she claims stands for "Silly Old Granny". By using this name, she has made a critical error, giving us the clue we needed to discover her true identity.

SOG originally stood for Studies and Observation Group, an elite joint services military group designed for covert operations in the Vietnam War. Its existence was once denied by the US Government and it wasn't until long after the war that the SOG Story could even be told.

The following is an excerpt from US ELITE FORCES-VIETNAM by Leroy Thompson that further describes the nature of this specialized group and its secret missions.

“Separate from "conventional," unconventional operations of the 5th Special Forces Group were the clandestine operations of Military Assistance Command Vietnam/Studies and Observations Group (MACV/SOG). The Studies and Observation Group (SOG) was a cover name to disguise SOG's real function, and the name "Special Operations Group," as it was sometimes called, described its real mission more accurately.
Activated in January of 1964, SOG was a joint services unit composed of members from all four branches of the armed forces, including Navy SEALs, Marine Recons, Air Force Special Operations pilots of the 90th Special Operations Wing, but predominantly Army Special Forces.
MACV/SOG's missions included: cross border operations into Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam to carry out intelligence gathering or raiding missions on the enemy's 'home ground'; gathering intelligence about POWs and carrying out rescue missions when possible; rescuing downed aircrews in enemy territory ("Bright Light" missions); training, inserting, and controlling agents in North Vietnam to gather intelligence or form resistance groups; carrying out 'black' Psy Ops such as operating fake broadcasting stations inside North Vietnam; kidnapping or assassinating key enemy personnel; retrieving sensitive document so equipment lost in enemy territory or in enemy hands; and inserting rigged mortar rounds or other booby-trapped ordnance in enemy arms caches (OPERATION ELDEST SON).”

-Leroy Thompson. US Elite Forces-Vietnam. No. 7. Texas: Squadron/Signal, 1985. 27.

So you see there can be no doubt that this so called “Silly Old Granny” is in fact a member of the Special Operations Group, and she is now trying to assimilate back into society until her next assignment comes up.

Knowing this makes the world suddenly seem like a very unsure place. I know, I know. I understand. But don’t worry because we are having her closely watched. You know all those huge white SUV's all over East Texas with women driving around with one or two kids in them? Well, those are our people. The kids are really highly trained military little people.

We’re going to bring her in for questioning when she least expects it to get some answers to the pressing questions – like: Who really shot JFK? Who really shot JR? Did we really land on the moon? What time will supper be ready? You know, the important stuff.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

POO review

Here’s the long awaited POO Review.

(The colored words in my blog are just that, colored words. They're not links.)

I have now conducted a syntopical study of the Phantom of the Opera music comparing the original Andrew Lloyd Webber music CD featuring:
Sarah Brightman as Christine,
Michael Crawford as the Phantom,
and Steve Barton as Raoul


the motion picture soundtrack featuring:
Emmy Rossum as Christine,
Gerard Butler as the Phantom,
And Patrick Wilson as Raoul.

I’m afraid I will make both the movie lovers as well as the original cast lovers equally mad as I list the all time best playlist for POO.

It is as follows:

OvertureMovie Score – The full orchestral performance on this CD just makes me sigh, I’m so happy. The sounds are satisfyingly rich.

Think of MeOriginal Broadway – This role was created for Sarah Brightman and here’s why.

Angel of Music - Original Broadway – Brightman keeps us mesmerized.

The Mirror - Original Broadway – Michael Crawford as the Phantom is powerful and just plain scary.

The Phantom of the OperaSarah Brightman’s A.L. Webber CD – Sarah B. made an Andrew Lloyd Webber CD and here she sings this song with Michael Crawford and she hits the final note with such force it literally made me jump the first couple of times I heard it.

The Music of the Night - Original Broadway – Crawford glides slithering up to each note in this song. Beautiful, or more like intoxicating.

Prima Donna - Movie Score – The owners are a hoot, the Prima Donna is schmaltzy, and the full chorus has its time to show off. I like the huge, dramatic breath they take together before belting out the last note.

All I Ask - Sarah Brightman’s A.L. Webber CD – Cliff Richard who sings Raoul on the Brightman CD makes me wish he had sung with Sarah on the original. He sounds young and in love.

Intermission - Original Broadway – These Broadway shows are known for their intermissions where the major tunes are woven together in medleys. This one is a classic.

Masquerade - Movie Score – Once again the full orchestra and chorus in the movie out shines the original. But to be fair – I don’t think Broadway shows are striving to have a full orchestra sound anyway.

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again - Sarah Brightman’s A.L. Webber CD – Sarah just flat sings better than Emmy – especially on the high notes.

Point of No Return - Movie Score – On these last two selections, other POO enthusiasts strongly disagree with me. They love Brightman and Crawford’s strong performances in the end, and I see their point since these are very projected and emotional climaxes. But I have to chose the movie interpretation over the other because of the emotional elements they explored.

Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer - Movie Score – Here in the last song is the perfect example. The Phantom goes from determined fiend, to wicked torturer, to impatient lover, to vulnerable boy, to a mature man with a love so great that he will let the one he loves go with another just to see her happy. Christine goes through similar stages. The movie actors capitalize on these ever changing emotions with entire believability.

So I suggest listening to the entire Phantom of the Opera with this superior playlist.

*Note* For those of you wanna-be music critics, housework is the ideal companion activity for critiquing music - especially with music as exciting as Broadway or opera. I highly recommend cleaning house (or your dorm room) while critiquing great music. Quite thrilling.

Also, I just wanted to tell you that last night, I went to a ladies’ night out with the women of our church and we prayed for the Ortiz’s family. My heart goes out to them and the whole campus as you all deal with such a terrible loss.

The Lord’s ways are higher than ours and unsearchable. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The adventures of a chauffeur

In an ideal world, weekends should be either very exciting or very restful. Since mine was neither, I'll write about other people's.

First on Friday, Joy, my mother-in-law, (otherwise known as SOG - "Silly Old Granny" in Blogsville) and I talked on the phone. She was about to embark on an exciting weekend get-away to the beach with her six other high school friends. This group of friends known to each other as "the girls" meet periodically in Galveston (GAL-ves-ton, Texas ... not Gal-VES-ton, Indiana) at one of the girls' VERY NICE beach house to do what girls always do when they get together - talk. I chauffeured my girls to a sleep-over around here, but I wish I could have chauffeured SOG to her sleep-over. I would have crashed that party. Do you know what is the only difference between SOG's sleep-over and my girls' sleep-over? Location, location, location.

When you're a chauffer like me, you get the low-down on other people's comings and goings - so here are the events of the weekend from the chauffeur's perspective.

Friday afternoon, I took the two teenage Jones sisters who look, and think, and act exactly alike (inside joke) to an overnight birthday fling. The chauffer went home and had a quiet evening of spring cleaning the garage. Quiet except for the fact that this chauffer incessantly talks to herself on such occasions.

Saturday morning, the younger of the two sisters needed to be picked up and brought home to freshen up and attend an essay recital contest and an orchestral concert with a friend. The young lady amused herself by relating the highlights of the looooong evening to the chauffeur.

Meanwhile, Ben was picked up by another chauffeur named Mrs. Camery to take him and the Camery children to a day of slave labor ... I mean volunteer work … to raise money for our co-op school. Ben later told tales of hauling and shoveling.

The chauffeur talked to her oldest son on the phone since he was too far away to be driven anywhere. They talked about summer plans.

Upon the chauffeur’s husband's return from a half day Saturday's work at the Mission, they took a long walk in the sunshine. This particular walking route was a favorite of the chauffeur’s since it winded into alleys that other chauffeurs use to come and go from the homes. How does she know that chauffeurs use them? Their mini vans are parked all over the place in those parts with bumper stickers referring to soccer, ballet, and honor students. Signs like these indicate heavy traffic areas frequented by other chauffeurs.

Later at home, the chauffeur watched the husband work on several honey-dos and then chauffeured him to the hardware store for parts. Finally, she chauffeured him to the grocery store for the shish-ka-bob supplies that he needed for an outdoor cookout behind their humble abode. This last trip was pleasant indeed, and not at all irksome.

Thus were all the chauffeur’s travels and experiences for the weekend.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Now about the play. Indiana University Kokomo (IUK) Department of Theater put on James Joyces' Dubliners as I mentioned in an earlier post. Last Saturday night the Pea and I went to see it. The Pea went as a reporter and I just went as ... well ... the audience. We tried to go to the usual entrance doors into the auditorium, but they were locked. This I thought was a little curious so close to the time of the opening, but soon as we walked around the hall leading to the stage entrance, we saw the ticket takers and other people. Hum, strange. We entered realizing that the audience was to share the stage with the actors. It was a huge stage with chairs for the audience on one side and a simple set on the other side. This gave us a cozy feel and brought us on eye level with the play that was about to take place. Interesting.

The set was simple. An upper stage and a lower stage, a set of stairs leading up to a free-standing front door, and a sign on an easel with the title "Dubliners" on it. The man who heads up the theater department came forward to say a few words beaming just like anyone would whose baby was about to be seen by the public for the first time. He explained that this performance was staged in the "Chamber Theatre" style. Meaning that this was to be a story, and this story was not going to be dramatized in the normal fashion. Dialog and narration would be woven together much like it would be in a novel. In this way, we could experience James Joyce as an author much more fully since his insights to various situations were written into the script explicitly as the characters break away from dialog to narrate for themselves and for other characters.

This would be very difficult to pull off - but springing from a great writer as Joyce, the screenwriter as played through the actors soon had me riveted.

As the light dimmed for the first sketch, a girl removed the "Dubliners" sign to reveal the next sign which said "Araby" - this was to be the first ::you can't really call it an "act" because each section is a self-contained sketch based on a separate short story - we'll just call one a "part":: part.

I won't go into the details of the story lines - you'll have to read them for yourself, but there were four parts taken from four different short stories. One major link between all of them was a moment of self-revelation. The main characters in each part would make decisions at crucial points in their lives based upon their inner perspective. It wasn't something with which you could agree or disagree since the decision came from their inner presuppositions. But since they presented you with an intimate look into their thought life, you did get a better understanding as to why they made a decision. They had sad, disconnected lives as many people do. And since I think it's good to know what makes people tick, it was all in all, an intellectually satisfying and profitable experience.

*Post Scriptum* If you want to read more about this play go to the Pea's blog.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Everyday stuff

We're on Spring Break this week. Why is it that I always feel so much more busy when I'm on break? Doesn't make sense.

Today in brief words:

First thing this morning, Rob read his Daily Light with me and we prayed together.

Later, I had my private devotions - read a Psalm and sang it too.

Ben and I finished our Algebra lessons.

Finished my Hebrew homework.

Paid some bills.


Made supper, cleaned up after supper. (I guess that goes without saying ... well, except when the kids do these chores - which is quite frequent.)

Proofed Canny's article about the James Joyce play (I'll comment more on the play later.)

Dropped off library stuff and then went to exercise class.

And woven throughout the day, I did about a hundred little things that were on my Spring Break list which are absolutely not worth mentioning.

Well, that takes up an entire day most of a night to do all those things.

This doesn't even count as a real blog entry in my estimation. Not interesting enough. But it is a slice of real life.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Literary appreciation

Rob's left for Presbytery this morning. As part of his licencing process, he will be examined by Rev. Gordan Keddie about systematic theology tonight in front of all the pastors and other elders and then they will vote on it. I know he'll do great. D.V. Tomorrow morning he preaches in front of all the men, then they comment on his sermon, and then they vote on that, too. We've been praying for him today. Thankfully, the Lord is everywhere and can even be in Bloomington to help him as he has need. I sure am glad I don't have to go through all that - I'd be a bundle of nerves.

Wanna get this off before I have to start getting ready for my outing tonight. Canny and I are going to see a play based on James Joyce's Dubliners. The novel, Dubliners, is a collection of fifteen stories - the play (known by the same name) is based on four of them.

I've been reading about Joyce and this work. Harold Fickett says in Invitation to the Classics, "Joyce had discovered how to bring into prose fiction metaphorical use of language and methods of construction previously associated with poetry." Cool, huh?

I'm not going with the expectation to be entertained tonight; I just want to learn. Whether or not I agree with the content (language, worldview, plot - or lack thereof, etc.), I want to be exposed to his method of fictional construction. It was supposed to have been so revolutionary that it changed the literary landscape forever. Joyce who was a high modernist wanted to substitute the "secular scripture" for the Holy Scripture - so I know his take on the truth will be polar opposite to God's Word. God's Word is, of course, the ultimate truth.

To some small degree, I want to be one modern who listens to other moderns so I can better judge the truth value of an author's work in the light of Scripture. I expect Joyce's work to contain truth - not the whole truth - but some truth nonetheless.