Archive | June 2011

Music Appreciation

I wish you could have seen Robbie last night.  He was curled up on the couch next to his daddy as Bob pulled up some music on the internet to entertain him.  It started with a harmonica solo in Carnegie Hall—one of Robbie’s favorites.  (You can see Buddy Greene on YouTube— http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJB1j5PFsQg. It’s great and a lot of fun to watch!)  Several more selections by the same artist followed, and then some hymns, a little bluegrass, some banjo and Spanish guitar and several beautiful songs by Celtic Woman.  Robbie has very eclectic—and discriminating— tastes in music.  J

His face was so sweet as he enjoyed the music and cuddle time with mommy and daddy.  For a guy who cannot sing a note, he sure loves music!  Well, I should clarify that—he can sing a note—one solitary note—“Ahhhhhhhhhh!”  As we sang to him (and he “sang” along at times) and listened to the music, he nodded his head and smiled and stared intently at the laptop screen, and then looked at us with such pleasure and love.  It was obvious when Amazing Grace came on that it was his very favorite.  He got emotional and drew close to the screen.  Bob and I wiped away tears, as well, as we saw how much that song meant to him.  Robbie may be retarded, but there are depths to him that surprise us at times, and he understands far more, I think, than we realize sometimes.

It was a precious family time.  We were united in heart and love and in enjoying the same thing—music.  There are so few pleasures Robbie can really enjoy in life, and music is one of those treasures that he can share with us.  That is one of the wonderful things about music—almost everyone can enjoy music.  One does not need to sing beautifully or play an instrument skillfully to have an appreciation for melody and harmony.  Anyone can listen, or hum, and sing to their heart’s content even if they can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  Our little Mr. Johnny-One-Note is proof of that.  J

I consider music one of the great gifts God has given us to enjoy in this life’s journey.  Just as beautiful mountain vistas and ocean views please the eyes, and lush gardens, soft textures, and rich chocolates are sensory delights, music is the background for life.  It entertains us, of course, but even more than that, it can comfort, uplift and encourage.  Psalm 32:7 says Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.”  Remember when David soothed Saul through his music? 

We use music in all kinds of celebration, but the Lord, I believe, designed it to be an integral part of our praise and worship.  “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)  “Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.” (Psalm 21:13)  In fact, Ephesians 5:19 says music ought to be a part of our daily Christian life—“ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”—and edifying to ourselves and others as seen in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  It is meant to be a testimony, as well, to the world.  Psalm 40:3 says,
“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” and Psalm 18:49 says, “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises.”  Music will be a part of our eternity with Him, too, as we gather before the throne of God and praise Him.  The book of Revelations gives us a glimpse—“ And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy…” (Revelation 5:9)  “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne…” (Revelation 14:3)  “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” (Revelation 15:3)

I love music for the beautiful gift that it is to us from the Lord, but this mother’s heart appreciates it, as well, for the happiness it brings into the life of one simple little soul.  He may sing only one note, but it is music to my ears!

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Spring Cleaning

I just had a wonderful week with Julie and her three beautiful children!  David brought them up here from Alabama last weekend, even though he couldn’t stay and play with us.  He had to turn around and go right back so that he could go to work, but then he came back last night to get them and they all left this morning.  Bless his sweet heart—he drove more than 48 hours altogether so they could come!  We played lots of games, made jewelry, got together with Grammy and a few others in the family, read books together…  Bob was working most of the week, but he finally got to spend some quality time together with them the last couple days.  Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah are sweet, sweet kids and I cherish the time we get to spend with them and Julie and David.  It was hard to see them go this morning.  It was just so quiet and empty.

The house is not going to remain quiet and empty for long, however!  This week with Julie’s family has been just a little taste of what we are in for very soon.  Life around here is going to take a dramatic turn in just ten days!  On June 29th, Laurie and Fernando and their six children will be returning from Ecuador for six or seven months and moving in with us!  I am excited, of course, and counting down the days, but I know things will be very different around here for a while.  Gone will be those peaceful, quiet days that are the norm around here.  In their place will be laughter and fun and chaos!  Gone will be spending hours on my writing or special projects.  Instead I’ll be helping with homeschool and playing games with my grandchildren.  Gone will be the simple meals for one or two in front of the TV.  Our table will be full of family and chatter and Grandma’s good home cooking!

I have been getting ready for their arrival for several weeks now.  I got a little break from all the work while Julie’s family was here, but now I need to get back at it.  Despite my rosy expectations, I am under no illusions that having eight people move in with us will be easy and without its problems and pitfalls.  I am trying to get one step ahead of some of those things by making plans and preparations now.  I have my lists of menu ideas and chore charts printed and taped inside my kitchen cabinet doors.  I’ve been shopping for new towels and washcloths (a different color for each person), little plastic dressers for all the kids, and even a wardrobe to help with the lack of closet space in this house.   I have weeded out closets and drawers and rearranged things to make even more room for everyone.  This week I will tackle the basement, which is long overdue, anyway.  I need motivation to do chores like that—and this is just the motivation I need!

All this cleaning and rearranging, ironically, is messy work!  The bedrooms upstairs were a disaster as I pulled things out of closets and drawers and stacked them in piles to pitch, move or give away.  You know the saying, “It’s gonna get worse before it gets better?”  That’s how it looked around here.  Once again I shook my head in disgust at all the stuff we have accumulated.  It’s just too much.

I don’t like spring cleaning—even when I’ve put it off until summer!  I love the way everything looks after it is all said and done, but the actual work is not my favorite way to spend my time.  There comes a point, though, when you just know it has to be done and you grit your teeth and do it.  I always need that extra incentive, that little extra push to motivate me.  As well as being a planner and preparer, and in some areas, a perfectionist, I am also a packrat and a procrastinator.  Those two sides of me have to battle it out sometimes, and almost every time the procrastinator wins.  As Mark Twain once said, “Never do today what you can put off until the day after tomorrow!”  The older I get, the lazier I have become, as well. 

That is not good.  The Bible addresses this issue.  Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”  Winter will not find the ant unprepared.  There is a job to be done, and she does it without delay.  Proverbs 13:4 goes on to say, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”  Diligence—now, there’s a good word!  Along with determination and discipline, these three character qualities will help us get to the job at hand and see it through. 

Mark Twain was so wrong.  The Lord tells us to make the most of our time, using it wisely.  “Be very careful then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)  We cannot afford to be distracted.  Spending hours on the computer or in front of the television or in other frivolous pursuits eats up our time.  We cannot afford to drift aimlessly through life.  We cannot afford to delay—putting off until tomorrow what we ought to do today.  Good intentions are not enough.  They will not get the job done.  “Later” is not guaranteed.  Proverbs 27:1 says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Maybe it’s time to do some spring cleaning of the soul, as well as the house.  It is past time, really.  Time to sweep away the cobwebs of laziness and delay.  Time to throw out the litter of distractions and polish up the determination and discipline.  Time to “strengthen our hands for the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18) and follow the example of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.  We could never call her lazy or a procrastinator!  It is time to get busy and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done!

I have a feeling that my days as a couch potato are over for the next six or seven months—and it is about time!

Happiness Is…

I am one happy Grandma today!  Happiness is having your daughter and grandchildren decide on Wednesday that they’re coming to Grandpa and Grandma’s house on Saturday for a week of fun and games!  Whoo-Hoo!!!  Julie and the kids got here last night –thanks to my wonderful son-in-law David who drove them up from the steamy heat in Alabama.  He turned around and left for home this morning since he has to work, and next weekend he will make the trip all over again to take them home.  Bless his heart!

Soooooo…there will be no “Sundays with Cindy” this week.  Sorry–Grandma’s having too much fun to sit down and write this morning!  Well, actually I am washing the breakfast dishes while they get ready for the day, so I can start in making dinner–but I will be having fun in a little while!

I’ll leave you with just one verse today.  Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men [and old women.]”  I feel like Queen for the Day!

Three Score Years—And He Doesn’t Look a Day Over Two!

Bob turned sixty years old this week!  I can hardly believe I am married to a sixty-year-old man!  I guess I shouldn’t talk.  I am less than six months behind him—and he never lets me forget it!  To tell the truth, he neither looks nor acts like a man of sixty years, in my opinion.  He is only ten pounds heavier than he was when we got married forty years ago and still very physically fit.  Okay, I may have exaggerated a little when I said he doesn’t look a day over forty, and sure, he has some silver in his hair now and laugh lines etched in his face, but compared to most sixty-year-olds, or even fifty or forty-year-old guys, he looks pretty doggone good!

Bob is youthful in spirit, as well.  He still has that twinkle in his eye and that silly grin, and he loves to tease.  His “thing” these days is to sneak up behind me and make me jump out of my skin!  He claims he isn’t “sneaking,” but I’ve caught him walking mighty slowly and quietly, which in my book is sneaking!  I’ve warned him that one of these days he’s going to give me another heart attack, and since we have no life insurance on me, he’s going to be sorry, but he just laughs and a day or two later does it again!

He is a hard worker, but he loves to play, too.  He is Robbie’s best playmate and buddy, and is always thinking of games or making little toys that Robbie would like.  Rob can hardly wait for Daddy to come home, and his face just lights up when he hears his voice.  Our grandchildren think that Grandpa is the best playmate, as well.  They love, love, love to roughhouse with him—and in fact, when they know they are going to see him again in a few weeks, they start exercising to “get in shape to roughhouse with Grandpa!”  They love to play “Red Light, Green Light,” “Simon Says” and “Hide and Seek,” among other things.  “Hide and Seek” is fun to watch as the grandkids huddle en masse to look for Grandpa, knowing that when they finally find him, he is going to jump out and scare them!

I wish he had more time to “play” the things he likes to do—hunting, fishing, running…  Instead he is working hard to take care of his family and do for others.  He says he will never retire, and even if he could, I don’t think he would want to.  He’s worked from the time he was seven years old when he helped in his dad’s business, and responsibility and discipline are just a part of who he is. 

These are the things that will keep Bob younger than his years until the Lord takes him Home someday, I guess.  He will never be a rich man, but he is a happy man.  He has a happy life and a happy wife, and children and grandchildren who adore him.  The Lord saved him and changed the direction of his life almost forty-two years ago, and Bob has never stopped praising and thanking Him since.

The Bible says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  (Psalm 37:23)  When Bob gave his heart to Jesus in 1969, he also gave Him control over his life.  If any passage would explain Bob’s credo in life it would be this: “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.  Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:” (Psalm 37:3-7)

Through the years I have seen how Bob’s example and faith have influenced and inspired others.  Over and over again we have seen people come to him and say how his testimony, either in word or deed, years earlier made a difference in their lives.  Even unbelievers have commented on how they admired the strength and steadfastness of his convictions and his stand for the Lord.  Complete strangers have come up to him and asked if he is a Christian as they noticed his walk and his talk.  Bob is always humbled by such comments and reminded that people are always watching how we live our lives.  Proverbs 22:1 tells us, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”  Never underestimate the power of a good reputation!

Bob’s obedience and faithfulness helped shape our children into godly people who follow Him faithfully as well.  There can be no greater blessing than this to a Christian parent.  He will leave behind him a legacy that will be a blessing and inspiration for generations of our family to come, should the Lord tarry.  And someday he will hear God’s words to him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”

I am thankful for the helpmate the Lord has given me.  I may be feeling my almost-sixty years a lot more than he does, but having this young-at-heart man at my side (or sneaking up behind me!) will help keep me young at heart, as well!