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As much as I love music, I just backed out of a choir performance.  The governing body of the Presbyterian Church is meeting in St. Louis in 5 weeks.  They asked for volunteers for a big choir.  We had to promise to learn all the music and make a regional and a dress rehearsal. Oh, and we aren’t going to tell you how much music or when these rehearsals are.

The last of the music arrived yesterday. Ten pieces.  Ten.  There is no way we can learn it without sacrificing the music for our own services unless we schedule another rehearsal every week.  The regional rehearsal is the same day as our family reunion.  If I go to the rehearsal, I’ll miss a day of family time with my father-in-law and the cousins and all their stories.

This choir gig was looking like something else altogether.  But I had said I was going to do it.

Fortunately, I sit next to the men.  Specifically, I sit next to my son.  Yesterday, his engineering class had to present their hovercrafts before the class. It had been a crazy amount of work but the four students who gathered on my back patio had a blast, building, waiting for glue to dry and presenting the hover craft. My son was the pilot and he stepped out in front of the group wearing a pirate hat.  His motto has always been have fun or why bother.

When the choir director held out this second packet of music I made eye contact with my son.  One arched eyebrow was all the question I needed.  Does this still sound like fun?

The crazy part is I almost didn’t let myself back out.  I had made a commitment.  But so had more people than they need.

So given the fact that I have way too much on my plate, I turned my music.  Honestly?  I felt a weight lift.

Purpose and joy.  I need to remember that.  Maybe I need to go find that pirate hat?

–SueBE

 

 

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This right here is how I see Miss Ruth.  She’s always there to cheer someone else on no matter what is going on in her own life.

I don’t know that I always manage to pull it off but I do have my moments.  The boys don’t often get me to camp with them for good reason.  On one scout camp out, a huge thunderstorm struck during the night.  Several camp grounds were evacuated but not ours although in the morning we saw how the wind had twisted the dining fly (think tent without walls).  Skirting the sides, I discovered that the camp box with the stove, coffee and doughnuts was unscathed.  Soon the scout master and I had coffee going and breakfast (doughnuts) set out for the crew.

The camp director couldn’t believe we were all in a good mood but seriously?  Coffee and doughnuts?  I almost never get doughnuts so I was happy.  And once we were fed, we got to work.

Sure, it would have been easy to be gloomy.  It always storms when they talk me into going camping.  Or the temperature drops below freezing.  I can focus on that or I can focus on friends and fun with the kids.

I’m not as good at it as Miss Ruth but sometimes I do manage to bring along a little sunshine.

–SueBE

We’ve all met them.  They are the people who leave you walking a little lighter with a smile on your face.

One woman asks about my dad every time I see her.  She was in the same care facility but only temporarily while she underwent rehab.

A teen at our church changes her hair color on a regular basis.  She’s never content with one color but combines them and greets me every week with a hug.

Human contact.  We all need it and it can really change your day.  I make a point of talking to the checker in the grocery story and the man who picks up the gymnastic mats after yoga.  It is amazing to see the light come into their faces because someone has seen an acknowledged them.

But I’m not spreading just any light.  I’m spreading His Light and Love and Joy.  It is my little way of helping the people I encounter have a bit of hope in their hearts.

–SueBE

This is a brutal time of the year for many people.  Reduced daylight.  The stress of the holidays and seasonal spending which can exacerbate financial woes.  Loneliness and more.

As much as I don’t love the busy-ness, I love Christmas music no matter how insipid my 18-year-old tells me it is.  Lights?  I love a well-lit tree.  Manger scenes?  Stars?  Cookies?  I’m your girl!

But I try to have a care for those around me who are less in love with the holiday season.  I keep my eyes open for people who may not have plans for Christmas day.  Our table seats 8 or 10 if we decide we really  like each other.  And you can always add auxiliary tables.

I do my best to share hope, to reflect light – especially those awesome Christmas lights.  Spread joy.  Fill the world with His Blessings.

–SueBE

 

This coming Saturday, I have to remember to set aside my less wonderful yoga pants.  Why?  Because I’m going to spend the morning painting faces at our church’s Christmas preschool breakfast.

Hard core introvert that I am, I love painting faces especially when it involves children.  They love being the focus of your attention of that short while and coming out of it with something unique and special.  And I have to tell you that it makes a big impact on their parents too.

Spend a little time today focusing on someone else.  Listen to what they want and need.  Share Christ’s joy.  I’m not going to tell you that every encounter will end with a smile, but those that do will brighten your day as well.  It’s like candle light that way.

–SueBE

Today, I’d like to challenge each and every one of you.  Call out the beauty that you see.  

Yes, we need to see what is wrong in this world before we can change it.  But if we dwell on the negative?  If we focus on the hate?  We lose hope.

And we lose more than hope.  We lose Light.  Not that Christ turns from us, and maybe this isn’t even true for everyone, but me?  I lose sight of the Light. I lose that feeling of warmth and His Love.

As with so many things, you need to maintain a balance.  Yes, you need to be aware of what is imperfect and flawed and needs to change.  But you also need to hold onto what is right and good.

With that in mind?  These two ladies I work with here?  Lori and Ruth, thank you for holding up the Light for all of us to see.

–SueBE

 

Choose what? Choose joy! 

As often happens, Lori’s post spoke to me.  Our family has known a great deal of stress lately with my MIL’s hospitalization, emptying her house and moving her to St. Louis (in one week), cleaning out my father’s house another week, and my son not getting to go to the college of his choice.

In the midst of all this, I got one of those calls.  Alex needed a ride.  Oddly enough, my son’s name isn’t Alex, but Alex and his older brother are friends of my son. Their mom died this winter and dad got divorced this spring.  Good bye, Mom.  Good bye, Stepmom.  Dad found a new job but he’s working retail hours with retail pay. I found out what this means when I fed the boys mac-n-cheese.  It’s good but it isn’t pick-me-up-off-the-floor good.  Apparently they’ve been living on pizza rolls.

As my grandmother would say, that got my German up.  I’ve fed them three times in the past week and they’re on a weekend trip now with my husband and son. Alex is comfortable enough now to ask me for things himself, instead of going through my son, and even teases me about being short.

Amidst all of this, I made it to choir practice on Thursday.  It is our last practice for the summer because our director may be facing hand surgery.  She’s scared and stressed and it showed.  When she asked several of us to sing solos this summer, I knew how to make her smile.  I suggested songs from the Veggie Tales.

Our choir director had never heard the Vegie Tales so we sang various songs for her.  We learned that one soprano does a spot on Larry Boy imitation. She sang Oh Santa.  Another soprano sang The Hairbrush Song.  I launched into Terrors of the Sea (We’re Vikings). By the time we were done, everyone was in stitches.  Seriously, you’d have thought we’d been drinking if you didn’t know how silly we can be.  Even when feeding extra boys and facing surgery.

God gives us laughter and we’re silly not to use it.  Laugh and feel closer to the God who made me, at 5’8”, the short one in the house.  God really does have a sense of humor.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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