You Never Know…

Our 18-year-old son plays Allegro from Symphony No. 2 by Louis Vierne in this video. (The real exciting part starts at 5 minutes in!) You never know what interests your children will have. They are mystery packages. But if you listen to them and watch them carefully, they will often tell you what they want to pursue. Will studied violin and percussion and piano, but at age 15, he became intent on studying pipe organ. After getting blown off by several church organists who were apathetic, we discovered a true teacher as well as performer who had an interest in our son as a student. It went from there. Will is currently a student at Wheaton Conservatory. He is going to be doing another concert in June here in Milwaukee. I will share details later.


Tom and his organist friend play this wonderful song, Jesus Paid it All. As we approach this time when Christians remember afresh what Jesus did for us, I hope  this is a blessing to you. Our son, Will, reminded me of these words taken from the text. The spirit of the music drives the meaning of the words home.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Remember When…

These Easter dresses from a Sears ad are from before my time back in 1962, but they brought back nice memories of dressing up for Easter Sunday. My sister and I wore those pink foam curlers at night to have curls in the morning.  The even older ad below the first one  features dresses I wish you could still find. The feminine look in dresses of days gone by is something a lot of us miss.  Back briefly in the 80’s you could find dresses that were similar, and I had one that resembled the top red one. The good old days.


Pause for a Smile Daily

Tom and I were watching a funny video last night about the part of Milwaukee we both know well. We got to laughing about it and related Milwaukee stereotypes and for several minutes, with Tom’s dry humor making things even funnier, Emmy just watched us in bewilderment, trying to figure out what was so funny.

It was invigorating physically and mentally to get a hearty laugh and for good reason. Laughing has health benefits. (Here’s a link about it.) In the tsunami of bad news we read and listen to, laughing is not always something we can do easily these days. I sometimes feel guilty when I do laugh. The world is in chaos, tragedies everywhere, outrages of every kind, psychos on the march with knives and bombs. The world is going to hell. How dare I sit here laughing? At least that’s the mentality I once had. Pedal to the metal, people. If you laugh, you must be a compromised Christian without a sense of the dire needs of the world. Hogwash.

I write this from a Christian perspective, and I mean this sincerely. If we honestly believe what we claim – that God is sovereign over all things, that we don’t need to live in fear, that we have a home in heaven and that we have a  friend in Christ who is always with us no matter how dark the night, we ought to have good reason for smiles and laughter.

If, however, Christians believe that we are  the ones responsible to wrestle others  away from the brink, that it’s up to us and our feverish efforts, that we must live unbalanced lives of service so that we and our families collapse from neglect and exhaustion, than don’t laugh. Don’t smile. Forward every horrible news story from Worldnetdaily and Drudge to as many friends and family as you can so that they can be urged to buy canned peas and water purification tablets. (I’m not against water purification tablets and canned peas, please, I’m making a larger point here.) Play the Grim Reaper. Go ahead. Your “faith” will be most attractive to others.

I am happy today. Not because the sun is out, it isn’t. Not because caffeine has kicked in, it hasn’t yet. But I do believe God is  ultimately in control of this planet, and that whatever time we have here is best spent modeling balanced lives for our kids and once in a while enjoying a really good laugh.  The head down on the desk, tears streaming kind of laughter. Try it.  It’s catching.

Things I laughed about yesterday.

Emmy was playing dentist and placed a doll blanket around my neck.  After examining my teeth with her flashlight, she told me to watch out for eating “raw ice cubes”, because they could make my teeth rot. She also recommended new “taco flavored” or “banana flavored” toothpastes. I’m going with the taco kind.

The Starbucks Race Together campaign’s massive backfiring has engendered a number of hilarious videos in response. One of them in particular was worth watching. You just have to see the humorous side of political correctness in this nutty culture to save your sanity.

My friends on Facebook make me smile multiple times a day. The different kinds of people on my list is a little mind-boggling at times, but make for a lot of fun each day. Who says social media friends aren’t real? They make for some real laughs, that’s for sure.

Have a wonderful day, and don’t forget to smile at least once. (I came across this old pic of Emmy in her femme du monde mode. ;-) )  Em’s a constant source of smiles. At her suggestion, we got into a bit of New Year’s Eve photo fun waiting for Tom to come home. Yes, her hat really lights up.




Somebody With a Soul

In this cold world where there is so much loneliness,
so much apathy and so little kindness,
we can be different.

Many years ago in high school on Valentine’s Day, I turned from my locker and a boy was standing there. He was one of those kids who was treated badly all the time. He had a way of dressing and speaking that made him a target. I watched him get smashed between a wall and a mean kid’s desk one time, and he was really hurt. Nobody liked him. At all. There was no cause for this abuse other than the stupid, mindless, bestial cruelty that so often springs from adolescent hearts.

Standing there by my locker he held out a small wooden plaque with a valentine shellacked on it.”I made this for you in my basement,” he said simply.

I was only 16 at the time, but his work on that piece of wood for me touched my heart. I accepted his plaque and thanked him for it. Several kids saw what he had given me and tried to get me to laugh about it behind his back. It wasn’t funny, and I didn’t laugh.

Every one of us can probably recall a time in our lives when we felt alone, felt like we were on the outside looking in while longing to be valued in some friendly context. Maybe there are readers who feel this way now. Rejection is some of the worst pain you can experience.

Many times the isolating work I did in the past and my unique circumstances in life growing up in an evangelical para-church ministry caused that sense of loneliness and the longing to fit in somewhere. Let me tell you, I understand.

All I can say is this: Whenever an opportunity comes along that you can salute a fellow human soul on this journey of life, don’t pass it up. People don’t need pity or fake concern, they need to be treated like human beings with feelings and with souls. It isn’t complicated. Someday you may find yourself needing that salute from a fellow human. Remember that.


Wombat Therapy

A friend posted this video today, and I had to smile at this little wild creature enjoying the company of a human and the human enjoying the wombat. I hope it brings a smile to you.  Interesting how even wild animals can recognize kindness and friendship. (I should add that this little guy looks domesticated. Apparently they can be pets. I need to look into getting a wombat. :-)


This time last year, my sister, Lisa, had the Boston Marathon on her mind. (Again.) That’s Lisa in the photo in red. After writing my earlier post, I thought of what an amazing athlete and an amazing person she is. She also has just been accepted into a graduate program. A true Norse woman!