Friday, June 26, 2015

Dietrich and Dickens, Music and Musiks

Alex H with the violin he colored during his sister's lesson :) 

Reading at the door waiting for CODA lessons.  

Ant's wings are amazing!!

Dickens makes me laugh so hard!

Finding this in my driveway may have been my favorite part of Sunday Evening's ice-cream party with the Musiks. Oh and the family is really nice too!! :)  

Look who ended up in the CSA fall brochure with little Ashlyn! :) 

Late night practice session in Pierce Chapel. 

Picnic at Northside

Banana Shake with Andrew and Sarah

Practicing this afternoon. Obviously, just practicing. 

This is what I felt like last night during an awesome workout with a friend. This is not what I felt like this morning when I got up. We'll just say I've been trying not to laugh all day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

(Mostly Food)

Clouds :) 

Pedagogy Sessions with Ms. Lisa

CODA recitals

Costco trip: so many summer colors!

Homemade carrot juice

Green smoothie in the making

Dinner at home with Kelsey

Kelsey playing "the" violin

Meanwhile, I got to enjoy a private concert!

Hymns on a friday night at Blackberry Market

My fiddlers at the Folk Festival.

Sunshine!!! (and carrot juice. That stuff is good!)

That strawberry smoothie was pretty good last night, so it reappeared for lunch today. 

Goodwill find! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Stained by the Cup

The first thing I remember about last Sunday is a comment my dear friend Lindsey made while we sat soaking in the first morning rays of Florida sunshine over a cup of tea. I still had curlers in my hair and my mind was running over the list of people I would see at service that day, cataloguing possibly appropriate responses to polite conversation and subconsciously planning exit strategies for every potentially awkward social situation. (This mostly involved mentally noting the location of all church restrooms.) I was already calculating the number of minutes I would have between services and dividing it into sections for lunch, walk and substantial nap.

Then Lindsey sighed and said something about how deeply excited and thankful she was that today was the Lord's day and that she got to go and be with God's people today. (I was really glad at that moment that the mental activity of the last paragraph had been occurring inside my head and not coming out of my mouth.) In response, I smiled and thought that I could certainly agree about being glad it was the Lord's day and knowing how much I needed to hear and respond to the Word preached. I didn't have time to process much more before heading upstairs to take the curlers out of my hair and grab my purse. But the topic wasn't to be forgotten or avoided.

The sermon text was from Psalm 42 and 43 which include verses like these:

"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" (Psalm 42:2)
"Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." (Psalm 43:3)
"Then I will go to the alter of God, to God my exceeding Joy." (Psalm 43:4)

These made my brain run along to other passages like these:

"I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory." (Psalm 63:2)
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the Living God.... For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psalm 84:1-2, 10)

Men and women of God in the scriptures hungered to be with God, together with his people, gathered in his place. The place itself is not important. But all places which represent and facilitate the gathering of God's people to worship and serve Christ become rightly sacred. And there in that place - those nondescript four walls with the simple cross at the front and matching hymn number boards on either side - I realized just how much I need the body of Christ, the church. Not just the word preached, but God's people gathered to worship, repent and care for each other. And I wanted to come back for more. I felt then what my Wheaton pastor said in church this morning, "for you singles, this is your family." How wonderful to realize that God has already fulfilled those beautiful words in Psalm 68:6, "God places the lonely in families." Families aren't always warm fuzzy places. Sometimes, because of sin in this fallen world, families fall apart altogether. But in the church family, our bond is not shared blood or even (ultimately) love for each other. Rather it is the blood of Christ and his love for us. We are all covered by that blood and held by that love. We have one Father and God over all who will never - never - let us go or abandon us or forget about us. And that God has commanded that we love one another.

I've found myself feeling especially alone and overwhelmed with the task of discipleship during the last few months. So much so that often I gave into laziness, lust and fear, seeking anywhere and everywhere for a "safe" place. Last Sunday, I found my safe place. Not 3722 Belfort Rd in Jacksonville Florida. My safe place is with the people of God. It's not comfortable. In fact it might be one of the most irritatingly nosy, disruptive, tiring places I could go. But it's safe. There we gather together, tired but expectant. We are seated with our collective unworthinesses at the Lord's table and fix our eyes at its head, Christ. He says once again through the word: "Do this in remembrance of Me." And we feast. Like the place which houses the people of God, the actual ingredients of the elements do not matter. But the Person and Work they represent are too beautiful for words and may God help us if we can partake of them without walking away changed. We take the bread with joyful trembling, knowing that we do not deserve the life it abundantly provides (John 6). And we stare together into the cup, given us by Christ, with those glorious words ringing in our ears "The blood of Christ, shed for you." I need that cup. I need to drink deeply of that cup until my lips are stained by the indescribably beautiful truth it contains. And I need to take this feast as often as possible with other forgiven sinners so that we can rise from the table, as one body, to sing with blood stained lips the inexhaustible praises of the Lamb whose bloody fountain is our freedom.

The Cup says to us as the Seraphim to the Prophet Isaiah, "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, your sin atoned for." That verse in Isaiah chapter 6 is followed almost immediately by the call: "Go and say to this people." To what people? To God's people. Our call is the same. The Cup does not touch our lips so that they may be sealed shut upon the blessing. Rather it cleanses, opens and marks them as a channel for God's truth - all week long. I need to feed "continually on [Christ] in [my] heart" so that I can process my own sinful nature and the sinful actions and attitudes of those around me with the grace of Christ, pointing to the holiness of Christ. I was so blessed and challenged by the humility and earnest hunger for the application of truth that I saw in the demeanor and words of so many at church last Sunday. When I heard them speak, I saw the stain on their lips. It was as if they passed the cup to me again and said, "Remember, remember, remember the signs." The body of Christ was in action. There in God's house, the lives and words of God's people added fuel to my flickering flame of desire for all other tastes - my words, thoughts, desires and actions - to be measured by the lingering taste of that holy feast in my heart.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Just a few glimpses into the many treasured moments in Florida over the last 5 days. The thoughts that accompany these pictures and the many moments not captured here are too numerous and interconnected to write down with a travel-tired brain, but I hope they find their way through my fingers in the next few weeks so that I don't forget them. For now, I'm just very, very grateful. (And missing the dear people left behind.)