Friday, December 11, 2015

Who We Are Waiting For: The Rescuer

We all need to be rescued from something.  I need to be rescued from gluttonous eating and checking my phone while I'm with someone else. Last month I was not able to swallow or talk well, so I needed to be rescued from being malnourished and the limitations of myasthenia gravis.

My children need to be rescued from the agony of defeat when playing a family game.
  
My friend needs to be rescued from the fear of her son possibly having a bad infection. 

I have many, many friends who need to be rescued from anxiety, self-consciousness, and fear. 

The list can go on, I'm sure you can relate to something you need to be rescued from. 

We have a Rescuer. 

This sermon by Jared Mellinger is my initial source for our Lord being our rescuer. Jared highlights the excerpt from Acts 12 where Peter was rescued from prison; "and the chains fell off his hands" while he was basically sleepwalking.

So, I'm not literally in prison, but as I go about my day, my body and mind have limitations. We all do, and this is a good, yet trapping theory.  Good, in that we need to build a habit of reliance on the Lord's infinite power to give us all understanding and strength we need, and trapping, in that we have to get over our pride and ask Him for help.  

Here's an example in parenting:   
This is concert week, and we have our children in Suzuki Piano and string lessons. Both children are working on Jingle Bells for their concert this weekend. David, 5, grunted in frustration, "I'm asking God to help me play the right notes and it's just not happening!!" Shoulders slumped, defeat. Banging the keys. Aware of his limit. Consumed with frustration, bordering on head-hitting anger.
David, you just sat down! You can do this! You are five years old, so they playing it 5 times, and see how it goes by the fifth time. Or you can just give up. But I'd love to hear it after the 5 times. God can help you calm down and practice it, not magically 'poof' you into playing the right notes!" I cheered him on and held up 5 fingers until all the times were played. 
He did it! He was rescued from the anger, the agony of his limit, and the daunting idea of practicing.

So he was rescued from his pride of not being able to do it right away and we know from Proverb 16:18, Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

He was rescued from anger, and we know from the Proverb 27:4, "anger is overwhelming" and does not produce the righteousness of God. 

He was rescued from a false view of God that he can be called upon, like a fairy god mother, to zap the right notes into his fingers. He is [momentarily] free of the idea that you can sloth around doing nothing, and then expect to produce something great. Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15

Chris Tomlin has an apt rendition of John Newton's Amazing Grace, I'd meditate on the chorus: "my chains are gone, I've been set free."

 
So, who are you waiting for? 
 Yourself to buck up and get it right?
A fairy god mother to just make it all go away and poof you into a fancy carriage?
Or a super powerful Rescuer who can save you from your daily battles with pride, anger, gluttony, chains, oppression, anxiety and an infinite list shackles. 
"And the chains fell off his hands." Yours can, too.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Who We are Waiting For: The Refuge




Ambush.  Dread.  They’re coming.
Are you waiting for the refuge?
Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Psalm 64:1
My prayers are usually: preserve me, preserve my family, preserve my friends.
It is a rare occasion that I pray: preserve me from dread.
Preserve me from the enemy?
Preserve me from dread of the enemy finding me. 
Preserve me from my to-do list?
Preserve me from dreading my to-do list.
Preserve me through my upcoming surgery?
Preserve me from dreading my upcoming surgery.
Preserve me from failing this exam.
Preserve me from dreading failing this exam.
So often our minds and emotions can be led by dread,  and it is exciting to know that the Lord is able to preserve us from dreading something.  He is able to preserve us from fear.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers,  who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows,  shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear.  Psalm 64: 2-4
This is happening around the world. It must have been throughout the history of the world. We are pretty aware of it now with some global and much, much, manipulated, national media so to be rescued from dread is consistently an apt prayer.

whowearewaitingfortherefugeday2pic2










Who would do such horrible things?
They hold fast to their evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly, thinking, “Who can see them?”  They search out injustice, saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.” For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.
But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.  They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads. Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done. Psalm 64:5-9
We could never know the depths of man’s heart.  But God knows and can turn anyone’s heart towards Him.
Lord, as you snatched up the apostle Paul, a major persecutor of your people, snatch up hearts who do not like justice, who are unmerciful, and forgive them.  Fix their eyes of  Jesus, their refuge. Teach them in the depths of their heart to love justice.
Can God possibly do this?  Yes. He can.
He is able to be a refuge not only to you, and me, but to every heart of every member of evil. 
Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult! Psalm 64:10

A song that will serve you well is I Have a Shelter from Sovereign Grace Music.  The song articulates the place of refuge very well.

Let’s sharpen each other to these truths.

Take Refuge.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Who We are Waiting For: The Shepherd

I’m feeling compelled to identify a name of Jesus for each day until Christmas. Hopefully, this will give me more insight to the reality of Jesus as a person, taking on roles just as any of us would. So here it goes.

Whoarewewaitingforday1
When the same Psalm comes to you multiple times in a few days span,  it’s time to pay attention.
Psalm 23 had this repetitive effect on me throughout the month of November. My friends would start texting me a song or tell me excerpts from Psalm 23, and my vivid recollections of being a short little woolly sheep, not able to see over a fence and trusting in a watchful Shepherd came flooding back.
My favorite messenge about Psalm 23 was when one of my sweet aunts wrote it out, to me.
Joanne, The Lord, your Papa, is your Shepherd, you shall not be in want! Your Papa makes you lie down in green pastures, your Papa leads you beside quiet waters. He WILL restore your soul!! Joanne, Your papa guides you in paths of righteousness for His name sake! Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you, Joanne, will fear no evil! For your Papa is with you; His rod and His staff will comfort you. Your Papa prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies. He anoints your head with oil; your cup, Joanne overflows! Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, Joanne, and you WILL dwell in the house of the Lord forever!!  Wanted to bless you today with some of God’s precious promises love you Joanne!
Please, insert YOUR name and know that these promises and truths are for YOU!
From your Father,
who knows you,
guides you,
and is your Shepherd!
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Revelation 7:17 ESV
How can I respond in the moments I am not laying down in a green pasture and being still?
Lord, what do you have for me to do right now, today?  Peel away busy tasks that would distract from what I really need to do.
How can I respond when my heart palpitates before I even have a chance to take a thought captive?  
Lord, please put a song in my heart before it palpitates, lead my soul beside a still water, a still thought, a still mind.  Dissipate the lie that spurs me to anxiety. 
And sometimes I text a friend or my hubby to pray for me ♡
How can I grow in maturity and in community?
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.  1 Peter 5:1-4 ESV
A great song to meditate on. The Lord Is by songwriters Bob Kauflin, Pat Sczebel performed by vocalist Devon Kauflin from the Album PSALMS, Sovereign Grace Music.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Do You Feel Alone?


One of the most tricky places to be in is to think you are alone.  No one understands, no one knows.  No one cares. No one could possibly be going through this.  Just me.  Alone.

Thankfully, this thinking is not true and I'd like to offer 4 pearls of wisdom you can speak to yourself. You can thrive in a community that comes along side you, suffers with you, and you can know that the universe is not complete without you, just as you are.

I enjoyed teaching this "alone" feeling to high school actors who played the roles of Jojo and Horton in a production of Seussical the Musical.  I had the students write down names of great minds of the past--inventors, visionaries, and people who were famous for something great.  They then had to figure out how each person must have felt proposing his or her idea to others. Like Leonardo da Vinci,  Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell, how must have they felt when someone rejected their ideas or told them they would fail? Students wrote their own list of inventors and came up with their own ideas. They began to understand. Their acting transformed.




Questioning lunacy and daunting sadness, Alone in the Universe takes these quiet struggles to a meeting of good friends.  Press play and read on.




1.  You are not the only one going through this.
Your problem is not unique to you.  The world does not have a vendetta against you and God is not seeking to punish you and force you to tread water in the sea of problems. Although it may feel like it.  In God's amazing creativity, he has designed people around you to build you up.  

The most influential people in the world have been initially rejected, some for their whole lives, for their ideas, stance and dreams.  While rejected by mankind, what if they had given up?

What kinds of feelings would they have to fight through to get back on track with what they actually wanted to accomplish?
2. You can find community.
Each of us have our own sufferings, seen or unseen, and until we start talking about them we will never know this fact.  If you never talk to people transparently, you will not know their struggles, and breed your own discontentment thinking they have a perfect life.

This becomes a vicious cycle and you can be tricked into thinking you are alone.

I find this community by connecting with moms who are intentional in their parenting. It surprises me each time their children have outbursts, potty troubles, teenage hormones, and that other moms get upset.  "Really, you flip out?"   
Yes, I flip out.  
Yes, I need breaks. 
No, I don't always know what to say.  
My kid just tantrum-ed in front of my husband's colleague in the grocery store and an old lady passing said Santa wouldn't bring him toys for Christmas, to which he growled at her and screamed, "I hate you!"
These little lines can be jewels as we start to recognize that no one has "arrived" at the perfect-mom-wonder-woman position.
As one mom shares, others start to share, and soon enough, I have a little network of texters and pray-ers partnering with me.  A week can go by, and the struggle is conquered, in both my friends' lives and my own.

Even more so, my thinking is transformed from dwelling in loneliness into serving and praying for others.  By definition, I find community!
Horton and Jojo found each other, sang candidly about their struggles, and ended up inspiring each other.  Are we not called to do the same?

There are many cyber and physical resources to find people around you.  When in doubt, I recommend starting with your local church and school.  This has been a great starting point for me to get plugged into community when relocating to new areas, where I initially knew nobody.
3.  You can find comfort in "post-euphoria letdown."
There is this terrible letdown that comes after getting up in front of a crowd and performing publicly.  This can be delivering a confident speech, singing, acting, or persuading.  Despite the fact that you just connected with perhaps hundreds of people, the reality is that you then end up going home and to bed like everyone else on the planet.   I can totally sympathize with the desire for partying, late nights, and celebratory debauchery!  After an adrenaline rush, where you are the top and center, there is this tremendous need to keep that feeling going, and as the rush goes away, then letdown comes on.  You are quickly reminded of your basic human needs to eat and sleep, just like everyone else. 
The fantastic ceases and mental blackout is likely.  Similar to bipolar disorder, the temporary mania fades to a temporary depression and possibly, severe loneliness.
If I'm the one in front of the crowd, where did my talent or speaking come from?
Did I give myself personality and public grace at birth? If my mind has shifted from "God spoke through me today" to "I'm freakin' amazing!" I have passed from "honored to serve and humble" to "self sufficient and arrogant."  
 Even then, we have somewhere to turn.
Thankfully,  ". . . we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Heb 4:15 

He will make our darkness light.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:11-12
Sadness, loneliness, regret, and worldly highs can all be taken to the throne of Grace, where Jesus is interceding on your behalf.  A prayer starting point could be: "Lord, thank you for the performance.  Thank you for using me.  Help me rest in assurance that you will continue to grow me and use me as an instrument . . ." and throw in your own heart's values and concerns. 
4. You do not have it the worst of all.
The most glorious example I can find of rejection and world-changing leadership is the rejection of Jesus when he walked the earth and was crucified.  Experiencing ultimate rejection and curse, bearing the hatred and sin of the entire world, He rose from the dead and has become the cornerstone of hope as death was conquered.  We run the world's calendar by his life and all of creation follows his leadership.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  Psalm 118:22
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:11-12
~

I can't wait to hear about all you are hoping to do and the greatness you have accomplished after conquering loneliness!  Inspiring others with your testimony will change even more lives.
Share it with me, too, so I can rejoice with you!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Favors a Challenge

The blog challenge, a contest to blog each day for the month of February, comes to a close tonight.  My capacity to accomplish work never ceases to amaze me, and I'm grateful for the push of the blog challenge to build my capacity of what I can achieve in the realm of blogging.

We had a wonderful party at Sky Zone today, with many, many children; 47.  Thirty families, celebrating 7 years with our Naomi.  Several bubbles of our community came together: school friends, work friends, church friends, neighbor friends.  My sister and brother-in-law even came down with my nieces.   Nora is one of those brilliants who can pull creativity out of thin air, move an army, and whip party favors into shape.  She can do many more things, and is an amazing mother, to boot. 


So, as my final post for the blog challenge, here is the poem that Nora and I wrote, with help from  the peanut gallery (our husbands).  The poem accompanied the favors for the party (which were clearly disjointed until Nora's intervention and plenty of laughs this morning). 

Naomi really wanted to give every kid a sewing kit.  In my effort to not crush her vision, the family basket was an eclectic mix: sewing kit, spatula, whisk, notepad, pencil, eraser, adorable basket with balloon (to simulate a hot air balloon, since the party was at Sky Zone), and this poem.


Bon Voyage, February!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Black Clouds and Pandemics

Being on-call is like a pandemic in our house.  There is a heated moment when you get to the middle or near-end of a strategy game, especially a game we have, which is actually called Pandemic.  In this game, the world is simulated as having a pandemic outbreak of a disease, and the players are the health team trying to stop the pandemic and find cures. 

We don't have an outbreak of disease in our actual household, thank goodness, we have an outbreak of the beeper going off throughout the night when Mike is on-call. Call days are clearly marked on our calendar.  "CALL" is exactly what I write on the top of each day Mike is on call; I dread it, he dreads it.  But it is a day set aside, part of the gig, and patients do not wait until the glossy hours of 9-5 to get sick, so someone has to be available.  We both know this full well, but this does not go without taking a toll on the household.

As a wife, it is almost impossible to relax until the call has been taken, the husband has recovered, and is awake and fully functional after the whiplash of getting back to daytime has worn off, and after the rehashing of the "black cloud." "Black cloud" is a big buzz word.  Apparently, Mike and his friend Brendon have black clouds that hover over their nights where they are on call, and that is where everyone gets really sick, just for them.  These two special doctors who are victimized by the black cloud, and their very gray skies leak right into the household. 

Brendon's wife and I don't believe in the "black cloud;"  even bringing up the "black cloud" in discussion is not helpful.  They are convinced, at least they say, that they are just going back through the last few calls they had, and "are on a bad streak" or "it only happens to them." As the war stories light up over double dates, I figure, at least they each have someone to bond with about this treacherous thing.

I'm not getting into whether a black cloud exists over these doctors or not.  I think many people believe this phenomenon, many who have thought to themselves:
  • I can't do anything right
  • This always happens to me
  • What is wrong with me that this keeps happening?
  • I must be doing something wrong!
  • Why me?
I will offer some plans and play-outs that may relieve these questions:
  • The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Prov 16:9
  • O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
    You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
        you discern my thoughts from afar.
    You search out my path and my lying down
        and are acquainted with all my ways.
    Even before a word is on my tongue,
        behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
    You hem me in, behind and before,
        and lay your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
        it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalm 139:1-6
  •  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
  • 31 For who is God, but the Lord?
        And who is a rock, except our God?—
    32 the God who equipped me with strength
        and made my way blameless.
    33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer
        and set me secure on the heights.
    34 He trains my hands for war,
        so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Psalm 18:31-34
 
What are your own personal black clouds or household pandemics? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Glorious Gray Hair

There should be a mandate that we speak with people with gray hair frequently, with depth, quality time, and purpose. Of course, I waited until I was 100 miles away from parents and grandparents to ponder what wisdom was said from our family members and friends who have gray hair, and now we are 200 miles away. Please know, I do not intend to say "gray hair" with any kind of degradation, but rather as a compliment, and a position of esteem, knowing that my baselines are: 
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. Prov 16:31  
The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. Prov 20:29

In a culture where we try to cover up the gray hairs by getting our hair dyed, shaving heads,  putting in highlights, and ripping out the darn crooked coarse strands when they pop up during a quarter-life crisis, there has to be something said for the life learned and the wisdom of experience that comes through the grays. We are also in a culture where we prize self-sufficiency and independence, so much that we have allowed our enabled-self to think we have no need for access wisdom or counsel, so why listen to them? We are fine on our own.  I got this.  I have my friends.  I'm good.

I love to glean from those with gray hair and I (generally) treasure their words.  With 5 words they can say what my 30 year old friends say with 100.   With a few words they can silence a negative thought, calm a situation, and perspective comes quickly.  Although they may sleep more, their fewer hours awake are more productive than my "busy" multiplied hours.  They can read through a situation and thin-slice it, maybe because they lived the amount of time of my life two or three times over.  

How can we impress on the next generation the wisdom stored up in these great minds?  Shall we just tuck the minds away in homes or assisted living and have them "taken care of?" I would give up a lot to have our children be around gray haired people with consistency, especially their great grandparents.   I'm sure it would enhance their lives greatly.   

Have you been caught up in yourself and your own age group to a point where you belittle or tune out the older generations? I would encourage you to listen, ask questions, and seek perspective.  

Perhaps it will help you grow a few of your own little gray darlings.  Now, without vanity speaking, is that what you would want?  

I'm pretty sure I do.  Come on little grays, the tweezers are ready.  Is that vanity speaking? ;-)



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Moon Face

Welcome to my world.  My face has rounded out rather widely over the last week.  I only took one week off of going to the gym, because of a rapid heart rate and palpitations.  Then lovely side effect of the prednisone moon face has appeared. Chipmunk cheeks, oompa loompa, I'm sure you get the picture. 

I guess it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.  My friend Meghan asked me how I was feeling as David and I rushed in late for gymnastics class.  "Good! Yup, back to my old self of cramming lots of activities in and being late!"  I'm very grateful I'm able to function and take care of things and then some. Let's hope this continuea as I taper down the prednisone.  I know the moon face is a cosmetic thing, and hopefully temporary, but definitely better than not being able to talk and swallow. I know it would be better to stay off of "white" carbohydrates, and was that a slice of pizza I had today?  Yup. 

Just Begin: Well, back to a good routine this week; This was my second day out of four scheduled at the gym.  Kim, one of my trainers, was excellent in reminding me to look ahead and not back.  This is true.  As over-thinking and moon-facing leads to vanity, hopefully this medicine regimen will lead to continued stable health.   I was able to complete my entire routine, including split squats, single arm bench presses, the right amount of band assisted chin ups, and more.

Hoping to keep this up.  Let's look ahead and stop dwelling on the moon face.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Musical Child's Foundation

David's cello teacher is fantastic.  Barb encompasses many ways I would like to be as a teacher.  One of her best attributes is her ability to analyze how her teaching has worked, how to critically evaluate the results of her method, and how to design and execute a plan to best educate any child as a musician.  Not only that, but she is great with David. He started to read bass clef music today after a few months of flash cards.  Traditional music teachers often argue that Suzuki students cannot read music. Since I started 400+ instrumental music students in this traditional way and I am now intrigued with these different strategies.   

Bottom line without a lot of depth: As parents, we should be playing music for our children all the time.  Classical in the background and Suzuki CDs for their instrument as a habit.  The more they listen, the more they feel and internalize.  Then, whatever level they are playing at, they are able to feel the music and have vision for the end result because they have already internalized it.  Just as we have internalized our native language, we have been hearing it executed accurately since birth, and once we began to talk, we already know what our speaking voice should sound like.  

What do I do in our home?
I usually have WRTI on in the background.  It is a good station because the news comes on every hour, classical music is played 6am-6pm and jazz from 6pm on.  Just as the day's hectic parts wind down to dinner, jazz kicks up the atmosphere to a fun level.  I believe I started this habit when Naomi was a baby.  I doubt that any child with experiences like this will grow to be tone-deaf adults.  David has been listening to the viola Suzuki CD for two years before starting cello (because we listened when Naomi started), and has an incredible sense of pitch and can sing through all of book 1 with silly antics and crazy voices.  Naomi learned to sing in tune within a year of playing viola.

We have a very basic morning routine. Kids: Wake up, get dressed, and play an instrument. Their little brains get moving from the get go and they have ownership over their independence.  The worst is waking up and not knowing what you are supposed to do next, so this just gives a little plan and gets their brains moving.  Not to mention, live music and applause in the morning brightens up the whole house.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Director's Note for a Birthday

When Naomi was born, I was in production of Beauty and the Beast with Marple Newotwn High School.  This was one of my favorite jobs.  I was directing a high school musical and this was my first go at it! When I found out I was pregnant and the show opened a week after my due date, I was even more excited.  Yeah, sounds a bit crazy, but I loved the many aspects of directing a musical and was up for the challenge.  I was fascinated watching the vision of the scenery come to construction, the notes in the score become the characters' thoughts in sound, the lighting and sound cues transform the house into a new world, the moments of "aha!" when students understood their character enough to draw the audience in, and the Disney-cry moments when it really all came together.  We took Naomi to the show when she was a few days old, against medical advice but with plenty of drugs.  I could not tolerate not being there and at least catching a glimpse of what it could all look like.  It was excellent. Standing ovation. Full house. Energy and life. 

My director's note usually gleans from life-truths that are found within the script, and even today we listened to the score of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Seussical the Musical.  All four of us enjoy singing along.  Mike takes on "If I Can't Love Her" with all heart and I can't help but sing along with Belle in her many glorious moments.  Amazing Mayzie and Amazing Gertrude are completely fun for me to sing, and I love especially "All for You." 

So, today on Naomi's 7th birthday, I will offer a director's note for a birthday: 

We teach her to find the beauty within herself and her others.  We teach her to work hard and lead her through routines that will set a foundation for her days. We encourage her ideas and creativity and remind her of her beautiful mind.  That she was created with exceptional gifts, unique only to her and to no one else in the universe.  Likewise, each of her friends and her brother, and each of them have gifts unique to themselves.  In light of that, comparing herself to her friends or brother is not necessary or helpful because she was not created or made in light of them, or with them in mind.  She was created uniquely, to fulfill the purposes that God has intended for her life. As she has Psalm 139 memorized, she can glean from the truths that she is fearfully and wonderfully made with a knowledge so high that it is unattainable. 

I would hope that from Mayzie she would learn to follow through on responsibilities and refrain from flaunting her tail.  From Gertrude, that she would be content in the way she was created and from the Cat in the Hat remind herself frequently, how lucky she is.  From Gaston, to turn away from arrogant men and that a hostile person produces strife.  From Lumiere and Cogsworth to be hospitable and timely.  From Mrs. Potts to love even the chips in the ones she cares for.  From Belle that she would not be deceived with appearances and look to the beauty in all those she encounters.  From Jojo, that she would know her dreams and follow them, having confidence in her ideas even when others do not. From Horton, how to protect and nurture, and stand up for what is right.  From the music and scores, how the soul can be touched on earth.  From directors and teachers, that following authority is a good thing.  From singing, that she can be released from earthly stresses.  From singing, that she would commune with God and know that she joins angel voices when she sings, for there is great singing and music in heaven.

Happy Birthday, Nomi!  Break a leg. We love you!