Captive Audience

February 2015

Snowmageddon. Snowpacolypse. The Great Blizzard of 2015. Our little bitty 15 or 18 inches of snow is nothing compared to the northeast with their several feet of snow. Everyone around here is tired of looking at it and talking about it. The best thing about a snowstorm like this? It has given people the opportunity to help others. Mr. B came and got us for church. Our neighbor brought his tractor and plowed our driveway down for a second time so that (hopefully) we can get our car out today. People checking on folks to make sure they’re okay and have what they need.

I had an entire week, from Sunday to Sunday, here at home with no thought or hope of going anyplace. My husband is a teacher, so he didn’t (and couldn’t) go anyplace either. We enjoyed just being in each other’s orbit for a few days with all the outside stuff out of the picture. Reading quietly in the same room. Playing chess. Chatting over a meal we cooked together. Watching a movie. Shoveling snow. You might say we were a captive audience for each other. No place to run!

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me

Jesus, how can it be, He loves me, He is for me

I have Chris Tomlin’s song, Jesus Loves Me, running through my head this morning. Jesus brings me back to himself. His love overwhelms me. There is no place I can go to escape His love for me. And why would I ever want to escape the love of a Savior who gave His own life for mine?? I am (gladly) His captive audience!!

Click here to listen to Jesus Loves Me.

The featured image is the result of one of my activities while snowbound this past week. “Windows” is oil on linen board, 8 x 10

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The next big thing is here!

Back in late July, I wrote about the “next big thing” on my horizon post-retirement. You can read Cloud Nine here. At that time, it was just a possibility. But today it’s a reality!! The “next big thing” is here!! Tonight, I teach my first painting class at our local community arts center. I am over-the-moon excited! And much too nervous.

I’ve painted several renderings of the piece I’m instructing tonight, and I feel confident. But this is all new to me. Don’t get me wrong… I am comfortable in front of a group or a class. I’ve taught Sunday school, bible school, choirs, private piano and voice lessons, classrooms full of kids, lead trainings for hundreds of people. Standing and talking in front of people isn’t a problem if I’m discussing music, or the Family and Medical Leave Act. But Art? Painting? ALL NEW!!!!

I feel like a little kid at Christmas. Too excited for words, wondering what’s going to happen, how it will all turn out, but knowing it’s all good!!! And so very thankful and grateful for the opportunity! It’s gonna be a long day, but I’m going to use the time to get some paint on canvas. And think about how God shows his love and goodness to us in our everyday, walking-around lives.

The song in my head this morning is a children’s song, but I’m hearing the voice of my friend, Steve Griffin, singing it southern gospel style. This one is a FUN piece to play!!!

YES! Jesus loves me.
Yes! JESUS loves me
Yes! Jesus LOVES me.
The Bible tells me so!!

God shows us his love in little ways, every day. Jesus loves us. The bible tells us so. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Featured image: Poinsettia, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20. Teaching my own work in November!

Jesus LOVES the little children!!

It’s back-to-school time, but the only person going back to school is my teacher husband. Our youngest will go back to college for his senior year later this month, but the days are gone when we got THE LIST and spent the day at Wal-Mart, buying pencils, paper, scissors, glue and so much more. As much as I hated it then (I had at least three kids in school at all times) and as expensive as it was, I do miss that time with my kids and their excitement over all the new stuff, new teachers, new friends, new schools.

And while we prepare to send our kids back to school here, I can’t help but think of children elsewhere in our world… Places like Israel and Gaza, where they’re terrified and hungry and school is the last place they want to be because their schools are being bombed. Places like Iraq, where children are being tortured and killed, only because they are being raised Christian. And our own U.S./Mexican border, where kids are coming in droves to flee all the above and so much more, only to be met with hatred they can’t begin to understand. They are children, after all.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “A people without children would face a hopeless future.” So what are we doing to our kids?? I’m thinking of an old song (old because I learned it when I was in high school) called Bless the Beasts and the Children, recorded by The Carpenters (I said it was an old song!)

Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice

Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

It is obvious to me that, in the world we are living in right now, our children have no voice. They don’t get to pick what they want for dessert… They don’t even get to choose whether to eat or go hungry. They don’t get to decide whether or not they want to be murdered because their parents are trying to raise them to know and love Jesus. They have no choice about getting loaded on a boat or a truck and taken away from all they’ve known in the hope that they’ll stand a chance to survive… Only to be met by outraged privileged people screaming at them to go home.

Generations of us learned the children’s song “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world.” We learned that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for The Bible tells me so!” Was it wrong? Was Jesus errant when he said to “suffer the little children to come to me?” Was our Lord out of order when he talked about “the least of these?” I don’t think so. Now is our chance to step up to the plate and make a difference where we are. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Fill a dozen!! Sponsor a child through Compassion International. Volunteer at your local schools. Fill a baby bottle with your spare change for your local Crisis Pregnancy Center.

Whatever you decide to do, pray. Christians in Iraq have asked that we pray for protection, provision, and perseverance. And love your kids and grandkids with everything you have!

The featured image is the Arabic symbol Nun, which the radical group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria) is painting on Christian homes as a death mark, similar to the Star of David used by the Nazi regime.

Click here for information on Samaritans Purse and Operation Christmas Child
Click here for information on Compassion International
Click here for information on Crisis Pregnancy Resource Centers