Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
One of the things that Larry and I have in common is our love of singing. While in our respective high schools, we were each in select choirs that sang difficult pieces. In the very auditorium where we were headed to, Larry sang with his visiting high school and qualified for the All-State choir. These days, we LOVE to sing together in church! I knew that he would enjoy this concert and we called to get some free tickets when we heard about it. Incidentally, upon enlisting at 18, Larry was promised that he would get an audition with the Navy choir but sadly, that never happened.
For most of the songs the choir broke up into small groups who moved with terrific choreography as they sang, like the three ladies who performed " Bugle Boy" as the Andrews Sisters used to. A small group of men put on a Temptations or Four Seasons skit and sang numbers from the 60's like "Big Girls Don't Cry". Some of the guys had perfect Falsetto voices and could really hit the notes in " Oh What A Night." They did a Soul Spiritual song and put on an act from an Opera in Italian in costumes that was hilarious.
The very last song was "My Country Tis' of Thee" sang by the only Black fellow who was at least 6'4", had a very rich, deep voice and gave it his all in the most compelling way as he sang the words " sweet land of Liberty"....He interpreted it in a Black Gospel church choir kind of way that was fabulous! This concert was one beautiful emotional ride and stirred our patriotism further by continually saluting the Vets who are serving or who have served, especially those now disabled. What a gift!!!!! The kids loved it as much as we did! Additionally, it is always a privilege and a pleasure to spend time with Mom and Dad!
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende is something that I've had on the shelf for years but have never read. It is an Oprah's Book Club Selection. This story is about an English girl growing up in Chile during the 1800's. Eventually, disguised as a young man, she follows her first love to San Francisco at the peak of the Gold Rush. This book was very exciting and describes well the state of affairs at that time when the world was hit with gold fever. Speculation, hardships and the unfortunate reality of vice were a part of the story.
Son of Charlemagne is a young adult's book that John had to read for a book report so I read it, too. It was written by Barbara Willard who has authored a lot of living history books that I have enjoyed. It focuses on the story of the famous king Charlemagne (Charles the Great) who spread Christianity (sometimes at sword-point) throughout the Roman Empire which now includes modern day Europe. It described the sacrifices he made personally to further Christianity like sending his two youngest sons to be little kings in far off territories. It definitely shows some of the bad decisions he made along the way, also. Like the previous two I just mentioned!
Now I am on a Jane Austin kick, revisiting some great books. I just finished rereading Northanger Abbey, and have started Persuasion (thanks, Aunt Catherine). I hope to purchase a brand new book called Second Impressions written by a Middleburg woman who has written what she describes as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I am looking forward to it.
While recovering from his surgery, Larry read these two books which he really enjoyed. He found that Civil War Soldiers by Reid Mitchell, blasted some myths that he had heard about the
Northern soldiers and their reasons for fighting the war.
The Battle of the Crater is another history book co-written by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen. I was thrilled to find this at Christmastime for Larry because I have heard him talk about this incident many times. It is a wild true story about some Union soldiers from Pennsylvania who used their mining experience to construct a very long underground tunnel under the Confederate encampment and filled it with four tons of blackpowder. They set off the fuse (dangerous for the poor guys who had to do it) and it exploded, blasting out a HUGE crater that can still be seen today near Richmond, Virginia.
Monday, February 13, 2012
I spent some time copying some Bible verses at the table while the kids did their schoolwork. I would like to keep improving at this fun way to write. You never know when this skill might come in handy!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
The Church celebrates on this date every year "The Presentation of the Lord", which is also called Candlemas, because the pure beeswax candles used for worship are blessed on this day. I wanted to share this quote from Luke 2: 22 which is the Gospel reading for this day (quoted from the Magnificat).
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and The Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
" Now Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles; and glory for your people Israel".
The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, " Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted - and you yourself a sword will pierce - so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
Pope Benedict XVI had some commentary on this special feast day which I am quoting directly out of the Magnificat, vol 13, no.12 February, 2012.
"On today's feast we contemplate the Lord Jesus, whom Mary and Joseph bring to the Temple " to present him to the Lord". (Luke 2:22). This Gospel scene reveals the mystery of the Son of the Virgin, the consecrated One of the Father who came into the world to do his will faithfully. (Heb 10: 5-7)
Simeon identifies him as " a light for revelation to the Gentiles" (Luke 2:35) and announces with prophetic words his supreme offering to God and his final victory. (Luke 2: 32-35). This is the meeting point of the two Testaments, Old and New. Jesus enters the ancient temple of God: he comes to visit his people, thus bringing to fulfillment obedience to the Law and ushering in the last times of salvation.
It is interesting to take a close look at this entrance of the Child Jesus into the solemnity of the Temple, in the great comings and goings of many people, busy with their work: priests and Levites taking turns to be on duty, the numerous devout people and pilgrims anxious to encounter the Holy God of Israel. Yet none of them noticed anything. Jesus was a child like the others, a first-born son of very simple parents.
Even the priests proved incapable of recognizing the signs of the new and special presence of the Messiah and Savior. Alone two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, discover this great newness. Led by the Holy Spirit, in this Child they find the fulfillment of their long waiting and watchfulness. They both contemplate the light of God that comes to illuminate the world and their prophetic gaze is opened to the future in the proclamation of the Messiah: " Lumen ad revelationem gentium!" (Luke 2:32). The prophetic attitude of the two elderly people contains the entire Old Covenant which expresses the joy of the encounter with the Redeemer. Upon seeing the Child, Simeon and Anna understood that he was the Awaited One."
Our new grandson has also been awaited and watched for! Grow in age and grace and wisdom, Hank. As we thank God for the great gift of your life, we also pray for all couples struggling to become parents and beg God for his blessings to be upon them.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
It soon became too warm even for a sweatshirt!