Friday, March 29, 2013

Why Good Friday is Good

I knew I wanted to try to express why I don't feel despair on the day that we, as Christians, remember Christ's death. I definitely don't want to minimize what Christ did on the cross that day long ago. He died an agonizing death, one that I can't even fathom due to my lack of experience with dying and my lack of cultural reference as a woman living in the 21st century.

I probably have wondered for most of my life why this day is called "Good Friday." And I'm sure I've gotten it answered in my mind before, too. Thankfully, I opened the blog "Heavenward," by Scotty Smith today and found a solid answer to my question and validation for why I can celebrate, even on this day, two days before Resurrection Day.

I encourage you to click over and read what Scotty Smith wrote, because he put it into very understandable terms.

This is what my heart is singing today in chorus with Scotty's prayer:
"Lord Jesus, no one could ever take your life from you, and I could never find life on my own. Because you were fully forsaken, I am forever forgiven. Because you exhausted God’s judgment against my foul sin, I now live by the gift of your perfect righteousness. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! So very Amen I pray, in your all-glorious, all-gracious name."
Thank you, Jesus! I don't have to wait until Sunday to say, "He is alive!"

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Blog on the Block

So, my offspring decided to start a blog! I really don't think I was his main influence to do so, but hey, a mom can still be proud!

Of course, I'm very biased, but I think he's a good writer, so check out his blog, "Bach to the Future" sometime. I'm going to quit making a big deal over it though, since I wouldn't want him to quit writing!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Funny

Daniel has started a new job requiring him to wear clothes other than jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. When he got home from work last Saturday, I asked him to gather up his work clothes and I'd wash them all together in one load. (I realize that I am an extremely accommodating mom of a teen-ager, washing his clothes for him, but his time is coming!)

In the pile of clothes he brought to the laundry area was a pair of black pants and a black shirt that he'd worn for a band concert. The rest of the items were mostly colors, so I threw it all in together. And then when the washer finished, I threw them all in the dryer as well.

You might be thinking you can guess the "funny" part of this story. And if you're thinking it has something to do with the color of the clothes, you're wrong. When I took the clothes out of the dryer, I realized which black pants he had worn and that had been washed. And they have a label inside that says, "Dry Clean Only."

I yelped and grabbed the pants and made Daniel go try the pants on to see what damage had been done. I waited a couple of minutes and then went into his room, just in time to see him buttoning the pants, but kind of holding in his stomach as he did so. Then I looked down at his feet and saw that the pants could now be described as "high waters."

I was mostly mad at myself for not looking at the label, but I was also ranting a little at Daniel for giving me the pants in the first place. After a minute, I said, "We'll probably laugh about this in a day or two." Then I thought a minute and said, "Maybe we can find a short man who could wear these pants!" The laughter came sooner than expected.

The next day we were sitting at lunch and I looked at Daniel and got tickled at the thought of what he looked like trying to make those pants work. I started laughing and told him why and Daniel said, "Well, I was just trying to hold out hope!" Laughter ensued again!

Later we were sitting in the den discussing something else and I thought Daniel was being a little "uppity," as older teen-aged boys can sometimes do. I told him that he better not get too big for his britches, to which Daniel said, "I already did!" More laughter!

I'm so thankful that there is much laughter in our relationship . . . and that we can replace those suit pants!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jazz Greatness

The Hume-Fogg Silver Jazz Band went to the University of Louisville Jazz Festival in late February. The entire band competed to be selected to open for one of the featured jazz artists' concerts at the festival and two of the student-led jazz combos (Jazz Knights and Jazz Convoy) also competed to be able to perform for the jazz festival.

Daniel is the drummer for the Jazz Convoy, along with other seniors, Joey Santoro (guitar), Simon Sweetman (saxophone), Chase Coffey (trombone), John Dooley (trumpet) and Jeremy Capps (piano), as well as sophomore Patrick Goudeau on bass. They were selected to open for the Amina Figarova Sextet on Friday night of the festival. I hate that I had to miss seeing them play live, but am grateful that some of the trip chaparones posted some video on You Tube. Below is their performance of "Pacemaker," composed and arranged by Joey Santoro.

I'll put in a shameless plug here and say that you can come hear the Silver Jazz Band, along with the two jazz combos, in their Spring Concert on Friday, May 3 at Hume-Fogg High School in downtown Nashville. This will also be Daniel's final high school concert (sniff, sniff), so please come join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of these awesome students and their wonderfully dedicated director, Dr. Ripani.

Fab Forties Weekend

One of the positive benefits of Facebook has been reconnecting with some friends I grew up with in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. One friend started a private group called "Fabulous Forties Fitness and Health" to foster encouragement and accountability in our shared goal of being healthy. The conversation threads in this group have gone way beyond the original purpose and we have been able to support one another through many ups and downs of life.

One of these women was my very first friend in Glen Ridge. I moved to that town and started a new school in March of my first grade year and Sue was someone who came up to me on the playground and asked me to play with her. To be welcomed in at that point of the school year was a huge thing for me.

Others in the Fab Forties group met in middle school, when we all came together from three elementary schools into one middle school, and then moved on to high school together. Some of us were in the high school marching band together and many of us ate lunch together most every day during the school year. There are two women in the group who got "grandfathered" in due to being the "little sisters" of two of us in the group. I personally love that this group is something that I can share with my sister and am glad that "my friends" have accepted her in our circle.

I was able to see some of these women when I went to NJ last Labor Day weekend and it was fun to reunite after many years. Since everyone except my sister and I live in the northeast (NJ, NY, MD), they have had a fascination with Nashville and wanted to visit us here. Another common thread among a few of us is that we have February birthdays, so the idea for a "birthday" trip to Nashville was planted.Somehow everyone's schedule worked out and tickets were purchased to come to "Nashvegas" on February 22-24.

Jeanette and I hosted most of the friends in our homes and since we live one mile from each other, it worked out well. It also happened that Daniel was out of town that weekend for a school band trip, so we borrowed his car to use.

There were some potential roadblocks for some of the friends in getting here, but thankfully, everyone was able to come as planned and arrived on time with no baggage lost in transit. We also put in an order for some great weather for the weekend they were here and God answered our prayer. The weekend was near perfect for late February in Tennessee:  sunshine, mild temperatures, no threat of ice or snow. Jeanette and I got a kick out of the conversations on the night before everyone flew here, asking about what to pack, what kind of coat(s) to bring, etc. I think we convinced them that wool was not necessary and just to bring some good layering options and comfortable shoes.

And speaking of footwear, three of our friends wanted to buy some cowboy boots while they were here, so we took them to a boot store downtown and they each found a pair to take home. We also took them to the Pancake Pantry, Centennial Park, a honky-tonk club playing live music, and to one of the nicest dining experiences at the Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel (where one of our friends stayed). Oh, and their trip to Nashville was not complete without a visit to the Opryland Hotel.

We spent plenty of time talking, laughing, reminiscing together about our years together in school. Amazingly, there are many common threads between us in our current lives (motherhood, juggling work and home responsibilities, aging parents, loss of parents). We were also able to worship together at Grace on Sunday morning, something that was especially meaningful for me and Jeanette to be able to share that part of our lives with our friends who come from different backgrounds.

After many hugs and good-byes, Jeanette and I dropped off our friends at the Nashville airport on Sunday afternoon. We loved that they continued their Nashville experience by grabbing some barbecue in the airport before heading out of town. It is our hope and plan to have more of these reunions and that we won't have to wait twenty-something years before we do it again!