Feeds:
Posts
Comments

A pinch of sunshine!

Linger No Longer

Harry Edenfield, a Christian author, offers a thought-provoking daily devotional for this season of Lent.

Today’s verse is from Genesis 19:16: “But Lot lingered. So the angels seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.”

Edenfield reflects, “Lord God, your servant Lot lingered in Sodom. Sometimes I love my chosen place too much. You urge me to leave my sin spot.

I linger.

I linger even if it may be injurious to my loved ones. Remember me: I, too, need an escort from the magnet of sin.

As we leave together, Holy Spirit, urge me to have no regret about the exit from sin. Urge me not to look back.”

Amen.

Great Blue Heron!

Our good blogging pal and author extraordinaire, Betsy, over at the “Parenting Is Funny” blog, spotted this big bird on the beach in my last post and asked about the great blue heron.

This majestic and graceful bird frequents the shores of most coastal waterways in the United States and, thanks to tourists and generous fishermen, they come to be quite used to humans, guardedly looking for handouts. I’ve yet to have one eat out of my hand, but they will politely stand nearby so as not to intrude.

I was promised some authentic Pennsylvania bologna earlier this year which fell through, but discovered a nearby hole in the wall peninsula deli carried a reasonable facsimile, beach picnic’s on!

(They also carried my favorite smoked gouda cheese, something dear Daddy got me hooked on in the 60s, a delicacy then)

Perhaps it is their long beak which doubles as a handy fishing tool that makes their stare-down a bit edgy. And if you stare back, they look away quickly, as if their mother had taught them it was impolite to stare and beg.

For such a tall and seemingly imposing bird, they weigh only 5-6 pounds on average because their bones are hollow, just like the pelican….both have great wingspans and navigate gusts of coastal wind better than any pilot.

We are blessed to share our beaches here with such magnificent wildlife, which we try to protect at all costs. The motto tourists often see when visiting, is “Leave only your footprints.” The heron leaves impressive footprints on the sand!

Here, a laughing gull was not laughing as the heron beat him to the treats every time. Too slow, Joe! Check out those big piggies…need a big foot sprawl to support those lanky legs and tall stature. I estimated my friend here was about 3.5-4′ tall.

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill set us all back in myriad ways (understatement). We did what we could to protect the wildlife – this heron was pulled from the oil spill, given a bath in Dawn dish detergent (I once dated the chemical engineer responsible for the invention of Dawn) and lived to tell about it. Er, I mean the heron lived to tell about it – he got all washed off and released. So did the chemical engineer 🙂

Courtesy of The Guardian

Thank You, God, for all things great and small – You, Lord God, made them all! Thank You for all the creatures You made to keep our earth in balance, that we may live in harmony with Your great creation.

~In memoriam of Elizabeth, former member of the Audubon Society, on this All Saints Day~

Thank You, God, for Your greatest commandment of LovE!

Thank You for humour, for beauty, for drama, for restoration, for peace and for Your steadfastness in the face of brokenness and change.

We love You, Lord….Amen!

Morning Run

Scènes de ma course du matin:

Morning fog creeping over low pastures and seeping into the road

Fungal sunrise

Preparing horses for polo season next month

Farmer made hay this week

Dragonfly mating season

Unflappable turkey buzzards

Thank You, God, for the joie de vivre of running, of freedom, of health, of vibrant life. Merci pour my quiet mornings with You.

Kudzu Season

Erm, what road are we on?

Reaching for Heaven

No stopping it!

Even the little signs

The kudzu growing over the fence blends in with the peanut field behind it.

Thanks, God, for unexpected and exponentiated growth. Let us cling to Your Vine and be unafraid of new heights.

Found

The 16 year old boy who went missing 3 weeks ago is now reunited with his family at home. He was found in Houston, TX, the same day of the El Paso shootings, safe and sound.

Out of respect for his future, his family, his dignity and his digital footprint, I have removed the initial post about his disappearance.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to implore parents to never underestimate the power contained in the electronic device you put into your child’s hands.

When it comes to their online presence….

Be where they are

Go where they go

Whether near or afar,

Know who they know

Thank You, God, for his safe return. May his parents have wisdom in what lies ahead, take comfort in Your mercy and deliverance, and may we all be aware of how our online presence influences outcomes.

God, please protect our vulnerable children whose parents may be blind, lackadaisical or naive to the very real dangers of others with power, money or psychological pull, who may lure and ensnare their loved ones.

May we all know how to cultivate and maintain a close relationship based on trust, unconditional love and patience.

Wait


God whispers, “Wait!
I’m not done with you yet!”
Greet the sun’s rise
And wait for its set.

“The full day is Mine,”
So sayeth the Lord;
And rest in the night,
Not fearful or bored.

For night, like the winter,
Seeks not to destroy,
Darkness in valleys
Spawns splendor and joy…

Just when you think
You can’t take anymore,
God shows us the shutness
THEN opens the door.

Faith is an exercise
Not to achieve,
But trod as a journey,
Daily gift to receive.

Pause to see beauty 
Each step of the way,
And God will rain mercy
And grace on your day.

Where today’s poem was spawned…

Thanks, God, for faith, hope and love, the greatest of which is always love.

May we learn to be gracefully patient and guided by Love, each step of the way.

Lord, have Mercy, and thank You for unconditional love and the wisdom in Waiting.

Braving Hurricane Barry, I put in my 9 hours’ morning work yesterday and took off at 3pm to go see Jonathan and Southwind’s last performance in the state before they left at 11pm for the rest of their national tour.

The neighborhood was in the middle of flooding but I took advantage of sneaking out between storm bands (no pun intended) to get on the interstate..

It was at least a 3 hour drive upstate, pounding rain and – thank You God – for a friend recommending audio books, so it was me and Brené Brown and her recent book on “Braving the Wilderness” (how à propos!), white-knuckling it up to Millbrook, AL. I had a mission, to see my kid, his band, the competition with other bands, to make good on a promise to get there and to deliver two corn dogs and a large hot fudge milk shake into the hands of said kid.

He reinforced a couple of times (despite my texts to move things up) that it would have to be AFTER the show (which would be circa 10pm) lest he barf up Sonic on the pristine football field and cost his team points.

Because they had the “home state advantage,” Southwind went last. But preceding them were several truly awesome drum corps, competing for a title.

One was Southern Knights, an all-age drum corps (and I saw young as 10, old as 70s) which rocked the stadium kicking off the competition.

In the middle were bands from Atlanta, the Carolinas, Florida, Louisiana and Michigan.

I would like to point out that I was most impressed with the Louisiana Stars from Lafayette, LA – which happened to be from just a hair north of Barry’s landfall, so these kids were safe and sound inland but probably internally freaking out how their families, pets and homes were faring during the storm which made landfall while they practiced here.

Louisiana Stars – God bless those in the path of Hurricane Barry.

The band from Kalamazoo, MI won, Legends, with their extraordinary drill team posing as Sirens of the Sea en masse, along with a dramatic story line about life in the sea with the gods and goddesses.

The Sirens did a creative wave number to the sound of my beloved sea waves, their long hair sweeping to and fro, emulating the waves of the beckoning sea

This drill team evidently was taught to seduce and interact with the audience with their hair-flips, alluring smiles and seductive beckonings. a perfect opening that wowed and wooed the judges.

With Southwind hosting, their last-on-program/late performance was stellar, nonetheless – and, compared to last week’s dress rehearsal (see previous post), the musicians were phenomenally precise, more artistic, theatrical and in the groove. I am excited for the rest of their tour and am confident they will rock the rest of the country!

Southwind’s precision

They handled the “cages” more expertly tonight…intentional in trapping their prey and skillfully orchestrating the profound exhilaration of freedom

Packing up for the next destination

Drilling the Drill Team – they rocked!!

That semi holds a place for each instrument, supply and uniform

The cages waiting to be loaded. What cage are you captive in?

Each member gets a medallion at the end of their home-state show, depending on how many years they’ve participated. This is Jonathan’s second year.

A competition well-performed

Southwind Mom’s Truck

Thank You, God, for children and their pursuits, for infusing them with talents, skills and interests that contribute to our world’s arts, sciences and teaching them all manner of What Life’s About.

God, please bless Southwind and all the kids this summer who are devoting themselves to greater purposes which ultimately make us better people and make the world a better place. May they go on to serve You in whatever capacity You deem appropriate.

(Here, Jonathan’s brother with Down syndrome pipes up, “Mama, you tired of Southwind?” Mama answers, “No, David, I’m tired FROM Southwind last night, not tired OF Southwind!”) David says, “We’re tired from rains and storms,” to which mama says, “Yes, David, and why we’re going to bed early tonight….”

Night night co-musers!

Southwind!

Today marks the start of the annual tour for Southwind, an elite drum and bugle corps representing the Southeast region’s best percussion and brass players.

(Oh, and coincidentally, today marks this blog’s 8th anniversary – thank you to all my readers and friends for 8 incredible years!!! xxxooo). Back to Southwind:

They will travel nearly 6,000 miles in six weeks, performing and competing in cities throughout the Eastern seaboard and the Midwest, culminating with a world class competition at the Colt’s football stadium in Indianapolis.

Southwind began 40 years ago and carefully selects its members from rigorous auditions and recommendations. This year, its members hail from 15 states. Lucky for us (and our son who plays the euphonium), they chose our county as Ground Zero for their many weeks of rehearsal camps leading up to today, so we didn’t have to go far to visit him.

Last night they held their dress rehearsal, before they leave tonight for Valdosta, GA, their first stop on the tour circuit. We will catch up with Southwind again next Saturday in upstate Alabama for one of their competitions, before they head north for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan and points beyond.

Some highlights from yesterday:

The schedule is dizzyingly intense, with few breaks

Local high schools house the Corps; boys in the gym, girls in the cafeteria, members over 18 in another room (members are from both high schools and universities)

Shoe blow-out is common – these students engage in marathon-training conditions in blistering heat and are fed special high-energy diets and go through gallons of water a day

Did I say “blistering heat?” This was what the sign said yesterday as I was leaving camp at 4:30pm

The supplies and resources necessary to pull off a tour of this magnitude are phenomenal. How every detail comes together is a miracle of the many staff and volunteers who expertly think of everything!

You just never know who’ll show up on tour with Southwind!

(wonder if this guy ever wishes he’d taken up the trumpet instead?) Everyone helps haul the instruments, props and supplies

Meals are served outdoors and consist of lots of high protein, high carb foods. I’m told that spicy and sugary foods are off the list for the most part.

It takes a crew to wash the uniforms, a crew to cook and clean up, a crew to keep track of the students, a crew to organize and pull off the tour, etc. Check out the Southwind website to see their talented Visual Staff and Percussion Staff.

Warming up on the field while the rest of the Corps unloads

Full percussion warming up with brass getting ready behind (note everyone’s gallon jugs precisely at their sides)

Just like a pro ball team, each position/section has its coaches. For the Corps, this includes experts in fine-tuning (literally, as in ensuring drums are properly tuned). The coach listens to each drum carefully, getting down to drum-level with his ear and instructs each player accordingly to ensure perfection.

Each instrument has to be inspected, each day

For each performance, they have a very short amount of time to assemble all instruments, props and supplies, so they learn, among other skills, how to, um, for lack of a better term, haul ass

The drum majors take the field. Yes, that is a roller coaster in the far background but it was so hot we didn’t see anybody on the rides!

The dress rehearsal turned into an un-dress rehearsal, as the searing heat even after the sun went down, prompted them to spare the uniforms for the tour and they did the rest of rehearsal in their bibbers (and white gloves – never ditch the white gloves, so sayeth the Lady, no matter what the conditions!)

The choreography, precision and talent are mind-blowing!

The performers put their heart and soul into each note

This year’s show is called, “The Cage,” in four movements. The first movement portrays what it is like to feel caged – the constraint, the sacrifice of self, the pain of stuck-ness. The second movement illustrates the frenzied attempts to break out of the cage, unsuccessfully.

Movement three is about what we might call learned helplessness, or accepting our circumstances, perhaps complacency and/or ditching the dream to be free and happy. Choosing to settle. Learning to be “happy” and giving up on potential.

In the last movement, the cage finally opens and we experience the joy of true freedom, being able to live life to its fullest capacity and the relief of being out in the open at last.

The show is copyrighted so we are forbidden to upload videos of the performance (plus we don’t want to give our secrets away to our competition before the tour!), else I would have loved to share the power of the sound and theatrics this talented group of students and staff produce.

Am I outside the cage, or in? What about you?

And, just like a ball team, they have their own mini-ambulance

Away from the action, empty hangers, backpacks and instrument cases line the fence

Ready to roll up the road to the next venue!

I caught up with him after last year’s show in Hiram, GA

Thanks, God, for opportunities You give us and our children to exercise talents, discover new skills and to experience great adventures. Thank You for freeing us of the many cages of our own making in which we ensnare ourselves….and may we always fully trust and be free in Christ.

(This hot summer – and now 16 and driving! – he values a shorter haircut than last year lol) – Godspeed, Jonathan William and all of Southwind!