Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How my daughter met Duke Ellington

You may have missed it but yesterday was World Book Night. Who knew?!? I love books and getting to share them with my children. Recently, I had the chance to share a very special book with my daughter.

As I am prone to do when we stop by the library, I pick books to read to her that often times are of interest to me as well. And so it was when I checked out "Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite."

Now the cool thing was my 8-year-old daughter didn't know who Duke Ellington was. So not only did I get to read a really cool book to her, but I also got the chance to introduce my daughter to jazz. And on top of that I learned something about Duke Ellington that he didn't know before.....he wrote a jazz version of the Nutcracker Suite. Many people are familiar with this Christmas classic.

Thanks to social media, we went online and found a video with Duke Ellington himself directing his orchestra. It was a great experience not only to read the book, but to get to see and hear him, as well as hear the music that we were just reading about.

When we started the video, my daughter asked, "Mama what kind of music is this?" I told her it was jazz. She liked it. So now instead of watching the news every night, while the kids are cleaning the kitchen, we put on some classic jazz or even some smooth jazz, and I have found that they all like it.

And it is a great, peaceful way to bring the night to a close. So read with your kids, and open up unknown worlds to them. It is great feeling as a parent to introduce them to new things that may stay with them the rest of their lives. That is a WOW Moment!

So turn off that TV...and put on a little jazz....or just curl up around a good book....may I suggest one...."Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Abba Father

I almost pinch myself each day thinking of how blessed I am to get to do what I do each day. In my personal life, I get to serve a God who is faithful 100% of the time. And the added bonus is in my vocation I also get to serve Him by sharing His message of reconciliation.

The pinnacle of doing what I do is getting to be a part of leading a child to faith in Christ, helping them to make the most important decision they will ever make in their lives. And the icing on the cake is getting to see that child baptized into the faith, making a public profession of the personal commitment they have made in their hearts.

I had a chance to witness that not long ago, and I just about shouted out of my seat. Not only did I receive the blessing of seeing two children baptized, but the perfect picture of God was painted by the pastor who baptized them.

As I watched him hold these children, I could only imagine what he whispered into their ears as he calmed their fears and reassured them that everything would be okay.

When I am unsure of my place in the world, or fear seems to overtake me, God is there. He is my "Abba, Father." And He does the same thing. He holds me close to let me feel His presence. He whispers reassuring words that bring comfort to my racing heart. He calms me as He prepares to take me to a deeper relationship.

WOW! We serve a mighty God. I am so glad He allows me to abide under the shadow of His wings. May you know His peace and presence today.