Monday, June 28, 2010

GRACE



This Sunday at First Church of Christ in Pittsfield Rev. Lumsden preached a sermon from Paul's letter to the Romans. The subject of the sermon is Grace! I enjoyed the sermon and it's message floated me back in time to a sermon I heard at a week long retreat on Lake George that included an English evangelist named Malcolm Smith. He preached every evening and I remember being transfixed by his ability to explain the bible! I looked forward to every evening after enjoying the beautiful lake and other activities all day long. His books and message were an important part of my early Christian development! I was only about 20 years old and had really been seeking sources of inspiration for several years and that inspiration led me to enroll at Bangor Theological Seminary where I was the youngest student at the time. I didn't stay and finish, but it was, nevertheless an experience that I still treasure. It was there that ironically, I first met and played basketball with the now Pastor Emeritus of First Church in Pittsfield, Rev. Richard Floyd!

I purchased the cassettes of those very sermons that were recorded at Lake George and I have dragged them out every once in awhile. I even rerecorded them digitally to preserve them as the tapes were showing signs of disintegration. One of the sermons was titled,
G.R.A.C.E. or God's Riches at Christ's Expense. I am uploading the sermon in two parts to my Mixpod music player in my sidebar on this blog. If you are interested give a listen. I had to split the sermon in two pieces to meet the size limitations of MYDATANEST.com where the files are uploaded and linked to MIXPOD!

The references he makes to our culture are now dated some 34 years later and I am not nearly as literal as he is, but the message is still clear and valid to me and very much connects to Rev. Lumsden message yesterday! There is a link to to Lumsden's blog in my sidebar and you can find his sermon notes there. I won't attempt to interpret or regurgitate any of these two vital messages. Just read and listen if you are so inclined!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All I Need!

Therapy today really helped me to gain some insight and validation concerning my feelings and recent events in my life! My therapist does understand and said that I keep getting up from the tragedies life has dealt me, and then just as I am up, something happens to knock me down again! She sees that my support system is almost non-existent and hopes that I continue to try to find a circle of people that can "get" me! No easy task! She expressed that it seems that my job consumed me to the point that I could not mourn and now that I am on vacation I actually feel worse. I described it as being uncomfortable in my own skin. Vicki has been extremely visible in my dream world and I even discovered that I am receiving some money from an insurance policy that Vicki took out the year we were married. It is policy that she took out and then abandoned after we took out policies together some years later. The policy still has some relatively significant cash value. I ordered a marimba for Bailey with some of the money and told him that it was truly a gift from his mother. The marimba is his favorite instrument and the one he is getting lessonS for at Williams College. The picture above is the actual instrument we are waiting for!

Music continues to be the source of so much comfort for me. It has been that way since I was very young. I was near Boston 5 or 6 weeks ago and I went into a Newbury Comics store and found an Import Tears for Fears Cd/DVD of a concert in Paris in 2006. Newbury Comics is a very cool store with lots of music (Vinyl as well as Cd's) and lots of other funky stuff like posters and other collectibles. The import is printed entirely in French as are the menus, etc. It contains a CD of the concert as well as a live DVD of the same performances. I really like the arrangement of Shout that they created. (Just as I was typing this UPS called to say that Bailey's Marimba will be here tomorrow between 12 and 4! This is sooo cool!)



The next song is by One Republic and I am grateful to my sixth grade students for the discovery of this song. I was helping two of my students with their video poject and they wanted to use the song, STOP AND STARE for their background music but they didn't own it. So I found the CD at FYE and bought it. STOP AND STARE was a hit but I really didn't know much about them. I fell in love with this song, "Say...(All I Need)."


Monday, June 21, 2010

Comeback! (Light Therapy)

This is my first blog entry in over six weeks. This fact alone speaks to how busy I have been. Well, it is the end of the school year and I am grateful for some time to rest and hopefully do some work around the yard and house! It has been about 18 months since Vicki died and of course I think about her everyday! This time has left me with some pervasive feelings that I do not understand at all. My self-esteem seems to be at an all time low! For some reason I feel unattractive, undesirable, and at times unmotivated. Here I sit at the computer and I feel like I should be more upbeat, but I am not. That doesn't mean that I never feel optimism, because I do. The optimism never stays long and in some way I feel buried by the responsibilities of life! I know.....if you want to feel good and upbeat about this day, my blog may not be a good read! These are strange feelings since my school year, which was a ton of work, went well. I escaped any sort of lay-off or reassignment and established some good working relationships. I even got to present video book reports at a staff meeting that my class completed as a final project. I was so proud of them. They picked great music by artists such as the Beatles, Lady Antebellum, One Republic, Michael Jackson and more as thematic backdrops to a pretend movie trailer advertising the wonderful novel, Bud, Not Buddy! Maybe some rest and time for reflection can help to lift me up! I was driving home the other day listening to XM satellite radio thinking some deep thoughts and a song came on a channel that I rarely listen to. The channel is called The Loft and it was just the perfect song about summer and light and how that makes us feel, but it also has a second level that I think you might understand. It is called Comeback (Light Therapy) by Josh Rouse. I made a quick, silly video to go with the song for upload....

video

Lastly, Bailey and I had to deal with a very evil, mean spirited accusation here in our neighborhood that left us both dumbfounded and hurt. I cannot go into it in this blog, but can only say it is the very worst thing that has happened to us since Vicki's death! The accusation was unequivocally proven false, but it does prove how misguided people who claim to care can be. We will do our best to put it behind us, but it will much more difficult for Bailey! I feel a strong sense of irony about the support Bailey and I have received since Vicki died. It has come from places I did not expect, and the people I expected to be caring and supportive have vanished or proven to be unable to be present in any way. Oh well! On with summer and trying to enjoy life! We need smiles and laughter, adventure and magic, kindness and empathy!

How about one more song! I was listening to an XM channel that was doing an all time 80's best summer song count down and this song was near the top...




I want to post one more song for two reasons. The first is that after listening to the Bananarama song above I remembered that this next song was a favorite summer song of Vicki's from the 80's. The second reason is that tomorrow JUNE 22, 2010 would have been our 24th wedding anniversary! The actual music video is banned from embedding by EMI so I had to use this video that someone else made.