Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cracking Up

Today was one of those days that, thankfully, just got better and better as the hours went on. I started the day by practically knocking myself unconscious while getting ready for work. I backed into the edge of my bathroom door at full Brenda speed, and spent the next 15 or so minutes wondering how long I would be horizontal on the floor. Awesome way to start the day. I thought for sure I had cracked the door frame, but alas, it was just my head! Big ole lump, no blood. Good grief.

Got to school and was greeted by a huge bouquet of flowers (and a lovely handmade bracelet) from a wonderful family. Picked from their own garden at home. Just to brighten my day. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job? And the people? Consider it mentioned.

The kids were really funny today. Cracking me up. We're singing "Follow the Drinking Gourd" in 5th grade today, and I have a student who says, and I quote,
"I'll be available after class today to answer any questions anyone might have about slavery. I know everything there is to know about this subject."
Thanks for the back-up, little buddy.

This from the other day: We're rallying ideas in 6th grade for different words that can be made out of the musical notes ABCDEFG, and after a bunch of great words are shared, one kid shouts out "PHOTOSYNTHESIS." I kid you not. I was laughing so hard I couldn't even tell him the many MANY reasons why this word couldn't work!

A little background on this one: for the record, I'm always bruised. My poor legs are always running into something, and they will constantly display a lovely array of blue, green, and purple bruises. Could be the complete lack of depth perception on my part. Could be the fact that Brenda Lynn moves at the speed of light, and runs into things all the time.

Regardless, the kids see them, and will ask me what I did this time. I usually tell them I have no idea how those bruises got there, and that there must be little Gnomes who beat me with clubs during the night. (They know I'm a klutz.) Anywho, noticing yet another bruise on my leg, a kid announces to me today
"Ms. G, you really ought to stop sleeping with those Gnomes!"
I can't make this stuff up.

And finally, to cap it all off: It's the last class of the day, and as Mason is writing his name on his paper, I noticed his "S" was missing from his name. I told him,
"You better get your 's' in there."
Now, if you read that sentence quite rapidly,
you will see why another little one said,
"Ms. G! I don't think you should be saying that!"
Oh my! Wait - why would this phrase concern a 6 year old? And how would they know what I COULD have said, even there is no way I WOULD have said that?! Fun-ny.

The evening ended at church, where, let's just say things went skippingly well once again. Love that place. Love those people. :o)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nathan's New Coat

It's been a heck of a week - there are a ton of things happening behind the scenes right now, and I'm truly feeling the stress. I'm trying really hard to keep it all in perspective; the power of prayer has been so strong over the last few days. There are lots of people in my corner, too, and my kids must have picked up on that today, as they were extra amusing. Here's just one tale of little guy that just made my day.

Nathan: Ms. G, Ms G! Do you like my new coat?
Me: Why yes, it's very nice.
Nathan: I call it my backwards coat.
Me: I see that. (He's got the zipper completely zipped up his back...)
Nathan: This way, I can keep my face warm. (pulls it up over his face)
Me: Nathan, how do see if your hood is covering your face?
Nathan: I have a friend help me walk.
Me: Nathan, how did you get into your coat?
Nathan: Same friend.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lift Every Voice and Sing!

Okay, I'm going to try this again...I've gone ahead and written new lyrics for the songs I'm singing in church this Sunday (tomorrow). I have it on very good authority (Pastor Ruth Ann herself) that the texts in the bulletin are indeed accurate (you can read about the previous Helmet incident here!), and that she is indeed going to preach on the texts found in Isaiah and Mark. :o) THUS, I have scripted the songs to match the lessons and gospels of the day. Here goes...

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This is the song I'll be singing during the Offertory. It's going to take a couple of people in the congregation by surprise, as I'm really letting loose once I get to the second verse. I LOVE this tune, and the words now reflect the themes and concepts of Isaiah and the witness of Peter in the book of Mark. I can't WAIT to sing this tomorrow!

Lift every voice and sing, Jesus be following.
Giving my all to sustain the Holy Word,
Voice of authority,
"Take up your cross for me!"
Waken my ear to hear the Sovereign Lord.

Lift every voice and sing, Only our faith we bring,
For to be saved we must choose to lose our life,

We must ourselves deny,
For us, He suffered and died,
We are disciples who reveal the Christ.

Lift my voice, Let me declare that my faith is unshaken.
Lift my voice,
Trusting by faith that I'm never forsaken.
"Take up your cross for me!" Our sacrifice for thee,
Only through Christ will we find liberty!

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* * * Click here to listen to
"Lift Every Voice and Sing"! * * *

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The text below fits into the Hymn known as "In Remembrance". I loved the melody and is a bit calmer. I'll be playing and singing this during Holy Communion, so I really needed to keep in mind that breaking into song (like the previous piece) would not exactly be appropriate. This is more mellow, and written more as a prayer for the teachers, leaders, and students of Bethany Lutheran Church as we celebrate Rally Sunday!

As the children prepare to learn of God,
As they gather in circles to hear,

As their journey begins,
Pray for the time
When God's own will be done.

Let the Spirit be part of fellowship,
Let the leaders inspire as they guide,

Let the stories of old nourish their souls,

And form deep their faith inside, their faith inside.

Come, learn what the Bible tells,

Hear, as the Word comes alive.

That this is message from God above,

Sent for you, sent for you.

Bless the students of faith, young and old.

Pray the worship will strengthen their soul,
That the wonder of God fills them with joy,

And lets their light shine to God,
For this we pray.
Bless them on their journey of faith!

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* * * Click here to listen to the 3 minute
recording of the New Rally Day Song.
* * *

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Helmets of Salvation

Funny story: My church organist calls me on a Monday, and asks me to sing at the 8:00 service the following Sunday. This is good. She needs a song choice super fast for the bulletin. I'm at school, and have no access to the Hymnals at my home. This is not good. I do a little digging on the Scriptures planned for that week, and select a quasi-generic song, knowing I could tweak the verses later.

Saturday rolls around, and well, now I had better get tweaking. Turns out the tune I had been humming in my head (O Jesus I have Promised) all week was NOT the tune in the ELW. Ah, the fun begins. Hunted on the internet and eventually found the tune - in a key only a badly-injured tenor could manage, so I transpose it into a key that won't leave people in a paralyzed state upon hearing it.

After that, I start re-writing the verses to really fit the lesson and gospel of the day. I had looked up the bulletin on the Bethany website, and went with the Joshua and Ephesians passages that were listed. Yeah....that was all well and good...UNTIL that Sunday, when Pastor Ron announces DURING THE SERMON that there was an error in the bulletin, and that the Gospel for the day is actually from John! HA!

The verse I had written referencing Joshua was a keeper, but I spent the sermon quickly (and hopefully, not TOO obviously) re-writing something to sing that wouldn't involve all the references to Spiritual Warfare, as found in Ephesians! Took most of the text from the original hymn and made it work. At least I'm ready the next time someone needs a song about armor, battle, and helmets of salvation! :o)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rapids Game - More Photos!

Here are a couple more pictures from our National Anthem performance at the Colorado Rapids Game on Saturday, September 5th. Thank you again to the Peters, Drab, MacLean, and Brownsberger families for providing these pictures - it's been fun to see what was happening all around us as we prepared to sing!

No idea what they're in for and BOY they look great!

My colorful bunch on the field.

We waited in our own section of the North Stands for about an hour. The kid were great at entertaining themselves, chatting with one another, and keeping their energy somewhat contained as the sun went down and the lights came on!

Awesome panoramic shot of the entire stadium. We were
able to look directly at section 119, our Flagstone Families!

Our biggest fans! Thank you, everyone!

Edson the Eagle getting us pumped up before we walked out on the field! What you can't hear is the roar of the crowd and the super cool James Bond music being pumped into through the stadium speakers!

Just check out the action happening all around us! Flags in the center of the field, Toronto and Rapids players standing behind us, television camera crews EVERYWHERE, and the Flagstone Choir in the middle of it all!

Too cool! FSE on the big screen!


Our name up in lights!

I just LOVE this picture! Yeah, Sammie!

Another one of the Rapids Mascots, Franz the Fox, came to visit the singing bunch up in the stands! What a night!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rapid Rehearsal, Super Success!

I just happened to be in the main office on Wednesday afternoon of this past week when the phone rang - it was Tim at the Douglas County Education Foundation, wondering if we could sing the National Anthem at the upcoming Colorado Rapids Soccer Game this coming Saturday! It took me all of 5 seconds to accept this incredible honor and adventure! Many thanks to the parents and students for pulling this one off on such short notice!

My tie-dyed darlings and I outside Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO. A total of 43 kids made the trek to sing the National Anthem on Saturday, September 5th.

Such happy campers!

Having their tickets scanned on the way into the stadium!

Getting their first glimpse of the huge
field - their eyes match the size of the field!

Still peeking and peering at the green, green grass...

I love the total mixture of wonder and worry!

We look so tiny during the official sound check!

"...the bombs BURSTING in air..."

Such focus, such concentration! Bless them!

Seriously cool photo.

You. Go that way. GO!

"What have we gotten ourselves into!?!" PRICELESS!

Hanging out on the bleachers for an hour before the game.

Now there is one happy and colorful bunch!

Hooray, Brenda Greenway! Wait....who is Brenda GreenWAY? :)
Too funny. All I know is that the kiddos were completely relieved that THEY weren't the ones singing the Canadian National Anthem on only 48 hours notice, and I learned that memorization is really hard, even when you are 30 years old!

Can I just tell you how cool it was to have the kids out there with me on the field? To have them wrapped around me was the BEST!

Look at my babes! I was one proud teacher, that's for sure!

Oh yes, those would be the COLORADO RAPIDS players!

And THAT would be Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, high-fiving ALL OF MY KIDS! How cool is that!? He actually stopped and shook my hand and told me the kids did a great job and that I have quite a voice. What a guy!! What a night!!

Madison and I, chilling after the excitement.

Mr. Evan and I, happy as can be!

(A big thank you to the Drab, Brownsberger, and MacLean families for submitting some of the above pictures!)

Listen Up!

We had JUST finished listening to the music in our "God's Standard or Gold Standard" small group, and LOOK at what I drove past on my way home! Just a little neon reminder from the man upstairs to LISTEN UP! AWESOME!

Faith Formation

The spirit of faith formation is everywhere!
Here are a couple of recent faith-forming moments in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado!

Captured this image while watching the live feed from the ELCA Churchwide Assembly over in Minnesota. Here's Pastor Ron Glusenkamp leading a Bible Study on Proverbs.  Peter Mayer is busy playing the guitar right next to him.  It was fun to see the synod members singing along to the new songs!

Click here to download the actual music and
read all about Pastor Ron and Peter's journey
to bring the book of Proverbs to life!

Click here to download the sheet music.
Check out the free preaching and liturgy supports, too!

My childhood church, Hope Reformed Church of Sheboygan, WI, just installed and ordained one of it's longtime members as its new Pastor! Here is Pastor Bill Te Winkle and his family, gathered at the table, about to serve Holy Communion. Both of his children, Katie and Peter, are pastors, too! Jill is on the end in black. Wonderful family!

The congregation about to partake in Holy Communion. If you look directly underneath the clock, you can see my grandma, Dot, in the white shirt, in front of the man (Gus) with the tie.

Our latest sign at Bethany: God's Work, Our Hands.
This was the theme of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in MN.

This past Sunday, we were given the blessing of the hands. After parishioners received the bread and the wine, they had the opportunity to have their hands anointed and the following prayer said, "Dear God, Bless these hands and the work they do for Jesus. Amen."

Come to Jesus

You must know by now that a million songs run through my head each day. This song, however is quite different. My Pastor and friend, Ruth Ann, introduced me to "Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)" by Chris Rice a week or so ago, and it hasn't left my head, my piano, or my heart ever since!

The melody is simple yet driving, and the text - the TEXT! I read the lyrics as an overview of one's life - beginning, struggles and hardship, and then the ultimate end. I'd post the actual song to this blog (if it didn't slow the whole system down). Instead, here's the link to listen to a brief excerpt. Peace.

Weak and wounded sinner, lost and left to die,
O raise your head, for Love is passing by.
Come to Jesus and live.

Now your burden's lifted, and carried far away,
And precious blood has washed away the stain,
Sing to Jesus and live.

Like a newborn baby, don't be afraid to crawl,
And remember when you walk, sometimes we fall.
Fall on Jesus and live.

Sometimes the way is lonely, and steep and filled with pain,
If your sky is dark and pours the rain,
Cry to Jesus and live.

When the love spills over, and music fills the night,
And when you can't contain your join inside,
Dance for Jesus and live.

And with your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye,
Then go in peace and laugh on Glory's side.
Fly to Jesus and live.

Call Sign: Sweet Doll

Met Nicole and Baby Emma for a bite to eat last Monday.  We thought she looked like she was trying to be a Trucker in this pic - all that was missing was her radio!

Sweet pea is 2 months old already!

I mean, really now...too sweet!

What a doll and what a great evening!