Drone to the Lord or Shout to the Lord?

Psalm 63:7
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Today I attended early church, yes people, Hildy went to early church!  I attended with a friend who is a morning person (let me insert a quick sidebar here that my ears were so happy because he can sing, he can really sing!) and out of the kindness of my heart I agreed to attend the early, traditional service if only we could stay for the contemporary singing at the beginning the later service, a request to which my friend agreed out of the kindness of his heart.

I have a staid, boring Lutheran background- dead of faith, dead of life, dead of relationship.  Music at Sunday services was liturgical or out of a hymnal.  Boring!  So imagine my delight to discover praise and worship during my college’s daily chapel services!  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  I was converted.  I only want to sing hymns at Easter and Christmas, that’s it.  Fast forward a decade or two and I find myself with a friend who grew up (I am assuming) with praise and worship music and upon stepping into adulthood has set those praise and worship songs aside and developed a preference for, gasp, hymns!

I should confess that I don’t hate hymns and in fact have decided that I actually like them, well, some of them.  I confess also that I hate the repetition of worship songs ad nauseam.  When I attend church with my mother, she doesn’t get sick but instead she whistles when she tires of the repetition, thus adding an additional, pleasant musical element to the worship time while still making clear to all around her that it is time to move on worship team, time to move on.

I tell you all of this to get to this fabulous joke sent to me today.  How perfect is this? (Obtained from Crosswalk.com You Make Me Laugh newsletter.)

Hymns vs. Choruses

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the farmer, “it was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

“Praise choruses?” said his wife. “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re OK. They are sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked his wife.

The farmer said, “Well, it’s like this – If I were to say to you “Martha, the cows are in the corn”‘ – well, that would be a hymn. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Martha, Martha, Martha,
Oh Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA,
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows
the white cows,
the black and white cows,
the COWS, COWS, COWS
are in the corn,
are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,
the CORN, CORN, CORN.

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well, that would be a praise chorus.”

The next weekend, his nephew, a young, new Christian from the city came to visit and attended the local church of the small town. He went home and his mother asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, “it was good. They did something different however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns?” asked his mother. “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re OK. They are sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked his mother.

The young man said, “Well, it’s like this – If I were to say to you ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn’ – well, that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or His rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to the bright shining day by and by
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animals make my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.’

Then if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.

Claustrophobia 101

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Boxwork (thin blades of calcite that project from cave walls and ceilings, forming a honeycomb pattern) is abundant in the Wind Cave.

I’ve been thinking again about things I learned on my recent Black Hills vacation.  I do believe I’ve found a small little lesson tucked away in the Wind Cave.  Get ready for some sage advise from one very wise woman…

Do it afraid.  (Stop rationalizing and just do it already!)

Here’s what I mean…

We were visiting Wind Cave National Park in Hot Springs, So. Dak.  I was in the lodge sitting outside the restrooms waiting for my sister when across the room I spotted my mom at the ticket counter purchasing, what I suspected were cave tour tickets.  I had just spent a few minutes perusing the information board about the various cave tours and there was only one tour I could recall any information about…the four hour crawling tour.  Oh no!  As  I rushed to find out what she purchased all I could think was she didn’t, tell me she didn’t!  (I have to point out the ridiculousness of my thoughts here, a four hour crawling tour?  Really?)  The tour tickets she purchased were for the walking tour.  3oo steps down approximately 20 stories with about a half a mile of walking.  Still I felt immediate trepidation.  How tight is the cave?  Would I fit?  300 steps?  Up or down?  Dark?  How dark?  I had 30 minutes of thinking and wondering to do before the tour started.  After a while I decided I needed to distract myself or maybe I’d chicken out, so, I decided to tease Charlie and I told him Mom bought us all tickets for the crawling tour and I was worried about how I was going to crawl around in a cave for four hours.  He provided no distraction as his only response was “Really though, I don’t want to go in there.”  I just had to stop perseverating on this- the tickets had been purchased and I was going.

God timed this perfectly!  If I would have had the chance to discuss this tour with everyone I probably would have begged my way out of it.  And it was the coolest part of the trip (figuratively and literally as it was 58 degrees in the cave!) It was scary, awesome, incredible, amazing, dark, deep, exhausting and exhilarating!  What a blessing I would have missed!  Who cares if I was dripping in sweat by the end of 300 stairs and half a mile walk?  Who cares if I thought I was going to die from exhaustion for an hour after emerging?  Who cares if my body ached for three days?  I went 20 stories down into a cave!  I went into a cavern where I experienced the deepest dark my eyes have never seen!  And, I discovered I am not claustrophobic!

God is so good that sometimes He doesn’t allow us the freedom to wiggle away from challenges that step us out of our comfort zone.  I’m grateful that He knows me so well, so thoroughly, so completely, that He provided me this opportunity that I would have denied myself.

Simple Lesson

My mom, Linda; sister, Sunshine; and Shiney’s boyfriend, Charlie spent 6 days driving to, wandering around and returning from the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.  We hit all the local sights:  the Bandlands State Park, Mount Rushmore National Monument, Needles Highway, Custer State Park, Wind Cave State Park, The Crazy Horse Monument, Deadwood and Devil’s Tower National Monument.

I’ve been wracking my brain to find a life lesson from this vacation but I have been coming up empty.  Really, it shouldn’t be this difficult.  Don’t we have lessons to learn every day? I haven’t found any deep lessons yet but maybe the lesson isn’t such a profound one, instead, a simple one that I find recurring in my life of late: don’t give up on your dreams.

Charlie is 44 years old. It has been his dream since childhood to see Mount Rushmore. Well, he did it, he finally got there! His pure, absolute joy at seeing those stone faces was a delight to witness. It was genuine and heartfelt. He was excited so deep in his spirit it shone out of his face and tinged his voice with amazement.

If Charlie can achieve his dream, why can’t I? (Or for that matter, why can’t we all?) Why have I decided that none of my childhood dreams are worth having much less pursuing? Why have I let cynicism and hopelessness rule me? My brain knows this comes straight from the pit of hell, so why can’t I deny these thoughts? I suppose my experience tells me otherwise…but, wait, didn’t I create my experience?  I believe I had a fair amount of control over my life experiences through choices, attitudes, activities, friends, feelings.  So it would seem then that my experiences have been skewed by my faulty perception of reality.  Ephesians 3:20 says “now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.]”  This is an accurate reality.  God has a plan for me that exceeds even my own dreams!  I need to prayerfully alter my skewed experience and get it realigned with the word of the most loving God.  Only then can I achieve my childhood dreams and beyond.


Charlie at Mount Rushmore National Monument.  As soon as Mount Rushmore came into view we stopped along the highway at the first available pull out.  This was Charlie just minutes after getting his first glimpse of the faces.

Vacation Photos!

Below are some photos from my recent vacation to South Dakota and Wyoming.  Captions are under the photo and may contain links to the National or State Park mentioned.  No stories about the trip yet, I have a couple of things I am fleshing out but until those stories are perfected the pictures are all you get!

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Grasslands as far as the eye can see.

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Yellow Mounds, Badlands National Park.


Night time lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Monument.

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 Mount Rushmore in the distance.

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Forest fire damage in Custer State Park.

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Hildy, Linda, Charlie and Shiney at Rod and Gun State Campground  in the Black Hills National Forest in Spearfish Canyon, SD.

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Desolate landscape (and cattle!) in Wyoming.

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Devil’s Tower National Monument.

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Games with friends.  Linda, Lori, Shiney, Charlie, Levi, Kayla, and Katie.

Auntie Laughs at Abbi

Job 8:21

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter [Job] and your lips with joyful shouting.

My niece Abbi is a joy from start to finish.  I didn’t know anything about this girl until 4 1/2 years ago; now I cannot imagine life with out her.  Isn’t it funny how people step into your life and take over?abbi-_1.JPG

A couple of months ago my sister, Sunshine, made a mistake saying Abbi’s name.  Normally Shiney takes the long route and includes Abbi’s middle name-  Abbi Mary Peterson.  This day Shiney’s tongue got twisted around itself which caused her to call the girl Abbi Pary Meterson.  We laughed til we cried, and poor Abbi has a new nickname, for life most likely.  Abbi Pary Meterson is almost all I call her now.  As we were exiting church recently I called out to Abbi, “Abbi Pary Meterson, please wait!”  Abbi stopped, turned around to me, her eyes squinted into the sun, blond hair whipping, a fierce look on her face and said, “I AM NOT PETER MEDICINE!”  I about fell over laughing. Poor girl is traumatized for life by her weird Auntie ridiculing her! Oh, such joy found in such small places…