Category Archives: arts

Speechless in the face of Grace

Kawai piano goodBesides being the artistic director of a faith-based theater company, I am a piano teacher. I started teaching piano when I was 18 years old, and with the exception of a couple of breaks (my last two years of college, and between the births of son #1 and son #2) I’ve been teaching ever since.

The annual Spring recital, right after Memorial Day, has been a tradition for my students for over twenty years. It’s the night when we celebrate their progress and their accomplishments. They play their most difficult pieces. I mention awards they’ve won. We showcase any graduating seniors.

It’s NOT a night about me.

Except that this past Tuesday, my piano families decided that it was.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Existential conversations with my three-year-old

Lucy with Husky the dog, her current inseparable companion

Lucy with Husky the dog, her current inseparable companion

Lucy still spends much of her time either being an animal (favorites right now: wolf cub, tiger or puppy) or talking to her army of stuffed animals. But more and more she also takes time to ponder her own history.  Many of her sentences begin, “When I was little…” or “When I was a baby…”.

Since I will sometimes tell her a story from my own childhood, she recently was trying to grasp how she fit into that scenario: “When you were a little girl, did you know me?”  No, Lucy, when I was a little girl, you were not alive yet. Your daddy was not alive yet.

(silence for a moment)

“When you were a little girl, I was pretendin’ to be dead?!”

Continue reading

The Hollow World of “1984”

1984 posterOur theater company, all for One productions, is entering tech week for our upcoming stage production adapted from George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four…so naturally it’s the subject uppermost in my mind, even on a Sunday.

We’ve had some great conversations as a cast while working on this script. One thing we’ve wrestled with is the hopelessness in the story. all for One does not typically choose to tell hopeless stories. So why are we doing this one?

We’ve identified several aspects of the story which audiences today may relate to:  loss of privacy; the narrowing of language; and revisionist history.  We’ve talked about the fact that other countries–notably North Korea–are already experiencing a hell on earth which is quite similar to the world described in Orwell’s book.  Continue reading

Make a Difference: fund the #Gosnell movie

Today I want to share with you an opportunity in which the whole pro-life community can easily get involved, and which could have a tremendous impact on our cultural mindset. But it is already facing opposition, so your participation will be both helpful and encouraging to three documentary filmmakers.

l. to r., Magdalena, Phelim, Ann

l. to r.,  Magdalena, Phelim, Ann

Continue reading

The Value of Repetition

godsbooklover-gravatar991This post is adapted from one I originally wrote over at Winnowing a few years ago. As I’ve begun to practice lectio divina again recently…and since I have a three-year-old at home who loves to hear or see stories over and over and over again…I decided that this piece might be appropriate for today. If you read to the end, you’ll also see a tie-in to my Wednesday post on using sacred music for spiritual growth. 

——————————-

lectioIn order to meditate on a verse, one reads it slowly, several times, with pauses in between. This is the ancient practice of lectio divina (sacred reading). In order to memorize, one does much the same thing, though sometimes there is less emphasis on really getting at the meat of the meaning, and more on just learning the words. This will ring especially true to anyone who has ever crammed for a test…and then promptly forgotten every fact in the instant of handing the completed exam back to the teacher.

Continue reading

Digging Deeper for Lent, Week 4: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

medieval hymnWhile music is not everyone’s preferred tool for spiritual growth and renewal, nor even for worship, it has its place in centering one’s thoughts on God, and can also be a teaching tool, both for doctrine and Scripture memory.

Since the apostle Paul instructs the early believers to sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (see Ephesians 5:19 NIV), today I will offer my own recommendations for a bit of each of these three, from a variety of recording artists.

Continue reading

On Trust, Belief and Hope

Princess & the GoblinOur theater company is preparing to perform a stage adaptation of George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin. It is that intense and exhausting period known as “tech week”–today was the day we loaded our massive set into the theater we rent four times a year for our productions. I spent the day painting portable flooring.

The Princess and the Goblin is a delightful fantasy for children. It is also a beautiful story about faith and trust. Believing precedes seeing. Indeed, as one character wisely says, “Seeing is not believing. It is only seeing.”  Irene and her great-great-grandmother embody something of the relationship that Christians have with the Holy Spirit. We are led by an invisible hand, and we trust that we will be led to safety–but we are surprised along the way by some of the places it takes us!

Continue reading

Stories for Cold, Dark Days

The view out my front door...

The view out my front door…

It’s been a long month. Bitter cold and snow on snow have cancelled classes and events, leaving us huddled in our houses for days on end. And what better way to pass the time than with story?

Our granddaughter has just fallen in love with one of my favorite fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast, and has been let’s-pretending it all day long, for days now. I am startled to find she knows snatches of dialogue by heart, and is singing along on key…just past her third birthday, she seems to have made a quantum leap forward.

Beauty and BeastI’m pleased that she has taken to a story which involves a loving father, a beautiful act of sacrificial love, and a relationship which isn’t based on good looks. Add to that a heroine who loves to read–it’s perfect! I know Lucy is probably not reacting to all these positive character qualities for their own sake…she loves the story. Presenting her with stories worth loving is my most important job at the moment. Later there will be time to show her why they’re worthy. Continue reading