Alto – Dina’s Party

In mixed choral groups, alto is the part next highest to the soprano – which is usually carrying the melody. It is typically sung by women and is a harmony line. In my experience in church and other choirs, altos typically read music and can ‘hear’ the harmony. They also usually have a lower range and can sing notes overlapping with tenor parts. This loose description holds when applied to 4 part harmonies from church hymns.

The alto section in the Shades choir has been blessed with many wonderful and diverse ‘women of God’ over the years. Once such woman is 83 today. Even during the summer months on a non-choir rehearsal night, about half of the alto section celebrated Dina last night. The party was typical Dina-style with fun and funny accessories and plenty of laughter.

We are an alto family – we love and laugh and cry and pray together. One positive thing we gained from the pandemic was becoming better friends through Zoom, and praying with and for each other, and having time to listen to each other’s lives and stories and highs and lows. Our alto section is a force of more than 40 women to be reckoned with – leaders in life and love and faith and worship.

Carry on ‘women of God’! and Happy Birthday Dina.

The State of Confusion / Babel!!!

Do you really want to know what’s on my mind? I’m not sure any of you really do. Maybe you should stop reading now… What many of you want to hear is that I agree or chime in on your position – whether it’s about the virus or politics or social justice. I’m tired…of being ‘phished’ for my position; tired of feeling like there are only two opposing sides to every thought and I have to choose one to the exclusion of the other; tired of having to defend or justify my opinions…just so tired.

I read about the Tower of Babel in The Bible Recap Podcast a few days ago. I’m wondering if in Genesis 11 when God ‘confused their language’, He did more than give different dialects and words and sounds – maybe He confused thought patterns as well? The point was to keep man from being united in purpose and goals. We are definitely there now – far from united!!!! Even with all the technology and resources and knowledge at our fingertips, we have vastly different approaches to life and interpretations of how to live. This is true of our nations and our churches and our friends and family.

When I read Colossians 3:1-17 ESV, I see Jesus guiding His church. As a Christ-follower, these are words giving me direction and telling me how to live. I believe God expects us to love and live in unity in the body of Christ. Verse 2 says, “Set your minds on things that are above”. The challenge to “put on love” in verse 14 is where the rubber meets the road.  It’s summed up in verse 17 – “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Cranberry Apple Relish

cranberry apple relish

2 lbs (8 cups) fresh cranberries , coarsely chopped
4 cups peeled and coarsely chopped apples
3 ½ cups sugar
2 cups orange marmalade
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (I use pecans)
½ cup lemon juice


Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Will keep for 2 weeks

Root canals and believers

I had my first root canal this morning. I think they really get a bad rap. Sure, I don’t like the sound of the drill or the numbing shots or sitting with someone’s hands in my mouth for long stretches of time. But it wasn’t terribly painful – and I did have meds for numbing – and the environment was basically sterile – and the doctor was trained and experienced and had the right tools.

Evidently there was infection down in the roots of the tooth. I couldn’t see it, but I knew it was there because I felt the effects. And I couldn’t do anything about it myself! I had to trust the dentist to do what he needed to do to remove my pain. I didn’t really understand what he was doing or how much longer it was going to take or what it was going to feel like, but I sat and waited out the process.

Here’s the analogy: I’ll bet you already see it. Jesus is the doctor and sin is the infection. It’s got a hold of me deep inside and there is nothing I can do to get rid of it myself. I need someone who knows how to help and who has the resources to take care of my problem – my spiritual problem. Jesus is the only one who can heal this ache.

Now, after the root canal I’m not just stepping back into the old normal. My mouth is sore and I’m afraid to use that part of my mouth. It’s too different and unknown at this moment. I definitely have the consequences of the infection in my body. The nerve was stripped out and another substance was put in its place. Just like when sin is stripped out I need Jesus to fill that vacuum so I don’t crumple or implode or explode.

Here’s a question – is the tooth that had a root canal stronger or weaker than another tooth? As my teeth age they will naturally become weaker. The filler for the root canal is stronger. The same is true of my life when I get myself out of the way and let Jesus fill me. I am stronger when He is at the core.

No one is established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
Prov 12:3 ESV

Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
Deut 29:18 NIV

A little word game…

Give this PLENTY of thought, and don’t cheat!

See if you can figure out what these words have in common.

















Are you peeking or have you already given up? Give it another try… you’ll kick yourself when you discover the answer.





Go back and look at them again; think hard.







OK… Here you go… hope you didn’t cheat. This is so cool.












Answer . . . . .

In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same word.

I like adoption

Grateful #FiveMinuteFriday

What a strange word? Grateful? full of grate?

I’m reminded of an early American scene when I think of this word – something straight out of a Little House on the Prairie scene… The poor jobless farm hand stands in the yard talking to the owner saying “I’d be mighty grateful to do a little work for some food and a place to sleep”

OK – so what does ‘grateful’ mean to me? It’s being thankful – understanding that you are blessed beyond what you deserve or can do for yourself.

Ultimately, we must be grateful to God for our salvation, for our very lives. But we can also be grateful for small things – like the gentle rain falling outside my window, for ways to communicate easily with friends in faraway places, for those who will listen and encourage and laugh with you, for safety and health, for family, for ‘enough’ – maybe not all we want, but all we need…

Be grateful!


For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

I’m disturbed!

If you know me at all, you know that I am passionate about freedom – having a choice – for women and girls. Human trafficking is evil and it is all around us. Twitter and the Internet are teeming with #bringbackourgirls – and rightly so! This is a blatant example of devaluing human life and the tragedy of trafficking around the world. It happens here too, you know. When one person has the power to buy or sell another. God’s heart is for rescue – He wants all to saved.

The latest kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria has disturbed me. Have you been keeping up with the news? Here is a quote from the leader of the group responsible:

“I abducted the girls at a Western education school,” said Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, in a video released Monday. “And you are disturbed. I said Western education should end. … I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell; he commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”


Psalm 10:17-18
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke


But what can we do?


  • We can pray.
  • We can stay informed.
  • We can advocate for those who have no choice and no voice.
  • We can support groups like IJM, The WellHouse and Freeset who offer hope.



Micah 6:8 (CEV)

 The Lord God has told us
what is right
    and what he demands:
“See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
    and humbly obey your God.


Here’s a prayer post by Sarah Bessey

Legalism / License / Liberty

Acts 15:1-35.

It’s all about grace! Try to stay in the middle…

There are two extremes and one middle ground.
Legalism – characteristics: bound by law, dos and don’ts, strict
License – characteristics: abuse of grace, entitlement and selfishness, no boundaries
Liberty – FREEDOM! – living in the middle ground; no extremes


2 Corinthians 3:4-6 (ESV) —Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Gal. 2:20-21 — I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who livesin me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.


• Grace stands alone – Eph. 2:8 — For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
• In Christ there is freedom – Gal 5:13 —For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
• Holiness is the goal – Live a life that pleases God. Heb 12:14 — Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holinesswithout which no one will see the Lord

Giving What You Have…

Live Generously