MESSIAH

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

I’m always torn when writing the title…  one of my professors in college threw a fit when someone referred to this work as Handel’s Messiah.  He told the student (thankfully it was not me) that it is simply MESSIAH and it’s not necessary to preface it with the author’s last name.  So, I split the difference – I didn’t put Handel’s name in the main title but added it on to the banner.  Everyone happy?  Good.  Let’s move on and talk about this magnificent work.

The oratorio Messiah by George Frederic Handel, although clearly stating “To God alone the glory,” was still met with skepticism and some even considered the work to be blasphemous!  Can you imagine?  It reminds me of the split reaction witnessed in my generation when “Godspell” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” were released.  No, it’s not Handel, but you get my drift, right?

So, Handel thought he could fan the flames a bit by scheduling the premiere in Ireland instead of London because he didn’t want to be close to the Anglican Bishops.  He also advertised the piece as A Sacred Oratorio instead of emphasizing the name Messiah.

As most of us know, the piece depicts the life of Christ and not just one aspect.  It was written for Easter originally since it ends with the popular and majestic Hallelujah Chorus.  Actually, only the first third of the work is dedicated to the birth of Christ.  The second act is about the death of Christ and the third act of course focuses on His resurrection.  It premiered in the spring during the Lent season.

But here’s what transpired…  Laurence Cummings, the conductor of the London Handel Orchestra, determined that the work would be fitting for Christmas, noting that there is so much fine Easter music already, but very little music for Christmas.  By the 19th century, Messiah quickly became a Christmas staple, especially in the United States.

It blows my mind that Handel wrote the 259-page score in about 24 days with minimal errors.  Richard Luckett, author of Handel’s Messiah:  A Celebration, writes that there are some uncorrected errors or blotted out notes, but remarkably few mistakes considering the speed in writting the score.

We’re reminded by Lucinda today that Jesus is the Way to have life eternal in Heaven.  Aren’t we thankful?must-be-jesus

For Unto Us a Child Is Born is my favorite portion of Messiah that addresses the birth of Christ.  I once had the amazing opportunity to sing in a choir that performed this work and it’s probably the most challenging cantata I’ve been part of – but it was such fun to learn, and as an alto, it kept me on my toes.  There is so much back and forth, especially in this song.  If you lose your place you’d better just drop out until you figure out where you are – you could be singing along with the tenors if you aren’t careful.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (2)

Here’s John Coyote singing one of my favorite Elvis songs – “Don’t”. 

Let’s begin today’s post with a trivia question:  In which film did Elvis Presley wear a beard?

Yes…  I said a BEARD.  Do you know the answer?  Not to worry – I didn’t know which one it was either.

On this day in 1968, Elvis began filming the movie CHARRO!  It was a bust – Elvis had a beard and only one of his songs was used in the film.  It was an all-around bummer.

Of course to die-hard Elvis fans (like me), anything he did was quite alright.  Beard, no beard – whatever.  He had music in his voice and I could listen to him sing forever.  His presence on the big screen was mesmerizing.

Although 1968 seems like a very long time ago, sometimes it seems like yesterday.  I used to hear my grandparents talk about how when they were young those were simpler, more innocent days.  I didn’t know what they meant at the time they were telling me that, but now – well, I would say that 1968 was a simpler, more innocent time than 2016.

In 1968 I was 9 years old.  It was a pre-computer age and our telephones were all landlines.  There were not many “R” rated movies showing at the theater, and we had another Elvis movie to look forward to.

Elvis played Jess Wade, a man falsely accused of having stolen a cannon from the Mexican revolutionary forces.  He tries to find the real culprits, a gang of criminals.

There were no F bombs and no scenes that were uncomfortable to watch in mixed company.  I miss simplicity and innocence in films.  No, this wasn’t his best movie, but I’d still rather watch it than some of the junk that they try to pass off as entertainment these days.

By 1968, Elvis had made 28 movies – and they were all starting to run together and the plots were beginning to seem very familiar.  It seemed to be a matter of what environment they decided to put Elvis in.  By the time movie number 29 was being filmed, they apparently thought the only thing they could do to change the routine of the plot was have Elvis grow a five-day shadow.

Real fans didn’t mind the familiarity of the plot – but even we were predicting with a fair degree of accuracy the twists and turns of the movies once there were so many of them.  I head Elvis say in an interview that he wished he had spent less time working on movies and more time working on new music.  He was a great talent to be sure and could obviously do either one – and whether you think anything he did was cheesy or not, I think it’s great that he left these gifts for us to enjoy.  🙂

 

 

 

MATTHEW 6:21 ON 6/21

TL 6-21 MATTHEW 6-21 ON 6-21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

Some portions of Scripture require a bit of explanation, but others are fairly straightforward.  Today’s Scripture reminder is self-explanatory and wow…  so TRUE! 

A wise pastor once made a statement from the pulpit that has stayed in the back of my mind.  This was his reference Scripture.  After reading it, he looked up as though he was trying to decide whether to go ahead and say what he was thinking – and finally said, “If you want to know what is the most important to a person, take a look at their finances.”  You could have heard a pin drop in that sanctuary.  I know we were all thinking about where we had written checks that last week.

Obviously, we all wrote checks to pay for our normal bills – mortgage, vehicle payment, groceries, trash, electricity, gas, etc.  but there are those other expenses that are not needs – but wants…  those are the entries in our check registers that really tell the story of what means the most to us – and there were some folks who just had to say…  OUCH!

It’s not my place to check you and it’s not your place to check me – but it is God’s Holy Spirit’s job to point out where all of us could do better.  Where do you spend most of your treasure?  That is where your heart is – it’s what matters the most to you.

MAN’S TREASURE

from week 16 of the popular book COFFEE WITH JESUS by Lucinda Berry Hill

A man was working in a field.

He came upon a treasure.

He admired it for a while,

The value, beyond measure.

He hid it in the field again,

Impossible to find.

Then left for home for the night,

The treasure on his mind.

He started selling all he had:

His house, his car, his clothes.

He sold his favorite pastime pleasures.

He sold everything he owned.

His family warned him not to go;

They said they’d turn from him.

His friends said he’d lost his mind.

He said good-bye to them.

He took the cash that he’d earned,

Back to the field he went.

To buy the field with treasure hidden.

For him, the gift was meant.

He went inside the treasure,

Came out clean and pure.

His dirty ways, his ugly past

Were gone from him for sure.

The treasure gave him wisdom,

Strength, and comfort too.

It gave him peace he never had,

A joy he never knew.

If he had to do it all again,

Give up all he had around,

He’d sell it all, joyfully,

For God, His treasure found.

To purchase Lucinda’s book, COFFEE WITH JESUS, please visit her website:  http://www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com/

I would just challenge you to figure out what your wants are – and pray about where the things of God are ranked.  What you discover may surprise you.  It may be that changes need to take place, or you might decide that your treasure and your heart are already focused on God’s work.

Let’s take a look at the entire context of this portion of Scripture:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  – Matthew 6:19-24

Who do you hate?  Who do you love?  What do you support with your treasure?  It matters to God.  🙂

 

WE LOVE ELVIS

TL 5-25 WE LOVE ELVIS

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What’s our friend John been up to???  Let’s find out!

Elvis was a phenomena and a trend setter.  Before we heard his music, there was no Rockabilly.  He advanced all genres of music so much.  I enjoyed his gospel music – I know that surprises you!  But when I read about the music that influenced him the most…  guess what it said?

Presley’s earliest musical influence came from gospel. His mother recalled that from the age of two, at the Assembly of God church in Tupelo attended by the family, “he would slide down off my lap, run into the aisle and scramble up to the platform. There he would stand looking at the choir and trying to sing with them.”  In Memphis, Presley frequently attended all-night gospel singings at the Ellis Auditorium, where groups such as the Statesmen Quartet led the music in a style that, Guralnick suggests, sowed the seeds of Presley’s future stage act:

The Statesmen were an electric combination … featuring some of the most thrillingly emotive singing and daringly unconventional showmanship in the entertainment world … dressed in suits that might have come out of the window of Lansky’s. … Bass singer Jim Wetherington, known universally as the Big Chief, maintained a steady bottom, ceaselessly jiggling first his left leg, then his right, with the material of the pants leg ballooning out and shimmering. “He went about as far as you could go in gospel music,” said Jake Hess. “The women would jump up, just like they do for the pop shows.” Preachers frequently objected to the lewd movements … but audiences reacted with screams and swoons.

As a teenager, Presley’s musical interests were wide-ranging, and he was deeply informed about African-American musical idioms as well as white ones. Though he never had any formal training, he was blessed with a remarkable memory, and his musical knowledge was already considerable by the time he made his first professional recordings in 1954 at the age of 19. When Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller met him two years later, they were astonished at his encyclopedic understanding of the blues.  At a press conference the following year, he proudly declared, “I know practically every religious song that’s ever been written.”

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By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7336391

HOW GREAT THOU ART is the song that sends chills up and down my spine.  I heard that before he recorded it, he had never heard the hymn.  He did his own arrangement with no frame of reference.  To me, that takes some intestinal fortitude and confidence in your ability to arrange and perform.  He had such a great talent!

On my video called “The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley”, they said that when Elvis took a break, he and his backup singers ended up around the piano, Elvis playing – and they sang gospel songs.  I believe that is the music he loved deep down inside.  It’s the only music that had real meaning.

Amen!  HOW GREAT THOU ART!  Have a wonderful day in the LORD!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)I WANT TO BE FRUITFUL
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” My question is; what is your star? What is that thing that can force you to go to bed late and wake you up while many are in deep sleep? What’s it that can pick you up to walk again even after a frustrating fall? What’s it that gives you a smile in times of weeping? What’s that one thing that keeps you strong and gives hope in times of hopelessness? If you have it, then you have found that star he talked about. Keep moving! For as long as you have with you the three keys to personal excellence (The will to win, the desire to succeed and the urge to reach your full potential), you shall reach your star. I know that you know what I am talking about, but knowing isn’t enough, you must apply and do. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up on God’s gift to us; you must try one more time if you’re to succeed. Believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities – for without confidence in your own powers, you cannot reach your star that God gave you as the guiding light in the darkest moments of your life.  Your talent is God’s gift to you and what you do with it is your gift back to God.  – Mark Farouk
We are only able to grow and succeed in life as long as we stay in God’s Word and pray without ceasing.  There’s nothing we can do on our own – and by the same token, there’s nothing that God cannot do through us!  He is the Vine and we are the branches…  our own ego must go on the back burner and we must fully lean on God to guide and direct our path.  God is our guiding Light – our Star – like the star that shone over the manger in Bethlehem for the Wise Men.
WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM
If we want to be wise…  we will follow the LIGHT, the STAR that will never lead us astray.  As He shines on and in us, we shine His love and peace to others.  I love how God works, don’t you?  🙂

COME JOIN US FOR TEA

https://youtu.be/bkfkDYg5i3w

I’m super excited about our CHRISTIAN AUTHOR’S VIRTUAL TEA PARTY & BOOK EXTRAVAGANZA.  Join us from 2-4 pm (CST) for fun and real-time conversations with your favorite authors!  We’ll be joined by Lucinda Berry Hill, Deanna Stalnaker and Judy Janowski, to name a few.

Please remember that this is a VIRTUAL event, meaning that all you have to do is be on the EVENT PAGE at 2pm CST.  Just grab your favorite tea (and a snack, of course) and log on to facebook!  You can wear your po-jammies if you want to!  Just be there!!!  ❤

Have your questions ready for the authors.  These talented folks and their writing inspire me continually and I know you enjoy their work too.  God has blessed them with such depth in their writing – it is undeniable that it comes from the Holy Spirit of God.  Isn’t God good to give such talent, and they in turn share it with us?

I know today’s post is quite short (uncharacteristic for me, huh?)  I do have last-minute arrangements to make that will assure the party goes smoothly.

In addition to learning about the authors, we will be sharing some tea trivia along the way as well as great recipes for scones and other goodies that go great with your favorite hot tea.  It’ll be great – we will celebrate the last days of NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH and chat with these talented Christian authors.

There’s still time to RSVP – friend me on facebook to receive an invitation:

https://www.facebook.com/linda.palmer.399041

Don’t miss it!  Bring your favorite tea and the questions you want to ask.  See ya in a few hours!  🙂

CHRISTIAN AUTHOR'S VIRTUAL TEA PARTY & BOOK EXTRAVAGANZA 2016It’s my hope and prayer that this is such a success that we will be planning a 2nd Annual Event next year!  Wink!  😉

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDDonate to a local charity.  What a wonderful way to help out during the Christmas season.  Our local Disabled American Veteran thrift store has a shopping cart beside the front door.  It’s convenient to drop off a donation, and I try to give at Christmas time especially because so many folks do their Christmas shopping there.  Having choices is always a good thing – right?

Everyone has a particular charity they give to.  We have several local charities but there are also the more well-known ones such as The JDRF and The American Cancer Society.  There are so many needs, aren’t there?  Needs for research and unfortunately that takes a lot of money.  I can’t give to all of them, but just like everyone else, I do what I can afford to do.

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Sometimes it can seem overwhelming.  It seems like every time you turn the TV on, you see an advertisement for a new charity.  I think we just have to pray and ask God to show us what to do.  Once in a while there are opportunities to volunteer with organizations.  Giving to charitable organizations does not always hit your pocketbook.  Sometimes it takes a little of your precious time.  I can’t speak for everyone, but often I have more time than money.

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Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Mary would have said NO – ???  I can’t imagine a humble servant of God doing that, but what if she would have?  Her obedience, considering her young age, tells me that she was well grounded in her faith.  When it comes to decision-making in our own lives, we’d be wise to learn to ponder things over more than we do.  Who to help and where to give – these are important decisions because not every charity is using your dollars the way you would want them to.  Get to know the charity you want to help before you give.

You may need a little nudge to donate your time to sing…  but it makes others smile.  This is what I’m talkin’ about…

https://youtu.be/wBnf0md-8Iw

Helping others is one of the greatest blessings God gives us.  When you give of yourself, whether it’s time, talent or treasure, you feel as though you are making another person’s life better.  In turn, your life gets better.  Don’t you love how God’s plan works in each of us?  Some need help – others need to help.  All needs are met.  🙂

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (11)

All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls!  – Thomas Carlyle

Cole Porter was born on this day in 1891 in Peru, Indiana.  Cole Porter’s name derives from the surnames of his parents, Kate Cole and Sam Porter.  He had an advantage in life because his family was wealthy.  He was raised on a 750-acre fruit ranch.  His wealthy, domineering grandfather did not like the fact that Cole wanted to pursue a career in music.

His mother introduced him to the violin and the piano. Cole started riding horses at age six and began to studying piano at eight at Indiana’s Marion Conservatory. By age ten, he had begun to compose songs, and his first song was entitled “Song of the Birds”.

Cole was classically trained and very talented.  He was drawn towards musical theatre.  He didn’t have immediate success, but eventually achieved success in the 1920’s.  By the 1930’s he was one of the major songwriters for the Broadway musical stage.  The impressive fact is that he not only wrote the music, but the lyrics for his songs.

He wrote over 800 songs and had a flair for wit.  He composed toe-tapping songs like “Night and Day” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

In 1937 his life was marred by a riding accident that left him unable to walk.  In spite of that, he continued writing and was quite successful – going on to write some of the best-loved standards of all time.

Today let’s celebrate Cole Porter’s birthday by watching the wonderful movie, “Mr. Holland’s Opus”.  Here is the final scene.  If you don’t own this movie – you really should get it.

I’m such a fan of show tunes.  Cole Porter’s light-hearted humor and sophistication shine through in his compositions.  I enjoy playing them and listening to other musician’s interpretations.

Happy Birthday, Cole Porter!  🙂

 

 

A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN DAY

TL 1-25 A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN DAY

1-25 ROOM TO BUD AND GROW

Today we celebrate the extended essay by Virginia Woolf entitled “A Room of One’s Own”, based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women’s colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928.  It is considered non-fiction and a feminist publication since it advocates space, both literal and figural, for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.  – Ecclesiastes 9:10

I’m sure we all agree that women have made their literary mark since the late 1920’s, early 1930’s.  We’ve come a long way, baby (and I’m not selling cigarettes either).  Even the toughest writing gig of all, journalism, has seen women break in and break through to the top.  I admire women like Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Connie Chung because when they started it was still a man’s world and they had to work so much harder to get anywhere.  They were and are such intelligent and savvy women.

When I was taking journalism courses, I remember reading articles about all 3 of these women, and wishing that I too could poke a hole in the ceiling one day.  I read all of the interviews they gave and did a lot of daydreaming about how I would be the next woman who knew the pulse of America and would eagerly show up to report about the condition of the patient.

I guess life happened and my priorities shifted.  I got married and…  well…  my dreams became a little more attainable and I took the easy way out.  But I still had a desire to write.  It’s a gnawing feeling that won’t leave me alone no matter what.  Every article I read I’d say to myself, “I could have written that better.”  Every interview I listened to, I’d say, “I would have asked this question” – or, “I would not have asked that question.”

I’m sure “Judith” would have had a very rough go of it to become everything that William became – back then.  As I say, in our time, you have to be smart and keep your wits about you, but it’s not the lack of opportunity to learn that would hold her back.  It would be her own limiting thoughts – and perhaps the fact that she keeps comparing her own talents to that of William.  She needs to focus on being the best writer she can be!

While thumbing through a magazine one afternoon at work, I spotted an advertisement that said, “Write Children’s Books”.  I tore it out and kept it in my desk for a long time.  Once in a while I’d take it out and look at it, but it took many months before I did anything about it.  I thought and prayed about what to do.  Finally one day I mailed in the application.

Within about a week I received my first assignment.  As I completed each step, something inside me was beginning to spark.  I don’t think I had enjoyed learning so much in my life.  For the first time in my life, I was learning and enjoying every minute of it.  My corrected assignments came back to me.  I made minor mistakes, but those are the ones I learned from and carried with me to the next level.

When I read the name of this special day, my mind went back to the time when I had all the time and all the space I needed to write.  I worked first shift and my husband worked third, so I had plenty of time to write.  My dad made me a special area where I could have a typewriter (no technology back then) and keep my journals and poetry within reach, as well as the class assignment I was working on.

Have you ever wondered why writers choose the subjects they do?  I wonder why Stephen King writes some of the creepy stuff he writes.  Here’s my answer:

You know, sometimes people say to me, “Why do you choose to write that creepy stuff?”  And I usually say, “What makes you think I have a choice?”  – Stephen King

Serious writers need a lot of time to write.  We need time alone to think, and we need our own space.  Today I keep everything on my laptop, but I still have the same needs I had back in the 1980’s.  Time to write and a room of my own – or at least a little nook.  Wink!  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIOLIN DAY

TL 12-13 VIOLIN DAY

 

12-13 FOLKSY OR FANCY

If you were in your school’s orchestra and happened to play the violin, your parents were saints!  When a person is first learning to play the violin, it can sound like fingernails on a chalkboard!  It was bad enough for my parents to have to hear me practice the piano, but there is nothing like the sound of a budding violinist!  But once you get past that stage, with encouragement, practice, love, and fiddle camp, this can happen:

Or this:

Today is VIOLIN DAY!  I played the clarinet in many orchestras and got to see the instruction given violinists.  It’s interesting to watch the unspoken language between the conductor and the first chair violinist.  So much goes on in the orchestra that most people aren’t privy to.  It’s not as easy as they make it look – trust me.

This is precious – I love to watch the little ones, don’t you?

I know – this was 8 years ago – but one thing is for sure – now he is potty trained!

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.  – Leopold Stokowski

This blows me away – such beauty from one so young!

There is no shortage of young talent on You Tube!  Listen to this!

Honestly, at 7 years old, I was out making mud pies after the rain!  I’d like to say that experience helped my culinary skills, but I still have not made my own pie crust – shhh…  don’t tell!

I’m so impressed with the talents of these youngsters, but to be honest, my musical taste veers toward the “fiddle” sort of violin.  There’s an old musician’s joke:

What’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin?  You don’t spill beer on a violin!

Yee-haw!  Let’s go to the Grand Ole Opry! 

Here he is on his own front porch:

Dang, boy!!!

Nailed it!  Does she have a country soul, or what?

He will be playing at barn dances – probably already does!

There’s a thin line between country fiddlin’ and Celtic fiddlin’…  learn to play those rolls an’ there ya go!!!

Makes me want to put my clogs on!  Wait…  I don’t have clogs.  How about fuzzy socks?

Bravo to all the young talent around the world!  Your talent does not go unnoticed and we appreciate the contribution you make to our lives!

Silent Night…  Holy Night.  That about says it all…

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  A safe, peace-filled, worry-free, no-stress, love-enriched New Year.  May God bless you as only He can.  🙂

If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift, may I suggest a new devotional book by Lucinda Berry Hill?  Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!

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Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx