Monday, October 20, 2008

What Kind of Friend Are You?

"Friendship can take different turns--it can run like a river, quietly and sustainingly through life; it can erupt like a geyser, forcefully, and intermittently at times; or it can explode like a meteor, altering the atmosphere so that nothing ever looks, feels, or functions the same again."

--Ansel Adams (1902-1984)--

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jeromy & Jennifer are Coming Home

When you listen to an album, sometimes the words sound great, but the artist just lacks the conviction or experience to make it sound heart-genuine. Not so with Jeromy & Jennifer’s new album, Coming Home. And it’s not just an album. It’s a journey. A journey from suffering to faith. From intense questioning to endurance and trust.

Jeromy & Jennifer have been through a lot over the past two years. From living in Africa for several months, to the birth of a new baby, an MS diagnosis and the disbanding of FFH, they’ve run the gamut of suffering, trust, and God’s enduring faithfulness. Life is different for them now. But, more importantly, they’re different. They’ve grown, they’ve learned, they’ve dealt with the hard issues and found peace in the midst of pain.

Coming Home doesn’t deal tritely with the object of suffering either. From the first verse of “Where Do I Go From Here”, “You brought me this far/Was it only to see me beg?/Was it only to get me to my knees/and then walk away?” to the chorus of “What it Feels Like”, which says, “This may not be the road I would choose for me/But it still feels right somehow/And I have never felt you as close to me/As I do right now/So this is what it feels like to be led”, this album gets right down to the tough issues with gut-level honesty. But it also never hides the theme of God’s faithfulness and grace through it all.

The star of the entire album, however, is probably the title track, “I’m Coming Home”. It has a folksy sound to it, and a great hook—all carried off Jennifer’s hallmark vocals. The lyrics go from frustration with the pointless competition and approval-seeking in the ‘System’, to a longing for something different and the relief of finally stepping back to see it all for what it is— ultimately realizing that ‘Home’ is a better place to be – at the feet of the Father, “Where I hear ‘Child, you are loved’/And I hear ‘Child, you are forgiven’/I hear ‘Child, I am so proud of what you’ve become’.”...

Through these various life experiences and the album that came out of it all, I think Jeromy & Jennifer truly have found Home. And I know they’re more than welcome there.

Songs of particular note:
I’m Coming Home
What it Feels Like (to be Led)
Stop the Bleeding
Where Do I Go From Here

Available on iTunes or at

Friday, October 3, 2008

"I'm not God, I'm a Girl"

All Right Here
Sara Groves

It's every loss and every love
It's every blessing from above
Here I am, all added up
Oh, it's all right here

It's what I know, and what I'm guessing
Half truths, and full confessions
It's why I choose to learn my lessons
Oh, it's all right here

And I'm not God, I'm a girl - I confess
That I don't have a sea of forgetfulness
No, it's all right here
It makes me stronger, it makes me wince
Makes me think twice when I pick my friends
Oh, it's all right here
It's all right here

It's caution and curiosity
And it's all the things I never see
Welling up inside of me
Oh, it's all right here

It's what is best, and what is worse
It's how I see the universe
It's in every line and every verse
Oh, it's all right here

Every heart has so much history
It's my favorite place to start
Sit down a while and share your narative with me
I'm not afraid of who you are

I'm all here, and you're all there
Some of this is unique, and some of it we share
Add it up and start from there
Well, it's all right here

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kabobs, Anyone?

It was one of those afternoons you’re not sure are ever going to end. Or forget. There I stood by the table, a big bowl of raw, cubed chicken on one side, a bowl of chunked pineapple on the other, helping some of our small campers make kabobs. Maraschino cherry juice was running down both of my arms onto my elbows and my gloved fingers were sweating into the latex. It was almost 100 degrees in the house and yet we were packed shoulder to shoulder around the small table, so close that more than one person at the table was getting prodded with kabob sticks.

Welcome to day camp in Philly! We had 15 girls that week – every morning we picked them up and brought them to the Bible Clubhouse for a long, hot day packed with every activity imaginable. One day it was a trip to the city pool, then a picnic lunch on the bleachers nearby. Another day it was a cross-meadow tour of a historical site through tall, tick-infested grass. A hike through a shady spot of woods. A special trip out for ice cream cones. A day spent reading one-on-one by a river (never mind the rain!).

But now, the kabobs were being made for our end-of-the-week luau celebration at the Clubhouse. Part of the day’s activities included cooking and decorating for the dinner. Then, the girls were allowed to invite their moms to come eat with them so afterwards they could be treated to a performance of the songs and verses each girl memorized that week at camp. This was supposed to be followed by the awards ceremony.

Only one minor glitch. None of the moms showed up. Not even one. So after a few hurried phone calls, a few ladies who volunteered for the umbrella ministry offered to come to be ‘moms’ for the evening. My heart hurt so badly for those girls that night.

Thinking back on it now, I remember a good half an hour I spent on my hands and knees under that table before the luau, with a bottle of disinfectant spray and a pile of rags, trying to get raw chicken and sticky, pink fruit juice off the wood floor. I didn’t think I would ever get that place clean! I remember also thinking that if I didn’t get the table surface completely disinfected from the raw chicken, everyone was going to die from salmonella. It strikes me as ironic in retrospect that, as I worried about the girls getting food poisoning, I should have found a little helper somewhere and spent some quality time together with her as I cleaned.

Some things, I guess, are only learned in retrospect. I wonder what the girls remember from that night.