Thursday, May 28, 2009

White on Rice

The High School had a "Battle of the Bands" contest and my younger son and his friends put together a band for the occasion.

Practices took place at our home. They weren't too noisy, at first. They seemed to have a lot of trouble deciding which songs to do. As the event drew nearer, things changed. I had to call the neighbor to the north and apologize for the noise.

On the night before...they were still at it at 10:56 p.m. I wanted to shut them down, but Mozart said..."Oh let them play." Thank goodness they quit at 11:00.

On the day of the big event, my youngest (call him "Y") temporarily misplaced his wallet. Since he cannot drive without a license, I had the honor of driving "Y" and his drums to school 2 hours before the performance.

On the way, I asked, "what time are you playing?"

"I don't know."

I think he was evading the question, because he wasn't thrilled about me coming.
I assured him that if I DID come, I would stand in the back in the shadows and call no attention to myself.

"We're number 9 out of 10 bands. Try coming about 7:30."

At 7:15, with my camera, I slipped into side door of the auditorium. It was pitch black except for the colored lights flickering behind band number 8 who was playing up a storm. I glanced around at the siloettes in the audience. I didn't see anyone over 19 years old except the judges who sat at a long table near the front. number 9---White on Rice--took the stage. As they began to play, the audience started singing along. I wanted to take a picture but didn't want to run up front and embarrass my son. I quickly looked around and saw 4 giggling girls in the back row.

"Would you take a picture of the band for me?"
"Oh sure." They all got up and threaded their way to the front.
"Be sure to get the drummer" I called...but I wasn't sure if they heard me through the pounding noise.

The first song ended. The guitarist switched his instrument for a cello and they proceeded to play a pounding instrumental entitled "Final Countdown".

After the last band played, everyone gathered on stage. The second place winner would be announced first. The MC shouted..."Second place winner is...."

"Band Number 8!" (He said their name, but I forgot it.)

I quickly glanced at my son's band...(number 9--White on Rice).
They stood quietly (they are a little shy), while other bands put their arms around one another and braced themselves for the big announcement.

"First place winner is........."

"White on Rice!!"


The boys, looking startled--yet smiling--gathered together as the MC approached them and asked,"How does it feel to be the first place winners of "Battle of the Bands."

They were speechless. Finally "Y" leaned forward and said "Spectacular!"

"There you have it...Spectacular!" shouted the MC.


The boys huddled to discuss which song to play, but it took them so long to decide...that the house lights finally went on...because the judges wanted to go home.

The girls returned my camera, and there were 2 great pictures of the band and low and behold, 4 pictures of the drummer.

Certainly life is full of surprises!


Eldest son update:

Eldest son has worked 2 days. The job is only 3 days long, but I am so thankful for this encouragement. More odd jobs may be coming.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Flowers and Faith

We had tea among the roses. My friend Lynn took me to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens for my birthday. We had British style tea in the rose garden. We feasted on salmon, ginger and cucumber finger sandwiches, including a warm basket of scones. (of which I had at least 4.)

Afterwards we meandered around the expansive gardens.

At one point we noticed two people (who we like very much) but didn't want them to see us, so we had to quickly go off-path, climb a steep hill (Lynn is my hiking buddy) and step over some path-blocking chains. We found ourselves in a rural area that that I never knew existed (in the city).

A coyote scampered across the road. Among the scrubby bushes and Oak trees we found this little overgrown garden. It looked abandoned, but beautiful.

The garden reminded me of how--in life--when the road seems desolate, one will sometimes turn a corner and find an encouraging cluster of flowers. A reminder of God's presence.

This week I had two such surprises. First, we--finally--sold our 96 Explorer. I've been praying it would sell...but we had no bites. I decided to put it on the internet and after it hit, we had about 25 calls in 15 minutes. My husband wasn't home...and it was havoc, but I sold it!

The second thing that happened gave me hope in my son's situation. He has been "dead in the water" with no job (for almost a year) and no way to pay his traffic debts. Recently he decided he would like to enlist for the military (reserves)--which is a giant step in his life --but there is a problem. He must pay off his debts before they will accept him. He also needs a court date so he can talk to the judge about lowering his inflated fines.

So I prayed that God would open doors, if this was to be--but answers. So I just kept trusting, and I did feel certain God would do something EVENTUALLY.

Well...Mozart went to pick up our taxes and when he came home...he said, "I found out today that our tax man has a second job. Guess what it is. He's a traffic court judge."

So our tax man gave some advice which C will act on. The first thing he has to do is make a payment to collections, towards his debt. But C had no money. C and me kept our eyes open for anyone needing work...ANY kind of work (yard clean-up?). I emailed my church friends, my prayer group, etc. Nobody needed anything done. One week passed.

Today after church, there was a knock at the door. It was the son of our neighbor. Shane is 10 years older than my son, has recently finished college and lives on his own. He is also unemployed...but looking. He told me he picked up a cabinet making job, and he needs help with the installation. Would C be available?

There is so much more to trust God for...but I'm learning. I'm learning that God is there, and if we are patient...He will take care of us. I tend to be impatient about matters. But God asks for my patience. He is working in a life--my son's life--and God will do it HIS way, not mine. And as I go along for the ride...He works in my life too, taking me through the growing pains of becoming more like Jesus.

And I often think of Joseph...and his l-o-n-g story. It seemed as though his life was falling apart...but God was working it all for the good.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Battle Prayer

This morning I woke up wanting to pray a battle prayer. I wished I had a prayer book for spiritual battle. My mind was too tired to compose a prayer. I glanced on the shelf next to my bed and spotted my small book of "31 Days of Praise". That was not what I wanted...but it would have to do.

It had been a long time since I had opened this book of praise. A bookmark sat within the pages. As I began to read the bookmarked page...I marveled——it was a BATTLE prayer! (Thank you Lord!)

Father, I praise You that Jesus is Victor over Satan and all his evil powers—that He triumphed over them through the cross and resurrection...You have given Him a position infinitely superior to all other powers and authorities...

How I praise You that I need not strive toward a possible victory, but can live from a position of victory already won—that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world...that although Satan is powerful, he cannot prevail against the blood of the Lamb and the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you that Satan must retreat before that Name and before your Word, the living and powerful sword of the Spirit, and that (in the end he will be cast down into everlasting defeat and shame.

What a joy to know that You are the same today as You were centuries ago in Isaiah's day, when You promised to rescue Your people in a hopeless looking situation, when the enemy seemed to have prevailed. How I love the words You spoke to them: "Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame...Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, and the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, and I will save your sons." I praise You that I can count on You to do this in our spiritual warfare, and that through You we shall do valiantly, for You will trample down our enemies.

(Based on Colossians 2:15; Ephesians 1:19-21; Philippians 2:9-10; Ephesians 2:6 I John 4:4; Isaiah 49:23-25 and more)

While the family was still sleeping, I prayed that prayer outloud. Twice.

I hoped the prayer would bring a peaceful day. But if it didn't that was okay. If today was not peaceful...and even if the tempest was severe, I would trust and hang on. Because in the the very end, evil cannot prevail against the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Be encouraged!