Archive for March, 2011

I’ve often felt sorry for the animals in the middle of winter. Whether it’s selfless compassion or projection and empathy, I do not know. Either way, I can certainly relate.

There are seasons where life just will not relinquish our daily bread, much less our dreams and goals. That’s how the deer in my back yard act: foraging for their next bite.
But there is always hope.
For example, just when the deer and turkeys thought it couldn’t get any worse, an ice storm crystallized our trees and giant Yews. This weighed down their branches so far that the deer and the turkeys could reach them for another week of ‘daily bread.’
Isn’t that the way in life? For the past year, I saw money going through my hands and I couldn’t seem to stop it; as if our checkbook had run into a permanent winter. But a couple of large checks came in on the same day… sort of like a sudden ice storm.
After the Israelites had complained to Moses about being in the desert with no food – 
“‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'” So it was that quails came up  at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. . . Moses said to them, ‘ This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.'” Exodus 16:12-15

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Right now, I am witnessing the crescendo of a snow and ice storm that has left a spectacular and massive crystal sculpture throughout the Hudson Valley and I am soaking it in. I would send a photo, but you would politely say, “Isn’t that something” while I’d be thinking the picture doesn’t do it justice. 

I want to invite all of you over so you can see this indescribable beauty. Obviously, that’s not going to happen so I’m hoping that you believe me and some day come to witness it for yourself. I wouldn’t tell you how beautiful it is if I didn’t live here myself.

I recently lost Mike, my brother-in-law, and like everyone else, I wonder what he is doing right now. I believe in heaven and I believe there are no sorrows there, only freedom. I define ‘freedom’ as the absolute ability to love and only love.

So, since he was such a great musician, I can see this ‘piano man’ playing to his heart’s content, never tiring, always singing in perfect pitch with no sound checks, feedback or need for amplification. And He is praising God. There is no need to sing about broken hearts or hurts or one night stands or the unapproachable date or an inspiring love song or even a ‘boy named Sue’ because it’s all about love and The Lover of Our Souls. We can’t hear Mike’s songs, but I bet he wishes we could.

I’m sure it’s happened to you. You visit somewhere and write or call someone you love and say, “I wish you could be here.” 

That’s how I feel with this snow storm and that’s probably how Mike feels as well. In fact, Jesus had some similar thoughts:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.” John 14:2

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body In one of life’s ironic moments, the sad news of the sudden death of my brother-in-law, Mike D’Arco, came just as a dramatic sunrise came into view out my back window. I wonder if something that obvious is God’s way of letting us know that things are in His hands for those who love Him. Immediately thereafter, I opened my devotional to today’s date and it read, “I am the resurrection and the life.” The rest of the scripture is critical: “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25 I guess when God throws a sunrise and a Sonrise scripture at you within a minute of each other, it’s aimed to put you at peace.

My brother-in-law was an encourager. I would put together rough musical CD demos of my songs and run them by him because he was a talented musician. He used to tell me that he was my biggest fan. “Don’t worry about polishing them, just you and the guitar and the lyrics – they are all incredible.”  Coming from someone as gifted as Mike, I’d get off the phone rather pumped EVEN if Nashville never takes a look!

We all need a “biggest fan” in our lives, even if it appears that our life’s audience has a lot of empty seats in tiny venues. Mike’s voice and appreciation for my work is now part of my eternal internal appreciative audience.

It has often been said that God is “The Audience of One.” Picture this: God is like your parents when you were a kid. You know how excited and proud parents get, even if they step over the line with banned flash cameras or klutzy video cameras. Our Heavenly Father knows every hair on our head and He’s cheering us on when we live for Him.

In case you didn’t know it, you have a “biggest fan.” Just make sure you play to that Audience.

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So my music producer says to me, “I like to add more texture with each verse.”

Yeah, me too!
Who doesn’t like a movie whose plot gets thicker as the writer spins his tale? Who doesn’t like to scoop toward the bottom of the soup after it has cooled off a bit? And what lover doesn’t like a few layers?
It may be comical, but think on those cheesy commercials: “But wait, that’s not all, but order now and we will double your offer, but we’re not finished yet… and on it goes.
Everybody that designs a really dramatic fireworks display does the same thing until you walk out of the parking lot saying, “That was the best 4th I’ve ever seen.”
I was observing out my windows: First, cue early morning light, then spectacular sunrise, then add a beautiful doe, wait, look the other way and there are two more fawn obediently following mom, but just a minute, right in front of that family is a brilliant red cardinal posing, but then he tips his hat and there is a mom and dad pair of morning doves just above him to the left and then add the frolicking hyper squirrel with snow on his nose. 
In basketball, they say don’t “telegraph” your pass and in literature, don’t be “melodramatic.” 
So, what’s with this God who capitalizes the TEXT in texture?
“His invisible attributes are clearly seen … so that [people] are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
I’ve been a public speaker most of my life and I love audience participation. Your comments, including any scriptures that underscore the topic, are welcome.

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