Just this past week Voice of Praise, the men’s a capella quartet that I’m a part of, released a brand new album. This one is special to me, because I’m one of the gentlemen who helped create it. It’s a first time for me, despite my love of music, to be a part of any group that has released an album with me on it, so this is exciting. We spent many tedious hours preparing for recording -from discussions on how we’d pronounce certain words to the overall dynamics of the songs. When the week of recording came, it was enjoyable to see everything coming together.
Now it is rewarding to share our hard work with others, and to see them blessed, encouraged, and uplifted. You can buy the new album here.
It’s Monday now…and I’m facing my last week in El Naranjo/Sta. Rosita. Has a year and a half really come down to a final four days? Amazing.
And while it is sad to say goodbye to ‘today’, I’m really looking forwards to ‘tomorrow’.
Sometimes our paths stretch on before us –and run straight for as far as we can see. But beyond that distant point, it may turn towards new places and new experiences. While dark clouds threaten us, we are followers of the Light and Word –the Word that is a lamp unto our feet…
Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night
~Fernando Ortega / Take Heart My Friend
The road towards Santa Rosita with stormy weather approaching….
It was Treebeard, the oldest living thing in middle earth that said “Let’s not be hasty!” It was his motto. And Ellesar (i.e. Aragorn) who strode around with great strides who patiently awaited the day when he could come into his own.
Today, we have lost the blood of the men of Númenor, and we go about in a great hurry. Are we patient in waiting upon the Lord? The Bible is full of the examples and teachings of waiting upon the Lord.
The LORD takes delight in his faithful followers, and in those who wait for his loyal love. (Psa 147:11)
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psa 37:7)
This is one of my ‘photo creations’. I took the photo of the clock, and borrowed the background offline.
One way home. One road to glory.
Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
She lifts her knurled hands to the skies, takes a knobby step towards the horizon. Ever upwards –yet ever still. Still and silent upon the hill.
“In the willow-meads of Tasarinan I walked in the
Ah! the sight and the smell of the Spring in Nantasarion!
And I said that was good.
I wandered in the Summer in the elm-woods of Ossiriand.
Ah! the light and the music in the Summer by the Seven
Rivers of Ossir!
And I thought that was best.
To the beeches of Neldoreth I came in the Autumn.
Ah! The gold and the red and the sighing of leaves in the
Autumn in Taur-na-neldor!
It was more than my desire.
To the pine-trees upon the highland of Dorthonion I
climbed in the Winter:
Ah! the wind and the whiteness and the black branches
My voice went up and sang in the sky.
And now all those lands lie under the wave,
And I walk in Amboróna, in Tauremorna, in Aldalómë.
In my own land, in the country of Fangorn,
Where the roots are long,
And the years lie thicker than the leaves
~Treebeard the Ent in the Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
* a lone tree on a lone hill near one of my favorite ‘get aways’
Cher-i-os! Com’on boys, let’s do this together. These ants know how to work together to move an object many many times their size. Sometimes they didn’t quite move in a perfectly straight line –but they all worked together towards the common goal.
We too should work together. Our differences and disagreements may make us curve a bit at times –but with God’s urging, we should finally arrive at the same goal.
*these tiny ants move a cheerio fifteen feet to their home…..
Not every string of razor wire is meant to keep things imprisoned. In this case, it is meant to keep people out. But it is always used for protection. Here, razor wire is used at a phone tower to protect expensive equipment from being ransacked –and to protect mischievous people from hurting themselves on the towers (I admit to having great desire to climb the towers to get a birds eye view). Prisons use razor wire to protect the people without from people within who have a habit of hurting other people.
In life we mistake God’s razor wires for things they aren’t. We say “God is holding something good from me” when really he is trying to protect us from what lies inside that boundary. Or, we feel that God’s laws imprison us from enjoying the real world –when really God is protecting us from this world so that we can pass safely into the next world.
When razor wires are crossed –blood and suffering are the result. When razor wires are respected –the peace of God is present.
*razor wire at our local phone towers here in El Naranjo
We wait on this side. IT is on the other side. In the light of Glory –something so much greater than just eternity- everything on this side becomes dark…and colorless. On this side we enjoy beauty. But we can only enjoy beauty on this side as we look past it into the light and hope of Glory.
*a simple shot through a window. This admittedly is not a good picture. It was highly dramatized to bring out my point.
My tickets to fly home are bought. And the words of a beautiful Spanish song are ringing in my head…
Aunque es el mismo cielo, Even though it is the same heaven,
Y el mismo sol – And the same sun….
Son las mismas calles, pero yo no soy – They’re the same streets, but I am not
No soy el mismo. I am not the same.
Y como turista puedo caminar, And like a tourist I can walk,
Descubriendo cosas nuevas al andar… Discovering new things while walking…
As I think back over the last couple of years I see a lot of things that have remained the same. The sun is still shining down. The same stars, the same constellations. God is still the same. As I think of going back to the States, I look forwards to driving those same streets and visiting the same libraries. But I am not the same person as when I came here. I have a new outlook – a better vision. We can’t stay the same for two years. God wants us to continually become…
I could have grown more, I feel. That is my regret. My weaknesses are a hindrance that I seek to push aside so that I can be better at becoming…
*The sun rising over the river one Sunday morning…