A New Order

This photo ushers forth three significant themes from my memory. The streetcar ascending the hill (I choose to interpret it to be ascending), the embracing couple, the passengers departing the streetcar and those allowing them to depart before boarding: each is a chapter in a dream-come-true story.

Let’s focus on the streetcar. It represents the train of life that slowly advances humanity to a higher awakening. The departing passengers are the old guard. They are at the end of their life journey. The passengers waiting to board represent the new order that is to be tried.

This scene symbolizes my patience to board the life train and ride it into a long awaited new order.

Soon I will depart for my home state to attend the investiture of a high school classmate to be Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.  This is a historic event.  It begins a new order.

My classmate is not the first female to lead this court but she will be  the court’s first African-American Chief Justice. How can I describe the significance of this uphill trek?

When we graduated high school, Louisiana was among the segregated states in the South.  Its legislation and culture prohibited African-Americans from attending LSU and Tulane, the premier educational centers of the state. Education in Louisiana was separate but  seldom equal. Although Louisiana segregation laws have long been set aside, this investiture makes her one of the sworn to guard exclusion based on racial designations in Louisiana.

The streetcar is advancing  up the hill.

I see myself as a passenger patiently waiting to board the streetcar to this historic investiture.

My great grandparents were Louisiana residents. They dreamed of this day. They died hoping for a new order, but they never saw it. They died in hope. With my weaken but proud eyes, on February 28, I board the life train to witness what they hoped for.

The embracing couple symbolizes a new responsible humanity. It is educated. It knows humanity’s past fears. Education is its only defense against the  pitfalls and lies that ruled previous generations. More importantly, the couple’s education is its only protection against threatening things yet unseen. But they embrace. Their greeting is warm and they whisper into  each other’s ear a vow to never let the sun set without throughly addressing a division between them. They know, all too well, an untreated wound in their relationship is the beginning of a slow death to society.

Their embrace shouts the arrival of the new order, a dream come true – at last!

Sacramento Ballet Company Presents The Great Gatsby

February 10, 2013, the Sacramento Ballet Company presented the Great Gatsby  at its matinee performance. The performance educated, energized and delighted the audience.

Through dance the ballet company illustrated how the convergence of drama, intrigue and changing morals in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel ended in senseless tragedy.

The famed author tells a story that show how youthful love, playful infatuation and moral restlessness within a wealthy society group can end in tragedy. The time is the rollicking jazz era of sex and alcohol  in the 1920’s.

The dancing was excellent.

The ballet company showcased the attitudes  and the mannerisms of the wealthy with  smooth foxy trots, class cohesion through group closed precision high kicking, their predatory prowling while avoiding to become prey and their hostility towards the less fortunate through tango-like movements; and finally their grace through smooth and exact swing techniques.

The music was superb.

The orchestra energized the auditorium  with Ragtime and Dixieland sounds.  A bossy tuba and a snappy snare drum metered the classic jazz beat of the period. Not to be out done, a jubilant clarinet raced the scales with sounds of joy.  All within me danced. Applauds and calls flowed from attendees to appreciate the joyful swing  music.  During other tunes, the clarinet called forth feeling of pain with sustained sounds that whined and stretched into a wail.

The performance began ten minutes late. Management announced the late start accommodated the many last minute ticket purchasers. The inconvenience was worth the wait. In the language of modern competitive sports, the Sacramento Balllet Company left it all on stage. The exuberance and chatter of the departing crowd suggested a bright future for this dance company ‘s future performances.

Isaiah 28 For The Second Millennium

A true cornerstone

The Lord Almighty said:

I have placed a special one among you.

He is tested and has my authority.

For those who rely on him,

your concerns are covered.

If you follow him,

your interactions are just and

I will declare you righteous.

Those who rely on him:

Your ungodly alliances with associations and worldly things,

I void.

Your lies and falsehoods behind which you hid,

I annul.

In my special one,

there is rest, repose and peace for your soul.

His rest will completely wraps you in justice,

His righteousness and  His strength

will support you during troubled times.

Pay attention to His faithfulness, His proven faithfulness;

to do his work, his strange work,
    and perform his task, his alien task.

I  permitted his death on a cross.

I permitted the curse

to compensate for your return to the Divine.

Then I made him My throne of mercy,

through which I dispense grace.

My Fellow Travelers: In times of crisis,

The Lord Almighty wishes you to remember

the beauty and the mystery of His work –  His strange work;

and that His alien tasks create what seems alien to His nature

though, it is good,

all the time.

 

REFERENCE:

For an NIV translation of Isaiah 28, go to:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2028&version=NIV

Create Magic at Christmas Through Music

During the Christmas season, few musical compositions rivals the magic of Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus by George Frederick Handel.

Words from an anonymous poem expresses it best:

But Handel’s harmony affects the soul,
to sooth by sweetness, or by force controul;

The Gentleman’s Magazine (May 1740),

Handel, a German, was musically trained in opera by Italians and seasoned in southern German sounds. These experiences came together in presentations of  oratorios to England. Even today the baroque tradition of this composer continue to contribute experiences as instrumentation of all types and sounds take stage with new technological advances.

Georg Frederick Handel (1685-1759) was born in Halle, Germany the same year as Bach. He studied with the great organist Wilhem Zachou from the age of seven to nine. In 1706 he went to Italy and began mastering contemporary trends of opera. He returned to Germany as Court composer for the Elector of Hannover who would become the English King George I.

With the blessing of his former patron, Handel went to England. He shifted his  focus from presenting operas to the wealthy to delivering understandable musical experiences to the middle class via oratorios sang in English. It flourished.  He died a wealthy and respected composer.

Click the oog file link  or mp3 file link to hear the beloved Hallelujah chorus. Sing along.

Feel the power it generates through its prose and the promise it proclaims.

OOG File

MP3 FILE

REFERENCES

Oratorio – A musical composition for voices and orchestra, telling a sacred story without costumes, scenery, or dramatic action.

Baroque– a style of composition that flourished in Europe from about 1600 to 1750, marked by elaborate musical ornamentation and development of new instrumental playing techniques.

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/george-frederick-handel-mn0000805740

http://www2.nau.edu/tas3/handel.html

http://gfhandel.org/

Public Domain

Georg Frederick Handel 1685-1780

Bible Verses for Assurance

A Caring Shepherd assures one of his flock.

A Caring Shepherd assures one of his flock.

There are moments in life when even the strong needs assurances. A comforting word or a simple smile sometime will do. But some Bible verses assure a wanting heart beyond spoken words or smiles. Below are three of my favorites. They provide me comfort beyond human understanding.

Peter, the aging shepherd to the scattered believers throughout the diaspora, is the writer of the first verse. His flocks are experiencing persecutions in their adopted lands. The caring pastor chooses his words to assure each that continued faith in the Lord Jesus will result in a guaranteed inheritance – the salvation of the soul. Meditate his words:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1: 3 – 5)

Often when listening to another who exudes confidence, it sparks our confidence. Few have spoken with greater confidence than the Great Apostle, Paul. He reveals this jewel to us from his Romans treasure:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38 – 39)

Meditate that verse in the quiet of your being; For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks the door will be opened (Matthew 7:8) and  pray  it brings you the confidence the Apostle exudes.

These verses demand commitment to a dedicated life lifestyle of seriousness. They demands you to entertain the question: “Am I able to leave what I have and make that level of a commitment? ”  All lifestyle change causes some pangs of concerns or a quickening heartbeat. The LORD assures success as HE  spoke through Luke 12:32:

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 

For a friend with an advancing degenerative condition

Coming to the end of a journey can be difficult.

During these moments, we are inclined to make decisions

that opens voids we feel needs to be filled.

Uncertainty pops up then  anxiety, and in some cases fear.

Scripture tell us that these conditions are the children of punishment,

the lack of knowledge and the  lack of  love.

But you ARE loved,

by Jesus, your family, your spiritual associates and by me.

My prayers for your heart

Remember your pools of love;

Rest in therm.

Each of us pray a quality of life in which you can prosper.

May Jesus continue to bless you in the way He deems the best.

Always for you.

A Dream Transformation Project

Five years ago my wife and I took the step to purge the  I wish we had …  and  I really wanted, but… feelings we had about certain aspects of our house.

There is no neighborhood better than ours. So ridding ourselves of these deficit feelings meant remodelling was our only option. We did. Now we gleam a sense of  This is the way it should be.

Remodelling is a daunting process. It requires:

  • Having complete knowledge of the desired end,
  • Selecting a good contractor and
  • Exercising patience to project completion.

During the remodelling process, normal living routines are disrupted; thus the fainthearted need not apply.

After much soul searching and discussions, we committed our dreams to paper. Each presented a dream transformation. We synthesized them into a mutually accepted dream plan; constrained by our modest pensions and the possibility that this was likely our last opportunity to live our dream. To make it all happen, we engaged a good contractor. This proved to be our most trying decision.

We interviewed four contractors. All were bore stellar recommendations from their professional association.

We chose the contractor who quieted our logic and emotional soul.  He was the one who never shot from the hip nor varied his story.

Our makeover commenced.

All bathrooms were updated, the house interior and exterior surfaces were painted, living room and dining room were given new wood floors, the common room got a new fireplace insert and each bedroom was given a new ceiling fan. Finally the rear landscapes were redesigned for senior care.

This post focuses only on the master bath remodel.

There we targeted three centers in the master bathroom remodel:

  • Replace the old shower with a larger shower stall,
  • Install a soaking tub to replace the  Roman tub and
  • Replace the five-foot-closet in the bath area with a second wash area.

The old shower, Roman tub and closet were demolished.

New plumbing, shower tile, floor tile, wainscot and a floor warming system were installed.

Removal of the five-foot-closet yielded space for the  second washing area and an antique vanity.

A claw foot slipper tub replaced the Roman tub.

The dream plan provided for more effective lighting and better window coverings. The remodeled bathroom is a well-lighted space that delivers an invigorating bath experience to each user.

At the completion of the project, unexpected avenues had opened to us. Having to reveal our desires for the new living space opened to us to a richer sharing. now we are even better friends.