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Friday, August 17, 2012

Tripping the Tongue Fantastic

I recently enlarged the font size of my blog entries and changed it to Times from Helvetica. Let me know how you like it. 

If you speak to groups of people often enough, you will eventually say something pretty goofy.  It will come flying out of your mouth before you can do a thing about it, and often with very comical and even embarrassing results. If you’re lucky, everyone will think your spoken faux pas is funny and you can laugh at yourself and move on.

One of the best sermon bloopers I ever heard about actually happened in my own church. Several years ago one of our pastors ministered on the topic of harvesting souls for God’s kingdom. He used the analogy of a piece of modern farm equipment, the combine, to illustrate a point.  “And the farmer rides that combine...,” he began.  Well, he meant to say "combine." The trouble is, he didn’t. He said “concubine.” 

Now, I wasn’t present in the service that morning, but I sure heard about it later. And I laughed and laughed, and it still makes me smile just thinking about it! This man is so respectful of the sensibilities of others, he would never in a million years say such a thing from the pulpit intentionally. And that just makes it all the more hilarious!

Worship leaders are not immune from tripping over their tongues, either. Some years ago, I was leading my home church in the song, “Amen! Praise and Honor.” The chorus is pretty easy to remember, but the verses get a little wordy. If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to flub the lyric.  So we get to the line that says,

    Day and night they are standing there
    Lifting palm leaves up in their hands

 If there is one advantage of being the worship leader instead of the preacher, it’s that other people are singing along with you, which helps hide your vocal mistakes. What I sang, and over a microphone, was “lifting palm trees up in their hands.”  I’d been singing with my eyes closed, but they shot open as big as saucers when it dawned on me what I’d sung. And then I immediately got this picture in my mind of the multitudes before God’s throne straining to heft large potted plants, and, well, I just couldn’t help myself. I started snickering! I was well on my way to guffawing, when I caught myself. I must have turned red as a beet from trying to hold it together in front of the church, but I did manage to keep from totally losing it. We finished the worship service with most of the congregation none the wiser.  But I was never able to sing that song with a straight face again!


The song "Amen! Praise and Honor" hasn't been included in one of my set lists in quite some time - I still tend to sing "palm  trees."  I don’t think I'm going to hear a sermon in my home church any time soon that involves farm machinery, either.  Too bad!


Lynn

“Amen! Praise and Honor” by Gerrit Gustafson
  © 1987 Integrity's Hosanna! Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lake Tahoe, Here I Come!

All the diet and health plans I’ve ever heard of want you to drink water every day in amounts equivalent to Lake Tahoe.  I exaggerate, you say. “Come on, Lynn, it’s only a gallon.”  A gallon. Do you hear yourself?  Maybe that seems like a reasonable amount to you, but a gallon of water might as well be Lake Tahoe, to me. I like water. Really, I do, but I also like to be able to leave my house for more than ten minutes at a time.  I already do the “tiny bladder turn-around” as it is.  The “TBT”  is a maneuver I usually perform as I’m headed out to the gym, or to the grocery store, or to church and I realize I need to go the bathroom again before I can leave the house.  This happens to me all the time.  So you can imagine how fond I am of my weight loss plan requirement that I strive to drink one-half to one gallon of water every day.

A gallon of anything is just a huge amount of liquid, if you ask me. We put fuel by the gallon into large things like air planes, armored personnel carriers, and Chevrolet Suburbans. When someone stumbles into a patch of poison ivy and breaks out into a really bad rash, they always say things afterwards like, "Ohhh!  I was itching so bad, I bet I went through a gallon of calamine lotion trying to get some relief!"  Even that really big Spanish warship from hundreds of years ago was known as a galleon, which is a word that looks to me like it probably means "holds mucho gallons." I feel sure that the Conquistadors wrangled funds for their expeditions to the Americas with appeals like this: "Your Majesty, certainly you must know how lousy the water is in Europe right now. We're going to need gallons of beer to make it to the New World.  There's simply no way we can we can haul all those kegs and our swords and the horses, not to mention fending off those pesky English pirates trying to steal ou--I mean, your gold, without a new galleon."  I'm telling you, drinking a gallon of water in a single day is a big deal!

As challenging as all this water drinking is for me, I am trying hard to drink at least half a gallon of it daily.  I know that fresh, pure water is one of the best things you can put into your body. In fact, I used to have a copy of a very well-documented book on the merits of drinking like a fish. Water, that is.  A doctor somewhere in the middle east, I think, was able to cure all kinds of serious maladies for his patients just by getting them to drink a whole lot of water. There’s plenty of medical evidence to prove that water does your body a world of good.

Somewhere deep down in my heart I actually believe this. So, Lake Tahoe, here I come!

Lynn

P.S.  All joking aside, many people in our world are in desperate need of a reliable source of fresh drinking water.  Here's two ways you can help bring the gift of clean water in Jesus' Name:

Samaritan's Purse Water Projects
http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/water-projects/

Operation Blessing International
http://www.ob.org/_programs/water/water_index.asp

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Psssst! Hey Fred....

A really good friend will tell you important stuff about your life like, "Psssst! Hey Fred, your fly's open, man." Or "Sally, take this tissue. You got a booger hanging from your left nostril."  Or how about this one: "I read your blog, but I think it's kinda long. The recommended word count for a blog these days is 17 1/2 words. You might want to work on shortening things up a bit."

Ah....good feedback. Thank you, Angela P! I shall work on my verbosity.

It's Sunday. Everybody go take a nap!

Lynn

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Little Housekeeping

I haven't been a blogger very long at all, so I'm still in the process are learning how to use this Google Blogger platform. I did clean up the header a little, but I have no cool photos yet to put up there and  spruce things up. I managed to find the setting that controls who can leave a comment, so as long as you have a Google+ (gmail) account, and you're signed into it, you can now comment away.  My apologies to those of you who tried earlier and weren't successful. You'll be relieved to know that it wasn't you!  Of course, if you just want to read the blog and not leave a public comment, you won't need a Google account.  I will usually link it to Facebook, so comments can be left there also. Or you can share it, or just "like" it so that you don't create a barrage of email notifications to yourself from a FaceBook conversation.

At the top of my blog page there's a place to enter your email address.  I couldn't figure out how to label it with something like, "Subscribe by email here," but hopefully most folks will figure that out on their own.  Enter yours and click on "submit" if you want a notification when I post a new entry. I have no idea if it actually works yet. At the very top left hand corner, there's a place in the tool bar to share the blog address. Just click on "Share," and it will give you a box menu. Facebook is one place you can share it, and I think Twitter is another. Not a Tweeter, myself. There's also a Google+ badge to click (above the blog entry date) if you've got a circle of contacts there that you'd like to share this blog with. 

My plan for this blog is to keep things light-hearted and preferably as funny as possible. I want to see if I can develop some skill as a humor writer. Or is it "as a humorist?"  Hmmm....not sure. I just want to see if I can be funny in print. How's that?

My goal is to blog with some kind of consistency -  somewhere around once a week or twice monthly. I have a backlog of ideas at the moment, but I'll try to pace myself and not become too annoying!

I'm an introvert/singer/songwriter with a melancholic temperament. That's psycho-code for "has high affirmation needs, just won't tell anybody." Lord knows, I need some of you to leave comments now and again.

Have a fantastic weekend!
Lynn

P.S.  The previous blog entry is much more entertaining.

P.P.S.  Wondering about the name of my blog page? Probably not, but here's a couple of examples anyway of literary usages of the term as noted at  http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-tha1.htm

"When it starts to get really dark, when the sky goes from blue to purple, I’m flipping back. That’s it; that’s all she wrote. I’m not walking through these woods after dark."
The Talisman, by Stephen King, 1984.

"Skipper Tom meowing and hopping around like he had the itch. Then dumped a load of cat crap all over a lobster trap. Jack threw it overboard to rinse it, and that’s all she wrote buddy, he was jerked into the water."
The Shipping News, by E Annie Proulx, 1993.







Thursday, August 2, 2012

Truly a Moving Experience


    If you’ve ever seen any ads for weight loss products, then you’ve probably run across ones that purport to help rid your body of the toxic effects of your poor food choices. Whatever the brand name, companies usually label such products as a detoxifying cleanse.  Cleanse.  Now isn’t that a soothing word?  Why, it almost sounds like something Jesus would say. “Come to me, all ye bloated! Bring me your toxin-stuffed livers, and I will provide for you a cleanse.”

    I’m currently towards the end of my third week of a twelve-week weight loss program. On July 6th, I signed up for Vemma’s Bod-e 12-Week Transformation Challenge. After I opened a customer account and placed my order online, I refreshed myself on how the Bod-e plan works and put together my personalized meal plan using a tool found on their web site. 

    In addition to daily exercise and drinking a ton of water, this metabolism-boosting plan is based on carb cycling. You eat five small healthy meals a day, and supplement with their Bod-e nutritional products. They have a pretty cool template called Bod-e Trainer that helps you with all the daily menus, groceries lists, and even provides the recipes you may need.  If you want, they’ll even text you when it’s time to eat again - every three hours.  Oh, and to maximize the anticipated fabulous results, they want you to take their Bod-e Cleanse for the prescribed seven days. You’re to do this at least once during the twelve weeks, and once at the beginning of every four week carb cycle is recommended.

    I’m all about maximizing results, so I dutifully started the cleanse on the day after my Bod-e product order arrived. I was headed out of town the following week, and I had a feeling that driving the interstate highway and this cleanse were not going to be compatible.  My friend Teri, who introduced me to Vemma products, had also advised me to stick around the house during the first two days of a cleanse.  I’m not sure where the origin of the “cleanse” label came from, except that it sounds a lot more appealing than a “purge”, “Attila the Cleanse,” or “Elixir of Roto-Rooter.” Never heard of Roto-Rooter? Here’s their jingle:  “Call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name, and away go troubles down the drain! Roto-Rooter!” I’m sure you get the picture.

    One of the best things about my inaugural cleanse is that I spilled the entire contents of day five’s bottle all over my range top. (Thankfully, it’s a smooth surface model.) That de-toxic spill turned my seven-day cleanse into a six-day one, for which I was enormously grateful. After the first two days though, the cleanse really wasn’t so bad. I figured out the best time of day to drink my daily dose, and even found that I could bolt from my couch to the opposite end of my house in record time, should the need arise. I guess I’m glad I finished the cleanse; surely at least some of those nasty toxins must have been coaxed out of my fat cells. Shoot, just the sprints to the can must have burned something off! All in all, I must say that I found the whole experience truly moving.

Two more days until I weigh in again, and that’s all she wrote.

Lynn

P.S.  You can read about the Bod-e Transformation Challenge here:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

    On any Sunday morning, you’re likely to find me leading worship for the nine o’clock service at my home church.  In April of 2010, we added a second worship service. My church is growing, but I wouldn’t say we’re busting at the seams. We launched what I refer to as First Service because an increasingly vocal segment of our congregation found it almost impossible to connect with our new and much younger worship leader who had arrived the year before.  Poor guy! He loves the Lord, he’s immensely talented, and he has a genuine anointing to connect people to God.  He came to us fresh out of college ministry, however, and he floundered a bit for before finding his way (most admirably, I must say) through the worship style preference minefield of our multi-generational church family.  After our pastor got an earful of grousing from the deeply perturbed, he met with the worship leaders to talk about the idea of adding a new service. We agreed that, whereas it wasn’t the ideal solution, we really needed to give our older people a service geared more closely to their preferences.  And then he asked me to lead the music for it.

    “Great!” I thought to myself.  Writing songs and leading people in worship to God has been my “sweet spot” in life, and I’ve been at it for over 30 years now.  At this stage, however, retiring to a place by a lake somewhere has a lot of appeal to me. I find that I need extra motivation to keep writing, singing, and playing guitar on a regular basis. You know the old maxim, “use it or lose it.”  I’ve been on worship teams practically non-stop from the late 1970’s, but I haven’t had the weekly responsibility of being a worship leader in years. “This will be good for me,” I reasoned.  I actually began to think excitedly about developing a worship song repertoire for the new service. Then we started discussing service times.  My pastor said, “We’ll keep the later time for the main service. Only we’ll move it to ten-thirty.” We’ve met at ten o’clock since Noah got off the ark, I think.  “Let’s see...we need to allow about 15 minutes to transition between services, so....so we need to start this new service by nine o’clock.” 

    “Nine o’clock.” The words reverberated in my mind like a death knell. Starting a worship service at nine in the morning meant that I would have to rehearse with our worship team at .... oh, Lord....eight o’clock! And if you really want to actually start by eight, you have to get into the building, tune your instrument, set up your gear, get plugged in, and warmed up by eight.  Suddenly this new service idea was not nearly as exciting to me as it was two and half seconds previously.  “What’s the big deal,” you ask?  “I have to be at work by that time and often much earlier.”  True. But I bet you never have to stand up in front of a group of nicely dressed church people, who may secretly be thinking, “You’d better sing something I like, or the arms stay CROSSED!” and sing reasonably well, while you’re at it. And you have to look happy about it because you’re a Christian, not to mention the fact you’re the worship leader. And you can't drink strong black coffee while you're doing it, like you probably do at your job, or even like the people in those seeker-friendly pews. Chairs. Whatever!

    Besides, I’m a musician. Everybody knows musicians are typically not early risers. We tend to be night owls. We stay up late to watch Andy Griffith re-runs on television, and maybe Dave Letterman (we think Dave Letterman is funny. Maybe it’s because of Paul Schaffer’s band). That also explains why we require large quantities of coffee to function during the hours before noon. You can frequently find flocks of us huddling together in a Starbucks somewhere, speaking in low tones about how hard it is to get to pre-service rehearsal on a Sunday morning.  And anyways, it’s Sunday, for pete’s sake! You know, that day of rest we’re all supposed to be resting on?  I now get up on Sundays earlier than any other day of the week, which is why I go into a coma after lunch almost every Sunday afternoon. But I’ll head down that rabbit trail some other time.

    Our two services have been running for over two years now, and hallelujah! the grousing has pretty much ceased.  The church has been meeting in one combined worship service since mid-June though.  Since a lot of people vacation during the summer and numbers are typically down for both services, our leadership made the decision to meet in one service for a few weeks. It’s been wonderful having the whole church body worshiping together again as one big family. I’ve really enjoyed some time off from my weekly worship leading role, too. We all need a break from time to time.  Plus, I think worship leaders need to sit in the pews now and again to regain some perspective of what it's like to be led in worship. We need those times when we’re not working as leaders, but can stand among the congregation as one among many and simply worship.

    My respite ends this Sunday. I’ll be back in the saddle again, leading worship for the First Service crowd. At least I hope it’s a crowd. You never know with this bunch!  I’m truly going to miss sleeping in a bit longer on Sundays, but I at least I’m not alone.  A whole team of faithful ones are willing to join me every week in my misery.  Some misery -  I get to play my guitar and sing to the Almighty, worshiping Him along with his precious saints!   

    Musician or not, I actually have a functioning left-brain. So I sent an email to the First Service worship team to remind them all that we’re back to rehearsing at eight o’clock starting this Sunday. Sleeping in, sadly, has come to an end for us. As I told them, “If we were a Seinfeld episode, I would say, ‘No sleep for YOU!’”  

And on this first Wednesday in August, that’s all she wrote.



Lynn

"From my devotional reading this morning:  "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of his benefits;" Psalm 103:1-2