2008: Year of the Nerd

I hesitate to include this, but this is the sort of thing that goes on at a New Year’s Eve party at Heritage Baptist Church.

In addition to “praying in” the new year, we also spent several hours playing board games and doing improv skits. Lynn B., our great game organizer, ran a Family Feud session, which was quite fun, although at first we demonstrated our vast lack of knowledge in how this particular game show operated. Once it got going, the competition was fierce.

I loved the fact that all the kids were involved as well. David was interviewed by me in one of the skits as an eyewitness to the events of “The Ugly Duckling”; in his version he ran over the Ugly Duckling with his car! Tom H. brought a snowball inside, which ended up recycled a number of times by being thrown or dropped down the back of people’s shirts. Pastor Erik told people (not necessarily children) not to run about 4,328 times. Phil L. and David E. carried Isaac outside a couple of times and threw him in a snowbank.

Afterward we went home and let the kids stay up as long as they wanted, as is our tradition on New Year’s. NaNi didn’t make it much after 1:00. David was up until about 4:30. Isaac stayed awake until 6:40 p.m. on the first. We woke him up for dinner, and trounced him at Halo 3, which is extremely unusual, but shows how drastically sleep deprivation can affect performance and critical skills.

Late afternoon on the first, we were in the process of getting ready to go see Enchanted, when David came in calling, “It stings! It stings!” I thought he’d hurt or frozen his hands, until he pointed to his head. Isaac had accidentally hit him across the eyebrow with a snow shovel, splitting the skin open quite deeply, so we went to the emergency department at SNHMC instead of to the movies. (The physician’s office had just closed.) David was very worried about stitches, but got to have his skin superglued together instead.

While David and I waited, and waited, and waited in the waiting room, Nichelle was at home making beef enchiladas, our last bit of holiday eating-too-much-for-our-own-good.

Welcome, 2008!

With a thankful heart…

First off, I’d like to thank Debi C. for lending me the book by Amy Carmichael, Rose from Brier; what I’ve read and re-read has been a blessing and a huge encouragement.

A portion of a song that came to Amy C. while amidst great pain and a desire to be with her Fellowship, “Thou hast not that, My child, but Thou has Me, And am not I alone enough for thee? I know it all, know how thy heart was set Upon this joy which is not give yet. And well I know how through the wistful days Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways, As unregarded as a breath of air, But there in love and longing, always there. I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow a rose for others. If it were not so I would have told thee. Come, then, say to Me: My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.”

Thank you to Eric and Juana Quinlan for giving me a CD by Twila Paris, entitled, “He is Exalted.” My favorite song—although I love listening to them all—but the one that has stood out the most is, “God is in Control”:

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by motion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let yo down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

Another thank you to Beth C. for sending us the sermon by John MacArthur, entitled, “The Role of Suffering” from II Corinthians chapter 12. It was such a powerful message. One of the points he made was that trials serve many purposes, such as the following: To test our faith, to wean us off of worldly things, help us focus on eternal hope, to reveal what we really love, to teach us to value God’s blessing, to enable us to help others who suffer, to produce endurance, to humble us, or to break our confidence. They produce the broken and contrite heart God wants us to have. Another point is that God uses suffering to draw us to Himself. Suffering has a way of increasing and intensifying our prayer life. In II Co. 12:9, “… My grace is sufficient for you …” God doesn’t remove the issue of pain or trouble, but increases the grace He gives. He gives comforting grace in the midst of a trial. Encouraging grace in the midst of pain. A confident grace. In Deut. 33:26 it says He “rides through the heavens to your help.” There will always be sufficient grace to every issue. God doesn’t promise to remove your trouble, pain, etc., but promises to overwhelm it with grace. How wonderful is that? How wonderful, awesome, and powerful our God and Saviour is!!!!!

My God has given me a wonderful husband, who is stronger than he realizes. I thank Him for such a man that is faithful through it all. My kids are indeed a joy and a blessing, most of the time. From the silly things they say to the serious questions they ask. One of my favorite times with them is just sitting and listening to them sing along with the music that plays. What a joy to hear them sing praises to our God. He’s so very good. His provision for us, His loving care, His guidance and His continued mercy. One of my favorite verses is: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are more valuable than many sparrows.
—Matthew 10:29-31

I praise God for His love that is shown through family and friends, with their continued prayers and words of encouragement and the many helpful things they do. Thank you to each of you. Thank you for showing me God’s love and your love, too.

Another Visit from Tish Hinojosa

Friday night we headed down to the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium to hear Tish Hinojosa—a Mexican-American folk singer whose voice I can only describe as hauntingly beautiful. (This description got me in trouble a few years ago when Nichelle failed to notice the word voice in what I had written.) Tish was accompanied, as previously, by the extremely talented guitarist/mandolin player Marvin Dykhuis.

This is the fourth time Nichelle, NaNi, and I have had the pleasure of hearing Tish’s gorgeous music live, and the third for the rest of the kids. (Naomi’s first experience was several months before she was born.)

We were a little concerned about taking Naomi. Last year she spent part of the concert in the lobby screaming. To our delight, NaNi was immediately enchanted by the singing and the guitars, and remained enthralled for the entire program.

The auditorium was over half full, but it’s a venue that feels delightfully cozy. The audience clearly adored Tish, several times breaking into applause at the beginning of a song. My favorite occurrence was the applause and cheers that broke out Tish sang the line “Our forefathers crossed the muddy line,” in “By the Rio Grande.” Tish interacted often with the audience, taking requests, and (as is typical of her) paying extra attention to the children she noticed. After croaking on a line at the end of La Llorona (due to having a cold), she joked that the weeping woman had died, but the cold did not seem to affect her singing after that.

Last year David got special attention because he was wearing my sombrero vaquero—Tish has a thing for cowboys. This year David (age 6—the old smoothie) asked if he could wear my hat again. I found him one that was his size, but he got embarrassed and wouldn’t wear it after we got in.

The concert was lovely, and the time flew by.

While purchasing Tish’s latest CD, “A Heart Wide Open,” I mentioned that “Frontejas” was probably my favorite, and that we were hoping for another all- or mostly-Spanish CD. She mentioned that she’s been talking about doing another one for five years now. I keep hoping.

For other fans who may be interested, here’s a rundown of what Tish performed:

First set:

  • Tu Que Puedes, Vuelvete (You Who Can, Return)
  • La Llorona (Weeping Woman)/Riendo El Rio Corre (Laughing River Running) medley
  • By the Rio Grande
  • Siempre Abuelita (Always Grandma)
  • Sign of Truth
  • Shotgun Ridin’**
  • The Kitchen Table**
  • Finding Paris**
  • Magnolia
  • Roses Around My Feet
  • West Side of Town

Second set:

  • Las Golondrinas (The Sparrows—Tish was kind enough to dedicate this to Nichelle*)
  • Something in the Rain
  • Never Say Never Love Again**
  • Derechos del Corazón**
  • Something More than This**
  • Con Su Pluma en Su Mano (With His Pen in His Hand—A corrido about the life of Amerigo Paredes)
  • Donde Voy (Where I Go—This was a big hit in Korea)
  • Taos to Tennessee
  • Closer Still
  • In the Real West
  • San Antonio Romeo
  • Reloj (The Clock)
  • God’s Own Open Road


  • Song for the Journey

*I had written out this dedication as, “The most beautiful song I have ever heard, dedicated to the most beautiful woman I have ever known, my wife of 14 years, Nichelle”; Tish presented an introduction about the history and style of the song, and a little bit about its meaning in English, but remembered only to dedicate the song to Nichelle, rather than my longer, sentimental dedication. (This was just as well: My sappiness would not have paired well with her introduction.”)
**From Tish’s newest album, “A Heart Wide Open.”

Tish Hinojosa

I’ll post more narrative later, but last weekend Nichelle and I went down to hear the hauntingly beautiful, often plaintive, voice of Tish Hinojosa (more on that later) at the New Bedford Summerfest 2003 folk festival.

Here are a few images (yes, KI, I finally bought my own digital camera):