Monday, May 29, 2006

News from friends

The news from friends is that some of them have graduated this past weekend (good for them) and left town (bad for me). I'm thinking specifically of Rachel and Eric Nelson, whom I got to know pretty well since they've been my 2-doors-down neighbors. They're off to Sacramento for residency. Rachel knocked on my door at 5:30 this evening to say goodbye. Fortunately, I am probably going to get a chance to visit them in July while I'm up north for a music institute.

The good news is that my friend James Lee, an excellent composer, is having an orchestral work premiered by the National Symphony in October, conducted by Leonard Slatkin! I'm so excited for him. You can read the blurb here. It's a piece called "Beyond Rivers of Vision," and the premise of the piece could be a great witnessing tool. James is also getting married in August to a nice Brazilian girl I got to meet at GYC last year. I love seeing how God has blessed my friends' lives.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spring comes to Loma Linda

This title is a bit misleading--actually, there is really no such thing as springtime in Southern California. In the East, where I come from, Spring is a magical time after months of barrenness when all green things spring to life at once, within a week, transforming the landscape from a dead wasteland to a verdant, luxurious forest. In California, each tree decides on its own when Spring will be (if it loses its leaves at all). However, there are two seasons here--I would name them the Growing Season and the Non-Growing Season. In the chilly months, not much happens in the garden. Then there is a time when all the plants decide to make up for lost time during December through April by doing a whole year's worth of growing at once. That season started this week. (Unfortunately, most of this "Spring" growth applies to weeds.)

One notable exception to the non-deciduous landscape is my mulberry tree, formerly a beautiful, spreading tree which provided shade to my entire lawn. It loses its leaves every year, but this year it lost more than leaves. Here it is, again beginning to show signs of life after experiencing a major trauma a few months ago. (We miss you, tree!)

Loquats for sale! All you can pick! Actually, loquats for free! Hey, take the whole tree if you want. Monica constantly threatens to chop it down anyway (so it's not the favorite tree around here...) For those friends out East who may not be aquainted with loquats, they are stone fruit a bit like apricots, but somewhat more rubbery and much less tasty.

The calla lilies are on their way out, but still have a few nice blooms. The roses have also re-emerged after a serious pruning.

The villains of the garden are the Huge Scary Weeds. I don't know what their real name is, but Huge Scary Weeds is descriptive enough for me. They are in the process of taking over the lawn. Perhaps the like the extra sun that the mulberry previously blocked out (and now that it is but a stub, alas...sigh....) I think the Huge Scary Weeds grow a half a foot a day.

This picture is of what should be my front lawn.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Part of my daily morning worship routine is to pick a few memory verse cards to review. Often I just check that I still have them memorized, but often I'll run into a verse that I'd like to contemplate, either because it has an application to something in my life at the time, or I just don't understand it. Today the first verse I picked up was Psalm 37:4--

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV)

The KJV adds the word "also" between "thyself" and "in the Lord;" a few other versions replace "delight yourself" with "take delight," but otherwise, they are pretty much all in agreement. The context of the verse has some equally beautiful passages: "Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him" (vs. 7), "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass" (vs. 5), and so on. A very comforting psalm.

Too comforting. Being a human, I have had the experience of dealing with desired things. So the automatic reaction to this verse was, "yeah, maybe..." That reaction forced me to stop and take the rest of my worship time to really think this verse through. As a Christian, my struggle is with faith. Faith does not always come easily. Faith, to me, is saying, "OK, Lord, of course you're right!" when I really want to say "well, maybe..." or "but to me, it looks like..." This requires study, and that's what the Bible is for, as well as the shared experiences of other people.

So I thought about what this verse says. It says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." No versions I saw anywhere said,

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he might give you the desires of your heart, if you're lucky."
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart, sometime in the indefinite future, but don't count on it in this life, anyway."
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart, if those desires happen to be the right ones."
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart, if you're good enough, and eat your vegetables."

So what does this verse mean? And what can I desire that he will give me? I desire an Audi TT, a ten-acre estate in the country, a position in the LA Philharmonic, and the man of my dreams to fall desperately in love with me.

This leads to a natural human conclusion. When a human looks at this verse, the eye is naturally drawn to the last half of the phrase, the "he will give you the desires" part. (Really, confess!) But the first half is the important part. "Delight yourself in the Lord." Look at the words "delight" vs. "desire." Which has heavenly associations, and which has earthly ones?

Here's my conclusion, for 7:52 AM on an Friday morning: Our priority should be for the first half of the phrase. Occupy yourself with the "delight." Make it a lifelong project to figure out what it means to "delight in the Lord," and chances are pretty good you won't have so much leftover time or brainpower to bother with the "desires of your heart" part.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Portrait Artist

While I'm bragging, I must direct your attention (especially if you are a LLU student) to the second floor of the Del Webb library, where my dad's oil portraits of LLU faculty memebers are displayed. Check them out sometime!

The Cute Nephew

What's the point of a blog if you can't use it to show off pictures of your cute little nephew?

This is Christopher Kime.

(Stay tuned for pictures of the Cute Little Niece, also the Glamorous Model Athelete Niece.)