Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Funny - "Providing For..."

IT IS FRIDAY!

The prospective son-in-law was asked by his girl friend's father, "Son, can you support a family?"

"Well, no, sir," he replied. "I was just planning to support your daughter. The rest of you have to fend for yourselves."


Have a great day, Don

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


HELLO, DOLLY!
Presented by Ricks-Weil Theatre Company
at the Ricks Center for the Arts
in Greenfield, IN

July 30th - 7:30 PM
July 31st - 7:30 PM
August 1st - 2:30 PM
August 6th - 7:30 PM
August 7th - 7:30 PM

Ticket Price is $12 for Adults and $10 for Children.
(Groups of 10 or more are $10 a piece.)

For Tickets call 317-477-show (7469)

The play first opens in 1890's New York City with Dolly Gallagher Levi, a well-known widowed matchmaker, who is making her way through town to catch a train to Yonkers (Call On Dolly) to attend to one of her clients, Mr. Horace Vandergelder, a successful miser in the hay and feed business. On the way to the train, she meets Ambrose Kemper, an artist who is in love with Vandergelder's niece, Ermengarde, against Vandergelder's wishes. While waiting for the train, Dolly explains to Ambrose why she loves her business (I Put My Hand In) and promises him Vandergelder's consent in marrying Ermengarde. When the train arrives, as Ambrose boards, Dolly confides to her late husband Ephraim Levi that she wishes to be Horace Vandergelder's match and leave the life of solitude she's lived in since becoming a widow.

At the hay-and-feed store, Vandergelder has to put up with Ermengarde's sobs over her uncle's plan to keep her from Ambrose. He reveals that while he marches in the Fourteenth Street Parade he plans to court Irene Malloy, a New York milliner and another one of Dolly's clients. He leaves his two clerks, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, to attend the shop while he's gone and confides to his workers his hope that Irene will consent to be his wife (It Takes a Woman). When Dolly arrives, she learns of Vandergelder's intentions to court Irene Malloy. She tries every trick to dissuade him and finally gets his attention when she mentions she can set him up with another one of her clients, who is an heiress. He agrees to meet the heiress if his courting should fail. Dolly then meets with a reunited Ermengarde and Ambrose and tells them if they win the cash prize at the Harmonia Gardens polka contest, they would have enough money to prove to Vandergelder that they could live together. She also tells them to inform the head waiter, Rudolph, that Dolly was coming back and to set up a chicken dinner for two. Dolly also craftily informs Cornelius and Barnaby that she could set them up with Irene Malloy and her shop assistant, Minnie Fay. Excited by finally having an adventure in the big city, Cornelius and Barnaby close the store and join Dolly, Ermengarde, and Ambrose on the train to New York City. (Put On Your Sunday Clothes)

Meanwhile, Irene awaits for Vandergelder to call on her at the millinery. An eager Minnie asks her why she wants to marry Vandergelder. Irene says that although she doesn't love him, she wants to remarry after the death of her first husband and escape the millinery business. She dreams about her perfect match and how she would attract his attention (Ribbons Down My Back). Minnie alerts her that two men (Barnaby and Cornelius) are coming into the shop. To impress Irene, Cornelius pretends he is a sport from Yonkers looking to find a hat for a lady friend. When he finds out she knows Vandergelder and that he is about to come to the millenery, he and Barnaby panic and hide. Irene tries to hide them while Vandergelder is courting her, but when she accidentally mentions that she was talking to a "Cornelius Hackl", Vandergelder becomes bewildered and demands an explanation. In an instant, Dolly comes to the rescue explaining that Cornelius leads a second life at nighttime in New York city as one of the elite Hackls. When Minnie gives away that there are two men hiding in the store, Vandergelder is ready to expose Irene's "guests". Dolly says that Vandergelder's actions are un-American and reprimands him for it while Irene tries to find a better hiding place for Cornelius and Barnaby. (Motherhood March) A disgusted Vandergelder leaves the millinery for the Fourteenth Street Association Parade. Irene is about to call the cops on Cornelius and Barnaby, but Dolly insists the proper way to handle such tresspassers is to "settle it over dinner". Irene and Minnie demand to be taken to the Harmonia Gardens that night. Trying to get out of the date because they have no money, Cornelius and Barnaby let Dolly know that the dinner would include dancing, and they can't dance. Without hesitation, Dolly instructs them on the finer points of dancing until the two men are transformed in graceful twinkletoes who joyfully escort Irene and Minnie out of the shop. (Dancing)

Later, Dolly runs into Mrs. Rose, an acquaintance from her old neighborhood. Dolly realizes after her visit that she has wasted precious moments mourning her husband's death when she should have been out enjoying life. She speaks to Ephraim again about letting her go off to marry Vandergelder. She promises him that she will turn over a new leaf and enjoy every minute of her life. (Before the Parade Passes By). She joins the crowd at the Fourteenth Street Association Parade where she spots Vandergelder. Although Vandergelder agrees to have dinner at Harmonia Gardens that night with Ernestina Money, the heiress Dolly mentioned earlier, Vandergelder discharges Dolly as his marriage broker. Nevertheless she smiles, says, "Ephraim--he's as good as mine!!!!", and runs off singing a reprise of Before the Parade Passes By to end Act 1.

Act 2 opens up with Cornelius and Barnaby heading to the Harmonia Gardens with their dates. Not even having enough money to pay for dinner, they suggest walking to Harmonia Gardens instead of taking a limo or a taxi, convincing Irene and Minnie that walking was more "elegant" than taking a limo. (Elegance)

Anticipating Dolly's arrival that night, Rudolph, the head waiter at Harmonia Gardens, orders his waiters to perform their best service tonight. In the Waiter's Galop, the waiters quickly prepare to set the tables and serve the meals in a series of cartwheels, flips, etc. As the patrons are seated and have their meal, Cornelius and Barnaby panic over how they are going to pay for the extravagant meal Irene and Minnie are ordering for them. At the other end of the restaurant, Vandergelder is thoroughly embarrassed by his date. Meanwhile, a crew of elated waiters escort Dolly into the restaurant (Hello, Dolly), ecstatic that their favorite patron has returned for the first time since her husband's death. Vandergelder joins her at a table to tell how awful his evening with the heiress was. In another crafty plan, Dolly tries to convince Vandergelder that he did ask her to marry him but she is not interested. As the evening progresses, Vandergelder's wallet accidentally gets mixed up with Barnaby's purse. Cornelius and Barnaby now have more than enough money to pay for dinner while Vandergelder grows deathly white that he does not have enough money to pay for his dinner with Dolly. The polka contest gets underway-with Ambrose and Ermengarde as contestants! During the contest, Vandergelder spots Ermengarde, Ambrose, Cornelius, and Barnaby. They try to escape for Vandergelder causing pandemonium to break out at the Harmonia Gardens restaurant.

However, the police have rounded up all patrons and staff at the restaurant and has them arrested. Dolly acts as their defense attorney, blaming the whole event on Vandergelder. Cornelius testifies that he did not mean to cause chaos; that something better had happened to him that he will treasure for the rest of his life. He had fallen in love with Irene Malloy (It Only Takes a Moment). The Officer is so touched by his testification that he declares Vandergelder guilty and everyone else innocent. Vandergelder lashes out at Dolly that he knew this whole day was all one big plot to get him to propose to her and that he would never ask her to marry him. Dolly convinces him that he was wrong and that she plans to walk out of his life like his niece and his clerks did. (So Long, Dearie)

The next day, Vandergelder receives some unpleasant news: Cornelius and Barnaby plan to open a hay-and-feed store with Irene and Minnie across the street from him and demand their back-salaries from him. Also, Ermengarde wanted her money so she could elope with Ambrose. As they head for the safe, Dolly speaks privately with Ephraim about she wants to escape her life of solitude and how she's waiting for his approval on marrying Vandergelder. Fortunately, the sign comes through. Vandergelder apologizes for his behavior and proposes to Dolly. They agree to make Cornelius and Barnaby partners in the hay-and-feed business and to let Ermengarde marry Ambrose. Dolly grows excited thinking about her new life at the wedding as the company sings the Finale Ultimo.

I hope to see you there, I will be the one up front directing the orchestra - Don

Monday, July 26, 2010

Into Abundance!

"We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."

-Psalm 66:12 (NIV)
Roger Smith of Ohio wrote:

IN the small downtown café, the mood of the people was somber. Very early one morning, fire had broken out. Many items of the owner's gallery of memorabilia were lost. While we sat there with memories of better days, some patrons offered consoling words to the owner.

Soon a woman carrying a basket under her arm entered the café. A smile crossed her face as she stood with her owner-husband. I recognized her as the woman who faithfully serves the customers and always has a friendly word for each of us. I struggled to find appropriate words to say. She thanked me for my concern, put her basket down, and said with a smile, "There was no one here when the fire broke out, and after all, we are in God's hands!" As she spoke, she extended her arms with both palms up. It was a powerful, unexpected affirmation -- a simple response to a tragedy that moved us all.

Whenever I recall the fire, I see her standing there and hear her unforgettable words of faith. She is like the psalmist who captured the spirit of people in times of trial and loss: "We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." In all situations, God is with us. We are held in strong and loving hands!

God is a God of abundance. When I think of the vast amount of provision God has granted me...my family...my church family...just to be apart of His Kingdom and completely covered in His love... I am brought to a place of complete awe. I am speechless, song-less, and without thought (which is hard for me). He loves us beyond our faults and our limitations. He also is willing to put His hand on our shoulder and whisper..."calm down, it will be OK."

So, today I choose to live in abundance and pray for wisdom in demonstrating it in my actions.

You know I love ya, Don

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Funny - The Theater


Hello and Happy Friday! The RWTC's Production of Hello, Dolly! opens in 7 days (July 31st). So, in honor of a great cast, crew, and stage manager - this joke is for you.....

A renowned research institution undertakes to document the spatial-cognitive processes of intellectuals in various professions. They recruit an architect, a surgeon, and a props manager. They construct three isolation booths, completely sealed off from external interactions or stimuli. They place one guy in each booth, and give each one a set of three perfectly-matched steel balls, about three inches in diameter each. They seal the booths and return in one week.

The architect has constructed a geometrically-perfect pyramid with the balls, yielding insights into stress dynamics and materials tension. The surgeon has placed the balls in a formation that hints at the nature of the unexplored regions of the human genome, solving some fundamental questions involving genetics and DNA.

When the props manager's booth is opened, the interior is a shambles and there are no balls to be found. Upon inquiry, the props guy says, "Okay, okay. I admit I DID lose the first ball. But I SWEAR I don't know what happened to the second one, and besides, you only gave me two balls to begin with!"

For ticket information click RICKS - You know I love ya - Don

Monday, July 19, 2010

To listen up, one must sit down!

Jesus Christ continues to fascinate and, at the same time, mystify people. But this really is nothing new. Even when Jesus walked this earth, He was a mystery to most people.

In fact, He was even a mystery to His own, handpicked disciples who did not fully understand who He was and what He had come to do—that is, not until He had been crucified and resurrected from the dead. But there was one exception. Who was the one follower of Jesus who seemed to get it when the others did not? It wasn't John, who was known for his spiritual perception. It wasn't Peter, James, Matthew, or Andrew.

It was a woman named Mary. Above all others, Mary seemed to have an understanding of the mission of Jesus and what He had come to do. Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. It is worth noting that every time we read about her, she was at the feet of the Lord.

One of the most well-known instances was when Martha welcomed Jesus into her home in Bethany. Martha wanted to prepare a feast fit for a king. While she was frantically working in the kitchen, Mary saw a great opportunity to sit at Jesus' feet and take in what He had to say. Martha grew frustrated and came in to rebuke her sister, but instead ended up being rebuked by Jesus. He told Martha, "You are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41–42 NKJV).

Later, as the days of Jesus' earthly ministry were reaching their culmination, Mary did something that was so outstanding and so significant that it is recorded in Scripture as a memorial to her (see Mark 14:9). She decided to seize the moment and once again sit at Jesus' feet and offer Him a gift, the most precious thing she probably owned.

Just days before the Passover, Jesus was in Bethany and had gone to the house of Simon the leper for a meal. We know that Lazarus was there. Mary and Martha were present, as were the apostles. All of the sudden, Mary did something unexpected, unusual, and completely extravagant. She took some special and costly perfume, broke open the bottle, and poured it on the head of the Lord. This perfume was called oil of spikenard, and it was most likely a valuable family heirloom. It would have been one thing to sprinkle a few drops on Jesus, which was common in that culture. But Mary wanted to do something significant. So she poured the whole bottle on Jesus.

Perhaps one reason the Christians of the first century turned their world upside down in such a dramatic way was their sense of abandon, as we see modeled by Mary. It was Jesus Himself who moved her. Her idea was that nothing was too good for the Lord. Mary wanted to do something special for Jesus.

It is interesting that she recognized why He had come. She somehow knew that His death was near. She wanted to do something that would touch Him, bless Him, and bring a little beauty into His life. She hadn't spent as much time with Jesus as the 12 disciples, yet she had a perception that no one else seemed to have. Sitting at His feet paid off, because Mary apparently had learned a few things that the others had missed.

I heard about a statue of Jesus that was created by Thors Walden, a Danish sculptor. Walden sculpted the body of Christ in such a way that His face could not be seen from a standing position. There was a sign next to the statue that read, "If you want to see the face of Jesus, sit at His feet." Sure enough, by sitting at the foot of this statue of Jesus, one can look up and see His face perfectly.

I believe the ability to see the face of Jesus and hear His voice is when we sit at His feet and listen up. Please know I am sitting with you and you are loved. - Don

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Funny - A new Job!

With the current economy and the lack of funny related to our economy, I thought we might enjoy a laugh about funds and a new job!
Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Person asked a young Engineer fresh out of Texas A&M, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"

The Engineer said, "In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package." The interviewer said, "Well, what would you say to a package of 5 weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, a company matching retirement fund for 50% of your salary, and a company car leased every 2 years -- say, a red Corvette?"

The Engineer sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you kidding?" And the interviewer replied, "Yeah, but you started it."
You know I love ya and have a great weekend - Don

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lets dance together

Mandy Smith, who originally is from Australia, is an author, artist, and pastor at University Christian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. Her latest book, Making a Mess and Meeting God: Unruly Ideas and Everyday Experiments for Worship, has just been released by Standard Publishing. She wrote the following:

On a seemingly ordinary morning, in a busy Belgian train station, the announcements of arrivals and departures were suddenly interrupted by Julie Andrews’s familiar voice intoning, “Let’s start at the very beginning . . .” A few commuters paused for a second to wonder why the train station would air “Do-Re-Mi,” before returning to their morning rush.

Then, in the center of the atrium’s tiled floor, a single man started to dance, and before long a passing little girl had joined in. A crowd began to form to watch the spectacle but, at each measure, members of the crowd joined the dance and it was no longer clear who was a performer and who was a spectator. Soon dozens of schoolchildren were pouring down the stairs to become part of the group that was growing with every “do,” “re,” and “mi.” By the end of the song the dancing mob had swelled to more than 200 people of all ages, and those who happened to be there had a story of the ordinary day when the crowd suddenly moved as one.

The thing that made this train station dance, and other “flash mobs” like it, different from most public performances was that, right up to the moment of their cue, the performers looked like the usual passersby, carrying backpacks and talking on cell phones. They were not on a stage but were among the crowd. And because of this factor, although they didn’t know the dance steps, the onlookers were also swept up in it and many danced along however they could. The jubilation left after the last bars of the song had died away was not just from having watched a dance, but also from experiencing a moment when human beings came together and made something harmonious in the middle of their disparate lives. It was a moment when what we have in common was more apparent than what separates us.

The dance we’re invited to is very simple and involves just a few steps. It takes no rehearsal, and we don’t even need to know each other’s names. But as we join in this action of being a Christ-follower, we enjoy a life when everything else stops and we are in unison with The One who created us. We share an understanding that, regardless of our differences, we are drawn together by our common love for Jesus and our common acceptance of his sacrifice.


Thank you, Mandy Smith, for reminding us of this wonderful truth...it is a joy to be dancing with you along this journey. You know I love ya - Don

Monday, July 12, 2010

Competition and Comparison

The share of the one who goes down into the battle shall be the same as the share of the one who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike. -1 Samuel 30:24 (NRSV)

OCCASIONALLY I compare my accomplishments to those of others and lament that I seem to have done little in comparison. I think we often make such comparisons. Children do it in sports or school competitions; adults do it in the workplace or at class and family reunions. Who is the fastest, strongest, or smartest? Who has accumulated the most wealth, prestige, or glamour? Who is the winner? Such comparisons can result in hurt feelings, envy, or rivalry.

But God does not measure success using human standards. In the story from 1 Samuel 30, David rewarded his soldiers equally for their service, no matter their individual contribution to the victory. In the same way, God asks only that we serve to the best of our ability with the talents given us. To some, God gives great works to perform; to others, work that may seem less important. It is not for us to compare our achievements with others' or to judge an other's calling against our own. Our role is to faithfully do our best at the work God has given us, wherever we serve. When we give our best to God, we are winners.

There is no room for competition in the Kingdom of God. The truth of Jesus is that we are all equal and compared to Him, "unworthy." So, we strive to have the attitude of Jesus and serve, even if it means taking on a cross of humiliation. In the striving we are rewarded beyond our greatest imaginations desire.


You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What the 4th of July Brings to Us All!


IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America. When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


May we never forget what this day, July 4th, was all about in history. It established a free nation for all people, including people with special needs, color, race, and/or religion...We are free citizens.

We are also free because of Christ. "This is our freedom, this was the cost. The blood He shed on the Cross." Neither one should ever be forgotten or taken advantage of...You know I love ya, Don

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Funny - "Sisters"

Happy Friday - Long weekend ahead with the United States Independence Day celebrations. To all my U.S. Friends - enjoy!

Some stories about sisters hit too close to home:
Two sisters, one blonde and one brunette, inherit the family ranch. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. In order to keep the bank from repossessing the ranch, they need to purchase a bull from the stockyard in a far town so that they can breed their own stock.

They only have $600 left. Upon leaving, the brunette tells her sister, 'When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I'll contact you to drive out after me and haul it home.'

The brunette arrives at the stockyard, inspects the bull, and decides she wants to buy it. The man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less. After paying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news. She walks into the telegraph office and says, 'I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I've bought a bull for our ranch. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive out here so we can haul it home.'

The telegraph operator explains that he'll be glad to help her, then adds, 'It's just 99 cents a word.' Well, after paying for the bull, the brunette only has $1 left. She realizes that she'll only be able to send her sister one word.

After a few minutes of thinking, she nods and says, 'I want you to send her the word 'comfortable.'

The operator shakes his head. 'How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her just the word 'comfortable?'

The brunette explains, 'My sister's blonde. The word's big. She'll read it very slowly ... com-for-da-bull.'

You know I love ya and keep laughing, Don