Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wool and Flax

In my continuing quest to do an in-depth study of Proverbs 31, I came across my next verse - Proverbs 31:13...

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."

This verse is plopped right after two verses describing her husband's love and confidence in her, and her ability to gain his trust. I have to admit it seemed a bit oddly placed considering the verses following talk of merchant ships and fields - much more exciting.

I believe every word in Scripture is there for a purpose and this verse is no exception. It speaks clearly of the selection of materials and the production that follows. But, in looking a bit closer, it intrigued me that wool and flax were the items listed. I'm sure Mrs. Virtuous worked eagerly at a lot of tasks and spent a lot of time selecting appropriate items needed to take care of her home and family. So, why did the passage mention wool and flax?

Flax is a well-known plant with yellowish stems and bright blue flowers. The main use of flax (once dried and its oil expressed) is for the manufacturing of linen, obviously to make clothing. Interestingly, the expressed flax oil was used to feed cattle. Selecting the best flax not only created the loveliest of linens, but also became food for the family's cattle herd. It is noted that only women of noble birth were found spinning flax. And, we now see the noble connection to flax.

Wool is a bit more obvious in its origin - sheep. But in Old Testament times, the first wool shearing of a family's best sheep was required for sacrificing to the priest. Choosing the best wool, like flax, would make the warmest of clothes, but selecting of the best was symbolic of the sacrifice made to the priests. Mrs. Virtuous took her shopping seriously.

I'm not spinning wool and flax to clothe my family but it reminds me that as I care for others, I should choose wisely and work eagerly for God's glory. That is such a small price to pay for the ultimate sacrifice God made for me in sending His Son to be my Sheep sacrifice for my sins. I'm forever grateful that God chose the Supreme Sacrifice for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pray for Nathan

For almost a week, my heart has been heavy over the life of a sweet little 3-year-old boy named Nathan McLean. His Mom and Dad (Brad and Amanda) and their other two children, Jordan, 6, and Greta, almost 1, are members of our church. They are a sweet servant family that came to Louisville for Brad to go to Southern Seminary.

Little Nathan has been dealing with sickness for about a month or so while doctors prodded and tested to figure out the cause. While they ruled other illnesses out, they continued to test to see why he was in pain and running fevers. Last Wednesday he was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer. My mind has thought of little else since.

I've run the gamut of emotions from sadness to anger, and the always-asked question...why? I don't always understand why things like this happen, but I rest in the fact that God is in control of all things....even this dark time in the McLeans life.

The uplifting part of this story (if there is anything uplifting) is the wonderful and gracious love that is flowing to the family from our church and all over the world. Thanks to technology, a website has been established by some of their good friends at our church to update us on Nathan's progress and allow guests to leave messages. There are meals being coordinated and other volunteers stepping up to do whatever they need to make this uncomfortable time a bit more endurable. One of the sweet families purchased a pager so that anytime someone prays, they can page them and let them know prayers have been uttered. The first night the pager never stopped all night long and brought Brad to tears. Another sweet family purchased a camcorder so they can benefit from that memory-making technology.

Each day brings new challenges and prayer needs. When you read this post and think of Nathan, please lift him up in prayer. The pager number is 502-464-0039 and although you won't get a call back, calling it will encourage a family that needs it oh so much. Please feel free to visit the website for updates and specific ways you can pray:

"Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me." - Psalm 86:6-7

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Is This Thing On?

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to do voice work - be a radio DJ, read commercials, do anything in front of a microphone. When I was young, very young, I would spend hours just talking into a microphone about anything that came to mind. (Those closest to me aren't at all surprised that I was a talker from an early age) I would read books aloud and add in all the inflections and emotions of each character. I was an only child, so I didn't annoy any siblings with the chattery behavior.

My Dad had a mini-studio in our basement, complete with microphone and reel-to-reel recording equipment. He used to sing in a quartet and had friends in a bluegrass band, so there was always southern gospel or country music blaring from our basement. Dad would hook up the tape recorder to the official microphone and I'd take off. I'd sing, chat, tell stories, and even do my own commercials. Station breaks consisted of me saying "Thank you for the interruption."

As I've grown older I've taken voice and speech training and done some non-professional recordings. Every time I do it, someone would tell me to pursue voice work based on what they heard. I guess it's more flattering to hear "you have a voice for radio" than to hear "you have a face for radio." I never really knew where to start, and didn't want to do this gig full-time, but still held on to the dream.

Last Tuesday evening in the torrential rainstorm we had in Louisville, I left work and headed for a class to take the first step in my dream. Our local public school system offered a "Voice Over Class" - one night, two hours and it only cost $35 and my delaying of viewing American Idol (not a big loss this season). The voice coach did a quick overview of the industry - how to get started, how to market - and then did some coaching and we all were recorded reading a few lines. I loved it! Due to my early love of the microphone, those electric ice cream cones don't scare me at all. He promised we'd each get evaluated and receive it via e-mail the next day. The promise included the disclaimer that if you aren't good, he'd tell you.

I anxiously awaited the e-mail and when it came, he said "You have quite a bit of potential. Your voice is young, real, and believable." I don't know if I was happier that he noted my potential or said I had a young voice. Either way, I was ecstatic. Now, off to create a demo as the next step of my dream.

After a week of research and phone calls on the best way to proceed, I am scheduled to talk with a producer this evening and record my demo, if he thinks I have potential. I'm amazed that only a week ago I thought this would be a fun way to spend a couple of hours and now, I'm within hours away of starting to see my dream come to life.

The moral of this story is to never let go of your dreams. You just never know when the right doors will open and your dreams may come true.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Girl Can Dream, Can't She?

Billy the Kid has just won his second NCAA championship in a row...what will he do now? It won't be Disney World. He'll have to fight off the media to get around Gainesville.

The buzz in the sports world today, especially here in Kentucky, is not just the great victory of the Florida Gators last night but the future home of Coach Donovan. He barely made it off the court last night before the world started asking.... Are you going to take the Kentucky coaching job? Do you want to build your legacy at Florida? Is there a three-peat in your future? The dashing Donovan is slowly becoming the greatest thing in coaching since Rick Pitino...his mentor.

I could pontificate all day on whether he will come to the Bluegrass state or not. There are good arguments for both options. He obviously has it great in Gainesville even though football is king there. And, repeats like this just don't happen all the time, much less the hope of a three-peat (which the Gator fans were chanting as quickly as the media was scurrying to ask Billy his future career plans.)

Kentucky will do all they can to grab him up, it's just unknown right now what his true desire is. I've been a Kentucky fan for a long time. As an only child, I became a sports fan at a young age and would watch countless basketball games with my Dad. My first UK championship experience was in 1978 with Joe B Hall as coach. As a child, my Dad and I cheered the Cats on to victory. I had the privilege of graduating high school with Winston Bennett, former UK basketball star and former assistant to Rick Pitino. When my Dad took pictures at my graduation, he made sure to snap one of Winston going down the aisle with the disclaimer, "Hey he'll be famous one day!"

In recent years, my excitement for UK basketball has waned. Although I loved Tubby Smith as a person and coach of great character, the lackluster play was wearing thin. When Tubby made his exit announcement, part of me was somewhat happy. It's time for a change. Nothing would make this Kentucky girl smile more than seeing the dapper and handsome Coach Billy on the UK sidelines building a dynasty.

As I watched the pre-game show last night, I got a glimpse of Coach Donovan's pep talk in the locker room prior to the game. Is it a coincedence or forshadowing that he used the analogy of horse racing to jazz up his team? Time will tell. Lest you aren't a believer it could happen, don't forget that a few short years ago a slick dressing former UK coach made his home at arch rival Louisville. Stranger things have happened....