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The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: family moments (page 2 of 5)

Sign Here Please

“By signing, I would have been giving away comprehensive and exclusive rights to all of my music, everywhere in the universe, for perpetuity! No!”

We still laugh every time we remember it.
Our incredulous friend-since-childhood, turned celebrity and world traveler. And us.

We’d just finished sharing a stage. And now under discussion was the paperwork so often required for such appearances…

– – –

Comprehensive, exclusive, universal… For perpetuity.
My rights.
Sign here please.

I bristle. Don’t you?
The last thing I want to do is give up my rights.

But do I really have any?
Oh yes, “We hold these truths to be self evident…”

But on the cosmic stage…

On the cosmic stage, I’m a criminal. And I already gave my rights away.
But I still claim them. My right to myself. My right to my powers. My right to pleasures…
It’s all death. And they’re not even really mine…
I don’t even have the right to life.

Unless Jesus Himself gives me His.
The right to His power, His pleasures, His life… Himself.

It’s crazy. But He offers it anyway.
And so we trade.

That’s when I sign away my claims to myself.

Sign here please.

You bet.
My rights, comprehensive, exclusive, universal, for perpetuity.
I release my claims to myself.

Christ claims my powers, my gifts, my breath,

I claim Christ.


There are the schedules, the checklists, the trips, the itineraries, the suitcases, the sermons, the songs, and the symphonies of Heaven heard by exhausted servants…

And then there are the rest of the moments that make up life. 
Moments that are often skipped when cataloging mileposts…
The colloquial, the common. The spontaneous… 
The blink-twice-and-they’ll-be-gone opportunities. 
…to love people.
Here’s to those. 
Sabbath night with the neighbors. 

There is a Sanctuary

These days begin early, pass quickly, end when the sun is gone.
We move from strategy session to our intersecting orbits around home base, and mulch gets spread, and ditches get dug, and flowers get planted, and tasks disappear from our corporate checklist in the cloud.

Sunrise (literally) finds me on my knees in the cactus garden burying drip irritation for the moss roses.
By 10:00 I’ve moved on to a sunny spot in the lawn, me surrounded by bags of irrigation parts for the Anniversary Garden
At noon, it’s in the office with me. Answering the emails from early risers in Europe. By 2:00 I’m in full swing with the laundry room all torn apart, sanding and finishing cabinets. By 5:00 I’m back in the office, for more emails, more ProTools, more design concepts for the next album cover…

By 9:00 I’m exhausted.

But I’m learning something…
I’ve been learning slowly over days blurring together. Over knees in gravel, knees in mulch, knees in grass wet from the morning’s artificial dew…

Days ago, I grunted out animated passion with every striking of the pick to gravel.
I. Don’t. Just. Fight. For. Myself…

Moments later, huge raindrops from a benign looking cloud drove me temporarily into the shed doorway, and I stood, arms folded, watching rain stream down.

And I realized:
Full days notwithstanding;
Long lists notwithstanding… Speaking engagements coming up, Europe travel coming up, design and replication deadlines coming up, the wedding coming up–

Whenever I pause, wherever I pause…
Wherever my knees touch the ground,
there is a sanctuary.

The Queen Mother Sleeps

“You have fifteen minutes.”
I cross the threshold and throw down carry-on and run for the shower to wash off the residue of airports and airplanes… And then I emerge to run around the house with cuffs unbuttoned, nibbling Rosemary and Olive Triscuits– my substitute for lunch.
But still this isn’t real
When I left, my little grandmother was tired. But she was alive…
No longer.
. . . .
In this house, my mama is the Queen. 
So my abuelita was the Queen Mother.
And sometime while I was guiding blind campers through the locker rooms at a swimming pool in Hellen Keller’s hometown in Alabama, she went to her rest. 
So, Sabbath a few hours gone, I sat and watched the morning born out a window over the left wing.
And then landed in Albuquerque hours later, a few minutes before my cousin, inbound for the same reason.
But still, it wasn’t real.
It wasn’t real until I walked into the little church and saw her pretty face, all full of peace. 
And I was washed over with gratitude…
Because though many call this nightfall, I think of it as just the moment before dawn.
Her night– al chained in by the blackness of a world increasingly impossible for her to understand–
That night is over. 
So even while tears washed the piano keys, and I groaned for grace to keep going– happy that everyone was singing and my back was to them all…
Even when, after all the nearest and dearest of our friends had mingled tears with ours, wet our shoulders and let us wet theirs,
Even when they were gone and I knelt before the open casket gripping the side with one hand, and stroking her little, cold, white one with my other– shaking with sobs…
Even then, through tears I could only repeat one thing.
Thank You, Jesus…
Thank You. 
Thank you for those little hands. Those hands that would reach around me from behind and suggest chords and harmonies when I was sitting at the piano pecking out compositions… That musical mastermind that always insisted I nail the progression without compromise, and would cheer and clap with glee when I did. She, with the equivalent of a Doctorate in music from the most prestigious conservatory in her homeland, the composure of unnumbered ballads; I, the upstart child that tried…
Thank You, Jesus.
For the gift she drove home for me, starting before I even knew my own name… By her endless creativity, her bottomless passion–
The gift of love for beautiful things.

Butterflies. And flower petals. And shimmering plumage. And harmonies just, just so
And symmetry, and color, and shades and songs, and sunsets. 
She’s why I’m drawn right into the heart of a flower the size of your headphone jack.
And she’s one of the great reasons I’m drawn right into the heart of God Whose idea beauty was [is!] in the first place…
Thank You, Jesus.

The Queen Mother sleeps.

Harvest of Dreams

We sow.

And smiles.
And laughter on the wind.
And conversations that have nothing to do with gardening.
We sow little moments stitched together.
With our time fast running out.
And the dogs watch, and the sun turns us darker still…
And these are just little things. Just the seeds of this life.

But you know, if we take time to plant,
(–such a tiny part to play,)

Jesus brings the harvest.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –

Leaning on my rake midway down 170 feet of row, I tell my sister dear with a wink that

“If this is a hobby, it’s gotten a little out of hand.”

She straightens up, all smiles. Cocks her head a little and tells me in no uncertain terms
“This is no hobby. This is serious business.”

Of Bok Choy and My Bible

Lettuce I can do.
Broccoli I can do.
Kale I can do. (more please?!)
Kohlrabi I do. Radishes, turnips, parsnips, parsley, and fresh asparagus.
Yep. Do, do, do.
Like, all.

And I like liking everything. (everything good.)

You cannot imagine my horror when I woke up one day and found out there was one I couldn’t do…

.  .  .  .  .

My screen comes to life with a swipe.
My thumb dances, my eyes dance. My feet dance all the way up the stairs where I almost blunder into Natasha in the kitchen. I tap the icon with the little red “10” on its corner. Off in my own little world…
But not really…

No, actually, not at all.
I share this world.
I share it with who-knows-how-many other people. 100? 120?
And it’s not the facebook app, (don’t have that one, actually) and it’s not the G+ app, and it’s not the mail app, and its not Messages.

It’s ScriptureTyper.
Typing scripture makes my eyes dance. And I wander round and round the kitchen island dodging Tasha and a huge bowl of hummus, and the wheat thins leftover from recital night, and the rest of the lunch fixings.
And I pound the table with my fist, and she enters right in, and we laugh together…

“You know what I LOVE???”
“I absolutely love the Ethiopian! Here’s the guy, sitting in his chariot, puzzling over Isaiah.”
“And Philip arrives from nowhere, and expounds,”
“And he’s like: ‘See,

“‘…here is water! What doth hinder me to be baptized?'”
(She listens to the same bible I do, so our intonation comes out perfect in unison.)

What a concept. What a beautiful, fresh perspective…
“Yeah… And Philip…”
“Yes! and then they come out of the water and, poof!”
“‘And he went on his way rejoicing…'”

Ha! I would have to….
I would have too. 

I’ll be honest, even at the start of this thing I never dreamed that memorizing could be this much fun.
Now, I’ve given up guessing. I’m just rejoicing.

Some of you were on to ScriptureTyper right from the start, before I’d ever heard of it. Well, I’ve heard of it now. And it’s a fixture… I’m totally hooked. Hooked most of all because those that have joined our group in the last week can be just as much a part as those who joined months ago… And we can push ourselves, and encourage each other, and pray for each other… 1,385 prayers and counting.
Even if we’re not (and we’re not! :)) all at the same spot…
And then there are the other emails I get… The other blogposts I read…

And friends from Young Disciple who have developed a full set of first-letter bookmarks for the entire book of Acts, (for download or purchase) so you can take your chapter anywhere… (click here.)

God is building something far beyond our dreams. He’s putting in His children an insatiable appetite for His Word

Oh, you don’t have time?
No, actually, you do. Perhaps you don’t have an appetite.
But that can change. I promise…

.  .  .  .  .
Remember my horror when I found the greens I couldn’t do? (Apologies to my Asian friends.) 
Bok Choy and I don’t agree… There’s a violent (and I do mean violent) chemical reaction when I put it in my mouth.
But you know, I’m not giving up hope yet. After all, the people who grew up on the stuff. . .
Wait a minute.
You chose what you’ll grow up on.
Go delete all the games off of your phone and computer,
and then go get ScriptureTyper. 

Acts: The Revolution… Starts on Sunday.

Winter blurs into spring; projects blur into each other. And blogs sometimes fall silent while we trace the trail assigned us. (Texas and Minnesota being the destinations in the last 7 days.)

But always there are those moments in between…when we remember what’s really important.
Seattle skyline as seen from the hotel that will be hosting GYC.
Into the midst of our overflowing life, Tasha brought back from the most recent trip an idea destined to radically change our summer… Exactly how it was born, I know not. But a friend (and fellow GYC ECOM member) from Canada had something to do with it, and now the 5 of us are getting geared up for a challenge. 🙂
In the simplest terms,
The book of Acts:
28 chapters
1,007 verses
24,308 words
in 300 days.
And not just because GYC 2012 is going to be all about the book of Acts.
Because we want to enter in to the life of Acts.
Since after all, the book is still being written.
So here’s the big question: 
You want to join us?
Yes, you.
Consider it an investment in your mind. An investment in your spiritual life…
Three verses a day isn’t really that many, but only the absolutely determined will actually pull it off. And it will take more than 10 minutes a day. But what if it changed your life forever?
You don’t think you can. 
I know you can. You should. And we’d love to cheer you on. (and hear you cheer for us!) 🙂
So here’s the plan: 
1: Subscribe to our memorization and review schedules with any calendar application (iCal, iPhone/pad/pod, Android, Google Calendar, Outlook, etc) using the subscription links below.
Download and import these two .ics files (calendar will be static however, and won’t update if we change or adjust anything) (click the link, and on the page right click file and select “download”)
2: Just a suggestion… Get yourself an audio bible so you can listen at least an hour a day… to the chapter you’re working on, plus ahead and behind.
3: Let us know you’re with us!
GYC, here we come. 🙂
p.s. If you can’t keep up the pace, or if you’re reading this post late and we’ve already started, no worries! Take it at your own pace, or jump in in the middle… So what if you only have half the book memorized by December! You’ll never be sorry. 
p.p.s. Hint #1:
You’ll notice the memorization assignments fluctuate between 2 verses and 5. Three verses a day is the average. The daily dose is split by logical thought breaks, not by number of verses. But no worries, until the second half of Acts, 30% of the days have no new memorization assignments at all. They are just for just review. So if you can’t seem to grasp 5 new verses in a day, do three. There are review days coming. Just check the schedule to make sure you’re roughly on track. 🙂
Hint #2:
If you’re jumping in in the middle, or you get way behind, skip a chapter and get back on schedule. (or ahead) Nobody said you couldn’t come back to something. Your morale will stay higher if you don’t feel like you’re always trying to catch up. 🙂
Subscribe to our memorization schedule here: (iCal)
And to the review schedule here: (iCal) (Yes, you will want both.)
Or subscribe with Google Calendar:
Memorization: https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/8ko4ui9l5gjl6l825bencd20q0%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics
Review: https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/h0cet12jp99d2kufm7n97s615c%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

Or check out the Acts: Memorization tab on either thenebblettfamily.com or seannebblett.com

Go get yourself an audio bible from a place like this.
Or, listen to it streamed on demand, here.
Or, download an audiobible app for your iDevice here.
Or your Android. here.

Under Any Circumstances

“Isaiah 58 speaks of a ‘chosen fast’, of the service our God values…

‘To loose the bands of wickedness,’ undo ‘heavy burdens,’ ‘let the oppressed go free,’ break yokes, feed starving children, provide for the poor, dress the naked…

This morning as I was pondering here, it struck me that for the given, every act of service or obedience is an act of war.

and God has given us the privilege of going to war — of breaking yokes and letting the oppressed go free — right here. With music.

We would do well to remember.”

The hours fly by, and since those words were spoken, all 9 family songs have been tracked, and all but two of the rest. Voices lasted long enough to finish that which was necessary to proceed, and then mine rebelled completely, to remind me I’m just dust. So, we work our instrumental accompaniment while we drink gallons of water and let the voices rest for the final two… 🙂
And yet, even in this mercy we feel our need. Our violinists both awoke under the weather this morning. But Chantée resolutely declares she will record under any circumstances. Fuel for Glory, right?

We press on. 🙂 Coveting your prayers always…

Designs of Grace

The day closes on hours of setup and sound checks. Tomorrow the real work begins… Mean time, miracles on the instruments are in full swing. The lost voices are mended, or mending. (how could they do otherwise, after prayers from 4 continents?)

I patter around the studio after the troop has gone upstairs, capturing these sights in the silence. The stack of preamps brings a smile to my face.

Grace Design.

Naturally. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

When God [Re]writes My Christmas Story

I believe in the God-scripted life. A script writer myself, I know that he who writes the script authors the outcome, and I believe in God-authored outcomes.

So let the story take unexpected turns!

 For the shepherd on the dark hillsides outside of Bethlehem, the appearance of not one, but countless angels from Heaven’s very choir was certainly just that: unexpected.

 And for us, sitting in the car all night in a familiar town was that likewise. And being separated by miles and feet of snow when we most wanted to be together– this season, and father’s 60th birthday– certainly not in the plans.

 But I have learned that through the unexpected God hones our expectancy towards Himself… And what is this season to remind us of, if not expectant waiting for the King? And even as space and time make loving hearts grow fonder, separation makes reunion more sweet.

So we glory in the gift of Jesus today, together. And thank Him that we have eyes to see, and ears to hear, and lives to live His script.

Wishing you all a most blessed and joyful Christmas! You are (each!) gifts to me this year…

Together! (seriously icy road…)

finally off the mountain

catching up (we get behind within minutes of separating)

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