Tag Archives: music


5 Jul


The following is the text of what I shared at Isaac’s memorial service, Saturday, 29 June 2013.  The bits of poetry are excerpts of lyrics from Sarah Groves’ “Add To The Beauty“, which played while the photos for this section were shown.

Scripture readings:

Isaiah 61

61 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn,

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”

Daniel 4

New Living Translation (NLT)

1a “Peace and prosperity to you!

“I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.

How great are his signs,
how powerful his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever,
his rule through all generations.


God’s love and intervention in the lives of three people rippled out to include all of you. It is an adventure story full of suffering, delays, plot twists, mysteries:

  • The same week I mournfully defiantly wrote of trusting God’s goodness and grace in our suffering, our barren childlessness, a boy baby was born in a far away land
  • God sent us dreams that changed a man’s mind and gave hope to a woman that she had not been forgotten
  • How in the world did we get the information and contacts needed for all this to happen before the age of computers, cellphones, the internet?
  • How did that boy get in that orphanage?
  • How did we choose “He laughs” (Isaac) as our son’s name before we ever met him?
  • In what way was Isaac the first and the last in Oruro, Bolivia?


We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold


God had a beautiful secret for Isaac. He brought Isaac from a far off land to set him in a family. Being his Mom and Dad was one of the purposes written on our souls.  It was not easy.  Until his death, walking the road to the day of his legal adoption here in the US was the most difficult time of our lives.


Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are


December 17th, 1992 we arrived at a poor, run-down state orphanage in Oruro, Bolivia. There was no glass in the windows. There was nothing but abject poverty.  Children slept on mats on the floor and were fed potatoes.


Eventually we were handed a small, ugly, sick Aymara Indian/Hispanic boy. He was severely malnourished and covered with pox scars.  Three weeks shy of two years old he was 29 inches long and weighed 19 pounds. He had a lung infection. He could not walk or speak. There is no doubt in my mind he would not have lived a year in that orphanage.


And I want to add to the beauty
I want to tell a better story,
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside


He was named Misael Rodrigo Patino.   I have never met another living soul named Misael.  Misael was the name of one of the three faithful boys taken with Daniel into Babylon to be trained as administrators. Renamed Meshach, he was one of the young men who went into the fiery furnace and then walked out alive. Misael means:  Who is like God?


Beauty comes in helping a soul find it’s worth.


God gave us a tremendous gift.  He chose our son for us.


You are invited for the weeks and months and years ahead to call, visit, write if you wish to know more and share your story with us.


We thank the Almighty for His love, mercy and grace to Isaac and to us, for opening the way to him, and forging us as a family through the trials it took to make him our son.




Chocolate Chips and the Guzheng

23 Dec

Chocolate chips are about as “native’ a United States food item one can get that are not readily available or used  in much of the rest of the world.

Back in the 70’s I was an exchange student to the Australian Outback–near Walgett, NSW.  When I wanted to make something typically American for my host family I thought of chocolate chip cookies.  They had never heard of such an item.  My mother sent some, a big undertaking, and expensive, in those days.

To the best of my recollection, I saw none for sale and ate no foods in Panama, Mexico or Bolivia in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s containing chocolate chips.

There were lots of chocolate bars in Mongolia, but no chips.

Ditto in Israel.

Back in the 90’s my friend Soon, from Korea, wanted to make Rice Crispy bars.  To her _they_ were the quintessential American food.


The daughter of one of my friends from China plays the Guzheng.  I finally saw a photo of one yesterday and listened to a musician performing on one here today.

The Guzheng similar to a harp.  And a piano.

Late Summer Sounds

27 Aug

It is never quiet this time of year.  The insects have only a few weeks to live a whole lifetime and they are using it to the fullest.  Crickets sing non-stop.  Driving down the road you can hear different populations of insects: katydid town, tree frog alley, other high singing, whining, buzzing, noisome unknowns.

There are fewer birds singing–no dawn choruses anymore.  Now there are scolding parent birds: the robins, the house wren, the red-tail hawk.  The crows still harass the owls occasionally in the mornings.  The sapsucker occasionally flits across singing about the sap in the mountain ash.

We wake up and go to sleep and live the days to the short-lived strong-voiced chorus of insects.  An occasional coyote song.  And at night the comforting high, thin song of my blood accompanied by the deep pulse of my heart joins the insects singing in my ears as I fall asleep.

Birds and birthday

31 Mar

Several days ago there were tracks of two turkeys in the last remaining snow bank, which is still hanging on in diminished form.  A pair of wood ducks flew off a depression holding water just inside the wood and I saw them fly into the woods another morning.  The blue birds have been singing and checking out the box Jay repaired and rehung out by the grapevine.  This morning I put another chunk of suet up for the woodpeckers–the third or fourth this winter into spring.  On the side of the road this week, raccoons are prominent.

Yesterday was sunny and up to 40F. I cut stems for about an hour in the chilly sun. Today is overcast and drippy–snow again, now mixed with rain.  Marsha and I walked in the sun from Cayuga Heights over into Collegetown for lunch at the Carriage House and then back.  The streams and falls are full and running. Then went to visit the three little red poodle puppies she is caring for.  After a quick supper, Jay and I went to the graduate lecture/recital of our friend Sarah, a lyric soprano.  She spoke about “Love-Madness in Early Nineteenth-Century Opera”. One thread she spoke about was how English novels were translated into French, became play, and then were translated into Italian, becoming operas. So the idea of an hysterical woman who goes mad because of lost or jilted love is essentially a British notion which was accepted in Europe. After an intermission she performed Elvira’s Mad Scene from the Bellini opera I Puritani (1835) with two baritones.  There were a coterie of friends attending from church which filled out the crowd to quite an acceptable number of persons.  Sarah’s singing and acting was magnificent.

Friends made the day special!  And may God grant all their generous, good wishes and prayers for this new year.

The Rheingold

9 Oct

The kids and I just went to our first opera–“Das Rheingold” by Wagner.  It was a live simulcast from the NY Metropolitan opera to our local theater.  They had two theaters worth of people.  On the way out we ran into acquaintances who hoped we liked it but who said it was absolutely not the first opera one should be exposed to. She thought something Italian- Donizetti or Rossini-would be so much better because of the high drama, crowds,  and music.

We went because of the tie-in with Tolkein’s “The Lord of the Rings” and to see the use of high-tech stagecraft.

The reviews I had read were right.  Not much acting; lots of standing around, singing.  But both kids were impressed by how much overlap there was in the storyline of the opera and the books, both of which used Icelandic/Nordic mythologies as a base.

Overall: we liked it.  I hope the big “machine” is used more in the next one which will be in May.  I was impressed.  We were really glad they had the English translations to what was being sung up on the screen.  We  liked the short film that was shown before the performance about the actors learning to work on the large movable stage piece. But maybe that is because I have not been to a Donizetti opera.  Yet.

Spring Music

6 May

Ravel’s  Le Tombeau de Couperin (second half here)  Isabelle says can’t stand it.  I love it.  Much of it reminds me of bird song.  She says one part of the fourth movement is what she can not stand “because it gets in my head and that is all I hear”.  Isn’t that the idea?

This is a great performance, by the way. It does not seems to have been put out on disc.

The allegro assai from Bach’s violin Concerto No. 1 She is working on this now. Hilary Hahn’s recent recording.

Dolly Parton’s Little Sparrow album.


20 Apr

Some are easy:

1) Isabelle and I will mount a campaign against the house sparrows now that she found a dead male bluebird this morning in the grass.

2) Do not let the broody hen out of the pen when Hawthorne is loose outside.  He almost had chicken for lunch after it ran when he sniffed it.

3) Friday evening shall we go to the opera recital of a friend, or to one of the largest livestock auctions of several surrounding counties?  Friends win.

%d bloggers like this: