Monday, July 1, 2013

Mary Sings, New Friends, & a Mouse: All of Life Offered to God Is a Prayer

Hi everyone! I've missed you lately as I have been unpacking from violin camp with Mary and repacking for a little time at the beach!

Enjoy this clip of Mary singing at the string camp. No one really knew she sang, until there was a fun family night and about 10 or so individuals or groups participated and played an instrument (couldn't be their normal instrument played in usual manner) or did a skit. Everything was all so fun & creative!
I have much to tell you, and hardly know where to start. Thank you for your prayers for Mary at string camp. She has taken Suzuki violin lessons for 5 years where we live, but had never been to a Suzuki String camp for a whole week (Suzuki is an educational approach in which the parents are very involved in the first several years). We did not know anyone else that was going to this particular camp that was held near the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It was awkward at first to "make a new friend," for many had attended the camp for multiple years and were renewing old friendships made at camp (many things that are worthwhile can start off awkward, can't they?) It was a nice surprise when a young friend from home, called out "Mary!" when we entered the dining hall. It was Sophie, a violin acquaintance from home! Because Mary is blind, she was attached with cane in one hand and her free hand to my arm as we walked up the beautiful hills and sidewalks of the college campus where the camp was held.

By the end of the week, we had made several friendships with the campers, parents and teachers that I hope will continue.

We met one delightful mom (now a new friend! Hi Ann!) that had a wonderful southern accent mixed with a deep, warm voice. She told us that her sister who is near my age was also born blind. We had such a good time exchanging stories, and it greatly encouraged my heart. Mealtime in the cafeteria was the best time to talk. Ann came with her 12-year-old daughter, Emily, whose face was always smiling.

No one knew that Mary had an uncanny ability to imitate people since they did not know us! Suddenly, Mary was talking with Emily, and we heard Emily burst into laughter. She said, "Mom, she can imitate, you!" We asked Mary to say what she said again, and then we all burst into laughter as she captured Ann's voice to the point if you closed your eyes, you would have thought Ann was speaking!
Mary with new friends, Emily (on Mary's left) and Claire.
We took an exercise class while we were there. As we were about to get started a mouse ran out from under a sofa and took refuge under another sofa. There was only one other student and mom taking the class, and they screamed and jumped up on chairs. Mary stood holding her cane, and asked what was going on, and I told her that a mouse had darted across the floor. I explained the teacher ran out of the room to get a broom to get it because she said she grew up on a farm and knew how to kill them.

Mary exclaimed, "Oh, let's call her Elizabeth! Where is she? Why is everyone so scared? Do you see Elizabeth now?" Just then, our teacher (who also became a new friend to us! Hi Georgia!) came in with a broom just as the maintenance man rushed in after hearing all the screams.

He wanted to know if it was a chipmunk, and not a mouse. "We have a few of those that live around here," said the maintenance man. "Did he have a bushy tail?" he asked staring at me. "No, it was a long, skinny mouse tail." When I said that our friends standing on the chairs screamed again.

Mary kept hoping we would see Elizabeth again, and she would ask me each day as soon as we arrived to our exercise room if I could see her, but we never saw her again.

❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧

I have much more the Lord showed me there as just being in the mountains offered such refreshment in the Lord for me as the green lush hills and over 100 year old trees on the grounds made me relax in our God of Creation.

I will write more soon for my heart is bursting. There's two things I want to share with you next time that strengthened my faith. I pray your faith will be strengthened, too.

The only reason I must stop typing is today is July 1, and that happens to be somewhat (not somewhat but a definite) holiday to Mary because it brings in her favorite month of the year. She has a lot planned for tonight when she wants to "give July a party" and we have one friend coming over to celebrate.

We are making Ghiradelli brownies (I got mix from Costco) that have lots of chocolate chips in them. We are going to ice them with chocolate icing, and serve mint chocolate chip ice cream. Mary's tradition for today is she likes to play "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," by Bach on the keyboard, and have us all dance to Tchaikovsky's "Chinese Dance," from the Nutcracker. She thinks it wouldn't be July 1 without all this celebration, so here we go. For me today, this is God's will!

Jim Elliot, that great man of faith, once said to do to the hilt all you believe to be the will of God!

Let's see God in the ordinary experiences of life. Let's do everything we believe is the will of God in the way a Christian should do it!

When we drive our child,
     when we find meaning in a "mishap,"
          when we wait in a checkout line,
               when we go beyond our strength to help someone else,
                    when we write that note,
                         when we wait for ...

"Everything that one turns in the direction of God is prayer."
- Ignatius of Loyola 
(shown to me in Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, Richard J. Foster, pg. 174.)

What's His will for you today? Will you consider every action you do for the glory of God (all we do as Christians done the way a Christian should) your prayer?

Walk by Faith,


  1. I must say, Juana and Mary, that the July party sounds much too yummy and fun to be celebrated with fewer than a big bunch of people. Please make sure to update your address book with my address and phone number for next year's party... my invitation must have been misdirected! LOL J.M.

    1. And did I mention before the brownies I made pasta with sauteed shrimp, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and alfredo sauce with hot biscuits? I know this isn't John Mikels because he texted Mary during the party since he couldn't be with us, but my son Alex was a very good sport for all of it. Hmmmm.... JM...I'd update the address book with you if I could, my mind is blank on JMs, but the more the merrier! If you live close, call me. Mary plans sort of a funeral-type event on July 31!

  2. Happy to know about all the happenings......God is with you and ur family!!!!

  3. So happy to hear from you, Kenneth! I thought of you several times last week. Yes, I did! Sophie's mother is from Bombay! She has lived here for over 25 years. Her husband is from India too, but they moved here after college. I hope all is well with you there, Brother! You have encouraged me just by writing!

  4. Such a beautiful voice she has. What a wonderful time and so blessed. Happy I stopped by here (my first visit). Have a fabulous weekend :)

    1. Hi Kathleen! I'm so glad you stopped by! I want to visit your site, too! On Wednesdays, I host a blog hop and I pray over every prayer that comes in on the comments, so please come back and post your link! Have a wonderful birthday for our nation this weekend, Sister!


Thank you for your comment!