Friday, April 9, 2010

Bear Has Her Harmonica Back!

Happy Bear!

Some people might think that bears wouldn't be much interested in learning to play harmonica. Not true! In fact, if you ever find yourself out in the woods, with the sweet smell of forest mulch and flowers floating on a gentle breeze in early spring, and hear the piping of haunting, soulful music ... it's likely coming from a nearby bear's den. Likely from one of Bear's friends.

Lots of bears play harmonica. It's a handy, portable instrument to take on hunting trips. Yet it's capable of playing everything from Country Gospel to deep Worship music. Bear has even taken a shot at learning the Hallelujah Chorus on it.

She started learning it about 6 months ago, but got so excited by how wonderful it all was, that she overdid it and spent too much time playing it -- hours a day -- she was having so much fun. And she hurt her rib. Bad hurt.

You wouldn't think you could get hurt playing harmonica. But you can. And Bear did. In fact, it hurt even to breathe for quite some time.

So, she had to lay it down completely for about 6 weeks, to give her rib time to heal. Which made her one sad bear.

But today Bear is no longer sad. Bear is happy Bear again. YES!

She's been cautiously playing for ten minutes at a time, a few times each day, these past few days, making sure there's no more pain. And so far ... it's a go!

And it's so wonderful to be able to pick it up again and worship the Lord with music, taking breaks from the day's routine or any pressures that might be coming down.

Unfortunately though, this Bear's playing is not yet best described by the words "haunting" or "soulful". Truth be told, if you happened to be out in the forest near Bear's Writing Den on an early spring evening, you might even want to plug your ears, just to be on the safe side.

It turns out that the harmonica is not a super easy instrument to master, to say the least. And Bear still has to put a lot of imagination into the sounds she hears emanating from her own harmonica, to mentally recreate the beauty she's heard from some of the better players.

But maybe, in His Time. Someday ...

Meanwhile, Bear celebrated being off the injured list and back playing again, by posting Harmonica videos of a couple of OUTSTANDING harmonica virtuosos: Buddy Greene, playing the William Tell Overture in Carnegie Hall, and Terry McMillian, playing a super fast gospel harmonica "train" type song -- "This Train is Bound for Glory." And then another video by McMillian, playing "Amazing Grace." The two videos by McMillian are especially moving, because he died shortly thereafter, but these videos remain as evidence of his faith and love of the Lord, expressed so beautifully through his harmonica playing.

(For those who get the Den's posts by feeds or by reading in the Den itself, you'll need to visit the Den's "Recreation Room" to watch the videos. The Daily Bible Quiz is still there -- just moved down below the new videos. For those on Facebook, the harmonica videos are displayed in the "Extended Info" Tab on my profile, and can be played there.)
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Break ends

The Weekly Writing Challenge begins again

Bear didn't expect the break between quarters at FaithWriters to zoom by so fast. Can't believe there's already a Contest topic posted again. It's also likely time to be looking in on Jan's Writing Basics classes, and Ann's Grammar Basics. Plus, Bear has to admit that she has not been at all diligent on the work or the exercises these past few weeks. And missed out on two of the mini-challenges, and a couple "Tackle it Tuesdays" as well. (Info and links on most of these are in the Writing Resources and Library areas of the Den.)

In other words, Bear has been on major vacation leave, while working on the Den. And it's time to get back down to some serious writing work.

The Challenge's topic, "The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword", kind of surprised Bear though. Considering that the last topics were things like "Humph", "Wow", "Shh", and such . . . "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword" seems quite a mouthful by comparison.

It also looked to be a tough one to pull a 750 word entry out of the hat for. But after some prayer, an idea that Bear loves came to mind, and she's going to go with it. It's not super original. But she likes it much anyway, and looks forward to writing about it. Maybe she can dig up an original twist somehow. Or maybe it's not as obvious as she thinks.

Most likely, since one of the contest's rating categories is "originality", Bear is not going to hit the 40 top-rated entries in this one.

But if true, so be it.

Sometimes, it feels more important to write about things that aren't super original than to search about for something more unusual...

Bear likes to write about some of the foundational issues of Christianity -- and often, they aren't very "original". But it helps Bear to write about them anyway, and often deepens her own understanding of things.

So she's sharpening her pencils, dusting off her keyboard, putting new lightbulbs in her desk lamp, and gearing up for action.

Bear is also diligently practicing shouting "Touche", just in case it might be needed.
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A 10 prayer day

A rough day

Bear can measure what kind of day it is, by how many times she prays for help from the Lord . . . sending up requests for strengthening, settling in His Spirit, wisdom, etc., etc., etc.

Some days might be a "2 prayer day", or a "3 prayer day", or even a "4 prayer day".  (Regular type prayers don't get counted.  It has to be the more desperate kind, sent up while feeling really overwhelmed, or while really needing EXTRA help, to count.)

Today must have been at least a 10 prayer day, but then went off the scale.

Nothing disastrously wrong.  Just a very tough day.

But God is faithful. 

Bear fell asleep for awhile tonight, while listening to the Den's Audio Bible Radio in Ephesians . . . She especially likes the first couple of chapters in Ephesians where it talks so much about what the Lord has done for us and how He made us "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God . . . " (Eph 2:19).  And that "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph 2:8).  And that "now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph 2:13).  And "... that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right Hand in the heavenly places.  (Eph 1:18-20).

Falling asleep listening to things like that can give even a "10 prayer day" an encouraging lift.

Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Faith and Purpose

Dare to be a Daniel?

Bear spent a lot of time yesterday, relaxing and surfing the Net for hymn videos. While hunting for the hymn, "Dare to be a Daniel", she stumbled onto the following 3 minute video. Bear bookmarked it for future reference, but didn't expect to watch it again for quite some time. It talks about a young boy named Daniel, persecuted for his faith in a Buddhist country, with video footage (but doesn't state what country it is). The website that originally produced it is: Closed Door Ministries.

Today, images from the video kept coming back to mind vividly, seeming to call Bear to work to stand stronger in her own walk with the Lord.

So Bear put it together with Brian Free's video version of the song "Dare to Be A Daniel", (which still isn't the hymn Bear was originally looking for ... But sometimes God leads us to things in this life better than what we were originally looking for, Bear thinks.)

(For those reading this by feeds or on Facebook, you'll need to drop by the Den's living room to see these two short videos.)

This week's assignment from the FaithWriter's Blog for the Tuesday 50 word story practice, along with Bear's response is as follows ...

"In 50 words or less, write a story from the perspective of a raindrop. If you’re not used to writing from the viewpoint of an inanimate object, this will be a great challenge for you."

Bear wrote . . .

Formed by God's Hand,
For what purpose am I?
Millions just like me
Fall from the sky.

I feel unneeded,
Redundant at best,
As I journey downwards,
Looking for rest.

I land in the hand
Of one dying of thirst.
My life had a purpose,
Right from the first.
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Monday, April 5, 2010

Is Easter over?

Easter lingers this year

Bear had a good day yesterday, celebrating the Lord's resurrection with friends, and it's likely time to settle back down into the swing of normal life. But her mind still lingers at the cross.

She was resting and recuperating from yesterday's activities, browsing around the Web, listening and watching some hymn videos, when she stumbled across a song she had never heard before about the Lord's time at the cross.

And it touched her deeply, so she decided to share it here.

Then, while getting ready to post that one, she stumbled onto another one about his resurrection that she also hadn't heard before . . .

(For those receiving this by feeds, or on Facebook, the two songs are running in the Den's living room, on the TV set here, so you'll need to drop by to see it.)

Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen, Indeed!

Happy Easter!

Bear decided to invite Dr. Gary Habermas, a scholar of high reputation, to the Den for Easter, in the following video, to discuss the historical evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. He has spent many years of his life on this subject alone, and is unusually well qualified to discuss the issue.

He originally got interested in the issue in his younger days, picking it for the subject of his Doctoral dissertation in History. He was apparently a Christian who had become progressively disillusioned in various ways and progressively skeptical, and was at about the end of his personal faith -- not even certain whether to declare himself a Christian or not at that point.

His research into the subject brought him to a deep faith and belief.

He has done many, many talks about the subject, and has written many books about it as well.

In this particular talk, he discusses the issue by throwing out every Christian arguement for the subject, and just sticks to using evidences and proofs that even the most skeptical scholars have to admit are accurate historical evidences. He uses data that 95% of scholars -- even those who are the most adament in their rejection of Christianity -- agree is totally valid.

He argues on the basis of:  Even if the Bible were not God's Word, and is just your average history book, with all the potential flaws a history book can have, and taking into consideration all the other history books on the subject . . . the unbiased historian would still have to conclude that Jesus rose from the dead.

And it was very helpful to Bear in several ways, to watch it.

Although this talk was originally made to a college class, it's easy to follow and understand. And Dr. Habermas is a casual and engaging speaker, in his striped cotton shirt, and interrupting himself to show pictures of his wife and kids. The first half of the time (maybe about 45 minutes) is spent presenting the evidence and explaining why it's so valid. The second half is spent on more personal testimony type of stuff about how this impacted his own life, and on answering questions from students.

Bear found it all helpful, although it does kind of drag around the middle section somewhat. (Also, it seems to Bear that one of the video clips repeats itself -- maybe about 10 or 15 minutes of repeated material, but she had no way to fix that, so left it as is.)

(For those who receive Den updates through feeds or on Facebook, the video won't be visible or usable until you come and visit in the Den itself).

Most people likely won't have time to watch this today, being in the midst of Easter activities with family and friends. But it will be available, running in the Den for some time, (in today's Post still), so can be watched later.

And it definitely seemed like Easter was the right time to initially bring Dr. Habermas into the Den.  Because much of Habermas' life has been devoted to the truth we celebrate today . . .

He is Risen, indeed!
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den