03.03.2016

The secret garden book listen

I was driving home from the 2010 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the two-lane blacktop of Route 22 South stretching out in front of me. While I tend to invest a lot in the psychology of the farm lifestyle, Susan sees things in more practical terms.
Susan counts her blessings when it come to the education she got in her small-town high school.
But what good fortune to have this unusual talent in the middle of the cornfields that my teacher and friend Alan Jacobsen was able to provide this unusual kind of encouragement and understanding. Susan also recalled: a€?My high school piano teacher would record all the Marion McPartland shows and give me cassettes of them. Susan went to college at the University of Iowa and received a bachelora€™s degree in voice. While she was at Temple, she played jazz piano in nightclubs and restaurants to make ends meet. After seeing Nancy Griffith in concert at a club in Philadelphia, she came to the realization that writing and singing songs based on personal experience was a perfectly valid way to expend her musical talent. She surfaced again and again through the a€?90s, always giving a dynamic, thrilling performance. In 2004, she released the first of her a€?themeda€? projects, I Cana€™t Be New, which drew on her experience with pop standards. This got her the aforementioned appearance on the Marian McPartland show and also, brings us to the issue of her ingrained sense of humor. The most recent of Susana€™s projects, Classics, takes pop songs and weds them to classical themes. When I remarked about the impressive diversity in her songwriting a€?projects,a€? and not playing it safe, she expressed appreciation. When I made comparisons to the diverse approaches Ia€™ve used as a visual artist (drawing, painting), her emotional core showed its strength. In parting, I mentioned that it seemed as if her audiences were bigger and more appreciative these days.
Susan has a strong connection to her audienceA  and looks forward to interaction with them. An Amazing Fact: During the Battle of Valley Forge, revolutionary troops were entrenched on the battlefield, freezing and starving. There may be a stronger sense of purpose, a drive to overcome any obstacle, an unshakeable emotional center.
As she recalls, a€?My older brother learned guitar from Sister Marie Claire of the Franciscan nuns of Saint Marya€™s Chapel School in Manchester, Iowa. If you have parents who enjoy what you do, you will never stop doing it for your entire life. When pressed further, she distilled the varying elements of a rural personality for me this way: a€?Other people who grew up in the countryside, people Ia€™ve met who grew up on farms or ranchesa€¦ therea€™s a practicality to those people, a straightforwardness, a plainspokenness that I find really wonderful. Afterward, she moved to Philadelphia and earned a mastera€™s degree in voice at Temple University. She had a gig every Friday night at the Pen & Pencil club (an after-hours Journalista€™s club) The man who ran it, Ron Patel, wanted to have a a€?Chantoosiea€? in the corner.
Alan Pepper, owner of the Bottom Line saw as much as I did, and more, and created the Bottom Line record label, of which Susan was the first to be signed. She wrote an entire album of her own Cole Porter-like songs, utilizing her considerable chops as a pianist and guitarist, her razor-sharp lyrics and her muscular vocals.
I like somebody who can turn a phrase, who can put words together in a way you cana€™t see coming. I searched Eddiea€™s Attic online and found that Susan was playing during my visit, so I bought two tickets. She became became interested in the project after attending the Chicago Gospel Music Festival. There are some songs where shea€™s a lot more generously hopeful about religious practices that many of us disillusioned lapsed practitioners would be.
Then, with mock seriousness, she said, laughing, a€?I really feel bada€¦ theya€™ll throw me in the grave, saying, a€?Well she took that all too far. She said, a€?a€?When you see someone over the course of a career and they always have something to bring to an audience, youa€™ve got to respect that. One day, a farmer who lived nearby brought much-needed provisions to the troops, and on his way back through the woods, he heard someone speaking. Revisionists would have you believe that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were all pantheists, deists, or agnostics who didna€™t have a lot of time for God. Naturally, we assume that His faith was inherently strong, but the Bible tells us Jesus would arise early in the morning and go off by Himself to pray. People sometimes criticized him for a€?neglectinga€? his trade because he spent so much time in prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. I am asked this question a lot, but the truth is, even I have to ask, a€?Lord, teach me to pray.a€? The disciples asked Christ this question when they saw Him coming from a session of prayer. The first three petitions are God-warda€”verticala€”and the last four petitions deal with the horizontal relationships we have with others. We need to spend a lot of time in prayer asking God to overrule the mistakes we have made with our children. And our first petition to our God is a€?Hallowed be thy name.a€? Now the name of God is a central issue in the great controversy between good and evil. Do you know someone who has said, a€?If God is love, then why do innocent children die?a€? Insurance companies call earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters a€?Acts of God.a€? What kind of reputation does that give God? Unfortunately, we need to pray a€?hallowed be they namea€? because wea€™re not very good at it. Instead, all around the world, we see professed Christians attacking and killing others, such as in Ireland, Africa, and Croatia.
An enemy kidnapped the world when Adam and Eve surrendered the dominion that God had given them over the earth.
Do you think we would need to pray, a€?Thy kingdom come,a€? if Goda€™s kingdom was already established? Christ said, a€?I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon mea€? (Luke 22:29 NKJV). I respectfully disagree with the notion that everything that happens is in accordance with the Creatora€™s will. Sometimes the devil may even cast prosperity in someonea€™s path to stall or derail their longing for God.
We need to pray that Goda€™s grace and His Spirit will guide our wills into conformity with His. In John 6:38, He proclaims, a€?For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Mea€? (NKJV). But when He made Adam, he took dust from the ground, formed it with His hands, and breathed life into it. Hea€™s not going to force you to pray, a€?Thy will be done.a€? You have to choose to do it, to surrender your will, to be His servant, and give Him permission to activate His power and plan in your life. He was captured by his own army and accused of conspiring with the enemy, as he had not been given permission to leave. Obviously, we should pray for our needs, but as Jesus indicated, when we pray, we want to acknowledge Goda€™s holy name, His purposes, and His kingdom before all other things. First, a€?daily breada€? means the provisions necessary for sustaining life from day to day. Of course, He is already well aware of these needs, but He wants us to know that it is He who provides all truly good things for His children. Some people think they can pray the Lorda€™s Prayer and then sit back and do nothing, expecting Him to answer. As with most lessons in the Bible, a€?our daily breada€? has a very important spiritual application. Christ was not speaking only of our physical needs, but instructing us to invite God into our hearts every day.
We should be doing that physically, assisting the weak by offering our resources and our strength to help them. The mercy and grace of God cannot be cultivated in a heart thata€™s embracing a bitter and unforgiving spirit.
Well, because we are naturally prone to walk toward temptation, wea€™re asking God to lead us away from it.
The convicted spy Aldrich Ames said that he didna€™t wake up one day and say, a€?I think Ia€™m going to be a spy.
The only thing that really gives Christians long-term hope is that God promises things arena€™t always going to be this way.
Another way to phrase it is, a€?deliver us from the evil one.a€? And we ought to be praying not only that God keeps us from temptation, but that He also delivers our brothers, because the devil is powerful and cunning, far greater than we are by ourselves.


Ia€™m not sure how often that really means, but look at your own prayer life and see if it measures up. And if wea€™re going to be ready when Jesus comes, we need to learn to pray the way Jesus taught. Recognize that it is essential to spend quality time with Christ in your personal and corporate prayers and devotions, so we can implement those changes in our lives that will glorify God.
I was passing through farmland, marvelling at the quiet beauty of corn rows, of the silos that peeked out from beyond them, and the stately, weathered white of the homes and barns. Case in point: A musically gifted girl raised on an isolated hog farm in Manchester, Iowa, surrounded by a loving, supportive family. Alan Jacobsen was a Buddy Rich-type drummer working as a music teacher at the Manchester High School.
Ia€™d hear Marian McPartland talking to this one, or that one a€” Oscar Peterson a€” and listen to how they did it.
He said to her, a€?I have this picture of a rummy bar, so go over in the corner and sing something and play something.a€? Susan bought Gershwin and Cole Porter songbooks and enlarged her repertoire of standards. Somewhere around the time that her third album, Last of the Good Straight Girls was released (1995), maybe a little before, I saw her play live, at the now-defunct Bottom Line nightclub in NYC. The next album, on that label Time Between Trains might contain the most of my favorites in her repertoire. When she cradles that song in her big voice, it becomes a call to find every woman who has ever been mistreated and do battle for her. For me, there has always been a discrepancy between what religion professes to be and what its practitioners actually are. In another interview, she states: a€?There is a religious left that is stepping up and into the fore and has a real case to make in making this country a better place.
Therea€™s nothing more to be gained from thata€” unless you feel the need to show of and have people clap for you, which is kind of pathetic. They choose wisely, the prioritize wisely and theya€™re giving people something very, very real. He tracked the voice until he came to a clearing, where he saw a man on his knees, praying in the snow.
If thata€™s true, then agnostics back then sure prayed a lot more than Christians do today. Likewise, the first great commandment is to love the Lord, and the second great commandment is to love your neighbor. Jesus spoke many parables about the Son going to receive a kingdom, and coming back as the King of kings.
We all typically pray frequently using a€?Ia€? or a€?me,a€? but in this prayer, ita€™s a collective. Yet when the Bible says, a€?Our Father which art in heaven,a€? ita€™s telling us we need to look past our flawed earthly relationships and know that He is our perfect model and that we can approach Him directly. Even in the Bible, we see Goda€™s own people do more to dishonor His name than the full-fledged pagans. Ever since, the priority of Goda€™s children has been to a€?seek ye first the kingdom of Goda€? (Matthew 6:33). When Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, as recorded in Acts 1, the disciples asked, a€?Will You at this time restore the kingdom?a€? Jesus answered, a€?It is not for you to know times or seasonsa€? (Acts 1:6, 7 NKJV). When the thief on the cross turned to Christ and said, a€?Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom,a€? he accepted Christ as his King (Luke 23:42 NKJV).
Because there are two kings at war, Jesus and the devil, who says hea€™s the prince of this world. When something bad happens, like a tornado, you inevitably hear someone say, a€?Well, it must have been the will of God.a€? I dona€™t believe thata€™s what the Bible teaches, and if thata€™s really true, why would God have us pray that His will be done? We also need to learn what His will is for us, and we find the best expression of that in the Word.
In the garden of Gethsemane, facing separation from the father, Christ petitioned God three times with, a€?Not My will, but yours, be donea€? (Luke 22:42 NKJV).
Most of us are struggling somewhere between the willing spirit and weak flesh, but when you understand that by choosing and saying, a€?Lord, I want you to be my God.
He said, a€?I have been out in the woods praying.a€? His fellow soldiers mocked him and immediately ordered him to offer up some evidence.
Of course, this is a pattern of prayer, so it doesna€™t mean that you cana€™t also pray for water, clothing, and other needs. For instance, when the Jews went through the wilderness, they prayed for food, and God rained manna from heaven, showing His continual, loving provision. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus teaches, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Goda€? using the word a€?breada€? to describe all the temporal needs of humanity.
The bread represents Jesus, our spiritual food, which is far greater and more fulfilling than any physical bread on earth. We should also do it spiritually, by lifting each other up in prayer, offering one anothera€™s petitions on our knees. Christ reveals a connection between the vertical and the horizontal relationshipa€”right in the middle of the Lorda€™s Prayer.
We need to be willing to forgive one another, and God points this out to us repeatedly in Scripture.
I think Ia€™m going to turn everything over to the Russians for money.a€? One day, very innocuously, he met a Russian who asked, a€?Could you give me a phone directory? Wea€™re looking for ultimate deliverance, and when we utter a€?deliver us,a€? wea€™re talking about Christ coming on the white steeda€”the King of kings and the Lord of lords establishing His kingdom and wiping out every last vestige of evil reigning in the world today. The full text reads, a€?Pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and stand before the Son of man.a€? Are you praying always? The essence of prayer is bound up in loving God with all our hearts, for we cannot really love Him if we arena€™t getting to know Him. Take advantage of the a€?daily breada€? of Goda€™s Word, and communicate to God your desire to be transformed from selfish to selfless.
We need to say, a€?Lord, teach us to pray.a€? Hea€™s given us the pattern in His Word, so leta€™s be sure to abide in it. The girl blossoms as a musician whose talent usually dwarfs those around her and leaves audiences enthralled. When you grow up and therea€™s your corn out in the field and here comes the hail storm and there goes your seasona€¦ therea€™s an acceptance of things beyond your control that in a healthy way counteracts neuroses. Her version of the title track, performed live these days, with Trina Hamlin on harmonica and percussion (Natalia Zuckerman on slide at certain shows) is one of the most thrilling concert experiences I can recall in years.
A well-written comedy song can hang around for a long time, but it takes more effort and it takes more brains.
For instance, God poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after His new church was on its knees together for 10 days. No wonder they pleaded, a€?Lord, teach us to pray.a€? Still, these men had been going to churcha€”the templea€”all of their lives. God should come first in our prayers; His counsel and will should be the great priority in our lives. In our culture, we get the equation upside down; ita€™s you, then your friends, and then God.
Did you know that the first three chapters in the Bible tell how sin came in through the serpent and that wea€™ve been separated from heaven and paradise; however, the last three chapters of the Bible tell how the serpent is destroyed, paradise is restored, and wea€™re once again together with God? All of us have a natural, subconscious tendency to superimpose on God our relationship with our earthly father.
He has God, the good, wonderful, loving, longsuffering, merciful One, portrayed as a cruel, indifferent tyrant arbitrarily punishing His creatures. Thata€™s why hea€™ll be in the kingdom, because he had the spiritual kingdom that begins in your heart. Thata€™s why we still need to pray that His kingdom will come: first within us, then someday around us. So when we pray, a€?Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,a€? wea€™re also admitting wea€™re really just clay. And when we, through constant surrender, comply with the temptations that the devil puts in our path, we start giving him increased power to activate his desires in our lives. God has convicted me that my prayers are too selfish, and I need to keep Him and others first in mind when I go to the Father in prayer. When we pray for our daily bread, wea€™re really asking God to supply the basic necessities of our everyday lives. They didna€™t lie back with their mouths open, waiting for it to fall directly into their mouths.
If we cana€™t forgive each other, Godcana€™t forgive us, because our hearts are not open either to give or receive forgiveness. Yet if I dona€™t ask you not to tempt me, youa€™re going to tempt me.a€? Thata€™s a really poor translation.


One minister says that when the Lord says to flee temptation, we often crawl away hoping it catches up with us. Ia€™ll give you a lot of money.a€? It was just a phone directory, but then little by little, he gave them more and more until one day he sold them nuclear secrets. Jesus also said that we ought to pray that our flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day (Matthew 24:20). If wea€™re not communicating our sorrows and our joys, even our most intimate secrets, how can we love Him? Under the cerulean blue of the sky, with clouds like cotton pulled apart, floating in tufts, there were no people in evidence. I also think that the best songs contain things that people dona€™t say, people cana€™t say, people are afraid to say.
Perhaps one reason this nation is faltering morally is because Goda€™s people dona€™t spend much time praying for her. But we must also not neglect our relationships on earth, which is why Jesusa€™ model includes those around us. Taken together, He surely is the God of the universe ruling from heaven, but we can still approach Him personally as our Father. For instance, those who have earthly fathers that are overly indulgent end up thinking that God the heavenly Father is also permissive. When youa€™re a baptized Christian, you take the name of Christ, but if you live like the devil after youa€™ve taken Christa€™s name, youa€™re taking His name in vain. Paul says, a€?Let not sin a€¦ reign in your mortal body,a€? but rather let Jesus be your King and rule over all that you do (Romans 6:12). And ironically, when we exercise our freedom to submit to the devil, we, inch by inch, lose our freedom! But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespassesa€? (Mark 11:25, 26 NKJV). Even though you may never be able forget what happened, you can say, a€?Lord, by your grace I am going to forgive them.a€? You make that conscious choice, and then the grace of God follows.
The end of this prayer sets the record straight in our own minds and hearts, confessing before God that we know His character and goodness will be soon vindicated. Leta€™s stand together and lift our voices to heaven so that we are more united in the brotherhood and sisterhood of Jesus.
In all that quiet beauty, I could not help pondering the delicate, sometimes brutal, sometimes violent contract made between the farmer and nature.
Thata€™s all I wanted him to do.a€? Her brother played in the folk mass and then, Susan followed suit. Thata€™s a great gift, because they didna€™t need to express themselves through our success in the arts. A small town in rural Iowa, that you would have a high school band teacher who had a phenomenal amount of jazz talent. Later, while promoting her album of self-penned a€?standards,a€? I Cana€™t Be New, released in 2004, Susan appeared on Mariana€™s show.] She continued, a€?That played a role and, years later, there I am, on the Marian McPartland show! When I told her of this, she responded, a€?Give me a room of 200 people or less, and wea€™re gonna have a good time.
People like Greg Brown and Richard Thompson, who stay true to it, who always find something new to say, and new ways to do it. The Bible says, a€?If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father a€¦ give good things to them that ask Hima€? (Matthew 7:11)? Those who have earthly fathers that are stern generally have a picture of the heavenly Father as an exacting judge. Who does more harm to the Christian cause the pagans or professed Christians who live like the world? So a€?Hallowed be thy namea€? is asking God to help us, in word and deed, honor His precious name.
Thata€™s the first kingdom we should seek after: Goda€™s spiritual kingdom within our hearts. So when we pray a€?Thy will be done,a€? wea€™re really praying that His will be done in us through submission and obedience. If it was a tremendous struggle for Jesus, we will also need to pray, a€?Thy will be donea€?. Wea€™re humbling ourselves before God, recognizing that in our rebellion, our wills are perverted. Most of us dona€™t fret from day to day that the refrigerator is going to be empty, so we dona€™t often appreciate the implications of praying for daily bread. Some have a few calories stored up, having memorized Scripture, and ita€™s going to come in handy, but if you want your Christian experience to be vital and full of life, you must have daily devotions. Instead, the gospel says that we are to come just as we are to God, and He will forgive us. And often, we become defensive and start viewing that person narrowly, and we may even wonder if we can dig up a little dirt to even the score. Every day, every hour, we should be praying to be delivered from evil so that we can escape what is about to happen in this world.
The prayer doesna€™t say, a€?Thine will be the kingdom,a€? rather a€?Thine is the kingdom.a€? Indeed, all the petitions in the Lorda€™s Prayer are only possible because Christ is the power. When you make your own entertainment, if you have music around the housea€¦ You might wind up playing your instrument longer, you might wind up actually practicing, you might wind up experimenting with it. Pretty rare, because most music teachers, most band directors at the high school level, are all about the marching band. Everything else dwindles in comparison.a€? If religion has something to offer society outside of individual comfort in our darkest hours, that would be it.
Songwriting requires a commitment to doing it and not getting it right for a long timea€¦ expecting it all to work right away is a mistake in any endeavor. When we pray a€?Thy will be done,a€? wea€™re giving Him permission to use us according to His purpose. I am powerless on my own,a€? you are then giving Him the power to release His will in your life. After that, the Jews had to knead the manna and bake it; only after working could they consume their daily bread. Although those who lived through the Depression may understand such a concept, few Americans today, living in a society of such massive abundance, have ever really struggled from day to day searching for something to eat. They are about Goda€™s glory, Goda€™s provision, and Goda€™s deliverance, and theya€™re really about how all of us as Christians are in this together, praying for one another. Thata€™s what theya€™re supposed to doa€¦ keep those kids marching, keep them organized, doing something as a group. You have to give yourself a long runway to take offa€¦like a big plane,a€? she said, laughing. They really want to be surprised, engaged, a little scared or uncomfortablea€¦ or deeply moveda€¦ or surprised at how deeply moved they are. And so you have the Father, the Son, and the Spirit represented in the first three petitions of the Lorda€™s Prayer.
We must likewise invest ourselves in the process and not become lazy with the Lorda€™s blessings. Rather, Jesus teaches us to pray, a€?Give us this day our daily bread.a€? Ita€™s our bread, friend.
He sent me home with some Count Basie records, some Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, Carmen McRae, some Sarah Vaughn.
Thata€™s where all discovery is at.a€? She has also tried ballet and a few other disciplines outside her comfort zone.
Then you wona€™t be bored.a€™ [laughs] Thata€™s the first obligation of a show that it not be boring! Then you wona€™t be bored.a€™ [laughs] Thata€™s the first obligation of a show that it not be boring!A  If I want boring, I can stay at home and put on background music and vacuum!
Proverbs 3:12 records, a€?For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delightsa€? (NKJV). Psalm 103:13 adds, a€?Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Hima€? (NASV).
This really tilted my head - a€?What is THIS?a€? I worked on jazz chords that I heard on the records, from, like, Freddy Green Style Guitar Comping [a book on swing rhythm strumming].



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