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How to be Holy

My sermon this Sunday:

When I attended St. Hilary Elementary School as a kid, being holy wasn’t exactly a compliment. If someone said “Oh she’s so holy” it probably meant that you weren’t going to get picked first for kickball, though you might get called on first in religion class.

It essentially meant your faith was showing and everybody could see it.

In the language of the schoolyard “She’s so holy! was code for “she doesn’t really belong with us”.

While fifth graders at St Hilary’s weren’t exactly Leviticus scholars, they did get something right. Holiness is about belonging. Specifically it’s about belonging to God, being caught up completely in the relationship that is God.

The Scriptures in our first reading from Leviticus are called the Holiness Code.
The ancient Hebrews understood that God wanted to restore relationship with people – fallen as they might be. And they had to deal with the fact that the Divine Presence had settled right down in the midst of humanity, and had offered a covenant of love with the Jewish people.

And that was a little … terrifying. The authors of texts like Leviticus believed that if you were going to be able to survive the divine Presence, let alone invite it in, you’d have to mold your entire life to fit that divine relationship. Leviticus’ Holiness Code gets at what it means to shape a life that would allow the divine Presence to enter and to stay.

Now if you were to carefully list every aspect of human life and how it should be lived in a way pleasing to God, you’d get something the size of the Torah. Regard at it like a legal document and you have a list of possible infractions so vast as to paralyze the perfectionist.

But lift that law off the page and place it in a human heart that desires to belong entirely to God and you have someone like Jesus.. Regard it as a life lived in freedom and dignity and you have what the ancients called Holiness.

My question for you today is: do you want to be Holy?
Because that will determine whom you choose to belong to.

Because we do have a choice. Do you choose to belong to God, in all the variations that love relationship can be lived? Or do you choose to belong to something else? Because we are relational beings. We don’t get to belong only to ourselves. The question is to whom do we choose to belong?

Jesus makes it clear in his Sermon on the Mount that even the most defenseless people, whose lives seem to be entirely controlled by others, can say to the Powers that seek to control them: You Don’t Own Me. I belong to God. I am Holy.

Now on first glance, our Gospel looks like terrible advice: don’t resist evil? Welcome violent abuse? Allow your possessions to be plundered? Allow your body to be used by others?

But what Jesus said was something more along the lines of “don’t resist evil with evil, with violent opposition. And his examples of how to do this were tailor made for the landless peasants who followed him up the Mountain, people who lived under the oppression of both Herod and Caesar.

So let’s look at these through a lens that comes from theologian Walter Wink, who has written extensively on disarming the Powers that would steal us away from God.

In the call to turn the other cheek, the slap is the backhanded strike used to publicly belittle an inferior. Turning the cheek after the first blow means the abuser doesn’t get to hit you the same way – and those things mattered in the violent pecking order of the time. If the oppressor wants to continue with the humiliation, he has to stop to consider which hand he is using, change the meaning, acknowledge the challenge, while everyone is looking. It’s a statement about dignity that everyone can see.

If someone is suing you for an article of clothing, that means that you don’t own anything but the clothes on your back. If they win your coat, that means that they have taken your underclothes, though your outer cloak would hide that fact. It’s not a particularly lucrative award, but such suits did humiliate, and harass and impoverish until one was so indebted that they were forced to give up things like their ancestral lands. In the face of this, Jesus says give the one who would take your underclothes, your outer cloak as well. Then all will know what has been stripped from you. It’s a statement about extortion that everyone can see.

You’ve been just forced to carry someone’s possessions for a mile – Roman soldiers had the right to impress people into that kind of service. But just a mile. Offer to carry the pack another, and the soldier runs the risk of getting in trouble with his superiors. Perhaps he’ll be confused by this strange invitation to extend the oppression, and rethink the wisdom of the first mile. It’s a statement about exploitation that everyone can see.

Walter Wink suggests that these three examples are ways of lovingly messing with the enemy, of giving the oppressors a chance to be shamed and embarrassed by their evil, and perhaps to repent. We see this again in the work of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

For the oppressed peasants of Jesus’ day, these acts of Holiness all them to say to their oppressors: I don’t belong to you or to Herod or Caesar. I am a child of the God who makes the sun and rain to fall on everyone.

This is after all how Jesus lived his life and died his death. Jesus’ freedom tended to make the authorities squirm. In his passion we see the backhanded slap, the stripping of clothes, the impressing of bodies into service to carry the cross. And we also hear him pray: “Father Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Belonging to God means making a way for your enemy to encounter the divine Presence as well.

And in this, Jesus does the Holy in a whole new way, a way that simply won’t cooperate with the violence of his enemies – so much so that capital punishment is met with resurrected live.

That is a relationship of Holiness that utterly changes the ground it walks on.

And it’s one that we really need, now more than ever.

Because we all face Powers that can lay claim to us – anger and revenge, addiction, alliances that benefit us at the expense of others, the fear of failure. These slap, and strip and impress us into servitude of something other than love.

Walter Wink calls the nonviolent way of Christ, a third way between the typical choices of flight and fight. I think it also makes for a nice new Holiness Code, one that includes practices like:

• Find a creative alternative to violence
• Assert your own humanity and dignity as a person
• Meet force with humor
• Break the cycle of humiliation
• Die to fear of the old order and its rules

To which I would add the old standby’s: Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

And be Holy for your God is Holy.

Amen.

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We need to bring good, sing-able songs to the streets, now that the latest round of marching has begun.

Since Trump’s inauguration a week ago, I participated in the Women’s March in Washington DC on Saturday and then joined 5,000 of my fellow Philadelphians on Thursday, when the Republicans brought their plotting and scheming to my home town. With just two protests down and many more to go – not to mention all the advocacy that will happen in between – this became clear to me:  we long-time song-leaders of marches and vigils have got to dust off our tunes, revamp them for relevance, and teach them to a new generation taking to the streets.

Like a great chant, the best march tunes are ones that people can pick up right away without the need of song sheets. That means simple, repetitive melodies that can be adapted to the setting. And there is no shortage of them, thanks to the countless souls who have been setting the cadence and the melodies of civic engagement since the nation’s earliest days.

And we’ll need all of them. With Trump at the helm, we are massing anew to defend fragile advances, threatened rights, and basic values that people have been advocating for generations. If you are new to this kind of engagement, know that even the most seasoned veterans entered a stream of good civic work that was there long before they jumped in, and will be there long after we hit the other shore.

It’s easier to dip in the stream than ever, thanks to the Internet. Even 15 years ago, when I was engaged in advocacy around the Iraq War, I didn’t have sources like YouTube and SoundCloud. Still, my old copy of Rise Up Singing remains indispensable to this day, joined by the newly released second volume, Rise Again.

Of course, this is a moment for more than marching, and songs of all sorts are needed to help us pace the work ahead. We need songs to open and close our planning meetings, songs to bide the time as we wait to meet with elected officials, songs to sing our children awake, songs to build us up and songs to calm us down.

While a portable amp or a megaphone can be really helpful in a march, there’s nothing better than the amplification produced by scores of people who know the same song and can sing it together. Let’s add singing practice to our advocacy work, as we build a new movement of raised voices and new collaborators.

In the days ahead, I’m looking forward to hosting a singing circle or two to share great old tunes, try out new lyrics and teach and learn  brand new songs for the movement.

Here is my starter list. What are yours?

  1. This Land is Your Land (Woody Guthrie)  Folks can usually come up with the chorus and the first stanza. But the most important verse for the march against Trump’s agenda never made it into most elementary school music classes:  Was a big high wall there that tried to stop me and a sign was painted said private property, but on the back side it didn’t say  nothing. That side was made for you and me.”  Here it is in Woody’s own voice. 
  2. Which Side Are You On ? (Florence Reece)  A grand old union song with a great, strident chorus. Verses make a great frame for new words and issues. How about: Say no to Trump’s America/ of al-ter-na-tive facts!/ We are marching for the truth/ and to get our country back!  Hear Pete Seeger do the original version as only Pete could do it.
  3. We Shall Not Be Moved. Textile Workers made this spiritual a union song, and folks have been adding verses ever since.  Here is Mavis Staples’ version.
  4.  Singing for our Lives (Holly Near) Is there a better song for a moment when people’s health, wellbeing, dignity and futures are under threat?  Sing it Holly! 
  5. Never Turning Back (Pat Humphries). Start with a solo voice and build to a grand chorus either in unison or harmony. Essential at a time when a foolish few want to turn the clock back. We’re gonna keep on moving forward… Emma’s Revolution sings it here.
  6. This Little Light of Mine. Great to sing at a candlelight vigil, on the march, with folks of all ages. Drop in verses as you go.  Odetta does it right on this version.
  7. Dona Nobis Pacem. Sometimes you just need something beautiful to sooth your breaking heart. Give us Peace.  Sweet version sung by teens.
  8. Ella’s Song (Bernice Johnson Reagon)  Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons/ Is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers’ sons…  From the source: Sweet Honey in the Rock.
  9. Under One Sky (Ruth Pelham) I had the honor of meeting Ruth Pelham at a recent training on Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects. Still humbled to have been with such a great, prolific writer of people’s music.  Here’s the song in Ruth’s own voice.
  10. Woyaya We are Going. (Annie Masembe ) I first sang this song more than 30 years ago when I was in college, playing guitar for folk Masses at the Kent State University Newman Center.  It’s been going through my head during this last round of marches. Here’s a slide show of  Ghanaian Afro-pop band, Osibisa, doing the song they made famous.

I drew quite a day on the sermon rotation, with the challenge of preaching on an inaugural weekend that also held the largest nationwide protests in US history. The Scriptures are from the Feastday liturgy of Florence Li Tim-Oi, which we celebrated a little early this week: Jeremiah 17:14-18a; Galatians 3:23-28, and Luke 10: 1-9

Well friends, we’ve had quite a weekend. On Friday we had the inauguration of our 45th president, Donald J. Trump. In his inaugural address, he said: “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”

“Everyone is listening to you now,” he told the American people.

Then Saturday, women picked up the microphone. And they lifted up a particular vision for what must come first in the strongest and most powerful country in the world — they called for a country that upholds human rights and dignity, protects vulnerable and marginalized people, safeguards children and their future, stewards the earth and its climate and condemns violence of all kinds.

Not everyone out there, or even in here, might agree on how that should be done. But yesterday, millions of people throughout our country and the world marched and held rallies insisting it must be done.

The question for today is how are we going to live into that vision, and the reality that we face? Where is Jesus going to take us?

Today we have the help of an extraordinary Anglican woman – The Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi – the first woman to be ordained a priest in the Anglican Communion. (Read more here and here ) St. Martin’s is celebrating her feast day today.

Her story has a particular resonance right now.

Florence Li Tim-Oi was a native of Hong Kong who was ordained a priest by her bishop in 1944. At the time she was a deaconess serving an Anglican congregation in the region of Macau, ministering to war refugees from China. Because Japan invaded the region, priests couldn’t get to Macau to celebrate the Eucharist, so Deaconess Tim-Oi had been working under a special license to offer the sacraments. Then in 1944 the Anglican Bishop of Hong Kong ordained her a priest, putting holy orders on the sacramental work that she was already doing.

Which was OK during war time, in an emergency. But after World War II, when the dust had settled, the Anglican Communion was not so pleased to have a woman priest that it hadn’t authorized. Conflict ensued. And Florence Li Tim-Oi voluntarily surrendered her priest’s license, until such time as the church would recognize women’s ordination. But she did not surrender her Holy Orders.

With the blessing of her bishop she continued to do pastoral work. She continued to do that work when Communists came to power in China in 1949. When China closed its churches about a decade later, her pastoral work earned her the label of counter-revolutionary, and she was forced to endure re-education. Rev. Tim-Oi had to cut up her vestments with a scissors in the presence of the Chinese Red Guard. She would pray on a mountain alone in order not to implicate her other Christian friends. She worked on a farm and then a factory until the churches reopened in the late 1970s. Then she went back to her ministry.

On a visit to family in Canada in 1981 she was licensed as a priest in the diocese of Montreal, when women’s ordination had been finally recognized in the Anglican Communion. Rev. Tim-Oi eventually settled in the Diocese of Toronto where she worked as a priest until her death in 1992. The church observes the feast of her Ordination on January 24 each year – this Thursday.

The Scriptures we heard today are those assigned to her feast day. So it makes sense that we listen to Jeremiah as he says, “I have not run away from being a shepherd in your service, nor have I desired the fatal day. You know what came from my lips;
it was before your face.”

The Gospel for her feast is an interesting one. Luke’s version of the commissioning of the 70 disciples to be Jesus’ advance team is one of the great success stories of Jesus’ ministry. In the passage we heard today, we just get the instructions, which were similar to ones he gave to the 12 apostles the chapter before. They are to go out to the area village by two’s, dress light (no backpacks), depend upon the hospitality of the people that welcome them. Wherever they stay they are to heal the sick and assure their hosts that the Kingdom of God has come near. Don’t go from house to house, trading your good news for a better meal. Stay put, eat what you’re given, let your blessing abide there.

What we don’t hear today, is the part where it works. The 70 come back to Jesus and they are elated. They had even cast out demons! And Jesus is beside himself. “I saw Satan falling from the sky” he declares and he praises God and he pays his followers a rare compliment. It’s a spiritual slam dunk.

Often this is how people end up in ministry.

Nearly 30 years ago, when my husband and I attended a dynamic urban Catholic Church in New York, my role models were women who preached regularly, who were in parish leadership and who lead ministry in a poverty-stricken community – not unlike the work that Florence Li Tim-Oi did. Some of those roles and those outreaches were outside of official church sanction. But the ministry at Corpus Christ parish was so effective, and the sense of church community and mutuality was glorious! I thought, if this is what the church can be like, this is what I want to do.

Following Jesus, however, doesn’t allow us to linger long at the site of the big win. To follow Jesus is to be constantly on the march through a world that sometimes opens its doors to love and sometimes closes them.

Jesus’ followers would experience the harsh pushback of both Jewish and Roman authorities. Rev. Tim-Oi’s ministry would endure the vice-grip of Communist rule and the rejection of the Anglican Communion. Six years after we moved away from Rochester, the staff and congregation of Corpus Christi Parish would be excommunicated by the Vatican for violating church teachings.

When Jesus said to those first apostles “Come Follow Me,” he never said where to. Their life with Jesus was a life on the move. In fact the first full stop that Jesus’ followers made on their journey of discipleship was at the cross. And Jesus rose before they did. According to Luke, Jesus’ disciples did not get up and follow again until Pentecost, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of divine presence so complete that it drove them straight to the street to begin preaching the Gospel.

From that moment onward, that was the walk that disciples chose when they responded to Jesus’ invitation to “follow me.” Not a walk to the cross. But a victory walk, a resurrection walk that would bring life and transformation ever more fully into the world, to any who would open their door it.

Rev. Florence Li Tim Oi walked that same Easter walk, and so her work of faith never came to a full stop – even when they shut the churches and made her cut up her vestments. Sometimes she got to stay and do the work that God had for her to do. And sometimes she was forced to shake the dust from her shoes. But the walk and the work always seemed to find her again.

Likewise the people of Corpus Christi Church picked up their ministries and their liturgy, hired back their staff and renamed themselves Spiritus Christi. They continue to this day, a Catholic community that is no longer Roman.

Jesus doesn’t say “follow me” only at the beginning of our ministries. But he says it over and over, at every pause and every turn in the road – even when we seem to have hit a dead end.

Our job is to take the Holy Spirit to the streets, to activate God’s love wherever we find ourselves, and to walk the kingdom near.

Amen.

Squeezing out the last bit of the Christmas season on this Epiphany Sunday, I thought I’d share the brief sermon I gave Christmas Eve at the Church of St. Martin In-The-Fields. I think it works for Epiphany too.  You can listen to it on St. Martin’s SoundCloud page here.  

Have you ever pulled that stunt where you shout “Catch Me!” and you fling out your arms and thrown yourself backwards into the people right behind you?

At a retreat or a workshop that’s called a “Trust Fall.” But if you’re say, 4 years old, that’s just called “keeping your parents on their toes.”  Catch me, Mommy! And God forbid you miss.

When I consider what God did on that first Christmas, when God landed in the world as a baby, I think it must have been something like that Trust Fall.

There isn’t a story of greater vulnerability, faith, and I daresay divine recklessness, than the one about God joining humanity as Jesus.

Now remember God had been already been part of Creation and had walked with Israel every step of the way up to this point. But that first Noelle, that was the first time that God was catchable, holdable, breakable.  The first time that God had a human life that could end at any moment.

Catch me, God cried, and threw the divine arms wide and flung Godself backward into humanity.

It wasn’t as if everybody came running to catch God, you know. But enough were there to get things started.

In fact, there were two kinds of people who got the message that God was entering creation in a whole new way: The people who looked for it, and the people who longed for it.

Read through the Scriptures and you’ll meet the people who looked for it: Those prophets from the Hebrew Scriptures. Or those magi who searched the night skies for signs of a new king;  or Anna and Simeon, those two faithful old temple goers who believed rightly that would not die until they held the Messiah in their arms.

And even today, we know people like this. Those so good at looking for the presence of God that they see signs of the divine everywhere – the prayers and praisers and the candle lighters of pure-hearted faith.  You know who I mean?

And then there are the ones who long. Isaiah in today’s first reading called them the people who walked in darkness.  Cue the shepherds tending their flocks by night.  They stand in for all the little ones and lowly ones of Israel, who longed for release from dark things – from the poverty of landlessness, or the violence of Empire.  They longed for a God who would deliver them, so they were drawn to angel light.

And even today, we know people like this.  Aren’t  we all a bit like this  – people who have walked in darkness of one kind or another at one time or another?  People who know what it means to long for joy to return, or healing to happen, or forgiveness to be possible? And we’re drawn to light and song and warm community of folks who also long.

So the ones who look and the ones who long – sometimes they’re the same person – they tend to be the ones who are ready to welcome love when it cries out and throws its arms wide. But there’s a catch. There’s always a catch with God.  Once we allow Jesus to land firmly in our lives, how long will we be willing to hold him, to walk with him, to introduce a waiting world to him?  Jesus won’t stay a baby. In a just a few Sundays, he’ll be grown man seeking baptism at the Jordan. And he’ll start making uncomfortable demands.

A great light has the mixed blessing of making everything visible that comes near. Including us, and all we’d like to hide in our darkness – our failings, our prejudices, our need to be in control. How long are we willing to stand in the presence of ourselves, to see ourselves as God sees us, and still cries out to us: Catch Me!

Catch me as I have caught you.

Walk with me as I have walked with you.

Love me as I have loved you.

From crèche to cross and home again. Amen.

Ok, this is just weird.

I started the Mama’s Mansion blog seven years ago as a way to share original music, especially songs that had gone unrecorded since my more prolific days as a singer and songwriter for Beacon Street, Performing Arts in Ministry. Moving back into the mansion this week meant taking advantage of platforms unavailable to me back then. My first move was to upload my two Beacon Street recordings to SoundCloud.

I needed some old cover art to go on the sites, so thought I’d see what a Google Search would turn up. That’s when I found it. On EBay. Selling for $14.99. A copy of my first cassette, “You Are My Good News,” released in 1997. In “very good condition.”

It has been sitting on E-Bay, or more likely in someone’s basement in Toledo, Ohio, since last May. The seller is Glass Eye Industries, which describes itself as being “dedicated to finding (for) collectors and oddballs the rare and exceptional pop-culture items their excitable hearts yearn for!”

It never occurred to me that a little cassette tape that was probably sold after a church supper somewhere in Toledo would one day become a rare and exceptional pop-culture item that the excitable hearts of collectors and oddballs yearn for.  But I have wondered at times where all those cassettes and CD’s went after my eight years in Beacon Street. Back then we were averaging more than 200 custom programs a year in churches and schools. I probably sold about a thousand recordings in all.

Apparently “the past didn’t go anywhere”, as Utah Phillips says.

But it still disorients me when I run into the past in all its present glory. That’s probably because I like to think I’m walking a linear line of personal development, where one event leads to the next, and the past slowly fades to black. That music, those years of on-the-road ministry, that was then. This is now. Until I see it for sale on E-Bay. Or someone emails a story about how a song is still making an impact. Or I upload 25 renditions of myself onto SoundCloud and can’t decide whether I’m feeling vulnerable or durable.

Because life isn’t linear. It’s more like a spiral. Thirty years ago can be just a step or two to the right, depending on which way you’re walking.

My spiritual director, who is an exceptional visual artists, says she can always recognize her hand in her past works, no matter how much her style has changed and developed. It’s all part of an arc that is bigger than she is, she says.

And that reminds me of the power and persistence of made things, especially the made things that hold large pieces of their maker within them.  These songs have always done their own work, even after I moved away, shed my skin, colored my hair. People still recognize me in them. And they’re not a bad place to return to for a reality check on my truth or a reorientation to my path.

Indeed, the past didn’t go anywhere. It’s rattling around in someone’s glove compartment. It’s on sale for $14.99 on E-Bay.

And there are about 500 copies of it in my basement. All in very good condition.

 

Six years passed. And the mansion moved from State College, bi-located to Queens and reopened in its current location in Philadelphia. It’s now a century-old twin on a street just a little reminiscent of Sesame. Its occupants have aged: one is taller, two are grayer, one has a room that’s usually empty. The mama, the one with the small m, set her music down for awhile and recently picked it up again. And as a resolution in a new year that looks pretty worrisome, she decided to start this blog up again as a little act of resistance against what may come. A place to put the songs that wing by, to post sermons, to speak her mind, to issue reports from the ministry field. She went from Pre-Piscopalian to Episcopalian in October of 2010. The road to priesthood still winds out ahead. She’ll keep you posted.

My daughter Hannah Rose turns 10 today, Sept. 15. Double digits. A whole decade under her belt. Some might think she’s got a flower in her name. But I see it more as a verb.

Hannah rose.

She’s named for Hannah, the mother of Samuel whose story launches the first chapter of the first book of Samuel in the Hebrew scriptures. Hannah is one of two wives. She is the favored one, because she is lovely. But she is also the childless one, a mark of shame in her day, shame of which the jealous second wife relentlessly reminds her.

Hannah’s deepest desire is to bear a son. That’s not surprising. In ancient Israel a barren woman had no future; with no sons and daughters to care for her in old age, she had no security, nothing lasting. Hannah was no vain fool; she knew that to have beauty brought favor only briefly. She knew what could happen when beauty faded or the husband died.

But to have a child, that’s another story.

Each year the family made a pilgrimage to Shiloh to offer sacrifices to God. On one such visit Hannah had had enough. So, “Hannah rose … and presented herself before the Lord” (Samuel 1: 9).

Hannah rose. And with that rising came tears of bitterness so deep that she made no sound. Eli the priest accused her of being drunk. When Hannah told him of her sorrow, he said he hoped God would grant what she had prayed for. Whatever it was. The priest didn’t ask.

Meanwhile, God didn’t have to ask. Because God knew Hannah’s prayer from the outset, and God answered it. Hannah went home, got pregnant and gave birth to the prophet Samuel. Which would be a great story right there, much like other stories of biblical women who miraculously conceived: Sarah, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Mary…

But it doesn’t end there. Hannah cared for her son until he was old enough to be weaned. Then she took Samuel to the house of Eli and presented him to the priest as one dedicated to God. Samuel lived with Eli and his sons from that time on until God called him to be a prophet in his own right, the one who anointed David the king, in fact.

Hannah marked her sacrifice with a song whose tone of triumph echoes in Mary’s Magnificat.

I find it unbelievable. Hannah received her deepest desire, cherished it and nurtured it for a few short years, and then she returned it to God. Not in the way that Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac, as a lamb to the slaughter. Rather Hannah sacrificed the right of a mother to be served by her children, so that her son could instead spend his life in service to God. Hannah’s gratitude was as bottomless as her despair had once been. And what of her security, her future, her purpose? She would bear five more children who would see to that; in the culture of the time that was blessing upon blessing.

Hannah’s story speaks to the power of a desire that is bone-deep and soul-deep. It suggests that Hannah’s determination was also God’s desire.

She may have been brought low by a call that seemed unreachable, but Hannah rose.

Hannah Rose. We chose the name because it has a lovely ring to it. But with it comes a hope that my daughter, too, will be a woman who rises – to embrace her dreams, to pour her desires and sorrows and joys out to God, to bring life and justice into the world, to serve, to lift others, to make a way.

She turns 10 on today, quickly rising from girlhood. She’s already shed her love of the color pink. Her American Girl dolls are in the closet.

It’s an appropriate time to record and post the song  I wrote when she was new, the one about Hannah from the bible. (listen to: Hannah Rose, by Barbara Ballenger, 2000)  My daughter knows the story pretty well, though the names and details have gotten fuzzy.

It’s time to remind her again that Hannah rose. As should we all.