Archive for the ‘Church’ Category


Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

This past Sunday we were commissioned at my little Church; signed, sealed, and delivered to the tasks ahead in Malawi.  Steve and I actually gave part of the sermon!

We were to answer questions like:

Why aren’t you just taking a nice vacation?

Why put yourself at risk?

What do we have to gain?

The scripture for the morning was Luke 12:13-21 about the folly of greed and your treasure is where your heart is. Pastor Diana and Pastor Gil and the congregation prayed over us and had a social hour after to wish us well. Now I feel connected and accountable to the body of Christ.  Special friends and a special time.

Capitol Idea!!!

Monday, October 26th, 2009

WashingtonDC 025We traveled across the Delaware Bay  on a car ferry.  It was a very inclimate crossing, and yes, I lost my lunch over the side.  Never throw up into the wind!  We have made our way down to our nation’s capitol. We are amazed to see our national monuments once again in all their incredible glory.

Sunday we went to church to hear my cousin Jeff sing and play the sax, as well as a visiting acapella choir from N. Carolina, who were all amazing. Then we did some walking around the area and sighted some of the key spots in Dan Browns latest novel, The Lost Symbol. ( I am trying to visit all the places he mentions in the book) We found the 33rd Masonic Temple….amazing edifice. Then on to the National Cathedral for another service and to check another site off my list. After all the televised church services from there, I finally got to visit it. It is the third largest Cathedral in the world after the Vatican and Notre Dame.

The Hills Are Alive

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

soundofmusicbus…with tourists in tacky buses, traversing the city and countryside in search of the vital locations for the filming of “THE SOUND OF MUSIC“!!

I am on the bus.

soundofmsicchurchYes,the movie came out when I was merely 15, and I had a date to the Loma Theater, Point Loma (where it played for 2 years) with Andy Andeck!  Sigh, to picture his arm around my shoulders, going numb scenario…my first big crush.

Flash ahead 6 years, and I have already been an organist for 8 years and played many a “here comes the bride” at weddings , so I chose the Wedding March from the Sound of Music for mine (to STEVE)!

 So, I got to see the Church they used, and they played the CD on the bus, and I was in  “Nostalgic Land”.  Pure schmaltzzzzzzzzzzz and I loved it!

Madonna’s Greatest Hits

Monday, May 11th, 2009


There is always something to celebrate in Montalcino.

This past weekend was the celebration of their patron saint:  Madonna di Soccorso.

Her image saved the day from a seige by the Spaniards  in the 1500’s, and since then the 8th of May is always a big deal with parades, church masses, first communion, community suppers, tombola(italian bingo), and more.  This ends with Mothers Day.  


I was asked to play the organ in the exquisitely beautiful Madonna church for the Archbishop of Siena and all went well on yet another relic organ.

The Italian people really venerate the past and teach their children to hold it dear also. Though outsiders, a few Montalcinese have opened their hearts to us, and in giving back in some small way, we are  a little bit Montalcino and a little bit Catholic!

Easter Sunday Organ In Montalcino

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009


Easter ’09

Monday, April 13th, 2009

mirandajonpaulodebbie What a  delightful experience to meet fellow believers and serve together on Easter.   Miranda is the altar guild and has the churches cleaned and decorated and ready to go for the Father.  Then there is  Giovani, the jovial assistant that keeps Father Pernino on task, keeps the altar boys in line, and hands  you a small wrapped candy to sweeten the deal.   Miranda’s padreperninoson’ Gianpaulo helped by pointing to me when it was time to play.  He would listen to the service as it progressed and give me the nod when it was time for the Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus dei   etc, etc.   But this had been a small inroad into the community: a few friendly faces.  That was where I saw the Glory of God on Easter.

Easter Italian Style

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Buon Pasqua!

What an Easter!  The taunting task of 4 services was not the walk in the park I thought I might be.  The tension of liturgy coming at me in Italian, in two different venues, sequestered in an organ loft that was lofty, and organs that had been around for over century.  Feeling the nudge to offer my services was my easter giving, it came back at me as maybe a way to fill the void of not being at Lake San Marcos – they have so much been in my heart this week.

The Maundy service was tense being the first one on the antique organ in the Duomo, but then Saturday night’s service started at 10 pm and didn’t’ end until midnight!

Sunday at 9 and 11 am were filled to capacity with easily 40 plus standing at the first, and maybe 100 standing beside the packed pews at the 11am.

wildboarThe town is bursting with tourists and family that have come back home to visit for the holiday.  We felt very lucky to find room at a restaurant we wanted to try after the first one was all booked.  What a meal!  I had homemade ravioli in burro as primo piatta, Steve had  zuppa di funghi, Mary and Ron had crostini .  For our secundo piatta,  Ron and I had roast chicken in brunello sauce and sauteed spinach with lemon, Steve had cingheri stew (wild boar).  Mary had boar in padetti noodles and a side of white beans.  A bottle of Rosso di Montalcino topped it off. 

gelattoWhile walking off our meal, several were tempted to have a gelato chaser to a great meal!

We are so enjoying having Ron and Mary Jenson as travel buddies!  So brave and so far to travel, but they immediately sensed how special this place is.

Tomorrow we will drive to Sienna and on Tuesday we will have a private tour of wineries and points of interest (we hired a private driver).  On Wednesday we will attempt an early train to Florence .  Thursday will be a quiet day, and then return Ron and Mary to Pisa for their flight home. 

They have been such support this weekend with all the organ stuff.

Our hearts have held our families close today as we celebrate loving you, and our Risen Lord from so far away. 

We have just finished a meal of bread, cheese with honey, bruschett, and Italian pastries, and, oh yes, more wine.  We were sitting around a coffee table listening to jazz and counting our blessings.  You are all at the top of my list!

Organ Practicing

Friday, April 10th, 2009


Thursday, April 9th, 2009

cruisinwithsteveSaint Antimo is an Abbey not far from Montalcino and dates from 781 a.d.  It is a story unto itself, but I wanted to get some Steve- time in here. 

We put the top down on the Volvo and cruised from the Abbey through the vineyards and olive groves.  The weather has been awesome.  Wish you all were here!!

Maundy Thursday Organist

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The Duomo was  the site tonight of the inaugural playing by me of Catholic Liturgy!  I was suspended 3 stories above the altar area in front of the pipes of an organ from the year 1858 with bellows and all.  It was a very meaningful service: Father Piernino washed duomoorganthe feet of 12 men, then communion followed by a silent procession over to a narthex which was decorated like a garden to represent the Garden of Gethsemane

I played for about 8 different chants.  We seemed to be together, but the acoustics were really reverberating up to me.  I don’t get freedom to play any prelude or anything, it’s by the book .  Steve hung out with me in the balcony to keep me apprised of what  was happening down below as I had no visual.  There were no bats in the belfry, but I didn’t look to closely.  There is a huge dome above this photo.

This Saturday I play at 10 pm and somehow it involves fire (?) (“…He descended into hell…”).  Then again at 9am and 11 am on sunday.  It has been a little nervewracking, but an experience I will never forget.  Maybe Father Piernino will let the Pope know, and I can have and audience with Him when I get to Rome.