By Leigh Westmoreland Dowe
By Janine Freeman
By Anne Louise Antonoff, May 1999
By Patrick Kavanaugh, "Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers"
By Patrick Kavanaugh, "Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers"
By Brother Lawrence, "The Practice of the Presence of God"
By Richard Wong, "Prayers from an Island"


By Leigh Westmoreland Dowe
(c) 2000 Leigh Westmoreland Dowe, all rights reserved


My favorite story... Whenever Daniel gets frightened, he starts singing "God is bigger than the boogie man," a Veggie Tale song!

I did see something really funny last night. Daniel was dressed in his "Woody, the Cowboy, from Toy Story costume" (that's his name for the costume) and he wanted a milk shake. So, I took him into Baskin Robbins, wearing this costume. People always smile when they see him in that costume and he has to wear it a couple of times per week. Into Baskin Robbins walks this man with a little boy about the same age, wearing a Bat Man costume. The Dad said that he came home from work and his son was already dressed in the costume, waiting for him. That must be a pre-school thing, but it was funny!

Daniel is forever telling me that his shoes or socks are "not right (his words)." Translation: too small, too big or not on straight. So, I spend 15 minutes putting on his socks and shoes until he says that they are right. If he hears a song that is a different version from the one he knows, he will tell me that it is "not right." Translation: someone else is singing and that does not work. He is such a perfectionist!

I was explaining to my 3 1/2 year-old that that Toy Store was closed. I told him that it would be open when the sun was out and started singing the song from Annie... He ran to the window and said "the sun is not out." He takes everything literally... He makes me laugh constantly with his comments. He saw the URL for a radio station on a bus. He said, "Look, a dotcom. You just click on the hand (Microsoft logo) and go."

The other day, we were driving and he said "I waved at the man." I looked over and there was one of the guys who owns this local Italian Restaurant driving down the Street. He delivers pizza's and recognized my son. Yesterday, he said he wanted to help me fold clothes. He took one sock and put it on a coat-hanger.

Daniel keeps making me laugh. This week, he saw a Boy Scout troop at the Park. It was getting dark and there were "lightening bugs" flying around. I told him about the bugs and that we would catch some in a jar this weekend. It reminded me of being a kid again! The kids were trying to catch them. He saluted when he saw their uniforms, and said, "Yes Sir!" Then he saw that they were running all over the field to catch these bugs He put out his hands to calm the crowd. He said "Don't be afraid, boys. They're just lightening bugs." He thought they were afraid of the bugs.



By Janine Freeman
(c) 2000 Janine Freeman, all rights reserved


My first words to you as a reader is to understand that I am not a scholar or professor from a college or University. I am a graduate of the school of hard knocks. I chose to do life first and ask questions later. In no sense early on did that mean I was a rebel, it just meant that being emotionally controlled I learned life late and hard. Because of these hardships I began to sing for my release. But not until I was 22. Being a late bloomer I felt under the gun to learn my craft well. I started writing songs and singing them in the local church and boy was I terrible. Yet the body encouraged me at every corner. I would play guitar and sing on Sunday mornings or evening studies. I felt that I wanted to sing better if people heard me live than have to rely on studio tricks to pull me out the mire of no pitch. So I continued to practice hard.

For twelve years I honed and practiced my craft, made demos, joined any band that would use me and even led worship (which was not my calling). I would enter competitions and send my best pieces to music magazines for critiques to find out what I was doing wrong. Why couldn't I get a deal? This question haunted me until two years ago. I made my best project. I also made my peace with myself and God. I learned that I was not motivated by money, fame or fortune. I was simply in love with singing, but you can't get a deal with that. You can, however, be amazingly good because something happens to your music when it is directed by your heart. There is a freedom, a release that you will never find in the pursuit of fame.

I ask myself am I successful? I have perfected my style, I have finished a good project and I am a happy human being. Am I successful? I have been a Christian for 20 years and have had the privilege of befriending many musicians who would never enter a church. I have been able to share my life and struggles with people who never heard that Christ can heal all wounds. I have been blessed to sing well enough to perform before people who live on the streets at a mission and to some of the top musicians in the music business. So again am I successful? I say yes. No, I do not have a record deal with a publicist and manager. No, I do not have a big house or a large bank account. But I do have my integrity, talent and a heart to serve Christ in the capacity that He has set before me.


Contacting Janine:

Janine Freeman can be booked to sing and give this message to Christian High school students during chapels. She has already performed this ministry at Apple Valley CHS, Hesperia CHS and was guest speaker at a Communications class at Biola University.

She can be contacted at: (714) 252-0051 or janine_freeman@peter.biola.edu



By Anne Louise Antonoff, May 1999
(c) 1999 Anne Louise Antonoff, all rights reserved


A suppertime stroll along the lane
To Stourhead House, on the Stour, in Stourton,
Finds trees sharply lit in a brilliant frame
And water rippling across the horizon.

Azaleas blaze throughout the forest
In splashy daubs of bolder hues
Than foliage tinted with green-red palette
Highlighted in a sky of bright gold-blue.

Where the ground drops away to meet the river
The sheep and lambs gambol and graze
Bleating in rhythmic song to each other
Across green meadows of timeless age.

A thatched-roof cottage in blue-grey stone
Enchants the eye with fairy-tale charm
While a mile or so further down the road
The "Spread Eagle Inn" keeps the visitor warm.

A dimmer morning portends spring rain
Muting the tones that the sun had imbued
And the lens finds little of yesterday's scene
But relies on the mind to see it anew.

In just such mist at this stately home
English landscape first thrived as art
Painted in trees and embellished by ruins
Scattered throughout the splendid park.

A tiny village drew life from the manor
As baronial elegance grew in repute
But apart from church and pub and keeper
Naught would disturb an idyllic refuge.

The homeward walk to a humbler abode
Traces a route along the Stour
Where shepherds long have stood on guard
And, ever vigilant, the oak still towers.

For centuries the grand have dwelt in splendor
But for centuries more the meek have reigned
From millhouse to cottage, meadow to river
And God Himself has kept their domain.



By Patrick Kavanaugh, "Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers"
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), p. 75.


The visitor arrives late, tapping at the door almost imperceptibly in case the family is asleep. When no one answers, he lets himself in and makes his way toward his friend's music study. He knows it well from engaging in many friendly dialogues there that have continued long into the night.

As he enters, he sees his friend engrossed in his Bible. The visitor stands quietly, awkwardly, for a moment. Finally, the master of the house glances up at the visitor, showing no sign of surprise and offering no greeting. "Listen," he says, and excitedly begins to read aloud: "And behold, the Lord passed by...." He reads on and on, his voice rising in pitch as the drama of the passage overwhelms him.

The visitor recognizes the story of Elijah, when suddenly the reading stops. "Would not that be splendid for an oratorio?" asks Felix Mendelssohn, setting the Bible on his desk and searching his friend's face for a reaction. Thus the greatest oratorio of the nineteenth century was conceived.



By Patrick Kavanaugh, "Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers"
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), p. 27.


In a small London house on Brook Street, a servant sighs with resignation as he arranges a tray full of food he assumes will not be eaten. For more than a week, he has faithfully continued to wait on his employer, an eccentric composer, who spends hour after hour isolated in his own room. Morning, noon, and evening the servant delivers appealing meals to the composer and returns later to find the bowls and platters largely untouched.

Once again, he steels himself to go through the same routine, muttering under his breath about how oddly temperamental musicians can be. As he swings open the door to the composer's room, the servant stops in his tracks.

The startled composer, tears streaming down his face, turns to his servant and cries out, "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself." George Frederic Handel had just finished writing a movement that would take its place in history as the "Hallelujah Chorus."



By Brother Lawrence, "The Practice of the Presence of God" translated by E. M Blaiklock (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1981), pp. 73-75.


1. The presence of God is a directing of our spirit to God or a present remembrance of God which can come about either through the imagination or the understanding.

2. I know a person who for forty years has practised intellectually the presence of God. To this state he gives several other names, calling it sometimes a simple act of a clear and distinct knowledge of God, sometimes a hazy vision of him or a diffuse and loving gaze, a remembering of God. At other times he calls it an alertness towards God, a wordless conversation with him, confidence in God, the life and peace of the soul. Finally this person told me that all these descriptions of the presence of God are no more than synonyms, all meaning the same thing, and that it is now something natural with him. In this way...

3. This person says that by dint of actions, and often summoning up his spirit in the presence of God, the habit has so established itself that, as soon as he is free from his common duties and often even when he is deeply engaged in them, the sharp edge of his spirit, the loftiest part of his soul, without effort on his part, rises above all things, and abides, as though stayed on God, as if in its centre and its place of rest. Feeling almost always his soul in this state of dependence interfused with faith satisfies him, and that is what he calls the actual presence of God. It embraces al the rest and much more, in so much that he now lives as if there were only God and he in the world. He converse everywhere with God, asks only for what he has need and is refreshed endlessly in a thousand thousand ways.

4. Now it is right to know that this fellowship with God takes place in the depth and centre of the soul. It is there that the soul speaks to God heart to heart, and always amid a great deep peace in which the spirit revels in God. Everything which happens without is to the soul no more than a fire of straw which is burned out as fast as it blazes, and hardly ever, or very little, disturbs the peace within.

5. To return to our theme of the presence of God, I way that this gentle loving gaze of God, insensibly lights a fire divine in the soul, which so warmly kindles it with the love of God that one is constrained to temper it with many outward acts.

6. We should be quite astonished if we knew what the soul sometimes says to God, who seems so to delight in such conversations, that he permits all, provided the soul abides always with him, and in his inner being, and, as if he feared lest the soul should return to earthly things, he takes care to provide for it everything it can desire, so well that it often finds within itself a meat most savoury and delicious to its taste, though it has not desired nor sought it in any way, and without, on its part, contributing anything but simple willingness to receive.

7. The presence of God is then, the life and nourishment of the soul, which may win it by the Lord's grace.



By Richard Wong, "Prayers from an Island" (Richmond, VA: John Know Press, 1973), p. 19, 45. [Richard Wong was pastor of the Community Church of Honolulu]


How can we doubt thee, O God our Creator, when we see thy handiwork...
bougainvillea burning red upon a wall,
hibiscus eyeing the tracks of the sun,
tradewinds traveling their daily itineraries,
sunsets firing the sea with orange glazes,
and our island world weaving another day throughout the night.
How can we doubt thee? Amen.


Keep me a listener in this world of music, O God, so that I hear the ocean drumming on its floor, tradewinds plucking tunes from trees and cardinals saluting another morning. Amen.


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Except where otherwise noted, (c) copyright 2000 Destiny Music, Inc. All rights reserved.