Tag Archive | great expectations


Last week I wrote about the “Great Expectations” I had for the week. Just as I expected, all 7 of them were met. It was a great week. But there was something more. There was a big surprise.

“Organ for Eight” CD cover

As I was scanning through Facebook on Tuesday, I came across an announcement for a concert called “Organ For Eight! (4 hands + 4 feet).” Being an organist myself, I tried to imagine what it would be like to share 2 or 3 keyboards, a pedal board, and stops all around the console with another person – and not either kick or elbow my fellow musician.  The Facebook announcement quoted the organists as saying, “The complexity of intertwining hands and feet and shifting organ registrations is akin to the game of Twister on a bench and three keyboards.”

That’s something I wanted to see – and hear. The concert was going to include a “Patriotic Medley,” “76 Trombones,” “Champagne Rag,” and “Bach for the 4th of July” – not the usual organ repertoire.

The concert was scheduled for Wednesday evening (July 4th) at the chapel of Sinsinawa Mound, the motherhouse for the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, in southwestern Wisconsin, about a 2-hour drive from Cambridge. Thanks to our very gracious and flexible friends, Mim and I managed to quickly rearrange our commitments for the next day and we went to the concert with one of our friends joining us.

Fifteen minutes into the concert I realized that my facial muscles were getting a vigorous workout from holding my mouth in a huge continuous smile. I couldn’t help myself. The music was too delightful to not smile. The only relief for my smile muscles came when we sang the songs for each of the armed forces, accompanied by the booming “Organ for Eight!”

What a wonderful surprise for the week!

Early this morning, as Mim and I were walking Abbey, we were talking about our plans and “great expectations” for this week. We were walking down Highland, just past Whispering Winds, and Mim stopped and said, “I just love these beautiful blue wildflowers. The color is so brilliant. And there are so many of them this year.” I took out my phone so I could take a picture to share their beauty with you.

I guess being on the lookout for God’s beauty all around us is one way to be sure we have plenty of “wonderful surprises” this week along with our “great expectations.”

God’s surprises!

Great Expectations for this week – 7 of them!

For several weeks now, a friend of mine has been posting a list of three things she’s thankful for each day. Usually the lists are just that – three words or short phrases in a simple list format – just a quick statement of things she’s particularly thankful for that day. That practice got me thinking in lists. Today I made a list of some “Great Expectations” I have for this week. There are seven items on my list. I’m not nearly as concise as my friend, but here’s my list of “Great Expectations for this Week.”

  1. An inspiring and productive Writers Week at Whispering Winds. This week has been designated on our retreat calendar as “Retreat for Writers.” Several writers will be coming to Whispering Winds for a day or two to write, to be away from their distractions at home and to focus their energy entirely on writing. I expect each writer to have a wonderfully inspiring and productive time here.
  2. Safe travel for weekend guests. This coming weekend a couple guests are coming to Cambridge for the wedding of a friend. One is coming from the east coast. The other is coming from Europe. I trust each guest will have safe travels, joyful celebrations with their friends, and a relaxing and refreshing time at Whispering Winds.
  3. A good time of reflection at the women’s worship service at the county jail.  Reading Scripture, giving testimonies, singing hymns, and praying together with the chaplain and several inmates is a truly special time of sharing deep thoughts and feelings with each other and with God. I always look forward to playing the piano for these services and being invited to participate with the group in their sharing activities.
  4. Playing the pipe organ at Messiah

    Finding just the right organ music for next Sunday’s church service. As a church organist, I usually try to find a prelude and postlude, and sometimes other special music, that reinforces the main theme of the Scripture for that day. As I study the lectionary readings for Sunday, and flip through the pages of organ arrangements, I trust that just the right music will jump out at me. Almost always, that’s what happens. Sometimes the process takes an hour. Sometimes most of a day. My expectation is that the prelude will help people get in the right mindset for the message of the day, and that the postlude will help people remember what God is saying to them through the Scriptures, the sermon, and the hymns.

  5. My brand new great-great-nephew and his mom will go home from the hospital early this week. Ethan is the 2-day-old son of Christina and Josh. Christina is the daughter of my nephew Terry and his wife, Eng (originally from Cambodia). Terry is the oldest son of my sister, Nancy, and her husband, Clark. Family connections are wonderful – especially the longer they get. Just think of all the people who are rejoicing over the birth of Ethan – literally all around the world – because of how we all are connected.

    Marian’s grandfather plowing with horses.

  6. A smooth implementation of all the changes I just made on our website. Lots of new pictures. More information about the thread of hospitality that can be traced from the beginnings in 1908 when my grandparents bought the farm, through all the uses of the farm in the 104 years since then. Ending with some conjecture about how the farmhouse will be used next… Here’s a direct link to the new Past & Future section, http://whisperingwindsretreathaven.com/pastfuture.html.
  7. That this blog post will prompt readers to ponder and be thankful for their own expectations for this week.