Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Becky's New CD!

How Can I Keep From Singing
Becky Loar

So very happy to announce my daughter Becky's new CD has arrived!  Sure to be a pleaser for folks who enjoy the classic music of the church which is seldom heard these days. 

These are the songs Becky has enjoyed hearing and singing as she has grown in her own faith and developed her career. 

The Holy City
The Lord Is My Light
Were You There
Joshua Fit the Battle
Jonah and the Whale
O Divine Redeemer
Eternal Life
Ride On King Jesus
I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked
How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
How Can I Keep From Singing

All of these classics have been given a fresh brush by well-known choral arranger Camp Kirkland.  Price is $15 and they may be ordered at www.rebeccaloar.com. 

Becky will be in concert:

- First Baptist Church Vero Beach
  Sunday, November 6, 2016
  4 p.m.

- First United Methodist Church Winter Garden
  Sunday, November 13, 2016
  6:30 p.m.

- Messiah, First Baptist Church Vero Beach
  Saturday and Sunday, December 17 and 18
  7 p.m.

Becky Holbrook Loar grew up in Vero Beach, FL, graduating from Vero Beach High School in 1990.  She earned her Bachelor of Music degree at Samford University, Birmingham, AL and her Master of Vocal Performance at Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY.  She lives in Jacksonville, FL,  where she teaches voice at University of North Florida and Jacksonville University.  She is married and has two children.

2017 concert dates are now being booked.  Your church will be blessed with Becky's uplifting spirit and the joy of her music.  Contact her at www.rebeccaloar.com. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

You'll Like It, Grandma...!

"You'd like it, Grandma!...I'll help you!"

I'll bet you've heard these words from your grandchildren.  "I want you to play this game with me.  I'll show you how to do it!" 

God bless the grands.  They've been with technology since the first day they drew breath.  It's second nature to them.  The gap between them and those of us who grew up struggling with the multiplication tables is so vast that it's almost impossible to cross over.  I used to think that mastering nine times five is forty-five was a huge accomplishment and would take me far.  Then along came New Math and I was supposed to get on speaking terms with rings and fields.  Don't ask me what that is...I don't know.  They tell me that was the forerunner of the computer age.  I am totally lost.

All I know is that we now have these games of far out fantasy with strange characters that are played on a video screen with a wand you hold in your hand and control what goes on in the game.  My grands don't understand why all of us don't get it.  I've tried.  I don't.

It was a chilly, rainy day in Tennessee...a day for playing games inside.  OK, I thought.  I'm going to learn what they do with this game.  Andrew, Jack and I plopped ourselves in front of the TV in the basement.  They gave me my wand and a cursory explanation of what it did because of course it's so simple anybody's brain can pick it up with no trouble.  Right.

They turned it on (I couldn't even do that) and little people in a scene of battle appeared on the screen.  They moved around with the speed of light.  My eyes don't see that fast.  "That one's yours, Mimi."  Which one?  They all look alike.  And what are they fighting for?  What's the object here? 

"They're the blah blah blah and you want to keep them from yada yada yada." 

Excuse me, are you speaking English?

Suddenly..."Hit C, Mimi! Hit C!" 

What C?  Where?

"The thing in your hand.  Hit C!"

I looked.  It was nothing but squiggly lines and icons I could not decipher.  I would hit C if I knew where it was.

"O, you missed it.  Wait.  It'll come around again.  There it is.  Hit C!"

I tried.  I didn't like it.  I handed the wand to Jack.

"You and Andrew will have to play this one.  When you're ready for Go Fish, call me."

Saturday, August 27, 2016

All Creatures Great and Small

I don't have a picture for this post, so I won't be able to pin it to Pinterest. 

I don't have a picture because I don't want a picture of my subject today to appear on my blog every time I look at it.  I don't like to look at snakes.  They are just among God's creepiest creatures.  He made all those creatures, great and small, and among them is the slithering snake.  Many of us cannot bear the sight of any reptile.

A strange thing has happened.  I have overcome the desire to immediately chop off the head of every snake I see.  But I have come to a place of differentiation.  There are snakes.  And then there are SNAKES...YIKES!  GET THE HOE!  The latter is reserved for snakes that have rattling things on their tails and snakes that are big enough to squeeze the life out of an elephant.  It only takes a moment for the brain to register the dangers. 

And then there is the little black snake that has taken up residence in the fern bed surrounding the cluster of oak trees outside my back porch.  A couple of weeks ago, I watched from the safety of the screened porch while he/she (who knows? How do you tell with a snake?) had a leisurely morning of sunning on my brick patio.  From time to time, it scooted over to the bushes and reached up - I guess to grab some item of food.  For a few minutes, I held my nerves in check and watched.  The black thing soon disappeared into the bushes and out of my sight.  I hoped it was going in search of some delicacy like a rat and not the little bunnies we so often see in our yard.

Time passed.  I forgot.  This morning, I took a walk through my yard, just to stretch my legs.  They got stretched alright, when I nearly stepped on a black object in the grass.  An involuntary yelp - actually shriek - flew out of me.  Simultaneously, snake's nervous system gave the command and it flew into the nearby ferns.  I think it was at least as surprised as I was. 

Don't get me wrong.  We are not going to bond.  There will be no stroking and cuddling.  We can co-exist.  As long as it realizes the boundaries.  Which goes for me, too.  Because my husband would never take the hoe to a black snake.  Just stay there in those bushes, little buddy, and all will be well.  Because if you don't, I know where the hoe is, too. 

Monday, August 22, 2016


Buddy Davis

The news report was interesting to me:  we are seeing the implosion of American journalism.

Just now?  I have been watching what has passed for journalism for years and my thoughts always return to the things I learned at the University of Florida in the classroom of the man who is pictured here.  His name is Horance G. Davis, better known far and wide as "Buddy."  So many times I have read or heard something from someone purporting to be a journalist and thought "You would never make it in Mr. Davis's class!"

Buddy Davis taught journalism in the 1960s.  He not only taught it, he did it.  His editorials in the Gainesville Sun in the early, volatile days of the civil rights movement earned him a Pulitzer Prize.  It is a blessing to my life that I had those days in his classroom.  Just to be clear, I was not Mr. Davis's star pupil.  Most of the time I was the one in the back of the classroom, hoping not to be noticed.  Or the one who was late standing outside the locked classroom door hoping to be let in.  My education could definitely be termed more agony than ecstasy.  I used what I learned to the benefit of family businesses, not in the pursuit of a stellar journalism career.

What I have always carried with me, however, is the example of those who taught me, especially Mr. Davis.  The sign on his office wall spoke volumes:  GET IT FIRST, BUT FIRST GET IT RIGHT!

What is missing in American journalism today?  In many cases...not all, but far too many...is what Mr. Davis taught every day in every class without speaking a word about it.  Integrity.  Not just in the professional world, but in life.  He was a good Christian man, a lay leader in his church.  It showed in his teaching.  I wrote about his class in my book, Faith Breezes: Glimpsing God's Glory in Everyday Life.  I share it with you here. 


You must try your hardest to get in through the narrow door, for
many, I assure you, will try to do so and will not succeed.  For once the
master of the house has got up and shut the door, you will find
yourselves standing outside and knocking at the door crying 'Lord,
please open the door for us.'
-Luke 13:24-25 MSG

He was one of those college professors who was legendary.  Memorable.  The kind you talk about with love and respect for the rest of your life.

His name was Buddy Davis.  Among other things, he taught reporting, editorial writing and photojournalism.  It was my privilege to suffer in his journalism classes at the University of Florida in the early 1960s.

Every student in the journalism degree track from those days remembers Mr. Davis's famous "train wreck" class.  The students were in the classroom, which was set up like a newsroom.  Mr. Davis was in his office.  Acting as the reporter at the scene, he would randomly call in to the waiting student reporters.  In a breathless voice, over a really bad phone connection, he would offer "reports," spouting out the facts and then hanging up abruptly as the desperate reporter-in-training cried "What? Wait!!"  It was then up to the student to interpret the reports and craft a story for the next edition of the imaginary newspaper.

At the end of the class, Mr. Davis would appear in the "newsroom," disheveled, dirty and - ostensibly - exhausted.

"We did it!" he would pant.  "We covered the story and got the paper out!"  His pleasure was infectious.  No matter how panicked we had been mere moments before, everyone in that classroom felt a sense of accomplishment.

Mr. Davis loved that kind of teaching.  And he was so good at it.  In later years, his editorials in The Gainesville Sun earned him a Pulitzer Prize.  I sent a card of congratulations and received a typical reply - the same sentiment, I'm sure, that was sent to all his students.  "Yes, winning the Pulitzer was a highlight of my career," he wrote, "second only to your graduation from the university."

So I have a lot of wonderful memories about Mr. Davis.  But the thing I remember best wasn't those moments in class or those great editorials.

It was how he locked the classroom door.

When the bell rang for class to begin, Mr. Davis slammed the door and locked it.  You were supposed to be in your seat, ready to go, when the bell rang.  Running down the hall wasn't good enough.

The bell rang.  Mr. Davis locked the door.  And then he stood on the classroom side of it and giggled.  No, it was more of a cackle.  The more you knocked, the longer you would wait to get in...if, indeed, he let you in at all.  I'm sure that in his personal life, he was an understanding fellow.  But as a teacher, he had a point to make.  I had this experience a couple of times, and I can tell you that it was miserable and embarrassing and something you didn't want to repeat.

Sooner or later, you figured out what to do to avoid it.  You realized the importance of advance preparation.  If your unfortunate class schedule required you to hoof it from the opposite side of campus in 15 minutes, you figured out the fastest route and didn't tarry.  And the next time you had to sign up for one of his classes, you made it your business to build in some extra time beforehand.

Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Even though my experience with Mr. Davis was decades ago now, every time I hear a Scripture reference like that one, to knocking on the door, I picture myself before Mr. Davis's classroom door, begging for entrance.

Like that door, Heaven's door requires advance preparation.  Happily, it doesn't matter if we're later than we should be.  To go through Heaven's door, we just need to be on a first name basis with the Doorkeeper.  He wants to let us in.  After all, he knocked on the door of our heart first.

And this time, it's up to us to open it.

It's a profound comfort to know that when I knock on Heaven's door, I won't hear somebody cackling on the other side!

Update note on August 22, 2016.  I have to ask you today...have you answered Jesus's knock on your heart's door?  If not, I pray you will not let another moment go by without inviting Him into your life.  Blessings to you, friend.