Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Very Hadley Christmas

It was a very merry Christmas indeed with the whole Hadley clan together. On Christmas morning we went to a church service where Mom sang in the choir and Dad directed. They both did an excellent job...then it was home to tackle the enormous stack of presents waiting under the tree (presents for 8 people can create quite a pile!).

Take a look at some of the fun.

Anna helped Ben open his presents. (He made out like a bandit!)

Who loves Christmas? Bekah and I do!

We'll always be kids at Christmas.

Matt makes a fashion statement.

Bekah was excited about this gift.

I was excited about this gift (until I opened it).

Ben and Grandpa share a happy Christmas moment.

Anna models her new clothes.

Mom unloads the mega-parental stocking.

Family photo.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Life as a Hand Model

This past week I fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a hand model.

Not really....It wasn't actually a lifelong dream.

I did get to pose for these pictures, though. Photographer Michael Heath.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Good Hair Day

Today has been an all around great day.

I apologize, faithful readers, for being so remiss in my blogging. The past few weeks have been crammed full of deadlines, Christmas parties, improv shows and general mayhem. But today I wrapped up a number of projects that have been hanging over my head, and for the first time in days, I'm not editing. Yes, friends, freedom feels good.

I also got a haircut today. Thanks to the wonderful technology of the camera phone, you can see the "look" fresh from the salon. (It never looks as good the next day when I fix it myself.) You'll notice I'm not smiling. This is because I was trying to display the "rock star" hair to its best advantage. And as we all know, rock stars don't smile. I'm definitely ready for a band...if I played something.

In three days I'm heading back to Washington for Christmas and New Years. If you are a Northwest friend, lets get together! I would love to see you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Is God Fair?

Today, musician Danny Oertli came and shared his music and testimony. Danny married his high school sweetheart, Cindy, during college. Within the first year of their marriage, Cindy developed cancer and had to undergo eight months of radiation treatments. She was given a clean bill of health, but three months later the cancer returned. At that time, Danny was also diagnosed with cancer in his shoulder, but after fervent prayers were offered, it was discovered the diagnosis was false. After many more months of exhausting treatments, Cindy was again declared cancer free.

Danny and Cindy settled into their lives, giving birth to a daughter and adopting a son. When their daughter was 5 years old, Danny took Cindy on a celebration trip to Hawaii. On the way home, Cindy mentioned she wasn't feeling well. After stopping by the house to see the kids, Cindy and her mom went to the doctor. That morning at 10 a.m., as she was signing in, Cindy suffered a massive heart attack and died.

"It's not fair."

Those are the words that fly into my mind. Why would God allow this one person to experience so much personal tragedy? Especially someone who is serving Him faithfully. But Danny continued to proclaim the Lord's goodness and mercy. And out of Danny's suffering, God brought forth an even more powerful ministry. A year and a half after his wife's death, Danny met a beautiful, godly woman — a woman who seemed as if she had been selected just for this family. Eleven weeks ago they gave birth to their first child.

Yesterday the head of our broadcasting department lost his wife to cancer. She had been dealing with it for more than a year, and they have four young children. Fair? No. Good? Yes. I don't say that only because of the happy ending to Danny's story. I say it because "We know in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Fulfilling that purpose doesn't always feel good. In Danny's case it involved being broken again and again. But this morning, as the broadcasting department listened to Danny's testimony, they were touched and met by God in a deep, personal way. The encounter was holy — good.

As I reflected on this idea of God's fairness, I wondered: Can God really be unfair? Is He capable of it? And the resounding answer that came to my mind was, absolutely! God is constantly unfair. If God were "fair," we would all be lost in the darkness of our sin for eternity. Each day we're given to know God — to breathe — is a mercy. An "unfair" gift. I am thankful that God treats us with goodness rather than fairness, aren't you?

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” — Psalm 103:10

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

O Come All Ye Faithful

Last week I attended the Steven Curtis Chapman/Mercy Me Christmas concert. Up until that point, I'd been struggling to get into the holiday spirit, but this concert pushed me over the edge. Steven Curtis has always been one of my favorite artists. I have come to see that he is a genuine man of God. The guy practices what he preaches. When I first started working at Focus, I got to sit in on a Brio interview with him. I was impressed that he was honest about his struggles as an imperfect human. Few "celebrities" seem willing to cast aside image for the greater impact of vulnerability.

After the concert, I had to rib him a little. While on stage Bart, the lead singer of Mercy Me, made a few cracks about how he had "saddled up his horses" in 7th grade to the tunes of SCC and that he was pretty sure his parents had listened to "I Will Be Here" on their first date.

I told Steve that his music had influenced my life significantly, especially in high school. "I could relate to Bart's testimony," I quipped.

"You were saddling up your horses in middle school, too?"

"Yes. And it's been a privilege to watch you walk faithfully through the years."

"Thank you."

What a wonderful reminder of God's care in shaping my life through the offerings of others. I hope, in turn, I faithfully use what He's given me to touch a life this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Snowy Day

We were supposed to get three to five inches of snow last night with temps below 0. Well, we only got an inch or two of snow, but the temp was -2 when I drove to work this morning. Cold enough to give me that funny feeling inside my nose as everything freezes.

But the prospect of snow took me back to childhood winters in Pennsylvania. When it snowed, my brother and I would pull on the snowsuits and head out to make forts, throw snowballs and careen down hills. In fact, the only bone I ever broke was in a sledding accident.

My brother and I used to sled down this trail in the woods behind our house. By my recollection, it was a good quarter mile down before it made a sudden turn to the right. One day I was sledding with my brother and his friend Dave. We had those two-kid plastic sleds that are round at the front. We'd double up on the thing and take turns pulling it back up the hill. All afternoon I kept faking injury to try to get my brother and friend to pull me up the hill in the sled. On the fateful run, I was at the helm, my feet sticking out the front, with Dave behind me. When we reached the bottom of the track, we failed to make the turn, and my right foot hit a tree. Ow!

You can guess the rest. Though I moaned and wailed, the boys didn't believe I was truly hurt and left me at the bottom. It wasn't until they came down on their next run, and I was still crying, that they believed me. Dave, in one of those sweet little boy moments, was in anguish. "I'm so sorry," he kept saying. "I should have believed you. I'll never forgive myself." (Yeah, a little overdramatic, but his heart was in the right place.)

After I managed to crawl to the top of the hill, we went to the doctor and I got a cast for my foot, which was broken in three places. I must admit, I liked being the princess, and uttering soothingly in martyr's tones: "It's alright, Dave. I'm sure I'll walk again. I may even sled."

Ah, winter memories. I wonder if there are any good sledding hills around here.

Monday, December 05, 2005


It's time for a photo essay!

Me and Ben during his visit last month.

On the red carpet with drama team members after "Phantom of the Opera" in Denver.

Bekah convinced me to leave the house like this. Silly sisters!

Sarah and I spent many happy hours at this sink over Thanksgiving weekend.

The girls, plus Ben, plus kittens: a happy combination! (Amy is Sarah's college roommate.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Writer's Aid

"As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move...similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle."

—Honoré de Balzac (1799-1859)

I've always known this to be true, but Balzac states it so eloquently.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

O Holy Night

I was listening to the radio yesterday and Michael Crawford's rendition of "O Holy Night" came on. Michael Crawford, the most famous Phantom of the Opera, has an incredible voice. Anyway, that's not my point.

As Crawford's voice caressed the beloved, old carol, I was struck by how powerfully, soul-wrenchingly Christian the lyrics are:

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

I was astounded that these words, sung with deep passion were ringing out on a secular radio station. Hundreds of busy people were hearing them...though probably not considering their full meaning (or they'd be offended). What chains will He break? What oppression will cease? Who is the slave?

And then:

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

I wondered: Why at Christmas can anyone passionately proclaim, "Christ is the Lord!" when it's considered cramming religion down people's throats any other time of year? What a window of opportunity this season is. People are open to the truth; their defenses are down. And why else would Satan make this season be the most hectic time of year? He's working overtime to undermine the natural receptivity to Christ that comes with the season.

So take advantage of this month where carols of truth are sung freely. Think deeply on words that have lost their impact but not their meaning. Consider how you might remind someone of the wonderful, life-giving truth this season embodies. His power and glory ever more proclaim!