December 29, 2006

Editing was required

... lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:10-11

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Romans 12:2

At last... Thanksgiving pictures!

...and now for some bonus photos! These were taken when P.R. and the Farmgirl came to try on dresses with me. P.R. liked my cat much better, especially running after and then cornering him. The last photo is from our couchwarming party. We can't thank you enough!!! We love it!

December 16, 2006

Calculating infinity

It's hard to make a "home" out of a borrowed house.
Rather, part of a house. This is where I live currently, the first-ish floor of a three flat house in Chicago. I don't own it, I just rent it. I suppose technically I only rent half of it since I have a roommate. So that's my home equity right now, one-sixth of a house.

But I'm not complaining. PlatoNic lives down the street, in a whole apartment of a 36-unit building. So when you add his 1/36th to my 1/6th you get 7/36ths of a house. That's not bad, but it could be better. Let's start from there and see what we get.

Our house is full of love. + 1
Our house is joyful at least 2/3 of the time. + 2/3
We don't have many visitors, but the ones we have really like us! +5
My roommate, fiancé and I come from three wonderful families. +3
I totally own my cat. +1
And two fish! +2
Ok, maybe the fish shouldn't count; they're not even cognizant! -2
Our house is full of handed-down furniture, which all came from loving people. +10
(Thank you especially to Par. Far. and SCFarmer!!)
total so far: 20.17 (approximately 20 2/15)
which is an increase of: over 1962% !

All this number crunching is giving me a 26.6 repeating headache. Here's the fact: we are all living here in borrowed houses, with borrowed clothing on our backs, all in borrowed time. We are strangers on earth (Psalm 119). The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24).

He is giving it all to us. I couldn't even add His presence to the chart above because it would go off the charts. He is the chart! His love and faithfulness to us is what we judge all other kinds of love and blessing by. He is our home; eternal, endless, ever-reaching and promised by His own Word!

"The Father's house has many a dwelling,
And there will be a place for thee.
With perfect love His heart is welling
Who loved thee from eternity.
His precious blood the Lamb hath given
That thou might'st share the joys of heaven,
And now He calleth far and near:
'Ye weary souls, cease your repining,
Come while for you My light is shining;
Come, sweetest rest awaits you here!'

O come, come all, ye weak and weary,
Ye souls bowed down with many a care;
Arise and leave your dungeons dreary
And listen to His promise fair:
'Ye bore your burdens meek and lowly,
I will fulfil My pledge most holy,
I'll be your Solace and your Rest.
Ye are Mine own, I will requite you;
Tho' sin and Satan seek to smite you,
Rejoice! Your home is with the blest.' "

"A Rest Remaineth for the Weary,"
by Johann S. Kunth, 1730

O Mysterious Father

Getting through weekday mornings was always a challenge in our house. Not necessarily for us sisters (of whom there were three, and all within a few years of one another), but for Mom and Dad. First off, my sisters and I had equal aversion to anything taking place in the first few hours of the day. Secondly, bathroom time was distributed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. But the biggest problem was simply getting us up (not merely awake, but physically out of bed) and going. My sisters and I were (and perhaps still are!) a bit prickly in the morning. The task of raising us from unconsciousness seemed to fall on Dad the most often, though I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was his undeniably effective strategies for doing so.

Sometimes Dad’s routine consisted of rapid exposure to chilly Minnesota breeze (present even indoors in winter) a la blanket stealing. Other times there was a competition introduced, which could be anything from, “Mom made something special for breakfast so you’d better get down there soon!” to “I’m going to use the bathroom and afterward, well, you might not want to go in there awhile.” Being naturally competitive with each other certainly helped spur my sisters and I on, but there were days where we just couldn’t get out of bed because we were so tired we might collapse if we did! (Or so we claimed.) What was Dad to do then? There was still one move left in the sneaky Dad bag of wake-you-up tricks; a little ditty by the name of, “O Magnum, Mysterium.”

I’m laughing as I type this, remembering Dad’s deep bass bellow through the hallway: “Oooh Mag-nuuum, Mysteri-uuum!” But trust me, I wasn’t laughing back then! This was definitely not my preferred way to start the day. I didn’t have the foggiest clue what this song was about, or who wrote it, or why Dad liked it so much. All I remember thinking back then was, “The faster I get out of bed, the sooner he will stop singing!” And Dad would oblige. That is, until he realized he could use this form of melodic blitz not just to get us out of bed, but to make us move down the hallway, the stairs and out the door that much quicker.

When I recalled this particular memory of Dad I realized I had never given much thought to why he chose this song over any other. Surely he must have had some reason? And yet, I’ve never taken the time to ask him why he liked “O Magnum” so much. Perhaps I will finally do so this year. In preparation, I did a little research and discovered this is a beautiful hymn, with mighty lyrics! The Latin lyrics are as follows:

O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum
Ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
Jacentem in proesepio.

O beata virgo, cujus viscera me ruerunt portare
Dominum Jesum Christum

Translated into our less-than-poetic English it looks like this:

O Great mystery and wondrous sacrament,
That animal might see the birth of the Lord
As He lay in the manger.

O, Blessed Virgin,
Who was worthy of bearing
Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reading the English translation is akin to consulting the NIV after reading something in the King James; it’s the same meaning, but just not as pretty. Read these lyrics, though, and understand both their simplicity and their weight. There is but one subject: the mystery of God’s goodness toward us. This is noted first by the lyricist in his noting that we animals were included at the birth of our Savior, as witnesses. This fact is a wondrous sacrament, that we, even as fallen people, could be there! The lyricist continues, praising the blessedness of Mary, who was worthy of bearing the Christ child. That there have been many God has chosen to carry out His works- Alleluia!

The importance of Dad’s choosing “O Magnum Mysterium” was always, well, a mystery to me. I speculate now that the message it sends us- we fallen people have a God so good that He includes us in His plans- is one we ought to sing to ourselves every day.

Thanks goes to my Dad for putting this idea in my head long ago, before I could have started to comprehend it, so that it could strengthen my faith later in life.

Praise always to my Father for giving me His blessings!

December 6, 2006


We've been hearing the watered-down (i.e. instrumental) versions over store radio for a few weeks now, totally missing out on the beautiful lyrical content! As Platonicus Booknutticus showed in a recent post (here), song lyrics have the power to convey a feeling that cannot be expressed otherwise. Lyrics can reject, reclaim, reconcile and rejuvinate us. The following are lyrics from one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Italicized words beg for your attention.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled.
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic hosts proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of earth

Born to give them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Nothing lost, everything gained

I don't know if y'all knew this, but it's only been eleven months (and a few days) since I was born again. I've been thinking about this fact a lot lately, noticing how different my life is compared to this time last year. Heck, I only met Nic December 10th of 2005! Now look at us- full of the Spirit and determined to serve the Lord through our upcoming marriage to one another. I never could have guessed my blessings would count so high, my life would become so rich so fast. I also tend to lose sight of that sometimes.

Just yesterday I was crying to Nic about losing so many friends over the past few months because I believe and they adamentely do not. I even have a couple family members who are almost hopelessly misguided about the Truth. (Praise the Lord that He can change their hearts and minds! Double praise because it isn't my job to do!)

It's very difficult to explain, or even bring up, the subject of lost souls. In general I can speak on the subject; how tragic it is that so many walk around in the dark and how wonderful when the Light comes into their lives. I might even get a little arrogant and point out some tragic examples I personally know. That's the conceited side of me, the side that thanks God for saving me but feels sorry for those He hasn't yet. I should be praying for these people night and day.

But I'm not. Instead I'm whining about the blessings I have been given not being the ones I expected, so I don't appreciate them like I should. What's my problem? The Bible says we should stay alert and awake, on our guard. I know it's referring to the devil and sin, but I need to stay awake to both the ways of the world AND to the ways of God working in my life. I take Him for granted. Lord, forgive me for that.

From now on, I'm going to count what I have and not what I've lost. I've gained a whole new family, for Pete's sake! I love you all and don't want to take you for granted either.

Nic, you told me once that you wanted to be the second most important man in my life. I hope you know that you are. I couldn't be here without Him, and I couldn't keep on being without you.


November 25, 2006

A satirist's view of our pluralistic culture

For context of this quote, click on the following link:
Ravi Zacharias on our loss of shame, pt. II

"We believe in Marx, Freud and Darwin. We believe everything is ok as long as you don't hurt anyone, to the best of your definition of hurt and to the best of your definition of knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin, we believe that adultery is fun, we believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe everything's getting better, despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated, and you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes, ufos and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man, just like Buddha, Mohammad and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher, although we think some of his good morals were really bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same; at least the ones that we read were. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the nothing, because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing. If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it's compulsory heaven for all excepting, perhaps, Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson: what's selected is average, what's average is normal, what's normal is good. We believe in total disarmament, because we believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns into tractors and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good, it's only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society, society is the fault of conditions, and conditions are the fault of society. We believe each man must find the truth that is right for him and reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust, history will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth, excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds and the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be the father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky and when you hear, "state of emergency, sniper kills ten, troops on rampage, youths go looting, bomb blasts school," it is but the sound of man worshipping his maker."

Steve Turner

A bit of a stretch...

I know there's danger in trying to find explanation for every experience. Having said that: if we are the salt and Jesus is the water, are our tears the physical expression of the two combining?

November 15, 2006

The kind of woman I want to be, pt. I

For a long time, I didn't know what kind of woman to be. What I mean is that, around age eighteen, when "society" told me I was a woman (or at least starting to become one), I did not know what that meant, nor did I feel it could ever be true of me. In retrospect this confusion is significantly less muddled and, coupled with my spiritual maturity, it becomes crystal-clear; I didn't then, and I don't now, want to be the kind of woman society at large entices me to be.

I assume most of you know what I mean but, for the sake of anyone to whom "society" does not relentlessly pummel with suggested self- images, let me elaborate a minute on what I don't want.

I do not want to be sexy all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love to feel pretty and enjoy going out of my way to look attractive to my fiancé. But there are plenty of times when I don't want to look or behave in a sexy way. It makes me feel as awkward as the word awkward. It makes me feel fake, like I'm acting.

There is so much more to my womanhood than my sex! If our being women was a simple matter of biology, anyone could have an operation and become one of us. But it doesn't work that way. There are feelings we have, impulses that our men don't understand, intuitions we can make, aches we can soothe that any Dustin, Mel or Wayan brother in pantyhose just doesn't get.
Also, we women don't (and shouldn't) rely on our being sexy as a means to accomplishment or strength in the world. I do not wish to be a woman who "flirts her way to the top." Let's forget for a moment where or what that "top" is. When I find myself successful (and we should all determine that subjectively for ourselves) it is not due to my physical appearance. For that I am thankful and, forgive me, maybe even a little proud.

On the topic of success, allow me to disqualify myself in another way: I do not want to be a power-hungry, independent career woman. I apologize if it sounds strange, but I like the interdependence of coworkers, family, friends and roommates! I like being dependent on other people and cooperating with them; it makes me feel human. I do not want to be (as much as the five-year-old version of me protests) a robot! I love asking for help and being able to help others. There is a big part of my womanhood wrapped up with that idea. I'm perfectly happy being a little vulnerable. In that way I'm more of a "risk taker" than a corporate career woman is!

So if I'm so opposed to the office, or at least to the office type career gal, where will you find me managing? I'll be home, but I do not want to micro-manage my children. I want them to explore, to get messy (see previous post on painting), to live their lives. Here's the catch: I will set the boundaries for that exploration. They will not go into harmful situations or into harmful peoples' hands. This section is almost dangerously underdeveloped, as I have no children. Please feel free to school me. Of this much I am clear: I do not want to be my children's friend, but their mother. What does that mean? I'm not going to wear the same clothes as them, let them drink as long as it's at home, or pretend that I want their experience of the world at a certain age to be the same as mine was. I know everyone says this, but I do not want my children to go through what I did as a teenager. I fear I am coming close to offending my mother and father (if they read this), but all I wanted as a teenager was someone to really, harshly even, parent me! I had enough friends; they were feeling their way through the dark world as much as I was. I needed some light. (Later, I got the ultimate light of my life and I have not been the same since, but that's about hundred blogs on its own!)

I have writer's block on this one... more to come as it unwinds in my mind...

November 9, 2006

A few leaves turn into a pile

We had a lovely day in Chicago today. This time of year anything goes, but usually we are not blessed with May-like temperatures and sunshine like we had today. I had a half day of work with my favorite client and got to see Nic for a minute on the way home, so by the time I got there I was feeling pretty good. I decided that, in anticipation of my dinner guests on Saturday, I would clean up the backyard.

It began with sweeping up a pile of leaves, then I moved on to the deck. Long after the sun went down- which I hadn't even noticed- I stopped in the middle of sweeping the leaves on the lawn (we don't have a rake, just a broom) with the thought, "I have officially turned into my mother." I was still thinking about that when my roommate came outside and asked what the heck I was doing in the dark.

"Just tidying up the yard," I said, though I realized then the lateness of the hour and understood her surprise at my work. For her doing yardwork is less than desireable and, in fact, downright unpleasant. (All cleaning, it seems, is unpleasant to her, which explains why she never does it!) But still I couldn't understand her surprise at the work itself I was doing, only the hour at which I was doing it. To me, tasks of nature just need to be done, despite the enjoyment they bring.

That said, I have always enjoyed this kind of chore, any outside chore. I don't consider them "chores" in the traditional sense of the word, as jobs you'd rather not do at all. I routinely volunteered for leaf-raking, weed-pulling and, if I was in a particularly good mood, lawn mowing. I could do without snow shoveling, but that's because I don't enjoy the cold. I have nothing against the toil of shoveling and I love the feeling of sore muscles; it means you've been using them.

Over time I've developed a sort of patented work ethic; there is work to be done and, by George, it will be accomplished today, sunlight or not. There are some tasks that cannot wait while I type a blog or start on a painting. I have developed a tendancy toward doing outside work first. (I also seem to have acquired a subconscious need to wash dishes, even at someone else's house. So if I do this, please don't be offended; I simply need to wash dishes!) I guess you could say I've been programmed to work like I was raised to, and that means home (and family) maintenance comes before any personal endeavor.

I'm sure that, provided the weather was accomidating, my mother was outside pulling the last of weeds not killed by early frost, or raking, or cleaning gutters. Bless her for that, for always taking care of our home and our family, and especially for instilling in me an able and willing desire to take care of my own. I know when most people say, "I've turned into my mother," it is a reflection of their neuroses, some kind of self-doubt. But for me to see any of her in me gives me hope that I can't explain.

There is a needlework piece hanging in the hall of my parents' house that reads: A mother is a woman who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take. How true that is.

November 8, 2006

A thousand words, and none.

The man I love:

Hates the polaroid
obsession, but obliges
out of love for me.

Can't understand why
I can't stop gazing at him.
Has to be that way!

Keeps my heart in mind,
Knows it better than I do.
Loves me forever.

November 6, 2006

Time for prayer

I have been on the verge of tears today. Many days I experience this, but today it is because of the Ted Haggard news. I am aching for his wife and the struggle she has been thrust into. I realize that it is always the time for prayer and I'm a strong believer in its power and so I implore you: please pray for former Pastor Haggard, his wife and children, and his congregation.

Ravi Zacharias said it best today, that the secular world preaches relativism and sensitivity to us day-in and day-out. But they also stalk believers like lions, waiting to pounce on us when we suffer from moral depravity. The secular world says not to judge, but when one of us suffers from his/her own sin and brings it to light, they are the first to judge us, before we even have time to judge ourselves.

Friends in Christ, this is not the time to judge Pr. Haggard. His sin is before God, who will judge him as He sees fit. For us to condemn him is to give ourselves power that only He has. This is how we each fall, by thinking we can walk without Him! Now more than ever I am recommitting myself to knowing the Gospel and bringing it to others. Let Pr. Haggard serve as an example to each of us, so that our walks with the Lord may be strengthened despite our weaknesses.

I ask you again, please pray for this man, his family and his congregation. Many have lost their spiritual leader.

"Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness."
1 Corinthians 11:28-30

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin."
Hebrews 4:14-15

"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:3-5

Progressive paint

Date: November 6th, 2006
Item: Crayola invisible paint picture spinner contraption.
Intention: allows kids to "paint" pictures using ink that won't stain clothes


Growing up my sisters and I had several toys. In fact we had an entire toy bench (built by Dad) which held all of our stuffed animals, Legos and dolls, play dishes, etc. But few of these toys came to us brand new. Despite my Dad being a college professor we didn't have a lot of money, so when we did get new toys they always had to be shared between the three of us. Consequently we cherished each and every toy that came from an "actual store," meaning any store other than "thrift."

One of our favorite toys was something called a "Twirl-a-Paint," a battery-operated wheel you attached a piece of paper onto which you squirted paint on as it spun around. The end product, depending on color mixture and individual taste, looked like either a splatter of vomit or a glittery splatter of vomit (we only had three paints and some of us liked to experiment with alternative materials- Kleenex, oatmeal, pudding, etc.). I strongly believe the value of the Twirl-a-Paint lay not in its ability to create beautiful, or even fridge-worthy, works of art, but in the freedom it allowed. I know that sounds hokey, but consider the following:

I saw an item advertised today that looked a lot like the Twirl-a-Paint. Same spinning wheel, same bottles of liquid to squirt onto a spinning piece of paper. It even comes with its own glitter (we always had to sneak some from Mom's craft supplies). But here's the catch: this new toy comes with invisible paint. I know what you're thinking and no, it's not paint that cloaks itself with mystery when the wrong eyes see it. It's nothing that clever. Just "paint" that only shows up on the special paper that comes with the toy. The idea is that, unlike normal paint, if the invisible stuff spills, it doesn't make a mess. So this is an improvement on old-fashioned paint you might say. It's progressive paint.

But is it progress for children to be robbed of all that is entailed by using regular paint? I remember the fun of mixing colors, making new colors, making ugly colors, making a mess. Painting with my fingers! Don't you recall fondly the first time you smooshed paint around on a paper? What joy! And what happened when it detoured out onto the floor? Someone came and cleaned it up. Big deal. Life didn't stop, it just got messy for a few minutes. And wasn't your day that much brighter, knowing you really dug into that painting project, dismissed the constraints of reality and just smooshed away?

I want to have kids that, when they grow up, remember what it was like to be kids and be messy. I want kids that know how to play. I will not buy them toys that do the playing for them.

notes from b-tube, v1, p1. veektka.

Fotografias de la Nuevo York

This is the street we lived on in uptown New York.
NY has some strict policies. We adapted.
Their rules couldn't stop us from being cute. (My fiancé is so handsome!!)
Or from drinking their free wine and being philosophical.
We contemplated staying forever and living in the foyer,
or moving to Brooklyn,
or maybe just living closer to these trees.
Wherever we end up, we'll be doing a lot of this (I hope).

October 31, 2006

Holding the place for NYC pictures

Sushi night in Chicago vs. sushi night in the Village: who will be victorious?!

There's something about New York...

I've received many requests to promulgate about our recent trip to NYC and, though I thought about the city all the while I was there, all the trip home and more than ever now that I'm back to my old routine, I just can't seem to get it right. So here's the best I could do. It's a start. It's the beginning.

There is something about New York. It’s in the air, it’s on the street, it’s not in the alleys, but it’s up high on a tenement fire escape. And at the very same moment it’s not, because it’s reaching out to shelter the sidewalk traffic while pushing a stroller and sleeping on church steps. It is walking one of those unimaginably small dogs. It is driving a sailboat on a shallow pond in the park. It is sitting next to you, pushing by you, stepping on your foot in the subway, showing you the way. It is ignoring you. It is hurried.

It’s dancing in the subway. It’s selling tamales. It takes your dollar with a genuine smile. It’s just trying to get by. It’s lining half of central park west with patriotic lights spinning. It’s frontin’. It’s real. It’s cursing, spitting, slurring, working the angles. It’s seen it all. It doesn’t see a thing.

It is immense in a way that consumes you the second you enter it. It is red, brown, yellow, grey and smoke. It laughs. It plays. It is running, running, running. It is in uniform. It talks too much.

It is unsure how it's going to make it through the night. It is cold. It is just asking for a moment of your time, just a moment, and maybe a quarter. It is passing God's blessing on to you.
It’s a battleground for lost souls. You can look for it, but it will find you first.

It is all this, and much, much more. It is something I can only see a little of as an outsider, and can understand only by letting my imagination run with the idea that someday I may be able to see it from the inside. It'll get me yet, moreso than it already has.

More to come... and love to all.. Victoria.

September 25, 2006

The Future is Now

I don't trust the future. I never have. As a child I treated every day like it was the end-all be-all of my existence, which meant I took as much as my greedy hands could hold, even if I was never going to use what I snatched. I talked back, like I already knew the answers. To everyone. To all matters of life, the universe and everything else. I had no wonder about the world as most children do; my knowledge was steeped in certainty, meaning that I certainly knew I didn't care what the future held for me. I didn't know what it was going to be like so I didn't want anything to do with it. Somehow, people found this charming.

Entering into my teens I started to question this "live each day like there's no tomorrow" theory, due mostly to the undeniable fact that the future had, indeed, caught up to me (or I had to it) and now was known: I was older, taller, more of a smart aleck. I couldn't help it, I was swept up into being a part of the future without my consent! This infuriated me. Was I not master of my own destiny? So instead I sought to predict the future, for if I was accurate I could believe I had caused it to happen. And if anyone was in my life it was because I let them be, because I could see how they would benefit me in the future. This process, this endless and empty process has gone on for years.

Well, I'm done with it. Not with the future, but with trying to predict it. It's not my future. It might never be, that is, I might not have one. And if I do it is a gift from God that I not only did not charm Him into giving me, but I didn't deserve.

I want to believe I know what the future will be like, or who will be in it. I want to believe I have one. But instead I'll believe in Him.

July 27, 2006

He understands.

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world alone.
There is no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright land to which I go.

I know dark clouds will gather 'round me
I know my way is rough and steep,
But beautious fields lie just before me
Where God's redeemed their vigils keep.

I'm going there to meet my Savior
Dwell with Him and never roam.
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home.

He will come out to meet me. He will come out to meet you, too. Please come with me. I love you.

I think of you always, and write letters to you in my thoughts daily. I hope someday you will read them. I love you.

You have distanced yourself from me this time. But we are forever sisters because we have the same Father. I love you more than I have ever told you.

I have always wanted to protect you; now I find myself being protected by you. You have a light in you that is undeniable. Please keep shining it on me. I love you.

We are all longing for the same thing. We can only seek it when we know what it is, else, all is in vain.

"It's hard to believe He still loves me knowing how wrong I have been, when all I can say is, 'I'm sorry,' when all I can feel is my sin. He understands when all I can do is cry. He feels the hurt that no one can see down inside. And when the words get in the way I know He still hears.

You may not believe that I'm broken, for all you can see is my smile. But He hears the heart that's unspoken and He gives me strength through each trial.

He understands when all I can do is cry.
He feels the hurt that no one can see down inside. And when the words get in the way I know He still hears."

I will trust these words get to you even if you don't or can't read this. He understands me. I hope you
can, too.

The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.
Isaiah 51:14

June 23, 2006

Something strange is happening!

I've been aware of it for months but i couldn't put my finger on it exactly until last night:

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed... If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God..."
1 Peter 4: 12-13, 16-17

Every time I think I'm "fighting the good fight of the faith" (Timothy 6:12) it turns out I'm just fighting against those who I consider to be unfaithful! Who do I think I am? Lord help me! Good for me, I know He will!

June 22, 2006

Lord, help me learn.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Cor. 10:13

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst." 1 Timothy 1:15

"I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Luke 15:7

March 26, 2006


I feel boring lately. Unoriginal. Contrived. I feel boring when I curse. I feel boring when I get self-righteous. I feel boring when I'm talking and talking, making excuses as to why I'm so different now than I was six months ago. I feel boring when I sin because I know it makes me into everyone else who couldn't help themself. Furthermore, worrying about all these things is boring!

The only time I don’t feel like that is when I’m talking about how I feel for God. Or when I’m just enjoying the communication we’re having with one another. Or when I’m so full of the Holy Spirit that I find myself laughing or smiling uncontrollably, and I just want to share it with every person I encounter. THAT is when I feel unique, when I am right there with God, our arms linked, best friends forever.

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6: 31-34

March 24, 2006

Attention Soul Train Award receipients: Please stop thanking God

I spent the latter half of a work day on Saturday watching the Soul Train awards with my client. Normally I wouldn't watch a music awards show because since I am a creature of habit and my music range is limited to about fifty artists, I don't know most of the bands or individuals being presented to or by (some of you can verify this; I only listen to new music when you give it to me, never because I sought it out myself). But there I was, at the mercy of my 84-year-old lady's entertainment whimsy. It was either WTTW news or Soul Train. Soul Train won. Odd choice, I thought, but apparently it's her bag.

So there we were, not enjoying either Vivica Fox's cleavage nor the Black Eyed Peas' sub-par performance of "My Hump," when onto the stage walks Stevie Wonder, a beacon in this, the soulless land of a musical genre gone wrong. Mr. Wonder (whose title is so appropriate) is there to give out the, get this, "Stevie Wonder lifetime achievement in songwriting" award. He gives his prepared speech explaining the tradition of the award, how he thinks it strange to be presenting an award of his own name, etc. Then, just before he is to announce the winner he pauses, says, "Now, I want to say something else before we give this award out. This is for all the musicians and producers in here tonight: you have to remember that you have a responsibility as an artist. You have to remember that the music you create is out in the world now, forever. I'm just asking you tonight to be aware of the music you put out there, because it's infinite. And now, I want to announce the winner of the Stevie Wonder award: R. Kelly."

Wait. What? Did I hear him right? R. Kelly as the winner of the lifetime achievement in songwriting award? I mean, let's forget about his personal life for a second, the underage sex partners, the miscellaneous acts of deviancy and indecency. Put all of that aside. The beauty of his music, that's what is on trial here.

Have you stopped snickering at my last statement? Go ahead, take a minute if you need to. Now, can you separate an artist from his art? Can you take his professional life and split it apart, truly and completely split it from his personal? Not only is it improbable to do so, it's impossible. You see, an artist has a unique position in the world in that his creative output is a reflection of the innerworkings of him, his soul. Likewise his soul's whim is what drives him to create the music that he does. In addition, his personal endeavors are motivated by his soul's desires. So, if the outcomes of both his professional endeavors (his music) and his personal endeavors (his sexual deviancy) are the same, are we not to assume they came from the same source (his soul)? I might be going out on a limb to say that R. Kelly is soulless. So I won't. And actually, I think he has a soul, but it's full of spite and sadness and longing, which is what makes him believe this world is all he will ever have, which makes him want to destroy it with his patented brand of "R&B to pee on a thirteen-year-old girl to."

But I digress. I don't care much about R. Kelly in the long run, except that someday I hope he finds enough joy in his life to make a song worth repeating the words of (didn't he once believe he could fly? When did he convince himself he was earthbound eternally?). Really, all I want is for "artists" like him to do one of the following:

A) Thank God for your singing/writing/producing talent and stop before thanking Him for getting you where you are today. God didn't ask you to sing about your humps, or if her man is on the floor, or how you just want to be some man's dessert. Nah, He gave you the gift to sing/write/produce, but I bet money He'd rather you sing about something NICE (i.e. not contradictory to His idea of goodness).

B) Stop mentioning God altogether when you accept your award. Know that your superficial shout-out to the Almighty is NOT indicative of the relationship He wishes you had with Him. The God you think you're thanking is shaking His head and better odds He's listening to nothing rather than Charlie Rich.


C) Truly thank God for your talents and use them to sing about good things. I know, doesn't that sound trite- good things- but I mean it; wouldn't it be wonderful if the audience got more excited to hear about the love and joy you feel for your life than anything Mariah Carey has to offer (please reference: any song on "The Emancipation...")?

It should be noted: Not every award given was illegitimately so. John Legend, for example, won several awards this year at S.T. He thanked his fellow musicians, his family, his fans and, only once, God, adding that it was because of God that he could sing at all, and for Him he was trying to do good in the eyes of. Amen, John.


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