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.



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