Friday, December 29, 2006

Rules for Life...

"Rule for Life Number One: You marry at the level of your own psychological health.

Strive though you will to find someone who possesses the strengths you lack, you will ultimately wind up with a man who's approximately your double. What are you missing? Most women bounce from crib to school to college (if they're lucky) to a quasi-career, then into a connubial bed, without first defining who they are. Their totality depends on getting a husband...

"Dr. Albert Ellis, in Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, lists twelve important self-defeating beliefs that preven tus from defining ourselves clearly and becoming adults. Among these, the following are critical:

  • It is terrible when things are different from what I would like them to be.
  • My suffering is caused by others and events beyond my control.
  • It is easier for me to avoid than to face up to difficulties and responsibilities in my life.
  • I can become happy without taking action on my own behalf.
  • I have little control over how I feel.

"These five beliefs all share a common basis: "I have little or no command over my life and must or should adhere to others' notions of who I am and how I should live my life." But responsibilities and difficulties do not disappear through denial or evasion. Happiness is not dispensed to you. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make me feel inferior without my consent.""

From Men are Just Desserts by Sonya Friedman

There is a River
by Jars of Clay
There is a river that washes you clean
There is a tree that marks the places you've been
Blood that was spilled, though not your own
For all of your tears are the wages for things you've done
And all of those nights
Spent in the darkness of your mind
Give it up, let it go
These are things you were never meant to shoulder
There is a river that washes you clean
There is a tree that marks the places you've been
Blood that was spilled although not your own
For all of those tears, love will atone
So give up the right
To control the waves that empty out your life
Above wild skies
Are the rays that break the shadows we design
Give it up, let go
These are things you were never meant to shoulder
Give it up, let go.
There is a river that washes you clean
There is a tree that marks the places you've been
Blood that was spilled, though not your own
For all of these things, love will atone
I know the world can turn in different ways
Most of the time we're simply hanging on
And under the signs of how we all behave
We might find the place that we belong
For all of those nights that you cried all alone
All of your tears, love will atone.
Crazy Times
by Jars of Clay
You're cold that way
And that's why you say
The things that you say
You can't attract The things that you lack
You're trying in vain
It seems it's always the crazy times
You find you'll wake up and realize
It takes more than your saline eyes
To make things right
You spiral down
You've broken your crown
You don't feel like a [king]
You've seen the proof
But you're still crying wolf
You'll never believe
You try to climb a broken ladder
Grip the missing rungs
And fall down, down, down
Seems sometime ago you said
This wouldn't last
And now you sit here crying
Beside your bed
You feel left for dead
You kneel in the dark...
It takes more than your saline eyes
To make things right
by Jars of Clay
Just in case, I will leave my things packed
So I can run away
I cannot trust these voices
I don't have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release
I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work

Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone."

Empty spaces with shadows lit by streetlights
The warning signs and weight of tired conversations
In the absence of a shoulder, in the abscess of a thief
On the brink of this destruction, on the eve of bittersweet
Now all the demons look like prophets and I'm living out
Every word they speak, every word they speak

Do you know what I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"?
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"
What I mean when I say, "I don't want to be alone"

I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hollow Women

"If you feel you need a man to assure you that life is meaningful, stop now. It's time to reassess your skills, your personality, your self-esteem. The truth is, the more you are, the less you need.The more you are, the more you possess yourself without getting caught up with pleasing others and the more you can understand that no one's going to make you happy or complete, but yourself. The more you are the more you will realize that a man can detract from or enhance your happiness, but he can never be responsible for answering all your needs. The more you are, the more you see that he is not the main course, -- you are."

excerpted from Men Are Just Desserts: How Learning to Be a Woman with a Life of Your Own Can Enrich the Life You Share with a Man by Sonya Friedman

I may have more to say on this topic in coming days.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fade To Grey
by Jars of Clay

It's not hard to know what you're thinking
When you look down on me now
Your trance of love is seeking
To turn this world around
But in my state of blind confusion
No God can pull me out
I see your love is willing
To turn me inside out

And then I see you there
The lonely tears I cry
I wish they'd release me

It's in despair that I find faith
Summon the night to bow down to day
When ignorance is bliss
Save me from myself

And then I see You there
With Your arms open wide and
You try to embrace me
These lonely tears I cry
They keep me in chains and
I wish they'd release me
Cold is the night but
Colder still is the heart made of stone, turned from clay
And if you follow me
You'll see all the black, all the white fade to grey

Fade to grey

Sunday, December 24, 2006

This One's for Wrose...

by David Usher

Hey, have you fallen off the shelf?
Can I help you get yourself, back together?
I'm so tired, can I help you save yourself?

Have your friends all changed?
All the people that you thought would be around,
As your light goes grey,
Are you losing all the hope you thought you'd found,
I think we're numb [x3]

Hey, have you found somebody new?
Have you found yourself unglued, for the first time in your life?
Can I help you save yourself?

Have your friends all changed?
All the people that you thought would be around,
As your life goes grey,
Are you losing all the hope you thought we'd found,
I think we're numb [x6]

And tell me do you feel like dying?
Tell me does it hurt just waking?
Tell me have you lost the reasons you ever wanted to fight?
Has it left you lonely?
Tell me do you pray for morning?
Tell me does it hurt just waking?
Tell me have you lost the reasons you ever wanted to fight?
And you know it's all impossible.

And nothing feels the same,
Life is full now,
Every morning when the light comes in,
Everybody sings the same song tonight,
Better fly away, yeah

Have your friends all changed?
All the people that you thought would be around,
As your light goes grey,
Are you losing all the hope you thought you'd found,
I think we're numb. [x9]

Sunday, December 17, 2006

by Douglas Wilson

Once there was a young man who worked for a retail store that was owned by a fellow Christian, and his job was that of a cashier. Although he was tender-hearted, he was also undisciplined and weak-willed, and when he was running short on funds one month, he "borrowed" from the till one day with every intention of paying it back. Of course, his lack of discipline made that impossible, despite his intention, and he was not able to do it.

Some time went by, but one day as his boss was going through the books, the discrepancy was discovered. His boss confronted him, he confessed, and his boss, not surprisingly, fired him. The young man was in agony over this for some days, but after about a week, he borrowed from his parents the amount he had taken, came back to his former boss, gave him the money back, and sought his forgiveness for what he had done.

His boss said that he did forgive him, completely. The air cleared, they had quite a good conversation. At the end of the conversation, the young man asked, quite casually, if he could have his job back. Much to his surprise, his boss shook his head no.

"What do you mean?" the young man asked, before he really had a chance to think. "I thought you forgave me!"

"Well, I did," his boss said. "I am more than willing to come to the Lord’s Supper together with you" (the two attended the same church). "I have not needed to tell the police about what you have done at all."

"But I thought forgiveness meant putting everything back just the way it was before."

"Well, no," his boss said. "It means putting some things back. Like fellowship. But qualifications for fellowship are not the same thing as qualifications for office. Simple forgiveness is all that is necessary for the former. But qualifications for holding office are higher. And if you don’t meet them, and I see that you don’t, it doesn’t mean that I have not forgiven you."

The young man shook his head, confused. "I thought . . ." he began.

His former boss interrupted him. "I have forgiven you," he said, "completely. Nothing stands between us. You have sought forgiveness, and I owe you that forgiveness. But I don’t owe you a job."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stuck in a Moment
Lyrics by U2

I'm not afraid
Of anything in this world
There's nothing you can throw at me
That I haven't already heard
I'm just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company

I never thought you were a fool
But darling look at you
You gotta stand up straight
Carry your own weight
These tears are going nowhere baby

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And now you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

I will not forsake
The colors that you bring
The nights you filled with fireworks
They left you with nothing
I am still enchanted
By the light you brought to me
I listen through your ears
Through your eyes I can see

And you are such a fool
To worry like you do
I know it's tough
And you can never get enough
Of what you don't really need now
My, oh my

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
Oh love, look at you now
You've got yourself stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

I was unconscious, half asleep
The water is warm 'til you discover how deep
I wasn't jumping, for me it was a fall
It's a long way down to nothing at all

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if our way should falter
Along the stony pass

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass

It's just a moment
This time will pass

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why So Many Lyrics?

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that since September that there hasn't been a lot of original posting happening here. Instead I have been putting up lyrics to various songs. There has been a lot happening in my life in the last few months -- stuff I would rather not comment on directly. Instead I put up lyrics that express what I am feeling/thinking at any given point in time. Sorry to be so oblique. Maybe some day I will be able to be more direct about it all. In the meantime, here is today's offering:

One Day At a Time
sung by Jeremy Camp on his Stay CD

One day at a time
I will walk this road I've traveled so far
One day at a time well I know I will carry on
One day at a time I can see you took my life this far
One day at a time I will take this faith along

All this hope I breathe is given by the hand that carries me
Until I'm complete and I'll take all I will
To understand this plan you have for me, for me
I've been shut up shut down held out held down
In ways I never knew I would

I can't feel your fullness in my life
Well iIve been burned out broken torn out torn down
In ways I never knew I would
I can't feel your fullness in my life

One day at a time
I will take these words you've given me
One day at a time
I will rest in knowing you
One day at a time
I will share this gift you've given me
One day at a time
I will walk these valleys through

All I know is that I see how much my heart
Is longing to be cradled by your side
And I'll give all I can to one day soon
Be held by your hand, by your hand

In all these things Iwill press on
I'll be with you I know it won't be long
"Mistakes Are the Privilege of the Active Person"

The above quote comes from an email from my friend, Margery K. The context of the email was yet another discussion on God's grace and its nature. I have been pondering the above, especially in connection with the life of King David and by way of comparison, with my own. Mistakes are not necessarily the same thing as sin, of course. But if you are at all an active person who is going out and doing things, chances are you will have a lot of mistakes and maybe even a lot of sins happening. But as Margery has also reminded me, "mistakes are God's little learning opportunities." I seem to be getting a lot of those lately.

I guess the reason I am pondering David's life is that he was no poster boy for a sanitized view of sainthood. He was a truly great man with some spectacular failures in his life and yet he remained a man of God. A mark of salvation is that no matter how often or how far you fall, you always rise up and persevere, though you may find yourself at Heaven's gate bloodied and beaten by life and the consequences of sin. And you will find yourself more than a conqueror.

This is a time of sifting for me. I don't know how long this sifting will last, but I have the distinct feeling that it won't be over soon. I feel a fragility of soul that I have never felt before. I sometimes think I could easily splinter into a thousand million pieces. At other times, I feel a strong core of something sustaining me that surprises me. Temptations to complete despair and hopelessness can sometimes consume me, and then the Lord sends someone or something along to show me that I am not completely forsaken and that He is keeping me and maybe even using me. Most days all I know is to put one foot in front of the other and just do the duty that is in front of me. Some days I know that I am sustained by the power of God and His love for me. On the days that I don't know that, or doubt it, He sustains me anyhow and covers my sinful doubts with His mercy.

One of the things I am noticing in the Scriptures are the contrasts that exist. Psalm 40: 12 talks about how our iniquities are more than the hairs of our heads causing the heart to fail because of the sheer magnitude of their number. But earlier in the Psalm we also read how God's mercies are more than can be numbered. Does sin abound? Grace more than abounds to cover it. There are numerous superlatives found in Scripture regarding the love and mercy of God. Ephesians tells us that God is rich in mercy, and there is an exceeding richness of grace; riches of grace, made to abound to us. God is no stingy miser when it comes to covering our sins. The bizarre thing about grace is that the more you see your need of it, and the more you receive it, the less you feel like doing the things that require your need of it in the first place. Or so I am finding. Sanctification is happening, I guess.

I don't have a graceful way of ending this post. Sorry.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
lyrics by U2

I have climbed highest mountain
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you
But I still havent found what Im looking for
But I still havent found what Im looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven't found what Im looking for
But I still havent found what Im looking for

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well yes Im still running

You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believed it

But I still havent found what Im looking for...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Five Candles
Lyrics by Jars of Clay

A promise or a dare
I would jump if I knew you'd catch me
Staring over the edge
I can't tell if you'll be here for me
I close my eyes and make a wish
Turn out the lights and take a breath
Pray that when the wick is burned
You would say that it's all about love

You were there when I needed you
You were there when the skies broke wide, wide open
You were there when I needed you
You were there when the skies broke wide, wide open
You were never here

I remember you said
Love was more than your good intentions
Empty boxes on the floor
Things I never asked you for
I pray that when the wick is burned
You would say that it's all about love


I can't see the promise of
Excuses you fall upon
I pray to God not holding on
To things you've left undone

[Chorus x 2]
You were there when I
You were there when I
You were there when I needed you
lyrics by Jars of Clay

Arms nailed down,
Are you tellin me something?
Eyes turned out, Are you looking for someone?

This is the one thing,
The one thing that I know.

Blood-stained brow,
Are you dying for nothing?
Flesh and blood,
Is it so elemental?

This is the one thing,
The one thing that I know.
This is the one thing,
The one thing that I know.

Blood-stained brow,
He wasn't broken for nothing.
Arms nailed down,
He didn't die for nothing.

This is the one thing,
The one thing that I know.
This is the one thing,
The one thing that I know.
This is the one thing,
The one thing that I know.
This is the one thing,
The one thing that I know.

Sometimes when life is complicated and tangled, it helps to go back to the one thing you know.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Rain rain on my face
It hasn't stopped raining for days
My world is a flood
Slowly I become one with the mud

But if I can't swim after forty days
And my mind is crushed by the crashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall
Lift me up Lift me up -
When I'm falling Lift me up -
I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up - I need you to hold me
Lift me up - Keep me from drowning again

Down pour on my soul
Splashing in the ocean
I'm losing control
Dark sky all around
I can't feel my feet touching the ground

But if I can't swim after forty days
And my mind is crushed by the crashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall
Lift me up Lift me up - When I'm falling
Lift me up - I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up - I need you to hold me
Lift me up - Keep me from drowning again

Calm the storms that drench my eyes
And dry the streams still flowing
Casting down all the waves of sin
And guilt that overthrow me

If I can't swim after forty days
And my mind is crushed by the crashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall -
Lift me up

Lyrics from Jars of Clay

Don't try to reach me, I'm already dead
The pain when it grips me, for things that I've done
Well, I try to make you proud
But for crying out loud
Just give me a chance to hide away
Exhaustion takes over, will this someday be over?

Fearful tears are running down
The pain you've laid, don't speak a sound
Don't take my heart away from me
And they think I fell down, again

Daddy, don't you love me
Then why do you hit me
And Momma don't you love me
Then why do you hurt me
Well, I try to make you proud
But for crying out loud
Just give me a chance to hide away
Exhaustion takes over, will this someday be over?

Fearful tears are running down
The pain you've laid, don't speak a sound
Don't take my heart away from me
And they think I fell down

A teardrop falls from up in the heavens
Drowning the sorrow of angels in high
For the least of the helpless, the hopeless, the loveless
Your Jesus, His children, He holds in His eyes
He loves you, He sees you,
He knows you, Protects you,
He needs you, He holds you...

I am NOT referring to my parents in the above song. I was not a victim of child abuse and my parents are the best. This song is merely reflective of the effects of what I have been going through recently. Stuff is bubbling up from the bottom of my soul -- stuff that has been stuffed down and repressed for years.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sung by Mary Coughlin
from the CD Celtic Moods
Didn't see me, you didn't see me at all
Couldn't hear me, so you couldn't have heard me fall
And you never knew though I did everything I could do
'Cause I, I was invisible to you

Lost my shadow, crossed my shadow with yours
Passed a mirror, got no reflection there anymore
Since you walked right through, now I can't even seem to be blue
'Cause I, I was invisible to you
Oh I, I was invisible to you

Two in the morning
Staring at these pictures on my wall
It's funny how the pictures never call
And you never knew
Though I did everything I could do
'Cause I, I was invisible to you

Didn't see me, you didn't see me at all
Couldn't hear me, so you couldn't have heard me fall
And you never knew though I did everything I could do
'Cause I, I was invisible to you
Oh I, I was invisible to you...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Learning To Breathe"
Hello, good morning, how you do?
What makes your rising sun so new?
I could use a fresh beginning too
All of my regrets are nothing new
So this is the way that I say I need You
This is the way that
I'mLearning to breathe
I'm learning to crawl
I'm finding that You and You alone can break my fall
I'm living again, awake and alive
I'm dying to breathe in these abundant skies
Hello, good morning, how you been?
Yesterday left my head kicked in
I never, never thought that
I would fall like that
Never knew that I could hurt this bad
So this is the way that I say I need You
This is the way that I say I love You
This is the way that I say I'm Yours
This is the way, this is the way
That I'm learning to breathe
I'm learning to crawl
I'm finding that You and You alone can break my fall
I'm living again, awake and alive
I'm dying to breathe in these abundant skies
These abundant skies...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Like a Child
by Jars of Clay

Dear God,
Surround me as I speak,
The bridges that I walk across are weak
Frustrations fill the void that I can't solely bare

Dear God,
Don't let me fall apart
You've held me close to you
I have turned away and searched for answers I can't understand

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them falling to the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
With Faith Like a Child

When I feel miles away
And my eyes can't see your face
I wonder if I've grown to lose
The recklessness I walked in light of you

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing to the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
With Faith Like a Child

They say that love can heal the broken
They say that hope can make you see
They say that faith can find a Savior
If you would follow and believe
With Faith Like a Child

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Your [Wo]Man

by SmashMouth (with apologies for some minor editing)

I don't know why I'm with you
The only right thing I do is get along with you
And days go bye-bye for you but they fly by for me
It's true
I talked to you late last night
You said it wasn't all right but it would be all right
And when you sleep by yourself
You're not alone I'm with you

But you weren't listening when I told you everything
That you need I ain't got
You should be gone by now but you're not

I play guitar all night long
And I know hundreds of songs and I'll just play them all
And even when I get home somehow you're still alone
It's true
I don't know why you're with me
The only reason I see some sort of fetish thing
Some people like to be pleased and
Some like to be teased
Which are you?

I tried to warn you but you said just play dead
As long as we stay

But you weren't listening when I told you everything
That you need I ain't got
You should be gone by now but you're not
But you're not

Did your head not receive the shape of everything
That you are and I am?
I should be happy as your [wo]man
You know that I'm not

I play guitar all night long
And I know hundreds of songs and I'll just play them all
And when you sleep by yourself
You're not alone I'm with you
As long as we stay true

--You weren't listening when I told you everything
That you need I ain't got
You should be gone by now but you're not

But you're not
Face to Face
by Josh White of Telecast

Minutes dissolve as I fight this fall
I'm learning to crawl, trembling I call
Restrain my heart, replace it with You
Jesus, I'll deny myself. I will follow You

There will be a day
When all will fade away
And all that will remain
Is loving you face to face
Jesus, I pray
That You would come today
Faith will be replaced
With loving You face to face

You are the Gate
Which I entered in
You are the Path
Which I'm following
You are the Light
That carries me through
You are the Guide
That's leading me back to You.

There will be a day
When all will fade away
And all that will remain
Is loving You face to face
Jesus, I pray
That you would come today
Faith will be replaced
With loving you face to face.

Monday, September 25, 2006

By Josh White of Telecast

Dwelling on days gone by
All of this wasted time
Why do I want just to talk with You?

Burn away all the lies inside
Remind me where You reside, this time
I will remain in You

I won’t be satisfied
Until I’ve laid my eyes on You
I will abide in You
I won’t be satisfied Until You’re all that comes through
Until I’m saturated in You.

Feelings come and feelings go
Don’t care, just want to know
You more and more every moment

There are days that are dark, and I’m scared
Days I just fall apart, but You’re there
I will remain in You

And I will hold to You
In a world that’s so confused
Jesus, I love you
Saturate me with You.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Too Little, Too Late

How ironic. I wrote the words to this song that my son composed music for and I wrote it in response to what was happening in a friend's marriage. I never thought I would look back at it and see that it fit my life as well. All except for the bit about hate. I don't hate. I just feel indifferent.

The signs have been there
They’ve been there so long
The seeds you sowed so long ago
Have grown up too strong
The harvest now is bitter
As you reap what you have sown
Still waters run deep
And now you are alone

Your tears drop down your face like rain
As love slowly turns to hate
Repentance comes but now you fear
It’s too little, too late.

You thought the rules would bend for you
Well they bent until they broke
Neglect of duties and of joys
Made faith a perfect joke
Hypocrisy unseen by you
Made hearts as soft as stone
Still waters brought a deep divide
And now you are alone

Your children the unwilling victims
Of your "noble" sacrifice
To what you thought was the higher
And greater purpose of your life.
Seeds of missed opportunities
Were watered by their tears
And now you wish to go back in time
To uproot all the lost years.

Your tears drop down your face like rain
As love slowly turned to hate
Repentance comes but now you find
It’s too little, too late.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Waiting for the World to Fall
by Jars of Clay from the Chronicles of Narnia Soundtrack

I'm afraid it's been too long
to try to find the reasons why
I let my world close in around
a smaller patch of fading sky
But now I've grown beyond the walls
to where I've never been
And it's still winter in my wonderland

I'm waiting for the world to fall
I'm waiting for the scene to change
I'm waiting when the colors come
I'm waiting to let my world come undone

I close my eyes and try to see
the world unbroken underneath
The farther off and already
it just might make the life I lead
A little more than make-believe
when all my skies are painted blue
And the clouds don't ever change
the shape of who I am to You


I'm waiting for the world to fall
I'm waiting for the scene to change
I'm waiting when the colors come
I'm waiting to let my world come undone

When I catch the light of falling stars
my view is changing me
My view is changing me

I'm waiting

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Much Afraid
by Jars of Clay

Empty again
Sunken down so far
So scared to fall
I might not get up again
So I lay at your feet
All my brokenness
I carry all of my burdens to you

All of these things I've held up in vain
No reason nor rhyme
Just the scars that remain
Of all of these things
I'm so much afraid
Scared out of my mind
By the demons I've made
Sweet Jesus, you never ever let me go
Oh, sweet Jesus, never ever let me go

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Worlds Apart
by Jars of Clay

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all adds up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind

To rid myself of all but love,
To give and die
To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
More deeply than the oceans,
More abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life
I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

And I pray,
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
And wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remains
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
The battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
And wash the feet and cleanse my pride
Take the selfish, take the weak,
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
The sin and soaked heart and make it yours
Take my world all apart
Take it now, take it now
And serve the ones that I despise
Speak the words I can't deny
Watch the world I used to love
Fall to dust and thrown away

I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
So wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
So steal my heart and take the pain
Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
Take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
Take my world apart

Worlds Apart.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Whipping up My Energy

The other day I went to the library and took out some Tai Chi videos. I also took out two videos called Three Minutes to Power and Three Minutes to Peace by Master Lawrence Tan. The latter are videos based on the Universal form that uses a form of Kung Fu to build energy or calm yourself down, based on movements and breathing patterns that help to fuel your energy meridians.

In Eastern practices, breathing is very important. When you take in oxygen and it hitches up with the red blood cells, this creates a strong positive charge in the body. The water and tissues of the body have a strong negative charge. If you remember from your Grade 8 science class, whenever you have a positive charge and a negative charge you have energy and work potential. Think of it as a battery with its negative and positive poles. Then think of the meridians that are designated as being either yin or yang. This is just another way of saying positive or negative.

Electrical energy of the direct current kind is produced in the body and helps to cause many of its functions. There seems to be some evidence that we have both analog and digital forms of energy as well. Tai Chi and other forms of martial arts help to build the "chi" or bio-electrical energy stores of the body through the various movements that are performed. Some of the movements not only strengthen your own chi but can also be used to weaken your opponent's energy levels. I've seen this when I "unzipped" one of my sons central meridian that runs up the center of the trunk of the body. I then gave him a push that sent him flying backwards across the room, much to his and my surprise. He towers over my 5'11" with his 6'1" and muscular bulk and is considerably stronger than I am.

Anyhow, one of the things that I have trained my recticular activating system (the part of the brain that filters out stuff and brings things to your attention) to notice is subtle electrical current, especially as detected through my hands. When I was done doing some of the tai chi and the Universal form, I could feel a surge of energy in my hands and body and my mind became clear and focused. So yeah, it works.

I'm working on learning the tai chi forms as a means of stress relief and of improving my body's electrical function, as well as a means of getting in shape.

Speaking of shape, I am now into a size 14. Yeah! Still have about 25 or so pounds to go, but I'm getting there.
How to Be Diappointed in Life

"One of the best ways to have lots of disappointment in your life is to construct an image of how you would like things to be, and then try to make everything that way. You will feel disappointed as long as the world doesn't match your picture. That is one of the best ways I know of to keep yourself in a constant state of disappointment, because you are never going to get the world to match your picture. "

Frogs into Princes by Richard Bandler and John Grinder

Friday, September 08, 2006

One Heavy Burden Lifted

I can't believe how unstressed I feel now that I am no longer homeschooling. I'm ecstatic and the kids are very happy. I went to the parent/teacher open house last night and got to meet all the teachers that the children have. One of them I knew before as a homeschooler and I know she is truly gifted and called to teach.

Those of you who have had to labor for years, feeling like a square peg in a round hole will know exactly what I mean when I say that is how I felt as a homeschooler. It 's ok to go on about the high calling of homeschooling, but if you haven't got the knack of it, it makes for drudgery for everyone. It is like asking a tone deaf person to practice the piano for years in the hopes that one day they will be able to play a concert. I can teach all right. But it has to be the thing I am called to that I can teach. In my case, kinesionics and preventative health practices doesn't make for good training in phonics and math skills. And I refuse to feel guilty about it any more. Instead, I am going to concentrate on doing what I am actually skilled in and good at, and let others who are good at teaching, teach. And I'll fill in with love, understanding, and bag lunches. In fact, I feel a whole lot more understanding and loving towards my kids now that I am not being perpetually frustrated with having to teach them. I am praising God that I had a decent Christian school to send them to.

Now pray that I can finance this....

Friday, September 01, 2006

What I Did This Summer

Yeah, I know. It sounds like one of those cheesy school essays done early in September. So sue me.

My company has come and gone. [sniff!] It was fun while it all lasted, but now it is time to dig out from under the rubble of things that got shoved aside so we could all have fun and get back to the routine of school, laundry, cleaning, cooking, and daily living.

This year, school has a new meaning for me. It means FREEDOM! I've homeschooled for the last 18 years and now I am letting some people who are actually called to teach in a Christian school do it. That means I can now concentrate on being a "justa" wife and mother. Oh, and a student and kinesionics practitioner too. On the one hand, I feel like I am being an incredibly selfish person by not putting up with all the educational frustrations, total mess, and heavy workload and joylessness that I experienced over the years. Like I don't deserve any joy in life, and neither do my kids. (To all the Calvinists reading this -- I know I deserve hell and damnation, but I *am* one of the elect and therefore entitled, by grace, to joy now.)

And yeah. Socialization. I know all the arguments about why socialization at home is good for your kids when they homeschool. Truthfully, my kids have benefited from it. They all interact well with adults and kids of all ages because they weren't socialized to their peer group. Hopefully that will hold for them.

BTW, I'm not completely out of the homeschool mindset. I can't bear to part with the books yet. The kids may find them useful for homework or projects. And I will likely start teaching Elodie to read this year.

In other news, I just finished up four days of advanced training in kinesionics. I have a love/hate relationship with these courses. I love coming out of the training at the end with more tools for helping people. However, in order to get there, it is a case of "physician, heal thyself." In other words, I have to have the therapy done to me as well as practice on my classmates. This is usually good for at least one complete emotional meltdown. I cried my way home and cried my way back on at least two days. But it's all good. I'm all fixed now. [liar.]

My instructor is a rather reserved man and doesn't say too much, but I think he thinks I am doing well. The other students seem to think so, at any rate. My goal is to become as good as my instructor, and while I think I am a long way away from being that, but I intend to work hard in the next few years to move in that direction. Already I am taking my exams deeper than I had before and learning along the way. I'm also planning on branching out and taking in more education soon. I have a specialized course on nutrition and glyconutrients from the Miami University School of Medicine to finish up, and then I hope to start working on my wholistic nutrition bachelor of science from Clayton College of Natural Healing .

On other fronts: I continue to lose weight. I am planning on losing another 25 or 30 lbs and getting into seriously good shape. My elliptical trainer awaits me in the basement. I also have some tai chi videos for learning tai chi to go through, some Pilates DVD's to use, and a few other things I plan to use for accomplishing the above.

I don't have a lot of plans yet for what I plan to do with my time when the kids are in school beyond giving the house a thorough going over and instituting regular nap times for the pre-schoolers. I want to have some chill time to think things over and then decide from there what I want to do. I'm not an idle person by nature, and I hate wasting time on games and useless activities, so filling my time with profitable activities should not be a problem.

That's it for now....

Friday, August 18, 2006

This is hysterical!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Among the Things I Don't Deserve...

... is the friend I have in Willena. I can't help boasting of her after receiving what follows. This is a tribute, not to me, but to what a wonderful person she is and how blessed I am to have her for a friend. She captured me sentiments exactly.

Without Goodbye

Without goodbye there is no hello...
no anticipation for months before,
no rush of joy at first sight of her dear face,
no warm and welcoming hugs.

Without goodbye there are no post midnight talks...
no early "good morning"...
no late "good night,"
no exploring in person what's shared in writing,
no doing nothing together just to be together.

Without goodbye there are no long car rides...
no Zinfandel, Smirnoff or Schloss Lederheim,
no makeup, perms or pedicures,
no Earl's, White Spot or Empress Tea Room.

Without goodbye there are no stays in one another's homes...
no lying awake in the dark savouring those first moments,
no breathless excitement at knowing the loved one is near,
no togetherness in everything from dawn till dark.

Without goodbye there are no blue Canadian Rockies...
no Indian paintbrush, lilies and lupine,
no scallops, steppes, and swirls,
no living reminder of God's majesty and power.

Without goodbye there are no dark confessions...
no sharing of deepest secrets,
no souls knit together in love,
no Jonathan to Jonathan.

Without goodbye there are no dam bursts...
no heart to heart spanning cyberspace,
no building trust that knows no bounds,
no testing through darkness and silence.

Without goodbye there is no music in the night...
no parting gifts, sweet words and warm embraces,
no glimpse of heaven and my need for Him,
no time of reflection before returning to duties at home.

Without goodbye... there is no hello.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Two Friends Reprise...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

This is my Dad.
This is my Mom and I
Here I am again with Dad. Who do you think I resemble the most?
Dad is holding his grand-daughter Elodie, his great-grandson, Rogan, and his great grand-daughter, Keiannah. Doesn't look old enough to be a great grandpa, does he?
Here's a nice picture of my parents with my daughter, Trista. Below is a beautiful picture of my Mom holding baby Jimbles.

My Summer So Far

I haven't been posting much, mainly because life keeps getting in the way. By that I mean that I can either live life or write about it, but not do both, apparently. Things slowed down a bit in a number of ways in the past week and I have had plenty of time to think things over.

As you saw a few posts back, we had company from France. Since then I had some friends from Edmonton staying here, my parents arrived and stayed for a month, and my sister-in-law and her family came and stayed for a weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed having all the company, but it is always a bittersweet thing for me. In the back of my mind I know "good-bye" has to be said at some point.

At the top of this post is a very special coupleI'd like to introduce my readers to. They have long occupied an important place in my heart. The beautiful lady is my mother, and the handsome man is my father. I don't think there is another person on earth who could be as blessed as I am in my parents, with the exception of my sister.

Mom and Dad went out of their way to bless me through helping around the house. Mom folded mutiple baskets of laundry, Dad organized the boys to get in a winter's worth of wood, cut, split, and stacked in one afternoon. He also stained all the baseboards for the house. I was treated to a pedicure, tea at a tea house, free books, naps, and a break from the kids. I don't knowwhen I enjoyed my time with my parents more. They are a delight to be with and we all miss them terribly. Even Elodie woke up the other morning wondering where "Grampy" was.

My eldest son, Nathanael, graduated from high school in June and we attended his graduation ceremony with Bernard and Annie. He then moved home for the next month and a half, and it gave me the opportunity to bring some closure to the idea of his moving out on his own. He'll be 20 years old in exactly one month. In the duration between when he left the first time and now he has learned to become an extraordinary cook. His baked salmon is something to rave about, as are his Caesar salads.

Unfortunately, the closure I got over Nathanael's leaving was more than offset by the fact that Trahern decided it was time to move out as well. He didn't leave in a snit, there were no fights, etc. He just decided to try his wings. This hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I had only 2 or 3 days notice before he was gone. Poor kid. I couldn't even go into the bus station to see him off. Instead I sat in the van and howled while my parents did my office of seeing him go.

You never know what kind of impact a person has on your life until they are gone. Since Trahern left, the phone has been strangely silent. On one of my office walls I have a large framed photo composition with 12 openings; one for each of my kids. The picture of Trahern is typical of him -- He has a phone glued to his ear. Gone are also some of the boys' friends who used to drop in when he was at home. Funny. I didn't really think about the fact that I also lose the kids' friends when they move out, or that I would mind.

I can get through most of the day pretty well without being too upset by it all. But then comes supper time and it is almost more than I can bear to see the reduced number of plates I have to set out. My table was full to overflowing just a week and a half ago. Now we can fit everyone around it.

Garnet, who is nearly seven, seemed to feel it the most, at least outwardly. The first night after he learned of Trahern's moving out was spent crying. He cried himself to sleep and Trahern found him asleep in bed with tears still on his cheeks. He's been phoning the boys every night to talk to them. At least he has that. And the boys have been pretty good about keeping in touch and letting me know what they are doing. My one consolation in this is that Nathanael has promised to keep an eye on Trahern to keep him out of trouble. And for being so young at moving out, Trahern is being fairly sensible in that he has applied to go to school. He'll have to work part time, of course, to support himself, but at least he hasn't given up on the idea of completing his high school education.

So yeah. Summer has been a compound of joy mixed with sadness. One benefit of angst, at least for me, is that it stimulates my creative juices. Lately I have taken to writing poetry. I don't know what kind of poetry you would call it. I don't stick to a strict rhyming scheme, and it isn't pure free verse. It's just what I wanted to do. I'll end this post with a very rough draft of one I am currently working on. Mostly I was just jotting down some ideas of what I want to express. I suspect that the final form will be quite different.

Is it You?
Are You the One I desire?
Scan the faces I see
Looking through them
Searching for the one
Who put insatiable longing
In this heart.

Who will still this restless
Movement of soul?
Are you the Treasure at the end
Of my rainbow?
Are You the home fire
That lights my home?
Will I ever know
As I am known?

I think I see You
So dimly, so darkly
Through this clouded glass I have.
You leave the room as I enter
Traces of Your perfume
Linger where you passed
Whispers of your voice sing to me
Through the trees
I sense Your fingers’ touch
Through the skin of others
Never enough

I’m afraid of this hunger
Afraid of the stumbling
Reaching for You every which way
Afraid of the Consuming Fire
Afraid of Your touch
Yet longing for its warmth
Where are You?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Two Friends

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Apology for Modesty

by Douglas Wilson

The sin of immodesty is not a light matter. Nor is it a problem that can be isolated to this or that individual. We are God’s covenant people, and we worship Him together. We live together. Modesty in Christian women is therefore a very obvious indicator of whether or not a Christian people understand who they are.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works (1 Tim. 2: 9-10)

We should perhaps begin with a brief apology. We use the word apology in two basic ways. The first is when we are seeking to put something right, seeking forgiveness from someone we have wronged. The second is less frequently used, but it is the sense I am using here. An apology is a defense, and, given the nature of this subject, what we need to begin with here is a defense of plain-dealing. Because of our substitution of humanistic pietisms in the place of biblical law, we have found ourselves unable to deal with sin as God defines it. According to our traditions, there are certain things we must never say, and this has put us all in the position of having to ignore the elephant sitting on the coffee table because we have somehow acquired a taboo against saying the word "elephant."

But we should prefer having certain things said in church, so long as it is taken from the Bible, than to have other things routinely done in church, things which are plainly condemned by the Word. As we work through this, we should understand there are three basic sins in view—and none will be handled with excessive gentleness. One is the sin of being a pietistic and gnostic biddy. The other is that of thinking that one’s breasts and legs were meant to be displayed in such a way as to make the general public marvel. And the third is the sin of fathers and husbands who encourage or put up with either of the first two sins.
We need, obviously, a theology of modesty. I have noted a number of times that it is not possible for men and women, in their lives together, to avoid "talking" about Christ and the Church. Related to this, it is not possible for us to remove the question of dress from this.

We clearly have a need for reformation—doctrinal and practical infidelity on the part of God’s people is described throughout Scripture as adultery. And immodesty in Scripture is characterized as an invitation to adultery. So whenever a woman dresses in an immodest fashion, she is making a statement (although perhaps unintended) about the condition of the evangelical church today. Her statement is a public one—and not measured by what she says her intentions are—and that statement is I am easy. So the reason we have so much immodesty in Christian women today is that they are the Church in miniature. Too many women look cheap and easy because the Christian Church looks cheap and easy.

But we have to be careful not to fight with infidelity. Whenever a true problem appears in the Church, a natural response is for some to fight that problem "on God’s behalf," but the fight is offered according to the dictates of carnal wisdom. In other words, we fight with traditional values instead of with holy Scripture. And the reason we do not use Scripture is that God’s Word condemns more than just immodesty—it also condemns many of "our little virtues." But pietism always drags impiety after it. In short, we have to fight immodesty in a scriptural way, and not by means of Victorianism.

A big part of the problem is the sin of abdication—fathers and husbands today are simply not jealous enough. Men must look to Christ and the Church for their pattern because they in turn are representing that pattern. "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2). Tragically, it cannot go without saying anymore—if the goal is to present a chaste virgin, it should also be a goal to present her looking like a chaste virgin."Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:25-27). A virgin daughter, and a chaste wife, are to be loved and sacrificed for, in order that they might be cleansed, glorious, spotless, without wrinkle, or anything like it, holy, and without blemish. These things mean, among others, that fathers should care very much about whether their daughters look like bed bait. It would be nice to say we don’t have that problem in the Church today—but we do.

We should see in the passage from 1 Timothy that we have a command to adorn—just as men are commanded to pray with holy hands in the previous verse, women are commanded to honor God in how they adorn themselves. An aesthetic principle is revealed here, incidentally. Simplicity is valued in Scripture, not because it is "plain and ugly," but because it is lovely. The question for Christian women is not "to adorn or not to adorn?" The question is rather to adorn the way God commands, or another way.

So let us return to the "three problems" stated earlier. The first is the problem of all gnostic attempts to define modesty. The second is immodesty itself (when scripturally defined). And the third is the problem of Christian men abdicating in the face of the first two problems. Christian men need to cultivate a biblically informed jealousy (2 Cor. 11:2).

As the text makes plain, Paul is looking for a modest demeanor. This demeanor, this heart, this spirit, is the heart and soul of true modesty. If the heart attitude is not there, then all the dress codes in the world will fix nothing.

The first thing to call for is a modesty of the heart. When this modest attitude is absent, the external sins that replace it can and will vary. Sometimes immodest women are ostentatious, decked out like a circus horse (1 Tim. 2:9-10). Sometimes they are silly, vain, giggly boy-crazy types—daughters of Zion strutting their stuff at the mall (Is. 3: 16). Sometimes they are sexually provocative (Prov. 7:10). This is not measured necessarily by the amount of cloth involved. Such a woman can be covered from the neck to the floor and do all her work with her eyes (Prov. 6:25). But they are always missing aidos and sophrosune, the words in our text that refer to bashful self-respect and prudent sensibility respectively.

There are two elements to this, and the first might be called creation modesty. When the attitude is right, any young woman who is not a fool wants instruction. She is eager for it. And in coming to the Word, we find that certain basic standards transcend cultural differences. When God, the first tailor, covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve, He covered their torsos. We know this from the word used for their clothing which is used a number of times in Scripture (Gen. 3:21). And when God rises in judgment against sexual immorality, one of the things He does is uncover the nakedness of those under judgment (Jer. 13:26-27; Nah. 3:4-6). This uncovering gives us a good understanding of what covering needs to do. The basic standard is evident (Ex. 28:42; cf. 20:26).

But there is also a cultural aspect to modesty. The Bible also teaches us that clothes are a form of language. They can communicate joy (Is. 52:1), sorrow (Gen. 38:14, 19), prideful giddiness (Is. 3:16), formality (Matt. 22:11-12), and so on. Now, consider the nature of language. The fact that certain obscene sounds in English were not obscene in the time of Paul (Eph. 4:29) does not mean we get to use those sounds as we please. It is the same with clothes. We cannot do certain things that have a particular meaning, and then when we get a drastic response because of that meaning, defend ourselves by saying that "this doesn’t mean that in China. Everything’s relative!" No, nothing is relative—but many things are particular. What does this mean here, now? Clothing can be immodest because a particular culture has given certain articles of clothing a particular meaning. If in a particular society, wearing red meant that a woman was a prostitute, it would be immodest for a woman to wear red, even though the Bible says nothing against wearing red in itself.

The point is often made that the "legalist" should not try to make rules that will cover every situation. And this is correct—he should not. But it is often not noticed that it is the "licentious" who loudly object to such rules while simultaneously demanding them. Suppose someone in authority (at a school, say) said, "All right. No rules about dress. Let’s all be reasonable. If you cross the line, I’ll send you home." The first objection that will be made when the discipline occurs, in a nasal whine, will be, "No one told me . . ." Yes, and if you had been told you would have laughed at the "legalism." What we are dealing with here is a complicated mixture of sin and stupidity. But this is not said in order to excuse anyone in any way. Being dumb is culpable, and being sinful is folly. A young girl with this problem does not dress in the way she does because she thinks it makes her look like a nun.

So the application is not difficult to understand, but some crucifixion is involved here. Christian women should resolve to master certain basic principles. Dress the heart before you dress the body—without the heart issues resolved, the more you study this issue, the more tangled it gets. But resolve, by the grace of God, to honor your parents, cultivate aidos, suspect your own wisdom, and suddenly everything becomes clear. Remember who you represent—as already discussed, Christian women represent the Church. You must not dress in a manner that replicates the dismal condition of the modern church. You represent your doctrine. You must not make Calvinist women look like tramps or prudes. You represent your family, and particularly your father or husband. More than one insufficiently-dressed woman has made her covenant head look either like a clueless idiot or like a whipped puppy. Dress like a fool if you want fools for children—God is not mocked. Women will reap what they sow as well as men. In the natural world, certain mating displays are calculated to attract the male or female of that same species. Well, it works here too. Fools reproduce after their kind just like the beasts of the field.

With these principles down, what about the details? The difficulty is frequently in the particulars. When we come to concrete applications and decisions, wisdom can be particularly tricky, and folly finds it easy to raise the objections. When we finally come to the point of decisions about this or that, folly has little difficulty in obfuscating the genuine issues. "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14).

We need to begin by emphasizing the necessity of judgment calls. In countless ways, the Scripture requires us make decisions and applications. Such applications are not extra-biblical legalisms. Legalism results in contradicting the Bible, often in the name of holiness. Application means deciding how the scriptural requirement applies in a particular instance. The Scripture says that wine is a gift of God, and the Scripture also says not to be drunk with wine, wherein is dissipation. Consequently, somewhere between the first sip and the onset of drunkenness is a line that Christians must establish on their own—and the Bible does not give us a blood/alcohol limit. And like so much of what we are do, this is not individualistic. It is the same with standards of modesty—these are community issues. And so we should address them as a community, with the Scriptures at the center (Heb. 10:22).
We should begin by preparing the conscience. The Bible teaches that conscience is an important factor in all such considerations. But the conscience is to be informed—remember our text from Hebrews—and the informational hierarchy is established in such things by Scripture, church, parents, tradition, community, and last, your very cool cousin, the one who flaunts her belly button ring down at that government school gulag she goes to.

We should strive to abandon individualism. When others have an opinion on what you wear, they are not prying into business not their own. Clothes are a public act. The problem of being a busybody is not present just because something is said. The issue is what is said, and why. We should take care to stop searing the conscience. For example, in your entertainment standards, do not grow accustomed to that which is foul. That which is acceptable in digital two-dimensional space will soon enough be acceptable in three dimensions. Do not sear the conscience. But also remember that it is the prohibitionists in Scripture who are the ones described as searing the conscience (1 Tim. 4:1-5). St. Paul tells us that we are to think about, meditate on, whatever is lovely, pure, noble, etc. But here is a judgment call again. And an informed conscience is a good companion here. "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled" (Tit. 1:15).

And so, what about some judgment calls? Is it a sin to have two beers? Of course not. But if I saw a young man having two beers right in a row, I would still smack his fat little head. And there is no contradiction. With clothing, be mindful of lines of sight. Just as a painting done well draws the eye to a certain focal point, just as a wise architect knows how to draw the eye to certain places on his building, so the lines of clothing can do the same. Examples include unbuttoned blouses, tight jeans, or high slits in dresses. The issue is not what is seen, but rather what is indicated, whether out of sight or not. Then there is the problem of ankle busters. Barbie doll high heels are engineered to accentuate the buttocks. But if you are not selling, don’t advertise. Then there is the problem that is summarized by the phrase too tight. Tight skirts, tight tee-shirts, tight jeans, tight sweaters, are all indications of loose character—or the other possibility, which is the presence of a bimbo of very little brain. But we want more options for our daughters than easy or stupid. So if your daughter puts a quarter in her hip pocket and the boys can tell if it is heads or tails, then there is a problem. And what about swimwear? Too many women are schizophrenic here. The Bible does not require modesty, "except at the pool." Clothing also has a behavioral aspect. Many young Christian women must learn how to sit, stand, and walk like ladies. This is far more important than many realize. And of course, there is the obvious problem of too little—short skirts, teeny spaghetti-strapped tee-shirts, short shorts. Try to limit exposed skin to half an acre or so.

There are two temptations here. One reaction just runs away from all this "legalism." The other overreaction heads off in the opposite direction and start dressing like an androgynous humanoid unit. But women should dress as women, and they must glory in how God has made them. And how God has created them should not be denied in the name of modesty. But an essential part of that feminine glory is a modest reserve, a certain attractive reticence. A Christian woman should dress with a clean conscience. Are you willing to change how you dress? And she should dress as an intelligent woman—immodest women dress as though they hadn’t a clue about the effect they have. But other women panic over immodesty as though Christian men will be undone at the sight of a knee. Or two knees.

So. Let us suppose for a moment that we are all convinced. Such things as a general cultural modesty will not be brought about through simply convincing people. The issue is not what we are prepared to think about in our heads, but rather what we do as a community of saints with regard to this issue.

True belief is measured the same way love is—through what brings about discipline. Without discipline, the most strongly-held belief is mere opinion, to be disregarded and unloved by others. And why should they not disregard it? The one who professes to love this position refuses to protect it. Why should anyone else care to protect it?

When something goes wrong, we have two legitimate options, and one popular illegitimate one. The first option is to cover it—when someone shows up in an outfit that you believe is inappropriate, the first option is to overlook such offenses in love. There are many instances when love is called to cover a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8). But covering it means covering it. Even if she has not adequately covered herself, you should cover her with love. The second option is to confront it. There are times when love cannot permit an instance of immodesty to pass by. In such circumstances, then love confronts, honestly, openly, and up the middle. We will address how this is to be done in just a moment. And the third option, the one that is not an option, is to carp about it. This illegitimate option, so natural to many, is to refuse to cover it in love, and also refuse to confront anyone about it. Instead, these folks go off in a corner and whisper about it critically and at length with all the wrong people. Either you speak to the person, or with those who are appointed to help you speak to the person, or to no one at all.

So we need to deal with a series of ifs. What do we do when . . .? And the problem we have to solve is this: how can we live together as a community on this issue without creating two-hundred different "dress codes?"

First, what do we do when advice is sought? In many instances, women have sought advice on a particular article of clothing and have been assured that it is just fine, when it is not. So if someone seeks your counsel, tell them the truth. This especially includes the hard cases where unattractive and/or insecure girls dress in this way.

And when you find yourself in a situation where you need to talk about his, start with questions. On this subject, in any confrontation, do not start with a charge or accusation. Start by asking. Initiate a conversation. Be willing to hear the other person out. You will freequently learn that you did not have all the facts. If you ask, "Why are they so defensive?" it may have been because they saw your face as your approached.

It is sometimes a good idea to have the men who are involved talk about it. If there is in fact a consistent problem that must be addressed, then have your husband or father talk to her husband or father about it. Perhaps this will not result in the necessary fireworks. That would be good.

What about a girl friend to girl friend? As above, tell the truth when asked. And, depending on the closeness of your friends, a peer may approach a peer with questions and prudent suggestions.

There are some young men who want to take it upon themselves to talk to the girls about modesty issues. But, going out on a limb here, I want to say that under no circumstances should a young man undertake to correct a woman about her dress. It is important to note here that women dress the way they do because it gets a desired response, and the young men are responsible for giving that response. Now some young men cluster round because they enjoy the show. But others happen to be around, and are regularly provoked in a negative, but do not know what to do. Instead of offering rebukes, what they should do is find some other friends. And if anyone asks about the reason for the change, tell them.

We also have to deal with the young man who needs to get a life. There is a type of young man who falls in love with the models in a Sears catalog. He has his sensibilities affronted by the fact that young women are built differently. He thinks women immodest simply because they bother him, but what he doesn’t know is that he is a piece of work.

Fathers and husband should always remember their responsibilities to love, lead, teach, and admonish. And of course, they should do nothing from exasperation (Gal. 6:1), and nothing with a double standard (Matt. 7:1-2).

Friday, June 23, 2006

Every year that we go to Barkerville, a restored gold mining town in the central interior of British Columbia, we take a picture of the family in this exact spot as a family tradition to see how we have changed over the years. This is this year's installment with Bernard and Annie rounding things out.

This is "Tante" Annie, Bernard's sweet little wife. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met.

This is "Uncle Bernard" with his "god daughter" Elodie. No, we aren't Roman Catholic or Anglican. I don't think Bernard is either, but he wanted to have a special relationship with this one, and this is what he calls her. Bernard is actually Marc's first cousin twice removed. He and Annie live near Paris, France, and have invited us to come over and enjoy their fine cuisine, and sail the Meditteranean with them on their boat. Guess what I hope to be doing in a year or so?

I'm Officially Free!

From school, that is. All the final reports are in and now I am in the awkward stage between having to do a predictable routine centered around school, and getting on with the new routine of summer. I have plenty to do, but it is hard to break free from the habitual guilt of wondering if I accomplished enough by drilling, etc., with the kids. As it is, I still intend to enter them in a summer reading program at the local library and drill them on their math facts through out the summer, just to keep their hand in, so to speak. Maybe.

On other fronts, I continue to win the battle of the bulge. I am now no longer able to shop in the Plus sizes section. Yeah! Pretty soon, extra large will be too big for me as well. I am already able to get into some large size things. My goal is to get to medium, and it is possible that I will be there before the end of the summer. I have been walking almost every day, but I think it is time to add in a few weights just to firm things up a bit and give a bit of shape to things. One thing that likely won't change is the baby roll in front. This is all the extra skin I grew to accomodate all the tenants that resided inside me at various times in my adult life. The elastic in my skin is gone there. Thank goodness for Platex and reinforced tummy control! At least it shifts things around a bit so that I look more like a human instead of a sway-backed brood mare who has been bred a few too many times.

The next few weeks promise to be a bit insane. My daughter Trish arrives tonight for a 24 hour visit. This is so she can see her sister Hannah in her dance recital, and so we can admire her tiny bulge where baby is. Hannah is also planning on celebrating her birthday party tomorrow, a week and a bit early since all her siblings will be here.

Sunday, Bernard and Annie return on their way back to Vancouver. They will likely be here til Tuesday. Monday is Ben's last school exam, and I have two new clients that day. Tuesday is designated Muffin and Cookie day -- in order to bake all the muffins and cookies I promised to bring for the Conventicle weekend. Wednesday morning is another new client, and the afternoon is Nathanael's graduation ceremony, followed by a special supper at home.

Thursday my weekend company arrives. Friday I entertain company, cook a roast and ham and slice them for the weekend, and begin the process of really enjoying myself with all the fellowship and fun that we have planned for that weekend. I probably won't surface for a few days after that.

Some company leaves on Tuesday, more arrives on the following Thursday, leaves temporarily on Friday, comes back again on Monday, while other new company arrives on Friday. The last of the covenanters leaves my home on Sunday, and the lot which arrives on Friday leaves on Monday. Got all that?

By Monday, July10th, things will hopefully die down to a dull roar and I'll be able to enjoy my parents in peace for the rest of the month.

Excuse me. I have to rest after typing all that.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Specialized Diet

This week has been an interesting one diet-wise. I have been eating like a French woman. My husband's cousin and wife are visiting from France, and lucky for me, Bernard likes to cook! So, lots of good food, and lovely, lovely wines to compliment the food. And my waist line? I don't care! You hear me?!? I don't care!!!!

But actually, I continue to lose. Heheheheh! (rejoicing all around)

Monday, June 05, 2006


That is what the technician said of my echocardiogram. Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary to see or hear, and why was I there?!?

So Mom, you can stop stressing out over me. Apparently I will not keel over with a heart attack any time soon.

No walkies today because I went to the hospital instead. No breakfast because I was supposed to do a fasting glucose and cholesterol test. No lunch because I got busy with other things. Snacked on cold roasted potatoes and pork later on, Supper was 2 smal chicken enchiladas and some Mrs. May's Almond Crunch. Coffee, water, and cranberry water rounded out the fluid intake.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Yeah, yeah...

Day 4,5,6 -- ate some. Exercised some. Cheated some. So there!

I know I am making progress because I am back into the clothing I wore before I got pregnant with James.

The one thing about losing weight when I was young, it was like shedding an entire skin. Now it comes off in funny ways and places leaving me looking bulgy in some areas and not in others. I have magnificent shoulders, my flanks are thinning out, but my upper arms and derriere, well. Let's be thankful I have to wear clothing.

A lot of my exercise in the coming week will come in the form of climbing up and down a stool as I wash walls, windows, doors, and various items of furniture. My house looks like a total disaster right now as I have been turning out clothing not needed for this season and getting rid of stuff. Most of it is deposited in piles in the upstairs hallway and it is an exercise in agility to make your way through it. However, most of it will find a home in the next week, either in storage bins in the attic, or recycled at a local Sally Ann. In the meantime, my poor husband, who likes an orderly house, is living through yet another year's chaos as I deep clean each room.

Somehow in the midst of all this, I forgot to check and see when I was supposed to have all the children's work turned in. Last week. Ooops! So in addition to deep cleaning, we will also be finishing up the portfolio's, doing tests, compiling school work, etc., and then shipping it off for evaluation. And oh -- my company from France arrives in the midst of all this. I have an echocardiogram on Monday morning, and three clients scheduled this week. James' first birthday is on Saturday. Let's hope I locate the camera by then because I missed getting Elodie's birthday pictures.

Not stressing! No! Ha ha ha!

heheheh.. ehhhh.

Gonna go and read some Rushdoony or Calvin now.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 3 and Why Nursing Babies are a Hazard

I'll try not to be too boring with my reports by adding in a few other things to make it interesting.

First the report -- did another walk this morning, followed by some light resistance training in my upper body. Had two eggs and back bacon for breakfast and a protein shake with yogurt, frozen peaches, whey powder, water, and some EFA's added to it for lunch.

Snacked on left over pork souvlaki. Yum, even when cold.

Cheated with an iced cap from Tim Horton's. Ate an organic apple while at the health food store. Nobly refrained from buying organic chocolate on sale. Ate two bites of a piece of pizza and then gave the rest away. Hmmm. Got some lamb kebabs for supper, but truthfully, I wasn't hungry so I didn't eat any.

It probably looks like I am not eating very much and am really restraining myself, but the truth is that I am paying attention to how I feel hungerwise and am learning not to bother eating if I am not hungry, and only eating to satiety when I am.

On to James. What a little rascal. So there we are in the grocery store and I go over to James, who sitting in the cart looking adorable and happy. I bend down to give him a little kiss, and without warning he pastes me one in the eye. And then laughs as I stagger back clutching my eyeball.

But that wasn't nearly so bad as what he did later. A baby who nurses at the breast is very dangerous.

I am at the checkout stand waiting to pay for my groceries. A gentleman in front of me is packing his groceries with his daughter as I wait. I foolishly come within range of James' gumby-like arms and he shoots out a fist, grabs ahold of the front of my shirt and begins to yank it down. I swiftly grab the shirt and hold it up while paying the clerk. As I remove my hand to take the receipt from the clerk, James strikes like lightening, only this time he manages to reveal my cleavage, my bra, and even the old stretch marks around my navel. The gentleman goes pop-eyed as I rapidly haul my neckline back up to the neck where it belongs while turning several interesting shades of burgundy. Says the gentleman, "Boy, he's fast with his hands!"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day 2

Yes, I walked again today. Then I went to the chiropracters. Again. He still hadn't fixed my hip properly and it was still giving me pepper but things are better now. The rest of the day was spent walking all over various stores buying groceries, fencing for pigs, and assorted items. So much for activity.

Eating: I had a bagel for breakfast. And an iced cappacino from Tim Hortons. Sounds low cal and healthy right? Not. However, the day wasn't a dead loss. In addition to drinking water and cranberry water, I had pork souvlaki and salad for supper. Wasn't hungry for lunch so I didn't remember to eat and I was still out doing stuff anyway. Maybe I'll have a grapefruit before I go to bed. Maybe I'll finish capping all my herbs so I can get back on that regime again.

In other news, I have not got a thing done with regard to housecleaning. Maybe I should just forget the pig fence and invite the pigs in here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Race to Lose

Today is day one of a weight loss challenge that I issued to my friend Willena. In five weeks we will be meeting together at a Covenanter conventicle my local society is hosting this summer. In the meantime, I want to drop some more weight and so does she, so this is where we are going to post our daily progress.

Now I don't know about Willena, but I am NOT going to give out any measurements or weight. I will however, give a daily report on what I am doing and what I have eaten.

Day 1 -- Cranberry water and then some kombucha tea in the morning. That was it until supper time when I had a tiny bit of salad, a few pieces of roasted potatoes and a few slices of grilled steak. Lest you think I was deliberately starving myself, I had a touch of stomach flu today and spent most of my time sleeping. I did, however, manage to get in a walk this morning. And I did a few bicep curls in a desultory way.

Tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy GRANDmother's Day to Me!

Yes, I am going to be a grandmother again. [smiles]

Trisha called tonight to give me the happy news. A honeymoon baby is due in December. May God grant a safe and happy delivery to baby and mother.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Another Gem from DW

The Role of Biblical WomenTopic: Themes In Proverbs

We live in a fallen world in which God works redemptively. This means that nothing can be simply assumed to be in submission to God. It can only be assumed to be in submission to Him, or not. Consequently, we must consider all things as a blessing, or a curse, depending upon its relationship to the Word of God. "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones" (Prov. 12:4). This is why women are a wonder to have around. Or a horror.

I want to conclude with a positive statement about women from Proverbs, and so we will begin with certain problem women. When women are disobedient, the dislocations in our lives are severe. One obvious problem is that of the seductive woman -- "This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wickedness’" (30:20). The wisdom of God found in Scripture brings with it as no small blessing the fact that it preserves a man from a horrible pit (2:16; 6:24; 7:5). This horrible pit is the mouth of an immoral woman; those who are hated by God will fall there (22:14). We sometimes assume that if we do certain things (like commit adultery) then we will incur the displeasure of God. This is true, but it is also true that if we incur His displeasure, we will do certain things (like commit adultery). The one who is hated by God will fall into the arms of an immoral woman. This principle must be seen by obedient faith, because an immoral woman looks good (7:10) and sounds good (5:3). Nothing is accomplished by Christians denying the obvious. But the Bible also teaches that when all is said and done, adultery is a form of suicide. "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul" (6:32). Those who only think about the good appearance of promised of sexual pleasure "all night long" do not see that the end of this is death. But those who see that the end is death sometimes try to pretend that the beginning is equally obvious. But unless we are trusting God's word on this, it is not as obvious.

Another problem is caused by the quarrelsome woman -- Proverbs has much to say about the clamor of foolish women (9:13). Better to live in the corner of an attic than to be around a contentious woman (21:9; 25:24). Better to be out in the desert than to be around a quarrelsome woman (21:19). To be in a house that leaks during a downpour is about the same (27:15). In short, the Bible teaches that quarrelsome women are a pain in the neck.

Contrasted with this kind of covenantal chastizement, what does Proverbs say about biblical women? As we have seen, a foolish woman is a destructive force. In contrast, what are the characteristics of the obedient woman? First, she is described as a sexually superior woman. Husbands are called to rejoice sexually with their wives (5:18); they are commanded to be enraptured (5:19). This is something the husband is commanded to do, and is able to do, but not alone. In other words, a biblical wife can outdo all the one-night-stands in the world. Information to the contrary is nothing more than lying propaganda. She is also described as an edifying woman. "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands" (14:1). A godly wife builds and contributes. She blesses her husband and family in tangible ways. And we are also told that a good woman is, like our salvation, a gift of God, lest any should boast. A good wife is a tangible sign of God's blessing (18:22). Put another way, a prudent wife is from the Lord (19:14).

But this is still a little general. When we look at some of the particulars, we may be surprised. This is because many people assume that the "biblical wife" and the "traditional wife" are one and the same. In some respects, yes, but in many, no. The book of Proverbs is about two archtypical women -- Folly and Wisdom. And when we come to the end of the book, we have a particular woman described, one who embodies the characteristics of Wisdom. And many Christians know this, and refer jokingly to the "Proverbs 31 woman," but they often do this without looking closely at what she actually does.

So when we affirm the biblical role of women, we must take care at the same time to avoid overreaction. The biblical woman and the traditional woman are not necessarily identical. Of course, there will be many areas where we see the traditional woman as being closer to the biblical norm than the "modern feminist." But this is not how we are to make judgments -- grading on a curve. For example, let us consider in detail the ideal woman of Proverbs 31. Such a consideration is not altered at all through the recognition that a woman capable of everything in this chapter really would be a "superwoman," a rare find. As Elizabeth put it to Mr. Darcy, she was astonished that he knew any "accomplished women" at all. This reality is stated in the chapter (31:10) -- and it is this which makes the description so helpful as a pattern for imitation. The point is not to say that anything less is complete failure, but rather to note that we have a good idea of the direction we should be thinking. Consider her work. This passage denies that a woman's place is in the home. It affirms that her priority is the home. So what does she do? What is she like?

Her husband delegates responsibility to her (31:11), and is not foolish in doing so (31:12); she is a weaver (31:13); she shops for food effectively over long distances, making CostCo runs to Lewiston (31:14); she cooks and provides food (31:15); she buys real estate (31:16); she starts a farm with her accumulated capital (31:16); she works hard, and manufactures quality merchandise (31:17-19); she is deeply involved in philanthropic work to the poor (31:20); she thinks ahead, and clothes her family well (31:21); she makes things for herself, and dresses herself well (31:22); she poses no threat to her husband; she does not compete with him or try to overshadow him (31:23); she is a fabric and clothing wholesaler (31:24); she is a wise woman, and a teacher (31:26); she manages her household (31:27), to the praise of her husband and children (31:28-29); and she fears God, placing no trust in fleeting vanity (31:30-31).