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Saturday, December 27, 2003 AD
Wow. Netscape 4.75. Wow.
And dial-up, too. My site is ugly and slow. Blogger's really weird, too. But who cares? I made it safely to Alabama. Didn't get lost 'til the very end when it was dark and I misunderstood Sarah's directions. Probably won't be blogging much this week. If anybody wants to move to Gadsden, here's a fabulous house for sale.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/27/2003 10:30:00 AM • Permalink
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Thursday, December 25, 2003 AD

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.
Stooping so low, but sinners raising,
Heav'nward by Thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Savior and King, we worship Thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what Thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Savior and King, we worship Thee.

Words: Frank Houghton
Tune: Quelle Est Cette Odeur Agréable? (Traditional French Carol)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/25/2003 12:00:00 AM • Permalink
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Wednesday, December 24, 2003 AD
The Unexpected
On November 3 -- seven weeks ago -- I sent an e-mail to my friend Sarah in Alabama. In her last missive she'd inquired as to when I might be able to accept her family's long-standing invitation to visit. I replied that I had two weeks off at Christmas, but that I suspected they'd either be travelling or have guests. When I didn't hear back, I assumed my suspicion was correct.

Well it turns out that Sarah didn't read my e-mail 'til yesterday. As her daughter put it, "Mom! She could have already been here by now!" Sarah was disappointed and wrote to ask if there was any other holiday when I might be able to visit. I replied (and cc'd her husband, Mark, who I figured, correctly, would get it first) how 'bout New Year's? Sarah called this afternoon and said come on down! So after shifting some other plans and commitments, I'm heading southward on Friday. Since it's a long haul, I'm hoping to find a place to stay Friday night, but I may just have to drive straight through. I'll be driving straight through on the way down. Happily, I have found a place for the way back -- thanks, PBC!

Between the time I replied to Sarah's message and the time I heard back from her, I wept and begged God to allow me to go. After she called I wept some more and thanked Him. I've been longing to spend time with Mark and Sarah. I've longed for their counsel on some things I'm struggling with. I know I can trust them to understand where I'm coming from. I know I can trust them to answer me wisely from Scripture. And I know I can trust them to be sympathetic to the extent that I need sympathy and unsympathetic to the extent that I need a kick in the keister. Is there any better kind of counselor?

Anyway, the opportunity to take this trip is an unexpected gift from a gracious and sovereign God who supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory. Praise Him!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/24/2003 11:34:00 PM • Permalink
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Yay for External Hard Drives
I'm in the process of backing up all my program files and other important things in case the problem is my C drive and not just my monitor. I can't even articulate what the problem is...it's just being flaky. My next trick will be to steal someone else's monitor and hook it up to my machine to narrow down the problem possibilities.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/24/2003 09:27:00 PM • Permalink
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Tuesday, December 23, 2003 AD
My Computer's Gone Wonky
Horizontal streaks appear across the monitor and things aren't working properly -- not enough data yet to say exactly what. Ack! I hope it doesn't die on me!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/23/2003 08:28:00 PM • Permalink
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Monday, December 22, 2003 AD
Ankle Update
It appears to be only a very minor sprain. It's still hurting some, especially if I turn it too far either direction, but not like the last time I sprained it. I've got a thin elastic support brace thingy on it, but I'm not on crutches. I think I'll be OK as long as I'm careful! :-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/22/2003 04:15:00 PM • Permalink
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Friday, December 19, 2003 AD
Sometimes It Pays to Be a Packrat
Finally getting ready to leave the office. Between the swelling and the Ace bandange, I can't get my shoes on. But wait! Since I had my Danskos delivered to the office, I took off my former shoes and they've been sitting under my desk ever since. And they fit!

It does not, however, pay to be an idiot who stays late at the office to play online. I have an offer to borrow crutches from a friend, but now it's too late to go pester her to pick them up, so I'm going to have to go 'til sometime tomorrow without them.

The last time I sprained an ankle it took months to heal because I didn't stay off of it, so I want to be a good girl this time and get onto crutches ASAP.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/19/2003 10:10:00 PM • Permalink
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You Go, Uganda!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not for sale.

Link from Paul B.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/19/2003 09:47:00 PM • Permalink
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Any seamstresses out there know anything about silk?

I bought some black and silver Indian silk fabric on eBay a while back to make a blouse. Unfortunately, because the stripes went the opposite direction of what I was expecting, I don't have enough for the sleeves. But I will be able to make the blouse much longer -- sort of a salwar style. I want to buy some plain black to do the sleeves and also to make a pair of coordinating pants. There's enough silver from along one edge of the fabric to edge the sleeves and the pants cuffs, I think, to pull the whole thing together.

Unfortunately, silk doesn't seem to be available in any fabric stores around here. So I'm back to looking online. I didn't know there were so many different kinds of silk! I think habatai (China silk) is closest, but Dupioni might be a little heavier and therefore better for the pants. Would there be any problem with joining two slightly different types of fabric in the same garment?

When it's done I'm going to wear it with some silver and turqouise jewelry I have for a happy confusion of East Indian and American Indian.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/19/2003 07:58:00 PM • Permalink
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Brother Down
Just received a CD (see previous post for comment thereupon) by these guys and am enjoying it. I'm no good at reviewing music or movies or literature, I just knows what I likes, and I likes this -- interesting tunes, intelligent lyrics.

On the six degrees of separation front, one of the members is a cousin of Dewydd (for you ABC denizens) and another is a grandson of Richard Wurmbrand. I remember reading a couple of Wurmbrand's books when I was in high school and making an inarticulate and ineffective attempt to use some of his stories to argue in some class that Communism is a Bad Thing, man.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/19/2003 05:41:00 PM • Permalink
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Why Is It...?
Why is it that the more technologically advanced recorded music formats get, the harder it is to open them?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/19/2003 04:15:00 PM • Permalink
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The One Problem With Danskos
The heels on Danskos are bigger and clunkier than I'm used to wearing. Therefore a) they make me at least an inch taller than any other shoes I've worn in years, something my 5'9" frame doesn't really need, and 2) I just managed to trip over my own feet and sprain my ankle while walking in the silly things, something my busy schedule doesn't really need, but evidently my spirit rather does.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/19/2003 03:12:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, December 18, 2003 AD
This Cracked Me Up
"I'm glad the trilogy is done, though. Going to the movies once a year for the past three years has been grueling, and I'm looking forward to a long break."
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/18/2003 06:19:00 PM • Permalink
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Wednesday, December 17, 2003 AD
Another Christmas Present for Me
I went to K-Mart this morning to pick up a microwave -- my mom's gift to my brother David. I really didn't mean to look for anything for myself, but I've been wanting a crockpot and they were right there next to the microwaves. There was a 7-quart model on sale for about one-third off. I figured that was a pretty good deal, so I bought it! I love making soup, but I always seem to end up with burnt gunk on the bottom of the pot, no matter how low I keep the flame and how often I stir. This oughta solve that problem.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/17/2003 08:58:00 PM • Permalink
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Thought One: Several months ago somebody or other blogged (or maybe forum-posted) something about benedictions. He said that folks should look up to receive the benediction rather than bowing their heads. I've thought about this frequently as I've worshiped since. I wish I could remember more of the person's argument, but this is why I so far have preferred bowing my head: When the pastor lifts his hands over the congregation, it's as if he's placing his hands on our heads. It just makes more sense to me to bow my head to receive the blessing.

Thought Two: How come I've never heard 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 as a benediction? Has anybody else ever heard it or used it? Can anybody think of a reason why not to use it? I'd sure love anybody anytime to be praying that for me!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/17/2003 12:38:00 PM • Permalink
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Tuesday, December 16, 2003 AD
I've recently developed a theory about covetousness.

When I moved back to my mom's house 12 or 13 years ago, the couch needed to be replaced. It was a) hideous, 2) worn out and iii) hideous. About five years later, I finally bought a slip cover for it. Sarah G. may remember helping me wrestle that slip cover onto that couch before the blogger get-together at my house last December. Over the years, I would wander through furniture show rooms, stare longingly at the upholstry shop display window on my way to work, flip through catalogs, and just generally covet a decent couch. But the time and the money never seemed to be right, so I continued to live with the increasingly ugly, ratty, uncomfortable couch.

About a month ago, I went to a moving sale. Friends of mine are attempting to raise support to go to South Africa as missionaries, and are at the point of getting out of their current home. And there it was -- the hundred dollar couch -- and I bought it. (And two chairs and two bookcases and a breadmaker and a food processor and a chalkboard and a stack of books and casettes...it was shopping-as-ministry and I did my part for the cause!)

A couch! I finally have a couch! But whaddaya know...I can't seem to stop looking for one. I can't get out of the habit of gazing at that upholstery shop window. And the color of the couch isn't quite right. And the style isn't quite right. And it's not quite as comfortable as I want it to be.

On the other hand. The clothes dryer was also not in good shape when I moved into the house. And it went up a few years later. I never really considered replacing it. I have clothes lines in the back yard for when the weather's nice and clothes lines in the basement for when the weather's not so nice. It was a much higher priority for me to spend money on a computer than on a clothes dryer, so I lived without one for several years.

But my dear mother decided that my dryerless state was Not Good, so I came home from work one evening while she was in Baltimore for a visit and discovered that she'd bought me one! I love my clothes dryer. It is so convenient and quick. I'm grateful for it every time I use it.

So here's my theory -- if you are discontent, you will remain discontent even after you get the thing you've been coveting, and you will keep coveting it...or some improvement on it. If you're content, you will be grateful for whatever you get when it comes as a gift. You'll keep shopping for that perfect couch, that perfect house, that perfect spouse.

This has incredibly scary implications for me, especially if I apply this thinking to my longing for marriage. I think of the bad habits I've gotten into, such as running down a mental evaluation checklist when I meet an eligible guy. Whether or not he shows any interest whatsoever in me (not that he ever does), I size him up and pigeonhole him. As time goes on, I might take him out of his pigeonhole for further evaluation. I do this almost unconsciously, the habit is so ingrained. Like looking at couches in shop windows. I've come to call this habit "emotional lust" just so I can remind myself of how ugly it is. What if I got married and kept up such a habit when I met other men? What if I kept comparing my husband to that list of ideals and found out he didn't measure up? I shudder to think of the seeds of future bitterness and misery I might be planting.

If I ever get a husband, I would want him to be a clothes dryer, not a couch. I would want to be able to look at my marriage as an amazing and undeserved gift from a gracious God, not as something I've been shopping for for years and finally happened to find.

Discontentment cannot be gotten rid of by fulfillment. Grateful contentment with whatever God provides (or withholds) is the only alternative to discontentment. The Gospel is the only antidote, and I see my need of it again when I consider these things.

And the Gospel is always a couch clothes dryer (keep up with your own metaphors, girl!). No matter how long you might have searched for enlightenment or the right theology or whatever, the Gospel is always an unexpected, gracious gift that takes you utterly by surprise.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/16/2003 06:43:00 PM • Permalink
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Sunday, December 14, 2003 AD
Mr. Saddamhead?
Mr. Picassohead
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/14/2003 11:41:00 PM • Permalink
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Wednesday, December 10, 2003 AD
I Think I See Another Self-Given Christmas Present in My Future
Rob Leuschke Collection

I don't really intend to do it, but I almost always end up spending tons of money on stuff for myself this time of year. So far it's been two software upgrades, a pair of shoes, a bunch of teaching CDs, a music CD, and a book. And then there's shopping for other folks on top of that. I'm not going to like next month's MasterCard bill!

I just added this to my wish list, but I think it'll be a while before I can justify buying it. Although I suppose if I could sell one decent font design, it might be worth the investment. I wish I had enough self-discipline and business sense to be self-employed.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/10/2003 12:40:00 PM • Permalink
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Monday, December 08, 2003 AD
Walkin' on Sunshine
After months of limping and pain, I finally found comfy shoes. My new Danskos arrived this morning. I can't remember the last time my feet (and everything northward of them) felt this good. I'm not typically one for raving about brand names, but these shoes make such a big difference I could almost cry!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/08/2003 01:33:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, December 06, 2003 AD
Anybody Have Kathy Mattea's "Good News" CD?
Can somebody check the credits for the song "Brightest and Best"? I know the words are by Reginald Heber, but I don't know how to credit the tune. Thanks!

UPDATE (Dec. 08): Found it. Printed it. Sang it. Stay tuned for MP3, if the recording worked last night!

UPDATE 2 (Later Dec. 08): Stay tuned a while longer. The ever-so-brilliant person responsible for recording (moi) forgot that the microphone had an ON/OFF switch, so that was a total bust, but now that I've rediscovered it, I suppose I can record stuff any time. It just won't have the energy of a performance before an audience.

P.S. And if you don't have the CD, it's a good'un!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/06/2003 08:09:00 AM • Permalink
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What Is Hypocrisy?
The Dane recently asked whether a bindi-sporting Indian woman was a hypocrite for working at a burger joint. Which got me to thinking about the nature of hypocrisy.

I didn't think the woman was a hypocrite, but likened her to American cultural Christians who wear crosses or put up Christmas trees, or cultural Jews who don't keep kosher but still gather at grandma's for a seder every year. They aren't hypocrites, because they don't really claim to believe in the tenets of these faiths, they just follow a tradition or two here and there. So, first of all, to qualify as a hypocrite one must actually believe (or claim to believe) something.

But that's not a full definition, either. Every Christian belives that sin is a Bad Thing, man, but I've yet to meet one who's not quite adept and well-practiced at sinning. The second hypocrite qualification, then, is a claim to carrying out one's ideal beliefs.

The third qualification would be failing to carry them out. We need to exclude from the definition anyone whose claim to meeting some moral standard is actually true. Um...can anybody else think of more than one Person who fits this description?

So I'd define hypocrisy not just as a failure to practice what one preaches, but as a failure to practice what one preaches and claims to practice, especially if one condemns others for their moral failures in. Jesus called only the Pharisees and scribes hypocrites. He didn't use the term on the ordinary, garden-variety sinners he dealt with day to day.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/06/2003 01:13:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, December 05, 2003 AD
A Little Late-Night Cyber Creating
My contribution to the Mr. Picassohead gallery.

(Go on, Barb...you know you can't resist!)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/05/2003 12:48:00 AM • Permalink
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The Olney Hymns
I didn't know this was online! Cool beans!

I've been listening to a sermon that tells a bit of the story of William Cowper, someone I look very much forward to meeting when I have shuffled off this mortal coil. Like me, he suffered from melancholy tending at times to despair. Unlike me, he tried on several occasions to take his own life. Happily, he was unsuccessful. Cowper was in a very despairing state when he died. It always makes me smile to think of all that weight being lifted in an instant when he found himself in the welcoming arms of Jesus.

John Newton was among his chief encouragers. May his tribe increase. And may some members of his tribe take up residence in my neighborhood!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/05/2003 12:04:00 AM • Permalink
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Thursday, December 04, 2003 AD
A How-To Question
You know how all your previous responses in a given form field are saved ad infinitum...including all the times you misspelled your own name, which you still accidentally select when trying to enter the right thing? I know I've cleared those before, but I can't remember how. Can someone remind me? Thanks!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/04/2003 10:44:00 PM • Permalink
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Wet Feet
I thought they were just vaccuuming. Evidently they were shampooing. So when I wandered over to the printer to pick up a job, I returned with rather soggy socks. And now I have to stuff my wet feet into my shoes and skedaddle out of here for choir practice. I predict cold toesies in my future!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/04/2003 06:30:00 PM • Permalink
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Monday, December 01, 2003 AD
A Trip to the Dentist
I went to the dentist today. The hygienist said that I didn't have much build-up, and then proceeded to torture me with sharp objects for nearly an hour anyway. Next I nearly gagged to death getting an impression for a mouth guard (I seem to grind my teeth unbeknownst to anyone, which has let to myriad other problems). And finally I got The Crown from Hell reinstalled for the umpty-third time. A few hours later I'm still tasting and feeling the grit from the cleaning.

All this is to say that I'd still rather go to the dentist than go shopping for shoes.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12/01/2003 04:36:00 PM • Permalink
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