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Friday, June 29, 2007 AD
The Von Badger Family Singers
Kelly's husband and six of their children singing the Gloria in Excelsis at a celebration in Jamestown of the 400th anniversary of the first communion service held in Virginia.

The images are a montage from the service, in which a bishop of the Anglican Church International Communion was consecrated, hence the presence of a number of international bishops. Here's a shot of Kelly, Mike and their crew with some of the bishops:

Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/29/2007 07:40:00 PM • Permalink
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Sometimes Small Mercies Are Big Ones
Just did some "phone errands" and all three calls went smooooothly. The first one was to my insurance company, where I finally reached the one competent representative on the staff after six months of arguing over an unpaid claim. She found the problem and the provider should be paid within 10 days. The second call was to the provider, who had no problem putting a 15-day extension on my account. The third call was to a retailer, who graciously agreed to take a return even though it was more than 30 days past the purchase date. When these sorts of calls go bad, I tend to go bad, too -- succumbing to tears and tantrums in my frustration over incompetence (both others' and my own). So while these are truly tiny trifles, to have been spared the temptation to lose my temper is a tremendous blessing!

Update, 4:30 p.m. -- Number 4: Got a credit card late fee reversed, and, more importantly, without any ruffled feathers. God is so kind to me!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/29/2007 02:01:00 PM • Permalink
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My mother always told me, "When you buy a house, make sure you get one with a bigger kitchen!" So of course I bought her house, with, oddly enough, the exact same size kitchen. These post-war houses were not built with domesticity in mind, and before I took out the kitchen table and put in a counter, the only counter space was the approximately 1.5 square feet adjoining the sink. I complain sometimes, but really I get by OK. I don't often try to do anything that requires a rolling pin, because it also requires moving everything off the counter, but with some pantrification of my dining room and a high tolerance for clutter in the kitchen, it works out OK. But it wasn't 'til today that I finally found something I really, really like about the small size of my kitchen -- there's less floor to scrub! The floor had gotten to a pretty disastrous state, so I needed to invest a good bit of time and elbow grease, but it's significantly less shameful than it was an hour ago. Yay! I, however, am pretty joint-achy from the endeavor. If I'd had to scrub twice that much acreage, I don't think I'd have been able to get up off the floor!

But I'm still going to look for a bigger kitchen in my next house, which, Lord willing, will be within the next few months! After two plus years of waffling (I'm sure I want to move; I'm not so sure I want to move; I'm sure I don't want to move; lather; rinse; repeat) I think I've finally really, truly settled on moving to within 20-30 minutes of the hub of my church (unless, of course, I waffle again). And since I'll be closer to my community, I bet I know where I can find a younger, limberer person who's not too proud to scrub floors for cash!

OK...I think I've recovered enough...time to get off my keister and get back to work...but I think I'll look for a task higher off the ground. ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/29/2007 12:14:00 PM • Permalink
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 AD
Distrust Is Rebellion
(Caution: half-formed thoughts ahead!)

With the Lord, distrust is always rebellion, because we are called to believe God completely. With lesser authorities, distrust is sometimes rebellion and sometimes not. When the authority has shown itself to be untrustworthy (federal government, anyone?), and especially when it has shown itself to be rebellious itself against God's law, then distrust is warranted. But when an authority, a parent, for instance, that has hitherto shown himself to be trustworthy says Do X, then to refuse or show reluctance because you claim to doubt his motives is rebellion.

So if I'm balking at some direction on the basis of distrusting the authority, I should consider whether I have a legitimate reason for that doubt: Has he been abusive, false, unkind, etc. in the past? If not, I might still need clarification for reassurance. Clarifying is one thing ("I'm confused. Have you thought about this angle or this possibility or this consequence?"); distrusting is another ("If you really cared about me, you wouldn't be asking this.") I shouldn't be surprised to find some mixture of these things in my thinking, because there's a mixture of sin and righteousness in my heart. I shouldn't let that paralyze me. I shouldn't let it keep me from asking for clarification and reassurance, because that shows rebellious distrust, too. A godly husband, parent, elder, etc. will be kind, patient and forgiving through such a process. If he's not, then back to the beginning -- maybe I do have a legitimate reason for distrust. But I shouldn't start there, for heaven's sake! And I shouldn't forget that he, too, has a mixture of sin and righteousness in his heart, so kindness, so patience and forgiveness are required of me, too.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/26/2007 03:05:00 PM • Permalink
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Monday, June 25, 2007 AD
Fan Mail
Yesterday I received my first-ever ink-on-paper "fan" note from a reader. Sent by hand via friends from my church who were attending a wedding at her church, the note was chock full o' encouragement, and came with a gift, too -- a Wes King CD, which has displaced a Doug Wilson sermon in my car player. I won't say who sent this kind missive, but will merely mention that her husband's not the only one in her family who can write fabulous notes!

Thank you, dear sister across the country. You done blessed me good.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/25/2007 07:25:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, June 23, 2007 AD
Pentadad's Ponderings
Those of you who know Jane D./Pentamom from this blog and elsewhere might be interested in checking out the new blog of the lovely and talented Mr. D: Books, Toys and Games. Alas, we could not convince them to make it a toofer effort, so you'll just have to continue hunting for Jane's pearls of wisdom on whatever other blog she might deign to deposit them.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/23/2007 07:33:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, June 22, 2007 AD
A Fine Family
"A family of ten children will always be called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number...." (Northanger Abbey, Chapter One, First Paragraph)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/22/2007 12:01:00 AM • Permalink
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007 AD
Living on the Right Side of the Brain
Once, wanting to prove my left-brain abilities to someone, I decided to do some logic puzzles. I pulled out a book of puzzles I got from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth folks back in 7th or 8th grade. I worked for half an hour on a puzzle, and came up with the answer: Bertram. And it wasn't anything to do with this Bertram, either. I never picked up the book again. So I can do left-brain stuff, but when there's ever so much funner right-brain stuff to do, I avoid portside-patedness when possible.

Today, 'twas not possible. I had to do battle with *shudder* code. Last September, when The Powers That Be got in a tiff with our tech support company, they switched to a new one that doesn't provide many of the services the old one did...including writing my website forms. So I've got a smattering of forms in ASP code, which I have never learned, and every time I need to edit a form or create a new one, I have to print out reams of paper (OK...only about 15 sheets per form) and pore through the code to figure out what does what, and extrapolate that to fix whatever problem I'm trying to solve.

When asked to describe my job, I say, "I make things pretty." Give me a piece of copy, and I will happily make you sound eloquent. Give me a design assignment, and I will happily make you a brochure or newsletter you will be not be ashamed to share with your audience. But give me a thousand lines of code to wrestle with, and I will more than likely weep. Granted it's a nice feeling when I actually do solve the problem and get the thing to work, but it's not a level of niceness equal to the gray Courier tedium of the task itself.

I am ever so grateful for the code-writers, engineers, accountants and other folks do left-brain work, but as much as possible I'll stick to living on the right side of the brain!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/20/2007 08:54:00 PM • Permalink
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One of My Fondest Wishes
I'd love to see a reading comprehension test that everyone must take before being permitted to discuss anything online. Along with their names and, for Christians, their church affiliations, all forum/blog/etc. participants would be required to post their reading comprehension scores. That way we'd be able to discern the organically, innocently unintelligent from the willfully, culpably stupid. It would also help discern the humble, who would recognize their limitations, from the arrogant, who would not.

This could actually work in a limited setting. Someone could set up a test as part of the registration process for a site. With a sophisticated testing instrument, it could even be specialized to show where the individual's weaknesses lie -- wrongly discerning motives, failing to follow well-reasoned arguments, misunderstanding metaphors, etc.

Speaking of misunderstanding metaphors, here's my favorite example of such: A woman I used to work with occasionally taught theater courses at a local college. In one class session, a pair of students were performing a brief scene depicting an argument between two business partners. Only they were sexying it up in a way that didn't fit the script at all. My colleague had to interrupt them and ask what in the world they were doing. "Well," said the young idiette, "my line here says, 'We're in bed together now, mister!'"
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/20/2007 07:44:00 PM • Permalink
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007 AD
Diamonds in the Buff
This old (1982) but interesting article exposes (Get it...exposes...in the buff? I kill me!) the megamonopoly behind the global diamond market and (more interestingly) the successful manipulation of entire cultures to think about diamonds in a manner quite profitable to the diamond industry. DeBeers' marketing gurus created the diamond engagement ring tradition pretty much from scratch in the last century. Well, I don't care to be manipulated, myself, so a nice modest ruby ring would do me just fine. ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/19/2007 11:58:00 PM • Permalink
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The Federal Vision Continuum
Doug Wilson once explained the spectrum of FVers with a metaphor. He said guys like Rich Lusk are FV stout, while he himself is FV amber ale. I think I'm somewhere in the range of FV root beer.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/19/2007 11:48:00 PM • Permalink
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Monday, June 18, 2007 AD
A week or two ago I got into a discussion with someone who was Quite Put Out that Doug Wilson had used kindness as a synonym for love. And I was Rather Put Out at the fellow's objection, I think because I believe kindness is a very apt and very biblical synonym for love. If love is God's disposition to His children, kindness is how He expresses that disposition. His covenant love is not some pie-in-the-sky abstraction, it is as tangible as a cup running over, as bread broken. We cannot yet see Him face-to-face, so all of His kindnesses are reminders that His countenance shines on us with His favor. That's one more reason we need to look up and around when we share the Lord's Supper. God's face shines on us through the loving, joyful faces of our brethren, unveiled and reflecting His glory.

I've read several things this week that point to the need for moms to show kindness to their children. A few days ago I mentioned Abigail playing with her children's food. I've also read a post by Jeana and another by her mom about their relationship. Today I read this from Emeth and this from Mrs. Wilson that further illustrated the importance of maternal kindness.

Kindness leads to repentance, and a failure to grasp that kindness and to repent leads to judgment and wrath. Parents who fail to show kindness to their children are lying about God. All parents are models of God's Fatherhood. Some are good, accurate models, and some are bad, deceitful models. Those who fail to show kindness to their children are teaching them that God is unkind, making them blind to God's kindness, hindering them from receiving His kindness, teaching them not to repent, preparing them for wrath.

By the way, discipline is a kindness, and failure to discipline also prepares children for judgment.

Another by the way, not just mothers, but all of us are called to model God's kindness to one another.

I struggle to believe in God's kindness. Some of my worst moments are when I am so forgetful of it that I outright deny it, bitterly and rebelliously accusing Him of unkindness. How remarkable when He, kindly, kindly, oh so kindly, leads me to repentance even of that. When I fail to trust His kindess, I also stumble into all sorts of unkindnesses against others.

So don't go around brushing off kindness as if it's "just" kindness...something not quite perfectly worthy of notice and emulation. It is precious and good and powerful and as important as anything else we can know or do.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/18/2007 09:42:00 PM • Permalink
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Debbie Maken Nails It
If you want to understand the experience of a single woman, this bit from Debbie Maken will help:
Women by their very nature and design instinctively know that they are made for the man. During the Reformation, there was a strain of thought that suggested that women could never have been called to remain single because they were “made for the man,” (I. Cor. 11:9) and because all five characters in the Bible with lifelong celibacy produced singleness were all male. There is a loneliness, a floundering, an unexpressed longing to be whole, that is more acutely felt by women than men remaining single. Single women experience purposelessness....
Or as I am wont to say, a woman without a man isn't like a fish without a bicycle; she's like a man without a job.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/18/2007 06:19:00 PM • Permalink
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Sunday, June 17, 2007 AD
500 Years of Women in Western Art, Part 2
Here are the full images from the "Women in Art" video I linked to a few days ago. The first image doesn't fit, though -- I can't imagine a 12th-Century artist would have depicted a female Archangel. When did girly angels and baby angels become the norm, I wonder?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/17/2007 06:58:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, June 16, 2007 AD
How to Write a Limerick
On a private forum of which I am a member, a friend started a Limerick game this morning. Having been the instigator and judge of a Limerick contest several years ago, I was referred to as the resident expert on the form, so I composed the following Limerick guide:

Poetic "feet" are the basic rhythmic units of poetry. Common poetic feet are the iamb, the trochee, the anapest and the dactyl. Since I'm sure you're all dying to commit these to memory, here's one way to keep them straight (the lower-case syllable is unaccented; the upper-case is accented):

iAMB iAMB iAMB (to BE or NOT to BE)

TROchee TROchee TROchee (PEter PEter PUMPkin EATer)

anaPEST anaPEST anaPEST (i am OUT of huMANity's REACH/i must FINish my JOURney aLONE)

DACtylic DACtylic DACtylic (PICTure your SELF on a BOAT on a RIVer/ with TANGerine TREE-ees and MARmalade SKII-ii-ies)

(Props to Wikipedia for the examples.)

Shakepeare typically wrote in iambic pentameter, which simply means that there are five iambs per line.

Limericks consist of two lines of anapestic triameter, two lines of anapestic diameter, and a concluding line of anapestic triameter:


Some variation, however, is generally allowed. For instance, Phillip has used the following variation:


One might also do this:

anaPEST anaPEST anaPESTic
anaPEST anaPEST anaPESTic
anaPEST anaPEST anaPESTic

or this:

anaPEST anaPEST anaPESTicish
anaPEST anaPEST anaPESTicish
anaPEST anaPEST anaPESTicish

or even this:

iAMB anaPEST anaPESTic
iAMB anaPEST anaPESTic
iAMB anaPEST anaPESTic

So it is permissable to fiddle with the number of syllables at the beginning and end of the 1st, 2nd and 5th lines as long as the anapestic foot stays at the heart of the thing, and you are internally consistent. In other words, don't go doing wonky things like this:

iAMB anaPEST anaPESTic
iAMB anaPEST anaPESTicish

As previously mentioned, the Limerick rhyme scheme is AABBA: lines 1, 2 and 5 should rhyme, and lines 3 and 4 should rhyme. Limerick rhymes should be perfect rhymes, or at least very nearly so. Limerick rhymes should also be real words, not something like purple/snurple/glurple, and certainly not frozen/chosen/dözen. And, as with all rhyming poetry, the rhymes should mean something -- don't choose a word just because rhymes, but make sure it actually adds to the sense, the story, the humor, the metaphor, the whatever else is going on in the poem.

Other common Limerick characteristics include off-color subjects, which I do not recommend for our purposes here; the use of personal and place names (but, again, because they mean something, not just because they rhyme or scan); and humor, people, humor!

Read more here.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/16/2007 10:35:00 AM • Permalink
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Is Abigail a Cool Mom, or What?
Look how she makes life so much fun for her girls!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/16/2007 09:22:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, June 15, 2007 AD
For Aaron, Try Use #24
25 Alternative Uses for Olive Oil (HT Paulo)

And here are more goodies from the same site:
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/15/2007 11:19:00 PM • Permalink
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007 AD
Conversation with a Friend
I just got off the phone with a friend. I told her I hadn't been to the office all week because I'm sick again. She asked, "So what'd you do all day?" I told her I had called the doctor's office, and my nurse practitioner told me to go ahead and get blood work done now rather than waiting four weeks for the iron supplements to kick in. So other than lying around on the couch, I got my blood drawn today. And I watched the PCAGA live webcast of the Federal Vision debate. She turns to her husband and says, "Valerie watched the PCA General Assembly debate about the Federal Division." I was amused. Now I'm going back to the couch....
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/13/2007 08:21:00 PM • Permalink
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I'd Like to Say Something Nice About Joel Garver
I not only watched the live webcast of the PCAGA presentation of the FV/NPP report, I hung out in the chat room, too. Present and participating were some I recognized -- Joel Garver, John Owen Butler, Larson Hicks -- and some I didn't -- some other sensible folks, an RTS student who confessed he was playing hooky from class, and some folks who appeared to be playing hooky from junior high school. When Dr. Sproul the More Venerable had his turn at the mic, one of the junior high delinquents said something sassy, and Dr. Garver, with his characteristic gracious evenhandedness, basically told the punk to show some respect for a man who had done so much to winsomely make the Reformed faith known among the broader Evangelical world. Lots will be written about what happened today, but I didn't want that little exchange to go unnoted. I was sad about the vote, but I was blessed by the display of gentlemanly Christian behavior. Thank you, Joel.

From left, Joel and other, bloggy, friends in my dining room, December 2002
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/13/2007 06:59:00 PM • Permalink
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 AD
My But This Is Tempting!
I'd do this, but I'm afraid it would just create worse junk -- the angry and bitter sort -- that I need cluttering up my mind even less than I need the proliferation of unsolicited dead trees cluttering up my house.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/12/2007 02:23:00 PM • Permalink
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Saturday, June 09, 2007 AD
Jamie Soles
I've known of Jamie Soles for years, and have listened to snippets of his music here and there, but it wasn't 'til recently that I actually purchased any. I came across this video of Jamie, his wife (whose name is Valerie and who therefore must be a simply marvelous person) and half of their eight offspring singing his arrangement of Psalm 133 ("Running Down"). It moved me to tears. I went shopping and ordered all of Jamie's CDs from these folks. The kids' stuff is fun, but I may pass that on to younger friends. "Ascending" is my favorite of the grown-ups' CDs, and "Running Down" is still making me cry. So if you're interested in getting to know Jamie's work, I'd recommend starting there. It'd make great on-the-way-to-church listening, as it's based on the Psalms of ascent, which were sung by worshipers on the way to the temple. You can even download "Ascending" from iTunes if you like (and it's cheaper there). And someday I might keep a 5-year-old promise to record this song for Jamie!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/09/2007 10:12:00 AM • Permalink
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500 Years of Women in Western Art
This is fun to watch. I just wish it went a little slower so one might have a chance of recognizing more of the works. I counted 90 images. It'd make a fun quiz for an art history class to have students identify as many as they could!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/09/2007 07:53:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, June 08, 2007 AD
A Little Help for Some Friends
OK, for some people I know only by reputation, but it's a good reputation, so I consider them friends in a broad sense. 'K?

Anyway, the folks at King's Meadow Study Center (George Grant et al.) are trying to start a classical Christian college in Franklin, Tenn., and the state is making them jump through lots of hoops to make that happen. (I know...it's hard to imagine the state doing such a thing!) You can help them by completing this brief survey on the desireability of creating such an institution. (HT These Classical Folks)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/08/2007 05:14:00 PM • Permalink
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Thursday, June 07, 2007 AD
And the Winner Is...
...anemia! Turns out I actually did have blood drawn last fall, and that the doctor's office had just never bothered to call me about it. Turns out my ferrosomethin'rother level is 27, whereas 50 is considered minimum. The hematocrit levels aren't affected yet because the anemia evidently isn't very far progressed, but she says treating this should make a visible difference. So...my first dose of ferrous gluconate went down the hatch during the writing of this very post, and I just need to be a good girl and remember to take it every day. (I'm notoriously not a good girl about such things, so we'll see how that goes.) And then I'll have blood drawn again in four weeks or so and see what's happened to the numbers. Lord willing, they will have risen...along with my energy level!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/07/2007 05:55:00 PM • Permalink
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007 AD
Real Men Have Gray Hair
From The Boston Globe (HT Carmon):
"I had looked around the plane for help, and all the younger guys had averted their eyes. When I asked the guy next to me if he was up to it, all he said was, 'Retired captain. USMC.' I said, 'You'll do,' " Hayden recalled. "So, basically, a couple of grandfathers took care of the situation."
And be sure to read Hayden's wife's comments in the last paragraph. Hilarious stuff!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/06/2007 09:51:00 AM • Permalink
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Sunday, June 03, 2007 AD
Some Enchanted Evening
Angie and her husband hosted a pizza and Psalms evening last night, with Paul Buckley instructing us in the basics of chanting. I'm always up for learning new musical stuff, and Paul was also careful to explain that the point of chanting is to better respect the text -- to sing God's holy and inspired Scriptures in the quite-good-enough format they've been given to us rather than always having to "improve" on them with rhyme and meter. He was also very careful to say that there's nothing wrong or sinful about doing the rhyme and meter thing. The gist was that chanting is a good tool that we might do well to add to our arsenal (yes, I just mixed my metaphors...so sue me), but that there's no need to throw out hymns or metrical Psalms in order to add it. Since I'm always delighted to expand my musical horizons, I found the evening quite enjoyable. And as an extra added bonus, there was lots of wonderful conversation about music and liturgy, and I exhausted myself by staying far past my bedtime. Thanks, Angie, for hosting the occasion!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/03/2007 07:43:00 AM • Permalink
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Saturday, June 02, 2007 AD
Blessings and Congratulations

Today's the day that Paulo and Amy transition from mere couplehood to covenanted union. May the Lord bless them with lifelong faithfulness to Him and to one another!

It's official! At 4:53 p.m. they were pronounced married. Wish I could have been there in person, but I'll take a webcast wedding if that's all I can get!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/02/2007 09:23:00 AM • Permalink
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Friday, June 01, 2007 AD
But Practically Speaking....
Nancy Wilson wrote today, "Sometimes we think, 'If only I had more self-control, more kindness, more graciousness…' And yet, God has already provided all these things for us in Christ. We just need to realize we have them, and then move in and take possession of these things." And I don't disagree. But practically speaking, if we have learned to realize we have these things, but we haven't learned to move in and take possession of them, then we don't have them. If I've been given a bicycle, but I haven't learned to ride it yet, then in a very real sense, I haven't "got it." Somehow knowing that self-control, kindness and graciousness are mine already isn't very helpful if I can't see them as actual fruit in my life. It just makes me feel stupid and discouraged that I haven't figured out how to make such virtues evident...especially when there are very real and painful consequences to lacking them.

I have so much more than I deserve. God has not been unkind to me, and I have no cause for complaining against Him. I'm just not quite sure what to do with the long list of grievances I have against myself. But one a.m. is not the time to be asking such questions, so I'm sending myself away until regular business hours, which ended two and a half hours ago!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6/01/2007 12:48:00 AM • Permalink
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