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Bio: Verily Valerie

Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000. Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.

Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.

valerie [at] kyriosity [dot] com


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Tuesday, July 31, 2007 AD

The Snare Has Broken, and We Have Escaped
Sometimes I feel like a twist on an old Army recruitment ad: "We sin more before breakfast than most people sin all day!" My morning started out disastrously with one wrong thought, word or deed after another 'til I almost thought I should just go back to bed and not inflict myself on the world outside my front door. But of course responsibilities called, so I did manage to leave the house, and with lots of prayer and good music (thanks, Jamie!) along the way, by the time I got to the office the Lord had transformed my demeanor from despair over sin to gratitude for forgiveness and from anger over petty annoyances to rejoicing in glorious blessings.
"If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,"
      Let Israel now say--
"If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
      When men rose up against us,
Then they would have swallowed us alive,
      When their wrath was kindled against us;
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
      The stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the swollen waters
      Would have gone over our soul."

Blessed be the LORD,
      Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
      The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
      Who made heaven and earth.

(Psalm 124, NKJV)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:57 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Monday, July 30, 2007 AD

The Mother of All Phone Errands
I had to call the IRS about a little discrepancy of a rather hefty sum they failed to refund me. They had completely incorrect figures listed on a couple forms -- clearly an error on their end -- so I'm hoping there won't be any trouble getting the money back. I'll just have to write a letter and show all the documentation. So the call was a little nerve-wracking, but I have hope everything will turn out OK.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 3:09 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Friday, July 27, 2007 AD

What Is It About Crickets Chirping...
...that's so comforting? I can't remember the last time I heard crickets, but I've been listening to chirping for the past hour or so, and I don't want to go to bed and not hear it anymore. But it's nearly 2 a.m., and I really ought to have been asleep hours ago.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 1:48 AM • Permalink Links to this post 4 comments

Thursday, July 26, 2007 AD

Does it work? If so, why? What exactly is it? What's the biblical basis for our understanding of it?

Here are a few things I think are key to the idea of holding someone accountable:
  1. To be accountable means to be ready and willing to give an account of your behavior...whether it's a good account or a bad account. Ultimately we must all give an account of every word and deed to God.

  2. We are to encourage one another daily. Accountability involves a specific application of that command to a particular area of sin, a spiritual discipline, etc. where a particular person needs to grow. Of course the ultimate goal for all of us is that we be self-controlled, self-accountable, but I don't think verses like Hebrews 3:13 leave room for thinking that anyone ever completely grows out of the need for encouragement this side of glory.

  3. Growing up out of spiritual childishness into Christlikeness is parallel to growing up out of natural childishness into adulthood. It doesn't happen automatically. We would not expect a 5-year-old to suddenly be a mature adult. We know that he needs training and lots of attention to help him grow up. But somehow, if he's physically an adult, we expect him to suddenly be a mature adult even if he hasn't had that training and attention. I think this is an especially important principle to understand in a culture...even a Christian culture...that has failed for decades to raise children in a way that makes them fit for adulthood. Without investing the effort to help immature brethren reach maturity, we might as well be saying, to paraphrase James 2:15-16, "Depart in peace, be mature and be holy," without giving them the things which are needed for the soul. Or we're being like the Pharisees who "bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers" (Matthew 23:4). If two children are learning to walk, and one keeps stumbling and falling down while the other gets the hang of it more quickly, what good does it do to say to the first, "You should be like that one over there. Get your act together."

  4. We are to practice mutual submission among the brethren. When we seek accountability from a brother on a specific matter, we are giving him authority over us in that area. We are giving him permission to correct us. We are agreeing to receive that correction with meekness, with remorse, with grief that we've let him down as well as that we've sinned against God. We ask him to be Christ's representative to us.

  5. For one joined to Christ's body, sin is a corporate thing. I've written before (1, 2) about Achan's sin and corporate responsibility. The flip side of this coin is that we hold one another accountable because we are accountable to God. We see this most clearly with leaders in the church, who "must give an account" for those under their authority (Hebrews 13:17), but each of us is, to some degree, his brother's keeper. We should be motivated to serve one another by holding each other accountable, because our brother's sin is our sin, too. (Note that this is a way to serve one another, not a way to lord it over one another!)

  6. We should seek accountability from those who are more mature. To quote Doug Wilson, "Don't seek out the phony accountability of drowning swimmers clutching at each other." What I wrote here ties in: We don't necessarily need someone who has "been there," and we especially don't need someone who is still there; sympathy is not accountability; if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch.

  7. We shouldn't always wait for a request for accountability before we hold one another accountable. "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). Of course this doesn't mean being a busybody. I think that's a particular temptation of women, who are far too eager to confront their sisters on issues such as hemlines. There may be a time for such a confrontation, but it's not as frequent as we would like to think.

  8. The next verse says, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Accountability is bearing one another's burden of struggling against sin. We are to be comrades in arms...not a collection of lone rangers who have a weekly support group meeting on Sunday mornings.

  9. Accountability requires really knowing the person you are holding accountable, so you can ask insightful questions to get to the root of the matter. Of course this sort of thing requires time and growth in the relationship. We can't expect to be instant masters of one another's psyches. The instruments by which we read one another are delicate and require fine tuning based on much data. This means we'll also have to be gracious and patient with one another as we'll no doubt blunder frequently as we trial-and-error our way toward understanding.

  10. That means it also requires the accountable person to be humble enough to let himself be known. We don't want the popular sort of vulnerability that is seen as a virtue in itself, but the courage to open oneself up for a specific and strategic reason -- to be challenged and corrected. This should be done narrowly...not broadcast to the whole world (as I too often have done on this blog). We see in Hebrews 4:13 that accountability is akin to nakedness, and there should always be parameters around nakedness. A man visiting the doctor may need to take off his clothes to get treated, but he doesn't need to make the journey there and back again in the buff. That would, in fact, probably be quite counterproductive in every case.
OK, that's enough for now. That's the product of about two hours of writing down everything that came to mind and following rabbit trails in Scripture and other sources, but I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface. Feedback is welcome!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:26 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

One More Thing That'll Be Better If I Move
I won't have to pay long-distance rates to talk to every household in the congregation except one.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:34 PM • Permalink Links to this post 6 comments

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 AD

Hallelujah Harry
The title of this post is my response to "Ho-Hum Harry," a post by my dear friend Carmon, with whom I obviously disagree on matters Potterian. I finished HP and the Deathly Hallows a little before 10 p.m. and am quite contented with it. If the HP series were a line of breakfast cereals, their commercials would proclaim, "Chock Full o' Gospelly Goodness!" and that wouldn't in the least be false advertising.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:46 PM • Permalink Links to this post 11 comments

Monday, July 23, 2007 AD

Online Tutorials for Homeschoolers
A friend is looking at online tutorials for her kids, specifically for English courses. She has a catalogue for Memoria Press Online Classical Academy. Can anyone share experiences with them or further knowledge about them? Any other recommendations or caveats? Thanks!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:49 PM • Permalink Links to this post 3 comments

Two Videos That Made Me Weep
This one was a "rolling on the floor laughing with tears rolling down my face" thing:

(HT Dale Courtney)

This one was more of a "falling on my knees repenting with tears rolling down my face" thing:

(HT Doug Wilson)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:15 AM • Permalink Links to this post 4 comments

Sunday, July 22, 2007 AD

On the Other Hand....
When I'm not letting myself get carried away with anxiety about the financial aspects of moving, there are lots of things I'm looking forward to:
  • not having to drive 45 minutes home when I leave a friend's house at one in the morning
  • increased chances of being more organically involved in my church community, as well as in the broader Christian community with which we intersect
  • the opportunity to find a housemate so I won't have to live alone
  • ...and so I won't be so rusty at the whole living with somebody thing in case Mr. Right comes along
  • getting out from between my feuding next-door neighbors on either side
  • the hope of finding a place with a bigger kitchen
  • ...and a dishwasher
  • less likelihood that someone will get shot around the corner from my house
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 2:33 AM • Permalink Links to this post 6 comments

Friday, July 20, 2007 AD

Well, I'm Off
(But you knew that, eh?)

Heading to Stuff-Mart to hang out for the release. Yes, I am a geek. No, I don't care that you think so. ;-)

UPDATE, 10:30 -- Correction: I'm not a geek, I'm a geezer. Got in my car and thought, "I'm tired and I have a headache. No way am I going to go stand around for hours in a hysterical mob scene waiting to buy something." So I came home, ate a ham sandwich, and crocheted while listening to a sermon. And now I'm going to bed.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:00 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Favorite Spots in My House
My piano -- I can't play, but can't bear the thought of getting rid of it. Where else would I put my greeting cards? My mother has a similarly neglected instrument at her house -- a pump organ rather like this one -- which also serves as a glorified greeting card display, so I guess it runs in the family. The "bouquet" is made up of peacock feathers, pussy willows, and a small bird's nest filled with feathers I've collected over the years, including a couple from the Saenzes' chickens.

A corner of my dining room -- In one of my all-time favorite Barlow Farms posts, or maybe it was in a comment, 'cuz I can't find it, Jon recounted catching one of his sons watching some silly program on which was sung, "Every day is Earth Day." Jon got the boy's attention and said, "That's not true, son. Every day is Christmas." This little corner shows my concurrence with its year-round display of a pile of Christmas-themed nesting boxes (which contain Christmas ornaments) and a nativity set like this one. The drawings are some of mine from college.

My kitchen window -- Most of the bottles are what I like to call "poor man's colored glass"...filled with water and food coloring. Most of the tabs on the curtains are still just pinned on a year or two after they were made. I'm just not terribly fond of sewing machines.... Though you can't see them, on the bottom sill there are also a couple of wishbones and some small stones, including little chunks of quartz, feldspar and mica I picked up several years ago on Gates Mountain not far from my mom's home in New Hampshire. These three minerals are the components of granite, which one usually sees much finer-grained, but my bits are about 1/2-3/4" each.

Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:14 AM • Permalink Links to this post 5 comments

That's a Good Feeling
Today I will mail off a mortgage payment that will change the first digit in my principal balance. This has happened twice in the almost seven years since I bought the house, and is quite a good feeling. Since I pay extra each month, at my current pace I should have the thing paid off well short of the 15-year term of the loan. Of course if I move, I will probably have to increase my debt by a factor of five or more, increase my monthly payments by at least 60 percent, and probably not get the thing paid off 'til I'm over 70. This is all supposedly a quite sensible plan, but weeping is the most frequent result of my consideration thereof.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:26 AM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Thursday, July 19, 2007 AD

Let's Start At the Very Beginning...a Very Good Place to Start
Lifted from Femina:
It is a hard lesson. You know that when a child is first taught, he complains: This is hard; it is just like that. I remember Bradford the martyr said, 'Whoever has not learned the lesson of the cross, has not learned his ABC in Christianity.' This is where Christ begins with his scholars, and those in the lowest form must begin with this; if you mean to be Christians at all, you must buckle to this or you can never be Christians. Just as no-one can be a scholar unless he learns his ABC, so you must learn the lesson of self-denial or you can never become a scholar in Christ’s school, and be learned in this mystery of contentment. That is the first lesson that Christ teaches any soul, self-denial, which brings contentment, which brings down and softens a man's heart.

~Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
I imagine learning to read would also be harder at 40 than at 4.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4:38 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

The Cake
Here's the cake I made for my friend's surprise 50th birthday party a couple weeks ago. (Click for larger image.)

Each 14" round half took two cake recipes, plus I made five other regular-size cakes. The big one was dark chocolate sheetcake* with buttercream frosting, decorated with fondant. The smaller ones were snickerdoodle*, grandma's coconut icebox*, carrot with orange cream cheese frosting*, peanut butter and jelly**, and chocolate lover's***.

I'd been doing birthday cakes for each of the moms in my church since last December, so when Christine's husband sent out word of the party, I offered to do the cake. Well, if he'd known then that a hundred and thirty-six people were coming, I'd have balked and backed out. But the guest list grew slowly so I could work my way up to the challenge, and it turned out to be one of my happiest endeavors ever!

*From Anne Byrn's wonderful The Cake Mix Doctor books
**My own concoction
***Stealthily sent by the celebrant's daughter
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:47 AM • Permalink Links to this post 7 comments

Monday, July 16, 2007 AD

How Much Would She Sue for if It Happened in America?
"Too sexy for my bus," woman told
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:59 PM • Permalink Links to this post 7 comments

Air Conditioning Troubles At My Office
Memo from building manager: "We will have unit shut down for 30 minutes to service units. Please bare with us."

Goodness...I don't think it's quite hot enough to resort to that!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4:26 PM • Permalink Links to this post 6 comments

Who Are You People, Anyway?
Just wondering who's been reading since I returned from hiatus. If you haven't left me a message since my return, please do me the kindness of delurking for a moment to say hi. Thanks!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:14 AM • Permalink Links to this post 22 comments

Friday, July 13, 2007 AD

The More Familiar (and Less Sanctified) Me
A few days ago I was playing cards with some friends, and left the table between hands to try to get some music playing (a mission of mercy to rid AR of an earworm). When I returned, play had already begun without me, and I'd missed the opportunity to nab a couple cards I needed. I. Was. Peeved. And though I knew I was being perfectly ridiculous about the whole thing, I sat there and fumed and fussed and muttered. I also struggled to Let. It. Go., but it was stuck as firmly as AR's earworm. When it came time to leave, I gave my hostess a hug, thanked her for inviting me, and apologized for my rotten attitude. She waved it off with a comment along the lines of "Oh, we just ignore that sort of thing." Truly, love covers a multitude of sins. How remarkable to find my sin thus covered! And truly, kindness leads to repentance. How quickly my irritation dissipated once I knew that I was forgiven for being so petty and foolish! Grace is good...whether directly from the Father or through the fellowship of the saints. It's making the more familiar me less familiar.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:14 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 AD

Four Skills I Do Not Possess
1) Numchuck skills
2) Bow hunting skills
3) Computer hacking skills
4) Eating my lunch without spilling something on myself skills
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:55 PM • Permalink Links to this post 14 comments

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 AD

Yo, JC -- Happy B-Day!
At 498 your age is finally catching up to that gaunt, skeletal appearance of yours. Party hardy, dude. And thanks for the TULIP 'n' stuff.

Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:00 PM • Permalink Links to this post 9 comments

Monday, July 9, 2007 AD

Any Sign of Sanctification Continues to Startle Me
The other day, as I was gearing up for a marathon baking session, I managed to smash a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. This is the sort of thing that, in less holy moments, would be precursor to a meltdown. (The period after the meltdown would be post-curser.) But this time I thanked God for the 1- and 8-cup Pyrex measuring cups I still have, noting particularly that they were far more than I deserved, and swept up the broken glass. Brethren and sistern, I assure you that I have not, in my own strength, got that much self-control and contentment. I think maybe that cup broke because the measure of the Lord's kindness -- pressed down, shaken together, and running over -- was simply more than a pint-size vessel could bear!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:19 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Sunday, July 8, 2007 AD

I Love It When That Happens
I stumbled across an interesting book title last night, and proceeded to hunt down a used copy. I found three after searching AbeBooks and Alibris, and of course picked the lowest-priced one. As I usually do, I browsed through the seller's other inventory, hoping to be more efficient with shipping costs by ordering more than one book, but hardly expecting to find anything else of interest. But the Lord surprised me with an item that I had on my Amazon list...marked highest priority, in fact! Into the cart, off to checkout. I am not a shopaholic -- I will not invest gobs of time in bargain-hunting -- but when one falls into my lap without ever my ever having to leave the living room, there's enough of an adrenaline rush that I have sympathy with my deal-addicted friends.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:24 AM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

This Amuses Me
Here's a book title I just stumbled across: How to Be a Con Artist: Youth Conference Planning Handbook for Unitarian Universalists. What more needs to be said?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:14 AM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Saturday, July 7, 2007 AD

A Dumb Thing I Once Said
May even have said it twice, come to think of it. And today I did happen to think of it, and cringe, and hope that it didn't stick with anyone who heard me.

About 20 years ago, when I was in college, the Baptist campus group of which I was a member was doing a study on something or other, and women's roles came up. The campus minister, though a Southern Baptist, was thoroughly liberal on this and pretty much every other issue. (I just discovered that he retired from Towson at the end of this past school year and is now interim pastor at the likemindedly loosey-goosey church where I grew up.) So the dumb thing I said was lauded rather than corrected as it ought to have been.

Before I tell you the dumb thing, let me pause to relate how profoundly grateful I am that the Lord led me out of the homogenosexism (or would that be "homogeneosexism"? I hate it when I don't even know how to spell words that I just coined!) I was trained by school and church to believe in. I still occasionally find a trace of egalitarianism that needs to be scraped off the bottom of my shoe, but I have left the feminist swamp behind, and I have come to be deeply, joyfully appreciative of the glorious differences between men and women and the glorious roles for which God has designed each sex.

Now on to the dumbness:

As I said, we were discussing women's roles, and agreeing that any differences in roles could be tossed aside in our current enlightened age, when I piped up with my brilliant insight into Titus 2. The gist of my comment was that in that passage women were exhorted to be submissive and all that rot "so that no one will speak evil of the message that comes from God" (verse 5, TEV...my guess as to what version I'd have been using at the time), therefore, we should cast aside such instructions now because to continue to follow them was bringing contempt from the world. The message was clear: the world's opinion should be the guide for the Church's behavior; the world thinks the Church's teaching on sex roles is silly; ergo the Church should ditch the sex roles and embrace egalitarianism. QED (which, being translated, means "Quite Egregiously Dumb").

First of all, as I just learned in a sermon I listened to today ("The Glory of Modesty" by Doug Wilson -- should be available at this link for another week or two), the Greek world in which Paul and Titus ministered was no stranger to female religious leadership -- the temples of Artemis/Diana, for instance, were staffed with priestesses. So there wasn't some cultural norm of Traditionally Chauvinistic Values that Paul was saying Titus should just go along with for now so as not to rock the boat. Just the opposite -- the word of God would have been blasphemed (NKJV language in verse 5) if the pagans had come to believe that Christian women were just as brazen and careless as their own women. Christian women, and particularly Christian wives, are to reflect the character of the Church as she relates to her Bridegroom. If Christian wives go around not loving their husbands and children, not being discreet, chaste, domestically oriented, morally good, and obedient to their own husbands, then the watching worldlings -- in either the first century or the twenty-first century -- will see a Church that is rebellious against her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, and they will despise Him.

How much more power women have than I thought we did 20 years ago! Wives in particular are witnesses to the lordship of Christ precisely by yielding to His authority through their response to the lesser authority of their husbands. They are witnesses to His glory through their loyalty to their husbands and their households. And even unmarried Christian women are likewise called to be witnesses through domesticity and chastity that He is worthy of faithful service and utter dedication.

I like being a girl. It's really not as ignoble a thing as feminism tried to teach me it was.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:44 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Happy Bloggiversary (Sort of) to Me
I started blogging five years ago yesterday. Of course with two hiatuses in there totalling about 21 months, I'm not sure I can really count this as my fifth bloggiversary. On the other hand, if I'd been in a coma for one-third of my life, I guess I'd still be 39, not 26. More's the pity!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:36 AM • Permalink Links to this post 3 comments

Thursday, July 5, 2007 AD

Amazing True Fact!
Half of 132 is 66, not 61. You read it here first, folks! (I post this to to give certain people a laugh at my expense...furthering my sanctification through the mortification of my soul. No wonder the SMPY people never call me anymore!)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:02 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Characteristics of a True Friend
This post is for all my friends at CREC, who fit this description so well, and especially for the ladies I spent time with yesterday, who illustrated godly friendship so well in their conversation -- spurring one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24, NIV).
We need companions and good friends; godly friends are not merely a luxury, something nice to have if one can find them but not essential for well-being. Rather, they are a necessity without which we will suffer.


We are finite social beings whom God created to live together, and thus it is not good to be alone; we need someone to watch over us, help us, and hold us accountable to our faith; though God certainly does work directly upon us by His Spirit, He uses friends, instructors, and books to bring us to Himself and cause us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus.


What should we look for in a friend? What are the characteristics of godly friends? The Bible makes it plain: there are two basic things that must be true of anyone who is to be your friend. According to the book of Proverbs, one's friends must be growing in wisdom, and they must be growing in holiness. It does not say that they must be the wisest or holiest people in the world. It does say that they must be growing in these two directions and able to encourage and able to encourage others in both. In the hard reality of life, no relationship is neutral. A friend will always be a help or a hindrance. By them you will either be advanced and stirred up in righteousness pleasing to God or hurt and hindered in your walk with Him.

~Steve Wilkins, Face to Face (pp 27-28)
I wrote before about the good things I have found at CREC. This fellowship of kindred spirits sharing the journey toward becoming like Jesus is a gift immeasurably far beyond what I deserve. I just keep getting more joyful and grateful for my friends. Y'all bless my socks off!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 5:31 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

An iPod Question
Can someone explain to me how to reshuffle a playlist? Say I have a playlist with 2,652 files. It's set to shuffle, and I listen to it for a day while I'm puttering around the house -- about 150 files. Then I have dinner guests, and say to one of them, "Hey...go pick a playlist that looks interesting," and showing his excellent taste he selects my Celtic playlist of 268 songs. (Oops...I thought I'd deleted all the bawdy ballads. Sorry!) Then a few days later, I want to go back to the larger list while I putter around the house. But I don't want to start over again with the same 150 songs I listened to last Friday. I want to shuffle the list and have it begin at some random point, but I don't know how. Here's what I've tried so far:
  • I have Settings > Shuffle set to Songs.
  • If I back out to the main menu and select "Shuffle Songs," it reshuffles the main library, and starts playing that, rather than reshuffling the playlists.
  • If I plug the iPod into my computer and reshuffle the list in iTunes, it doesn't change the order of the playlist.
I have a 30GB video version, if that makes a difference.

(And whatever genius decided to name a product model after a main function of a whole line of products, thus making it impossible to do an Internet search for the answer to this question, really ought to be smacked around a little.)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:22 PM • Permalink Links to this post 3 comments

Wednesday, July 4, 2007 AD

Template Tweakage
I've added comments to the post pages, and done some fiddling with the way they appear there. Not sure I'm 100 percent satisfied, but it's better than it was. Suggestions welcome!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:53 AM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Tuesday, July 3, 2007 AD

Question for Feed Reader Users
Did you have to change anything when I changed my template? Just wondering how many folks I've managed to lose with the switch.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:31 PM • Permalink Links to this post 14 comments

In Repentance and Rest...in Quietness and Confidence
Temptation is sometimes like a charley horse -- one of those intense leg muscle spasms that wakes you up in the middle of the night. An anatomy prof once explained that the muscle is confused, and is trying to expand and contract at the same time. When it happens, your initial reaction is to clench up, and the popular online advice is to massage the muscle, but I can assure you from 25 years' experience with the problem that the most effective way to get rid of the pain is to do absolutely nothing -- just relax and let your leg go as limp as possible. The pain subsides in a few seconds, and there's generally no further problem in the morning, whereas when I used to fight the things more vigorously, I would generally still be achy the next day.

When temptation strikes, we (OK, I, at least!) often panic: "Oh no! It's the Big Bad Wolf!! It's going to get me!!! Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!" But I'm finding more and more that in many situations, the best response is to relax and let my spirit go as limp as possible. The more I learn to do this, the more quickly many temptations subside. The idea is to take me out of the equation, and to rest solely in Christ's power. We are not called to fear temptation, but to fear God, and that means not panicking as if sin is bigger than His power. Our strength, however, is unequal to the task, so flailing about in our own power just makes the situation worse...like a drowning man whose panic hinders his rescue.

One of my favorite lines in my new Wes King CD is "Be at peace, but never run from the battle/For the battle is where peace is found." Passivity toward God is the most effective activity against sin. Rest is resistance.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:33 AM • Permalink Links to this post 6 comments

Monday, July 2, 2007 AD

Sabbath Feast III: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (in Reverse Order)
The Ugly -- I already told you that part.

The Bad -- As with last month's feast, I left too much work to do on one day. And I didn't help matters by deciding to do unnecessary things like hang pictures and start packing (yes, those activities seem antithetical, but they do both contribute to making the place look better). I wasn't quite as exhausted as I was at last month's feast, but I was still too pooped to party properly. I mean, here are some of the best people in the whole entire universe right here at my very own dining room table, and here I am struggling to contribute coherently to the conversation. Must do better with time management so I don't end up giving more to the preparation than to the people.

The Good -- 1) Abigail gave me a winner with her smothered chicken recipe. I cut the chicken up smaller, and used Adobo seasoning and a little cilantro (and dug out a bottle of hot sauce for those desirous of additional kick). Alas, I overcooked it a bit, but it was edible, and it was even yummier reheated the next day at Ann Rachel's. Sides were corn, salad and Italian herb bread. 2) Even though I was too tired, I was still grateful to have accomplished so much. My house hasn't looked this good in months. 3) I had fabulous guests. And as if the pleasure of having them in my home wasn't enough, 4) they brought presents! Karen and another friend had bought me two identical goreous pashmina shawls in Italy -- they knew I'd want two to sew together to make the sort of jacket-like poncho (or is it a poncho-like jacket?) I like to wear in the winter. Plus Karen brought a rocking chair she'd been wanting to get out of her house. Not to be outdone, Angie gave me a coffee maker. When she'd asked what she could bring, I told her if she wanted coffee, she'd have to supply her own. But knowing that if she brought her own fish, she'd get to eat for a day, and if she taught me how to fish, she'd get to eat as often as she came over, she went all out and bought me my very own brewer and my very own bag of coffee and (knowing my ignorance on the subject) my very own carefully written instructions so I could avoid abusing the next java lover to cross my threshold. Oh, and Karen brought a very yummy ice cream dessert, too, and Angie brought the all-important bag of ice. 5) They also brought their sons, and I took advantage of the triple-action guy-power to get a dozen boxes to the attic, a stubborn office chair disassembled for return, and the garbage taken out. 6) Many hands pitched in to clean up, and at the end of the evening, my house was even cleaner than before my guests arrived. 7) Despite my fatigue, it was a very joyful evening for me. And I'm sure my guests were even more blessed than I was...because they gave so much more than they received!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:56 PM • Permalink Links to this post 4 comments

How to Tell People Who Own Dishwashers from People Who Don't
If a knife blade is pointing up, it was placed there by a person who owns a dishwasher, because of course the blade won't get clean in the dishwasher if it's pointing down. If a knife blade is pointing down, it was placed there by a person who does not own a dishwasher, because of course you could cut yourself on the blade if it's pointing up, and besides you can't fit as many in the drainer because the handle is fatter than the blade.

Of course anyone willing to do dishes in my house is welcome to put the knives in the drainer any which way she pleases, and I will be perfectly delighted to find them pointing up, and be grateful for her labors, and enjoy having an amusing little insight into human behavior! :-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:48 PM • Permalink Links to this post 5 comments

Sunday, July 1, 2007 AD

Me As a Simpsons Character
I had to 'shop it a bit to add earrings, turn the pants into a skirt, and make the mouth a little more smiley:

Make yours at the Simpsons Movie website. (HT Paulo, font of all frivolous linkage.)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:32 AM • Permalink Links to this post 6 comments

Every once in a while -- perhaps once a year or so -- the water in my house decides to turn color for a while. I'm not sure if it's the whole house, or just the bathroom, but it's certainly most noticeable there, with a certain vessel full of the stuff looking for all the world like the last person forgot to flush. It's also noticeable when you need to rinse your teeth, and realize that the contents of your Dixie cup have a decidedly non-colorless complexion. It usually goes away after a few flushes, so I've never felt the need to throw money at the problem, but it's kinda disgusting while it lasts. And kinda embarrassing when you've got guests. So Karen and Angie, sorry if you or your families were grossed out by my horrendously hued H2O!

More about my latest Sabbath feast adventure later. Just wanted to clear up the murkiness...if only metaphorically!

(And for the record, I didn't really post this at midnight -- I was quite dead to the world by then. I posted it a couple hours earlier, but I fiddled with the time so it would show up on my new template.)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:00 AM • Permalink Links to this post 6 comments

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