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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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Monday, August 25, 2008 AD

If You're Going to Lock Yourself Out of Your House...
...two days after your new housemate moves in, and on a morning before school starts and she has to leave before you, is just about the perfect time to do it.

Anna is the bees knees, by the way. If I could have designed myself a perfect housemate, I wouldn't have had a clue where to start, but Someone Else is very good at such things, and sent me one that suits to a T.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:45 AM • Permalink Links to this post 3 comments

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 AD

Post Paucity
At least a dozen thoughtful blog posts have entered and exited my brain in the past week or two, mostly inspired by things I've been reading, but I've not had the time to commit them to pixels. Oh, the brilliance y'all are missing!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:48 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Blanket Storage Ideas?
Since I've got a boarder moving in this weekend, I'm losing some storage space. I'd like to store blankets under beds, but under-bed plastic storage bins don't hold much, and are rather pricey. Plastic bags would work, I suppose, but wouldn't look as tidy. Anybody have any cheap and simple ideas?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:35 PM • Permalink Links to this post 7 comments

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 AD

What I Really Want for My Birthday
"Hell Kitten AR-15 - evil black rifle meets cute and cuddly"

(HT Mark)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 1:07 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Monday, August 18, 2008 AD

Mortification Allayed
So a couple months ago a single guy in our congregation moved to Seattle to get married. It being such a long distance away, no one from CREC attended the festivities. But we wanted to bless them, so I collected contributions for a group gift. Once the funds were totaled, I pored over their registry and finally settled on a few place settings of their chosen dinnerware. After taxes and postage, there was a few bucks left over, which I put on a gift card. Then Crate and Barrel, in their infinite(simally small) wisdom, shipped them separately.

I've been sweating for months. What if they got the itsy-bitsy gift card from nine households, looking for all the world as if we'd each pitched in a buck and some change? And what if something went wrong and the dishes arrived without a card?

Well, the happy couple finally made it back east to visit his family, and they worshiped with us yesterday. They of course put a much kinder spin on the situation than I had imagined. The gift card had arrived promptly, and they, knowing we couldn't be as cheap as all that, wondered if C&B had made a mistake and left off a zero or something. Finally, after the honeymoon, they got around to opening the piles of gifts that had accumulated in the pre-wedding frenzy, and there were the place settings with the note identical to the one on the gift card. Realization dawned, laughs were laughed, and all was well.

Except I'd still like to get my hands on somebody at Crate and Barrel and smack them around a bit for leaving customers in such an awkward position!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:28 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Found a Hymn I'd Never Posted
When Adam Fell

Wonder what else is lurking forgotten in old journals?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:10 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Saturday, August 9, 2008 AD

Spheres, Employment and (Surprisingly) Father Hunger
I don't understand a lot about the theology of sphere sovereignty, but the gist of what I grasp is that there are a few spheres whose governance is to be kept fairly separate. The family, the church and the state are the God-ordained spheres I see in Scripture. Each has its own governance. The father rules in the home, the elders in the church, and the king or some other officials in the state. And of course the Lord rules with absolute sovereignty over all, whether they like it or not.

There are, of course, various sorts of sub-rulers in each sphere. For instance, in the family, the mother also rules over the children, and sometimes the children can be called upon to mind siblings who have been left in charge, but the father is ultimately responsible before God for how the family conducts itself. In the church, there may be deacons serving under the elders to conduct mercy ministries, and authority to organize the potluck may be delegated to the Smith family, but the shepherds -- the ruling and teaching elders (allowing a little variation for episcopal and congregational church bodies) -- are ultimately responsible before God for how the church conducts itself. In the state, the higher authorities will employ soldiers and policemen for the actual sword-wielding, and there's even a legitimate place for tax collectors to assist in the rendering unto Caesar what is his, but the kings and presidents and governors and senators are ultimately going to have to give account of the authority entrusted to them.

That sound about right so far?

One of the ongoing discussions in Reformed circles is about the sphere in which education rightly belongs. I'm of the opinion that it is ultimate the responsibility of the father, who is called to raise his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. All truth is God's truth, so all gaining of knowledge of truth must be submitted to God, and therefore falls under the category of the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I think a responsible Christian father could carry out this duty in a variety of ways -- educating his children himself or largely delegating the task to his wife by choosing the homeschooling route, delegating the task to a governess or private tutor in his employ, or working cooperatively with other Christian families (who have, through baptismal vows, accepted the responsibility to assist one another in raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord) to form a school. So far, I see precious little role for the government in the process. If a crime is committed -- if a father is assaulting or starving his children, I'm all for the men in blue coming along to haul him off (so long as we don't do silly things like redefine a corrective spanking as assault or being sent to bed without any supper as starvation).

Now, most of this is stuff I've absorbed from other sources. I may not have all the terminology or details right, but that's the gist of the understanding I've gleaned. If someone cares to correct me on a factual point, please do so, but I really don't want to argue about what I've said up to this point. There are others who can do so more ably and willingly, and I'm sure you won't have trouble finding some, what with the whole Interweb right at your fingertips. What does interest me is a discussion regarding what follows with anyone who is pretty much on the same page re what precedes.

A discussion I've not heard, but would very much like to hear, is about the sphere in which employment resides. But I have my own thoughts on the matter.

Mel is my lawn guy. He mows and edges for me and some others in the neighborhood, and in other neighborhoods, as well. (Note to self: find out if he does snow removal in the winter.) I'm guessing Mel has a family, and this is his means of supporting them. By being his own boss, he has a lot of freedom, but he carries a great deal of responsibility. If a client moves or quits paying, Mel has to find another client to make up the difference. If there's a drought, and nobody's grass grows, he has to find some other way to make money to feed his family. He needs to manage his income carefully, planning for eventualities such as illness or decrepitude. It seems to me as if this job of Mel's is within the sphere of his family rule -- he bears the responsibility.

Now suppose Mel has a brother named Del. Having similar vocational interests, Del is a gardener. But he is not self-employed -- he works for Mr. Jones, tending the lawns and trees and flowers on his vast estate. Del doesn't have as much freedom as his brother -- he can't set his own rates or hours, and is very much dependent on Mr. Jones to be honest and consistent with his wages. But nor does he have so much responsibility. Mr. Jones happens to be a decent fellow who faithfully pays Del an annual salary for his work (he definitely does do snow removal) and doesn't withhold his wages in case of a drought. If Del gets sick, Mr. Jones calls in his personal physician to tend to him. (OK, so I've morphed my scenario into Jane Austen world here, but bear with me.) Del even lives in a little cottage on the grounds, and when he's too feeble to trim hedges or pull weeds, Mr. Jones (or perhaps by then his son) will continue to be responsible for him. It seems to me that Del's employment also fits in the family sphere, but in this case not his own family, but the Joneses.

It's easier to see, perhaps, in situations where the employee is closely connected to the household of the employer (Del and Mr. Jones or Eleazar of Damascus and Abraham to pull out a biblical example) that the employer bears some familial responsibility for the employee. But why not in other situations?

There's a scene in the film North and South in which Mr. Thornton says that it's not his responsibility whether his mill workers' children have enough to eat. But if employment in the family sphere, then he does have some responsibility. If a king should be first in battle and last in retreat, and a captain should stay on the deck of his sinking ship 'til all his men have been evacuated, and a husband should lay down his life for his wife, then surely an employer should be willing to sacrifice his own comforts when economic circumstances warrant, as they did in the context of the movie, cutting worker wages.

The scene also brought up a point that would make application stickier. If I recall correctly, part of the problem was that the children's father was not earning enough to survive on decently, but the other part was that he was drinking too much of his wages. I don't know how or if the familial responsibility of the employer extends into that scenario. A father is still a father, even if he's someone else's employee, and I don't mean for my idea of the employer's familial role to be meddlesome and micromanaging, but just as I'd want the state to step in when there's criminal neglect, I guess I would want the employer in this scenario to take some action to defend the drunkard employee's children.

Of course I come to a bit of a wall when I consider how to apply this in a world where most people work publicly traded corporations and nonprofit agencies rather than privately owned businesses (at least I assume that's the case). (I'll leave the ginormous proportion of government employees out of the picture for the moment. Let's just say that in my ideal world there wouldn't be nearly so many of them.) But I think that it's another symptom or perhaps another cause of the rampant fatherlessness in our culture that workers aren't personnel anymore, but human resources. No surprise that most people change jobs like they change their socks these days, and employee loyalty is an rarity. There's no sense of personal responsibility and care and concern toward employees by their leaders in the workplace, so there's no respect and honor and love and loyalty in return (of course I speak in generalities, knowing there are wonderful exceptions in the world).

Huh. I didn't know my thoughts would end up on father hunger!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:55 PM • Permalink Links to this post 8 comments

Watched MirrorMask Again
Decided I liked it. Not loved it, but liked it. Someday I'd like to watch it again with the director's commentary, but I'm not up for a third viewing (that's how I know I only liked it) so soon, and I need to get it back to Netflix.

Aunt Nan was my favorite, I think. I mean, dialogue doesn't get much better than "I went to Monaco once, when your Auntie Flo was ill and your Uncle Vernon wanted someone to saw in half," now does it?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 5:35 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Monday, August 4, 2008 AD

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset -- The concept was great, but the films demand a suspension of disbelief re moral matters that makes me have to give them a thumbs-down.

MirrorMask -- Great visual fun; not sure I got the allegory (if that's what it was) well enough to really like it.

Nicholas Nickleby -- Enjoyable until someone tells me that it was a travesty of an adaptation. Enh, probably still enjoyable anyway...I just don't have the semi-religious fervor about Dickens that I have about Austen. And it's free online!

The Man Who Never Was -- Good story. Just plain liked it. And free online!

From Dark to Dawn -- Not-so-bad historical fiction because it doesn't try to make up stuff about Martin Luther, though it tells his story in an engaging way. Slightly edited (from what I could tell) edition of Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family. If I had it to do over again, I'd hunt down the original. If I'd been the one to edit it, I would have gone much farther in modernizing the punctuation, I would have proofread it (it's not often I find I have to read a book with a pencil in hand to correct several errors per average page), and I would have laid it out with more generous margins -- especially as the words often disappeared into the gutter. I also would have skipped the color illustrations, which were quite sweet for what they were -- amateur renderings by a young lady, but I'm sure their inclusion added a considerable amount to the printing price without adding significant value for the reader. All in all, though, I'm grateful they reprinted it, because otherwise I'd probably never have stumbled across it, and it was well worth bearing the aforementioned minor irritations.

Gentian Hill -- A friend mentioned that she'd started to read some Elizabeth Goudge, so I pulled out some of mine for her and found one I hadn't read yet, so I kept that one for myself. Goudge is Roman Catholic, and that occasionally comes out in her writing in ways that irritate my Protestant soul, but in general I find her books pleasant and gentle and spiritually uplifting without being treacly or inane as books often are that attempt to be pleasant and gentle and spiritually uplifting. I haven't finished this one yet, but I'm enjoying it very much as I go along. Goudge is an author I always keep an eye out for in used book stores, but since I so seldom go to used book stores these days, I added a bunch of her titles (the ones that weren't outrageously expensive -- some seem to be scarce) to my Amazon wish list for future reference. (Also shaved a couple pages off of my bloated list...I obviously want far more than I bother to buy!)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:24 PM • Permalink Links to this post 10 comments

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