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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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Friday, October 31, 2008 AD

Songs of the Season
Here's my favorite seasonal carol:

And this morning I woke up with this great hymn of praise on my mind:

Happy Reformation Day, y'all!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:07 AM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

To Add to My Quotes Page When I Get Around to It
To Be Of Use
by Marge Piercy

The people I love best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfied, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

And this one from Carol, too.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 1:03 AM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Thursday, October 30, 2008 AD

There's Always Something to Laugh About
So a couple weeks ago my beloved busybody of a next-door neighbor, Mr. Henry, calls me over to tell me some Important News. Mr. So-and-so, the cop who lives down the street, told him that the new guy living with the homosexual couple in the house on the other side of me is, in Mr. Henry's phraseology, a "sex defender." I behaved myself and did not burst out laughing in his presence!

Happily, Jerry (as I've dubbed him for the purposes of this blog) had already chucked out the third guy (even perverts have their standards, I guess!) and I haven't seen hide nor hair of him since. So the problem was already resolved before I was even aware of it, which is rather comforting. It's also comforting to know that the cop down the street is aware of who his neighbors are, and that he'll tell Mr. Henry if there are any problems, and that Mr. Henry will tell me.

But I confess I do think that the world could use more sex defenders! ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:57 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Oh, the Temptation Is Strong!
I got a private message from some random anonymous person on the Yahoo Answers website: "what do u like to do." I know ignoring him is the right thing to do, but oh how I long to reply, "I like to mock people who don't use proper capitalization, spelling and punctuation."
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:19 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Monday, October 27, 2008 AD

I Used to Be Worried That I Hadn't Saved More for Retirement
After getting my pension statement the other day, I'm kinda glad I haven't. Of course if I do become unable to work, I'm pretty much toast. I have more envy for friends who have retirement accounts of the two-legged variety than of those who have fat bank accounts.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:37 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Friday, October 24, 2008 AD

I Love, Love, LOVE This!
It's a Corker
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:50 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Every Once in a While One Blows My Mind
This might not be my favorite cake in terms of design, but the engineering of it is incredible. Who would have thought of a cake hanging from the ceiling like a chandelier?

Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4:03 PM • Permalink Links to this post 5 comments

Remember the Good Ol' Days...
...when Barlow used to blog?
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:18 AM • Permalink Links to this post 3 comments

Thursday, October 23, 2008 AD

I Loved This Article
What My Copy Editor Taught Me

I've been wondering lately if I should give up on graphics as a significant part of my career and focus on writing and editing. I'm not sure if it's that I've got more natural talent for it or if there's just less of a battle against the demands of ever-changing technology, but line up all the wordsmiths and designers in the world according to skill, and I'd be closer to the front in the first queue. Unfortunately, it's the graphics part of my job that I enjoy the most. I can lose myself in it and stay engrossed for hours, whereas I find I need frequent breaks from editing.

Anyway, I loved the article's depiction of the copy editor as singlemindedly passionate about her craft and her authors' craft and about the standards of excellence she was called to uphold. I like the depiction of her ferocity. And though the article doesn't really touch on it, it reminds me of my own philosophy of editing: The editor is the prophet of the standards and the servant of the words, of the author, and of the reader. The Christian editor is also the servant of God. Editors go awry when they confusedly think they are gods, they are the ones to be served. I've fallen into that sin in the past, and am very watchful for signs of irritability when I am editing. "Fer cryin' out loud...how many times do I have to tell him not to...?" is a red flag -- I'm thinking he's my servant rather than the other way around.

It's a joy to work with mature writers who appreciate my editorial ministrations. It's pleasant to work with more timid writers who need a gentler hand but are generally receptive of my encouragement and correction. It's humbling and challenging to work with proud authors who are easily offended by red marks, but who must be treated with respect. They are among the harsh masters of 1 Peter 2:18. It's a blast to work with young student writers who've been well trained to receive criticism and don't collapse when pushed. I've been known to send them this and this on occasion. It's a bummer to get it wrong -- to misgauge an author's expected reaction and come across as offensive rather than helpful or cheerful or whatever else I was aiming for. But every case is a training ground for love -- a context in which to learn patience, kindness and the rest.

Alas, today there is nothing either to edit or to design. I am in thumb-twiddling mode, doing some training on lynda.com, catching up on my A Word A Day e-mails, and writing blog posts, which I really shouldn't be doing (speaking of 1 Peter 2)....
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 2:55 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

What Does Honor Look Like?
Upon reading Doug Wilson's review of The Shack, I'm once again wondering how in the world I'm supposed to honor my father. He abused and abdicated his position as husband and father, he's almost a complete stranger to me, and there is simply nothing obviously honorable about him. I suppose the first thing some of you will say is that I shouldn't be writing stuff like that on my blog, and perhaps I shouldn't, but I do so to solicit your help not in bashing him, but in figuring out how to "salute the uniform" in the case of someone who has himself trashed the uniform.

I've often likened my situation to that of a British subject in 1937. Edward had abdicated to marry Mrs. Simpson, and was no longer king, so the citizens no longer owed him the honor due the king. In the same way, a lawfully (and by that I mean biblically) divorced woman no longer owes her former husband honor as her husband. And I'm kind of thinking that a father has a very tenuous claim indeed to being honored by the children he has abandoned.

But grace makes me want to figure out how to do it, anyway -- at least in some sort of tokenish way. And grace enables me to approach it from a position of strength (being under Christ's protection) rather than of weakness and fear (being rejected and terrorized by an evil man). I'm just rather at a loss to know how -- both inwardly (attitudes) and outwardly (actions).

For those of you who've known me online for a while, yeah, I've asked this question in one form or another several times over the years. Just call me a slow learner. ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:25 AM • Permalink Links to this post 6 comments

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 AD

Upon reading this post from Doug Wilson it occurred to me that, thanks largely to his repeated teaching on this point, I no longer cringe when I come to the Lord's table. But I haven't learned not to cringe the rest of the time. Cringing is the perpetual posture of my soul at almost every other moment of the week before God and before men. I'm ridiculously insecure and fearful because I forget that even when I'm not there, I always have a place at Christ's table. I am always welcomed by Him to feast on Him. I am always loved by Him. And being loved by Him, I am always safe and secure. I am always the object of His delight. I am always observed, so it always matters what I'm doing. I am always approved, so it's always worth doing what is right. I have a Father. I have a Father. I have a Father....
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:44 AM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Sunday, October 19, 2008 AD

And He Will Lift You Up
Humility is this: God owes me nothing. I am His servant; He is not mine. God is God and He has the right to do anything He wants.

~Ed Welch
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:47 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 AD

If Anybody Wants a Free One-Month Netflix Trial...
...I've got four of 'em two left. You get two free rentals for the month, and I get a free rental for every one that gets used. Leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail if you want one, and I'll give you a code.

[Bumped up from last month.]
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:56 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Churchill's Metaphor Doesn't Work for Me
It's not a black dog. Black means darkness, sleep, comfort. And while I'm not much of a dog person, a Lab or a Newfie (what "black dog" brings to my mind's eye) is a warm and comforting concept. No, it's soul-sucking, sensory deprivation gray. And it's not animate. It's more like cement or Soviet architecture or a sea of cubicle walls. It's a 45 played at 33 -- sluggish and surreal. It's a strange combination of deadness and deep feeling. It's weariness, weariness, weariness.
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:25 AM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Monday, October 13, 2008 AD

A Satisfying Irony
So the Christ Church ministerial conference on father hunger is this week, and I've been exceedingly jealous of my pastor and elders because they have the opportunity to go, but it turns out that none of them is going because...they're all such good fathers! Two of them have sons home from NSA on fall break they want to spend time with, and the other one has a very ill daughter he doesn't want to leave.

So God bless Tim and the Dougs and Randy as they speak on Thursday and Friday, and God bless the sound guy so we can get decent recordings of the conference, and God bless every church with leaders as godly and faithful as the ones I've got!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:38 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Friday, October 10, 2008 AD

NSA Should Require These for All Senior Theses
Dissertation Haiku
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 3:59 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

I Learned from the Master
An envelope received today from my mom. Puts my amateur multistamplicity efforts in their place!

Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 2:48 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

From the Department of You Have Got to Be Kidding
This is going to be a geeky post, but even my totally non-designer colleague in the development unit could spot this one. I've got a photo inset in a letter and rotated about 7 degrees. In the first proof, the printer's prepress department just indented the paragraphs to the right of the photo far enough so they fit, but the text didn't flow in a nice parallel line next to the edge of the image. Their "correction" cracked me up: They put those paragraphs in a separate text box and rotated it to match the photo! I think this wins the prize as the dumbest thing I've ever seen a printer do...and that's saying something!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:40 AM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Thursday, October 9, 2008 AD

Someone loves it as much as I do!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:46 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Saturday, October 4, 2008 AD

Why I Love the Internet
I am a normal person online. In real life, between being such a nervous wreck most of the time and not being particularly fluent in body language (either speaking or interpreting) I come across as somebody who's not quite right. Not that I don't make social mistakes online, too (or maybe I just don't notice so often that I'm making them), but it's just so much easier. The Internet is an introvert's paradise. But real life has its good points, too, so I'm not quite ready to give up on it yet....
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 3:04 AM • Permalink Links to this post 7 comments

Thursday, October 2, 2008 AD

Evils Real and Imagined
Doug Wilson addresses keeping the Halloween baby when discarding the bathwater. Perhaps it's not so evil after all.

Angie Brennan, however, needs an exorcist.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8:49 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Change of Address, Part 2
(In keeping with the principle that a long comment turned into its own post makes you look like a more consistent blogger, I place the following here instead of here. In keeping with the muzzy-headedness of a person coming down with a cold, it is long and rambling.)

In considering these forms of address, I note first one exception to any of these rules: kids I've known from times and places with different cultural expectations. I'd never expect Elisabeth or Paul or Kate to call me "Miss" anything. E & P have known me just as "Valerie" for a dozen years or do, and that's perfectly fine. K dubbed me "Bobbie" when she was a toddler, and that's finely perfect. I was taken a little aback, though, a couple years ago when I met an old friend's 6-year-old for the first time and was introduced as "Valerie." I let it slide because she's not a child I'm likely to develop much of a relationship with, but if she had been, I'd probably have asked her mom to make it "Miss Valerie."

As far as the time of transition from Mr./Mrs./Miss Soandso to a first-name basis goes, the consensus seems to be in keeping with what I've pretty much settled on: it should occur with the transition to independence -- college graduation or marriage or establishing one's own household as a single person.

As RC knows, I do prefer Miss Valerie to Miss Lastname, for the very reasons he mentioned in his comment -- it expresses affection and a familial sense, and one can carry on that sense into adulthood if everyone's content to do so. Miss Gloria, for instance, was always Miss Gloria to me and my brothers. We could never have called her by her first name alone. (Note here that "Miss Firstname" applies to both single and married ladies.)

But I can understand the few holdouts among my acquaintances who have kids in a school where Mr./Mrs./Miss Lastname is expected when addressing even faculty members who are beloved family friends. It's simpler just to be consistent and do the last name thing all 'round.

Where I run into a little more trouble is with kids who want to jump the gun a bit. And I will concede to the "Miss Lastname" folks that the too-eager ones tend to come from the families that do allow "Miss Valerie." I generally try to correct by asking, "Would you call Mrs. A 'Karen'? Then you should probably stick to 'Miss Valerie' for me." Or, "Would you call Mrs. B 'Angie'? Well, I'm older than she is!"

I'm comfortable with that line for church family kids, but it gets a little trickier when we go farther afield. So my next question is, how do I gently correct someone a little more distant without sounding ungracious? Or do I just let it slide? I don't want to be mean, but I feel as if I shouldn't treat it as unimportant. For instance, I had a Facebook friend request from a college student who addressed me as just "Valerie." I suspect this person (whom I don't know at all, and therefore probably won't accept, anyway) was raised with a cultural expectation that young people use honorifics for their parents' peers, and I don't want to undermine that. For one thing, I don't want subvert their parents' standards, and for another thing, I tend to think it's a good standard, myself, as an application of honoring "superiors in age" (WLC Q124).

I don't think Jane Austen's era was perfect, by any means, but I do regret that we've lost the whole concept of a clear system of social rules such as I know from her stories!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:04 PM • Permalink Links to this post 4 comments

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