Monday, February 25, 2008

Musical Mondays

Another week, another song! I'm going to use another hymn this week.

This isn't one that I learned growing up through church, but rather as an adult. I'm sure any of my Methodist friends would be shocked that it's not one I knew my whole life, but nevertheless, it's an incredible lyric. The words were written by Charles Wesley and the music by Thomas Campbell. The song is "And Can It Be."

As I've said before, one of my all-time favorite passages of Scripture is Romans 5:8 -- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV) This hymn paints a beautiful picture of that incredible love that the Savior has shown us.

1. And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Savior's blood!
Died he for me? who caused his pain!
For me? who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

2. 'Tis mystery all: th' Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
to sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.

3. He left his Father's throne above
(so free, so infinite his grace!),
emptied himself of all but love,
and bled for Adam's helpless race.
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
for O my God, it found out me!
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
for O my God, it found out me!

4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
fast bound in sin and nature's night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

5. No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
alive in him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
bold I approach th' eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th' eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

I also found a beautiful a capella version of this by the musical group GLAD. The tune is a bit different than the traditional one, but it's hard to pass up posting this as well! (I expect that in this recording, Bob Kauflin is still a part of the group. You can read his blog here -- I highly recommend it!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Weekend Trip

This weekend I took the kids up to PA for a quick visit with my folks and my grandparents. It was a really good trip.

We went to see Keek at the nursing home. He's been receiving dialysis for the past few weeks and is doing really well. There's still some question about whether or not he'll get the more permanent fistula or not, but the temporary dialysis access point is doing well, and he's definitely looking much healthier than he has in recent visits. And everyone has told me that he's doing ridiculously better than he was when he was in the hospital. Regardless of what happens now, I'm glad that we were able to get up to visit him. He loves seeing the kids and they seemed glad to see him as well.

We're hoping to make a bigger family trip in a couple of weeks. Gram & Keek celebrate their anniversary on March 17th, and we're hoping to go up about a week earlier. With any luck, my sister in New Orleans will also be able to make the trip so we can have a larger celebration. I know that Jason was disappointed to make the trip, so I'm sure he'll appreciate another chance to make a trip.

In other news, Jason continues the job hunt. He has a temporary job right now that seems to be working out well. He's working for the lottery, doing updates on the video gaming machines. It's certainly an ethical quandary, but it pays the bills for now, so we'll take it. We continue to pray that a full-time job comes available soon for him. He's had a couple of "almost" offers, but nothing that's stuck yet.

That said, we've been incredibly blessed during this time. Even with Jason being unemployed, we've been able to completely eliminate all of our credit card debt (praise be!!!!), purchase a new car with cash and put a little money away in savings. God has supplied above and beyond our needs. We are so blessed to be able to watch Him in action in our finances. It's a real joy! It's one thing to know that God supplies our needs and quite another to be able to have to really rely on Him to do just that. But we are so blessed that we serve a God who doesn't work simply in theory, but in actuality. Woohoo!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Musical Mondays

So what song can you use on President's day? There simply aren't a lot of songs about our presidents. I was going to simply choose another song and ignore the fact that it's a holiday.

But then I remembered that I have a band in my back pocket who writes songs about every darn thing.

They Might Be Giants.

There's not a single thing I can add to make this song/video more entertaining (other than I wish I was in that crowd with my kids!). Enjoy "James K. Polk" by TMBG.

In 1844, the Democrats were split
The three nominees for the presidential candidate
Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist
James Buchanan, a moderate
Louis Cass, a general and expansionist
From Nashville came a dark horse riding up
He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

Austere, severe, he held few people dear
His oratory filled his foes with fear
The factions soon agreed
He's just the man we need
To bring about victory
Fulfill our manifest destiny
And annex the land the Mexicans command
And when the votes were cast the winner was
Mister James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

In four short years he met his every goal
He seized the whole southwest from Mexico
Made sure the tarriffs fell
And made the English sell the Oregon territory
He built an independent treasury
Having done all this he sought no second term
But precious few have mourned the passing of
Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh president
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump

By the by, it was very difficult to pick which video I wanted to include. By all means, search for this at YouTube and you'll find a veritable smorgasbord of tribute videos for this fantastic song. Happy President's Day!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Best In Show

Coco is basking in the reflected glory of the first ever beagle to win best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Way to represent, Uno! May the legacy of your incredibly loud bark live forever!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Yes We Can!

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea --

Yes. We. Can.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Musical Mondays

It's been a few weeks since I've done a David Crowder song here. He's one of my most favorite lyricists, but the song I'm posting today isn't one of his most profound lyrics. So often, I'll listen to his songs and have to really think and think in order to fully comprehend the depth of them, but today I want to share an older song that has been on my heart lately.

This week I'm posting about "Wonderful King." The phrase "beautiful Savior" is one that has resonated with me a long time. The picture of Christ on a cross is one that is terrible and frightening, but it is also one of the most beautiful sights. Our Savior allowed Himself to undergo extreme pain, humiliation and death so that we might be with Him in glory. There is nothing, NOTHING that we have done or could ever do that could bring us one step closer to paying the debt that we owe due to our sin, but Jesus chose to give up the spendor of heaven to pay that price for me. He is, indeed, a beautiful Savior.

We are here
Because of grace
Because of love
We are here
Because of You
Because of You
You are here
Because of grace
Because of love
And You are here
Because of You
Because of You

You fill our hearts
With more than we
Can hold inside
And so we sing

Beautiful Savior
Wonderful King [2x]

Oh, beautiful sound
The joy of Heaven here
Oh, wonderful sound
Love of Heaven now
Oh, beautiful sound
The joy of Heaven here
Oh, wonderful sound
Love of Heaven now
Oh, beautiful sound
The joy of Heaven here
Oh, wonderful sound
Oh, wonderful sound

He great
Isn't He marvelous

Thursday, February 07, 2008

An excellent read

I'm still pretty riled up about this whole torture thing.

I found this editorial in searching for the Christian response to torture. I found it to be really, really good.

It's not REALLY torture!

Yesterday, the White House defended the use of waterboarding as a means of interrogating terrorists. CIA director Michael Hayden said that it has only been used 3 times.

Now, if this is, in fact, not torture (despite what Amnesty International says), then why limit its use at all? If it's a safe and effective means for retrieving information, why do we need to have special approval from the attorney general and the president to use it?

Ultimately, I have to ask again why more Christians aren't raising an outcry at the "ends justify the means" tack that is being used here by this administration.

Here's a link to a 25 minute video showing someone undergoing waterboarding. There is some graphic language here, but if we're going to call something an appropraite manner of interrogation, I believe we need to know what we're supporting.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Exciting time to be a grown up!

I stayed up altogether too late last night watching the returns coming in from Super Tuesday. I absolutely love watching the voters tell the pundits and talking heads who we want. Forget who we're supposed to vote for, it's just thrilling to see a race that's half over and still have everyone in the game! I absolutely love that we're really having an opportunity to watch the democratic process in earnest. It's very exciting to me.

Honestly, in previous elections, I've been interested in the electoral process, but this year, I'm very interested in it. I've been having some really great conversations with friends on all sides (and I do mean all sides, including some Libertarian friends!), and it's fascinating to me to see why people are voting (or hoping to vote) a certain way.

This morning, a dear friend sent me the following. I just thought it was absolutely wonderful.
For once, I would like the polls to set aside the categories of Race, Gender, Evangelical of voters and measure voters' stance on a candidate's Commitment to Justice, Care for Poor, Flexibility, Willing to Work Together, Ability to Inspire, Willingness to Uphold the Constitution and not REWRITE IT (or flat-out ignore it), and Commitment to Freedom for All... at least in the US.

It would certainly make for some interesting exit polls!

In wholly other news, I'm sorry I missed the Musical Monday this week. Sickness has ravaged our house and left at least one of us feeling utterly miserable for nearly a week. It hit me on Monday and absolutely laid me out. I may do double-duty next Monday, because I already had several songs in mind!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Watching Seinfeld

I'm sitting here watching a re-run of Seinfeld (it's the one where Mickey gets lifts, George stays in a relationship to spite another guy & Elaine's date takes "it" out). I've seen all of these episodes countless times, but they still crack me up. They're just funny every time. Anyway, I figured I should go ahead and update my blog since it's been a while since I've written anything.

Things have been busy around here. Jason has been working like a dog to find work. He got a temp job working for the lottery. It pays pretty well and covers mileage, with is good. It's the temporary part that's not so good. He has talked to several folks who are looking for a job for him and we're hoping that in the weeks that he's working this job, he'll find something permanent.

James has been sick the past few days. Some kind of yucky flu bug. He seemed to be getting over it today, so of course that means the next is up. Christopher spent most of this evening puking his guts out. What was bizarre was that instead of being whiny about being sick, he was whiny because he couldn't eat pizza! Kids are funny.

Keek has been moved from the hospital to a nursing home. He has a DNR on his chart. Right now he has a temporary fistula put in to allow emergency access for dialysis. Mom said that since he's moved to the nursing home, he's been in much better shape. We're planning to take the kids up next week. Deborah cheers at a game in the morning, so we can go up Saturday afternoon. I'm just praying all of the kids are healthy (as well as us!) by then so we're able to make the trip without any problems. Mom & Dad were going to come down for a visit tomorrow, but with sick kids, there's really no reason.

Well, Seinfeld is wrapping up, Jason is out for the night (he's at so.zo's open mic, enjoying some local talent), and I need to finish my swap book so I can get it out in the mail next week (I hosted my first PBS swap and it's wrapping up now -- the theme was "home grown authors" where you had to use a book by an author from your home state. I chose West Virginia native Denise Giardina and her book Storming Heaven.). Hope everyone has a great weekend!
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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