Friday, December 24, 2010
The 12th century Wexford Carol (lyrics here), performed beautifully by Alison Krauss and accompanied by YoYo Ma
Ding Dong! Merrily on High (lyrics here) and In the Bleak Midwinter (lyrics here), both performed by King's College Choir
French carol circa 1553, Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella (lyrics here); musical version by Fernando Ortega
Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence is a 4th or 5th c. chant, whose present day text is based on the liturgy of Saint James. Unlike other carols, this one speaks not just of the Incarnation of Christ, but of his anticipated redemption and of his eternal reign. One of my favorite versions is performed simply but beautifully by Fernando Ortega.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Some friends have been doing this on facebook for the past week and while I was a little skeptical at first about joining in, I finally gave in after deciding that it looked enjoyable and easy enough since you write only one a day. For 12 days you write your answers to the topic of the day. It's simple, fun, and a great way to share some special things one enjoys about Christmas. I have decided to also post them here, in addition to facebook, for anyone's enjoyment. :)
The 12 topics:
Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
Day 2: Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks
Day 3: Most meaningful gift/best gift you've received
Day 4: Tips/Tricks to a Budget Friendly holiday season
Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show Special
Day 6: Gift ideas (what do YOU want? We all have family/friends reading our blogs...so let them know!)
Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY (If you don't make anything, what do you WISH you could make?)
Day 8: Least favorite thing about the Holidays
Day 9: Favorite Holiday recipe
Day 10: Favorite Christmas Songs/Caroles
Day 11: Favorite Cookie Recipe
Day 12: Oprah's Favorite Things: What item(s) would you want if you were in the audience? (have decided to skip this question on the blog - any suggestions for a replacement question? :) )
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In July, Ashley and I went to the East Coast for an extended 4th of July weekend with our cousin and her family. The weather was beautiful for the first two days we were there and then the heat that had followed us from Texas showed up and managed to scorch the otherwise cool Connecticut shoreline for the remainder of our stay. One advantage Connecticut has over Texas when heat waves show up is that no matter how hot the temps are during daytime, it will without fail cool down at night. Below is a photo of the Mystic river at sunset. More pictures to follow!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
I believe that we, as Christians, have to speak up for the rights of the unborn. I believe that we have to educate Christians on the difference between God's values and the world's values. I believe that rampant abortion is a judgment on society; that we have been allowed to kill innocent human beings for so long now, without consequence, seems to signify (to me anyway) that God has withdrawn his hand of mercy from us.
Thankfully, some Christians are fighting for people with disabilities, like this family, who share their story in this video. What a beautiful testimony...
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.
Who was the guilty- Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
'Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.
For me, kind Jesus, was Thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.
Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For our atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.
music and story here.
Another year, another Holy Week, another time to reflect and ponder the story of atonement and redemption. Last year I journaled my way through Lent, writing my thoughts, poetry, and certain hymns or Bible verses that impressed me during that time. This year I prepared for Easter week by beginning a fast on Ash Wednesday, seeking to abstain from a pleasure in order to exercise self-control and to prove that there is nothing earthly that I can't give up for my Savior, or that can give me greater pleasure than He, His divine and Holy Being.
Being reflective during Easter time (or Christmas, or anytime, for that matter) is difficult in our culture. We like noise, we like being busy, we like saying that we don't have time for anything, all the while being busy with the things we want to be busy with. In this way, we distract ourselves from disturbing thoughts, like our part in the story of the cross, and so manage to sanitize the Easter story not just for children, but for ourselves as well. The fact is, the story is not sanitary; it is full of wickedness, depravity, and rebellion against a Holy God. Yes, it's about you and me. That's our part in the story. It is so easy to think that because we haven't murdered, or stolen, or insert-bad-thing-here, that we are good people. I have never known anyone to actually admit that, yet how often is that inner thought exhibited in our lackadaisical approach to Easter, or to worship anytime throughout the year? I am grateful that in my church, a large emphasis is placed on reminding us that we were dead people - dead. I need that reminder. I forget all too easily my desperate need for a Savior. I need my pastor telling me that I was lost in sin but Christ, in His mercy and love, offers redemption through his atoning work on the cross. I believe that we cannot fully understand grace unless we first understand the depths of our sin. If we think that God didn't save us from much, then His grace will only mean that to you. If you understand that your sin nailed Him to that cross, that you cried out with the scoffers that day, that your voice called for His crucifixion when He had done no wrong, then His mercy will mean the world to you, and you will be forever transformed.
If you didn't this year, make next year's season of Lent an opportunity to be still, to put away something that distracts you from reflecting on God's mercy and grace, and His love unswerving - not our deserving.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Like nothing else could ever do, the gospel instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially when such persons are of the household of faith.
When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ.
Perhaps some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I.
Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I, too, have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me.
Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?
Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be blessed and changed as a result of some kindness I show them. If so, God be praised for His grace through me. But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves. Perhaps the person will repent in time; but for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.
The gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me. Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the gospel to my own benefit as well.
- from A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See The Glories of God's Love, pp 38-39
HT: Justin Taylor
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Just an observation in closing, but this has been a record winter here in Texas. For the first time that we can remember, we had a white Christmas. Then, only two weeks ago, we had a mighty 12.5" snowfall. God does indeed make foolish the wisdom of the world...
Thursday, February 18, 2010
For starters, I took a break from my emails, essays, and work to check a few blogs I haven't read in awhile. One is Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley, who is, simply, an inspiring woman. In her most recent posts was a link to this story from the Washington Post, which addresses a new technology being used to find brain activity in people who are in a vegetative state. Not surprisingly, people in comas are capable of using their brains even though they often have minimal or no physical activity/function. Ms. McCulley went on to reflect on this amazing story, of a young man who was thrown into a coma after an accident. After four years of loving care from his parents and girlfriend, he has made an amazing recovery. Please read the story, you can't help but be moved and inspired. On their blog, I saw this post which could be one of the best responses to suffering I have ever seen.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Dad and brothers take a fishing trip to Arkansas