Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane ...

... I'm pretty sure when I'll be back again, but, as James admonished in his epistle, I ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and return on Monday, January 30."

At last, we are leaving the giant rat and the cowardly cat to fight it out, and we are journeying to Ottawa, ON via MA, NH and VT. All this in pursuit of another Carolyn Arends/Spencer Capier concert experience. Plus, we get to meet a long time Internet friend and fellow admirer of the mighty triumvirate of female wordsmiths (that would be Carolyn Arends, Jane Austen, and L.M. Montgomery, in case you didn't know), vermonster. She is no monster, according to Carolyn herself, who, legend has it, once received from vermonster a jug of Vermont Maple Syrup so large that she is still using it on her pancakes years later. This promises to be a delightful trip.

I am very guilty of blog neglect, but I take comfort in knowing that, since most of us have many blogs we read regularly, a paucity of posts here makes little difference to anyone other than my muse (who is sitting and sulking in the corner as you read this). Here are some things I have wanted to post about at length, but haven't yet, and may never before they are pushed aside by more pressing events:

The March for Life in Olympia on January 18, 2006: Sadie and I attended sans Jason this year. The pro-life crowd was gloriously huge! This was the largest turnout I've ever seen at a March for Life, and it was most heartening to witness. As I wrote in an e-mail to Joelle, I was fully expecting that -- with Judge Alito's upcoming confirmation and the overturning of Roe vs. Wade looking more and more like a blessed future reality instead of a pipe dream -- the turnout would be smaller, with many pro-lifers lulled into cheerful complacence. Boy, was I wrong! The peaceful gathering spread out to fill the capitol steps and much of the pavement surrounding the building. It was so wonderful to see that most of the faces were under forty-years-old. Women my age and younger, who have lived our whole lives with the slaughter of innocents enshrined as a right, who have seen our generations thinned out by mass-murder called "choice," are now leading the way to end this travesty and restore liberty to this land.

My only complaint about the March this year, was that the rally was so Christo-centric. Please do not get me wrong. I think that believers' lives should always be Christo-centric. But, in a fight like this one, we do not need to alienate the Jewish believers, the Muslims, the atheists, the agnostics, the Buddhists, etc. So, on one hand, my heart swelled with joy to hear the name of the Most High proclaimed in the capital of a state where He is often ignored. On the other, I felt a twinge for the marchers who did not share our beautiful faith in Jesus. Of course, the Catholics have been the group most responsible for holding together and promoting the pro-life view throughout the dark years, so if they want to pray "Our Fathers" and "Hail Marys," it is their due for the long years of keeping the flame from burning out. I only wish that the speakers had been more varied.

The anti-lifers, pro-abortionists were there too, but they seemed even more irrelevant this year, though they were even more obscene. They haven't too much to worry about, actually. When Roe vs. Wade is overturned, Washington will still allow legal abortion -- God forgive us all. Since this state is so reactionary about this issue, it will probably have the most liberal abortion laws in the country, outside of New York and California. Maybe even less restrictive than California, come to think of it. There is a large pro-life group of Latino-Americans in California that will speak up for the littlest ones.

Gehenna by Paul Thigpen: Andrea recommended this book a few weeks ago. I got it from the library last week and read it in two days. It is a fast-paced religious thriller. Basically, the plot is an updating of Dante's Inferno, made relevant to the prevalent sins of today. The protagonist, Thomas, is an agnostic professor of theology at an Atlanta, GA seminary who, while running in fear of his life, takes a wrong turn and falls farther than he had imagined possible. After regaining consciousness in a colorless underworld, he approaches a manhole, looking for a way back. Across the manhole cover, he sees the words: ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE. Soon, an old, small, serene woman appears and begins to guide him through the circles of what he comes to find is Hell.

This book is gripping and chilling. Some parts made me gasp with conviction, such as when Thomas met face-to-face with the demon judge of souls: His hooded eyes flashed and burned a hole through mine, piercing all the way through to my brain. He had me. I couldn't look away, and the guilty revelations exploded from my mouth against my will: "Fornication, gluttony, greed, rage, heresy ..." I reached the end of the list quickly, and his wire-stitched fingers latched around my throat. (p. 66) I could easily see myself in Thomas' place, a confession of my wretched sins pulled from my unwilling lips by a power beyond me. How my heart praised the blood covering of Jesus when I read those words!

Some parts made me weep with heartache, such as the author's description of the Lake of Innocents: When we reached the water's edge, I saw what the bubbles held.

Babies. Millions of unborn and newborn babies.

"This is the grisly harvest of your century, Thomas. These were murdered by their own parents, the victims of abortion, infanticide and what your people so glibly call 'fetal harvesting.' Here they rest for a season in a womb safe at last from the selfishness of the mothers who rejected them, the fathers who hired killers to take their lives."

As far as I could see to the horizon, the babies floated, wave after gentle wave of countless little bodies, perfectly formed and still.

I had to sit down.

Miss C. remained standing. "I have heard of King Herod's slaughter of the innocents. He has a place now in the flames below. But far below him, in torturous pains of conscience Herod has never even dreamed of, lie the mothers and fathers who had their babies poisoned, dismembered, sold for body parts -- for the sake of their own convenience or profit.

"Tell me, Thomas: How could you have lived in such a land, where such a crime was protected by law?" (p.59)

She might as well have said, "Tell me, Justine, how do you live in this land?" What a call to conscience never to cease to speak up and fight against this travesty of justice and liberty!

But then came the tears of joy: "You said that they rest here for a season. Do they leave, then?" ...

Her face brightened. "Yes. The messengers come for the children and take them away."

"To heaven?"

"To Him. They say the babies play around His throne."

"Why don't the children go there as soon as they die?"

"They have purposes to accomplish here first. But they are not here long. Even heaven's patience has its limits, and He is eager to hold them." (p. 60)


The book is written with many of the questions that Thomas poses to his guide, Capopia, justifiably left unanswered. I have never read Inferno, but now I have been inspired to pursue it. My main quarrel with the book is that Hell is written in such a way that makes God seem almost petty in His punishment of sin. I think that the author tries valiantly to make the souls consigned to Hell reprehensible enough to warrant the eternal punishment they are given. It is just so hard for me to believe that the Lord of Life and Love who I know through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the kind of God who saw me dead in my sin and restored me to Him through unmerited grace, could allow the torment of souls created in His image for an eternity. Maybe that is why Dante wrote Inferno as only one part of his trilogy, The Divine Comedy. Maybe Hell does seem petty when taken alone, and can only be understood by journeying also through Purgatory (if such a place exists) and into Paradise.

In any event, this book kept me on the edge of my seat. Absolutely enthralling! My thanks to Andrea, and a hearty recommendation. This is the sort of book that you want to discuss afterward and chew it over with others, both points of agreement and disagreement. It will never leave you.

A Prayer for Owen Meany: I awoke this morning thinking again of this wretched book. Vermonster has invited Carolyn Arends and Spencer Capier to lunch before Saturday's concert, giving some of their fans the opportunity to "treat [them] to a meal when they have kept our souls so well fed all these years with their beautiful music." I just quoted myself, which is, I've been told, geeky and narcissistic. Oh well. Anyway, this will be the first time I've seen Carolyn Arends since she recommended A Prayer for Owen Meany last summer at camp. I feel slightly queasy and nervous about this, since I detested the book so much. I suppose I could just not bring up books at all, but I do so want to let her know how much I loved The Jesus I Never Knew, and how much I appreciated her recommendation of it. But that might bring the uncomfortable follow-up inquiry: "And, did you have a chance to read Owen Meany?" Or, it might not. But, if it does, I need to be prepared to put the sentiment, "I thought that it was the most putrid heap of literary fertilizer that I'd read since Light in August," into more gentle terms.

Then, like a blessed bolt from the blue, I found this comment on my ancient Owen Meany review:
Came across your blog when I was actually searching for Eddie Askew painting retreats. Totally agree that "A Prayer for Owen Meany" was a dreadful book, I just couldn't believe in his character. It was the first book we had to read for a readers' group a few years ago. I was the only one who didn't like it, probably the only Christian in the group too...
An incomparably better book is Eddie Askew's recent autobiography, "The Edge of Daylight"
Linda, Scotland

I was beginning to feel all alone. Not only do Carolyn, Rich and Flicka like the book, I was reminded by my friend Kadie that she likes the book too. Now, I have an unexpected ally in the anti-Owen camp. I couldn't be more tickled. I had always said that Scottish people tend to be filled with common sense and excellent literary judgement. Or, at least, I'm going to start saying that.

Well, peace to all. Any prayers you could spare for a safe and non-tantrum-filled travelling experience would be mightily appreciated. Six-hour flights with toddlers, then ten-hour road-trips with same, do not the most relaxing of vacations make. At least there will be no rats. There had better not be!

Write often, write passionately, and I look forward to reading your wit, insight, passion and persuasion when, if the Lord wills it, we return.

Some photos from last year's appearance at the venue to which we will soon be travelling are posted below for you poor souls who have never experienced the wonder and power of a live concert of Carolyn Arends and Spencer Capier. Please note Carolyn's rock star pants (which, I confess, are one of the main attractions of seeing a live show). Photos were stolen fair and square from DC Presentations, the hosts of Saturday night's concert:

I can never get pics this good at concerts. I hate to use a flash, and my seats are usually too far away. These serve to illustrate reality much better than anything I'll ever get.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Post #100! And The Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down

100 posts in almost one year! Hozzah!

And, of course, you parents out there will recognize the title of this entry as having been taken from The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh:

And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down
In rushing, rising rivlets
And the river crept out of its bed
And rushed right into Piglet's.

We are on the 24th consecutive day of rain here in the Northwet [sic]. I love it! My dad asked yesterday if I were at all depressed by it. I said, "No, I'm depressed for other reasons" -- like the rat in our house's walls that chewed a one inch hole in one of our water pipes and caused a giant leak in our downstairs/garage area. Hello, Plumber! Goodbye, $500! And then, last night, the giant rat (he must be giant, what normal rat can chew through plumbing?) was at it again on our new pipe. Saw. Saw. Saw. No sleep and a lot of pounding on walls and floors, trying to scare him away, ensued for me. We've filled the walls with poison, the inner closets with traps, and we even put one of those pulsing sonar thingies in an outlet to drive them away. But still it's: saw, saw, saw. Plus, when the plumber was here, he asked if we had carbon monoxide detectors in the house. I said, "No. Why?" He said that it looked as though our furnace were on its last legs. Oh, and our water heater too.

Why did we buy a house again?

At least we still have a roof over our head to keep off the rain (thus far). Some people do not even have a dilapidated home to call their own. So, I'm going to try to force myself to be grateful. And, of course, part of us is tempted to sell the house "as is" and just not mention the myriad problems herein. Then, the better angels of our natures rise up and demand that we do better unto others than was done unto us. Crap. So, today I will call for estimates on furnaces and water heaters. Jason is on the exterminator front. We'll get this house habitable, and then we'll move into another set of somebody else's problems. Or is that cynical?

We're heading to Ottawa in a couple weeks. Maybe the house will explode while we're gone. Maybe the carbon monoxide will rise up and kill off the rats (poetic justice). Probably, it will have all been fixed by then, and we will arrive home to something awful that is new (and completely unrelated to the known problems) to tackle and spend money on.

Januarys stink.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

R.W. Bradford, Founder of Liberty Magazine (1947 - 2005)

Last night was pretty rough. I was blithely checking out the new and improved Liberty magazine website when I came to the "Staff" section. I noticed the first entry on that page: R.W. Bradford (1947-2005) was the founder of Liberty magazine. At first, I thought, "Wow! He must have retired." But then I noticed that the dates spanned his life's years. And my heart fell.

I practically grew up reading Liberty -- certainly from the time that I really began to develop my own ideas about things, independent of outside influences. I have not always agreed with every contributor to Liberty, but I have always been challenged by the writing and ideas and spirit of respectful debate. After all, despite points of disagreement, everyone who writes for Liberty begins with the premise that the concept of liberty is, in and of itself, a sacred cause worthy of vigorous defense and passionate exploration.

At two o'clock this morning, I dreadfully picked up my most recent copy of Liberty which had come in yesterday's mail. On the second page of the "Letters" section was the notice of R.W. Bradford's passing. I offer it here as a just testimony of a man who used his brief time on earth to pursue tirelessly the highest ideal he had found -- rational minds examining and advocating human liberty:

R.W. Bradford, founder of this journal, died at his home in Port Townsend, Washington, on December 8, 2005, after a gallant battle against cancer. He was 58.

A future issue of Liberty will commemorate Bill's life. Here it is important to say that he was more than the founder of this journal; he was its brain and soul and vital energy. He envisioned Liberty as an independent journal, bound to no party, sect, or ideological tendency, constrained by no editorial line, and existing solely for the purpose of serving individual freedom by publishing the best libertarian writing that can be found.

To that purpose he adhered unswervingly throughout the nineteen years of his editorship.

To that purpose, Liberty will continue to adhere, in the memory of a great man and in allegiance to the high principles to which he devoted his life.

Stephen Cox

I cannot help but think that as R.W. Bradford was preparing to leave this world, he must have taken immense comfort in knowing that the beacon was passed to such capable and sympathetic hands as Stephen Cox. He is one of my favorite writers, and I know that Liberty will continue in its trademark excellence, feistiness, quirkiness, diversity, and passion under his stewardship.

I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting R.W. Bradford a few times at free-market/libertarian conferences. He was a rumpled, bearded, abstracted, almost gnome-like, little man with a kind, dreamy face and an unassuming posture. He stood quietly in crowds. I approached him the first time I met him at the Liberty Editors' Conference in 2001. He conversed in a distracted way. Again, I hailed him in 2002 at the Foundation for Economic Education's conference, FEE Fest, in Las Vegas. Even with a reminder of our encounter of a little more than six months before, he seemed confused and bewildered by my salutations. These traits only served to make him more dear to me, since eccentric behavior is just about the only standard among individual liberty types. When I saw him again in 2004 at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, I did not bother to accost him, but kept my distance and attended his presentations. While vague in personal discourse with a stranger, R.W. Bradford was clear and articulate in his writings and his speeches. His absorption with the cause of liberty was evident and palpable. We could ill afford to lose him. He will be missed.

I pray for the peaceful repose of his soul. My prayers are also for his widow, Kathleen Bradford. It is a sad time.

The Seattle Times Obituary
The Reason On-Line Obituary (with comments)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Miners

I was so amazed and joyful to hear last night that twelve of the thirteen trapped miners in West Virginia were found alive. I was devastated to hear this morning that the report was a mistake and twelve of the thirteen were, instead, dead.

May God bring peace to the hearts of the deceased miners' loved ones. I cannot imagine what they have gone through -- from the heights of emotional elation to the depths of emotional despair, all within three hours. My heart broke a little more when I read that one family member who was holding vigil in a church lashed out against God when he heard that all but one of the trapped miners were dead. He said, "What has God ever done for us?" I pray that the Lord of Life will show him soon what He can do. Peace, consolation, hope of reunion -- our Father knows what it is to grieve over the loss of His family, over the loss of a Son.

May He quickly heal the surviving miner.

Peace to all, and prayers to those who mourn today -- in West Virginia and around the world.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Books, Books, Books!

A Book Meme
(I still do not quite know what a "meme" is -- perhaps it will be in the 2006 Merriam-Webster's? -- but I think I've inferred the meaning correctly by reading plenty out there. So, I'm going to start my own and see if I can get some participants.)
Five favorite fiction writers:
1) Jane Austen
2) Isabel Paterson
3) L.M. Montgomery
4) Sandra Dallas
5) Sophie Kinsella
Five favorite non-fiction writers:
1) Bill Bryson
2) P.J. O'Rourke
3) Thomas Sowell
4) Jim Powell
5) Stephen Cox
Five favorite children's writers:
1) Laura Ingalls Wilder
2) John D. Fitzgerald
3) C.S. Lewis (I know, I know -- he's great in any genre and the Narnia books are hardly only for children. But I read them when I was a kid, so they'll always be tied to my youth.)
4) Carol Brink (of Caddie Woodlawn fame)
5) Beverly Cleary
Favorite book read in 2005:
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
Book you're looking most forward to reading in 2006:
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle (It's been on my list for a while. I bought it, and I am looking forward to a relaxing stretch to dig in)
Five books on faith (not necessarily Christian faith, if that is not your spiritual bent) that you would recommend:
1) The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
2) When Bad Christians Happen to Good People by Dave Burchett
3) No Compromise: The Keith Green Story by Melody Green
4) Living the Questions: Making Sense of the Mess and Mystery of Life by Carolyn Arends
5) The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Five books that made you laugh out loud:
1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2) Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
3) Eat the Rich by P.J. O'Rourke
4) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
5) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
A fictional character you would like to emulate:
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (natch!)
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? If yes, which one?
Ha! Just one? This bibliophile has had crushes on Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre), Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice), and Gilbert Blythe (The Anne of Green Gables Series). Almanzo Wilder (The Little House Books) should get an honorary mention, though he's not really fictional.
The best biography you've ever read:
The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America by Stephen Cox
A book you love with a short review:
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. This is one of the best books I've ever read -- it was gripping, dramatic, well-written, and gave the reader a remarkable sense of time and place. Larson weaves a tale both inspiring and haunting as he alternates the narrative between the vision and determination of a brilliant architect who struggled to make the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago a shining reality, and the cunning and ruthlessness of a serial killer who used the bustle and anonymity of the enterprising young city on the verge of world notice to lure his victims to their deaths. I actually stayed up through the night on the edge of my seat to finish this book, and never regretted that decision through the following bleary-eyed day. Top-notch historical research and beautiful writing make this an engrossing read.
Five people to tag:
(And no pressure meant if you're short on time and long on responsibilities)
Dad -- Darn it! I'll get you to post somehow or another.
Vermonster -- I know you don't have a blog (yet!), but, if you are so inclined, you may answer in a comment.

Monday, January 02, 2006


At church on Sunday, they played a 12 minute video by Rob Bell entitled, "Rhythm." It affected me deeply.

I found out a little more about Rob Bell and his ministry of NOOMA, which is the English phonetic spelling of the Greek pneuma, meaning "breath" or "spirit." The video I saw was so amazing -- I'd like to see the other videos he's put together.

Here is a clip link, if you are interested in checking it out.

I would want to see it again before posting in depth about the message. It had me in tears. It was that beautiful. What a blessed way to begin 2006. Thank you, Pastor Day at Calvary Chapel South!

There is also a full-length video on the NOOMA site that is excellent too. If you want a better sense of the "Rhythm" video, and you have 11 minutes to spare, check out "Rain." What a communicator this Rob Bell is! I dare you to watch and not cry.
Peace to you.

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone

We are here to love. And the enemy of love is self-consciousness.
--Tom Jackson, as quoted in Living the Questions: Making Sense of the Mess and Mystery of Life by Carolyn Arends

January is here. Goodness, how I hate this month. I know that this month, on the twenty-second, we will mark yet another anniversary of that travesty of humanity, decency, liberty and justice -- the reprehensible Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court abomination of 1973. This whole month hangs heavily upon me -- a burden of pain that surfaces more easily at this time of year than any other. The mass murder of the unborn is never far from my heart, but, in January, it is like a millstone weighing me down. Because, this month, I have to do something about it that takes me far outside my comfort zone. Because, this is the month to stand up in public against the culture tide and proclaim loudly that I will speak against this horror -- I will speak up for the little ones robbed of their voices.

I love and rejoice to support crisis pregnancy centers throughout the year. I am blessed to be a small part of child-and-youth-centered ministries like Compassion International and Mercy Ministries. Toy drives, supporting the Seattle Union Gospel Mission, volunteering at my church -- these are my preferred ways of loving children. I enjoy working in the shadows. I hate to stand up in public. But, every year I dutifully pack warm clothes and my Bug into the Cavalier and journey westward to Olympia to stand on the steps of the capitol (the place where the legislators of one of the most pro-abortion states in the Union legalized abortion in 1970 -- beating the SCOTUS to the punch and declaring in no uncertain terms: "Inconvenient babies must die.") and join with fellow travelers in saying, "Not in my name." Every year, I am just miserable about it. But I do it, because not to do it would be inexcusable.

This is the same dilemma I face when I get that letter every year from Compassion International. My stomach ties up in knots when I see the annual request that I host a "Compassion Sunday" at my church. All this is is a short presentation before the congregation sharing about my experience as a child sponsor, and then setting up a table after service to give people the opportunity to ask questions about my experiences and, hopefully, feel led to sponsor a child themselves. Every year, I pray: Please Lord, let another sponsor at our church volunteer. Every year, the reply is the same: Nope. You're up, baby. So, I do it. I stand up in front of everyone with my knees knocking and my voice quavering, and I speak from the heart, trusting in the Spirit to lead me. And every year I get a positive response, and some beautiful children living in poverty around the world are given a safe haven in a ministry partner of Compassion International because the Lord spoke to hearts through me. That's humbling and unnerving and a little too close to His holiness for comfort. But it is what I do, because not to do it would be inexcusable.

Last year, when the world clamored to starve and dehydrate Terri Schiavo to death because she was severely handicapped and her husband remembered five years after her incapacitation that she had really wanted to die all along, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) sent out a call to action for its supporters to write to their congressional representatives and ask that "Terri's Bill" be passed so that her case could be subjected to federal review. Oh goodness, I did not want to write anything to Maria Cantwell or (even worse) Patty Murray, because I would prefer if their lives and the lives of their staffers never crossed mine. Mostly, I want to live under the radar of any government official -- I most certainly did not relish subjecting my e-mail address to their list of constituents. Then, after I had decided that this was not for me, I had a very disturbing vision of my standing before the Judgement Seat and trying to explain to the Holy One why I did not send out a simple e-mail when a life was on the line. So I did it. And I got the automatically-generated reply back from those two senators. And the bill was passed, but Terri was put to death anyway. At least I did what I really thought the Lord wanted me to. Not to have done so would have been inexcusable.

Once, I really crossed the line of my comfort zone. I went to a prayer vigil outside a local abortion mill that was organized by a local Catholic pro-life group. The morning started with Mass at the local parish, which is uncomfortable enough for a Prostestant heretic like me, and then proceeded caravan-style to the death house. Those were a few of the most uncomfortable hours of my life. First of all, there was the Catholic aspect. I love Catholics -- I do not think, like so many Prostestants unfortunately seem to, that Catholicism is a cult. I know that they love the Lord, but there are a lot of auxiliary doctrines and rites that I just do not get (e.g. the Pope, the holy water, the saints, the obsession with Mary). It was very hard to be the only non-Catholic at the vigil. Everyone was praying the rosary, and the Hail Marys kind of freaked me out. Then, of course, there was the public aspect. I hated, hated, hated standing on a street corner in one of the top three pro-abortion states and hearing obscenities yelled out from passing cars. The cheers and honks and thumbs-up we got were a heartening relief, though. All in all, I wouldn't want to do it again, unless I could find some fellow non-Catholics to go with me. But, then, I think, what if even just one heart were changed -- what if just one life were saved? Then, that makes all of my discomfort and self-consciousness irrelevant and petty. So, I'll probably have to do it again. Not to do so would be inexcusable.

I have felt led by the Lord for a couple of years to do two things that I have so far left undone. The first is to start a Saturday morning coffee and doughnut table in a park and talk with everyone who comes by for a cup of joe and a sugary pastry. It is just a call to do that putting yourself out there in love that Jesus modeled consistently. The other is to start some kind of housecleaning care for new mothers, especially single mothers. I know from experience that the last thing new mothers have the energy to do is clean house and do laundry and cook. I'd love to start some kind of network with like-minded people to give them a helping hand. Of course, starting anything like these takes a whole lot of shedding of self. For the first, I would have to commit to giving my Saturday mornings in service on a very consistent basis, since love cannot be a fly-by-night operation. For the second, I would have to assert myself with local hospitals or support groups to find out which new moms need help. Here's a question: Does anyone have any suggestions for getting started? There has been a lot of prayer already, and still I hesitate. I'm definitely going to wait until we move, though, because whatever may come, I want to have permanence and reliability. I know that eventually I will have to do them both. Not to do either would be inexcusable.

So, I'll be in Olympia later this month. I have yet to find the date of the March for Life posted, but I will be vigilant until it is -- most likely on Friday the 20th, or thereabouts. Here's my recounting of the March last year. I do not think that I added in the gritted-teeth and knotted intestines aspect to my post, because it all seems so silly to have been tense, once the travail is over. But here I am again, all grouchy and uptight and self-conscious once more. The Lord will kick me in the pants and get me there and get me through it, because He is good and He has not given up on me yet -- nor will He ever! So, I will lean into Him, trusting not in my own understanding but in His love and grace -- not to do so would be inexcusable.

One last thought from the always apropos Carolyn Arends:
I need a touch of love. I need a thrust of grace. A push, a shove, a slap in the face. I have gazed too long at the person in the mirror. As I turn away, I'm finding things are clearer. I will set my sights on Someone so much higher -- not on what I want, but on what I require to travel to the place where at last I can embrace all the things that really matter. I don't want to be here again, bowed at the altar of ego. I've sacrificed most everything, here at the altar of ego.
-- From "The Altar of Ego" by Carolyn Arends (I Can Hear You, 1995)