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Thursday, December 21, 2006

I just ate Rudolph!

So, I made it to Norway. But my mind has yet to catch up. I left Houston at 7 pm, slept maybe an hour in flight, and arrived in Stavanger, Norway at 5 pm the next day (15 hours in transit). The plane was pretty nice, but those seats are only so comfortable, so no sleep for me.

Sunny StavangerSurprisingly, the weather is actually quite balmy for December - hovering around 40oF with rain. I have yet to see the sun, though. Not that I have not been outside in the daytime, or even seen a brightness in the sky that could be called "day" (but only for about 5 hours), it's just that the sun does not rise high enough above the horizon to be seen over the buildings of the town.

Half-twin bedsMy hotel is a cheap one; the "twin" beds are not perceptibly larger than a couch and the shower leaks water all over the floor of the bathroom. A few environmental features are highlighted: first, no bars of soap (to save on packaging), instead there is hand soap; second, the lights in the room only come on once you insert your room key card into a slot by the door (you leave the room, you turn out the lights by necessity).

Light switchFor some strange reason the dozen or so TV channels I have to choose from are all in Norwegian - I just can't understand that ;~) And speaking of Norwegian, I find that I can read around a third of Norwegian (especially signs) as it is relatively similar to English and logical leaps can be made to translate.

But I digress. Did I mention that over the last 78+ hours, I have only slept six? The ol' brains a little foggy. And I don't want smoked fish for dinner :( Or lunch. Or breakfast!

Other than being tired, though, the business trip is going great. I presented our work this morning, and it was very well received. Now for a little more impromptu work to fill the next day and a half and I'll be off to home, weather permitting.

Oh, I bet you're wondering about the post title "I just ate Rudolph". I had reindeer for dinner. Don't tell Little Euphrony; she'll be crushed. Hey, at least I didn't eat the whale. No joking, here; it's on the menus. They have two notable slogans about their continuing whale hunting. First: "Intelligent food for intelligent people." Second: "If we had dolphins, we'd kill them, too."

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Biff and the Stormtroopers

Before I go incommunicado as I travel to Norway and do the whole Christmas thing, I thought I would leave with a few parting amusements. First, I present for you're perusal a song from Tom Wilson - "The Daughter Song". A few months ago, I posted another song from Tom Wilson, better known as "Biff" from Back to the Future, which was very funny and well received. Here is another, which I think about sums up every father's feelings about his daughter. It sure captures mine!

Next is one that came out around ten years ago. A guy named Kevin Rubio and some friends did a very professional parody of Star Wars and Cops called Troops. If you have not seen this before, watch it and laugh your rear end off.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

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Prayer Updates

It's been a little while since I updated everyone on current prayer requests. I still keep the list on the side current (at least weekly), but here are a few to highlight.

  • My friend, Erinlo, is mourning the loss of an old friend. Sarah progressed quickly through cancer, and about a month after diagnosis she has gone home to be with the Lord. Pray for Erin, as she travels to the funeral this weekend, and for Sarah's family and friends.
  • Mike is continuing to struggle in recovering from complications after gastric bypass. He has been out of work for around three months now, all in the hospital, and he and his family need prayers that he grow stronger and be able to move no to rehab and, eventually, back to work.
  • Jill, an old friend from high school, has been seriously struggling with her health. Around two months ago, she began to have headaches and passing out - her whole body will go limp, as if she was anesthetized; she remains alert to her surroundings but unable to respond. The episodes occur upwards of six times a day. The doctors have found no answers as to what causes them, and at the moment have no treatments for her. She is an elementary school principal, a mother of three, and has a husband whose job takes him away from the house a great deal of the time. Please pray that the new doctor she started with this week will find some answers and be able to help her, and pray that God take care of her and her family right now.
  • My dad has been having seizures recently. This first started around
    12 years ago, and the doctors knew exactly how to treat them and he's done well until the last few months. The medicine that is supposed to be consistently in his bloodstream has not been there like it should be lately, and they are not sure why. One thing is for sure, when the medicine is low, he has a seizure; the most recent was Tuesday morning.
    Please pray for him; he had planned to go on a mission trip to Ghana in January, but that has been canceled (as was his last planned trip to Ghana).
  • Pray for me and my family. I will be traveling to Norway (for work) the whole week before Christmas, returning on Friday the 22nd if the weather cooperates. This is, of course, a stressful time to travel; more over, leaving Erin at home six-months pregnant and being killed by allergies and heartburn, trying to finish getting ready for Christmas, and watch a three-year old girl will be hard on her. To make things even better, I will likely be gone for a week or so to Brazil in January on another project. These upcoming trips, and the work associated with them, is why I have blogged very little in the last few weeks. I'm exhausted and, frankly, ready for the baby to get here in March so I can get some rest. (Compared to what I'm up to right now, a new baby sounds restful at the moment.)
I appreciate you're prayers on these things.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Don't be a Pip

Just a reminder, as we are full swing into the holiday party season, don't be a "Pip".

And, if you happen to encounter a "Pip", please be considerate of your fellow man and do not perform a "human sacrifice" by getting someone else to take your place stuck talking to this fellow.

Happy holidays!

(For some good, meaningful words from Ben Stein (the voice of Pip), check out Seth's blog.)

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What a weekend

I'm exhausted. And after the schedule I've been keeping lately, I have every right to be.

Lets see, the most recent spate began this past Thursday. I remember it like it was only, well, last Thursday . . .

VeggieTalesI rush home after work to pick up Mrs. Euphrony, Little Euphrony, Lil' E's best friend (here to be referred to as BF), and BF's mom (BFM). We hope in the minivan, pop in a movie, and start driving to College Station. We've got an appointment with the VeggieTales "A Very Veggie Christmas ... Live!". Let me tell you, nothing says Christmas like a bunch of talking produce. After 90 minutes in the car with a 3-year old and 4-year old, plus stops for dinner and potty, we arrive at the venue. This is where the real adventure began because, you see, I'm a goof up. I'm sure you quickly counted the above listed names and correctly surmised that there were to be five in our party. Then why, for the love of Pete, did I only purchase four tickets? Why? My first attempt at correction, since they would not allow refunds or exchanges, was to purchase one extra seat directly behind the others. Great plan, right? Never good enough, though. Kat, when you worked KSBJ events, I was probably the person you hated. I'm calling, trying to get these rearranged to be all together (I mean, there was a ton of open seats. What's the big deal????) but had to wait until we got there to do anything. So, I personally hold up the Will Call line to get things worked out. We all go in, sit down, and enjoy a show the two girls loved.

By the way, Lil' E and BF never actually sat in a chair. Only in laps so they could see better. Why did I jump through all the hoops? To be legit and because, if I didn't, it would have come back and bit me in the rear.

After getting home late, and getting Little Euphrony in bed at around midnight, I get up to be in a work at my normal 7-7:30 time. I then head out for a optometrist appointment at 9:30, for both myself and for Lil' E (her first). She still firmly believes that having her eyes checked will hurt, despite her experience. (We have a good optometrist, by the way, and he worked well with Lil' E.) After work on Friday, I pick up the girls and we head up to the church building. It was "Neighbor Helping Neighbor" weekend - this is an annual "free" church-wide garage sale where we take whatever donations people are willing to give and offer it all, completely free, to people in the community. It gives us a chance to help out people who need clothes, household items, even large furniture (we had several beds, two washers and a dryer, desks, and other large items) and to interact with them and see where, beyond the physical, we can help. Friday night was the organization of it all, having donations dropped off, sorting and laying out things, and bringing up a couple of guys from an inner-city Houston church to get first choice of what their needy could use. Then, for most of the day on Saturday, we had people coming through - we specifically invited several area apartment complexes and put out flyers to let people know - and then what was left was collected and taken to
Northwest Assistance Ministries and to Salvation Army.

After a nice lunch at Jason's Deli (unbelievably crowded), we head home to change clothes and work our way across town to a friend's house for a Christmas party. This party was centered around the good ol' practice of walking the neighborhood and caroling. It was cold out (translate: Mrs. Euphrony, at 6-months pregnant, was quite comfortable) but everyone had a good time. Little Euphrony ended up disappointed because we did not sing "Joy to the World" right - that is, how she sings it at pre-school for their upcoming Christmas program, with a little chant and fist-pumping at the beginning followed by singing the song at the top of your lungs. Again, another late night and long day, but a lot of good.

Sunday morning, I was up at the church building early to help cook a huge meal to be taken down to the above-mentioned inner-city church for Sunday lunch. Around 20 gallons of mashed potatoes, 10 gallons of green bean casserole, and 105 pounds of sausage later, the food was ready to go and I was even able to make it in to worship on time. We treated ourselves to a good lunch at a hibachi grill (Mrs. Euphrony craves good fried rice right now), did a little shopping for some new sweaters for me, a little food shopping, and then headed home. After play time we had dinner at CiCi's Pizza (what, so we eat out regularly - you gotta problem with that?) where Little Euphrony induced a deep belly laugh out of me and made Mrs. Euphrony choke while trying to laugh. (She got a kid's toy with her free meal, a small dragon figurine in a plastic egg. While sitting at the table, she asked me to open the top of the egg so she could "pop it out", which I did and then handed it to her. She then reiterated that she was going to "pop it out" and proceeded to spread her legs, place the toy in her crotch, and "pop it out"! I think she is really getting a grasp on what is coming with baby brother.) After we got home, Mrs. Euphrony put Lil' E in bed while I cooked around three gallons of stew and cornbread (for ourselves and to take to two other families that just had babies). I love to cook, but we still seem to eat out often just for convenience.

After an action-packed weekend like that, a normal week is welcome. But, since it the holiday season that will have to wait. Besides normal Christmas activities, I am preparing for a business trip to Norway the whole week before Christmas. I hear it's cold there (thus the aforementioned sweaters).

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Ruminations: 1 Timothy 1

I thought that today I would give you a little peek into the mind of Euphrony (don't worry, I'm only inviting you into the parlor, where things are relatively neat and tidy). These are some raw first impressions on reading through 1 Timothy chapter 1. In general, my Bible study is approached very simply: just me, a Bible (or several translations, actually), and a Greek and Hebrew dictionary. No commentaries, no sidebars, no distractions; just me and God and we see where the Spirit leads my study.

Actually, this is from two separate readings of 1 Timothy 1, about three weeks apart. I was struck by very different parts of this passage in the two reading, with the first focus being on versus 8-11 and the second reading focusing on versus 3-7. I hope my rambling thoughts make some sense to you.


3binstruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. 5But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

1 Timothy 1:3b-7 (NASB)
  • I wonder as to whom some men were attempting to tie themselves with these "endless genealogies"? Were they trying to claim relationship to Jesus? As John the Baptist held some status as a cousin of Jesus, also his brothers held some status, and possibly the apostle John (who may have also been a cousin of Jesus), were some men trying to elevate themselves through tenuous relations to the Christ? As succession to a throne is oft determined through bloodlines, did some claim importance and power as shirt-tail relatives of Jesus?
    Also, "myths and endless genealogies" seems to have an uncanny relevance today, in light of the recent attention on the gnostic gospels of Thomas and Mary and The Da Vinci Code. Perhaps the seeds of these speculations and rumors were already widespread by the time of Paul's writing to Timothy.

  • The "goal" is "love from a pure heart and a good conscience" and "sincere faith". So the point is not the thorough exogenesis of each verse of the Bible, nor is it "fruitless discussion" to reach a consensus as to what we believe and teach. The goal is not the intellectual pursuit of understanding the Gospel of Christ, but the acting out of that gospel. We do not merely proclaim TRUTH, having barely a toe-hold on what that is, but we live and act in righteousness to show love, from a heart and conscience washed pure by the blood of Christ and the boundless grace and mercies of our Father.
    We do not "hear of God" but rather see Him (
    Job 42:5) as we grow a sincere faith and leave behind the childish, trivial chasing of definition and law. (This thought bridges to the rest of Chapter 1.)

  • Define "fruitless discussion":
    1. Should there be a water fountain / kitchen in the church building?
    2. Was Jesus married? (We are told very clearly those things of relevance to His mortal passage, that hyperstatic union of God and flesh. The rest is mere speculation.)
    3. How should we "do church"? (The endless, primarily generational, conflict as to how a worship service should be conducted, and what is it's point.)
    4. How may we legislate morality? (The Pharisees and teachers of the law tried this, with endless minute definitions of what was permissible and what was tantamount to sin. Jesus verbally flayed them for this.)

8But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NASB)
  • So, law is good; but only if we apply it "lawfully"? Sounds like double-speak, an empty contradictory statement. Does "lawfully" mean "appropriately"? That seems to fit the context, telling us to apply the law only where it applies. Law cannot and should not dictate morality, good actions to be done. A people, or an individual person, is not to be forcibly bound to righteousness - this idea of free will we have, that God's love compels us but does not force our response. Law, Paul rightly tells us, is a means for defining that which is contrary to God's nature and some of the consequences for lawless behavior. (In the New Testament, this boils down to one thing: "the wages of sin is death".)
    This shines a light on the statement "we are not under law, but under grace" in Romans 6:14. Though sinners, we are not "rebellious"; rather errant. Though we find unrighteous acts in our lives, we are not lawless people; we are under "a law of faith" (Romans 3:27). Thus, to those whose choice is to yield to the compelling call of Christ, there exists a different "law", that spells out not what is lawful, what is sinful, where a line is crossed or what a proper and fair punishment is (this is for that noncompliant, unyielding people who look only to how they can do as they wish with minimal repercussions); the "law of faith" is more, as Paul says twice in 1 Corinthians "all things are lawful to me, but not all are profitable."
    So, we who are under faith do as we wish, with our actions guided in the Spirit to be those which are profitable. While we may see something as "lawful" (i.e. no written proscription banning such action) we will faithfully see times when "lawful" actions tear down the body, work in the Enemy's plan rather than in Jehovah's. Faithfully, we will edify and act for profit of the soul rather than selfishly take what "law" gives and, in so doing, deny the heart of God and His Son.

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB)
  • Paul, in versus 12-17, exemplifies himself as proof that law leads to death, but grace to life. He is the chief of sinners, with bloody hands and violent past; yet he finds salvation in Jesus' incarnation.

This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you
1 Timothy 1:18 (NASB)
  • Timothy has "prophecies" made concerning him!?!? I find that significant and very interesting. I had never noticed this before.
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Monday, November 27, 2006

Thankful and content

Precious Little EuphronyIn the aftermath of this busy holiday, I can truly say that I am both thankful and content.

Thanksgiving Spread
Content with a belly full of good food. Content with an extended family that I can appreciate and enjoy, even when their daily lives are contrary to what I believe to be righteous living.
Thanksgiving Spread
Thankful for the time I have been able to spend with Mrs. Euphrony and Little Euphrony. Thankful that I have them to spend time with. Thankful that Mrs. Euphrony is feeling better this week (her allergies have been killing her and, being pregnant, their is little she can take to help). Thankful that I have a wife who loves and appreciates me, and a daughter who craves my time and gives the biggest squeezy hugs.

Content in the plans that God has laid out for the rest of the year. Content that everything will be ready when Baby Euphrony arrives in around 14 weeks.

Silly Little EuphronyThankful that my beautiful wife is brave enough and strong enough to go through the arduous journey that is pregnancy. Thankful for the joy and fun I see in my daughters eyes. Thankful for the gentle, compassionate hearts of these women who so fill my thoughts and my life.

Content that I will likely never be famous, but hoping to be remembered as a loving husband and father. Content that the differences I make will not be en masse. Content that I can touch one persons life, and then another.

Thankful that God shows me, on occasion, a life that I have touched. Thankful that God reminds me constantly of those whose lives He desires for me to touch.

Content that I may never transcend the thorns in my flesh, or find faith a simple matter. Thankful that I see in my daughter the birth of a faith, planted by her mother and I and faithful teachers at church and her preschool; faith that brings her to get out her nativity set and place them thusly ("Look, they're all looking at the Baby!")
Little People Nativity

Very thankful. Very content. I think I can endure a little longer with these reminders and blessings from God.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pop Quiz

Would you rather . . .

  1. At a restaurant, have a table that rocks back and forth because the legs aren't level -OR- a chair that does the same thing?

  2. Have a bionic eye -OR- ear?

  3. Be somebody's pet cat -OR- somebody's pet dog?

  4. Be forced to share your bedroom with and elk -OR- to share your bathroom with a man with strange skin problems?

  5. Spend 3 weeks in a lifeboat with a person who talks incessantly about his or her medical problems -OR- with somebody who has a chronic wet, hacking cough?

  6. If you had a second head, have it facing the same way with full movement -OR- havin it facing backwards fixed in place, unable to move?

  7. Be trapped in a cave of hungry vampire bats -OR- put a large jar full of bees into your pants?

  8. As a man, have a terribly bad fluorescent orange dandruff -OR- have your sweat smell like Chanel No. 5 perfume?

Would You Rather . . . Board Game(All questions courtesy of the Would You Rather . . .? board game.)

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Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm annoyed

Okay, I got hit with three of my pet peeves all within a half-hour time span this morning. I can handle one at a time, though Mrs. Euphrony would likely hear about it later in the day. She would politely listen to me rant and then gently remind me that I've stood on the same soap box so many times that my shoe prints have worn a rut into the top. Had it been a mere two things, I may well have survived. But three in so short a time span warrants a blog post.

Here they are, in order of occurrence:

  1. School Zone Speeders:
    Really, is it so time-saving that you must drive at twice the posted speed limit for a school zone over that long stretch of maybe 200 yards? Come on, people, it will add a possible 20-seconds to your commute to work if you slow down just enough to not blindly run over a kid that is just trying to get to school. I drive by three schools on my way to work, and within a block or two of four other schools. I am slowed down much more, on average, by the train tracks I go over than by the school zone. Let's keep our kids a little safer, shall we?
    And, where on earth are the cops that are supposed to stop these reckless drivers? My mom got a ticket for speeding through a school zone in Abilene a few years ago: the kicker is that the school had been closed, after much public debate, about six months before she got the ticket. They had never taken down the school zone signs, or stopped the lights, and the cop acknowledged that everyone knew there was no longer an active school there; but, the posted limit is the posted limit and she got a ticket. (She was able to argue it down with the judge to a normal fine instead of a school zone fine. Some sanity was found.) The moral of the story: cops seem to be able to police the inactive school zones, but not the active ones.

  2. Chris Tomlin radio:
    It's not that I dislike Chris Tomlin's music, or worship music in general, but he has become the poster boy for the praise and worship genre. Still, do we have to have Chris Tomlin played every third song on KSBJ? Really? And of the two in between, at least one is a worship song from another artist. I love to worship Jehovah, I love to sing and I love songs that you can sing along with. But I need much more than to be told in every way possible that Jesus loves me and the God is magnificent. I know this and I have known this for decades. There are those who need to hear this, who may not really know God's love, but they also need to hear more that that.
    It's like having a painting of a beautiful scene in nature and being shown only a sliver of the blue sky. Was that the sky, or water? What does the rest look like? You don't know from that sliver of a glimpse. Or it's like a warm hug from a loved one. Feels great, doesn't it? But after ten minutes you start to feel a little uncomfortable, a little smothered or claustrophobic. You know there's a lot more to your relationship than just a big, unending hug buts it's lost from sight. In short, like the music but hate the repetitiveness. (Disclaimer: I actually have major problems in general with any Top 40-style radio station. By their very nature, they play songs to death, and for someone like myself who likes a very broad scope of music and musical styles this is annoying. Personally, I listen to my CDs (on shuffle) a lot, or listen on-line to half a dozen radio stations from around the country to get different regional perspectives, or listen to something like Yahoo! Music to get more variety in what I hear.)

  3. Perfume strong enough to kill:
    Why, oh why, do some people insist and persist in donning enough perfume or cologne to justify classification of their bodies under OSHA guidelines for topic materials? As I walk in to work this morning, strolling down the long hall to my desk, I am assaulted by the maleficent odor. No person is in sight, or had been as I approached the trail, so this was a scent so heavy that no blood hound was needed to track the offender. This would only be a slight annoyance to me if not for the fact that I am extremely sensitive to scents; sitting next to a person wearing moderate amounts of perfume or cologne will likely trigger a migraine headache that will last for hours. What I smelled in the hallway today, with no person left in sight, was strong enough to choke a dog. I proceeded with alacrity past the danger zone. No headache has ensued, but the need to rant surpassed all others.
Okay, I feel a little better now. And Mrs. Euphrony doesn't have to listen to the same-old gripes for the umpteenth time. I'm stepping down off the soap box, now. It's available for someone else to use.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Music Spotlight: King's Singers

The King's SingersI recently posted on this blog describing a CD I had put together for Mrs. Euphrony to play for our daughter in the womb, and of the follow-up CD that I was assembling for our son. One of the groups that I included on both CDs is the King's Singers - a vocal group from England who sings just about every style of music made (from 16th century madrigals to more modern "madrigals" from the likes of Randy Newman, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys). I've loved listening to their music for nearly two full decades, and the songs "The Oak and the Ash" (on Little Euphrony's CD) and "You are the New Day" (on Baby Euphrony's CD) are among my favorites.

Well, it would seem that they are watching. One of the current line-up, Christopher Gabbitas (a baritone), found my blog and commented on the post. He also informed me that the King's Singers would be in my area this week - in Houston on Tuesday, November 14th and in College Station on the 16th. I couldn't make it to the Houston show, but last night I drove by myself to College Station after work to go see their performance on the Texas A&M campus. (A BIG thank you goes to Mrs. Euphrony for her understanding and encouraging me to go up and see this concert. I love you so much!) The crowd was very receptive; in fact, there was a group of girls in front of me (college-age) who could only be described as positively giddy with excitement at being there last night. Being a man, and having never been giddy in my life, I was only reminded of how much older than these young ladies I actually am.

The evening's performance was divided into two distinct parts. In the first half, before intermission, they sang the majority of the songs from their Fall 2006 album Landscape & Time. It is a beautiful collection of pieces from mostly modern composers and featuring the works of Cyrillus Kreek, an Estonian composer of the early 20th century. The audience sat rapt as we listened to their voices paint pictures and guide us through this selection evocative of landscapes from around the world.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe second half, after the intermission, was begun with the performance of "Timepiece". This is an allegorical tale of the fall of man in the garden, caused not by Eve and Adam partaking in the forbidden fruit but rather by the wristwatch Adam wore and the discord it caused. It culminates in God, frustrated, crying out "Stop!" and the universe obeying His word, thus restoring peace to the garden. That seems to be the only set song for after intermission, with the songs following being chosen specific for each night. They sang songs from The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Harry Connick, Jr., and others. In general, this section of the performance was much lighter in tone, and the audience was drawn into the music with laughter and joy at the obvious fun they were having on stage. As an encore, they offered up "You are the New Day" (thank you, Chris, for remembering me!); while all the songs before this had been well received and enjoyed, there was an audible gasp and smattering of applause on the opening chords of this song, obviously a favorite of many. Following this, they remained on stage for a question and answer session and then stood to sign the CD's they knew we were all purchasing. A very enjoyable evening, indeed.

Here is a video, from around 1996, of the King's Singers performing "The Gift" (a traditional Shaker song that most people will recognize).

Having a very busy schedule, they are now off to a couple more performances in the U.S.A. before leaving in a week's time for an Asian tour and then back to the U.K. for Christmas. If you get a chance in the future, make time to go see this wonderful group. You will not be disappointed.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hope beyond all hope

Hope City LimitsAstute readers of this blog may have noticed that several of my conversations lately have been sprinkled with the mention of hope. This was both unintentional (in that this is simply where my thoughts have been led of late) and intentional (in that I included them purposefully). Hope is something we cling to as followers of Christ, without which we despair and are left adrift. But hope is also something which we must find, and with which we guard ourselves. Paul, in Ephesians, encourages us to put on the "helmet of salvation" (Ephesians 6:17); but he is a little more specific in his description to the Thessalonians:

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NIV)
Paul again refers to the helmet of salvation, but speaks of it as our hope in salvation that we put on. And we can learn, I think, from how Paul tells us to protect ourselves with this hope: as a helmet. The helmet protects the head; hope is something that must be grasped mentally. When we set our minds, focused on the hope of our salvation, then our entire outlook is changed. But when that hope is lost in our minds, these are the times when we find turmoil and struggle with our faith. It is, in essence, a positive feedback loop (okay, I am an engineer, so I'm allowed to talk this way): faith builds our basis for hope and, in turn, our hope supports our faith.

The Spirit of God is our counselor, our comforter. The Spirit speaks to us constantly of the hope we find in Christ, of the hope we hold in our salvation. Sara Groves sings of this in her song "When it was Over":

There is a love that never fails
There is a healing that always prevails
There is a hope that whispers a vow
A promise to stay while we're working it out
So come with your love and wash over us

The hope we hold in Jehovah's faithfulness to us can be a phenomenal influence and support in our lives. To simply know that our Lord - who Was, and Is, and Is To Come - stands beside each of us and desires only the greatest for our lives can turn our mourning into dancing, our tumult into peace, our sorrow into joy. Jeremiah held onto this hope; in the worst time of his life, as he saw the fulfillment of all the prophecies he had laid against Judah, he wrote:
21This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."
Lamentations 3:21-24 (NASB)
Beyond HopeIf Jeremiah can sit in exile in Egypt and remember that, even in this, Jehovah is faithful and loving and find hope, then what holds us back from clinging to hope?

Are you finding hope in your day to day walk? Do you hold on to hope, wearing it like a helmet? Has your life seemingly drown out any hope you have known? Is there something in particular that brings hope to your life?

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Am I crazy?

Okay, don't answer that question. But I've loved this song for years.

Squirrel Nut Zippers: "Hell"

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That'll be nice

I read today that Apple is teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to "deliver the first seamless integration between iPod® and in-flight entertainment systems". Planes - mostly the long haul, trans-continental ones - will begin being refitting in 2007, allowing the iPod® to be powered and charged through seat connections. Additionally, if the seat has a video monitor the connections will allow playback of videos on the seat back display. You can read more here.

For those on long flights (I'll be on one to Norway in December and one to Brazil in January) this will be great. The biggest problems with air travel for the modern, electronically equipped passenger is the lack of power connections in both the airport and on the plane. I've been at the airport too many times this year, watching my batteries go dead for lack of someplace to recharge them (I even got into an arguement with someone else needing to charge over the use of one of the rare outlets I found). I hope the trend continues to spread.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Prayer Requests

We found out last night that an old friend of ours, Connie, has cancer. This is the same Connie of Joel and Connie, under my prayer list on the right, who are trying to adopt a second child. Connie has been through a lot over the last few years. Around eight years ago her kidney's completely shut down on her. After a few years she was able to get a kidney transplant from a cousin; but, because she only has one functioning kidney, she cannot have children of her own. After a bit of work, they were able to adopt a boy. Now, they have been trying for the last two years to adopt again, with heartbreak after heartbreak (multiple times they have had the birthmother back out after the baby was born). And now, they have found out the she has cancer. She had surgery last week, removing her natural (non-functioning) kidney and her appendix. She will have to go back in a month for another surgery where they will have to remove a little bit of her colon. They think it is pretty well contained, but with all she's already been through with her kidneys this is pretty hard on them. Please pray that all continues to go well with containing the cancer, and please pray that their quest to adopt another child is blessed.

Also on the prayer list on the left are Mike and Kesha. Mike has been in ICU for a month, now, and was doing better - almost ready to leave the hospital and go into rehab. He has had a major setback yesterday and today, and was close to death. He is back to square one. What he is struggling with has, we're told, a 60% survival rate - not great, but not terrible, and the doctors still have hope for him. Please be praying that he regains strength and for his wife, Kesha, and their four-year old daughter.

I love my wife!

Yes, that's right, I love my wife. The latest evidence of her love for me, which I freely reciprocate, is in this coming weekend's activities. We had nothing planned for this weekend; maybe just a little work around the house to get ready for hosting Thanksgiving and for the coming baby. Then my brother informed me that he had an extra ticket to Sunday's MLS Cup final between my hometown Houston Dynamo and the New England Revolution. Without even having to beg or plead, Mrs. Euphrony suggested that I go, and we can all visit family for the weekend in Dallas to boot.

MLS CupNow that's love: she's letting me put off honey-dos to go and watch a game I hadn't even planned on going to. How did I get to be so lucky? I'm not always the greatest husband, but I have a wife who puts up with me and still is this thoughtful. Let me tell you, she's got a great Christmas present coming.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Peregrination of the soul

I've mentioned before that I like, as Mrs. Euphrony describes it, "talkie" music. There's a reason for this, and it is akin to why I also prefer movies or stories that follow a man's journey. Case and point is the fact that, every February 2nd, I watch Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Besides starring a generally funny guy, I like this movie because it chronicles the change of a man from a self-centered, egotistic lout to a caring, selfless, likable man. Like Solomon, he finds that he can spend his days (or, in the movie, one day over and over) in search of fun and pleasure; but this vanity leaves him empty, hollow, suicidal. It is only after his resignation to the fact that life is bigger than him that he actually begins to grow, to change, to see others and not himself.

O, BrotherI love this kind of story, which tells of the pilgrimage of a man. I guess, for me, I care a lot less about where you are than where you are going. I can tell from times in my own life that, though I was on a spiritual or physical mountaintop, I was on a slip-n-slide to hell. I was going the wrong way, from strength in God to weakness in myself. So I want to know how a man is growing, not what have you done but what are you doing. This is how I measure my own life - awards on the shelf are meaningless, past glories; what prize am I striving for today? If I cannot name that prize, that thing I work towards, then I know I'm in trouble.

John Donne wrote about the pilgrimage of man. I mentioned in my last post that I am reading his Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions; along with it I am reading Death's Duel, which was the last sermon Donne preached, just a few days before his own death. It seemed that Donne almost knew he was about to die: along with preaching Death's Duel, generally regarded as a personal eulogy, he also sat for a painting of himself in a shroud (e.g. in funereal garb) which was completed at the same time. So, with his eulogy and obituary picture completed, he died. He was obsessed with death, and obsessed with the journey and transition of man.

In domo Patris, in my Father's house, in heaven, there are many mansions;(John 14:2) but here, upon earth, the Son of man hath not where to lay his head,(Matt. 8:20) saith he himself. Nonne terram dedit filiis hominum? How then hath God given this earth to the sons of men? He hath given them earth for their materials to be made of earth, and he hath given them earth for their grave and sepulchre, to return and resolve to earth, but not for their possession. Here we have no continuing city,(Heb. 13:14) nay, no cottage that continues, nay, no persons, no bodies, that continue. Whatsoever moved Saint Jerome to call the journeys of the Israelites in the wilderness,(Exod. 17:1) mansions; the word (the word is nasang) signifies but a journey, but a peregrination. Even the Israel of God hath no mansions, but journeys, pilgrimages in this life. By what measure did Jacob measure his life to Pharaoh? The days of the years of my pilgrimage. (Gen. 47:9) And though the apostle would not say morimur, that whilst we are in the body we are dead, yet he says, perigrinamur, whilst we are in the body we are but in a pilgrimage, and we are absent from the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6)
from Death's Duel by John Donne
The passage he mentions in 2 Corinthians is one that holds a very familiar mantra to all who know Christ, but the encompassing words (to which Donne also makes reference) we do not know as well, I think.
6Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (NASB)
Paul does describe, as Donne states, not a death apart from God but a pilgrimage to meet Him. Our peregrination is in faith, the unseen; not in the things we perceive with the senses and intelligence of the flesh, but with spiritual eyes, spiritual discernment, guided by the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). But the essence, the basis, of what Paul tells us is that we journey and not stagnate. Our great sorrow is that, while wearing this robe of flesh, we are apart from Jehovah; but the great hope we cling to, that gives us courage to partake in this pilgrimage and not turn aside, is the hope that when we shuffle off this mortal coil we will find our home with Him in the eternal Kingdom.

Where has your journey been taking you? For myself, I almost feel of late as though I've been wandering in the desert, going in circles. It is a circle I need to break out of, but it gets to be just a little too comfortable and I find myself looking back and not ahead. I'm trying to fix my eyes on the hope I have, to give that hope to others. I will travel along.

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Friday, November 03, 2006


Be sure to read all the way to the end to see if you’ve been tagged!

Here we go:

  1. Three things that scare me:
    • Unsecured heights
    • Something happening to my family
    • That's it

  2. Three people who make me laugh:
    • Bill Cosby
    • Mrs. Euphrony
    • Little Euphrony

  3. Three things I hate the most:
    • Impatient drivers
    • Egocentric people
    • Inconsiderate actions

  4. Three things I don’t understand:
    • How people can gleek intentionally
    • Why some people care so much about personal power
    • Adults who were so much perfume/cologne that I can track them by scent ten minutes after they walked through an area (teenagers who do this, I can understand)

  5. Three things I’m doing right now:
    • Avoiding other work
    • Reading John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
    • Studying the yield stress, thixotropic, and slip natures of drilling fluids

  6. Three things I want to do before I die:
    • Visit Australia
    • See my children grow up
    • Know more of God

  7. Three things I can do:
    • Math in my head (thank you, Number Sense)
    • Give a speech without being nervous
    • Talk to just about anyone on some subject of interest to them

  8. Three ways to describe my personality:
    • Proud
    • Patient
    • Reserved

  9. Three things I can’t do:
    • Roll my tongue
    • Sleep late
    • Dance

  10. Three things I think you should listen to:
    • Sara Groves "When it was Over", from her Add to the Beauty album
    • Prolonged, intentional silence
    • Hope

  11. Three things you should never listen to:
    • Convenient lies/half-truths
    • Someone acting out of fear
    • People who say Christianity requires you to check your brain at the door, that it does not involve thought

  12. Three things I’d like to learn:
    • More patience
    • How to relate to my children when they are teenagers
    • Languages

  13. Three favorite foods:
    • Thai
    • Mexican
    • Stews

  14. Three beverages I drink regularly:
    • Sonic Route 44 Diet Coke
    • Water
    • Hot teas

  15. Three shows I watched as a kid:
    • Superfriends
    • Scooby Doo
    • Bugs Bunny cartoons

  16. Three people I’m tagging (to do this):

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Safe arms

I remember as a child of about five or six going with my family on vacation to California. We did the whole movie studio tour and Disney experience. This vacation was memorable for several reasons. First, we had a second gas tank installed on our van and, in the middle of the Arizona desert, we tried for the first time to engage it - unsuccessfully. You get the idea of what trouble that means. We also, on this trip, were driving through some mountains and got in the middle of a rock slide (by rocks, I mean some were as big as the van and by slide I mean they were falling on the road all around us as we zigged and zagged our way through).

Disneyland Space MountainBut the most memorable event of this trip occurred at Disney Land. I wanted to do things with my dad. I wanted to be a big boy. I wanted to ride a roller coaster with dad. I wanted to ride Space Mountain. So we go get in line, waiting forever while I become more and more excited. Then the moment comes; we are at the head of the line. We are getting into the car, sitting side by side. The guy working there walks by to make sure we're all seated. The safety bar rolls back into place . . .

And stops a good foot short of my chest. Immediately, the cars started moving. My dad sees that, as it stood, I would be ejected without restraint somewhere in the first turn or loop. There is no chance for me to get off, no where I can go, so he does the only thing he can think to do - he reaches his arm across me and grabs hold of the outer shell of the car beside me, using his own arm as an impromptu safety bar. Obviously, since I am writing this, I made it through safely. My dad's knuckles were bone-white by the end of the ride, but he held me safe.

I learned a lesson that day, one that has not passed from me. My father wants to hold me safe. He'll let me do some things that he knows I probably shouldn't, but he is there to hold on to me and ensure that I come out the other side. Dad is about to turn 70 next month, and I've grown a lot since then. He can't do as much for me as he once did, and lives 350 miles away in Abilene. The lesson still stands, though, because I have a Father who has never left me, and whom I can never outgrow.

It gives me hope to know that my Father in heaven has arms waiting and willing to hold me safe.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Poll: Calling 911

Have you ever had to call 911 for any reason? I'll group this into three categories:

  1. No, never for any reason;
  2. Yes, for a minor accident (e.g. fender-bender); and
  3. Yes, for a serious/dangerous/life-threatening situation.
Driving in Houston, I see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles all the time. I was just wondering this morning how often normal people are actually involved in such actions. I've been in a few accidents over the years, and 911 has been called to get a police/ambulance response, but most of those have been minor and precautionary. There have been two serious incidents where I had to call 911 over a potentially life-threatening situation (interestingly, both occurred while living in College Station and not in Houston).

The first time was a few months after our marriage; we were living in what turned out to be not the nicest apartments and one of our neighbors, while generally a nice lady, got into some big arguments with her ex. One night, around 1 or 2 a.m., we heard them outside arguing with such ferocity and vehemence that we decided police involvement was needed to calm this domestic dispute (from talking with a cousin who is a cop, these are usually the worst kinds of situations).

The second time we called 911 was a few months before we left College Station. We were living in a decent rent house in a decent neighborhood. Our house backed up to a creek, so there was a little separation between us and the houses behind us. One night, I think it was around midnight, we noticed a glow coming in from our bedroom sliding glass door which led to the back porch. When I got up to investigate, I saw that the warm orange glow was emanating from a tree in the backyard just across the creek from ours, quickly becoming engulfed in flames. No idea how it started, but I didn't want to see it grow.

What stories do you have?

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Monday, October 30, 2006


Tonight, our small group from church (mostly young families) met at a local nursing home to do some reverse trick-or-treating. We get all the kids dressed up in their costumes and walked through the halls of the nursing home just after dinner, passing out candy (mostly sugar-free) to the residents. I'm sure they enjoy the candy, those who can still eat it. But, what they just about go ape over is seeing these little children, reminding them of earlier days and of their own families. Reminding them that there is more than the four walls, the nurses, meals and TV and the same people over and over again. There is an innate joy in kids - the smiles on their faces, the shyness, the hesitation that you know they have but overcome anyway to give you some candy and say "Happy Halloween!"

The picture above is the group of kids when we first arrived at the nursing home. The picture to the right is the children in action. There were a handful of people who wanted nothing to do with anything Halloween, but most greeted the kids with that same smile you see on this woman's face. The third picture is that of two of the children, only one month different in age and living around the corner from each other.

In case you were wondering, I am the father of the bride. And I've got my eye on Spiderman there. I guess I don't worry so much about him, mainly because Little Euphrony has been grooming at least half a dozen of these boys for her future selection (without them having a clue, of course).

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Spooky Food

I'm sure just about every one who has a work cafeteria will be looking at the menu for tomorrow, Halloween, and see some bizarre food listed. Here is our menu for tomorrow; what's lined up for you? For those of you who stay at home or do not have a work cafeteria, what are you planning on serving your kids or what are some of the unusual menu items you've seen for Halloween?

Euphrony's Work Menu for Halloween 2006:

Fired Bat Wings with fries

Dem Bones or Black Widow Cod with your choice of
Crow Brains
Fried Eyeballs
Frog Eggs
Squish Squash

Graveyard Goulash
Trick or Treat Chili (they could have done better on that one)

Greek Salad with Grilled Witch Fingers

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

No tiers in heaven?

Our church small groups have lately been studying from a workbook called Blueprint for Life by Michael Kendrick and Ben Ortlip. It takes you through the process of understanding that God created you to do "good works" and that the things you do should be with an eye toward heaven rather than earth. To help in this, they take you through the process of creating a blueprint that describes oneself, how you were made, how you are called to live, the things you are called to do.

They bring up a question in chapter two for discussion, citing
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and Matthew 16:27, and asking "will all Christians receive the same rewards in Heaven?" The language they use, both in the reading of the chapter and in the questions would seem to indicate that they think the answer is "yes".

What do you have to say? Are there levels in heaven? I have a pretty confident answer from my own thoughts on the matter, but I want to get a flavor of what other people out there are thinking. If you look at the verses referenced above, following the link provided, you can read each in multiple translations including the original Greek (for you nerds out there like me).

Christian Living, Heaven, Blueprint, Bible, Rewards

Monday, October 23, 2006

Songs for a little girl

When we were expecting our first child, one of the things we did was play music for the her in the womb. We have a little speaker that can be strapped around the waist, positioned over the child, and any form of media player attached though the headphone jack. (Trust me, it works considerably better that just putting headphones on the belly.) It limits play time in one sessions to around 8 minutes (to ensure that the baby is not over-exposed to sound waves), but is a wonderful way to begin exposing a child to music. We played all kinds of music for Little Euphrony before she was ever born, letting her hear all styles of music to establish her "ear".

To accompany this, being a very musically inclined person, I put together a CD of music especially selected for her listening pleasure. They were songs that meant (and still mean) a great deal to me from various genres that I wanted to share with my child. Even after she was born, I would play this for her, often singing along, as I rocked her to calm her when she was upset or in the car to continue to give her music that with which she had become familiar. I bring this up because I am reworking this CD for our new baby, due in four months, to give him the same exposure and share with him, as well, my deep love of music.

Here are the songs on the original CD for Little Euphrony, along with some of my thoughts on why they were included. When Baby Euphrony's CD is compiled, I will add that final list. My only basic limitation in musical selection was and is the aforementioned eight-minute listening time limit. Oh, yeah, I don't want anything on the CD that I would not listen to. Or anything that would make the baby do flips and wonder if the world was ending (so, it tends to be a bit more easy-listening music).

  1. Aaron Copland - "Fanfare for the Common Man"
    I dare you to name a composer who better captures the heart of Americans than Copland. Go ahead, try. "Fanfare", in its grandiose movement, pulls the strings in our hearts that have been attuned over the centuries to believe that we are meaningful, that we can accomplish things seemingly impossible, that we are more than a simple collection of cells but are of value. Listening to this, you sit up a little straighter, puff your chest out a bit, and in general just feel pretty good.

  2. Rich Mullins - "Awesome God"
    The most important thing Mrs. Euphrony and I want to share with our children is our faith. "Awesome God" came out around the time I really started listening to CCM music, and hearing it affected me. It still affects me, as it seems to affect so many others. We have evidenced before us - in nature, in scripture, and in one another - the work of El Shaddai, God Almighty, and of Yahweh tsaba, the LORD of the hosts of armies. It is good to remember this.

  3. Benny Goodman - "Sing Sing Sing"
    Okay, so I've got a little swing in my heart. This is a toe-tapping song that even people who are not fans of Big Band music know and like. I remember the first time I ever heard it, on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, sometime in the early '80s. Doc Severinsen and the band were given one of their rare chances to fill time with a number of their own, and they played this. The number was interrupted by breaking news of a major earthquake, so I didn't hear the whole song at that time; but, the pounding of the drums, blaring horns, and amazing clarinet have to this day never left my head.

  4. Steve Camp - "He Covers Me"
    For me, this song is a confessional. All to frequent are the times when I know of God but do not know God. Steve Camp, never one to soft-peddle the gospel, sings in this song one verse after another; he defines what is it to find strength in our weakness, to rest in the hand of Jehovah, to have hope (an upcoming blog topic) and to endure. If there is something I want my children to know, everyone to know, it is the comfort of shelter in our Lord.

  5. Mark Knopfler - "Once Upon a Time . . .Storybook Love"
    "Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam... And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva... So tweasure your wuv." I love The Princess Bride, and the music from it is so engaging. Mark Knopfler scored this movie on the condition that the hat Rob Reiner wore in This is Spinal Tap appear in the movie at some point. For those of you who do not recognize the name of Mark Knopfler, you will surely recognize his voice as he leads Dire Straits singing such classics as "Money for Nothing (I Want My MTV)" and "Sultans of Swing". He has a great mastery of music in many styles, and the theme "Storybook Love" showcases some of this. By the way, if you like the movie, read the book by William Goldman sometime - its even better.

  6. Rich Mullins - "Sometimes by Step"
    Only three artists made double hits on this CD, and Rich Mullins is one of those. "Sometimes by Step" is another one of his iconic pieces, now a ubiquitous piece of modern worship music. But for me, the best memory is hearing my little girl, still trying to master basic speech, singing "Oh God . . . are God . . . I . . . praise you" as this song played. One of my best memories ever.

  7. Glen Miller - "Moonlight Serenade"
    Again, I love big band music, and Glen Miller helped define what is Big Band. A soothing song to hear, "Moonlight Serenade" is one of my favorites from Glen Miller, and it fit the mood perfectly to go at Number 7 on this CD.

  8. Glad - "And Can It Be"
    Glad released there first of many a capella projects in 1988, and on it they performed versions of several classic hymns. "And Can It Be" (or "Amazing Love") was one of those that struck me from the moment I first heard their singing. Glad is a talented group, both with instruments and without, and their five- and six-part harmonies are gorgeous. Beautiful sounds and lyrics, all together, cannot be passed by.

  9. Wayne Watson - "Friend of a Wounded Heart"
    This is one of those songs that has such a deep history with me that words can barely describe how it has spoken to me and moved me over the years. Wayne Watson has fallen out of the CCM spotlight in recent years, but he did and does make powerful music. In hearing this song, I wanted my daughter to know that faith is a journey. I wanted her to know that this journey has a destination; though the road be hard, there is rest and redemption. There is healing. There is a high priest "who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin."

  10. Enya - "A Day Without Rain"
    The album of which this song is the title track became very popular in the USA after Septebmer 11th. There is a good reason for that. Enya's music is, for the most part, calming. It conveys peace; peace that we seek so earnestly but never seem to grab hold of when it is found. This song is one that lets you sit back, close your eyes, and picture that perfect, cloudless day.

  11. The King's Singers - "The Oak and the Ash"
    Not very well known in the States, The King's Singers are one of the worlds best vocal groups. Their membership includes, I believe, three or four people with perfect pitch and one man who is a countertenor (basically, a man naturally born with a vocal range more similar to a soprano). Being a country boy who at times wishes he could leave city life forever and retreat to the star-filled night sky of the country, this song speaks to me. It tells of the longing of one who had "strayed" to London but longed to return to the north country.

  12. David Meece - "My Father's Chair"
    A few years ago KSBJ, here in Houston, had their 20th anniversary concert. It featured a large number of artists, most of whom were given time for only two songs and a hasty retreat from the stage. David Meece was one of these artists. Rather than singing two songs, he spent the first half of his time telling about his relationship with his father. His father, the drunkard. His father, the abusive man. His father, absent for much of his life. His Father, who teaches him where his earthly father failed. His Father, who comforts and calls him. He then sang this song. I had loved the song for years before this event, but I was able to see the impact it had on those there. In the song, David Meece spends one verse talking about the his father's chair "covered with sheets and gloom", one verse talking about his own chair as a father, which he hopes his children will remember as sitting "in a loving room", and one verse about his Father's chair which "holds glory beyond the tomb". As a parent, I have always aspired to have a chair not like the first verse but like that in the second.

  13. Newsong - "Arise, My Love"
    Newsong was another of those artists that was one of the first I discovered when I first was listening to CCM. Their song "Light Your World" was almost in this place, one of the first songs to encourage me to do something with this religion of love I professed. But instead, I ended up selecting "Arise, My Love" for its storytelling and the hope it builds in my heart (I return to this topic of hope). The chorus is rather anthemic, you find you cannot help but join in singing God's call to His Son to arise, break the binding of the grave, and bring life.

  14. Enya - "Pilgrim"
    The second of the artists to find multiple purchase on this compilation, Enya is among my long-time favorite New Age artists. This song, also off the album A Day Without Rain, fits what I like most about music, movies, stories, whatever. It tells the story of a journey, as a pilgrim, seeking answers that may never be known but finding out that it is what is lived in the journey that makes answers the questions. I want my children to ask questions, I want them to be inquisitive not just in their youth but as they grow older. Most especially, I want them to question God; but as pilgrims, I want them to question God while listening for His answers.

  15. Michael W. Smith - "The Throne"
    Part of his earlier music, "The Throne" is a depiction of, well, God on His throne. Not very complex, but emphasizing honoring God and the hope we find in that glorious day we gather round His seat in heaven.

  16. David Meece - "We Are the Reason"
    The final artist to be doubly-chosen on this CD was David Meece. As I implied with "My Father's Chair", he writes powerful music. This one, often pigeon-holed as a Christmas song, speaks another lesson I want my children to know in their bones, and one I need to be reminded of regularly. It is the "milk" of the gospel, and though we need "meat" to grow we also need to continue taking the "milk" as our foundation. Jesus died for us, so that we might live. Our sins, our unrighteous acts, our rebellion is why He came and why He died. The gift was not in His coming, but in His death and His return.

  17. Hans Zimmer & Stephen Schwartz - "When you Believe"
    From The Prince Of Egypt soundtrack, this song is my favorite. As I write these descriptions, I find myself to be running low on words; but, in short, it is the hope that is espoused in the lyrics, that when you believe and peservere in God, your hopes will be met. "Though hope is frail, its hard to kill . . ." I believe this, and cling to a hope I try to instill in my family and my friends.

  18. Take 6 - "Let the Words"
    I was looking for a closer for the CD, and was running very short on space (so it had to be a short song or none at all). It occurred to me that Take 6 had already provided a wonderful closer, and it was a short song. "Let the Words" simply says that that which overflows from my heart be in accordance with God's will. Let my words bring Him praise. Enough said.

What do you think? What are some songs you might use? I know that several of these songs will not stick around for Baby Euphrony's CD, as I have found other songs that have impacted me greatly in the four years since I made this one, but many of them will remain.

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