Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15

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Monday, December 23, 2013


I thought perhaps I wouldn't have time {or inspiration} this year for a pre-Christmas post, but now with both in hand, I'll give it a go and hope it gives you something to think about as you prepare for Christmas Eve.

I Choose You
When everyone around you sees an ordinary life
Fit for nothing more than common dreams
I can see the stars of Heaven shining in your eyes
Soon the world will hear the angels sing

Mary, I know it's hard to understand
You hold the light of the world in your hands

I choose you to bring the world a Savior
I choose you to bring the world a King
I choose you to be the arms of love that hold the answer
For the world to see my promises come true
I choose you

I know there are many questions weighing on your mind
What is becoming of your life?
Oh, just remember I have called you to leave your fears behind
To walk by faith and not by sight

Mary, I know it's all a mystery
My hand is leading if you'll only believe

I choose you to bring the world a Savior
I choose you to bring the world a King
I choose you to be the arms of love that hold the answer
For the world to see my promises come true
I choose you

And he shall be called Emmanuel
Wonderful, Prince of Peace

I choose you to bring the world a Savior
I choose you to bring the world a King

I choose you to be the arms of love that hold the answer
For the world to see my promises come true
I choose you

I choose, I choose you
For the world to see my promises come true
For the world to see my love come shining, I

I choose you...

Every year, this song is sung during the last Advent service at my church. Every year I love it, but only this year did I realize that the words are not reserved solely for Mary, or Mary's circumstances, or Mary's calling by God. 

In fact - aside from the physical acts of carrying the baby for nine months, giving birth and raising him when he was a child - what God asked of Mary is identical to what He asks of me, you, and every Christian on earth. In the words of the song, it was like a puzzle coming together in my head.

When everyone around you sees an ordinary life
Fit for nothing more than common dreams
I can see the stars of Heaven shining in your eyes
Soon the world will hear the angels sing.
Mary, I know it's hard to understand
You hold the light of the world in your hands.

I've often wondered the same thing: what can an ordinary, not exceptionally bold, constantly sinning human like me do for a God who created the universe and holds it spinning in His hand? It is hard to understand that we are called by God - not because we desired Him, but because He desired us - and He has given us the Light of the World. To hold in our hands for all to see.

I choose you to bring the world a Savior
I choose you to bring the world a King
I choose you to be the arms of love that hold the answer
For the world to see my promises come true
I choose you...

I know there are many questions weighing on your mind
What is becoming of your life?
Oh, just remember I have called you to leave your fears behind
To walk by faith and not by sight

Mary, I know it's all a mystery
My hand is leading if you'll only believe

The angel Gabriel came to Mary and said "Greetings, you who are highly favored; the Lord is with you!" 
Highly favored.
Those words are not solely for Mary either. She was chosen to carry the Son of God for nine months, to bear the scorn of those who refused to believe the truth, to give birth in the cold with only Joseph to help - a man with absolutely no experience in any of the areas she most needed. Yet we, as undeserving but perhaps not as humble or willing, are also chosen to bring the Savior to a confused and desperate world.
To bring a King to those who have lost control of their lives. 

To be the arms of His love, reaching out with the only answer that will heal and make whole. 

To prove that the words God has spoken will not return to Him empty.

And we're confused and questioning too. Why this? Why that? What is happening to the life I had under control, organized and planned out?

Why me?

Because we are not chosen to keep this great light to ourselves.We are chosen to believe in something so much bigger than ourselves. To believe it with such tenacity and abandon that we'll do the seemingly illogical and walk forward in faith, not seeing, but only believing, that He who began this good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  

And in those words is our greatest hope: that we have not been called in vain. That the God who chose us for reasons we don't understand will also use us in ways we cannot imagine. 

Merry Christmas! 

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

What It Means: Christmas Edition!

So despite the fact that I was apparently jealous of Rudolph's nose without being aware of it and my body taking matters into its own hands and contracting a cold to satisfy this envious need, I promised a post this week and a post you all shall have! {While I glug mint tea and force myself to wean off the Kleenex and eat spoonfuls of honey and cinnamon in an all out effort to shake this thing before the weekend hits...}

I am at war against these mutant germs.

But we can speak of cheerfuller things! {Like my shock that "cheerfuller" is not spellchecked by blogger, but "spellchecked" is??}

Ah well.

So with a snowstorm {our first real one of the year} hitting during church on Sunday and the news reports of 60, 40 and 15 car accidents on the freeways nearby forcing us to cancel our weekly Ultimate Frisbee get-together, the eleven of us were all at home for the day with a bare Christmas tree standing in the corner. After watching the Green Bay Packers win their first game in 5 weeks {!!} we hauled the Christmas decorations from the attic and set to work.

This all sounds quaint and joyful and Christmas-cardish, I know, but the very cozy and festive can quickly become arguments and chaos when 9 people of various ages {and stations on the proverbial totem pole} are involved. In this house, Christmas decorating means:

...complete dismantling and stowage of most everyday knick-knacks {whether we remembered owning them or not} to make way for the overload of Christmas knick-knacks...

....string after string of burnt out lights that no one wants to mess with and we forgot to replace at Home Depot's after-Christmas sale last year...

...ceremonial smashing {accidental, of course} of at least three ornaments. I think it may have been more this year, due to The Incident....

...ceremonial loss {unintentionally, of course} of at least two tempers...

...Christmas music playing in the background {in an attempt to be festive and traditional} that no one is listening to...

...segmented garland because Thing 5 and Thing 6 decided to play tug-of-war with it...

...3/4's of the ornaments placed on the front of the tree...

...honorary arrangement of our traditional clay and pewter creches...

<----- {including a charming tour of our collection of Royal Diaries and Heroes of the Faith books...}

...tinsel draped over lampshades and wrapped around several Things pretending to be the Ghost of Christmas Present {Ebeneeeezer Scroooogeee...Come in and know me better, man!}...

...trauma over the fact that we're using LED bulbs on the tree this year {partly due to missing the after Christmas sale last year}...

...snowman ornaments dangling over the table in an attempt to disguise the fact that we have one of the ugliest light fixtures designed by man...

 ...numerous jokes and laughter at the expense of the contents of the ornament tins as we remember old favorites and reevaluate the chucky-chuckies {our pet name for the ornaments that nobody knows why we still have but manage to get packed away after Christmas each year} before hanging them on the tree...

An old family favorite. Who doesn't want a
biological impossibility hanging on their
Christmas tree??
Aside from that, we're not sure what it's supposed to be...
...Things 6-9 feeling free to jump on the furniture because no one really cares at this point what they're doing so long as it's not breaking more ornaments or falling into the tree...

...nearly packing away the ceramic handbell Mom painted in grade school...

{I don't think I'm allowed to post pictures of that}

...Rudolph, Randy and Rhonda gracing the top of the bookshelf once again...

...the empty stable on top of the rolltop desk...

Radewahn family tradition: each piece of the
nativity is hidden by Dad {generally in places
they'll be discovered if we do our chores}
and as Christmas approaches, the stable fills with
magi, shepherds, animals, and, of course,
Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. We came
very close one year to celebrating Christmas
with an empty manger when Jesus went missing
for longer than expected.
...leaving it all lit and behind as we exit as one to the basement... 

The tree in all its controversially LED'd, ornamented and garlanded glory
And that is my post for the week! Take it with my sincere hopes that this post has made you feel warm and fuzzy and smug about your own traditional, peaceful and orderly decorating experiences. 

Until next time!
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Friday, December 6, 2013

St. Nick's Fuzzy Socks

Hello! If you didn't know {or care} that today is officially St. Nicholas day, I am the charming elf who either did or did not inform you of this news {depending on how you feel about this sort of unnecessary holiday}.

Normally {as in never, ever, ever} I have not celebrated St. Nick's day or honestly cared that it's come and gone each year {we still get mail, so I'm not complaining}.

But when St. Nick's day means red, sparkly {sparkly, people!!} fuzzy socks, then I am definitely all in.

   {Photography: Elizabeth Radewahn. The model is wearing socks by airplus.}

This particular pair was given to me by one of the secretaries at my office and they are super snuggly and infused with aloe and vitamin E {yeah, not sure what that's doing, but hey, the more the merrier!}.

I don't know who the genius was who decided to start infusing socks with vitamins and minerals, but since we seem to be handing it out to just anyone these days, I would say they deserve the Nobel Prize. And a great big thank you from fuzzy sock wearers everywhere.

Happy St. Nicks!

Ciao Bella! 
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P.S. The fun doesn't stop here! Look below: another new post! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NaNo Spoilers!

Well, I got 15,000 words. I'd throw confetti, but it's been more than a week since I actually finished and I'd have to vacuum it up, so I'll just have a little celebration here to share with you:


There. We can finally move on with our lives. You can finish reading this post, I can plan my next one, and we can pick up where we left off as if I haven't missed a whole entire month of posting {please?}.


I always feel awkward sharing excerpts of my NaNo success because I feel that, out of context, what I'd share would be horribly out of context.

And I don't know why my computer keeps freezing up mid-sentence, but it's really weird to type away madly and then have all the words tumble out onto the page a few seconds later.

What were we talking about?

My tea is gone.


Without further ado, and despite the fact that you will have to take the following with a shaker of salt, here are a few samples of my NaNo endeavors to prove that I did not take a month off of posting because I was completely lacking in inspiration, circumstances and topics to gab about.

On to my title-less novel!

To my chagrin, the Morrells were not waiting for me, which meant that after he had instructed the driver in the proper transferal of my trunks from the carriage to the depot, Edwin found a seat for me near the office and proceeded to keep me company as we waited. I promptly annoyed him by fretting that they would miss the train.
“They’re Americans, Jocelyn,” he reminded me impatiently. “Did you expect them to be prompt?”
I tightened my hold on my handbag. “That’s an awfully rude thing to say about your own cousins,” I observed, craning my neck to look down the road.
“Only in the eyes of the law,” Edwin said darkly. “Thankfully we’re spared the social connections out of pity for our unfortunate association.”
I rolled my eyes. Edwin, who had been pacing two steps in one direction and two steps back, turned suddenly on his heel and commandeered my attention. “There’s still time to change your mind, Jocelyn,” he said. “Do give this mad plan another thought before you rush headlong into it.”

“I’m quite decided, thank you,” I returned, primly. “Would you mind standing to the side? You’re obstructing my view of the road.” 

The bell above the door of Mr. Pembrook’s offices jangled its announcement of our arrival as Nathanael, Sallie and I fit ourselves into the small waiting space. It rang again as Nathanael realized that the short train of Sallie’s skirt had not quite made a complete entrance with her and applied himself to the rescue with matter-of-fact good breeding.
Mr. Pembrook, looking much older than when I had last laid eyes on him, came out to greet us.
“Lady Jocelyn,” he said, shaking his head with a smile as he recognized me. “My, what a lovely young woman has grown out of the girl who used to come with her grandfather to eat my peppermints.”
I laughed, remembering how he’d always had a paper sack of the candies for me on those long visits.
“Mr. Pembrook, it’s so lovely to see you again.” I held out my hand and he shook it warmly.
  “And who have you brought with you today?” he asked, looking beyond me to Sallie and Nathanael.
I introduced my friends and he invited us into his office. We ranged around his desk and I told him our business.
“A copy of your grandfather’s will?” he repeated, mildly surprised.
“Yes, I–” I caught myself, realizing that I hadn’t thought of an excuse as to under what circumstances I would need such a thing. “I would like to look into some legal matters.”
If that wouldn’t raise his suspicion I didn’t know what would. Now that I thought of it, there wasn’t a very logical reason why I would ever need to look at the will.

I gave up trying to suppress my feelings and turned to look out the window as the London I knew faded and slowly turned into a nondescript and tumbledown imitation of architecture. I stared at the wreck and ruin, wondering how human beings could be allowed to live in such quarters, and tried to imagine my brother growing up on these streets. Surely he wasn’t like the ragged little urchins who turned to watch us go by, wiping their running noses on dirty sleeves or the huddled figures hunched against the smoke-blackened walls of a burned out tenement. I realized now what Nathanael had meant when he told me not to get my hopes too high. If this was where Will was raised, he would probably view me as an insult to–
Outside, the driver gave a sudden shout and the carriage swerved to the right, spilling us all to the side. I caught at the bar and righted myself in time to see a ragtag boy leap nimbly out of the horses’ path, laughing in a devil-may-care fashion and tossing his head to whip the shaggy, matted hair out of his eyes.
I turned to Nathanael, wide-eyed. “Is that some sort of game?” I asked. “He did it on purpose!”
Nathanael scanned the roadway and shrugged. “It might be best not to look out the window,” he said, reaching over and drawing the shade. “They don’t take well to strangers – especially our kind of strangers.”
I settled back in the muted darkness and contented myself in counting the dips and bumps in the road as we moved closer and closer to the river. I didn’t have a very keen sense of geography, but not even the seals on the doors could shut out the smell of rotting fish and refuse that lapped against the banks of the Thames. I was contemplating whether or not I had put enough scent on my handkerchief for this undertaking when we came to an abrupt halt and rocked back against an especially large rut. For a brief moment, I thought we had hit one of the daredevils cavorting in our path, but Nathanael nodded and reached for the door latch.
“Here we are,” he announced, getting out and looking around him. “Josie,” he pitched his voice lower, “stay close to me.”

The door was opened by a grim looking woman in an old-fashioned calling cap. The severity of her expression was not in keeping with the sunbeam ruffles that framed her face and the whole effect came off rather like a corpse at a wedding.
“May I help you?” Her tone did not signify that she would in any way be gratified to offer us assistance, but rather a resigned acceptance of the fact that we would not be gotten rid of unless she did.
“Yes, thank you.” Paul, who had accompanied us in the stead of Mr. Morrell – Nathanael believing that he would be more help after witnessing his father’s display of his brand of assistance – spoke first. “We would like to see the manager of this establishment, if you would be so kind as to announce us.”
“He’s in his office,” the crypt spoke, as if we ought to have known and should be ashamed of ourselves for needing to ask.
Paul smiled smoothly – the sort he wore when he was about to deliver the final blow to his opponent’s case. “Then would you be so kind as to show us the way?”
Her mouth turned down dourly.
“Might I ask the nature of your business? Mr. Larrimore hasn’t the time for social calls.”
I caught Nathanael’s eye and saw his conspiratorial smile.
“This isn’t,” Paul responded. “And if you wouldn’t mind, I believe our business will keep until we see him.”
I didn’t think it possible for her mouth to tighten any further, but she defied my disbelief and managed it without any apparent discomfort.
“Come this way.”
She turned and Nathanael caught the door before it closed in our faces. My hopes that Bethnal Green was run in keeping with the admonishment on the plaque beneath its name did not enter the building with me as I followed Paul inside.
Once inside, I realized that perhaps the woman had not come by her dourness naturally. As I took in the sagging floors and peeling walls and discolored ceilings I could see how a certain stiffening of the soul might be expected. It was cold too. The sharpness of the air bit into my skin, cutting through the layers with ease.
“Charming, isn’t it?” Nathanael whispered in my ear as he caught up.
“I don’t see how he could become too attached,” I whispered back. “The garden shed at Gilchrest seems more welcoming.”
“And your aunt and cousins better company,” he grinned, nodding surreptitiously at the ramrod back of our guide.
Paul turned his head and gave us a reproving look, but his eyes didn’t scold. I was afraid if I didn’t joke and tease I would burst apart with suppressed anxiety. 

I promise that this is all my original work and, even though you can't copy it, you enjoyed it. :D

And now I must take my leave until next week. I promise I will post again next week.


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