Friday, December 28, 2007

The Valley of Vision

I received a gift entitled, The Valley of Vision a Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions...this is the only time I am going to post on it (you will have to buy it for yourself...!) Amazing book....

This is the opening.....

The Valley of Vision

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
they joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Look Inside

It is 5' is really amazing. It is a Knex roller coaster. I can't believe he put it together.

The inner workings of Knex

Elena putting out reindeer food on the front lawn...

Cookies for Santa and stockings all hung...

Two versions of Advent in our home...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

7 lbs. 4 oz. 20" long....Willow....

She is here....only a day after her due date....the newest member of the West, Taylor family. My nephew and his wife welcomed a baby girl today. Willow Taylor....she looks a lot like here mama!

The Proud Grandpa....(are you really old enough to be a grandpa??!!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Little Pre-Christmas Fun in School

My daughter's kindergarten teacher has a tradition of having the children (along with the parents) build candy houses. Today was the long awaited day....

The finished product.

The incredible and incomparable Julie Brown.

She is smiling, but inwardly worried he is going to eat the candy!

Whom Shall I Send

"Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven." Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:6-7

(sunrise from my office window...)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another Name for Away in the Manger

I consider the masterwork The Messiah as one of the greatest works of music ever. It fully embodies the Gospel message. It glorifies the Lord. It is beautiful beyond compare. We were listening to it while we were doing some baking tonight. I was once again explaining the importance of this masterwork. My youngest listened for awhile looked at me and said...."is this another way to sing Away in the Manger?" Oi...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not Only in Indiana

I was forwarded this uTube link
It is one of the Men's Chorus Groups from Indiana singing a very different version of the 12 days of Christmas. Our own Vocal Arts Chorus has sung this same version. It is is crazy.....they are all a bunch of hams....enjoy. (You will need to copy the link to your browser. Just highlight it, to do that do a ctrl C, put the cursor on your browser line and do a ctrl v, hit enter)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Little Saturday Fun

We had a birthday party to attend in Los Osos. I took three of the kiddos to Montana de Oro afterward. I could have stayed all day...

Sisters forever...

A true shell seeker...

Shoes never stay on long...

Long shadows.....time to head for home

Friday, December 14, 2007

Proverbs at Work

"The mind of a man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

"A worker's appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on."
Proverbs 16:26

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just Give me Advil, please!

There is a reason when you are 43 years old that you shouldn't play soccer against your daughter's team. I can actually name more than one reason.....
1. We (the adults) are all limping
2. The adults are wheezing (and it has been 2 hours since we finished)
3. 10 year old girls should not be allowed to run that fast
4. I scored! But then had to be given oxygen...
5. The company that makes Advil would not be able to keep up with the demand.
6. Laughing that hard for that long will take years off your life
7. They cheat ( did we)
8. They schooled us more times than I care to count
(But we won!!!)

It was worth the hugs and the dinner afterward. Now if I could just straighten my back and get out of this chair.....but I have to remove the ice from a really bad cleating first.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Listening Classically you know the story? More importantly do you know the work? See if you can name it before you finish the story.

"The composer was in despair. Struggling to earn a living in London, he knew days when he could not afford to buy meals. One night in 1741, depressed and defeated, he wandered the lonely streets; it was almost dawn when he returned to his shabby room. On a table was a thick envelope. It was from Charles Jennens, the man who wrote his librettos. Examining the pages, he found them covered with Scripture texts.

Wearily, he tossed the pages aside and crawled into bed. But he could not sleep. The words he had read returned to him:

Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God ... The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light ... For unto us a Child is born ... Glory to God in the highest ... Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Too stirred to sleep, he got up and went to his piano. The music flowed from his heart-rich, majestic, triumphant. He began to write. Night and day for three weeks, he wrote feverishly. He forgot sleep, food, rest. He refused to see anyone. At last, on the day the work was finished, one friend managed to gain entrance.

The composer was at his piano, sheets of music strewn around him, tears streaming down his face. "I do believe I have seen all of Heaven before me, and the great God Himself," he exclaimed.

Millions of people have been able to believe that. The first audience to hear the composition -- in Dublin in 1742 --gave it the greatest ovation in the city's history. Weeks later, London heard it for the first time, and again it was a triumph. The King was so impressed during the Hallelujah Chorus that he rose to his feet -- a custom that still prevails.

This Christmas, in churches and concert halls around the world, millions of people will once again find hope and faith in the message what has become the most beloved composition of all times --"

Yep - it is George Fredric Handel and the story of his composing what we know as The Messiah. He entitled it just Messiah. What an appropriate name. Can you name (by memory) another famous Christmas tune he composed?

Why do you think the Lord allows for deep despair, those darkest before sunrise moments (or months), those earth shaking (and does it) moments of life challenge before His Glory is revealed?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Culture in the Church

I'm reading a book by John Burke entitled, No Perfect People Allowed. I can tell from the opening pages I will be posting quite a bit on this one. Here is a quote from the book....

"...pollster George Barna warns of the waning influence of the church on emerging generations, calling for radical change before a postmortem is declared:

Our goal cannot simply be a timid, powerless survival; it must be the role that Christ called the Church to play, that of a loving, authoritative, healing, and compelling influence upon the world...lacking such a turn-about, we may rightfully anticipate the virtual disappearance of the Christian Church in this nation.

Statistically, this has already happened in England and Europe, a continent further down the post-Christian turnpike than North America. Church attendance in England averages about 7% of the population, and Europe as a whole runs a close race. In effect, the Christian Church in Europe has gone the way of the dinosaur, and the North American Church tracks close behind. Barna and others note that the current generation is actually the first generation in American history in which a majority of those seeking faith begin their spiritual journey with a faith group other than Christianity."

Did you catch that last line? That was mind boggling to me. It is a really good question, though. Where did your spiritual journey start?

Whirlwind of Soccer

The girls spent the weekend in the valley at a soccer tournament. We were spoiled by being able to stay with family. Not so spoiled at the 7am call time with 30 degree temps and solid white ice everywhere. We are glad to be back in the banana belt (if 50 degrees counts for for tropical!)

I don't want to get up. Come on is only 5:45am.

Are you sure I have soccer this morning? Yes....

My sister-in-law and sister looking very sheik....I on the other hand had on jeans, tennis shoes and a winter jacket.

I'm glad I get to wear my sister's soccer gear. At least my ears are warm.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Had to put in a quick post. We are doing a 6 week lecture series for the women at our church after the first of the year. Really good topics (contentment, submission, modesty, sexuality to name a few). I had the privilege of reviewing one of our lecturer's notes for the homework. I'm stealing her opening quote and putting it here in the blog (thanks debbi)....ponder this one:

"Because he took my guilt and my punishment and reconciled me to God as my Father, I do not need to cling any longer to the comforts of earth in order to be content. I am free to let things go for the sake of making the supremacy of God's worth known."

John Piper

Monday, December 03, 2007

And the Stockings Were All Hung...

Some pics of the weekend. Guess what we did?

They made snowflakes and were selling them for a penny or three for $.05. Go figure on that one.

The tree is up and the house decorated.

One of my all time favorite paintings from one of my children. The poem inside reads...

Dear all of my family,
Have a mary mary mary Christmas. I love you angles! It's going to be fun
celibrating Jesuss Birthday with family.
Have a good Christmas, Joey
(he is 12 now, but 7 then)