Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A good reminder…

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you. (Colossians 3:5)
Do you mortify? Do you make it your daily work? Do not take a day off from this work; always be killing sin or it will be killing you. We must strike it as an enemy until it ceases living. Sin is labouring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. When sin lets us alone, we may let sin alone. Sin is active when it seems to be the most quiet, and its waters are often deep when they are calm. Sin is always acting, conceiving, seducing, and tempting. There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled. There is no safety but in a constant warfare from sin’s perplexing rebellion. Sin will not only be striving, acting, rebelling, troubling, and disquieting if not continually mortified, it will also bring forth great, cursed, scandalous, and soul-destroying sins (Gal. 5:19-20). When sin rises to tempt, it always seeks to express itself in the extreme. Every unclean thought would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression; and every thought of unbelief would be atheism. It is like the grave that is never satisfied. Sin’s advance blinds the soul from seeing its drift from God. The soul becomes indifferent to sin as it continues to grow. The growth of sin has no boundaries but the utter denial of God and opposition to Him. Sin proceeds higher by degrees; it hardens the heart as it advances. Mortification withers the root and strikes at the head of sin every hour. The best saints in the world are in danger of a fall if found negligent in this important duty. Negligence of this duty decays the inner man instead of renewing him. It is our duty to be ‘bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God’ (2 Cor. 7:1), and every day to be growing in grace (I Pet. 2:2), and seeking to be renewed in the inner nature day by day (2 Cor. 4:16).
                                                                              --- John Owen, Works, VI:9-14

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This and That, Hither and Yon

How long does a blog retirement last, exactly? Is a week or two sufficient to call it a break? We’ll say yes for now, and if I retire it again, I’ll be sure to legitimize it by waiting at least a month before posting. I had sincerely hoped that I would have the remnants of a past blog to help me get going, but the words “No drafts” quashed that dream quickly. Recently all my creativity (and believe me, the stores are easily depleted) has been channeled into either my book or journal. That’s right—my book. I write, all the time. It’s not good, or even interesting, and is relegated to the dusty shelf where I keep my poetry notebook. My plan is to burn all those things (or delete them from the computer, in some cases) within the next few years, lest I die suddenly and the embarrassing results of my fanciful (and moderately dramatic) mind are open to the world. I would hate to “sport with your intelligence” (to quote Ms. Austen) by sharing them. To clarify, though, my book flows much more smoothly than any blog post ever did. If one cannot be random and choppy in a blog, then where on earth can they? (besides in everyday conversation, in which I manage randomness quite well.) After all, the internet is the breeding ground for the decimation of grammatical rules and spelling, not to mention literary correctness. 
Owning the entire encyclopaedia brittannica (macropaedia AND micropaedia) has come in handy for once. (not that they don’t often come in handy, but this time it was more practical). If I can’t sleep, I find something rather mundane to read. Of course, reaching for the encyclopaedia turned out to be not boring at all. Next time I’ll use a phonebook. The result of Monday night’s caffeine-induced insomnia is a remarkable amount of information about Finnish architecture. That’s right, Alvar Aalto was a scandinavian architect who apparently “made the leap from rational-functional to irrational-organic.”  His work was world-renowned, and characterized by flat roofs, ribbon windows, and plenty of balconies and terraces. You see how much you can learn about architecture from one article? Poor man’s wife died in ‘49, but he remarried in ‘52… I’ll bet his two daughters were just thrilled with that move. Yes, I realize how ridiculous it is that I am reciting facts from an encyclopaedia, of all things. I’ll stop now.
Often I claim that my brain is either fried, or not fully functioning, generally because I’m overly tired. As it turns out, though, all those times (mostly in the last two months) have absolutely nothing on the last two days. Being sick brings me to a lack of clarity that I never experienced before, which makes me afraid that my brain not working quite right is the rule, not the exception. Yesterday (the first day I woke up feeling Not Quite The Thing) I decided to either do nothing that I had planned, or go ahead and plow through all of it. Besides, if I must do the unpleasant things, despite how I feel, then I am going to do the fun things as well. It was a looong day, and I feel quite bad for anyone who I held conversations with… I was much less coherent than normal, and possibly even rude. I’m too tired to really remember. Today I am paying the price for not submitting to sicknesses demands of yesterday. I’ve alternated between unrestful (yes, i’m making that word up) sleep which provides dreams so vivid that when I wake up, I can’t tell if they were real or not, and a state of half-wakefulness emphasized by a pounding headache, a horribly stuffy nose, an unspeakably painful throat, achiness, and slightly blurred and unfocused eyesight. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. And I think I know who I have to blame. He is about three feet tall, and I distinctly remember letting him drink out of my Starbucks cold cup this weekend. Silly me, I couldn’t say no, when he was so fascinated by the red and white striped straw. Either that, or a sweet little moppet who blew her nose on me. Three times. She thought it was cute…
Nonetheless, I forced myself to muster up the energy in between naps to tidy my room up. If I am going to be miserable and feel that I am at death’s door, then I am at least going to do it in an immaculate room. The reward of the temporary effort is huge. Lovely instrumental music, (alternating between Swing’s Greatest Hits, Directors Cut movie themes, and random symphonies) two or three candles, and a pot of very hot white vanilla grapefruit tea are the only things motivating me to write. I should be practicing the piano, but that takes too much effort. Every time I begin to think that I have energy, simply standing up reminds me that it’s futile. At least I can be tired in a nice atmosphere.
I love my quiet little domain, but even the satisfaction of a clean, candlelit room cannot keep the desire to travel at bay.The longing for a road trip has come over me again. It usually does this time of year, when it’s been too long since our last vacation. I want to walk the rolling hills of scotland again, but there doesn’t seem to be a high probability of that happening, so I’d be perfectly happy to settle for driving the “going to the sun” highway. Isn’t that the Glacier National Park one? Well, either that or Highway 1 in California. Technically Hannah and I have a cross country road trip planned, but that won’t happen until 2013, and I simply cannot last that long. What I’ve been doing is looking at pictures, hoping that would temporarily satisfy any desire to go, but all that’s doing is making me want to go out RIGHT NOW and buy the Nikon D90 that has been calling my name for a year now. As fun as being (mostly) unemployed is, it has a few practical disadvantages. Currently, the camera and the kindle are the two biggest getting to me. Good thing I have a couple hundred hard copies of books to keep me busy until I buy the kindle. Oh… and the two thousand plus books  in papa’s office. Perhaps I shouldn’t be complaining, after all.
And specifically for Aunt Sandie—Over the last year, every time I complained on facebook about any sort of physical ailment or something that sounds thyroid related, you told me to get it checked out…. Well, I did. I temporarily overcame my IMMENSE dislike of doctors, hospitals, and all things medical just long enough to try out Rachel’s naturopath. Amazing woman. Overlooking the fact that my arm is still bruised from blood drawn a week ago, I’m quite happy with what she told me. Something about deficiencies in the vitamins D and B, cortisol and iron levels. Is it strange that I’m thrilled to find out that something is wrong with me? It’s quite cheering to find out that things will be going up from here. Oh, and here’s a technical detail for you—apparently the thyroid was 1.25, which is normal and okay. Now I can pull the whole “My doctor recommends…” in a sniffly, reedy, british accent. (I’ve been watching too much Jeeves and Wooster lately.)
Well, that’s really all I’ve got for now. I promise that my next post will have something more spiritually-oriented in it. I’ll look for a good excerpt to put up. Have a phenomenal day.