Friday, March 28, 2014

Robert Barron's Lent Day 24

I do not write as well as I'd like to, and there are a handful of people I read whom, if I wrote more, it would be like unto their style. Father Barron writes a daily meditation during Lent and to-day's, I think, he wrote for me: (reprinted here entirely without the expressed written permission of Fr. Barron or

Lent Day 24 - Christ at the Center
The massive rose windows of the medieval Gothic cathedrals were not only marvels of engineering and artistry; they were also symbols of the well-ordered soul. The pilgrim coming to the cathedral for spiritual enlightenment would be encouraged to meditate upon the rose of light and color in order to be drawn into mystical conformity with it.

What would he or she see? At the center of every rose window is a depiction of Christ (even when Mary seems to be the focus, she is carrying the Christ child on her lap), and then wheeling around him in lyrical and harmonious patterns are the hundreds of medallions, each depicting a saint or a scene from scripture.

The message of the window is clear: When one's life is centered on Christ, all the energies, aspirations, and powers of the soul fall into a beautiful and satisfying pattern. And by implication, whenever something other than Christ--money, sex, success, adulation--fills the center, the soul falls into disharmony.

Jesus expressed this same idea when he said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given unto you" (Mt 6:33). When the divine is consciously acknowledged as the ground and organizing center of one's existence, something like wholeness or holiness is the result.

Don't live your life on the rim of the circle, but rather at the center. Focus on that reliable, unchanging point where Christ resides.
Thank You, Lord, for this new day. Thank You for this life You have given me; thank You for the love of Jesus. Grace me to-day that I might live out this love - with every person I meet, with every thought of my mind and every word of my mouth.
Live, love, and reign in me, please
In Your holy Name I pray Amen

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Christ, the Life of All the Living

"Christ, the Life of All the Living"
by Ernst C. Homburg, 1605-1681
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878

1. Christ, the Life of all the living,
Christ, the Death of death, our foe,
Who, Thyself for me once giving
To the darkest depths of woe,--
Through thy sufferings, death, and merit
I eternal life inherit:
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

2. Thou, ah! Thou, hast taken on Thee
Bonds and stripes, a cruel rod;
Pain and scorn were heaped upon Thee,
0 Thou sinless Son of God!
Thus didst Thou my soul deliver
From the bonds of sin forever.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

3. Thou hast borne the smiting only
That my wounds might all be whole;
Thou hast suffered, sad and lonely,
Rest to give my weary soul;
Yea, the curse of God enduring,
Blessing unto me securing.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

4. Heartless scoffers did surround Thee,
Treating Thee with shameful scorn,
And with piercing thorns they crowned Thee.
All disgrace Thou, Lord, hast borne
That as Thine Thou mightest own me
And with heavenly glory crown me.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

5. Thou hast suffered men to bruise Thee
That from pain I might be free;
Falsely did Thy foes accuse Thee,--
Thence I gain security;
Comfortless Thy soul did languish
Me to comfort in my anguish.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

6. Thou hast suffered great affliction
And hast borne it patiently,
Even death by crucifixion,
Fully to atone for me;
Thou didst choose to be tormented
That my doom should be prevented.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

7. Then, for all that wrought my pardon,
For Thy sorrows deep and sore,
For Thine anguish in the Garden,
I will thank Thee evermore,
Thank Thee for Thy groaning, sighing,
For Thy bleeding and Thy dying,
For that last triumphant cry,
And shall praise Thee, Lord, on high.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #151
Text: Matt. 26:64-67
Author: Ernst C. Homburg, 1659, ab.
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.
Titled: "Jesu, meines Lebens Leben"
Tune: "Jesu, meines Lebens Leben"
1st Published in: _KirchengesangbuchTown: Darmstadt, 1687

Just Currents, Not Jam

I move through lent, conscious of my sin, more attentive to my lack of giving and loving, more entrenched in prayer and devotion each day - praying to be more like Christ, more loving, more self-less.
The habits I have developed over the decades are hard to get rid of. I loathe how I look always first and foremost to my own interests and comfort. Dear LORD drive this out of my heart, fill my heart with a love for others, that I would seek others' comfort and interests and not mine. Please hear my prayer, in Your mercy.
Been listening to Disney's Frozen soundtrack; I really need to 'Let It Go', for real. Let me go, rather.
Tigers have had a mediocre spring except for two items: more stolen bases than all of last season already and JV has been phenomenal.
Sweet 16 games begin tonight with Wisconsin-Baylor then three more. Michigan and MSU both play tomorrow night in hopes of playing again on Sunday and (of course) the following weekend.
Sweetie and I made a little fire last night and assumed our usual evening positions: me with the remote on the couch watching various baseball games (Pirates - Twins and Reds - White Sox) and movies (The Expendables and Meet Me in St Louis), her on her chaise with the laptop. Kitty sat by the fire and Sierra was nowhere to be found (back in the colder bedroom - she's a malamute!)

Our newly arranged living room

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Prayer From a Troubled Heart

"Have mercy on my, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes..."
~From King David, Psalm 51

Almighty God, I confess it is so difficult for me to love my wife. I feel the need to point out how wrong she is, especially when she so damnably argues she is right.
By Your grace, allow me to give this up. Allow me to set free forever the desire to be right, and to show others wrong. Allow me to see past her words and actions into the heart of Your daughter, into her soul. Bring me down off whatever it is I still cling to, LORD; tune me into a work of holiness.
You have made it clear to me that I cannot do this by myself, and it appears that my method of asking for your help (as I have been doing for twenty years) is also lacking somehow.

I am lost.
I have no recourse but to trust You and Your infinite wisdom.
I know You are shaping me moment by moment, but when will the moment come that I can love my wife the way I am called to??  

Please deliver me from my self. Please change my into a lover of people.

I ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Amen

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ode to Otis

This is Otis the Quat.

Otis likes to run all through the house, sleep, look longingly for hours at the birds outside, and eat.

But sometimes, Otis ends up where we least expect him.

Yestreday, it just happened to be at the very top of our Pier 1 Imports wicker armoire.

King of the castle!
Otis in the Meatloaf position with his 'yeah whatever' look.

Come to Calvary's Holy Mountain

"Come to Calvary's Holy Mountain"
by James Montgomery, 1771-1854

1. Come to Calvary's holy mountain,
Sinners, ruined by the Fall;
Here a pure and healing fountain
Flows to you, to me, to all,
In a full, perpetual tide,
Opened when our Savior died.

2. Come in poverty and meanness,
Come defiled, without, within;
From infection and uncleanness,
From the leprosy of sin,
Wash your robes and make them white;
Ye shall walk with God in light.

3. Come in sorrow and contrition,
Wounded, impotent, and blind;
Here the guilty free remission,
Here the troubled peace, may find.
Health this fountain will restore;
He that drinks shall thirst no more.

4. He that drinks shall live forever;
Tis a soul-renewing flood.
God is faithful; God will never
Break His covenant of blood,
Signed when our Redeemer died,
Sealed when He was glorified.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #149
Text: Matt. 11:28
Author: James Montgomery, 1819
Composer: Ludvig M. Lindeman, 1871
Tune: "Consolation"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Muffin in Cheyenne WY

Lamb of God, Pure and Holy

"Lamb of God, Pure and Holy"
by Nikolaus Decius, 1490?-1541

1. Lamb of God, pure and holy,
Who on the cross didst suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us,
Else had despair reigned o'er us:
Have mercy on us, 0 Jesus!

2. Lamb of God, pure and holy.
Who on the cross didst suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us,
Else had despair reigned o'er us:
Have mercy on us, 0 Jesus!

3. Lamb of God, pure and holy,
Who on the cross didst suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us,
Else had despair reigned o'er us:
Thy peace be with us, 0 Jesus!

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #146
Text: John 1:29
Author: Nikolaus Decius, 1531
Translated by: composite
Titled: "O Lamm Gottes
Tune: "O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig"
1st Published in: _Christl. KirchenordnungTown: Erfurt, 1542

And the pipe organ mp3:

Act of Love

My beautiful bride hates to be photographed, so I am a room removed, while she beats the pudding for one of my favorite low-sugar treats late at night. She even added the Nestle baking coco to the graham cracker crust like I asked her to.
This, done at my request and with no strings attached, was to me a grace.
Blessed be God forever!

Sugar-free Jello brand pudding is the best!

Notes to self, during Lent ....

Jesus endured temptation to train his disciples how to overcome the devil. No one should be surprised, then, that after our own Baptism the tempter assails us more aggressively than before. Victory is assured if, like Jesus, we commit ourselves to fasting, wait upon the Lord with patience, and have no desire for things beyond our need.

~Flocknote commentary on Mark chapter 1.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken

"O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken"
By Johann Heermann, 1585-1647

1. O dearest Jesus, what law hast thou broken
That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken?
Of what great crime hast Thou to make confession, --
What dark transgression?

2. They crown Thy head with thorns, they smite, they scourge Thee;
With cruel mockings to the cross they urge Thee;
They give Thee gall to drink, they still decry Thee;
They crucify Thee.

3. Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish;
Yea, all the wrath, the woe, Thou dost inherit,
This I do merit.

4. What punishment so strange is suffered yonder!
The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander;
The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him,
Who would not know Him.

5. The sinless Son of God must die in sadness;
The sinful child of man may live in gladness;
Man forfeited his life and is acquitted, --
God is committed.

6. There was no spot in me by sin untainted;
Sick with sin's poison, all my heart had fainted;
My heavy guilt to hell had well-nigh brought me,
Such woe it wrought me.

7. O wondrous love, whose depth no heart hath sounded,
That brought Thee here, by foes and thieves surrounded!
All worldly pleasures, heedless, I was trying
While Thou wert dying.

8. O mighty King, no time can dim Thy glory!
How shall I spread abroad Thy wondrous story?
How shall I find some worthy gifts to proffer?
What dare I offer?

9. For vainly doth our human wisdom ponder, --
Thy woes, Thy mercy, still transcend our wonder.
Oh, how should I do aught that could delight Thee!
Can I requite Thee?

10. Yet unrequited, Lord, I would not leave Thee;
I will renounce whate'er doth vex or grieve Thee
And quench with thoughts of Thee and prayers most lowly
All fires unholy.

11. But since my strength will nevermore suffice me
To crucify desires that still entice me,
To all good deeds, oh, let Thy Spirit win me
And reign within me!

12. I'll think upon Thy mercy without ceasing,
That earth's vain joys to me no more be pleasing;
To do Thy will shall be my sole endeavor
Henceforth forever.

13. Whate'er of earthly good this life may grant me,
I'll risk for Thee; no shame, no cross, shall daunt me;
I shall not fear what man can do to harm me
Nor death alarm me.

14. But worthless is my sacrifice, I own it;
Yet, Lord, for love's sake Thou wilt not disown it;
Thou wilt accept my gift in Thy great meekness
Nor shame my weakness.

15. And when, dear Lord, before Thy throne in heaven
To me the crown of joy at last is given,
Where sweetest hymns Thy saints forever raise Thee,
I, too, shall praise Thee.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #143
Text: Luke 23: 20-24
Author: Johann Heermann, 1630
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.
Titled: "Herzliebster Jesu"
Composer: Johann Crueger, 1640
Tune: "Herzlebster Jesu"

Friday, March 7, 2014

Adorable Lacey

Last night my wife and I were watching the Iowa-MSU basketball game and Dick Vitale began talking about a girl who was MSU power forward Adreian Payne's 'best friend', who had battling cancer for most of her life. The camera then went to this 8 year old and her mother, sitting right behind the bench, as Vitale told a little bit about how the relationship between Payne and Lacey Holsworth had been growing. I teared up then, and I teared up just now, as I happened upon Lacey's tweet from last night.

I hate it that kids have to suffer like this.  I'm not questioning God, ... well maybe I am really. But I just hate it. Big people (like me!!!) can be creeps and jerks and selfish and inflict pain on others. But children are so innocent. They only reflect and react; they soak up from those who influence them daily: parents, pastors, teachers, Dora The Explorer.

And why does a big college superstar athlete's sharing a bit of his life with a sick child make me cry?

Dear God, protect our children from harm, and give us the strongest desire to do the same. Change our hearts, that we would not look to our big-people desires at the expense of our children's safety and nurturing. Help us to make time for our kids; to love them, and to show them how we love You and others.
Be with every child conceived to-day - draw them near to You and protect them always.
We praise You and thank You; and we love You, too. Amen

Thursday, March 6, 2014

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

Words: At­trib­ut­ed to Ber­nard of Clair­vaux, 1153 (Sal­ve ca­put cru­en­ta­tum); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Ger­man by Paul Ger­hardt, 1656 (O Haupt voll Blut und Wund­en), and from La­tin to Eng­lish James W. Al­ex­and­er, 1830.
Music: Pas­sion Chor­ale, Hans L. Hass­ler, Lust­gar­ten neu­er teutsch­er Ge­säng, 1601; har­mo­ny by Jo­hann S. Bach, 1729 (MI­DI, score). Hassler originally set this tune to the secular words Mein Gmüt ist mir ver­wir­ret, das mächt ein Jung­frau zart. Al­ter­nate tune: Gerhardt, Jo­seph P. Hol­brook, 1862 (MI­DI, score)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

U of M Big Ten Champs!

... and my brother was there in Champaign, IL with his main man Joshua, showing off his maize and blue in a sea of orange ; P
Thanks for the photos, bro!

Go Blue!

Popcorn king!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jesus, I Will Ponder Now

"Jesus, I Will Ponder Now"
by Sigismund v. Birken
Translated by August Crull, 1845-1923

1. Jesus, I will ponder now
On Thy holy Passion;
With Thy Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of Thy suffering, pain, and death,
That I may not perish.

2. Make me see Thy great distress,
Anguish, and affliction,
Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And Thy crucifixion;
Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails, did wound Thee,
How for man Thou diedst, O God,
Who with thorns had crowned Thee.

3. Yet, O Lord, not thus alone
Make me see Thy Passion,
But its cause to me make known
And its termination.
Ah! I also and my sin
Wrought Thy deep affliction;
This indeed the cause hath been
Of Thy crucifixion.

4. Grant that I Thy Passion view
With repentant grieving
Nor Thee crucify anew
By unholy living.
How could I refuse to shun
Every sinful pleasure
Since for me God's only Son
Suffered without measure?

5. If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let Thy cross my fear disarm,
Peace of conscience give me.
Grant that I may trust in Thee
And Thy holy Passion.
If His Son so loveth me,
God must have compassion.

6. Grant that I may willingly
Bear with Thee my crosses,
Learning humbleness of Thee,
Peace mid pain and losses.
May I give Thee love for love!
Hear me, O my Savior,
That I may in heaven above
Sing Thy praise forever.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #140
Text: Luke 18: 31-34
Author: Sigismund v. Birken, 1653
Translated by: August Crull, 1923, alt.
Titled: "Jesu, deine Passion"
Composer: Melchior Vulpius, 1609
Tune: "Jesu Kreuz, Leiden und Pein"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

On Winter, and Other Things

So far, in the 810, the December-January-February snowfall total has surpassed all years since records of this sort of thing have been kept. We average 42.8 inches of snow in those three months but have topped the chart this year with 79. 2013-2014 still doesn't yet have the total yearly snowfall record but we could if we get about eight inches more.

Normal average winter temperature here is 27.1 and we've so far averaged 21.1 (14th coldest ever).

I will continue to ponder warm things, such as

Tigers Astros on 1 March 2014 in Lakeland FL


Whitmore Lake, MI petunias


Key West Best Western Pool and Cheekie Hut