Rick and Monique

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The way it Should be--and always was--Fait Accompli

Merry Christmas everyone! Tiny Tim muttered such famous words, words that ring far above class and capability. We've been saying MERRY CHRISTMAS for generations. Societies and times change. But two words carry the same meaning amongst generations of millions.

We've had a lot of fun moving through time and tradition at my childhood home this season. We always do Chili on Christmas Eve. The kids always had to perform some skill before opening gifts and we had carols to sing and Dad, and sometimes myself were permitted to perform the famous gibberish found by dad and friends from billboards, license plates, store fronts etc..."oogalama chingalapa, leggazegga moogabooga...!"

And dad, who has the KJV version of Luke 2 memorized was and is required to address the family with the story of Jesus Birth by memory. But we should always have the story by memory shouldn't we? Christ was the gift from which the gift of grace and forgiveness poured forth...Christ should always come before the gifts.

I love the idea of tradition in celebration. We went to church last night and I'm never big on holiday church services, but as my cynical scroogy self was about to come forth, the songs of the season and the story of Christmas heralded out of the pastors mouth and an Elder and minister of the congregation prayed and read scripture and led us in song. It's good for the body of Christ to be together in celebration of the newborn king...why was I such a scrooge? I and 700 others like me prayed and sang and celebrated! Does that mean I'm a holiday service guy now? Maybe, I'm only human. But last night was good for me.

We celebrate Christ...amongst brain tumors and kidney diseases and heart disease and accidents and old age we celebrate Christ. The song says JOY TO THE WORLD, not because lives are happy happy joy joy. I don't feel happy happy joy joy some of these days. Some of them I do, but I do know that Joy was not possible until Christ arrived. Malady, fear and sickness bears no affect on such Joy.

I said before that we had to perform something before opening gifts. I always had a song or a poem to offer...mostly poems. It was the same this year. I enjoy blogs and letters because an entire wealth of the world shares its own experiences with others! That's awesome. So, I'm going to share this year's performance poem with you. I know not everyone are poem people, but maybe it's one little part of your entire Christmas story. My gift to you. But don't open this gift until you've experienced the gift that is Christ first.

Here I am wrought with adulthood.
My childish ways are well placed


And entrusted to Him
Who brought me through them.

Yet the bells and pipes
Mark a season under which the resonant ding and the trumpets
seemingly matted under summer now arise bright and crisp
as voices pour hallelujahs spreading satin music
like hot fudge to ice-cream;
a creamy pasture of melted vanilla and dreams.

Praise, a silky mane of the King threading extol
as voices roar towards a God who seeks Praise,
and notes that, as they exit our mouths,
seem to sharpen and glisten teeth for the bite

The slain lamb, now the Lion of God strikes
with the crushing power of the blood that feeds
and empowers faith and music, that sharpens teeth
Bites and gifts and faith deposits Satan behind me
so that when my last note crosses the threshold

like silver butterflies
revealing wind’s pathway toward Heaven,

he the beautiful one, his name
bearing the faint crest of honor but now
tattered in disdain
shall find no worthy mention here,

transfixed, merely an eyewitness
given company by his own terror,
knows His punishment--
that I might die and live without him.

Fait accompli

Death is not admirable, but by God’s name must be like the sun
that obediently descends beneath the earth as He did;
only to rise again on a new day, a new age.

And Thus I sing and I hear bells.
Though wrought with adulthood
Rejoice that that which I have entrusted
Some of them being childish ways,
Can be shown to me at the sunset of the year
So that I shall also not be hindered from His lap;
That I may revel in bells and pipes,
That I may taste snow, swallow goodness.

And simply know
As I once did

That my Father knows the voice of children
And angels swarm fiercely amongst them
As they did the night their master was born,
So that gifts and truffle may fuel the stories
Of tradition and life
Born by eternity

And set amongst bells and pipes
And songs that spread them


Like faith of Children.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Count Your Blessings Name them One by One.

It's not often that my wife and I forget to pray for all you. At the same time we attempt to also count our blessings.

I do that differently than I used to...count blessings that is. I don't see prayer as a way to twist God's giant wrench as the Fix-it-man's right hand helper. I simply pray because it gives my faith Endurance. I see God work when I don't pray and I see Him work when I do. It just seems that when I'm in His Word and when I'm talking to Him, that I'm paying more attention to His inevitably great work, for better or for worse...for better I suppose.

And so be thankful in all things...not necessarily for them. Count your blessings. Watch God work.

We've all experienced a loss of one sort or the other. We have, I have. My friend Heidi wrote about the losses she's experienced and I'll share that with you in a moment. But one of them was her Husband Layton, also a friend I knew. After his death were a couple of others including our baby, Opa, and Uncle Eddy last year. But Before him it was Tina and before her, Diane. In there was Grandma Josie and John...there were others. Now we pray for Mom and Jeff and Uncle Bill and...count your blessings. Not because it was one of Grandma's favorite songs. Not because it's the Christmas season, although it is. Not because the lights are up...and they're bright. Not because the music plays--you play good music. Count because they're there. Entrust them to Him so that at the end of time and at the cusp of eternity, He'll show them to you there (II Timothy 1:12).

The poem below is Heidi's. She's counting.
May God be with you and bless you.

Layton and Samara

The love of my heart.
The fruit of my womb.

On the same long advent day strung apart by years,
You both lay in the same building.

Whirring machines breathing your breath and beating your heart -
A whirring machine looking inside you

as you slept an unnatural sleep.

"He's going."
"She has cancer."

I'll never forget what you felt like in my arms that day.

How warm you were.
How heavy you were.
How still you were.
How light you were.

I lost you that day.
I thought I was losing you that day.

I let you go... into the Father's keeping.

And now you dance and have your being in a place or time or dimension
so far away, or perhaps so close?
Perhaps as close as you - who dance in winter boots
and holiday dress by the Christmas tree.

A saint above.

A saint below.

You are healed.

O Child of God, I miss you. And I will see you someday...
O Child of God, I miss you.
And I will see you this afternoon, after work.

Your mothers' arms long to hold you

On this long advent day.

I'll never forget what you felt like in my arms that day.

How warm you were.
How heavy you were.
How still you were.
How light you were.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Layton Reid De Vries, my first husband, died seven years ago today on December 11, 2000 as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. In the same hospital, Samara Grace was diagnosed with neuroblastoma one year ago today on December 11, 2006.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rhyming Game...Fun Fun Fun! Win 1000 Points!

Ok...since I've recently been purged from real thoughts, I have the freedom to be completely ridiculous again. I even have the freedom to spell ridiculous wrong, for instance rediculus...but I won't do that. I've been working and have been writing the yearly Christmas poem. Every year I attempt to put a good Rhyme together until nothing rhymes and all I have is a Christmas poem.

So I'm going to force the issue.

I've chosen a good holiday word. The word is "bell." I'm going to make up as many rhymes as I possibly can on the word bell! I am going to try and put together an exhaustive list. However...here's the rub. The first person that can give me a rhyme for bell that isn't already on my list (do it from my comments page), will win 1000 points on your next purchase!

How much money is 1000 points? I don't know. Where can you use the points? I don't know. Just tell any retailer that I have given you 1000 points and see what happens. So...without further ado...excited?...want to win?...ok...1...2...3...here we goooooo!!!

behl, belle, cell, chell, clell, dell, delle, dwell, elle, fehl, fell, frel, gehl, gel, gell, grell, grelle, guel, hehl, hell, helle, jell, kal, kehl, kell, kjell, knell, krell, l, l., lehl, mehl, mel, mell, melle, nell, nelle, pehl, pell, pelle, prell, quell, schell, schmehl, schnell, schnelle, sell, selle, shell, smell, snell, spell, stell, stelle, strehl, strehle, swell, tel, tell, ul, well, welle, yell, yelle, zel, zell, zelle, adel, adele, adell, adelle, adwell, air cell, air well, akel, ancel, angelle, ansel, antell, anwell, apel, ardelle, arel, ark shell, armel, arnelle, arvel, as well, atwell, axtell, bandshell, bardell, battelle, bechtel, bedel, befell, bendel, beutel, be well, bignell, blank shell, blood cell, bodell, bone cell, boutell, boutelle, bozell, bracknell, brain cell, brownell, brunelle, bucknell, burdell, burrell, buzzell, b cell, cabell, cantrell, cantrelle, capelle, carel, carmel, cartel, carvel, carvell, cattell, caudell, cavell, chanel, chapell, chapelle, chappelle, clark cell, cold spell, compel, cone cell, cordell, corel, corell, cornell, cornelle, cosell, cotelle, cottrell, danelle, daniele, dantrell, darnell, darrelle, death knell, decelle, desselle, develle, dispel, dispell, dovel, do well, dry cell, edell, egg cell, elwell, estelle, excel, expel, ezell, ezelle, farewell, fascell, fat cell, faupel, ferrel, fidel, flame cell, foretell, frenzel, futrell, gabel, gas shell, gas well, gazelle, germ cell, get-well, get well, ginnell, giselle, gravelle, grinnell, ground swell, gsell, hair cell, hair gel, hard sell, harpel, hillel, hormel, hornell, hotel, hot spell, impel, intel, irell, jail cell, janelle, joelle, kerr cell, labell, labelle, lamp shell, landell, lapel, lavelle, leavelle, ledwell, lemelle, leonelle, like hell, lobell, loisel, loiselle, lyell, lymph cell, mabelle, madelle, mantell, manuel, marcel, marcelle, markel, martelle, marvell, marvelle, mast cell, matell, mattel, maxell, maybelle, mckell, mendell, mentel, michel, michele, michelle, miguel, mirell, mirelle, misspell, mizel, mizelle, montel, morel, morrell, moselle, motel, mousel, mozelle, nadel, nepl, nerve cell, nevel, niguel, nobel, noel, noelle, nouvelle, novell, noxell, o'dell, octel, odell, oil well, outsell, ozelle, pantel, pastel, patel, percell, pesnell, pie shell, portal, postrelle, procell, propel, purcell, quesnel, rachelle, raise hell, rampell, randell, rangel, ransdell, raquel, ravel, rebel, repel, resell, retell, revelle, rintel, rochelle, rod cell, romelle, roussel, roussell, rousselle, rozelle, rudelle, ruelle, sabel, samelle, savel, sawtelle, scurdell, sentelle, sex cell, sharell, sheftel, shirell, shirelle, shortell, sibelle, skin cell, soft sell, sperm cell, star shell, stinel, sydell, taste cell, tavel, tooth shell, torell, tube well, tusk shell, twaddell, tyrrell, t cell, udelle, unsell, uzzell, vandaele, varvel, vaupel, vertel, wachtell, waddell, warrell, weisel, wet cell, white cell, wish well, zumel

AOL, avenel, bell morel, black morel, breathing spell, bubble shell, cancer cell, carrasquel, clientele, collar cell, cup morel, danielle, driven well, esquibel, esquivel, false morel, fuel cell, gabriele, goblet cell, golgi cell, heavy swell, holding cell, isabell, Anne Michell, Jean michele, lyondell, magic spell, marcantel, mirabel, montiel, mother cell, muscle cell, n. f. l., orabel, oyster shell, patty shell, personnel, plasma cell, prison cell, racing shell, Rafael, raising hell, raphael, red blood cell, riopel, san miguel, say farewell, scallop shell, sense of smell, shotgun shell, sickle cell, single shell, sinking spell, solar cell, sponge morel, standard cell, storage cell, sugar shell, u. a. l., unit cell, very well, weston cell, white blood cell, wildcat well, William tell, tinkerbell...adipose cell, aix-la-chapelle, artesian well, beefsteak morel, cadmium cell, clark standard cell, common morel, conic morel, detention cell, early morel, electric cell, fertilized cell, formative cell, galvanic cell, gambling hell, industrielle, line personnel, mademoiselle, mercury cell, motor hotel, petty morel, primary cell, resort hotel, scorpion shell, silica gel, smooth muscle cell, thomson's gazelle, visual cell, word of farewell, anfal, antipersonell, embryonic cell, epidermal cell, epithelial cell, flagellated cell, reproductive cell, secondary cell, selenium cell, suppressor t cell

management personnel, Margarete gertrud zelle, photoelectric cell, photovoltaic cell

military personnel

Good luck.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

God Is

My grandfather used to sit me on his lap and tell me stories of time. I thought about this as I read an essay written by author, poet, statesman and thinker T.S. Eliot. I don't believe that he was the greatest of men and I don't believe all his thoughts were of great value. But that doesn't make him any less important to my perspective. The post below is a product of reading and evidence of my weaknesses, which are the uncontrollable urge to purge my brain of thoughts and essays to paper.

You've unwittingly become a victim or benefactor (is your cup half-empty or half-full?) of my blog nation! I've produced my "purge" for you below. You may read or not, concentrate or not, listen or not. For those whom the following essay bores you to tears, let me offer you the bottom line--preserve your history and its traditions. In them are ways we acknowledge that God is and that time truthfully exposes Him.


Time, History and Tradition

I've been thinking about T.S. Eliot’s essay entitled “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” in which tradition is represented as a constantly evolving, yet continuous thing, which is remade with every addition to it, and which adapts the past to the present and the present to the past.

The knowledge of the past makes us more acutely aware of our present. I'd say that philosophy of "living in the moment" has got us into a bit of a bind in the last generation. There are those who fret the loss of an instrument such as the organ. The statement is not to mean that newer instruments are not held in high regard. Nor are instrumentalists and musicians any less attentive to their craft. What they mean, even if they could not put it into words, is that they mourn the loss of memory and the glory that is lost with it by catering to the here and now.

Skills such as metal-works, sewing and farming continue to breed and ingenuity follows them meaning all is not lost. However, if the history of such things are forgotten, new skills take on a dangerous autonomy, replacing the democratic process of progression and invention.

Thomas Paine wrote in THE RIGHTS OF MAN in 1791

“It has been thought that government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true because it is putting the effect before the cause. For as a man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist."

Autonomy in Government reveals not as much a quest for power as it does a picture of historical amnesia. The erasure of the memory that their place did not arrive by their own power, but by the process of trust of other men, the process of a Christ who's words preceded Him or her and by the development of vast numbers of failed, evil, successful and good government.

Our own democratic device seems to be steeped in this quagmire. Because of the unique frailties and depths of passion and forgetfulness unique to humans, just after the United States Constitution was ratified Thomas Jefferson and James Madison began a campaign to amend it with an explicit twelve-point statement that clearly and unambiguously placed humans - the builders of government - above their entity--the structure of Government. This was the birth of what would become the Bill of Rights, and it originally had twelve - not ten - protections for citizens’ rights.

Consider the following two statements:

"The historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own
generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe. . .has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. . . No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone."
(T.S. Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent")

"'I don't think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting
present.'" (W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence 79)

The path we choose to follow steps underneath one or the other of these two statements, thereby leading us to somewhat predictable ends, ironically giving creedance to T.S. Eliot. One is a very humanist view, the other quite Apologetic.

I am a proponent of modernism, but only that which is influenced by tradition. The tradition of architecure, the tradition of Government or the tradition of Worship.

My set of beliefs and ideas arise from my beginnings, my experience, my own history and the history of my family. And it should be this way. Alone, my most necessary beliefs may be both unjustified and unjustifiable from my personal perspective. But my life in a macro-view shows us my want and will to justify them autonomously will lead instead to their loss. They'll be grouped with the abstract rational systems of the philosophers, enlightened "tolerants" etc. We may think ourselves more rational and better equipped for life in the modern world...in the "here and now" generation. But I believe that we are less well equipped, and our new beliefs are far less justified, for the very reason that they are justified by ourselves. The real justification for a belief and a way of being is the one which justifies it as a prejudice--historically credible and engaged in history, rather than as a rational conclusion of a modern argument. In other words it is a justification that cannot be conducted from our own perspective, but only from outside, as a gathering of precedent and experience and observance and faith. In the same way an anthropologist might justify the customs and rituals of an alien tribe or a geologist tell the story of earth and time.

For example I give the idea of sexuality. The theories of the sexes and of sex vary from society to society; but until recently they have held a consistent contempt for what most agree is the difference between seemly and unseemly conduct. We agreed to abhor explicit sexual display, and expected a character that enabled the sexes and humanity itself to flourish. Moreover the union of marriage held long-standing beliefs that stabilized many societies for many many generations. There are very good anthropological and physical reasons for this. Woman and men have physical characteristics that seem to fit the opposite perfectly...we say "like a glove." Furthermore, we encouraged long-term stability of sexual relations in marriage because we believed it necessary if children are to be inducted into society. These ideas do not stand alone, especially if they are to survive.

Modern invention and technical enhancements catapult humans into believing that all of life is meant for review and change. But, in order to change well, we need our traditions....Traditions and conduct are guided by deep and immovable prejudice, in which outrage, shame, and honor are the ultimate grounds...and worthy of fighting for. In light of the above example, the sexual liberator has no difficulty in showing traditional motives are irrational, in the sense of being founded on no reasoned justification available to the person who holds a different view. And he may propose sexual liberation as a rational alternative, a code of conduct that is rational from a number of varied viewpoints, since it derives a complete code of practice from a transparently reasonable aim, a consistently moving society whose wills change, thereby allowing alternatives to reach sexual pleasure. The result of evolving rationals that are not rooted in tradition should've been anticipated. We've experienced a breakdown in trust between male and female, and have seen a faltering in the reproductive process—a failing and enfeebled commitment of parents to each other and also to their offspring. At the same time traditions and individual feelings based on and fulfilled by them, are left exposed and unprotected. Hence the extraordinary situation in America, where lawsuits have replaced common courtesy, where accusations of “date-rape” take the place of modesty and respect, and where advances made by the unattractive and "ugly" are routinely deemed and judged “sexual harrassment.” We've now seen life without regard for the real social function that prejudice, history and tradition fulfill.

That is, unless we forbid societal amnesia from setting in. History repeats itself only because it has been ignored or forgotten.

God's word tells us not to worry about tomorrow but to concentrate on today. I don't believe that the text eludes to an abolishment of the past, but the fulfillment of it.

One of my best friends thinks nothing like I do, and we’ve had a few debates. For instance, He believes religion should be enabled by Government but removed from politics. I argue that I wake up religious and cannot remove who I am from the process. I'm also a bit of a strict constitutionalist. I don't believe the tenets should be screwed with. You cannot have a constantly changing constitution that floats on the whims of the culture. What if a culture decided that murder was acceptable? Would you change the constitution to clearly define acceptable murder?

My point usually is, "What ever happened to Patriotism?" I remember the historical story about a tea party in Boston that proved we wanted to be different than the Socialist, Fascist Europeans of the time. This history forgotten leads to the repetition of all that was worst in man and in Government. Do we as Americans want nothing more than to lose our identity, one that has brought us greatness, so that we can be like everyone else!!!? Patriotism is bred from historical presuppositions. Our song, "The Star Spangled Banner" depends on them. Many in your Congress encourage the abolishment of who we were. Can you fight against it as we once did? Or are you willing to re-write the song?