Monthly Archives: October 2012

Keeper

Today I read Psalm 121 and was struck by the prevalence of the word “keep”. It’s in the 8 verse psalm six times. Other translations used “guard” and “watch” and “keep watch” instead of “keep” (which is from the ESV).

I lift my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Kids know what it means to “play for keeps”. Pokemon cards (which were admittedly after my time, so I never collected them) are pitted against each other and the winner of the “battle” gets to keep both cards. Marbles work that way (before my time…though there were a couple revivals in elementary school). Most memorable in my elementary days were Pogs. The game of pogs is not very complicated…you make a stack of cardboard discs (with hollographic designs, no less, they were COOL!) and slam them with…a slammer?…, getting to keep whichever ones turned over (right?). Some kids had tubes and tubes of those pogs because they played a lot and won a lot. I had a little stack that started from a birthday party favor bag and was supplemented by cereal box prizes and happy meal prizes (or was it Burger King’s kids’ meal?). It was not a collection I was willing to risk, so I didn’t end up winning more or losing more. I valued the stack that I had, studied them, organized them, played against my sister who would only take her own.

It’s not a very good illustration, but when God wins us to himself (er, when we repent and accept the Grace made available through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, winning once and for all over Satan and death) we are his for keeps. The study notes I read highlighted the significance of verses 3 and 4. The same God who keeps the entirety of Israel keeps each particular member. He knows us, loves us, hears us, watches over us.

When we go out and come in, He knows. At face value that sounds like a curfew-hounding parent…but today it occurred to me that perhaps that pertains also to when we stray away from Him…in any form (living by the flesh flat out, self-centered boredom, etc.), and when we draw near to him. Perhaps more literally, as a song of ascents (on the way to Jerusalem) it has to do with going to and from Jerusalem, but I don’t have a very good understanding of that pilgrimage.

It’s time for me to head to work for the day, but it is my prayer that God would make his Keeping known to me, that I would cherish it, marvel at it, and live in gratitude for it.

extreme days

I recently read the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker (it probably has a subtitle so as not to be confused with the violent movie with the same name…I don’t want to bother looking it up). This book is coming into conversation with people in different circles. My sister started it for me…she read it with her small group and did some discussion and experimenting of her own (it has to do with examining excess in our lives and trying to cut it out). I didn’t receive it warmly at first (sorry, K!) because I mistook the idea to be a bad one. Instead the book is a conversational journal of the month-long experiments the author conducted…the churchy word is fasting, but you could probably call it both or either.

Upon having girls over to my apartment this weekend I discovered an abundance of yarn I had hidden away in storage containers in a closet. It’s yarn that I don’t like (hence hidden to the depths of an all-purpose tote) and the half projects attached to some of the balls are pretty useless to me now (oh, acrylic yarn…oh, why oh why?). But that is not reason enough to swallow it. I have got to do something about it.

So I’m going to contemplate a plan. I’m putting it out “here” to mark the date for myself (and occasionally I re-read my archives, so perhaps this will spur my future self to week out the ol’ yarn collection again). Don’t get me wrong, yarn isn’t the only area of retention I need to deal with, but it’s a start. A pretty big start.

That is all. Have a pleasant week!

sentimental hogwash

Today I set out to clean my apartment for anticipated company, but instead I got busy with rearranging my bedroom. It’s kind of a problem area because I have about one too many wall-dwelling pieces of furniture to fit in my 9×10 (estimate?) room. But I made it work for now, and if it miraculously stays tidy I’ll have full access to my chair, closets, desk, and dresser for the first time in six months or so.

Part of rearranging things is coming across things that I have hung onto for some reason. Today I kind of threw out with abandon some of the paperstuff that I have been hanging on to…for some reason that I cannot explain I have a fascination with the written word to the extent that I saved the classified ad that my current job came from. By itself it doesn’t take up much room (thankfully), but it’s one of too-many-to-count items like that. A month or so ago I cleaned out a box of binders of their contents. Granted, I found that content very useful, and possibly useful for posterity, but the truth is that it’s another delayed decision and more to move (should I ever move again, which I kind of hope I do on a variety of levels).

I have particular attachment to things that are still good for use…be they notecards without envelopes, pencils, pens, shoes I don’t really like, tickets from musicals I have been to, index cards with verses that I wrote for displaying on my mirror or some other surface, pictures, correspondence, you name it. Clothes are another story. I haven’t worn my hawkeye marching band polo since the Outback Bowl in 2006, nor will I ever wear it again, but it has a hallowed place in my closet. The more I think about the accumulation of stuff (yipes, yarn), the less OK I am with it…so I’m going through. It’s not my strongest suit (it’s hard), but I have got to pitch things that a)make me a viable candidate for Hoarders, the show, and b)are needlessly nostalgic for me.

I could go on and on. I already have! Apologies!!

For now I will enjoy the opened up layout with some tea and knitting while I gear up for another late night (Salt Company, woo woo!).