Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holy, Holy Holy

Holy, holy, holy

Is the Lord God Almighty

Who was and is and is to come!

We know the words to the song that echoes eternally in the throne room of God. But we don't know the tune. I'd like to think it has many tunes. Maybe all at the same time. Music in heaven could easily have many more dimensions than it does on earth.

I imagine as the anthem of worship has pealed forth over and over and over that the echoes have, at times, made their way through to our world. Each time, someone heard a faint impression of the melody and wrote it down. How many Holy, Holy, Holies are there? And yet, I am still moved and awed by them.

Songwriters have been teaching us new songs since time out of mind. Each gives us an inkling of the glory of God, but none can capture it completely. We need new songs. We need to have the boundaries of our minds and hearts stretched. Music may be one of the only ways we come close to apprehending the infinite nature of God.


I was dreaming tonight ... awake but dreaming ... of those who have passed on. One of the Holy, Holy, Holies was playing and because of it I remembered Paula. It was her favorite. I imagined her singing it. Then I tried to imagine my Grandma singing it. I couldn't. It's not her style.

But perhaps...

Being in the throne room changes us. We share all of the tunes. All at once. We sing sincerely to the beat of drums that are not native to us. The One who is to be praised is over all and through all and in all. And the Holy, Holy, Holy rings on.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The For-Real Prosperity Gospel

Hope, riches and power. That was the theme of Sunday’s sermon. And yes, it does sound a little bit like name-it-claim-it preaching. But it's not. It's straight out of Ephesians 1:15-23 and Joe Farrell’s sermon, which was the second sermon in our winter series on Ephesians.

One of my New Year’s blogging resolutions is to write more about ideas, in addition to writing about daily life. Blogging regularly about the Sunday sermon seems like a good place to start. So much goes through my head, and if I’m not careful, the Sunday sermon will be in one ear and out the other. But if I take the time to jot a few notes about it, that might also help me ponder it throughout the week.

I am not promising a post every week. But I’ll see what I can do. OK, back to Ephesians 1.

I have to admit that reading this chapter is hard for me. There is SO much in it. (Last week, Jim Singleton's sermon on the first 14 verses had EIGHT points.) I absolutely cannot take in everything in it, so I often feel like it’s bouncing off my forehead when I read it. But it’s so important. And so encouraging. We are so blessed by our God and he wants to lavish his riches on us.

Joe’s sermon this week had just three points (like a good sermon should, right?):

#1) Hope: Paul tells us that this is what we are called to. Not to a career, or a place, or a vocation. To hope. And hope is a person, Jesus Christ.

#2) Riches: We get to see and receive some of these here on earth, and we will come into the fullness of the riches of God in the life that is to come.

#3) Power: this is the one that grabbed my attention the most, probably because Paul expands on it the most. God’s incomparably great power is for us. It’s the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

Read that again.

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is for us.

What would it be like if we really understood that?


Introducing ... the newest member of our family: Blackwood's Rose's Alexander McKenzie, or Xander for short. He came home on Friday, January 7, after Josh spent the previous week building this:

We figured when we bought the house that the side yard on the west would make a decent dog run. After shoveling OUT a couple of tons of river rock, shoveling IN a couple of tons of pea gravel, installing two dog doors and a big gate, voila! Dog run.

We got Xander from the Colorado State Prison Trained Dog program, which I think is awesome! The program rescues dogs from shelters, or has dogs donated, then teaches select prisoners to train them. The dogs live with the prisoners 24/7, so the inmates get to see the results that consistency, loyalty, discipline and love can bring. The head trainer (a professional dog trainer, not a prisoner) told us that she has heard many prisoners say that this is the first time they have ever finished anything in their lives. I love that! And it also gives the inmates an employable skill for when they are paroled. And the program is paid for by the adoption fees, so no taxpayer dollars are spent in it.

Josh and I both grew up with German Shepherds, so that was an easy decision (although my all-time favorite dog was mostly Husky). Last Friday, we drove down to Canon City to meet three Shepherds that were up for adoption at the time. Here is Xander the first time we met him:

Of the three dogs we met, one was too hyper, one was too timid and Xander seemed to be a good balance of the two. Plus, he was very gentle with Lorien, just sniffing her, not knocking her down or anything. As a bonus, he came to the program from a breeder, not a shelter (hence the excessively long name). The only reason he wasn’t used in their breeding program is he carries his tail too low or something to that effect. So basically, we got a real deal on this dog—he is beautiful!

We had previously been told that he wasn’t ready to leave the training program yet, but after meeting him, we found out he was. So it was a little surprise to be taking a dog home immediately, but it was a good surprise.

Xander is house trained and knows basic commands such as sit, lie down, stay and come. He has been very good at night: we put him in his kennel and don’t hear a word from him until morning. He has only had a couple of accidents inside, and I don't think that will be a long-term problem, once he gets the lay of the land here in his new digs.

The house-dog thing has been an adjustment for me, since I’ve only had outside dogs before. But the fact that he’s already trained helps a ton! Also, after about 2 days, he decided to become very protective of Lorien, protecting her even from Josh and me, so we’ve had to work on that a bit. We called one of the head trainers (which is one of the benefits of the program) for advice and he basically said that we need to teach Xander that Lorien is our puppy and not his. :)

So, here’s to a new season in the Keffer household. Xander has already helped us to get outside and walk more—something we like to do anyhow, but sometimes can’t find the time or motivation to do. Plus, I am so glad for Josh to have a dog. He loves them so much and is very good with them.

And that’s all I have to say about that. For now.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


This is a Christmas post, but it has a cool idea, so I'm posting it because I want to remember it...

Josh's Grandma Keffer was away from home over Christmas, so she just got our package yesterday. We sent her a few fun little things and some Christmas cookies. She wrote a sweet e-mail in return, and I loved this bit of history:

when my kids had their last day of school—the next day we each chose a recipe, put the fixings in the middle, and each made his choice. I remember one year Rich took care of the baking for all the recipes. Then came decorating. I never had much luck with the pressed kind. My Mother always made divinity, fudge, peanut brittle.

I love the idea of cookie making as a celebration of the last day of school and the beginning of Christmas break ... now I just need to remember it for another 4 or 5 years.

More Words, According to Lorien

Cago = Avocado

Gick-Gick = Mimi and Papaw's dog, Dickens

Wone = Phone

For a while, she was saying "e-mail" for oatmeal, but she's already corrected that one. :(

Monday, January 3, 2011

Seven Years

Focus on the Family was kind enough to give us our anniversary off of work. OK, well, even if it was the New Year's holiday, it was nice! We had a no-pressure Monday morning. (I would say low-key, but Josh actually worked his butt off at building a dog run in our side yard.)

After lunch, we dropped Lorien off at Mimi and Papaw's and headed to the theater for a Voyage of the Dawntreader matinee, followed by dinner at MacKenzie's Chop House. (Mmmmmmm....steak!) We had a fun, relaxing time hanging out, seeing the show, eating good food and talking about dreams, ideas and plans for the next year.