Friday, December 28, 2007

Andrea comes to Brooklyn

My dear friend, Andrea, is visiting from Arizona. She's blogging about our adventures here!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas decorations

Because of my looming due date, Mr. Miller and I stayed in Brooklyn for the holiday. The few Christmas decorations we own are still in Phoenix packed for our move to California next year. In their absence, we decided to stick with simple decorations here in the burrow. I found a pattern for 3D paper snowflakes online. All you need to make them is white copy paper, scissors, a stapler, and Scotch tape. We hung them all around the apartment; the effect is magical for sure. Maybe the real thing will make an appearance outside tomorrow! I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...just like the ones I've never known...

On Broadway

My parents blessed us with an early and NYC-exclusive Christmas gift: tickets to The Lion King! We had heard good things about the Tony award-winning musical, including glowing descriptions of the costumes. Thursday night we saw it for ourselves. The opening number literally took my breath away as the "animals" streamed on stage. There are plenty of pictures floating around the internet, but they do not convey the extraordinary beauty of the costumes in real life because many of the costumes have mechanical parts that must be seen live. The dancing, acting, and music, including many songs that appear only in the Broadway version, were all captivating.

And, of course, my husband provided running commentary on the worldview. For example, the shaman sings that Mufasa "lives in you" and "lives in me." While the play wants to promote ancestorism and pantheism, the idea of an important male king who died to save living within us seems to be borrowing from a certain tradition within monotheism...


Outside the Munskoff Theater in Times Square


Our evening also provided an opportunity to celebrate Mr. Miller's completion of final exams and his birthday. We finally used the gift certificate to Noodle Pudding that my parents gave Mr. Miller for his birthday back in September. The restaurant is a famous Italian eatery just down the street from us in Brooklyn Heights. The food was fantastic if you can just get over the name! We couldn't pronounce most of the menu, but were still thrilled with all our selections, from the house wine and opening salad to my Strozza Preti Alla Siciliana and the chocolate mousse with hazelnut ice cream we shared to close. Our table was nestled up against the window overlooking Henry Street and the restaurant was literally drenched in garlands and twinkle lights. Around us were families with small children sharing supper, which was a sight for sore eyes because we see so few children in the City.

All in all, the evening was the perfect conclusion to a wonderful year. 2007 marks the event of our marriage, our first pregnancy two months later (woot!), and our first homes in such disparate places as Newport Beach, CA and Brooklyn, NY. Thank you, Lord, for your many kind gifts.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Final exams

Mr. Miller finished classes today and is headed into final exams. Because we are a one-computer family, the blog will be quiet for the next nine days so that he can use our laptop to study and take his exams. If you think of it, please pray for Mr. Miller in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas music

Our 2007 Playlist
  • Christmas Songs (Jars of Clay) These guys get everything right! In addition to well-rendering old favorites like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem," they revive obscure titles like "In the Bleak Midwinter." They also make some novel additions to the seasonal arsenal with the delightfully retro-sounding, "Hibernation Day," (think Bing Crosby) and the celebratory, "Peace is Here."
  • Songs for Christmas (Sufjan Stevens) The quirky Brooklyn artist should be thrilled to know that small children are not only singing along with his self-proclaiming "singalong" album, but also dancing.
  • Let It Snow Baby...Let It Reindeer (RelientK) The chorus to their punk-version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" cracks me up:
Whats a partridge? And whats a pear tree?
I don't know so please don't ask me
But I can bet those are terrible gifts to get.

Snow!

It's SNOWING!!!!!!!!!

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the city,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and parks, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the brownstones at the street's end.
The car and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant furnace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

~From "The Snow-Storm" by Ralph Waldo Emerson w/ revision by me (apologies to Emerson purists)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thanksgiving re-cap

Mr. Miller and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my grandparents in northern Virginia. They live in a lovely colonial home just outside the beltway. As young children, my sisters and I romanticized the house because, unlike our home in Arizona, it had a stairwell and everything in the house is beautiful, from the fine china and hardwood furniture to the oriental rugs and heavy drapes. Though I still love all those things, my tastes have matured and what I really enjoy about visiting that home are the conversations with my Oma and Opa. They are a treasure-trove of fascinating stories and wisdom. Oma is an Arizona-native whose family came to the area before statehood. She grew up as the belle of the small mining community, Hayden. She met Opa at a dance at West Point, where he was a student. After winning and wedding her, he whisked her away from Arizona to travel around the United States and abroad as needed by the U.S. Army. Among other things, Opa served our country in the Vietnam and Korean Wars while Oma stayed on the home front to manage her home and raise my mom and uncle. I am so proud of both of them and their model of faithful service to their country, to their family, and to their marriage.

We shared the actual Thanksgiving meal with our dear friends the Lorences. The Lorences recently left Arizona to return to Fairfax, VA, their home of many years. My family spent quite a few holidays with them while they lived in Arizona so seeing them was a reunion of sorts! Though the location had changed, the food and conversations was excellent as always. I was struck at how quiet the house was compared to several years ago. The high-pitch chorus of children's voices that used to greet us at the front door has vanished. Instead, Nate, the oldest son, is driving and Jenna, the oldest daughter, is well into her college career. Thankfully, Brent, my special boy and the ring-bearer at our wedding, still gave me lots of hugs in spite of having graduated into big-boyhood.


Mere minutes before digging in (l to r, Justin, Marilyn, Josiah, Chloe)


Josiah, the littlest Lorence, being cute


Thank you, Lord, for this meal and these people!
(l to r, Mr. Miller, me, Nate, Josh, Brent, Justin, Jordan, Josiah, Chloe, Jenna, and friend Marie) Not pictured: Marilyn - hostess, wife, mother, friend and chef extraordinaire

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wintery blessing

We woke on Sunday morning, looked out the window, and saw this:


The snow crunched under our shoes as we walked to church! The experience was straight from the pages of Little House on the Prairie, except for the addition of row houses and cars.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Top 7 children's books

Heather asked me to list my top seven children's books. I'm a bit intimidated by this project because my experience with children's book is as a child, not a parent. My list is also limited to picture books. Cataloging my favorite children's chapter books would require another blog...or two...or five.

1. The Clown of God :: Award-winning Catholic author and illustrator Tomie dePaola tells the story of a little beggar from Sorrento, Italy who learns to juggle. His art takes him from small villages to the palaces of kings, and, ultimately, to perform for the King of Kings. This is my all-time favorite picture book. I first read it when I was nine and cried. Now I own it, re-read it periodically (with tears), and remember to offer all my gifts back to Him.

2. The Tale of Three Trees :: This traditional folktale tells the story of three trees who believe they will amount to nothing. God unfolds a special plan for each one of them as readers turn each beautifully illustrated page.

3. St. George and the Dragon :: The sumptuous illustrations are reason enough to read this book, but the epic story of the knight who saves the princess by fighting a dragon for three days is likewise compelling. No wonder it won the Caldecott.

4. Santa, Are You For Real? :: In this book, a little boy learns about the life of Saint Nicholas and the true meaning of Christmas and gift-giving. I'm skeptical about the illustrations in the new edition sold on Amazon.com. In my parent's copy, the main character wears bell-bottoms and the sisters who receive Nicholas' gifts all part their flowing hair like flower-children. If you can find their version, buy it.

5. Little Bear :: The Little Bear series follows the adventures of a cuddly protagonist. They were the first chapter books of my reading career. I poured over them with my mom, loving each word as it slid or crashed out of my mouth. My favorite story is the mermaid's tale. I thought she was immensely pretty and understood why Little Bear fell in love with her.

6. Olivia :: Who doesn't love the little pig in red? She's an amalgamation of all the adorable traits of the small children I've babysat over the years. The book, which is the first in a collection, is especially amusing to me now because she visits several famous NYC destinations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Of course, she processes these experiences with the hilarity and honesty of a pre-schooler!

7(a). Noah's Ark :: This is another Caldecott winner with detailed illustrations and scant text because the pictures do such a phenomenal job of conveying the epic call God gave Noah in building, filling, and floating in the ark. Identifying all the animals kept me amused for hours.

7(b). The Illustrated Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales :: Mom picked-up this weighty volume for me at a neighbor's garage sale. Some of the stories are downright nightmarish, but they convey strong moral messages and feature princesses, my profession of choice during grade school. Arthur Rackham's illustrations are fittingly goulish and graceful.

I can't think about books without commending my mom for teaching me how to read and how to love it. At least once a week, she drove my sisters and me to the library, and we were always able to get out of preparing dinner as long as we had our noses in books. Needless to say, I read every afternoon and studiously-so around 4:30 PM. To her, I attribute the countless, colorful adventures of the imagination that marked my childhood. Thank you, Mom. You still get my vote for the best Reepacheep voice!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christ of cities and suburbs

Urban church planting is hip right now. Church planters may be taking their cues from the culture. Renewing city centers to attract young, single professionals as the key to economic growth has been the focus of developers and city councils across the nation for a while. As a member of their target demographic, not surprisingly urban love hit me during college. I dreamed of moving to Boston, New York, or DC and living in an old warehouse converted to studio apartments with exposed brick walls and in close proximity to a wine bar, live jazz, and the performing arts center.

These "cool cities" projects have failed to produce the promised financial returns, however, as noted by a WSJ opinion piece yesterday. They failed because the target demographic moves out as quickly as it moves in. Young, single professionals opt with far more frequency than the previous generation to marry and start families. When they do, they abandon the city for the surrounding suburbs. Moreover, it is these "married people with children [not singles who] tend to be both successful and motivated, precisely the people who make the economies go." Thus, affordable housing and short commutes, not loft apartments and nightclubs, are the key to cities creating burgeoning and stable economies.




Our experience in New York City squares with the statistics. The members of our church who live in the city are largely educated professionals who are single or newlywed. As families grow, they tend to leave the city entirely. Indeed, the joke is that professionals leave Manhattan for Brooklyn when they have their first baby, and then move out to Long Island or leave the area entirely when the second baby arrives.

It's not that people start hating the city. They just find it hard to raise a family in a one-bedroom walk-up apartment using public transportation. For the same monthly cost, you can buy a spacious four-bedroom home in Gilbert, Arizona, own two cars, and stock the fridge with twice as many groceries.

Because we believe that children are a blessing from the Lord and an essential element of marriage and because of the economic forces moving married couples with children to the suburbs, Mr. Miller and I have been puzzled by the emphasis on "missional" ministry to the city over the work of the allegedly vacuous churches of suburbia. It's encouraging to see new web resources like Mission to Suburbia (HT: Between Two Worlds) mostly because it means the pendulum might be swinging back to center.

Most troubling in the current urban trend are the ideas that living in an urban area makes one more sensitive to poverty or have more opportunities to evangelize. After living in NYC a total of six months, I've already become immune to the pleas of the countless beggars (as well as the urine scent in the subway and the grime on the streets.) As for evangelism, those opportunities abound just about anywhere; it's a matter of seizing them. My father and sister put me to shame in this regard. Dad, a supervisor for the utility company that provides power to most Arizona suburbs, seems to share the gospel with co-workers and business associates as naturally and frequently as he breaths. And my sister, a suburban housewife, shares the gospel with young mothers she meets through mommy groups and pregnancy classes.

The obvious truth is that people need Jesus whether they live in track homes or high rises. Pastors and church planters certainly face unique issues depending on location because of the different demographics, but the essential need of human beings remains constant.

The distinction for the Christian, then, is not, as the real estate slogan goes, "location, location, location!" but rather "faithful, faithful, faithful." Whether I live in a city or suburb (in God's providence, I've had opportunity to live in both), I am called to faithfully love the Lord by keeping his commands and love my neighbors by caring for them, most especially for their souls.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The art of campaign signs

Explained by the New York Times (tip from Cisco via Keith).

2007 Federalist Society NLC

Mr. Miller and I attended the annual Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention last week. The convention has special significance for us. Mr. Miller first spotted me talking to some mutual friends at this conference two years ago. He asked around for my name, but did not work up the nerve to talk to me until three months later!

We anticipate this convention each year because it is a haven for legal nerds. In other words, these are our people. The panels, debates, and guest speakers are always intellectually stimulating, and the line-up of speakers was especially high-quality given that the Federalist Society was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Long live judicial conservatism and strict constructionist judges!

Admittedly, however, my favorite point of the conference was attending the gala on Thursday night. Not only did I get to don an evening gown and dance with my husband, but we also heard from President Bush, Judge Bork, and Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas.


With our friends, Lisa and Andrew


Our seats did not afford a view of the President so we watched him on the screen


With friend and mentor, Jeff Ventrella


Mr. Miller with two lovely Lewis women!


With my husband, my lover, my friend

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fall food II

Enough with the entrees. Let's have dessert!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle (recipe from Carolyn McCulley)


Our caregroup will find out tonight if it's as good as it looks.

UPDATE: the trifle received very positive verdicts from several sources.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fall food

The Fall food aesthetic includes the color and aroma of pumpkins, squash, nuts, spices, and apples. This year, I discovered that cooking with these food items is not limited to sweets. Here are two entrees we've recently enjoyed.

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage
(from Classic Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals)
Salt & pepper
1 pond penne rigate, cooked until al dente
2 drizzles evoo
1 pound bulk sweet sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4-6 leaves fresh sage, slivered
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 pinches ground cinnamon
3 pinches ground nutmeg
Romano or Parmigiano cheese, for grating over pasta

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a deep pot over medium heat, pour in 1 drizzle of oil and brown sausage in it. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to drain and return pan to heat. Add second drizzle of oil to pan and saute onion and garlic 5 minutes, till soft and sweet. Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to pot. Reduce wine for 2 minutes. Add broth and pumpkin and combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper and simmer 5 minutes.

To serve, return drained, cooked pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour sauce over pasta. Toss pasta and sauce 1-2 minutes over low heat so pasta can absorb flavors. Top bowls of pasta with freshly grated cheese, and serve with a green salad on the side. Generously serves 4.

Butternut Squash Soup
(from my friend Yolanda--a Brooklyn-native, vegetarian, hip-hop lovin, seminary student)

2 Tb olive oil
2 Tb butter
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic minced
2-3 Tb curry
8 cups diced butternut squash
2 quarts veggie or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
1-2 cups cream (optional)
(If you like your soup a little sweet, add a chopped apple)

Saute oil and butter over medium heat. When butter melts, add onion & garlic. Stir and let saute for about 8 minutes. Increase heat and stir in curry, and saute for a few minutes. Add butternut squash, and stir & saute for a few more minutes. Add stock, bay lead and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to keep at slow simmer. Cook uncovered until squash is soft about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf, season with salt & pepper add additional teaspoon of curry (to taste). Soup can be served as is or you can can use a potato masher to mash it to your desired consistency. Add cream if desired. Serves 4. (I served this flavorful soup with sliced cucumbers and whole wheat dinner rolls.)

Out with the old | In with the new



From the beginning, our gas oven has never worked right. Starting the oven required opening the door, putting your ear next to it, and slowly turning the dial waiting to hear the click of the gas. Sometimes, I had to retry the dial four or five times before it finally ignited.

When we arrived back this fall, we noticed the oven had started not only cooking our food but also heating our home. Then one night, fifteen minutes before our dinner guests arrived, we heard a crash from the oven and saw steam pouring out the back. Inside, our glass Pyrex pan of chicken had split down the middle. Later that night, my peach cobbler again baking in a glass Pyrex dish exploded. After those incidents, nothing baked right. Casseroles dried out. And the almonds I attempted to brown literally flamed.

When I tried to get someone out to look at it, the professional told me to bake a potato. If the potato didn't explode, the oven was fine. The potato didn't explode. But that didn't explain the hot house, exploding dishes, overcooked casserole, and flaming nuts.

I tried talking to the landlord. He was never home, so I started leaving pleading notes for him periodically. I also stopped using the oven. Five weeks later, the landlord finally installed this new beauty. She runs like a thoroughbred and starts on the first twist of the dial!

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Mr. Miller's absence...

...I tried to keep busy to ward off loneliness, with mixed success.

Unquestionably, the high points were visiting with my new friend, Susanna (and her adorable son, Micah), and my old friends, Mike and Cathi Herrod. I met Susanna through City Church. We have in common, among other things, English Lit degrees, being sandwiched between two sisters, being raised by parents who got radically saved during the Jesus People Movement, pregnancy, newerish marriages, and a love for Christ our Savior. She is ahead of me in mothering, so I get to benefit from the wisdom of her experience and her joy in parenting. She is such a happy mama!!! Susanna's anecdotes and interactions with her son make me eager for the arrival of my daughter.

Cathi was my supervisor for almost two years at the Center for Arizona Policy, an organization she now leads very well. She is also an important mentor of the Titus 2 variety. She and Mike have invested a lot of time and resources in me, even letting me stay at their home on occasion! They are also both attorneys, so I look to their marriage as a model for Mr. Miller and me. Mike and Cathi were in NYC this weekend visiting The King's College with their daughter. They graciously made time in their schedule to share conversation with me on the first floor of the Empire State Building. It was a blessing and a bit of Arizona joy in the midst an otherwise rainy, solitary afternoon.

He's home!

Mr. Miller left on Thursday morning for a splendid three days in Phoenix, Arizona where he attended The Pursuit, happily bruised his body playing flag football, visited my family, and caught up with old friends, especially college-roommate and best man, Michael Francisco. The Lord blessed Mr. Miller's time immensely. The periodic reports I heard from him and my family members were glowing, and he returned refreshed and excited. In spite of getting scant sleep this weekend and taking the red-eye back to Brooklyn on Sunday morning, he still went straight to church and played in the worship band with joy.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Michael, Rich, Heather, Xander, and Keegan for caring for my husband!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

CraigsList

I hate CraigsList. I love CraigsList. I hate CraigsList...

CraigsList is an online garage sale. It stirs my emotions because right when I find a treasure, a fellow web prowler plucks it from under my eager, outstretched fingers.

To wit: I've been stalking the New York City ads for an inexpensive crib for several weeks. Discouragement followed each vain bid. Finally, I saw a hard-wood crib for $25 in the adjacent neighborhood. I e-mailed the buyer within 17 minutes of the ad posting. She responded five hours later, telling me to call her to arrange the pick-up. When I called, she had already given the crib away. I cried. No, I sobbed. (Pregnancy hormones, I swear!)

Dejected but not dissuaded, I checked again the next morning. Just four blocks from the burrow, a man was giving away a crib gratis. That means free. My eyes glanced to the time on the ad; it was eleven hours old. Then I saw the photo. The crib was white, simple, and modern--exactly what I wanted. Risking another emotional breakdown, I dialed the seller's phone number. The crib was still available! Mr. Miller hurried home from school and we picked it up. Now that white, wooden, splendid thing is laying, dismantled, in our bedroom.

I love CraigsList.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Love in a package

My mother-in-law, Chris, sends exceptional care-packages. She designs them perfectly to delight her specific recipient.

Last weekend, we were the blessed recipients of her creativity. We saved the package as a special treat to open following completion of the MPRE on Saturday morning, hopefully the final exam in my legal career. Inside, we found beautifully coordinated gifts for our coming baby: one of Chris' handmade quilts, a vintage Beatrix Potter baby book, matching pink and green scrapbook paper, pink sleepers (cute and practical!), and money to buy a web-cam!


Mr. Miller recognized the quilt looked just like his baby blanket except that Chris used lovely feminine colors and fabrics. Chris started making these quilts for other people back in 1982, when she only had Zach and Keith, because she had been so blessed by the handmade blankets given to her babies. Each of her blankets is unique and sewn with love and prayers for the baby and its family. When laid on the floor, the blanket provides a special place for the baby to lay on her tummy, develop strong back and neck muscles, observe the great wide world or just the fabric, and play with her toys.

Most importantly, the blanket will serve as a visual prompt for me to entertain my daughter frequently with descriptions of her godly and talented grandmother who prayerfully crafted this blanket just for her.

Chris with Zach (l) and Keith (r)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Burgeoning Belly

Pregnancy is marked by all kinds of challenges. If you've been pregnant, you know them. You also know that joy outweighs them.

Watching my belly grow has been one of the great joys of pregnancy. Under that skin is a beautiful little girl, being knit together by God according to a plan he made before time.

"I'm just like inviting you to join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty"



This guy's name is Taylor Mali and while I don't think he's a believer this critique cuts at the core of the postmodern zeitgeist.

(HT: EvangelicalOutpost, via PyroManiacs, via BaylyBlog. I list all three, because they are all important Evangelical blogs. Joe Carter at EvangelicalOutpost has just joined Justin Taylor in endorsing Mike Huckabee and is now attempting [with mixed results] to defend Huck's record on fiscal issues. TeamPyro.blogspot.com is rising on my blogroll for posts like this one challenging "humble orthodoxy". And Tim Bayly of BaylyBlog is the pastor of a really awesome church in Bloomington, IN where one of my college roomates attends with his family.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Babe comes to Brooklyn!

My younger sister visited us last weekend.
I made her at home by conquering her (and Mr. Miller) in Settlers of Catan. Our game came sans "The Robber Barron" so we subed a toy off a bottle of Spanish wine.





Saturday morning found us at the National Design Museum. A branch of the Smithsonian located in New York City, this museum provides a small but satisfying review of both old and new in the design world.

Great thoughts abounded. Like comparing Piranesi's sketches to the new Cardinals' stadium. Or how light, as manipulated by Ingo Maurer, is so much more than a mere utility. I was taken by his fractured chandelier. Ev favored his LED table.

Ev contemplates art ~

Afterwards, we walked through Central Park, shopped in SoHo, and met Mr. Miller for "La Vie En Rose" at The Angelika.


Shopping at uniqlo, a Japanese-version of the GAP

On Sunday, Ev departed with a full bag of new fashion treasures, which is only appropriate given a weekend in NYC. She left behind many wonderful memories.

Seeing black helicopters?

Conservative conspiracy theories are so not cool.

Call me lame, then. I find the following facts downright weird. (1) Laura Ingraham's new book topped the New York Time's Best Seller list last month. (2) Not a single major newspaper has reviewed it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wayne Grudem supports Mitt Romney

Grudem argues why Mitt Romeny is the presidential candidate for evangelical Christians.
"First, he is the best-qualified candidate, and second, he holds moral and political values consistent with those in the Bible."
But why support Mitt over other conservative candidates?

"Apart from Romney, I don’t think there is any other solidly conservative candidate who can beat Giuliani in the primaries. As for McCain and Thompson, they are not reliably conservative. Among the “second-tier” candidates, there are some good men with solid positions, but they have not generated much support. With the early primary schedule nearly upon us it isn’t reasonable to hope that one of them will suddenly “take off.” There is not enough time now to build sufficient funding and a large enough support structure before January.

So it seems to me that if evangelicals don’t support Romney in a significant way, Giuliani will be the Republican candidate. So then we will have a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate who is on his third marriage and had a messy affair prior to his divorce from his second wife. Then we will lose any high moral ground and the enthusiasm of the evangelical vote (many of whom will just sit it out), and the difference between Giuliani and Clinton will be only one of degrees as he shifts leftward in the general election to appeal to the “middle.” So then if we lose, we lose, and even if we win, we lose on the crucial moral issues of abortion and protection of marriage. Romney is a much better choice. But he needs evangelical support now if he is going to win."

See also Evangelicals for Mitt.

Friday, October 19, 2007

First baby / First purchase

All parents share a historic moment: spending the first dollars on their first child. That purchase is significant. The act ratifies the reality that a baby soon arrives who will forever change their lives, and, upon whom, they will spend great sums of money for very small items.

Mr. Miller discovered this special item (see far right) for us in an Orange County TJ Maxx this summer.


Mama Mariner::Papa Mariner::Baby Mariner

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

MoMA magic



My husband woke up on Friday suggesting we should go look at art. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has free admission on Friday evenings, so off we went.

After waiting in line a short time...
we got in! Mr. Miller was skeptical of some of the art. In fact, after looking at just two pieces, he skipped an entire room of Kara Walker who is the new hotness in the modern art world. (A Sun review vindicated his impulse.) We lingered long, however, in the design, Soviet architecture, and minimalism exhibits.





I liked this lady falling into the sculpture garden pond:



He liked this series called "StepMaster" and this wall-length proof:




He was disappointed to learn that, up-close, the proof was not legit but instead a lot of scribbling.


As I recount the evening, I am overwhelmed by the way my husband loved me. He is not an art connoisseur; he doesn't even flirt with the idea. He suggested visiting the MoMA solely for me. And, not only that, but rather than just suffering through the experience, he engaged his mind and made thoughtful comments on the pieces. God is so kind to me in giving me a gracious, self-sacrificing man who seeks my joy ahead of his own. Mr. Miller loves me as his own body. In this way, I see how he is Christ's workmanship. Not surprisingly, out of all the art in the world, my husband is my favorite work to behold.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Skeptical of drinking from The Fountainhead

I'm researching Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead. I read the voluminous work back in college, and found it preachy and philosophically disturbing. Rand uses the story to explain objectivism, which holds a radically autonomous view of the human person and proclaims the virtue of selfishness. Since college, I've talked to countless people who have were profoundly influenced by the novel, including Christians. I've struggled to articulate to them the intellectual discord between objectivism and Christianity, because, to some extent, Rand's philosophy describes human nature as we find it and, thus, resonates with reality. But this essay contrasting George Bailey with Rand's hero, Howard Roark, does the job well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Heresy of Cool

I wish I had written this piece. I would have titled it, "The Heresy of Hip," because that is alliterative and hip is the new cool. Er...unless hip has been further eclipsed by some new verbiage.

For those, like me, who slave at the feet of cool:
Coolness is heretical. Or at least the pursuit of it is. This is because an inverse relationship exists between our attempts at being cool and our faith in Jesus Christ. The one struts, confident in his ability to do and say all the right things. The other limps, just as confident in his ineptitude, his missed cues and bad timing.

The professionally cool know the short shelf life of their product and are thus characterized by an ability to be just ahead of the curve. They seem to just be leaving the places at which the rest of us are just arriving. It all looks as effortless as it is actually rigorous. That is to say, it’s hard work being cool. And a funny kind of hard work to boot, because it’s not allowed to look hard. Read on...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Requiem to chocolate

After some amateur sleuthing of my diet, I isolated chocolate as the culprit of several medical heists. So it had to die. In the aftermath, I'm finding solace in fruit desserts, like this scrumptious blackberry upside-down cake.