Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott

As today is reformation day, there is one hymn that comes to mind. Most of you can probably guess.  A mighty Fortress Is Our God. As a daughter of a German immigrant, I take a special interest in the German side of this hymn. It was first penned in this language by Martin Luther himself, and I think that you cannot get the full depth of this song until you hear it in its native tongue. So here it is.  Enjoy!
 I will not write a history of this hymn right now because I would like to include it in a biographical post of Luther at another time.
   Here are the words in English for those of you who do not know them.

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right man on our side,
The man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He.
Lord Sabboth, his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers
Not thanks to them, abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also.
The body they may kill,
God's truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever...

I love the church

As I look forward to a conference we will be attending this weekend, I remember back to two years ago when we went to a conference put on by the same director. At this conference a dear family, with whom we have an ongoing friendship, was asked to sing. The song they chose went well with the theme of the conference and I liked it so much that I memorized it. I couldn't find a soundtrack of the tune any where, which is really too bad because it is a lovely tune but the lyrics are beautiful as well. 

I love the church, the flock bought with Christ’s blood—
Sheep gone astray He found and brought to God.
Guarded and fed by shepherds He provides,
We follow Christ, secure and satisfied.

May Christ be praised: “Preeminent! Adored!”
I love the church because I love her Lord!

I love the church, the bride whom Christ pursued—
Poor and unchaste, yet chosen, loved, and wooed.
Our Groom and Head in love laid down His life
To sanctify the church, His cherished wife.

I love the church, my fam’ly o’er the earth—
Sinners estranged, made one through second birth.
In selfless love Christ claimed us as His own,
And that same love from each to each is shown.

I love the church, one body Spirit-led—
Each part distinct, yet one through Christ our Head.
Each member serves, and thus our body grows,
Strengthened by gifts the Spirit wise bestows.

I love the church, the temple God indwells.
Built by our Lord, we triumph over hell.
Founded on Truth, Apostles’ doctrine sure,
We build on Christ, our Cornerstone secure.

I love the church, the pillar of God’s Word.
We will exalt the Truth till all have heard!
We will oppose the lies of erring men
That God in grace may turn them from their sin!

However, if you really want to listen to it, here is a link to the page its on just scroll down till you find A post titled,"The Kendall Family Sings" there are a couple other songs on the sound track posted. The song I am speaking about is at the end, but the others are beautiful as well. 
The picture you see there is of the four children, later on the whole family sang together.

Arianne is eighteen

Today my beloved sister Arianne is turning eighteen. How the years have flown; I remember the times when we would play dolls together or tell each other stories we had made up, act out scenes from books, and as little girls goof about when we were supposed to be sleeping. I still remember when we tried to keep a tic for a pet thinking it was a spider and gave it a blade of grass for its sustenance and an origami box for its home,     ( it died the next day, as you may expect and we gave it a funeral with she and I the only mourners). We have always been very different. I could never get her to have a serious interest interest in learning a musical instrument, and she could never get me to see what was so attractive in talking to people and making friends,(at least back then). I remember looking up to her and believing everything she said, even when it came down to how to draw people, wise six year old that she was. I thought that she was quite knowledgeable in everything. I wanted to post just a few snapshots of her as she grew up, but as I sorted through old pictures I could limit my amount to no less than thirty-three pictures!     Here they are.
                                                                Arianne five days old.
                                                                        With Daddy.
                                                                       Her first birthday.
                                                               With big sister Gabrielle.
                                                                All ready for Church.
                                                             Little sister in the way ;) .
                                                         Helping me with my present.
                                                                  Beautiful blue eyes.
                                                              In windy Oklahoma
                                                                   Sisters swinging.

                                                            The " older four" before church.

Her first snow.
Hippos were her favorite animal.
 First little brother.
 Good little mother.
                                                           Goofing around on the kitchen floor.
                                                            " Don't look at her!"
                                                             In our nightgowns before bed.
                                      Her majesty's humble servant, combing her long golden hair.
                                                         At the beach in matching dresses.
                                                                    Second little brother.
                                                             Second mother to them both.
                                                                   " O Jeddy don't cry" !
Matching outfits.
                                                                    Her first hair cut.
                                                                        Third little brother.
                                                                    A new hairstyle.
My turn to be matching.
                                                                   Fourth little brother.
                                                                        Little buddy.
taking pictures of each other.
                                                                        Another baby.
Camping last year.

We love you dearly Arianne.

The touch of the master's hand

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"  
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
 As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."

And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin.

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.

Myra Brooks Welch