Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Be the Church

Marla Taviano, Jen Hatmaker, and many others all in one place is a beautiful thing! This is the last week of the 7 read-along, it is also the week we get roped into Jen Hatmaker's next crazy adventure. I really like that Jen Hatmaker lady, like if we didn't have the whole sisters in Christ thing going for us I think I might be a little creepy. Thankfully we're both part of the Bride, so I can get all excited about her being my sister without it being too weird. That and I have a soft spot in my heart for Texans, so it's all good.

So this week we are invited to collect our thoughts about 7. The main thought I have had throughout the whole read-along is summed up rather nicely by Jen in the Conclusion of her book:
Our life looks like it does because we are the Hatmakers, and God is dealing with us the way He's dealing with us. We have history and sin issues and circumstances and geography that God takes into account as He stakes our place in His kingdom.
You have an entirely different set of factors. I have no idea what this might look like in your life, nor do I want that job. Your story is God's to write, not mine. Some of us are going to live in the suburbs, others downtown. I'm going to garden; you're going to take the subway. We're adopting, you're redistributing, they're downsizing. I use words, you use a hammer. There isn't a list here. There is no stencil we can all trace into our lives in perfect unison. (p. 218)
The life of the Johnson clan on this beautiful Earth will not look like the Hatmakers, or the Tavianos, or any family in our church. We are not made to look like each other, we are made to look Christ, to reflect the glory of God, to shine forth justice in a broken world.

The problem is our sin issues, mine and yours, can lead us to be distracted from this truth. We either cling to the letter of the law (or seeming formula of good books) to the point of becoming extra-Biblical in our living out of life, or we become so dead set of nonconformity that we refuse to hear wise counsel. We see these trends throughout the Bible, God continually laying down the law and people continually distorting it, but we also see these trends in our own hearts if we are honest. Read through the first couple chapters of Romans and you will see both sides addressed; Jews and Romans being opposing archetypes of the church. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are one of them.

So my final thoughts on 7, and input for the future 7 study have to do with those 2 groups, the law-abiders and the non-conformists.

To the law-abiders:

Chill out! This is not a competition to see who can fast the best, or the most. This book was not written as a new covenant Mishnah by which only those who adhere most closely to 7 concept will be made holy. It is not a formula unto salvation. The Hatmakers are not more beloved by God because they have a garden. Take it for what it is: the wise, quirky works of a fellow sojourner. This book should cause you to think, which is good, but it should not cause you to write a whole new handbook of conduct for your life.

The Bible is the authority, within it is all things that pertain to your life and godliness. Jen Hatmaker, David Platt, Francis Chan, John Piper, John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, Ryan Kelly, insert-favorite-author-teacher-whatever-name-here WILL NOT SAVE YOU. There is only one mediator between God and man, the God/man Christ Jesus. There is only one law giver, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and our Father. There is only one who reveals to our hearts the words of life, the Holy Spirit. I love you law-abiders, I get you. I like reading Leviticus, that's how weird I am. But seriously, don't read this book if you will lose sight of God. Follow hard after Christ.

To the non-conformists:

Grow up! You have not been released from bondage to be lazy. The shackles of sin have been broken so that you can be doing, loving, walking in Christ. This book may be the kick in the pants you need to realize your "freedom" is really re-bondage. Yes you are set free, but with purpose. As fun as it sounds to just live however I want, using the freedom of salvation as an excuse, I need to live according to the law of loving God most of all and loving my neighbors as myself. This love is not a passive thing, it is a daily walking in Christ, for the glory of the Father, by the power of the Spirit. I can be the most spiritually free person on the planet, but if I don't have that kind of love then I have nothing. And neither do you.

The Bible has a lot about fighting, wrestling, racing, building, pressing on. Jesus didn't say, take off your yoke and lay down, he said take the yoke of the gospel upon yourself. There is work in the kingdom of God, but is the good light work of setting captives free by bringing the good news. Use your hands, use your feet, use your heart. You were made for love and good works. Look at the imperfect lives of those living that out and find encouragement. Feel the stirring in your heart for purpose, and then run with it. I love you non-confromists, I get you. I stick out like a sore thumb in my community of believers. Read this book, and ask God what he wants you to glean from it.

To all of us on both ends of the spectrum:

Let us join forces for the sake of the King! Let us lay down our petty differences, and hold fast to the Author of our faith. Let us hold hands and hearts with our fellow body members, remembering always that Christ is the head. Let us truly do the hard work of justice. Let us love the sweet pouring out of mercy. Let us walk humbly with our God. Let us be the church.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Watch and pray

Final chapter of the 7 read-along with Marla and friends. Like all of her other chapters, Jen Hatmaker does a fine job of blowing my expectations out of the water in this chapter on Stress. Did I expect her to ACTUALLY observe the Sabbath? Nope. Did I expect 7 sacred pauses? Nope. Did I expect God to wreck my heart last night during the Night Watch? ummm, no. Did I SO need this chapter? Yep.

Thank you mighty Creator of the Universe for making Jen Hatmaker just so, and gifting her in such ways that you can work in my heart through her words. I know she is a mere human being, but I am thankful for her messy, beautiful ministry.

Confession time. When I was younger I wanted to be a nun. I went to Catholic school for 4 years, even though my family is not Catholic, and in those 4 formative years I developed a strong affinity for liturgy and for nuns. I still observe Lent and Advent, not because anyone I know observes them, or because I come from a church tradition of such observations, but because my heart longs for periods of focused reflection on the Holy. I love being purposefully liturgical in our morning family worship, and enjoy seeing the unspoken liturgy of a Sunday church service at our non-denominational, Baptist-rooted-with-Presbyterian-leanings church. I was very upset when my parents laughed at my dream of becoming a nun, all I wanted to do is grow up to sing and pray all day. I know, that's not all that nuns do, but the only other thing I knew they did is teach and I didn't want to do that. Ironic because I teach teenagers every week. I also thought nuns were married to priests for a while, but was firmly set in my place by Sister Carol on that matter. (I will have you know, not all nuns are the sweet ladies from Sound of Music and Sister Act.)

I say all that to say that this chapter resonated in my heart. It brought up all those longings to sing and pray all day, longings I had laughed off as childish dreams. I don't think that 7 sacred pauses is much different from the intent behind God's command to the people regarding the covenant, for it to be ever before them and on their lips. It is no coincidence that God reminds his people throughout the entire Bible to remember his covenant, his character, his goodness now and throughout all generations.We are forgetful people, but he created order to help us remember. What a great and gracious God that he helps us in our weakness!

Here's the other part of the confession that I left out. I am terrible at praying. I am a "quick shout out while I'm thinking about it" or a "times are tough, so God I'm begging for help here" kind of pray-er. I am least often a "be still and know that I am God" pray-er. If it was my chosen vocation to pray 7 times a day I would go bonkers within a week because I am too distracted in times of prayer. Thank the Lord that he knew better!

"My prayers include rogue parenthetical thoughts:" yeah me too Jen. Me too. I love praying for people, but seriously can't go beyond about 4 sentences before I forget why I'm praying and have to look at my email again. I am of the MTV generation, and my attention span is evidence of that. I completely understand the need for "the bell" I would never remember to stop and pray if I didn't have an awkward physical reminder. (Lord, why don't I have an iPhone? I would pray so much better if I did! - yes, I admit I had that dumb thought. Then I realized my "dumb" phone could do that many alarms too.)

So, about the Night Watch. Take Day 6 (Jen's friend Jenny praying for the oppressed) and add in Day 14 (Jen's crying out for her adoptive kiddos) and that would be Night Watch for me last night. I have talked about this in depth already so I'll spare you the details and give you the quick version: we thought we were adopting a 13 year old girl, then everything fell apart. Ugly thorns and thistles have sprouted up in the beautiful garden of love for my daughter in my heart. So I read this chapter, turned off the light and just laid there. I tried to sleep, but God had different plans. I cried out for my daughter for hours. I have not prayed like that maybe ever. There was a moment when I was out of tears, and I raised my head to get some tissue and realized it was after midnight. God took my heart through the Night Watch on behalf of my baby. I may never know why God took me on this journey. I do know that at 1:00 am I prayed through the aspects of the Lord's Prayer with a deeper understanding than I had ever before. I was praying to my Father, who has infinitely greater love for me than I could ever fathom having for my daughter.

Marla asked that we share 2 things, and I would like to end on that note.

1. What’s something you feel burdened to pray about today?

I need to ask God what his plans are for my life. I want to just shut down, live just how I am now for the rest of my life, but I feel tugging in my heart for something more, greater purpose, harder but better things. I know that tugging is the Holy Spirit, so I need to ask, and be willing to hear the answer. I feel like that's a selfish answer, but at the same time feel like I have shut down any contemplation of the future as a result of the present being so hard that I just need to buck up and actually seek God for direction.

2. What’s something causing you stress that you could use prayer for today?

I have chronic pain. There are good days (2-4 on a pain scale of 1-10) and there are bad days (7-9) but there are no pain free days. This is not a new thing in my life, but has been at least a 20 year battle between my body and soul that has become more heated with age. I am hesitant to tell people of the current diagnosis because everyone either tells me I'm looney or tells me that Western medicine is a joke. (Both may be true but that doesn't help me right now.) The real point of stress in all this is that I need more rest than I am willing to give myself most days. The bad days I spend all day feeling guilty for not doing more, and the good days I drive myself so hard that I pay for it the next day. I need balance. I need to stop comparing myself to every other 30-something woman I know. I need to find real rest in Jesus.

Maybe I need to institute the sacred pauses to realign my priorities.

Monday, April 16, 2012

9 Months

In adoption terms, 9 months is not that long. In waiting for a child to join your family, it seems to be absolutely normal. In waiting for your heart to be fully broken, it's a lifetime.

We jumped into this adoption 9 months ago with naive notions about ourselves, about adoption, about God. We were fully submerged in expectation and paperwork and prayerful pursuit of our daughter from day one. It was not a gradual easing into the joy of a child, it was thrown in the deep end, all out, crazy love for the piece of our hearts we didn't even know was missing until we saw her sweet face. It was like we got a positive pregnancy test and decorated the nursery all in one weekend and then had another 9 months to await the arrival of our bundle of joy.

And now we will most likely never hear another word about her for the rest of our lives.

We are no longer the strong and stable people we believed ourselves to be. We are broken. Our hopes and dreams are dead and we don't even get to hold her one time to say goodbye. We cry way too easily, we hide out in our home hoping no one will notice our absence, we say inappropriate things when people ask us stupid questions. We smile and serve at church and come home and melt down. We are adrift in a storm.

Adoption is hard, ugly, messy business sometimes. No one really tells you this, and even if they do, you don't believe them. You see happy families around you in all their adoptive glory and have no box to fit people with broken hearts into. It's just beautiful, wonderful redemptive work. It's one of God's pictures, like marriage, and that automatically makes it amazing. But it is also the melding of broken lives together. Even when children join their forever families it is not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows all day long. Just as marriage is harder than anyone could ever tell you, and soon to be married couples wouldn't listen anyway, adoption is harder than imaginable. And things break down. And adoptions sometimes fail. And there are more orphans in the world than anyone is capable of fathoming, so it seems absolutely unjust for adoptions to fail. A child needing a family, and a family needing a child, and yet bureaucracy, and culture, and sinful people get in the way of that perfect match.

And God is not in the business of making his people comfortable, happy, or fitting in with the people around them. God is in the business of conforming his people into the image of his Son. And sometimes (more often than not) God uses the hard, ugly, broken things of this world to break off our self-sufficiency, pride, and idolatry. He is not mean and vindictive. He is kind enough not to let us wallow in the slums of our ignorance and selfishness. He is working in our lives the good of sanctification by the heat and pressure of broken circumstances. He is holy God, the vestiges of my Adam-likeness are burned away in the heat of his glory. But burning hurts. It is difficult to cry out "my refuge, my fortress, my God, I trust you" while my entire self is a burning effigy of sin.

I spent 9 months waiting for my daughter to come home, but forgot often to pray that my heart would happily accept God's will. Now I struggle with bitterness. I spent 9 months being so productive because my home needed to be ready at any moment. Now I struggle with laziness. I spent 9 months sharing my heart with anyone who would listen. Now I have walled off my hurt so that no one will see how much I am broken by this. I spent 9 months caring about every girl who is being sold to meet the sick desires of sinful men. Now my daughter might be one of them. I spent 9 months thinking I have it all together, feeling so completely spiritual at my oblivious faith. Now I have almost nothing left.

Then out of nowhere this song wells up in my heart:

I am weak,
I am poor,
I am broken,
Lord, but I'm yours.
Hold me now!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's my motivation?

Another week with Marla and friends in the lovely read-along of 7, or as I like to call it, "What's your motivation?" Everything I read in Month 6: Spending, was affirming, gut-kicking, and a reminder to my heart to focus on the heart of the matter. It's so easy to read the chapter and think that she's just talking about money, but truly, sweet Jen Hatmaker shoots straight to the heart of the gospel and what our lives can/should/need to look like in response. I am thankful for her constant reminders to be more like Jesus and less like "normal".

Even as much as I loved this chapter, I also am having a hard time seeing the immediate applicability of what I gained through reading. That's not true, I see it, but I don't really want to think about it, or apply it. Honestly, I prayed this morning a prayer that looks a lot like Psalm 13, among others. I am weary. This weekend we had what felt like the final conversation with our adoption agency about our daughter. Our hearts ache for the child who will never make it home. Agreeing that she is un-adoptable felt like an acquiescence to the truth we already knew rather than a decision we had to make. I sent out our final adoption update email, then took my dog to the vet to find out that he probably has cancer and needs surgery. This comes on the heels of finding out my body is more broken than I thought it was. And my husband's grandfather dying, and family drama surrounding that. And our youth minister leaving soon to pursue another ministry opportunity, which means the ministry is falling in our laps. And, and, and, and....

It's too much! I feel a lot less like Job saying "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" and a lot more like "God why do you keep giving me breath?! Why won't you slay me?!"

But do I go to God to comfort my aching? No. I go to Starbucks, Target, Chick-fil-A, Talbots, JoAnns, Amazon and anywhere else I can get that temporary high of "owning" something. I feel so in control in my out of my control life when I can buy something all my own. I know that purchasing is a drug to me. Yet I struggle during times of wanting (emotionally, spiritually) with what is a want and what is a need, physically speaking.

I think I need new clothes, considering I'm still wearing the things that fit me 30-50 pounds ago. But when I go to the store and buy something I get a little sick at the thought of what better use of my money I could have come up with than a pair of pants that doesn't fall off. I want to buy a reasonably priced scooter to save us a ton of money on gas, but then I think about the added costs of a safety course, helmet, riding jacket, etc. and then I feel like it's just me trying to spend money to make myself feel better. And on and on it goes. I know I am in the middle of a life desert, and I know when in this kind of phase I am a purchasing self-soother, and all this knowledge just makes me suspicious of every thought and action. What is my motivation?

Am I saying in my heart the things Jen Hatmaker lists on Day 8 as justification?
  • It's no big deal.
  • I can afford this.
  • I've worked hard for my money, so I can spend it how I want.
  • I want this, back off.
  • I deserve this.**
  • Other people spend way more.*
  • I still have money in the bank.
  • What's the big deal?
( * Jen's excuse of choice. ** Danielle's excuse of choice followed by a tantrum about how hard everything is right now.)

Sometimes the "What's my motivation?" is self-condemnation. Sometimes it is the still small voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me that I am not to be conformed to this world. Rather I am to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. As I practice this transformation, like a newborn calf testing it's legs, I learn how to discern what is the perfect will of God.

I think it's time to re-read Romans again.

The other side of the I deserve it justification is giving. We give to the church. We give to church plants. We give to missionaries. We give to local outreaches. We give to friends who are adopting. We give and give and give. Why shouldn't I take what's left and do whatever I want? How easily I forget that it's all God's, not just the parts I feel led to give away. That he gives any to me to steward is out of his sheer kindness. It is not because I deserve to be able to live comfortably, it is so that I can be a broken clay vessel pouring out his goodness to others. This pouring out doesn't look like drops in the bucket here or there. It looks like walking another mile when only one is required. It is not only giving my extra coat away to someone in need but also giving the shirt off my back. It is the continual, repetitive laying down of my life, money, talents.

And this laying down should not ever be so that I can look like the Pharisees Jesus rebuked who prayed loudly in the street blocking the entrance to the temple, and helped those in need only when people were watching, and changed the meaning of the law to make their lives look better. Oh Lord forgive me for the times, more often than not, that this is what it looks like for me to love my neighbor. It looks great on the outside, but my heart is ugly.
Oh! to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer
This is my constant longing and prayer.
Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
How I long for this simple hymn to be true in my heart!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The End

For those of you out there interested in our adoption journey but not on our email list, here is the final email.

Hello family and friends!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support through our adoption journey. It is with heavy hearts that we send this update, and it will probably be the last update we send. After months of prayer, consulting with our agency, and consulting with trusted friends who know a lot about adoption, we believe at this time that our daughter is not adoptable.

In our last official update we let you know that she had been asked to stay with her biological family as her mother is dying of cancer. We have not heard anything since then. Because we know she is with her family, our belief is that she will more than likely stay with her family. While we remain open to adopting her in the future if her situation changes, we have had to acknowledge that it is highly unlikely that we will ever hear anything again about our daughter.

Our hearts are broken at the loss of our daughter. We knew there were risks involved in pursuing this adoption, as there are in almost all adoptions, but we chose to love this girl. For us, she will always be ours in our hearts, and we will not cease to pray for her. We pray that she is safe, loved, and cared for. We pray for healing and reconciliation in her family. We pray most importantly that she will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and come to believe in him for salvation, redemption, and spiritual adoption. Will you join us please in praying for this one precious life?

As for us, we don't know what our next step will be. We are hoping to spend some time pressing more into God, caring more for each other's hearts, and ministering always to "our kids" at church. Thank you all again for your partnerships in our journey.  Your thoughts, prayers, and kind words have been such an encouragement to us.


Danielle and JJ

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This land was made for you and me

I have no power at my house as I write this. I’m using what battery power I have left on my laptop to write a blog post in hopes that some time today power will be restored and I will be able to post it. My assumption for why I have no power has to do with the fact that I live in the desert and it is snowing, IN APRIL! And everyone knows that desert dwellers panic when the roads turn ever so slightly white (or wet, or windy, or dirty) and in this panic tear down power lines with their SUVs that they think can handle anything. (Sweet lady doing your make-up, yelling at your kids, talking on your phone, and nervously driving too fast/slow: you need new tires on your people mover, and said people mover is top heavy. Please be safe.) I’m sure there are poor souls out there in the snow right now trying to restore power to my neighborhood, cursing the fact that it’s snowing IN APRIL, and shaking their heads at those idiot desert dwelling drivers.

The irony is not lost on me that I can’t post my blog post for the read along about the Waste chapter of 7 because I have no power at my house. How many times I have begged for a solar power system that can bail me out when everyone else is without the absolutely necessary energy that powers our TVs, computers, etc., etc., etc. Oh God, you’re so creative in your mocking of my idols! This chapter was another one for me of feeling confident going in and walking away with some serious heart conviction. Marla invited us to share our stories, and I jump at any opportunity to talk about myself, so let’s go!

I grew up going to Arlo Guthrie concerts with my dad, and singing heartily along when Arlo performed his daddy’s song, “This Land is Your Land” then coming home and consuming like it was my God-given right. In 5th grade our school had a whole green initiative thing (way ahead of its time) in which we all were shown videos of landfills with animated characters telling us the horrors of greenhouse gasses. We had an end of year musical all about Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling in which all of the kids were encouraged to obtain Styrofoam containers to use as puppets. Oh the irony. The only thing we recycled in our house was aluminum cans because nothing else could be recycled within our county, and dad made a few bucks off of selling aluminum.

Fast forward 20+ years to our current life. I am the crazy lady digging through the trash (mine and my neighbors) looking for things misplaced. In the kitchen/pantry we have a trash can, a recycling bin, an aluminum can, a bag of CDs to be mailed to recycle, a bag of batteries to be taken somewhere, a bag of plastic that our city won’t recycle but I can take to Whole Food’s, a bag of plastic bags to be recycled, and a bag of paper bags to be reused as bags or packaging material. The glass recycling is in the shed, and boxes go straight out to the giant recycling bin that I keep asking the City to kindly make bigger or give me two of. Have I thought of reducing my waste? Not really: it looks smaller once it's parceled out in so many different ways. My husband is a mechanic, so our home garage is filled (and emptied regularly) with steel, aluminum, copper, and batteries that otherwise would have ended up in the dumpster at work. I have piles of old t-shirts waiting to be turned into yarn and knitted into rugs. Yes, I am that crazy earthy crunchy lady you would prefer not to have as a neighbor because I don’t spray for weeds or bugs, and often only water outside plants if I have water in my trash-can-turned-rain-barrel.

I am however not as conscientious about my food. Our first year in our house I had a garden. My dog ate the oregano, squash bugs destroyed my zucchini, and my husband refused to eat anything made with fresh tomatoes. Everything else I killed because I didn’t want to waste the water to make it grow. So after drying an entire yard-full of basil, and giving some pretty ugly tomatoes away I gave up on growing things in the desert. I buy organic food when it’s convenient. I buy local food almost never. Part of that is laziness, and part of that is for safety reasons. Around these parts everything local (restaurants, farmers markets, even beer) is tainted with green chile. The locals love it! I’m deathly allergic. There are times of year when I can’t leave my house because folks are roasting fresh crops on seemingly every street corner in hopes that they can send me to the hospital with anaphylaxis. More than once I have asked God why he placed us here of all places, and more than once he has answered me with a million reasons that don’t include green chile. For breakfast this morning I had rice cakes from California, cheese from Illinois, avocados and grapes from Chile, fair-trade coffee from who-knows-where, half and half from Colorado, and sugar from Hawaii. My belly sure does get around!

 And this is all me, not even taking into account the little four legged babies in our house. Part of me cringes when buying Venison & Rice dog food in 50 lb bags because one of my babies gets sick from anything containing lamb, beef, or corn. Don’t even get me started on the nasty feline things that existed in my husband’s life before I did! I could feed a lot of people with the money I spend on these 4 fur balls! But then I remember that every one of our babies was abused, neglected, thrown out in the desert to die, or found starving on the streets. So I give them their expensive food, cover them with blankies, and pray for humans who are suffering worse fates than my animals. Ugh! That’s just ugly heart stuff right there.

Finally is the vehicle situation. We have two cars, but probably could do with only one. We have toyed with this idea, my husband biking to work every once in a while, looking up bus schedules, dreaming of lower fuel costs in our budget, but it would be so hard to make this transition that we have both discouraged the other from doing more research. We have hand-me-down cars which have benefited us financially, but have left us with a bit of an eco-friendly conundrum. My husband drives a Miata, I don’t drive it because I drive only automatic transmission vehicles. I have no desire to learn, don’t tell me how easy it is, it just results in crying and fighting with my husband that I don’t wish to revisit. Anyway, he averages 30+ mpg and fills ups every couple weeks. It’s a good deal for us. I drive an F-150, and I love my big truck. There are parts of town I hide my face in shame while driving my honkin’ truck through, and I have been yelled at more than once in a parking lot by angry hippies. They get into their Pruis’ not thinking of the environmental impact the giant battery in their car has but yell at me for averaging 15+ mpg. By the way, I fill up my tank about once a month.

Why do I love my truck? Because it is the means to many ends. All that automotive waste I mentioned earlier could not be so easily recycled if I couldn’t take it 3/4 of a ton at a time to the scrap yard. And the money I get from recycling that junk, it goes straight into our adoption expenses account. If I didn’t have a big truck bed I couldn’t haul mounds of recycling away from our church. Apparently my fellow church folk want to recycle, but have no idea how to actually do it, so it all piles up creating fire hazards until I take it away. I can transport 5 teenagers and all of their junk before/after/during youth events and have opportunities to love these kids while telling them to stop screaming. I can help friends and family move and be hands and feet of Jesus as we jenga sofas and kitchen tables in what seemed like a big truck until they brought all their stuff out to the curb.

But again this can all be self-justifying works. I do this, this, and this, and that means Jesus loves me more. NOT! Is my motivation in self-justification, self-glory, self-waste-reduction? If so then it is all folly. Is my motivation stewardship, obedience, creation work? Then maybe I’m on the right path. This land was made (by God) for you and me (to enjoy, protect, rebuild, and work.) Dear Woody, I'm slightly sorry for the revision to your song.