Monday, January 31, 2011

Question of the Day: Why Are There Horses on Merry-Go-Rounds?


This is the kind of question I could always ask my dad when I was growing up. He had stashed in his mental filing cabinet all manner of random facts and bits of interesting information that he could pull out at will. Talk about mental floss. Now everyone just googles to find out whatever it is they need to know. That's a shame. Googling should never replace what your dad can tell you at the other end of a phone call. Evidently there's an unofficial rebellion going on among students who resist memorizing facts, dates, and geographical locations. "I can just google it," is the answer to most anything now. Arrrrgh.
So why horses? Blame it on Louis XIV, the King of Quite a Lot. In 1662, supposedly to impress his wife and infant son, but really because of a new girl in town, Louis put on a gigantic three day dressage, carnival, and jousting tournament on his front lawn at the Louvre. Louis who liked to dress as a Roman emperor presided over the horse show and parade with riders cloaked in the skins of lions, leopards, tigers and monkeys. Nobles masqueraded as Romans, Turks, Persians and "those savage Americans." (Let's hear it for detente.) Everyone, everywhere under the sun was subject to Louis. In his mind anyway. Louis, who had achieved no fame in any military triumph made a name for himself in other ways, Versailles, the Apollo Gallery, and hobby horses rocking on a rotating wood platform. What a guy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

American Idol Part Three: Herd It Through the Grapevine

After just a few weeks of our bible study on idols a lot of us have been unpleasantly surprised by the long line of golden calves we've become aware of in our own lives. The "cow parade" is turning out to be rather lengthy and it has become very apparent what a barnyard we've made of our lives.

Just like the face of this bull, we got up close and personal yesterday with how we turn marriage, children, and family into idols when God has given those to us for His own perfect purposes. Consider a few of God's purposes:

Man's role in marriage is meant to express the headship of God and love of Christ for his church. Headship and authority is revealed in Genesis as God instructs Adam to provide, protect, and bear responsibility in every way for subduing the earth and the well-being of his family. Then Paul writes in Ephesians that the husband is to do so in such a sacrificial way that he is a picture of Christ's love for the church even unto death.

Woman's role in marriage is to be a helper complementary and suitable for her husband, complementary meaning equal in value to, but with a differing role. God fashioned woman for man as there was no other creature suitable for him. Wives fill a role in the family or "little kingdom" and in marriage that no one or nothing else can fill.

The union of a man and woman in marriage is to be a living illustration of the unity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in Eph. 1:10 that God's overarching purpose for humanity is "to bring all things in heaven and earth under one head." Marriage is to imitate the perfect and purposeful oneness of the Godhead.

Children are the means God designed as the way of fulfilling His promise in Genesis to send a Savior through the seed of the woman. There had to be babies so that Jesus could come.

Children are a living picture of the fruitfulness of the oneness of marriage.

Children provide for the family the context of the "little kingdom" that reflects the design and purpose of the larger kingdom. Children are the primary means through which God's covenant kingdom grows and is the primary training ground for ministry.

Then just like a stack of counterfeit bills, we turn marriage and children into something of our own making with the intention of dishonest use or gain. Idolatry. How? Read the life of Isaac, Rebecca, and their family from Genesis 25-30. Then consider these:
*Each parent preferred one child over the other to further his or her own agenda. When we favor one child over another it generally has to do with the fact that that child some how "props up" our sense of well-being. The child who is easy to get a long with, bright, talented, or emotionally connected gets the preferential treatment because it does something for ME.
*Isaac and Rebecca were not shown to be effective disciplinarians. We don't fail to discipline our children because we love them too much. We don't discipline our children because at the time they most need it we generally find something else more suitable or valuable at the moment. Usually convenience. We love ourselves and our desires more at the moment.
*Isaac and Rebecca trusted in their own plans for their sons instead of God's sovereign purposes. Both parents manipulated and ultimately destroyed their family through their self-dependence and scheming. To chart the course and to manipulate the future of a child without regard to God's sovereign plan is to steal that child's life.
*Jacob placed all his hopes for healing the past and securing his future on Rachel. If we marry with the hope of our spouse being the healing balm for all that has gone wrong or the absolute hope of all comfort and security, we place a burden on him that by nature he is unable to bear.
*If we marry with the hope of finding validation and identity in traditional family values alone, we will be miserable without husband or child. Like Marvin Gaye sang in the song, "Losin' you would end my life you see 'cause you mean that much to me." No human relationship can bear the burden of Godhood.

Who can? God through Christ.
*Jesus became the man that nobody wanted so that you would be forever wanted.
*Jesus came to his own people and they did not receive him in order to create a family that cherishes you.
*Jesus became forsaken so that you would never have to be.
As Tim Keller says, why do we keep trying to find redemption in others when we already have been redeemed through Jesus Christ? We don't need to make anyone else our savior (or try to be a savior for them) because we already have a Savior in Christ.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Felt Needs: Whooo Needs Shoes?

On this dark, rainy, chilly January morning you may find a little sewing project something that would brighten both your day and the little feet of a baby you love.

There's no need to leave the comfort of home to collect your supplies. The wool felt is available in a rainbow of colors from
http://www.weirdollsandcrafts.com/. This soft but sturdy fabric that you purchase in 9X12 sheets is like sewing on butter. Delivery is lightning fast, too.


Patterns for shoes in sizes 0-12 mos. are available for the asking at various sites and blogs such ashttp://www.oldschoolacres.typepad.com/ and http://www.heatherbailey.typepad.com/. If you search for felt baby shoes on http://www.etsy.com/ you'll find all kinds of bitty booties to stir your imagination. What little boy wouldn't look adorable in his own little VW bug shoes?






Look in your button box or when it stops raining
run (with scissors) to the fabric store and check out the assortment of fun buttons for embellishment. Little flower buttons are perfect for spring which I hear is supposed to arrive sometime in the distant future. Mostly distant it would seem.






And then there are these little winged feet that will really quack your baby up. (The beak opens and closes.) Need fertilizer for your imagination? Coloring books and pages, wrapping paper, greeting cards, scrapbook paper, print fabrics, and book illustrations all provide great ideas for your little projects. Ready, set, run with scissors!

P.S. Blanket stitch all of the appliques on with 3 strands of embroidery floss before assembling the shoes. Once assembled, blanket stitch around the sole and top edge.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Be Prepared: It's Not Just for Boy Scouts

Let's say you were planning to take a trip to some place you'd never been before. And just for example (because it is my favorite example) let's say you were going to The City of Lights, Gay Paris! One of the first things I'd tell you is not to forget to call your credit card and ATM companies to inform them you will be in Paris from "X" date until "Y" date because otherwise when you go to make your first ATM withdrawal right there with the Eiffel Tower in view, the message on the ATM will be, "Girl, we're going to have to shut you down." Then you'll be in a fix. No baguettes, Louvre, or chocolate eclairs for you so you may as well have just stayed home. Be prepared.



You'll also want to read as much about your travel destination as possible, watch movies that have been filmed there, and google, google, google until you've reached the end of the internet. It would be a shame to get all the way over there, find yourself at the Louvre standing in front of Gericault's "The Raft of the Medusa" and not have any idea what in the world it is. Trust me. (Talk about art and social commentary. This painting wrote the book. Read The Wreck of the Medusa by Jonathan Miles)

Or you'd really be missing a great story if you walked up on this children's playground at the Lycee Charlemagne and didn't know that the wall that these little tappers are bouncing the ball against is actually the largest visible preserved portion of Philippe Auguste's city wall from 1190-1209. I can't believe they let them shoot baskets against this wall.




Paris has always suffered with problems down at the city water works. But if I were busy building Notre Dame Cathedral, planning a revolution, or testing cake recipes for Marie Antoinette, I guess I'd not be thinking about such things either. If you read ahead though and then walk up on this, you'll immediately recognize it as one of Paris' 60 or so Wallace Fountains provided by English francophile Richard Wallace who after the Franco Prussian war was distressed with the lack of fresh drinking water for Parisians. Each fountain had a little metal cup that hung on a hook. So much for the germ-free aspect of this noble idea.

You might just want to know about these Wallace fountains so that when you're walking along the river in New Orleans, LA right here in the USA and you come up on this you'll already know by George, that's a Wallace fountain!
P.S. The New Orleans fountain is right next to the giant statue of Joan of Arc that looks exactly like the one in the Place des Pyramides in Paris. But then you already know that because you're well prepared. Tres bien!




Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Count of Winston-Salem

We knew it from the beginning. It was obvious. He was his parents' son. This is Jack (when he was a little tapper) who belongs to one of my daughters affectionately known as "Math Girl." BC (before children) she taught AB and BC Calculus. On purpose. Math Girl is married to a mechanical engineer who designs the intricate innerds of 18-wheelers. I don't do numbers, so I don't understand.

Case in point. Last time I was visiting them in Winston-Salem, Math Girl's husband was describing for us at the dinner table the method some man at the office used to teach the other math geniuses how they could multiply large numbers using their fingers as calculators. It was something like multiply the number of fingers on the left hand times the number on the right hand, subtract the first four numbers of the left hand and divide by the square root of South Dakota. Math is Greek to me. Then just for funzies, Math Girl and her husband figured out in a matter of minutes what equation one would use to make this finger thing work. Let's just say I was puzzled.

Well, no wonder little Jack exhibits the same love and amazement for numbers. Just this weekend his momma asked him how much his headache hurt. His reply? "If you divide it into five equal parts, one being the worst and five the best, it's at 2." A few hours later it was at 3 1/2 and then sometime during the Wii event Jack came out on top as a perfect ten. Pain divided into five equal parts?

Jack's mathematical anticipation of Baby Charlotte's first birthday was revealed in this drawing of his idea of the perfect birthday cake. Of course, that's Charlotte seated in her high chair giving wild applause in response to the cake.













Only Jack, son of Math Girl, would devise an illustrated 22 step plan for his mother to use to make and decorate the cake for Baby Charlotte.













But the boy knows what he's talking about and so does Math Girl. Here's the cake. Anyone who can effortlessly divide pain into five equal parts can surely do something as simple as design a cake. Cake today, truck innerds tomorrow. He's Da Man!

Monday, January 17, 2011

American Idol Part Two: Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On

So while Moses is up on the mountain receiving all manner of revelation, instruction, and teaching from God Himself, the Israelites (according to Exodus 32) are in hand-wringing mode thinking "this Moses" has left them in the dust. Out of their anger emerges a mob and before you know it they are worshipping at the hooves of a golden calf "that has brought you out of the land of Egypt."

Not so fast with the finger pointing here. Just think about it:

1. We are quick to make inaccurate judgments and false assumptions. The Israelites quickly and falsely assume that Moses' tarrying means bad news when actually, God is at that very moment dispensing what will only be a blessing to them if they'll just hang on. How often do we go into panic mode and then launch our own false assessment of life's situations when, difficult as they are, are actually going to prove to be a Romans 8:28 moment?

2. We are quickly and easily influenced by the crowd mentality: "The people gathered around Aaron." This wasn't "gather together time" but rather the willing formation of a mob with less than stellar intentions. The sin of unbelief quickly poisons the nation.

3. We are quickly and easily influenced by culture: While the fashioning of a golden calf sounds ridiculous to us, we must remember that the Israelites had been brought out of a country rich in bovine cults that believed animal shaped idols had the power to rescue or at least provide for their needs. Our culture tells us that youth, beauty, status, sex appeal and tight jeans will give you status and worth. (No? Then why does everyone wear them?) Our culture says, among other things, tight jeans are the answer to your problems! They'll make you look like everyone else, you'll be cool, the right brand will show that you know where it's happening, and that you are willing to fork out the cash. (And what did he sing?......Naw, the girl cain't help it.) Right.

4. We think we can manufacture a god to meet our needs: "Quick! Give me your earrings!" replied Aaron and out of them he engraved a golden calf. Earrings? Really? Could a god made of melted earrings fashioned by the hands of mortal man really do anything? We fashion our own gods in the form of wealth and possessions taking the very blessings God has given us and turning them into masters that enslave us with upkeep and keeping up, repair and replacement.

5. We underestimate the danger of playing with fire. Or at least with molten hot gold: After the Israelites made the golden calf they worshipped it, brought offerings to it, then ate, drank and let's just say things spiraled out of control from there. My former pastor Chuck Frost taught me this: Sin will take you further than you ever planned to go, keep you longer than you ever planned to stay, and cost you more than you ever planned to spend.

And we thought the Israelites had it all wrong.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Before and After

The thought occurred to me that "Before and After" could be a whole series of posts since I tend to think in those terms fairly often. This "before" is Hubert Robert's Grande Gallery of the Louvre where he held the post of "Keeper of the King's Paintings." Evidently he lived at the Louvre (as did several artists in residence) in the basement apartments. Tres chic.





The "after" is Robert's Imaginary View of the Grande Gallery in Ruins. This before and after of order into chaos reminded me of Tyrone who used to work at our lumberyard. Everyone loved Tyrone. He was just the most likeable kind of guy with a smile that could light up a Christmas tree. That bread and butter plate sized gold scorpion that he wore around his neck would have made a great tree topper come to think of it.



Anyway, Tyrone lived to please my husband. Tyrone would do ANYTHING for Mark. It's just that if you were having a perfectly good day that you wanted to run amuck, Tyrone was your man. Any project that he touched was a guaranteed gone-haywire moment. I think Tyrone's photo is next to "haywire" in the dictionary. (Like the way he repaired the lumberyard sign after having backed the truck into it. The sign was a work of art. Abstract art.) But that never mattered too much because, doggoneit, Tyrone always aimed to please and once you looked at the twinkling Christmas tree smile, it was just somehow okay. Tyrone's employment with us was an enjoyable series of sparkling before and after shots.

One Saturday morning Tyrone came out to the house to work his magical mayhem and I answered the back door at 7 or so. Tyrone took one look at my plain Jane no-make-up face, the bedhead hair-do, and my appropriate for floor-scrubbing attire. The ever present smile drained from his face. "You okay?" he asked in his big-hearted-this-is-why-we-love-Tyrone manner. "Sure! I just don't have my face on and I'm going to the salon to get my hair cut in a little bit." And as only Tyrone could do he sighed with relief, "Good. I thought you were sick or somethin'."

Talk about magical mayhem. Why is it that when I go to the salon and give them half of my life savings with the hope of leaving with a greatly improved appearance, I come out looking like I've been coiffed by say, Tyrone? Actually, Tyrone could probably have done better. So I jumped out of the car to greet Mark and Tyrone with my new do and poor Tyrone turned around to look at Mark like, "What's wrong? Is she sick or somethin'?" And Mark looked at him as if to say, "Tyrone, you could have done better with the Black and Decker." Then they both looked at me and smiled like I was Miss America. I miss Tyrone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back Up and Running (with scissors)


Just for the record the root canal turned out to be no big deal. So thankful.
Here are two of my skinny-legged friends. Any guesses? The pail of water should be the give away. Jack and Jill, mais oui. And now that I notice it, Jill surely has short arms so it's a good thing she has her clothing custom made.
Jack and Jill live in Winston-Salem with two of my little grandgirls. They are my copy-cat versions from a wonderful book that you need to know about. It's "Pocketful of Posies" by the uber-talented Salley Mavor. This treasury of nursery rhymes is illustrated with Salley's over-the-top, unbelievably gorgeous, hyper-detailed wool felt panoramas. They are to die for. Each of your favorite nursery rhyme characters from Little Miss Muffett to Wee Willie Winkie is painstakingly crafted with hand-painted wood bead heads, wool felt clothing, and assorted notions, buttons, clippies, beads and other cleverly disguised objects. You'll find them each part of an intricately embroidered and embellished scene from the rhyme. I'm telling you, you ain't seen nothin' like it nowhere, nohow!
Two years ago my Winston-Salem daughter gave me Salley's instructional book "Felt Wee Folk" that in illustrated step-by-step instructions, tells you how you, too, can learn to make fairies, fairy-tale creatures, kings, wizards, and other assorted adorable little creatures that are a delight to children, their parents and we grandparents. Reading her books, her blog http://www.weefolk.wordpress.com/ and making the little dolls is so much fun that I am always hoping no one will notice that we do indeed need clean clothes and supper on the table.
You can navigate to Salley's shop via her blog or go straight to http://www.weefolkstudio.com/ to look at the traveling exhibit from Pocketful of Posies, view and purchase her books or her ready-to-love wee folk. You'll be so glad to get to know Salley. I'm surely glad that I did.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Catatonic

How's this for an 8:00 a.m. phone call?
"Good morning. Is this Mrs. Wind-ham?"
"Yes, it is."
"This is Miss Chirpy at your endodontist's office calling to verify that you are scheduled for a root canal tomorrow morning at nine."
"Yes, that's right." (Thank you for reminding me since I've been lying awake at night trying to forget about it.)
"And my records show that someone has gone over the charges with you for this procedure?"
"Yes, ma'am."(And that means it costs so much I can forget about my summer vacation.)
"And our records also show that you have no dental insurance?"
"Correctamundo." ( This is true but I'm thinking my life insurance may kick in since this whole thing is killin' me.)
"And Mrs. Wind-ham, are you familiar with the procedure?" (Oh, yes, especially my favorite part where you give me the shot that's the size of a bicycle pump.)
"And Mrs. Wind-ham, have you made a return appointment with your dentist for the fitting for your new crown?" (Oh yes, I have. He's using the proceeds to take his family on their summer vacation.)
"Do you have any questions, Mrs. Wind-ham?"
"No, thank you. I know enough as it is." (Actually, yes. If I park my car down at Mill and Valley tonight and leave it running with the keys in it, do you think someone might steal it and I won't have to come in?")
"Thank you, Mrs. Wind-ham. We look forward to seeing you in the morning."
"Me, too!" (But actually I may stick my head in the drain pipe like Cannibal the cat and recite, "I am not here. This is not happening. I am not here. This is not happening.")
So everyone call one of your friends today and remind them that tomorrow is a GREAT DAY since they are not scheduled for a root canal with Miss. Chirpy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Heart, A Home, A Brain, The NERVE!!


Due to circumstances beyond my control we all missed the 204th anniversary of Napoleon's crowning himself Emperor of the French. Talk about circumstances beyond one's control. Even the mighty Napoleon was brought down to size (as though he wasn't already) by Pope Pius VII who arrived from Rome one week late for the coronation.

Painter Jacques-Louis David accepted the call to capture the moment as the elaborate tableau unfolded at the Cathedral of Notre Dame which was given a face lift for the occasion. David provides us with a fine example of artistic revisionist history inserting Napoleon's missing mother in amongst the participants in the three hour ceremony.

Claiming that he "didn't bring the Pope such a long way to do nothing" Napoleon agreed to allow the Pontiff to bless the crown and other regalia (a chain, ring, orb and ermine collar) as well as to return to the pope several territories previously claimed by the church. Napoleon then placed the Charlemagne crown on his own head, quickly replaced his own crown with a solid gold laurel wreath in the style of the Roman emperors, followed by the coronation of his wife Josephine. What you see is a glimpse of the monumental painting, 20'x32', commemorating this likewise monumental event.

Before we come down too hard on Napoleon for exhibiting such pompous nerve so as to crown himself the King of Quite a Lot, just think about it. We do it all the time. We are professional crown-grabbers seeking what we want, when and where we want it. Napoleon had his national anthem and we have ours. "Oh say, can you see? It's all about me."

In stark contrast, our Lord and King Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. It wasn't about His self-promotion. It was about utter humiliation, leaving His throne in heaven, becoming as one of His own subjects, so that one day all those who believe in Him might wear a crown which the Lord will give to all those who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

See Spot Run! Run, Spot! Run!

I thought about using the Shakespeare spot quote, but decided against it. Which of us has not been vexed by a spot on an especially treasured garment. Lady MacBeth, our deepest sympathies are with you, girl.
Here's the magic solution recipe for removing nearly any spot or stain, for restoring yellowed lace and fine fabrics to their original stark whiteness and for giving you the freshest breath....no, that's another product.
Mix 2 tablespoons each of Clorox II, Zout, and Oxyclean in a basin of water. Soak the garment for about six hours, checking every so often just to see how things are going. Repeat until the stain is gone. If your garment is white and the stain especially stubborn, lay the unrinsed wet garment out in the sun. That usually does the trick. Rinse and then launder as usual.
Of course, there's a story to go with the magic solution. Pictured above is the gown each of my girls wore for their baptism and now their children have been baptized into the covenant family wearing it, too. I had gathered all of the required ingredients for the soaking procedure and had just poured it all into the sink in the bathroom between our kitchen and what we call the "baby room." Suddenly my husband called to me from outside and for whatever reason, we needed to immediately jump in the car and run out to the lake. About an hour and a half later when we returned and opened the back door an unusually crisp and clean fragrance welcomed our arrival and we couldn't help but notice the two inches of water covering the kitchen floor. Can you believe that one of us left the house with the water running in the bathroom sink? Mr. Job, to whom I am married, calmly left for Home Depot's rental facility while I tried in vain to maintain my composure. I did fine till my sympathetic son-in-law called and then we had an additionally sizeable amount of tears to mop up. The gown looked great. The carpet, eh, not so good. But boy is that gown white!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The No-Coconut Zone

Cupcakes were the rage. Then came the macaron. This bite-sized morsel of sugary, crispy goodness followed by sugary, chewy goodness around a sugary, smooth filling goodness is as we say, too, too faboo. Let me warn you. They are as expensive
as they are delicious. At about $3.50 a bite you'll want to consider taking out a second mortgage on your house before familiarizing yourself with this delicacy.
Catherine de Medicis who hailed from an Italian family that perfected usury into an art form brought the tasty morsel with her to Paris in 1533 when she married Henry II. Evidently she also brought along several favorite family recipes for poisoning people. I've heard her spaghetti was to die for.
Paris has bakeries on every other corner, their windows lined with rows and stacks of macarons in every color imaginable. But if you're not going to be there some time soon (quelle dommage) you can find a suitable American substitute at Sucre on Magazine Street in New Orleans or from MadMac in NYC. At $3.50 a bite, what's a few more dollars for shipping and handling? Just promise me you won't eat the little coconut sweater-wearing version that masquerades as a macaron. That's a macaroon and believe me, there's a big difference.
If you have a few extra days and some cash lying around you can make your own. First, you need to let two egg whites sit out for a day or two to raise the acid level. Then go by the bank for a draw on your loan to get the almond flour that's $9 a bag or $3 a cup. One cup makes about 15 macarons. And you have to buy a silicon mat to bake them on and that's $20. Put in a good movie about Paris, like Charade or Sabrina while you sift the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder together. If you start sifting at the beginning of Sabrina, you'll be through sifting somewhere near the part where Linus buys the plane tickets. After some whipping until either the egg whites or your arm becomes stiff, the folding in the flour, and piping the little discs on the million dollar mat, you can finish watching the movie because the cookies need to rest. And so do you. The macarons rest at least 20 minutes until the top is dry to the touch and after baking 8 minutes you'll need to come back and rotate the pans and bake 8 more minutes, gingerly remove them from the million dollar mat, spread with Nutella, sandwich together.....and that, my dear, is why they are $3.50 a bite.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It is Finished

Maybe I'm just getting grumpy. But even before the Christmas turkey is cold the "Year in Review" and "New Year's Resolutions" columns begin to appear. From the infamous to the notorious, from cataclysmic sports events to political catastrophies, it's all there for us to see in rewind. And then without pressing the pause button we're to fast forward into the new year resolving to eat less and exercise more, spend less and give more, watch less and read more, lots of less and much more of more. It's sort of a holiday whip lash. I'm not opposed to constructive reflection (for I have been abundantly blessed in spite of my sin) nor am I unwilling to set goals (for goals are never met that are never set). But I have repeatedly thought and meditated on two phrases the last few days. "It is finished" and "He resolutely set His face toward Jerusalem."
The old year is finished. It is over. With all of its providences bright or dark, all of our choices wise or less than, all of the sweetest blessings or memories of difficulties, it is finished. And so we are urged to resolve to do better or more next year. Lose weight. Be nice. Read the bible. Nothing wrong with any of those, it's just that by the first of February we run out of steam for the list of "I resolve to." That brings me to Luke 9:51. "Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that Jesus resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem." Jesus resolved to go and to do what the Father had ordained. "I have come to do the will of Him who has sent me and to finish His work." Oh that my resolve, my resolution would be that of Jesus and my Father in heaven. Our resolutions are about us, about me, my work, my weight, my efforts. Jesus' resolution and impending exodus was about fulfilling the word of the prophets that He would go to purchase the redemption of His people. To provide for us the "It is finished."
Perhaps we should therefore resolve not in light of perceived past failures or successes, but in light of the Greatest of Resolutions. To set our face toward whatever purpose God has for our lives this year. At the end of 2011," It is finished" may yield greater glory for God.