May 31, 2006

Movie Review: The Water is Wide

"The Water is Wide," a Hallmark Hall of Fame production, is a movie I feel comfortable recommending in this world of mostly evil entertainment. While not a Christian film, this true story has a lot each of us could learn from, especially homeschoolers. A white man, Pat Conroy, takes a position teaching in a 2-room schoolhouse on an island in an all black, poor, illiterate community in the 1970s. Watching the remarkable metamorphosis of children who live in constant dread and drudgery to, well, you're just going to have to see it! Anyone who teaches, in any capacity, will be deeply moved.

May 29, 2006

I Wish You Enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

I wish you the presence of the Lord in all your trials and the wisdom of God to know what to do with them.

Blessing by Bob Perks; last line by SM Davis.

May 27, 2006

Character Treasures

For church right now, our family is watching SM Davis videos. I believe that God has given SM Davis an incredible wisdom to be able to clearly see character truths in God's Word in a way I've never heard from the pulpit before. It seems that every message we hear changes our hearts to become more like Christ! SM Davis is a very passionate preacher, but not a hell-fire and damnation type. Oh, he absolutely believes the truths of God's Word regarding sin and salvation, but he will never beat you over the head with it. This is a real treasure in my life right now and I wanted to share the titles of his character messages with you. It is a long list, but I didn't know which titles would catch your attention, so here goes:

Anger, the Destroyer
Are You a Giver or a Taker?
Bible Pictures of Godly Children
Bible Principles That Relate to Getting to the Marriage Altar
Bible Teachings About the Bride Price
Breaking Family Curses
Changing the Heart of a Rebel
Christ, the Husband’s Example
Conquering Satan’s Strongholds
Deliverance From the Destructiveness of Lust
Dig Another Well
Expectations, the Enemy of Relationships and Gratitude
Foreseeing the Problems That Could Wreck a Marriage
Freedom From the Spirit of Anger
God’s Plan for Finding a Mate
God’s Seven Purposes for Authority
God’s Viewpoint of the Church
God’s Viewpoint on Having Babies
God’s Way to Deal With Your Wrong Emotions
God’s Weightiest Commands to Husbands, Wives, and Parents
How a Wife Can Use Reverence to Build or Save Her Marriage
How to Avoid Confusion Concerning Betrothal
How to Avoid the Destructiveness of a Wrong Self-Image
How to Be Reconciled to Your Friend or Enemy
How to Bless Your Children and Others
How to Build a Storm-Proof Marriage
How to Develop Character in Your Children
How to Get or Give Wise Counsel
How to Help a Man Deal With His Anger
How to Help Weak Children Become Strong
How to Humble Yourself
How to Increase Your Life’s Potential
How to Keep Children From Getting Bitter
How to Lengthen Your Life by Honoring and Obeying Your Parents
How to Parent as a Team
How to Pass On Your Convictions to Your Children
How to Rebuild Broken Trust
How to Tell Right From Wrong in Confusing Areas of Life
How to Tell the Right Kind of Music
How to Tell True Repentance
How to Train Children to Refuse Evil and Choose Good
How to Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go
How to Treat a Wounded Spirit
How to Use Acceptance to Build Others
Integrity, the Parent of Character
Key Character Qualities of a Godly Man
Knowing When to Let Go
My Son, Give Me Thine Heart
Nothing Shall Offend Them
Overcomer or Survivor?
Overcoming Discouragement
Personal Responsibility
Questions and Answers About Betrothal
Repairing Really Rotten Relationships
Satan’s Plan to Destroy the Husband-Wife Relationship
Seeds of Disintegration
Seven Bible Truths Violated by Christian Dating
Seven Keys to Unlock Doors of Communication
Seven Reasons Why a Man’s Home is a Biblical Priority
Strategy for Victory in Spiritual Warfare
Ten Steps to Victory Over Lust
The Attitude No Lady Should Have
The Danger of Sinning Against Great Spiritual Light
The Influence of Older Children on Younger Ones
The Kingdom of Your Influence
The Language of the Christian’s Clothing
The Mistakes Rebels Make
The Providence of God
The Seven-Fold Power of a Wife’s Submission
The Sin of Silence
The Two Trails in Every Trial
Three Key Elements of Successful Parenting
Twelve Reasons Why I am For the Permanence of Marriage
Understanding Biblical Leadership
Understanding How Homes Relate to Each Other and the Church
Understanding Loyalty in a Disloyal World
Understanding the Hazards of Friendships
Understanding What the Bible Has to Say About Scorn and Mockery
Victory Over the Dating Spirit
What Bitterness Does
What Character Is and Does
What God Expects from a Twenty Year Old
What Impatience Does
What Pride Does
What the Bible Has to Say about Spanking
What to Expect From a Twelve Year Old
When Forgiveness Won’t Work
When God's Will Becomes Multiple Choice
When You Have to Drink the Bitter Cup
Why Satan Wants the Firstborn
Why Should I Repent?
Why the Will of God is Best
Why You Keep Sinning and How to Stop

May 26, 2006

The King's Assignment

In general, we use the Charlotte Mason method of education. One of the joys of life for me has been to discover Charlotte Mason's method in the Bible. This was the first aspect of the Charlotte Mason method I discovered in God's Word, and I can still remember how excited I was that day!

The background of this story is that God is telling Moses that when the Israelites get to the Promised Land, they are going to ask for a king. Therefore, God lays out some instructions for what He expects of the kings of Israel.

“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel." Deut. 17:18-20.

God actually expected each king to write out a copy of the law, which is Genesis through Deuteronomy, in his own handwriting. I wonder how many kings actually did that? I don't believe we have record of any kings actually doing that, but some may have. I wonder what would have happened differently if they had obeyed the Lord in this. Well, I guess we don't have to wonder too long, because God tells us all the benefits that He promises to the kings that do obey Him in this.

Charlotte Mason calls this copywork; we call it "The King's Assignment." We each copy God's Word for 15 minutes a day. I know one young man who had an attitude problem and his parents told him his assignment to graduate from high school was to copy Genesis through Deuteronomy. By the time he finished, he was a changed young man, and is diligently serving the Lord today, many years later.

It takes quite a bit of work and effort to write the Bible yourself, but do we really have more to do than the king of Israel did? Think of it this way: if you are a son or a daughter of the King of Kings, shouldn't you tackle the "King's Assignment," too?

Writing out God's Word in my own handwriting has provided more benefits than I ever dreamed of. Rather than tell you what they are, I shall encourage you to give it a try for yourself, and see what God reveals to you!

May 25, 2006

The Town of Allopath

There once was a town called Allopath. It had many people, streets and cars, but due to budget limitations, there were no stop signs or traffic lights anywhere in Allopath. Not surprisingly, traffic accidents were common. Cars would crash into each other at nearly every intersection. But business was booming for the auto repair shops and local hospitals, which dominated the economy of Allopath.

As the population of Allopath grew, traffic accidents increased to an alarming level. Out of desperation, the city council hired Doctor West, a doctor of the Motor Division (M.D.) to find a solution.

Dr. West spent days examining traffic accidents. He carried an assortment of technical gear -- microscopes, chemical analysis equipment, lab gear -- and put them all to work as part of his investigation. The townspeople of Allopath watched with great curiosity while Dr. West went about his work, meticulously documenting and analyzing each traffic accident, and they awaited his final report with great interest.

After weeks of investigation, Dr. West called the people of Allopath to a town meeting for the release of his report. There, in front of the city council and most of the residents of Allopath, he announced his findings: "Traffic accidents are caused by skid marks."

As Dr. West explained, he found and documented a near-100% correlation between traffic accidents and skid marks. "Wherever we find these cars colliding," he explained, "we also find these skid marks."

The town had "Skid Marks Disease," the doctor explained, and the answer to the town's epidemic of traffic accidents would "...require nothing more than treating Skid Marks Disease by making the streets skid-proof," Dr. West exclaimed, to great applause from the townspeople.

The city paid Dr. West his consulting fee, then asked the good doctor to propose a method for treating this Skid Marks Disease. As chance would have it, Dr. West had recently been on a trip to Hawaii paid for by a chemical company that manufactured roadaceuticals: special chemicals used to treat roads for situations just like this one. He recommended a particular chemical coating to the city council: teflon.

"We can treat this Skid Marks Disease by coating the roads with teflon," Dr. West explained. "The streets will then be skid-proof, and all the traffic accidents will cease!" He went on to describe the physical properties of teflon and how its near-frictionless coating would deter nearly all vehicle skids.

The city council heartily agreed with Dr. West, and they issued new public bonds to raise the money required to buy enough teflon to coat all the city's streets. Within weeks, the streets were completely coated, and the skid marks all but disappeared.

The city council paid Dr. West another consulting fee and thanked him for his expertise. The problem of traffic accidents in Allopath was solved, they thought. Although the cure was expensive, they were convinced it was worth it.

But things weren't well in Allopath. Traffic accidents quadrupled. Hospital beds were overflowing with injured residents. Auto repair businesses were booming so much that most of the city council members decided to either open their own car repair shops or invest in existing ones.

Week after week, more and more residents of Allopath were injured, and their cars were repeatedly damaged. Money piled into the pockets of the car repair shops, hospitals, tow truck companies and car parts retailers.

The town economic advisor, observing this sharp increase in economic activity, announced that Allopath was booming. Its economy was healthier than ever, and Allopath could look forward to a great year of economic prosperity!

There were jobs to be had at the car repair shops. There were more nurses needed at the hospital. "Help wanted" signs appeared all over town: at the paramedic station, the tow truck shops, and the auto glass businesses. Unemployment dropped to near zero.

But the traffic accidents continued to increase. And yet there were no skid marks.

The city council was baffled. They thought they had solved this problem. Skid Marks Disease had been eradicated by the teflon treatment. Why were traffic accidents still happening?

They called a town meeting to discuss the problem, and following a short discussion of the problem, an old hermit, who lived in the forest just outside of Allopath, addressed the townspeople. "There is no such thing as Skid Marks Disease," he explained. "This disease was invented by the roadaceuticals company to sell you teflon coatings."

The townspeople were horrified to hear such a statement. They knew Skid Marks Disease existed. The doctor had told them so. How could this hermit, who had no Motor Division (M.D.) degree, dare tell them otherwise? How could he question their collective town wisdom in such a way?

"This is a simple problem," the hermit continued. "All we need to do is build stop signs and traffic lights. Then the traffic accidents will cease."

Without pause, one city council member remarked, "But how can we afford stop signs? We've spent all our money on teflon treatments!"

The townspeople agreed. They had no money to buy stop signs.

Another council member added, "And how can we stop anyway? The streets are all coated with teflon. If we build stop signs, we'll waste all the money we've spent on teflon!"

The townspeople agreed, again. What use were stop signs if they couldn't stop their cars anyway?

The hermit replied, "But the stop signs will eliminate the need for teflon. People will be able to stop their cars, and accidents will cease. The solution is simple."

But what might happen if stop signs actually worked, the townspeople wondered. How would it affect the booming economy of Allopath? Realizing the consequences, a burly old man who owned a local repair shop jumped to his feet and said, "If we build these stop signs, and traffic accidents go down, I'll have to fire most of my workers!"

It was at that moment that most of the townspeople realized their own jobs were at stake. If stop signs were built, nearly everyone would be unemployed. They all had jobs in emergency response services, car repair shops, hospitals and teflon coating maintenance. Some were now sales representatives of the roadaceuticals company. Others were importers of glass, tires, steel and other parts for cars. A few clever people were making a fortune selling wheelchairs and crutches to accident victims.

One enterprising young gentleman started a scientific journal that published research papers describing all the different kind of Skid Marks Diseases that had been observed and documented. Another person, a fitness enthusiast, organized an annual run to raise funds to find the cure for Skid Marks Disease. It was a popular event, and all the townspeople participated as best they could: jogging, walking, or just pushing themselves along in their wheelchairs.

One way or another, nearly everyone in Allopath was economically tied to Skid Marks Disease.

Out of fear of losing this economic prosperity, the townspeople voted to create a new public safety agency: the Frequent Drivers Association (FDA). This FDA would be responsible for approving or rejecting all signage, technology and chemical coatings related to the town's roads.

The FDA's board members were chosen from among the business leaders of the community: the owner of the car shop, the owner of the ambulance company, and of course, Dr. West.

Soon after its inception, the FDA announced that Skid Marks Disease was, indeed, very real, as it had been carefully documented by a doctor and recently published in the town Skid Marks Disease journal. Since there were no studies whatsoever showing stop signs to be effective for reducing traffic accidents, the FDA announced that stop signs were to be outlawed, and that any person attempting to sell stop signs would be charged with fraud and locked up in the town jail.

This pleased the townspeople of Allopath. With the FDA, they knew their jobs were safe. They could go on living their lives of economic prosperity, with secure jobs, knowing that the FDA would outlaw any attempt to take away their livelihood. They still had a lot of traffic accidents, but at least their jobs were secure.

And so life continued in Allopath. For a short while, at least. As traffic accidents continued at a devastating rate, more and more residents of Allopath were injured or killed. Many were left bed-ridden, unable to work, due to their injuries.

In time, the population dwindled. The once-booming town of Allopath eventually became little more than a ghost town. The hospital closed its doors, the FDA was disbanded, and the Skid Marks Disease journal stopped printing.

The few residents remaining eventually realized nothing good had come of Skid Marks Disease, the teflon coatings and the FDA. No one was any better off, as all the town's money had been spent on the disease: the teflon coatings, car parts and emergency services. No one was any healthier, or happier, or longer-lived. Most, in fact, had lost their entire families to Skid Marks Disease.

And the hermit? He continued to live just outside of town, at the end of a winding country road, where he lived a simple life with no cars, no roads, no teflon coatings and no FDA.

He outlived every single resident of Allopath. He gardened, took long walks through the forest, and gathered roots, leaves and berries to feed himself. In his spare time, he constructed stop signs, waiting for the next population to come along, and hoping they might listen to an old hermit with a crazy idea: ...that prevention is the answer, not the treatment of symptoms.

This fable was authored by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and is posted with permission by Mike Adams at

May 24, 2006

Boycott Ford

It is very rare that I participate in a boycott, since I don't think they work unless there is a really worthwhile cause and in-your-face type sin involved, and unless they are widespread enough to make a difference. I boycotted both Disney and Pampered Chef a while ago and was very pleased to see that, although their pocketbooks were ultimately more important to them (which is why the boycotts worked), they both gave in to the demands of the boycotters. This boycott of Ford and the other automobiles they manufacture is far more serious than the previous two I participated in, I think. The following is from the Boycott Ford website.

Several pro-family organizations are boycotting Ford Motor Company automobiles because of Ford’s support of homosexual groups promoting homosexual marriage. For a more detailed review of Ford’s promotion of the homosexual agenda, go to on the internet.
Ford’s commitment to the homosexual agenda was summarized by the Detroit Free Press: “Ford Motor Company, led by Chairman Bill Ford, donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to homosexual groups, sponsors gay pride parades and holds mandatory diversity training for employees…"

One would be hard-pressed to find a company which has done more to support the homosexual agenda than Ford Motor Company. The Human Rights Campaign (a national homosexual organization whose goal is homosexual marriage) gave Ford a 100% corporate rating. Ford makes not only Ford, but also Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover.

When asked by 44 pro-family leaders to remain neutral in the battle over homosexual marriage, Ford refused to do so. The company chose to continue to support the homosexual groups promoting homosexual marriage. Ford has every right to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups promoting homosexual marriage, but individuals have the right not to purchase automobiles made by Ford Motor Company.

From redefining family to include homosexual marriage, to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to support homosexual groups, to forcing employees to attend diversity training on how to promote the acceptance of homosexuality, to sponsoring Gay Pride Day parades, to sponsoring a “commitment (marriage) ceremony,” Ford leads the way. The goal of every homosexual organization supported by Ford is to get homosexual marriage legalized.

Yes, I’m supporting the boycott of Ford Motor Company automobiles until Ford stops supporting homosexual groups promoting homosexual marriage.

If you want more information, or need to see the proof, check out Boycott Ford.

May 22, 2006

My Treasure Collection

It occurred to me recently that I really love sharing some treasures that I find along my walk in life. If I find something that is really special to me, I want to show it to everyone! I want to tout its good points; I want others to share in my enthusiasm. I don't necessarily want everyone to have the same treasure collection that I do, but maybe one person could share this wonder, and another could share that beauty. It really is true, you know, it is more blessed to give than to receive.

I hope that as you peruse my ever-growing treasure collection of gems, you will find one to share with me once in a while. Let me know which ones glow in your treasure collection, too.

My treasure collection will consist of my favorite homeschool curriculum gems, my favorite spiritual teachers who are gems, my favorite music and movie gems, and other gems that have enriched my treasure collection. Sift through them as I add them here and there. I hope you find a gem to add to your treasure collection, too!

Cats and Cockroaches

What do cats and cockroaches have in common? My cat dearly loves to catch cockroaches nearly every night (I don't think we actually have any in our house; the only ones I've seen are the ones who come in under the garage door while my cat waits patiently to attack!) As the cockroach makes it way under the door - poof! my cat pounces upon it straight away, only to let it go immediately. Then she picks the cockroach up in her teeth, ever so gingerly, not seeming to hurt it in the least, bounding across the house to deposit her most beloved gift in my bed, while I'm there, sleeping, on my lap. It always pleases me so much! Then, pounce! Let go! Pounce! Let go! On and on until the poor cockroach is so worn out it can hardly resist any longer. If I don't kill it first, after about an hour of torturous playing and batting it like a hockey puck, the poor thing finally kicks the bucket. But this cat just goes for the kill; she'll never eat them. My other cat, however, won't touch the things until they are dead, at which time she feasts on the delicacy. She doesn't seem to care for the prickly legs, though, so we have to be careful when walking barefoot, as we may step on a very small, neat little pile of cockroach legs. End of story.

However, cats and cockroaches have even more in common than being in the same food chain. Catnip! One goes nuts over it, while the other is repelled by it.

Did you know that a little catnip a day can keep the roaches away? Nepetalactone is a chemical found in catnip that repels roaches, Chris Peterson and Joel Coats, researchers from Iowa State University found.

I know that the only kind of cockroaches I like are dead ones, but the chemicals used to kill them are so toxic, I really don't want those chemicals in my house either. I wonder what would happen if I sprinkle a little catnip around the garage door, where they seem to enter. Or maybe I should try growing catnip plants around the perimeter of my home. Can't hurt. I know my cats would love them!

Heat! Heat!

It is currently 99 degrees outside so we just turned on the heat! Stay tuned!

(Several hours later) The A/C quit working on Saturday, so the repairman came out today to take a look, which is really all he could do - just look. He looked at that big block of ice totally encasing our air conditioning unit, even though it is upstairs in our attic, at well over 100 degrees, and hasn't been used for 3 days now.

So he decided to we needed to turn the heat on to max so that the furnace would blow hot air on the block of ice. After leaving the house for several hours, we returned with great hopes of finding it totally melted (he assured us it would only take 30-60 minutes). However, we returned home to a very warm house and a still solid block of ice.

I hope it melts soon! He can't begin to look at the a/c until it's completely melted!

You know, sometimes I think God allows situations like these to happen in our lives just so we are truly grateful for what we have. I will be truly grateful for air conditioning soon, I hope! And I am very grateful for trained, professional workmen who do the dirty work I can't, and don't really want to, do.

Day 4: No a/c. The block of ice is still frozen solid and very thick, so we turn on the heat again early this morning. The thermostat only goes up to 90 degrees for the furnace, and since it is already that hot in the house, we have to open all the windows and turn on all the fans to cool it down enough for the furnace to come on. I so enjoy heating up the outside on such a nice, hot day!

Several hours later, the repairman comes and, still finding a solid block of ice, proceeds to hose down the compressor which, although HOT to the touch, is completely emtombed in more than 1 inch of solid ice. Finally, the block in the attic begins to melt.

We change the filter and look for the cause. Nothing wrong! Probable cause: dirty air filter.

Lesson learned: It is cheaper and less hassle in the long run to keep up with routine maintenance, so I signed up for a routine maintenance program for both the a/c and the furnace with the company who came out today. They were a small company, been in business for a long time, and sent a real good worker. I hope to stave off these problems next time!

Anticipating needs.

My Stressbuster Lists

Here are 3 lists that directly relate to my energy levels.

List of Things I Enjoy Doing
(These things increase my energy, so I will continue to do them.)

Starting my day with 30 minutes in God's Word
Family devotions
Homeschooling my children
Taking field trips
Playing games
Fresh air
Being with my family
Working with family/friends
Fellowshipping with a group of like-minded believers
Reading a good book
Cooking (usually)
Studying God's Word
Studying Nutrition
Studying our Christian Hebrew foundation
Studying parenting
Studying homeschooling
Healthy "junk" food from Whole Foods (or should that be "healthy" junk food?!!!)
Relationships with people who know how to both give and take
Answering questions from people who are honestly seeking answers
Sharing what God has taught me
Blogging a small amount
Reading e-mail a few minutes per day
Reading the news a few minutes per day
Play piano
Play clarinet
Listening to teaching tapes while driving
A rare telephone conversation with a good friend

Things I Must Do
(If I do these with a good attitude, they will not rob my energy.)

Keep a clean home
Pay bills/taxes
Errands that are of a necessary nature for this 21st century
Business telephone calls
Repair and maintenance of cars, home, and appliances
Eat a salad every day

Things I Neither Enjoy Nor Must Do
(Energy robbers that I need to remove from my life)

Watching movies in the evening
Relationships with people who do all the talking
Relationships with people who undermine my parenting
Relationships with people who question my every move
Relationships with people who falsely accuse me
Relationships with people who are easily offended
Relationships with petty people
Relationships with pessimists
Spending money on unnecessary items
Junk food
Window shopping (even online)
Reading print that is grammatically incorrect or spelled incorrectly
Talking to telemarketers

This is not a list with which to tag people. This is a challenge to anyone who wants to identify what is important in your life. This will be a working post, so there may be changes at later dates.

Why Do We Say "No?"

When my children ask me for something, I have learned along the way to pause and consider before giving an answer. It is very easy to just say "no," but do we always have a good reason for saying "no?"

Sometimes children just need to learn the meaning of the word "no." Plain and simple. It is good to build discipline and character by learning to submit to "no."

Sometimes Mom doesn't want the hassle of what "yes" would entail, so she says "no." But is she really missing out on something special, on an opportunity to tie some heart strings with her children at that moment?

Sometimes what the child wants would not be in his best interests, even though he may not be able to see that right now, or he may not even agree with Mom or Dad. But "no" still stands.

But do we always have a real good reason to say "no?" Most of the time, my answer to my children is "maybe" or "I'll think about it." I don't want to ever make a promise I might not be able to keep, so I might say, "We'll try," or "I hope so." But when I tell my children I will give them a definite answer later, I MUST give them a definite answer later. I do not want to be wishy-washy, or uncommitted.

So, I've learned to think it through a little. "Is there any good reason to say "no" (other than what I've already listed)? If not, am I able to say "yes?" Is there a good compromise? I am careful not to say "no" just because it is the easy thing to do.

I have one child who is full of ideas all the time, so I get lots of practice in this area. Here is an example from her life. When she got to be a young lady, she became very "girly." I, on the other hand, have always been very plain and simple, so her room, her clothes, etc. reflected my own tastes. She desired to have a change in her room toward more femininity, so as she grew up, we changed things here and there, until her room is bursting with tea things, Victorian decorations, fans, ribbons, bows, dolls, smelly things, hat boxes, and all kinds of pink and purple things I would never dream of putting in my own room. But, oh how beautiful it is! (All items purchased at garage sales!)

There is really only one time in life when a girl gets to be a girl. She already knows she will not decorate this way for her husband some day, but the joys she has of being a girl during girlhood is a sweet memory for life.

I thank God that her desire to decorate her room was still glorifying to God. Had she wanted to decorate with anything that would lead her toward the world's ways, that would have been a "no." I am not at all advocating giving in to all a child's whims and wishes, but just to pause and consider, before we are too quick to answer.

May 16, 2006

Scars of Life

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.

He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father, working in the yard, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy, the world, is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

May 15, 2006

The Preambles of all 50 States

Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.

Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...

Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...

California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom.

Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.

Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.

Florida 1885, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...

Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...

Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings establish this Constitution.

Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...

Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe ... In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction ..

Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.

Minnesota, 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:

Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness ... Establish this Constitution .

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ...

Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom ... Establish this Constitution.

Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution ...

New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath ... so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty

New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those

North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...

Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common ...

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this ...

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences...

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties.

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...

Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.

Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to .enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man ...

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other .

Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution

West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ...

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility

Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties ... establish this Constitution.

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." ~William Penn

May 14, 2006

Take Care of Yer Friends

I found this cowboy poem at the car wash this week. Consider this as my heart to yours.

Friend is a word that I don't throw around
Though it's used and abused. I still like the sound.
I save it for people who've done right by me
And I know I can count on if ever need be.

Some of my friends drive big limousines
Own ranches and banks and visit with queens.
And some of my friends are up to their neck
In overdue notes and can't write a check.

They're singers or ropers or writers of prose
And others, God bless 'em, can't blow their own nose!
I guess bein' friends don't have nothin' to do
With talent or money or knowin' who's who.

It's a comf'terbul feelin' when you don't have to care
"Bout choosin' your words or bein' quite fair
'Cause friends'll just listen and let go on by
Those words you don't mean and not bat an eye.

It makes a friend happy to see your success.
They're proud of yer good side and forgive all the rest.
And that ain't so easy, all of the time,
Sometimes I get crazy and seem to go blind!

Yer friend just might have to take you on home
Or remind you sometime that you're not alone.
Or ever so gently pull you back to the ground
When you think you can fly with no one around.

A hug or a shake, whichever seems right
Is the high point of givin', I'll tell ya tonight.
All worldly riches and tributes of men
Can't hold a candle to the worth of a friend.

by Baxter Black

May 7, 2006

Healthy Greens

I used to think that having lettuce daily counted as getting my "greens," then I progressed to eating Romaine lettuce, which is still not my favorite. But, thanks to a friend who is a much healthier eater than I am, I am now realizing that most of us just don't eat enough greens, plain and simple. Oh, I eat spinach now and then, but collard greens or kale or some such - no thanks! So, I have set about to find ways to incorporate this life-giving food into our family's diet, while still being able to enjoy our dinner!

This was my first attempt, and we tried it two different ways, really enjoying it both times. My friend informed me that greens are best cooked for a LONG time, so I decided to put them in a crockpot.

First, I chopped some onions and put them in the crockpot on high to cook a little while I prepared the rest of the ingredients. I added some healthy meat (you pretty much need it for flavor). I put in one whole steak once, which I cut into little pieces after cooking, and I diced one package of turkey bacon the other time. Both were great. Then I washed the greens and sliced and diced them. I chopped LOTS of tomatoes and put everything in the crockpot up to about 1 inch from the top. Then I covered it with water (you could add bouillon and/or s/p, if you want) and cooked on low all day. About 3 hours before serving, I added 2 cups uncooked brown rice, real quick. Rice only takes about 3 hours in the crockpot, so add it later. This particular crockpot is 6 quarts. I made this up, so the ingredients are very flexible. My friend did tell me that onions and tomatoes are a must with greens, so keep that in mind. I made mine slightly soupy.

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I Am, I Can

I have been tagged, but the name of the post is changed to protect the grammar!

I am - saved by grace, through faith.
I want - to be holy, even as God is holy.
I pray - that my children would do great and mighty things for the Lord.
I hate - sin in my own life.
I miss - true friends.
I hear - frogs courting in my pool at night! What beautiful praise music!
I wonder - if Alicia understands all those sermons she listens to.
I regret - not knowing 20 years ago what I know now.
I am not - creative.
I dance - to Messianic Jewish music with my children, as we dance before the Lord like David did.
I sing - as many different styles of music as possible that still truly glorify the Lord.
I cry - when watching nearly every Michael Landon production.
I am not always - full of enough energy to get up and do anything except sit.
I make - almost everything from scratch, including grinding my own grains, preparing LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies daily, and even making totally healthy, delicious desserts.
I write - what I wish I had known when I was younger.
I confuse - plants, animals, insects, flowers, trees.
I need - lose weight and get back into shape.
I should - read more.
I start - sewing projects, organization projects, crafts, gardening, and probably other projects that are on my "to do" list for years and years and years.
I finish - almost everything by a deadline (so-and-so is coming over).

I liked this list a lot, so I added a few more:
I forget - my friends' names; or rather, I panic when I am in public and I see someone I know because I am afraid I will forget their name as soon as I start to say it.
I dream - of being a missionary some day.
I hope - that my everyday life is pleasing to Lord.
I read - more magazines than books, at the moment, probably all Christian.
I practice - improving my handwriting daily.
I study - our Jewish heritage as Christians.
I love - to work side by side with my children.
I expect - nothing from others (outside of my children); that way I'm never disappointed.
I fear - God's wrath, yet I know He has saved me from it. I fear it for those who don't trust in Him.
I yearn for - more time, more energy, more fresh air, more sunshine, more exercise!

I tag - Mark, Natasha, those who tagged me can add some extras, and anyone who reads this is tagged! Feel free to post here if you don't have your own blog, or better yet, start your own blog!

May 1, 2006

Weekly Recipe: Cape Cod Salad

This has a beautiful mixture of flavors and textures! My current favorite meal salad!

First, roast 1 c. walnuts or pecans in dry pan in 350 oven for 20 minutes.

1 red apple, cored, cut into eighths, sliced thin into a bowl with 2 T. lime/lemon juice
8 oz. turkey breast, sliced and diced
8 oz. cheddar cheese, sliced and diced
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Salad Dressing:
1/3 c. olive oil
1/2 c. cranberry chutney (for best flavor)
(can use apricot preserves)
1 additional T. lime/lemon juice
2 t. Dijon mustard

Mix salad dressing with all other ingredients, including nuts. Serve over lots of lettuce for a main salad meal.

Field Trip Review: Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch

For my husband's birthday last week, we decided to study some history together as a family, so we took a beautiful drive up into the Hill Country to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch. Although he was not a president of our values, necessarily, we thought it might be interesting to learn about him anyway, since he lived so close (about 1 1/2 hours for us).

As instructed on the website, we first stopped in Johnson City at the visitor's center (a very small sign on the main road - good thing we were searching for it!). They showed a couple movies, one about Lyndon B. Johnson's life and politics, and the other about his wife, LadyBird. We only had time for the one about the President. We were surprised to learn that what we thought we knew about him wasn't really the whole truth! The visitor's center is very nice, with some museum-like articles and a great bookstore. (Museums usually have the greatest bookstores, especially for homeschoolers! I have a hard time keeping my spending down there!) They told us a bus ranch tour was starting soon, so we headed 14 miles down the road to the main ranch.

The bus tour was $6 for adults and $3 for children (cash, please), money well spent! The tour lasted about 1 1/2 hours, with many stops. We did get out once for 20-30 minutes to visit his birthplace and burial place, located yards from each other. What an unusual story that was. We saw the Texas White House, the one-room schoolroom where President Johnson got his start in life. We waved to the Secret Service as they watched us from behind very dark windows, while guarding LadyBird, who still lives there. We saw several of his cars and and got out again to see his still working ranch. Our tour guide did an excellent job! The beauty of the whole place was well worth the trip alone!

What a fascinating personality Lyndon B. Johnson was! We would like to go back and learn more, and maybe have time to learn about his wife next time, too!

While there, we had a picnic under the gorgeous trees at one of several picnicking areas. After lunch, we went to the Sauer-Beckman Farm, which is a living history German farm set in 1918 that is still a working farm, on the Johnson property. They had chickens and roosters and turkeys running around under your feet, with brand new baby chicks! The sheep had just had a baby lamb 4 days ago. There were horses and cows and pigs as well as a large growing garden. We had a personal tour of the two houses that were used on that farm, about one hour of just the tour guide and our family. We learned so many details about life at that time, including seeing how they kept food, such as raw milk, fresh daily, from spoiling in the heat. They have a special living history day every year, usually on June 17, which we went to last year, and HIGHLY recommend it.

Exponential learning at its best!