Mar 28, 2007

Amazing Grace History and Music by Wintley Phipps

I recently watched the outstanding new movie, "Amazing Grace," which told the story of William Wilberforce. Then at my uncle's memorial service, they played this version of "Amazing Grace." The picture quality is not so great here, but the sound is just fine. Watch this video for a fresh, new perspective on an old-time favorite.

Mar 17, 2007

Weekly Recipe: Gingerbread Waffles

I haven't written a weekly recipe in quite a while, and I don't really like waffles much, but these are absolutely my favorite. Since I make everything healthy, I've added notes for a healthy version, but they can be made either way. This makes about 24 waffles.

3 3/4 c. flour (I use spelt. If your flour is not freshly ground, it is best to sift it.)
3/4 c. cornmeal
slightly less than 1/4 c. baking powder (I use aluminum-free)
1 T. ground ginger
1/2 T. ground cinnamon
1/2 T. ground cloves
1/2 T. ground nutmeg
1/2 T. salt
6 large eggs
3/4 c. unsulphured molasses
5 c. milk
3/4 c. oil (I use expeller-pressed canola. You want one with a very light flavor.)

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In large blender (Vita-Mix is perfect), blend all the wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and very carefully stir together. I use a whisk as a spoon for this, very gently. Alternatively, for lighter waffles, you can separate the yolks and whites and beat the whites and fold them in at the end.

Waffle batter is better if you let it sit for a while, preferably overnight. I used 1/2 c. batter in each waffle square and cooked them 5 - 6 minutes each. Serve with warm applesauce.

To make easy applesauce in a crockpot:

Cut up apples into slices (I use an apple slicer nearly every day, so this is easy for me.) You can peel or not peel; either way is good. My rule of thumb is that I peel if it's not organic, and leave it on if it is. Fill the crockpot as full as possible and still be able to put a lid on. You may add cinnamon or a package of cranberries, if you'd like different flavors, or even some other fruit, such as peaches or berries. Cook all day on low. It will cook WAY down. You can then mash it by hand with a potato masher for a chunkier version, or blend it for a smoother version. It is well worth it to make the applesauce and only takes a few minutes.

Mar 15, 2007

Dr. Mohler: Homosexuals Don't Choose Their Orientation

Dr. Al Mohler recently wrote an article on his blog entitled, "Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?" Dr. Mohler said that he wrote the article merely to start a conversation, but since he doesn't take comments on his blog, I'm wondering where the conversation is taking place. Actually, he started a nationwide fight between conservatives and liberals alike. Here is a summary of his article regarding various current research into the issue of whether or not we are born "gay."

1. We don't currently have any scientific evidence that homosexuality has any biological basis.
2. However, since some sheep are gay, we may have scientific evidence soon that some humans are born that way, too.
3. Because of the Fall, we shouldn't be surprised that there might be a genetic link to homosexuality.
4. Even if we discovered a biological link to homosexuality, that doesn't change what the Bible says about it.
5. If there were a biological link to homosexuality, Christians should be able to have more compassion with them and understand their temptation to sin.
6. We are all made in the image of God -- heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, transgendered, bisexual, or whatever.
7. If we can identify homosexuality in a baby before it is born, we are still pro-life.
8. If we can identify and reverse homosexuality in a baby before it is born, we should do so, enabling that child to have less temptation to commit homosexual acts as an adult.
9. Although we choose whether or not to sin sexually, we may not be able to choose our sexual orientation. Christians sin against homosexuals when we say they can choose. We can't choose our own temptations, but we are responsible for our own sins.
10. Although a scientific finding of this kind would not change the fact that committing homosexual acts is a sin, Christians shouldn't say that there is no scientific basis for such findings. Scientific research shows that there might be. Since we could use this information to help counsel homosexuals, we should embrace it.

Dr. Mohler, I am all for modern science and researching DNA and genes and the like, but do you truly think that God would create someone in His own image who can't help but be attracted to someone of their same sex, but they could never do anything about it without sinning? Are they to burn in lust forever or to commit homosexual acts? This is not at all the same sort of sexual temptation that us normal folks have. God created us in His own image to mirror Christ's relationship with His bride -- to get married to someone of the opposite sex -- so that we don't have to choose between burning in lust forever or committing fornication. Methinks you've been reading too much psychology and too little of what you should be these days.

Now, I am no professional in these matters, nor do I pretend to have all the answers, but there are some basic observations that we would do well to consider here. What happens, for instance, when a boy doesn't get enough attention and the right kind of love from his father? Well, maybe we should start with the girl. When a girl doesn't get the right kind of attention and love from her father, she will go find it in another man. And with all the broken families or all the fathers who don't invest their lives in their children these days, we don't have to look too far to find many girls "looking for love in all the wrong places." What do you think a boy would do without a father's love and attention? Is it possible that he, too, so strongly desires that father figure in his life that he turns to other men? This is merely a personal observation so far.

I have also observed the sissified world we now live in. God created men to work hard physically. Do TVs and computers and video games and other technology help develop a good, strong work ethic in young men? Do teenage boys regularly work hard enough physically until they fall into bed exhausted each night, too tired to even think about sexual sin? Do you think God might have intended them to be able to work off all that energy as a way to divert their temptations as well as accomplish great things during that time of tremendous energy in their lives? What happens when boys never do typical boy things like chopping wood, digging holes, building fences or houses, fixing engines, or a million other boy things? What happens when boys don't develop their physical bodies through hard, physical labor, but rather sit around and become effeminate and weak? Do you think this could be a factor in homosexuality?

I have not observed lesbians as much, but the few that I do know seemed to all have major issues with their mothers as well. I am not going to go so far as to say that all homosexuals had a difficult or non-existent relationship with their parent of their same sex, but I do see somewhat of a pattern here.

I have also seen girls who think that they can't trust men, for various reasons, but usually it comes back to Dad again, and so they turn to other women. Although it is still wrong, it is understandable.

God also created women to work hard physically as well, but not in the same way as men. Even most women are "sissies" nowadays, though.

My observations are purely mine. If you have other ideas, I'm glad to hear them. I'm sure there are many other reasons. However, I just cannot fathom God creating homosexuals in His own image, only to let them live in continual sin for their whole lives because they can't help being born gay. No, Dr. Mohler, your pragmatism in counseling goals just doesn't line up with Scripture this time.

Mar 4, 2007

The Diligent and Organized Beaver

Well, it took me long enough, but I am getting back to my animal personality theory by Smalley and Trent today. The first article was about the lion; the second animal that we look at is the beaver. The typical character traits for the beaver, and those which you should identify in your own self, are these: (Remember that you will not necessarily have ALL these traits in order to be considered a beaver, but a majority.)

  • Deliberate
  • Controlled
  • Reserved
  • Predictable
  • Practical
  • Orderly
  • Factual
  • Discerning
  • Detailed
  • Analytical
  • Inquisitive
  • Precise
  • Persistent
  • Scheduled

The beaver's motto in life is "How was it done in the past?"

Again, taken from their book, "The Two Sides of Love," here are some typical traits of a beaver.

Beavers keep a close watch on their emotions. They are very reserved, cautious, and controlled in displaying any affection, and rarely praise others. While beavers may be very committed to relationships in their life, it may not show up much on the outside. They don't wear their heart on their sleeve.

Beavers do read the instruction manual. There is a right way to do things, and beavers will seek out that right way. They will carefully read the entire instruction manual instead of throwing it away. Stress in life is greatly reduced for a beaver when they have instructions to follow. Unfortunately, relationships do not fall into an instructional manual-type category, so flexibility is not their strong point.

Beavers are very careful when making decisions. They do not make too many bad decisions in life because they take the time to carefully weigh everything out before making a decision.

Beavers look at issues critically when it comes to problem solving, taking things apart and going into detail. Often tending to be perfectionistic, this skill in problem solving can also be a great weakness in relationships, as they pick people apart as well. Beavers get their motivation for doing things in an extreme orderly manner from their deep-seated desire to do everything right.

"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." Doing things right, with precision and accuracy, is extremely important to a beaver. "A place for everything, and everything in its place." This natural strength of spotting things that are wrong is very valuable for many detailed professions and heads off many mistakes.

Beavers tend to turn their anger on themselves, which can often turn into depression, when they should learn to ask for help instead. They get angry when they make mistakes, and are very sensitive to criticism. Clear directions and being able to ask informational questions are as important to beavers as the need to have a strong sense of support and being in a noncritical environment. Beavers will slow down under pressure.

Beavers tend to focus on the past, but having faith in the future can be quite a challenge. Beavers much prefer to plan everything out ahead of time, not trusting tomorrow to take care of itself.

There are certain jobs and professions which only a beaver can do and we should be very thankful for the beavers in our lives. Like all the animals, a beaver who is extreme, though, can push people far away, so a beaver has to work hard on being loving. (This is dealt with extensively in the book; I am really just covering the personality traits here.)

Two of the animals that are often closely related (in this personality quiz) are the lion and the beaver. I have very strong beaver tendencies as well.

Next time, we will check out the ever-playful otter.

Mar 2, 2007

I Have a Lot to be Thankful For

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.