Monday, November 22, 2010

The End of Hope

My husband was listening to some church chants the other day and one line in the chant struck me, "Our God alone is great." Recent materialist atheists have tried to insist that God is Not Great, which makes you wonder, with a title like that, why they're atheists at all.

Anyway, along with Christopher Hitchens' book, there is also Sam Harris and his presumptuous book title, The End of Faith. Now although Sam Harris likes to pretend he's a materialistic scientist, his book is actually quite full of superstition and Buddhism. The last chapter, in fact, argues that Buddhism is somehow a true materialist religion (if that were possible). Now I have known some real materialistic scientists in my day, and their reasoning is marginally more logical than Harris'. One professor I had actually believed that all scientists should be agnostics; as if the scientific method should govern your whole life if you are a scientist (scary the implications that might have for childraising)! However, if the material world is all we see, and there is no God, or possibly no great one, than why continue to function as human beings at all? The end of faith inevitably leads to the end of hope.

Hope is only possible in a universe with a good God. It is not possible in a universe with no god, and it is not possible in a universe with an evil or capricious god. To trust that any action we do could possibly be of any value to any other human somewhere, is to function on the principle that God is Great. When this is seen through the light of the Incarnation, God's goodness and greatness are staggering. Words fail me, but a friend of mine wrote this when reflecting on an insignificant colony of ants:

We could say He cares nothing for our pain. We could say He is not good. We could say we don't understand why the sky isn't all rainbows and why the common cold exists. But we would be fools. And somehow, He would still like us.

How much do I care for these ants? I think I care. I'll stop to watch their wars. I'll buy my children documentaries--insect tributes. I won't crush them when I can help it.

But, if given the chance, would I be willing to become one of them? Would I be willing for them to drag me to the place of execution, taunt me, mock me, ridicule the gift I offered, a gift entirely beyond their comprehension? Would I be willing for the earwig, executed beside me, to add his insults to those of the ants? Would I be willing to die?

Hell no. Never. I have more self-regard than God does. I have less love for the characters beneath me.

N.D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

Happy Advent.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Own Personal TSA Nightmare

In light of everyone recently realizing how scary the TSA full-body scanners and pat-downs are, here's a little story about what happened to us this summer.

We were flying out of White Plains, NY airport back home to the west coast. My 4-year-old would like to be a farmer when he grows up, so he likes to wear his overalls. Having no idea of the nightmare we were in for by letting him do so, he wanted to wear his overalls on the airplane.

Going through the metal detectors, my husband and I split up--he took the 6-year-old through and I took the 4-year-old. Of course, the metal straps on his overalls caused the metal detector to go nuts. The attendant instructed him to go to a waiting area to be "wanded," and told me that I could wait with him.

When the next attendant arrived, he told me that both myself and my son were going to need a full pat-down! I was now a suspect, because I had "touched my son's hand while in the waiting area." My husband saw the commotion, and my refusal to comply, and came over to argue our case. The TSA supervisor was called to say that if we refused a pat-down then we could all "find another mode of travel." We were outraged. My husband insisted that we would neither be pat-down, nor would we leave the area. We are all for catching terrorists, but how on earth does a pat-down of a 4-year-old who's wearing overalls aid in catching criminals? The TSA supervisor stated that it was all just to assure the other passengers that they were "safe." "For goodness sake!" I cried, "How would a pat-down of a 4-year-old make me feel safe? That makes me more scared to fly!"

Basically by being difficult and insisting on our rights they finally just gave in and let us go, thank God. While sitting in the waiting area, trying to calm down we heard the following announcement made by the flight attendants, "Mr. Saladin...Mr. Saladin...would you please board your plane immediately for Washington, D.C." Hmmm...and you went after the 4-year-old in overalls, instead of Mr. Saladin heading to the capitol building?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Mystery To Me

Usually, while driving, I give pedestrians the right-of-way. This probably stems back from driver's ed when we had to attend traffic court for a day and take notes on the cases. I remember someone came to protest a ticket he was given when he cut off a pedestrian who was crossing the sidewalk. The driver was wrong and still got the ticket.

Anyway, it is a complete mystery to me how this deference has gotten me into trouble. The pedestrian sees me coming, stops, and starts waving me ahead of them. I absolutely refuse (I AM the one in the vehicle), and insist they go first. I have received no end of nasty looks, waves, curses, glares, and shaking of heads as a result. Whenever I happen to be the pedestrian, I'm always grateful to those cars who show deference, and usually wave and say thank you. Is this just because of the weirdos I live around, or do all city pedestrians tend toward nastiness?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"In these days we are accused of attacking science because we want it to be scientific."

So that is a quote from G.K. Chesterton, and I read it the same day as I watched something else that made me realize that virtually nothing has changed in the 100 years since he wrote.

I've been watching too much of a show called MonsterQuest, mostly because some of the episodes have the potential to be cool. They go searching for legendary creatures and monsters, and unfortunately, since the show is a History Channel special, you already know that they don't find the creature--otherwise it would be on the evening news, and not on MonsterQuest. Still, the quest is usually enjoyable.

I was having fun watching the episode on the possible sauropod that lives in the jungles of Camaroon and Congo. They spent the first 20 minutes showing the locals--who are completely isolated from modern media--identifying dinosaurs, describing dinosaurs, pointing to pictures of dinosaurs. Then they cut to the "scientific expert." He was a paleontologist at Big University who stated that all this was a "complete evolutionary impossibility." When faced with eyewitness testimony, he could only assert, "in their culture, they don't understand the difference between things that are real and things that aren't." Wow. I always knew evolutionism was racist...but there you go. So much for science being about exploration and discovery, that was about as close-minded as you can get. I've known my fair share of paleontologists, who have called me close-minded for my Creationism, but every theory will leave you open-minded to some things, and close-minded to others--the question really is, which hypothesis fits the evidence better?

As Chesterton might say (had he lived another 100 years)--experts are wrong, and the locals who see this thing while they're fishing every day are right. Unfortunately, those ignorant tribesman know nothing of evolutionary impossibilities; but let's not tell them, at least they understand reality better than a paleontologist.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Fifth Time's the Charm

We had an amazing blessing this week. Over the past 4 years I've had 4 miscarriages, all of them very early, with the latest lasting until the 7th or 8th week. I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks ago, and I was sure this was going to be miscarriage #5. After so many, you get used to the symptoms...feeling very pregnant, and then, all of a sudden, not. My last miscarriage was a missed miscarriage, eventually ending in a D&C, so I thought that was happening again and had prepared myself for the worst.

I had to wait 2 weeks after my doctor's visit to have an ultrasound, which I just had a few days ago. I had told the ultrasound technician what I was expecting to see, and what I had experienced, so she would be ready. She checked me out, before looking at the baby, but as she zoomed in we both saw it--a beating heart! It was so unexpected that I broke into sobs--and so did she! It was an amazing blessing and it's been an amazing week. We are still praying for the little one--because of my history and the way my body is, I need to take things easy until we can get to 12 weeks.

Words cannot express how overwhelmed I've been, and I'm still grateful each day we make it through. I have been blessed by SO MANY people praying for us. One dear friend, who didn't even know I was pregnant, just thought that maybe I was and had been spending the week praying for our unborn baby! So thank you for your prayers, and Lord willing, we'll meet this kid sometime around May 7th!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Wish Ron Paul was My Doctor

Yesterday I read one of the best articles I ever have on being Pro-Life. This was a "mini" book (40 pages) written by Ron Paul way back in 1983, when legalized abortion was just 10 years old. He has the perspective of having been in medical school when the entire attitude towards abortion was changing. He does an excellent job demonstrating that legalized abortion always comes from a society that no longer loves freedom. He gives a solid Christian, Constitutional, and medical perspective, I was quite impressed.

He has several suggestions for the Pro-Life movement in general that I thought were very applicable, even today. It is a tool of the pro-aborts to emphasize the rights of the mother. He says that pro-lifers accept the argument, but try to assert that the baby's rights take precedence over the mother's. He says that we need to be more bold and assert that the mother has all her rights, and the baby has all his, but the mother has a specific obligation to care for her child--to seek life and care for it--in the same way that a physician has an obligation to seek life and health for his patients. This is a moral obligation and has nothing to do with anybody's "rights."

I know just a few years ago Paul introduced a bill into the House which, if it had made it out of committee, could have stopped Roe v. Wade right away. It was a bill that stated the U.S. Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction on the abortion issue at all. It could nullify Roe v. Wade and would immediately send the issue to each state separately, where most states would probably make abortion illegal, and the battle could be concentrated on those where it was still legal. Unfortunately, the man is probably pretty alone in politics, one of the few treating abortion with the seriousness it deserves.

You can get this book by clicking here. Scroll down the page to the first post and click on the words "Download it here" in blue.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Proverbs 24:17

Remember this? Well maybe this is what eventually happens when you try to run minivans off the road. I'm not gloating...just saying.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Not Knowing Things

If you have a bit of time for a good read try this out. It's stellar.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'll Leave This Property When the Bank Man Pries the Shotgun from my Cold, Dead Hands

I think I'm going to enjoy being a Squatter. Our landlords officially foreclosed on our home this month, which means we have 90 days left to revel in our little paradise. Thankfully, it is seasonally the best time of year (we have no heat or insulation, so the cold winter months aren't quite as pleasant here). We have our rent to save (we don't have to pay the bank anything), and our hound to scare away nosy realtors.

If you know of any great houses let us know; we'll be keeping our eyes open for the bank man.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Broken Washing Machine is Never Romantic

Some ways of saving money are so picturesque. My last post on homemade butter churns up (note the pun) such nostalgic memories of bygone eras; ladies in cute dresses; sitting out in the barn with the cows; mixing that cream again and again in the early morning sunrise. Even a broken dryer can evoke such fond thoughts of hanging the washing out on the line...sun shining through...happy children running in and out of the's so beautiful, I think I may have seen it on TV.

However, our washing machine is broken, and nothing about it is romantic. Here's the problem: it fills with water, it rinses, and it empties of water; but the motor is broken and nothing agitates. I hate the thought of lugging the loads of wet clothes home from the laundromat, so I've been filling the tub and scrubbing the stuff by hand for a good ten minutes and then letting it soak and rinse on its own. After one or two loads of being up to my elbows in soapy water, scrubbing up and down, and sweating, I'm really hoping we're done with this soon. I can evoke no romantic memories of ladies from years past with washbasins doing a similar thing. And I can tell you, it's nothing like those sirens in the river from "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Really Fun Money Saving Tip

So I was doing my normal Costco shopping last week, and butter was on the list. Imagine my dismay when Costco up and jumped the price of their butter, the 4-lb. pack, an entire dollar! I was irritated and didn't want to pay the new $8.50 price.

Then I remembered a little trip to a farm demonstration show at the county fairgrounds in June. They showed how easy it was to turn whipping cream into butter with a KitchenAid. Hmmm...and how much was a half gallon of whipping cream? Only $5.50 for the same weight (4 pounds) as the butter! So I took it home, and here's what we got:

Put about 2 c. of whipping cream in your KitchenAid with the whisk attachment (a food processor would also work).

Beat on medium-high speed for 10 minutes.

It will go through several stages: first it looks like whipped cream, then a chunkier version (almost like creamed butter). Keep an eye on it when it gets close to the end--when you see the milk liquid (skim milk) separate itself from the solid you have BUTTER! And it's the sweetest creamiest stuff you can't buy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Song that Makes My Son Burst into Tears

On top of spaghetti
All covered with cheese
I lost my poor meatball
when somebody sneezed.

It rolled on the table
and onto the floor
and then my poor meatball
rolled out the front door.

It rolled in the garden
and under a bush.
And now my poor meatball
is nothing but mush.

Why does this make him cry? I have no idea. He's four and has sympathetic feelings for the meatball? He loves meat so much he hates to see it wasted? Who knows? Anyway, he burst into tears after this song tonight, mumbling something about the meatball. Not just a few tears either, weepy like anything.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Fifth Commandment

When I was young, both my parents had to work full-time. This was for honest financial reasons and not, as sometimes is the case, a justification to keep up a glamorous lifestyle. We owned one car, we paid $200/month mortgage for our mobile home, and we shopped at thrift stores. However, to keep us out of daycare my mom worked full-time during the day while my dad worked full-time all night as a janitor on the graveyard shift and took graduate classes during the day. As a result, they usually only saw each other when one got home and handed the other the car keys. Sunday nights were often the only times they had alone together.

And that's just what I want to honor them for. They gave up much of their own comfort and desires to raise my sister and I in a godly way. They were firm in their conviction to keep us out of daycare, and home with them, and God blessed them enormously for it with the only true wealth--faithful children and grandchildren and treasures laid up in heaven. My Dad said, a few years ago, "When you have a family you do whatever you have to to provide for them." And God blessed his faithfulness; both materially and spiritually.

I am often concerned about our financial situation. As with most of our friends, money is tight when you're on one income, living on a teacher's salary, and raising kids in one of the most expensive counties in the country. But then I remember my parent's sacrifice and their hard work to provide for me, and I remember that we are rich indeed; and our God who clothes the flowers of the field, knows exactly what we need. If the harvest we reap consists of faithful children who love their heavenly Father with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength; we will have real wealth in the end, of the kind that you truly can take with you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I REALLY Couldn't Have Said It Better

I have a friend, who is frankly, the best blogger I have ever read. She recently wrote this post which is simply beautiful. I wish I could print it out and hang it in my house, somewhere I could see it every day--but I think it's too long. Anyway, she makes me sound like just a blubbering fool.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On Giving and Taking Offense

Several of my blogging friends and ladies I know have been discussing the how and when to share opinions and taking offense. This article I read back in college, and is the best I've ever read on the subject. It's short and to the point, but great on both being too quick to share opinions and too quick to take offense. What do you think?

(By the way, I have no idea what the strange drawings are on the top of that web page, it's the only place I could find the article on-line).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Timely Word

If I had a daughter, this is what I hope she would be like.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Politically Incorrect Nursery Rhymes

In the spirit of nursery rhymes, here are some written by the 20th-century author, Hilaire Belloc, Chesterton's best friend. These are family-favorites, although possibly a bit culturally insensitive.


Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.

She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child...

It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.

Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.

The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
-- As often they had done before.

Hilaire Belloc

Matilda Who told Lies, and was Burned to Death

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away,
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidnce) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Hilaire Belloc

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

...And No More Happiness!

Only the Bay Area could come up with something like this. At least we all know what kind of person takes toys away from little kids.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Like Any Kind of Person, Except the Little Ones

Just as a warning, that was sarcastic, and this is ranting.

I am frustrated with landlords in my area who don't like kids. We are not a huge family, we have two kids, and they are little. We currently live in a home that's about 600 sq. feet, which is the biggest place we've lived in. We need to look for a new place and the next time I have a landlord tell me that their place is "too small" for us I think I'm going to throw the phone through the nearest wall. It's all I can do to keep myself from giving them an earful over the phone--giving ourselves no chance to rent from them ever.

I've had landlords tell me that their place is "too small" for us because it's "only" 1200 sq. feet. I've had landlords tell me their place is "too small" because it "only" has two bedrooms.

Now the minute I see what looks like a good deal in our area, and would suit our family, I cringe to send them an email or phone call, knowing the way I feel when I get that kind of response. Yuck.

Get out of my way, I have something to throw.

Monday, April 19, 2010


This is a list of events that occurred the week of my birthday. No wonder my sign is the god of war.

1. Beginning of War for Independence
2. Beginning of Civil War
3. Ending of Civil War
4. Lincoln's assassination
5. The Great San Francisco earthquake
6. Titanic sunk
7. Hitler's birthday
8. Oklahoma City bombing

As T.S. Eliot said, "April is the cruellest month..."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Representatives

When the health care bill deal first started coming around, I alerted my representative to let him know what this household thought of that idea (respectfully, a load of hooey). I believe that was around 14 months ago, right after Obama was inaugerated. Today I got the following response from Sam Farr (notice how I'm his "Friend"):

April 12, 2010

Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting my office. I value the input of every resident of the Central Coast, and my office reads and reviews every message, phone call and letter. I personally review much of this communication, and I take your feedback into account.

My office also tries to follow up with as many constituents as possible, so we will do our best to be in touch with a more substantive answer soon. Please know that I appreciate hearing your comments and will keep them in mind as Congress addresses the many important issues facing our country.

For more information on a range of issues, please visit my Web site at

I also send out occasional e-mails on issues I believe are important to the Central Coast. To sign up for these e-mail updates, please visit and fill out the simple form.

Thank you again for offering your thoughts, and I hope to hear from you soon.



Member of Congress

He values my input so much that he waits until after the bill passes, 14 months later, to send a response. Well, it's not like I would vote for him anyway, but he's sure not working that hard to earn it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If Only My Words Were Written in a Book

Most of you reading this blog (as far as I know) probably know that I've been struggling the last 3 years or so with weird, unexplained illnesses. I've never been one to slow down much, so it's been a struggle to constantly fight with fatigue, nasuea, headaches, and whatever else it seems to throw in our path. Besides the sickness I've had at least 4 miscarriages, which have also tired out my body. I tried seeing our family doctor, an endocrinologist, and a gynecologist, and I was quite tired of seeing doctors. I decided not to see any more, and just pray that if this was a serious problem, that God would make it worse, and more obvious, for a wise doctor to take care of. It has been both literally and figuratively, a "thorn in my side."

Thankfully, this last week, we had a wonderful answer to our problems! Most likely it is endometriosis, and I'll be having surgery next week. I never thought that I would be so grateful to have something wrong with me--but just giving the illness a name, and knowing something can be done about it has been wonderful.

I've felt a lot like Job these last few years, and I've talked with my husband about what God has been wanting to teach me through all this. He explained that although Job never cursed God for his trials, he didn't praise Him for them either. Job's last companion, Elihu, who speaks the truth to him before God shows up, condemns Job for not praising God for what He has brought him. My husband also explained that this is why the Book of Psalms follows Job; unlike Job, David praised God continually in his adversity.

I know I have failed many times in being thankful, especially for a gift from God that I didn't want--like this illness. It's been a hard lesson, but one worth learning. May God give me the grace to show gratitude when all the daily trials come!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Would You Let Your Kid Eat This?

This was my favorite cereal when I was 4. Nobody else ever remembers it, but someone in You Tube-land does. Maybe it's because none of my friends were allowed to eat the stuff.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Luckiest Day in Christendom

I enjoy celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Despite the red hair (which is Norwegian), I have absolutely no Irish blood in me whatsoever, but St. Patrick is my hero. Besides, St. Patrick's Day is certainly not an ethnic holiday--St. Patrick himself was British! I love to tell my kids about how he bravely saved Ireland from demon-worship. I love to sing his song, St. Patrick's breastplate-- what other song in the hymnal has wizards in it? And I love whiskey. St. Patrick's Day could also represent another holiday redeemed on the calendar from the pagans, much like Easter or Christmas.

The Ides of March (March 15th) was previously the most unlucky day of the pagan calendar. This was the feast day of the god Ares, or Mars, the god of war. Considering that most wars were fought in the spring, it was often a time of battle and death. Also, most famously, it is the day Caesar was stabbed by his friends ("beware the Ides of March"). In fact, even in modern times, the Russian Revolution was considered complete on this day when Czar Nicholas abdicated his rule. Then St. Patrick, the Christian missionary, goes and dies at this time of year, and his feast day replaces Ares. Considering his life--miraculously preserved from wicked kings and Druid priests, saving the Irish nation, and eventually saving western civilization--his saint's day unknowingly changed the unluckiest time of year into the luckiest.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hopefully, Someday He'll be as Theologically Astute as His Namesake

My 4-year-old on the Gospels:

"I think that maybe the 12 disciples were wizards, because normal men can't do magic."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Maybe He'll Work for the Health Department Some Day

Here's an interesting conversation I had today with my 5-year-old while he was eating a hot dog for lunch.

L: Mama, Papa told me what hot dogs are made of.
Me: Oh yeah? What did he say?
L: It's intestines. It's pig intestines. I didn't know that it was made of intestines.
Me: Is that gross?
L: Yeah.
Me: Are you still going to eat it?
L: Yeah, because it tastes good with ketchup on it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Late Memorial

Sometimes in the spring I think about my great-grandmother, Lois Earnest. She passed away in the spring, seven years ago, and she was one of the toughest people I've ever known, she was tough for her gratitude. I only wish my boys could have known her.

She was married at 18, already several months pregnant with her first child. Her and her husband lived on a genuine Idaho homestead in the mountains above Grangeville, in North Idaho. This was a serious homestead--log cabin and all. Her father-in-law first established it, and used to nurse cavalry soldiers back to health there who had been injured in wars against the Indians. Both my grandfather and his older brother were raised there, until the land was taken away by the IRS for payment of back taxes.

From that time on she lived in many different places, mostly traveling with her husband who was a miner. For several years she lived in a tarpaper shack that my great-grandfather built along the banks of the Clearwater River. There was a small community of miners there, and they lived in homes with no running water, electricity, or insulation, in a place where the snow often got high enough to not see out the windows. The only place you could walk was the narrow pathway to the outhouse and back.

My great-grandfather mined for gold along the river, and often got into trouble doing things like digging a mine tunnel under the highway. Not realizing that he was directly under the highway he had my great-Uncle Jim hand him several loads of dynamite to blow through a particularly hard rock. It wasn't until they set the dynamite and crawled out to safety, that they realized they had blown a crater through the middle of the highway. They had to pay the highway department to fix it.

This was the 1930s, and a difficult time for most people financially. My great-grandfather was the only one in his community who owned a rifle, and he would hike into the mountains and shoot several deer in a day, then go around from house to house and tell the locals where the deer were so they could hike up themselves, pack it out, and butcher it for their family. Since he saved many families from starving, the local Fish & Game warden turned a blind eye to his over-limit shooting. I still own his rifle, with his name carved into the side, stained with the blood of those deer.

When my great-Uncle Jim was about 20 he was killed in a bar fight, resulting over a particularly beautiful woman. Her younger son, my grandfather, eloped with his girlfriend at 15. They took off across Montana to try to get married in North Dakota, were there was still no age of consent. She sent the cops after them, but they didn't make it in time--the teenagers were already married. They had my Dad a year later, at 16, and are still married to this day. In his late 20s my grandfather was injured in a mining accident and never walked again.

My great-grandfather passed away in the early 1970s, after many years of battling tuberculosis. My great-grandmother married again in the late 1970s, to an old family friend. He began to take her to church regularly, and even after he passed away she was a faithful attendee. As she began to lose her mind, the only thing that kept her anchored was church on Sunday. As the week went by, she became more and more confused, until Sunday morning, when she was reborn.

The only thing she ever lost was her mind. My grandfather used to proudly state that she had never been sick in her life, and she only suffered from arthritis in both her knees. As long as I knew her she walked like she was waddling, with her knees buckled together.

The most remarkable thing about her is that the only time I ever heard her complain was on particularly cold mornings she would say, "Oooo, my knees are hurting a bit today." She was always gracious, kind, and cheerful, even when she couldn't remember who her own family members were. Once, at a family gathering, where many were bickering and nit-picking at each other, she just sat in her chair and smiled. "Isn't it just wonderful to have everyone together?" She said to me with a smile on her face. The only time I can recall her not smiling was when her second husband died of complications from a stroke when I was in junior high.

When I am tempted to be grumpy and unhappy with what God has given me, I like to remember her life and graciousness with which she lived it. She outlived two husbands and one son, braved log cabin winters, and crippling arthritis. She never complained, and in fact lived to know at least one great-great grandson (due to the family habit of marrying and having children quite early). At the end of her life she was a sweet and pleasant woman, filled with gratitude, and no complaints.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Can't Believe That This is Not a Joke

Honestly, I don't know whether I should laugh or cry after seeing this. OK, that's not true, I only laughed. Really, why would you seek out unbelievers to care for your pets, and not seek them out for the gospel? Would it really matter whether or not Fido got his daily walk once the bowls of God's judgment were being poured out on mankind?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Better Hot Dogs with Love, Than Organic Food and Ungratitude

My old friend from college, Hannah Grieser, has a great post on her blog about enjoying all of the food God made in the world. You can read it here.

I love good food as much as the next person, I love eating it and I love making it. On my honeymoon I once spent more on a bottle of wine than on our hotel room for that night. In fact, I tend to think that most of our country's eating disorders come from not loving food enough--such as being grateful to God for all of it, and not treating hunger on the same level as an itch you need to scratch.

Still, our priorities are all confused if we believe that we can somehow attain righteousness by feeling guilty for having eaten food that was not gourmet. As if I needed to repent of listening to folk music, because I could have listened to Mozart. One example of this lack of proportion I recently saw in San Francisco--the "Healthy San Francisco Initiative" now taxes every restaurant patron in order to promote healthy lifestyles. I wonder if those lifestyles involve worshiping the true God weekly and raising godly children? San Francisco could definitely use more of that, and certainly not abortionists who encourage me to eat my vegetables

Friday, January 29, 2010

What I Think of Jay Leno

Not that anyone would care. And not that I've watched any late-night television in the last ten years or so, but I was reading on-line news headlines about the nasty exchanges he's been having and I have a little story that I think illustrates his character perfectly.

Two summers ago I was driving to meet my husband at my in-law's home in Beverly Hills. There's a small mountain pass (Coldwater Canyon) that takes you from the 101 freeway in Studio City over to Beverly Hills. After the last traffic light, the two lanes of traffic merge into one. Here I was, in my mom minivan, with two little kids inside, plodding through the intersection. After the road had already gone down to one lane, I hear a massive engine revving behind me. It got louder and louder, and I realized it was getting closer. I looked to my right and saw a car pushing past me, shoving me into the lane of oncoming traffic. As I swerved over (thankfully no one was coming straight at me), I looked next to me to see who the jerk was that was trying to kill my children. It was Jay Leno. He was driving a convertible, so it was clear who it was.

For some reason, since then, I've never found him funny.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Times They are A'Changin

Or at least hopefully they are...

Over 2/3 of abortion doctors are over the age of 50.

Over 50% of Americans would describe themselves as "pro-life."

Planned Parenthood closed a record number of clinics last year.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Mother I Hope to be Like

"I give thanks to Almighty God, the Creator of all things, who has not found me completely unworthy, for He has deigned to welcome to His kingdom a child conceived in my womb. I am not at all cast down in my mind because of what has happened, for I know that my child, who was called away from this world in his white baptismal robes, will be nurtured in the sight of God."

--Queen Clotilde of the Franks (475-548 A.D.)

Queen Clotilde was the wife of Clovis the Great, the first King of the Franks who repented and became a Christian. At this time he was an idol worshipper, and Clotilde was a Christian. She convinced him to have their firstborn son baptized, and the boy died minutes after the sacrament was done. She said this to him when he mocked her decision to baptize him. Clovis became a Christian later, through the prayers of his wife, and his conversion paved the way for all of western European tribes to turn to Christ. He also was the first king to unite France into the country we recognize today.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hobbits Don't Like the Health Care Plan Either

"So things went from bad to worse. There wasn't no smoke left, save for the Men; and the Chief didn't hold with beer, save for his Men, and closed all the inns; and everything except Rules got shorter and shorter, unless one could hide a bit of one's own when the ruffians went round gathering stuff up 'for fair distribution': which meant they got it and we didn't..."

--The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien