Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's a meme?

OK so I am new at this blogging thing.....but apparently I was 'tagged' in someone's blog and I am supposed to 'tag' HER in mine...and do a meme thing?  Whatever...I'm game. 

6 Things I Value:  My engagement ring.  OK...I KNOW how materialistic and 'shallow' that might sound when others are writing things like ...."faith' but the word 'value' actually has a definition and part of it is what is something worth to YOU vs. what they are worth to the rest of the world.  If someone came up to me today and offered me 10x what my engagement ring appraised for in order to buy it from me, I would turn them down without considering the offer.  I value it for all that it represents.  
    silence.  Say what you want you try going without it for a couple of days...then see how high it is on the list of things YOU value! 
   honesty:  I cant' stand being lied to
   faith, certainty, world peace, my health.  
Those are not listed in order of what I value most to the least...just written down.  

6 Things I Support:
   My local community blood center-easiest way in the world to save a life and give something  back
   my local pregnancy resource center "Don't tell them Jesus loves them till you're ready to love them too" 
   locally grown produce
  BUY AMERICAN  "Might as well if not it's going to cost you $25 billion PLUS the cost of your subaru!) 

6 Things I do NOT support:
 People collecting money in cans (or fireman's boots) at intersections.  (!!!!!)
  Amnesty for illegals
   Government bailout of Wall St.  
  Philosophies that 'save the trees and kill the children' 
  "tolerance" for tainted truth or un-biblical values and standards in a church
  my local bagel shop...(it's time for them to catch up to the times & start taking credit cards.) 

Alright that's first 'meme' still don't know what that means or what it is....but hopefully my first was not a complete failure. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

thanks for the memories....

A couple of weeks ago I was taking out boxes of books from my attic to put out on some new bookshelves we bought.  After 6 years of living in this house we thought maybe it was time to finish unpacking.  Well one of the boxes that we dragged down down from the attic turned out to not be books but rather a box of memories.  It had my old year books in it (yikes!).  It had letters from old friends and old boyfriends, it had things like the number I wore when I ran the NYC marathon, my finishing certificate.  Isn't it amazing what a box of memories can bring back? I found a thank-you note in there from my old high-school principle from when I had done devotions.  An old high-school paper I had written that had notes on it from my favorite teacher telling me that it was one of the best papers he had ever read.  It was unbelievable how some things so forgotten for so long could be brought back so vividly.   I definitely recommend keeping a box of memories, even what you are sure is going to be insignificant can be fun to look through 10-15  years down the road when life is so different from where it was!   By far the most fun was the pictures.  I will try to control myself and not post ALL of them..but some of them must be shared. 

Me BEFORE the marathon.....

This was November of 2000.  For those of you who don't know, you start the NYC on Staten Island, and you have to be there several hours before the marathon starts.  Fortunately for me my sister had a friend who was a coast guard stationed on Staten Island the year that I ran the marathon so I got to hang out in his room (and have my sister with me) while I was anxiously waiting for the start of 26.2 miles as opposed to out in the freezing cold with most others.  This is me AFTER the 26.2 miles.  Again for those of you who don't know that is a STUPID long distance to try to cover on foot.  I can't take this opportunity (well shouldn't) to share all the memories that going through the photos brought to me but it really is funny how looking at a picture can take you back to that point in time.  I remember how I felt, physically, emotionally, everything.  Something I could not have really remembered enough to talk to you about the day before is back with stunning clarity.  

This is me and my sister at my brother's wedding in May 2001.  My sister is all dressed up in silver because she was asked to be part of the wedding of my brother's grooms..women? Was I asked, you ask?? Noo.....but that's OK....I'm not holding on to bitterness after all these years.....;-) 

These are two of me on a vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic...sadly I don't remember the year....02 or 03.  Scuba diving and swimming with dolphins.  Scuba diving is still something that I would describe as a life-changing experience.  You dive into the water, worried about being able to breathe through the machine they give you, worried about remembering all the instructions you were given and all of a sudden you look around and you are in a whole new world!! We were surrounded by gorgeous fish and beautiful plant life.  I don't know when I have ever been in more awe of God's creation than I was then. I mean it's like He didn't just create one world.  He created several.  There is our world, then there is outer space, then there is deep ocean can you imagine the creativity and imagination of our Creator God?  Ok. I know it's  a rabbit trail but I heard something the other day that struck me.  How recently have people started exploring the ocean? Especially the deep ocean?  There are depths we may never get to, animals we may never see with human eyes?  Do you know what that means? That means that some things were created simply for GOD to enjoy?  How cool is that? SOMEDAY I am going to do it again.  A life dream of mine now is to get certified and go scuba diving as often as I possibly can.  

Some memories were more poignant than others.  I found pictures of me with ex-boyfriends.

THIS is my first love Matt.  I also found some old diaries.  I am SUCH a girl!!  It was funny reading through those.  Have you ever heard Garth Brooks' song "Unanswered prayers"?  The main line is "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers, remember when your talking to the man upstairs that just because He doesn't answer doesn't  mean He don't care.  Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers".  I don't usually take my philosophy from Garth Brook songs..honestly.  But I think he might be on to something here. ;-)   Looking back I can honestly tell you I don't think that I would do things all that differently.  Matt played a big part in my life, he was a piece of the puzzle, or yarn that is forming into the larger picture or tapestry of my life...BUT he broke my heart. 
     I read through part of the diary and it was fairly ironic all these years laer, parts of it.   I talk at one point about having Matt call me talking about getting together, and another friend Mark coming to see me in the city to take me to a Broadway play, and about going out with Tim.  I follow that up with " you would think that I had a very full social calendar and would never worry about being alone but I don't see it really going anywhere with any of those guys! (HA!).  My last entry was the one that got me though.  There was almost a quarter of the diary left so I would guarantee you that I did not know at the time that I wrote it that it would be my last entry but I said "what a difference a year makes, aren't I glad that I am not the one ultimately in charge".    Have truer words ever been said?  I can tell you looking back now that "what a difference 10 years make, aren't I glad that I am not the one ultimately in charge."   

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post election thoughts.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008.......

Aesop:  "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office"

Some thoughts on what will go down as a historic day in our history.   

Elie Wiesel : "It may well be that our means are fairly limited and our possibilities restricted when it comes to applying pressure on our government.  But is this a reason to do nothing?  Despair is not an answer.  Neither is resignation.  Resignation only leads to indifference, which is not merely a sin but a punishment." 

 Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  (ESV)

Daniel 2:21  He changes times and seasons: he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 

Franklin Roosevelt " An election cannot give a country a firm sense of direction if it  has two or more national parties which merely have different names but are as alike in their principles and aims as two peas in the same pod. " 

In his recent appearance at Rick Warren's Saddleback church Warren asked Obama:  "Now lets deal with abortion.  40 million abortions since Roe  v Wade.  You know, as a pastor I have to deal with this all the time.  All of the pain and all of the conflicts.  I know this is a very complex issue.  40 million abortions (that is 1 in 3 pregnancies; 1 in 17 end in partial birth abortions) At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?" 
Obama responded : "Well I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know is above my pay grade."  

Psalm 139: 13-15  For you formed by inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My from was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  

Psalm 63:9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 

" A government big enough to give you everything you want , is strong enough to take everything you have"  Gerald Ford

Monday, October 27, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes.....

I went to the gym t his morning because I had an appointment with a personal trainer.  When I went to pick up the kids from 'tot drop' ( I LOVE the Wyckoff Y)  the woman who was working there asked me "do you go to church".  I frankly didn't think much of the question I had rushed my kids out of God's Little Singers in order to make it there on time so I thought that maybe that had come up with Kaity.  I just answered "yes".   She asked "what church do you go to"  to which I responded "Hawthorne Gospel Church on 208".  She told me that they had been watching "Sleeping Beauty" and the witch had come on the mirror and Kaity  had told her "she is NOT being nice and God tells us that we are always supposed to be nice to everyone".    How cool is that?  My 3 1/2 year old is unabashedly sharing what God's word says when she finds things in life that contradict it.   WHY do we feel the need to lose that?   I can tell you that it once again brought to mind Matthew 18:3 where Jesus says "Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (ESV)  
   My heart almost aches with how much I hope that my children never do.  We had a guest speaker come to our church last Sunday to speak about missions.   Tod Ahrend.  He was AMAZING.  I grew up as a missionary kid and this sermon was the best I have ever heard on missions.  I don't know that you could away unchanged after that message.  One of the things that got to me the most was him talking about his wife putting their year and a half old daughter to bed and having family devotion time with her first.  He gave us a glimpse into what the prayer time looked like.  That 'glimpse' was an impassioned prayer "the world is waiting for you'  the mother prayed about her daughter.  She prayed that her daughter would 'fall in love' with muslim women and be willing to 'live behind the veil' in order to reach them.   How many of us would be 'willing' to see our children go off and do that?  Let alone be praying for them since BIRTH that that would be the life that they would choose because reaching people for the Lord is THAT important?  I can tell you that my prayers for Kaity HAVE changed since hearing that sermon.  In complete honestly I can tell you that I am not nearly ready to pray that her life would lead her 'behind the veil'.  Maybe someday I'll get there, she may get there without me.  But I have prayed every day since October 19th that she would have a passion for winning souls for Christ and telling them about God.  I'd really like to think that this morning was God's way of telling me He's hearing my prayers.
  Here is a link to a youtube video of Tod Ahrend.  It's not the message he gave at HGC but it's still powerful and still shows his passion.  

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm NOT as dumb as you think I am CONGRESS!!

I am soo tired of being treated like  your average working American is significantly  dumber than our congress men and woman! Yes, I think that we can agree that for alot of us money had gotten tighter and we were not enjoying the prosperity that maybe we had been fora few years.  Of course for a LONG time we were told that the sky was falling because of high oil prices...and at that  it was surprising  that they were willing to take a break from telling us that the sky was falling because of global warming.  And now of course it is the housing bubble and credit freeze (??) that is going to bring destruction down on all of us.   I mean if you are going to preach the apocalypse would it kill you to pick WHAT it is that is going to bring about the end of the world and stick to it?  Trying to keep track of what it is that I am supposed to be terrified of this week is getting exhausting. 
  However, after the government had to step in to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Lehman Brothers went  bankrupt, suddenly oil prices are no longer a concern (kind of a shame because it's down to  $95 a barrel).  The government had to come in riding on it's white horse and save us all from certain disaster.  It had to be done NOW, I mean if we didn't have the bailout bill passed in two days......wait...what WAS going to happen?  I forget....fairly certain the sun still rose this morning because  the earth is still rotating around it.    The American people HATE this plan...they called their representatives in numbers RARELY if ever seen in this country to tell them to absolutely NOT vote for this bill.  Many did not.  The media roasted them for 'pandering' because they were concerned about  being re-elected.  THEY SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT BEING RE-ELECTED IF THEY VOTE IN A WAY THAT THE PEOPLE THEY REPRESENT DISAPPROVE OF".  There is a reason why they call them 'representatives'  they are supposed to represent US when they vote.  How dare they do what we told them to?  Of course the overwhelming implication (when it was merely implied rather than said out loud) is that we are dumb.  We don't understand the bill--THAT is why we don't want them voting for it. If it was presented to us more CLEARLY...if we UNDERSTOOD the ramifications...yadda yadda yadda.   Of course the people who live in their bizarre little political world in D.C.  who haven't lived on 'Main Street' in years if ever OH so clearly are better equipped to tell us what we like and don't like and what we want to see happen and don't want to see happen.  
  Here is something I want to be clear about and I think I can say it with certainty.  I UNDERSTAND THE BILL, I UNDERSTAND THE RAMIFICATIONS OF PASSING OR NOT PASSING THE BILL AND (congress are you listening)  I STILL DON'T WANT IT TO PASS. 
    I think that the bill is BAD for America.  I think that a market correction will be tough on America but we are a tough country.  If we can survive 9/11 we can survive a housing bubble letting some air out, we can survive the residual effects of what greed did to some areas of the economy.  We CAN not and WILL not survive the LARGEST EVER intervention of the government into the private sector and survive as a free market economy. 
  You can look at what happened in Japan in the 90's.  The politicians there tried to artificially prop up a real estate bubble, it led to a decade of economic stagnation.   I believe that what happened in the 1930's when the government raised taxes and spending turned a stock market crash into the Great Depression.  
  I don't care how often it is told to me on TV that they are not 'rewarding' anyone on Wall St. but merely trying to protect those innocent bystanders living on Main Street.  The free market works because people benefit from making wise decisions.  You or I are anyone can live the American Dream.  FIgure out how to provide a good or service either a new one or an old one cheaper or better than someone else and you can be rich.  Of course there is a downside.  You might not make it, your decision might not be as good as you thought it was and you could lose money and go bankrupt.  Same thing with people merely investing their money.  If you pick a good company your money becomes MORE money.  If you pick a bad company or make a bad choice you can lose money.  Quite often the higher the risk the greater the return if it succeeds.  Most of us have to balance how risky we are willing to be when we invest our money.   If you win money if you make good choices but get bailed out if you make poor decisions.  Why would you EVER make the safe investment choice?  If you don't believe me ...look at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or study the savings and loan failures from the late 1980's and see what happens when profits are privatized but losses are socialized.  
     Let's also not forget that the people who we are looking to to fix the problem CAUSED the problem.  By lowering interest rates too low, by giving people mortgages they could not afford by the "Community Reinvestment Act"  which told banks to give loans to people with no or poor credit.  Even when the government was warned about the dangers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac they denied anything was wrong.  Largely because their hands were in those companies pockets.  They had a MAJOR interest in how those companies we want to give them that same amount of involvement in ALL of our financial institutions and think that somehow this will make things BETTER...LESS corrupt?  Sorry Congress...I understand why all that would greatly benefit YOU...I understand that there is something for YOU to gain in making government larger than it has ever having a personal interest in all of the financial workings of the greatest economy in the world, I know that you would LOVE to sell me that this is what MY FAMILY needs....but I 'm just not that dumb. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Best Grammy EVER!

NO attempt to chronicle the important going ons in my children's life would nearly be complete without telling of the shopping trip that Kaity recently went on with Grammy and Myia.  
   I don't know how or when my mom came up with the idea....but she did and followed through in no time at all.  She found out when she could take a couple of days off of work in a row, booked a hotel room and they were ON their way.  
  Don't get me wrong I TRIED to talk Kaity out of going...oh I tried (knowing I would fail).  I asked her every day if she was SURE that she wouldn't just rather stay home with me (she was sure)....didn't she think that she was going to miss me too much (I'll miss you bu
t it's OK.).   She VERY impatiently counted down the days till they were going saved her own money ($17) and bounced off with grammy without so much as a single look back at her mom who was/is  pretty sure that her baby girl is WAY too young to be going off without her. They  stayed in a hotel room, and watched t
v and ate 'junk food' (all food was junk food merely because it was being eaten while on the shopping trip with grammy).  There was a pool in the hotel room and it was on THIS trip...under the supervision of GRAMMY (not her own mother who took her to a pool nearly every day this summmer...not that I'm bitter...much) that Kaity got over her aversion to putting her head under the water and did it over and over again. 
They went to Hershey where Kaity from the picture below apparently got into some sort of altercation that required her to demand her union rep be called in to mediate. 

I am just happy that SOME work was required of them after all the shopping and spoiling that was being done too them! 

Oh did I mention the shopping? There was apparently quite a bit of that going on...Most of the outfits that were bought had to be matching.  They also ate at Perkins quite a bit because according to Myia & Kaity  "they know how to make the best pancakes".  
Of course like everything else all good things must come to an end.  So finally it was time to pack up their bags, put on some new clothes ...and head home. It's still all that Kaity will talk about.  Every time she sees Grammy she asks her when they are going to go again.  Today we decorated a piggy bank so that she has somewhere to put all the money that she is saving for the next time that she goes shopping with Grammy.  She is particularly fussy about the clothes that they bought on the trip..Rodney can't pull on them, they can't get dirty, must be put away because "grammy says we have to take care of our clothes.".     They have plans for this being at LEAST an annual event.  I can only imagine the memories that will be formed over the years as I am still hearing all the memories of this one! 
Thanks Grammy (mom to me).  You really are the best! 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You gotta bereave...

 The mets are now a game and a half behind the Phillies in the National League East and they are now tied for the wild card.  Is is me, or is it hard to be a mets fan some years? 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lest we forget....

7 years.   That's a long time.  I was 22.  I had been married a little over a year, I had no kids.  My life has changed a LOT in 7 years.  I have changed a lot in 7 years.  My priorites, my relationship with God, my goals, my dreams.  Some things have not changed.  I can't manage to put all my thoughts about 9/11 down in words.  Writing is what I do.  It's my coping mechanism.  Most of my prayers I write rather than voicing.  I have not put my thoughts about that day that as Bloomberg said "started out like any other, and ended like no other" on paper ever.  I hadn't planned on it today.  Here is the thing.  This blog is called 'a living journal' for a reason.  I see it as a memoir for my children.  this morning I had the tv on and was observing the first moment of silence with tears streaming down my face.  My son? playing on my bed with a tube of toothpaste really wanting me to open it for him.  Oddly at 1 1/2 he wasn't all that affected by the tv coverage of the memorial.  This day defined my generation.   If that sounds overly dramatic I would have you try to argue the point.   We had never been attacked,  never really had a war that affected us,  we lived our soft,  self-centered, materialistic lives assuming that nothing would ever change that.  
  Everything changed.  7 years later it hurts like it did then, the anger swells when I see the images.   Today like no other I hate that I no longer work in Manhattan.  Somehow not being there makes me feel like I am an outsider looking in on someone else's grief.  Like I am feeling pain in a wound that is not my own.  I know that it touched the whole country.  I understand that it was an attack on all of us, our beliefs, our security.  It was different if you were a New Yorker.  I am not going to write all my experiences that day or the days to come...over time maybe...other anniversaries.  Just some of the things that I remember the starkest.   I went to college in lower Manhattan.  I remember the first day I went back to college.  Several blocks up from the WTC site you could still smell the awful smell from there.  I was walking toward my college building trying to cope with that and trying to assimilate that in some ways so soon after life was going back to 'normal' when I noticed something on a wall that I was coming up to--something that just seemd new and out of place.  When I got there what it was was a wall full of pictures of 'missing' people.  Most of them were attached to pieces of paper telling where this person had worked in the towers,  when the last contact was made , and a contact number where someone who loved them could be reached if anyone had any information.  There was this assumption right after that the hospitals would be overwhelmed with injured, those who couldn't identify themselves, or people would be dazed and wouldn't be able to find there way home.   That just wasn't the case.  Almost all of those pictures were of people who had perished.  However, they remained for MONTHS as a sort of make-shift memorial.  
   I lost someone I knew.  I had worked with him for a few months, we had actually  gone out on a few dates before I met the man who is now my husband.  He wasn't a Christian, he was still in college so it never went further than a couple of lunch dates but we stayed friends.  He  would always stop in on summers when he was home for college and a bunch of us would go out to lunch and catch up.  I saw him August of 2001.  He came in to Lazard because he was done with college and he was so excited because he had gotten a job at Cantor Fitzgerald in the WTC.   Less than a month later he was dead.   Do you know what kills me?  I never ONCE shared my faith with him.  I had chances.  He knew that I was a Christian, he knew that because he wasn't was the main reason I wouldn't keep dating him.  Because he knew that much I patted myself on the back for not being ashamed of my faith.   After I heard that he was a victim it could not have been more clear to me how useless it was for him to know what MY faith was.  
   Well that is a part of where I was "When the world stopped turning".    Today the pentagon is opening their memorial .  It's time for New York to get on it.  Were New Yorkers--were strong, we don't let  people hold us down, it's time to replace the hole that has been left in Manhattan with something that like it's people is bigger and stronger than it was before.  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

In my mind I'm going to Carolina...

I can NOT believe the summer is over.   That my calendar is reading September 6th definitely seems a little hard to grasp.  The summer was an amazing one.  My kids are both at that priceless, precious age.  They are both still so excited by so much of what they see around them, still easily pleased.  There is NOTHING sweeter to me than looking in my rearview mirror in the van and seeing two kids who are sound asleep because they were just exhausted by a long day at the beach.  Their still wet, salty hair clingy to their cheeks which are still rosy from the sun and exertion.  The end of the summer was especially special.  August 14th my sister flew in from Nashville and we headed down to Ocean City, NJ to spend time at "Grammy's beach house".  Timmy took a long weekend and I stayed down for almost a week.  It was so incredible.  If  you have read any of my blog you know how special Nonni is to Kaity.  Well the week at the shore showed that the fascination was not lost on Rodney either.  "Nonni" is now one of the words that he says...and often.   Just today he was in the crib at my parents house trying to fall asleep and talking to himself and quite often one of the words you heard him say was "nonni".  Too cute.  I also realized that my daughter shares my love and passion for the ocean.  She would be at the ocean every chance she was given, and in the water when she was in the ocean as much as she possibly could be.  She would go in by  herself with her boogie board and ride the waves, or be 'just like grammy' and put her beach chair right at the edge where the water could lap over her sit there.  
  Well I drove back from Ocean City Wed. Aug.  20th-spent the 21st doing laundry and re-packing everything because August 22nd we piled the whole family in the car and headed for the Outer Banks for North Carolina.   ON the way down we stopped in Salisbury, MD for the night to break the trip up.   We got a hotel with a pool so that the vacation memories could start right away.   The next day we figured that we had about 3 to 3 1/2 hours until we got to our vacation destination.  We WOULD have been right except that we had completely underestimated the traffic getting off and on the island.  THe last 13 miles of our trip took us a little over 3 hours!! BUt we finally arrived.   
  The vacation was amazing.  The house was beautiful.  We had a private pool and hot tub in the back yard.  Everything was new construction.  From the deck looking one way you saw the ocean and looking the other way you saw the bay.   On Sunday TIm's sister and her family arrived to share the house with them.  We hadn't seen the whole family in a long time and it was the first time we had a chance to spend a significant amount of time with them.   They were awesome.  Kaity was in cousin heaven!   The ocean was beautiful.  I got to go ocean kayaking one day which was so much fun.  Something that I really MUST try to make a habit of when given the chance.  
  One day when I went down the water was as rough as I have ever seen the ocean.  Ironically, I can't tell you when I have ever felt more at peace than standing in water that as deep as my calves had the power to knock me over.   I was overwhelmed by the scriptures that just flooded my mind standing there staring at this huge, swelling,  churning  mass of water.   I thought about the disciples on the boat when Jesus calmed the storm.  I thought of Heb 6:19  "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul firm and secure" (ok i couldn't have told you the reference at that exact moment but the verse was there. ) I thought of Christ as our strong tower that we can run to.  Psalm 107: 29b  "the waves of the sea were hushed".   I mean seriously looking at that ocean (thanks to Gustav).  And thinking of God 'hushing' that.  It was awe-inspiring.  I don't nearly  have the literary talent to put what that moment was into words.  You could NOT miss the realization of how small you were in God's creation but how in control HE was, and if  He could hush the waves with a word how much more is HE capable of calming the storms that come up in my life? Internally or from outside forces? 
   The week was over too soon, and reality is always waiting isn't it?   I came back to a house that looked like a vacation bomb had exploded--which had ignited a clothing bomb--which all exploded over what was left after a dog hair bomb had gone off!!!  I came back to spiritual battles,  ministry demands, family conflicts, life requirements.  Even political concerns.   It's all still here.  But you know what?   That moment on the beach between me and my All-Powerful God---that's still with me.  He knew what strength I was going to need to face the good, and the rough from this fall and coming year and I think that maybe He knew that I needed word from HIm to let me know that He was going to be there and ready and able to calm the storms if they ever got too rough for me to handle.  
   I didn't mean to turn this into a discussion part of my spiritual journey.  I was really just going to talk about my vacation but my  mind always takes me back to that day when I think of what was significant about that trip.  
    Were back now, I have vacuumed up the dog hair, washed and put away most of the clothes, cleaned the house--and now we are excited to face what the fall and the coming year hold for us!! 

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Oswald Chambers writes "We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the growth of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail.  Never believe that the so-called random events of life are anything less than God's appointed order.  Be ready to discover His divine designs anywhere and everywhere."  

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What $15 Million Dollars gets you.

Have you guys heard about the waterfalls in NYC?  You can read all about it.  It involves four "waterfalls" in lower Manhattan at the cost of $15 million dollars.  I had heard about it when the project was first introduced and thought it was a neat concept.  So when plans for my mom's birthday involved a trip around Manhattan via the Hudson on a boat I was very excited that I was going to get a chance to see them.  
   Well the boat ride around Manhattan was AWESOME.  

Lots of beautiful things to see,                                                     GREAT way to see Manhattan.  

The waterfalls on the other hand?  Somewhat disappointing.  I would have to go so far as the say cheesy.  I mean it's scaffolding with water pipes spewing water out the top.  When they talk about the project they say things about it being quintessential New York because scaffolding is such a part of the city.  (??) So is pigeon poop.  I think it's their way of saying that they had a cool concept but couldn't come up with a better way of implementing it.  

Kaity's first haircut.

Yes I finally acquiesced and allowed Kaity to have her hair cut.  Probably not surprising the event was far more traumatizing for me than it was for her!  Especially, since she was FAR more concerned about gettingto the promised ice cream than about what was coming off her head!!  Rodney was just wondering why ice-cream hadn't been a part of the THREE times that he has had his hair cut already.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


There are times when we hear ourselves in our children and think " sweet", then there are other times when we hear ourselves in our children and grimace.  Then there are those perfect times when we hear no one but our children in our children. I thought I would share some of each. 
  About a week ago I was cleaning my basement because we had company coming for the 4th of July.  I enlisted Kaity's help as they are mostly her toys that make the basement look like Toys R' Us exploded down there.  She was a GREAT helper putting all her toys into their toy box without complaining or anything.  Well quickly the toy boxes were filling up so I started putting toys into a milk crate we have down there.  Kaity sees what I am doing puts her hand on  her hip and with a VERY disapproving/reprimanding voice says "Mom, I am trying to put my toys in the toy box is THAT  (gesturing at the milk crate full of toys) helping?".    
   They say kids don't GET sarcasm....HA! kids can get anything if they start getting taught it early enough.  
 So that was the grimace.  However, a day or so after that we were eating dinner with my dad at Boston Market.   Grampy had gone over go get soda and when he came back told Kaity that they could share.  SO Kaity looks at me and says "mom Grampy got us soda", I said "oh that was so nice of him Kaity"  Kaity leans over and squeezes Grampy's arm.  "He's a good man" she says.  
  That was the proud smile (he IS a good man).   Then there was the 3 1/2 year old.  Daddy was getting her in the car outside of Panera and Kaity leans over and picks something up from the ground that had fallen off the tree. 
Kaity:  "What is this daddy" 
Tim:  "Bark" 
Kaity shoots a questioning look '??" 
Tim:  I know it sounds strange but  what comes off of a tree has the same word as the sound a dog makes. Weird huh?
 So Kaity gets up in the van with her possession.  We drive along for a little bit and Kaity says "Oh no mom I dropped my....."  I turned around to look at her as she starts to say "What's it called again.. (the light goes know she's remembered) .oh yeah.  Mom I dropped my woof."  
  True story.   You can't make this stuff up. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nostalgia Aint What It Used to Be

Just for fun I thought that I would share with you some interesting numbers.

The government says that the tax burden will be $2.6 trillion in 2008.  But counting the "deadweight" loss from damage done by taxes to the private economy, the real tax burden is twice that-roughly$ 5.2 trillion.  
  On the spending side, a study by the Office of Management and Budget showed that government programs on average fall 39% short of meeting their goals.  THus, in 2008 , government will spend $2.7 trillion to provide $1.65  trillion of benefit.  $5.2 trillion tax burden for  $1.65 trillion benefit?  
  In 2008 American will spend more on taxes than they will spend on food, clothing and housing COMBINED.

Everyone has been complaining about gas prices lately and Obama wants to put a tax on the 'windfall profits' that the oil companies are making, while McCain wants to 'investigate'  the speculation that goes on and how that impacts the gas prices.   Well there are some interesting numbers there too.  The governments makes a MINIMUM of 13% on every tank of gas sold.  That is higher in some places like California  and does NOT include the INCOME taxes they make off the oil companies.  The oil companies make 8.3% on every tank of gas sold.  
  Other interesting numbers on this topic...How many new refineries have been built in this country in the last 30 years-0.   Not to mention that they won't let us drill for oil domestically which would greatly eliminate our dependance on foreign oil but to be fair they have their reasons I think the "American Thinker" put it best 1) Such drilling might enrich the evil oil companies who exploit us by providing cheap, abundant fuel at profit; 2) such drilling might harm the environment in mystical ways immune to scientific inquiry ;3) Actually finding oil might stop the artificially induced conservation efforts  of Leftist by allowing middle class American to drive as if they were limousine liberals.  
Hillary and Obama  are both looking to take the oil companies profits.  The problem is a large portion of those profits largely belong to the American people.  40% of Americans are heavily invested in big oil.  And the real figure is probably much higher than that.  If you have mutual funds, stock market funds, or if you have a pension fund, a 401-K or and IRA or even a bank account, you are invested in the big oil companies because these companies have had the greatest return on investments. 

    Obama's spending strategy is this: he wants to spend $150 billion on a green-energy plan.  He want to establish an infrastructure investment bank to the tune of $60 billion.  He wants to expand health care by roughly $65billion.  He wants to "reopen" trade deals (i.e. raise the barriers to free trade).   He intends to regulate the profits for drug companies, health insurers and energy firms.  He wants to establish a mortgage-interest tax credit.  He wants to double the number of workers receiving the earned-income tax credit and triple the benefit for minimum wage workers.  The WSJ's Steve Moore has done the math on Obama's tax plan.  It is going to cost about $800 billion.  It is going to add up to 39.6 % personal income tax, a 52.2% combined income and payroll tax, a 28% capital gains tax , a 39.6% dividends tax and a 55% estate tax.   
That might be enough numbers for now, especially because so many people really seem to be OK with the idea of redistributing wealth, and have bought into the concept of making big companies pay.  I think I shall end with a thought from President Ford. 
"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"I never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden."
-Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666

I think that I have finally, mostly, finished my planting in my garden this year.  It was a fairly larger project than other years because this year as part of what we did we built a retaining wall around the garden and down the side of the house.  Now I am just trying to convince Timmy that we need to redo the lawn in FRONT of the garden.   
I  know there are those of you laughing at me for calling my 2'x10' space  a garden.  I understand that it is basically a really large flower box...but I love it. There is truly something undeniably just perfect about digging in the dirt, planting things and then having the pleasure of watching them grow.  
God Almighty first planted a garden: and, indeed it is the purest of human pleasure. 
-Francis Bacon
So  now when the dishes REALLY need to get done ...I go outside and weed...or when the laundry is piling up so that we have no clean clothes to wear...I go outside and water.  I think there really is something to the saying that "God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.".    Blast those rainy days...of course the rain doesn't touch my hanging plants and flower I do still have to take some time for those! ;-) 

Monday, May 26, 2008

To All Who Have and Are Serving-Thanks.

Memorial Day 
by Edgar A.  Guest

These did not pass in selfishness;
they died for all mankind;
They died to build a better world
for all who stayed behind;
And we who hold their memory dear,
and bring them flowers today,
Should consecrate ourselves once more
to live and die as they.

They were defenders of the faith
and guardians of the truth;
that you and I might live and love,
they gladly gave their youth;
And we who set this day apart
to honor them who sleep
Should pledge ourselves to hold the faith
they gave their lives to keep.

If tears are all we shed for them.
then they have died in vain;
If flowers are all we bring them,
forgotten they  remain;
If by their courage we ourselves 
to courage are not led,
Then needlessly  these graves have closed
above our heroes dead.

To symbolize our love with flowers is not enough to do;
We must be brave as they were brave,
and true as they were true.
They died to build a better world,
and we who mourn today
Should consecrate ourselves once more
to live and die as they.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tourist for A Day...

I live roughly 20 miles from Manhattan.  For 10 years before I moved to N.J. I lived in the Bronx.  Given those facts it is a bit sad how little I have checked off my list of things I would like to see and do there.  We had family in for the weekend and given that they are tourist, not only had they already done and seen more in the city than I have, they wanted to see more.  So on Sunday morning we piled the kids in the car and headed in.  
   I think therein lies part of the reason we don't get in more often....the tolls are exorbitant... the traffic is horrendous... the parking is sky high, but I digress.
   We drove past ground zero which is still mostly a hole in the ground 7 years later.  pathetic. 
We parked our car down at 45 wall street by battery park.  I worked in midtown for 7 years so I spent very little time downtown.  It is a gorgeous, charming part of the city with little surprises around every corner. We would turn a corner and there would be a street that was still cobblestone.  We  turned another corner and it was be a street full of little bistros with all outside seating.   We walked over to battery park which is a beautiful park.  It's all the way down at the end of Manhattan right on the water and it's really clean (for NYC) and nicely maintained.   I had NO idea that New York City even had a Vietnam Veteran's Memorial!  
I also had no idea that there was a Merchant Mariners Memorial. 

They do.  
On the list of things that I have wanted to do but have never gotten around to was Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty.  I have only ever come as close as the Staten Island Ferry gets you.  This time since we were with  family from Idaho we thought that we would ante up the whopping $12 that they charge for the ferry ride over and take a closer look.   Well worth it.  It helped that it was a gorgeous 70 degree day without a cloud in the sky but the boat ride over was fun, and well there is something very awe inspiring about seeing lady liberty up close.  And appropriately I found  there are few places in the city with more ethnic diversity.  You see people from all countries and cultures, several languages being spoken and it just seems so fitting that this symbol of liberty at the 'entrance' to Manhattan would be what brought us all together. 
    Well after that the only thing to do was to experience a little bit more culture,  so we headed up to Little Italy for dinner.  If you have never been to Little Italy in downtown Manhattan it is a 'MUST' experience.   You truly feel like you have walked into another world.  It is especially fascinating because we got there driving through Chinatown first and the change is drastic.  From one block to the next you feel like you  have just crossed continent borders, let alone countries, and in reality you have just driven a hundred feet! 
   The day was exhausting, but educational and fascinating and just plain fun.  So if you live within a hundred miles of Manhattan I definitely recommend taking the time to see some of the sights that in a lot of ways we just take for granted.  And, well, if you live more than a hundred miles from Manhattan why don't you come visit someone who DOES live here...and make them take you to see some of the sights?  They'll probably thank you for it. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed-The Movie

I went to see Expelled this past weekend.  Going into the movie I did not know what to expect.  I had read some of the reviews on line, most of which were NOT very positive.  Downright nasty actually.  There have been times in the past where I have felt that when people feel like  they have the truth, they don't actually have to put out a quality product.  They seem to assume that the truth will carry them. 
  I did not feel that way about Expelled.  I thought the movie was entertaining and well done.  I confess that in order to enjoy it fully you have to actually HAVE a sense of humor which it was obvious that some of the people did not have.  And it's probably easier to enjoy the movie if the premise of the movie is not one that makes your skin crawl. Since I would like to think that I do have a sense of humor and the premise of the movie does NOT make my skin crawl I actually really enjoyed it.  
 Ben Stein basically seemed to have three points that he wanted to get across.  The first one being that if you hold to the theory of intelligent design that you are "expelled" from the scientific and academic world.  The second one being that there is a connection to the theories of Darwin and Nazism, abortion, eugenics, euthanasia ...etc.  And the third being the idea that to some extent evolution is indeed it's own religion or at the very least has it's own 'religious' agenda.  In my opinion he did a much better job defending the second two ideas than he did the first one which was basically the premise for the whole movie.  To be  fair he did not have that many examples of people who had been kicked out of the scientific academia because of their religious or ID views and not much time was given to those who would refute that there might have been another reason for what was considered ill treatment.  I am not sure that Ben Stein is wrong.  I think that it probably IS harder to get ahead in that world if you hold a view contrary to the 'mainstream'  but that is going to be the case in any field, at any point in time.  I think the only way to make headway is to come up with scientific proof for your ideas and theories and I think that those in the ID movement who are doing that best are finding that they DO have a place albeit a small one.  They ARE being published, they ARE being debated.  
  I think there is a far more convincing case for his last two arguments.  I think that it is  more than a slight stretch to say that Darwinism is the reason for the holocaust.  Obviously, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are Darwinian evolutionist who don't set out to eliminate an entire race of people.  Hitler was  a racist man, and an evil man.  He used Darwin to justify some of his actions.  At the same time Darwinian evolution and intelligent design and creationism  do approach life with two very distinct world views.  One eliminates God, or any outside influence on the world and the others at the LEAST embrace some sort of higher power that is responsible for putting life on this planet.  I don't think that that can help but influence the value that you put on human life.  If we are all simply evolved and humans are no different than the primordial soup we managed to crawl out of, if it is merely a 'survival of the fittest' world then on what basis are we to find value in human life?  Is it 'wrong' to take another human life if doing so benefits yours?  On whose authority are we judging right and wrong?  Is it 'wrong' for some animals to eat their young?  If humans are simply evolved animals why is there such moral outrage over child abuse or even neglect?  There is no finger pointing in the animal kingdom if a mother walks away from her child.   I guess I am a little confused as to why there is even such an outcry that this was suggested.   Lets take a survey.  Lets put everyone on one side of the room who holds Darwin's views, on the other side of the room lets put those who hold to I.D. or creation.  Now lets ask who is pro-life vs. pro-choice.  Who is OK with  physician assisted suicide vs. opposed. Euthanasia vs. opposed (as long as people were honest).  I think that with a show of hands the two sides of the room would find that they disagreed over a lot more than how life began.  A lot of times when you talk about evolution vs. creation people will talk about finding a perfectly tended garden in the middle of the woods.  You wouldn't assume that it had happened by chance over time, you would know that someone had planted it there.  I think that the same argument could apply to ethics and morality.  If you are walking through the woods and you think that you have no more right to it than someone else you are going to have a certain treatment towards it.  You are going to pick fruit off a a tree and eat it if you so desire.  You could cut some trees down for firewood or to build a shelter, you would never think twice.  You would feel differently about the garden.  It belongs to someone, someone is caring for it, has put value on it.  You are probably NOT going to feel that it is yours to do with as you please. 
   The third argument is Darwinian evolution as religion.   I think that like Michael Behe you can believe in some religion and some evolution (he holds to an I.D. view).  He believes in common descent, he believes in evolutionary processes over millions of years but he does believe that it is far too complex to have happened without some designer who not only started life but coded it with the necessary information for the changes that came over the millions of years.  You cannot believe in Darwinian evolution and believe in God.  If God did not create us and place us on the earth, if we merely evolved from inorganic to organic through life and death processes over millions of years and through those millions of years God never intervened in ANY of it... then what is your definition of God?  To that end you have to agree that if not a 'religion' it at least comes with an atheistic 'world view'. 
   Also, why do evolutionist make it so personal if it's really all about science? I mean in the movie one scientist says that since it could NOT have been God then those who hold that view must be stupid, insane , or ignorant.  Richard Dawkins in attacking the movie and attempting to defend himself has taken to calling those who hold the view "IDiots".   In the movie another scientist admitted that part of the plan in keeping God out of science was the hope that someday science would completely replace religion.  Why would Richard Dawkins right a book "The God Delusion".  If God and religion are meant to be kept so separate then why would a leading scientist right ANY book that dealt with God?   What is his next book going to be "Is Islam a religion of Hate" or "How to Bring Peace to the Middle East"?  Why not just continue in science and allow those who want to believe in God alone?  Because they have at least as strong an anti-God agenda as any I.D. scientist has a pro-God agenda.  
   A professor in the Dept. of Biology at Kansas Sate University says "Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic" .  Richard Dawkins in the movie tells Ben Stein that it is quite possible that the deeper they get into molecular biology the more they will probably find what looks like the 'signature of a designer'.  He has since come out and defended himself (somewhat sketchily) on why he said what he said about a more evolved life form having placed life here.  But he did not retract what he said about the signature of the designer.  OR come up with a more plausible explanation for life coming from non-life (the backs of crystals perhaps?).  
Richard Lewontin of Harvard has said "We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some its constructs, spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated commitment to materialism...we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation  and set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot  in the door." 
Mark Singham a physicists said "our teaching methods are primarily those of propaganda.  We appeal --without demonstration to evidence that supports our position.  we only introduce arguments and evidence that supports the currently accepted theories and omit or gloss over any evidence to the contrary." 
 Julian Huxley said in his book "Religion without Revelation" said  "The God becoming an intellectual and moral burden on our thought....we must construct something to take it's place.  His answer?  "change our pattern of religious thought from a God-centered to an evolution-centered pattern."
 I encourage everyone to see the movie.  I mean if you agree it is nice to see a movie that actually doesn't attack Christians, the right , or the president (who in MORE than one blog I have read is being blamed for 1) the movie...2) the lack of academic freedom and 3) yeah..the holocaust) .
  If you don't agree you don't want to actually confirm Ben's view that discussion is being suppressed do you? See the movie..question everything..draw your own conclusions.