Friday, October 15, 2010

Movies Worth Considering

I Want Your Money

You can find out more about this movie (in theaters now) by going to their website.

Blood Money is a documentary about the abortion industry and is now available on DVD.

The San Antonio Christian Independent Film Festival is starting October 23rd. This is the venue where people started to get excited about movies like the Widow's Might last year. Sybil Ludington is the one I am most interested in this year. Enjoy the trailer below.

Sybil Ludington Full Length Trailer from KICKS Ministries on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Raising Kids to Do Hard Things Day One

My husband and I just got back from the Raising Kids to Do Hard Things Conference in Dallas. It was a day and a half of presentations my Gregg Harris (father of Joshua, Brett, and Alex Harris). Friday evening had two sessions.

The first one was about why God commands us to do hard things. One thing that I thought was interesting in this session was his point that God has used the curses of Adam (struggle to provide) and the curse of Eve (struggle in bearing children) to bring about the good of a godly household. He also pointed out that sin is a problem of not really believing that God is good and wise and that his ways for our lives are good (for us) and wise. He reminded us that we are here to glorify God. He went on to explain that glorifying God means putting his goodness on display.

The second session was about the seasons of life. He used Jeremiah's instructions to the Jewish exiles to show that there are for seasons of life: 1) Individual 2) Householder 3) Elder 4) City Father. He said that whatever stage you are in you should focus on that and do well at it because it prepares you for the next stage.

I really recommend signing up if Mr. Harris is doing one of these conferences in your area. The next ones are in Atlanta, DC, and Orlando. There may be more beyond that. It is definitly well worth your time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Appleseed Project

This past weekend, my husband signed me up for the Appleseed Project. This is a rifle marksmanship program that is taught by volunteers with the Revolutionary War Veterans Association. My husband is a very good shot even at 500 yards. I on the other hand could not hit the broad side of a barn. My husband has tried to teach me, but my arms get tired before I really learn much. And I grew impatient because I wasn't able to hit the targets. I didn't really know what to expect during this weekend, but I was willing to go because I knew it would mean a lot to my husband.

I was very frustrated the first half of the first day. We were doing everything in the prone position so my arms weren't getting tired, but I couldn't align myself properly with the rifle. They gave me a loaner and that made all the difference. I started making progress right away. In the final set of targets that I did, I shot the 100 yard size silhouette 4/10 times from standing in 2 minutes. Now that might not seem great (and it isn't), but you have to take into account that I didn't hit the paper AT ALL the first time we did it. I also hit all 4 of the 400 yard size silhouettes the proper number of times in less than 5 minutes during the final round.

So if you have any interest in learning a little more about our history (during the lunch breaks) and learning to shoot a .22 rifle better, I recommend signing up for an Appleseed near you. Ladies and kids are free (though there were range fees where I was). The age of the kids allowed depends on the range rules. At our range, the kids had to be at least 12.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander

I just finished reading my review copy of Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander from Bethany House Publishing.

This is a well-told story about overcoming with the help of the Lord. It is something of a sad story; almost all of the characters have suffered some very traumatic experience. The point of the story is that the joy of living and loving is worth the chance that there will be sadness and suffering. And that is true of the book as well. Even though there are some sad parts it is well worth the read, especially since there is a happy ending.

This book seems to be part three of a series called Timber Ridge Reflections. Though this book stands alone, I wish I would have read the other two before reading this one. It is not that you can't follow the story without reading From a Distance and Beyond This Moment. It is just that I got the impression that many of the side characters would have been better understood if the first two books had been read.

This book shows God's presence in the characters' lives without coming across as preachy. I would have liked to have a little more written about the spiritual aspect of the story, but I enjoy books that others label as preachy so the average Christian fiction reader will probably find this book the perfect blend of non-preachy and seeking the Lord in all areas of life.

If you are interested in reading and reviewing Bethany House books, click here. It is a lot of fun and encourages me to read things that expand my horizons.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vigilante's Bride

I just received a free review copy of The Vigilante’s Bride by Yvonne Harris from Bethany House publishers a couple of days ago and could not put it down. It is a very interesting read set in the Montana territory after the Civil War. It has many elements of a Wild West story. It sheds light on the Crow Indians, how justice was served when there was no law for miles around, and cattle ranching. There are gun fights and a hanging. There is a romance in the story too, but not so much that men would find it sappy. It was more about the cowboy and his decisions and struggles. It is also Christian fiction, but I can’t say that the characters' relationship with the Lord was anywhere near center stage. (I did find that a little disappointing.) All in all, I thought it was a very good read with a good mix of action, suspense, romance, and even a bit of humor.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Teen with Integrity

Yahoo! News had and interesting article about Zach Nash, a 14-year-old who disqualified himself from a golf championship. He inadvertantly had too many clubs in his bag and turned himself in after winning the championship.

The story made me wonder, "Would I have the guts to do that?" Or would I start making excuses, "I didn't know the extra club was there; it was an accident." "It's a dumb rule; why should I have to obey it."

I like the way the author said it a the end of the article. . .
"Now, it's easy to go and tee off --pun ver much intended-- on golf's drop-the-hammer rules, on Wood for bringing the extra club to Nash's attention, or to Nash himself for failing to count the club. But all that misses the point. This is a stor about honest and doing what's right, even when what's right makes zero logival sense. Sure, Nash could have rationalized away keeping an extra club, but where's the honor in that?"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Homeschool Co-op

Yesterday was the first day of our homeschool co-op. It meets once a week for 5 hours not including lunch. I am teaching High School World Geography to 8 young adults 1st hour. I think it is going to be a lot of fun. I am a "floater" 2nd hour. That means that I am assigned each week to a class that needs extra helpers. This week I was in junior high drama which was very funny. 3rd and 4th hour I am grading junior high biology. One of the answers was pretty funny. The question was something asking about what are the people that participate in an experiment called. The kid wrote, "I believe the word is 'volunteers'." All of the graders got a chuckle out of that. 5th hour I am with my daughter in a drawing/handwriting class for K/1st. She is pretty upset about this because she wanted to do the whole day like a big girl by herself.

The kids had a great time and are excited to go back next week. My 1st grade daughter is taking gym games, exploring music, under the sea, art, and the draw write now class. My 3rd grade son is taking gym games with sister, bodies and bones, ancient civilizations, Real Science for Kids pre-level 1 chemistry, and beginning chess.

It is a nice splash of spice to our homeschool week. It gives us all a chance to pursue things that we would otherwise not get the opportunity to do.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Glimpses of Failed Hope and Change

I have noticed over the past few months that there are a lot of out-of-state license tags around here. Michigan seems especially prevelant, but I am seeing more and more Ohio, Illinois, and Florida. I started wondering if people are coming here because Texas has a better economy?

My mother-in-law, brother, and brother-in-law are all looking for work. My mother-in-law started her search when the ministry she worked for had to shut down. My brother lost his job as the low man on the totem poll during cut-backs at a job he had only started a few months previously. My brother-in-law lost his job due to cut backs about a year ago. He found a job in a different state and moved. Now they tell him his job will likely be cut in September. So the search begins again.

There was a meeting yesterday at my husbands work to explain the new Obamacare mandated health insurance that we will have. While our premiums changed by only $6/month, our deductible is going up to $9000/year/family. And here I thought that the silly law was supposed to make health care better for people and less expensive.

So how is all that hope and change working out for you?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mosasaur Soft Tissues

You might remember the T-rex soft tissues found a few years ago and how scientists still claimed that they were millions of years old. Well yesterday ICR posted an article about mosasaur remnants that still had several kinds of soft tissue. How can eye, skin, and blood tissue be millions of years old? As it says in the article, ". . . it is highly unlikely that this mosasaur is even thousands of years old, since these tissues decay so quickly. Therefore, insisting that they are over 80 million years old defies all reason."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good Song (even if it is country)

So, we have a 26-year-old assistant football coach who is quite creative and who is tired of Obama and his policies. He writes a song, and, as the new report indicates, he sends a link the song to everyone in his "personal e-mail list." Thus, he wasn't taking class time or practice time to tell students about his political views. He was on his on time, with his own computer, sending to his own list. And now he is fired? Come on people! If you don't like it, complain to the man directly. Ask him to take you off his list or something. But this is just crazy.

This is the quote from an article about Bryan Glover and the song that he co-wrote. Now I don't like country but this song has enough rock in it to like. The lyrics are great. And since Mr. Glover is now jobless, I am sure he could use whatever money can be made from purchasing his song. (It only costs $1.29.) So here are some of the lyrics and the link to the website.

There’ll be a party come this November

Where we’re gonna set things straight

All good people gonna gather ‘round

Gonna show what made this country great

We’ll run off the schemers and back-room dealers

So the Red, White and Blue will prevail

When we’re holding the hammer

When we’re holding the hammer

When we’re holding the hammer

Every one of them looks like a nail

Friday, August 6, 2010

Arrested for Sharing the Gospel

My husband gave me this video from Dearborn, MI where some men were arrested for handing out the Gospel of John outside of a Muslim festival. Are we ready for persecution?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Little American (Christian) History

This video was e-mailed to me by our missions minister. I thought it was worth sharing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to a Normal Routine

My kids and I have been off for our summer break for the month of July. Now we are back in the swing of things. I have given the kids more personal responsibility for their tasks and they really have stepped up and seem to be enjoying it.

Since I haven't posted anything in a month, I have all kinds of links I have been saving up.

Some are just depressing. Like the fact that Planned Parenthood can't account for 1.3 billion of our dollars. Or this one about the disconnect between teens attending church and teens actually living moral lives. Look at this quote for example.

Forty-seven percent of Protestant teens reported active involvement in their church’s youth group, compared to 38 percent of all teens. The majority of Protestant teens also reported that they attend Sunday School “a few times a month, participate in youth retreats, rallies, and conferences.”

In all, ninety percent of Protestant teens say they believe in God, compared to 85 percent of all teens; only 12 percent of all teens say they are “unsure about the existence of God.”

Clearly this generation is anything but irreligious; quite the contrary. However, further examination of the research begins to reveal the disconnect I mentioned earlier. According to the study, only 55 percent of Protestant teens believe in life after death—a belief held by 50 percent of all teens, including the nonreligious. In a further contradiction, 69 percent of Protestant teens say they have made “a personal commitment to live for God” and yet only 32 percent read the Bible once a week or more, while 19 percent report having had premarital intercourse in the last year compared to 22 percent of those who are unchurched. Additionally, 63 percent of Protestant teens report cheating in school compared to only 58 percent of all teens and 41 percent say that morals are relative—that “there are no definite rights or wrongs for everybody.”

Others made me think. Like this video about not having any kind of federal income tax.

Some made me smile. Like this one about the 2010 winners of the Stuck at the Prom contest from the makers of Duck Tape brand duct tape. The contestants design formal wear out of duct tape.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

I am posting the Declaration of Independence. Enjoy reading it and enjoy your freedom.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Good, the Struggles, and the Fizzle

Friday was our last day of school. We will start up again at the beginning of August. I decided to look back on what I wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the year. Some things we did awesome. On other things I was overly ambitious and let them fizzle. Other things we are still struggling with.

The Good

My son has improved so much in reading that we are actually going to start with 3rd grade level stuff in August. I am going to try Total Language Plus. This is a program that uses 2-3 "classic" books a year to do all of the vocabulary, grammar, writing, etc. You read the book slowly (a chapter a week/a couple of pages a day). You buy the curriculum a classic at a time. If you don't like it, you haven't blown your whole budget only about $30. And there is a convenient place to shift gears if it isn't working for you. These are all pluses to me. The first book is The Courage of Sarah Noble which seems to be a very charming tale of life in the early 1700's in the Connecticut wilderness. He also did very well with spelling but I think we are ready to try something besides the Writing Road to Reading. He actually wants to take spelling at the homeschool co-op that we will be participating in next year.

My daughter finished the handmade reader and got promoted to the My Father's World reader that my son started out on. He later progressed to Day-by-Day Begin to Read Bible and made it almost through the whole thing. My daughter does a great job of reading, but her 6-year-old self doesn't like to sit still very long to do it.

We all really like the Right Start Math curriculum. They both say that math is their best subject and I think it is in large part because of this curriculum.

I think that the wisdom traits lessons and the big fat lies were a success. We did 10 of each and then reviewed them throughout the year. The kids really seemed to get a grasp of these things so I plan on weaving them throughout the next year (and maybe adding a few more big fat lies).

Texas geography was fun even though it was kind of a lot of work for me. The kids thought that some of the official things were kind of funny. For example the official vegetable of Texas is the sweet onion. We finished the whole state with plenty of time to spare. I did sort of simplify it as time went on though. I am looking forward to American geography with Cantering the Country. This is a guide that gives you hints and resource lists to do unit studies on each state. We are going to start with the states we have been to and then work our way around the country.

We also had a great time with anatomy. We did all of the experiments in the Magic School Bus body experiments. That was a great addition to reading through the DK First Human Body Encyclopedia.

The Fizzle

We kind of fizzled on the astronomy. We only got through the sun, Mercury, Venus, and the Earth. We also only fit one star party into our schedules. We will continue in the coming year though because the we did enjoy it.

The biggest fizzle was quilting. I had trouble with the machine when we got to the actual sewing part. By the time I got it going we were out of the routine of doing it.

Daily grammar worksheets were a big dud. I found it much easier just to let my son write things he was interested in and correct his grammar. I am so glad that grammar stuff is included in the Total Language Plus stuff. It is helpful to only have one thing to keep track of.

The Struggle
My kids struggle with handwriting. I had to give up on lower-case (for the time being) with my daughter and continue with capitals over and over. Now she can write all of them reasonably clearly, but I am really going to have to hunker down on handwriting next year. My son has improved a lot, but there is no way we are moving on to cursive for a while.

Timed tests is another struggle. If there is no time factor, my son can do the problems no problems. But when then instructions are to try to finish a certain number in a certain amount of time, he freezes. We have made some progress on this, but we have to keep working on it next year.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hay and Oil

Now this makes more sense than the stuff they've been spraying into the Gulf that turns the oil into globs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make That Almost $12,000 a Year

Several months ago, I posted about the almost $10,000 a year per kid Americans spend on average to educate kids in the public school system. Today an ex-public school teacher sent me an article entitled "End Them, Don't Mend Them". This is one of the paragraphs talking about cost of our public education system.

According to an annual Gallup poll conducted from 2004 through 2007, Americans think insufficient funding is the top problem with the public schools in their communities. But if throwing money is what’s needed, American school kids are getting smacked in the head with gobs of cash aplenty. That $11,749 is a lot more than the $7,848 private school pre-K through 12 national spending norm. It’s also a lot more than the $7,171 median tuition at four-year public colleges. Plus $11,749 is much less than what’s really being spent.

How can it possibly cost more to educate a high school students than college students? At least we know what it actually costs to get a college education because we have to pay for it or get student loans for it. But as the author of the article points out, districts sometimes pretend to be "poor" by not including things like teacher benefits in their reporting. Some under reporting by as much as 90%.

Schaeffer calculated that Los Angeles, which claims $19,000 per-pupil spending, actually spends $25,000. The New York metropolitan area admits to a per-pupil average of $18,700, but the true cost is about $26,900. The District of Columbia’s per-pupil outlay is claimed to be $17,542. The real number is an astonishing $28,170—155 percent more than the average tuition at the famously pricey private academies of the capital region.

If that doesn't make you want to puke, you must have a stronger stomach than I do. The more sickening thing is this: What do we get for our money?

The average IQ in America is—and this can be proven mathematically—average. Logic therefore dictates that National Assessment of Educational Progress eighth grade “at or above proficient” reading and math levels should average 50. This is true in only one of the 50 states. National averages are 29 and 31 percent. Either logic has nothing to do with public education or that NAEP test is a bear.

For all of that Ivy League School spending, we certainly aren't getting brilliant kids. So I agree with the author's proposal.

Here’s my proposal: Close all the public schools. Send the kids home. Fire the teachers. Sell the buildings. Raze the U.S. Department of Education, leaving not one brick standing upon another and plow the land where it stood with salt.

OK, I might not plow with salt, but I do think we would be better if all education was private or at home. You can find out more about this interesting idea at The Alliance for the Separation of School and State. The author goes on to clarify:

Gather the kids together in groups of 15.4. Sit them down at your house, or the Moose Lodge, or the VFW Hall or—gasp—a church. Multiply 15.4 by $15,000. That’s $231,000. Subtract a few grand for snacks and cleaning your carpet. What remains is a pay and benefit package of a quarter of a million dollars. Average 2008 public school classroom teacher salary: $51,391.

And for all of you asking, "What about socialization?" . . .

“Don’t kids need to experience the full range of human diversity that public schools provide?” No. And if you don’t understand the process by which modern kids become socialized, you seriously need to update your Facebook page. Also, let the Statistical Abstract tell you something about the diverse experience provided by public schools. During the 2005-2006 school year 78 percent of public schools reported “violent incidents,” more than one in six schools reported “serious violent incidents” (robbery, rape, sexual battery, or a fight or attack with a weapon), and 46 percent of schools reported thefts or larcenies. More than 10 percent of high school boys admitted to carrying a weapon to school during the previous 30 days. Among middle schools, 8.6 percent reported daily sexual harassment, 30.5 percent reported daily disrespect shown to teachers, and 43 percent reported daily bullying. Operating on the assumption that adults notice only about a third of what goes on among kids, this means that daily bullying occurs at 129 percent of middle schools. Furthermore 31.5 percent of middle schools and 38.7 percent of high schools reported “undesirable gang activities.” As opposed to the desirable kind.

The author also gives answers to other common questions. I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I got this article in an e-mail today. It is about how our founding documents are no longer politically correct and therefor in the eyes of Wilder Publishing need a warning label. The following warning was in a book they published titled "The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and The Articles of Confederation."

Seriously?! Have we come to this?

I suppose they are right. We do not have the same values as a country as we did in the late 1700's. In a few ways we are better off for it (no slavery quickly springs to mind), but are we better off in most ways? Back then most kids had a mom and a dad that actually lived together. Back then kids went to school to learn to read and write and do arithmetic and came out of the 8th grade knowing more than we do in college. Back then people valued working hard and liberty and capitalism. People used to understand that truth was real not some nebulous concept that changed with fad and fashion. Back then people feared the Lord.

Friday, June 4, 2010

No Where to Cut

The Heritage Foundation released a study called Federal Spending by the Numbers. My favorite (or most annoying) section is "No Where to Cut". In it they highlight some of the most obvious (to thinking people) places the government could cut if it was serious about having any kind of a balanced budget. I'll point out some, but recommend you read the whole thing.

The federal government made at least $98 billion in improper payments in 2009.

Washington spends
$25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties. (Maybe we should start selling federal property.)

Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them—costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually—fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve. (Is there any discussion about cutting these programs?)

Because of overstaffing, the U.S. Postal Service selects 1,125 employees per day to sit in empty rooms. They are not allowed to work, read, play cards, watch television, or do anything. This costs $50 million annually. (I know that $50 million is just a drop in the bucket, but this seems ludicrous beyond words.)

While we are talking about the post office. . .
A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, including “over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold.” The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.

Improper or fraudulent Medicare spending now totals $47 billion annually—12.4 percent of its budget.

Federal employees owe more than $3 billion in income taxes they failed to pay in 2008. (I wonder how many of them work for the IRS?)

Over half of all farm subsidies go to commercial farms, which report average household incomes of $200,000.

The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades. (Again a drop in the bucket, but if it is good enough for we the people, it should be good enough for our servants.)

Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use.

Friday, May 28, 2010

IndoctriNation Movie

There is another independent movie that is being made that I am looking forward to seeing. It is called IndoctriNation. You can see clips and the trailer here. (They aren't allowing embedding at this time.) This documentary ties the indoctrination of our kids in the public school system to the decline of Christianity in America.

One thing that the movie points out is that there is no such thing as a worldview neutral education. All education seeks to transform the mind not just with straight facts but with ideals. I think many Christians don't want to believe this. They want the broad way, the easy way to be the best way when it comes to education.

I know that people can send their kids to public school and end up with devout Christians. I also believe that this is only possible with intense re-doctrination when the kids are at home.

I also know that some parents have no other choice. But I would say that this number is far fewer than the number of Christian parents that send their kids to public school.

Thoughts? Comments?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sad but Funny

I happened upon this Rasmussen survey and thought I would share.

The latest national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds that 41% say a group of people selected at random from the phone book would do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than the current Congress. Almost as many (38%) disagree, however, and another 20% are undecided.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

I received Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Whitson on Thursday and couldn't put it down the whole weekend. The story revolves around civil war widows who want to make a new life by claiming homesteads in Nebraska. Sixteen women are going west together with train tickets purchased for them by the "Ladies Emigration Society". They find out later that this is not on the up and up.

Before you start to feel overwhelmed at the thought of keeping track of 16 women, the focus is on five of the ladies with glimpes at the others. And if millions of people can keep track of the first season of Lost, you can keep track of these ladies. The story is well worth it.

The five main ladies have to overcome things that are still around today. Ella feels like she is not a real woman because she is tall and "beefy" and not pretty to look at. Sally is overcoming an abusive relationship. Ruth is still grieving the loss of her true love after 3 years. Caroline has been branded a traitor by her family for her choice of husband. And Hettie . . . well you'll just have to wait to the end of the book to find out.

This is a very engaging tale that weaves God in subtly largely through Ella's mother, Zita. I do wish that there was a bit more about the spiritual transformation of the people, but I still give this book a big thumbs up.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Good News and Bad News

Good News/ Bad News #1
I got a notice from the county tax assessor the other day saying that we would owe less property taxes next year because our homes value had gone down by about 12%. At first I was excited. Let's face it; less taxes is nice. Then I was slightlly concerned. Did that mean we could even get what we owe out of our house if we tried to sell it? Good thing we don't forsee moving anytime soon.

Good News/Bad News #2- In which the helpful IRS agent turns it into all good news
I got a notice on Thursday that we owed the IRS an additional $2,000 +. This is on top of the money withheld and the money I sent a check for back in March. So I panic and then carefully read the documents that came with the notice. Turns out I forgot my kids SSN on the first page. So I call the 800 number expecting a rude IRS employee to tell me it will take forever and three forms to get the matter resolved and in the mean time I am still responsible for the two grand. Instead I get a very friendly IRS agent who has me verify some information and give the SSN. He then put me on hold then came back and said my 1040 was ammended and I wouldn't owe anything. Then he asked me if I wanted to take a deduction that I hadn't taken for the kids. I didn't even know for sure what it was but I said OK. He put me on hold again and came back with the announcement that I would get about $800 in a refund. Go, IRS guy.

Now don't start thinking that I have changed my mind about the IRS needing to go and be replaced with the FairTax. But it is nice to deal with pleasant, helpful people.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Two Trailers Worth Watching

Today I came across two trailers that are worth looking into. The first is for an independent movie called BloodMoney. I can't embed it so you will have to actually follow a link to watch it. It is a documentary about the abortion industry from a pro-life perspective.

The second trailer is for a DVD series called Resisting the Green Dragon. Here is the blurb from the website.
And here is the trailer:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crazy World

The May 2010 issue of Newsmax has an article called "Abuse, Waste, and Blunders". In it Clayton B. Reid recounts many of the idiotic things our federal government has given money for in the name of job creation and "stimulus". It is an article worth reading though it might make you a little sick. Take this one for example.

It seems like a simple enough message: If you're a drug user, use a condom. But the folks at the University of Washington in Seattle think the Real Men Are Safe project, which stresses that message, appeals only to white men. So they'll be using $448,112 in public funds to make the program "more culturally relevant" to black and Hispanic men. To accomplish this, they will convene a panel "of academic and community based-experts knowledgeable in HIV prevention in African-American and Hispanic communities" to revise materials to be more minority friendly. It creates no jobs.

This to me is sickening on so many levels. First of all, shouldn't the slogan be something like Real Men Don't Do Drugs and Wait for Marriage. Wouldn't that do the most to prevent HIV among all communities? Second, let's look at how many people this will actually "help". There are about 80,000 blacks and Hispanics in the greater Seattle area. Let's assume that 40,000 of them are male and 30,000 of those are old enough to be doing drugs and sleeping around. Let's say these people in Seattle are about on the national average for drug use so we'll say about 2,400 black or Hispanic males in the Seattle area do drugs (and sleep around). How many of these people will even see the new message and/or be aware enough at the time to make sense of it? The whole thing seems pretty ridiculous.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Quite a Week

We have had quite a week. Saturday and Sunday was a fundraiser for Real Choices Pregnancy Center. This is a big deal to me because I have been working for years to get my church to be more pro-active in the abortion front. And now I am one of the people in charge of the fundraiser. I am excited to see what God will do.

Tuesday we got to see John Williams conducting the Fort Worth Symphony in some of his music. This was especially cool for my husband. He is a big fan and has been saving and plotting for a long time for us to be able to do this. The kids did great and especially enjoyed the Star Wars and Indiana Jones parts of the concert.

Then yesterday we went to Camp El Tesoro for their Homeschool Adventure Day. We had a blast. We got to choose 5 activities. First we searched for and categorized fossils. We mostly found bivalves though they had some examples of larger cephalopod fossils from the area. The next activity was the nature hike. This was the best part of the day for me because I found this guy beside the path.

It is a poisonous pit viper called a copperhead. Then our guide declared that he was going to catch it and take it back to the main lodge so that the other families could see it.
Obviously, this is not something you should try at home. After this we had a picnic lunch and moved on to archery. We all really enjoyed this. The staff was very patient with us and we all got to shoot about 15-20 arrows before the session was over. Then we went to the birdwatching class and a hayride. The last thing of the day was cooking s'mores over a campfire. That was fun and a good snack to tide us over on the hour ride home.

Also, I have to mention, the bluebonnets were spectacular. I really like our state flower.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

In light of yesterday's post, I thought I would share some Thomas Jefferson quotes.

"When government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny."

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."

Friday, April 16, 2010


My husband recently sent me this article about a new book published by Heritage Foundation. The book is One Nation Under Arrest. It is a book about how our federal government has so many laws (about 4,000) and regulations (over 300,000) that almost anyone could be a criminal and not even know it. This is especially true when you add the state and local laws to the pile. The video below gives two examples of this.

In light of this, I recommend that you watch this video by a law professor about why you should always exercise your 5th amendment right to stay silent if ever questioned by the police (even if you are innocent).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

$200 Million Per Arrest

We so much government spending going on I don't think any of us are surprised by amazingly high price tags for virtually nothing. But I think this takes the cake. According to Rep. John Duncan from Tennesee, the $860 million budget for the air marshals program is a complete waste. Let's look at some of the facts he shared in a speech from the House floor.

1. About 10 air marshals have been arrested (about 40) for every arrest they made on our behalf (4).

2. There are 4,000 air marshals. That is 1000 per arrest.

3. And now to finish with a quote from Rep. Duncan, "In other words, we are spending approximately $200 million per arrest. Let me repeat that: we are spending approximately $200 million per arrest."

This is our money they are wasting.

Now my husband's solution to this: Allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry on planes and make citizens arrests if there is "trouble" to be handed over to the authorities upon landing. The cost to citizens would be $0.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Any Lovers of Freedom

In reading why the Amish are exempt from this health care bill (they shun all forms of government money), I wondered how many Americans would be willing to give up all of their government benefits except those in the Constitution (armed forces, post offices, roads, and a few others). If you could sign up to forgo all government money (Medicaid, social security, welfare, food stamps, etc.) for the rest of your life in exchange for paying only 5% income tax and being left alone by the federal government, would you do it? I think I would.

Now you ask, "Who would take care of me when I get old or sick?" The people that God tasked with that: your family, the Church, and your community.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Corp in the Healthcare Bill

Even though it is scary, you need to read this article at NoisyRoom. I would not have believed this if I had not read it from the bill myself (it is on page 1312). I believe that Pres. Obama got his wish and will have the legal apparatus to have his own private army not sworn to protect the Constitution. This concerns me more than the take over of healthcare and that concerns me plenty.

Wickle's comment with a link to this Glenn Beck post makes me feel better. But the language of this bill (and the one it is amending) still creeps me out.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Acknowledging My Son

My mother wrote this for here church bulletin and said that I could share it here. I took out names and such.

When my son. . . was in high school and [college], he was shy and wouldn’t really try to converse with people at church or look them in the eye. I yearned for people to talk with him, but he made it difficult for even the out-going ones to strike up a conversation with him.

One weekend [my son] went on a university retreat with D. A. and a bunch of university students. The Sunday after the retreat we were crossing the [church] parking lot and I heard someone call my son’s name loudly across the parking lot. My son’s shoulders went higher and his eyes looked up. Sure enough, it was D. A. acknowledging my son, shouting my son’s name all over the [church] parking lot. I was thrilled. Someone had noticed my son and was hollering his name out over the parking lot. Several people noticed and turned around and looked. My son had a good day and so did his mom.

I thought later, “Whatever D. A. asks me to do, I will do it because he acknowledged my son loudly and clearly and bravely and strongly in front of a lot of people.”

I wonder if that is how God feels about His Son. Are we willing to shout His Son’s name across the areas where we walk? Are we willing to say loudly and strongly, “I LOVE JESUS AND HE IS MY BEST FRIEND, AND I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW!!!”? Will God do anything for us (for eternal reasons) when we acknowledge His Son?
I believe the shouting answer is, “YES!!!”
Someone may ask, “How do I acknowledge the SON today in Abilene, Texas? Maybe it would be like Martha saying out loud, “Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
Maybe it is serving in Jesus’ Name with no regard to ridicule, embarrassment, or a committee as did the sinful woman in Luke 14.
Maybe it is to sing out loud a song about Jesus as the early Christians sang the first baptismal song, “Wake up, O sleeper, Rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you,” from Ephesians 5:14.
Or maybe the greatest of all ways to acknowledge the SON would be to honor the Son in baptism, and God would smile in heaven and say, “This is a new son of mine and I am very pleased with him.”
Will God do anything for us (for eternal reasons) when we make a stand for His SON? The shouting answer is again, “YES!!!”
“You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.”
John 14:13

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

May you have a blessed time as you remember the blood of the Son that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. May you rejoice as you remember His triumph over Satan and death. May we all strive to serve him more diligently.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Tabernacle Experience

My family and I just got back from the Tabernacle Experience at Inglewood Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, TX. We hadn't really planned on going. In fact, we only found out yesterday. So not really knowing what to expect, I thought it was something to look at and take pictures of. But it was a real worship experience. We were so blessed to have participated.

The tabernacle is a life-size replica of the original (of course minus the gold, sliver, and bronze). You are given a set of headphone set with an MP3 player. The narrator leads you through a worship experience that is truly unique. You are led to different areas. At each one, a connection is drawn between the Jewish experience and ours in Christ.

If there is one in your area, I suggest you go. We paid $5/person. It was very worth it. The one in Grand Prairie will only be there today and tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pray to End Abortion

Prayer is powerful. OneMom shared this site that is getting people to sign up for 20 minutes of prayer on behalf of the unborn. It is called the Great Prayer Project. I encourage you do sign up for some slots.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts from Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams on the Passing of the "Health Care" Bill

First a warning from Thomas Sowell. . .

If the current legislation does not entail the transmission of all our individual medical records to Washington, it will take only an administrative regulation or, at most, an Executive Order of the President, to do that.

If that doesn't scare the hooya out of you, I don't know what will.

The corrupt manner in which this massive legislation was rammed through Congress, without any of the committee hearings or extended debates that most landmark legislation has had, has provided a roadmap for pushing through more such sweeping legislation in utter defiance of what the public wants.

Like, for example, amensty or cap and "trade".

The voters will have had no experience with the actual, concrete effect of the government takeover of medical care at the time of either the 2010 Congressional elections or the 2012 Presidential elections.

It is our job to stay diligent to remind people of what is at stake.

The last opportunity that current American citizens may have to determine who will control Congress may well be the election in November of this year. Off-year elections don't usually bring out as many voters as Presidential election years. But the 2010 election may be the last chance to halt the dismantling of America. It can be the point of no return.

And then a glimmer of hope from Walter Williams. . .

If there is anything good to say about Democrat control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, it's that their extraordinarily brazen, heavy-handed acts have aroused a level of constitutional interest among the American people that has been dormant for far too long.

Ah if only people would read, understand, and value the Constitution.

While the odds on favorite is that the Republicans will do well in the fall elections, Americans who want constitutional government should not see Republican control as a solution to what our founders would have called "a long train of abuses and usurpations."

Oh, that we would listen to what he is saying! Just because the Republicans might be better than the Democrats doesn't mean that they are constitutionalists. Walter Williams goes on to ask a list of questions we should be asking Republican leaders.

Solutions to our nation's problems require correct diagnostics and answers to questions like: Why did 2008 presidential and congressional candidates spend over $5 billion campaigning for office? Why did special interests pay Washington lobbyists over $3 billion that same year? What are reasons why corporations, unions and other interest groups fork over these billions of dollars to lobbyists and into the campaign coffers of politicians?

The answer seems to come to this:
The greater Congress' ability to grant favors and take one American's earnings to give to another American, the greater the value of influencing congressional decision-making.

Hopefully, our nation's constitutional reawaking will begin to deliver us from the precipice. There is no constitutional authority for two-thirds to three-quarters of what Congress does. Our constitution's father, James Madison, explained, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined ... (to be) exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce."

That is the problem. If we got serious about the Constitution, we would have to slice and dice the federal government (in some cases whole departments) not nip and tuck. Are you ready to get serious? I am.

Friday, March 19, 2010

May Day

It thrills my soul that thousands of people are taking part of the May Day : A Cry to God for a Nation in Distress. I would really love to be there!

They are spending the day praying prayers of repentance over the 7 areas of culture: business, government, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion.

There are busses leaving from Wisconsin, Tennessee, and other areas of the country. If you can go, I would recommend it.

Kay Granger Explains IRS Expansion via Health Care Bill

Rep. Kay Granger's explanation of how the IRS will expand under this health care bill is rather frightening. Here is a quote from an e-mail she sent to her constituents.

  • IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage;
  • IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2.5 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage;”
  • IRS can confiscate your tax refund;
  • IRS audits are likely to increase;
  • IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade;
  • IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans; and
  • Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four.)
This is just sickening. If your Representative is on board with this monstrous bill, please call them and firmly tell them to vote against it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ann Coulter's Health Bill

I usually don't read Ann Coulter, but I did find this article interesting. It is about her ideas on free-market health insurance. Here are the highlights.

In the first sentence, Congress will amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act to allow interstate competition in health insurance.

The very next sentence of my bill provides that the exclusive regulator of insurance companies will be the state where the company's home office is. Every insurance company in the country would incorporate in the state with the fewest government mandates, just as most corporations are based in Delaware today.

The third sentence of my bill would prohibit the federal government from regulating insurance companies, except for normal laws and regulations that apply to all companies.

My bill will solve nearly every problem allegedly addressed by ObamaCare -- and mine entails zero cost to the taxpayer. Indeed, a free market in health insurance would produce major tax savings as layers of government bureaucrats, unnecessary to medical service in America, get fired.

The market is a more powerful enforcement mechanism than indolent government bureaucrats. If you don't believe me, ask Toyota about six months from now.

Right now, insurance companies are protected by government regulations from having to honor their contracts. Violating contracts isn't so easy when competitors are lurking, ready to steal your customers.

You can read the whole thing here.

This makes sense to me. So why is Ann Coulter coming up with it instead of the Republicans?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Some Pro-life Stuff

I haven't really been following 40 Days for Life this spring because they are not doing it here. But as usual if your town is participating, I recommend that you participate. So far, there have been 261 confirmed babies saved from a horrible death and the parents have been saved from a lifetime of regret.

I was e-mailed a link to Live Action that shows a scan of a 1952 Planned Parenthood brochure. The brochure is about birth control. The key quote is highlighted in the image below.

The quote is slightly cut off by my blog template. It says, "Abortion requires an operation. It kills the life of a baby after it has begun."

LifeSiteNews alerted me to the fact that a huge campaign is going in the NY subways called Abortion Changes You. Their website offers a place for people to begin healing emotionally after abortion.

Monday, March 8, 2010


At the beginning of February, Thomas Sowell wrote three articles called the "Fallacy of Fairness parts I,II, III". I was interested in these articles (and have kept them in my stuff to post about pile for all this time) because of what some mean by social justice. When some people say this, I think that they mean that life should be fair. But as Mr. Sowell says, "If by 'fair' you mean everyone having the same odds for achieving success, then life has never been anywhere close to being fair, anywhere or at any time. If you stop and think about it (however old-fashioned that may seem), it is hard even to conceive of how life could possibly be fair in that sense." I quite agree. Everyone has different advantages and disadvantages from the start of life and throughout it. Even in Heaven some will be given 10 "cities" to rule and some will have only one. Whatever you think the "cities" in the parable are, there is still varying levels of reward/responsibility.

Now if by fair you mean that people shouldn't be discriminated against, then I completely agree. Here are some of Mr. Sowell's thoughts on the subject:

Many people fail to see the fundamental difference between saying that a particular thing-- whether a mental test or an institution-- is conveying a difference that already exists or is creating a difference that would not exist otherwise.

Creating a difference that would not exist otherwise is discrimination, and something can be done about that. But, in recent times, virtually any disparity in outcomes is almost automatically blamed on discrimination, despite the incredible range of other reasons for disparities between individuals and groups.

In Part II, Mr. Sowell continues this theme with a discussion of a school district in Berkley.

The point is to close educational gaps among groups, or at least go on record as trying. As with most equalization crusades, whether in education or in the economy, it is about equalizing downward, by lowering those at the top.

This is not justice (social or otherwise). These sorts of actions rob those who can/are doing well to achieve their full potential. Do we really want everyone to be equally poorly educated? Mr. Sowell then continues:

Those with that vision do not want to even discuss evidence that students from different groups spend different amounts of time on homework and different amounts of time on social activities. To admit that inputs affect outputs, whether in education, in the economy or in other areas, would be to undermine the vision and agenda of the left, and deprive those who believe in that vision of a moral melodrama, starring themselves as defenders of the oppressed and crusaders against the forces of evil.

Redistribution of material resources has a very poor track record when it comes to actually helping those who are lagging, whether in education, in the economy or elsewhere. What they need are the attitudes, priorities and behavior which produce the outcomes desired.

Justice is allowing the legal or natural rewards/consequences of ones actions to come to rest. The just thing is to reward those who excel in school. Mercy allows for helping those behind change their study habits, etc. But it is injustice to truncate the learning of those who are excelling or pass people who are failing.

Then in Part III, Mr. Sowell continues:

Society may lavish thousands of dollars [in the US about $9700 per student] per year on schooling for a youngster who does not bother to study, and yet when he or she emerges as a semi-literate adult, it is considered to be society's fault if such youngsters cannot get the same kinds of jobs and incomes as other youngsters who studied conscientiously during their years in school.

It is certainly a great misfortune to be born into families or communities whose values make educational or economic success less likely. But to have intellectuals and others come along and misstate the problem does not help to produce better results, even if it produces a better image

I feel like I must say it again. Education of children is the responsibility of the parents not "society" or the government. If a child comes out of school semi-literate, it is because of the failed responsibility of the parents. An awesome example of a parent taking responsibility is the mother of Dr. Ben Carson (pioneering pediatric brain surgeon). She was a poor, illiterate, black woman raising her sons alone. She also suffered from extreme depression. Yet she encouraged her sons to learn and do well in school and set high standards for them. I highly encourage you to watch the move Gifted Hands to learn more about this amazing woman and her amazing son.

Mr. Sowell continues,

But criteria exist precisely to have a disparate impact on those who do not have what these criteria exist to measure. Track meets discriminate against those who are slow afoot. Tests in school discriminate against students who did not study.

Disregarding criteria in the interest of "fairness"-- in the sense of outcomes independent of inputs-- adds to the handicaps of those who already have other handicaps, by lying to them about the reasons for their situation and the things they need to do to make their situation better.

Not allowing people to experience the consequences of their actions is often an injustice. If everyone won the race, the slower people would not be motivated to train harder and do better. If everyone passes and your parents don't care, where is the motivation to learn to read? Justice allows natural consequences to take place.