Saturday, December 31, 2005

It Was a Very Good Year--For Iraq

Before the invasion of coalition troops into Iraq just three short years ago, Iraq was a decaying state ruled by a pitiless dictator who tortured and murdered thousands of Iraqis. Today, Iraq has a new permanent government and the Iraqi people, including many Sunni Arabs, who have been described as "rejectionists" and have been core to the insurgency, voted the new government in in free elections with voter turnout that should make Americans ashamed and proved many whining pessimists to be wrong.

Iraqi forces have become more and more responsible for protecting their own territory in 2005, fighting side by side with the coalition in many instances, growing from a few battalions to more than 125 army and police combat battalions. In Baghdad, as military operations have decreased the number of car bombs and roadside bombs, insurgents have had to resort to less successful drive-by shootings or mortar and rocket attacks.

As security has grown, many cities have begun to see economic growth. International creditors have forgiven Iraq billions of dollars of debt, and money from many international institutions are providing the Iraqi people with increased opportunities for business growth.

Now it is not just the privileged who have access to clean water, health care and reliable electricity. Reconstruction efforts are changing the face of Iraq.

Of course,there are challenges ahead, but all in all, it would be hard to fathom that the Iraqis are not beginning to relish the changes in freedom that have taken place in 2005. Good for Iraq! Good for America! Good for the world, particularly the Arab world! (Thanks, Allan, it needed a better ending!)


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Year New Happy

I am Happy. My mood could be described as ‘cheerfully optimistic’ for the coming year. I know that God is working in our lives, taking care of His children, so I don’t fear the future OR the present. I wish more people could know the peace that God puts in the hearts of those who belong to Him. Even when circumstance encircles us with troubles, even what terrible things happen-we are sustained, because God loves us.
I am looking forward to 2006, just as I was 2005 a year ago. I enjoy life, and living at peace with God.
I hope that each of you who stop by here have an excellent, positive, happy 2006. God loves you, even if you doubt that God exists. And it IS possible to be at peace with God, which is the only true measurable success.
Even if we Christians are poor, we are more successful than any Fortune 500 CEO, as we have riches which can’t be measured by the standards of this world. Here’s one major difference between our riches and worldly ones: I want you to share in mine. I would love it if you also receive God’s riches. Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

God Came

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not...
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...
John 1.1 - 5, 1.14

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blessed or Cursed

The bible is an awesome collection of books and writings, telling the story of God's plan of salvation from beginning to end. It can't be beat for drama, beauty, advice or influence. It is timeless and holy; God speaking to us. But once in a while I run across some words put together so beautifully they become like scripture in a sense to me. They are holy words that speak to me. And I have always felt that way about this song, written by Phill McHugh (I wish I had some way to link to a website, but I could not find one). My sister sent it to me right after I was saved and I've loved it since then.


I've never seen dry ground refuse to drink on rainy days,
Refuse to take what's offered when it rains.
I've never seen good seed refuse to grow in fertile earth,
Refuse the law that death will bring rebirth.
But people aren't the same. I have seen and played the games.
In life it's win or lose, blessed or cursed with power to choose.

I've never seen the clouds refuse to compliment the sky,
Refuse to be a canvas for the sun.
I've never seen the stars refuse to shine on cloudless nights,
Refuse to catch and hold and please my eyes.
But I have seen a man refuse the good and love the bad.
I have seen a man refuse the gifts he could have had.

I've opened up my heart as a manger for God's son.
Knowing me, He knows the things I've done.
I've given Him the chance to prove the things He said were true.
I've given Him the chance He'll take from you.
Things can easily change. You can live or play the games.
In life it's win or lose, blessed or cursed with power to choose.
Blessed or cursed with power to choose.

Merry Christmas

Edited/corrected 12-24-05

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Is Santa Claus real?

Is There a Santa Claus?

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal, SPY magazine (January, 1990) I am pleased to present a scientific inquiry into the existence of Santa Claus.

1. No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn't appear to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total--378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household according to the most recent census data, that's 91.8 million homes. One assumes there is at least one good child in each.

3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west which seems logical. This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to:

1) Park.
2) Hop out of the sleigh.
3) Jump down the chimney.
4) Fill the stockings.
5) Distribute the remaining presents under the tree.
6) Eat whatever snacks have been left.
7) Get back up the chimney.
8) Get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know they are not, but for purposes of our calculations we will assume they are), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours plus feeding and so on. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second. A conventional reindeer can run at, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is everywhere described as overweight. On land a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. Santa would need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload, not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison--this is four times the weight of the HMS Queen Elizabeth II.

5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second! Each! They will burst into flame almost instantaneously thus exposing the reindeer behind them who will immediately suffer the same fate as well as create deafening sonic booms in their wake. In short, the entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths (0.00426s) of a second.

6. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal and g forces 17,500.09 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force. He would be instantly reduced to an unrecognizable pink mass of fiery jelly.

In conclusion - If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Let go of Santa, latch on to Jesus...He lives.

Nuda Veritas
(All but the last sentence of this article was borrowed w/o permission from

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Reaching Out to You

I have a friend who is a pastor who has a Question and Answer bulletin that he emails out several times a month. It was so full of meat this week, I asked him if I could share this week's with you and he consented.

If God is all powerful why doesn’t He just remove all the wickedness in the world?

If He did He’d have to remove you. Well He would also have to remove me and every other human being on the planet too. We generally want Him to end all wars and criminal activities as long as He leaves us alone to freely do as we please. For God’s actions against wickedness to be complete He would have to include all our lies, impure thoughts, covetous attitudes, lack of love and failure to do the good we could. If God wiped His mighty hand across His universe tonight and declared every trace of wickedness to be gone, who would still be here after midnight?

Romans 5:12 declares, ”Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Thus all humanity is responsible for various levels of sin and wickedness, rather than God. He could have wired us to never sin, but we would be more like machines than human. Remember when you could pull the string in the back of the little dolls and they would talk? How would you like to be married to one of those? Every morning pulling the string for the static sound of, “I love you.” You wouldn’t enjoy it and God desires real love too.

On one hand God wants everybody to freely choose Him over evil (1Tim 2:4). On the other hand our sins have separated us all from God (Isa 59:2). This free will stuff is risky business when one considers the price tag of separation for sins (Rom 6:23). Jesus was so stressed at the thought of separation from the Father that He sweat great drops of blood from His head the night before He was crucified (Luke 22:44). The innocent Messiah Jesus became the greatest sufferer of all time in paying the ultimate price for our wickedness (Isa 52:14). This sketch of the infant and thorns by Lyle Trimmer captures the purpose of Jesus coming. He lived His entire human life under the shadow of the crucifixion to unite this lost human race with God.

Buried under the wrappings of many a Christmas gift, and hidden behind the glitter of Madison Avenue, is the greatest gift ever known to mankind. He came wrapped in rags lying in a manger and longs to live in your heart if you‘ll let Him. Jesus bore the sins of the world on His cross, but separation from the Father terrified Him. How can people be nonchalant? Jesus is more than a gift. He’s the way out of wickedness. He is absolutely, positively everything pertaining to life itself, and He’s reaching out to you.
Pastor Huck


Jesus is the free gift of Christmas--God reaching out to you--your heart, a manger. Don't let another Christmas go by without inviting Him in.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

I am an Advent Candle

I am an Advent candle.
Lit by the Spirit of God
Not merely a memorial
To our Lord’s first Advent
But also proclaiming His second.

16 “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”

“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

In lighting the Hanukkah Menorah, we have an image of the Messiah present in the
‘Shamash Candle’. From:
“The Shamash (Servant Messiah) candle has its own special place.
The center, highest light (which is sometimes found on the side of the menorah) is the "shamash." This candle represents the Messiah the Light of the World. Since one is not supposed to use the lights of the menorah for personal benefit, the shamash (lit. "helpers or servant") is used every day to light the other candles.

“14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

I am an Advent candle.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You Guessed It...Another Quizilla Quiz!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

...Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.



Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm Beginning To See The Light

I appreciate all of the heartfelt points of view expressed by those commenting on le’s post, and the debate seems to be firing a lot of blogs across the Internet-Lachen shares some good points from a group she is involved with, Rand’s position is clearly delineated; Michael, if he weren't so busy with his new business would probably be covering it also. I put my 2 cents in, and some think I have change coming yet.
As Sir Duke put it, “I’m Beginning To See the Light.”
Growing up in a nominally Christian culture, our family celebrated Christmas as many do to this day: Christmas tree, some decorations, getting together with friends- but what made Christmas special for us was the loot. We were greedy, avaricious, egocentric princes demanding our tribute. Part of the holiday tradition was, after the presents were opened, to call our friends and compare the booty received, hoping to be able to gloat. Luckily, our friends were as poor as we were, so it wasn’t hard to keep up with the Jones’s.
Nominally Christian, but that was all that Christmas was to us when we were kids: “Gimmie Time.”
Go down to the Mall tomorrow or (if you dare) on the week end and watch people hustling/bustling to make their prince or princess happy on the upcoming Gimmie Time.
No wonder some out there who are not Christians look at us as if we are idiots: they think we are celebrating THAT. There’s nothing Merry about that kind of Christmas.
Nothing Merry, and nothing to Cheer about.
If Christ didn’t exist (He does-I’m just making a point) then there would be no reason to celebrate His birth.
As He does exist, and came into the world to save us from our sins, those who reject the work of Christ on the cross find that they must also reject Christ in the manger.
And there’s the rub. There’s the point of friction between “Us” and “Them”: we Christians celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every day is Christmas, every day a Sabbath day, a Resurrection day, a Thanksgiving Day. Our “Gimmie time” has been displaced by Quiet Time, and Worship time, when we receive gifts far greater than any childhood toy or present. And the outsider looking in has no clue what is making us so Merry. His or her only point of reference is (to them) a cardboard fake; the Strawman they tear down is wearing a Santa Claus suit.
Friends, may God Bless you during this Christmas time-I encourage you to go to Luke’s Gospel and read the story of the birth of Christ for yourself. The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ. Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yes, Virginia, There is a Christmas

I can’t imagine too many lefties wanting to get rid of Christmas. After all, it is a day off work. But it seems clear that there is a push by the more strident and outspoken wing of the left to throw Christmas, Hannakuh and Kwanzaa into the same bag of “holidays.” In fact, in fear of the ACLU and the politically correct, etc., some stores have begun eliminating any mention of the word “Christmas” in their advertising. They want us to shop for Christmas, but they don’t want to identify their sales, etc., that way.

It’s schizophrenic. It’s insulting. It’s as if “Christmas” has been deemed an obscene word.

Christmas shopping has been a bit challenging for me this year. I won’t shop at a lot of my usual places, because I don’t want to be part of the trend to deChristmasize Christmas. My stance annoys my daughter, who is my Christmas shopping companion. She just wants to go where she wants to go!

I am with those who recognize that commercialism has secularized Christmas to a great degree, and I myself am often caught up in the buy!buy!buy! distortion of what Christmas should be about. That’s another article. But this year, at least, I want to shop for my family members’ gifts in celebration of Christmas, not in celebration of the non-offensive “holidays.”

Some other articles about Christmas, here, here, here, and here.

Definitely more than a trend.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Best is Yet To Come!

“Did you find everything all right?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Man, I really hate this time of year!”
“Um, well...Ho Ho Ho.”
He rings up my movies.
“I’ve been at this for 12 hours already today! I should move to China,
where they don’t have any religion at all!”
He looks Chinese.
“Oh come on.”
He hands me my change.
“Well...I give to the Salvation Army-if I’m walking by, I’ll put something in the bucket,
but that’s it.”
There are 20 people in line behind me hoping I don’t continue the conversation.
“Well, I hope you can have a Merry Christmas, anyway.”
“Yeah, thank you for shopping at _______.”

Ho Ho Ho.

I enjoy crowds. I like being in a throng of busy people, even when they are playing impolite bumper cars in the Mall on their way from store to store. I even like being busy-back before my sit-down job there were many days when I wouldn’t take a break for 8 hours. I thrive on pressure, and love the energy.
I felt sorry for that poor clerk- three more weeks until Christmas; he’ll have to either cope or find a less stressful job. Maybe the Police Bomb Squad is hiring.

People who want absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ will be singing,
“Joy To The World,
The Lord is come;
Let Earth receive her King;
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And Heav’n and nature sing!”

He came into the World as a baby, and who doesn’t love babies? Don’t answer that.
‘Let Earth receive her King’ indeed. That’s what I’m looking for, His return when He will be
welcomed as King, not scorned as He is now.
‘Let every heart Prepare Him Room’ is a call to Salvation in six little words.
How many in this holiday season will be singing those words without applying them personally?
You can’t get some Christians to ever shut up about God, but during the Holy Days (Holidays)
there’s some sort of a musical truce, and some of the worst sinners on your block will be singing,

“He rules the World
With Truth and Grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His Love.”

And wonders of His Love. Ho Ho Ho.

Post script: Isaac Watts put melodies to many of the psalms; “Joy To The World” is adapted from Psalm 98-check out the original.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Christmas Quiz

Following are Christmas carols by initials only. See how many you can figure out. Give yourselves 10 minutes total and don't use the internet. That's cheating! Have fun.

2. GCM,R
3. WCIT?
5. OC,OC,E


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Random Thoughts Tuesday

I’m sitting in front of the wrong computer for this time of night-I should be sitting at my work computer, but here I am at home, attempting to get over the cold that has knocked me sillier the past few days. I’ve been looking back over the posts, and I noticed that we haven’t had a ‘fun’ post since le’s last Quizilla. Yes, the world is kind of harsh right now, and there’s a lot going on...but I don’t want my Joy to be hindered by giving in to the ‘doom and gloom’ bad news found all over the World.
Years ago I started a ‘good news scrapbook’-only good news items would be saved. I didn’t keep it up for very long, but I found it the other day when cleaning and it made me smile. One of the items was of Shirley Temple Black being the Grand Marshall for the 100th Tournament of Roses parade. She is standing in front of a picture of herself at about age 5, when she held the same honor. No one can watch a Shirley Temple movie and not smile. She charmed the world, and her films were instrumental in bringing an end to the Great Depression-it’s been said that Shirley kept people smiling and singing her songs, single-handedly buoying up the Nation when it was going through dark times. If you want to smile, find some of her movies and be charmed again.
Besides the movies she made as a small child, there is one movie from her teen years which is a joy, thanks to Shirley and also thanks to the excellent Myrna Loy, and Cary Grant, playing what can only be a ‘Cary Grant role’-
“The Batchelor and the Bobbysoxer”. It is pure lighthearted fun, and just mentioning it makes me want to go put it in the machine and watch it again. You don’t even need a synopsis-Shirley, Cary and Myrna are reason enough to seek it out. Time to pop some popcorn.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

French Echoes or Get A Grip, part 2

While France and other parts of Europe burned in the weeks before Thanksgiving, some Americans no doubt scoffed and thought they had it coming. Although to anyone with one eye, one ear, and half a brain it was obvious that people were rioting, French authorities referred to it as unrest, presumably so as not to instigate more of the same. Well, there was some unrest in Oakland, California Thanksgiving night. A dozen black youths dressed in suits, white collar shirts, wearing bow ties entered a liquor store, terrorized the clerks, and smashed up the place to the tune of thousands of dollars. They repeatedly ordered the clerks to not sell liquor to blacks and Muslims in the neighborhood.

Still not satisfied they had done all they could to eradicate sin from their community, they proceeded to another liquor store where they engaged in similar terrorist behavior. The full story is here, thanks to Shawn Wasson.

The MSM is, of course, downplaying it even though surveillance video of the entire incident is available. Videos, including the story as originally broadcast on KRON-TV in San Francisco, can be found here.

A complete and unembedded (unattached to a story) video is here.

Is this a sign of things to come? Could it be that those who wish to bring jihad to this country have taken lessons from those in Europe and elsewhere? We'll never know unless people demand that the media stop its posturing as unbiased observers and cease using the language of political correctness. If you don't know what I mean by that compare the coverage of Kamou Kambon and that of Pat Robertson. Kambon called for the extermination of the white race whereas Robertson suggested that the U.S. might have a plan to assassinate Hugo Chavez and should probably do it. I'll leave you to guess which received the most coverage.

Make no mistake, those who vandalized these liquor stores are terrorists in all respects save one, they killed no one...yet. Otherwise, they are no different than those who blow up pizza parlors, hotels, discoteques, and buses. They are no different than the Nazi brown shirts who terrorized German Jews and others in the 1930's. They are no different from the Chechenyan terrorists who murdered more than 150 school children along with some 200 others in Beslan. The MSM will not make such comparisons, calling them hyperbole, war-mongering, hate speech and they are wrong. If these had been men wearing white sheets. Would the media have remained so silent?

If the light of truth had been shined on Germany in the 1930's perhaps the ensuing world war could have been avoided or at least contained. If the light of truth exposes this for what it is, pure religiously and racially motivated terrorism, perhaps it can be stamped out before it becomes truly dangerous and widespread.

It's time to wake up America! Stop casting blame on the victims and put it where it belongs, on those who see themselves as agents of a greater good even if it means engaging in great evil to acheive it.

Nuda Veritas

Monday, November 21, 2005

Get A Grip

Hey, Democrats and all others calling our incursion into Iraq illegal, calling our President a liar and a murderer, listen up.

In 1917 President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, sent American forces into the European 'Great War' against the Central Powers of Germany, Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. None of those nations had attacked the U.S.. 126,000 Americans were killed with another 234,000 wounded and maimed in just over a year, an average of about 245 a day.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, sent American forces into the war against Germany and Italy, neither of which had attacked the United States. Japan had. In the three and a half years it took to defeat the European enemies about 298,000 Americans died, an average of about 239 a day.

President Harry Truman, a Democrat, finished that war and promptly started another against North Korea which, again, had not attacked the United States. About 34,000 Americans were killed in the three year Korean War, an average of roughly 30 a day.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, although he didn't start American involvement in Vietnam, sent increasing numbers of military forces into that conflict. North Vietnam had not attacked the United States. In just over eight years more than 59,000 Americans were killed, an average of about 19 a day.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, ordered the bombing of Serbia and Kosovo. Neither had attacked the United States. Fortunately, no Americans died in the incursion since there were no American troops on the ground, but the conflict had not received the blessing of the United Nations.

In 1991, shortly after taking office, this same president changed the purpose of the American forces in Somalia from a humanitarian mission to one of policing. The result was 19 dead Americans. The Clinton administration withdrew American forces from Somalia.

In February, 1993, the World Trade Center was severely damaged by a truck bomb. The perpetrators were traced to a shadowy figure named Osama bin Laden and a terrorist group called al Qaeda. 6 Americans were killed and a thousand injured. The Clinton administration prosecuted the perpetrators as though they were criminals rather than as enemy combatants.

In 1998 this same bin Laden declared war on the United States by ordering a 'fatwah' or death sentence on all Americans. The Clinton administration, Democrat, fired a few cruise missiles into the desert. During this same period bin Laden was offered to the administration on at least three separate occasions. Each time the offer was refused by the Clinton administration.

In 2000, the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen by al Qaeda operatives, killing 17 American sailors and nearly sinking the ship. The Clinton administration, Democrat, did nothing.

On September 11, 2001 four airplanes were hijacked by al Qaeda operatives. Two were flown into the World Trade Center towers one and two, one into the Pentagon, with the fourth crashing into a field in Pennsylvania. The number of Americans killed in these attacks was just under three thousand. Less than a month later President George Bush, a Republican, ordered American forces into Afghanistan. So far 248 Americans have been killed there, an average of about one every four and a half days.

In March of 2003 the United States sent military forces into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. To date 2,091 Americans have been killed, an average of about two a day.

If one of those killed is your son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife, it is a personal tragedy and you deserve the sympathy of an understanding and grateful nation. However all deaths, whether on the battlefield, on the highway, or on the operating table, are tragic. During the same period that fewer than 2,400 Americans have been killed on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq combined, over 100,000 Americans have been killed on the nation's highways, some 80,000 have been murdered, and untold numbers have died from killer diseases.

The president didn't lie, he did what a president should do when the nation is attacked. He called for an attack on Afghanistan which was protecting the architect of 9/11. When further intelligence was unearthed about Iraq, our attention was turned on it. Every intelligence agency in the world believed that Iraq possessed WMD's. Saddam had used such weapons twice before, had invaded two of his neighbors, had been supporting terrorism against Israel and had been housing terrorists in Baghdad. Iraqi forces had repeatedly violated the no-fly zones and had fired on American planes enforcing that zone. Saddam had violated every United Nations resolution since 1992 and the extent of the corruption of the oil-for-food program is still not fully known. Every Democrat believed Iraq possessed WMD's and said as much.

Without going into all the details of Iraq's WMD's, its attempt to acquire nuclear materials, its extensive support of terrorism, let me close with this. Democrats, leftist complainers, liberal whiners, general malcontents, get a grip and pay attention.

Freedom of speech guarantees you the right to criticize your government. However, the art of criticism demands that you also provide a workable alternative to what it is you wish to change. But you do not provide such alternatives. All I hear from you is 'Bush lied, people died', 'War is not the answer', along with insults, innuendo, accusations, lies, distortions, outrageous characterizations, and a whole litany of mind-numbing drivel. Read the foregoing again and get some perspective and realize that you are in a war for your lives.

Its time for the Bush administration to mobilize the nation onto a war footing because we are at war only half of us don't know it. We need to feel wanted and needed in the effort to defeat the enemies of freedom. Right now those enemies are most prevalent in Iraq and they will be defeated unless we lose our will to resist, to fight. We must not allow that to happen. The result would be disaster for Iraq, for the Middle East, for the United States.

I cannot predict whether Afghanistan and Iraq will emerge as successful democracies. They never have been and maybe they can never be. But I also don't know whether the sun will come up tomorrow, but I believe it will because I have faith in the continuing natural movements of the planets. Similarly, I have faith in the higher desires of the human spirit. We want to be free. My hopes and prayers are that the Afghanis and Iraqis do too, enough to fight for it.

Nuda Veritas

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I've been there

I have a Christian friend who is going through tough, tough times right now. Sometimes God has to shake up our lives a bit to make room for what He’s going to do next. Sometimes shaking up is hard to take, but we need to trust God wouldn’t do it to us if it weren't going to help us on our journey. The scripture that comes to mind is one that I never get tired of sharing, one that has helped me often in my walk: Lamentations 3:21-26
21This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

We are called to lift each other up, edify and support each of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and leave the Judging to God. Chuck Girard has a great song that I want to share here-look to his website: for more of his music and ministry. Those of us older than dirt remember Chuck from his group “Lovesong” and his solo career-those of you too young may know of Zoegirl, the group Chuck’s daughter Alisa is in.


Don't shoot the wounded, they need us more than ever.

They need our love no matter what it is they've done.

Sometimes we just condemn them, and don't take time to hear their story.

Don't shoot the wounded, someday you might be one.

It's easy to love the people who are standing hard and fast.

Pressing on to meet that higher calling.

But the ones who might be struggling, we tend to judge too harshly, and refuse to try and catch them when they're falling.

We put people into boxes and we draw our hard conclusions, and when they do the things we know they should not do,

we sometimes write them off as hopeless, and we throw them to the dogs.

Our compassion and forgiveness sometimes seem in short supply, so I say...Don't shoot the wounded!

We can love them and forgive them when their sin does not exceed our own. For we too have been down bumpy roads

before but when they commit offenses outside the boundaries we have set,we judge them in a word and we turn them out,

and we close the door. Myself I've been forgiven for so many awful things. I've been cleansed and washed and bathed so

many times that when I see a brother who has fallen from the way I just can't find the license to convict him of his crimes.

So I say... Don't shoot the wounded!

That doesn't mean we turn our heads when we see a brother sin and pretend that what he's doing is all right.

But we must help him see his error, we must lead him to repent. Cry with those who cry, but bring their deeds into the light .

For it's the sick that need the doctor, and it's the lame that need the crutch. It's the prodigal who needs the loving hand. For a

man who's in despair, there should be kindness from his friends. 'Lest he should forsake the fear of Almighty God and turn

away from God and man, So I say...Don't shoot the wounded!

�1982 Sea of Glass Music/ASCAP

Don't give up, friend.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Going to My Happy Place

There’s a comedic bit where someone who is super-stressed out is told to “Go to his Happy Place”-he shuts his eyes and imagines he is on a sunny beach, or in bed, comfortable and relaxed, miles from the neck deep doo doo he faced just a moment earlier. My variation, which I’ve done at work: “I wanted to go to my Happy Place, my favorite place in the whole world, I opened my eyes, and I was right here! At Work!”
My co-workers then tell me to shut up.
Going to a Happy Place...a dose of momentary unreality (a spoonful of sugar) to help one cope with a harsh reality (helps the medicine go down) is fine in moderation-but dangerous if one becomes addicted to Finding His Happy Place. Some crank the music louder, or ‘get into’ Nascar/NFL/movies/TV/uh...blogging...--others go where the only bill they have to think about is the bar tab, and that’s not due till they have to go home and face reality again.
You see, Reality happens, whether you’re ready or not. Being comfortable with Reality makes wherever you are your Happy Place. Avoiding Reality makes wherever you are the Unhappy Place you want to be gone from.
I love my Happy Place. I also enjoy remembering other days, but not as an escape, but because I enjoyed my Reality, my Happy Place then, also.
I just sent a Thanksgiving card to a friend who was with me when I took the picture above-December 31, 2001. I included the URL for here, and hope that she stops by {Hi Vaida! Hi David!}. It was a wonderfully cold time, but it is one of my favorite memories, also; I’ve been waiting for Winter to come so I could post this picture. I hope that as you read this, you remember a great time in your life, and then look around and see that where you are right now, the Reality you face at this moment, can be your Happy Place. Today can be the great day you will remember fondly years from now. Go make it happen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Senate Wants to Run the War

The ridiculous Warner Amendment passed today with a yea vote from FORTY Republicans. This is simply a travesty. We are now moving in the same direction we did before losing the Vietnam War. We have no Republican leadership. Mr. Frist, you ought to be ashamed.

We absolutely CANNOT lose this war. The following is a quote by Major General Vernon Chong:

"So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves, by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!"
Read the Major General's full article here. It is a wake-up call. We need to get serious or America is on its way out as surely as Rome was during its downfall.

Europe will soon become a haven for those who wish to destroy the infidels (translation: you and me). Who will defend liberty and freedom, if not America?

Update: 11-17-05
Honestly, I am sickened by our Congress and most particularly by our capitulating and weak-kneed Republican Senators. Where are the brave? Where are the principled? Are they all over in Iraq fighting? WE STINKETH. Asbestos!!?? Something has got to change in Washington. I'm irate.

Update 2: 11-18-05
Okay. This might be the beginning of a trend. I can only hope.


Monday, November 14, 2005

More Quizilla Fun

Calliope, Muse of epic poetry
You are 'Latin'. Even among obsolete skills, the
tongue of the ancient Romans is a real
anachronism. With its profusion of different
cases and conjugations, Latin is more than a
language; it is a whole different way of
thinking about things.

You are very classy, meaning that you value the
classics. You value old things, good things
which have stood the test of time. You value
things which have been proven worthy and
valuable, even if no one else these days sees
them that way. Your life is touched by a
certain 'pietas', or piety; perhaps you are
even a Stoic. Nonetheless, you have a certain
fascination with the grotesque and the profane.
Also, the modern world rejects you like a bad
transplant. Your problem is that Latin has
been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found this at Notes in the Key of Life. I like how this one turned out too. I do like the classics. And I took a few years of Latin in high school. I don't remember any of it, but I got an A. Plus this chick dresses like me.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

No Greater Love

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

It was a Sunday evening and all was relatively quiet. Everyone knew that it would only last until about six the next morning when the big guns would begin their barrage again. The artillery on both sides would lob shells toward each other which would explode with the deafening boom that could be heard miles away. For five hours it would continue like that even though a truce had been reached between the warring parties the day before. It had been decided that the armistice would go into effect only at 11am the next day, Monday, November 11, 1918. The Great War To End All Wars ended as ignominously as it had begun. But the day it ended, November 11, has been commemorated ever since.

In 1954 Congress recognized that there were other veterans of other wars who did not have a day set aside for such recognition. As a result, Congress expanded Armistice Day to include all American veterans, past, present, and future, and changed its name to Veterans' Day.

It is a day to remember, to honor, to salute all veterans of all American wars. It is a time to remember that "All gave some, some gave all." They are the reason America remains, and will remain, free.

Nuda Veritas

She Who Practices Inattention Fritters Away Treasure and Wisdom

I wish I had paid more attention to my mom when she told me not to go barefoot all the time, that some day I would regret it. My feet are killing me today.
I wish I had paid more attention to the songs on my grandma’s phonograph player so that I could sing one right now. How does that go? “ In 1814 we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip…” Funny but forgotten.
I wish I had paid more attention to my algebra teacher when he told me I should be a math major, instead of a music major. It just sounded like so much more work.
I wish I had paid more attention in U.S. history class so I wasn’t spending so much adult time learning about things I should already know.
I wish I had paid more attention to my future husband on my first date, instead of worrying so much about how I looked. I think he wore a knee-length yellow corduroy coat. Is corduroy still a fabric?
I wish I had paid more attention at my wedding so I could remember what song was sung by the soloist. Weddings weren’t videotaped back then. And I was so nervous.
I wish I had paid more attention to my children’s funny comments when they were little, and had written them down so that I could have a nice laugh tonight. I have the funniest kids. Once I walked into the room and Rachel was sitting there with a different color crayon between each toe. I think she had a good explanation.
I wish I had paid more attention to my children’s education. In some ways they are nuts that fall far from the tree, and I think I could have done something about that if I had realized that public education was filled with liberal thinking.
I wish I had paid more attention to my doctor when he told me to lose weight and get more exercise…40 pounds ago and pre-high blood pressure.
I wish I had paid more attention to all my husband’s birthdays for the past 31 years. Who will pay attention if I don’t?
I wish I had paid more attention so that I could recall the smell of tall grass and snapdragons and a gentle summer breeze outside my bedroom window. Well, maybe snapdragons don’t really smell. I can’t remember. I guess we have some good smells here in Phoenix--citrus blossoms and ozone. But I seem to recall that smells outdoors when I was young were better.
I wish I had paid more attention to my pastor’s teaching for the past twenty years. Why haven’t I been taking notes? I guess some of it has sunk in. Maybe I’ll pull out a pen this Sunday. At least that one is not too late.

And I suppose I could still lose weight.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cue the Music -- I Feel Good!

It's a good day. Today I only paid $2.48 a gallon for gas! A month ago I was paying over $3.00 per gallon. Who would have ever thought that over two dollars a gallon would feel so good?


Monday, November 07, 2005

The Past Should Be

I had the opportunity awhile back to visit a part of my past. I was on the Mackinaw for nearly three years. It was during my tour of duty, back in 1979, that I accepted Christ, right onboard the ship. My life changed dramatically that day, and God has blessed me more abundantly than I have had any right to expect.
It reminds me of the difference between Grace and Mercy: Grace is God’s giving is the good things we do not deserve, Mercy is His not giving us the bad that we Do deserve. Both are evidence of His love for us.
The Mackinaw will be decommissioned next year, so when it opened for tours near here, my Dad and I made a quick trip to see it. I have mixed feelings about the experience, which is why it’s taken me a while to write this.
It was great to see the boat again, the scars and repairs welded in, all covered with red, white and spar paint. Spar is the brownish yellow color found on the smokestack. The tour was only of the outer areas and the bridge; I pointed things out to my dad, spoke with the crew directing tourists, took pictures and generally it was a nice experience.
What was unsettling for me was talking to the crew; there was an air of desperation and cynicism
that I remembered very well from my days in the Coast Guard. A young Coastie guiding tours, wearing a jacket not just because he was cold, but to cover up the fact that he was missing a few ribbons on his dress uniform. That would have been me in 1979. On the day in 1980 when I was supposed to appear in full dress uniform for the ceremony where I was awarded my “crow”-(see the cynicism?) where I was to be awarded my 3rd Class Petty Officers chevron (with an eagle, not a crow)-I was called from the galley in the middle of preparing lunch, wearing no insignia at all, and my ‘ceremony’ lasted about 10 seconds, long enough for the OOD to hand me my chevron, shake my hand, and then I went back to finish the meal.
During my recent visit I flagged down a cook who was passing by and introduced myself. She was doing my old job, in the galley where I had worked so many, many hours. She seemed bitter and stressed, and she had no good words for the school she had recently returned from, which I had gone through in 1978. What was unsettling was talking with someone going through the same routine, working the same job, having the same stresses and problems that I left behind over 20 years ago. I am now so far removed from military life that I hardly remembered what it was like. My visit reminded me of how happy I was to leave the Service. I am proud of having served, but am very grateful to God for setting me on a different path.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

President George W. Bush

Imagine President George Bush standing before the full Congress, reading these verses selected from Psalm 35:

Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind,
With the angel of the LORD driving them on.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery,
With the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7 For without cause they hid their net for me;
Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.

Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.

But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together;
The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me,
They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like godless jesters at a feast,
They gnashed at me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions.
18 I will give You thanks in the great congregation;
I will praise You among a mighty throng.
19 Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me;
Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.
20 For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.
21 They opened their mouth wide against me;
They said, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!”
22 You have seen it, O LORD, do not keep silent;
O Lord, do not be far from me.
23 Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right
And to my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness,
And do not let them rejoice over me.
25 Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!”
Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!”
26 Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress;
Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.

Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication;
And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”
28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Not a Scary Choice

Today President Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito for the United States Supreme Court, citing his lengthy prior judicial service, "more...than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years."

His record:
1990 to present
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
1987 to 1990
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey
1985 to 1987
Deputy Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General
1981 to 1985
Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General

For those of us on the right, a very good choice, comforting, in fact. Those on the left are frightened. Boo! (That's as much a tribute to Halloween as I can muster.)

Have a beautiful day!


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Such a Strong Word

I hate my life. That may seem to be a strange way to begin a post, but it’s true. I hate that I am still a sinner, a redeemed, gifted with Salvation, born again Christian who struggles every day with sin in my life. It’s the sin part of my life that I hate, not the child of God part. God has Blessed me beyond my comprehension, given me the wonderful gift of eternal life, and I squander days still sinning. It makes no sense. It would be wonderful beyond words if, at the moment of Salvation, God would instantly move us up into Heaven in our glorified bodies, free from even the memory of sin. But that’s not His plan, and the Gospel message wouldn’t be spread without messengers, ground troops, so to speak, remaining here to reach out to the lost.

John 12:25-26
25“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

People will cling to Life, take their place in the Rat Race, strive to succeed and do what? Build a better life for themselves, make the Life they have last as long as it can. But it all ends up covered with dirt.
I saw a profile of Wayne Newton awhile back, and was struck by how he measured success by the accumulation of things, stuff-the “trappings of success”. Trappings is right-he’s trapped into believing that because he owns a million dollar ______ (fill in the blank) that his life has worth, that he is more valuable because of what he has. It brought to mind the rich young man who asked Jesus what he must do to be saved. And Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. Why would Jesus tell him that? He wanted the young man to see that the wealth he had, the life he had, was holding him back from the Life he could have in Him.
Jesus wanted the young man to hate his life so that, when offered the best gift of all, Salvation, he would readily receive it with Joy.
I’m not picking on Wayne, by the way-there are numerous examples of those settling for the shoddy temporal riches of this world who miss the only valuable ‘pearl of great price’ which is available to them.
I am grateful to God for bringing me into His family, allowing me to become His child. I pity the Wayne Newtons of this world who settle for so very little when offered Everything. This morning I heard a friend mention in prayer that, “Without obedience there is no Joy.” and I knew exactly what he meant. When I sin, when I strive to do things my way, when I rebel against what I know God wants me to do, what He wants to fulfill in my life, I am miserable-there is no Joy. But when I submit to Him, meekly asking forgiveness for having disappointed Him (and myself) again, He doesn’t punish me, but instead comforts me with His Holy Spirit, from which comes Joy. It certainly does ‘pass all understanding’-but I am grateful to my Father in Heaven who sees ‘worth’ in me, who wants, for some unfathomable reason, me to be included in His family.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers Nominated -- WITHDRAWN

Harriet Miers? What? Maybe it's strategery? (Originally posted Oct 3)

Update: IF this link works, it might be reassuring.

Update 2: Is it possible that a lot of the noise being offered now against the candidate is bias because she is an evangelical Christian?

Update 3: Okay. That's over. Now what? I personally think she would have been a constructionist. Now we have to start all over. In the meantime, I hope O'Connor doesn't have any important cases come before her. I think we have had enough constitutional "expansion."
"Because cases coming before the SCOTUS in the near future include some crucial decisions --including an abortion rights blockbuster that will be argued in late November-- it is very important to get a nominee for whom hearings can be scheduled immediately."Hugh Hewitt
I am in agreement with Hugh Hewitt that conservatives have by their unfair treatment of Ms. Miers, set themselves up for calls of hypocrisy for the future nomination, when they appear willing to accept the absence of or presence of paper trail of a certain type for the next candidate, or whatever the sticking point, which they were unwilling to do with Ms. Miers.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's an Anthem, not a lovesong!

Am I alone in being repulsed by the trashing The Star Spangled Banner receives on a nearly daily basis at sporting and other events across the nation? I am referring to the a'capella crooning of the anthem by various vocalists, some of obvious talent, virtually all with no apparent understanding that a national anthem is not a love song.

Here is how it should be presented followed by how it typically is:

Tempo - With gusto and a little pomp, it is usually performed too slowly, often downright plodding and lethargic.
Time - 3/4 maestoso waltz, apparently unknown and certainly unfelt by most singers. Perhaps they don't know that maestoso means 'majestically', not lovingly.
Tune - Difficult, but not impossible. Stick to the score, there is no need to add notes, cuts, slides, overlong sustains, nor improbable highs.
Lyrics - Difficult, but every syllable can be clearly enunciated. Most seem to get right at least the first line or two and many actually get through the entire first verse, however none know any verse beyond that.
Listenability - Stirring and moving when performed correctly, mostly repellent when not.

It seems to me that these horrific versions of the national anthem have only appeared in the last decade or two. Those who croon it seem to be saying not "This is an important symbol of our nation", but rather "Listen to me, I'm doing cool stuff here, it's all about me." Instead of honoring the flag and the nation it symbolizes, they seem to be narcissistically glorifying themselves. Instead of showing respect, if not admiration, for their country's history, heroes, heritage, and symbols, they seem to be doing the exact opposite.

Here is my suggestion to anyone who wishes to publicly sing the national anthem. It's about the flag of the United States of America, the red, white, and blue symbol of the nation it was written to honor. It isn't about you. Neither you, nor your personality, nor your opinions, nor your personal version, nor your special vocalizations, nor your ideosyncracies, are of any importance in rendering the national anthem. So please! Stop the emotional gushing of something you don't feel anyway. In fact, if you did feel it you would stick to the score which, by the way, sounds like this when played correctly, in this instance by the United States Marine Band.

It's an anthem, not a love song!

Nuda Veritas

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Same Rags

Awhile back I mentioned a man I used to work for named Ray, when we both worked for “Uncle Ralph”.
One of Ray’s favorite sayings was: “You have to get glad in the same rags you got sad in.”
I always took that to mean don’t look for something or someone else to make you happy-you may be waiting a long time. When we are going through a bad patch, difficult times, it is better to face the problems and resolve them than worry and wonder and hope things get better. As a Christian, I know that no matter what difficulties arise, God not only has a plan for me to get through them, but is with me so I never face them alone.
Yes, He also allows the troubles to happen-we all face some tribulations; many Christians see persecution and torture today that I may never face. The Bible calls such Christians “Blessed.” I am in no way comparing my problems to theirs, but no matter what the circumstance, great or small, God sees us through.
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, just before He was arrested. They contain a promise which we can claim also: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We all have times when the imperative, “Rejoice!” seems like a mockery, a stale dry biscuit in our mouths, and Praising God for our difficulties seems like the least sensible thing to do.
But there is the secret, the Oil, the very essence of Holiness: God is our only true help and deliverer. He has promised in His Word to take care of His children, and a heart seeking renewal, a child in need, though he or she may find it the hardest labor possible, must begin their prayer with Praise. When we least feel like it is when we need to Praise God the most. Honor God and trust that He will see you through your troubles. And don’t try to tell Him how that should be accomplished, either.
Simply Praise God, Rejoice, Pray, repeat as necessary.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Long, Hot Simmer

WARNING: Rated R for violence! Not for the squeemish, nor the faint of heart, nor small children, nor dedicated members of PETA. If you fall into any of these categories STOP READING NOW! All others please read on.

It is said that if a frog is dropped into a pan of boiling water it will instantly jump out to safety. If, however, it is placed in a pan of cool water and the water slowly brought to a boil it will calmly allow itself to be slowly cooked to...well, to death. I cannot attest to the truth of this strange claim nor can I fully understand why anyone would even want to know if it is true or not. Nevertheless, there it is.

For some of us, our entry into the Christian fellowship is like that. My own certainly has been. Immersed in ritual Christianity at an early age I jumped out of the pan at the earliest opportunity. I had attended church services regularly, sung in the choir, been a youth group participant, enjoyed Bible camps and retreats, even taught Sunday School, but my greatest attention had always been elsewhere. There were so many unanswered and unanswerable questions that I always wondered where my Damascus Road was, my epiphany, my eye opening awakening. It never came, it still hasn't nearly fifty years later.

Oh, I didn't fall into a life of drugs, alcohol, sexual depravity, crime, or even one of emotional upset and despair. I did many of the normal everyday things most people do. I married, raised a family, got an education and a good job, had good friends, but there always seemed to be something missing. I looked everywhere, music, art, philosophy, eastern religions, obscure metaphysics, science, history, literature. I found some interesting, some intriguing, some mysterious, some even exciting, but one by one they were all curiously unsatisfying. Then one day, for no particular reason, I picked up the Bible as I had done many times before. Leafing its pages haphazardly I stopped on Romans, chapter nine and began reading. Verses 20 and 21 fairly jumped off the page at me.

Rom 9:20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"
Rom 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

I leaned back into my chair as I realized that I had all the while been silently blaming God for my shortcomings, my weaknesses, my failures. I had always believed, but had never fully trusted. I had always read Scripture, but had never really had faith in it. Suddenly it dawned on me that I hadn't leapt clear all those years ago, but had only jumped from one pot to another with water of a more pleasing temperature. The heat had been slowly rising ever since.

Joh 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

This frog had somehow received mercy, had died and had been 'born again', not with tongues of fire, but with a long, slow simmer. The world looks different now, not in a material way, but in a 'God's plan' way. I don't claim to understand His plan, but I know I'm a small part of it and that's good enough for me. So if you're trying, seeking, but just don't feel the fire and can't seem to fully understand, be patient and come on in. The water's much better here...except for the frog who, sadly, didn't make it.

Praise God!

Nuda Veritas

Monday, October 17, 2005

Quizilla Fun

Here is a funny internet quiz. I couldn't resist. I think Napoleon Dynamite is so funny. And I am sweaty! I found this at Everything is Adding Up to Here and Now.

You are LaFawnduh. Why are you so sweaty?

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Winners and Potential Winners

I just finished watching the Chicago White Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels, winning the American League
Championship and moving them on to the World Series. It was exciting, it was historical on many levels, and it was a case of the best team winning. I will cheer for them to beat whichever team survives the National League playoffs.
Cheers for the Sox will be heard from Chicago to Manager Ozzie Guillen’s home country of Venezuela.
Part of what I love about baseball, besides seeing the action on the field, is to see the fans cheering their teams, crying for their teams, emotionally involved in the game. They take pride in their team doing well,
suffer (Hello Cubs fans!) when their team doesn’t, look forward in anticipation to the next game, or next year. (Hello fellow Atlanta Braves fans!)
Winners in life win the prize. Christians, those who have accepted Christ, have won the greatest prize possible-a redeemed relationship with our Creator. One that lasts through Eternity. Cool.
What’s funny, and how Christianity differs from baseball: Ozzie Guillen isn’t interested in asking the LA Angels to join his team. The Chicago White Sox see the Angels as foes to be vanquished, impediments to their winning the prize. Christians love for people to hear the Gospel and accept Jesus Christ. We are winners who want everyone to join our club, become winners with us. Why? Because we know how wonderful the prize is, and that it is within the reach of every heart. When someone accepts Christ, as happened for two young men in our church a few weeks ago, we rejoice, are happy for them, cheering them on from the stands, so to speak. They are winners. They are part of our team. They will join us in welcoming the next ones who decide to trust Jesus Christ with their lives. Praise God and Play Ball!

Caution -- Beware of Slips

Have you ever experienced that heart-dropping moment when you know that the words that have just passed by your lips are hurtful and hateful, and should never have been spoken? That kind of Hitchcock cinematic instance where you appear to be standing perfectly still, but the background moves farther and farther away?

“No, no, no! Why did I say that?”

I have been guilty so many times, especially with my spouse. I love my dearest friend, but he is the one person in the world upon whom I allow my vile and hateful feelings to bubble up and overflow out of my wretched and unruly mouth. Why are we that way?

Tonight I let my tongue loose. Oh, only for a sentence. But why did I let my old man out?

“It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within in me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh what a terrible predicament I’m in. Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.” Romans 7.21 – 25 LB
James had a few words to say about the tongue. You can read all of them yourself in the third chapter of that book. “…out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

Though written nearly 2,000 years ago, these words, inspired by the One I love more than anyone, are as true as ever. Today we call someone our friend. Tomorrow we make a wounding statement that drives another wedge of mistrust and hurt between us.

Lord, I am sorry for offending you. Please help me to spare the people I love from that injury. I need Your strength. Now I must apologize to my husband.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Katrina Conspiracy Theories

Spike Lee will be making a documentary on Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. In an interview with Reuters he had this to say:
"I wouldn't put anything past the U.S. government when it comes to people of colour. There is too much history ... going back to when the U.S. army gave smallpox-infested blankets to Native Americans."
Lee says that his documentary will use “factual journalism, not creative narrative,” but describes himself as a “provocateur,” and is looking for an “angle” -- maybe political “hanky panky.” I am sure he will be including Louis Farrakhan and the Reverend Jesse Jackson among his interviewees. Just the facts, sir.

I can’t express how excited I am for his documentary to come out (imagine I am intoning in the voice of Ben Stein).

But I think what he really ought to do is talk with this guy. Now he has a provocative angle .


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Meeting With A King

Just across the street from our house was the largest park in the city. In winter we'd build snow forts, have snowball fights, play on the ice on the small lake in the center of the park. In summer we'd play ball, hide 'n seek, tag, catch, and whatever other games we could drum up. Every summer weekend would find the road that circled the park just inside its perimeter jam-packed with people washing or waxing their cars. Every available open space would be filled with people picnicking, playing games, or just enjoying the shade of a warm summer day.

There was a small amusement center in the park which housed three wagon-wheel snack concessions, a permanent hamburger/hot dog stand, a ferris wheel, a tilt-a-whirl, and a merry-go-round. It too would be crowded with people enjoying themselves and their children. Across the street from that was a bandstand with covered seating for some three hundred people and standing room for another hundred. Five nights a week there was some kind of entertainment at the bandstand from June through August. I only remember Monday night movies, usually westerns, Tuesday night dance class recitals, Saturday night country music shows, and a Sunday night band concert. It was all free and fun, except of course the dance class recitals, but we went anyway because it was better than sitting at home or 'just goofing off'.

Walking through the park by myself one Sunday afternoon I came across a man sitting under a large shade tree. He was dressed in brown, wrinkled pants, a brown suit jacket, and black shoes with no socks. He was pulling cherries from a bag beside him and popping them into his mouth. He raised his hand and gestured for me to sit down which I did. He offered his bag of cherries and I reached in, pulled out one and ate it. It was large, colored a deep, dark red, perfectly juicy and sweet. The two of us sat there in the shade eating cherries and talking. He told me had been working in the cherry orchards of Bountiful, about 15 miles north of where I lived, and had left there that morning since the work was 'pretty much done'. He had stopped in 'my' park to rest before heading for the railroad yards to 'hop a freight' for Colorado.

We sat there talking and watching the people for a long time. He told me about the time he rode 300 miles in a cattle car...full of cattle. He had been in the car when it was pulled up to a loading dock and some 40 longhorn steers lumbered aboard. He spent the entire journey fending off their horns and heavy bodies. He never rode a cattle car again. He'd spent several trips 'riding the rods'. "What's that?" I asked. "The wheel carriages have long, curved steel rods connecting them to the bottom of the car," he explained, "and they fit a man's body pretty well. It's a bit noisy and you don't do it in winter, but it's a good ride and easier to spot railroad 'bulls' from."

He explained that outside of every major railroad center in America there were camps, called jungles, where hobos would stay until they were ready to move on. Once a year most of the 'real' hobos gathered in Iowa for their national convention where they traded stories, information, and elected a king and a queen, yes there were gal hobos too. The winners were usually the ones who had visited the most 'jungles' to campaign for the honor. He had been king once before and was campaigning to be re-elected this year. I was utterly captivated and incredibly impressed.

After some time had passed a fellow walked by sporting one of those just new polaroid cameras, the kind where you snap the shutter and exactly 60 seconds later, voila! a photograph. Amazing stuff back then. He asked if he could take our picture. The king of the hobos looked at me and asked, "OK with you?" "Sure", I said. 'CLICK' went the camera followed by some whirring noises...and we waited.

A minute later the camera made a buzzing sound as it slowly ejected the developed picture. The guy showed it to us and offered to sell it for a dollar. Well, a ten-year-old and a guy who picks fruit for a living and rides the rails aren't about to pop for pictures at a buck apiece so the price was dropped to fifty cents. That offer was rejected as well so the photographer tossed the picture on the grass and walked away shaking his head. My friend picked up the photo, looked at it, took a pen from his pocket and wrote something on the back of the picture and gave it to me. He said, "Now you have proof that you've met the king of the hobos". Then he got up, said it was time for him to leave, and walked away. Of course, I wanted to go with him. He turned around, pointed his finger at me and said, "some of us have to go, some of us have to stay. Right now, your job is to stay".

I watched him as he walked away and wondered if he would soon be on his way to Colorado sitting in a boxcar. It sounded terribly exciting and I wanted badly to go, but deep down knew I couldn't. As I slowly walked home I looked at the back of the photo and read "Two friends enjoying cherries in the park, Allan and the King of the Hobos". I put it in the back pocket of my jeans and went home. I never saw him again and I never found out if he truly was the king of the hobos.

That was over 50 years ago and luckily I remember it as though it were yesterday. Luckily because when I put those pants in the hamper to be washed I forgot about the photograph in the back pocket. It was lost forever in the ensuing wash. But I was sure I had met the king of the hobos.

I wrote this some time ago as a fond memory of my rather twisted childhood. A brief moment in time that lingers in the mind decades later. Was he the king of the hobos? I didn't know then, I don't know now, but I believe he was because however indirectly, I learned a life lesson that day. Live and make the best of your life, not somebody else's.

Some years ago I met another King. It wasn't in a park, there was no man with a Polaroid camera to take a picture and I was left no note by which to remember the meeting. Well, actually I was. The note was written on my heart; "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength," and with all your mind, and "your neighbor as yourself." Since that day I have tried to live by those words, sometimes succeeding, often failing. Since that day my life has been blessed again and again. I have been especially blessed in the knowledge that when this King returns He'll let me jump that freight with Him.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
'Twas grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise,
Than when we'd first begun.

John Newton (1779) (verse 5 by R. Winchell, (1829))

Addendum: I decided to do some investigating and found the following at
The events described above took place in midsummer 1950 or 1951. According to this website the kings during those years were Cannonball Eddie (1950) and Hobo Ben Benson (1951) both of whom had been king once prior. There is, however, no confusion about the other King.

Nuda Veritas

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Random Thoughts Tuesday

Randomly thoughting today, I am thankful that God has graced me with another beautiful day. As every good gift comes from above, I know Who to thank. What a non-Christian sometimes can’t get his or her head around is that we thank God for bad days, too. “In all things, give thanks.” isn’t just a nice idea-it’s scriptural. So is rejoicing that God is with us, working in our lives: Philippians 4:4-9---
“4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Sometimes, my spirit isn’t gentle-I can get downright un-gentle, and I have probably been a bad witness for Christ because of it. But God has Grace to cover my flaws, and bring me forward to where I do have a gentle spirit. It always begins with praise for God. We praise and pray, and find delight in that God takes care of His children. What Mother or Father hasn’t told a scared child, “Don’t worry-everything will be all right?” The admonition to God’s people throughout the Bible is: “Don’t worry about anything-God loves you and is taking care of you.”

These verses in Philippians also give us another key to living at peace with God and ourselves-dwell on the good instead of the bad. Sound psychology that even non-Christians can take to heart. We do not delude ourselves that the world is full of happy sunshine-but God blesses us in many ways, and we should be thankful, dwelling on those good things that He has done, rather than on how terrible the world is.

I chose this picture for Random Thoughts Tuesday because it always makes me laugh, to see the me that used to be. And I didn’t want le to think she was the only one who looked great in high school.

Monday, October 10, 2005

What to do?

This is absolutely silly. I meant to be on my way, going to work, and here I am.

Christians, we do Christian very well, some of us have years of practice. the most Christian thing we can do is pray, the second most Christian thing we do is study His Word. The third most Christian thing we can do these days is look up, for our redemption is drawing near. By that I mean Christ will be returning soon, the author of our redemption.
Why am I writing this? I don't know, but I felt that I should. We Christians must pray, study His Word and look up. God speaks to us in prayer and in His Word. Be like one of the wise virgins. Be ready with oil in your lamp.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Okay, I'm Pathetic

I saw this at Free Thoughts and thought it would be fun in a pathetically melancholy sort of way. A list of the top 100 songs from the year you graduated high school. I can't follow the instructions at the site, because I can't figure out how to underline or strikethrough. So I put pooh! in front of the ones I hated (I actually think two of the songs are the two worst songs EVER in all of mankind. Guess which two?); I bolded the ones I liked; and I bolded and italicized my favorites. Also, I cannot be held responsible for the misspellings. I cut and pasted the list.

I can’t believe how many songs I don’t recognize. And no Chi-Lites on the list, Doug! But I grew up in North Dakota where they probably censored the music on the radio stations. Try to think of me gently, as that older really cool kid, not just older. I have included a picture of myself in 1974. You know that people who include pictures of themselves on blogs from years and years ago probably don't look anything like that anymore. I attest to the truth of that.

Leave me your list and comments.


1974 TOP 100 TUNES
1. pooh! The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand
2. pooh! Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks
3. Love's Theme, Love Unlimited Orchestra
4. Come And Get Your Love, Redbone
5. Dancing Machine, Jackson 5
6. The Loco-Motion, Grand Funk Railroad
8. pooh! The Streak, Ray Stevens
9. Bennie And The Jets, Elton John
10. One Hell Of A Woman, Mac Davis
11. Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do), Aretha Franklin
12. Jungle Boogie, Kool and The Gang
13. Midnight At The Oasis, Maria Muldaur
14. You Make Me Feel Brand New, Stylistics
15. Show And Tell, Al Wilson
16. Spiders And Snakes, Jim Stafford
17. Rock On, David Essex
18. pooh! Sunshine On My Shoulder, John Denver
19. Sideshow, Blue Magic
20. Hooked On A Feeling, Blue Swede
21. Billy Don't Be A Hero, Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
22. Band On The Run, Paul McCartney and Wings
23. The Most Beautiful Girl, Charlie Rich
24. Time In A Bottle, Jim Croce
25. Annie's Song, John Denver
26. Let Me Be There, Olivia Newton-John
27. pooh! Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot
28. pooh! (You're) Having My Baby, Paul Anka
29. Rock Me Gently, Andy Kim
30. Boogie Down, Eddie Kendricks
31. You're Sixteen, Ringo Starr
32. If You Love Me (Let Me Know), Olivia Newton-John
33. Dark Lady, Cher
34. Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me, Gladys Knight and The Pips
35. Feel Like Makin' Love, Roberta Flack
36. Just Dont Want To Be Lonely, Main Ingredient
37. Nothing From Nothing, Billy Preston
38. Rock Your Baby, George McCrae
39. pooh! Top Of The World, Carpenters
40. The Joker, Steve Miller Band
41. I've Got To Use My Imagination, Gladys Knight and The Pips
42. The Show Must Go On, Three Dog Night
43. Rock The Boat, Hues Corporation
44. Smokin' In The Boys Room, Brownsville Station
45. Living For The City, Stevie Wonder
46. The Night Chicago Died, Paper Lace
47. Then Came You, Dionne Warwick and The Spinners
48. The Entertainer, Marvin Hamlisch
49. pooh! Waterloo, Abba
50. The Air That I Breathe, Hollies
51. Rikki Don't Lose That Number, Steely Dan
52. Mockingbird, Carly Simon
53. Help Me, Joni Mitchell
54. You Won't See Me, Anne Murray
55. Never, Never Gonna Give You Up, Barry White
56. Tell Me Something Good, Rufus
57. pooh! You And Me Against The World, Helen Reddy
58. Rock And Roll Heaven, Righteous Brothers
59. Hollywood Swinging, Kool and The Gang
60. Be Thankful For What You Got, William Devaughn
61. Hang On In There Baby, Johnny Bristol
62. Eres Tu (Touch The Wind), Mocedades
63. Taking Care Of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
64. Radar Love, Golden Earring
65. Please Come To Boston, Dave Loggins
66. Keep On Smilin', Wet Willie
67. Lookin' For Love, Bobby Womack
68. Put Your Hands Together, O'Jays
69. On And On, Gladys Knight and The Pips
70. Oh Very Young, Cat Stevens
71. pooh! Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress), Helen Reddy
72. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
73. I've Been Searchin' So Long, Chicago
74. Oh My My, Ringo Starr
75. For The Love Of Money, O'Jays
76. I Shot The Sherrif, Eric Clapton
77. Jet, Paul McCartney and Wings
78. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Elton John
79. Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield
80. Love Song, Anne Murray
81. I'm Leaving It All Up To You, Donny and Marie Osmond
82. Hello, It's Me, Todd Rundgren
83. I Love, Tom T. Hall
84. Clap For The Wolfman, The Guess Who
85. I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song, Jim Croce
85. The Lord's Prayer, Sister Janet Mead
87. Trying To Hold On To My Woman, Lamont Dozier
88. Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing, Stevie Wonder
89. A Very Special Love Song, Charlie Rich
90. My Girl Bill, Jim Stafford
91. My Mistake Was To Love You, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye
91. Helen Wheels, Paul McCartney and Wings
93. Wildwood Weed, Jim Stafford
94. Beach Baby, First Class
95. Me And Baby Brother, War
96. Rockin' Roll Baby, Stylistics
97. pooh! I Honestly Love You, Olivia Newton-John
98. Call On Me, Chicago
99. Wild Thing, Fancy
100. Mighty Love, Pt. 1, Spinners

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fall Up

This is one of my photographs that needs a bit of explaining. I like it. Rather than taking the usual Autumn photos of leaves on the ground, or of trees that have turned gold, I took my camera under the trees and pointed up. In this we see the leaves from their underside, the less colorful side, but we also have the shadows of leaves above leaves, sort of mixing together the ghosts of leaves with those still alive. Alive for the moment, as they soon will be all on the ground, casting no shadows.
It’s been said that someone is fully human, not through strengths, as few are strong, but weakness, as at times all of us are weak. I’ve been faced with this in the past few days; I was weak, exhausted from working so much. Eventually the spirit that wanted to continue had to give in to the body which had had enough.
And so I’ve rested. If one were to look at my life from beneath, see the less colorful side, view me in my weakness rather than when I am strong, they would have a better idea of the real me, and not just the person I want the world to think I am. The real me is weak, a sinner, saved by the Grace of God. Every day is a Gift from God, and if it were my turn to fall to the ground today, casting no more shadows, I am grateful, thankful for every preceding day. And looking forward to being done with days, living eternally with my God.