Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Peace that Passeth All Understanding
Philippians 4:7 says "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
I was flipping through magazines and saw the cartoon of the girl with her tea. She was not sitting on the chair but the chair was in the ad. It is unusual to see a figure, real or cartoon, looking directly at the reader in that way, and her expression got my attention. I thought, "I am like that girl, with my comfy chair and my tea."
Then I got to thinking how lucky I am that I found Christ at this juncture in time: with the end about to come. Better late than never, I decided. I just made that up. Anyway, I am even more lucky to know Christ and know that His promises are true, because with all the peoples' pensions drying up, and the populace thrown out of work, and food prices tripling, and wars, and bombs, and killings ... no matter what happens around me, I can remain calm. Jesus will take care of me forever.
I can go on about how the execution of the collage was not exactly how I envisioned it, and that it changed even after I laid it out unglued and disassembled it to finalize the piece. But I won't do that ... my collages never come out as good as I want them, but the idea is there: no matter what happens in the world, knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ means a person has a peace that passes all understanding. I have that peace. You can too.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I also took advantage of the day to catch up on chores: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, clean litter box, errands (new slip for under the Easter dress), and haircut. A $7 haircut at Miss Willie's don't ya know. It came out good.
Chores done, (almost) I will take advantage of the rest of my energy to create this year's Peeps Tableau. Last year's was successful I think but 2007's Peeps Town was completely charming and I liked how it came out better than 2008's. I will try to be a little more creative this year...
The paycheck will be a little thin at the end of the month but I do enjoy having a few days to catch up on things and then to do other things I rarely have time for during the week: reading, collage-making, and just plain silly playing with Peeps. Lest you think my fascination with Peeps art is a lone and individually eccentric passion, o, ye of little knowledge! Take a look here or here or here or here.
Now you know!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I have a wrought iron hanging shelf right next to my door, where I put pots of flowers in spring and summer to adorn the entry. I had not known that this little bird had decided to make use of the currently empty shelf. He is about one foot away from eye level at the door, and my cats (well, Luke anyway) sit on the tall shelf inside the door and look at this bird on the shelf outside the door.
Here, I snuck open the front door and amazingly the li'l bird didn't budge.
He finally did after the flash startled him, flying to the dogwood across the way and presenting his back to me.
Evidently deciding it was safer to huddle under the eave of the higher part of the roof a ways away, he stayed there for a few minutes pondering his next move.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Only weeks into his Administration, Obama has begun a tireless round of parties and events and social butterflying.
NYT reports: "These days, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, are popping up all over this city. Like basketball? There was Mr. Obama sitting courtside recently alongside astonished fans at the Verizon Center as he cheered on the Chicago Bulls in a losing battle against the Washington Wizards."
"Enjoy the performing arts? The Obamas have been to the Kennedy Center twice, once to see the Alvin Ailey dance troupe — with daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 — and once for a musical tribute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy"
"How about a tasty meal? The Obamas have enjoyed white-tablecloth dining at Equinox, Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, B. Smith’s and Georgia Brown’s, and street-corner casual at Ben’s Chili Bowl and Five Guys Burgers and Fries."
The Obamas are equal opportunity partiers. They party inside the White House too.
"Only eight weeks into the Obama administration, the president and first lady have already hosted their fair share of social events. Indeed, White House social secretary Desiree Rogers has announced that the Obama administration plans to make Wednesday night social events a tradition."
And let us not forget that the last 8-weeks of cocktail socials, theatre events, basketball games, and dinners out must have been absolutely draining for him, because President needs a rest from all that...
Obamas set off on spring's first Camp David tripPresident Barack Obama and his family are spending a long weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David, MD.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
"I think as the president heads to Europe, he faces a huge public relations disaster," said Nile Gardiner, director of the conservative Heritage Foundation's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.
"Europe is increasingly turning against his massive spending plans, which most European leaders see as a destructive way to move forward for the global economy and will only add to a massive American debt burden," Gardiner told FOXNews.com.
"At the same time, there is a growing impression across Europe that the Obama administration is inept and inefficient and increasingly poorly managed."
A top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed Obama's plans for the U.S. to spend its way out of recession as "a way to hell."
lots more good quotes here
Economist George Ure has been tracking the use of the word “bailout” as compared to “rescue package,” and sure enough, his prediction came true. It was only two months before the media’s use of rescue caught up to and then exceeded that of bailout.
What do bailouts and sea kittens have to do with anything? Because "All social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering." This is a profound saying from Catholic moral theologian William Smith.
Lately we see in the news that Obama has decided to rename certain things. Enemy combatants are no longer to be called enemy combatants, Obama said. "The U.S. Justice Department filed court papers outlining a further legal and linguistic shift from the anti-terrorism policies of Republican President George W. Bush..."
"The end of the Global War on Terror -- or at least the use of that phrase -- has been codified at the Pentagon. Reports that the phrase was being retired have been circulating for some time amongst senior administration officials, and this morning speechwriters and other staff were notified via this e-mail to use "Overseas Contingency Operation" instead." source
Changing the name of something helps to diminish attachment to it. Devalue it. Making a euphemism for it helps to conceal an unpleasant truth behind a nicer sounding phrase. Example: The Euthanasia Society became Society for the Right to Die. The Euthanasia Council became Concern for Dying. Death penalty has become capital punishment. A pre-born baby has become a fetus. An abortion has become terminating a pregnancy. A person is not pro-abortion, they are pro-choice.
These softening terms are purposely slipped into our vernacular. Many people don’t even notice our language is being manipulated. The phrase “all social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering,” recognizes that the mind is the first battle field. This is Satan’s territory, the mind. As the late Rev. Adrian Rogers said so well, “Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there is a war going on, and it’s of a spiritual nature. Satan’s desire is to conquer and control your thought life and then make it a citadel from which he can war against God.” The battle first begins in the mind, and its weapons are words.
In Matthew 5:22, Jesus said, “But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Fool!' will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, 'You moron!' will be subject to hellfire.”
Here, Jesus is emphasizing that murder begins before the act, it begins when people view others as less than human. Euphemistic language helps this transition of devaluation of the sanctity of life. When we begin seeing a baby as tissue, a comatose person as a vegetable, as a death row convict as an inmate undergoing capital punishment, thus begins the devaluing. Murder begins when people view others as less than human.
Today’s point is that I urge us all to be on guard mentally when we read or hear of terms that try to diminish the sanctity of life. The act of murder is actually a lengthy process, and it begins in the mind, with the words you choose to use to describe human life that God gave us.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Please read this. FORWARD it liberally. There are two things you need to know about: HR 1388, and HR 1388's amendment. Scriptures at the end.
First, Obama has proposed "The Give Act", numbered H.R. 1388 and this bill reforms the National Service Laws already in place. This bill is being debated before Senate right now. It has already passed in the House! "The Give Act" requires youth to serve the government. Yes, the Act requires governmental service.
Concerns about the bill include: the language around uniforms and “camps.” They revise the word “camps” and call it “campus.”
Some language in the Bill is particularly disturbing:
- “leverage Federal investments to increase State, local, business, and philanthropic resources to address national and local challenges;" In other words, take individual and state money for Federal purposes without your say-so
- "expand and strengthen service-learning programs through year-round opportunities, including during the summer months, to improve the education of children and youth and to maximize the benefits of national and community service, in order to renew the ethic of civic responsibility and the spirit of community to children and youth throughout the United States;" in other words to indoctrinate children and youth all year long.
- "increase service opportunities for our Nation’s retiring professionals" and -"encourage members of the Baby Boom generation to partake in service opportunities." One wonders how far this 'encouragement' will go...Congress has already been punitive
Mandatory servitude is NOT American. It is Fascism.
However, even MORE worrying is an amendment passed by voice vote Wednesday night:
H.Amdt 49 to H.R. 1388 Prohibits Organizations From Influencing... Legislation, Protesting or Petitioning.
The amendment lists things those indentured volunteers in the midst of their three-year servitude may NOT do. One is to protest, the other is go to church.
I am not joking. Click on the links if you doubt. Or if you dare.
SEC. 125. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
`(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
`(7) Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.
Did you get that last part? Citizens may not protest anything against their government. Religious people, while serving the mandatory three year term, may not proselytize, instruct, or preach. And we know that young people are our most at-risk of leaving the church to begin with.
Jesus said that in the end times, you will be hated by all because of My name. Luke 21:17
We are not in the America grew up in, anymore. If you are asleep, it is time to wake up and become more active Christians, more active citizens. Protest this bill. Senators' contacts is at end.
Mandatory service and denial of religious rights and protesting is NOT what we are all about. Just two sentences after Jesus tells us that we will be hated because of His name, He tells the disciples, "By your endurance you will gain your lives."
Though it is not the Tribulation yet, we can see the cloud forming, We know what is ahead. Intensifying birth pangs, where the hate against the Christian grows stronger, and more bold. Prepare. It is already getting difficult in some places to say the blessed name of Jesus, to pray, to attend church. And with this HR 1388 amendment it makes it even harder for our precious youth. Yet, because He said to, we shall endure! Because He said, not a hair on our heads will perish! (Luke 21:18) Blessed is His name! His promises are true!
The link below is the contact for our two GA Senators. Don't think just because they are Republican they will vote no. The House GOP passed the bill with only 14 R's saying no and over 70 voting yes. This bill is getting huge support from both parties and the Independents.
contact: Senators Isaacson and Chambliss
Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist ideology that aims to create a single-party state with a government led by a dictator who seeks national unity and development by requiring individuals to subordinate self-interest to the collective interest of the nation.
Fascist governments permanently forbid and suppress all criticism and opposition to the government and the fascist movement..
"[F]ascism presupposed a post-Christian, post-religious, secular, and immanent frame of reference." In short, religion is not a core tenet of Fascism.
“Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good." Jonah Goldberg
Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? Luke 21:28
Monday, March 23, 2009
Some religious dude brought one of those "John 3:16" signs to the Siena vs. Ohio State NCAA Tournament basketball game the other night -- but as soon as he put the sign up, some random security guard rushed in for the steal and ripped it down.
FYI -- Siena happens to be a private Catholic school. Apparently Jesus isn't allowed to attend away games.
Though, I understand that ALL signs are banned at NCAA games. I'd be curious to see how many weren't ripped down, OR if anyone who had painted themselves with a slogan was removed.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
"His remarks came in a “60 Minutes” interview in which he was pressed by an incredulous Steve Kroft for laughing and chuckling several times while discussing the perilous state of the world’s economy."
“You're sitting here. And you're— you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, ‘I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money—’ How do you deal with— I mean: explain. . .” Kroft asks at one point."
“Are you punch-drunk?” Kroft says."
“No, no. There's gotta be a little gallows humor to get you through the day,” Obama says, with a laugh."
I has been my contention that Obama is a liar extraordinaire. Cannot and does not tell the truth.
Ilargi outlines how the "solution" to the economic catastrophe is not only ill-advised, but it is dastardly, and on purpose.
Obama is laughing so hard and so often, because he is enjoying this immensely. He is a socialist who hates America and is enjoying being the main instrument of its downfall. Gleefully laughing at the rubes that he fooled and the ease with which he can implement raping the public coffers for his and others' own benefit. Skeptical of my last statement? here is another's opinion:
"It is noteworthy that President Obama chose to speak of “moral and ethical concerns” during his appearance on the “Tonight Show” last week. And here lies a moral dilemma that is being ignored: President Obama willingly accepted donations from AIG to his presidential campaign last year, and now this year he has handed-over billions of our tax dollars to the company."
No wonder the guy laughs so hard.
Birds on the wires.
My favorite scene. The backyard is full of birdhouses, and at first I did not know they were used. But they are, no vacancies here!
Here is a close-up detail of birdhouse featured above. Well used.
Blossoms in the sun.
Bird happily singing. There are SO MANY on the property, it is such a pleasure to raise the windows at sunset and listen. Just listen.
Bird bath. I will endeavor to keep them filled. There are several on the property. We have bird houses, bird baths, and trees and shrubs, many of them flowering. I am glad there is no "yard art" or other ornamentation.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
That sounds exactly like something King Ahaz could have said 1300 years ago, when times got tough and Ahaz turned from God and initiated an alliance with Assyria instead. Ahaz insisted on maintaining his faith in political alliances instead of standing firm in God’s revealed truth to him through prophet Isaiah. (2 Kings 16:7-8, Isaiah 7:3).
The economist uses the word “faith” so casually. He has faith, but it is misplaced. He looks for something to put his faith in. For him, it is “the system.” For Ahaz, it was other nations. Misplaced faith always has devastating consequences.
What is behind misplaced faith? Fear. The economist guy is fearful of the things coming on the earth. So he has decided to rely upon his own self and sell survival kits, switching his misplaced faith from ‘the system’ to kits.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It blinds us. It shifts our focus. It chips away at our faith. It stops us from acting on God’s revealed truth. It paralyzed Ahaz. Even when God Himself offered to give Ahaz a sign, Ahaz still refused!
We all fear. Acting on God’s revealed truth is scary. Even soldiers who win bravery medals from terrible battles are fearful of action. Winston Churchill said, “Why, you take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman, the most audacious soldier, put them together at a table, and what do you get? The sum of their fears.” Yet they act.
We Christians are soldiers. We go into battle every day with unseen forces. When we act on God’s revealed truth we strike a devastating blow to the enemy. If we were to take the most gallant teacher, the most intrepid missionary, the most audacious preacher, and put them together at a table, what would we get? The sum of their fears.
Ahaz was paralyzed by his fears to the point of (mis)placing faith in his wrong action, with devastating consequences. Faith is not in ‘the system’, faith is not in survival kits, faith is not in political alliances. Whether times are good or bad, God still reveals truth to us and urges us to act. Admittedly, in today’s times of distress, it is harder to act, to step out in faith. We can have a healthy respect for our fears, but I call upon my brothers and sisters to look through them to the one true God. He is the One whom we can and must properly place our faith. Isaiah said to Ahaz, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.” (Is 7:9b). When the Lord returns, let Him find us standing.
The bank that failed in Georgia is in Stockbridge, just south of Atlanta and about 80 miles from here. Not that distance matters in this increasingly global neighborhood of finance and bankruptcy. But what is troublesome is that this is the 8th bank to have failed in Georgia since last August, when the recession began manifesting in visible and persistent forms. No other state has had as many banks fail. The next closest is California with six, and their economy is in much worse shape than Georgia's. So why so many Georgia bank failures?
I don't know. Maybe someone with a more acute economic mind will know. However, it does prompt one to check out the soundness of my own banking institution. You can check at the Bankrate Safe and Sound website for objective ratings of banks, thrifts, and credit unions, by state, institution name, asset size, or zip code. BB&T, First Madison, and Merchants and Farmers are the banks in this county (with many more choices, of course, in the nearby city of Athens). The first two have earned a rating of three out of five stars, and the third, earned four out of five.
Check out your banking institution...and if you don't like what you see, you can always do what Obama said not to: put ever inflated dollars under your mattress.
Friday, March 20, 2009
The story lady came in and did a lesson on "Spring." The story went through showing the tools that people use to do heavy spring tasks. When the story concluded, the story lady asked who does spring cleaning type things, and after the kids responded, she said that she and her husband cleaned their house of unwanted furniture and they were planning to have a garage sale.
A boy shoots his hand up. "You're selling your garage??"
Then the talk turned to gardens. A boy says, "My daddy is thinking of putting in corn this year."
Boy next to him, "Coins?"
"I'd rather have the coins."
Story lady sadly says that they would like to have a garden, but the deer eats up all the vegetables.
Boy: "Why can't you just go to the grocery store and buy some?"
Grammar lesson ensues. Story lady asks kids, "What is this at the end?" [?]
Boy: "An emotion mark!"
And people ask me how I like substituting! LOL
Monday, March 16, 2009
I was driving in traffic and the moon was going down fast so I didn't have time to fiddle with the settings. It was so pretty in RL, though. Huge and pink and the sky deep blue-purple and the pastures vibrant green in recent rain.
I have been musing about the little things in my life. Little things that make my life easier, even pleasurable.
ODE TO A THERMOS
I have been searching for a good thermos for a long time, and two years ago I found one. It is a simple thing, with Suminagashi looking flowers adorning the outside. No sleek steel for me. The lip is the all-important part. It must not leak. It must close securely. It must stay tight. This thermos, I can flip the lip opening with my thumb yet it snaps closed so that even if it falls on its side it will not leak. It must fit in my vehicle's beverage holder. And finally, it must hold enough coffee to satisfy, and it must keep the coffee hot. I bought this one at Borders two years ago for $6. It was the best $6 I ever spent.
I put a great deal of stock in bookmarks. I read a lot and the mark comes in handy, as you know, LOL, to keep the place. I hate having to search for where I left off. The bookmark must be sturdy but not so heavy it falls out of paperback with ease. It must not be so flimsy that constant shuffling of the bookmark from page to page will wear it unnecessarily. It may or may not have a ribbon, either is fine. It must be attractive. I do not like unattractive things in my home, even the small things.
It must not be utilitarian, the small but important area a bookmark occupies, under my eye, is a perfect palette for art. Why have a plain piece of paper when you can have art?
A second grader made me a bookmark last week. A great deal of care was taken with its construction, decoration, and giving. I love it. This bookmark is perfect. It meets all the above criteria. Even if it hadn't, it still would have been perfect. It was made by a child and given in love. There is nothing better.
Adding up a morning moonset, a thermos of coffee and a quiet read, and you pretty much have perfection.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
left, we are almost back to this, blooming flowers we had the week before this snowfall that downed poles and crushed roofs.
Boston Legal was on last night and I truly enjoy the writing on that show. It makes me laugh out loud. In one scene, Alan Shore is at a bar with his girlfriend, and a neanderthal looking guy approaches her when she is alone for a moment. Alan steps in, and says, "I saw her talking with a tree, and I'm an arborist, so I thought I'd help translate." Enjoyable television at its best. So of course it was canceled this season.
This morning dawned clear and sunny. The rapidly melting snow is making a racket on my metal awning shutters in a comforting way. For breakfast I boiled two eggs and toasted wheat bread, hard. I peel the eggs, and mash them over the hard toasted bread, and top with pepper and salt. I love that breakfast. It seems to satisfy all my meal delights: the warm eggs, the lively bread texture, the salt. Mmm. Coffee by my side of course, and I set off on cleaning up the apartment.
Not that it needed it, I am clean and neat by nature. But I put away the dried dishes, cleaned out the kitty litter, made the bed, fluffed the sofa pillows. When I walk into each room I like seeing things neat and orderly. It comforts me. Maybe it is a latent response to the disarray in my childhood home growing up. As for work life, there are some teachers who are simply a pleasure to sub for, because their rooms are clean and you can find all the teachers' manuals and papers. And it seems the neat teachers' rooms have the most orderly kids, too. Hmmm, a connection there. ;) I like neatness, anyway.
I have a job for tomorrow and Friday so today is the last day to get caught up from the storm damages and missed work. I went over to an elderly friends' house again and shoveled the ice build-up and mopped the defrosting fridge water on the floor etc. There are still many without power! I am lucky to have it back.
Well I got a call, and my elderly friend is in the hospital. I knew it was coming, she has been failing lately, being 83 years old with heart and kidney trouble. I pray for her now.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
It does a body good sometimes to unplug and listen to the quiet. To see the dark outside without spotlights and streetlights and flashing lights. To read quietly and slowly by candlelight, hearing only the tiny snuffs of a sleeping kitten. To slow down, stay home, safe and warm.
Then, when the power returns, it's great to rev back up!
Gee. Who'd a thunk it.
Power outage for 12 hours Sunday into Monday morning, and out again later Monday morning till ... just now. We received 5-7 inches, some areas receiving the most snow since records began in 1880.
Monday, March 02, 2009
I had just returned from church at 12:30 and spent the next few hours inside from the sleety rain happily making apple crisp, butternut squash soup, rice with vegetables, brussels sprouts and green beans. About an hour after I got home it started to snow, and it came down fast to beat the band. I was in the middle of baking the crisp when the power went out. Bummer!
I did jump in my truck and scooted over to a couple of elderly ladies homes who live alone. I brought water with me since they were on a well, and made sure they had enough candles. I knew both had gas heat so at least they would be warm.
The power stayed out until 3:15 am, stayed on for a few minutes, and went off again until 4:30 am. Twelve hours without power. I am glad I have gas heat so I was warm, and had plenty of candles so I read for a good while.
Now it's the day after and it's pretty and all that but snow snow go away come again another...never.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
This is the third winter I've been in North Georgia and once, in the first winter in 2007, I had to scrape ice off my windshield, using only my credit card to do it. That's about it for wintry precipitation.
So this winter weather system that is already dumping snow in ARK, TN and Miss now heading our way is freaking out the Georgians. The 11 o'clock news led with the ubiquitous news story about the weather, first showing the heavy machinery at the Atlanta airport. "Look!", the news guy said, pointing excitedly through the chain link fence, "these trucks that can be outfitted with sand and salt!" Next, showing radar maps with ominous looking swirls of fast moving clouds traveling over boxed off counties in the path of this coming destruction, the weather forecaster breathlessly described what happens when snow comes down; "Bridges freeze first, so watch out!" Then the news crew went to the grocery store, where people usually go to buy bread and milk and water, the news guy explained. Yes, he actually explained why so many people were at the store putting bread and milk into their carts. "Buggies", sorry, that is the correct terminology down here. And then he repeated the bread-milk-water survival list.
Incredibly he chose the one person in the store to interview who was doubting if not skeptical that anything would even make it to the ground. Rather than interview another person, they just put up a ticker at the bottom of the screen with her name, "Jane Smith" and below that, "Not preparing for storm."
I laughed so hard I almost dumped my laptop of my stomach. It just looked so funny ... "Not preparing for storm." LOL. She said she will believe it when she sees it.
I wonder if she was from Maine.
Today was 67 degrees and by the weekend it will be 70 so the likelihood of any white stuff hanging around is less than zero, but I know the locals get excited at the prospect, they love snow because it's so rare and always sort of a festive event.
Left, my previous domicile in Maine home of car-burying snow. Today, I'm not scared of driving in the wind-driven icy snow. I'm more scared of everybody else who will be out there, newbies to the asphalt realities of black ice.