Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday was my mom's birthday.  We invited her over last night for Summer pizza (recipe below), watermelon, heart-shaped German chocolate cake (her favorite), swimming, and star-gazing.  
I was in the middle of something while the cake was baking and ended up over-baking it.  I was so nervous that I had dried it out, so I decided to whip up some chocolate pudding and "inject" it into the cake. Haha!  It totally worked.  And yes, I actually used a very large syringe.
Rose came over to join us and we had a very sweet time in her company.  She is so dear.
The boys and I got in the pool which is a comfortable 87 degrees. Perfect!  And as it got darker, we viewed Venus through the telescope and watched God light up the sky with diamond sparkles.  We found the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Casseiopia, and a new star to us, Arcturus.  Jamie focused on dark places in the sky where no stars were visible to the naked eye and a dozen stars would appear in the lens of the telescope.  Amazing!  God is a beautiful Creator and star-breather.  If you ever have the opportunity, you should watch "How Great Is Our God?" by Louie Giglio.  (We have it if you ever want to borrow it.)  The orange moon arose late and brightened the sky so much that we couldn't effectively stargaze any longer.  What a miraculous creation we live in!

Summer Pizza (My beautiful Grandma used to make this and I loved it!)

2 tubes crescent rolls (or a pizza crust)
10-16 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup mayo
seasoning (I uses dill weed, and dried onion)
vegetables (any kind you want, cut into small pieces)
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Lay crescent rolls or pizza crust flat on a cookie sheet (pinch seams together).
Bake as directed on package.  Cool.
Mix together cream cheese, mayo and seasonings.  SPread over cooled crust.
Cover with vegetables & cheese.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fruity Chicken Salad

My new favorite recipe. Perfect for Summer! And super easy.

Fruity Chicken Salad
8 oz. uncooked spiral pasta
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks (reserve 1/2 cup of juice)
3-4 cups cubed cooked chicken (I sprinkle with curry before baking)
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) sliced peaches (or mandarin oranges), drained and sliced
2 T dried cranberries
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 t curry (I use a little more)

Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse with cold water and drain.
Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Dice the pineapple and place in a large bowl. Add cooked pasta, chicken, peaches (or oranges), and dried cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, soy sauce, curry powder, and reserved pineapple juice. Pour over pasta mixture; toss to coat.
Cover and refridgerate for 2 hours.
Yield: 6-8 servings

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Five Thousand Year Leap, principles 4-6

(For part 1, click here.)

Principle 4: The Role of Religion in a Free Government
Apparently the Bible is correct when it says that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. And if it's foolishness to God, then it is foolishness in reality. During the Founding of our beautiful nation, it was understood even by the non-religious that religion held a very important place in society. Today, our culture has denied God and adopted and attitude of no accountability and "following your heart" even to the destruction of our lives and whoever else we may affect without regard or responsibility to those who may be harmed in the process of seeking after our own pleasures and desires. We have become animals, yet we fool ourselves by our university degrees that we are "intellectuals" and much wiser than those who have gone before us. Character, integrity, and truth are lacking and we have allowed ourselves to be indoctrinated into a self-seeking, believe-what-we-are-told-by-our-government-and-professors non-reality spiraling toward bondage.
DeTocqueville's fascination with America is inspiring. How strange to think a French man would adore our nation so much. In today's climate, it is impossible to imagine, but of course, we had the invaluable assistance of the French during the American Revolution; and even as late as the 1880's, it was not forgotten as we gaze today upon one of the greatest symbols of American freedom, the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France sculpted by Frederic Bartholdi.
Remaining free is impossible without religion because where freedom allows a person to do whatever he or she pleases, religion restrains them from doing what would not please God.
I really appreciate the ability for various religions to co-exist respectfully, "equally and harmoniously." The only hindrance to this is when religion is purposed to that which is "rash or unjust." (Uh, one comes to mind. Radical Islam, anyone?) Because true religion is to respect people as men and women created in the image of God, no matter what they believe. But, let's make no mistake that John Locke, as well as the vast majority, got their grandest ideas from the Bible, which our government philosophy is based upon.
I also love the influence that the religious community has on politics. And just goes to show that there is no "separation of church and state" except when the government (Supreme Court) oversteps its bounds by trying to regulate the church. And let's just settle once and for all (Good luck with that) the fact that the argument for the separation of church and state is absolutely futile when considered in the context in which it was originally addressed. (Please check this blog post to read up on the true intent: Separation of Church and State-original intent.) "The First Amendment was designed to eliminate forever the interference of the federal government in any religious matter within the various states." "The Supreme Court has undertaken the metaphor ("wall of separation") as an excuse for meddling in the religious issues arising within the various sates." It has been presumptuous and it has been wrong.
Principle 5: The Reality of a Creator
An atheist is irrational and out of touch with the most fundamental and important reality. Hey! I didn't say it, John Locke did. Did you know that there is a holiday for atheists? April Fool's Day. "A fool says in his heart there is no God." (Psalm 14:1)
The Founders contended that it is impossible to have revealed law (moral code clearly distinguishing right from wrong) or natural law (the orderly arrangement of the universe) without recognizing the Creator. All these ideas had to come from somewhere. "Certainly a non-cogitative being like a rock could never produce a cogitative being like a man." I love the recognition that the Creator must have a fine sense of right and wrong, indignation, justice, humor, beauty because we possess these qualities. And we are His creation.
Also addressed is the idea that is circulating that the Founders were deists. This is a total lie and all you have to do is read the Founder's writings to see the truth that they were God-fearing and God-serving men convinced that God's hand was upon the work they were doing in the birth of this nation.
Principle 6: All Men Are Created Equal
This chapter is fantastic and I feel the best way to discuss it is to just quote parts of it.
"Every being has a right to his own...But to teach that all me are born with equal power and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life is a gross fraud." Can't we see this shift in today's entitlement mentality?
Protecting the rights of people equally:
  • At the bar of justice, to secure their rights.
  • At the ballot box, to vote for the candidate of their choice.
  • At the public school, to obtain their education.
  • At the employment office, to compete for a job.
  • At the real estate agency, to purchase or rent a home.
  • At the pulpit, to enjoy freedom of religion.
  • At the podium, to enjoy freedom of speech.
  • At the microphone or before a TV camera, to present views on issues of the day.
  • At the meeting hall, to peaceably assemble.
  • At the print shop, to enjoy freedom of the press.
  • At the store, to buy the essentials or desirable things of life.
  • At the bank, to save and prosper.
  • At the tax collector's office, to pay no more than their fair share.
  • At the probate court, to pass on to their heirs the fruits of life's labors.
On the issue of minorities:
"We are a nation of minorities. It is a fact of life that no ethnic group is going to be entirely comfortable or treated completely as equals in an adopted society until they have crossed the culture gap."
I really appreciated the recognition of the Japanese and Chinese and how they (particularly because of the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the prejudices of many) have really been challenged in the area of crossing the culture gap, yet they press on with their integrity and hard work to accomplish the task.
Blacks had terrible obstacles to overcome because of the slavery issue. Many have sought entitlements for them. "Government gratuities are as corrupting and debilitating to blacks as they are to the Indians or any other minorities."
"Eldridge Cleaver, an atheist trained in Marxist philosophy and Minister of Information for the Black Panthers, described their (Black Panthers) philosophy of violence as 'dedicated to destroy the whole economic and social structure of the United States so that the blacks could enjoy equal rights under an American Communist regime.' He eventually fled to Cuba and then to other Communist countries. He ultimately asked to be allowed to return to the United States, no longer and atheist or Communist. He stated, 'I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else.' He gained a new and yet profound appreciation for America. He described the despondency that came over him when he found what a betrayal of human dignity Communism turned out to be. He believed a persistent pursuit of the truth would bring them to the threshold of reality, where the Creator could be recognized and thereafter have a place in their lives. He was a prodigal American who found himself and returned home."
We all should "persistently pursue the truth" in religion, political views, everything. When we do, and we commit to that which is true, we can never be disappointed.
"Society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not expect equal capacity; provide equal rights but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades. Some insist that people do not have equal rights unless they have 'equal things.'"
You mean health care, free money, and houses aren't rights owed & granted to me by the government? I'm confused. Pelosi and Obama have been telling me differently. I thought they knew everything.
--stay tuned for the next installment.

God’s Hand in our Home Schooling

I’ve been meaning to write about the fun we have had in home schooling and the obvious hand of God in the midst. I just want to record the times that I have noticed God in the adventure of educating my children.
  1. Last Summer, I thought we should study a passage of scripture. So, I easily came to the conclusion that we would study the armor of God, especially since the boys were so intrigued with knights and such, so I picked up an armor of God pamphlet and poster. We joined CFS and discovered that their chosen passage of scripture for memory verses was Ephesians 6:10-20, the armor of God. Then, Marian began going through a series of lessons in the boys’ Sunday school class centered on the armor of God.
  2. As we were learning about things we would see on our trip to D.C. last year, we ended up spending a lot of time on Apollo 11, the first moon landing. I didn’t realize that it was the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. Also, the theme of Borrego Days was “Starry Starry Nights” as we celebrated Borrego’s Dark Sky recognition and the awesome star-gazing experiences we have in our quaint town. (Did anyone see Buzz Aldrin on “Dancing With The Stars”? A legend in our midst.)
  3. We spent some time on floods because we were preparing to visit the Skirball Museum’s Noah’s Ark exhibit in Los Angeles. A friend of the boys was over one night and she wanted to watch Animal Planet where they were showing animal rescues in the flooded areas hit by hurricane Katrina. That sure helped me explain what a flood was to my boys…and by no effort of my own.
  4. At the close of our first school year, I decided to plunge into natural disasters: volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. And what real life events there were to take advantage of: Haiti, Chile, our own crazy Easter quake and the numerous aftershocks we continue to have, the Icelandic volcanoes, and my sweet friend, Kari, who was traveling to Hawaii the week we were studying volcanoes and she was able to send me pics of lava tunnels and other neat volcanic things. And guess what we were studying on the day of the 30th anniversary of Mt. St. Helens? Yep, Mt. St. Helens. I had no idea it was the anniversary. It’s a good thing God’s got my back. What opportunities I would miss was He not in complete control.
God meets us as we home school and it just confirms to me that this is His plan for our family. How we love the time we get to spend together and how we love to be in the center of His will concerning the education and rearing of our dear children. I am absolutely overwhelmed by the perfect fit home schooling is for me personally. I never desired to be a teacher, but I feel strongly that educating my children in godliness, character, history, everything is my calling and purpose. It is so natural and enjoyable. I highly recommend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Miriam at the Del Mar Fair

"Bring the Rain" about trials and in honor of our dear Joyce who went to Heaven on June 9. This song was very special to her as she struggled through her cancer.

As of 6/27/2010:
We danced this at Joyce's memorial service yesterday, as well. The service was wonderful and really a celebration of life as we anticipate meeting her in heaven.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Balancing kindness and righteous anger

Continue to do good and to please God even when under fire and falsely accused by others.  The ultimate goal is not to be right (in your pride) but that God be glorified and you remain blameless before Him, putting to shame and silence those that would slander you.  (My paraphrase of 1 Ptr 3:8-17 in my quiet time this morning.)

I am doing a "Loving Your Husband" Bible study by Cynthia Heald, but of course have politics and my country on the brain.  I am trying to hard to balance my reaction to things politically in light of Jesus and not being hostile or volatile.  THIS IS VERY DIFFICULT.  When I think of all that the Founders fought for in pen and in war, it breaks my heart to see it destroyed.  It is not right and it makes me angry.  I want God to be honored.  I want to be a good witness.  I want to leave a free country to my children.  I want to say and do what is honorable to Him, to ridiculous governmental leaders, and to my friends and family that oppose me.
I am reading the Salt & Light Ministry manual right now and I love how it balances these very issues.  I want it to become a part of me.  Loving, but not silent.  Respectful, but not a wimp.  Peaceable, but effective.  Humble, but concise.  
How I need my emotions to desert me, yet the passion to remain.

I often wonder what Scripture says about how we are to be in times like these: when my country founded on freedom and on God is being slipped out from under me, and more importantly, from under my children.  Mama bear is not happy.

Esther.  Sweet Esther.  How I have loved studying that book.  (Beth Moore has the most fantastic study: Esther, It's Tough Being  A Woman.)
Like Esther & our coming Jesus, we must hold onto God and the freedom He gives us.  We are not to stand passively by as tyrants take our God-given rights.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Jesus will one day lead a mighty battle.  He is a warrior and we are in His image--even to stand for righteousness and to avoid oppression.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Five Thousand Year Leap, principles 1-3

For part 1, click here.

Principle 1: The Genius of Natural Law

"People's Law" = "Natural Law" = "God's law"

Our Constitution is based on Natural Law.  It is absolute common sense that a government should be modeled after and as close to God's law as possible.  If you want order, freedom, and justice, shouldn't you follow the example of the Creator of these things...and of the universe for that matter.  It is shameful that we have become so God-less, thus making gods of ourselves and think we can create a utopian society.  No one can do that.  We are flawed, imperfect, and simple-minded in comparison to the God of the universe.  Who are we to compare ourselves or think so highly of ourselves?  We are incredibly foolish, comical and ridiculous...though in spite of ourselves, He loves us unconditionally and continues to reach out to us so that we can eternally be with Him.  He is incredibly tolerant.
"It is the code of 'right reason' from the Creator Himself.  It cannot be altered.  It cannot be repealed.  It cannot be abandoned by legislators or the people themselves, even though they may pretend to do so.  In Natural Law we are dealing with the factors of absolute reality.  It is basic in its principles, comprehensible to the human mind, and totally correct and morally right in its general operation."
We must not base rights "upon men's opinions, but upon Nature."  Isn't that true?  Today we truly do call good evil and evil good.  And we allow Nancy Pelosi to proclaim health care our "inalienable right"...whose to say our ridiculous leaders won't one day decide that a free car to every person regardless of the cost to the dealer is an "inalienable right?"  Sounds ridiculous?  Yes, it is.  Last I checked, the Bible (that which our Natural Law Constitution is based upon) says nothing about my right to health care.  Life, yes. Freedom, yes. Property, yes.  Health care, no.  We must take care of ourselves, folks, and lean on God to help us where we are lacking. Our court justices decide the value of life to the unborn, among other things.  Are they God?!

I loved the end of the chapter when it listed examples of Natural Law that are in our Constitution.  Genius!  God is omnipotent. (duh!)  And our Founders are genius for looking to Him as they built the foundation of our envied government.
Principle 2: A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Principle 3: The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders.

We must be self-controlled, self-restrained, and selfless.  Can you imagine if we all did these 3 things how much better off we would be?  To be moral and virtuous...never mind being a Christian (though that would help and encompass all), is really the heart of the issue.  We have become a corrupt, selfish society because we have insisted on having our own way.  What is our standard?  We can not decide for ourselves what morality is.  There must be a standard.  The Founders used the Bible.  Even the most un-religious Founders (Jefferson, Franklin) were advocates of the Bible.  This does not mean that they insisted on everyone being Christian, they just wanted virtue and morality and based it on God's law.  It's sort of a no-brainer, don't you think?
The Founders clearly understood that our government would not be sustainable unless virtue and morality within its people AND its leaders was the status quo.  Our ideals, goals, and expectations of ourselves and those around us have plummeted.  To see how purposeful and driven our Founders were and to compare it to our culture today is an embarrassment.  We have become lazy, selfish, immoral, and corrupt.  This doesn't have to be the norm, but we must, as individuals, change ourselves and influence our family, raising a virtuous and moral posterity so that the truth, goodness, and freedom of this great nation may be restored.  "...each man must somehow be persuaded to submerge his personal wants into the greater good of the whole...to sacrifice his private interest for the good of the community..."
I was inspired in this chapter to know that Revolutionary patriots of the past overcame seemingly overwhelming opposition to accomplish freedom.  Today, it is the 9-12-ers, the Tea-Party-ers, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Chris Christy, etc. that inspire us and let us know that we are not alone in our passion for freedom and we strengthen each other to rise and stand for it, even if it costs us our lives.
"She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will.  It depends on her virtue." ~Samuel Adams
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." ~John Adams
"Virtue and morality in the character of a nation is the secret to its survival."
"Public officials should not be chosen if they are lacking experience, training, proven virtue, and demonstrated wisdom." (taken from the thoughts of John Adams...not a direct quote)
Wouldn't it be nice if we elected people of character rather than the one with the most money...who exalts him/herself on our tv, radio, billboards, telephone..., and slams their opponent by being nasty?  Oh, what a concept.  To think that some of our Founders did not get along with one another but made a very diligent effort to find common ground for the sake of the people...denying themselves and seeing the big picture and the greater good.

Of note, in Principle 3 is the idea that public office was not to be a position sought after for monetary gain.  Maybe someone should remind Obama, his cronies, and the multitude of politicians like him about this. (For Borregans, this is a good reason to get Bill Horn out of office...he sought to add 25% to his already ample, $140k, salary.)  Benjamin Franklin's passion about this very subject is to be paid attention to.  He was right that high salaries are a sure way to attract scoundrels...just look at our current politicians, making a career of politics for reasons of money and power and not for the greater good of the people.  They hardly notice the people.  We, now, have a congress packed with such "scoundrels."
"Place before the yes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it." ~Benjamin Franklin
"The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater the need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure." ~Benjamin Franklin
Gee, do the above quotes remind you of anyone?  Hmm, I wonder who?  Lie.  Tell the people what they want to hear.  Be a rock star.  Get elected.  Then, don't keep any of your promises and defy the American people's wishes.  Tax the people practically to death.  (Those were little, subtle hints.)  If memory of history serves, this happened before in our history and resulted in a tea party and revolution.  Hmmm, interesting.
"It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuit.  These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers." ~Franklin (Man!  That's weird.  I feel like someone is trying to tell me something.  Some things just aren't coincidence.  Ya know?  I'm just sayin'...)
Principle 3 really should be a must-read for all.  (I hope I don't feel that way about the 25 I have yet to read.)

One more thing about Principle 3 is the idea that if you are a patriotic, virtuous, and talented leader, then you have a duty to be a public servant.  "The best citizens should except major roles in public life." "The natural tendency of nearly all people is to encourage others to run for office, but not get involved themselves."  Boy!  Isn't that true?  It sure must be a headache to be in public office, especially when you are upright.  George Washington preferred to be a farmer, but he was called out of retirement three times to serve his country and did so out of duty (and without a salary).  I found it very interesting that John Adams wasn't a popular person but was reelected time and time again because it was known that he could be trusted.  Where are these people today?  There must be some out there.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

She re-Joyces


Pondering my time with her the last few years as, it seems, her life eternally is only minutes away.  And I pray from a distance.
Joyce befriended me immediately through the Monday morning ladies' Bible study at The Christian Center and offered me a job at Heaven Sent, the Christian book store in town.  As we got to know one another and she discovered my history with dance ministry, she encouraged (pushed hard...haha!) me to start it up here in Borrego.  She was anxious to dance since it had always been a dream of hers.  Milo has told me numerous times about how she would twirl in after rehearsals and just be happy as can be.  I told Joanna (a sweet child in our church) this morning that soon she will be out of pain and not only well but better than ever and dancing so beautifully that I will be horribly envious.  :) One day, soon (Come quickly, Lord Jesus), I hope to join her dancing beyond imagination on the streets of gold and before the throne of God where gravity, age, our earthly bodies will no longer hinder us and we will soar.  Won't you join us?!
Milo has been the most beautiful husband.  Jamie and I visited with them last week.  She is so thin that she can no longer stand or walk, she has completely lost her hearing.  Her strength is nearly gone.  He picks her up with ease and gently sets her in the wheelchair and takes her to lie down.  He is a picture of Jesus serving, serving, serving the one he loves...cheerfully, positively, and so lovingly.
Joyce is driven, strong-willed, sassy, blunt, honest, and pleasing to God.
She told me a few months ago that she was so glad that God blessed her with cancer.  I know you must think she had lost her mind...but, then you don't know Joyce.  Her cancer gave opportunity after opportunity for her to share Jesus with nearly everyone she came into contact with and cancer threw her uninhibited into the arms of a comforting God.
She shared one evening at a womens dinner at the church about her experience and expressed that the song, "Bring the Rain" was so perfect because she welcomed anything that would usher her closer to Jesus and make her reflect Him more.  Please play it below:

Joyce, you will be greatly missed.  We will take care of your precious Milo and re-Joyce to be re-united with you one day soon.
I think Miriam should dance "Bring the Rain."  Lord, can we, please, in praise to You and in honor of our dear Joyce?

"And if I perish, I perish," and the crowd will stand and cheer!  For what if she does perish? Is that the worst this world's wicked Haman can threaten?  On the day that she does, this is what will happen: She will put on her royal robes and stand in the inner court of the palace, in front of th King's hall.  The King will be sitting on His royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.  When He sees His queen standing in the court, He will be pleased with her and hold out to her the gold scepter that is in His hand (adaptation of Est. 5:1-2)...And she will approach.  And cast her crown at his feet. ~Beth Moore (Esther)

other posts about Joyce: Prayer for JoyceI Can Only Imagine

Please keep Milo in your prayers.

As of today, June 9, 2010, 11:37am, Joyce is with Jesus.  Thank you for praying. Hallelujah!