08 November, 2006

Meditation on Thanksgiving

So, I'm doing the 1,000 gifts thing, right? It would be so easy for me to just turn this into a pride-fest about how great my life is. Giving thanks is supposed to be a humbling experience, but I can turn *anything* into a matter of pride. Some times I think Jesus created the notion of praying in one's closet just for me.

So, my number one thing today to be thankful for is Forgiveness. That my family, my friends, and my God forgive me when I screw up. Number two is the Holy Spirit, without Whom I would have no hope of conquering my pride. And that brings me to number three, hope. There are days when I feel like Pandora, that I cause more trouble and misery than one could believe possible. But, there's hope, sitting in the bottom of the box, reminding me that things are never as bad as they seem.

Today's list:
11. Forgiveness
12. the Holy Spirit
13. Hope
14. the Written Word
15. Trees, and how they always seem to reach their arms heavenward this time of year.
16. Modern Medicine
17. electricity
18. The telephone (oh, how I sometimes despise thee!)
19. constant physical laws
20. Constellations
21. The imagination
22. The life-giving sun
23. teddy bears
24. coffee
25. sugar

More tomorrow....

The Polls are still open

Hubby had to work late last night, so we didn't get to do our election. The kiddos were zonked by the time he was done. So, we'll try again tonight!

07 November, 2006

One thousand gifts

My friend Ann has started a list of thanksgiving, and she is inviting everyone to join her. Basically, you are supposed to come up with 1,000 you are thankful for and list them. My goal is to be done by Thanksgiving.

Here's the first 10:
1. That we have a loving God.
2. That my biological mother chose to give me life.
3. That my parents took me in.
4. That my mother came to Christ before she died.
5. For Hubby, and that he puts up with me.
6. For my children.
7. That my brother and sister in law have come to Christ.
8. For my nieces.
9. For my beautiful home, which is truly a gift directly from God.
10. For my health.

This is Nuts

Read this.

It is absolutely appalling. We could prevent abortion by killing babies.

If this were policy, my niece would've been on the chopping block. She was severely brain-damaged at birth. But, 1 and 1/2 years later, she is talking, crawling, cruising the furniture, and leading a happy existence with her happy family. So, if the theory is that we should wait and see how they develop, then kill them, where does it stop?

The first few years of life is when a lot of the brain cells we end up with are made. There is no way to tell what kinds of fetal or neo-natal brain damage will heal. So, should we just make it to where we can wait until they are three, and then decide?

The candidates and the issues

We have some pretty interesting issues in this year's campaign.

Here they are:

The Nouners are for

  • Getting dressed before breakfast (except Christmas morning)
  • Doing 15 minutes of work before watching TV or playing on the computer
  • Clearing the table after supper, but before watching Daddy play computer games
  • Ian and Alex can have help with cleaning their room, but only if they really need it.
  • Let Daddy have some time to himself after work.
  • Ian and Alex have to take a nap if they get cranky.
  • I will color with people who have gotten their chores done.
  • The cats should get food and water.
  • I will make sure Ian and Alex go to the bathroom.
The Wooties are for:
  • Everybody can play with my toys.
  • I will play with everyone.
  • I will color with everyone.
  • We will give the cats water.
  • Everyone can play on the computer.
  • Take a bath, then get dressed, then eat breakfast.
  • Ian and Alex should have to do less than 15 minutes of work, Mary should have to do more.
  • We should play games, then eat, then clean up, then play more games.
  • I need help with my room all the time.
  • We should watch Dad play games when he gets home.
  • We should only take naps when we're sleepy.
As you can see, there are some highly contested issues.

Now the Candidates:

Mary, the Noun Party candidate, is 9 years old. She likes being tough, watching action shows, dressing up in makeup, and riding big mountain bikes. If elected she will promise to make sure our house will stay really clean and not look like a pig sty. She says she is really good at playing football for a girl.

Ian, the Wootie Party candidate, is 5 years old. He likes playing, eating candy, running around, kid TV shows, and reading. If elected he will promise to play.

Finally, candidates you can feel good about!

Today being election day, we are having the first annual Emperor of the House election. There will be two candidates this year, Mary, from the Noun Party, and Ian, from the Wootie Party. They are currently preparing their campaign platforms and slogans, which I will post when they get them done.

So, the real question of this election is:

Will you be a Nouner or a Wootie?

06 November, 2006

I can't wait for this election to be over

I realize this is an important election, and that Ohio is a real battleground again this year. But, I am so fatigued with electionering. I get 2-12 pieces of political mail every day. I get to listen to radio adds (complete with thundering, emotional music) about how the world will end if X is elected.

If any of you out there are Glenn Beck listeners, you know about the Velveeta/Phlemowsky spoof ads he runs. It has gotten to the point where I can't tell the real ones from his fake ones anymore.

Thing is, I still don't know who I'm voting for in a couple of elections. I'm conservative, and we have some real RINOs running for office. Do I hold my nose and vote them because they are infinately better than the alternative (IMO), or do I heed my conscience and vote for someone (anyone, almost) that is not one of the two crappy choices I currently have? Specifically, for Senator we have Mike DeWine (R) who is liberal fiscally and was considering joining the judicial "filibuster." Or we have Sherrod Brown (D) who is practically a communist and has, in the past, taken cronyism to new heights. Blech. So I could write-in, or go third party, but that is going to be a defacto vote for Brown in this close race. I still haven't decided if DeWine is that much better than Brown that I should vote for him.

But, more than anything, I just want it to be over. Here's the list I've been compiling of all the people who have "called" me this election:

  • Barbra Striesand
  • Laura Bush
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Ken Blackwell
  • an undercover BCI agent
  • 10 other unnamed recorded people
  • [update: 11:12] Mike DeWine
Also, I got 1 call from a live Republican party worker.

To look at the list, it doesn't seem like much, but the same people keep calling over and over. In the time it has taken me to check my email and compose this post I have already gotten 2 calls this morning. I would estimate that 75% of the phone calls I've gotten in the last three weeks have been political in nature.

I'm spent.

03 November, 2006

We're from the government and we're here to help II

In my post below I mention that the government has gone onto farms and destroyed animals unnecessarily and with no compensation. I've gone back to nonais.org and looked up the details. There is a lot more information there than was previously, and it is shocking.

The Henshaws were confined to their home for several days while government employees slaughtered the boars and sheep on their game preserve. This was after Mr. Henshaw was arrested on a trumped up charge. These animals showed no sign of disease, but evidently the Commonwealth of Virgina was concerned that they would not be allowed to transport animals through or out of the state unless they were killed.

A government employee had hunted at the preserve several months earlier and claimed that the pig he shot was infected with Pseudorabies, a highly virulent animal disease which kills new born animals. There is question about the validity of the sample given to test from this animal, if ever a test was conducted (no results have been released), and none of the slaughtered animals were ever tested. (As a matter of fact, Mr. Henshaw was ordered to destroy the few animals the government couldn't find and was ordered not to submit any blood for testing. He agreed, because at the time he was being held in his home, and they intended to continue to do so until all the animals were killed.) None of the piglets (who should have been dead or dying if the disease were present) showed any signs of infection. In fact, it took days for the officials to find and kill them all, since they were running through the property to avoid capture.

My personal opinion is that the Commonwealth was so worried about loosing their right to interstate animal commerce, that they wanted to get it taken care of NOW rather than follow proper procedure, wait for testing, and then proceed.

During the same period, at least one other property went through a similar procedure (I have heard of as many as 4-5, but I can't substantiate that). This is the kind of thing we can look forward to if NAIS passes, only on a larger scale.

02 November, 2006

Memory Work

I feel crappy today. Too little sleep, and I think I'm getting the kids' cold. This week is fall break, due to the fact that Hubby took Monday and Tuesday off of work, and everyone's been sick. Some fun break. :)

I've spoken before about recitation being a great time saver for us, but I've never really outlined how we do it. This is what our recitation looks like, for Mary. Ian follows along, and knows a surprising amount of Greek and Latin, but I'm still working out how to add things in for him, so it's still mostly play time.

1. Latin-Prayer, Song, amo, -o, voco, sum, mensa, -a -ae, servus, -us -i, donum, -um -i, then ten random vocabulary words. (Currently learning the Lord's Prayer and Adeste Fideles.)

2. Greek-Previously learned verses, new verse, blepo, -o, eimi, anthropos, -os, doron, -ov, then five random vocabulary words. (We have about 7 verses memorized in Greek.)

3. Bible-Previously learned verses, new verse, books of the Bible, memory work on current story, 5 random previous memory work items. (We have about 20 verses memorized, and are nearly done with the Books of the Old Testament.)

4. Greek Myths-Current memory work, 5 random previous items.

5. Math-Current fact family (we're starting division), 10 random multiplication, subtration, and/or addition facts.

We need to add in a poem per month, but so far I've been to lazy to do it. The whole bit takes 15-20 minutes on a good day, but up to 30 if there's a lot of dawdling. I stop after 30, even if we aren't done. This covers grammar, bible, history, music, and math. Add in a little reading, and it's the instant 1 hour school day for those days when you normally wouldn't get to anything (co-op day, sick day, field trip, life got in the way, whatever.).

I certainly wouldn't make it the sum total of a child's education, but it is a good way to make sure the basics get covered every day.

01 November, 2006

We're from the government and we're here to help

Interesting article here, about the opposition to the National Animial Indentification System (NAIS), complete with government rebuttal.

My husband has a shirt with the slogan, "We're from the government and we're here to help." Below is a British soldier bayoneting a Minute Man. We bought it as a chuckle, since we reenact British and have an odd sense of humor. However, it has never been more apropos than today, when I read the above article in the USA Today.

I'll pick the article apart, but first the ending line. "As for arguments that the program is unconstitutional and a violation of privacy, 'I can't counter that,' Hoenig says. But he tells the farmers, 'In an emergency, you're going to be coming to people like me for help. So give us the tools we need to do our job.'"

Did you hear that? He admits that the program is unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy. But, we shouldn't care because, to paraphrase, he's from the government and he's here to help. Thanks for that bayonet, I needed it.

  1. "Once potentially affected animals are found and identified, state veterinarians would be able to inoculate them, quarantine them or do whatever would be necessary to stop the spread."

    Whatever necessary includes killing uninfected animals, with no compensation to the owners. It has happened before, and there is nothing stopping it happening again.

  2. "Clifford says the USDA this fall will begin an education campaign to try to persuade farmers to go along with premises registration. He says a lot of the opposition to the program is based on �misinformation� on the Internet, including that every chicken would need an ID under its skin and that every time someone took their horse out for a trail ride, they'd have to call the state. Neither is true, he says."

    Sure, it's not true *now*, but trail rides were going to be included in the plan, until horse owners freaked out about it. So, they dropped that part in hopes to placate them. And, it is technically true that every chicken does not have to be tagged. However, the only way to avoid tagging each and every animal is to have "lots" of animals that are always together. They have to be born the same day, brooded for the same amount of time, kept in the same pasture at all times, sent in to eat and sleep at the same time, taken to the vet together, etc. If they are ever separated they immediately have to be tagged and registered seperately. For the small producer, they effectively will have to tag each individual animal.
And, let's remember that the program isn't mandatory, unless you live in states where it is.

Sugar Rush

Last night was our trick or treat. Most of the families on the road don't celebrate Halloween at all, so we went into town for our candy. The boys did not go, due to massive attitude problems most of the day. They are currently begging Mary for some of her candy.

"What?" you ask, "A Christian home-schooler that does Halloween? Impossible." Yep. We are, as I often say, freaks. Even among the freaks, we are freaks. Let me share my All Hallows' journey:

When I was little my parents were average secular Joes, and we, of course, did Halloween. I became a Christian well before my mother, and never had a problem with it, although I had a few friends who did not partake. Then, when I was a teenager, my mom got saved. She had been into everything from crystals (largely harmless) to divination (potentially harmful), so she hit Halloween hard. No decorations, and she did give out candy, but it was complete with Jack Chick tract.

It was a fundamentalist church, and they used to have an All Saint's party, where you could dress up as your favorite Bible character, but too many parents were sending their kids as Satan (likely because it's a commercially available costume, but still in extremely poor taste) and they stopped doing it. So, my brother had to beg to be let to go out. Generally, he was, since Mom knew he didn't share her convictions, but it was still after a long lecture about it and days of asking.

Mom was leaving her pagan past in the dust. For her it was a good choice, because it was a temptation to go back to her old ways. So, I have no problem with those who turn off their porch lights and go out to dinner, or whatever. For some it is the choice between sin and sanctity.

However, that said, for the vast majority of Christians, Halloween is not a sin/sanctity choice. It is an opportunity to engage the culture. I remember one Halloween as a teen when I went to a friend's costume party and they had a Ouija board. I convinced them not to play with it, but if I hadn't been there, they might have contacted who knows whom.

Every Christian holiday incorporates pagan aspects, or is held on a pagan date. Christmas is the date of the Saturnalia. The Christmas tree is a Germanic Pagan symbol of eternal life. The word Easter is an Anglicization of a Germanization of a Middle Eastern godess, Asteroth. She's the one Gideon was told to tear down the poles of, which verse is often used to decry the use of Christmas tree, oddly enough.

We take the bits of truth from the pagans and use them in service to the Truth, Way, and Life. Halloween is no different. Halloween is a contraction of the term "All Hallow's (Saint's) Eve." The day before All Saint's Day. The Pagan name for the day is Samhain (pronounced Sa-wain), and it is the Pagan New Year's. They believe the veil between the living and the dead to be thinnest on this day. So, the early Christians took the day and redeemed it for a Godly purpose. Instead of trying to contact lost loved ones via divination or necromancy, we celebrate their lives and speak with them through God. The truth the Pagans know is that there is an afterlife, and that we should celebrate it. The fullness of that truth is that Jesus prepares a place for us in His mansions, if we accept it.

Paul exhorts us to not do anything we believe to be sin, and not to cause a brother to stumble, so fighting about Halloween is very unseemly. However, he also says we can eat food offered to idols, because we know the idols have no power over us. Halloween has no power over us, so eating a little candy offered to idols is not sin.

This year, many of the candy giver-outers were amazed at the size of my 9 year old's candy bucket. It was, in their opinion, too small. When I further told them that we go home when it's full, they couldn't believe it. And here is the true danger of Halloween for the average Christian, the sin of gluttony. When we teach our littles to go out and get as much as possible, rushing around to get to every house, we are not teaching them moderation. When we let them eat all their candy over the next day or so we are not teaching them self-control.

Done properly, Halloween is an excellent time to teach our children thankfulness, moderation, self-control, and generosity. It is a chance to meet our neighbors, to forge relationships that might eventually lead to their salvation and/or our edification. I would advocate Christian parents going with their children as they trick or treat, whatever their age, just so we can teach those lessons. Walking around with your glow stick, a literal light in the darkness, is there anything *more* Christian than that?