Saturday, July 31, 2010

Romancing the Home

 One of the highest callings for me as a wife and mother is creating a home environment that is peaceful, welcoming and beautiful for my family.  My home is a reflection of my love for my family.  I try, through the atmosphere of my home, to minister to every member of my family, along with any guest that crosses our threshold.  I believe that creativity and beauty are part of the character of God. He expects His children to use these gifts for His glory by ministering to one another in His name and to bring the light of His truth to a dark and fallen world.

God created man for relationship.  First, for relationship with Him and then for relationship with each other.  Over the years, I have come to realize that we are called to have an attitude of hospitality rather than an attitude of entertaining.  Have you ever considered the difference between hospitality and entertaining?  Entertaining seems to be about opening up your home for tours and enjoying the ooh's and aah's of your friends, family and co-workers as they admire your wonderful taste and the money it must have taken to accomplish your beautiful show-place.  Hospitality, on the other hand is all about ministering to the needs of others.  Think about it - the root word of hospitality is hospital.  And what goes on in a hospital?  The diagnosis and curing of diseases and the cleaning and bandaging of traumatic injuries.  Isn't that what our homes should be?  I believe that our homes should be hospitals - first for the ones God gave us to take care of, our family - and then for any other person that God leads through our doors.  We should be ministering to peoples physical bodies as we minister to their minds and souls.

Just as hospitals have equipment and systems put in place to take care of disease and injuries, our homes should be similarly  equipped to take care of the physical and emotional needs of all those who enter.  I don't mean that we should have a triage nurse posted at the front door and keep a stock of splints and bandages to take care of broken arms (although as preparedness types - that would be handy!).  I mean that we should always have a pot of tea available and a listening ear.  We should have a tidy, well run attractive home that calms and refreshes.  Nothing in our homes should be so precious that we are devastated if they are broken.  Our attitude should be that we are so pleased to have our husband and children in the house, that we are willing to quietly tend to all of the dirt they bring with them.  Our homes should be about serving on another.

As wives and mothers, we have a wonderful opportunity to impact our families and society at large.  We can create such a haven in our homes that our children bring all of their aches, pains and broken hearts to us to be mended.  They will, in turn, bring their friends to be ministered to.  Our husbands will find rest and renewal within the walls of home.  All who enter our gates will see the love of Christ as we minister to their bodies and souls with a cup of tea, a biscuit and a genuine interest in who they are and what is going on in their lives.

I love my family.  It is my great pleasure to love them and serve them in the home we share.  I romance my home so that I can romance my family.

Friday, July 30, 2010

God's gift of marriage

Sir Knight and I do not always see eye to eye.  We have been married for 22 years and we have managed to avoid numerous pits waiting to devour our marriage and our children's future.  I have often questioned the wisdom of  a Holy God who could possibly expect any person to live out their covenant with another person.  I have spent sleepless nights calling out to God to mend my broken heart and "fix" my husband.  I have railed against my inability to make my life into the "perfect" christian witness.  I have failed as a wife.

Because God has not let either Sir Knight or I walk away from our commitment, we have reaped the blessings of perseverance.  We see each other not as we are, but as we want to be.  We know each others weaknesses and are merciful with one another.  God has given us eyes to see that marriage is not about giddy, happy feelings, but about becoming more Christ-like in our relationships and attitudes.  He has walked us through selfishness, jealousy and spite.  He has brought both of us to the point of brokenness and then mended our hearts - together - as one heart.

Still, we are two people.  I have come to find out that men and women speak a different language.  Not that one is right and the other wrong - they are both right, because God himself designed them - but they are different.  When my husband attacks a problem head on, I often end up with my heart shattered, tears streaming down my face, wondering why my husband has no idea why I am broken and bleeding.  Sir Knight, on the other hand gets frustrated with my reaction and is left feeling like a failure as a husband, father and man because he can't be who he thinks I want him to be.

Over the years, we have learned to speak more gently with one another.  We are better at letting each other know that we may be upset but we still love one another.  There are still times that we are like oil and water, but we are learning how oil and water can compliment each other, especially mixed with other ingredients.  We are figuring out that we can be better together than we could ever be independently.

This past week, Sir Knight and I were having a hard time understanding each other.  He said one thing, I heard another.  I said one thing, he heard something else entirely.  And then it hit me.  One of God's greatest purposes for  marriage is making us more like His son.  As Jesus hung on the cross, dying for the sins of the world, the Pharisees and Roman soldiers mocked and scorned him.  Rather than lash out and fight back with words of hatred, Jesus lifted his eyes toward heaven and said, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do".  What an epiphany!  As husbands and wives, that is how we should approach one another.  We speak a different language.  Rather than getting angry and demanding our rights we should see our spouses as God sees us, as sinful beings who don't realize how our actions and words affect the other person.  When we sin and wound God, He forgives us, because we don't know what we are doing.  When my husband hurts me or says unkind things, I need to pray that God forgive him, because he doesn't know what his words do to me.  Sir Knight, too, could pray to ask God to forgive me, because I don't know how my words or lack of respect wound him.

God is teaching me, through my marriage, to become more like His son.  I praise Him for the man He gave to be my priest, prophet, provider and protector.  I praise Him that through my and my husbands human weakness and sin, He is transforming both of us into the image of His son.  I praise God for Sir Knight.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dear Peace Officer

I just ran across this editorial that ran on in the year 2000.  The author is unknown.  It is kind of long, so you might want to grab a cup of tea.  It struck a cord with me.

Dear Peace Officer:

I don't want to kill you.  I don't even want to wound you.  I admire your courage and the commitment you've made to help others, often at the risk of your own life.  I hope you won't come for me, because if you do, one of us will die.  It may be you.  I've done nothing wrong.  I don't intend to.  But the government that you serve has passed too many laws.  I am sure to accidentally break one, some day.  And that same government is systematically destroying the unalienable rights which our Constitution says may not be infringed -- very specifically, my right to keep and bear arms.

I am not some wacko lunatic, but I can no longer stand idly by, while decent people are systematically enslaved by an out-of-control government.  I cannot allow a corrupt judiciary to use its power to destroy my rights and my country.  That government and that judiciary has begun to use you to arrest and kill people just like me -- people who believe that the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights mean what they say.

You don't know me, but you see me every day.  I may be a businessman, a truck driver, an executive.  I could be a housewife or a salesman.  But I am armed, as Americans have been for over 250 years and I am determined to keep the freedoms that only an armed people may retain.  With a rifle, I can hit a man-sized target at 800 yards.  At shorter distances, in the blink of an eye, I can hit a head-sized target with a handgun.  I don't wear a uniform.  I don't drive a marked car.  I don't wear camouflage.  I could be your own secretary, or your barber.  I might be the guy who delivers your bottled water, or the parcel delivery lady.  You don't know who I am, or what arms I have and you never will.  I am millions.  I am America.

But I know you.  I know your uniform, your car and your work schedule.  I know where you work and where you live.  And that is good for you, because not only am I no threat to you, so long as you do the job for which you are hired, I am also prepared to assist you when you are threatened.  There aren't many of me left, you may think, but believe me, there are many, many more than you can imagine.  When the chips are down, we are the ones who are truly on your side.  On your side, that is, so long as you honor your Oath.

We are on your side if you are one of the majority of peace officers who are not corrupt and who have not sold out to the socialist and communists who will do anything, say anything to destroy the America our fathers and grandfathers bequeathed us.  No, I am no threat to you, but your bosses in government don't see it that way.  They think that I, and my arms, are a threat to them, and they are planning to send you for me, just as they've sent armed, dangerous officers on select little missions for years, taking out targeted individuals.  On their orders, you may succeed in murdering me for my beliefs or you may not.

Whether or not you succeed in murdering me, as federal agents murdered 81 men, women and children at Waco, Texas; there will be others who will rise up in my memory, as I now rise up in honor of the innocent lives taken by the jack-booted thugs and black-clad imitation ninjas who think it is fun to murder Americans--who have somehow become convinced that it is their job to murder Americans.

I am prepared to die, honoring my sacred Oath as an American, to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America.  Are you prepared to die to violate the Oath you took?  You see, our government is out of control.  You know it.  You've seen it.  But you, like many others, have been too concerned with your job, your family and your pension, to say or do anything about it.  Deep down, you know I am right.  But you think you must follow orders.

Or must you?  Are you going to murder me for having the courage to stand up for the country and the principles in which you believe?  Are you going to go along with unconscionably illegal, unconstitutional orders, just as the "good" German soldiers followed their orders?  Are you going to be a peace officer or a jack-booted thug?  There is little difference between a street outlaw who murders and robs and a uniformed thug who murders and robs under color of law.  The result is the same.  Property confiscated, lives ruined, families ripped apart, murder committed, and a free nation destroyed.

Look at history.  Look around the world.  As we move toward a lawless society, our country moves closer and closer to anarchy and then some form of fascism.  Are you going to enforce unconstitutional laws?  Are you going to be the private army of fascist dictators masquerading as democratic representatives?  Or are you going to do your part to recapture America?  Are you going to keep your eyes and ears open?  Will you let me know when the jack-booted thugs in the SWAT teams have targeted me?  Will you let your fellow officers know that they are being sold down the river by their corrupt masters?  Don't come to kill me.  Because I don't want to kill you.  If you do come, you may succeed -- if you get lucky.  But don't count on luck, because it will probably be hard -- damned hard.  Like millions of other Americans, I am the son or daughter of a nation of riflemen -- citizen soldiers who have a rich heritage of beating the best the enemy can send against us.  We are resourceful.  We understand weapons and tactics.  You are foolish if you intend to be our enemy.  If you don't succeed in the the long run, and you won't, here's what you can expect:  ambushes of SWAT teams; the wholesale slaughter of all the jack-booted thugs who have murdered innocent Americans on the orders of their socialist masters; targeted assassinations and kidnappings of anti-Constitution judges; assassinations of anti-American, anti-gun politicians.

By your willingness to be a good little Nazi you will have unleashed a civil war.  It doesn't have to be that way.  You can do something about it.  It's easy.  Read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Although you took an Oath to defend them, you don't see much of them in your training, do you?  Today, these documents are considered dangerous by the government, just as King George found them dangerous over 200 years ago.  Why do you suppose your leaders lead you to oppose the very rights you swore to protect?  Why do they want to disarmed public?  You know the reason.  It has nothing to do with controlling crime.  It has everything to do with using you to disarm, fine and control your fellow American Citizens. 

Don't fall for it.  Don't force me to kill you.

(Signed, 100 Million Real Americans)

Is it fiction?

Here is a nice little piece on the demise of America.  Is this a train barreling down the tracks, or can we derail it before it gets here?  Why is it that we are preparedness nuts?  You decide.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The end of Religious Freedom?

Another article I came across this morning is very sobering indeed.  A Christian student was expelled from a university graduate program because she wouldn't change her Christian based views on homosexuality.  So, we live in a free country?  Really!?!  I guess we Christians had better start thinking about how far we are willing to be pushed and when we say "enough".

Just when you thought you were the only one.....

It appears that "Doomsday" shelters are back in vogue.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis many folks had a "bomb shelter"  constructed in their back yard.  Now, the majority of people think that is ludicrous - or maybe not!

Here is an article I stumbled across regarding the resurgence of an updated "bomb shelter"!  Apparently we aren't the only people who see the signs of the times!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Emasculating our children in the name of safety

I have been thinking about children and how far we have come in recent years.  Once upon a time, children were expected to become adults, and spent their childhood training for adulthood.  Now, children are expected to be children and continue to be children well into what would traditionally be considered adulthood.  What have we done to our children?  Are we raising them to be children or productive, functioning members of adult society?  I think the unfortunate answer is obvious.  We are raising them to be full grown children, unable to make mature decisions, take adult responsibility or lead future generations into the great unknown.  And society at large is helping us.  "They" expect children to be helpless, incapable and defenseless.  "They" think they know better how to raise our children than we do.  "They" are emasculating their children and trying to do the same to mine.

When my mom was a little girl, she lived in West Seattle.  By the time she was five, she was making breakfast for her family (mother, father, sister and two brothers) including making bacon in the broiler and frying eggs.  She also rode the public bus downtown Seattle to meet her Grandmother at The Bon Marche for an afternoon lunch and nobody thought twice.  My dad, having grown up in the then wild spaces of Vashon Island was hunting by himself by age ten (yes, he actually used a real gun!).  When my husband was five, he walked himself to school about 1/2 a mile away after having gotten himself ready and out the door (his mother was a widow and worked - so she was away from home in the mornings).  When he was seven he was riding the bus to the shopping mall where he would spend the day looking around and playing in the park.  This was in Bellevue, Washington, - no small town, but rather a bustling metropolis.  When I was a child, I rode my Honda Trail 50 two miles on dirt roads to go swimming in the swimming hole.  I was eight.

And you can look back even further than a couple of generations.  David (as in King David of the Old Testament) killed Goliath at about age 17 and had killed lions and bears threatening his father's flock when he was much younger than that.  Joan of Arc went into battle when she was 15 and in 237 BC, 10 year-old Hannibal (the Carthagian) said to his father before he left to the war in Spain, "I want to go with you". Hamilcar, Hannibal's father, without a word, took the child with him to Spain and went to battle!  Even Alexander the Great, although 20 when he took the throne, had obviously not been coddled as a child, but rather had been raised to be a man.

Now, we have children who must be buckled in car seats until they are 13, whose food has to be cut up for them until they are 10 and who can't carry a pocket knife because they are "unsafe".  What are we thinking?  Have our children somehow lost brain capacity over the last few hundred years - or is it the adults who no longer understand that our children require challenges, hard work and a little responsibility in order to become viable adults.

Well, I for one do not believe our children are any less intelligent than their predecessors.  I think that we as a society have emasculated our young men and dumbed down our young ladies.  I think our children are every bit as capable as David when he slew Goliath and Hannibal when he lead his vast armies.  I think we need to train them to be competent and expect them to be capable.  I think we need to teach them to do the "dangerous" things (Hand Grenade uses the chainsaw and Miss Calamity hunts - with a real rifle) and then let them do them.  I think we ought to teach them to stand up against injustice and live lives of character when they are young so they can battle injustice and live lives of character when they are older.  I think we need to stop coddling and start expecting and then - watch out!  We will have a generation of exceptional leaders - not another generation of wimpy, spineless, emasculated drones.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chocolate Sodas!

This is a wonderful summertime treat!  We have them very rarely, but they are special every time.  We use vanilla Ice Cream, so our chocolate sodas are a littler different - but ummmmh!  They are good!

First, put about four tablespoons of chocolate sauce in glass (or cup, or jar)....

Next, put in a little soda water in and mix it with the chocolate sauce...
Then put in a couple scoops of Vanilla ice cream....
Fill jar with soda water and stir to mix chocolate....
Sooo yummy....
Give it a try - it will be worth it!!!

Family Reunion

 Our family reunion was this past weekend.  It was a bittersweet time because it most likely is the last reunion my Grandparents will be able to attend. 

When I was a child, the majority of our family lived in or around the Seattle area.  We regularly gathered at my Grandparents farm on Vashon Island.  My family lived on Vashon as did one set of cousins (and my aunt and uncle, of course).  My other two sets of aunts, uncles and cousins lived a Ferry Boat ride away in West Seattle.  Every Christmas, Easter, Birthday or other special event we gathered together and played and ate and celebrated.  My mom was one of four siblings and each sibling had between two and three children.  We cousins were close in age, so we grew up together.  We were in each others lives and shared all of our childhood milestones. 

After my family moved to Idaho, our family get-togethers became more and more infrequent.  Soon, all of the cousins were grown, the grandparents had moved to Arizona and our parents had settled into post-child rearing routines.  We all gathered for our Grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, but beyond that, we hadn't all been together in years.  Finally, about 11 years ago, we had a family reunion.  Most of us came, but it was only a few hours, so we didn't have much of a chance to visit.  Three years ago we congregated in Bremerton, Washington for a few hours of conversation on the beach, but, once again, there just wasn't enough time.

This year, it was different.  My grandparents are aging and most likely won't be able to make the trip again.  My Uncle was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, and doesn't know what tomorrow holds.  Our families are growing up and growing apart.  We needed to re-connect.

My parents decided to have the family reunion at their cabin in the woods.  Our entire family congregated for three days.  We visited, rode 4-wheelers, swam, sang, slept under the stars and just enjoyed each others company.  What a blessing my family is!

Grandma and Master Calvin...

Lighting off smoke grenades (doesn't everyone do this?)

Checking out each others "chrome domes"....

Marshmallows, kids and fire - an unbeatable combination....

Taking it easy....

The people that started it all....

Maid Elizabeth with Great Grandpa....

Cousin "J" with Grandma....

Uncle "J" with my cousin "J" and my other cousin "J"!  My cousin "J" (with the Clutch This T-shirt) has a movie coming out called "Clutch" - so cool.  He stars in it and directed it and produced it (totally independent film about Muscle cars!).

The boys can hardly wait for their turn on the 4-wheelers....


This is were I grew up - it is in my soul - it is part of who I am....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Homemade Girls Scout Cookies

 I was asked to bring cookies to our family reunion.  My plan was to start baking on Monday and make a batch or two a day and have plenty by the time we were ready to go.  Sounds simple doesn't it!  It was not to be.  Monday and Tuesday were so busy that I got as far as getting the butter out to soften and get my cook books out - that was it.  There was definitely no baking going on!  Wednesday, I got up with determination.  I was going to get my baking done, if it was the last thing I did.  I should have stayed in bed.  Everything I made, I burned.  The sugar cookies were blackened and the layer cookies were inedible.  I did manage to salvage some sugar cookies to frost, but everything else was a loss.

Today I decided to give it another go.  Heaven forbid I take store bought cookies!  That would cause quite a stir.  I determined I would start with something simple - no baking, just dipping.  Success!

These Homemade Girl Scout cookies are very similar to the thin mint cookies that the Girl Scouts sell.  They are wonderful but so easy, even I couldn't mess them up!

First, you start with a roll of Ritz crackers (see, I told you it was easy).  Next, you melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave.  I always add a little Crisco so the chocolate thins out a bit.  Use a cup or two of chocolate chips, depending on how many rolls of Ritz you are planning on using.  After you have melted your chips, take off the heat and stir in a teaspoon (or more - to taste) of Peppermint Extract.  After you have stirred the extract into the chips, dip crackers, one at a time.

After you dip your crackers, place on a wax paper (or tin foil) covered cookie sheets until the chocolate hardens.  I usually  put the cookie sheets in the freezer and then transfer the cookies to a box or tin for storage.  I like to store them in the refrigerator or freezer, just so the chocolate doesn't melt on your hands.

Here they are - all done.  And I didn't even burn them!  Be careful, these are addictive.  Oh, by the way, Hand Grenade doesn't like mint, but he loves peanut butter and chocolate, so when I make these for him, I leave out the mint extract, sandwich peanut butter between two crackers and then dip in chocolate - yummy indeed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


It was bound to happen.  After all of the fussing we have been doing to prevent a swarm, the bees swarmed anyway.  In the past, they have always found a fence post, teeter walker or some other contraption to swarm on.  This time, they swarmed on the ground.  What an awesome sight a swarm of bees is!

Here they are - on the ground.....

And here is what all of the fuss is about - See the Queen?  She is wearing black....

Maid Elizabeth had to set out a new home for the swarm...

Then she and Miss Calamity gently try to find the queen....

We needed to do a little coaxing to get them into their new home.  To help them get interested in new digs we had to put a brood frame into their super.  Bee's can't help it - they have to take care of babies!

Miss Calamity is smoking another hive so we can steal a frame....

Maid Elizabeth and Miss Calamity working in concert.....

Miss Calamity ready for her tasks....

A frame full of brood....

Miss Calamity puts the brood in their new home.....

 The girls are starting to check out their new abode.....

The Queen is in the house!

Closing up their new home.... A job well done!

Oh, and by the way, this is how we got the close-ups (I don't have a veil or anything!)

God's creatures are amazing!  I never get tired of watching the bees and wondering at their ways!