Saturday, August 24, 2019

Charity Gone Wrong

The Real World Consequences of the Misapplication of "Compassion"

San Francisco.  Seattle.  Denver.  Cities littered with drug needles, human waste, used condoms and the detritus associated with the hopelessness of third-world countries.   And yet this is the United States of America.  Or was.......

Over the years, as our country has been increasingly influenced by progressive elite idealists, we have been forced into a kind of Situational Justice.  Right and wrong, good and bad, has been replaced by a  politically driven narrative that preaches "charity" and "compassion", but in fact leaves a post-apocalyptic waste land in its wake.

When I was a child, my family lived on Vashon Island, an island in Puget Sound - about a 15 minute Ferry boat ride from Seattle.  My father had been born and raised on Vashon and my mom hailed from West Seattle, moving to Vashon when she was in high school.  Our family had (and still has) deep roots in the area.  When I was 8, we moved to the outback of Idaho, but spent every family vacation in Seattle or on Vashon.  I remember being so excited when we descended Snoqualamie Pass knowing we were almost there!  Back then North Bend seemed way out in the country and Issaquah far removed from Seattle.  By the time we were on Mercer Island, I was mesmerized, and crossing Lake Washington over the Floating Bridge (through the tunnels) was fantastic.  As we'd get closer to downtown, I could smell the salt water and I never failed to breath deep of its heady fragrance.  As we drove, I marveled at one of the things I loved most about the's amazing beauty.  I loved the ivy-covered walls and the manicured parks.  The thick underbrush and myriad shades of green were truly worthy of the name "The Emerald City".  It's beauty was unparalleled.

That was then.  Now, my beautiful city has succumbed to the misapplication of compassion and the consistent use of situational justice.

Progressive Socialists love to tell you that they are all about the "little man".  They tout "compassion" and "charity" and "equality" as their core values, however, the implementation of their vision produces nothing resembling their "Utopia".  Unless of course, their utopia includes rampant disease, pervasive drug use and violent, mentally deranged human masses.  Which apparently it does, because that is what we have achieved.

We keep hearing the buzzword "homelessness".  We also keep hearing about the homeless crisis and about how these poor people have no where to turn - they have been driven to the streets by an oppressive society ruled by White Male Nationalists.  They commit crimes, but they have no choice - society made them do it.  Money must be spent.  Charity must be given.  Compassion must prevail.  And justice must be dispensed based upon individual situations.

It turns out, we don't have a "homeless" problem.  We have a drug problem.  And we have a drug problem, because we have encouraged it through our misapplied "charity".  And once we have them hooked on drugs, we must have "compassion" and the only way to show them "compassion" is through "situational" justice.

We have encouraged our country's drug problem by not holding people responsible for their own actions.  We have chosen to support generation after generation of people unwilling to take care of themselves or their own, destroying their self-worth and killing their souls.  We have given to them without expecting them to contribute to their own lives.  And in the process, we have destroyed a nation.  We have given "charity" to the detriment of generations.

Work is good for the soul.  By not requiring people to work, we have contributed to a population that feels hopeless and useless.  And as a result, our people have increasingly turned to drugs to dull their pain.  And to make ourselves feel better, we give them more....more money, more drugs, more chances.  We call it "compassion" but in reality we are kin to the great destroyer.  We are killing people with "kindness".  We are not "compassionate" when we give people "safe" places to shoot-up. We are not "compassionate" when we give money to someone sleeping on the street so they can get another hit.  We are not being "charitable" when we allow situational justice to be the law of the land.  We are killing ourselves.....we are killing our families....we are killing our nation.

I read once that "charity is a finely-tuned instrument, and many there are who wound both themselves and others for want of skill in using it".  I couldn't agree more!  We have wounded both ourselves and our children with the wrongful use of charity.  We have done by far more harm than good.

Charity, compassion and justice, when used correctly, are the beautiful hallmarks of a Christian nation.  When they have been twisted, however, they become ugly, hateful tools of destruction.  We have a responsibility to use these tools wisely or they will be the very instruments of our demise.  And it would appear that our path is clear......

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Summer Progress

We have been so very busy this summer.  With the amount of snow we get in the winter, we spend our summers trying to do all of our outside projects while getting firewood in, working in the garden and trying to prepare the butcher shop for the upcoming hunting season.

This summer our big projects have been expanding our wood shed and remodeling our guest house (formerly Miss Serenity's cabin).  We have so many, many projects that we'd like to tackle, but those two were most pressing.

Our wood shed is roughly 10' x 15'.  We fill it to the brim with wood, however, we have learned that we need a bit more to comfortably make it through a winter and we'd like a lot more, just in case we have a really cold extended winter.  Last winter we made a hoop house using a cattle panels and covered in a tarp to house extra wood, and it worked well, however, we really wanted something more permanent.  In addition to extra wood, we wanted to be able to put our garbage cans under cover and have a place for a few conveniently located tools.  We decided to follow the same roof line and double our storage space by adding another bay to our existing shed.

Once we started, the shed project only took a couple of weekends and a few evenings.  We were able to mostly use what we had, buying just a few 2x4's and two sheets of OSB.  The finished project looks nice, like it had been planned that way all along!  Now we just have to fill it with firewood and call it good!!!  It will be amazing to have the sheds full of wood, the tools under cover and the garbage out of the way.

Our expanded woodshed
Ready to fill before winter
The guest house has been another story all together!  Last fall we moved Miss Serenity's cabin to our house so she could be closer when she was home.  Many changes have taken place over the last year and Serenity no longer needs her cabin.  She decided that her life had taken her in a different direction and that we needed to turn her cabin into a guest home (our house is compact, so hosting guests is a challenge).

The cottage when it first came up our mountain, with it's original paint job!
And so, Serenity Cottage came into being.  I have spent hour, upon hour, upon hour scraping and painting and cleaning, transforming the former scaler's shack into a warm, inviting guest cottage.  Serenity Cottage is not yet finished, however, we are well on our way.  We scraped and painted the exterior in a dark green to blend into the woods and finished the trip in black.  All of the windows were removed and painted black (what a huge job!) and then replaced in a different configuration.  Originally the windows hinged from the bottom with a chain on the top allowing them to open from the top about 4 inches.  That didn't allow for very good airflow.  I ended up putting new hinges on the windows and attaching them on the sides versus the bottom.  Now the windows swing open wide, allowing for a wonderful crossflow!!!  That alone made a huge difference.  After painting the windows I scanned and painted the walls (Manchester Tan) and the baseboards (black).  Next came new flooring.  What a huge difference that has made!  I scrubbed the floors (first, on my hands and knees with hot, soapy water, then with fresh, clean water), then I patched and leveled the bad spots.  After sanding the patches, I swept and mopped the floors again, let them dry, and began to lay new floors over the old.  I had already taken up the old toilet, so I lay the flooring over the entire bathroom floor.  Rather than plumbing the cottage in to the septic, we are keeping it a "dry" cabin.  We'll put a port-a-potty in the bathroom, but we'll run a water to the kitchen sink (at least in the summer).  Once the floor was finished, Sir Knight cut trim to join the wall with the roof (the old ceiling had been taken down by Miss Serenity) and I put insulation in before we screwed the trim to the wall.

The cottage has been taken off its wheels and is ready to be trimmed around the bottom

Cleaning the original 1967 linoleum floors
The newly reinstalled windows, now opening all the way!

The bathroom, minus the toilet....ugh!!!

The view from the bedroom window

And from the kitchen window

The view from the cottage porch

Done with the first row of flooring

Almost there!

And the floor is finished!!!

Looking toward the kitchen and bathroom

The barnboard trim

So much better than the walls just ending with a large gap between the wall and roof

The wood stove waiting to be cleaned up and installed
The cottage has been truly transformed.  Our next task is to expand the kitchen counter (which will cover a mini refrigerator and create a breakfast bar) and install a wood stove.  We're putting in a queen sized bed, a double hide-a-bed and a couple of bar stools (at the new bar).  Soon, we'll be ready for our first guests!

We're still busy, busy, busy getting these projects done, but we are getting closer!  I've noticed the leaves beginning to turn brown with the heat and sun, and know that the cooler days of fall will quickly follow.  Hopefully, by the time the air turns crisp, our wood shed will be full to overflowing and our guest cottage will be ready to welcome its first guests.  And the business of summer will give way to the quiet unfolding of winter.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Socialism.....the Greatest Pinterest Fail of All Time


We've all seen them....the amazing pictures of perfection that populate the pages of Pinterest.  Photo after photo of picture-perfect living rooms, outdoor adventures and drool-worthy culinary creations.  Pinterest serves to inspire our senses....but in reality, more often than not, it does little more than set us up for complete and total failure, followed by abject self-loathing.  Our living rooms never look quite as perfect (people actually live in our homes), our adventures are rarely as exotic or romantic (we have limited budgets and children in tow) and our culinary endeavors are more likely to mimic those of our mother's than the French chef that inspired the chocolate raspberry macaron with vanilla bourbon glaze.  And yet, in spite of knowing these truths, we still haunt the pages of Pinterest, looking for inspiration, beauty and a new, better way of living our lives.

I, too, wade through the pages of Pinterest, looking for small-space storage solutions and tea-table inspiration.  I search for recipes and tiny-home layouts and permaculture tips.  I am inspired and encouraged and, more often than not, humored by the outrageously perfect scenes promoted in the name of "simple" living, knowing that simplicity has very little to do with perfection.  And, I take great delight in wandering through page after page of "Pinterest Fails" - the aptly named before and after pictures, taken by real people attempting to re-create the perfection depicted in the Pinterest photos, only to fail miserably, and have enough good humor to post their failures for the world to enjoy.

Not too long ago, I stumbled across a recipe entitled "Scottish Pancakes".  These pancakes looked AMAZING!  They were thick and perfect - light, golden and impossibly fluffy.  I was instantly intrigued.  I'd never seen anything like these cakes of perfection and I immediately clicked on the link, knowing I HAD to attempt this recipe.  I read through the recipe, one and then twice, somewhat confused.  The recipe itself looked like a fairly standard pancake recipe - flour, baking powder, milk egg, etc., nothing out of the ordinary, but the pictures were extraordinary.  I couldn't quite reconcile the photo's with the recipe.  The crumb and consistency were more consistent and dense than a standard pancake.  The shape was tall and perfect, which to me indicated the use of a mold.  The texture looked many things didn't make sense!  The ingredients and method should have produced a regular pancake....but those photo's....those were anything but "regular" pancakes!

And so, I read the reviews.  Page after page, person after person, gave these "Scottish Pancakes" 5 star reviews.  "These look amazing", "Sheer Perfection", and on and on and on.  How could this be, I wondered?  I read the recipe again, even more confused than before.  Back to the reviews, only this time, I noticed something.....none of the reviewers had actually made these pancakes.  They were giving the recipe 5 star reviews based on the photo alone!  Every last reviewer had reviewed the photos and not the recipe....imagine a recipe review based on a photo and NOT based on the flavor, texture and accuracy of the recipe itself?!

Months later, I happened upon another "Scottish Pancake" recipe that looked the part - golden brown, fresh from the griddle, drizzled with syrup - a typical pancake as we know it - and underneath the photo, another photo of the remarkably different "Scottish Pancakes" that had originally caught my eye.  The recipe went on to acknowledge the original photo was most certainly not that of a Scottish Pancake, but a Japanese Souffle Pancake....a very different beast indeed, one rich with beaten egg whites, butter and vanilla and, lo and behold, baked in a ring mold!  Had any of the reviewers of that original recipe tried to make the mile-high, light and fluffy "Scottish Pancakes", they would have failed every time.....those pancakes could not have been made with that recipe.  Period.

As of late, the news has been full of liberals, both old and young, those anchored in the political system and those just finding their footing, exhorting the beauty and progressive nature of a "New Socialism".  They paint a picture of perfect social harmony, with no extravagant wealth and no abject poverty, where harmony is achieved by proper government oversight.  They sell a world of safety and tolerance and inclusiveness.  Their picture is that of perfection - the reclamation of Paradise Lost.  And the reviews come in fast and furious...."Amazing", "Everything we've ever needed", "Our Brave, New, Tolerant World".  However, the recipe is flawed, and not one of the "reviewers" has actually tried it!  There isn't one person on the American political stage that has actually lived under a socialist government!  Not one!!!  And yet, their reviews of such a government system are glowing - all 5 stars!  Their perspectives are flawed, to say the least.  They've lived lives blessed by the privilege of a free-market economy, all  the while espousing it's evil.  They are reviewing a recipe they've never tried.

The Socialism being sold is just a repackaged version of every form of socialism ever tried.  No matter what picture you post with the recipe, the recipe doesn't work.  There is no world in which redistributing wealth (from those who work, to those who do not) has ever produced social harmony.  Ever.  The recipe does not produce the desired result.  Nor will it ever!  It can't.  The ingredients are wrong.  If you use those ingredients, in any order, with any method, they will produce Cuba and Venezuela and East Germany.  Every. Single. Time.

In reality, liberals are using the picture of a principled, free-market economy (what our formerly Christian nation looked like) and saying that is what Socialism looks like.  It doesn't.  It can't.  Socialism can't and won't produce a thriving, free, sustainable culture and economy.  Socialism doesn't encourage tolerance or safety or financial stability.  It can't sustain justice, equality or freedom.  Socialism is nothing more than a failed social experiment.

Socialism truly is the greatest Pinterest fail of all time.