copyright 2013 by Jane Reinheimer

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This has to be at the top of the page! http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html It's such a joyful video and I like to play it regularly. It's fun to watch people having fun. Just a reminder that the world is place for each of us to enjoy one another and live a life without the strife of war.

And this, Starry Nights. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=FgBF3sIPm4c



Check out this video of a mountain biker going down a mountain: http://clashdaily.com/2014/04/brass-balls-video-insane-bike-trip-mountain-will-make-puke/ -- wild two minutes!

 

It's April 2014 and I have to say that Quint and I are feeling much better - still trying to get up and out of the anemia which is left over from the cancer treatments. Quint is on an iron supplement. I'm not. He's more anemic than I am.

I'll be glad when I can comfortably stand for at least a half hour. Quint does better with that than I do.

But all things in stride. At least we feel ambitious enough to work out in the flower beds and take care of the yard this year. We had people come in an mow the last couple of years -- just so the yard looked presentable.

 

August 20, 2013

This is the most amazing bit of choreographer I've seen in a long, long time -- and I love university marching bands: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/MjPmmCtHmfE?rel=0

It's a tribute to branches of our military.


August 18, 2013

Hey, people -- have you found Duck Dynasty yet? If you start watching this series, you'll understand why it just broke gynormous viewer records of 11.5 million! 

It's a reality show about the Robertsons. If you've ever spent any time down South, you'll just relish the whole thing - from the brothers who tease each other unmercifully. Like the episode in the first season where a big old snake drops out of a tree and lands in the boat with the Robertsons. One of the brothers jumped out of the boat and into the river. Then the other one picked up the snake and threw it into the river. The other guy jumped back in the boat. Just good humored funnin'.

But I can relate to all that hunting and fishing. I remember watching my daddy making a net. I guess I was about six years old. I asked him how he learned to do that and he said, "Well, June Bug, (that's what he called me) it's just a bunch of knots tied together." He started out on mama's clothes line. Walked back and forth making those knots until he got it the length he wanted. 

He used to run trot lines in the Red River. His heart was in hunting and fishing. Work was something he tolerated. His job was what was called a "rough neck" in the oil fields in southwestern Arkansas. He'd take off every night if he could. Whatever he caught and brought back was what we ate for supper the next day.

But back to the Robertsons. I found this clip of one of the Robertsons 'plainin things about God to an audience. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qop_3ocgqlo

He tells a story of how he challenged a man who called to order a duck call who kept taking the Lord's name in vain. It's worth a listen. I think.

What I like about the Robertsons is that they are congruent people. They say grace before they eat -- just to remind them of where all that goodness in their lives comes from. They've become multi-millionnaires with their duck calls that must be some kind of special; otherwise, why wouldn't someone just go to a sporting goods store and pick up a duck call? Beats me. But then, I'm not a duck hunter. I wouldn't know the difference between one from another.

So they started out poor but they aren't poor anymore.

I'm a little familiar with that story. We weren't just poor. We were dirt poor. I've survived all the unpleasantness of where poor puts you. But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to stay down in that pit of poverty. Each of us can figure a way out of that horrid place. For me it was going to college. 

First an undergrad, then a masters, then a license to practice as a mental health counselor. 

But I'm here to tell you that when you reach some point of success, don't ever indulge yourself by being proud. Pride will get you in trouble. But you can be pleased with your accomplishments. I'm pleased with what God has gifted me to do. I'm pleased that I can go out on crisis intervention events for insurance companies. I'm also pleased that I have a busy private practice of helping a lot of people. I'll never sell duck calls like the Robertsons and I'll never be a millionnaire. But then, that was never my goal. As Si Robertson would say, I'm "happy, happy, happy." He also started almost every sentence with "Hey."
 
And when I look around and see the false pride that others have with what they think they got all by themselves, I shudder to think that I could have been there right with them in that little thought cave. Rather, owing to God alone, everything we have is a gift of His grace. So I don't need a big fancy house. The one Quint and I have is a far cry from where we both started as poor kids long, long ago. Our house has electricity and running water for starters. And if you've ever lived in a humble little house without those two things, you'll understand that they are the foundation of everything else that's nice about a house.

The very first thing you have to do is get right with God. If you do that, He'll keep an eye out for you.

I start every morning with that thought. 

Plus, God is watching me so I'd better not mess up.

August 17, 2013

In case you've never seen a copperhead up close enough to recognize what it looks like, here's an unbelievable video showing the snake biting itself after its head has been chopped off. 
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/08/17/Decapitated-Snake-Head-Bites-Its-Own-Body

If you have an interest iin rocketry, the video 2nd in line shows a rocket ascending -- then coming back to its launch pad and either shutting itself off, or someone turned it off.


August 7, 2013

Hilarious! Here's 12 minutes of Ronald Reagan's best: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=wrRTau5jusU

August 6, 2013

Who says animals can't make a plan? Take a look at this bear stealing an entire dumpster. Watch how deliberate the bear is. The bear even looks around to make sure his traffic path isn't cluttered: 
http://zanylol.com/bear1.html


July 27, 2013

Delta Honor Guard receiving remains of a fallen soldier: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_VGxfmDmEo

I did not know that Delta had an honor guard! Hard to watch this without getting a bit emotional. 

And this, a soldier returns to Oklahoma to meet his widow: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_VGxfmDmEo


July 23, 2013

A full peal of the bells at Westminster Abbey greeted the royal baby's birth. The bells rang for 35 minutes, they say. If that's true, this is going to be one noisy baby: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok8Lp7dgd_g But those who have never heard a full bell peal, enjoy! A full bell peal at our church sounds more like "ding dong."


July 21, 2013

Uh oh! A 6.5 mag hits New Zealand. 
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-21/strong-earthquake-near-wellington-shakes-new-zealand/4833724 -- Definitely not a good sign.

Here's a happy welcome home from a dog whose master just returned from a 6-month deployment. You can just tell that the dog wants so desperatevly to speak English - way too much joy for Bugaboo to hold. And this is not a lap dog! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waSMjQ-lc74

Here's a clip of a beautiful golden lab being ever so gentle with a Downs baby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg -- oh my goodness - the miracles of love that God creates.

Reminds me of a metaphor I got from the pastor at church today. He began with, "What are you going to do now that everything has been done for you? You can just sit on your salvation!"

I absorb metaphors like a sponge and I really like this one. It fills me with courage when days don't go right. It fills me with joy when I see little things that are going right. 

And what am I going to do now that Jesus died for my sins? My salvation is complete. I don't have to worry about a thing because Jesus already sweat blood for me in Gethsemane. 

My life has to fill up with little pebbles of trust and love for others. These little pebbles will pile up into one big mountain of faith.

Blessings to each of you --

 

 

July 20, 2013

Shadow dancing -- familiar with it? This troupe is from Hungary and this is their dance routine. Absolutely amazing! 

I could make lots of comments about the talent, dexterity, etc. etc. But what amazes me is something we call "muscle memory." When these folks are behind the "curtain," they have little else to rely on except what their bodies are supposed to feel like when in a certain position. Otherwise, Stonehenge would have little pieces of rock sticking out in places where it wasn't supposed to. Or any of the other poses and movements could really look funny or strange if the dancers did not have really good muscle memory.

Take a look: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=CvQBUccxBr4

It was especially poignant for me -- and to the audience as well -- to see the soldier being carried home. Reminds me of Quint's losting his brother when he was the U.S. Army. Noticed a few others dabbing at their eyes too.

Oh my -- what talent and how generous of the troupe to share their art with the rest of us. 


July 19, 2013

Funny rendition of what happens, according to Fr. Guido Sarducci,  when we die: 
http://www.youtube.com/embed/0AKvRvL5r3A?rel=0


I don't think that's a real priest though.

Here he is on David Letterman: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kL8Ti1BMNc

And did you know that Fr. Sarducci founded the thought of the 5 minute university: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLAd4NzuqYM


July 18, 2013

Check out this gymnast. She's 86! I couldn't do what she is doing when I was 16. 
< http://safeshare.tv/w/cdaBSBkGKr >**


July 14, 2013

If you have plans to see the newly released movie, Copperhead, you can get a quick overview of Civil War battles at: 
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=civil+war+timeline&mid=E42761EAE9357F7B40BEE42761EAE9357F7B40BE&view=detail&FORM=VIRE2

I did not realize that Paducah, Kentucky, my home town, was the site of some Civil War battles. Grant even built a pontoon bridge across the Ohio River at the landing place that we call "the foot of Broadway."


July 9, 2013

Snakes on a train! Check this out: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/09/snake-on-a-train-reptile-slithers-onto-flooded-toronto-rail-car-disastrous-commute-gets-even-worse/ 

July 7, 2013

Here's a clip showing the flight coming in for landing and also showing the moment of impact: 
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/07/us/plane-crash-main/

Just a word of caution for your fliers -- always, always keep your seat belts fastened even when you're sitting in your seat and the plane is en route. Just an extra precaution, but one that could save your life. Wind shears and sudden air pockets could send you careening out of control and maybe make contact with the ceiling. 

This clip shows an animation of the plane coming in for landing. You can see how the tail came off at the sea wall: 
http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/07/07/nr-sfo-crash-animation.cnn.html


July 6, 2013

News unfolding - plane crashed on landing at San Francisco Airport. Early thinking is that the plane experienced a hard landing which broke the tail of the plane off. I heard that there were 293 people aboard and it appears that all survived. But then, I just heard on the tv news that the U.S. Coast Guard has pulled someone out of the water. Also heard on one news report that there will be casualties because of smoke inhalation and burns. Also, reports on Fox News say that there have been two deaths. Prayers lifted for all.

For those who are interested in what a hard landing looks like, take a look at these clips: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj_LatoDv0w -- We had a hard landing going into Heathrow Airport in London several years ago. It was spooky and made us quickly realize that the old saying that any landing you walk away from is a good landing. But then our landing didn't damage the aircraft. It just sounded like the landing gear had come through the floor of the plane (it hadn't).

And here's a series of landings in Dusseldorf -- what do you get when you cross an icy runway, crosswinds and 747s? 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la-hSjKP2TU  you know there was some heavy duty praying during those landings.


July 4, 2013

Having a wonderful 4th of July! How about you? 

Gotta listen to the Voices of Liberty sing the Star Spangled Banner: 
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/07/04/Voices-of-Libert-Sing-The-Star-Spangled-Banner

Have a safe Independence Day.


June 30, 2013

Want to know what you could see from a drone at 17,500 feet? Talk about the latest in technology! https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4?ytsession=QJjeRrVzzKDXJ54RgHkPil8o4Zi8RJuy1Zn7rXNaXIQwTD4is2hEZ9cCRkklE-nwfHKPHulQmf-lMY3OliowXWivYmoX8WD7bzDLJt-B7ce2sHnif4jCFUN-O_Nsg-nhE1_K00v6jW-JUn1d5NXe5w


June 29, 2013

Oh wow! 

Before you go see Copperhead, you might want to review what happened at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg is the first movie of a trilogy produced by Ron Maxwell. God and Generals is the third, and now Copperhead.

Quint and I have decided to go back and re-review our knowledge of the Civil War. And this link will take you to the Battle of Gettsburg. It's done by the Smithsonian and shows who was where during that bloodies of battles. What the generals saw and includes a map of the area. 
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/A-Cutting-Edge-Second-Look-at-the-Battle-of-Gettysburg.html

Prepare to be amazed. It was a lot of work to put the battle plan together so that we can understand what each one of the generals saw.


June 23, 2013

Now this is what I'm talking about! Just listen to the fans' reaction to the National Anthem before a game between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks: 
http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/06/22/chicago-city-big-shoulders-national-anthem-tops-charts/nzUfXZBmP5zmDKA79ZtI6M/story.html Thanks to the Boston Globe for the link.

Here's a little philosophy lesson from my good friend Cody: 
http://play.simpletruths.com/lp/store/?mid=406

June 19, 2013

Here's a great video that strikes a happy chord in my heart. It's called "Putting up the Flag." 
http://puttinguptheflag.com/

Hard to believe that it's been more than a week since I sat down here at the computer. Been running. And today I'm continuing to make biscuits for the Father-Son Breakfast at church on Saturday. So far I've made 8 dozen. That leaves 8 dozen to go before Friday night. Love homemade biscuits. Am making them from scratch too! Another lady is making the sausage gravy to put ont the biscuits. Bon appetite.

So let me ask you a question. Do you think a snake could learn to open a door? Think not? Then this video will scare the beegeebers out of you! 
http://vimeo.com/9841493

 

June 11, 2013

Prayers lifted for all our friends and readers in Europe who are experiencing the devastating floods! We keep you in our prayers daily. Be safe.

Got this quiz from Cousin Mark. See if you can guess how many of these statements are true. 

(Answers are   below.)  1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in   the morning.
                            2. Alfred Hitchcock did not have a belly button.  3.   A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 years..
                            4.   People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot   more.  5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions
                           stop, even your   heart!  6. Only 7% of the population are lefties.  7. 40-people   are sent to the hospital for dog bites
                           every minute.  8. Babies are born   without kneecaps. They don't appear until they are 2-6       years old.  9. The average
                           person over 50 will have spent 5 years   waiting in lines.  10. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.  11.   The average housefly
                           lives for one month.  12. 40,000 Americans are   injured by toilets each year.  13. A coat hanger is 44 inches long when 
                            straightened.  14. The average computer user blinks 7-times a   minute.  15. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any
                           other time   of day.  16. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep.  17. The   REAL reason ostriches stick their head in
                           the sand is to search for   water.  18. The only two animals that can see behind themselves   without turning their heads
                           are the rabbit and the parrot.  19. John   Travolta turned down the starring roles in 'An Officer and a Gentleman' and   'Tootsie.'
                            20. Michael Jackson owned the rights to the South Carolina   State Anthem.  21. In most television commercials advertising
                           milk, a   mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the   milk.  22. Prince Charles and Prince William
                           NEVER travel on the   same airplane, just in case there is a crash.  23. The first Harley   Davidson motorcycle built in 1903
                           used a tomato can for a   carburetor.  24. Most hospitals make money by selling the umbilical   cords cut from women who give
                           birth. They are used in vein transplant   surgery.  25. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were   7th cousins.
                            26. If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be   green.   Now, scroll down for the   answers...        They   are
                           all TRUE  Now go back and think about 16 ! 

 

June 2, 2013

With all the tornadic activity in the central United States, and particularly Oklahoma, thought you'd like to see some footage shot by Tim Samaras and his son Paul. 
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/02/the-stunning-tornado-videos-of-storm-chaser-tim-samaras-who-has-died/ Sad to say that Tim died this most recent Friday was storm chasing. Carl Young also died on Friday while chasing tornadoes. Here's that story: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/02/us/midwest-weather/index.html

We also lost a sheriff in Arkansas, I believe. The sheriff was trying to rescue some people who were stranded. 

 

May 26, 2013

I don't know who said this, but I agree wholeheartedly:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.  

We thank all our soldiers and sailors and coast guards and marines and air force people and everyone else who ever served in our Armed Forces. We thank you for your bravery and your sacrifice that you have gifted the American people. And the sacrifices your spouses and children made in sharing you with a grateful nation. Thank you. 

Today I am "playing" in the food lab that I call my kitchen. I am making ice cream sandwiches. To do this, I'm using a red velvet cake mix and baking a thin layer of batter. Then I will use a 50/50 mixture of cheesecake flavored cream cheese and vanilla ice cream. Then put another layer of thin cake batter on it and freeze it. When it is frozen, then I will cut into ice cream sandwich sizes and put in baggies and stash in the freezer. Sound yummy? For the layer of batter, I'm using a square pyrex baking dish and putting a thin layer of batter in it. Then I baked the first layer for 12 minutes. The second layer is in the oven. I only have one square pan so it will take several steps to get it all done.

 

May 20, 2013

Inside fo women's handbugs are filty. At least one in five are. That's the news from a medical report released recently. And who would have thought that we had to wash out the inside of our handbags? More likely, maybe we ought to dunk the bags in pools of antiseptic. Oh yuk! But filthier than a toilet? C'mon, it can't be that bad. But apparently it is. Read more here: 
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260728.php

Not only that but who designed those handbags to have a dark interior? I mean, how can I find anything if the inside of my purse is black? I made a vow not too long ago that I would not buy a purse of any king, shape or design unless it had a light colored material on the inside. Fortunately I'd guess that I'm one of the 80 percenters who have a clean handbag interior. That's mainly because I wash my hands a lot. And I use soap while I'm at it. But it still aggrevates me to no end when I have to just about touch everything in my purse before I find what I was looking for.
 
 
Ever been to the Sistine Chapel? Neither have I. Italy/Rome/the Vatican are not countries we made our way into when we went over there. So I am thrilled to find this link to a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

Oh my goodness -- is this ever adorable! http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/pfxB5ut-KTs?ytsession=1yGLseHhiBEYDQ0lmNazMknvaqKAHS6uE4oU3T2Cn0uWl3QxkNwt68-scJuCBNrDHXDKebqWoRVdWA_XhYsSf64EOndZpEEzBCri15nc6v8PikbN--F_yGAFC4XFEpJV6jB63ELxJd_rHhhp1jQeUg Look at all those little babies dancing to their hearts content!

 

May 18, 2013

Funny little skit about Lutheran Airlines: 
http://minx.cc/?post=340122

I've mentioned solar cycles and solar flares fairly often around here but you need to know that we are going to be in this sun cycle until 2019. And just during this next week alone, there's supposed to be some pretty disruptive stuff going on. Read more here: 
http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/increased-solar-flares-disrupt/12488287

We've never given up our land line just because of something disruptive like this -- as a possibility. The other reason is that in case of any national emergency, there's a very strong likelihood that all cell phone service would be interrupted  kind of like what happened during the Boston Bombing Massacre. No cell phones because there was a fear that, at least until the perps were caught, there might have been a likelihood that someone using his or her cell phone could have triggered another bomb explosion. 

There's a lot of other things I'll give up before I kiss my land line goodbye.

 

May 13, 2013

Ukraine's Got Talent! You bet they do. Just watch this amazing young acrobat -- 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLmImBUBRdc

Britain's Got Talent too -- take a look at these Shadow Dancers: http://www.flixxy.com/britains-got-talent-shadow-theatre-group-attraction.htm#.UZJgPhzvvh8

It happened yesterday -- Monday. It was one giant huge magnanimous burst of energy on the sun. Look at this article and bask in the marvel of the star in the middle of our solar system: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22525233 
 
 

May 12, 2013

How'd he do that? Good magic trick: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nZM4Iu0sosM&vq=medium

This is a song by Jackie Evancho -- an amazing 11 year old girl -- what a voice!! 
http://www.staged.com/video?v=NtK

May 6, 2013

Interesting animated cartoon about the history of money: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mII9NZ8MMVM

 

May 5, 2013

Check out Metallica playing the national anthem: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iADXhG5MUj8

DeMint says immigration reform will cost Americans trillions: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/5/jim-demint-immigration-reform-will-cost-americans-/ 

 

April 29, 2013

This is a hilarious Jeff Gordon taking an unsuspecting car salesman for a test drive in a 2009 Camaro: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q5mHPo2yDG8


April 25, 2013

So let me ask you something - when you see a deer crossing sign, do you think it's there for the deer, or for the drivers? Apparently this woman thinks it's for the deer because she has had several accidents at or near a deer crossing sign and thinks the signs ought to be moved so that the deer won't think it's a safe place to cross the highway!?? 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFCrJleggrI

 

April 24, 2013

We're read about sinkholes in the news recently -- especially in Florida. But those sinkholes have to go a long way to rival this whirlpool in Latvia. My goodness, I've never seen anything like this before! Absolutely amazing. 
http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/whirlpool.html

April 25, 2013

Want to see something absolutely amazing? I know -- everything amazes me. But this is really, really amazing. It's a 3-year version of the Sun's rotation speeded up into a 3 minute video: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/25/watch-the-sun-burp-boil-and-roil-in-this-mesmerizing-video-capturing-three-years-of-solar-activity/   It's from NASA and it shows the sun boiling, rotating really fast and lots of solar flares. And for those who say there is no God, I say, "You do that."

And speaking of solar flares, watch this one: 
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/25/watch-the-sun-burp-boil-and-roil-in-this-mesmerizing-video-capturing-three-years-of-solar-activity/ Good thing the sun is 93million miles away; otherwise, we'd all be fried with that spewing forth of hot plasma!


April 22, 2013

We need to celebrate the achievements of people who overcome outstanding odds. This young 16 year old sings the National Anthem at a University of Kentucky vs. Ole Miss basketball game: 
http://zanylol.com/anthem.html 

She was born with a virus that kept her optic nerve from forming. She hummed before she could talk. She taught herself to play the piano before she was two. And yes, she apparently taught herself how to sing the National Anthem. Her name is Marlana VanHoose and if she isn't a national treasure, I don't know what is!
 
Beautiful voice! Andrea Bocelli sings The Lords Prayer with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/bocelli_lord_prayer.html

 

April 21, 2013

Narrated by Fred Thompson, this video is entitled "And God Made A Patriot" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dAV8cfmawPk

Building the Three Gorges Dam in China: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwca1aka62w

 

April 10, 2013

Forget the snakes. What this link offers is a bunch of little kitties in awkward sleeping positions: http://newzwars.com/offbeat/15-cute-photos-of-kittens-sleeping-akwardly/

I picked daffodils this morning. Such a sweet fragrance from a big, big bouquet in the middle of the dining room table. I also have some tulips but they're still buds. People who know about such things recommend that if you want to keep squirrels out of your tulips, plant them among your daffodils. I tried it and it really works. Two years ago, I planted a bunch of tulips. I thought they'd be pretty in their own little bed. Unfortunately, I have some Master Gardener Squirrels living around here and they decided that the tulips would look good just about anywhere else. I spent a lot of time digging them up from the middle of the yard and other unlikely places. Apparently they even moved some of my tulips to other places n the neighborhood because a couple of neighbor ladies mentioned that tulips seemed to be sprouting in their yards all by themselves. Hmmm. Yeah, right.

April 8, 2013

So let me see now. A rattlesnake was found in a backpack at a school bus stop in Texas. Big snake. It was 42" long. Not likely that it would slither into the backpack all by itself, then zipper the thing shut so it could have a little siesta. I mean, nearly 4' long! Are you kidding me? Rattlesnakes are pretty close to the top of my list of unwanted critters. So the police, being the nice conservationists that they are, took the thing to a snake farm and it will apparently be returned to the wild after the investigation is complete. Check this out: http://www.kens5.com/home/NB-police-say-rattler-left-in-backpack-may-have-been-on-purpose-202024871.html

April 3, 2013

What do you know about atomic bombs? Here's an interesting link that shows how the mushroom cloud forms. I did not know that the temperature got to be 20,000 degrees -- that's hotter than the surface of the sun!

 http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/abombs.html 


Here's a real heart warmer. A Mama Duck had lain her eggs on the ledge of a bank in downtown Seattle (I think it was). Problem is, when it came time for the little baby ducks to go with Mama Duck to get into the water, Mama could fly but the babies couldn't. So this very big-hearted guy catches the babies as they drop off the ledge, one by one: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9hnbmml8fOY&hd=1

Now isn't that just about the sweetest thing you ever saw?

April 2, 2013

Whether you call it irony or coincidence, check out the photos in this link:
 http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/most-ironic-things-that-have-ever-happened
-- At the very least, they're comical.


If you had happened to be in a Catholic church in Miami for the Easter services, you would have enjoyed Andrea Bocelli sing Panis Angelicus during communion. If you weren't there and want to hear him sing, click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHKQYFgkcB8 
Absolutely beautiful!

Here is Bocelli with Ana Maria Martinez in a duet Time to Say Goodbye -- incredible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=dtt1XyWKAnM&NR=1



April 1, 2013

Check out these dangerous mountainous roads from various places in the world:
 

 http://www.mediadump.com/hosted-id108-the-most-dangerous-roads-in-the-world.html 

You'll probably have to cut and paste the address into your web address spot to get the link to work.


 

March 31, 2013

Another disastrous side effect of wind turbines: a golden eagle flew into one of those humongous blades and died. Never mind the bats that have met their untimely demise -- this was a golden eagle. The owner of the wind turbine farm is looking at a $200,000 fine. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/31/nevada-wind-farm-could-face-hefty-fine-over-eagle-death/?test=latestnews 

One of my favorite "must see" sites when I'm on the web is the NASA site. Here is a video of travels around the earth at night from the ISS: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap130331.html Amazing!

Did you hear about the bomb scare at the Eiffel Tower? Somebody called in a bomb threat and said explosives were put around the tower and were set to go off at 9:30. Along comes 10 pm and nothing happened but in the meantime, in an abundance of caution, the tower was evacuated. Take a look at these photos of what I think is one of the neatest landmarks in the City of Lights. We were in Paris in 1990 as the first stop across the pond as we embarked on our tour to see the Passion Play at Oberammagau but we landed in mid-morning, so we didn't get to see the spectacular Eiffel Tower all lit up. Quint did get credit for taking me to Paris for lunch on my birthday, though. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2301676/BREAKING-NEWS-1-500-people-evacuated-Eiffel-Tower-anonymous-phone-claimed-explosives-placed-landmark.html

And speaking of views of landmarks, this is a photo of the destruction of Meigs Field in Chicago, Illinois. Happened 10 years ago today. What I like about this photo is the Chicago skyline. The other is the runways at Meigs Field after they had been bulldozed with big x-es. And for why? Not really sure. http://pylonplace.blogspot.com/2013/03/ten-years-ago-story-of-meigs-field.html

Here's something not to do on Sunday afternoon -- unless, like this climber, you want to take a big slide down a snowy, rocky hill. This climber was one in a group of three climbers. The climber above him sent a chunk of frozen stuff down the hill and knocked Climber #2 down the hill. Quickly. Fortunately he only broke his leg: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/helmetcam-slide-snowdonia-accident-llanberis-mountain-rescue

March 25, 2013

Some of you may remember this crash of a B52 Stratofortress -- was in 1994. No one survived the crash. Story goes that it was a hot dogger flying the plane and he was practicing for an air show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjFIB1L3BPU

He flew too close to the edge of the air.

And here's a MIG pilot who was at the edge of the air on the tarmac and, of all things, pulled up the landing gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cunaek9W24

And on another matter, if you've been following the financial crisis in Cypress and wondered if such a fiasco could happen here in the U.S., you might want to take a look at this article by Roger Lowenstein. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/business/deposit-insurance-and-the-historical-reasons-for-it.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& He traces the origins of finances, federal reserve, etc., in the U.S. Interesting reading if you're into the curiosities about how the banking industry has unfolded since practically the beginning of time.

I just have a question about the FDIC insurance in this country. According to this article, http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/changes.html if you have an account that bears interest, you don't have any unlimited coverage. That would include money market accounts and NOW accounts, if I read the article correctly. If you are fortunate enough to have amassed a nestegg, you'll want to check with a financial advisor to make sure your account/s are safe.

What happened in Cypress, apparently, is that there's an insurance on deposits up to 100,000. The hefty tax on those accounts is on funds over the 100,000 euro balance.  Withdrawals in Cypress banks now are limited to 100 euros per day.

And so it begins. Maybe. This just out -- the UK Independent Party is urging Brits living in Spain to pull their money out of the Spanish banks. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9950083/Ukip-urges-Brits-to-withdraw-their-money-from-Spanish-banks.html

Folks, be very careful. Do absolutely what you need to do to make sure your retirement nesteggs are safe and your funds on deposit are safe. If you have an interest-bearing account in any kind of financial institution, check to see what your safety net includes.

And how about the new research that says parents are introducing solid food to their little babies before the babies are developmentally ready. Developmentally ready? What's that? Well, the baby needs to be able to sit up. The baby needs to be old enough to make those good bacteria that help digestion of solids take place. The baby needs to have developed a chewing mechanism. And the baby needs to be able to swallow the solid food. Here's an interesting article that's going around the news outlets today: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/health/many-babies-fed-solid-food-too-soon-cdc-finds.xml Read it and take care. If your baby is fussy, it doesn't necessarily mean the baby is hungry.

March 23. 2013

This has got to be the best Elvis impersonator I have ever heard: It caps off a week of the David Letterman Show where he did a week's worth of Elvis. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=G8fjHJbF9Es 

Remember Steve Martin? Here's one of his best comedy stints ever: http://rubytooth.com/link/323819 It's a repeat of a 1992 guest appearance on the Johnny Carson show. I did not know he could play the banjo, did you?

Here's a link showing how our military made a pipeline in WWII so that the banks and trucks and jeeps on the continent could get the fuel they needed. I mean, after all, they couldn't just pull up to a loal gas station.   http://www.youtube.com/v/Nv9lBqPVuoE&feature=uploademail



March 19, 2013

One more day 'til Spring. It feels warmer already.

If you have pets, you'll want to check out this article. Here's a link to some things you can find around the house that can be very dangerous - even deadly to your little four-paws: http://shine.yahoo.com/pets/26-household-items-poisonious-cats-38-dogs-130200299.html Be especially careful with Easter coming if you have Easter lilies in the house.



March 17, 2013

You've probably never wondered what Lutherans do with their beer bottles -- but just on the off chance that you might have, here's something from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k26nt3Y4cmg&feature=related

What fun!

If you're missing George H. W. Bush yet, here's a re-run of the White House Correspondents'dinner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4N93jLVPIA

Here's Carol of the Bells played on beer bottles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbEFLrcE6RU

This is a fantastic video of a gentleman who goes around the world compiling videos of dancers. Unbelievable. And such happy events that all the dancers shared: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html -- Thank you, Joyce, for sharing.



Jim Carrey does a funny job impersonating Clint Eastwood at a roast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vaa28xicJDE&NR=1&feature=endscreen

Some commercials are interesting: http://vimeo.com/61275290 -- Emmmmmmma!


March 15, 2013

A coronal mass ejection occurred today about 3 a.m. EDT. It has directed particles heading for the earth and should "hit' us by late Sunday or early Monday. Take a look at this "incredilgusto" photo of this CME: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-earth-directed-coronal-mass-ejection-sun.html NASA warns us that we can expect some geologic events as well as possible electronic problems. Stay tuned, as they say.  It will either be a big dud or something magnanimously out of this world.

You heard that there's going to be a competition for pole dancers right here in the good old USA! Only in America. Well, here's what a "pole dance" ought to look like. The Polonaise is just so exquisite. Why do we have to look at women who are grotesquely underdressed? Why can't we have some since of class and elegance? Look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3e1OH1BpjA In my view, this has real wow factor.

Here's something you don't see every day - a video of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. This is a mean snake, I don't care what they say. Anything that long and that venomous is on my Run From list. The Eastern Diamondback's strike speed is 92 mph. That's faster than I can run so my best bet is not to be in the same state where they live. And venomous? OMG This thing can kill four people if they shoot out a full load of venom. I'd say that about the only thing they'd be good for is to vacuum out all their venom and make anti-toxin out of it. Well, actually they're good for keeping the rat population down too. Otherwise, we'd have a run on the plague. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRtWT7OMyTQ

Just to keep you up to date on what's happening to the politics in the US, today the House defeated that minimum wage bill. And you know that if it doesn't get out of the House, it goes nowhere. The vote was 233-184. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/15/house-defeats-minimum-wage-increase/ It's just not a good time to raise the minimum wage by any amount with the economy racing toward a bubble burst. My concern is when the Dow hits $15,000. I think that, at that point, the economy will hit the slippery slope and the unsustainable climb will just go pop! By how much? I think I agree with a couple of the economists I've been following who are talking about a 4 or 5% slide into hell for some vulnerable investors. (That's what economist calls a "correction.")

March 14, 2013

Here's a wonderful quote from Francis I  -- the new pope: When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.

Thank you, Francis I. Another of his strong convictions is that all politicians who support abortions should be denied communion.

March 10, 2013

Feel like taking a virtual 360 degree tour of what you'd see if you could enter the Sistine Chapel? Click this link: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html 

It's particularly appropos since the Conclave of Cardinals will begin meeting on Tuesday.

March 9, 2013

It doesn't happen very often but here's a video that is less than a minute of what will be agony for the rest of this high school basketball's memory. The player took his team out of the running of a semi-finals contest in Oklahoma just becasue he put the bball into the wrong basket: http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2013/03/09/video-the-worst-play-in-basketball-history/

Oops. "My bad" doesn't even cover that one.

March 8, 2012

For all those folks who are really really worried about global warming and the earth melting, good news is here. It has to do with a greatly reduced amount of sunspot activities. I realize that there have been some incredible sunspots recently, but take a look at this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2290289/NASA-warns-unexpected-happening-Sun-year-supposed-peak-sunspot-cycle.html See -- hardly any activity at all. Do you think all those proposed carbon taxes will disappear when we go into another mini ice age?

March 6, 2013

Hobby Lobby may close.
Hobby Lobby is filing suit as a last ditch effort to gain release from the mandates imposed by health care rules. In fact, here's the statement released by its Christian president:

With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court,but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

Stay tuned.


March 3, 2013

This link is to an amazing story of a young man who walked ten miles in snow and ice to get a minimum wage jog: http://www.viddler.com/embed/70d1d214/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&secret=48017121&disablebranding=0 -- I may have put the link on last week, but it's well worth another look. Besides, it wasn't this depiction of the story.


Here's some animals that aren't necessarily the cute, adorable little things we've seen in other links: http://www.viddler.com/embed/70d1d214/?f=1&offset=0&autoplay=0&secret=48017121&disablebranding=0

 

I have just had one of the most interesting experiences of my life. It was a live broadcast on Facebook. The president of the national LWML hosted the broadcast and this week's event focused on an article I had written some time ago about the blessings of stress for The Lutheran Women's Quarterly. People from all over the country were on live this morning asking questions about stress and how to wrap solutions about stress around a life with God.

Each week Kay, the LWML president, is inviting a different article author to join her in the live discussion.

My prayer is that God used me somehow to reach other people. You can also download the article that I had about stress at the Facebook site www.facebook.com/TheLWML -- it's a Bible Study about the blessings of stress.

I also got friend requests from hundreds of new people. From Hawaii, to Texas, to Iowa, to Wisconsin -- to name a few.

I truly believe that within each of the countries that have readers to this web site are pockets of people who hunger, as I do, for a firm relationship with God. We seek out those people who can held solidify that relationship on our journey to get closer to Him. In so doing, we share each others burdens.

People are awesome, aren't they? I got this video from my cousin Mark. It's a video about amazing people doing amazing things. http://awsom.tv/post/41196204035/people-are-awesome-2013-via

Grandparents are awesome too. Mark sent me these comments from little tykes:

1.   She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her
young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before . 

After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But
Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put
lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how
old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he
asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and
a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting
more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel
around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern
warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling
voice,
"Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was
like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung
from a tree in o ur front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the
woods."
The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish
I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and
God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?''
"You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor.
She told him she was writing a story.
"What's it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to
test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me
and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for
the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these
colors yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off
until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies
followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa.
Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure."
"Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma,
guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a
little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do
you make babies?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," sa id a teacher.
The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took
the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire
truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.
The children started discussing the dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she said firmly,
"to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the
airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we're done having her
visit, we take her back to the airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don't get
to see him enough to get as smart as him!

February 26, 2013

Want to know the real source of global warming? Hint: It's not from driving SUVs around. http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap130226.html

Reading the caption, you will note that the time lapse says that the video took place over many, many hours. Global warming is not man-made. No doubt it's happening though. But man is just a tiny little being in the scope of things. There's a bigger hand at play out there in the universe and He's watching us all the time. One plasmic zap from the sun could wipe out our satellite systems in a flash, so to speak.

Changing the subject, we send our condolences to the families and loved ones of 18 folks who lost their lives in a horrible hot air balloon accident as the balloon was flying over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The balloon exploded and crashed. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2284548/Egypt-hot-air-balloon-crash-2-Britons-dead-2-critical-18-tourists-Luxor-killed.html

Here's a heartwarming story about a young man who walked ten miles through snow and ice to get a minimum wage job: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/25/restaurant-owner-finds-dedicated-teen-walking-10-snowy-miles-for-job-interview-guess-where-hes-working-now/ - Congratulations to the restaurant owner, too, for getting a real winner for an employee.

February 25, 2013

And they call the wind Mariah. Check out this link to a wind map of the United States: http://fm/wind amazing!

February 23, 2013

That was some crash at the Daytona 500 this afternoon. Wow! Cars were flying everywhere -- engines came off and went through the fence and got up into the stands. A number of injuries but miracle of miracles -- no fatalies. Check out this link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2013/02/23/huge-car-crash-mars-nationwide-series-race-at-daytona/1941529/

And this video link takes you to an IMAX Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V30f88a8OTA -- I'd love to see this video at an IMAX theater like the one at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Those videos are on 80 mm film. What an incredible experience. This is a good experience too. All 48 minutes of it. Enjoy!

February 19, 2013

Do you know how much it hurts when you laugh so hard coffee comes out your nose? Take a look at this video - without any coffee in your mouth: https://www.youtube.com/v/IQfZY5rvXX0%26rel=0%26hl=en_US%26feature=player_embedded%26version=3

February 17, 2012

Are you ready for a little history? Mark sent me this story and if you ever get to Chicago, zipping through O'Hare Airport, you'll know why it was named as it was:

Two Stories BOTH TRUE - and worth reading!

STORY NUMBER ONE

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn't famous for
anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything
frombootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed 'Easy
Eddie.' He was Capone's lawyer for agood reason. Eddie was very good! In fact,
Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the
money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well.
For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with
live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day.
The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little
consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved
dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars,
and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to
teach him right from wrong.
Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he
couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to
rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al
'Scarface' Capone, clean up his tarnished name,
and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would
have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be
great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a
lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest
gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay.
Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious
medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:
'The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to
tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no
faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.'


STORY NUMBER TWO

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant
Commander Butch O'Hare.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in
the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was
airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had
forgotten to top off his fuel tank.
He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back
to his ship.
His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he
dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned
his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way
toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but
defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to
save the fleet.
Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only
one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the
formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he
charged in,
attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in
and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as
possible
until all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to
clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible,
rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.
Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to
the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his
return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale.
It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.
He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became
the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His
home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and
today,
O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this
great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some
thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal
of Honor.
It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.

SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER? 

Butch O'Hare was 'Easy Eddie's' son.


Prepare to melt away your heart. Here's a link to a little 5 year old girl who called 911 when her father was apparently having a heart attack. Just listen: http://www.maniacworld.com/stay-calm-dad.html Wow!
Big discussions about raising the minimum wage here in the United States from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour. Lots of studies are out there that show raising the minimum waige has a deleterious effect on employment. Take this for instance: http://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/vat-is-das-minimum-wage-unemployment-and-investor-driven-housing-recovery/

I'd just like to take the thought of a small business owner.

Let's say that I can only to afford to hire enough 1/4 time employees (after school students) and pay no more than $1500 in the aggregate every week.

At $7.25 per hour, that means I can buy 206 hours of employment.

Taking that same $1500 at $9.00 per hour means that I can only buy 166 hours.

The difference is 40 hours. I can compute that without my handy dandy little calculator. Forty hours spread over 1/4 time student employees if 4 real people who won't be able to work at my establishment. That means that you could work for me, but your three favorite buddies couldn't.

So, given that scenario -- will someone please tell me how raising the minimum wage helps improve the employment picture?

On another subject: this is about how you can set up an experiment to test for psychological stress and not let the subjects of the experiment know you're intentionally stressing them out. Stress is, after all, a continuing concern no matter where you live. How can you research how much stress a person is feeling when the "victim" is "in on it" and knows it's a scripted stress that will be over with when the research is done.

Some research, in fact, was halted by the American Psychological Association when the research went too far even when the stressed subjects knew about the experiment.

However, in Germany recently, someone at an airport walked around taking pictures of people at random. Then, very quickly, the photos were inserted into wanted posters and distributed throughout the airport. Then the posters made headline news on the overhead TV monitors. The people who were shown had no idea they were part of a big experiment on stress.

Watch the outcome here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gWk_yKtEdo&feature=youtu.be

February 16, 2013

And then there was the Super Bowl. Where would the halftime be without the Clydesdales? Take a look at this precious ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPG7PcI67dE

This is one of my all-time favorites : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xb4kLo4Gp0&NR=1&feature=endscreen I realize that it's a scripted commercial but don't you wonder how much animals really communicate to one another? I think they communicate much more than humans give them credit for.

I love to watch people who are enjoying themselves dancing. And I equally enjoy watching children dancing. When these two are combined, here's an incredible combination: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jqb3z2sQ6PM -- You think they don't feel the rhythm? !!

I never rode a subway when in New York, but I can only imagine. Then Mark sent me this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=47e3vjA_4uc Who knows, maybe someday this is what the Chicago subways will look like.

I did read some while ago that a "good" panhandler back in the early 90s was making some $50,000 a year. Lived in a better condo than I did. Lost my benevolent spirit for street moochers. I mean, I can help more people by donating to human care agencies who help people who are in need. And, of course, the church.

Here's a compilation of what's supposed to be the best commercials of this year's Super Bowl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65t7LSknGdE&feature=endscreen&NR=1


February 15, 2012

Amazing footage of a big meteor hitting the earth. Happened in Russia. It was big and it exploded in the atmosphere before it actually struct the earth. Lots of damage, mostly from breaking glass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXvrNUXxm9E

If you love cats, you'll get a kick out of these felines showing how they amuse themselves. The folks over at Cheeseburger put a new video out every Wednesday. Remember, laughter is a good way to say good riddance to burnout. http://cheezburger.com/47540993

February 13, 2013

A little mini-factoid that I found on my way to looking something else up. Some late research says that one of the most effective "cures" for burnout is laughter. So laugh until your sides ache, my friends. Something else you might want to know is this: Involve yourself in creative pursuits -- even if it's just observing a view that strikes your fancy. Creativity has a lot to do with dopamines that attach to pleasure centers in your brain. If you can't take a hike, then go on these visual excursions that Shirley sent. Enjoy life and life enjoys you!
Feel up to taking a little trip out west? Shirley sent clips to some incredible photos from Utah. But it isn't just the photos. You can hold your cursor down and move the view to the right, left, up or down:

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/canyonlands/grand-view.html -- Canyonlands National Park - Grand View Point

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/capitol-reef/sulphur-creek.html - Capitol Reef National Park - Sulphur Creek

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/arches/double-arch.html - Double Arch in Arches National Park

http://www.utah3d.net/utah-travel/wasatch-mountains/payson-canyon.html - Wasatch Mountains -- Payson Canyon

  

A little language trivia from my cousin Mark:

UP

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word,
and that word is ' UP .' It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj],
[n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but
when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP , and why are the
officers UP for election (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP ) and why is it UP to
the secretary to write UP a report?We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room,
polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the
house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this little word has real special meaning . People stir UP trouble,
line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP .

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty
mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look UP the word UP in the
dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can
add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP , you may wind UP with
( UP to) a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out, we say
it is clearing UP . When it rains,the earth soaks it UP. When it does not rain for
awhile, things dry UP . One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now . . .
my time is UP !

And then, there's these funny little vignettes, also from Mark:

No one believes seniors . . . everyone thinks they are senile.
An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The couple had married
as childhood sweethearts and had
moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired.. Holding hands, they walked
back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk
they'd shared, where Andy had carved “I love you, Sally.” 
 
On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically
landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked
it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the
money - fifty thousand dollars!
 
Andy said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
 
Sally said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in
their attic.

The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighborhood looking for the
money, and knocked on their door. “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that
fell out of an armored car yesterday?”
   
Sally said, “No”.
   
Andy said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.
   
Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile”

The agents turned to Andy and began to question him.

One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”
   
Andy said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday ...”
 
The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

And --

And Then:
Earl and Bubba are quietly sitting in a boat fishing,
chewing tobacco and drinking beer when suddenly
Bubba says, "Think I'm gonna divorce the wife - she
ain't spoke to me in over 2 months."

Earl spits overboard, takes a long, slow sip of beer and says, "Better think it
over..............
women like that are hard to find."


Oh my goodness, will you just look at this! The other day Quint and I were just talking about the newest, biggest, baddest TV screen. "How could anything be worth a half million dollars?" I asked. Then I saw this clip: http://www.cseed.tv/design/movie.html -- It's wild. Now I know. That's some house. Probably doesn't come with the Porsche though. And wouldn't they worry about rain dripping down into that hole that the LED screen came out of? Just wondering. Thank you, Mark. I'll bet you don't have one of these in your back yard. I'm going to check next time I come see you.


I'm so lucky because I got this clip from both my cousins. http://www.wimp.com/christianlion/ It's about a lion cub that was raised from infancy, then returned back to the wild. This clip shows their meeting after some time has passed. They were warned that their pet lion had reverted back to being a wild animal and wouldn't recognize them. But you just watch!

And thank you, Mark and Al, for sharing this with all of us.

My final link for today is this one from Mark. He says it's about some masculine moments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvlQYi5LoYM&feature=youtu.be




February 12, 2013

One of my favorite favorite places to go to on the web is www.ted.com - a most amazing place. To give you an idea, here is a link to a photographic excursion in the womb from conception to birth. Absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=fKyljukBE70 -- and especially to a microbiology student, Elizabeth, who is studying at Eastern Illinois University. Say hello to Elizabeth, everybody. And Elizabeth, watch this video if you have time or inclination. You will enjoy it. I suspect.
And today is the day we remember Abraham Lincoln, America's Civil War President. Happy birthday, Abe!

Got this funny -- or at least cute -- video link from cousin Mark. It's called The Green Side of the Grass: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/6dbBfXCMbH4?rel=0%22

February 10, 2013

And just who is this Dr. Benjamin Carson? Well, if you haven't looked him up in Wikipedia, let me tell you that he is a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University. He was the first surgeon to successfully separate twins who were joined at the head. He is a "pull yourself up out of poverty" kind of guy. He was invited to address the nation at the National Day of Prayer not too long ago. And in case you haven't heard his speech, here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyyHegP255g

Reminds me of my own childhood. We had next to nothing in money. And when I would go to my grandmother and complain that I hated being poor, she'd tell me that we weren't poor -- just broke. Big difference. And I've never forgotten it as I've gone through life. Sometimes broke; sometimes not. But poor? Nope. Poverty is a state of mind and I do not want to go there.

And here are the photos of Richard III's remains: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21063882

Everyone is buzzing about both these topics, from what I hear in my galloping around the internet.

Here's a link to a cat that I could just love. Cat-cat got run over and after many surgeries, has become a lesson of style and grace, not to mention grace. I just love cats! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2275887/Caffrey-amazing-moggie-survives-legs--theyre-side.html#axzz2KX21lwCl


Pink hair? So how many women do you think could pull off pink hair? Dame Helen Mirren seems to be doing just fine with it. But most of all, I love the dress. Elegant and very ladylike: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2276596/BAFTA-Awards-2013-Dame-Helen-Mirren-shocks-debuts-new-dyed-bob.html#axzz2KX21lwCl

More photos of dresses, hairdos, tuxedos, etc. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2276515/BAFTA-Awards-2013-Caroline-Flack-leads-red-carpet-glamour-stunning-beaded-black-gown.html#axzz2KX21lwCl 
Oh, so those little peepholes in the ladies' dresses are called keyholes? Did not know that. And what's with that one yellow dress. It looks like half a dress that had the bottom half tacked on somehow. The woman who's wearing it should keep her arms down to her side so she doesn't give the dress' secret away. I could tell it if was supposed to be a mini that lost its identity at the last minute and had a bottom half added quickly in the dressing room. Guess those $gadzillion dresses are lost on me.


February 9, 2013

Found this beautiful rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It's 42 minutes so I'm guessing it's all four seasons. Play it in the background while you're doing something else on your computer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=GRxofEmo3HA&NR=1

February 8, 2013

We've been watching a Netflix production, The House of Cards. It's Kevin Spacey at his best even though the story is about corruption and greed and politicians in Washington, D. C. However, in one of the later episodes, Spacey's character goes back to his alma mater because they are naming a new library after him. Francis Underwood, I think. Point is, he and three of his buddies sang Shenandoah. Nothing like good harmony for this wonderful song. This isn't them, but it's a wonderful glee club doing the same song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QvoqvX2VPE

Not the same group, but a wonderful group of harmony singing Finlandia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDXNHPeRB0k

Here's the same anthem set against some beautiful photography: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5zg_af9b8c

This anthem is also set against photography, with the lyrics as well as some of the history of Finland and its quest for independence from being a duchy of the Russian empire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XojVmivqDrA

Here is a beautiful choral presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGgu5iwP5Z8 -- Finlandi, Hymni

Even a flash mob offers its rendition at an airport: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO63xt2jWtc  What a celebration of joy and peace and pride for a very young nation that has nourished its soil with the blood of its patriots. The world salutes you!

So for all our readers from Finland, enjoy. Our hearts are with you in your independence and freedom and liberty.

Adding one of my all-time favorites, Ode to Joy, here is a group from Japan -- all 10,000 of them -- giving us Ode an die Freude. Absolutely beautiful.

And this, I'll bet, you've not seen anything like it: http://www.youtube.com/embed/XlyCLbt3Thk?rel=0 

 

 

January 30, 2013

My, oh my. This link shows a sinkhole that swallows up buildings! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9833738/Sinkhole-swallows-whole-building-complex-in-China.html

Fortunately, no one was reported injured. But whole buildings?! Wow!

January 28, 2013

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's powerful message at the National Day of Prayer: http://robcunninghamusa.com/2013/01/28/video-pastor-confronts-obama-america-is-a-christian-nation/

I pray that his message will be a wake-up call for many sinners who need to take that first little step toward regaining faith, or gaining a faith they may never have had.

It's simple. It requires crossing a threshold into a new beginning for your life. You don't have to make a big project out of it. Just find a church and walk through the doors. (I use the word church to mean any house of worship.)

Don't wait until you are doing "better" in your faith. Whatever that means. You are never going to get clean from your sins by yourself. Church is a place to go where you can get clean. It's where you metaphorically get cleansed by the blood of Christ.

If you feel like your sins have made you ill, then you need to know that the church is a hospital for sinners. You can exchange all those sins for a new life in Christ.

Just go through the door and feel the embrace of Christ's love.

If you believe that the church is full of hypocrites, then you ought to feel right at home if you think that at least you're honest enough to know you're a worthless piece of doodoo. But you're right -- as sinners we all live hypocritical lives. There's room for one more so come on in. Walk through the door.

Come on in and know the full salvation of Christ's love and what He did on the cross to save you and me alike. Just walk through the door. The Holy Spirit will guide you to faith and introduce you to the Savior of the world.

January 27, 2013

Want to see the five top scariest places on the planet? Take a look: http://www.cracked.com/article_19705_the-5-most-spectacular-landscapes-earth-that-murder-you.html

Here's a bear surprising a camera crew trying to set up a commercial in the frozen tundra north: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/walking.html

And to change the subject: 

Lent is about increasing consciousness.

The story of Easter starts at Christmas because there would be no Calvary without Bethlehem.

From Ash Wednesday, it's a forty-day journey of mindfulness. It's about a growing awareness of just exactly what Jesus Christ's death on the cross means to each of us as Christians.

So, how many of you out there would quietly lie down on a cross so that Roman Soldiers could nail your hands to the crossbar? Everybody who would be willing to do that, raise your hands.

Not many hands up. In fact the number is somewhere between zero and negative 10. The negative numbers are those people who are sitting on their hands just to make sure they don't spontaneously shoot up in the air.

How exactly do you increase your mindfulness about salvation. That's what the trek through the Lenten season is all about. It's about become more and more thankful for the tremendous sacrifice that our Heavenly Father made by sending His only Son to die for the wrongdoing of all sinners. As a parent and as a human mother, I can tell you that I could not have done that to any of our children. This was absolutely, positively certain death for Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was not a clone off another brother. God could have done that too. But He didn't. Nope. Jesus Christ was His one and only.

The willingness of Jesus Christ to lay down His life is something we need to think about during this trek through Lent.

In my view, how could anyone participate in gleeful festivals and parties?! At the risk of those of you out there who'd tell me to lighten up, I say go ahead. Just count me out. I'm thinking about other things while you're engaging in your not-so-mindful Lent festivals and parties. I have a right to practice my faith in ways that are deeply meaningful to me. You do too.

Does it mean that I go to heaven and you don't? Probably not. But for me, observing Lent is more about Sunday morning and midweek Lenten services. It's about an everyday-trek through my heart and mind. It's one long moment from Ash Wednesday to Easter. I'm not that good at multi-tasking where I can do that and also go to festivals.

So have at it. I'll see you at the cross.


January 26, 2013

Late Night Catechism -- very funny nun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jrh_uuPmd0  There are other vignettes at the link which you can watch.

Here's a link of a father and son team: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9xwCG0Ey2Mg The son is blind and wheelchair-bound. And thanks to his father, he is part of the University of Louisville Marching Band. Seeing is believing! And thanks to our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita for sending the link. It just reminds me that God gives us talent, but not necessarily fame or fortune.

What could be more adorable than a half dozen Scottish Terrier puppies? Well, watching them "eat" in a common puppy bowl and moving around it like a pinwheel. You're just not going to believe it: http://uvideo100.com/pinwheel.html

I just love this video -- it's a little boy in who can't be more than 5 or 6 years old driving a front loader! He actually does a fantastic job and is so serious. I'm really impressed with his coordination: http://uvideo100.com/labor.html

After you watch it, answer me this question: do you think this young man would ever be satisfied playing with a Tonka truck? Not!

It seems to me that what makes these little boys so adorable is that they are doing big people stuff. Take this little tyke who crashed his dad's concert. Dad was singing Brown Eyed Girl and little Mr. Twinkie comes running over and decides to show off some of his moves to the crowd. Crowd went wild with appreciation. Baby takes pacifier back to his mom. Don't need this anymore since I'm out here playing with the big boys. http://uvideo100.com/concert.html

Want to see one good example of poetry in motion? Look at these Friesians. Beautiful black horses coming into their own in the field of dressage. http://uvideo100.com/friesian.html


January 24, 2013

Here's a link to a beautiful train ride. Oh the beauty of the trip! Ride along with Floyd Kramer's piano: http://www.openmyeyeslord.net/Train%20Ride.swf

Got this warning from my dear friend Norma:

WARNING FROM POLICE**
>>>
>>>        THIS APPLIES TO BOTH WOMEN AND MEN**
>>>
>>>        BEWARE OF PAPER ON THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR VEHICLE--NEW WAY TO
>>>        DO CARJACKINGS (NOT A JOKE)
>>>
>>>        Heads up everyone! Please, keep this circulating.. You walk
>>>        across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You
>>>        start the engine and shift into reverse..
>>>
>>>        When you look into the rearview mirror to back out of your
>>>        parking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle
>>> of the rear window. So, you shift into Park, unlock your doors,
>>>        and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it
>>>        is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of
>>>        your car, that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere,
>>>        jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down
>>>        as they speed off in your car.
>>>
>>>        And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car.
>>>
>>>        So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your
>>>        money, and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now
>>>        compromised!
>>>
>>>        BEWARE OF THIS NEW SCHEME THAT IS NOW BEING USED.
>>>
>>>        If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just
>>>        drive away. Remove the paper later.  A purse contains all kinds of
>>>        personal information and identification documents, and you
>>>        certainly do NOT want it to fall into the wrong hands.**


This is a prayer that comes by way of my good friend, Cody, from Warrensburg. Thank you, Cody. I am especially happy to share with so many readers who live so far away -- many in countries that  persecute Christians. I lift each of you up in prayer for your physical and spiritual safety:

Prayer is one of the best and most powerful free gifts we receive. Read the prayer
below.


Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.


May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been
given to you.

May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

>>>       

January 22, 2013

Remember when I was talking about over-learning yesterday?

Today I'm thinking about over-thinking as part of that path to learning. Remember that learning is defined as relatively permanent and leads to some sort of behavior change. That behavior change can be something as simple as realizing that you're different because you've learned something new. That is to say, you don't have to go back to hula hoops for self-entertainment.

Today I am thinking about a physics idea. Not even sure you can call it a theorem yet, so I'll settle for an idea. It's called Higgs-Boson. It's an interesting thought - an idea -- and I want to understand it. So I found this link that was prepared by a physicist at the Fermilab. I figure if I listen to it over and over, I'll get a handle on Higgs-Boson. I do question the example of the portly gentleman going through the water with difficulty where the barracuda did not. In truth, all of the man was not in the water -- only half of him was, whereas all of the barracuda was moving through the water. But I'll have to study that thought some more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIg1Vh7uPyw 

Here's a web site for some basic physics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnMIhxWRGNw&list=PLED25F943F8D6081C&index=10

My point is, we'd better be learning this stuff if we ever want to understand the world around us instead of having someone understand the world and explaining it to us. I mean, how do we know they'd be correct? We need to keep over-thinking and over-learning.

After all, my technique did get me through understanding some perplexing and difficult math structures in high school and my undergrad.

And my brain didn't even melt.

So I'm going to put this link about quantum physics here kind of as a bookmark because when I want to find it, I probably won't be able to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1TVZIBj7UA&list=PLED25F943F8D6081C 

But then, I could always ask Quint and he could explain it all to me.

January 21, 2013

January 21st already. Wow! How time goes flying by.

I received this link from my dear friend Linda in Lawrenceville: http://www.youtube.com/embed/8TT1XFS1LA0

If ever there is a story of the need for closure, this video poignantly points to the need. This is the story of a WWII widow who searched and searched and never gave up. And all the time her late husband was found in a grave at Normandy. But it's more than that. That would be too simple a story. Just watch and see what the little town in France has done to commemorate her husband all these years.

Linda also sent a link entitled The Beauty of Mathematics. If you have not seen this before, prepare to be amazed: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=h60r2HPsiuM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

It reminds me of when I was a little kid and used to "count letters." Don't know where I learned to do that but it was just fun. I counted the letters in my name, and words at school. For no good reason except as a mental exercise.

And thank you, Linda, for sharing this link with our readers.

While I was at the links, I noticed a video called Late Night Catechism. I knew the nun was Catholic. I mean, her habit was a big clue, right? So I clicked on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=h60r2HPsiuM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Oh how funny she is! The above link takes you to catechetical lesson #2 -- and there are others at the site. Enjoy!



January 19, 2013

We watched a Neil Young concert - Prairie Wind -- on Netflix last night. His signature song, at least as far as I'm concerned, is Heart of Gold. So while I was listening to that song, I really wanted to hear Horse With No Name. I was so certain that it was a Neil Young recording too. But it wasn't. America recorded it and here's a link, if you're interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQzW6wz2JQk

At one point, Neil Young asked, "If there a guitar in the house?" Next thing you know, he's got about 8 guitars lined up playing with him on stage. Having taught guitar years ago at a park district up north, I am amazed that all the guitars were so in tune with one another, and the guitarists were so synchronized.

I watched a TED talk about sychronicity not too long ago. It seems that "all" things in nature try to synchronize with each other. So I put on my mental health hat and wonder if, for whatever reason, people can't synchronize with one another it's doom for a relationship from the start.

Anyway, if you haven't discovered TED talks yet, go to www.ted.com and listen to some of them. One of the criteria is that the talks can't be longer than 15-18 minutes and the speaker has to talk about an idea that will change the world. There are all sorts of categories to plug into. Go ahead. It's an easy way to learn something new.

My grandmother used to tell me that a day was wasted if I didn't learn one new thing.

She didn't have to lecture me much about that either. I loved studying and learning when I was in school. Loved it so much that I made up practice tests for myself when I was an undergrad. I would pick parts of the text that were particularly difficult to grasp and make "fill in the blank" exercises. I made a key with the answers as I went along. I would only do 50 blank questions or so at a time. Then I would test myself. I was amazed that even after reading the text, then writing it down with an important word replaced by a line to fill in, and writing the correct word or term on the key, the first time I took my little practice test, I would only get 50% or so correct. So I'd keep taking my little test until I got 95% correct. Then I would move on to another part of the textbook and do the same thing. And that is how I aced my tests.

Was it a lot of work? Yes!

Was it worth it? You bet!

Later when I taught psychology classes to undergrads, I told them what I did. Believe it or not, several of the students duplicated my "system." They were amazed to add such a simple method to their toolbox of learning skills.

Students often make an assumption that if they read something, and take good notes, then review their notes the night before an exam, that's all they need to get a good grade on tests. Some people can do that. Most can't. Most people need a few other techniques to help them out.

But for all those people who say, "I never was good at taking tests," I say, "Of course not because the secret to taking tests well is overlearning. It's going over and over and over the material until you can practically recite the information."

One thing that we've all over-learned is the alphabet. Another is the multiplication tables. That is, if you memorized the multiplication tables.

On another matter not related to anything above -- here's a link that shows ships in their rustic rusty final states lying on beaches at various places around the world: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264903/Rust-glory-Poignant-pictures-capture-tragic-beauty-worlds-haunting-shipwrecks.html



January 17, 2013

One of the benefits I have enjoyed over the past several years after doing some genealogy research is finding a long lost cousin of mine in southeast Texas. We are related through my father's sister. A side benefit is that Frances has as much a sense of fun-loving human as I do. She sent this and I think you'll enjoy it too:

Why I Like Retirement !!!

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday
and you know when it's Sunday
that's when the heavy paper comes



Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep in the recliner.


Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.



Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.


Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% discount.


Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.


Question:Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer:They are the only ones who have the time.



Question:Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer:They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store
stuff there.



Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal.


Question:What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.


Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.



Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people
he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.




And, my very favorite....
QUESTION: What do you do all week?
Answer: Monday through Friday, NOTHING..... Saturday & Sunday, I rest.


Thank you, Frances, and stay warm. I don't think the Houston area is getting all that many blessings from Mother Nature these days. I'm bracing for a predicted 5 degrees on Sunday. Brrrrr.

January 15, 2013

If you like cats, you'll enjoy watching these two felines "sharing" their dinner: http://uvideo100.com/bowl.html

I like cats a lot more than politics. Apparently they share. But I don't think they are compromising all that much, to think about it.

January 15, 2013

From our good friends in Wichita comes this suggestion of how to cook a turkey dinner. Something to keep in mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=niegc7QcilM Now, isn't that hilarious?

January 14, 2013

I can remember sitting around the radio when I was a kid -- kind of like we sit around the TV nowadays - to listen to the Bob Hope Show. What fun. I understand from listening to interviews with him that he also wrote his own material.

Got the following snippets from cousin Mark. So for those of you who are too young to remember the Bob Hope Shop, here are some funny bits from this wonderful comedian who passed on a number of years ago:

For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope, ask your Grandparents..
And thanks for the memories. WHAT A WONDERFUL E-MAIL.




I HOPE THIS WILL PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART.

Tribute to a man who DID make a difference.




ON TURNING 70
'I still chase women, but only
downhill'.

ON TURNING 80
'That's the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.'

ON TURNING 90
'You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.'

ON TURNING 100
'I don't feel old. In fact, I don't feel
anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.'

ON GIVING UP HIS EARLY CAREER, BOXING
'I ruined my hands in the ring. The referee kept stepping on them.'

ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR
'Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it's called at my home, 'Passover'.

ON GOLF
'Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.'

ON PRESIDENTS
'I have performed for 12 presidents and entertained only six.'

ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER


'When I was born, the doctor said to my mother,
Congratulations, you have an eight pound ham.



ON RECEIVING THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
'I feel very humble, but I think I have the strength of character to fight it.'

ON HIS FAMILY'S EARLY POVERTY
'Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.'

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS
'That's how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.'

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES
'I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn't for the
stuff the audience threw at me.'

ON GOING TO HEAVEN
'I've done benefits for ALL religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a
technicality.'


January 14, 2013

Here is a link to a video about interment about the USS Arizona that is carried out even in the present time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgE2KiPd3xg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Quint and I the opportunity to go aboard the Arizona when we went to Hawaii on the occasion of our 25th anniversary. It is, even after all these years, a moving experience. And a reverent one, just knowing that there were sailors still entomed beneath us.

January 13, 2013

Watch this clip of a golden lab trying to very gently interact with a young boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg

I'm fortunate to have had a golden lab when I was much younger. They're the gentlest dogs on the planet -- in my view. Dogs are amazing -- as you can see when this video shows a dog going onto a busy highway to rescue another dog that has been run over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=_nkadPBEKFk&NR=1 Amazing. And the injured dog lived! That's the best part.

The link to this video shows an incredible affection from a cat trying to revive a cat friend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=3g-JcebQyyI&NR=1

These compilation videos are always interesting. I personally think everyone should take a Physics class in high school just to learn about forces of nature and what works and doesn't work. And apparently a shooting course too so you can know what to expect in a recoil. Or at least to hold onto the rifle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gng3sPiJdzA

But then, it's nice when everything works out all right too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=yKWoPlL2B8I

I guess we can talk about doctors and medicine in the new year. These funny vignettes come from my cousin Mark who is always funny!

MY NEW PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN Love this Doctor!   

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life.  Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. 
Everything wear out eventually.  Speeding up heart not make you live longer;

it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster.  Want to live longer? 
Take nap.  

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?   
A:  Oh no.  Wine made from fruit.  Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take
water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way.  Beer also made
of grain.  Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one.  If you have two
body, your ratio two to one.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of single one, sorry.  My philosophy: No pain...good!  
   
Q:  Aren't fried foods bad for you?   
A:  YOU NOT LISTENING!  Food fried in vegetable oil.  How getting more vegetable
be bad?

Q :  Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A:  Oh no!  When you exercise muscle, it get bigger.  You should only be doing
sit-up if you want bigger stomach. 

Q:  Is chocolate bad for me? 
A:  You crazy?!?  HEL-LO-O!!  Cocoa bean!  Another vegetable!  It best
feel-good food around!

Q:  Is swimming good for your figure? 
A:  If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q:  Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle? 
A:  Hey!  'Round' is shape!

Well... I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food
and diets.

And  remember:  
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay
in one hand -

chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
"WOO-HOO, what a ride!!"   
   
AND.....

For  those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and
health.  It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional
studies.   

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
Americans... 

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer
fewer heart attacks than Americans.

 
CONCLUSION:  Eat and drink what you like.   Speaking English is

apparently what kills you.

Quint's cardiologist has a food philosophy that I like. He says we don't have to endure all that gravel-tasting food. Like that guy1

January 9, 2012

Today would have been my brother's 68th birthday. RIP, Al. Hope you were finally able to quit smoking wherever you are up there.

Under the general heading of "Are you kidding me?" is an activity called "zorbing." Not sure where that word came from, but a zorb is a big inflatable ball.

Well, these two Russians decided to get inside this inflatable, which is what youdo with a zorb, and roll it down a ski slope.

It did not end well. In fact, one of the zorbas was killed when the zorb rolled off a cliff, instead of sticking with the path it was "supposed" to take.

Here's the linkhttp:// www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/09/ride-down-ski-slope-in-giant-inflatable-ball-turns-deadly-in-russia/?test=latestnews 

Not serious like the antics of zorbing, but here's reactions from fast food drive-up window people who try to serve an order to a car that doesn't have a driver in it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVrJ8DxECbg Reactions are really interesting.

January 8, 2013

Eons ago when I was young and dirt was just a technological dream, I took a Psychology of Advertising course. How attitudes of the public are shaped by advertising was a new thought. How advertising reflects the social mores of a culture was also embedded in there somewhere. So I found these ads -- supposed to be the funniest ads of last year. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7_LfUeSWWE

What do the ads say to you? Some of interesting, others downright funny. Ads have come a long way since the early days of television when it was all about a catchy jingle and a kind of in-your-face message. Nowadays, ads are more subtle and a whole lot funnier. And now with the ability to lip sync babies talking, and other computer gyrations, we get some pretty comical antics. Babies and animals still rack up the best sales.

This link takes you to "Top Tracks of Enya." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0NoHN1TU5I&list=AL94UKMTqg-9CxvLgtPVLEHEK_wTvvFbqd Lots of beautiful graphics. Enjoy your respite.

Didn't get enough commercials in the Super Bowl? This link takes you to a big collection. Funnnnnny! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cidAbexlHTE


 

January 7, 2013

Oh the curse of unintended consequences! Take the electric cars, for instances. Notice how quiet they are. Peace, aren't they?

Apparently there are lots of problems where pedestrians are concerned. So much so that highway safety people have now developed a list of sounds that will have to be engineered into the oncoming electric car so that you will know they're around. You can listen to these sounds just so you will recognize there's a car nearby when you step off into the pedestrian walkway at the intersection. Here's the link: http://www.nhtsa.gov/SampleSounds

January 6, 2013

Today is the Feast of Epiphany Sunday. It's the day that Christians celebrate the Magi who came to see the Baby Jesus. They brought expensive gifts which certainly came in handy when Joseph had to take his new family into Egypt for safekeeping because that mean old King Herod was looking for all the first-borns to be killed. Someone had told Herod that a new king of the Jews had been born and Herod, being the paranoid type, couldn't handle that kind of rivalry. So, he'd already killed his wife and his father-in-law and his mother-in-law and now was going to launch a genocide of innocent little babies.

At church we do our undecorating of Christmas trees and adornments after our Epiphany celebration. And even though it's called the Feast of Epiphany, we didn't have anything to eat. Not even one little cookie. Seems like this would be a good time to have one of those yummy Lutheran potlucks. Instead, we just put everything away for another year. Pretty much the entire congregation stays after church and gets that job done. We're done in less than an hour because just about everybody pitches in. Many hands make light work.

I have a link to a hilarious juggler. Michael Davis at the Ford Theater is one of those people I should know about. But I don't. He's really funny though. Loved the way he introduced his act -- juggling water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6mbW-jMtrY&feature=player_detailpage

Here he is in one of his Johnny Carson routines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq0YjR11bx8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2w-ZbCp6uM -- again. He's too funny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Booteei-k0 is another link to Michael Davis.

Everybody needs a good laugh. At least once a day. Did you know that you change your body's chemistry when you laugh out loud? It's good for you.



January 3, 2012 pt. 2

Ever wonder why God invented machetes? Watch this video of a cottonmouth eating a rattlesnake and you might come close. The snakes are big too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ2l4owxC7s

January 3, 2012

If I live to be as old as Methuselah, I will not be able to make all the "must have" recipes that I pull out of newspapers and magazines. So, since it's the New Year and I only allow myself one new resolution for the year, I am going to get out all the recipes that I thought we couldn't live without and decide which ones are all that glorious.

It's my "Do Something Terminal" technique. And it's foolproof. Here's how it works: for 15 min tackle any job that needs doing. But for only 15 minutes. By doing something terminal, I mean I will either throw the recipe away, or clip it to my grocery list for next week or toss it.

By limiting myself to 15 minutes, I assure myself that I won't get tired of the task. I mean, we can do just about anything for 15 minutes, can't we?

I do that with my desk too. And house cleaning which is my most unfavorite chore.

I know it sounds like I have the attention span of a snail, but I have to concentrate on what works for me as I go through life. Besides, I suspect that if I were to tackle that entire stack of recipes, it would probably take me months and months and months. And not having that much free time in any given morning is why this task got so big in the first place. I could change my own rule, though, and say that if I really want the recipe that bad but don't want to cook the dish next week, I'll copy it onto a 3x5 card and put the card in a little file box that's just for that purpose. Might only get a couple of recipes off the pile in 15 minutes, but the pile of recipeswill  get shorter anyway.

In the United States, this is the day that the U.S. Congress gets sworn in, including 90 freshman reps. It will be the 113th Congress for the United States. Might just watch. There's been fireworks threatened to unseat the Speaker of the House. Not sure if a "palace coup" will work. It was in 1923 that was the last time this happened. Only 17 people have to withhold votes for the Speaker to be unseated. The Republican party is not as conservative as it used to be, and that's what the fuss is all about. I think. Then there's all that pork in the disaster aid package that has been delayed. A vote on a $9 billion part of the aid package will come to the floor on Friday. It's sure to get a yes vote. The other $59 billion in aid will come later. It includes a lot of stuff like $336 million for Amtrak, a couple of million to do something to a room at the Smithsonian. Supposedly all these items have to do with disasters of some sort of other, even the fisheries in Alaska.

I think maybe -- and I could probably get outshouted on this -- but just maybe the House ought to just do one bill for one item. They ought to figure out exactly how much disaster aid the Hurricane Sandy victims need and that's the extent of the bill. Nah. That would never work. That would mean the congressionals would have to work all day, every work day. They might even have to come in at 9 am and work til 4 pm. Instead, bills seem to have all become giant bills that covers everything from soup to nuts.

But don't get me started on politics. What's going on in Washington, D.C. right now is pretty mean-spirited. Same could be said of state capitols. I think it has more to do with human dynamics. Seems like whenever you get more than 3 or 4 or 5 people together, the game of King of the Mountain becomes the name of the game.

Which reminds me of an excellent book of human dynamics -- for those who might be interested. It's called Games People Play. Not sure if it's even in print at this point. A used book store, or maybe even Amazon, might have copies.

A gameis defined as a set of transactions. In other words, if I do this, what can I expect you to do? Then, when you do that, what's my next step going to be?

This is a fascinating book and it's one that i read in my undergrad years when I was taking a psychology course called Transactional Analysis. The book called Games People Play is a lot more readable and enjoyable that a psychology course textbook though. There's also a book called Games Alcoholics Play. And Games Grandparents Play (I think).

If I had the extra  time, I would like to write a book called Games Abusive Bullies Play. Since I did my masters research in domestic violence, I think such a book would be helpful for both victims and abusers to get some good tools for their emotional toolbox.

January 1, 2013

We stayed up all the way 'til 10 last night. Figured it was 2013 somewhere in the world so we went to bed.

Fortunately we didn't get any snow but it's cold. Enough of this winter already. Now I'm starting my countdown to Groundhog's Day, that great little harbinger of spring.

Why the big fuss about Groundhog's Day? When I was a little girl -- oh, about 4th grade -- we used to get coloring book pages to celebrate Groundhogs Day. All of us thought it was just wonderful.

It has been many years since I was nine years old, but it dawned on me when I got into high school that the Groundhog was not all that great to color. After all, he's just a rat. And I had to use up my brown color crayons too fast. Blacks too. Crayola boxes didn't have various shades of brown in those little boxes. So after I got the groundhogs colored in, there wasn't a whole lot of brown left over for tree trunks and such.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of a 4th grader.

Maybe that's why I trekked on down to the library in the middle of Paducah and got a job putting books away.

On another subject, Quint and I are enthusiastic fans of Tom Sellek so we are enjoying his new series, Blue Bloods. He plays a police commissioner in New York City and his oldest son is a homicide detective. His younger son went to Harvard and Tom thought for sure he was going to get out of the "family business." But not so. He came back home and signed up for the police academy. Oh, and Tom is a widower. Not sure how his late wife Mary died. He also lives with his father who is a retired police commissioner. And Tom lost a son in the line of duty. He was trying to infiltrate a gang of some sort. Tom's daughter is a District Attorney and her daughter wants to be a police officer too. Just like her beloved grandpa.

Good story. And it's one of the reasons we really enjoy our membership in Netflix.

December 31, 2012

This is a funny piece of humor from my dear friend Shirley who's out there in Arizona until she returns with the snow birds in the spring.
Subject: Protestant humor

Ole is the pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church and Pastor Sven is the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church across the road. 
>   
One day they are seen pounding a sign into the ground, which said:  
>  
>DA END ISS NEAR!  TURN YERSELF AROUNT NOW  BAFOR IT ISS TOO LATE! 
>
  As a car speeds past them, the driver leans out his window and yells, "Leave people
>
>  alone, you Skandihoovian religious nuts!"  
>   
From the curve they heard screeching tires and a big splash.  
>   
Shakin' his head, Rev. Ole says, "Dat's da terd one dis mornin'." 
>   >
Pastor Sven agrees, then asks, "Do ya tink maybe da sign should yust say, 'Bridge Out?'" 
>
>
Thank you, Shirley, I'm still laughing.


Happy New Year to all! Won't be writing 2012 much longer. If you're still writing checks, you might want to open your checkbook and "pre-date" a half dozen or so checks to 2013. Several years ago, I forgot to use the new year's date and the check was returned as "stale dated." I had to go to the bank and change the date and initial my change.

We are supposed to be having a winter storm watch again here in middle earth/Illinois. It's 35.8 F now. Looking at the radar on the weather page, it looks pretty bad. There's a huge blue snowdrift, then a band of pink weather -- icy stuff -- then green green. It's actually supposed to be raining here now but I guess we're in the 40% that's okay since there's only a 60% chance of precip.

Not sure if the roads are okay to get to the church where I'm supposed to spend the afternoon. When I left on Friday, I watched a pick-em-up-truck lose control on the ice road about a mile ahead of me. Oh brother. He wrestled with his truck on the icy skating rink that was the road and finally got straightened out again so I didn't have to do anything like change steering or speed or anything. Just watch him and pray for him to recover before I got down there. He did and all was well. Thanks to no one but God who continues to watch over me.

Quint did a really good job of getting the snow off the driveway and sidewalks. He now uses the leaf blower and it works like a charm. And is much faster too.

Prayers for your safety no matter where in this world you may be.

And keep your celebrations this evening down to a slow roar and don't get inebriated. We're not going anywhere. Much prefer to do our celebrating safely at home.

God bless!

Before I leave this year behind me in the dust, I have to tell you about an experience I had with a couple of people in the last few months with some women who tried to bully me. Yes, even when you get up in years, as I am, and because I try to always be a nice, friendly person, there are still people who perceive that as an attitude of weakness and try to get at some imagined underbelly of vulnerability.

It happened in, of all places, a church meeting. Big surprise, right?

Not for me. I've been around church groups for years and years and years and I know that the devil works the hardest when he crosses the threshold of a church group. So if you think that bullying is something that just happens on a playground and involves just children, think again. Bullying happens whenever there is a person who tries to even up a power game with someone who is perceived as vulnerable.

It happens when an abusive person tries to make a victim out of someone else. The problem is, in order to be a victim, you have to give the abuser permission to pick on you. 

There's nothing she can do to me that God and I can't handle.

What I will do is continue to pray for these individuals. What I know as a mental health counselor is that bullies are insecure people who are trying to gain some balance of power within their psyche. Their imbalance of power has its roots in childhood when they were overpowered by someone who made them a victim. 

An act of love and compassion levels the playing field. We are, after all, children of the same heavenly Father. As such, each of us is a child of God and we share a common communion when we interact with one another and with each and every other child of God.

But when we mistreat another child of God with whom we are supposed to have communion, then we have mistreated the very God who shares an inheritance with us because He adopted us into His family.

God levels the playing field. Bullies don't.

December 25, 2012

Quint and I are hoping that each and every one of you are having a beautiful Christmas.

And in keeping with the season of joy -- bringing joy to others, here's a link to the Christmas Drop Operation of the US Air Force as they deliver a lot of joy to the folks in remote villages in Micronesia. Good job, Santas! http://airman.dodlive.mil/2012/12/christmas-drop/ I had no idea that this was being done in places like Micronesia. I just love the little hut with a "room addition" on it. And the little girl wearing flip flops that would fit someone three times her size. but just try to take them away from her.

Another link is a message about life. Love life. Enjoy life. Share life with those you love. This is a "public service message" that was designed and developed by the man who's playing the dad in the "commercial." It brings a tear to my eye to watch it because life is so precious and something not to squandered by foolishly not wearing a seat belt. http://www.youtube.com/embed/h-8PBx7isoM

If you've ever had any doubts that animals jump around just to have fun, this video will dispel that rumor: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/b4_EdJ-XkUA?rel=0 These little guys look like they have springs in their feet, don't they?

And so at Christmas, all around the world, we think of joy and life. Those gifts were given to each of us by someone who loves us dearly. His greatest gift is the gift of salvation.

Don't squander a minute of your life without Jesus Christ and the love of His Heavenly Father in your heart.

We enjoyed an ongoing Christmas tradition at church this morning. All the members who are present join each other in the altar area and sing Whose Child Is This? We are given the words to the song. I mean, who remembers all three verses? The only person not up there is our faithful organist, Joan Eirhart. We all manage to get ourselves shoe-horned into the altar area and are standing very close together and sing our little hearts out. It's a wonderfully close feeling to be there with our fellow Christian friends.

I cooked a ham for Quint's Christmas dinner. He made me promise when we got married that I'd never put a dead bird on his plate. It's an old childhood memory of pouring boiling hot water onto a hen I think it was. The smell was gaggy, he says. So there's a lot of other things to eat if he doesn't like fowl. And I treat myself to turkey and dressing, or duck, or some other favorite chicken dinner whenever we go out to eat. Works out just fine. But the ham today was a hickory smoked ham from Kentucky that was out of this world.

There will be plenty left over for ham and eggs, and of course there will be plenty for our New Years feast which, also a southern tradition, is to have Black Eyed Peas on New Years. The legend is that if you start out the year with a humble meal, your new year will go well for you. I actually believe that all our gifts are from God's gracious providence, but I cook the peas anyway. And it's always good to be humble too.

God bless you all,
Quint and Jane

December 24, 2012

With all the fun I was having yesterday skipping my way through videos, I neglected to put a link to the original Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simione Chorus. So if you're a Little Drummer fan enjoy. But first, here's the toned down Mannheim Steamroller's version of the drummer boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsrgFaRQ6h0.

And back to the Harry Simeone Chorus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfk5nOnDQuI Enjoy to your little heart's content. It's as beautiful as it ever was.

If you enjoy Neil Diamond, as we do, here's his rendition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-EvztpO17A

This is a link to the recording from the Johnny Cash Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yYHN9pVohc


December 23, 2012

Today was Lessons and Carols at church this morning. It's a special service that we've enjoyed every year. Christmas Story is read from the Bible and we head all our favorite Christmas Hymns sung by some very talented people in our congregation -- even sing some carols ourselves.

I have a beautiful song and one of my favorite Christmas carols sung by a 7 year old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhcZ6b2FSsk She is awesome!

Another beautiful song by a 7 year old -- Rhema Marvanne -- singing Hallelujah. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-fgJbrbFIg 

Mary, Did You Know?
from Big Apple Futon reminds us of who Jesus is and why He came to earth in the first place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiaZYZor6vI

He Came is a little more than a minute and a half that tells the Christmas story in words and music from Thrve Media. Beautifully done! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u65m__-LLfs&NR=1&feature=endscreen

This isn't our church, but I just love to watch 2 and 3-year olds presenting the Christmas Pageant. One little boy keeps breaking loose and going off script to run over to his daddy -- no matter how many times he's brought back to the fold. And Mary takes off with the Baby Jesus a couple of times. It's absolutely precious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npCP9jCKOVk Brings a little humor to the day, don't you think?

Have you ever been in a food court in a shopping mall and had a "flash mob" start singing? Neither have I but just watch this! The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Wouldn't that be a treat beyond your wildest dreams? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE I'll bet my last ten dollars that this is not an amateur choir.

This has nothing to do with Christmas but the Cumberland Oratio surrounded a soldier on Father's Day and sang America. He was just walking through the mall, but what a wonderful tribute to a special army guy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jJyq69TWug

And from Antwerp, we can see how they do flash mobs in Belgium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQLCZOG202k

Another flash mob dancing up a storm in Singapore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6-fHQZU9vk

Coming back to Christmas, here's Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd singing Mary, Did You Know? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xywbWxF4pZM

A snare drum ensemble presents Little Drummer Boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sKmHiGOv70 It's totally awesome!





December 22, 2012

With a sense of humor, I watch the annual Christmas Goat in the little town of Gavle, Sweden. Every year since 1966, the Swedes in the little town of Galve have built this really humongous goat. Even put a fence around it to discourage the favorite activity of people in the area -- that of burning the goat down. It's been an ongoing tradition to see if anyone can burn the goat down. Some fear that if the Christmas goat isn't burned down, then all the Christmas presents will go to Finland. This year we have a video of the goat burning down

Watch this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryF6_89BYJE You'll probably have to do a cut and paste of this link to get the link to open. The goat is very, very big!
There - now doesn't that sound like Merry Christmas to you? Merry Christmas to all our Scandinavian friends this fine bright sunny day here in Middle Illinois.

Hint: Maybe you could build a bigger fence. Think that might work? Probably not. The pyromaniac would just bring a taller ladder. I do think the person who shot the goat with a flaming arrow was a bit inventive.


Oh, this is so funny! At least I think so. Thanks Mark for sending:

It was Saturday morning as Jake, an avid hunter, woke up raring to go bag the first
deer of the season.

He walks down to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, and to his surprise he finds
his wife, Alice, sitting there, fully dressed in camouflage.

Jake asks her, "What are you up to?"

Alice smiles, "I'm going hunting with you!"

Jake, though he had many reservations about this, reluctantly decides to take her
along.

Three hours later they arrive at a game preserve just outside of San Marcos, Texas.

Jake sets his lovely wife safely up in the tree stand and tells her, "If you see a
deer, take careful aim on it and I'll come running back as soon as I hear the shot."

Jake walks away with a smile on his face knowing that Alice couldn't bag an elephant
- much less a deer.

Not 10 minutes pass when he is startled as he hears an array of gunshots.

Quickly, Jake starts running back. As Jake gets closer to her stand, he hears Alice
screaming, get the #$%^ away from my deer!"

Confused and frightened, Jake races faster towards his screaming wife.

And again he hears her yell, "Get the #$%^ away from my deer!" \ followed by another
volley of gunfire!

Now within sight of where he had left his wife, Jake is
surprised to see a Texas game warden with his hands high in the air. The game
warden, obviously distraught, yelled, "Okay, lady! You can have your #$%^ deer, just
let me get my saddle off it!" 


Oh, man, what a trooper! Bob Welsh. Great videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxjZB5S_g7s&feature=youtu.be

All police officers and troopers have stories to tell, and Trooper Bob is no exception. So heartwarming. The world is a better place because people like Trooper Bob are in it.


And apparently, watching news bloopers are everybody's favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThBCn_xJOY&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Some are incredibly hilarious!


In a tug of war between a cat and a snake, which one do you think would win? http://world.plidd.com/battle-between-cat-and-snake/ -- This cat looks a lot like daughter Teri and her husband Rick's Maine Coon -- Rocky Lee. Rockly Lee is the most ferocious cat ever to draw breath. When Rick and Teri go out for a walk and leave Rocky at home, he somehow gets out of the house and follows them down the street. They know he's behind them and when they turn to look, he darts behind a little tree -- sideways -- with much of him sticking out on either side of the tree. Then when they turn to continue their walk, he stealthily sneaks back into his walk. It's so funny to watch Rocky. I could swear that he's the cat in the above video.



 

December 19, 2012

It always seems like Christmas gets here especially fast when there are only three Advent services. Today was the last one. This time next week, Christmas 2012 will be just a memory. We put our tree up this year. Didn't last year or the year before. We just didn't have the energy in the aftermath of chemo for both of us followed by radiation for me. We're well on the mend now and in remission from all that stuff. We thank God every day for the miracle of modern oncology and so glad that we have an oncology center here in town. I met a lot of people who drove 70 to 90 miles just to come for radiation every day. The "session" only lasted about 15 minutes so it was quite a sacrifice for them. We thanked God that the oncology center was only 3 minutes from our door.

I found this really exciting video this evening. It's a guy going down a mountain on I have no idea what. It looks like it could be a little skateboard type of car that fits on a rail of some sort. It would be one thrill of a ride to actually be on it, but it's still awesome going with the rider from his helmet camera: http://uvideo100.com/coaster.html Prepare to be amazed!

I found this hilarious Snowman on a sidewalk scaring people as they walk by: http://uvideo100.com/snowman.html Kindly note that people remembered who God is and who Jesus is. The reactions of the passersby is really funny.



December 18, 2012

People take risks unnecessarily. Then they expect to be rescued. Here's a good example of a helicopter pilot making a rescue on top of a rock pillar. http://uvideo100.com/rescue.html

There are so many things that could have gone wrong with that rescue. Side winds. Thermal updrafts that were hampering the pilot's efforts to set the helicopter down, etc. etc. etc.

Do you think hikers have a right to expect someone else to put his/her life at risk to make these kinds of rescues? Bravo to the pilot but I hope the Search and Rescue Department of the Utah State Troopers charged a gadzillion dollars to the hikers who went up there to play on a rock top that day.

Did you ever wonder how those trains get through heavy snowfall in the northern climes? Well, here's a train clearing the tracks of that white stuff: http://uvideo100.com/train.html Amazing! Absolutely amazing. The plow is taller than the train.

Okay, when it's really really windy out there on the highways, slow down. Take a look at this truck trying to drive through some high winds and look at the trees on the side of the road. They don't look like they're blowing all that much, do they? I know when it's a little breezy on our trips, Quint and I try to guess what the wind speed is. Not that we know for sure, but it increases our mindfulness. Those big rigs are like driving a billboard, wouldn't you say? http://uvideo100.com/wind.html I was wondering what the second truck was going to do since it looked like he might try to pass the first truck. But prudence won out on that one.

What do you think one tiny little drop of snake venom could do to the blood in your body? Here's the answer if it's a Russell's Viper: http://uvideo100.com/5.html Good grief! But you can see the medical implications for people whose blood won't clot and they just bleed and bleed until they run out of blood!



December 17, 2012

This is an unbelievable video! It's supposed to be the largest calving ever of an iceberg. The actual event lasted 75 minutes. http://uvideo100.com/iceberg.html

Reminds me of how very tiny we are as human beings and how absolutely magnamimous God is. You do believe that He can move mountains, don't you?

And you can tell I'm kind of getting used to the idea that winter is coming and I'm going to have to learn to drive on ice and snow all over again: http://uvideo100.com/winter.html

But my favorite is this little guy who is 6 years old and autistic, playing the piano like no other! http://uvideo100.com/autistic.html

December 16, 2012

It's no secret that I brake for children - especially children who overcome all sorts of odds to do something wonderful in their lives.

You are just not going to believe what children who live in a slum in Paraguay do with some of the trash that they find. They make musical instruments! And play them very well too. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXynrsrTKbI

They call themselves the fillharmonic.

On another note, prayers continue for the children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, and the families and friends who loved them dearly.

It's warmed up here in Central Illinois for a few days at least. It's now 53 degrees. A bit unseasonal for mid-December but I'm glad. After the longest day of the year, which is December 21, the countdown for me begins for Groundhogs Day, which is the first day of Spring in my heart. I'm told that this is the end of the Mayan calendar and there's this big debate about it possibly being the end of the world. But for crying out loud, it's the end of the Mayan calendar. They didn't make any more calendars because they were getting killed off by the Conquistadors and the Aztecs. So far, the Aztecs haven't figured out how to make a Mayan long count calendar yet. But then, Julius Caesar also made a calendar didn't he? So what's all the bother about?

If the world ends on December 21, I guess I won't have to worry about Groundhog's Day because I'll be in heaven with Jesus. No need for a calendar then, because it will be living in eternity.



 

December 15, 2012

Oh geez, you may wonder where in the world I've been for the past couple of weeks.

And I have to tell you that I don't remember having readers clock on from Kazakhstan or Croatia of Macau and a long time from Austria. Welcome, welcome!

In the first place, I found a really funny -- absolutely hilarious -- video to a link to the world's worst Christmas decorations. http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-very-worst-of-bad-christmas.html

I think my favorite is Santa being naughty. If you are reading this and wondering what Santa could possibly be doing that's naughty, you'll just have to look to find out. It's too funny for words.
At least much
I volunteered to help with a program that's dedicated to mildly handicapped people this morning. It was a Happy Birthday Jesus party. Some of the people were more handicapped than others. But everybody had a good time and ate a lot of cookies, drank a lot of punch and watched a nativity skit put on by some high functioning members of the "school." It was wonderful. And I'm glad to see these kinds of programs being successfully offered up through church congregations.

Quint is busy being my favorite Christmas elf making the world's best chocolate fudge for our friends and loved ones. And I have figured out a recipe for a hot sauce that is to die for. I like a lot of heat on my food and finally made one up that I dearly love. It's first ingredient is vinegar, followed by tomato ketsup. The rest is in the spices. Good stuff. At least, much to my liking.

And juxtoposed to that story of the horrible massacre in Connecticut was another story about 22 children stabbed in China. Funny, though, no one is trying to outlaw knives in China, where we're trying to outlaw guns again in the U.S. How about this? It's just plain sinful to kill innocents no matter what your weapon is.

 

November 28, 2012

Hard to believe that 2012 is rapidly drawing to a close. And then there goes that first month of the year when I really have to consciously write 2013.

One year I pre-dated the year on about 15 checks just to be sure. The bank we had actually returned checks that had the previous year on it as "stale dated." We don't write that many checks anymore but it's still handy to have the year predated on the handwritten checks just to be sure.

I have been fiddling around with my favorite barbecue sauce recipe for some time. I've tried to get as close as I can to the Starnes recipe in Paducah, Kentucky. Starnes is one of those places from high school that I remember fondly. And every trip to Paducah to visit friends includes a trip to Starnes for an open pit treat.

The recipe is different from all that stuff you get at the supermarket. In the first place, the main ingredient is vinegar; the second ingredient is tomator ketsup. So I started with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup ketsup. The rest is spices. We like a smoky sauce, so God invented liquid smoke for us. And we also like a lot of heat so in goes the cayenne. Add a pinch or two of onion powder and garlic powder and it's good to go.

It is delicious. And it will tide me over until we get back to Paducah. The recipe above fits nicely in the Starnes 10 oz. container.

November 25, 2012

Wow! Here's a link to an awesome site that shows an animation of the phases of the moon through the year 2013. http://www.universetoday.com/98588/take-5-minutes-to-see-what-the-moon-will-do-during-2013/

I have never seen the moon wobbling on its axis before. In fact, I didn't even know that happened.

OK folks. Here's the recipe for what is supposed to be a Twinkie filling. I'm sure it has some changes to the real deal. Just can't imagine the twinkie filling not being proprietary information. But I will say that it tastes a lot like the real thing.

I made it last night and made sandwich cookies with it. Then I stored the unused part in a glass canning jar. I expected it to be rock solid when we got home from church today but it wasn't. In fact, it was still very spreadable without having to warm up to room temperature at all. And easy? Oh my goodness. You really can't miss with this recipe. This would be a good recipe to frost a cake with and then put coconut on it. Yummy.

Ingredients:

2 tsp very hot water
rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
7 oz. jar of mashmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the salt in with the hot water. Stir really well until the salt is dissolved. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature.

In a mixer bowl, mix marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix well until it's fluffly. Then add the salt mixture and mix it in really good.

That's it.


Awwww - people, people, people! About those PIN numbers. Want to know what the most popular PIN number is -- out of about 3.4 million? Ready for this: 1234. Also in the top ten is 4321. Now that takes a lot of imagination. No wonder people have their goodies stolen from credit cards to debit cards. Wouldn't you think that if there was anything of value in your checking account -- anything at all -- that you could do better than 1234? You probably went all the way through school and couldn't come up with a better PIN number than that, could you? Couldn't you use your grandmother's birthday or something just as easy to remember that a thief or hacker would not be likely to guess?

But then, 1111 is also popular. More popular than 2222, actually.

November 24, 2012

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. We spent turkey day with a kind of adopted family from church and had a wonderful day. The food was delicious and the conversations that went way into the afternoon were also great.

But did you ever wonder what cats might be thankful for? Here's a link from Furball Productions that has some furry clues: http://cheezburger.com/44694273 -- Great music too. Pachelbel's Canon in D.

November 15, 2012

Quint dug up all the canna lily bulbs this afternoon. He dusted them off and stored them in a plastic bag in the basement. They'll get a nice winter's nap. Then I went next door to tell the new neighbor that she needs to dig up the canna lily bulbs that I gave her last summer. They didn't bloom that robustly this summer but I'm just thankful that the drought didn't get them. I did start out the summer watering the outdoor flowers but then decided that the city water supply was more important than flowers. I mean, if our house caught on fire, I sure wouldn't want the fire department to run out of water.

It was in the high 20s today. That's a sure frost. My roses haven't given up though.

I made another batch of three dozen cookies this evening. These were gingerbread cookies. So far, I have 6 dozen cookies of the 70 dozen that I will need for church festivities. I'm hopeful that some of the other women at church will pitch in and help out. We're sending out 24 "care packages" to our college students, military folks from the congregation and shut-ins. That's a lot of cookies.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a chocolate cake cookie recipe and put peanut butter chips in it. That ought to be just dandy. I really like the convenience of using cake mixes to make cookies out of. If you don't have the recipe for using a cake mix and want it, drop me an email at jane@janereinheimer.com and be sure to put "cake cookie recipe" in the subject line so I'll be sure to open your email.

I got a note from Irma in Tulsa. She says she uses the cake mixes all the time too. Heck, I can get an 18-1/2 ounce cake mix at Save-A-Lot or Aldi for about a buck. Hard to beat the convenience too.

I even made a "passable" macaroon with a white cake mix and about 1/4 tsp. of orange extract. Then I kneaded in some coconut before I put the cookies in the oven.

I like to roll the drop cookies up into a little ball. Kind of like making a dough ball. Then the cookies are all nice and round. Cookies with jagged edges don't taste as good, you know.

I have been working on getting a lot of clutter out of my office at home. One of these days I want to delve into another Bible Study I've heard rummaging around in my head. It will be about the Book of Daniel. He's one of my favorite Old Testament guys.

Well, Quint just called me. He's on his way from a Lutheran Brotherhood meeting at church and I promised I'd pour the milk. We drink our milk every night. The tryptophan helps us get to sleep. It's the same chemical that's in turkey, in case you wondered why eating a big Thanksgiving dinner makes you sleepy. Then we go to bed and open up the windows. Good to let fresh air in even if it's chilly. But then, we turn the electric blanket on and let it warm up the bed before we dive in for a good night's sleep. Fortunately Quint and I both enjoy a cool bedroom. It's an important compatibility area. Couples need to think about those little preferences when they're courting.

And that's about it for today.

November 13, 2012

We had a hard freeze this morning. Finally got my rose bush that was blooming its little heart out until yesterday. The roses that are closer to the house and more protected will last a bit longer until it drops down into the low 20s.

Well, after all, it's November. What can I expect here in central Illinois.

Quint is at church this evening. Since he went off the church council last year, he joins the Nominating Committee to finalize a slate of candidates for the election later this month.

When I look at the new countries that have added readers since I last updated the list, I notice that a lot of the countries are my darling niece Karen's favorite places to junket in Europe. So, Karen, Aunt Jane sends you lots of love and I hope you are enjoying yourself and that you and Alex are going to be able to get back to Germany around the Christmas season. Wish Uncle Quint and I could join you, but we're not going anywhere for a while.

We have been going back to the gym though. We used to walk a sassy three miles before cancer bogged us down a couple of year ago. So we started back a couple of months ago. Forget the three miles. That was far too ambitious. I worked my way up to a half mile. No kidding. It took me about three weeks before I could go a full mile on the treadmill. I can go a mile and a half now and still gaining on my old record. Then there were those strength training machines. Our doctor suggested only four that he said would be good for us. The rest would be too strenuous for now.

Exercise is good for us. And we feel so much better coming out of the gym. We're spoiled. Our gym has individual TV sets on each treadmill. How awesome is that? And since Quint and I both are newsies, we get a full dose of the news while we walk.

November 2, 2012

Hurricanes certainly have a way of messing things up! Take a look at this link and see just how the damage went: http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c3#/video/weather/2012/10/30/sandy-raw-vo-national-guard-aerials.national-guard

Some of you may remember Paul Harvey. I really miss his radio voice, and his astute observations about life and what's going on around us. Here's a link to one example that my good friend Shirley sent me: http://stg.do/9LDc

I found a new vocalist today while I was on my way to looking something else up. His name is Wintley Phipps. Here's a link to him singing It Is Well With My Soul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1JmN6dsHu0&feature=related

October 31, 2012

Do crashing waves interest you? Here's a short video of Lake Michigan crashing against a sea wall. Wow! http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-868280?hpt=hp_bn1

And today marks the 7th year after my mother's death. Rest in peace, Mom! Miss you.

 

October 25, 2012

Beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner: http://www.starspangledbannerchallenge.com/

Riverdance has always held a fascination for me. First of all, I can't even dream that I'd ever be able to dance like this. And secondly, Michael Flatley has the fastest feet in the world. He grew up on the south side of Chicago, I'm told. Then when he got really good at Irish dancing, he went to Dublin and taught Irish dancing there. Watch this stunning and absolutely amazine finale of Riverdance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8EXDtoGfrs&feature=related

Changing the subject, I have enjoyed my rest for quite some time now.

I mentioned that Quint and I have headed back to the gym for daily workouts. Today I walked 1-1/2 miles. Quint walked 1 mile, then went off to do some strength training. Mind you, I'm only walkng at the rate of 2.1 miles an hour but I'll get back up to the three miles a day that we used to walk when we hoofed our way around a lake in the middle of our condominium complex up north. The gym is fine. I work out on that machine where I have to pull something down, then send it back up. It kind of feels like traction when it stretches me to go back up.

Then I do some rowing. And some other machine where I have to stretch way back. It feels wonderful on my spine.

One other machine is good for the thigh muscles. It has helped tremendously because one of the medications I take really makes my thigh muscles ache to high heaven. I think it's spelled Anasterzole. It inhibits the manufacture of estrogen in my body. And since the breast cancer cells were Estrogen positive, this keeps me from running the risk of the breast cancer returning. But oh the aching muscles. It's getting better with this machine workout and the walking.

Quint's lymphocitic leukemia also continues in remission. He did have surgery this summer, though, for a skin cancer eruption on his face. Hopefully he's done with that.

At least that's our prayer.

And speaking of praying, if you and your partner do not join hands every day and go to the Lord in prayer for all the things you want to talk to Jesus about, it's time you started. For Quint and me, it's a perfect way to start our day. We each have a list of things to pray about and we pray out loud. It's absolutely profound and let me tell you, if you have any doubts whatsoever that God and His Son Jesus answers prayer, you are in for one big surprise. They are here with us, in the same room, listening intently as we pray for all the people we care about, and situations that sometimes nag us -- like interpersonal relationships at work where haughty, insecure people make ridiculous demands on me. Quint and I pray that God will keep a hedge of protection around me and it works. Believe me, it works.

And one of my all-time favorites is Susan Boyle singing I Had a Dream from Les Miserables.

Here's the Celtic Women singing You Raise Me Up. That's sent out to each and every one of you if you think you don't matter anymore. If you think you're going through trials and tribulations all by yourself. Just remember, you're never alone. He is always nearby, wanting you to reach out to touch Him. This life is not for the chicken-hearted, but you need big help too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md5LL6PwXwY&feature=related

Blessings to all of you. -- Jane

October 11, 2012

There was a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) on October 4-5 that I believe I posted a link to. Now we have a sky photo looking down on earth at the northern lights "floating" across Canadian nightscape. Also noted are the little points of light in the United States that are cities peppered here and there. And Lake Michigan is clearly visible, with Chicago hogging lots of photons on its shore. Check it out: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap121011.html

Thank you, cousin Mark, for the link to an incredible flight over America. Get a chance to look at some of our nation's monuments up close and person from a small plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=KcuDdPo0WZk

October 2, 2012

This is an absolutely amazing video of a young women who rescued an 84 year old lady who ended up in the ocean: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=785_1349086723 And the rescue happened with split second timing before the car dropped out of sight!

October 1, 2012

May I be the first person to welcome you to Autumn, if you haven't been welcomed before. And to all our readers down under, that would be a welcome to Spring!

I found this amazing video showing some very talented Spanish flyers harvesting water and flying over a forest fire to dump their big loads of water: http://vimeo.com/48642618

 

September 30, 2012

Here’s the link to the fantastic baseball play where the hit knocked the pitcher’s glove off but he caught the glove and then the ball: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/blue-jays-pitcher-chad-jenkins-catches-ball-glove-002614760--mlb.html

September 17, 2012

Unbelievable photo of a coronal mass ejection (CME) on the sun: http://129.164.179.22/apod/ap120917.html Totally awesome -- and listen to this: our cute little sun is going to be particularly busy for the next couple of years!

September 21, 2012

Quint and I celebrated 34 years of marriage yesterday. After I got home from the Effingham/Shelby Zone Fall Rally for church. We had some 75 people in attendance. Percentage-wise it could have been a lot more, but I am thankful for the ladies and pastors who came to be spiritually uplifted by the fantastic devotions by Pastor Gillet, Pastor Becker and a powerpoint presentation by Pastor Janssen, who was in the hospital. We all need times when we can isolate ourselves fromt he world and go into a retreat of spiritual calm and rejuvenate our faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was a great day that was hosted by the Ladies Aids from St.. John and Grace Lutheran in Dieterich. Officiants at Holy Communion were Pastors Gillet and Fortkamp.

Changing the subject, here is a link to a NASA video that shows some giant eruptions, or explosions, on our sun: http://news.discovery.com/space/solar-dynamic-observatory-nasa-explosion-sun-120905.html

Amazing! I am always awestruck by the raw power of the sun. I don't know how long it takes for the plasmastic outbursts to reach earth but I'll just bet it's sooner than later. They are so ferocious.

September 11, 2012

Never forget what happened on 9/11! Prayers lifted for all who lost their loved ones, and for those who died so suddenly.

Here's a time lapse photograph of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/09/11/Stunning-Video-Time-Lapse-Rebirth-of-World-Trade-Center

Feel like taking a little respite going along I-70 in Utah through the San Rafael Swell? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMHnGzqTIVY&feature=related Oh my, my, my! Beautiful scenery. At one point, we are reminded that this is the longest stretch of interstate that exists without services.

And the Virgin River Gorge along I-15 in Arizona is totally awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=mCU9iCRxI0g

If you want some vista visuals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxTUz1j-weE&feature=related I really don't feel comfortable driving in the mountains -- unlike Quint who grew up in Colorado. "Aw, shucks, it's nothing," he'd say. Then when he gets down to sea level, talks about how jittery it was for him. That's when I felt like clobbering him. But didn't.

This is purported to be the most dangerous jeep trail in Telluride, Colorado: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYssaJ7zfkM&feature=related I'll tell you one thing: I wouldn't want to walk down that trail. In the first place, it's not even paved. Just a lot of shifting rocks. And they call that a road? I don't think so.

This one comes under the heading of "There's not enough money in the world ..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShVGxXmSFU&feature=related

Goodness gracious -- people do this for fun and excitement. I mean, it's not like they have to deliver medicine or something like the Iditarod to commemorate the run from Anchorage to Nome to re-enact the run made decades ago when children were dying in Nome of typhoid fever and the mushers took off from Anchorage with medicine for them. Oh no. These guys are just having an adventure. Question is, are they testing the torment on themselves or their jeepies? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShVGxXmSFU&feature=related

And just in case you were thinking they never roll these things over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0LU1Ho4dsY&feature=related

September 10, 2012

Here's a video of a four year old in Thailand playing the violin. Actually the violinist has to be around 9 or 10 now but this was the first expo of this talent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3bW9P5Z6sI&feature=related Well done!

Beautiful video of "Somewhere My Love" -- http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=FKhVnAgt0EY

This guy goes into his bank to get an increase in his debt limit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li0no7O9zmE

September 9, 2012

Here's a link to the most watched video of the 9/11 tragedy: http://www.frugalsites.net/911/attack/

Funny music video of Wal-Mart shoppers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YvxNgdFeWqM

Ever heard of a magician of Piff the Magic Dragon? Well, watch this funny man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk5xfK0ovrk&feature=related

Here's another one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuhgTgqIuos&feature=related

Piff with bunnies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bCZv2ozQD8&feature=related


September 6, 2012

We got really good news from the surgeon. He took one look at Quint's face and said the cause was using a razor, not an electric one. So off we went to Kohls to buy an electric razor. And sure enough, the inflammation disappeared and what felt like a tumor under the skin was not a malignant growth at all. It was just a bump from the inflammation. Whew!

We've been getting much needed rain in Middle Illinois. Now the grass is growing like crazy and my roses have started blooming again. Beautiful little creatures that they are.

I'm going to share some links to some videos that I find much to my liking. Hope you enjoy them too.

Here are the top ten videos of babies -- hint: laughter is so contagious  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWHpcKXt-qQ 

http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/twins.html twins dancing to Dad’s guitar

We love to watch little children - and the younger the better.

August 30, 2012

It looks like another skin cancer is on Quint's face. Fortunately, we have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning that was supposed to be the final post-op checkup. That will most likely change with this new event. Stay tuned and please keep Quint in your prayers.

I did want to share this link with all of you who love to watch children. These are twins who take advantage of the fact that Mom had just emptied out the refrigerator. It looks like she had given it a pretty good cleaning out but first the twins decided to dance in it a little bit: http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/twins.html

August 6, 2012

We had some rain. Big deal -- nearly an inch. It was enough to revive the greenery left in the grass in the front yard. Enough for Quint to mow this morning. And the Red Bud that I planted a few years ago as a memorial to my mom when she died is holding up rather nicely. I have been letting the water trickle ever so slightly out of the hose for about a half hour. It was enough to get the little tree through the worst of the 100+ temperatures. Problem is, there's this lush carpet of green grass in a circle underneath the Red Bud. The rest of the yard is just in little patches of green here and there. I think Quint just wanted it all to be the same height.

Hope all of you are surviving the drought. We've heard from the newsies that if the drought continues, there's a strong possibility that we'll lose about 20% of our trees. Don't even want to contemplate that.

We pray that all of you are weathering the drought okay. It's a disaster, for sure, and our hearts go out to you.

Remember that you are responsible to God first. What if you woke up today and the only thing in your life was what you thanked God for yesterday?

Great weather map comes from friends John and Sherre in Wichita: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/zoa/mwmap3.php?map=usa --  All you have to do is put your cursor over one of the dots or crosses on the map and you'll get the weather for that location.

http://www.speedtrap.org/ to find location of speed traps across the United States

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

BIDEN THE "BLOVIATOR" HAS LOTS TO SAY
AS HE READIES HIS RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

By now you've probably read about the senator from Delaware's description of boma boma O'Bama in Biden's interview by Jason Horowitz in the New York Observer. Get this -- Biden says O'Bama is "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

Okay, by his own admission, Biden admits to a tendency to bloviate.

Well, Mr. Bloviator, I think you did more than that. Haven't you learned anything from your ill-fated run for president in 1988 that from the time you announce your run for the Ovals, everything that comes out of your mouth becomes a quotable sound byte?

In just one single sentence, you probably turned off every well-meaning, articulate registered voter in this country who is African American. There just went 15% of the voters in the United States. Bye Bye Mr. Bloviator.

Oh, and incidentally, the Bloviator pulled out of his bid for the White House in 1988 because of some little problems with plagiarism.

So how can he be a bloviator and a minimizer at the same time?

He summed up his opinions about all the Democratic presidential candidates with this little power speech: "They may be politically right, and I may be politically wrong. But I believe I am substantively right, and their substantive approaches are not very deep and will not get us where I want to go."

Huh?

Is he a lawyer too?

Well, it turns out that he is. He graduated from the Syracuse University College of Law in 1968 and practiced law in Wilmington, Delaware, before beginning his illustrious congressional career, following a brief stint at local politics -- city/county council or something like that.

Oh yes -- the Bloviator has something to say about all his opponents. More about that later.

What a guy!

P.S. Bloviate is a compound of the word "blow" -- as in "to boast" -- or what we, here in America call "blowhard." And since Americans are also great language-lifters, we give it a fake Latin ending -- kind of makes it very self-important. (World Wide Words)

I like another word that is a synonym of "bloviate." That is, absquatulate. That's a far better word for mega-squats to be using. But then, I can think of another word that rhymes with absquatulate.

Just sit down and be quiet, Joe.

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12:00 pm          Comments

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

HASTERT RECUPERATING FROM SURGERY

Dennis Hastert, former speaker of the house, is recuperating from surgery for removal of his gall bladder at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Hastert represents the 14th congressional district in Chicago's western suburbs. He is expected to make a full recovery.

source: Associated Press

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4:54 pm          Comments

CUT YOUR HEATING BILLS WAY DOWN

It may not sound like much but cutting your thermostat back to 60 degrees at night and no higher than 68 degrees during the day makes a huge difference in the money you spend for heating.

For instance, this current bill we have is for the coldest month so far this year -- is $68.77. That compares to the coldest month last year when we weren't making any thermostat adjustments when the bill was $123.83.

Quite a savings, wouldn't you say?

Our plants are thriving quite nicely too. But then plants like cool temperatures unless they're zinnias and daisies and other summer crops.

So we put on a sweater if it gets a tad chilly. And we no longer run around in bare feet. Slippers do quite nicely to keep our little piggies warm until it's time to tuck them into bed.

If you have cold feet when you get to bed -- here's a trick: take a couple of bath towels and throw them in the drier for about five minutes. Take the towels out and fold them in half, then roll them up. (As if you were making a bedroll.) Put the nice warm towels between the sheets where your feet go. Then, when you get into bed, just listen to your cute little toes sing your praises!

Another thing you can do is to make sure the putty around the windows is nice and uncracked. Okay, so now is not the time to go outside and recaulk or putty your windows. What you can do though is fold up some newspapers and put in between the window and storm window to give you a bit of insulation to get you through the coldest months until spring.
 
When we were kids, mom would crumple up newspapers and push them against any cracks that were letting air in. Made the windows fairly airtight and it fit her meager, stretched-too-far budget. You can get out there in the spring and do a more complete job of weather-proofing your windows, but this will work as a temporary measure.

While you're standing there by the windows, go ahead and lock them if you haven't already. That will make sure they're closed nice and tight. It'll keep the therm thieves out of your house -- at least from the windows.

Oh yes, remember the dust problem? Get your handy dandy little feather duster -- or if you have a Swifit, that works really good. Then go around to all the heating ducts and get the dust out. Give the cold air return a really good going over too.

You want as much warm air coming through those ducts as possible. Dust gets in the way. Don't block the air flow with big clunky pieces of furniture either -- or drapes and curtains.

Stay warm. And you can save money while you're doing it too.

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1:59 pm          Comments

THE AL FRANKEN SHOW BITES THE DUST

And Air America is going bankrupt.

Franken's last show will be February 14. In a Wikipedia article that was revised January 29, 2007, Al Franken was supposedly asked to leave the show "due to it's [sic] unpopularly held beliefs."

So now the comedian -- who got to fame and fortune as a writer for Saturday Night Live, is thinking about running for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota. He ought to feel right at home with all the little mini-presidents.

Not only that but he'll give Rush Limbaugh comic material until the cows come home -- back home to Minnesota, that is.

He has a couple of books that keep the moolah flowing in to him -- one is Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, and The Truth (with jokes).

A web site -- www.frankenlies.com -- takes a look at some of Franken's "truths" and disputes them.

If you're a Franken fan, you've just two weeks left to bow properly.

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1:11 pm          Comments

THE REAL SKINNY ON THE TUNA INDUSTRY AND THE
FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE

American Samoa is where the tuna processing plant belonging to DelMonte is located.

DelMonte is owned by StarKist Tuna.

StarKist Tuna is located in Nancy Pelosi's home district in California.

There were lots of tsks tsks tsks when The Hill learned that American Samoa tuna workers were going to be exempted from the federal minimum wage rate that was proposed to go up to $7+.

It didn't get the blessings of the senators so the proposed new wage package is kind of out of commission right now.

The point is, Susan Crabtree over at The Hill brings some enlightenment to the whole story that, on first glance, baked Pelosi in inuendo.

The truth is American Samoa has had exemptions to the federal minimum wage acts since all the way back to 1956. And folks, there have been lots of switching back and forth as far as who was in power on any given congressional clock.

And during all that time, only one DelMonte employee has ever donated money to a political campaign -- and that was $500 which was donated to a Republican -- Brian Bilbray of California.

There has been some $18,000 donated to PACS, party committees and candidates in the last three elections -- $13,000 of which went to Republicans.
 
Okay, so DelMonte employees aren't political high rollers, but how about StarKist? Does Charlie the Tuna grease the wheels of congress?

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12:41 pm          Comments

AW -- SOMEONE OUGHT TO HELP THESE NUNS OUT

It started out as a great idea for the 55 sisters of the Saints Kirikos and Ioulitis monastery in the town of Sidirokastro.  

Buy a knitting machine and make warm things for people.

The problem is they started going into debt. Deeper and deeper and deeper.

Finally, they became nuns on the run.

Reuters say they ran up $777,000 in debt before they sought sanctuary at another monastery. Now they're in hiding even though the Church of Greece has offered to help them pay off their debts if they'll just come out of hiding.

Well, the Greek Church may have the money to help but it doesn't look like they've figured out how to help the nuns not feel shame. And all because they couldn't keep their little knitting company running as a profitable, going concern.

Cost accounting is a tough concept -- even for seasoned accountants. The nuns probably didn't get any accounting courses when they were going to school so it would have been very difficult for them to run a competitive business.

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11:44 am          Comments

IF YOU'RE GOING TO PARIS THIS SUMMER --

And I know at least a few of you are planning European summer vacations or summer educational jaunts for 2007.

In a story filed with Associated Press, the City Hall in Paris says it's going to follow the example set by Amsterdam and make thousands of bicycles available to commuters, strollers and tourists.

That is, until the 14,100 bikes are used up.

That ought to help out with traffic jams along the Champs Elysees.

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11:10 am          Comments

Monday, January 29, 2007

TALK'S CHEAP -- IT TAKES MONEY TO BUY VOTES

Campaign reform -- by way of lobbying rules change and PAC money distribution changes seems to have gotten some window dressing changes late in the 109th Congress.

Since I'm either a cynic or a contrarian, I have little faith that any real reform will take place. I think that by this time next election, we're still going to be yammering about the need for campaign reform.

But maybe not.

The grass roots are sprouting again.

In Aaron Blake's blog on The Hill, there is a group of conservative bloggers who have decided to withhold campaign contributions to any Republican senator who votes against Bush's plan to surge the military presence in Iraq.

Same goes for donations to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The campaign was organized by Hugh Hewitt, the internet-wide townhall address on the information superhighway (www.townhall.com). Hewitt says that the troops and the war trump partisan politicans. He's sending a message to senators that if they vote for Senator John Warner's (R-Va) resolution, it's a deal breaker that means no campaign contributions and also no more volunteering for the re-election campaigns of senators who don't support the president/commander in chief/soldiers in the field.

So far, Hewitt has 10,000 signatories pledged to his point of view.

Even if that amounted to $10 each, that would be $100,000 that would be withheld. But what if it means $100 each, then it would amount to $1 million. Now we're talking real money.

Oh, the internet -- that bastion of instantness. No longer do journalists have to wait for the printing press -- or the delivery trucks. Nope -- in the length of time that it takes to type an article and hit the "publish to the web" button, the message is out there for anyone who's interested to read it.

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11:05 am          Comments

SO WHO CLEANED UP THEIR MESS?

Never mind -- I think I can guess.

These are the war protestors who were allowed -- in the name of the 1st Amendment's Right to Freedom of Speech -- to express themselves.

Problem is, they decided to spray paint their messages on the Capitol Building. According to Jackie Kucinich, writing on The Hill, the protestors sprayed "our capitol building" and "you can't stop us."

Isn't that like defacing a government building or something?

Police in the Capitol had baricades in place but the expressionists breached the barricades and the police officers were told to stand down.

Where in the world did the protestors/expressionists/anarchists ever get the idea that the Capitol Building was theirs?

Doesn't it belong to all of us as our seat of governmental power?

Don't we let those congressional people just use those offices from one election to the next?

The trash/messages were cleaned up almost immediately by the Capitol staff -- some of whom came in on their day off to do it.

I'd like to know when those people think their right to express themselves overrides the rights of law-abiding citizens of this country who want government buildings free of defacing graffiti! 

I'd also like to know if Cindy Sheehan was in that crowd of 300 protestors who stormed the barricades.

And Jane Fonda was also in town making her self-proclaimed wonderful speeches to her masses. Was she one of the 300?

So much for your apologies to the American people, Janie.

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10:33 am          Comments

Saturday, January 27, 2007

ARE YOU LIVING HEALTHY?

Cooking Light recently compared the living habits of 1,072 adults all across the country. These adults are the ones who successfully take actions every day to improve their health. Well, they aren't the only ones but they responded to the survey. So they're the ones who got counted.

Here's the results of their eating habits:
70% drink lower fat milk instead of whole milk
59% eat chicken with the skin removed
54% take vitamins
52% use lower fat alternatives when cooking
51% read nutrition labels on food

Fitness findings:
6% get 30 minutes of exercise a day
22% exercise three or four times a week
19% walk or bike instead of taking transportation
41% take the stairs whenever possible
33% regularly park their cars farther from the door to get in extra walking

Healthy outlook:
67% recognize that making small, healthy improvements today add up to big benefits later
76% are satisfied with their mental and emotional well-being
45% are satisfied with their body weight
58% are satisfied with their stress level

source: www.cookinglight.com

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1:59 pm          Comments

HOSPITAL-CAUSED INFECTIONS?

The last thing you should have to worry about when you go to the hospital is getting an infection while you're there.

Wouldn't you think that the people who work in the medical profession would know all about how to prevent infections. After all, aren't they the experts on germs?

Well, that's what Governor Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania thinks. He's calling for an immediate reform that will protect patients when they check into a hospital. He points to the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System as a national leader in curbing such infections.

The infections are know as hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). They frequently attack the urinary tract, surgical wounds, bloodstream and lower respiratory tracts of patients. In Pennsylvania, these infections account for 2,478 deaths out of the total reported 19,154 HAIs. It also adds additional charges of $3.5 billion and jumps up the mortality rate to 12.9%, as compared to 2.3% for a hospital stay without an HAI.

The highly prevalent source of an HAI is staphylococcus. And guess what? Staph bacteria lives on our skin. Improved hygiene will go a long, long way in getting staph off your hands. Just splashing your hands under the faucet is not good enough. It's better than nothing, but to really get those little stinky germs off your hands, a good soaping is what you need -- then rinse your hands really good and down the drain they go!

source: www.prnewswire.com

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10:42 am          Comments

HOW CREDIT CARD COMPANIES PLAY "GOTCHA!"

First of all, the credit card companies lure you into low interest, sometimes even no interest, balance transfers. In some cases, it may be okay. Or at least the lesser of two evils if you use a balance transfer to pay off a horrifically high credit card balance with a high interest finance charge.

If you do a balance transfer at, say 0% interest, then under no circumstances should you use that same card to charge anything. Not even for a $10 item.

If you make any charges whatsoever, you will end up with a credit card with two different balances, and you'll be paying two different finance charge rates.

So what's the big deal, you may ask.

Here's the rub. All of your monthly payment will be applied to reducing the no interest balance. Not one penny will be applied to reducing the $10 balance. In fact, the $10 balance will have an interest rate applied to it that will actually increase that portion of your balance. There's not going to be a reduction in the $10 balance until the entire zero percent interest balance is paid off.

By that time, your $10 balance is going to become bloated with those monthly additions of finance charges.

And yes, it's legal. It's part of the credit card agreement that came with your new card. Problem is, it's in the mouse print size type that very few people read.

You should. For your own protection.

Another way that credit card companies are becoming part of the growing super rich companies is by collecting late fees. By the time all the books are closed for 2006, there is an expectation that credit card penalty fees will amount of $17.1 billion dollars!

That's an increase of 906% from what these companies collected in 1996, according to CNN senior money writer, Jeanne Sahadi.

That late fee can be as much as $35 whether you're a day or a week or a month late.

But beware. Credit card companies are now contemplating a new change in the terms of their agreements with many consumers.

This has to do with the consumers who are fortunate enough to be able to pay off their balances each month.

The credit card companies are thinking about charging those who pay off their monthly balances an annual fee. Not sure how much it might be.

But be warned. If you get an envelope from your credit card company that says something like Important Changes in Terms of Your Agreement, read it even if you have to use a magnifying glass. And if you don't understand what it means even after you wade through the legal mumbo jumbo, call the credit card service department and make someone explain it to you.

All this information has come to light as a result of the Senate Banking Committee's hearings chaired by Senator Christopher Dodd, the chairman.

My suggestion to any of you who do not get a satisfactory explanation from the credit card customer service person, contact the Senate Banking Committee or send an e-mail to Senator Dodd's staff.

You can do this fairly easily by going to www.senator.gov -- then find Senator Dodd -- eventually you will find a tab that will let you contact Senator Dodd and there will be an e-mail form for you to fill out.

I'm certain that one of his administrative persons will somehow get your e-mail into his stack of highlighted notes. He doesn't sound happy with the way the credit card companies are conducting their business.

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9:54 am          Comments

Friday, January 26, 2007

TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. RECALLS 533,000 VEHICLES

There are a whole bunch of people out there who actually believe that Detroit can't make a good car. They say that only the Japanese can do it right.

To prove their opinion is correct, they point to the fact that the Japanese carmakers never have to recall cars.

Well, listen up.

The Japanese carmakers are not required to issue recalls. Not like Detroit is required to do.

But lo and behold, yesterday, in an article published by Reuters, Toyota says it will be recalling 533,000 SUV's and Tundra trucks to repair faulty components that could make the vehicles difficult to steer.

Now is that a safety hazard or not?

Just imagine going down the expressway at 90 mph and have your steering wheel quit working right.

Do you think you'd do a barrel roll, or an end-over-end flippy thing, or just steer off into the median and get bogged down in the mud?

Last year, Toyota recalled more than a million vehicles in Japan and 760,000 vehicles in the United States.

The vehicles in question in this latest recall are the 2004 to 2007 Sequoias and 2004 to 2006 year Tundras.

Just want to point that out to all the people who like to tease Quint and me for faithfully buying only American made vehicles, specifically Fords, which have never let us down in the near thirty-years of marriage.

Go Ford!

source: Reuters

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1:30 pm          Comments

SOME REPUBLICANS SAY THEY'RE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT TOO

The GOP field is getting crowded now.

Here are the hopefuls who want the Oval Office:

Rep. Duncan Hunter, 14 term congressman from California -- used to be chairman of the House Armed Services Committee until the Democrats took control of the House. He was an Army Ranger in Vietnam. His son has spent two 7-month tours in Iraq. He worked his way through law school doing construction and farming jobs. He just announced his candidacy.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor

and Rudy Giuliani, for mayor of New York City

source: Associated Press

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1:22 pm          Comments

SEEMS LIKE A CONSTITUTIONAL CLASH COMING FOR BUSH AND CONGRESS

President Bush says today, "I'm the decision maker."

He was referring to sending more troops to Iraq.

He was referring to being the Commander in Chief.

He quickly dispatched his newly appointed U.S. Commander Army Lt. General David Petraeus to Iraq. He told his new army guy to "Get to the zone ... and implement a plan that will achieve our goals."

I am certainly not an expert military strategist. I would not want to be in Bush's position. But then, I wouldn't have wanted to be in Harry Truman's position either when he deliberated how to best end the war in the Pacific. I would not have wanted to be in Abraham Lincoln's position when the Battle of Gettysburg was raging.

I'm a big cry baby. I want every man and woman who is over there in the Middle East to come back home safe and sound. Preferably today.

Those are the peeps I'd like to see run for congress and get on the military committees.

And if they need shadows to guard their backs, and more money to keep their rifles filled up with bullets, then let's do everything we can to give them everything -- and I mean everything -- that they need to be protected.

And yes, even comfortable. It's okay for them to have a mat to sleep on. That is, when they are able to get some sleep.

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10:27 am          Comments

IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN -- ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE AUNT NANCY'S ENTOURAGE TO IRAQ

The Mayor of Maybeville has landed in Baghdad -- and included in her entourage are Rep. Tom Lantos, (D-San Mateo), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Ike Skelton, (D-Mo), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the military budget.

I guess they didn't take any staff people. At least none were mentioned.

However, what strikes me is that it's not exactly a bipartisan entourage. Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't there a lot of promises about "reaching across the aisle?" Or did I misunderstand what Aunt Nancy was talking about?

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10:12 am          Comments

MORE ABOUT JOHN KERRY NOT RUNNING

It isn't so much that he has pulled out of the presidential run for the White House -- but that he has $13 million left from the last time he ran.

That's it. Just a curiosity. Bet we wont' be seeing any John Kerry War Museum under construction in Massachusetts.

Kerry says he's going to concentrate on bringing the troops home instead.

source: www.politico.com

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8:52 am          Comments

Thursday, January 25, 2007

HERE'S AN IDEA FOR USING UP ALL THAT LEFTOVER CASH FROM CAMPAIGNS

The more I have thought about it, the more I realize how greedy politicians really are.

I mean -- here they are, running around begging us for money. They say they need millions to mount a viable campaign.

Then there's this relatively new law that lets them convert unused campaign funds to their own little political action committees (PACs).

All the while, there are homeless people in this country, living on the threshold of hunger. There are families living in missions with very bright children who have no place to sit down and do homework.

There are food pantries with near-empty or empty shelves.

In other words, there are many, many, many programs out there that are a lot needier than a politician who has a net worth in excess of a million dollars. The only time they even come in contact with poverty is during photo opportunities when they're on the campaign trail.

So here's my idea -- when they get done with their campaign, take all the leftover money and either contribute to a program for the poor that already exists or start a program somewhere in their district.

But under no circumstances ought they be allowed to keep the money for themselves or their own little political action committee fifedoms.

The point is, people donate to political campaigns because they believe that they are helping a candidate get elected.

Tell me honestly -- would you donate to a candidate if they said to you, "I've already collected so much money I'll have a ton of money left over that I'll eventually put into my own little PAC?"

Probably not!

But get this -- not only did the senate refuse to pass the federal minimum wage bill this week, but they also ignored a really big part of the reform package. That is, spouses can still be lobbyists.

Gee -- do you think that if the spouses are lobbying, somehow that PAC money becomes available to them? 

The problem is, when the politicians get ahold of your money, they keep it. Even if they don't use it for their campaigns, they keep all the money. Somehow.

So much for campaign reform.

I personally am of the opinion that PACs ought to be eliminated altogether. That would be a start in the right direction.

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10:47 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BREAKING NEWS -- SENATE REFUSES TO PASS MINIMUM WAGE LAW

Just keep in mind that these are the self-righteous potentates who are running around saying that the Republicans are the ones who are not the friends of the poor and the middle class.

These are the mighty and wonderful senators who all think they would be a better president -- if only the voters would let them at the White House -- than whoever happens to occupy the Oval Office.

The problem is -- the voters just won't give them a chance at the job.

But they keep running anyway.

Now comes word this afternoon that the senate has refused to pass the legislation that Aunt Nancy sent over from the other end of the building.

Not quite sure what's going on in the senate but it doesn't look like they're going to be happy unless there are provisions (special favors) that would allow for tax breaks for restaurants and other businesses that have to hire cheap laborers.

So if the lawmakers give special dispensations to all the companies who want tax breaks why have a new law at all?

Oh, and another thing --

SENATOR JOHN KERRY SAYS HE'S NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. Do you think that maybe Miss Pickle wouldn't give him any money to play political war games with? Maybe she secretly told him to stay out of New Hampshire. And Iowa too.

Maybe he's been banished to Maybeville?

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2:52 pm          Comments

REFORM BILL GETS SOME LAST MINUTE TINKERING

Just when I thought I ought to start showing a bit more respect for the politicos in Maybeville, they start acting like mega-squats again.

Those sneaky little so-and-sos!

They tried to put a two year extension into the much-touted reform package that would take pensions away from crooked, convicted, evil, dishonest congresspersons who get piggy fat off the hard work of the voters back home.

Where do they get their nerve?!!

If all had gone the way of the 2-year proviso that was inserted at the last minute, then the House measure would have matched the Senate measure.

But aha! Somebody was looking.

Somebody even accused the mega-squats of writing the change on a napkin . The change moved the effective date from January 1, 2009, back to its original date of January 1, 2007.

Then there was the parliamentarian debate of rules nitpicking because the change back to the 2007 effective date was thrown in at the last minute and disregarded floor debate.

And then a freshperson tried to move the measure while the debate rules were in suspension. That way, the bill would move quickly back to the Senate, presumably for closure.

But wait -- not so fast there. Let's talk about fairness. Clearly the American people believe that a congressperson who is convicted of a felony because he or she abuses the power of the office ought to most certainly not be given a pension for life.

And believe me, those pensions are the envy of every working man and woman in the country.

Nice try, no cigar. The attempt at adding a two year delay got pulled and the legislation got passed.

So, as it stands now, if you're a crooked congressperson and you get convicted, you don't get to keep your pension. As of January 1, 2007, your pension is doomed!

'Bout time.

I'd just like to know what happened to that $90,000 in cash that was stashed in the representative from Louisiana's office refrigerator in The Capitol. That can't possibly be stamp money. Congress allows special stamp provisions, called franking to Congress members.

I love the internet. It's going to be the catalyst that will finally make government transparent. There are eyes everwhere watching everything. Even congress is coming under very close scrutiny.

source: www.thehill.com

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11:03 am          Comments

IF WEBSITE CLICKS WERE VOTES, THE HILLARY WOULD BE TRAILING

Boma Boma O'bama is getting 12% of the surfer hits coming off the www.senate.gov site -- comparing to Hillary's mere 7%.

Good thing for Hillary those hits aren't votes. She had been at a stagnant 4% until she threw her hat into the presidential ring last weekend.

Republicans aren't doing any better. McCain and Boxer -- a this and a that -- are tied at 2%. Thought you were more populaire, didn't you?

Then there's Beetlebomb Kerry -- like the tired old racehorse, he gives a very poor showing of 1%. He ties with other one percenters -- Senators Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Sam Brownback.

It's still very early in the game, folks. What do we have -- 21 months to go?

I'm bored already.

source: www.thehill.com

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10:42 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

LET ME VISUALIZE THIS

According to USA Today, a police officer used his cruiser to pull an arrested woman's belongings for twelve miles.

Her belongings were in a shopping cart so I'm guessing the woman in Bradenton, Florida, was homeless.

So the officer towed her shopping cart a total of twelve miles to the jail.

Does that look like a cartoon or what?

The officer got reassigned to desk duty for a while.

He wasn't, by any chance, working undercover with the Reno 911 officers, was he? Those characters have their own feature-length movie coming out but it's not due to be released until late in February.

Can't wait for that one.

Maybe the Brandenton cop could move to Reno and join the Reno Sheriff's Department.

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11:19 am          Comments

AND THE RICH GET RICHER!

Political Money Line reports that Former Representative Joe Kennedy's political action committee -- Citizens for Joe Kennedy 1988 -- has a balance of $2,043,712!

Wow!

Can you believe that income from investments in just the last quarter of 2006 came to $90,266. The account was started in July 2001 when he converted his campaign fund into a political action committee.

Did you know that politicians can do that?

Apparently there was $1.6 million left over from his 1988 campaign that he didn't spend.

That's a nice chunk of change to start a PAC with.

So let's all go run for something and raise a lot of money. Then after a couple of years, just convert the campaign money to our very own political action committee. I'll bet the rules are less stringent for those committees than they are for candidates.

My political action committee would be called the Committee for Honest Congress, or CoFoHoCo, because it rhymes with Yoko Ono. We could have Beatles music playing all the time on our corporate bicycle.

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11:05 am          Comments

OKAY -- SO AUNT NANCY GOT HER SIX INITIATIVES PASSED WELL UNDER THE HOPED FOR 100 HOURS -- SO NOW WHAT HAPPENS?

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, all but two of those initiatives don't just automatically become law just because the House says so.

They have that whole bunch of mini-presidents over on the Senate side of the building to contend with.

For instance, the House said there ought to be a law about all those politicians flying around on corporate jets. That would be mostly when they're campaigning or when they fly back to their districts or fly somewhere else on vacation/junket spots as long as they're claiming to be doing the work of the U.S. government.

I still, for the life of me, can't figure out why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada felt like it was government business to fly down to Peru to look at old ruins in hopes of discovering something about their security system.

Anyway, the Senate -- probably feeling some groundswell heat from voters -- passed it's own version of the travel bill.

The Senate ethics bill says any candidate for federal office will have to pay jet owners the charter cost of flying on those really nice, posh private jets -- not first class, which is considerably lower.

Naturally, the Senate exempted themselves if they own their own planes or their spouses do.

So I think I see where this is headed. There's going to be a lot of campaign money being used to buy their own jets. They'll probably get them at way under fair market value from companies that are cleaning out their jet closets.

Maybe they ought to pass legislation about that too, while they're at it.

They're a sneaky bunch. You can bet they'll figure out a way around it.

Here's my thought: make all the candidates and congress people fly commercial planes. I'll bet a whole bunch of things would start to happen.

First of all, they would somehow figure out how to make those TSA people get the lines moving just a bit faster. And maybe there wouldn't need to be five checkpoints at big, international airports.

It would give congressional people a new appreciation for what us regular, plain old folks have to contend with when it comes to scheduling our trips.

Oh, the great wailing and gnashing of teeth that would be heard all the way from  the Potomac to another big wind -- this one on the left coast -- the Santa Ana. 

But think of the positives for the candidates. It would give them a great opportunity to reconnect with the constituents -- that is, us voters.

Now wouldn't you feel safer if half the plane was loaded up with Secret Service guarding those highly exalted candidates who have an overblown view of their personal wonderfulness?

Stay tuned. The Senate version and House version of this one bill aren't exactly alike. They'll have to iron out some differences and see what the compromise bill looks like.

Fortunately, there aren't any earmarks added in. I think everybody's watching for those little pet piggy-pork projects that used to get slipped into bills. Earmarks that had nothing to do, for instance, with the travel/etchics bill.

Then, if the lawmakers really wanted the kiss of death for any bill, they could always add in a line item veto provision. That would be the end of that bill.

It's called gridlock. And the Senators say, "If you don't like that, we'll just filibuster it to death. Either way, you'll be sorry for messing with us."

And you just know there's a web site that keeps track of what all these people are spending: www.politicalmoneyline.com.
 
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10:27 am          Comments

AND THE NOMINEES ARE ...

The Associated Press covered the list of Oscar nominees for the 79th annual run for the gold.

For best picture: Babel, The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen.

For best actor: Leonardo DiCaptrio, Blood Diamond; Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson; Peter O'Toole, Venus; Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness; and Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.

For best actress: Penelope Cruz, Volver; Judy Dench, Notes on a Scandal; Helen Mirren, The Queen; Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada; and Kate Winslet, Little Children.

For supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine; Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children; Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond; Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls; and Mark Wahlberg, The Departed.

For supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza, Babel; Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal; Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine; Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls; and Rinko Kikuchi, Babel.
 
What surprises me is who's not and what's not.

For instance, I don't see Brad Pitt nominated anywhere even though Babel got the nod in other categories.

I don't see Jack Nicholson for The Departed. But then, Jack has won so many times that maybe the Academy might have thought it was someone else's turn. But that isn't what "best actor" is supposed to be, is it?

I was surprised that Dreamgirls wasn't at least nominated for Best Picture, although it was nominated in other categories. But then, do musicals get nominated for best picture? Seems like the Academy likes other genres.

Don't know. I'm certainly not an expert.

We're not done with Borat yet. Sacha Baron Cohen and his buddies -- Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer and Todd Phillips got the nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. They'll be competing with Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby for Children of Men; William Monahan, The Departed; Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, Little Children; and Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal.

go to this web site for the complete listing:

http://apnews.myway.com

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9:52 am          Comments

Monday, January 22, 2007

THANK YOU, ALICE STUBBE, FOR ENLIGHTENING US!

I always knew -- or at least suspected -- that Texans were smart -- but I had no idea until you sent me this:

After having dug to the depth of 1000 meters last yearScottish scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had telephone networks more than 1000 years ago.

  Not to be outdone by the Scots, in the weeks that followed, English scientist dug to a depth of 2000 meters and shortly after headlines in the UK newspapers read:

  "English archaeologists have found traces of 2000 year copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a thousand years earlier than the Scots."

  One week later, Texas newspapers reported the following:

  "After digging as deep as 5000 meters in West Texas, Texas Aggie scientists have found absolutely nothing. They have therefore concluded that 5000 years ago Texas inhabitants were already using wireless technology."



5:32 pm          Comments

UNBELIEVABLE ARTWORK!

Do yourself a favor and check out this website. This fellow is an incredible artist and what he can do with a can of spray paint!

It's a little over eight minutes long, but believe me, it's worth it.

And thank you, Joyce Cunningham, for send this to me.

Jane Reinheimer

5:07 pm          Comments

WELCOME!

Hi, Barbara. All the way from Pond Gap, West Virginia.

It was great to hear from you.

All good wishes to you and Rich.

Jane
3:10 pm          Comments

GOD REALLY DOES ANSWER PRAYERS!

I figured we'd just about get back to the Frozen Tundra North Country (Chicago) when the weather would turn really sour again.

We left Effingham at 8 a.m. An hour later we were at Grand Slam Quint's favorite Denny's in Tuscola for breakfast, then hopped back on I-57.

Two hours later I was making my approach to exit at Vollmer Road -- mile marker 342. The temperature had dropped to 31 degrees and precip was slushing up my windshield.

Thank you, God, for answering our prayers for safe travel.

In our travels north, we saw a huge semi off the road on the right side. It had obviously jack-knifed.

And a young lady, probably a college student but who can be certain, was in the median.

Black ice, maybe. It wasn't a good day to be going 80+ miles an hour. The visibility was down to about a mile. That's a far cry from the 18 miles-out-there-horizon.

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1:58 pm          Comments

SO FAR THE DEMOCRATS ARE FIELDING 8 WOULD-BE PRESIDENTS

With only thirteen months to go until the New Hampshire primary kicks off the Golden Premier Silly Season of Political Rhetoric, there are a grand total of eight Democrats who are absolutely rock-solid certain that they can lead the country better than anybody ever has or ever will.

In alphabetical order, they are Joe Biden, the Delaware Senator; Hillary Clinton, the New York Senator; Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Senator; John Edwards, the former North Carolina Senator (and vice presidential candidate in 2004); Mike Gravel, the former Alaska Senator; Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Representative; Barack Obama, the Illinois Senator; and Tom Vilsack, the Iowa Governor.

Do you notice how many of them come from Blue States out there on the east coast? That ought to be interesting. Again.

Before we get to the New Hampshire primary in February 2008, there will probably will at least another four or six, maybe ten. The Democrats like to field lots of candidates.

That's because they're mostly all senators and they think they're already little mini-presidents -- Democrats and Republicans alike.

Haven't heard much from the potentates on the Republican side of the world. Of this we can be certain, it will not be George Bush again.

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1:34 pm          Comments

HOW'D THE MOVIES DO?

There must have been a football game or something because there sure weren't too many moviegoers, according to BoxOfficeMoJo.

Stomp the Yard stayed in first place for its second week, with $13.3 million.

And can you believe Night at the Museum is still in second place?!! This is the fifth week for this adorable movie. Loved Owen Wilson as a little miniature cowboy. The movie gleaned $13 million in sales. Total ticket sales to date comes to $205,840,000.

Dreamgirls rose from 4th place last week to 3rd place this week. No doubt, the Golden Globes aroused some interest. This is the sixth week for this movie. Ticket sales came to $8,711,000.

This was the debut weekend for The Hitcher. Even so, it couldn't beat out the top three. Hitcher got $8,234,000 in ticket sales.

You can get the complete listing of the top 38 movies at www.boxofficemojo.com as well as reviews.

We have a weekend off before Super Bowl on February 4. Game will be in Miami and you know who I'm rooting for in the battle between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.

Go Bears!

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1:07 pm          Comments

Saturday, January 20, 2007

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL -- WHO'S THE RICHEST OF US ALL?

We won't need to have any bake sales for these female entertainers.

According to Forbes, the richest of them all include:

Oprah Winfrey -- came in tops with a reported worth of $1.5 billion -- so you see, she can easily afford to build a school in South Africa for $40 million

J. K. Rowling comes in second with a cool $1 billion. Not bad for this welfare mom who penned the first Harry Potter book whilst sitting at her kitchen table and writing furiously fast on yellow legal pads (I've read).

Martha Stewart -- the cook and hostess with the mostest -- comes in next with $638 million

Then comes Madonna with $325 million

Celine Dion has $250 million, followed by Mariah Carey with $225 million

Janet Jackson has $150 million and Julia Roberts comes in last on the list of 8 top millionnaires with $140 million. But then, The Julia didn't make any movies last year; otherwise, her bottom-basement-lowest-fee-for-walking-in-front-of-the-cameras of $20 million would have bumped her up a notch.

And now I'm going to make Quint some beef vegetable noodle soup. He says even if we were millionaires -- which we are far far far far from being -- he'd still want me to make him homemade soup. Yum yum.

source: www.aceshowbiz.com

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11:02 am          Comments

HARRIS POLL RELEASES LIST OF MOST FAVORITE MOVIE STARS

#1 - Denzel Washington
#2 - Tom Hanks -- down from #1 last year
#3 - John Wayne -- again -- the late, great!
#4 - Clint Eastwood -- advances two spots from last year
#5 - Will Smith ties with Julia Roberts
#7 - Johnny Depp ties with Mel Gibson-- Depp drops five spots from last year
#9 - George Clooney -- drops one spot
#10 - Harrison Ford -- drops seven spots from last year

The Harris Poll is an annual survey of 1,147 U.S. adults. They were surveyed between December 12 and 18, 2006.

source: www.aceshowbiz.com

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10:35 am          Comments

OF COURSE SHE'S RUNNING -- WAS THERE ANY DOUBT EVER?

I realize that some of you don't read the news -- and who could blame anybody these days.

Unless there are pools of blood in parking lots or on sidewalks, you're more likely to see little mini-clips that feature weight loss advice, Hollywood types trashing the president or espousing some opinion that they think makes them look like deep thinkers.

So let me be the first to tell all of you who have insulated yourselves with sanity, in ten words or less, the Housewife on the Potomac is going to try to get the keys to the White House again. But this time, she wants the Oval Office all by herself.

That would be Senator Clinton.

I'll bet she gives that little kitchenette off the oval office a good scrubbing down too.

So let's see -- that brings a total of six so far, if you count Sharpton who is only just whispering about running. I bet he throws his hat in the ring eventually.

My point is this. You're going to be hearing a lot of cheap talk and criticisms of each other.

But mostly, in order to sound presidential, they all have to espouse what they think are great and wonderful opinions that disagree with the real Mr. President.

Also keep in mind that they may even try to resurrect some old, ugly comments about Mr. Bush's intellect. John Kerry did that when he ran against Bush. His campaign workers likened Bush to a box of rocks.

Then the military entrance tests were published. Kerry's IQ is 120 -- Bush's is 128.

Heh heh heh.

Now who's laughing. Bush is only eight points off Mensa's IQ of 135 for genius.

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10:10 am          Comments

Friday, January 19, 2007

WE CAN ALL BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF -- AUNT NANCY'S GOT HER AGENDA PASSED THROUGH THE HOUSE!

Now we're all going to see how legislation really works.

Only the first two initiatives -- changing the House Rules on Ethics and how they conduct their own business.

The rest of the initiatives sound like they've changed the laws. But they haven't.

For instance, they say they've "pushed through an increase of the minimum wage." In truth, the Senate has to bless it and the president has to sign it.

Aunt Nancy says the House has expanded federal funding for stem cell research but they only passed a congressional version of what they want to be the law. The Senate has to bless it and the president has to sign it. He's already said he'd veto this one and the House has said they don't have the votes to override a veto.

Then the House said they passed legislation that gives students a cut in interest rates. The president said he'd prefer to give low-income students outright grants -- not loans. Expect a veto on this one too.

And yesterday, the House passed its last of the six initiatives when they passed legislation to collect more than $15 billion in new fees, royalties and taxes from the oil industry.

So to give credit where credit is due, they did do something.

And with time to spare. They didn't even come close to using up the 100 hours that Aunt Nancy thought it would take.

Problem is, they can't go around saying they've passed new laws. What they've done is pass a House version of laws they'd like to see enacted.

Here's where we all get a civics lesson in the legislative process. The House bills now go to the Senate to see what all those little mini-presidents think of the House's work.

Aunt Nancy isn't the most powerful woman in America over at that end of the building. Remember Senator Clinton. She thinks she's pretty muscular too.

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8:24 am          Comments

Thursday, January 18, 2007

GOOD NEWS FOR LOW INCOME COLLEGE STUDENTS

The House went ga-ga over its legislation packet that eased in reductions for student loan interest.

The White House took a dim view of this reduction schedule and rejected the congressional proposal.

What the White House wants to do is offer more direct aid grants to low-income students. Reducing an already-low 6.8% interest rate on federally backed college loans is not what Bush will agree to.

Just keep that in mind when all the political rhetoric starts up again about Bush not caring about the poor people and just wanting to give money breaks to rich people.

Bush wants to provide aid grants to poor people who can't afford college tuition -- not lower interest rates on student loans.

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2:46 pm          Comments

AUNT NANCY'S CLOCK IS AT 34 HOURS AND 5 OF THE 6 BILLS PASSED

All kidding aside and to give Nancy Pelosi her just due, she has somehow managed to get passage of five bills of the six on her pre-November election.

These bills include passing:

-- change rules that govern ethics, budget and lobbying rules (passed Jan. 4-5)
-- a bill that wants to pump up terrorism-fighting efforts (passed Jan. 9)
-- raise federal minimum wage (passed Jan. 10)
-- expand federally funded stem cell research (passed Jan. 11)
-- require government to negotiate for lower Medicare Rx prices (passed Jan. 13)

Still to pass will be legislation focusing on fees, taxes and royalties that come from oil and gas companies.

So Aunt Nancy and the representatives who passed the legislation have been busy.

Some of the bills will need to go through the Senate. And then on to the White House for either presidential signature or veto.

Don't misunderstand me here. I don't have an agreement at all with this minimum wage exemption that Aunt Nancy somehow got for her tuna canning buddies in San Francisco.

That's a bunch of baloney!

And I can certainly compromise on the stem cell research. I'm all for ongoing research. Just think that it needs to be funded privately. But, hey, I've been wrong before. Even in this century.

So if she's used up only 34 hours -- she just may get the sixth item passed through the House before the break on February 19 for President's Day. The following days through February 23 is set aside for in-district work.
 
I'll bet she comes back from San Francisco with a new list of legislation that she wants the House to work on.

A new things to do list is coming, don't you think?

I also suspect that a response to this blog will be coming from Quint. He tends to be a tad more conservative than I am.

But we decided a long time ago -- many many years, in fact -- that we don't have to think like each other.

Saves a lot of disagreements and hurt feelings. Especially if I mope around. We do have some very intellectually stimulating discussions about a lot of topics though.

source: www.house.gov

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11:55 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

THOSE POOR REPUBLICANS JUST CAN'T GET A BREAK

You'd think people would have figured it out by now.

Especially the power brokers out there in Maybeville. But let me repeat it once again in case you weren't in class that day: To the victors belong the spoils.

This isn't about standing on principle because something is right. It's not even about reaching out to other members across the aisle.

You didn't believe that old song and dance, did you now?

It was just political rhetoric and it makes a better sound byte than "It's our turn to get even."

Now, according to an article at www.thehill.com, the Republican press secretaries can't seem to find a meeting room under the Dome.

They really liked meeting in the Dome's spacious budget hearing room. They could lean back in their comfy chair chairs. They could stretch their legs out. They could feel ultra important.

I mean, the budget hearing room! Does it get any more powerful than that?

Then they lost. More than the majority in Congress. They lost the most coveted meeting rooms in Maybeville. Now, like silly little penguins traipsing single file down the halls, they had to go over to the Rayburn Gold Room.

Hey! What's wrong with that? Sounds like a pretty nice room to me.

Oh, and that became unavailable too?

Well, how about the Cannon Caucus Room?

Aunt Nancy's office said, "Let me get back to you on that."

The press secretaries meet at 1 p.m. on Mondays. Someone finally called Friday night to let them know that the caucus room would be available.

Whah whah whah. The good rooms -- the best and mightiest rooms -- get picked first. By the party in power, you silly whiner.

I learned that in first grade. So why are the Republican press secretaries whining? Or surprised?

Maybe -- just maybe -- the next time there's a national election in this country, maybe the Republicans ought to get the voters in their districts over to the polls. Each and every one of their voters. Pick them up and drive them to the polls. And then take them to lunch. You have to give them some motivation to go to the polls. You don't think they vote because it feels good, do you? Not! This is America. The land of reciprocity.

Apparently you didn't do that last November. 

When the weather gets nicer, you could consider a picnic meeting on the grounds of the Capitol. I would think that somewhere on the 274 acres, there ought to be a couple of nice shade trees.

Someone could be in charge of contacting the Capitol Concierge and ordering some picnic baskets. A couple that I thought might be especially meaningful for you would be the Chocolate Power Basket. It goes from $45 - $85. I guess it depends on how many pounds of fudge you order.

Another basket that sounded like it was right in the ballpark for you would be the Good Cheer Basket. It goes from $50 - $100. But mind you, you're going to have to share with each other. These baskets are a bit steep, if you know what I mean.

So make sure one of you is in charge of taking the baskets home with you, then take turns bringing them back in subsequent weeks filled up with picnic goodies.

See, now that wasn't so hard, was it?

Oh, the Capitol Concierge's phone number is 202-331-0621. Their web site says that they are dedicated to taking any task off your hands, big or small. When you are pressed for time and you need that perfect something, just call them. They even have event planners.

There, I'm sure glad I could help you out.

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6:52 pm          Comments

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!!

You could have seen the headline on www.drudgereport.com, or www.foxnews.com or www.cnn.com and, of course, www.nbc10.com, a news affiliate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The story is about a naked man. He's a criminal defense attorney. He was naked in the courthouse conference room in Philadelphia.

That's bad enough. Ugly ugly ugly!

What's worse is that he was with a 14 year old girl -- not his client.

The attorney has been charged with solicitation, attempted statutory sexual assault and other counts related to that.

He's going to need a good lawyer. Surely he won't try to represent himself. He's already shown what a good lawyer he is.

It was Monday. The courthouse was closed in observance of Martin Luther King's birthday. But the courthouse was open to attorneys who needed to conduct business.

Oh really. And what business would that be that brings this attorney to the courthouse conference room on the third floor?

And how did the fourteen year old girl get into a closed courthouse?

Somehow I don't think this lawyer is going to be a friend of the court for very long.

He ought to be disbarred -- just for starters.

You see, somewhere along the line, people have forgotten that God is watching us. This lawyer doesn't need to worry so much about what the judge or jury is going to do to him.

He ought to worry about how he's going to explain this lapse in judgment to God, who is, after all, watching each one of us.

I, for one, do not want the Most Mighty One angry at me for anything! He's watching you, too.

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2:11 pm          Comments

BREAKFAST WITH AUNT NANCY

After I read one of the headlined articles at www.thehill.com my imagination just ran wild with the possibilities of conversations that might have been. I can just hear Aunt Nancy talking to the freshpersons of the Class of 2006 in the Continental Congress. I call it the Continental Congress because she serves a Continental Breakfast.

So even if the freshpersons balk at the idea of cold, heartless menu fare that is remindful of all those campaign stops, she'd probably say to them, "And you'd just better be there. All 42 of you newly elected Democrats.

"Every week. Well, every week that My House is in session.

"And I don't care if you have this misguided notion that breakfast ought to have at least one warm dish.

"If I say it's breakfast, it's breakfast. So grab a muffin and some strawberries and melon balls and sit down. I'm about to explain to you how things work around here."

Somehow I don't think this was a social invitation complete with gold engraving on eggshell colored paper. But then, maybe it was metallic burgundy print on pink paper. Who knows. There's a new speaker at the podium and since she's the most powerful woman in America, she can do just about anything she wants to.

Aunt Nancy even has a person who is in charge of -- get this -- incumbent retention. I always wondered about that. I mean, a freshperson finds himself/herself in Maybeville and gets a new office in The Building.

Does it have more than a desk and a credenza?

Where do I get more paper clips. And how about a stapler with staples, they might ask. Oh, send that one back. I want one with that cute little insignia on it that says I'm a member of Congress! Better yet, get me a dozen. I'll send one to my mom, and my sister and both my brothers.

How much do they cost? Really! Then just get me two. I had no idea they cost that much. What do you mean they don't have them in Central Supply? I'm not paying the same prices that tourists pay! No way.

Notice how those of us who used to be called voters are now called tourists. They even have a special place for us to sit if we go to Maybeville to watch them work at their big wooden desks down on the ground floor.

We're tourists now and we have to sit up there as if we were the unwashed. It's called the Gallery.

Things are different now. We won't get gladhanded for another year and a half, or whenever the mega-squats go back out to their districts. And you'd just better not bother them with requests for any special favors, like tours of the White House.

Those kinds of little favors are the work of a person in charge of constituent services. This is one of the first employees that freshpersons hire. A Constituent Sheriff can make or break a political career.

But first Aunt Nancy has to get through this first hundred hour deadline that she set for herself and mostly veteran lawmakers to pass six pieces of legislation. But for sure, she wants all the help she can get from the Class of 2006 Freshpersons.

So first of all, you'd better show up for breakfast. It will usually be held in the Conference Room in Aunt Nancy's office.

Oh really? Gee, my dining room only holds twelve people if they are sitting down to eat and I put all the leaves in the table. How in the world can she have breakfast for as many as a hundred hungry freshpersons in her conference room?

That must be some conference room.

And one other thing, she'd share with the new class. There will be no political talk around here. Not under The Dome. Remember that. And don't let me catch you talking politics around here.

You are to be prepared to make at least a five minute speech on the House floor at least once a week. And I want you to keep yourselves busy with Special Orders work. Those are very special meetings and they're usually going on late into the night.

I don't care if the Chamber is empty. C-SPAN is there taping speeches and it's broadcast live.

So just be there.

I'll be watching you!

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11:07 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

LIFE'S LIGHTER MOMENTS SHOW UP ON THE RED CARPET

Oh the wretched turmoil of actually starring in a sitcom heralding you as an ugly person. Ugly Betty, to be specific. But alas, America Ferrera stepped out on the red carpet and we realize that Hollywood, is well, Hollywood.

It's all smoke and mirrors, and makeup and spray glue. And even I would look gorgeous in a designer gown made especially to hide all my creaky wrinkles. Names like Chanel or Carmen Marc Valvo.

It must take the red carpet faux beauts hours to get tan-sprayed. I read last week that there are even "artists" who sculpt in muscle definitions that make the stars look like they spend all day at fitness centers.

But if you look at the pulpy stuff at the supermarkets like I do -- after all, it's the reason I intentionally get in the longest line -- paparazzi roam the southern California beaches on daily cellulite patrols.

If I were a Hollywood type, I can tell you for sure that I wouldn't dare go out on one of those beaches unless I had body armor on, covered head to toe. Since I do not care about getting a tan, then why bother! Besides, ladies are not supposed to sweat.

So Quint says, "Why don't you just buy the paper," to which I explain for the 780th zillion time, "I'm not paying for this trash."

My favorite part of the evening was when Helen Mirren won best actress for her roles in both the TV series Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II in The Queen.

Elizabeth I is my absolutely favorite on the short list of Heroes, Deceased.

The Heroes, Living is a longer list because it grows and grows and grows. It's a list of people I admire and continue to admire. People like my daughters, Sharon and Teri, are on that list too. It wasn't easy growing up in a house with a mother who has an adult version of Aspergers Syndrome. It definitely does not mix well with a mild case of Attention Deficit Disorder, a plague which forever needs cerebral rescuing. Keeps me on my toes. And I never even liked asparagus.

Back to the 64th Golden Globe awards. By the time you read this, you'll probably have already devoured the list of winners. So I'll just say that I'm also pleased with Hugh Laurie, star of House for winning. Sure, he gets some good scripts that lead him into good lines, but his character continues to draw me in. If I ever get some exotic thing that's gone wrong with me, I hope House will come to my rescue.

Since I've always been a fan of Clint Eastwood, I'm also glad he got his Globe for his foreign language film Letters from Iwo Jima. Eastwood is a class act. What I like about him is that he doesn't run around claiming to own anything, or anyone.

Tomorrow, we'll see what the equally vain nitwits on the Atlantic side of town are doing.

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10:52 am          Comments

Saturday, January 13, 2007

WE ARE HEADING FOR OUR BUNKER FOR THE ICE STORM COMETH!

Actually our condo in on the second floor, so it's hardly a bunker.

But there is a big fat ice storm coming, so we are not going to venture out until Tuesday morning.

And depending on which weather expert you believe, we are going to get 1-3", or 3-5" or 7 inches or more. Plus ice.

Since neither Quint nor I are big fans of being stranded out on interstates in the middle of nowhere, we are going nowhere.

We'll be watching movies, eating popcorn, and painting the guest bedroom.

I'll be back Tuesday morning.

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4:25 pm          Comments

"BUT I WAS MISUNDERSTOOD," SAYS BARBARA (CARRIE-ANN) BOXER

Isn't that what everybody says who --

(1) was too drunk to make any sense

(2) put their feet in their mouths

(3) didn't know what they were talking about and got caught

(4) or was just trying to make a joke but instead looked incredibly stupid.

So the Boxer -- in her best shrilly voice -- leaped on every opportunity to get at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with little stabby words --and finally, when she realized she wasn't making any good, rational points, finally reminded the Secretary that Rice wouldn't have any idea how it might feel to have a son or daughter serving in Iraq since Rice doesn't have children and isn't married.

Rush Limbaugh said that it was "hitting below the ovaries."

Another blogger in his Swampland blog called the exchange "Womb Wars."

So that's why I've renamed Boxer the Carrie-Ann -- because she, like a vulture or a buzzard -- looks for weak spots. She appears as if she's occupying some lofty perch of intelligentsia. Truth is, she would never get through the first round in a debate tournament. She just divebombs in, then acts so surprised when people challenge her mean-spiritedness.

Just hang in there, Madam Secretary. You've got Carrie-Ann outclassed by a country mile. 

I remember a psychology professor warning my class in a Psychology of Women course that it's what women do to women that's horrible. How true, how true!

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4:18 pm          Comments

I'D SAY THAT WAS A BIT TOO CLOSE

In an article reported in USA Today, two helicopters had to set down in a hurry in Jacksonville, Florida.

The two helicopters were flying too close to each other when their rotors touched.

Too close to each other? What an understatement!

They were flying over the St. Johns River. So they landed -- one on the north bank and the other on the south bank.

And you just stay over there on your side!

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3:12 pm          Comments

BIG EARTHQUAKE OFF THE NORTH OF JAPAN

Just in case you missed the news -- and for those of you who do not catch the news because it's (1) ridiculous, (2) not credible; (3) too managed, or (4) it's too depressing, you ought to at least be aware that an 8.3 earthquake happened in the northwestern Pacific -- off the Kuril Islands.

The Kuril Islands look like a string of pearls off the northern coast of Japan.

The earthquake was at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km). It happened at 14:48 UTC, which used to be Greenwich Mean Time, now it's Coordinated Universal Time.

Naturally, there has been a number of "little" quakes following that big one -- that is, if you can count a 5.1 as a little quake.

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8:56 am          Comments

Friday, January 12, 2007

I'M SURE GLAD SOMEONE EXPLAINED THE TIME OUT SYSTEM IN MAYBEVILLE'S CLOCK

Okay -- so every game invented by man has a system of time-outs. And commercial breaks.

But I did not know that Aunt Nancy was going to drop to her left knee every time the House of Representatives did something that didn't have anything to do with passing legislation.

In the first place, I thought she said these six new laws were going to be passed in the first hundred hours after her regime change.

I have been properly corrected.

What she meant was the first hundred legislative hours.

That does not include any time spent on other things -- even though the legislature is in session and all Aunt Nancy's people are on the floor.

The way she figures it, according to an article posted by the Associated Press, she's only used up seventeen hours of her hundred.

Folks, it will be this time next year before she gets to the half-time game!

It doesn't matter anyway because she's actually counting the increase in minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour except for the tuna industry in her favorite town -- none other than San Francisco, right smack dab in the big middle of her district.

Imagine that. The tuna industry in San Francisco -- StarKist and DelMonte and Chicken of the Sea are exempt from paying their workers the new federal minimum wage, according to an article by Charles Hurt in The Washington Times.

Could this possibly be from the the same Aunt Nancy -- the one who promised to look out for us little guys and finally give American workers a pay raise -- and she promised to bring back honesty in government.

In the meantime, Reuters says that President Bush signed the Magnuson-Stevens Fish Management Act. This law will prevent overfishing in U.S. waters.

Overfishing is defined as bottom feeding. I'm not even going to make a smarty comment about bottom feeders in Maybeville.

We have been duped again, folks. Are you surprised?

Maybe President Bush ought to include big tuna companies in the definition of bottom feeders because they somehow managed to get an exemption from paying the minimum wage.

Maybe I won't eat any tuna until they start paying workers the new federal minimum wage.

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12:58 pm          Comments

LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS: NO ONE EVER SAID THAT STEM CELL RESEARCH SHOULD NOT GO FORWARD

What was said is that embryonic (live babies) tissue should not be used to harvest stem cells.

There are millions of us who believe that embryos are real live, tiny little human beings. We most certainly don't want these little persons to be aborted so that the stem cells could be harvested.

And the firestorm that burned around President started to smolder when he said that federal tax money ought not to be used for such research.

So, for instance, if you have an eight-year-old son who has leukemia and you get pregnant so that you could harvest stem cells from the embryo of your unborn child, that would pose an ethical dilemma.

So here's a thought. Why not get the stem cells from your unborn baby's amniotic fluid and let the baby live?

Then you don't have to do away with your unborn baby just to get stem cells.

The hypocrisy of it all is that we charge a mother with murder if she microwaves a month-old baby. But we don't do a cotton picking thing to a mother who aborts an unborn baby in the very sterile environment of a hospital operating room.

Will someone please explain to me how one is murder and the other isn't. 

On second thought, maybe I don't want to hear from some of you. According to the National Right to Life, there have been 47,282,923 abortions since 1973.

The entire population of the United States just passed 300,000,000. We could have enjoyed the birth of 15.6% more souls had they not been aborted.

That's a giant farm of stem cells that just got thrown away. Or incinerated. Or just thrown in the trash dumpsters.

Didn't we, as a most righteous culture, say something about the horribleness of the Nazis killing 6,000,000 jews?

And we aren't taking too kindly about 3,000 soldiers being killed in the war in Iraq.

It does seem clear to me, though, that it's safer being a soldier in Iraq than being a baby in this country.

I would be really curious to know what God thinks about all this hypocrisy.

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12:00 pm          Comments

EVERYBODY IS GETTING INTO THE ACT

Wow! Former Senator George McGovern (1972 presidential candidate) is going to talk to the National Press Club luncheon about his plans to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq.

Wonder what Barbara Boxer thinks about the properness of his credentials. Like how old is he, 112? Does he have any kiddos in Iraq? I highly doubt it.

Is there anybody in Maybeville who does not have an opinion about the Iraq war.

Even Senator Clinton is going over there for a four-day here's looking at you trip. She'll be joined by Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) and Representative John McHugh (R-New York).

Isn't the illustrious senator from New York supposed to be at The Hearing about Iraq? Same for you, too, Mr. Bayh.

Or do you send staff to take notes for you?

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11:41 am          Comments

THERE'S A REASON WHY PRESIDENTS GO TO CAMP DAVID EVERY WEEKEND

Ever since Dwight Eisenhower named this scenic, rustic retreat after his grandson David, presidents and their families have enjoyed getting away from the Washington hustle bustle and all the trappings that living in Maybeville have to offer.

And every once in a while there are those who criticize this privilege by those who occupy the Oval Office.

But let me tell you what I have learned about these little pajama parties in the Maryland hills.

Contrary to the opinion that they're living in the lap of luxury while they're on retreat, the president's Secret Service detail gets to go home and spend the weekend with families.

That's because the United States Marine Corps guards the inhabitants of Camp David.

This is going to be a working weekend though. According to the newswires, Bush will be joined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McDonnell of Kentucky, Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott of Mississippi, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Mr. and Mrs. President are already on their way.

Do you think they go over early to fluff up the pillows? Maybe run the vacuum around the high spots. After all, it is a rustic place, I've heard.

Or maybe to get the roast in the oven. Do they even bring chefs? Do marines cook for them?

Does the helicopter stay there all weekend just in case Mr. President has to rush back to the White House to do important things like sign bills or pass out paychecks to the staff.

Are Mrs. Bush's daffodils popping up too early, like mine?

Why are the Whips going with them? What do Whips do anyway? Do I really want to know?

So many questions, so few answers.

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11:31 am          Comments

WHERE DOES ANY WOMAN EVER GET THE RIGHT TO QUESTION ANOTHER WOMAN'S OPINION JUST BECAUSE THE SECOND WOMAN HAS NO CHILDREN?

You'd expect such outrageous idiocies from mindless nincompoops.

On second thought, maybe that's what Senator Barbara Boxer is.

I read in an article printed in the New York Post that Boxer actually had the unmitigated gall to tell Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that she is not qualified to make policies at the highest levels of the American government because Rice is a single, childless woman.

Does Barbara Boxer ever stop to think about what she's saying before speaking? Or do the words just fall off her tongue every time there's an airhole that didn't get plugged up by the conscious restraint of her lips?

Besides, if she's talking about qualifying to discuss the Iraq situation only if you are a parent of a soldier, then I have news for her.

Look around you, Barbara. Last I heard, Ted Kennedy doesn't have any kiddos over there either. Nor does Hillary. Nor does Warner. Didn't hear you eliminate them from having their right to voice an opinion because they're too old to be parents of the Iraqi soldier generation.

As for you, Barbara Boxer -- this is where and how Congress gets its 16% approval ratings. In case you can't work the math, that means that 84% of the American voters do not think Congress is doing its job for the American people, nor do we think you are in touch with us.

Every classless comment that politicians make become sound bites for opponents in your next election. 

I, for one, hope this is your last term in office, Barbara Boxer.

You are far from the best that America has to offer.

And then Quint asks, "Yes, but what do you really think, Jane?"

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11:16 am          Comments

Thursday, January 11, 2007

STEM CELL RESEARCH GETS APPROVED BY THE HOUSE

No matter that President Bush has threatened to veto the bill if it gets passed by Congress.

And no matter that he did veto a similar bill once before.

The House now thinks it has the votes to over-ride a presidential veto.

But first the bill will have to go to senate. The senate will then make up its own bill.

Most probably, the senate and house bills will be quite a bit different from each other. If that turns out to be true, then the senate and house will send the package to a conference committee -- made up of house members and senators.

And they'll debate and talk and compromise and get a third version of the bill put together and it goes back to the both houses for action.

If this compromise version gets passed, then it lands at the White House where the president will probably veto it -- that is, if the bill uses embryonic stem cells.

Amniotic fluid sources or umbilical cord sources of stem cells are okay -- just no embryos (babies).

The vetoed bill gets send back to Capitol Hill to see if the votes are there to over-ride the veto.

And I think that finishes #3 of Aunt Nancy's 100 Legislative Hour Things To Do List.

Let's see - we got the rules changed in the House, minimum wage upped, and now stem cells. Yep, that's #3.

Keep in mind that Pelosi didn't say the bills would become laws. She only said the House would pass bills. The Senate has something to say about some of these bills too.

In the Senate, the votes are 51-49, with the Democrat majority. But Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota is not going to be able to vote for a while. He's only very recently been upgraded to fair from critical following his surgery for an arteriovenous malformation.

The last thing he needs to be concerned about right now is floor votes.

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3:15 pm          Comments

REMEMBER THE PREDICTION OF $100 A BARREL FOR OIL?

We got scared. We were already paying $3.00+ a gallon for gasoline and the price seemed to be in a upward spiral out of control.

Then Mother Nature gave us a break.

Warm weather. Unseasonably warm weather for the midwest.

Yay!

Now there's a marked reduction in the demand for oil supplies, according to Reuters. For the first time since May 2005, the price of crude has slipped below $52/barrel. Okay, so $51.90 a barrel is just barely under $52 -- but it counts.

But don't get too foot-loose and fancy free, my friends. By next Tuesday, the temperature is supposed to get down to about 8 degrees -- more in keeping with the season.

And hopefully my daffodils will keep their little faces beneath the dirt where they belong until spring!

But back to oil. Another thing that is helping relieve the strain on oil prices is that Russia has ended a three-day halt in its pumping. Russian oil is now flowing again through the Druzhba pipeline to Central Europe.

We need a lot of oil in the U.S. because our usage is right at 20 million barrels a day just driving our cars and jets and trucks and busses and everything else that requires petroleum. After all, it just won't do if the Europeans use up oil that we may need.

Russia outproduces the Saudis. Did you know that? That just started happening a month or so ago.

And just in case you're of the opinion that the whole reason we're in Iraq is because we just want their oil -- the following information from the Energy Information Administration (at www.gravmag.com) may help you become more factual in your point of view.

Listed below are the countries from whom we buy our crude, as of November 2005:

Canada -- 18%
Mexico -- 15%
Nigeria -- 12%
Saudi Arabia -- 12%
Venezuela -- 10%
Angola -- 6%
Iraq -- 5%
Algeria -- 3%
Columbia -- 3%
Ecuador -- 3%
U.K. -- 2%
Kuwait -- 2%
Equatorial Guinea -- 1%
Norway -- 1%

It doesn't add up to 100% because we do drill for oil here at home too.

Canada has been our greatest source of oil since 2001, according to the Energy Info. Adminstration.

There's a wealth of other information on their web site. You can find the web address under "oil" in the list of other links.

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3:00 pm          Comments

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I THOUGHT MY FAVORITE HORSIE WAS DOING BETTER

Granted, there hasn't been a lot of news lately about Barbaro so I clearly thought he was on the mend.

Apparently that isn't the case. He had more surgery last night. More damaged tissue had to be removed from his left hind hoof.

There had even been talk of releasing him later this month from the hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.

Barbaro shattered his right when he ran in the Preakness last May. Then in July he needed to have 80% of his left hind hoof removed.

Ouch.

Ordinarily horses -- even great horses -- come and go.

But Barbaro was poetry in motion.And when he ran the Kentucky Derby, all his muscles flexed into a thing of beauty.

I sure hope he will make it. But laminitis is often fatal. Horses have to have an even distribution of weight. That's hard to do when one of the limbs is so compromised.

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3:03 pm          Comments

NO SMOKING IN THE SPEAKER'S LOBBY

I had not known that the Speaker of the House had a separate lobby.

My my my.

From now on, there will be no smoking in Her lobby, thank you, very much.

After all, the Capitol is the center of our nation's democracy, says John Kirkwood, president and CEO of the American Lung Association.

Yeah, well, you just wait to see how democracy in action works when all those little mega-squats start having spitball contests when they can't get the cooperation they need to pass legislation.

Congressmen cooperate with noone -- unless they get promises to vote for earmarks -- yet these little oinkies will continue until somebody manages to get the rules changes.

In the meantime, there's great scurrying about.

It's hard to tell whether they're little rats or little pigs.

Can't tell by the smell. A feed lot is a feed lot and everybody tries to elbow their way up to the budgetary trough.

Just remember -- Congress only has a 16% approval rating.

They're going to have to do a whole lot of improving before the American people even start to think about approving of their antics.

And I was even gladder to see some of the outrageous mega-squats didn't automatically get re-elected. I sure hope that's a new trend!

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2:48 pm          Comments

HERE LITTLE PIGGIES!

The list of pork champions is maintained by that watchdog group called the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

Every month they name a big ole porking honcho. And last month that distinction (can't really call such fleecing of the taxpayers an honor) went to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for the parts he played in garnering some $275 million since 2000. That figure includes a tidy little million for the development of an American River Museum in Dubuque (2002) and $250,000 for the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo (2006).

Don't know what the Cattle Congress does. Maybe they sit around and have beef tastings. Or maybe they compare whether Merlot or Cabernets go better with Rib Eyes or Filets or Porterhouses.

Anyway, it's a congress so you can be sure there are meetings. And there's bound to be lots of beef and good vino when congress is about its serious business.

Just last year, the Iowanians garnered $72,197,000 in earmarks.

Oh, but wait. Senator Harkin says he doesn't mind that pork was renamed earmarks. He doesn't even call it earmark. Instead, he prefers to call it "Congressional directed spending."

As most of you know, I have been trying to nail down a real working definition of just exactly what pork is.

Guess what? The CAGW does that in its Congressional Pig Book Summary (which is available at its web site: www.cagw.org. You can also read about each monthly porker all the way back to January 2001 when President Clinton was named Porker of the Month.

So here's how pork/earmarks are defined:

-- requested by only one chamber of Congress;
-- not specifically authorized;
-- not competitively awarded;
-- not requested by the President;
-- greatly exceeds the President's budget request or the previous year's funding;
-- not the subject of congressional hearings; or
-- serves only a local or special interest.

The Pig Summary book is more than fifty pages long. I just made a quick read and found these little piggies:

$1,433,000 for curriculum development at Mississippi Valley State University
$250,000 for ethnobotany research in Alaska; also $75,000 for seafood waste research
$260,000 for grazing research in Wisconsin, and $30,000 for Great Lakes aquaculture
$545,000 for advanced computing research and education
$516,000 for Western Kentucky University
$4,500,000 for the Geographic Information System Center of Excellence at West Virginia University
$750,000 for multiflora rose control
$180,000 for turfgrass research (maybe West Virginia wants its grass to look like its neighbor's bluegrass
$500,000 for apple fire blight research in Michigan and New York
$273,000 for urban development -- Cornell University proposes to implement "Garden Mosaics" -- so far, since 2003, $620,000 has been appropriated for this project
$234,000 for the National Wild Turkey Foundation
$591,017,000 added in conference for eight additional C-130s
$22,000,000 for Maui Space Surveillance System (Huh? Maui now has its own space ships?)
$500,000 for the Arctic Winter Games in Alaska
$1,000,000 for crossroad cluster communities at Fort Knox -- what's that?
$8,270,000 for breath alcohol testing equipment -- are you saying we have a drinking problem?
$5,600,000 for the basic neuroscience and effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain -- given to the Ernest Gallo Clinic & Research Center at the University of California
$1,000,000 for competency-based distance education initiative with Western Governors University in Utah 

And that covers just little pieces of the first seventeen pages of the Pig Report. It goes on and on and on for another thirty-five pages.

We even have $13,500,000 earmarked for the International Fund for Ireland for cross-community projects like the Donegal Town Waterbus, the Chef Development Program and the World Toilet Summit.

$350,000 was added by Richard Durbin (D-Ill) for the Chicago Greenstreets Program -- included the design, installation, and maintenance of over 950 hanging baskets. Supposedly, this newly added feature overflows with splashes of vivid color and delicate foliage providing a welcoming touch to the streets of Chicago

$41,000,000 for the Byrd Honors Scholarships -- these scholarships are named after Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)

$2,000,000 for the Underground Railroad Program. Wait a minute -- how many quilts can you collect? And didn't the train stop running after the slaves were freed?

$450,000 for plantings on the eastern front of the Capitol. How nice. But doesn't the Park District or Dept. of Interior take care of the grounds? Why is the Legislative Branch putting this into its budget?

$6,800,000 for a physical fitness center at Ft. Hood -- there are already six fitness centers at Fort Hood -- but wait, this new one includes a coed sauna. Oooh. It also includes computerized cardiovascular equipment with TV access, three racquetball courts, an eight-lane 25 meter swimming pool, and other stuff

$3,500,000 for Auburn University in Alabama to develop high-efficiency free piston sterling converters

$1,000,000 for the Bring Back Broad Street initiative in Mobile, AL

$5,000,000 for the Industrial Outreach Service at Mississippi State University

$150,000 for the Wasilla (Alaska) Police Dept. for technology upgrades. Wasilla has an estimated population of 7,700 in 2004. Baltimore City, Maryland, received a $100,000 earmark for the same purpose and it has a population of more than 600,000

Now, nobody is saying that these projects aren't worthwhile.

But what is important, I think, is to get the expense of the projects out on the hearings floor and engage in some sort of debate about whether they are good, federal projects.

Many of the pork projects are isolated expenses for just one state. Why, for instance, should the taxpayers in Oklahoma pay for the technology upgrades of a police department in any other state?

I'm still mystified about the Maui space project. I'd love to see that grant application or budget request to justify the appropriation.

The piggy book is free to download and print. Read it and weep.

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2:33 pm          Comments

WHEN IS AN EASTER EGG HUNT LIKE THE NEW, IMPROVED ETHICS RULES OF THE 110TH CONGRESS?

Now, let's see. The new rules kind of hinted that the mega-squats weren't going to get all that free travel on corporate air yachts. (Which they look luxuriously comfy and good in photos). Maybe it's the white leather plumpy sofas and those little TV monitors that seem to be attached to the arm rests that make them look so inviting.
 
Then again, maybe it's because corporate jets are just waiting in their own little hangar out there near the runways. No need to go through screening or showing identification. Everybody already knows you -- you can bet your bottom dollar that's true.

Whatever -- mega-squats are supposed to be flying coach just like the rest of us. As least the representatives. Apparently the senators never heard of such a thing.

And then, a most unfortunate wrinkle hit the travel plans of the senator from Nevada -- former President Gerald Ford died.

Did the senator from Nevada and now head honcho over in the senate cancel his trip to pay respects to a former president? Or his widow?

Not!

All those meetings down in Peru would just be too difficult to reschedule, Reid says.

Right. Like any president of any country wouldn't understand attending a former president's funeral. That couldn't possibly be important enough to warrant a reschedule.

Nice try but don't give me that. Nothing is difficult for any of you guys. You have staff that take care of the zillion little details of delaying a trip a day or two so you can at least show up for a state funeral.

So let's see. The guest list on the little government paid trip to Peru's ancient city of Machu Picchu right after Christmas included several other senators -- and their spouses -- as well as staff. Other senators on board included Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Robert Bennett (R-Utah), and Ken Salazar (D-Colo).

One of the staffers did say, from a cell phone aboard a U.S. military plane, that all those trip schedules would be just too difficult to cancel.

Hey, wait a minute. I can't use a cell phone when I fly. Everybody in the cabin is told that there would be a gravest of consequences if people used cell phones. It could interfere with flight towers and make the plane fall like a torpedo out of the sky. Or something hyperbolic like that.

The senator did, however, try to reach Mrs. Ford to tell her what a great guy her husband was and he wanted to offer his deepest condolences. Well, they must not have been too deep as he did his robo-senator thing traipsing around the Peruvian ruins.

If you would like to take a virtual tour of what the illustrious senators might have seen, go to www.destination360.com/peru/machu-picchu.php

Hey, forget all those meetings. I would consider the trip -- not that I'd ever be asked, unless someone wanted to throw me over the edge of a cliff for not keeping my mouth shut -- just to see all the different colored orchids growing everywhere blooming profusely.
 
I'd go to Machu Picchu just for that. But I would first offer my condolences to Mrs. Ford in person. If I were a VIP senator, I could probably get that close.

And I wouldn't make up any wild stories about wanting to check out a security system of a place that is the poster child for lost cities in the Andes Alps.

Any city that takes ten days to get to by rugged rock trails ought to be pretty safe, in my book. Especially if the city is sitting on top of a little mountain.

But for some reason, the people abandoned their town of Machu Picchu just before the Spanish conquest. (I'll bet aliens came and took them off somewhere to settle new lands in the deserts of Nevada.)

It wasn't until 1911 when a Yale explorer -- Hiram Bingham -- found the city in the dense mountain lushness. 

Bingham apparently put it on a secret "Must See List" that exists to this very day.

Now, average ordinary tourists can reach Machu Picchu by flying from Lima, staying overnight in the hilltop city of Cuzco, then taking a train on up to the ruins. This may take a few hours. And be warned -- there are a lot of switchbacks.

Or, if you've arrived in coach class like the rule-following congresspersons and feeling a little intrepid, you can hike up one of the trails. This could take as much as ten days, depending on which path you take. Then you would definitely not be back in time for any funeral.

Kind of keep in mind that all this ethics reform and requirements about flying coach from now on, applies to the House of Representatives. So far, Aunt Nancy's reach doesn't get over to the senate chamber where a hundred little miniature presidents sit and pontificate all the livelong day.

For Quint and me, it would probably take a month to get up to the ruins. We've noticed in our travels that many of our hikes don't look so much like switchbacks as doublebacks because we see a lot of great touristy things more than once. We never knew that until we looked at our photos after one of our trips.

"Yep, stand over there, Quint. I'll get a picture of you coming around the other side of the rock," I say.

But never mind. If you're a very busy potentate senator who just wants to check the trip off his wife's list of "Places I've Been and Things I've Seen" you can just take an old helicopter ride on up to Machu Picchu.

The wives can then look at the blooming orchids and go "Ooh and Ahh" and stand near the precipice for really daring photos. This version of the trip is called the "Senatorial LOL Travel List" for travel trumpeters who are hoping the little taxpayers back in the U.S. will forget about trying to see if they ever reimburse some company for use of the corporate jets and helicopters (in about three years).

Got news for you -- the internet has arrived. It will bring a lot of transparency to many money places you'd hoped would get overlooked. Thanks, in part, to web sites like www.politicalmoneyline.com.  

You could say the internet is the Overlooked Committee because it took over when the Oversight Committees in Maybeville failed so miserably.

LOL!

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11:37 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

GREAT NEWS FOR ALL OF YOU WHO ARE SUPPORTING STEM CELL RESEARCH

Stem cell research is on the agenda for this Thursday in the House of Representatives, according to an article in Reuters.

Furthermore, the Representatives say they have enough votes to override a presidential veto.

It's a subject that has been hotly debated for quite some little time now. It became a campaign issue in this last election. Currently, federal law has tight constraints on using taxpayer money to pay for experiments using embryonic stem cells.

If the House does pass the bill, then it goes over to the Senate where it's also likely to pass it in the Senate chambers. Then it heads on over to the White House where President Bush has already said he would veto it.

Then it comes back to the House to see if they can override the veto.

As a thought, Quint says that many other countries do not allow embryonic stem cell research. So it isn't just the United States that fails to allow this. But those few countries that do allow stem cell research have presented no breakthroughs for curing diseases.

Keep in mind that there are currently 22 lines of embryos for research that have already been allowed for the last several years. There is ongoing research but so far no medical breakthroughs.

I can tell you this -- I am not an expert but I know that every baby that's born has embryonic stem cells in the umbilical cord -- and amniotic fluid presents new stem cells.

But I do know this: so far -- even with the old 22 lines -- scientists have not been able to take the stem cells and make them grow into the human tissue cells they hope for in order to achieve a medical breakthrough.

Quint has this suggestion: Apparently the amniotic fluid preserves very well -- so why not freeze some supply and if (or when) the baby grows into a person with a disease, then that person would have access to its own private reserve of stem cells within the fluid that was preserved?

And maybe by that time, research will have caught up with the clock.

Sort of like when the cosmic clock strikes the minute hand of destiny, then it's time.

You know that Quint and I will keep these discussions very much alive.

You should just hear some of our dinner conversations!

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7:18 pm          Comments

IT QUACKED LIKE AN EARMARK, WALKED LIKE AN EARMARK ...

And it added up to better than $1 billion according to an article I read at www.thehill.com.  Deny it, he will, but Senator Harry Reid, who is now known as Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev), had some money earmarked for his favorite state of Nevada.

It was for a water project. Some of the water was going to snake its way by pipeline into glitzy Las Vegas, a city that's always thirsty -- what with faux Venice, and faux waterfalls, and faux faux, and zillions of people taking showers every day out in the desert. In hotels, of course.

And then, the water gets cloudy, so to speak.

The big project that was a hoped-for-soon-to-be-funded-by-earmark under the last tail end of the 109th Congress somehow got delayed. It had to do with the Southern Nevada Water Authority and a White Pine lands bill.

Then White Pines withdrew its support for the project.

Ahem! What are you doing there, fellows?

Goodbye money. The new regime has landed. No more earmarks unless the governator mega-squats put their names on them.

Oh, but wait a second. This doesn't have much to do with preserving pristine wilderness where all those little slithery things drag their fangs around, does it?

Didn't I just read somewhere that Harry Reid's son Rory is board chairman of Clark County?

Isn't that where Las Vegas is located?

Just wondering.

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5:36 pm          Comments

THIS WOULD BE PRIOR TO THE GREAT AND WONDERFUL PRE-ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT OF THINGS TO COME

All right, everybody. Especially if your name starts off with Mr. Paparazzi -- listen up.

You have made the Prince very angry.

Not Charles.

No, this is straight from the Prince whom you claim to adore -- you know, the son of Her!

And you'd better stop calling her Kate. She's already made it quite amply well known that henceforth she prefers to be called by her real name, Catherine.

That goes better with Queen. Kate is so, well, ordinary. So quit it.

Now, as far as your hanging around in front of her London flat like a bunch of buzzards ready to pounce the moment she tries to make it out to her car at the curb, just please back up a bit.

From what I've been able to see, you have some pretty expensive telephoto thingeys on your camera so there is no reason on the good earth that you should be so close that you get a whiff of her shower soap fragrance.

Enough already!

CBS News has reported that News International is not going to publish paparazzi pictures anymore in any of its publications. That includes the Times, the Sun and the News of the World.

So you're just being unelegantly trashy about the whole thing. I'm guessing you're from those pulpy things -- newspaper wanabee types.

In the meantime, show a little style and grace and leave my darling Catherine alone.

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5:05 pm          Comments

WILL SOMEONE PULEEEZE START THE CONGRESSIONAL ENGINES?

On the 110th Congress, that is.

They've been sworn in a week now. Well, almost a week.

Looks like they're going to proceed to commence to begin with legislation that would require ALL shipping containers coming into the U.S. ports be searched.

I dunno about that. I seem to remember from statistics courses that if you randomly select every fifth item, you get the same effectiveness as if you had selected each and every item.

But for fear of sounding like I'd be minimizing security, I'll just keep my mouth shut -- as amazing as that may seem.

For now.

Some of the six monumentous tasks will require joint action with the House and the Senate. And since neither the House nor the Senate can overrule a presidential veto right now, it's time for all the politicians to play nice.

What the House did do was change the rule that says they can now raise taxes with a simple majority (50-50 +1), not the previously required super majority (2/3 +1).

Here we go, folks.

Aunt Nancy, the mayor of Maybeville, says that she is absolutely not in favor of a tax increase.

But what is most likely going to happen is over in the Social Security corner of the room. Some speculation exists that the House of Representatives is poised to raise the threshold of social security to a $150,000 minimum. And then they'll turn around and increase (slightly) social security benefits to a zillion seniors. Then everybody will be happy.

Sort of.

Except for the worker class who find out next year that when they get to $90,000 they will still be paying FICA for a long, long time. Since the worker drones don't necessarily read the news from Capitol Hill, they'll be really really surprised when they're expecting the FICA to drop off somewhere along about the end of September or October.

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1:43 pm          Comments

Monday, January 8, 2007

THE 5-DAY WORKWEEK HASN'T STARTED YET IN MAYBEVILLE!

Remember the last election? The one where the Democrats blistered the Republicans at the polls -- for a lot of reasons.

But one of the things the Democrats said had to absolutely stop right now was this business of Congress not working a 5 days workweek.

Steny H. Hoyer said back then -- that he expected (as House Majority Leader) to round up all the mega-squats and get them into the Chamber for -- well, the business of the American people.

And Aunt Nancy, the Mayor of Maybeville, outlined a most ambitious plan of some eight proposals that she plans to get passed during the first 100 legislative hours.

Uh, has the clock started ticking yet? I don't think so. And they've been sworn in quite a little while.

So far, the press release from Hoyers office says -- about today -- The House is not in session.

Now, there are all sorts of rumors running around on two-legs -- hithering and thithering all around the town.

Could it possibly be a championship football game between the Ohio Buckeyes and the Florida Gators. That must be a really big hotsytotsy game, let me tell you.

Otherwise, you just know all those hard-working politicians would much rather be in the House Chambers where they're paid to be instead of going to some old drudgerous football game between two highly sparked rivals!

But cheer up -- the House will be back in session tomorrow.

And next Monday will be a holiday to commemorate the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don't know about the 22nd and 29th of January. Might just be other good reasons why Congress won't be in session. In that event, January would be a month of 4-day workweeks.

Did anything change? Have I missed something so obvious that I failed to wrap my little pea brain around this momentous event!

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3:25 pm          Comments

HERE'S YOUR BOX OFFICE MOJO FOR THE WEEKEND

Can you believe that Night at the Museum stayed in first place for the third weekend in a row with gross sales of $24 million for this weekend?

The Pursuit of Happyness stayed in second place with $13 million -- not bad for the fourth weekend of its release.

And it looks like Children of Men came in third for its second weekend out there. It took in $10.2 million.

Apocalypto fell to 18th place (last weekend it was in 14th place) with $1.6 million.

And oh my goodness -- where is Borat? Looks like he fell to 27th place with weekend ticket sales of $460,000.

That's almost neck and neck with Pitt's Babel. Brad beat out Borat with the weekend ticket take of $464,000.

Remember, you can get all kinds of information from www.boxofficemjor.com, including reviews, and as much information as you could possibly want about all the movies that are out there.

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2:59 pm          Comments

MY TULIPS AND DAFFODILS WILL BE RUINED IF IT DOESN'T GET COLD SOON!

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd actually want colder weather -- well, just a little colder.

We managed to find a window of opportunity to head back to Effingham to check things out. Lo and behold, we have daffodils coming up. Not just peeking out of their beds, but up waving at the sky 3 inch green stalks.

Fortunately not all 50+ little cuties, but at least a half dozen or so. I was so looking forward to this particular variety -- it has pink centers, not the usual yellow variety.

The good news is that the weather is going to sink back down into the twenties tonight and some snow ought to cover the flower beds again. Hopefully it won't warm up again until maybe mid-March. Then the daffodils and tulips can come on out from under their dirt blankets. Then they can stay up and bloom gloriously.

We made the three hour trip back from Effingham without incident. We did stop at Denny's in Tuscola where Quint got his Grand Slam. He's happy now. Got lots of ham to chow down on. Then shopping at the Tanger Outlet Mall. Then back on I-57 for a sunny trip north.

I have to tell you, though, that the Puddle Police has been busy noticing all that standing water in the cornfields. Actually it's a good thing. There needs to be plenty of water in the ground table so that the corn next summer will be plump and juicy -- just the way we like it.

So even though the Corn Police is off duty until planting season in the spring, we will be watching the puddles carefully.

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2:49 pm          Comments

Saturday, January 6, 2007

THE VOTE WAS 233 IN FAVOR OF PELOSI AND 202 AGAINST

For all her adamance about bipartisanship, the vote to elect her lined up along party lines. In fact, it was exactly on party lines: 233-202. It was an hour-long roll call vote. I'm guessing that it took that long to do the roll call because she probably didn't get a majority right off the bat.

The House was busy in its first few days -- not just electing Aunt Nancy, as Mayor of Maybeville, but also a new set of ethics rules. For instance, members of congress can't ride around in corporate jets anymore. And they're not supposed to accept any gifts from lobbyists either.

They also said they want honorable whosiwhatsits to be able to get their pictures on postage stamps.

And the Boise team got a huge bunch of atta boys for winning the Fiesta Bowl.

Just a reminder: Aunt Nancy pledged to the American people that she would get some 8 pieces of legistlation passed during the first 100 (legislative) hours of the 110th Congress.

Don't confuse that with the 100 resolutions they passed -- many of which were passed along to committees where they will die a natural death if noone remembers to Lazarus them.

According to a Rasmussen poll, only 16% of the likely voters who were polled believe that Congress is in touch with the American people.

As far as Aunt Nancy is concerned, depending on which poll you look at, her approval rating is anywhere from 30% to 45%.

It depends on whether you ask women or men -- or Democrats or Republicans -- or voters or non-voters.

If you have an interest in things that look like polls, you can go to http://www.rasmussenreports.com

If you want to see all the horrifically labored resolutions that get to the floor of the House, go to http://clerk.house.gov or or www.house.gov

11:42 am          Comments

IT'S GONNA HAPPEN! PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE MIDDLETON WILL ENJOY A ROYAL BETROTHAL BEFORE MUCH LONGER

HRG -- Her Royal Girlfriendness -- and Prince William are becoming quite the public couple. And apparently the photographers just could gobble her up.

Papparazzi, however, never did do a very good job and respecting anybody's safe distance so when Himself and Herself left a little nightclub the other night, his Royal Guards call for reinforcements. Suddenly two big vans full of more cops came 'round the corner.

Not only that, but now she's got protection when she goes to work. She's an accessories buyer for a chain of stores called Jigsaw. Ah, another super shopper will enter the family.

How nice.

I was trying to find HRG Catherine in the Christmas festivities with QE2, but she wasn't listed as present when the Queen went to church on Christmas in Sandringham, Norfolk.

I did learn from The Internet Forum that she was offered an invitation by QE2 to attend Christmas festivities at the Scotch place but a friend of hers is quoted in The Daily Mail as saying, "Kate would love to be with William on Christmas Day, and it was a huge honour for her to be invited, but she is very close to her family and wants to share Christmas with them."

So take that, Madam Queen -- and besides, I'm going to get a queenship of my own some day. So there.

So what did Kate give Wills? You're not going to believe this, but the rumours circulating about the island over there says she painted a nudie of him which he plans to hang in his bedroom. But that was for his 24th birthday, according to a wombat story. One can only imagine what he might have gotten for Christmas.

Supposedly, he's delighted. And QE2 thinks it's raunchy. After all, Kate and Wills aren't supposed to -- well -- know each other in that way.

For shame! For all the disgusting shame of it!

How could you do this, Kate?

Actually that naked portrait story is just gossip. We don't really know if it's totally true.  But just to be on the safe side, I'm not going back to London for many years. I'd probably be arrested on the spot for even saying the words out loud.

Hey, they're just a couple of blue blooded kids having some fun in the back corridors of the palace. In a galaxy far far away.

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10:37 am          Comments

Friday, January 5, 2007

U.S. ECONOMY STILL ROARING STRONG -- ADDING NEW JOBS EVERY MONTH

In December 2006, the new jobs added came to a very healthy un-puny 167,000!

So for the entire year of 2006, the economy added 1.8 million new jobs. Most of these jobs were in the business and service sectors.

The manufacturing section lost 12,000 jobs -- the factory draw just isn't there so much anymore.

Another section that lost jobs was the goods-producting section. It lost 11,000 jobs. Then the construction workers took a layoff for 3,000 workers in December.

I'm always curious about what that means for the kiddos of today because I see quite a few of them in counseling. When I ask them what they want to be when they grow up, they say things like basketball star, NFL player, video game maker, and other one-in-a-million waiting-to-be-discovered ways to make a living.

Okay, so they're only twelve and thirteen year olds and still have time to iron out the wrinkles in some of those dreams of fame and fortune. Reality checks will take care of some of that wistfulness.

As for the job losses in the sectors mentioned above, the big concern among American workers is all those jobs going overseas.

Just for comparison purposes, consider that the U.S. annual (at a federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour) salary is $10,712. We're probably not ever going to see American workers making strings of Christmas tree lights when they can be made cheaper in China where the average annual pay comes to $3,004.

Keep in mind that there are 2,000 work hours in a year, so the average hourly pay for the United States worker is $5.35, while in China, it is $1.50. That equals cheap Christmas tree lights.

Would you be willing to up the $3.99 you paid at Walgreens for the lights to $14.23 per strand for the "made in America" string of lights?

But wait -- we can get the Christmas lights even cheaper if we order them from Thailand where the annual salary is $1,170 -- or $.58 an hour for their minimum wage. That would mean one strand of lights now would cost $922.41!

Just in case you might be wondering, the annual wage in the United Kingdom is at $19,098. Switzerland's annual wage is $28,911. Australia is at $20,315. And our old friend Borat, who claims to hail from Kazakhstan, would make $831 US. That compares to their poor neighbros in Azerbaijan who make $381 a year.

In part, many of the factory jobs are going overseas because the cheaper goods are sold in this country! There is a reason why people shop at the big box stores -- and it has everything to do with cheap stuff.

If you are getting tired of all the jobs going overseas, just buy only stuff that's made in America. That is, if you can find what you're looking for.

Truth of the matter is, if we all quit buying the cheap stuff that's made overseas, the market would evaporate and only the Made In American items would be left. Sure, we'd pay more -- a lot more -- but at least the jobs would come back to the U.S.

Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen.

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11:54 am          Comments

SO YOU'RE THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN AMERICA! ENOUGH ALREADY, AUNT NANCY. NOW GET TO WORK!

Having power is one thing. Being gracious about it is something entirely different. Somehow that photo of Aunt Nancy holding a whip and reminding everybody (in the camera audience) that she is so powerful doesn't quite do it for me.

Isn't that a bit like crowing?

I will give her the moments of history that she has carved out for herself. She most certainly deserves some recognition for besting all those mega-squats who truly wanted the job she has.

But Nancy Pelosi managed to rise to the top of the heap.

I'm just going to stand over here in the quiet and watch to see what happens.

I have no doubt that ethics rules and reforms will pass the House handily.

I also have no doubt that there will be mountains of violations. It will come in the form of "Oops, my staff forgot to turn in that form. Shame on me. Sorry."

Somehow the lobbyists will figure out a way to spend more than a hundred dollars a year on lunches and goodies for the mega-squats.

The term fair market value may just have to go out the window. That could happen if definitions get re-calibrated to, say, a beef luncheon. That would be worth $.99. Wouldn't matter if it were a filet or a hamburger.

$1.49 would be the supersized version. That would include fries and a drink. Or -- a double-baked potatoe and a glass of really yummy vintage red wine. And not that stuff that comes in a box either.

I can just hear it now as these minnions get back to their offices, "Boy, that was the best cheeseburger I ever ate. It was so tender I could have cut it with a butter knife. I had no idea that restaurant even had hamburgers on the menu!" And someone else would pipe in with, "And how about those potatoes! The flavor was incredible. Cheesy-fries are my favorite!"

And so goes the $1.49 filet with a side of au gratin potatoes.

Anybody can put a fence of new rules up. But who is going to ride the range and look for breaches in the rules?

Who's going to do that? Surely not the people who stand to gain! We know that when it comes to politics, self-policing doesn't work.

In a country where politicians are ranked right up there with used car salesmen, the House Morals and Ethics Committee can't find anybody but beef eaters with their hands out.

Good luck anyway. I hope it works. I have faith in people. Some people. I have to keep telling myself, "There are some good people -- even in Maybeville."

But then, I've always been an eternal optimist.

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8:56 am          Comments

Thursday, January 4, 2007

HERE'S THE 100-HOUR (LEGISLATIVE HOURS, THAT IS) PLAN FOR THE NEW AMERICA:

1. Clean up the House ethics rules.

2. Put the "pay as you go" budget rules back in place.

3. Adopt the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

4. Raise the federal minimum wage.

5. Promote embryonic stem cell research.

6. Negotiate lower Medicare drug prices

7. Reduce student loan interest rates

8. Repeal tax breaks for energy companies

Let's see now. The work week in Maybeville is very much different from what you and I are expected to put in.

They certainly don't work five days a week, or eight hours a day.

In fact, if they get to work on Tuesday and leave either late Thurday or early Friday, it might just take them until the middle of the summer before they get to their 100 legislative hours.

Oh, you thought that Aunt Nancy meant the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress? No no no no. That might have been what she said, but it clearly isn't what she meant.

For sure, they can get the first two items finished pretty quickly. Those require internal rule changes, something that Congress has the power to do right now.

Everything from #3 down to the end of the list will require both the Senate's approval and President Bush's as well.

Get ready for the ride. This is going to be an interesting couple of years. Then we get to vote for the 111th Congress.

Tuck this list away somewhere. Use it to keep score.

I'll help you keep track of how our illustrious elected officials/mega-squats are doing.

To be perfectly truthful, I wish them success. Mainly because they are just congress people. We -- you and I -- are the real government. The mega-squats are just sitting up there on Capitol Hill spewing forth all their self-absorbed pontifications.

When it comes to government, these United States belong to us -- you and me! We only let them sit up there at our pleasure. And we can bring them back down the steps if they don't do their jobs. Just remember that!

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9:02 am          Comments

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

ELEPHANT STORY FROM MY COUSIN ALICE STUBBE

In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephone standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed, so Mbembe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.

Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephone trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.

Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years late, Mbembe was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Mbembe's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

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1:44 pm          Comments

WERE THESE SUBJECTS COVERED IN DRIVERS ED?

Quint and I are out on the expressways quite a bit. We continue to be amazed at driving habits that are illegal -- both in town and out on the road. We have come to the conclusion that maybe some of these habits are just not covered in drivers ed anymore.

Two hundred years ago when we were young, our kids went through drivers ed. And we were always so proud of how safe they were behind the wheel.

Driver laws are state laws -- though some laws are just universal. It doesn't matter where you're driving, the thinking is you ought to know better.

For instance, in Delaware there's such a law as the "move over" law. This law is meant to protect emergency workers.

It's not the same as "move to the right" law that requires you to give the right-of-way to emergency vehicles. You're actually supposed to come to a stop when you see an ambulance, fire truck, or squad car trying to get through traffic.

The "move over" law, however, means that you have to give the emergency workers a lot of extra space -- when they're on the side of the road and flashing their lights.

If you can't give the emergency workers the distance of a full lane, then you have to slow down significantly. "Significantly" does not mean slowing down from 90 mph to 80 mph, or even 70 mph.

In fact, just to be on the safe side, I would say "significantly" is defined by the officer who could pull you over and give you a ticket. He gets to decide if you have slowed down signficantly enough.

Crossing a double yellow line is also illegal. It doesn't matter if you do it all the time. You could get a ticket.

Same goes for driving in what I call fake islands. The road construction companies didn't build in enough money to actually put raised curbs where the yellow diagonal lines are. If you're driving in one of those approaches, you could get a ticket. Won't do you any good to shrug your shoulders and say, "I had no idea that was illegal."

The officer will just hand you your ticket and say, "Here's your sign."

Then your insurance premiums go up.

So you pay a ticket of, say $90 or so. Then the ticket eventually gets put on your driving record and your rate goes up.

One patient of mine actually had her insurance rate go up by about a hundred a month -- for a year. She was driving on those diagonal yellow lines and blew a traffic light. It was yellow before she entered the intersection, which is another no-no that traffic policemen don't like at all.

The other thing is about speeding. No speed above 70 mph is safe on the highway. If you just have this irresistible urge to open up your car, then move to a state where it's legal to put your life in jeopardy every time you get behind the wheel.

Yes, there are some states. Montana comes to mind. But it's during daylight hours and not on rainy or snowy days.

But on an expressway? You put your life in peril, not to mention the innocents who travel in the lane next to you.

Be safe!

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11:40 am          Comments

"NOT EVEN POVERTY COULD DIM THEIR LIGHT," SAYS OPRAH

Oprah was in South Africa to open her $40 million school for disadvantaged girls near Johannesburg.

Having come from poverty herself, Oprah has remained sensitive to the needs of impoverished people even as she became more and more successful.

Many of the young ladies are orphaned -- having lost parents to AIDS. They're often left to fend for themselves, as best as they can. But they couldn't go to school without a uniform.

Oprah more than generously stepped up to the plate and opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. She told USA Today, "I wanted to give this opportunity to girls who had a light so bright that not even poverty could dim the light."

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9:08 am          Comments

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

THE ISLAM RADICALS NO LONGER CONTROL SOMALIA

Here's something else non-news readers need to know: The Ethiopians have been successful in running the al-Quaeda extremists out of power in Somalia. Now the regular, traditional Islam government can get back to the work of running their country.

And the radicals?

I think they ran over the hill.

Some left in boats.

Three of the guys heading out to somewhere in boats are very much wanted by the United States for bombings of a U.S. embassy a few years ago.

Remember that embassies in foreign countries are sovereign territories that belong to the country they represent. Bombing an embassy would be akin to walking up to our White House and throwing a bomb inside.

All right, so they want to do that too. But they'd be caught immediately so they take the chicken's way out -- they walk down the block and throw a bomb over the fence. Then they run away and hide. Back to their spider holes or wherever they live. Probably snake pits. Or maybe chicken coops.

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10:49 am          Comments

IRAN'S CAPTAIN MARMALADE SAYS HE'S GOING TO HUMILIATE U.S.

It's our fault -- supposedly -- at least according to Capt. Marmalade -- that the UN Security Council voted -- all 12 members -- to impose sanctions on Iran.

It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Iran has been told and told and told that having uranium power for energy is one thing -- using uranium to make a big fat bomb is something that the world powers wouldn't tolerate.

It hasn't been all that long ago when this man said that the United States did not have a single friend-country in all the world.

Out of the other side of his mouth, he is now saying that the United States was the influential power in the passage of the United Nations resolution that imposes sanction on the country that used to be called Persia -- Iran.

Now he says he's going to humiliate the United States. He says Iran knows how, he threatens. Iran has humiliated the United States before.

I'm guessing he's talking about the long siege of hostages that were taken when the Iranians overran the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

So even if you don't read the news, you ought to get just a smidgin' of daily headlines so you know what's going on in the world.

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10:41 am          Comments

TODAY IS A FEDERAL HOLIDAY AS WE REMEMBER GERALD R. FORD

The holiday is for banks, federal government offices like the post office, and schools.

So if you're wondering -- along about 11:00 a.m. -- why your mail hasn't arrived, this is why.

Former President Gerald R. Ford's funeral is at the National Cathedral this morning, then he will be taken to Michigan on Wednesday where he will be interred at his presidential library.

We have been watching the events surrounding the lying-in-state at the Capitol Rotunda, and the placing of wreaths as tributes and to my view, the real trooper here is his widow Betty Ford.

That poor lady. What she has endured in this past week. Getting through one service is hard enough for a widow, but there have been several, starting with the prayer service at their home church in California last week.

Then the national funeral this morning. And she still isn't done yet!

On to Michigan tomorrow.

That will be the most difficult, I would think. All these other events still left her with him. But on Wednesday, when he is interred, he will finally be taken from her grasp. I think that would be the hardest part.

But then, I'm only thinking of all the loved ones that Quint and I have buried. It's so hard to leave them behind and go on to somewhere else without our loved ones.

Our prayers are with Mrs. Betty Ford. What a lesson in endurance!

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9:21 am          Comments

HERE'S THE BOX OFFICE TALLY FROM BOXOFFICEMOJO.COM

Top movie draw again this week was Night at the Museum, taking in $46,700,000 for its second week. That brings the movie up to over $125,000,000 gross.

In second spot was Will Smith's The Pursuit of Happyness, in its third week with hefty ticket sales of $24,700,000, bringing it to a total of $103,746,000.

And in third place came Dreamgirls with $18,672,000 for its fifth week, for a total gross of $41,637,000.

Rocky Balboa fell to 6th place in its second week, with sales of $13,660,000. That brings the movie sales total to $51,132,000.

And Borat dropped to 19th place with sales of $1,025,000, bringing it to a total of $126,055,000. Not bad for a picture with an $18,000,000 budget. Guess we won't have to have a cookie sale for Kazakhstan.

Source: www.boxofficemojo.com
 

9:08 am          Comments


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We welcome July readers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and United States

This video is the most beautiful depiction of what happens in the womb when the baby is developing and growing. The video was developed by Yale professor Alexander Tsiaras. Just beautiful. Warning, though. Some of the images are graphic. But nothing gross. It is just a reminder to me that life is a beautiful baby and life is absolutely precious.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70&feature=player_embedded#!

July 29, 2012

Update on Quint:
He is making an incredible recovery. The skin cancer is essentially gone. When we met with the surgeon for a post-op appointment on Friday, we learned that the biopsy of the frozen section shows all the cancer was removed. The incision is healing nicely. It's about a 6" incision down the side of his face in front of the left ear. The doctor put so many stitches in that any scar is hardly visible. Thanks to all for prayers you have been lifting up for his health. The surgeon says there are dissolving stitches in three levels of tissue. We also met with our oncologist last week and he says the lymphocitic/leukemia will continue to make Quint vulnerable to skin cancers. Please keep him in your prayers so that all his cancers, and mine as well, will remain in remission.

I received the following about a child's reason for why he believes in God from our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita, KS:

Little Boy's Explanation of God

                                He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment,

                                to 'explain God.'

                                I wonder if any of us

                                could have done as well? 

                                                          

                                'One of God's main jobs is making people.

                                He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there
will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I
think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable
time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'

                                'God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some
people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to
the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in
his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'

                                'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you
shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you
couldn't have.'

                                'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista [California]. At least
there aren't any who come to our church.'

                                'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles
and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him
preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his
father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.'

                                'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him
he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps
his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of
and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more
important.'

                                'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of
them is on duty all the time.'

                                'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to
make happy, it's God!

                                Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And
besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach untilnoon anyway.'

                                'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your
parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when
you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big
kids.'

                                'But. . .you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can
take me back anytime he pleases.

                                And...that's why I believe in God.'

July 13, 2012

Quint is recuperating from surgery on July 11, 2012. Surgeon removed a growth on left cheek that turned out to be squamous cell cancer. Prognosis is good because doctor says he got good margins. Please continue to pray for him. He has a 4" incision on left cheek from about the corner of his eye all the way down to jawbone. Looks worse than it is.

In another matter, this link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2172551/Art-genius-Nine-year-old-painter-tipped-greatness-buyers-world-snap-work.html shows some incredible artwork that a young, 9-year old in England, artist has painted and his work is beginning to sell handsomely.



July 1, 2012

I'm a Lutheran and I sure wish the Lutheran Church had authored this video or one like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd

No matter, it's a message that needs saying so hats off to the Catholic church!

On another subject, the temperature here in Middle Illinois at 6 p.m. as 102.8 degrees. That's really hot.

Stay safe out there. If you do not have air conditioning, or if your AC goes out in this heat, sit in a tub of cool water. It will do wonders pulling heat out of your body. And let's remember in prayers all those folks on the eastern seaboard who don't have electricity. They don't even have fans to plug in.

Kind of reminds me of going to church when I was a kid. Oh, was that hot. And remember those hand fans that funeral homes gave out free to churches? We wore ours out.

June 24, 2012

The heat is the story here in the Midwest part of the United States. I can't tell you when the last time there was rain, but the corn stalks are starting to look pretty wilted. The word "parched" comes to mind. The beans don't look any better either.

So the big conclusion that some people have arrived at is that God is punishing the United States because so many people have turned away from Him?

Oh really?

Who said.

And how many?

These gloom and doomers pontificate about how we're all going to die and go to hell can't give any numbers. Can't offer any hope.

Well, folks, don't you believe it. God is a God of love. He wants all of us to be saved.

And to those people who think they can define the reasoning of God are being sacrilegious. They are talking when they should be listing to God.

My God is a God of love. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for our sins. Because of that, we are assured of salvation and life eternal.

But there are those who are going through these crises of faith. They're noisy. When God talks to you, listen to Him. It's that still, small voice inside you. And don't believe the naysayers who think they have he last word on what means and what God intends to do. They don't know. They just don't know.

Your faith is what will bring you closer to God. Let Him into your hearts and listen to Him.

June 6, 2012

We don't laugh enough. We are not light hearted enough. Way too serious. Oh, there are times when serious is good for you, but there are many more days when we just are not enjoying a good laugh.

So someone sent me a link to Mark Lowry. He's a Christian comedian and good for a real belly laugh, I can guarantee you.

Here's the link: http://jesus-loves-you.org/?p=6641

I'm going to You Tube and search for him and see if he's got other material. He's really funny.

May 15, 2012

Our U.S. Constitution is not flawed. It's not dead. It's not irrelevant!

Those who think it's out of touch with today's "modern thought" fail to realize that the U.S. Constitution is modernized each time the United States Supreme Court reviews a law or an incident and decides whether the rights of our citizens are abridged or impeached.

The language of the U.S. Constitution does, in fact, reside in a little book small enough to fit inside a man's jacket pocket or in a lady's handbag. However, volumes and volumes of interpretive material fills libraries. Interpretation by the sitting Justices keeps our Constitution up-to-date.

May 12, 2012

Our God is awesome! God controls the waters and the seas. Take a look at this video of the angry sea. http://www.dump.com/angryseas/

May 10, 2012

http://www.civilwar.org/maps/

I am in the process of researching the involvement and the role that the National Road (U.S. 40) played in military activities -- specifically troop movements. If you know of any such movements, please email me at jane@janereinheimer.com and put "National Road info" in the subject line. I'd be ever so grateful. If you do not want your name used, be sure to tell me. Otherwise, I'd like to share that you found the information. This is for a funding opportunity for Effingham County and it will focus on the role that the National Road has played in the significance of Effingham.



April 27, 2012

Well, that was a nice little rest.

Since I've last posted, I've fretted that frost would get my lovely irises. It didn't. Nor did the frost chip away at my roses. I have never had roses blooming in April before. They have exploded into full bloom. Bright red blooms against our white house. Wow!

And the irises are just as beautiful. I have some really deep purple irises, light lavender, some two-toned purple and white, bright yellow, a lighter lemon chiffon color, a pink iris and a peach colored one that is a double.

The spirea finally decided it would bloom too.

All in all, considering that I did absolutely nothing last year in the flower bed, it's amazing that my little troopers have done as well as they have. The irises apparently are no longer upset with me for snipping them back at the end of January and early February. Again in March when they started sending up things that looked like they'd bloom.

We've still had frost tucked in between 80 degree days but nothing serious enough to hurt my darling little flowers.

Quint and I are doing well. We continue to see our oncologist every three months and get blood work to check markers for cancer that might have decided to invade us again. So far, so good. Platelet counts are coming back to normal and we're working on our stamina.

I do have to take some medication for five years -- well, four years now -- that inhibits estrogen. It will keep breast cancer from recurring. Problem is, it makes the long bones in my legs and muscles in the thighs really ache. Nothing that can't be tolerated though. Compared to the benefits of what the medicine does for me, I'd say I came out the winner at this point.

Quint's lymphoma is still in remission too, so we're pretty health for the shape we're in.

And now I'm going to fix us a snack of yogurt, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas and walnuts. Then we're going to watch some spy thrillers on Netflix streaming.

Nice to be back and thank you for not giving up on me.

April 10, 2012

I am getting over the grandaddy of all colds. I expect to be better by morning, after having laid around all day today. Finally just gave it up and stayed in bed.

Until now, that is.

And you know how I love kids and their entrepreneural spirit. Well, here's a video of a young lad in east LA who build an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad's auto parts store. His name is Caine and he's 9 years old. It's just precious! http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/unplugged/nine-old-cardboard-arcade-launches-college-fund-182844242.html

Oh, and one other thing before I head back to my comfy easy chair. We have frost warnings for tonight. 30 degrees! My irises and roses are blooming. Wonder how that's going to set with them.

I just thought I'd mention something about all those spam emails and telemarketer calls you may be getting. Even if you're signed up for "do not call" lists, you still can get calls. Here's how. If you take part in an online voting request, or if you call to participate in a TV vote, you are setting up what is known as a "special relationship." Special relationships with a state allows any advertiser of that station of promo outfit to put you on their callers who are exempt from the "do not call" status.

If you live in Illinois and you get a telemarketer call, just tell the caller that Illinois is a "do not call" state and you do not want to be on their lists. They are required to hang up at that point. I've tried it and it works.

Also, here's a tip for getting rid of all those preapproved gimmicks that find their way into your mailbox. When I get the offers, the first thing I do is draw a big diagnonal line through the offer and write VOID on it. Then I stuff the document back into the self-addressed postage paid envelope that they provide. The advertisers are going to stop sending you stuff pretty quick rather than pay postage twice.

April 5, 2012

It's Maundy Thursday - the first part of the Easter trilogy.

Maundy Thursday was the night when Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples and commemorated the event that we've followed in the Lutheran Church for ages since that time.

When I was confirmed on Palm Sunday many years ago, Maundy Thursday was the first opportunity I was given as a new confirmant to take my first communion. It was an awesome experience then, and it continues to be every chance I get.

I hope that it is the same for you as you draw near to the Easter story.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Part 2 with the significance of Christ dying on the cross for our sins.

And then, of course, there's Easter Sunday when we celebrate Christ's resurrection.

Sin and death no longer have a hold on us because Christ died for our sins.

April 4, 2012

Ready to watch a miracle? Here's a video showing a woman in an SUV sinking. She couldn't swim. The SUV sank. But the miracle is not that she was somehow pulled from the SUV but the after-story: http://salesianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/woman-drowning-in-her-suv-is.html --

May the blessings of Easter catch you up in the miracles going around you every day. Life is a miracle. God brings miracles to us today just as He did thousands of years ago when Jesus died and rose again. I pray that you will get caught up in the miracle of the Easter story all over again. Christ died for our sins and rose again, and because He rose again, we have eternal life guaranteed to us by our Heavenly Father.

April 2, 2012

Want to know what video of a couple of famous dancers has gotten more than 118 million hits? None other than the big routine from Dirty Dancing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmILPAcRQo&feature=related

Another trivia question that some of you may know the answer to has to do with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's failure at sea. April 15 is the date of this tragedy. If you thought most of the folks on board perished in the icy waters, you'll be surprised to learn that only half died. Well, maybe "only" is not a good word. One would be too many on a ship that was touted as unsinkable. There were 2,223 passengers and crew. 1,517 died. A little more than half.

April 1, 2012

If you haven't heard this song by the Barn Again Gang -- On My Father's side -- am sure you'll enjoy it. And thanks to you, Joyce from Frankfort, IL for sending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ddoyfn6g4

And here's Kaitlyn Maher, a 4-year old, singing in America's Got Talent. Mind you, she's had 26,585,501 hits on her debut on the national stage. She is absolutely adorable! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwAbtizFCzo&feature=related

Kaitlyn Maher again, this time singing Ave Maria - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR0AXNtwqZE&feature=related

And she got to sing for President and First Lady Laura Bush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpt_UU96EG8&feature=related

Here she is singing the National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhD9kKb3hSM&feature=related



I have not ever heard the story about the "Praying Hands" so I am especially thankful to Cody in Warrensburg, MO for sending Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with
eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob,
the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost
eighteen hours a day at his tradeand any other paying chore he could find in the
neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and
Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew
full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them
to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally
worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby
mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.
Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he
would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and
went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his
brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's
etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his
professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees
for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive
dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and
memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored
position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the
years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing
words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you
can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream,and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat,
tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while
he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no....no ..no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long
table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek,
he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look
... Look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every
finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from
arthritis so badly In my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your
toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.
No, brother ....for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful
portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, water colors, charcoals, woodcuts, and
copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great
that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works.
More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction
hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer
painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers
stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire
world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed
his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

March 30, 2012

I have to share with you that the operators of this web site have become increasingly frustration to work with. The way I see it, I have two choices: (1) shut down the site altogether and discontinue the blogs, or (2) find a site that is more responsive to what I want from a web site.

In the meantime, one of the questions that Jesus asked is #80 -- If you do not believe Moses' writings, how will you believe me? (John 5:47)

Old Testament writings often come under fire as being "irrelevant" or "out of date" or just "too old."

All of those excuses are flawed, in my view.

In the first place, the Word of God is eternal.

Because the Word is eternal, it transcends time and space.

For that reason, when you read the Bible, the breath of God is still on the paper; still on the words. The Bible is the Word of God. It will never get "too old" or "out of date."

Get into the Word. Absorb it; take it in. If you find any challenge whatsoever about understanding what some passages mean, then the Counselor will be sent to you, just for the asking. Just pray that Jesus will send you His Counselor to assist you in your readings.

Blessings to you in your spiritual journey through the Word of God.

March 27, 2012

Here is one of the most precious tapes I've ever heard of a child: http://www.maniacworld.com/stay-calm-dad.html From my friend Shirley in Arizona. It's just precious!

This is a video I found on my own. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rtt-TmReaw&feature=related I love the innocence of this little girl. I pray that she will hold onto her dreams all her life and never let anyone snatch them away from her.

God keeps the dreams of children in his right hand pocket. And woe be to those who steal the dreams of a child.

Today I am going to discuss Question #66 from Luke 18:7 -- Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?

In the first place, I consider myself one of God's chosen ones because I claim the inheritance of being a child of God.

And how did I get to be a child of God? Simple. I believe that Jesus Christ, God's only Son, died for my sins and offered me salvation. By doing this, He names says that I share in the inheritance of God's richest blessings.

And you most certainly can enjoy this same inheritance and become a Child of God by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins too.

It's just that simple. You have only to believe.

This is my right, in God's own words. He says: Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? I believe that because I know that God does not lie. He's good for His promises and when He says He's going to secure my rights, what do I have to fear?

And do I call out to God day and night? Yes. In my car when I head out to work. I pray that some idiot does not plow into me head-on. I pray that I don't get tee-boned by someone running a red light or a stop sign.

I pray that when I enter that miraculous place of empty thoughts of what seems to be unconsciousness, that the veil will be lifted in the morning and I will re-awaken to a new day. Sleep itself is a miracle. We fall into a mindless abyss every night and awaken refreshed to a new day. Is that a miracle or what? How does God do that?

I remember reading or hearing this "what if" thought that when you awaken in the morning, what if the only things you had in your life were the things you thanked God for yesterday! Kind of put a new perspective on things for me. Instead of just nagging and nagging -- which I can be pretty good at -- for things I think I want, or things I think I need -- I stop every day and thank God for what He gives me. The gifts are enormous and I only get them because He is a gracious God. I certainly deserve nothing.

But all day and all night I talk to God. We have an ongoing conversation. Help me with this, please. Oh, and thank you for that. Or how about all those problems that you just can't seem to solve. Then He says, "I can help you with that." Or, after the problem is solved and I nod a quiet thank you, He says "All you had to do was ask."

God is my friend. This King of the Universe took notice of me when I was about four years old. That's when I started talking to Him in my head. I knew it was God because I learned about Him in Sunday School. My Sunday School teacher told me I could just talk to God simply like he was an ordinary person. I took her at her word and have never thought of God as anything but.

Even though I know for sure, now that I have a few more years on me, that God is nothing ordinary at all. But I also know that He is never too busy to secure my rights as one of His chosen ones.

Enjoy your day and rest easy in your sleep, dear friends. God is watching out for you.


March 26, 2012

Question #32 that Jesus asked was, "Could you not watch for me one brief hour?" -- Matt. 26:40

There are lots and lots of ways to travel through the Lenten season on the way to Calvary. And the reasons for doing things differently are many and varied.

People offer up the thought that they can worship anywhere. They feel just as close to God, they say, when they are listening to a beautiful piece of music, or walking through the woods in the late afternoon.

Those things are true.

But it seems to me that if you want to go down that path to Calvary, you ought to do it the way that Jesus wants you to do it. Not the way you think, in your not-so-infinite pseudo-wisdom of coming up with these cute little excuses. Cute, you think.

Truth is, Jesus wants you to go to your church, or your temple and watch with him there, in that place.

This question that Jesus asks from Matthew sounds like a plea to me. Couldn't you watch with me one hour?

Well, sure you could, if you thought it was important enough.

Quint and I go to Lenten services and the church is not even half full. Where is everybody? Working? Playing? Doing homework? Driving around? Out to dinner? Where are you? Those who couldn't come to this worshiping place to watch with Jesus one hour.

What if I told you that I had learned that Jesus was going to make one of those rare earthly appearances for one week only. He was actually going to come to church because He wanted to talk to me.

I'd move heaven and earth to get there on time. I want to meet this man while He's still alive. You bet I'd watch with him an hour. In fact, I'll stay up all night if he stuck around to talk to me.

And talks to me He does. When I'm sitting in that pew, I can almost feel his eyes burning a hole in my skin. Kind of at the back of my neck. I can almost feel his hand on my shoulder while he bends around to look at me and whispers to me, "I'm so glad you came tonight. I'm doing this all for you, you know."

He's my Savior. We're connected. It must break His heart to see so many empty pews when they should be overflowing with people who are willing to give Him one hour of their busy schedules.

"Why couldn't you watch with me one hour?" He asks. It's a question you'll have all of eternity to answer Him one day.

March 25, 2012

Now this is precious! It's a two year old dancing to Jailhouse Rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wt824D1Bqg He's got some good moves too.

March 24, 2012

At this time of year, one of my favorite places on earth is Kentucky when the dogwood and redbud are in full bloom -- and nowhere are they more beautiful than my home town -- Paducah, Kentucky.

Just look at these gorgeous photos and you'll see what I mean: http://www.terragalleria.com/america/south-east/kentucky/

These quips come from my cousin who lives in a small town not too far from Houston -- well, in Texas, 200 miles is a "small distance" I think: THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE:                

                        Living on Earth is expensive, 
                        but it does include a free trip   
                        around the sun every year.    

                        How long a minute is
                        depends on what side of the
                        bathroom door you're on.   

                        Birthdays are good for you;
                        the more you have,
                        the longer you live.    

                        Happiness comes through doors you  
                        didn't even know you left open.    

                        Ever notice that the people who are late  
                        are often much jollier
                        than the people who  have  to wait for  them?    

                        Most of us go to our grave
                        with our music still inside of us.    

                        If WalMart is lowering prices every day,  
                        how come nothing is free yet?    

                        You may be only one person in the world,  
                        but you may also be the world to one person.    

                        Some mistakes are too much fun  
                        to only make once.    

                        Don't cry because it's over;  
                        smile because it happened.    

                        We could learn a lot from crayons:  
                        some are sharp, some are pretty,
                        some are dull, some have weird  names,
                        and all are different colors....but
                        they all exist very nicely in the same box.    

                        A truly happy person is one who  
                        can enjoy the scenery on a detour.    

                        Have an awesome day, and
                        know that someone
                        who thinks you're great 
                        has  thought about you today!..    

                        "And that person was me.".....  
                        Please don't keep this message
                        to yourself.....send  it to those  
                        who mean so  much to  you.... "NOW". 

Thank you, Frances. I love the one about some mistakes. Hope you don't have too many people out there who are all to eager to point each and every little mistake you make. Those, I think, are the ones who go to their graves with the music still living inside them. It's just too much "vinegar energy" to look for flaws in people. And God knows I have more than my share, it seems. But here's the thing: I don't make mistakes on purpose and I never make mistakes with the idea of making someone's misery index go up. I just thank God that I am surrounded by true friends who cut me some slack. You know the ones. They really care about you. I like the idea that we are all living in a big crayon box. That has to be one of those lessons learned in kindergarten. But then, I'm old enough to realize that we didn't have kindergarten when I started school.

I celebrated kicking off my educational pursuits by going down the big slide on the playground with a somersault from the top. I was grounded from recess for the rest of the week. 


These beautiful thoughts also come from Frances:
  
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW THAT IT IS CHRISTIAN PERSON WEEK AND YOU SHOULD SEND THIS TO
ALL BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE 


When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living. I'm
whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that
I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm
weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have
failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too
visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of
heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou, I'm just a simple sinner who
received God's good grace, somehow!

Today is Beautiful Christian Person's Day.
Pretty is as Pretty does but, Beautiful is just plain Beautiful..

I'm supposed to send this to Beautiful People,
and you are one of them!!!


March 21, 2012

From the sermon text at our 5th Midweek Lenten Service in Matthew 28:16-20 comes the command of Jesus that we are to go into all the world and make disciples of all men.

Well, I don't know about you but I can't go to the airport and get a ticket to go to some faraway place and work in a mission field. But those very words are the marching orders of the church.

What I can do is partner with the Lutheran Women's Missionary League and be a supplier of stuff that missionaries can use. Quilts, for instance. Quilts are made in Lutheran churches all across this country. They find their way into orphanages. In hospitals. In remote villages where they are placed over a low branch and become the roof of a home. If the villager is lucky, a second quilt could be a floor. We need more quilts -- more than the 355,000 that have been made this winter. That means there will be an unmet need.

Our church is going to put baby kits together. These baby kits will have a few diapers in them. Some tee shirts. Some tiny little caps. Diaper pins and little sleepers. We're making the receiving blankets and it will have a bunch of baby supplies in it, then pinned with the diaper pins. Missionaries can take these baby kits and go into villages and give them to new mothers who often don't have clothes for newborn babies. And if they have a receiving blanket at all, it was made from their old clothes that were too worn out to use anymore. Imagine the joy when a new mom gets a bright, colorful receiving blanket that has been made with so much love and joy and prayers!

Yes, the women of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League can partner with missionaries who are in a position to tell others first-hand what Jesus has done for them. They can ground others by bringing them the Word of God.

And how long are we supposed to do all this?

Jesus says "Until the end of the age." That is, we're supposed to keep on keeping on until Jesus comes back for us.

In the meantime, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of ways that I can reach out to people around the world and spread the wonderful message that Jesus Christ died for our sins and because of his death on the cross, we can claim salvation as a child of God.

So this is the reason I write this blog. It's my way of going around the world to talk to people about what Christ has done for each one of us. That would be you. And it would be me. My computer is my magic carpet and on it, I can ride through cyberspace to reach you in 23 countries so far this month.

God bless each and every one of you.



March 20, 2012

Election results in Illinois: http://www.wthitv.com/subindex/elections/results Not all results are in at this writing.

If you are anywhere near middle Illinois on March 23, you could do yourself a favor and go to the Effingham Performance Center at 8:00 p.m. and catch the show headlined by Scott Wattles of Blue Suede Crew. Tickets are $5. He's an incredible performer for those of us who wax nostalgia over Elvis, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, and a host of others. What a voice!

We had an opportunity to hear him for the first time on Sunday evening. All Gospel songs. And a standing ovation for How Great Thou Art!

If I tried that it would come under the category of making a joyful noise, but I am filled with appreciation for anyone who can sing really well. We are fortunate because own Pastor Rensner is also a wonderful vocalist. I love listening to someone who loves to sing. And both these gentlemen do!

Earthquake near Acapulco registers 7.6! That's a really hefty earthquake even if it is about 200 miles from Acapulco. God is sure rattling the earth these days. Two hundred miles is nothing when an earthquake ripples its way through the earth.

It is still 78 degrees in the house. And Quint mowed the grass -- or part of it -- yesterday afternoon. Don't remember that happening in March. Ever. We sure do enjoy having the windows open and soft warm breezes blowing across us when we're sleeping though.

We pray for God's blessings to all of you. Some of you are living in dangerous area and you are especially in our prayers.

And we thank you for prayers too.


March 19, 2012

An anonymous quote: PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU
SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.


It's time for a patriotic song and this just arrived from Shirley, my favorite snow bird who has not returned from Arizona yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TPgJSZf5Vw&feature=youtu.be

And here's a cute little story sent by our friends John and Sherre in Wichita:
Subject: A New Pet



                  The Talking Centipede


                  A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a pet.



                  So he went to the pet store and told the owner
                  That he wanted to buy an unusual pet.



                  After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede,
                  (100-legged bug), which came in a little white box
                  To use for his house.



                  He took the box back home, found a good spot for the box,
                  And decided he would start off by taking his new pet
                  To church with him.



                  So he asked the centipede in the box,

                  "Would you like to go
                  To church with me today?
                  We will have a good time."



                  But there was no answer from his new pet.



                  This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes
                  And then asked again,

                  "How about going
                  To church with me
                  And receive blessings?"



                  But again,there was no answer
                  From his new friend and pet.
                  So he waited a few minutes more,
                  Thinking about the situation.



                  The guy decided to invite the centipede one last time.



                  This time he put his face up against
                  The centipede ' s house and shouted,

                  "Hey, in there!
                  Would you like to go
                  To
                  Church with me
                  And learn about God?"
                  ......

                  YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ......


                  This time,
                  A little voice
                  Came out of the box,

                  "I heard you the first time!

                   I ' m putting my shoes on!"

March 17, 2012

Today is the day when the whole world is Irish. That includes my cousin, Mark, who sends this blessing. It's beautiful poetry by Phil Coulter and narrated by Roma Downey. I thank you Mark for this beautiful blessing and, in turn, send it along to all my friends: http://www.andiesisle.com/ThisBlessingIsForYou.html Looking at the beautiful photos, I am reminded of a wonderful vacation that Quint and I took to Ireland a few years ago. It's a beautiful country and I got an answer to why the green grass is so vibrant and emerald colored. Supposedly it's because of the high level of minerals in the soil, most particularly calcium. And that's one of the reasons why Queen Elizabeth sends here pregnant horses to Ireland to deliver. Munching on good Irish green grass makes for healthy bones for the baby horse in the mom's womb, and also when the little baby horse starts to grow and develop. The grass really is emerald colored. They aren't just kididng.


Ready for a little humor? This comes from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:

Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement and when his
Plane arrived there was a limousine there to transport him to his home.

As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.


'You know' he said, 'I am 87 years old and I have never

Driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?'


The driver said,

'No problem. Have at it.'

Billy gets into the driver's seat and they head off
Down the highway.
A short distance away
Sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap.

The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone.

The trooper pulled out
And easily caught the limo
And he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked up to the driver's door
And when the glass
Was rolled down,
He was surprised to see
Who was driving.


He immediately excused himself and went back to his car
And called his supervisor.

He told the supervisor,
'I know we are supposed
To enforce the law....
But I also know that
Important people are
Given certain courtesies.
I need to know what
I should do because
I have stopped a
Very important person.'

The supervisor asked,
'Is it the governor?'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's more important
Than that.'

The supervisor said,
'Oh, so it's the president.'

The young trooper said,
'No, he's even more
Important than that.'

The supervisor finally asked,

'Well then, who is it?'

The young trooper said,


'I think it's Jesus,
Because he's got Billy Graham for a chauffeur!'

Smile - God loves you! I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today;
To guide you and protect you, as you go along your way
God's love is always with you, God's promises are true.

And when you give God all your cares, believe with all your might that God will see you through.

March 16, 2012

I see a lot of anxious people who come for counseling. And even though anxious people want very much to not be anxious anymore, they resist doing the very thing that un-anxious people know all about. That is, un-anxious people live their lives on a foundation of faith. Christ lives in their hearts. The Holy Spirit is used as a daily ever-ready counselor.

In going down the list of 100 Questions That Jesus Asked, I come to Luke 12:26 which asks: If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?

It's a humbling thought that we don't  have all that much control over the external events of our lives. For instance, there's that old Liar, Satan, who likes to poke his nose into every facet of our business. He'd like to think we're easy pickings for his nasty little harvest. And beware that you say such things as, "I'd give anything ..." Satan is the one who will seize that opportunity and yes, he can grant your wishes, too. Many times he does. Then he comes back for payment from you a nickel at a time.

You want wealth? Satan will give it to you. Then what? How many lives have been ruined by winning the lottery? But you say you'd like to just try it? Don't bother. Satan doesn't play fair. He wants to own you, lock stock and barrel.

The Lord, on the other hand, says, Do my work and I will prosper you. God is not against prosperity. It's not money that gets people in trouble. Rather, it's the love of moneythat leads to sin. The love of money leads to greed and corruption. People who are thousandaires strive to become millionaires. Millionaires strive to become billionaires. No matter how weather they are, they are never satisfied with what they have. Prosperity, on the other hand, comes with contentment.

When we are prosperous we thank the Lord that we have enough to spare and some left to share.

Lots of people are anxious about money because they have this idea that they want more and more and more, and never realizing that they don't have enough, and probably will never have enough to suit them.

But money isn't the only thing that causes so much anxiety. It's the fear that we're never going to be in control of situations or events in our lives.

When you look at your life, what is it that you think you do have control over? Your children? Your addicted spouse? Your job? Your ability to drive down the street and not have an accident? Your shopping for food and making the assumption that the food hasn't been tampered with by an idiot who has figured out a way to slip a poison into your food without it being detected until you get sick and are rushed to a hospital? Or you order and egg at a restaurant and get a dose of salmonella.

How's that control thing working out for you?

But here's what you do. First of all, get down on your knees and pray to God. Pray to Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and help you figure things out better. God likes our prayers better when we are reverent, I've found. That's why kneeling is best; it's humbling.

Don't want to do that? Well, you don't have to. Life can continue the way it's been going for you if you are filled with fears and anxieties. But if you want your life to change, let Jesus Christ into your heart. He has solutions for you that you can't even imagine.

He's the Master of the universe and it's Jesus Christ who is the agent of change in your life, not you.

March 15, 2012

Oh my, what a beautiful day we had today. It warmed up to a perfect 74 degrees. Soft, gentle breezes. Then there was this dark, ugly row of clouds that I had my eye on as I drove to work. It was about twenty miles away. Never did get a drop of rain. The clouds scooted east and stayed out of my way. The storm must have hit Detroit. I saw some pretty ugly video of tornadoes over there late this afternoon. Lots of damage and rubble. Hope there were no casualties.

On another subject, I have been thinking about compassion a lot these days. The people who are able to express and share it with others are so welcome in my world. Here's the deal. We all have to fashion our responses to other people similarly to what our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would do.

Compassion and gentle tenderness. And love and kindness. And helping one another.

This comes from good friend Shirley all the way from Arizona:

This  is SIMPLY AWESOME!I’ve never seen this before! Whoever put “The Resume of
Jesus Christ” together is surelya  blessing to us all! Please share it!  The last
sentence says it  all...
 
The  Resume of Jesus  Christ
Address:  Ephesians  1:20
Phone:  Romans  10:13
Website:  The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and  Jesus
_____________________________________________________
Objective
My  name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent  you my resume because
I'm seeking the top  management position in your heart. Please consider  my
accomplishments as set forth in my  resume.
_____________________________________________________________________
Qualifications
I  founded the earth and established the heavens, (See  Proverbs  3:19)
I  formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis  2:7) 
I  breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis  2:7)   
I  redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians  3:13)   
The  blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life  through me, (See
Galatians  3:14)   
_____________________________________________________________________    
Occupational  Background    
I've  only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49  ).   
I've  never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or  disrespectful.   
My  employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See  Matthew 3:15  -17)   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Skills  Work Experiences   
Some  of my skills and work experiences include: empowering  the poor to be poor no
more, healing the broken hearted,  setting the captives free, healing the sick,
restoring  sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are  bruised, (See
Luke  4:18).   
I  am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who  listen to me shall dwell
safely and shall not fear evil,  (See Proverbs 1:33  ).   
Most  importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to  cleanse you of your
sins, (See I John  1:7-9)   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Educational  Background   
I  encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge,  wisdom and understanding,
(See Proverbs  2:6).   
In  me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,  (See Colossians  2:3).
  
My  Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a  lamp unto your feet and a
light unto your path, (See  Psalms  119:105).   
I  can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See  Psalms  44:21).   
_____________________________________________________________________   
Major  Accomplishments   
I  was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting  of all times, (See
Genesis 1:26  ).   
I  laid down my life so that you may live, (See II  Corinthians 5:15  ).   
I  defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a  show of them openly, (See
Colossians 2:15  ).   
I've  miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised  the  dead!   
There  are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention  here. You can read
them on my website, which is located  at: www dot - the BIBLE. You don't need an
Internet  connection or computer to access my  website.  
_____________________________________________________________________  
References  
Believers  and followers worldwide will testify to my divine  healing, salvation,
deliverance, miracles, restoration  and supernatural  guidance.  
_____________________________________________________________________  
In  Summation  
Now  that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the  only candidate uniquely
qualified to fill this vital  position in your heart. In summation, I will properly
direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you  into everlasting life, (See
John 6:47 ). When can I  start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15  ).  
Send  this resume to everyone you know,
you never know who 
may have an opening!
Thanks  for your help.  

'Nuff said.







March 14, 2012

I just got this link from my friend in the Quad Cities area in northern Illinois. It's an eagle mom sitting on her nest. And the article points out that the nest if seven feet in diameter! http://www.alcoa.com/locations/usa_davenport/en/info_page/eaglecam.asp

Got this from Mary, a friend who lives in Springfield. It comes to her from an attorney. And just an aside, when your credit card is stolen, you do know that you have to file the report in the police department where the fraud/theft took place, don't you? There's lot of good advice here and I thank you, Mary, for sending this. I'm going to write "photo ID required" on each card as I receive new ones. That's a great idea!

All Credit Card Users Advice
- Tel Numbers

Advice for all credit card users posted by Bluwolf at Caps Corner
Sunday morning 03/11/2012
 
bluwolf] Read this and make a copy
for your files in case you need to refer to it
someday. Maybe we should all
take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent
the following out to the
employees in his company:

1.Do not sign the back of your credit cards.
Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'

2. When you are writing checks to pay
on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the
'For' line. Instead, just put the last four
numbers. The credit card company
knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it
passes through all the check processing
channels won't have access to it.

3.Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If
you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO
Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!)
You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get
it.

4.
Place the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each
license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of
the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in
a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here
or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in
stealing a Name, address,Social Security number, credit cards..
 
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my
wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive
monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line
approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my
driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
 
5.We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately.
But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you
know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
 
6.. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc.,
were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a
first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is
perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

7.
Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud
alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had
never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an
application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means
any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they
have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.


By the time I
was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had
been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves'
purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no
additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this
weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their
tracks.
 
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about
your wallet, if it has been stolen:

1.) Equifax:
1-800-525-62851-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
1-800-269-0271
 
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along
just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it
could really help someone that you care about.

March 13, 2012

It has been a really long day at an all day board meeting for Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML). The location of the meeting is some 95 miles from home. We passed a resolution for mission grants in the amount of $75,000.

The women of the LWML are amazing. They collect small amounts of change on a regular basis and add them all together and pretty soon, there are thousands of dollars in our district, and almost two million at the national level. Then the money is sent all around the world to help feed hungry children, start new churches, help church workers go to school, and a wide variety of projects that we receive.

One of the member groups, called Societies, is finishing up some 170 quilts they have been making this winter. Another group, from my zone, has made 127 quilts. These quilts will be sent to Lutheran World Relief and shipped to people around the world wherever they are needed.

It's a long day to meet for quarterly board meetings but it's refreshing to partner with so many other women of faith who share a single commitment to help make the world a better place to live in.

We had a mission pastor speak at our church last Sunday and he tells of the horrible poverty in Central America. Did you know that there are children who do not have clothes to wear. And they eat maybe once every two or three days?

Why aren't more people on fire with a passion to join in a partnership with churches that are working hard in these poverty-stricken countries? These are the groups that make sure almost 100% of any money that's collected goes right where it's needed. And much of that money is spent distributing the goods that are collected.

Pray for the hungry and the naked children who live in squalor and poverty.

God bless you, each and every one.

March 11, 2012

Today is the day when it feels like we've moved into another time zone -- one just to the west of us because the sun stays up longer. ha ha

My dear friend Joyce sent me this link to a video that is nothing short of adorable.
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=vJRDpTUIrJI&vq=medium

It's about a mother black bear and her three newborn cubs getting tagged in the wilds of Ontario. The commentator is pretty funny too. Thank you, Joyce.

Here's another one from Joyce. It's about a young woman who's talking to her grandpa about the ipad she gave him. He assures her that he's using it and knows all about the apps, etc. Watch this:   
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0FVm_H_D18

 -- See, don't tell fibs.


And this comes from my cousin, Frances, in southern Texas:

How children perceive their Grandparents......

1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful
eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before.
After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one
said, "But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I
will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about
kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.
He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was quiet
for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into
old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she
heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into
their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left
the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own
childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing
made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our
pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."
The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said,
"I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you
know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I
said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's
word processor. She told him she was writing a story.
"What's it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it
was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I
continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think
you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept
the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky
insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I
did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are
coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm
not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine says
I'm 4 to 6."

10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her
grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies
today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep
her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do you make babies?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant,"
said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder
pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you
know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one
day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the
fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the
dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she
said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said,
"she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.
Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the
airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things,
but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over, you hear gas leaks
and they blame their dog.

March 7, 2012

Got this earnest prayer from a dear friend, Diane, who lives in Hidalgo:

Hi Lord, its me.*   *We are getting older and things are getting bad here.*
*Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.* *I
know some have taken you out of our schools, government and even* *Christmas,
but Lord I'm asking you to come back* *and re-bless America .* *We really
need you!*   *There are more of us who want you than those who don't!* *Thank
You Lord,* *I Love you.*   *If you agree, send it on---if not just delete.*
*Only you & the Lord will know.*
*"Life without God is** **like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."*


As a side note, there is a prayer group that stops to pray at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. The prayer is for America to return to its Christian roots and rid Washington, D. C. of all corrupt politicians. People all over the country are joining together in this common prayer. Join in if you can.

Last night was Ladies Aid at church. What a privilege it is to meet with other women of like Christian values and to share God's word in a Bible Study, then our hostess for the evening, Melissa, made a wonderful spread of fresh fruit. She also made cookies but I didn't have any. It seems that sugar has become my enemy since learning that I have gout that settled in my lower back and my right thumb. The medicine that I now take is for people who specifically took Cytoxan as a chemo treatment for breast cancer. So, no sugary desserts. But then, since Quint is diabetic, Splenda has become my friend. And I can also get chocolate covered cherries from Figi's and have them shipped to me. Yummmmmmy!

It's really windy here. So bad that the windmill has blown over twice in the last day or so. I also heard that there were 90 mph gusts in Las Vegas. Not that anybody who goes to Las Vegas goes outside to stand on the sidewalks to enjoy the weather. I mean, they don't even have clocks in the casinos. They'd probably like it if people took their watches off, but that's not happening much either.


Got this from both cousins, Mark and Alan, so you know it's serious stuff:

  Seems Reasonable 
        

            Can't eat pork,

            Swine flu...



            Can't eat chicken,

            Bird flu.



            Can't eat Beef, Mad cow

            .....

            Can't eat eggs, Salmonella.



            Can't eat fish, heavy metal poisons in their waters.



            Can't eat fruits and veggies E coli, insecticides and herbicides.

             

            Hmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M

            M



            I believe that leaves Chocolate and ice cream!!!!!!!!

            

            Remember - - - 'STRESSED'

            spelled backwards!

            is

            'DESSERTS'

March 5, 2012

Got this poignant story from cousin Mark. Enjoy! Gratitude is a acquired pleasure.Have a great day full of love and happiness. 

Change Your Thinking

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain
the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement
in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass
the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the
window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world
would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world
outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young
lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city
skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the
other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye
as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the
lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to
the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was
comfortable, she left him alone. 

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the
real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.


And these quips from "kids in church" comes from dear friend, Cody, in Warrensburg, MO:

A little boy was in a relative's wedding.
As he was coming down the aisle, he would take two steps,
stop, and turn to the crowd.
    While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar.
     So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle.
As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard
by the time he reached the pulpit.
When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said,
"I was being the Ring Bear." 

One Sunday in a   Midwest City ,
a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour.
The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew
but were losing the battle.
   Finally, the father picked the little fellow up
and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.
     Just before reaching the safety of the foyer,
the little one called loudly to the congregation,
"Pray for me! Pray for me!" 

One particular four-year old prayed,
"And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."

A little boy was overheard praying:
"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."

A Sunday School teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church
service, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
      One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping." 
 
      A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination,
looking at the old pages as he turned them.
     Then something fell out of the Bible.
He picked it up and looked at it closely.
It was an old leaf from a tree that has been pressed in between the pages.
"Mama, look what I found," the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.
      With astonishment in the young boy's voice he answered,
"I think it's Adam 's suit". 
 
          The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike,
and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform,
jerking the mike cord as he went.
     Then he moved to one side,
getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again.
     After several circles and jerks,
a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered,
"If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"

Six-year old Angie , and her four-year old brother, Joel , were sitting together in
church.  
Joel giggled, sang and talked out loud.
Finally, his big sister had had enough.
"You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
Angie pointed to the back of the church and said,
"See those two men standing by the door?
They're hushers."

  My grandson was visiting one day when he asked ,
"Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
      I mentally polished my halo, while I asked,
"No, how are we alike?"
"You're both old," he replied.

A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible.
      Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
"Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus ? The virgin Mary or the  King James Virgin ?"

 A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments.
     They were ready to discuss the last one.
     The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.
     Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted,
"Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."

March 3, 2012

Please lift your hearts in prayer for the victims of this horrible rash of tornados today. These are killer winds. In addition to fatalities reported, there's dangers with houses being lifted off their foundations. It's a good night to stay in, be safe, and pray that God will embrace all those people who are suffering with heavy losses. Harrisburg, in southern Illinois, was particularly hit, it seems to me. But there are other areas, with just as deadly outbreaks. I heard on one of the news channels that this year would be as bad as the tornado season in 1978.

We pray steadfastly, also, that our nation will return to its Christian roots on which it was founded.

I look forward to going to church on Sunday and hearing a message from the Gospel lesson that, at least in part, says For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. March 8:38

I think there are a whole bunch of people out there who have kind of postponed thinking about what they're going to do with all this Christianity stuff. "I'll worry about all that when I get older," they seem to think.

Oh yeah?

Well, think of Andrew Breitbart, who now lays cold and quiet at the tender age of 43. He was one of my favorite reads. He was the kind of journalist that Pulitzer hoped to reward for courage through the printed word. I pray that he was okay with God before he took his last breath. I have a feeling that he was.

But what about all the other people out there? You know the ones -- they don't want the children to pray in school. They don't want to say the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They don't want to hear anything that sounds like Christian talk. Woe be to those who turn their backs on God. This verse in Mark tells them exactly what God will do in retaliation. And don't think for one minute that they can appease God with some half-witted excuse like, "I didn't mean it. You know I wasn't serious, don't you?"

It's time to pray like you mean it. It's time to spend your days thinking about God. Oh, you don't have to jump up out of your chair screaming "Hallalujah." But you can think about the Great and Wonderful Creator of the Universe who allows you to take each breath throughout every day of your life. Be thankful for that.

I have always wondered about the people who want to go to heaven. Don't they realize that they will spend their time praising and worshiping God? If they are looking forward to the time when they are able to do that, wouldn't you think they could spend more time worshiping and praising God every day, in some way?

There are so many things a person can do to worship God. He sees us when we are kind to others. He sees us when we are compassionate and generous. He sees us when we try with all our heart to lead a life as free as sin as we possibly can - not that we'll ever be totally sin-free, what being human and all. But we ought to try as best as we can to avoid temptation and sin in our lives.

God likes it when we strive to do that.


February 29, 2012

Questions to ask yourself --

Can you tell the difference between being tested and being tempted?

Easy answer.

When you're tempted, it involved a sin of some sort.

Being tested is a form of discipline. Discipline makes you grow in faith. It enriches you and tempers your faith into a tool as strong as steel.

The passage that started all this thinking about being tempted was from the Epistle lesson a week or so ago. It's from the Book of James, and says: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. -- James 1:13-14

So if you feel like you're being tempted, who do you think might be the culprit?

Another easy answer -- Satan himself.

Satan is the author of evil. Not God. God does not tempt us, Satan does. Temptations involve sins. Testing involves love through discipline.

This notion that there is a person named Satan reared its head out on the campaign trail a few weeks back. Santorum made the comment that "...Satan had his eye on Washington." What a firestorm that set off. Here came the spindoctors who tried to make Santorum look like a religious kook. Until some organization did a survey and found that 70% of Americans believe -- truly believe -- that Satan really does exist.

Remember way back in Sunday School days hearing that the best trick Satan has going for him is that he convinces people that he does not exist. Well, that doesn't happen in the United States.

We're a Christian nation and we know he's real. And his favorite game is Gotcha!

If you want an inkling about who Satan is, take a look at the Book of Job.

In the very first chapter, in verse 6, we read: One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"

Satan answered the Lord, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

Then follows a conversation recorded between the Lord and Satan. So if the Lord recognizes Satan and calls him by name, who are we to even think that he does not exist?

Rest safely in the arms of the Lord, my friends, and pray fervently for his protection from Satan and all that is evil.

February 28, 2012

Before I go off in a different direction, you have to watch this video of the Daytona 500. Talk about races, burning cars, fast bumps, and one big brewhaha. One spill took out six cars: http://news.yahoo.com/video/turnerweekendtop5-20497430/weekend-top-5-daytona-28446636.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fturnerweekendtop5-20497430%252Fweekend-top-five-homestead-27337497.html

Here's a video that is precious. It's about Pastor Ed Dobson, who developed ALS. He talks about his new role as a different kind of pastor now that he no longer has an active church. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/18/tending-the-garden-one-person-at-a-time/

Pastor Rensner talked about how come God, who has the power to stop the storms in our lives, doesn't do that. Pastor said that sometimes God calms the person going through the storm rather than calming the storm. And why would He do that? His reasons are his own and they are not my ways.

I am working on a thesis of the difference between being tested and being tempted. I hope to have it finished by this time tomorrow, so I hope you'll come back to read it.

Blessings, prayers and hugs,
Jane

February 27, 2012

This story comes from Connie today. She says it will give you the chills....... GOOD chills. See if you agree.

A young man had been to Wednesday Night Bible
Study.  The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice

The young man couldn't help but wonder, 'Does God still speak to people?'

After service, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed
the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.

It was about ten o'clock when the young man started  driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, 'God...If you still speak
to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.'

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop
and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, 'God is that you?' He didn't get a reply and
started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice of God,
and how little Samuel ran to Eli. 'Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.' It didn't seem like too hard
a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the
gallon of milk and started off toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, 'Turn Down that street.' This is crazy he thought, and drove on past the intersection.

Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street .

At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh.

Half jokingly, he said out loud, 'Okay, God, I will.'

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop He pulled over
to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi- commercial area of town. It wasn't
the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were
already in bed.

Again, he sensed something, 'Go and give the milk to the people in the house across
the street.' The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the
people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door
and then sat back in the car seat.

'Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going
to be mad and I will look stupid.' Again, he felt like he should go and give the
milk.

Finally, he opened the door, 'Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I
will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want
to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if they don't answer
right away, I am out of here.'

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A
man's voice yelled
out, 'Who is it? What do you want?' Then the door opened before the young man could
get away.

The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out
of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some
stranger standing on his doorstep. 'What is it?'

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, 'Here, I brought this to you.' The man
took the milk and rushed down a hallway.

Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man
was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming
down his face.

The man began speaking and half crying, 'We were just praying. We had
some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our
baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.'

His wife in the kitchen yelled out, 'I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you
an Angel?'

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him
and put in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears
were streaming down his face.
He knew that God still answers prayers. 

This is so true. Sometimes it's the simplest things that God asks us to do that
cause us, if we are obedient to what He's asking, to be able to hear His voice
more clear than ever. Please listen, and obey ! He will bless you (and the world).
Phil 4:13 

February 25 -- 26, 2012

I'm adding this video at the front. It's from my cousin Mark and it's a video showing an owl coming in for a landing on a security tower. http://www.dogwork.com/owfo8/ It's unbelievable footage showing the owl "putting on the brakes," so to speak. And look at those wing maneuvers! It's only a minute long, but fascinating.

Beautiful photograph by Paul Bunyard, set to music -- called Chasing the Light. It's a four and a half minute respite! http://www.dogwork.com/bnpcduk8/

One of my favorite videos -- this is a dog in a contest -- apparently the judges don't give him very high marks because he can't seem to get it right. But then, just wait until the amazing end! http://www.dogwork.com/tconmv8/

This is a video (1:40) of cranes flying over Venice, Italy. Fascinating photography of the landscape below, but also of the cranes communicating with one another while flying: http://www.dogwork.com/crafly9/

Here's a video, also from dogworld.com that shows a little bird coming into a bluegrass festival and sitting on the lead singer's guitar. Too funny! http://www.dogwork.com/blugrs9/

Now, before you watch this next one, please realize that dogs are not supposed to stand upright and walk, much less dance. But here's a cute little dog doing a Paso Doble. Yes, dancing: http://www.dogwork.com/psdqwk8/

Danica Patrick crashed intot he wall at Daytona today: http://www.breitbart.tv/danica-patrick-crashes-at-daytona/

Oh dear. This video shows someone getting creamed by an oncoming traffic. Just another reason why I don't do any road ranging during ice and snow and black ice weather: http://www.breitbart.tv/nissan-frontier-shattered-into-bits-by-oncoming-semi/

Here's a recently discovered amateur video of the shuttle that exploded. After watching it, the videographers didn't really understand what had happened. It seemed like they thought the crash was the booster rocket separating. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2012/02/24/vo-challenger-amateur-video.newscientist

And this final video is about a man named Omar and his seeing eye dog Salty. Omar was working on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center when the building was hit. Watch this video of this remarkable dog rescuing and saving his best friend, Omar: http://www.dogwork.com/arfp8/

February 24, 2012

You do know that 2012 is a leap year, don't you? Just thought I'd bring that up, in case you overlooked the fact that February has 29 days in it this year.

So it's Friday night here at home. It's cold outside with the wind whipping around the corner of the house. And we're about ready to settle down to a good old mystery on Netflix streaming and Quint asks from the kitchen, "You want popcorn with that?" Who could say no? Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.

I made 3-2-1 cakes for dessert. If you remember, I have a big plastic bag into which I mixed together a sugar-free yellow cake mix and an angel food cake mix. Really mix them well. Then, whenever you want a quick little cake, you mix 3 tablespoons of this cake mix and 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave that for 1 minute and you have this unbelievable little cake.

Well, I got fancy, I did. I put about 1/2 tablespoon of margarine and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar blend (with Splenda). Microwave that for about 5 seconds until the butter is melted. Stir that up and put in 1/2 tablespoon of crushed pineapple. Then add the mixed up 32-1 cake mix and microwave that for 1 minute. Yummmy!

I'm going to see if sliced strawberries in the bottom of my little dish (which is about the size of a ramekin), then put the 3-2-1 mixed up cake mix and see if it passes for a strawberry short cake. It might. Or it might be close enough to pass for a suitable substitute.

Changing the subject, the weather here has taken a dive down to 36 degrees. This time yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. For those of you who just joined us from the United Arab Emirates, it probably doesn't matter that much. You have heat all year round. But you also have sand. I don't know if I could really get used to living on a sand hill. It just looks - well, dry.

But since readers are from all over the world, it's probably a curiosity for some who never experience snow. (You're not missing much at all.)

And as a side note, I'm so glad that you liked the blog from a few days ago about the man praying the Lord's Prayer. It's unbelievable how many emails I've gotten in favor of this prayer. And how it's made you pause and think about what you're saying when you pray. You know, God really is right around you every minute of the day. And he cares about you, so keep on praying.

My prayer for you is that you will be blessed with many wonderful people and opportunities that God will put in your life today. Enjoy each and every one of them.

February 23, 2012

Last night was Ash Wednesday service at church. It marks a time when we begin a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection three days later at Easter. It's a somber time and as I sat in church and looked around me, I saw the usual faithful worshipers. I felt closer to them than I do at other times of the year. The imposition of ashes reminds us that we came from dust and it is to dust that we will return. In the meantime, we are to live our lives as Christians and walk through life behaving as if --

...as if Christ were right beside us, visibly point out pitfalls,

... as if Christ were steering us around the misdeeds we might otherwise get ourselves into,

... as if we remember that we are never alone,

... as if we realize consciously that Christ is watching us,

... as if we remember that it is Christ who sits at the right hand of God interceding for us on our behalf,

... as if we remember, also, that it is Christ who will judge us when we catch up with eternity,

... as if we always remember that we are to pray to God, our heavenly father, and we can only get there through Jesus Christ,

... as if we want more than anything to please God and Jesus Christ,

and finally, as if we are truly sorry for all our sins.

This isn't one of the questions that is listed as having been asked by Jesus, but sometimes, when I do really silly stuff, I have this vision of Jesus asking, "What in the world did you do that for?" It helps me not to do things anymore that I really don't want to do and know that I shouldn't do.






February 21, 2012

Did you feel the earthquake this morning? It registered 4.0 on the Richter Scale. I'll have to tell Quint that it wasn't the wind that was rattling the windows that woke him at 4:00 am, but rather, the temblor shifting around close to the New Madrid fault line. Here's a map that shows exactly where the earthquake was: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US10/32.42.-95.-85.php

But if you really want to see something, take a look see at this map of the United States -- 806 earthquakes in the last 24 hours. California and Alaska are always feeling a lot of shaking going on.

Stay safe out there, my friends.

Changing the subject, back to the List of 100 Questions that Jesus Asked:

Question #79 -- How is it that you seek praise from one another and not seek the praise that comes from God? John 5:44

Walk through this question with me for a moment. Remember the last time you went to get a new outfit? You found something that you thought would look good on you. You looked in the 3-way mirror to make sure the outfit draped across your body just the way you wanted it to. And why is that?

Simple. When we buy something new to wear, we're thinking of what others will think of it. Then they'll tell us how nice it looks.

We'll get praise.

But hold on here for a moment. The question that Jesus is asking is how come you're thinking about what others think?

How come you aren't all that concerned about what God thinks of you?

I think there might be a couple of answers to this question.

One of the thoughts I have is that because we don't physically see God, it's sometimes hard to imagine that he's right here, right now, in this very room, reading over your shoulder. Maybe watching you curiously to see how you get through your day. But, our humanness sometimes fails us spiritually because we aren't always consciously thinking that God is present everywhere at the same time.

How can that be? I don't know the answer to that. My brain can't get wrapped around that possibility, but I know it's true because the Bible says so.

I know that after Quint and I finish our breakfast and we join hands for our daily prayers, God is in the room with us. And I also know that it pleases God when his children talk to him. That's what we do. We let him know what we're thankful for because he does so much for us. We wouldn't have a thread to wear if it weren't for God's grace. Oh, I don't mean that he puts a hanger with clothes on it in our closet. But he makes provisions for us to get the things we need as we go through our lives. And it's been like that since the day we were born.

God has always been a stellar provider. He has never failed to provide us with what we need.

By the same token, he puts situations in our paths to see what we're going to do about them. He brings people to us to see how we're going to react to them.

We need to always think about what we are doing so that we live our lives in ways that please God.

To me, that's a lot more important than whether someone else likes a dress I bought.

I care what God thinks. I most definitely care what he thinks. And I hope that anything and everything I do in life tickles him. He is not a person I ever want to be displeased with at me!

February 20, 2012

And who couldn't use a bit of humor in these harried political days? Got this one from my cousin Al in Virginia Beach:

A female journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going
to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time.

      So she went to check it out. She went to the Western Wall and there he was,
walking slowly up to the holy site.

      She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave,
using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview.

      "Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith. What's your name?

      "Morris Feinberg," he replied.

      "Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?" 

      "For about 60 years."

      "60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

      "I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims."

      "I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop."

      "I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults and to
love their fellow man."

      "I pray that politicians tell us the truth and put the interests of the people
ahead of their own interests."

      The reporter then asked, "How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

      "Like I'm talking to a wall."  
    

And our good friend Joyce sends us this cost analysis of how much it costs to run a Volt. Can you tell that Joyce is a banker by trade?

Subject: Cost to operate a Chevy Volt

Take a few minutes to read thru this analysis. This is truly an economic failure,
until technology improves to change these costs! This is what the Obama
Administration is pushing in his new budget! Just another "cash sink hole", from our
taxes, and huge debt!
 
Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel's Follow the Money) test drove the Chevy Volt at
the invitation of General Motors.

For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the
Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.

Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery.

So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is
approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to
charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.

In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph. 

According to General Motors, the Volt battery hold 16 kwh
of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. 

The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up
what I pay for electricity. 

I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh. 

16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery. 

$18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the
battery. 

Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine only that gets 32 mpg. 

$3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile. 

The gasoline powered car cost about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000......... 

So Government wants us to pay 3 times as much, for a car that costs more that 7
times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across country..... REALLY
?????

- I have a question. After the battery just up and dies, how much will it cost to destroy it? I doubt if the batteries will be allowed in landfill. I mean, if you can't even put an old, dead cell phone in the landfill, what are you going to do with the Volt battery?

But what if you keep the Volt and decide to replace the battery. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that the battery alone cost $25,000. Can that be right? Does anybody know? If you do could you shoot me an email. Please.


And this from my dear cousin Frances in Broaddus, Texas:

                  We need to show more sympathy for these people.
                  * They travel miles in the heat.
                  * They risk their lives crossing a border.
                  * They don't get paid enough wages.
                  * They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
                  * They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a
different language.
                  * They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day
~ every day..

                  I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans ~ 

                  I'm talking about our troops! 

                  Doesn't it seem strange that so many are willing to lavish all
kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support our
troops?

                  Wouldn't it be great if we took the $360,000,000,000 (that's
billion) we spend on illegals every year, and spend it on our
troops!!!

February 17, 2012

This is one of the best versions of an interactive Lord's Prayer that I've ever read. It's sent to us from my dear friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO. I do pray that it will enrich your life today and that you will think about this when you pray the Lord's Prayer:

THE LORD'S PRAYER- Rather cleverly done. This is in two parts,
The prayer(in blue type) and GOD(in red type)-in response.
It is very, very good.
   *********
"Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Yes?
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
But -- you called ME!
Called you?
No, I didn't call you..
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!
Did what?
Called ME.
You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am..
What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
Kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right.
Go on.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name .
Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?
By what?
By "Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means .. . Good grief, 
I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense.. 
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thanks.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing?  Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got
Control, of everything down here like you have up
There. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know;
But, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church..
That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend
Your money -- all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read ?
Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest
Of those People at church!
Excuse ME..
I thought you were praying
For my will to be done..
If that is to happen,
It will have to start with the ones
Who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.
So could I.
I haven't thought about it very much until now,
But I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.
Good.
Now we're getting somewhere.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.
Look, Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread..
You're overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
And all of a sudden you break in
And remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying.  ( pause .. . )
Well, go on.
I'm scared to.
Scared?  Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try ME.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?
See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me..
I've sworn to get even with her!
But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?
I didn't -- mean it..
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that
bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.
No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
Well, I can change that.
You can? How?
Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.
Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . .
I forgive her.
There now!
Wonderful!
How do you feel?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer, are you?
Go on.
Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know..
Okay.
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.
Amen.
Do you know what would bring me glory?
What would really make me happy?
No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now...
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly behave like Christ
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me .. . .
How do I make you happy?
YOU  just did".

February 15, 2012

Taking a break from the questions that Jesus asked, I have to share with you that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) took Secretary (Health and Human Services) Sebelius to task today about whether or not she had consulting with any bishops before drafting the contraceptive order for the White House. Her response was that she had not, but assumed that the folks over at the White House must have.

Well, that wasn't quite good enough to Hatch who then made the statement that he believed all religious organizations should be exempted from the contraception demand. (See article at: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/02/15/sebelius-didnt-consult-bishops-on-contraception-deal/)

There are several layers to this argument, if you ask me. One is that of whether you believe women ought to be able to buy contraceptives.

The other is a question of honoring all religions who are opposed to abortion and believe that abortion is about killing an unborn child. In that event, then the "morning after pill" would make the trip down that slippery slope.

Then there is the constitutional camp which is inhabited by people who believe that the government has no right in tampering with freedom of religion. Forcing organizations, whether directly with religious organizations, or imposing on the insurance companies who insure employees of religious organizations makes no difference. The question isn't about who pays for the contraceptives -- the religious organization or its insurance company. It's about whether the government has the right to mandate any such behavior.

Clearly there is not a lot of wiggle room with folks who believe strongly that they have a right to hold onto their religious beliefs without interference from the government. And yes, of course, the fed have overstepped its constitutional boundaries.

Bet this one makes it to the Supreme Court.




February 14, 2012

The next question that Jesus asked is in Mark 8:12 -- Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?

This was when Jesus was meeting with the Pharisees and they wanted to test him. Guess they wanted to see if he could really perform some good magic tricks. They asked him in verse 11 for a sign from heaven. You know that Jesus must have been a bit perturbed because verse 12 starts out with Jesus sighing deeply.

Well, if you were the Son of God and you knew you could move a mountain if you just wanted to, wouldn't you get just a bit exasperated with people trying to put you on the spot all the time?

Why couldn't people just believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Would you? If you were expecting the promised Messiah to be more, well, kingly, would you still believe a person who arrived on the scene dressed in something that looked like a homespun robe? So he went around doing miracles. These were real miracles. They weren't magic signs that could be explained by a slight of hand.

No, no. Jesus healed the sick. He made the lame walk. He even touched the leper and made him clean. And he saved his best miracle to last when he raised a dead man back to life.

Was that sign enough?

Not really. Because the very idea that he had brought a man back to life was used to prosecute him.

If you were reading the Galilean Daily Chronicles and there was this banner headline about a dead man walking again, wouldn't you call to get a ticket to this man's next event?

Of course you would. And you'd probably try to get a front row seat so that when this guy Jesus asked if anyone in the audience would like to come down to the front and ask for anything they wanted, you'd hop on down there. What would you want? Win the lottery? Cure for your arthritis? A baby for your barren womb? A fairy tale, drop dead gorgeous superman for a husband? A shiny new Corvette to tool around the Galilean countryside? A big fancy yacht to troll around the Sea of Galilee, catching fish and stuff?

If you could have anything you wanted, what kind of a sign would satisfy you that Jesus is the true Son of God. In fact, he's the only Son of God.

Jesus must have grown weary of people who had to have this proof that he was who he said he was.

Do you think it's any different now -- 2,000+ years later? Aren't people still looking for a sign?

Can you just accept in your hearts that Jesus is Lord? No signs are needed for those who believe.

And for those who do not believe, there aren't enough signs in the whole world to bring the proof that they require.

It's all about faith. And believing.



February 13, 2012

I have my hands on a wonderful list called 100 Questions that Jesus Asked.

What a wonderful springboard for our conversations here on this thread.

Eventually I want to go all the way through the questions that Jesus asked. And the first one is from Matthew 6:27 -- Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?

My recent - and I call the last two years of my life as recent -- bout with breast cancer jumps up and out of the depths of that rusty barrel that houses my brain.

I will say that never during that entire ordeal did I feel desperate and anxious about living or dying. That was because of a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the verse quoted above. I know that somewhere in Jeremiah, there's a reference to the fact that God said he knew me when I was still in my mother's womb. In another verse way back there in the Old Testament, probably from a psalm, there's a reference to God knowing how many hairs I have on my head, and also how many days I will spend here on earth.

Some might view those cancers for both Quint and me as God specifically not answering our prayers. I take a counter view because we have both gone through that long, black tunnel of chemo. Radiation added for me. When we talked it through, all the way to the core, we came to understand that God had, in fact, answered our prayer. You see, at our age, if there was to be cancer, it was far better to get it out of the way, so to speak, before we got really old. Advanced age puts severe limitations on what chemo you can get and what you can't tolerate. We are blessed to have gone through all that and are now in remission. In fact, we just may be in better shape now than a lot of people who are incubating cancerous cells and don't know about it.

So, knowing that God knows all those details about my life, I have little to fear because I also know that he walks with me through all my days.

Besides, God doesn't seem to put the same sense of desperation on dying that we humans do. Perhaps that's because God thinks of death as the death of a soul. I figure that he's elated when a person's body dies because those persons get to come back home to be with him in heaven. Who could cry about that?

It doesn't mean we don't go through a grieving process when we lose our loved ones. And there might even be a few people who will be said when my creaky old bones end up in the fiery pits of a crematorium. But I hope they will be overjoyed when death finds me skipping through that tunnel that near-deathers describe.

After all, as Pastor Rensner says, "What are you going to do, threaten me with heaven?"

So, no worries. Enjoy each and every little sunbeam as you travel down the road of life. And get down on your knees and thank the good Lord above for all the blessings he has given you in this life, right now.

February 12, 2011

Navy Seal quote of the week

Dana Perrino ( Fox News) describing an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL .
After discussing all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to
learn several languages?

His reply:

"No ma'am, we don't go there to talk."

February 9, 2012

I almost ran over a hawk on the way home from work this afternoon. How could I ever explain how I could kill a bird on the wing! But sure enough, the silly thing flew right in front of me about a foot higher than the hood of the car. He got real close to the edge of the air.

That's Quint's reason for airline crashes. Planes crash when they go past the edge of the air.

Changing the subject, I'm making cookies for little kiddos at church. We have an after school program and offer the kiddos a snack when they get off the bus and come into the play area with tummies that have caved in from hunger. They get a half sandwich, a cookie and a piece of fruit. Then they go charging around the gym and burn it all off and go home starved for supped.

I'm making cookies from a cake mix. To do that, you out two eggs into 1/3 cup oil and mix well. Then, mix that into the dry cake mix. Makes a bit more than 2 dozen little cookies. The cookies are baked at 375 degrees for 6 - 8 minutes.

I got a confetti cake mix since little darlings adore confetti and sprinkles.


And I got this beautiful story from my cousin Mark:

Tell me this one doesn't put life in perspective.  

In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was
Dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of  determination.

Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all
his dreams. Now that was no longer possible.

The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's
dream to come true.

She took her son's hand and asked,

'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted   to be once you grew up ?

Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life ?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish
come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona, where she met   Fireman
Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix .

She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be   possible to give her
6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll
have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll
make   him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire
station, eat with us,   go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards !

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy   one   with the emblem of the
Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear
and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix , so we can get them fast.'  

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital
bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it
back to the fire station. He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy
got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,   and
even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so
deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and
the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to
call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so
she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to
the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition..

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will
you please do me a favor ?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing,   will you announce
over the PA system that there is not a fire? 'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the   window to his
room?


About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its
ladder up to Billy's third floor open window --------  

16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room!

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and
told him how much they LOVED him.  

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and
said, 'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been
holding my hand all day, and the angels have been   singing.'

He closed his eyes one last time.  



February 8, 2012

So there's this mountain of mud sitting at the edge of the yard. It's the residue from the sewer line repair the other day. Rather than spread it out flat with the rest of the yard, we were told that the spring rains would pound it down so that the trench would eventually be filled in. Sounds reasonable to me, but I think I'll get out there with a rake one of these days, all of the same. Otherwise, I'm going to go out there in the next day or so and find a ski lift with very little people using the little mound for their winter fun.

It got cold in the last day or so. Even had a dusting of snow. We are woefully behind with our snowfall. According to the old wives' tale, since we had our first snowfall on the 27th of December, we can expect 27 snowfalls in total. Last night's dusting was only #4. Now, mind you, I don't mind not having 27 snowfalls. It's not like it's a goal or something.

Oh, another thing. Changing the subject, NASA says that the oceans are not rising, but rather, the level of water went down a bit. According to the weather/climate change/global warming gurus, weren't we told that because of global warming, the ice sheets would be melting and we'd have so much more water in the oceans that our eastern coast would be flooded. So how come the water level is going down? Faulty theory = flawed results. But then, just maybe because the Russians drilled a hole in the ice sheet in Antarctica to get to an underground lake, maybe water is draining down into the hole. Hey, it could happen!

Quint took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel today. When we were coming out to go back to the car, we noticed that there had been a bunch of pansies in bloom before they got frosted. Now, who would plant blooming pansies in the middle of winter? Sure enough, they got frostbit last night. I love the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel. If I close my eyes, I can imagine that I'm back at Grandma Stubbe's boarding house in Paducah. Cracker Barrel's meatloaf tastes just like hers. Maybe they found her recipe somewhere. It's delicious. So is their Cream of Potato Soup which is my favorite soup anywhere.

And now my client has arrived for a session. I see her pulling into the driveway now.



February 6, 2012

Want the world to be a better place? Then do something. Think about joining the huge group of volunteers in America.

I know this is old data, but it's the source I found when I went looking. It's a research article on volunteerism in America written by Richard D. Young. He cited a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that says 59% of people in the United States who are 16 years old or older volunteered for an organization in some capacity. And that was for the year way back in 2001 to 2002. that was 27.6% of the American population.

Volunteers most often donate their time to religious organizations (33.9%). Second on the list is educational organizations who get 27.2% of the volunteers. But it's the old folks who are 65 and older who donate
the most time to churches -- 45.2%.

Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies several activities in which volunteers engage in consistently. The list below shows which activities are most predominate.

Teaching or coaching (24.4 %).

Canvassing, campaigning, or fundraising (22.9 %).

Collecting, making, serving, or delivering goods (22.2 %).

Serving on a board, committee, or neighborhood association (16.3 %).

Providing care or transportation (12.3 %).

Consulting or administrative work (14.0 %).

So this ties in with the Gospel lesson at church yesterday. It's from Mark 1:29-39 and tells the story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law from a fever. What's the first thing she did when her fever went away? She got up and began to serve them.

Not because she had to, as Pastor Gillet said. But because she wanted to.

When it comes to serving in the Kingdom of God, it's something we get to do. We don't have to, but rather, we are allowed to serve.

In another article, again pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we read that ... nearly 63 million Americans, slightly more than a quarter of the population, volunteered for charities last year, providing services valued at nearly $173-billion. That’s down from 2009, when 63.4 million adults, or nearly 27 percent of the population, donated their time. The volunteer rate has not changed significantly since 2006, hovering around 26 percent. Volunteerism reached nearly 29 percent from 2003 to 2005 and has been as low as 20.4 percent in 1989, says a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is based on annual and monthly surveys of roughly 100,000 Americans age 16 or older, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What's neat about this article is an interactive map of the United States that compares the percentage of volunteers in a state and compares it to the national average when you move your cursor over the state. http://philanthropy.com/article/Volunteerism-Holds-Steady-in/128565/

So get out there and be a good neighbor. While you're at it, volunteer to help out at your church too.


February 4, 2012

Quint and I headed over to Culvers after closing up the junior quilting shop at church. When we started looking for a spot to sit down at, I heard a familiar voice say, "Jane." It was the vice president of the Effingham/Shelby Zone and she invited us to sit with her and her husband. They were just finishing up the flavor of the month (chocolate eclair) ice cream, so we sat down.

After talking about a dizzying list of favorite subjects, Chris and I then started talking about cake recipes. I told her I was going to start visiting churches in the Zone. Tomorrow is my first outing. It's at a church where the church council is making soup for lunch. I told her I was going to make a yellow cake with a peach pie filling and after sharing that quick recipe with her (it's on the recipe page over there on the left), she said, "I'll tell you how to make a cake."

She explained, first you mix a cake mix with an angel food cake mix. It can be any kind of cake mix you want, but it has to be with an angel food cake mix.

Then, when you get those two cake mixes mixed well, mix 3 tablespoons of the dry mix with 2 tablespoons of water and microwave for 1 minute.

She says it's easy to remember because it's 3-2-1.

When I got home I mixed a sugar free yellow cake mix with an angel food mix that I picked up on the way home.

Sure enough, it works! So I have this cake mix in a ziploc bag ready to make a cake in a minute.

I even bought one of those new cans of frosting mix that Pillsbury has. It looks like a whipped cream container where you kind of bend a plastic tip a bit and out comes the frosting.

What an amazing age we live in!

I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother would send me to the bakery to buy two layers of a yellow cake if she didn't have time to bake a cake for a church event. And she thought that was cheating. But no one ever knew. She always covered it with her famous 7 Minute Frosting so who would have ever been able to tell.

One of my other favorite memories of my grandmother was her little forest of African Violet leaves. She had a big pan of sand which she kept wet. Then she would take leaves from her African Violets and stick them in the sand. After some mysterious length of time, she'd know when to take the leaves out because they'd have roots developed. She'd plant them in little pots and after a while, little baby African Violets would pop their little faces up through the dirt. Eventually, she'd cut the big leaf off and put it back in the sand to make a new generation.

I got up enough nerve to try that this year. A nurse at the oncology center assured me that this method would work so I gave it a try. I now have a beautiful purple and another pink African Violet and when I get a little new plant, I give them to clients who want them.

Except that I only use African Plant Food water. That makes them bloom like happy little campers. Pretty much all the time too.


February 2, 2012

If the groundhog can be believed, we don't have to worry about winter weather so much. We had fog as thick as pea soup. Not only could the rat not see his shadow, I doubt if he could see his cute little paw in front of his face. Yay! Go groundhog.

I received this from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:


One of the best I've seen lately........

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!


I read another article today on the web warning about yet another scam. This one has to do with jury duty. Supposedly someone sends you an email or calls you to let you know there's a warrant for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty.

After you pick yourself up off the floor and start to explain that you never got a summons to appear for jury duty, then the most helpful scam artist at the other end of the phone asks you for your social security number and birthday so it can be double checked against the list of warrants. Now, we aren't going to give anybody that kind of information, are we?

Please say you won't.

Scam artists are mean. They're usually crooks who need to go where other criminals live.

If you live in Illinois, you need to know that Illinois is a "do not call" state. That means if you get an annoying telemarketing call, immediately tell the caller that you are aware that you live in a "do not call" state and want your name taken off the list he/she is calling from. The caller has to stop the conversation immediately.

Also, there's a link on the Links page on this website to put your phones on the "Do not call list." I probably need to do that again because I'm starting to get calls again. Putting your phone numbers on the list is not a permanent solution but when you start to get calls again, just go back in and renew your numbers.

February 1, 2012

We're zipping through the Bible at an accelerated pace in our Sunday morning adult discussion class. It's an ambitious undertaking because we're actually going to go from Genesis to Revelation in a 10-week segment. Oh, for sure, we aren't going to do any really in depth stopping over points. We can always go back and focus on aspects of the textbook we're using individually at a later date.

One of the quick points that was made in an early chapter was that Genesis 15:1 was the first time that the term "the word of the Lord came to..."

In this particular instance, the reference was to Abraham. He was the first man to whom the word of the Lord came. Abraham was a prophet. In this particular instanc, the word prophet means one who receives the word of the Lord.

Don't you think it would be exciting to pick up the Bible and get into the Word? Page after page after page of the Word brings us richness and depth to our soul. It's a blessed journey to walk every day with the Lord.

There's mending to be done when we weep from heavy grief. Our soul yearns for healing and it's right there, in between the covers of the Book.

There's learning that jumps off the pages with so much history. The Bible is not a complete history of what was going on in the world. For instance, from 1250 to 1190 BC the Greeks and Trojans were fighting the famous Trojan War. It happened. We know that from recorded history. But it's not a Bible story.

And did you know that from 1750 - 1040 BC, China's Shang Dynasty had a system of writing. They organized a bunch of armies too.

There were earthquakes too. From 1150-950 BC, earthquakes rattled the area around Cyprus.

Accupuncture was first introduced during the Chou dynasty at 1030 BC.

For sure, there were people in other places doing other things. Their stories were not captured in the Bible.

What the Bible does bring us is the bloodline of Jesus all the way back to Adam and Eve. The Bible traces this lineage through the House of David, through his line of history to a little town of Bethlehem.

There's much in the Word to sift through and think about. Absolutely no other book in the history of mankind has had the impact as the Word of God. Nor has any one single individual, save Jesus Christ, had as much of an impact on civilization than the Son of God who came from heaven to become flesh and blood and to live among us. Then he died as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of each one of us.

This month we recognize Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the season of Lent. It's a time when we stop what we're doing and ponder the miracle of God's great love which he so graciously gifts us with.

Let the Word of God come to you. Pick up the Bible and just hold it in your hands. Then open it and start to read.

Prepare to be amazed.



January 31, 2012

It's hard to believe that here in Middle Illinois, it's 58.1 degrees. Highly unusual for January 31. Only two days 'til Ground Hogs Day and this year, do I dare say, "Who cares?"

Actually, when you think about it, it doesn't matter whether the rat sees his shadow or not. Spring is six weeks away no matter what. Just count the days on the calendar.

When I left you last night I was talking about the bad rap that controlling and manipulating people have gotten over the years. We've put a negative connotation onto those two words when, in fact, they can be life-saving.

I mentioned that the reason people are controlling is because they want life to be predictable. And who doesn't want that?

But maybe we're asking for trouble in trying to control people, places and events that we don't have any business messing with. There's all kinds of attempts at controlling that could even land you in jail. For instance, if you forged someone's signature because you wanted to control your ability to get out of debt so you think stealing someone's identity and/or money is acceptable. Not.

That's not even close to be included in this discussion.

What you can control, though, is your behavior. How you react to events and people in your life can be a healthy way to control your environment.

Babies, for instance, who smile and giggle at you make it awfully easy and heartwarming to pick them up and cuddle them. They've learned at a very early age that positive behaviors get more favorable attention from the big people in their lives. In a small way, they've figured out how to control someone to come over and pick them up.

I remember when my daughter and her husband were trying to get back to Los Angeles when, for some reason, their flight was abruptly cancelled. No new flights were scheduled at that airline. So she went over to another airline and said to an already overstressed service attendant that she realized the burden that this lady was under and she certainly didn't want to push her for help, but she was hoping ever so much if there was anything that she could do to get them on a plane. She engaged the lady in a few light moments and the next thing you know, she and her husband were on a flight, with a "Thank you so much. You are a lifesaver." And off the went to the other end of the airport where the other airline's terminal was.

She learned when she was a little girl that when you're reasonable, you're more able to operate on your environment and more often than not, get the results you want.

Call it whatever you want, but being pleasant will get you farther along than being pushy and ignorant and belligerent and demanding.

When you wake up in the morning, look at the daylight and say, "Today is going to be a great day. I'm going to have some adventures and come in contact with people I enjoy being with." Then get up, get dressed, and put your very best smile on your face as you out to operate on your environment. Make things happen. But in a pleasant way that shows people you care about them.



January 30, 2012

I'm actually in between clients right now, so this will be a bit brief. I'll finish my thought tomorrow in a bit more detail.

What I want to discuss before the thought goes too far away is this whole idea that controllingness and manipulation is a bad thing. I say -- not necessarily.

The reason we need to control or manipulate things is to make life more predictable. We all need predictability in our lives. So the question really wraps itself around why we feel insecure when our lives are not predictable.

Jean Piaget, the psychological guru who developed the school of cognitive development, says we all learn how to "operate" on our environment and the people in it.

It does not make you a bad  person.

More about this after I've had a good night's rest.


About the time I think there's not much new under the sun, this comes to my email. It's from Linda over in Lawrenceville. Thank you, Linda!


Subject: Monday Morning Message

        This is SIMPLY AWESOME! I've never seen this before! Whoever put The Resume
of Jesus Christ together is surely a blessing to us all! Please share it!
The last sentence says it all... Send this resume to everyone you know, you
never know who may have an opening!   Powerful!
        Have a blessed day!
        The Resume of Jesus Christ
        Address: Ephesians 1:20
        Phone: Romans 10:13
        Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus
        _____________________________________________________
        Objective
        My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume
because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart. Please
consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Qualifications
        I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19 )
        I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7 )
        I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7 )
        I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Gal at ians 3:13 )
        The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me,
(See Galatians 3:14 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Occupational Background
        I've only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ) .
        I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
        My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15 -17 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Skills Work Experiences
        Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be
poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing
the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are
bruised, (See Luke 4:18 ) .
        I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6 ) . People who listen to me
shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33 ) .
        Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of
your sins, (See I John 1:7-9 )
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Educational Background
        I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and
understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6 ) .
        In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians
2:3 ) .
        My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet
and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105 ) .
        I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21 ) .
        _____________________________________________________________________
        Major Accomplishments
        I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times,
(See Genesis 1:26 ) .
        I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15 ) .
        I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly,
(See Colossians 2:15 ) .
        I've miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
        There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can
read them on my website, which is located at : www dot - the BIBLE. You
don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        References
        Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing,
salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
        _____________________________________________________________________
        In Summ at ion
        Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate
uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation,
I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6 ) , and lead you into
everlasting life, (See John 6:47 ) . When can I start? Time is of the
essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ) .
        Send this resume to everyone you know,
        you never know who may have an opening!


        Thanks for your help.

September 26, 2012

Got these one-liners from friend Cody in Warrensburg, Missouri:

Don't let your worries get the best of you;
Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited
Until you try to sit in their pews.. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Many folks want to serve God, 
But only as advisers. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
It is easier to preach ten sermons 
Than it is to live one.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose,
But mosquitoes come close. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
When you get to your wit's end,
You'll find God lives there. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
People are funny; They want the Front of the bus,
the Middle of the road,
And Back of the church. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Opportunity may knock once,
But temptation bangs on the front door forever. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Quit griping about your church; 
If it was perfect, you couldn't belong. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
If a church wants a better pastor,
It only needs to pray for the one it has .. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
God Himself doesn't propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Some minds are like concrete 
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
Peace starts with a smile. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
don't know why some people change churches;
What difference does it make
which one you stay home from?
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
A
lot of church members singing 'Standing on the Promises'
Are just sitting on the premises. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Be ye fishers of men. You catch 'em - He'll clean 'em.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Forbidden fruits create many jams. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God loves everyone,
But probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over
'religious nuts!'
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
God
promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
He
who angers you, controls you! 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats! 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
Prayer:
Don't give God instructions, just report for duty!
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The task ahead of us is never as
great as the Power behind us. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
The
Will of God never takes you to where the
Grace of God will not protect
you. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
We
don't change the message,
The message changes us. 
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
You can tell how big a person is
By what it takes to discourage him.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* 
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given . 


Do you think the US Navy would ever name a ship after an army guy, even if he is a Green Beret? Well, if your name is Roy Benavidez, it would. Benavidez got the Medal of Honor too. You have to see his story to believe it. This comes from cousin Mark: http://biggeekdad.com/2010/01/tango-mike-mike/

 
Oh my goodness - what fun! This letter from a New Orleans attorney provides, in addition to a good argument, a bit of history at the same time. Thank you, Mark:

You have to love this lawyer.......

Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task
of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich
with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along
through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish
ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client:

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be
granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered
as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer
three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received
the following reply:

(Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that
the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able
manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out
that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803.
Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back
to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

(Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you
wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present
application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly
those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by
the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our
application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the
land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by
Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of
Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had
been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch,
Queen Isabella.

The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as
the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold
her jewels to finance Columbus's expedition...Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may
know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly
accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God
also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the
owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world
as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory.
Now, may we have our loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.


September 24, 2012

Before I do another thing, I want to share a link with you from a friend of mine. It's an outstanding vocalist, a ten year old young lady named Jackie Evancho. You know how I love to watch and hear people who excel at anything, regardless of their age. Just listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foUrBztgzZA She was on America's Got Talent, and boy does she!

Changing the subject, today was the day when one of those mega-mega-zoom-zooms arrived from our sun to lay havoc with the Earth's magnetic fields. Even Delta Airlines re-routed some of its flights to dodge the solar winds from the Coronal Mass Eruption. http://www.space.com/12581-stunning-photos-solar-storms-flares-sun-weather.html

Wow! The northern lights must have danced quite a little Texas Two Step.

Now, on to other matters of some import. It's all about retraining your communications ability so that you don't fall victim to people who want to get and keep you on the defense.

In the first place, don't think you have to jump in and answer someone who demands an immediate answer. No no no. Take a deep breath and give yourself a bit of time to send a response back over the fence, so to speak.

Yes, it's more than okay to answer a question with a question. In fact, it's how you get out of all those defense-intended maneuvers that are being shot at you. You simply do not have to answer with all that immediacy.

For instance, when someone says to you, "Why don't you want to talk to me?"

Your response could be, "About what?"

Or, "Why didn't you call me?"

"Was I supposed to?"

"Yes."

"Who said that?"

Slow down a bit and give yourself time to frame your response.

Try it. It will take some time to get in the habit of allowing yourself to proceed slowly. In the long-run, it will help you set your boundaries and maintaining them. Especially if you get the inkling that someone is trying to invade your peace of mind by demanding that you defend yourself.

And how can you recognize defense maneuvers? Aside from your gut reaction, densive maneuvers usually start with the word "Why."

"Why" questions are not part of polite conversation. The intent is for one person to try to get and keep the upper hand over someone else.



September 23, 2010

This is one of those off the beaten path pieces of information that you may not have known. I didn't either until today's issue of American Profile arrived.

The there it was on Page 12. Yet another reason that Chicago can claim to be a winner at something.

The Field Museum in Chicago has won the 2011 America's Best Restroom Award.

So what, you may ask, does a "best restroom" have going for it that would beat out other competitors? Well, for starters, it has little people potties. And there's a nursing room complete with a sofa in it.

So congrats, Chicago. 'Nuff said about that.


Now it's official. Quint is in remission from his chronic lymphocytic/leukemia. We made our trip to the oncologist today and learned that the results of the CT scan he had a couple of weeks ago show that the lymph nodes have returned to normal. Thank you for answered prayers. We're both now on the once-in-three-months regimen. I did have a new medication to the list of what the doctor has in my file. That's Allupurinol. So when I told him, he said, "Oh, you've got gouty athritis."

Yep. That's me. The medication is specifically for people who has been given Cytoxa for chemo with breast cancer.

But then I found out that eating cherries -- only 6 a day -- will help out a lot. Sure enough, we found cherries in the produce aisle. Fresh from Chile. They are delicious. After only a week of cherry snacks, I've seen an improvement. I can now bend my thumb with no pain at all. That's the only place, plus my back, that seems to be bothered. Oh, it's just a nuisance. Nothing fatal. I'll take nuisances.

January 20, 2012

We are just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.

We do not miss it.

Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html

Here's a link to Gene Simmons of KISS performing for the troops: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=5MtdIO23MKM Makes me want to stand up and march around the dining room. Thanks, Mark, for sharing.

January 20, 2012

We are just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.

We do not miss it.

Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html

January 18, 2012

Okay, so here's my ignorance showing. I don't know where either of these teams are from -- Trinity and Millsap -- but this link that my cousins Al and Mark sent to me shows one of the most phenomenal football plays I have ever seen in all my born days: http://www.dump.com/2011/02/22/end-zone-angle-of-the-final-football-play-of-trinity-vs-millsaps-video/

Talk about teamwork! This one play won the game. Wow!

And Mark  sends these tips too:

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be toimmediately clear your computer
history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an
argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to
nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know
how to get out of my neighborhood.

I especially like #7.

As for the second point, I'll have to see if Quint can even remember a time when he was wrong. About anything. ha ha

Me? I try to keep my mouth shut unless I know pretty much what the answer is.

Reminds me of a fella in grad school who had a most unique form of discipline. He says it's more effective than time outs and has been using it since his kiddos were real little. He makes them sit down so that he can tell them the entire history of slavery. All total, it takes about 45 minutes.

January 17, 2012

We went from 61 degrees this morning to a cool 28 now. There's a raw wind blowing that makes it feel like 2 zillion below zero.

Thank goodness Ground Hogs Day is only weeks away. That's the day I first celebrate spring.

I remember when I was a little girl the teacher would pass around those mimeographed pictures for our class to color. After I became an adult, I realized that the ground hog is nothing but a big rodent and the whole thing used up all my brown color crayons. Big deal.

My irises did die back again though. Poor little things. I can hear them shivering under their little dirt shoes. I have a huge variety of colors. Some are yellow, a peach color that's really a double. Looks pretty and frilly. Various shades of purple, one almost black. And finally a pink iris. I like irises. They remind me of Vincent Van Gogh. He painted irises for the whole year that he was in the asylum. People sometimes comment about how they must have been Van Gogh's favorite flower. The truth is, they were the only flower planted at the asylum. So of course he painted irises. What else were there? Besides, by that time he was probably tired of doing self-portraits, being one ear shy of having a full face and all.

Thank you for all your "as if" comments. It was very interesting to hear about how you are using the same concept. Actually it's little more than positive thinking. But it works. People who are negative get dumped on a lot. They aren't any fun and they suck all the air out of relationships, out of the sky and out of their hearts. So lighten up everybody and live your lives as if you are the successful person you want to be!

January 16, 2012

Live your life as if --

It's a Biblical concept. Believe you will get what you pray for, and it is yours, we are promised.

It's the underlying principle of the best-seller The Secret.

So let's all put a whole bunch of positive energy out there. The idea is that if you send positive energy out from yourself, it will come back to you.

That's where you embrace the idea that you'll do better in life if you live your life as if.

For instance, married couples who live their lives as if can somehow keep a vibrancy alive in their relationship. Remember those days when you tried to do all the thoughtful, courteous things you could to attract this handsome guy, or gorgeous lady, into your life? If you're going to be late, do you call and let somebody know you're being detained? If you're living your life as if, then you're going to do such thoughtful things like making a call.

Or how about getting that dream job? What happens when you are sitting in your cubicle doing some grunt project and wishing the clock would advance a few hours so you could get out of there? Well, if you're living your life as if you'd just gotten into an interview and were trying to convince a prospective boss that you really wanted the job, you'd go ahead and do the best you could do, even if every day isn't always exciting and creatively challenging.

Or how about parenting. Remember those days when you couldn't wait for Little Baby Ten Toes to arrive? Live your life as if those days beckon you and you back to the days when you promised yourself that you'd be the best parent you possibly could be to the new baby yet to be born. Living as if will help you get through long, fright-filled nights when you're waiting for an errant teenage to wander on back home.

And most of all, live your life as if Christ were headed this way from the other side of the universe and he is just about ready to come down out of the clouds. Living your life as if he were just about here just may change your life choices.

Good luck with that. Think about ways you could live your life as if.


January 13, 2012

Yes, we got the snow. Not much. Just a couple of inches. Then it stopped for a few hours. I reminded Quint that when the snow started up again, it counted as a new snow. At least for my reckoning. He doesn't have to count the snows separately if he doesn't want to. It's just that if you don't, you end up with some extra snowfalls anticipated by the end of the season.

Yesterday I saw a red fox loping along across the neighbor's yard across the street. At first I thought it was a dog, but then, that tail is a giveaway. Red fox it was. Pretty good sized one too. We have some woods behind our house. Figure he lives back in there with the deer who come out every once in a while looking for good chow, like when the neighbor's beans are about ready to pick. I told her to get a bottle of Liquid Fence at the hardware store, last year. It works. It's kept deer, squirrels and rabbits away from my garden goodies ever since I planted a garden down here. Not too cheap, but it does the trick. You spray around the perimeter of the garden, not on the veggies. A quart bottle lasts most of the season.

It even works on those naughty dogs who like to hike up their legs and take a leak on my rose bush out front. Actually they're probably marking their territory. Doesn't matter, me and my Liquid Fence go out there and give the bush a squirt where the dogs squirted. They don't come back so much. Nothing to reclaim if they can't get a whiff of their aroma.

Tomorrow I'm going to my first meeting of the Christian Writers Group here in town. Looking forward to meeting others who are plying their craft too.

I'm anxious to see if anyone else uses what I call the Ernest Hemingway approach -- you know, three to four word sentences. He was a master at it and I figured if he made it work, so could I. Problem is, my spell checker does not like fragmented sentences. But hey, that's the way people talk. So I say I write "conversationally." ha!

Oh, changing the subject. What do you think the stock markets are going to do on Monday morning, now that Standard and Poors has downgraded the financial houses of Yerp? France and Austria lost their AAA ratings. A total of 15 European nations' ratings were cutting in the S&P slash and burn come-uppance move. One of these days, the US is going to get downgraded again if we don't get a grip on spending.

You can't spend all your money!

I watched one of those news interview programs, maybe a Jay Leno man on the street. Not sure. Anyway, the commentator was asking the people where they thought money came from. One lady said she thought the president printed the money in the basement of the White House. Unfortunately, she was serious. She even knew who the president was.

God said something about wasting the blessings He gives us. We'd better all listen up and pay attention, folks.

January 11, 2011

I'm so glad that Netflix survived the stupidest marketing debacle yet -- raising money on top of money by doing a double tier charge system. Never could figure out what they were going to charge so we canceled everything but the streatming, which we used mostly anyway. We do get one video still, though. What we have both come to really like is the video of a fireplace burning. That's all it is. Just a fireplace burning. It makes the living room seem warm and cozy. Okay, so it doesn't make the room actually warm, but the crackling fire and licking flames do okay by me.

Just in time, too, for a winter storm heading our way. I fear that this one isn't going to miss us. We might get several inches out of it. It's heading SSE out of Iowa and looks to cut a big swath across Illinois as it heads east. I guess that's the end of our 40 degree winters.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Now, on to Groundhog's Day which is February 2. Somehow I don't think the little groundhog is going to be a harbinger of spring. This is going to be one of those winters where it's going to be snowing for Easter, I'll bet. When the girls were little tykes I remember them hopping through snow on the way to the church on Easter Sunday. Didn't do their little patent leather slippers any good.

Not much news going on except politics, in case you haven't noticed. Politics in the US has become a mult-billion dollar business. So the ads and speeches and debates and spin doctoring are going to continue until November.

One good thing did come out of the Supreme Court today. Believe it or not, the justices reaches a unanimous decision that says churches can hire people of their own choice - whether it's a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam. The supremes said the government had to "butt out" in so many words.

Well, it's about time.

And my cousin Frances in Texas says the jonquils are sprouting and the bluebells are really thick, though not blooming just yet.

I will add that my irises are totally confused. I have cut them back twice now and could cut them back again but I'm not gonna. If they decide to bloom when it snows, I'll take a photo for posterity.

And with that, no matter where you are, please drive carefully. I know that some parts of the midwest are supposed to get 10" of snow or more, but the rest of us can expect 1 to 2 inches of the white stuff. I don't care if we only get one inch of snow. If it's sitting on icy pavement, it can still be deadly.

Prayers for safety for all of you.

January 9, 2012

Had he lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you in heaven.

Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's going to happen at the end of 2012.

In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.

Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up. Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................" You'll get a reference.

That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since he'd promised in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.

But what about this point that the Mayans supposedly thought the world was going to end? Did they actually say that? Not really, unless you interpret their writings to fit into that concept. But what if it'd the Mayan calendar, not the world, that is supposed to end in December 2012? After all, we have Bible texts that say only the Father knows. If He didn't get around to telling His much beloved Son, Jesus Christ, do you really believe He would have told some Indians out there on the Yucatan Peninsula.  

So what did God tell the prophet?


In the New International Reader's Version, in Hebrews 12, we find:

25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!

26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.

28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)


There are also references to God shaking the earth in Psalm 115:3 and Haggai 2:6.

I am reminded of the reference in Verse 28 that "...we can worship God in a way that pleases him." That pretty much takes care of people who say they don't go to church because they believe they can worship God in a forest, or somewhere else. In fact, God tells us that he wants us to meet in assembly with fellow believers.

So get up on the Sabbath, get dressed and make your way to church where you can "assemble" with "fellow believers." Just do it. Don't say "no" to God.




And then there's this Tebow guy. Don't you love him?! Over the weekend he rushed 316 yards. That was the accumulated passes he threw and I think he ran the ball some too. When he heard the stats broadcast with his last winning throw of the day that he was responsible for 316 yards that won the game for the Denver Broncos, what does he do? Did he swell up and sing, "How great I am?" Not on your life. He dropped to his knee and thanked God for his blessings. He later explained that when he heard that, all he could think of was John 3:16.

January 7, 2012

I'm stuck at the weight where I've plateaued so Quint and I headed for the gym today. That's how you get off those plateaus - either drastically cut back on calories or step up the exercise.

Well, since our life is pretty sedentary as it is, just walking out the door to get intot he car is an improvement on the sedentary lifestyle. So, since we're Silver Sneakers on our Humana insurance, we headed for the gym where we used to go faithfully before all this cancer nonsense started. We walked on the treadmill for a big fat 20 minutes. We got all the way up to a 27 minute mile. Then we did some work on the strength training machines. I got on the machine that works the hamstrings. I personally think my hamstrings have completely atrophied, but that could be just a bit hyperbolic. Truth is, I don't like needing to hang onto something just to stand up, for crying out loud.

Okay, so I don't expect to jump up out of my seat, but I would like to look less like an invalid. I'll work up to walking for an hour, or get up to five miles. I remember when I was a Girl Scout leader I used to go on five mile hikes with frequency. But then, those were called "all day hikes" for Brownies.

Oh well, we're expecting it to take some little while to get some semblance of stamina back.

On our way home, we stopped at Walgreens where I got my flu shot. The doctor only had one left when we were there for our last checkup, so Quint got it.

We also stocked up on sugar free candy. Russell Stover is my friend!

Changing the subject, I can always rely on my cousin Mark to send the Darwin Awards for the previous year. And here they are:


THE 2011 DARWIN AWARDS

You've been waiting for them with bated breath, so without further ado, here are the
2011 Darwin Awards:

Eighth Place

In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after
squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.


Seventh Place

A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran",
accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on his daily run.


Sixth Place

While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole for protection from the
wind and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom, when it collapsed, burying
him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying
to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment
almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Fifth Place

Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop
he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his
mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.


Fourth Place

Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a bet with friends who said he
would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the
trigger.


Third Place

After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man
walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of
customers and a uniformed officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the
officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up and fired a few wild shots from a
target pistol.

The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew
their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics.
Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The
subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7
different weapons. No one else was hurt.


HONORABLE MENTION

Paul Stiller, 47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so
they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out the window to see what would
happen. Apparently they failed to notice that the window was closed.


RUNNER UP

Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew
a person who had bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The
conversation grew more excited, and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the
bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge, they discovered that
no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered
and pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable lay nearby. They secured one end
around Bingham's leg and then tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet
before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously
survived his fall into the icy water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen.
Bingham's foot was never located.


AND THE WINNER IS....

Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt ( Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant
22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes
before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief. Investigators say ill-fated
Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when
the relieved beast unloaded.

The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr Riesfeldt to the
ground where he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200
pounds of dung on top of him. It seems to be just one of those freak accidents.

January 9, 2012

Had he lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you in heaven.

Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's going to happen at the end of 2012.

In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.

Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up. Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to
www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................" You'll get a reference.

That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since he'd promised  in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.

So what did God tell the prophet?

In the New International Reader's Version, we find:


25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!

26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.

28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)  

January 4, 2011

Warning: this could be the beginning of a developing article about recognizing saboteurs within an organization. You know -- they're the ones we refer to as alligators. Every organization has them. And they show their true colors more prominently than you might think.

Here's an old maxim as you start your new year: If you want people to like you, you have to make yourself likable.

That takes care of the bossy ones. People run from these guys. They sit in their chairs and issue edicts and "fetch orders." "Get me this," or "get me that" seems to be their motto. You don't see these people surrounded by a big crowd of people, do you? Organizations are full of these little chiefs.

So what can you do to make people like you? Easy. If you want something, go get it yourself. That's for starters. The world does not raise citizens who wait for you to beckon them.

That is, unless you're a politician or a monarch, or something that gives your blue-blooded attitude the self-imposed right to sit on a chair and make demands.

Tied to likability is another maxim: Good leaders make good followers. You can spot the good leaders in your organization by looking around to see who the workers are. They're the ones who make the good leaders. The people who don't want to do any real work in a group are the same ones who will keep the organization at the status quo. No growth. They say, "I liked it better when we were smaller." All too often, these little-minded people have a secret agenda of their own. They seldom do anything to help the organization grow. Does the definition of passive aggressive come to mind?

Just remember, aggression is always a hostile act.

And passive aggression is disguised as sabotage. Each and every time. Passive aggressive people are on a perpetual search for power. And what do they want the most? Whatever strength you've got. They're trying to run a little micro counter-culture in your organization.
But there's good news. You reward (reinforce) the behavior you want to continue. That's behavior modification rule #1. If you find yourself surrounded by people who don't share your values, then for your own sense of well-being, find another venue. There are plenty of organizations and opportunities out there in this big, wide wonderful world that welcome hard workers.

It's even Biblical to shake the dust from your sandals and walk away. Whatever happened between the "shake the dust from your sandals" theory and the "turn the other cheek motto?"

Well, that thesis can be bridged with a good sermon. I'm not a pastor so I'll leave that one for theologians to wrestle with.

January 2, 2012

Therefore, be it resolved -----

I don't ordinarily make New Years resolutions. But this year is an exception.

I can trace my weight gain all the way back to 1985 when my thyroid was removed. I had what's known as a "thyroid storm" at work and was taken by ambulance to Northwest Memorial Hospital from the law firm where I worked. An endocrinologist diagnosed Graves Disease, an autoimmune nuisance. Problem was I had my daughter's wedding gown about half done and was looking down the barrel of her wedding in about two weeks. I finished the gown, had the thyroid ablated with a radioactive iodine. Quint said I glowed in the dark. The doctor released me much earlier than he would have ordinarily because I promised to return post haste after the wedding for quick checkups. That only entailed a quick cab ride over to his office from the law firm where I was back at work.

The problem was, my weight started to slowly rise. At about a 60 degree slope upward. I put on seventy pounds in a year!

I tried lots of diets. All the wrong ones. Low carb diets, for instance, are never any good. I don't care who recommends them, they are not good for your body's chemistry. The human being is meant to eat grains and grain products. Problem was, I wasn't eating anything differently than my pre-ablation days.

Then, in 2006 Quint and I moved. We bought a Cape Cod. People thought I was nuts to move into a house that had three levels when we had lived in a condominium that was all on one level. Not to mention that my knees were giving me fits. But after we moved I started to lose weight. Slowly. Ever so slowly. After about six months my knees were not giving me any problems at all. I wasn't doing anything much different except I was out from under the sedentary lifestyle that came with my counseling practice. I was walking around more. I enjoyed the physical activity. At the end of a year I was 49 pounds lighter.

But now is the year I'm going to take off the rest of the 25 pounds that I packed on. And how am I going to do this? Simple. Give up most of the flour products I eat.

Following a gout diet is not that difficult. Sugar is my enemy. Yeast products are also my enemy. Meat is my enemy too. No more bacon with my eggs. No more smoky links that are stuffed with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers.

No more cookies. At least not more than two at one sitting. Ice cream is okay so it's a good thing that I really like Eskimo Pies -- sugar free that is. This afternoon I'm going to make a cookie that has a chocolate turtle stuffed inside. The cookie dough is a Pillsbury sugar free cake mix and the chocolate turtles are sugar free from Russell Stove. I'll cut the turtles into quarters to make them go farther. Does it cost more to make them? You bet. But it's cheaper than all the medicines that you have to take if you're diabetic. I can have a couple of cookies with impunity.

Low-fat cheeses and cottage cheese are also very good for me. And for some reason, tart cherries are also good for the gout diet. They are low in purines. The lower the purines in the bloodstream, the lower the risk of too much uric acid in the blood. Fresh apples and oranges and bananas are good for the low purine diet too. But I seldom eat bananas. Once in a while we'll put them on cereal for breakfast. (Did you know that a serving of banana is only 1/2 of the banana?) It has too much sugar in it. I learned that from Quint's diabetic diet.

Two weeks ago I started a lifestyle change that will allow me to get control of the gout. I've now lost 5 and a half pounds.

I'm looking forward to being at least ten pounds lighter by the end of January. That's the only resolution that I've made so far.

I'm thinking about slowing down a bit. Especially now that I'm working at a job that I really enjoy in the afternoons. It's working for a dual parish church office. Fortunately, the pastor I work with was a friend of mine before I started working with him.

I'm not willing to give that up. But I am willing to give up my "over-do" list. It's too easy for people to mistake my generosity with my time and energy. So I'm going to step back this year and let other people do some of the things that I used to do. In the meantime, I have joined a Christian Writers Group that meets here in Effingham County. It's a group of about ten people who are writing for publication. 

And I have a couple of grants that I promised to write for some business people here in the county. I like writing grants. It keeps my paralegal skills honed. And I like helping business people get their enterprises off the ground.

I also want to continue with my own writing projects.

And that should keep me busy and productive in the new year.

That's only two resolutions. They're two that I can commit to that I know I will follow faithfully. That's the key to success when it comes to re-inventing yourself. Pick a re-invention project that you are willing to commit to completely. And don't take on too many projects at the same time. You'll only frustrate yourself. Pick a project that you are motivated to work on. For me, it was the dreaded fear that if I kept on gobbling away, I'd hit 300 pounds. That's just something that I'm not willing to embrace. Besides, losing weight is all about math. If you eat more calories than you use up, you'll gain weight.

I've watched people who claim that they "just can't lose weight." They'd have you believe that they have tried everything. Yet, when you look at their plates, there's potatoes, noodles, and bread and butter. Then there's the entree and maybe, just maybe a little bit of green vegetable. Never ever eat potatoes and bread in the same meal. And I don't know what they think they're doing by dumping noodles or dressing onto the plate. After all, you're not required to eat everything on the menu. So, if you're an adult, make a fist. That's about a cup. Half of that amount would be a serving. If you're eating a closed fist size of mashed potatoes, you're eating too much. Oh, you could have that much in green beans. That's for sure. But not if the beans are highly seasoned with butter and bacon bits, silly.


I figure you've probably seen this letter that my cousins Mark and Al sent to me, but it's worth another read through:

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.
The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking
about how much she missed Abbey.
She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God
would recognize her.
I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog?
She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
I miss her very much.
I ' m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her.
She likes to swim and play with balls.
I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.
I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith , addressed it
to God/Heaven.
We put our return address on it.
Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope cause she said it would
take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she
dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet.
I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed,
'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith opened it.
Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'
Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened
envelope.
On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:


Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized
her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.
Abbey loved being your dog.
Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your
picture in so I ' m sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and
have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it
and sending it to me.
What a wonderful mother you have.
I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find.
I am wherever there is love.

Love,

God

January 1, 2012

What a beautiful message I've received from my cousins, Mark and Al:

 WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAVEN WHEN WE PRAY?
>
> This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen :
>
> I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We
> walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel
> guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the
> Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.
>
> I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels
> sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from
> people all over the world.
>
> Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
>
>  The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section.
> Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and
> delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how
> busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station,
> since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged
>
> for delivery to Earth.
>
> Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of
> a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated
> there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section, my angel
> friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.
>
> "How is it that there is no work going on here? I asked."
>
> "So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they
> asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
>
> "How does one acknowledge God's blessings? "I asked.
>
> "Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
>
> "What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
>
> "If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
> overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.
>
> If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish,
> you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy, and if you get this on
> your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that
> opportunity."
>
> "If you woke up this morning with more health than illness.. You are more
> blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."
>
> "If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of
> imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... You are
> ahead of 700 million people in the world."
>
> "If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest,
> torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion
> people in the world."
>
> "If your parents are still alive and still married.... you are very rare."
>
> "If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're
> unique to all those in doubt and despair......."
>
> "Ok," I said. "What now? How can I start?"
>
> The Angel said, "If you can read this message, you just received a double
> blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are
> more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at
> all."
>
> Have a good day,  count your blessings , and if you care to, pass this
> along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are..........
>
> ATTN:  Acknowledge Dept .
>
> "Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for
> giving me so many wonderful people with whom to share it."
>
> If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been
> blessed with, how can you  not  send it on?
>
> I thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends.
>

(And do you know how many pearly gates there are? -- If you guessed 12, you'd be correct. See Revelation 21.)


And here's a profound story from my friend Linda, in Lawrenceville:

                    Read it before but just as powerful the second or third time.
GOD BLESS. Please do not forget the real reason for the
Christmas season!

                         This is so beautiful!
                       John 3:16

                       A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people
were in and out of the cold.

                       The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many
papers.

                       He walked up to a policeman and said,  'Mister,
                       you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could
                       find a warm place to sleep tonight would you?

                       You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down
the alley and it's awful cold in there for tonight. Sure
would be nice to have a warm place to stay.'

                       The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, 'You go
down the street to that big white house and you knock
                       on the door. When they come out the door you just say John
3:16, and they will let you in.'

                       So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked
                       on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said,
'John 3:16 .' The lady said, 'Come on in, Son.'

                       She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker
in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off.. The
boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:
                       John 3:16 ....I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold
boy warm.

                       Later she came back and asked him 'Are you hungry? 'He said,
'Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days,
and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,'

                       The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table
full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat
anymore. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16...           
      


                       Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry
boy full.

                       She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub
                       filled with warm water, and he sat there
                       and soaked for a
                       while. As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...
                       I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy
                       clean... You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my
whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in
front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
                       The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room,
                       tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up
around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the
lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the
                       window at the snow coming down on that cold night,
                       he thought to himself: John 3:16 .....I don't understand it
but it sure makes a tired boy rested.

                       The next morning the lady came back up and took him
                       down again to that same big table full of food. After he
                       ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom
                       rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.

                       She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face..
                       'Do you understand John 3:16 ? ' she asked gently. He replied,
                       'No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last
night when the policeman told me to use it,'
                       She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain
                       to him about Jesus . Right there, in front of that big old
fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there
and thought: John 3:16,“I
                       don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.

                       You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either,
                       how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how
Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the
agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched
Jesus suffer
                       and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept
Jesus on the cross till the end. I don't understand it, but
it sure does make life worth living.

                       John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life....

                       If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the
directions .

                       Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of
you before my Father.' Pass this on only if you mean it.

                       I do Love God . He is my source of existence... .. He keeps
me functioning each and every day. Phil 4:13 If you love God
and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done
for you, send this on..

                       Take 60 seconds & give this a shot !  Let's just see if Satan
stops this one.

                       All you do is:

                       1) Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you
this, 'Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that
You know he or she may be needing this day.  In Jesus' Name,
Amen ! '

                       2) Then send it on to other people.  Within hours many people
have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of people to
pray to God for other people. Then sit back and watch the
power of God work in your life for doing the thing that you
know He loves.

(This is a good example of what I call Network Prayers. It really makes me feel great to know that people are praying for me, and I love to pray for others too. Thank you, Linda, for sending.)