Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Start Protesting!

It's been said that the only sure things in life are death & taxes. I'm ready to protest both! Here's two email driven protest ideas that use snail mail to deliver.

Not everyone considers abortion to be death (any doctor can tell you that life begins at conception!) or if they do, do not value the life of unborn humans. Truly inhumane.
Would you like to participate in Red Envelope Day, on March 31, 2009?
1. Get a red envelope.
2. On the front, address it to
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington , D.C. 20500

3. On the back, write the following message:
This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion.
It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world.

4. Mail the envelopes March 31st, 2009. (everyone on the same day).
Tell every one of your friends who you think would send one too. I wish we could send 50 million red envelopes, one for every child who died [in the U.S.] before having a chance to live.

It may seem that those who believe abortion is wrong are in a minority.
It may seem like we have no voice and it's shameful to even bring it up.
Let us show our President and the world that the voices of those of us who do not believe abortion is acceptable are not silent and must be heard.

Barack Obama spoke at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event, uttering the now infamous line, "Well, the first thing I'd do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. [Applause.] That's the first thing that I'd do.

"An empty red envelope will send a message to President Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in this country over this issue [The Freedom of Choice Act, which will essentially "undo" every law currently in place to limit abortion in the U.S... (i.e., parental consent laws, parental notification, waiting periods, prohibition of transporting a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion, etc.)].

Join me in this quiet, but clear message of protest.
Rachel's Bible study class did it.

Now about taxes, I received a longer version of this (yes it's brown for TEA):

There's a storm abrewin'. What happens when good, responsible people keep quiet? Washington has forgotten they work for us. We don't work for them. Throwing good money after bad is NOT the answer.

I am sick of the midnight, closed door sessions to come up with a plan. I am sick of Congress raking CEO's over the coals while they, themselves, have defaulted on their taxes. I am sick of the bailed out companies having lavish vacations and retreats on my dollar. I am sick of being told it is MY responsibility to rescue people that, knowingly, bought more house than they could afford. I am sick of being made to feel it is my patriotic duty to pay MORE taxes.

I, like all of you, am a responsible citizen. I pay my taxes. I live on a budget and I don't ask someone else to carry the burden for poor decisions I may make. I have emailed my congressmen and senators asking them to NOT vote for the stimulus package as it was written without reading it first. No one listened. They voted for it, pork and all.

O.K. folks, here it is. You may think you are just one voice and what you think won't make a difference. Well, yes it will and YES, WE CAN!!

If you are disgusted and angry with the way Washington is handling our taxes. If you are fearful of the fallout from the reckless spending of BILLIONS to bailout and "stimulate"without accountability and responsibility then we need to become ONE, LOUD VOICE THAT CAN BE HEARD FROM EVERY CITY, TOWN, SUBURB AND HOME IN AMERICA . There is a growing protest to demand that Congress, the President and his cabinet LISTEN to us, the American Citizens. What is being done in Washington is NOT the way to handle the economic free fall.

So, here's the plan.
On April 1, 2009, all Americans are asked to send a TEABAG (TAG) to Washington , D.C. You do not have to enclose a note or any other information unless you so desire. Just the TEA BAG (TAG). Many cities are organizing protests. If you aren't the 'protester' type, simply make your one voice heard with a TEABAG (TAG). Your one voice will become a roar when joined with millions of others that feel the same way.

This was not my idea. I visited the sites of the 'New American Tea Party' and an online survey showed over 90% of thousands said they would send the teabag on April 1. Why, April 1?? We want them to reach Washington by April 15. Will you do it?

Send it to; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington , D.C. 20500 .

What will this cost you? A little time and a 40 something cent stamp. What could you receive in benefits? Maybe, just maybe, our elected officials will start to listen to the people. Take out the Pork. Tell us how the money is being spent. We want TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. Remember, the money will be spent over the next 4-5 years.
It is not too late to make a difference.

I was told that teabags themselves would cause problems in the mail (& not arrive at their destination) so to send the little tags off of your tea bag strings instead. I have a nice little collection going. :-)

Please join in the protests that represent your beliefs. Stand for your rights as citizens. Pray for God's mercy. I have been praying for Him to defeat the giants in the land. These days, their home town seems to be Washington D.C.
Pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My FACE and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Now to get more stamps...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Take a Hike

Set construction for the Lake Area Easter Pageant started today but I forgot my camera SO no photos of that yet but I still have tons from Texas however first, how about some more scouting?

Last weekend Stan & Caleb embarked on the new adventure of hiking & camping Boy Scout style. A two nighter. Carrying in to the camp site everything they need to eat, drink, sleep & "scout" all weekend.
Weighing (no more than 30 lbs!)and packing their specialized backpacks (Stan ebayed to get his) kept my guys busy for a couple of days. At Tuesday's scout meeting the tents were divided up to pack - two scouts to a tent. They packed their sleeping bags & ground mats - weather was predicted to be cold - in the 40s at night & just touching 70 on Saturday.

Stan purchased instant grits for breakfast, snacks of nuts and granola bars, & one of each of Zateran's Ready to Serve Complete for lunch & supper to heat with their tiny homemade "cat can stoves" in their compact cooking kit then eat with their spoon/fork combos.

I wasn't sure how they would do hauling so much for up to 8 miles hiking BUT they survived, had a good, albeit windy time. Caleb even talked about jogging for part of the trek.
I remember being that energetic. If I tried jogging with 30 pounds on my back today, I'm sure I'd feel like Caleb looks in this photo. LOL!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ethics & Andrew

Yes, I have mo' TX pictures & adventures to post but didn't want to forget to do this.

I finally snagged Andrew's Trees Tick Me Off Ethics paper so I could share his professors non-technical comments.
Note: Andrew's paper was read aloud - this NEVER happens in this class.

"I loved it! Not only is your paper witty, but it is a fine argument! Very well done! Thank you for such a pleasurable read!!"

There were a number of positive technical comments complete with !! awa suggestions for improvements. Andrew was pleased with his A-.

So many seemed to enjoy Andrew's essay that I thought I'd share his newest assignment which had the similar purpose of creating a sample argument using one of the definitions of morality.

Wallet Slapping is Immoral

Wallet slapping is immoral because it produces more unhappiness than happiness overall. According to utilitarianism, morality is about making the world as happy as possible. Happiness is the ultimate goal for everyone and each person’s interests (happiness) is equally important. This means that when faced with an ethical decision, everyone should choose whatever action will have the best overall consequences for all involved. Deciding which option has the best consequences has been compared to balancing outcomes on a scale on which one side is placed happiness and/or pleasure and on the other side unhappiness and/or pain.

First, for the few who do not know exactly what a wallet slap is, from the Andrew’s Universal Dictionary it is defined as: The taking of a wallet (bifold or trifold) and while gripping one fold by the edge, bringing the farthest fold, by a rapid swinging motion, into contact with another persons cheek in a slapping action. This is usually accompanied by a popping noise. Wallet slapping is most often observed taking place among young males attempting to assert dominance. After looking at the definition, it sounds as if one can write this action off as bad already, but one can’t just skim the surface of a moral issue. After examining what utilitarianism says morality is, it is time to look at the happiness and unhappiness caused by wallet slapping and to “weigh” both sides to see where this action sits on the moral scale.

Starting with the happiness caused by wallet slapping, the slapper gets a small amount of happiness from slapping another person. If the slap is retaliatory for some perceived wrong done by the slappee, it may cause the slapper a higher degree of happiness. If there are people gathered around, they may laugh at another’s misfortunes and get a little happiness out of it also. Wallet slapping therefore, only has the potential to bring a little happiness overall and it is not lasting happiness. It can bring more pleasure than happiness but it is the perverse pleasure of seeing another suffer.

On the other fold, wallet slapping can cause a good deal of unhappiness. Thankfully, the pain is minimal but this is not where the true unhappiness is incurred. Not only does the slappee feel insulted and possibly betrayed, but he is left embarrassed by the laughter of others that usually accompanies wallet slapping. This embarrassment has been known to last for hours or in some extreme cases much longer. There is the account of the teenage boy who after being wallet slapped in the middle of the school cafeteria was constantly ridiculed by the other kids who called him “fold face” which lead to a significant grade drop and ultimately his dropping out of school entirely.

Now to weigh the issue. The side of happiness seems to rise in comparison to the weight of unhappiness. While wallet slapping undeniably brings some happiness and pleasure, it clearly causes much more pain and unhappiness. By the theory of Utilitarianism, this is an immoral act and should not be done.

Want proof? See the wallet held by Andrew slapping Caleb? Do either of them look happy?

There you go.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Feburary & March update - because I'm that far behind

It was once again time for the AWANA derby. We no longer have children in AWANA but hubby loves to play with cars so he had Jacob purchase a kit then designed his race car using ideas from the BSA pinewood derby book which he had purchased at their store months ago. How long has he been planning this?
He told Maryn what he imagined and she painted it. Here's a new career opportunity for her:

Maryn Chilson, world famous pinewood derby car artist! :-)

See the car waiting for its turn at the derby. Notice the name listed beside it? Jacob volunteers in AWANA so he could participate in the race. Stan reminded him that race car drivers usually do not own the cars they drive. Made Jacob feel professional.
I suggested that Stan start working in AWANA so he could race his own car next year.

Speaking of BSA, Caleb participated in a crossover ceremony recently.
In the ceremony, one by one the Cub Scout Webelos have certain parts of their uniform removed by their scout master (or den leader - what are they called?) then they and their parents "cross over" a bridge to the Boy Scout side where the troop members (including Caleb in this photo) attach BSA uniform pieces in the empty spots.

Caleb received the horsemanship and Tenderfoot badges. He's also earned Citizenship of the Nation, Citizenship of the World & Physical Fitness - all Eagle Scout requirements.

Notice how tall Caleb is compared to the rest of his troop pictured. He's the oldest so I expect they will catch up eventually.

Looking very serious, Caleb participated in his first flag ceremony. He had to concentrate to keep his steps short enough to stay with the other boys as they marched from the back of the elementary school auditorium.

Less than a month ago, I checked online to find Spring Break for my two college guys. I was shocked to see that it began March 9.
Don't know why I was so surprised since that is similar to what we experienced in San Antonio - my wedding was planned for the weekend between the two area spring breaks - but around here SB is usually closer to Easter.
Oh, wait - I was thinking of the school schedule, not the college schedule!

As I contemplated our upcoming summer schedule, I realized that in August it would be 2 years since we visited the Alamo City folks then asked Stan if we might possibly go???
He had me do a quick feasibility study and a few phone calls later we discovered that YES, we could do it!

A side story:
I mentioned to my friend Sharon that we were planning a trip to TX & not looking forward to driving the 10 mpg no A/C Beast since Mini is still incapacitated then she offered the use of their Astro in trade for BB. WOW! She said Astro'd been needing a check-up so they'd have that done prior to our trek. She called it providential when the mechanic discovered potentially disastrous engine seizing damage that he was able to rectify prior to its occurrence. Yea!! God's so great about blessing us when we're blessing others - isn't He?

So we headed to TX on March 6 about 7a.m., 7 of Astro's 8 seatbelts were filled.
That's all my crew plus Maryn ready for the San Antonio experience.
We were thankful to have all the licensed drivers so we could go straight through. Maryn & I didn't drive. I was in charge of PRAYING. :-)
Andrew drove through Houston on the way to SA

Mom C planned a big family meal for Sunday. All her kids were present & most of the grandkids too.
I did not get a photo of all the siblings together.

Here everyone is filling their plates. Prior to the meal, we joked about eating those yummy leftovers all week but there were no leftovers to be had. I had to be on the ball just to get firsts.

On Monday we loaded up cousin Susie & hit the city as tourists.

The Japanese Tea Gardens were first on my list of places to visit. It's been "restored" complete with water & koi so you can look forward to my upcoming photos.

We walked from the Sunken Gardens past the excellent SA Zoo. When we lived here we had a family pass so visited pretty often.

To Brackenridge Park. Stan was disappointed that cars are no longer allowed to drive through the water. He led our crew over the stepping stones.
My clumsy self took the bridge!

This park playscape used to be part of the zoo.
I wanted to come here to take pictures. With its various levels, ladders, stairs & poles; the kids love it for playing tag.

For my guys, a visit to SA means an opportunity to find SA Spurs & TX Longhorn paraphernalia - specifically T shirts.

On Tuesday we visited the Alamo

and the riverwalk which was a good thing because it rained the rest of the week > they have had no significant rainfall in months & then we who are also needing rain come visit. IRONY!

But it gave Stan time to sharpen some knives for his momma & the boys did a little yardwork (dodging raindrops) for their pawpaw.

It gave the cousins time to bond over Mexican train dominoes.
"I'll play there!"
"You do NOT want to play on the community train."
"Leave it, leave it, leave it, leave it!"
"You did NOT just play that."
"You FAIL!"

We headed home around 11am Saturday with rain from SA to Pensacola (Jacob drove through Houston in the rain - I've done that before!) and arrived home around 8am Sunday morning and unloaded the van just in time to head for church.

Oh wait.
Everyone was asleep.

Monday, March 16, 2009

24 Years

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary!
Amazingly enough, it's Stan's also! I know you are astounded.

Before the wedding came the engagement, and the engagement photo.

Visitors to my home have seen this and asked me, "Who is in that picture with your husband?"
Smiling, I reply, "Oh, that's his first wife."
They have come up with interesting comments to THAT but usually wind up with something like, "I didn't know he was married before."
To which I respond, "He wasn't."

Do they really not recognize me in there?

I included this pic because I just saw Teri earlier this week. She, Gordy & Emily met us at Stan's folks & then we went out to eat at Taco Cabana. REAL Tex-Mex fast food. Puts Taco Bell to shame.
Emily and Teri were both in the wedding because Teri was approx. 6 months pregnant and beaming lovely.

And what a fine lookin' man is receiving a ring from me. He wore it to church for years until he outgrew it. Don't worry - he knows he's married even without the ring!

With the ceremony over, the party started. It was so fun! Brother Dennis forgot to say "You may kiss the bride" so people kept asking us to smooch at the reception. Bro. D. finally called us to the center of the floor for the "official" kiss.

I really liked my cake. I had it made with flavored cake mixes that matched my colors: lemon, orange, pineapple. Yummy!

Here we're sprinting to my Mustang to start the great adventure of marriage.

See those 3 cute little kiddos tossing birdseed at us? All have joined in the adventure themselves. I hope one day to congratulate them on 24 wedded years .

Our wedding verse: 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Helping the Rebelutionaries

Have you ever been proud of kids you've watched grow-up, even if you NEVER MET THEM?

The Harris kids have been in the spotlight for as long (or longer) as I've homeschooled, so I feel like I've watched them grow up.

I was thrilled with Josh Harris' success with his I Kissed Dating Goodbye books and seminars as well as Boy Meets Girl.

Then his younger brothers, the twins Alex & Brett, surprised the world with their successful Rebelution blog and book Do Hard Things. Now they are working on a follow-up book that does more than trace their path. In their words:

If Do Hard Things was the manifesto of the movement, we want this to be a handbook or field guide for rebelutionaries. That’s why we need your help.

If you’ve read Do Hard Things, we want to hear about your experience applying its message to your life. We want this new book to share your stories, answer your questions, and address the obstacles you’ve faced in your efforts.

Here’s a basic framework of what we’re looking for — but don’t let it limit you!

Share a story of a hard thing, big or small, that you have done.
What were your fears and hopes ahead of time?
How did it go?
What are your reflections now on what you did?
What obstacles have you encountered when doing hard things or trying to get started?

What have been your disappointments?

There is a deadline of March 31st. Sounds like a great opportunity to help them help others. If you are interested in participating, here is where you can get information on contributing your experiences: The Rebelution: We Need Your Help

Yes, we have this book in the library. :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The End of the Trail

These photos were made on President's Day as we rode a portion of the Rails to Trails - Fed & state $ turning unused train track paths into non-motor vehicle, paved (so no horses - bummer) walking or biking trails that will eventually link several cities towns together.

Rachel reminded Stan that he'd PROMISED that he'd take her bike riding on the trails, just hadn't specified WHEN, SO Stan decided it would be a good day for it. He had just finished oiling, pumping tires & tightening nuts on four bikes when Jacob called & asked if he & Maryn could meet us & ride too. Stan got two more bikes in working order, loaded them all into his truck bed then drove them to a trail access point.
This was my view most of the time > behind the kids.

Are you missing Andrew? Me too. Although his bike was there, he was working on this beautiful day. PTL for beautiful days & JOBS.

*Be impressed with these photos as most were taken while I was peddling, maintaining balance & not running into any persons or wildlife. Oh, and most importantly, not dropping my camera!

Notice the CamelBaks that Caleb & Rachel got for scouting & horseback. Quite useful for hands-free sippage. The kids entertained with some hands-free riding as well. And no crashes! Yeah!

Maryn, smiling for her photo op. Check out the jeans she's decorated. Yes. She WILL be famous one day.

Here's my handsome & talented mechanic hunk. :-)Without his skill, no bikes would have been ridden by this group today.
We decided not to ride too far since we were not used to riding AT ALL. The end of the trail arrived at just the right time; no sore muscles nor sunburn. Eventually the path will continue beyond this point - we could see the non-paved portion but resisted the temptation to rough it. I know several contemplated it - but I was not one of them. :-)

Then we headed back.