Wednesday, January 28

Economic wish list

I was only able to skim the first 172 pages of the House economic stimulus bill. After that the absurdity was just too much. It reads like a child's Christmas wish list, before the "Ok, now let's get real" part. And yet, most of the Democrats are drooling over the thought of all that extra money, not considering the real cost of such outrageous debt.

In the spirit of understanding, I'd like to share my own absurd wish list:

  1. Physical health - To ensure the optimal physical health of the family, we will need a complete inspection of our home, to include inspection for pests, mold, asbestos, lead, and other harmful substances. We will also hire a chiropractor, nutritionist, cook, personal trainer, and homeopath. All expenses for training, equipment, supplies, and modifications will be covered. So will doctor visits and prescriptions, of course. Dental and orthodontic care will be covered, including general anesthesia when desired.
  2. Mental health - Costs covered will include psychiatric evaluations, therapies, drugs, weekly date nights, monthly retreats, and quarterly vacations complete with qualified respite care provider for special needs children. Hobbies shall also be covered in full, to include additional buildings and equipment as necessary.
  3. Housing - Monies will be provided for kitchen expansion and renovation to include energy saving appliances and code compliant installation of wood cook stove, bathroom remodel to include rearrangement of fixtures in such a way as to reduce skinned knuckles and general irritation. House shall be equipped with iron removal system for all plumbing, new water softener, secondary laundry facilities, walk-in freezer, new and matching siding on all parts of house regardless of age, functional windows in front room, insulation over bathroom ceiling, updated soffits, and solar panels on south-facing roof. Squeaky floors, cracks in walls, poorly painted trim, and faulty drywall fasteners shall all be repaired. Woodwork shall be restored to its original beauty, as shall all hardwood floors. Basement shall be sealed against water leakage, and all possible causes of such leakage shall be eliminated.
  4. Education - Laptops shall be provided for each student, fully loaded with necessary hardware and software for optimal educational opportunities at each grade level. All books shall be covered upon approval by primary educator, with oversight provided by chief administrator. Funding shall be provided for biweekly field trips, to include lodging and meals as necessary. Tutoring shall be provided as deemed necessary by primary educator. Costs of state mandated testing will be covered by local school district; however, chief administrator will retain sole rights to viewing of results of said tests. Funding will also be provided for enrichment classes and activities, to include summer camp, driver's ed, and private music lessons.
  5. Transportation - An outrageous sum shall be provided for shiny, new vehicles for each licensed driver in the household, until September 30, 2012. Vehicles will be chosen based on the needs of the primary driver. Considerations will include cargo space, gas mileage, leg room, temperature control, and typical driving conditions. An honest and reliable mechanic will be kept on retainer, with all upgrade, maintenance, and repair costs covered by this plan. To properly house these vehicles, demolition of the old garage and construction of a new garage will take place ASAP. In order to prevent damage to vehicles occurring on our property, the driveway will be upgraded to asphalt, with special considerations for the swampy nature of the property.
  6. Sustenance - Money and professional help shall be provided for livestock, its housing and equipment, raised garden beds filled with luxuriously amended soil, a lovely and functional root cellar, and a summer kitchen outfitted with all necessary equipment for food preservation. In addition, house shall be equipped with all necessary improvements to ensure smooth operation of appliances and utilities in case of power outage.
Yeah, ok, that was fun. And look at how many jobs would be created!

Now it's time to get real. Some of those things may be necessary, and we'll find a way to cover them without additional debt. But nothing on that list addresses the real need we have, to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.

Does our nation need that any less than you or I do?

And do they really think it's worthwhile to buy condoms on credit?

My painting

I have always enjoyed painting, but drawing on the other hand is a disaster for me. The only two things I'm actually good at drawing are houses and tulips. Well, Mom has been trying to help me feel good about my art, so she recently had me sketch and paint a picture. The rules were that I couldn't copy other work, I had to make it of flowers, and I had to do my best.

Well, I kept putting it off, hoping that I could forget about it, but finally I had to do it. I had 2 days to come up with a flower scene, draw it, and paint it neatly. I finally sketched it, and realized that it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Then came the fun part; painting it. I mixed acrylic paints until I came up with the desired colors, and carefully applied them. Here is the finished product:

This is the first work of art I have ever made that I am not ashamed of. Sure it has mistakes, but I was able to learn from this experience that if I just relax and stop worrying, it will be okay. And that my friends, is worth more than the best painting in the world.

Monday, January 26

-10° in Frigid, Minnesota

It takes longer to clear the frost from the inside of the windshield than the outside.

People here can leave their cars running while they run into the post office... or the grocery store.

And the bagger will still take the groceries out to your car without a coat on.

Back at home, the wandering pup can be sent out to "be quick" by himself; he won't stay out any longer than necessary.

When sent outside to play, the kids will probably decide to come in after just one pair of snow-filled mittens, rather than changing into a second pair and going back out. And the 6yo will probably leave her hat on her head instead of leaving it in a tunnel of the snow fort.

The humid air blowing out the dryer vent causes it to snow on my kitchen windows.

What's not to love about that?

Saturday, January 24

The hopelessness of life without Christ

From The Gulag Archipelago:

"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil."

Except for the saving power of Jesus Christ, we have no hope of ever rising above the hopelessness of that cycle. While we may still struggle, through Christ we have the strength to be overcomers. The grace God extends to us is so amazing! Who among us deserves to be spared the penalty for the evil sin nature within us?

Believing in change

It seems I keep hearing Obama supporters say that now that he is president, "we" have hope, can come together and work to improve this country, etc. What were they who call themselves "we" doing before? Were they not helping the poor, the elderly, the sick, the less fortunate by giving of their time, talent, and money? Were they so busy sucking lemons they couldn't see past their own wants and complaints?

How curious that conservatives have more of a reputation for giving to charity than liberals, regardless of income level. Just who is looking out for "the little guy", and who has been passing that responsibility off to the government?

I must echo much of what the Headmistress had to say today:

It's just not that difficult to take the family to a nursing home, to package up supplies to send to hurricane victims, to take a bunch of games to a local childrens' home to play, to bring baby clothes and diapers to a homeless shelter or a crisis pregnancy center, to package toys, school supplies, and goodies in a shoebox to send to children in Mexico for Christmas, to bake cookies or muffins and take them to the older people at church- these things are not painful, not terribly inconvenient or burdensome (so much the contrary that it's embarrassing to mention them)- and you don't need the President to tell you do these things.

Or you shouldn't.
My family and I have done many of those same things, and others as well. With one income. And the busyness of homeschooling. And involving a child with special needs. That doesn't mean we're rich, or special, or have more time on our hands than anyone else. We all find the time and money for that which is important to us.

I am surprised and disappointed that it has taken so many Americans until now to feel they had permission to serve others. Especially those who claim Jesus as their Lord. (Did they read the handbook?)

Just imagine where this country would be now if the Obama followers had been helping others for the past eight (or more) years rather than sitting around waiting for the government to issue more handouts. If only they had believed in this kind of change all along.

Sunday, January 18

I got myself an unlikely new disciple for my cause...

Well I've had a couple of my traps in the house the past week or two, for pictures and whatnot. Last night my baby sister, who is now 6, saw me firing a #1 on my hand without flinching or anything, and she came in to watch me do it some more. Then I told her to try it because I knew it wouldn't hurt her, but she was pretty nervous. I told her she could put her hand in her sleeve to fire the trap if she wanted, so she tried it and she didn't feel any pain, so I told her to try it with bare hands.

She was kinda nervous, she wanted me to give her all my money if it hurt her, so I said I would. She fired it on her hand and started laughing.

I hope that she tells all her friends, especially if she meets any people who are animal rights folks, because if a 6 year old feels no pain in a trap, which, by the way, I used for mink and muskrat earlier this year, then is there any reason that an animal would feel pain?

Saturday, January 17

Well the temperature has warmed up nicely, and we were blessed with a fresh dusting of yard grace last night. The sun is shining and snow is drifting. The trees are filled with the usual birds: chickadees, nuthatches, redpolls, and goldfinches.

We're spending a cozy weekend at home, working on skill development and getting to know ourselves and each other better.

I think I can see February from here.

Monday, January 12

Winter Activities

As you know, there are a lot of different activities that people do in the Winter. These range from snowmobiling to ice fishing. We all have certain favorites, often based on our varying lifestyles, that tell others a lot about ourselves. For instance, there could be someone that enjoys going north from the cities to go skiing, while someone else prefers to stay in their home watching the birds.

Our family has seven people that all enjoy certain things.

  • Grace loves making little snowmen, and going skating on our little pond.
  • Michael likes having snowball fights and sledding.
  • Jonathan likes duking random stuff out with Mike and having snowball fights.
  • I find pleasure in shoveling and sledding(what a nerd!).
  • Toby likes building giant snow forts (yes, I will show some pictures) and walking across town to check traps.
  • The parents prefer to stay inside watching the birds and the football games.
Just by looking at a group of activities, and picking out the ones that different people enjoy, we can gather quite a bit of insight about their personalities. These things all reflect who we are. Grace is a child at heart, Mike and Jon are boys who love having someone else their own size to play/wrestle with. Toby likes doing big important things, and I prefer simple tasks and traditional play, and the parents enjoy being inside enjoying the wonderfulness of Winter.

Not bad, considering my sheltered life

I've seen this around, but it was reading it on Esther's blog that made me decide to actually do it here. The ones I've done (that I remember) are in bold. (Just because I don't remember it doesn't mean it didn't happen.) Which have you done? I'd love to know.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given generously to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea - it seems likely that I did, but I don't know for sure
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - I don't even know what this means, really
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - though it wasn't the money that did it
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Been deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt - I'm workin' on it
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone - my poor toe!
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car - it's not all it's cracked up to be
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - I may have and just don't remember. I'm like that.
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Sunday, January 11

Goodnight Moon

This evening I drove Toby around to pull the rest of his traps, since he's pretty much done for the season. I saw a gorgeous view of the moon rising over a farm and came back home to get the camera and the recycling. The view was slightly less gorgeous by the time I was able to get a picture, but I did snap this one while Toby dropped off the recycling.

Thursday, January 8

Just a reminder

When your children use the toilet consistently, appreciate it.

When they understand the relationship of numbers to objects, appreciate it.

When they do something because it would please you, appreciate it.

When they sleep more than six hours a day, appreciate it.

When they make a connection between the name of an emotion and their own feeling, appreciate it.

When they have dreams and aspirations and show thoughtfulness and kindness, by all means, appreciate it.

Whether or not you CHOOSE to parent a child who is challenged in these areas has no bearing on its difficulty. And don't believe for a second that any amount of money is what makes it all worthwhile. If you think I'm wrong on these points, please enlighten me.

Wednesday, January 7


Winter is a wonderful, enjoyable season, full of snow, sledding, fights and forts, and school. I generally do not participate in the snow fort building festivities, as I prefer shoveling off our tiny pond so that we can go skating.

Toby is usually the one in charge of doling out sections of our biggest snowbank, and building a snow fort which he then is happy to share with me(he's so sweet!). This year he built a huge snow fort, which is really more like a mansion without a roof. He even made seats for himself and I, dug out of the sides of the thick walls, which were given an appropriate but redundant name a few years ago by Grace which stuck: buttseats.
This year Toby outdid himself by building a snow fort with a moat, a courtyard, a watch tower, a keep, and all connected by a three way tunnel. He also decided that the old fashioned open doorway was too difficult to defend from strangers and little siblings, so he filled it in and dug another tunnel for the main doorway. Thankfully, he respects the fact that I'm scared of going into small tunnels, lest I get stuck, so he made the two in this fort nice and roomy. Pictures of this amazing structure will be forthcoming.