In the name of God, here's looking forward to a single, unified Orthodox Church of the United States.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Skin Condition

Did I tell you about my skin condition, yet? I forget. The doctor says it's not contagious and that it could just 'pop up' anywhere - even on my nose.

Well, it's not only been 'popping up', it's been 'popping up' everywhere simultaneously. It starts as a small, round, red splotch, which may or may not be itchy, but is usually tender. It then grows at an alarming rate, becoming swollen and painful. Usually, by the time it begins healing, it's huge. The first time it happened, the ER (cuz I was freaking out) diagnosed me with cellulitis and gave me a massive dose of steroids and it was gone in two days. The second time it happened, I went to my regular doctor, who diagnosed it as something completely different and said that it'll appear every now and then and I just have to live with it. But he did add that if it begins happening frequently, to come back and see him.

Well, it's happening frequently, doc. In the past week it's shown up on my left and right arm, my torso, my rear end, my leg, and now my face. My lip and cheeks are so swollen I can barely form a seal and I'm not even sure I can eat or drink anything, yet. It was definitely a God-send that I unexpectedly got today off work, because I don't think they'd want me in there looking and sounding as I do. =(

If you see this post, please say a little prayer that the doctor doesn't treat this flippantly, but tries to find a solution to the problem. Thanks and God bless. =)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

EJ woke me up Calvin early this morning, excited as a kid to open his presents. Turns out we both got each other the same thing! Thankfully, that wasn't the only thing we bought for each other. =P

Christ is born!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve!!

The other day at work we had an old, old man come in who looked just like Santa Claus. He had the long white beard and wore a bright red fleece (no clue if he was aware of his appearance or not ... I like to think he was). But he ordered his sub, then said strongly, "Merry Christmas, young ladies, and don't you ever say Happy Holidays to me! It's happy Holy Days! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" I think he would have tried to beat us with his walker if we'd even thought of saying Happy Holidays.

I liked him.

Have a happy Christmas, all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A little calmer than yesterday...

Thankfully, with a good night's sleep, I'm thinking a little more levelheadedly than when I made my last post. I realize that this kind of stuff has to happen. Even if this isn't a harbinger of the end of the world, empires rise and fall - inevitably - and I, and every other American still breathing, just happened to be born at the end of our nation's life. Stinks, but that's the way things go.

Oh, and even if you do nothing else today, read the following article about how this is all leading up to a totalitarian global takeover. It is so spot on as to be frightening - in a good way.

From Meccania to Atlantis - Part 13 (2): Harpo, Gekko, Barko, Sarko

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oftentimes, it's so hard to remember that this is not our final home

Senate Democrats Clear Hurdle on Health Care Bill

And we creep ever closer to insuring the 30 million uninsured Americans at the expense of the other 270,000,000...

Friday, December 18, 2009

CPSIA

I emailed Glenn Beck tonight about the looming CPSIA deadline. I can't believe I actually did it. I dunno if he's already covered it (I don't watch all of his shows), but I'm desperate enough to try anything at this point. Way back when I first heard about the CPSIA, I emailed one of my congressmen, along with my representative, but, really, other than that, I feel totally impotent.

I'm in the midst of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and I've been blown away by the similarities between her mid-century distopian United States and our bleak-futured, post-millenial one. I'd recommend the book to anyone, but be aware that Ayn Rand was not a Christian, and her worldview reflects this. Also, there is some surprising sexual content (including condoned adultery) which I was not expecting when I picked it up. Despite these two drawbacks, the book paints an excellent picture of where we are headed and what to expect along the way. Honestly, I was quite shocked at how much I myself have bought into the lies of our age, thinking they were promoting the good of the people, when, in reality, they were a detriment to all.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Uuuugh...

Hillary pledges US will join $100 billion developing nations fund

Because it's not like WE'RE IN A RECESSION or anything, right? Where do they even get these numbers from? $100 billion? Clearly, money grows on trees for these people.

Yay! And the importance of tithing

Oh my gosh, *whew* What a relief. I got the job. I'm so thankful to God.

This job is pretty much perfect for us. It comes at a time when we've been having some money issues above and beyond what I mentioned before. Both of our cars need parts replaced; EJ's car may be beyond repair and we might have to live as a single-car family for awhile. BUT, that's okay now, because this job is right across the street from our apartment. I can just walk there, rain or shine. God is so good and knows what we need.

Seriously, I just can't say enough how the Lord has been so faithful through this whole ordeal. No matter what's happened so far, Jesus has provided for us so we haven't gone a penny deeper into debt and we even have a little left over.

Sorry, I hope I don't sound like I'm bragging or showing off, I just can't keep in my gratefulness to the Lord.

~Bless!~

Gulf Petro-Powers to Launch Currency in Latest Threat to Dollar Hegemony

And we have the second mass currency forming. I'm not so much interested in the "threat to dollar hegemony" (though that would certainly put this country into even more of a fiscal bind) as I am in the fact that, from what I've heard, this is a fulfilling a prophecy in Revelations.

I'm confused, though, (it's been a while since I've read Revelations) where does it actually say the world will move from many currencies, to a few currencies, to one global currency? Is it a more obscure passage, from which scholars have deduced the world will do so? Is it even in there at all?

~~

Job interview in a few hours. Please, please, please God, don't let me blow it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interview

I have a job interview with a subway restaurant (not the Subway) tomorrow at 2. It would be a God-send if I get this job. Please say a little prayer that I don't make a fool of myself.

*crosses fingers*

Teh Grk

Why is it necessary for the priest to give even the announcements in Greek and then English? Our parish is currently transitioning priests, and the new one is of the Greek tradition. I realize there's an ethnic flavor to every Orthodox Church currently in America and I don't think anyone minds a little ethnic spice here and there, but, really, even the announcements?

We have quite a few Russian/Ukrainian/Bulgarian members, as well. What about them? What about the lone Egyptian woman? Or those who speak no language but English? Why with all the Greek?

Should I not be questioning this? Is it disrespectful? I don't mean to be, but, honestly, I feel kind of disrespected, being relegated to the secondary church language in my own country...

EDIT: Then again, I could have been raised a Russian on Old Church Slavonic. Maybe I should consider myself lucky I can understand the Liturgy at all...

Monday, December 14, 2009

I HAVE FOUND MY WEBSITE!!!!!

Oh, you thought this was my website? Au contraire, my fine friend. my website is now officially www.iamneurotic.com. That's right. IAmNeurotic.com

I suddenly don't feel alone in my desire to shuffle stacks of paper until every piece is perfectly aligned, or make sure whatever I'm reading on a website is perfectly within the top and bottom cutoffs, or silently thinking "B-E-A-UUUUTIFUL" whenever I'm spelling that word. When I was little, I also used to never touch the sides of the bathtub because I thought Guy Smiley - yes, the Sesame Street character - would materialize out of them. Now I know that I'm not the only one. *sniffle* This is such a beautiful day. =)

(Yes, I did think "b-e-a-uuutiful" as I typed it again. =P)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Prayers for Michelle

Duggar Baby 19: Michelle Duggar Gives Birth to Daughter, Josie Brooklyn Duggar
Michelle Duggar, star of the TLC reality show "18 Kids and Counting", has given birth to her 19th child in an emergency C-Section.

New baby, Josie Brooklyn, born Thursday evening, weighs 1 pound 6 ounces and is in stable condition at the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Arkensas for Medical sciences, TLC reports. ...

Duggar's baby was not due until March, but TLC is reporting that Duggar went into the hospital early suffering pain from a gallstone. People magazine reported Monday that Duggar had been airlifted to a hospital in Little Rock because her gallbladder proeblems were causing contractions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dumplings

I finally figured out how to make dumplings today, using this recipe from About.com. My last attempt at making dumplings failed so miserably that I didn't touch them again for five years, but tonight the curse has been broken, dumplings have been boiled, and husband has enjoyed them thoroughly.

For those who, like me, have had trouble in the past, or who have never tried it at all, here are several tips which I discovered are essential for making a decent dumpling.

1.) You do not want a sticky dough. I tried working with a sticky dough at first, only to find that, no matter what I did, my dumplings came out looking like a cross between a Shar-pei and an avocado. So, flour up that dough and make sure it sticks to nothing but itself.

2.) Don't roll the dough out too thinly. I finally found that about an eighth of an inch worked well. Thinner than that, and it might not have enough strength to support the filling.

3.) Don't use too much filling. About a teaspoon, or somewhat less, is perfect for the recipe above.

I also found that rolling out a slightly larger batch of dough all at once and cutting out circles with a biscuit/cookie cutter (or a Jif peanut butter jar lid, as the case may be), was much more expedient and led to much more uniform dumplings than rolling out individual dough balls, as the recipe suggests. Also, one of the comments to the recipe gave a tasty sauce for the dumplings.

So, have a try and keep experimenting until you find what you like!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Donate Plasma

Hey, thought I'd jump on the ever-laudable frugality bandwagon with my own suggestion: If you're near a center and have about four free hours per week (or even just two), why not try donating plasma?

Sure, sure, we've all heard the jokes, the people who mock it as something redneck-y and hick-ish, but, seriously, it's honest money and, for what you have to do, it's pretty good money. Expect an average of $20 each time you go (it fluctuates between $15 and $30, but I don't have the payment schedule on-hand) and you can donate up to twice a week. If you participate in vaccine trials, you could get even more (for instance, volunteer for the anthrax vaccine and it's a $50 flat rate for the next several visits).

EJ bemoans the amount of time it takes up, but he's still happy that, just as well as earning money, we're not out there spending any, either, while we're in the chair.

So yeah, that's my contribution for the day. Enjoy! =)

EDIT: Oh, and expect it to take a bit longer the first time you go (it took me 5 hours, but that was because they forgot about me for 2); you have to get a mini-physical, answer so many questions, and your blood probably won't flow very quickly to begin with, but things move along much more quickly on your return visits.

"Always Rejoice"

This article, posted by Father Stephen, has inspired me to modify my prayer to St. Sophia and her daughters, Faith, Love, and Hope. I normally ask that I not despair when I hear of all the stupid, illegal, and evil things our government does to its people (especially if it may impact my relationship with my future children), now I'm going to ask her to pray that I rejoice no matter what I hear or experience.

Always rejoice!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Now this is a happy story

And it has some beautiful history in it, to boot.

Armenians Lay Cornerstone for New Church on Jordan River

Onions

A neighbor of ours (an old woman with whom we never spoke) up and moved away a month or so back, leaving all of her container plants behind. These containers have been sitting outside ever since, their plants long dead.

I noticed that one of my grocery store onions sprouted a nice thick, green stalk yesterday.

Last night saw a storm such as we've not had since high summer - wind, torrents of rain, the works. It also happened to blow one of the smaller-ish containers right in front of our door.

We are broke.

You following?

Not being one to turn up my nose at random gifts of nature, said container is now sitting proudly on our other coffee table, onion planted firmly in some left-over potting soil EJ had bought to set his cactus in.

The only thing left now is to see how long it takes me to kill it. =(

1/6/2010 UPDATE: Zee onion, eet grows!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Last College Class Ever

Hopefully.

I finished the last class of what I hope will be my last college course ever. The only problem is that I've been down this road before, so, until Hillsdale excepts the transfer, I won't hold my breath.

Let me say, I'm much more appreciative of Hillsdale after taking this course. It has deepened my understanding of just how insidious the liberal academic mindset can be and how powerless students are to change things if they're dependent upon their teachers "liking them" to pass the class. Tonight was particularly hard, as my professor went on and on about feminism and imperialism and railed against western civilization for thinking they're better than everyone else. I just sat there and took it - and got heartburn in the process - while he extolled the work of Betty Frieden, calling the home a place of empty depression and heartache (sadly, I was the only one in the class who seemed to know anything about The Feminine Mystique). At least I didn't smile while he mocked 19th century missionaries for thinking Christianity was the "one true path". The truly amazing thing is that he was able to get away with this while Campbell University purports to have a Christian bent.

I seriously felt sick and almost ran out of the room after class was over. And now I feel sick because I was such a coward.

Damn colleges for giving professors the power to arbitrarily decide student's grades. Damn them for giving them tenure. Damn them for allowing this kind of filth to perpetuate.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OH MY GOSH!!!

I just figured out how to clean my electric stove!!!

Okay, okay, bear with me. I've lived in this apartment for almost 8 months now and I've never cleaned under the electric coils of my stove. For serious. I thought it couldn't be done. I grew up with gas stoves and really thought that there was no good way to effectively clean under those darn coils; that the electric coil stove was the worse invention since ... well ... I don't even know.

So today, I finally grew a brain and decided to google it (only took me seven months, right?). Voila! Up pops this article and my world is suddenly so much cleaner! I hadn't a clue that the coils or the drip pans could be removed.

Hahaha. My stress level just went down another notch. =D

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

One Year Anniversary

As well as Thanksgiving, today is also EJ's and my one year anniversary!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Early Thanksgiving, Everyone!!

Yes, we're having the regularly scheduled Thanksgiving this year (with any luck, though, EJ will be Orthodox by next year, so we'll have it before the fast begins; mwahahah)

I'm so thankful for all the changes, both positive and negative, that have shaped me as a Christian and a person this past year. I'm thankful for my handy husband who, just today, fixed my coffeepot after I messed up the wiring. I'm thankful for my tiny apartment that has taught me what I can live in, as well as what I want to live in. I'm thankful for my church and for Father David, who is leading me through catechism (and who is deploying in January for a year; prayers are much appreciated) and for his wife, Maria, who I am proud to call my friend. I'm thankful for family who, though we live hundreds of miles apart, nevertheless keeps in touch and up-to-date with Michigan happenings.

But, of course, I'm most thankful for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, for remaining unchanged, constant, and faithful through all our petty human whims.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knitting Question

I've already mentioned that I'm teaching myself to knit using this DVD and I finally finished my first scarf, but now I have a problem; I was going to try making this pattern next, since it seemed fairly straightforward, however, when I began knitting, it seemed like things weren't going so well. I think it's the way I'm doing the Knit1 Purl1 switcheroo. The DVD doesn't clarify how exactly you're supposed to bring the yarn from back to front, so I was just kind of guessing as I went along.

My question to you is this: Is there any video online that you know of that gives a demonstration of K1 P1? I googled and googled but found only one video with a super fast-paced demonstration that didn't really help.

(I knit English style, just for reference.)

Oh, and that DVD is great, don't get me wrong, it's just not the same as having someone sitting next to you helping you along.

EDIT: Thank you, Sarah. Now, if I could just overcome the fact that I can't count stitches to save my life - but I don't think there's an internet video for that. (>.<)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 8

For lunch today I had Black Bean Burritos cobbled together from this recipe and some of the veggies still hanging out in my fridge (I'm so glad I overestimated how much I'd need). I ate them cold, but they'd probably be just as good warm.

Next time, I think I'll go a little easier on the lime juice for the bean dressing - it was delicious, definitely, but a wee bit sour.

The whole dish was extremely filling, something I've been struggling with; I keep wanting to stuff myself - which is bad, obviously, and against the spirit of the Fast. And, too, I haven't been getting enough protein, so this is a good source for that, as well (I think, I hope).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Coupons

I've just been investigating coupon sources. We don't have a working printer right now, so the 20c it takes to print one piece of paper at the library seems rather counter-productive. Still, once we do get our printer up and working, I want to have these on hand:

SmartSource Online Coupons

Money Saving Mom

Red Plum

Stormtroopers 365

For you fans of the original Star Wars movies, here's a fun, funny series detailing the bits of Stormtrooper life you didn't get to see.

Stormtroopers 365

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 6

Okay, so, hearkening back to my old parish in Michigan, I've decided to allow myself dairy products on Fridays. This is for two reasons:

1) I'm a sinner without much willpower and after several days of vegan munching, I begin to get twitchy and don't feel like myself. Pray that God eventually gives me more strength of will, but I'd rather openly acknowledge one day a week of indulgence, instead of secretly cheating throughout.

2) Fridays have always been "get together" days at our apartment. In fact, I've been fasting on Wednesdays and Thursdays for months now because Fridays were just terrible for me. And my old priest once said not to draw attention to your fasting if you're in the midst of non-orthodox at dinner time - eat the same meal they do - so I simply switched days and it's worked out fine.

That being said, I had quesadillas for lunch today. =)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seasonal Foods

For those out there who, like me, are trying to be more in sync with the seasons when planning their meals, I've found a pretty good resource which lists some winter fruits and veggies that could probably be found in your local grocery stores.

Winter Fruits

Winter Veggies

I haven't been too strict about it just yet (you may have noticed that my Fasting Lunches haven't been replete with seasonal goods), but, armed with more information, it's a goal to work towards.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 4

Okay, so I kind of cheated today: I microwaved my potato instead of actually baking it. Still, I topped it with salsa, salt, and pepper and it turned out just fine. =)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

House-y Hum-drums

I mentioned a few days ago that we went to the credit union to inquire about a mortgage. We weren't looking to secure one, just to learn a little more about the process. Well, they told us stuff, EJ's mom told us stuff, I've been reading a lot of stuff, and, basically, it just comes down to too much money.

Always with the money.

All I really care about in a house is acreage - and that's what's making it so hard. At first, I wanted 5-10 acres, on which to establish my "homestead", but seeing as how that's sadly unrealistic (in so many ways), I was willing to settle for 2, but that has also proven to be out of our reach. I simply won't go below half an acre, so I'm beginning to see that we're going to need a roommate. EJ and I haven't been saving up for a down payment (I know! I know!) and that just makes things royally difficult. However, I think I'd take a roommate and half an acre over apartment living any day.

I hate when reality interposes its ugly nose into my fantasies. Fairies and Unicorns have rights, too!! >=(

He was a boy, she was a girl ...

As if there weren't already enough emotional reasons not to engage in sex outside of marriage, there's also this handy little reminder:

Sex Infections Still Growing in U.S., says CDC

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 3

Okay, so it's technically "brunch" right now, but I didn't want another bowl of oatmeal.

*ahem*

Tomato, Onion, Avocado Pitas. Just add Italian salad dressing** and say yummy!


**I allow myself oil at all times during fasts.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 2

Dunno if I'll make this an irregular series or not. Basically, it's me throwing together whatever I have on hand and hoping it works, while still trying to get the nutrients I need.

Pita Pizza
  • Pita Bread
  • My homemade Pizza Sauce (tomato sauce, sugar, oregano, parsley, basil, garlic powder, onion powder)
  • chopped green peppers
  • chopped onions
  • chopped, cooked mushrooms
  • chopped black olives
  • chopped tomato
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt
Spread a thin layer of Pizza Sauce (less is more) over the pita bread and top with veggies, mushrooms, and spices as desired (again, less is more). Microwave for 1 minute and you're golden!

I actually left the tomato pieces off until after the pita was warmed. Call me weird, but I love the taste and texture of fresh, cool tomatoes on a hot dish. =)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Reaffirmation

Thank goodness the Orthodox Leaders aren't backing down on this - not saying they back down on things, but it just gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling not to see compromise around every corner. =)

Orthodox-Lutheran dialogue to be suspended

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wedding Pictures

I found out yesterday that wedding photography trouble is a dominant gene passed down through the females of my mother's side of the family.

My wedding (2008): Both my courthouse wedding and my "formal" wedding had issues. First, EJ and I didn't bring a proper camera to our last-minute elopement, so we got only two camera-phone pictures of us actually tying the knot - one of which is now lost. Then, because our "formal" wedding was so rushed, no professional photographer could be found. A friend of an uncle said he'd do it, but then never showed. Of course, everyone brought their own cameras, but there were no beautiful professional ones such as those you see displayed all over photography websites.

My mother's wedding (1982): A little while before my mom walked down the isle, she and her photographer found an empty room in which to do the classic "beauty" shots of the bride. After snapping dozens of pictures, it came time for the ceremony to begin - and the photog realized he'd mistakenly left the cap over the lense for the entire shoot.

My grandmother's wedding (1950): My grandfather hired a friend whom he'd met during the war to take the pictures. Little did he know that this friend, in starting up his own business, was nearly destitute and could only afford eight frames. So, eight pictures is all they have of their entire day.

Nativity Fast

I'm kind of looking forward to the Nativity Fast. =)

Weird, but in a good sort of way. I think it's the fact that it makes Christmas and the days following that much more special.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Really Awkward

How do you tell someone who is a part of your family but with whom you're not really close that they're dressing like a streetwalker? And what if you've already brought it up discreetly to someone who is closer to them than you are, but that person seems to have no inclination to do anything about it?

It pains me to see this person, who seems to have no goals or aspirations but to "fit in," make themselves into a carbon copy of some of today's most questionable role models.

Clearly, some prayer is in order.

"It's beans and rice time!"

...to quote the great Dave Ramsey

I could use some prayer right now. Things are pretty tight around here money-wise. EJ's car is dying, my van's windshield will need replacing within the next month or so, I just found out that the minimum payment on my student loans is $115 higher than I thought it'd be (yeah, I'll be calling Hillsdale about that), and there is simply no extra money. We can't cut any of our regular services (cable, cell phones, car insurance) because everything's under contract and the cancellation fees would be more than simply waiting until they expire - so, basically, we're hanging on and praying that we make it till February, when EJ gets a raise.

I'm looking into Child Care licensing. All my other great money-making schemes have pretty much gone the way of the Dodo and, though I don't usually like other people's kids, a need is a need so I'll make it work.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Gives Me Hope...

...that there are still some high profile leaders unwilling to kow-tow to political correctness. =)

Archbishop Hilarion Speaks Out Against Euthanasia

My First Place

EJ and I are going to the bank today to inquire about a mortgage, which naturally gets me dreaming about all the plans I have for my future house: gardens, farm animals, crunchy living, etc. =P

I never get carried away, honest. ^_^

It's hard for me to remember that any home we buy will be a starter home and we may only be there for three years. That, and I, who tend who have a black thumb (seriously, every plant we've had in this house has died. Every. Single. One. I killed a bonsai tree!! How do you freaking kill a tree????) and absolutely no gardening experience, will not be able to have a Barefoot Contessa-style herb garden within the first few years of moving in. *sadpanda* Still, based on what we use the most around here, I think I've narrowed it down to a few things I want to try in the first year: green peppers (we go through those like candy), tomatoes, garlic, onions, potatoes, spinach, basil, and parsley. I don't know how they'll do, but it never hurts to try, right? =)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I FINISHED MY SCARF!!!

Yay!!!!!!!!!! After how many months I'm finally ready to begin a new project. I think I'm going to try these. They look pretty easy and, if I make a few in different colors, I've got Christmas presents for female family and friends! =)

This is what we have to look forward to

[British] Couple Flee to Save their Unborn Child from Social Workers after Girl, 17, is Told She is not Clever Enough to Look after her Child

I've begun asking for the prayers of St. Sophia and her three daughters, Faith, Hope, and Love for strength to face the inevitable fact I might lose my children to government forces and so this article doesn't upset me so much as it might once have done, praise God. Never lose faith.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Most Random Blog Post in the World

I love Disney's Mulan with a passion. Did you know Jackie Chan sang the Mandarin version of "I'll Make a Man Out of You"?



English version with intro for those who don't know the song:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Babies! Babies! Everywhere!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Maria's, my priest's wife. She has a six-month-old who is fascinated with drinking glasses and water. I've never seen a baby stare so hard at one thing for so long as I did when I began idly tapping my fingernails against my glass. I noticed the baby had suddenly stopped smiling, moving, or making any noise and was just staring intently at the cup. She was actually leaning forward, so great was her concentration. I started again and kept it up for nearly five minutes, "click ... click ... tippity-tap" and she was simply enrapt. =P

I want one. (>.>)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Three new links on my sidebar

BlackGenocide.org - According to this site, black women make up 13% of the U.S. population (I though it was 6%, but ok), yet they account for 36% of all abortions. African-Americans are the only minority ethnic group in America whose numbers are shrinking. Why? 16 million black babies aborted since 1973 might have something to do with it.

Personhood.net

PersonhoodUSA.com

~~~

I can't say I've read everything there is to read on each of these sites, but, from what I have read, it's good stuff.

A Dress a Day, Out of the Ashes Collectibles, and Today's Sermon

I spent three whole days making my Halloween costume and it kind of reignited my love of sewing. To whit: I want this pattern. Which brings me to the fact that Out of the Ashes Collectibles is a rockin' awesome website which rescues and resells old and vintage fiber arts patterns/books and I've added it to my sidebar.

The blog A Dress a Day comes into play because it introduced me to Out of the Ashes, plus, the author has made a Tetris dress, which automatically settles her firmly into place as "one of the coolest people I don't know".

~~~

On a more serious note, today's sermon blew me out of the water. It was one of the most powerful pieces of rhetoric and truth I've ever heard and had me - and I think the priest - almost in tears.

I've no gift for moving people with words, but I'll try to give a straight account of what was taught.

The Gospel reading for today was Mark 5:21-43
(21) When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. (22) One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet (23) and implored Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live." (24) And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.
We see first that Jairus, an extremely important man in his area, comes and throws himself at Jesus' feet, imploring him to save his daughter, who is about to die - not tomorrow, not in ten minutes, but right now. Jesus sees Jairus' panic and wish for haste and goes along with him, fighting their way through the crowd.
(25) A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years (26) and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse -- (27) after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. (28) For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." (29) Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

(30) Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched my garments?" (31) And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched me?'" (32) And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.

Suddenly, to Jairus' complete bewilderment and despair, Jesus, his one ray of hope, stops dead in the midst of the crowd and begins asking who touched Him, for goodness sake! Imagine, if you can, the nausea Jairus felt as Jesus took His time, searching the crowd, while his little girl lay actively dying at home. That no one wanted to fess up at first took even more time, which Jairus thought he didn't have.
(33) But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. (34) And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
This scenario with the woman completely defies any logic or reason when it comes to treating or healing patients. Imagine two people arriving at an emergency room at the same time. One has just been in a horrible car accident and their only hope for survival is to get into surgery within the next few minutes, while the other is having a flare up of a chronic condition which, while painful and embarassing, is nevertheless not immediately lethal. For the doctor to completely ignore the critical patient and attend to the chronic patient, and, not only that, but to have a conversation with them after their condition has stablilized is called malpractice and could lead to lawsuits, jail time, and having his or her license revoked. It simply doesn't happen. So what could Jesus possibly have been thinking??
(35) While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?" (36) But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe." (37) And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. (38) They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. (29) and entering in, He said to them, "Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep."
Now we begin to see a hint of Jesus' plan. He, of course, knew exactly what He was doing, but to Jairus, the words "only believe" were probably the most hollow, empty syllables he'd ever heard. To have been so close and yet not reached the goal because of Jesus' illogical and seemingly heartless attendance to a destitue, unclean woman while his own child lay dying could not have strengthened his faith at all. In fact, it's probably safe to say that there were few men in Israel who had less of a reason to "believe" in Jesus' powers at that moment than Jairus.

However, the fact that Jairus allowed Jesus still to come into his home, though his daughter was most definitely dead, showed either his desperation or that some remnant of faith did indeed remain. And here Jesus begins to show that it makes little difference to Him whether He heals a person who is sick or resurrects them from the dead.
(40) They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child's father and mother and His own companion, and entered the room where the child was. (41) Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!") (42) Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. (43) And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat.
Death was the ultimate enemy for humanity. No one could, or can, escape death. Yet, Jesus reached through death to bring a young girl back to life. Because Jairus, in his despair, did not push Jesus away, he received a preview of God's triumph over death. Jesus' irrational decision to help the woman in the midst of the crowd resulted in a family's heartbreak and, later, its elated rejoicing.

Regardless of who we are, there will come a time when we are pressed to our limits, when our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears and we question whether God really cares or is actually there. This time and place is when many people lose their faith. We, like Jairus, cannot see the bigger picture (because of our sinful nature, it is oftentimes only God who can see the bigger picture), but it is there.

I'm afraid to continue, lest I trivialize someone's pain, but this was the message for today: never allow Satan to convince you that God is not there, that He is not listening. He always listens and His compassion is more than we could know. Everyone in today's gospel reading benefitted in the end from Jesus' delay. And though I can't tell you why God doesn't seem to be answering your most fervent, desperate prayers, I do know that He is not ignoring you.

I only pray that, when such a time comes in my own life, I'm able to respond as Jairus did, and not give up hope.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I knew I didn't like him...


Obama signs "hate-crimes" bill into law


Excerpts:
The Senate approved the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act by a vote of 68-29 on Oct. 22 after Democrats strategically attached it to a "must-pass" $680 billion defense appropriations plan.

...

American Family Association President Tim Wildmon warned that the new law "creates a kind of caste system in law enforcement, where the perverse thing is that people who engage in non-normative sexual behavior will have more legal protection than heterosexuals. This kind of inequality before the law is simply un-American."

Wildmon said the legislation creates possible situations where pastors may be arrested if their sermons on sexuality can be linked in even the remotest way to acts of violence.

...

Opponents point to cases in Canada and Sweden, where Christians have faced criminal prosecution for preaching that homosexual behavior is a sin.

"ADF has clearly seen the evidence of where 'hate crimes' legislation leads when it has been tried around the world: It paves the way for the criminalization of speech that is not deemed 'politically correct,'" Stanley explained. "'Hate crimes' laws fly in the face of the underlying purpose of the First Amendment, which was designed specifically to protect unpopular speech."

Stanley said such crimes are already punishable under existing federal, state and local laws.

"Bills of this sort are designed to forward a political agenda and silence critics, not combat actual crime," he said. "The bottom line is that we do not need a law that creates second-class victims in America and that gives the government the opportunity to ignore the First Amendment."


Aaaaaand confirmed!

See this post to see what I found in my inbox the other day. It has now been confirmed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween, seriously?

Will someone please prove to me that carving pumpkins is pagan, that trick-or-treating is pagan, and that Halloween is a completely pagan holiday that we as Christians are supposed to shun like ... well ... the devil?

From my decidedly small understanding of the history of the holiday, it seems that what we call "Halloween" is a distinctly American tradition going all the way back to ... the pilgrims - no further.

Besides, if, as everyone seems to be saying, we should avoid Halloween because it dates back to pre-Christian Celtic society and ohmygoshthatzbad!! then shouldn't we do the same for every Christian holiday? Easter? Why, that's Celtic, too. Christmas? Greek and ... other things. Seriously, every holiday celebrated anywhere and at any time can probably be traced back in some way, whether actually or falsely, to an earlier era with which the celebrants would disagree. The point is, we are here, in the now, we are not then, nor there. We are not ancient Celts, or Greeks, or Babylonians, etc.

There are plenty of other reasons not to celebrate Halloween, so why do we have to make up new ones?

Aborted Fetal Material Used in Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Found this is my inbox this morning:

~~~~~~

For Immediate Release: October 27, 2009

Aborted fetal material used in anti-wrinkle cream

(Tennessee) Children of God for Life announced today that Neocutis, a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology and skin care is using aborted fetal cell lines to produce several of their anti-aging skin creams.

“It is absolutely deplorable that Neocutis would resort to exploiting the remains of a deliberately slaughtered baby for nothing other than pure vanity and financial gain,, stated Executive Director Debi Vinnedge. “There is simply no moral justification for this.”

For years Children of God for Life has been a watchdog on pharmaceutical companies using aborted fetal cell lines in medical products and they have received thousands of inquiries from the public on the use of aborted fetal material in cosmetics.

Until now, this was the first time they have encountered any company bold enough to put the information right on their own website and product literature. A quick investigation into the science behind the products revealed the shameless data.

Neocutis’ key ingredient known as “Processed Skin Proteins” was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland. Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin.

The list of products using the cell line include: Bio-Gel, Journee, Bio-Serum, Prevedem, Bio Restorative Skin Cream and Lumiere. But Vinnedge is calling for a full boycott of all Neocutis products, regardless of their source.

“There is absolutely no reason to use aborted babies for such selfish motives,” Vinnedge said. “It is anti-life, anti-woman and counter-productive as Neocutis is about to find out!”

Children of God for Life is calling on rival cosmetic companies to take advantage of some free advertising by their company.

“We know there are companies using moral sources for collagen and skin proteins. We intend to publicly promote these other cosmetic companies competing with Neocutis that are willing to step forward and contact us.”

Meanwhile Vinnedge advises women who are using Neocutis products to throw them in the garbage and to contact the company to express their concerns.

In addition she advised, “Contact some of these competing companies and ask them to verify their products are morally produced. If they are willing to commit to it in writing, they will get our endorsement.”

Contact Neocutis:

Neocutis Inc.

3053 Fillmore Street # 140

San Francisco CA 94123

Phone: 1-866-636-2884

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So I've been considering getting dreadlocks

The only things holding me back really are committment issues and my dandruff. I have really itchy, bad dandruff; using Neutrogena's T-Gel shampoo almost everyday seems to take the edge off, but doesn't control it completely. I'm worried that if I dread my hair, the dandruff will just build up and become unbearable.

The committment issues are self-explanatory. It's a big visual change and one that isn't easily undone. It seems, however, that you don't just get dreads in a day, you start them (especially if you're starting with really long hair) and, over time (like, years), they become more and more "dready". So, perhaps, if I don't like them right away, I'll still be able to remove them with slightly more ease than if I'd had them already for years. That could possibly help if I end up having serious dandruff issues, too.

Hmm, seems I just talked my way around both sticking points. To the salon!

Resources:

"Dry Scalp and Dandruff in Natural Black Hair and Dreadlocks" (I don't have black hair, nor am I African American, but it still seemed a good resource)

"Dandruff Problem"

"Severe Dandruff Problem"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Uh oh, I've been thinking...

... take cover. =P

*I am not, in any way, trying to mock or degrade the homeowners. These are just my personal thoughts on, and experiences in, a house.

I was taken to a bridal shower last week, kind of against my will. I didn't know the bride, had no connection to her family or herself, and I can confidently say that it was one of the most awkward things I've ever put myself through. (I'm not a social butterfly, so I mostly sat there with a smile pasted on my face, secretly clicking my heels together three times over and over again.)

Through it all, I was given quite a bit of time to study their home, which was beautiful, but strangely laid out. I've made several posts recently in which I stated my love for small houses, but, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's not just about size of the house, it's about utility, how our homes are used. This particular house was large and quite beautiful on the outside and, having been built to the owners' specifications, I'm sure they were quite happy with it.

However, I just couldn't figure it out: As one walked into the foyer from the front door, a small sitting room appeared off to the left and a formal dining room to the right, but if you simply walked straight, you'd find yourself in another formal living room. Within that living room, yet another tiny sitting area to the left was ensconced within bay windows and seemed to serve as a tiny library. The kitchen off to the right was small and enclosed and didn't match or help the flow of the house. Upon passing through, one found access to the formal dining room as well as a large, pointless, awkward hallway which only led to a bathroom and seemed to enclose the space even more. Beyond the bathroom hallway (seriously, you just walked past it unless you needed the loo) was the entertainment room, housing the television and much more informal-looking and comfortable furniture than the other three sitting areas.

To me, this layout made absolutely no sense. The entertainment room was completely cut off from the rest of the house, the kitchen didn't match, and why on earth would any family need a parlor and a formal living room (hold-overs from the Victorian era) and a separate entertainment area?? Everything seemed boxy and made the house feel much smaller than it really was. To me, it seemed like they just added all these extra rooms because, "that's how it's done - never mind that it doesn't suit our lifestyle."

Granted, as I said, it's not my intention to bash these homeowners. The layout might fit their needs perfectly. I'm thinking about it from my own perspective and how I personally would use the house. I would combine the entertainment and formal living rooms, push the kitchen back a bit and open it up, while knocking out a wall to expose the dining room. The parlor could then serve as a much bigger, cozier library, while the little bay window room could either become a pretty reading or tea/coffee area or, rendered completely pointless, could simply be reduced to bay windows, with perhaps two plush chairs placed in front for a private conversation area. These changes might actually reduce the overall square footage, but it would probably make the house itself feel larger.

Poor layout is the reason many people feel they need to add on to their homes to create more room, when, in reality, many problems could potentially be solved by simply rearranging their existing spaces and making them more functional.*

Okay, my creative juices have been exercised for the day. I'll leave you alone now. =)

*Pretty much paraphrased from The Not So Big House.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BIG FREAKING COCKROACH

Ahhh! Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! AAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hate bugs, I hate spiders, I hate beetles, I hate anything that's creepy and crawly and isn't a mammal, reptile, or fish, so imagine how I screamed like a little girl when I opened our silverware drawer and found a TWO INCH LONG cockroach hanging out among the serving spoons. EJ came to my rescue and was about to scoop it into a cup to take outside, but, when he turned back to the drawer the roach was gone. Where did it go?? It's still in my house. I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep tonight, feeling each little twitch as tiny roach legs.

*gack!*

UPDATE: We found it! At least, I hope the one we found was it. Darn buggers all look the same and I can't handle the thought of a roach infestation in this apartment. The thing was big enough to make audible noises as it crawled across a plastic bag laying on the floor (I do keep a clean apartment, I swear. It didn't come visit because we're filthy). EJ smacked it with a fly swatter, which incapacitated it long enough to pop a dish over top and slide a paper plate underneath. We flung it outdoors, but I actually felt kind of bad. The fly swatter broke on of its legs and I would rather have just killed it than let it suffer.

Yes, I do feel bad for things I hate.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have you discovered Cake Wrecks yet?

When Gangsters Go PC

I know it's not Christmas yet, but this was just too great to pass up.

** For those of you who haven't discovered Cake Wrecks yet (and I just found it yesterday), it highlights all the disasters of professionally made cakes (defined as cakes for which the decorator was expecting to be paid) - all in good humor, mind you. The above is merely one example among many. I suggest reading from the beginning. =)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Conceived in Rape

A beautiful, sad story about not punishing a baby for its father's mistakes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Man Godfrey

1936

One of the weirdest screwball comedies I've ever seen.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

O rly?

There, I Fixed It

There comes a point in one's pursuit of frugality when one must simply sit back, admire one's handiwork, and fend off the police.

This seems like it would actually be a good idea.

And, hey, if you ever get tired of holding the baby's bottle...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

As A Mom and the Life Chain

Watching Glenn Beck last night, I learned of AsAMom.Org and promptly joined. The site is a little confusing to navigate, at least to me, but it seems like a great way to connect with other wives, daughters, moms, grandmothers, etc. They have groups based on your state and also special interest groups you can join. The only downside is the site forces you submit your zip code in order to be granted membership and then shows it on your homepage. So, if that's an issue, you may want to carefully consider your options before joining.

On a slightly different note, I participated in my first Life Chain today. What a rush. The response was mostly positive, although one person did feel the need to shout "retards!" as he drove by. Apt, since, if we'd been diagnosed as mentally handicapped in the womb, we probably would have been aborted. But that was really the only problem. It allowed me to connect with the Right to Life chapter of our state and also get some info on the Crisis Pregnancy center in my city. Hopefully I'll be able to become more involved with either or both before too long.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Love Yarn

Yesterday, I went to lunch with the Priest's wife and we found the cutest little yarn shop! It's the kind that has all the wonderful specialty wool, like hand-spun alpaca, a skein of which I just happened to buy. =)

I kind of embarrassed myself though, because I addressed a question to woman who turned out to be another customer, not an employee. (>.<) She looked knowledgeable!

But I'm happy, because, if I ever have a question about anything, I can just drive to this shop and ask away.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hypocrite

Okay, when I see something like this, I may be willing to compromise on part of my smaller floor plan. (>.>)

I don't even own enough books to fill up a place like that, it's just ... *drools*

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

School is Up and Running!

Whoodathunk I'd be happy to be taking a class again? I went today to enroll and register and, because I'm considered a visiting student with the school on base, I was basically given an automatic in. The price is reasonable, nothing we can't afford, which is good because I've been scouring the internet for grants and it looks like I'm too late for pretty much everything. It's doubly confusing, because I'm still considered a student of Hillsdale and the school doesn't accept any federal or state funding - everything has to be privately donated in order to allow the school to teach what they want to teach and not what the state mandates. I love that, but I really wish my parents had forced me to search for at least some of my own funding in previous years so I'd be better prepared to do it now and would know my options. However, as it is, they didn't and I'm not, so I'm confused and trying to understand if I even have options.

And I know I've probably said this with every post I've made on the subject, but I'm so glad to finally be putting this all behind me (well ... God willing ... it hasn't actually happened yet). To finally hold that diploma in my hands, slip it into its cover, and then put it on my bookshelf will be HEAVEN. The only thing I'll have to worry about after that is paying my student loan, which is annoying, but, compared to many, fairly reasonable.

And, completely off topic, but when will things cool down around here? It's almost the end of September and, while we did have a week or so of nice weather, it's now back up to the high 80s/low 90s, with close to 100% humidity. UGH!!! Add to that the fact that our air conditioning konked out and can only run for about three hours at a time, with about three hours in between, and we're kind of running around our apartment half-naked, trying to keep cool (oh, was that TMI?). Hmm, I should probably get off before I share more things you don't want to know.

Beginning a Prayer Rule

Ever since my Midnight Adventure I've been on edge, very jumpy and, every time EJ leaves, I can't lay down without feeling like I should double check the locks, load the gun, close the bedroom door, and then worry about someone coming through the window. This morning it was particularly bad and I couldn't go back to sleep, even though I knew EJ would be back in less than an hour. I think part of the reason is my relationship with Jesus has been very lax on my end lately; I haven't been keeping up with regular prayer, my reasoning being that, because my life is fine right now, I don't need God's help, so, thus, I don't really need God. (wow, just typing that drove home how selfish and foolish I've been). I finally realized what should have been obvious all along - that my separation from God has allowed the spirit of fear to infect my life and control my emotions.

Something must be done.

Since I have no control over the features of my apartment, the only thing I can physically do is make sure the door is locked and my gun is nearby - not very comforting. However, spiritually, I can pray ... and pray and pray and read the Bible and rekindle my relationship with God. Just because I finally got all my icons out of storage and up on the wall doesn't mean they'll magically protect us. So, to start, today I went through and made the sign of the Cross over each area of the apartment, along with the door, and asked God to keep it safe. From now on, I will make an effort to pray before bed and when I wake up, even if it's just a quick prayer before the icons. I can't afford not to.

Ultimately, this isn't just for EJ's and my protection, but for our salvation. God said he will spit the lukewarm out of his mouth - I do not want to be that lukewarm person. Eternal damnation just doesn't sit well with me, if you know what I mean. So, I ask for some of your prayers for help with this. I've never been a very motivated or structured person. Beginning a prayer rule, a real prayer rule, will be difficult; I won't lie. However, I've sit on the sidelines long enough. Pray God He brings me onto the playing field.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thoughts

Last week I went to Barnes & Noble (one of my most favoritest stores) and randomly picked up a book with a very interesting title: The Not So Big House. I sat down in one of those comfy chairs they have and proceeded to be blown away. It was like all these disjointed ideas and feelings I've had floating around in my subconscious suddenly floated to the surface and clicked together into a cohesive whole: I like small places.

No no, not small places as in claustrophobia on an elevator - I hate those - rather small places such as historic English cottages and the cutesy Southern homes I've come to enjoy looking at on my days out. Having lived in a dorm room (one that actually had some character) for two years and now kicking back in our 770 sq ft apartment, I find that I really love the cozy feel of a small place. There's something so homey and inviting about it.

One thing the book emphasized was building smarter. I love how creative you can be (or, more realistically, have to be) in a small place. For instance, if you have a smaller house, you most likely paid less money for it (unless you live in San Fransisco), this means you can put more of your resources into fabulous details, truly making it your own: built ins, cupboard, rope stair rails, anything you can think of, really. And I love the ideas the authoress gives for making the spaces work - such as an "away room" for adults only, which, for me, would mean a library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, comfy window seats, a few chairs, and no television. That would be my space and EJ could have his longed-for shed out back for a man cave. The children would have to share bedrooms - smaller bedrooms - but that's really no big deal. There's no reason they couldn't have great kiddie spaces within a slightly smaller square footage. =)

I really want to buy a fixer-upper and implement some of the ideas that finally gelled in my mind after reading that book. Unfortunately, I know nothing about remodeling, construction, or ... anything along those lines, so we'll probably have to settle for less than ideal. *sigh*

As usual, when I go off on one of my tangents about how I want to have a homestead, an adorable house with a yellow-and-white kitchen, lots o' kids, etc., EJ's eyes kind of glaze over and I can tell he's thinking I'm totally cracked. However, I think as long as he gets his man cave and a king-size bed, he'll be happy.

Hmm, if I really do want to build smaller, that bed may be the only thing able to fit in our bedroom. But, then again, I suppose that's where the smarter part comes into play. =P

Whoo-Hoo!!

I found this in my inbox today:
Dear Rin,

The course you propose, HST 433 The United States in the 19th Century, worth 3 credits, will fulfill your final 3 hours of required history elective for the Hillsdale history major.

Once you have completed the course, be sure to have an official transcript sent to the Hillsdale College registrar's office so that your work can be counted toward your Hillsdale degree.

Best wishes for good success

~
Huzzah! I can finally get this finished and out of the way!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

*holysmoke* What an excellent post by the ever-persistent Coffee Catholic!

Do We Owe the Poor Our Support?

I've often wondered about how we, as Christians, are to treat those who simply do not want to pick themselves up out of their personal mire.

On the flip side, having worked in an ER and seen all the people who simply use it as their regular provider - many of whom were on Medicaid or some form of Government handouts - regardless of the rooms they took up at the expense of those who actually needed them, and the money and services they used, then refused to pay back (and there are payment options for those who need it, you could have paid as little as $5 a month on your bill and not been turned over to a collection agency), I noticed that most don't even know they're stuck. Mothers give birth to children without fathers, those children are raised to believe they are perpetual victims and society owes them simply for being poor, thus the vicious cycle continues (and I personally have experienced the absolutely devastating effects of drug addiction on a family - what are we to do with the husband who refuses to clean up his act despite the fact he has three children and a wife living in the ghetto?). With that scenario in mind, the question then becomes are we, as Christians, called to break them out of that? Or is that simply another way of phrasing the title of the article?

No matter what, I think CC hit the nail on the head here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Le Knit?

Last week, inspired by Alana, I rewatched the first part of the knitting DVD I purchased ... what, last year? ... and began knitting a scarf! Garter stitch all the way, nothing fancy, (and, I'll be honest, it's starting to get rather monotonous), but we've all got to start somewhere and I'm SO glad I finally just bit the bullet, bought some yarn, and began knitting!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

=P

Upon reviewing some of my past posts, I've come to the realization that I really like the word "cripes!".

How Davie Crockett Learned His Lesson

Not Yours To Give

It's easy to forget (at least it is for me) that David Crockett was not only known for being the backwoods-y type, but was also a well known congressman. This is a wonderful story of how he had some sense knocked into him after letting the powers not appointed him and his colleagues get the better of them all.

This is the last paragraph of the story:
There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay [to help the war widow]. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased - a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it. ~ David Crockett
Some things never change.

Credit due to Liberty For Kids.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I just discovered this site...

This basically reaffirms what we already knew, but still, it's good to have solid data backing your claims.

From FamilyFact.org: Top 10 Research Findings on Daycare and Children's Well-Being

German Language Fail

Cripes! I've forgotten so much German since leaving school that it's not even funny! If I want my kids to be bilingual, I've got to find a way to keep my skillz up - not that they were super great to begin with, but, really, I can't even remember the word for "choose" on my own. That bothers me.

I don't want to teach it to them the way it was taught to me - that is, wait until they're older and give classes on it. I'd really like to just speak it to them from birth. Dad could be the English speaker and mom can be the crazy German lady. That way, if the gub'mint does ever force me to place them in a school building, they might just experience a Sarah Crewe moment with their teachers or administrators (although I hope things don't turn out quite the way they did with Miss Crewe).

We shall see. To the internetz!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A New Blog Link - Cripes, I hate writing things that might offend others

I'm adding A Conservative Teacher to my blog-roll. The author teaches at a public school "near a major city in Michigan" and seems to have a pretty good grasp of the state's political and economic scene. I'm particularly interested in this site because I'm still considered a resident of Michigan (at least, I think I am) and so need to keep abreast of the goings on for elections and what-not and the site provides good general information (I use my mom for the more specific tid-bits =P ).

What I really like about the site is that - and I know I'm repeating myself here - the author is a conservative teacher at a public school. *shock*gasp*awe!* I admire his/her efforts. It takes guts to stick to your beliefs in the face of the open hostility fostered by the public school system (being the only Christian among E.J.'s atheist/agnostic group of friends helps me empathize) and the nation wouldn't be in such dire straights right now if there were more people like him/her in our schools. However, the site has doubly reinforced my desire to homeschool, not wanting to put anything more than I have to into such a broken system.

That being said, I have to admit that I don't think the idea behind the technical aspects of our current school system is necessarily bad ("necessary" in the philosophical sense). After all, not everyone can homeschool; it's a blessing when they can, but illiterate Afghani parents who know nothing about the world beyond their village except wars and rumors of wars are not going to be able to provide even a basic education for their children - and, almost by definition, a personal tutor is out of the question. In those cases, I can see merit based schools being set up, in which the same basic architecture as our buildings is used, but children are promoted based on merit rather than age - thus eliminating the need to cater to the lowest common denominator - in fact, I think that is actually the case in parts of Afghanistan. It wouldn't solve all of the problems, of course, but it might provide enough of a foundation to allow some of the next generation to take a more active role in their children's eduction.

And some don't think most lawmakers are in the pockets of Big Business?

Oh wait, in hindsight, maybe this wasn't such a good freaking idea.

Congress Playing with Toymakers' Livelihoods

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's nice to see there are at least a few people still willing to put their money (and actions) where their mouth is. =)

From London, comes this report of how common sense governing is good politics. According to the Daily Mail's Robert Hardman: "To the shock and dismay of many local councillors and MPs, most of Westminster and the entire Government," a local mayor "has just become on of the most powerful politicians in Britain."

Why? Well, Mayor Peter Davies of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, has defunded "Gay pride" festivities ("I don't see why taxpayers should pay to celebrate anyone's sexuality"), ended politically correct non-jobs such as "community cohesion officers" (that would be akin to ACORN on the government dole stateside), got rid of the mayoral limousine, and even cut his own salary from £73,000 to £30,000. He plans to reduce taxes and will scrap Doncaster's "Twin City" links to five cities around the world because it's a program "just for people to fly off and have a binge at the council's expense."

Can we identify - or elect - 50, 25, or even 10 mayors like this in the good old USA? Do you know of any in office now?
The article I quoted is from Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty and I also found the article it quoted from the Daily Mail: Why Can't Dave and Gordon Learn a Few Lessons from Britain's Most Goriously un-PC Supermayer?

A Bit of Silliness

"The God Gene"



With thank to the illustrious Father Stephen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Midnight Adventure

I went to bed around 1:00 a.m. Sunday night (EJ is on swing shift, so I maintain his schedule). At about 4:30, I wake up with the cold, demonic fear in the pit of my stomach indicating there are Others attacking me - it is, unfortunately, not uncommon. I try to go back to sleep, but then realize I'm hearing more noises than usual and begin to think my mind is playing tricks on me above and beyond what the demons normally do. I have to use the restroom and decide it will be the perfect way to clear my head. As I get up, the noises to do not go away - weird noises unlike apartment complex babble. As I near our bedroom door, the light in the hallway flicks on, seemingly by itself. The fear grows stronger and colder, and it dawns on me that this may not be the work of demons, but of an actual intruder. My heart beats faster and I take a step closer to the hallway, just one step more and I'll be through the door.

Suddenly, I see a shadow moving on the carpet and my heart jumps into my throat. There is someone in my home. In a panic, I slam the door shut and jump on EJ's side of the bed to warn him -he's not there. My fear-crazed mind, however, can't process this fact so I reach for the shotgun under our bed. I don't know if it's loaded or not; EJ has shown me how to check before, but I can't seem to muster enough strength at the moment to pull back the fore-grip. I pray that it is loaded and settle myself on top of the covers facing the door, shotgun in hand, ready to scare the living almighty out of anyone unlucky enough to walk through it.

Meanwhile, nothing happens, no one bursts in and my panicked mind begins to calm down enough to restart limited functionality. "EJ is not in bed" + "There is someone in the dining room" = "It's probably him out there". However, there is still just enough fear pumping through my veins that I maintain my grip on the shotgun until such time as someone should come through the door, I just don't point muzzle in that direction. I don't have long to wait, thankfully; the door soon opens and there's EJ, cell phone in one hand (from whence came the strange noises I heard earlier), doorknob in the other, standing stock-still as he tries to process the fact that his wife is sitting on the bed with a shotgun at the ready and a crazed look upon her face.

My vision blurs a little in relief and the first thing out of my mouth is, "Don't you ever f***ing do that again!!" What it is he's not supposed to do -walk about it his own home? / try out the new ringtones on his phone? - is never fully clarified, because the first thing out of his bemusedly upturned mouth happens to be, "Is that thing loaded?"

Turns out, no, it never was.

And, with that, my midnight adventure came to an end, I began shaking uncontrollable and EJ had to hold me for a few seconds until I regained my composure. Thank you, Lord, that it turned out the way it did.

The next day, EJ reminded where he keeps the shells and how to properly load the gun. Turns out, it was a good thing he did, because just this morning he left early and I fell back to sleep, not expecting him back for a good while, so when I woke up to someone opening the front door only an hour later, I pulled out the shotgun again (I guess I'm still a bit jumpy) and this time managed to open the chamber and hold a shell over it, ready to drop it in should the need arise.

Yes, it was EJ, and, yes, he was simply home early. >.<

Monday, September 7, 2009

Movie Recomendation: "Gran Torino"

Wow. I don't usually recommend contemporary films because, even if I like the story, they're usually so full of filth as far as language and morals go, that the rest of their contents don't justify their existence. However, I have to make an exception for the movie Gran Torino, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. I just finished watching it with EJ and I'm still crying. This movie, while peppered with"adult" language and certainly not family friendly, was so powerful, it left me - well, as I just mentioned - in tears. It makes you think; it actually uplifts manhood; and Clint Eastwood's character and his protégé are wonderfully acted...

I just can't recommend this movie enough for those mature enough to appreciate it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Going back to my roots

I don't remember when the last time was that I actually posted on something fun-for-me, like hair covering/length, modesty, etc. So I have a short little blurb (or maybe rant).

I've changed so much in the past two years. Unbelievable, almost, considering where I came from and where I am now. I went from being the unhappy and unwilling femin-ish, to the legalistic and judgmental "fundamentalist" (I know, that's a loaded term; no offense meant) and now I think I've finally lightened up and have realized there's more to loving God than what I look like on the outside, though that part shouldn't be ignored.

To whit: I want to cut my hair. Like, I want to chop it off Halle Berry style. I am so sick of my über long locks. It just hangs there, frizzy and limp, and I simply want it gone. However, EJ has threatened me with divorce* if I so much as snip a strand with the intent to continue. He loves my long hair and couldn't bear to see it gone. So, this is one area where I submit to him and try to make the best of the situation. I have checked out several hair-styling websites, but I seem to get worse the more often I do a particular style. Any suggestions?

*No, not really, but things would be pretty tense for quite a while if I did disobey him.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Home at Last

Well, hello kids!

I've been home now for five days - by home, I mean in Michigan with my family. I've tried posting something twice in that time, but, my mom's MacBook froze up on both occasions and I had to restart it. We'll see how this posting goes.

It has been WONDERFUL being back in this state. You don't realize how much you love something until you've left it and come back.

My family is the same as ever, with the exception of a little 13 pound liver-and-white bundle of energy: their most recent acquisition, Lucy the puppy. She is so cute, if a bit bitey.

Alright, now to quickly post this before anything goes wrong. 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... POST!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I can't believe it! I won!

I never win anything! I sometimes theorize that putting my name into a drawing creates a mini black hole that sucks my entry and those unfortunately around it into oblivion - so to go and win something like this is simply amazing! The Theotokos be thanked and God be praised!

Congrats to the other winner, Amy, and Orthodox Mom rocks!

I knew something would go wrong with this

State Threatens Abortion Business License

Planned Parenthood is a criminal organization that lies to its customers, the state, and to the people at large, facilitates abuse and immoral lifestyles, and, of course, kills babies. Now, what could possibly be wrong with that?

Eat this, NEA

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

Ha!

Of course, it was already a known fact that homeschoolers repeatedly outperform their public school counterparts in all areas - by a lot -, the research simply needed to be refreshed for the newer generation.

*With thanks to the ever-controversial Vox Popoli (read at your own risk).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Doula-ing

I hope this doesn't fizzle out like the calligraphy thing did. It very well may be unfeasible due to the cost.

We shall see.

Now...which one?

DONA

ToLabor

CAPPA

EDIT:

OH MY GOSH!!! Operation Special Delivery

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dormition Fast

The Dormition Fast begins today. This will be my first semi-extended period of fasting while living with my non-orthodox, practically carnivorous husband. He's making a cheeseburger as I type this and teasing me that he's going to put a fan in front of the stove and blow the smells out into the living room. >.< "I'm just helping your soul by offering temptation."

Oh, what I live with. =P

I, however, made some yummy vegetable pockets out of store-bought crescent dough and chopped vegetable filling, tied together with flavored tomato sauce. I just baked them according to package directions for the dough - they could have been left in for another 5 minutes or so, but they were still good.

Exciting discovery! I found The No-Tofu Vegetarian Cookbook on Amazon. Yay not having to eat soy and soy products!

Coffee is here

My Monastery Blend Coffee came!

Okay, okay, it came a few days ago, but this is the first time I've gotten around to telling everyone HOW GREAT IT IS!! This coffee is wonderful!!

Downside: Expensive

Upside: Delicious

I've decided that, because of the cost, I'll use it as a supplement rather than as a regular thing. I'll drink my Eight o' Clock coffee as usual, but when I feel the need to sasify my mornings, I'll dip into the gourmet. =)

Bless those monks for living holy lives and serving up great coffee.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Depressing Post - Beware

I'm feeling so frightened and frustrated right now. I've been trying to avoid the "healthcare reform" coverage because it makes me so angry and I know I'm so helpless in the face of those who rule over us, but don't really care anything about us. The only thing that brings me any sense of peace is spending time with the Lord, both because it's distracting and because He created the universe. I know we're all going to die eventually, but I just wish our rulers wouldn't try so hard to make our lives worse and worse while we're still living them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

22 years ago today, I was born

40 years ago today, we landed on the moon.

56 years ago today, UNICEF was made a permanent world agency. (>.<)

65 years ago today, Count Claus von Stauffenberg, with the help of many others, tried and failed to assassinate Hitler.

83 years ago today, a convention of Methodists officially allowed women to become priests 106 years ago today, Ford Motor Company shipped its first car.

145 years ago today, the Civil War Battle of Peachtree Creek was fought near Atlanta, Georgia.

271 years ago today, the french explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes sieur de la Vérendrye reached the western shore of Lake Michigan.

Yep, lotsa stuff happened on this day. =)

EDIT: I just found out it's Anna's birthday today, as well. =)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Baby Talk

I was talking with some people recently and the difference between the words "fetus" and "embryo" came up, which led into a non-aggressive discusion about abortion and one of the people said they didn't think aborting up to the end of the third month was a problem because the baby was still just a blob at that time.

(0.o)

I can't believe some people still don't know how early the basic life-systems form in an embryo.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Breastfeeding Article

I had lunch with the priest's wife today (I don't know what they're called in the Antiochian tradition, so I'll just stick with what I know and call her "Matushka"). She has a three month old daughter who is adorable, but fussy, so her breast was at the ready for much of the visit. In my (sadly limited) experience with young babies, it's been a while since I've been around one who nurses. One of my friends, the mother of my godchild, had insufficient flow, and another friend, the one who had a baby just a little while ago, wanted to breastfeed, but her milk didn't come in and so bottlefeeding was the only way to get her son some food (and, unfortunately, because of disuse, her milk never came in). It's definitely encouraging to finally see someone who doesn't seem to have any problems nursing on demand. I was beginning to wonder if it was even possible for me not to have problems simply because so many others have (and yes, by "so many" I mean "two").

To whit, a potentially inflammatory article: Watch Your Language. Thanks to one of the commentors on Anna's blog.

EDIT: Completely off topic, but Matushka's little girl was born on the feast day of St. Mary of Egypt. It's so neat to think that, while I was sitting in church listening to the amazing story of St. Mary being read, a little baby that I was soon to meet was being born!

Monastery Blend Coffee, Part 2

Well, I just ordered my first batch of Monastery Blend Coffee. I chose the "Organic Shade-Grown French Roast" and the "Deacon's Decaf". Yikes, with shipping it turned out to be rather expensive, but it's for a good cause. I hope it tastes good!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ongoing School Dispute

Holy smoke, I mentioned for the first time to my mom today how I still needed three credits to complete my degree and she nearly blew a gasket! She wasn't angry at me, but at the school for letting me graduate and then telling me after the fact that I still needed these credits. I completely understand why she was so upset though, she and my dad footed most of my hefty bill for four years and expect to be treated better than this.

I'm still upset at the school as well, but I'm also upset at myself for letting this slip by. I should have caught it.

Seriously, Hillsdale is a good college, better than most, but it is not the savior of the world most conservatives think it is. It has its hypocrisies, its surrenders to the culture, etc, and it spends altogether too much on making itself look good to the outside, rather than making sure its dormitories are up to code. No school is perfect, I just wish I wasn't on the receiving end of one of the things that doesn't make it perfect.

I wouldn't trust sending my children to a government funded college, for sure, but I would also take everything any other college says with a hefty grain of salt.

EDIT: I should say that, if you haven't been reading my blog for long, these thoughts didn't just appear with that email from the registrar's office.