Friday, July 11, 2008


My husband is starting a writing bulletin board, and I noticed that our hosting company allows you to install wordpress on your site. So instead of having a blog address, I will now have an easier-to-remember address, Hope I just find more time to post!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 19

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days... we're currently on the road in California, taking the kidlets to the various Southern California attractions. But I've been praying for revival and I hope that you are too.

I was reading Ezra over the last few days... the times that we are in right now are a lot like the times of Ezra's day. If you've read Ezra before, you might remember that the Israelites were taken into captivity by the Babylonians, and they rebuilt the temple. Some people who had seen the original temple were sad because it was not as nice as Solomon's, but many people were glad nevertheless.

Anyway, Ezra lived in a time that is very much like our own. The believing people were living among many people that did not believe in God. And just like in our day, the believing people were living a lot like the nonbelieving people. They were even marrying nonbelievers (it happens today too).

Ezra was very sad when he found out that the people were living like the world, and he prayed with repentance and forgiveness. The people decided later to live separated lives again.

My preacher was talking about how when he was a high schooler, he was invited to a church youth group meeting. He was wondering how church youth group could be fun. They started showing pornographic videos at the meeting. Preacher left the meeting early, and was turned off from Christianity for years as a result. Even the nonbelievers know that Christians are not supposed to be doing things like that.

If we live like the world, how are we supposed to show the world how we are different? How your life can change by believing in Jesus? You can't. The divorce rates in Christian homes aren't really different than the divorce rates in everybody else's homes. Our children are generally just as ill-behaved as the rest of the world's. If there is no change in our lives, why would the world want to be like us? At least they are free to do as they like on Sunday mornings.

I know that there are obviously some people who are Christians that have great families. I know many of them myself. But your family speaks more about what it's like to be a Christian than a lot of other things you could say. Perhaps that's something to pray about today, whether for strength for your own family (even if your family is great that's probably a good idea anyway), or strength for the families of people that you know, people in your neighborhood, and people in your country. Revival is more difficult when our families are falling apart.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Where Is The Ark of God?

Indiana Jones made a movie about it once... where is the Ark of God?

I was watching Digging For The Truth on the History Channel once, and they had an episode of where the ark might be. One of the plausible sounding guesses was that it was in Ethiopia. Some people think that somehow it got over there because King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba had a relationship of some sort... or so some believe.

The Ethiopian theory is based on the belief that the last known reference to the ark in the Bible was from King Solomon's day.

I guess whoever came up with that little bit of research failed to read the entire Bible.

While I was reading II Chronicles 35 today, I ran into verse 3: "Then he said to the Levites who taught all Israel, who were holy to the Lord: "Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built. It shall no longer be a burden on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel."

So evidently, the location of the ark was known in King Josiah's day, and he sent it to one of the houses which Solomon built. I would guess he would put it in a house in Judah? And not in Ethiopia, even if Solomon built a house there. Josiah followed the Lord, and I would find it hard to believe that Josiah would send something that important away from his country during his lifetime. He also had no reason to believe that the ark would have been taken by enemies.

He died fairly suddenly in battle.

His sons did evil in the sight of the Lord. One of them was carted away to Egypt, Nebudchadnezzar carried away another king and also took some of the articles from the house of the Lord to Babylon.

II Chronicles 36:18 says that all the articles of the house of God, great and small, ended up being carried away to Babylon.

Perhaps somebody had foresight in the days of the final evil kings, and hid the ark away... or perhaps the ark ended up going to Babylon. But the Bible says one thing: it didn't leave Israel in the time of Solomon.

Revival Challenge Day 14


Hope you are all having a great day today, whether you are reading in the middle of the morning or in the middle of the night.

The expected bad news has happened... Governor Ritter of Colorado signed a bill that will allow sexual predators to enter women's restrooms at any time that they feel like, as long as they claim to believe that they are female at the time they do so. Of course, that was not the intent of the bill... the intent of the bill is to allow transgendered people to use the restroom of the gender they perceive to be... but the unintended consequence is that it will allow sexual predators to use the women's restroom as well. They need our prayers.

I was reading II Chronicles 35-36 today. King Josiah was a good king. Unlike Joash, who became king at age 7 and was good for all the days of his mentor Jehoiada, then ended up killing his mentor's son after his death, King Josiah seemed to be a good guy all the days of his life. Chronicles doesn't really say anything bad about him.

But he did sin, and that was his undoing. King Necho of Egypt was fighting against Carchemish, and Josiah decides to join in the fight. Necho sends him a message from the Lord, basically saying butt out, this isn't your fight... don't meddle with God, or he'll destroy you (II Chronicles 35:20-21). Josiah didn't listen, and that was the end of him.

I bet there are a lot of people like Josiah out there. I know lots of people that love the Lord. They try to do what pleases God most of the time. They go to church, teach their kids right from wrong, try to stay away from filthy movies and television shows... but it's very easy for even people that want to follow the Lord to fail just as Josiah did.

Anyone can be like Josiah. I'm not perfect. Only Jesus is.

I pray today that those of us that love the Lord can follow him today with our whole hearts, and not fail to listen to him when he speaks today, as Josiah did with the king of Egypt.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 13


I was thinking this morning as I woke up... what could revival mean to this country? I suppose most Christians generally think of it as a good thing... and it is. But... the road to revival might not always be sunshine and roses.

I mentioned the Fulton Street Revival on Challenge Day 1. Lots of people got saved, people got rid of the ungodly trash in their lives, and the crime rate went down. Great! BUT... to get there, there was a stock market crash. When things look down for a people, that's often when people turn their hearts to God.

I think that's true in most people's lives. Like Hezekiah in II Chronicles. Today I read chapters 32-34. Many of us who have read the Bible a few times know that Hezekiah was about ready to die, then he prayed that he wouldn't die, and God let him live another 15 years. During those years, he was full of pride and didn't serve God the way that he was supposed to.

I noticed today, that his son Manasseh was an evil king, for the most part. Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king, which meant that he was born while Hezekiah was in those 15 years that he spent in pride, not following the Lord. So all he saw of his father's life were the bad things, and not the years and years of good that he did before that, repairing the temple and the like.

Manasseh was an evil king for most of his life... but in II Chronicles 33:12, after Assyria took the country and he was in bondage, he humbled himself. So for the last few years of his life he was good.

Manasseh's son Amon probably saw the evil that his father did for most of his life, and he was an evil king. He didn't repent, and only reigned 2 years. He had a young son named Josiah, who was 8.

Josiah saw the evil that his father Amon did, for all 8 years of his life, but he was 6 years old when his grandpa Manasseh died. Manasseh had repented in his latter years, so during the 6 years that Josiah was alive before his grandpa died, he probably saw his grandfather doing good.

But before Manasseh repented... he was taken away into captivity by the Assyrians.

What good is it if our country gains the whole world, but loses it's own soul? The riches that God has to offer us in the next life are better than the riches that we can find in our toys, the clothes, the food, and all the wonderful things that we find down here. I know I'm saved, and if you're praying for revival along with me you probably are too, but we live with people that aren't saved, and some of them are probably people we care about.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 12

America continues to have some serious challenges. Focus on the Family had a broadcast yesterday about a law sitting on the governor's desk in Colorado saying that private businesses can not discriminate against transgendered people who want to use the bathroom of the opposite gender. So anybody that thinks, or says that they think, they are of the opposite gender can go into the restroom of the gender that they believe they are.

I do feel for transgendered people... many of them seem to struggle with their identity. BUT... this law is fairly dangerous. How is a business supposed to know that someone feels they are of the opposite gender? There is nothing to stop a man from going into the girls bathroom, claiming to be transgendered, when his true motive is of a predatory nature. Locker rooms at schools and gyms would allow for peeping toms, who could simply state that they felt like they were female, which gives them a reason for using the female locker room.

Colorado needs our prayers, only God can keep the governor from signing this law at this point.

Although things look bad, I was encouraged when I read II Chronicles 30-31 today. While the people of King Jotham were wicked, and the people of King Ahaz's day followed him in his evil doings, the people in King Hezekiah's day had a real revival. They cleaned up the temple, got the priests and Levites cleansed, and even sent out messengers to Israel inviting them to join them in the Passover... they had their own little band of missionaries going out, I guess you could say.

This change in the hearts of the people took place quickly... II Chronicles 29:36 says that "Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people, since the events took place so suddenly." It just happened. Only God can do that.

Perhaps you think that praying for revival is futile... aren't we in the last days? I think that we are, but other countries are seeing people turn to Christianity, why can't it happen here too?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Sputtering End To The School Year

Life is funny. Around the beginning of April, I had this schedule all ready. I was going to be done with school before Memorial Day, it was going to be great.

Then our house caught on fire.

It is so hard to get back into your life's groove when everything is so suddenly interrupted. We missed a couple of weeks of school, and the lessons that were so easily begun at 9 have now become afternoon classes.

But I'm finally starting to see the end. We have 3 more math lessons. My dd's birthday is coming up very soon and I'm not teaching reading past that date. Those are our most difficult classes.

I really enjoyed BJU's Vacation Stations last year. It only took about 15 minutes a day, and last summer dd seemed to blossom under the program. At the beginning of the summer she could sound out individual letters, but she couldn't blend them to form words. By the end of the summer, just by reviewing what she already knew, she had gotten blending, and I was confident enough in her abilities to put her right into Reading 1.

So we're getting Vacation Stations 1 this year, and we'll start that the week after her birthday. We won't be finished with Bible or history (we have 10 lessons of each left), but both history and Bible are not intensive classes, and they have information that I'd like to teach before we hang it up for the summer. I'm hoping that Vacation Stations will reinforce all the addition and subtraction facts that dd has been learning all year, as well as reinforce all the reading that she's been doing.

We picked up the items for the summer reading program at our new local library today. Dd's all excited about that.

I wrote earlier today about the faithfulness of some of Judah's kings... or in their case, how their faithfulness sort of went to a sputter in the latter years of their lives. I think that homeschooling requires a great deal of faithfulness. You just have to keep plugging away at it. It takes faithfulness, especially when things are going well. If I hadn't been on schedule when our house fire happened, it'd be very difficult to catch up, or I'd have to teach reading and math all summer.

Last year, we were able to end our school year in April, for a very long and enjoyable summer. This year is seemingly ending in a sputter. First the math goes, then the reading goes, then we slowly morph into our summer schedule while tying up the loose ends of history and Bible. But I guess one great thing about homeschooling is that you can be flexible in this sort of way if you want to.

Revival Challenge Day 11

In the last couple of days, I've been reading from II Chronicles, chapters 24-29. Most of the kings talked about in these chapters were "good" kings, but they all had some problems:

Joash - was a good king while his adopted father Jehoida was alive, but after Jehoida died he ended up murdering Jehoida's son for rebuking him.
Amaziah - outwardly followed God, but his heart wasn't in it... later set up an idol, which was his downfall.
Uzziah - followed God when he was young, but became proud as he was older, decided to offer his own sacrifices in the temple rather than doing things God's way, and was stricken with leprosy
Jotham - was a good king... but the people of the day were wicked
Ahaz - must have listened to his wicked peers, because he was a wicked king.
Hezekiah - must have learned about the Lord from Grandpa Jotham, who died when he was 9 years old (if you do the math). He was a good king who followed the Lord. He reopened the temple that his father Ahaz had closed, and you could probably say there was revival.

I made a note about the first three of those kings... they were good and followed the Lord, but they didn't stay faithful. I don't know about you, but if the Lord doesn't come back soon and I live a full life here on Earth, I could have many more days left on the earth than I have already have had... I pray that no matter what happens, I will remain faithful, so my end doesn't go the way of the first three of these kings.

What I noticed about the second three kings was how Jotham was a good king that followed the Lord, but he ruled a wicked society... kind of like today. His son Ahaz became king when he was 20 years old, and was more like the society than his father. He reigned for 16 years. Ahaz's son Hezekiah became king at age 25... do the math... Ahaz was 11 years old when Hezekiah was born (!), and Hezekiah was 9 years old when Jotham died. It seems to me that Hezekiah must have learned from his grandfather when he was still around, because he followed the Lord like his grandfather did.

Things weren't going very well in Ahaz's day... a lot of battles were lost and many people were carried away captive. But when Hezekiah took over, he returned to the temple sacrifices and to following God.

I haven't read past this this time around, but I remember that things were pretty peaceful in Hezekiah's day, and he added a lot to the storeroom... so much so that his biggest mistake listed in the Bible was showing off all that he had to the king of Babylon.

Part of what I'm going to pray about today, as I pray for revival to this country as a whole, is for faithfulness so I don't go the way of the first 3 good kings I mentioned here, and for my kids to follow the Lord, so they don't decide to follow the wicked society, as king Ahaz did.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teacher Has Class "Vote Out" Their Classmate

This article is so sad.

A Kindergarten teacher allowed the children in her classroom to vote out their classmate, who is in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

I feel so bad for this little boy. Perhaps he was acting up... but that really isn't any reason to vote out a five year old. How are we going to expect this little boy to learn to behave and feel loved if we're rejecting him before he even hits first grade!

School is tough enough without your teacher rejecting you, especially if you have a disability like Asperger's. Kids are more than likely to tease him as they get older, on account of how cruel they often tend to be. There's absolutely no excuse for a teacher encouraging that sort of behavior.

The Bible says that in the last days, the love of many will wax cold. I think this lady is just one example.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 9

Hope that you had a great Memorial Day.

There are many heroes who have died for the freedoms that we have, but true freedom comes from God. Which is why we need him so much. We are endowed by our creator... is what our founding fathers said with regard to freedom.

Hope that you found time today to pray for revival of this country, amid all the fun that you hopefully had with your family and your friends.

Revival Challenge Day 8

I'm posting this after midnight, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so I still consider this to be day 8. :-)

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Our country has a lot of heroes in it. Not the kind you see on TV or in the movie theaters, but the people that serve in the Armed Forces day after day. Especially the ones that happen to be on the battlefield... or the ones that give their lives for our country.

I found out something interesting today... since 1776, not a single generation has gone by without having to defend freedom. I guess it's something the devil likes to attack. Because the freedom that we have had includes the freedom to worship God. The Chinese don't have the type of freedom we do... they have to meet underground. Neither do many people in the Middle East.

Today I read II Chronicles 14-17. I noticed something interesting. King Asa was a pretty good king, and followed the Lord for most of his life. He fought a battle with 580,000 soldiers against armies with more than a million soldiers... and he won, because he followed the Lord and God was on his side. When he got older, he became more prideful and relied on his alliances with other countries more than he relied on God. As a result, Judah was constantly in battle for the rest of his life. Similarly, he had a problem with his foot, and rather than praying and relying on God, he relied on physicians, and was never healed. He died 2 years later.

His son, Jehoshaphat, also loved the Lord, but he continued to rely on God all his days. I noticed something interesting. The fear of the Lord fell on all his enemies. This was only because the country under Jehoshaphat was a good country... if you would use the terminology of today, you would think of it as a "Christian nation".

Our country is quickly losing it's status as a "Christian nation". For the most part, it hasn't been for years. I watched some old speeches that Ronald Reagan made the other day, and it was really sad to see, because he referred to a Christian God in his address, in a way that would be scandalous if a president said today. It would be nice to go back to a day where presidents could talk about the birth of Jesus Christ and of the creator.

The only way we're going to get there is for revival. Don't know if it will ever make a difference, but I'm going to keep on praying.

In church today, our preacher preached about our military heroes, and about Christian heroes. We also sang some patriotic songs. Like a verse that rarely gets sung any more:

Our Father's God! To Thee,
Author Of Liberty,
To Thee We Sing;
Long May Our Land Be Bright
With Freedom's Holy Light;
Protect Us By Thy Might,
Great God, Our King!

Almost a prayer for revival in itself.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Clarification Regarding Todd Strandberg

I posted earlier today about my 13 year history with the Rapture Ready web site. I want to make something perfectly clear, because I do not want another innocent person's reputation being ripped to shreds as mine has.

Todd Strandberg had nothing to do with my situation. While he does own the web site, to the best of my knowledge he had nothing to do with what has happened in the last day. His friend and fellow co-writer, Terry, also has nothing to do with what has happened.

Todd is a good person who just wants people to know about Jesus, repent and get saved, so they will be ready when the rapture happens. I have admired him for many years, although the only time that I have ever really had contact with him was several years ago when I sent an email offering to help him with something he had requested volunteers with. I guess he was swamped with offers or my offer got lost in the email, because he never replied.

He writes great columns and I believe he lives what he says. He has poured tons of his own money into helping this cause for Christ, on what probably wasn't a very large salary. He has done so much for God for as long as I have known of him and followed him. I have nothing but respect for him, and I expect when he reaches the pearly gates, he will have many jewels in his crown and God will definitely be telling him "well done, thou good and faithful servant."

I just wanted to clear this up, because I did not want to malign the reputation of either him or of Terry. He was not the person that called me a demon-possessed, single male with multiple personality disorder. I don't want anybody accidentally thinking that. While I am not going to publicly reveal the name of the person that did accuse me of these things, I wanted to make sure that everybody knew that it was not Todd. I continue to have nothing but respect for him.

Thanks. :-)

Revival Challenge Day 7

Okay. I have done all I can and I'm going to try to put the past 24 hours and hurt behind me. The real problems with this country don't stop just because a few people hate me.

Gotta get back to the business of praying for revival! I hope that you join me! :)

Trashed Reputations Are Impossible To Recover...

I've been going through a struggle for about the last 24 hours, and it has to do with the loss of friends... and ends with a trashed reputation. I suppose that we should all be careful of what we say to other people... because although in my circumstances it was not caused by gossip, people can lose their good names over false rumors as well.

I'm going to tell my story about how my reputation was trashed here. Hopefully in an attempt to clear my good name with some people. Probably not everybody, some people may not believe me, but that's okay. Airing my dirty laundry publicly, and hopefully rationally, is about the best that I can do.

It starts about 13 years ago. It was 1995, and I was in college. I went to a Superbowl party with some friends, and this random lady was there. She was a Christian, as I was, and she started telling me about all this stuff that was happening behind the scenes... European Union stuff... all tin-hatty at the time. This one chance encounter with her introduced me to Bible Prophecy, and made me realize that we were in the last days. I had always enjoyed the book of Revelation, but I always thought that stuff was far off into the future.

That year, yahoo and other internet search engines were still in their infancy, and I did a search and stumbled across the Rapture Report. It was a report run by a wonderful man of God named Todd Strandberg, that came out every week that detailed the events of the day, sort of like a report card on how close it seemed that we were to the Rapture. I thought we were within 10 years of the rapture. But I guess God has different timing, because we're still here. Of course, his ways are better than mine, in ways I can't understand.

Years went by, and eventually the Rapture Report started a bulletin board, and renamed themselves Rapture Ready. I had gotten interested in other interests for a while, so I missed the first board they were on, but then I was a member of the second board. I was a very active member... I remember back in the days they posted their post count, and there was almost something of a competition to see who could have the higher post count. Those were fun times.

I was having a great time posting, and I was always talking about my friends on the board or something that we were discussing. My husband decided that he wanted to have an account. I was all cool with that at the time. For a while, things were going great. We both had friends on the board, they knew we were a married couple, and everything was cool.

Until my husband started getting involved in the political forums on the board.

He's a great guy, but he's not exactly... political. I'm the kind of person that can tell you that you stink and be nice about it. He'll come right out and say it, and you'll be offended.

That's when things started going downhill. Because he'd post things that were usually Biblical, but he'd say them in such a way that he would get under people's skin and rile up some nerves. So he started getting on the "bad boy" list with the mods. They started giving him warnings, but he didn't tone it down.

Then it happened. He got banned. Not just himself... he got us BOTH banned.

I was absolutely livid. We weren't on speaking terms for about a week. Finally after two weeks they let me back. Unfortunately... they also let my husband back. Anyway, he knew how upset I was over him getting me banned, so he did tone it down, and when he found out that he was having a personality conflict with one of the moderators, so he asked to be put on vacation. He never posted to that board again. That was 2005, I think.

Anyway, time passed. In 2006, I found out that we were going to have our second baby. I started becoming a regular poster over at the forums. Several months into posting there, I was getting into the debates and everything, and I was discussing with my husband what was going on over there. It happened again! He decided to become a member over there. Again, he was abrasive in the political forums, as he tends to be. Again, he got banned. Fortunately, the moderator knew me very well over there, and decided not to ban me.

It didn't stop there. Dh decided to create this alter ego on the Epregnancy forums. Again, stirred up some trouble. But he was less abrasive, and because he was pretending to be a girl, they didn't run him out of town that quickly.

About the same time, Rapture Ready (the forums) came under new management, and started all over again with a new database and everything. Since my husband had never had a problem with Todd or anybody else over at these new forums with the same name, he decided to create a new account there. So did I, because I had friends that went over at both boards now.

What do you know, my husband does it again. He starts posting to the political threads, starts offending people, and gets put on vacation. This time, they do the sensible thing and only put him on vacation. It's biblical that you should be punished for your own sins and not the sins of others, right?

If it would have stopped there, this whole thing would have ended and my reputation would still be intact. I wouldn't be writing this long diatribe today.

But no... not satisfied with being put on vacation, my husband decides to violate the Terms of Service on the board by dredging up his old alter-ego from the Epregnancy days. Even though there was a post on the site that says loud and clear you will be banned for creating multiple identities he decides to do so anyway. He thought that he was being slick by masking the IP that he was using while creating the account.

So yesterday afternoon, I get back from my wonderful vacation in Los Angeles, planning to respond to someone who had asked me a question while I was away, and I found out that I was banned.

I had not done anything to deserve this. Unless you believe that you should be punished for marrying the wrong person.

I had a good, long conversation over AIM with my husband over this yesterday afternoon. I was livid. When he did this to me over on RR three years ago and I finally got reinstated, I told him to never do this to me again. But he did.

And you know what? He also told me that he had several accounts that he only logged into from work. I was absolutely floored. He said that they had not banned his other accounts. He told me that he had no intention to stop posting to Rapture Ready from these other accounts, if they were ever so kind to reinstate me, but he did promise to not post from home. Oh great. Get me into trouble and then not stop doing what got me into trouble in the first place. Thanks.

I had a PM conversation with one of the moderators in the last evening. I'm not going to post his name because it is not my intention to hurt anybody in all this. I just want to do what I can to clear my reputation publicly.

Anyway, I could not convince this person that I and my husband were different people. I sent him a link to my and my husband's picture over on a site that he should have been familiar with as being valid, I sent him the names of several people that had spotless reputations that could vouch for the fact that both me and my husband were different people (some of them I have met in person). I even took a picture of our driver's licenses and sent him a copy for him to view. You would think that perhaps this would be enough proof that I and my husband were different people. Somehow, I can't think of anything else that could provide more proof than that.

But no, it was not. We do live in the same house, and accordingly, have the same IP address (duh). We have our domain names registered under the same account (yes, that makes it easier, you only have to pay one bill). I suppose that that proof supercedes the fact that we have different driver's licenses, there are two of us in the picture, and that there are several people who have met both of us and can vouch for the fact that we are not the same person.

Anyway, my reputation has been tarnished in the process. According to some people, not only am I a deceitful person who creates multiple accounts in order to violate the rules of a message board that I have many friends on, I also have multiple personalities and am demon possessed (because I asked them to never reinstate my husband to the board EVER in order to prevent this from happening to me again). Oh, and I am also a single man.

Well, for anybody who has stuck around to read the whole thing, this is who I really am. My real name is Brooke, and my middle name is like Lorren. I have been going by Lorren, or Brookelorren, on the internet since 1994. If you google my internet nickname, Brookelorren, you will find out more than you would ever need to know about me. Read my writings. If I truly am a demon-possessed, single male trying to create a fake identity in order to post on the Rapture Ready message board, I've got a real problem... because if I truly am the fake that some people think I am, then I have been carrying on this elaborate hoax for more than 10 years. Do you think that I am intelligent enough, that I have the foresight, to start writing hundreds and hundreds of articles and posts over a period of more than a decade, in case one day I get banned from a message board? I assure you, I am not. I may think that I'm pretty smart, but it's more of a book learning thing and not a people smarts thing.

Well, there's nothing really more than I can do to try to recover my reputation than what I have just said. I can't make anybody believe me. But I will say that you will find out that I am who I say I am at the Rapture. At least Jesus knows who I am.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Revival Challenge Day 6

Ugh... today has not been such a good day.

In order for God to heal the land, God's people have to pray and turn away from their sins. Well, I'm having a hard time with the second part today.

My husband decided to create fake identities on a message board that I've been a member for more than 10 years for, which is against the rules. They ended up banning me over it. I'm trying to contact some people off board because it is completely unfair to punish me for something that he did, but so far no luck.

I'm having a difficult time thinking kind thoughts towards him at this moment. He knew that he was doing wrong and this is the second time that he's caused me to get banned from a message board because of something that he did (the first time I was reinstated after a few weeks of pleading). I feel angry and hurt over all this. I'm also feeling hatred towards myself over this... I have the tendency to self-flog myself when people are punishing me for things like this.

So I'm trying to pray for revival, but today it is difficult.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Revival Prayer Challenge: Day 5

I didn't post yesterday because it was a pretty busy day. We went to Universal Studios, the American Idol Finale, went to have dinner at a Disney Diner type place, then I went for a swim in a pool 5 stories up. Plus we didn't have internet. But I did continue to pray for revival, I hope you are too.

Today is day 5 in my challenge to myself to pray for revival. Oddly enough, this morning I read about the verse in II Chronicles saying "if my people, who are called by my name, pray .... then I will heal their land". That's a paraphrase from the top of my head. As Christians, we are called by Jesus' name. What does healing our land mean? Does it mean that crops will grow well? Does it mean that our country's leaders will start making wise decisions?

I don't really know what it means, but it is probably good, and I'd like to find out. I heard once that in Haiti, they have horrible crop yields, but over in the Dominican Republic, same island, they have wonderful harvests. I heard that Haiti was dedicated to Satan... I'm not sure about that, but I do know that voodoo and witch doctors are big around there.

Hope that you all keep praying :-)

Oh, while you're at it, you might have heard the news that Steven Curtis Chapman's 5 year old daughter died in a car accident. He's the person that sings "Cinderella" and "Miracle of the Moment," along with many other Christian songs. He could probably use your prayers too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Revival PrayerChallenge: Day 3

I'm in Los Angeles today, I may not post tomorrow because wi-fi is scarce, but I'll keep praying anyway. We're here on a trip that I won.

California needs your special prayers because of the recent court decision allowing gay marriage. It will be allowed in 20something days unless the supreme court of CA allows a stay until the voters can decide. They really need our prayers.

America needs our prayers too, and I'll keep on continuing to pray for revival. And for the Californian government. There is a post on about what the effects of gay marriage might be and it would be shocking. Could you imagine engagement homosexual engagement ring commercials? Dreaming for your Prince Charming being hate speech?

Gotta go! Hope you join me in prayer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Homeschooling Infants: Signing Time is Paying Off!

Most homeschoolers realize that children don't just learn between the hours of 8 and 3. Kids learn all day long. My daughter learns about history and geography at bedtime when I read to her from Little House On The Prairie. She might learn math at the grocery store. While we have formal learning, it doesn't stop there. Since I'm her sole teacher, if I can find ways to integrate learning in the rest of my daughter's day, I will.

The same is true for age. Kids don't start learning at 5 and know everything they need to know by the time they turn 18. They start learning at birth. In fact, they learn at a more rapid rate when they are younger.

Although my homeschooling efforts are currently focused on my daughter, I also have an 18 month old. As he gets older, I can do more "formal" learning with him. Not really formal because we don't have a curriculum that we use yet, but I can tell him what a train is, or a fish or a bird, and he'll pick that up from me.

I've been trying to teach my son sign language since he was about 3 months old. I wasn't expecting him to sign with me at 3 months, I just wanted him to start getting used to it. I haven't been the most consistent person in the world at it, but I kept on plugging away at it.

At around a year old, ds started picking up a few signs. He first signed dog, then he learned fish. He started signing milk and pointing to his mouth to tell me that he was hungry or thirsty (I just had to guess). It's very nice to have your baby be able to tell you what he wants.

Now he can tell me a lot more about what he wants or is thinking. Just today he made the sign for water (he doesn't do it correctly, but I know what he's trying to do) and I knew that he wanted something to drink. He will also make that sign when he sees a lake. We went for a walk and he heard an airplane, and made the sign for plane. Just a couple of days ago, he heard dd running the water in the bathtub to get her hair wet, and he made the sign for bath.

I have to thank the people at Signing Time for their great DVDs. They have catchy tunes and are made with children in mind. I'm glad that our library has them, although they tend to be a hot item and are often gone. Our local PBS station is now showing Signing Time on Sundays, so I have Tivo set to record it.

Dd has picked up on sign language too. She's getting pretty good at it. :)

Revival Prayer Challenge: Day 2

Yesterday I challenged myself to start praying for revival for this country, every day, from now until the election. I think that only God can make a difference in this country, not any political candidate or legislative reform.

I prayed for revival, not only of this country, but of myself too. Because it has to begin with ourselves. Anyway, I already got a small blessing out of it. It was my turn to work in the nursery, and usually I'm a little disappointed that I have to be in the nursery and not in church. But I prayed for a better attitude and to see it as an opportunity to help others. Anyway, my baby is in the nursery still, and there were only three babies in the nursery yesterday. One was asleep, so it was just my little boy and one other girl. We have two nursery workers for the accountability. Working in the nursery was a nice time of bonding and playing with my little boy yesterday.

I read 1 Chronicles 28-29 this morning, and I came across an interesting verse. 1 Chronicles 28:8-9 (and I'm paraphrasing here) say that if we seek the Lord, we will possess the land and leave it as an inheritance for our kids, but if we forsake him, he will cast us off forever. I know that this was written to Israel, but I think that the principles translate to any country.

Today I'm including a little prayer... nothing fancy, but I know that some people, like my little girl, don't really know where to start.

Dear Lord, thank you for this wonderful day. Our country needs your help. In the Bible it says that if we forsake you that you will cast us off forever, but if we seek you, we will possess the land and leave it as an inheritance. I know that I have sinned, and while it may be a convenient excuse to say that "everyone else is doing it," I know that that's not an excuse. Please help me to live for you today, please bring revival to me. And dear Lord, please bring revival to our country, we need it desperately. We can't fix it ourselves, only you can. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Prayer Challenge: Pray For Revival

Our church is starting week-long revival services. This got me to thinking about a sermon that I heard about a year ago about the Fulton Street revival. Here is some info on it.

The Fulton Street Revival started out with one guy deciding to hold weekly prayer meetings. Only 6 people came the first week. More came the next week. Then more, until soon they had to find a bigger room. It spread to other cities. God was moving in this country in a big way. People stopped drinking and bars were put out of business. I think they had to lay off police officers because there were fewer crimes.

Our country could use God's help right now, don't you think? I don't know about you, but I'm not really impressed with any of the major political candidates. Courts all over this country are legislating from the bench and going against the people's wishes. Our country seems to be headed towards economic ruin, illegal immigrants are taking away jobs, our school system leaves something to be desired, there's so much garbage on television and in the movies... we need God's help!

So here's my challenge to you: pray. Pray for a little bit every day. Pray for this country to undergo revival once again. The Bible says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This is the kind of prayer we need.

Our guest preacher today started off preaching from Nehemiah for the morning Sunday School Service. In his day, Israel had just finished building the temple, but the walls had been torn down. Nehemiah prayed and wept for 4 months before anything happened. But he also did something else. He confessed his own sins, he confessed the sins of his own country. You can read it in Nehemiah 1. Revival followed.

So my challenge is this. Pray every day, not just for the revival of our own country and for God's help, but also confess your own sins and pray for a revival in your own heart. Because revival has to start with ourselves.

I challenge you, and myself, to continue to pray for revival from now until election day. If God is working within this nation, it really doesn't matter who wins the election. God can work through any of the candidates. God can work in the hearts of anyone. What matters is that we pray. What matters is that we pay attention to ourselves and what we are doing.

This is as much a challenge to anyone stumbling across this post as a challenge to myself. I hope to make updates, hopefully frequently.

So this is day one.

Friday, May 16, 2008

How Does This Happen?

Here's one of the more morbid stories that I've heard in a while...

Lady Lies Dead For More Than 35 Years

Hedviga Golik died years before I was born, and nobody discovered her dead body until now? Nobody noticed? How does something like that happen?

I've read stories about people laying around in an apartment for a couple of weeks before they've been discovered, but 35 years? Unbelievable.

I wonder where her family was, or if she was all alone. Her neighbors said that they thought she was going to travel abroad. It's really sad that nobody knew or cared about her enough to even wonder... they just forgot about her until she was found.

What I also found sad was that the neighbors almost immediately started bickering about who owned the apartment.

Fortunately, there is someone that never forgot about her. Someone that will never forget about us. God cares about her, and always has, for the 35 years that her body lay still in the shut up apartment, and for whatever lonely years of her life were spent by herself before she died.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Mattress: The Safest Place for Your Valuables?

In the days of increasing state budget shortfalls, some states have decided to seize assets in people's safe deposit boxes. Like this story:

Carla Ruff's Safe Deposit Box

Somebody got a good deal, because the government figured that her box was unclaimed and the owner was unknown... even though she still had an account with the bank and the safe deposit box was paid for. They decided to sell off her great-grandmother's pearls for $1800, even though they were worth more than $82,000. Good deal for whoever bought them at auction.

Perhaps the best place for your precious valuables is in your mattress nowadays. The government feels free to take anything from you whenever it feels that it wants to.

No wonder living "off the grid" is becoming more popular.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lazy Americans And Their Jobs

I saw this on Glenn Beck today... thought it was amusing.

I guess the New York Sun or some newspaper like that reported on one of their pages that they are having problems finding people to pick cherries because the governor won't let them import workers from Mexico and Jamaica...

On the same page, right next to the complaints about the lack of workers to help them pick fruit, there is an article saying that teenagers are having trouble finding work this summer.

Hmmm... what's wrong with this picture?

Why can't the teenagers pick fruit? Are they too good for that job?

I was talking to my grandma on the phone yesterday for Mother's day, and she was talking about how there are tons of immigrants (whether illegal or not I don't know, probably a lot of them are illegal) that have moved up to Washington State to pick brush and shuck oysters. My dad did that job when he was younger, as did my great-grandpa and grandma back in the days.

So where is the disconnect here? Are teenagers to lazy... or to good... to pick fruit in New York? Or brush in Washington state?

I'm not sure what is the answer. Perhaps the teenagers do find themselves too good to pick fruit and brush, or perhaps the job seekers are not looking in the same place that the employers are advertising.

Take brush picking. I lived in Washington state for many years, but I'm not sure where I would go to find a job like that... if they would even hire me nowadays because I speak English and have a US birth certificate. Do they advertise in the newspaper or on places like How do the teenagers find out that there are jobs to be had?

Where are the cherry farmers advertising their jobs?

I know in Arizona there used to be a lot of employers that would hire illegal immigrants. They can't any more because if they get caught they will lose their business license. But back in the days, many of these jobs would send trucks out to specific street corners where the illegal immigrants would hang out and wait to be hired for the day. I'm not sure if white, English speaking teenagers would have been welcomed there.

In Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina, many construction workers flocked to the state to work on rebuilding the city. Until they were all fired so the construction companies could hire illegal immigrants instead. I know someone that this happened to.

So I'm not sure whether the cherry picker shortage is the fault of the teenagers who don't know that there are jobs to be had out on the farms, or if the fault is of the farmers who don't want to hire them.

But I will say this: people should learn how to work hard. It's what made this country great. I remember reading an article a year or so ago where businesses felt like they had to cater to the new twenty-somethings, who would not even bat an eyelash at quitting their jobs if they didn't like the working conditions, hours, or other aspects about the job. Not sure if that still holds true today, with fewer jobs to go around.

I graduated from the University of Southern California. I've had some cool jobs, like working as a movie extra one year. I've had some less than prestigious jobs as well. One summer in college I worked at McDonald's. I've had high-paying, "important" jobs, like being the anti-terrorism officer at the Navy base in Naples.

A couple of years ago, I took a job as a teacher at Kindercare, making less than 1/5th of the pay that I had received at my job in the Navy. It was the right job at the time, because it allowed me to keep tabs on my young daughter. I blended in fairly well, but my life was not the typical day care worker's. Most people would not like to take an 80% pay cut to care for other people's children with a college degree.

My dh took a 50% pay cut for a while to go stock shelves at Wal-Mart at night. He's a college student, and he needed a night job so he could go to school during the day. You do what you have to do, even if it involves doing hard work, or working at night. He has since found a better paying evening job.

Many successful Americans learned to work hard doing jobs that many would consider "beneath them". 60 Minutes did an interview with Clarence Thomas where he talked about having to work hard as a kid. Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln that split rails? George Washington was an everyday guy in an earlier American war before he became a great war hero in the American Revolution. Chris Gardener, from the Pursuit of Happyness, spent a year taking care of his son while homeless in order to graduate.

There may be easier ways to do things, but sometimes you have to work very hard for a while to get what you need to get done. And if the fruit pickers need workers and the teenagers need jobs, perhaps some people need to work hard for a while.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ebay Forces Paypal Use In Australia

Back when internet commerce came out and Ebay was just a baby... one of the first companies to actually make a profit on the internet... I thought it was a great idea. It's really cool to be able to look up and find just about anything that you want to buy. It's great to be able to sell something to a wide audience.

It still is a great idea, but I'm not a big fan of Ebay the company any more.

I feel similarly about Paypal. It's a great idea, being able to take credit cards online easily... but I don't like Paypal at all. I think they're a bunch of crooks. They stole $300 from me several years ago and I've never gotten over it.

We were living in Italy, in Navy housing, when Paypal stole money from me. I don't remember the exact details, but I was trying to get money into my USC Federal Credit Union account so I could pay a bill. After completing the transaction, Paypal decided to steal money out of our account (without authorization) and then decided to freeze the Paypal account where the stolen money went to. The only way to unfreeze this account was to produce gads of paperwork, including driver's license, some other stuff, and a utility bill. Since we lived in Navy housing and the Navy paid all of our utilities (and we therefore had no utility bills), we could not meet their excessive demands, and Paypal still has our $300 to this day.

There are many more horror stories (some worse than ours) on

So eventually, Ebay purchased Paypal, and then Ebay decided to make the Paypal thieves their preferred method of payment. Oh... goody. There are alternative methods of making online payments, but some people are more reluctant to accept those.

Ebay was once a fine company, but it has gotten too big and thinks to highly of itself. It has raised fees for sellers. It has banned the sale of homeschool teacher's editions, for no apparent reason. They say that it is because it's impossible to prove that someone is buying a book to get the answers... but these same books can be purchased online by anyone with a credit card, so I don't buy that... I think they're just kowtowing to the textbook publishers who don't like it when people purchase used books in favor of new books.

Lately they've screwed up the Ebay feedback system. They've made it more difficult for buyers to get good feedback, and if you are a casual seller on Ebay who doesn't do much business there and hasn't built a high enough feedback, you are banned from using their special features like buy it now.

Ebay's recent move is not in this country. In Australia, they are making a rule so that all transactions have to be completed through Paypal. Great... Australia has an alternate method of payment through bank transfers, that is popular with Australians, but Ebay doesn't want to allow that any more. They want more money, and more control. Perhaps they want to freeze a few more accounts and steal more money that way?

Who knows how long it will be until Ebay wants to enforce that rule here?

Will we ever see a real Ebay alternative? People have tried, but nobody has reached the success of Ebay, as of yet. If Ebay remains too big for themselves and keeps on passing rules that anger buyers and sellers alike, perhaps that will give Ebay's competitors a little help.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Back To Normal... Almost

We finally moved in to our new house Wednesday. Almost. We still have all our appliances over at the old house, and anything that we haven't needed for the last few weeks that we're going to be able to salvage from the old house.

I never thought that I could get exhausted from shopping, but it is possible when you're replacing things that you need for your house. We've spent probably more than $2000 in the last couple of days. There are the obvious things... like cribs, mattresses, televisions, entertainment centers, a couch to sit on, lighting, but then as you try to go on about your daily life, you discover that you are missing other things too. Good thing we live close to Wal-Mart!

You never think about the little things that you use on a daily basis and only replace when you are dissatisfied with what you currently have or it breaks. Things like... a colander. Or pot holders. I made spaghetti and rolls last night... then I discovered that even though I had a pot to put the spaghetti in, I didn't have potholders to take the food out, didn't have a colander, I didn't even have a large spoon to stir the spaghetti in the pot. I found things to make due, but I realized how you just get so used to having things and you take them for granted.

There are food staples that I know that I always seem to have that I'm finding need to be replaced. Like soy sauce. I usually pick up a bottle when it's on sale and I have a coupon, so I always seem to have one in my pantry by the time I run out. But it lasts a long time. If I want to make stir-fry vegetables, I just take it for granted that it's there.

We got our phone service and Tivo back up, finally. That's another thing that I tend to take for granted. Getting those back up hinged on getting the internet working, since we use Vonage, and Tivo needs either a phone connection or an internet connection (through your router) to work. The internet, what do you know, decided that it wanted to have problems our first two days here, so we had neither internet, nor phone, nor Tivo... and since we hook our cable through the Tivo box, we didn't have television either.

But slowly, it's all coming together. We've assembled the futon, entertainment center, crib, new adult bed, and dd is sleeping on a Ready-bed on the floor until we can get the rest of our insurance money. We have a little bit of food in the cupboard and enough utensils to make a couple of things. The phone, cable, internet, and Tivo are back up. Tomorrow our church has assembled a moving party, and we'll get the washer and dryer, freezer, desk for me, and even dd's play house is coming... that's going to be a fun one to move... my dad made it and it's made out of wood, it's big enough that I can stand up in the very center (although I'm short).

After tomorrow, there will still be moving tasks... primarily going through the house and getting the things out that we wish to keep... but the big stuff will be done. And life will return to a new sort of normalcy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Constitution Party: The Other Black Candidate?

Anybody remember a few weeks back, there was a Republican Presidential debate, and you saw your four regulars... there was Ron Paul, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and I'm not sure if Mitt Romney had dropped out or not. There was also some random guy up there on the platform... Alan Keyes. Where did he come from? What was he doing up there? Of course Alan Keyes is not new to politics and it wasn't really the same as having Bob the mailman up there, but it was really odd to see someone up there that nobody knew was even running for president.

Anyway, just a couple of days ago my husband told me that Alan Keyes had left the Republican party. That he was thinking of becoming the next Constitution Party candidate. Cool!

I've been a big fan of the Constitution Party for about 5 years now. I voted for their presidential candidate, Michael Peroutka, during the last election. I knew he had no chance... after all, I had never heard of the guy before. I didn't like either of the mainstream presidential candidates and really couldn't see much of a difference between them (and I still don't think that we would be any better or worse off if Kerry had been nominated), so despite people saying that I was helping one presidential candidate over another by voting 3rd party, I really wasn't, because it really didn't matter. Which can be hard for people to get.

This year, I don't know how I'm going to vote. Barak Obama is pretty scary with his whole black liberation theology ties... Christians and gun owners are bitter? He's pretty scary. Plus he thinks that if a baby survives an abortion it's okay to murder them anyway after they've been born. John McCain isn't great... he's pro-illegal immigration and admits that he doesn't have a firm grasp on the economy, but at least he doesn't think that infanticide is okay if the baby is an abortion survivor, and he doesn't think that a Jesus that loves all people, including white people, is a bad thing.

But if Alan Keyes joins the race as the Constitution Party candidate, that could switch things up a bit. He sounded pretty good in the one presidential debate that he went to. People who are familiar with politics have at least heard of him. He's conservative in a way that John McCain is not.

Either way, Keyes running under the Constitution Party ticket would bring recognition to the party in a way that it's never had before. They hold their national convention tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

April 19th

Last week I posted about the FLDS compound in Texas being raided and mentioned that April 19th is a big date in history. In recent history we have had

Ruby Ridge
Oklahoma City

and on the 20th we have

Hitler's birthday
Little Colorado Massacre

Anyway, me and my daughter were doing her history work yesterday, and I found out another major event that happened on April 19th. We had been talking about the colonies, and how the colonists didn't like the taxes so they stopped buying the stuff that was taxed, then they had the tea party and threw all the tea into the sea... then the British decided to leave Boston Common and march to Concord, where all the colonists were keeping their guns. Paul Revere came riding all night through Massachusetts warning about the British soldiers coming... and on April 19th, 1775...

the shot that was heard round the world, otherwise known as the first shot of the American Revolution, was fired by an unknown colonist.

Out of all the years I spent compiling date calendars for the Navy on important dates, that one never registered with me.

It's interesting all the important dates we all seem to forget about collectively as a nation and as a world... like the date that the Polish Calvary and German Infantry defeated the (Islamic) Turks and started to drive them back in the middle ages... September 11th, 1683.

The Food Shortage Hits The Mainstream Press

I've written a couple of times about how several countries have stopped exports of food and that there have been food riots in several countries because of the increase in price, due to the lack of supply. Some of my friends who like to be prepared have been purchasing large quantities of food to feed their families; some of them have not been able to purchase what they wanted because the stores supplying these items are backlogged.

I haven't had the chance to watch much news lately, between commuting 1 hour each way to visit my friends, go to church, or get something from our house, and tossing rotten food out of a refrigerator and freezer that hasn't had electricity for a week, and trying to get back into teaching my daughter on her regular school schedule, there hasn't been much time. But I was very surprised when we had the afternoon here without any errands and I had the chance to turn on Glenn Beck... he was talking about the food supply, of all things!

Now, I realize that he's not the most mainstream of all the press... but he was talking about the economy several months ago, when most of America was blissfully unaware that things would get a lot worse than just the value of our homes declining. His show is on CNN Headline News, so it's not like we're talking about some really off the wall publication that nobody has ever heard of. So I was surprised to see him talking about this. He did tie it into ethanol, which is something he is very much against, but ethanol isn't the only cause of the food shortage.

I guess that Costco is even experiencing shortages in certain staples, and many of its stores are limiting the quantities of staples like rice and/or flour that you can buy. Some of the stores are out of most types of rice.

If there is a grain of truth to what Glenn Beck is saying (and there is)... eventually other news outlets, like ABC News and the like. Because eventually the effects of this will hit the grocery stores. This is where the biggest challenge lies. Because people are likely to get scared and panic. And when they panic they're going to rush to the grocery store and clean everything out.

We're not likely to see an Ethiopia-like famine in this country. We still have farmers in this country, and as long as the crops don't fail we'll still have food, although perhaps not in the abundance that we are used to.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival Giveaway: Walking With Angels: Aural's Gift!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

I've won before from some of the great sites that work with Bloggy Giveaways, and I wasn't planning on hosting a giveaway until I had an idea... why not give away a copy of my husband's wonderful book as a prize?

Walking With Angels Volume 1: Aural's Gift is a book that details the story of a girl that can see into the spirit world... specifically angels and demons. I know that this book is purely fiction and a product of my husband's imagination, but the tale he weaves is extremely plausable... it really changed my thoughts about how the world of the unseen could potentially work. Do saved people have angels that follow them around? What part do demons have in the physical world?

Well, in this book, the ability to see angels and demons wasn't particularly a blessing. People start to think that Aural is a bit... nutty. Anyway, I won't spoil the rest of the story, but if you would like a copy for free, just leave a comment on my blog telling me either who your favorite Christian author is, or why you would like to read this book.

I will have to add, some of this book might be disturbing to young children. It is not the kind of book I wouldn't want my grandma or pastor reading... in fact, we have loaned this book out to people at my church, including the pastor, but some of the content is best read by older people. Here is a longer review that I wrote about the book.

We will probably end up shipping this straight out from or, otherwise I'd offer to have it autographed. If you really wanted an autographed copy, I could manage that but it would be smoke damaged due to the recent fire.

I will pick the winner randomly out of all comments received prior to 11:59 PM PDT on April 25th. Please only enter once or you will be disqualified. Also make sure that there's an easy way to contact you... if you leave an email I'll email you, if I can't find one I'll post a comment on your blog, and if you leave no email and no blog I'll have to find another winner :( . US addresses only please. I'll post the winner here next week, probably Monday or so.

Good luck! And be sure to visit here for more fabulous prizes!

Friday, April 18, 2008

It Just Figures

We've been drooling over the Wii for more than a year now. We finally decide to buy one (previously I've been trying to win one)... and it doesn't work. The sensor has serious delay issues.

I'm not sure which would take longer... sending the Wii to Nintendo to get repaired or replaced, or taking the Wii back to the store and trying to find another one. The one that we got took more than a month to find. You would think that finding a Wii would be pretty easy, considering that both dh and stepfather-in-law work nights at Wal-Mart, when they get the new shipments in (dh works on the stocking team, although in food, not electronics)... but so far a working Wii eludes us. Oh well, back to looking.

But all is not bad... we have some wonderful news. We hooked the Tivo up today to our mother-in-law's tiny TV in the kid's temporary bedroom, and it still works! We were afraid that the heat, smoke, or perhaps an electrical surge might have damaged it. Our Tivo wireless modem thing we bought also works. We haven't had the chance to try the TV yet, but we're probably going to replace that anyway with the final insurance payment, but if the Tivo didn't get destroyed, with the hard drive in it, the simpler (electronics wise) TV should still work too.

And we have our new address. We get to move in 5 days.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Polygamy Cult vs. CPS

First, excuse me if I'm missing some R's in my typing today. Although dh saved my CPU in the fire, I lost all of my peripherals and just replaced them today. Unfortunately, the cheap keyboard I got has a problem with the R key. So I'm taking it back tomorrow to get something not defective and perhaps better. But for now, bear with me if I miss a couple.

If you've been watching the news, you've probably heard of the raid on the FLDS compound in Texas. Oddly enough, we're coming upon the 15th anniversary of the Waco raid on the 19th... the 19th is a very significant day because it also marks the date of Ruby Ridge and Oklahoma City. Today is the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, and the 20th marks both Adolph Hitler's birthday and the Littleton Shooting. When I was the Anti-terrorism officer for my Navy base in Italy, I maintained a calendar of significant dates like these because terrorists like to commemorate dates like this. I always highlighted the 19th and 20th because they are the biggest days of the year for terrorist and other attacks of this sort.

Most of these people used to live in other parts of the country, including Colorado City in Arizona. There was a big to-do a couple of years ago with the FLDS group back then, and their leader ended up getting prosecuted. The group is known for polygamous marriages and forcing young teenagers to marry older men (like in their 50s sometimes).

An anonymous caller said that she was 16 and was being forced to marry against her wishes. They still don't know who this caller is, but the tip was enough to make the police take action. More than likely, they've been watching this group for years and were just waiting for an excuse to come in. They are a pretty secretive group.

All the ladies and children were carted off. CPS took custody of the children and the ladies were given the option of returning to the compound or going to a safe house. Only six ladies took the safe-house option, from what I've heard.

They are complaining because they can't see their children, and of course, I'd be upset too. But the most important thing is ensuring that these children are safe. Even without the anonymous girl showing up, there is still plenty of reason to think that they might not be safe.

The ladies were being questioned by the press, and they were very evasive when they talked about the age of marriage or polygamy. If there really wasn't anything going on, don't you think they would have gone and outright said that only adults were allowed to marry? Well, they're not doing that. They change the subject or give a non-substantive answer. And there have been prior FLDS escapees that have talked about how the conditions were for them.

I'm all for the ability of parents to bring up their children the way they see fit. To a point. You can make your kids go to church, you can make them eat their peas, you can choose what type of school they go to, you can even choose what vaccinations to give them and whether or not they can have birth control in Middle School. I don't want my rights trampled on, and the corollary to that is that other parents have to have their rights too.

However, we do have laws in this country. The laws in Texas require that anyone under the age of 16 have a court order in order to marry. The age of consent in Texas is 17, although I believe that they will not prosecute if the age difference is 3 years or less. In the FLDS community, by accounts of escapees, often the age of marriage is under 17 and the age difference can be measured in decades.

I think that CPS did the right thing by taking the children away while they investigate the matter. While in general, I don't think anonymous calls warrant CPS taking a child away from the parents, this is more than your I saw so and so with dirty hair and I think the parents are neglectful type of case. There is evidence beyond the phone call.

Unfortunately, this is the only life that many of the people have known. I'm all for homeschooling, obviously, but these people have little contact with the outside world at all... and if they are being taught illegal things, that is wrong. The Amish are similar in that their children are educated in the Amish ways and they are to some degree segregated from the world, but there is a vast difference, in that the Amish don't abuse their children as a routine matter by marrying off their young teenagers. The Amish also often deal with the local communities, and are not as isolated in that respect.

I hope that the justice system gets to the bottom of this and that the matter is resolved peaceably. While the adults are free to do a lot of what they do on their own private property, the children need to at least be taught that you don't get married until you are an adult.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Listmania - Best and Worst of House Fires

I'm writing a list post for a contest over at The prize is an external hard drive and you can join too.

Since the biggest thing preoccupying my time right now is the house fire, I'm making a list on the best and worst things of having a house fire. I'll save the best for last by getting the bad stuff out of the way first.

The Worst Things About Having A House Fire

  1. Losing your stuff
  2. Having to make an inventory of everything that you own and lost for the insurance company
  3. Having to live an hour across town because your old house is no longer inhabitable
  4. Cleaning out the refrigerator after it's been without power for a week
  5. Cleaning everything else in the house that's covered in soot and ashes
  6. The bank putting a hold on the insurance company's advance check because they're not used to you depositing so much money in the bank at one time
  7. Throwing away all the plastic baby toys that they can no longer use, remembering your kids playing with them
  8. Seeing your baby's destroyed pictures

The best thing about having a house fire

  1. Getting to shop for new things
  2. Getting the opportunity to take pictures... you never know, maybe they'll be a contest for a picture of the "worst bathroom" and you'll be in the running!
  3. Discovering things that are still usable even after the fire
  4. Starting to resume a normal life again
  5. Having less stuff... easier to declutter!

So that's the best and worst that I can think of so far.

Drug Use: Another Reason It Is Not A Victimless Crime

Some people say that drug use is a victimless crime. If you don't rob somebody, don't spend your kid's milk money on drugs, and don't drive or perform surgery while on drugs, nobody gets hurt, right? Or so some people argue.

Unfortunately, that is a little short sighted. And I'm not even thinking about the drug dealers that might decide to shoot their rivals in their drug wars... they choose to get involved in that lifestyle and that just happens to come with the territory. But far away... where the drugs are grown... a more innocent victim might be affected by someone's drug use.

Let's say you use heroin, or perhaps opium. Let's forget for a minute that heroin is a very addictive drug that might leave you in a sort of desperation that you might not otherwise expect to be in. The poppy seeds that are used to make the opium and heroin are grown somewhere. One of the places happens to be Afghanistan.

Again, forget for a minute that there are a lot of terrorists grown in Afghanistan that get a lot of their power and money from the heroin and opium trade. An increasingly common victim of the drug trade is the opium bride, as described in this Newsweek article.

Here's how it works. A farmer might be down on his luck, so he borrows some money in order to plant a poppy crop. He promises to pay back at the end of the season in the form of opium. But then something happens. Maybe bad weather causes his crop to fail. Sometimes the powers that be decide to declare war on drugs and destroy the crops. The farmer is left with no crop and a debt that he can't pay back. So he gives up the only asset that he might have... he repays his debt by giving away his daughter as a wife to the lender.

Evidently this is becoming more common. Some 5 year old children are often given away in this manner. One person in the story ended up promising his 2-month old daughter to pay off a debt. They are not supposed to actually consummate the marriage until the daughter reaches puberty, but they can go work as housekeepers and maids until that point.

It's sometimes hard to see how our actions affect others... in this case, you never would think that using drugs could lead to someone getting sold as a bride halfway across the world.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Getting Back To Normal

I don't know about other people that have been in house fires, but I'm just glad to see some things start to get back to normal.

I only managed to teach school 1 day last week. I felt bad about it at first, but realistically, if dd was in public school and she had a house fire and had to move an hour away from home, do you think that she'd get any school done last week? I don't think so. Tonight dh is going to work, and he'll be gone for most of the morning, and we'll get school done like normal. That will be good. Then maybe I'll take them to a park so they're not bored out of their minds.

I'm glad that dh saved my computer. It's amazing how much of a difference having your own computer makes when you're trying to get things done. I do a lot of sweepstakes, and I have specialized software on my computer that remembers all my passwords and helps me paste all my information in. I tried using dh's laptop the other night to do this and it was so much less efficient. But I'm getting back into entering my sweepstakes as well, and getting back to normal in that area is helpful as well.

There's only so much adventure you can take before you want to see a return to normalcy. Even if that normalcy involves staying in a strange house and being in different surroundings than you were before.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life In The Museum

Since we had a house fire last Sunday, we moved in with the relatives. I'm thankful that they have two rooms to spare (one for me and dh, one for dd and baby ds), but I'm going to be really glad to move into our new home. Dh applied for family housing at his college, and they said that it would take a week or two to get the background check taken care of so we could move in.

My mother-in-law is great (her husband is okay), but living here is like living in a museum. They have a formal dining room that is always set with a nice place setting, but nobody eats on it except perhaps Thanksgiving... but not every year, just some years. They have lovely candles and decorations, and the house is always showroom ready, like Better Homes and Gardens is going to run through and do a photo shoot or something.

This is not the sort of house that Kindergarteners and toddlers who just lost nearly all of their toys like to run around in.

Both of them are in nearly a constant state of boredom. There is just so much Noggin and Nick Jr. that a kid can watch. We only accomplished one day of school last week (out of our normal 4) because I had to put together an inventory of everything we own that was damaged or lost in the fire. The most fun that they had this week was when we drove across town to check the mail (we're staying about an hour's drive away from our old home) and I discovered that UPS had left a note saying that I had a package to sign for... so I called UPS and asked them to let me pick up the package, and I had to wait 4 hours for it to arrive back at the warehouse. They got to spend 4 hours at the park waiting.

It's still hard to tell exactly how bad the fire is and how much we actually will end up losing. Some things are obviously smoke damaged beyond repair, like couches and mattresses. Some things will be able to be saved with some chemicals and hard work, like clothes. Some things were lost and I'm going to have to look to see what has become of them... my college class ring was in the area where the fire was the worst, and I have to find it first to see whether it is still intact or has become a melted hunk of gold. But everything is still in something of a holding pattern while we wait for our house. We don't have much room here, and we can't really go through our things and clean them up without having a place to bring them to.

In the meantime, the kids are going crazy in this lovely museum. Please pray that the housing department approves our move in the next few days and we can actually have a place of our own again. A place where the kidlets can run around, yell, and not have to worry about getting yelled at for touching the knick-knacks. Well, they aren't really allowed to yell all the time at our house either, but I don't mind a little of it... most of the time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

Just hours before my house caught on fire, the Lord told my pastor to change his message from Jude to one on Psalms 18:30, which basically says that the Lord's way is perfect, and he protects those that trust in him.

While I was in church listening to this message, my house was on fire, unbeknownst to me. The smoke detector woke up my dh, who saved my computer and the pictures contained inside (my hero), and put out the fire with the help of my neighbor who brought along a water hose after he used up our fire extinguisher on it.

When I got home and discovered that our house had been on fire, I was shocked. I still find it a little hard to believe. Isn't that one of those things that happens to other people? After finding out the real important information, that my husband was okay (and yes, the pictures), in a way you just have to let it sink in and figure out what to do next.

It looks like we've figured out what to do next, and I'm pretty happy about it. We're going to move to a new house, whether or not our house ends up being totalled or repaired, and we'll sell whatever house/land remains.

Our insurance company should give us the full amount that we are insured for for the contents of our house. The area that caught fire was the most expensive part of our house, with our computers, (musical) keyboard, a TON of software, etc. in that area. We also have to toss all of the baby's plastic toys because they could be toxic to him, all our plastic dishes, utensils, and kitchen tools, and there was smoke damage to everything in our house... some of it we will be able to clean, some of it is not cleanable. Anyway, we did a partial inventory of what was lost, and it easily adds up to our insured amount.

We put together a budget for what we plan on doing with this money, and we decided to turn our lemons into lemonade. As a fan of Dave Ramsey, sometimes I hear people call up and say "We're debt free! We sold all of our stuff on eBay, did this, did that, etc.". Well, we're not selling our stuff on eBay, but we have decided to NOT replace all of our stuff. We will replace some of our things, and use the rest of the money to pay off our car, pay off my student loan, and start an emergency fund.

We will have no debt payments, and our expenses will be lower because we will be living in family housing at dh's school. His job is right by our house, so we will save on gas because he can walk to class and is within minutes of work. The housing includes high-speed internet and cable television, so that will save us $100 a month as well. Since the house will be smaller than the one we were living in, we should have lower electricity bills as well. We're going to put together a budget, and for the first time in years, we will actually have a little money left over after paying for necessary expenses. So we should be able to slowly replace some of the other things that we lost over time, even if we don't buy them right away. And we won't be paying interest to the banks any more!

I don't recommend having a house fire to get out of debt, but at least in this case, we will be able to take a bad situation and use it for good.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What's Next?

I've said it before... after dh lost his second or third job in a year, "what's next, is our house going to catch on fire and burn to the ground?"

Uhhh, that wasn't a good thing to say.

Because that's exactly what happened last night.

I was on my way home from church with my little girl and baby boy. My husband was sleeping because he was going to go to work that evening. On my way home, I saw a police car sitting by the road. I thought it might be a police car pulling someone over. As I got closer, I saw that the car was right outside our road. Then as I pulled onto my street, the police officer stopped me. After a short conversation with him where he treated me like an idiot for not knowing what was going on or where I was supposed to park, he directed me to park by the fence at the end of the street, and I walked down the road with the baby in the stroller.

There were fire trucks on the street. I asked the first people that I came to if they knew what house it was. Was it the blue house? They didn't know, but it was on the same side of the street as ours. When we got farther down, the fire trucks were dangerously close to our house. It was either our house or the neighbor's house. It was our house.

Was my dh okay? I kept walking to the fire trucks and told them the house was mine. "Your husband's over here" the fireman said. Well, at least he's okay. Were my pictures okay? I found out my really great husband had saved my computer. He's such a sweetie.

It took us a while before we could get in the house, and we couldn't see much stuff that night. We went back today and everything is covered in soot and smoke. All throughout the house. Not everything was burned, but everything is covered in smoke.

I guess that something electrical caught on fire, around my husband's computer system.

It looks like we will probably end up debt free from all of this, because we can take some of the money that we're going to get and pay off the car. We'll probably get money from selling the property as well. Not the way I had hoped on becoming debt free.

I hate to ask what's next. There's not much left, except for our lives and health.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Got A Fry's/Kroger's Around? Check Your Sale Paper

If you've been reading my blog in the last several months, you might have noticed me posting several times about the economy. My last post was about a possible food shortage. Well, if you are interested in stocking up on the cheap, you might want to check out your local Fry's/Kroger sale paper. They have a great sale going on, where if you buy 10 items from this list (mix and match though), you get $5 back instantly. You can do this up to 3 times per transaction.

I did this today, and this is what I got for $15.66. That includes tax, and I did not use coupons:

10 cans Hormel Chili
5 boxes Betty Crocker Cake Mix
4 boxes Kroger Pop Tarts
2 packages Goldfish Crackers
6 packages Lipton Sides
3 packages Pillsbury Flaky Layers biscuits

I normally do my shopping on Mondays, but I wanted to try to do this deal twice, so I made a special trip today for this sale. On Monday I will redo this deal, but use coupons... so I should be able to do even better, because I'm sure that there are some coupons that match some of these deals.

If you want to do this deal a lot but are low on money, check on Monday or Tuesday. If they run out of their sale items they will give you a raincheck and you can do this deal next week or whenever they get them back in. I bought the last of the Lipton Sides today at my store... they may or may not restock them tonight. I did this a couple of months ago when they had Tombstone Pizza on sale... $1.50 each if you bought 9. They also had $.99/lb ground beef patties in 5 pound bags. They had sold out, but I was able to get rainchecks for them, and a few weeks later when they restocked, I was able to get 20 pounds of ground beef for $20 and 9 Tombstone pizzas for $1.50 each.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

An Upcoming Famine?

When I went grocery shopping Monday afternoon, I picked up 8 bags of pasta. Tomorrow when I go shopping after taking the kidlets to the library, I plan on getting a 20 pound bag of rice.

No, we're not gluttons (well, not my kids or my husband at least, and not me to that extreme), but I'm starting to get a little concerned. All that flooding going on in the midwest? It's destroying some of the crops in this country. I saw a sign at the grocery store the other day saying that weather in other parts of the world were making bananas harder to get to America, and another friend in another part of the country saw the same sign. Ever since then, the bananas that have arrived have been more bruised and have been of poorer quality, and the price went up $.20 a pound. In Asia, some of the rice harvest has been decimated and the price of rice is going up there... some countries are not going to be exporting.

The cost of food is going up all over the world, according to MSN. Food is getting more scarce everywhere.

Here is a video from CNN about the subject:

In the US, many of us depend on the grocery stores to supply us with our daily bread. What would happen if a major shock to the world's food supply hit the news today? What would happen if you turned to and discovered that several countries had decided that instead of exporting their food, they were going to keep it inside their own countries in order to keep their citizens from starving? What if a major weather event hit our country this year and most of the crops were destroyed? All at the same time? Do you think that the grocery stores would empty pretty fast?

We've lived in a land of plenty for so long, that we think that a food shortage could never happen here. Perhaps the people of Egypt felt the same way during Joseph's day? There were seven years of bountiful harvests. You say, Joseph was storing grain away... but the people were not. The Egyptians ended up giving Joseph all their gold, then they ended up selling their livestock to Egypt, and eventually the country ended up owning everything that the Egyptians had, because they had no other way to get food but to sell all. They obviously weren't planning for famine, or they would not have had to sell everything that they owned in that manner.

I don't have the resources to gather much, but at this point I think that getting a little extra is a good idea. The Bible says that in the beginning of the tribulation, there will be famine. The rapture will take the Christians away before the tribulation, but that doesn't mean that there will be an abundance of food until that point. If I could, I'd rather be prepared as much as I could. 8 bags of pasta and 20 pounds of rice might not feed a family of 4 for very long if there was nothing else in the store to buy, but it would feed someone a little longer than 0 bags of pasta and 0 pounds of rice would.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How My Babies Got Their Names

And now, for something completely unrelated... a post about how my babies got their names (it's for a contest where you can win a $50 gift card).

My kids are named after characters in the Dragonlance books, written by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. The characters are brave, good, kind, and are the kind of people that I would like them to grow up to be... mostly.

Their middle names come from my family and the Bible (the family names just happen to be in the Bible). My mother-in-law's name was used for my daughter's middle name, and my dad's middle name is my son's middle name now.

If we ever have another baby boy, we'll probably give him my Grandfather's middle name as the first name and find a Bible name for the middle name.

Both ds and dd do not have names in the top 1000 baby names, for any year, but I have actually met people that have these names before. They are obscure but nice. My grandfather's middle name is a lot more common, but it is quickly dropping out of the list of top 1000 baby names in favor of all the Jadens, Kaidens, and Aidens that are out there now.

So that's their story. If you would like to try to win the $50 gift card as well, you can go here and write your own story on your blog. Or if you don't want to try to win a $50 gift card but you have an interesting story about how you named your babies, you can leave a comment here... but I'm not giving away any prizes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why My Daughter Hates Math

I have known that my daughter's least favorite class was math for some time now. I thought that it was too hard for her and there was too much work involved. After talking to her about it, I have discovered that instead, it is too easy and there is too much work involved.

I thought that the time might come where this would be an issue... school was incredibly easy for me as well, and I had trouble with all the "busywork" that the school gave me (aka homework). I was very bad during middle school... we had one math teacher where you corrected your own paper, so you could erase the date on yesterday's homework and turn it in the next day. If he'd write the grade on the paper in pen, you could draw a picture over the grade and turn it in again that way... I was bad, lol. Anyway, despite my aversion to homwork, I would ace the tests and even did well in a math competition that my school took part in.

I didn't know that school being too easy would be an issue when my dd was 5. I don't remember school becoming too easy until around 4th grade. I'm glad that I started Math K when my daughter was 4, because Math 1 is easy for my 5 year old. And looking ahead, Math 2 has a lot of review to it and will probably be easy too.

I told dd that I was making her repeat handwriting 1 for another year because she wasn't doing very well at it... she got very upset. She told me it was easy and she was bored with it. But she writes on her handwriting pages so sloppily. I told her that I wouldn't let her move on to handwriting 2 unless her writing improved and looked nice. Wouldn't you know, her handwriting pages improved 100% that same day.

So far, reading is not too easy. I don't think that it is a challenge any more... but so far it is not too easy with not too much busywork. But I suspect that at some point reading will get that way with her as well. We've primarily focused on phonics this year, and there's been a smattering of grammar thrown in. She already knows what a homophone is though, thanks to a VeggieTales song on the subject, and I think that once we start introducing grammar topics, she's going to get it quickly. I remember when I was in school, it seems like they introduced nouns and verbs every year... boring...

Now that I have this new revelation, it makes some things easier for me, and some things more challenging. I now know that I can skip parts of certain lessons and not feel bad about it. I don't have to make her do every single problem, every single day. School is going to take up less of the day this way. On the other hand, I have to make sure that she is getting enough work. At some point, I may want to supplement her school work by giving her extra subjects to learn or having her read more books on her own. I want to instill a work ethic in her, but I want her to have something meaningful to do.

I figured that it could come to this point eventually, because not only was I bored in school, but her dad must have been bored in school too because he has told me that he cut class a lot and still managed to get As in his schoolwork... and he was on the Dean's list at ASU last fall despite rarely studying.... but I didn't figure that this would happen at age 5 with us. I guess this is another good reason that we're homeschooling. Not only would dd get into trouble all the time because she'd be talking to her friends all day, she would also be bored with the work... especially considering that we're already one year ahead of what her peers normally would be learning.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Of Millions and Moochers...

I do a lot of sweepstakes. It's been a small help while dh was looking for a job, and it's something I can do to contribute while staying at home and homeschooling. There was a discussion on a sweepstakes bulletin board on whether you would tell people if you won a large, $million+ prize.

A lot of people say they would not. They are afraid both of jealous people that would harrass them with nasty emails and PMs, but also of the myriad of strangers that would come up to them and ask them for money.

I know of 3 people who have won $100,000 or more in the lottery. One person won over a million. I wouldn't dream of asking these people for money. In one case, they set up a trust fund with the money, in another case they spent it on things like a house and a car, and in another case, my friend's dad had won the money and she was complaining that he didn't share (I had only met her dad a couple of times).

Why is it that people feel free to beg "new money" lottery winners for cash, but we wouldn't go up to our friend, who worked hard for their money and as a result ended up with a million or two in the bank, for their money? Is it because of the ease in which they received the money? I don't really get this phenomena all that much.

Most people that win millions in the lottery end up bankrupt and broke later on. Is it because they are constantly being harrassed by people that want some? Is it because by winning the money, they haven't changed their attitudes towards money and still haven't learned to live within their means (only their means have just gotten a whole lot bigger)? I'm not sure.

A couple of years ago, the winner of the HGTV dream house (which is worth millions of dollars) decided that he would live in the dream house (HGTV offers to buy it from you if you wish). He had to take a mortgage out on his dream house to pay for the taxes on it. Not only that, but he kept his old house (what was he thinking?). He partied for a while, then life happened and someone in his family got sick. Now his home is (was) being foreclosed on him and he's broke.

They are announcing the HGTV Dream House winner for this year on Sunday. If I win it, don't come asking for money. I would be selling the dream house, after going out to see it and spending the weekend there, and then here is how the money would go:

Build a dream house of my own (a much less expensive version)
Retirement fund
Emergency fund
Get out of debt
Buy a hybrid car for dh
College funds
If any is left over, give some away to pre-chosen charities

So don't come asking for money ;-). The money has already been spent on paper. Dh does not plan to hang around the house and play video games all day, so we will have an income coming in, but that income will be used to do fun things like provide homeschool scholarships, fun trips, and perhaps we'll be generous with Christmas presents and helping relatives. On our own terms.

The winnings are spent on paper. Fun to dream, even though they'll probably pick someone else. If we did win, I wonder if, after all of our winnings were spent, if people would come up to dh and say "can I have some of your paycheck? I know you're rich and all." You don't do that with your rich friends, why would you do that with people that have good fortune and win it?