Saturday, May 31, 2008

It Depends Upon Your Perspective

One thing that we enjoy around here as a family is finishing new furniture and refinishing old furniture. There's an element to refinishing an old piece that new pieces can't offer and vice versa.

Refinishing old pieces, reminds us that there was a heritage laid up for us. Old pieces remind us of the memories we made as a family. Generally these memories are of times and circumstances where God molded us into the family He wanted us to be. We are able to call to mind examples of sacrifice, investment, ingenuity, character proved true, and special Providences we received when we view our old furniture as a memorial of what God has done for us.

An old piece that isn't a family heirloom takes our thoughts one step further causing us to look to the countless others that have gone before us, contributing to our heritage. If a young lady finds herself in the position of being a first generation Christian, refinishing old flea market treasures can help her call to mind that God has been gracious by other means and has seen to it that she would have a foundation to build on. There are countless men and women that God has used and preserved as a remnant.

When we first moved to Texas we chose to buy and finish new furniture because it fit our schedule better. Hunting for and stripping old pieces does require more time. New unfinished furniture causes us to be visionary, thinking about the heritage we will be leaving those that come after us. Taking the time to finish the new furniture as a family builds a memory of the time we started anew, following God's new direction for us. There will be many stories to tell about the adventure to Texas as we sit together with children to come surrounded by these special pieces.

There is still more to the story. What makes a person able to call such things to mind is a visionary perspective of life. There isn't a chair, bookcase, or shelf in the world that will speak such things unless the person them self is visionary. We are commanded to teach this perspective for a very important reason.

Proverbs 29:18 tells us that "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

Matthew Henry gives further understanding:

See here, I. The misery of the people that want a settled ministry: Where there is no vision, no prophet to expound the law, no priest or Levite to teach the good knowledge of the Lord, no means of grace, the word of the Lord is scarce, there is no open vision (1 Sa. 3:1), where it is so the people perish;

Perishing is a grave consequence for neglecting to maintain a visionary mindset. It goes to show us just how much importance God places on maintaining a vision for ourselves and our families. Perishing means that God will remove his grace from us, that very thing that sustains us. In light of this, we understand what is at stake, but also we are able to see the necessity to make the vision plain to our children and fellow believers.

Being visionary and articulating a God centered vision inspires others to hope. God instructs us how to hope and how to teach others to hope.

Proverbs 13:12 tells us: Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Matthew Henry explains:

Note, 1. Nothing is more grievous than the disappointment of a raised expectation, though not in the thing itself by a denial, yet in the time of it by a delay: Hope deferred makes the heart sick and languishing, fretful and peevish; but hope quite dashed kills the heart, and the more high the expectation was raised the more cutting is the frustration of it. It is therefore our wisdom not to promise ourselves any great matters from the creature, not to feed ourselves with any vain hopes from this world, lest we lay up matter for our own vexation; and what we do hope for let us prepare to be disappointed in, that, if it should prove so, it may prove the easier; and let us not be hasty.

2. Nothing is more grateful than to enjoy that, at last, which we have long wished and waited for: When the desire does come it puts men into a sort of paradise, a garden of pleasure, for it is a tree of life. It will aggravate the eternal misery of the wicked that their hopes will be frustrated; and it will make the happiness of heaven the more welcome to the saints that it is what they have earnestly longed for as the crown of their hopes.

Which it leaves us an obvious choice, we must be visionary and we must continue to hope. It is our responsibility to do this work and to uplift others with visionary thinking, visionary speech, and visionary living.

It is important to foster visionary thinking in family members no matter how old they are. We have seen, as a family, most often it is adults that perish or suffer greatly due to visionlessness and hopelessness, rather than naive children. There is greater risk of consequences the older we get because we are responsible to know "the good knowledge" of the Lord.

Stripped, with the first coat of stain.

Because of our Christian heritage, derived from the grace of God making us whole, christian family members, and from fellow Christians in the body of Christ past and present, we have reason to be thankful to God for the plenty of open vision which we enjoy.

Matthew Henry concludes his commentary on Proverbs 29:18

The felicity of a people that have not only a settled, but a successful ministry among them, the people that hear and keep the law, among whom religion is uppermost; happy are such a people and every particular person among them. It is not having the law, but obeying it, and living up to it, that will entitle us to blessedness.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Quiet Desperation

Young ladies at times find that no matter what they pursue the delightful things of life bring no contentedness. They surround themselves with godly activities, reach out to the lost, spend time in their devotions, serve their parents and those in the covenant community and yet, with all of this they live a life of quiet desperation.

This can be for many reasons. One particular reason is she intends that all these activities she is pursuing are to fill a void her father neglects to fill. Fathers being called to meet the spiritual, intellectual, financial and physical (i.e. protection from foul fiends and hugs and kisses when necessary) needs of their daughters often find themselves overwhelmed with so many needs to meet. There is no denying we do have needs, otherwise God would not have called our fathers to meet them.

I challenge daughters to look in a couple places for a remedy. First, look to see if you have left off your relationship with your Saviour. The neglectful parent might perhaps be the God's catalyst to spur a daughter to her duty towards God.

Whether that is the case or not, next it is time to find overlooked needs a father may have. Daughters often get caught up in "receiving" mode. Thinking that it is the sole purpose of man to provide for the needs of the women in his life. This is one directional "me" thinking and certainly not reality. Very often our men, be they fathers or brothers, suffer wounds when they are on the battle field for us. We should seek to salve their wounds with our hospitality towards them, our affections towards them, sharing appropriate scripture after having listened to them encouraging them in gentle feminine ways.

We are called to minister to the men that go to war for us. Open your bibles and look for what God calls you to do when your father suffers, when he hasn't the answers he needs, when in desperation he even possibly looks to the world for comfort. It will be an excellent study in how to be a help meet.

Something that daughters of lost men ought to consider is that they may be an expression of God's mercy toward their fathers. God has called us to be faithful no matter what the situation is He's placed us in. It is easy to focus on our unmet needs and the delinquency of a fathers, however in spite of all that, God owes us nothing and we are slaves to Christ. Daughter's should consider it a high-calling to serve and honor their God given authorities be they saved or lost.

Godly daughter should be characterised be praying for their fathers daily. A daughter ought to know his needs and the things that he will be facing. She should lift him up in prayer and be his greatest cheer leader. This is a great place to start. Any daughter can do it. Also as each father is different, daughter's should continue her studies, seeking to determine God's wisdom for her situation.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on Colossians 3:18-25 shows the attitude with which we should serve.

The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel.

Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection.

Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient.

Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation.

And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal.

How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel

Monday, May 26, 2008

We have done a lot of painting in what was a very stark house.
Now we have started phase two: filling in the blank spots. On one of our treasure hunts Andrea came home with these darling shelves. Tweet...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For....

The curtain rises.... Um, me a favor, and click here.
(to save the file to your desktop, right click the link, and select 'save target as' from the drop down menu.)

Please Everyone Into The Auditorium

Please Everyone Into The Auditorium.
There is going to be a special performance and an announcement.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Time's a wastin'

Quick! Get your name in the hat before its too late! Only 5 hours, 42 minutes, and 59 seconds left.... (tick,tick,tick)

Would You Look At That!

Spotted in the Dallas/Ft.Worth Metroplex.....
Be sure to enter the giveaway contest for the new recordings from GenevanSong!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kevin Swanson on Music and the Culture

While Andrea and I attended 2007 SAICFF we enjoyed a lecture by Mr. Kevin Swanson about the arts and our culture. We love strong, biblically sound lectures and find them encouraging as well as inspiring to do all for the glory of God.

Mr. Swanson gave direction and instruction that we agreed with and appreciated very much, causing one to think about:

"What can a christian listen to in regards to music?"

"What is redeemable, what is not?"

"What has happened to music. How is it that we have degenerated from Bach to rape rap?"

Mr. Swanson, the host of Generations radio, has interviewed Ken Myers, author of "All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes," bringing these critical messages again to the pubic.
We sincerely hope that you all will see the importance of listening to this culturally sensitive message and be provoked to the high calling of taking every thought captive. This audio will give you a fresh perspective of what the world is offering as entertainment. It sheds light on the detriment that has been done "while some slept" not realising the evils being perpetrated when they allowed the world's doctrines into their homes and minds in the form of music.

Here is the link to Mr. Swanson's Generations Radio Show.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

We have a Panasonic Bread Bakery Machine. It's the one with the yeast holder on the top of the lid. Pictured above is what is probably the latest version of our model. I know that different machines are finicky in different ways, so I thought I would mention it.
This recipe works every time and with a few different modes on our machine.
100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

2.25 cups of whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp dry milk

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp butter (or more....mmmm)

1 Tbsp honey

15/16 cup water (yes, exactly)

1 tsp dry yeast (not leveled, not heaping)

Dump it all in the bucket in that order. Put your yeast in the yeast drop and don't forget to turn on the machine!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Unraveling the Mystery.....

Many people place four-part harmony singing somewhere right up there between rocket science and brain surgery, but let us assure you, it's not. Yes, regular people like...well...US...can do it. "Yeah, yeah", you're thinking. "I know that line...".

But wait...have you heard???

Genevan Song is back with two all new recordings!

Genevan Song to the rescue!!

Yes, folks, that's right....they've been hard at work to help us all unravel this mystery of four-part harmony. Whether you are an experienced harmonizer or had no idea such a thing existed, Nations Praise and Glory, Laud, and Honor will be a helpful and delightful addition to your collection! We've had a sneak preview this weekend and we love these new cds! They're so easy to use and you (yes, you!) can be singing parts in just the same amount of time it takes you to explain how you can't.

On the first ten tracks, you'll hear the full harmony version of each song followed by selections broken down into each of the four parts-soprano, alto, tenor, bass. So simple that young and old alike can learn from them, no musical knowledge required!


It gets better.... (yep, you heard that right!)....our friends at Genevan Foundation have graciously offered to give away one copy of each of their new cds right here on this blog!!

Okay, here's how it works...leave a comment with your name and some way for us to contact you (email, webpage, etc.) and we will draw the name of one very excited person this Saturday, May 24.

Fine print- All entries must be received by 12:00 midnight(CST) Friday, May 23. One entry per person, please.

Bonus!! - If you'd like an extra name in the hat, post a link to this giveaway on your blog, come back here and leave a comment letting us know you did and we will place your name in the drawing twice!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

At the Symphony...

A Question For The Von Trapps ~ Popular Music?

Pictured above is the current generation of Von Trapp Singers, the the great grandchildren of Captain and Maria Von Trapp from the Sound of Music.

During the War the Trapp family ran a singing camp, using an old military camp, previously intended to be torn down. They salvaged it, restored it when use of materials was highly restricted and began sharing their rich musical heritage and love for music to the people of the United States who came from miles around. It was the same camp at which they had sung for the soldiers during their first summer after moving to Stowe, Vermont.

"The Trapp Family Music Camp had turned out to be the answer to the question which had been asked hundreds of times backstage after a concert, at parties, in letters:

'How could we do what you are doing: sing in our family?'

In that ten-day course we try to make the people acquainted with as much musical literature as possible, from easy beginnings to complicated cantatas and fugues. The excuse, 'We couldn't possible sing--we have no piano,' is being discarded, as we usually sing down at the brook or under the old butternut trees outside of the recreation hall. Besides the singing, we also try to revive those beautiful old folk dances from all nations, and we try to show our friends at the camp that the best recreation is the kind where one does things oneself with others joining in: singing, dancing, playing games, telling stories, reading aloud, enacting those wonderful old folk customs throughout the year, following the word: 'A family which sings together, plays together, and prays together, usually stays together.'

Our age has become so mechanical that this has also affected our recreation. People have gotten used to sitting down and watching a movie, a ball game, a television set. It may be good once in while, but it certainly is not good all the time. Our own faculties, our imagination, our memory, the ability to do things with our mind and our hands--they need to be exercised. If we become to passive, we get dissatisfied. "

Chapter 17, "Snapshots Of The Camp", from Maria Augusta Trapp's, "The Story of The Trapp Family Singers" includes a question and answer session that captured some wise directions about the use of music in the home.

"The camp had a question box. Towards the end of the Sing Week one evening would be devoted to answering and discussing questions.

'What do you think about popular music?' was one of the most frequent questions.

Father Wasner would attend to the questions concerning music. With emphasis he would declare:

"The mere word 'popular' means 'of the people,' but these tunes going under that name have nothing at all to do with the people. They are artificially made up by some individual, put on the market with the aid of great publicity, but after two years they are completely forgotten, which only shows how little popular they have been. Neither the words nor the music express the true sentiments of the people. That's why they have no strength to survive.' And then he always pleaded: 'But there is such genuine folk music in this country, real pearls of folk songs throughout the hills and dales of New England and down the Appalachian Mountain range, the cowboy songs in the West and the Negro spirituals in the South. These are the ones which deserve the word 'popular,' as they come out of the people, and will live through the centuries."

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Lifting Up For The Downcast ~ Spurgeon

2000 Copyright Kelly Reins Drawography

Morning and Evening Daily Readings by C.H.Spurgeon Evening, May 11
“Only be thou strong and very courageous.” Joshua 1:7

Our God’s tender love for his servants makes him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so. From this text it is plain that our Master would not have us entangled with fears. He would have us without carefulness, without doubt, without cowardice. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. When we are desponding we are subject to a grievous malady, not to be trifled with, but to be carried at once to the beloved Physician. Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus that no one should come into the king’s court dressed in mourning: this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still he would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice. The Christian man ought to be of a courageous spirit, in order that he may glorify the Lord by enduring trials in an heroic manner. If he be fearful and fainthearted, it will dishonour his God. Besides, what a bad example it is. This disease of doubtfulness and discouragement is an epidemic which soon spreads amongst the Lord’s flock. One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. Moreover, unless your courage is kept up Satan will be too much for you. Let your spirit be joyful in God your Saviour, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength, and no fiend of hell shall make headway against you: but cowardice throws down the banner. Moreover, labour is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed. He who sows in hope shall reap in joy; therefore, dear reader, “be thou strong, and very courageous.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Artwork This Week...

The packaging is near completion for FPCR's latest release "Speak The Truth In Love" DVD series by Dr. Richard Bacon.
With the artwork done and the video editing wrapped up, it's off to the printers.

Available at

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

That's What We Thought Too

I came across this today. We attended a Dave Ramsey Total money make over live event in Dallas recently. It was a wonderful seminar and we highly recommend it but, Ramsey should reconsider his advice on schooling. This post sums up what we discussed on the way home from the seminar.

Lessons Learned from Years of Homeschooling
Andrea Schwartz

Good Financial Sense?

Recently an e-zine came to my inbox that included advice from Dave Ramsey, a well-respected "financial guru" who is also a professing Christian. His column often deals with questions that have been submitted to him and his responses to them. Here's one on Christian education:

Q. We have three kids enrolled in Christian schools, and it's very expensive. We truly believe they're getting a great, faith-based education, but they're only in elementary school and already we've had to dig into our savings.

A. Private schools can have academic advantages, and in some cases a good Christian school can have spiritual advantages. But if you can't cash flow it, you can't do it. It's just that simple. My kids didn't go to private Christian schools, and they're all strong Christians. They went to public schools and learned to interact with people of no faith, different faiths and how to display their faith adequately in the marketplace. Lots of times people send their kids off to a Christian school, only to find out they still have to teach them about life – the good and the bad. And the fact is, you're just kidding yourself if you think sending them to a Christian school means they'll be in a perfect world where no one ever acts mean or nasty. I hope you can find a way to continue, since this is an important decision to you. But from what you've said it just doesn't make good financial sense.

This answer is wrong from the root outward.

First, God mandates that Christian children have a Christian education. The multitude of Christian parents who believe Christian education is an option they may choose for their children will be shocked on Judgment Day to find out how wrong they were.

Second, there are no neutral facts. A key component to a Christian education is accepting the reality that all facts come from God. Any educational enterprise that does not begin with God and celebrate Him as the foundation and fountain of all learning is based on lies.

Third, public schools do not provide a Christian education for Christian children. In fact, Christian children are often persecuted for making any public expression of their faith in the public school setting. Anyone who believes a public school is an acceptable environment for any child needs to read Bruce Shortt’s The Harsh Truth about Public Schools. I am glad Mr. Ramsey’s children survived it. Many children have not.

Fourth, Mr. Ramsey does not suggest that the parents look for ways to economize and cut expenses to keep the children in the Christian school. This would require more personal knowledge of the family and its finances. Usually there are always ways to cut expenses so that a family can pursue something that is a high priority. In this vein, he does not even mention homeschooling as a viable option for pursuing a Christian education with a minimum of expense.

Fifth, apparently having a "sound" financial footing is a more important priority for Christian families than pursuing a God-mandated Christian education. I do not know a living soul who would not like to be financially secure. And many have won financial security at a great cost. God promises to give us the things we need, not the things we want. And the Bible teaches us over and over that the true path to blessing is obedience to the law-word of God. Disobedience always brings God’s curses. This is a fact that cannot be escaped.

Yet, Mr. Ramsey has pit debt free living (a Biblical principle) against rearing children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (another Biblical principle) and in the process has ostensibly likened Christian education to a decision to buy a new car or a vacation home. Do it, but only if it is in your budget.

The result of such a mindset and the worldview it presupposes was astutely described in a recent article in Faith for All of Life when Martin Selbrede used the phrase Grand Theft Doctrine to identify what happens when the faith is “skeletonized” -- pieces cut away, on various grounds and pretexts -- leaving something less than the whole behind .

The Kairos Journal in an e-zine essay, “Teenagers Losing the Gospel,” coined a phrase to describe the actual religion of many young people who profess to be Christians: "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism." The article listed five basic tenets to this modern counterfeit of Christianity:

1. God created and watches over human life.
2. God wants people to be nice and fair.
3. Life’s ultimate goal is for each person to be happy and to feel good about himself.
4. God does not need to be intimately involved in anyone’s life—He is just there for emergencies.
5. Good people go to heaven.

"Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" is the sort of religion easily adopted after a steady diet of 12 years of 5 day-a-week menu offerings of humanism mixed in with Sunday smatterings of Scripture. But, God will not be mocked. Those who take His commandments as mere suggestions (and encourage others to do likewise) will bear the consequences of compromise and spiritual malaise. They will continue to support the strongholds of rebellious man rather than tear them down. They will continue to fail to cast down the imaginations of every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Rather than bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, they will continue to learn how to be more adapted to being slaves of sin.

Christian education is not a luxury. Christian education is not one choice among many. Christian education is a mandate and one when embraced and obediently carried out, reaps greater treasures than any financial guru can ever help you attain

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Gardener With A Biblical Worldview Pt 2

I have finished Dr. Bahnsen's first apologetics set and begun the second series, "Destroying all speculations." He has effectively taught how to see "things" from a lost person's point of view. See their hang-ups that is, whether it is the use of arbitrariness or even simultaneously believing two competing philosophies amongst other things. It's been an incredible study that I would recommend to anyone that deals with people, (We all should shouldn't we?) whether it's in regards to apologetics or anything else. Bahnsen teaches priceless people skills.

You may have read Part One of, "the Gardener with a biblical worldview." Today providentially, part two commenced. Andrea was ready. She had printed out an article by Mr. Ken Gentry titled "Apocalypse Then." Mrs. JW stopped in and chatted for sometime as Andrea tended her gardens. Andrea complimented her on her new dress. It was beautiful. And conversation lead to the topic of Eschatology. Mrs. JW admitted that in her 37 years of being a Jehovis Witness she had never heard of the position and that she never took information from anyone. She did this time, intrigued by Andrea and her "logical way of thinking."

I peeked around the corner of the house, not wanting to be a distraction to the conversation. I imagine if I showed up I may have triggered a reflex JW evangelism mechanism and Andrea had her engaged. I saw the two of them sitting together on the lawn chatting like friends that have known each other for sometime.

We are asking that you would include Mrs. JW in your prayers today asking that God would minister to her and grant her repentance and understanding.

To Our Maternal Influence

ehold the tenderest sight on earth-- the mother giving the first bent to the mind that is immortal. O! What lessons of heavenly wisdom may come down through her lips and find their way to a heart not yet in contact with the world! How may she seize on the first indications of intellect, and consecrate it to God. How may the eye of a mother, beaming with affectionate regard, direct the little dependent being to the Saviour! A warm-hearted and prudent mother will exert almost an unlimited influence over her children the first six or eight years of their life; a period, above all others, when the heart is susceptible to deep and lasting impressions. Solomon frequently adverts, with great tenderness, to the pious counsels of a mother, Timothy was instructed, when a child, by his mother and grandmother. There are few men eminent for science and religion, who have not expressed deep-felt gratitude for the example, counsels, and prayers of a pious mother. And it would (editor's interlude: we break from this deeply moving and poetic moment to make note that this sentence begins with the word "And," yes..."And." Mrs. Wilson, my second grade teacher, said I was never to do that. Join me as I relish in the moment) be difficult to find an instance in which children have been up in the fear of God, and the love of the Saviour, where the mother has showed no marked solicitude to cherish a life of piety in her family.

From Gene Fedele's, "Golden Thoughts of Mother, Home & Heaven."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Secrets of Happy Home Life

"What are some of the secrets of happy home life?
The answer might be given in one word — Christ.
Christ at the marriage altar;
Christ on the bridal journey;
Christ when the new home is set up;
Christ when the baby is born;
Christ when a child dies;
Christ in the pinching times;
Christ in the days of plenty;
Christ in the nursery, in the kitchen, in the parlor;
Christ in the toil and in the rest;
Christ along all the years;
Christ when the wedded pair walk toward the sunset gates;
Christ in the sad hour when farewells are spoken,
and one goes on before and the other stays,
bearing the unshared grief.
Christ is the secret of happy home life."
JR Miller, from the book, The Secrets of Happy Home Life.

Thank you Mr. Brown for this.


From the era of kittens and swings,

giggles, dollies and little girl things.

Original Watercolor Painting by Johannah Bluedorn Now on Ebay

Visit the Trivium Pursuit to learn more about the auction and link to a video of Johannah painting.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Indispensable Home Maker

I came across this today and thought I would pass it on. It reminds me of my mother. She could do anything and because she could we had many fun times. "Oh, we're having another adventure!" she would say in happy and excited tones and we never knew otherwise. She had a solution for every problem that arose and so we never knew that there wasn't a solution for every problem.
As a child I never knew how unauthentic a costume made from a paper grocery store bag was or that you could trim a tree from inside the house at the upstairs window. Who would have known that sheets could be made into curtains and curtains could be made into dresses and dresses could be made into quilts?
What has amazed us more than anything over the years is how Mom could make a whole meal out of nothing. "There's nothing to eat" was said as one peered into the refrigerator only to find 1 cup of milk in the jug, celery and a handful of condiments. The freezer offered no consolation either. Bags of flour, containers of juices or sauces and chicken gizzards. Obviously none of that goes together and so "what does one eat?" Mom says she'll fix something and she does. What was surprising was she created a whole meal with side dishes and everything. She's been whipping things up out of nothing for years and proving again and again the high degree of creativity she possesses.

You may have memories like these or you may just be wondering, "What's a homemaker to do?" Either way I think this is a great suggestion that you will enjoy, "Lessons From Vintage Fiction." You can read the rest here.

Thoughts On Burma From Someone Who's Been There.

"For those who have been following the damage done by the Cyclone Nargis last Saturday, you know that the numbers being reported continue to go up."

"Right now, for instance, there are reports of 800 tons of rice sitting in a warehouse that cannot be distributed because local bureaucrats will not give permission for it to be distributed. As outrageous as that sounds to western ears, it is typical of the Burmese government."

Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

You Are Here Blog Party

Well, this is it. It's our first blog party. This is our 500th post, so in order to celebrate we thought we'd let you know...You are here! And boooooy aren't you...Look at y'all. To date, "Ah...the life" has 2000 unique readers from 36 countries. The top five countries being (drum roll please...) United States, Austria, Canada, United Kingdom aaaaaaaaaand, New Zealand! As far as the US states goes, all but Rhode Island have stopped by...unless my analysis is incorrect...Shout if you're from RI!....(silence.....) Nope, nobody.

The ice cream is on me!
Right click ---> Print Picture....Hurry it's melting!
Hey Bolivia, settle down. We're trying to have a party here. Besides you might want to hear this...

So out of all y'all, guess who reads the most? US! Nope, guess again....Canada! Not even close. Guess again...You have one guess left. Zambia?!?!?!? Hey, how'd you know? Wow, that was amazing. (Scratching head) So hello Zambia! Glad to have you here. For the rest of you in the world, here's a little Wikibit on Zambia.

"The earliest account of a European visiting the area was Francisco de Lacerda in the late 18th century, followed by other explorers in the 19th century. The most prominent of these was David Livingstone, who had a vision of ending the slave trade through the "3 C's" (Christianity, Commerce and Civilisation). " Or what we now known to be compassionate capitalism.

Compassionate Capitalism? How could that be? Doesn't "capitalism" mean dog-eat-dog, law of the jungle, every man for him self?" NO! Not at all. Compassionate Capitalism is a dramatically different vision of capitalism. A vision of capitalism as the finest tool yet known to help people become all they can be and to do the very best they can for others as well as themselves.

So we're going to have a give-away! (The crowd cheers, raaaaawwwwwwwhhhh!) Ah, thanks everybody.

In honor of our unique visitors, we're giving away a hardback 338 page copy of "Compassionate Capitalism, People Helping People Help Themselves" authored by Rich DeVos. It is signed by none other than........ well, Andrea and I with many thanks to our readership. Do you think I'd give away a book signed by Rich DeVos? You're crazy! Do you know how much money that would rake in on eBay? This book is a penetrating examination of the historical and philosophical roots of modern capitalism and argues that we need to return to capitalism's underlying moral base if we are to establish a lasting balance among the interests of corporations, workers and customers and the environment.

The give away will be done as a drawing. Please enter by leaving a comment with your name. Or if you'd prefer internet anonymity, email us at The contest ends when I say so, which will be announced shortly after I have asked the brain Andrea. Be right back.....

Okay, she thought it through, changed her mind 3 times and decided we'll announce the winner on next Saturday. Have fun and don't forget to put your ice cream dishes in the sink...(Hey,'ve got ice cream on your shirt. You're welcome.)