Friday, February 29, 2008

Feds admit vaccine 'aggravated' autism Critics: Ruling major concession Critics: after years of government denials

The federal government continues to deny a link between vaccines and autism, but the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled in favor of a child alleged to have regressed into autism as a result of vaccinations.

Several of the vaccinations included the controversial mercury-based preservative thimerosal, points out the National Autism Association, which sees the ruling as confirmation of the claims of many parents.

"This case echoes the stories of thousands of children across the country," said NAA President Wendy Fournier. "With almost 5,000 similar cases pending in vaccine court, we are confident that this is just the first of many that will confirm what we have believed for so long – vaccines can and do cause children to regress into autism."

Fournier called on the Centers for Disease Control "to acknowledge that the current vaccine schedule is not safe for every child and as with the administration of any medicine, individual risks and susceptibilities must be considered for each patient."

The government's unprecedented concession – filed Nov. 9 and sealed to protect the plaintiff's identity – was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case, said David Kirby, author of "Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and The Autism Epidemic, A Medical Controversy."

The concession was made by U.S. Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the defendant in all vaccine court cases.

A CDC panel, meanwhile, voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend flu shots for all school-age children. The move would compel private insurers to cover the costs and require the CDC to make the vaccine available to anyone who can't afford it.

The NAA criticized the CDC decision, noting thimerosal is still found in flu shots recommended for children and pregnant women.

Thimerosal in vaccines is suspected of causing brain damage and weakening the immune system, making some children susceptible later to infection from measles, mumps and rubella shots.

Kirby, writing for the Huffington Post, reported the government's written concession said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was "aggravated" by her shots and ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

"This statement is good news for the girl and her family, who will now be compensated for the lifetime of care she will require," Kirby writes. "But its implications for the larger vaccine-autism debate, and for public health policy in general, are not as certain."

The government's concession, he says, seems to raise more questions than it answers.

The Department of Health and Human Services said its Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation, or DVIC, "has reviewed the scientific information concerning the allegation that vaccines cause autism and has found no credible evidence to support the claim. Accordingly, in every case under the Vaccine Act, DVIC has maintained the position that vaccines do not cause autism, and has never concluded in any case that autism was caused by vaccination."

Kirby said that for most affected families, the fine distinction between claiming that vaccines did not "cause" autism but instead aggravated a condition to "manifest" as autism is a fine distinction that is not so important.

While it's too early to tell, he said, "this concession could conceivably make it more difficult for some officials to continue insisting there is 'absolutely no link' between vaccines and autism."
It also puts the federal government's vaccine court defense strategy somewhat into jeopardy, he said.

"DOJ lawyers and witnesses have argued that autism is genetic, with no evidence to support an environmental component," he pointed out. "And, they insist, it's simply impossible to construct a chain of events linking immunizations to the disorder. Government officials may need to rethink their legal strategy, as well as their public relations campaigns, given their own slightly contradictory concession in this case."

The bottom line, he said, is that the public will demand to know what is going on inside the U.S. federal health establishment.

"The significance of this concession will unfortunately be fought over in the usual, vitriolic way – and I fully expect to be slammed for even raising these questions," Kirby writes. "Despite that, the language of this concession cannot be changed, or swept away."

The key words contained in the concession, he says, are "aggravated" and "manifested."

"Without the aggravation of the vaccines, it is uncertain that the manifestation would have occurred at all," Kirby argues.

"When a kid with peanut allergy eats a peanut and dies, we don't say 'his underlying metabolic condition was significantly aggravated to the extent of manifesting as an anaphylactic shock with features of death,'" he continues. "No, we say the peanut killed the poor boy. Remove the peanut from the equation, and he would still be with us today."

Whatever the government's further explanation, says Kirby, "they cannot change the fundamental facts of this extraordinary case: The United State government is compensating at least one child for vaccine injuries that resulted in a diagnosis of autism. And that is big news, no matter how you want to say it."

Andrea and I would like to recommend a helpful resource on the topic, "Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. A Mother's Story of Research and Recovery" by Karyn Seroussi available here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Presenting our Bodies: The high cost of Entertainment

By Scott Brown

This short audio clip is from a sermon on Romans 12:1-2 entitled "Presenting Your Bodies' examining the practical impact of the entertainments to which we present our bodies.

My father spoke very highly of this talk given at the 2008 Men's Advance by Scott Brown. He pointed out to us that it is not singularly our plight, but that many Christian daughter's have been diligent to set themselves apart yet have found none to marry. What have the boys been doing? There is a reason for the shortage of suitable men for daughters to marry. This is a hard hitting message. This is not to say that there is nothing applicable to us ladies. There is much here to guide a young lady and outline the way she should live. What she does, just as what everyone else in the body of Christ does, affects the body as a whole.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More On Missouri

Our family trip to Missouri was so that Dad could attend the Men's Advance and so Andrea and I could spend some time helping/visiting with the Serven ladies. Unfortunately Mom was ill so we spent the weekend divided. Dad and Andrea went on to the Advance while Mom and I stayed at the hotel. Pictures of the Men's advance can be seen here as I was unable to take any.

I haven't the foggiest idea why, but I like to photograph distressed old buildings.

A dandy of a barn

An inviting country drive

Daniel Boone's' Estate

Sunday brunch is served

A beautiful spread, very characteristic of Serven hospitality.

Listening to the teller of tales.

Gather 'round to sing hymns

Singing with sign language

Saying our good byes

Missouri ducks at the gas station

Duck hunting must not be too difficult around here.

Driving home into the Oklahoma sunset.

Scraggly trees of the south.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh Tasco, Where Art Thou?

Kelly is pining for her little red Tasco telescope she had as a child.

I suppose this calls for a childhood telescope story. I used to star gaze and marvel at the moon craters. My intrigue was sparked by the 1986 passing of Halley's comet. One evening I was at my window in our new city home and the sky was not offering up it's usual intriguing heavenly wonders. My mother came in and I must have expressed my boredom and discouragement because she said, "Let me see that thing. I'll find something. There has to be something." She took over and scanned the sky. "Wow! That's the biggest star I have ever seen!" she exclaimed. "Let me see!" I peered through my telescope and suffered near blindness. She had pointed it at a street light.

The Thoughts Of A Soon To Be Bride...

The waiting bride holds her bouquet behind her back.

...filled with hope for the future, showing gratitude for the blessing of a godly marriage, and what the virtue of being a stay-at-home wife and mother will afford.

"I'm excited to move to Texas when I get married and have you, Andrea, and your mom teach me how to sew and cook!!! On Monday nights I get with my friend Beth and her mom is teaching us how to sew. We have only had like 3 classes though. So far we have made a case for our scissors, and 2 weeks ago we started making a pillow case, we are going to embroider it next week. Yesterday we went to the fabric store and bought material to make a quilt!!!! That is what I am looking forward to. I think Cameron already told you this maybe not though, but they had patterns for $1!!!!! so i got 6 of them!! lol. Well, sorry for the rambling!!! Have a good evening!!"

Image courtesy of The Wedding Information Site

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Marriage an Idol?

Most single women want to get married.1 A good marriage is something they deeply desire. But for many, their desire is unarticulated, a silent longing. I kept quiet most of the time when I was single and hoping for marriage, mostly out of embarrassment for being romantically unsuccessful. It was easier, and less risky, to just keep it to myself. By my silence, I could avoid ridicule and the possibility of having to admit my failure if marriage never happened.

But today there's an added reason women hide their desire for marriage. They've been told and retold that nurturing such a desire will not only scare men off, but worst of all, it may lead them to idolatry. I see and hear this warning a lot among Christians. It seems anytime someone writes or preaches about marriage to singles, they start with the caveat that wanting marriage is good "as long as you don't make an idol out of it."

Can the desire for marriage really become an idol? It's technically possible. But that notion has been blown out of proportion. And repeatedly suggesting the possibility of idolatry has done more harm than good.

Read Candice Watters' article in full here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Taking Every Word Captive

I grew up listening to country music, singing country music, paying to go to concerts and letting it play on auto-repeat in my head. Then I was saved and blessed with the understanding that as a servant of Christ God had a different perogative as to what I put in my head and meditated on day and night. I repented of my rejection of God's standard and do not listen to it anymore. I appreciate American Vision's February 15th commentary for this very reason.

"Some of you may be thinking, it’s just a song. Why are you making such a big deal about it? My goal as a father and a husband is to make sure that everything my family comes into contact with checks out with God’s Word. If it doesn’t, then we need to use these simple opportunities to train our families." ~Jared Vallorani comments on Brooks & Dunn’s, "God Must be Busy."

Cowboys and the Nurses Watkins

The nurses Watkins are ready, for today there will be a shootout.
Duke is dauntless, intent on bringing evil to justice.

The cunning Gator conceals himself behind an oak.

Pah Que! Whew, whew, whew, wheeeeeeeeew. A shot is fired...

The wiley villian narrowly escapes.

Dauntless pursues...
Pah Que! Whew, whew, whew, wheeeeeeeeew...

Dead-eye Dauntless made his mark. Time to reload.

The nurses attend Wiley.

It is too late.

Mending a grazed arm.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Are You A Christocrat?

"As Christians become more active in politics, they must remember to elevate principles above party loyalty. Perhaps the best illustration of this (comes) from the life of founding father Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independance, who served in the presidential administrations of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, each of whom was from a different political party. When Benjamin Rush was asked of his personal party affiliation, he responded, 'I've been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat, I am neither. I am a Christocrat, I believe all power will fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone who created and redeemed man, is qualitied to govern him.' Like Benjamin Rush, we too must remain Christocrats regardless of our personal party affiliation."

~David Barton

From Wallbuilders' Feb 14th Daily Radio Show

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Boyhood, Brotherhood

I ran across this today. It's quite funny. I pray their parents preserve their miniture manliness in this highly feminized world.

A Young Miss

From our independence day celebration. Miss Renae and her doll.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Unofficially Banana Dessert

The dessert with no name.

Mom is at it again. Last night she concocted a new dessert. It is very good, but nameless. Any suggestions?


1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cube butter
1 cup oats
1/3 cup honey
2 pkts stevia

Mix crust then pat 2/3 into oiled 8x8" pan. Bake @ 350' until light brown. Cool. Spread remaining 1/3 in separate pan and broil until browned. Crumble and set aside for to use as crumb topping.

8oz cream cheese
1 Tbsp lemon juice concentrate
1 tsp vanilla
milk- enough to make it easy to spread
1 banana

Mix with hand mixer. spread 1/2 over cooled crust. Slice banana over filling and cover with rest of filling.

Top with whipped topping and crumbled topping. Refrigerate over night and serve next day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Texas to Missouri: On the way

We are home at last and refreshed from our short jaunt to Missouri. This year's trip was especially fun as I was able to bring along a Canon Rebel xti, part of the Heumoore arsenal. I think it should be named P.J. I won't say that I did the camera's capabilities justice with my pictures, but I did have fun and I am a little more familiar with it now.

We left at 4:30 am. This is sunrise in Oklahoma.
On one of our stops in a small country town we were headed out the door to load up and get back on the road when I spied a quarter on the floor. Yes, it was the glue the quarter to the floor trick. I was able to amuse two gas station attendants and 4 Carhart clad farmers. Andrea is posing in my stead.

A lonely windmill on the Oklahoma plain.
On our trip to Denver in January, I had a chance to try out P.J. I missed many an opportunity to capture a train but missed every time. This one was sitting still so with the odds in my favor I came away with this one.
Halfway through Oklahoma on Hwy 69 we were surrounded by the waters of Lake Eufaula. It was a beautiful site having always lived around water in the past. Please excuse the dirty window.
There are barns galore in every condition...

and farms scattered from border to border.

The wide Missouri river.

All alone nestled between the rolling hills of Missouri

To be continued...

Crazy quilting results

Allison over at "She works with her hands in delight" has nearly completed a quilt top using our posted crazy quilt instructions. She found the project an excellent way to put her scraps to good use as well as encouraging of her vision for her home in the future.

See her detailed description of the project here.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Question on the Success of Women Entrepreneurs

I was asked once if I thought that women had it in them to be successful entrepreneurs. I believe that indeed they do and that anyone can agree as we see it done all the time today. What is a more important question for us to explore is, "On what moral grounds do they operate?" It is the moral foundation of when, how, and why women pursue entrepreneurialism that determines whether they will be successful or not. Sinners can acrue wealth just as the redeemed do, but it is a matter of, "Does one want their sucess to be a blessing of God or a chastisement?" for their compromised standards in getting it.
Important questions to ask oneself:

1: Do I intend to out produce my authority figure? What effect will that have on our relationship? The choice must me edifying to the body of Christ as well.

2: What are my motivators for making money? What are biblical motivators? Avoid pursuits that would stregthen individualism and be counter productive to a multigenerational covenantal family blessing and vision.

3: What emotions are tied to this pursuit? Are they what God says we should entertain? Beware of coventousness. (see: Elyse Fitzpatrick's "Idols of the Heart: Learning to long for God Alone"
4: How is this in support of my highest priorty, serving my father/husband in his vision? Does it fit in well?
5: What will be neglected if I apply my time to a new venture?
6: Do I have the resources to get started? If not what standards should I submit to in order to aquire them? (see: IBLP's Financial Freedom Seminar An excellent seminar that my father has used for years now as he mentors young business owners)
This is not exhaustive but a good start. God bless!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Birthday Suprise

Today Andrea's birthday surprise arrived (finally!) in the mail. Can you guess what it is?


Mom's turn...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Crazy Quilting Part 3

Okay I have made a discovery. This is actually not an official crazy quilt. But! It looks crazy anyway once it's done, so... perhaps it is from the crazy quilt genus? Well on with it!

Time for the strips. If you have leftover strips of fabric around, divide them into three categories: narrow width, medium width and wide width. The strips can be varying in width within their category. If you have to make strips for this project I suggest 1.5", 2.5", and 3.5" widths. The fastest way to make strips is to iron your fabric and lay it out flat. Along the edge snip with your scissors every 1.5 (or 2.5 or 3.5) inches. Then tear away. Tears will be straight because they will follow the grain of the fabric. A note of caution: If your fabric wasn't cut straight (on the grain) at the fabric store your the first strip you rip will be crooked. Square off the end of your fabric first. Then rip away!

Close your eyes and reach into your pile of narrow strips. What you grab is what you sew! They first strip goes on the top of your center block. After the strip is sewn on, leave it folded down as seen in the above photo. Next, trim the extra amount off square with the center block.
Now fold it open and press the seam allowance towards the dark strip. If you iron it the other way it will show through the white center block.
The next strip is sewn on the bottom of the center block, is then trimmed and ironed as mentioned above.
Repeat on the right side of your now elongated project.
And then on the left.
trim once again...then iron as before.
Here we are done with round one. This series of steps will be repeated over again twice.
This time blindly pick a strip from the medium width pile and start the process over again.
Quilting calls for 1/4" seams unlike dress making which calls for 5/8" seams.
Working on round three already.
Round two went well as you can see. Round three is made the same way with the widest of strips. On round three we accidentally sewed the wide strip to the side first instead of the top. The nice thing about it though is it won't disturb a thing in this crazy quilt pattern.
A nice touch.
Look what we made!
Three rounds done. Renae opted to use the same fabric pattern for all sides in each round. I think it made a lovely quilt block don't you?
Now the trimming starts. Align the ruler with the top corner. Then set it in an inch and a half or so at the bottom as seen above. Trim off the angled piece and turn the quilt block 90 degrees. This time square you ruler with the side previously cut. Trim and repeat on the remaining two sides.
This is how the crazy tilted look is accomplished. The blocks will all be different sizes when they are done. Sashings and other creative strips can be added to fill in the gaps. One idea is add a strip of nine patch, flying geese or a lone quilt block of another design that has yet to find it's way into one of your quilts.

Once the blocks are together it's time to add the border. If you haven't enough fabric for long sashings then perhaps a scrappy blocked border like the one above can be constructed. Here are some other examples: Piano key border, 1/2 triangle border, and Prairie Point Border.