Monday, April 30, 2012

President Obama's Joke is Crude, and Demeaning to American Moms

At the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, President Obama, the President of the United States, made a joke I can't even post it here, on my family-friendly blog.   The text and video can be found at the Washington Post, where they try to laugh off the crudeness by pretending it's always been that way, and that we should just "Relax. Surrender. Try to make the best of it."

When I first saw this, I thought surely someone had made it up as a parody, that it could not be true our President would tell such a joke.

So I went and watched the tape, and heard it with my own ears. Send the children out of the room before listening to this speech - it even opens with the sound of a toilet flushing. The joke I am most disturbed by begins at about 8:40 into the recording.

Yes, I know he always makes inappropriate jokes, and inappropriately about people he doesn't like, but this is indecent.

The joke opens with the line Sarah Palin used: "What's the difference between a Hockey Mom and a Pit Bull?" But the punch line is no part of that original joke.

Instead, the punch line is a disgusting twist on an old locker room joke that most respectable men would not repeat in any form, much less in public - much less in front of a microphone.

The Washington Post described it as "...the one that got a slow-build laugh as the audience took a while to get it". No... they got it alright, the "laughter" was nervous and shocked. The First Lady looked shocked as well. There were some looks exchanged.

What is wrong with him? Does he have no sense of respect for the office or for the American people?

What kind of bubble do his speechwriters and advisors live in that they would allow him to go in public and say such immoral things?

All over America, women who love their children and cheer them on at sports events think of themselves as "Hockey Moms", as well as "Soccer Moms", "Little League Moms", "Softball Moms", "Peewee Football Moms", "Snack Moms", and other "Team Moms".

President Barack Obama used this vulgarity to try to demean Mrs Sarah Palin, a private citizen of the United States of America, a wife, mother, grandmother and a decent Christian woman.

In doing so, he has shown thoughtless contempt and disrespect for every woman in America. And he has shown something about his judgement, not just as President, but as a person that is very disturbing.

4/2/12 Update: Thanks, Pundit & Pundette. for the sidebar link in "Recommended Reads"!

10/10/2016  Update: The Official Transcript - still with the joke intact - is found on the White House Website, under "Briefing Room: Speeches and Remarks"  "For Immediate Release April 29, 2012
Remarks by the President at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner"
and the original video is on CSPAN:


31 Things to Do With The Grandkids (Even Teenagers) This Summer

 Summer is nearly here. Time for the Grands - even if they are "old" teens - to come and visit! Don't wait for them to invite themselves - call and ask their parents when they can come spend a few days with you.

You don't need to spend much money to entertain them. Most of the things you will do with them are so new to the kids it will be an adventure even if it is something you do daily. Even busy schedules will have a few free days or a long weekend sometime in the summer. You will be tired when they leave but you will never regret it - and they will remember the time their whole lives.

Here are some of the things we've done on school breaks or in the Summer:

Take them to church. Doesn't matter if they don't bring dress clothes - kids don't dress up for church now anyway!

Hang a porch swing for them to swing in.

 Go bowling with them!

 Take them to Dairy Queen for Banana Splits and Blizzards.

Give them colored pencils and paper and let them make Get Well cards or Birthday Cards.

Learn to bake together.

Eat German food!

They never get too old for Legos. Don't get rid of those plastic bricks - watch how quickly they pull them out and start building with them again.

Let them give the dogs a bath!

Let them sub at your Bunco night!

Take them volunteering with you.

Go to the Zoo!

Show them the old family pictures.

Take them with you to get an accupuncture treatment!

Let them have some free time to find their own things to do around the house.

Take them fishing!

Take them to an antique shop. Or a gift shop. But don't buy anything - just look at stuff and talk about it with them.

Try on hats!

 Introduce them to a baby donkey!

Let them drill holes in stuff.

See if Vacation Bible School needs volunteers - Two of ours come every year for a week just to go to the community Vacation Bible School. Cade and other older boys help with outdoor games for the little kids, and Bre helps by keeping the babies in the nursery.

Teach them to dance! (ok we didn't do this one but if I knew how to dance I would!)

Take them to see local talent perform at the Coffee House. 

 Show them your favorite old movies!

Take them to the flea market, or an auction.

Buy them cheap light-up sunglasses.

Take them to see their ancestor's graves.

Get them to move the wood pile for you and bite your tongue when they start chasing lizards - let them do it!

Teach them about Doodle Bugs.

 Go for a walk!

Give them lots of hugs!

They might even leave you a little love note. :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Girl Next Door, & Her Parents: Helping Our Neighbors Choose Life

When I was 16, a friend came over one night, hysterical. She was pregnant, her "boyfriend" had rejected her, and her parents were demanding she have an abortion. Her whole world was coming down around her, her heart was breaking and she didn't know what to do but run away.

This was something I had never dealt with before, but God helped me to say the right things - and she agreed to go back home if I would go with her to talk with her folks.

Her parents were not bad or unloving people. My friend had been a late-life baby, born after their other children were grown and gone. Her parents were still in love with each other, and they had been making plans for their life once this daughter went out on her own. In middle age, they felt they had already postponed their plans once, to raise her, and they had a knee-jerk reaction of "Oh no, not again."

This was in the early 1970s, shortly after Roe v Wade. The sweet photos of infants curled in their mama's womb and pro-life posters with Mother Theresa's honest words were all in future. The locusts humming "choice, choice, choice" were dominating the talk, lulling decent people into thinking that maybe sometimes abortion might be "ok" for some people. Maybe they just didn't know any better.

So we went to her house, and her parents gave us all the reasons why she should not have this baby, why they were not willing to have this baby. As they talked, I looked out the window into the back yard, where her father had mowed a message to her mother into the grass: "I love you", it read.

God brought the Edna Gladney Home to my mind, and I asked her parents if they had heard of it. They had not. I told them it's a place she can go, if she wants to let her baby be adopted by a family who cannot have children of their own. I told them there'd be no cost to them, she can continue her school there in a sheltered place with other girls, and she can meet the couple who will love and raise her baby. Their grandchild.

The more I talked, the more they relaxed. They didn't really want to force their daughter into an abortion. They liked the idea that she would not have to be pregnant in her home town, that she'd be safe from prying eyes and nosy busybodies, that their daughter would be supervised and have counseling to help her with the emotions of her predicament. They liked the idea that there would be little disruption to their own lives and plans.

They saw a way out.

And that is what happened. My friend went to the Edna Gladney Home, had her baby, met the baby's adoptive parents, and returned home to her grateful parents. Changed lives for two families, and a loving, Godly outcome.

The poster above is a Ron Paul quote. When I saw it,  it reminded me of this event in my youth. My friend's baby is in their late 30s now, perhaps with children and maybe even grandchildren of their own. Many generations of love were made possible by my friend's courage and love for her baby.

Young women and young men, you are never too young to teach your elders how to respect life. Put Pro-Life Posters in your room, give them as gifts to your friends, talk with the adults around you, remind them that science says every conception is a baby, and God says every baby is a blessing. "Teach your parents well."

A baby raised in the home of adoptive parents has double the love: the love of his birth mother who gave him life and offered him to God by placing him in the arms of a grateful mother-in-waiting, and the love of his adoptive mother who every month for years prayed and hoped and longed for THIS child to love with all her heart.

What other things can one of us do to help a person in our neighborhood find the love they need to choose life?  Please share your thoughts in the comments! (PS: I accept anonymous comments here when they are loving, and loving privacy in these matters is very important).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"God Uses Failures"

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

A great place to visit today is "Bread upon the Waters", where Miss QR has posted The Sensational Nightingales singing "Standing on the Promises of God". I love the songs she picks each Sunday. Lifts me up and gets me singing merrily as I go!

If anyone thinks failure means they can no longer reach their dreams or be an amazing Christian leader, this sermon from Pastor Duane Sheriff will give you good cause to think again. God has lifted up some terrible sinners and brought mighty works to happen through them. It's time to put your failures to work for the cause of goodness in our world. Watch, and rejoice - then go out with Christ and conquer the world!

Pastor Duane Sheriff - God Uses Failures by urbanminingco

We began attending a Victory Life congregation last summer. I've been an active, involved Christian my whole life (although my relationship with denominations has been "stormy"!), and this ministry is from God in a down to earth way that is perfect for our times. More of Pastor Sheriff's sermons can be found at his website. If you don't have broadband for streaming, you can order cds for free - no charge at all. Have a blessing today!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Roses & Pecan Trees are Blooming!

 These are from the only rosebush that survived the drought, but oh aren't they gorgeous! Paul commented that they "are almost florescent": a beautiful orangey coral color.

Just as glorious in their own way are the fresh, day-glo green, male pecan tree flowers. You can see the long strands of pollen-rich catkins hanging in clusters. The female flowers are too small to see, but they are just above the catkins - Pecan trees only make female blossoms if all conditions are right: enough water, enough sugars and starches....and to date no one has figured out a scientific way to consistently predict the crop. It is so unique each year that pecans are called "God's crop" by the botanists and growers who study these trees.


I am betting on a great crop from our trees this year, in part because it has been several years since we had a bountiful one, and we've had good rain (thank you, Father God, for answering our prayers and sending rain to tide Texas over despite all predictions to the contrary. The drought is not gone, but we are grateful things are much improved in most of the state).

One of our trees is a native pecan that has the sweetest nuts. I gathered 100 pounds (before shelling) from it alone our first year here. We are just finishing them up (shelled and froze them in vacuum packs), so it would be a great blessing to have a new crop to stock up again.

If you want to produce as much of your own food as possible, do consider nut trees. You can have them in cities, and even a small lot can have a pecan tree. They produce a huge amount of high-calorie, healthy food with minimal effort once they are established. Pecan trees will not grow everywhere, but here they just come up from forgotten nuts that get buried. So look around and see what grows well where you live, and add the best possible "Edible landscaping" to your yard! :-)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Victory! A World War American Homefront Collection

Well I had planned to blog about starting the garden, but Pat's latest antiquing "Take A Trip" got me thinking it has been a while since I shared some of my World War I & II "Home Front" collection. So let's do that first, then we'll talk gardening (maybe even Victory Gardening!) later.

I've blogged before about the shop-made toys of the WWI and WWII eras: how Germany and Japan had previously been the source of most playthings, trinkets and knicknacks found in the "5 & 10 Cent Stores", but when war started, those imports were cut short. In addition, local factories all converted to making necessities. So the wartime sources for toys were local small workshops, print shops and mom-and-pop side businesses all over America. 

Here's a cardboard playset called "Forward March". The many little soldiers are diecut standees, and the board opens out as a map on which to array the armies.

The little set of red and yellow ships, tanks, and "Big Bertha" type guns are molded composition, died with cochineal and yellow food coloring.

The carved and wood burned "Tank Bank" has little wheels on the bottom, a place to insert pennies for saving, and it is a souvenir of Victoria, Texas. Sometimes known as "poker work", by using a poker or soldering iron to decorate it, no paint was needed. Electric woodburning tools were a popular Christmas gift for kids & adults for many decades.

That little growling bomber plane is a pinback, probably a bit of sweetheart jewelry worn by a mother, sister, wife or girlfriend of a guy in the brand-new "Army Air Corps", which was the forerunner of today's Air Force.

Ever-popular Jigsaw puzzles reflected hopeful themes during the war, and this one titled "Welcome Home" probably gave a serviceman's family much comfort as they dreamed of the day their boy would return from where-ever  Uncle Sam had sent him. The box prominently features the "Buy Savings Bonds for Victory" advertisement.

The "Buy War Savings Bonds and Stamps NOW" notice is in a deck of Russell Artcraft Pinochle playing cards. Card games were a HUGE source of entertainment in those days, and nearly every family had a card table they could set up to play on. Couples got together and played rummy or bridge or pinochle or Canasta (Canasta was THE game in my family! Anybody wanna play?)whenever they had the opportunity.

The Victory theme was everywhere! These are two of my favorite little items: a spool of thread and a little box of bobby pins. The Victory Hair Pins' "Vicky victory - Hair Aid Warden" (playing on the "Air Raid Warden" who helped coordinate evacuation plans for each neighborhood), and a sewing thread company's mascot, "the Corticelli Kitten" in his own little kitty helmet, with weapon and bayonet, marching off to
serve his country. 

In both instances, the cute themes reflect serious rationing of raw materials as well as manufactured goods and food items: the hair pins were meant to be carried back to the beauty shop for reuse on your own hair, just as we carry our shopping bags today, because "Uncle Sam needs the Steel!", and the Belco thread was a substitute for unobtainable silk and nylon, both of which were being consumed as parachute material for our fighting men.

I keep running out of "blog space" before I get to the books, albums, and paper items in my collection. Oh well, there's always next time!  If you collect Home Front or World War memorabilia, please post and tell us about your favorite items in your collection, and why you appreciate them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

50 Years Ago Today: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

There's a great subplot in this movie about Freedom of the Press, not to mention the Rule of Law, the taming of the West, working at whatever job there is, self defense, literacy, love, sacrifice, and civilization in general. And surely it is on the Top Ten list for letterpress printers everywhere. There's a lot more value to printing than deep impression on the wedding invitations!

All that and John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart too! What more can one ask from a movie?

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Word

In the beginning was The Word.....

 This beautiful Icon image was painted by the Russian artist Victor Vasnetsov . It's unusual to see Jesus Christ depicted as the glory of the night sky in this way - but it's a true way to imagine Him, for indeed He is Lord of the Cosmos, and lights our sleeping as well as our waking: "And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not..." 

Or, as the passage is rendered in The Message Bible (linked above): "The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out."

Sweet dreams! Jesus Himself watches over you!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jesus Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

May eternal joy be yours! Happy Easter with God's rich blessings to all!

Death Be Not Proud
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

-- John Donne

Romans 5:9-11:
"By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God's anger!
"We were God's enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God's friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ's life!
"But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God's friends

Art is "The Resurrection" by Peter Paul Rubens, 1611 AD (scroll down at the link to find the commentary on this painting).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday: The Harrowing of Hell

O God, we look at the death that was,
Look at the time - unthinkable time!
When God lay dead and earth lay dark
And in all of time was nothing. Nothing!

The absence in which You Were.
The empty from which You Brought.
The void that only Your Voice can Fill and Shatter and Open.

And in that nothing, You Were.
And out of that nothing, You Came.
And we will the Truth of Your Death, that ever You Come.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Holy Saturday is dark, and solemn. Our Lord was still in His tomb, and those who loved him were still in anguish.

One of the most beautiful traditions around Holy Week is the understanding that Jesus also saved those who had died before He came to earth. Thus, those who longed for His coming in previous generations were also offered eternal life in Heaven. They also are a part of the "great cloud of witnesses" who surround us.

This exegesis is known as "The Harrowing of hell", and comes from at least as early as the 4th Century AD. This is yet another way of envisioning the scriptural mystery wherein Christ's resurrection saved the whole world, me, you and the little bitty babies, and the old men, and Adam and Eve, and every creature from the beginning until the end of time.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for mePaul's Epistle to the Galatians, Chapter 2, verse 20

The poem is by Tina Howard
The image is an Albrecht Durer engraving from 1512 AD, titled "The Harrowing of hell", from a series illustrating The Passion of Christ.  Never heard of him, you think? If you have ever seen a figurine or art featuring the "Praying Hands", you've seen his work.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday of Holy Week: Rejection and Abandonment

Two of the events remembered on Holy Tuesday are those in which Jesus' own close disciples failed him. One is Judas' agreement to point Jesus out for arrest in exchange for money - 30 pieces of silver, to be exact. The other event was Peter's own fearful denial that he even knew Jesus. It is this temporary and unplanned abandonment that shows us how weak we can be when fear takes over our minds.

From John 13:36-38, in the Good News translation:

" 'Where are you going, Lord?' Simon Peter asked him.  
" 'You cannot follow me now where I am going,' answered Jesus; 'but later you will follow me.'
" 'Lord, why can't I follow you now?' asked Peter. 'I am ready to die for you!'
"Jesus answered, 'Are you really ready to die for me? I am telling you the truth: before the rooster crows you will say three times that you do not know me.'

Go to Matthew 26:57-74 to read the rest, how Peter followed after Jesus was arrested, but blurted out denials when asked if he knew our Lord.

Both Peter and Judas were immediately remorseful when they recognized the enormity of what they had done. But Peter's betrayal was thoughtless, instinctual, while Judas acted with premeditation. Both broke Jesus' heart - and each broke his own heart as well. Where Judas despaired afterward, and killed himself in his grief, Peter spent the rest of his life sharing the Good News and in the end, he did gain the courage to die for Christ. Peter was martyred, crucified by the Roman emperor Nero about the time of the great fire, in about 64 AD.

The painting is oil on copper plate, titled "Peter's Denial",  by the 19th century Danish artist Carl Bloch Peters.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday of Holy Week: Righteous Rage

One of the events that happened in the last days of Jesus' life, before he was arrested, convicted by the mob, and crucified, is the "Cleansing of the Temple". This is a story that many non-Christians may never have heard. It is one of the times when Jesus showed His anger at wrongdoing, and used force to implement His will.   I have no doubt that He would have used similar force to protect the "woman taken in adultery" from being stoned to death if His persuasion had not been effective in convincing the men to drop their rocks and release her.

The gimmick of the day had been to use the space as a sort of Super Mall, with secular vendors hawking their wares at the very doors of the sanctuary.  The priests were supposed to prevent this kind of thing but they'd become as complicit as the rest. Jesus took it on himself to do the job.

Here is the story as told in John 2:13-17, in the Good News translation:

"It was almost time for the Passover Festival, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. There in the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons, and also the moneychangers sitting at their tables. 

"So he made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the Temple, both the sheep and the cattle; he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins; and he ordered those who sold the pigeons, Take them out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace! 

"His disciples remembered that the scripture says, My devotion to your house, O God, burns in me like a fire."

The incident is also related in Mark, Chapter 11, verses 15 through 19. Try this one in the English Standard Version:

"And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.  And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.  

 "And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”  

 "And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. "

The illustration is a painting by Jacob Jordaens, circa 1650 AD. Jordaens was a Dutch painter who converted to Protestant Christianity while it was still illegal in The Netherlands due to the Spanish occupation (the only religion Spain recognized during that time was Catholic Christianity).


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