Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Many Faces of Winter

This is what a typical winter, daytime sky looks like.

Here's what winter looked like Thursday afternoon.

Here's what it looked like Friday morning.


Friday afternoon for a brief moment.

And finally the rarest of all.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip cookies (almond flour)

Here's the link where I found this recipe.

Here's the recipe.
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tbs coconut oil
1/3 cup sucanat or rapadura
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
*Optional: 1/2 cup crispy walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter, oil, and sucanat. Add vanilla and egg. Mix well. Add baking soda and salt. Slowly add the almond flour 1/2 cup at a time. Blend well. Drop by tbs onto greased baking sheet. Bake 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Makes 2 dozen.

These cookies are yummy! They are better cooled rather than warm from the oven and they have a slightly soggy feel, so they are better baked fore the longer time.

*Crispy walnuts basic instructions. Combine 4 cups walnut halves, 2 tsp salt and water to cover. Let sit on your counter for 7 hours or overnight. Drain. Place in an 150 degree oven for 24 hours. Then they are ready.

"Nuts are an extremely nutritious food if properly prepared. Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess. Nuts are easier to digest, and their nutrients more readily available, if they are fist soaked in salt water overnight, then dried in a warm oven." Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, 2001, page 512.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I wish I said that!

Over the last few years I have come to appreciate Voddie Baucham.  I have read a couple of his books and heard him speak.  One of his recent blog posts is about a political candidate who I also appreciate.  Here's is that post.

I'll copy it here, but you'll need to go to his site to see the references.

Why Ron Paul?

Since posting a passing comment on my Facebook fan page about Ron Paul, I have been inundated with questions and concerns about my support of the Texas Congressman in the current Republican Primary race. In one of my many political posts (frequently, I post videos, news articles, etc., in an effort to show the importance and influence of worldview), I simply stated that I voted for Dr. Paul in the last election, and planned to vote for him again.

The result was hundreds of comments; more than any other post I’ve ever submitted. Most of the comments were positive. However, several were extremely negative. Some vowed never to follow, or support my ministry any further, while others simply communicated their dismay. Still others, like today's questioner, just asked honest questions. As a result, I’ve decided to explain my position, and this seemed like the best place to do it.

Let me say ahead of time that I do not believe that politics will save America. Nor do I believe there are any perfect candidates. There never have been, and there never will be. Moreover, it is not my goal to answer every objection to the Paul candidacy as I know that there are those who, for various reasons, will not be persuaded, and more importantly, that’s not my job. My goal here is to offer insight in to my own reasoning as I wade through another political season and make a personal choice.

I. Ron Paul is a Christian Conservative

While I am not looking for a “Pastor-in-Chief,” it is important to me that the man for whom I cast my vote be a Christian, if at all possible. And though I recognize that there is not always a clear Christian choice (i.e., the 2008 election), I agree with Chief Justice John Jay who wrote, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."[1] For indeed, “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe.”[2] John Witherspoon concurs: “Those, therefore, who pay no regard to religion and sobriety in the persons whom they send to [public office] are guilty of the greatest absurdity and will soon pay dear for their folly.”[3] I think we are seeing this on display right now.[4]

My desire is not to see a president who will usurp the authority, responsibilities, or privileges of the Church. However, I do not wish to see those things hindered either. I also want to know that the foundational ideology motivating a man’s decisions is biblical. I know it will not always mirror my own, but I trust God’s word, and appreciate those who look to it for aid in making decisions. To that end, I support Dr. Paul because he is not just a conservative, but a Christian Conservative.

Dr. Paul does not beat his Christian faith like a drum in his public/political life. Unfortunately, that is off-putting for the “Christian Right”. However, in a world full of ‘posturing’ in an effort to win over evangelicals, I find Paul’s public demeanor refreshing. And it is not as though he is a ‘closet Christian,’ either. “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate,” wrote Paul on his Web site.[5] I have also had the privilege of talking with both him, and one of his five children about his faith and how it influences his policy positions.

Nevertheless, the more important aspect is the fact that this Southern Baptist (raised Lutheran) is a regular church attender. What would motivate a man to attend church, but not beat a drum about it in an effort to win over evangelicals in an age when political figures play at Christianity (while living totally contradictory lives, and holding heterodox beliefs) in order to assuage the fears of the Christian Right? Having met and talked to Dr. Paul, I would say it is authenticity, and humility more than anything else. He wants “to avoid any appearance of exploiting [his faith] for political gain.”[6]

II. Ron Paul is a Constitutional Conservative

Not only is Ron Paul a Christian Conservative; he is also a Constitutional Conservative. He holds himself accountable to the Constitution of the United States, even when it means he has to vote against legislation that may be otherwise beneficial. This has cost him on numerous occasions as people use the “Ron Paul voted against so-and-so” tactic to paint a caricature of him and play “gotcha” politics.

This is actually an important quality in a President. I don’t want a man in the White House making decisions based on what “feels” right. I’m not looking for a conscientious King; I want a Chief Executive. I want a man whose decisions are predictable because of a long track record of constitutional conservatism. I may not always agree with a man like that, but I will always know why he did what he did, and I can live with that. Especially in several crucial areas facing our Republic, like money, war, States’ Rights, and foreign policy, for example.

Constitutional Money

I support Ron Paul because he has a constitutional view of money. He is the only candidate consistently to confront the Federal Reserve Bank (which is not federal, has no reserves, and is not a bank), and address the issue of fiat currency (a.k.a. unjust weights and measures; Lev 19:36; Prov 16:11), which debases the dollar, manipulates business cycles, creates inflation, and always benefits the rich at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised. And he talks about the issue in just those terms.

Congressman Paul is also the only candidate who has a budget that will cut a TRILLION DOLLARS in spending in year one.[7] He is the only candidate who has committed to defund and eliminate expensive, unconstitutional agencies. This is crucial for a country headed for an economic cliff. Our debt is larger than our GDP and we simply must address it NOW (Luke 14:28)! This is arguably the most important issue we face, and while others want to tinker with the status quo, Dr. Paul wants to do the hard thing; the right thing; the biblical thing; the constitutional thing.

Constitutional War

I support Ron Paul because he is a military veteran (yup... he refuses to beat that drum too, which is why you may not have known that little tidbit). And though I do not believe it is necessary for a man to have served in the military for him to serve as President, the fact that Congressman Paul knows and hates war lends credibility to his desire and commitment to ending the wars and bringing our troops home. Moreover, he has a constitutional understanding of war (only Congress can send us to war), and a Christian commitment to historic Just War Theory (rooted in the Sixth Commandment... HIS WORDS).[8] He, unlike other candidates, can be counted on not to commit to acts of war without congressional authority (i.e., unilaterally deciding to bomb a sovereign nation if they advance their weapons technology in a region several thousand miles away from the U.S., under the watchful eye of a nation with over 300 nukes who can stop them in a heartbeat... but I digress).

There is a reason Dr. Paul has received more support from members of the military than all other candidates (Republican and Democrat) COMBINED! The top three employers of Ron Paul’s donors are the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, respectively. Dr. Paul will not use our military to hunt down and overthrow heads of state without Congressional authority (i.e., Libya), kill American citizens without warrant,[9] detain citizens indefinitely without benefit of a trial,[10] or chase warlords in central Africa.[11] When it comes to war, Dr. Paul understands that, “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” (Proverbs 26:17)

Constitutional States’ Rights

I support Ron Paul because he not only understands, but believes in the Tenth Amendment. I know many Christians have been scared off by the “Ron Paul wants to legalize drugs, gay marriage, and abortion” rhetoric. However, looking beyond the rhetoric reveals Paul’s true constitutional conservatism (and biblical understanding of jurisdiction). He has personal convictions, but those will not be allowed to steer him away from his constitutional oath. The presidency, and the Federal Government have limits.

The President is not “Pastor in Chief.” It is not the President’s job (or the job of the Federal Government) to set such policies. The “War on Drugs,” for example, has been a monumental, unconstitutional, fiscal failure (to the tune of more than $3 BILLION)![12] The Federal Government must be held within the confines of its enumerated powers. This is important for Christians because we will not always have people in the White House with whom we agree (in fact, politicians will always let us down). What happens when we send a man to the White House with the express purpose of “changing the moral standards” of America in our favor, then, down the line we have a president who uses the same un-cheked powers to promote moral standards with which we disagree? How’s that workin’ for ya’?

But what about the moral issues to which we, as Christians, must speak? First, we must speak to them at the local level. I have no right to look to Washington, D.C. for remedies when I am not preaching on Mars Hill at every opportunity. The Roe v. Wade, for example, started in Texas; not D.C.. Furthermore, there is not a single institution more prolific in the spread of moral decay than the government education system, and Ron Paul is the only man who plans to get the federal government out of that business by ending the (unconstitutional) Department of Education IMMEDIATELY (Luke 6:40).

Beyond that, if there are issues we wish to address on a federal level, we have a federal remedy, and it is not the election of a President; it is the amendment process. This is less favorable to those who do not wish to do the hard work of changing hearts and minds in the marketplace of ideas. However, the alternative is a quasi-monarchy (or oligarchy) that changes with the wind, and a view of the presidency that is both unbiblical and unconstitutional.

Constitutional Foreign Policy

I support Ron Paul because he has a constitutional view of foreign policy. Ironically, our foreign policy has been so unconstitutional for so long that many people recoil at the idea of getting it back in line. Moreover, the semantic game Paul’s opponents play (using “isolationism” as opposed to “non-intervention” to define his position) doesn’t help. For most Christians, this is where they believe I’ve left the reservation. They may not say, “We have to be the world’s police force,” but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Do you know his position on Israel?” “Surely you can’t support a man who doesn’t support Israel!”

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Ron Paul does support Israel. It is our current foreign policy that does not support Israel! However, there is a deeper issue here. There is a sort of misplaced Dispensationalism that governs people’s sentimental attitude toward Israel. Let me state clearly that I do not believe the Bible demands that the U.S. support Israel. I do, however, believe that it is wise to do so for geopolitical reasons. To do so for theological reasons, I believe, is actually misguided, and quite dangerous. Nevertheless, Israel is our only true ally in the Middle East, and that is important.

But there’s a more important question: “What does it mean to “support” Israel?” Does it mean that Israel remains God’s “Chosen People,” and we must stand with them in anticipation of the coming Armageddon? Is the President to act as “Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces” and “Supreme Defender of Israel”? Or are we simply to make sure the foreign aid dollars don’t stop flowing? Here are a few things I took into to consideration in evaluating Congressman Paul’s foreign policy.

  1. Israel is the most powerful nation in the Middle East... BY A LONG SHOT! In fact, Israel could potentially defeat all the other military powers in the Middle East simultaneously if they had to.
  2. We not only give money to Israel; we give money to their enemies as well. That is not supporting Israel! That is using money to buy influence in a region thousands of miles away from us in the name of oil, when we happen to have the largest repository of oil on planet earth right here in the US, but refuse to go and get it (in the name of Earth-worshipping environmentalism)!
  3. Israel is a sovereign nation, and we have no right to treat her like a child. Our foreign aid has been a tool used to influence Israel’s domestic policy for far too long. If we are their friends, we should allow them to exercise their sovereignty without our interference, and certainly without our condemnation. Who do we think we are? No, I disagree with my Christian brothers and sisters who think a country who supports Israel’s enemies, interferes with Israel’s domestic policy, condemn’s Israel in efforts to keep ties with oil-rich countries in the region, and helps to destabilize and radicalize one of Israel’s historic foes lurking on her southern boarder is engaging in a foreign policy that supports Israel.

III. Ron Paul is a Consistent Conservative

Finally, I support Dr. Paul because he has been a consistent conservative. He has been married to the same woman for more than fifty years; delivered over 4,000 babies as an OB; never performed a single abortion; has never voted for an unbalanced budget, a tax increase, or a bailout; forecasted the economic debacle long before it happened;[13] and gave back $140,000 last year through his office to pay down the national debt (100,000 in 2010). This man is so principled that he refuses to claim his congressional pension!

Ron Paul is the real deal. He is not perfect. He needs a savior just like you and I do (as noted by his trust in Christ as his redeemer). But when it’s all said and done, he is a man with whom I agree in principle. I know where he’s coming from, and it’s not based on his “personal story,” or his sense of what’s going to get him elected. It’s the same thing he’s been running on (and governing from) for over three decades; the Constitution of the United States (viewed through the lens of a basic biblical world and life view). And I’m glad to support a man like that.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Therapeutic Praise"

The weekend devotional in January's Tabletalk Magazine is entitled "Therapeutic Praise."  David Murray wrote an excellent article about the value of singing the Psalms.  He starts off saying, "Despite hundreds of new Christian songs being composed each year, the ancient Psalms are experiencing something of a revival."  He goes on to give five reasons all dealing with our emotions, thus the title of the article. 

First, the Psalms are God's word and at the same time, express our emotions as humans.  "The Psalms strike an inspired balance of doxology and theology; they combine the objective with the subjective in perfect proportions." 

His second and third reasons deal with those emotions.  "...[T]he Psalms richly express the full range of human emotions: grief and joy, doubt and confidence, loneliness and fellowship, despair and hope, fear and courage, defeat and victory, complaint and praise."  In addition to the full range of emotions the Psalms also portray honesty of emotion.  He says, "Although the strong expressions of stark reality can initially jar our refined ears, we are soon relieved to find kindred spirits who helpfully express what we often think, feel, and experience in our messy daily lives."

Fourth, the Psalms allow us to deal with painful emotions.  "The Psalms not only permit us to 'vent' our emotions but also call for transformation.  We are not left to wallow in our feelings but are shown how to move from fear to courage, from sorrow to joy, from anger to peace, and from despair to hope."

Fifth, the Psalms encourage us to be sympathetic to others who are experiencing emotions different from our own.  "The Psalms call me to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice, even if I feel the exact opposite."  Romans 12:15 says exactly that.  As the body of Christ we bear each others burdens.

His last line, "The Psalms turn me inside out."  That makes me smile.   

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do Familial Curses Still Exist?

The following is a brief article by R.C. Sproul Jr. Just read it!

God tells us in Exodus 20 that He will visit “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,” (verse 5). That might settle the issue, but then God also told us this, “In those days they shall say no more: ‘ The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’” (Jeremiah 31:29). Does this mean that there was, in the old covenant, familial curses, and that in the new they no longer exist? I think not.

I would suggest instead that what was still is, and what is not, never was. God’s promise in Exodus 20 is not that He will send fresh judgment against one generation for the sins of another generation. God does not have beside His throne a box full of thunderbolts that He hurls down on sinners. Much less does He hurl down thunderbolts against someone’s great grandchildren. The consequences of our sin are much more organic than that, as are the results of our obedience.

Suppose that I suffered from covetousness. God is unlikely to, if I am outside the kingdom, send me boils to punish me. Neither is He likely, if I am inside the kingdom, to send me boils to coax me toward repentance. What He is far more likely to do, in either case, is afflict me with collection calls, repo men, crippling interest rates and foreclosure. Now suppose my sons grew up in this covetous household. Is it not more likely that they will learn covetousness from me? Will they not likely see the afflictions as normal life? They certainly are not likely to receive an inheritance that could bless them. They would, in this sense, live with the consequences of my sin, for multiple generations. My iniquity would be visited on them.

That said, if they in turn live covetous lives, will they be able to blame either God or me for the collections calls, repo men, etc? Of course not. They are still responsible to be financially responsible. They are in like manner free to live in gratitude, and to end the cycle.

Those who promote the notion of “familial curses” are correct to note that our sins are not hermetically sealed, affecting only the sinner. (Remember that multiple “innocent” families lost husbands and fathers at Ai because of Achan’s sin at Jericho (Joshua 7:4).) God does indeed deal with us corporately, not just in the family but in churches, communities and nations. Those who think there is some sort of mystical cure, beyond repentance, are, I fear, mistaken.

In the end, if we are suffering and wondering why, the last answer we should come to is, “It is my ancestor’s fault.” On the other hand, when we are tempted to sin, we ought never to lose sight that the consequences certainly can outlive us, and afflict those we love. Thus I pray often that God would spare my children from the fruit of my sins. In either case the answer is to repent and to give thanks. We all enjoy so much more than we are due. And even suffering, for the believer, is blessing. We are to count it all joy.

(Emphasis added.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Handmade Gift from a Friend

Way back a year ago a few of us decided to participate in a "Handmade Pay-it_forward" thing. Here's the gift I received from my friend Margaret.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Girls ready for Christmas



The above seven are mine. Amy dressed ALL the dolls for Christmas. We think we have 35 18-inch dolls. Here's the annual Christmas group shot.


Believe it or not, these dolls all have names. Starting in the back row from left to right (continuing down the stairs from left to right):

Addy, Sierra, Kit, Felicity, Elizabeth, Jess

Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Josie, Kirsten, Star, Laylie

Emily, Molly, Rebecca, Kaya, Joan, Julie, Victoria

Violet, Josefina, Abigail Noel, Josefina, Samantha, Kathleen, Eilis

Etta, Cecile, Nicki, Elizabeth Bennett (from Pride & Prejudice), Anna, Adria, Chrissa, Solana

Lia holding Kristina, Polly, Esther, Rejoice holding Rebecca.

There you have it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How's Your Cholesterol?

This is an email that came in my email today.

It's about as casual and common a question as, "How's it going?" And because cholesterol is made out to be the dirty culprit responsible for high rates of heart disease, many stay on top of their cholesterol levels and try desperately to keep them below whatever the doctors are touting as the "now", new dangerous level.

Men of all ages can't even watch a TV hockey game without being prodded to: "Ask your doctor if Lipitor is right for you." Well, don't bother asking. The answer is "No!" Plain and simple.

Lipitor's website begins with the words, "If you have high cholesterol, you may not even know it."(1) Well, that's true. If indeed high cholesterol was the cause of heart disease, the reminder and warning might be appreciated, but what the mainstream media doesn't tell us is this:

---- Cholesterol is not a proven cause of heart disease.

Or this:

---- Diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol do not equate to heart disease or high cholesterol levels.

And this:

---- There is very little cholesterol or saturated fat in the arterial plaque that clogs.

How 'bout this?

---- Rates of heart failure have doubled since the advent of statin drugs. (2)

The truth is, cholesterol-lowering drugs (not cholesterol) cause more harm to the heart than elevated cholesterol levels.

Conversely, statins are know for the following:

---- They inhibit the production of coenzyme, Q10, which the muscles, including the heart need to function.

---- are know to cause heart failure.

---- are a depressant.

---- rob the mind of its cognitive ability.

---- have been shown to cause cancer.

Cholesterol is not the culprit it's made out to be. In fact, it is a wonderful thing.

Let me repeat: Cholesterol truly is a wonderful thing and necessary to many areas of the body, including the heart.

Did you know that cholesterol is: (3)

---- Made by almost every cell in the body?

---- A waterproofing mechanism that helps build cell walls, allowing the cellular function to proceed without impediment?

---- A powerful antioxidant, which helps protect against cancer?

---- A building block for hormones - particularly those that address stress, and regulate mineral metabolism, blood sugars, and sex hormones?

---- Necessary for brain function as well as the central nervous system?

---- Like an anti-depressant, only the real thing? It helps the body make use of serotonin; the chemical that helps make us feel mentally well.

So, if you're trying to catch cholesterol, you're going after the wrong perpetrator!

But wait a minute. What about the "good" vs. "bad" cholesterol debate? Maybe we shouldn't be up in arms against all cholesterol, but only the "bad" cholesterol?

Yes, this, too, is an ill-waged war.

The only thing "bad" about the "bad cholesterol," LDL (low-density-lipoprotein) is that it carries homocysteine along with the necessary cholesterol, from the liver to the other areas of the body.

Homocysteine is an amino acid that we rarely hear about within the cholesterol debate.

Too much homocysteine can damage the arteries and the heart.

Instead of lowering cholesterol levels, endeavor to lower homocysteine levels, which run rampant when our body doesn't have enough vitamin B6, B12, and Folic Acid.

Unfortunately, this is all too often the case, since the body is ultimately depleted of these vitamins thanks to processed foods. B6, B12, and folic acid are destroyed by technological advances, which are appealingly called "refined" and "processed." Think: white refined sugars, white flours, canning and heating processes, etc.

Let the case against cholesterol come to a close. It is a beautiful and necessary substance needed for healthy minds and bodies. As are saturated fats and cholesterol rich foods. What we don't need is a statin drug to cover up symptoms that don't necessarily point to disease in the first place.

So if you really want to arm yourself against heart disease and truly want to stop worrying about cholesterol levels, try these easy, safe, & delicious ideas:

---- Stock your refrigerator with free-range eggs and raw milk.

---- Don't be afraid of fat-soluble vitamins A and D and the butter and lard from which they are deliciously and naturally delivered.

---- Enjoy gourmet, nutrient dense foods such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and liver and organ meats from free range animals.

---- Find a friend who hunts, and stock your freezer with venison and bones for making genuine hearth-healthy bone stocks for your soups.

---- Eschew canned, processed fruits and vegetables as well as pasteurized dairy, especially ultra-pasteurized. Replace these with homemade or cottage industry provided sources.

---- Eat vegetables, but not in lieu of fatty meats and whole fat dairy products which are packed with homocysteine regulating vitamins: B6, B12, and Folic Acid. More importantly, include crispy, fermented vegetables.

It's really rather easy. Just eat like an old time farmer, OR like a European immigrant, OR like a connoisseur seated at the finest restaurant in Paris, Rome, or Munich.

Then enjoy your meals knowing that your heart will love it. In fact, it might just have a love affair with genuine food.


(1) (2) (3)

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The reader is encouraged to make independent inquires and to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare provider.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Here are the close-ups of the ornaments from the Nativity Tree. Ornaments1collage



This one is from my childhood. I think I made it in third grade, but it could have been second grade.


These clothes pin ornaments are also from my childhood, but I don't remember who made them. My mom might know. Hint, hint. :)


This guy makes me smile. He's a modern stuffed snowman, one of several that sit around during the Christmas season. IMG_0048