Friday, August 26, 2011

Are Beetles Worth $5.8 Million?

I was wondering what I would blog about next.  Sometimes I am at a loss as to what to write.  Well, this morning I was given a topic by a friend on Facebook.  He posted an article about the government giving $5.8 million to four states to protect endangered beetles.  See it here:

I posted that that money could be well spent on the homeless and the hungry.  My friend posted that it was given simply to get the votes of the environmentalists.  Someone else chimed in and said that $5.8 million was 1% of the budget for the homeless and hungry and that the two of us must not be Christians.  I was confused by this post and asked him why he said that.  His response was, "Because you don't are about God's creation."  REALLY??

My post to him before I hid the conversation because I couldn't take the ludicrousness of his line of thinking was, "I love God's creation, but I love people more than beetles; and I'm pretty sure God does, too, since he made man in his own image and died for him on the cross."

I guess I should say that I appreciate the banter this morning.  I needed something to wake me up while I worked.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to shake the thought that I might not be a Christian because I don't think beetles deserve 5.8 million dollars.  May God forgive me.  ;-)

In a time when millions are hungry and homeless for whatever reason, probably a lot because of the current state of our economy, is it really necessary to give almost $6 million dollars to beetles?  Aren't people worth so much more than a bug that can be squashed?  Should we start counting how many ants are left?  I'm pretty sure I stepped on a couple on the way to my car yesterday, but I didn't do it on purpose!!!  What about flies?  I have a fly swatter for the express purpose of killing flies who unlawfully enter my house.  What does that say about me?  I best cancel my Orkin service.  I am actually paying people to kill bugs that enter my home.  Oh, no!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How I am Like a Coupon

I've been redeemed!!!

I was back in the Word of God last night - to study it.  It's been a while since I've really taken the time to sit down and study it and not just read it.  I have had so much stress lately that I clench my teeth when I sleep.  I don't exhibit stress during the day so far as I know.  I save it for when I'm supposed to be relaxing.  Go figure!  I thought if I got back into the Word on a regular basis and learned how to unload my stress while studying Scripture that I would spare my jaw and teeth some trouble down the road.  I am fully aware that there are many other reasons to be in the Word on a regular basis.

So, anyhow, I laid down on my floor and opened up the Bible to Ephesians.  I used a Bible that I've had for probably 15 years.  At some point in the past I started to underline everything I read in hopes that one day it would all be underlined.  Since I had used other Bibles besides that one throughout the years, I had stopped underlining everything I read.  I decided to take up that challenge again last night.  As I was reading and underlining, there were some things that really jumped up off the page.  I took out a notebook and wrote things down as I read.  Here are a few thoughts.

Paul wrote Ephesians to the saints in Ephesus.  He said to them, "God blessed us with every spiritual blessing."  It occurred to me that He has blessed all Christians with every spiritual blessing.  We, truly, need nothing else.  It made me wonder why I stress.  Good grief, if I have everything I need, what is it that I worry about or feel like I need, etc., etc.

Then I started to read about some things God did for us, for me.  He chose me before creation - to be holy and blameless in HIS sight.  I am not perfect.  I do still sin, as does everybody, but I am his child; and in HIS sight I am blameless.  He decided long ago to adopt me as his child in accordance with his pleasure and will.  I am so very thankful!!

Made me realize how trivial I make this gift out to be because I am not in his Word daily and I worry and concern myself with future things over which I have no control.  How horrible would it be if a child you adopted only rarely spoke to you?

He redeemed me through Jesus' blood.  He forgave my sins - "in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."  These riches are immeasurable.  There is no price tag that can be put on what he did for me.  That is an amazing picture of love.  He lavishes things on us.  Have you ever really thought about that?

He lets me know the mystery of his will - according to his good pleasure.

He included me in Christ.  This phrase stood out to me more than any other, I think.  He included me.  What peace this phrase gives me.  If there is a time in life when you don't feel like you belong, if you are a child of God, you are INCLUDED.  There is no greater place you can be than in the family of God.  No matter what you are going through, good or bad, you ALWAYS have a place where you belong, where you can go, because God INCLUDED YOU!!  

I shared this with my family last night.  I told them that because God included us we need to make sure we don't make others feel like they are excluded.  It is our duty to reflect God to others around us.  If we don't include people, then we are not reflecting very well.

Well, that was only the first 15 verses of chapter one.  I know I will gain greater insight as I keep reading.  I hope you don't mind if I post every now and again what I am learning.  It fills me with such great joy and excitement that I just have to share.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When a Fair Day is a Great Day...

I just can't help myself.  I love the county fair!!  I don't remember ever going to one when I was a kid, but I haven't missed one for the past 4 years.  Where else can you feel like a hick when you live in the 'burbs?  I think I've got "a hillbilly bone down deep inside."

Tonight's event was Monster Trucks.  There were five that showed up from around the area.  One was eliminated after the qualifying round because an axle broke.  That left four.  They put on quite a show.  It got me thinking about whether or not they had things like this in other countries or if it was something only we Americans did.  It is funny when you think about some of the things that we enjoy...people driving around in trucks they need a ladder to climb into, that drive over large mounds of dirt and other cars so they can fly high in the air.  I think we all secretly await the one that ends up on its side, without the driver getting hurt, of course.  Kind of like this one...

Don't worry, though; he was all right.  They got his truck flipped back over, and he was able to continue racing.  

During the course of the evening, in between heats, they amused us with other diversions such as the car-eating dinosaur, Megasaurus, and the world's first jet-powered Smart Car.

Last night was a bit quieter.  It rained all day, so the tractor pulls were canceled.  Instead, the kids got to ride some of the fair rides, thanks to a generous friend.  The rides are expensive enough that we never pay for the kids to ride, so this was an extra special treat for them.  They also enjoyed the petting zoo where they each got to pet a real live baby zebra.
John and Jacob are upside down on this one.

Paige is petting the zebra.

Tomorrow night is the school bus demolition derby.  Every year I say that there is just something wrong with vehicles that are supposed to safely transport children to school backing up into each other as fast as they can for the purpose of destroying each other, but IT IS SO MUCH FUN TO WATCH!!  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Destination Disney - The Letter G

A friend of mine has a blog,  She has been going through the alphabet with pictures of all things Disney.  I have decided to join the posts.  Today's letter is G.  These pictures are from our first trip in 2008.

Goofy and the kids at Chef Mickey's

Giant Wheel at Port Orleans

Green Army Man

Games on Main Street - I love these spontaneous things you find all over Disney.

Garden in Canada in Epcot

Goofy Scientists inside Innoventions - Paige got picked to go up on stage and be a scientist.  I actually think the lady was showing us how cameras worked.


                          Grand Finale of Wishes Nighttime Spectacular

Great Movie Ride - Western gun fight ended up with the town burning down.

I can't wait to go through my pictures and find the letter H!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Treasures in the Tunnel

Upon completion of a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, you are able to walk through an underground tunnel to get to the Library of Congress.  Since the heat index was over 100 degrees this past Saturday, we opted for the tunnel.  At the beginning of the tunnel is, of course, a gift shop where you can buy all sorts of paraphernalia with pictures of the Capitol Building.  John walked through first.  As I was on my way in, he was on his way out and said, "There's nothing worth buying in there."  I entered any way because I enjoy window shopping, as do my kids who followed along behind me.  I have no use for the things they placed near the front such as bells, mugs, plates, paperweights, etc.  When I was a kid, I used to buy mugs as souvenirs.  After a few moves as an adult, I got rid of all of them.

As I worked my way around the gift shop, I ended against the back wall where they put all the really good stuff.  I don't understand why they do that.  This wall had so many different kinds of books I could use for school.  There were books about the Capitol, books about history, books about the city of D.C., etc.  There were games and other educational tools.  This was like finding hidden treasure, for me.  I'm a little weird in that way, I suppose.  I love to teach, so I am always looking for something to go along with what I am teaching at that point in time, something that will reinforce the words that are spoken so that they will remember the information well into the future.

I found a great little book, A Young Person's Guide to the United States Capitol.  It is a small book that details the history of the U.S. Capitol with many pictures and interesting facts about the building in a fun-to-read manner .  It contains learning activities and maps as well.  You can be sure I picked that up to bring home.  It seemed like a bargain to me at only $5.95.

As I perused the gift shop a little further, I also found a game entitled, Expansion of the United States.  We are studying the westward expansion of the United States for history this year, so this was perfect.  It was only $16.95.  It has a thin cardboard map of the United States with many trails and territories marked off.  There are 50 cards which have the name of the trail or territory on one side with information about said trail or territory on the back.  There is a listing of the major events of westward expansion.  There is also a teacher's book that includes teaching activities for further study.  My brother said to me, "They're going to know that information after two games."  I told him that if they learned it that quickly after two games it was worth the money I paid for it.  If it took them 20 games to learn it, it would be worth the money.  Either way, if they learn it, it will be worth it.  I didn't feel I could have found a better teaching tool to go along with our history study.

We also bought a replica of the Declaration of Independence and one of the Constitution on parchment paper.  We will be framing these eventually and hanging them on our walls.  They were only $4.00, not $35.00 like in National Treasure with Nicholas Cage.

So, when you choose to enter a gift shop, dig your way past all the trinkets and junk in the front of the store and make your way to the back where all the really good treasures are hiding!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Sense of Accomplishment

Well, let's see, what did I accomplish today?  I worked 22 minutes of my 10 hours I was supposed to work today and then asked my supervisor if I could take the rest of it as paid time off.  The work load was too light to sit at my computer waiting for jobs to download that weren't there.  Besides, I had so many other things I could have been doing, like keeping an eye on Paige and her friend while they were swimming in the pool, baking 2 cheesecakes, doing umpteen loads of laundry, doing dishes, pulling a baby tooth out of Nate's mouth, helping to extract one from Jake's mouth, etc.  I was able to fill my day with so many things, but the thing that gave me my biggest sense of accomplishment was finally finishing the book, Rise to Rebellion, by Jeff Shaara.  I think I probably started it about 3 or 4 months ago; I'm not really sure.  All I know is that it took me a while to read it because when I could only read a chapter or a half of a chapter every time I sat down to read it.  The book was incredibly well written and a great read but, you know the story, life got in the way of finishing it.

With the rare occurrence of having a completely free day when I didn't have to worry about work at all, I took the opportunity this evening to finish the 60 or 70 pages I had left.  When I read the last page, I triumphantly closed the book and placed it on the shelf.  I proceeded to tell my whole family that I had finished the book.  Now I'm telling YOU!  It probably doesn't sound like a big deal but, if you really knew me, you'd know it is.  If you came to my house, you'd see a lot of projects started...   Yep, that's the gist of it - started but not finished.  I have rooms that only have one wall painted, individual walls that aren't completely painted, rooms that need cleaned, craft projects not finished, the list goes on and on.  So, for me to finish a project, like reading a book (492 pages), that's a HUGE accomplishment, and I can't help but feel a sense of pride.

When I was in 10th grade, I almost failed my English class.  When I was that age, I hated to read.  Our teacher had the class reading books like Of Mice and Men and The Great Gatsby.  I'd start them...  You guessed it - but never finished them.  I failed almost every test.  Out of the kindness of his heart and, I think (thought it's so long ago now it's hard to remember for sure), with me doing some extra work, he gave me a C.  As I get older, I find that I love to read.  I read mostly historical fiction because I've found that, also, as I've gotten older, I love to learn, and these books help me to accomplish both tasks.  I wish I enjoyed those things when I was supposed to be reading and learning; it would have made school easier.  I got good grades for the most part.  By the time I was a senior in high school, I had finally gotten my act together.  I was the opposite of most of my classmates; they were goofing off their senior year.  I was finally working hard.

Anyway, I am onto my next book.  It is called Across Five Aprils.  It follows a boy named Jethro through the Civil War.  I'm only 10 pages into it, but it is good so far.  I am actually reading it to see if I want my 6th-8th grade Civil War class at our homeschool co-op to read it.  Jacob, who is our avid reader, was excited to find out I was finished with my book and asked with eager expectation, "What are you going to read next?"  He was visibly disappointed when I told him I'd be reading this book for class.  He wants me to read the books he loves, books like The Lost Hero and The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan.  Maybe I'll get to them next.