October 29, 2012

{Reblogged} Are We Becoming More Medieval?

And, although I don’t necessarily agree 100% with the author, I think he does bring up some valid arguments.  I would diverge with him on a couple of points:

1. What is wrong with communitarianism? ( i.e. “nation states” or “city states” or as the author termed it “a nostalgia for localism”) — he seems to think that they are not wanted (I hesitate to use the word ‘bad’), somehow.

2. All the problems the West faces, specifically in the US, were not created by Obama taking office and running up 5 trillion more dollars worth of debt.  These problems are deep-seated, and transcend party affiliation, ethnicity or gender.  They have more to do with worldview, then with politics.  Which of course, are intra-related, one informing the other, hopefully.

Why is there today a nostalgia for localism? Shrinking Western populations with growing numbers of elderly and unemployed can no longer sustain their present level of redistributive taxation and entitlements. Europe, which can endure neither the disease of insolvency nor the supposed medicine of austerity, is only a decade ahead of what we should expect here in the United States, or what we see now in California — a construct more than a state, where the Central Valley is to the coast as Mississippi is to Massachusetts. 
Voters are also disgusted with government, and feel that their overseers are not even subject to the consequences of what they impose on others: We expect the Obamas to trash the 1 percent as they jet to Martha’s Vineyard, or a zillionaire John Kerry to demand higher taxes as he seeks to avoid them on his yacht, or an upscale French Socialist president to have a home on the Mediterranean — or, on the other side of the ledger, social-conservative elites to speak and act like metrosexuals. 
The frustration with the distant redistributive state extends beyond the technocracy to the very nature and legitimacy of the bureaucracies themselves. We know that no one trusts the National Bank of Greece or believes much in Eurobonds, but who trusts any more the GSA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or even the Secret Service to fulfill their missions competently, and with honesty and decorum? 
Nor can the redistributionist technocracy any longer make the case that its certifications, its very claims to legitimacy and entitlement — a PhD from Harvard, a JD from Yale, an MBA from Stanford — and its experience — tenure at Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, two years in OMB, a billet at the CBO, three years at the Federal Reserve — have warranted our trust. We certainly do not believe any more that such a résumé makes one a better legislator or administrator than another who has run a company, built a business, farmed, piloted a plane, or served in the military. Certainly an Al Gore or Barack Obama does not seem wise, no matter where he was educated or how many government posts he has held.
You can read the article in it’s entirety, here.

October 28, 2012

Sunday Meditation


Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,  but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality.
 Romans 2:1-11 ESV

October 22, 2012

On Parenting: A Few Observations

As a young adult female, who desires to one day wed and have children of my own, parenting is something I like to observe.  I've seen the good, the bad, the ugly.  It is always a great blessing when I am around families whose love and harmony pulses out so strongly, obvious to even a silent observer.

My current employment allows me to function in a simi-parental role: I work as a nanny with two precious boys aged 4.5 and 3.5.  I feed them, love on them, cloth them, read to them, take them to the park, on walks, "discipline" them (as in keeping them in line), bathe them, comfort them, potty train them, and put them to bed.  I sometimes feel like a mother, because I spend the majority of their day, performing motherly tasks while real momma works.

I'd like to share these observations because of my own experience as a child, and the lessons I have gleaned from that time, in retrospect.  With time and added maturity, I hope, I have been able to appreciate the efforts my parents put in, to my proper upbringing.

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 - Don't make empty threats.  This is highly ineffective, because children catch on to parental inconsistencies quicker then we might think.  They will soon realize our none-committal to carrying out the punishment threatened, and begin to look for more ways to challenge our authority.
- Do not punish in anger!  I can't state that strongly enough.  Disciplining a child when one is angry results in painful and distasteful consequences.  The child can be physically hurt, if their parent lashes out with an angry response, and emotionally traumatized, becoming distrustful of his/her parent, because of the angry and unrighteous response to their offense.
- Set reasonable boundaries, and stick to them.  Of course, some boundaries are only useful for a certain time period.  For example, while you may tell your five-year-old son that he may not go the park alone, when he is twelve or thirteen years old, you may modify the same rule, and allow him to go, with time restrictions, etc.  While other boundaries (read rules) don't change, such as honoring and obeying parental authority, treating those around us with kindness and gentle treatment, or taking others things (i.e. stealing).  Those are timeless principles, which, if applied (taught) properly, will stay with a child for a lifetime.  (see Proverbs 22:6 below)

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."

- Realize that most character qualities are "caught" rather than "taught."  With this in mind, think of how your child sees you, when you're responding to a stressful situation in anger, instead of patience and prayer.  Do you want your son or daughter to respond similarly?  Children are like little mirrors, reflecting back to their parents how they act, talk, handle a situation, etc.  They [the children] are like little sponges, soaking up what their parents say, how they say it, their body language or just "language," how they handle life situations, how they treat their spouses.  Children catch on to any hypocrisy too, which is a sobering thought.  A lot of times, they can see it before we do, so live consistently before the eyes of your children.
- Start young, and be patient.  If parents understood that discipleship parenting really begins in utero, I think children would turn out to be better people, because they would be receiving the benefits of godly examples and instructions from Day 1, practically.  Far too many parents allow their children to "have their own way," and then wonder why they "rebel" around age twelve.

When parents begin at a very young age with their children, to impart good and godly character qualities such as: self-control, honesty and truthfulness, a gentle and kind treatment of others, a servants heart of selfless living, and a desire to find, know and walk in Truth, the child's heart is softened to obedience, self-sacrifice, kindness, etc., making the parents job easier in the long-run.

- You can teach a baby to obey.  And a toddler to sit still through a church service, to not interrupt at meal-time, or take away a playmates toys.   A happy, well-adjusted, obedient child does take a lot of effort and input, at the beginning.  But, should the discipleship process be carried out in a loving, gentle and consistent manner, the rewards of a godly young person are huge!

- Give them a chance to obey / disobey.  I have noticed that I often get impatient with younger children, especially when they have been asked to do something, and seem to not respond immediately.  Instead of getting upset or angry, it is best to repeat the command / request, and than give them a chance to obey or disobey.  

Next week, I will explore the "stages" of parenting.  And parent / child relationships that please the Lord and bring honor to each party. 


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Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:  “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-4

October 16, 2012

1000 Gifts





786. Ted talks
787. Romans 15:5-7
788. Abe's visits
789. Monday night Ultimate frisbee and visiting
790. Hugs
791. Park days
792. The gift of art
793. Colors
794. Sewing projects
795. My promise ring
796. God's promises
797. Obvious answers to prayers
798. Sharpies
799. Pillowcases
800. Chores
801. Noah's questions
802. Paracord bracelets
803. Flannel
804. Figs
805. Tinted windows


My list will continue to grow as I praise the Lord each week here on my blog!
To join in the praise click here.

October 15, 2012

Yesterday was an historic day here in the US, and for the world.  Because for the first time in recorded history, a man jumped from the edge of the space and lived to tell us about his experience.

Parachutist Felix Baumgartner, 43 of Austria, took to stratosphere yesterday morning, in a specially crafted balloon driven capsule.  After a two-hour ascent, he reached his destination: 128,000 feet above the Earth, and then he jumped...

For the first 4 minutes 16 seconds after his jump, he was in free-fall, uncontrolled motion as he hurled towards the ground.  Reaching speeds upwards of 800 mph, breaking the sound barrier.  But, he didn't break the record for free-fall following a stratospheric jump set in 1960 by Joe Kittinger, at 4 minutes 36 seconds.  Interestingly, Kittinger was one of the mission control team members, assisting Felix in his mission.

With jaw-dropping amazement, the world looked on as Mr. Baumgartner sped towards earth at such a rate unthinkable.  When his parachute deployed, just minutes before touching down in a field in New Mexico, the world cheered.  This was such a momentous undertaking.  Years in planning and preparation, about to pay off.  When he landed, those watching, especially his family, let out a victorious sigh of relief.  Felix had done, what no other human had dreamed of doing, until recently, and had allowed an audience worldwide to watch his every step, from launch, to journey, to jump, to successful landing.

It was a breathtaking few hours, which will go down in history as acts of bravery, scientifically and experimentally pushing the envelope towards a new horizon astronomically.  

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Speed of sound explained

"Breaking the speed of sound refers to catching up with – and surpassing – the speed at which sound waves are produced in the air. The speed of sound is affected by temperature: where the air is colder, sound travels more slowly."

World-record jump

October 13, 2012

It's the simple things



It's another lovely early Fall day, and I'm once again at the park.  Surrounded by chirping birds, buzzing cars and thundering planes.  As I sit here, joggers move quickly past, and those who've chosen walking as their form of exercise, meander slowly by.  Locusts pulse out their harmonic vibrations, and the water in the stream gracefully eases its way downstream.

I love relative solitude.  Because when I'm alone, my heart can truly be heard and pours itself out on my page.  Expressing its deepest thoughts and feelings.  And though I love my family dearly, sometimes it seems almost impossible to gather ones thoughts in a house swarming with activity. 


So I choose to come here, and sit alone on a swing, to process what happened yesterday, and plan for today, tomorrow, the day after.  And to read and study God's gift to mankind: Holy Scripture, or a book I need to complete. 


And of course, I reflect on all of God's many kindnesses, and how truly faithful He is, despite my letting Him down, daily.  


This is my sanctuary, where I steal away and spend time with my Jesus.



Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not. 
 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. 
 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations  3:22-24

October 9, 2012

A day at the park


Last Saturday we (Phoebe, Johanna, Jaden and I) took a walk down to the park nearest our house.  Despite the cooler temps and wind, we had a good time.  


There are some neat trees at this park, and we stopped at one of them to take some pictures.  Oh yes, and Jaden thought he was stuck after he climbed up the tree and couldn't come back down.  So, we had a few minutes of laughter as we attempted to help him down.  He jumped in the end, and was fine. 


Johanna looking smart in her fall outfit with a splash of color 


There are some lovely rose bushes, overflowing with blooms.  



Loveliness in a flower 


And then we found a cool swing and took silly pictures :)  


The leaves are changing color 


I think Autumn is here 


I served as a model for Johanna 


Admiring the beauty found in a simple leaf 


Pheebs 


What is she thinking I wonder? 


After we had walked around in the park, snapping photos, we went under the bridge and sang in 4-part harmony which sounded like we were in a cathedral!  Then we tramped up to the library where we saw the ducks, and looked at books for a bit. 

All in all, it was a lovely afternoon with my darling siblings. :) 


The geese flying south
In a row long and V-shaped
Pulling in winter
 
-- Sally Andresen (Fall)

October 7, 2012

Sunday Meditation

 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
    God makes salvation
    its walls and ramparts.
Open the gates
    that the righteous nation may enter,
    the nation that keeps faith.
You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
He humbles those who dwell on high,
    he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground
    and casts it down to the dust.
Feet trample it down—
    the feet of the oppressed,
    the footsteps of the poor.
 Isaiah 26:1-6

October 6, 2012

Neil Harbisson: I listen to color

I have on my phone, a lot of really helpful, and fun apps.  The other day, I added the TED talks application, and ran across this amazing talk by artist Neil Harbisson.

I think you'll find it as fascinating and funny as I did.