Friday, April 30, 2004

The Writing on My Palace Walls

I need to clear a few things up. Several people have commented on my post concerning schooling and wondered aloud who was giving me hassles. The answer is: No One. All the hassling has come from my "palace walls."

"Palace wall" is a metaphor for the internal dialogue and tapes that we all play in our heads. These are the messages that have been written into our lives by others, or which we write there ourself. They encompass things like, "real mothers don't feed their babies formula," or "real Christian women love to homeschool." Your writing might contain things like "Money is evil" and "I need money to live." This can create internal conflicts when you have contradictory messages playing at the same time in your head. The result is comparable to driving with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake: Lots of noise and spinning tires, but not a lot of progress. Basically, you were all witnesses to what happens when I yell at my walls in public. [blushes]

I have a lot of conflicting good mother/bad mother messages on my walls. Some of them need erasing and others need to be written in larger brighter colors that I can't miss.

It has been a crazy week. Every day I have been up early doing homeschooling, cleaning like a mad woman, taking phone calls, doing emails, and I saw three clients this week. Tuesday night we had a late night phone call from a business partner. Last night was another late night call from another prospective partner. I also spoke with one on the phone from Korea yesterday. Tomorrow night is another phone appointment with yet another partner, and a business meeting with another couple follows in the evening. Business is starting to boom in a serious way.

I am amazed at how clean the house has been in spite of all this, my laundry is caught up, and I have been able to homeschool in and around all this activity. Maybe I am superwoman after all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Post Script to the Prior Post

I forgot to mention how efficient a means of earning money MLM is and a few other important points. The MLM business leverages my time and my money and creates residual income.

Last month our business grew with the addition of 78 new associates. My husband and I only signed up maybe two of that number. The rest were brought in by those we partner with. In essence, we may benefit from hundreds of hours of work that has been done, and only do 10 % of that work ourselves. Most of that work involves helping those who are our fellow associates so the work benefits them as well.

Good MLM organizations grow geometrically, and once you hit a certain level, a momentum gets going that tends to snowball. What are the benefits of this?

Let's compare the difference between what we could call linear income with leveraged income. In linear income, you get paid for the work you do. When you show up to work, the pay meter kicks in and stays on for as long as you are working. When you leave work, it shuts off. It is a straight trade of time for money. If you don't work, you don't get paid. This is especially true for independant small business owners and most employees.

In a leveraged income, the income is still being generated even if you aren't working. If you happen to have people in your organization who live on the other side of the world, you can literally have money being made on your behalf, 24 hours of the day. I don't know about the rest of you, but this seems to be a smarter and more profitable way of working. In time you generate residual income which means you no longer have to work and the money is still being generated.

I don't want to paint a false picture that this is some sort of get rich fast scheme. Make no mistake about it: this requires work and perseverance. But if you can find a company with products that are produced with integrity, that have scientific validation and not just hype and anecdotes, and that look after their associates, you have a winning combination for genuinely helping people who suffer from ill health and financial stress.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Mother Led Marketing...

Or Why MLM is a Great Business for Wives, Mothers, Homeschoolers and Women who Just Want to Stay Home

I am a very big fan of network marketing as a means of supplementing the family income. Let me say that this was not always the case. It used to be that I would run a mile in tight shoes to get away from network marketers. I remember being invited over to someone's home for what I thought was going to be a social evening, only to find a group of others there, and people drawing circles at me. (Needless to say, I don't do that!)

Several years ago my dh, desperate because of the emotional upheaval that raging hormones was causing in our home, heard a radio program about a set of supplements that had a great deal of scientific and clinical work behind them and he decided to get some for me. The products worked like a charm, and he decided that this might be a good way to supplement the family income. When I found out they were an mlm (multi-level marketing, or network marketing) company, I quickly dug in my heels. I had heard about illegal pyramid schemes and thought that this was one of them. A Christian friend, who was not in mlm but who understood the business, explained that there is a huge difference between illegal pyramid scams and legitimate businesses that use the MLM business model. On the strength of that, we decided to give it a try. (For the difference between an illegal pyramid scheme and a legitimate MLM business, please go to this article)

After several years of hard work we are beginning to reap the benefits of this form of business. Many people are experiencing a level of health they thought could never be theirs again and some are finding a level they thought they would never know. Families are supplementing and even making this their primary source of income. Many are receiving their products (and consequently their good health) free of charge. This has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying ventures of my life.

I am going to keep this information generic so that I just cover some of the benefits about the industry itself that may be of interest to women.

~ You can do this business from home either part time or full time. This enables you to remain with your babies and children and actually raise and teach them yourself instead of going out of the home to work and hiring others to do it for you.

~ Start up costs for an MLM business are minimal. You can own your own business in most MLM companies for an investment of only $1000 or so (and sometimes less than that). Most franchises will cost several million.

~You can write off a portion of your home expenses as legitimate business expenses. This includes things like your phone bill, part of the mortgage or rent, gas money, groceries or meals at restaurants (if you entertain business clients), even vacations. (I have travelled back home to visit the parents and been able to claim it as a business expense since I have downline that I did work with when I was there).

~Technological advances have changed the face of and made MLM much easier to do. There is a minimum of paperwork involved, you don't have to manage employees, shipments are sent directly to the customer so that you have no need to stockpile inventory in your garage, and the headquarters of the company keeps track of your organization for you.

~Instead of being in business for yourself, by yourself, you have a business that is for yourself with help from others. This is a cooperative business model that appeals to women especially, since most women don't like the cut-throat competitiveness needed to make it in the traditional business model. To illustrate what I mean: if you were a hairdresser and someone comes to you wanting training, you could train that person, but if they set up shop somewhere else, you have essentially trained your competition. In the MLM model, when you help someone become successful, it helps YOU. I have to tell you, I LOVE THIS! I don't know any other form of business that allows me to enjoy helping others be successful without fearing that I am undercutting my own business. Robert Kiyosaki of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" fame has said that MLM is one of the best low risk ways of learning how to run a business that there is. In no other business model do you have available to you either free or for minimal cost, the amount of training that is necessary in order to make a go of it.

~Many companies do business not only in Canada and the US, but have developed international markets. The HQ of MLM companies paves the way for their associates by handling all the customs and legal requirements for them and makes doing business overseas extremely easy.

There are several things to consider (from a business perspective) when deciding which company you should work with:

~Does the company offer something unique and proprietary in nature that can't be bought anywhere else? Most people will not want to pay premium prices for tea tree oil products if they can buy the same thing that will do the job at the local health food store.

~Is the product consumable? Some companies offer excellent products that are non-consumable. This makes it more difficult to build a business since you need to constantly search for new clients in order to keep the money coming in. From a business perspective, it is easier to build a successful business if you have a product that people will need to replenish. If you have a quality product that does the job, this won't be a problem.

~Does the company have credibility? Are they striving to maintain high ethical standards in what they produce and how they run their business? What kind of evidence do they have to support any claims they may make?

~Is the business model one that encourages a high retention rate of loyal customers? If you need to get a hundred people buying product from you in order to cover your own product useage, it makes it very difficult to retain people. If, however, a minimal number is needed to pay for your products, the rate of growth is generally faster, sustainable and steady.

~What is the market potential for this company? Are they only in your country or are they international, thus broadening your potential base of customers?

The company I work with does all of the above, but I am not going to use this post to promote them. You can email me privately ( if you want to know which company I am with or visit the Free Products Forever website. I just wanted to use this opportunity to promote what has become the answer for our family in meeting the financial challenges of being quiverfull.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Wind and Water Woes

This has been an exciting week. On Thursday morning I arose to find that we had no water. Our water for the past several weeks had been doing strange and wonderful things from turning black as ink to a sort of rusty red color. Well, $600 and some odd dollars later, we find that the cause of all this was a hole in the metal pipe that had corroded from the minerals in the water. The well has been restored and hopefully we won't have to go through this again for at least another 14 years. It is so easy to take modern conveniences, like water from a tap, for granted until you lose it.

Friday dawned and I rejoiced as a strong woman ready to run a race, and all set to start getting caught up on the accumulated laundry when a wind, hail, and rain storm blew up and caused the power to go out. I was without water and power most of the day and again had cause to meditate on the wonders of modern technology that makes my life so much easier than my foremothers' lives.

TODAY I shall conquer the laundry and rejoice in running water and electricity once again.
More on the School Situation

Since probably not everyone reads the comment section of my blog (and the thingy that tells you how many comments there are doesn't work any more so that you may not realize that there are comments there), I post the following for your information.

There is a lot of confusion these days over the fate of independent homeschooling in BC, especially in light of a recent article that appeared in one of our provincial newspapers.

Parents who use Distance Education that is put out by the government, are not considered to be homeschoolers, as defined by the legislation that governs such things. They are students who are educated by the ministry though the learning takes place in the home. They are not forbidding the use of religious educational materials, just the use of them as part of the program. Parents can spend as much time as they want in training their children in the Faith; it just won't count as part of their school work.

The particular e-school that I am looking at is governed by the "Independent School Act" and this does allow for Christian based materials to be used. There is a cost involved: $200 per student for the year. I spend at least that much in curriculum per child as it is, only this way I get a teacher with it who does all the correcting, grading, and teaching. I am also allowed to participate as much or as little as I desire in the actual instruction.

I want to be upfront about something here with the homeschooling. I have the capabilities of being able to teach children how to read and do basic math and look things up. I have been told that I am a good teacher as well. The thing is that being a good teacher in a given area may not translate well into being a good teacher of children. It is easy to teach a subject I love to people who are wanting to learn. It is much harder to teach a subject you don't love to kids who don't really understand that learning this stuff is in their best interest. I don't see why I should devote hours to re-learning something in order to teach it when a lawful use of the division of labor can be incorporated in its place.

Yes, there are ways of making homeschooling all fun and jazzy so that the little darlings wake up bright and happy each morning eager to learn. Some people do this easily because it is a particular gifting they have been given by God. I have tried to do this over the years and failed miserably at it because it isn't me. I have no doubt that this is the result of many sad character faults that I have. But the fact is, that I find it extremely difficult to switch mental gears rapidly from teaching a lesson in math to answering an older child's question on english grammar all the while trying to nurse a baby to sleep and wondering what on earth I am going to make for supper as I throw another load of laundry in the washer.

After many years of trying and miserably failing at it, I am dropping out of the contest for "Super Christian Prairie Muffin Homeschooler of the Year" awards. Homeschooling seven kids at the same time is a full time job. Mothering teens to toddlers is a full time job, especially as you have to keep switching your mode of coping with each stage of development. Cooking and doing laundry for and cleaning up after (or training them to clean up after themselves) is a full time job. I am sorry, but I just can't handle that many full time jobs and still do an adequate job at all of them. Perhaps this is my perfectionistic tendencies revealing themselves here. I love to learn. Nothing thrills me more than having a large chunk of time to devote to studying something. I want my kids to know that same thrill, but they aren't getting it because of my fractured attention to too many legitimate things.

One of the problems of the Christian homeschool movement is the way it resembles the breastfeeding and natural/homebirth movement. There is a great deal of pride and self-righteousness that can go with the territory. 'Real' mothers give birth at home with midwives and no drugs. 'Real' mothers breastfeed their children til age 3 (and will tandem nurse if another baby happens before that age). 'Real' mothers wear their babies in slings and co-sleep. 'Real' mothers homeschool and have children wo are accepted to Harvard on full scholarships because they did such a good job. Anyone who does less than this is not a real Christian mother.

Some time ago I read an article by Nancy Wilson on the breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding controversy that sometimes arises amongst Christian women. It can become an emotionally laden and hurtful controversy when some women, who , for whatever reason, use a bottle to feed their babies and are made to feel less than good mothers by those who breastfeed. The real issue that determines how good a woman's mothering is, is not breast vs. bottle, but is the baby being fed? No one with a lick of sense and a bit of knowledge will say that commercially made infant formula is as good as or better than breast milk, but a woman who feeds her baby formula is a good mother compared to the mother who abandons her child or refuses to feed it anything. Bottle formula is a lawful means of providing the things necessary for life, though it may not be the optimal means.

The goal of Christian education is to have an educated child who is able to function well in the world and who operates from within a Christian worldview paradigm. Do-it-yourself homeschooling may be the optimal means for accomplishing this, but it isn't the only means. Christian correspondance school runs a pretty close second because it still allows the family to be your child's "peer group" but also allows for instruction by those gifted in the area of teaching academics. I refuse to feel guilty for choosing this path. In fact, I expect I shall feel a lot less guilty than I am right now because I know I am not doing an adequate job in some areas.

I am looking forward to focusing on what I do best: cleaning up the house, organizing and cooking meals and keeping on top of the laundry as I mind the little ones. This will allow me to create a better atmosphere for learning that allows the older kids to actually learn and get the help they need from those better equipped to do it. If this makes me less than a 'good' or 'real' mother in the eyes of some, so be it.

And by the way, (in case you were wondering) I homebirth without drugs, nurse til at least age 18 months to two years or more, co-sleep and can make 10 loaves of bread at a time from grain I grind myself. I use herbs and supplements, some of which I harvest and process myself. I am good at those things. Since I have matured somewhat, I have ceased to think less of women who don't do them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Evil Accreditation?

The other day I wrote a blog about a solution I may have for my homeschooling difficulties. A lady (I presume, from references to quilting) commented that she found it strange that I would consider public schools a den of iniquity but yet would be happy to use a program that receives recognition from the civil government in the form of a diploma.

I have been turning this one over in my mind for a couple of days. Is recognition from the civil magistrate automatically evil? Do we look with suspicion upon the degrees and diplomas given to doctors, nurses, lawyers, and other professions who were educated in godless universities? Or is the diploma a recognition that a particular set of knowledge was achieved regardless of where it was achieved?

In the particular home e-school I am considering, the curriculum is a Christian curriculum and the government recognizes that what is taught in it is comparable or at least as good as what is being taught in the government schools. I can't see how this could be bad. Enlighten me if you think I need it.
This is Me?

free enneagram test

Profile Summary for the Enneagram Type One
Healthy: Conscientious with strong personal convictions: they have an intense sense of right and wrong, personal religious and moral values. Wish to be rational, reasonable, self-disciplined, mature, moderate in all things. / Extremely principled, always want to be fair, objective, and ethical: truth and justice primary values. Sense of responsibility, personal integrity, and of having a higher purpose often make them teachers and witnesses to the truth. At Their Best: Become extraordinarily wise and discerning. By accepting what is, they become transcendentally realistic, knowing the best action to take in each moment. Humane, inspiring, and hopeful: the truth will be heard.
Average: Dissatisfied with reality, they become high-minded idealists, feeling that it is up to them to improve everything: crusaders, advocates, critics. Into "causes" and explaining to others how things "ought" to be. / Afraid of making a mistake: everything must be consistent with their ideals. Become orderly and well-organized, but impersonal, puritanical, emotionally constricted, rigidly keeping their feelings and impulses in check. Often workaholics — "anal-compulsive," punctual, pedantic, and fastidious. / Highly critical both of self and others: picky, judgmental, perfectionistic. Very opinionated about everything: correcting people and badgering them to "do the right thing"—as they see it. Impatient, never satisfied with anything unless it is done according to their prescriptions. Moralizing, scolding, abrasive, and indignantly angry.

Unhealthy: Can be highly dogmatic, self-righteous, intolerant, and inflexible. Begin dealing in absolutes: they alone know "The Truth." Everyone else is wrong: very severe in judgments, while rationalizing own actions. / Become obsessive about imperfection and the wrong-doing of others, although they may fall into contradictory actions, hypocritically doing the opposite of what they preach. / Become condemnatory toward others, punitive and cruel to rid themselves of "wrong-doers." Severe depressions, nervous breakdowns, and suicide attempts are likely. Generally corresponds to the Obsessive-Compulsive and Depressive personality disorders.

Key Motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.

Examples: Mahatma Gandhi, Hilary Clinton, Al Gore, John Paul II, Sandra Day O'Connor, John Bradshaw, Bill Moyers, Martha Stewart, Ralph Nader, Katherine Hepburn, Harrison Ford, Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, George Harrison, Celene Dion, Joan Baez, George Bernard Shaw, Noam Chomsky, Michael Dukakis, Margaret Thatcher, Rudolph Guliani, Jerry Brown, Jane Curtin, Gene Siskel, William F. Buckley, Kenneth Starr, The "Church Lady" (Saturday Night Live), and "Mr. Spock" (Star Trek).

Or is This Me?

Righthand (female):
Enneagramfree enneagram test

Profile Summary for the Enneagram Type Five
Healthy: Observe everything with extraordinary perceptiveness and insight. Most mentally alert, curious, searching intelligence: nothing escapes their notice. Foresight and prediction. Able to concentrate: become engrossed in what has caught their attention. / Attain skillful mastery of whatever interests them. Excited by knowledge: often become expert in some field. Innovative and inventive, producing extremely valuable, original works. Highly independent, idiosyncratic, and whimsical. At Their Best: Become visionaries, broadly comprehending the world while penetrating it profoundly. Open-minded, take things in whole, in their true context. Make pioneering discoveries and find entirely new ways of doing and perceiving things.

Average: Begin conceptualizing and fine-tuning everything before acting — working things out in their minds: model building, preparing, practicing, and gathering more resources. Studious, acquiring technique. Become specialized, and often "intellectual," often challenging accepted ways of doing things. / Increasingly detached as they become involved with complicated ideas or imaginary worlds. Become preoccupied with their visions and interpretations rather than reality. Are fascinated by off-beat, esoteric subjects, even those involving dark and disturbing elements. Detached from the practical world, a "disembodied mind," although high-strung and intense. / Begin to take an antagonistic stance toward anything which would interfere with their inner world and personal vision. Become provocative and abrasive, with intentionally extreme and radical views. Cynical and argumentative.

Unhealthy: Become reclusive and isolated from reality, eccentric and nihilistic. Highly unstable and fearful of aggressions: they reject and repulse others and all social attachments. / Get obsessed yet frightened by their threatening ideas, becoming horrified, delirious, and prey to gross distortions and phobias. / Seeking oblivion, they may commit suicide or have a psychotic break with reality. Deranged, explosively self-destructive, with schizophrenic overtones. Generally corresponds to the Schizoid Avoidant and Schizotypal personality disorders.

Key Motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.

Examples: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Georgia O'Keefe, Stanley Kubrick, John Lennon, Lily Tomlin, Gary Larson, Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, James Joyce, Bjšrk, Susan Sontag, Emily Dickenson, Agatha Christie, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jane Goodall, Glenn Gould, John Cage, Bobby Fischer, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Trent Reznor, Friedrich Nietzsche, Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, and "Fox Mulder" (X Files).

It should be noted that I received an equal score between these two personality types. All the good stuff in each is true of me. All the unhealthy stuff is not. :oP

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What Close Communion Does and Does Not Imply

The following quote is taken from Greg Barrow's work, The Covenanted Reformation Defended Against Contemporary Schismatics

Our disposition toward those who disagree with us.

On the 7th of May , 1741, the Mount Herrick Declaration was published after receiving sanction from the correspondences and General Meeting of the United Societies. The spirit of our covenanted brethren echoes our own sentiments and disposition toward those of our brethren who differ from us.

We declare our esteem of and love for all the godly in these lands, who have the root of the matter in them, and love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, who are studying godliness and have sad hearts for the tokens of God's sad displeasure, and the sins and abominations procuring the same, notwithstanding of their not being of the same sentiments and mind with us as to some parts of our testimony and practice (Matthew Hutchison, The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, 1893, Still Waters Revival Books reprint, 1997, p. 175, emphases added).

We have neither stated nor do we believe that those who profess the true religion and their children (the visible church universal) are only those who agree with us on every point of doctrine or practice. We do, however, fully concur with our Confession of Faith which states,

Saints by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus (Westminster Confession of Faith, 26:2).

In the universal visible church there are many true sons and daughters of God who have never even considered some of the questions we are now disputing. We fully concur with Pastor David Steele when he says,

Yes, unto them which believe Christ is precious; and I never question that he is so to multitudes who never heard of the British Covenants; but I grieve when these are lightly called the "old covenants" by those under the obligation of them... (David Steele, Reminiscences, 1883, Still Waters Revival Books reprint, 1997, p. 262, emphases added).

We, in the PRCE, love all the brethren who will not obstinately and wilfully speak or act contrary to the truth of God's word, with an approving love that is desirous of intimate Christian communion. We also love those who call themselves brethren, who wilfully and obstinately speak or act contrary to the truly professed religion, with a love of benevolence that is desirous of their correction and restoration to the truth. We love all men, as they are created in God's image, with a love of benevolence, desiring their regeneration and conversion in Christ by the grace of God.

We have no desire to condemn the innocent or acquit the guilty and so, according to God's holy will, we must make every attempt to speak the truth in love. While we endeavour to steer clear of indiscriminate censure of those guilty of defection, we at all times must pray for the resolve and perseverance to speak clearly against the sins of the day. Recognising that all beloved believers have one and the same God and Father, we must also, at the same time, never become slack in distinguishing between truth and heresy in doctrine, and faithfulness and defection in practice. If, for the sake of peace, we are indifferent to heresy, or if, out of a false sense of love, we fail to correct the scandalous, we directly dishonour our Saviour and suffer our neighbour to remain either ignorantly or obstinately in sin. It is simply because we love both our Saviour and our brethren that we have adopted the position of our faithful forefathers as it is agreeable to the alone infallible standard of God's Word.

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:17,18, AV).

All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as to conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man (Westminster Confession of Faith, 26:1).

This is the temper of earnest Christians who appreciate the gift of God in others. When our brethren speak truly, act faithfully, and make righteous rulings, we rejoice in the truth. When a credible Christian profession is joined with faithful contending, we thank God for his mercy upon His children...

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12, AV).

Though the PRCE is presently isolated from many independent congregations and denominations (though not from the universal visible church), we long for the communion and fellowship that only true likeminded Christian unity can produce. We long for the day of reconciliation and agreement; a day when our present divisions will be healed and our protests will become unnecessary. Our prayer and our contending is for a Covenanted Protestant unity of National Presbyterian Churches who would work together to rule the universal visible Church of Christ in truth, and we believe that this cause is most consistent with the biblical love of our triune God toward mankind.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORDS house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it (Isaiah 2:2, AV).

I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:6­7, AV).

Please do not be fooled by misrepresentations. Our love for the brethren is both sincere and genuine. Please judge us according to our own words and not according to the words and motives falsely imputed to us by others...

End of Quote

A Short Vindication

This was originally posted by Raging Calvinist in covenantedreformationclub. And then it was posted again by Brother John on his blog. Now it's my turn to post it.

Taken from "A Short Vindication of Our Covenanted Reformation," published by a commitee of the Reformed Presbytery, Philadelphia, 1879.

1. "You think nobody right but yourselves." Just so; that is, in the
points wherein others differ from us; otherwise we will only proclaim
our own hypocrisy. We believe, and therefore speak.

2. "You think nobody will be saved but such as adopt your peculiar
principles." This is an old objection. It was "cast in the teeth" of
one of our martyred ministers, Mr. Donald Cargil, as he was "led as a
lamb to the slaughter." He meekly answered, "No." "Well, and what
more would you want than to be saved?" "I want a great deal more,"
was his simple reply, "I want Christ glorified on earth." He
understood the first question of the Shorter Catechism, of which too
many are ignorant to-day. "Man's chief end is neither his salvation
nor destruction." Rev. 4:11.

3. "Your principles are impracticable." If they are scriptural the
objection is true in one sense, but false in another. Our Saviour
told his real disciples—"Without me (separated from me) ye can do
nothing." Jno. 15:5. This was Paul's experience (Rom. 7:18), and he
tells us that this is part of all believers' experience. Gal. 5:17.
On the other hand, if our distinctive principles are scriptural, as
we believe them to be, they are certainly practicable to a true
believer; for of such no impossibilities are required. 2 Cor. 12:9;
Phil. 4:13.

4. "You meddle with political matters;—preach the gospel and let
civil government alone." We often meet this objection under the form
of friendly advice; and we believe none is of deeper significance or
more pregnant with consequences. (a) It confounds politics and civil
government. (b) It separates between the gospel and civil government.
(c) It excludes the Bible and its Author from the commonwealth. (d)
It conducts us to infidelity and issues in blank atheism. But this
objection involving, as it does, so much both of principle and
practice, demands more consideration and a particular and
intelligible answer. It is not true that we meddle with politics; for
a Covenanter can affiliate with no existing political party because
no party will consent to be governed by the Bible. The gospel, as we
understand it, covers the whole of the Scriptures. Gen. 18:18, Gal.
3:8, Heb. 4:2. It is "another gospel" which excludes any part of the
Bible. That we may be more fully understood, we assert that the Holy
Scriptures are the only infallible rule to direct mankind in
individual and social life: that all the lawful relations of this
life are instituted, defined and limited in the Bible. We find in the
Sacred Oracles that God has organized society in three, and only
three departments, both for its conservation and reformation. These
are the family, the church, and the state, the two latter being
auxiliaries of the first—the church and civil commonwealth to be
helpful to the family. The plain lesson of history and experience is,
that insubordination in the family generates contumacy in the church,
and issues in insurrection and rebellion in the state. If there be
no "church in the house," there will be no godliness in the church,
nor honesty without godliness in the state. To effect a real
reformation then, these three divine ordinances are the proper
instrumentalities to be employed—and no other. These have the promise
of their Author to render them effectual. Prov. 22:6; 1 Tim. 4:16;
Josh. 1:8. Of course, we cannot co-operate in the voluntary and
irresponsible confederacies of our time, having but one condition of
fellowship, and demanding a pledge of fidelity. To ask or give such
pledge involves an insult offered to our Master, to whom alone our
pledge has been previously given, that we will be governed by that
law in His hand, which commands every duty and forbids every sin in
all our relations. According to our interpretation of the gospel,
therefore, we must have scriptural and definite views of the divine
ordinance of civil government, while we do not "meddle with politics"—
earth's party politics, which disregard the Lord, His Anointed and
His word.

5. "You will admit none to your communion but those who adopt your
peculiar principles: and does it not follow that you account none to
be Christians but yourselves? All others, by your close communion,
you would shut out of heaven." We have given this objection in
greater fulness than the preceding ones, because of the frequency and
plausibility of its utterance by the generality of professors. Well,
we readily admit the truth of the first part of the objection: but in
the practice of restricted fellowship we are not peculiar, and we
think consistency, common sense and honesty, justify this part of
Christian practice. Nor does this practise involve a denial of the
Christianity or meetness for heaven of any others. This part of the
objection denies, or at least confounds the necessary distinction
between the visible and invisible state of the church—an error which
is logically followed by many others. Consistently with our
distinctive principles and practice, which alone exemplify true
charity, as we sincerely believe, we doubt not many are now in heaven
and also on earth, partakers of the "common salvation," who never
heard of Covenanters. And, moreover, Covenanters have always, in
private intercourse, been ready to embrace in their heart's
affections, all who in their judgment love God in Christ. This they
do on the principle that "every one that loveth Him that begat loveth
Him also that is begotten of Him." 1 Jno 5:1. But this private and
occasional intercourse the Scriptures distinguish from public,
ecclesiastical fellowship; and Covenanters endeavor to act according
to that supreme rule. They cannot, therefore, at the same time,
consistently testify against the errors and sins of parties, and
appear under an official or judicial banner as one with them. "If any
man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple,
shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat
those things which are offered to idols?" 1 Cor. 8:10.—Not that we
charge all others with idolatry: but there is a rule in Logic which
the learned acknowledge to be correct, Majus et minus non variant
speciem,—"greater or less does not vary the nature of a thing." And
we are enjoined to "mark them which cause divisions and offences
contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them, Rom.
16:17: as also to "withdraw ourselves from every brother that walketh
disorderly"—yes, though a brother. 2 Thes. 3:6; 1 Tim. 3:5. No, no,
we are not uncharitable. While hating Pharisaic exclusiveness, we no
less dislike the spurious charity that "suffers sin upon a brother"
without rebuke. Lev. 19:17; Tit. 1:13.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Big Five Test Results
Extroversion (68%) moderately high which suggests you are talkative, optimistic, sociable and affectionate but possibly not very reflective.
Friendliness (80%) high which suggests you are very good natured, trusting, and helpful but possibly too much of a follower
Orderliness (80%) high which suggests you are very organized, reliable, neat, and ambitious but possibly not very spontaneous and fun.
Emotional Stability (74%) high which suggests you are very relaxed, calm, secure, unemotional but possibly too unobservant of your feelings.
Openmindedness (54%) medium which suggests you are moderately intellectual, curious, and imaginative.
Take Free Big Five Personality Test
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This is Fun

I know absolutely nothing about writing computer code or html. The only reason that my blog looks the way it does is largely thanks to Emeth Smith, who graciously lent me her knowledge to get it set up so that I could get on my way. Now the colors and script on the side have changed since she started the ball rolling, but that is because Blogger has made it easy for me to fiddle with the template and then preview it to see what happens before I commit myself to making a blunder or changing something I didn't want changed.

One of the fun and surprising things was learning how many people are reading this blog. Another friend, Ginny, prevailed upon her computer code literate daughter to provide me with the necessary code for adding in a counter. I twiddled this and twiddled that, and found a place to insert it below the archives. (Of course, if you subtract the 500 times I have visited my blog to see how many people have been reading it, the numbers aren't quite so impressive. :oP )

At any rate, I shall endeavor to the utmost of my abilities to continue to delight, horrify, amaze, and amuse, those of my adoring public who frequent this page.

Thank you.
I May Have an Answer to my Homeschool Woes

I know, as a long-time homeschooler of about 18 years and possibly one who could be considered one of the early pioneers, I should be an enthusiastic proponent of the joys of homeschooling. However, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than teach small children to read or learn their math facts. The delight of hearing a child lisp their first read words are now less from the joy over seeing them accomplish this first important step, as it is from thinking the end is now in sight! The first couple of times I did this, it was interesting and gratifying to do, but I am not a natural teacher of elementary school children. Give me a topic that I love and an interested audience teen and older, and I can perform like a trained seal. But little kids? I love the darlings, but it makes my eyes glaze rapidly when they are repeating the five times table for the three zillioneth time.

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy my kids and don't mind having them around all day. (Though I admit to fantasizing about having the house stay clean for several hours while they are away at school rather than the constant uproar that surrounds us.) I don't have them in the public school system because it is a den of iniquity designed to turn out drones and not innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs. I doubt I will produce any Einsteins in my home, but on the other hand, they are already giving evidence of knowing how to work responsibly and how to earn money at an early age. I have given them every encouragement to be self-motivated learners, and at least one of them, is showing signs of following this path now. He grumbles about some of the work assigned to him, but give him a topic he is really interested in learning, like how to buy a reliable used car at a good price, he can run circles around me with his research. Teaching them how to research and learn for themselves, in my opinion, is better than stuffing their heads with algebraic facts they will never use.

Still, it nags at me that there are some things that may not be getting covered that should be.

The other day I received a flyer in the mail from a Christian Home- eSchool for K - 12 here in our fair province. It utilizes the Alpha Omega curriculum and only costs $200 per child for the year. This program is designed for as much or as little parental involvement as is wanted by the parent, but the kids must turn in their work daily to a teacher via the internet. The teacher is available to teach and tutor as needed and provides grades as well. Even better is the fact that at the end of Grade 12 they will have a BC Dogwood highschool certificate.

I have use Alpha Omega stuff in the past for isolated subjects and the curriculum is good. I love the idea of having someone else do all the correcting and instructing for me! One of my kids biggest complaints is the fact that I don't multi-task well like other moms. I tend to center in on something that is occupying my attention to the exclusion of bombs going off under me. (When I am on the computer, they now resort to bellowing "MOM!!!" at the top of their voices in the microphone in order to get my attention. This tends to send me skyward like a rocketing pheasant to their great amusment.) This has meant a backlog of work to correct and oversee because this has to be wedged in between cooking, cleaning, laundry and everything else. I have often said that if I ever made enough money, the first thing I would do would be to hire a tutor. Well somehow or other, I am going to find the chunk of change I need to get this online tutoring. I'll still be teaching the littles the basics, but those who are in grade four and up, are candidates for this program.

I could kiss whoever dreamed this up.
I Sing the Glories of...

.... Organic, grass-fed bison. I now have a freezer full of one half of a heifer. This morning I stir-fried my first bison steak for hubbies lunch, and managed to sneak a few pieces for myself. It was wonderful! Tender, tasty, and very similar to beef. The price was great too -- only $1.79 a pound to have it cut, wrapped, and frozen. That is considerably better than what I was paying at the grocery store for beef, even with the Mad Cow-depressed prices.

Grass fed beef and bison has a better omega 3/6 fat ratio than cattle that has been raised on grain. There are higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid in it, which is a wonderful fat that actually helps the human who eats it to burn fat more efficiently. I am looking forward to eating my way to slimness. ;o)
Goodbye Svend?

The man who changed the face and, um, the other end of politics (as my husband quipped) has been caught with his pants down in a jewelry theft.

Was it the stress of a nearly fatal fall that caused the irrational act? Or was it a guilty conscience that comes from violating the laws of God so flagrantly for so long, and for encouraging others to do so?

Who knows?

I sincerely pity his end if God doesn't grant repentance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Delights of Little People

Circumstances are such in my daughter's life at the moment that she is needing my assistance in caring for my grand-daughter for a few days. It has been a blast! Kee Kee Boo is 10 months older than Dainty Doodle and the two of them are partners in crime and fun. It was hilarious watching them learn the new skill of rolling down the grassy hill outside my office window, and then watching them pretend to be frogs hopping about the yard.

One of the blessings of large families is seeing the kids love and care for one another and the just plain fun they have when they get going.
On Brotherly Love

"But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another." I Thessalonians 4:9

You know you are truly blessed when you are recipient of such love. This is the kind of love that spits on both hands and then climbs down into the trenches to labor alongside you in digging that ditch. This is the kind of love that takes covenant vows to love one another as Christ has loved us seriously. Hereby we know that we are the sons and daughters of God because we demonstrate that love to each other, and also before the world.

I would take a bullet for those who love me and mine this way. They know who they are, but most importantly, God knows them.
Sorrow Endureth for a Night...

...but joy cometh in the morning.

"...For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. " II Corinthians 7:8-10

Things are looking up. :o)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow, but I was never told about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend a this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow, noone said a word about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

[Change the gender, and you have a song for a prodigal's mother.]

Monday, April 12, 2004

Last night I woke up around 1:30 am and could not sleep. The combination of too much bittersweet chocolate before bed (pms time) and a sore heart put sleep far from me. Much of the difficulty I have in raising my children comes, not so much from them, as it does from me.

Sin is a constant struggle. I often react when I should not. My temper flares and I say and do things that should remain unsaid and undone, and then I am left contemplating the truth that the wrath of man doesn't work the righteousness of God.

Last night when I awoke to these thoughts and an overwhelming sense of my own sinfulness, guilt, and depravity, I turned to Scripture in an effort to find the remedy for my state. Romans 6 was my choice and Matthew Henry was my friend and counsellor as I contemplated these passages. What follows are portions from his commentary on chapter 6 that served to comfort my soul even as I confessed my sin and utter need of Christ and Him alone for my salvation. Perhaps others have these same struggles that I have and will find the remedy for sin and comfort here that I have found. I slept soundly after thanking God for his mercy and provision for such as I.

~ Though sin may remain as an outlaw, though it may oppress as a tyrant, yet let it not reign as a king. Let it not make laws, nor preside in councils, nor command the militia; let it not be uppermost in the soul, so that we should obey it. Though we may be sometimes overtaken and overcome by it, yet let us never be obedient to it in the lusts thereof; let not sinful lusts be a law to you, to which you would yield a consenting obedience... Sin lies very much in the gratifying of the body, and humoring that...because it is a mortal body, and hastening apace to dust, therefore let not sin reign in it. It was sin that made our bodies mortal, and therefore do not yield obedience to such an enemy.

~Unrighteousness is unto sin; the sinful acts confirm and strengthen the sinful habits; one sin begets another; it is like the letting forth of water, therefore leave it before it be meddled with... As every sinful act confirms the sinful habit, and makes the nature more and more prone to sin (hence the members of a natural man are heare said to be servants of iniquity unto iniquity -- one sin makes the heart more disposed for another), so every gracious act confirms the gracious habit: serving righteousness is unto holiness; one duty fits us for another; and the more we do the more we may do for God. Our serving righteousness... an evidence of sanctification.

~ There is such an antipathy in our hearts by nature to holiness that it is no easy matter to bring them to submit to it: it is the Spirit's work, who persuades by such inducements as these set home upon the soul.

~The death of the cross was a slow death; the body, after it was nailed to the cross, gave many a throe and many a struggle: but it was a sure death, long in expiring, but expired at last; such is the mortification of sin in believers. [What comfort! - CG]

~Thus must we rise [from the grave of sin - CG] to live to God: this is what he calls newness of life (v.4), to live from other principles, by other rules, with other aims, than we have done. A life devoted to God is a new life; before, self was the chief and highest end, but now God. To live indeed is to live to God, with our eyes ever towards him, making him the centre of all our actions.

~It might be objected that we cannot conquer and subdue sin, it is unavoidably too hard for us: "No" says he, "you wrestle with an enemy that may be dealt with and subdued, if you will but keep your ground and stand to your arms; it is an enemy that is already foiled and baffled; there is strength laid up in the covenant of grace for your assistance if you will but use it. "Sin shall not have dominion." God's promises to us are more poweful and effectual for the mortifying of sin than our promises to God. Sin may struggle in a believer, and may create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not have dominion; it may vex him, but shall not rule over him.

~[We are] not under the covenant of works, which requires brick, and gives no straw, which condemns upon the least failure, which runs thus, "Do this and live; do not do it and die;" but under the covenant of grace, which accepts sincerity as our gospel perfection, which requires nothing but what it promises strength to perform, which is herein well ordered, that every transgression in the covenant does not put us out of the covenant, and especially that it does not leave our salvation in our own keeping, but lays it up in the hands of the Mediator, who undertakes for us that sin shall not have dominion over us, who hath himself condemned it, and will destroy it; so that, if we pursue the victory, we shall come off more than conquerors.

~This is a very comfortable word to all true believers. If we were under the law, we were undone, for the law curses every one that continues not in every thing; but we are under grace, grace which accepts the willing mind, which is not extreme to mark what we do amiss, which leaves room for repentance, which promises pardon upon repentance; and what can be to an ingenuous mind a stronger motive than this to have nothing to do with sin? Shall we sin against so much goodness, abuse such love?... What can be more black and ill-natured than from a friend's extraordinary expressions of kindness and good-will to take occasion to affront and offend him? To spurn at such bowels, to spit in the face of such love, is that which, between man and man, all the world would cry out shame on.

~ We have need to be often reminded of our former state.

~... a freedom from righteousness is the worst kind of slavery.

~ Sinners merit hell, but saints do not merit heaven. There is no proportion between the glory of heaven and our obedience; we must thank God, and not ourselves, if ever we get to heaven. And this gift is through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is Christ that purchased it, prepared it, prepares us for it, preserves us to it; he is the Alpha and Omega, All in all in our salvation.

Therein lies my hope.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

This is a Puzzler

"But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain." Galatians 4:9-11

The epistle to the Galatians was written to correct the Church in Galatia from going back to the "weak and beggarly elements" of the Old Covenant worship. Not only was Paul talking about no further need for circumcision, but also the OT holy days, months, seasons, and years. These things all pointed forward to Christ and once Christ had come and fulfilled their types, they became redundant. Paul says to these Christians, in effect, don't do it. Don't circumcise, don't celebrate Passover, the Year of Jubilee or any of these other elements.

So why do some Christians insist of observing a "Christian" passover feast? Scripture knows of no such feast after Christ's resurrection.

Another thing I find puzzling and disturbing is the new superstition amongst some Protestants regarding the communion elements. I know of one father who will take his children to whichever church he can find that will serve communion to all his children right down to the infant. Now, don't get me wrong, I believe in a covenantal view of children, but it appears to me that for a father to deliberately expose his children to the negative sanctions attached to the Lord's Table before they are ready is to view the elements of the Lord's Table with a high degree of superstitious belief as to this means of grace. And I won't even get into the discussion of fencing the Table or occasional communing aspects of it.

Sometimes the current state of the Church makes me wish I liked stout or whiskey. A good stiff shot is sometimes called for.
The Passion of the Easter Bunny

I read a story yesterday of a church in Pennsylvania who wanted to demonstrate that the Easter Bunny was not truly a part of Christian worship. In the play they presented (rated G for General), they beat the Easter Bunny and attempted to crucify it in an attempt to make their point. I'm not sure, but they may have pelted it with easter eggs as well. Small children were traumatized and one small child asked, "Mama, why are they beating the bunny?"

What would Knox say of modern Protestant worship that adopts the customs of Rome contrary to Scripture?

It will be a glad day when all such superstitious observances such as Easter and Christmass are expunged by all Churches and pure worship is instituted.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Thought for the Day

"Man's chief end is neither his salvation nor destruction." Rev. 4:11.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

At Least They Get Paid For It...

Unlike the rest of us slobs who advertise for free with our t-shirts, bags, shoes, etc.

when you cry...
no one sees your tears.

when you are in pain...
no one sees your hurt.

when you are worried...
no one sees your stress.

when you are happy...
no one sees your smile.


But FART!! Just ONE time...

And everybody knows!!

Gotcha!!! You thought it was going to be one of those
heart-touching stories!

[Special thanks to my Mom for these words of wisdom. ;o)]
The "Ewwww" Factor

I read a report not that long ago about the pathogens that are found lurking on most people's toothbrushes. The idea is that these pathogens get there because they originally came from your mouth and that you should replace your tooth brush frequently to prevent infecting and re-infecting yourself with them. The truth may be different than that. The pathogens may have another source.

Close the lid on your toilet before you flush. No, this message is not only for parents of toddlers who swish the brush in the water for fun. This message is for everyone who flushes the toilet with the lid up. Apparently, every time the toilet is flushed, a fine spray of fecal coliform contaminated water is sprayed up to 20 feet away from the toilet, coming to rest on your toothbrush.

I am putting up a new sign over all my toilets: Close Lid Before Flushing!
Appliances and Housewares

Ever notice how breakable the appliances and housewares have become? Almost everything has plastic parts now that break off easily. If our family can get two years out of a vacuum, we are doing well. The other day, a whole section of wheels came off the bottom of the vacuum and can't be put back on again. Fortunately, we still have the front wheels and it works without the back ones. Our carpet is low pile, so the extra close shave with the vacuum probably benefits it. The hose attachments are cracked and the top of the housing is being held together with black electrical tape because the place the screws go in cracked and the screws won't hold any more. I suppose if my husband and I were the only ones living here and cleaning, we would get a lot more mileage out of our vacuums. Kids are terribly hard on things. As soon as Costco brings out a coupon on their vacuums, I'll be replacing this one.

One solution to frequent vacuum replacement would be, of course, to do all the vacuuming myself. My kids would love it, I am sure, and my vacuum would survive much better because I would refrain from trying to suck up socks, kleenex, lego blocks, and stray cats. However, one of my goals in life is not to be a maid to my kids. As soon as they start to toddle, they are shown how to plug it in, turn it on, and push it.

Another item that sees a great deal of use is our kitchen stove. A few years ago my husband bought me a new stove from Costco for my birthday. Our other stove had given up the ghost and refused to be revived. This new stove starting showing signs of mortality within days of arriving at our home. It has a plastic housing around the part where the controls are. This cracked at both corners from the heat of the stove. As it was under warranty, we promptly had it replaced. It cracked again within days. We replaced it again. Again it cracked, and after it reached the point where the repair man recognized my voice on the phone, we gave up replacing it and instead have learned to love its "weathered" look. This stove is one of those glass-topped jobs, which I have come to love and adore. Cleaning out burner trays was the bane of my life and it was a rare day when I wouldn't find something incinerated in the bottom of one, or we didn't set off the smoke alarm because someone turned the burner on before cleaning it out. All I do with this one is give it a good wipe down and use a razor in a handle to scrape away what can't be wiped. When I die, I would like my stove top buried with me.

Something else that sees a lot of wear and tear in our home is the dishware. I have yet to find the dish that my family cannot destroy in record time. My original stoneware dish set that I was given upon marrying has long since disappeared. So have several sets of Corel Living Wear which, contrary to what they said, is quite capable of being broken and shattered with the additional drawback of breaking up into a zillion needle-sharp shards. Melamine dishes just aren't what they used to be. I remember watching one of the kids take one and put it upside down on the floor and then stomping on it so that it cracked. Of the 20 mugs we own, only 4 have handles on them.

[An aside: Why do children do these things? They say children learn most by example, but I assure you that my husband and I do not make it a habit to stomp on our dishware, walk on the dining table, or jump on the living room furniture. We also don't pick our noses and eat the pickings, shove foreign objects in them or plug the toilet with tinker toys and modelling clay.]

I thought I had found a solution to the dish dilemma when we invested in enamel dish ware that I found in the camping section of a local hardware store. It might become dented if you stomped it, but you couldn't break it into a jigsaw puzzle. Alas, the enamel chips. And when it chips, it begins to rust. I now am the proud owner of some plates and bowls that have rusted completely through in spots. We have to arrange the food carefully around these holes so that nothing leaks out upon the table.

If anyone has a solution, beyond investing in paperplates, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Unbiblical Patriarchy

Goodness is good in and of itself. Evil is some form of goodness perverted. This article shows what happens when a proper Biblical patriarchy is perverted.

(I don't know who wrote this, but I think the women who read here will find it amusing.)
Six married men
will be dropped
on an island with
1 car
and 4 kids each,
for 6 weeks.

Each kid plays two sports
and either takes
music or dance classes.

There is no access to fast food.
Each man must take care of his 4 kids,
keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework,
complete science projects, cook, do laundry, etc.
The men only have access to television
When the kids are asleep and
all chores are done.

There is only one TV between them
and there is

The men must shave their legs,
wear makeup daily,
which they must apply themselves,
either while driving or
while making four lunches.

They must attend weekly PTA meetings;

clean up after their sick children at 3:00 a.m.;

make an Indian hut model with
six toothpicks,
a tortilla
and one marker;
and get a 4-year-old to eat a serving of peas.
The kids vote them off the island, based on performance.

*****The last man wins .......only if .............
he has enough energy to be intimate
with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and
over again for the next 18-25 years
....eventually earning the right to be called

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


I have been going to the gym more frequently of late, and concentrating more on the weight training. The result is that my weight has stayed about the same, but I am definitely seeing more muscle definition and a change in shape. I just wish I didn't hate working out so much. :o(
A Wonderful Horrible Time of the Year

We have now entered that wonderful time of the year when the geese honk their way across the sky, the sere grass gradually turns green, the sun rises earlier and stays up later, and I am full of energy and a zest for living.

Too bad all I can see is dirt. Dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt! AUGGGGGHHH!

The walls of my bedroom are so clean you could eat off them, supposing you could persuade the food to stick to them. My closets are organized, the winter clothes put away and our spring and summer wardrobe is either hanging in them, or waiting in a laundry basket to be ironed. And the rest of my house is a total disaster.

Yes folks, its THAT time of year ? Spring cleaning time! For the next week or so, the entire house will be turned upside down, shaken vigorously, scrubbed, polished, painted, vaccumed, shampooed, and manicured into some semblance of order and cleanliness that will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Spring cleaning is a bad habit I developed after living with my neatnick mother during the vulnerably impressionable years of my childhood. I haven't been able shake it try as I might. One year I tried to go without spring cleaning, but I developed a facial tic as a result and went into a cleaning frenzy by July that took my children several months to recover from. They still get a haunted look in their eyes when I bring out the buckets and cleaning rags.

One of the current projects being undertaken at the moment is the painting and wall papering of the girls' bedroom. I bought the paint, wallpaper, and fabric for new curtains two years ago, and Hannah has finally reached the age where I can shove most of the work onto her young shoulders while I pretend to help. She has already spackled the holes in the wall and sanded them and Trahern successfully repaired the hole where the doorknob went through. Tomorrow they are going to paint the ceiling white to cover all the bug splats from many generations of mosquitoes that met an untimely death there. My upstairs hall would give the fire marshall a coronary because it is nearly impassable from the furniture moved from the bedroom. I just pray none of the children decides to light the house on fire until it is moved back.

Another project for this year will hopefully be the completion of the installation of the upstairs bathroom sink. A considerable number of our children have lived all their lives without benefit of a bathroom sink. The house we are currently living in was built by my husband thirteen years ago. That means that children numbered 6 - 11 have learned to brush their teeth, and wash their hands and face in the bath tub. They feel strange using bathroom sinks when in other people's homes. I managed to persuade my husband to install the sink in the downstairs' bath before Garnet's birth so that the midwife would have a place to wash her hands besides the toilet bowl. Then when I was expecting Elodie, I managed to make it known that I would remain pregnant and miserable until the bathroom sink for our ensuite was installed. It was installed in record time. However, producing a baby every couple of years is entirely too drastic a method of getting the house finished. I am hoping that the thought of having 10 people, who are visiting us this summer for the wedding/receptions, jockeying for position at our ensuite door so they can brush their teeth will be enough to do to do the trick this time. I'll let you know if I was right.

Monday, April 05, 2004

I want to scream!

This makes me mad!
Hope until the Last Breath...

The death of Robert Devereaux, Second Earl of Essex:

"My sins are more in number than the hairs of my head", he somberly acknowledged. "I have bestowed my youth in pride, lust, uncleanness, vainglory and divers other sins:. For these failings he craved pardon of the Almighty and "especially for this my last sin, this great, this bloody, this crying and this infectious sin, whereby so many for the love of me have offend their sovereign". Hailing the axeman as " the minister of true justice", he knelt down to pray, and then laid his head on the block. At the suggestion of one of the officiating divines, he began to recite out loud the fifty-first Psalm, but after completing the second verse he cried out, "Executioner, strike home." Even as he resumed commending his soul to God, he was silenced in mid-sentence as the axe came crashing down.

Taken from page 545 of Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset

"Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering , rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."

Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

taken from Luke 23:39-43, NKJV

I cite both of the above as examples of why we should never give up hope on those who are going astray. In the first example, we have no way of ascertaining in this life whether or not Essex truly died in Christ, but his last days certainly demonstrate a repentance that appears to have been genuine. In the second instance we have a man we know infallibly is with the Lord. Both of these men wasted their entire lives in folly of one sort or another. But God can and does graciously bring His children Home, whether early or late, to the praise of His glorious grace.

Let the parents of all prodigals strengthen themselves in this and not lose hope.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Thoughts on Proud Jackasses

Brother John has posted a very good blog post on the problems of theological intellectual jackasses who look into the mysteries of God, not so that they might glorify and love Him and His people better, but so that they might take part in debates and delight in annihilating the opposition. His post is a potent reminder that we need to take care that our knowledge does not puff us up, but rather leads us to see how great the gulf is between Creator and creature, a right apprehensions of the mercy of God in Christ, and how great our dependancy is upon Him.
Transparency, or Lack of It

The other day I had a client at my house who also happens to be a homeschooling mom like me. We were discussing parenting in general and she mentioned that a recent homeschool mom's meeting was one of the most dissatisfying that she had ever attended. The topic for the evening was parenting and people were to bring books they found helpful in teaching them to be a good parent, or discuss counsel they found helpful in assisting them in the parenting role. The upshot of the whole evening was that this mother went away from it thinking that she was the only one who is often puzzled, astounded, and flummoxed by her children. At least, she was the only one who admitted to it. Everyone else had on their "we're homeschoolers and we're okay" faces.

It is too bad I wasn't there with her that evening. At the very least she would have had the comfort of knowing that she isn't the only one who is regularly flummoxed by her kids.

One of the myths of homeschooling that I bought into when I first started nearly 20 years ago, is that if you homeschool your children, you will have children who will be normally socialized and you will avoid the rebellious teen years because your children will not be exposed to the peer group and all the rebellious attitudes that can infect them from it. It took me a while to remember that public schools are a new invention and human rebellion goes back to the dawn of time. In the course of history, children were mainly homeschooled a great deal of the time, and rebellion still happened in spite of it.

Another myth is that Proverbs' advice is a guarantee that if you train a child in the way he should go, he won't depart from it. Some Christian parenting books drill it into you that if your kids stray, it is all your fault. You obviously didn't train them right. As a result, I was highly judgemental of other parents who had kids who were giving them fits, since my little darlings were doing just fine then.

Teens really have a way of humbling parents.

By that you may be surmising that I have a teen who is currently giving me fits, and you would surmise correctly. (Names are being withheld to protect the guilty.) If you have read books about Christian parenting and believe that kids who do this are the result of parents who did it wrong, then you need look no further than me for:

Exhibit A -- Reformed Parent who did it ALL WRONG
Avoid her example.

Well ok, I didn't do ALL of it wrong, but I haven't done all of it right either. But who does? God is a perfect Heavenly Father and His children rebel against Him all the time for no good reason.

Growth is terribly painful. Last night I was reading Seven Habits of Highly Effective Peopleby Stephen Covey (yes, he's a Mormon, but the principles expressed are true, nonetheless). Some of the things in it hit pretty close to home and I wanted to hurl the book across the room, except I was at the gym and the other patrons wouldn't have appreciated getting dinged in the head with it. I hate seeing my faults. I would rather believe that I am just fine, thank you. But [sighs heavily] I see there is still a lot that needs refining out of me and I think this is going to be yet another means for doing so.

Which brings me back to the whole transparency thing. Homeschoolers (especially those with large numbers of children who tend to intimidate others by sheer number and the assumptions that go with it) are unable to help one another if they don't admit to having faults, let alone confessing them. Proverbs is true. If you train a child in the way he should go, he won't depart from it when he is older, providing that he is one of God's elect. Parents are one of the means that God uses for bringing children into the fold, but the means are not the grace itself.

By the way, I haven't been a complete failure. One of my wandering daughters has been making rapid strides back to the fold. She isn't here yet, but I can definitely see that the Lord is teaching her some painful but valuable lessons. And my eldest son looks like he is through the worst of the adolescent doldrums without too many scars. I didn't want you all to think it was completely hopeless here.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Recovered Memories

When you have babies, they do so many cute or endearing things that you think you will always remember what they did when they get older. The sad fact is, that you often forget things as time goes on and more facts and information are accumulated in your brain, particularly if you have substantially more than 1.8 children. You forget which child did what unless you happen to be organized enough to keep a notebook on each child and can find the time to write it down.

It is interesting how our brains process, store, and retrieve memories. A sudden whiff of some aroma, a song from long ago, or the taste of a food that you haven't eaten in a long time can bring back memories you had long forgotten.

I had the weird sensation of reliving my daughter Tamara's babyhood when she was in the hospital recently. They say that when you undergo some sort of trauma, there is a tendency to regress and do some particular behavior that is comforting. Tamara did this. When she was unconscious from her concussion, they intubated her and then tranquilized her to keep her from pulling all the tubes and the iv's out. When I saw her, what was curiously heart-wrenching and what transported me back to the past was the way she was sucking on the tube that was breathing for her. Her tongue was doing the same thing it used to do when she was a baby and had fallen asleep at the breast, or when she had her soother in her mouth. That, more than anything is what came closest to undoing my calm. The entire time I was in the hospital with her and she was sleeping as I watched by her bedside, I kept seeing, not the big girl of seven that she is now, but the little baby I had cuddled so long. The memories were pleasant, once I knew she was past danger.

On a slightly different topic, it was very gratifying to see the strength of familial bonds at this time. Tamara can be a solitary person who enjoys her own company, but she also has a strong need to be with her own family. She is one of those kids who frequently has to smack the ants in her pants in order to sit still in church. As the days went by in the hospital, while I could see she was getting stronger and recovering, she was also becoming quieter and somewhat morose -- almost depressed. Her whole being just lit up whenever her father brought her brothers and sisters in to see her. Once she got home, recovery was very swift and happy. It was also delightful to see how the other children rallied round and took care of and were concerned for her and each other at this time.

"How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity."

San Francisco City Hall Scene

"Good morning. We want to apply for a marriage


"Tim and Jim Jones."

"Jones? Are you related? I see a resemblance."

"Yes, we're brothers."

"Brothers? You can't get married."

"Why not? Aren't you giving marriage licenses to same
gender couples?"

"Yes, thousands. However, we haven't had any
siblings. That's incest!"

"Incest?" No, we are not gay."

"Not gay? Then why do you want to get married?"

"For the financial benefits, of course. In addition,
we do love each other. Besides, we don't have any
other prospects."

"But we're issuing marriage licenses to gay and
lesbian couples who've been denied equal protection
under the law. If you are not gay, you can get
married to a woman."

"Wait a minute. A gay man has the same right to marry
a woman as I have. However, just because I'm straight
doesn't mean I want to marry a woman. I want to marry

"And I want to marry Tim, Are you going to
discriminate against us just because we are not gay?"

"All right, all right. I'll give you your license.

"Hi. We are here to get married."


"John Smith, Jane James, Robert Green, and June

"Who wants to marry whom?"

"We all want to marry each other."

"But there are four of you!"

"That's right. You see; we're all bisexual. I love
Jane and Robert, Jane loves June and me, June loves
Robert and Jane, and Robert loves June and me. All of
us getting married together is the only way that we
can express our sexual preferences in a marital

"But we've only been granting licenses to gay and
lesbian couples."

"So you're discriminating against bisexuals!"

"No, it's just that, well, the traditional idea of
marriage is that it's just for couples."

"Since when are you standing on tradition?"

"Well, I mean, you have to draw the line somewhere."

"Who says? There's no logical reason to limit
marriage to couples, the more the better. Besides, we
demand our rights! The mayor says the constitution
guarantees equal protection under the law. Give us a
marriage license!"

"All right, all right. Next."

"Hello, I'd like a marriage license."

"In what names?"

"David Deets."

"And the other man?"

"That's all. I want to marry myself."

"Marry yourself? What do you mean?"

"Well, my psychiatrist says I have a dual personality,
so I want to marry the two together. Maybe I can file
a joint income-tax return."

"That does it! I quit!! You people are making a
mockery of marriage!!"

[Thanks to Milly for passing this logical endpoint to gay marriage along.]

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Click Your Fat Away

No, I am not talking about clicking your heels together a hundred gazillion times a day like a Dorothy with obsessive compulsive disorder. (Are we in Kansas yet, Toto?) Rather I am talking about a "clicker" or pedometer, for measuring how many steps a day that you take.

A few weeks ago I was in Costco doing the weekly annihilation to the grocery budget when I found a box called "Walking" in the book section. I usually try to avoid the book section because it is just too tempting to give in and buy a discounted book that looks so good and necessary for my library. That week was no exception. I naughtily pried open the taped box and had a look inside. There, nestled snugly in the bubblewrap was a pedometer along with a book. Perfect! The perfect gift for a slightly obsessive compulsive friend who likes to walk and has a numbers mania as well. I had been wondering what in the world to give her.


Hmmm. I could use one of those too. Nah!

Next week I bought one for myself. Why? Well, I am already working out at a gym, but things have not been shifting for me as quickly as I would like them to. I wanted to have some way of measuring my activity level for the day to get an accurate snapshot of what I am or am not doing. The clicker is now letting me know. What is even better about this, is that I found myself doing exactly what a study on pedometer use said would happen -- it motivates me to increase my activity levels. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of the day and seeing you only walked a total of 2697 steps, most of which you probably clocked while walking around the kitchen getting something to eat.

I had an exceptionally good day yesterday, getting in over 120 000 steps, but I suspect that is because I forgot to reset my clicker to zero from the day before. :o( My best day so far was just under 100 000. My weight hasn't changed much, but I notice that my "love handles" on my hips are disappearing and that my jeans are getting decidedly loose about the gut area.

Now if I could just quit watching the Pilates video and actually do it...