Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Facebook or LinkedIn or MySpace inspired me to start looking up some friends from high school. I had been quite envious of my husband's ongoing relationships with friends he had known since grade school. They all had music in common... and politics... and religion... I had one particular friend, Kay, who had taken piano lessons from the same teacher, sung in the same church choirs, acted in the same plays and stood in the back of the band with me along with the tubas and percussion. She played the timpani and I played stand-up bass. The last time I really remembering seeing her was at her wedding!
I started searching. The old way would have been to ask my parents to give me her mom's address, and then send a letter requesting my friend's phone number or address. This is still a reliable network, but it seemed that I could never remember to ask my parents at the right time. And then, they would have to remember to give me the information... Too many "ifs" in that equation.
I set about an Internet search using Google and found her name on a website of a place where she did some work. I knew it had to be her - it was the right profession and the right town. I finally got up the gumption to call the place and left a message. Low and behold! She called back!
We had a great conversation on the phone, and now, after 30 years, we are getting together.
What a gracious God we serve, who restores relationships and brings good things to our lives!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
For those interested in preserving the ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, this article should be compelling: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2229
Sunday, August 22, 2010
9-10People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here's how you tell the difference between God's children and the Devil's children: The one who won't practice righteous ways isn't from God, nor is the one who won't love brother or sister. A simple test.
11For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other.
12-13We must not be like Cain, who joined the Evil One and then killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because he was deep in the practice of evil, while the acts of his brother were righteous. So don't be surprised, friends, when the world hates you. This has been going on a long time.
14-15The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don't go together.
16-17This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. (1 John 3 - MESSAGE)
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Friends and family of all ages started showing up with funny or serious or informative comments or links. Multiple conversations went on. It was hugely entertaining!
Then, an old friend from my hometown turned up with some very funny bits and hometown talk. Even more fun ensued when the links were music and my husband began playing along with his guitar!
When it started to get late, I hated to "go home". I had been having a delightful time!
So Facebook is where all the fun people go to hang out on a Saturday night. I'll have to do this more often.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Now, I need to share back in blog world. It's not that I don't have something to say. I just don't have enough time to write it. However, I have to make time, because someone needs to be encouraged and someone needs to turn from the path they are on, and someone needs to laugh or make a different choice - and I have to do my part by writing my life and sharing it, so that maybe I can help somebody avoid my mistakes or recover from mistakes that I can uniquely understand or empathize with.
I need to ration my time a little more carefully. And, I need to be in the moment as much as possible when I am with people I love - especially my husband. I want every moment in my life to count towards good. I know that this is virtually impossible, but I can still want it. "For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment."
(Luke 1:37 AMP)
Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
This is a weekend during which we specifically give thanks for and remember those people who laid down their lives on behalf of the citizens of this country. Those service men and women made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might live in peace and safety. They shed their blood to protect the values that we in this country hold so dear and precious: the pursuit of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. To honor them, we must honor those values that they sacrificed to protect.
The value of all human life is a fundamental principle that drove the founding of this country. To behave or legislate otherwise is to violate this principle. Every institution in this country has the mandate to protect individual's lives - hospitals, schools, churches and government. Even prisons are under this mandate - prisoners on death row are cared for and protected until the moment that they must pay the penalty - and that penalty was designed to protect other human lives. In this country, we also go out of our way to protect the lives of those who cannot protect their own or who are more vulnerable members of our society such as the disabled and children. But we still have a long way to go. Many unborn children and many immigrants seeking refuge have a precarious existence, yet.
To live together in freedom is an ideal protected by amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Women and people of different ethnic backgrounds and races have been declared by this country to own the right of liberty. That precious commodity guarantees freedom of speech, religion, and discussion in groups. It also affirms that the citizens of this country will not be vindictively, carelessly or arbitrarily locked in jail, nursing homes, mental institutions, etc. or held in bondage in any way.
Pursuit of Happiness
This country believes that individuals' dreams and visions are essential to the well-being of the nation. What a marvelous encouragement this is! This concept has served as a beacon attracting families, entrepreneurs, dreamers, inventors, creators and builders to this country since its founding. In fact, we in this country believe that the pursuit of happiness alleviates poverty, depression and tyrany: "Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..."
This weekend, let's honor the values fought for, as well those who fought. And, let's not be stingy in sharing our values. Let's get back to being a world leader by the good example of living as if we believe in our values.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Josh. 22:5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Psalm 119:97 Amplified Bible
Oh, how love I Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:113 English Standard Version
Samekh I hate the double-minded,but I love your law.
Psalm 119:136 Amplified Bible
Streams of water run down my eyes, because men do not keep Your law [they hear it not, nor receive it, love it, or obey it].
Psalm 119:163 New American Standard Bible
I hate and despise falsehood,But I love Your law.
Psalm 119:165 Amplified Bible
Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.
Proverbs 28:4 The Message
If you desert God's law, you're free to embrace depravity; if you love God's law, you fight for it tooth and nail.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
To many, unborn babies are disposable people. The political feeling is that unless the pregnant mother desires to have the baby, that unborn life is disposable. I believe that attitude arises from lack of relationship. We human being can't seem to care about others unless we have a relationship with them - preferably a mostly positive one. We just can't bring ourselves to care if no relationship exists.
In the case of unborn babies, I have a passionate connection. Although I have not experienced abortion in my own body, I have witnessed its effects first hand. Since I have not been able to have children, I have considered adoption many times - but the cost is exorbitant and foreign adoptions are "easier." There are just not as many children in this country who need a home and parents. In my own family, my parents have lost nearly a third of their grandchildren to abortion. This is quite shocking if taken as a common statistic. Could it be that nearly a third of our future has been killed before birth?
One of the wonderful things about ultrasound is that unborn children are no longer unseen and disconnected. Ultrasounds permit others to develop a connection with that unborn child because a relationship is established. We see, therefore we believe. It is becoming more difficult to make the case that the "disposable cells" in a mother's womb is not a valuable human life.
In this country, fathers are also becoming disposable people. The value of a father to a family is considered merely a financial obligation. Our courts and our society clearly understand that value. What seems to be missing from the equation is that a father's connection to his children is critical for their well-being and his.
Those people who believe in biblical principles understand this. And, those "believers" seem most able to care about "disposable people" when others can't. They find a relationship or connection to all human life that makes no one disposable and every life valuable - because God values every life and God values the father-child relationship. God values the people across the globe - even in places like Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, India, Morocco, Columbia, China and Russia. And God instituted the father-child relationship himself with the creation of Adam.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Over the last fifty years, the American aid workers running The Children’s Haven Orphanage in Azrou and the Moroccans living in that area have formed social relationships that have become the anchors and staples of their everyday lives. The American aid workers have, for decades, given their medical supplies and personal assistance freely to the locals, and the Moroccans, in turn, have come to know they can trust and rely upon the aid workers.
As such, the government’s current threat to deport the American aid workers from The Children’s Haven is a threat to the local community as well. Just as the confidence and security of the aid workers in calling Morocco their home, and in being parents and family to the orphans they care for, have been shattered, the security of the Moroccan locals has been shattered too.
Prior to the government’s recent expulsion of Christian foreign aid workers in general, and from a neighboring orphanage in specific, the Azrou locals didn’t question how their medical and community needs would be met. They had their answers in the long established traditions of turning to the American aid workers. The orphanage workers are available to help the locals in any way they can, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. And the villagers know to depend on the orphanage and seek its help.
But with the government’s recent practices of expelling Christian aid workers, such as those who ran the Village of Hope Orphanage, the welfare of local Moroccan citizens is just as uncertain as the welfare of the children living at the Haven. This is why area villagers joined together and prayed at the Mosque last Friday, for the protection and safety of their local orphanage. And they continue to pray.
Local citizens are literally knocking on the orphanage’s doors to express their support and to say they are standing by the orphanage. As one of the villagers stated in recent days, since the Haven has come under investigation, “That [The Haven] is the light of the village. You kick those people out and the light goes out.”
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Local Moroccans, in the villages and towns surrounding the Children's Haven Orphanage, flocked to the Mosque on Friday, March 12, 2010, and prayed for the protection and safety of the American aid workers and orphans who live at and run this local orphanage. The Moroccans prayed on the word of The Prophet who said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together. (Saheeh Al Bukhari ::Book 8 :: Volume 73 :: Hadith 34 ) The Children's Haven has, for over fifty years, provided essential care services to the residents of neighboring towns and thus has been and is an integral part of the local community.
Due to the Haven's great value to the locals, they fear its loss to their community and fear the void that would follow. For decades the American aid workers at the Haven have given free daily medicine to the community; have participated in local births, weddings, circumcisions and burials; have helped the sick and poor receive medical care from local hospitals; and have provided needed transportation for emergencies and everyday life. For these reasons, local citizens joined together to pray for the ongoing protection and welfare of The Children's Haven.
The Children's Haven, which is run by American Christian aid workers, is under threat, due to the Moroccan government's recent deportations of foreign Christians, for the purpose of enforcing "non-proselytizing" laws. The most recent and alarming example to Moroccan locals of Christian deportations, was the sudden expulsion of all foreign Christian aid workers (21 adults) on Monday, March 8, 2010, from another nearby orphanage, The Village of Hope. This left 33 orphans, some with medical needs, without care. The current government investigations of the American aid workers at The Haven, and the deportations of the European and American aid workers from The Village of Hope, appear to be the result of a radical shift by the Moroccan government away from its long-standing tolerance of Christianity. Both orphanages, since the 1950's, have, until the present, operated safely and comfortably with the government's knowledge and consent. In particular, both orphanages have always complied with government policies and completed all required paperwork. But both organizations have been caught in a seeming anti-Christian dragnet that started sweeping the country a year ago this March.
Because the Moroccan government insists its investigations and expulsions of Christians are based in law enforcement and not anti-Christian policies, the question of "due process" has arisen. The expelled Christians, from the Village of Hope, for example, were not allowed to defend themselves properly to the authorities. As U.S. Ambassador Samuel Kaplan recently stated, "Although we expect all American citizens to respect Moroccan law, we hope to see significant improvements in the application of due process in this sort of case." The European response, particularly by the Dutch, has been much more critical and forceful. Political parties in Holland "denounced the attitude of the Moroccan authorities." As well, Morocco's standing with the European Union might come under examination.
Regardless of how the Moroccan government justifies its actions and deportations of Christians, the damage by these policies to innocent Moroccans, including orphan children and local citizens, is undeniable. The cost to the Moroccan government is still unknown, but currently unfolding. At the least, Morocco's long-standing reputation for religious tolerance is crumbling. The Moroccan government, to those watching worldwide, appears to be reversing itself and moving backwards toward radicalism. Consequently, its impossible not to admire and respect the Moroccan locals who have shown, and remain prepared to show, their unified support for the Christian aid workers, such as the Americans running The Children's Haven, in their communities.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Christian Orphanage forcibly shut down in Morocco
Greetings from Morocco :
I have devastating news.
This afternoon, I received a phone call from Herman Boonstra, the director of the Village of Hope saying that the police had just told them the staff needed to pack up and leave for the airport to be deported out of Morocco this evening.
Let me step back and describe the events that led up to this.
In March 2009 the police raided a woman’s bible study in Casablanca and sent the five foreign women who were visiting out of the country.
In November 2009 the police raided a Christian meeting in the north and sent five foreigners out of the country.
In January 2010 the police raided a Christian meeting south of Marrakech and sent the visiting American out of the country.
Then this past weekend, in a coordinated effort, coming from the highest levels of the government, Christians around the country were called in, questioned overnight and sent out of the country the next day.
The list thus far: British couple from Essaouri, American from Fez (his wife and daughter have been permitted to stay until the daughter finishes her school year), Brazilian from El Jadida, British man from Tangiers (his wife is allowed to stay until her card runs out in August), Korean pastor from Rabat (has led the service before ours), Congolese man from Marrakech, three Americans ( I think) who were running a handicap center in Nador. An American was denied entry into the country when he tried to come back home. A South African was pulled out of his work as a teacher in Casablanca to be questioned. A man in Meknes was pulled in to be questioned.
There is so much going on that I may be forgetting some. Throughout the day I have been receiving phone calls and emails and Skype talking about all the latest developments.
The police, as part of this national campaign, came to the Village of Hope on Saturday about 3:30 PM. They said this was just routine and had a few questions to ask. They asked if they could see one of the houses and were invited in. They immediately began opening closets and drawers, going through bookshelves and taking whatever materials they considered incriminating. They interviewed each of the children. They interviewed all the staff and volunteers. Finally, at 3 AM they left.
They came back on Sunday after interviewing some volunteers who were staying in nearby Azrou. They continued interviewing children, getting documentation. There were three groups of police and each wanted their own copies.
Herman was called into the town of Ain Leuh to meet with high level police officers. He called me last night at 11:40 PM to say this was really serious.
They had collected all the passports of the staff and then finally announced to Errol and Herman that they all had to leave.
So in less than seven hours, the parents and staff had to pack their bags and say goodby to their children.
The oldest of these children have been there for ten years. These are the only parents they know and the government has ripped them away, traumatizing the children and ripping out the hearts of the parents.
We are all stunned. The American Embassy has been wonderful. They are following these events intensely. A couple of the embassy families were just at VOH last weekend to paint a room in the infirmary and worship with the community. So this is personal.
I am not happy that the government has deported so many people. But that pales in comparison with what has happened at the Village of Hope .
A second children’s home, Children’s Haven in Azrou, is on the same track and it is expected that the staff there will also be sent out of the country. But maybe not. We will wait and see.
All my analysis of the political trends in this country have proved to be wrong. But I am not alone. No one understands what is happening. This is a new wave sweeping across Morocco .
The King appointed new ministers of Interior and Justice in January and it seems that these men are driving the campaign and the campaign seems to be pulling Morocco away from openness and liberty into a more Islamic state.
May God have mercy on them.
It is obvious what to pray about. The parents and children are at the top of the list. Pray also for those who have been deported. And please pray for me.
We have no idea who is next or who else is on their list.
I am unable to understand why God would allow this to happen, but then there is so much suffering that takes place in the world on a daily basis, much worse than this, and I do not understand that either. This suffering is closer to home and that is why it hurts so much.
For those of you who can read French, here is the official report that came out of the Moroccan Press Association.
Monday, March 1, 2010
And now Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You. Ps. 39:7
The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. Ps. 103:6
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (MSG)
And now these three abide: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Call in the Silly Sailors, the Bombadiers of Belly Laughs and the Army of Incompetent Clowns. When our pastor reaches this point, he pulls out his old faithful jokes that still garner laughs - some out of genuine humor and some out of politeness. However, I don't have much of an arsenal. I'll have to dig in my dog anecdotes closet or my Broadway lyrics library or my own pratfalls and mis-speaking history.
That said, hmmmmm. About dogs. Dogs are funny people with funny habits and funny ways of communicating. My brother-in-law, who has a one-year-old baby, recently told me that dogs have more intelligence than a human being up to the age of two. Now, I absolutely believe everything that my brother-in-law says, but I wonder if he might not be a bit biased in this recent revelation. His baby girl is developing her voice and learning to understand words. She has no teeth, yet, and has a wobbly walk. Gates guard all the stairways in their house. Her babble is hilarious and is beginning to sound like sentences. Our dogs do that, too. My husband is convinced that our dog Larry says, "Hello you!" Both species seem to communicate quite well, despite the language limitations.
However, unlike our dogs, our little niece does not choose to sleep on electrical wires, rush outside to bark at the neighbors on the other side of the fence, chase snarling raccoons up trees or roll in foul-smelling objects in the yard for perfume. I'd say that gives her a definite edge in the intelligence arena.
Thus ends my discourse of the day. Unfortunately, the Humor Army, Navy and Air Force failed to show today. Maybe tomorrow.... Maybe someday...
Postscript: Our fierce guard dogs had their first tangible tangle with a skunk this past week. Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap makes for the best internet remedy we have discovered so far - plus it would make a great science experiment!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Knowing that you are actively hated can be a frightening thought - especially if those who hate you can also hurt you. Hate can also be incredibly painful when it comes from family members or those who have been close to you. However, followers of Jesus should not be surprised by hate, nor should they fear it.
In Matthew 10:16-22, Jesus warns his twelve closest disciples of the cost of following him: "Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves. Be on guard against men [whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God]; for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues, And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a witness to bear testimony before them and to the Gentiles (the nations).
But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment, For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children will take a stand against their parents and will have them put to death.
And you will be hated by all for My name's sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the end will be saved from spiritual disease and death in the world to come]."
Notice that Jesus said not to be anxious. And, why could he say this? Because the world does not have the power to hurt his believers. Our earthly physical bodies will be shed when we die anyway - to be replaced by with new ones. Our duration after death is eternal, our duration on earth is very short.
While Jesus warned his twelve disciples - and therefore, all of his followers (even to this day) - he also promised a life of fullness and abundance. In John 10:10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."
Believers live in this strange position of being hated and persecuted but also having a life full of abundance. 1 Peter 5:8 says "...your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." But verse 9 continues, "Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
Christian persecution certainly exists in America - often in the form of "Christians" who disagree with other Christians' faith and practice. How tragic this is considering that this country was founded to guarantee freedom of religion. Persecution is not, however, surprising. Jesus guaranteed that his followers would experience persecution. And, Jesus' promises never fail even when governments' promises do.
The one thing that Jesus' followers can not do is to hate back or to nurture hate for their oppressors. If they did so, then the thief/the devil/the roaring lion would win. Jesus said that hating someone in your heart is the same as murder. Hatred and fear are sin. Sin separates us from the goodness and abundance of God.
Therefore, "Fear not! If God be for us, who can be against us?" Or as young David put it, "Who is this uncircumsized Philistine!" Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Believers will be hated, but don't need to hate back because they experience such great love from their merciful, just, loving and patient God. Endure!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
TRESPASSERS OF THE LAW
The Illinois Supreme Court has held that "if the magistrate has not such jurisdiction, then he and those who advise and act with him, or execute his process, are trespassers." Von Kettler et.al. v. Johnson, 57 Ill. 109 (1870)
Under Federal law which is applicable to all states, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that if a court is "without authority, its judgments and orders are regarded as nullities. They are not voidable, but simply void; and form no bar to a recovery sought, even prior to a reversal in opposition to them. They constitute no justification; and all persons concerned in executing such judgments or sentences, are considered, in law, as trespassers." Elliot v. Piersol, 1 Pet. 328, 340, 26 U.S. 328, 340 (1828)
The Illinois Supreme Court held that if a court "could not hear the matter upon the jurisdictional paper presented, its finding that it had the power can add nothing to its authority, - it had no authority to make that finding." The People v. Brewer, 128 Ill. 472, 483 (1928). The judges listed below had no legal authority (jurisdiction) to hear or rule on certain matters before them. They acted without any jurisdiction.
When judges act when they do not have jurisdiction to act, or they enforce a void order (an order issued by a judge without jurisdiction), they become trespassers of the law,and are engaged in treason (see below).
The Court in Yates v. Village of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, 209 F.Supp. 757 (N.D. Ill. 1962) held that "not every action by a judge is in exercise of his judicial function. ... it is not a judicial function for a judge to commit an intentional tort even though the tort occurs in the courthouse."
When a judge acts as a trespasser of the law, when a judge does not follow the law, the judge loses subject-matter jurisdiction and the judges orders are void, of no legal force or effect.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (1974) stated that "when a state officer acts under a state law in a manner violative of the Federal Constitution, he "comes into conflict with the superior authority of that Constitution, and he is in that case stripped of his official or representative character and is subjected in his person to the consequences of his individual conduct. The State has no power to impart to him any immunity from responsibility to the supreme authority of the United States." [Emphasis supplied in original].
By law, a judge is a state officer.
The judge then acts not as a judge, but as a private individual (in his person).
Citizens for Legal Responsibility.
Coming soon, a study on the improper use of indirect civil contempt as a punishment tool rather than a coercive one.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The quake emanated from a town about 20 miles from my own, and I heard it even before I felt it. I heard a rumbling sound outside and then felt the shock waves in my bed. It seemed to last forever. While the shaking lasted, I felt disconnected from it and observed the phenomenon with interest. A moment after it passed, I felt the terror and weight of divine judgment. This little earthquake was just a nudge compared to the shaking in Haiti, but power of it – beyond human control or understanding – certainly humbles one in the face of the Almighty's power.
Human life is indeed fleeting and fragile. However, we were born and continue to exist by the grace of God and by His voice of truth. What a blessing to serve an all-powerful God who deigns to speak to us and, most remarkably, loves us!
1 Kings 19:10-12 (Amplified Bible)
10He replied, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
11And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;
12And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The church was filled with friends, family and co-workers. Karen was a much-loved woman. She was from Jamaica and I loved the lilt in her voice when she spoke. I imagine her dancing under heavenly palms with the only bridgegroom she has ever known, Jesus himself.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."
And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."
Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son."
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I chose to read Beautiful Mess: The Story of Diamond Rio without knowing who Diamond Rio was, and it seems to me that a book should be able to stand on its own merit as literature. However, I think that only fans of the famous country group would really love the book that is their collective autobiography. The book did propel me to listen to some of their music, and it is really fabulous. However, the storyline of the book really got bogged down in the name-dropping arena and with so much inside detail about the Opryland and Nashville music scene.
The book opens with the group's artistic crisis, and then traces the development of the group. It then veers off into the careers of its individual members, with many, many photographs included. Although many of those stories have potential, I just didn't feel the depth of the drama or that the real personalities of the group members connected with the reader. Again, this may be because I am not a Diamond Rio fan. However, I had hoped that the book would transcend the genre and transport me to their world. The book just did not do that for me.
I am sure that Diamond Rio fans will love this book. It has so many pictures and a very detailed history of their long-term success and relationships. As a reader with a different perspective, I had a difficult time maintaining interest. So, non-country music fans may want to skip this one.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Civil contempt "generally involves the failure to perform an act that is ordered by a court as a means to enforce the rights of individuals or to secure remedies for parties in a civil action." For instance, parents who don't pay court-ordered Child Support may be held in contempt of court under civil contempt or journalists who refuse to divulge their sources. The problem with civil contempt is that people are imprisoned indefinitely and they are forced to prove a negative. If a parent who is ordered to pay support based on false premises fails to pay, the judge can choose to ignore evidence and send them to jail indefinitely. None of the protections of the constitution are afforded them, and judges are allowed great discretion - including up to 14 years imprisonment - with no due process, no guarantee of legal representation and no jury trial. Many judges abuse this power of discretion. Fortunately, in Illinois, our judges are no longer merely accountable to the next higher court. In this state, judges must now hold onto their offices through an election. Judges are now directly accountable to voters.
To protect themselves, their children and their future, voters need to wake up and research the candidates they vote for. Voting for judges may seem like a confusing matter, but with the Internet making so much more information available, candidates are being forced to present themselves and their past actions to public scrutiny. This can only be a good thing. Corruption and abuse of power don't thrive in an environment of truth and revelation.
For more information about this topic, go to Legal Affairs Articles
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"My friends and neighbors want to promote the "Congressional Reform Act of 2010." It would contain eight provisions, all of which would probably be strongly endorsed by those who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights so many years ago who are now "spinning" in their graves today!
I know many of you will say, "This is impossible." Let me remind you, Congress has the lowest approval of any entity in Government, now is the time when Americans "We the People" can join together to reform Congress - the entity that is supposed to "represent" us.
We need to find a brave Senator to introduce this bill in the U.S. Senate and a brave Representative to introduce a similar bill in the U.S. House. These two people will become American heroes.
A Fellow American
The Congressional Reform Act of 2010
1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options are below.
A. Two Six year Senate terms
B. Six Two year House terms
C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.
2. No Tenure/No Pension: A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security: All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves over into the Social Security system immediately.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people they serve.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people they serve.
8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are NULL & VOID effective 1/1/2011. The American people did not make this contract with congressmen, congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
If you agree with the above, pass it on to all in your address list. If not, just delete.
Harder to pass, but still a good idea is the 28th Amendment. It's a similar idea to rein in the Congress.
Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives. And Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. All bills presented before the Congress shall have a preface that will outline the constitutionality for such bill, and each spending bill will pertain to one issue and not have attachments or "ear-marks."
The term of all elected members of Congress is limited to a maximum of 12 years."
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Philosophically, I consider myself more in line with Republican ideals. However, because too many Republicans have abused their power and merely given lip service to the concepts of less government, protecting the lives of unborn children, and being fiscally conservative, I no longer vote along party lines or even identify myself as a Republican or Democrat.
Because lying, corruption and hubris have overtaken the process and become the norm (for both main parties), there are VERY few in government who are not tainted. Of course, we are all human and therefore prone to human mistakes and error - no matter how brilliant or self-sacrificing we are. That said, there are far too many elected officials - judges, law enforcement, administrators and lawmakers - who represent only a very narrow group - sometimes only themselves! And the reason for the corruption comes right back down to you and me. Not enough voters take elections seriously and do their homework. It is a responsibility of every adult citizen of this country to participate in the process.
Since I wasn't raised in Illinois, I still don't understand all of the Illinois' government processes and positions. One of the most puzzling still remains the process of how judges are appointed and elected. In my blog over the next three weeks, I will be sharing what I have learned about the judicial election process.
The first thing that I know to share is that Tuesday, February 2 is the primary. This is the election where each party chooses the candidates who will run in the general election in November. In the primary, Democrats run against Democrats and Republicans against Republicans. Early voting begins next Monday. So, the time is now! No more delay. Homework time!