Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mural at Staunton Alliance Church

The Journey Continues Around the World

Mongolian Boy
A boy from Mongolia is the newest person on our wall.

Represented are Mongolia, Thailand, Burma, China, Japan, Mindanao in the Phillipines and the Yupik Inuit.

Morning in Washington DC

I Could See November from this Bridge!

Morning in Washiington
The morning sun illuminates the lamps on the Connecticut Avenue Bridge over Rock Creek Park.

A Walk Around Washington DC

Interesting Sights Around the City

Rock Creek Park
Bridge over Rock Creek Park.

Gas Station
If the Romans had built gas stations, they might have looked like this one on P Street near Rock Creek Park.

Metro Station
One of Washington's vaulted Metro stations.

Federal Triangle
Passage way through Federal Triange.

WW II Memorial
World War II Memorial.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When Exemplary is Your 'Normal'

Joel Belz Talks About His Amazing Mother...

This Tribute [click to read] in World Magazine should bring to mind many of our own Mothers and Wives. In so many ways they have 'shown us the trail.'

"For Jean Belz, my early naïveté was actually on target; there really was never anything special about such thinking. Isn't that the way every creature of God is supposed to see things? Mom just kept sensing God's calling in every detail of her life—and then kept responding to that call as faithfully as she possibly could. But she knew it also took God's enabling even to come up with a faithful response."

...and I Talk About Mine!

Those of us who had exceptional Mothers knew very well that that was a strong qualification for leadership. It got me thinking about my own 'normal' childhood.

My Mother worked in the engineering department of the Martin Company in Baltimore. During the war years she helped develop the seaplanes that were used in the Pacific. When we were kids Mom still pointed out cool looking airplanes. She raised five children -- all different. My two brothers are NASA engineers. My sisters are talented people who have had interesting careers as well.

Mom was there first. When she showed up at the Martin Company to crunch numbers for airplane designers she flatly refused to make coffee for the men. This truth is lived out in my own life -- I make my own coffee.

She must have been pretty good. When I was born the head of the department called her to beg her to come back. As the story goes, Mom took the call with me in her lap. No, she decided, she had a new project on her hands. As a child I did my best to keep her hands full. My spelunking brother claims that he was the dirtiest kid in our family. He forgets my early childhood attraction to mud.

When we were homeschooling my daughter she expressed the sentiment that she wished she'd done that with us. People just didn't do that in the 1950's though. The 'experts' knocked you out to deliver the kid, sent the Dad home and then insisted that educators were better equipped to prepare little minds for the future.

The problem is that Mom had already taught me the complex English language and actually set me up with her old Underwood typwriter. She said I wrote little stories... sort of like primitive blogging.

I drew pictures too. I was pretty handy with a #2 pencil on the back of old medical forms provided by my Cardiologist Aunt. I remember fun summer afternoons when Mom put out the construction paper on the picnic table out back. We had a great time building little paper houses and assembling little villages.

Mom loved to teach complex concepts with illustrations. Once after we'd all had pie for dessert, she took the remaining piece and kept cutting it in half to show that [theoretically] it would be possible to continue to divide the remaining half in half again... forever!

Her 'normal' pie cutting routine was just as amazing. Since there where seven of us, Mom sliced the pie into seven pieces... measuring the slices by eye and none of us was ever short changed in the distribution of pie.

Our family was especially good at killing small appliances. When Mom's mixer died she didn't run out and get a new one. Mom set us up as a stirring team and we learned the old fashioned way of mixing up batter. The kitchen was a physics lab and Mom delighted in the lessons it provided.

When the last child left home, Mom taught physics labs at Howard Community College. Her practical knowledge and Mothering skills were put to good use there. During the Iranian hostage standoff she befriended a yound Iranian student who was understandably afraid and confused by the whole situation. Her friendship certainly helped this young man through a difficult time and taught us that we should always remember that the world is primarily populated by beautiful individuals, not idealogies.

There is not enough space to tell all the things she taught us. Perhaps her greatest lesson was mastered when I courted my children's Mother. It was Mom who first taught me what an amazing person a woman can be!

What an honor it was to be her apprentice!

Along the Appalachian Trail at Jarman's Gap. My children have an amazing Mother too!

The Bible is More than a Text

A Fresh Perspective on Bible Study


Rabbi Hillel Goldberg [click to read] explains.

"The Torah is not the transfer of the meaning of the words that exist on the page into one's mind or heart. Not primarily.

Rather, the Torah is a window, a Divine messenger. An instrument for expanding the mind and soul of its reader."

Tree seen through a rainy window.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Religious Literacy Matters

You Can't Understand Western Civilization Without It

Leaves in a pool of water in Jarman's Gap.

This Survey [click to read] featured in Jewish World Review should give one cause to consider the implications of education as an entirely secular pursuit.

"You can't understand Western civilization unless you understand religion," she said. "How can you understand your cultural heritage in terms of art? How do you understand literary allusions in novels? Even a non-religious person needs religious literacy to understand he artifacts of our civilizations."

Indeed, I have written before about how much of what we value in our culture today has its roots firmly in faith that prompted men and women to live out their convictions and in the process they made society a better place.

How Christianity Changed the World

Originally published as:
Under the Influence,
Alvin J. Schmidt
Zondervan, 2001

Here is a book that really ought to be on your reading list. As we prepare to celebrate the wonder of Emmanuel -- "G-d With Us," it would be interesting to consider the historical influence of the Christian faith in out civilization. Obviously many modern writers consider it not all that great, or even destructive. They point to such events as the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and conclude that religion is not such a great influence on society. An atheist group in England is buying bus ads that say "why believe in G-d, Just be good for goodness' sake." Just in time for Christmas, no less, and using red and green lettering.

But such thinking ignores a vast body of history where men and women, inspired by their faith, abolished slavery, instituted humane treatment of the poor and mentally ill and generally lifted the situation of their fellow citizens. What good is "good for goodness sake" if good is not defined from a higher source. Indeed one can then make the conclusion that it is 'good' to kill six million members of another race. It happened in Twentieth Century Germany. Hitler may have appealed to Christianity in his speeches, but his actions go against the clearly understood teachings of the Faith. Study the life and death of Deitrich Bonhoffer and you will understand where the principles of his beliefs led one citizen to actively oppose the policies of Hitler.

It is a mistake to assume that Western Civilization is automatically 'Christian.' Schmidt looks back to the days of the Roman Empire, when Christians were the ones who rescued unwanted children from destruction and the Middle Ages, when Christians cared for the victims of plague that most simply shunned. Time and time again, Christianity is seen leading men and women to challenge the default direction of Western civilization.

We will read Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' this coming Christmas season, but will we stop to think of how Charles Dickens was addressing social issues of his day. And what of William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian who, moved by his faith, labored half a century to abolish slavery in the British possessions? When Dorethea Dix and Florence Nightengale improved healthcare methods, it was their faith that moved them.

Schmidt provides a great body of scholarly research to bring this forgotten history to light again. One point I take from his writing is that Christianity is at its best when it speaks into culture. It has been rendered less effective by its present 'mainstream' status [as when it is seen as a branch of the Republican Party]. It is all too easy to hijack the language of faith without embracing its life-changing path of discipleship.

Theodore Dalrymple writes in City Journal: "What the New Atheists are Missing." Himself a non-believer, he points to a time when a teacher's hypocrasy led him to question. Dalrymple does not, however, reject the realm of faith as a force in creating and ordering societies. He see's naturalistic explainations and philosophies quite insufficient for dealing with all of human existence. Richard Dawkins' assertions that religious education is tantamount to child abuse, for example seem to Dalrymple no more than the rebellious ranting of a child who's just learned that his parents are not perfect. All of us have experienced some sort of disillusionment in our youth. I remember a time when a nun of the 'Sisters of Mercy' punished me for some infraction I had not [at least in my recollection] committed. I too questioned a lot of things. The Cuban missle crisis fueled more unanswered anxiety as I careened into adolescence.

But something happened in my teenaged years that is etched firmly in my memory. It was a dark and stressful winter day when I decided to walk in the woods near Triadelphia Reservoir. Something spoke to me that afternoon that was more eloquent than the ranting of hormones and the perceived unfairness of life. The buds of the trees were growing fat. here was the hope of spring and new life. Clearly spring would come. The buds gave evidence of an event hoped for. They were indeed the substance of something yet unseen!

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" -- Romans1:20 KJV

Holy writ makes the point that the order and beauty of the creation speaks eloquently of the creator. Thus Intelligent Design, though it merely points out the complex mechanisms of nature, leads one to seek the source of such wisdom. I look to that time in the trees as an affirmation of personal faith in a creator. Though at that point it was pretty detatched and intellectual at best.

"...for he that cometh to G-d must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligenly seek him." Hebrews 11:6b KJV

As a young adult I embraced faith in Christ as redeemer and rewarder. The journey of faith had begun with the fat buds years before though.Therefore I must conlude that those who consider the design of the universe dangerous information have good reason if they fear that others may follow the path I have walked. Dawkins would prefer me to credit space aliens with seeding life to this planet and thus push the hard questions of origin to another world. Darwinism, in its purest form, rejects the idea that this world is some sort of intentional creation. Of course this leads to the rejection of theism and ultimately the rejection of certain absolutes. The film 'Expelled' takes a good look at 'eugenics' and how it is supported by a darwinian world view. In the first half of the Twentieth Century certain proponents of eugenics sought to speed evolution along by eliminating the reproduction of certain undesirable types of persons. The results were forced sterilization of the mentally ill and the holecaust. Contrast that movement with Dorethea Dix and others who, motivated by Christian faith, improved conditions for the mentally ill.

Alvin Schmidt makes a good case in his book 'Under the Influence' that faith is a builder of society rather than a force to destroy it. Dalrymple the non-believer would concur. Thus the danger of Christian principles such as 'intelligent design' leading to dangerous conclusions is much inflated. One might even conclude that the free discussion of order and design,wherever it is found, is wholesome. Certainly there is no basis for its exclusion from the academy.The argument will no doubt be made: "what about the crusades, what about jihad, religion is dangerous?" Yes, it is certainly something that may be missused, but that must be countered with an honest look at how the so-called "good" science of evolution was the foundation of eugenics. Millions of people were killed in this misguided attempt to improve humanity. Ironically, such brilliant men as Albert Einstein met the criteria for elimination. We reduce the world to only naturalistic explainations at our own peril. The argument for open inquiry, with men and women of Faith seated at the table, stands.

New Maple

"When through the woods,and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down,from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze"
-- "How Great Thou Art" Verse 2

Monday, September 27, 2010

Flowers from Lynn

When A Great Writer Laud's You, It's a Treat

Lynn had These Kind Words [click to read] and I just want to say "thank you!" It is people like Lynn, who encourage others to their potential, who make life special.

Jarman's Gap Poplars
A walk through the poplars in Jarman's Gap.

A Double Standard for Free Speech

In the Politically Correct World, Islam Can Do No Wrong

Mark Steyn [click to read] in Jewish World Review.

"So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for "respect" and "sensitivity" toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it." -- Mark Steyn

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XL

The First Nine Months... and Beyond!

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] featured a cover that reminded me of Boticelli's famous painting... and this bit of Scripture:

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

TIME has discovered that the nine months in the womb are indeed an important time in your development. To me that's just one more argument for the sanctity of unborn human life.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Message in Every Blossom

Creation Points to the Creator

Yellow Trail
Flowers at Capon Springs, West Virginia.

"G-d writes the Gospel
not in the Bible alone,
but also on trees,
and in the flowers,
and clouds and stars."
--Martin Luther

Moon Over Capon Springs, West Virginia

A Beautiful Afternoon in the Mountains

Moon Over Capon Springs
The Moon is seen over Bear Ridge behind the main building.

Faces in the Mural

Meet Lawan from Thailand...

Her Thai name means 'beautiful.'

More Faces from the Mural Here [click to view].

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bear Ridge at Capon Springs, West Virginia

An Unusual Rock Formation Along the Ridge

Yellow Trail
Rocks in Bear Ridge form an interesting pattern.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXXIX, First Anniversary Edition

Is TIME Magazine Good For America?

In 1995 the 'other' weekly news magazine featured this cover reminiscent of Gauguin's self-portrait with a snake, which the artist held like a cigarette. They asked the question: "Is Rush Limbaugh Good for America?" [of course, you are supposed to conclude that he isn't].

One year ago they branded Glenn Beck a 'Mad Man.' Media bias? Really? No, this is what passes for serious commentary at TIME. Beware, however, of 'electronic populism' [that's us, dude], for it is what TIME says will mislead us.

Rush Limbaugh asked the question on his show: "Will TIME Magazine now ask if the Tea Party movement is good for America?" Seems to me that they did just that last week, painting it as a right-wing takeover ofthe Republican Party.

The fact is 'electronic populism,' far from short-circuiting representative democracy, is restoring the people's voice. I've been to Washington quite a few times in the past year. Every time I have stood shoulder to shoulder with fellow Americans who are unhappy with the way things are in government. Government has refused to acknowledge our concerns and now we are energized for an important midterm election. TIME, for its part, gives a pass to politicians who are making massive changes to the role and scope of government while painting those of us who would do its job of vetting them as part of some lunatic fringe.

My prayer is that the upcoming election will see the return of true representative government. If that happens it will not be thanks to any great effort by the mainstream media. It will be in spite of them.

The Persisting Problem of Evil

The Modern World Still Struggles With an Old Problem

Theodore Dalrymple [click to read] in City Journal discusses the age-old problem.

"The Enlightenment held out the hope that with enough of this “proper study,” man would come to know himself sufficiently to eliminate the evil and suffering that had always beset his existence. Man would obtain something like a Newtonian knowledge not only of the universe but of himself, with all the predictive and mechanical advantages that such understanding had brought in the study of inanimate nature."

Rock Point
Flowers and a note at Rock Point Overlook remember Tim Davis, who died from injuries that resulted from a violent attack on him and a coworker. They were sitting at the overlook watching the sunset when a man attacked them with a shotgun.

Dennis Prager [click to read] in Jewish World Review has some clear observations about the direction the world seems to be heading.

If you follow Glenn Beck you know that post-Christian thought, guided by Socialist ideas, says that "mankind is evolving toward something better." The problem is that the path is quite bloody. My question to those who hold to that view is: "What happens if you are wrong?"

Prager says: "One of the many beliefs — i.e., non-empirically based doctrines — of the post-Christian West has been that moral progress is the human norm, especially so with the demise of religion. In a secular world, the self-described enlightened thinking goes, superstition is replaced by reason, and reason leads to the moral good."

Indeed, what if you have only succeeded in removing that which mitigates the evil that resides in the human heart? Prager's Observations [click to read] go hand in hand with those of Alvin Schmidt [click to read], who documents the positive effect of faith on human affairs through history. Prager deals honestly with those evils that have been done in the name of religion, and those that have been done in the name of G-dless regimes. Prager continues:

"Of course, it turned out that the post-Christian West produced considerably more evil than the Christian world had. No mass cruelty in the name of Christianity approximated the vastness of the cruelty unleashed by secular doctrines and regimes in the post-Christian world. The argument against religion that more people have been killed in the name of religion than by any other doctrine is false propaganda on behalf of secularism and Leftism."

As society has embraced a reletivistic approach to truth, the horrors we have seen in our own sphere have increased as well. Could Seung-hui Cho, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Ralph Leon Jackson and George Huguely been saved from comitting the horrible things they did? The question is an honest one... it deserves an honest answer. The stakes are too high.

When Bob Childress [click to read] brought his ministry to Southwestern Virginia, he found a community wallowing in fatalistic despair. Disputes and murders were common and Childress brought faith to bear in the situations he encountered there. The legacy he left was one of faith and healing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flag Raising at Capon Springs, West Virginia

Every Morning Begins with Kids Helping to Raise the Flag

Flag Raising

Thoughts on the Pursuit of Happiness

Jerry Weinberger in City Journal offers Benjamin Franklin on American Happiness [click to read].

"Are Americans happy? In his unequaled Democracy in America, written after his visit to Andrew Jackson’s America, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that Americans, despite living in the most prosperous and egalitarian society in history, were restive and melancholy: “grave and almost sad even in their pleasures.” Long before psychologists discovered the paradox of choice, Tocqueville saw that the pursuit of happiness, the third of the rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, was a mixed blessing."

Thoughts on the Distribution of Spirits

Privatizing the Distribution of Spirits Makes Sense
Sharing a Better Spirit Makes Even More Sense

Lynn Has This [click to read] to say at The Washington Examiner. Here are a few thoughts of my own:

First, the state always creates a conflicting situation for itself when it sells a product it also regulates. Any legal product with clear regulations and guidelines for its sale and use needs to be offered to the marketplace by the private sector. Government's role must always be limited and clearly defined.

Second, communities should always see themselves empowered on a local level. Localities already control signeage. It is reasonble to say that localities could restrict such establishments and, say, keep them a certain distance from schools and residential areas. Fears of neon signs on every corner are greatly overrated. Most distribution licenses, I would imagine, would be sought by existing retailers. These retailers are a part of the community fabric and would likely comply with the values of their customers.

Read the histories of great revivals, such as the one in Toronto in the late 19th Century [1.]. One of the outcomes of such spiritual awakenings is a marked decline in the sale of spirits. William H. Howland's [2.] tenure as mayor saw a decrease in the number of places selling adult beverages. As a person of faith, this tells me that an overabundance of beverage outlets might be best addressed by the offer of a Spirit of a better sort. What regulation cannot achieve, choices that offer more lasting satisfaction can.

The state cannot, by law offer this Spirit. It can, however, acknowledge that human needs must be met by sources beyond the state. The simple excercise of limiting the scope of government says that. There is a beautiful tensegrity created by the First Amendment's 'establishment clause' and the 'free excercise clause' that should allow faith to freely operate in the marketplace. Unfortunately groups such as the ACLU and some courts have twisted the clause so as to protect and promote vile expression and surpress the sharing of the Spirit.

The result is that the state finds itself endorsing one and not the other.

This morning I read about the Farmville rapper who went to a concert where the artists engaged in their First Amendment right to sing about raping, killing and mutilating people [as the ACLU would have you understand it] [3]. Then he bludgeoned his girlfiend and her parents to death.

What would have been the outcome if this young man could have come under the influence of a fine Youth Pastor? I know a few who's lives and message have indeed changed lives just like that of this young man. Yet the state takes great pains to keep the expression of faith out of the public square. Think of the College of William and Mary, where the cross in Wren Chapel had to be removed, but the student union hosted a 'sex workers' show,' presumably for 'educational purposes.' Teachers routinely censor student work for religious references and Heaven help the Valedictorian who acknowledges that her life is what it is because of Heaven's help!

Our nation today stands at a crossroads. Either we acknowledge that government cannot possibly solve all of our problems and limit it; or we must continually expand its scope to deal with an ever growing number of problems. These can only increase in number and severity as people no longer seek answers outside of government.

Toronto in the late Nineteenth Century.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Capon Springs, West Virginia

Lou Austin's Inspiration Lives On Today

Spring House
The Spring House at Capon Springs...

A Milestone Monday Feature

Early in the Great Depression a Philadelphia businessman came to the wild mountains of West Virginia. His interest was in distributing the healthy spring water of an old spa resort to the city of Philadelphia so he came seeking exclusive distribution rights.

Capon Springs had been a popular destination since the Nineteenth Century when a group of Baltimore investors had financed the construction of the 500 room Mountain House there. After the Civil War, Capt. William H. Sale took over the resort and added more rooms.The resort thrived until 1911, when the Mountain House burned down. The large annex, which Sale built in 1887 then became the main building and is the center of the complex today.

When Lou Austin arrived with his plan to bottle and distribute the water, Capon Springs was in decline. Austin bought the property in 1932 at auction and proceeded with his plan to distribute the water while his wife, Virginia, took over hospitality operations.

Federal regulators were challenging health claims of bottled spring water at the time and Mr. Austin found himself in the middle of legal proceedings. He won at the Federal level but soon found that State and local regulatory agencies where in cahoots with the Feds. EventuallyAustin was forced to abandon the sale of the water and concentrate on the resort.

Here is where the Divine inspiration appears. Unlike the Homestead and the Greenbrier, which fashioned themselves into high-end hotels, Capon Springs literally became an extension of the Austins' personal hospitality.

Initially the Austins' friends visited and enjoyed the atmosphere of family style dinners and no locks on the doors. Friends invited friends and the circle grew. Guests today follow 'the Capon Way' and enjoy an atmosphere more like a family gathering than a hotel stay.

The resort grew, and by the mid Twentieth Century was a thriving vacation destination. The wonderful healthful water from the springs is now provided free of charge. You can drive in anytime and fill your own containers or buy bottles to fill at the front desk. You are free to decide for yourself on the merits of the fine tasting water which flows from 1600 feet below the surface at a rate of 100 gallons a minute; A rate that seems unaffected by the cycle of drought and rains on the surface.

Spring Tour explained by Austin's grandson Jonathan. The family still operates Capon Springs today.

A modern reconstruction of Capon Springs' bandstand.

Orange Trail
Guests enjoy a hike on the Orange Trail, Capon Springs' newest hiking trail.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Capon Springs, West Virginia

A Member of the Capon Springs Family Remembered

John Brill Remembered
A lamp post at Capon Springs recalls the memory of her beloved maintenance director who also led the Saturday night campfire for many years.

Power Line Crossing a Mountain

Capon Springs, West Virginia, along the Red Trail

Power Line

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Morning at Capon Springs, West Virginia

Sunlight Streams Through Trees at the Spring Resort

Morning Light

Friday, September 17, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXXVIII

Tea Party Time!

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] is quick to dismiss it as a Conservative surge overtaking the Republican party [the era of Reagan is over, remember]. Not so fast, something much bigger is playing out here.

When Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, he promised a more open government that would not run up massive deficits. He posed himself as the great reconciler. Then he took office and proceeded to expand the role of government [and government spending] in record time.

The great reconciler proved to be a disciple of Jeremiah Wright and his James Cone Marxism in a Christian wrapper theology. Black Panther party members could intimidate white voters in Philadelphia and the Attorney General would give them a free pass to do so. Arizona tried to protect its citizens from un unsecure Southern border and Eric Holder hauled them into court. The hoped for post-racial society turned into a farce.

Healthcare 'reform' consists of 2000+ pages that "we have to pass to see what's in it." 16000 new IRS agents are written into the bill to 'redistribute' wealth.

The same people who raise a hue and cry every time someone suggests private accounts [with actual money in them] as part of Social Security had no problem gutting their own Medicare program to make their 'Healthcare' plan deficit neutral.

Is it any wonder people are fed up? Look at the surge of new people seeking seats in government. People like Doctor Rand Paul and a host of business people as well.

I have a feeling Thomas Jefferson would love what is happening!

What's Really Happening

Here's a Sampler from Erick Erickson:

1. Wall Street Journal: RedState Winner in 2010 Primaries
2. Constitution Day: What Does the Constitution Say About Health Care?
3. Repealing the ban on the common light bulb
4. Rick Boucher (D, VA-09) buys new car with campaign money.
5. NY Dem Weiner: Health care 'bill and I are one'
6. Who Dares To Be The Next Democrat Defection on Obamacare Repeal?
7. Only 31 House Democrats Willing to Offer Soft Support for Small Businesses

Meet the New Congress

World Magazine [click to read] offers a host of ordinary citizens who are stepping up to the plate.

Meet the New Democrat Logo

See it at No Sheeples Here [click to read].

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yes She Can!

If GOP Fails Her, Time for a Money Bomb!

People want real change in Washington. Christine O'Donnell offers that hope.

Solving Home Problems

Make Your Own Funnel at a Gas Station

Make Youur Own Funnel
If they don't have paper funnels...

You know the problem. You go to a 'self serve' gas station and need to put in some oil. Usually they have tose paper funnels handy but sometimes not. I've even seen a time when there were not only no funnels available but they wanted to SELL you a pack of cardboard ones.

No problem though, here's how to make your own.

1. Take your water bottle empty and recycle it in a new way by cutting out the bottom.

2. Shake it out well and wipe dry with one of the paper towels at the pump island. If none are available in the dispensers there, get a napkin from the donut area inside. You don't want water in your oil. Hold it in the sun [if available] to dry completely.

3. Use the funnel in the normal manner.

4. Wipe clean with one of the paper towels at the pump island. Put it with your car tools in the trunk for 'future reference.'

Make Youur Own Funnel
...make your own!

Day of Dreams Come True

The Setting for a Beautiful Wedding

The Setting
This photo captures the beauty of the setting at Arbor Hill Farm. Photo by Sandy Wessell.

Day of Dreams Come True

Together at Last!

Photo by Sandy Wessell.

Mural at Staunton Alliance Church

The Journey Continues Around the World

Mural at SAC
Laney paints a Thai girl as a princess...

Mural at SAC
...and adds detail to Ting Ting's silk outfit.

Mural at SAC

Mural at SAC

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day of Dreams Come True

My Son's Wedding in Arbor Hill

Photo by Sandy Wessell.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11 Remembered

Nine Years Ago Our World Was Changed Forever

Our Flag will be flying today.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXXVII

What Makes a Nation Great?

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] asks: "What makes a school great?" THYME asks: "Why stop there, what makes a NATION great?" We can agree with the 'other' magazine that it takes great teachers, so here are some thoughts from our Founding Fathers:

John Adams and John Hancock:
We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]

John Adams:
“ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
“[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
–John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --October 11, 1798

"I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen." December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

"Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell." [John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817]

Samuel Adams: He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all.” [ "American Independence," August 1, 1776. Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia]

“ Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity… and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” [October 4, 1790]

John Quincy Adams:
“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?" “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity"?
--1837, at the age of 69, when he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts.

“The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.”
John Quincy Adams. Letters to his son. p. 61

Elias Boudinot: “Be religiously careful in our choice of all public officers . . . and judge of the tree by its fruits.”

Charles Carroll - signer of the Declaration of Independence
" Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." [Source: To James McHenry on November 4, 1800.]

Benjamin Franklin:
“ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 original manuscript of this speech

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?” [Constitutional Convention, Thursday June 28, 1787]

In Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach "the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern."

In 1787 when Franklin helped found Benjamin Franklin University, it was dedicated as "a nursery of religion and learning, built on Christ, the Cornerstone."

Alexander Hamilton:
Hamilton began work with the Rev. James Bayard to form the Christian Constitutional Society to help spread over the world the two things which Hamilton said made America great:
(1) Christianity
(2) a Constitution formed under Christianity.
“The Christian Constitutional Society, its object is first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States.”

On July 12, 1804 at his death, Hamilton said, “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.”

"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests." [1787 after the Constitutional Convention]

"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."

John Hancock:
“In circumstances as dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments, …at the same time all confidence must be withheld from the means we use; and reposed only on that God rules in the armies of Heaven, and without His whole blessing, the best human counsels are but foolishness… Resolved; …Thursday the 11th of May…to humble themselves before God under the heavy judgments felt and feared, to confess the sins that have deserved them, to implore the Forgiveness of all our transgressions, and a spirit of repentance and reformation …and a Blessing on the … Union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights [for which hitherto we desire to thank Almighty God]…That the people of Great Britain and their rulers may have their eyes opened to discern the things that shall make for the peace of the nation…for the redress of America’s many grievances, the restoration of all her invaded liberties, and their security to the latest generations.
"A Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, with a total abstinence from labor and recreation. Proclamation on April 15, 1775"

Patrick Henry:
"Orator of the Revolution."

This is all the inheritance I can give my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.”
—The Last Will and Testament of Patrick Henry

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]

“The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.”

John Jay:
“ Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393.

“Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab ["Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?" 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.” [The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p.365]

Thomas Jefferson:
“ The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”

“Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus.”

"I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]

Samuel Johnston:
“It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, [unless] first the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves.
[Elliot’s Debates, Vol. IV, pp 198-199, Governor Samuel Johnston, July 30, 1788 at the North Carolina Ratifying Convention]

James Madison:
“ We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart.”

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]

• I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare the unsatisfactoriness [of temportal enjoyments] by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.
Letter by Madison to William Bradford (September 25, 1773)

• In 1812, President Madison signed a federal bill which economically aided the Bible Society of Philadelphia in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible
“ An Act for the relief of the Bible Society of Philadelphia” Approved February 2, 1813 by Congress

“It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.”

• A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven. [Letter by Madison to William Bradford [urging him to make sure of his own salvation] November 9, 1772]

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Perfect Governor, as he read Isaiah 33:22;
“For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
He will save us.”
[Baron Charles Montesquieu, wrote in 1748; “Nor is there liberty if the power of judging is not separated from legislative power and from executive power. If it [the power of judging] were joined to legislative power, the power over life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, for the judge would be the legislature if it were joined to the executive power, the judge could have the force of an oppressor. All would be lost if the same … body of principal men … exercised these three powers." Madison claimed Isaiah 33:22 as the source of division of power in government
See also: pp.241-242 in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle approach by Rosalie Slater]

James McHenry – Signer of the Constitution:
Public utility pleads most forcibly for the general distribution of the Holy Scriptures. The doctrine they preach, the obligations they impose, the punishment they threaten, the rewards they promise, the stamp and image of divinity they bear, which produces a conviction of their truths, can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses, and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience.

Jedediah Morse:
"To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them."

John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg
In a sermon delivered to his Virginia congregation on Jan. 21, 1776, he preached from Ecclesiastes 3.

Arriving at verse 8, which declares that there is a time of war and a time of peace, Muhlenberg noted that this surely was not the time of peace; this was the time of war. Concluding with a prayer, and while standing in full view of the congregation, he removed his clerical robes to reveal that beneath them he was wearing the uniform of an officer in the Continental army! He marched to the back of the church; ordered the drum to beat for recruits and over three hundred men joined him, becoming the Eighth Virginia Brigade. John Peter Muhlenberg finished the Revolution as a Major-General, having been at Valley Forge and having participated in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Stonypoint, and Yorktown.

Thomas Paine:
“ It has been the error of the schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences, and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles: he can only discover them; and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.”
“ The evil that has resulted from the error of the schools, in teaching natural philosophy as an accomplishment only, has been that of generating in the pupils a species of atheism. Instead of looking through the works of creation to the Creator himself, they stop short, and employ the knowledge they acquire to create doubts of his existence. They labour with studied ingenuity to ascribe every thing they behold to innate properties of matter, and jump over all the rest by saying, that matter is eternal.” “The Existence of God--1810”

Benjamin Rush:
• “I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them…we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this Divine Book, above all others, constitutes the soul of republicanism.” “By withholding the knowledge of [the Scriptures] from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds.” [Letter written (1790’s) in Defense of the Bible in all schools in America]
• “Christianity is the only true and perfect religion.”
• “If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into our world would have been unnecessary.”

"Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read and write and above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education”
Letters of Benjamin Rush, "To the citizens of Philadelphia: A Plan for Free Schools", March 28, 1787

Justice Joseph Story:
“ I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”
[Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593]
“ Infidels and pagans were banished from the halls of justice as unworthy of credit.” [Life and letters of Joseph Story, Vol. II 1851, pp. 8-9.]
“ At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship.”
[Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593]

Noah Webster:
“ The duties of men are summarily comprised in the Ten Commandments, consisting of two tables; one comprehending the duties which we owe immediately to God-the other, the duties we owe to our fellow men.”

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed...No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
[Source: 1828, in the preface to his American Dictionary of the English Language]

Let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God [Exodus 18:21]. . . . If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted . . . If our government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. [Noah Webster, The History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie and Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337, 49]

“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” [Noah Webster. History. p. 339]

“The Bible was America’s basic textbook
in all fields.” [Noah Webster. Our Christian Heritage p.5]

“Education is useless without the Bible” [Noah Webster. Our Christian Heritage p.5 ]

George Washington:

Farewell Address: The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion" ...and later: "...reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle..."

“ It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.”

“What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” [speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs May 12, 1779]

"To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian" [May 2, 1778, at Valley Forge]

During his inauguration, Washington took the oath as prescribed by the Constitution but added several religious components to that official ceremony. Before taking his oath of office, he summoned a Bible on which to take the oath, added the words “So help me God!” to the end of the oath, then leaned over and kissed the Bible.

Nelly Custis-Lewis (Washington’s adopted daughter):
Is it necessary that any one should [ask], “Did General Washington avow himself to be a believer in Christianity?" As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic devotion to his country. His mottos were, "Deeds, not Words"; and, "For God and my Country."

“ O Most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ, my merciful and loving Father; I acknowledge and confess my guilt in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of my sins, but so coldly and carelessly that my prayers are become my sin, and they stand in need of pardon.”
“ I have sinned against heaven and before Thee in thought, word, and deed. I have contemned Thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against the light, despising Thy mercies and judgment, and broken my vows and promise. I have neglected the better things. My iniquities are multiplied and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing and desire to be vile in my own eyes as I have rendered myself vile in Thine. I humbly beseech Thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son and only Savior Jesus Christ who came to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me.”
[George Washington; from a 24 page authentic handwritten manuscript book dated April 21-23, 1752
William J. Johnson George Washington, the Christian (New York: The Abingdon Press, New York & Cincinnati, 1919), pp. 24-35.]

"Although guided by our excellent Constitution in the discharge of official duties, and actuated, through the whole course of my public life, solely by a wish to promote the best interests of our country; yet, without the beneficial interposition of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, we could not have reached the distinguished situation which we have attained with such unprecedented rapidity. To HIM, therefore, should we bow with gratitude and reverence, and endeavor to merit a continuance of HIS special favors". [1797 letter to John Adams]

James Wilson:
Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
Supreme Court Justice appointed by George Washington
Spoke 168 times during the Constitutional Convention

"Christianity is part of the common law"
[Sources: James Wilson, Course of Lectures [vol 3, p.122]; and quoted in Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, 11 Serg, & R. 393, 403 (1824).]

Source: Quotes of the Founding Fathers [click to read].

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Solving Home Problems...

How to 'Replace' a Missing Window Sash


Faux Window

A friend of mine and his wife are hosting my son's wedding at their farm. He asked me what could be done to make this window look better. The 19th Century house had a new kitchen put in in mid-twentieth Century and the counter top ran across the bottom lights so the installer simply replaced them with plywood. Time and peeling paint on the plywood sort of added to the feeling that something was missing.

"Could you PAINT on windows or something?" he asked. Here's what I came up with. He prepped the board but I did the faux windows in about 3 hours [including drying times and a gloss top coat]. Can you guess that my future daughter-in-law likes daisies?

Faux Window
Find the faux windows in this picture.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Giving the Victims of 09/11 a Voice

One Man's Unique Vision to Never Forget

Xaver Wilhelmy
Xaver Wilhelmy created a unique glass organ pipe design and a plan to remember the victims of 09/11.

This is a new Milestone Monday feature.

I first met Xaver Wilhelmy in 2003 and a few days after our introduction we were standing overlooking the massive hole at Ground Zero. I had been asked to illustrate his proposal for the memorial competition.

The vision that he unfolded that day was inspiring. He wanted to create a massive organ who's 3000 some pipes would give a voice to each person who was murdered in the attacks on the United States. Xaver is a master craftsman who has made organ pipes out of every material imaginable. The instrument he envisioned would have the usual metal and wood pipes... but in addition there would be the wonderful glass pipes! They would rise around the room to capture light coming in through the windows. I could give myself goose bumps imagining something like Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man ringing through that wonderful room.

Xaver actually created a portion of the work... a series of glass pipes depicting the American flag. He showed them at two conventions of the American Guild of Organists. Alas, his inspired piece was overlooked in the 5000 some entries in the memorial competition. Still, it begs one to reconsider the non-memorial memorials so in vogue right now. Rather than reduce the victims to some monolithic repeated design, why NOT celebrate the unique character and voice of each life that was destroyed that day.

Phil's Video [click to watch] reminded me of Xaver's vision. Seeing the faces of the NYPD members who died that day prompted me to think again about the voices that were silenced that day... Fathers, Husbands, Brothers, Sisters, Friends and Colleagues. May we do the right thing and never forget them.

Read Xaver's Vision [click to read] in his own words.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Never Forget These Brave Souls

Video Portrait Tribute to the 23 NYPD Officers Killed

ht/Phil [click to read].

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seen in the Sunset Sky

Sunset from Behind the Studio, 09/03/10

Do you see the Dove?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue XXXVI

Why Israelis Might Not Care About 'The Peace Process'

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] is asserting that 'Israel Doesn't Care About Peace.' Israel already knows it can't secure peace by giving up land... no matter how much land it gives up! Even the 'moderate' Ground Zero Imam says Israel should not exist as a Jewish state. Can you really blame Israelis for ambivolence toward a 'peace process' that seems more like an attempt to render them impotent against very real foes?

Mike Evans writes: "In a savage and violent ambush, two Israeli couples were murdered Tuesday night as they drove down a street near Hebron in the West Bank. The car was first riddled with bullets; then the gunmen approached the car and shot all the passengers at close range, insuring there were no survivors. In fact, one of the female murder victims was pregnant. Relative to Gaza, the West Bank has been quiet, and this attack was a grim reminder that no Jew living in Israel is safe. Today two sets of children are orphans because Palestinian terrorists wanted to make a political impact."

When it comes to securing real peace, Binyamuin Netanyahu continues to look like the smartest man in the room... in any room he walks into. Strength in the face of evil is the only way the Middle East will know peace of any sort.

Heroes in this Dirty War: Magen David Adom

In 1930, nurse Karen Tenenbaum founded Israel's Emergency Response Team, Magen David Adom. It was started as a volunteer organization in Tel Aviv but became a nationwide organization five years later. The team provided emergency services not only to Jews, but to Arabs and Christians as well.

Today the organization handles emergency response, blood banks and has emergency physicians on staff. They still depend on volunteers too.

Magen David Adom [Red Star of David] ambulance crew in 1948.

'Peace' Talks... Doomed to Fail?

Carolyn B. Glick writes about a 'New Netanyahu' [click to read] but I suspect the fact that we've been down this road many times before allows Netanyahu the luxury of being gracious.

Mona Charen writes about The Cold Hard Facts [click to read] that the world community refuses to see. These are the realities Netanyahu lives with every day.

Who is Manee Singmueangphon?
...And Why You Need to Know

Every now and then I check in on Noam Bedein's site: Sderot Media [click to read] and pray for the safety of the residents of this city in Southern Israel. Manee Singmueangphon is a Thai greenhouse worker who was killed in a rocket atack recently. He worked alongside other Thais and Nepali guest workers in Israel's agriculture industry. He was 33 years old, a husband and father who's death left a grieving family back in Thailand.

Sderot Media Has More [click to read] on the tragic death of Mr. Singmueangphon and why the media needs to get an understanding of the type of terror attacks being made on Sderot by Hamas.

"As long as the world tolerates those Islamic jihadists who fire rockets against innocent Israeli civilians and accepts their legitimization for it, terrorism will continue to strike innocent civilians everywhere. The killing of Manee Singmueangphon by a Gaza rocket should serve as a constant reminder that people of all nationalities are indiscriminate victims of Iranian-sponsored Islamic terrorism."

A child's drawing from Sderot shows
the horror of war.

Sderot Children
Sderot children have fifteen seconds to reach this pipe
when the missles start coming in.
Photo courtesy of

Noam Bedein's Mission is Unique, But It's Not New

"But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. "What is this you are doing?" they asked. "Are you rebelling against the king?" -- (Nehemiah 2:19)

Noam Bedein
Noam Bedein, Founder of Sderot Media

I frankly expected someone much older. The website I discovered while trying to get perspective on the situation in Southern Israel Sderot Media [click to read], is the creation of Noam Bedein, a young man in his twenties. Just like Nehemiah of old, Bedein saw the perilous situation of his beloved city and became both advocate and activist to change things. In the face of opposition from the Western Media, Uninformed pressure from Western Leaders and downright hostility from Hamas, the young photojournalist found his mission to tell Sderot's story and work for the healing of her people. Bedein’s ultimate goal is: "to make people aware of the crisis and present the Israeli perspective that is not often portrayed accurately in the media."

Bedein has lived through about 7000 rockets raining down on the city, who's population consists largely of new immigrants [many from Russia] who are simply too poor to move elsewhere. Many of the citizens are dug in to stay, fearing their exodus would simply create a vacuum for terrorists to move in.

Through Sderot Media, he has also founded Sderot Community Treatment Theater. This theatre project helps young residents of Sderot suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.

Palestine's Nakba Narrative

The Biggest Obstacle to Peace in the Middle East [click to read].

Update: David Horowitz Weighs In

TIME Magazine's Latest Blood Libel About Israel [click to read]. ht/Isabel

The 'other' weekly news magazine really stepped in it this week. I guess I'm not alone in my opinion that it is propaganda masquerading as journalism. This week I've tried to capture some of the spirit of the Israeli people that TIME obviously does not care to bother with. You should take some time to learn about Israel on your own and skip the MSM's 'reporting.'

El Al Airline [click to read]. Book your flight to Israel or many other destinations.
Official Israel Tourism Website [click to read].