Monday, May 30, 2011

Arlington National Cemetary

Final Resting Place of Many Brave Americans

This is the view of the cemetary from the Old Post Chapel at Ft. Meyer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXII

The Science of Optimism or the Art of Faith?

The 'other' weekly news magazine this week features the 'science' of optimism. TIME concludes on the cover that it is sort of an unrealistic conclusion, given the state of things in human experience. Yet, there has always existed in the human heart the sense that there is something better to hope for. Optimism may be 'unfounded,' but consider these thoughts about Faith:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." -- Hebrews 11

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Binyamin Netanyahu, World Leader

An Interesting Perspective from a Young Israeli

THYME Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu: “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967. Jerusalem must never again be divided,”

As our young President O'Bama was off connecting with his Irish roots, (really, I thought he was a Keynesian), Binyamin Netanyahu addressed Congress. I've long thought Mr. Netanyahu to be the smartest man in the room in any room he walked into. But here is an interesting observation of how Mr. Obama may be helping others see just how wise Mr. Netanyahu really is.

Dana Milbank in Jewish World Review writes: How Obama is Empowering Netanyahu [click to read].

Video and Transcript of Mr. Netanyahu's Speech [click to read].

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

31 Years Ago Today...

University of Virginia Chapel, Charlottesville Virginia


Monday, May 23, 2011

Pre-1967 Borders, BAD Idea!!!

The Survival of Israel is at Stake

New Jersey
Israel and New Jersey.

"It is good for an American president to have his hopes, but they will not be realized if they are founded on a basic misunderstanding of what is at stake in this conflict -- not just Jerusalem or the West Bank or the Golan Heights but Israel's existence. This conflict, it has slowly become clear -- even to those of us naifs who once thought peace was inevitable in the Middle East once direct negotiations began -- has never been about the creation of still another Arab state, but about the elimination of the Jewish one.

So long as an American president will not recognize that elemental, brutal, obdurate truth, and confront it openly, directly and honestly, then one futile presidential speech will follow another. That's the Middle East." -- Paul Greenberg

The Latest Futility [click to read]. Paul Greenberg in Jewish World Review.

Virginia's Indefensible Border

Life at Fort Edward Johnson, April of 1862...

Reconstructed Breastworks
Reconstructed breastworks on top of Shenandoah Mountain.

It's hard for us in the United States to identify with Israel's problem. We have not had a hostile border close to a population center for a long time. Journey with me to the top of Shenandoah Mountain on US 250 to Fort Johnson where Confederate soldiers dug in to protect Staunton from possible attack.

Lieutenant Shep Pryor
Lieutenant "Shep" Pryor, CSA...

Penepope Pryor and their Five Children
...his wife, Penelope and their five children.

The Forest Service has created a unique historic trail where the story of Fort Johnson is told through letters that Shep Pryor wrote to Penelope during the war. Pryor's letters tell the story like no text could. Some human emotions are timeless and Pryor's sentiments would be shared by many modern soldiers today.

The Civil War saw Virginia suddenly faced with a large portion of the border with the North and passes such as the one over Shenandoah Mountain were vulnerable. Pryor and his Georgia regiment were assigned the job of protecting the Valley from invasion. April in Virginia can be cruelly cold and the men shivered as they kept watch. They were moved around rapidly in response to threats and wrote home to assure their loved ones that they were still in the land of the living.

If you travel West on US 250 to the Western border of Augusta County you can follow Lieutenant Pryor and his men through the Breastworks Interpretive Trail.

Reconstructed Breastworks
Soldiers piled logs on the downhill side of their trench and shovelled dirt over them to build these fortifications.

Friday, May 20, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXI

The Root Problem in Human Behavior

The concept of individual morality gets too little press today. The bad behavior of powerful people is nothing new. Scripture tells us of David, a man after "G-d's own heart," and how he fell into the acts of betrayal and murder to cover up his initial sins.

All of us are human and all of us are capable.

Today's philosophies often build on the idea of man being basically good and perfectable. Man is basically good, they say, but society is flawed. Yet, set up a 'fairer' system to make society more equitable, and you must appoint someone to perform the functions that would make things more equitable. History is strewn with the wreckage of such systems.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What Would Jesus Say about Capitalism?

Perspective on Human Nature and Economics

Mcormick's Mill
Agriculture was revolutionized by Cyrus McCormick, who built his first reaper at his Father's mill in Augusta County. The operation moved to Chicago to become the International Harvester Corporation.

Randy Alcorn, author of the book: Heaven, offers This Perspective [click to watch] on economic systems and human nature. The question that should really be asked is: "which economic model best mitigates human tendencies toward depravity?"

Visions of Heaven... Illustrated!

21 Year Old Artist Captures the Grandeur of Eternity

The mural at Staunton Alliance Church is nearing completion! Here Laney adds rich skies to the depiction of the New Heaven and New Earth described in Revelation 21 [1.]...

...and Isaiah 60 [2.], where the 'treasure of the Nations' is brought to the Lord!

Living stones! Here is Jerara, who's Aboriginal name means "Falling Water."

Esther, who's Iranian/Persian name means "Star."

Eshe, who's name means "Life."

Urbi's Egyptian name means "Princess."

The artist's eyes contemplate the design of Heavenly skies...

...and hidden surprises await the viewer!

Here is a caribou in the clouds.

The Journey is complete when you reach the kind face of Jesus!

"I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity." —John Wesley

Visions of Heaven... Illustrated!

A Little Boy Describes His Time in Heaven

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Benefit for Reagan Bowman

Shannon Huffman writes:

Many, many THANKS TO ALL who came to the luncheon and silent auction on Sunday. Thanks also for all the food and auction donations!!! It was an extremely successful day! We raised nearly $10,000 for Reagan's hospital bills. AGAIN THANK YOU TO ALL for the love, prayers, and generous donations!!!!!

Dogwood flowers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XX

Why We're Stuck with Barackistan

The 'other' weekly news magazine is asking: "Why We're Stuck with Pakistan?" THYME is asking the bigger question: "Why are we allowing America to be 'remade' in a manner that our forefathers would hardly approve of?" The men and women who risked everything to establish our representative republic would surely ask how we can let the United States be neutered on our watch!

Would they really approve of our record deficits and massive debt to other nations? Would they be content to sit quietly while basic freedoms they bled for are systematically eroded? Would they be content to see us wallow in energy dependency on nations that hate us? I think not!

Would our founders, who took on the Barbary pirates, be content to allow radical Islam to spread its tenacles unchecked without clearly identiying it as an enemy to be dealt with? I think not!

Would they be content to watch us treat with contempt our only real ally and fellow representative government in the Middle East, Israel? I think not!

Would they turn a blind eye to the funding of Planned Parenthood and the destruction of unborn human life that it so ruthlessly promotes? I think not!

Would they happily allow the denial of educational opportunity to parents in the inner city, condemning their children to wallow in substandard schools? Would they be content to see these same children grow up to become perpetual wards of a welfare state run wild? I think not!

...And would they allow a free press to be neutered into a propaganda machine for those, such as George Soros and Jimmy Carter, who would diminish us and make us into a vassal state of their globalist vision? I think not!

It is time to educate our fellow citizens. It is time to rally to the polls in EVERY election and take back our country! It is time to demand domestic energy production, a strong dollar backed by real productivity and the preservation of the basic freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.

Most important, it is time to point our fellow citizens to the influence and redemptive power of G-d: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." -- 2 Chronicles 7:14

Something Every American Should See

David Barton gives a tour of the U.S. Capitol. ht/J Greer

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Reagan Bowman Benefit this Sunday!

Luncheon and Silent Auction on May 15

You can bid on a one-of-a-kind mural for your child's room. Here artist Laney Riley shows how your child can even be a part of the magical world she creates!

Last year I met Daryl and Tara Bowman and their children on a bus to a rally in Washington DC. This Article [click to read] tells of their month-long ordeal as daughter Reagan recovered from a serious head injury. Today Reagan is back at home, back in school, and doing amazingly well with her recovery. We have been praying.

On Sunday, May 15th there will be a benefit luncheon and silent aution to help the family with the expenses. The event will take place at 11:00am - 4:00pm, May 15th at:

Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren
91 Valley Church Road
Weyers Cave, VA

After 10am service on May 15, 2011, a BBQ Luncheon, silent auction, and live Gospel Bluegrass music will be held. All proceeds will benefit Reagan Bowman, who is now out of UVA after an 8 week stay. Meal includes pork/beef BBQ, seven layer salad, green beans, fruit salad, mac and cheese, assorted deserts. The band is "Appalachian Rain" from Dayton Mennonite Church. Silent auction will contain an assortment of items! More details forthcoming. More information about PVCOB can be found at

Silent auction items include a portrait of your home or farm by artist Bob Kirchman and a Child's Mural for bedroom or playroom by Mural Artist Laney Riley [who is painting the mural at Staunton Alliance Church].


Hiking on Old Rag Mountain

Madison County's Granite Mountain Challenge

Stairs are provided (a natural formation) for a portion of the hike...

IMG_3191 is natural air conditioning. A breeze almost always blows through this cave.

This trail takes you over, under and around a large number of boulders.

"Is this one of your favorite hikes?" asked Doug Riley, father of my mural partner. "Actually, I consider this the essential hike. " I reply. Old Rag is considered the best hike in Shenandoah National Park by most who compile trail guides. "It is the only hike in Shenandoah for which upper body strength is a serious consideration." writes one.

Yesterday we made a weekday visit to this solitary mountain in Madison County. It is in Shenandoah National Park but you get there by driving through the Hebron Valley where my German ancestors settled after a tenure in Governor Spottswood's mines. Route 231, the Blue Ridge Turnpike, runs arrow straight past the neat farms laid out in the first land patent. The Hebron Lutheran Church with its 1802 Tannenberg Organ is there as well. The Clore Furniture Factory attests to generations of German craftsmen.

And then there is the mountain. Rugged and feeling somewhat like an Alpine landscape transported to Virginia, Old Rag stands sentinel above the peaceful valley of my ancestors. The climb is rugged and the views are breathtaking. It is worth taking a weekday off as the weekend crowds are gone and you can really enjoy the climb.

I've hiked with a Nepali former Maoist, another Nepali son of a Gherka and a Ranger. Doug is right up there with the Nepalis in stamina (he's ten years younger than me) and we enjoy a brisk hike and some fun on the rock climbs. We enjoy a leisurely lunch at the top. I even pulled out my cell phone and found we had reception so we called our wives from the top, just for the fun of it.

We descended the Saddle Trail and came out through Weakley Hollow. It is about nine miles including the road walk to the parking area.

Guide to Hiking Old Rag Mountain [click to read].

The view from the top.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mulling Over Leftism's Muddled Morality

Clear Thinking from Dennis Prager

Forest floor near Headwaters.

Dennis Prager [click to read] in Jewish World Review has some thoughts on the left's need to make America responsible for the world's crimes.

"Asking what America did to elicit the hatred of Muslim terrorists is morally equivalent to asking what Jews did to arouse Nazi hatred, what blacks did to cause whites to lynch them, what Ukrainians did to arouse Stalin's hatred or what Tibetans did to incite China's hateful treatment of them." -- Dennis Prager


Mountain Mothers' Day Getaway

A Quiet Weekend without Modern Intrusions

Youth Development Institute in Headwaters provided our rustic retreat...

...which was most definitely "off the grid!" (The porch lights require firing up a generator).

The wood stove kept us toasty even on rainy mornings. We enjoyed hiking on the sunny afternoons.

Here is the view from the ridge behind the cabin!

Monday, May 9, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XIX

"We Have Met the Enemy and They are Us"
--Pogo Possum

The 'other' weekly news magazine is touting the 'end of Bin Laden.' Sadly, there are people in our own country intent on destroying our way of life. One of them happens to occupy the White House. Record deficits will be followed by record inflation. The dollar is at risk of losing its status as the world's reserve currency. America is being diminished. Her flame is slowly being extinguished, by those we have elected to lead her.

Rather than allow her to become strong, these leaders have shut down domestic energy production, making us dependent on foreign sources as our dollar loses buying power.

Is it too late? America must cast off the failed Globalism of Carter and Obama. A a strong national currency backed by real industry (inclucing producing our own energy) is a must.

Another 'Sputnik Moment'

In the 1950's America faced an equally grave challenge. In our postwar period Russian advances threatened to place us at risk. The politicians of that day, however, understood the danger of a diminished America. NASA soon followed the steps taken by the Army Missle Agency and history was made.

How did Germany rise from the ashes of the Weimar Republic to become a major world power? Part of the answer was in the establishment of a new currency that was actually backed by banks holding bullion. The problem was that the dangerous vacuum in leadership allowed for the rise of the National Socialists and their subsequent crimes against humanity. We must restore ourselves without allowing our Constitutional government to die.

Japanese Maple Color!

Spring Trees Clad in Vivid Hues for Mothers' Day

The little 'helicopters' are a bright red now.

Friday, May 6, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XVIII

The Royal Wedding

The 'other' weekly news magazine this week offers a special commemorative royal wedding issue. Remembering a time when the most interesting hats at a royal wedding belonged to the Grenadiers, THYME offers our own 'special' issue.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughts on Imago Dei and Current Events

"Do Not Ask for Whom the Bell Tolls, It Tolls for Thee..."

Jerry from Luzon
Jerry from Luzon (in the Philippines), aboard the MS Oosterdam. From my collection: 'Imago Dei.'

"Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee." -- John Donne

This week a very bad man was killed. He was responsible for the death of thousands. Hunting him down was the right thing to do. We were working at Ft. Meyer when we learned of the death of Osama Bin Laden. Every morning we would drive past the West side of the Pentagon on our way to work. I'd think often of a woman named Louise who had worked at the Pentagon on September 11 when the plane hit. Burned over most of her body, she was lovingly cared for by her husband through a long and painful recovery. For me they became the face of 9/11 as I would pray. Justice had been served.

But one of my colleagues reminded me of another side of this. Here was a man possessed by evil inclinations, who's soul was entering a very dark eternity. I thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who struggled honestly with his knowledge of the evil being perpetrated by the National Socialists. His response, as a Christian, was to join in an attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler. He wrestled with this matter. We should too.

The two students who killed their fellow students at Columbine High School were victims of their acts as well. Cho was destroyed as he destroyed others at Virginia Tech. The young killers of the Fogel family destroyed something of their own humanity as they butchered sleeping children.

History is full of the sad stories of shipwrecked lives. There are other stories too, full of noble acts (like those of Louise's husband) and redemption. When his daughter, Ruth Fogel and his grandchildren were murdered in Itamar, Rabbi Ben-Yishai expressed deep pain but no anger or calls for vengeance, He was asked: “Where do you have the strength and restraint that you can talk now and strengthen us, without anger and without calling for vengeance – that is not in your voice? Where is the strength from?" Ben Yishi responded: "I have worked in education many years, and as an educator, I try to strengthen and teach people faith. I understand that I cannot be satisfied with words and that I also must implement the same principles on which I have educated others. This is a test of my faith."

The Epistle writer, Paul, was once a terrorist. A religious zealot who sought to destroy Christianity, Paul became the scourge of the naiscant church, until he encountered Christ himself. We, who are the beneficiaries of so much Judeo-Christian influence in our society, often miss the redemptive and transformative wonder. Paul knew what he was and what he had become. He never forgot it.

And so, when such redemptive power is available to frail humanity, the life that it does not impact is nothing short of a tragedy!

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
-- 2 Peter 3:8,9

Monday, May 2, 2011

Years in the Making, Minutes in Execution

The Raid to Capture Bin Ladin

"It took years for the U.S. military to track Osama bin Laden down, finding him not in a cave in the inaccessible tribal regions of Pakistan, but in a sumptuous luxury compound built just six years ago in the same city that is home to Pakistan's most prestigious military academy." -- Jonathan S. Landay

Never Forget
Xaver Wilhelmy's beautiful glass organ pipes form an American flag. He created them to honor the victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Here are Details [click to read] from Jonathan S. Landay in Jewish World Review.