Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishing All A Merry Christmas

I wanted to wish all of you a Merry Christmas from my family to yours...  Here it is Christmas Eve 2012.  A date that many in this world thought we would not get to see....  I bought my childrens presents and fully expected them to get what I bought.  It is not some Doomsday Prophecy that I worry about... Instead it is all of the man made stuff I worry about...   I was able to get Ariel her new bicycle and a BB gun that looks like a Colt Officers Model.  Hannah got her Zebra print luggage and also an identical BB gun.  Nick will  be excited to see that he got his very first BB gun, a red rider.  He has been asking me for it for 2 years...And a interactive xBox game of disneyland...
They don't have a huge amount of gifts, but they all are reminded the reason for the season.  Nick at 9 still believes whole heartedly in Santa Claus and we strive to keep that magic alive!!! His face was priceless when he got the call from Santa this year.

The magic of Santa Claus is important to me... I collect Santas and snatch every one up that I can get...After Christmas sales is when my collection really grows every year...

The magic of a baby being born and growing into a man that died to save us is more important.  Please remember the reason we have this season is not to say "Happy Holidays" It is Merry Christmas!!!!

So Merry Christmas to all and I hope you were good so that Santa can be good to you!!! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Nation with NO Morals... Top 5 reasons in my books

It has been a while since I posted because of a couple reasons.  Number one the FLU got me.  Number 2 I had to deal with something unthinkable....
I got a phone call from the principal of my daughters school.  She is in the sixth grade, straight A's, no enemies she is a sweet Christian girl with a heart of gold!  She plays the clarinet and has recently gotten first chair in the beginning band.  This comes after 2 years of practicing her chosen instrument which is a Clarinet, long before band was even offered at school.

The principal calls me and starts out the conversation with I want you to know Ariel is not injured................  WHAT????  It seems as though one of the girls that my daughter has been friends with and has spoken alot about Christ to came to school and brought a knife!!!  That morning at breakfast the little girl came up behind her and put her hands around my daughters shoulders and neck which Ariel tells me is this child's normal way of greeting her, put her hands back in her pockets and then informs her that "You didn't even know I had a knife at your throat!!!"  Sure enough another little girl had seen it and then the  girl pulled out the knife of her pocket and showed Ariel.
The witness little girl went to the principal and well needless to say the girl with the Knife went home.  That is when the principal called me and then the police.  I told the officer I did not want to press charges that I thought being expelled was probably enough punishment.  My daughter told me that she didn't feel like the girl wanted to hurt her and that she was just being "stupid" The girl had been her friend for almost 2 years and my daughter did not want charges pressed against the child (see heart of gold)!!!  She had been trying to get this girl to go to church with her.  While the child walks around the school offering contracts with the devil...

Now what would give a child the idea to put a knife to another child's throat?  Or take a gun to school? Or shoot their parents or other children?  Rob a liquor store? or an EZ Mart? Steal a car?? Have sex or do drugs before they are 12?

I can tell you I am sure I know exactly what is causing our nation to bring up a nation of violent offenders... Thugs if you may....

  1.  The loss of moral instruction in our schools.
  2. The inability of parents to discipline their child without fear of interference or prosecution.
  3. The Television shows and video games that have such life like effects and place doing these things in a positive light.
  4. The loss of corpal punishment in our schools
  5. The loss of guidance and the teaching of "Moral Compass" by parents
Now lets look at each of these closer:

1. Loss of moral instruction in our schools:
When I was a kid I went to a Catholic school.  We said the lords prayer and then the pledge of allegiance first thing in the morning.  Before I got out of 1st grade I knew exactly what would happen to me if I broke any of the Ten commandments.  Now schools can not teach any kind of Morality for fear of "offending" another religion.  Put religion back into our schools and I promise you it will help.  Pretty much any religion from Paganism to Christianity have a "Golden Rule" which could be taught and expected to be followed.

2. The inability of parents to discipline:
I knew when I was a kid if I smart mouthed my grandmother she would have "Slapped my mouth right off my face", If I said bad things she would wash that "filth out of my mouth", If I broke the rules I knew a belt that had my name written all over it and it would HURT!!!  Now if you wash out your child's mouth with soap you are abusing them,  If you make your child go to bed hungry because they just threw a fit and refused to eat what you made for dinner... It is abuse.  If you spank their butts with a belt... That is abuse...  I was never abused and I also was never a criminal!!!  I do not so much as have a speeding ticket on my record, nor was I ever suspended in school!!!  I was however disciplined and taught right from wrong!!!  I have never bruised, bloodied or damaged a child but I have warmed a back side up!!!

3. Television shows and video games:
Video games when I was a kid was as violent as the Atari blip bouncing back and forth in Tennis.  It was controversial for Mr and Mrs Brady to be seen in the bed together reading... Horror movies came on after 10 at night...  Now our kids are being taught it is acceptable to be violent, they get practice with their video games.  I was taught you used a gun to hunt with!!  I was taught gun safety!!! My children are taught to respect firearms and what they are used for.  I was not even allowed to point a toy gun at people or animals!!!  Now we have laser tag...  The closest thing my kids can point a gun (any kind of gun) at that even resembles a human being is a paper Zombie target.  Prime time TV is loaded with violence, sex and should be rated "R".  Parents are too busy with their schedules to censor what their kids watch and do....

4. Corpal Punishment in schools:
I knew that if I was bad and got a paddling at school I was going to get the belt when I got home.  Period, no questions asked!!!!  Now schools also have their hands tied when it comes to punishment because they might "offend"...  I say Offend??? If you are offended by a school disciplining your child for threatening another then you need a paddling also!!!

5.Loss of guidance and teaching:
My kids go to Sunday school, My kids are taught from a very young age what is right and wrong...  The lame stream media does not ever report along with any of the craziness that any of the violent offenders where a member of __________church... You know why??? Because they aren't!!!  I have made my own children write scriptures instead of sentences to remind them of the moral compass that I expect out of them... I promise you I could not be considered a "bible thumping fanatic"... No I have met those kind also in my life... But it take More than one person to raise a child and teach them the right way to go...  It also takes parents living by example... If a parent is going to bars every weekend, doing drugs, ripping others off, fighting violently with family members and so on... I promise you those kids see it... They see it and because their families do then it must be right...

It takes a village to raise a child.... Parents and other adults teaching them by example Right from Wrong, church leaders and Sunday school teachers, School officials and teachers... 

My children say yes sir and No sir (or Ma'am).  They eat their peas, work hard to get good grades.  They attend Sunday school every week and are active in their youth group.  They do chores and earn the things they want... We have a farm so there is always work to be done in exchange for money to spend on eBay!!!

In order to control the violence that our Nation has given birth to then we have to get rid of the parents of violence, get a grip on our young folks and remind them right from wrong...  Get rid of the negative influences that are there in  daily life and instead infuse some positive ones!!!  Boundries must be set and those limits must be inforced... Just telling a child "Oh no sweetie you can not do that" is going to do nothing to teach them not to... The consequences MUST be overwhelming negative in order to keep them from doing it...  I mean come on folks if a speeding ticket was a quarter and your insurance never went up then would you really pay much attention to the signs??? No because the negative consequences would not be harsh enough... It would be acceptable punishment in order to drive fast...  Our kids are like that... They think "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah... My parents can't really do anything to me other than talk (remember Charlie Browns parents on the phone, that is what our children hear).  And what to them is just talk??? An acceptable consequence since they can just tune us out!!!

Okay folks that is my 2 cents worth... I am sure many of you would vehemently disagree with me and that is your right...  If that is the case then we can agree to disagree...

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Christmas Story from 1881

I was sent this by one of the Ladies from our church.  She is a wonderful lady with a big smile and plays the piano every Sunday never fail.  I do not know who originally wrote this, but I would gladly give them credit...  Read it, the story is inspiring!!!


Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.
It was Christmas Eve, 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.
After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.
Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.
Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy.
When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on..
After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" "You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked.. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what?
Yeah," I said, "Why?"
"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.
Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's in the little sack?" I asked. Shoes, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."
We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.
We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt... could we come in for a bit?"
Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.
"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out, one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best.... shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.
"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."
I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.
I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."
In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it, I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it..
Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit, and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord, that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.
Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.
At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest... my two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.
Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, may the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will."
Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your Ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your Ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."
I understood alright... and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children..
For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.
Don't be too busy today... share this inspiring message. Merry Christmas and God bless you!

Barter... What a wonderful thing!!!

An elderly man lives down the road from me pulled into my driveway earlier today... He asked me if I had a Billie Goat.. I answered yes in fear thinking Oh My did Jack get out???  But no there was no problem, he has a doe that needs to be bred and he wanted to know what I would charge for my Jack's services.

Now I had never given the thought of pimping out my Jack before so I had no idea...  I didn't want to ask for too much... I did however remember that this man sells fire wood on occasion so I told him "How about you bring me however much wood you think would be a fair trade and you can borrow him"  He said that sounded fine to him, I showed him my Jack and we talked a bit...  Then he headed on back home.

A few minutes later he was back with about a half a rick of nice seasoned wood...  He put it out by the barn and I helped him load up Jack into his truck.  Now my Jack is over at his house "visiting" for a few days... He promised me he would take "real good care of him" and we shook hands.  He will bring Jack back when the deed is done.  And that is how a "Country Contract" is done... A promise and a handshake...  I can see Jack when I drive by his house so I know also that Jack is just fine as can be!!!

I got something I needed in the form of some firewood and he got what he needed in the form of a sire to freshen his Nanny goat...  So when you are thinking of things that you can use as money should our economy crash do not forget about services to trade.  Whether it be your knowledge of how to brew beer or the services of an animal.  Barter is truly a wonderful thing and has been around a millennium longer than currency.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The day our lights went out

A few days ago something happened with our little grid here.  The electricity went down in an area several square miles.  They were off for several hours from about 4 in the afternoon until close to 9pm.  No problem for me... I pulled out the candles and the oil lamps, grabbed the camp stove and brought it in and cooked dinner.  We ate by candle light.  My daughter sat at the kitchen table with 2 candles reading her book most of the afternoon and evening.  I didn't have to go out to the barn but if I did I have hooks already installed to hang oil lanterns...

My 9 year old son though... He was just driving me nuts wanting to know when are the lights coming back on?  Will the lights come back on?  Why did the lights go off? Why aren't they fixing the lights?  Now mind you it was not once or even twice that he asked these questions.....  He is Autistic and if he asked it once he asked at least 20 times in the 5 hours it took them to fix the power...

While I was in the kitchen cooking I got a new wheel of cheese out of the cold storage where I keep it to age.  I peeled the wax off with my son anxiously asking me questions refusing to leave my hip.  Then a wonder happened I got out a flat hand grater to grate the cheese.  He had never seen me use this because I love my salad shooter for grating cheese.  He asked me what it was and I told him an old time version of the salad shooter... As I began grating the cheese and he saw it falling off in shreds.  He said "Wow mommy you really do know how to use one of those!!!"

If the lights ever go out permanently or even longer than a few hours I will need a huge bottle of something... (Valium, Booze, etc) just to have to deal with HIS anxiety!!!

Suffice it to say... There was not much more than a hiccup as we switched over to no electric for the night... It was a nice little practice drill...  We still had burritos for dinner with all the trimmings, daughter still read her book for school... Hubby and son waited anxiously so that they could watch the new Spiderman movie that we had JUST rented before the power went off...

Lessons learned:
1. Find something son can play with that is not run by electric and that will interest him
2. Teach kids more about my antique stuff that I have...
3. Buy Vodka!!! Large bottles for preps!!!