Friday, August 25, 2006

30 days of NOTHING

Check this out from Tonia's blog:
We're out of touch. Let's just be honest about that right up front.

Today, across the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day; 3 billion live on under two dollars a day; 1.3 billion have no access to clean water; 3 billion have no access to sanitation; 2 billion have no access to electricity.1

Think about your children; about the hard work you put into raising them.
Now imagine doing it with no electricity.
No bathroom. No garbage service.
No clean water.
On $2 a day.
Is it any wonder that 30,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from poverty-related issues? That's 210,000 a week or over 10 million a year, if you're counting.2
I have four children. When they woke up this morning I kissed them and made them a good healthy breakfast. 30,000 other children died.

Americans spend $110 billion a year on fast food, 3
39 billion dollars a year on their pets. 4
We are carrying over 2 trillion dollars in credit card and auto debt.5

The disparity haunts me. How does a Christ-follower reconcile the needs of the world with the realities of every day life in an affluent nation?
I just don't know - but we're going to spend a month trying to find out.
Beginning September 1st,
I invite you to join me in a 30 day fast from consumerism.
For 30 days, my family will buy nothing except our basic necessities. No clothes or books. No movies, no trips to the ice cream parlor. No paper, or pictures, or magazines. No fancy hair gel or take-and-bake pizza. Lattes? Nope. Nothing except what it takes to live. During that month, I will journal our experiences, and blog my thoughts about poverty and hunger and our response to those issues. I'd like to try and identify with some of the "least" (economically) of the world. We will try and live without electricity for a day; eat only rice for a day. Perhaps the family will sleep together in one room for a night - on the floor; or walk six miles one day - the distance some African women walk daily to get clean water.
The goal of this month-long fast is to break the grip of materialism in our hearts and minds. We want to live in gratitude, not discontent; and we want to live with awareness of the great responsibility our affluence has laid on our shoulders.
I encourage you to pray about participating in this challenge. For those of you who are interested, take the next two weeks to pray about the parameters. Decide as a family what are your necessities and what you will give up. You can participate as much or as little as you feel led. Beginning September 1st there will be a separate discussion page at Intent where you can share your experiences and thoughts.
Please feel free to use the 30 Days of Nothing button on your blog and spread the word. (If you need help with the button, just email me.)

"Is this not the fast that I have chosen, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke?
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" Isaiah 58:7
"...happy is he who is gracious to the poor." Prov. 14:21
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Don't Marry a Career Woman

It seems that there has been quite a stir made by Forbes Magazine's article on the above title. Feminists came out of the wood work to complain and whine. Could it be because they fear they will never marry now???? (Mrs. Calla Lilly now smiles, and takes her tongue out of her cheek.) Frankly, I applaud the author's courage in stating the facts. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Are You Drifting?

We have been teaching our daughter to drive, and yesterday she learned a very important lesson that all drivers eventually learn: if you take your eyes off the road, you will drift out of your lane. This lesson was greatly impressed on her as she drifted into the lane of an oncoming minivan and upon realizing her error, she overcorrected and jerked us about.

As I went to sleep last night, I started wondering about this incident from a spiritual perspective. If we don't keep our eyes on Jesus and the goal of godliness, we start to drift. Sure, spiritual guard rails (rules) may keep us from going completely off the road, but we may never reach true godliness if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus and His Word.

As we travel the road of life, there is much to distract us, good and bad. Sometimes, we are so distracted that we stop and get out the car, falling into sin. Sometimes, we follow the other extreme and try to do so much for Jesus that we don't take time to refuel in His Word or through prayer and we exhaust ourselves.

So, keep your eyes on Jesus, and make sure you start each day's trip with a full tank of gas. :) Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

Announcing the Arrival of...

a new blog! So that I will be able to comment on xanga blogs, I have started a xanga blog. Please visit me @ Posted by Picasa

Money Monday

It has become imperative in this world that one live below their means rather than simply according to it. When my husband and I were first married, he made a good income and we planned our budget accordingly. For the first few years this worked well. After the birth of our daughter, our budget was a little tighter fit, but we were still comfortable. As the years progressed, something we did not expect began to happen. As the cost of living went up considerably, my husband's income only increased a little. Suddenly, our budget no longer worked, and we found ourselves digging a hole of debt. Had we been living beneath our means from the beginning, we could have adjusted our budget more comfortably. So, if you are newly married or thinking about buying a home, do not assume that your income will rise at the same rate as the cost of living or take out a mortgage that maxes out your budget. Learn to live simply. Have simple tastes. Learn to do without. You will be thankful in the long run. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

As you may recall, I'm reading through the Bible in one year. This morning I think I made an unusual discovery. Every time it is mentioned that a king did right in the eyes of the Lord, the Bible names his mother, but when it is said that a king did evil in the eyes of the Lord, no mother is mentioned! One could certainly draw some interesting inferences from that!! --------------- EDIT-------------- Nevermind, I just finished II Kings, and there are a few bad kings with their mothers named.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Spring and Fall cleaning are never scheduled into my life, rather the urge comes upon me suddenly. In January, when all the Christmas decorations are put away, I usually feel like giving the house a good scrub down. This is a good time for me as there is no garden work to be done then. In August, just before school starts, the mood suddenly seizes me again. I feel as though it must be upon me now as I have already cleaned out the garage, scrubbed the kitchen cabinets, vacuumed the cold air return, caught up all the ironing, worked on a fall sewing project, and am now scrubbing woodwork and light fixtures. These are dirty and tiresome jobs, but I always feel a deep sense of satisfaction afterwards. I think this is largely because these are jobs that are not done everyday, and having them accomplished clears my mind. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sunday's Sermon Notes

"Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah." Jude 11

This New Testament writer presumes that the reader of this letter is well versed in the teachings of the Old Testament, but can that be said of today's reader? Unfortunately, most Christians could not tell you what the error of Balaam or the rebellion of Korah were. In fact, most evangelicals today could not name the 10 commandments, the twelve apostles, quote the golden rule or the great commission.

So many today cry, "Just give me Jesus" or "We only need the New Testament." I tell you, it is impossible to fully understand the New Testament without knowledge of the Old Testament. It is impossible to grasp the greatness of God's grace in Jesus' sacrifice without full knowledge of our inability to keep the Law. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Back to HomeSchool Time!

Every year around this time, our schedules get rearranged. While we homeschool, our daughter has always taken at least one outside class with other homeschoolers and music lessons. Thus, the schedule changes. This year we are adding two new ventures to the schedules.

1. We begin dual enrollment. (Classes count for both high school and college at the same time.)

2. We may be hosting a young girl from Rwanda for the school year. She would be homeschooled as well.

The dual enrollment should be fun for our daughter as it is at a small junior college and has a large number of homeschoolers taking classes, but it is still a new experience.

Our young guest's name is Gloria. We are still awaiting final word from her parents as to whether or not she will still come with all of this stuff going on in London. It's a scary thing, but then again, so is living in Rwanda right now. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

For My Dear Friend

Dear Mrs. Israel,

I went to your funeral yesterday, difficult as it was for me, for you are sorely missed. It was a lovely service. There were bag pipes playing outdoors when my daughter and I arrived. Bag pipes are eloquently mournful, full of reverence.

I checked to make sure - there wasn't a single man there who did not have on a coat and tie for you; you would have been so proud.

Your favorite pastor, David, took care of most of the service. He was proud and honored to have been named your favorite, although he knew he was your favorite because you could hear him better than the others. I think it was more than that though. I think you liked him because he was teachable. He said he always made sure he wore a tie when he preached because you said it was important. Joe said he was going to wear a tie more often too, because he saw truth in so much of what you said. Who now will be willing to graciously speak the truth in love?

Rena Carolyn spoke at your service as well. She is certainly a lovely young woman now. She said that she wished that she could speak her mind as confidently as you did. I think that will come with time. Who will guide her with such honesty now that you are gone?

She said what she admired most about you was your faithfulness to God and the church. How true that was! Joe said there were over 200 people on your prayer list that you prayed for every day. I am honored to know that I was one of those people. Who will pray for those 200 now?

Everyone spoke of how you came to church no matter what because you wanted to honor God on His day. They spoke of how you dressed to the nines on Sunday, regardless of who did not follow suit, because you wanted to show your respect to an Holy God. What will it be like without your quiet example?

It was my intention that my daughter and I would go to tea after your funeral, like we did so many times with you, sharing quiet and ladylike moments. I must confess, I could not bear the thought of tea afterwards because I was in such distress at the loss of my dear friend.

I will miss our tea times, our candid conversations, the sharing of our beliefs and values, and our running errands together. You were a dear friend to me, my adopted grandmother. Who now will stand in your place in my life?

Love always,


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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

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Here are the shoes that I bought for my troubled feet. These shoes are the most scrumptious things I have ever put on my feet! They are made by Soft Walk. These shoes have egg crate soles that are more comfortable than houseshoes for me. They normally run $100, but I purchased them on sale for $29! I ordered some walking shoes by the same maker from FootSmart, so I hope to be up and walking again soon. Posted by Picasa
Today marks the beginning of a new era for us. Today, we sign papers to sell our van. It just became too expensive to keep. Some days I think that if we lived close to a bus stop that we could get rid of all our cars....Hmmm, gas, no insurance, no oil changes, no wheel tax....Then we could fill our garage with more books! :) Posted by Picasa

Bag-Teria - EWWW!

Bacteria on Purses

A study was performed on women's purses. A health team went to a local mall and took samples from the bottom of 50 women's purses. The purses were swabbed with cotton swabs along the entire bottom of the purses and placed into special containers. The swabs were then processed at a local laboratory. The Health Report also showed where women place their purses: public rest-rooms (on the floor beside the toilet), kitchen counters & kitchen tables, on tables & chairs in restaurants, etc. The results of the laboratory tests contained the following most serious result: 1 out of 4 purses — E COLI Other extremely serious bacteria also were listed, including Hepatitis. They recommended that women should DAILY wipe their purses (particularly the bottom) with a disinfectant wipe and to be extremely careful where you sit your purse. Most important, do NOT place your purse on a table (anywhere) where you will eat or on a kitchen counter and do not put it anywhere close to a toilet. Remember, when you flush a toilet, the spray goes a distance that is unrecognizable by the human eye. WASH YOUR HANDS as often as you can! Keep an antibacterial hand sanitizer cleaner (no water needed) in your purse and use it often! And as soon as you get home from shopping (or wherever you have been and used your purse), immediately wipe it all over with a disinfectant wipe. This is from me — MEN who do not wash their hands after relieving themselves should be ASHAMED! Not only that, they are seriously affecting your health and their own. My husband has told me many, many times (over 50% ratio) that he has seen men in public rest-rooms relieve themselves, zip up, and immediately leave the rest-room without washing their hands!! Women get on your men and be sure they are washing thoroughly after using the rest-room. My hubby also noted that everyone spends all this time washing their hands and then grabs the door handle to exit the rest-room. So DAH! All those other folks who did NOT wash their hands have their germs all over the door handle! And I have seen many women who do NOT wash their hands after using the rest-room. So, use that paper towel you dried your hands on to open the door and then dispose of it in the closest waste receptacle (women, please do not put it in your purse!). Repeating, this is a factual report aired today on Health News, Fox 5, Atlanta, GA. Please do your part for yourself and everyone else! As soon as I saw the report, I immediately cleaned my purse with my Clorox Antibacterial Wipe and then set it on a paper towel where I normally place it on a table in our den. And I asked my hubby to PLEASE scold me if he ever saw me putting my purse on the kitchen table or counter again!


This e-mail describing a segment on the evening news about bacteria found on women's purses reached us in May 2006. It describes the news piece done on this topic by a Fox affiliate TV station in Cleveland on 3 May 2006 and re-broadcast by numerous Fox stations in the U.S. on 3 May 2006 (including Fox 5 in Atlanta, the station named in the e-mail). In that news story, swabs from 50 purses were sent to a lab for analysis. While a few of the samples did not show evidence of bacterial growth, most did, and nearly 1/4 of the handbags tested proved to have E. coli on them. (Escherichia coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals. While most of its strains are harmless, one strain, O157:H7, produces a powerful toxin that results in severe illness in humans. E. coli gets into us through being swallowed; it rides in as part of a contaminated foodstuff, or through hand-to-mouth contact by people who have handled items laden with the bacteria, or through our swimming in water where the microbes are present. Such infections usually culminate in severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps, with the illness resolving in 5 to 10 days without treatment. However, in about 2% to 7% of infections, usually in children under 5 years of age and the elderly, the pathogen causes hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious and life-threatening condition in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail.)

The few pocketbooks in the study that did not show evidence of bacterial contamination were not necessarily lacking in the sorts of nasties that make people ill. They could still have carried microbes like hepatitis and mononucleosis, which the clinical testing the samples underwent would have missed. A microbiologist who examined the samples taken from the 50 purses recommended women wash the outside of their handbags at least once a day with soap and water to help remove any lurking contaminations. Clorox wipes will also work to remove germs. None of this should come as startlingly new information to anyone, given where the typical purse carrier will unthinkingly place her handbag — the floors of public restrooms, at her feet in restaurants or on buses or subways, the floorboards of her car, the fold-out child's seat of shopping carts (where the diapered bottoms of little ones have likely been placed by the cart's previous users). Yet, while a great many folks do remember to wash their hands after being out in public and handling a variety of items, they tend not to think about sanitizing the handbags, briefcases, and backpacks they tote with them. Given how often such carry-alls get handled by their owners and how seldom they are washed with soap and water or wiped with an anti-bacterial solution, it's surprising more contagions aren't passed this way. Here are some things you can do to decrease the likelihood of spreading illness with your pocketbook:

Clean your purse or tote bag regularly. If your handbag is not the sort of item that can be tossed into the washing machine with any hope of its surviving the process, scrub its outside with a soaped-up wet facecloth or take an anti-bacterial spray or disposable wipe to it. Don't forget to tend to its handle or strap as well as to its sides.

Keep in mind that bacteria and viruses latch on far more readily in wet or damp environments than they do in dry ones (see our article about the supposed 5 second rule governing dropped food for more information about that conclusion) — if you set down your carry-all on a damp or wet surface, clean it once you're home, even if you only just washed it recently.

Don't set down your purse on any surface where food will be prepared or eaten. That means keep it off tables and kitchen or break room counters. If you are in the habit of eating at your desk, don't place your handbag there.

Remember that your purse comes into contact with most every surface your shoes tread on, and treat your handbag accordingly. If you wouldn't eat a hotdog after running your hand across the sole of your shoe, don't eat one after handling your purse. If you wouldn't place your sandals on the kitchen counter, don't drop your pocketbook there either.

All the advice just given about handbags applies to briefcases and backpacks too. Your briefcase should also get a soapy wipe-down on a regular basis, as should your backpack. Both should also be kept off all surfaces where food is likely to be prepared or eaten. While one might be tempted to regard the caution about bacteria-harboring handbags as being of interest to women only, members of the non-purse-slinging public (i.e., men) should also take it to heart with regard to their briefcases, as should high school and college students of both sexes in relation to their backpacks and book bags.

Barbara "common carriers" Mikkelson

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sorry for the lack of posting. Our computer has been all wonky and now it's time for us to prepare for Sunday. I wish you all a blessed Lord's day. :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Keeping Your Cool

As most of America is experiencing record heat and power drains here are some energy saving tips from TVA:

Top 10 No Cost Steps You Can Do This Summer
1. Turn up your cooling system’s thermostat to 75­­–78°F. Don’t pay to keep your furniture cool — raise it even more when no one is home.
2. Perform a do-it-yourself energy audit. You can request a print version or perform your audit on-line.
3. Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F and reduce hot water use by taking shorter showers and using cold water for laundry whenever possible.
4. Turn off lights, televisions and other appliances when not in use. Use the “sleep mode” on computers.
5. Remove and recycle your second refrigerator.
6. Keep curtains closed on the south, east and west sides of the house during the day to help keep cool.
7. Clean refrigerator coils and set the temperature to 36° to 39°F and the freezer to 0° to 5°F.
8. Use the microwave; it cooks faster and doesn’t create as much heat as a stove burner.
9. Air-dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher’s heat drying option.
10. Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when full.
Read more about saving energy including more energy saving tips

Top 10 Low Cost Steps You Can Do This Summer
1. Caulk and weatherstrip around windows and doors to stop air leaks. Seal any gaps in floors and walls around pipes and electrical wiring.
2. Change filters monthly — dirty filters make your air conditioning unit work harder.
3. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents; they use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer.
4. Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads & repair leaky faucets.
5. Tune up your heating and cooling system. Seasonal tune-ups will keep your system running as efficiently as possible. Have your ducts inspected. Repair air leaks and seal and insulate cooling system ductwork.
6. Insulate! Add insulation to your attic, crawl space and any accessible exterior walls. Add pipe insulation to first 5 feet of water pipe coming from your water heater. Install light switch and electrical outlet seals on exterior walls. Wrap your water heater with insulation or install an insulating blanket.
7. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when replacing large or small appliances.
8. Use power strips for home electronics, and turn off power strips when equipment is not in use. TVs and DVD players, etc. still use power when the switch is off.
9. Replace worn-out seals on your refrigerator and freezer.
10. Plant a tree! Shade trees placed on the south or southwest side of your home will keep it cooler.
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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

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Always Listen to Your Husband

I wish I had a scanner so that you could see for yourself the instructions my doctor wrote for me today. His number one, and he said most important, instruction for me was to always listen to my husband! Yes, you read that right, and he is a medical doctor. Let me explain.

I've been having quite a bit of foot trouble, so much so that I could not longer walk for exercise. I had an inkling as to the root cause: I am extremely flat-footed and very pigeon-toed. I had to wear corrective shoes (painful) until I was fourteen, at which point, I threw them off and walked barefoot whenever possible up until this point.

I didn't go to the doctor because I was afraid he would refer me to a podiatrist and yada, yada, yada: it would cost more money than I care to think about. I went only because my loving husband made me -- and my doctor knew it. Well, my doctor didn't refer me out, and, yes, my heel hurts so much because I'm flat-footed and because of over-use. He gave me lots of helpful instructions, etc., but the worst news that he gave me is that I should never go barefooted and that I must wear proper shoes - AT ALL TIMES. Yikes! That like being sentenced to looking nerdy the rest of my life.

You see, I have always been categorically opposed to wearing tennis shoes with skirts and dresses simply because it's more comfortable. I always felt like it was a bad testimony to look nerdy, and now I have my doctor (whose last name is Lord, ironically) ordering me to wear shoes with good support. This definitely calls for some internet research. Someone please tell me there are decent looking shoes out there for me!!! :)