Friday, June 26, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Seek the Old Paths

The following is an excerpt from an interview of Ken Meyers by Walter Henegar. For the full interview go to By Faith magazine Summer 2009 edition.

Q: Evangelicals today are often preoccupied with novelty: new strategies, new ministry models, new insights for successful Christian living. How do you address this?

A: C.S. Lewis said one of the distinctive aspects of the modern mind is the assumption that newer things are always better. We've become preoccupied with things we don't have rather than nurturing and stewarding the things we do have. My favorite example of this is the shift since the 1970s toward informality in public. People used to wear coats and ties to go to a baseball game, and now they wear a ball cap at church. We've moved away from formality toward informality in almost every area - language, dance, food, worship, music - and I'm convinced that it's largely a suspicion of authority. You don't want to submit to a set of standards and proprieties that you didn't freely choose. So, if the move toward informality expresses a widespread suspicion of authority, then why would that be a good, up-to-the-minute trend to endorse? Wendell Berry says we need to attend to the intrinsic meaning of things: "What is needed is a work of durable value; the time or age of it matters only after the value of it has been established." So, it's the value of the thing itself, not whether or not it's contemporary. Of course, it's good to be aware of the shape of what is contemporary, but that's no reason to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Doo-Dad & Gadget Queen

My dear husband sometimes lovingly calls me the "Doo-Dad & Gadget Queen" and that's because there's a lot of truth to the name. I love and thrive on organization. Don't get me wrong; my house is not the pristine place of order that my mother's home is. I struggle to keep up because my health and circumstances seem to continually thwart my plans for perfection. Today, I bought a new gadget. It's a clear container divided into three equal spaces. It is the perfect replacement for our old medicine box. I labeled the sections as follows: Pain, Cold & Allergy, Tummy. Frequently, one of us would scrounge around in the box looking for something that would inevitably be on the very bottom and whatever organization was in the box was then transformed into disarray. My hope is that problem is now solved and that the Queen has taken dominion over this small part of her realm and that the people will rejoice and live happily ever after.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home Cleaners and Your Liver

When we are young, we generally are not very concerned about our livers. This is an odd statement to make, but my liver has been on my mind lately. As we age, our livers naturally shrivel and don't function as in our youth. And, as we age, we oftentimes find ourselves taking more prescription medications which can be quite taxing on our livers. Last week, I filled my sixth regular Rx and, for me, that was the wake up call for me. I began to ponder how many chemicals and toxins my body is exposed to daily. It's time for a change. Obviously, I can't just stop taking blood pressure medications without the possibility of severe consequences, but I can start making changes in my lifestyle that will one day enable me to stop taking most of my prescriptions. But, it's not just the chemicals I'm putting into my body; it's the ones that I inhale or my body absorbs. Cleaning and laundering supplies are obviously full of harmful chemicals, but so are make-up and nail polishes and lotions. What about our food supply? How much of it is tainted with pesticides or growth hormones or antibiotics? Even our water supply is tainted. Before we all panic and move to some primitive country, there are some small changes that we can start with that can help preserve our livers and maybe help out our pocketbooks.

This week I'm starting with cleaning supplies. There are many recipes on the Internet for making your own cleaners that are non-toxic, inexpensive, and effective. Here's the recipe I chose for my all purpose cleaner in a spray bottle:

one part vinegar
three parts water
10 - 15 drops of lavender

If you have a favorite, please share it with me.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Why does happiness elude modern women?

By: Meghan Cox Gurdon
Examiner Columnist | 5/27/09 5:56 PM
Over the last four decades, American women have got almost everything the feminist movement promised. Lucky us! Are we happy now?

No, we are not. All across the industrialized world, wherever egalitarian feminism has sprinkled its fairy dust, women report that they are considerably less happy and satisfied with life then were their benighted, patriarchy-oppressed, apron-wearing sisters of yore.

“The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” a new study conducted by Wharton academics Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, finds that the happiness of Western women has been steadily declining over the exact period during which egalitarian feminism has supposedly been delivering the goods.

Given the shifts “of rights and bargaining power from men to women in the past 35 years, holding all else equal, we might expect to see a concurrent shift in happiness towards women and away from men,” the authors write.

However, they have found, “measures of women’s subjective well-being have fallen both absolutely and relatively to that of men.”

How can this be? After all, didn’t feminism achieve what it wanted? Women are today not just free to pursue education, but now actually outnumber men on university campuses.

Women are not simply going out to work, but are in a position to exude wisdom and empathy from the highest levels of government and commerce.

Women are not only able to control their fertility, as radical feminists demanded, but today girls too young to vote are considered old enough to prescribe themselves the morning-after pill.

And it turns out that all this success – or “success,” depending on your degree of irony – has not made women happier.

Nor, of course, has it satisfied the ever-complaining feminist-industrial complex so brilliantly mocked by critic Camille Paglia as “a jumble of vulgarians, bunglers, whiners, French faddicts, apparatchiks, dough-faced party-liners, pie-in-the-sky utopians and bullying sanctimonious sermonizers.”

The study’s authors are cautious about drawing too-hasty conclusions from what they’ve discovered. Coincidence does not automatically mean causation. It’s also true that happiness is in some ways a mystical quality. Inner contentment derives not just from how cheerful we may feel but also from our position relative to the opinions and successes of others.

Yet the findings are striking. Before egalitarian feminism came along and substantially rewrote everyone’s scripts – in courtship, job expectations, domestic satisfaction, purpose in life -- women reported greater contentment than men.

Today, those positions are reversing. “A new gender gap is emerging,” conclude Stevenson and Wolfers, “one with higher subjective well-being for men.”

(The authors note the perverse effects of the sexual revolution sought by feminists: Men “may have been able to disproportionately benefit” from the “increased opportunities” yielded by the spreading social acceptance of children born out of wedlock, the use of birth control, abortion, and divorce.)

To conservative critics of feminism, and indeed to dissident feminists like Paglia, none of this will be remotely surprising.

The anecdotal experience of millions, along with the analysis by women such as Christina Hoff Sommers, Mary Eberstadt, Danielle Crittenden, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, and Kay Hymowitz, all confirm what the Wharton academics discovered: Far from enhancing the lives of modern women, in many respects the feminist movement has diminished women’s happiness and satisfaction.

“The increased opportunity to succeed in many dimensions may have led to an increased likelihood of believing that one’s life is not measuring up,” Stevenson and Wolfers write.

“Similarly, women may now compare their lives to a broader group, including men, and find their lives more likely to come up short in this assessment. Or women may simply find the complexity and increased pressure in their modern lives to have come at the cost of happiness.”

Examiner columnist Meghan Cox Gurdon is a former foreign correspondent and a regular contributor to the books pages of The Wall Street Journal. Her Examiner column appears on Thursdays.

Antique Mill

Farmer's Market

Market Pics

The gourd in the background has a belt around the mouth of the opening. I love the artist's ability to think "outside the box."

This is actually a gourd that has been engraved and painted. They were lovely!

Sleep Sweetly

Sleep sweetly in this quiet room
Oh thou, whoe’er thou art,
And let no mournful yesterdays
Disturb your peaceful heart.
Nor let tomorrow pierce thy rest
With dreams of coming ill:
Thy Maker is thy changeless friend,
His love surrounds thee still.
Forget thyself and all the world;
Put out each glaring light.
The stars are watching overhead.
Sleep sweetly, then. Goodnight.
~Victor Hugo