When life grabs you by the ankles tango anyway

Whew. It’s been quite an adventure these past few weeks and I’ve missed blogging regularly. Between college classes, writing a book and my son’s wedding, Holy Week activities and church responsibilities I feel like I’ve been in an abyss with an undertow pulling me under. But here I am! I’m baaaaaack! (At least for today!)

My son’s wedding was a delight for this writer Mama. He got married in the most unique, unusual wedding I’ve ever been to. It was small and untraditional. Very untraditional. My son, Noah, is known for his eccentric ways.

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Mr. Noah and Mrs. Sasha Akins

His new bride is also an eccentric girl. I like eccentric. I always taught my kids to be themselves, but I think Noah internalized that and took it to the next degree.

It was a fun wedding. Intimate. Different. The lasagna was delicious (Sasha’s step-father made it. WOW), and the reception was fun. And different. When I danced with my son we went from slow dancing to doing the polka to the tango. It was a blast.

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Family photo

It’s not what I imagined for my son when he was a little boy. I’m not sure what I imagined but I didn’t imagine this. I think it’s better than anything I could have imagined because he and his bride stayed true to themselves.

God makes us all unique. He sees what we are inside, not what we portray on the outside. Sometimes people judge my son for being so different, but that’s their problem, not his.

“…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7b.

I’m thankful the Lord doesn’t judge me by what I am on the outside. Especially in this picture of me and Mr. Himself at the wedding. I look like I’m chewing on a wad of tobacco. I assure you I’m not.

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Mother and father of the groom

On the other hand, is my heart where it should be?

Yes! Because of Jesus. Only because of what Jesus did for me is my heart something that pleases the Lord. I’m so grateful for that! I shudder to think what God would see if the redemptive blood of Jesus didn’t cover my sins. Thank you, Jesus!

Now, where’d I put that recipe for that amazing lasagna?

I’ll work off the calories doing the tango.

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Erica’s Edition: Time Management Woes

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College intern, Erica Graphman

Today’s post is brought to you by my busy college intern, Erica Graphman.

Do you ever have those days where you have so much on your plate that you don’t know where to start and you end up not doing anything? I’ve been finding myself with this problem more and more this year. Everyone repeatedly tells me I need to work on my time management skills, but I’ve always thought I was pretty good at it. Well, at least better at it than my peers.­

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The funny thing is, I get told I need to manage my time better in multiple situations. With lots of homework, I know that I need to start working on big things in advance, especially if I have multiple large projects and papers due around the same time. If I don’t work quickly enough, I’ll get slammed with a lot to do in the space of one night. At work, I get my work done too quickly and don’t have anything to do, so my supervisor tells me I need to work more slowly.

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My parents know that I have all my classes, I’m working with Karla, putting together a magazine for the school, and I have a job on campus during the week. They tell me that I have to space everything out so I don’t end up neglecting one of my responsibilities or doing poor work. Friends, on the other hand, tell me when I need to stop working and go out on a late night snack run, or tell me I need to watch a certain show or movie with them. It gets confusing.

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It seems like everyone has their own opinions about how I should space my time out or how quickly I should get my work done. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to shift gears and work at a slower pace. Other times, it’s just agonizing working slowly when I think about how much I have to do. And either way, it’s exhausting working at quick pace every night, rushing to get homework done, papers written, and books read. It might sound bad, but I really hope that the “real world” isn’t like this or I’ll end up tired all the time!

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Strongs Girls can wear bonnets, too!

Stronggirlslogo2I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Just because you’re a Strong Girl doesn’t mean you don’t like to feel feminine and wear pretty things!

Sometimes I wish Easter Bonnets were still in vogue. I love hats. And I’m one of those girly girls that loves frilly things as well as bling and glamor. My style runs from the Bohemian to the Classic tailored to romantic frills. Depending on my mood, that’s how I’ll dress.

I thought you’d have fun gazing at some of these bonnets. Easter Parades used to be a big deal in some parts of the country. Here’s a song that commemorates the festival:

And now for the bonnets!

Which one is your favorite? (I’m rather partial to the ones with the gigantic ostrich feathers.)

(Click to enlarge and/or print images.)

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Vintage Easter

As you may know, I love vintage postcards and graphics. Here are a few for you to enjoy and laugh at and wonder what on earth they were thinking when they made them.

You could print the ones you like to use as place cards at your Easter table. Although, I must say, I had a difficult time finding any cards that exuded the true blue meaning of the Resurrection of Christ. With the exception of the lamb, which I suppose, could kind of be pertinent. Didn’t anyone celebrate with Christian symbols back in the day?

Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide between the blimp, the blue flower balloon or the pink egg. Which one is the weirdest? For me it’s the dancing rabbits dressed as eggs. Creepy!

Enjoy!  (Click to enlarge and/or print.)

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Tweet This: What were they thinking when they made some of these!?!

Erica’s Edition: Homesick College Student

With almost three years of college under my belt, I never thought I’d say I’m homesick. Last weekend was Little Sibs Weekend at Manchester, and even though my brother is older than the age they allow sibs to come he still came to stay for Friday and Saturday.  My mom dropped him off to me on Friday afternoon and she brought me some awesome giraffe cups (my favorite animal!) from their spring break trip to Minnesota. The plan was for my dad to pick him up Saturday evening.

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What I didn’t expect, though, was to get a call from my grandma saying she would be in the area, visiting my cousin at Grace. I made arrangements with her for my brother and me to go out with them for ice cream on their way back home. What I didn’t realize was two of cousins and my uncle were with my grandparents. So it turned out I unexpectedly got to spend time with both my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my uncle, and my cousins last weekend.

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I never thought I’d say I’m homesick, but after I got to spend a really short time with a lot of my family I really was homesick after they all left. I was pretty down all Saturday night, especially after hearing that my dad and brother were going to see Captain America because I love going to see movies with them. I started thinking about all the things I’m missing out on, and that made me even more homesick. Only the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones Sunday night was able to get me out of my slump.

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I’m pretty excited to be going home next weekend for Easter, but I have a feeling that leaving again is going to be sad. I think the thought of only having one year of school left is making me nostalgic and nervous for the unknown. But for right now, I’m having a great time at Manchester. I’m surrounded by friends I love and I love my classes and professors. Although I miss home, I love my life at Manchester and I love learning.

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Interview with H2 TV host and author, Scott Wolter of America Unearthed

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http://www.hookedx.com/author.asp

I’ve been a follower of Scott Wolter’s research for about ten years. My fascination with his work began with my interest in the Kensington Runestone and my belief that it is a genuine artifact and proof of a Nordic presence in North America before Christopher Columbus. Scott has written two books that deal with his research of the stone, The Kensington Runestone: Compelling New Evidence and The Hooked X. (I have all of Scott’s books, but am the proud owner of two copies of The Hooked X. One of them is autographed.)

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His latest book, From Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers: The Mysteries of the Hooked X is also a compelling read.

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Scott’s worldview and mine are very different. As a born-again Christian, I don’t believe that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. Scott does. He also believes this view of Mary M. and Jesus is the “holy grail” that the Templars protected and brought with them to North America.

And while I don’t agree with Scott about this particular issue, I do agree with much of the research he exposes on his H2 TV program, America Unearthed, now in its second season.  I was tickled pink to see him have his own show. I almost felt like a proud cousin or something because I’d known for a long time he had a unique view of history that made other people as curious as myself. I’ve been honest with Scott about my beliefs and he has been gracious and generous of his time in answering many of my questions for which I’m grateful.

I’m honored that Scott took time out of his busy schedule to answer even more of my questions for my blog. If you love a good mystery, history and ancient artifacts, I think you’ll find his research as fascinating as I do.

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Scott, thanks so much for agreeing to answer some questions for my readers. I know you’re an extremely busy man. How old were you when you fell in love with rocks?

I’ve always been fascinated with rocks, even as a kid.  However, my interest turned to obsession when I was in college and discovered Lake Superior Agates.  That obsession led to any and every spare moment searching for them.  I rode a motorcycle back then which allowed me to get into and out of gravel pits with ease.  Eventually, I wrote my first book (of a total of four) about agates and have assembled a world class collection.  I am still hooked on agates and I’m sure always will be.

I ride my own motorcycle, too. It’s my favorite mode of transportation when I’m “looking for treasure.”

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My book, my tank, my gloves

I’ve enjoyed seeing your family included in some of the episodes of America Unearthed. How involved are they in your research?

Both of my kids enjoy the research and I often run things by my son Grant, who is an engineer and ultra-skeptical.  If something I’m working on passes the “smell test” with him then we’re usually on good ground.  Although, he’s not always right and does accept strong evidence and a good argument.  Janet is my co-researcher and truth be told, is the genius of the family.  She brings calm, reasoned input to the subjects we investigate as well as the feminine perspective that really does provide the needed balance to our research.  She’s a gem!

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Scott & Janet
http://www.hookedx.com/film.asp

I’ve observed that as a scientist, you tend to only believe those things you can touch and see. Do you have a spiritual side?

I am definitely a pragmatist and in my younger days was proud to call myself an atheist.  However, life has a way of softening the hard edges of a person’s ideas and beliefs.  I used to think everything could be explained logically.  However, I’ve come to realize that some things that happen in life cannot always be explained logically.  The hardest thing for me was learning to accept there are some things that happen in life you cannot explain or fully understand.

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http://www.hookedx.com/film.asp

Washington D.C. and Franklin, Pennsylvania were laid out by Andrew Ellicott, in your words, in “incredible sacred geometry.” His apprentice, Alexander Ralston, laid out Indianapolis, Indiana. What is the purpose of doing this, do you think? Is there a message, a spiritual power or something they are trying to convey?

Of course, there were scientific, mathematical, and spiritual messages the early surveyors and architects were trying to convey, and still trying to convey.  It’s up to the individual to decide what that message is.

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Why do you think the lead artifacts discovered in Tuscon, Arizona were left there?

I’m pretty certain the Tucson Lead Artifacts were made and left as ritual offerings by a Roman-Jewish party from what is now Southern France.  I have more thoughts about this group, but I’m hoping to convey them in a future follow-up episode; we’ll see if that happens…

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http://westfordknight.blogspot.com/2012/02/tucson-lead-artifacts.html

I can hardly wait! I love the show, DVR it and watch the episodes several times over.

Do I understand correctly that you believe that the parchments supposedly discovered by Abbe Francois Berenger Sauniere are genuine? What makes you think so?

I’m pretty certain he found something that led him to great riches somewhere near Rennes le Chateau.  Some say it was information he used to get money from the Church.  Some say the documents told of the location of ancient hidden gold.  Maybe it was both, but I do think he found parchments with important information.

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http://en.wikipedia.org

What drives you to spread the word regarding your belief that Jesus never rose bodily from the tomb and that He married Mary Magdalene?

What drives me to get this story out is because the factual evidence I’ve seen so far says it is the truth.  I also believe the world has been negatively impacted by the financially and spiritually corrupt nature of the Roman Catholic Church.  They convey the wrong message of what Jesus and MM were really teaching; that the individual doesn’t need a human conduit to get to their Creator.  They can do it themselves and this is what threatened the power of the Roman Church so they created a different story that became patriarchal and vilified woman.  Largely due to 1700 years of their spiritual domination it has thrown the world horribly out of balance, most notably by over-population.  I want my descendants to inherit a healthy planet and believe the ship is now beginning to turn around by this truth coming out.  I also think the vast majority of people in the world can handle the truth.

I’d like to discuss this more, and probably will in a future post. I think you already know this is an area where we don’t see eye to eye. However, I’m never one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and realize we couldn’t possibly agree on all points. I still have many questions and learn a lot from your work.

What tools do you use to organize your research? (Computer programs or other tech tools?)

The tools I use are the internet and books; lots of books.  However, I think people have become too dependent on the net; especially Wiki which is edited by power-tripping, anti-diffusion leaning individuals.  I became so frustrated by the crap that was being added to my Wiki bio page I demanded it be removed entirely.  Now that you’re aware, try and find balanced information on a Wiki page about any of the controversial artifacts and sites we’ve investigated and you’ll see they are all treated with skepticism in spite of conclusive evidence to the contrary in several cases.  My name isn’t even mentioned on the Kensington Rune Stone page and look up Tucson Lead Artifacts, Bat Creek Stone, Spirit Pond rune Stones, Newport Tower, etc.  It’s all nonsense.  Of course, the other tool I use is my body by getting out there to see, feel and test whatever it is I’m studying.    

I agree regarding Wiki. It’s why colleges never allow students to us it as a cited source. However, I also feel your frustration with so-called academics who reject the conclusive evidences that stare them in the face.

What message do you want most to convey to your readers and viewers of your television show?

The biggest message would be for people to not blindly accept everything you read (especially on the web) or told.  Think and investigate for yourself before arriving at a conclusion.  I guarantee you find the answer is rarely what you initially thought or told, and you will also find the “back stories” are often more interesting.  Doing research is also a lot of fun.  I always tell young people to ask questions of their teachers and professors if something doesn’t make sense.  Always be respectful, but speak up and be heard.

I agree about research–it’s my favorite part of writing, and the reason I’ve enjoyed following your work all these years. Congrats on the show!

And again, thanks, Scott, for your fascinating insights and sharing your research with such a generous spirit. That’s something I’ve always appreciated about you. I can’t wait to see more of America Unearthed!

What about you, Dear Reader, do you have any questions for Scott?

Leave them in the comments below!

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My response to the Noah movie :::eyeroll:::

I love the story of Noah in Genesis. I love it so much that I named a son for Mr. Noah.

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My beloved son, Noah, age 6 (he is now in his 20s)

I also wrote a chapter about Noah in a compilation entitled, What Really Happened in Ancient Times. I know a little about the guy.

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So, when the movie, Noah, came out, I thought it would be great to go see it. I didn’t expect it to be accurate. Hollywood rarely gets it right (if ever). I did, however expect to be entertained.

I wasn’t.

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In fact, not only did the film get the story completely wrong (no exaggeration) it was also boring and ridiculous. I expected it to be at least a little bit believable. But instead of a Biblical epic, I thought I’d dropped into some sort of Transformers movie. I wanted to walk out, but I also wanted to write this review, so I stayed.

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I couldn’t believe how bad the script was. The writers’ determination to avoid Biblical accuracy resulted in a script so ludicrous it bordered on comedy. My husband and I have never rolled our eyes as much as we did while viewing this movie, and we’ve been married over 32 years.

Whenever the characters on the screen spewed some absurd philosophical line, my husband invented fictional scripture references and whispered them into my ear. “That’s from the first book of Gopher Wood chapter one verse 13.”

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Here are just a few of my issues with this movie.

  • It misleads people and confuses their theology. Seriously, I’ve been in Christian Education for more than 30 years. I’ve heard it all. I’ve met people who thought they would become angels when they get to heaven and children who don’t have any idea who Jesus is. They’ve never heard the Christmas story.  Believe it or not, there are children growing up in rural America who know nothing about Him. If they watch this movie they will be terribly confused for reasons I’ll discuss below.
  • The filmmakers went beyond artistic license by contradicting the Bible and depicting the fallen angels as “good” and Noah as an evil, murdering madman intent on slaughtering his grandchildren.
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  • The Bible tells us in Genesis that Noah walked with God. In Ezekiel he’s described as righteous. Peter wrote that he was a preacher of righteousness. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith”
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Source: Wikipedia

  • God is depicted as vicious and cruel. If a child or non-Christian sees this film, why would they ever want to know more about such a God? The film sends the message that God is Someone who wants to kill babies. My heart breaks to think a child could ever believe that of God. God is love, merciful, gracious. He is nothing like He’s portrayed in the movie. And if you don’t think a movie can influence someone’s doctrine, consider Bill Maher’s reaction (warning, strong language):

It’s about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God. Genesis says God was so angry with himself for screwing up when he made mankind so flawed — rrrrr — that he sent the flood to kill everyone! Everyone! Men, women, children, babies. What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at? I mean, besides Chris Christie. 

Hey God, you know you’re kind of a dick when you’re in a movie with Russell Crowe, and you’re the one with anger issues. [Source: Bill Maher Disses Noah]

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  • The fallen angels in the film are the good guys and they help build the ark. (!!!) Instead of eternal judgment, these damned creatures go “back to the Creator.” The audience assumes they’re forgiven. Uhm, no. that ain’t in the Bible.
  • Instead of hearing God’s voice, Noah drinks a potion to have a vision. Say what?
  • Environmentalism is the main them along with vegetarianism and paganism. Humans bad. Animals and the earth good.
  • Basic facts of the story were skewed. Note these details:
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Click to enlarge. Source: Answersingenesis.org

There are so many things wrong with this movie I could literally write thousands of words discussing it. However, I want you to keep reading my blog, so I won’t belabor the point. Instead, I’ll point you to three of my favorite reviews:

I’m a Christian and I think ‘Noah’ Deserves a Four Star Review

A No Holds Barred Review of Noah the Movie

Sympathy for the Devil

What’s your review of the film?

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Tweet this: Will the real Noah please stand up?

 

 

 

 

 

Erica’s Edition: On Being a Nerd

Erica GraphmanToday’s post is brought to you by intern, Erica Graphman. Take it away, Erica!

Every person has that one thing they consider themselves an expert on right? Like I’m talking nerd-level expert. I actually looked up the definition of nerd on dictionary.com and discovered that a nerd is “an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.” (The first definition was really mean). I mean I would consider myself a nerd on a couple different spectrums (funny side note: I almost just capitalized spectrum because I have been sending out emails all day for Spectrum, the literary magazine I’m co-editing).

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I think that as an English major who spends an extreme amount of time reading and writing, I could consider myself a book nerd. My recent, unhealthy obsession with playing Minecraft appears, by definition, to make me a computer game nerd. My biggest obsession, which I’ve touched on before, would have to be Harry Potter.

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For example, I was looking up a Harry Potter-related picture to attach to this post and ended up spending a half hour looking through all things Harry Potter. I could write a 15 page essay about themes in Harry Potter in a couple hours if I wanted to! If you asked any one of my family members or friends they would be able to tell you that I’m the biggest Harry Potter nerd they know. Whenever any of them sees anything related to the subject, they immediately text me or send me a picture. Which kind of reminds me that I always get books for Christmas because I’m the book nerd of the family. Hmm.

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The thing that really makes me feel like these things which might classify me as a nerd, might not actually make me a “nonsocial” nerd is this: there are so many other people who share my passions. When I sit in my Culture Through Literature class for an hour every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, there are fourteen other people in there with me who are freaking out about how disgusting Dracula is, or how hilarious Sherlock Holmes’s sarcasm is.

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And when I get on Pinterest and see 20 new Harry Potter related pins in my feed, I laugh and repin them. Sure, reading is a solitary activity, but there are thousands, if not millions of people who are out there enjoying the same books that I am. There are millions who are re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the hundreth time like I am. What I’m starting to realize about being a nerd, is that there is no such thing as a “nerd.” In the world of the internet, there is no activity out there that a person can be “non-social” about. Even computer nerds have ways of showing off their technological obsession, or expertise as I like to call it, to society. Everyone is a nerd in some way or another.

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Tweet this: What kind of nerd are you?

World Autism Awareness Day

I believe in confirmations from the Lord that I’m on the right track. And lately, with the hardships my family has experienced, I needed a little boost of confidence.

Today is Autism Awareness Day. It’s a very special day for me because I am a Mom of twin adults (age 19) with autism.

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L to R: Isaac (with Chevy) and Isaiah (with Jake)

And it’s also a special day because I received my contract from Beacon Hill Press to write my proposed book, Pie in the Sky: A message of Hope, Healing and Hallelujahs for families living with autism.

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My sell sheet book cover

You might call it a coincidence that the contract arrived TODAY, on Autism Awareness Day, but I don’t believe too much in coincidences. I’m one of those faith people. I believe that when a soul talks to God, He talks back.

I’m excited, yes, but I’m more concerned that I get this book right. That it touches lives and helps people. That it makes a difference.

If you’re a family living with autism, I’d love your input. What do you need this book to address?

If you’re a friend and know someone with autism, what questions do you have?

If you’re a church and you want to know more about how to reach families living with autism — shoot me your questions!

I am constantly amazed when I look at the world around me at the Lord’s ability to pay attention to us individually. His Presence is the most precious thing to me. And I covet your prayers that I’ll continue to seek Him and write what HE wants me to write in this book.

Thank You, God, for being so big and able, and yet so personal to order our steps and speak to us where we are.

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April Fools Day

thI don’t care for pranks as a rule. However, I admit to being party to a few. But I can honestly count on one hand the number of high jinks I’ve participated in.

The worst prank played on my husband and I was when so-called friends put Vaseline all over our van’s door latches. I had my arms full of young twins and Eddie’s hands were full carrying stuff. It was late. We were tired. We didn’t find it funny.

vaseline-781187The Bible has a lot to say about fools. There are at least 93 scriptures referring to the fool. You can read them here: What does the bible say about fool?

I’m sure the movie I went to see last night, entitled Noah, is a big April fool’s joke. Yeah. Has to be. Only explanation.

In fact, I’m thinking Obamacare and my taxes are an April Fool’s joke, too.

Whew. Good thing I figured that out before I paid them!

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Tweet this: A fool says in his heart there is no God.