Scripture Verse of the Day

Friday, January 29, 2010

How Do You Reset the Body Thermostat?

My T12 is giving my neck a workout again today. It's an automatic reaction anymore to his inappropriate use of weather gear. Now, I know that I hated bundling up for winter when I was a little girl. I've got no problem with that b/c it kind of makes sense even today. However, THIS child insists on wearing a COAT when it's 80 degrees outside!! Today genuinely warranted a coat, but T12 balked when I told him to put one on. What??? Oh, how could I be so silly! It's not 80 degrees out. What was I thinking??? (V8 smack)

I would even understand if I was going through that pre/menopause stage at HOME and all of the guys in my home have to adapt to my temperature mood swings. I'm not yet, so hopefully my thermostat won't get anymore broken than it used to be when I was little. I am hot-natured right now. I get hot easily. That's my main drawback about living in my part of Texas. :P To me, the summers are absolute torture. I'm actually excited that we are enjoying (well, *I* am enjoying, I should say) a comparably extended winter this year! :) I can't imagine a time when I'll be needing a coat when it's 90 degrees outside and a swimsuit in the dead of winter, even a Texas winter.

He reluctantly put one on, and he'll probably sit all day in class with it on. I've not gotten a note from the teacher yet. I'm still waiting....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christianity Is NOT A Part-Time Faith

**WARNING: This is NOT a friendly post for those who, religiously speaking, are easily offended.**

Even though I've been on that side before, it never ceases to amaze me how some of those outside of Christianity view it. I mean, we are told in the Bible that Christians were going to be hated, belittled, disrespected, etc, in the eyes of the world. Christianity is barely tolerated (even in the United States) within the scale of the weekly organizer/planner. Sunday, we can "do our thing" for however much time we need (as long as we're done before Super Bowl Sunday!) and, oh yeah, an occasional Wednesday night service has become kind of "standard" and traditionally expected. However, an-y mention of God, Jesus, Bible, Scripture, prophecy, a blessing, a prayer, a praise in the name of Jehoveh OUTSIDE these services, date/time slots, and we are frowned upon and even vehemenently scorned. How DARE Christians openly talk about how God leads them in simple and mundane life things! How DARE Christians give God the glory for blatant miracles that have abounded! How DARE Christians recognize America as a nation with Judeo-Christian foundational principles!! How DARE Christians openly challenge various political observations from a Biblical (even prophetic) perspective! How DARE Christians offer Biblical reasoning for scientific discoveries! How DARE we are Christians outside the church doors and church functions! How DARE we allow our Christian selves peep out from under the worldly overcoats we seem required to wear! I've got news for them...Christianity is NOT a part-time faith! Christianity is literally our LIFE, our BEING. For a lot of Christians, EV-ER-Y-THING in a Christian's life is BASED on God's Word, the Bible, as the FINAL AUTHORITY in all things. We cannot separate Christianity from ourselves. We do not have a Christianity switch to turn on and off at the world's beckoning.

Just how is being a Christian and expressing our Christianity so offensive to some others?? I'm talking extrabiblically-speaking here. I already know the Biblical reason. Jesus Himself already tells us that we will be hated, not so much because we are personally offending, but because the world already hated Him. He is the Light that shines in their darkness, and the world can't stand that light exposing them for who they really are in God's eyes...sinners. They crave that darkness and see no need or reason for redemption/salvation. I've been there. I remember what that's like. I've done my share of rejecting that precious Light before I became truly born again.

However, Christians don't even hafta be Bible-thumpin', fire-n-brimstone-mongering, Scripture-quotin', hollerin' preachers to cause the hairs to stand on the backs of some nonChristian's necks. I have seen the looks in the eyes of some who have not heard my voice but have seen my cross necklace or Heart of God pin, or have seen a Scripture verse I scribbled on a piece of paper. I can wish someone a nice day and still get that look. It's almost like being happy is a sin in their eyes, especially given the current times we live in now. There is no condemnation, no criticism, no judgment going on, just hoping that someone can have a good day.

We live in a "relative" world. What's good for one may not be good for someone else, and "it's okay" until someone tries to "openly practice" their faith, and in today's world, particularly Christians. Every single culture the US has experienced prejudice in some way, form or fashion at one time or another. There was a time when Wiccans were feared, shunned and sometimes considered weird people. But they were misunderstood people and are now kinda considered "cool", and the latest trend in religious worship with some Christians is blending Wiccan worship into their own worship practices. There was a time when devout Jews were feared and/or mocked for living their lives according to G-d's commandments; not to mention that some Jews understandably feared Christians, too. Now they are enjoying some appreciation for the values they hold dear to their being and add to society. The Biblical promise of blessing those who bless the Jews and cursing those who curse the Jews is as true now as it ever was. The Muslims have felt the need to be quiet about their worship to Allah until Americans got around to accepting their right to worship, too. Even the Atheists are enjoying some prominence in America's overall culture, leading their humanist, secularist, naturalist, any other -ist way through our government, education, media, etc. The Atheists were never really "quiet" so much as Christians were almost always louder...until now. What are today's Christians doing????

We have allowed the nonChristian society to dictate how, when and where to worship our God! :O How insidious!! We've allowed ourselves, in an effort for religious "tolerance", to be lulled away from our Father's influence in virtually every arena of our lives! We are not experiencing "tolerance" but exclusion and personal separation~~we are having to turn off and divide away our Christian part of us in order to be "tolerated" by nonChristians. Have we learned nothing from other religions who were hushed and persecuted all these years? Have we forgotten that we are Americans, too? and have freedom OF religion? not FROM religion? I understand that there is a time and a place for sharing our faith (whatever it may be) with others, but I believe it's time to get back to our roots and stop deChristianizing ourselves in public just for the sake of "tolerance." We are subjecting ourselves to not only dividing our personal being, but turning off the very Source of power in our lives by turning off His influence. God is our Escort in life. He is part of every Christian's being. Just like Wiccans are close to their god/desses and their worship traditions. Buddhists rely on their teachings to get through life. Muslims live in submission according to Allah. Atheists rely on human intellect, reason and logic to live through this life.

Jews and Christians are called to worship God in the Spirit. He is the source of incredible love. Jesus is the Christian source of comfort in troubled times, which often happen away from home and church. He is our source of answered prayers.
All faiths affect our core beings. All faiths shape what we believe. All faiths determine the choices we'll make. All faiths determine our actions. All faiths shape our consciousness. None of our faiths can be hidden. So why try to shut that part of us off?
As any other religion, Christianity is NOT a part-time faith. As with any other relationship that any of us may have, Christianity is not a part-time investment but an investment into our whole being. Jesus is our friend and should not be treated as the kid you don't want anyone else to know you actually like.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baking Goodies Warm the Souls

When it's cold and miserable outside, I like to bake. :) My boys like it when I bake, too. ;)
I am hard pressed to bake anything during the warm months. Summer is grill time as far as I'm concerned. But winter time~~the shortest season of the year for us? You just might find me hovering over cook books or the "playing" in the kitchen. I've got a comfortable assortment of appliances and gadgets to make almost whatever I want to make.

I have overnight waffles in the fridge right now so that when I get up tomorrow morning, I can just ladle waffle batter into the waffler and make some yummy treats. :) I'm contemplating making some English muffins~~there are so many wonderful uses for English muffins! :D I've never made any before, but I LOVE taking a toasted English muffin and putting a good pat of butter on it until it melted into all the crannies. :) I will probably bake some foccacia bread for lunch tomorrow. T12 wants a tuna melt on that bread, and I think it's time for another spaghetti dinner anyway.
I am kind of lamenting that I didn't make some of the more "traditional holiday" baking this year. I don't really know what happened this past holiday season, but baking just didn't work for me this last time. I guess my mind was so distracted with so many other things that eggs became remote control and milk became email and oil became the signature line on countless forms from school, not to mention I'm still dusting flour from the keyboard. LOL, I guess I was more distracted than I want to admit. I kept forgetting ingredients, putting too much of something b/c I miscounted, combining recipes I didn't mean to combine (yes, I do combine recipes at times, not so easy!) Yes, I need to get back to baking and get my groove back. :}

The waffles in the morning will be a great start! Oooooh, chocolate chip cookies! Maybe I'll make oatmeal raisin cookies, instead. J7 has been hankering for some gingerbread cupcakes, too. Time to get busy. That smile is creeping back on my face as I see my happy boys eat the products of baking. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Fragility of Life

The last 24 hours have been quite the ride on a roller coaster. Yesterday, our church announced the baby shower of a member. She will be a first time mommy, and I'm so excited for her. :) I had only just received an invitation for yet another baby shower a few days beforehand. This will be her first daughter; she has 2 other sons. Joyous occasions, these are!

However, tonight I received the sad news that a lady who has been battling cancer has passed away at noon. I did not know her except by name and her struggle with cancer. She sounds like she was a jewel of a lady to get to know, a woman of sound faith no matter what came her way. "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Her testimony demonstrated this very verse. I understand she lived heartily for the Lord, and she died peacefully to be with the Lord. I never knew her, but I can't imagine forgetting her.

And, of course, just a few days before that, we're still mourning lost lives and devastated hearts in Haiti after their earthquake. I really feel for those poor souls. I can't even imagine not being able to see my family again after having a meal with them just hours beforehand. Many have lost all of their families. Many more have lost their homes. Many are probably crying out to God asking, "Why, Oh Lord, why?" I pray for comfort for them. It doesn't seem like it on the surface, but the Bible promises that, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Sometimes you hit rock bottom before you can let God help you recover. I can't imagine how you can hit "more" rock bottom than losing everything you have in life but life itself. We've seen before cities which come back up from ashes and ruins, I pray Haiti can experience that, too. If Job can talk to them now....

I have been in prayer for one young woman who was in a horrific vehicle accident on Christmas Eve. I do not know her personally, but her journey in recovery has been very remarkable. Statistically speaking, she should not have survived this accident. However, she has been fighting the odds to live. She has a very faithful mom who glories in the Lord at almost every news given her. It is really neat to see their journey together. Here is her website if you'd like to follow her journey. Here name is Andi Webb.

In the meantime, I found out that my mom's neighbor's dog passed away. I am saddened but extremely relieved to hear this. ***If you don't wanna be hacked off, I suggest you bypass the bottom of my post, where I'll put my comment about that situation.

Today, I received an email from a wonderful friend of mine, whose twin boys are friends with my T12. They will be celebrating their 13th birthday next weekend and they asked that T12 will join them. My, has time flown by already!! I'm reminded that in about 8 more months, T12 will be 13, too!

Obviously there are many milestones in between birth, life and death, and eternity, but it just seems like some days are more pronounced than others. The last few days have been like that for me. I thank God for that awareness each and every day. Be it people or animals, each life is important. You sometimes don't realize their touch on your life until they're gone.

***WARNING*** If you don't want to be hacked off, I suggest you bypass this part of my post.

My mom told me that her neighbor's dog has died today. I am saddened b/c she was the sweetest 18-year-old baby you could ever meet. If you know anything about Irish Setters, they are painfully loyal dogs who would love you up a storm. : ) However, I'm very relieved at her passing. Unfortunately, this dog has been living (???) at the neighbor's house. She belongs to the neighbor's grandson. Her last 3 years of life had been spent in shameful neglect. There was no way for my parents to alert any authorities because there WAS NO authority who could help relieve her misery. The neighbor (owner) did not give 2 cents about her and treated her exactly as such. Why her grandson left the dog with her, I have no clue. He was gone most of the week, and when he'd return, the dog would be so happy to see him, only for him to leave her for yet another week. Why he did not try to give her to someone who could better care for her, I have never known. My mom offered to take her, but he refused to let her. The poor baby became depressed, hungry, hot (summers can be brutal here), thirsty, sick, and she froze a couple of weeks ago when we had unusually icy weather. It was painful to watch this, let me tell you. She perked up when she saw us, but the neighbor had banned us from being near her property (my dad also banned her from his property, so you can tell where THIS led, sigh), so we had to stop attending to her basic needs. I am thankful that she is finally relieved of her sorrow and misery. If the grandson knows what's best for him, he better not try to get another pet around here. Between members of my family, there just might be trouble. >: (
"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast."
Don't have pets if you can't or don't want to take care of them.

Infrequent Ironing Miles

Yeah, you read right. I haven't ironed anything of significance in over 20 years. Unfortunately, it shows, lol. : }

I'm working on a sewing project, and if you sew, you know that with sewing comes ironing. Why I chose a fabric that wrinkles like it does for a Bible cover, I have no idea, but it seems like as soon as I iron out one wrinkle, I'm lookin' at 5 more. Not a brilliant move on my part. : P Still, the fabric is a beautiful color, and it's one I think my aunt will thoroughly enjoy when I get it done. I'm hoping so, anyway.

Hunting down the iron was a trip. I have managed to move my iron from my old apartment to our current house 3 years ago. We actually have a laundry space in the garage (apt contained a linen closet where it was stored before), so I finally looked there and found it. That took about an hour. Another 15 minutes later, I finally found that collapsable ironing board. Oh my goodness, that board is enough to cure any habitual desire to iron! It took me longer to figure out how to work the lever thingy (to drop the leg frame so it will stand up) than to iron out that little 46 in x 18 in piece of material! >:( Trying to remember what materials qualified for what settings was a trip, too. Left up to me, it's gonna go all the way back whether it's silk or cotton/linen. The only materials I know without much thought is corduroy and cotton. I did figure out that silk and polyester melt under those highest temps. : P I sure hope I don't need those things for another decade or so, but I probably will, and soon.

How have I survived this long without ironing much, if anything? Simple. We wear perma-press fabrics and whatever wrinkly stuff we do wear, it's of no social consequence. Hubby and I try our ultimate best to dive for the dryer before it cuts off and zip our clothes onto a hanger before it has a chance to be fruitful and multiply wrinkles. If we don't succeed, then we toss a wet rag in that load and dry it some more, then try again. No, we don't live in a fresh-pressed world, as you can guess. If hubby or I end up needing to dress up for an interview or something, we'll need some notice, lol. ; )

To think that when I was a teen I spent time ironing my own clothes so they'd look nice. I guess since then I've gotten so busy that I never made time for that any more, then I discovered that in the grand scheme of Estelle world, it didn't really matter.
((Wonder if those ironing miles are any good now? LOL, probably not. : } ))

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mourning For and With Haiti

As many others, I mourn for the small country, Haiti. This week a disastrous earthquake of Biblical proportion has taken over a hundred thousand lives while the land is left utterly destroyed. Unfortunately, the death toll is still rising by the hour (nearing 200,000) as rescuers search for survivors amid the dead and destroyed.

Governments, humanitarian agencies and missionaries from all around the globe are trying to help these people who are stunned and numb with grief and a sense of hopelessness. They are desperate for food, water, medicine, shelter, and any other necessity of life as they wander the streets searching for their families, their friends, and places they used to frequent. Rescuers are facing extreme difficulty as they attempt to find safe structures and empty grounds to land planes and other vehicles so they can deliver those supplies. The growing problem now is that they must bury or dispose corpses as quickly as possible before devastating diseases break out and further destroy the people. The images on the news are heartbreaking, just heartbreaking.

What makes this disaster any "worse" than the other devastating disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano, floods, etc) experienced around the world in the last few years? It is not just the loss of lives and loss of architecture. Haiti is a poverty-stricken nation. Haiti has little to no resources to recover. If they were not aware of it before, they most likely are painfully aware now. There are some people, Pat Robertson being most vocal at the moment, who insist that Haitians have brought this upon themselves, as a result of a curse upon the land from centuries ago.
Biblically speaking, I can see how they can arrive at such a conclusion. After all, God can, has, and DOES use weather and natural disasters from time to time to get mankind back off of ourselves~~Noah's flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, plagues of Egypt, earthquake of Jericho, prophet's drought, Paul's shipwreck, etc, etc~~but we also need to remember that the rain falls upon the just AND the unjust; the wheat and the tares experience the same circumstances. The differences between the camps will be how we respond to the circumstances we face. Do we see typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanos, floods, etc, as only "acts of God?" Do we acknowledge (blessing or cursing) Him only during times of natural crisis? Or do we acknowledge His Greater Presence during our times of tranquility and peace, also? During the flood, is our house built upon a rock or upon sand? Are we so smug as to declare another country completely unrighteous and "deserving" of this tragedy while we face our own national troubles? I hope not. I'm praying that if we had the house built upon a rock that we could offer a hand to the one who built his house upon the sands. "My people perish for lack of knowledge."

Right now, the prayer and resources for survival are vital for the Haitians and their families and friends. WHEN they come to a time to rebuild, I pray that God will send his people to them, and that Haiti will be receptive to their wisdom, rebuilding lives one step at a time. In the meantime, GOOGLE can help you find many sites accepting donation and relief aid to Haiti if you're inclined to donate or give your time and expertise.

God bless each and every one of you enjoying a hot meal, warm bed, cold water, and a roof over your heads tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Rich Classic American Literary History

I just got finished reading T12 a short story from Nathaniel Hawthorne called THE MIRACULOUS PITCHER. Personally, I find it a very intriguing story with virtually timeless language and timeless reality. Some classic stories from early Americana require a bit of translating when reading in today's society. Supernatural events noted in the Bible become fascinating observations by people who have forgotten that God is, was, and evermore shall be. Spirit realm visits our mortal realm in ways that leave us questioning our own sensibilities at times, then and perhaps especially now, as is evident in this story.

As I was reading this story, I was pleased to hear T12 comment about his Biblical recognition of similar elements illustrated in The Miraculous Pitcher. I reminded him that we have the privilege to see these comparisons today. During Hawthorne's day, those stories may have been considered more abstract and "out there", but in some ways, the Bible was considered a more serious book of study 200+ years ago, and even though the stories may have been lighthearted, I'm quite sure the serious morals demonstrated in these stories may have produced a solemn attitude in anyone who read them. Today, one may need to have the Bible beside them to compare the storytellings to it, discerning the morality from the fantastic.

When I searched for Nathaniel Hawthorne on the Internet, I was struck by the similarities between his friends. It's almost like they all attended a writer's convention to write the same kinds of stories..well, Hawthorne did meet some of them at college. :) I will need to pick up and re-read Herman Melville's MOBY DICK because it was supposedly dedicated to Hawthorne. T12 does not care for MOBY DICK, tho, b/c it's too dark and depressing for his taste. I was familiar with Henry David Thoreau's WALDEN and CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, tho I need to read them again. I've got a few little short works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, plus a few works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's neat to see how similar their works are, but yet they are still distinct. I'm sure some of it has to do with the fact that Hawthorne went to school with them!

I've got a lot of reading to catch up on for myself. I wish T12 was interested in TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN. I actually liked reading those when I was in school; then again, I was a weird one like that. ;) My favorite past-time growing up was to either have an armload of books to read during the weekend, or if I couldn't do that, I read the dictionary or encyclopedia. Weird, huh? Oh well. That was me then. :} I've not changed too much since then.
So far, in 6th grade, they are not reading classic stories, which kind of makes me sad. I fully understand that 20-some odd years have passed since I was in school, and we evidently have an array of "new classics", but there is sooooooooo much to learn from the real classics! I've got a few of the books lined up on my bookshelf right now. Works by O'Henry, Samuel Clemens, James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, and many others are just waiting to be read and read again.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

GREASE to the Future, Sort of

A couple of nights ago, on one of those super rare moments of Momma-is-gonna-watch-the-tv-in-peace moments, I was flippin' thru the guide to see if there is som'n worth watching. I found a channel with the title labeled as GREASE. I smiled. That is one of those movies most people don't wanna admit they like. Well, I DO...SO THERE!! :) I selected the channel, and it turns out that it's not the original GREASE, as in the Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta version, but GREASE 2 with Adrian Zmed (more famous for his T.J. Hooker role) and Michelle Pfeiffer. Okay, that one is cheesy one, too, but I like it for different reasons.

That got me to thinking.... What would happen if there was a GREASE for each subsequent decade? You got the car issue with lots of dancing in GREASE ('50s), you got the motorcycle issue and lots of singing in GREASE 2 ('60s), how about a showdown with muscle cars and guitars in GREASE (3~'70s), maybe starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Moss? We need a gorgeous red-headed leading lady in a GREASE movie! She currently does those Mott's apple juice commercials. I think they can pull off the flower child, disco circuit, don't you? Dig out those lame (la-MAY) disco dresses and bell bottom jeans! Surely the teens didn't wear leisure suits, did they? :O

Let's talk about the '80s (what does that make now, GREASE 4?). This is more my least that's what I thought. Do you know I can't think of a "vehicle" setting for the '80s? Now the music?? THAT's easy-peasy! Welcome the age of synthesized sounds! : D Add some pop to the mix, and it was a very well-rounded age, lol. Oh, and boy did we ever "get physical" then, with a little footloosing flashdance thrown into the scene! ;) Hmmm, let's see who could star in our '80s version of GREASE.... Macaulay Culkin and Kate Hudson might work here. I mean, think of it, Macaulay has the potential face and hair look that can reproduce those electronic sounds of those days. Kate Hudson can pull off the big hair complete with 10 pounds of Aqua Net and Rave, I just know it! It was not only about the music then, but the look, too!

Starting in the '90s, I kinda got out of the entertainment circuit. I've not paid too much attention to the goings on during the next 2 decades, so have no ideas how to dream up a GREASE scene here. I think you'd start seeing more rap stuff during this era but, because this isn't my cup of tea, I'm having a little difficulty imagining a rapping Rydell High for GREASE 5, y'know? I know Cuba Gooding, Jr or Will Smith are forever young and could easily pull off this gig somehow. How about adding Halle Berry to the mix? I'm having trouble imagining Drew Berrymore pulling this off, as talented as she is. She is the next closest possibility I could think of. I don't know that Sandra Bullock has it in her, but maybe she does. Hmmm, now it's starting to look more like FAME instead of GREASE. Sigh.

Maybe I just shouldn't even go into the millenial GREASE. I mean, how personally interactive could millenial greasers be with all the cell phone and now texting stuff, huh? I could never serve it justice under any circumstances. Then again, perhaps GREASE is happiest back into the '50s and '60s without looking into the future.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Will We Actually Experience a True Winter in North Texas?

I am not believing this winter so far! We have actually had temperatures low enough for a long enough time to complete a proper load of laundry! This has been going on since about October. I know some of you don't get it. You are battened down for the winter b/c that's your "norm" and you'll experience your spring thaw sometime in March or even May/June. That, or you live in the likes of Florida, where a "cold front" is equivalent to 80 degrees for the lows. Well, in my part of Texas, we get 24-48-hour "winter blasts." Literally, our temperatures can be highs in the 30s for one day and 70s and even 80s the next. Anyone wonder why we seem to have large closets in Texas? No, it has noth'n to do with "Everything's bigger and better in Texas." We simply cannot afford to put away seasonal clothing! :O I'm SERIOUS!! At any given time of the year, with the exception of July and August, you will need sweats, AND shorts, AND sweaters, AND swimsuits, AND jeans, AND t-shirts, AND flannel lumberjack shirts, etc; and you will launder them all at the same time. With the exception of July and August, and THIS winter season, I don't launder just summer or winter or fall or spring stuff; the swimsuits get washed along with my sweats. Crazy, huh? Well, that's our "norm."

Tonight, we are supposedly going to get rain. Well, it's also freezing outside. That means that MOST LIKELY there will be no school tomorrow for the boys. It has nothing to do with "snow" but everything to do with ice. Have you seen Texans driving on ice??? We're nutcases!! We have this crazy notion that we can drive on the hightway the same speed as we do on a dry sunny day. When we should be paying more attention to the roads, it seems that's the time to find out what more our Blackberry can do (no, don't have one of those gizmos; prob'ly won't 'til they're obsolete, lol).

On Christmas Eve, we were traveling from my sister-in-law's place to our home, roughly 120 miles away, and it wasn't until we arrived within our city limits that I saw it...our first White Christmas since 1929. Wow. That was som'n, lemme tell ya! Part of our freeway was blocked off in the wee hours of the night, and I saw a truck beside us with snow all over it. I couldn't believe it. I asked hubby, "Where did that guy come from that he has so much snow on his truck??" A few crawling feet later, I happened to look to my right, and there on the banks of our highway was a beautiful blanket of snow. We were stunned. We finally had a genuine article White Christmas! We always had snow just before or just after Christmas, but NEVER on Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. When we finally arrived at our house, the snow was so pristine that we couldn't bear to mess it up with footprints. We kept it minimal. ;)

My local friend told me that she had snow (she's about 15 miles from me) again just before New Year's, but it didn't reach my way. It sounded like her children had so much fun, from the eldest to the toddler. It would be nice if the boys got some bang for their buck tomorrow. I mean, if they're gonna be out of school, couldn't we have a little snow to have a little fun in? We've already seen more snow days this year than we've seen in 2 previous years put together!

A true winter in North Texas. What an awesome experience to behold! The snow doesn't last here, but the colder days are finally lasting a little longer this year. I think we're ready for it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Observatons About Internet 411

The world of the Internet can be a blessing and a curse. Ecclesiastes tell us that "There is nothing new under the sun", and so far as I can tell, it's true! Let ANY thought pop into your head, and you can instantly find out more about that thought...."Just Google (T) it!" It's become the information mantra of the 21st century. It's already thought out for you! The blessing is that you WILL find the answer(s). The curse is that you can be misinformed if you stick to a single source site without determining if there is any validity to the information or not. The Internet is an intriguing tool because you can get all the contrasting information you want in one sitting. When dealing with people's opinion, it's definitely going to be one-sided. When dealing with books, you are going to only get one view at a time. Again, a blessing or a curse.

Observing others on message boards using Internet information has been very interesting to me over the years. It blows my mind how people determine if the found information is what they need or not. This observation applies specifically to questions regarding health issues, religion, politics, and parenting and schooling issues (particularly homeschooling~~more on that another time).
Here are a few ways some seem to use to decide the validity of the information they find:
  • The first "hit."
  • If multiple hits, the "eenie, meenie, miney, mo" method.
  • A (favorite) talk show host said it, too.
  • The (favorite) media said it, too.
  • If they personally know "an expert" who can support their particular find.
  • If it totally goes with or against their own PERSONAL experience.

Not that some of these methods shouldn't or can't be used (there's a time and a place), but if there is ever a place for "relativity", I think this is it. With some of the people I've observed, it's ALL or NOTHING. I think just because certain information is not relevant to YOU does not mean that it's IRrelevant to someone else! I admit that I kind of walk away when I see people disrespect other's opinions or observations about health issues simply because "There is no scientific proof that.....yada, yada, yada...." SO WHAT?????? Not every member of the human race is listed in scientific and medical studies! It may take another decade or so to confirm what certain individuals or groups have figured out all along, y'know? Why have they figured this out? They have observed their OWN results and are documenting those results to publish later. I believe this is solely why you'll find contrasting reports and articles on the Internet about some health issues facing America. Does that make one or the other invalid? In my eyes, absolutely not.

You wanna talk politics? Just put in any name or event you want to research, and I'm pretty confident (I'm not a betting woman) that you'll eventually find supporting AND opposing views on them, each backed, of course, by the media. It's the continuation of the Internet political debate game. Which way will you lean your ear? Most times you need to go to more than one source to determine who is stretching the truth, and who is outright lying; because we know and agree that, generally speaking, a politician is incapable of telling the truth, right? ;)

Religion? Particularly Christianity? That's easy for me. My BIBLE IS THE FINAL AUTHORITY IN ALL THINGS. Whatever I read that doesn't line up with what God's Word says goes out the window (figuratively speaking~~I try not to litter). I'm not talking about a verse here and a verse there. I'm talking about a fairly balanced view based on what I study. I am not guided by my human sense in the matters of faith. That does not mean that I am not interested in what various religions teach. I simply don't apply them to my own life. It may be relevant to others and their beliefs, but not to me. What is your yardstick? What do you stand on and compare all other information to, Internet or otherwise?

Parenting. Oh, now THERE'S a topic of passion! How often do we seek the help of the Internet for parenting ideas? Talk show host? Pick and issue, any issue, and you're bound to run into someone who says that any given article is a bunch of crock. Why? Because that didn't work for them! It is completely irrelevant to them. Do you discard it simply because other influences in your life opined that the given advice is worthless? What if you gave it a try? It's successful for you. What does that say about the naysayers? That it simply didn't work for them. That's all. They are not stupid jerks, and neither are you MegaMom or MegaDad. I've met children who see to that. : { But then again, I'm not the final authority on this, either. : ) What about if you were successful about something, gave the advice to someone else, and that advice fails for them? It simply means it didn't work for them. We can't forget that children are unique individuals, too. I have found more often than not that some of your "experts" with children have no children of their own.

It's my opinion that the Internet can be a valuable source of information. However, I think it's good to have valid sources to back up your finds; be it someone you know and trust, what your gut tells you, (as Christians) how it compares with the Bible, and just if it's relevant and applicable to what you're looking for. I don't recommend the "eenie, meenie, miney, mo" method, tho.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'd Never Make It As A Cave Woman

God knew what He was doin' when he put me in this day and age. Well, at least as opposed to having me being one of the first human beings on the planet. I had this brilliant idea to make venison stew today. It's nice and chilly, especially for this part of Texas. I've made venison stew a couple other times, but none were this much "fun." Warning: If you're somewhat squeemish about dissection, this post may not be the read for you, but come back again another time, and hopefully I'll have less meaty material for you. ;)

Daddy bagged himself a deer a coupla years ago, and he himself got the pieces cut and processed. I've opened my other few packages of deer meat and could immediately get to work. Today was an entirely different story. I'm still in the process....maybe....of dissecting this piece of meat. Oh, why, oh why, did I get the leg portion out? For some of you, this is absolutely no big hairy deal. It's a part of your life, you tackle the job (or get the man in your life to do it) and you move on to presenting a sumptuously mouthwatering dinner that any hunter would be proud to eat. :) Please, just for future references, can you tell me how it's REALLY done?? Thanks in advance!

I'm not a hunter's wife. I'm not really even a hunter's daugher, if I get ugly and technical about it. I think I was a teen before I realized that meat actually came from animals. And here I thought they came from those styrofoam and Saran wrap packages. No wonder I was experiencing the good life of ease and comfort. Talk 'bout a reality check.

Okay, back to my dilemma.....
I unwrapped this package, thinking that I'll just trim a little membrane here and there, and then treat the meat w/ some Kosher salt bath, and toss it in the slow cooker and go on about my day. I couldn't have been more wrong. I opened that package and discovered I was in a college biology course, I'm sure of it. If I had a medical book on my counter, I'd swear that the muscle illustration came alive. I expected a little silver membrane here and there, but Daddy didn't trim A-N-Y of it. I'm tellin' ya, it was the perfectly defined illustration of leg meat muscle, like you find in a medical book, complete with each little muscle wrapped in its own membrane. Okay, okay, I feel a little daunted, but I try to proceed, all the while saying to myself, "Rachael Ray would SO NOT do this!!"

I try to rewind my brain to a couple of nights ago, remembering a Good Eats episode about butchering meat....funny, the timing of this, eh? Okay, "Take the knife, break the membrane a little bit, then slide the knife against the membrane to separate the muscle from this membrane." Uh, on this piece of meat, the theory was much better than the practice. I managed to get a couple of the "larger" muscles, decided I don't have patience NOR time for this, and it's back in the fridge for hubby to play with, if he wants something to do. I strongly suspect it will end up in the trash. Maybe I oughtta try to make venison stock out of it? We'll see. In the meantime, I think I know why Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup. He just got tired of butchering his hunt and wanted a (very costly) change of pace. Maybe I'll just make some Texas chili and call it a day.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Name, please." "Huh?"

LOL, I know, goofy title, huh. I didn't wanna go with the Shakespearean cliche, "What's in a name?" How many title names have you seen for blogs? Some of them are pretty straightforward and self-explanatory. Others are just plain weird. Mine is probably considered somewhat middle road.

Let's start with the "Emerald" part of the name for my blog site. If you haven't figured it out by now, my favorite color in the world is GREEN. :) I like other colors, don't get me wrong. It's just that I love the color green. If you were to take a look at my wardrobe, Stacy and Clint would shudder because I have a lot of the same things (T-shirts) in different and mostly solid colors. ;) Oh well. If they decide to grant me a new wardrobe, we'll talk then. But...I digress. :}
The Christian symbolism of green is very intriguing to me. Nature and growth being the primary meanings. Rest, life, newness...everything one would want in life, right? Emeralds are green stones represented in the Bible, and it just HAPPENS to be my birthstone. Coincidence? I think not!

"Star" is probably the part of the blog name that made little sense to anyone else w/o explanation. "Estelle" is an Old-French-used-by-Old-English translation of the Latin word "stella~~meaning 'star'" SO, I'm a "star" in my own right! :D Seriously, tho...I am far from what society would call a "star." Still, God thinks highly of me, and some of His most awesome creations is not only mankind, but the stars that He placed and ordered in the heavens.

"Texas" is pretty self-explanatory, but in case you're troubled, it's because I live in Texas. ;) I'm a transplant from the winds, you could say. As a child, I travelled alllllll over the United States, but we finally settled in Texas when I was 9. I've been here a while, and evidently I'm not going anywhere else. Hubby is a native-born Texan w/ absolutely no intention of leaving. So here I stay. :}

Now to put it all together: "Emerald Star of Texas."
I toyed with many names for my blog. I tried to be somewhat creative but yet it still make some sense (lol, at least to me!). I did a little research, and I found that there is, indeed, such thing as an astrological "green star." We don't readily discern green stars, but they are out there! Here is the link to the information I gathered: The green star is smack in the middle of radiation temperature and visibility spectrum. No matter to me. It's just kinda neat that they exist on this level. :) Now, why didn't I use "green star" as my title, if there's such a thing? Glad you asked, lol. It seems that a "green star" holds military and/or political connotations, as well as the growing use of a grading "green star" to indicate environmental friendliness, something I'm not an avid supporter of. I don't discourage the "green movement" by any means, but I'm not going out of my way to live a greener life. If I happen to like a green idea, fine. If not, well, maybe next time. Uh oh, I digress..... I do that a lot, lol.
Instead of using the color "green" as part of my title, I figured I'd use another word for green, and it just happens that an emerald is the color of my favorite gemstone as well as shade of green.

And there you have it! :D LOL, I kinda feel like posting the Schlotzsky's motto, but I won't. :}
Have a most blessed day!

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hi! My name is Estelle.
I have frequently been told that I need to blog some of my thoughts, so I thought this would be a good start for me. This is a new year with new expectations as well as new hopes and dreams.

I feel I must start off by saying that I will not set out to offend anyone; however, I am intensely aware that some of what I believe or think happens to be offensive. IF you are reading my blog and you find yourself generally offended, I ask that you please do us both a favor and practice your right to leave the rest of us in peace. I have little to no patience for political correctness. More on that another time.

I am a Christian woman who lives in Texas. I happen to hold to CLASSICAL Republican ideals. In general, the Republicans of the last couple of decades have left too much to be desired and have basically abandoned the classic Republican ideology. More on that another time.

How about some more fun things about me? I am happily married to a hubby of 15 years. We have two wonderful sons, ages 12 and 7. I most likely will address them as T12 and J7, with their initials representing their names and numbers representing their ages. Obviously, lots more on them later! ;)

I enjoy cooking. My absolute favorite celebrity cook is Rachael Ray. Love that dear girl! She and I basically share the same philosophy about food. We both can usually discern flavors and reproduce them in the home setting. I believe that if she and I were ever to meet, we'd have ourselves a FANTASTIC time. :) May make a spot for Estellized recipes. ;)

I enjoy reading, though basically I spend more time reading to my boys than to myself. About the only thing I truly read by myself is the Bible, and I admit that I don't even read THAT well. :{
I love to read Christian-themed suspense thrillers and mysteries. In my opinion, Frank Peretti is a brilliant story-teller! There are other authors I enjoy, but I'll talk about them another time.

Speaking of Christian-themed books, when I have time, I enjoy certain television ministries. I know, I know...according to the world's way of looking at them, they are a bunch of self-serving crooks. There are some that fit the description, but I don't believe all of them fit that bill. More on that another time.

I've got more on my mind that I will share with you. Right now, this is a good start. I pray that each of you experiences the best new year and new decade ever, full of prosperity and other words, I pray you experience true peace this year.