Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Saturday, December 31, 2005

What are your resolutions for the New Year?

So that we're all clear here, approximately 99% of all resolutions are out the door before the end of January, but I'm going to try really hard to make mine stick. After all, they're relatively simple.

I, Nicole Boedeker, resolve to:

1. Laugh more
2. Worry less
3. Trust God with everything instead of trying to fix it myself.
4. Read my Bible more and spend more time with God
5. Look to the future instead of dwell on the past
6. Do more stuff outside the home for me whether it's lunch with a friend or a movie by myself or take a drive in the hills around Austin on a warm day, windows open, music on - just me and God and nobody else(if you don't take care of yourself, how can you take care of those who depend on you, like a precious little 4 year old)
7. Lose 20 pounds (or more) through #8 and additional exercise.
8. Get out to dance again - I used to teach C&W dance and was really good at it and I loved it! In fact, I lost 40 pounds in the first year teaching it b/c it was so intense. Was down to a size 5/6. I won't see that size again, but a nice size 10 would't be so bad.
9. Do more things with Emily that are what she wants to do, not so much what I want us to do
10. Take a trip to somewhere, anywhere, that isn't writing, family reunion or work related
11. Take that full day at a spa that I talked about in the last post. I'd love to get an exfoliation scrub, wrap, facial, reflexology foot massage, head massage and an aromatherapy deep tissue massage. Of course that will be about 525.00-600.00 for all of that (tip included). SHAH! Don't have the money for that but it's nice to aspire to for this coming year.
12. Give over ALL my anger, hurt, loneliness and disappointment to God and let Him deal with it instead of giving it to Him in parts. He can take care of it better than I can.

I'm sure there will be more later, but for now, this is a good start. I would have put something in there about more steak, but that's kind of a given. I am a red meat lover, hear me roar! In fact, that's what I'm fixing for dinner tonight is center cut beef tenderloin fillets cooked to a medium perfection, wine and garlic sauteed mushrooms and my yummy mashed potatoes. Then for the adult drinks for my mom and I there will be Italian or mango margaritas at dinner and champagne at midnight. For Emily she will have tangerine/orange juice and ginger ale mixed together so she doesn't feel left out.

Other than that, I'll be at home doing the IM chat thing with some friends literally from around the world and across the US and Canada. A lot of us don't feel like going out this year - actually I haven't been out for New Year's Eve but once in the past 4 years or possibly even longer than that, maybe 5 or 6.

May your New Year's Eve celebration be safe and full of laughter and fun and may your 2006 be full of blessings and love.

Happy New Year, my friends.

BTW, what are your resolutions?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The thoughts of a SAHM wannabe

Lately Emily has been asking several questions, but the most frequent one is this:

"Mommy, why can’t you stay home and take care of me at home?"

It makes my heart ache to hear her ask that question every couple of days or, lately, every day. I want nothing more than to be a stay at home mommy (SAHM). I loathe the idea of sending her to preschool or daycare even though I know she needs to be around kids more often b/c as loving, kind, caring, sweet, creative and ahead of her age intellectually as she is, socially she is a little behind. The only interaction she has been getting is through Sunday school and her little class at church on Wednesday nights. I can’t do play dates/groups with the kids in her class b/c I work days and Matt isn’t a believer and since he takes care of Emily during the day he wouldn’t even think about doing a play group with the kids that Emily goes to Sunday school with and get to know the parents better. It might expose the real him to too many people. I know that’s a mean thing to say but Matt is two very different people, the person he wants you to see and the person he is. Sometimes the person he is can be pretty good, but he is full of spite and anger and bitterness and he only seems to like superficial friendships that allow him to show his surface self only or friendships where he doesn’t have to change anything and can get away with whatever he wants. Or at least that's what I've seen over the past 2½ years. ARGH! Enough about him. This post was supposed to be about staying home with Emily. Ok, back on track.

Emily is now in a gymnastics/dance program for 5 hours a day, three days out of the week and she loves it. But, when she isn’t there, she desperately wants to be home with me. Or at least that is what she has been saying lately. I have no reason to think that her request isn’t genuine. First of all, she’s four. Secondly, she is so pleading when she asks me about staying home. I ask her why she wants to stay home with mommy and she says it’s b/c she loves me the most and she wants to just be there with me "So we can paint and color and go to the park and play and SO many things and I just want to be with you mommy. Why can’t you stay home with me and not have to work?"

I always tell her that if it were up to me, I would stay home with her and we would do all sorts of fun stuff b/c there’s nowhere else I’d rather be but that if she wants to have clothes to wear, food to eat, a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in, a car to get around in and toys to play with, then mommy needs to work to get money for all of those things.

So, if I didn't have to work, here’s my dream day of being a stay at home mom (spring version, if Emily went until 2:30, M-W-F, instead of until noon):
6:30 – wake up, get dressed, brush teeth (I’m not a breakfast person)
6:40 – wake Emily up, get her dressed, feed her breakfast, brush her teeth, put her lunch in a bag
7:00 – take Emily to her preschool that starts at 7:30 (the drive would take about 25-30 minutes in morning traffic), the one with the indoor swimming pool that teaches her swimming lessons, basic education like beginning reading and math, gymnastics, dance, creative play and dramatic arts and arts and crafts
8:00 – back home, work on garden for 30 minutes weeding and watering
8:30 – go inside and do devotions and have prayer time
9:00-9:30 – (depending on length of devotion/prayer that day) start laundry and work on writing for an hour or two and check email
10:30 – continue laundry, run dishwasher and pick up clutter around house, consider what to do with Emily that afternoon – baking, cooking, play or activity (if she’s been really good, maybe a movie she wants to see as a reward)
11:00 – make pasta salad with rotini, sharp cheddar, mushrooms, ham, carrots and zesty Italian dressing, eat with lemonade tea as drink, read book while eating – I am a multi-tasker!
11:45 – start putting up clothes from laundry, vacuum, dust
12:15 – after checking email sit outside on loveseat rocker and read a little more, enjoying the light breeze and sunshine
12:45 – go grocery shopping – get items to make homemade bread
1:30 – put groceries away, work on making jewelry
2:10 – leave to pick Emily up
2:30 – pick Emily up
2:50 – let Emily help make bread
3:00 – Emily naps, I put bread in oven, put ingredients for homemade vanilla ice cream in ice cream maker and crank it on, listen to music and write a little bit, check email
4:30 – Emily wakes up, we play outside for a little while in the back yard
5:00 – I start making dinner, Emily paints or colors or continues to play outside
6:00-6:30 (depending on what I’m making but for this day it’s 6:00) – dinner is served along with the fresh bread. Dinner is barbequed, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and my mashed potatoes. Dessert is a piece of rhubarb pie and homemade vanilla ice cream.
7:00 – Emily is in bath, I’m listening to news or American Idol (!), working on making jewelry and check email
7:30 – Emily is out of bath and getting ready for bed
8:00 – Emily and I read bedtime stories and have her night time devotional and say prayers
8:30 – Emily is in bed, lights out, I’m making and putting together her lunch for the next day – PBH (peanut butter and honey) sandwich in the shape of a star, made from the bread I made earlier, Clementine oranges, granola bar that I made myself the past weekend, two cheese sticks and an all natural juice drink. Everything is packed in a bag that I have drawn a picture on and put in the fridge. Put her clothes together for next day.
8:45 – cleaning up the kitchen, living room and dining room
9:15 – I’m taking a lovely actual bath (instead of a rushed shower) with a glass of wine, some nice music and a good book
10:45 – getting ready for bed, checking email for night
11:00 – in bed, read a little, have prayer time
11:45 – lights out

Ok, so my dream SAHM day doesn’t really include housework, BUT reality is always there so this would be the reality dream day. LOL!

Of course the schedule would vary by activity, if I were having lunch with friends or shopping, getting a pedicure/manicure, going to the range to shoot for a little while or doing some club meeting like gardeners club, mommy’s idea exchange group or something like that. Of course it would be vastly different if it were a Tuesday/Thursday which is when Em would only have an hour and a half dance class.

I wish someday, not too far off in the future that I could have that schedule – and not have to worry about money. I would say maybe if I win the jackpot lottery, but I'd have to actually play the lottery first. ;)
Random Lyrics going through my mind today:

Another day has almost come and gone
Can’t imagine what else could wrong
Sometimes I’d like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war (‘cause)

Tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

It’s almost like the hard times circle ‘round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing - but I’m not dead

Tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

I’m not gonna let it get me down
I’m not gonna cry
And I’m not gonna lose any sleep tonight

Tomorrow’s another day
I am not afraid
So bring on the rain

Yeah, tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

~ Jo Dee Messina

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream down on your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And I

Tears stream down on your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

~ Coldplay
A very sweet friend of mine, John – a devoted husband and father, has a blog called Romantic Ramblings. He had a pretty funny post a couple days ago bout Christmas and the Xbox 360 on his blog. It’s actually a two parter.

I don’t get the whole gaming deal b/c, first off, I’m the mother of a four year old girl and secondly b/c I’m not a gamer and have no interest in "gaming". In the post he mentioned that the husband who got the Xbox 360 cried tears of joy. Me, I would cry tears of joy over a gift of a full day of treatments of my choice at a nice day spa, but definitely would not shed tears over an Xbox or any other gaming system.

He also is currently posting about rednecks.

Go by and check him out and let him know I sent ya!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Disenchanted Christmas

I wonder how many of you out there were disenchanted about Christmas this year. I was chatting with some of my friends online at Omega Letter and pretty much all of us were really disenchanted with Christmas this year. It was just not the same this year.

Most of us talked about how we enjoyed the giving of gifts but were less than enthused about the receiving of them and someone mentioned that maybe it was because Christmas has become so commercialized, especially this year. Another mentioned that maybe it is because we know that the gifts we give and receive aren’t permanent. They won’t last. I mentioned that in spite of what was going on in my life, I felt, well, hollow about the whole Christmas thing this year. Christmas just didn’t really ring true this year for me. For me, the very best part was watching Em open her gifts and her childish expressions of joy and excitement.

So many people are trying so hard to remove any association of Christ with Christmas. Without Christ, Christmas just becomes Mas – which in Espanol means more. It means nothing but greed and money and commercialization. More, more, more, gimme more!

Along with the greed, the removal of the birth of Jesus, the name of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas meant that a lot of schools this year didn’t have Christmas pageants b/c they couldn’t sing carols b/c most carols mention the Holy birth, baby Jesus and/or his mother Mary, the gift of God. One school in Wisconsin also changed the words to Silent Night, the most recorded song in history, but later recanted after they received such backlash across the country from it.

The original lyrics to the beloved carol are:
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace

The replacement lyrics were:
Cold in the night, no one in sight,
Winter winds whirl and bite,
How I wish I were happy and warm,
Safe with my family out of the storm.

Many schools also had no decorations up b/c they didn’t want to “offend” anyone (yeah, anyone except Christians). The same Wisconsin school had decorations for Santa Claus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah Menorah displays and La Befana – an Italian Christmas witch who had turned her back on visiting the baby Jesus stating she was too busy, but no allowances were made for a manger or a Christmas tree. And forget calling it a Christmas break anymore. That has the word “Christ” in there and we can’t have the children remembering what is really celebrated at Christmas...or who. It’s a winter break.

How can little kids get truly excited about Christmas if there is nothing there in the schools that can be used to get them into the Christmas spirit? I remember when I was in school they had BIG Christmas trees, decorations of red and green rings in a paper chain, snowflake cutouts from the kids, a nativity set and more. Christmas was hyped up when I was in school. There was nothing shameful, wrong or offensive back then about celebrating Christmas in schools and all over as it’s meant to be celebrated.

Christmas items started appearing in many stores at the end of September/beginning of October already this year. What happened to everything rolling out at Thanksgiving time to give children and adults alike something to really look forward to? When it becomes so commercial and it’s all about the money, Christmas starts to lose its thrill and enchantment and excitement. It almost becomes just another day instead of the celebration that it’s supposed to be.

For a company who gets it right and deserves your patronage, check out the link below. They are from Hobby Lobby, Mardel and Hemispheres stores (owned by the same company). Hobby Lobby and its affiliated stores are owned and run by Christians. They run these ads in newspapers every Christmas since 1997 (a couple are repeats). Full page ads too so that nobody can miss them. They have a customer for life in me b/c they GET what Christmas is all about - and Easter which they have a whole different group of ads posted on their site.

1997-2004 Christmas and Easter ads
2005 Christmas ad Except in the newspapers the 2005 one was in black and white.

If everyone GOT IT like they GET IT, then Christmas wouldn't be so commercial and political and we just might be able to recapture some of the magic and mystery of Christmas once again. We could take our holiday back from the liberal secularists who want nothing to do with the meaning behind Christmas and who don’t want anyone else to celebrate, much less remember, the Higher meaning behind the celebration of the Christmas season. The birth of Jesus Christ, God coming to earth in human form to give us the hope and the gift of eternal life. To die so that we wouldn’t have to.

Regardless of what your personal belief is, the reality is that even though our bodies may die, our souls will live on forever in one of two places (there will be a lot of very surprised people on the day of their death to find this out). Because of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, we have the hope of life eternal in a place where there is no more greed, no more fear, no more tears, hurt, anger, bitterness or betrayal, where we can worship and fellowship with millions of people, where there is nothing but peace and love and rest – heaven. Without that gift and that hope, turning our back on it b/c of disbelief, intellectual and/or mental pride, or any other myriad reasons, we are doomed to an eternal life apart from God, where our sins, or hurts, our betrayals and all the things that have been done to us will be replayed in our minds forever. We are doomed to be weighted down by our sins and relive them eternally, gnashing our teeth in agony – Hell. I don’t know about you, but the first choice sounds pretty good to me and the only reason that we have that choice is because of the birth of Jesus, the real reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Random Thoughts and Christmas Pics

It’s the big multi-post today. This is kind of a "random thought" blog day. There’re lots of little thoughts going around in my mind so I thought that I would share them with the blogsphere b/c I just know that you want to know them, and I’m generous like that. LOL!

So here we go with the random thoughts multi-post today.

Picture perfect (almost)
Emily seems to have picked up the bug – the theatrical bug that is. This was the day of her Sunday school Christmas program. The program was over but Emily wanted to sing in the mike. She was really disappointed that the sound had been turned off but that didn’t stop her for long. LOL!
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Em has taken a "moment" to see who all is paying attention.
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Matt said something to make Emily laugh. I just love this picture. Kind of like she’s taking her bows and saying "You’re too kind. Thank you, thank you!"
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Here Em is showing her good manners by curtseying after her "performance". It was the cutest thing while her group was on stage, after they had sang their song, she was standing there in the middle of all these kids who were mostly MUCH shorter than her and she was bowing and curtseying and it was just adorable. Cracked me up!
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This is the traditional "kid smiling in front of the presents" picture. Don’t know why it is blurry. I didn’t think digital cameras took blurry pictures if you held them still. Really weird. A few of our Christmas pics on the digital came out blurry which was strange. We open our gifts on Christmas Eve after the candlelight service. Have since I was a little girl. I think it’s a Dutch tradition b/c all the Dutchies that I know in Minnesota and Iowa open their gifts on Christmas Eve. It works out well since Matt’s family opens gifts on Christmas day.
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Emily wanted a teddy bear for Christmas, not sure why b/c she already has a few, but she loved this little squishy, cuddly, cute bear.
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"OH MY GOSH! I always wanted one of these for all my whole life!" Emily got a little scooter for her to ride on and she was just screeching and wahooing and overly ecstatic over it. It was precious to see.
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Em and mommy – angle 1. My mom is a stickler for the family pics at Christmas.
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Em and mommy – angle 2
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At this point it was late. I was tired and the experiences of the past couple of years, and especially the past few weeks have really gotten to me. Hence the lovely circles under my eyes.
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And surprise, yes, I wear glasses most of the time. Only occasionally do I wear contacts anymore. Usually when I'm going somewhere that will require athletic activity or somewhere special - and I haven't been to anything like that in a long, long time. It’s just too much of a hassle and with a 4 year old who is very active, easier is better with stuff like that. When this pic was taken I was too tired to care anymore and wanted nothing more than to sleep so I plastered a smile on my face close to midnight and let my mom finish her pics.
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So that’s part of our Christmas. This year I didn’t really care about the gifts for me. I was opening them and just couldn’t get into it. It was better for me to watch Emily and my mom open their gifts. I got more enjoyment out of that. It kind of sucks that this time of year makes me so darn depressed this year. I’m waiting for New Year’s Eve when 11:59:59 when I can work on putting this year behind me and look forward to a new year, a new life, a better me. Notice I didn’t say a new me b/c I can’t be new, I’m still the same old me, but I can work on being a better me. Do more things, get out more, meet more people, get more involved, do even more with Emily – though I don’t know how that is possible b/c most of my time is spent with her right now anyway – but I guess it would be do more things that are fun for her like the Children’s Museum, ride the train at Zilker park, the circus (again), do more crafts with her, do campouts in my mom’s backyard at her house, etc.

And maybe this new year coming up will find me finishing my book, making new friends, selling the jewelry I make instead of making it and wearing the results myself. LOL! I’ve seen jewelry like I make (natural semi-precious stone) selling for over 200.00 just for a necklace. It wouldn’t be bad money. I’ll have to post some pics of the jewelry on the blog so you can see what I make.
It is WARM here. Unseasonably warm. REALLY unseasonably warm. Temps are 20-30 degrees ABOVE normal here for this time of year. It was a record breaking 81 here yesterday and stands to be the same today. For Christmas time, that just ain’t right unless you live in Florida, South Texas, Southern Cali or an island. Snow please. If you have some unwanted, unused snow you’d like to send my way, please send it to Austin, TX. I will gladly sign for it!
How can someone inspire love and hate at the same time? It’s no secret that I still love Matt, even with everything that we’ve been through and the impending end of this marriage with the upcoming divorce. But the man makes me screaming, blood boiling, blood-pressure raising MAD! As I stated above, Matt’s family opens gifts on Christmas Day and I thought Emily would like to spend the night at Matt’s parents with her beloved Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jeremy – Matt’s sister and her husband. That was the belief of what would happen.

Instead Matt took Emily to the apartment that he "unofficially" (according to him) shares with that hussy and Emily spent the night over there with them. My blood pressure shot up so high upon hearing that I got light-headed and stayed that way for over an hour. I swear that man is going to kill me with this crap if he keeps it up. My blood pressure will go sky high(er) and I’ll pop a vessel or something. It’s so hard to keep calm when stuff like this happens. I try to find a happy place to calm down but then I start thinking about that "stuff" and it really upsets me that Matt would expose Emily to a lifestyle like that.

I don’t want her to think that it’s "normal" for a married man to live with a woman or in this situation a girl (11 years his junior) who is NOT his wife. What kind of message is that sending to Emily? I don’t understand how a married person, with two children no less, can think that’s ok. His family doesn’t understand it and they definitely don’t agree with it (we’ve had many discussions about it) but yet they refuse to talk to Matt about their thoughts on the situation. They’re afraid to piss him off. I say go ahead and make him mad. Make him see that other people, aside from me and my mom and family and my friends, don’t think that it’s "ok" to expose Emily to this. Emily deserves better and frankly so do Matt and the girl he is living with again. Nobody needs to go through this.
Random song lyrics going through my mind:

I’ve been cheated
Been mistreated
When will I be loved?

I've been pushed down
I've been pushed 'round
When will I be loved

When I find a new man
That I want for mine
He always breaks my heart in two
It happens every time

I've been made blue
I've been lied to
When will I be loved
~ Linda Ronstadt
To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They’ve lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

When you’re lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight
~ Third Day
Lord I’m really glad you’re here.
I hope you feel the same when you see all my fears,
And how I fail, I fall sometimes.
It’s hard to walk on shifting sand.
I miss the rock, and find there’s nowhere left to stand;
I start to cry.
Lord, please help me raise my hands so you can pick me up.
Hold me close, hold me tighter.

I have found a place where I can hide.
It’s safe inside Your arms of love.
Like a child who’s helped throughout a storm,
You keep me warm in your arms of love.

Storms will come and storms will go.
Wonder just how many storms it takes until I finally know
You’re here always.
Even when my skies are far from gray,
I can stay; Teach me to stay there,

In the place I’ve found where I can hide.
It’s safe inside Your arms of love.
Like a child who’s helped throughout a storm,
You keep me warm in your arms of love.
~ Amy Grant
I am the maker of the Heavens
I am the bright and morning star
I am the breath of all Creation
Who always was
And is to come

I am the One who walked on water
I am the One who calmed the seas
I am the miracles and wonders
So come and see
And follow me
You will know

I am the fount of living water
The risen Son of man
The healer of the broken
And when you cry
I am your savior and redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter
Beginning and the end
I am

I am the spirit deep inside you
I am the word upon your heart
I am the One who even knew you
Before your birth
Before you were

I am the fount of living water
The risen Son of man
The healer of the broken
And when you cry
I am your savior and redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter
Beginning and the end
I am

Before the Earth (I am)
The universe (I am)
In every heart (I am)
Oh, where you are (I am)
The Lord of love (I am)
The King of Kings (I am)
The Holy lamb (I am)
Above all things

Yes, I am almighty God your father
The risen son of man
The healer of the broken
And when you cry
I am your savior and redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter
Beginning and the end
I am
~ Mark Schultz

There are times I just want to break down and just cry my heart out. Of course it’s always the most inopportune times – like at work, in rush hour traffic, at the grocery store and so forth and so on, but when I’m alone or have a moment and have the time to just cry, I can’t. Not even watering eyes. Why is that?
I’ve been craving starches for the past week. CRAVING. Can’t get enough of them. SIGH. Starches make you fat. I can’t afford to get any bigger, though good news, I’ve lost about 10 pounds in the past two weeks, my 14s are getting big on me now. People who haven’t seen me in a couple of months go "WOW! You look great! What’s your secret?!" Then I have to be honest and say "Stress". So stress is good for one thing. Losing weight. Even with the starches, I’m losing weight so I guess it’s ok to consume pasta salad and sourdough bread and potatoes for right now. Cause, really, other than that, I don’t eat much right now b/c other than the starch craving, I have almost no appetite.

A family friend and I were talking on Christmas day and we both are starchy people. We agree that if it came down to sweets or starches, we’d give up sweets, no hesitation at all. You can take away my chocolate (I’m not really a chocolate person other than Baskin Robbins peanut butter chocolate ice cream), you can take away my cakes and ice cream and cookies and pies but if you even TRY to take away my starchy food you will have a fight on your hands.
My favorite food is still steak and potatoes. Buffalo steak (the BEST!) or a center cut beef tenderloin cooked medium, no spices or sauces to screw up the flavor and my mashed potatoes. I’ve died and gone to heaven! Speaking of heaven, at the feast in heaven when we are called Home, I really hope God has steak and potatoes!
The decision to file for divorce did not come lightly. I talked with many people, about it, the majority of them neutral in the issue and to each person, they all said it was time to do it. The Bible says to get wise counsel in serious matters and I did. From a couple of people in my church, a couple of friends who I trust implicitly and a couple of very wise and Godly family friends. They all said enough was enough and asked how much longer I was willing to hang on and put up with. I agreed. It’s the hardest thing to do, making the decision to end a marriage and it sucks and hurts and it makes one feel empty inside, but at the same time it’s kind of like a load has been lifted.

Though I still love Matt, we have grown toxic to each other. We can’t talk without it turning into an argument. There are times when I see glimpses of the old him. The fun him, the caring him, but it’s usually not toward me and I can’t get by and exist and keep going in this MINO (Marriage In Name Only) on maybes and mights and somedays. I miss that side of Matt that I once knew but I won’t get that back and so I move on slowly, painfully but with a cautiously optimistic and lighter-hearted outlook toward my future.
I’ll probably write poetry or song lyrics b/c that’s what I do during emotional times. It helps me to get my feelings out and not have everything bottled in so much. I just might post some as well in the future.
I like to use "quote marks" a lot don't I? I was just going through the post to proof it and thought, "Man, there are a lot of quote marks around words or phrases aren't there?"
Today’s Devotion was so appropriate that I thought I would share it:

Unopened Tomorrows

Read: Matthew 6:25-34

We walk by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

We often wish we could see what lies around the corner in life. Then we could prepare for it, control it, or avoid it.

A wise person has said, "Though we can't see around corners, God can." How much better and more reassuring that is!

One day my 10-year-old granddaughter Emily and I were boiling eggs for breakfast. As we stared into the boiling water and wondered how long it would take to get the eggs just right, Emily said, "Pity we can't open them up to see how they're doing." I agreed. But that would have spoiled them, so we had to rely on guesswork, with no guarantee of results.

We began talking about other things we would like to see but can't—like tomorrow. Too bad we can't crack tomorrow open, we said, to see if it's the way we would like it. But meddling with tomorrow before its time, like opening a partly cooked egg, would spoil both today and tomorrow.

Because Jesus has promised to care for us every day—and that includes tomorrow—we can live by faith one day at a time (Matthew 6:33-34).

Emily and I decided to leave tomorrow safely in God's hands. Have you? —Joanie Yoder

I know who holds the future,
And I know who holds my hand;
With God things don't just happen—
Everything by Him is planned. —A. Smith

You're only cooking up trouble when you stew about tomorrow.

Ok, so that’s my extremely long post for the day. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and being inside my head for a little while. God Bless and may your New Year exceed your expectations and be filled with blessings from Above.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Emily is sick of the vomiting variety as of just a couple hours ago so, because I'm a super cautious and sensitive mother b/c she really, truly freaks out at being sick (she's only 4 and has been vomiting sick only one other time in her young life so far), in order to keep awake for a while until she was well and truly settled back into dreamland I was perusing the Google searches online trying to find a Christmas essay written by the late Harry Reasoner of 60 Minutes fame. I came across this wonderful gem while browsing the search results and it conveyed so wonderfully what the Christmas season is about that I had to share it with you, my blog readers, friends and those just browsing who happened to come across my site. My thanks to Tim Hudson, Campus Pastor UGA Christian Campus Fellowship for allowing this to be published online and rebroadcast.

May each and every one of you out there have a wonderfully blessed and Merry Christmas and may the TRUE meaning of Christmas be made real to you this year.
Micah 5:2-5 -- 2) "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. 3) Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. 4) He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5) And he will be their peace.”


There was a church in the northern part of the United States that had held a Christmas pageant for 47 years with the same director.

Perfection was her goal — nothing less. For years the church's pageant ran like clockwork: perfect lines, perfect pacing, perfect everything. Then one year, something even better happened.

The director's commitment to perfection had been much greater than her commitment to children. Her reasoning was: "When there are too many youngsters, there is no control." As a result, many children in the church were excluded from being in the pageant. Only the "best" kids made it.

This particular year, however, the Christian Education Committee passed a resolution: "All children who wish to be in the Christmas pageant may do so. Parts will be found for them." This was more than the longtime director could handle. She resigned in anger and disgust.

The pageant didn't fall flat without the former director, but it was different. There must have been a dozen shepherds and at least 20 angels and probably more than two dozen wandering sheep.

The real climax of imprecision came when Mary and Joseph entered. Joseph walked solemnly beside Mary. The narrator was to read the Biblical story about Joseph going to Bethlehem ". . . to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child." One mother realized that the children didn't really understand the Elizabethan English of the King James Version about Mary being "great with child." At the last minute, she switched to the Good News Translation.

As Mary and Joseph entered, the narrator read, "Joseph went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant." As the last word echoed through the P. A. system, little Joseph froze in his tracks. This is not how he had heard it in rehearsal. He gave Mary an incredulous look, then looked out at the congregation and said, "Pregnant? What do you mean, pregnant?"

Needless to say, this brought the house down. The pastor's wife, wiping tears from her eyes, said, "You know, that may be exactly what Joseph said." The former director wore her triumphant "I-told-you-so" look.

Later, when they sang Silent Night, a couple of magical things happened. First, the sheep bleated their way down a side aisle and sat in the pews to watch the conclusion of the pageant. This meant the former director was suddenly surrounded by the children she had once excluded! Second, snow began to fall, and the entire church became very quiet. It was so beautiful; no one stirred for some time — not even the sheep.

Then, Minnie McDonnell — hard of hearing, and always speaking too loudly — broke the spell when she "whispered" to her husband in a voice that all could hear, "It's perfect! Just perfect!"

And it was perfect, only not in the way previous pageants had been perfect. It was perfect in the way God makes things perfect — the way he accepts our fumbling attempts at love and fairness, and covers them with grace.

Have you ever known anyone who was a perfectionist? A true perfectionist is just about impossible to live with. I don't mean someone who strives for excellence. That's an admirable quality; perfectionism isn't.


In the British Museum in London you can see the final draft of Thomas Gray's masterpiece Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Lovers of English literature marvel at how every word seems so carefully chosen. This display proves that they, in fact, were. Gray wasn't satisfied with his first draft, so he rewrote it. Then he improved the poem a third time. This continued for eight years.

With all that persistent polishing, Gray never considered his poem complete. In the museum display you can see each successive copy carefully penned by hand -- all seventy-five drafts!

That is a commitment to excellence, and it is a good quality. The true perfectionist, on the other hand, isn't one who rewrites a poem 75 times, it is one who would never begin a poem in the first place because they know it could never be as perfect as they would want it to be.

True perfectionists are people who strain compulsively toward impossible goals and measure their self-worth entirely in terms of their achievements. As a result, they are terrified by the prospect of failure. They feel driven and, at the same time, unrewarded by their accomplishments. They are most unhappy people.

Sadly, many people confuse such compulsiveness with Christianity. They take Jesus' words in Matthew 5:48 — "Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect" — to mean that we are to be without a flaw. When Jesus made this statement he undoubtedly meant we are to be perfect in our love — even as God's very nature is love.


I dislike bumper stickers with cute religious expressions, but there is one that is right on target. It says "Christians are not perfect, only forgiven." Christians are not perfect-even the best of us. But we can be forgiven. That is the reason for Christmas. This is why Jesus came into the world. He would have no reason to come into a perfect world.

When you look at the details of Jesus' birth, many of the circumstances were far from perfect. Caesar was imposing taxes for his own interests; Herod violently protected his throne, motivated by fear, greed and insecurity. Joseph and Mary were not married, yet she was pregnant. Though Joseph was a man of faith and obedience to God, I am sure this situation created tremendous concern among the members of their families.

And now, days before the baby was to be born, they find themselves on a journey to a tiny little town called Bethlehem, where there will be no adequate place for them to stay. The King of Kings was to be born, not in a major metropolis, not in luxury and comfort, but in a stable in a seemingly insignificant town.


There was an interesting article in Money magazine a couple of years ago. It seems that Money ranked the area around Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, dead last among 300 cities surveyed in which to live.

Mayor Joseph Daddona of Allentown, which is part of the region Money panned, said, "Lee Iacocca's mother lives here. Do you think Lee Iacocca would let his mother stay in a place that wasn't fit to live in?"

Dick Strain, executive director of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, referring to cities that finished much higher in rank, said, "I don't know too many people here who would rather live in Philadelphia or New York." An editorial in the Bethlehem Globe-Times newspaper, said: "What a remarkable coincidence! At the same time as their survey, we were concluding that Money is the worst magazine in the nation."

If Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was rated number 300, I wonder where Bethlehem, Georgia would rank and I would hate to think where Bethlehem of Judea would rank in Money's listings. In fact, if a committee were appointed to recommend favorable places for the birth of the King of Kings, I doubt Bethlehem would even make the list.

Bethlehem was, as the song goes, a little town, near to but far removed from the centers of influence and power in the world of its day. There was little to recommend Bethlehem for the birthplace of the Messiah. Yet it was God's choice. The prophet said, (v. 2) But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel.

In God's wisdom, Bethlehem was the perfect place for the Messiah to be born. It is a humble place, and God often blesses those with humble beginnings. Bethlehem was the home town of King David, who was far from perfect. Yet he was called a man after God's own heart. God is looking for something more than "perfection."


That is the whole point of the Christmas story. God didn't come to us at Christmas because we are perfect and good and wonderful. He came to us because we needed Him.

Recently our grandson Jonathan, who is 2-½, came for an overnight visit. If you think your apartment or dorm room is messy you should try to keep a perfectly clean house when a toddler is in residence! It doesn't work. When there is a toddler in the house you have to forget about perfection and think about love. That's the message of Christmas. It's not about perfection, it's about love.


Years ago the late Harry Reasoner wrote a piece about Christmas for the show 60 Minutes. He said: "The basis for this tremendous burst of buying things and gift giving and parties and near hysteria, is a quiet event that happened a long time ago. You can say that in all societies there has always been a midwinter festival, and that many trappings of our Christmas are almost violently pagan, but you come back to the central fact of the day ... the birth of God on earth.

“It leaves you only three ways of accepting Christmas. One is cynically, as a time to make money or endorse the making of it. One is graciously, the appropriate attitude for non-Christians, who wish their fellow citizens all the joys to which their beliefs entitle them.

“And the third, of course, is reverently. If this is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the universe as a helpless babe — it is a very important day.

“It's a startling idea that a virgin was selected by God to bear His Son as a way of showing His love and concern. ... The story has a magnificent appeal. Almost nobody has seen God, and almost nobody has any real idea of what He is like. But everyone has seen babies, and most people like them.

“If God wanted to be loved ... if God wanted to be intimately a part of our life, He moved correctly, for the experience of birth and family is our most intimate and precious experience. So, if a Christian is touched only once a year, the touching is still worth it. Maybe on some given Christmas, some final quiet morning, the touch will take."


At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God loved us so much that he sent his only son away from His perfect home so that he might come to our imperfect home. It's a heart-touching story: an innocent baby born to a teenage mother in a dark and lonely stable many miles away from home.

However, there was a meaning behind the birth. One day, the soft baby hands of Jesus which curled around the rough carpenter's fingers would have nails driven through them.

The beautifully shaped head of that baby would one day have a crown of thorns pressed into its skull. That warm and tender skin of the new born one day would be pierced by a sword. The soft, cooing voice one day would cry out, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" Why did Jesus leave his perfect home to come to our imperfect home at Christmas?


The Bible makes it clear why God sent His Son to us at Christmas. The answer is proclaimed by John the Baptist at the very first moment of Jesus' public ministry when John said, "Behold the Lamb of God who has come to take away the sins of the world."

Jesus came to earth to complete a ransom payment for sin. Jesus was born in order that he might someday die. He would die the cruelest kind of death devised by mankind.

He would not simply pass away one day and wake up in heaven. Suffering was necessary to reflect the seriousness of our sins against God. Jesus voluntarily faced His suffering and death. No one forced Jesus to go to the cross. Jesus said in John 10:17 "I lay down my life only to take it up again."


At summer camp, we were told that no one could enter the swimming pool until each had a swimming buddy. When the counselor asked if everyone understood the buddy system, one wise guy (OK, it was me!) raised his hand and said, "Is that where your buddy drowns with you?"

Jesus was born at Christmas in order to take the buddy system a step farther even than that. His voluntary death was one in which he didn't "drown with us." instead he "drowned for us."

On the cross of Calvary, Jesus not only absorbed the full power of God's wrath against sin. He also paid the price for forgiveness for anyone who would receive him into their life. Jesus left perfection in order to bring us forgiveness.


Soren Kirkegaard told the tale of a prince riding in his carriage one day through the poorest part of the city. Looking through his curtains, he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He couldn't get her out of his mind. Day after day he created an excuse to return to the ghetto in his carriage in hopes of seeing her again.

Finally, he saw her and knew surely that he was in love with her. He desperately wanted to marry her, but how could he? As a prince, he could order her to his castle and demand that she marry him, but he didn't want her to marry out of compulsion — he wanted her to love him as much as he loved her. Finally, he developed a solution.

He laid aside his royal robes and moved to the ghetto. He took up a common vocation. He learned her language, came to know her friends, and in time gained her friendship and earned her love. After she fell in love with him, he revealed his true identity.

This is what Jesus did for us. He came to live with us, as one of us, in order to win our love. He gave up perfection because He loves us. He didn't come seeking perfection from us. He came seeking our love.


Fall in love with Jesus and your life will change — you'll be free. Free to fail, free to begin again, free from bondage, free from having to act like you've got it all together, free to admit your need, free to hope, free to love!

One early morning during World War II, an American prisoner of war was awakened with the news that "the Scotsman" wants to see you. He ran to the barbed wire which separated the captured British and American soldiers. The Scotsman was in touch with the BBC by underground radio.

He whispered three simple words in the American's ear: "THEY HAVE COME!" The reaction was incredible. As that message spread among the allied prisoners, they began to jump up and down, shouting, laughing and rolling on the ground in joy.
The German soldiers must have thought they were crazy. After all, they were still prisoners and nothing outwardly had changed. Inwardly, everything was now different for they had received the news of the D-Day invasion. Freedom was within their grasp.

Freedom is within your grasp. Maybe this Christmas you'll finally realize that Jesus is a lover pursuing his beloved, a soldier invading enemy territory to deliver his beloved.

I hope you won't have a perfect Christmas. I hope it will be far better than that! I hope that you will see right to the heart of this sacred event -- to the God who is looking not for perfection, but for love.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Why is Jesus Better than Santa?

Santa lives at the North Pole ...
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh ...
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year ...
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies ...
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited ...
JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters
your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa ...
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap ...
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?" ...
JESUS knew our name before we were born. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly ...
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO ...
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry" ...
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys ...
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but ...
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree ...
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.... The cross.

We need to put Christ back in CHRISTmas,
Jesus is still the reason for the season.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Confessions of a Mommy who’s having a hard time getting into the Christmas season

What do you say to someone at this time of the year whose life is turning a new corner? A corner that isn't exactly a pleasant one to turn. I find myself being more depressed this year than in years past. I know I should be happy because it's Christmas time and Emily is so overjoyed with the notion of Christmas and I have the most precious little girl who is a true gift. This is the first year that she really gets the whole Christmas spirit. She loves everything about Christmas from the decorations to the wrapping of gifts, to the lights on the trees and houses to Santa and the birth of Jesus that we celebrate – who IS the Reason for the Season. Emily embodies the Christmas Spirit, always sharing and giving to others, always loving and generous. What she doesn't understand is the changing dynamic between her daddy and myself and how that is spilling over into his family and how it is affecting me.

I went to take Emily to see Narnia the night it opened. By the grace of God I got home on time, we both were feeling better, and Matt was supposed to drop Emily off at my mom's house fairly early. I went to get tickets for the 7:00 movie and my mom was going to bring Emily to the theater. Well, I'm waiting in line for refreshments and I see Matt's younger brother in line for Narnia. The same movie Emily and I were going to see. Emily adores her Uncle Aaron. I tried to get his attention as he was only about 20 feet from me, maybe 30 at the most. I called his name several times and I swear he heard me but was not acknowledging me. Finally I yelled his name to the point that he would have had to have been deaf to not hear me. He turned and kind of did this half-smile and wave and went back to waiting in line.

Hmmmm, that's odd. He's usually so friendly and talkative. So I get the refreshments for Emily and myself and walk over to him. He asks what theater I'm going in to and I say 10, he says he's going in to 11. I tell him I'm waiting for my mom to bring Emily but Matt hasn't dropped her off yet. They start letting us into the theaters. I tell Aaron that if he wants he can sit with us. He says no thanks he's meeting some friends but they're not there yet. Ok, well, I know that Emily would like to see him so I say that I'm going to still wait for a little while for Emily before going into the theater. At this point it's 6:40. The movie starts at 7:00. I'm starting to get concerned b/c Matt hasn't dropped Emily off yet. Aaron declines to see Emily, stating he needs to get seats for his showing which doesn't start for another hour. Um, ok. He says that he'll see Emily at some other time. This is a first b/c he's usually all about seeing Emily and there were only a few people going into his theater so the seating was pretty much wide open. He acted like he didn't really want to be around me.

It was then that I realized that even though Matt was the one who chose to stay where he's "unofficially" staying ("because she's convenient" he said to me last night), with a 21 year old (very needy) female who was his former co-worker that he used to live with when we first separated, that I was going to be the one to bear the blame for this decision in his families eyes. Maybe not all of them, but they certainly don't tell him that what they think he is doing is wrong, even though they've told me before. Matt's like the elephant in the room that everyone sees but nobody wants to talk about. He's always been a loner when it comes to his family so it's like they'll do anything they can to "keep the peace". Including not confront him about anything.

I don't know which bothers me more, the changing dynamic with Matt's family or the fact that Matt's willingly chosen to spend his time where he's spending it now.

Throughout this 2 year separation – two years as of yesterday – I have kept up a good relationship with his family. They understood and agreed with my concerns and issues that I had with what Matt was doing. They gave me full support and always made me feel welcome and accepted, even though their son and I were separated. Now, I find the conversations stilted and halting and a little uncomfortable. I want to say, "I'm still the same person you've loved for the past 7+ years!"

This will be the first year since 1998 that I won't be spending Christmas Day with them. Instead I will drop Emily off after the Christmas day church service and pick her up early evening and spend Christmas day virtually alone. I’ve been invited to the annual Christmas day celebration given by long-time friends of the family - that I haven't gone to in the past 7 years. I don't know if I'm up to going, seeing all of the families and the closeness and genuine marital and family love within that circle of friends.

Trying to move on past the past seems almost like another case of out with the old, in with the new or at least out with me in with someone else. Just like New Year's Eve when the clock counts down to 11:59:59 and then slips inexorably into the New Year where you struggle to make it to the next year. Day in, day out, the daily grind goes on and on and the only light in the day is looking forward to being with a daughter who thinks I hung the moon, who loves me with every fiber of her being, who is the miracle child I never should have been able to have but did by the grace of God anyway.

That alone should be enough to make me thrilled about this season, but for some reason, this year it's not. Even though I have the love of that precious angel and of my Savior, I still feel empty inside. Maybe it's the culmination of everything I've been through in the past few years finally wearing down on me.

I took Emily to her very first class today. Sunday School classes don't count b/c I'm there at the same location with her. This is different. This is my baby, by herself, with a room full of other kids, miles from me. I was the weepy mommy. Matt tried to tease me into not totally breaking down and it kind of worked. He noticed for the first time that I was no longer wearing my wedding ring. He tried to play it off, but I think it kind of hit him that this is really real. It's so hard b/c I still love him, but we are so toxic for each other right now. We can't even talk at length without getting into an argument. I keep thinking about how it could have been different and better, but there's been so much negativity between us for so long that I'm just hoping to salvage what we have left and turn it into a productive friendship between two people who were married once, who still have some love for each other and who love our little girl more than anything.

If I had one wish for me this Christmas it would be to have a Merry Little Christmas, complete with the light heart and troubles out of sight. I wish that for you too my blog readers and friends. Though it's not much of a "gift" here is my rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, sung by...a stuffy, sinus filled, scratchy voiced me. Hope it doesn't make the dogs howl. LOL!

May you truly be blessed this Christmas season with more than enough love, light and laughter to carry you through the tough times.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Special Series: Part Four: What's So Special About THIS Generation Anyway - and who is it? Part 4

It’s been a while since we last had a look at the prophecy series. As a reminder, the Introduction and Reason One of why we believe these are the last days can be found here and Reason Two can be found here. Today we will be looking at Reason Three – The Developing Global Government and Reason Four - The Global Economy.

For those of us who have studied Bible prophecy for a while, we are in awe of seeing all the signs of the birth pangs coming together at once like this. The insistence of Iran to wipe Israel off the map so much so that a map was displayed at a UN meeting where there is no Israel on it, instead it has been replaced with only a state called Palestine, the record-breaking extreme weather, the unprecedented major hurricanes and earthquakes, the rumors of a global currency and the actions to create a global religion, and it goes on and on from there.

There are several posts on this blog regarding the birth pangs and the reasons why I, and millions of others around the world, believe that these are the last days spoken of in the Bible. Nobody knows the day nor the hour of Christ’s return, Only God the Father does, but Jesus gave us signs to watch for so that we would know the season of His return. (See Matt. 24, Luke 21 – Signs of the End of the Age)

My thanks to Jack Kinsella of Omega Letter for allowing the use of these briefings on my blog.
Special Report: Reason Three – The Developing Global Government

The battle at the UN over whether or not the United States has the right to preemptive self-defense underscores the global perception there is a need for a supra-national government to oversee national affairs.

Probably the last body anybody would have guessed would immediately bow the knee to the United Nations would be the United States House of Representatives, but to listen to them, that is where the real power to make war is vested -- not in the Congress, but at the United Nations.

The power to make war is often what is referred to as the 'Divine right of kings' -- since war is something that occurs between two sovereign rulers.

The entire world is abrogating that right over to the center. No matter how that is spun, the net effect is that of ceding sovereignty to the UN.

How can America be sovereign while subordinate to the UN when it comes to national security?

Instead, we have something called 'collective sovereignty', as Kofi Annan explained in a recent speech, saying the "UN was chartered to prevent another global war", and that its founders recognized that, "agreeing to exercise sovereignty together, they could gain a hold over problems that would defeat any one of them acting separately". (Kofi Annan to the UN, Sept 11, 2002)

Clearly, sovereign authority rests with the United Nations in 2002. The objections raised by the French, Russians, Chinese, the EU -- all are rooted in the basic principle that no action can be taken without UN authorization.

There is no need to prove either the need for or the existence of a global government. It just isn't a very good one.

The UN's days are numbered -- that much is evident. If it can't control Iraq, how can it lay claim to any genuine global authority?

But it was designed as a global government and has created a massive infrastructure of global institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and a massive interdependent infrastructure of NGO's [Non-Governmental Organizations].

They can't simply vanish. The ensuing global chaos would be catastrophic.

While the UN's days are numbered, the days of global government are not.

There are three pillars upon which the Bible says the antichrist will build his global government. Revelation Chapter 13 describes his absolute control over a global government, a global religious system and a global economy.

"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." [Revelation 13:7]

The global government foretold by Scripture will stand in opposition to Israel, in particular over the question of the final status of Jerusalem.

"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. " [Zechariah 12:3]

The existing global government stands in opposition to Israel over the final status of Jerusalem.
The global government foretold by Scripture "opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped." (2Thessalonians 2:4)

The existing global government's default position on any issue involving either the United States or Israel is one of opposition.

The US and Israel are also the only two states on earth founded under the authority of Scripture. Israel is the seat of Judaism and America is the seat of Western Christian culture. The phrase 'US-Zionist imperialism' is not uncommon language in UN speeches or in UN resolutions.

The Bible makes it clear that the final form of global government will not be headquartered out of UN headquarters in New York. It will be headquartered out of the revived Roman Empire. (See Reason Two - 'The Revived Roman Empire')

As this generation begins to draw to a close, having created the need for a global government and developed the necessary infrastructure, the UN is on the verge of dissolution.

Add to that the convenient revival of the old Roman Empire, the EU's lust for global power, and the fact it already operates according to a political template that has already absorbed nearly 25 countries and you have a picture entirely in harmony with the prophecies of Scripture for the last days.

The Bible said such a system would exist in a single generation, somewhere in time. At the same time as all the other single generation events, like the restoration of Israel, the revival of the Roman Empire, and the developing global religious system we'll discuss in the next installment of this series.

When you sit down and consider the odds, it isn't hard to see why the developing global government is Reason Three in this part of the series, "Six Reasons Why We Believe These Are the Last Days."

Special Report: Reason Four – The Global Economy

In medieval times, there were no banks where peasants could safely store their small amounts of gold and silver. It became the practice to store that hard money at the local metalsmith/jeweler who had a secure safe.

The jeweler would issue paper receipts, which could conveniently be exchanged instead of hard money for small transactions. Hence, the term 'good as gold'.

The jeweler noticed that he usually had on hand more gold at any given time than he needed to meet withdrawal demands. He began to issue extra receipts, which he loaned out at interest.

As long as everybody didn't show up at the same time, the theft went unnoticed as the jeweler lent out money he didn't have and collected real wealth in the form of interest in return.

Over the years, the practice evolved into what is today the fractional banking system.

The fractional reserve system is the discounting system employed by national central banks. It is also a massive fraud. I'm not here to debate the rightness or wrongness of it or to tilt at windmills. I'll just briefly outline the facts.

The Federal Reserve system is neither 'federal' or a 'reserve'. It is an internationally held private banking consortium. All banks in the Federal Reserve System become Federal Reserve banks by buying Federal Reserve stock.

The largest concentrations of stocks are held by five major US banks who are in turn owned by the international money trust.

Attempts to seize control of the US central bank of issue by the European Money Trust resulted in the US Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Banking Panic of 1837, the US Civil War, and the banking panics of the 1890's and 1906.

(This is incredibly interesting stuff, but it is really detailed. Space doesn't allow for a full explanation, but I will put together a much expanded version in a later Omega Letter report. For now, I have to hit the high points in order to connect the dots to Scripture for the purposes of this series.)

The seizure of control was accomplished by the 1913 passage of the Federal Reserve Act, written by a German immigrant named Paul Warburg. Warburg was the Fed's first governor, from 1913 to 1918.

Paul's brother was Max Warburg, head of the German Secret Service. A partner in their joint banking firm was the head of British intelligence. When the war ended, all three met again in Paris to hammer out war reparations against Germany. The bank selected to handle the transfer of wealth from Germany was the neutral Swiss Bank of International Settlements, headed by brother Fritz Warburg.

Warburg, Kuhn and Loeb are major stockholders in the Fed, and many of the names of European banking aristocracy control major stock control via proxy through offspring US banks.

The Federal Reserve system removed the US from a barter system to a debit system. A barter system was one in which currency was backed by gold. For every dollar issued, there was a dollar's worth of gold in the treasury. (Remember the jeweler?).

In the debit system, the Fed issues fiat dollars to control the economy, but each one is worth fractionally less, since it is just a case of cutting smaller slices from the pie.

That is what creates inflation. The Fed controls inflation by either cutting back or increasing the supply of dollars.

But it is still theft, albeit legal. In 1914, a good suit cost a $20 gold piece. Today, the same suit costs $500 -- or the same $20 gold piece.

Since there is no wealth backing today's money, there is no need to actually issue currency. Paper currency is a temporary measure to create the illusion of wealth. Now that everybody knows the truth but apparently nobody cares, the illusion is unnecessary.

(How much cash do YOU carry compared to your use of debit and credit cards? Me too. It's convenient, isn't it?)

Here are a few numbers to crunch. There is about $48 billion worth of gold in the US Treasury.

The US Gross Domestic Product is about $3 trillion. The US national debt is around $6 trillion.

So? Let's turn those billions and trillions into something easier to understand. A million seconds equals twelve days. A billion seconds equals thirty-two years. ($48 billion in gold, remember)

A trillion seconds equals THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND YEARS! The US national debt is $6 trillion!

That kind of impossible debt is what makes the most powerful man in the United States the Chairman of the Fed, not the President. When the Fed says jump, EVERYBODY from the president of the US to the president of the local branch bank asks, "how high?" The Fed Chairman can tank the market with a word, and tank the whole economy with the stroke of his banker's pen.

President George Herbert Walker Bush still blames Greenspan for his loss to Bill Clinton in 1992, claiming Greenspan created a temporary artificial recession in the months leading up to the election.

All the world's central banks are centralized again as members of the UN's central banking scheme via the IMF and World Bank systems.

The central banking scheme is part of a larger global system that came into being under the UN General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) signed in 1948. The GATT agreement eventually became today's World Trade Organization (WTO)

I hope you are following all of this. I had to skip over a lot to make to this point without having to do a series just on this single topic. Here is where we connect the dots.

The truly global economy was born simultaneously with the Computer Age that made it possible. The Computer Age officially began with the invention of the transistor by Bell Labs in 1948. There were computers before that, but before the transistor, they weren't reliable enough to be practical.

The centralization and integration of the US economy was replayed throughout the industrialized world. Cash is a global anachronism. The only logical next step is electronic money.

Last week, the idea of an 'electronic wallet' was advanced that much further with the approval of the Digital Angel e-chip for human implantation.

Two thousand years ago, John recorded the antichrist's principle method of maintaining control of his government.

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

It was never possible in any generation in history. Until this one. And, from our vantage point at this moment in history, it seems like the next logical step.

The existence of a manipulated, centralized truly global economic system at this time in history is Reason Four in this part of the series, "Six Reasons Why We Believe These Are the Last Days."
Next part of the prophecy series will focus on Reason Five – The Developing Global Religion and Reason Six – The Explosion of Knowledge and after that we’ll get into the discussion of the Rapture (The time is coming when one day millions of people around the world will disappear, at the same time, without a trace) and the Tribulation and what those are and what they mean to everyone on this earth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

If you're thinking of marrying...

Here are some questions that I should have asked myself before going into my marriage. Of course, the answers for some of them probably would have been different back then than they are now. Maybe if we’d have done premarital counseling prior to getting married or at least asked ourselves some very hard hitting questions, we either would not have gotten married or things would be better now than what they have become and I wouldn’t be dealing with the end of my marriage. It’s an awful, lonely, sad place to be, especially at this time of the year.

I don’t want anyone else to be going through this if it can be avoided so if you’re planning on getting married, ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly. If your answers don’t line up the way they should, then reconsider the person you’re marrying or give yourself more time and go through pre-marital counseling. The worst time to find out that things aren’t as you thought they were and that maybe there is too much difference between you and your spouse is after you have said “I do”. Don't assume that things will work themselves out after you are married. Most of the time, they don't.

My thanks for Dennis Prager, WND columnist, for the questions and responses provided below.

*Some of these questions deal with the issue of premarital sex. That is not to say that I condone premarital sex – from experience I wish I would have waited b/c it would have saved a lot of heartache and hurt in some past relationships.
Decades of radio counseling, personal experience, and public and private discussions about marriage prompt me to write this list of questions for anyone contemplating marriage.

1. Is the person your best friend or at least becoming so?

It is easy to find a lover. It is easy to get excited about a new person. But if you cannot say that the person you are considering marrying has become or is becoming your best friend, you need to figure out why before you decide to marry. This is probably the single most overlooked question among couples, especially young ones.

And for good reason. Many people cannot not answer this in the affirmative. But you have to answer it. Over time, friendship is the greatest bond between a couple. If the person you marry does not become your best friend, you will either seek someone who will be or simply drift apart.

What is a best friend? Someone you can and do tell just about everything to. Someone you want to be with as much as possible. And someone you need. One of the most devastating ideas of the last generation was that needing or depending upon another person is a sign of weakness. The opposite is true. The inability to need is a sign of weakness – you are afraid to relinquish power or afraid to be hurt.

2. Aside from sex, do you enjoy each other?

As great as the sex may be (and great sex certainly adds to a marriage), even Hugh Hefner spends the vast majority of time doing other things. You must enjoy this person during those hours. This sounds trite, but enjoying each other may actually be the single most important characteristic of a happy marriage.

3. Is there chemistry between the two of you?

As essential as being best friends and enjoying each other are, there should be a physical component to your relationship. Dating for marriage is not an interview for a platonic best friend. Nearly always, a woman who dates a man who meets the criteria listed here can grow to find him sexually attractive. If that were not the case, the majority of men would never attract a woman. There are very few men who turn heads. Most men become physically attractive to a woman thanks to other masculine qualities they possess.

Even for men it is common to find a woman physically attractive over time. In my late 20s, I directed a summer institute for men and women ages 19-25. After the first two summers, I began to play a game with myself. On the first night of the session, I made a mental note of which women I thought the most attractive and compared that list to one I made after the four weeks. The names on the latter list were rarely on the first-night list.

Nevertheless, if there is insufficient physical attraction after all other criteria are met and time has passed, you may be in the tragic position of having to end a relationship with a great man or woman.

4. Does the person have a number of good friends and at least one very close friend of the same sex?

It is a bad sign if the person you are thinking of marrying does not have good friends (including of long duration) of the same sex. Something is very wrong. This alone should rule out the person from consideration. A woman who cannot hold female friends and a man who cannot hold male friends have issues that will probably sink your marriage.

5. How does the person treat others?

It should go without saying that if the person is not kind to you, quit while you can. But it is far from sufficient that the person you are considering marrying treats you kindly. Watch how he or she treats waitresses, employees, family members and anyone else he/she comes into contact with. I promise you how the person treats others now is how this person will treat you later.

If these questions are answered honestly and help determine your decision, your chances of entering a happy marriage or avoiding an unhappy one are dramatically increased.

Good luck.

You'll need that, too.

It is exceptionally difficult to find the right person to marry.

This is especially true for first marriages. That is why it is so important to think through your decision by asking and answering critical questions.

6. What problems do the two of you now have? And what inner voice of doubt, if any, are you suppressing?

Here is a rule that is rarely broken: Whatever problems you have before the wedding day, you will have during your marriage. Do not think that marrying will solve any problem you have with the person. You therefore have three choices: Make peace with the problem, see if it can be solved before deciding to marry, or don't marry the person. It is imperative that you be ruthlessly honest with yourself. And that is very hard. Nothing in life is easier than denying problems when you are in love. That is why it is important to pay attention to inner doubts.

7. How often do you fight?

It may be normal for couples to fight (though the ratio of loving moments to fights must be high to sustain a loving relationship). But it is usually a bad sign if you are doing so with any frequency while dating. Presumably that should be the easiest time to get along – no children together, no joint financial problems, and the excitement of a new person.

If you do fight, do you quickly make up? Does he/she fight fairly and hear your side? Has either of you said "I'm sorry" after a fight? And perhaps most important, do you fight over the same issue(s) with no resolution?

8. Do you share values?

Opposites attract in the very beginning. Likes stay together for the long term.

The more you share, especially values, the better your chances of a good marriage. For example, if you think TV watching is a form of self-abuse and your prospective spouse loves watching for hours a day, you may have a big problem. Likewise if you have opposing political and social views to which you are passionately committed.

Love conquers all pre-maritally. Not post.

9. Do you miss the person when you are not together?

This even holds true for men. Yes, men are better at being distracted by work, sports, computer games, the opposite sex, and God knows what else, but it is not a good sign if you rarely miss her when not together. As for women, if you don't miss him, it is probably a really bad sign.

10. Is the person unhappy?

Having written a best-selling book on happiness and lectured on the subject on all seven continents, I am tempted write a book-length book explanation of just this question. Suffice it to say that the importance of marrying an essentially happy person cannot be exaggerated. If you are basically happy, do not think for a moment that you can make an unhappy person happy by marrying him or her. On the contrary, the ability of the unhappy to make the happy unhappy is far greater than the ability of the happy to make the unhappy happy.

11. How much of your love is dependent on the sex you are having?

The power of sex is so great that it often obscures problems of relating to one another. How much do you relate outside of bed? Do you love talking when you don't see, let alone touch, each other – such as by phone or computer? The best way to ascertain the answer is to take a month off from all sexual contact and see how much you then enjoy each other.

12. What do people you respect think of the person you're considering marrying?

Young people are certain they know better than anyone else in the world what is good for them. So a lack of enthusiasm for the person you are considering for marriage on the part of family or friends may mean little or nothing. And sometimes family objections should mean little or nothing. But if objections come, let us say, from a parent you respect for reasons that are not easily dismissed, and if others you respect are unenthusiastic as well, you should take the objections seriously. You would do so regarding the purchase of a car, wouldn't you? Yet no car will affect your life nearly as much as your spouse.

Will honest answers to these 12 questions either help you marry well or avoid a marriage that can make your life miserable? There is an easy way to find out. Ask any married or divorced person who will open up to you whether these questions need to be answered. They are the experts. Not the never-married, like you, who usually know nothing about marriage.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

FINALLY! It's here, it's here, it's here!!!

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Need I say more?

I first started reading this series when I was 4 and have read the whole Narnia series almost every year since then. I have been waiting for this day ever since I heard it was being filmed. This is the pinacle in movies for me. The ONLY reason I'm not watching it at 11:59 tonight, well ok, there are three reasons, is #1 I'm fighting a nasty sinus infection - again...for the third time in 5 weeks (I'm the queen of the sinus infections. SIGH!), #2 it's going to be around 24 by then and I'm not going to wait in the cold while I'm sick (yes, some diehard rabid fans would call me a coward, but I plan to enjoy the movie, not suffer through it with a ragins sinus headache and feeling worse b/c of the weather) and #3 I have to go to work tomorrow.

Emily and I are going to see it at the first showing here in town on Saturday morning, that is if we're both feeling better. She is so excited about it and asks me every night if it is Saturday yet! I can't wait to take her to this movie. I'm already reading the stories to her at night and she just loves them. I can't tell who is more excited to see this version of the LWW, Emily or myself.

How many of you plan on seeing it and is it because you want to or because your kids, siblings, grandkids, etc. are making you go?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Politically Correct Christmas Story

And Joseph went up from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child. And she brought forth a son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. And the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds and said, "I bring you tidings of great joy. Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:4-11)

"There's a problem with the angel," said a Pharisee who happened to be strolling by the stable. As he explained to Joseph, angels are widely regarded as religious symbols, and the stable was on public property where such symbols were not allowed to land or even hover.

"Besides," said a Sadducee who was with him, "there are no such things as angels, and telling a child that they're real will only hinder the child's emotional development."

"And I have to tell you," said the Pharisee, "this whole thing looks very much like a Nativity scene. That's a no-no, too."

Joseph had a bright idea. "What if I put a couple of reindeer over there near the ox and ass?" he said, eager to avoid sectarian strife.

"That would definitely help," said the Pharisee, who knew as well as anyone that whenever a savior appeared, judges usually liked to be on the safe side and surround it with deer or woodland creatures of some sort. "Just to clinch it, throw in a candy cane and a couple of elves and snowmen, too," he said. "No court can resist that."

Mary asked, "What does my son's birth have to do with snowmen?"

"Snowpersons," cried a young woman, changing the subject before it veered dangerously toward religion.

Off to the side of the crowd, a Philistine was painting the Nativity scene. Mary complained that she and Joseph looked too tattered and worn in the picture. "Artistic license," he said. "I've got to show the plight of the haggard homeless in a greedy, uncaring society in winter," he quipped.

"We're not haggard or homeless. The inn was just full," said Mary.

"Whatever," said the painter.

Two women began to argue fiercely. One said she objected to Jesus' birth "because it privileged motherhood." The other scoffed at virgin births, but said that if they encouraged more attention to diversity in family forms and the rights of single mothers, well, then, she was all for them.

"I'm not a single mother," Mary started to say, but she was cut off by a third woman who insisted that swaddling clothes are a form of child abuse, since they restrict the natural movement of babies.

With the arrival of ten child advocates, all trained to spot infant abuse and manger rash, Mary and Joseph were pushed to the edge of the crowd, where arguments were breaking out over how many reindeer (or what mix of reindeer and seasonal sprites) had to be installed to compensate for the infant's unfortunate religious character.

An older man bustled up, bowling over two merchants, who had been busy debating whether an elf is the same as a fairy and whether the elf/fairy should be shaking hands with Jesus in the crib or merely standing to the side, jumping around like a sports mascot.

"I'd hold off on the reindeer," the man said, explaining that the use of asses and oxen as picturesque backdrops for Nativity scenes carries the subliminal message of human dominance. He passed out two leaflets, one denouncing manger births as invasions of animal space, the other arguing that stables are "penned environments" where animals are incarcerated against their will. He had no opinion about elves or candy canes.

Signs declaring "Free the Bethlehem 2" began to appear, referring to the obviously exploited ass and ox. Someone said the halo on Jesus' head was elitist.

Mary was exasperated. "And what about you, old mother?" she said sharply to an elderly woman. "Are you here to attack the shepherds as prison guards for excluded species, maybe to complain that singing in Latin identifies us with our Roman oppressors, or just to say that I should have skipped patriarchal religiosity and joined some dumb new-age goddess religion?"

"None of the above," said the woman, "I just wanted to tell you that the Magi are here." Sure enough, the three wise men rode up.

The crowd gasped, "They're all male!" And "Not very multicultural!"

"Balthasar here is black," said one of the Magi.

"Yes, but how many of you are gay or disabled?" someone shouted. A committee was quickly formed to find an impoverished lesbian wise-person among the halt and lame of Bethlehem.

A calm voice said, "Be of good cheer, Mary, you have done well and your son will change the world."

At last, a sane person, Mary thought. She turned to see a radiant and confident female face.

The woman spoke again: "There is one thing, though. Religious holidays are important, but can't we learn to celebrate them in ways that unite, not divide? For instance, instead of all this business about 'Gloria in excelsis Deo,' why not just 'Season's Greetings'?"

Mary said, "You mean my son has entered human history to deliver the message, 'Hello, it's winter'?"

"That's harsh, Mary," said the woman. "Remember, your son could make it big in midwinter festivals, if he doesn't push the religion thing too far. Centuries from now, in nations yet unborn, people will give each other pricey gifts and have big office parties on his birthday. That's not chopped liver."

"Let me get back to you," Mary said.

In the meantime the Magi had been asked by others how much their gifts had cost, and when told the price several protested and said the money could have been better spent on the poor and homeless. "Besides," said one, "what can a baby do with gold, frankincense, and myrrh?"

"You don't understand," said one of the Magi, "we brought these gifts to honor and worship this child who has been born King of the Jews."

Whereupon the child advocates protested that adults should not pre-determine a child's future. "It should be left up to the child to decide for himself what he wants to be."

One of the shepherds called out from the back of the crowd: "The prophet Micah wrote that out of Bethlehem would come a Ruler to shepherd God's people"

"That's just a myth," said the head of the Prophet's Seminar who had just arrived with his committee. "We scholars have determined that the prophet's actually said very little of what they are credited with saying, and everything they reportedly said about a Messiah was added years later by other writers."

"How did you determine that?" asked Joseph.

The most intelligent member of the Prophet's Seminar was chosen as spokesperson and replied, "We cast lots."

After much talking, the various advocates agreed to meet again at a later date in a place more suitable for them and continue their discussions about the child's welfare. Gradually they drifted out of the stable and left the shepherds and the Magi alone with Joseph and Mary and the child.

Mary took Joseph's hand and said, "Husband, tell me again what the angel Gabriel said to you about our son.

Squeezing her hand, Joseph answered, "He said that we should call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

Mary looked down at her son and sighed deeply, and then said to no one in particular, "I wonder if they will let him?"