Friday, June 27, 2008

Missing MA Lighthouse Shows Up In ... CA?

Missing Cape Cod lighthouse located in Calif.

WELLFLEET, Mass. (AP) — Local historians for decades thought the 30-foot tall lighthouse that once overlooked Wellfleet Harbor had been taken down and destroyed in 1925.
Turns out, it had just been moved to the California coast.
The fate of the cast-iron tower was uncovered last year by lighthouse researchers and reported by Colleen MacNeney in this month's edition of Lighthouse Digest.
MacNeney told the Cape Cod Times in Wednesday's edition it was her most exciting discovery.
Wellfleet historian Helen Purcell says the discovery of the lighthouse at Point Montara, 25 miles south of San Francisco, was a genuine shock.
MacNeney says she discovered correspondence that proved the lighthouse, first erected in 1881, had been moved by the Coast Guard from Wellfleet to Yerba Buena, Calif., and eventually to Point Montara.
There is no known documentation explaining how it was moved across the country, MacNeney said.
But Jim Walker, chairman of the Cape Cod Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, speculates that because it is metal, it could have been disassembled bolt by bolt, with the pieces then transported by rail.
The lighthouse is still used as a navigational aid and a hostel.

A lighthouse at Point Montara is shown in Montara, Calif., Wednesday, June 4, 2008. According to lighthouse researchers, this lighthouse was first erected in 1881 overlooking Wellfleet Harbor in Wellfleet, Mass. and had been moved by the Coast Guard from Wellfleet to Yerba Buena, Calif., and eventually to Point Montara. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)


Monday, June 23, 2008

"I Don't Want to Take Life for Granted Like I Used to"

Pretty self-explanatory. Very true. When I was a child I marveled at the world, the way things were, I wondered about life. As I grew the world became commonplace. A routine. Something to get through. I "woke up" one day. Realized what I was missing. "I don't want to take life for granted like I used to." I live. I love. I sing. I dream. I pray. I wonder. I praise. Instead of commonplace, the world is marvelous once more. I never want to lose the wonder. My friend (who has since left the blogging world) inspired me when he penned these words:

I wonder at the world I see
I marvel at its mystery
Who am I to have this glimpse of God?
Why should He reveal himself to me?

At night the outspread starscape shines
Reminding us to look between the lines
The sleeper to his sweetest dream may cling
But I must rise to [all] creation sing
Knowing not the words I simply stand amazed
And let my wonder be my greatest praise

I've been told I should always comment on a quote. I don't think it's necessary right now. That pretty much sums it up.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things to Taste:
1. Good, Pure Water
2. Sharp (and Extra Sharp) Cheddar Cheese
3. Chicken, cooked almost any way
4. Sunflower Seeds
5. Southern Casserole

My Favorite Things to Feel:
1. A Baby's Touch
2. The Wind in My Hair
3. Winter's Bite
4. The Sun's Kiss
5. Flower Petals

My Favorite Smells:
1. The Air after a Rain
2. Anything Citrus
3. An Old Book
4. A Room Full of Memories
5. Sea-Salt Air and the Brisk Mountain Breeze

My Favorite Sounds:
1. The Voices of my Family and Friends
2. Rain on a Tin Roof
3. Seashells Washing Over Each Other
4. The Stillness of the Mountains and the Crashing of the Waves
5. Horses

My Favorite Things to See:
1. An Answer to Prayer
2. The Sun Rise/Set
3. A Storm Rolling in
4. Anything "Picture Perfect"
5. Love

A Few Miscellaneous Things:
1. Edelweiss
2. Old Glory
3. Ancient Landmarks and Museums
4. Smooth Wooden Banisters
5. Watermelon

What are a few of your favorite things?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Virtual Reality

I have a problem with virtual reality many times. I usually struggle with articulating why exactly I don't care for these games, but this post I found while doing a Google search on another topic that pretty much sums up my own feelings.

I was reading an article in a recent issue of Newsweek. The article was talking about how Steven Spielberg was getting back into the video game industry. His ideas were sounding pretty cool (though I haven't played a video game in years, go figure), but then I got to a quote that made me rethink what the article was telling me.

The article quotes Spielberg saying, "The challenge is, can the game have an emotional impact on players while they are actively manipulating the world?"* Wow. The idea of one of his new games is that you have to build a relationship with the computer character in order to receive the most benefit from her skills. I find the idea that the game-designers' intent is to impact you emotionally very troubling. No wonder more and more people are getting sucked into video games and alternate realities. They can feel "social" while doing that, even though they may merely be interacting with machines. This is the reason why I had to stop playing the Sims 2 a couple of years ago. I loved the game, but for all the wrong reasons. By exerting my control over the imaginary world, I was acting out my desire to be in control of my own.

I'm not trying to bash all video games. Certainly there are many that are fine to play. But just like any other activity, we have to be careful about our reasons for playing and determine if the activity is the most beneficial use of our time.

*"Wii Can't Wait to Play," by N'gai Croal in July 16, 2007 Newsweek, page 53.

from Tale of a Kansas Girl (btw - I've enjoyed reading this blog since I found it. It tends to be very insightful and humorous.)

So am I completely against video games? Of course not. I even enjoy playing them sometimes! However, I do have a problem with preferring virtual reality to reality. We live in the real world, and nothing in an imagined one is going to really help you through life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Motherhood in America

Only women can be mothers. Have we forgotten this fundamental?

Only a woman can carry in her body an eternal being which bears the very image of God. Only she is the recipient of the miracle of life. Only a woman can conceive and nurture this life using her own flesh and blood, and then deliver a living soul into the world. God has bestowed upon her alone a genuine miracle — the creation of life, and the fusing of an eternal soul with mortal flesh. This fact alone establishes the glory of motherhood.

Despite the most creative plans of humanist scientists and lawmakers to redefine the sexes, no man will ever conceive and give birth to a child. The fruitful womb is a holy gift given by God to women alone. This is one reason why the office of wife and mother is the highest calling to which a woman can aspire.

This is the reason why nations that fear the Lord esteem and protect mothers. They glory in the distinctions between men and women, and attempt to build cultures in which motherhood is honored and protected.

In his famous commentary on early American life, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville explained:
Thus the Americans do not think that man and woman have either the duty or the right to perform the same offices, but they show an equal regard for both their respective parts; and though their lot is different, they consider both of them as beings of equal value. They do not give to the courage of woman the same form or the same direction as to that of man, but they never doubt her courage; and if they hold that man and his partner ought not always to exercise their intellect and understanding in the same manner, they at least believe the understanding of the one to be as sound as that of the other, and her intellect to be as clear. Thus, then, while they have allowed the social inferiority of woman to continue, they have done all they could to raise her morally and intellectually to the level of man; and in this respect they appear to me to have excellently understood the true principle of democratic improvement.
De Tocqueville contrasted the American understanding of women, with European sentiments:
There are people in Europe who, confounding together the different characteristics of the sexes, would make man and woman into beings not only equal but alike. They could give to both the same functions, impose on both the same duties, and grant to both the same rights; they would mix them in all things — their occupations, their pleasures, their business. It may readily be conceived that by thus attempting to make one sex equal to the other, both are degraded, and from so preposterous a medley of the works of nature nothing could ever result but weak men and disorderly women.

The War on Motherhood

America's glory was her women. de Tocqueville believed this when he wrote:
As for myself, I do not hesitate to avow that although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is in some respects one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked, now that I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: To the superiority of their women.
But this birthright would be exchanged during the last century for a mess of pottage. Perhaps the greatest legacy of the 20th century has been the war on motherhood and biblical patriarchy. Feminists, Marxists, and liberal theologians have made it their aim to target the institution of the family and divest it from its biblical structure and priorities. The results are androgyny, a radical decline in birthrate, abortion, fatherless families, and social confusion.

Incredibly, the biggest story of the 20th century never made headline news [i]. Somehow we missed it. It was the mass exodus of women from the home, and the consequent decline of motherhood. For the first time in recorded history of the West, more mothers left their homes than stayed in them. By leaving the home, the experience and reality of childhood, family life and femininity were fundamentally redefined, and the results have been so bad that if this one trend is not reversed, our grandchildren may live in a world where the both the true culture of Christian family life and the historic definition of marriage are the stuff of fairy tales.

Many "isms" have influenced these trends-evolutionism, feminism, statism, eugenicism, Marxism, and more. But in the end, the philosophical gap between the presuppositions of the Atheists, eugenicists, and Marxists of the early 20th century, and the presuppositions of the professing Church in the 21st century, have narrowed dramatically. The goals of the state and the goals of the mainstream church have so merged, that the biblical family with its emphasis on male headship, generational succession, and prolific motherhood are a threat to the social order of both institutions.

Less than one hundred years ago, the architects of the atheistic communist Soviet state anticipated the death of the Christian family. They explained the need for destroying the Christian family with its emphasis on motherhood, and replacing it with a vision for a "new family." Lenin wrote:

We must now say proudly and without any exaggeration that part from Soviet Russia, there is not a country in the world where women enjoy full equality and where women are not placed in the humiliating position felt particularly in day-to-day family life. This is one of our first and most important tasks...Housework is the most unproductive, the most barbarous and the most arduous work a woman can do. It is exceptionally petty and does not include anything that would in any way promote the development of the woman...The building of socialism will begin only when we have achieved the complete equality of women and when we undertake the new work together with women who have been emancipated from that petty stultifying, unproductive work...We are setting up model institutions, dining-rooms and nurseries, that will emancipate women from housework...These institutions that liberate women from their position as household slaves are springing up where it is in any way possible...Our task is to make politics available to every working woman.
In his 1920 International Working Women's Day Speech, Lenin emphasized:
The chief thing is to get women to take part in socially productive labor, to liberate them from 'domestic slavery,' to free them from their stupefying [idiotic] and humiliating subjugation to the eternal drudgery of the kitchen and the nursery. This struggle will be a long one, and it demands a radical reconstruction, both of social technique and of morale. But it will end in the complete triumph of Communism.
Lenin's comrade Trotsky played a key role in communicating the Marxist vision of what he called the "new family." Lenin and Trotsky believed in the overthrow of Christianity by destroying the biblical family. They sought to build a new state, free from historic Christian presuppositions concerning the family. This meant denigrating the biblical notion of male headship and hierarchy within the family. It meant eliminating any sense that there should be a division of labor between man and wife. This required delivering women from the burdens of childbirth and childcare. It meant adopting tools like birth control as guarantors that women could be free to remain in the workforce. Trotsky said this:
Lenin's comrade Trotsky
Socialization of family housekeeping and public education of children are unthinkable without a marked improvement in our economics as a whole. We need more socialist economic forms. Only under such conditions can we free the family from the functions and cares that now oppress and disintegrate it. Washing must be done by a public laundry, catering by a public restaurant, sewing by a public workshop. Children must be educated by good public teachers who have a real vocation for the work. Then the bond between husband and wife would be freed from everything external and accidental, and the one would cease to absorb the life of the other. Genuine equality would at last be established...

The most disturbing part of quotes like those above is how similar they sound in sentiment and spirit to voices today from individuals who claim to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ. Even more disturbing is how many of the anti-family social reforms are presuppositions of modern Christians in America. Presuppositions which have been fully accepted.

How America's Conscience Was Seared Toward Motherhood

But motherhood is not easily defeated. It was here from the beginning and it has always carried the Church and civilization forward. Motherhood not only perpetuates civilization, it defines it.

At first Jamestown was a bachelor society struggling for survival. But she became a civilization when the women arrived. Plymouth, on the other hand, began as a civilization-families of faith committed to fruitfulness and multiplication for the glory of God, an impossibility without motherhood.

Motherhood is not easily defeated because God has placed reminders of its importance in the very bodies of the women He created. To defeat motherhood, the enemies of the biblical family must do more than make it a social inconvenience, they must teach women to despise themselves by viewing their own wombs as the enemy of self-fulfillment. This means minimizing the glorious gift of life which is only given to womankind. It means redefining what it means to be a woman.

But even this is not enough. To defeat motherhood the enemies of the biblical family must sear the conscience of an entire generation of women. This is done through the doctrines of social emancipation from the home, sexual liberation, birth control, and abortion — all four of which cause a woman to war against her created nature. Instead of being the blessed guardian of domesticity for society, she is taught that contentment can only be found by acting, dressing, and competing with men. Instead of being an object of respect, protection, and virtue, she sells herself cheaply, thus devaluing her womanhood. Instead of glorying in a fruitful womb she cuts off the very seed of life. Sometimes she even kills the life.

Years of playing the part of a man hardens a woman. It trains women to find identity in the corporation, not the home. It teaches them to be uncomfortable around children and large families---the mere presence of which is a reminder of the antithesis between God's design for womankind and the norms of post-Christian societies.

But women are not the only ones with seared consciences. Men have them too. Consider that fifty years ago a man would have winced to think of female soldiers heading into combat while stay-at-home dads are left behind changing diapers. Today's man has a seared conscience. He no longer thinks of himself as a protector of motherhood, and a defender of womankind. He comforts himself by repeating the mantras of modern feminism, and by assuring himself of how reasonable and enlightened he is — how different he is from his intolerant and oppressive fathers. But in his heart, modern man knows that he has lost something. He has lost his manhood.

To be a man, you must care about women. And you must care about them in the right way. You must care about them as creatures worthy of protection, honor, and love. This means genuinely appreciating them for their uniqueness as women. It means recognizing the preciousness of femininity over glamour, of homemaking over careerism, and of mature motherhood over perpetual youth.

But when women are reduced to soldiers, sexual objects, and social competitors, it is not merely the women who lose the identity given to them by the Creator, but the men as well. This is why the attack on motherhood has produced a nation of eunuchs---socially and spiritually impotent men who have little capacity to lead, let alone love women as God intended man to love woman—as mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters.

Motherhood Will Triumph

There is an important reason why motherhood will not be defeated — The Church is her guardian. As long as she perseveres — and persevere she will — motherhood will prevail.

The Church is the ultimate vanguard of that which is most precious and most holy. She holds the oracles of God which dare to proclaim to a selfish, self-centered nation: "Children are a blessing and the fruit of the womb is His reward." Psalm 127:3.

The Church stands at the very gates of the city, willing to receive the railing complaints of feminists, atheists, and the legions arrayed against the biblical family, and she reminds the people of God: "Let the older women teach the young to love their children, to guide the homes." Titus 2:3-5.

It is this very love of the life of children, this passion for femininity and motherhood which may be God's instrument of blessing on America in the days to come. As the birth rate continues to plummet, divorce rates rise, and family life in America dissipates to the point of extinction, life-loving families will not only have an important message to share, but thy will have an army of children to help them share it.

The Question:

Teacher: Susie what do you want to be when you grow up?
Susie: I want to be a doctor.
Teacher: How wonderful! And what about you Julie?
Julie: I want to be a soldier.
Teacher: How commendable! And what about you Hannah?
Hannah: When I grow up I want to be a wife and mother!
Teacher: [dead silence]...

After years of society belittling the calling of motherhood, something wonderful is happening — something wonderfully counter-cultural! In the midst of the anti-life, anti-motherhood philosophies which pervade the culture, there is a new generation of young ladies emerging whose priorities are not determined by the world's expectations of them. They have grown up in homes where fathers shepherd them, where children are not merely welcome, but where they are deeply loved. Some of these women have been home educated, which means that many of them have grown up around babies and their mothers. They have learned to see motherhood as a joy and a high calling, because their parents see it that way.

And when asked about their future, these girls know their own minds. These are the future mothers of the Church. Young women who are not afraid to say that the goal of all of their education and training is to equip them to pursue the highest calling of womanhood, the office of wife and mother.

The Cost of Motherhood

Once a lady went to visit her friend. During the visit the children of the friend entered the room and began to play with each other. As the lady and her friend visited, the lady turned to her friend and said eagerly and yet with evidently no thought of the meaning of her words: "Oh, I'd give my life to have such children." The mother replied with a subdued earnestness whose quiet told of the depth of experience out of which her words came: "That's exactly what it costs."

There is a cost of motherhood. And the price is no small sum. And if you are not willing to pay this price, no amount of encouragement about the joys of motherhood will satisfy.

But the price of motherhood is not fundamentally different from the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christian mothers see their duty as mothers flowing from their calling to Jesus Christ. And what is this cost?

Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others. It means standing beside your husband, following him, and investing in the lives of children whom you hope will both survive you and surpass you. It means forgoing present satisfaction for eternal rewards. It means investing in the lives of others who may never fully appreciate your sacrifice or comprehend the depth of your love. And it means doing all these things, not because you will receive the praise of man — for you will not — but because God made you to be a woman and a mother, and there is great contentment in that biblical calling.

In other words, Motherhood requires vision. It requires living by faith and not by sight.

These are some of the reasons why Motherhood is both the most biblically noble and the most socially unappreciated role to which a young woman can aspire. There are many people who ask the question: Does my life matter? But a mother that fears the Lord need never ask such a question. Upon her faithful obedience hinges the future of the church and the hope of the nation.

In 1950, the great Scottish American preacher Peter Marshall stood before the United States Senate and he explained it this way:
The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge — that of being a godly woman. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other kind of women — beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career woman, talented women, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman — or of a godly man either, for that matter.
I believe women come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be ultramodern. The world has enough women who know how to hold their cocktails, who have lost all their illusions and their faith. The world has enough women who know how to be smart.
It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right tha[n] socially correct.

from Doug Philip's May 9 08 newsletter

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Homeschooling Labeled 'Anarchy' in Cali

Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow - 6/5/2008
schoolwork bigThe response of California's teachers' union to pro-family attempts to protect home schooling in that state has outraged one attorney who is working on the case.
Numerous organizations on both sides of the issue have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the appeal of a California court's ruling that parents have no right to home school their children. But one reaction in particular caught the attention of pro-family attorney Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute.

"The California Teachers Association ... decided to file an amicus brief arguing before the court that parents should have no right over the education of their children, should not have a right to home school, and that these children should be literally forced to be put back into the public schools -- even though parents object," the attorney explains.

Dacus did a double-take when he read one specific charge made by the teachers' union. "In their brief, the teachers' union said that to allow parents to be able to home school without being credentialed teachers could result in 'educational anarchy,'" he shares.

That argument, he says, discounts reality. "This is ignoring the facts that home schooling is widespread in California," he exclaims. "Over 200,000 children are being home schooled right now in California -- and they score higher academically than not only public school children, but also children in traditional private schools. If there's anarchy, the anarchy is in public schools."

Both the state superintendent of public instruction and the California Department of Education have filed briefs supporting the legality of home schooling. A brief filed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown argues that home schooling is perfectly legal under California law and states that the practice "has a long and positive history in California and across the nation." The California Court of Appeal intends to hear oral arguments in the case sometime this month.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bella: the Movie

Bella is the winner of the 2006 People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is refreshing in it's story and acting. This movie isn't about action and adventure, but it's a movie about life. Everyday life, and how two people cope with theirs. Part of what makes the movie so enjoyable for me is the acting feels real. When watching the movie I wasn't struck with the fake feel I get from so many typical Hollywood movies. This movie feels genuine, the tears and laughter seem real instead of put on to make money. I think a large part of that has to do with the case selected for this movie. They actually believe in the story and it's message, and aren't concerned solely about the money making aspect of the film. That makes this movie all the more real and powerful.

The movie is rated PG-13 (for thematic elements and brief disturbing images) largely for one scene. Most mature children probably 8 or 9 and up should be able to watch the movie and handle it well.

Bella has won several awards in addition to the People's Choice. Along with other accolades Edward James Olmos chose this movie to open the LA International Film Festival. At that time he said, "It is one of the most impressive landmark films to open our festival in 10 years ... a film people have to see, it really captures the heart and makes you think. It is one of the best films to come out in a long time." (emphasis mine)

I certainly agree, and highly recommend this movie. I hope to add Bella to my movie collection very shortly.

3 out of 5 stars.

Official Movie Site

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