Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day 2008

Here's a Leap Year postcard from 100 years ago.
February 29th only comes around every 4 years, except for years ending in '00 unless divisible by 400 (2100, 2200, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2700, 2900, and 3000 will not be leap years). This is to keep our calendar straightened out. It has something to do with the amount of time that the earth rotates around the sun being different than the times it rotates on it's axis.? This is explained by the leap second.
Find out more about leap year here, and here.

Supposedly, a 1288 law by the Queen said if a marriage proposal was refused by the man there were fines. Because men felt that put them at too great a risk, the tradition was in some places tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, Feb.29th, or to the medieval leap day, Feb.25th, and that the women on the hunt were to wear breeches. A few hundred years later it was changed: "Women looking to take advantage of their opportunity to pitch woo were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat -- fair warning, if you will." After all, it was MUCH harder to get a divorce back then. I was too shy to do anything like that before I was married. I was even to shy to accept a date from Steve the first time he asked. He felt rejected, but decided to give it another try and I said okay to a movie date. I think it's more fun letting the guy do the wooing.

People born on February 29th may be called a "leapling" or "leaper". In common years they usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28th or March 1st.

There are many instances in children's literature where a person's claim to be only a quarter of their actual age turns out to be based on counting their leap-year birthdays. This confused reasoning is used in the plot of the 1879 comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Never-ending Helpful Hints

I spent hours at this address. After finding out what I needed to try for burned food in my pans, I just kept looking up other problem solving info from the sidebar. I like that there are a lot of people giving their opinions on what has worked and not worked in their particular case. Then I went to this one too, and this one. There's even one for cleaning camping dishes with no soap. I couldn't make me stop! Needless to say they are in my favorite bookmarks, but I'm afraid to visit them again.

These are only a few troubleshooting places I like, there are so many of them out there.
An elderly woman used to live next door and she told me a few old remedies that worked good. Put Road Apples (found at farm markets) all around your homes' foundation in early Fall to keep mice from finding their way in when the weather turns cold. Cucumber peels, at the points of entry, keep ants off kitchen counters. Hold a freshly cut piece of onion on a bee or wasp sting, cutting fresh pieces until the pain is gone (usually an hour), and no swelling.

Do any of you have helpful hints sites you like to visit? I would like a good one for home remedy first aid, like what grandma did for "boo-boos" and such. Or should I ask? I might get lost in a vortex for several days!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Children Can Learn More Than We Give Them Credit For

I have heard and read many times that children learn the fastest before they are 5 yrs old. From then on learning is at a slower rate. According to the popular womens magazines from "the old days", girls were learning how to mend clothing, cross-stitch an alphabet sampler, make a pie, could read beginner primers and had memorized songs, poems and Bible verses by the age of 4. Boys knew the same academics and were taking over some of their fathers chores by that age. It doesn't sound like they had much free time, but they seem to have gotten up much earlier then, and most chores had to be done before breakfast. It seems they would then have plenty of time to play, and get into mischief.
It's been proven in European countries that kindergarten children can learn more than 2 languages at once, and the ones that start learning different languages before they start kindergarten have an easier time learning additional languages. Teachers I have known have told me that those who are taught to memorize and do reasoning or logic problems before school starts will have an easier time passing tests and comprehending information the rest of their lives.

Those earliest years are the times when our children are constantly with us and we have the opportunity to give them more one-on-one time than they will probably ever have with us. Steve and I put some effort into teaching our kids from day one, but if I could re-do those early years I think I would claim more of that unstructured time and have them join me in my daily chores, and also set aside a little more time for academics and developing talent. This could result on less money spent on toys, less time spent on TV and a bond to family. Since teaching obedience is a "must" for keeping kids on task, an added benefit, in our case anyway, is a disciplined child with some self-control, which is not a common sight to see now-a-days.

Whatever small amount of time you devote to training your child's mind, the most important is to teach God's word and the love of the Savior, also exampled in our own life.

Monday, February 18, 2008

40 Martyred Soldiers at Lake Sebaste

One of the more popular early church persecution stories happened in the 4th century, and is depicted often in byzantine art. The story has been sensationalized through the centuries to include miracles or amazing feats of courage. But the one fact remains, that these men were cruelly mass murdered because of their belief.

We stand stronger when we stand together. Having Christian friends, and belonging to a band of Believers helps encourage us to stay on the right paths. Even though we are sure in our faith, daily life with unbelievers can slowly pull us down to a secular way of thinking, and we forget that we are not living to fulfill our own desires, and that this world is not permanent.
People "watch" those they know to be Christians to see if they really do have a different kind of life, or if there just isn't any point to it.

To read more about the story go here and here

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Value of Thorns

I wish that I would remember to be more greatful for my thorns than I am for my roses. If God did not allow them we would not run to Him, and receive from Him.
Thorns are more valuable to our spiritual growth. They are given to us by a loving Father to mold us into righteousness (Mal.3:3, 1Cor. 3:13, 1Peter 1:7).

“Shew me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain." George Matheson

"The Lord is compassionate about our trials, but He's more concerned about how we handle them. "- Warren Wiersbe

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was
given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2Co 12:7-10

Thursday, February 14, 2008

God's Love is Matchless

I'm one who admires songs by the words more than by the tune. The incomprehensible love of our Creator has inspired many greatly expressive songs through the centuries. Hope the words to these will bless you as much as they do me.

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go is another of my many favorite hymns. Being done A Capella makes it double good to me, and these young men in the video below are really good. Also click on menu and hear David Phelps sing so clearly all the wonderful words. To read the story behind this hymn go click here.

The story of the first Valentine?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

On the back of our church bulletin our pastor put an excerpt from a proclamation that was so good I wanted to find and read the whole thing. Lincoln believed that the Civil War was God's judgment on the nation for it's sinfulness, and made a proclamation appointing a national day of humiliation, fasting and prayer on March 30, 1863. To read the whole proclamation, which will give you goose bumps, go here. But if not, here are a couple of excerpts.

....We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness....

....All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Heart Sunday

This is the Sunday before Valentines Day. This morning our pastor talked about the fellowship Jesus has with His disciples and how the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart. And the second greatest is to love each other as ourselves. Wow, to think again on all that means. If we follow this we will want to live the way He wants us to, and we will desire to spend time with other Christians. We may not have chosen them to be in our "family", but our Heavenly Father has, and that should be good enough.

Another passage of scripture he mentioned that always touches me was John 14. This chapter is a favorite for many believers because of the reassurance and hope Jesus gives to us. Scripture devotes a big chunk, John 13-17, to cover this powerful "good-bye". Jesus knew this would be the last amount of time He would be able to spend with these special ones that He selected to be bonded to for the last 3 years. Wanting to prepare them for what is going to happen yet knowing they can't understand it all right now, but He will cause them to remember all He has said. As they grow confused, with heavy heart He answers their questions, gives them instructions, and promises not to leave them alone but to send the Holy Spirit to guide them. Humbling himself and washing their feet He shows His concern about them loving each other, and not letting sin hinder their fellowship with Him.
I have only touched on all the love that is pictured in these chapters. Whenever I read this I usually imagine myself having to leave someone I love, knowing I'll never see them again until we meet in heaven. I'd want to give them important instructions to help them in life, hoping they will love and help the others that I love, but they just don't seem to get the importance of it all. I think of how they will feel abandoned and confused at first. It's a weak comparison, I know.

Then after Jesus prays for His disciples, before they go to Gethsemane, He looks at His children that will live in future years to come. He prays for you and me too, here in this age. I love to think about that, with all thats going on there, He included me. I can't help but feel my heart is full, and at the same time I mourn my pitifulness. But He always offers to wash my stumbling`feet, again and again. Just as I should do to the brethren He gave me.
When we think of our Valentines this week, think first of the only One who loves us more than we could ever know how to love.

The first Valentine?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Trend Setter

Drop-crotch baggy pants, ahead of his time (1985) - Stephen at age 2, about when he took his first steps.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Down Syndrome Women Used As Suicide Bombers

I have to admit that although I was surprised at first, I wasn't really shocked, knowing the track record of these ruthless terrorists. Friday, in two separate crowded pet markets in Baghdad, Down Syndrome women were used to kill 91, wounding many more.
One of the pet bazaars had a history of of being bombed, but with violence declining in the capital it had regained popularity, and a place to stroll on Fridays, the Muslim day of prayer.

The use of the handicapped in suicide bombings is not unprecedented in Iraq. In January 2005, Iraq's interior minister said insurgents used a disabled child in a suicide attack on election day last Spring. Police at the scene of the bombing said the child appeared to have Down syndrome.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Anna: One of Christs Very First Witnesses

Her name in Hebrew is the same as Hannah, meaning "Grace". The story of Hannah has been special to me ever since I first became a Christian as a teen, admiring how she petitioned God with her whole being, wanting a son so she could dedicate him to be God's servant. Being the kind of woman she was, I imagine that some of that devotion couldn't help but spill into the lives of each of the 5 other children God blessed her with.

I think Hannah is a fitting namesake for Anna, because of her devotion to God as well. My middle name is Ann, and after learning about Hannah and Anna I secretly wished that my name had an "a" on the end like theirs. Because of the devotion I saw in their lives I wanted to feel connected to them in some small way. (I even named one of my many guinea pigs Hannah).

Although everything we can know about Anna is only in 3 verses, Luke 2: 36-38, they are enough to establish her reputation. In the book I am presently reading, Twelve Extraordinary Women, I'm amazed at how much we can glean from those few verses that teach us about Anna. I won't go into that whole profile, but encourage you to read it for yourself.

WE know she had been fasting and praying since she became widowed at least 64 years earlier, and lived in the temple. She was one of only 5 women in the Bible who were referred to as a prophetess, which meant that she was devoted to declaring the truth of God's word, probably using this gift in some kind of instruction or encouragement ministry to the women who came to the temple to worship.
If the believing remnant of Jews were keeping Daniel's timetable in mind, their hearts, as Anna's, should begin to be full of Messianic expectations around this time. On that special day, as she went about her normal routine in the temple, she heard Simeon's joyous blessing on Jesus, the Consolation of Israel. She must not have ever stopped proclaiming the fulfillment of the Messiah's coming because Scripture says she told all who were looking for the Redeemer.

Since she probably died before Jesus began His ministry, that may have been her only glimpse of Him. But she knew He was her Redeemer, and that was enough for her. (1)

1. Twelve Extraordinary Women by J. MacArthur pg 129-140. Nelson Books 2005