Wild Game Night

That’s not as in “a night of revelry,”  but as in…we got to eat a fabulous buffet of caribou kabobs, venison sausage, bacon-wrapped elk meat rolls with spinach and cheese, bear “on a stick,” squirrel dumplings, quail under glass (well, maybe not under glass, but it was my favorite), Alaskan halibut with capers, and salmon. WOW!!!

Gerlinde bravely enjoying  in a new American cultural adventure: eating “Bear Kabobs”

I’ll tell you, the chefs at our church are second to none!

After the truly interesting dinner party, there was a “hunters’ seminar” led by Tracy Breen, who’s hunted just about everything you can imagine in 25 of the American states plus Canada and maybe further afield. He’s an outdoor sports writer and inspirational speaker…had tons of tips for hunters, told lots of exciting stories from his hunts (and hunting accidents), and ended up challenging us to chase God the way we might chase after something we’re hunting. This thought occurred to him as he was dragging himself back to his car after shooting himself in the leg one evening. He said it was a transforming realization, and ever since, hunting and writing is his career, but his true passion is seeking God! Afterward, Linda posed by one of the deer. You can see Tracy on the left and Jonathan grinning on the right!

After we returned home, we all enjoyed another American—and German—culinary delight: Linda’s apple pie! What a way to end a grand evening!

“As the deer pants after the waterbrook, so pants my soul  after thee, O God” (Psa. 42:1).

Constitutional Problems with Obama’s Health Care Plan

There has been so much discussion of health care reform that I think it’s worth visiting this topic again for our understanding and prayers, so I’m passing along this essay from an attorney and teacher of constitutional law who actually went to the trouble of reading the entire bill.
Finally, someone did read the entire House Bill 3200:

The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009

From: Michael Connelly – Retired attorney, Constitutional Law Instructor,
Carrollton, Texas

Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill  3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being  discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far WORSE than what I had heard or expected.

To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law DOES provide for rationing of health  care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical

The Bill will ALSO eventually FORCE private insurance companies out of business [Goodbye Aetna / Goodbye Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc.] and PUT everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats and most of them will NOT be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled.

However, as SCARY as all of that it, it just scratches the surface. In fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has NO intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive ‘transfer of power’ to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the  United States will effectively have been DESTROYED!

The first thing to GO will be the masterfully crafted balance of power between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S. Government. The Congress will be transferring to the Obama Administration authority in a number of different areas over the lives of the American people and the businesses they own. The irony is that the Congress doesn’t have any authority to legislate in most of those areas to begin with. I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress to regulate health care.

This legislation also provides for access by the appointees of the Obama administration of all of your personal healthcare information, your personal financial information, and the information of your employer, physician, and hospital. All of this is a direct violation of the specific provisions of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures. You can also forget about the right to privacy. That will have been legislated into oblivion regardless of what the 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.

If you decide not to have healthcare insurance or if you have private insurance that is not deemed “acceptable” to the “Health Choices Administrator” appointed by Obama there will be a tax imposed on you. It is called a “tax” instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. However, that doesn’t work because since there is nothing in the law that allows you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely depriving someone of property without the “due process of law.”

So, there are THREE of those pesky amendments that the far left hate so much out the original ten in the Bill of Rights that are effectively nullified by this law. It DOESN’T stop there though.

*The 9th Amendment that provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;”

*The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the  United States
by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Under the provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither the people nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all in many areas that once were theirs to control.

I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you get the idea.. This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and limiting rights. Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both houses of Congress to “be bound by oath or affirmation” to support the Constitution. If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for this legislation or anything like it without feeling I was violating that sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.

For those who might doubt the nature of this threat I suggest they consult the source. Here is a link to the Constitution: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript..html

And another to the Bill of Rights:

There you can see exactly what we are about to have taken from us.

Michael Connelly
Retired attorney,
Constitutional Law Instructor
Carrollton, Texas

It looks to me like the biblical role of the government is to provide for the internal and international safety of their citizens. The U.S. government was formed to “establish domestic tranquility” so that we as individuals can pursue life, liberty, and happiness. No government can ultimately provide for our life and happiness; that’s something that each of us must take responsibility for providing for ourselves and our loved ones. We are fool-hearty and greedy to expect our government to provide for our personal needs such as jobs, cars, housing, care of our elderly…free abortions for unwanted children…etc. etc…even free health care. Let’s get to work and take care of ourselves and each other…not just look to the government to meet our needs.

Brain Cancer and Brain Aneurysm

I meant to post on Weight Watchers Thursday. In fact,  I lost a pound and heard a good pep talk on “Get Moving!!”  Exercise. With my handy Yaktrax, it’s possible to walk the lane even while it’s a skating rink, and that’s exactly what it’s been this past week. This is good…but…

The small pleasures and events of life have been dwarfed the last few days by the mammoth events occurring in the lives of dear friends. Friday morning I took Cheryl in to the hospital to have a “face mask” made before she begins three weeks of radiation treatment, hoping to reduce the size of the multiple metastatic tumors in her brain before she begins chemotherapy for her newly diagnosed metastatic lung cancer. Since Cheryl is one of my closest friends in GR, this has really had a huge impact on me. I’ve asked her for permission to tell you more about her, which she’s granted, so next week, I will definitely be sharing more of her story.

The picture on my fridge of Steve and Lois from last summer…

As soon as I returned from the hospital, Alan and I took off for Salem Bible Church for the funeral of Lois R., a vivacious 53-year-old friend who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. On February 16th she had been at her daughter’s side while her first grand child came into this world. She spent a very happy day on Sunday playing with Aveena and basking in the joy of her new role as “Grandma.” Around 7 pm. that night, she developed a headache. By 10 pm her husband was rushing her to the hospital, where they airlifted her to U. M., although she was already in a coma, arrested four times, and could never be recovered. One of the last things she did was stamp “SR+LR” in the snow outside their home. They’d been happily married for 31 years.

Since Lois had lived and died in Salem and always attended the same church (the little country church we also attended when we lived in Plymouth), everyone knew her. Also, she was a beloved school teacher. The total surprise and shock of her unexpected death so rocked the community that although we arrived 20 minutes early, we were ushered by the fire department to a parking spot several blocks away and joined the long line of 150+ mourners who sat in the gym because there was no room in the little 200-seat auditorium. The funeral was an extremely touching mix of sorrow and joy: sorrow because of the loss of someone so vital, wonderful, and seemingly healthy, and joy because we all knew she was in the presence of the Lord she’s loved so well! One of the last things she ever wrote was recorded in a little book called “Grandma Remembers” and presented to her new grand daughter the day before: “My wish for the future is that as I grow older and enter heaven, all of my family will trust, know, and follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord of their life. Trust me…there is no other life full of peace, joy, and contentment.” My heart aches for her family but rejoices in her life and echoes her heart’s desire!

Noah’s Ark…Still Needing It Today!

There’s actually so much going on right now that it’s hard to find time to write a thoughtful post. Besides, where to start? The incredible overturn in Massachusetts with Republican Brown winning the senate seat after almost a half a century of Ted Kennedy? What about Haiti’s second earthquake in 8 days? The suffering and chaos is incomprehensible. A call to prayer would be good. What about the health bill? May God grant “those in authority over us” wisdom to make the best choices in a very complex—overwhelming—world. One of my closest friends has a terrible new diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer…another friend (in apparent perfect health) died of a brain aneurism over the weekend, and another friend’s mother passed away in her sleep. I can list the concerns but hardly reflect on them. The Joint Commission came and went at Alan’s hospital (he was re-accredited for three years…praise God!), Joel and I are cleaning the basement like fury (boxes ALL over the living room now), and I’m in the process of calling all the Christian schools in the area to see if they’d have any interest in Jonathan as an inspirational chapel or assembly speaker. Last night we got our first positive response! Yahoo.

Marlene sent this to me from Skokie, IL, and I hope you find it worth taking a minute out of the whirl of life to consider:

Noah’s Ark

Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah’s Ark .
ONE: Don’t miss the boat.
TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat!
THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
FOUR: Stay fit. When you’re 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
FIVE: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
SIX: Build your future on high ground.
SEVEN: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
EIGHT: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
NINE: When you’re stressed, float awhile.
TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Most people walk in and out of your life………but FRIENDS leave footprints in your heart.

I Couldn’t Resist

Gerlinde’s parents, Sarah and Christoph Jaeschke, invited Michael’s family over for dinner yesterday, and she was kind enough to share some of the pictures with us.

Here’s Nycteris

And Eowyn

And Sarah, who served as surrogate Mom and Grandma for the day. 🙂When I see the pictures, I just want to hold the kids, but I am SO thankful that the Jaeschkes are there when we can’t be.

Praise God for families, and for the family of God. How wonderful it is that we can love and care for each other. I am grateful to serve a Master whose commandment is to love Him above all else, and then to love others as we love ourselves. Could there be anything better?

Tiny Impressions

For a good two weeks after Christmas, I cherished a little boot print from our grandson Reuben that had been preserved in the frozen ice along the edge of our driveway. I remembered how Alan’s mother used to write and say she could hardly bear to clean off Aaron’s (Reuben’s father) little hand prints on the picture window in their living room after we’d been visiting. Well, this past week the snows covered the print, and now our January thaw has melted it away. I wish I’d taken a picture, but the happy memory of him trudging along will remain with me!

I was able to capture some tiny bird tracks from below our bird feeder. Totally charming. It’s remarkable to me that I could be so delighted by such little things. Little things can make very big and lasting impressions on our mind—for good or bad! Oh, Lord, I do so want my tiny footprints to leave happy, uplifting impressions on the minds of those around me.

Weight Watchers: Round Two

Yipee! I lost three pounds this week. They say for the first couple of weeks, the WWer might lose a lot, but after that it’s more like 0.5-1.5 lbs. a week, and any more would actually be unhealthy. I’ve been attending with a friend who’s been hard at it since October, and she reached her first big goal: 15% of her body weight, so we both felt like celebrating. There are about 50-60 people at our meetings, and as a group, we lost 57 pounds this week. There was a lot of “three cheers” support going on, and I’m sure that’s part of the fun of working with others on a common goal.

This week’s pep talk was on eating “filling foods,” which is defined as those foods with enough fiber and nutritive value per ounce to make them of positive value. Pretty much all fresh fruits and vegetables fall into this category as well as all non-fat, non-sweetened milk products and many lean meats and whole grains. A cup of most vegetables is 0 pts; most fruits are 1 pt. We humans all need about 5 servings of those two categories, but that’s not bad. You can get those in for just 3-4 points. We all need two servings of dairy…that’s trickier. For 4-6 points you can get in 2 servings of 1% fat  or skim:  milk, cottage cheese, or cheese. Two servings of lean protein are even more expensive: 6-12 points for your choices there…and that’s just the start! You could blow your entire day’s budget on a couple of pieces of pizza or a grande wet burrito! Somewhere in there you need 2 tsp. oil (2 pts.) and 6 glasses of liquid (water or any 0 calorie drink, for 0 pts). Throw in a multivitamin, and by the time I’ve met my nutrient needs (which—granted—are pretty minimal at 18)…BINGO, I’m pretty much out of points. That was a most disturbing realization, and at first I thought I’d probably dip into my extra points every day. But you know what? By the time I ate all the good stuff, I wasn’t hungry anymore, so I’d skip the 2 pt. whatever that I thought I might have for a bedtime snack if need be! It really worked!

Alan and I have read elsewhere that people need to eat approximately 3 pounds of food a day to feel full, and so it’s much more in how fat-laden the food is rather than the amount that can make the difference. (I’m talking normal people here, not obese people with a food addiction or other problem.) Also, sugar causes more highs and lows in our metabolism, so avoiding sugary foods and filling up with more high-fiber foods that take longer to metabolize prolongs the sense of well-being before you start to feel hungry again. (Duh…I know you all know this anyway.) One of the WW mantras is: “If you’re hungry, you’re more susceptible to bad choices.” Boy, ain’t that the truth…not only concerning food, but concerning so many things in life. I think if I would stop to figure out what I’m missing or wanting when I’m tempted, I’d have a much better chance of getting my true needs met and avoid making bad choices!

All week in my spare time I was studying the point counter and made a quick guide of all my favorite foods, trying to learn how to estimate points faster. WW also has some handy guides for how to eyeball amounts: 1 c. is approximately the size of a tennis ball; a small side dish is about the size of a computer mouse, a 3 oz. serving of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand. This helps when you can’t actually take a measuring cup to everything you want to eat.

In all, after years of dieting on my own and never really learning how to eat in a truly healthy way, I am delighted with WW. Of course…I’m still honeymooning. I’m sure it won’t always be new and exciting! 🙂


Got this prayer plea from a precious, single friend on the West Coast who is in the process of trying to preserve her job during a time of deep economic instability. If your heart it touched, please lift her up in prayer today. THANKS! Her meeting is at 5 pm EST. It seems like every week or two at our church another name is added to the “Unemployed and needing work list.” These are deeply distressful times.
Good morning,
I am scheduled to meet with “———-” Thurs., 1/14/2010 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time.  Would you please send petitions and prayers to God on my behalf before, after and during this event?
I am not sure what I should pray for.  I am not asking for any desired outcome, other than that I represent what is right, honest, and truthful during this meeting, and that I am a witness for God’s purpose for me in His employment.
I am not afraid of the future.  I yield all of my own personal wishes, desires, needs, wants, my soul and my life to a purpose which I do not fully understand, but which in my heart, I know exists.
For some of you this may sound like “crazy talk.”  I am so much in need of your earthly support, compassion, and understanding during this trying time in my life.
The reading for Jan. 7th, the day I was terminated, in Oswald Chambers’, My Utmost for His Highest says,
“Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion.  We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being percieved as overly emotional or pitiful.  The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show evidence of a life where Jesus is COMPLETELY in control.  This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth.  The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.”

I ask God for forgiveness for the many hurtful things I have done and said in my life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers.

On-Line Pornography

I got an amazing email over the weekend from the son of one of my friends requesting prayer. His wife had separated from him after yet another breach of fidelity when he accessed on-line pornography. Apparently he’s had an addiction for 20 years, although it wasn’t until he may have lost his wife and two children that he woke up to the stark reality that he couldn’t kick this addiction on his own. I was touched by his brokenness, his openness, and his humility. I am really praying much for this young man, and I believe he has a good chance of overcoming his addiction because he has been humble enough to seek God’s help.

The statistics on pornography addiction are staggering, and it cuts across every strata of culture and religion. What can we do to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our nation, and our world from this incredible Satanic lure that is destroying relationships and threatening to erode away the very foundation of trust and stable family life? For one thing, we can pray…not just once or twice, but fervently and consistently. For another, we can try to communicate with those we love, both to give and receive support, just as my young friend has done. So much of our sin lies hidden deep in the recesses of our hearts, and we hide our ugly failures from view. No matter what our problem, we need to repent, turn to God for help, and “come clean,” confessing our sins openly and seeking support. We also need to be willing to be accountable ourselves as well as holding our loved ones accountable. When was the last time your family had a good talk about the lures of lust and how to resist them? Are you in an accountability partnership with someone, or a small group of someones? I hold myself accountable to two female prayer partners and my husband, and it’s really been an invaluable aid in keeping me on the “upward path” over the years.

If the internet is more of a temptation than your family can handle, there is a simple program called “Covenant Eyes” that creates an accountability system for  households’ computer use. It only costs about $7-8 per month and at least keeps the family members posted on what sites are being accessed every week.

This is not an area where the best approach is to just be passive or stick your head in the sand. Like other addictions, if left unchecked, it just gets worse until some relationship or some person is destroyed. Please join in the battle for personal purity for ourselves and all those we love.

“Every man is tempted when he drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings for death” (James 1:14-15).

Snow Pearls and Diving for Dimes

Don’t you love it when the snow stops falling and the sun begins to shine again? We’ve had quite a long cold spell, but it’s really made our woods look like a winter wonderland! We’ve all been out enjoying walks, even though sometimes I wonder if it’s wise in the icy weather. Actually, my sister Ann tells me that “Yaktrax” walker traction cleats for snow and ice (I think you strap them on your boots or shoes) really make walking safer. I might invest.

Alan gave me a beautiful string of freshwater pearls for Christmas with matching ear rings. When we returned from one of our walks, I realized that I’d lost the pearl from one of the ear rings. Searching for a pearl in a snowbank is even more futile than the proverbial needle in a haystack, but I couldn’t resist trying. It was dark out, so I waited until the next morning, and by then a light snow had fallen. Every time I saw something small and pearl-shaped, it turned out to be a pebble or just a tiny ball of snowy ice.

No success! It reminded me of one time when the kids and I were diving for dimes at our “home away from home” (Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground). After successfully retrieving the dime a number of times, I discovered that I’d lost the pearl out of my ring. However, we never found that pearl either. I had to reflect on the foolishness of diving for dimes at the cost of losing my one pearl!

What do we spend our time searching for? What’s really worth finding? What’s really worth losing? For me, I’d rather keep a tight grip on my Pearl of Great Price and lose my life in finding His.