Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ice on the Lake!

Skating on the Lake

A friend and I enjoyed the afternoon skating on a newly iced-over lake. The water was open in the middle of the lake just a couple weeks ago, but with some cold temps over the last several days, we are finally able to walk out onto the lake. Several people are out ice fishing and just wandering around.

The interesting thing about how the lake froze this year, was the way it froze. For the last couple weeks, we had ice around the edge and open water in the middle of the lake. When the entire lake froze, it froze over the old ice and made new ice. The picture above shows where the edge of the ice met the open water. Now there is about 8" of ice . . old and new.

When you get to the edge of the old ice, it appears as an abyss. Nothing but black under the clear ice. Quite unnerving as your skating onto it. My friend was just ready to skate over the former icebergs onto the newly formed ice.
It's pretty amazing that we didn't have any snow cover on the lake and were able to see the ice formation this year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

White Christmas Cover, Arranged by Alex Kimball

My little cousin, Alex just put this video out . . enjoy! From what I have seen of his talent so far, I KNOW we will be seeing more of him.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

God Removed from our Schools: Mike Huckabee Interview

God Removed from our Schools

The words, "God has been systematically removed from our schools" from Mike Huckabee couldn't ring more true with what I have seen in our society ..  especially within our local communities.

I have been a public school teacher for the last 4 years, but am a Christian first. I began to see the decline in the "systematic removal" of God when we first sent our kids to school. It began in kindergarten when our oldest, who is now 17 years old, started school. He went to a Christian preschool before attending public school kindergarten.

In the beginning, from what I saw, I was pleased and saw some evidence of God in the schools. Our son's Christmas programs were still Christmas programs, consisting of songs such as the traditional Christmas hymns we hear on the radio. Sure there were a few "Frosty the Snowman" songs thrown in, which I am fine with. We heard students recite what the true meaning of Christmas was to them . . family, Jesus, presents, snowmen, etc. It was wonderful and heart-warming.

Then the years went on and I noticed within three years or so from when he started school, the Christmas songs were removed from the Christmas programs. Then it wasn't a Christmas program anymore, it was a "Holiday Program." Then it was just a "Winter Program" and there were no songs reflecting the true nature of Christmas.

I asked the music teacher, (who had been there for years . . she was even my music teacher when I went to the same school), why the Christmas songs were gone. She responded by saying that she "didn't want to offend anyone." I thought to myself, 'How about all the Christians you are offending by not having the traditional meaning of Christmas in the program', but didn't say this.

As the kids got older, I substitute taught in the school district that they attended and got to see the various classrooms. I decided that I loved being around the kids and hoped that God could use me as a teacher to impact the kids in a positive way. So I went back to school for my second degree and became a licensed teacher. My first job was a part-time one teaching 7th grade English.

I worked in a neighboring school district and got to experience a different climate altogether. This was a climate that was friendly towards the things of God. Where liberal ideals were not embraced as they were in the district my kids went to. I was refreshed after coming back from this district each day. No school district is perfect, but this was one that was different in what I had experienced and had not thrown out all the things of God. I might add that this school had a completely different climate than the other two; A joyful, functional, not dysfunctional climate like I had experienced in the other school districts.

Later, I received a full-time job working in a different district and I allowed students to use my classroom during lunch to have a student-led Bible study, as have other teachers in the not-so-distant past. The study went on for a couple months and a new superintendent came on staff. He got wind of the Bible study and had it shut down.

This angered me in a way I have never been angered before. I was the one who had to tell the students that they couldn't meet anymore. I had to see the look of utter sadness and disappointment in humanity that came upon the face of the young 8th grade man, who had just prepared a slideshow to show the group. I had to listen to the group say they were going to protest and tell them to respect and obey what the administration had instructed.

It was a sad day and parents were disappointed that their children could no longer meet. The students even went to the superintendent asking him to allow the group to meet again. He refused. The principal, who was unlicensed at the time, went along with his instructions, I suppose knowing she could easily be the next on his hit list if she didn't. She cited 'Separation of Church and State' as his reasoning for shutting down the study. I replied that I didn't think that was the intention of separation of church and state. This was a brave, or stupid, thing to say to an administrator, being a non-tenured teacher.

We later found out that letting the Bible study meet, in my classroom, without my involvement, during the lunch hour, was completely lawful. The Equal Access Act allows a Bible study group to meet as long as there are other groups allowed to meet such as the Native American group, Student Council group and others that met during lunch. What the superintendent did was unlawful and another example of how God has been "systematically removed" from our schools. By the way, the teachers were also instructed by this administration not to address issues in the classroom such as drug abuse and suicide . . "language arts, bell-to-bell" was the directive. No heart or value issues allowed.

Thank you, Mike Huckabee, for calling attention to the current condition of our public schools and for shedding light on the heart of the problem, which is a heart problem.

Here is the link to watch Mr. Huckabee's interview"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

China, Sue and the Dragon Cake

China, Sue and the Dragon Cake

I had the privilege to create a dragon fondant cake for a friend who was celebrating the birthday of their Chinese foreign exchange student. At the time of the birthday party, my friend told me that the Chinese people don't make cakes for birthdays and that this would be a very special thing for her guest. The student they have staying with them was given the name Sue, for ease of pronunciation. She chose the name herself.

Yesterday, I was checking facebook posts, and I stumbled upon something very disturbing. It was a video post of an Asian woman, I can't say if she was Chinese, but that is what I suspect. The woman was physically abusing her infant daughter. I wanted to punch the computer screen and felt completely helpless upon seeing the video. Another person was video taping the act of abuse. There were a few young children standing back observing. The woman hit the infant over the head with a pillow violently as the baby was crying. The baby, of course, continued to cry because of the blows. The baby whimpered and cried some more. The mother or caregiver, whatever she was, hit the baby in the face then pinched its legs while she yelled at it. They baby cried even louder. Then the woman pinched the nose of the baby very hard. The baby tried to reach up to the woman and the woman shoved the baby's arm away and pushed it into the corner. Then she kicked the baby in the stomach and hit it in the face again. The child had no other defense than to turn her head away from the abuse.

I was thankful that the video ended and quickly added my comment to the other horrified viewers. The person who shared the video stated that the mother of the baby and the person who video-taped the incident were put in jail. I was somewhat relieved at hearing that but still horrified. She also stated that the mother was going to try to have the video removed . . I don't know where she got the information, but it was removed shortly after. I sat there and cried for a while.

I thought about how much these type of things go on and we hear about it on the news or read about an incident in the paper or internet, but never actually see it happen . .  right in front of our eyes. When I told my husband, he said that it was probably staged. I told him there is no way it could have been. I said, "You know that this type of thing, and worse, goes on. And you know that a lot of things get video taped with all the technology available . . so why wouldn't we eventually see something like that?" He just nodded.

So this really isn't a post about a dragon cake . . which brings me back to my friend and her foreign exchange student from China. After viewing the disturbing video, I told another friend about the video. This friend shared a little more about the exchange student as she is also friends with the family. She stated that Sue shared that women are not valued in China, something I guess we all knew, and that this birthday celebration . . the cake, presents, guests, food and attention . . is not something that she has ever been accustomed to.

All of this made me think that the acts committed on this horrific video are probably not uncommon occurances. If the value of a female child is so little, this may be actually quite common. We already know of the abortion rates and infanticide of females in this country. And we also know how males are valued over females in China.

I pray for this country. I pray that freedom of religion would come to this country. I pray that underground Christian churches and their values could come to surface and spread the message of love of God and value of human life . . all human life. Please join me in prayer for China and its people.