Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Other names:
Astragalus membranaceous


What to Collect-
When to collect-
Ease of obtaining-

· Short/ Long term use
· Activator Builder Cleanser
A (Above ground parts, bind at cut, dried in shade, chop, store in jars)
B (large roots, cut, dry on newspaper, chop ¼”,)
C (fruits, very wet, hang in cheesecloth drapes)
D (Barks, string on bailing wire and hang)
Form- infusion/tea, decoction, tincture, powder, Poultice, ointment. baths, Salad, stir fry Vitamins-
colds, flu (prevents “homesteading” of viruses in lungs), immune enhancer, warts, anti-viral, diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, diuretic, mild stimulant, adaptogenic, immune stimulant, ant-cancer, hyperthyroid

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The true damage of Porn

You know, God has very good reasons for all His rules. We may not understand them yet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Jesus said, “If you even look at a woman and get aroused you have already committed adultery.” (paraphrase)

Adultery received the death penalty in the Old Testament.

Indeed, lusting after someone deserves hell by God’s account.

Here is an article that discusses the modern result of our porn addicted society (goodness sakes, you can’t drive down the road without seeing naked women everywhere!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Bill of Rights

(This is a continuation of a seris of posts I began some time ago. Click to see my explination of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independance)

Congress of the United Statesbegun and held at the City of New-York, onWednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

[Several states were concerned that the federal government would become too powerful and tyrannical, so as a condition to their passing the constitution, congress was to make certain amendments to it to protect the individual from the government]

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…

[This does not say, “there shall be a firm wall of separation between church and state.” That statement comes from a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson. This amendment says that the federal government cannot force everyone in the country to be Presbyterian, Methodist, or Episcopalian. It does not protect government from religion, but religion from the government. The fact is that no human being is non-religious. Those who claim to be worship themselves or humanity in general. Thus, everyone brings their religion to public office and that religion influences how they behave and what laws they want to pass.]

…or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

[The government is not supposed to have the power to decide who says what. Certain music stars have accused us of violating this when their record sales fell after they made disparaging remarks about George W Bush. That is simply nonsense. Private citizens have the right to spend their money however they want to and if they choose to not support a singer who they disagree with politically that is their right. A violation of this clause would be if Bush had thrown them in jail for their comments.

Some politicians would like to enact the “fairness doctrine” which would force radio stations to give equal time to liberal and conservative talk show hosts. This is a blatant violation of the first amendment. You see, people who listen to the radio talk shows are generally conservative working people. That is why liberals can’t make a profit on talk shows. Since radio stations cant afford to give large amounts of time to liberals for free, this law would force them to take conservatives off the air. The law would not apply to TV or newspapers, which are largely used by liberals and are unprofitable to conservatives.]

…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,…

[We have the legal right to hold peaceful protests and to associate with whoever we want to. During the Revolutionary War, England made it illegal for more than three colonists to be in the same place at the same time, except for church on Sunday morning. Some local governments are violating this clause by trying to end in-home Bible studies. They allow lare groups in homes to watch football games and hold teas and book club meetings, but studying God’s word is illeagle. This also violates the free exercise of religion.]

… and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We have the right to complain; to write our congressman.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

[The first thing any tyranny does is remove the weapons from the citizens so they can’t fight back. The philistines did it to the Israelites in the time of king Saul. Hitler and Mao Se Tang did it to their populations. Tenimen Square would not have happened if those college students had had guns to shoot back. The government would have had to listen to their complaints. As one bumper sticker stated, “Fear the government that fears your guns.”

There is also the practical fact that states with the toughest gun control laws have the highest crime rates. After all, criminals have no problem breaking gun control laws any more than any other law, leaving the law-abiding citizen an unarmed victim. States where a bugler is very likely to find himself looking down the barrel of a 45, don’t have nearly as many robberies. Crooks are evil, not stupid.]

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

[When England sent their army to control the colonists, they forced the average citizen to house and feed their soldiers in their own homes.]

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

[The government does not have the right to send policemen into your home fishing for something illegal. They have to know ahead of time what they are looking for and where it will be and get a judges permission. The courts have ruled that this applies to social workers, too. If they show up at your door, you do not have to let them in unless they have a search warrant.]

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury,…

[The government must give you a trial. They can’t just throw you in jail indefinitely.]

… except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; …

[This does not apply to the military, which needs to function under different rules due to the nature of war.]

…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; …

[Once a person has been tried once for an offence and found not guilty, the government cannot come back and retry him, even if they find more evidence against him. This is to prevent them from keeping those who politicians disagree with out of commission fighting court cases over and over.]

…nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,…

[You can not be forced to say anything against yourself in the witness stand. This is called “pleading the fifth.” The courts have said that it applies to spouses, also. A wife cannot be forced to witness against her hubby and vice versa.]

… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;…

[The government cannot punish you without a proper trial. Unfortunately, they have forgotten this in their enthusiasm for the pursuing the drug war. The federal government now regularly “arrests” property of those they accuse of being drug trafficking and the owners will never see that property again. This law has been used to harass law-abiding citizens who have disagreements with government officials. Since there is never any trial, they have no way to fight back.]

… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

[The government cannot take your land to build a freeway without paying you the value of that land. But who decides what a piece of land or other property is worth? Owners are often paid well under what their land is worth. Also, it is common for the government to declare a piece of land “environmentally sensitive” and force the owner to not use that land (while still paying property taxes, of course). This has forced many a rancher to sell out just plain go bankrupt, only to have the government (Nature Conservancy) turn around and parcel up his land into luxury “ranchettes” sold at a high price. Or the government regularly condemns a perfectly good, low income neighborhood in order to sell the land to business developers who will pay higher taxes than low income citizens will. Many of our officials need a serious refresher course on this amendment.]

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,…

[It was common practice in England to leave the accused in prison for years and never quite get around to holding a trial. Great way to control your enemies without actually having evidence they did anything wrong.]

… by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;…

[In other countries it is not unusual for your to be arrested, tried and imprisoned without ever knowing what you did wrong. Here, the government must tell you what you are being accused of and present evidence of your wrong-doing.]

… to be confronted with the witnesses against him;…

[The accused has the right to sit in the courtroom and hear all the evidence and look the witnesses in the eye and ask them questions. This is to protect the innocent from being railroaded by the government and to lower the risk of mistakes being made.]

… to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, …

[All these laws are stated here because England and other countries were violating these basic rights. It was not uncommon for someone to go to jail because they were not allowed to have someone come and witness for them.]

…and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense….

[You have the legal right to a lawyer. Our system will pay for a lawyer if you can’t afford one and if you don’t like the one appointed to you, you have the right to demand a new one.]

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

[In a lawsuit you can choose to have a jury decide the matter instead of a judge and the court cannot overrule their decision.]

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

[Governments have a bad habit of punishing people more than is reasonable. For example, in the middle ages it was normal for a person to be tortured to death on the rack for shooting a deer to feed his starving family. The punishment should fit the crime. This does not however, mean that inmates have a “right” to TV or any other luxury, though prison officials know people are easier to control when the are veged in front of the “Plug in Drug.”]
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

[“We haven’t thought of all the rights a person should have, so just ‘cause it isn’t written in here doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”]

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

[“If we have not specifically given the Federal government the right to do something in this document, THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MESS WITH IT. It is to be left in the hands of the states or the citizens.” This includes education, retirement, healthcare, and many, many other areas; many of which were discussed in the Constitutional Convention and decided against the feds interfering with. This means that Public Schools are inherently unconstitutional as is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and many other programs our feds are now involved in. In fact, income tax (which was outlawed in ---------- of the constitution) would not be necessary at all if the government wasn’t messing in these areas. That would leave us enough money we could take care of ourselves and wouldn’t need Uncle Sam’s help and would be free form his regulations.]

Friday, September 25, 2009

How Do I Know How Much I Really Need To Live On?

When most families beginning to think about how they could possibly live on one income, they usually take their current income and subtract mamma's money and throw up their hands in defeat. Afterall, "You can't make it on one income these days." Never mind millions of families are doing just that. The mantra from the media is so loud most people really don't realize that their are people out there with stay at home moms anymore. If the media does acknowledge stay at home moms, they make it sound like a privilage of the rich. The fact is that rich families are more likely to have mamma working than poor families.

So what gives? How do you know if you can do it?

First list all your real expenses:

· Rent or mortgage.
· Food
· Utilities
· Clothes
· Gas for errands around town
· Educational expenses

Don't get discouraged. Let's look at these expenses;

· Educational expenses; You wouldn't have daycare costs of course. For any older children, strongly consider homeschooling. I have heard of several families that found out that homeschool was cheaper than "free" public school by the time they figured in book fees, gym fees, band fees, bus fees, and keeping their children fashionably clothed enough they didn't get beat up.
· Remember you won't need commuting gas anymore. Nor will your car need tires, brakes or tuneups as often. You only have to account for hubby's commuting gas and errands, maybe a little extra for fun stuff.You may consider selling any vehicles that have payments still on them and buying used cars with cash.
· Clothes; Work clothes cost more than stay at home clothes. When I am home, a cheap skirt or jeans or sweat pants with a T-shirt will do. At work you need "nice" clothes which come with a "nice" price. Also children in daycare need better clothes than children at home, as do children in school.
· There are often some things you can do to reduce utilities too, though utilities may go up a bit. Right now you are paying to heat your own home and, through daycare fees, lower wages, or taxes, paying to heat your place of employment and your children's daytime homes. You will have to make this up when everyone is at home. On the other hand, more bodies in the house all days will generate more heat than an empty building.
· Food; Stay at home moms have the ability to cook more foods from scratch not only providing healthier meals but cheaper ones, too. For example, a loaf of one-hundred-percent whole wheat bread will cost two to four dollars at the store. I can make the same loaf at home using healthier honey and butter (instead of sugar and hydrogenated oils) for about fifty cents. Also, a stay at home mom isn't going out to lunch with the girls every day, nor having to contribute to office gifts and parties.
· Rent; I know I am talking about your home, but you may have to choose between that nice house and what is best for your children. You may have to downsize. But think about it this way; right now you are paying for space that isn't used the vast majority of the time. Everyone is gone to work and school all day instead. If you are home, even in a smaller home, you will be using more of the square footage and getting more of your money's worth out of your home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do the Christian Anti-homeschoolers have a leg to stand on?

I received these letters through an email list I am on. I am sure the author of the second letter would not object to me posting his letter and I have deleted all personal information from the first letter. It could have been written by any Christian public school teacher.

(Written in response to an article written by the second man)
Dear ________,

Public education has some very serious problems. One that is common in many areas of our fair land is the decreasing enrollment at city schools, largely because of the popular exodus to the suburbs.

To provide examples of city systems' unfortunate attempts to lure students back, and characterize these as representative of all government schools is patently wrong! Our suburban [Big City, USA] school district is "NOT" controlled by the teachers' union. [Our State] is an "open shop" state, which means that "teachers may choose" NOT to join. My guess is that about half are not members. I do know, also that half of the teachers in the Science department (where I teach) are practicing Christians. We cannot espouse Christianity, obviously, but we DO teach the many fallacies of the Theory of Evolution in the required process of explaining it to students.

Our school has a very active Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization, and a strong representation of Christian students in the halls, as well as many committed Christian parents in the PTA and on the school board. If you would look for more such school systems, I am certain that you could find many. I can't believe that we are unique in America!

This is why I am dismayed that you continue to advocate abandoning our public schools to build more Christian schools, or home school all Christian children. Many fine Christian parents cannot afford to home school, or pay tuition for Christian school. To label them sinners is to ignore James' requirement to show no favoritism to the wealthy. "And yet you insult the poor man!" James 2:6.

You need to take your nose out of the newspaper, and begin reading God's Word! There is nothing new under the Sun. In Psalms 11 and 12 David says, "I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, 'Fly to the mountains for safety!?'...the Lord still rules from heaven. Those who do right will see His face. Therefore, Lord, we know that you will protect the oppressed, preserving them from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land."

"What is our pastor is teaching us about the deplorable conditions in America, today, in politics, entertainment, and education?" He is teaching us from God's Word not from the newspapers! The reason that our nation has fallen so far from being a Christian nation is because God's people are content to withdraw from society, and point their fingers at how bad everyone is out there!

Our responsibility as Christ's witnesses is to befriend the unsaved, lead them to Him, and to do the best we can to bring light to the darkness around us. We cannot do that, if we expend all of our efforts complaining. Satan is quite pleased when he can cause Christians to promote strife within the Church. He is even more emboldened when he causes us to abandon a whole mission field! This is what your rhetoric is doing!

And, yes, our children can be part of the positive influence in this sinful world, IF Christian parents and churches do their job in preparing them, daily, to meet the challenge. "Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world!"

I will share one example of Christian students providing positive input, and even personal testimonies, in class. (They CAN do this. Teachers are prohibited from professing Christ.) Yet, your divisive dictum would remove these students from all public schools!

Since I am high school chemistry teacher, most of my students have already endured over ten years of public education, including the full complement of Darwinism, atheism, and "gender-neutralism". Nevertheless, student responses to my research paper on cosmology run four to one in favor of an intelligently designed universe. Many students included personal testimonies of their faith in their position. One student wrote: "There has never been a doubt in my mind that the world we live in was formed by the Holy Spirit Himself. I do not deny that many tangible things can be explained using scientific law and numbers, but what about the intangible things? Emotions, coincidences, thoughts, and dreams, these things cannot be explained using equations.

"I believe that God created the earth we live on as the Bible tells us. I don't believe He controls every step we take in this life: He gave us minds to think independently. But, I do believe that His presence is evident in every sunrise and sunset and that we all possess some kind of connection to Him."

I was moved by the depth of this young lady's faith, aware as I was of her recent tragic loss of a close friend to suicide! Is it "sinful" to expose her unbelieving classmates to her testimony? I think not! Her parents, and those of students with similar testimonies, obviously take their Christian parenting responsibilities seriously!

Does scripture provide any examples of parents teaching their young children God's way and then releasing them in God's hands to a worldly education? Moses and Daniel are first to come to mind, two of the most celebrated men of God in the Old Testament. Oh, but they were "chosen of God" for His specific purposes, right? Well, Revelation 17:14, Ephesians 1:11, and 1 Corinthians 1:27 (LOOK THEM UP!) tell us very plainly that WE are His chosen. So, why don't we act like it? In the conclusion of his depressing tome, "Slouching Towards Gomorrah; Modern Liberalism and American Decline", Robert H. Bork places the responsibility for saving our nation's Judeo-Christian culture directly in the lap of the conservative Church. "Because it is a grass roots movement, the new religious conservatism can alter the culture both by electing local officials and school boards (which have greater effects on culture than do national politicians), and by setting a moral tone in opposition to today's liberal relativism. We have allowed [America's intellectual and moral] capital to be severely damaged, but perhaps not beyond repair. As we approach its desolate and sordid precincts, the pessimism of the intellect tells us that Gomorrah is our probable destination. What is left to us is a determination not to accept that fate and the courage to resist it - the optimism of the will."

If a secular historian can see that we need to step up and be a light to our land, how much more readily should we see the need and be willing to fulfill our responsibility! Stop all of this nay-saying such as Joshua and Caleb faced at the entrance to the promised land, and TRUST IN CHRIST to provide the victory! May Christ be proclaimed throughout the land!

Dear Mr. ---------,

This is the second time you have sent me what is essentially the same email message. I also see that you have emailed an additional response to someone in the form of an attachment, although I have not had the time to read it.

In any event, thank you for writing. I assume that you are well-intentioned. Unfortunately, as a friend of mine once pointed out, when you put good people in a bad institution, the institution usually wins.

Although some years ago I used to receive letters making some of the arguments contained in your note, these arguments have by now taken on something of a museum quality, and I seldom see them seriously advanced any more.

You, nevertheless, believe that they have merit. Consequently, I will respond briefly.

The presupposition that underlies you entire argument is that Christian parents have no obligation as Christians not to place their children under false teaching. This proposition only needs to be stated to be recognized as obviously false.

While there are a great many verses from the Bible that make it clear that the education of children must be based on God's Word rather than the tenets of some pagan faith, the outline of what the Bible has to say can be limned quite easily.

First, the Bible enjoins us as parents to train our children up in the Word, not just in the bits and snatches of time left to us by anti-Christian educational institutions, but all of the time. [see, e.g. Ephesians 6:4 and Deut. 6:6-9].

Why? The Bible is clear about this, too. As Proverbs 23:7 points out, how we think will determine who we are. [See, also, Proverbs 22:6]. Christ Himself explicitly connects how we are trained up and how we think in Luke 6:40, where He tells us that a student is not above his teacher and that when he is fully trained a student will be like his teacher.

Occasionally one still hears Christian parents and pastors who are trying to justify our government school habit claim that government schools are somehow "neutral". This is a myth. Education is never "neutral". All education is based upon and inculcates a worldview and a metaphysics, which is to say that all education is religious. Christ, of course, points out explicitly there is no neutrality with respect to Him: we are either for Him or against Him; we either gather with Him or we scatter.[see Matt. 12:30]

To your credit, you admit that you and your Christian colleagues cannot proclaim the lordship of Christ in your suburban school in [Our State]. This is the case in every government school, whether it is urban, suburban, or rural, and has been the case for over two generations as a result of rulings by the United States Supreme Court that have been enforced with a vengeance through legislation and regulation.

Ironically, unlike a majority of today's Christians, secular humanists, New Agers, and others clearly understand that a government school education is not neutral. Joe R. Burnet, for example, an editor of the Humanist Magazine, has written that "Public education is the parochial education for scientific humanism." Similarly, Charles F. Potter, a signer of the first Humanist Manifesto, wrote in 1930 "...every public school is a school of humanism. What can the Theistic Sunday school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teachings?"

In the last 25 years New Agers have also been very successful in bring their religious views into the classroom using curricula and programs such as "Pumsy", which alone has been used in 40% of the nation's elementary schools.The fact that in many parts of the country - including suburban and rural areas - many teachers and other school employees, parents, and school board members claim to be Christians doesn't change the fact that government schools in their curricula, policies, and programs are opposed to Christ and the truths of the Bible. In effect, even in "good" suburban schools", the schools as institutions deny Christ and treat Christianity as if it were some sort of South Seas cargo cult.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Bible makes clear that we are not to willingly place our children under false teaching - and there is no support at all in the Bible for deliberately delegating the education of our children to pagan institutions - most parents, pastors, and Christian government school employees oddly claim that doing so makes no difference in the spiritual or moral lives of children.

As already pointed out, however, secular humanists and others would view such claims by pastors, parents, and school employees not only as patently ridiculous, but also as profoundly helpful to the cause of secular humanism.

So, in addition to the disagreement between the two of us, we also have a disagreement between Christians who render their children to government schools and the secular humanists and others who control the government schools as an institution regarding the influence of government schools .

Interesting though this may be, the practical questions for the Body of Christ are these: Will God bless the disobedience of parents in the education of their children? Will God bless His church if it condones such practices?

Now, I note that it discomfits you that I "have my nose in the newspapers", as you put it. In point of fact, in addition to the Bible, I "have my nose" in scholarly journals, studies, books, magazines, and other forms of media that report on what government schools are doing and how they affect children. I also speak with many current and former government school employees. I do this because God reveals himself not only through special revelation, but also through general revelation. Christ is Lord of all creation, not merely of the Bible and the real estate within the walls of our church buildings.

Indeed, Christ explicitly commands us to be empirical. As He tells us in Luke 6:43-44, for example, good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit - and we will know a tree by its fruit. So, I am, in what spare time I have, simply a humble fruit inspector because we all have an obligation to examine the fruit of our actions and beliefs in all areas of our lives.

So, what is the fruit of our government school habit? Disobedience by Christian parents in the education of their children is now a multigenerational problem. It is quite clear that spiritually and morally government schools have been incrementally destroying our children and our culture generation by generation. We have now reached the point that various ministries and Christian organizations report that within two years or so of leaving high school between 50% and 88% of children who profess to be Christian cease attending church. Overall church attendance and the percentage of people who profess Christianity have been declining. Once orthodox denominations are now utterly apostate.

But we have far more direct evidence of the effect on our children of disobedience in their education. In 2006, Barna Research did a study and found that fully 61% of 20-somethings who had been part of church life in their teens were now "spiritually disengaged": that is; they are not attending church; they are not reading the Bible; and, they are not praying. This gives the lie to those who try to claim that the fall off in church attendance by teens and young adults is just a reflection of having failed to find a "suitable" church. What this shows, instead, is that they are going in the way they have been trained up in government schools. But this data merely begins to reveal the depth of the consequences of our government school habit. Barna has also repeatedly surveyed teens who profess evangelical Christianity regarding what they actually believe. After all, we all know that some non-Christians attend church and some people who are Christians do not always attend church. Not surprisingly, Barna's results also make it clear that God does not bless disobedience in the education of children.

Barna found in a 2000 survey that, for example: (1) while 86% of teens claimed to be Christian only 33% said that they were "absolutely committed" to Christianity, (2) 53% believe that Christ sinned while on earth, and (3) 60% believed that salvation can be earned through works. In 2001 Barna reported that only about 9% of evangelical teenagers believe that there is any such thing as absolute moral truth, even though the percentage of adults in their parents' and grandparents' generations that believe in absolute moral truth was many times higher.

There is a great deal more evidence and analysis that could be provided, but I would suggest that if someone thinks Christ was a sinner, that salvation is by works, and that there is no absolute moral truth, then he is not a Christian. In fact, I would argue that denying the existence of absolute moral truth alone would make it impossible for someone to be a Christian. This, in turn, would mean that most teens who profess to be Christians really aren't, no matter whether they wear "WWJD" bracelets or not, whether they pray around flagpoles at school or not, or whether they attend a youth group or not. Interestingly, a secular academic study, the National Study of Youth and Religion ("NSYR"), came exactly to this conclusion. The research was lead by a sociologist, Dr. Christian Smith, and is the largest study ever done on the religious beliefs of American teens. The results of the study have been published in book form by Oxford University press under the title Soul Searching.What did the NSYR find? Among other things, Dr. Smith noted to his surprise that not only did teens who professed Christianity have virtually no grasp of the fundamental tenets of Christianity, the teens were actually adherents of a new religion that the researchers characterized as "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism." In this worldview, God exists as something of a cosmic butler who is there to get you out of trouble, but who otherwise stays out of the way. Rather than 10 Commandments, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has one fundamental commandment: "Be nice."

What the findings of NSYR, Barna Research, the Nehemiah Institute, the SBC, and others reflect more than anything else is the theological influence of the government school system upon multiple generations. When for at least several generations Christian parents have been rendering their children to a pagan institution that inculcates moral relativism masquerading as "tolerance", sexual promiscuity masquerading as "safe sex", the values of the sodomite lifestyle masquerading as "anti-bullying"and "diversity" training, metaphysical materialism masquerading as "science", and various forms of statism masquerading as "social justice", it is not surprising that the systematic data indicate that today's children (and undoubtedly many of their parents) who profess to be Christian really are not. Moreover, it is also not surprising that children institutionalized in government schools overwhelmingly support sodomite "marriage" and adoption, as well as other aspects of the homosexual agenda, by the time they reach 18. I could continue discussing the moral and spiritual pathologies fostered by government education, but those can easily be found by anyone interested in the facts.

Of course, the exit through which many defenders of government education attempt to flee when confronted with what is really going on in the government school system is the now risible claim that "our school is different." In a trivial sense every school is "different", but the serious question is whether the school is different in any sense relevant to a Christian.

By law no government school can be for Christ. Those laws are vigorously enforced today even to the point of renaming Christmas and Easter vacations, banning Christmas pageants, and eliminating virtually every other form of recognition of Christianity. As you well know, teachers and other school employees are also threatened with discipline and job loss if they proclaim the name of Jesus. At best, Christianity in government schools is treated as the Romans treated the gods of subjugated peoples - they got a place in the Pantheon along with all the other foreign gods, but this was all contingent on the subject people's paying homage to the "real god" - the Roman state.

But why does the "our schools are different" claim have superficial plausibility? You allude to it in your brief mention of "city schools". In fact, suburban and urban schools have a codependent relationship. The suburban school districts point to the higher visible levels of crime in inner-city schools and their lower levels of academic achievement as a means of persuading suburban parents that their schools are good.

There are two key problems with these claims. First, while inner-city schools suffer more crime of the sort that is often hard to conceal (e.g. assaults), virtually all school districts actively try to deceive the public about levels of crime and disciplinary problems in their schools.

Repeated surveys of "school resource officers", which is a euphemism for school police, have reported that roughly 90% of school districts under-report crime and disciplinary problems. Audits of required reporting by school districts on these matters have uniformly shown that the level of under-reporting is massive. Moreover, when you talk to "resource officers" off-the-record they will tell you that the under-reporting is greatest at the "good" schools. Why? Because district officials need to maintain the political support of middle and upper-middle class parents. To be sure, in the "good" schools the under-reported crimes are not so much things like brawls in lunch rooms; rather, they tend to be drug offenses, property crimes, and sexual offenses of varying kinds. In fact, the "school resource officers" will tell you that it is the relative affluence of the children in the "better" schools that makes the drug problem more serious in the "better" schools than in the stereotypical inner-city school.

On the academic side, there is no question that children in suburban schools like yours do better academically than children in inner-city schools. There are various reasons for this, but the question that is ignored is this: why are inner-city schools the relevant benchmark for assessing a school's academic performance? A little reflection and research would indicate that comparisons with inner-city schools are used intentionally as distractions to direct attention away from far more relevant comparisons, much as a sleight of hand artist uses irrelevant hand and body motions to direct attention away from what is really happening.

Every international comparison of math and science performance of US students with students in other industrialized countries shows the same thing: the longer a student is in government school the worse he does in relation to his international peers. By the time our students are in the 12th grade they are at or near the bottom in achievement.The public education lobby attempts to soften this blow by taking advantage of parents', school employees', and others' credulity and unfamiliarity with statistics and test design by making ridiculous claims such as "but we try to educate everyone" (as if the British and Germans, for example, don't) or "we have minorities in our schools" (which plays to ignorance about the demographics in Europe today).

Never mentioned is the fact that when our "advanced" science and math students, who are typically from suburban schools, are compared with their peers in other industrialized countries they do even worse than our students taken as a whole.

If the systematic data seems a bit lifeless to you, I suggest that you go to YouTube and watch the segments posted there of Two Million Minutes. This is a documentary produced by a Tennessee technology entrepreneur that follows six high school students from good schools, two each from the US, India, and China, to illustrate why even our best students in prestigious public schools are being left behind academically.

Your claim that your schools are not "controlled" by the NEA because [Our State] is an open shop state and only about 50% of the teachers in the state belong to the NEA misses what matters.

Local control of schools in any meaningful sense has been dead for a very long time. School boards today have very little autonomy. To illustrate: the official theology of the schools was federalized through the Everson decision in 1947; school discipline was federalized beginning in the 1970's; innumerable policies regarding allocation of school resources are made at the state and federal level; testing is mandated at the state and federal levels (and, of course, that means that the same bureaucrats in state agencies and the DOE that design the tests effectively control the scope and sequence of what gets taught in local districts); and, textbooks are designed by the educrats in the universities for publishers whose main focus is qualifying their books for sale in California and Texas (I assume you know that smaller states have almost no input in textbook design).

Local "control" today means little more than being able to choose textbooks from an approved list compiled by a state agency, choosing the color of new "environmentally sustainable" carpets, and, what really matters, being able to direct the massive school district cashflows to various constituencies in the government education coalition of special interests.

By the way, the teachers' unions have more field operatives than the two major political parties combined. If roughly half of the teachers in [Our State] belong to these organizations, the local clout of the unions is enormous, your open shop law notwithstanding.

Having cleared away in a preliminary manner a few misconceptions, let us turn to your central complaint regarding me - that I want to remove the "salt and light" from government schools and that by advocating Christian education I am favoring the wealthy.

First, we do not advocate that all Christians leave the government school system. For fully discipled adults who have the courage to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ the government schools can be an appropriate mission field. For children, however, the evidence is clearly that government schools are a spiritual, moral, and intellectual killing field. This is not surprising because, as previously noted, when we place children under false teaching we are being disobedient to God's Word, and the fruit of that sin is exactly what one would expect.

Moreover, to suggest that Christian children should be sent to government schools to do the work of evangelization that adults are afraid to do is profoundly wrong. There could be no starker contrast in conviction than that between the courage of Peter and John in Acts 4 when they refused to bow to the demand of the authorities that they stop teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus and the attitude of most Christian government school employees who deny Christ by conforming to the demands of the government schools not to teach and preach in the name of Jesus.

Please don't think I am being critical of all government school employees. Many government school employees across the country homeschool or have their children in Christian schools. Theirs is an excellent witness to parents in their churches and to the parents whose children are in their schools. I know a Christian superintendent who counseled parents to remove their children from his own district's schools, not because they weren't "better" than [Certain Big city] or [Another Big City] schools, but because they were, like every government school, Christ dishonoring. Many other Christian teachers show their faith by evangelizing in the schools and refusing to participate in the defilement of children involved in teaching the degenerate curricula that pass for "sex education", "safe sex" programs, etc.

But worse than expecting 9 year-olds to do the evangelism that adults are afraid to do, there is no surer way to lead children into sin that by placing them under false teaching. If we educate, or advocate educating, Christian children in a God dishonoring pagan institution how can we possibly think we will not be held accountable? Christ makes it absolutely clear that anyone leading children into sin will pay a horrible price, see Matthew 18:6.

Apart from these considerations, why should we assume that government schools are normative? In fact, the sort of government school system that we have today is a relatively recent historical development. During the colonial and the antebellum periods, Christian education was the norm. In fact, Alexis de Toqueville commented in a footnote in his "Democracy in America" that education in America was everywhere in the hands of the Protestant clergy. But more to the point, if all parents who profess to be Christian removed their children from government schools tomorrow to provide them with a Christian education, Christian education would again become the norm.

As for your assertion regarding my favoring the "rich," you're presenting a mare's nest of confusion. What is "rich"? Do we have an obligation to be obedient when it might be difficult? What is the true financial cost of education? What is the spiritual cost? Education is not a function of money. Americans in the early American Republic were better educated on average than they are today. Visitors from Europe commented on this, and even liberal academics such as Henry Steele Commager have written about it. If you doubt it, read the Second McGuffey's Reader in the 1836 edition or The Federalist Papers. Very few first second or third grade students would be able to decode McGuffey, and very few adults would be able to get through The Federalist Papers, even though they were just newspaper articles.Nothing used by the government schools today has spiritual or moral content, let alone intellectual content, comparable to McGuffey.

Yet, ironically, the children for whom that was a standard textbook lived in what today would be considered unimaginable material "poverty". In those days, even children from well-to-do families lived in homes without electric lights, indoor plumbing, or central air or heat, and certainly had medical care that in most instances was probably no better than - or even worse than - no care at all. Most Christians today have sufficient resources to provide their children with a Christian education if they are willing to reorder their priorities. Of course, they might have to drive older cars, live in smaller houses, take fewer vacations, do less shopping, watch less TV, and spend more time with their children.

In my urban area, tuition at Christian schools runs from about $3,500 to $6,000. Distance learning programs are even less. If our churches were to begin to assume their proper role in education, the costs could be even less.

While these schools and programs are affordable for many, they would certainly be much more so if the government school special interests weren't systematically picking the pockets of parents in order to finance their grossly wasteful pagan institutions. Indeed, no misconception better illustrates how our understanding of education has been distorted by the absurd propaganda constantly spread by the government school special interests than the now common belief that equates quality education with expenditures or ability to pay high tuition.

I am sure you know that many Christian parents with relatively low incomes in the United States sacrifice so that they can afford the modest tuition charged at many Christian private schools. Unfortunately, most Christians, especially the comfortable suburban ones, "know" that such schools must be somehow inferior to the brick palaces in which they institutionalize their children. Academic achievement data don't support these beliefs, but no one is much concerned with facts when the government school establishment regularly tells middle and upper-middleclass parents what they want to hear.

But looked at from a worldwide perspective, these parents whom we consider to be "sacrificing" are almost inconceivable wealthy by the economic standards of developing countries, and the education their children receive is quite expensive. Unknown to virtually all Americans and others in the developed world, many poor parents in the developing world, the genuinely poor - unlike the overweight, air-conditioned, plasma TV-watching so-called "poor" of America - are paying tuition to rescue their children from public schools. This story is chronicled in "The Beautiful Tree," a book written by James Tooley, a World Bank researcher. Assigned to research private schools in India, Tooley by chance wandered into the slums of Hyderabad's Old City. To his astonishment, he found a flourishing network of private schools - "a private school on almost every street corner, just as in the richer parts of the city" - serving the children of day laborers and rickshaw pullers.

Moreover, these schools were supported by tuition, not charity. In time this led Tooley to discover that such schools could be found all over the developing world - from China to African shanty towns. Parents living in shelters with corrugated tin roofs who could send their children to free government schools were choosing to pay tuition so that their children could get a better education.

A better education? Yes, a better education. An analysis of testing of 24,000 children in 5 countries found that even after adjusting for background achievement among these private school students "...were significantly higher, in every country studied and on every measure used, than in public schools." In many cases these results were being achieved on a total tuition cost of between $10 and $20 per year.

Similarly, contrary to your claim, homeschooling is inexpensive and is practiced by families of all incomes, as well as by single parents and families where both parents work. Homeschool families are generally families of median income, with "minoritiy families" constituting the fastest growing demographic and representing about 15% of the total number of homeschool families. Although the average homeschooling family spends about $500 per year per student on curriculum and related materials, because of the internet, ebook readers, and the wide availability of inexpensive homeschool curriculum, homeschooling can be done for next to nothing. It can certainly be done for less out-of-pocket expense than the out-of-pocket expenses in the form of fees, transportation, and other expenses often involved in attending government schools.

Of course, it does require a parent who is willing to give his children a few hours a week during the day or in the evening, but that, again, is almost always a question of spiritual priorities.

Interestingly, despite the low cost of homeschooling, no study has ever shown that government schools promote literacy as well as homeschooling - and this is true even when the performance of low income homeschool families and low educational attainment homeschool families is examined.

But more important is the fact that all of the available data show that Christian homeschooled children retain their faith at exceptionally high rates. This should not be surprising if one believes that God blesses obedience.

To the extent that a family has genuine difficulty providing a Christian education, our churches need to reprioritize so that they can help. No one can deny that our churches have space that sits empty nearly all of the time or claim that we lack people in our congregations who can tutor and teach. If a pastor thinks that Christian education is "divisive" or unnecessary, he should find another line of work.

You began your first email to me by comparing me and others like me to Chicken Little. If a comparison with the beasts of the earth or the fowls of the air is called for, I would suggest that it would be more apt to compare parents (and their enablers) who willing offer up their children to the Moloch of government schools with the ostrich in Job 39:13-16:The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork's? For she leaves her eggs on the ground, and warms them in the dust; She forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may break them. She treats her young harshly as though they were not hers.

I began by saying I would respond briefly. And, indeed, this note is brief if you consider that I have published hundreds of pages on this topic and that misconceptions, no matter how innocently held, require some effort to sort through.

We cannot claim to be doers of the word rather than mere hearers if we are unwilling to be obedient concerning the education of our children - God's heritage to us.

Martin Luther, a better theologian than either of us, understood the peril of unequally yoking Christian children with Godless schools. As Luther put it, "I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth." America, along with the rest of what once was called "Christendom", seems "hell bent" on proving Luther right.

Let me finish on this note. I come from a family of public school teachers, attended public schools, have taught school teachers during "in-service" programs, know and correspond with many current and former government school employees, and have even done a little lecturing in government schools.

I know that more than a few teachers and administrators are beside themselves over what government school have become and are becoming. I have met others who, though well-meaning, simply haven't found the time or had the inclination to think seriously about these matters. Plainly, it can be difficult for all of us who were raised in government schools to see the institution clearly. But, as Christians, we have an absolute obligation to measure all things by Scripture and to regulate our conduct accordingly. For all of us this takes time and is a process that never ends, but we have a duty to make the effort.

God's peace be with you,
Dr. Bruce N. Shortt

I Can't Afford To Stay Home.

I once got a dog to guard my house. He decided to take to the life of roaming the neighborhood. No matter what we did we could not keep him at home. We ended up getting rid of him because we saw no good in feeding a guard dog that was never home to guard the house.

A woman who is not home can not "guard," the home any more than that dog could.

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3

Have you ever realized those last words are there? I didn't until I read Debi Pearl's excellent book, Created to be His Help Meet.

The scripture says for older women to teach younger women to be keepers at home so God's word is not blasphemed! Women NOT keeping home blasphemes the Bible. OUCH!

It doesn't say for the aged women to teach the domestically inclined to be keepers at home. It doesn't say for the aged women to teach those that want to to be, to be keepers at home. It doesn't even say for them to teach those with small children to be keepers at home. It says for the aged women to teach the younger women-period- to be keepers at home.

I have heard women say that they are working outside the home so that if their husbands were killed, disabled, or left them they would have a way to support themselves. This doesn't make sense. "I am getting a job today and putting my child into inferior daycare (any care that is less than mommy care is inferior) so that should my husband die or leave a year, or five, or twenty from now I will have a job."

What? This makes no sense. Why not use the benefit today of having a husband to support you to care for your child while trusting that should the unimaginable happen, God will give you a job then? If you have real reason to believe that you will loose your husband early (illness, dangerous job, strange women calling and asking for his clothes sizes, etc.) then focus on finding and building a home business now while you have resources to live on and care for your own children yourself. Even if you can't start a home business, you will be better off financially if you loose your hubby if you are already used to living on one income. If you are in the habit of having two incomes and he dies on you, you have NO WAY to earn more money. You are stuck and will likely loose your home soon after loosing you soul-mate. If you are used to living on one income and you loose hubby, you can get a job and at least have a shot at keeping your home. And you won't have to lower your standard of living nearly as much. Truth be told, the best resource you can invest in for your future is your children anyway. If you care for them now they will care for you later. Studies have shown that the better your children do in this life the better retirement you will have.

Studies have also shown that two income families are more likely to divorce than mom-at-home families. So staying home may be one thing that you can do make sure you never BECOME a single parent.

I have also heard the excuse "We can't afford for me not to work." Poppycock. If you are living in a one room studio apartment, over a convenience store, with five children, and your husband walks to work because you do not have a car, but have running water, flush toilets, heat of some kind, clothes on your backs and food in your mouths, then you are still way ahead of most of the planet. You are still very blessed materially. If you have more than that, you are RICH and are working in order to maintain your standard of living, not to survive. You do not NEED a three bedroom house in the suburbs with three cars, computer, fashionable clothes and fast food on the corner. These are wants, not needs. (Note here- I live in a three bedroom home in the 'burbs. God has blessed us with the resources to afford this even on only one income, though we have lived in far less circumstances. I believe God has rewarded us for our faithfulness to His word.) If your family really valued your womanhood, (the part created in the image of God, not the part you are trying to create in the image of man), they would not mind lowering their standard of living. What is more important? A big fancy house or the best care in the world for your children? Fashionable clothes or nourishing food? Toys galore or a Real Home? This is the richest country the world has EVER seen. Bottom line...Any healthy American couple that really wants Mamma home can find a way to afford it.

Now, if anyone is still reading after that very harsh paragraph, the fact is that it costs money to work (daycare, work and school clothes, convenience foods, additional taxes, extra car expenses, extra gas, office parties and gifts, etc). Many, many women have set down and figured out how much it costs and discovered their families would be ahead if they quit. Many others discovered that they were only actually brining home a few hundred dollars above what work was costing and felt it more than worth it to "tighten the belt" a little. Still others have stepped out on faith and gone ahead and quit work trusting God to supply. Within a short time, their husband would get a job or promotion earning the same or even MORE than they were earning together before. Others of us, He has given a double dose of creativity to learn how to live very cheaply and/or make up the difference with work at home.

The thing is, if we obey God, He will supply. We probably can't see how He will, but He will. If you stand on faith that He has said in His word that a woman has more important things to do than to earn mere money, He will provide for all your needs through His riches in glory.

“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Matthew 6:8

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24

“The aged women ...teach the young women to be ...keepers at home... that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

How much do you really need to live?

stay-at-home-mom, life, Bible,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It was that time of year again...vacation!

(This is an article I wrote several years ago. I thought you might enjoy reading it.)

With seven children, this can be quite an adventure.

First of all, we do not have a TV in our van and wouldn't take one if you offered it. We think the children need to learn to entertain themselves and enjoy the scenery. Besides, my observation is that the more TV a child watches the more selfish they behave. Selfishness does not make for a good vacation for anyone.

The first order of business is to get our housing ready. Hotel bills for this large of a family are more than a little, shall we say, uncomfortable. Besides, camping is more fun and can double as one long science field trip (we homeschool). Most of our vacations are the drive all day and sight-see then camp for the night kind.

“Let's see, we need to get the tent out.”

Several years ago we went camping with four children and two small tents. After I got up in the middle of the night to take care of the toddler and tripped over a boulder (no moon), my husband planned a new stop for the next day; Wal-Mart. He bought the biggest tent they had. This mansion-in-a-bag is 10x15 and divides into three rooms; one for boys, one for girls and the middle one for mom and dad; or it can be one big living room. Just the thing for us. So our first step in preparing for vacation is to get the tent out, set it up and make sure it is all there. This requires team work from everybody.

“Joy(14), you and Joe(6) put in that post. Jim(11) and Jon(8) do the other one. You have to lift together, or it will fall over. Ready, one, two, three, lift!”

Our children have learned through this and other projects how to work together very well.

In no time at all the tent is up. Since it is up anyway, we get all the bedding and pretend to be setting up our camp site. Every child has a foam pad to go under their sleeping bag to neutralize the rocks, a sleeping bag proper, a fuzzy (polar fleece) bag to use as a light blanket when it is warm and to increase the warmth of the big sleeping bag when it is cold, a pillow and a sleeping buddy. Yes, I let my boys play with stuffed animals and dolls. I don't worry about their masculinity in the least. I think it has something to do with the fact that their animals and dolls are constantly performing commando raids, war maneuvers, rescue missions and getting into all sorts of very macho trouble. Nothing feminine there.

Add a small playpen for the baby, and it is all set up.

“O.K. Now take it all down and put it in the van.”

Joy and I start rolling up bags and tossing pillows out the door. The middles (four to eight plus the help of the babies who are one and two) take things to the van as soon as we have them at the door. Jim sorts things where they go; sleeping buddies and pillows to each chair, the sleeping bags behind the back seat. He stacks them in the order he receives them in; fuzzy bags, sleeping bags, playpen, pads, tent.

“Great! You guys did a good job on that. Now, put it all back up.”

We reassemble the whole camp site. Everyone puts the tent up then Jim takes things out of the back and hands them to the middles who hand them to Joy and me. Then back down and into the van in reverse order of what we will need to set it back up again. The first time we did this, my husband got out of the van after the long drive and grimaced at the tent.

“I guess we had better figure this out and get it up.”

“Honey, you are tired. After all you have worked all day by driving. Sit down and have a coke. The kids and I will put the tent up.”

“Are you sure?”


From the look on his face I know he was expecting a real stressful next hour. Boy was he surprised. Fifteen minutes flat, sleeping bags neatly laid out everything neat as a pin and everyone happily ready for the next adventure on the list.

Next step; pack the clothes. This will be a two week trip, but there is no way on earth I can fit two weeks worth of clothes for nine people plus camping gear into my twelve passenger van. So I plan for about four days worth of clothes. We will stop at laundrymats as the need arises anyway to deal with the couple of bed-wetters I still have. Adding clothes won't take much more time. I just have to remember to get the big bag to hold all the dirties.

I have packed clothes two different ways. When my oldest was young, I would make up a list of what everyone would need such as Three t-shirts, five pair of underwear, three pairs of shorts, etc. Then I would get a backpack for each child and tell them Go get three shirts. They would bring them to me and I would pack them in the correct bags making sure everyone had everything they needed. Now that I have older ones, I write up separate lists for each of them (or let my oldest write her's) and let them get their own while I get the babies' stuff. My two oldest do good and I don't even bother checking their stuff. The middle ones get their own and I count to make sure they have everything they need (extra changes for those that still have accidents). My wonderful teenager often helps get the babies' clothes.

There, all packed.

Clothes bags, no more than one per person, go under each person's assigned seat in the van. No switching around during vacation.

I am a firm believer in cloth diapers... except on vacation. Those nice disposables go just under the seat closest to the side door with a box of disposable wipes and a large changing pad. At diaper changing time, I stand outside and lay the pad on the floor of the van. This makes the perfect height for a changing table. Add a trash bag and I have everything I need right there.

I love to potty train on vacation. We take a potty seat with a lid and disposable trainers (Pull Ups). The potty seat doubles as emergency facilities for other children as well. It has saved me many a trip to the pit-pot of a camp ground in the middle of the night. Four year olds are notorious for needing to go at around 9:30 p.m.

On vacation, eating and drinking are on a very regular schedule so nature's calls are also. This allows us to plan our stops according to a schedule. We stop every couple of hours and then everyone goes whether they need to or not. This prevents having to stop every twenty minutes. The only time it didn't was when Jessie (now four) was potty training. She was so intrigued by the novelty of having a potty in the car she had to stop six times in the first half hour. Thankfully she went to sleep after that or we never would have got out of our county! By the time we get home, the toddler knows full well how to use the pot for everything.

I assign buddies, older ones to help younger ones. My fourteen year old helps the one year old, my eleven helps my two, my eight helps my four and my six watches out for himself. I shepherd the whole group. Hubby drives, plans and guides to the neat stuff. This way getting in and out of the van is much faster. Everyone helps one other person and the assigned seats are assigned in such a way to make loading up as fast as possible. Buddies help with all the vacation chores of the little ones as well as holding hands going into stores and restaurants. For tourist attractions, fairs and the like we either use three strollers (one for each baby and one for stuff), or a big green garden wagon. The wagon sits on our luggage rack attatched to the trailer hitch at the back of the van, and holds everything that doesn't fit inside very nicely. It also holds a baby, two toddlers, a big cup of water, coats and advertisement flyers and handouts while strolling through a fair ground.

Food is actually pretty easy for us. My husband likes to explore new grocery stores to compare the difference to our local stores. So I only pack enough food for about three days at a time. Same for diapers, by the way.

Breakfasts will be mostly cold cereal. On short trips we just use paper bowls and plastic spoons, but for long trips the real thing is much cheaper. Each child has their own bowl and spoon that they wash after each meal. Even Jennifer(2) does a good job on hers with a little help from Jim.

Lunch is usually our big meal of the day on trips. We will either stop at a fast food, (preferably one with a play ground), or run into a grocery store and buy their current deli special. Our most memorable meal was in Oregon one year when hubby bought two whole, baked chickens and three flats of the biggest, freshest black berries I have ever seen. We ate until we were all stuffed. It was Sooooo good.

Supper is usually sandwiches. Cold cuts, sliced cheese, things like that. Nice and easy and clean.

So packing food ahead includes dishes, silverware, a gallon of milk (in the ice chest strapped to the luggage rack on the back end of the van), boxes of cereal, and some bread. Other supplies will be bought along the way as we need them.

I do fix each child a snack bag (soft sided lunch box) to start the first day out. It is filled with dried fruit, apples, nuts, a little bit of candy and maybe a juice box. (Handy hint: don't give toddlers chocolate or bananas in their snack bags. I still haven't got it all out of the upholstery.) These bags keep the kids entertained until we get past the familiar scenery. I do refill the bags along the way, but they are never as full as the first day.

Each child gets two cups. One holds water at all times and the other is for other drinks; juice, soda or milk. I use the spill proof ones with silicon gaskets for the little children and the “other” cups for the olders. The older ones get 7-11 type sports cups with straws for their water. The other cups are rinsed at the next stop after use or, at the latest, before bed. This keeps them nice and fresh for the next stop (and helps prevent me loosing them until we get home and they are turning green and walking towards the door by themselves....ewww).

Each older child (6-14) may bring one lunch box of toys. They are responsible for keeping track of them. If they loose them, oh well. For the little ones I find two cars, three animals, two people, etc. for their bags. That way with a quick count I can tell if they have lost anything. I find that the more children you have, the fewer toys each child needs. After all, who needs hundreds of toys when you have six older siblings to play with all the time? This small amount is enough to keep them all occupied and playing with each other the whole trip. We seldom have any “I'm bored” type complaints.

I don't allow electronic games. They remove the person playing them from the car and family mentally. I need everyone there to entertain everyone else. Besides, I miss them when they are gone to LaLa land.

Remember I mentioned the science field trip? I need to pack for that also. We give each child a disposable camera. The first picture is always of the owner so we know who gets what pictures after they are developed. We also write their names on them to keep them straight the rest of the time. Each child gets a new spiral bound note book with a small set of colored pencils. They keep a journal of what we do and what we see. I add a store of field guides and educational card games and we are all set.

At each stop we look around at what we see and discuss everything. This isn't some kind of “Now class, listen up” lecture. More like “Hey, look at all that neat algae growing on the wall of the gas station! It sure is a lot of pretty colors. They should fix their leak so it will die.” This invites lots of questions and comments and delving into books to see if we can name that fungus, weed or bug. We would do this whether we homeschooled or not. It's just a bonus that I get to record it as a school day.

The First Day

4:00 am. Andy is up and ready to go. I get the children up starting with the oldest and working my way down. Everyone gets themselves ready and then helps their buddy.

All in the car and leaving the drive way by 5:00. We end up making two stops to repair the car. The first we can only fix the problem long enough to get to the next big-ish town, Elko. This turns out to be one of the best stops of the trip. There was this wonderful park with a nice museum next to it. We toured the museum and played while waiting for the van to be fixed.

We spent a couple of days in Salt Lake City exploring the area. We swam in the Great Salt Lake. Well, more like wade out to our calves, yelled “eww!” and got back to shore. It is a bit slimy and buggy.

Nice pool at the camp ground. We enjoy visiting the city, but it is nothing like home. Though we look like we fit in with the local religion, we don’t and feel uncomfortable. I do laundry on the last day at the camp ground while everyone else takes a nap. Then on to Yellowstone.

We saw lots of neat stuff at Yellowstone; boiling mud pits, colorful hot springs, whole lakes of hot water, and of course geysers. I remember sitting by Old Faithful waiting for it to blow and hearing the people next to me talking. When the thing sputtered a bit they said “Is that all? What's the big deal? Let's go.” And they left. Five minutes later she blew for real, 150 feet high! I was so sad for them. They missed the whole thing because they were cynical and in a hurry.

I visited Yellowstone with my parents when I was a child. I remember the miles upon miles of trees. This time I found it so sad to look out on the miles and miles of burned up forest. Nothing but black in many parts of the park. I know this is nature's way of repairing the forest, but it still made me sad to think my children wouldn't see the expanse of all those trees. We live in northern Nevada, so any trees are a real treat. We would be wise to copy the Native American's way of handling the forests; keep the underbrush and old trees thinned out so there is no fuel for future fires to spread in.

My favorite is always the animals. We pay the children $.25 for any wild animals they see so we are all always on the look out. (This rule is suspended inside Yellowstone, by the way. We aren't generally rich enough to handle that.) By our last day in the park, though, we had seen very few animals. I prayed for just a few and maybe a moose. I had never seen a live moose. My boys prayed for antelope. We had read about them the week before our trip while studying the states we would go through and they were anxious to see the real thing. After I prayed, we saw many deer and the buffalo even got close enough to our car Andy could have touched one (he didn't, but he could have.) We also saw a grizzly and her cub, elk, and “Over there! Just off the road! A moose in that pond!” Yes, God spoils me. He told that moose to go have breakfast right there so I could see it. A few hours later we found a band of antelope by the road for the boys. He really is the God of little things, too.

We had a nice leisurely ride home. A stop at the Boise City Zoo was well worth the time. This is what my children think of when they think of “zoo,” now. Lots of neat animals.

Home. It sure was a good time. I will unpack tomorrow. Today, we will just rest. And enjoy our house (with flush toilets and running water!) But, ohh, I can't wait until next year. Zion maybe? Or the Grand canyon? Hmmmm.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


With eight children, I have to pay a great deal more attention to this area then I would like to. If I didn't, well, it wouldn't be a pretty sight. Being a firm believer in children learning Life Skills I have enlisted their help.

First of all, we have three laundry hampers; one in the hall by the children's bedrooms, one in my bathroom where everyone bathes, and one in the laundry room. I begin as soon as a child is old enough to stand teaching them to put their dirty laundry into the closest hamper. Don't get your hopes up here though. We do not have stacks of dirty laundry laying around, but I did have to pick up after my eleven year old the other day. Theoretically, if we keep at it they will get it eventually.

Every morning, during chore time, my five year old drags the two hampers into the laundry room and dumps them into the one in there. My seventeen year old sorts them into one of four baskets; things that bleach, things that fade or are very dirty (jeans), middle colored non faders (prints), and things that need special treatment, (red things, hand washables, etc.). I have a separate bucket for cloth diapers. She spray- treats any stains as she sorts.

I have marked all the clothing according to the owner; one X on my oldest daughter's clothes, XX on my second, XXX on my third's, One . for my oldest son, .. for the second and ... for my third. My eight year old sorts the clothes from the dryer into each person's basket. Anything that is not marked goes into my basket. He then moves the clothes from the washer to the dryer and turns it on. He dumps one basket of clothes into the washer, adds soap and bleach if necessary, and turns it on.

Each child over four folds and puts their own clothes up as part of their chores. The ones under four leave theirs in the laundry room. I tried putting them in their rooms, but they always ended up all over the floor. This way I can monitor them better to keep everything in the right place. I would love a family closet (a place with everyones closes in it, usually just off the laundry room), but our house is just not big enough. The laundry room is closer to my bathroom where I dress the little ones anyway. This saves me a trip across the house.

When I go to fold my clothes, I mark and put up any children's clothes that were put in my basket, fold and put up mine and my husband's clothes, and the diapers and put the towels into my oldest's basket, the hand towels in the second, and the wash clothes in the third child's, and the napkins in the fourth for them to fold latter.

If I run a second load sometime during the afternoon, we stay caught up almost effortlessly. I always do the diapers because they take special treatment, such as a pre-rinse.

Socks are done a little differently. I gathered up all the socks in the house and donated them to a local women's shelter. I then bought socks with pink toes for me and my oldest. She wears the same size sock I do, so I just bought enough identical ones for both of us and put them in my drawer. I bought white socks with gray heels and toes for my fourteen year old and white socks with gray feet for my eleven and nine year olds (they wear the same size sock and so they share). My seven, five and four year olds received a bag of pure white socks (plus a few frillies for church.) The baby has those cute baby socks that they always outgrow or lose immediately. My husband bought himself black work socks. Now when it comes time to do socks, I just have to sort by color. Any odd balls will match something eventually.

You may do the math and think I have not allotted enough loads per week for a family this size. I encourage the children to wear the same clothes all week. We are home where no one else can see them anyway. If they play in the mud or run enough to get sweaty, I have them change. But otherwise, if it doesn't look or smell dirty, it isn't dirty. This not only cuts down on laundry but the amount of clothes I have to supply each child with, making it much more economical for our large family.

Bedding is changed once a week or every other week. We don't use top sheets which really cuts down the amount of laundry. Each child that can, strips their own bed. I help the middles make them up still, though my oldest two have got the hang of doing it by themselves. After vacation, a spell of illness, or when I have a lot of blankets needing washing I go to a Laundromat and get it all over with at once. I have been known to take up a full third of a large Laundromat. The one I use not only has several large machines, but a playground also. A few books for my oldest to read to the youngers and some snacks and they are happy for the whole time. My biggest hints in handling a Laundromat; make sure you have more then enough money, sort your clothes before leaving home, and take my mother to help. She is indispensable.

Mount Neverest, as Luanne Shacklford calls it in her book Survivor's Guide to Homeschooling, is conquerable. It just takes thought and planning.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

When is evidence based medicine not…

....Evidence based?

We are all led to believe that doctors do what they do because science tells them it is the safest and best way to go.

The truth is that science is just one factor. Doctors are human and subject to many pressures. They must do what their hospitals tell them, their governing boards (such as AMA or ACOG), what is least likely to loose a lawsuit, what their spouses think is best (such as doing what is necessary to take a vacation when planned), what other patients want done, etc.

An example would be childbirth.

Hospitals often have limits on how long they want a woman to labor. For safety? No. So they can spend less money on each woman. C-sections are faster than normal birth.

The ACOG dictates certain procedures under certain conditions (such as c-sections for ALL breeches, previous c-sections, etc). Because of safety? No. politics and what is good for business (though they use safety as an excuse. If you check out the actual evidence it is obvious they are not telling the truth.)

Doctors are not sued for doing c-sections. Just for not doing them.

Doctors get paid more for c-sections than for natural births.

Doctors get to be the hero in a c-section. Mom is hero in a natural birth.

Spouses get upset and kids disappointed when their vacations are cancelled or delayed because some woman refuses to go into labor on her expiration date.

Patients want their own doctor for their birth and they don’t want him to be late for their appointments because some other woman won't hurry up and birth.

Simple solution to make everyone happy? Induce, which often causes baby to go into distress necessitating an “emergency” c-section. (I've posted this link before, but it is worth posting again)

There is a good reason most American babies are born Monday –Friday, 9-5.

And why a full ONE THIRD of American babies are born through surgury instead of the way God intended.