Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Card

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
to all those who read our blog!

Monday, December 17, 2007

What a refreshing campaign ad!

What is the response from the media and other candidates?
  • "Huckabee Invokes Christ in Holiday-Themed Ad Spot." (Breitbart)
  • "I cannot remember a presidential candidate ever invoking Christ in a TV ad before." (ABC)
  • "Huckabee Ad Features Floating 'Cross'" (Drudge Report)
  • "When fascism comes it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross" (Ron Paul)
I am proud to support a candidate that dares to be politically incorrect by wishing the country a Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, and even daring to mention the true reason for the season! Why am I not surprised that the media is trying to spin this as an attempt to "invoke Christ" into the campaign? What if he was? Is American no longer a CHRISTian nation?

edit ... I have also found some more positive news stories on this ad as well. Congratulations to Newsweek's story, "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Here's a summary of the writer's thoughts on the ad:

This might be the smartest ad of the cycle. For all the observers wondering how the candidates would manage the awkward holiday/caucus overlap, Huckabee delivers a master class.

The first step: beating his rivals to the "This Is No Time for Politics" punch; now every on-air attempt they make to topple the frontrunner from his above-the-fray pedestal looks tawdry.

The next step: reminding voters which side of the "War on Christmas" he's on. Most campaigns run tame, PC "holiday" fare. Not Huckabee. A Southern Baptist pastor, he's counting on evangelicals to win in Iowa. What better way to prove he will put religion in the public square as president than by rejecting establishment attempts to banish Christ from Christmas and defiantly putting religion in the public square today? With very few Jews, Muslims or atheists in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina to take offense--and none who were planning to vote for Huckabee--it's all upside in electoral terms.

The final, and most important, step: getting the secular media all riled up. Expect plenty of "Oh, No He Di'n't" coverage on cable news, with a hearty dollop of "What Does It All Mean?" The press loves nothing more than to huff and puff over religion. For Huckabee's cash-strapped campaign, that means priceless free exposure--and millions of opportunities for its neighborly candidate to connect with the vast majority of Americans who agree with his idea of "what really matters."

The pundits may say naughty. Stumper says nice.

Bulletin Board

Esther likes decorating the children's school room. Here is the Christmas bulletin board she put up last week.

Christmas Tree

We went and cut a Christmas Tree a week ago today, but we are just now getting around to posting the pictures.

The girls helping daddy carry the tree. (Josiah fell asleep in the van on the way home, so he missed out on the photo opportunity).

Josiah did get a chance to help mommy put the tinsel on the tree.

Each year, we get an ornament for the children. They are hanging their ornaments for this year on the tree.

I just realized I haven't taken a picture of the finished product ... I'll take one and post it later.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tony Perkins on Huckabee

Over the weekend, Huckabee has been under attack for statements he made over 10 years ago about AIDS, homosexuality, and the need for God in our schools/nation, etc. Don't be surprised to see some clips of sermons he preached 25 years ago surface in the near future in an attempt to discredit him. I have been praying for Gov. Huckabee that he will not give into the temptation to compromise his principles for political expediency, and for wisdom in answering the media.

I received the following via email today from Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. It's worth reading:

Over the weekend I had flashbacks of the brutal judicial confirmation hearings that took place between 2003 and 2005 where certain nominees like William Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, Charles Pickering, and others were filibustered by the Democratic minority because of what Sen. Charles Schumer called their "deeply held personal beliefs." Those "beliefs" were the religious convictions that led them in part to hold a position that abortion was wrong. There was a reverse religious litmus test applied. A subtle message was being sent that a person had to choose between an active, life-impacting faith and public service. It was wrong then and it is wrong now as it is being applied to Mike Huckabee. Let me preface what I am about to say by first recalling what I wrote last week (Dec. 3, 2007) explaining why I had not endorsed a presidential candidate and at present have no plans to do so. I remain undecided and what I say below does not imply a change in those plans; however, I feel compelled to rise to the defense of Mike Huckabee.

The media had been toying with and even promoting Mike Huckabee, thinking he would go nowhere; however, after FRC Action's Values Voter Summit he began a steady rise in the polls. In my opinion it was not because he finished a close second in the straw poll to Mitt Romney, but because he came out for the first time at our event, co-hosted by Focus on the Family Action and others and spoke unabashedly and unequivocally conservative on all the core social issues. He began to compete for territory that had been ceded to Gov. Romney. That message has resonated and he has not only climbed to first place in Iowa, but nationally he is second only to Rudy Giuliani in the most current polls. There is apparently fear now among the elites that his rise could be real and not a creation of the media.

Enter the reverse religious test that is being applied. In various settings over the last few days Huckabee has been confronted with articles from nearly a decade ago containing statements on the morality of issues like HIV-AIDS, homosexuality and even the need for spiritual awakening in America. He was basically asked to recant. I am pleased to say that he did not recant.

This morning, for example, the lead story on Drudge was a 1998 article from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporting on a speech that Huckabee gave at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptists calling on the church to wake up following a rash of school shootings. The Drudge headline touted, "Take this nation back for Christ," a subtle but clear warning to secular elites. Columnist Richard Cohen wasn't as subtle last week when he said Huckabee is climbing in the polls because of "his obdurate and narrow-minded religious beliefs."

There is clearly a reverse religious standard being applied to Mike Huckabee, a standard that says there will be no defining religious beliefs. I would hope the other candidates, including the Democrats, would clearly and absolutely denounce this reverse religious test and keep the media from going further down this path. If not, I predict that bible-believing Christians will step over policy differences they have with Mike Huckabee to stand by and support a candidate who is being attacked because he believes, as they do, that their Christian faith should actually impact the way they live. If that happens, the recent meteoric rise of the Huckabee campaign in the polls could look minuscule compared to the tsunami of support that he will get from Christians who are tired of the elites who belittle their beliefs and attempt to rob them of every public reflection of their faith.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Guess Who Is Polling #1 in Michigan ...

Did you guess Mike Huckabee? If so, you are right! The latest Rasmussen Poll numbers show:

Michigan Republican Primary

Mike Huckabee 21%
Mitt Romney 20%
Rudy Giuliani 19%
Fred Thompson 9%
John McCain 8%
Ron Paul 7%
Tom Tancredo 1%
Duncan Hunter 1%

This is exciting news, because Gov. Romney was expected to win Michigan hands down due to the fact that his father used to be governor of the state back in the 60s.

On an unrelated note, I am tired of the negative campaigning that Republicans are doing against fellow Republicans. It's interesting that some of the candidates have been reported as saying that other candidates are not like Reagan. It seems that the very candidates hurling that accusation are themselves not like Reagan! In his 1966 run for Governor of California, Ronald Reagan developed a famed 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." Since the CNN/You Tube debate, there has been an influx of negative ads and attacks, especially by Romney and Thompson. I like Reagan's comment about the proper way to have a negative campaign. He said that ''the right kind of negative campaigning'' is a vote cast against the Democratic ticket. Let's save that for next year's General Election, and stay away from it during the Primary Elections!

Friday, December 7, 2007

December 7, 1941

Kudos To Vandercook Public Schools

Yesterday evening, I attended a concert put on by our local schools. A couple of teens from church had a part in it, so I wanted to hear them perform. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the program, and it read "A Christmas Concert." There was a great mix of music, including several that emphasized Christ's birth. In fact, the choir director wrote a song "Jesus Was Born For Me," which was performed. On the final song, all 300+ students from middle-high school were singing and playing "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night" among other sacred and secular songs in a closing medley. Congratulations, VCL for keeping Christ in Christmas!

Pastor's Christmas Retreat

Tuesday, we took our annual December pilgrimage to Jugville, MI to join several other pastors from our denomination, as well as a few others, at The Shack. We were served a delicious meal, treated to a great time of fellowship planned by the Ward's, had ice cream, and talked! A wonderful layman covers the cost, which is greatly appreciated!!

Here are a few pictures from the Shack:

Driving up to The Shack, you are greeted with literal flower beds! I told the kids that those were the beds they were sleeping in for the night. For some reason, they didn't believe me.

Doesn't look like any shack I've seen! You can see the huge Christmas tree on the trailer. Usually they have one inside and decorated. Looks like we were a day too early this year.

Just finishing up the meal. Thankfully no hornets were left in those bee's nests!

This was the view we had from our room window. Actually, I went outside to take the picture, so you wouldn't see the screen. Josiah said he wanted to go swim!

Jeweled Coconut Drops

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1 /4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 ¾ cups flaked coconut, divided
1 cup cherry preserves or raspberry jam

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar. Beat in egg yolk, milk and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in 3 cups of coconut. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

Shape dough into 2 inch balls; roll in remaining coconut. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Fill each cookie with preserves. Yield: slightly less than 3 dozen

Special thanks to Kara Watters for taking the picture of these cookies, and emailing it to us!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Politco Political Cartoon

This cartoon says it all: Huckabee is the people's choice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving Photos

Last week, we enjoyed Thanksgiving Dinner with Esther's family in Indiana.

Esther's mother making Cranberry Salad

Mom - Daughter - Grandkids making sugar cookies

Were these cookies too pretty to eat? NO!

Gathering together to sing about God's blessings.

Esther's mother and Aunt Erma used to sing together for local revivals before they were married. But, it had been several years since they have sung together. Their voices blended well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kids enjoy first snow of the season ...

This post is especially for Esther's sister Sherilyn, who is enduring 80 degree weather in FL!

Is Huckabee Conservative?

Some friends of ours, Jeff & Dixie, cited an article by Bob Novak questioning Gov. Huckabee's conservative credentials. In the article, Mr. Novak basically claims that Huckabee is a fiscal liberal.

First, Novak reveals his own position while attack evangelicals with the following statement: “The rise of evangelical Christians as the motive force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own.” OK. We now know that the author is not a social conservative, and it appears he is resentful of evangelicals having such a voice in the Republican party. For too long, to social conservatives have been pandered to, and thrown a bone every so often to appease us ... I for one am pleased to see "one of our own" doing well. For more on this subject, see this blog.

Second, Novak states his concern with Huckabee ... "The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan." When Novak's refers to a true conservative, he means a hyphonated conservative-libertarian. Novak criticizes tax hikes in Arkansas. Susan Stilley writes:
"As a former resident of Arkansas during Governor Huckabee's tenure I know that he pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history - a $90 million tax relief package for Arkansas families. He also doubled the standard deduction to $2,000 for single taxpayers and $4,000 for those who are married. Some taxes he eliminated entirely: the marriage penalty, bracket creep caused by inflation, income tax on poor families, and capital gains on home sales. To encourage investment, he cut capital gains for both individuals and businesses. To help people better themselves, he provided tax credits for employee training and education. In total, he cut taxes and fees nearly 100 times during his ten-and-a-half years as Governor, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million.
Further, when Huckabee left office in early 2007, Arkansas had nearly $850 million in state surplus, which he urged should go back to the people in the form of either a tax rebate or tax cut."
Only two candidates signed a pledge not to raise taxes if elected President -- Huckabee is one of them. Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson have refused to promise the American people they will not raise taxes, but Huckabee has made that promise.

Third, Novak was misleading in statements about Huckabee's lack of support for President Bush's
veto of the SCHIP expansion. Governor Huckabee said the SCHIP bill was a bad bill. He felt it should have never gotten the point where a veto was necessary. He says that communication with the American people and the Congress is important. Because of a lack of communication, many people think the Republicans are against health coverage for poor children, because the only thing they see is that the President vetoed the SCHIP bill.

In summary, there is no perfect candidate. I wish Huckabee's stance was a little different on some issues. However, when looking at the candidates, Huckabee is far and away the one who lines up closest to my personal views. More importantly, Huckabee's views on evolution, abortion, marriage, stewardship, compassion to the needy, etc., are more in line with Scriptural principles than other candidates.

Mr. Novak may be a respected conservative journalist, but I truly believe he is biased against the evangelical element in the Republican party and has not thoroughly researched all the facts that are available. I still like Mike!

Dick Morris has an article that is a must read on this issue.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Huckabee -vs- Clinton & Blogger Conference Call

Huckabee -vs- Clinton

I have heard many people question whether Mike Huckabee could beat Hillary Clinton in next year's general election. Not only has Gov. Huckabee been successful against the "Clinton political machine" in Arkansas, but now some polling data shows that Huckabee (as well as other top republican candidates) would beat Mrs. Clinton! Here's the story from Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton trails five top Republican presidential contenders in general election match-ups, a drop in support from this summer, according to a poll released on Monday.

Clinton's top Democratic rivals, Barack Obama and John Edwards, still lead Republicans in hypothetical match-ups ahead of the November 4, 2008, presidential election, the survey by Zogby Interactive showed.

Clinton, a New York senator who has been at the top of the Democratic pack in national polls in the 2008 race, trails Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mike Huckabee by three to five percentage points in the direct matches...

Huckabee Blogger Conference Call Summary

This morning, I participated for the first time in a Blogger Conference Call hosted by Gov. Huckabee. There are now over 400 bloggers who are using their blogs to support Huckabee's campaign for President. He credits the blogging world for making his recent surge in the polls possible by 1) getting out the positive news, and 2) responding to negative attacks with truth and facts. It was enlightening to listen in as fellow bloggers asked questions, and Gov. Huckabee took time to address each one by name and answer their questions. Below is a summary of the topics discussed:
  • Homeschooling -- Huckabee's first appointment to the Arkansas State Board of Education was a homeschooling parent. His children went through the secular education system, but he is very supportive of the homeschooling movement. I believe a national homeschooling group has endorse Huckabee. For an in-depth analysis of this subject, you need to read this article by a homeschooling mother in Michigan.
  • Fair Tax -- The key to the fair tax is understanding that there is a 20% imbedded corporate tax in all the products we purchase. Implementing the fair tax would lower the initial cost of products by 20%. The average American pays 33% of his income to taxes. Under the fair tax plan, that rate would drop to 23%.
  • Web Site Traffic -- The Huckabee website was not prepared for the influx of visitors after the Chuck Norris ad played. As a result, there were some delays accessing the site. They are continuing to upgrade the servers. Also, some hackers have been attempting to shut down the site.
  • Education -- Huckabee lamented the fact that in the first eight debates, not one education question was asked. In the last debate, one was finally asked, but he was not given a chance to address it. During a break, Huckabee spoke to the moderators, and they admitted they should have addressed the question to him, because he has some good ideas about education. The Governor would also like to see more questions in the next debate about domestic issues such as healthcare, the environment, and energy independence.
  • Michigan's Early Primary -- Huckabee was in Michigan earlier this month, but he cannot make it a priority, even though the primary has been moved up to Jan. 15th. This is due to 1) limited resources, and 2) the results in Michigan won't make as much impact as the results in traditional early primary states will make because of media perception. He believes Michigan did themselves a dis-service by moving our primary up. Romney is expected to win the state because he grew up here, and his father was a former governor of Michigan.
  • Immigration -- Reiterates that he is for secure borders, and against amnesty. He says that attacks by Romney and others accusing him of giving special benefits to illegal immigrants is not true. He supported a failed bill that would have given the children of illegals the same eligibility as other students for college tuition breaks which was merit based, with no limitations on the number of scholarships offered. In order to be eligible, the children of illegals had to go through the Arkansas public school system, excel in their grades, be drug/alcohol free, and apply for citizenship. His reasoning for this is that minors should not be punished for the crimes of their parents. Further, it would be better for these minors to get on a path to citizenship, and have an education that would help them become tax payers instead of tax takers.
  • Attacks -- There is a section on Huckabee's website called the "Truth Squad." His staff is in the process of adding more information to counter attacks. The plan is to have a summary statement, then a list of DETAILED responses for those who are interested in a more thorough, in depth article.

The next debate is Wednesday, Nov. 28th. It is sponsored by CNN/You Tube. Go Huckabee!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mom's Cranberry Salad

Sue Arnold requested that I post this recipe after I brought it to our November Women of Worth meeting. Our family loves this cranberry salad. Mom makes it every year at Thanksgiving.

2 packages red jello
2 c. water
1 package cranberries (washed & sorted)
1 orange
1 apple (cored)
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. pecans or walnuts (chopped)
1 c. sugar

Dissolve jello (I use raspberry) in 2 cups boiling water. Set aside. In a food processor or chopper, grind the cranberries, orange (peeling included, but you may wish to grate the peeling first and then cut off the thick white part) and apple. Stir these into jello. Add coconut, chopped pecans or walnuts and sugar. Mix all together. Chill in refrigerator overnight.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Josh McDowell Youth & Parent Seminars

On Monday the 12th, Josh McDowell was in our town and presented two seminars -- one for youth, and one for parents. I had the opportunity to take two teenagers from our church to listen to Josh for 3 hours Monday morning. Monday evening, Esther and I, as well as several parents from our church had another 3 hours of instruction. Below is a synopsis of what I learned:

Youth Seminar:
  • The first session was Josh's testimony. He had a rough childhood. His father was an alcoholic. He was abused by a man who helped around the house. Going to college, he did not believe in God. During his college days, he was challenged to study the claims of the Bible by a Christian professor. He planned to write a book exposing the hoax of Christianity. At the end of his study, he had to say "I Believe." He has been defending our faith ever since.
  • The second session answered the question, "How can I know the Bible is true?" He talked about the manuscript evidence, the eyewitness accounts of the writers of Scripture, and the fact that the disciples died for their statement in Acts 1:3. There's plenty of evidence to believe that the Bible has not been altered over the years, and that what was written down is actually true.
  • The third session was about moral purity. He said that 80% of young people think sex is sinful, mostly because of the emphasis we place of Bible passages about the mis-use of sex and apply it to sexuality in general. God created sex: 1) for procreation (Gen. 1:28); 2) for unity (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31); and 3) for recreation with your spouse (Prov. 15:18-19). Purity is living according to God's original design for sex. Thus abstinence before marriage is so beautiful that it's worth waiting for. He admonished the ladies to only marry Christian men who knew how to love themselves. Because (Eph. 5:28-29) if a man does not know how to love himself, he will never be able to love his wife and children appropriately. EXCELLENT session.
Parent Seminar:
  • Josh talked about the cultural shift taking place in our society. He says that we (as adults) are the first generation trying to impact youth in a society of 2 generations AND 2 cultures. Teens and children do not THINK the way adults do. He gave lots of statistics and examples to illustrate his premise. In order to connect with youth, we need to 1) develop a loving relationship with them; 2) model the truth and values you want to see them incorporate in their lives; 3) develop convictions (knowing what you believe, why we believe it, and experiencing it in your life). 78% of evangelical christian kids say that the only way to know if something is true is if it works. Convictions can't be only mental, they have to be experiential.
  • The second session was a repeat of why the Bible is true from the Youth session.
  • The final session was called "7 Steps To Build A Relationship"
    1. Affirmation -- gives youth a sense of authenticity (Rom. 12:15)
    2. Acceptance -- unconditionally accept your kids! (Rom. 15:7)
    3. Appreciation -- makes them feel that they have done or said something worthwhile.
    4. Availability -- communicates a sense of importance. (Mat. 19:13-14)
    5. Affection -- says "I am lovable" (John 15:12)
    6. Approach their world -- let them sense that you are interested in what interests them.
    7. Accountability -- give reasonable rules and hold them to it!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Cupcakes

Here's a quick and easy idea for a Thanksgiving treat for kids. I made some yesterday for the children in Kid's Club at our church. Simply make cupcakes, then frost with chocolate icing. Use Bugle chips for the cornucopia. Arrange some Runts candy pieces for the fruit.

Soup Season

As the weather turns colder, we eat soup more often. Recently I was asked to share more recipes on the blog. One of our favorite soups comes from Chris' Aunt Sharon, with a few minor alterations.

Broccoli Chicken & Cheese Soup

1 T. oil
1 T. chopped onion (more if you like onions)
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 c. chicken broth (or 3 c. water + 3 chicken bullion cubes)
2 c. thin noodles
1/2 t. salt
dash pepper (to taste)
1 large bunch of fresh broccoli florets
1-2 c. cooked chicken
3 c. milk
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese

Brown onions and carrots in oil. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Add broccoli (raw), noodles, chicken, salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes (until noodles are tender). Add milk and cheese. Stir until cheese melts.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Our family wishes to extend our thanks those who have served in our nation's military. Thank you for your service and sacrifice to secure and maintain our freedom! Below is part of a speech from Gov. Huckabee, honoring our veterans.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dear, oh, Deer!

Last evening, while driving on a dark stretch of country road, there appeared to my left 3 deer. I saw the first one start towards the road, but it was too late to stop ... as a result our van now has a busted light, cracked bumper, broken grill, and crumpled hood. Thankfully, nobody was injured, other than the deer.

Now the fun begins ... getting estimates on repairs.

Repairs = $3,000+
Days without van = 6
Talk about an expensive deer, and I didn't even get any meat!

Standing in the Corner ...

... and they weren't even being bad! It's just where we had them stand when we took the picture. They all dressed in green and blue for church last Sunday. This was right after the big in-state football rivalry between the University of Michigan (Blue) and Michigan State (Green). Of course, Esther didn't realize that she was showing support to both teams when she chose their outfits!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

If all desserts were this expensive ...

... we'd have no problem dieting!!

This news story tells about the Frrrozen Haute Chocolate. Guinness World Records researchers determined the $25,000 frozen hot chocolate was the most expensive dessert in the world.

It includes
a blend of 28 cocoas, including 14 of the most expensive and exotic from around the globe. It is infused with 5 grams (0.2 ounces) of edible 23-karat gold and served in a goblet lined with edible gold. At the base of the goblet is an 18-karat gold bracelet with 1 carat of white diamonds.

The sundae is topped with whipped cream covered with more gold and a side of La Madeline au Truffle from Knipschildt Chocolatier, which sells for $2,600 a pound.

It is eaten with a gold spoon decorated with white and chocolate-colored diamonds, which can also be taken home.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Visit to Creation Museum

Yesterday, before coming back home, we paid a visit to the new Creation Museum built by Answers in Genesis. We were impressed by the quality information, the realistic models, and the use of technology. The planetarium was my favorite part ... it really put life in perspective. The Milky Way Galaxy, let alone Earth, is but a speck of dust in the vast universe. Yet, God loves and chooses us! We are truly special to God.

I hope this dinosaur is vegetarian!!

The kids posing in front of Isaiah, Moses, and King David.

Leadership Conference

This week we enjoyed a trip to Cincinnati, OH. Esther was able to spend time with some of her family and I attended a pastor's conference at God's Bible School. The feature speaker was Dr. H. B. London, who has a wonderful ministry to pastors through Focus on the Family. Dr. London was able to encourage and challenge us to not let the spark and vision go out in our ministry. Dr. Avery taught a tremendous lesson on "self-leadership." It was very convicting.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Huckabee Gains Momentum - I Like Mike!

During the last few weeks, Gov. Huckabee has been gaining a lot of political ground. Here's a brief synopsis:
  1. He won the on site straw poll of the Value Voter's Summit by a landslide (51% of votes for Huckabee, second place was Romney with about 10%). The speech he gave at the Summit was dynamic.
  2. His performance at the GOP debate hosted by FOX left people wanting to hear more.
  3. After the Values Voter Summit, and the debate, his fund-raising has skyrocketed. In the month of October, Gov. Huckabee has raised more money through ONLINE donations, than he raised through all sources during the entire last quarter.
  4. Polling data in Iowa shows Huckabee in statistical tie with Thompson for second place, behind Romney.
  5. Nationwide polling by Rasmussen shows Huckabee tied for third place with 13%, officially placing Huckabee in the "top tier" of candidates.
  6. Some articles attacking Huckabee have surfaced. The attacks seem to be centered on whether he is a true fiscal conservative. As a pastor, I endeavor to take great care to use the Scripture texts in context during my sermons. It appears that many of those writing about the tax hikes in Arkansas are not putting the Governor's record in context. One tax was a referendum voted upon by the citizens ... they voted to impose a tax increase upon themselves to improve their roads. Another tax hike was mandated by the Arkansas State Supreme Court. The Governor did manage to get many tax cuts through a Democratic controlled State Legislature. As I read some articles questioning Huckabee's record, I was reminded of the statement the Governor had made, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, finally they swear you in." Three down, one to go!
  7. Finally, some claim that Huckabee is not electable, because they don't think he can defeat Hillary. This weekend, during a speech in Iowa, Gov. Huckabee claimed to be the best candidate to beat Clinton because he had confronted "the Clinton political machine" in their home state and won. "I know about Hillary and Bill Clinton's political machine in Arkansas more than any other man running for president," Huckabee said. "I didn't just win once, not twice, not three times but four times in an election against the Clinton political machine. Bill Clinton and Hillary campaigned against me every time I ever won." (from FOX News article)
I believe the next Republican debate is scheduled for November 6th. Mark your calendar, and do your best to tune in, and make an informed decision before you vote in the primaries in 2008.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Look What's Missing!

Saturday was a monumental day in Alayna's life. She lost her first tooth. Ever since it became wiggly, she's been soooo excited. She even had trouble getting to sleep, hoping and waiting for it to come out. She would go in the bathroom, climb up on the sink, and wiggle her tooth back and forth. Finally it came out, and she gave us hugs and the BIGGEST smile I think I have ever seen

Josiah's Bedroom

We had been putting off finishing Josiah's bedroom for a while because we were a bit overwhelmed with the idea of putting up the border. After talking to Esther's sister, we decided we could do it ... and it wasn't that bad after all! Here are some pictures of the finished product.

No, It's Not a Fire .... It's a Sunset

We were eating supper the other night, and saw shades of the sunset out the window facing North. We looked out the West window in our kitchen, and we were treated with this absolutely beautiful sky.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Go West, Young Lady!

In her Heritage Studies lessons, Melanie was learning about the early American settlers moving West. She really enjoyed making a covered wagon out of a shoe box.

Napping Josiah

Why are sleeping children always so cute?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Life Chain

This year, our church participated in Life Chain, a nationwide event where churches throughout a community line select sidewalks and prayerfully stand, holding signs that show support for the sanctity of human life. It was a very positive experience, with many vehicles honking their support as they drove by. Below are some pictures of the kids, as you can see, Josiah even got involved.

As we were standing there, I noticed two men walking up the street with a clipboard and a roll of stickers. As they came closer, I saw that they were campaign workers for Mitt Romney. They approached me saying, "Do you know that Mitt Romney is and always has been pro-life?" I replied, "No he hasn't." The guy looked shocked and said some gibberish about never signing any pro-choice legislation while serving as Governor of MA. I wasn't standing there to participate in a political debate, so I didn't reply. Anyway, I wrote the following and sent it in to our local newspaper this evening.

Dear Editor,

This afternoon, my family had the privilege of standing on West Avenue for an hour quietly showing our support for the life of the unborn. I was shocked, frustrated, and greatly disappointed when two campaign workers from the Mitt Romney for President campaign came walking down the sidewalk offering literature and stickers to the Life Chain participants. I felt this was entirely inappropriate for the following reasons:
  1. The Life Chain is NOT a political event. It is a time or prayer and peaceful public witness by churches throughout the community to show our support for the sanctity of life. To cheapen this event by sending campaign workers to solicit votes is disgraceful.
  2. To add insult to injury, the campaign workers were saying, "Mitt Romney is and always has been pro-life." The truth is that Gov. Romney campaigned on a pro-choice platform before becoming Governor of MA. He has recently flip-flopped his position. It appears that this is an effort to gather support from pro-lifers who may not have tuned in to the political process yet.
If the local Romney campaign has any honor and integrity, they will apologize for exploiting an event planned for the noble purpose of expressing the value of life for cheap political gain.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

First Leaf Pile of Autumn

Melanie, Alayna, and Josiah raked up some leaves in a pile, then enjoyed sliding into them!

New Wall Decoration

For the last couple weeks, Josiah has been on Albuterol and Pulmicort to help with some asthma type issues. These medicines make him want to throw things. I can understand throwing balls, but it seems that anything he gets his hands on goes flying through the air -- even spaghetti noodles! A couple days ago, we made the mistake of leaving him at the dining room table by himself to finish his spaghetti. It was quiet for a while, and when we looked in to check on him, this is what we found. He was told that he would have to help mommy clean up the mess, so he replied, "OK. You get the sweeper, I'll get the dustpan."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Huckabee wins Hilling Highlights Straw Poll

In one month's time, 28 visitors to this blog cast a vote for their favorite 2008 Presidential Candidate. Here are the results:

Mike Huckabee . . 12 votes (42%)
Ron Paul . . . . . . . . 6 votes (21%)
Fred Thompson . . 6 votes (21%)
Mitt Romney . . . . 2 votes (7%)
Hillary Clinton . . . 2 votes (7%)

Congratulations to Gov. Huckabee, as the clear winner of this unscientific poll (margin of error +/- 95%). Seriously though, citizens in states with early primaries are starting to like what Mike is saying. While the "top tier" candidates have been absent from the last two debates, Gov. Huckabee has been gaining ground. Click on the Mike Huckabee banner on the right column of this blog, to learn more about his positions on key issues. I like what I've seen and heard!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

OK, OK ... We've Been Tagged!

Chris: Thank you, Dixie, Sherilyn, and Phil for tagging us, I guess. However, I don't participate in chain letters, I don't forward all those crazy email messages, and I don't play tag. :-) ) Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not so sure I want to put seven facts about myself on here for the WHOLE WORLD to see!

Esther: Chris may be a party-pooper, but I'm not.
  1. During her pregnancy, God gave my mother the name Esther during a church service when she remembered the verse, "For such a time as this ..." from the book of Esther. That's how I got my name.
  2. I never met my grandparents on my mother's side. They were both deceased when I was born. But I did inherit my mamaw's green eyes -- when everyone else in my family had brown.
  3. I am the youngest in a family of four. All my siblings say I'm spoiled, but I doubt it.
  4. I've lived in a parsonage for all of my life, except for two years.
  5. I love to sing. I graduated from God's Bible School with a music ed degree with a major in voice.
  6. I love to cook/bake. Cookies are my favorite thing to bake. Cheesecakes are my favorite thing to eat.
  7. Chris and I knew each other two years before we began dating. Then we dated for two years before we were married. Then we were married for two years before taking our first pastorate. Then two years after that, we had our first child - Melanie. Then two years after that we had our second child - Alayna. Then the pattern ceases and Josiah was born 3 and a half years later.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Esther got tired of all the political posts, so she is posting a recipe that our family enjoys. It came from a Taste of Home Cookbook, but Esther has made a few changes to make it better.

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
* 2/3 cup shortening
* 1 tablespoon cold butter, cubed
* 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

* 1 cup diced peeled potatoes
* 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
* 1/4 cup chopped celery
* 1 T. chopped onion
* dash of garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1-1/2 cups cubed turkey
* 1/2 cup frozen peas
* 1/2 cup frozen corn
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Combine flour and salt. Place cheese in a chopper and pulse until crumbly. Add cheese to the flour and salt mixture. Add shortening and butter; blend until coarse crumbs form. Gradually add water until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half with one ball slightly larger than the other; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For filling, in a large saucepan, saute the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic in butter for 5-6 minutes. Add broth; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In a small bowl, combine flour and milk until smooth. Gradually add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the remaining ingredients.

Roll out larger pastry ball to fit a 9-in. pie plate; transfer to pie plate. Trim pastry even with edge. Pour hot turkey filling into crust. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top or make decorative cutouts in pastry.

Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until crust is light golden brown. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

It's Official -- We are endorsing Huckabee for President

Prior to last night's debate, I was strongly leaning towards supporting Gov. Mike Huckabee for the GOP Presidential candidate. After the debate, I am totally convinced. I found the following video on another blogger's site. It's a speech that Gov. Huckabee made at a Pastor's Conference. It's lengthy, but good.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Values Voter Debate - Monday, Sept. 17th ... 7:30 PM

From the Debate:

1. Candidates Discuss their faith:

Some of the Republican presidential candidates who took part in last night's "Values Voter" presidential debate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, spoke candidly about when they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said last night's debate was unlike any other he'd ever participated in, noting he could never envision MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews opening a debate with a prayer.

Huckabee told the 2,000-plus audience members that he became a born-again Christian at the age of 10 while attending vacation Bible school at a small Baptist church in Hope, Arkansas. "And on that day [I] trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior -- it was life-changing," he said.

The former governor shared that he holds things in perspective, including his run for the White House. "Sometimes people ask me what's the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and they expect me to say being elected governor or running for president," stated Huckabee. "But the truth is, those are jobs that somebody else had before me, somebody else is going to have after me -- and those jobs have a limit.

"But the greatest thing that ever happened to me was coming to know Jesus Christ, because there is no limit, there are no terms set, and it's a position that I'll hold forever and forever."

Illinois businessman John Cox said he was "reborn in Christ" in 1979 when a Christian man ministered to him on a commuter train in Chicago. Meanwhile, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-California) joked that he has never belonged to an organized denomination -- he's a Baptist.

2. Tax Issues

I liked Mike Huckabee's description of the Fair Tax plan that he would like to see replace our current taxation structure. He said his plan for taxes would be Flat, Fair, Finite, and Family Friendly. You gotta love the alliteration.

3. Missing Candidates

Refusing to participate in this debate were McCain, Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson. This is interesting, because all four have questionable stands on value issues such as abortion and gay marriage. ALL of the democratic candidates refused to participate in a values debate as well.

4. Speed Round

I liked the second round of the debate, the candidates were asked about 20 yes/no questions. They had to push a button and a red or green light would appear. Most all the questions were unanimous. Ron Paul voted the opposite way about 5 or 6 times -- for example, he disagrees with "Teri's Law" - to keep the disabled from being starved to death like Teri Shiavo; he does not think we should prosecute manufacturers of pornographic material; and he is against expanding the indecency laws to cable TV networks.

5. Straw Poll Results

Here are the official results of the straw poll conducted before and then immediately after the Values Voter debate. The poll included 340 delegates hand-selected by 40 of America's social conservative activists and opinion makers. Pre-debate numbers are located in the parenthesis and the post debate numbers immediately follow the colon.

Mike Huckabee: 219 (119) Clear Winner with 63%
Ron Paul: 44 (53)
Alan Keyes: 24 (30)
Sam Brownback: 18 (26)
Fred Thompson: 15 (52)
Duncan Hunter: 13 (8)
Tom Tancredo: 7 (8)
Rudy Guiliani: 4 (16)
John Cox: 2 (1)
John McCain: 2 (13)
Mitt Romney: 0 (14)

Sign in Indiana

On our drive to Indiana, we saw this sign. I was hoping to get a fresh donut from 1973, but they were closed.

Trip to Indiana

Esther's mom wanted to make her a "birthday supper," so we decided to make the 3.5 hour journey for chicken and dumplings, corn, carrots -n- cheese, berry jello salad, cake, and ice cream. YUM! We had an enjoyable visit.

Dave recently painted the house. It looks really nice.

Esther wanted some acorns to use as fall decorations. Grandpa Dave helped the kids gather a basket full. I sure hope the squirrels don't mind losing some of their winter supply of food!

Momma and Daughter ... where is the iced tea???

Grandpa Dave reading a book to Josiah