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30 June 2009

A Give Away! (Ended)

NOTE: This book available in a new give-awawy which closes July 18.

Up For Grabs:

One copy of A Glorious Standard: For All Mankind, by Christopher S. Bentley, with an inscription by the author.

A little about the book: It is a compilation of quotes and commentary about the Constitution and government, made by prophets such as Isaiah, Jacob, and Moroni, as well as modern prophets and apostles such as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Ezra Taft Benson, and many more. These quotes have been compiled by the author from a variety of sources ranging from many General Conference reports and Journals of Discourses, as well as church magazines, messages of the First Presidency, and the History of the Church, among others. Bentley has gathered them up and organized them along the lines of four different themes:

1. "First, the Lord Himself has stated unequivocally that He is the Constitution's Author. Indeed, almost all of the latter-day prophets have declared that the Constitution is a document created through the inspiration of the Spirit." (Page 1)

2. [A]lmost every prophet in this dispensation has emphasized the vital importance of defending, upholding and adhering to the Constitution." (Page 2)

3. [S]everal prophets have warned that we have apostatized in various ways from the Constitution... (Page 2)

4. [T]he Constitution's role goes beyond providing a free nation in which the gospel and true Church could be restored to the earth once again. ... The principles of that great charter will eventually spread over the whole world, and all who are living [during the Millennium] will abide by them. (Page 2)

These four themes become the basis of the four sections of the book, with an amazing variety of quotes from Joseph Smith's time to Gordon B. Hinckley, who was President of the Church at the time the book was published, as well as quotes from the scriptures referencing things that ancient prophets said.

This book is a major factor in my own awakening to the vital importance of the Constitution, and I highly recommend it!

How to Enter:

There are two ways, and both involve a little reading, but don't feel like you have to spend too much time to play! Just read some and then blog your thoughts.

Method 1:
Read The Proper Role of Government, written by Ezra Taft Benson, and post about it on your blog. Include a link back to this post, so that others who want to enter the give-away can find it. Leave me a comment, including a link to your post.

Method 2:
Read part of the Constitution Party's Platform, and post about it on your blog. This does not necessarily need to be a post about how wonderful the platform is, feel free to disagree if you like. But please do make it a thoughtful response about the platform as a whole or an issue that is important to you. I'm sure it won't be a problem, but posts including personal attacks of any sort and other nastiness will be disqualified at my sole discretion. Once again, include a link to the give-away your post, and come back here & leave a comment, letting me know that you blogged it and where I can find it.


All posts must be up, and comments left on this post, not later than 11:55pm on Saturday 4 July 2009.

29 June 2009

Strawberry Jam

We've made a bunch of those strawberries into jam, which is both delicious and fun! Maulbeere posted all about it on her blog.

28 June 2009

Sunday Scripture

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
-Proverbs 9:9

...add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge...
-2 Peter 1:5

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.
-Doctrine and Covenants 88:118

27 June 2009

Photo Hunt: Flag

The little blue flag that Monkey is hanging on to here marked the spot where the last people to pick in our row had stopped. So we started picking where the flag was, and when we were done we moved the flag to where we stopped. Simple, but effective.

Here are some more pictures of the trip to the berry farm.

Strawberry Picking!

Aunt Maulbeere came over this weekend, and we went strawberry picking yesterday! Had a right good time too.

I don't think that a single one of the berries that Monkey picked went into the basket. In addition, I know that quite a few of the berries that I picked went from the basket into his mouth! Fortunately, we had checked with the farm before taking him out there, and they had a very liberal policy toward children in the strawberry patch: let them eat what they want. So it was all good.

I should have taken a picture of the tractor, because that's what Monkey's primary impression of the trip to the strawberry farm was summed up in, when he was telling his Daddy about it: the tractor. Silly Mama, it's not about the strawberries!

Next up: strawberry jam!

26 June 2009

Indoor Play

It's been painfully hot around here the past couple of days, so when Monkey asked to go to a park, we went to the "mall park." That is, we went to the mall and played on the equipment that they have in the food court.

25 June 2009


From Facebook

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -Benjamin Franklin

God created man, Smith & Wesson made them equals. (Unknown)

An armed man is a citizen, an unarmed man is a servant. -Andy

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. -David

Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -Robert E. Howard

"...to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them." -George Mason

This is the bulk of a conversation I saw on facebook over the past couple of days. That first one bears repeating:

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -Benjamin Franklin

And then, to put a point to it all, consider this:

"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..." (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms." -Richard Henry Lee

Black and White

I think Jeanetta's suggestion was a good one!

24 June 2009

Photography Exercise

Over at Me Ra Koh Photography, she's got some tips for low light photography, and an exercise to try, using the manual settings. So I did it, and I'm pretty happy with how things turned out. Some of my pictures were pretty grainy, from the high ISO I was using, but these one weren't so bad. (Although I did cheat just a little with Photoshop anyway.)

23 June 2009

More Bags

I loved the bags I made for my friend, and I'm in need of a new churchbag, so I'm working on making a new one based on the Pink Penguin tutorial. I cut out the squares for the top from the same oranges & pinks that I used in Jessica's bag, but then I got distracted by other projects. I'm back to working on it today, but we're all a little under the weather around here: Monkey has a touch of bronchitis, and Andy's not doing so hot either. I'm better than they are, but not entirely clear-headed myself. Wish me luck! Getting this altered and made up exactly like what I have in mind could be interesting!

22 June 2009

Thrifted Books

A visit to Goodwill a couple of days ago resulted in a pretty good stack of new books, which I am pleased with. Here's what we got for our home library this time:

Crime & Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
*James & The Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
*Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson
*A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare
The Boxcar Children #4: Mystery Ranch, by Gertrude Warner
Black Trillium, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May, & Andre Norton
The Davinci Code, by Dan Brown
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

The starred books are ones that are on the 1000 Good Books list, so I am twice pleased with those. It all cost less than $20, even though the Hitchhiker's Guide is a huge leather bound thing with about 4 books that was almost $7 all by itself. Several of the others were on clearance for less than $1. In addition, today we visited Barnes & Nobel, and I picked up Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, which is also on the 1000 Books list. This one is particularly exciting because I used to have a copy, but it got lost somewhere along the way. I'm thinking that it may become our next read-aloud.

21 June 2009

Now, That Was Random

Monkey: Mom, can I have a pitchfork please?

Blueberry Jam

Monkey loves Blueberries. By the fistful. He eats them until we wonder if he IS a blueberry. He loves the better than strawberries, which is saying something! So he was a happy camper when I found them on sale at Aldi's the other day. Yum. Then, I made jam out of the ones that he didn't eat. Blueberry jam takes a very long time to cook down, but once it was ready for the jars Monkey came to help me. And of course, he was there for the "clean-up" part of the operation. You know, the part where you get to lick everything! Sadly, the pictures didn't turn out very well, but the jam itself is spectacular!

Mission Call!

My brother, Stachelbeere, has his mission call! He will be serving in the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission ... English speaking, more or less. Apparently English is the official language, but most of the folks there are not really fluent. Apparently there is also quite a bit of Japanese and a variety of native languages. It's a relatively new mission - just organized in 2006. Looks like paradise! Today, their weather is warm: 96F, with 76% humidity.

Sunday Scripture

"Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest who are or can be called saints." -D&C 89:3

"The Word of Wisdom was "given for a principle with promise." That word principle in the revelation is a very important one. A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions. Generally principles are not spelled out in detail. That leaves you free to find your way with an enduring truth, a principle, as your anchor." -Boyd K. Packer, Apr 1996 Conference, Sunday Morning.

17 June 2009

Pie Crust

Miss Liss, over at Fascinating Woman, is making pie. When she said that it'd taken her five hours to make it I was shocked! Then she posted all the fussy things her recipe says she ought to do. So I said I'd post my crust recipe. Sadly, I haven't made any pies recently, so I don't have any pretty pictures. Just an assurance that it does indeed make an easy, quick pie crust. Even my "no bread, super thin crust" man will eat this stuff.

Single Crust
1 c sifted flour
1/3 c shortening
3 Tbs cold water, brimming
1/2 tsp salt

With pastry blender, chop flour, shorting & salt until it looks like a coarse meal. Add water and chop with pastry blender until no dry flour remains. Press together in wax paper and roll out. The recipe says to do it on a floured pastry cloth, but I always just roll it out right between the wax paper that I used to press the last of the flour in. Roll it out, then fold in quarters and roll it out again. Peel one side of the wax paper off, invert over the pie pan, peel the other wax paper off; trim to size. It says to bake at 450 for 10 min, then 325 till done, but I always just use the time on the pumpkin jars, since I'm usually making pumpkin pie, which is baked in an unbaked pie crust.

Double Crust
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c shortening
4 Tbs cold water.

Pretty much the same as before, only you divide this one for upper and lower crusts. Same baking instructions as above.

Old Pictures

We took a trip to the local children's museum a while back. Guess it's last year now! Yikes. Maybe we should do that again. It was certainly fun enough to do more than once! Plus, he's more than a year older; there would be more that was interesting for him.

This is more from the children's museum last year. I took about a million pictures of him playing with the golf balls. He stayed there for a very long time.

We were doing Green Eggs & Ham for Dr. Seuss's birthday. We ought to do it again; Monkey loves the book and would appreciate it a lot more now!

Here's my big question though: he looks so little in these pictures, all taken March 2008. When did he grow so much???

14 June 2009

Proper Role of Government: Government = Force

Previous Installments:
The Proper Role of Government, by Ezra Taft Benson
-- read the full text.
My commentary as I study his article:
Part I (Foundational Principles, Origin of Rights)
Part II (Separation of Church and State)
Part III (Source of Governmental Power)
Part IV (Powers of a Proper Government)
Part V (Government = Force)
Part VI (The US Constitution)
Part VII (Local Government)
Part VIII (Legalized Plunder)

An important test I use in passing judgment upon an act of government is this: If it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend my conscience to do so? Since my conscience will never permit me to physically punish my fellow man unless he has done something evil, or unless he has failed to do something which I have a moral right to require of him to do, I will never knowingly authorize my agent, the government to do this on my behalf.

I realize that when I give my consent to the adoption of a law, I specifically instruct the police – the government – to take either the life, liberty, or property of anyone who disobeys that law. Furthermore, I tell them that if anyone resists the enforcement of the law, they are to use any means necessary – yes, even putting the lawbreaker to death or putting him in jail – to overcome such resistance. These are extreme measures but unless laws are enforced, anarchy results.

As John Locke explained many years ago:

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, ‘a liberty for every man to do what he lists.’ For who could be free, when every other man’s humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 57: P.P.N.S., p.101)

I believe we Americans should use extreme care before lending our support to any proposed government program. We should fully recognize that government is no plaything. As George Washington warned, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” (The Red Carpet, p.142) It is an instrument of force and unless our conscience is clear that we would not hesitate to put a man to death, put him in jail or forcibly deprive him of his property for failing to obey a given law, we should oppose it.

That Locke quote is dense, and Benson is using it to illustrate his point, so I'm starting there.

"Where there is no law there is no freedom."

What happens without law? I think that Benson pointed out a good example earlier in his essay in the "lawless west." The absence of law is anarchy, and the examples of anarchy that I am familiar with are scenes of bloodshed and violence where might makes right. If you can protect your family from the individuals or mobs that want whatever it is you have, it's likely to be a big job. There's not a lot of choice: you can spend your time and energy and resources protecting life and property, or you can loose your life and property. It's not a pleasant scene, so men create laws. When laws are functioning properly it leaves people with the time and resources to pursue things other than bare survival. In short, it brings freedom, "a liberty for every man to do what he [pleases]". Law allows us to be free from the whims of our aggressive neighbors; free to choose what we will do with our lives.

However, every time we pass a law, we have to weigh the benefits of the law against the assault anyone who refuses to comply will experience. In some cases, this is a very easy thing to do: murdering is obviously wrong and clearly should be punished. Recently there has been a lot of talk about nationalizing health care. This would, in effect, pass a law saying that we all must contribute to pay for our neighbor's medical bills. The person who feels this is wrong, who refuses to contribute, would certainly be sent to prison for tax evasion. Is it right to send someone to prison because they don't want to pay a stranger's medical bills? I don't think that I could be the one enforcing that! I don't think that my conscience would allow me to do it. I follow my Congressmen's feeds on govtrack.us, and one of them was recently working on anti-trust legislation. Anti-trust legislation is another thing that I'm leery of: if a company is too big, too successful, we should take it, break it up, and require that parts be sold? Could I do it to my neighbor? Only if he were doing unethical things with his large company. And then I would want to prosecute the bad ethics, not break up the company and give it to someone else. Success, it seems to me, should not be a crime. It's an interesting litmus test to apply to the bills that are proposed: could I enforce this upon a reluctant neighbor? Have I the "moral right" to do so?

I think that George Washington knew what he was talking about! “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” Reading what the Headmistress has to say about the treatment of the FLDS in connection with the Yearning For Zion ranch in Texas is convincing testimony to that. (I've been keeping half an eye on this blog for her gathering and analysis of FLDS news for more than a year now. She's also got some really interesting stuff about CPS in general, not just their treatment of the FLDS. CPS is rather scary! My favorites are now back quite a ways in her archive.)

The idea of opposing most government programs leaves a lot of people worried about what will happen to the poor, the uninsured, the homeless, and the helpless children who have no say in the conditions their parents choose. To say that it is not the place of government to care for the needy is not to say that the needy are on their own! On the contrary, requiring the government to stay out of these matters leaves greater private resource available for charitable causes. Causes which will be better served by the more efficient private efforts than they ever could have been by inefficient, corrupt government programs.

However, the main point of this section of Benson's article is that it is morally wrong expect our representatives - our government - to do that which we would be morally wrong to do ourselves.

Visiting a Farm

A friend of mine has some horses, and one of them recently foaled. We went out for a visit! It was lots of fun to see the wobbly little thing! He was still a little shy: no touching for us. But that was ok. We had fun looking.

They are such good-looking horses! Baby & Mama make quite the pretty picture, I thought.

The goat, on the other hand, was not nearly so shy as the horses were. It tried nibbling on Monkey's fingers (after Monkey saw that I still have finger when the goat got finished with me), and found them delicious. We also stopped and said hello to the chickens, which is where Monkey's friend A. got the egg she's carrying. Monkey didn't seem as interested in them as the goats and horses, and I didn't have any pictures that turned out at all, so that little egg is all you get of those chickens! At least, for this visit it is.

Monkey's too little for regular "notebooking" but we definitely tucked a few of these pictures into his Nature Book, which he was pleased to show to Daddy when he got back from Japan!

13 June 2009


They look so pretty, but I haven't tasted them yet. We're taking them to some friends' house to eat while we do show-and-tell with the stuff that Andy brought back from his recent trip to Japan. If they taste as good as they look, I'll post the recipe!

10 June 2009

How Very Charlotte Mason of Her

...In her book, The Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson describes waking her twenty-month-old nephew in the night and carrying him out to experience the majesty of a raging thunderstorm. When was the last time you took your family walking in the rain, wading in the stream-like gutters? When wind whips through the night or when fog lies so thick and low that streetlights become pale glowing orbs, do you venture out, all of you holding hands, without a flashlight? Have you simply slept under the stars in your own backyard?

Think of the attitudes parents convey to children in such experiences, not necessarily attitudes about thunderstorms or snakes, but about life and the joy of living! ... “Well, then,” the parent asks, “how do I teach my children about nature?” I’m an interpretive naturalist; “teaching” is my job. So I speak from experience when I say, “You can’t, yet. Not until you know that nature really can’t be taught; it can only be discovered. And we adults cannot share in discovery until we reawaken our own ability to see the world through childlike eyes.”

“Discovering nature” makes the common uncommon.


09 June 2009

What We've Been Up To

Hasn't been many pictures posted here the past couple weeks, because we've been insanely busy. Good busy, but still, insane. While Monkey is sleeping this afternoon I am resolved to get some of the fun (and cute!) things we've been doing posted.

Last Monday was the beginning of some serious craziness. We visited a friend of mine who split her perennials and kindly shared with me. This was very exciting to me, though none of the pictures of the pretty flowers turned out at all. What you can see here does little justice to her pretty flower bed. While the Moms were playing in the dirt, the kids were playing on the bikes. Monkey has been after me to get him a bike - a two-wheeler bike - for more than a year. And they had one. So he got to try it out. Let me tell you, he was a happy kid up there on that big bike!

Doesn't he look pleased with himself?? I had to practically pry him off there with a crowbar! Well, OK, it was just pick him up and listen to the protests. But if I'd waited till he was ready to get off we might still be there. So I made him get off, and we came home to start putting the perennials in our dirt.

We had to stop for naptime, and while I was inside waiting for Monkey to wake up, we got a phone call: did we want a plot out at the community gardens? I said, "Yes." It's lots of work, but so far it's also a blast! We're having a good time. Right now we're waiting for things to dry out a bit after rain all weekend, then we've got plants to go into the ground that we've been working on. We're doing lasagna gardening, so there's a fair amount of preparation to get things ready to go, but I'm happy with the way things are going!

We've had some great nature study moments out there at the garden! One of the best was when the guy in the next garden came over and asked if it was OK to show Monkey, "something that hops." Of course I said yes, and it was fun though Monkey didn't want to touch the frog any more than he cared to touch the worms we've dug up! But we all took a break to go get the camera from the car so we could include the frog in Monkey's Nature Book.


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