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The stories behind some of the tweets I posted this past week:!/writefromkaren/status/107141555562872832!/writefromkaren/status/107558489378918400

Crazy, right? Watch how ugly the protesters are.

Talk about setting a good example for our children.!/writefromkaren/status/107882761108455424

Raised in a $1.5 million Barrington Hills, Ill., home by their attorney father, two grown children have spent the last two years pursuing a unique lawsuit against their mom for “bad mothering” that alleges damages caused when she failed to buy toys for one and sent another a birthday card he didn’t like.

Proof positive that people will sue over EVERYTHING. You can’t control how crazy people are, but it frustrates me that there are lawyers out there that take on these crap suits. I mean … come ON. Didn’t buy them the TOYS they wanted?!?

Give me a break.!/writefromkaren/status/108906923784540161

That’s right – it looks like we might have a thief trolling our neighborhood. Kevin said he had read about people trolling neighborhoods and stealing packages. I don’t know, with certainty, if this is what happened, I filed a claim with FedEx that I never received the package (the tracking shows they dropped the package off on our front porch, but I never received it), so it’s possible they delivered it to the wrong house.

Or. Someone stole it.

I mean, it’s really not that big of a deal – they were only pillows, I’m just grateful it wasn’t something more expensive or more important, but still, it was $30 bucks.

I’m not taking any more chances. Any future packages will be delivered to the office from now on.!/writefromkaren/status/108930992256991233

Hot topic on Twitter today. It’s a long-sleeved tee that says, “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”

Yeah. Not exactly the message we want to teach our girls. At any rate, there was so much hoopla over it that JCPenney removed the listing.

Even though I’m annoyed with the buyer who approved this line of clothing, I can’t really fault them – they were only doing their job. They bought something that they thought people would buy. The fault really lies with the parents who BUY this crap thereby making a demand for it.

Parents: Stop buying sexist stuff like this and manufacturers will stop making sexist stuff like this.

*POOF* Problem solved.!/writefromkaren/status/108932919271227392

Our PTA clothing bank is open for business. Parents are instructed to pick up vouchers from their school offices and take those vouchers down to the Clothing Bank and pick out clothes for their children. They pass out vouchers to ensure that people walking in off the street can’t use the facility – it’s designed to help parents in the community who need the extra help.

I tweeted this because there was a huge discussion on the school district’s Facebook page last winter about how buses shouldn’t run on bitterly cold days and think of the poor kids who have to stand outside and wait for them.

Yes. I feel sorry for the kids who have to ride the bus in the dead of winter. BUT, winter comes every year and winter is generally pretty cold (duh), so parents, if your children have to wait for the bus, then PREPARE them by making sure they have coats, boots, gloves, etc. And if these parents can’t afford this winter wear on their own, then there are places like the Clothing Bank that can help.

There are NO EXCUSES not to prepare our children for something as predictable as winter. I get so annoyed with parents who act all indignant about these sorts of things when they can CLEARLY do something about it – MONTHS ahead of time, even.!/writefromkaren/status/108963191882657792

Apparently, this university spent a lot of time on this report that pretty much spells out how much the stimulus DID NOT WORK – in fact, it had the opposite effect.

And our man-child president wants to introduce ANOTHER stimulus package?

What an unbelievably stupid man.!/writefromkaren/status/108963544824954882

There are no words for this one – it’s just horrifying that someone would take their own life like this.!/writefromkaren/status/108964686531264512

Kevin watched this video a lot today:

And then Dude said, “Isn’t it weird how much cat stuff is on the Internet?”

And I said, “Isn’t it weird how PASSIONATE cat people get whenever someone dares to criticize cats on the Internet?”

Come on, you know it’s true.!/writefromkaren/status/108965326389133314

‘Bout damn time someone made these punks pull their pants up.!/writefromkaren/status/108968129337630720

Newsalert has posted a chart from a Wall Street Journal blog titled “Recession and the Rich.” The chart, based on 2009 IRS figures, shows that the number of taxpayers reporting annual income over $1 million fell 39 percent between 2007 and 2009; the number of super-wealthy individuals making over $10 million annually plunged 55 percent.

The carnage wasn’t confined to millionaires. The number of taxpayers earning over $200,000 per year also decreased by 612,000 – or 13 percent.

Soooo, question – if making the rich pay more is the Democrats’ big plan to bring our economy back under control, what happens when there aren’t any rich people anymore?

Then what?

What’s the big plan then?

I’m just asking.

Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: Take up the Armor of God

by John Schoenheit
As Christians living for the Lord, each of us should recognize that we are in a spiritual battle, and do what it takes to stand in the fight day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year throughout our lifetime. In this regard, Ephesians 6:10-17 is an exceptionally pertinent section of Scripture, wherein God compares the armor of a Roman soldier to the spiritual armor each Christian must put on if he is to stand for a lifetime. This teaching, which is both enlightening and inspiring, exposits those key verses.

Click the arrow to listen.

Transcription | Related Article

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New Band Uniforms

Jazz’s new band uniforms arrived yesterday. I took him out to take the traditional “by the tree” picture.

Band Uniform - 2011

I like them, especially compared to last year’s:

Band '10

They look more polished and definitely more up-to-date than their old ones. (I think they had their old uniforms something like ten years before they “retired” them).

But, I think the jackets are a little too short and his uniform is TIGHT. I’m hoping it stretches a bit with use. These are brand new uniforms and they measured him before they ordered so … I guess we’ll have to make it work.

The new hats are brown, the same color as the uniform. They will have a white feather again.

First competition is October 1st in Tulsa. Can’t wait!!

Update: Jazz is going to talk to them about his uniform today. Is it SUPPOSED to be this tight? Are the jackets SUPPOSED to be this short? We’re thinking it’s just too small, but we’ll know more after he talks to his band directors.

UPDATE #2: Yep. He picked up the wrong uniform. Whew! We swapped them out today. Though his new one is still tight, it’s not as tight as the picture above. The jackets are supposed to be short – they’re supposed to look more like a tuxedo-type of uniform. At any rate, I’m glad he asked as he had someone else’s by mistake! Oops!

Monday Stuff, Prompt Fiction

Craving Freedom

Freedom threw her favorite sweater into her suitcase at the last minute. She hurriedly closed the lid, but was careful not to make a sound. She was sitting on top, trying to make it close that last half inch when the alarm went off.

“CRAP!” she hissed. She had totally forgotten about the automatic setting on her alarm clock. Sweat dotted her upper lip as she frantically worked to close the case.

“Freedom! Time to get up!” her mother yelled from down the hallway.

She sighed with relief as it finally clicked. Grabbing the case, she ran toward the window.





Write up to 100 words, fact or fiction….

This is a themed writing meme hosted by The Head’s Office. The goal is to write something that does not exceed 100 words. The prompt this week is in italic.

Movie/TV Reviews

Movie Review: The Invention of Lying

There is always a way to be honest without being brutal. ~Arthur Dobrin

I don’t write about movies very often – they’re just not that interesting to write about, quite frankly.

However, I watched one last night that I thought had some pretty interesting, and insulting, messages that deserve some attention.

First off, I dig Indie and Independent films. (Not saying that this film was an Indie/Independent, but I like movies that are a bit off the radar, so to speak). They’re not all hits, but there are more hits than you might think. Blockbusters are usually pretty standard: love triangle, saving the world, lots of explosions, someone dies … blahblahblah, but Indie/Independent films delve a little more into character and circumstances than on blowing things up. Which is probably why I enjoy them.

Anyway, the movie I watched last night was: The Invention of Lying

It’s a world where everyone tells the truth – and just about anything they’re thinking. Mark Bellison is a screenwriter, about to be fired. He’s short and chunky with a flat nose – a genetic pool that means he won’t get to first base with Anna, the woman he loves. At a bank, on the spur of the moment he blurts out a fib, with eye-popping results. Then, when his mother’s on her deathbed, frightened of the eternal void awaiting her, Mark invents fiction. The hospital staff overhear his description of Heaven, believe every word, and tell others. Soon Mark is a prophet, his first inventive screenplay makes him rich, and he’s basically a good guy. But will that be enough for Anna?

There were three underlining themes in the movie:

1. Telling the truth, though admirable and forthright, is depressing.

2. Don’t believe everything you hear or are told.

3. People need to believe in something.

Telling the truth, though admirable and forthright, is depressing

This movie is all about telling the truth – no one is capable of telling a lie – even a white lie. Everything everyone feels, or is thinking, is all on the table, the good and the bad. The people of this world are physically incapable of telling a lie. Though there are some pretty funny moments in the film as a result of people not being able to lie and just blurt what’s on their mind, regardless of the situation or if it’s even appropriate at the time, a lot of times, these revelations are brash, crude, rude and make you squirm in your chair with discomfort. People are unknowingly cruel to one another with their honesty and this produces a lot of unhappy and depressed people.

In fact, a lot of people don’t even exercise self-control, they just blurt out what they’re thinking/feeling whenever it happens. For example, Mark is out to dinner with Anna and their waiter looks at Anna, then looks at Mark, and boldly says, “She’s out of your league.” Another example is when Anna accepts a call from her mother, while at the dinner table, and tells her that she’s not physically attracted to Mark and that there is no way she would consider sleeping with him.

People have to endure a lot of rejection in this movie. Which , in some ways, is good because there are no false illusions, there are no misunderstandings, and some people just don’t get it unless you’re open and honest with them about a given situation, but to constantly be told that you’re ugly, or fat, or stupid wears on a person’s self-esteem and after a while, people lose hope.

Which brings me to my second theme …

Don’t believe everything you hear or are told

The people in this world do not have hope. They don’t understand how comforting it is to hope in something, to believe that things will get better, to anticipate the unknown and to appreciate the magic of fate. Everything is cut and dried, out in the open and there are very few surprises in this world.

And because faith is based on hope, and because so much faith is based on the unknown, the people in this world do not have any religious beliefs because no one can say, with certainty, that it exists. No one can declare that they know God, have met God, or that He even exists. So … there is nothing to anticipate. There is nothing to look forward to. There is nothing to comfort them when they get scared or lonely.

When Mark’s mother is on the verge of dying, she starts to panic. She doesn’t want to cross the threshold into nothingness. It’s bleak and depressing and the thought causes her to hyperventilate and become quite distressed. Since Mark has stumbled onto lying, he is now capable of telling his mother a lie in order to comfort her as she’s dying. He tells her about Heaven, making it up as he goes along and that soothes her. She calms down and she dies in peace. Though Mark feels bad about lying to his mother, it also makes him feel good that he was able to give her that peace.

It was a lie of love.

However, the doctor and nurses overhear his description of this wondrous place and suddenly, they have hope – hope for something more after they die. They get so excited about this new “truth” that they spread the word. The entire town camps out in Mark’s front lawn, TV crews are set up and before long the entire world is waiting with bated breath to hear more about this Heaven that Mark speaks of.

Feeling the pressure of maintaining his lie and also enjoying the attention, Mark stays up all night trying to think of how he can explain Heaven to everyone. He comes up with “commandments” that he writes out and pastes on the back of two pizza boxes (imitating Moses’ Ten Commandments) and he comes out the next morning and delivers these commandments to the people. Only, the people have many questions and before long, Mark is frustrated and is making up the details as he goes along. The details are loosely based on the Ten Commandments as well.

He talks about “the man in the sky” and how the man in the sky is a puppet master and is responsible for everything that happens on Earth and to people. He pulls the strings and people jump and dance to his every whim.


My blood pressure spiked at this point and I nearly stopped watching. They were clearly poking fun at Christianity and I didn’t think it was funny. In essence, Hollywood was saying that Christianity was made up by a man and people who believed the “stories” were clearly naive and stupid.

How could any rational person believe in God and everything related to God? Hollywood is asking. But then again, I took it with a grain of salt because after all, Hollywood is fully of Godless wimps so … there you go.

But it was interesting in that people were so HUNGRY to believe what Mark was telling them. They CRAVED the knowledge that when they died, it wasn’t over, but was just beginning. They were DESPERATE to believe in something they didn’t fully understand because it gave them hope and offered them comfort.

That, my friends, is the very essence of religion nowadays and in the real world. There are so many people, SO MANY PEOPLE, who are desperate to know God. They are desperate to find the peace they are consciously, or subconsciously seeking. And it was this depiction that kept me watching the movie.

It was both sad and fascinating at the same time. It made me incredibly sad that there are so many people out there that are seeking God’s truth. And so many people out there that refuse to believe something so wonderful even when they know, deep in their hearts, that it’s the truth – that it makes sense. That there is scientific evidence backing it up.

It was also fascinating to watch how gullible people were. They believed everything that Mark said because they were convinced he was telling the truth. They believed him because they WANTED to believe him. Even though there was no physical proof of his claims, it didn’t matter – they found hope. What they heard comforted them and they WANTED to believe him.

THAT is faith.

It was also a good lesson, as well. That just because someone says something, or claims that something is true, it’s okay, even NECESSARY to ask questions. Seeking truth or knowledge is never a bad thing and in fact preferred. Simply taking the word of one man, a group or even a government, is dangerous and foolhardy. Ask questions – find out for yourself if something is true or not. NEVER take something you hear, read or are told at face value, at least, when it comes to something as important as faith.

It was alarming to watch so many people blindly take what Mark said as gospel truth. It was a perfect parallel to today’s world and how easy it is to manipulate people into thinking a certain way. How many people actually stop to question whether what they’re being told is real, or makes sense, or is morally correct?

Exactly. It’s scary.

People need to believe in something

And that, in essence, is the message behind the movie. Well, that and telling white lies is not always a bad thing if it protects people.

But people NEED something to believe in. They need direction, they need to know that there is so much more than this mortal life.

Another aspect of this I found interesting was after everyone heard about Mark’s version of Heaven and found out that everyone would receive a mansion and they would live happily ever after and be surrounded by their friends and family, they gave up on real life. The attitude was, “I’m going to get my mansion and live like a King in Heaven so why should I exert myself now? Why should I be a good person now (as long as I don’t break the commandments – which in Mark’s version there were only three) if I’m going to go to Heaven anyway?”

Sadly, that is the same attitude a lot of Christians have nowadays. Christians don’t value life as much as they should because the afterlife is going to be so much better than what we have now. That was NEVER God’s intention. Yes. Paradise will be wonderful (notice I didn’t say Heaven – Christians will never see Heaven – we will reclaim Earth after Christ comes back and defeats evil, then we shall live in Paradise on Earth, not in the sky), but it’s no excuse not to be the best Christian that God could want for us while we live in our mortal bodies.

You see this attitude in the movie; you see this attitude in modern-day Christianity, too. So even after everyone believes in Heaven, they are disillusioned into believing that human life is somehow less valuable. (For example: there was one suicidal guy in the movie who wasn’t interested in committing suicide anymore after he learned about Mark’s Heaven. His new goal was to lay around and watch TV and drink beer all day thereby slowing killing himself with drink and enjoying the journey until it happened).

Even though this movie was mediocre at best and in fact, pretty much ticked me off, there were a lot of interesting messages – messages that I don’t think even Hollywood intended but need to be pointed out and discussed, especially in today’s world.

Rating: C

The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Abundant Life

Teaching: The Truth Seekers

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

If I ever hit my head and develop amnesia, I will not have to go a long time without knowing my name. In fact, thanks to my children, I am reminded of my name several hundred times on a daily basis. (“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOM! Mommmmmmeeeeeeee!”) Repetition is the name of the game that children play, and it forces parents to learn very quickly the meaning of patience. Many adults have been pushed to the brink of insanity just by having to hear the “Barney Theme Song” one too many times. You can take a survey to verify this, but I believe that the number one repeated word of choice for youngsters is “Why?”

An average conversation with a three year old looks something like this:

Parent: Please come here now.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because I asked you to.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because I want you to come here.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because I asked you to.
Child: Why? Why? Why?
Parent: (Face down in soup) Aaaaaaaaghh!

For a while, I considered boycotting the letter “y” from the alphabet. However, I have recently learned that I should be encouraging the natural questioning of my children. Most young children are natural Truth Seekers. They do not initially accept an answer at face value; they need validation and confirmation. That is why they will not accept “because I said so”, as an answer. If they are not nurtured in this search for corroboration of truth, the desire becomes squelched in adulthood. Not only will they stop asking “why,” but they will also stop caring. It is the ultimate lesson in “How to Become Jaded.”

Our five year old, Grace, is not one to readily accept an answer. One day I made a comment about the sun going down, to which she responded, “The sun doesn’t really go down, does it Mommy?” For you sports fans, she was throwing a flag on the play. I had never taught astronomy to her, but she challenged the truth of my statement. This challenge resulted in a lengthy explanation about the solar system that I had planned for her middle school years. Rather than letting me off the hook, she was choosing to seek the truth.

Truth Seeking 101 should be a mandatory college course. Somewhere along the way, adults seem to lose a little bit of the basics, especially concerning religion. I know several people who believe that the truth is whatever you believe it to be in your heart. In other words, everyone has his or her own truth. (Which reminds me-Logic should also be a mandatory course). If everyone’s own opinion is the truth, then we might as well pack up our brains right now, because nothing will ever make sense! God makes it clear that there is one Truth, and that His desire is for us to pursue it:

1 Timothy 2:3 and 4
(3) This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
(4) who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Many people like to quote “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32), but they leave out the all-important preceding words spoken by Jesus. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” When you keep the context of the verses, Jesus Christ stated that the way in which truth will set you free is through the truth of what he taught. His teachings are conveniently located in our Bibles! The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you” (2 Thess. 2:15), which now have been passed on to us through the church epistles.

When learning to become a Truth Seeker, daily time studying the Bible is a course requirement. The book of Acts explains why the Bereans were of more “noble character” than the Thessalonians:

Acts 17:11b
…for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Every time Paul taught the Word to the Bereans, they verified the truth themselves. They were not ashamed to ask, “Why?” or any other question. Examining the Scriptures in this manner has become a lost art. Sometimes people are afraid that the truth might challenge their lifelong traditions. It’s as if Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men is yelling in their ear, “You can’t handle the truth!” Ironically, once we realize that the Word is truth, not only can we handle it, but it also liberates our hearts and brings us peace.

The Word of God is truth, but it will not leap off of the pages into our brains. We need to do the following:

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Before I started studying the Bible, I did not “handle” the truth at all; I fumbled it. Instead of being a “workman,” I simply allowed myself to be fed the traditions of men without question. If you constantly “feed” yourself with something that is empty, you will never be satisfied.

Now that I am teaching our children, I no longer have the luxury of accepting something blindly. Sometimes I’m engaging in a tennis match of logic when I serve them a truth of the Scripture-they lob it back to me with, “WHY?” Thankfully, this forces me to work diligently, for they hold me accountable for logical answers that will satisfy their appetite for God’s Word. How can I expect my own children to consume a diet of traditions, when they are hungry for the truth?

One advantage of the constant barrage of questions from our children is that it forces me to think. Sometimes I rush through a biblical record, but the kids will ask me to go back and paint a clearer picture. For example, our daughter Grace wanted to know if Jesus was wearing sandals when he walked on the water. I had never given it any thought, but she was concerned about whether or not his shoes got wet. Another time when I explained that Jesus will return in the clouds, she asked exactly how we would get out of the house to meet him. These are questions that most adults do not ponder, but she was probably already working on some sort of Emergency Evacuation Plan, and she needed details for the diagram.

These countless wonderful moments with our children have allowed me to reflect more on the Scriptures and challenge my brain to work overtime. No, baby Moses did not go floating down the river like a ride at a water park, and no, Noah’s ark was not a small house boat filled with stuffed animals. Thankfully, God has unlimited patience with man.

Ephesians 6:14 exhorts believers to stand “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Notice that it does not use “suspenders,” which tend to slip off the shoulder, but a buckled belt. Whenever people eat too much, they like to loosen up their pants a little to get some breathing room. You rarely see someone wearing a belt at an all-you-can-eat buffet for just that reason. A belt is secure and difficult to remove! Just like children and their endless demand of WHY’s, we should be relentless in our pursuit of truth, and then fasten it securely with a belt to complete the full armor of God. It’s never too late to become a truth seeker!

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here to inform and bless you. God granted you the gift of free will – take it or leave it).

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