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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally

We arrived early to the Rally

Yesterday, March 23, Dave and I packed up the grandsons and headed downtown to participate in the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally.  We arrived early to the Rally and were given a sign to hold and we stood and watched as people continued to gather, small groups, individuals, larger groups, I would say there were at least five hundred people present on a cool, rainy, Friday afternoon, however our local news channel stated that dozens showed up (a sort of implication that it was poorly attended??). At noon the rally officially started with prayer, followed by many speakers, all gave good, inspiring speeches about the protection of our religious freedom.  Some speakers were local elected officials, others were priests, a pastor from a baptist church, some came from Concordia Theological Seminary, and a Lutheran minister.  All speakers expressed concern that religious freedom is being attacked, that it will be limited to only inside the church on Sunday morning and that public expression of religion will be suppressed, maybe ultimately banned. 
 This not only affects Christians, but all faith traditions, and it is something that we should all be concerned about.  It was a peaceful gathering, starting and ending with prayer, I was glad to have had the opportunity to attend.  I am sure we have not heard the end of this and I look forward to participating in future events.  If you have not had an opportunity to sign an online petition against the HHS Mandate, you can do so here,
Here is a link to read more about the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rallies that took place yesterday in over 140 cities!

The following is quoted from a flyer promoting the rally:

On March 23, thousands of faithful citizens will gather in prayer and public witness in cities and towns all across the United States to oppose the HHS Mandate.

What is the HHS Mandate?
In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate requiring all employer health plans to include free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections. Catholic universities and hospitals will be forced by the federal government to provide services that directly contradict Church teaching.
The HHS Mandate is an unprecedented assault on religious freedom and must be opposed!
The Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom is a joint project of the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Exciting News, Weird Weather, and Bread Making Fun!

Exciting News!
Matt and Traci - New Parents To Be!
Well first the exciting news!  We are going to be grandparents for the fourth time on or around November 1, of this year. Our oldest son Matt and his wife Traci gave us this wonderful news about a week ago, we are so excited!  Our third grandchild, Charlie, is due on May 23, he will be the third child for our daughter Amber and her husband Brad.  Our family just keeps growing and it is so much fun.

Weird Weather
We are having an unseasonably warm March, we have had highs in the seventies and eighties for the past week and a half, and look to continue this for a few more days, we will then have a so called cool down with highs in the sixties, today it was 85.  The forsythia are in magnificent bloom, the fruit trees have blossomed, leaves are bursting forth, and everyone is enjoying the weather, spring seems to be in overdrive.  Normal highs for this time of year are upper forties to upper fifties. This extremely warm March comes off of the mildest winter I have lived through in Indiana, I hope this does not mean we will have an extremely hot summer.
 It was so pleasant on St. Patricks day, March 17, that  in the evening we had a campfire, cooked over the fire, and enjoyed the warm night air and did not head into the house until around nine-thirty in the evening.  We have never sat around a campfire for the evening in March, ever, because it is just chilly, verging on cold.  Are you experiencing warmer than normal weather where you live?
St. Patrick's Day Campfire Cookout
Bread Making Fun
Big Blob Bread, I ran out of bread pans!

13 Loaves then I ran out of bread pans
 Today I needed to bake bread as we were on our last loaf. I did three batches of dough, this makes about fifteen loaves.  Grandsons Henry and Patrick were over, so while Patrick played with play dough at the kitchen table and ate Marmite toast, Henry sat at the kitchen counter to help with bread making. Mainly Henry likes to play in the flour on the counter, he draws pictures in the flour with his finger, and he likes to make it "snow", he doesn't make too much mess, and keeps me company as I knead.  Patrick finished his toast and tired of playing with play dough drug a chair to the counter to check out bread making.  Oh Boy! Thank heavens I was kneading the final batch, because Patrick had a complete ball with the flour, he had it all over his face, he made it "snow", he laughed and laughed along with Henry.

My Helpers!
 It took a while to clean everything up, then we went outside to hang the laundry and I instructed the boys to keep brushing off their shirts and shorts as they were still rather floury. The new favorite activity at the washing line is hiding behind hanging towels then leaping out from behind and shouting, "Ladies and Gentleman", then an embarrassed look and a quick dive back behind the towels. I remember playing in the hanging laundry when I was a child, there is something very relaxing about lying on the ground while sheets billow above you in the spring sunshine.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Feast or Famine

Why do I sometimes  make faith so complicated?

Isn't it enough to simply believe in God, in Jesus Christ and strive to live a Gospel Life?

Do we muddy things up by making up our own rules? For example I find at times that I immerse myself so deeply into religious practice that  I literally have to come up for air! Usually I start off putting aside some time  for structured prayer and the gospel reading each day, then I add more structured prayer, then I add more bible reading, then I had more prayer, and keep adding and  pretty soon I am overwhelmed by how much I have given myself to do each day, then I miss a scheduled prayer time, then I start seeing my prayer time as an obligation rather than a joyous time to be spent with the Lord, then I realize that once again I have immersed myself to the point of drowning, something I swore I would not do! I seem to fall into the trap that more must be better. Does this sound familiar to you?

As I write this I see that it is crazy, yet I fall into the same pattern time and time again, I see it happening, I know I heading down the path of being overwhelmed, yet still I proceed, why is this?  Sometimes I have a spurt of spiritual growth during these intense times of prayer and reflection, this is good, but all too often I end up in a spiritual desert. Why can't I simply find a pace that works for me, a moderate pace that helps me grow spiritually, but doesn't exhaust me?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fun Things To Do with Preschoolers

For the past week each time Henry and Patrick came over we  read stories about Noah's Ark, we have watched a few animated versions of the story on YouTube.  We did find a movie version of Noah's Ark at the library starring Jon Voight and Mary Steensbergen, it is truly a most dreadful movie, we turned it off, later I looked it up on to see how it was rated, apparently no one thought it was good it only had a one star rating.
This morning before the boys came over I went online to search for Noah's Ark activities for preschoolers, I found a wonderful site, everything is free, just print out the activities, the address is  What a fabulous site, we found several age appropriate crafts to do, suggested snack, recipes, etc. and we have had a fun day working on all of the activities.  Next week I will look for St. Patrick day activities for the boys to do when they come over.
While at the library looking for a Noah's Ark movie, we also borrowed a Bible Man DVD, my three and half year old grandson just absolutely loved the show.  Henry has asked to watch Bible Man each time he has come over, and he plays Bible Man, this involves running round the house telling Patrick that he is Bible Man :). For myself, I thought Bible Man was a fairly good show, it was entertaining, taught a value lesson in a fun way, and the  special effects, although rather campy, added to the spirit of the show.  We also borrowed a three disk CD called 100 Bible songs, I am going to buy a copy, it is great, the boys have enjoyed listening to it in the car, they enjoy it while playing and doing activities, having over three hours of music makes it nice as it is not repetitive to listen to.
We found many nice bible story picture books at the library, a favorite with the boys is a pop-up Noah's Ark book, there are pull tabs on some pages to make giraffes move, the dove fly, a door to open to peek into the ark, and on the last page a wonderful pop-up rainbow.
Here are a couple of pictures of our activities we did today, we made hand-print rainbows,  a mobile with lions and lambs, made rainbow cookies, and did a Noah's Ark coloring booklet.
Henry has on his "sheep head", this craft was not planned. I had cut the center of a paper plate out and he put the plate rim on his head and said he was a sheep, okay! So I cut a little of the rim off, punched a couple of holes to put on yarn strings to tie the thing to his head, Henry glued on cotton balls and I made a couple of construction paper ears and stapled them on. Immediately Henry had to wear his "sheep head", he ran off to the bathroom mirror, baaing all the way, and returned looking very pleased.  For much of the afternoon he wore his "sheep head" and baaed a lot, and at one point insisted that he couldn't help clean up because he was a sheep and sheep don't have hands!!