Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Calm


GREAT PIC FROM THE JACKSON HOLE NEWS AND GUIDE. Will be adding a list of some of my favorite books etc from 2012 during the day to this post. Thomas Stanton caught this sage grouse in just the right setting. Meanwhile,  thanks for coming by. 

Sunday on Monday

LONG DRIVE YESTERDAY FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF EAST TENNESSEE after a wonderful Christmas at Kiawah with family. I love this quote on the Christian storyline at one of Tim Keller's sites.
Look again at the uniqueness of Christianity. Only the Christian worldview locates the problem with the world not in any part of the world or in any particular group of people but in sin itself (our loss of relationship with God). And it locates the solution in God’s grace (our restoration of a relationship with God through the work of Christ). Sin infects us all, and so we cannot simply divide the world into the heroes and the villains. (And if we did , we would certainly have to count ourselves among the latter as well as the former.) Without an understanding of the gospel, we will be either naively utopian or cynically disillusioned. We will be demonizing something that isn’t bad enough to explain the mess we are in; and we will be idolizing something that isn’t powerful enough to get us out of it. This is, in the end, what all other worldviews do. The Christian story line works beautifully to make sense of things and even to help us appreciate the truth embedded in stories that clearly come from another worldview.

The Christian story line, or worldview, is: creation (plan), fall (problem), redemption and restoration (solution): The whole world is good. God made the world and everything in it was good. There are no intrinsically evil parts of the world. Nothing is evil in its origin.

As Tolkien explained about his archvillain in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in the beginning ‘even Sauron was not so.’ You can find this ‘creational good’ in anything. The whole world is fallen. There is no aspect of the world affected by sin more or less than any other. For example, are emotion and passions untrustworthy and reason infallible? Is the physical bad and the spiritual good? Is the day-to-day world profane but religious observances good? None of these are true; but non-Christian story lines must adopt some variations of these in order to villainize and even demonize some created thing instead of sin. The whole world is going to be redeemed. Jesus is going to redeem spirit and body, reason and emotion, people and nature. There is no part of reality for which there is no hope.”

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Photo Essay: Wild Animals in Their Natural Habitats---Masters of Disguise

CAN YOU SPOT THE SPOTS IN THIS PHOTO? Click here for more animal disappearing acts.

Michelle Malkin On Fiscal Cliff Narrative and Compromise

WITH GOOD POINTS ON HOBBY LOBBY standing up for its principles, noting the double standard of some SCOTUS justices.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

At Petersham Nurseries

PETERSHAM NURSERIES: An ineffably chic garden centre and Michelin-starred restaurant, Petersham Nurseries in Surrey has seen its fair share of famous party guests. But at New Year the owners Gael and Francesco Boglione prefer to keep it intimate, with a no less glamorous celebration for their immediate family.(Picture: CHRIS TERRY @ Telegraph)

The orange trees add the much needed dash of eye-popping sunshine especially on cloudy days.

The menu is full of fresh and vivid tastes, with a spinach lasagne for vegetarians (Gael and her daughters are all veggie) and a roast fillet of beef, accompanied by salsa verde and roast potatoes with fennel, for meat-eaters. She has collaborated on the dishes with Lucy Boyd, the Head Gardener at Petersham Nurseries, who shares Gael's love of food. Italian food is the basis of everything at Petersham. Francesco comes from Turin and is passionate about Italian cuisine, as is Gael, and the whole family is bilingual. Lucy is Italian food aristocracy, too: her mother, the late Rose Gray, was a founder of The River Café and an inspiration to a whole generation of British chefs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One Year Later: Madonna And No Child---Coping With Unthinkable Loss


What saves us all is love.

Yes. And because God loved us first when we didn't deserve it, and gave His Son to us, we have the capacity to love others and be loved, even without deserving it either.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas From Kiawah Island

THE LAST WEEK HAS BEEN NON-STOP ACTIVITY. Have been too busy to even take photos so far. My family and I have convened at Kiawah Island, S.C. over the weekend and are having a simply wonderful time. The real treat is the little Gs---Girly G, 2 3/4, and G-Boy, 4. More fun and chaos than I could imagine or describe.

Wishing you a Blessed, Merry Christmas.  Be back as I can.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Bad Influence Again


MEANWHILE, THE BLACK MARKET IN POWERFUL GUNS HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN.  Weapons are disappearing from legitimate markets---including Wal Mart---only to reappear later on black markets and re-sold at 10X original prices.

Whatever legislation President Obama manages to pass will be like putting a band aid on a massive wound.

Think about the issue of abortion, even if you don't want to, which has killed over a billion unborn, unwanted children so far. No one can stop it. Women want 'choice' no matter what the costs. Guns kill far, far, far fewer children. The issue of guns is just as heated. It won't ever go away. Gun enthusiasts want the same choice. Period.

Isn't it interesting how rabid pro-abortions are the very ones who are most outraged by pro-gun enthusiasts? Such hypocrites.

Monday, December 17, 2012

OMG: Southern Conservative Racist White Woman Appoints Black Man---Escaped From the Plantation---To U.S. Senate!


Except great selection and not unexpected.

The appointee's  (Rep.  Tim Scott) response:  “I am thankful for a strong mom that understood that love sometimes comes at the end of a switch,” Scott said.

That's the way I see it too.
Could the mother--and yes, the father--of the mass murderer in CT have solved at least some of their early problems with their 'autistic' child with some strong discipline and boundaries rather than constant  tip-toeing around him in fear?  Perhaps, though I'm sure they did the best they knew how.

What a Photo Op For the President!


WHATEVER YOU THINK OF PRESIDENT OBAMA OR GUN CONTROL OR MENTAL HEALTH PROCEDURES, you can't deny this is an absolutely adorable and most needed photo of the president and some of the surviving kiddos of the Sandy Hook tragedy. MORE

Prohibition doesn't work, never has, never will--- for drugs and alcohol, abortion,  or guns. Nuts will always get them legally or otherwise. The rest of us would be disarmed.  Not going to happen. Perhaps more restrictions CAN be put on gun show sales, especially for semi-automatic assault weapons. Also, please note that anti-depressants and prescription drugs are nearly always implicated in these tragic events.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Third Sunday in Advent: Greater Grace, A Story of God, Redemption and Steve McQueen


IT'S A WONDERFUL, AMAZING CONVERSION STORY---as they all are. Steve McQueen, wildman Steve McQueen, became a born-again Christian before he got sick with cancer and then died. It's a tale of God's abounding grace in the most unlikely of people. Southern Gospel Yankee has the full story and I urge you to read the whole thing:
They said he could act with the back of his head. No dialogue or frills required—his mere presence loomed larger than life in every shot. Put him next to some of the finest actors in the business, and he would undercut every one of them simply by being in the frame. His piercingly distinctive blue eyes were set in a rough-hewn, unconventionally handsome face that rarely betrayed strong emotion. His smallest physical gesture was precisely calculated and gracefully executed. You couldn’t best him, you couldn’t buy him, you couldn’t touch him.
He was the King of Cool. He was Steve McQueen.
He was the definition of a self-made man, working his way up from a horrific childhood of neglect, paternal abuse and a tough life on the streets to the gold-plated life of a Hollywood icon. He once said that he often had nightmares of everything he had gained being suddenly taken away from him. A man of many paradoxes, he was both humble and defiant, stingy and generous, gentle and violent, self-assured and insecure. Perhaps it was director Norman Jewison (Fiddler On the Roof) who summed him up best: “He was a loner, and he was troubled, and he was looking for a father.”
Everyone had a Steve McQueen story. His superior officers in the Marines could have told you how he spent 41 days in the brig for resisting arrest when caught AWOL. The young men at the Boys’ Republic where Steve had spent some of his teenage years could tell you how he regularly came back and visited the school after becoming famous, personally responding to every boy’s letters and financially supporting the school until his death. Magnificent Seven co-star Yul Brynner could tell you how McQueen stole scene after scene by deliberately throwing in extra, distracting bits of business. Bruce Lee could have told you about a hair-raising ride in Steve’s Porsche that had Lee cowering in the foot-well (and threatening to kill Steve when they stopped, causing a fearful McQueen to hit the gas again and refuse to slow down until Lee promised not to hurt him).
He was known to say that he lived for himself and answered to no one. Asked once if he believed in God, the actor brazenly replied, “I believe in me. God will be number one as long as I’m number one.” That philosophy informed much of his life. All the money, cars, alcohol, drugs and women that a man could ever want were at his fingertips, and it was only a matter of time before he became addicted in every way. Professional successes only inflated his ego. Wild experimentation with substance abuse drove him to the edge of mental stability. Though he tried to be a good father to the son and daughter of his first wife, his addictions, serial womanizing, jealousy and violence burned through two marriages....
Read his entire conversion story. You'll be glad you did.

C.S. Lewis Quote

WE ARE HALF-HEARTED creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

~ The Weight of Glory

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ineffable Pain, Sorrow

DEAR GOD, TURN OUR GRIEVING HEARTS TO YOU for comfort, answers and the ability to deal long-term with the terrible violence and moral decay in our society on the deepest levels rather than bandaid political quick-fixes. There are no easy answers. There are no real answers outside of a personal relationship with you.

Below, a mother whose son survived describes the horrors and miracles as they unfolded: A few details on the Lanza family.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

God As Our Dayspring Ends Our Darkness

From Charles Spurgeon Sermon: God's Visits End Our Darkness He shows his tender mercy in that HE VISITS US AS THE DAYSPRING FROM ON HIGH. This means the dawning in the east, the rising of the sun at break of day. He does not come to us in Christ, or by his Spirit, as a tempest, as when he came from Paran, with ten thousand of his holy ones, in all the pomp of his fiery law; but he has visited us as smiling morn, which in gentle glory floods the world with joy. While this gospel visitation is thus apparently less in splendor than that of the law, yet it is not deficient in efficacy or in true glory. God has not visited us as a candle, which might suffice to cheer our darkness but could not change it into day. David rejoiced, saying, "The Lord will light my candle;" but in this we go far beyond him: we need no candle, for the Lord has visited us with the day-dawn. He has come, moreover, not as a blaze which will soon die down, but as a light which will last our day, yea, last for ever. After the long dark and cold night of our misery, the Lord cometh in the fittest and most effectual manner; neither as lightning, nor candle, nor flaming meteor, but as the sun which begins the day. The visitation of the Lord to us is as the dayspring, because it suits our eye. Observe how the eye is suited to the light, and the light to the eye, in the economy of nature; and it is even so in the realm of grace. Day, when it first breaks in the east, has not the blaze of burning noon about it; but it peeps forth as a grey light, which gradually increases to the perfect day. So did the Lord Jesus Christ come: dimly as it were, at first, at Bethlehem, but by-and-by he will appear in all the glory of the Father. So doth the Spirit of God come to us in gradual progress. There is sweet suitableness in the grace of God to the heart, and in the renewed heart to the grace of God. He hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence. The revelation of God to each individual is made in form and manner tenderly agreeable to the condition and capacity of the favored one. I sometimes think the gospel was made exactly to meet my case. Do you not think the same of it yourselves? The morning light suits your eye as exactly as if there were no other creature to behold it; and so in divine tenderness the Lord has made his visits suitable to our sorrow, and even to our weakness. He shows us just so much of himself as to delight us without utterly overwhelming us with the excess of brightness.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where Many of Our Hearts Were in 2012 @ Facebook

WHILE PRESIDENT AND MRS. OBAMA prepare for a mammoth Christmas vaca in Hawaii, the Michigan governor gets ready to sign today a right-to-work law giving union choice to workers there (as junior Jimbo Hoffa throws a major tantrum) and Tennessee governor Jim Haslam refuses---to his credit---to set up a health exchange in Tennessee for Obamacare, the Facebook phenomena continues and gets down to the nitty gritty of where America's hearts and shrinking minds were in 2012.

And the full list is not particularly pretty, in my opinion: Unsurprisingly, the U.S. election, 50 Shades of Grey, and The Hunger Games were big talking points.
Events (mentions): 1. US Presidential Election 2. Superbowl XLVI 3. Death of Whitney Houston 4. Superstorm Sandy 5. London 2012 Olympics Public Figures (mentions): 1. Barack Obama 2. Mitt Romney 3. One Direction 4. Tim Tebow 5. Eli and Peyton Manning
Movies (mentions): 1. The Hunger Games 2. The Avengers 3. Magic Mike 4. The Vow 5. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Songs (app listens): 1. We Are Young - feat. Janelle Monáe - Fun 2. Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye 3. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen 4. What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction 5. Payphone – Maroon 5 TV

Shows (mentions): 1. Duck Dynasty 2. Honey Boo Boo 3. Big Bang Theory 4. Game of Thrones 5. Downton Abbey

Books (app reads): 1. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) - Suzanne Collins 2. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) - Suzanne Collins 3. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) - Suzanne Collins 4. Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1) - E.L. James 5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) - J.K. Rowling

Sports (mentions): 1. NY Giants 2. New England Patriots 3. Tim Tebow 4. London 2012 Olympics 5. OKC (Oklahoma City Thunder) Well, you get the picture. It's our reality, like it or not.

Sorry for the whack editing job here today.  Some Google techy has made dealing with blockquotes almost wants to do things I never intended... too much help.  And simply don't have the time to dither with it this morning.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Second Sunday In Advent: The Life I Now Live

PASTOR MIKE ATKINS AT RIVER CROSSING IN JACKSON, WY SPEAKS FROM GALATIANS 2:20 and going on to maturity in Christ rather than spinning around in dead religious circles.

 It's about the transforming, supernatural power Christ in our lives and not  a call to virtue and 'religious efforting.' To Paul, a dead work is what man does on his own. A living work is what Christ does in us, that which we could never do for ourselves.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Brilliant New Gravity Light For a Dark World


A huge part of this planet exists without access to reliable electricity, which doesn’t just mean no access to computers and other tools, but a lack of even the most basic of necessities such as cheap lighting.

Most of these places still rely on kerosene lamps, which are smelly, polluting and expensive to run.

There are some superb initiatives happening around the world at the moment to solve the problem, and we think this new project could be a real winner if it takes off as hoped. The GravityLight uses a clever belt and pulley system to generate light through the force of gravity. The idea is for the user to pull a bag up to generate enough energy for short periods of light. Because it uses ultra low power LED bulbs, this could mean up to 30 minutes of light for a quick 3 second hoist. It’s much cheaper than solar (which needs batteries to store the sun’s power) and easier to maintain than other more complex devices...

Friday, December 7, 2012

What Our National Debt Looks Like


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Simpson Wows With Gangnam Swagger For A Great Cause



WYOMING STILL HAS A LOT TO BE PROUD OF in Senator Alan Simpson taking on all the fiscal cliff nonsense.

And boy does he engage the culture here which we sorely need.

How about this new How can you not love the magnificent Alan, the rebellious can---how bout the slogan, No Can Do?!---and all the fireworks coming down the pike?


Monday, December 3, 2012

Reality Is...



No one really knows for sure what going over the cliff will mean to the average citizen. The can has been kicked down the road for so long, and it may be kicked down again. But we're getting closer to the day chickens will be coming home to roost. 

MORE @ BUSINESS INSIDER:  GOP's brilliant response to the WH's fiscal cliff proposal.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Sunday Of Advent, Jesus 'Our Dayspring From On High''

THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE, DILIGENT READERS AND STUDENTS CAN BE OVERWHELMED BY THE MANY NAMES---AT LEAST 200---DESCRIBING JESUS: Wonderful Counsellor, Prince of Peace, Bread of Heaven, Word of God, Way, Vine, Shepherd, Son of God, and Alpha and Omega, just to name a very few. Here's a link with Bible references to all or most of them.

One of the lovelier descriptions of Jesus is our dayspring from on high comes in Luke 1: 78  and it is spoken prophetically by Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, shortly before Mary gives birth to Jesus in Luke chapter 2. The AllAboutJesus blog describes this reference this way:
Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death" (Luke 1:78, 79, NKJV). The figure of the Dayspring refers to the rising sun. Ancient peoples thought of the east as a position of honor and importance.

The sunrise is viewed as a symbol of glory and hope. The language of this verse is descriptive of the coming of the Messiah. The title, "Dayspring from on high," is applied to Jesus because He is the hope and the light of the world. Fully convinced that the hour had finally come for the appearing of the long-awaited Messiah, Zacharias, the officiating priest, broke forth in these remarkable words, "The Dayspring from on high has visited us" (Luke 1:78, NKJV).

To the spirit-filled Zacharias, Christ's appearing was like the smiling sunrise of a golden daybreak. He saw in Christ the Dayspring who had come in the fullness of time to dispel the darkness and usher in the kingdom of God. No more appropriate title could be found to portray the One who declared, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12, NIV). Christ's appearance in history was like a majestic sunrise after a night of darkness. The visit to our planet by the "Dayspring from on high" brought redemption, healing, and everlasting life. Ellen G. White speaks of the Dayspring as God's free gift to us. "The condescension of God... is described by Zacharias as a salvation come unto us... whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us... This salvation comes to us not as a reward for our works... but it is a gift unto us."--Signs of the Times, September 5, 1892.
This was described to us at my church this morning and it was something I'd never heard before. As the image was explained, I felt the hope and peace of a rising light (Son, sun) after the dark night of humanity and also the promise to believers that one day the Full Light will come back to our World for all eternity and transform every tear and trauma in the blink of an eye.

At this darkening time of year as days get shorter,  the light gets dimmer, Our Dayspring From on High seems like a wonderful image to cling to this first Sunday of Advent, as we await with anticipation the Birth of Our Lord and Savior---the baby Jesus.


Thanks to an anonymous commenter who provided a link in the comments,  I'm providing it here:
Charles Spurgeon sermon in 1886 on entitled The Tender Mercy of Our God.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

ZoNation On Black Apostasy and Politics @ PJMedia