Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An update, A shooting, And a free book

I like to give a Swag Bucks update once in awhile, so here is one :-). I just turned in enough to get another Amazon.com gift card, making me $85 I have earned since March. I currently have $35 sitting in Amazon, and 2 $5 cards waiting to clear - takes a week or so for them to get verified after you order them.

I figure by the time the other two clear, there may be enough items I want that I can use up the credit, or most of it, though by that time, I also may have earned more. I just wish I had started it ages ago.

I received my first book from Tyndale Publishers yesterday in the mail to review. The book was free, but I have to read it, do a review on my blog, and also on Amazon, and submit the reviews to Tyndale, and then I can order another book for review. What's bad about this review, is I put in to be part of the blog tour for the book, which means I can't post the review til the end of July. Which also means, no new book to review until after that. Had I thought that out, I may not have opted to do the blog tour, though if you read my one blog post, you know I will be able to give away a free copy of the book - actually a certificate for a free book. Although the review is a month away, check out the author's website at
Randysinger.net - although the time to vote is past, he still has a video you can watch and decide what verdict should be rendered in Justice Games.

I am about halfway through the book, and wow. I am 100% against gun control. I think it makes as much sense to take alcoholic beverages away because of what it does, as it does to take away the guns, but man, this guy knows how to write a story. I don't want to review the book yet, besides, I haven't finished it- but I already like the lawyers for both sides, and am already sympathetic toward both sides. The verdict was decided by visitors to the author's website who read the synopsis and watched the video.

I guess I can add this, as it isn't part of the book. The big thing that directed the author to be interested in the gun debate was personal. In 1988, a young man, with a gun he had illegally purchased, stormed into the Christian school where the author's wife taught, and his kids attended. He shot a teacher, and then headed for a room where a Bible class was in session. As the kids huddled in terror, the gunman opened fire on the class, but the gun jammed. A male teacher tackled the gunman, and other than an assistant principal being injured, no one else was hurt.

The author, a lawyer, represented the family of the slain teacher in a lawsuit against the gun store that sold the gun illegally through a straw purchase - the kid brought in someone else to buy the gun for him. The results of the lawsuit shocked everyone.

So how will this fictional lawsuit turn out? Well, I guess in a way, I was part of the jury. I sided in favor of the gun manufacturer, but how many viewers of the video did, and how many did not? I have to admit, I'm tempted to peek, but I won't. And again, if you only occasionally read my blog, make sure you watch the last few days of July, for I will have the giveaway when I finally review the book.

After I finished my post, I was curious about the real-life shooting that inspired this book, so I googled it. If anyone else is interested, here are a few sites that talk about it:



Losing Focus

There is a situation I have been watching with interest. Some things amuse me, and some things sadden me.

A bit of background. There was a group of people that caused a lot of problems in my denomination, and in my church specifically. They still claim they were in the right, but whether they were or not, they went about things in a totally wrong way, stirring up trouble, sending out malicous emails, etc. Eventually, it caused a church split, and they left, taking close to 30 people with them.

This group went to another church in town, different denomination. All went well for a while, until the pastor was voted out by the board. More trouble. They decided they would show the denomination, so all of the misfits who had left my church, and added to them several new misfits, went off to start their own church. By the way, my family is giving the church a year, tops. You can't have a church full of stubborn troublemakers and it last.

Where am I going with this? I have watched conversations on facebook, and heard remarks, and these people are going on about how God is working and blessing. I saw someone who stole a church from our denomination cheering them on and telling them it isn't always easy to do the right thing.

The right thing?! Marching off in a huff because the preacher got voted out, and they worshipped the man so much that they have to rebel - that is doing the right thing?!

I am afraid too many Christians today are losing focus. We want our own way, not God's. I have seen pastors come, and pastors go. Sometimes I felt it was their time to go, and sometimes I didn't. But I have yet to march off in a huff because the preacher left.

There is no perfect church, and sometimes we just need to wait on God, and do our part. Do I like everything about my church? Nah. I have issues - I still think they try to be politically correct and rarely mention our school to avoid offending the home schoolers - not a slam against home schoolers either. I wish they would do something different on Wednesday nights and rearrange the Sunday night stuff that is before the main service. But unless God leads differently, I am there to stay. Besides, I try to focus on the good points, which outweigh the bad.

I see these people who blow up abortion clinics, and wonder how on earth they got to that point. Killing the abortionists isn't the answer. We are pro-life. Not just pro-saving babies. Yes, I'd love to see every abortion clinic in the world close, but killing and blowing up is not the answer. These people have lost their focus. Makes me wonder if they are so caught up in a cause, that they don't care what they do, as long as it is for the cause.

It doesn't really matter what our cause is, whether it be saving babies, getting control of a church we want, getting a president out of office, or even sharing the Gospel, if our methods are wrong, and our attitudes are wrong.

What should our focus be? God. Making it to heaven. Lining up our life to the Bible. I admit, I lose my focus. I am so frustrated with what we have in our White House, and the things he does, and is trying to do, that I want him out, and I don't care how - not that I am going to do anything.

Lost focus? Oh yeah. It is so easy to point out what God hasn't done for me. All the bad in my life, and not look at the good, but sometimes the bad seems to far outweigh the good - or is that just my losing my focus?

Pretty much everything in life can look bad if we focus on the wrong part of it. Church. Job. Even family. Life in general.

Its like sometimes we are wearing those things they put on horses so that they can't see whats to the sides, but only what is ahead of them. But unlike the horse, we look at the bad. Not what will help us on this race we are in, but what will hinder us. Distract us, pull us down.

What is the answer to keeping our focus? There may be several answers to that. Prayer, Bible reading, and other things, but I think a biggie is surrender. I don't think enough people are truly surrendered anymore. Church splits happen largely due to people not getting their own way, not being truly surrendered. Marriages break up largely in part due to people wanting their own way, and not being surrendered to God's.

And unhappiness and bitterness all too often come as a result of not being truly surrendered to God, and what He wants.

And this post was not to slam the misfits/splittees, though they did inspire my post. Let's not lose our focus, and we have, try to get it back to where it should be.

Monday, June 29, 2009

3000 Reasons

Ran across this information, and decided to share it in case anyone reading my blog smokes, or is thinking about taking that nasty, dangerous habit up. Smoking causes more problems than I realized, and has some nasty stuff in it. Check it out, even if you don't smoke:

Even if you've heard that smoking is the number one cause of:

heart disease
damage to DNA
high blood sugar
high blood pressure
infertility in woman
impotence in men
pathological increase in the heart rate and subsequent damage to the heart
constriction and even total collapse of blood vessels
numbness of hands and arms
marked increase in stomach acidity
crippling of taste buds
and massive destruction of vital cells from the lips to the lungs
and continue to indulge inspite of it, there is hope.
The following not-too-heard of facts will help you make the right choice for you and your family

Cigarette smoke contains more than 3000 chemical substances. The following are a few that have been analyzed and have been found to be caustic and cancerous in their single state and even more so when combined with the other 2999 substances. (No question in my mind why people die after I read this). The other 2983 substances at the time of this writing have not come close to being analyzed to see what kind of harmful effects they have on the body let alone what they can do when combined with the other 2999 substances.


Acrolein : A toxic, colorless liquid with irritating cancerous vapors.

Carbon Monoxide: A highly toxic, flammable gas used in the manufacture of numerous products, inhalation of carbon monoxide interferes with the transportation of oxygen form the lungs to the tissues, where it is required.

Nicotine : A poisonous alkaloid that is the chief addictive substance in tobacco. It is also used as an insecticide to kill parasitic worms in animals. One pack of cigarettes a day, inhaled, gives you enough nicotine to kill you outright if your were to receive it all in one dose.

Ammonia: A gaseous alkaline compound of nitrogen and hydrogen used as a coolant in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and in explosives, artificial fertilizers and disinfectants.

Formic Acid: A Pungent liquid gas used in processing textiles and leather. Exposure to the acid irritates the mucous membranes and cause blistering.

Hydrogen Cyanide: An extremely poisonous liquid used in many chemical substances including fumigation, and in the case hardening of iron and steel. Hydrogen cyanide gas is used as the lethal agent in capital punishment.

Nitrous Oxide: A group of irritants and sometimes poisonous gases that combine with hydrocarbons to produce smog. Nitrogen Dioxide can weaken bodily tissues and increase susceptibility to respiratory ailments.

Formaldehyde: A pungent gas used primarily as a disinfectant and preservative. It is extremely irritating to the mucous membranes.

Phenol: A caustic, poisonous acidic compound present in wood and tar and used in disinfectants.

Acetaldehyde: A highly toxic, flammable liquid that irritates the eyes and mucous membranes and accelerates the action of the heart. Prolonged exposure causes blood pressure to rise and causes proliferation of white and red blood cells.

Hydrogen Sulfide: A poisonous gas produced naturally from putrefying matter and used extensively in chemical laboratories.

Pyridyne: A flammable liquid used in pharmaceuticals, water repellents, bactericides and herbicides.

Methydl Chloride : A toxic gas used in the production of rubber and paint remover and as an antiknock agent in gasoline.

Acetonitrile: A toxic compound found in coal tar and molasses residue and used in the production of plastics, rubber, acrylic fiber, insecticides and perfume.

Propionaldehyde: A colorless liquid with a suffocating odor, used as a chemical disinfectant and preservative as well as in plastic and rubber.

Methanol: A poisonous liquid alcohol used in automotive antifreezes, rocket fuels, synthetic dye stuffs, resins, drugs and perfumes.

Arsenic A poisonous chemical used in making insecticides.

Knowing more about what is in a cigarette can help you make an informed decision about whether you want to continue smoking. Considering that your children (should you have any) take their cues from you when developing habits, you would be sentencing them to death, telling them by your actions that it's OK to smoke.

I fortunately live in a state that does not allow smoking in places of business and it has spoiled me. When I travel in other places I may have to deal with second hand smoke.
Second hand smoke, many people are unaware, has three of the most poisonous elements:
carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is the most deadly of them all.

Side stream smoke (or second hand smoke) has been shown to have twice the tar, twice the nicotine and five times as much carbon monoxide as mainstream smoke (what the smoker inhales). People who breathe in cigarette smoke retain the dangerous chemicals and inhale twice as long as the people doing the smoking.

Linking Skin Cancer and Cigarettes

Researchers have added skin cancer to the list of diseases associated with cigarettes. Their study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology concludes that smoking triples the risk of squamous-cell skin cancer (named for the type of flat skin cells that it affects). Among ex-smokers, the risk is nearly as twice as great as in people who never smoked, according to the report.

The researchers at Leiden University Medical Center compared 580 people who had different types of skin cancer - squamous cell, basal cell, or melanoma - with 386 patients who were cancer-free. The volunteers, who ranged in age from 29 to 80, completed surveys about medical history, physical traits (hair and eye color can affect risk), and health habits, including how much sun exposure was typical for them. A strong association between smoking and squamous-cell cancer remained significant even when researchers eliminated sun exposure as a factor.

Squamous-cell skin cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body and is almost always curable if detected and removed according to the American Cancer Society. Although smoking does not seen to increase the risk of life-threatening melanoma, other studies indicate that melanoma patients who smoke have had a poorer prognosis than those who don't.

Website the information came from: http://trepanrr.tripod.com/reasons_not_to_smoke.htm

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Grading The Churches

We had an interesting Sunday School lesson this morning, and thought I'd share a bit aboutit on here. The lesson was on the seven churches in the book of Revelations. Our teacher, Steve Goodenow, approached it a bit differently. He pointed out that all of the churches seemed to be judged in three areas: works, their love for God, and doctrine. He labeled them passion (love), purity (of doctrine), and productivity (works).

We then read through the portion of Scripture dealing with each church, and graded each church pass or fail in each of those three categories. If I remember correctly, Smyrna was the only church to get no condemnation in all three areas.

Steve made an interesting point. Even if the church was doing well in one or two areas, they were still condemned for lacking in the other area(s).

It made me wonder how my church - and your church - would line up in these three categories. Is God happy with our love for Him, our doctrine, and our works? If we can go by what was said to these churches, if we are coming up short in even one of the areas, God isn't going to be happy with the church.

This wasn't addressed in the class, but I had the thought hit me that we are so different in how we judge a church. When we are looking for a church, do we really take the above categories into consideration? Do put the church up to what the Bible says is a good church?

I am afraid all too often we look at the pastor. Is he interesting? How long does he preach? How comfortable are the seats? How friendly are the people? What can the church do for me.....And we get out our list of things that WE think make the ideal church. Yet God seems to look for three simple things. Does the church truly love Him above all else, do they have good works, and does their doctrine line up to the Bible?

Just something to think about.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Background

I have had a few people tell me that my background made reading my blog difficult, so as much as I love the beach, and pictures of the beach, thought I'd try something different. Comment and let me know if it is better.

The Christian John Grisham, and The Stoning of Soraya M

I've been reading about a new movie about to come out called "The Stoning of Soraya M". Based on a true story. "the true story of a woman in a remote Iranian village, in the years after the 1979 Khomeini revolution, who is falsely accused of adultery and stoned to death by a mob desperate to cleanse themselves of this affront to their collective honor and to their religion. It’s not only a gripping story in its own right, but it shines a harsh spotlight on the almost unimaginable reality that the barbaric punishment of stoning still exists in the Iranian law code, despite a largely nominal 2002 moratorium, the result of pressure from Western human rights groups."

Interestingly enough, there have been some attempts to whitewash Islam and one supposed religious expert is claiming that there is no such thing as "Sharia Law". (
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-tapson/2009/06/26/daily-beast-contributor-aslan-no-such-thing-sharia-law) Also, the New York Times and Washington Post seem to detest the movie, I guess because it may look Muslims bad. (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2009/06/27/anti-stoning-filmmakers-bashed-inflating-9-11-crucifixion-jesus)

There seems to be a move on this country to try to demonize Christians, and make Islam look good. Yeah, the same religion who keeps trying to blow us up and hates our guts. There was even an attempt by some Muslims recently to bomb some place in the Bronx (I think it was there). Oddly enough, most news networks didn't identify them as Muslim. Wonder if they had been evangelical Christians if they would have? I'd say so.

Anyway, this movie looks good, and if I were a movie going person, I'd go see it. So if you are, go see it. :-)

With as many books as I read, I rarely read a book twice. I do have a weird habit of re-reading the endings of good books, and random parts of the book that I really enjoyed. Anyway, I was bored today, so I started looking through my boxes of books I recently bought for a dollar a box at the yard sale. I was tossing anything looking remotely interesting and even threw in some books I already have, and that is the case with the one I read today. Directed Verdict, by Randy Singer. Awesome book. He is like a Christian John Grisham. Clean books, Christian content, often Christianity playing a part in the court trials, no cursing. And I don't think he goes campaigning for pro-abortion presidential candidates either, unlike John Grisham.

I was amazed at how little of the book I remembered. I had no clue what was coming. After I was done, I looked at the publication date, and it is 2002, and I read it when it first came out, so I guess in seven years I would forget most of what I read.

Anyway, if you like John Grisham type books, check this author out. I will even loan any of his books I have that aren't in storage. Which is two.

Ah, while I am at it, may as well give a brief description of the book:

Charles & Sara Reed are missionaries in a Muslim country. They teach, but have a secret church. And then someone rats them out. In trying to get the names of church members out of them, the police torture the husband, plant drugs, and inject the couple so it looks like a drug bust, instead of Muslims attacking Americans over religion. The husband dies, and the widow is denied life insurance benefits because her husband supposedly died of a drug overdose. So she takes the case to court, and her young lawyer must prove that not only was this not a drug bust, but torture of Americans for their faith, but he must also somehow prove that the Muslim government was behind it.

There is some romance thrown in, which is ok, and my friends who knock Christian fiction will be happy to know that though one of the main characters may be thinking about becoming a Christian, there is no end of the book conversion. (I have heard that complaint)

So, if you watch movies, check out The Stoning of Soraya M, and if not, then check out Randy Singer.

I will mention this later, but towards the end of July, I will be doing a book review of his new book on my blog as part of a blog tour. Among the options made available to me, is to do a giveaway, so I will be doing that. When I do the review, I will have a gift certificate good for a free copy of that book, The Justice Game. So keep your eyes on this spot.........

What is our yardstick?

I was on a Christian site the other day that I visit occasionally. They have a few blogs, and I check those out occasionally. This time, one addressed the issue of homosexuality, and threw out some questions for those who try to say the Bible really doesn't condemn it as a sin. The replies were varied. There were some who were insisting that the Bible really doesn't mean that it is wrong. I won't go into all that much. I made a few comments, and I do not think of myself as a genius, but think I made a good point:

I pointed out that the Bible always said it was wrong. God hasn't changed. What has changed is society's view of homosexuality, so now people are trying to throw out what the Bible says since it is accepted by most of the world.

I read one interesting comment from one of the guys insisting that it is ok. He said that the Bible says other things that Christians don't hold to, and he pointed out how the Bible says men should not have long hair and women should.

Now I agree there is a big difference between the hair issue and the issue of homosexuality, but he did have a point. I have argued the hair issue before, and Christians who are on the opposing viewpoint say Paul was just talking to the church there, that back then it was an issue because of homosexual men, and so forth. But the common point they make is that the verses just applied back then.

OK, lets look at the homosexual arguments. They argue that the verses just meant pedophiles, and promiscuity among gay people, that it wasn't singling out loving relationships of the same sex, and that those verses were just aimed at the people of that day. Any arguments sound familiar there?

I heard a preacher make a comment once that the church is only ten years behind the world. That if the world is doing it today, the church will be doing it ten years from now. I think it is true. There was a time when everyone took the verse in the Bible for standards of dress at face value, but then the world started changing the way they dressed, and the world followed. Now if you practice standards of modesty and dress differently according to gender, you are considered odd, old-fashioned, and weird. Yet there was a day when all Christians did, and a vast majority of non-Christians.

What are we using as a yardstick for how we live our lives? What activities we do? How we dress? How we talk? The Bible, or the world, or even other Christians?

I am afraid we all are just drifting along molding our lives to fit the world, not the Bible. We take our yardstick and shave off a bit since the world and some Christians think this is ok, or that is ok. And then the next generation shaves a bit more off the yardstick, and goes just a bit further than their parents did.

I really believe that if Jesus tarries long enough, that we will see the day that most churches will ok homosexuality. There are many who already do, and you may think "yeah, but not MY church". Maybe, but go back a few generations, and your and my ancestors would be shocked at what Christians are ok with in this day we live.

I'm pretty sure I made this point before, but it bears repeating. If we were suddenly thrust into this world with no prior influences, and just had the Bible and prayer to go by, how would we live? Would we take things at face value that we read in the Bible if we had no Christians who found ways around some of those verses? I truly think we all would be more careful and different in our lives.

One thing that I firmly believe has changed society's view - and sadly, the views & beliefs of the church also - is the TV. If they put something on there often enough and long enough, it starts to seem normal and ok, even to Christians. They are doing that with homosexuality. Research it sometime - there are websites that give statistics of how many TV shows have either a recurring homosexual role, or have homosexual roles played occasionally. I looked it up a couple of years ago, and there were a lot. Think that is an accident? No way. They know by doing that, that it will seem more acceptable to people.

In closing, don't jump on me and think that I equate homosexuality with some of the other things Christians pass over like the hair issue. Yes, I firmly believe that the Bible says men should have short hair, and women should have long - and yes, the one guy made a good point by saying that we do overlook what we want to, but that is still vastly different from saying homosexuality is ok. I am also not slamming anyone who doesn't believe just like me - I am including myself in this.

We look at people who say homosexuality is ok, and wonder how on earth they can read what the Bible says and think that, but I have thought that myself about other things, like the hair issue, and I am sure people can look at something and wonder how I believe something also,

We all need to look more to God and His Word for our standard for living, and not do something just because the world and other Christians say it is ok.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sorry Neda, We Have a Pedophile to Worship

Just for the record, I firmly believe Michael Jackson was guilty of child molestation, and had he not been a celebrity, would have been found guilty by the courts. It is sad when anyone dies, but it has been ridiculous the lamenting of his death. I ran acrosss this article by Joy Tiz - never read anything by her, but she nailed it in this article. Blog title is the title of her article. Check it out. (link here: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/12363)

For previous generations, the question: “Where were you when Kennedy was shot” has served as a conversation starter as well as a catalyst for exploration of a shared history. It would seem that the quintessential question will soon be: “where were you when you found out Michael Jackson was dead?”?

For the record, I was at the gym. Credulous, I trusted that the Jackson story would get a few minutes of coverage before Bret Baier returned. My jejune confidence that Charles Krauthammer would momentarily be providing commentary about actual news was hastily crushed. Abstrusely, Fox News brought Shepard Smith in to cover this astounding turn of events.

You know what would be really shocking? Michael Jackson dying at the age of 87. That would have been a real stunner, well deserving of the nauseating nonstop narration that should be reserved for heads of state.

Time really stands still on the treadmill when you are listening to a fervid Geraldo lamenting Anna Nicole Jackson’s “shocking” death.

All other news of the day having been declared inconsequential, Fox proceeded to indulge in unnecessary and disproportionate keening about the calamitous death of the world’s most famous pedophile.

The same Michael Jackson who once told a reporter it was “sweet” and “charming” to sleep with little boys and ply them with “Jesus Juice” (known to lucid people as “wine”) has been deified. Jackson, who dangled one of his babies off of a hotel balcony also obtained those children via a bizarre and labyrinthine arrangement, named one of them Blanket and made them wear burkas.

Jackson is exceedingly popular in the United Kingdom, confirming Mark Steyn’s reflection that the United Kingdom is further along than the United States in the march toward complete social and economic collapse. But not to worry, we won’t quit until we’re Number One.

Michael Jackson recently converted to Islam. Michael’s brother, Jermaine, converted to Islam in 1989. Even the Religion of Peace failed to deliver true bliss.

Americans know far more about Michael Jackson than they do about the history of Iran and its relationship to the United States. Most of what America knows is wrong, having been subjected to pertinacious propaganda in Ayers’ based public education.

Which is why the interest in the life and death of Neda Agah-Soltan was so facilely dwarfed by the opulent freak show that surrounds Michael Jackson.

Neda was the beautiful young Iranian woman who was gunned down in the streets of Tehran for the crime of showing up. She showed up to take a stand for freedom and took a bullet in the neck for her aspirations. A relative in the United States had cautioned Neda not to attend any demonstrations, telling her “They’re killing people.” To which the lionhearted and prescient Neda replied: “Don’t worry, it’s just one bullet and its over.”

For just a flicker in time, Neda became an icon, a symbol of the young Iranians’ longing for the most elemental liberties. It was easy for Americans to be incensed at the barbarous slaughter of a young woman so lovely and earnest. Young Iran has caught a glimpse of freedom, the inescapable byproduct of advancing technology. The noteworthiness of Neda is in no small measure due to the ease with which young Americans can appreciate her as not so unlike themselves.

Part of the delusive indoctrination that goes on in public schools includes the rewriting of Iranian history in a way that abets the left.

In actuality, before the Jimmy Carter regime, the United States and Iran were on friendly terms. The Shah of Iran was the least backward of all Muslim leaders. The shah, who is erroneously characterized as a villain, was responsible for giving women the right to vote. In other Arab states, they still don’t have the right to leave the house without a husband or other male relative.
Unimaginable though it may be post-Carter, Iran and Israel were not always bitter enemies. The current government of Iran is as much an enemy of the Iranian people as it is of Israel.

Iranians are understandably horrified by the new American president who has referred to the Ayatollah as Supreme Leader, a show of respect for the legitimacy of the barbaric regime. Barack Obama went so far as to send a letter to the Ayatollah Khomeini weeks before Iran’s June 12th election. Obama was pandering to the brutal, backwards and oppressive Iranian leadership.

Back when the news still took the trouble to cover the bloodbath in Iran, the world saw young Iranians holding signs in English. Urgent pleas were coming through computers worldwide begging the leader of the free world to help the Iranian people. Many Americans would be amazed to learn how many Iranians were educated via petrodollars in the United Kingdom or the United States. Some Iranian young people speak far better English than your local high school kids.

The late shah’s son reached out to Obama for support:

“I would like to take this opportunity and tell the President this is a crucial moment - on behalf of my compatriots and millions who have been turning to the outside world, particularly to this President - to say: don’t let us down.”

While Barack Obama was eating ice cream, Neda’s parents were forced from their home by government agents. Public displays of mourning were shut down. Nineteen year old Kaveh Alipour was gunned down by government barbarians. After frantically searching for news about his missing son at hospitals and eventually the morgue, Alipour’s father was told he would be required to pay a $3000 “bullet fee” to reimburse the government for the ammo expended in executing his child.

Barack Obama did eventually deliver the obligatory “we are outraged” statement. He held off as long as he could, until public opinion became too clamorous to overlook. While he gabbled, the violence in Iran escalated. Iranian citizens were being massacred in the streets with axes and machetes. Students were being routed from their beds in their dorm rooms.

Ronald Reagan responded to a similar cry for help from the people of Poland who were then enslaved by the Soviet Union. Reagan minced no words in decrying the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire”. He never expelled gibberish about how the United States shouldn’t “meddle” as innocent citizens suffer.

Then, as today, pantywaist liberals were caterwauling about toning down the rhetoric so as not to pique oppressive dictators. Thankfully, Reagan ignored such nattering. The Poles were doing what the Iranians are today: insisting on the most basic of human liberties. Ronald Reagan had no intention of sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how this thing played out:

“In a stiff note to Soviet boss Leonid Brezhnev; Reagan said that if the Russians kept up their thuggish response to Poland they ‘could forget any new nuclear arms agreement.’ Gone too would be better trade relations, and in their place would be the ‘harshest possible economic sanctions’ if they even thought of invading Poland as they had done with Czechoslovakia in 1968 or Hungary in 1956.”

The Soviets responded by declaring martial law and shutting down the Polish borders, as well as squelching communications with the outside world.

Reagan was unflinching. He wrote in his diary:

“I took a stand that this may be the last chance in our lifetime to see a change in the Soviet Empire’s colonial policy re Eastern Europe. We should take a stand and tell them unless and until martial law is lifted in Poland, the prisoners were released and negotiations resumed between Walesa and the Polish government, we would quarantine the Soviets and Poland with no trade or communications across their borders. Also tell our NATO allies and others to join us in such sanctions or risk an estrangement from us. A TV speech is in the works. “

Reagan helped spirit the defecting Polish Ambassador out of the country and to the United States. Leonid Brezhnev was livid. Reagan was delighted; Brezhnev’s outrage confirmed to Reagan that he was on the right track. Ronald Reagan went on to use every tool at his disposal to topple Brezhnev’s regime and replace him with Lech Walesa.
Ronald Reagan won the battle to liberate the Polish people. They have not forgotten. He is considered, in the words of the Polish president, the ”architect of democracy.”

Barack Obama is certainly no Ronald Reagan. The entire world, including the United States would be better off and more secure if the Ayatollah’s government toppled. The death of a pedophile has created a distraction from having to deal with the knotty problem of full scale slaughter in the streets of Iran.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Expiration Date

What if you knew when those around you would die? Clay Ryker, the main character of the book I just read, "Expiration Date", has suddenly developed that ability.

I have read only one other book by this author, Eric Wilson, and I have to say his books are bizarre, but in a good way. I bought six boxes of books at a yard sale recently, most of which I walked off at $1.00 a box. I have books sitting everywhere! At a dollar a box, I was throwing anything that looked remotely interesting in boxes, and "Expiration Date" was one of those.

In the author's own words, "My stories are built around characters who are struggling with specific issues externally and internally. I will pick something I am passionate about. I don’t want it to be preachy, but it is about struggles with our own weaknesses and issues of the human heart and wrestling with God,” Wilson said. “I explore the tension between heaven and hell. That really does describe a lot of my books, although it’s more the personal tension in our own hearts and minds."

Expiration Date revolves around the effects of trying to cover up sin, and the consequences that can come years later. Some parts of the story may seem far-fetched, as a demon taking over a human and trying to get revenge on another human, but I guess it is possible.

Wilson has written book versions of a few Christian movies, such as "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants", but his latest effort is a series called "Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy", and from reading reviews, I was amazed to find out he uses vampires in this series, but the series is getting rave reviews, so I may end up reading them some time. The idea behind the stories is intriguing.

If you like Frank Peretti, you may like Eric Wilson. Give his books a try. I have a couple you can borrow. :-) Actually, I have a lot of books you can borrow. :-)

I cannot close without telling about this: One of the books I bought at the yard sale was a Bible. I paid 25 cents for it, put it on Ebay, and it sold for $23. It more than paid for all of my books. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Catching Up

I haven't done a normal non-book review post for a while, and though nothing really exciting has happened, thought I'd do a quick post so I don't become like my friends Cindy & Steven who haven't blogged since Jimmy Carter was president. Ok, I am exaggerating, we didn't have blogs or internet then. :-)

My preacher brother-in-law, Paul, got ordained this past Sunday, so we all went up to our denominational campgrounds in Stoneboro, PA for the ordination service. He has been preaching for a few years, but completed his course of study and other requirements that are required. To be honest, I have no idea what an ordained preacher can do that a non-ordained one can't, but I am proud of him anyway. :-)

But man, the ordination service lasted forever! I got married, had kids, saw them grow up and go to college during the ordination service! OK, I exaggerate again, but wow. The benches are hard, and a certain part of me was very sore. The service started at 10:00 am. We sang and all that, and then our denomination's president got up to preach the ordination message at 10:25. Don't get me wrong, he is a great & godly man, and I think the world of him, but he IS a long preacher. An hour and ten minutes later, he finished his message. And still we sat. On hard, uncomfortable benches. And oh - I forgot to mention family got to sit way up front in that humongous tabernacle! I was in the third seat from the front.

After the message, there was a lot of reading by different pastors, and for a lot of it, the six guys being ordained had to read a response. They prayed several times, including a prayer around each wife of the guys being ordained. (They each had one wife, though the way I worded it sounds otherwise). I have to admit, I was thinking of ways they could make the service a whole lot shorter! Finally, it was done somewhere after noon, and my brother-in-law is now an officially ordained minister. And no, I don't ever plan on sitting through another ordination service!

Two blog posts ago, I reviewed several books in one blog. To my surprise, one of the authors commented on the review I did of his book and posted a link to my blog on his blog and on his website (Adam Blumer) The link is still there for anyone who wants to see...... :-) OK, it made my day, sorry to go on about it so. :-) I actually thought to myself that I was glad it wasn't a book that I gave an unfavorable review about. And then the next day, I saw an author whose book I did give an unfavorable review to, also commented on my blog. Yikes! He was nice about it though, and to my credit, I did like the other four books in the series.

Anyway, a couple of my friends suggested that I contact a couple of publishing companies to see if I could get books from them to review on my blog. Three have replied so far, and I think all three will do it. I have signed up for one so far for sure, and I can go on and pick what I want to review from a selection they have available, which is cool, as I won't have to review anything that doesn't interest me. Such as gushy romances or marriage improvement books. ;-) I can pick any type of book from that publisher to review. It doesn't have to be fiction. (thanks Judy & Steven for the sugegstion!)

So hopefully, I will be doing some more book reviews on my blog, and possibly participate more blogosphere tours as I did with Amy Wallace. My first book that should be on its way, involves a blogosphere tour. If you don't know what that is, as I didn't before I did one, you review the book on a certain day, post pictures of the book and author if you want, and/or interview questions with the author. The book I will be reviewing for that is "The Justice Game" by Randy Singer, which I have a special interest in as it is. The book is a about a courtroom trial, and the author had posted a description of the trial and a short video to watch, and wanted visitors to his website to vote on the outcome of the trial. He would then write the book according to how the vote turned out. Interesting idea. I can't wait to see if it goes the way I voted. :-)

OK, so that blog wasn't so quick after all. I do have one more thing if anyone is still reading. :-) Someone emailed me a really good YouTube video that impressed the socks off of me. A while back, Barrack Obama made the statement that we are not a Christian nation. In this 4 1/2 minute video, Representative Randy Forbes (Virginia) has an excellent response to that comment. I wish we had more like him. Watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpQOCvthw-o

Friday, June 12, 2009

And One More.......

It would appear turning forty is already diminishing my mental facilities. While discussing the books I read while on vacation, I overlooked the best one of all, but to my credit, I had already passed it on to my sister.

Steve Yohn & Jason Elam wrote "Monday Nigh Jihad" in 2008, the first in the Riley Covington Thriller Series. It looked really good, but was in hardback, which means expensive. I didn't want to try a new author at that. Later, it came out in paperback and if I remember correctly, it was a Christmas gift.

Riley Covington is a fictional guy who played football until he got called up for special ops. Coming off the field, he goes back to football until terrorists threaten the people he loves, and he is back into special ops again.

I received the sequel, "Blown Coverage" for my birthday, and was another book that I read while on vacation. Sometimes sequels can disappoint, but this one did not. There was just as much action and intrigue as in the first, only this time not only do the terrorists have certain locations in mind to destroy, they are also after the main guy who previously ruined their plans: Riley Covington.

I'll be honest. I detest football. I will not play it. I will not watch it being played. I will not even throw a football. I have my reasons. But in spite of a lot of football talk, and the main character being a football player, the books just grabbed me and sucked me in. In addition to being entertaining and a good read, it helps a person remember that there are people out there who want to destroy this country.

One the authors, Jason Elam, is a professional football player in the NFL.

I am hoping since they are calling this a series that there are more books coming. Regardless, I highly recommend these books. I would say they are more for men, but my sister really liked them also, so who knows, you ladies might enjoy it too!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Books I have read

Thought I'd blog about the books I read on vacation, so unless Christian fiction interests you, you may want to pass on by........ I have never reviewed this many books at one time, but then I have never been without internet while I read so many books either.

The Rose Conspiracy, by Craig Parshall. A last minute addition to my wish list for my birthday, and I am glad I did. Excellent book, I highly recommend it. A man is murdered, and pages from John Wilke's Booth's Diary that was in his possession are missing. The plot involves the Masons, the Gnostic Gospels, and a lot of intrigue and suspense. The same author has written some legal thrillers that are also great reading. I lost a couple of pictures while doing this, so that is why not every book is pictured. :-)

The Disposition, by Joe Hilley. A very disappointing book. The fifth, and I assume last, in a series, it was not a good conclusion to the series. The first three were really good, the fourth fair, and then comes number five. Most of the book is taken up with a priest giving a desposition as witness. The main character is hardly in the book. If you read this series, skip #5!

The Missionary, by William Carmichael & David Lambert. Got this one with a gift card I got for my birthday. The main character is a missionary in Venezuela. Due to being upset with the state of the poor, and the lack of help from the government, he unwittingly becomes part of something that has he and his family running for their lives. I really liked it. The plot was different, but it had a lot of action and suspense.

The Bone Box, by Bob Hostetler. The book sounded more exciting than it
panned out to be, but was an interesting read. It bounced back and forth between modern times and the time of Jesus' crucifixion. The bones of Caipahas - have no idea how to spell that - are found, and with them a letter that shows that Caipahas became a believer in Jesus. Interesting idea, one I never considered, but it is highly possible that one of the key people behind Jesus' crucifixion later came to believe - who knows. There was also some romance thrown in - woo hoo! :-) Was the book worth reading? Yes. Would I loan it to friends and encourage them to read it? Nah.

I was fortunate to get a free autographed copy of the next book,
The Night Watchman, by Mark Mynheir. Excellent book. The author is a homicide detective and has also been on SWAT and other things. He has done a series of 3 books, which were really good, but this one his is best. It had one disadvantage for me: It is an "I book" - I should have patented that word. I had it before Apple did the Ipod, Iphone, etc. :-) An "I book" is a book written in the first person, which I am not overly found of - I prefer third person. Regardless of that, the plot was excellent, the main character very likable, and a lot of suspense. It had me guessing who the bad guys were, and I was a bit surprised by the ending

Deceived, by James Scott Bell, is a book I set back for vacation a few months ago. He normally writes legal thriller/suspense novels, but this one had no lawyers involved, and was not his best work. If I had to nail down what I didn't like about the book, it would be that the plot was too far-fetched. Woman and her husband are hiking and find a dead motorcyclist that went over a ravine. In bags on his bike are diamonds. She wants to keep them. Her husband recently became a Christian, he doesn't. She slaps him, knocks him over the ravine. Then she goes on a killing spree to cover up the fact that she stole diamonds and killed her husband. Pretty bizarre and the way the book is written, just seemed too far-fetched for me. If I rated it one to five, I'd give it a 3 maybe - it was entertaining.

Certain Jeopary by Jeff Strueker & Alton Gansky. I loved this book. A lot of action - definitely a "guy book". Not extreme Christian content, but enough to label it Christian. I will paste CBD's description of the book instead of describing it:

Six American men live behind a protective facade, their real work hidden from neighbors and friends. Different in countless ways, they are intimately the same in one: at any moment their lives can be altered with a phone call, and their actions may change the world.They are Special Ops. And one team's mission is about to hit certain jeopardy status when the discovery of an Al Qaeda base in Venezuela becomes secondary to thwarting the transport of a nuclear weapons expert from that training camp to Iran.

Informed by the true combat experience of Captain Jeff Struecker and finessed by award-winning novelist Alton Gansky, Certain Jeopardy is an immersing and pulsating fictional account of what really happens at every level of a stealth engagement: the physical enemy encounter, the spiritual war fought within a soldier, and the emotional battles in families back at home.

Weird that I read two books set in Venezuela in the same week. Anyway, it is worth reading. Ladies, you might not enjoy it so much. And I have to add that it was free, thanks to my using Swag Bucks. :-)

White Soul, by Brandt Dodson. I bought this book on clearance months ago - possibly last summer, and never got around to reading it. The author has mostly written "I books" - so I had never tried him until my sister loaned me one. This one was not an "I book", and I really enjoyed it. The main character is a Christian who is an undercover agent who infiltrates a drug gang. He gets too involved in his job and almost loses his way. The book had a very surprising ending, and had a lot of violence in it, but I did enjoy it.

Robert Whitlow also usually writes legal thrillers/suspense, but has departed from that in his last few books. His books still involve lawyers and courtroom scenes, which I enjoy, but there isn't much suspense in the mystery/action/excitement department in this book,
Higher Hope, or the book it follows in a series. I almost think women might enjoy this series more than a man would. They are good books, just not what I am used to from this author.

That does it for vacation. I actually read nine and a half books while on vacation - didn't review the half one. :-) While I am on a roll, may as well review two other books I read before vacation that were birthday presents. I love books as gifts!

Fatal Illusions, by Adam Blumer, was a book I really enjoyed. I would give it five out of five for a rating. This is the first fiction book by this author, though he has written non-fiction Christian books. Added to that, the book is from Kregel publishing, not a big fiction publisher, but the book sounded really good, so I picked it out, and was not disappointed.

There are a couple of issues in the story. You have a very disturbed young man who has turned into a serial killer, and you have a pastor who is too involved in his ministry and not enough with his family, until circumstances force the family into seclusion where the family and killer will meet. The book had some surprising twists, and kept me guessing. If you like suspense, I recommend it highly. Don't want to say too much about it that would give anything away. Awesome book.

Wanda Dyson wrote a series of 3 books a few years back that were pretty good for a new author. She hasn't written anything since 2005, so when I saw she had a new book coming out, with a better fiction publisher than before, I was interested. So this was another book I picked out for my birthday,
Shepherd's Fall.

This is the first of three books in a series, all revolving around a family who owns a bounty hunters agency. I was interested to learn about bounty hunters - I really didn't know much about it, so I learned something. This book was packed with action and suspense, and also some very surprising twists and turns I did not see coming.

The series is called "The Prodigal Recovery Series". In addition to the suspense, this book, and I assume those that follow, deal with that. God recovering prodigals. Another book that I recommend to suspense lovers.

I have never reviewed this many books at one time, but I may as well go for one more. Thomas Nelson sent me two books due to an email I had sent them. They are the first two books in a series of six books, with three more still to be written. I loved them so much, that I got the third with some of my Swag Bucks - not a commercial, just stating a fact. :-)

These books are actually geared for teenagers, but hey, I'm young at heart! An adult can easily enjoy these books. The Dream House Kings series, by Robert Liparulo. There is not a lot of Christian content in the books, but they are exciting and end with cliff hangers.

The books were described somewhere as "horror", so I was a bit doubtful about them, but I wouldn't call them that - I like suspense, but not horror. There is time travel involved, and a lot of excitement and suspense. I myself cannot wait for the fourth book to come out in July - it will be one I use my Amazon credit on for sure!

Below, a description of book one:

"Dream house . . . or bad dream?

When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there’s something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen’s dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare."

There you have it. I reviewed fourteen books in one blog post, if you count that last one as three. Hopefully someone will find it of interest, if not, it kept me entertained for a while.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Refrigerated Strawberry Shortcake

Had a couple of people ask me for the recipe for the dessert we had twice on vacation, so here it is, and it is delicious!

1 pound cake (bought or made)
2 strawberry jello mixes
1 instant vanilla pudding mix
1-2 quarts of strawberries - we used close to 2
1 8 oz whipped topping

Cube the pound cake and put into bowl/dish
Mix the 2 strawberry jello mixes with 2 cups of hot water
Stir in cut/sliced strawberries into the jello
Pour onto the cake, press down
Refrigerate for an hour
Mix up the pudding until thickened some, pour onto cake
Add whipped topping & garnish with stawberries if so desired

When my sisters made it, they used sugar free jello & pudding, and it tasted great.

Vacation pictures

for anyone who is on my friends list on facebook, I have put several more pictures on there, 76 at last count: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2026649&id=1100140954&saved#/album.php?aid=2026649&id=1100140954

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cape Hatteras Light House

(My last vacation blog, best if read in reverse order that they are listed in)

The Cape Hatteras Light House was built in 1803. The Cape Hatteras light marked very dangerous shoals which extend from the cape for a distance of 10 nautical miles .The original tower was built of dark sandstone and retained its natural color. The original light consisted of 18 lamps; with 14-inch reflectors, and was 112 feet above sea level. It was visible in clear weather for a distance of 18 miles.

A new light house was built in 1871, costing $167,000.

Due to erosion of the shore, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse was moved (by Expert House Movers) from its original location at the edge of the ocean to safer ground 2,870 feet inland. The move was controversial at the time with speculation that the structure would not survive the move, resulting in lawsuits that were later dismissed. Despite some opposition, work progressed and the move was completed between 1999 and 2000 in a massive operation. Rededicated in 2000, the lighthouse is fully open to the public at its new location further inland.


Construction material: Approximately 1,250,000 bricks
Height above sea level: 210 feet (64 m)
Height of the structure: about 207½ feet (63.2 m) (from the bottom of the foundation footer to the top of the spire on the roof)
Daymark: black and white spiral stripes
Number of steps: 268 steps to reach the light
Brightness: 800 kilocandelas from each of two 1000-watt lamps
Flash pattern: Every 7.5 seconds a short flash is visible
Visibility: From 20 nautical miles (37 km) in clear conditions. In exceptional conditions, it has been seen from 51 miles (94 km) out

For those not very familiar with light houses, a couple of things you may not know. Every light house is different by color/design, and each one has a different light pattern.

Below, the Cape Hatteras Light House.

My nieces & nephews sitting on the steps of the light house. It is open to the public to climb, but we were there after hours.

My parents in front of the light house. To take the next few pictures, I was lying on the ground to get the whole light house in the picture. My sisters took pictures of me, so I was able to see I looked as silly as I felt. One picture showed everyone standing around me, giving the appearance that something had happened to me - and no, I won't be posting those pictures. :-)

Paul, Pam, and the boys in front of the light house. The shot that they were looking at me had Steve's hand and camera in the corner.

Steve, Vicki, and their girls.

Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Island is one of the most remote islands of the Outer Banks. It can only be reached by ferry, private boat, or plane. It has one 2 lane highway running the length of it, and measures 9.6 square miles, 16 miles long and half a mile wide. In many places, you could almost throw a stone from the ocean on one side into the ocean on the other side. Population 769 in a 2000 census.

One of the main attractions is the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Built in 1823, it stands 75 feet tall. It is the oldest operating light house in North Carolina, and the second oldest in the USA. It has a steady light, and you cannot climb it, but can go inside the base.

First picture, Josiah in the doorway of the light house.

Shot taken looking up inside of the light house.

The Ocracoke Light House.


The beach at Ocracoke where we hung out while Peter, James, & John fished. The water was much bluer there, most likely because it was coming in from the Caribbean, and the beaches were whiter.

Another shot of the light house.

Ocracoke Island: Blackbeard

The first place we went to on Ocracoke Island, was Teach's Hole. A gift shop and exhibit dedicated to Edward Teach, better known as the pirate Blackbeard. It wasn't a very large exhibit, but interesting, and the kids loved it, especially the gift shop, as they all seem to be into pirate stuff right now. The harbor close by is where Blackbeard was defeated and killed.

First off, a picture of the building - self-explanatory, I guess.

Below, a picture of the news story appearing in the Boston News Letter containing an article about Blackbeard's death. It was published in mid February of 1719.

Below, a copy of the reward announced for Blackbeard's capture.

A replica of Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge.

And lastly, a replica of what Blackbeard was supposed to look like.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Ferry

If you have never ridden on a ferry, it is an interesting experience. The day we went to Okracoke, it was about a 45 minute ferry ride there and back each way. Once the ferry started off, most people got out and stood on the boat. We stood at the front where we could see the best.

Picture I took from the front of the ferry we were on.
Picture of us driving onto the ferry, taken from inside the van. Notice the dirty windshield......

Another ferry going past us. Notice it has a rather large truck on it.

Just a picture of the shore from the ferry.
And lastly, a picture of all six kids at the front of the ferry.
And one funny thing that happened on the ferry: Vicki blew a bubble with her gum and just as she did, the wind blew it out of her mouth. She was looking around trying to find it, and to her horror, she saw it sticking on the bumper of the car behind us. She pretended to tie Katie's shoe to remove it.

The Treasure Hunt/Old Lighthouse Site

A picture of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, taken from the original site of where it stood for many years.

Some pictures of the "treasure hunt". This was meant to be at the end, but can't seem to move it - the chest after being dug up.

At the site where the other part of the treasure map was supposed to be. This is where the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stood for several years, before it was moved to prevent further erosion from the ocean. There remains a circle of stones that were part of the foundation. Each stone lists lighthouse keepers of the lighthouse and the year(s) they were there, such as this one below:

This stone just has what the stones are about. And also has my niece's shoes on it. :-)

And lastly, the futile hunt in the middle of the stones for the treasure map, which was never found.

Vacation pictures. The House

Here are a few pictures of the house, and pictures taken from the house. First up, the swimming pool, taken from the top deck.
The picture below is a view from the top deck shot toward the front of the house. You can see the ocean above the trees.

The next picture is shot also from the top deck toward the rear of the house, and you can also see the ocean - the part they call "The Sound" (not sure why)

View of the deck from my room below.

View of my room from the deck. It was decorated with an airplane them, geared for young boys. What can I say, I liked it too.
The last picture, above, is a view of the front of the house. I meant to take more pictures inside, but never did.

Vacation 2009

We arrived back from vacation around 6:45 this evening. Thanks to anyone who prayed for us as we traveled all of those miles. We saw a couple of accidents, but we all made it safely down and back. I am going to post some pictures on a few different posts, so they won't take forever to load for anyone who may want to view them, but will tell a bit about our vacation on this post, for anyone who cares :-).

We left Lisbon at 3:30 am last Saturday, May 30th. We met up with Vicki, Steve, and my nieces at Harry's Bar across the PA border around 4:00, then headed out together for Breezewood, PA where we planned on meeting up with Paul & Pam and their boys. We had about a 3 hour and 15 minute trip to Breezewood, and Paul & Pam had a 2 hour trip, so they got to sleep in later. Something neat happened with our meeting plans. We had to travel quite a ways on RT 76 before we hit Breezewood, and Paul & Pam had about 15 miles to travel on 76. As we were getting close to Breezewood and was passing an exit ramp onto 76, Dad told us that was the exit that Paul & Pam would be coming onto Rt 76. We glanced over and to our surprise - and their's - Paul and Pam were coming onto 76 at that very moment and were beside us. I don't think we could have done that had we tried!

We stopped at McDonalds for a quick breakfast and played musical vans. Joey wanted to ride with Katie, of course, and Benjy wanted to ride with Stephanie. We reached Nag's Head, NC around 3. There is a Ben Franklin Store there that has tons of awesome souvenir stuff, so we hit it first. I got myself an Outer Banks Hat for $5.99, and everyone else got a few things too. We then ate, and headed for Hatteras Island.

We got to Avon, where we always stay, around 5:30, got the keys, and headed to the house to unpack.

The House

What can I say about the house? It was awesome! I want to live there always! It had 3 stories. The bottom had a bedroom/bath (Vicki & Steve's), a game room with a pool table - which ended up being a clothes folding table and pretty much had clothes on 24/7 - and a washroom with washer & dryer.

Second floor: my bedroom, which had 2 single beds, and opened out on the deck - which ran on 2 1/2 sides, a bathroom across the hall way, a bedroom with a pyramid bunk - the kids' room, and Paul & Pam's room with bath, and a sitting room. It and Paul & Pam's room also opened onto the deck. On the deck, in addition to furniture, was also a hot tub. Halfway up the stairs to the 3rd floor was a half bath.

Third floor: Mom & Dad's bedroom, which opened onto the top deck, and had a bath with a jacuzzi, the living room, which opened onto the top deck, kitchen, dining area, and bar. The dining area opened onto a screened in dining area, which opened onto the deck. The dining area had a large table that seated everyone but 3 kids, who sat at the bar.

We also had a 14' by 28' swimming pool that was a big hit - and we were modest in it you holiness folk. :-) I got made fun of a lot - in good fun. Water scares me. I can't swim at all, so I wore a life jacket, an inflated tube around my waist, and also used a large horseshoe shaped inflated object. The kids said I looked like a turtle, and Allie bought me a small plastic turtle because of that. I may have looked ridiculous, but I felt safe. :-)

We shopped a lot, went to the go karts one night, mini golf another, ice cream a few times, and the beach several times. We usually walk, but that part was too crowded, so we drove a short distance to go where no one else was. My dad and two brothers-in-law fished a lot and caught around 100 fish - not all that they could keep. We did bring a lot home and had a great meal of fish. Speaking of meals, did we ever eat!

On Monday or Tuesday, we had a treasure hunt for the kids. There were 25 clues hidden in and around the house that they had to read and find in order. Clue 25 led to a drive to the original site of the Hatteras lighthouse - it was moved some years back due to erosion from the ocean. Steve had hidden part of the treasure map inside the stones that were part of the foundation, but it could not be found, so we drove up the road to where the treasure chest was buried. The kids dug it up - a wooden chest filled with candy, toys, etc. They seemed to enjoy it, and it was fun watching them.

On Wednesday, we boarded a ferry that took us to Okracoke Island. We went to the lighthouse there and to Teach's Hole - a gift shop and exhibit dedicated to the pirate Blackbeard, who was killed in the harbor at Okracoke. We ate lunch there - subs that we had taken, and went to the beach while Peter, James, and John fished. (aka, my dad and brothers-in-law).

I managed to read 8 or 9 books - lost count, but think it was 9. Last night, we drove down to the Hatteras lighthouse and got some pictures and enjoyed seeing it.

We left this morning around 6:15 and made a safe trip back home, exhausted, but happy we had a great vacation.

I did almost close without telling an amusing story. First, a little background. Our family does not drink alcoholic beverages. Never have. Not even when my parents were not Christians, though not to start a debate, that is why we don't now. Anyway, back about 4 years....

There is an ice cream place that also has mini golf. The place is called "Uncle Eddy's", and they make their own ice cream. We were there on this one visit and they had an ice cream called "Drunken Monkey". Steve or I asked what was in it. In addition to other things, the guy listed bourbon. Now I am not so holy that it would bother me that much, but it didn't sound good, so we passed. We were surprised a minute later when my sister Vicki ordered it. As she started eating it, I asked her if she knew it had bourbon in it. She replied, "what is bourbon?" After Steve and I laughed ourselves silly, we told her it was an alcoholic beverage. Steve asked her "why do you think it is called "drunken" monkey?! We have teased her mercilessly since then.

Now onto this year: Paul, Pam, Vicki, and I were shopping one evening. The store had a sign out front "Going out for business sale. up to 70% off" - not sure what the "for" means, but we went in. Not much was 70% off, but there was some 25 and 50 off. My sisters found shirts they liked on a rack and called Paul & I over to look. To our amazement, the shirts had "Cornona" on the front, and "Lite" on the back. Paul asked them "do you know what Cornona is" - which they did not. When we told them it was beer, they cracked up. They said they would have bought them if we had not been along and had no clue.