Terrible Tuesday: Visual edition

Second day iced in. Although I’ve been wanting a snow (ice) day all winter, the timing is really inconvenient on this one. Because of course.

Lots of pictures. Cuz that’s what I’m doing today.

These are the greatest movie speeches are all time. How did I internet before Clickhole? (More at the link, do click through.)


Hit it, doggie.

Relevant to my recent post on life pre-internet.

80s kid

Elaine the dog.

elaine dog

My youth in less than 5 minutes. Well, that’s a depressing thought. The cinema of my youth in less than 5 minutes!Whew, that’s better.



An aurora from space by @AstroTerry. Oh, you know you’d have “astro” in your Twitter handle if you were an astronaut. Heck, I’d legally change my name to Astronaut April.

Stay warm!

thinking of you

Lenten Focus: North Korea

For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.


Sixty-two years after the Korean War ended, and the country became a fortress; it seems impossible that there are any Christians left in North Korea. In a country of perpetual famine, where whole families are imprisoned for the “crimes” of any member, where children are encouraged to report their parents, the fact that the Church exists in North Korea at all is a testimony to the fact that Christ alone sustains his people.

From Open Doors International:

For the 13th consecutive year, North Korea is ranked No. 1 on the World Watch List of the 50 countries where persecution is most extreme. The god-like worship of the leader, Kim Jong-Un, and his predecessors leaves little room for any other religions and Christians face unimaginable pressure in every sphere of life. Meeting with other Christians is virtually impossible. Anyone discovered engaging in unauthorized religious activity is subject to arrest, arbitrary detention, disappearance, torture and/or execution. Those Christians who attempt to return to North Korea from China are sentenced to life in prison or executed. Leader Kim Jong-Un purged 10,000 North Koreans last year, including some Christians.

Pray the tiny, hidden Church in Korea. Pray for those brave souls who risk their lives to bring the Word of God to Koreans. Pray for the 50,000 to 70,000 Christians in the infamous labor camps. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Polycarp

For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

“All Saints” by Fra Angelico


For Sundays during Lent, I thought I’d look at some of the examples of the faith from Church history. As the author of Hebrews, after listing the the heroes of the faith in Chapter 11, writes in chapter 12, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Polycarp was an early church leader who bridged the apostolic and post-apostolic age. St. Jerome wrote that he was a disciple of the apostle John and was ordained by him. He is one of the first church father’s whose writings survive. Traditions holds that Polycarp was martyred on February 23, 155.

After his death, witnesses sent a letter giving an account of his death. I pray that if I were in the same situation, I would be faithful. I could not hope to be as witty.

And when finally he was brought up, there was a great tumult on hearing that Polycarp had been arrested.  Therefore, when he was brought before him, the proconsul asked him if he were Polycarp. And when he confessed that he was, he tried to persuade him to deny [the faith], saying, “Have respect to your age”—and other things that customarily follow this, such as, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar; change your mind; say, ‘Away with the atheists!'”

But Polycarp looked with earnest face at the whole crowd of lawless heathen in the arena, and motioned to them with his hand. Then, groaning and looking up to heaven, he said, “Away with the atheists!”

But the proconsul was insistent and said: “Take the oath, and I shall release you. Curse Christ.”

Polycarp said: “Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

And upon his persisting still and saying, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar,” he answered, “If you vainly suppose that I shall swear by the fortune of Caesar, as you say, and pretend that you do not know who I am, listen plainly: I am a Christian. But if you desire to learn the teaching of Christianity, appoint a day and give me a hearing.”

The proconsul said, “Try to persuade the people.”

But Polycarp said, “You, I should deem worthy of an account; for we have been taught to render honor, as is befitting, to rulers and authorities appointed by God so far as it does us no harm; but as for these, I do not consider them worthy that I should make defense to them.”

But the proconsul said: “I have wild beasts. I shall throw you to them, if you do not change your mind.”

But he said: “Call them. For repentance from the better to the worse is not permitted us; but it is noble to change from what is evil to what is righteous.”

And again [he said] to him, “I shall have you consumed with fire, if you despise the wild beasts, unless you change your mind.”

But Polycarp said: “The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little; for you do not know the fire of the coming judgment and everlasting punishment that is laid up for the impious. But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.”

And when he had said these things and many more besides he was inspired with courage and joy, and his face was full of grace, so that not only did it not fall with dismay at the things said to him, but on the contrary, the proconsul was astonished, and sent his own herald into the midst of the arena to proclaim three times: “Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian.”

From The Martyrdom of Polycarp

Lenten Focus: The Church in India

For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.

indian christians

Since December 1st, five churches in New Dehli have been attacked, and Christians protesting the attacks have been arrested.

Christian’s have been denied government benefits related to caste discrimination if they don’t renounce their faith.

Radical Hindi have vowed to eradicate Christians and other religions from India, and a ban on any conversion other than a conversion or “re-conversion” to Hinduism has been proposed.

Attacks on churches, homes, and violence including sexual assaults has been increasing.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in India. Pray that they would stand firm in the face of persecution, pray for justice and protection. Pray that the Word of God would continue to spread.

Lenten Focus: Nigeria’s Christians

For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.
nigerian church

Nigeria has a slightly larger Christian population than Muslim population, but it’s still considered to be a hostile nation by Voice of the Martyrs  because of the systematic and devastating attacks from those who want to wipe out Christians and establish Sharia law.

Last April, the world was shocked by the kidnapping of more than 200 mostly Christian girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Recently, as many as 2,000 people have been killed by the group, and over the last four years, 1000 churches have been destroyed. Now, there are reports that the group is on the verge of invading Maiduguri, putting 200,000 Christians at risk.

Pray for the children–both boys and girls–kidnapped and subjected to untold horrors.

Pray for the families of the thousands who’ve been killed.

Pray for the Christians who’ve lost their churches.

Pray for the 200,000 Christians in Maiduguri living in imminent danger.

Just…pray for Nigeria.

A century of trans fat history

A couple of years ago, I started writing for the Washington Times Communities Pages. That eventually moved to Communities Digital News. And then I realized I’m homeschooling four kids, one of whom started high school this past year, and what am I crazy? But it was fun while it lasted. While you can find my old articles at Communities Digital News, the Washington Times Communities Pages scrubbed my stuff. So I thought I’d recycle some of it here.

Coming on the recent stories of multiple “oops” from government minders about cholesterol and fat, I thought I’d repost my article on the history of trans fats. Since this was a news article, it is decidedly lacking in snark and frippery, but I hope you find it informative. One thing I hope you don’t miss is that there was evidence as far back as the ’50s that trans fats were very much not good for us. Yet is was 30 years later that the “Center for Science in the Public Interest” began pushing them on the American people. (That’s Ralph Nader’s group, FYI). It was only a year ago trans fats were finally banned. Trans fats were pushed on us by government policies (subsidies, rationing programs, etc.) and busybodies (Nader & co) and finally banned by the same. Nannies and bureaucrats: trying to solve the problems they’ve created since the dawn of time.

crisco ad

This was originally published November 2013.


Lenten Focus: Saeed Abedini

For more on my Lenten Focus, see yesterday’s post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.

Pastor Abedini

Today, I’ll be praying for Saeed Abedini, an Iranian born U.S. citizen who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than two years. He was imprisoned in 2012, and in early 2013, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for sharing his Christian Faith. Pastor Saeed’s wife and two children are living in Idaho.

From the Pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini Facebook page, which seems to be managed by his wife Naghmeh: “Continued prayers appreciated for Saeed’s health, his nutrition, and for clean water. The quality of the prison water is very poor and so is the nutrition (lack of protein). Saeed has not been able to purchase mineral water or protein from the prison store as they have stopped providing them for purchase which has affected his health.”

Following is an excerpt from a Christmas letter from Pastor Saeed.

Dear sisters and brothers, the fact of the Gospel is that it is not only the story of Jesus, but it is the key of how we are to live and serve like Jesus. Today we like Him should come out of our safe comfort zone in order to proclaim the Word of Life and Salvation though faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim His resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas. It may be that we will be called fools and traitors and face many difficulties, but we should crucify our will and wishes even more until the world hears and tastes the true meaning of Christmas.

For more on Pastor Saeed, see the Be Heard Project (scroll down for his story.) Pray for Pastor Saeed, his family, and the Persecuted Church.

My Lenten focus

Like the weird, not quite fit in the box evangelical I am, I celebrate Lent. And you should, too. I wrote a whole treatise on the whys and wherefores, so if you aren’t convinced by my command, you can read my argument.

This year, the Church is faced with a level persecution that it hasn’t seen for many centuries. No, not us, Americans. We’re only occasionally slightly put out. However, our brothers and sisters throughout the world–but particularly the Muslim world–are persecuted, oppressed, sold into slavery, beaten, raped, and killed.


people of the cross

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

This year for Lent, I’m going to fast and pray for the Persecuted Church. My plan is to fast lunch and pray. But a fast doesn’t have to be a fast of food. You could fast a television show or other activity, and take the time you’d do that activity to pray. (I think that’s one thing many people who observe Lent miss. Prayer is the other side of the fasting coin, and necessary for the actual purpose of Lent: to grow closer to God and to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday.)

I find it helpful to pray scripture. Voice of the Martyrs Canada has a wonderful list of scriptures to pray.  Here’s the printable version that you can stick in your Bible or on your mirror or where ever. 

I also find it helpful to pray for specific people. Unfortunately, these days you can find those in need of prayer by reading the daily news. But there are many groups that exist to support the persecuted church and inform the rest of the Church of their needs. Among them, International Christian Concern provides a list of situations and people to pray for, and Voice of the Martyrs has a prayer map.

I don’t normally do the “This is what we should all do!” thing. I share my opinions and what I’m doing, but don’t really want to tell other people how to live life. The thought exhausts me. But Christian, you should do this. I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe if the Church at large prayed daily for the Persecuted Church for (at least!) forty days, we would see that power manifest. And frankly, we’re commanded to remember those who are persecuted.

So, will you pray with me?

Terrible Tuesday: Field trip day!

This is our first field trip of the school year. It is February. If that isn’t just a pathetic situation, I don’t know what is.  For our first–and possibly only–field trip, we’re going to the Dallas Children’s Theater to see Skippyjon Jones. Everyone is looking forward to it except Sprite, who will get excited after she gets over having to get out of bed before her usual nine o’clock. She really doesn’t know how good she’s got it.

Field trip links!

Teaching respect and responsibility–even to digital natives. We’re walking this road in various degrees with all our people. It’s challenging. This is an interesting approach to addressing excessive screen time as a family.

Terrible Tuesday is the place where I go to put my poop related links. So if that bothers you, you might want to skip Tuesdays, but you’ll miss all the other cool links. Anyway, a woman’s stool transplant leads to “tremendous weight gain,” which might show a link between gut bacteria and weight. So once you get past the ick factor, it’s very interesting.

My friend, the fabulous Amelia Hamilton, sent me the perfect cartoon for Tuesdays. Thanks, Amelia!

Tuesday shuffle

Speaking of ick factor, middle school students somehow end up with a Fifty Shades of Grey word search. The matter is “under investigation” which is beaucratese for “let’s cover our butts” so I doubt we’ll ever get the true story, whether it was from a teacher, a student, or somewhere else entirely. (My money is on the local Planned Parenthood. It sounds like something they’d pull.) Still, Fifty Shades of Grey has seemed to have brought the collective IQ of our country down at least 10 points. And that wasn’t 10 points we had to lose.


Why I’m No Homeschool Superstar. Preach, sister. (Lapbooks. I hate lapbooks. #SorryNotSorry.)

And that’s it for this rather light week. But we’re past the half-way point in February. It’s all down hill from here, like a semi-truck coming down the Rockies without brakes. Weeeee!

turkeys get you down

Seeds of the church

“Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:54-60 ESV)

These are my brothers who are beheaded, who are crucified, who are burned. My sisters are raped and sold into slavery. My heart hurts for them, and I am angry. When I see someone tweet, “A sheet of glass can’t post videos of beheadings,” my immediate, impassioned response is “Hell, yeah!”


“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45 ESV)

Anger, I understand. Wrath, I understand. Wanting to wipe ISIS and their apologists from the face of the earth, I understand. I don’t understand the mercy God extended that transformed murderous Saul to Martyr Paul, but I’m thankful for it.

In the second century, Tertullian said, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.” Although that’s not Bible, I believe it’s thoroughly biblical. Which means that the murderers and rapists and slavers are pouring out the seeds of faith that will grow and overcome the enemy that is trying to destroy it.

Pray for justice. Pray that those who are being murdered and oppressed would be delivered. But pray with hope, knowing that sacrifice of our brothers and sisters in Christ will not be in vain. That God will not let them be in vain. And pray for that Saul who right now may be directing and encouraging murder, but who will, by God’s grace and mercy, be the instrument to transform the Arab world.

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