You’re tolerant? That’s great. Prove it.


A friend shared the blog post entitled “You love gay people? That’s great. Prove it.

I felt this needed a counter-post.

You see, when I was in college many years ago, I had a girlfriend whose roommate was best friends with “David” and “Jonathan”, a gay couple she had met through the university’s theater program. I was actually interested in being friends with these two men because of our shared interest in all things Shakespeare and theater.

ToleranceHowever, it was never to be.

They quickly realized that I was dedicated to the Christian faith, including living the law of chastity.

(To be clear, the law of chastity, by Biblical definition, prescribes abstinence from sex before marriage and complete fidelity after marriage. It proscribes homosexual behavior of any kind, either before or after a marriage. The Bible also clearly teaches that there is no such thing as homosexual “marriage”. Those behaviors are an abomination to the Lord, even though He loves each and every person, heterosexual or homosexual, who struggles against the temptation to commit those behaviors.)

As soon as it dawned on them what type of Christian I was, “David” began to hurl at me every kind of tale of sexual conquest and activity that both he and Jonathan engaged in regularly. These conversations made me uncomfortable, and, trying not to offend directly, I made attempts using my body language and facial expressions, as well as changing the subject frequently, to indicate that I was not interested in hearing about their private sexual lives.

I mean, let’s think about it from a strictly hetero perspective. If I came to a party at your house, and we’re all having a good time watching some movie or whatnot, and I start telling you the intimate details of my relationship with my wife, wouldn’t you be a little uncomfortable?

Apparently there are some who believe those rules of decorum do not apply to gay people. And, apparently, I have bad luck, because with the exception of three individuals (two co-workers and a cousin), every time I have come in contact socially with one or more homosexuals, and they happen discover my affinity for the Christian faith and set of morals (I don’t push it into their faces, but I don’t hide it, either), they literally cannot help but engage in trying to shock my sensibilities with lurid details of their sex lives.

So, can I help it if I sometimes feel a little justified in responding by pointing out that certain choices and behaviors are not pleasing to God? Should I have to refrain from doing so, when such an obvious courtesy from the other side is not forthcoming?

Look. Even though we don’t agree about God’s purpose for sexuality (or maybe that there even is a God) in the name of your god of tolerance, can we not agree to disagree and just try to have civil conversations in mixed company? You respect my spiritual turf, and I’ll respect your sexual turf. If you really want religion out of your bedroom, then please don’t feel it appropriate to force your sexual proclivities into my cathedral. Sound good?

So, without further ado:

Support my rights. Yes, I have them just as much as you have them. I am a human being worthy of dignity just as you are.

Stick up for me, even when I’m not around. Debates about whether there’s a God and whether He cares about one’s sexual behaviors? I’m totally up for a discussion. If I’m not there, feel free to have that discussion with your friends. That’s totally your right! But, if you start bashing me because of my religion (whether I’m within earshot or not), isn’t your tolerance becoming intolerance? At least say “I don’t agree with my heterosexual friend, but I respect his right to believe as he does.” That’s always a good way to make your point without coming across as a gossip…or a jerk.

Invite me to dinner. I do love the non-sexual topics and lively and witty banter that gay people tend to have with each other. I am a fan of “old” Broadway, theater, literature, cooking, and many other topics that (perhaps stereotypically) are interests attributed in pop culture to gays. I even like to paint my wife’s nails (I’ve always loved fine painting detail work since I began to have an interest in building model aircraft as a kid). Just… please… PLEASE… leave your bedroom habits out of it. At least until I’ve finished eating and have my hat and coat in hand to head home for the evening. I promise to supply the same courtesy, m’kay?

Take an interest in my life and relationship. Yes, I’m a straight male committed to a female spouse. I have five kids. I would love to talk about them with you and tell you of my triumphs and defeats in raising said kids. Last I checked, that was not a hate crime and is still an acceptable topic of polite conversation in mixed company.

Ask me about my experiences as a straight person. On second thought, no. Please don’t. That’s a subject I close off to everyone except my wife. I’m not interested in sharing our bedroom life with anyone else. Besides, I am much more than my sexual behaviors. So are you.

Learn the language I use for myself, and use it. I don’t call myself a “breeder”, so please don’t call me that (even behind my back). It’s insulting and hurtful. Just as the f—– word is offensive to you.

Get involved in causes religious people care about. A while back, a group of atheists calling themselves the “church of the flying spaghetti monster” and a group of Mormons got together on Kiva.org and had a friendly competition to see which group could lend the most money to people in third-world nations. Guess what? We all had a lovely time and got along with each other! Sure, there were a few jerks (there always are in any large, mixed group), but we were able to do more good together than separately. The winners were true tolerance and the people to whom we lent money to better their economic situation.

Instead of asking me to join you in settings where you’re most comfortable, look for opportunities to join me in settings where I’m most comfortable.  I’m happy to join you in any activity that doesn’t involve sexual behavior outside of my committed hetero marriage. That leaves a whole wide world of possibilities of interests and activities in which we share (or don’t share) an interest. And, if I turn you down for any reason, it’s not because I “hate gays”. I’m just not interested. For my own reasons. Please respect that. Likewise, don’t be offended if I invite you to come to church with me. Church is important to me just as your activities and hobbies and interests are important to you. Don’t feel obligated or put-upon. At least just consider the invitation as being bona fide and extended with the hand of friendship. If you don’t want to attend, no big deal. I’ll still be your friend.

Be the gay person in my life who doesn’t hurl sexual escapade descriptions and anti-heterosexual rants at me to get a reaction.  Really. Please. It’s not necessary and only damages your credibility on tolerance. It makes it seem to me (and other Christians) that there really is a gay agenda of payback and retaliation for perceived and real grievances. The world doesn’t need payback and retaliation. It needs love and forgiveness.

We can agree on that, right?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Declare Food Independence! Grow an Apocalypse Garden.


So, the world has ended and you don’t know where you’ll get your next meal? This is one case where you’ll want to be ON the grid.

In preparation for this or next year’s global economic collapse, I built and grew this garden.

Apocalypse Garden: Not your grandfather's Victory garden, but it'll do in a pinch.

Apocalypse Garden: Not your grandfather’s Victory garden, but it’ll do in a pinch.

Grow your own food in a limited space

Grow (lots of) your own food in a limited space

I actually had a dream one night in February about doing this. Even though I can’t now recall the details, the feeling of the dream was of extreme urgency and it focused on planting and growing LOTS of food, both for my family and for charity.

In hindsight, it was good I had paid attention to my dream. The midwest, where I live, is in the grip of a brutal drought. Temperatures as I write this are expected to soar into the 103-105 degree range today, and even higher tomorrow. It hasn’t rained significantly for over a month now and there is still no rain in sight.

But I’m ok. This garden is thriving due to our mineral-rich, non-flouridated, non-chlorinated well water being sprinkled on it each evening. My corn stalks are twice the height of some of the “drought-resistant” farmer varieties I see today from the roadside.

Anyway, after the dream I had, I wondered how I would do this without having to remove turf (a task which I hate with a white hot hate). Research revealed that a square foot gardening approach, using raised beds made of wood, is the best way to avoid this pain (and a trip to the chiropractor).

After having put it all together, I can verify that square foot gardening is MUCH more preferable to digging up your lawn as with a traditional garden. You can just build and lay down wooden boxes, put newspaper in the bottom, then fill them up with the soil mixture of your choice. It also makes managing a garden a more tailored and specific approach than the row gardening we usually think of. That extra attention for each plant results in higher yields.

So, for the impatient (or for the Johnny-Come-Latelys trying to catch up), here’s how to build an Apocalypse Garden. Later in this article, I’ll talk about planning and cost.

You’ll need:

  • a piece of property with an area big enough to grow supplemental food for your entire family + charity (your own, or “borrowed” from a farmer or neighbor friend). With square foot gardening, it doesn’t have to be much property.
  • 8″ x 12′ lengths of cedar siding, with V-groove on two sides (cedar is rot/mildew resistant)
  • 2″ x 2″ x 8′ furring strips
  • 3/4″ deck screws
  • table saw or miter box with handsaw
  • chop saw, circular saw, or handsaw
  • cordless drill
  • band clamp
  • measuring tape
  • twine (for laying out grids)
  • staple gun (for stapling the twine to the boxes)

Assembly Instructions

  1. Measure your garden area. Be sure it’s in a spot where there is lots of sun all day long. Also call your local utilities to make sure it won’t conflict with any gas or power lines underground, just in case you do later decide to dig a garden rather than have a raised bed garden. It’s a good idea to “make the math easy” by measuring out in dimensions of even numbers divisible by 2. My garden measurement is 20′ by 44′. This gives me a 2′ buffer/barrier on all sides (for mulch or insect-repelling flowers), and a total of twenty-one, 4′x4′ boxes arranged in a grid so that there is exactly 2′ of space between them. The 2′ space between the boxes is wide enough for an average push lawn mower to get between them to cut the grass and is comfortable for using a weed trimmer to keep the grass from growing too high around the boxes. It’s also just wide enough to get in a comfortable kneeling or sitting position to tend to the grids.

    Graph paper sketch of a basic square foot garden layout

    Graph paper sketch of a basic square foot garden layout

  2. 4' lengths of v-groove cedar siding

    4′ lengths of v-groove cedar siding

    With the table saw or miter box set at a 45° bevel angle, cut four, 4 foot lengths of cedar siding, with the ends beveled “inward” (45° miter joint) so you can make a box.

    To my math and woodworking-challenged brain, this was the hardest part. You have to get as close as you can to complementary 45° angles on each end’s cuts so that you get a perfect (or as near to perfect as you can get) 90° corner when the box is assembled. However, it’s worth it in the long run. Mitering the ends reduces waste. It also eliminates the problem of having to cut square ends, but making sure that the two “inner” boards are cut shorter than the two “outer” boards so that all the sides measure exactly 4′.

    Reserve and mark with a pencil or pen the first of the cuts you make as a model for the rest, using it to measure out the other three from your lengths of siding. This is important for consistency of the first box you’re making which will be a model for the others you build on top of it.

    If you make a mistake with the miter configuration on a board, set it aside for making 2′ x 2′ boxes later. Two by two boxes are good for “nesting” on top of soil already within a 4′ x 4′ box, or as standalones.

  3. Cut furring strip into 5" blocks, four to a box

    Cut furring strip into 5″ blocks, four to a box

    Cut four, 5″ lengths of furring strip lumber. These are for the inside corners.

    You usually can’t find these 2″ x 2″ x 10′ lumber cuts in cedar (usually only pine), so they’re not as rot-resistant. Metal brackets like you use for decking would have been better, but they were too expensive.

    Besides, if these rot, I can just replace them very cheaply. In hindsight, I might have dipped them in Thompson’s Water Seal or linseed oil to further resist rot, but some gardeners would hesitate to add these compounds to their wood for fear that they might leech into the soil and contaminate the crop.

  4. Band clamping the corners at 90 degree angles

    Band clamping the corners at 90 degree angles

    Setting the sides together in a box on the floor, with the “tongue” edge of the siding touching the floor, dry-assemble the box using the band clamp to hold all four sides together. The band clamp working against the mitered ends will have friction enough to hold the box together until you can screw the 5″ long furring strip blocks to the inside corners for permanent support.

    Drilling the pilot holes so the cedar boards don't split

    Drilling the pilot holes so the cedar boards don’t split

  5. Place the furring strip blocks in each corner, sitting on the ground.Having them sitting on the ground, rather than trying to center them between the top and bottom edges of the board, ensures that the 5″ furring strip blocks are flush with the “tongue” edge of the box. This is important if you want ease of assembly when stacking boxes as your soil depth needs change. This way, you won’t have to clear dirt off the top of the block when you assemble more boxes on top.
  6. Drill pilot holes smaller than the diameter of the screws in the places where you will fasten the boards to the furring strip blocks. This will keep the cedar siding from splitting as you fasten everything together.
    Use two 3/4" decking screws to secure each corner

    Use two 3/4″ decking screws to secure each corner

    Use two screws on each end (4 screws per side) for maximum strength. At the end of this process, you will have one, fully assembled garden box. Use this one as the “standard model” for building the others so all your boxes are uniform in dimensions and angles.

  7. Use the first side you cut and marked for the model box to measure and cut subsequent pieces of siding into 4′ lengths.
  8. Flip the model box over so that now the “groove” edge is touching the floor.
  9. Assemble the next box on top of the “model” box by inserting the grooves of the next four 4′ lengths into the tongues of the model box’s sides. Band clamp and gradually tighten the band clamp as you adjust this new box so that the corners are nice and square (90° angles). Cut and place more 5″ furring strip blocks in the corners, and screw it all together as with the first.
  10. Repeat steps above for creating box upon box until you have enough, or the “stack” gets too high to work on. Then separate the boxes (boxen?) by prying them apart with a screwdriver at the points where the ends of each level’s 5″ furring strip blocks meet.
Building boxes on a stack for uniformity

Building boxes on a stack for uniformity

Now, just take these puppies out, toss ‘em on the ground where you want to grow a garden, layer in some newspaper, and fill them up with rich, healthy soil. Plant and eat, my friend!

Planning

The planning process begins in the winter, well before you begin to plant, or even build your boxes. You need to figure out things like which vegetables will do well in your zone, which sizes of boxes to have, what your family eats (or will likely eat) the most, adding in nutritional needs, what you can likely barter, and what crops are likely to be “bumper” crops for charity or for bulk usage at home.

Again, it’s important to think of how you cook and what you eat to determine which mix of vegetables and fruits you’ll likely use. It makes no sense to grow, say, boxes and boxes of onions if nobody in your family likes them (unless that’s a good sale, barter or charity item in your area).

With a traditional garden you typically work with a homogeneous soil mixture in a large garden area consisting of rows of plants. The point of a square foot garden, of course, is to garden individual plants using 1′ x 1′ spaces to separate your plants according to their type, nutritive needs, and growing season.

Additional advantages of square foot gardening include easier weeding, more attention to detail for each plant or plant group growing in a grid space, flexibility about where you can plant food (especially in limited spaces), among other things.

For example, if I want to use, say, four of my 1×1 spaces in a box for a certain type of plant requiring a delicate balance of soil mixture, I can easily dig out just the squares in the grid where I need that soil, maybe put some cardboard, plastic, or wooden dividers in to create a barrier between the two soil types, and then introduce my custom mix just into those grids.

I sketched my layout on graph paper. Note that you’re not limited to the sizes and configuration I’ve presented above. You can lengthen your boxes as much as you want (strawberries do well in beds built to 12′ x 4′). The only limitation you’ll want to impose is no more than 4′ wide on a side. That will make it easy to reach in and tend your plants.

For pest control, you can paint the box sides with fox or coyote urine granules dissolved in water. This keeps away the rabbits (fox) and deer (coyote) and, as I found, has the added bonus of keeping Max, my tomcat, from using the boxes for nature’s call.

Also, lots of insects hate the smells of certain flowers such as marigolds. I haven’t done this yet, but you can use the outer buffer space to build a “wall” of insect-resistant flowers around your garden. It’s like a force field against bugs!

For seeds, I went online to ParkSeed.com and Gardeners.com, two of my favorite online gardening providers. They’re not the cheapest, but I was looking for more than my local “big box” gardening store could provide. I picked out varieties that I knew would do well in my growing zone and that my family would eat. I tried to avoid hybrids and “Big-Ag” seed brands and instead sought to buy heirloom seeds wherever possible. That way I could avoid GMO crops and “legally” (blech) preserve some seed for subsequent years’ crops so as to cut my costs even further as time goes on.

I used Word to build a simple table to represent the garden and typed letters of the alphabet in each box keyed to represent each plant. This combats the “what the heck did I plant there” and “is that a weed or is it food” problems I often encounter as the plants begin to germinate.

As a homeschooler, I also tried to get all scientific and began building a journal of data on each plant I planned to grow, and a log where I could record what was working well and what was not. I wanted to use it as a homeschool unit study. But a) my kids just aren’t as interested as I am in gardening, let alone all that data (unlike government schools, we don’t force subjects on our kids before they’re ready or interested) and b) it was starting to get in the way of the ultimate goal of actually planting the garden.

Cost

The method behind my madness was in looking towards and beyond a deep, global financial disaster like the one on our doorstep right now. Make no mistake, folks. Just as this garden isn’t your grandfather’s Victory Garden, this financial crisis is not your father’s recession, or even depression. NOBODY knows where this is going, nor how it will end, because NEVER in the history of the world has our society been so complex.

Gold flakes for breakfast again?!

Gold flakes for breakfast again?!

So you’ve invested in gold? You can’t eat gold, my friend. Though, maybe you’ll want to eat it when the bottom eventually falls out of that market and the food supply is dwindling. When the SHTF and TEOTWAWKI happens, there is going to be a big hurt put on developed nations. I shudder to think of what will happen to our brothers and sisters in developing nations. May God have mercy on all of our souls.

I wanted my project to be one that would be sustainable in the event that the Home Depots and the Lowes and the Menards of the local area suddenly ran out of inventory, or shut down altogether. Therefore, the design I came up with was as minimalistic and as modular as possible without sacrificing too much longevity of the final product. I didn’t want to have to repeat the major overhaul cycle very often, but I also didn’t want to spend a lot.

I lost track of specific costs in the middle of the build process, but my estimate for how much I’ve spent on what you see in the photos above is between $1,000 and $1,500. That’s for a fairly big garden capable of supplementing, or replacing if necessary, nutrition for 7 to 9 people. Not too many folks have that kind of money just lying around, and such means will be impossible for most when the end of the financial world comes (which is a good reason to build this NOW). However, you’d be surprised at how quickly even meager means can accumulate if you just do without some non-essentials for a few weeks or months. It’s definitely manageable.

If nothing else, consider this an investment rather than an unrecoverable expense. The first year’s yield will probably not pay for it, but subsequent year yields will.

Still not convinced? Just ask yourself how much you’d pay for any amount of food security in a crisis and you’ll have your Return-On-Investment calculation right there.

See Birth of a Square Foot Garden for an alternate method to the one I’m showing here. That way is more expensive and work-intensive than my method, but also builds in some great convenience features and looks much nicer. My way isn’t pretty but looks better than a row garden. It isn’t cheap, especially when compared to gouging out a chunk of ground, dumping in some dirt, and planting away. But, for those with limited space, bad soil, or bad backs, it is much more scalable and manageable for the money you’re spending than other square foot gardening container ideas I’ve seen. Seniors with walkers, canes, in electric scooters or even wheelchairs can manage a raised bed, square foot garden. Not so easy with row gardening.

I did already have one cost advantage going into this. In another area of my lot, also about 880 sqft, I had placed a traditional garden several years ago. At the time, before we knew the “lay of the land” of our new property purchase, it seemed like a great place. So, we bought several cubic yards of topsoil pre-fertilized with cow manure and hauled it from where it was dumped in the front yard all the way to the back. We planted all sorts of stuff and then sat back and waited for the bounty.

The garden was a flop. The problem ended up being that it didn’t get enough sunlight, what with our yard being in a depleted-and-converted gravel pit and backing up to the incline of said gravel pit, and trees on that hill blocking the afternoon sunlight. By about 2:00pm on hot June days, our plants were starved of direct sunlight, resulting in scrawny, pale plants that died before fruiting.

Fast forward several years, with multiple dumpings of grass clippings and compost on the “failed garden”, and “suddenly” we found ourselves with 12″ of premium, fertile black topsoil. I cannot say enough good about layered composting of grass clippings, folks. Forget the garden waste recycling brown bag kabuki theater your local Waste Management and government puts you through. Just pile that stuff in an unused corner of your yard and wait five years.  Add a container, worms and compost accelerator if you don’t want to wait that long. Either way, you won’t be shelling out hundreds of dollars for what I like to call “baggies of soil” at the garden center. You, like the independent American Patriot you are, will have made your own dirt. ;)

Planting

Once you’ve built all the boxes you need, get the area ready by mowing any grass as close as you can to the ground. I mean really crop it by setting your mower to its lowest setting. That will give you a head start on killing the lawn under your boxes so that you don’t grow more grass than lettuce.

Next, lay out your grid how you like it. I’m an OCD kind of guy, so all my garden boxes had to be in a perfect grid of 3 boxes by 7 boxes with 2′ of buffer space on each side of a box. But do it however you like. The only things that really matter are sufficient drainage under each box and ensuring that as the sun travels across the sky, the taller plants won’t cast a shadow over the smaller ones. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that means placing taller plants to the North, shorter plants to the South.

Now, put down a couple of layers of newspaper as a blocking barrier for the grass underneath. It will choke out the grass there and eventually decompose. Besides, all that liberal B.S. “journalism” is cheaper than landscaping cloth and so is good for this at least, right? And, you’re helping the environment, so pat yourself on the back. Maybe. If that makes you feel good or something.

Fill each box with your topsoil mixture. You can go with Mel Bartholomew’s special mix, buy topsoil locally, or use your own compost. Mel’s Mix and his canonical square foot gardening methods (though more expensive) are really good for keeping weeds at bay. If you don’t mind some weeding (I find it mentally cleansing, character-building, and a good squatting exercise for leg muscles) topsoil or compost will do. Weeding is also a great chore bribe for when your kids want something and you want a little quid pro quo.

Like cereal in a box, the soil will settle after a bit, so be sure to have more soil on hand to top it off after the settling has occurred. Break up any clods to help speed this up and make your soil mixture and consistency more uniform. Add earthworms for aeration. If you’re doing the layered compost like I did, you should already have the worms step covered.  Follow any other great green thumb advice you prefer or that works for your area with regards to soil.

Of course, it’s not REAL square foot gardening unless you establish a grid. With your boxes laid out and filled, you’re ready to create the 1′ x 1′ grids on top of each box. Some people use thin furring strips cut to fit horizontally across the top of the box. Others, like me, use twine stretched and stapled to the edges of the box. The grid is there to help you place your plants neatly in the centers and to aid you in managing the soil requirements, watering, feeding, and care of heterogeneous plant groupings within a single box, so don’t skip this step.

Completed square foot garden boxes, filled with soil, and gridded.

Completed square foot garden boxes, filled with soil, and getting started with gridding.

Now you’re ready to start planting.  There’s a lot to be said for starting seedlings and transplanting. I’m not that kind of gardener…yet. It just takes too much effort for me to find a place in the house in February that the kids won’t disturb, gets enough sunlight, won’t be tempting as a litter box for the cat, etc. I just plant and pray after the first frost, like our grandparents used to do, and 9 times out of 10 I get a good result. I do have plans to convert an old aboveground pool deck into a greenhouse and chicken coop, but that’s a subject for a future post.

So, just stick those seeds in the individual grids according to the instructions. With square foot gardening you’ll want to modify what your typical Burpee-type seed packet says (Park Seed is remarkably square foot gardening friendly in all its labeling, though sometimes they skimp on the seed count).

Use the Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing table, and common sense, as a key. For example, with carrots, I used the “four finger method” of sticking four of my fingers into the soil as far apart as I could stretch them. This placed depressions for receiving the seed at the optimal distance from each other across the 1′ span. Repeat three or four times to fill the 1′ x 1′ square, then do the same to all the other squares in the box.

But, don’t make the mistake I did. With square foot gardening and thick-growth seeds like carrots, you don’t need to plant every carrot seed in the packet. Just sow between one and three per spot in the grid and you avoid all the thinning later.

Now, for things like pole beans, peas, and other “climbing” or “trellising” plants, I lashed bamboo poles together with zip ties, tied nylon twine between the spaces, and created a structure for them to climb as they matured. This is the fun part because there are literally dozens of ways to do this per plant. Get creative and try different ideas.

For my potatoes (Yukon Gold variety), I’m simply stacking boxes using the tongue and groove of my cedar siding! To add more soil depth for my carrots (Scarlet Nantes), and corn (sweet, of course), I likewise stacked on another box and added more soil.

Political and Social Implications

Be aware that the Obama administration, which is in bed with Monsanto, is working hard to make sure that small farms and maybe even homegrown gardens cannot be used for capitalistic ends. Therefore, if you intend to sell fresh produce or capture seeds from your garden, be prepared for the eventuality that bills-to-become-laws like SB.510, the “food safety” bill, will go down the slippery slope these types of laws tend to go down and brand you a criminal for doing so. [sarcasm] Don’t be surprised if that bill passes with a clause that all produce growers must pray to Monsanto when saying grace over the food. [/sarcasm]

But things We the People are losing the ability to control aside, if you are physically able, it is up to YOU to maintain your dignity and freedom. Take care of YOURSELF and YOUR OWN FAMILY, no matter what the government is telling you it will do for you. The guaranteed outcomes they promise simply can’t be counted on, nor are they worth the cost. YOU are the master of your destiny and the captain of your soul. Don’t fall for the rhetoric that the “smart guys” in Washington D.C. will take care of you in a crisis. They won’t.

Listen to centuries of conventional wisdom and learn to care for yourself and your neighbors through being charitable. Apply what you’ve learned about gardening to helping others through neighborhood or community garden systems. There’s nothing like being the community expert on growing or providing food to buy you “protection” from hoodlums or mafiosos trying to take advantage of a dire situation. Also, charity, the pure love of Christ, is disarming to anyone marching into your house and demanding your food.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. You will be blessed for doing so.

A Tale of Two Mothers


Or, “Liberals have no qualms about turning your mother into a political football”

Last night, my inbox showed I had two messages about Mother’s Day.

Time to put on your Politicized B.S. detector. Hint: only one of these is full of Politicized B.S.

Contrast that slick piece of navel gazing political marketing and pandering with the simple, heartfelt, and sincere message Ann Romney sent out.

I think the distinction is rather obvious. Michelle Obama, The First Mother, if you will indulge that as an extension of her official title, isn’t even mentioned in the White House email. Nope. It’s all about the administration’s socialist agenda and how mothers simply won’t be able to get along without the government.

The administration’s imagery is likewise disturbing. While I get that there’s a “military moms” angle to the message (again, as thinly veiled political pandering), wouldn’t that message be more convincing if there were, oh, I don’t know, an AMERICAN FLAG SOMEWHERE IN THE IMAGERY????????????

Instead, we get sugar-coated, post-modern socialist pabulum echoes of this:

Which do you prefer? Sending a Mother’s Day card laden with political overtones from New Motherland Amerika (and an administration at war with motherhood, which is much more than a “choice”)? Or an invitation to let your mother know she’s one of the most important people in your life?

Halt the dam dismantling on the Klamath River! #stopenvironmentalists


How environMENTAL regulations affect REAL people.

They did this to my community, shutting down all mining and logging. They spiked trees to “save” them from loggers, which ultimately killed the trees. They successfully federalized forest management to the point that wide swaths of the forests with no undergrowth management burned to the ground. Other forests were devastated by beetle infestations that could have been prevented with spraying. They have successfully lobbied to restrict most ranching, leaving us with a 3 month seasonal tourism economy. What little ranching remains is still under constant attack.

Totalitarian environmentalism must be STOPPED and STOPPED NOW!!!

Fish or Foul on the Klamath River – YouTube.

Boy Scouts feel a mother’s wrath – CNN.com


When will people realize that the Constitution guarantees freedom of association? If they want a gay Boy Scouts, they can start a gay Boy Scouts. There’s no need to cause all this wrath and conflict.

When you join the BSA, you are given every opportunity to understand its values and expected behaviors. “Morally straight” is right there in the Boy Scout Promise. Some people, unfortunately, join the BSA just for the purpose of causing trouble.

Sorry, nothing quoteworthy in this “journalism”. It’s all just cheerleading, mob raising, and GLSEN and GLAAD talking points I’m seeing in here.

via Boy Scouts feel a mother’s wrath – CNN.com.

I miss Paul Harvey


He said it like he was…

Paul Harvey, 2005
Paul Harvey, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via If I Were the Devil – BEST VERSION by PAUL HARVEY audio restored – YouTube.

Scenes from a Beautiful Life: Heaven is Here


20120407-165034.jpgAs I sat waiting to get a haircut today, I picked up a copy of the April 2nd issue of People Magazine. Normally I can’t read this rag. The stories it carries are about as substantive, uplifting, and palatable as watching back-to-back reruns of “The View” or “Judge Judy”. It’s the literary equivalent of daytime TV, full of tawdry, shallow, narcissistic navel gazing by celebrities, and photos of other also-ran celebs doing nothing of significance in the larger scheme of life, the Universe, and everything.

Then I turned to page 82 (it was a long wait) where a story entitled “Scenes from a Beautiful Life” caught my attention immediately. The couple featured in the piece, Christian and Stephanie Nielson, had been the subject of a video posted on Mormon.org by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The video had gone viral but had staying power judging by the number of times I kept seeing it pop up on mainstream social media sites I frequent.

And, for good reason. The story they tell of their freak plane crash (Christian is, or was, a private aviation enthusiast) and their being horribly burned and disfigured is a touching and heartbreaking example of the incredible adversity the most ordinary of people can find themselves enduring. The expectation of today’s popular culture environment would be that the formerly comely couple would lose interest in one another after losing their physical attractiveness. They smashed such low expectations by rekindling their marriage through a whole new courtship. They reconnected with their children, even though it wasn’t easy for the children or their parents, and became an even stronger family today than before.

As a fellow Mormon, everything about their story I could relate to. I could put myself in their shoes and wonder of I would react as valiantly as they did to their trials.

I hadn’t known that Stephanie was writing a book on her comeback. The book’s title is Heaven is Here. You can order it on Amazon.com.

The Susan G. Komen debacle: Hypocrisy on cancer screenings, abortion…well, pretty much everything.


The other day I had an exchange on Facebook that highlighted some pretty tired re-tread arguments. I thought I’d share with you my responses in hopes that someone–anyone–with an axe to grind about pro-lifers will at least consider some simple truths around this critical issue of our times.

Planned Parenthood is Pro Life

Planned Parenthood is Pro Life (Photo credit: WeNews)

Political pressure vs. political expediency

First, the hypocrisy aspect. As my friend, who started the thread, noted, there is a stark hipocrisy on the part of pro-abortionists (and Komen) in saying that it caved to political pressure from the pro-lifers, but that switching back to the side of pro-abortionists was not due to political pressure.

Bollocks.

It was political pressure. How could it not have been. Komen risked its reputation and PR backlash and made a huge leap one way, then risked (and got) even more major PR backlash for reversing its decision. To do that, to risk a major organization’s reputation, without some kind of significant pressure from the pro-infanticide crowd would have been foolish.

Planned Parenthood volunteers help bring the f...

Planned Parenthood volunteers help bring the fight for health insurance reform ($$$) to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. (Image via Wikipedia)

Mammograms? I don’t think so.

One participant in the Facebook discussion stated, “[T]hey caved to political pressure when they chose to de-fund PP. Reversing that decision was not caving to *political* pressure. They wisely responded to the hundreds of thousands of outraged citizens who were appalled at the disregard for women’s health. And how can you applaud anyone who diverts funds from an organization that provides women access to healthcare?!! Pap smears, cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings, contraception — you can’t tell me that you are against these things, can you? You do know that only 3% of PP’s activities are abortion and that abortion services are paid for with private donations, not public funds.”

Except, Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually perform any of those tests. They merely make referrals and pay the costs. Just like many other organizations do (but which don’t also provide abortions). Planned Parenthood is in the business of abortions. End of story.

The New York Times cover page from January 23,...

Image via Wikipedia

Roe v. Wade was a show trial resulting in fiat law

Then, this person, who by definition was born, said, “‎Before we move on to other topics, it’s worth noting a few things. Abortion is legal. It is a safe medical procedure. And it is rare. That’s exactly how it should be. Government has no business violating women’s privacy rights and making decisions about their reproductive rights. It is the worst kind of ‘big government’ imaginable. LEGAL. A PRIVATE MEDICAL DECISION.”

*POOF* In an instant, decisions about killing an unborn child become a matter of privacy. And, all of the true stories about women who were most definitely physically and psychologically harmed by abortion disappears in a whiff of rhetorical and emotional smoke. Ironically, included in this waving of the hands is Norma McCorvey herself, a.k.a. Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade fame. She never even had an abortion, and had been duped by unscrupulous attorneys, at least one of which was likely filled with self-loathing and self-justification for her own decision to abort her unborn child, to become the nation’s first test case in an attempt to overthrow the basic right to life, upon which is predicated the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

English: Graph showing public support for Roe ...

Image via Wikipedia

Propaganda: The tool of tyrants

Planned Parenthood’s new propaganda campaign is in full swing and attracting new and naive followers. They’ve convinced every media outlet on earth to only report their spin on their own numbers which are freely available online and tell a whole different story than the left is portraying.

As of March 2011, PPA murdered, by dismemberment, over 350,000 boys and girls within their mother’s protective wombs. Since 1973, over 55 million children have suffered the same fate at the hands of this awful organization. No child dismembered in its mother’s womb has a choice in any of that. It’s just plantation bigotry being transferred from the cotton fields to a woman’s body. The big, powerful person gets to decide whether the weak and vulnerable person gets to live or die.

Our society disgusts me with as much genocide (blacks are by FAR the majority recipients of these pruported “health services” from PPA), eugenics (Down Syndrome) and infanticide as we cavalierly allow.

For our hubris in allowing these atrocities, which are expressly forbidden in scripture, we deserve every bit of what’s about to come to us in the form of punishment from Heaven.

I mean, for crying out loud, even ABC News, known more for its liberal bias than its comprehensive and balanced news reporting, had the good sense not to censor a piece entitled “Down Syndrome Births are Down in U.S.“. The numbers don’t lie. There’s just no denying that instead of an expected 49% increase in Down Syndrome births due to later child-bearing of career-minded couples, there was instead a 15% drop. That was because 92% of women who were pre-screened and whose infant-in-utero was found to have Down Syndrome, aborted their child. The article goes on to describe that this irreversible decision to abort was driven largely by pure myth about the condition.

Intended Consequences, a film by Jonathan Torgovnik

Intended Consequences, a film by Jonathan Torgovnik

“Except in cases of incest or rape…”

But what about women who are raped and are impregnated as a result? Automatic abortion cards are handed out en masse in these types of situations. But is abortion in all cases of rape (or even incest) the best thing?

Cast your minds back to the horrible atrocities of Rwanda in the 1990s. The women who weren’t killed were brutally raped, some left to die, and many giving birth to children as a result of those crimes. By today’s standards, the U.N., because it chose to do nothing about the genocide, ought to at least have offered free abortions to all women affected thus by rape. But if they had, would we have these incredible stories to learn forgiveness and mercy from? Not all of the women who gave birth to a total of 20,000 children as a result of rape have rainbows and butterflies to report, yet there are enough (even one should be enough) who saw the beauty that God was restoring in their lives by sending them innocent children to remind them that He is still in charge, will give them hope, and will make all things new. More importantly, sending 20,000 more Tutsi children to their deaths would have accomplished exactly…what?

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 22:  A pro-life supporter...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Don’t have a uterus? SHUT UP! She explained.

The conversation predictably turned to the old pablum of how teens and sex are like salt in ocean water. “[E]ven if you support social conservatism, it’s important to acknowledge reality. in liberal California, the average age at which girls lose their virginity is 17. in family-values Mississippi, it’s… 16. that’s the *average*. the reality, in every culture, is that teenagers have sex. it’s better for children (and for society) if children are born by choice, rather than by mistake.”

Yes, I responded, let’s acknowledge reality. I’ve made the mistake of using too many words. Let’s simplify things: true or false – it is wrong to murder a baby.

Show proof that exactly zero (0) dollars of money raised by/for the Komen foundation go to abortion funding.

No proof. Just more spin.

Abortion Memorial“[A] fetus is not a baby. I know you will likely disagree with me on this so I’ll put it another way. Do you have a vagina? A uterus? Will you EVER in your life, be faced with a unintended, unwanted pregnancy? No. NO, you won’t. If you oppose abortion, don’t have one. That’s pretty simple.”

At this point, another individual chimed in with this one, which we’ve never heard before on the pro-life end of things. Nope, not ever.

“Perhaps if we spent as much time worrying about the born as much as we worry about the unborn there wouldn’t be a need to debate the ethics of abortion. When we can take care of each other (which we’ve proven we can’t) we can start criticizing other’s choices. But until then, I have no room to judge. It’s not a male/female thing–if we truly cared no one would perceive a need. Until that happens, I won’t inflict my morals or values on anyone else, because in the end we’re all actually part of the problem…”

Writer Lesley Lathrop (left), an adoptee, at r...

Image via Wikipedia

The Adoption Option

Yet in all of this pro-abortion posturing, not even one mention of adoption. That’s where I’d finally had enough and said:

[N]ot even one mention of adoption as an alternative to killing a child? Yes, I stick by the truthful phrase “killing a child” in direct replacement of the Newspeak phrase “terminating an unintended pregnancy” that is meant to replace it. A “fetus” is still a living human being with its own brainwaves, neuronal firing, and heartbeat. When do we stop calling it a baby and start calling it a fetus? When a woman walks into a PPA “clinic”. Even OB/GYNs have enough sense and courtesy to refer to the child as a baby when speaking with the mother.

Let me make it very clear to you and every pro-abortioner. There is no such thing as an unwanted child. It is estimated that over 18 million women have considered adoption. What if we poured funding into education about adoption and removing cultural, bureaucratic, political, and financial roadblocks to doing so? As a volunteer Spanish/English translator for a pregnancy crisis group, I know there are so many women who WANT to keep their child or find a loving home for him/her. Planned parenthood offers nothing but death and more suffering to desperate, uninformed, frightened women. Their “counselors” are not even allowed to help women make adoption plans, or even refer them to a pregnancy crisis center who will help them make a plan!

Interracial adoption

Interracial adoption

Today we brought home the newest member of our family. His birth mother was just barely pregnant when his birth father was killed in a car accident. Abortion was available for free, of course, but she, not knowing beforehand what she would do, mercifully chose to keep him despite her abject poverty. She was overjoyed to hear from his foster dad that he would come to our family and we are forever grateful to her.

The uterus and “don’t have one” arguments are just tired as they are disingenuous. No, I do not have a uterus. Yes, I do have a heart for the most vulnerable among us. Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto me” but he certainly didn’t mean “return to Sender”. As soon as Planned Parenthood drops abortion altogether, I’ll be glad to donate to their cancer screening budget, directly, through taxes, or via associated charities like Komen. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Given the honor that it was to be a parent of many children in Israel in His time, and how abortion was viewed with abhorrence in His place and time in history and culture, that obviously meant infants IN utero as well as out.

He also said, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”

So, how about it? Will you put your money where your mouths are and use your arguing power, tax dollars, and would-be PPA donations to turn away from destruction of life and instead make it easier for everyone to adopt? How about adopting a child yourselves?

Folks, seriously. How about it? Whether you are pro-choice or pro-abortion, what will you do to ensure that every allegedly “unwanted” child is given a chance a life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? What will you do to spare another woman the psychological and physical agony of allegedly “safe” abortion practices?

After almost 40 years of murdering hope, don’t we at least owe it to ourselves to try something different…for a change?

South Carolina Republicans have lost their minds and are losing their souls


Newt Gingrich winning South Carolina is a sad commentary on South Carolinian “conservatism”. I sincerely hope it’s only a one-state aberration, non-representative of the American conservative voters. But…

They were given three candidates (I’m not counting the Republi-tarian here). Two of those candidates have clean records when it comes to basic ethics and morality (don’t steal–and no, venture capitalism is NOT stealing–don’t commit adultery). One of them did not.

So, to avoid the horrors of voting for a candidate whose religion had a brief practice of Biblically-based plural marriage 117 years ago, and inexplicably rejecting the one remaining candidate who really is the ideal evangelical/protestant Christian by just about every measure, the record now irrevocably shows that South Carolina EVANGELICAL Republicans chose the adulterous, ethics-violating candidate as “their guy”.

From now on, I don’t want to hear one word from evangelicals about erstwhile Mormon polygamy being a reason Mitt Romney can’t ever win a national election. Not one blasted word.

What a sad waste of political capital in a moment where Republicans, who’ve been struggling to get back to their core purposes (protecting freedom and family), could have instead been seen as standing steadfast in the traditional values that have proven to make good men and women greater.

English: Al Gore and Newt Gingrich applaud to ...

Image via Wikipedia

There isn’t much else to say about that because it stands on its own. But by way of further illustration, Salon.com very “coincidentally” published an article entitled “Our successful open marriage” as if fertilizing the field (with the usual moral relativism B.S.) for sowing the seeds of “moral compromise”. The end result will be that we’ll get a candidate who is no more ethically above the fray than was Clinton (and who was especially hypocritical during the Lewinsky affair) Pelosi and Reid. We’ll get a candidate who cheats on his multiple wives and lusts in his heart for many women in an open marriage arrangement while running against a candidate who (that we know of) has never cheated on his one-and-only wife (the only thing I admire about Obama).  Even though Obama is obviously not squeaky clean in his own ethics, all we’ll have to show is a candidate who personifies the greedy, unethical stereotype the left lives to paint for us every waking minute of every day. “Better the devil you know” and “I take heart that someone older and fatter than me can still have an affair” will become the watchwords of the 2012 election among swing voters and hardcore conservatives, splitting the vote.

Congratulations, South Carolina Republicans. You just made it that much more likely that Obama will be the front-runner, with his terrifically dismal record on just about every measure of American prosperity. You gave us a leading party candidate who, when held up to the scrutiny and mudslinging of the dominant left-wing mouthpiece media, will all but ensure an Obama victory.

I hope you’re happy with yourselves.

Beautiful child commits suicide due to bullying at public school


For a couple of years now, I couldn’t say adequately in words how aggravated I was to hear people ask me if my kids are being “socialized” now that they’re home schooled.

First of all, it’s a “none of your [expletive] business” kind of question.

Second of all, this:

via DRIVEN TO SUICIDE AT 10 – WWW.THEDAILY.COM.

Kids had bullied Ashlynn for years, calling her a “slut,” “fat,” and “ugly,” so that day’s incident seemed relatively minor to Stacy: The girls had poked fun at Ashlynn’s initials, “A.C.,” saying it sounded like “air conditioner.”

Three different teachers at the school had told Ashlynn to “stop tattling” after she reached out for help, the girl told her mother. It was the Thursday before Veterans Day, and Stacy told Ashlynn she should go straight to the principal the following Monday if the bullying continued.

“But she didn’t want to wait until Monday,” Stacy told The Daily.

Ashlynn’s older sister found her hanging by her neck from a scarf in a bedroom closet on Friday night. She was pronounced dead before 9 p.m. at a local hospital, another inconceivably young victim of elementary school bullying.

This is precisely why one of my kids is home schooled, and partially why the others followed. We were fortunate enough to have caught it early and nipped it in the bud. Other kids aren’t so fortunate.

Why? People I talk to about home school, and who insist on public school as the “best” option for every child, offer all kinds of excuses as to why they “can’t” or “couldn’t” or “won’t” remove their kids from public education. The excuses range from their almost cult-like dedication to their perception of the quality of the public school system vs. home schooling, to having both parents work to being a single parent and not being able to teach them at home.

Aren’t I downright mean for suggesting that dual income earners and single moms and dads figure out something–anything–else other than send their kids to a public school?

I don’t see it as being mean. I see it as being loyal to one’s children first and foremost, even in the face of reducing or eliminating one’s income to keep a child alive.

My heart really goes out to Mrs. Conner. I can’t imagine what she’s going through right now, so I hesitate to ask any question of where her mind and heart are now. I don’t claim to know either way, so I’m merely projecting my own feelings here. I just have to ask, because it’s important to be clear as to what is really going on in public schools. Let us see this tragedy in its true perspective.

How much would Stacy Conner sacrifice to have her daughter back?

How much is she regretting right now trying, as most of us do out of habit, by the way, to live by that old trope “better get used to it” (we call that one BGUTI for short at my house when the subject of injustice in public school comes up). I challenge anyone to attempt to tell any abuse victim “better get used to it”. Doesn’t work so well, right? Then why do we say that to our kids!? NOBODY should have to “get used” to abuse.

How much is she wondering if she had gone to the school officials earlier and confronted them, like a growling momma bear, whether things might have turned out differently?

But most of all, how much would she give up to have her daughter back?

I’d bet she’d give up everything to have her back. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.