Saturday, June 16, 2018

"If There is a God..."

Ok, another commentary on a Kindle Unlimited book I just read.

The book is called Life and Limb, by Jamie Andrew.

Very short synopsis.  Jamie Andrew was and is a mountain climbing dude.  I love reading about mountain climbing though I have no desire to climb mountains personally.  Just keep me down at normal levels were the air is thick and horrible storms aren't likely to catch me out.

So Jamie and another friend (also named Jamie) were in the Alps trying to climb a mountain when a horrible, unexpected snowstorm hit.  (It was winter, by the way.)  They were trapped for 5 days or so and his friend died.  Jamie was finally rescued by helicopter.  He was very badly frostbitten and lost his hands and feet.


His attitude is pretty incredible. There were a lot of 'what ifs' about his friend dying, of course.  He had to grieve the loss of his appendages.  But he got prosthetics and worked hard and is back to climbing mountains.

All that is admirable.

What startled me, and grieved me, was his brief discussion about the existence of God.  He said that while he was freezing to death on the mountain, he didn't experience any spiritual epiphany.  Ok...well, he was miserable and hypothermic so that is probably not very surprising.

He decided that if there is a God, and he's not sure there is, He is probably a benevolent God who won't mind that he has no faith.

Full stop.


So, if a person is an atheist, he is wrong. There is a God.   But at least if he convinces himself that there is no God, it is logical to ignore God.  If there is no God, we're all just organisms struggling through life, we're all just individuals who will die forever and ever, and it doesn't matter a lot what one does with one's life. 

But agnosticism -- maybe there is a God, maybe there isn't -- is quite common and Jamie Andrew describes himself as an agnostic.

And he decided, on grounds that were hard to follow, that he just wouldn't worry about a God who might exist.  If God exists, He's nice (why would he be nice?  On what basis have you decided He is nice?) and Jamie can just carry on living his life as he chooses without any concern about what God wants for him.

That is just sad.

Jamie Andrew is not a 'bad' man.  I mean, he doesn't kill people, he doesn't sell drugs. But he's a sinner like you and me.  And he is living his life ignoring the reality that God has every reason and right to expect something from him.

God is not nice.

I mean, nice just sounds mellow.  God isn't very mellow.

Jesus Christ came to earth, born of a virgin, lived, taught, then DIED one of the worst deaths that humans have found to inflict on one another, because WE ARE SINNERS.

Those are not the actions of a mellow, 'nice' God.

The Lord of course has given us all, including Jamie Andrew, the opportunity to make choices.  We have free will.  Jamie is perfectly free to continue his life ignoring God.

But while he is ignoring God, God is not ignoring him.  His sins are many, because all people with the ability to think and move and exist are sinning, and Jamie Andrew doesn't have a savior.

Yet. I pray one day he looks into this whole question of God and does some seeking, and some finding.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Decluttering Frenzy

Decluttering frenzies hit a couple of times a year. 

I don't quite know what triggers them. Often one hits this time of year, when we are taking a break from school. That's logical. 

Anyway, yes, decluttering frenzy.

This is the back of our minivan.

There is a lot there. I've also been passing on clothes (that our younger kids have grown out of) to our wonderful neighbors, who have 2 little ones younger than Rose.

This is what we refer to as our "secret room".  It may have originally been a tornado shelter but we use it for storage.  I don't have a before picture but trust me, this looks GOOD.  I managed to cut down our items in here such that I could remove 4 storage tubs this week.  Wow.  The floor hasn't been this clear in FOREVER.

THIS is a struggle.  We have a games cabinet.  For years it was tidily locked away with a child proof lock.  But now Mister 6 year old son knows how to remove the lock. So day after day, the three littles drag a bunch of stuff out.

I could just stop them from getting in there, but the point is for games to be used.  I guess.

Anyway, my solution is to leave the games appropriate for the littles in that cabinet, and move everything else into the basement.

I am definitely moving towards minimalism as I age.  I've never been particularly attached to stuff emotionally, but I have been hit with the "we might need it some day" thought process.  I still do that to some degree, but mostly I get rid of things we aren't using regularly.

It makes life much easier to handle in a family of 11 people. It really does.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ramblings on Abortion

I don't usually discuss politics or topics like abortion on this blog.  But I'm going to right now.

To back up a bit, I signed up for Kindle Unlimited a few months ago. For $10 a month, I have access to a bazillion Kindle books. Not ALL Kindle books, mind you, but hundreds of thousands.

So its been really really fun. I can search on a topic, then select for Kindle Unlimited, and I'm off to the races.  Sometimes I read one chapter of a book and give up. Sometimes I really love a book. Right now I'm reading a bunch of medical memoirs.

I read part of a book yesterday about a woman whose daughter was born at 24 weeks 3 days gestation and was under a pound.  UNDER A POUND at birth.

And she lived and thrived, incredibly enough.  The mother had 2 other living children and had had eclampsia with both of them. It was eclampsia that resulted in the 24 weeker having to be born abruptly.  The woman also had a stillbirth at 27 weeks due to eclampsia, a miscarriage at 12 weeks, and an abortion at like 8 weeks.'s the thing. She was very blase about the abortion, It was after her second child was born at 30 weeks and he had medical needs and the 'time wasn't right'. She called it a medical abortion because she knew she had a history of medical problems with pregnancy and her son was having lots of therapy at the time.

I'm very pro life.

I will say that I believe that abortion in the case of imminent death of the mother is a reasonable moral reason for an abortion. For example, almost all pro lifers agree that abortion in the case of an ectopic pregnancy is morally Ok.  In that case, the baby implants in a tube or some other non viable place.  Mom's life is at great risk as baby grows and causes a rupture of a tube.  Baby cannot live where he or she implanted.

So yes, I can see a 'medical' abortion in a case like an ectopic pregnancy. That was not the case with this situation.  Yes, Mom had a bad history of problems during pregnancy and yes, the timing wasn't right. There were no signs Mom is a Christian or in any way a pro-lifer.

I was struck, though, with her passionate commitment to the life of the child born at 24 weeks (who was conceived at a 'convenient time' and was very much wanted) with the child who was discarded without much concern, apparently, when Mom didn't want to be pregnant.

She struggled and fought for one child, and didn't for the other.

Yes, there were different factors; 24 weeker was by a different husband and they wanted a baby together.

The situation was challenging. I never had really hard pregnancies and I'm so sad that she did.  And I can understand that the pregnancy that resulted in abortion was at a bad time and it was hard for her.

But people, this was a person.  A person who was killed because of poor timing.  Mom decided to have sex with her husband and conceived a baby.

My basic belief is that women, as the only gender capable of conceiving, do have a responsibility for the child conceived.  Yes, the male has responsibilities too. But, and it is hard to put this into words gently without coming across as a jerk, women do have extra responsibility.  Because we're the ones who get pregnant!  I believe, with all my heart, that if I have sex with my husband and I conceive I have a responsibility to that child. The child didn't make the choice to have sex, I did.

Pro choice for me means I have the choice to have sex and if I conceive, than the choice has been made.

This will seem insane to those who have a different perspective. So why am I bringing it up?  I guess I am just seriously saddened at attitudes like this lady's attitude.

The world seems to think that sex is something we 'deserve' with no strings attached.  Even in marriage, babies are conceived and aborted.

Reality is that sex is a gift, yes, and it is also a responsibility. A gift given by the Creator, for the blessing of a man and woman who are married.  Of course not all sex results in conception. Even I didn't get pregnant every possible time in those early years of marriage, though it seemed like I did :-).

Sex really is sacred. It is not just a physical act.  It is an emotional one, and a spiritual one. Sometimes it results in conception.  And if a baby is conceived, a person has come into being. And that little person deserves life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Not to be casually cast aside, murdered, for being an inconvenience.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

New Refrigerator

You know you are all grown up (and indeed, I am) when a new refrigerator is very exciting!

Our old one wasn't even dead!  It was acting a bit oddly, not maintaining temperatures as expected though often it was too cold as opposed to too warm. Anyway, we decided to go ahead and get a new fridge before the old one died.

It took us 2 or 3 weeks to actually get this baby.  It was SUPPOSED to come in a week ago and we got a last minute email saying oh, sorry, it won't be in for another week. That wasn't a huge deal but if we had been without a working refrigerator, we would have been sad!

We have a big freezer in our garage so we've set this one up so that the lower right hand panel is set for refrigeration. It has the option of being either a freezer or refrigerator. We've had a small fridge in our garage for a long time but we easily put everything into the new refrigerator, so we unplugged the little one. Hopefully we won't need it at all as we have way more space now.

So yes, very exciting!

We're actually in some debt now thanks to the 5th wheel and associated truck.  The 5th wheel has been a lot of fun.  We've enjoyed having a place to get away and the kids get away also.  

I hate being in debt though. HATE IT.  The loan should be paid off by the end of the year.  It's Ok, it really is.  I just strongly prefer NOT to be in debt.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Pool is Open!

The pool is open!  It was 66 degrees when we opened it, but thanks to the solar cover and very high temps, it is up to almost 80 already!  The kids were in when it was 66, but that's too cold for me!  

It HAS been hot.  After a very cool spring, we had temps that shot into the 90's for a couple of days. This week will be highs in the 80's until a major cooling over the weekend.

This is my poor toe!  I did something I have never done before; I fell into the pool while trying to roll up the pool cover!  I was teetering on the edge, trying to regain my balance, then realized I was going to fail.  The next thing I knew, I was floundering in the pool.

I got out and laughed hysterically at myself.  It wasn't until later that I realized I'd banged my toe on the concrete as I went over.  Oh well. It looks way worse than it feels.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Amazing Underwater Pictures

We bought a camera and an underwater camera case. And then Kevin proceeded to take an amazing number of incredibly beautiful pictures both in the air, and in the waters of St. Croix.

Brain coral

View from our front patio

Christmas tree worms

Turtle!  A big one (like 5 feet across)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Hike

Exactly a week ago today, I woke up in our little cottage by the sea. The air conditioning was comfortable, the waves were rippling against the beach, and life was very very good.

The previous few days I had been rather lazy. Kevin was snorkeling more than I was, and I felt like we should tackle something a little more energetic.

So we decided to go for a hike to the Annaly tidal pools.  I have always liked tidal pools, where marine life excitedly deals with changes in water depth, usually without quite as much wave disruption as farther out at sea.

We ate breakfast, filled our water bottle, grabbed a few snacks, and drove off.  We found the trailhead relatively easily.

Now I was just plain stupid.  I was envisioning a ... a really nice trail.  Like, a wide trail, with gravel or, better yet, boardwalk. 

Instead, we were confronted with a really narrow trail, which started through tall grass.  A young man who pointed us in the right direction eyed me dubiously and said, "That's quite a hike."

Why oh why didn't we just turn tail and run right then and there?

But no, we marched off.  And the trail was up hills and down hills, over roots and under branches.  It was hot. Very hot.  It was sticky. Very sticky. 

It was a very tiring walk of 2.7 miles.

One way.

So once we got to the tidal pools, we faced the long hike back.

The tidal pools themselves were, frankly, not that wonderful!  There were some tidal pools and they had fish and crabs, but we saw those right outside our cottage door on the beach!  There was absolutely NO need to torture ourselves so!

The waves crashing on the beach were, admittedly rather neat.  Much higher waves than near our cottage.

Finally, after an hour of exploring (and procrastinating) we started back.

It was really really really tiring. I was really really really tired. I about fell over at more than one point but the reality was, I couldn't just stop!  We had to make it to the car.

My muscles and my brain argued about it but in the end, we made it back.

5.4 miles round trip.  Ugh.

Kevin took me home and I curled up in a fetal position on the bed.

Never again.