"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I got tagged...

So my friend Krista tagged me. I had to go to the 4th picture folder on my computer and get the 4th picture. This is from the folder titled "Bear" with pictures of my adorable new nephew! In this picture he's mad at his mom because he just told her that he wanted to come stay with his Aunt Stori, and she told him no. :(

I now tag:
Anyone who's interested! I would love to hear your stories, but I don't want to put anyone on the spot.
Instructions: Go to the 4th picture folder, and get the 4th picture from it. Then post it with a story, no cheating :).

Ms. Right...

I am so excited because I just found out that there is a Tax Day Tea Party coming to a town near me! I have really been wanting to attend one because I am just in a state of constant despair over the spending news coming from Washington. You know when you have to do something, even if it probably won't do any good?

Here's an example of some of the outrageous spending coming out of Washington:
- $6 BILLION on a "Volunteerism" bill, expanding the current number of governmental "volunteers" in Americorp in from 75k to 250k. I don't know about you, but to me that seems like the beginning of Obama's own Brownshirts squad.
- $3.5 MILLION so that St. Augustine, FL could have a birthday party! I know its only $3.5 MILLION, but why should I, a citizen of Louisiana, have to pay so that they can party?
- His new budget would produce $9.3 TRILLION (some have estimated $20 TRILLION) in deficits over the next decade, more than 4x those of George W. Bush. I would just like to add that the three areas he wants to expand are:
  • Educational spending - even though education has been steadily declining since we started trying to centrally manage it in the 70's with the Department of Education. It is not a Federal issue, and they are dumbing down our students with each passing year. It is a state and local issue that needs state and local ownership, not people scratching their heads and looking to Washington for more money for less work. Do you know that at public schools only half of the employees are actually teachers? The rest are there for administrative duties.
  • Health Care - Socialized medicine. The upside, everyone gets health care. The downside, everyone gets crappy, crappy care. We would also lose all of the innovation in health care that currently comes out of the United States. When was the last time a revolutionary new treatment came out of Europe or Canada? We would have bureaucrats deciding who lives and dies without even the option of paying out of pocket for unauthorized treatment. Already poor people in this country can use Medicare/Medicaid, not to mention charitable institutions are usually available to help out, not to mention that hospitals have to help people that come to them; it's illegal for them turn people away.
  • Energy - Obama ignores the fact that all of the other "alternative energies" have serious environmental problems of their own. Wind and solar energy - expensive, takes up a lot of land for a small amount of energy generated, and are unreliable because they are based on everchanging conditions. Corn based ethanol - expensive, takes up a lot of land, and raises food prices. Let me expand on the "takes up a lot of land" - by that I mean it destroys large ecosystems permenently, often raising the CO2 by reducing the number of trees available for oxygen conversion. I'm totally for investing in alternative energies if it is done through the private sector without governmental subsidies. As an engineer, I believe in looking for the most cost effective solution that gets the job done. Obama's Cap and Trade policy would also put unreasonable burdens on businesses, while enriching the Cap and Trade firms. Oh, and did I mention that A LOT of scientists don't even think that the world is warming, let alone that its caused by man?

I could write a lot more on why I think he's wrong in all three areas, but I won't for now. I just want everyone to consider looking more into Obama and Congress's spending. I was unhappy that Bush was so irresponsible, but what the pork and earmarks that are coming out of Washington are just sickening. And please consider writing your Senators and Representatives if you don't like what you see! The only way we can change things is by getting informed and letting our elected officials know how we feel. And consider attending a Tax Day Tea Party of your own: http://taxdayteaparty.com/teaparty/!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Totally awesome Lost!

Ok, my questions and comments...

  1. Where is Claire? She's my favorite character! Is she still with Christian Shepherd and if so, will she and Sun reunite next week? They were always good friends, but Claire might be a little weird now.
  2. Christian said that Sun had a long journey ahead of her, which I'm assuming meant that she was supposed to work to get to 1977 back with Jin. Will Claire and Lapidus go with her?
  3. Why didn't Sun and Lapidus end up back in 1977 with the O6? Or Ben for that matter, although Ben didn't leave at the same time they did.
  4. Wasn't it creepy seeing a young Ben with Sawyer? Will they try to kill him or change him to be good? Maybe Ben couldn't go back to 1977 because he couldn't run into his young self.
  5. Why didn't Locke go back in time either?
  6. The previews for next week imply that Kate came back for Sawyer... has she realized that she loves him? Then why did she sleep with Jack? I will be so mad if she breaks up Juliet and Sawyer, from the way Juliet acted, I don't think she has feelings for Jack anymore. (I don't know how anyone could have feelings for Jack anyhow, he's so socially awkward.)
  7. And what happened to Aaron? I still think she got another "vision" from Claire telling her she needed to come back.
  8. I wish Jack wasn't such a jerk, I hope that being a "workman" humbles him a bit. He was so rude to Sawyer, it was uncalled for, and now it looks like everyone is going to fight next week. Once again, Jack screws everything up, he's the worst leader in the world.
  9. Will Jack develop a relationship with Ben's dad, since they are both workmen?
  10. How did the outriggers get from the Hydra station to the main island? Sawyer and crew were on the other island when they found the two outriggers, not the Hydra. And who was shooting at Sawyer and crew?
  11. Where was Daniel Faraday?
  12. The four people that the Others wanted on the List way back at the end of Season 2 (Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer) were all in the Dharma Initiative. Is that why the Others wanted them, from seeing their records in the barracks?

Please comment. I'm dying to hear your theories (ahem, Jessica)!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Baby Bear, and everything's just right!

What a weekend! My new nephew, Barrett "Bear" Wayne Moffett was born last Friday, March 13th, weighing 6 lbs 13 oz and is 20 in long! He's just precious, and he's doubly precious because he gave us quite a scare. We have been praising God that he is here with us and is safe and healthy.

Nick's sister, Tiffany was due last Thursday, and had been told by her Doctor that she would probably deliver early. The whole family had had their cellphones glued to the hip for the past week waiting, but Thursday came and went, and still no baby. Nick and I had been planning on going to Houston if the baby came, but since Bear seemed to be taking his time, we decided to hang out and work on the pergola Friday (we have every other Friday off).

Finally Thursday night, we got a call from Nick's mom saying that Tiffany had spoken with the hospital, and that if she didn't go into labor over night, she should call at 6 AM Friday. If the hospital wasn't full, then they were going to admit her and induce labor.

Well, Nick and I got up early, and by 8 AM we still hadn't heard anything, so we called Nick's mom. The hospital was full, so Tiffany had been ordered to call back at 10 AM to see if it was still full then. By 12 PM, we called Nick's mom again, and the hospital was still full, BUT they had asked Tiffany to come in for an ultrasound. This is not routine procedure, but if her fluid levels looked low on the ultrasound, then they could admit her as an "emergency case" and induce labor then.

So we waited impatiently...

Finally, at 3:30 PM, we got a panicked call from Nick's mom. The fluid levels were fine, but the ultrasound showed that the umbilical chord was wrapped around the baby's neck TWICE, and they were going to do an emergency C-section. Nick and I immediately prayed to God for the health of the baby and Tiffany. A C-section might be routine, but it's a major surgery. I also text messaged all of my sweet, believer friends and asked them to be praying for Tiffany as well. We then got packed as quickly as I've ever been able to, and raced out the door to Houston.

Finally, as we were driving,we got the call from Nick's mom around 7:30 PM. The baby had been born, and was a boy.

Side note*** Tiffany and Brady did not find out the sex of the baby beforehand. I had been so sure it was a girl, it wasn't. I thought that I could end my losing streak of guessing the wrong sex with my own flesh and blood... but apparently I'm destined to be always wrong in guessing a babies sex. I have been wrong, for literally the past 8 or 9 times I have guessed for friends and acquaintances pregnancies.***

And mother and baby were doing fine! But we found out that the umbilical chord had been around his neck FOUR TIMES.

This was truly a miracle because if the hospital hadn't been full, then the Doctors would have admitted Tiffany and induced labor without performing an ultrasound. They would have realized something was wrong after labor had begun because of the baby's heart rate, but the could have been in distress for a while before they were able to get him out. And with the umbilical chord wrapped FOUR TIMES around his neck, there's no telling what could have happened. God is so merciful, loving and good at all times! I don't know why I'm not always more patient with his timing knowing how well things turn out when I trust in Him.

Needless to say, we are overjoyed that he's here with us. It was hard leaving him on Sunday, we only got to spend a little over 24 hours with him. I also missed his homecoming, which is just tearing me up! But I can't wait to see him soon. Nick is pretty enamored with him too! Before we went to the hospital on Saturday, Nick was thinking that we would only stay for a few minutes. His comment, "Well, its not like the baby will do anything. We might get kind of bored." My comment, "We'll look at the baby, and that will be enough." Sure enough, as soon as Nick held the baby, his eyes were glued to little Bear's face, Nick couldn't get enough of him! This is my favorite picture from the trip, that's Nick's hand you see.

You can find more pictures of Bear here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2695759&id=8317856&l=e66e44a184. I think he's pretty darn precious, and he gets cuter every day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Heavy sigh...

You know... these next four years are going to be demoralizing for Americans. When I started my blog, I had planned to pass on political tidbits that I read because I seem to be spending so much of my time analyzing Obama's Presidency lately. I have seen only one thing that I approve of so far! Isn't that terrible? I approve of his promise to cut the deficit in half, even though I don't think he can do it and I probably won't approve of how he does it.

Crazy as it might seem to those of you that know me, I have come to the conclusion that I am smarter than most of the people in Washington, Obama included. It doesn't take much, and truth be told, it really only takes common sense. For all the criticism lobbed at Sarah Palin, she may not have the IQ of Obama (I don't know if she does or not), but she has common sense, which is all that is really needed to effectively manage a country (just look at how Alaska is pulling through this economic crisis). I have ceased to be impressed with Ivy League educations, so please, please don't try to tell me that makes someone qualified to run a country. (George W Bush went to Yale and liberals hated his leadership!) I have met enough Ivy boneheads, and most of them I wouldn't voluntarily trust $100 of my money to.

The thing is, every time I start to write something about Obama, I never can finish it. I start to type and then I think of all of the wonderful things that are happening in mine and Nick's lives, and I end up typing on that instead. The direction our country is heading into just depresses me and its hard to dwell on, even though I still read Townhall/WSJ and others daily to figure what is happening. I also read the Huffington Post, but I hardly call that news. I could quit reading, but how then I could vote as an informed citizen? I have a conscience, and I refuse to count on Jon Stewart to select my President.

The thing that depresses me most of all, is people's unwillingness to see Obama for what he is. He is far, far left liberal. That phrase has been overused so I guessed its lost its meaning for most people. He has somehow developed all of these reputations for moderation/bipartisian spirit/listening to the best solution no matter what side proposes it... based on what? His record? If you look at his record, it shows that he faithfully follows all of the liberal dogma, there is nothing centrist about it, and its far more extreme than most people who identify themselves as "liberal" would want to go. Lets look at one example:

- Believes that abortion should be allowed for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, only 7% of the American population believes in abortion without any restrictions!
- He repeatedly voted to deny health care to infants that were born alive in botched abortion cases (yes, they don't always die in the womb).
This is a man is so compassionate that he wants universal health care for all Americans... except for tiny broken babies who don't realize that they are supposed to come out of the womb dead? Even Barbara Boxer of California believes that born alive aborted infants should recieve medical care.

How those two opposing viewpoints can be a part of the same ideology doesn't make sense to me, but I'm not one of the "progressives"! If it doesn't make sense to you either, even if you voted for Obama, you might be beginning to realize something... that Obama's rhetoric is one thing, what he actually believes and acts upon is entirely different.

Which brings me to my final and most important point, and if I were any kind of a writer, I probably would have started with this point because its what started me on this post in the first place.

Obama overturned George W Bush's embryonic stem cell ban a few days ago.

As an engineer, I love science, and as a Christian, I love Yahweh. I have never found the the two to be in opposition and God has proven himself to be unchanging and faithful in the 10 years that I have been a believer. Science (I recognize that this a broad category), on the other hand, is not always the perfect, impartial objective reality that people make it out to be. As an engineer, I know that the outcome of any analysis or study can vary greatly based on my initial assumptions. This is why, after much struggle and disobedience, I have come to rely on the validity of God's word before anything else.

And funny thing... science has never in the end contradicted me when I make the call to trust God in opposition to what most of the media is reporting as absolute, irrefutable scientific truths. Like most Christians, I believe that life begins at conception - when sperm meets egg. God has told us "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose (doesn't God's word just melt your heart?)." And for me, that's all that I needed to know when I made the decision to support George W Bush's ban on embryonic stem cell research. This was in opposition to most of the media and the left, who characterized Bush as a religious nut who dared to put the Christian religion before the secular religion (as though religious people are never right and science is never wrong.) I made that call, even when we knew almost nothing about embryonic stem cell work, and scientists and celebrities were touting is endless possibilities for curing illness and infirmities.

Let's fast forward to today, and now what do we know? We don't need to use stem cells from embryos to cure diseases:
- Every single success in treating patients with stem cells to date, has involved the use of adult or umbilical cord blood stem cells.
- Feel free to do some research on induced pluripotent research and adult stem cell research. In these fields currently 72 diseases are now being remedied or cured without using human embryos.
- Embryonic stem cells have only been used once on a human being, an 8 year old boy. The stem cells lead the boy to develop tumors on his brain and spinal cord four years later. Thankfully, Doctors were able to remove the tumors and he is still living today.
- Rats implanted with embryonic stem cells routinely develop malignant growths/tumors that kill them 100% of the time.

This tells me that Obama has as little faith in science, as I've always known he had in God. Very few Americans realize how radical Obama's agenda is, and the scope of his transformative vision for our country; it has very little basis in anything that most Americans would recognize or want. For a sneak peek at what he intends, you can look here:
http://www.aclu.org/ (started by a commy by the way... um, I mean marxist). I started this post saying that the next four years will be demoralizing for all Americans, not just conservatives. There's going to be a wailing and gnashing of teeth when Americans realize what they've done as Obama reveals his true plan. But once that's over, as they say, tomorrow is another day, and 2012 is another election!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Wasn't the administration under Obama supposed to be an new "era of fiscal responsibility and bipartisianship?"

Well congress has just sent a spending bill to BO that includes 7,991 earmarks and rejected every single Republican amendment to the bill.

:( So much for being magnanimous winners... we are on track to become as mismanaged as California. My heart hurts.



Monday, March 9, 2009

Our First Auction!

Ok, so I have always wanted to go to an auction. I just always thought it would be cool to go and have one of those little paddles and then to very primly lift it up when I wanted to bid on something. I would have to have the haughty look, of course! I've been working on it.

I finally got an opportunity to go to one that was held at my friend Jessica's church. It was a combination silent and live auction, and it was to raise funds for the school that the church runs. Jessica is a very talented artist, and entered a painting that went for $525! I was so proud of my friend.

I really wanted to win a puppy at the live auction, but Nick didn't really go for it. I did win three things at the silent auction though:

A pair of plant stands that I am going to use to decorate my pergola.

A Williams-Sonoma cookbook on entertaining. With our pergola and the new table, I would officially like to start "entertaining." I have had people over before, but those were just "get-togethers". Yes, my friends, Nick and I have officially entered the ranks of bourgeoisie... :).

Finally, my new pride and joy... I literally waited by the silent auction table until they shut it down. I had to outbid this sweet man at the last minute, but I won it. What is it you ask? On the outside, it would appear to be an ordinary book on Baton Rouge...

But open the cover and look who signed it...


Bobby Jindal is the current governor of Louisiana, and he's a politician that I believe in. I don't believe in many, but I think he's a good, honest, genuine person who seems committed to turning things around in Louisiana. If you didn't know anything about him, here's a few tidbits:

1) Is the first Indian-American governor in US History.
2) Is a 2 time congressman, who was elected his second time with 88% of the vote.
3) Is a Rhodes Scholar.
4) Has a Masters degree from Oxford in Political Science, and an undergraduate degree from Brown.
5) At the age of 25 was put in charge of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals, which was on the brink of bankruptcy with a deficit of more than $400M. Within three years turned it around to having a surplus of more than $220M.
6) At the age of 30, was made the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation under Dubya.
7) Successfully helped the people of LA get through two major hurricanes without any major incidents.
8) Lost his first bid for governor in 2003 because he refused to run attack adds against his opponent.
9) Is only 37!
10) He will be President one day :), maybe in 2012, although I am kind of torn between him and Romney at this point.
I feel honored to live in the state where he is governor, and I'm proud to call him a fellow conservative. He's one of my role models and heroes, and I'm just tickled pink over having his autograph :)

Cuckoo, cuckoo, Wild bird are you!

What a beautiful weekend! I think we can officially say that spring is here, and sumer is icumen in!

My yard is starting to bloom! My jessamine plan has its first flower ever. I planted it last year for my dearest friend Jessy, but it almost died under my care (I suffer from the curse of the black thumb). Nick managed to nurse it back to health the way he has done with so many of my plants, and now look at it! I can't wait to plant them along the pergola so that they grow up and overheard into a beautiful sunshine canopy.

Nick and I spent most of the weekend working on the pergola. The wooden structure is completely finished, and are trying to prep the ground for the paverstones. Its a lot of manual labor, which is not really my thing! Thankfully, I married a man that loves to work up a sweat twice as much as a normal person, so I usually leave all of that stuff up to him... but I wasn't able to get away with staying inside in the air conditioned indoors this weekend! I had to help Nick scoop up the clay in the area under the pergola and spread it over the yard. It was tough work, and I took every opportunity for a catnap :), Frodo was tired too!

Anyway, its looking really great and I can't wait until it is finished. We went and look at furniture for the area, but Nick would like try his hand at building an adirondack sofa, chair set, and coffee table. He has built lots of things before, so I'm sure whatever he makes will be wonderful. He's also going to build a porch swing for it, which is going to be awesome! Here is it as it currently looks.

We are also gearing up for our next big outdoor project, a vegetable garden. Nick has been wanting to put one in since last year, but we just didn't get around to it. My friend Jessica started her garden this weekend, and that inspired us to get busy with it. We haven't started yet, but we bought the seeds. I really want to put in a butterfly garden along the wall to the left of the pergola, but I'm getting little support from the other members of my household. Its function over form only with a certain engineer who shall remain nameless :). I am getting excited about the vegetable garden, especially with the economy... I'm calling it my Victory Garden. It'll cheer me up thinking that in 2 years Conservatives may be victorious in congressional elections in unseating Pelosi and in 4 years... I can dream :).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Once again, Charles nails it...

Obama's Big Bang Agenda
By Charles Krauthammer
Availabls at: http://townhall.com/Columnists/CharlesKrauthammer/2009/03/06/obamas_big_bang_agenda?page=1

WASHINGTON -- Forget the pork. Forget the waste. Forget the 8,570 earmarks in a bill supported by a president who poses as the scourge of earmarks. Forget the "$2 trillion dollars in savings" that "we have already identified," $1.6 trillion of which President Obama's budget director later admits is the "savings" of not continuing the surge in Iraq until 2019 -- 11 years after George Bush ended it, and eight years after even Bush would have had us out of Iraq completely.

Forget all of this. This is run-of-the-mill budget trickery. True, Obama's tricks come festooned with strings of zeros tacked onto the end. But that's a matter of scale, not principle.

All presidents do that. But few undertake the kind of brazen deception at the heart of Obama's radically transformative economic plan, a rhetorical sleight of hand so smoothly offered that few noticed.

The logic of Obama's address to Congress went like this:

"Our economy did not fall into decline overnight," he averred. Indeed, it all began before the housing crisis. What did we do wrong? We are paying for past sins in three principal areas: energy, health care, and education -- importing too much oil and not finding new sources of energy (as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf?), not reforming health care, and tolerating too many bad schools.

The "day of reckoning" has now arrived. And because "it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we'll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament," Obama has come to redeem us with his far-seeing program of universal, heavily nationalized health care; a cap-and-trade tax on energy; and a major federalization of education with universal access to college as the goal.

Amazing. As an explanation of our current economic difficulties, this is total fantasy. As a cure for rapidly growing joblessness, a massive destruction of wealth, a deepening worldwide recession, this is perhaps the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people.

At the very center of our economic near-depression is a credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the entire banking system. One can come up with a host of causes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed by Washington (and greed) into improvident loans, corrupted bond-ratings agencies, insufficient regulation of new and exotic debt instruments, the easy money policy of Alan Greenspan's Fed, irresponsible bankers pushing (and then unloading in packaged loan instruments) highly dubious mortgages, greedy house-flippers, deceitful homebuyers.

The list is long. But the list of causes of the collapse of the financial system does not include the absence of universal health care, let alone of computerized medical records. Nor the absence of an industry-killing cap-and-trade carbon levy. Nor the lack of college graduates. Indeed, one could perversely make the case that, if anything, the proliferation of overeducated, Gucci-wearing, smart-ass MBAs inventing ever more sophisticated and opaque mathematical models and debt instruments helped get us into this credit catastrophe in the first place.

And yet with our financial house on fire, Obama makes clear both in his speech and his budget that the essence of his presidency will be the transformation of health care, education and energy. Four months after winning the election, six weeks after his swearing in, Obama has yet to unveil a plan to deal with the banking crisis.

What's going on? "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," said Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. "This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."

Things. Now we know what they are. The markets' recent precipitous decline is a reaction not just to the absence of any plausible bank rescue plan, but also to the suspicion that Obama sees the continuing financial crisis as usefully creating the psychological conditions -- the sense of crisis bordering on fear-itself panic -- for enacting his "Big Bang" agenda to federalize and/or socialize health care, education and energy, the commanding heights of post-industrial society.

Clever politics, but intellectually dishonest to the core. Health, education and energy -- worthy and weighty as they may be -- are not the cause of our financial collapse. And they are not the cure. The fraudulent claim that they are both cause and cure is the rhetorical device by which an ambitious president intends to enact the most radical agenda of social transformation seen in our lifetime.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Our French country kitchen table!

Last Saturday, I went on a shopping trip (much to the chagrin of my thrifty spouse) with my friend Jessica to check out all of the furniture stores around Covington and Mandeville. We spend most of the morning in Mandeville, and we found some really cool stores. I have been on the hunt for a dining room table for a while now, and there were a few tables that piqued my interest, but none that I loved. I had pretty much decided on the Provence table from Crate and Barrel; I had saved my money, and was set to buy it.

We almost decided to head home instead of to Covington. Nick was at home working on our pergola, and I hadn't heard from him and he wasn't returning my calls. I had been leery of leaving him home alone with power tools and working on a ladder, but he had a friend that was supposed to stop by. Just as we were about to pass the exit to Covington, Nick decided to call, and of course he was fine. So we headed into Covington to check out this store called Home and Garden, A Plant Gallery. I figured it was like Smith and Hawkins and I might find something fun for the pergola when its finished. Well... it is nothing like Smith and Hawkins, it is the most beautiful furniture store I have ever been to and filled with amazing furniture (most of it wayyy out of my price range).

The very first thing I spotted was this table, and I just knew that I had to have it. Actually, I knew that I wanted it, but I needed Jessica there to convince me that I should get it. Luckily the store was having a huge sale, which put the set back into my price range.

I loved the bench most of all! I just thought it seemed so homey. The white cushion below is $200!!! Who spends $200 on a white cushion?

On Sunday, Nick came back to the store with me to check it out. I was a little nervous, because I didn't think that he would want to spend the money. I usually have to spend time preparing him to spend that kind of money, so I didn't think that one day would cut it. Nick was completely wonderful about it! Not only that, but he suggested that we get the 2 blue and 2 white chairs in addition to the blue bench that you see below instead of 4 white chairs. I had wanted to do that, but I didn't want to ask because the blue chairs were more expensive that the white chairs. When he suggested it, I was tickled pink! My husband is wonderful :).

So here it is in my house! Doesn't it look pretty? We only have one breakfast area, no formal dining room, but I just think it looks perfect! Of course the blue does not match the bright blue of my living room one bit, so we'll have to repaint. I'd like to go to something more neutral, and lovely and talented Jessica will help me decide on something!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's TRUE... Rhode Island is neither a Road nor an Island

Ahh... there were so many intros that I could have used... Thank you Providence... a nod to Plymouth Rock a la Anything Goes!, but I had to settle for my favorite old Mike Meier schtick.

My first visit into New England was a blast! One thing that kind of surprised me, for all that is the oldest bunch of settlements in the New World, New England was shockingly empty and uncrowded. It was either just a seasonal lull or the economy has forced everyone to Red states since they seem to be only place that the job market isn't rapidly tanking (note to Colorado/Arizona/Nevada, do not let the influx of Californians repeat what they have done in their own state... I fear Washington and Oregon are already lost!), but I felt much like the Pilgrims must have felt when they arrived in Massachusetts and found the area virtually deserted.

Speaking of Pilgrims, weren't they awesome? I've become a bit obsessed with all things Puritan. It was so cool to visit Plymouth and the Pilgrim Hall Museum. I didn't know that much about them beyond what I learned in the third grade, so it was neat to rediscover that part of our history. Half of the Pilgrims that left England and the Netherlands didn't make beyond the first winter, literally entire families were wiped out. Yet somehow through the grace of God some live through that first winter of no food and managed to survive the Native intrigues and power grabs that could have easily resulted in the destruction of their colony. Its just a reminder to me that God is Good and Faithful... To Him be the Glory! As most people know, I am not gifted in the arts or understanding art, but this one painting, The Mayflower on her Arrival in Plymouth Harbor really struck a chord with me. You can almost feel the biting cold and bleakness of a New England winter during the Little Ice Age when you look at it. Its clear that the men and women on the little barge headed to the mainland will have no food or shelter, and will probably encounter hostile natives, and they should be desperate and afraid. But somehow even in the darkness, you can still feel a sense of their hope and faith in God's provision. I liked this painting so much, I even bought a little print of it, my first one ever.

Let me back up... this was our itinerary, as decided by Nick and my mom. They are best buds when we travel as they both like to plan trips down to the last second (and my mom down to the last pose).

Tuesday - Arrival in Newport
Wednesday - Salem, MA; Kittery, ME
Thursday - Plymouth, MA; Martha's Vineyard
Friday - Newport's the Breakers; Home

My favorite part was definitely Plymouth, but Salem was kind of fun. I was really looking forward to learning about the witch trials, but most of the real museums were closed. The only museum that was open was the Salem Witch Museum, which turned out to be a front for Wiccan propaganda. They started us out in a Disney-like room with different tableaus, which they highlighted as they narrated the story of the Witch trials. They didn't tell you the history as much as illustrate the evils of Christianity and use the witch trials as an allegory (how original!) for how people throughout the centuries have been persecuted for being of different ethnic groups/religions/political persuasion. They then implied that the Devil was really working on the side of Christ to cause this. Then they marched you to another room where they had three more scenes for you to watch and listen to prerecorded narratives:

Scene 1: A wise woman, she helped her village by giving them medicine and helping women give birth. When Christianity spread, she was vilified by the church who didn't want women to have power.

Scene 2: A green skinned witch, a stereotype perpetuated by the Christian church.

Scene 3: A modern day male and female witch: Wiccans. They believe in doing no harm to anyone, try to make the world a more balanced place, respect nature, and they don't believe in a devil or evil (unless you count Christians, that is). And if you'd like to hear more, there's an attendant waiting by...

Finally, they marched you to the Wall of American Shame. Where they proceeded to spell out exactly how the Witch trials are direct parallels to McCarthyism and the Japanese Internment camps of WW2. I was a bit irritated at this point by their falsehoods, so I couldn't help but speak up say that I thought that McCarthy was a great man and was completely under appreciated. I mean come on... communism killed over 100 million people, many of them were brutally tortured first. She clearly didn't like my opinion, but was classy enough not to engage me in an argument. I say "classy" because I am thoroughly ashamed of myself. I really should have controlled my annoyance and remembered that she is one of the lost, but its not fun going into a place where everything that you believe is misrepresented and portrayed as evil. I just wanted a history lesson, not some liberal, attempted-shame inducing nonsense... although they seem to be one and the same lately.

After that we got to visit the real House of Seven Gables that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the same name. They had also moved his home to the same site, so we were able to take a tour of that as well. It was completely delightful and made our trip to Salem worth it! I haven't read THOSG, but I bought a copy and I intend too. Fun Fact: Closets used to be taxed, and a family showed off their wealth by the amount of nails that they had in patterns in their front doors. Ooohhh, and it had a secret staircase!!!! Who in their lives hasn't wanted a house with a secret chamber? One day, I will have one!

We also stopped at Martha's Vineyard, we were literally there an hour and a half before we had to get back on the ferry to head back. We just wanted to say that we had been, and there was no one there and almost everything was closed. I would love to visit in the summer time, apparently it goes from a population of 15k in the winter and can get as high as 150k in the summertime!

And on our last day, we went to the Vanderbuilt summer home, The Breakers, which was incredible. The house is roughly 130k square feet!!! and even that is only half the size of what their home in New York city (its torn down now) was. It was really beautiful and well preserved (its only 100 years old), and it was so cool to visit the kitchens and see all of the novelty cake pans... I have a weird obsession with novelty cake pans and many a time, I have been thankful that I was born in a time with novelty cake pans because I was so sure they didn't exist in the days of yore. It just goes to show you the arrogance of every generation, we always think we're the first and the best. I would have liked to have seen more of the servants quarters, but those were mostly closed off.

Finally, if anyone wants to see pictures of the trip, you can find them in the link below. The pictures are really, really dull because my mom spent most of her time forcing us into awkward and uncomfortable positions instead of being on the altert for good candids. So basically the pictures are all Stori and Nick by the (insert place), and I promise we changed our clothes, it was just so cold we had to wear our jackets everywhere.

And that's pretty much it!

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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