Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another Fun Date!

It's just an ordinary day, but the date itself is not.  Enjoy!  --LKR

11/12/13

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ronald Reagan's Veterans Day Prayer

Thank you, Veterans--past, present, and future--for your selfless sacrifices to this country.  And, thank you, families of these men and women--sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts--for the interruptions in your lives as your loved ones serve our great nation.  May the Lord richly bless you all!  --LKR

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Little Red Hen's Lesson

The Little Red Hen
(Modern Version)


Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered some grains of wheat.

She called her neighbors and said, "If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?"
"Not I," said the cow.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Not I," said the pig.
"Not I," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen, and she did.

The wheat grew tall and ripened into golden grain. "Who will help me reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Out of my classification," said the pig.
"I'd lose my seniority," said the cow.
"I'd lose my unemployment compensation," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen, and she did.

At last it came time to bake the bread. "Who will help me bake the bread?" asked the little red hen.
"That would be overtime for me," said the cow.
"I'd lose my welfare benefits," said the duck.
"I'm a dropout and never learned how," said the pig.
"If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen.

She baked five loaves and held them up for her neighbors to see. They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share.
But the little red hen said, "No, I can eat the five loaves."
"Excess profits!" cried the cow.
"Capitalist leech!" screamed the duck.
"I demand equal rights!" yelled the goose.
And the pig just grunted.
And they painted "unfair" picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.

When the government agent came, he said to the little red hen, "You must not be greedy."
"But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.
"Exactly," said the agent. "That is the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide their product with the idle."

And they lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, "I am grateful. I am grateful."

But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked any more bread.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Alexander Koblikov, Juggler


Alexander Koblikov is an awesome juggler from the Ukraine. He's only been juggling since 2004, and this video was posted in 2008.  Here, he is juggling 10 balls.  There is a clip of him juggling 14 balls in 2013.  Incredible!!!  I hope you enjoy this as much as I've been!  --LKR

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Emotional Abuse

Here is a video on emotional abuse.  The only thing I would disagree with is going together for counseling because the abuser will a) later use what you say against you, empowering him b) possibly fool the counselor into thinking he's good and is the victim, not you, c) some counselors erroneously believe that the victim is 50% responsible for the abuser's actions which is so far from the truth and will only make things worse.  

Unfortunately, I've seen time and time again how many, but not all, Christian counselors and pastors will try to get you to forgive the abuser at the slightest hint of "repentance".  Many have also tried to get the victim to "walk in their abuser's shoes" and try to be more understanding of them and where they came from... when that is often what keeps the victims there in the first place.  Victims do not need to be more tolerant, understanding, or forgiving.  That will only enable the abuser and make the victim more powerless.

Seek a counselor for yourself that believes you and understands abuse so you get support and validation.  If you can get the abuser to see a counselor, find one that deals with abusive individuals. NOVUS Abuser Services in Wisconsin may be able to help you locate someone in your area who works with abusers.  They can be reached at:  715-832-6887  If you've ever felt threatened, make an emergency plan.  Focus Ministries has a wealth of information for victims and family and friends of victims, and are a wonderful resource. The National Domestic Violence Hotline  is also a good resource.  They can be reached at 800-799-SAFE (7233)

--LKR

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Death of Common Sense
Lori Borgman | Sunday, March 15, 1998

Three yards of black fabric enshroud my computer terminal. I am mourning the passing of an old friend by the name of Common Sense. His obituary reads as follows: CommonSense, aka C.S., lived a long life, but died from heart failure at the brink of the millennium. No one really knows how old he was, his birth records were long ago entangled in miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape. Known affectionately to close friends as Horse Sense and Sound Thinking, he selflessly devoted himself to a life of service in homes, schools, hospitals and offices, helping folks get jobs done without a lot of fanfare, whooping and hollering.

Rules and regulations and petty, frivolous lawsuits held no power over C.S. A most reliable sage, he was credited with cultivating the ability to know when to come in out of the rain, the discovery that the early bird gets the worm and how to take the bitter with the sweet.

C.S. also developed sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adult is in charge, not the kid) and prudent dietary plans (offset eggs and bacon with a little fiber and orange juice).

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, the Technological Revolution and the Smoking Crusades, C.S. survived sundry cultural and educational trends including disco, the men's movement, body piercing, whole language and new math. C.S.'s health began declining in the late 1960s when he became infected with the If-It-Feels-Good, Do-It virus.

In the following decades, his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of overbearing federal and state rules and regulations and an oppressive tax code. C.S. was sapped of strength and the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, criminals received better treatment than victims and judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional baseball and golf.

His deterioration accelerated as schools implemented zero-tolerance policies. Reports of 6-year-old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing classmates, a teen suspended for taking a swig of Scope mouthwash after lunch, girls suspended for possessing Midol and an honor student expelled for having a table knife in her school lunch were more than his heart could endure.

As the end neared, doctors say C.S. drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding regulations on low-flow toilets and mandatory air bags. Finally, upon hearing about a government plan to ban inhalers from 14 million asthmatics due to a trace of a pollutant that may be harmful to the environment, C.S. breathed his last.

Services will be at Whispering Pines Cemetery. C.S. was preceded in death by his wife, Discretion; one daughter, Responsibility; and one son, Reason. He is survived by two step-brothers, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit.

Memorial Contributions may be sent to the Institute for Rational Thought. Farewell, Common Sense. May you rest in peace.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday's Song--Worn




Worn

I’m tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
So, heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause all that’s dead inside will be reborn

Though I’m worn
Yeah I’m worn


--Tenth Avenue North

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Think Spring!!! Greenhouse Escape

Today may be the first day of spring..., but it sure doesn't look or feel like it!  Here's a clip that will give us all hope that springlike weather really is in the foresable future.  Enjoy!  --LKR

WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Greenhouse Escape: Emily Valerio takes us on a short trip to a local greenhouse prepping for the planting season.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday's Song--What a Friend We Have in Jesus


What a Friend we have in Jesus

What a Friend we have in Jesus, 
all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge,
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing 
all to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright unclouded 
there will be no need for prayer

Rapture, praise and endless worship
will be our sweet portion there.

--Joseph Scriven (1857)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday's Song--Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus

Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus

  1. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
    Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
    From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
    Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

    Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
    If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;
    Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,
    Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.

    Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
    Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
    Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
    Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

    Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
    The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
    Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
    Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.

    Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
    Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
    Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
    And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.

    Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
    This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
    To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;
    They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

--George Duffield, Jr., 1858

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday's Song--Losing



Here's a wonderful song by Tenth Avenue North on forgiving even when it hurts called "Losing".  Enjoy!!!  --LKR

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Praise You in the Storm


I'd heard the story behind this fervent, emotional (for me, anyway!) song years ago and was greatly moved, While my storms don't even come close to Erin's family's, I can totally relate. If you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you likely can relate to the intense depth of the words and meaning in your life as many of our brothers and sisters in Christ already have. And, even if you don't know Him, I'm sure He'll speak to you through this song and story as well. Sit back, listen and watch the video, then read the story behind this beautiful song. There is purpose, blessing, and triumph in our trials, even if they end drastically in death. --LKR

He Gives, and Takes Away
by Mark Hall, posted 08/14/06

You're probably familiar with the Casting Crowns hit single "Praise You in This Storm." In this excerpt from his new book Lifestories, frontman Mark Hall tells the story behind the song.

Great songs don't just come out of nowhere, and there's quite a story behind the Casting Crowns hit, "Praise You in This Storm." In a new book called Lifestories (available August 29), Mark Hall, the band's frontman and chief songwriter, tells the stories behind the songs—including this one about a little girl dying of cancer who never gave up her trust in Jesus . . . and her mother who literally stood on the promises of God through the whole ordeal. The following story has been adapted and condensed from the book.

Laurie Edwards watched her little girl gasping for air and wanted to breathe for her. She wanted the Maker of breaths to swoop in and fill her child's lungs and dissolve every tumor with His mere glance. She wanted another miracle.

It was the early morning of Saturday, October 30, 2004. Ten-year-old Erin Browning lay in a hospice bed in her home, in such pain and shortness of breath that, in fear and exasperation, she could manage only one request of her mother.

"Just read the Scriptures!" she said.

So Laurie began reading the Scriptures. She included Erin's favorite passage,Proverbs 3:5-6. From 1 a.m. until 5 a.m., loved ones took turns reading aloud the Word of God over a child in the last, cruelest stages of cancer's grip. Little Erin had battled for more than three years.
And now the end was near. Laurie tried to refuse to believe it, but her trust in the Lord remained steadfast. She was frightened and faithful all at once. She prayed for an eleventh-hour miracle. And she kept reading the Scriptures, as Erin had asked.

At one point, Laurie placed her Bible on the floor and stood on it, literally standing on the Word of God as she read over her child. Finally, after the long night of reading Scripture followed by another long night of hopeful prayer, Laurie consented for a hospice nurse to administer an IV with medicine that essentially placed Erin in a painless coma on Sunday afternoon. There would be no more gasping for breath.

I met Erin Browning on Valentine's Day, 2004 at Westover Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Erin loved Casting Crowns, and, after six years of dance lessons, had choreographed a dance to our song "Here I Go Again." When Laurie initially contacted us, we made arrangements to meet their family before that concert. Three months later, Erin danced for the last time as her mother and two sisters joined her for a performance of "Here I Go Again" at The Carolina Theatre.

I was gripped by the imagery of Laurie's standing on her Bible and quoting Scripture over her sick little girl. After all the e-mail updates and prayers, that moment melted my heart and sparked the lyrics to this song.
I kept up with Erin's condition through Laurie's e-mails detailing the family's wrenching ordeal. Every e-mail described a change in Erin's condition. One e-mail would offer hope: "There is a new treatment, so please be praying." So we'd pray, and then the next e-mail would report, "It's not working."

Sometimes Laurie had questions: "What's going on? I feel like I'm all alone in this." But her love of Jesus remained fervent even though she questioned what was going on and didn't really understand the reasons. It was raw, rare faith, and it was inspiring.

On June 21, 2004, I e-mailed Laurie to tell her that I was writing a song for Erin entitled "Praise You in This Storm." Upon the news, Erin screamed so loud that it hurt Laurie's ears. Erin never got to hear the song, but Laurie heard it for the first time when her mother bought the CD on the day it was released and took it to the school where Laurie works. The two women sat in the car, listened to the song, and "cried and cried and cried."

"Erin would be so happy to know that other people were being touched by something written for her, because she was never about herself. She was about other people," Laurie said. "Other kids at school would say 'I want to be like Erin.' And she would say, 'No, you don't. You want to be like Jesus.'"
I was impressed with Laurie's faith, but Laurie will tell you how much she was impressed with Erin's faith. Erin was six years old when she prayed to receive Christ. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was seven, and by the time she was eight she was visiting area churches to give her testimony.
Four months after Erin was first diagnosed, a second bone scan revealed that the cancer was gone. Doctors called the results remarkable. Laurie and Erin called it a miracle. Emboldened by the Lord's clear hand in her life, she began regularly sharing her faith and giving her testimony.

"She had a desire to reach people to let them know there is no hope or joy without God. And even though she had reason in her life not to be happy, she was joyful because she had Jesus in her heart," Laurie said. "She wasn't afraid. She let the Lord speak through her, and when she would get up and speak it was like I wasn't listening to my own daughter. He would put words in her mouth, and it was just awesome."

But the cancer eventually returned, and this time, it didn't go away. The tumors grew so large that they displaced organs and created a visible bulge in Erin's chest. They pressed down on her spleen, pushed her heart to the right, and deviated her trachea, straining her breathing.

Near the end, Laurie's e-mail updates were desperate. Her last one before Erin's death was a simple request in all caps: "PLEASE PRAY FOR ERIN!" It was the night in which Laurie stood on her Bible during the four hours of Scripture reading. The weekend crept into Saturday, when at 1:15 a.m. the hospice nurse told Laurie that Erin's vital signs and statistics suggested she had only approximately 20 minutes to live.

Fifty-one hours later, [she] finally gave up her fight. Erin Browning went home at 4:24 a.m. on November 1, 2004.

Laurie still doesn't fully understand what happened next. She remembers only a tremendous peace and describes it as being under the shower of the Holy Spirit. She held Erin's body for 90 minutes while her daughter played in heaven.

"It was not like how I expected her last minutes to be. I thought I'd be hysterical, but I wasn't," Laurie said. "But she was where she always wanted to be. She told me when she was six years old that she couldn't wait to get to heaven. She said she had felt an emptiness in her heart, but when she asked Jesus into her heart she never felt it again because Jesus had filled her and would never leave her. For the 10 years she was on this earth, God used her in a remarkable, powerful way.

"I've learned that He can use an average, ordinary family to do extraordinary things and that He continues to use us despite ourselves," Laurie said. "How He has done that is beyond me. But He has a plan and purpose. A lot of times I may not like His plan, but I accept it. I'm just honored that He chose to use Erin and this family as He has."
Through it all, I was captured not just by Laurie's faith but also by her worship. She had the worship of Job:

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.Job 1:21

I have a son and two daughters, and I was amazed at how Laurie faced a parent's greatest fear. It doesn't mean that she wasn't angry. It doesn't mean that she wasn't sad or doubtful, but at the base of it she was leaning on God even if she was angry, sad, or doubtful. I was reminded once again that just because we cannot see God's purpose does not mean He doesn't have one. I was reminded that God is faithful, regardless of the circumstances. I was reminded that God is sovereign, and we're not. Finally, I was reminded that we cannot control how long our lifesongs last. We only can control how loud we sing them. Little Erin lived out loud for Jesus.



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Praise You in this Storm


I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

--John Mark Hall, Bernie Herms