Monday, October 31, 2005


After having said what I did about Halloween, I will add that the phrases in the Indy Star crossword are rather creative today. If you've never done crosswords before, the ones published at the beginning of the week are easier than the ones published at the end of the week. In other words, Mondays are good to start with!

An Innocent Practice?

Regardless of whether you choose to participate in Halloween or not, hopefully you have deeply wrestled with the question of whether it’s okay to celebrate this holiday. Like many other things, too many Christians partake in Halloween activities because it’s simply the cultural thing to do.

How many Christians have honestly asked themselves, “What does God think of Halloween?”

“Is it possible to align ourselves innocently with something traditionally and currently involved with the occult and be certain we will not be affected in any possible manner?”

“What about the repeated admonitions in scripture that we should not imitate evil?” (3 John 11, for instance.)

I can’t say I’m 100% convinced of what the right thing to do is. Currently Kevin and I choose not to celebrate Halloween because of its evil origin. Some years we go to a Reformation Day dinner (and eat German food) and other years we just stay home and watch a movie with the lights out.

The decision to not celebrate Halloween hasn’t been easy for me. I would love to celebrate – dressing up and eating candy. What could be better?

Anyway … whether you choose to celebrate it or not, I think it’s admirable to think deeply about it rather than simply doing it by default because it’s the “thing to do” on October 31.

For an interesting radio broadcast on this topic: go here.

Indy Cousins!

From Meredith: "This is me with my first-cousin-once-removed, Emily, and my first-cousin-once-removed-in-law, Wade. They are from far away in Indiana. They came to visit me yesterday and I liked them very much."

Friday, October 28, 2005

How to ... do anything!

Living in the Information Age is so empowering. Last night I was scrambling to make dinner and get out the door in time for bible study. Don’t ask me why, with my time limitations, I decided to try a new recipe for dinner. But I did. I’m crazy that way (and other ways).

It was a pasta with homemade sauce. The key ingredient of the sauce was white wine. I ran to get the bottle of wine and the corkscrew and then I realized that I’d never opened a bottle of wine before. Even though I frequently cook with wine, Kevin has always been the official Opener.

To make a long story short, after ten minutes I had managed to destroy the top half of the cork. After I was unsuccessful with the corkscrew, I got out a knife. A knife should work, right?


That’s when I decided to go online. To my relief, I found this great website called “eHow: Clear Instructions on How To Do (just about) Everything” and all my problems were soon solved. I especially appreciated the pictures explaining how to use a corkscrew.

Check it out … You never know when this website could save your life. Or at least your dinner plans.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dumb Laws

If you want to waste time today: Dumb Laws.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yours or Kneers?

It seems that the president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Kathy Kneer, is terrified of Christians who leave the four walls of their churches and homes and enter the world of public policy.

In a recent L.A. Times article, Ms. Kneer, whose organization offers abortion services, spoke these words concerning James Holman, the main proponent of Prop 73 (an initiative to require parental notification for abortions performed on minors): “It concerns us that someone with such deep personal and religious views is able to enter the arena of public policy and essentially force those views on everyone else.”

Presumably Ms. Kneer is okay with public policy activists forcing their views on other people (because that’s what public policy does) as long as they are not deeply religious.

Just because you’re a religious person, or happen to hold a view that is consistent with a particular religious teaching, doesn’t mean that your opinions are insignificant or unintelligent.

Someone’s values and opinions will control public policy. Will it be yours or Kneers?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Think About It

This past weekend Dr. Michael Horton spoke at our church. He spoke mainly about the church-growth movement. Probably the most thought-provoking thing he said was this:

“A pastor once asked his congregation: If Satan were to take over a city, what would it look like? Various people gave various different answers. Then the pastor replied: If Satan were to take over a city, there would be white picket fences everywhere. The children would always say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘yes sir.’ No one would drink, smoke, or swear. And everyone would go to a church on Sunday where Christ is not preached.”

Attempted Larceny

On Saturday we went to Wal-Mart to print off some pictures. While Kevin and I were mesmerized, looking at the monitor to edit some of our photos, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a man was lingering around our shopping cart. I looked over at him and saw him reach into our cart and into the diaper bag where my wallet was sitting in plain view. My heart raced and I started to walk toward him. He looked up and our eyes met. My eyes were incredulous and his were guilty. He instantly withdrew his hand and walked away. I went to make sure that my wallet was still there. It was. When I looked up to see if he was still around, he had (of course) completely disappeared.

At this point, Kevin was still deeply enthralled with the photo editing, and completely unaware of what had transpired. I’m amazed that, since I’m so spacey, I even noticed this attempted larceny.

Kevin makes fun of me how I’m often paranoid that people will steal things. When we leave our car, I try not to leave valuables in plain-sight and I always lock my doors. I think it’s because we have very different upbringings. Kevin grew up in the country in Indiana and I grew up in L.A. It’s probably the difference between leaving the keys in your unlocked car and not only locking your car, but using The Club, whenever you park your car in front of your own house! (Yes, I admit, I used to own The Club.)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Capturing a story ...

Looking at these pictures reminded me of how much I love photography - especially photography of people that tells a story. In each one of these photos, I can imagine a story behind it. I especially love the one of the Polish grandma waiting for the next fly!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's All Good

Three years ago Kevin and I were bitterly disappointed by an unsuspected turn of events in our life. At the time, we didn’t understand why God had given us a certain vision, led us to a place where we almost realized it, and then took it all away.

Yesterday, however, we learned new information that what had happened to us three years ago was ultimately for the best. It was a huge confirmation that God had been leading and directing our life. God had protected us from disaster by not giving us what we would have chosen, were it up to us.

“Thank you God for not giving me what I thought I wanted.”

This was my prayer yesterday. It wasn’t the first time I’ve prayed these words. And I know it won’t be the last.

As life unfolds, I am continuously reminded that God takes care of us and He will not withhold anything good from us if we diligently seek Him. My job is to continue doing what is good and to trust Him unconditionally. It’s hard. But, on days like yesterday, I’m reminded that, in the end, everything will be good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Honor the Troops

As you read these words, our soldiers are fighting and dying in Iraq. These brave young men and women voluntarily enlisted in our armed services knowing that they might be called on to offer the ultimate sacrifice. They are serving our country to promote peace and freedom – both at home and around the world. We all should be tremendously grateful that there are courageous men and women who believe that peace and freedom are worth dying for.

This past Saturday the Iraqi people went to the polls to vote for a constitutional referendum. It is now estimated that at least 61 percent of eligible Iraqis turned out to vote on Saturday’s election. The Iraqis who voted know first-hand the sacrifices that American troops are making to give them the ability to vote. Every day the Iraqi people see soldiers, who are far away from home, defending their right to be free.

The number of Iraqis that voted is extremely remarkable in light of the number of Americans that typically vote. Although the right to vote is arguably one of the most important rights of American citizenship, a substantial amount of citizens choose not to vote each year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau only 46 percent of Americans voted in the November 2002 election. The statistics are even worse in California where only 42 percent voted.

While we, unlike the Iraqi people, cannot visibly see men and women dying in the fields for our freedoms, our right to vote is nonetheless a direct result of blood shed by brave soldiers.

What are you going to do about the fact that young men and women died so you can have the right to vote?

Send a loud, clear signal to the American troops that their sacrifices matter by going to the polls and exercising your right to vote!

This is a very practical way that you can honor our brave soldiers. See you at the ballot box on November 8th!

[Editor's note: Nov. 8 is the date for California's special election. And, incidentally, this post has nothing whatsoever to do with voting for pumpkins.]

And the winner is ...

Kevin Koons ... a.k.a. #1! Actually, I think Kevin won by a lanslide, which he was very happy about. His pumkin is rather cute since it looks like it's laughing with a big smile and squinting eyes.

Mine is the one that looks like a scary tribal version of Cindy Crawford (#2).

Thanks to all who participated. I had fun reading through the votes. Happy Fall to all of you!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Cast YOUR Vote Today!

This past weekend Amy, Shannon and Kevin held a pumpkin carving competition. Only problem is ... there was no one unbiased enough to judge! Help us out by casting your vote. From left to right are pumpkins #1, #2, #3. You choose the best one based on whatever criteria you want and we'll soon announce the winner (provided anyone cares enough to judge!).

Aunt Shannon

Lil' Pumpkin

Playful Girl

Meredith had her first studio pictures taken last Friday and, despite our valiant efforts to coax her, the little boogar wouldn’t smile directly into the camera. So, basically, we have pictures of her smiling while looking away, smiling while looking down, and then several pictures of her looking at the camera with various non-smiling, quizzical facial expressions. Oh well!

It’s been fun to watch Meredith’s personality develop more lately. My prediction is that she’ll be outgoing, friendly, independent, curious, fun-loving, and opinionated. These are characteristics I already see in her at three months old.

One thing I never realized was how young babies are when they start to appreciate and love their toys! It’s amazing to me how toys are such an integral part of even a very young baby’s life. Kevin thinks we’re going to force Meredith into being ADD because of all the toys we put into her face.

Lately she’s been cracking me up whenever I syringe her nose. She’s been mildly congested this past week and I’ve been trying to help her out a little bit. Whenever I bring the syringe to her face she starts to fuss and move her head from side to side. But suddenly she’ll stop, look at me and smile (sometimes laugh). Then she squints and smiles again each time I touch her face. It’s as if she’s thinking: “Oh yeah, I forgot, Mommy is just trying to play a little game with me. This is a fun game Mommy!”

Meredith is such an entertaining addition to our family. What did we ever do without her?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It was bound to happen ...

Thus far I have deftly evaded the scrap book craze. But now, at last, I have resigned myself to the inevitable – a life full of cutting, gluing and photo journaling.

Maybe it was the realization that, if I didn’t do something soon, Meredith would be going away to college and all her baby photos would still be sitting in a shoe box at the bottom of a lonely closet.

So, last night I went to Emily’s house. Emily is one of those brilliant, creative scrap booking people. (My mom also is one of those people, thankfully, and she had already bought me a Creative Memories starter’s kit several years ago for Christmas.)

I must confess, I had a good time. It was fun to work with my hands, be productive, be creative, and also get to visit with a friend.

Speaking of Emily, she is 21 weeks pregnant and was just put on bed rest. Until last night I didn’t really have any concept of what “bed rest” is actually like. Emily can only sit up to eat and can only shower for five minutes every other day. I think I’d go completely stir crazy! Emily’s attitude is remarkable, though. She consistently exemplifies optimism and a willingness to sacrifice (a must-have qualification for any parent) despite her undesirable circumstances.

All that to say … Now that I have the scrap booking bug, and Emily will be available for weekday visits, my prospects for getting caught up on a few photo projects have brightened considerably.

Discussing Abortion With Your Daughter

This is a piece I just wrote for my employer. For those of you who live in California, don't forget to vote on November 8th! And, if you're not registered to vote, you have up until two weeks before the election (because in California we like to make it easy for illegal residents to vote ... or people who procrastinate). So, go register!

Prop 73, a ballot initiative that would notify parents 48 hours before a minor child obtains an abortion, will be decided by California voters in just a few short weeks! Because Prop 73 will likely be determined by a narrow margin, both those who support and oppose this initiative are burning the midnight oil.

The latest tactic of Prop 73 opponents seems to be their contention that it would result in government “forcing communication” between parents and children. Keep in mind, there are exceptions built in Prop 73 that would exclude minors from being compelled to notify parents who are abusive.

This past week, State Treasurer Phil Angelides, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, said that although he talks to his three daughters about personal things he “can’t imagine compelling them to talk to me about this difficult subject.”

What is most alarming about Mr. Angelides' comments is that there are many parents out there who are just like him! There is nothing noble or dignified about taking a “hands-off” approach when your minor daughter (perhaps as young as age 12) decides to get an abortion. In fact, when an abortion is considered, this is a crucial time in a young girl’s life and she needs the support and counsel of the adults who know her best. In other words, her parents.

It is understandable that a young girl, when discovering her unplanned pregnancy, would be embarrassed to tell her parents and afraid to disappoint them. But, because a minor child – even in a “good home” – would not naturally turn to her parents in this situation, is precisely why the government should require parental notification.

Adults will be involved in a young girl’s decision to abort (e.g., an older boyfriend, a school guidance counselor, etc.). Parents simply deserve the courtesy of being one of those adults.

Interestingly, it is the liberals who are the ones who typically want to “save people from themselves.” It is the liberals who mandate bike helmets for minors and ban children from going to tanning salons. If ever there is an instance where a child needs to be saved from herself, it is when she contemplates an abortion. Her parents must be told. She is merely a child and, while she may be embarrassed and afraid, she must tell them so they can counsel her and help keep her safe. Tell the parents – she may not like it now but in the end, perhaps when she is a parent herself, she’ll see the sense of it.

Monday, October 10, 2005


It seems like half the people on my blogroll came to dinner on Saturday night. Well, maybe not quite. We had the annual OBCL Alumni Association meeting here in Roseville and then a get-together at our house afterwards. It was so great to see old friends again. Carrie posted pictures on her blog in case anyone is interested. Thanks Carrie!

Blogs are fun – but they’re a far cry from seeing people face-to-face and engaging in good old-fashioned conversation.

Friday, October 07, 2005


I don’t have time today to post anything “real” since I’m cooking for 50 people who are coming to my house tomorrow … but here is my blog in French, in case you know French and would prefer to read it in that language:

Kevin et le Monde d'Amy

My sister-in-law in China can’t access my blog in English (communist regulations on free speech?) but she can access it in French. Weird.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Has it really come to this?

Do you realize that they now sell pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the frozen food section of the grocery store?

Why is this? Is it that working moms, overburdened, no longer have time to make even PB&J for their kids’ school lunch boxes?

I can understand having frozen lasagna or meatloaf … but PB&J?

Could it be that making something so simple like PB&J will soon be a lost art?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Where is the stopping point?

Recently the Netherlands legalized polygamy in all but name by granting a civil union to a man and two women. “We consider this to be just an ordinary marriage,” said Victor, who tied-the-knot with both Bianca and Mirjam. Victor added that a fourth person would not be allowed into their marriage because they want to be "honest and open with each other and not philander."

While the battle to legalize polygamous marriages has not yet come to the forefront here in the United States, we only have to look to this example in the Netherlands to realize that someday we will likely face it.

One of the arguments against legalizing homosexual marriage is that there is no logical stopping point. If marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, why can’t it be redefined to accommodate the polygamous relationship of a man and two women? Or how about two men, five women and another person who isn’t sure their gender? And if it is redefined to accommodate these sexual preferences, why can’t it then be redefined to accommodate bestiality, incest, or even, eventually, consensual pedophilia?

And then there’s the guy in Australia who recently wanted to marry his television. What about his rights to marry anyone, or in this case any thing, he chooses?

Either marriage is between a man and a woman or it isn’t. If it is not, then there’s no logical argument that can be made to limit it to any particular couples or groups.

The timeless institution of marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation for building healthy families. For the sake of future generations, we cannot afford to tamper with it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ashland in Autumn

Hike up to Beacon Hill

Panoramic Views

Kev and I agree – the MOST fun thing we did was cruise around the Abel’s property (2,000 mountainous acres) on the Four-Wheeler. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had that much fun. :)

Ashland Part II

This one’s for Braiden – (Sorry but I couldn’t get him to kiss it!)

Someday I will tell my grandkids – “See, I really am cool.”

Relishing autumn in Ashland.

Ashland Part III

Love those colors!

“Wouldn’t you know it – my mom forgot my hat. That is a very bad thing to do for a baby when it is so cold outside.”

"But my dad kept me all snuggly and warm."

Cute downtown Ashland, OR – We also went up to Medford to check out the original Harry and David store which was very impressive, by the way.

Amy tries the famed Lithium water of Ashland – this is a naturally carbonated water that is piped in from local springs and tastes like raw eggs.

Globe Theatre replica – Ashland is all about Shakespeare!

Snapshot of Mount Shasta – taken from the car on the trip home.