Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Congrats to a Friend

The guy who heads up "The Committee to Save Merry Christmas" is a long-time friend of mine. Last year I watched Manny work tirelessly to take-down Macy's and, truthfully, I wasn't convinced it was going to do much good. Well, I guess I was wrong. Amy eats dirt!!

This just goes to show what one person can do when he's willing to work hard and he believes strongly in something. Way to go Manny!

Macy's Agrees to Say Merry Christmas; National Boycott of Sears Announced

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 30 /Christian Wire Service/ -- The Committee to Save Merry Christmas today announced Macy's Department Stores has agreed to return the phase "Merry Christmas" to store signage and advertising. "On behalf of every American who celebrates the real meaning of Christmas, we applaud Macy's decision and hope other retailers will follower their lead," said Manual Zamorano, chairman of the Committee to Save Merry Christmas. Macy's letter of agreement can be found at

On the heels of this major victory, the Committee to Save Merry Christmas has announced a national boycott against Sears Department Stores for the 2005 Christmas season. "Pro-Christmas Americans should avoid the 'Bah, Humbug' attitude of Sears this Christmas shopping season," said Zamorano. Sears has rejected several requests that "Merry Christmas" signs be returned and posted in their stores and that their advertising both acknowledge and respect the time-honored phrase "Merry Christmas."

"Sears is in need of an extreme makeover in regards to their discrimination and bias against Christmas," said Zamorano. "Over the past several years, Sears has systematically removed references to Merry Christmas. Inviting us to shop for Christmas gifts yet eliminating Merry Christmas is offensive to the sensibilities of millions of average Americans. Eliminating 'Merry Christmas' is plain wrong. It's time to remove Sears from your Christmas shopping list."

"It's the height of hypocrisy for Sears to make tens of millions of dollars selling Christmas presents, yet coldly refuse to acknowledge Christmas," said Zamorano. "What's the holiday all about, anyway? Politically-correct phases like 'Seasons Greetings' and 'Happy Holidays' are no substitute for the real thing."

Book Love

Meredith loves books. How do I know this? Whenever I read to her she furiously kicks her legs and slaps the book with her hands. This indicates her extreme excitement. Then, every time I turn a page, she grabs the book, brings it to her mouth and tries to eat it. Today as I read her Curious George’s ABCs, she wouldn’t settle down until I allowed her to taste every single page. I’m glad my little girl is displaying an early love for books.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Flavor is Life

“Could it be POB juice?” I asked myself this morning as I took a long luxurious sip.

This is the first time I’ve been able to taste anything in the past four days because I’ve had a horrible head cold.

You know how they say you never appreciate something fully until it’s taken from you? Well, whoever said that is a very wise person.

Because I haven’t been eating very much, ‘cuz everything tastes like cardboard, I think I’ve lost about five pounds. This has got me thinking about whether I’d rather be super-skinny and not enjoy my food OR carry a little extra but love every bite. After some deep, contemplative thought, I’ve decided that being fat is not the worst thing in the world. One of the worst things, however, has got to be having no flavor in your life.

Thank you, God, for all those wonderful flavors you created for me to enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Home Again!

From Meredith

This past week I went on my third airplane ride. This time it was to a place called Indiana. There are lots of people who love me in Indiana and I liked it a lot. It was my first Thanksgiving, too. I learned that Thanksgiving is a special day to be grateful for what you have. I have a lot to be thankful for, even though I'm just a little baby. Here are some pictures I want to share with you. One is of my first snowfall and the other two are of playtimes with my Grandma and Grandpa Koons.

Friday, November 18, 2005

When you can't speak ...

The past few months I’ve experienced something I’d never experienced before. The absence of Freedom of Speech.

Even though I live in America, when I talk to Megan in China, I can’t talk about God or Prayer – or anything religious – because it could jeopardize the work she’s doing over there. In fact, that’s why she doesn’t have comments on her Xanga – so others don’t accidentally say those taboo religious words.

I never realized, before, how difficult it is to refrain from using religious terminology. “I’ll be praying for you …” Or “I’m sure God will direct you …” Or something about “God’s will …” Or “at church last week …” etc., etc. Those are just a few of the phrases I take for granted living in the States.

On several occasions, either talking with or e-mailing Megan, I’ve messed up pretty badly. This results in either awkward silence or a reply e-mail asking me to re-send what I wrote without “certain words” because the first e-mail was “quickly deleted.” One e-mail I wrote, expressing my thoughts on decision-making, was especially bad. After I sent it, I realized what I had done. It made me angry and it also made me feel like giving up on communicating with Megan altogether!

When you can’t even speak your heart, and be honest and open in your communication, why bother?

It really infuriates me that a government can ban people from speaking their heart.

It also makes me tremendously grateful for the freedoms I have here at home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Old Familiar Places

Here are several things I learned this past week:

1) Never take a red-eye with a baby on your lap.
2) D.C. was not designed for strollers and nursing infants.
3) Virginia is still as beautiful as it ever was.

We had a fabulous “vacation” this past week. Kevin attended the Federalist Society conference in D.C. for three days while I painted the town with Meredith. Then we spent some time visiting with good friends in Maryland and Virginia.

From Meredith: “This is me and my mom standing outside where the President lives. We also went to the place where they make all the laws and a bunch of other places.”

We went just about everywhere, actually. The first day in D.C., just after flying in on our red-eye, I decided that it would be a shame to waste precious daylight hours. So, I took a shower at the hotel and we (me and Meredith) set out to see all the major landmarks. We walked the entire length of the Mall and I thought my legs were sure to fall off! On Friday we went to the Zoo and, on Saturday, we went to the National Gallery of Art and Botanical Gardens with Sarah. While in D.C., we had lunch with Jeanette, dinner with Christy, and then dinner on Saturday with the Mehrens and the Richmonds. We miss our east coast friends!

After three days navigating the D.C. Metro-system with a stroller, I have a whole new appreciation for handicapped people. It is such a pain to have to look for an elevator or a ramp everywhere you go!

On Sunday we visited with church friends at the Gazos’ home. We couldn’t believe how much all the kids had grown up. Amazing! (Are we getting older too?) Katrina was a flower girl in our wedding and now she’s so grown up! It was fun to see the Shipps and meet their little girl, Nora, who is the same age as Meredith.

On Monday and Tuesday we met with HSLDA friends. We especially enjoyed seeing Sherri, Sarah, Leah, John, Cora, the attorneys, the Joneses, and, of course, the Hall family. We also were able to stop and see the Klickas on the way to the airport. I can’t believe it’s been three years since we’ve been back. Working at HSLDA and living in Virginia were incredibly good years. That was such a great chapter of life!

From Meredith: “These are my two new friends, Reagan and Parker Hall. I went to their house and they played with me and let me see all their toys. Life with just mom and dad will never be the same again.”

D.C., A Friendly Place (Who Would’ve Thought?)

One thing that amazed me, during our visit to D.C., was how courteous and friendly everyone was toward Meredith and I. Especially in the non-touristy areas. It was as if people in D.C. never get to see little babies. At least every 15-20 minutes someone would stop us and ask to look at Meredith. One morning while we were having breakfast at a bakery-shop, every single female working at the shop (five or six) stopped to look at Meredith, smile, and coo at her.

I’ve also never had so many people open doors for me in my entire life! Not to mention the many people who helped me carry the stroller up or down a flight of stairs when I couldn’t find a ramp available. While we were on the Metro, people consistently stepped aside to let us board first, gave up their seats for us, etc., etc. One day, a man who, I guess, was homeless (and smelled like he hadn’t showered in over a week), peered into Meredith’s stroller and talked to her for about five minutes while we were riding the Metro. Meredith smiled back at him and acted like she thought he was the greatest thing ever. She must have totally made his day (or maybe even his life!). The other people riding the Metro also got a big kick out of it. I think they were amused I let this man put his face next to my child. But, what could I do?

Then, there was that time when my stroller got stuck in-between the exit “doors” where you insert your Metro ticket. A gentleman in a business suit, who had been walking quickly past me, stopped to help. I pushed with all my strength and he pulled with all his. Finally, the stroller came unstuck.

Because of these positive experiences, I have a whole new outlook on the District of Columbia. I now view it as a wonderful place full of friendly, kind, thoughtful people. Before, it was just another big city.

More pics (I) ...

Okay, Kev said I needed to post more pics. Here are a few more from the plethora of pics I just downloaded from my camera:

Meredith protests at the Supreme Court.

Enjoying Art with Sarah

Early Addiction

Theresa, Meredith, Katrina (Gazo)

More pics (II) ...

Dinner at the Halls'

Nathan, Kevin, Adam, Jordan

Geni, Meredith, Logan

The Joneses

The Klickas

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Losing Bad Habits

Over the weekend we swapped stories (with my family being here) about how our parents got us to lose bad habits as children.

Kevin’s parents bribed him to give up sucking his thumb by taping a picture of a bike to the side of his bed and telling him that if he didn’t suck his thumb for x-amount of days, then he would get one. Apparently it worked like a charm.

My parents, when I was 2 ½ years old, decided it was time for me to give up my bottle. My dad made me pick up all my bottles and put them, one by one, in a large trash bag. He then walked with me to the outside trashcan and made me watch as he threw them away. That night when I cried for my bottle, my dad said, “Remember, Amy, we threw them all away today.” I paused for a second, thought about this, and then closed my eyes and went to sleep. Of course, as soon as my dad threw the bottles away, he went back outside and rescued them for my little sister to use!

Parenthood definitely requires a little bit of timely creativity.


Today I was looking for a quote for a project I’m working on and came across two noteworthy ones. The first one got a chuckle and the second one made me think.

“Friends are like television. Some are like PBS and always asking for money. Others are like the news, with sad tales to tell everyday, some are like that one station with the foreign language; you don't understand a word of it but you listen and watch.” – Unknown

“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.” - Rabbinical Saying

Monday, November 07, 2005

Family Photo

Glimpses of the Weekend

Meredith says: “I’ve discovered that these two fingers taste the best.”

With Aunt Melissa

Meredith says: “I’m one cool chick.”


Friday, November 04, 2005


“I’ve discovered that my feelings and attitudes are directly related to how clean my desk is.” – Kevin Koons

[Yesterday he was feeling really good 'cuz his desk was clean.]

A Personal Low Point

This week I pulled out one of my favorite sweaters (yes, finally!) and wore it all day while running errands. Later that evening I noticed a small hole on my left sleeve. It appeared to be moth damage. Upon closer examination of my sweater, I spotted numerous holes on my right sleeve and a large hole on the lower back of my sweater.

My first horrified thought was: “I can’t believe I ran around the mall not knowing I looked like a tattered hobo all day.”

My second horrified thought: “I wonder how many of my other precious sweaters are ruined?”

I ran to my closet and tore out all my clothes. Turns out that four sweaters were damaged, three of them being my absolute favorites. Grrr.

What can I say? I guess moths have good taste in sweaters.

I don’t understand why there was moth damage considering I wore these sweaters tons last winter. I thought this was only supposed to happen if you let your clothes sit for more than a year.

Kevin’s reply was: “I know you probably don’t want to hear this right now but ‘do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven.’”

When he said this, I actually started to get teary-eyed, knowing that my clothes money budget (that I consistently spend as soon as I get the cash for it) wouldn’t be able to replace my sweaters any time really soon. [Forget the spiritual, Amy!]

Then Kevin, to console me, immediately offered go outside our budget and buy me more sweaters. Ugh … I don’t know, maybe I’ll take him up on it.

One thing I do know is … moths are EVIL.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

While I'm at it ...

While I'm bemoaning what this world is coming to, here is one last post for the day. I promise. This girl's gotta get dinner on the table!

Another blogger today posted breaking news:

9th Cir. Rules Parents Have No Fundamental Right to Be Exclusive Sex Educators of Their Children

The opinion reads: "[W]e hold that there is no free-standing fundamental right of parents 'to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs' and that the asserted right is not encompassed by any other fundamental right. In doing so, we do not quarrel with the parents' right to inform and advise their children about the subject of sex as they see fit. We conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select. We further hold that a psychological survey is a reasonable state action pursuant to legitimate educational as well as health and welfare interests of the state."

My Blood is BOILING!

This recorded phone call is amazing. Truly an eye-opener for me. Imagine if this were your daughter! Imagine the crimes that take place and go unreported. What kind of insane world do we live in that this is possible?

Note: It takes a second before you hear the phone being dialed.

Kevin's Latest Craze

Thanks to a link on Linnea's blog, Kevin has recently become hooked on Sudoku puzzles.

Personally, I think these puzzles are entirely too tedious to be any fun. But, I usually join Kevin in helping him solve it after he's gotten the first half figured out. Then, it gets more fun.

You Are Probably a Bad Parent

Sorry guys but I'm immersed daily in Prop 73 stuff. Here's one of many pieces I've recently written on this topic.

Prop 73: You Are Probably a Bad Parent

“In an ideal family, a girl would at least feel comfortable discussing [abortion] with her parents, without fear of being reprimanded or told what decision to make,” said Gaia Veenis, senior opinion columnist for The Daily Aztec. “But as we know, most families are not ideal.”

Because she thinks most parents are overbearing, Ms. Veenis wants you to vote against Prop 73, a ballot initiative that would require parental notification 48 hours prior to a minor child receiving an abortion.

Ms. Veenis isn’t ultimately worried about abusive homes, because Prop 73 exempts teens from notifying parents who are abusive. No – she’s worried about those “bad” parents out there who would actually reprimand their child or tell them what they should do. Apparently, in her utopia-world, all parents would support their children in whatever they choose to do – regardless of whether it’s good for them or not – and abandon any authority-figure role in their lives.

Thankfully Ms. Veenis isn’t the despot of the world.

Because parents are the ones who care about their children the most, and are willing to be loving even when it means “tough love,” they should have priority in helping their child to make an abortion decision.

Statements like Ms. Veenis’ show the extreme elitist’s mentality by those who oppose Prop 73. She believes that her style of hands-off parenting is so far superior to everyone else’s that whoever does it differently is a “bad” parent.

Another troubling comment made by Ms. Veenis is one that is being heard more and more frequently in modern public policy talk. “The problem with Proposition 73 is that religious sentiments are seeping into the legislative process yet again,” she said.

Although there is nothing per se “religious” about Prop 73, Ms. Veenis is concerned because some of Prop 73’s backers happen to be religious people. If this doesn’t smack of religious intolerance and bigotry, what does?

It is frightening that high-profile persons like Ms. Veenis are permitted to say such odious things against religious persons without any public outcry or other repercussions.

Lastly, it is interesting that, when considering the commonsense argument by proponents of Prop 73 that children can’t receive Tylenol without parental consent but can obtain a surgical or chemical abortion without parental notification, Ms. Veenis responded as follows: “Abortion is a much more complicated and delicate matter than these simplistic arguments make it appear.”

Could it be that she was simply at a loss for a better response? Yes, the argument is “simplistic.” But that is what makes it so overwhelming. Tylenol vs. Abortion. There is absolutely no justification for the disparity that is currently in our laws concerning the emancipation of minors to make their own medical decisions.

To read the entire opinion column written by Ms. Veenis, click here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Durbin on Alito

This morning I heard Senator Dick Durbin on the radio. I looked for his exact quote online but couldn’t find it (here is a paraphrase). Essentially he went through a list of things he was going to research on Judge Samuel Alito before he was assured he is qualified for the High Court. These things included his views on abortion, civil rights, the environment, etc.

What’s with the far left? Either Durbin knows little about the Separation of Powers Clause or he simply doesn’t care.

How far have we come that so many prominent U.S. Senators completely disregard major structural concepts in our Constitution?

If Judge Alito were running for Congress, it would be appropriate to know his views on every political issue. But he’s not running for office. He’s been nominated to the Supreme Court.

Recent history has shown that the most significant way liberals have changed the law in their favor is through judges (vs. the legislature). Durbin knows that, to move forward with his agenda, he needs liberal activist judges who are willing to legislate from the bench and re-write the Constitution. That’s why he’s so desperate.

My guess is that Senator Durbin already knows he won’t vote for Alito. He knew that a very long time ago. He didn’t vote to confirm Roberts and it’s unlikely that he’d vote for any Bush nominee.

Constant Prayer

Pray without ceasing.” (I Thes. 5:17)

Obviously it’s impossible to talk to God constantly. Thus, prayer is more than talking. Although prayer involves words too, it’s also non-verbal communion.

This devotional I read today by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman was very insightful. I especially appreciated the illustration of the mother and child.

"Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Rom. 8:26, 27)

This is the deep mystery of prayer. This is the delicate divine mechanism which words cannot interpret, and which theology cannot explain, but which the humblest believer knows even when he does not understand.

Oh, the burdens that we love to bear and cannot understand! Oh, the inarticulate out-reachings of our hearts for things we cannot comprehend! And yet we know they are an echo from the throne and a whisper from the heart of God. It is often a groan rather than a song, a burden rather than a buoyant wing. But it is a blessed burden, and it is a groan whose undertone is praise and unutterable joy. It is "a groaning which cannot be uttered." We could not ourselves express it always, and sometimes we do not understand any more than that God is praying in us, for something that needs His touch and that He understands.

And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted and answered in His name. --A. B. Simpson

It is not necessary to be always speaking to God or always hearing from God, to have communion with Him; there is an inarticulate fellowship more sweet than words. The little child can sit all day long beside its busy mother and, although few words are spoken on either side, and both are busy, the one at his absorbing play, the other at her engrossing work, yet both are in perfect fellowship. He knows that she is there, and she knows that he is all right. So the saint and the Saviour can go on for hours in the silent fellowship of love, and he be busy about the most common things, and yet conscious that every little thing he does is touched with the complexion of His presence, and the sense of His approval and blessing.

And then, when pressed with burdens and troubles too complicated to put into words and too mysterious to tell or understand, how sweet it is to fall back into His blessed arms, and just sob out the sorrow that we cannot speak! --Selected