September 29, 2010

Blog Header - September 26, 2010

I took the picture of this butterfly resting on a tent screen at the community outreach event one week ago. The butterfly seemed to be dancing as he beat his wings in time to the music of the Shenandoah Baptist Boys who were playing some good gospel bluegrass at the time.

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul

Josiah Conder, 1836

Tis not that I did choose Thee,
For Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not chosen me...

My heart owns none before Thee,
For thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love Thee,
Thou must have loved me first.

HT: Shawne Ebersole


September 26, 2010

Keep your head in the game


ave you ever sat in church and felt that God was speaking directly to you? And maybe to you only? Well, that happened to me today. And it wasn’t a terribly unusual or obscure message. It was the simple and well-known directive to seek first the kingdom of God (context in the callout box below).

Matthew 6:31-33

Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

I am so easily distracted from keeping my focus on Christ. It isn’t particularly smart for me to lose that focus, considering the regular ups and downs, hills and valleys, waves and cays in the roller coaster ride of life (to mix a whole bunch of metaphors). But there it is...I get off track and focus on myself and my abilities instead of “boasting only in Christ.” It doesn’t make much sense and is terribly ill-advised.

And so I head into tomorrow with another seemingly big hurdle in front of me. And I find myself tempted to boast of my capabilities and to defend myself by proclaiming my superiority. But these are not the things I am told to do in scripture. I am told to be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).

May God grant me the faith to do so—tomorrow, and in the days to come.


September 24, 2010

September 22, 2010

Seek and you will find

The Discovery of Truth Is Difficult, but God Has Promised that He who Seeks Shall Find. My heart, O Lord, touched with the words of Thy Holy Scripture, is much busied, amid this poverty of my life. And therefore most times, is the poverty of human understanding copious in words, because enquiring hath more to say than discovering, and demanding is longer than obtaining, and our hand that knocks, hath more work to do, than our hand that receives. We hold the promise, who shall make it null? If God be for us, who can be against us? Ask, and ye shall have; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, shall it be opened. These be Thine own promises: and who need fear to be deceived, when the Truth promiseth?

The Confessions of St. Augustine, © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc.


Blog Header - September 19, 2010

I took this picture at the Third Annual Front Royal Balloon and Air Show just a few weeks ago. It’s a fun event, but the scenery makes it spectacular. We love Front Royal.

September 21, 2010

Google Instant style search for the bible

This is really cool! Just start typing in the box at the top right and it will almost instantly compile a list of potential verses you may be looking for. It’s not as fast as Google Instant, but it works in a very similar manner.

Now I just hope they can add some additional bible versions to the search engine.

Check it out for yourself at


All in the family (almost)


od moves in mysterious ways. I know—that phrase has become a cliché, but it’s still true. God does move in mysterious ways.

Jeff, lead guitar and vocals

When we moved to Front Royal one year ago, I had to put away my bass guitar. It’s a very difficult thing to set music aside when you’re a musician. But I didn’t know any local bands that needed a bass player, so I just tried to cope without the guitar.

This past March I began to ride a bus from Front Royal to my office in Washington, DC. Having avoided public transportation for most of my life, this was a new experience for me, and not one I was really looking forward to. But I learned to appreciate it and it seemed to suit our family’s needs well.

Carla, flute (Jeff’s wife)
Wyatt, drums (Jeff’s son)

Then, while riding the bus home one day I noticed the guy in the seat in front of me flipping through some photos of very nice guitars. I asked who owned the guitars and the bus driver responded that they were his. These were really nice guitars—including the Ibanez Steve Vai signature guitar, a Gibson Explorer, an Eddie Van Halen look-alike guitar, and a Dean guitar that is beyond gorgeous—more than 20 guitars in the full collection. As I talked to him about his guitars I found out that he is the leader of a Christian band and that he had recently lost his bass player.

Stephanie, keyboards and vocals (Jeff’s daughter)

We weren’t able to work out the practice times and by the time I was able to figure something out, the bus driver’s daughter had joined the band on bass guitar. But Jeff (the bus driver) and I kept talking about the band from time to time.

Then, just about a month ago, Jeff’s daughter headed to Liberty University—leaving the band without a bass player again. So then a few weeks ago Jeff asked me if I would be able to join the band when they presented a mini-concert for a community outreach event at his father’s church. I immediately jumped at the opportunity and this past Sunday we played. And it was a blast. It was great to play my bass again and it was great to be included in a very good band, entirely made up of Jeff’s family members, except for me.

Corliss, keyboards (Jeff’s mom)

So, I have a tremendous amount to be grateful for. I got to play my bass—and might get to continue to do so. I’m playing with one of the best bands I’ve ever played with. It’s a Christian band. And I get to be part of it even though I’m not part of the family.

And, while I’m mentioning the family—they’re really great. They’re friendly; they’re talented; they’re fun. Even if I never got to play bass with them, I would consider myself blessed to have met them. The bass playing is just icing on the cake.

And there’s me, down at the end (Jeff’s friend)

Thank you, God. Your blessings never end.


September 20, 2010

Preparing to vote


t can be quite difficult to figure out politics. Wouldn’t it be great to have a reliable guide to help point us toward the candidates that would be best for our nation?

As with all matters in life, the bible is the best place to go. And here is a verse that would be good to remember when you step into the voting booth in a little more than a month:

Ecclesiastes 10:2

A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right,
but a fool’s heart to the left.


Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense, and he says to everyone that he is a fool.

Ecclesiastes 10:3


September 19, 2010

Cars and Freedom

I love this commercial!

Blog Header - September 15, 2010

I took this picture at the ranger station on Skyline Drive a few weeks ago. I was there early in the morning and saw the sun shining through the windows as it rose over the mountaintops. I love the early morning feel of this picture.

September 17, 2010

It’s Friday - Desperate


his weekend I get to do music again! It’s been a while, but this weekend I’ll be playing my bass once again. Here’s the story:

Back in April I was riding the bus home from work one evening, sitting a few seats behind the bus driver, Jeff. The guy in front of me was looking through some photographs of very nice guitars. So I asked him who the guitars belonged to. The bus driver said, “They’re mine.” We began discussing guitars and music and the conversation finally came around to the fact that he is the leader of a Christian band that tours sometimes during the week and plays on Sundays in the church pastored by his father.

Jeff’s father is a graduate of Liberty University; we lived a few miles from Liberty in Lynchburg, Va., just seven months earlier. Jeff’s daughter was finishing up her senior year of high school and was planning to go to Liberty in the fall. It’s a small world.

So now it’s the fall. Jeff’s daughter has left the nest. She’s now living in Lynchburg and attending Liberty University. And ... oh, did I mention? She was the bass player in Jeff’s band. So now the band is without a bass player.

So a few weeks ago I received a call from Jeff asking me if I would consider joining the band, at least for an important upcoming event at his father’s church—an event that happens this coming Sunday. I visited Jeff’s house during their next practice session so I could hear the band. Then I began to practice with them. We have one more practice tomorrow before the big event on Sunday. We’ll be playing about seven or eight songs—all of them are either completely new to me or at least new arrangements. So I’m going to have to concentrate.

But the band is great and the songs are good—and some of the songs are a complete blast to play. One of the really fun songs is the song “Desperate” by Fireflight. I can’t wait to play this one:

Kim is going to try to videotape some of the songs. If anything comes out reasonably decent, I’ll post it here.


No other god like our God!

Proverbs 3:3-10

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
   bind them around your neck;
   write them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will find favor and good success
   in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
   and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
   and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes;
   fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
   It will be healing to your flesh
   and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
   and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
   then your barns will be filled with plenty,
   and your vats will be bursting with wine.


September 15, 2010

The Fingerprints of God


s we've homeschooled our children, we have tried to get them to evaluate everything through their biblical worldview. A couple of really neat things have happened in the last couple of days that tell me that it's hitting home. It's a bit of an encouragement from God, I think, to calm mama and daddy's hearts that as we send the girls out in the next few months to college or on their own, that we can trust God with their hearts. They still have choices to make on their own, but if the scriptures are in them and they are considering them regularly, they have a good compass to follow. One of the things we've done is incorporate a year of Theology (college level Theology I) in their junior year, and in this, their senior year, we are studying Apologetics. This year we are teaching them to evaluate other faiths as well as the objections others raise to Biblical Christianity, and help them solidify their own faith by doing so.


First, Brooke is working at McDonald's and has had multiple opportunities to share her faith and explore the faiths of others. She has been especially curious about Mormonism, and so I gave her the Book of Mormon and let her start reading it. Don't gasp too loudly. This is part of Apologetics—examining the primary sources of other faiths and putting them up against the light of Scripture. She has been exploring questions about the book of Mormon with a couple of co-workers, and yesterday, we met with two Mormon missionaries, her co-worker, as well as the host mom of her co-worker (she is a Russian student on exchange). Brooke did a great job sticking to the gospel and sharing her faith while still being gentle and learning more from these missionaries about what they believe. I really believe this was an "exam" for her Apologetics class, and tried very hard to let her carry the conversation and just observe.  But even Sister Dodge, one of the missionaries said, "I'm glad you study your Bible the way you do. That is good," in response to Brooke's ability to just flip to a passage to answer their questions or to make a point, so I think I'd give her an "A" on the exam. There's more to the story, and I'd love to chat with anyone about it.


Lanelle is studying Psychology I this year, which is an AP course. The last two lessons have been on nature vs. nurture (or genetics vs. environment) as well as evolutionary psychology as it relates to personality development. Today, she had a writing assignment, and I decided to copy it here. She, too, is looking at the study of the psyche from a Biblical perspective, evaluating what she is learning through the lens of Scriptural truth, and I think this paper is a good example of that.

Consider the following question

What has been the most important influence in your life, and why?

Lanelle's response:

The biggest influence on my life behaviorally, would have to be the Bible. Before I started writing this paper, I jokingly put down "God," but to be completely honest, it's true. As I am reading the chapter on "evolutionary psychology" I can't help but agree on some level. Before one is saved, indeed, he is the product of his impulses, bound only to do what he was programmed to do—he inherits the sins of his father. Once he admits that cannot stop these impulses—no matter who "trains" him, or "influences" his thinking—then seeks help from God, God's word begins to literally change the way he thinks. That's a miracle. Only something greater than himself can change the way a human thinks.

The Bible has shaped the way I respond to others. I used to be very introverted, now I now it doesn't matter what people's opinion of me is, because my security is in Christ. I love speaking to and meeting new people. The change has been drastic. It's pretty cool.

DISCLAIMER: It must be said that all this isn't a result of great parenting or because we've chosen to homeschool our children. The reality is that God has been working in their hearts and that the Scriptures are affecting the way they think and act in their world. There's something to be said for us as grown-ups, here. We need to let God's Word have its way in our lives as well.


September 14, 2010

Blog Header - September 12, 2010

I took this photo at the big fire behind our neighborhood the weekend before last. It was great to see all the fire departments from the surrounding towns working together. The police thought we were press photographers—they let us go significantly beyond the line were they were stopping other people trying to see the activities. Sometimes it helps to carry a couple of cameras with large lenses.

Contending without being contentious


t has always been difficult for people to put me into a neat political category. My liberal friends think I’m a radical right-wing nutjob and my conservative friends think I’m a tree hugging bleeding-heart. Really, I am neither of those, and perhaps that’s why I confuse my friends so much.

1 Peter 2:11–12

Beloved, I urge you ... to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God.

When the pastor of the Dove Outreach Center tweeted that he was going to burn Korans, I immediately said that I thought this was a bad idea. It’s not that I’m not committed to Christianity or that I harbor secret feelings of admiration for Muslims. I was in opposition to the Koran-burning simply because I think it is unnecessarily provocative.

I’ve been mulling over in my mind what I wanted to say on the blog about this and really had not come up with anything worth sharing. But then I listened to a recent podcast from The White Horse Inn and the answer was obvious. Christians should not burn the Koran because it is our job to spread the evangel—the Good News. Burning someone else’s holy book is not a great way to tell them good news of any sort, and certainly not the good news that Jesus Christ is the messiah—the Mahdi they have not yet recognized as Isa Al Maseech (Jesus).

In other words, we are called to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), but we are not called to be contentious. In fact, that passage in Jude says:

I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Muslims certainly deny Jesus as Savior, but they have not “crept in unnoticed” and they are not, as far as I know, “perverting the grace of God into sensuality.”

I have often been contentious, but that is not what God has called us to. He has called us to reach out to a lost and dying world and to share his love—calling on folks everywhere to repent and turn to Christ as their savior, not to burn items that are precious to them to show that we disagree.


September 12, 2010

Blog Header - September 8, 2010

I took the picture for this blog header just one week ago today. We noticed a lot of black smoke rising behind our house, so we called 911 to report it, we grabbed our cameras, and headed to the fire. It was a large barn fire, so we weren’t able to get very close to the fire, but we did get a lot of photos of the emergency vehicles coming and going and the various emergency services personnel engaged in the firefight.

I added the border and the blog title and then aged the picture in Photoshop. I cut the picture into two sections to increase the effect of the aged photo. I like the final result primarily because the trucks and the people’s outfits make it quite clear that it’s not really an old photo.

September 11, 2010

Growing Together

Lance snapped this photo a couple of weeks ago when we went to visit Linville Falls, NC. It matched a quote I found about a year ago, and so I thought I'd share the two together with our readers:


"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two." -Captain Corelli's Mandolin

I'd like to add this youtube video which I posted on my husband's Facebook wall today.


September 11 - the proper response


September 10, 2010


To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die

I love this old hymn. And it just seemed like the right day to post it.


There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood

William Cowper

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.


September 08, 2010

Blog Header - September 5, 2010

I took the photo used in this header a couple weeks ago on Skyline Drive. I got up early on a Saturday morning (about 4:00 am) and was on the Drive well before 5:00. As the sun rose over the mountains I took quite a few pictures. It’s gorgeous up there any time of day (or night), but sunrise is especially inspiring.

September 07, 2010

The Culture of Death

About 15 years ago I worked for a pro-life organization as editor of their bi-monthly magazine. Although I have been pro-life as long as I have been able to form an opinion on the matter, my association with this organization introduced me to horrors the general public simply never hears.

At times I wondered if some of the stories I heard were overstatements because the depravity and evil nature of those involved in the stories boggled my mind. But I came to realize that the abortion industry’s sanitized image—courtesy of a willingly complicit public media—is far from the truth. Abortion is a great evil against mankind and the closer you get to these purveyors of death, the realization of the moral sewage swirling around it becomes clearer and clearer.

When an abortion clinic in Maryland was ordered to stop their operations pending an investigation into a woman who had been injured at the clinic, the investigators found horrors in the abortion clinic that made them sick. The investigators found, among other evidences of great evil, a collection of jars containing the remains of the aborted babies—apparently kept as some sort of souvenirs.

Matthew Archbold of the National Catholic Register writes:

I used to think that the abortion industry were simply capitalists who allowed their greed to override their humanity. I used to think that maybe it was just feminism run amok and that cooler heads would eventually prevail. I used to think that pro-lifers were simply up against the extreme of secularized logic. Over the past few years though I’ve come to believe that it’s more than that. It’s worse than that. We’re immersed in a culture with a death fetish. Our fascination with death is boundless.

More: Doctor’s four-state abortion business under investigation

September 05, 2010

Blog Header - September 1, 2010

This is another photo from the Warren County Fair Truck & Tractor Pull. I have always loved taking pictures of the people at events. It seems like a little slice of time that I can revisit in the future. It’s fun to look back at these sorts of photos many years later and to remember how the world was as represented by that photo.

September 01, 2010

Blog Header - August 29, 2010

I took this photo at the Warren County Fair truck and tractor pull. I thought this couple looked the part. It was fun experiencing something that is a bit out of the norm for our family but is characteristic of the town we love so much.

American by birth – Libertarian by choice


ast Saturday I joined the throngs of people who traveled the nation’s highways to gather together in Washington, D.C. We came at Glenn Beck’s call, but we were there to stand up for our nation against the seemingly evil advances of our nation’s government. Glenn had a different idea, which was outstanding. He pointed us to God. And that is truly where we all need to start—with God and focusing on conforming ourselves to the image of Christ.

But even though Glenn’s rally featured non-political speakers, those in attendance represent the folks who are determined to make use of our right to vote this coming November.

Most of the people gathered along the Reflecting Pool would be described as Conservative—possibly even Republican. But I am of a more Libertarian bent. I believe Glenn Beck is a Libertarian. I believe our founding fathers could be described as libertarians. And I also believe the bible proclaims principles that encourage a libertarian point of view.

So when I began to read Henry David Thoreau’s On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, I was pleased to read the opening paragraph of the book:

I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe—“That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

I don’t agree with Thoreau on many things, but I am in full agreement with that paragraph.

May the November 2010 elections stand as the point in time when the United States turned direction and began to roll back government. We are well past due.