Wood for the still

The maple sugar house I visited uses the one fuel they have plenty of for distilling the syrup – trees. Maple sap is 98% water, so it has to be boiled down quite a bit to make the syrup we all love.

As in a dream

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” ~ Douglas H. Everett

On an overcast day in Vermont, this house just looked kind of dreamy. Here’s a posterized view:

Rich colors

Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.  ~ Lydia M. Child (1802 – 1880) American abolitionist and women’s rights advocate

A simple ornamental vine, but beautiful.

Bluebeard

My two year old is a messy eater. This is purple cupcake icing.

She has, as you can see, really large eyes. This may be what is known in Mexico as ojos tapatios, which is a complement given to women from the Mexican state of Jalisco (my wife’s birthplace), who are known for having large, beautiful eyes.

There are songs by that name, a 1961 movie whose title was translated “Mexican eyes,”  and of course, this year’s Miss Universe is from Jalisco, and her eyes have been a centerpiece of the discussions about her beauty.

Harvest leftovers

There are three easy ways of losing money – racing is the quickest, women the most pleasant, and farming the most certain. ~ Lord Amherst

Many people don’t realize that after the harvesters go through the fields, there’s about 20% left over.  Farmers plow this back into the dirt, which gives nutrients to the next crop. It’s just not worth the money to go in after these remains. Pity, huh?

Laid-back worship

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. ~ John 4:23

A little acoustic soul this weekend, really melodic. I love that you don’t have to dress up to come to church (though you can), and that even the worship folks can wear shorts, even go shoeless! God sees the heart, not the clothes.

Baptism

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?   For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. ~ Romans 6:3-5 (NLT)

Many people misunderstand the Biblical view of water baptism. Some think it’s for ‘saving’ your children through the sacrament of baptism, but this is just not biblical. What *is* Biblical is something that has been come to be known as ‘believer’s baptism,’ as opposed to ‘infant baptism’ – you don’t see any infants baptized in the Bible.

Baptism is an outward sign that we make that says “I now believe that Jesus died for my sins and arose from the dead. I believe that by receiving him into my heart, I become a new person, beginning the process of being restored to whom I was created to be. I die to my old selfish worldly life and slavery to sin, and rise to a new life. In addition, I believe that I will rise from the dead, just as He did.

We had a handful of adults and older children make that statement through baptism this weekend. Awesome.

A place to learn

“If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?” ~ Dr. Laurence J. Peter

My brainy 6 year-old and her new desk setup. She is so pleased to have a place to do her homework, other than the kitchen table.

Inspired art

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~ Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert)

My 6 year-old daughter’s depiction of father and mother.

A feast for the eyes

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.  ~ Chinese Proverb

This photo is unedited – just a beautiful ornamental vine.

Let us not forget

I am not done remembering the horror of 9/11, and what we should have learned from it.

Some say we should have learned that we need to have a gentler foreign policy towards Muslim countries. That may be true.

Others have said that not only did we deserve 9/11 based on our foreign policy ‘sins’ against Muslims, but we deserved it as judgment for our other sins like abortion, sexual immorality, and greed. That too may be true, and is certainly in line with God’s judgment in the bible (see The Wrath of God I – Five Types of Divine Anger).

Still others say that this was the work of mere fanatics, and has no real relationship to Islam proper. Here, I must disagree. Did you see the reports of Muslims world wide celebrating the 9/11 attack? This is no minority. Worse, I think a majority of ‘peaceful’ Muslims agreed silently to themselves. There are plenty of surveys showing this to be true also.

My bottom line continues to be – Islam as an ideology is a scurge to be resisted, criticized, and overcome with better ideas like Christianity and secularism.

Roots of murder

Another tree stump which eerily looks like a human body. I take this second day to remember the victims of 9/11, and to remind us that Islam is not just another religion, it’s a violent, misogynistic, pedophilic, domineering, anti-semitic, and perverse religion that has shed blood since its inception, and one of the main enemies of modern humanity. Do yourself a favor, go listen to ex-muslims like those listed below and don’t be fooled by the pretty face of the millions of good muslims who ‘fail’ to follow Mohammed’s violent example.