Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

5.28.2009

Missing the Link



So I was on the Google homepage, and I noticed a strange icon in the place where they usually put "Happy Columbus Day" or "Happy Fourth of July." Curious, I clicked on it to find out what vital information I was missing out on. To my surprise, the great holiday was the discovery of the newest claimed evolutionary “missing link,” Ida. Another addition to the embarrassing list of Lucys, Neanderthals, and Piltdowns! Apparently, however, this one is special (and I say that with a serious sarcastic inflection!). In fact, there is an entire marketing force behind this little lemur, including a book, a documentary, and a website that claims this fossil is rewriting history! This is the most complete fossil primate ever discovered, and evolutionist Jorn Hurum claims that “this is the first link to all humans, [representing] the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor." However, upon further research, I discovered that quite the opposite is true. Instead of being a half-lemur and half-human Frankenstein, this fossil is almost exactly the same as a modern lemur, having a few minor variations (like its teeth) that could easily be variations within its own kind. In fact, the amazing preservation of Ida, much of its fur, the contents of its stomach, and the many fossils around it actually point to a catastrophic world flood!
How could so many people who appear to be so smart have it so wrong? For those who believe that God created the world, every new claim of the discovery of a “missing link” brings sighs, and every new proof of a hoax or exaggeration causes us to wonder how much longer all these “smart” people will continue to miss the truth! How much longer will they make up their theory and then skip off with a shovel to try to prove it? Their blindness would almost be laughable if it weren’t so depressing. By way of solving the problem, we sagely observe that they should first examine the evidence and then base their theories off that.
It's time for the magnifying glass to turn the other direction. When I actually looked closer at my sage observation, I realized that I often repeat the same foolish process, and I end up in the same place, which is far from truth. I plant myself on a doctrine or belief, and then I skim through the Bible to find proof. Sure, I may find my missing link to support my belief, but I end up with a falsehood! I remember when I was about 14, and I had to write a paper answering from Scripture a specific question about the role of women. At the time, the details of a woman’s Biblical role were quite foreign to me, and I was struggling with where I stood. I had my own (wrong) biases, however, and I somehow managed to twist Scripture and support the same conclusion I had started with. The only difference between what I did and what evolutionists do is that I used Scripture to fill in my gaps rather than bones.
How did I end up with the wrong answer? I believe that I was missing the real link. All those scientists with PhDs and maybe some of you as well are missing the link. Yes, we all look at evidence through our own bias, but truth is absolute. When we twist truth to try to link our ideas with it, we end up with lies. There is only one sure link to all of life’s questions, and Christ is that link of truth.
I Corinthians 3:11-13, 18-19 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work….Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness.’”

Instead of using skewed evidence to link my hypothesis to the conclusion, I need to grab hold of the main link of truth and never let go. Only then can I see the lies and reject man’s ideas that don’t fit. Only then can I see Ida for what she really is: simply one famous (but dead) lemur!

Sources:
>>http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/090519-missing-link-found.html
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/05/19/ida-missing-link
https://www.wtgnh.com/wtgnh/support/chain.jpg
http://www.revealingthelink.com/

5.26.2009

A Matter of Life and Death

Life has been keeping itself ever before me these days. Two weddings in the last week, the imminent birth of a friend’s baby, three birthdays this weekend, Memorial Day, and the announcement of pregnancy by another friend have all reiterated not only the cycle of life, but also the preciousness of life. The only thing missing from my list is an essential component of life: death. That happened too, though. Approximately 25,900 innocent lives were snuffed out in the last seven days alone in the USA because of abortion. And Washington state experienced the first repercussion of the curse her citizens so gladly embraced last November. After becoming the second state in the nation to allow assisted suicide, Washington’s law allowed a doctor to murder when he was trained to heal, and he successfully aided a 66-year-old woman in killing herself. Linda Fleming purposefully ended her own life with the help of a doctor on Thursday, May 21st, 2009. Hers was the first legal physician-assisted suicide in Washington state.
Life is the most precious gift one can ever receive or ever give. Life provides the ultimate test of fidelity, the greatest opportunity for sacrifice, the best way to show love, and the easiest way to show selfishness. Life is in the hands of our Creator. Job 1:21 says, “…Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Readers, I feel a bit as though I am “preaching to the choir” here. It is likely that the vast majority of you agree with me; you believe abortion is wrong. You think euthanasia is never right. However, I have to ask you; are you suiting actions to words? What have you done in this past week filled with life—but also overflowing with needless death—to stand up for life? There are countless ways one can stand up for life, from volunteering at a Caring Pregnancy Center to serving a large family that believes every child is a gift from God. From getting the word out about a ballot initiative to honoring and helping those “old” people in your life whom society views as useless. From fasting and praying and getting right with God so that nationwide revival can start with personal revival to standing alone in a debate amongst friends and lovingly proclaiming the preciousness of life.
My great-grandma came to America fifty years ago after experiencing Hitler’s cruelty. He wanted to eliminate every person that didn’t match up to his idea of ‘perfection’. One way he did this was by denying his victims enough food and water; today we call these atrocious events murder. What do we call starving a disabled woman to death (as was done in the case of Terri Schiavo)? Starting with Roe v. Wade, and continuing with progressively more lenient sentences for murderers, the murdering of embryonic cells for “research”, and physician-assisted suicide, our society has failed to honor life. I leave you with a quote from an excellent article entitled “The Devaluing of Human Life” : “‘The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”’ When we devalue God we devalue human life. When we honor God, we give value to human life.”

For further reading, please visit:
http://www.lvanwerven.com/2009/05/washington-states-first-assisted.html
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008352033_1000prop05m.html

5.22.2009

A Trip and Two Tests

Mikaela filled you in on two days of our trip last week, but we left on Tuesday and returned on Sunday. What else did we do besides wedding stuff? Here are a few more pictures from our whirlwind trip to Spokane and Idaho.

Vacation's all about sleeping in, right? These two guys definitely think so!

We were able to get together with a lot of Mama's family who live in Spokane.
From left to right is my Uncle Andy, Mama, Grandpa, Aunt Esther, and Aunt Carol. It had been awhile since we had seen them, so the family gathering over pizza and pop was quite fun!

Mikaela teaches little Jordan how to high-five. He loved it! He is our Uncle Andy's grandson, or our first cousin once removed...are you confused yet?


Aunt Esther shows off her tough side with Susanna! She just got a moped that gets a sweet 100 miles to the gallon!



While visiting Bobcha (our Polish Great-grandma on Dad's side),
our Great-uncle Anton came by.
I hadn't realized his hidden talent before, but we soon found ourselves in the presence of a
Yo-Yo Ma(ster)!





One problem: Susanna's yo-yo cost $1, and Uncle Anton is used to
$50 ones!



He still made that cheap yo-yo look pretty good with the machine gun, rock the cradle, and jail tricks among many others that I can't remember. And I have trouble getting the yo-yo up and down! (-:




Out of nowhere Bobcha gave this cute cookie jar to Jonah. Bobcha means "sweet old lady" in Polish, and that is what we have always called her. At 94 years old, Bobcha says she is ready for heaven, but we sure aren't ready for her to go!



As we chatted with Uncle Anton, Uncle Bob and Uncle Joe dropped by (along with Hank the weiner dog). These three men, along with my grandma, came over from Germany with Bobcha and Great-grandpa right after World War II. My Great-grandpa had been forced into Hitler's army, and their three boys had been forced into a Nazi institution. They have many stories to tell, and it is always fascinating to get together with them.


Strangely enough, we didn't really get any pictures of Grandma and Grandpa on my dad's side, although we stayed several nights with them. This picture is from when they were in Hawaii, though. They live on Couer d'Alene lake, and we always enjoy visiting them! Bonfires on the beach, a big breakfast on our last day, and walking by the beautiful lake are all highlights!



On the way home, we stopped at White's Pass, a ski resort, to have a picnic lunch. Everything was closed up for the year, but that didn't stop us from having a good snowball fight!


I was determined to get Anna!


Check out Jonah's expression at being hit by Dad!


"Snow in May! This is awesome! Now who's my next target?"

Melanie thinking, "Are we there yet?"
So that wraps up our trip. As soon as we got home, though Mikaela and I were plunged back into school. On Wednesday, we took our finals for the semester. This means that I can officially announce that we are done with school for the summer! In case you do not realize the significance of this important fact, we have not had a summer break for two or three years. This also means no more all-nighters of studying, more time with family, and a lot less deadlines!
I must admit, though, that I already have a to-do list long enough to keep me busy until next year. So enjoy your summer, and meanwhile I'm going to get started on that list!

5.19.2009

Our Triplet is Married!

Left to Right: Megan A.
Mikaela
Lauren

You probably knew that I am a twin, but did you know that I am also a triplet? What are the odds that three babies are born on the same day? What are the odds that their parents are friends? Furthermore, what are the odds that, 19 years later, they still keep in touch despite the fact that one family lives in Washington and the other in Idaho? Pretty incredible, let me tell you--but definitely possible. Last week my family and I traveled to the Idaho panhandle to help Megan celebrate her marriage to Matthew A..
Megan (l), Matt (in back), me (center), and Lauren (right) the day before the big day!
The parents of the bride!
Thing One (otherwise known as Anthony, but commonly known as Tony)--the bride's brother
hamming it up (as usual).

The wedding was held outside at the A.'s lovely home, so Megan asked Lauren and I to play all of the wedding ceremony music on our violins. There we are (above, left) playing during the rehearsal. That's Crystal (Megan's cousin) and Tony skipping down the aisle after the rehearsal.

In the picture above, right, we are doing exactly what it looks like we are doing: cutting individual hydrangea blossoms and sticking hundreds of them into cheesecakes. Very beautiful, but...

The wedding party! Notice the littlest bridesmaid (Kaytelin, Megan's sister) holding hands with the ring bearer, Samuel. ;-)

















We love you Megan! May the Lord bless your and Matt's life together!
All pictures courtesy of Mama, except for the rehearsal pictures, which were taken by Nick A..

5.15.2009

Preacher Jonah

Last Saturday Jonah, the youngest member of our family, turned seven. It’s hard to believe, but he is growing up and already planning what he wants to be when he is “all grown up.” I have shown you several pictures of him that would suggest he is an aspiring actor, but he actually has no such desire. Almost his entire life, he has wanted to be a fireman. Watching Fireproof did not dissuade him (for some strange reason, he fell asleep in the middle), and he still wants to be a firefighter. (If I were going to be literally honest, though, I would have to tell you that he sometimes waffles between fireman and speed bump maker.)

However, I was working on my laptop one day a few weeks ago when I discovered that he had somehow been on it when I wasn’t around. The result: several very interesting sound bytes. Since he recorded them on my laptop, I am assuming that he is giving me full permission to use them….Anyways, this especially adorable one must have been recorded to work on some of his counseling skills, as he gives good advice to a chronic stealer and tries to back it up with Scripture. I don’t think we’re looking at a firefighter here. These are the definite tell-tale signs of a preacher. (-:
The “transcript” is below to read while you listen, as, true to form, our preacher hasn’t quite figured out microphones yet. Enjoy!



video

“Hello! What are you doing?”
“Well, I’m not sure.”
“Well, perhaps while you’re stealing, or whatever you’re doing, maybe you would like to hear something. ‘Do not steal, for God is not mocked. Whoever soweth should not reap.’ Galatians 6:7
“Oh, and now another Bible verse. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that who-sho-ever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

5.12.2009

A Book on Your Head & Tabs on Your Dress Part II


Read Part I here if you haven't already!
...All of a sudden, however, someone approached me. Someone whom God had mysteriously endowed with an innate knowledge of not only the origin of gritty molasses, but also the exact location of all hide-away-keys: a man....I have to say that somehow, I just knew that this young man offering his help would know more than me about finding mysterious keys that have all-but drowned in gritty molasses (not hard to do, I have to admit). He actually LAID DOWN on the pavement (on top of his nice hoodie, mind you) to look up under the car and try to spot the key.

“It’s magnetic, right?” he asked. This I knew, and I told him so. “Well, then it’s gotta be right here on the ____ [insert whatever word is proper, because I sure don’t remember], right? But it’s not here.” After looking for many more minutes, he finally lifted himself up off the wet pavement and announced authoritatively, “it’s just not there.” Somehow, Lauren’s cell conversation with Papa at that moment changed from, “tell me where it is again?” to a confident “nope—it’s not there.” Seeing that there was nothing more he could do, the man bid us good day and went to begin his shopping. In the end, when Papa came to unlock the car, he too came to the same conclusion as the nameless helpful fellow. So what is the point of my tale: to say that if you know the inner workings of cars you cannot be a lady? Hogwash (pardon the usage, but I assure you that it is fully sterilized of swine flu). Am I saying that ladies must play the dumb damsel in distress? No, of course not (although I, unfortunately, fit that bill quite nicely during this incident). My point, however, is that gentlemen are different from ladies. In my case, the difference between myself and most of the male population manifests itself quite obviously when it comes to automobiles. There are all sorts of other possibilities, though. My position is this: women are different from men.

In Auschwitz and the many other brutal Nazi concentration camps of World War II, the women were stripped of their clothes, bereft of their hair, often sterilized, and treated exactly the same as men, with just as many back-breaking tasks and just as many mind-numbing punishments. However, amidst this seemingly genderless sea of shaved living skeletons known only by their numbers, there were thousands of true ladies. This is because, while a lady makes use of “props” to aid in her femininity, womanhood is an essence of being, not a proper paper doll. While at my piano lessons once, the lady whose daughter comes before me was complementing me on my attire. “You always dress so nicely!” she said. My piano teacher interjected. “Yes, she always looks lovely—exactly like a lady. But you know what?” He asked. “She doesn’t just dress like a lady. She is a lady.”

I’d like to think that I could aspire to their comments, which I know I have not yet fully reached. However, what I most appreciated about this comment was that this man recognized and acknowledged that there is a clear difference between someone who just looks like a lady and someone who is a lady. A lady should make it simple for another to peg her as a lady by her dress, her actions, and her words. However, disguising herself (in many cases as a man) does not mean that she is not a lady. By contrast, there are many females who are not ladies at all, but dress up in costume to appear as a lady. Thus, one must be careful on both sides of the spectrum, knowing that the inner lady, while most important, is best manifested by the outer lady. Do not be like the contradictory lady spoken of in Isaiah 47:7 and 10: “And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it….For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.”

There are plenty of paper dolls masquerading as ladies, but there are very few women who become ladies from the inside out, letting their inner femininity dictate their outer attire, hair, words, actions, and—yes—even their stride. Let us all remember in our endeavors to be ladies (or, in the case of the gentlemen reading this, your interactions with ladies) that there are two kinds: beautifully lady-like paper dolls with equally flimsy and…well…paper souls, and living, breathing, tangible ladies who, by the grace of God—hair or no hair, name or no name, respect or no respect, food or no food—are, and always will be, ladies.

5.08.2009

Death by Limes


Last week, I was having a serious craving for morir sonando. In case you have never had this treat before, let me give you a bit of background. It is a drink from the Dominican Republic, and the name literally means "to die dreaming." I completely agree. Who needs death by chocolate when you can go this way?! (Let's have a quick language lesson to make sure you pronounce this correctly. More + ear= morir. Sewn + yawn +doe = sonando. Wonderful! Now back to the post...)
This drink is a delicious mixture of milk and lime juice. (Although some people use oranges or lemons, I have never tried those.) So, off to the store, I bought the necessary limes, came home, and got busy! Watch the fun and I'll introduce you to this strange but addictively delicious drink!



The first step is to juice the limes, because one can only use fresh lime juice for this!
Jonah was my helper and co-juicer.





My co-juicer got creative and made a piece of
Fruit Architecture. The sign says "Lining Tower of Limea! No lining tower of Pesa!"



Micah helped too!




You must pour the juice into a pitcher with sugar, and keep pouring back and forth.



















And pouring, and pouring, and pouring....



Now for the taste test. Check out those eyes!


I think we have a winner!

The Morir Sonando displayed in a place of honor!
Here is the recipe for this delicacy, which is quite easy to make:
3 cups of milk
Juice from 3 limes
10 tablespoons of sugar (I start with a little less, and add until I like the taste)
Plenty of crushed ice (About thirty crushed ice cubes)
A dash of salt (for taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preparation
Use three pitchers, large jars or similar tall containers. Juice the limes and place the juice in one of the containers, adding sugar, salt, and vanilla. Pour back and forth from one container to another until sugar is mostly dissolved.
Add half the ice. Pour the ice and lime back and forth a number of times until it is very cold. Taste. It should be tangy but slightly sweet, like tart-sweet lemonade. Add more sugar if required, and pour back and forth some more to dissolve.
In the third, clean pitcher, place the milk and the rest of the cracked ice. Pour back and forth, using the second empty container, until it too is extremely chilled. Work quickly so the lime juice doesn't have a chance to warm up.
Quickly combine the milk and lime mixtures, pouring back and forth a few times to allow it to combine and not curdle. Chill if necessary.
This recipe made a pitcherful, so it was about enough for everyone in our family to have one glass.
So there you have it: morir sonando! Tangy, smooth, creamy, and refreshing--I may never go back to lemonade! And after sharing all these pictures with you, I think I need to make some more morir soon. Very soon.
Note: All of the beautiful photos were taken by Mikaela. The recipe was adapted from one on wikipedia.com

5.05.2009

A Book on Your Head & Tabs on Your Dress Part I

This is Part I of a two-part series. Use what you learn in the series not only to make necessary changes in your own lives, but also to gain new ways of appreciating your mother this Sunday (Mother's Day). And, for the gentlemen readers: while you may not necessarily ponder on how to become a lady ;-), you can apply this information to the way you interact with and encourage all the ladies around you.

Is being a lady superficial? Who of you would deny that being a lady could include modest, feminine clothing; practical homemaking skills; and a nurturing, loving manner? If, however, you did none of this, could you still be a lady? In essence, am I a lady because of what I do or because of who I am?
Several weeks ago, I was skipping casually up our stairs when Papa handed me a book.
“Thanks!” I said lightheartedly. “I guess I need to work on my head posture, huh?” (This as I proceeded to place the book on my head in reference to the painstaking training from bygone eras.)
Papa surprised me with his serious response. “Instead of working on balancing books on your head, perhaps it would be better to work on graceful, soft steps.” After thanking him for his feedback, my brain went into overload. How many other “book balancing” activities do I subject myself to when it is not only superfluous, nonessential, and impractical, but also unnecessary from the viewpoint of my father and God? In contrast, how many things do I flippantly disregard—the way I walk is important?!—when both God and my parents value it? There are many things that my parents and I have discarded as “fluff” or flat-out wrong. The world sincerely calls wearing revealing clothing that shows off the feminine form “lady-like,” but a lady never sells herself on clearance. A more subtle conundrum is that of intelligence. Many say that a true woman is made of brains and proceed to fill her mind with knowledge while neglecting her soul. Although I believe that the mind is an important part of a lady (I am, after all, doing college online), I believe that the soul is even more important.
Perhaps it is easier to define a lady by what she is not than by what she is. The easiest way to go about this is to acknowledge that a lady is not a man. She should not look like a man nor should she act like a man. I experienced a graphic illustration of this recently when Lauren and I were out doing errands. Up until this point, I had managed to avoid all driving-related maladies (a speeding ticket, locking one’s keys in the car, accident, dead battery…), but the inevitable finally occurred: I locked my keys in the car. I didn’t realize it until we had shopped, checked out, and scampered through the rain, Lauren standing with her hand on the handle in her haste to escape the downpour falling on us at a slant from the wind. After the first dreadful realization, I grimly pulled up my coat sleeve (my nice wool coat sleeve, mind you) knelt on the parking lot (my nice brown skirt getting drenched and muddy, mind you) while I stuck my hand (my nice hand, mind you) up into the cavernous openings of the front of the van and endeavored to find THE KEY. The hide-away-key, you see, which Papa had once dutifully showed to me. It must have been many eons ago, though, because somehow, I just couldn’t quite remember where that elusive key was! So there I was, getting more drenched by the minute, my arm covered in some sort of thick, black, sticky substance, the origin of which I have no idea (you guys can define it, I’m sure, but for you girls, I would describe it as something akin to gritty molasses). All of a sudden, however, someone approached me. Someone who God had mysteriously endowed with an innate knowledge of not only the origin of gritty molasses, but also the exact location of all hide-away-keys: a man. Now, to all of you ladies who do have a keen knowledge of cars and hide-away keys, I apologize for perpetuating a stereotype. But I have to say that somehow, I just knew that this young man offering his help would know more than me about finding mysterious keys that have all-but drowned in gritty molasses (not hard to do, I have to admit). He actually LAID DOWN on the pavement (on top of his nice hoodie, mind you) to look up under the car and try to spot the key.

Stay tuned for Part II next Tuesday.

5.01.2009

Susanna is 12!

Whether you call her Susanna, Anna Banana (a good one if you want to rile her up!), Anna Belle, or the ever popular Anna, she is a blessing to our family! She also has the honor of having the first birthday of the year (April 30th) which means that birthday season has officially begun for our family. Who cares about hunting season--it's all cake (or most likely pie), ice cream, and presents until August for us! Here are some pictures from yesterday's celebration.


Jonah worked hard on his sign for his big sis. It fell down a couple of times,
but he never gave up!



Susanna and our dear friend Sandi King.
We stayed at the King's house when Susanna was born.

Sandi's husband, Ron. They were Anna's special guests!



I quote Ron: "He's gonna be your actor!" Sigh. (-;



Susanna requested that everyone come in costume, although some of
the adults came dressed up as moms, dads, and grandmas. (-; Some of our costumes are subtle, so I'll help you out: Mikaela's a 50s girl and Susanna and I dressed up as Hawaiian girls.


Melanie was--what else--a pig. Oink! Sadly, she was ostracized by a
family in terror of contracting Swine Flu. However, we are happy to report that none of her 200+ pigs have come down with it yet. We still don't go near them though.







Mom told Anna to plant a wet one on Micah after his sweet gift
(which involved a treasure hunt for Susanna).





She got all twelve candles!



This was the year for treasure hunts, because Mama
made one for Susanna for her big gift.



Where's the next clue!



Suprise! Now Susanna doesn't have to use the bike that
Mikaela, I, and Melanie have all used!
Happy Birthday, Susanna! We love you so much! You complete our girl's quartet, add a spark of joy to our family, and enjoy being our girly-girl. We thank God for you!
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