“We can’t take someone else’s rights away to avoid our responsibilities.”

Saw this at Mommy Life and had to share!

Twelve year old Lia Mills wrote this speech for a contest at school. On March 12, 2009, she was given the Susan B. Anthony Young Leader Award.

My favorite line: “You have to remember that with our rights come responsibilities, and we can’t take someone else’s rights away to avoid our responsibilities.” (Wow. Applicable in so many ways!)

Mills ends the speech by bringing in a quote from Horton Hears a Who!

The full version of the speech can be found here.

Song: One Thirty Nine (w/ Audio)

I dedicate this hymn to my grandmother, Jean Phenicie. I’m looking forward to our next visit, when we can sing it together while she plays her baby grand.

During an Easter celebration, at a church in northern Japan, my friend Miyo secretly put my name in for the “talent show” to sing this song. She apparently had saved a scrawled copy of the lyrics I had shown her over coffee. She made a photo copy of the lyrics, and grabbed our mutual friend Karen. We had a five minute rehearsal in the foyer (which was quite chilly, being as there is still snow there in the early spring), and then the three of us sang in front of about 100 people.

The lyrics are based on Psalm 139.

Click HERE to listen to a really bad recording of me singing this song! :) Yes, I’m singing all three parts. Recorded in the tub room (where the acoustics were best) of our house in Japan.

Where can I go from Your Spirit, Lord
Where can I flee from Your face?
Darkness and light are alike to You.
You’re acquainted with all my ways

Even the dark is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day
Try me and know all my anxious thoughts;
And Le-ad me in the everlasting way.

Your eyes they saw me before my birth
I am fearf’lly and wond’rflly made
Wonderful are all Your mighty works,
All my days for me you ordained

How precious are Your thoughts to me
they outnumber the grains of sand
You understand my thoughts from afar
You hold me up with your right hand

Pancakes for the Sickies

Tabitha went from being playful and fine to coughing, wheezing and a 103.1 F fever in the span of about two hours last night. (*Micah and Aiden have been coughing for the past few days, but no fever.)

Tom sat in the arm chair and hugged Tabitha, who was sitting on his lap, while we took her temperature. At one point, Tom smiled and said ‘Flever’. Instead of laughing, Tabitha flung her arms around his neck tightly and started to cry. “Oh no! What’s a flever?”, she said, thinking it was more serious than a fever.

Tom had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, and I finally made him go to bed at 1:30am while I waited a bit longer for Tabitha’s temperature to drop in the lukewarm bath – with bubbles to make it more fun!

Tabitha didn’t want the other kids to get sick because of her coughing and asked to sleep in the living room. (Tab’s such a thoughtful little pumpkin!) She and I quietly tiptoed around the sleeping kids – the tatami floor does a great job of muffling sneaky feet – and we carried out her futon, pillow and blankets to the living room.

I was really looking forward to “Tully’s at Ten” Bible study this morning, and to Easter dinner at church tonight, but I can’t make it to either. **This afternoon, I am cooking the lamb slices for the dinner, so one of my friends from church is going to pick it up on the way. (This same dear friend is momentarily bringing by a Tully’s coffee for me :) I am so happy the ladies are meeting this morning, with the biggest turnout yet, I might add, even though I couldn’t make it!)

Tabitha asked for apple pancakes this morning, so of course I obliged! As Becky would say, “Feet, don’t fail me now!”

Here is my favorite pancake recipe, concocted in a similar stupor to the one I’m in now as a matter of fact : ” ‘It StIlL FeElS LiKe MoNdaY’ Tuesday Morning Pancakes”

Although the recipe calls for Granny Smith Apples, we can’t get those here – just Aomori Apples. I have a feeling that to eat any other kind of apple here would offend the Japanese farmers! Aomori Apples are the sweetest apples I’ve ever tasted. Yet, unlike many sweet varieties, they are very crisp and good for baking. The oldest apple tree in Japan is in our town, Kashiwa. Check out Hello Kitty’s Travel Japan Blog on Aomori Apples, which has some great photos of our apple-themed town. )

Break’s over… Back to my day, reflecting on being a nurse for the Great Physician to get me through and on Psalm 139, (< --- click on the link! I wrote a song about it :) ), my favorite. -- * Ugh! Micah has a fever now! 101 degrees F. ** Miyo, my Japanese potter friend, and Karen, my English teacher friend from New Zealand, stopped by after Bible study! Karen brought a cappuccino for me, and Miyo offered to cook the lamb I had intended to bring to a church dinner and take it for me so I can rest! I feel so loved...

Sin Too Great For God To Forgive?

To think that a sin is too great for God to forgive is to think that Christ’s blood is not sufficient – that is, Christ’s sacrifice is not good enough.

This thought can be applied to our own lives, when we worry about that one sin we hope no one ever finds out about – or wish that no one had – or when we have a hard time forgiving others for what they have done to us.

Romans 8 (whole chapter)

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.’

Hebrews 9:11-14 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

One of my favorite tracts, which is now out of print, can be found in its entirety online here: I’m Still Learning to Forgive by Corrie ten Boom

(Before you continue reading, if you are not familiar with the story of Corrie ten Boom, please read this first.)

It was in a church in Munich where I was speaking in 1947 that I saw him–a balding heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat, the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones.

Memories of the concentration camp came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment of skin.

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. This man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: “A fine message, fraulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!”

It was the first time since my release that I had been face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

“You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,” he was saying. “I was a guard there. But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein–” again the hand came out–“will you forgive me?”

And I stood there–and could not. Betsie had died in that place–could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it–I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. “Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.

With Corrie’s willingness came God’s power to forgive her former captor.

When you and I are willing to see our need for God’s forgiveness, He is willing and able to forgive our sins. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23). But it goes on to explain that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

You too can know the same forgiveness and salvation that transformed Corrie and the former Nazi guard: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Tamago: Eggs in Japan

In a grocery store where seasoned dried fish bites eclipse potato chips on the snack food aisle, familiar food is always comforting.

The egg, a.k.a. tamago, is one such item.

Eggs are easy to prepare, versatile and healthy to eat.

More importantly, though, eggs are identifiable to this American mom without having to break out the katakana and hiragana charts. (Unlike trying to discern the regular milk from the “yogurt milk,” which are sold side by side in nearly identical cartons, and will alarm taste buds if one accidentally buys the latter and pours it unsuspectingly on breakfast cereal).

Japan utilizes the metric system. The application to egg storage and sales are no eggception ;) (Couldn’t resist!) Eggs in are sold in clear plastic cartons in quantities of ten instead of twelve, unless you purchase them on a military base, where a little Japanese grandma in a back room unpacks Japanese eggs repacks them by the dozen in gray cardboard cartons and finally breaks even when she’s filled 120 cartons. (Kidding!)

Eggs are sold in a variety of sizes, and in a Japanese grocery store ten small eggs will cost about 150 ¥, 160 ¥ for medium eggs and 170 ¥ for large eggs.


Because hard boiled eggs store easily, they are a popular bento appetizer. Just about every store has an aisle dedicated to making bento beautiful. At “The Great Superstore” we discovered florescent plastic egg molds that turn the ordinary egg into an extraordinary lunchtime creature pal. Simply place the hard boiled egg into the clamshell creature mold, latch the mold shut, and throw it back into boiling water for a few minutes and presto! The once-oval chicken egg pops out looking like a kawaii (cute) sakana (fish)!


One of our favorite ramen shops at the Elm Mall in Goshogowara serves an oversized bowl of shell-on boiled eggs to enjoy with table shio (salt) while waiting for the delicious main course.

Other restaurants, such as the Sukiya, an inexpensive Japanese-style curry chain, serve a raw egg to crack open and add as a condiment to gyudon. (After dining at the previously mentioned ramen shop, it should be noted that two of our children (with my uninformed blessing) ordered the raw egg from Sukiya’s ala carte picture menu and quickly discovered that they were not the hard boiled eggs they were craving, resulting in two very large globs of egg goo on our table. It may be a while until we go back again. Just sayin’! )

Here are a few eggcellent Japanese tamago dishes everyone should try. Please note that I’ve linked to episodes of my favorite Japanese cooking show in English, “Cooking With Dog,” wherever possible :

Omurice (Chicken Rice Wrapped with Fried Egg)

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Assorted Pancake) (Similar to egg foo young, but grilled instead of fried)

Tamagoyaki and Tamago Nigiri

Katsudon (Tonkatsu Deep Fried Pork and Egg Bowl)

G20: ALL US Companies Regulated By International Board

While there needs to be accountability in American companies, it needs to be in house – not by an international financial regulation board whose members are not elected by American citizens.

Since we’re borrowing international money for our national to stay afloat, however, consequences like this should not come as a surprise.

As I wrote last September, before the elections, in my Nolan Chart Article, Bad Assets and Band Aids :

“Where will our drowning-in-debt government find the money to make this [bailout] purchase? It’s simply not there. This burden is going to be reshuffled to the taxpayer by way of inflation – because even in 2008, even though “green” investments are en vogue, we still can’t grow money from trees. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The money has to come from somewhere.

Even scarier than inflation, this bad assets solution requires the unconstitutional nationalization of financial institutions. I wonder if the act of Congress will include an amendment? How will Congress legally get away with this otherwise? It will be an entertaining song and dance for sure – the opening act to a muddy Presidential election….

Debt makes for slavery. It makes me have to ask, is there an underlying, perhaps even sinister, purpose to acquiring more debt? If China owns so much of the debt, would they not benefit from pressuring our government into nationalizing the financial institutions? …

Yet Americans are greedily buying into this no-accountability government-to-the-rescue mentality, selling their souls for tax breaks, stimulus checks, and the ability to keep McMansions that they never should have been able to purchase in the first place.”

Wake up!

Bailout = Slavery