Columns

Empowered Governance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMzNuuj1_BQ

A society can only be as lawful as its laws are suitable. Laws can only be as suitable as the lawmakers are both lawful and in touch with the society they govern.

Law is like a custom suit. Every measurement must be taken, cut and sewn, then it must be tried and tested. Governance is an ongoing work and it can't succeed without constant learning and asking.

Even with information and suitability, governance also requires awareness of "source" or "spark". Society is not guaranteed to grow and progress indefinitely. We need charge, recharge, and lift to empower what is governed.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 20, 2019

Of course China wanted to "re-negotiate". Chinese culture, whether in government or business, seeks to sign a contract first, then negotiate the terms after. In America it's called "reneging". In China is called "that strange, silly, sign a contract game the Americans require that makes no sense". Trump has known that since he had his ties made in China, maybe earlier.

Now, the American provocation machine is in full-swing. An executive order banning Huawei and a DOJ prosecution of Chinese hackers—all while planning another meeting in Japan next month—this isn't failed diplomacy. In the past month, China lobbed one too many objections to US action, thus providing the telemetry the US needed for the final calibrations on the Chinese irritation machine. That machine is up and running and won't stop. It will keep producing irritation at the speed of a 5G network.

As said last week, the problem of the F-35 was already known because the US was no longer interested in searching. This week, we found out the specifics: a fuel tube. Now, we just need to wait for distribution and replacement to get set up.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, May 20, 2019

The Supreme Court always sides with the courts retaining their power. Justice Kavanaugh's recent ruling with the Liberal side of the court was not any attempt to appeal to the Left. It demonstrates his knowledge of the tech world of developers and his belief that judges should be able to judge. The remaining Conservative justices on the Court sided with precedent, not with business reality. The Liberals on the Court simply ruled against business and monopoly with their activist ideals. Kavanaugh was the only justice who ruled objectively, notwithstanding that courts always rule in favor of the courts retaining their power to rule.

The Mueller investigation certainly served its double purpose. Communists in both the Democratic base and in the Chinese government held on to a delusional hope that Trump was weak. That kept them distracted and foolish long enough for them to ensnare themselves. China overreached, providing a great "election enemy", and the Leftist machine overreached, possibly incriminating themselves.

Some states turned Democratic in the recent midterm. But, things look like they're turning around for a gargantuan victory for Republicans nation-wide. Republican states are passing anti-abortion legislation that could lead to the long-waited reversal of Roe v Wade.

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Letters

Baby, That’s Not Love


I have a friend, a young man, who was beaten as a child.
I don't mean spanked. I mean beaten.
When he made a mistake, and what youngster doesn't make mistakes; that's how you learn, isn't it? When he made a mistake, his parents would get angry, and they'd "discipline" him.

"This is for your own good, you know," his daddy would say as he unbuckled his big leather belt, "because we love you. We want you to be better than this." And he'd wield that heavy belt on him over and over and over.
Sometimes their "loving discipline" would result in blood or visible bruises, so he'd miss school for a while until the marks healed.
He left home at an early age, and didn't tell his parents where he went.
I want to hold him in my arms and weep with him, and most of all, I want to tell him, "Son, that's not love. I don't know what that was, maybe demons, maybe alcohol, maybe their own woundedness, but it sure as hell is not love!"
I have another friend, a young woman, who had a different sort of hell in her childhood. And when her daddy took off his belt, and announced, "This is our secret, because I love you," she learned not to fight back, not to talk about it, especially not to talk to mom.
She left home at an early age, taking her baby daughter, who was also her sister, with her. She never looked back, never told anyone where she went.
I want to hold her in my arms and weep with her, and most of all, I want to tell her, "Daughter, that's not love. I don't now what sort of sick, perverted, self-centered bullshit that was, but that sure as hell is not love!"
Just because someone says, "I'm only saying this, I'm only doing this because I love you," doesn't mean it's love. Just because they say that it's for my own good doesn't mean, well, it doesn't mean anything, really. Real love doesn't need to be announced: you can tell it's love just by looking.
It's not often this flagrant, but we do this in the church family sometimes, too. A whole lot of us have learned to cringe whenever someone starts talking about "speaking the truth in love," because it usually lacks love, and often lacks truth, too.
Sometimes the word "submission" is wielded like a stick, or "loyalty" like a ball and chain. It's not unheard of for teachers to train their people that they're the only one that can hear God, and you'd darned well better listen up when I tell you what the Bible says. It's not unheard of for offering time to be less about giving freely unto the Lord and more about my neediness or your obligation and your duty until my budget is met.
We could tell stories here. We could *all* tell stories here, couldn't we? Stories about church, stories about work, stories about family members, about teachers or babysitters or caregivers. Many of them aren't this ugly. Some of them are far worse.
My point is this: I don't care how often or how loudly they tell you that this is love, they're lying to you. Not all of them, of course, but if they're doing these things to you, let me assure you, that is NOT love.
I don't care how often or how loudly they tell you that this is how healthy families relate, they're lying to you.
Not every dad is lying, not every mom. Not every pastor or church leader is lying to you. But if they're doing things that are more about meeting their needs than about yours, then what they're doing isn't love.
This isn't about all the bad things that people do and call it love, and call it "for your good." You already know a number of things that people say is loving, but you know it's not.
This is about you and I recognizing when it isn't really love, when it isn't really for our good. This is about choosing not to live under that yoke of bondage.
It is for freedom - real freedom, not slavery with a new label - that Christ has set us free. Do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Jesus bought our freedom, at a very high price, mind you. He has already set us free. But the responsibility to not submit to those old yokes of slavery, that's our job.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 13, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9jmNHc2RqM

Trump knew the Chinese all along, all too well. The "trade war" never risked creating a real war; the "trade war" was a ploy the whole time—part of an elaborate scheme to provoke the Chinese into striking too soon. He says talks are going well with China—he can't not say that. China is indeed willing to have another talk. Trump announced tariff hikes and they still showed up. That's not exactly bad on the part of the Chinese.

Trade might never go well, but the talks certainly are for now. When has talk in politics ever looked bad?

But, don't make the mistake of thinking for even one second that negotiations aren't going exactly as Washington planned, whether with China or North Korea. The US provoked Japan through trade wars and embargoes leading up to WWII. This isn't just a strategy, it's a proven playbook tactic, and China's irritability is performing right on cue.

As Symphony said previously, the war will start when the US is ready to field-test the F-35 in an actual combat situation that we really need to win. The F-35 was made for this and, like nuclear technology at the end of WWII, if the US doesn't use its fifth-generation fighter jets before Russia and China perfect theirs, it will have failed its initial purpose. Japan is ready to buy the worlds largest non-US fifth-generation F-35 fleet. They want the Marines' vertical take-off model for their helicopter carriers. Perhaps those carriers also had a purpose all along.

Talk isn't deteriorating, not with China anyway, but trade suddenly is. That's because the F-35 is ready to make its entrance onto the world's stage. Taiwan's election could prove to be a convenient lynch pin.

Businessmen are the presidential trend. Foxconn Chair and Founder Terry Gou is running under the KMT, a political party whose platform is "Chinese-Taiwan re-unification", yet he demands that China recognize Taiwan's history of de facto existence; China never will. Moving some production from among Foxconn's twelve factories in China back to Taiwan in Kaohsiung shows that his loyalties don't reside in Beijing nor in Nanjing as KMT old-hats still pine for. He's also beefing up supply in Houston, Indianapolis, and Mexico, atop his newest plant in Wisconsin. That will make the US less dependent on China and better ready for war. As an accomplished businessman, Terry will tear up the inexperienced populist Mayor Han of Kaohsiung in the primaries. After all, he brought jobs back to Kaohsiung.

Even if Gou loses primary or presidency, his campaign rhetoric, though less unacceptable to China than others, could force all other viable candidates to sympathize with Taiwan independence, if that proves to be the only electable platform. That's more than likely. Equally likely, China will see no way to "talk" its way toward absorbing Taiwan. Talk would thus breakdown and "the military option" would be the trigger in the gas tank known as the South Sea. Then, F-35 moves to centerstage.

Trump says China has one month. If we make it that long, then China would be stupider than we thought because the F-35s would have more time to fuel up.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, May 13, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omi8iWgpddU

War! That's next. With 2019 oaths of office sworn, with the 2020 presidential on the horizon, and with the Democrats clinging to demagoguery long after their fake investigation proved fake, the Left has left no alternative. War is one of the best ways to seal up a second term. Because it involves democracy, that is a calculation our Communist enemies can't understand. If the Communist world wanted to defeat the US—and if the communists in the Democratic Party wanted to defeat the Republicans—they'd play "peace possum" for two years. But, Communists have the learning curve of a cat.

The US is not moving resources to the Fifth Fleet in the Middle East because of some recent Iranian rhetoric. Iran makes and poses threats more often than North Korea. If Iran's most recent threats are special, it's from the smell of blood on the horizon as the sun comes up over the South Sea. Whether for caution or concern, the Pentagon is beefing-up the Fifth Fleet because the Seventh Fleet is about to get busy with China.

We don't want anyone taking advantage of the situation.

With Trump having pulled out of Syria and Afghanistan, Russia has every reason to be nice, for now. Extra missiles might make sure Iran does too—or if Iran can't get smart, at least change Iran along with the change about to happen to China. Moscow may tell Tehran to behave. New Delhi may feel emboldened give the same advice to Beijing, but you know cats.

War is coming and victory with it, both for the US and for the Republicans.

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Columns

Drain Your Neighbor’s Swamp

We all need friends. We don't need "yesmen" or people to tell us that we're always doing great even when we're not. While we do need cheerleaders about half the time, once in a while we need help draining the swamps that seem too big to drain.

Rain is good, but too much overflows and garbage clogs the drain. When life makes a swamp in your neighbor's back yard, be a good neighbor, yank the plug, and save the neighborhood from the stench. If the swamp swells in your own back yard, be thankful for good neighbors when they knock.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, May 6, 2019

While war brews in the Far East, the West debates social media. Populism is taking over from all sides. Even Conservatives aren't being so conservative in their rhetoric, though they still express their ideals at the election polls more than anywhere else. Liberals express their ideals everywhere they can.

Nancy Pelosi already has her strategy lined up no matter the outcome of the 2016 election. "Social justice warriors" are taking over the Left to such a point that Democrats as we know them may not be a viable party much longer. The institution will survive a bit longer, but it will change. Rosie O'Donnell and Megyn Kelly learned that the hard way; Joe Biden is about to.

Most debates are no longer two-sided. More and more issues themselves belong to either the Right or the Left. Conservatives don't want to hear about the Mueller investigation at all. Liberals don't want to hear reports on the economy. The only thing Congress and the country seem to be united on is China and support for Taiwan. For now, Americans aren't finding many other reasons for unity at home—for now.

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Columns

Calm as You Can

Hang in there with people who need to do better. Explain it to them. Be nice as you be firm. Things don't need to get ugly every single time we disagree. The feeling that conflict must always end uglily is an addiction to ugliness; it's not a negotiation philosophy. Don't let addiction to ugly endings direct your conflict management strategy.

As a general rule, if you know how to be calm in a way that calms others, if you can put away the dagger and convince others to put away theirs, then do just that as long as you can.

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Letters

Decently and In Order


“On the day Pentecost was being fulfilled, all the disciples were gathered in one place.  Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind rushing into the house from out of the heavenly realm. The roar of the wind was so overpowering it was all anyone could bear!  Then all at once a pillar of fire appeared before their eyes. It separated into tongues of fire that engulfed each one of them.  They were all filled and equipped with the Holy Spirit and were inspired to speak in tongues—empowered by the Spirit to speak in languages they had never learned! …

When the people of the city heard the roaring sound, crowds came running to where it was coming from, stunned over what was happening, because each one could hear the disciples speaking in his or her own language.  Bewildered, they said to one another, “Aren’t these all Galileans? … Yet we hear them speaking of God’s mighty wonders in our own dialects!”  They all stood there, dumbfounded and astonished, saying to one another, “What is this phenomenon?”

But others poked fun at them and said, “They’re just drunk on new wine.”

Peter stood up with the eleven apostles and shouted to the crowd. “Listen carefully, my fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem. You need to clearly understand what’s happening here.  These people are not drunk like you think they are, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.”

This [Acts 2, TPT] is what happened at the first gathering of the saints after Jesus left for Heaven. That was quite a meeting. Functionally, it would be hard to distinguish this “church service” from a riot in the streets. This was not tidy.


By the Law of First Mention – this being that first meeting where the Holy Spirit shows up – this meeting is our standard for when the Holy Spirit shows up in our midst.

This is the Scriptural precedent for 1 Corinthians 14:40: “All things should be done decently and in order.” [RSV]

This is what Holy Spirit considers “decently and in order” when he comes among us.

Let everything be done decently and in order. 




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Articles

Trump Works Out Deal with Mexican President: ‘They’re Paying For The Wall, We’re Giving Them Back Texas’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 

President Trump announced today that he and Mexican President Andres Manual Lopez came to an agreement about the border wall “fiasco,” and that Mexico has finally agreed to pay for the Wall, in exchange for the return of Texas to the southern country.

“This is a great deal for us, one of the biggest and best deals in our country’s history, and I can honestly say, it was, in fact, a great deal because I made it,” said President Trump. “I only make good deals, and this deal is by far one of the greatest deals ever made.”

Experts say that the cost of the border wall will be somewhere in the nature of $500 billion, and President Trump says that he is “more than fine” with that trade off in exchange for the state of Texas.

“As a great man once said, only steers and queers come from Texas, and I don’t care about either of those things at all,” said President Trump.  · · · →

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Articles

Young Boy In Critical Condition After Apple AirPods Explode In His Ears

MIAMI, Florida – 

A young boy in Florida has being hospitalized after his brand new Apple AirPod earphones allegedly exploded in his ear.

Caleb Mitchell, 8, has been hospitalized with 2nd degree burns on his face and inside of his ears after his Airpods exploded. According to Mitchell’s parents, the young boy is lucky to be alive, but is not out of the woods yet.

“I can’t believe something like this could happen,” said Josiah Mitchell, a standup comedian and the boy’s father. “I didn’t think they could get hot or explode or anything like that. Yet hear we are. Get it? Hear? Because Caleb is pretty much deaf now. Oh shit, I crack myself up.”

Caleb supposedly always had his Airpods in his ear, other than the times where he was charging them. He would even sleep with them, and wear them even when not listening to music. “Airpod owners are obsessed” says Candice James, a therapist, “Airpod owners really think they’re hot shit because their headphones don’t have wires.  · · · →

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Articles

Ringling Bros. Shuts Down Circus Event in Florida After Trapeze Artist Accidentally Defecates on Audience

MIAMI, Florida – 

The Ringling Brothers circus, which is often full of magic, illusion, laughter, and fun, also features daring acts such as the trapeze artists, a favorite of crowds throughout the world.

What was not expected by the audience, children or adults, is that in the middle of the show, one of the trapeze artists, a young girl, suffered a fateful and irreversible intestinal problem.
“I’m watching the show, and everything is beautiful and amazing, and then all of a sudden, everything happened at once,” said Mark Ryan, who was in the audience with his 2-year-old son. “It’s raining shit, let’s get out of here, run away! Everyone was yelling and screaming. Dozens of people got covered in shit. It was absolutely disturbing. We definitely requested a ticket to return at a later date. Totally uncalled for.”

Ringling Brothers said that through their entire history, this was the first such issue with any of their performers, outside of the animals, shitting on a customer.  · · · →

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Home & Garden

Raised Stencil Tutorial

I love the look of a French Chateau! And unfortunately, there aren't any in Big Rapids, Michigan, so I have done my best to get the feel over the years. When I spotted this technique for raised stencils several years ago, I fell in love! I did my research on how it was done and let it simmer for a while.

I wanted our entry to flow better with the rest of our house. Your entry sets the feel for the rest of your house and it's the first thing your guests see. Sometimes, it's the only thing people see. I wanted ours to make a statement.

So I started out painting the our white closet doors and trim with the same wood-tone technique that I had done in the rest of the house. You can see the closet reflected in the mirror, the shutter on the window and the trim on the door. Then I went to the walls.

I painted them a uniform Sand by Sherwin Williams - from top trim to bottom, including the chair rail. I experimented with the chair rail being a wood tone and didn't like it so went back and covered my experiment.

And then I paused and almost cried. I truly had loved the old paint technique in the room and now it was just a flat, boring beige. I texted my daughter and told her I may have made a mistake. And then I reminded myself how furniture can sometimes look when you're in the middle of the job and told myself that it will be okay!

The next day I gathered the supplies I had bought for this design and took a deep breath. I marked the places I wanted the stencils to be, basically the same places they had been on the previous design.

I used painter's tape to hold the stencil to the wall and applied the plaster over the stencil with a small trowel. I got the plaster into all the holes and then skimmed back over it, leaving a thinner, even coat. Then immediately pulled the stencil off the wall.

I believe I bought this stencil from Royal Design Studio several years ago but couldn't find it to link to it. Cutting Edge stencils also has some beautiful damask patterns.
As you can see, there's just a thin layer of plaster. In some areas, because I had to bend my stencil around corners or be up against trim, I got some thicker lumps. I removed some when the plaster was wet and went back when it was almost dry and sanded some down. It was really easy to work with. And the imperfections add to the charm.

I let the stencils dry for a full 24 hours. The next day they were hard and solid. My family panicked a little saying, "You know this is permanent!"  (I've been known to re-decorate.) ;)

I then used this roller and put Sand by SW in one side and Antique White by Valspar  in the other side and went back over my walls, including the raised stencil to get an uneven look on my walls.

I wasn't blogging at the time so I don't have any more pictures of the process. I then used these products to accent the stencils.

It was really an experiment. Some things that I thought I would like were too dark. Whenever I didn't like something, I covered it back up with Sand. There are about 20 of these raised stencils in the room and each one is uniquely painted. What I mostly ended up with was very little of the bronze glaze and more of the pearl glaze. The stencils become more evident depending on where you're standing in the room and how the light is hitting them.

If I ever get tired of them, a coat of paint the same color as the room would cause them to barely show.

Here are some pictures I found on Pinterest that were my inspiration:






This last picture is a door! And I know exactly the door in my house that I can do this on!

And here's mine. I darkened the color so that you can see the pattern a little better. Our walls are much lighter. And none of my inspiration pictures used a glaze with a sheen to it but like I said, I experimented and that's what I ended up liking.

I think a lot of my inspiration pictures were done on plaster walls (of a French chateau) and that was more work than I could do. So mine is a modern compromise.

I hope this explained the process well. It took me about 5 days to finish this all. One for trim and closets, one for wall base coat, one for plaster stencils, and a couple more days painting all the stencils and finding the look I liked. This is a large room (25x15) and the fun thing is, depending on your stencil pattern, placement and paint, there are so many options to try!

My husband loves it. He got a far away look in his eye in the middle of this whole thing and I asked him what he was thinking. He replied, "I'm worried about all the rooms you could do this in!" 

Poor man! Right now, I'm thinking about that closet door!

love and blessings~


“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

Supplies:
Sponge paint roller
Sand by Sherwin Williams
Antique White by Valspar
painter's tape
stencil
wall plaster
Valspar Copper Glaze
Rustoleum Pearl Glaze


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