Sunday, February 28, 2010

Unseen Influences

By Henry F. Kletzing and Elmer L. Kletzing, 1899

“How do you know there is a kite in the air?” said a man to a boy who was holding a string leading skyward. “I see nothing and you see nothing.” “But I feel it pull!” was the prompt reply.

So with many unseen influences coming from various sources. We cannot explain their origin, but somehow they mold and shape our lives; somehow we feel them pull our hearts upward and onward.

We associate with men whose thoughts are ennobling, whose lives are refined and have an aim, whose conversation is elevating, whose manners and bearing are courteous and dignified, and unconsciously our own lives are taking on the same traits, our characters are expanding in the same direction. On the other hand, let our companions be those whose thoughts are debasing, whose lives are coarse and aimless, whose conversation is commonplace and borders on the vulgar, whose manners are rude and offensive, and unconsciously and involuntarily we, at least in some respects, show the influence of these surroundings upon our own lives.

Sailing from Cuba, a sailor thought he had gained sixty miles one day, but the next observation showed that he had lost more than thirty miles. There was an unseen undercurrent. The ship had been going forward by the wind but going back by a current. A man’s course may often seem to be right, but the undercurrent is sometimes carrying him in a direction the very opposite of that which he thinks he is going. Unseen influences may be debasing or elevating. Every man has an influence over someone else. This influence may be far-reaching or otherwise, according to circumstances. It is impossible to deny or to be free from the responsibility of exerting an influence upon others. Each one must, however, decide for himself whether this influence shall be ennobling or degrading.

Many a pliable youth, whose future was still undecided, has had his destiny determined by a word, a look, a touch, a shadow. Thousands of men have been destroyed in this world who never knew, nor even suspected, that it was some small circumstance that determined their destruction. Thousands of men have been led by some unseen influence to choose the better part and to give their lives for the uplifting of humanity.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Living Without Electricity by Scott & Pellman

Probably not a topic that would interest many but I bought this book thinking it would be informative. I picked it up and was so engrossed in it I couldn't set it down. It took me two days to read it and it has given me a much deeper interest and appreciation for Amish lifestyle or the old way of doing things. This book covers several topics and answers questions including How do you light a room without electricity? How do you cook? How do you get hot water? How do you keep warm? How do you wash clothes? How do you make clothes? What do you do for entertainment? How do you communicate without a phone? How do you farm with out electricity or a tractor? and many more. Although it doesn't go deep into each topic it does give the reader a good understanding of several areas.

Firearms Freedom Advances In Virginia!

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert 

Great news!  Last month we alerted you to a superb pro-gun bill pending in the Virginia General Assembly.

HB 69 recently passed the House of Delegates overwhelmingly (70-29) and is now before the Senate's Courts of Justice Committee.

Introduced by Del. Charles Carrico (R-5) and known as the Virginia Firearms Freedom Act, HB 69 is modeled after similar legislation which has been successful in other states, including Montana -- the first state to pass such a law.

The Firearms Freedom Act has a simple concept.  HB 69 states that if a gun was made in Virginia, and then stays in the Commonwealth, the federal government may not regulate it under the Interstate Commerce Clause.  (Because, you see, the gun was never part of interstate commerce.)

This is important because the Commerce Clause is the "hook" that Congress has used to justify almost every single federal gun control law.  But with the passage of HB 69, the Commonwealth will take a stand that guns stamped with the words "Made in Virginia" are no business of the federal government. 

Now that we've breezed through the House, we can expect anti-gun forces to try and kill this excellent measure in the Senate.  Therefore, it is imperative that we make it impossible for senators to do the bidding of the enemies of freedom.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Green Letters by Miles Stanford

I just finished reading The Green Letters by Miles Stanford. Very informative, inspiring and convicting. I rate it a top ten book.  From the back cover:

As the first book in a series of five on the Christian life, The Green Letters emphasizes both the doctrinal and experiential aspects of maturing in Christian living. The book is grounded in Scripture and enlivened by quotations from noted authors. "Not I, but Christ" is its theme. The author makes this arresting statement regarding the dynamics of the Christian life: "God . . . doesn't intend to help us live the Christian life. Immaturity considers the Lord Jesus a Helper. Maturity knows Him to be life itself." Perhaps the greatest drama in the world is the slow and subtle growth of character in the Christian. Beauty of character can be developed only through years of reflection and experience in the Word of God as the life of Christ is increasingly lived by faith. The Christian life is a healthy, robust kind of life. It advances also through trials, for in one who has faith even suffering is not wasted, but becomes a means for increasing spiritual vigor and strength.

Re-sizing Titanium Rings

Just in case you didn't know: you cannot re-size titanium rings. 

I recently brought in my ring to get re-sized. The jeweler took it but called me back a few weeks later saying they couldn't do it, no explanation. I thought maybe it was because they couldn't do with without messing up the inscription on the inside but when I took it to another jeweler they informed me titanium rings cannot be re-sized. However, if you purchase from one of the bigger retailers you can bring your ring back, pay a small "re-sizing fee", and get a new ring in a different size. Unfortunately, I bought mine online so this doesn't apply to mine. 

I have two choices then: buy a new ring or like the jeweler suggested "eat some more".

Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2009

A friend found this information which I thought was interesting:

According to the American Kennel Club, the most popular purebreds for 2009 are:

1st:   Labrador Retriever
2nd:  German Shepherd
3rd:  Yorkshire Terrier
4th:  Golden Retriever
5th:  Beagle
6th:  Boxer
7th:  Bulldog
8th:  Dachshund
9th:  Poodle
10th:  Shih Tzu

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Language of Music by Dr. Frank Garlock

For the last several weeks our family has been gathering with some other friends on Friday night to watch The Language of Music. This week we finished the series and will be starting another.

In these videos (now available on DVD) Dr. Frank Garlock presents a biblically based view of music. He addresses critical questions such as, What is God's relationship to music? Why is music such a powerful means of communication? and How does it affect my life? Some music we may be able to discern whether it is good or bad but here Dr. Garlock goes deeper and helps explain why.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Garden Grew

Today my help and I leveled the garden area and I made the boxes for our raised beds. I also picked up a load of compost to fill them. Our garden has now grown to 40' x 18'

Top Ten Things Ungodly Cultures Hate That the Bible Tells Men

  1. Men protect women
  2. Men are leaders
  3. Men are responsible as heads of their families
  4. Men are to teach their children 24/7
  5. Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and be willing to die for them
  6. Men are to be fruitful and multiply
  7. Men do not own their bodies, their wives do
  8. Men must bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord
  9. Men must insure that their whole families and everyone else around them should celebrate the Sabbath
  10. Mens hearts should be turned toward their children

Top Ten Things Ungodly Cultures Hate That the Bible Tells Women

1. Women should be keepers at home
2. Women should submit and obey their husbands following the example of Sarah and call her husband Lord
3. Women should dress modestly
4. Wives don’t own their own bodies, their husbands do
5. Women should be fruitful and multiply
6. Younger women should be taught by older women
7. Women should not kill their babies made in the image of God
8. Wives should love their husbands
9. Women should not be busybodies – chat rooms and blogs and facebook
10. Women should not exercise authority over men.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Amish Buckboard

My new form of transportation. Like it?

Solid oak, mech brakes, just like new, shafts for one horse. Also harness for cobb or horse that goes with it. Charlottesville Craigslist.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Vehicle

I know, I know! It's number six in three years. But, this one is better then the one I have (like every other one) but really, it is. My dream vehicle.

The Murphys were trying to figure out how I'd get around while over there since I'd be doing a lot odd projects and running errands. They found this on the Charlottesville Craigslist. After I'm done I could drive it back home. 

Pictures coming soon...

God has Blessed Us!

" 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3A.S.V.). If you run over in your mind and find one single blessing with which God might bless us today, with which He has not already blessed us, then what He told Paul was not true at all, because He said, 'God Hath.' It is all done. 'It is finished.' Goth hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies! The great pity of it all is that we are saying, 'O God bless us, bless us in this, bless us in that!' and it is all done. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies."

L. L. Letgers

Plane Crashes into IRS Office Building in Austin, Texas

For those of you who haven't heard...

A pilot furious with the Internal Revenue Service crashed his small plane Thursday morning into an office building in Austin, Texas, that houses federal tax employees, setting off a raging fire.

Officials are investigating whether the pilot, identified by authorities as Joseph Andrew Stack, a 53-year-old software engineer who lived in Texas, crashed the plane intentionally. Stack was confirmed dead.

Stack posted a suicide note to a social media Web site, ranting against the IRS, officials confirmed.

"If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?'" the note read. "The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time."

"Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer."

"I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well," the note, dated Thursday, reads.

Martin Saber

Well, we finally got it all sorted out and I brought my new bow home last night. Phil also got one along with six other friends. Bill at Dave's said it's the largest transaction he's done for bows.

We all got the Martin Saber in different pull weights. Mine is a 55-70lb. We also purchased sights, rests, quivers, triggers, and arrows (not in photo). Looks like we'll be starting up our own archery club. Hopefully we'll learn how to use these contraptions and build some muscle so we can actually use them. Phil and I are both interested in trying hunting with them next fall.
Technical specifications of our bows:
Speed: 315-320 FPS (70#, 30”, 350 gr.)
Let-Off: 80% (adjustable)
Draw Weights: 50#, 60#, 70#
Draw Lengths: 25” to 30”
Brace Height: 7”
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Axle Length: 32 1/4”

A few of us are interested in more traditional archery which I'm researching now. I hope to build my own longbow. More coming soon...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Carr truck steps

Well, they didn't drop as much as I'd thought they would but it's better then it was. It'll be easier to get into now but I'll probably still have to get something for the ladies. Maybe I'll just get a rope ladder.

For those interested I bought the Carr Hoop II Titanium Silver steps. These are a step up from the standard and are supposed to not scratch, fade or chip. We'll see. I got the set for 1981-1996 F150 & 250 Light Duty/Pickup/Bronco but still had to do a little shimming to level them.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day

On Valentine's Day us guys gave each of our sisters a flower, cards and some candies. 

Dad gave mom a rose and chocolate

We all dressed up for dinner

Stephen and Sarah pictures from the weekend

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Today I picked up two loads of top soil to cover our garden area. With the help of brothers and friends we got it all unloaded, spread out, and the fence moved out to make our garden a little bigger. Soon I'm going to build raised beds. I also picked up a few seeds for the plants I need to start early.

Reagan helping me spread the new soil

William and Phil unloading the truck

William helping me set up the fence

All ready to build the raised beds!

I was also able to plant my garlic today! I planted softneck Italian and a little hardneck variety.

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham Jr.

More teens are turning away from the faith than ever before: it is estimated that 75 to 88% of Christian teens walk away from Christianity by the end of their freshman year of college. Something must be done. Family Driven Faith equips Christian parents with the tools they need to raise children biblically in a post-Christian, anti-family society. Voddie Baucham, who with his wife has overcome a multi-generational legacy of broken and dysfunctional homes, shows that God has not left us alone in raising godly children. He has given us timeless precepts and principles for multi-generational faithfulness, especially in Deuteronomy 6. God's simple command to Moses to teach the Word diligently to the children of Israel serves as the foundation of Family Driven Faith.

I just finished reading this book and really enjoyed it. Voddie Baucham addresses family discipleship and family worship very well and to the point. I also really appreciated his chapter Learn to Love.     

SmartCarry - The "Invisible Holster"

Over the years I've used dozens of hostlers. Finally I'd decided that there was no one perfect holster for all situations. I always had to wear my shirt untucked or a coat to cover my gun. Besides keeping it concealed they were often uncomfortable to wear. They weighted down my clothes and if I needed to run they bounced around which gets annoying.

How would you like to be able to wear the clothing of your choice, with no restrictions, have complete freedom of your body movements, a real plus for active people, while carrying a concealed handgun in complete safety and comfort that no one can detect? Sound too good to be true? It's a fact that SmartCarry provides just that, for either male or female users (dresses and skirts)!

A few years ago I saw The SmartCarry at a gun show. We all laughed as the guy drew his gun from inside the front of his pants but we didn't stay around long enough to hear anything about it. More recently I found two friends who had bought it and were quite happy with it. After hearing what they had to say I decided to get one.

It did take a few days to get used to it but in a short while I hardly noticed I had it on. The SmartCarry holster makes a big claim: that their unique holster keeps a weapon concealed and undetectable by anyone. It really is The "Invisible Holster" (or at least it had better be!). I've baffled many as they tried to guess where my gun was hidden. Even in a standard pat-down it won't be detected. No need to keep a coat on or a shirt untucked. You could even go to the beach with just swim trunks and it would still be 100% concealed.

Worn outside the pants for demonstration
Comfortable? I hardly notice I'm wearing it anymore! I have it on 16 hours a day and have done every activity without it hindering me. I've had it on while digging, biking, playing volley ball, and even jogging. One of the best benefits of the SmartCarry is it doesn't restrict what you can wear. I wear mine with my Wrangler jeans all week and to church or dressier occasions with my slacks. No coat to cover! 

What guns can you carry in it? The designer of the SmartCarry carries a full size 1911. I've carried a Glock 27 and now a Ruger SP101. Both of these work real well. If you're really active or wear tighter clothes the larger gun may be a problem.

Can it be hard to draw? Most don't believe me when I say I can draw almost as fast out of my SmartCarry as from a hip holster. It's true. See this video demonstration:

I'm now convinced this is the best concealed carry system. Best concealed. Most comfortable. Doesn't restrict the clothes you can where. Doesn't restrict the activities you're involved in. I've been wearing mine for a year now. Without this option it would be a hassle to carry in a lot of the places I go and with the active life I have. I haven't been disappointed in any way. 

To learn more see the SmartCarry website and their FAQ page.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seth Daniel Reimers

Congratulations to Mark and Lindsay Reimers on the birth of their first child. Seth Daniel was born Feb. 9th, 7 lbs 15 oz. & 20.5 in.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dragon Chess Set

We just received several new sets at work. I'm working on photographing them. Here's the new dragon set.

Homemade All-Natural Deodorant

This is something I've recently been interested in doing but haven't had the time for research. My sister Sarah found this article the other day. Enjoy!

Did you know that nearly all commercial deodorants contain aluminum salts, usually aluminum chlorohydrate? Manufacturers like aluminum because it effectively suppresses perspiration but the metal has a dark side once it makes its way into our body. Aluminum toxicity It has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other health issues. It is especially important for women to take thought to the harmful aluminum materials in deodorant as it has been linked to breast cancer, being that the breast tissue extends up into the armpits.

Most commercial deodorants also contain parabens, which act as preservatives and stabilizers, but which like aluminum can be absorbed into the skin. Parabens mimic estrogen, and though the amounts we absorb on a daily basis might be small, over time, the accumulation can be significant.

Did you know you can make your own wonderful effective deodorant with just a few completely natural ingredients? This recipe is awesome! It’s even edible! It is frugal and very effective! Aaron & I have been using it for over two years now, and it has worked wonders. It smells wonderful, but very faint. For years I tried every natural alternative on the market without much success. It has been successfully tried by hundreds of readers! Coconut oil is an all natural oil that has wonderful anti-bacterial and immune boosting qualities. It can effectively nourish and moisturize the skin. This recipe is also very frugal, costing less than a dollar per batch.

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.
For more info and a video tutorial visit:

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Grandfather's Clock by Henry Clay Work

"My Grandfather's Clock" was written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work. Mr. Work was well known for his many Union songs during the war between the states. Charlie Zahm's recording of it has become one of my favorite songs.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Judith Carol Criss Dunham 1950 - 2010

Uncle Don and Aunt Judy as I remember them.

Judith Carol Criss Dunham entered into her loving Lord's presence on February 1st, 2010. She was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, on March 13, 1950, to Warren and Gladys Criss. As a member of the Army military family, Judy ended up settling in Seattle, Washington, in the family's 20th home in 15 years.

As the only sister of five brothers, Judy was a quick study on honing her skills making mud pies, taking care of the family pets which included, but were not limited to cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, white mice, chameleon, tropical fish, even a piranha, garter snake and a friend's tarantula. She had the opportunity to baby-sit the brothers and, loving horses, she took riding lessons. Some of her more formal lady-like activities included proper tea setting. She even saw the value of having long finger nails to make it easier to pick up bugs. Judy was an easy going avid reader and enjoyed singing in the choir. She was active in church youth activities.

Upon graduation from Redmond High School, Judy enrolled in the University of Washington School of Nursing. Her summer experiences included driving a "Joe" truck selling ice cream bars to children and a homenursing summer mission trip to Bangor, Maine. She was active at the Baptist Student Union and was a resident at the University Christian Union Woman's House. Don was a resident of the Men's house and they cunducted a joint open house at which Judy was a greeter. Mom Dunham was so impressed that she informed Don that he needed to take notice. That began the 35-year love affair between the two of them, the love of each other's lives. Judy began her nusing career at the University of Washington Hospital for one year while Don completed his senior year. They then moved to Yakima where she served at Memorial Hospital's ICU, Dr. Scott Lee's office, and most recently Memorial Hospital Home Health.

Judy was full of life, whether it was raising a garden, raising livestock in the pasture, raising fish in the pond or raising three wonderful children. Catching fish would be a different story; Don may come home with his tail sheepishly between his legs. Don and judy both enjoyed doing outdoor activities with faimly and friends.

Judy is a member of West Side Church where she has displayed her greatest love of all, being a servant of her Lord and Savoir, Jesus Christ. She has served as a Deaconess and as a member and chair of the Children's Ministry Team. Additionally, she has served as a Sunday school teacher and AWANA leader and director. Judy was a lady of many, many different hats. If there were kids there, you most likely could find Judy. Sarari excursion, Bible land, board games, story-time, soccer camp, Daily Vacation Bible School, hiking, campfire, picnic, boating, baking, horseback riding, ladies tea and the list goes on. Judy has touched the lives of so many others in ways we can only imagine. Her bright smile and warm heart truly reflect the love and glory of God.

She was preceded in death by  her father, Warren Criss, maother-in-law, Katherine Dunham and her husband, Donald Dunham.

She is survived by her mother Gladys Criss of Bothell, WA; son Warren and wife Debbie Dunham of Auburn, WA; daughter, Lisa Dunham and friend Bruce Weigel, both of Yakima, WA; son Joshua, wide Shelby Dunham and grandson Ian Dunham of Auburn, WA. She is also survived by her five brothers: Dave Criss of Kennewick, WA; Dennis and wife Barb Criss of Gaston, OR; Dwaine and wife Patti Criss of Escondido, CA; Darrell and wife Charlotte Criss of Auburn, WA; and Dean and wife Debbie Criss of Lynden, WA. Judy is also survived by her three brothers-in-law: Chuck Dunham of Yakima, WA; Calvin and wife Fran Dunham of Anchorage, AK; Herb and wife Robbin Dunham of Wasilla, AK. Additionally, she is survived by nine nieces and 13 nephews.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Master Cleanse

Today is day 10, my last day, of the Master Cleanse. I'm so excited to be done but also excited about all the benefits.

The Master Cleanse is a dieting program created by Stanley Burroughs in 1941 and made popular by Peter Glickman who promotes Burroughs' regimen to a modern audience. Burroughs states that it is a detoxification program that aids in the removal of harmful toxins from within the body, as well as a reducing diet for loss of weight, and a cure for ulcers and "every kind of disease," resulting in "the correction of all disorders."

The cleanse involves drinking only a concoction made from fresh lemons, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper. No food is eaten for the entire cleanse. The basic cleanse is 10 days although you can go longer. Each morning you drink 1 quart of salt water and every evening one cup of Smooth Move tea.

Though its tough and takes a ton of self control to go 10+ days without food I think it is well worth it! During the cleanse I've felt a lot better, have more energy, and have dropped a few pounds.

The book is available on

My lunch for the past week and a half: jars of mixed lemon juice and maple syrup with cayenne pepper to go with. Yum! (not)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Every now and then I make for myself new physical exercise goals. Sometimes I want to build my endurance and make a goal to run a decided distance in a certain amount of time. Or maybe I want to build strength and work on doing more push-ups or chin-ups. Often working towards these goals means lots of hard work and sometime getting up earlier or passing on some activities. I tend to be very driven and will often go to great lengths to attain these goals.

Today in my Bible reading I came across 1 Timothy 4:8

"For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." 

I began thinking, do I put the same effort into Spiritual exercise as I have been my physical? I have to admit I've failed here. I've heard this verse several times but today it caught me differently. I challenged myself to put just as much effort into Spiritual exercise as I have been the physical.

Wallet in the front Pocket?

After my accident I had to start going regularly to the chiropractor. Dr. Neff informed me right away that it was not good to have my wallet in my back pocket. Presumably, it's because the wallet off-sets your back when you sit down, which while unnoticeable at first, will lead to long term damage to one's back. This could be made worse if you already have a back problems or have a thick wallet. My first thought was that is a wild idea and it probably doesn't make that much difference. However, after doing a little research I found several others agree.

Often while lying on the bench at Dr. Neff's as he was checking to see if I was still in he'd ask me if I had my wallet in my back pocket. As soon as I removed it he'd notice a difference and could adjust me accordingly. As of recently I've decided to start keeping my wallet in my front pocket and have found I like it better there. 

Besides your back two other reasons to keep your wallet in your front pocket are (1) it's a much less likely target for a pickpocket and (2) it's simply more comfortable to sit down that way.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tax Return

Today I got the last W2 forum I was waiting for and was able to file my taxes. Why is it that every year I make more money but each time get less back? hmmm...

Aunt Judy

Judy Dunham, my aunt and Dad's sister, went home to be with the Lord this morning at 3:08AM. We will miss her! Here are a few pictures: