Golden QuillDecember 2010 Newsletter

If you are looking for my examination of the uncut Cultures of Revolution video, click on this link to go to the MAVI MARMARA report.

December was a great month, in spite of the physical challenges of frozen shoulder. The pain eased off as long as I kept my arm fairly still, though currently I am experiencing shoulder pain again, and neck pain, as well, if I have to bend my neck downwards, such as when I vacuum. The prayers of other Christians help beat back the pain. I was so glad the other day when I was in McDonald's and saw a friend from the home meetings I attend. I was in really bad pain that day, and no amount of pills seemed to be helping. I wished there was someone around to pray for me, and when I looked up from my book a few minutes later, there was Don sitting at a table near me. Praise the Lord! He prayed and the pain subsided. I did not need to take any more pills for the rest of the day!

The book I was reading was The Teen Whisperer by Mike Linderman. I sure need the information and advice of child psychology books these days because my oldest grandson has gotten to be a bit more than what my daughter can handle just now. He stayed with me for a couple of weeks in December and I looked after him and his brother for several days during Connor's winter break. Heather supplies bus tickets for Connor and food for the kids, so that looking after them is not a financial burden to me. Connor is back at my place again, at this time. Connor is an awesome kid, but he is straining at the leash, looking for more independence and testing boundaries.

Things went pretty good with him when he was staying at my place in December. We have a lot of rapport, as our personalities are very compatible. Both of us are intuitive and we frequently find ourselves on the same wave length. I.e. Query:"Do you want some pie?" Reply: "Yeah, I was just thinking of that!" or more seriously, we agree on a lot of things relating to what he wants. I frequently see that what Connor wants is quite reasonable and workable. Like most children, he has some unreasonable expectations, but getting his realistic expectations met will go more smoothly as his communications skills become more developed.

I have been coaching him about his approach when he relates to his mother, telling him, "You don't have to agree with her about everything, but when you disagree with her, you have to remember to be respectful when you talk to her, and she doesn't have to be perfect in order to be in charge and for you to obey her."

One of the keys to parenting well is to accept that children require A LOT of attention and that it takes A LOT of energy to raise them. Most parents know this theoretically, and they think that they have a fair idea of what constitutes a lot of attention and energy. A good many of them think that a full quart of attention and work is a lot. Uh uh. A full gallon is a lot. A quart is only a quarter of what is required. Kids tend to demand many gallons of attention and work, but if a parent delivers that one vital gallon, then they have done their full quota.

If a parent can get by with giving them only the quart and the kid turns out well, it is because the child is an exceptional person, not because the parents are exceptional. They may be good parents, but not exceptional. Who knows how phenomenal the exceptional child would have turned out, if their parents had put more effort into paying attention to them and meeting their needs? When kids turn out well, there is a tendency for parents to take too much credit for it and not give the child enough credit for being sensible and making good choices.

The Teen Whisperer explained that teenagers tend to be obtuse because their brain is not fully developed. It really helps me to know that all the stubbornness I had to deal with when my kids were teens, and now what I am dealing with in regards to Connor, is not totally deliberate. They really do not have the cognitive abilities to reason and empathize as keenly as adults can, though this does not excuse their behaviour. It helps explain it and increases my ability to be forgiving and patient, now that I know it is somewhat involuntary. Kids develop those skills, though, by being forced to develop them when their caregivers refuse to enable them to be dependant or abusive.

I loaned Heather a book by Dr. Kevin Leman, who has quite a lot of good sense. I had read it once already and was going through it a second time, but she seemed desperate to know what to do, so I passed it on to her before I finished the second reading. I wondered why, considering all the books I had read before when my children were younger, that some of the material seemed to be new to me. I don't think it really is new, though. I think that what happens is that errors in how we are raised to think of as good parenting are hard to erase so that the better ideas can stick. In my case, anyway, I have to read a parenting book more than once to get a firm grasp on what it teaches.

Connor and I came across some really good books about teenagers and their choices. We were at the library and he asked me to take out a book for him that was a teen mystery. Connor asked me to read it to him later that night. The author, Norah McClintock, uses the story line to engage kids' interest while feeding them all sorts of useful information about survival, how the world operates, and the consequences of various choices, while pointing them in the direction of making good choices.

I went back to the library and took out a pile of Norah's books after reading that first one. I ramp up Connor's interest by proposing my theories of "who dunnit" and why they did it. He proposes his own. Half the time, we both are right about some things and wrong about others. He loves it when I admit that he had something figured correctly.

A great part of the value in reading these books to him and discussing them is not only the emotional connections between us that this activity forges and strengthen, but also I can insert my comments about things that I disagree with. I caught a flaw yesterday when reading him a story where the main character answers the phone and it is her mother's boyfriend. The mother was upset about something and didn't want to talk to him just then, so the girl said her mother was taking a bath or some other excuse. When she got off the phone, her mother started chewing her out because she had left the house when she was grounded, and had lied about where she was when her mother called to check up on her. I indignantly said to Connor, "What made it all right for her to lie to her mother's boyfriend because the mother didn't want to talk to him, but her mother thinks it is wrong to lie to her? Lying is just wrong." We didn't get into a debate about whether it is okay to lie to save someone from a murderer; all he needs to know at this point is that lying is wrong.

Reading the stories to him also gives me the opportunity to substitute better words for the few vulgar ones in the story, or skip the word. They are just regular expressions to teenagers, but when Connor looks at the page and sees that I skipped a word that I consider inappropriate, it reinforces the lesson to him that there is a wholesome way to talk and a trashy way to talk. In our culture, kids are exposed to profanity so often (in the mouths of adults, too, not just other kids), that they tend to think that there is nothing wrong with it.

I understand that the author is trying to help the kids relate to the story, and she does not use profanity or take the Lord's Name in vain except for maybe two or three times in the whole story. In a perfect world, no author would ever use those words or expressions, but the world is not perfect, and I have not seen any Christian books that try to teach about good choices that a child who is rebelling would not consider "sucky" and refuse to listen to. I will use what is at hand to get through to this kid on his level, even if it is not perfect.

God does that with us. For instance, Christmas has its origins in pagan roots, and it has been strongly promoted to groom people to receive the Antichrist, when he is eventually revealed. As one of my Facebook friends pointed out, the movers and shakers behind the scenes are working on removing Christ from Christmas, to make it a totally secular festival. That was the purpose of promoting it in the first place, back in the 19th century when Protestant Christians were conned into celebrating it. The Christian element in the celebrations was the bait to get them to accept it, whereas before, Protestants were adamantly opposed to it, clearly recognizing the festival as a Babylonian invention that celebrated a false messiah. Yet, God works even through Christmas to forge relationships with people.

Christmas is one of the few times that some people will go to church, so it is a good idea to share the Good News of salvation at that time, perhaps through a play or some singing that will engage their attention. God will use whatever means is at hand to save a soul. He meets people at their level.

Other Christians tried to tell me years ago that Christmas has Babylonian roots and that it is idolatry to have a Christmas tree. I was not ready to give up Christmas, so I airily dismissed their concerns, thinking, "Well, I know who I am celebrating when I celebrate Christmas, and I put ornaments on a tree to make it look pretty, just like when I arrange flowers. I am not going to fall down on my face before it and worship it."

I had no knowledge of the significance of the verse in Jeremiah 10:3 & 4 that says, "For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." This directly relates to the Babylonian custom that Martin Luther retained from the Catholic church of honouring a false messiah when he brought an evergreen into his home and set candles on it at Christmas time.

When the evil queen Semiramis, who was the prototype of the Great Whore of Babylon, ordered an annual twelve day celebration, with particular emphasis on December 25th, to commemorate her deceased husband, Nimrod, she instructed people to hang golden globes on trees as offerings to him, as Nimrod was identified with the sun. For the first 27 years that I was a Christian, I did not want to know anything about the Babylonian roots of Christmas, in case knowing more about it would convict me that I should give up something that I enjoyed a lot.

It wasn't just getting presents that I enjoyed, particularly since some Christmases I got only some very disappointing presents. One time in my teens I griped about it, and my mother chided me that it was the thought that counts. That was what bothered me; there hadn't been any real thought put into it. I was fobbed off with cheap soap that made me itch, a boring little nightgown of insipid pastel blue, some matronly slippers, and an ugly pea green mirror that was shaped like a daisy. Those gifts said, "It's just Lanny; anything will do."

I understood that there was not much money available and I really did not object to the low cost of those presents. It was the lack of effort. I didn't have much money either, and my legs were sore that Christmas after standing on them for so long while working in a retail clothing store, but after work, I walked and walked and walked some more through crowded stores, looking for presents to buy for my family. I had a set amount for each person, and it was not much, but I wanted to get the best value I could for that money; things that looked like I had paid more for them, while at the same time being items that I thought the recipients would like.

It was exhausting, but worth it to me. I loved the giving gifts aspect of Christmas, as well as the gift getting aspect of it. Though I was annoyed that all that I got was stuff that seemed to say that my family was indifferent to me, I never regretted that I made a valiant effort that year to please them. The warm glow of happiness in my heart about finding good gifts and wrapping them prettily did not fade because it helped my sense of self-esteem to know that I was caring towards them in the gifts that I gave them.

Besides giving gifts that I truly wanted to give, I enjoyed the gaiety of Christmas decorations, the excitement in the air, the singing, Christmas plays – particularly those performed by little children, and happy times with my family. Ironically, in spite of being really annoyed that year about the presents I got, I had a hilarious time with my younger siblings.

I was eighteen, my sisters were fifteen and fourteen, and my little brother was twelve. I looked very glamorous in a long–skirted ensemble of leaf green with a dove outlined in crystals on the bodice. It was a dress that could have been worn to a grad. My step–father's brother, one of my favourite uncles, kept raving to me about how lovely my outfit was. What was I doing while wearing it? Running around the house, giving piggyback rides to my sisters and my brother.

Later on, I laughingly teased my little brother for a kiss after playing a joke on him. He looked back at me over his shoulder and sternly replied to my grin, "Do you want to see those big, buck teeth of yours to go flying across the room?" I laughed all the more; that was pretty much the response I expected from him. He hated mushiness, but a year later, he sat on my lap and kissed me a lot when I visited my family because, by then, they had moved to Edmonton and Johnny had missed not seeing me for a whole year. Absence made his heart grow fonder.

My idea of having fun became a lot tamer with maturity, but I still am a child at heart in some ways. I still like to play on swings, and I enjoy playing Lego sometimes with the grandkids. Actually, I make myself enjoy it, because I know that sometimes the boys need me to be their playmate. Once I get into it, I get ambitious, and then there just doesn't seem to be enough Lego for all of us. The kids would rather give up some of their Legos and help me look for the ones that I want to use than for me to be "adultly" indifferent to their play activities, interested only in doing my grown–up things. They also like to play with the Lego stuff I make.

Though I disagree with celebrating Christmas, I am still thankful that Christmas was always a good time for me when I was a child. My parents tended to be rather grumpy with us older kids most of the time because of negative feelings that they had about our father, but both my Mom and my stepfather loved Christmas and there seemed to be an undeclared ceasefire.

They looked like eager children themselves in their excitement over the presents that they bought the six of us kids. Together they wrapped them in great secrecy and they would laugh about how Dad always found out what Mom was giving him for Christmas. He asked her when she was asleep and she would tell him. On the other hand, she never had to guess or try to find out what he was giving her. It was always a bottle of Chanel No. 5 and it drove her up the wall that he never bought her anything different for Christmas, except for the time he bought her a watch because she made such a kafuffle over getting only perfume year after year. I gather that it was Mom who came up with the ideas about what presents to buy us and did the actual shopping.

Mom was a great cook and always made a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, and other side dishes. One of those dishes always was shmookups. I don't how it is really spelled. It is a German dish that my stepfather loved, consisting of cooked cabbage, prunes, and raisins. The feast would not have been complete without the shmookups. Afterwards, I would lean back in my chair and loosen the waistband of my skirt to ease the pain of an overstuffed tummy, quietly content to listen to the adults' conversation until they repaired to the living room.

Bowls of Mandarine oranges, nuts, and candy awaited us there. My stepfather would get out his guitar to play and sing such Christmas standards as "Oh, Tannebaum," and eventually get around to singing "Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes." I especially loved that song because I have brown eyes, and when I was a little girl, I adored my stepfather. He knew it and was nicer to me because of it than he was to my brother and sister, though my adoration ebbed away when I was in my teens. I liked to think that it was my brown eyes that he was singing about.

Normally, I did not think that brown eyes were beautiful, preferring sapphire or aquamarine blue, turquoise, emerald green, smokey grey, or amethyst. Brown seemed so boring, but whoever made up that song thought brown eyes were beautiful and it gave me hope that I had a chance of being beautiful when I grew up. Such were my fond dreams when I was a little girl, sitting in the living room at Christmas, and Dad reinforced them, telling me that when I grew up, I would wear mink and pearls. He laughed when I caught the vision and eagerly asked, "And high heeled shoes?" He agreed and laughed some more with a twinkle in his eyes when I added, "And a beehive hairdo?" Every little girl should have a Dad who gives her the hope that some day she will be elegant.

I got a fur coat for Christmas when I was older. It was a miracle! I was married by then. My husband and I did not have children, yet. The mill he worked at was on strike and there was not much money to spend on presents. We had only ten dollars to spend on each other. I really made my ten dollars stretch, buying him a tool box and a bottle of cologne. Money went farther in those days, but I wished I could have done more for him.

That December, I took a notion to having a fur coat. I looked longingly at fur coats being worn by other women as they walked by when I was out shopping, but took care that my husband never got an inkling of what I was thinking. I knew it would make him feel really bad, if he knew that I wanted a fur coat when he did not have the means to buy one.

Christmas Eve we sat cross–legged on the floor by our tree in our little apartment, looking forlornly at the two presents that were placed beneath its boughs. Neither of us had much to say to each other. Suddenly, my husband leaped to his feet and said, "I've had enough of this!" He ran out the door without another word and when he returned about an hour later, he was carrying a box wrapped in glossy paper vividly printed with evergreen boughs, pine cones, and shiny, red ornaments.

He handed it to me to put under the tree. I shook it first, and when he asked what I thought it was, I teasingly ventured a guess that it was a fur coat. His jaw dropped in shock and I quickly said, "No, I'm just kidding!" I didn't want him to know that I wanted a fur coat and to think that I was disappointed at not getting one. There was no way that it was a fur coat; we didn't have the money for that.

When I opened the gift the next morning, I discovered that it was – a fur coat! Rabbit fur, and the coat was cut in a casual kind of style that could be worn with jeans, but a fur coat, nonetheless! Only God knew that I wanted a fur coat! I felt that it was not only a present from my husband, who had used his charge card to buy it, but also from the Lord, just to show me that He loved me and cared about what I wanted.

The husband is now the ex–husband, and he was flabbergasted at my excitement about the coat when I told people afterwards that I felt it was a gift from the Lord, as God was the only one who knew that I had been wishing that I had a fur coat. My husband was offended. He exclaimed indignantly that he was the one who got me the coat. He felt that in my giving any credit to the Lord, I was discounting his part in it. I wasn't. I recognized that he and God were partners in the deal.

I guess he didn't see it that way because he was not aware that it was God who had moved him to do something nice for me. All goodness that is in the world is because of the grace of God, though God gives us credit for yielding to His grace and letting Him use us to do good.

When our marriage broke up nine years later, my ex–husband made bitter remarks about how I had not appreciated that coat, that I would just drop it on the floor when I walked into the house. I have never tossed a coat on the floor; it goes against my nature to do that. To clear the record, in case he hears of this story and makes that ignorant comment again, what he was referring to was one occasion when I laid it over the arm of the couch when we came home late at night, and the next morning the kids got hold of it when we were still asleep. After they finished playing with it, they left it lying on the floor.

Though my ex–husband took an attitude about me giving credit to God for the coat and made the bitter remarks at the end of our relationship, it does not dim the pleasure I feel when I think about how he gave me that present. God knew that Christmas was important to me and He cared about that, and He wanted to do something delightful for me just because He loves me. Christmas was not an issue between Him and me at that time. It was more important to Him that I knew that He loved me, and when I got more secure in knowing this and my heart was not so empty and needy because He was filling it with His love, I was able to let go of Christmas and other vanities that He wanted me to give up.

So, how do I handle Christmas now? I have spent Christmases working, or staying quietly at home by myself reading, and not minded missing out on the celebrations at all. I also spent a Christmas volunteering to help cook and serve dinner to former street people who lived in special apartment units for people with their needs. All the other volunteers went to their own dinners later in the afternoon,and I stayed on into the evening to clean up and make a huge pot of soup from the ham bone with other ingredients that were available, so that the ham bone would not go to waste. I felt perfectly content.

I did not want to be with other people who celebrated Christmas, as it was likely to put a damper on their fun if any of them asked, "So, Lanny, what have you got against Christmas?" That isn't the right time to talk in depth about the Babylonian roots and where it is heading, but now you have a whole year to think about it and decide if you still want to be programmed to give your allegiance to satan when the true meaning of Christmas is publicly revealed. It's all about making emotional connections that can be played upon when the Antichrist is set up as the world leader and Christmas is declared to be his celebration. If you really want to celebrate Yehoshua's birthday, then don't be three months late.

Christmas 2009 and 2010, I spent with my daughter and grandchildren. My philosophy is that I am not going to get involved in making arrangements to celebrate Christmas, but if my daughter invites me over, a good meal is welcome at any time, and if she wants to give me presents, a gift is welcome on any day. My family knows that it doesn't bother me, if they don't give me any presents on that day, but Heather likes to do it. When Connor has protested that I don't buy Christmas presents, Heather reminds him that I buy him and Jake presents all year round, and that people have a right to their beliefs.

Regardless of my beliefs, it is fun to watch the kids open their presents. I film it because it is a part of their life; it is how their mother has chosen to raise them. When I was watching them, I thought, "Man, I have to do something next September to celebrate Yehoshua's birthday, and look into the Jewish feasts and figure out some good traditions to start in my family that relate to the Biblical celebrations." As Christians, we shouldn't engage in pagan celebrations, but it is important for our children and grandchildren to make happy memories for them that are attached to significant things.

I am almost finished reading Katharine Bushnell's book God's Word to Women. She certainly was a very intelligent lady. Katharine lived in the 19th century and was a doctor. Going to college to learn medicine could not have been easy for her in her culture, but she went onto much harder things. She campaigned vigorously and courageously against the cruelty of the British Empire in how it forced the women of the countries they conquered into prostitution to serve their soldiers and civil servants.

Considering how much women were oppressed by their culture at the time that she lived, it is understandable that Katharine sometimes overstated her case and read too much into some Scriptures that she believed elevated women in some ways above men. Regardless, much of what she says is completely logical and valid. Common sense will recognize it, if it is not hampered by egotism that is bent on preserving the male superiority and authority myth that has kept women under the heel for centuries, or low self–esteem that compels women to cater to that lie.

Katharine certainly is right that women should learn Hebrew and Greek, so that they can research the Bible for themselves and find out what it truly teaches, rather than depend on men to interpret it for them, after it has been filtered through their self–serving, prideful, and chauvinistic mindset.

It is really liberating to read the book slowly enough to retain the information in it, so that I know I am on sturdy ground when I assert that God wants men and women to operate as equal partners in marriage and hold equal offices in ministry. Even if a lot of Christian men refuse to accept more sensible interpretations of God's Word that show this, it does my heart to good to know that I, at least, know the truth about what the Bible really teaches, and that God is more just in His character than I thought He was. God's Word to Women is online, for anyone reading this who wants to know God's mind about women better.

I had a good time with my grandsons on New Year's Eve. I took them to a party, then pizza on the way home to kill some time until midnight. We got home just in time to gather lids and pans, then walk up the street and make a racket wishing our neighbours a happy New Year. Little Jake, walking behind Connor and me with his lid and pan in his hands, looked tremendously satisfied that he was getting to do something celebratory, which included permission to be noisy.

I don't know if that custom has pagan roots, too. At this point, if it has, I don't want to know. I have given up quite a lot of stuff already, and need time to get used to it. On New Year's Eve, I just wanted to have some fun with the kids, and for them to get to make noise at a time when the neighbours would tolerate it. Dogs were barking, fire crackers were going off, and the stars were smiling down on us. It was a lovely evening. I hope you all had at least a good a time as we had, and I wish you a Happy New Year, folks!

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Page modified by Lanny Townsend on January 14, 2011

Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.