Can humans lose their “humanity” in God’s eyes?

I have always thought the answer to this question is “no” because Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  So I’ve always thought sin is just a matter of degree and that no one can put themselves beyond God’s reach and lose their humanity (Imago Dei).  That is why a number of years ago when the late Lawrence Auster referred to a group of young criminal men as possibly being “sub-human,” I strongly disagreed with him.

But I have no idea how it is possible that Dr. Ginde of Planned Parenthood can be considered “human” and retaining her Imago Dei.  Has she not become a monster in Satan’s image?

During the conversation, [Dr.] Ginde is asked if she ever gets intact specimens.

“Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then we are intact,” she said.

CMP alleges that, since this particular Planned Parenthood affiliate does not use feticides in its second-trimester procedures, any intact deliveries prior to an abortion “are potentially born-alive infants under federal law.”

Near the end of the more than 11-minute video, Ginde digs through the remains of an 11-week-old fetus in a petri dish, showing different body parts to the undercover activist.

At one point, a sound identified as a skull cracking is heard. Later, someone in the room asks questions such as “Do they want brain?” and “Do people do stuff with eyeballs?” The activist laments that using water in the petri dish has caused some of the tissue to come apart.

“Well you know, a lot of times, especially with the second [trimester fetuses], we won’t even put water, because it’s so big you can put your hand in there and pick out the parts,” Ginde says. “So I don’t think it would be as war-torn.”

As Ginde looks over the fetal tissue she says, “It’s a baby.”

The last quote in the video comes from a medical assistant, joyfully proclaiming “And another boy!” when she realizes the sex of the fetus they are dissecting.

The horrifyingness of this is unspeakable.  How can it be that these women somehow retain Imago Dei?  Are they not the foulest agents of evil imaginable?

It’s not that I think God could not forgive their sin or that Christ’s shed blood would not cover it.  It’s that I wonder if these women any longer retain the ability to avail themselves of Christ’s atonement.  Is it possible that their choices have rendered them inhuman monsters, dead souls in living bodies?

I suppose I am just having an emotional reaction.  I am not a theologian and only have introductory-level education in formal logic.  I know that other people such as Ted Bundy have committed horrendous acts and still been able to repent and turn to Christ for forgiveness.  But those people were insane and on some level seemed to be able to acknowledge they were insane.  These women behave as if sane and are accepted by society as being entirely in their right minds.  If someone is entirely in their right mind and yet able to commit such atrocities, where is God’s image in them?

.

Preserving the harvest: making and canning mock “apple” pie filling using your overgrown zucchini.

image

Psst…hey you, you wanna buy a zucchini?  I can get you a great deal on half a ton! 😉

My zucchini vines overfloweth…image

Now I like zucchini and will happily eat it sauteed with garlic, onions, and tomatoes every night.  Unfortunately, no one else in this house cares for zucchini…or at least they think they don’t care for it.  What the younger people here do not know, and what the older ones only learned after admitting they liked what they were eating, is that they actually love zucchini desserts.  A devious mama who wants her little ones to eat zucchini simply makes mock apple pie, mock apple crumble, mock apple strudel, or zucchini chocolate cake and stays mum about the switcheroo.

I found a recipe for canned zucchini pie filling and decided it was perfect for dealing with a half dozen monster-sized overgrown zucchini.  Example:
image
I made some minor adjustments to the recipe, most importantly by increasing the processing time and pressure.  Here is what I did…

Ingredients

24 c of peeled, seeded, and sliced zucchini
2 c lemon juice
3 c white sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
4 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp caradom
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp vanilla

Directions

  • Wash and peel zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and then cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; try to make them look like apple slices.

image

Here is a tip my mother taught me for when you are measuring many cups of something into a pot or bowl.  Start by making a little dish of “markers”; I put 24 slices of zucchini into this dish and then each time I dumped a cup into the stock pot, I added one “marker” slice.  That way when I ran out of slices, I knew I had put in the right number of cups.  This is helpful if you are constantly being interrupted by children wanting lunch, puppies needing to go outside, or teenagers asking if you will drive them out to Clear Lake, and you lose mental count of how many cups you’ve added.

image

  • Place zucchini into a stock pot, add the lemon juice and bring to a boil, then simmer 15 – 20 minutes until a greenish color but not quite transparent.
image
  • Mix together remaining dry ingredients in a bowl while the zucchini is cooking:
image
  • Add dry ingredients and vanilla to cooked zucchini; cook for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens somewhat.
image
  • Ladle into hot quart-size canning jars and then wipe off jars and rims.  Put on lids and rings.
  • Process in a pressure canner at 6 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes.

image

  • Use as you would homemade apple pie filling.
The woman who originally posted the recipe didn’t mention how much it would yield, but I got 5 quarts out of it.  A quart contains four cups, which is enough filling to make a 9-inch pie, so this will make five pies for us next winter.
image
This is the first time I’ve made this particular recipe, so I tasted some of the filling before I canned it, and I’m telling you, it tastes almost exactly like apples.  Don’t tell anyone it’s zucchini and they’ll never know!  It’s less goopy than store-bought filling, so I might thicken it with a tablespoon of flour sprinkled over it when I dump it into the pie crust.
Check out the Self-Reliance Blog for more recipes making mock fruit fillings from zucchini:
I think I’m going to try her mock lemon pie filling next, after I have my eldest daughter make a chocolate zucchini cake to bring out to the lake with her friends tomorrow.  Naturally I will tell her to refer to it simply as a chocolate cake…

I’m pretty sure this must be a sign that The Collapse is coming.

Blueberry bandits steal 1,500 pounds of fruit from South Haven property

OK, I’m kind of kidding. But really, blueberries? What are they going to do, set up a fly-by-night farm stand? Are they planning to do a whole lot of canning? Are blueberries, like 22 LR ammo, anticipated to be currency after TEOTWAWKI?

One time a few years ago as I was getting into my car at a Kroger on the Ypsi-Ann Arbor border, these two guys in a rusty, white van that fit the description of practically every creepy crime vehicle pulled up next to me and asked me if I wanted to buy a car stereo that was still in the box. Uh, no thanks guys; somehow this sounds like “receiving stolen property”. So maybe the blueberry thieves will trawl grocery store parking lots…Hey lady, you wanna buy some berries?  They’re still in the box, I can give ya a great deal on half a ton!

It’s so much friendlier with two.

Everywhere we go, people stop and ask us about our Shiba Inu puppy, Ruby: “Oh my gosh, she looks like a little fox! What kind of dog is that?”

Ruby and Mayaimage

The second question nearly everyone asks is, “Wait, you have two puppies?  Are you crazy!?  Isn’t that double trouble?”

Digby and Ruby

They are so sweet…when they’re sleeping. 🙂

The answer is definitely no, it’s not double the trouble, especially given the breeds we chose, a Shiba Inu and a miniature Goldendoodle.  Shiba Inus as a breed are known to be unfriendly with other dogs, even aggressive.  They are highly intelligent and become bored easily, and when they are bored, they can be very destructive.  Because they are so smart, they can find a way to get into anything and out of nearly any type of confinement.   Goldendoodles are friendly, sweet, and good with other dogs but need TONS of exercise and stimulation.  They can become very destructive if they don’t get enough exercise and interaction.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first; here are the ways in which two puppies are double trouble:

  • Double the poop to scoop…but you were going out to scoop it anyway if you had one, so this is not really 2X the trouble, is it?
  • Double the vet bills, which is pretty expensive the first year with all the puppy shots and several rounds of deworming medications given the fact that puppies eat disgusting things like rocks, worms, slugs, their own poop, other animals’ poop, dirt, grass, flipflops, garbage, compost, and any other foul, nasty item they chance to find.
  • Double the food bill…but you had to go buy food anyhow, so even though it’s twice as much money, it is really no additional effort.
  • Two puppies can chew up twice as many flip flops.  Ask me how I know.  But hey, flip flops come in pairs, so if one gets chewed up, you were just going to throw out the other one anyway…
  • Twice the price for puppy obedience class; DON’T give in to the temptation to cut costs on this item.  Both puppies and both spouses should attend puppy obedience school together.  You will save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.

  • They will on occasion lead each other into sin…that moment when they are headed toward the pond just when you are about to go somewhere and you call them back and one of them starts to come back but the other one keeps right on going, so the one who WAS coming back takes off, too…
The Dirty Professor

Hey there, sweetheart, how you doin’? See, I was gonna come back but I just had to make a little stop first…

But the benefits of having two at once outweigh the difficulties:

  • They play together inside when we are home instead of begging for human attention every second:

imageimage

  • They sleep beside each other at night in their kennels, preventing that well-known Shiba scream, an unearthly sound that will raise the hair on the back of your neck and cause your neighbors (if they live near) to call the cops in the mistaken belief that someone is being viciously murdered.
image

His and Hers boudoirs.

  • But most importantly, they keep each other company when we are not able to supervise them inside but don’t want to coop them up in their kennels, such as when we are mowing the lawn or need to run to the grocery store.  At that time, we can close the baby gate my husband installed on the covered front porch and confine them to that space with some toys, fresh water, a puppy pee pad, and a blanket.

image

Because they have each other, they play, roughhouse, chase each other back and forth, and nap together.  If one of them were left alone out there, I think they would become bored, lonely, and then destructive, gnawing on the wooden railings or trying to jump over them to escape, but because they have each other, they can get MUCH more fresh air and exercise than they could if we had just one who would have to be put in the kennel during unsupervised times.

  • At 6:00 a.m., they burn off energy chasing each other around the yard at a full run while I stand there not moving with my coffee in hand.
  • Being raised with another puppy provides the Shiba with the socialization she needs, given her breed’s tendency to be aggressive with other dogs.
  • Being raised with another puppy gives the Goldendoodle the constant interaction he craves even when we can’t be with him.
  • There is less squabbling among the children about whose turn it is to cuddle the puppy because there are TWO pups to go around.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m not anthropomorphizing when I say they love each other.
image

The Mr. and Mrs., snoozing in the minivan

Why did the boys like dizzy girls and not smart girls?

When I was in high school, one of my best friends was a very intelligent girl named Lynn.  She and I were both good students, usually earning good grades and scoring near the top of our class in standardized testing.  Though I dressed up for school and had long hair, the jock-type boys made fun of me whenever I blipped across their radar for being verbally praised by a teacher (otherwise, being at best an average-looking girl, they never paid me any mind), and they called Lynn and me “lesbians”.  I was mortified and grossed out by that (this was before being gay was Super Cool) and totally baffled as to why being a smart girl equaled being a lesbian in their eyes.

Lynn got married within six months of graduating high school (and she’s still married to the same man today), but I went away to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I made fast friends with a girl named Hollie who also grew up in a small town in Michigan.  We had an especially bonding moment one evening when I told her how humiliating it had been in high school to have boys call me a lesbian, and she told me she had experienced the exact same thing!  Hollie was petite and cute as a button, with waist length hair, but she had been a straight A student in a small town and was called a slut and a lesbian even though she never dated anyone.  Maybe this was a rural school thing  and it was different in the big cities.

When Lynn and I were juniors in high school, we got jobs at a fast food restaurant together.  The boys who worked there went to different high schools than we did, and Lynn and I saw this as a fresh opportunity to make some other kind of impression besides “smart lesbian”, an automatic disqualification for any romantic possibilities. So we decided to act dizzy – that’s what it was called back then when a girl acted sort of silly and dumb and helpless around boys.  I don’t think the word dizzy is used that way now, but I’m not sure.  However, I can tell you that the boys loved it when we acted dizzy.  They delighted in correcting our “stupidity” and telling us what to do and laughing at our airheadedness.  Lynn was quite pretty and scored herself a boyfriend via this method almost immediately and then dropped the act.  It makes me smile now at the memory of how fun it was as a teenager to act dizzy and have boys treat us with playful condescension.

I suspect that the boys didn’t actually want dumb girlfriends, but I don’t know for sure.  I think girls and boys do a lot of playacting at that age, trying out various behaviors to see how the opposite sex reacts.  But is this still the case today, or do boys like girls who act smart and competitive now?  I know this is the sort of story that drives feminists into a rage but I have to say that other than the embarrassment of being called a lesbian back then, it didn’t make me angry (and still doesn’t) that, all other things being equal, the boys preferred dizzy over brainy (at least initially), but it does make me curious.

I do not advise modern girls to act dizzy around young men. But then again, modern girls sometimes make a rather big deal about beating boys – whether it is with academics or in other arenas – and I am not sure how modern young men really feel about girls who act like that.  I do think it is feminist influence that causes girls to measure themselves against boys and make such a big deal of it when they beat them.  I suppose the best bet is to be a good student while being quiet and modest about it.

Why we are cutting down all our cedar trees.

image

When we first moved into this house last September, the cedar tree you see above was in bad need of pruning.  Its branches were all over the roof and pushed up against the side of the house; it doesn’t seem like that would be a hard job, but my husband risked his life doing it because what you can’t see in this picture is that there is a steep drop off to a hill right behind that tree; our house is built into the back of that hill such that 1.5 stories are visible from the front, but another full story exists as a walk-out lower level when you look at it from behind.  So he was perched two stories up on a ladder trimming those branches – scary!  We debated cutting the tree down, but it’s a nice, mature tree so we decided to leave it.

I began noticing in the fall that smaller cedar trees had sprung up here and there all over our property.  My husband has cut those down now and we are waiting for a professional arborist to remove the big one next to the house.

Why?

Well, this past spring after a particularly heavy rain, one of our daughters came rushing in to inform us that there was orange snot all over the cedar tree.  She wasn’t kidding:

image

Big, slimy globs of bright orange goo were hanging all over the tree.

“What the heck is that!?” I gasped, grossed out.

After some time spent online, I learned that is a fungal infection called Cedar Apple Rust.  It’s a very unusual fungus in that, like White Pine Blister Rust, it requires two years and two species of tree to complete its life cycle.  It starts out as hard, brown balls in the fall on cedar trees and sends out those orange globs of yucky stuff, which are actually the fungal spores.  The spores then become airborne and infect apple trees and other plants in that family (crabapples, Hawthornes, some pears, roses), resulting in a rusty infection on the leaves and severely blighted fruit.

You can see the rust blight now on some of our apple trees even though we sprayed them with Immunox, a fungicide, after we figured out what was going on:

image

Since we are trying to grow our produce organically, we don’t want to have to keep spraying our trees, so we are taking out the cedars and we are planting apple cultivars that are resistant to Cedar Apple Rust.  You can find a list of apple cultivars, both heirloom and hybrids, that discusses each cultivar’s level of resistance to cedar apple rust here.  I ordered several Liberty and Empire trees to add to our little orchard because they are resistant to CAR and I shouldn’t need to do much spraying, if any at all.

The cedar wood will go to good use; it makes great fence posts because of the naturally-occurring resins in the wood, which make cedar wood slow to decay.  You can also use it to make nice camp fires in your fire pit without waiting for it to dry out, though it does smoke a bit as the resins burn.