Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The End of All 4 The Glory of God~By Kyle

Well, some of you might have seen it coming: this is the end of this blog. I have been pretty much the lone blogger for months now; my sisters' posts are few and far between. Now don't panic! this is not the end of blogging for me. In fact, this is only just the beginning. You can follow my new blog at anextraordinaryexistence.blogspot.com. And if you are really bummed because of the girls not blogging anymore, I have good news and bad news: though they will not be blogging for the time being, there has already been some talk among my three former wombmates about making their own more feminine blog. Now that they don't have to deal with my ramblings anymore, maybe they will get back to blogging!

 Again, my new blog address is http://anextraordinaryexistence.blogspot.com/.

 Just for kicks:

 This blog is set to self-destruct in 10 seconds. Please leave promptly.

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KABOOM!

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Jostie flick :0)~By Kyle

 
Some people just do not do well together, and that definitely applies here. Note: if you are wondering what in the world is this?, you can view some more of the Jostie's movies here to get the bigger picture.
 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Trap shooting pictures~By Kyle

Good morning everyone! Here are some pictures of the trap shoot competition. My earlier post of the competition is below this one. :0)

The Club


All fifty shooters. My teammates and I are to the far left of the second row



 
Me with my teammates, Adrian (middle) and Nick (left)



Talking

 
Here I am looking down the line of shooters before I start off the shooting rounds
 

Shooting


Here I am playing a game called Annie Oakley with my teammates. I shoot first, and if I miss the bird, then Nick gets a shot at it. If he misses, then Adrian gets a chance. If I miss and Nick or Adrian hits the bird, then I am out.

 
Well, time to go to church!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My first trap shooting competition~By Kyle

Hi Everyone! Today I had my first official trap shooting competition! The competition was out in Woodland, and fifty different shooters came from about six or seven school districts. It was a lot of fun! So how did I do? Well, pretty well for my first go at competitive shooting! There were four different shooting disciplines at the trap meet: 16 yard trap, 22 yard trap, doubles (two clay pigeons at once), and 16 yard continentals. My teammates and I were all first-year shooters, so we got to be in a different division then the "veterans".

  My scores, in order of the disciplines I shot first:

Doubles:        14 of 30
Continentals: 18 of 25
16 yard trap:  19 of 25
22 yard trap:  16 of 25

so overall, not a very bad day! I definitely have room for improvement on doubles, but this was only my second time shooting doubles. Also, it was my FIRST time shooting continentals, so I was very happy with my 18 score. What is continental trap? Well, it differs from normal trap in that the clay pigeons can fly in many more angles and at a faster speed; the birds can go much higher or lower than the birds flung from regular trap. This adds a whole new level to shooting since you don't know where the bird will be going.

I stuck around for the awards, not expecting anything, but to my surprise, my name was called for a shoot-off in the continental discipline with three other shooters. Turns out, I was tied with three other shooters for second place in that discipline. The ten round shoot-off was pretty intense (and nerve racking!), for though I didn't know it at the time, my two other opponents and I were shooting for second, third, and fourth place, respectively. Fourth place does not receive a medal. I actually was able to keep myself fairly calm during the shoot-off and won it, out shooting my opponents by a score of 8 of 10, 7 of 10, and 6 of 10. So I brought home a second place medal. It went right down to the wire, and I learned later that the shooter I beat by one got the second best overall score in the tournament!  Not bad for my first time shooting continentals, huh?

My teammate, Nick, also brought home a first place medal in the doubles discipline--Good job, buddy!--so the Mossyrock team, all three of us (most teams had 7-11 shooters), were well represented in the awards. Our town may be small, but I will always be proud to be one of the five-hundred faithful Mossyrockians! :0)

 The next shoot is in April, so let's hope that I learn from this competition and can improve my scores. Trap shooting has been really fun (Thanks for getting me hooked on it, Richie!), and it is a great chance to be a witness to my teammates! Pray that I will get a chance to share the Good News with them some time, for though they are very nice guys, I am not sure where they are spiritually.

Well, I better get to bed, as we loose an hour of sleep tonight. Goodnight, folks!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In the Presence of Titans Part 4~By Kyle

Well, here it is, the last part of the story. I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this! And I hope that it got you thinking about the state of our nation and the founding fathers' views on various issues. Though of course it is hard to know the minds of men who have been dead for 200 years, from the tremendous amount of studying I did (as all the notes give proof of) I strove to give an accurate acount of what these men would think of our nation today.  Enjoy!
 
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Bang! The noise was loud and startling, and my eyes flew back open. The man who pressed the knife against my chest suddenly rolled off of me and onto the paved ground, covering his head with his hands. I got to my feet and, looking around, was amazed to see that a lot of the crowd was on the ground in my would-be murder’s same position or crouching behind any obstruction that gave them cover. I turned towards the sound, and Benjamin Franklin stood before me with a smoking pistol in hand.

To my left George Washington rose to his feet between his two startled attackers and quickly strode towards us. “My friends,” he said, “we must make haste out of here. We are outnumbered!” Washington helped Benjamin Rush to his feet, and while still supporting the bruised doctor, he and Benjamin Franklin started at a run down the street.

Snapped from my confusion at the president’s commanding words, I quickly followed the three. I glanced over my shoulder as I ran and was glad to see the ruffian and his friends were not making after our group, but in that same glance, I saw that the security guard who had been running towards the fight had drawn his gun from his holster and was running after us. He was still a good many feet away, but he was yelling at us to stop. I thought it was best to comply with these orders before one of us was shot. I turned to yell at the founding fathers to stop, but the trunk of a tree met me, effectively cutting off my yell.

The next thing I remember was looking up at the face of the security guard as he stooped down next to me. “Are you okay?” he asked, helping me up to a sitting position. “Are those old men your friends?”

I looked around from where I lay at the foot of the road-side tree I had slammed into, still dazed. My memory started coming back to me, and I looked back at the man. “Yeah, they are my friends, well, kind of. It’s a long story.”

The man helped me to my feet. “What in the world happened? You have blood on your face!”

I wiped at the sticky blood as I briefly related to the man the fight. After I had finished, the security guard looked down at the hole in my shirt. “You are lucky your friend fired when he did, though he is in big trouble for carrying a gun here. Come, I need to ask you and the men who attacked you some questions. It would be good to round up your costumed friends too. Can you call them on your phone and tell them to get back here?”

I shook my head. “No, I can’t call them because they don’t have phones. They are kind of old fashioned.” That, of course, was an understatement.

We walked back to the front of the Old Post Office Pavilion, but the crowd had dispersed and the men who had attacked our group were gone. The security guard led me back into the old post office and pointed me towards a bathroom. “Clean yourself up while I have a look around for your friends or attackers. I will ask you some more questions later.“

I went into the bathroom and quickly washed my face, but I left the bathroom as soon as I could. I wanted to get back to my friends, if that was at all possible.  Looking both ways, I quickly strode towards the door out of the mall. Leaving the security guard behind when he still had questions for me was probably a crime, but I had made up my mind.

I started back down the street the founding fathers had run down just as several police cars pulled up, no doubt alerted to our fight by the security guard or someone in the crowd. I left that place behind. I then started to jog, looking down each street that branched off the main road as I did. Suddenly I heard a “psst,” and turning, I saw my three friends standing in one of the side streets. I Let out a breath of air and walked up to them.

George Washington looked me up and down. “Ethan,” he said, “It pleases me greatly to see that you are well. We feared something evil had befallen you when we reached this street and lacked your presence.” He took a step closer to me and placed his hand on my shoulder. “I am glad providence has granted that we meet again, for I sincerely wanted to thank you for your brave actions a few minutes ago. I saw what you did, braving your life to save me from that knife, and you have my most earnest and heartfelt thanks. If there is ever anything I may do to repay this debt, I will do it unreservedly. The president of these United States is at your service.”

Under the earnest gaze of George Washington, I felt uncomfortable, but also pleased. It felt very good to receive this thanks from the man. “Thank you,” I said. “I appreciate that.” I turned to Benjamin Franklin. “And also, thank you, Mr. Franklin, for firing when you did. Were you aiming at the man on top of me?”

Benjamin Franklin shook his head. “Make no doubt, it would have pleased me to dispatch that rogue on top of you, but with so many people behind that man and with you under him, I thought it too risky to aim a shot at him. I fired into the air.”

I nodded and looked past him at Benjamin Rush, who was walking around in small circles, still limping. I addressed him. “Are you okay, doctor?”

Benjamin Rush looked up at me. “I am fine, Ethan. I was just walking around a little to try and lessen the pain in my ankle. I twisted it badly after that scoundrel knocked me over, but from what I can tell, it is only bruised.”

George Washington spoke up. “Friends, we must decide what to do now. Ethan has fulfilled his service to us by bringing us here, and we cannot hamper him anymore. I am sure he wants to get back to his home.”

“As to that,” I replied, “I think I will have to stay with you guys for a while and away from my car back at the mall. There are several policemen there now, and if I was spotted, I might be in some trouble. We all are probably in some trouble.”

“Policemen,” George Washington said, “if they are the enforcers of the laws of our nation, shouldn’t we turn ourselves in? We did nothing that we are ashamed to report to the marshals of this land.”

“I don’t think that would be a good idea,” I said. “Though of course you didn’t know it, carrying any kind of gun in Washington, D.C. is prohibited, and I doubt the policemen will take you seriously when you say that you didn’t know that law. You could be facing some very serious penalties.”

George Washington replied, “You are probably correct, though why guns have been prohibited in this district is a question that I hope has a good answer.”

“Well, I guess it was done for safety, especially for all the important people that come to this capital.”

“Safety?” Washington questioned. “I hope that is not the reason, for if it was, than every respectable citizen of this place should bear arms! You saw how my pistol was used but a few minutes ago, as a weapon of self-defense.  A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies*.”

 I had no response, so there was a moment of silence before Benjamin Franklin said, “If we are truly sought after, then I fear we might as well give ourselves up. We stand out in stark contrast to the people; we will be spotted sooner or later.”

I nodded. This thought had occurred to me too. I opened my mouth to respond, but a sound stopped me. It was the sound of people marching. I turned towards the sound and saw that a myriad of people were walking past the entrance to the street we were in. Many carried signs or flags.

Benjamin Rush stopped his pacing and walked with a slight limp to my side. “Who are they?”

“From the looks of it,” I said, peering closely at the signs, “they are Tea Partiers.”

George Washington suddenly showed interest. “Tea Partiers? Why are they called that?”

I shrugged. “According to what I have heard, they are a far-right extremist group that thinks America needs to return to what they claim is how the nation was originally founded.”

George Washington looked closer at the people marching past. “Some of them are carrying “Don’t Tread On Me” flags with the coiled rattlesnake.”

Benjamin Franklin nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, the coiled rattlesnake, the great American symbol**. And look! Some of them are dressed in garb similar to our own. I suggest we throw in our lot with these patriots, for they will effectively conceal us from the policemen at the very least. “

George Washington nodded, and we walked towards the Tea Partiers, joining their ranks. I was by far the most hesitant to join the crowd, for though my parents spoke fondly of the Tea Party movement, I had been told elsewhere that they were radicals that should be avoided. This fear quickly dissipated, though, for as I looked around at the crowd, I saw the faces of many honest looking people, many of them returning my gaze with a nod and a smile. There seemed to be something driving these people, a common motivation among them. As I talked to a few of them and listened in to many of the conversations around me as we marched, I came to believe that what drove these people was an intense love for their country. I enjoyed marching with them***.

My founding father friends were received in an even more friendly manner. Many of the people in the crowd would smile and wave when they saw the founding fathers. Some people even shouted “How are you, Mr. Franklin!” or “Greetings, George Washington!”, not knowing that they were welcoming the actual men themselves. The founding fathers would return these greetings and many times start a discussion with the Tea Partier who had shouted them, and most of the time the discussion seemed to please my friends, as a handshake was exchanged. The founding fathers were very nearly beaming, even George Washington, who hardly showed any emotion otherwise.

Up ahead appeared the National Mall, and as we approached, it was clear that was where the Tea Partiers were headed. Benjamin Rush, who had been walking beside me most of the time since he was the least recognized of the group, looked up at the Washington Monument as the Tea Partiers around us started to fan out into the grassy area around the tall tower. “This place is truly grand, Ethan.”

“Yes,” I said, nodding. “I never get tired of coming here.”

Benjamin Rush smiled and tilted his head towards Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, who were still in the middle of the crowd. “They seem to like this place as well and would probably stay here among these people for a considerable time. I feel that something is changing, though. The queasiness I felt right before we were miraculously transported here has returned. It is possible that we are being called back to our age.”

I looked at the face of the doctor; he was serious. “You’re sure?”

Benjamin Rush placed his hand on my shoulder. “Yes, our time with you might be nearly up, Ethan.”

The two of us walked towards Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. As we did, the people around us started calling out, “Speech! Speech! Give us a speech, friends!” They were addressing the two founding fathers in the middle of the crowd, who had become a sort of favorite among them.

George Washington held up his hand. “Good citizens, it has done me well to see so many of you gathered after all of the disheartening news I have borne in my brief stay in your age. I have learned from many of you that you hold to the laws of this nation that so many great men established at my side, and for that I commend you!  I have hope for this nation, as I have always had, even if the times be dark, for truly the time is as dark for our nation as it was at its birth. This nation is threatened just as much as it was when the British Empire, the strongest military power in the world, bore down on our shores. This threat, however, is not a military one; it is not one that you can fight against with men and arms. This threat is something far more serious, the threat that has toppled so many nations before us: moral decay. I know that many of you are resolved to fight this threat, as any true patriot should, and surely the hand of providence will be with you.”

George Washington paused to scan the faces looking up at him. “My friends, in conclusion, let us all never forget this: that ‘while we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.’**** Remember this always, citizens. Fight for what has been given you, and may you overcome this threat!”

At these closing words, the Tea Partiers around our first president clapped heartily and shouted their approval. The clapping continued as Benjamin Rush and I found Benjamin Franklin and led him out of the crowd. Once we were outside the crowd, Benjamin Rush addressed Benjamin Franklin. “Mr. Franklin, do you not feel the uneasiness in your stomach that was felt before we traveled to this age? It seems to me as if it might be time for us to return.”

Benjamin Franklin nodded his round head. “Yes, doctor, I feel the same. I feel also as if the quality of a younger body I perceived I was blessed with at the beginning of our time here is slipping away; I sense that the ailments that have irked me in my old age are returning.”

A concerned look came over his face, and Benjamin Rush opened his mouth, but Benjamin Franklin held up his hand to cut off his discourse. “However, I am still well enough as to not be badgered by your hampering questions, Dr. Rush. Let us find George Washington.”

Benjamin Rush, not looking all that happy about being cut off by the round man, turned from Mr. Franklin. “Yes, where has our president gotten off to? I think it would be wise to be together if we truly are to be transported back to our time in this land.”

I looked around. I thought at first that he was probably still in the crowd of the Tea Partiers, but as I turned towards that crowd, I saw the stately man out of the corner of my eye. He was making away from the crowd and was heading past the base of the Washington Monument. “There he is.” I pointed. “I will go get him.”

Benjamin Rush nodded. “We will be waiting here. Please hurry, Ethan.”

I strode in the direction of where I had seen Washington heading. I too walked past the Monument and saw the Reflecting Pool up ahead. A man stood tall with his hands clasped behind his back at its edge, his image reflected in the water with the late afternoon light. The man did not say a word as I approached, but I could tell from the reflection in the water that it was George Washington.

“Sir,” I said, walking to his side, “Benjamin Rush asked me to get you, for he thinks that his and your time here is up. Sir?” I repeated when I did not get an answer.

George Washington, still looking out across the water, spoke to me, and I was surprised at the quaver in his voice. “Ethan, I was there when musket balls tore my men apart, when the bayonet was plunged into their breasts; I saw the agony in their eyes as they fell to the ground and breathed their last. Their blood stains this land. I was there when these men under my command marched past me at Valley Forge, the snow bloodied on the path they tread with nothing but rags on their feet and bodies.” The president finally turned to me, and a tear ran down his cheek. “Those memories haunt me. The patriots around me sacrificed everything for something they held dear—this nation. As I see this same nation now, I can’t help but wonder if they died in vain, if the pain they went through was all for not. Have they died just to see this nation crumble in the days of their ancestors?”

George Washington paused, almost as if he wanted me to answer his rhetorical question. I could not give an answer. Finally the president spoke again, and this time his voice strengthened. “You must fight for this nation, Ethan. You must not let the liberties bought with such a price of sacrifice be lost while you still draw breath. You cannot remain idle. Align yourself with these Tea Partiers, the closest I have seen to patriots in this age. Give your all to defend the liberty that has been given you. The men of my age gave everything, even their lives, for this liberty, this freedom; will you?”

George Washington’s eyes searched my face as he waited for my answer. “Yes.” I said this one word quietly, but I meant it. It was the only word that was needed, and it was the last word I said to the founding fathers. George Washington and I were silent as we walked back to Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Rush.

Once there, each of the three men who had impacted my life so greatly in that one summer afternoon shook my hand and stepped back from me, each of them feeling the pull they had felt before they had been transported to the parking lot I had been walking across. We stood a few feet apart from each other in a few seconds of silence. I wanted to say something, anything, to these men before me. I wanted to thank them. But my throat was too constricted to speak.

George Washington, however, seemed to know my desire, and he smiled at me. “Ethan, we are deeply grateful for everything you have done for us, and we thank you for your friendship. I hope we will meet again when your story is finished in this world and you stand before our Maker. Goodbye, Ethan.”

I opened my mouth to reply, but a sudden sound of air blowing towards us cut off the words. I turned towards the sound, and suddenly a gust of wind surrounded me and a whistling noise again assaulted my ears. I stooped over and held my hands over my ears, and the sound passed.

I turned back towards the founding fathers, but they were gone. I stood, staring at the spot where the men had stood, wondering if it had all been a dream. I put my hand in my pocket, and a cold piece of metal met my touch. I pulled out the Spanish dollar coin given to me by the founding fathers at the car dealership, and I smiled as I looked at it. I don’t know how long I stood there, but finally I turned and headed back across the grass of the National Mall. I needed to get back home, but what’s more, I had a nation to fight for.
 
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*First Annual Address, to both House of Congress (8  January 1790). Cited from Wikiquote.
**"I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?" Benjamin Franklin on the rattlesnake. Pennsylvania Journal, December 27, 2013.
*** I love Tea Party rallies!
**** General Orders (2  May 1778)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Remember movie review~By Kyle


Carl Jones lives a normal life.
 
Sure, it might be different then how it used to be, but he doesn't remember much of that. Every day, after downing his memory-forgetting pill, he says goodbye to his wife and heads to where he works, the Child Protective Agency. His job is to make sure that the citizens of his state remain loyal. That includes keeping every child from seeing their parents and every parent their children. It is better that way, and safer. Or so Carl has been told.
 
Safe, the one thing that the citizens around him have given so much for when a devastating economy collapse threatened them in 2029. It is now 2050, and thanks to a few radical minded politicians, a semblance of order has returned. Of course the people now live in concrete, government-mandated houses—oh, and sometimes the new white-coated policemen have to stun citizens with a memory blocking thing-a-ma-gig—but it is a safer world. Or so Carl has been told.
 
Wow, you wonder, that sounds weird. Well, so does Carl—after he starts receiving strange messages from a blue gel. And he starts to remember. The memories are not pleasant and he pushes them away, but they keep reoccurring when he comes into contact with this blue gel. He doesn't know it at first, but he has been called to make a difference.
 
Meanwhile, his wife, Wendy, stops taking her "forgetting" pills, and she too starts remembering. The two of them start to remember things they have long forgotten, things that give a glimpse of a different life.
 
What follows is a whirlwind that Carl and his wife at times don't even understand, much like how the audience feels. Confusing aptly describes the life Carl has to live once he resolves to break loose from the pattern of the world he lives in. But please bear with our hero, even if you too are lost in his story. After all, what is a man to do when he finds himself on the right side of the law, but on the wrong side of truth?
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Hi everyone! Above is my first try at writing a movie review like the good people of Pluggedin (Christian movie review sight) do. Tonight our family watched Remember, a finalist in the SAICFF. It definitely gets you thinking about how life could be like in a few decades. If you really think about it, it is not all that far-fetched, either. Though at times you will probably get lost in the rather sketchy story, I think Remember is worth the 20$ I paid for it. The acting is surprising good for a Christian movie, though the film quality is about what is expected. So, my free citizens, support this movie . . . while you still can.


Friday, March 1, 2013

How have we gotten here?~By Kyle

Hello everyone. We are indeed living in a strange world. Here is a response to an e-mail I sent to our Senators regarding House Bill 1044, a bill mandating abortion coverage in maternity insurance plans (To learn more about the bill, click here). The green phrases are my own exclamations of surprise and disgust, but the words in bold are from the Senator himself:
 
Dear Kyle,
 
Thank you for taking the time to contact me, voicing your concerns with the Reproductive Parity Act. As you know, the RPA requires insurance plans that provide for maternity care also provide equivalent coverage for the termination of a pregnancy. It would not require any individual or organization with a religious or moral opposition to a specific service to pay for or purchase coverage for that service. Furthermore, the insurance plans are not required to cover pregnancy terminations that would be illegal under state law.
 
I support this bill, but unfortunately  it did not make it out of committee before cut off despite having 23 co-sponsors. Thankfully, its companion in the house – Engrossed House Bill 1044 – passed and has been sent to us in the Senate. I hope the new senate majority will allow this badly-needed conversation to occur. (UH-OH!)
 
Furthermore, I opposed Senate Bill 5156, which would have required parental notification 48 hours prior to terminating the pregnancy of a minor. (you opposed what?) This measure was not where Washington voters are, it was a far-right  bill that would serve to intimidate women making a personal choice about their bodies. Thankfully, this bill did not make it out of committee, and has no companion in the house.
 
It has been my privilege as a legislator to always vote in favor of a woman’s freedom to choose, just as the people of Washington have voted in favor of freedom at every opportunity. (hummm, like gay marriage, perhaps?)
 
Three years before Roe v. Wade voters legalized abortion in Washington State and in 1991 we passed an initiative that would ensure this remained our law even if the federal decision was overturned. (You're celebrating that?)

 
Rather than respect a woman’s privacy to make difficult and intensely personal medical decisions on her own, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle believe those decisions should be made by a male-dominated, governmental entity (Does a male-dominate entity even exist anymore?) . We must continue to fight, and we must support the RPA.
 
 
This bill is about common sense, and it is about respect, but most importantly it is about justice. It is just to ensure full equality for women in their healthcare choices. It is just to ensure that women have full responsibility over their own medical care and it is just to affirm the clear will of Washington voters for decades.
 
While you may disagree with the RPA, its merits deserve to be debated in a public forum. The Reproductive Parity Act needs to be brought to the floor for a vote.

Sincerely,

Edward B. Murray
State Senator
43rd District

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Here is my original e-mail that initiated this heartfelt response:

Hi, my name is Kyle Bowes, and I am a student living in our beautiful state of Washington. I am sending this e-mail to voice my disapproval of House Bill 1044. If this bill passes, anyone—even churches—buying a maternity insurance plan would be forced to buy additional coverage that would cover the abortion of a pregnancy. For churches and many individuals, this will mean that they will be forced to provide for something that goes against their religious beliefs.

I also disapprove of this bill because it will be much easier for an individual to terminate a pregnancy, and that is something that should not be done lightly. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Since I am a Christian, I believe that when an abortion is carried out, a fearfully and wonderfully made life is ended. In fact, my family has adopted two precious little ones that could have very well been murdered in their mommy's womb, especially if HB 1044 had been made a law before they were born.  This bill is close to home for us.

Because of this, I respectfully ask that House Bill 1044 be rejected by the Senate of Washington state. This bill will not protect women's health; it will help end the lives of thousands of precious little women every year! Please, I urge you as the leaders of this state to not violate the right of choice every American has by mandating abortion coverage. Furthermore, I urge you to consider the life inside a mother's womb that cannot fend for him or herself. They need someone to fight for them. Will you?

Sincerely,

Kyle J. Bowes
 
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 Though after further study I admit I was partially wrong about this abortion coverage being mandated (those who are religiously opposed or otherwise cannot be forced to buy this coverage), here is something you must do if you refuse this abortion coverage:


  • Ensure that enrollees who are refused services have prompt access to information describing how they may directly access services in an expeditious manner;

So though you will not be required to buy this coverage, it is clear how much easier it will be for any woman, even those in the businesses that do not provide abortion insurance, to gain access to these services that will end the precious life of a defenseless person. This is just one more immoral step our state is trying to take; we must fight it! Here is a link to all the e-mail addresses of our state's Senators. Please, send them a polite but pointed e-mail about why this bill should be rejected. Furthermore, let all your Washingtonian friends know about this bill and urge them to call or e-mail our Senators. Lydia, post information of this on your blog and your Facebook page! Let's flood our Senators with e-mails and phone calls! We cannot stand by and watch murder become even more commonplace and accepted in our society!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In The Presence of Titans Part 3~By Kyle

Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay in getting this out sooner. As you know, my weekend was quite a bit different than what I thought it would be. :0) I hope you enjoy reading this, but a slight warning: this part of the story is very hard hitting, especially on the issue of homosexuality. But unlike Tim Tebow, I am more than willing to take my stance with the Biblical view of this issue. Also, make sure to read to the end!
 
 
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In the hour-long drive to Washington, D.C., I think the awkwardness was finally dissolved in my car. For their part, the founding fathers treated me very politely, and I actually enjoyed their company. George Washington always spoke levelly to me, but in a natural and kindly way. His steady gaze always seemed to be summing me up, as if measuring my character, but again, in a natural way. Benjamin Franklin always seemed to keep the mood light, and I possibly grew the fondest of him, holding him in my mind as an almost grandfatherly figure. Benjamin Rush was the least involved in the conversations, the void between him and the president still existent, but his calm voice often added depth to our conversations. I admired him as much as any of the three.

I passed my bag of cherries around, now happy to share with the gentlemen, and this time they each appreciated the snack and thanked me in their usual polite tones. Benjamin Franklin even said that cherries were now his favorite fruit. “For whenever I see or consume a cherry,” the rotund founding father had explained, “I will think of this extraordinary trip.”

I smiled and then turned to George Washington. “I suppose eating cherries doesn’t bring back only good memories for you, huh?”

“Pardon me, Ethan?” Surprise flickered in the president’s eyes.

“You know, with what you did to your father’s tree and all,” I pressed.

George Washington stared blankly at me, and I dropped the subject. Benjamin Rush, however, leaned forward.  “I doubt not that is a fable told of our moral president in the schools today, probably to build character in the little boys or girls. Am I not correct?”

“Yes.” I glanced at Washington. “The story goes that after you chopped down a cherry tree, your father was angry and asked you about it, and you replied,  ’I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.’ It is a story about telling the truth.

George Washington blushed and waved his hand as if he hated to receive the attention.

“Speaking of schools,” Benjamin Rush continued, “I would very much like to inquire as to how the young are educated now. They still use the Bible as a textbook, I hope? Even in our age there are some who would have the Bible be less used in our schools.*”

I glanced at his face in the rear-view mirror to make sure he was serious. “The Bible? You really used that as a textbook?”

“Of course! The Bible is essential to teach our young from. Don’t you use it?”

“No, not really. We used to have the Ten Commandments or something in our schools, but those have been or are being removed now. I even heard of a kid who was suspended for bringing his bible to school**, so I don’t take my bible into my high school. I keep it in there.” I pointed to the glove box.

Benjamin Rush’s light colored eyes flashed now as they met with mine in the rear-view mirror. “This cannot be! What have the citizens of this fair country done to fight this?  Surely they don’t continue to keep their kids in these petty schools, knowing that the beginning of wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord!  And how dare these schools put our nation in jeopardy! Surely the level of education in our schools has dropped since the Bible has been removed from them.” Benjamin Rush looked as if he wanted to continue his passionate torrent, but he stopped short as if to try and regain his composure.

George Washington, meanwhile, had opened up my glove box and removed my Bible.  I was almost ashamed at how far he had to dig to find it among the stuff in that compartment.  It had been a while since I had looked between the leather cover of that Bible given to me by my parents. George Washington almost tenderly held and carefully opened it, letting the onionskin pages rustle as they parted. Still looking at the Bible, he said almost softly to me, ”Ethan, of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?***”

George Washington paused and looked up from the Bible. His eyes seemed distant and thoughtful. “Ethan, if the Bible has been removed from schools, if the morality taught therein has been obstructed, than I fear for our nation. Without religious principle, our nation will lose morality. It will fall.” George Washington fell silent, his eyes still distant.

As if to steer the course of the conversation to less disheartening things, Benjamin Rush started asking questions about the state of the colleges in America, but he was also disheartened when he learned of the average age of college graduates. “I graduated from the College of New Jersey when I was fourteen!” he told me.

I hardly gave an answer. My mind was still on what George Washington had said. In the past few years, I had been lackadaisical at best in my Bible reading. I went to youth group, but more for the fun activities than anything else, letting the Bible lessons pass into one ear and out the other. I guess I considered myself to be a good person, good enough to not need the Bible as a crutch. What George Washington had said about morality being unsustainable without religion troubled me, to say the least.

The doctor behind me then started asking questions about the advances of medicine in my age, perhaps hoping to finally find something to be enthusiastic about. I was able to provide him with some enthusiasm in that regards, sharing my limited knowledge of the incredible medical capabilities of our age, but this only brought more questions from The Father of American Medicine.  

Besides him, Benjamin Franklin pulled a small book called Poor Richard’s Almanac from his pocket and flipped through its pages. He plugged his ear closest to the doctor with his fleshy finger and said, “See, I can do it too, doctor.”

Finally the car grew silent again, an almost welcome silence for me. Dr. Rush had asked for a pen, and I had found one for him. He now was writing a good many notes on the inside pages of his medical book. Benjamin Franklin was still flipping through the almanac he had written, and George Washington was still contemplative besides me. We were still a good half-hour away from Washington, D.C.

This time I was able to find a station when I turned the radio on again, hoping to get away from my more serious thoughts. The founding fathers had given me more than enough to think about. The station I found had just finished a song, and a voice came onto the radio. “We will have more of the best new country songs for you, but first a report from our news anchor, Samantha White.”

As the feminine voice rolled off a series of news items, I only half listened, but the founding fathers, fascinated by the radio, listened intently. Suddenly there was an exclamation from one of the founding fathers that jarred me into listening more carefully. The feminine voice was saying, “With gay marriage already legalized in Maine, Washington, and Maryland last year, gay marriage activists are predicting a shift in favor of these Americans that feel they are being discriminated against.

"And even more hopefully for these activists is President Barack Obama’s evolving view on this issue. In May of 2012, he gave his support for homosexual marriage, saying, “When I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is gone, because they're not able to commit themselves in a marriage. At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.****”

The news anchor continued with more, but there was now such an uproar of indignation and questions from the founding fathers that I shut the radio off.

Benjamin Rush was the first to get a question across to me. “Who is that foul person that commends sodomy? Surely he is not this nation’s president!”

I was rather shocked at this sudden outburst. “Yes, that was our president, Barack Obama,” I said. “He just got reelected for his second term as leader over America.”

Benjamin Franklin guffawed in unbelief. “Stop playing with us, Ethan!”

George Washington looked at me gravelly, his eyes searching my face intently. “No,” he said at last, “Ethan is serious.”

A hush fell over the car, one of shocked disbelief. The men around me were clearly disappointed—and indignant.  I broke the silence. “Friends, isn’t equal rights a good thing? I mean, I thought that is what you fought for, what you wrote in favor of on the Declaration of Independence. I have always been taught that homosexuals in our age our like the African Americans of your age, that they too are being discriminated against. Don’t they deserve basic rights as well?”

“Ethan, homosexuality is a sin, a gross sin! Do murderers have the same rights as the respectable citizen? Do adulterers? No, of course not! It is the responsibility of government, as the sword of God, to punish such sin, not condone it. If sodomy is encouraged in any society, that society will fall. It has happened before, many times. Like the Romans of old, so will America crumble if they allow sodomy to creep into and be encouraged within their states.” Benjamin Rush broke off and hid his face in his hands. He seemed to be praying.

George Washington, meanwhile, had flipped open my Bible, and he read from it, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.*****“

The president looked up. “It is clear in this verse that homosexuality is a sin, one that leads to damnation. Unless people are turned from this sin, or any sin, they will suffer. Do you want that, Ethan? It is also clear from the latter part of Romans 1 that homosexuality is one of the further steps of a decaying society. I had hoped that I was wrong, but now I am certain: Ethan, the America of your age is falling.”

Now it was my turn to be indignant. “But Mr. President, I was told in school that if anything, you were gay-friendly! And that you definitely were not a Christian,” I continued, glancing down at the open Bible in his hands. “Didn’t you have a general or something that was a homosexual?”

George Washington met my glare evenly. He spoke so calmly to me that I couldn’t help but also be calmed. “No, I find the sin of homosexuality to be detestable and indecent. I can asure you that none of the men in my sphere of influence openly practiced that sin. I think there is a distinction that needs to be made: We, every one of us, should love our fellow man as we do ourselves. Just because someone is a homosexual doesn’t mean we should never be in their company. But we will always hate the sin, not the person. We should seek to banish homosexuality and punish it accordingly, just as we do every other sin, so as to keep as many as possible from destroying themselves in it. Do you not understand this now?”

I nodded, my throat too constricted to speak.

George Washington turned his gaze from me. “And as far as the claims of some who would say that I do not follow Christ, they are vastly mistaken. I see God’s providence in everything, and it is because of his grace that I sit beside you now. He is the one I live for.”

The rest of the trip was spent in silence. I couldn’t think of anything to say, and a brooding sort of silence seemed to hang over the men around me. I felt as if we were now like a time bomb; I was afraid that when this silence was broken, another burst of conversation would come. I didn’t want any more uncomfortable conversations with these men. I had had enough. Deep down inside, though, I wanted answers. That is perhaps why I was hesitant to leave the founding fathers when our nation’s capital came into view.

“Well, we are here,” I said. “It is close to dinnertime; could I get you a bite to eat before I head back?”

Before George Washington could graciously decline this offer, Benjamin Franklin hastily put in, “I am sure my comrades all acknowledge the wisdom of attaining some nourishment, more so since we are powerless to buy our own meals. That would be a great kindness to us, friend, if you could take us to one of the taverns here.”

I managed a smile. “No, I cannot bear you to a tavern, for they would not let me in the doors since I am a minor. How about I take you to the Old Post Office Pavilion? I have been there several times and enjoy the food court, and it is only a short distance away from the National Mall.”

I received no objections from the founding fathers, so I set our course for the old post office building. As I wound my way through the crowded streets of our nation’s capital, frequent exclamations of surprise and wonder came from the other three men. “This place is truly a worthy capital,” George Washington said. “I am glad you have taken us here, Ethan.”

From the warm look that broke from his usually level gaze, I could tell Washington meant it. He seemed to appreciate the Capital more than the other two, though all three of them admired the place. This made me hopeful, for the gloomy mood seemed to lift a little from the group.

We reached the Old Post Office Pavilion, and I was lucky enough to find a parking space on the street. I walked with the founding fathers to the front of the place, but there we stopped to admire the imposing building before us. The Old Post Office Pavilion, now a mall, was an impressive sight, a clock tower rising to an impressive height from its white, almost castle-like walls.

We finally turned to head into the building, but the roundest of our group was not with us. “Where did that old gentleman get off to!” Benjamin Rush exclaimed, looking around for Benjamin Franklin.

Finally I spotted him. “There he is.” I pointed to where the old gentleman stood looking up at a statue. I called out to him, and Benjamin Franklin turned towards us and waved for us to come over.

As we approached, Benjamin Franklin smiled and motioned towards the statue. “An exact likeness, don’t you think?”

I looked up at the statue, noticing the name “Franklin” at its base. It was strange to look at that statue now that I had been in the company of the living version of the man.

George Washington broke into my thoughts, “Mr. Franklin, this statue in your likeness is all well and good, but I think we should move on at our friend's leading. We are drawing quite a crowd, perhaps not all friendly, for some of them seem to be aiming odd devices at us.

A little concerned at Washington’s grave words, I looked around for the ‘odd devices’. Quite a crowd was gathering at the appearance of Benjamin Franklin, and several of them were taking pictures with their phones.  “Don’t worry,” I said, “they are just taking pictures. I think it would be best to move on, though.”

Benjamin Franklin started to sidle up to one of the young persons that held a phone, no doubt to ask how it worked, but Benjamin Rush took hold of his arm and led him into the mall. A small crowd followed us all the way to the food court, but except for an occasional photo, our small group was left alone afterwards. It was at this food court that the three founding fathers got their first taste of an American cheeseburger, and notwithstanding the messiness (all three of them ate with a fork), they thought that the burgers were tasty.

We rose from our seats, and after rounding up Benjamin Franklin, whose curiosity had again driven him to wander from our group, we headed out of the mall. It was as we stepped back out onto the street that Benjamin Franklin nudged Benjamin Rush beside him, pointing to a pair of men who walked hand in hand. “Doctor, there is another one of those ‘couples’,” Benjamin Franklin said, his voice uncharacteristically angry******.

Benjamin Rush looked at where Mr. Franklin pointed, and his light eyes flashed. He turned abruptly to the people walking in and out of the mall behind him. “Citizens of America,” he said in a loud voice, “I beg you to listen to what I have to say.”

A handful of people looked up at the speaker, and a small half circle of them stopped before our group as Benjamin Rush continued. “It has been brought to my attention by this young lad, our friend, that the morality we once held as a people at the beginning of this nation has been pillaged.  The values we once had have been thrown to the ground and trampled underfoot. How could this happen!  I gather from this same friend beside me that you fight for the inalienable rights of mankind, and that is commendable! I myself fought for the rights of the black slaves of my age, forming the first abolitionist group with the gentleman besides me, Benjamin Franklin. But you as a people have taken this fight too far. You have taken it to the point where you would commend a foul sin, that of sodomy, as if it were that person’s right to live in such a way. I follow Christ; I believe in Him. So when He has put in his word that two men lying together as they would with a woman is worthy of death, I believe that homosexuality is not something that can be commended in any society!”

Benjamin Rush paused, and I grimaced at the shocked looks on all of the faces around me as I stood by the side of the three founding fathers. The crowd was growing. The thin half circle of people had grown much wider. Benjamin Rush started speaking again, but this time his voice was quieter. “I do not mean to be judgmental of any of you. That is not my place. Perhaps it is because you have removed the Bible from your schools that you commend this practice, perhaps you are just uninformed of the holy standards of our Lord, but this I know: you must not, you cannot, let homosexuality be welcomed in your society. The judgment of God will fall on this land if you do, and friends,” Benjamin looked around at the faces around him, “it will be a terrible judgment.”

 In the silence that followed, several people voiced their approval or hesitantly clapped, but the majority of the crowd stood, stunned. Some of them were angry. One man, who stood with several other angry young men, stepped forward into the space between the founding fathers and the crowd. “Haters!” he said with teeth clenched. “How dare you condemn my lifestyle; how dare you judge me!” A string of profanity followed. 

George Washington stepped forward. He was clearly irritated, but he was also calm. “Sir,” he said levelly, “if you have any sense or character, I would ask that you imediantly check your profane swearing in front of these people. It is a foolish and wicked practice.*******”

The man stepped in front of Washington so that his face was right in the president’s, and he swore again. I barely saw the fist that smashed into the man’s face a second later, sending him tumbling back onto the paved ground before the president. There was an exclamation from the leveled man’s friends, and they sprang forward to his aid. One of them stopped to help the foul mouthed man up, who was holding a hand over his nose that was spurting blood. Three other men approached our group with fists raised. 

George Washington calmly stepped back and handed something to Benjamin Franklin. “Please load this, Mr. Franklin.” The words were barely out of his mouth before he had struck one of the oncoming fighters.

Benjamin Rush also prepared to defend himself, but the punch that he threw was deflected, and his intended target rammed into the doctor, sending him to the ground with a thud. It was then that I engaged in my first actual fight. I could not stand by when the three men I had befriended were being attacked. I kicked at the man who had just flattened Benjamin Rush, kicking right in between his legs. To be sure, some would consider that a cheap shot, but with one of my friends already knocked out of the fight, the other an old, rotund man, and the last of my friends set upon by two men, the last thing on my mind was being polite.

It was as I turned from the victim of my well-placed kick, who now lay in the fetal position at my feet, that I saw something that sent chills up my spine. The man who had been knocked down by George Washington had torn loose from his friend and was making back at the president. His bloodied face was contorted with rage, and as he approached, he drew a knife from his belt. George Washington, defending himself from the two other men, was oblivious to his peril. The knife was raised and plunged at the president’s chest.

I don’t remember how I reached the knife in time, only remembering the hoarse yell I let out as I jumped forward. Both my hands gripped the wrist that held the knife, and I wrenched the arm back, keeping the knife from burying itself into the chest of our first president. This violent action made both me and the would-be murderer lose our balance, and I tumbled to the ground with him on top of me, still tightly clenching his wrist.

The man, denied of avenging himself, turned his fierce hate on me. His eyes glinted with rage, and while still pinning me down, he pressed the knife down at my chest. Blood dripped from his nose onto my face. I struggled with all my might, but the man was stronger than me and put all his weight on the arm holding the knife. The knife inched forward towards my body.

I looked around desperately for help, my arms strained and trembling from the immense pressure put on them, but there was no one to come to my aid. Benjamin Franklin was stooped over whatever it was he held in his hand, and Benjamin Rush was slowly picking himself up from the paved ground. I saw that a security guard was making towards the fight, no doubt alerted by the gasps of the crowd, but he was still fifty feet away. I turned lastly to George Washington, praying that he could save me, but he had been wrestled to the ground by the two other men. I was alone.

The knife pierced into my T-shirt, and I closed my eyes, awaiting the searing pain.

  -------

* When many public schools stopped using the Bible as a textbook, Rush proposed that the U.S. government require such use, as well as furnish an American bible to every family at public expense. Cited from Wikipedia.
** In January of 2010, Kenneth Dominguez, 16, was suspended for two days after bringing his Bible to Gateway East High School in El Cajon. Cited from ABC 10 News.
*** From George Washington’s farewell address. Cited from Wikipedia.
**** On May 9, 2012, President Obama voiced this aproval of gay marriage in an interview. Cited from ABC News
***** 1 Corinthians 6:9 NASB
****** Washington, D.C. has one of the highest gay/lesbian populations in the United States
******* The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a Vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavour to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it. From George Washington, Head Quarters, New York, August 3rd 1776. 
 





Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Newest Additions!~ By Victoria

One of our does kidded this morning at about 11. :o) She had a beautiful buck and doe! These are the first kids of the season and we are so excited!

                                              This is Liberty Belle. We are going to keep her. :o)

                                                          Liberty and her bro Justified!
                        Liberty has 2 white feet and a tiny white stripe on her belly on her right side.
                                                                     Adorable!
                          Justified weighed 9lbs 4oz and Liberty was 9lbs 2oz. They're huge!

We have two more does due any day. Then 2 more a couple weeks after that. :o) This is always a fun time of year!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Save Saeed~By Kyle

Hi everyone! As part of our Church's service today, Pastor Dean showed us this video of Saeed Abedini. Pastor Saeed is currently being held in a notorious Iranian prison for eight years because of his love for Jesus. He is an amazing man. Below is a video of a letter he wrote; it reminds me very much of a letter Paul would write:
 
Amazing, huh? I wish every Christian in America had the faith that he has. I want that kind of faith! And I would do anything to help him. That is where we come in, friends! There is currently a movement by the ACLJ to free Pastor Saeed from this brutal prison, and as part of this movement, they have a petition that any person can sign to support Pastor Saeed. Every Christian should sign it! Click this link to add your voice to this effort! Please sign it!
 
P.S. For anyone who has not been sent pictures of our new sister Marvelous, you will need to send us an e-mail or comment below that you would like some pictures. She is still a foster baby, so I can't post pictures of her on the Internet yet. She truly is marvelous!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Update!!

For those of you who aren't receiving our church's prayer chain emails, here is the latest update from that!!

Thank you soooo much to all who have been praying!

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 Hello Everyone!  Thank you soooo much for praying for us (Bowes Family).   We just got word that we will be welcoming 5 lb. baby “Marvelous” into our family tomorrow morning!!!   Please pray with us for safe travels and that everything will go very smoothly!   We will then be going through the same lengthy process we went through with Benjamin before having the possibility of adopting her.    So we are grateful for your continued prayers for our Lord’s perfect will and timing in everything!  (And His peace for our minds and hearts while we wait! :-)   Thank you, thank you, our dear sisters and brothers in the Lord.  We are sooo grateful for you!!!    We will be driving to Seattle in the morning to pick up baby “Marvelous” .  We are meeting her foster family at around 9:30am! 

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God is so good! Wow, how our lives have changed in the past 24 hours!! :o)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Breaking News!!!!!!!!!!~By Kyle

 Everyone, we just got word in literally the past few minutes that Benjamin has a baby sister!!! We are actually right in the middle of a home study right now to renew our license to adopt, and Shane, our home study guy, is as shocked as us! God is so good! We have always hoped that we might be able to adopt any of Benjamin's siblings, so we are celebrating right now! We just might have a new sister! Please Pray! More details soon . . .

 Update: Mommy just called the Social worker back and learned a few additional details. Our little sister was born on Valentines Day and was released from the hospital three days later, being placed with a temporary foster home. The fact that she was released within three days of being born is a very positive sign of her health condition. There is a court date tomorrow, so we could possibly even be bringing her home tomorrow.  All the details are still fuzzy, so bear with us, and pray!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rock work update, and second installment of my short story~By Kyle

 
Hi everyone! I have the second part of my story posted below, but first an update: I am officially on the home stretch of the rock work project! As you can see below, I have the main slope finished!
 
 

 
All I have left to do now is this slope (above the main rock slope) and . . .
 
 
this one parallel to the road to the barn.
 

 
It's not long now! I am hoping to have it done soon!


 
-------

Here is the second part of my story! I have decided to extend it to four parts now, just to allow for a fair treatment of the elements I wanted in this story. As I plan on making more short stories in the future, I would appreciate any feedback from you, the readers. Is this enough to read in one sitting, or would you like more/less? Any other suggestions? I would still like ideas for what I should call this story, but they will have to be better than Papa's bid. :0) Look for part three later this week!

Founding Fathers: In the Presence of Titans

 
 
Still wrapped in thought at my strange turn of events, I turned onto I-95, heading south towards Baltimore. As I began to accelerate down the on-ramp, George Washington cleared his throat besides me. I glanced at him and was surprised to see something close to fear showing through his calm features, or maybe disturbance is a better word, because the president's commanding face seemed almost incapable of expressing fear. His hands, white-knuckled, tightly clenched the sides of his seat. I raised an eyebrow at him, and noticing that I was watching him, the president made a weak attempt at regaining his composure. He quickly released his hold on the chair and fell instead to straightening his vest, then, clearing his throat again, said, “Your carriage moves remarkably fast, lad.”
 
I smiled, and Washington continued, “My throat is suddenly dry; may I?” He gestured towards the bottle of root beer lying between us.
 
My smile disappeared. In the strange events of the past few minutes, I had naturally forgotten about the snacks I had planned to consume on my ordinary travel home. Now that they were brought back to my attention, though, I was not sure that I was ready to share anything with these strange men. I figured sharing one root beer wouldn’t hurt, though, so I gave the go ahead. I would only be in the company of these men for a fraction of an hour, anyway. Or so I thought.
 
After politely thanking me, George Washington picked up my A&W Root Beer. He looked the bottle over for a minute, then pulled at the cap. Surprise showed on his face when this first pull failed, and he tried again. My smile returned as I watched him. He tugged at it several times, but finally he said to me, “The cork seems to be stuck. Do you have a mechanism I could extricate it with?” This was the closest to grumbling that I ever heard from George Washington.
 
“Twist it,” I offered, trying hard to keep from laughing.
 
The president followed my advice and finally got the “cork” off. He took a sip from the soda but coughed and nearly spit it back out. “Very“—he hesitated—“interesting.” He passed the drink back to Benjamin Rush. “Taste this, doctor. It bubbles in my throat as if it were alive.”

 I don’t know what it was, but it seemed as though there was a catch in George Washington’s voice when he addressed Benjamin Rush. It seemed to me that there had been a tension between the two men from the start of my brief time with them. I wondered at this and at first had credited it to the strangeness of the world they had been thrust into, but now I guessed that there was perhaps something more. They were by no means hostile towards each other, but nevertheless, they seemed to hold themselves at a distance.

Benjamin Rush set down his medical book and took the root beer, calmly raising it to his lips, but he too choked on his first mouthful. He then turned the plastic bottle over in his hands as he studied it. “root beer,” he said at last from where he sat behind me. “Is this beer made out of some kind of herbal root?”

“Uh, no.”

The doctor shrugged and passed it to Benjamin Franklin, who eagerly took the bottle. “I hope that is not your primary drink here in America now, for I doubt not that the health benefits are much better in the beer of our taverns than that drink.” Without another word, Dr. Rush turned back to his book.

Benjamin Franklin took a sip and was able to hold it down. In fact, he tipped the bottle back and drained about half of the contents. His friendly gray eyes twinkled as he handed the drink back to the front, and he said, “Ethan, I hope you have not been offended by the mean comments of my comrades towards your drink. I find it to be very refreshing.” The rotund man let out a contented sigh, which was cut short by a burp.

I laughed. “No, I was not offended.” I returned Benjamin Franklin’s smile, and it was then, I think, that I realized it: like it or not, I was gaining a sort of fondness for these three men.

Our conversations still failed to last all that long, though, for I didn’t know what to say to the men, and the three founding fathers couldn’t really get a good grasp on any of the aspects of my life to use as a springboard for a conversation. So scarce was our interaction, that I even turned the radio on, but before I could find a station, I had turned it off because of the rapid stream of questions that again started pouring from Mr. Franklin. As I listened to one of the corpulent inventor’s long and detailed questions, Benjamin Rush caught my eye in the rear-view mirror and smiled wryly at me as he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. Tearing two strips from the kerchief, he stuffed the strips in his ears and resumed his reading.

I was thankful for the rush-hour traffic I got snarled in as we came in sight of Baltimore, for I almost regretted having to leave the men so soon. I also was fighting an inner battle, for I knew that reaching the car-dealership meant that a pretty embarrassing confrontation was soon forthcoming. Though the men were sincere in their intent to buy a “carriage” to transport them back to their home city, I knew that it was very unlikely that they could buy a car. Even if they had sufficient funds (which I knew they did not), they probably did not have a driver’s license or any of the other necessary requirements. Unless they really were not who they said they were, which I found more and more unlikely, the three men were powerless to buy a car. I had known this from the start, but it hadn’t particularly troubled me. My plan had been to escort the three to the car dealership and leave them there with a  smile and a hearty farewell, effectively dumping them.

 This plan bothered me now.

We arrived at the dealership, and the three men thanked me heartily as they climbed out of my car. Through all of this I remained silent, the battle within me reaching a feverish pitch.

Benjamin Rush went around the back of the car and made as if to help the other Benjamin out of the car, but the inventor held up his hand. “Never mind me,” he said. “Give me a second.” The portly founding father rocked back and forth several times, gaining enough momentum to heft himself from the seat of my car. He managed to stand upright and flashed the doctor a smug smile.

“Gabby old gentleman,” Dr. Rush said under his breath, not looking all that pleased with Benjamin Franklin’s charade.

George Washington bent down and shook my hand before he closed the passenger’s door to my car. “Thank you, Ethan, for your service to me and my companions.” He handed me several silver coins. “Here, take these as payment for your most gracious help. I am glad to have met you, for you proved yourself a trustworthy companion. Our Lord’s blessing be upon you.” He stepped back and closed the door.

The sound of the door closing and the president’s last words rang in my ears, and I looked down at the coins in my hands. Like everything else about the men, they were odd. I felt sure they were not from this century—and they were real. As I looked at the Spanish dollar coins, a primary money of the early Americans, something finally clicked inside me. The coins were real, and the men were real! They had done nothing to discount who they claimed they were, quite the opposite.

I almost frantically opened my car door and stood up, calling after the founding fathers, “Wait!”

The three of them had walked some twenty feet away from me and were looking around at the many cars displayed before them. Already a salesperson was heading towards them, like a shark bearing down on its unsuspecting prey, as the men stood with hands in their pockets, looking very out of place. They turned towards me, and President Washington said, “Are you all right, lad?”

I motioned for them to come back. “I need to ask you something.”

“Certainly.” George Washington and his two companions walked back to my car, standing in a half circle around me.

“Friends—if you don’t mind me calling you such,” I said, as surprised with myself for calling them “friends” as they must have been. “I need to ask this: are you really who you say you are? Please tell me the truth.”

Benjamin Franklin, with a bemused look on his face, was the first to respond. “Yes, did you think we were playacting?”

George Washington shook his head and spoke levelly, “Ethan, I do not blame you for not crediting it as possible that we were actual at first. Indeed, if I had been in your place, I would have scoffed at the very idea that someone from a different age could stand before me, but here we are. We are who we claim to be. But a short time ago these two gentlemen and I were in Philadelphia in the year 1789, my first as president over these United States.”

“I am sorry I doubted you.” I meant it. Glancing away from George Washington, I saw that the salesman was striding towards our group with a broad smile on his face, a smile that kept the shark metaphor intact as I imagined a Great White opening its jaws to receive its prey. “Please get back in my car.” I quickly returned to my seat inside the car, and my three friends did the same.

The salesman, now nearly running, reached my car as my engine coughed to life. He tapped on my window, almost wildly gesturing for me to roll it down. I did, and a sale’s pitch poured from his mouth like a well-oiled machine starting to life. I almost felt sorry for the clearly desperate man, crushing his hopes of a needed commission in such a way. But not sorry enough to cut off his sale’s pitch.

“I’m sorry,” I said, beginning to roll my window back up. “There’s been a misunderstanding; I was just letting these old gentlemen stretch their legs. Poor fellows, they were pretty cramped after two centuries of residing in a casket. Goodbye.”

Now my shark looked more like a fish out of water, his mouth opening and closing as if he was unaccustomed to the air. “Sir?” he managed at last, but by that time I had my window rolled up and was driving past him.

*****

“You would not have been able to purchase a car with any of your money. You see,” I said, holding up a ten dollar bill, “this is what our currency looks like now.” We were parked on a side street in Baltimore a few minutes after leaving sharky behind.

“Is that the likeness of the gentleman Alexander Hamilton?” George Washington asked, looking closely at the face on the bill.

I shrugged. “I guess so.”

George Washington looked up at me sharply, surprise showing on his face. “You seem to know about me and my two comrades, but you don’t seem to know of Mr. Hamilton?”

I shuffled my feet. “Well, I probably heard of him in school, but after taking my history test, I just kind of forgot about him I guess.”

 George frowned as he handed the bill to Benjamin Rush. “You would do well to learn of him, Ethan. He was a great man.”

“So how much does a carriage cost in America now?” Benjamin Rush asked as he studied the bill, reverting the conversation back to it. “Could not a handful of these ten dollar notes buy a sufficient carriage?”

I stared at the doctor, then laughed. “No, you can barely buy a used car for three thousand dollars.”

All three of the gentleman stared back at me now. “Three thousand dollars,” Benjamin Rush replied in an almost awestruck tone. “Surely no one can buy such lavishly priced things.”

“No.” George Washington shook his head. “It must be the dollar; it has depreciated very much like the continentals of our age.” Concern showed now on the president’s face. “Ethan, what is the state of the economy in America today?”

I thought for a while, not sure how to answer this question. My parents had talked, of course, of the collapses of our economy in the past few years, and I had heard the grumblings of my older relatives at the prices of this and that and of how they used to be able to buy things at a fraction of the price, but this really hadn’t personally bothered me. To me it was just the way things were, as I had not lived long enough to know anything different. “I . . . I guess I don’t really know,” I said. “My parents talk of things like the ‘fiscal cliff’ or our ‘national debt’, of how our nation is headed for hard times, but I don’t really know much about that.”

George Washington looked at me gravely. “Son, if America is headed for rough times, it is not something to be taken lightly.”

I nodded, not knowing what to say in reply, but thankfully Benjamin Franklin spoke up, “Mr. President, if I may, let us turn to other things. We must come up with some accommodating plan or another to get us back to our abodes or to somewhere useful. The township of Baltimore has grown to remarkable proportions, but nevertheless, it is still useless to us.”

“I can take you wherever you would like,” I said evenly.

George Washington’s grave appearance dissipated as his calm composure again took over. “Ethan, we thank you for your services and friendship, but we cannot require anything more from you.”

“No, it is okay. I want to help you.” I was surprised at the almost earnest tone of my voice.

“If our young friend truly wishes to bear us for a while longer, I propose we head either to Philadelphia or to the land where the president of our beloved nation now resides,” Benjamin Franklin proposed. “I am sure that at the remarkable speed of our friend’s carriage, we could reach either place before many hours have passed, possibly even before nightfall.” With these last words, Benjamin Franklin looked at the sun, which was still a good distance from the western horizon.

Benjamin Rush and the president agreed to this plan. “But let us let Ethan decide as to which of the two destinations he would like to transport us to,” George Washington added.

“Well, Washington D.C. is about an hour closer than Philadelphia, so taking you there would be more convenient,” I offered.

George Washington nodded. “So be it. Bear us there.”