The phrase “family matters” is an intentional double-meaning of words. We are the example to the world when it needs to be reminded that family does indeed matter. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit represent the greatest example of family — coexisting in mutual respect, purpose, and communication with One another. Our opportunity is to understand how our families can demonstrate Father God’s concept of family, intertwining both interdependence and independence, love and support, wisdom and action. Articles and links below discuss different challenges, solutions, and thoughts regarding today’s families.
Currently recommended site: Save Unborn Life. This organization partners with AbortionNo.org and ProLife.com, and offers $3,000 to a woman considering abortion but willing “to preserve the child’s life” and carry the child to full term.
November 12, 2019: Abortion Survivor Who Lost Twin Sibling Continues to Share the Choose Life Message
I did not recognize the name Claire Culwell, but her story is fascinating. According to dailysignal.com, Culwell’s opportunity to meet her birth mother when she was 21 changed her life forevever: buying a gift and wanting to thank her birth-mother for “choosing life,” Culwell was shocked to find out that her mother, a mere 13-year-old-teen at the time of her pregnancy, had had her mother insist on taking her to an abortion clinic, where a baby was indeed, aborted…however, a few weeks later it became apparent that a twin sibling had been aborted, not Claire, herself. That revelation, according to the article, “changed her life.” She is quoted as stating, “I knew that I couldn’t stand for what abortion does. And so, I chose to take a stance and to speak out.”
October 15, 2019: List of Non-child-Labor Chocolate Manufacturers Grows
This is a quick little article worth reading as you buy chocolate for Halloween and the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. Although I don’t think the list of “big time” manufacturers purchasing cocao from child-labor-using institutions has reduced, I believe the list of cocao providers “who have made an intentional effort to avoid benefitting from the cruelty of child slave labor” has increased. Newman’s Own Organics and Clif Bar are familiar to me; L.A. Burdick Chocolates seem like a “familiar” name to me, as does “Cloud Nine.” I did a litte digging and was impressed with what I discovered:
Newman’s Own Organics needs little introduction, although the website is pretty interesting, overall. Member of the Fair Trade marketkplace for Organic Cocoa Beans. Newman’s can be found at Safeway or online at Amazon. Clif Bar: Although Clif Bar does not produce an end-product “chocolate” like a bonbon or truffle, they are still quite tasty and include this in the “Responsible Sourcing” section of their website: “absence of forced labor, human trafficking and discrimination in the workplace…”
Cloud Nine Chocolate: Cocoa beans grown in St. Mary, Jamaica. Website states, “This woman-owned and operated business is run by single Jamaican mothers trained by a world-renowned chocolatier.” Green & Black’s includes on their website that they are committed to “ethically sourced chocolate.” Started in 2012, Green & Black’s utilizes “Cocoa Life,” which will “invest over $400 million by 2022 to empower 200,000 cocoa farmers…” Their products are available through Amazon and bars are available through walmart.com.
Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company: Started in 1991 by an outsider (Steven Wallace) to the cocoa-producing world, the website states, “Years before the terms ‘fair trade’ or ‘corporate social responsibility’ held any currency, our founder started a modest cocoa company named after the Ghanaian word for ‘paramount king.’ He named the company Omanhene.” The company states the products “are manufactured entirely in Ghana.” Based in Britain, Montezuma’s Chocolates began in 2000 when husband and wife team Simon and Helen Pattinson left the law field to “bring chocolate innovation to a boring and staid British chocolate market.” Their ethics statement includes, “Our Trading Fairly Policy sweeps a path of ethics covering everything from how we work with suppliers, how much packaging we use, how we dispose of rubbish, to how ingredients are farmed.”
As might be expected by the name, Endangered Species Chocolate Company is part of Fairtrade International, and states, “We source our cocoa with farmers in mind,” stating they follow “labor rights principles for all their workers.”
August 15, 2019: This Back To School, Look Out For “The Gender Unicorn”
I’m guessing that anyone reading the above title will have at least one red flag already flying high. And I would encourage you to keep a sharp eye on science/human sexuality handouts being distributed to your student, with the start of the new school year. Colorado legislation is becoming increasingly pro-LGBT in terms of the lens through which sexuality is being taught to students. Christianpost.com references a northern California school in which the him/he biologically male science teacher is requesting he is addressed by “Mx.” as opposed to “Mr.” and explains his position by way of The Gender Unicorn. The handout, created by the group Trans Student Educational Resources, encourages transgender identity exploration. It’s almost easy to write this off as more California-nonsense…but then I came across an article regarding “A North Carolina school district’s pro-LGBT character ‘the gender unicorn’ is being used for a training session in which the faculty are told parental involvement may not be required for students struggling with gender identity issues,” according to a 8-6-19 article published on christianpost.com. (boldface added) UPDATE: INTERVIEW WITH 2 CALIFORNIA MOMS ON WHAT THEY LABEL “LEWD SEX ED” COMING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
July 1, 2019: “DeepNude” App — Windows Offered for $99, Temporarily Off the Market, Quick Overview of Deepfake Technology
The rest of my headline should read, “However, image or video ‘deepfakes’ appear to be here to stay.” OK, I admit it — I haven’t had a clear grasp regarding the concept of “deepfake” when I have heard the word referenced on the news–but apparently this is a growing trend. This particular application fits into the general category of enabling “revenge porn.” I am actually aghast that Windows chose to sell this app as if it had the commonality of an interactive crossword puzzle. According to faithwire.com, the DeepNude app is “An AI powered software tool that creates realistic nude images of women based off of photographs” that are either taken from the internet or provided from another source. Once provided the images, the AI-powered app then “uses algorithms to create realistic-looking nude photos of the targeted females.” Katelyn Bowden, founder of an organization combating revenge porn activity, is quoted as saying that with this app or one similar, “Anyone could find themselves a victim of revenge porn.”
However, this specific software portrays only one small segment of the overall threat of deepfake fraud. This still-developing, new technology possesses hugely dangerous implications that stretches well beyond revenge porn. The technology can be wielded as a formidable and difficult-to-challenge weapon in the tool belt of those who manipulate public perception of news, events, culture and morality to match their own worldviews.
Herein is a precarious balance to maintain, statements made centuries apart: Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Freedom of press is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the actions of the magistrates.” Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in the last century, “Freedom of the press is essential to the preservation of a democracy; but there is a difference between freedom and license. Editorialists who tell downright lies in order to advance their own agendas do more to discredit the press than all the censors in the world.”
And both statements are true. While President Roosevelt focused his point on potential censorship of the press, it is noteworthy to remember that one of the current struggles facing today’s American citizens is determining the credibility of the information the press establishment currently releases. It is not the “viewpoint of the press” necessarily being misrepresented, but rather the viewpoints of those they cover…or ignore.
Through this doorway enters the bully of deepfake images/videos, created to persuade people into believing whichever “reality” is desired. The January 2019, issue of fortune.com started off its article on this topic, “Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, misinformation and social media-hoaxes are about to get a lot weirder.” I encourage you to give this informative article a read.
June 15, 2019: Fatherlessness and Mental Health Issues in the Black Community Under Scrutiny at Discussion Panel
According to dailysignal.com, the Detroit Police Athletic League and the National Association of Black Journalists partnered to hold a public discussion focused on the effect of fatherlessness and mental health in the Black Community. Panelist Dr. Karlin J. Tichenor is quoted as saying, “There’s an overwhelming impact of fatherlessness on the emotional level.” The NABJ hosts forums each year with the intent of creating “a fresh and real view of black men in America” while generating training and opportunity for black men in journalism and media.
June 13, 2019: Abortion Survivor Praises God and Declares the Unborn have Rights, Too
I find this article to be inspirational for several reasons: Gianna Jessen chooses to praise God for her survival, rather than being bitter at her ordeal; she boldly proclaims her message in both private and public settings. The well-known verses of Psalm 139 teach “You have enclosed me behind and before; and laid your hand upon me…For You formed my inward parts, You wove me in my mother’s womb…Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them…” (Psa. 139:5,13,16) Now 42, saline-abortion survivor Gianna Jessen points out in an interview published by faithlit.com, “‘I should be blind, burned, and dead. Had the doctor been there, he would have ended my life with strangulation suffocation, or leaving me to die without a thought.'” Think about that: if a doctor had been present, she would not have survived. What an outrageous reversal for the traditional role of life-saving medicine.
May 12, 2019: Potential Reversal of Transgender Sports Policies?
I read this with intent interest. Having followed the him-to-her transgender-ites who have subsequently competed in women’s sporting events over the last couple of years, it seems to me that this might be the first of numerous rulings regarding birth-gender or completed gender-change in order for athletes to compete. dailywire.com reports, “Male-to-female transgender powerlifter Mary Gregory has been stripped of several women’s championship titles after the PowerLifting Federation determined that Gregory was not eligible to compete as a female…our rules, and the basis of separating genders for competition, are based on physiological classification rather than identification….”
May 6, 2019: Born Lifeless, Then Revived — College Student Just Received Bachelor’s Degree
This is an amazing and uplifting story. It is shared by faithwire.com as this young man (who was born lifeless but medically revived) continued to grow up while suffering from the side effect of cerebral palsy. In this political climate of healthy babies being potentially subject to post-birth murder, I have to ask — in this culture of 2019, would this young man have ever survived to receive his Bachelor Degree? It is also an inspiring story that demonstrates the how God wove the threads of two peoples’ lives together in a unique statement declaring both the intrinsic value of the individual, as well as the amazing rewards of serving another.
April 5, 2019: Non-Profit Organization Offers $3,000 to Financially Challenged Pregnant Women Considering Abortion but Willing to Carry Child Full-Term
OK, I had to read this from their own website to believe it. Will its mission be financially sustainable over a “long haul”? I don’t know…but I sure would like to see it succeed! According to christiannewswire.com, “Jennifer O’Neill the actress and Cover Girl” is the spokesperson for Save Unborn Life. The Unborn Life section entitled “A Story” shares testimony from Nicholas Marquis who declares himself an “abortion survivor,” and he states: “Every life, big or small, deserves the equal right to thrive outside of the womb.”
March 13, 2019: Thoughts on Middle Schoolers and Social Media
Journalist Adrian Wood poses an interest list of why social media is not appropriate for Middle Schoolers. Give it a read!
March 4, 2019: I Have a Girl Brain But a Boy Body. This is Called Transgender…No, This is Called Deception and Indoctrination
“Jazz and Friends National Day of School & Community Readings” on February 28…how in the world did this one slip by me? More importantly, I am thinking it has slipped by a LOT of Christian parents…and probably not by accident or coincidence. According to christianheadlines.com, “Public schools across the country participated in an annual event to support transgender and gender-expansive students Thursday (2/28) by reading “I am Jazz,” a book that tells the real-life story of Jazz Jennings, who was a transgender child.” Did YOU hear anything about a Jazz and Friends reading at YOUR school? Huh, wonder why there wasn’t much publicity regarding this “annual” push of indoctrination. As pointed out in this article, the sponsors of this “event” are HRC, a gay-rights group and, disappointingly, the National Educational Association, described as “the nation’s largest teachers union.”
February 15, 2019: Marriage Success Statistics Have Been Misquoted/Minimized for Years
I found this little article to be both encouraging and interesting. According to breakingchristiannews.com, “A leading researcher is announcing the true divorce rate is much lower and always has been…the divorce rate has been dropping,” stated Shaunti Feldhahn, author and marriage stat researcher. One positive result, according to Feldhahn? “It will give people hope….hopelessness itself can lead to divorce…”
February 10, 2019: Choosing to Carry Baby Whose Death Enables Life to Two Others
This is an amazing story, and such a thought-provoking contrast to the current political discussions most likely heard throughout the mainstream media. According to theblaze.com, a Tennessee couple chose to carry their dying baby full term despite the act she suffered with the rare disorder Anencephaly. Their the intention was that they, as parents, could spend whatever time with her that was allotted to them…and subsequently donate her organs to save the lives of others. The Lord gave them a full week with her, despite predictions she would survive only 30 minutes. The baby’s dad stated these profound words: “We were able to fit an entire lifetime of love into that one week with her that wasn’t promised to begin with.”
January 30, 2019: A View of Transgender Medicalization You Don’t Often See
This is really quite awful, and seldom written about. This is a side of transgender risk that is not being covered by the discover-your-own-gender-preference crowd. Of interest to me is that these self-proclaimed “femininist activists” allegedly could not find a liberal source to share their stories and warnings.
January 28, 2019: Trump Administration Standing Up for Faith-Based Adoption Agency Rights
I have not heard anything about this situation, but thought it was worth passing on. According to newsmax.com, “The Trump administration agreed that religious partners are vital for caring for children” and is not subjecting faith-based adoption agencies to HHS regulations that could potentially force them to violate the principles of their faith.
December 28, 2018: Ohio Heartbeat Bill Misses Veto Override by One Vote; However, Ban on Late-Term Abortion Dismemberment Does Pass
This strikes me as a prime example of politic-ing with the unborn — refusing to protect the life altogether, but banning the cruelest of abortion procedures. Although the “heartbeat bill” for Ohio passed both the state Senate and House, Governor Kasich held fast to his statement he would veto its passage. The peoples’ representatives fell one vote short of overriding the governor’s veto. So close…my prediction is that this will be an election issue next time around. In the meantime, the governor did sign a bill banning “dismemberment abortions,” making Ohio the tenth state to do so.
December 27, 2018: Ministry-Based Ex-Gay App Pulled by Apple and Microsoft
Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of information — are those concepts being allowed to stand firm in any area of our community life? A pro-LGBT group ironically named “Truth Wins Out” complained that the Texas-based Living Hope Ministries’ ex-gay app was “dangerous,” “bigoted” and “hateful” according to christianpost.com. This complaint resulted in both Apple and Microsoft pulling the apps from being available. Living Hope responded that for thirty years they had “helped individuals resolve their feelings they deem incongruent with their faith.” The group should be renamed “Our Truth Suffocates Yours.” Really disturbing.
December 5, 2018: List of Best Foods to Support Memory and Brain Health
I do not believe that food choices control all aspects of health, but I do think there is abundant research to collaborate that certain nutrients/enzymes/whatever found in particular foods can support better overall body function. easyhealthoptions.com offers this interesting list of brain/memory health foods.
November 6, 2018: New Bible Study Materials Aim to “Start New Conversation” Regarding Gays
OK, here’s my disclaimer up front: I have not read this book. This headline flashed through my emails and I found it interesting enough to stop and read the promotional material. If you or a friend might benefit from this book, I wanted to bring up its availability.
November 1, 2018: New Pro-Life Bill Considers if Baby Heartbeat Can Be Detected
This is really a fascinating development and may end up going nowhere. According to lifesitenews.com, Rep. Steve King of Iowa has introduced legislation requiring an abortionist to “first test whether a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and then forbid committing an abortion if the answer is ‘yes.'” It is named the “Heartbeat Protection Act.” According to americanpregnancy.org, 6 1/2-7 weeks into development is the time frame a fetal heartbeat can usually be detected.
October 8, 2018: Blisters on Baby’s Head? Could be Herpes Simplex Virus
Hey, moms, dads, caretakers and nursery workers: check out this article from faithlit.com. A preliminary diagosis of “eczema” ended up being terribly inaccurate–pictures included in this article.
October 7, 2018: Ben Shapiro Gives Amazing Pro-Life Monologue
Yes, I actually got to watch this particular program. After a rocky start to this “Election Special” with a won’t-stop-talking, confrontational Tom Arnold, Shapiro gave an amazing “this is a baby” monologue complete with photos. Awesome!
October 3, 2018: President Trump Issues Amazing Statement on Down Syndrome Kids
Well I sure never heard about this in the mainstream media. Very interesting. According to lifesitenews.com, “The Trump administration will continue to affirm the equal rights and dignity of children with Down Syndrome, against ‘persistent myths and stigmas’.” Other statements by President Trump include, “…our Nation strongly embraces the undeniable truth that a Down syndrome diagnosis is an opportunity to embrace God’s gifts.”
September 18, 2018: Watch Out for Steam Video Game Streaming
Jenny Rapson with foreverymom.com reports that the game livestreamer Steam, “offers tons of games with adult content and very little filtering or parental controls.” Steam is also on the “Dirty Dozen list” created by the National Center to End Sexual Exploitation.
August 31, 2018: Why Is This Billboard Not Considered a Racist Disgrace?
I read the article…looked at the picture of the billboard…and still can’t believe it. Really? A pro-abortion billboard with the phrase “Black women take care of their families by taking care of themselves…abortion is self-care” — and no one is screaming this is a racist campaign? At the very least, someone should be protesting the headquarters of sponsor Afiya Center that this is stereotyping at its worst. Why wouldn’t the phrase “Black women take care of their families by taking care of themselves” be the lead in to… receiving higher education? Special work training? Opportunities in various high-powered occupations? Even opportunities for self-enrichment through serving the community and others via various organizations? Exploring better-housing opportunities, or starting childcare/afterschool opportunities to strengthen families or keep youngsters in safe environments? Promoting personal artistic development, receiving entrepreneurial assistance, and so on. I consider it a disgrace to openly proclaim that the best way a black woman can “take care of their families” is by destroying the next potential generation. Right to Life of Michigan reports that overall abortion statistics show that for every 1,000 live births, “non-Hispanic Black women had 391 abortions. Non-Hispanic White women had 120 abortions/1,000 live births.”
August 28, 2018: No Place for Providers Who Choose Not To Follow the Law
And what is the law in question? The state of New York’s requirement for registered adoption and foster care placement services to have no “discrimination” between placing children with same-sex couples or traditional male-husband and female-wife households. According to christianheadlines.com, Catholic Charities of Buffalo, therefore, are ending its foster care and adoption services, referring existing cases to other placement agencies. Although Catholic Charities currently has a small number of children it is overseeing (34 children in 24 homes), I find the necessity of them having to do this this deeply disturbing.
August 23, 2018: Reflections on Autism from a Loving Mother
Faithlit.com reprinted this reflection from blogger/journalist Carrie Cariello. I found it both touching and endearing. I hope you enjoy it.
August 1, 2018: ‘Dragon’s Breath’ Snack Toxic to Many with Breathing Problems
I have not heard of “Dragon’s Breath snacks” and I would actually be surprised if they are not banned from malls, etc., where youth often hang out with friends. This is an account from a woman whose son nearly died from sharing the snack with his sister; this particular boy had asthma and related breathing issues.
July 6, 2018: Gallup Values and Beliefs Poll Brings Surprises
The publication of this poll dates back to May 1-10 (2018), but results were published a bit later and I just came across it this morning. This is really interesting. Online faithwire.com published, “From May 1-10 Gallup ran their annual Values and Beliefs poll, where they found that a majority of Americans believed that pornography and polygamy are morally right, but surprisingly a majority stated that they believe abortion is morally wrong…the Gallup poll detailed that 53% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in all or most situations.”
July 2, 2018: Bible-Centered Places to Visit This Summer…or Beyond
School scheduled “summer vacation” is quickly reaching the halfway point, but the museums and locations listed in this christianheadlines.com article would be worth visiting any time of the year. To my surprise, Ark Encounter is not included, but I have added the website link here.
June 15, 2018: “We Need Fathers to Teach Manliness” — a Ben Shapiro Opinion Piece
You may or may not agree with Ben Shapiro’s politics, but this thought-provoking article on the importance of fathering, modeling, and teaching masculinity is well worth reading. “The social science on the necessity of fatherhood is absolutely clear. According to a recent massive Harvard study, the most powerful factor putting young men at risk of criminal behavior and poverty is lack of fathers in the neighborhood — not even fathers in the home, fathers in the neighborhood more generally. A prevalence of responsible men can even help compensate for lack of fathers in the home…men either build and protect, or they destroy. Good men must teach their sons the art of manliness, or societies crumble…”
June 13: Talking to an Eight Year Old About Porn and Sex?
Kris Vallotton hosts Cole Zick from Vallotton’s organization, Moral Revolution, for his 6-13 blog. Cole discusses practical approaches and wording for discussing sex and pornography with young children who bring your their questions.
May 21, 2018: Three Rules to Keep Your Daughters Safe at College
I thought the core of this article was quite interesting and worth thinking about. With a granddaughter off to college in a couple years, articles that come my way will likely be shared!
May 9, 2018: Two Words in Avoid in Discussing the Future with Young Parents
This quick article from foreverymom.com is really great — and reminds me that the Holy Spirit zipped my lips from using these two words, years ago. A conversation we often start to encourage someone can turn into a fear-inducing warning way too quickly after these two words slip out!
May 6, 2018: “Kid Friendly” Sunscreen Can Cause Allergic Reaction, Check These Lists
This article from faithit.com lists highly recommended sunscreens for youngsters, as well as not-recommended sunscreens also labeled “kid friendly.” Some of the additives are more likely to lead to allergic reaction. Worth checking out!
May 1, 2018: Homeschooling Parents Stand Together to Fight Potential California Legislation
Whether you homeschool or not, this is an encouraging article highlighting how unity and commitment can still impact the potential passage of legislation. The State of California proposed a bill that seriously violated the privacy of homeschooling parents — and honeschooling parents responded “by the hundreds, perhaps thousands.”
April 16, 2018: Four Serious Pitfalls of Growing Up Male in America Right Now
OK, a bit of a warning — this article is rather depressing to read. I don’t know anything about the author, Matt Walsh, but he actually titles this “The four terrible things that are destroying boys in our culture.” He does not offer answers, Christian or otherwise. But I found his points to be significantly thought-provoking that I naturally prayed, God, what can I do to help encourage and affirm the boys in my life as they deal with the unreasonable culture they face? My hope is that it will inspire you to do the same.
April 12, 2018: Unmet Expectations Not Just a Marriage Problem, but a Life Problem
I actually wish this little piece were a little more comprehensive. I was surprised to see a quote from actor Antonio Banderas, who apparently stated, “Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” While I have never considered Banderas a sage of wisdom, this article draws a sharp contrast between “ideal life” (where our sense of expectation is often formed) and “real life”, focusing on a balancing act between expectation and observation of reality. Worth taking a couple of minutes to peruse and see how many frustrating situations can be softened and redeemed by changing point of view.
April 11, 2018: Legal Breakthrough or Just Continuation of the Double Standard? Maddening!
I got all excited about this new law in Indiana…then I remembered that double-standards for this definition have been with us a long time. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to find any references to a law that upholds any sanctity of life position. Indiana has just adopted a law that allows prosecution for murder to anyone who carried out “harm (to a) pregnant woman” that results in the death of the unborn child. And now the double-standard: “The law, however, does not apply to legally obtained abortions.” How is this possible??? I have asked this question for years and the answer is still as clear to me, now, as it always has been — nothing can both “be” and “not be” at the same time. One position is a fraud, a lie, a misrepresentation, a deception. Nothing is both round and square. Short and tall. There are no simultaneously dry and wet rainstorms. Another state, Mississippi, continues to shorten the time allowed during which abortions in that state are legal. In March, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant stated that he wanted his state to be “the safest place in America for an unborn child” and signed a 15-week abortion ban into law. The bill reduces the allowable abortion time by five weeks.
April 9, 2018: Former Disney Princess Responds to Provocative Planned Parenthood Tweet
It had to happen. When I read that Planned Parenthood had rudely proclaimed “We need a Disney Princess Who’s Had an Abortion,” I wondered how long it would be before someone spoke up. It wasn’t long, at all. How could a Planned Parenthood rep actually possess such a fairy-tale perspective as to actually tweet out the question and not expect an answer? christianheadlines.com shares the story of Deanna Falchook who not only was a Disney princess at the time of her unexpected pregnancy, but had the abortion specifically to keep her Disney princess job, and the regret that followed. A heartfelt testimony.
April 6, 2018: Texas Church Gives $10-Million Gift to Local Community
This link could just as easily have been shared under the Ambassadors section. However, the family-impacting aspect of this action captured my heart and imagination with its generosity and core message: God loves you. Rather than spend money on advertising Easter activities at Covenant Church, Pastor Stephen Hayes donated over $10-million dollars to pay off over 4,000 families’ medical bills.