Thursday, March 29, 2012

Praise the Lord or Pass the Loot


Those from the Charlotte area know first-hand what those letters mean, or meant. There was a couple of evangelists on a television show called The PTL Television Network. Jim and Tammy Faye. Remember when those t-shirts were popular around Charlotte, the “I ran into Tammy Faye at the mall”. It was a plain shirt with what appeared to be rubbed-off make-up in the image of a woman’s face. Tammy Faye Bakker wore a lot of make-up and cried a lot on tv. The network was just taking off when we moved to Charlotte. Years later, the group bought a large piece of land down in Fort Mill, South Carolina, just over the border from North Carolina. The plan was to build a massive resort with a shopping mall and amusement park. Their television show would be broadcast by satellite from here as well. This new location was called Heritage USA. Their ministry was a great success and pulled in millions of dollars. Anytime you tuned in to the show, they were asking for money. Send in your money and good things will happen to you. Some teased that PTL stood for Pass the Loot. I’m sure the ministry did do some good, but their use of wealth was troublesome. I remember going to see fabulous fireworks there on the 4th of July. The Christmas lights were something to see too. You could drive through the property and see such bright colorful lights all around you. I couldn’t help but wonder how much money was being spent on those lights and the electricity for them night after night. Shouldn’t that money have been used to help people in need instead? To make a long story short, there ended up being a huge scandal involving money, taxes, and a woman. PTL fell and fell hard. Jim and Tammy Faye divorced and Jim went to prison for a while. (Tammy Faye died from cancer in 2007). Jim Bakker discovered the truth of the Bible while in prison. He realized he had led many people away from the true gospel. Jim Bakker remarried and is back at evangelism apparently. While PTL was a massive turn-off to Christianity for me in its glory days, the bigger picture can now be seen. Anyone can sin, and sin big time. No one is immune to the temptations of money, fame, sex, power, prestige, etc. God used PTL to expose false teachings and destroyed its empire. It took being in prison for Bakker to come to terms with what he had done and to seek God’s forgiveness. The Bible teaches that when you confess your sins (admit what you did wrong), and turn completely away from those sins (stop doing them), that you will be forgiven. What Jesus did on the cross makes that possible. And when we put our faith and trust in Him, He helps us to walk on the right path. Bakker has been forgiven by God, and given a second chance to tell the good news of the gospel. If someone like Jim Bakker can be forgiven and restored by God, then so can we.  And that is good news.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Babies Babies Babies

In the past few months there have been lots of babies being born to family and friends, and families in our church. Children are a blessing. They are a miracle. These little tiny perfectly formed people. It seems like a given. You get married and then have kids. But sometimes it’s not that easy.

We got married later than many couples. I was 34 and Nate was almost 31. I was never worried about the baby thing until I hit 35. That seems to be the age where your chances of conceiving start to get slimmer. We were trying, but nothing was happening. Month after month was a letdown. People would ask me was I pregnant yet. I sadly replied no. When I turned 35, I decided to take charge and be more proactive about getting pregnant. We saw a fertility specialist who did some tests and suggested an IUI. It’s a pretty simple procedure. We did a couple of those and then added fertility drugs. I was sure that would work and maybe even get us twins. Nope. Nothing. We made the decision to try IVF. In Vitro is the test tube thing, or I guess petri dish. This would work. It had to. We found a great clinic with a great reputation and results. The doctors at the clinic said because of my age, our chances of having a baby with the IVF process was about 25-35 percent. I had to take birth control pills to manipulate my cycle. I felt crabby most of the time from these. Next came the daily hormone shots into my leg. Toward the end of that I just couldn’t do it anymore and made my wonderful husband give me the shots. Then came the day we were waiting for. It was early September. Harvest time! The procedure was somewhat uncomfortable, but had to be done. The doctor would then work on fertilizing the eggs in the lab. He thought an ICSI process would be our best bet considering our odds. That’s when a single sperm is injected into an egg. It’s faster than waiting for a little sperm to find its way around in the petri dish. We would return in a few days and I would be implanted with an embryo or two depending on how many we had. The night before the scheduled implantation, the doctor called and said they had to do a rescue ICSI for one of the cells. We still felt that things were going just fine. The next morning we were so excited and happy. This was really going to happen. I was going to go to the clinic and get pregnant!

But it was not to be. As we were getting ready to leave for the clinic, the doctor called and told us the cells had stopped dividing. There was no embryo. There was nothing to implant. It was devastating and depressing. We took a trip to Hawaii to attend the wedding of some good friends. It was nice to get away from our situation and celebrate with them, but the fact remained that there would be no baby for us. Maybe this was how women who miscarried felt. Even though no baby had been inside of me, there was such a feeling of grief and loss. The doctor then told us that because of the failed IVF our chances of conceiving with assistance was now about 15 percent. What a kick in the gut. My eggs were getting old and were poor quality. We could try another IVF in a few months if we wanted to. We would think about it. We also considered adoption.

A couple of months later, I was feeling kind of strange. We had not yet started on a second round of IVF. My sister was in town for a visit. Just for the hell of it, I thought I’d take a home pregnancy test. I still had some tests in my drawer. No way! Positive? How could that be? We went and bought a different brand test and I took it. That one was also positive! I called the IVF clinic to ask them if I could possibly still have hormones in my body from the IVF that would give a positive result on a pregnancy test. They said probably not and for me to come in and get a blood test. They would be able to tell from the numbers whether or not I was pregnant. We stopped by the clinic on the way to the airport to drop off my sister for her flight back to Charlotte. She was as excited as I was about a possible baby. She wanted a little niece or nephew. The clinic called after she got on the plane and said the numbers indicated that something was definitely growing in me! How in the world did this happen I wondered. We were pregnant. The clinic seemed to think that perhaps my system was off, and that by going through the IVF process, it had straightened out. Hmm, okay.

In July of 2001, our miracle baby Miles was born. He came into the world breech, and has insisted on doing things his way ever since. I later reflected about how faithful God had been through everything. We had really wanted a baby. We had done all these things to make it happen, but failed. It was a huge reminder that He is in control of everything. He was in control of my fertility, not me. God wanted to bless us with children, but on His terms and in His timing so that the glory would go to him not to us or the doctors.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Fire the Nanny!

California is becoming what some call a “nanny state”. Now, a nanny is typically someone that a parent trusts to care for their children while they are at work, etc. What if that nanny decided that you are a lousy parent and took over your parenting duties and decisions? I suppose some would be okay with that. I’m sure not. We had both our boys dedicated to God at church. That’s when you stand up in front of the congregation and promise to bring your child up to know the Lord and to follow His guidance for raising those children. Sounds simple enough. In today’s world, it can be pretty difficult to do it, especially when you have a group of lawmakers that believe they know better how to raise your child. These folks have worked hard to take away your right to make decisions for your own children.

As we rang in 2012, a new law came into being in CA. A child as young as 12 can go get a HPV shot during school hours without your consent and without your knowledge. Happy New Year! This is your 12-year-old middle-school child. Your daughter or son can go get testing or treatment for STD’ s and even an abortion if they’d like. You’ll never be told a thing. The school authorities can even excuse your child from school to get these services. It’s 5th period. Do you know where your child is? Is she even at school or somewhere else having an abortion? Is he getting a vaccine? The health care provider who gives your child a HPV shot or performs an abortion is not allowed to tell the parent without the minor‘s consent. Huh? Your child is not allowed to have medications like ritalin or an inhaler at school without a doctor’s prescription, yet they can leave school to have an abortion? At our school, I had to get our doctor to fax a note giving permission for my son to take Tums during the school day. What if your son (yep, that shot is now being pushed on little boys) has a bad reaction to the HPV shot? That vaccine can have some pretty bad side effects. According to the Merck website you should not use this vaccine if you have a severe allergic reaction to yeast, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, or polysorbate 80. Your child could faint or have seizures. If your daughter is on the pill, a risk of deep vein blood clots can occur. Other problems have been reported (even deaths), although the FDA will not link them to the vaccine.   There are lots of reports out there on the web about more of these side effects.

Your son or daughter cannot drive a car until atleast the age of 16, and then with restrictions, but the state of California gives your child the right to let someone inject them with a substance that could harm them. They need to get 3 of these shots for it to be effective against some forms of the virus. These cost about $120 a pop times 3. I don’t know who is paying for these when your child gets one, but Merck sure can make a lot of money from this vaccine with friends in all the right places. And without your knowledge. Rick Perry wanted to force all Texas school girls to get the HPV vaccine.

Since January 1 in CA, your teenager is no longer allowed to buy cough medicine with dextromethorphan in it without a prescription from a doctor. Gosh, he might get high from it. And those groovy electronic cigarettes? Can’t be sold to minors. And sorry kids, no more tanning beds for you until you are 18. It’s the law and the state must protect you from skin cancer. The drinking age nationwide is 21. But if your child has a drinking problem or a drug problem, they can get treatment without your knowledge or permission. Those treating your child are not allowed to disclose any information to parents without your child’s permission. All this sounds so upside down to me. Who is the parent here?

Now California children as young as 5 must learn about Harvey Milk thanks to SB 572. If you don’t know who he is, Google him. The school doesn’t need your permission to teach your child about his life and values. They don’t have to tell you when the celebration of Harvey Milk will take place in the school. It could be during a block of time in May. Does a first or second grader really need to learn about a man who preyed upon teenaged boys? I believe Milk was friends with Jim Jones of the Guyana kool-aid massacre. Some of you may remember that travesty. I sure do. Milk even wrote a letter to President Carter praising Jones’ character. The state lawmakers are telling the schools who your child should admire. Teachers are not allowed to speak negatively about these people even if it goes against their faith. If you have a “confused” child, he or she can seek counseling without your knowledge. Just who is this counselor and what are their qualifications? Will they attempt to steer your child in one direction or the other? You’ll never know.

All these new laws allowing children and teens to make decisions about their sexual health through the public schools should not be happening. Children should be at school to learn reading, writing and math. They should be learning how to play instruments and sing. Many of these decisions, they are not mature enough to make on their own. Shoot, they aren’t allowed to vote in any elections until 18. Instead of coming to you the parent, they can get advice from people whose values and beliefs might be questionable. Does a young girl really understand what she’s doing when she gets an abortion at 14? Does a boy realize that he can avoid HPV and other diseases by making the choice of abstinence, and not one of experimentation? Children and teens DO listen to their parents advice when they are told the truth about things that could harm them.

Here is a site that explains all the rights your child now has and that you no longer have in California. Parents need to be aware of this. I can certainly understand why so many families out here homeschool their children. They’ve decided to let the nanny go.