Are Easter Eggs Christian?

With all the posters about Easter and Easter Egg hunts, one would naturally associate eggs with the Easter celebration. In fact, many Christian churches have egg hunts, sometimes even during the service. Millions of children every year rush out to search for Easter eggs, but are Easter eggs really Christian?

The kids look so cute and happy. It’s a way to bring non-believers into the church. However, we should be cautious about this. Like Halloween, it’s not as harmless as it may seem.

Easter eggs are a holdout from Christianizing of a pagan spring festival. This is also the reason the date of Easter changes every year. Eggs, along with rabbits and chicks, originally symbolized fertility. They have nothing to do with the resurrection or any other part of Holy Week. The fact that both non-believers and Christians have egg hunts in their celebration should be cause for pause. The world didn’t borrow them from Christians, Christians borrowed them from the world.

Today, the egg hunt is big business. Stores sell millions of dollars of candy, chocolate eggs and bunnies, baskets, and toy rabbits and ducks. They are held as fund raisers for charity. However, you’ll rarely see crosses or other Christian symbols on display or for sale (unless it’s part of church property). This is another clue, that Easter Eggs aren’t for Christians and shouldn’t be part of the Easter celebration. To focus on the easter egg is to focus on worldly consumerism.

If Christian churches feel the need to have an egg hunt, it should be separate from Easter. Perhaps on the first day of spring. That’s the time to celebrate birth. Easter should be reserved for celebrating the resurrection.

Sadly, the original pagan traditions are often getting more of the attention, even in churches. It’s returning to a pagan holiday and taking the church along. The church needs to realize this and refocus on the cross at Easter. Eggs and egg hunts are not Christian and shouldn’t be part of a Christian’s resurrection celebration. Easter should be a celebration of Jesus, not a spring festival.

Why Johnny can’t read

Perhaps it’s not as simple as phonics. The English language has many quirks. Here’s a poem best read aloud, but not necessarily listened to. Be careful-it’s a tounge twister because your logical mind tries to follow illogical rules of pronunciation. After reading it, do you still wonder why Johnny can’t read?

I got this from Laura at Practical Homeschooling

A poem on English pronunciation
Charivarius, (G.N. Trenite: 1870-—1946).

Dearest creature in creation,
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
It will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye your dress you’ll tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer:
Pray console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it.
Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, Lord and word.
Sword and sward, retain and Britain,
(Mind the latter, how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say—said, pay—paid, laid, but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak:
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak,
Previous, precious; fuschia, via;
Pipe, shipe, recipe and choir;
Cloven, oven; how and low;
Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery;
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore;
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles;
Exiles, similes, reviles;
Wholly, holly; signal, signing;
Thames, examining, combining;
Scholar, vicar and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.
Desire—desirable, admirable—admire;
Lumber, plumber; bier but brier;
Chatham, brougham; renown but known,
Knowledge; done, but gone and tone,
One, anemone; Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen; laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German; wind and mind;
Scene, Melpomene, mankind;
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross; brook, brooch; ninth, plinth.
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with darky.
Viscous, viscount; load and broad;
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s O.K.
When you say correctly; croquet;
Rounded, wounded; grieve and sieve;
Friend and fiend, alive and live,
Liberty, library; heave and heaven;
Rachel, ache, moustache; eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed;
People, leopard; towed, but vowed.
Mark the difference moreover
Between mover, plover, Dover;
Leeches, breeches; wise, precise;
Chalice, but police and lice.
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, discipline, label;
Petal, penal and canal;
Wait, surmise, plait, promise; pal.
Suit, suite, ruin; circuit, conduit,
Rime with: “shirk it” and “beyond it”;
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall, mall, but PallMall.
Muscle, muscular; goal and iron;
Timber, climber; bullion and lion;
Worm and storm; chaise, chaos, chair;
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Ivy, privy; famous; clamour,
And enamour rime with “hammer”.
Pussy, hussy and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.
Golf, wolf; countenants; lieutenants
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
River, rival; tomb, bomb, comb;
Doll and roll, and some and home.
Stranger does not rime with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Soul, but foul; and gaunt, but aunt;
Font, front, won’t; want, grand and grant;
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then; singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal; mauve, gauze and gauge;
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.
Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.
Though the difference seems little
We say actual, but victual;
Seat, sweat; chaste, caste; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite but unite.
Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull; Geoffrey, George; ate, late;
Hint, pint; senate, but sedate.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific;
Science, conscience, scientific.
Tour, but our, and succour, four;
Gas, alas and Arkansas!
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern; cleanse and clean;
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian.
Dandelion with battalion,
Sally with ally, Yea, Ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess—it is not safe;
We say calves, valves; half, but Ralf.
Heron, granary, canary;
Crevice and device and eyrie;
Face, preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic; ass, glass, bass;
Large, but target, gin, give, verging;
Ought, out, joust and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and wear and tear
Do not rime with “here” but “ere”.
Seven is right, but so is even;
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen;
Monkey, donkey; clerk and jerk;
Asp, grasp, wasp; and cork and work.
Pronunciation—think of psyche—
Is a paling, stout and spikey;
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
writing groats and saying “groats”?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Don’t you think so, reader, rather
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally: which rimes with “enough”,
Though, through, plough, cough, hough or tough?
Hiccough has the sound of “cup”,
My advice is … give it up!

But I don’t want insurance!

I’m not one for much political activism. I do vote and encourage everyone else to as well. However, when a bill is rammed through congress on a divided vote that gets no votes from one party, there’s something seriously wrong. Something as critical as health care shouldn’t be allowed to pass without votes from both parties.

The bill is over 1200 pages long! I wonder how many senators have read it fully to understand all the details themselves. I wouldn’t mind passing this in smaller bits at a time because it’s so complicated. Deal with one aspect at a time.

So here’s a copy of a letter I’m sending to my congressional delegates.

Thanks, but no thanks. That’s what I’d like to say about this new health care legislation. I’m one of the millions of people without health insurance in this country.

Mine ran out over 10 years ago when I was in college and I couldn’t afford a replacement policy. I have a heart condition and was turned down twice. The state offered a policy for those who can’t get coverage, but it cost more than my monthly salary.

I’m thankfully in relatively good health. When I go to the doctor I pay my bills out of pocket. I always tell the nurse at at the office I am on a self pay. Usually, they will allow me a few months to make payments or even reduce the bill itself if they can. I have no medical bills in collections. I understand that if I or my family needs a doctor, I’ll have to sacrifice to pay the bill, but I always pay the bills. I don’t expect others to have to pay for my basic health care.

Part of my business is running credit checks on potential tenants. I’m always amazed at how many people have relatively small medical bills (less than $1000, often less than $500) in collections and don’t seem to care. This is what’s driving up medical costs. People seeking treatment without any intention of paying the bill. These people eat out, drive (pay car loans, gas and insurance), and go to movies yet don’t pay their medical bills because they are “poor”. I’m sorry, if you can eat out and go to movies, you can pay your medical bill. You just don’t want to spend the money that way!

I can think of no other service that you can get without paying for and not get in trouble. All the doctor or medical provider can do is send you to collections. They can’t repossess your car or foreclose your house like when you don’t pay those loans. In the mean time the doctor or medical provider still has bills the pay. There should be some way for them to recoup this loss or penalize the patient without raising costs for others.

What irks me are the people who think superior medical care is a right. It’s not. You get what you pay for. If you want the best care, you have to pay more for it. Just like if you want the best plumber or chef. Doctors and health technicians are service providers, not charity workers. There’s only so many patients they can handle. Simple law of supply and demand says if you have high demand and limited supply you can get a high price. Therefore, if you want the best doctor you must pay higher costs because they are in high demand.

However, that’s only part of the reason for high costs since basic health care costs are high too. Instead of forcing those who can pay to pay for those who can’t or won’t, we should attack the cause of the high costs to begin with. We need to limit liability and lawsuits so the doctor’s insurance goes down, thereby lowering (theoretically) the patient bills. We need to do a better job of preventative care with affordable and accessible local clinics so people don’t have to wait for a crisis to seek care. To go along with those, we need to increase the number of PA’s, general and family practitioners so people don’t need to wait as long before they can be seen. We need education about what is and what isn’t a reason to go to the doctor. You don’t need to go for every sniffle or splinter. We need to have a sliding scale fee system so everyone pays at least something.

If 15-20 percent of the population doesn’t have health insurance for whatever reason, how is forcing them to get insurance going to bring costs down? Forcing insurance companies to accept anyone who applies will increase their costs, especially while restricting their income by limiting premiums. Where’s the money going to come from for the insurance company to pay the health care providers? Health care providers are going to start being picky about what insurance they will accept because the insurance companies will no longer be able to afford to pay everyone. Then what? The insurance companies will decide what care we should have, not the doctors. We’re back to HMO’s or government managed healthcare, either directly or indirectly.

Forcing business to provide health insurance raises costs of their goods or services. Businesses originally started offering health insurance to recruit better workers when they were making money. Now that times are tough, it doesn’t make sense to straddle them with this obligation. What is better in a recession: having a job with no health insurance, or having health care and no way to pay for it because your company lays you off since it can’t afford both?

If my small company has to buy insurance for workers, we will have to lay off someone. That’s a fact. I know the law is for business larger than mine, but I’m afraid it’s only time until it’s all businesses. Health insurance should be a privilege, not a right. My employees know this and would rather have a job and get their own insurance than see lower wages or layoffs. A recession is a bad time to be indirectly taxing employers by forcing them to provide health insurance (on top of workers comp, unemployment, social security and other government taxes plus liability insurance depending upon the business type).

Yes, I understand that some get better care than others. Yes, some will die because they can’t afford better care. Yes, I’m worried about paying for my care if I get seriously sick or injured. Perhaps there should be policies with very high co-pays and/or deductibles for lower premiums for people like me. This would cover me for major medical, but keep costs low for everyone else since I, not the insurance company, would be paying the smaller bills. There should also be ways for health care providers to refuse care for those who don’t pay for it so the costs can be kept low for everyone else, especially for smaller amounts (under $2500). I don’t see any of this in the current legislation (at least not in anything mentioned by the media). Otherwise, we’re in danger of socialized medicine through the guise of health insurance reform.

Health insurance shouldn’t be an entitlement. Insurance should pay bills only when a person absolutely can’t. Not just when it’s inconvenient. Does this mean people will have to sacrifice? Yes. Does this mean the system is broken? No.

No free health care. No forced insurance. That’s been tried in other countries and it doesn’t work. It brings the overall quality of care down.

Now the government has made me an outlaw. I’m going to be forced to get insurance I don’t want or pay an increasing fine. The current law does nothing to solve the reasons behind the high cost of health care. They have the cart before the horse. Chances are that if I do get insurance, it will cost more than I’m spending to pay my own medical bills. Yeah, that makes sense.

A great week

This week we had a great week for school. Both of them were ready to learn each morning. I didn’t have to prod them very much to complete their tasks. They both got everything done I had planned. I think last week they were still getting back into learning mode and our daily routine from having a week off. This week was much better.

They both had some tests and did well. Richard had 3: Bible, language arts, and reading. Karen’s was reading. He likes test days because the tests are shorter than the lessons. This is the first test I’ve had her take. She’s had a few quizzes where I’ll help her, but this was the first test that I didn’t help her. She struggled on one page. I told her to skip the difficult problems. By the end of the page she figured out the problems and went back to write the answers.

We did a few extras this week. They had to get their regular school work finished before we did them. On Tuesday afternoon, the school district had a homeschool ski and nutrition day at our local cross country ski park. Thursday we had a field trip to the library. Today’s mail had their wildlife magazines.

On Monday, Karen will start Learning to Read 105. This is where Christian Light Education starts Language Arts 1. Now that they can read simple sentences, they start learning basic grammar. I pre-viewed both workbooks with her, and she is excited to start. It covers consonants and vowels, capital and lower case, is/are, and periods. There’s also handwriting. Each LA lesson is 2 pages so it’s not going to add a lot more to her day.

We’re starting to plan for next year. Richard has made a lot of progress this year. This afternoon, while looking through the levels and targets they need to do, I realized he has completed level 3 reading. I am waiting to find out what assessments are necessary to move him to level 4. He’s already completed a few targets within level 4.

I’ve written up tentative curriculum lists for next year. There’s no big changes. Mostly they will do the next level of the current curriculum. Karen will be adding social studies and Bible. Richard will be using a combined history and science program from Winter Promise called Adventures in Sea and Sky. I can’t wait until the homeschool curriculum fair next month. Many of the companies offer free shipping if you order at the fair. CLE ordering will be a few weeks later. They come to the used curriculum swap.

I hope next week goes as well as this week did. They even did chores without too much fuss.  🙂 Perhaps it’s anticipation of finishing this year that’s gotten them excited about learning now. Perhaps it’s because this language arts unit for Richard deals with poetry. Perhaps it’s a boost in self confidence for her reading. Perhaps it’s the nice weather and longer days. No matter why, I’m just glad to see them enjoying school again.

Homeschool ski day

Yesterday our school district had a homeschool ski and nutrition day at our local cross country ski park. The kids were divided into 2 groups, those 5th grade and up and those 4th grade and under. My two are in the 4th and under. There were about a dozen k-4th grade students. I don’t know how many older ones there were.

The younger kids started the afternoon in the auditorium doing a nutrition activity while the older kids skied. Then they switched.

I went out skiing with the younger ones. The district PE adviser and I were the only adults skiing with them. My son was the only one in that group who had ever skied before. What a lot of fun we all had! I’m glad I brought my skis. We were out about an hour.

The adviser showed them how to get on their skis. Then they all skied to the end of the flat area where she showed them how to fall and get back up. Down to the other end where they were given poles. At the other end she showed them V for uphill and downhill (snowplow). Finally a few more trips back and forth before it was time to get the skis off.

I didn’t have much idea what was supposed to be going on. My help consisted of keeping the kids from running each other over, keeping them from going down side trails, and giving encouragement. I’m glad I was there though because my son was ready to explore the side trails (hills!) and likely some of the others would have followed him. He was a bit disappointed he didn’t get to try the nearby hill, but still had a good time. When we were leaving, my daughter asked if they have races there. When I said they did, she said she wants to do that. I guess we’d better get her some skis.

60 Day Fitness Challenge rules

Well, there has been enough interest in my 60 day fitness challenge idea that I decided to go ahead with it. Here’s the rules and guidelines. The challenge will start April 1, 2010. That gives everyone about 10 days to get ready and sign up.

1. No fad diets. I want real results that will stay with you after the challenge. Fad diets only lead to temporary results and are unhealthy.

2. Post your starting weight and body measurements that you will be tracking (waist, chest, arms, legs, and hips are what I track) here on or before April 1.

3. You must exercise at least 3 times a week for a minimum of half an hour. I don’t really care what you do, an exercise video, go for a walk or jog, ride your bike are all fine. Just move for at least half an hour 3 times a week.

4. Post your completed weekly exercises on my challenge update posts for the week.

5. Weigh yourself once a week. Post your weight along with your completed exercises.

6. After the final week of the challenge, total the body change for each area tracked and weight lost so I can determine the winner for each area (best arms, legs, waist, etc) as well as an overall winner. I’ll write more about this toward the end of the challenge.

7. Drink plenty of water. I’m not going to require a certain amount, but drinking water helps flush toxins and fat out of your body. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. For example if you weigh 160, then you should drink 80 ounces (10 cups). Don’t up your water intake all at once though because you’ll get sick.

That’s it! Simple isn’t it? If you have any reasonable suggestions for additional guidelines, please let me know. In the meantime, get ready. I like the BeachBody motto: Decide, Commit, Succeed. It’s time to decide and post your commitment. Hopefully you’ll see success at the end of May!

Fitness update 2010 #6; a challenge anyone?

This weekend is the beginning of spring. Soon it will be summer and no more hiding in a parka.

Has it really been a month since my last fitness update? I guess it has since the last one was when I had the car accident. Lots has happened since then. Some good and some not, but getting better.

Let me start with the bad. I’ve gained weight and size back to where I was the month before the accident. Not surprising though since I wasn’t watching what I ate or exercising. I was just trying to get over the soreness and shock.

Now for the good. I’m doing much better now. Just a little twinge every so often if I overdo it. I’m back to doing Turbo Jam and am loosing the gained size. We fixed our refrigerator so can have fresh stuff again. The last of the Girl Scout cookies are gone (both from the pantry and stores). I’m back with No S Diet eating.

One unusual thing I noticed recently is that I can feel my fat on top of my muscles as I move. I don’t mean I’m poking myself, but inside under my skin. It’s rolly-polly and weird. Why I notice it now and never before I don’t know. I just know I don’t like it. Another good reason to keep exercising and eating good. It’s gross and I want it gone!

Summer’s on its way. It’s only 3 months away. However, with the weather warming up, we’ll all be shedding the parkas and bulky sweaters before that for short sleeves. Will you be ready?

I’m considering having a 60 day get ready for summer challenge. Since it’s better to have support for weight loss and getting into shape, let’s see how many inches we can loose together. If anyone is interested, please leave me a comment so I know if I should get some specific guidelines and rules together. Don’t worry, it won’t be that complicated (otherwise even I wouldn’t do it). The only rule I can think of for sure tonight is No Fad Diets. It would probably start April 1.

Saturday school

Sometimes if the kids haven’t finished their work during the week, we finish up on Saturday. Today was such a day. It was supposed to be just finishing up with Karen. Instead, both kids spent a lot of time learning. It was a great “school” day.

We did a little review and finished the “v” lesson in her workbook then did some reading. I let her choose what to read. She wanted to read the second set of Scholastic readers. She’s never read them before. I told her if she read all of the first set, then she could do them. Well, she read the first 11 of them right away in my lap! I didn’t have to help her very much. Then she took a break.

After lunch, she read me the last book in the set. We looked at the second set but decided they were a little too hard yet. Instead, she read 5 of the K4 Abeka readers. Finally, she was getting tired and making too many mistakes so I convinced her to stop for awhile. She’s read a total of 17 short books today! How exciting it was for us both to discover how much she can read.

She’s almost finished with the 4th workbook. There are 10 total before second grade. I’m glad we’re going slow. It’s a lot less stressful for us both. She starts the language arts workbooks along with her next reading workbook (105). We’ll continue to go slow for the rest of this year then pick up the pace a little for first grade. The goal is to have the sixth workbook done by the end of this school year. I hope to have the Christian Light first grade reading and language arts finished about halfway through next year. Then we can spend the second part of the year reading beginning books with First Favorites from Veritas Press.

I’m a bit nervous about next year when Karen will be doing more subjects.  Early on will just still be math, reading, and language arts. Later I’ll add Bible, a little social studies, and science. However, if I stick to the weekly schedule I made up it should be fine. Afterall, I had the same worries when Richard was finishing kindergarten.

She also did some math today. I was trying to do a lot of other things at the same time, so she didn’t do very much. She’s only half done with the math workbook because I haven’t devoted enough time for it recently. Now that she’s caught up in reading, we can get back to our regular  schedule again until swim lessons next month.

Richard did some kitchen science. We get fresh raw milk on Friday evenings. The jar we got yesterday had a lot of cream on it. I carefully scooped it out into a jar. Then we all took turns shaking it to make butter. We got a nice lump of butter and enough buttermilk to make biscuits. He then read the unit about milk and cream in his science book. I’ll have him measure and mix the dough later for dinner.

We had a lot of fun being silly and learning. I wish we had more days that went this smoothly.

Saved on textbooks

I just ordered my textbooks. I didn’t order them from the university bookstore. I looked up the books ISBN and name for each of my classes. The university bookstore website is nice and after you select the books and classes they list everything all on one screen. Then I searched other book dealers for prices.

Turns out the best deal was from I got all 3 things I needed plus shipping for just a couple more dollars than just one of the books would have been not including shipping from the university. It took me a little time online but was worth it. I saved almost $100!

Also, I completed my online orientation “class”. I missed 2 on the final quiz. One was a stupid mistake. After I submitted it, I had an Ugh moment when I realized I was wrong. The other was just wrong. Oh well.

I’m at my office so if I haven’t checked your blogs lately, I’m sorry. My husband took the laptop to his class in Anchorage this week. I’ll check in with everyone and post updates after he gets back and I have more time online. Until then, I’m still exercising and eating good. The kids are taking a spring break and helping me with spring cleaning the house.

Curriculum advisor

I got to try out my teaching certificate this week. I was sent an e-mail asking certified teachers to a curriculum development advisement session yesterday. My certification isn’t through the state, but Christian Light Education instead. I told this to the woman in charge and she said it was ok!

There were about 12 teachers at the session. I actually knew half the other teachers. It was nice catching up with them. We were to give advice on a science multimedia curriculum that’s being developed. We tried out the software and gave feedback. It was fun and I actually learned a little science too.

The meeting was scheduled for 2 hours, but we were actually finished in a little over one hour. They are going to pay me $50 for it! Not bad. I’m not sure when the check will arrive though. The other teachers said this is the first session that’s been for pay. There’s going to be more sessions as each module is ready for review. I’m looking forward to going to them and may like to get the finished product.