Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Spring has Sprung, all by Itself?

By: L.A. Kohl
April 12, 2005
(published in the Wed., April 27 '05 edition of the Bullseye, Vol. 1, No. 27)

As I examine my physical “view from the front porch” during this time of year, words cannot express how much I admire it. The awakening colors all around are so vivid. The many shades of green in the budding foliage – from pale yellows to dark greens – are so refreshing after the dullness of winter. And the splashes of bright colors throughout – like magenta redbuds and pure white wildflowers – make it that much more breath taking. As I contemplate all this, I can’t help but switch “views” from a physical one, to a philosophical one. Louis Pasteur said it best, “The more I study nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator.”

In a recent language assignment, one of my girls had to write a report, comparing evolution with creation. One of the basic “creation” arguments she used, which I really like, was this: could an explosion in a watch factory produce a fully functioning, precision watch? If that sounds absurd, then how much more absurd is it to believe that some big, cosmic “bang” billions of years ago produced planets, stars, galaxies – an entire cosmos, so expansive our minds can not even comprehend its extent? Not only is the universe complex, interrelated, and expansive – but think about all the intricacies of nature itself, right down to the single cell. They say that DNA is a very complex code in and of itself, which makes each and every one of us unique. Have you ever heard of a “code” that came into existence all on its own – with no designer?

I personally have never been able to believe that everything began with a “bang”, followed by millions of years of progressing, evolving life. (The 2nd law of thermodynamics happens to be on my side.) You may say I’m just a simple-minded, religious fanatic who doesn’t know any better. After all, could any well educated, scientific intellectual believe in such a faith-based thing as a “Creator?" I’ve already quoted from Louis Pasteur, (and I could quote from Isaac Newton, Dr. Wernher Von Braun, and others) but consider this modern day example.

Antony Flew. I just found out about him a few months ago. He is an 81 year old British philosophy professor, who has taught at some prestigious British universities, including Oxford. Mr. Flew has spent decades writing books, articles, and lectures about the lack of evidence for a God, or an intelligent designer. Some have called him “the most influential atheist philosopher in the world." However, about five years ago, after a nationally televised debate with Gary Gabermas (a philosophy professor at Liberty University) Mr. Flew began expressing second thoughts. He stated, “I’m an atheist with big questions.”

After a few more years of debating, searching and studying such books as Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box, Mr. Flew has now announced that he is no longer an atheist, but a theist – a person who believes there is a God, and that God was the intelligent Designer and Creator of life. Check out Mr. Flew for yourself. I found this article on the web:

For a purely scientific look into the evolution/creation debate, I’d suggest the above mentioned book by Mr. Behe. For a little simpler reading, Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation by Dennis R. Petersen is one of our family’s favorites.

There are a vast amount of books, websites, and resources from many scientists and intellectuals who firmly believe in Creation, if you’re willing to question the theory of evolution. As for me – perhaps I am simple-minded, but the view from my front porch is enough evidence to support an all-powerful Creator and intelligent Designer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Boy, oh Boy, oh BOY!

By: L.A. Kohl
April 9, 2005
(published in the April 20, ’05 edition of the Bullseye, Vol. 1, No. 26)

On occasion I have heard about radical feminists who believe that there is no difference – other than obvious physical ones – between males and females. They believe that women are only “conditioned” by society to be the nurturing, care-giver types, and men are conditioned to be the “strong, adventurous” types. Otherwise, we’d all be basically the same.

All I can say to that is – they must have never had a boy of their own!

We have a nearly ideal set up to produce an atypical, “girly girl” male – if that were possible. Our one and only son (who just turned two years old) has six big sisters. This amounts to all types of female influence and “conditioning” opportunities. He’s surrounded by dolls, dresses, emotional ups and downs, and “’s a snake!” types of reactions.

Let me just say for the isn’t working.

When he was a few months old, one of his first words was “vroom, vroom." None of our girls ever did that. Their first words were things like “Dada”, “kitty” and “ducky." Well, he got the “Dada” one – but after that came words like: car, boat and tractor.

Anything with a motor in it gets his attention. He notices machinery and big trucks when we’re going somewhere – he loves to shout “TRACTOR!” whenever he sees one out in a field, or anything that remotely resembles one, like a bulldozer. He has talked about airplanes ever since we took his dad to the airport back in January. Hardly a day goes by that he doesn’t say, “I gonna fly airplane!” A few days ago he watched a helicopter, so now he not only wants to fly in one of those; he claims he’s going to “drive a heh-coper."

What about aggression? I don’t believe that boys are just “conditioned” to be more aggressive than girls. This boy, born into a house full of females, goes around pointing his finger and saying, “Bang, bang, bang!” for the fun it. Any stick, pencil, or broom handle is fair game...when he swipes it up into his little hands, it is now a sword, and you better watch out. He has clobbered a big sister many a time, thinking he was just having fun. To his sisters’ credit, they don’t always put up with it. One time, after Josiah had done some dastardly deed, I heard his three year old sister yell out, “You better run for your life!”

My girls have always enjoyed being outdoors, but my boy takes it to extremes. So far this spring, I have found him alone outside three times, when no one let him out of the house. I finally figured out his trick...if the window is open, he climbs on something, pushes on the screen until it pops out at the bottom, then out he goes. My girls were never that desperate to escape.

Most kids like animals, right? I have a few girls that even like frogs and lizards, but all but one draws the line at snakes. A few weeks ago when the four youngest children were outside together, Josiah was sitting on the ground playing happily. Then, they all spotted a small garter snake slithering within a few inches of Josiah. The females, in one accord, began screaming and crying...they thought their little brother was history. He just gawked at the snake and his sisters like “what’s the problem?”

Those liberal, free-thinkers can talk about equality and conditioning all they like, but I’d like them to explain away little Josiah. I think he’s living proof that “boys will be boys!”

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

How does your garden grow?

By: L.A. Kohl
April 5, 2005
(published in the Apr. 13, '05 edition of the Bullseye, Vol. 1, No. 25)

If you came to visit me sometime, you would see something that resembles a garden spot a few yards off the front porch. Unfortunately, it’s not a view worth bragging about most of the time.

Nevertheless, each and every spring, we get these tempting visions of 10 foot tall sweet corn, tomato vines sagging under the weight of red, juicy tomatoes, and cucumber vines loaded with potential pickles. This year was no different, and so we started by tossing a thick layer of “natural fertilizer” (pee-yew!) on the garden spot a couple months ago. The first Saturday in April found my husband spending all morning tilling it up, and then we actually planted a few seeds before the day was over.

Imagine...part of our garden was in the ground by the first of April. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. Since then, I’ve been wondering, “Could this finally be our year for gardening success?”

We always start out with these good intentions, but by the end of July (sometimes sooner) I’m usually saying something like, “Why do we waste our time trying this gardening thing every year?”

It would be easy to blame it all on poor soil. We live on a hillside that grows mostly cedar trees, so that is a good excuse...but I know it’s not all the soil’s fault. Any successful gardener out there knows it takes more than good soil. It takes time and effort.

There-in usually lies our failure. We have the best of intentions, but when it comes right down to it, we really don’t make the time to be good gardeners. I really admire those people who are successful gardeners, but I’ve noticed that they usually have already raised their children, or else they have smaller families than we do. My husband and I have to constantly remind ourselves that we’re in a “season” in our lives when our children are, and should be, our priority. That’s fine with us, but it means that sometimes we have to resign ourselves to the fact that we don’t have time to produce a bountiful garden, or create a beautifully landscaped yard, or maintain a spotless home or vehicle. Instead, we have all these active, rambunctious, sprouting and growing children all around us, needing lots of time and TLC.

Thus, the garden sometimes goes to waste and doesn’t get the attention it needs. Someday, Lord willing, our lives will slow down a bit and we will have time for such things. While we’re waiting for that day, and fruitlessly (pun intended) practicing those gardening skills, we’ll enjoy the little growing lives all around us that God so generously “planted” in our family!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Front Porch View of....Smoke!

By: L.A. Kohl
March 23, 2005
(published in the Wed., Apr. 6, '05 edition of the Bullseye, Vol. 1, No. 24)

Seeing as how there are some of you out there expecting me to write this article, here you go! But, let me say that I’m not going to enjoy writing it, and I hope and pray it’s the last opportunity I ever have of doing one like it.

Yes, recently the view from our front porch did include the presence of smoke...lots of it for a few moments. And no, it wasn’t from the barbeque grill or the outdoor wood furnace. It was from a “ground cover” fire that got started because my husband wanted to do a little clearing and help the kids make S’mores.

He wasn’t really to blame. He did the right kind of things...clearing leaves and debris around a perimeter, and making sure the wind wasn’t too gusty. But somehow one small gust blew something over the cleared perimeter, and within moments flames were spreading through the woods in the direction of our house. Our older girls, plus a couple of their friends, were down there with him and tried to help get it back under control, but all the dead, dry leaves in the woods during this time of year just made it too difficult for them to handle.

It was one time when my husband was quick to admit he needed help...which doesn’t happen very often! The fire was still several hundred feet from the house (and the phone) so he jumped in the vehicle to come up and call 911. As he left, he yelled at all the girls, “Don’t get too close to it, go up ahead and start clearing a path, and pray that the wind changes!”

Anyone that has ever had to call “911” knows that it seems to take forever before they arrive, since you’re well-nigh holding your breath. In reality, it was just a few minutes. But within that time, those hard working, and harder praying, girls were close to getting things back in control...because the wind did change directions. They said they literally felt it happen. Gotta love it when that happens!

Volunteer fireman also started arriving at about that time, and they helped ensure that things really were under control. You also gotta love those people who are willing to volunteer their time, any day or night, to just drop everything and go help someone out that they may or may not know.

So, once again, we’ve learned that the best laid plans can go awry...and good intentions sometimes get you in trouble. However, when it was all over, we found a little pile of burning debris and roasted our marshmallows so we could make S’mores.

I think in the bigger picture of life that could mean this: things often don’t go the way you plan, but you can still try and make the most of it, especially for the sake of your children. You know that old saying about when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Well, I guess we now have a new saying around here...when life gives you a wildfire, break out the marshmallows!