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Wednesday marked the end of my second year of blogging and for the second year in a row I will commemorate the anniversary by presenting:


Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Jamsco’s Friday Everythings (From The Last 12 Months) That Have Only 3, 4 or 5, 6 Words*


Why Fight when you can negotiate? ***  Land is where you are safe  *** May the Lord direct your hearts. *** The Code is the law. *** Res ipsa loquitur, tabula in naufragio. *** Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. *** It is finished. *** Feed my lambs *** Tend my sheep *** Receive the Holy Spirit. *** Do not disbelieve, but believe. *** I got to rock the party. *** Vox can speak for himself, thanks. *** Jamsco is an intelligent man. *** Instinct, tigers are born with it. *** Girls flip for ties. *** I sure like summer vacation. *** Mothers are the necessity of invention. *** Our God is marching on. *** Fly Casual *** Let’s keep a little optimism here. *** I hate long waits. *** Don’t get jittery *** Never tell me the odds. *** Convictions are good, passions are better. *** They got a law about ferrets! *** Keep your burden checks! *** Flee youthful passions *** Avoid irreverent babble. *** Happiness is the agent of purification. *** Always be sober-minded *** Endure suffering *** Do the work of an evangelist *** Fulfill your ministry. *** The Lord be with your spirit. *** Grace be with you. *** You should be glad we’re alive. *** Chance is everywhere. *** Glory to God. *** What silly legs humans have. *** I have decided to serve God. *** The mighty are ever proud. *** It’s princes have all the fun. *** Even a traitor may mend. *** God is the ruler yet. *** Thanks to God for my Redeemer  *** Our God is on your side. *** Think with care, Lest you forget. *** The worst part is the waiting. *** I love disguises! *** It’s all in plato. *** Welcome, in the Lion’s name *** Genius is a superstition.


*Your goal should be to figure out where these came from.

(Side two)


(Feb 6) Today Erik pointed to some bare grass where the snow had melted off, and he said to me, “Look, Daddy! Grass! You can mow!” 

(Feb 14) As I was leaving for work today (Valentine’s day) Carl yelled, “Don’t forget to bring home flowers!”

(Feb 23) Daniel used the word “cantilever” in a sentence today.

 (April 1) Today Erik said “Let me tell you a story that was written a very very long time ago. Yesterday when I was taking a bath I put my whole face in the water.

(April 14) We heard this conversation today in the car (Erik had just asked if my dad was my step Dad): Erik: When I grow up, I want my wife to be named “Step.” Barrett:  I . . . don’t think so.  Daniel:  You can’t name your wife.

 (May 16) We were grilling hot dogs outside and Carl said to everyone, “How do you like your hot dogs?” and Adelyn replied, “Mmm, good.”  Carl clarified, “No, I mean, how do you like your hot dogs cooked?” and Adelyn said “Deeeelicious!”

(May 29) Today Daniel said “I bet ticks have cute lungs”

(June 7) Lately we have been hearing Carl say, “According to my calculations .. .” Today we were talking about adding on to our deck, and he said, “According to my calculations that would cost $39.” Then he thought about it for a bit and said, “Okay with nails, maybe $49.”

(June 26) Barrett told me over the phone from Atlanta (when I asked about the pool time) that he was “learning to drown.” Grandma said that he had jumped into the deep end for reasons she was unsure about.

(August 3) Debbie: You’re whining. Adelyn: No, I’m not!, Debbie: I think you’re mistaken about the definition of the word ‘whining.’ Adelyn: I wasn’t whining, I just squeak when I yawn.

(Aug 9) On our hike today Carl was trying to explain to Debbie how gravity affects time and how if there were no gravity, atoms would fall apart.

(Sept 9) All of the kids were planning a play about two people getting married.  Anna asked “Who’s going to be the dog?”

(Sept 18 ) Adelyn was sick this morning, and right after she threw up (for the third time) Debbie found her cleaning up the living room. Debbie asked her why she was doing that and she said “Well, I just threw up and I thought I’d get some of my jobs done while I feel better.”

(Dec 12) Today we were looking at homes with Christmas lights, and I pointed out some lights and said they were the kind of lights that I grew up with. Debbie said “Me, too.” And Anna said “Me, too.”

(Dec 14) Yesterday, due to miscommunication, Erik was the last kid to be picked up at his Kids Connection class. He was somewhat sad. Today as we were driving in the car, Erik asked if he could tell a story. He said cheerfully, “Once upon a time there was a boy name Erik who went to Sunday School. Nobody ever picked him up. The end.”

And yes, I’m a bit late in sending it out.

Since 2002,  we have been sending out our Christmas letter (with a picture) in a ‘By The Numbers’ fashion – for these reasons:

1. It’s unique.
2. It does a good job of telling about our year, and state of being.
3. It shows my interest in numbers and lists.
4. My feeling is – the shorter a Christmas list, the more likely it is that people will read it – but I admit that this year we moved from a third sheet to a half sheet.

Here is this years, only slightly edited –

JamFam BY THE NUMBERS – 2008

   Historic State Park Geocaches found on the Eastern border of Minnesota: 12

      Fish caught by Jamsco on his first men’s boundary waters trip since before kids: 1

Picnics: 81 . . . beat last years record by 2

   Years Jamsco had Bob as a father: 28  (He is very grateful)

        Fighter Verse Song CDs given out at Bethlehem (our church): 950 (songs written by Jamsco)

Holes in garage roof when big branch fell during storm: 3

Trees taken down in our yard to prevent further damage: 3 1/2

Inches wide at the base of the largest tree: 46     *    The tree’s age: 100+

      Kids (from two families) stung by yellow jackets when a hive was discovered by Erik: 7

   Times Erik was stung: 8      *     Kids in the five families in our small group: 21

   Years it took Bethel to have a Children’s Choir at the Festival of Christmas: 52

JamFam kids in the Festival Children’s Choir: 3   *   Performances: 5

   Birth weight of our newly adopted child named Foster: 6 lbs, 5 oz

   Minutes after Foster was born that Debbie was holding him: 70

   Age of our kids on November 21st: 10,9,8,7,6,5 (years), and 4 (days)

“   Listen to me, O house of Jacob . . . who have been borne by me,

from before your  birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am He

    and to gray hairs I will carry you.  I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” Isaiah 46:3-4

   Months Foster was carried by God in the womb of a gracious woman: 9

   Years Jamsco’s dad was carried by God (even to his old age): 77


Tomorrow: what was on the flip side

Another Meme – this one from The Invisible God – answering the question:

What are some things that you have thought about doing if you were not limited by your finances, health, personality, or other factors?

Three things come to mind:

Write a Children’s book with Christian undertones.

Write a Future Fantasy with Christian undertones.

Adopt more.

Well it’s been a half year since my first Meme attempt. How about another?


List the song or songs that you would perform best in a karaoke situation. Note: The songs should be somewhat mainstream.


Extra points for:

– A list of more than one song.

– Songs that you are a bit embarrassed to know that well, or that might surprise others.

– Mentioning how much preparation you would require (i.e – Would require a half an hour to learn the notes/word, would require no time, but you would need the lyrics in front of you, would require no time and you would not need the lyrics.)



Here is my list – and I am not really proud of my ability to sing any of them:


Crocodile Rock – Elton John

Follow Me – Uncle Kracker

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel

Tossin’ and Turning (I couldn’t sleep at all last night) – Bobby Lewis


I think I could do all of these with no words and no warning.


How about you?


And if you are thinking, “Sorry, I’ve never done Karaoke before” neither have I.

This Friday, not for the first time, I heard my wife say those dreaded words:  “We started using cloth diapers on the baby today.”

I just barely managed to stifle my screams.

Note: This is my third A.S. Everything and this book is so filled with potential euphorisms that I could easily do twenty, if I wanted to, which I don’t.  One interesting thing about this book, however, is that the author has included so many wrong-minded Truth Statements from the foolish characters – more so than other authors I have read. I note that I disagree with all of these, too – which shows that her bad guys are a little straw-mannish, given that I disagree with many of Rand’s premises.


Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged – The Parts That She Disagrees With

Words are relative. Words are only symbols. If we don’t use ugly symbols we won’t have any ugliness. *** Surely you realize that the government’s plan cannot be held up by the matter of your consent. *** Nothing lasts forever. ***Any man can be stopped. *** The idea that it matters who’s right or wrong. It’s the most insufferable form of vanity, this insistence on always doing right. How do you know what’s right? How can anyone ever know it? It’s nothing but a delusion to flatter your own ego and to hurt other people by flaunting your superiority over them. *** What is the point of fighting a battle you can’t win? *** The day of the hero is past. This is the day of humanity, in a much deeper sense than you imagine. Human beings are no longer expected to be saints nor to be punished for their sins.  Nobody is right or wrong, we’re all in it together  *** All business is just dirty politics and all politics is just dirty business. *** You can’t be hard on a man who needs you. *** Whatever type of men we’re count on and planning for, there’s a certain old-fashioned quotation which we may safely forget: the one about counting on the wise and the honest. We don’t have to consider them. They’re out of date. *** There’s no such thing as the intellect. A man’s brain is a social product. *** Nobody should be allowed to waste money on the old until everybody has plenty of the old. *** Freedom? Do let’s stop talking about freedom. Freedom is impossible. Man can never be free of hunger, of cold, of disease. . . So why should he object to the tyranny of a political dictatorship. *** Genius is a superstition.

5 reasons I feel guilty that our kids aren’t in organized team sports (right now):


1. Sports are (generally speaking) good for a kid’s health.

2. What if one of my kids has untapped amazing skill potential in some sport?

3. If you have never played baseball by the time you are, say, 20, people consider you to be odd. Especially boys.

4. There are things you learn being on a sports team that you can’t learn anywhere else.

5. It would be cool to see a kid score a goal or something.


13 reasons I don’t feel guilty that our kids aren’t in sports:


1. Team sports makes regular full family dinner times more difficult or impossible.

2. Especially with a big family.

3. Generally speaking, people glorify God more with academic ability, musical ability or artistic ability than with sports (This is maybe our primary reason).

4. My kids aren’t showing any interest in being in sports.

5. There is a different kind of teamwork learned by being in a musical organization.

6. But I’m leary of the whole teamwork benefit motivation.

7. There is a lot of teamwork involved in being in a large family

8. Sunday games.

9. Sports means less time for church or any number of important things.

10. We are physically active in other ways.

11. The example of many great people who have gone before us and have done much good with their lives despite having never been involved in sports.

12. If our kids are amazing in some sport, most likely they will discover it and use it later in life. Or they won’t and they won’t regret it.

13. My little involvement with sports growing up did not serve to increase my self-esteem.



Thus Spake Vox Day in June

Yes, I know what the media is reporting. You, on the other hand, know what credence I place in their analytical abilities and the forced tone of the coverage tends to underline my skepticism. I will wait until either a McCain victory in November or, far less likely, an Obama inauguration in January to declare <Hillary> electorally dead in 2008.

When’s this going to happen? Or did I miss it?

I’d also like to see an admission that you were wrong yesterday, too. It was the Chief Justice, not Obama who needed the teleprompter.

Disclaimer: My first choice for president was Huckabee.  McCain was my second. Obama was very far down on my list, but higher than Mrs. Clinton

May God bless President Obama – through years of service to our country and all the way to heaven.

I think I’ve previously mentioned that for 2008 our family had two new year’s resolutions. 1. No buying pop (soda), and 2. No going to stores or restaurants on the Sabbath.

Here’s an update on how we did last year (starting with the least successful):

(2) This started out well, for the first three or four months we didn’t buy or shop at all on Sunday. But then it was picnic time, and it is quite often that we go out for Subway on the way to a park.  But I think it’s likely that we were successful in not buying non-food items.  So we have that. Maybe we’ll be better this year.

(1) In an effort to consume less sugar,  we (mostly I) decided that while we would drink pop when it was offered to us, we wouldn’t actually buy any.  This we did do all year with two exceptions: In May we went out for desserts at Culvers and Debbie really, really wanted a root beer float. Okay.  That is, strictly speaking, breaking the resolution, but we thought it reasonable. And then in December, Debbie got a can of generic lemon lime to pour over a frozen fruit dessert, forgetting the resolution.

But I think those were the only two times we broke the resolution – which isn’t bad for a year, right?

For 2009,  I am considering making a resolution of not buying straight sugar (or corn syrup or powdered sugar). This resolution has two problems – (1) I just came up with this one recently and we have already bought a bag of powdered sugar to make frosting for birthday cakes , (2) Debbie does a fair ammount of baking from scratch and often you can’t switch from sugar to honey or maple syrup without wrecking the recipe.

Well, we’ll see.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Calvin (Part 12)


Nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction. *** Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend. *** Tigers are very comforting. *** True friends are hard to come by. *** I need more money. *** I wish people were more like animals. Animals don’t try to change you or make you fit in. They just enjoy the pleasure of your company. Animals aren’t conditional about friendships. Animals like you just the way you are. They listen to your problems, they comfort you when you’re sad, and all they ask in return is a little kindness. *** This is where our television used to be. But we don’t have a TV any more. Now we have a blank wall to watch. So here I am, not being entertained. *** People pay more attention to you when they think you’re up to something. *** This is a top-secret society! The name should be something mysterious! Something vaguely ominous and chilling! Something like “The Sinister Icy Black Hand of Death Club”!  *** ALL girls are slimy. *** Look, stop being such a baby and help me push the car into the driveway. We’ll move it 10 feet. What could possibly go wrong?! *** I think life should be more like TV. I think all of life’s problems should be solved in 30 minutes with simple homilies, don’t you? I think weight and oral hygiene ought to be our biggest concerns. I think we should all have powerful, high-paying jobs, and everyone should drive fancy sports cars. All our desires should be instantly gratified. Women should always wear tight clothes, and men should carry powerful handguns. Life overall should be more glamorous, thrill-packed, and filled with applause, don’t you think? *** Our favorite games are the ones we don’t understand! *** I can’t imagine mastering the skills involved here without a clearer understanding of who’s going to be impressed.


When I woke up this morning, our thermometer said -16. So I think it’s high time to discuss warming up the car for those of you who have recently moved, or are thinking of moving to, a northern state.


Here is the well established rule of thumb: For every degree below freezing (32 degrees)* you should allow the car to warm up (stand idly) for 5 minutes.


So, for example, if it’s 22 outside, you should wait 50 minutes before you head off into the tundra.


Okay, I know that right now, some of you new folks are doing the math and saying “Wait a second. If it’s, say, negative 8, that’s . . . hold on a minute . . . 40 degrees below freezing . . . which would be mean 40 times 5, . . . carry the 2 . . .  200 hundred minutes! That’s more than 3 hours!


To this I respond: Welcome to Minnesota!


So yes, if you’re going out on an errand run after supper, this may well mean that you have to start your car before you get home from work. But you might be able to save time by driving across lakes on your way to Rosedale. So you have that going for you.


* Fahrenheit, obviously. For Celsius, the time per degree is 9 minutes (9/5 5 minutes – according to the metrics conversion factor).

10 Reason’s Why I’m Grateful She Is My Wife*

1. She’s beautiful.

2. She sings like an angel.

3. She  is (rightly) proud and (biblically) humble.

4. She encourages me in song-writing and picnic-going.

5. She is willing and very able to home-school all of our kids.

6. She makes me want to be a better person, husband and father.

7. Being the daughter of Home Ec major, she is an excellent cook.

8. She is a daughter of God with the goal of being a vessel to bring our children to God.

9. It is still fun to talk with her on the couch after the kids go to bed, even though we do it almost every night.

10. If it weren’t for her encouragement (prodding, urging) in the arena of having and adopting children, I wouldn’t know the love of three or four of my kids.


Happy Birthday, Debbie!


* Not a complete list.



He who chews a cough drop has left the path of wisdom.

  • Thinking too much about how this pleasure could be better if only it was improved in that one little way (or two or three).
  • Knowing that experiencing this pleasure is somehow wrong, unhealthy or harmful to others.
  • Knowing that you are only experiencing this pleasure as the result of a previous sinful action.
  • Knowing that someone more deserving could be experiencing this pleasure.
  • Thinking to yourself: “What took so long for me to get this?”
  • Having already experienced the pleasure too much recently.
  • Knowing that you should be doing something else.
  • Being aware that this pleasure feeds an addiction.

Any suggestions?

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Last Battle (Part 2 of 2)


There goes one who has called on gods he does not believe in. How will it be with him if they have really come? *** If you must weep, turn your face aside and see you do not wet your bowstring. ***  No warrior scolds. Courteous words or else hard knocks are his only language. *** Very few troops can keep on looking steadily to the front if they are getting arrows in their faces from one side and being pecked by an eagle on the other. ***

The dwarfs are for the dwarfs. *** Whatever else you may say about dwarfs, no one can say they aren’t brave. *** When you are using every muscle to the full – ducking under a spear-point here, leaping over it there, lunging forward, drawing back, wheeling round – you haven’t much time to feel either frightened or sad. *** A man who is fighting a dozen enemies at once must take his chances wherever he can. *** Begone monster, and take your lawful prey to your own place. *** Come further up! Come further in! *** Dogs always behave as if they thought whatever they are doing at the moment, immensely important. *** A noble friend is the best gift, and a noble enemy the next best. *** Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me, thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. *** It’s all in Plato! *** There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes. *** If one could run without getting tired, I don’t think one would often want to do anything else. *** Welcome, in the Lion’s name  *** You’ve no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years. *** The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside. *** Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

In the forties, families made preparation and sacrifices for the War.

In the sixties, people were encouraged to be prepared for a nuclear war.

In ’99 we all filled our bathtubs with water and saved canned food in case of Y2K Catastrophe and Electrical Grid Failure.

But this winter we are threatened with a worse loss:  Television Loss.

From the article:

But Todd Sedmak, spokesman for the converter box program, said people shouldn’t wait for a coupon before taking action to assure they’ll be able to watch TV when all broadcasts go digital on February 18!!!!

Okay, I added the exclamation points.


Jim du Bois of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association said it’s hard to tell how well prepared Minnesotans are for the digital TV conversion. But he believes most households are ready.


As for me and my house, we’re going to see how long we can go before we do the converter hook up thing.

My favorite Christmas gift this was an ESV Study Bible.

This weekend we drove to Beautiful Grand Marais, MN for a wedding (More on that later) and two interesting things happened with our Van.

1. The Heater failed. Yikes. We tried to fix it. No luck. So we pressed on with out. We could be bundled up (the kids actually never complained about being cold) but the windows were a different issue.  On the last 50 miles I was continually scraping ice off about 20 square inches of the inside of the windshield so I could continue staying on the road – which is key.  Did I mention it was seven below zero?

2. On the way to the reception we got to the top of the lodge driveway hill we had to stop for cars to go by and I couldn’t get going again.  In backing up to get a better start,  I ended up in the snow drift  (remember visibility was an issue). 

After a half an hour and help from the lodge maintenance guy, we finally got it out, but then he drove it into the other side of the driveway.  So he got his truck and . . . will towing from the front work? Nope! 

So will towing from the back work? Nope. Okay shovel more snow out of the way (with help from my wife and his girlfriend – I was impressed). Okay try it now.  Yep. We were out!

But then the chain was stuck under the back of our van. 10 minutes getting that out and kids back in the van and . . .  Only 2 hours late to the reception.

But they had had trouble with heating the food (a fuse went out while everyone was at the wedding) so we didn’t miss the meal at all.  And then –

All the Swedish Meatballs our family could eat – which is a lot.

So the night ended well.

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January 2009