Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Living Sacrifice

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romand 12:1-2
            These verses are so packed full of meaning and importance and they are applicable to every Christian’s everyday life so here are some quick thoughts. We are a chosen people and Romans 12:1-2 discusses how are supposed to live because of the mercy of God in our lives. The humbling truth found in this passage is that we are supposed to do everything in our lives as an act of worship to our God and purposefully remain separate from the worldly ways around us. By sacrificing friends or time I can see how every sacrifice is really an act of worship.
The first thing I see is that we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. This is interesting because Jesus already offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice to take our sin upon His back and cleanse us. Thus we do not need to sacrifice ourselves for our salvation, rather as Christians we are to continue as living sacrifices, giving up rights and desires in service to Christ. This does not mean the we should deny ourselves things for no reason because it is “godly” but rather this means that we ought to always choose to get rid of anything in our lives that comes between us and our relationship with Christ.
Verse two begins by reminding us that we are not supposed to be conformed to the world. We are supposed to be obviously separate and different. We are image-bearers of our God and we must act as such. The good news is we do not have to do this in our own strength! He is the one who will transform us and renew our mind. Sometimes the world’s ways can seem very enticing, but Paul reminds us that through transformation in Christ He will show us what is His “good, pleasing, and perfect” way.

Yes this passage definitely rings true in my life. It reminds me of the sermon in church last where our pastor asked us to consider whether we were more concerned about His glory or our own security. In the past I have given up friendships or opportunities for friendships because they were not godly relationships and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my values. While I have not had to suffer anything harsh for my faith in Christ yet I do know that it will happen. Sometimes even little things like choosing to have your quiet time instead of scroll through instagram are a part of not conforming to the world’s ways and ideas of what is important. As Christians we often end up standing alone, however this verse also encourages me because it gives me confidence in His will. Being a living sacrifice means living every moment as an act of worship.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Blending of and Influence of Drastically Different Cultures

What happens when two completely different cultures must live side by side? How did the native culture already present in the Americas change the Europeans? Both cultures adopted useful practices from each other, sometimes even merging together or simply taking assimilating some of the other group into their own. Often, “…assimilation included dress, bodily discipline, religious belief and action, and equality under the law—these are all forms of cultural practice.”[1] Through trade partnerships, wartime alliances, intermarriage, cohabitation, and the important role of women, two cultures were forever changed by each other. Without some of these changes and the aid of Native Tribes and individuals Europeans might not have survived in their treacherous new surroundings.

Early Colonists Aided by Native Tribes

The Native Tribes and People aided the settlers immensely during their first arrivals and throughout the founding, struggles, and thriving of European colonies. They often supplied food for the colonists; sometimes in order to create a good relationship with the newcomers and sometimes simply because they were forced to. For example Squanto, born in 1580, of the Patuxet Indian tribe was kidnapped English explorers early in the 17th century. After his escape from this slavery he actually befriended the Pilgrims and helped them in many ways. He taught fishing, hunting, planting, and acted as an interpreter and cultural mediator between local tribes and the European settlers. He helped to negotiate peace and was ironically working on a peace treaty when he died in 1622 of Small Pox the Europeans brought with them. Numerous European groups, including but not limited to the New Englanders, Spanish, and Dutch, followed Indigenous sowing, growing, and food storing practices essential to their survival. For instance, the Massachusetts Bay Colony received help with their crops from local Indians.

Despite the attempts of the Natives and Europeans to create original friendly relations, these relationships whether commercial or personal often soured quickly. For example when Sir Walter Raleigh arrived in North America in 1584 the Native Tribes were hospitable and helpful, even providing food for them. Manteo and Wanchise taught the early Roanoke colony survival tips and warned them of unfriendly Indians. Due to an ill-conceived pre-emptive attach y the English the Natives began withdrawing their support leaving ill supplied and inexperienced settlers to struggle and battle on their own. While no one knows what became of the first Roanoke colony, one theory implicated they were actually assimilated into a local tribe either by choice or force. Either way, it is obvious that, “Early European Arrivals frequently depended on Native Americans for their very survival in a strange new world.”[2]

Trade Partners

In addition to helping out the newcomers, Native people actually established trade partnerships with specific settlements or countries. Trade eventually created a sense of mutual dependency, as both sides needed supplies for survival or profit. Once instance is that of the fur trader William Claiborn who traded with the Susquehannocks at Kent Island. The Dutch had an almost strictly commercial relationship with the Native Tribes. During wartime they created alliances against other European powers or other Native Tribes. For example the Algonquins and the French traded extensively with each other while also allying against the Mohawks. Thus both partnership and alliances were crucial to the survival of European settlers. “Europeans needed native peoples to teach 
them where valuable resources were located, to trade with them, to convey information about local diplomatic styles...” [3]

Intermarriage of Europeans and Native Tribes

Intermarriage was promoted both by Europeans, mainly the French, and Native Tribes as a form of assimilation, way to form alliances, and gain control. The French thought that through intermarriage their white blood would dilute the Indian blood and they would be able to Christianize and teach French ways to what they called Savages. They had no racial problems with intermarriage, miscegenation, and cohabitation as they saw the differences as mainly cultural and the quickest way to get rid of those differences was to fold the Natives into their culture. The French did their best to undermine the advanced of the Iroquois League and vice versa. Many Natives settled in the midst of colonial towns and would marry Frenchmen with familial approval or even be given to them to secure alliances. One example is that of the infamous Pocahontas whose marriage to John Rolfe helped procure peace between local tribes.

At the same time, some Native Tribes had ideas of their own; they too wanted peace and one people. The Iroquois League, consisting of the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Senaca, and Mohawk tribes, challenged the assimilation tactics of Europeans. Both groups knew that whichever culture succeeded in changing the other had the power. They offered for individuals and groups to join them voluntarily or be captured and forced to integrate in. They were not afraid to use military force to make the singular people and land they desired. Due to the disease epidemics the need to replenish their population was a major goal. Those who did not voluntarily comply were captured, killed, enslaved, or resettled elsewhere. The Mohawks continued to promote intermarriage to cement their alliances with the French, but they did not spare the French from their compliance plans. Since the Iroquois had matrilineal organization technically the children of any Frenchmen who had been given Native wives were Iroquois children. These women often became intermediaries between their cultures and that of their husbands. As the settlers began to adopt more Native cultural ways French settlers began discouraging intermarriage.

Women Become Part of Native Culture

The status of Indian women was much different than that of the traditional European woman. Indian women were treated more as equals and often had important positions of leadership. This actually influenced some white women who were captured by Native People so much they refused to return to white settlement when given the opportunity after a war or disagreement had ended. Others actually fled to Indian communities. One servant, most likely black, fled to live among the Haudenosaunee nation. The servant later on had an opportunity to talk with Francois BarbĂ©-Marbois in 1784 at Fort Stanwix and said, “Here I have no master, I am the equal of all the women in the tribe, I do what I please without anyone’s aying anything about it, I work only for myself,—I shall marry if I wish and be unmar- ried again when I wish. Is there a single woman as independent as I in your cities?’”[4]

From the beginning of European discovery, exploration, and settling of the Americas, the native population has played a significant role in their survival and creation of a unique culture. While there was an enormous amount of conflict between the Native Tribes and the European colonists, there was also a significant amount of good that came from their contact. While their relationships were not always meant to be one sided, often the sole beneficiaries in the long run were the Europeans. Both cultures however did adopt useful practices from each other, sometimes even merging together or simply taking in some of the other group and assimilating them in. Europeans often became trade partners or wartime allies with specific tribes against other Europeans or other tribes. Intermarriage, especially early on in colonization efforts, was encouraged especially by the French and Iroquois Indians. While it was more common for Native Americans to assimilate into European culture it did happen the other way around. In addition native culture was a draw for colonial women, especially the young, unmarried, or enslaved. Overall Native Americans had an enormous impact on European settlers and in many cases were the only reason they survived.

[1] Belmessous, Assimilation and Empire: Introduction.
[2] Breen, Converging Worlds Communities and Cultures 19.
[3] Breen, Converging Worlds Communities and Cultures 11.
[4] Johansen, Encyclopedia of Early American Indian History: Indians in the Colonial Era 3.


Johnson, Paul. A History of the American People. New York: HarperPerennial Edition, 1999

Belmessous, Saliha. Assimilation and Empire: Uniformity in French and British Colonies, 1541-1954. Oxford Scholarship Online, 2013.

Lycett, Stephen J. Dynamics of Cultural Transmission in Native Americans of the High Great Plains. New York: Department of Anthropology, University at Buffalo, 2014.

Johansen, Bruce E. and Pritzker, Barry M. Encyclopedia of American Indian History. Santa Barbara, CA, 2008.

Breen, Louise A. Converging Worlds: Communities and Cultures in Colonial America. Taylor and Francis: 2012.

Findling, John E. and Thackery, Frank W. What Happened?: An Encyclopedia of Events That Changed America Forever. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 2011.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Judicial Activism vs. Judicial Restraint

Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint are polar opposites by definition. While both are well intended, they have dramatic differing implications. One philosophy, Judicial Activism, has the propensity to radically change our nation, some say for the better. The other philosophy, Judicial Restraint, and those who uphold it, would seek to keep such unwarranted change from happening.

Judicial Activism is the philosophy that the Constitution is a living document and must be interpreted loosely into this modern government. Those who agree with this philosophy in the Court system base their decisions off of societal expectations than the specific words of the document. Their decisions in individual cases are often based off a desire for general public welfare, not necessarily upholding the founders intent.

Judicial Restraint on the other hand, stands for a strict adherence the Constitution. These original, and sometimes legalistic thinkers believe that the meaning of the Constitution has not and should not be changed. This philosophy takes the wording literally, and those who apply it to their Court decisions may not be seen in as popular a light.

Judicial Activism, while it may seem more becoming of this modern age, could be very dangerous in that it allows Justices, Judges, and Courts to see the our founding document as idealistic not literal. On the other hand, while Judicial Restraint might be frustrating at times, it seems the best way to uphold justice and liberty for all in the way the founders intended.

Do you agree with Judicial Restraint or Judicial Activism?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Who Represents Texas?

The US Senators for Texas are currently Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn. My representatives are Congressman Bill Flores and Congressman John Carter. I will be discussing only Senator Cruz and Congressman Carter today.

Senator Ted Cruz was elected the 34th US Senator in 2012. He lives with his two daughters and wife Heidi in Houston Texas. He graduated with honors from Princeton University, as well as high honors from Harvard. During his private practice, “Ted has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Senator Cruz is a proponent of limited government, the constitution, and economic growth. He is on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Rules and Administrations, and the Joint Economic Committee. The Senator is also adamant that Obamacare be repealed. He state bluntly that, “ The fight against Obamacare must continue in the face of Washington’s apathy. That is where my attention will remain focused”

Congressman John Carter was elected in 2014 to his seventh term. He is chairman of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, and co-chairman of the Bipartisan House Army Caucus. He is on the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee as well. One interesting fact about Representative Carter is that he has authored legislation that has been signed into law by both President Bush and President Obama.

Congressman John Carter gained a degree in History from Texas Tech, and then went on to graduate from the University of Texas Law School. He and his wife Erica, live in Central Texas where they raised their children and now grandchildren. Before being elected as a US representative, he held a successful law practice and later became a Judge in Williamson County. In relation to federal law enforcement efforts he says that, “It’s critical that those fighting terrorism, cybercrime, illegal drug efforts, and human trafficking receive the support they need.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Constitutional Amendments

While I think my favorite amendments are in the Bill of Rights, excluding those first 10 amendments, I know that the thirteenth amendment is extremely important. Section 1 of the thirteenth amendment says, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

This is my favorite because it should have been inherent in the Constitution from the beginning. How can one say they live in a free country where the individual’s rights are valued when their countrymen are in bondage simply because of the color of their skin? The thirteenth amendment is concise and to the point. It made all former slaves citizens of the United States. While I think it took much longer than is should have to have an amendment like this ratified, I am glad it finally was. The thirteenth amendment paved the way for the civil rights movement.

I do not like the sixteenth amendment. This is not because I think that taxes are wrong, as I know they are necessary for the functioning of a government. However I do believe that this amendment gives too much power into the hands of the National Government. The sixteenth amendment says that “the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census of enumeration” (emphasis mine). These vague terms with all-encompassing implications, while good intended, seem too easily manipulated. Taxing income also seems to almost punish those who succeed in their businesses.

Thus I am so grateful for the thirteenth amendment, and I think its implications were huge. At the same time I do not appreciate the sixteenth amendment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Rare Genetic Deletion

Hello all, some of you know my younger sister has a rare genetic deletion. Today I will be explaining exactly what that is. She actually has an even more specific form of this, however here is a general explanation.

2q37 Deletion Syndrome is a rare genetic deletion. Those who have this deletion have lost genetic material in one of the two chromosome 2s. Since chromosome can break anywhere, the effects of this deletion can vary widely. The deletion is also called, the Albright Hereditary Osteodystrophy-like Syndrome and Brachydactyly-mental retardation syndrome. The deletion is extremely rare and seems to be more common in girls. While the syndrome can be inherited from parents, most cases are not hereditary. However individuals with a deletion carry a 50% chance of passing it on to their offspring. What are the characteristics and challenges of those with 2q37 deletion syndrome?

It is interesting to see the common traits and challenges in babies and children. Babies have low muscle tone which leads to a variety of challenges including feeding difficulties, which is often how the deletion is discovered. Babies are also prone to more general health concerns than are those without the Deletion. Children with a 2q37 Deletion will experience developmental delays and continue to have low muscle tone and loose joints. There are characteristic changes in the facial appearance, hands, and feet of these children. Namely weak musculature, weak or extremely flexible hands, narrow nasal passages, learning disabilities, the tendency to gradually put on too much weight, seizures, eczema, asthma, and frequent chest/ear infections are also common.

Feeding is a major concern during infancy and even toddlerhood. As children grow older the difficulties decrease, however the feeding issues for babies can be life threatening if not realized. Low muscle tone affects the baby’s ability to latch on to a breast or a regular bottle to suck. Thus feeding can take long periods of time and special nipples and devices as well as special milks and formulas must be used to ensure the child receives nutrition. In addition, babies with 2q37 deletion will often not cry to be fed, and so parents and doctors must be extra vigilant in making sure that the baby is getting the necessary feeding and gaining weight. It is common for families to have their own scale and keep close track of the weight lost and gained. Additionally, some babies and toddlers as well as children have Gastro-oesophageal reflux (acid reflux). This is when the milk or food from the stomach comes back up the esophagus bringing up stomach acid with it. Some babies may also be late to move to solids. Most of these issues will disappear by childhood however some children will continue to have acid reflux.

Those with a 2q37 will have developmental delays, however the intensity varies drastically. Generally children function around half of their age. They will lack a sense of balance and can fatigue easily. Due to this, running is often hard and when running children often hold out arms to maintain balance. Many have very lax joints. Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, such as swimming and horse therapy, are common and very helpful. Fine motor skills usually develop late or slowly over time, and they may never be quite like that of the average person. Thus physical developments do continually progress forward, simply at a slower pace.

Learning delays are also prevalent in those with 2q37 deletions. These delays, like the developmental delays, vary widely. Some people have only mild learning delays. An example from Unique tells of a mildly delayed 3 ½ year old can recognize some letters and is beginning to spell her name. A moderate delay is the most common and children with a moderate delay can generally learn at around half their age. Being moderately delayed means children and adults may need repetition and lots of sensory breaks to learn something, yet they can indeed learn a lot. Specific learning strengths and weaknesses are scattered from person to person. Music is a useful tool in learning. According to Unique, about half of reading age children can read. A child with a severe case may never learn to walk or speak.

Understanding for those with a 2q37 deletion usually comes ahead of the ability to express themselves. Children and adults can communicate in a variety of ways other than words including but not limited to: eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, vocal noises, pushing, patting, pulling, humming, laughing, and crying. Speech and communication is generally delayed however most children do learn to speak. Some children speak as fluently as any child. The average first words are spoken around two to three years old. Many children are fluent speakers by five or six. On the other hand Unique reports a twelve year old who communicates, “mostly by vocal noises and by pulling” (Unique 2q37 deletion syndrome pg. 15). Some families use picture exchange and electronic systems to aid with communication.

What kind of behavior accompanies these physical and mental delays? Those with 2q37 deletion syndrome are generally cheery, humorous, affectionate, sociable, and happy (Unique 2q37 deletion pg.17) . While their disposition in generally cheerful, they sometimes have difficulty being understood by other children. In addition they often lack social boundaries that come naturally to other children and can become obsessive with friendships. The same bad behaviors that all children have from time to time are prevalent in kids with 2q37 deletion syndrome, however they are more intense and sometimes last longer. People with a 2q37 deletion will often develop odd obsessions, which might not make sense to outsiders but are very important to the individual. Furthermore, they will participate in consistently repetitive behaviors, “This was often speech, either repeating heard sounds and phrases again and again or more often asking the same questions (Is the sun going up or down? What are we doing tomorrow? Where are we going?) repeatedly until deliberately stalled. Younger children were more likely to repeat a simple action, like opening and closing doors; turning light switches on and off; taking shoes on and off; banging. A few children appeared to repeat an action for comfort, such as rocking” (Unique 2q37 Deletion pg. 19).

Some of the above listed behaviors are also characteristic of people with autism. Many children and adults with a 2q37 deletion have autistic traits while about 25% actually also have autism (Genetics Home Reference 2q37 Deletion Syndrome pg. 1). The reason for these similarities and often overlap is, “Chromosome 2 has a group of genes called “homeobox” or HOX genes that control growth and development” (Kelly pg. 100). These genes are vital in creating the brain stem and cerebellum. Since this chromosome is disrupted in children with autism as well as children with this syndrome in which part of that chromosome is actually deleted.

A 2q37 deletion syndrome is so rare there are only approximately 100 reported cases worldwide. Because of this, many parents and families feel alone as the deletion is so rare there is not a lot of outside support and many doctors are not ready with available information on the Deletion. While development both physical and mental is delayed, sometimes significantly, individuals usually continue to progress forward throughout their lives. Babies, children, and adults with 2q37 deletion syndrome face simple as well as severe challenges, but their characteristically thin upper lips, narrow eyes, and arched eyebrows usually form into gleeful smiles and cheerful dispositions.


“2q37 deletion syndrome.” Unique Understanding Chromosome Disorders, version 1,
2013, pp. 1-32,

“2q37 deletion syndrome.” Genetics Home Reference, April 2009, pp. 1-2. U.S. National Library of Medicine,

Aldred M et al. “Molecular Analysis of 20 Patients with 2q37.3 Monosomy Definition of Minimum Deletion Intervals for Key Phenotypes.” Journal of Medical Genetics, 41.6, June 2004, pp. 433-439. PMC. doi: 10.1136/jmg.2003.017202

Kelly, Evelyn B., “Autism/ Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Encyclopedia of Human Genetics and Disease, vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2013, pp. 100, Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 5 Dec, 2016 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Guest Post: Maggie Groover- Pappy Thank You Cards

Today I have a guest post from Maggie Groover.

Maggie is a quirky, crafty, and slightly crazy, 17-year-old, who feels like she's still 7, and likes it that way! She loves kids, art, singing, and her Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Here you go:

Thank you, Lisbeth, for having me on your blog! It's a blessing!

This card is super easy to make, and only requires a few supplies! Here they are:


Blank white card

Gray crumply paper from a shoe box

Extra fine black sharpie + colored sharpie of choice (I used turquoise and dark pink)


Cut the crumply paper to a little smaller than the size of the card.

There should be about...1/8 of an inch? space from the edge of the crumply paper to the edge of the card. The picture below should give you an idea of how much space there should be.

I was making two cards, so I cut two pieces of crumply paper.

This part is so fun, and easier than you'd think! I got the idea for this card from this pin I found on Pinterest. So pretty, right? It doesn't have to be perfect, and your poppies definitely don't have to look like mine! Be loose with your drawing, and don't try to make it perfect.

Ooooh, I love lettering! This is also easier than it might look. Just write in your normal cursive, and then thicken the vertical lines by adding extra lines. Make sure to leave the space in between the lines open; don't fill them in with black. (See two pictures down.)

I did the "you" first, because I guess I thought it was more important that I get the placing right for that, than the placing of "thank"? I don't know, it just seems to work better.

After drawing the words, fill in the space in "you" with the colored sharpie. This why they had be left unfilled in by black. I used turquoise, and love how it looks.

And now all that's left to do is glue the crumply paper onto the card! I use my Elmer's liquid glue for almost everything, but you could totally use another adhesive. (I don't think glue sticks work well, but that's just my opinion.)

And here's our finished card! Nice and simple.

For my second card, I replaced the lower-case letters in "thank" with uppercase letters, and instead of turquoise, I used dark pink.

Which you do you like better?

Again, thank you so much for having me on your blog, Lisbeth!

You can visit Maggie on her blog at: