Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shot of the Day for March 11, 2009

Emma's Self Portrait

Wednesday March 11 Good News From Mary

China: Is Bible Smuggling Obsolete?

Afterwards it would be called the “Night of a Million Miracles.” It was June 18, 1981, and Bibles were scarce in communist China. The borders were tightly closed to Christian literature, and believers risked arrest and torture simply to meet together in their homes. In spite of the persecution, a network of house churches was springing up across the country, creating a tremendous need for Bibles.

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Why a Large Tax Refund is Bad for Your Finances

Scripture instructs Christians to pay their taxes faithfully. "If you owe taxes, pay taxes" Romans 13:7. We're also to pay our taxes respectfully, because "the authorities"—whose salaries are paid by tax revenue—"are God's servants, who give their full time to governing" Romans 13:6).

But there is no biblical requirement to pay more than we owe. Yet every year, millions of Americans do just that, by setting their income-tax withholding too high.

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The Adoption Option: One Mom's Decision to Give Up Her Baby

(Note from Mary: On February 19 I posted a story about one young man's feelings and thoughts about his adoption. This article is his birth mother's story)

The room is dark and quiet, foreboding in a way. The curtains are drawn. I wanted to be alone, to think and to mourn. I didn’t want friends visiting or calling me. Though they meant well and said kind things and brought me simple gifts, for now I just wanted to be alone.

For the last 9 months it’s just been you and me. Us. I was not ever alone. No one really understood how much that time meant to me. I would often stay at home, my feet resting on the small footstool a friend had made for me, listening to music, rocking in my chair, hoping I would always remember the feelings, the thoughts, the time I got to spend with you.

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The Frugal Family Guide

Last summer I was at my parents' cabin in rural Virginia and I noticed a dead mouse in a rusty old trap. I tossed it in the trash. Later that day I told my dad about the mouse, and he asked, "Where's the trap?" I told him it looked as though it were falling apart, and I'd thrown it out with the mouse still attached. He looked at me as if I'd punched him in the face. My mom chimed in: "We've had that trap since we got married!" I wasn't sure she was joking, and they got married almost 50 years ago. I sheepishly dug it out of the garbage and loaded it up with cheese again. Now it's become one of those perennial things they bring up every time I go home: "Remember when Steve threw out the mousetrap, mouse and all!?" This is followed by shuddering and head shaking, as they silently wonder where it all went wrong.

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New iPod Shuffle -- Even Smaller

Apparently the tiny iPod Shuffle wasn't tiny enough. On Wednesday, Apple unveiled a 4GB Shuffle that's half the size of its predecessor.

The new device is smaller than a AA battery yet holds up to 1,000 songs, Apple said. The preshrunk Shuffle also adds a new VoiceOver feature that can recite song titles, artists, and playlist names, as well as provide status information, such as battery life. Speaking of which, Apple said the gadget's battery life clocks in at 10 hours.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009 Good News Stories

New Test for Early-Stage Ovarian Cancer

"A blood test to detect elevated levels of the protein CA125 -- combined with ultrasound -- may prove to be an effective screening strategy for ovarian cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages, new research suggests."

Click here to read more about this new research.

Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden

"You don’t really need a special garden to attract butterflies. If there are plants in your garden that appeal to them, butterflies will find them. A true butterfly garden should not just be designed to attract adult butterflies, but also to afford a place for them to hibernate and lay eggs and for the larva, or caterpillars, to feed. Different species of butterflies have different preferences in plants. Many of the plants preferred by butterflies, like milkweed, dogbane, nettles and thistles, are considered weeds by humans and often don’t make it into a butterfly garden. But a wide variety of plants should attract at least a few visitors."

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At Home With the Energy Detective

"Although home energy tracking devices like the single-outlet Kill A Watt or the whole-house Power2Save unit are gaining popularity in this energy-conscious age, I hadn’t tried one until my electric bill topped out at $150 in January. That prompted me to invest in an Energy Detective, a device that retails for $145 and promises to give homeowners a telling glimpse into their personal energy consumption habits — and the appliances that consume the most juice."

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Michelle Obama’s Agenda Includes Healthful Eating

"THE television cameras were rolling, the journalists were scribbling and the first lady, Michelle Obama, was standing in a soup kitchen rhapsodizing about steamed broccoli. And homemade mushroom risotto. And freshly baked apple-carrot muffins.

Mrs. Obama was praising the menu last week at Miriam’s Kitchen, a nonprofit drop-in center serving this city’s homeless. And she seized the moment to urge Americans to provide fresh, unprocessed and locally grown foods to their families and to the neediest in their communities."

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