Michael T. Powers
On a cold winter night who of us is not tempted to go to the living room and stoke up
a fire in the fireplace and read a book in front of the crackling hearth? You may be
thinking "I am doing myself a favor by supplementing the furnace with additional heat".
But the dark secret about your fireplace is, you are making your house colder, and making
your heating bill rise. Using a fireplace each night can actually raise your monthly heating
bill by about 20%.*
The air action that a fireplace starts in your home is wasteful. The second the damper is
opened, heated air from your homes interior begins pouring out of the top of the chimney.
As the fire in the hearth accelerates, the combustion process grabs more heated air from
your home and burns the oxygen and combustible gasses in it and tosses it up the
chimney. While the fire burns and exhausts most of the heat straight up the chimney, the
home is drawing in cold outside air from other places (i.e. windows, light sockets, doors,
etc) to replace the air that is escaping the home. Hearth professionals refer to this as the
Even while the fireplace is not being used, the traditional metal dampers tend to leak air
since they warp and degrade rapidly in the extreme heat and corrosive soot environment.
The cold draft that comes out of a fireplace is an indicator that the damper is not sealing
well. To correct this problem, I recommend a removable and reusable fireplace accessory
called a Chimney Balloon fireplace damper. The Chimney Balloon inflates into place in the
flue and seals it off to stop heat loss, cold drafts, and chimney odors. They come in
hundreds of standard and custom size combinations that can fit any fireplace flue or
Wood burning fireplaces are wonderful nostalgic centerpieces for many American homes.
But a homeowner should be aware of the issues associated with fireplace use and keep
them from being a home energy drain.
*Statistic gathered from WP&L Energy informational newsletter.
Chimney Balloon USA
(608) 467-0229 Order Hotline
By, Kathleene S. Baker
The man had just filled his car with gas; he was cold, wet, and ready to head for home.
He opened his car door and bent down to climb inside.
He glanced in the direction of the frail voice to find a well-dressed, elderly lady attempting
to get his attention.
He closed the car door and walked towards her. "Can I help you, ma'am?"
The older woman explained that the gas pump was not working properly, and asked if he
knew what she was doing wrong.
"These are new pumps and very touchy?even for me. I've found the easiest thing to do
is forget locking them while I fill; they keep shutting off for some reason."
"Oh my! I can't keep pressure on that handle until my tank is full. My hands don't have
much strength in them anymore." She cast her blue eyes to the ground in frustration.
"I'd be honored to fill your tank for you!" The man's Texas accent was gentle and he
gave her a little wink. "By the way, I love your British accent."
"Yes, a British accent in Texas.people always notice!" She smiled. "We just came
to the States a few years ago. That's my husband in the car." She paused for a
moment, "He has Alzheimer's now."
"I'm so very sorry.for both of you." After a slight lull the gentleman continued. "Why
don't you get back in the car while I do this; the snow is picking up and you're going to get wet."
She was a lovely woman with snowy-white hair; her attire was prim and proper
as one would expect from a Brit. "I'd rather visit if you don't mind. Our son is
out of town for Christmas; he's with his wife's family this year and I'm feeling a bit blue."
A knot formed in the Texan's throat and he hoped to change the subject. "Just what
are the two of you doing out in this weather? I hope your drive home is a short one.
You know these Texas drivers aren't the best when it comes to snow and sleet," he teased.
"We're on our way home from a Christmas party. The medical center has one
each year for the Alzheimer patients. They are rather like children's parties?and
they have Santa visit. Oftentimes patients will have moments they recall things
from their past. Some sing along to Christmas carols when they haven't carried
on an actual conversation in quite a long while."
"Did anyone recognize Santa today?"
"Oh, yes, my husband recognized Santa and tried to steal his hat! He even said,
?Ho, ho, ho?Merry Christmas.' His recollection was rather brief but it was the
highlight of my day." She grinned.
The gas pump clicked off, the woman swiped her credit card to make payment,
and turned to thank the man who had been willing to help her. The two were saying
their farewells when the squeal of brakes, a thud, and breaking glass at the
intersection caught their attention.
"Oh, my!" The lady whimpered with a distressed expression. "It's getting so
slick. I've got to hurry and get home."
"Ma'am, I'd be honored to follow you in case you have problems."
She hesitated momentarily and then appeared relieved, "Oh, I'd be so grateful
I can't thank you enough. And by the way, my name is Margaret." She reached out
to shake hands with her new friend.
"Margaret, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. My name is Ray." He patted
her hand gently before they released their grasp. "You just drive slowly; I'll be
right behind you."
When Margaret pulled into her garage Ray stopped curbside. "I just want to be
sure you get inside safely," he shouted.
Margaret waved and asked him to wait for a moment?then nodded and spoke to
her neighbor hanging Christmas lights. She guided John into the house, quickly
reappeared in the garage, and motioned for Ray to pull into the driveway.
She thanked Ray again and soon mentioned this being the first Christmas she
and her husband had ever spent alone. Ray, always a soft touch for older folks,
was happy to listen. She spoke fondly of traditions her family adhered to when
she was a child in England and revealed an interesting glimpse into her past.plus
a taste of her cherished memories from across the pond.
"You know mistletoe is very traditional in England. My first "real" kiss was under
the mistletoe when I was a teenager. Oh, what memories I have." For a split
second, Margaret looked like a young girl again.
Several minutes passed before Margaret began to shiver and they were forced to say farewell.
Christmas morn found Margaret peeking out her front door just as the sun crested
the horizon. She stepped outside, instantly clasped her hands like a small child,
and peered up and down the street. With not a soul in sight she began to examine
the items discovered on her porch.each one dredged up memories of years gone
by in Merry Old England.
Just above her head hung an arrangement of mistletoe adorned with elegant lace;
she touched it gently. Bedecked with Victorian ornaments, a small, lighted Christmas
tree sat in the corner?beneath it a homemade mincemeat pie wrapped securely and
tied with golden ribbon. The card attached said only, "From: Santa." Hanging from
the doorknob a brilliant red Santa Claus hat with tag, "To: John."
Margaret called to John; he slowly made his way and stepped outside. Nothing on
the porch sparked his interest until Margaret placed the Santa hat in his hands. After
staring at it and stroking the velvety softness, he plopped it onto his head. It sat
askew but John's face beamed as his voice rang out across the neighborhood, "Ho,
ho, ho! Ho, ho, ho!"
Parked several houses away, a Secret Texas Santa sniffed and wiped at a lone tear.
a happy tear. "Merry Christmas and God Bless." He smiled and turned towards home.
©2007 Kathleene S. Baker
Write Kathleen and let her know your thoughts on her story!
Kathleene and husband, Jerry, reside in Plano, Texas. They share their home with
two terribly spoiled schnauzers. A freelancer, she has contributed to newspapers,
anthologies, magazines, online ezines, and writes a weekly column entitled "Heart
of Texas." She is Editor for Starfish, a daily inspiration ezine.
Kathy's website: www.txyellowrose.com
Creation Q & A
Where did morality come from?
Morality is a very difficult problem for the evolutionary worldview. This isn't to say
that evolutionists are somehow less moral than anyone else. Most of them adhere
to a code of behavior. Like the biblical creationist, they do believe in the concepts
of right and wrong. The problem is that evolutionists have no logical reason to believe
in right and wrong within their own worldview. Right and wrong are Christian concepts
which go back to Genesis. By attempting to be moral, therefore, the evolutionist is
being irrational; for he must borrow biblical concepts which are contrary to his worldview.
The Bible teaches that God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3).
All things belong to God (Psalm 24:1) and thus, God has the right to make the
rules. So, an absolute moral code makes sense in a biblical creation worldview.
But if the Bible were not true, if human beings were merely the outworking of millions
of years of mindless chemical processes, then why should we hold to a universal
code of behavior? Could there really be such concepts as right and wrong if evolution were true?
Some might respond, "Well, I believe in right and wrong, and I also believe in
evolution; so, obviously they can go together." But this does not follow. People
can be irrational; they can profess to believe in things that are contrary to each
other. The question is not about what people believe to be the case, but rather what
actually is the case. Can the concepts of right and wrong really be meaningful apart
from the biblical God? To put it another way, is morality justified in an evolutionary worldview?
Read the rest of this article on our website: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/04/14/evolution-challenge-of-morality
Click on the Bible above or visit the web site listed below!