Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Medicinal Herb Course on Sale until December 31st!

*Note to previous students: you will need to change the email address for  sending questions.  Comcast recently bought out Adelphia in our area.  Just change the word "adelphia" to "comcast" and you will be fine!*

Just a reminder for those who might have missed my post:
I am putting my Medicinal Herb Course on sale for $15.00 between now and midnight December 31. This is $10.00 off the normal price! I have been teaching this course here on the farm for 5 years and this is the first time this course has ever been on sale.

Also, anyone who purchases my Medicinal Herb Course between now and the end of the year will receive an extension on the email mentoring portion of the course. Instead of 30 days from the date of purchase….you will receive….(can we say “ta daaahh!” ?) free mentoring until the end of February!!

I will also offer this extension for anyone who has ever purchased this course…so, my previous, faithful students….grab your notes and questions and give it all you’ve got until the end of February!!

Merry Christmas from The TNfarmgirl :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I will be taking a blogging break for the next week with the desire to devote that time to my family during this special season. I may post sporadically or I may not post at all :) However, I'll see you back here for sure the first week of January 2008.

I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas! This is a wondrous time of year when we stop to remember Jesus, the baby who was born crucified for our sins...our sins...yours and mine...what an awesome gift for us...sinners saved by grace. Take time this Christmas to spend time with Jesus the Christ who came to lay His life down for you....I want to leave you this Christmas Eve with the words to one of my favorite speaks to my Mama's heart..did she know? Could she fathom the miracle of it all?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the mute will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

Written by Mark Lowery

Thank you all for spending a bit of your precious time with me this year. I am grateful and I have enjoyed meeting many of you both in person and in cyberspace. I am thankful for the friendships that have come into our lives because of this blog.

I wish all of you a joyous Christmas and pray that our Father's richest blessings be with each and everyone of you during this holiday season and I pray that He would draw you ever closer to Him in the coming year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Tradition of the Straws...revisited

Last year I shared with you one of our family traditions...The Tradition of the Straws. You can read that post here. Many of you have written to me to share that your family has also begun the Tradition of the Straws! This blesses me! I have also had several of you write and ask about a pattern for the manger...

Paula shared this information:

You can find the book again--possibly different pictures than before, it looks like a different publisher. I found it on Paula Palangi is now Paula McDonald. If you have a pattern for your manger that you wouldn't mind sharing, that would be wonderful!

I don't have a pattern. Josiah went out to the shop and came back with the manger. However, I have taken some close up pictures and hope that this will help you.

This picture looks down on the empty manger .


A view from the end.


A view from the side.


A view of the bottom.


Looking down again, this time with the straw...the boys have been busy this year :)



And finally, our table in the living room that is always dedicated to our Tradition of the Straws.


Thanks to Paula and the others who have written, I hope you all get your mangers built and enjoy this tradition in your own family.



Saturday, December 22, 2007

I have good news and bad news....

The good news...


If you don't understand this picture read this.

The bad appears that this is not the only the traps remain in place. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Christmas Gift to You

With a desire to bless my readers this Christmas, I have chosen something that I hope will benefit you and your family now and for years to come.

I am putting my Medicinal Herb Course on sale for $15.00 between now and midnight December 31. This is $10.00 off the normal price! This would also make a wonderful Christmas gift for you or for someone you love :)

Also, anyone who purchases my Medicinal Herb Course between now and the end of the year will receive an extension on the email mentoring portion of the course. Instead of 30 days from the date of will receive....(can we say "ta daaahh!" ?) free mentoring until the end of February!!

I will also offer this extension for anyone who has ever purchased this, my previous, faithful students....grab your notes and questions and give it all you've got until the end of February!!

Merry Christmas from The TNfarmgirl :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holidays...the good, the bad, and the ugly....

hhmmmm...make that the good, the rotten and the horrific. Here is just a sampling of what we have been doing and seeing around the farm this holiday season.


We have been enjoying lots of family time, reading, baking, cooking and game playing with an occasional Christmas movie thrown in. We have been going through our game collection, partially to play some things we haven't for a long time and partially because I am sneakily wisely taking notes to clean things out. Several years ago a bunch of us ladies grabbed all of our kids and spent a week at a beach house. While there we played a game called Cranium. Cranium involves charades, sketching, sculpting, spelling (forward and backwards!), knowledge of facts (useful and silly) and lots of other fun stuff.

We have been re-visiting that game (caution: you need to weed some of the cards out) and have thoroughly enjoyed it! Here Jeremy is doing a song and dance for the acting portion.


And Josiah is trying to make us say the word rodeo...(you can't see Elijah...he is on the floor doing an admirable imitation of a raging bull!).


And finally, Elijah is just being...well...silly George Foreman doing his "Buy My Grill...I have a hundred sons named George" routine. I wish I had that one on video!


Of course, all of this fun is accompanied by hot cider or eggnog and a lot of homemade Christmas cookies and must be carried out wearing p.j.s :)


Then we move on to....

THE ROTTEN...stinker that is :)

This little one shared with me that he had a "bad day". He was very "lonely" and shed quite a few tears. When I headed to sleep a few hours later to tuck him in...he wasn't where I thought he would in his own bed....I found him in mine (Elijah likes to play musical beds and is known to sleep walk!). However, he is so could I be mad?tn_100_5119_1.JPG

Please note that he is on MY side of the bed and on MY pillows!

And then there is ...


There has been much whispering among my older boys. I have just chalked it up to Christmas suspicion was aroused when I kept hearing the word "grain" and there were multiple trips out to my little garden shed. I most distinctly did NOT ask for grain for Christmas. The night that there appeared to be much celebration between the two boys with high 5's etc., I finally grilled questioned them. They explained that they had been on a "quest" and had finally won....they took me out to show me their prize...YUCK! A MY shed! And, they have lovingly informed me, it isn't the one that they really hoped to catch...the really BIG one. Grrreeeaaatt...I have a freezer out there....guess the boys will be fetching and carrying for me until they catch the "BIG ONE".


Hold onto your hats gets worse!!! Hard to believe but true!

A few weeks ago, we noticed some threads hanging out of what appeared to be a vent in the back of my truck. I thought it odd and pulled them off and threw them away. We had just begun to use the heat so I thought perhaps it had something to do with that. About a week later, I went to the grocery store and when I opened the back to put the groceries in, there were GOBS of threads hanging out of this vent. One word went through my horrible, frightening, disgusting word.....NEST!

I just KNEW that we had a mouse in my kids thought I was silly. They didn't say it in so many words but a mother can tell thank you very much. I was looking for proof. I found it this week. I lifted Elijah's booster seat (in TN he is still required to be in one) and underneath was what I was looking for (well not EXACTLY what I was looking for but it WAS proof!) lots of little mouse droppings! YUCK!!! Then, a few days ago I was at Sam's and brought home a bag of chocolate chips for some wonderful cookies. By the time I got home there was a little hole gnawed in the bag....double YUCK!, Jeremy *my hero* took the back apart and this is what he found...


A NEST! And you KNOW that where there is a nest...there are ...


BABIES!!! Beyond yuck! Although my boys kept telling me how cute they were....I didn't buy it. I kept thinking of what the newspaper would say...."Truck found overturned at the side of the road...reason for the accident unknown"...however they would figure it out once they did the autopsy and found the mouse up my pant leg!

It is amazing how much damage one small mouse can cause...


Look at all of that shredded mess. Insulation...straw...paper towels and plenty of food thanks to my "eat ALL the time" boys. The worst part is that we never found mama mouse. We left traps intact and hope to entice her tonight with some of her apparently favorite food...chocolate chips.

What happened to the babies you ask? Can you say kitty kitty?

*UPDATE* I hauled grain last night - something nibbled into the bag on the way home...mama mouse is STILL in my truck....can you guess what I want for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Momma's of little girls...

I'm not one. I have 4 surviving children....all boys! However, this time of year I shop for my niece. She is 6 and she lives in Florida. She is my brother's daughter...adopted from China. Her name is Makayla. She has a birthday in November and then of course there is Christmas.

Her birthday this year was easy....she was here for Thanksgiving and I gave her a china tea set and an apron that had been my Mom's and then mine. It has a farm theme....there is a question there someplace for my mother :) Makayla loves the farm. She loves to cook with me and I always wear an apron in the now we can dress alike.

*From this point on proceed with caution...rant in progress!*

I spent some time in Toys R Us looking for something wonderful for Makayla....I spent a lot of time. I feel sorry for Mommas of little to choose from. I haven't been in a Toys R Us for a long time and I didn't look at little girl things when I was there. This time I did and I was shocked. The sexualization of toys for little girls grieved my heart.

I saw some dolls (?) called Bratz....they looked like their name. Barbie on steroids. I saw lots of "movie star" things...right....I want my niece to imitate Paris Hilton???? Even Polly Pocket (my boys loved those when they were little) looked a bit over the top. What happened to sweet and innocent? Why do we want our 5 year olds to desire to bare it all? Why are we presenting them with the big bust, tiny waist, round hips, big lips, Cleopatra eyes and revealing FIVE???? What message are they trying to sell your niece? I was utterly disgusted!

There was a small smattering of lifelike baby dolls, some very expensive PLASTIC ktichen equipment (non-working of course!) and the usual Disney fairy/princess stuff. I saw very few educational items directed towards girls, very little to support being a Mommy...however if you want to encourage your daughter to walk the streets when she grows at Toys R Us! I hope that other stores have a better selection than ours...I was afraid to even look in the clothing section! How do you ladies do this? Where do you shop?

So...I left without making a purchase. I bought Makayla a real rolling pin of her very own, some real cookie cutters, a spatula, a Christmas dishtowel and some sprinkles to go with the sugar cookie mix I am sending. I hope she will enjoy an afternoon in the kitchen with her Mommy baking cookies - two gifts in one really :)

I am thankful I have boys....compared to you Momma's of little girls, I have it easy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Join the revolution!

A wonderful article by Chuck Baldwin. If you haven't checked out how Ron Paul stands on the issues....please!!! yourself a favor, do some research. Back when I worked on the Hill, Dr. Paul was known as "too truthful Paul". His fellow members of Congress mean it as a mockery, I thought it one of the greatest recommendations for a politician statesman...and he truly is a statesman....not a politician. Here is Mr. Baldwin's article in full:
Who Are These Kooks?
By Chuck Baldwin
December 18, 2007

This column is archived at

According to the Associated Press, "Republican presidential hopeful
Ron Paul's supporters raised over $6 million Sunday to boost the
10-term congressman's campaign for the White House."

The AP report also said, "The [Paul] campaign's previous fundraiser
brought in $4.2 million."

According to the Paul campaign website, "In a 24-hour period on
December 16, the campaign raised $6.026 million dollars, surpassing
the one-day record of $5.7 million held by John Kerry.

"During the day, over 58,000 people contributed to Dr. Paul's
campaign, including 24,940 first-time donors. Over 118,000 Americans
have donated to the campaign in the fourth quarter.

"The $6 million one-day total means the campaign has raised over $18
million this quarter, far exceeding its goal of $12 million."

Now, if one listens to most of the political pundits in the major
media, Ron Paul is some kind of "kook," and his supporters are also a
bunch of "kooks." So, the question must be asked, Just who are these
kooks that are supporting him, and why are they giving Ron Paul all this money?

First, let's take a look at this "kook" who is receiving all this
money. Ron Paul was born the third son of Howard and Margaret Paul,
and was brought up with a work ethic in which one worked six days a
week and went to church on Sunday. His first job was at age 5 helping
his uncle wash bottles. He worked all the way through his youth mowing
lawns, delivering newspapers, working in a drug store, delivering
furniture and laundry, etc.

In high school, Ron was a track star, winning state as a junior in the
220-yard dash and running 2nd in the 440. His time in the 100-yard
dash was 9.8. That's pretty good. I was never able to break 10-flat in
the 100. Although, I bet I could have beaten him in the 50-yard dash.
He also wrestled in high school. Coincidentally, so did I. But here
Ron leaves me: he was president of the student council and an honor
student. I never accomplished that. I was just glad to get promoted to
the next grade. Even as a senior statesman, Ron Paul keeps himself in
terrific shape. Have you seen him lately? He still maintains a
rigorous exercise regimen.

Ron's two brothers are both ministers, and he became a medical doctor.
He graduated from Duke University School of Medicine. When the Cuban
Missile Crisis arose, Ron became a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air
Force. He also served in the Air National Guard.

As an OB/GYN physician, Dr. Paul has delivered more than 4,000 babies,
and he and his wife, Carol, have been married for more than 50 years.
They have 5 children, 18 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Ron
Paul is currently in his 10th term as a congressman from Texas.

As a congressman, Ron Paul has never taken a government-paid junket.
He is not accepting a government pension. He returns a portion of his
office budget every year to the taxpayers. As a member of Congress, he
has never voted a raise for himself. Do you know any other member of
Congress that can make such a claim? Of course you don't, because Ron
Paul is truly one-of-a-kind.

Former President Ronald Reagan said this about Ron Paul, "Ron Paul is
one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national
defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our
armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him
fighting for our country."

Perhaps this helps explain why many of the "kooks" supporting Ron Paul
are active-duty military personnel. In fact, Ron Paul has received
more campaign contributions from active-duty military personnel than
any other Presidential candidate from either party.

But who are the other "kooks" supporting Ron Paul? What kind of people
give more than $18 million in a quarter-year to a Presidential
candidate that is almost universally ignored by the mainstream press?
What kind of people give record contributions to a Presidential
candidate that is lampooned by his fellow Republican Presidential

For example, Mike Huckabee recently said he could support any of the
other Republican Presidential contenders (including Rudy Giuliani),
except Ron Paul. That means, Mike Huckabee would rather support a
pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-gun control liberal such as
Giuliani than support the pro-life, pro-traditional marriage,
pro-Second Amendment candidacy of Ron Paul. Why is that?

Furthermore, why are the entire major media and establishment
Republican machine either ignoring or lampooning a distinguished Air
Force veteran, medical doctor, and ten-term Congressman? What is it
about Ron Paul that the elite are so afraid of?

Here is something else: while Ron Paul's contributions have exploded,
Mike Huckabee is all but broke! How can that be? How can a political
"front-runner" be out of money, while a man who "doesn't have a
chance" is breaking fundraising records?

So, who are these "kooks" who are sending Ron Paul so much money? And
just why are they sending him so much money? I will tell you who they
are, because I am one of them. They are rank-and-file, tax-paying
citizens who are sick and tired of out-of-control federal spending and
deficits. They have had it with an arrogant federal government that
runs roughshod over both the Constitution and the liberties of the
American people. They are people who have had enough of the IRS, the
BATFE, and a thousand other federal agencies that have "erected a
multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass
our people, and eat out their substance." (Declaration of

They are people who see through the phony, disingenuous federal
politicians who only want to fleece the American citizenry for the
purpose of building their own personal fortunes. They have had it with
the Military-Industrial complex that desires to build international
empires at the expense of the blood and sacrifice of the American
people. They have had it with David Rockefeller and his Council on
Foreign Relations. They have had it with the arrogance of George W.
Bush and Nancy Pelosi.

They are sick and tired of paying outlandish taxes for a public
education system that produces high school graduates who cannot read
and write. They are sick and tired of working for 30 years to pay off
a mortgage, only then to be forced to pay extortion money (a.k.a.
property taxes) for the rest of their lives to the feudal state. They
are sick and tired of the government telling them what they can and
cannot do with their own property. They are sick and tired of watching
people with food stamps buy T-bone steaks and expensive Nike tennis
shoes while they are forced to buy fatty hamburger and cheap sneakers.

They are sick and tired of watching their manufacturing jobs go to
China and India. They have had it with money-hungry businessmen who
hire illegal Mexicans at slave labor wages. They have had it with
labor unions promoting politicians who support NAFTA, CAFTA, and the
FTAA. They are sick and tired of being bled dry at the gas pump.

They have had it with this phony "war on terrorism" that sends
trillions of dollars to nations throughout the Middle East, but
refuses to close our own borders to illegal immigration. They have had
it with the "war on drugs" and the "war on terror" being used as
excuses to trample people's freedoms. They have it with Vicente Fox
and Felipe Calderon. They have had it with Bush's North American
Union. They have had it with Joel Osteen and Rick Warren. In short,
they have just had it!

They also know that a vote for any other Presidential candidate is a
vote for more of the same. Democrat or Republican: it is more of the
same. Ron Paul, and Ron Paul alone, will bring a revolution of freedom
and independence to America. Believe me, the Ron Paul revolution is
bigger than Ron Paul. This is the beginning of a movement.

No matter what ultimately happens to Ron Paul's candidacy, the fight
to return America to its roots of freedom and independence has
started. The fire is lit. There is no putting it out. There will be
other Ron Pauls, other campaigns, other spokesmen, other fundraising.
The people supporting Ron Paul will not be silenced; they will not be
ignored; they will not be intimidated. In truth, Ron Paul's campaign
may just be the beginning of the end of the elitist, globalist,
stranglehold over America.

As one who is also fed up with the globalist goons that dominate the
two major parties, I join the Ron Paul revolution and vow to fight for
the rest of my life for the freedom and independence of these United
States. This means I will never again support a business-as-usual,
millionaires-club, globalist toady from either party ever again! I
will only support candidates who are fully committed to restoring
constitutional government. If that makes me a kook, so be it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pay It Forward

I found this post over at Gwen's blog. I like the concept of "pay it forward". It is something I work on with my children...doing for others with no expectation to receive. I love being able to do these things at Christmas especially....also called, in our family, "ring and run".

Some of our greatest joys have come from dropping an unexpected surprise on someone's doorstep, ringing the bell and running off. I really think it blesses us more than the "ringees". :)

Another thing we do at this time of year is to fill some Christmas sacks with a small new testament, a tract, a drink and some non-perishable ready to eat food. We hand these to the people standing on the street corners holding signs that say "hungry". I don't like to give money that then might be used for drugs or alcohol so providing a meal is a good alternative.

In the spirit of "Pay it Forward":
I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this pay it forward exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. Please remember to email me your address.

Go for it!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A reader asks for help....

I had the sweetest note from a reader asking for help. I know that I have many "lurkers" and although I could point this young lady in one direction...I am hoping that some of you might be able to point her in others.

Here is her original note:
Dearest Cheri,
Came across your website today and have read many of the posts. When I married three years ago, I felt the encouragement from God to start growing my own food, learning how to prepare foods from scratch and to be more self-sufficient. I have learned so much in these three years, and I recognize so many of the learning moments you and your family had, I was a city girl too!

I am reaching out to you today for prayer and encouragement. After three years of marriage, my husband has decided to follow the ways of the world and is divorcing me. As the house is in his name, I will soon be looking for a new place to live. I am not tied to this area so am free to move anywhere.

I feel strongly that I am to continue on my path of self-sufficiency and embrace even more the christian agrarian lifestyle, but am unsure of whether I can do it all by myself. I have no family here, and we have no children. Do you know any other single ladies that are living this lifestyle and succeeding? I know that God has me covered, but encouragement from fellow christian sisters would be wonderful right now! I thank you for the time you take to write up all you do, it's comforting to know you're out there!
Many blessings,

I was able to send her to this wonderful blog but I am sure that there are others out there. So, if you are able to point her to other women...please leave a comment or drop me an email and I'll make sure to pass them along.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wonderful project for kids...big and little!

I just received this from a good friend. Xerox is doing something neat for the holidays!

If you go to this web site,, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! Please send a card. It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our guys and gals over there need to know we are behind them.

I know that my boys and I will be sending cards this week. Please join us :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A neat surprise!

I opened my email to find a mysterious note from Marci asking me to check out her blog. When I got there I was surprised to find out that my humble little blog won an award. Thanks Marci! I find it amazing that so many of ya'll like to read my ramblings and even more amazing that someone gave me an award.


Eric Novak came out with the Christian award "Blogging with a Purpose" in late April of 2007. With so many secular awards around, Eric thought it would be a good idea to come out with a Christian award.

1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.
2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.
3. In their post about the award they need to link back to this entry.
4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to this site.

So, now it is my turn to hand out the awards. The winners are listed in no particular order :)

1. Julie and Michael at 3 Fold Cord. Julie and Michael blog as a team to share the Joy in the Journey. They share their lives and godly insights along with the antics of children and life on a farm. I have been blessed to know Julie and Michael personally for about 7 years (is that right Julie?) and she has been a life line to me in this trial that I have been enduring. Our family has seen this family walk out their faith and we love them all!

2. Julie at Seeking the Old Paths. Julie shares her wisdom as a Mom of seven in many areas. She also has a desire to share about our Hebraic roots as her family strives to serve Yahweh. She is conducting an awesome study on her site now on Restoring the Early Church. Check it out! We are also blessed to know this family personally and have enjoyed sweet fellowship together. They have blessed our family in many ways and have ministered Jesus to us in tangible ways during this time in the valley! We love you guys!

3. Cheri at Northwoods Ramblings. Cheri's blog inspires, uplifts and encourages all of us to seek the Father every day. Again, I have been blessed to know this wonderful lady, her husband and parents (Hi DOD!) personally. They have taken time on their travels to stop by and encourage my family and uplift us in prayer. We love you!

4. Lynn at ND Homekeeper. Lynn's blog shares about the joys and difficulties in establishing a new homestead and the faithfulness of our Father to be there in both. She shares the good times and the bad but always with a joyful heart. Lynn writes with an honesty and style that truly encourages her readers. The care and concern that Lynn has expressed to me during this difficult time has meant so much to me.... I feel blessed to call her a friend.

5. Walter at No Walter blogs to keep us aware of how harmful the USDA's National Animal Identification System is to small farmers, homesteaders and pet owners. In fact, Walter actually established a seperate blog for his writings on NAIS. Walter has compiled an amazing site and all small farmers, horse lovers, pet owners and homesteaders owe him a debt of gratitude. If NAIS is defeated, Walter's effort and work will have had a major part in that defeat. If you haven't heard of NAIS, please visit Walter's site. Thank you Walter!

So, there are my five winners, although there were many others I could have named. Check out their web sites, you will be blessed, encouraged, uplifted and informed.

Marci, thanks again!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Tale of a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!

Christmas is one of our favorite times of year and it has nothing to do with presents! I don't have to deal with the dreaded "I-Want-i-tis" that often appears this time of year. Since we have no commercial T.V. of any kind and the "Toy Catalogs" go straight to the burn pile, my children have never suffered from that disease. In fact, it is not unusual to have to pump them for a list of things they might like.

Traditions are a big part of our celebration...along with friends, fellowship and food (I'm a southern woman...did you expect different?). We began decorating our home after Thanksgiving and decided to postpone the tree for a week or so. I was worried about getting a tree.....with this valley we are in I just didn't know if I could afford one. I had already prepared the boys that this Christmas would be "slim pickins" as Grandma used to say. But I assured them that there would be plenty of good food, traditions and time together with each other. They were fine with that. Fortunately my kids are not very materially minded :) But a tree.....

We headed to the tree lot last Monday. I had $25 in my pocket but really needed to get a few things at the grocery store. I prayed....a lot! In previous years trees were $40 and up....I had seen the $25 table top trees....pretty I prayed some more! When we got there we noticed that their sign said trees from "$20 and up". The previous day that sign read "$25 and up". I prayed... again.

I asked where the $20 trees were and they showed us some trees leaning against two racks. We picked one up....not even 5 feet tall and pretty sad. I sent the older boys off scouting with the admonition that we would have to check prices. Elijah stayed with me. As we walked around the last rack, Elijah told me he saw a pretty tree laying down. I asked how he knew it was pretty if it was laying down and he told me he could just tell. The gentleman that worked there picked it up and held it out for us....a good 10 feet tall, a little thin with a bare spot or two - but pretty. The gentleman called it a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree". This had meaning for me but not my boys since they hadn't seen the movie. I like that movie. You don't see things like that anymore....I love how it ends with the reading of it this season.

I called the older boys over and we discussed the tree - thin was good for where we wanted to put the tree - the bare spots could go against the stairs....we asked how much and I held my breath......."I'd let it go for $15" he announced. Yes.... I said FIFTEEN DOLLARS!!! Did I mention that I had prayed? I happily forked over the money, made a run to the grocery store and we headed home.

We were amazed at God's provision. We are still amazed! Has anyone ever heard of a $15 Christmas tree? We had to cut it off at both ends to get it to fit our 9 foot ceilings. The holes were a wee bit larger than we realized after the limbs warmed up and dropped a little but we love our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Here is our tree in the stand before decorating:


And after we spent the afternoon stringing lights, eating homemade Christmas cookies, hanging ornaments, listening to wonderful hymns and Christmas carols, sipping eggnog and having a generally wonderful looked like this:


It was a wonderful day with my four boys. This may turn out to be our most favorite tree ever because we see it as a gift from Father. Once again, we have seen Father reach down to provide beyond our most basic needs....he provided the desire of our hearts. We are so very thankful!

Now we are off to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas movie so that my boys will understand what a Charlie Brown tree is, how beautiful it became and be reminded that the REAL meaning of Christmas lies not in trees or in presents but in the little baby, born crucified, that we may live... Jesus the Christ, our Messiah.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A reader's response about The Golden Compass

I had an interesting response to my blog about the movie that was released this weekend called The Golden Compass. "S". writes:
Umm.... what's wrong with intercision? I don't get it.... It's just a plot point in the book where children are separated from daemons, how can't that be mentioned? You're over-reacting, children are going to know its just fiction. They read about stuff like witches, wizards, demons, goblins, the arcane, its all in fantasy books. They know it isn't all real.

I'd like to respond :) First of all, many children have parents, like me, who protect them from reading ungodly literature that is fraught with witches, wizards, demons, goblins and the arcane. There is plenty of room for fantasy in our lives as long as it measures up to the Word of God. I am a firm believer in garbage in...garbage out. I prefer to use Father's advice when it comes to our reading lists:


Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.

Phil: 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

I once had a sweet young lady ask me why I limited my children to one belief, one God, one way of thinking. In her mind I should raise them and allow them to choose from the banquet table of all the world religions. My answer to her was this:

"Picture yourself with your little ones at your feet. If you took them to a banquet and on the table were good and delightful things mixed with things that would lead to certain death, would you not guide them to the good and delightful things and help them to avoid the things that would lead to their death? Of course...any momma would! These other religions, the occult and perverse and unholy things will lead my children to certain death...eternal is my duty before Father to guide my children to those things that will lead them to life...eternal life...and to service in His Kingdom!"

So, the Golden Compass will not be on my children's viewing list and here are a few more reasons why (Caution: not for children's eyes!):

Dr.Al Mohler's Blog
The Golden Compass -- A Briefing for Concerned Christians
The release of The Golden Compass as a major motion picture represents a new challenge for Christians -- especially parents. The release of a popular film with major actors that presents a message directly subversive of Christianity is something new. It is not likely to be the last.

Having seen the movie at an advance viewing and having read all three books of His Dark Materials, I can assure Christians that we face a real challenge -- one that will require careful thinking and intellectual engagement.

Why is this movie such a challenge?

First of all, The Golden Compass is an extremely attractive movie. Like the book on which it is based, the movie is a very sophisticated story that is very well told. The casting was excellent. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig (the latest James Bond actor) are joined by others including Sam Elliott and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards, who plays the central role of 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua. Kidman is chilling as the beautiful but evil Marisa Coulter and Craig is perfect as Lord Asriel. Actor Ian McKellen (Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) is the voice of Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear.

The movie is very well done and will be very attractive to audiences of all ages. The special effects are superior to any previous movie of the type, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy (also released by New Line Cinema). Everything is in place for this to be a blockbuster at the box office.

Second, the movie is based in a story that is captivating, sophisticated, and truly interesting. Philip Pullman is a skilled writer and teller of tales. His invented worlds of The Golden Compass and the entire His Dark Materials trilogy are about as good as the fantasy genre can offer. His characters are believable and the dialogue is constant -- largely due to Pullman's brilliant invention of a companion for each character -- a "daemon."

The bottom line is that these books and this movie will attract a lot of attention and will captivate many readers and viewers.

So, what's the problem?

This is not just any fantasy trilogy or film project. Philip Pullman has an agenda -- an agenda about as subtle as an army tank. His agenda is nothing less than to expose what he believes is the tyranny of the Christian faith and the Christian church. His hatred of the biblical storyline is clear. He is an atheist whose most important literary project is intended to offer a moral narrative that will reverse the biblical account of the fall and provide a liberating mythology for a new secular age.

The great enemy of humanity in the three books, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass (together known as His Dark Materials) is the Christian church, identified as the evil Magisterium. The Magisterium, representing church authority, is afraid of human freedom and seeks to repress human sexuality.

The Magisterium uses the biblical narrative of the Fall and the doctrine of original sin to repress humanity. It is both violent and vile and it will stop at nothing to protect its own interests and to preserve its power.

Pullman's attack on biblical Christianity is direct and undeniable. He once questioned why his books attracted little controversy even as the Harry Potter books attracted so much. He told an Australian newspaper that what he is "saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."

Will viewers of the movie see all this?

The direct attack on Christianity and God is toned down in the movie. But any informed person will recognize the Magisterium as representing the Church and Christianity. Of course, in our world the Magisterium is the authoritative leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. In Pullman's world it represents Christianity as a whole.

Indeed, Pullman's tale tells of John Calvin assuming the papacy and moving the headquarters to Geneva, thus combining the Catholic and Reformation traditions into one. In the movie, the Magisterium appears to be located in London. In any event, the point is not subtle.

The most direct attacks upon Christianity and God do not appear until the last book, The Amber Spyglass, in which Lyra and Will (a boy her age who first appears in the second book) eventually kill God, who turns out to be a decrepit and feeble old imposter who was hardly worth the killing.

Is Pullman's attack on Christianity exaggerated by his critics?

No -- his attack is neither hidden nor subtle. The entire premise of the trilogy is that Lyra is the child foretold by prophecy who will reverse the curse of the Fall and free humanity from the lie of original sin. Whereas in Christian theology it is Jesus Christ who reverses the curse through His work of atonement on the Cross, Pullman presents his own theology of sorts in which the Fall is reversed through the defiance of these children. As Pullman insists, Eve and Adam were right to eat the forbidden fruit and God was a tyrant to forbid them the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The supernatural element of Pullman's story is "Dust," which is seen by the Magisterium as original sin but is presented by Pullman as the essence of life itself. In The Golden Compass, Lyra is given an "alethiometer" or "golden compass" which is filled with Dust and tells the truth to one qualified to operate it. Readers are told that a great battle is coming in which forces fighting for human freedom and happiness will confront (and destroy) the Magisterium and God.

In the last volume of the trilogy, a character known as Dr. Mary Malone explains her discovery to Lyra and Will: "I used to be a nun, you see. I thought physics could be done to the glory of God, till I saw there wasn't any God at all and that physics was more interesting anyway. The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all."

Is there more to the larger story?

Yes, and it has to do with sex. Surprisingly graphic and explicit sex. Pullman believes that the Christian church is horribly repressive about sex and that this is rooted in the idea of the Fall. As he told Hanna Rosin of the Atlantic Monthly, "Why the Christian Church has spent 2,000 years condemning this glorious moment, well, that's a mystery. I want to confront that, I suppose, by telling a story that the so-called original sin is anything but. It's the thing that makes us fully human."

Puberty is a big part of Pullman's concern. Coming-of-age stories are one of the most common forms of fiction, but Pullman's packs a punch that readers cannot miss. He wants to celebrate the adolescent's arrival at sexual awareness. Remember that the child's daemon can change forms until puberty. At that point it is fixed as a single creature that reflects the personality and character of the young adult.

Puberty means the coming of sexual feelings. The Magisterium would prefer that children grow up without experiencing sexual temptation, so it is conducting an experiment in order to separate children from their daemons before puberty, when their daemon can no longer change. This procedure, known as "intercision" makes the child a "severed child" who has no daemon -- and thus no soul. The Magisterium has assigned Mrs. Coulter the job of abducting the children and taking them to the North for this experiment.

As Mrs. Coulter explains to Lyra (who is revealed to be her own daughter) in the first book: "All that happens is a little cut, and then everything's peaceful. Forever! You see, your daemon's a wonderful friend and companion when you are young, but at the age we call puberty, the age you're coming to very soon, darling, daemons bring all sorts of troublesome thoughts and feelings, and that's what lets Dust in. A quick little operation before that, and you're never troubled again."

In The Golden Compass, Lyra and her companions free the children held at this experimental station in the North and destroy it. In The Amber Spyglass, Lyra and Will reverse the story of the Edenic Fall by consummating a sexual act in the garden.

Again, Pullman is not subtle. Keep in mind that this is a series of books marketed to children and adolescents. Lyra puts a red fruit to Will's lips and Will "knew at once what she meant, and that he was too joyful to speak." Within moments, the 13-year olds are involved in some kind of unspecified sexual act.

"The word love set his nerves ablaze," Pullman writes of Will. "All his body thrilled with it, and he answered her in the same words, kissing her hot face over and over again, drinking in with adoration the scent of her body and her warm, honey-fragrant hair and her sweet, moist mouth that tasted of the little red fruit."

Just a few pages later, Will and Lyra will dare to touch each other's daemon. That passage is even more sexually charged and explicit than the first. The adolescents now know "that neither daemon would change now, having felt a lover's hands on them. These were their shapes for life: they would want no other."

What is it about Pullman and C. S. Lewis?

Put simply, Pullman hates C. S. Lewis's work The Chronicles of Narnia. He told Hannah Rosin that Lewis's famous work is "morally loathsome" and "one of the most ugly and poisonous things I ever read." Narnia, he said, "is the Christian one . . . . And mine is the non-Christian."

When the first Narnia film was released in 2005, Pullman described the books as "a peevish blend of racist, misogynistic and reactionary prejudice."

Indeed, Pullman's His Dark Materials is intended as an answer to Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. What Lewis (and J. R. R. Tolkein) did for Christianity, Pullman wants to do for atheism.

So, what should Christians do?

A good first step would be to take a deep breath. The Christian faith is not about to be toppled by a film, nor by a series of fantasy books. Pullman has an agenda that is clear, and Christians need to inform themselves of what this agenda is and what it means. At the same time, nothing would serve his agenda better than to have Christians speaking recklessly or unintelligently about the film or the books.

This is about the battle of ideas and worldviews. While Christians will not celebrate the release of this film, we should recognize the mixture of challenge and opportunity that comes with millions of persons watching this film and talking about the issues it raises. When the movie is mentioned in the workplace, in school, on the playground, or in the college campus, this is a great opportunity to show that Christians are not afraid of the battle of ideas.

We should recognize that the Christian Church has some very embarrassing moments in its history - moments when it has failed to represent the truth of the Gospel and the love of Christ. Authors like Philip Pullman take advantage of these failures in order to paint the entire Christian Church as a conspiracy against human happiness and freedom. Of course, that charge will not stand close scrutiny, and we can face it head-on with a thoughtful response.

Some Christians have also held very unhelpful views of human sexuality. These, we must admit, would include figures as great and influential as Augustine and, alas, C. S. Lewis. But these figures, rightly influential in other areas of the faith, are not representative in this case of biblical sexuality. We can set the record straight.

Should we be concerned that people, young and old, will be confused by this movie? Of course. But I do not believe that a boycott will dissuade the general public from seeing the film. I am very concerned when I think of so many people being entertained by such a subversive message delivered by such a seductive medium. We are responsible to show them, in so far as we are able, that the Magisterium of The Golden Compass is not a fair or accurate representation of the Christian Church.

I can only wonder how many parents and grandparents will allow children and young people to see the movie and then buy them the books -- blissfully unaware of what is coming in books two and three.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has enemies; this we know. Christian parents must be informed about His Dark Materials and inform others. We must take the responsibility to use interest in this film to teach our own children to think biblically and to be discerning in their engagement with the media in all forms. We should arm our children to be able to talk about this project with their classmates without fear or rancor.

Philip Pullman has an agenda, but so do we. Our agenda is the Gospel of Christ -- a message infinitely more powerful than that of The Golden Compass. Pullman's worldview of unrestricted human autonomy would be nightmarish if ever achieved. His story promises liberation but would enslave human beings to themselves and destroy all transcendent value.

The biblical story of the Fall is true, after all, and our only rescue is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The curse of sin was not reversed by adolescents playing at sex in a garden, but by the Son of God shedding His blood on a cross.

So let's get our bearings straight as we think and talk about The Golden Compass. This movie does represent a great challenge, but a challenge that Christians should always be ready to meet.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

My yeast dough is rising....the ingredients for the pound cake are coming to room temperature, the turkeys are thawing and my brother and his family are just now getting on a plane and will arrive here in a few hours.

Thanksgiving is at my house this year and there is much yet to be done. My Mom has made her pumpkin and pecan pies (her pecan pies are WONDERFUL!) and she will be making our cornbread dressing. This is one of the most wonderful foods in the world. She has been making it for many, many tradition. I'll be cooking the turkeys, sweet potato souffle (covered with melted marshmallows of course), green beans, pound cake, caramel cake, yeast rolls (thanks to Julie) and more!

This morning I tied my apron on and don't expect to remove it until much later in the day. Tomorrow will be a wonderful day of cooking, eating and enjoying family.

Tomorrow it is our tradition to begin Christmas decorating.....a day filled with family, fun, homemade Christmas Cookies and eggnog! My boys have been looking forward to it for weeks...for some reason Christmas seems to hold more anticipation for them this year than usual and they are really excited.

I am thankful for many things this year. God has blessed my family beyond my wildest expectations....He has been a faithful traveler with me through this valley I have been walking through. Truly at times He has carried me. These last few weeks He has shown Himself mightily on my behalf and I am ever so grateful for His continual care and for the blessings He has bestowed.

This Thanksgiving please take time to remember why this day was set aside by the Continental Congress and to thank God for his blessings on this nation:
1777 National Thanksgiving Day Proclamation
Saturday, November 1, 1777

The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, to set apart a day of public thanksgiving, brought in a report; which was taken into consideration, and agreed to as follows:

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessings on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

And it is further recommended, that servile labor, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.

2 Samuel 22:50
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

1 Chronicles 16:8
Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 18:49
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. I'll see you next week!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Golden Compass...Parents be warned!!

We don't watch television and I don't often take my boys to the movies so I am woefully ignorant of much of what is going on in that arena. However, I have had a lot of email concerning a movie coming out "for the Christmas season" entitled The Golden, since so many of you have is my opinion....DO NOT GO TO SEE THIS MOVIE! DO NOT TAKE YOUR CHILDREN EITHER! As my regular readers know, I don't indulge in PC behavior....this is my blog and I don't mind sharing my opinions. That is my opinion on this movie.

Here is a link to Urban Legends where you can read a little about this film. The author of the books that this movie is based on is an avowed atheist. You can also read an article by Rebecca Grace of AFA here.

This movie is being heavily promoted in the public school system - most likely because Scholastic is involved with this film. Check it out....if it is being shown in your child's school you might want to have a talk with the principal...or perhaps write some letters to the editor, and if 'twere me...I'd pull my child from school that day :)

I am also quoting an article below, in its entirety, by Tom Gilson from Prison Fellowship. This explains why I think this movie is unacceptable for any child...and most especially children from Christian homes. I do disagree with one thing he said....picketing might not be a bad idea! As far as I am concerned, this stuff comes straight from the pit of Hell. Read the article, follow the links, prepare to be shocked!

An Emboldened 'Compass'

By Tom Gilson

Anti-God, Anti-Church at School

Last week, a local school counselor loaned us material from the Scholastic publishing company, promoting curriculum resources based on the upcoming movie and the already-published book, The Golden Compass. The materials were impressive—a gorgeously designed 31-by-21-inch poster of the movie, including an invitation for students to take part in an “Amazing Student Sweepstakes,” and on the back of it, a set of curriculum resources based on the book—all at completely no charge to schools or teachers. (The poster and teaching materials are on Scholastic’s website.)

If it seems somewhat unusual for a curriculum company to be promoting a movie, that’s not the strangest thing about it. The Golden Compass is the first book in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. And what are these “dark materials”? Readers can get a very quick overview of the series through the (quite accurate) plot summaries at SparkNotes online.

There, for example, we learn about “intercision,” a plot feature of the The Golden Compass. What is this “intercision?” The answer really can’t be quoted on this page. You may go to SparkNotes to find out, but be sure no young children are looking over your shoulder. (Note that SparkNotes draws its interpretation on that point from the second book as well as the first.) Yet Scholastic wants schools to teach this material to our children.

And they surely don’t want them to stop at the first book. The second book is entitled The Subtle Knife. That happens to be the name of the one weapon that can kill God. The third book tells us that God is relieved to be killed. He’s a rather pathetic character, tired of all the responsibility, “half-crazed with age and infirmity,” in SparkNotes’ words. He had been rather mixed up about things all along, though. The Satan figure in the trilogy was the one who brought freedom to humans. God—and the dominating, violent, fearful church—fought against this freedom. Pullman cheers for their downfall. He has said so not only in his fiction, but also in interviews. The books, he says, are “about killing God.”

Pullman’s God is fictional, and we must hasten to note that the actual God is not concerned about death threats that might be made against Him. The real concern is for students who will have this dark material forced on them in schools.

Scholastic is by far the top source of reading materials for American schools. What they market, schools buy. One might wonder what they stand to gain from giving these expensive materials away.

Well, it's not really all that hard to figure out. The poster says the materials are “generously sponsored by New Line Cinema.” Generous, indeed, that they would co-opt an educational company to advertise their film for them? But it’s not entirely a co-optation—for Scholastic co-produced the film. It’s all bound to sell a lot of books, of course, and Scholastic will gladly handle that transaction for your child, too. Does this seem like a company that has students' and schools' best interests at heart?

There is word on the Web that the anti-God theme has been toned down for the movie; and that theme is expressed much more strongly in the second and third books than the first, anyway. So is there any reason to make a fuss over this first book, and the movie? Yes, because the first book in a trilogy, if it is at all interesting, is (among other things) the strongest possible advertisement for the second and third. It’s impossible to promote only the first. Who could stop reading The Lord of the Rings just when the Fellowship separated, at the close of the first book?

Moreover, the anti-Church, anti-Biblical elements of even the first book are plenty strong. The Church is presented as highly controlling and evil; and this is not some other-world, purely fantastical church with no connection to our own world. In Chapter 16 we learn of its “Vatican Council.” In Chapter 19 a character speaks of being “baptized as a Christian” in Geneva. Chapter 2 tells us the last Pope in this world was John Calvin, which in another context would be knee-slapping hilarious, but here contributes to the strength of the connection this fictional world has to our real one.

One of the prominent themes of the book is “Dust,” a mysterious “charged particle” from the sky. In the closing chapters of the book, the protagonist, Lyra, finally learns that Dust is “the physical evidence for original sin”; and Dust is what powers her “alethiometer” (the golden-colored, compass-looking device for which the book is named). From the Greek, alethiometer means “truth-measurer.” It is a device she consults, through a kind of clairvoyant process, to learn secrets and discover truths; it never lies or misleads. Dust and the alethiometer—central symbols in this book—together send the clear message that truth is measured by the power of original sin. In the closing pages, Lyra decides that Dust is a good thing after all, and she determines to go on and defend this original sin against the Church. Thus we are ushered into the second book.

This is certainly not a message we want our children to take to heart. Still, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Pullman is working on our turf when he tells his tale. I'll gladly stand up our story against his! The story of Christ has drama, it has strong characters, it has relevance, it has a truly stupendous surprise ending—in short, all the elements of great story. Best of all, it’s not fiction. It happened! So we need not respond defensively, or with anger, or by picketing the movie, or with any of the worldly methods Paul warned against in 2 Corinthians 10. This is the time—especially since the movie is coming out at Christmastime—for us to tell the true story of Jesus Christ, in love and with a positive tone.

Yet there is a limit, and Christian parents ought to stand guard on behalf of the next generation. The Golden Compass—book or movie—does not belong in our schools.

Tom Gilson is director of strategic processes in the Operational Advisory Services team for Campus Crusade for Christ. He maintains a blog at

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Proper Country Etiquette...or what to do with a bull?

I feel sorry for you city folks. Friends in the city are just *not* the same as country friends. You invite your friends over for a visit...or a meal...what do they bring you? A present done up with a bow, a plate of cupcakes...perhaps a bottle of wine or if you are really lucky a potted plant. Ho...hum....

Here in the country, folks know how to do things up right! We had some friends come for a visit and they didn't bring food, or wine, or even a potted plant...and this gift didn't come with a bow...however it did arrive in style! Our friends, Stan and Sue brought us a *cute* little Angus bull! (Stan objected to the word cute - not very manly for a bull :) ). He lost his Mama this morning so he wasn't in the best of moods. In fact, in this picture he looks down right "scowly" as Grandma used to say! Doesn't his face just shout "DON'T TOUCH ME!"


Let's just say that this was not his day...first loosing mama, then his first ride *ever* in a big metal box and then being dumped at a farm where he didn't know a soul!


Here Elijah gets his first look at the bull with Sue. (He adores Sue, he loves people who love to laugh and Sue is one of the happiest people I know!)

This little fella was quite rambunctious...he is 4 weeks old but he can kick, buck, and bawl. Stan decided that he needed to be tied to a post in the trailer for a bit in the hopes that he might calm down before we tried to unload him. Another first....a halter and the inability to run at will....not a happy camper.


Once he calmed down a bit, Stan felt it was o.k. to unload him. My plan was to put him with our milk cow Nora (THE best cow in the WORLD!). Nora has taken every calf we have put with her. In fact, Nora had to be separated from the rest of the cows because she was letting some full grown Jersey steers nurse and we weren't getting any milk....Stan says she is just a "hussy" :) . Don't think I've heard that term since Grandma died. Grandma would have agreed with Stan.

I made Elijah the "gate guard". Notice I put him BEHIND the gate. This is because he broke his arm at this time last year and I am *still* paying the Dr. bills on that, I wasn't taking any chances!


As you can see he came kicking and screaming reluctantly off the trailer. It was just like being at the rodeo....only in miniature!


Stan decided to hang out in the field to make sure that this little guy didn't make a bee line for the fence and end up in the next county (hey....don't laugh!..... been there and done that....more than once!)


As you can see he is still fighting the lead rope....and he was none to sure about Nora. I can also assure you that Nora was not exactly thrilled. I can understand...drop a kid at my house and say..."by the way...yours to raise" might not exactly thrill me either - especially if said kid was kicking, screaming and squalling!

This is *THE* best picture of the day....gotta find a magazine that I can submit this to! Stan decided to sit down and let Nora and this bull work it out - I thought at one point that he might get trampled! Nora wasn't about to let that little bull *anywhere* near her. If he got to close, she would butt the tar out of him. Regardless of what Stan said.....Nora is *not* that kind of gal!


So, at this point (9:45 pm EST), Nora has quit butting the baby but she is still keeping her distance. The bull is crying, screaming, bawling for his Mama. He refused his bottle tonight...but hey!....he hasn't ever seen one. I hope by morning he is hungry enough to get near us and try the bottle - or perhaps Nora will have settled down, let her Mama instincts take over and allow this little guy to nurse.

The boys are trying to come up with a name - normally anything we would eat gets a food name...but that isn't the purpose for this little fella. He is here to make babies! So, the boys want to name him Big Daddy.....because one day he is going to be around 2,000 lbs. and hopefully will be the Daddy of many little ones.

He truly is a dream come true for my little family! Isn't he beautiful?


Well.....except for that tongue in the nose thingy....why *do* they do that?

And here are our friends and my boys (oh, and Toby...he's the one on the leash!)


Words can't express how grateful we are ....thank you so much Stan and Sue!

And by the way, Stan... as soon as my Mom saw him she said...."oooohhhhh..he's SO cute!"..and I've gotta agree...even if it isn't very cowboy of me :)

Now folks, we are going to visit Stan and Sue to meet Big Daddy's Daddy....and my dilemma is....what should I bring them?...cause after today....a plate of cupcakes just isn't going to cut it!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Things I *NEVER* thought I would say to my children...

If you are looking for a post extolling the virtues of another herbal remedy or some wonderful spiritual insight...keep on moving...however if you are in the mood for a chuckle you might want to read on!

OK know what I a young woman I had fantasies visions of sugar plums raising godly, genteel, kind and loving children...we would dine together graciously (linen table cloths and pretty dishes!) and discuss deep spiritual and philosophical things in low and even raised voices, disagreements or shouting. Then REALITY hit!

I never thought I would say some of the things I have...I never thought I would *need* to say these things and looking back I can hardly believe these words have emanated from my own mouth. I wonder at it because all of my children are boys?? Is this a southern thing?? Help me out here folks....I encourage you to leave me a comment with some of the things you have said to your little ones :)

1. Do NOT drink the toilet water.

2. Do NOT put anymore Matchbox cars down the toilet (said while taking the toilet up from the floor so that we could pull all of the Matchbox cars out of the plumbing line...)

3. Do not put that pea up your nose (oops...too late!)

4. Do NOT eat the pea that was up your nose (again...too late!)

5. Do NOT put the kittens in your pants.

6. Why did you squirt A & D ointment inside your door knob (and every other conceivable nook and cranny in the entire room)?

7. Why did you crack all of the eggs today? (Said to a 3 year old...response: to see if they were all the same inside)

8. Do not put your finger in the dog's rear end (said to a 2 year old who was fascinated with the body parts of a very large dog).

9. Do not pass gas while sitting on your brother.

10. Do not ride the goats/calves.

11. What do you mean "I changed the recipe a little"? (Said as I frantically reached for a glass of water!)

12. Do not put the cat on top of the chicken tractor to "see what the chickens will do".

13. Do not hang your little brother on the door knob by his underwear (this done in the hope of achieving the "ultimate wedgie"). Followed quickly by me declaring "You *will* pay for this underwear!"

14. Do not strip off all of your clothes, scream "naked" and run through the house...especially when we have company (said to a young child!....and why must it always be in front of someone I would rather be impressing with my child rearing abilities?)

15. No, you can not keep your worms/toads/turtle in the gas oven during the winter!

16. No, you may not trap the rat in the barn and keep it in your room.

17. Why is there a jar of LIVE bugs in my refrigerator?

18. What are all of these rocks doing in my dryer? (Said at least 100 times since I started having children...what IS it with boys and rocks?)

19. Who put this (fill in the blank with every creepy, nasty critter you can imagine) in my kitchen?

20. Do NOT pee in the dryer (said to a sleep walking child!)

21. What do you mean the BB jumped off the end of your finger and sailed up your nose? (said just before leaving for the hospital to have it removed...thankfully a sneeze dislodged the pellet which probably saved us hundreds of dollars!)

22. What do you mean you made wild onion soup? (said to my 4 year old as I looked into a pot of the nastiest, foulest smelling, dirt filled watery stuff *EVER*).

23. No, you may not shake the bees up to see what would happen (said to a small child while the hive was OPEN!)

24. What do you mean "have I seen the snake?"

25. Do *NOT* pee on the electric fence!

Although I can laugh now...I assure you that some of these had me so mad/frightened/upset that I was either in tears or ready to throttle my boys. about you?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fall...healing salve....and other ponderings!

Finally, cool weather! I didn't think it would ever come. We had a cold snap in September and I thought perhaps fall was early but it quickly turned hot again. Now we are having days in the 60's and nights in the 30's. I love it! This is my favorite time of year. The holidays are quickly approaching, which I am really looking forward much family time and a bit of a break from homeschooling!

My Mom, who has a home here on the farm, had a desire to decorate this year. She purchased the materials and we supplied all of the labor....oh what a blessing to have 3 young men living at home! This is a picture of the gate at the entrance of our farm.


And here is the front door...


The leaves are beginning to turn...brown mostly. Our area has been in drought conditions for 8 years and this last summer has been the worst. It has kept things so dry that colors just aren't very vibrant this year. We had almost no spring rain, I think we had two brief showers during the summer and one day of rain this fall. Hay is scarce and people are trucking it in from other states. Some are pricing fair but some are really gouging people....such a sad state.

Julie just recently told me that arsonists are burning barns (full of hay!) out in their area. This is devastating...and dangerous with the conditions as dry as they have been. We have not been able to enjoy our normal fall marshmallow roasts because there is a burn ban in effect. If you haven't stopped by her blog recently, check out the cute little pigs that have been added to their farmstead.

Each fall it seems that my boys spend a lot of time on their bikes. We spend a lot of time outside during the fall. Of course, the injuries increase during this time. Recently, Elijah was riding on the back of Josiah's bike and took a tumble...but he didn't fall clear of the rear wheel. Unfortunately, I didn't get told about this until the next day...*sigh*....boys! This is what happened...truly a "manly wound" as we call them in our house.


This is just one of the millions, thousands, many reasons I make Healing Salve. It seems that we use it every day around here either on people or on animals. We have used it to heal wounds on chickens, goats, roosters, horses, cows, cats, dogs, and of course lots of boys.....and often their friends. A little Healing Salve to take care of any infection on the areas where the skin was broken and then I slathered my Arnica Salve on the areas that were swollen and bruised. Arnica is a topical anti-inflammatory and is wonderful on sore muscles, aches, sprains, bumps and bruises. If *someone* had told me of this when it happened then the Arnica would have helped a lot with the bruising.....however....when *someone* neglects to tell Mom about their tumbles then the Arnica doesn't help much....sitting in the the drawer....*ahem*!

Along with the arrival of fall, we picked up a nasty little virus. Pounding head, queasy tummy, sore throat and a wiped out feeling. It slowly made its way through all of us and we are just now getting back on our feet. We battled this with lots of pro-biotics, red clover tincture (make some this spring!!) and my Immune Support Tea. I think the tea helped the most. I hope this helps to explain my lack of blogging recently...I was either caring for the sick or being sick myself.

However, I have several new things I want to share with you...some new soaps!! ....a cute new Christmas gift idea!!... and.....something new that the boys and I have been involved in for several weeks won't believe what we have been doing and learning....

As they say...stay tuned!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I am SO cup overflows!

It has been one of those weeks. God has been so faithful to my than that...He has been abundant in His mercy, grace and blessing! I am overwhelmed with gratitude to my Father. He has blessed me financially...worked miracles with my vehicle....given grace in a health issue....and given me peace, grace and mercy at the times I needed/wanted them most. In my most faithless moments, He is ever faithful! When I turn doubting eyes His way, He is standing with arms outstretched to receive me....I serve an awesome God!

Let me share a small portion of a devotion by Elisabeth Elliot....
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture: Psalm 103:4-5 Psalm 92:1 Psalm 145 Psalm 68:19 Lamentations 3:22-23
An Overflowing Cup

...."The Lord is gracious and compassionate.: good to all... faithful to all his promises... loving toward all he has made.... righteous in all his ways.... near to all who call on him.... watches over all who love him.... My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord" (from Psalm 145, NIV).

As an editor my father spent his life reading other people's writings and never thought of writing a book. Three collections of his short writings were published in book form, however, one entitled New Every Morning (published by Zondervan in 1969, now out of print). Here's the title piece, an exercise in thanksgiving, and a glimpse of the man he was. I think you'll see why I'm thankful for such a father.

"Blessings taken for granted are often forgotten. Yet our Heavenly Father 'daily loadeth us with benefits' (Psalm 68:19). Think of some of the common things which are nevertheless wonderful:

"--the intricate, delicate mechanism of the lungs steadily and silently taking in fresh air eighteen to twenty times a minute;

"--the untiring heart, pumping great quantities of clean blood through the labyrinth of blood vessels;

"--the constant body temperature, normally varying less than one degree;

"--the atmospheric temperature, varying widely it is true, but never so much as to destroy human and animal life;

"--the orderly succession of day and night, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, so that, with few exceptions, man can make his plans accordingly;

"--the great variety of foods, from the farm, the field, the forest, and the sea, to suit our differing desires and physical needs;

"--the beauties of each day--the morning star and growing light of sunrise, the white clouds of afternoon, the soft tints of a peaceful sunset, and the glory of the starry heavens;

"--the symphony of early morning bird songs, ranging from the unmusical trill of the chipping sparrow to the lilting ecstasy of the goldfinch and the calm, rich, bell-like tones of the wood and hermit thrushes;

"--the refreshment that sleep brings;

"--the simple joys of home--the children's laughter and whimsical remarks, happy times around the table, the love and understanding of husband and wife, and the harmony of voices raised together in praise to God.

"All these and many others come from the bountiful hand of Him 'who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's' (Psalm 103:4,5).

"'It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness' (Lamentations 3:22,23).

"'It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High' (Psalm 92:1)."

Join my boys and I as we give thanks and sing praises to our most High God who redeemed our lives from destruction and crowns us with unmerited lovingkindness and tender mercies!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Come see...

It was early...very early. I was on the couch in the middle of devotions..I love the quiet of the early morning before the boys are up. The house is quiet, the dawn is just beginning to break, the birds are beginning to sing and, of course, the roosters are strutting their stuff (why must they strut so noisily?).

This time I heard another noise....a little voice saying "Mom! Come to my room quick!" It was was really early for him! Immediately I wondered what was broken, spilt, wrong...I asked....and again he repeated. "Come quick" and off he went.

Quickly I set my bible down and followed....sure that I would find vomit on the carpet or in the bed, broken glass on the floor...a fish that had died (again!) but I was so wrong. Elijah led me quickly to his window...and over our pond was the most brilliant rainbow I have ever seen. The most awesome part was its reflection in our was breathtaking. I think the colors were so vivid because there was so little light at that time. By the time I gathered my wits and got my camera, the dawn was increasing and caused the rainbow to fade quite a bit. Here is what I was able to capture.


Can you see the reflection in the pond...just moments before this it was vivid!


There were two rainbows...side by side...something I used to see a lot when I lived in Washington state but I don't remember ever seeing here in TN before.


The other boys heard us whispering and awoke in time to enjoy the show with us. So timely, since we are studying in Genesis right now. It was just so lovely, I wanted to share it with you.

An awesome reminder of God's promises. We learned a neat thing in our lesson today when we were studying about Noah. It was something I think we all need to be reminded of occasionally so if you permit, I'll share it with you.

God issued Noah an build an ark. But Noah had to R.S.V.P.! Noah needed to respond. Noah had do we! He could accept the invitation, which thankfully he did, or he could sit still and do nothing...which would have led to death. Too often, in many churches, we are taught to "claim it" but we aren't encouraged to participate. Don't get me isn't that God needs our help...but our participation is crucial to our refining process. And often, our participation is required before God acts.

Think of Jesus and Lazarus! When Jesus was taken to the tomb of Lazarus why did he ask the people to roll the stone away? Didn't Jesus have the ability to move the stone with a wave of his hand...a word...a unspoken thought? Why did he ask the people to walk in faith...before he unleashed a miracle before them?

Throughout our lives we are given many opportunites and we are issued many invitations from God. Does not God want us to quit sitting there waiting for God to "change us"...(the chorus "wouldn't it be nice" goes ringing through my mind at this point)! Are we not to put forth effort, to make godly choices, to deny ourselves, to participate in God's leading, do what we know is right instead of what we want or feel like doing?

Do we respond to God's invitations as Noah did? Or do we sit and do nothing...which leads to death....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Am I truly meek....

As usual, Elisabeth Elliot explains meekness and how it applies in our lives...(emphasis is mine)
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:25 Zephaniah 2:3 Matthew 11:28-29 Psalm 25:9 Isaiah 29:19 James 1:21 Colossians 3:12 2 Corinthians 10:1-4 Numbers 12:3
The Key to Supernatural Power

The world cannot fathom strength proceeding from weakness, gain proceeding from loss, or power from meekness. Christians apprehend these truths very slowly, if at all, for we are strongly influenced by secular thinking. Let's stop and concentrate on what Jesus meant when He said that the meek would inherit the earth. Do we understand what meekness truly is? Think first about what it isn't.

It is not a naturally phlegmatic temperament. I knew a woman who was so phlegmatic that nothing seemed to make much difference to her at all. While drying dishes for her one day in her kitchen I asked where I should put a serving platter.

"Oh, I don't know. Wherever you think would be a good place," was her answer. I wondered how she managed to find things if there wasn't a place for everything (and everything in its place).

Meekness is not indecision or laziness or feminine fragility or loose sentimentalism or indifference or affable neutrality.

Meekness is most emphatically not weakness. Do you remember who was the meekest man in the Old Testament? Moses! (See Numbers 12:3). My mental image of him is not of a feeble man. It is shaped by Michelangelo's sculpture and painting and by the biblical descriptions. Think of him murdering the Egyptian, smashing the tablets of the commandments, grinding the golden calf to a powder, scattering it on the water and making the Israelites drink it. Nary a hint of weakness there, nor in David who wrote, "The meek will he guide in judgment" (Psalm 25:9, KJV), nor in Isaiah, who wrote, "The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord" (Isaiah 29:19, KJV).

The Lord Jesus was the Lamb of God, and when we think of lambs we think of meekness (and perhaps weakness), but He was also the Lion of Judah, and He said, "I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29, KJV). He told us that we can find rest for our souls if we will come to Him, take His yoke, and learn. What we must learn is meekness. It doesn't come naturally to any of us.

Meekness is teachability. "The meek will he teach his way" (Psalm 25:9, KJV). It is the readiness to be shown, which includes the readiness to lay down my fixed notions, my objections and "what ifs" or "but what abouts," my certainties about the rightness of what I have always done or thought or said. It is the child's glad "Show me! Is this the way? Please help me." We won't make it into the kingdom without that childlikeness, that simple willingness to be taught and corrected and helped. "Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21, KJV). Meekness is an explicitly spiritual quality, a fruit of the Spirit, learned, not inherited. It shows in the kind of attention we pay to one another, the tone of voice we use, the facial expression.

One weekend I spoke in Atlanta on this subject, and the following weekend I was to speak on it again in Philadelphia. As very often happens, I was sorely tested on that very point in the few days in between. That sore test was my chance to be taught and changed and helped. At the same time I was strongly tempted to indulge in the very opposite of meekness: sulking. Someone had hurt me. He/she was the one who needed to be changed! I felt I was misunderstood, unfairly treated, and unduly berated. Although I managed to keep my mouth shut, both the Lord and I knew that my thoughts did not spring from a depth of loving-kindness and holy charity. I wanted to vindicate myself to the offender. That was a revelation of how little I knew of meekness.

The Spirit of God reminded me that it was He who had provided this very thing to bring that lesson of meekness which I could learn nowhere else. He was literally putting me on the spot: would I choose, here and now, to learn of Him, learn His meekness? He was despised, rejected, reviled, pierced, crushed, oppressed, afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. What was this little incident of mine by comparison with my Lord's suffering? He brought to mind Jesus' willingness not only to eat with Judas who would soon betray Him, but also to kneel before him and wash his dirty feet. He showed me the look the Lord gave Peter when he had three times denied Him--a look of unutterable love and forgiveness, a look of meekness which overpowered Peter's cowardice and selfishness, and brought him to repentance. I thought of His meekness as He hung pinioned on the cross, praying even in His agony for His Father's forgiveness for His killers. There was no venom or bitterness there, only the final proof of a sublime and invincible love.

But how shall I, not born with the smallest shred of that quality, I who love victory by argument and put-down, ever learn that holy meekness? The prophet Zephaniah tells us to seek it (Zephaniah 2:3). We must walk (live) in the Spirit, not gratifying the desires of the sinful nature (for example, my desire to answer back, to offer excuses and accusations, my desire to show up the other's fault instead of to be shown my own). We must "clothe" ourselves (Colossians 3:12) with meekness--put it on, like a garment. This entails an explicit choice: I will be meek. I will not sulk, will not retaliate, will not carry a chip.

A steadfast look at Jesus instead of at the injury makes a very great difference. Seeking to see things in His light changes the aspect altogether.

In PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, Prudence asks Christian in the House Beautiful, "Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times, as if they were vanquished?"

"Yes," says Christian, "when I think what I saw at the Cross, that will do it."

The message of the cross is foolishness to the world and to all whose thinking is still worldly. But "the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (1 Corinthians 1:25, NIV). The meekness of Jesus was a force more irresistible than any force on earth. "By the meekness and gentleness of Christ," wrote the great apostle, "I appeal to you.... Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:1, 3-4, NIV). The weapon of meekness counters all enmity, says author Dietrich Von Hildebrand, with the offer of an unshielded heart.

Isn't this the simple explanation for our being so heavy-laden, so tired, so overburdened and confused and bitter? We drag around such prodigious loads of resentment and self-assertion. Shall we not rather accept at once the loving invitation: "Come to Me. Take My yoke. Learn of Me--I am gentle, meek, humble, lowly. I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28-29 paraphrased).
Related Posts with Thumbnails