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!
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