Saturday, February 28, 2009

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?

I saw this over on Penny Raine's blog. I really liked it and thought I would share it with you.

I have incredible daughters. They can cook, sew, bake bread, care for a baby, clean like a professional, and also break a horse, drive a tractor, milk a cow, can homemade preserves, and stack a field full of hay bales. They are also creative and beautiful. Now what I want to know is why that is unusual? When did we as Christian American parents lose our desire to raise daughters with values AND skills? My new ebook series was born out of a need to teach young (and old) mothers forgotten skills. Basic stuff. These are things we have learned together in our home. Why didn’t my mom teach me this stuff? I am glad I was bored enough with the normal American lifestyle to sit at my grandmas elbow as she sewed. It sparked something creative in me.

Most of the young ladies that live around me could do the above things as well. I do know many young ladies who are even 18 years old and they are a princess. They can't do anything domestic. I feel really bad for them, because they are going to be ill equipped for life after Dad and Mom. We were discussing the difference between Brittany, our precious Daughter-in=love and another young woman just over a year younger than her. There is a chasm between them. Not only in skills, but in maturity and nurturing and caring. Do your daughters a big favor and start training them NOW for their future homes. You will be surprised at what they are able to do and how much you will enjoy working side by side with them.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Vision Forum Coupon Codes

I have 4 extra coupon codes for the Vision Forum coupon sale. The coupon is for $25 off of a $75 order. Each coupon can only be used once, so I will post the 4 codes below. If you try one and it doesn't work, it is because someone else beat you to it. Try one of the other ones. :)





Be sure and click on the link above in this post or use the link in the sidebar. :)

And The Winner Is...

I always try to be totally fair and impartial. I wrote down all the names on slips of paper. I went and checked out the links and added those people's name a second time. I was here by myself at that point, so I put the papers on the kitchen counter. Mr. Wonderful Neighbor and his son came by just after Michael got home. I had them pick out 3 names from the pile. Then I had Michael hold the dogs. I put 3 treats on the floor and said a name for each treat. Then he let Star go and which ever treat she went to first was the winner.

The winner is Dixiemaiden. Please email me and give me your address and I will have Vision Forum send you the True Beauty set.

Thanks everyone for entering.

Apple Dump Cake

I gave a whole new meaning to the recipe, "Apple Dump Cake." My husband has been wanting me to make this cake for a long time. It is baked in a tube pan. Tonight, Josh & Britt are coming over for dinner and then we are having company for dessert. I decided that I would make the cake. It has to bake 1 1/2 hours. It is supposed to be delicious (it is by the way).

I made the cake and put it in the oven. It came out beautiful. I got the outer part of the pan off without any trouble. I ran a knife around the bottom of the cake and thought maybe I would turn it over onto a plate upside down and then onto another plate right side up. That was wisdom speaking. I have been doing dishes all day it seems (I have been cooking and baking) and I got the bright idea of just letting the cake rest upside down on my hand covered in a big oven mitt. Then I would put the plate on the bottom and flip it over, thus saving one dish to wash.

Let's just say that this is not a cake to balance on a mitt. :) It fell apart all over the counter. :( I picked up the pieces and put them on a plate. You can see it in all its beauty below. I will put some in a bowl for each person and top with ice cream or something and call it apple dump cake. :) When life hands you lemons... listen to wisdom.

Fresh Apple Cake

Peel, core and chop 5 to 7 apples. I used 6 Gold Rush.
Mix together 5 Tbs. of organic cane crystals (sugar) with 1 Tbs. of cinnamon
Put the chopped apples in a bowl and coat with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

2 3/4 Cups Freshly ground flour (I used red wheat)
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup coconut oil (or other mild unrefined oil)
1 1/2 cups organic cane crystals (sugar)
1/3 cup organic orange juice
1 Tbs. organic vanilla
4 farm fresh eggs

Mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and set aside. In another bowl mix together the coconut oil, OJ, cane crystals, vanilla and eggs. Then add this to the dry ingredients and mix together.

Put one half of this mixture into the bottom of a greased tube pan. Spread it around. Put 1/2 of the apples on top of this and spread them around. Then put the rest of the batter and again top with the rest of the apples.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. You can insert a knife to test for doneness.

Some Thoughts For You to Ponder

We are still doing the Bible Study called "The Walk of Repentance". We still all think that this is the best Bible study we have ever done. I wanted to share something from this week's study.

We had to look up many verses that told about being steadfast in the faith, about enduring, about encouraging those around us daily to endure. Then he gave us verses to look up about how people are going to be deceived in the end times. Then he shared the following:

I recently heard a message from Romans 12:2 by a minister for whom I have tremendous respect. He said that God is trying to transform our "fallen" minds into the mind of Christ. Although the anti-christ wasn't the topic of his message, he made a very poignant statement that bears repeating. He said that those who continually watch television are keeping their minds within the mentality of this world. He said that one day a man would appear on that television claiming to have all the answers for the problems of mankind. He went on to say that Christians often naively think that they will be able to withstand the deception of the anti-christ when he comes, but those who watch television are at present aligning their minds with him already. He said it would be impossible for them to withstand the heavy delusion that will come upon the world that day. He said this: "If they can't say 'no' to that television now, what makes them think they will be able to say 'no' to it when that day comes?"

Then we were told to look up the word transform in a dictionary. We were to write down the definition and then describe it in context of our minds being transformed from the thinking of this world into the thinking of real Christianity.

I would love to hear what you think. If you totally disagree that is OK, but be nice in saying so.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vision Forum Give Away!!!!

The sign-up for the give away is closed. We will pick the winner and post it either tonight or tomorrow.

Vision Forum is giving me the privilege of giving away one of their new Album CD Sets. Here is what you need to do to enter into this give away. Read about each of these sets below and leave a comment that tells me which one you would like if you win and why. You have to tell me which album you would want, or your entry does not count. You may get a second entry by putting a post on your blog about this give away and then either email me or leave a comment telling me where I can find your post. You need to have your entry in by midnight EST on February 26, 2009. That is Thursday night.

God’s Word speaks volumes to the relationship between fathers and daughters. One of his most sacred duties is her protection and preservation from childhood to virtuous womanhood. In these powerful messages given at the 2008 Father and Daughter Discipleship Retreat, speakers Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, Geoffrey Botkin and daughters Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin illustrate elements of this important priority as they explore such topics as how to build the father-daughter bond, true feminine beauty, the Proverbs 31 woman, how to transition from beautiful girlhood to noble womanhood, and how to prepare daughters for marriage. Other highlights include a look at examples of godly, dominion-oriented womanhood from the young pioneer girls of the nineteenth century, as well as the special importance of the thirteenth year in a girl’s life.

Experience the Philadelphia Faith and Freedom Tour, as recorded on location in historic Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Journey to Philadelphia—the Cradle of Liberty—where the first Continental Congress convened and patriot leaders later signed America’s Declaration of Independence. Follow General George Washington through some of his most difficult and daring days of service—from his loss at Brandywine and his long winter at Valley Forge to his famous crossing of the Delaware and his surprising victory at Princeton. Walk the halls of the College of New Jersey where Presbyterian pastor John Witherspoon trained one-fifth of the members of the Constitutional Convention, and visit the nearby graveyard where such godly luminaries as Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, Samuel Davies, and Ashbel Green are laid to rest. Album features tour messages given by Douglas W. Phillips and historian William Potter.

With our nation’s legal heritage under attack, it is imperative that Christians be armed with biblical answers to the various law and public policy debates that are raging in our land. In this special Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy conference album, learn from some of America’s leading Christian statesmen, legal scholars, and public policy advocates as they tackle such issues as the Christian foundations of Western law, the legal challenges surrounding America’s border wars, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Second Amendment, defamation in the blogosphere, the battle for biblical marriage, the state of parental rights, and more—all from a distinctly biblical perspective. Lecture topics include:

* Introduction to the Christian Foundations of Western Law
* Christian Jurisprudence: Biblical Law, Natural Law, or Positive Law?
* The Bible and Female Magistrates
* Symposium on the Reformation and Law
* Christianity and the Courts
* An Introduction to the Theology of Church and State
* The Battle for Biblical Marriage
* Defamation in the Blogosphere
* You May Not Take Our Guns
* Biblical Law, Ethics, and Public Policy for Lawyers
* The Significance of the Electoral College
* Genesis and Geneva: The Emergence of Liberty in the West
* And Much More!

Christian filmmaking is coming of age, and the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival represented a watershed moment in that development. This audio collection provides a cross-section of key moments and messages from this historic festival, including a behind-the-scenes look at Fireproof by Stephen Kendrick and Kirk Cameron; special performances by George Sarris and the Von Trapp Children; the Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech and “Give Me Liberty” recitation by Dean Jones; an examination of Christian philosophy of entertainment and the decentralization of media by Kevin Swanson; a musical tribute to the Reformation by Doug Phillips and Charlie Zahm, along with highlights from opening and closing ceremonies. This, and much more!

Featured Speakers & Performing Artists Include: Kirk Cameron, Dean Jones, Stephen Kendrick, the Von Trapp Children, Charlie Zahm, Voddie Baucham, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Doug Phillips, George Sarris, Kevin Swanson, Chuck Bentley, Jon Erwin, and Ted Pittenger

Hope is rising in the Christian film movement, and the 2009 Christian Filmmakers Academy bore witness to this fact as more than 500 students gathered to seriously explore how to build a Christ-honoring replacement industry outside Hollywood. Lights, Camera, Action! features highlights from this important academy, including:

* A two-part lecture on cinematography
* An analysis of how Christians should depict violence in film
* A blueprint for how Christian filmmakers can rightly employ the Science Fiction genre
* A look at the twelve most common mistakes of beginning directors
* Practical tips on how you can improve a film in ten minutes
* A panel discussion with feature filmmakers such as Stephen Kendrick of Fireproof
* “How to Win the $101,000 Best of Festival Award”
* A special address by actor Dean Jones outlining why Christians should build an independent film movement outside Hollywood
* A bonus DVD of lecture slides from the event
* And much more!

Start reading and leave your entry in the comments section!!!

My Laboratory

My kitchen has things growing in it. :) Sounds gross.. huh. Well, some of it looks gross too. My dear sweet friend in Kentucky (Hi Wina!!) sent me a kombucha mushroom. It is sitting on my counter doing its thing. My husband looked at it and was totally grossed out. Here is a picture of the baby mushroom in the tea. We have heard how good this is for you and have wanted to try it. We will let you know how it does.

I also made a sourdough starter. It is in the crock on the left. You have to feed it daily. The bread next to it is a sourdough loaf. We let it rise for 5 hours and then it bakes for an hour. It is good, but not like the sourdough we buy (white bread). My friend Ginny told me that it is the rye we are tasting. They are both up on top of the warming oven of the stove...down at the cooler end.

These are raspberry muffins that I made. My husband loves them. They are really good. He has been wanting some and my dear sweet friend in Kentucky (yup - Wina) gave me some wonderful organic raspberries. They are supposed to have a crumb topping, but they are so good without it, that I leave it off. I will post the recipe below. It was actually supposed to be blueberry muffins, but I don't have blueberries and I do have raspberries.

Caitlyn's To-Die-For Blueberry Muffins
(with my changes)

These muffins are AMAZING!

1 1/2 cups freshly ground flour
3/4 cup organic cane crystals
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup coconut oil or mild unrefined oil
1 farm fresh egg
1/3 cup raw milk
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

These next ingredients are for the crumb topping I left off.
1/2 cup
organic cane crystals
1/3 cup freshly ground flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with
muffin liners.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.
Place oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough
milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in berries.
Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping:
1.) Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before
2.) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Ice Sculptures

We have a college campus in our neighboring town. They have a couple of fountains on their property. I always thought that people would turn off their fountains in the winter if they lived in the north, especially as cold as this winter has been. They did not. :) It made for some interesting sculptures. I have never been up close to this first fountain when it was warmer out. It is actually fairly new. I believe they put it in last fall. The water must come out of the top of the tall rock like structures and just cascade down the sides. The walk way all around the fountain is part of the sidewalk, so is supposed to stay dry. As you can see, the ice has grown. You could still hear water running and there was a bit of water (not ice) down on the right hand side. I don't think you can see it in this picture.

This fountain is in the middle of a small pond. I think the wind must have blown the water into the tree behind it.

They were very pretty to look at. :) I thought you might enjoy seeing them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vision Forum Coupon Coming!!!!

If you are not on Vision Forum's email list, you need to fix that right now. They will be sending out another single use coupon that is well worth getting. Go on over to the Vision Forum Website and scroll down a little ways. On the left side bar is a place to sign up to receive the email newsletter. The coupon will be good for $25 off any purchase of $75 or more!

If you want to have some great resources in your home, then Vision Forum is the place to look.

I recently told you about listening to The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship by Voddie Baucham. We bought 10 extra copies to send to people. This CD was so powerful in describing why we do what we do in raising our children.

We also loved the movie Heartstrings. We have shared it with several families. The parents and the children love it along with the movie Bubble Trouble that comes as an extra on this DVD. This is truly a delightful family movie.

We would also highly recommend How to Evaluate a Suitor. Whether you have children old enough to be getting married, or you are still bringing up younger children, this will show you the important things you need to look for and pray for in a spouse for your child. This was a real tool for us as we sought to pray for a spouse for our son, before his betrothal and marriage. Not only does it help you in what to look for, but it will help you and your child know what to make sure is in place in their own life.

Don't forget... Get on over to Vision Forum and sign up for the email newsletter, so you will receive your coupon to get $25 off any purchase of $75 or more!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in our lives. If you would like to take part great. If not that is OK too. If you would like to share your blessing, just leave it in the comments. If you want to use the picture above and list a blessing on your own site, then leave a URL to your site in the comments. There is no pressure here. I just know that I am incredibly blessed and I would like to share that and give thanks to Him who all blessing come from. This is a way that we can encourage one another. I know that I am often encouraged when someone shares a blessing with me. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

Today, I am thankful for answered prayers. I serve a God who is faithful and true. I can rest and trust Him with everything in my life. I have seen a very special answer to prayer today and I am grateful to Him.

Friday, February 20, 2009

If you can't beat it....

... then join in!! In celebration of our extremely cold temperatures this week and the snow that has come every day, and the large amount of snow predicted for tomorrow, we are having a snowman pizza for dinner tonight!!! :)

Bye Bye Sheep

Tonight we are going to round up the sheep that are going to new homes. :( It is always sad to part with an animal. We use a very high tech method of sheep moving. It is called "Hug and Lug." First you have to actually catch the sheep and then hug them to yourself. The girls are probably pregnant, so we will have to be very careful. Then you lug them to the stock trailer. I am still not sure exactly how many are going away. I am praying that the Lord helps me to give up all that He wants me to.

We are having another cold snap. It was about 16 degrees this morning with wind chills around 4.

I am trying to get a wild yeast sour dough starter going. Today is day 5 and it is supposed to go until day 7. I put rye flour and water in a crock on my counter. I have left it uncovered. Each day I stir it and then add in another bit of flour and water. Rye flour does a better job of catching the wild yeasts in the air, or so I am told. I hope it works.

It seems like I have been very boring all winter. There has not been too much going on. Hopefully when Spring arrives, I will have lots to write about. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Farm Weather Update

We have had some nice days that make you think that Spring is just around the corner. Then you have mornings like today and you want to shoot that ole groundhog for seeing his shadow. :) It is currently 22 degrees with a wind chill of 6 degrees. The lows forecasted for this week are all in the low teens and the highs are in the 20's and the low 30's one day. Here is what I looked out at this morning.

Then a couple of hours later, I looked out and the sun was shining, there was blue sky and no snow at all. I did not take a picture right then, but here are a couple of pictures of right now. It is just barely spitting a bit of snow and it is a bit overcast again.

I am thinking warm thoughts. :) Are there any signs of Spring where you live?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Five New Family Conference Albums

Never Before Released — Five New Family Conference Albums

You will be the same person you are next year, except for the books you read, [the CDs you hear] and the people you meet!
—Howard Phillips’ counsel to his son.

Vision Forum is pleased to introduce you to dozens of the most interesting family visionaries and Christian cultural reformers in America today — the teachers and presenters who make up our five new conference albums. Each album touches on a critical element of the battle for Christian culture and the future of the family in America: Fatherhood; Womanhood; Culture; Aesthetics; Law, History; Theology; and . . . Read More

Complete Vision Forum Conference Collection — 50% Off (Save $122)

2009 Film Festival and Academy Collection — 30% Off (Save $34)

Individual Albums — 25% Off

Introductory Pricing Good Through February 23rd, 2009.

Spring is Coming to the Farm

Springtime is often my favorite time of year in farm living. As far as seasons go, my favorite is Autumn, but Spring on the farm is full of new life. All 3 of our cows are pregnant, or at least we hope they are... Lord willing. The sheep are all pregnant as well. They will need to be sheared soon. We keep getting some really cold snaps though. It got down to 18 degrees last night. We woke up yesterday with snow on the ground. It soon melted off, but it snowed on and off all day. There is another big snow with a Canadian Clipper that is supposed to arrive this weekend. :) Old man winter is really feeling his oats this year. However, it is still time to try and get the sheep sheared. The family who does it, always takes the weather into consideration. We took the little wether (Psalty) to the butcher. This weekend, we are taking the ram to the auction and some of the ewes will be going to new homes as well. I am not totally sure yet, just how many I am going to get rid of. I am praying and asking the Lord to help me get rid of all I need to. If it were totally up to me, I would keep them all. :)

We went out of town a couple of weekends ago. We went and looked at an area, we are thinking of moving to. One family in that area had mules. I LOVE mules. My Grandpa had mules and his boys (my Uncles) love mules. I have mule pictures on my wall. I would love to have a large set of mules one day, but I don't think that will happen, because I really don't have a need for them. So, I admire other people's mules. :)

Here are some pictures of the pair of mules I got to see.

They also had a large pair of work horses. They were very friendly too.

They were also very gentle.

We have some new items in the store. Come and check it out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in our lives. If you would like to take part great. If not that is OK too. If you would like to share your blessing, just leave it in the comments. If you want to use the picture above and list a blessing on your own site, then leave a URL to your site in the comments. There is no pressure here. I just know that I am incredibly blessed and I would like to share that and give thanks to Him who all blessing come from. This is a way that we can encourage one another. I know that I am often encouraged when someone shares a blessing with me. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

Today, I am so thankful that God is sovereign. That even though the economy is bad, and our representation in Washington DC has forgotten what they are supposed to be doing (representing and serving the people) and things look dark, God has allowed it. They can do NOTHING without His permission. I only have to keep my focus on Him and rest in Him. There is no need to fear. Thank you Lord!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Red Envelope Campaign

I got a heads up about this from Kim.

Here is a link to the Red Envelope Campaign.

The idea is simple. Bombard the White House with red envelopes to remind President Obama that the majority of Americans do not support his abortion policy.

You can participate easily, as often as you want. Just send an empty red envelope to the address below. Don't have a red envelope? Make one out of construction paper. Or make 50. Or use the link below to buy them from Amazon. Address them to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Seal it and write the following message on the back:

This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was not allowed to offer anything to the world.

Life begins with conception.

Stamp it, mail it, and invite others to do the same.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Signs of Spring

We got a couple of days in the 60's. YEAH!!! Then the storm came through here. I woke up at 3AM and the power was off. It finally came back on about 6:30PM. YEAH!!!!!

With just that little bit of warm weather, the daffodils are all starting to push their way up through the soil.

The iris's are up enough to make you think they were coming up through the frozen ground.

The sheep are finding morsels to eat. We moved their fence a little bit more to give them some green. They saw that we were going to move the fence and the parade started.

Our pond is very full from all the snow melt and rain we got. It still has quite a little stream emptying into it. It will probably overflow.

Tonight's low is going to be in the mid 20's. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 40's. Then on Saturday they are predicting more snow. :) But Spring is coming. I can feel it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Gruesome Discovery

We went away this past weekend and while we were gone, most of the snow melted. While out in the yard, I made a gruesome discovery. The following pictures are not for the squeamish. I found the remains of not one, but two snowmen. Oh, it was awful. I shuddered at the sight. It almost made me sick at my stomach. Remember, only look at the following pictures at your own risk.

Here is what is left of the large snowman. Pitiful isn't it? At least he was not torn apart by dogs like past snowman have been.

Here is all that is left of the little guy. One stick and his hat. What a sad, sad sight. Just like in past winters, the size of the snowman doesn't prevent it's death.
They did their job when they were here. They were very valiant snowmen and we bid them farewell!!!

I had to go out on Monday to take some things to the post office. It was weird how the snow was melted in some places and not in others. This is my neighbor yard belongs to my neighbor who lives 2 doors down. They have lots of trees, but with no leaves, you wouldn't think it would make that much difference.

Here is a view coming back down the street toward home. You can see the above yard on the right side of this picture.

Here is the view to our barn and back pastures.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Must Read and A Must See

If you have questions and been wondering about our economy and where it is going, I would highly recommend you looking at this blog post and watch the 2 videos. This is something that every American needs to see and hear.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Great New Film

This is a movie offered by Franklin Springs Family Media. They are going to be supplying us with another DVD to give away so stay tuned for details. :)

This is a great article from the Charlottesville Daily Progress

Keeping the show on the road
Published: February 8, 2009

Four years ago a young Illinois couple put their faith in God, loaded their two children into a recreational vehicle and headed out onto the open road.

Opting for the vagabond lifestyle was Nathan Clark George’s way of pursuing a budding musical career without sacrificing family life. There are now five children, another is expected in June, and George and his wife, Patsy, are still motoring right along.

“I was working as a recording engineer, pushing buttons for other bands,” George said recently during a stop in Charlottesville, where he performed at Jefferson Park Baptist Church. “I was playing music on the side and starting to get invitations from out of state.

“I very quickly realized I didn’t want to travel away from my family constantly, and I really didn’t like road food. So the motor home made sense.

“I don’t know if it makes complete sense, but it made sense for us, and it has been an adventure. When it came time to actually do it, it was exciting for both of us, and Patsy has been very supportive from the beginning.”

George’s music, as well as his family’s lifestyle, is the subject of a recently released DVD from Franklin Springs Family Media. The 90-minute documentary, “Pull Up a Chair,” features a 30-minute segment of five days in the family’s life as they travel from Colorado to Kansas, followed by an hour of George performing in concert.

The film presents both the joys and disadvantages of life on the road. If the documentary had been made during the family’s first year of travel, there wouldn’t have been nearly as much joy.

“The first half of the first year was a complete disaster,” said George, who writes and sings inspirational, folk-style songs that work equally well in churches or coffeehouses. “I was only getting enough gigs to allow us to eat and that was it.

“There was a moment in south Florida when we literally had only $100 in our pockets, and we didn’t know how we were going to get home. I thought, ‘What have I done? What am I doing?’

“But then at our next concert in a church on Marco Island people poured in and showered us with encouragement. Sales of my CDs were huge and Patsy and I looked at each other as though to say, ‘Wow, why were we doubting?’ It was an immediate turnaround.”

Albemarle County resident Steve Morales served as co-executive producer of the documentary. Before joining Franklin Springs last April, he had served as director of Darden Solutions, a software group within the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

When Morales joined the company he was tasked with starting an investment fund that would bankroll family-oriented films designed to encourage and inspire people. “Pull Up a Chair” is the latest edition to a catalog of 17 DVDs covering subjects from bread making to how to reunite a busy family at mealtime.

“The goal of Franklin Springs is to create a catalog of films that help individuals and families cast a vision of how they are going to live their lives,” Morales said. “Encouraging people to be real with one another and to care for one another is an important part of our message and films.

“When we were putting the investment fund together, we were looking for an artist to feature. I met Nathan at an outdoor church concert in Centerville. I was with Ken Carpenter, the founder and director of Franklin Springs. We both loved Nathan’s music and his story, and decided to do the documentary.”

Before taking to the road, George had fixed his career sights on being a minister. But after graduating from Sangre De Cristo Seminary near Pueblo, Colo., he had a change of heart.

“The seminary was the first school I actually enjoyed, because it felt meaningful,” said the 37-year-old singer/songwriter. “But I ultimately decided not to be ordained, which precludes you from being a pastor.

“The ordination vows are very specific, and I knew my mind and heart were split between being a pastor and playing music. Music was a part of our home growing up, and I started playing electric bass when I was in high school.

“Shortly after picking up the bass, one of my friend’s dad gave me a broken 12-string guitar, and that sent me on a whole new path. I found out about the folk world and artists like James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkel, and I realized that was what I wanted to do.”

George’s music is something of a hybrid, incorporating the upbeat rhythms and story-telling elements common to folk music with the type of spiritual messages heard in contemporary Christian music. One of the things he most enjoys is putting music to the Psalms.

“I love the Psalms, and I like to think I’m in that long line of people who have put Psalms to music,” George said. “I like doing that and letting people experience the sorrow and the joy of the psalms.

“As much as I enjoy it, I approach working with the Psalms with some fear and trepidation. Because I think they’re perhaps the most important literature we have, I need to treat it with respect.

“I try to reflect the passages honestly. I’m just a folk musician, but I give it my best to treat it with respect.”

There have been times when George was hard pressed to lift his voice up in spiritual praise. When asked about road disasters, nothing tops a smelly incident that occurred in Colorado.

“I was getting ready for a gig, and because we were going to be sitting at a church for a day I needed to empty our [septic] tank,” George said. “I went to an RV place where you can do that for $5.

“I hooked up and pulled the lever, but somebody before me had put a diaper or something in the line and clogged it up. The result was that the sewage went everywhere.

“By the time I managed to shut it down, I was a mess. Of course, I was scheduled to play shortly, so I had just enough time to change clothes and hose myself off. My opening song at the time was Psalm 111, which opens with the line, ‘Praise ye the Lord.’ Little did I feel like that.”

Morales said nearly everyone he has talked to who have seen the new DVD about the George family has said he or she would love to do something similar. George said there are many rewards, but just being on the road with a family presents a lot of logistical challenges.

“Taking care of tanks, propane and the things that make the motor home run are daily tasks for me,” said George, who currently drives a 2000 Coachman Mirada, with a van in tow. “It was a huge transition for me to go from having a quiet studio to work in to not even having an office.

“And laundry. Good grief. The laundry is unbelievable. We have to take a day every week to find a Laundromat and do the laundry.

“Just finding a Laundromat, getting the laundry done and putting it away takes a whole day. And when the gas prices were so high, that really hurt. The motor home has a 75-gallon tank, so if it’s near empty that’s a pretty good investment.”

George said the most he has spent on fuel at one time was nearly $300. Nonetheless, the family plans to stay on the road for at least one more year.

George said he doesn’t feel what he is doing is a calling, per se. He believes it’s simply what God wants him to be doing right now.

In the not-too-distant future the father of five said he can see himself blessing his wife with a regular home instead of a 300-square-foot version on wheels.

But for now, new bookings are coming in at a steady pace, audiences are enjoying the music and the George family is still having fun on the road.

“My goal in all this is really quite simple,” George said. “I want to encourage folks to come in contact with the scriptures.

“Certainly, I want people to come in contact with Christ, but I’m not an evangelist. To be honest, the whole aspect of faith for me comes with hindsight. When I look back I realize how much I can trust that God is going to take care of us.

“Sometimes I worry, that’s just who I am. But I do trust that God is in control, so I take the next step to the next gig, and we trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to.

“That does set us at ease, because we know we will be taken care of no matter what.”

The DVD “Pull Up a Chair” can be purchased at Franklin Springs Family Media.

Remember to use a link from this post or the link on the side bar, so that I get credit. :)

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in our lives. If you would like to take part great. If not that is OK too. If you would like to share your blessing, just leave it in the comments. If you want to use the picture above and list a blessing on your own site, then leave a URL to your site in the comments. There is no pressure here. I just know that I am incredibly blessed and I would like to share that and give thanks to Him who all blessing come from. This is a way that we can encourage one another. I know that I am often encouraged when someone shares a blessing with me. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

Today, I am VERY thankful and counting as a blessing the fact that Michael and I were able to get away this past weekend together. We went down where there was some warmer weather. We stopped at a friend's house and got to see their place and then we went down and met other friends and made some new ones!!! I am also very thankful that Joshua and Brittany stayed here and took care of the animals and house. I am truly blessed.

It felt so good to go without a sweater for a couple of days. Now, I am TRULY ready for Spring.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Livestock Decisions

We have had 2 years of drought in a row. Hay has not been good, nor plentiful. We are downsizing our sheep flock. Below is the ram we used this year. His name is Daniel. He is a very sweet boy and has lovely horns. He is for sale. If he does not sell in the next 2 weeks, he is going to the auction. :(

This is a little ram lamb. He is still a little guy in this picture. He is now about a year old and has been wethered... that means fixed or broken as we call it. :) He will be going to the butchers this weekend.

I need to call and make an appointment to get the sheep sheared. With the really cold temperatures we have been having, I would really like to hold off. It was -5 this morning without the wind chill. Here is a picture of the sheep before they are sheared.... Aren't they fluffy?

Here they are after they are sheared. They look like little lambs again.

Culling livestock is not my favorite part of farming. I am also going to be getting rid of some of my ewes. It is killing me to do this, but it has to be done. Now to start choosing. :(

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Babies, Blessings or Burdens?

Summary: As the world faces a potential demographic winter of underpopulation, political leaders move to clamp down on babies, and liberal social commentators use the language of hatred and fear-mongering to further anti-family campaigns aimed at proponents of fruitful families, many Christians remain undecided as to whether or not babies are a blessing or burden in troubled times. This post from Vision Forum explains the controversy. It also points you to resources that will help you to better communicate to neighbors, relatives, and friends the practicality and blessing of children in tough economic times.

After more than fifteen hundred years, Japanese culture is on the verge of extinction. There are not enough children. And similar fates may be in store for France, Italy, and elsewhere. These nations and others are on the brink of a demographic implosion with far-reaching economic implications — and they know it! There are simply not enough babies being born to maintain their economies.

But they are not alone. In the United States, the birthrate has been experiencing a dramatic and steady twelve-year decline. Despite this fact, last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defended her proposal that an important ingredient of the nation’s $825 billion “economic stimulus package” would include a taxpayer-subsidized effort to prevent the birth of more children. Why? She argues that children are bad for the economy.

Three Key Issues Addressed

Are babies a blessing or a burden? This is a simple question, but one fraught with tremendous controversy and significant implications for nations and families.

There are really three issues on the table: First, the demographic implications of having babies; second, the practical issues concerning babies and the family during a recessionary economy (or at any time); and third — and most importantly — the scriptural foundations for a Christian worldview of the womb.

What May Happen to America and Other Nations Because of the Dramatic Decrease in Childbirth?

This first issue goes right to the heart of the present culture war: Will we be a self-indulgent nation with little regard for the sanctity of life, or will we recognize the God-ordained blessing of the biblical institution of the family with its emphasis on fruitfulness and the blessing of children?

As a nation, we have chosen the former. Now the question is this: What are the practical implications of our selfishness and disobedience? What happens to a country when the Malthusian dream is realized, and women have fewer and fewer babies?

The ultimate result is a culture-eradicating phenomenon and economic catastrophe called “Demographic Winter” — where the selfishness of a generation of families who refused God’s gift of children leads to a national birthrate that is insufficient to replace its aging population. Don Feder put it this way:

Demographic Winter is the terminal stage in the suicide of the West — the culmination of a century of evil ideas and poisonous policies.
Here is how one demographer described the imminent catastrophe that will result from declining birthrates:

The ongoing global decline in human birthrates is the single most powerful force affecting the fate of nations and the future of society in the twenty-first century. —Phillip Longman, The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity.

This perspective may be a shocker for those raised during the libertine ‘60s and ‘70s with the message of the Pill and population control, or for those spoon-fed on a diet of Green theology in the ‘90s. It is not comfortable to radical feminists who have made the “right” of a mother to destroy her own child the highest virtue a society can embrace.

But the facts are inescapable.

And this is the subject of the documentary, Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family, one of the most important and groundbreaking films of the last year, maybe of the last decade. This is the first significant film to explore the most overlooked crisis of our generation: the rapid worldwide decline in birthrates.

The data presented is chilling. Columnist Don Feder summarizes the important issues raised by the film (i.e., how “demographic winter” will impact many areas of our lives):

What will happen in the First World as fewer and fewer workers are called on to provide pensions for more and more retirees? At what point will the burden become so onerous that young workers will simply rebel and refuse to support a system that they couldn’t possibly hope to benefit from?

How will Russia, which is expected to lose a third of its population by mid-point of this century, defend its borders? If Russia, which occupies the largest territory of any nation, dissolves into enclaves of squabbling ethnic groups, it will destabilize both Europe and Asia.

Due to falling birthrates, at some point in the century, the world’s population will begin to decline. Then the decline will become rapid. We could even reach population free-fall.

Throughout the course of history, there is no instance of economic growth accompanied by population decline. How can an industrial society be maintained with fewer and fewer workers and consumers?

This film does not pretend to be a Christian film with a biblical analysis, but it is so full of carefully-researched data that is indispensable to this critical culture battle that Christian parents around the nation need to own it, and watch it, and then watch it again.

What Does Managing a Large Household Look Like in the Real World? Can I Really Afford Children?

The second major issue pertains to practicality: Assuming that children really are a blessing and the fruitful womb “is His reward” (Psalm 127:3), how does that concept work in the real world where economic resources are scarce and time is at a premium?

Sometimes people pose the question this way: “I can barely manage and afford a family with one child. How could I possibly handle three or four, let alone (gasp!) seven?”

But there is another question that needs to be asked: Are there practical, economic, and spiritual blessings for the family that flow from an economy of scale?

I believe there are. And these are precisely the types of blessings and benefits that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have modeled for all of us in their beautiful new book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting: Raising One of America’s Largest Families — How they do it.

From a practical perspective, this book offers definitive answers. And it is absolutely delightful, transparent, hands on, and full of humor. After reading it, you will walk away loving your own family more and will gain great ideas for household management. My wife gobbled it up:

This is a totally delightful book, easy to follow, and full of personal stories about their life as well as practical, tangible information about THEIR family which can be easily adapted into MY family, or anyone else’s. It is honest, humorous, humble, and completely in earnest. . . . You will read about their life story, from Michelle and Jim Bob’s childhood up to right now, their many businesses, their solution to laundry, education, music, and even food preparation.

There is a reason why this family has captured the imagination of America through their top-ranked television show, 17 Kids and Counting. They are communicating a Christ-exalting vision of home. And they are the real deal! A family that loves their children — all eighteen of them. There is so much negativism in the world, but the Duggars are using their life as a large family to show the beauty and practicality of the Christian household to a generation where many children never even experience the blessing of sitting down with their whole family for dinner.

What Does the Bible Say about the Blessing of Fruitfulness?
Does this Apply Today?

The final issue is the most important one: What does the Bible say about having babies?

For Christians, the Bible is our standard for faith and practice. Everything necessary on the subject of having babies is found in God’s Holy Word. It is both the starting place and the “final court of appeal” for prayerful Christians who desire to make wise decisions regarding the womb.

Related issues include: Why are children a blessing? What does it mean to be fruitful? How does the Bible specifically link low birthrates to national judgment? Does the Bible promote, condone, or encourage baby banning? Is it a good idea to have babies in times of economic hardship?

These questions and others are answered in our CD, Children and the Dominion Mandate, and the book Be Fruitful and Multiply, both of which are included in this week’s special offer. If you have ever found yourself wondering how to respond to such questions, or if you have friends or relatives that disapprove of the number of children in your family, these indispensable tools will help you to use Scripture to reason through the many complex issues which are on the table.

Save 30% on Our New Collection: The Blessing of Children