Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Blindfold

For the Indian boy to receive the rite of passage into manhood, his father leads him into the middle of a forest, where he is blindfolded, and expected to spend the night alone, sitting on a stump, not removing his blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shines in the sky. He must sit still and not cry out for help.  Once he survives the night, he is a MAN, but he may not tell the other boys of this experience, because each of them must come into manhood in the same manner.

The boy is terrified! He hears the rustling of the leaves, the snapping of twigs, the murmur of the wind in the grass.  He wonders if a wild animal is about to attack him, or if he will be kidnapped by another tribe.  Terrified!!  "oh, if only I wouldn't be all alone"" if only I could remove this blindfold so I could see what is around me" But, quietly he sits, holding his fear within knowing that manhood comes with the morning light.

Alas, the sun appears and he eagerly removes the blindfold.  It is then that he discovers his father leaning against a tree close by, standing guard with his bow and arrow.  He had been there the whole night watching over his son and keeping him from any danger that may threaten him in the forest.  The son experienced such joy at seeing his father's face and feeling his presence.  How satisfied he felt of his accomplishment, for now he was fit to be a man.  A man just like his father.

How often do you and I feel like we are the ones blindfolded, sitting on a stump waiting for the sun to shine some light into the darkness?  How often have we felt alone and were afraid of the "noises" that rustled round about us and threaten to rob our calm?  How long the night can seem!  

My tears flowed when I heard this legend, for there is such beauty in it.  We are led into the "forest" at different times in our lives, where we do feel alone and frightened and have no sense of direction.  Maybe it is the stump of financial difficulties, or health issues.  Maybe you are sitting on the stump of marriage decay, wayward children, job dismissal.  There are many stumps!   In those times, we cry out, "Where is my Father?  Why was I led here?  Does He not care that I am terrified and unsure if I will survive the night?  Does He not want to protect me from the threatening "noises" that surround me?  When is the sun going to rise and spread it's warmth over this blindfold so it can be removed?"  We have a hard time sitting still on that stump, keeping our hands still to not lift that blindfold just enough for us to peek under.  We fidget to try to get comfortable.  It is not a place we really want to be, but we are.  And while there, we can be reassured with knowledge that the Indian boy did not have, and that is our Heavenly Father IS standing guard watching over us and protecting us while we are enduring the rite of passage into deeper faith, deeper trust, deeper love for the "Light".   

There once was another son who willingly endured the darkest night there ever was.  He did not wear a blindfold, but a crown of thorns.  He was beaten, mocked, spit upon and then hung on a cross where His Father turned away and allowed his son to endure it alone.  Oh, how Jesus did not want to face that night!  He knew he would be separated from his father and the sins of all people would be put on His shoulders to bare.  But, He willingly excepted this night - not to obtain a rite of passage for himself, but to provide a rite of passage for you and me.  The rite to the heart of our Heavenly Father is now open to each of us to become His sons and daughters - the rite to become just like our Father! 

 If that isn't love......

Until next time........



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Only 364 more days........

and he will no longer be a teen!  His birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated on Sunday with cake, ice-cream, and volleyball with friends and family.   Happy 19th birthday, Solomon.  Thanks for being an insightful, responsible man! We love you!

Until next time...........

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Home-Made Bread and Stevia

A friend of mine recently requested the home-made bread recipe that I used to make weekly before embracing more of a low wheat menu for the family.  It is so easy and versatile that I thought maybe others would enjoy it as well. 
 French Bread
5 C. warm water
1 1/2 T salt
1/4 C instant yeast
1/4 C sugar, or honey
1/4 C olive oil or lard
Combine all of the above and let set til yeast gets bubbly, then slowly add enough flour (approx. 14 C?) until a soft, smooth dough turns out.  It can then be molded into 4 bread pans, or onto cookie sheets in a french style way.  Make diagonal slits across loaves, brush with egg whites and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.  If you are using wheat flour, you may want to allow some time for raising, but not necessary if using all white flour.  Bake at 400 at 20 min. or until done.

A more healthy alternative to white flour is using fresh ground whole wheat.  I have a K-Tec mill that I purchased at Mast's Bulk Foods near Myerstown.  I know Ruth would be happy to sell you one, too! :-)

I combine everything in my bosch mixer using bread hooks.

Well worth the time.....try different flours, sweetners, and oils and find the combo that you like best...

Last year at our home-school co-op, the students from the money management class each had to be an entrepreneur, make their products and market it to the rest of the families.  One young fella started plants and made neat little signs to go with them.  He had a stevia plant and I excitedly purchased it.  I brought it home and planted it in one of my tubs and it did wonderfully!  I had taken pictures of the beginning stages, but can't find them anywhere on this computer. :-(  Anyway, the plant grew all summer, got so big that I had put a tomato cage around it to hold it up. I cut the stems, brought them in, hung them up to dry... 

stripped all the dried leaves off and ground them in a coffee grinder

Still debating on making the powder into a liquid.  In the meantime, I use a small amount in tea.  Definately not as sweet as the liquid where a drop sweetens a cup of tea.  This was a fun experiment - one that I will repeat in the future.

Until next time.........


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Worms, Worms, Worms

When a word is said enough times, it begins to not sound like a word at all, or it seems like a foreign language.  Worm is one of those words.   How did Adam think up that name?   He didn't have a dictionary and he never had a vocabulary class!  Come to think about it, why did he call a cow a cow, or giraffe a giraffe and so on?  Amazing! 
Anyway, worms are small, amazing creatures and following is an agricultural lesson.  Enjoy!

A few months ago, we purchased some red wriggler worms on the Internet and they (250 of them) arrived in this bag.....

Red wrigglers are not considered fishing bait, but they are used for composting.  My goal is to have them multiply, sell some to other folks, sell the worm castings (their manure), and possibly make a "tea" from the castings and sell it for fertilizer.  This whole process will take awhile, but it is a fun goal.  This is how we are "raising" them..... 

We put clean, good soil in a Rubbermaid container with strips of black & white print newspaper and made the soil damp, not muddy. 

We tilted the bag of worms, which arrived in sawdust, and dumped them on top of the damp soil.  We didn't mess much with them, except spread them around just slightly.  We then covered the container with an old towel and searched for a dark place to keep them.  Their home couldn't be too hot nor too cold, so they ended up in our living room under one of the chairs. How hick-ish is that?   Raising worms in the living room!  I was really hoping that they didn't develop an odor.

We discovered that their favorite menu is pieces of apple core (not peelings), & cooked sweet potatoes.  Feeding them meat, citrus, and food that may rot and draw in rodents is not recommended.  We would just lay the food on top of the soil (food can be mixed in with soil, also),  cover with towel and push container back under the chair for a few days.  There is no odor and it is so interesting and fun to pull it out, quickly uncover and watch the worms dive underground for safety and darkness! 

Worms are God-created farmers.  They burrow through the soil, making tunnels that allow air and water to more easily penetrate the soil.  This also creates soft soil and soft soil provides an excellent bed for seeds.  The worm's manure, called castings, fertilize the soil with the perfect balance of nutrients.  Worms do not like light, but prefer dark.  That is why fishermen hunt for worms at night, hence "night crawlers".  They will come to the surface of the earth and pull their food down into the soil, which creates a composting effect.  They do not have eyes or ears, but only a mouth and it's whole body can taste and feel.  They have bristles, or setae, which they use to help move along and to hang onto the soil, especially if a bird is trying to pull them from the ground.  They can hang on so well, that the bird will sometimes tear them in half.  Now the part of the worm that contains the head will grow again, but the tail end will die, of course.  When the worm grows after being torn apart, the new growth will be a lighter color.  If you look closely at a worm you will see a section that is thicker than the rest.  That is called a saddle and it secretes a slim to help them stay moist and it also protects the eggs.  A worm creates a cocoon to lay her 20 eggs in, but only one will survive.  Conventional farming is not friendly to worms.  Pesticides and other chemicals used by farmers kill them and when fertilizer is spread on fields it suffocates them.  If you have lots of worms in the soil, there would be no need to use fertilizers  If a comparison is made between organic soil and pesticide/or other chemical sprayed soil, there is a very noticeable difference.  So much more can be said about the seemingly lowly worm, but maybe you would like to do your own research.  The library has some very interesting books and easy for children to understand.  This lesson was taught to my 1st & 2nd grade ag science class at our homeschool co-op and hopefully now you will look at worms in a whole new light, too.  Our family has a new appreciation for those crawly creatures and now when it rains and they cover the road, we feel sad driving over them.  God has created them for a wonderful purpose and they are a huge benefit to the farmers!  They are small, but mighty!

Until next time................

Thursday, October 4, 2012

3 Yrs. Old and 26 Years Ago

 As of yesterday, Oakley is now 3 yrs. old - going on 6. :-)  She is a pretty little lady who knows her colors, is learning to draw and adores Shaun the Sheep.  She really wanted a snazzy red sportscar for her birthday, but instead received a bike, which she seemed quite pleased with anyway.  Happy 3rd birthday, Oakley, we love you bunches!
Her mommy did a great job on Shaun the Sheep cake, who by the looks of Oakley's candle placement, took up smoking......

Today, 26 years ago, my bestie & I said "I do" and we "did" ever since.  He truly is the best thing that ever happened to me, .  We have experienced some rough sessions during our marriage boot camp, and I am positive we will have more, for we still seem to be human no matter how hard we try not to be.  Heehee!  But, sticking together is not one of the multiple choice options in our marriage - it the only correct answer!  And so very worth it!

Would repeat is all over again - except we would have a smaller wedding next time..........

 It is obvious that we have gained, and lost, some things! Wonder how that happened!  Sneeky, for sure! 

Until next time.........

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are You Voting?

Yes?  No?  Maybe?
In the church that I was brought up in, members did not vote for government officials nor serve in any gov't positions.  If that stand is your very own personal conviction, than take that stand, but do not force it on other people.  It is not a church issue.  It is also not a sin to vote and that thought became exceptionally very clear to us after we watched "The Truth Project" years ago.  Dr. Tackett explains the different God ordained "social spheres".  They include: the Trinity, God & Man, family, church, community, labor and the state.  (Check it out Here) Scriptures speak about each of these spheres, the responsibility and authority that is within each one.  We have injected each one with our own "convictions" and have put on our muddy boots and tracked dirt that belonged in the state sphere into the family spheres.  We took the smear from the church sphere and made tracks into the family sphere.   Presently we have federal gov't with it's filthy feet in all spheres, we have the state over-riding the authority of the fathers, the elders of the church have become dictators into the family sphere and so on.  This is not what God had so beautifully intended.   He created each sphere, works in each one and they are not to be muddled together. 

Conservative Christians have readily excepted the responsibilities in some of the spheres, but will stumble over the church and state spheres.  Husbands and fathers will be the head of their homes, will decide which occupation he will labor at and determine where the family will live.  However, they will permit the church to dictate what their family will wear, what color vehicle their family will drive, what places they can visit and sometimes where their children attend school.  They allow the church to inappropriately step into their family territory. In the church sphere, the state has now tiptoed into the sanctuary and is sitting in the pews - out of place.  God has ordained elders who are to act as shepherds, not dictators, to lead their flocks.  They also are required to stay in their sphere and not cross over into the God & man or the labor spheres.  If God has ordained each sphere and is present in each one, why do some folks believe that we should avoid the "state"?   If God has ordained the state, he has also created some people to serve in it.  If Christians are allowed to live in the "God & Man", "family", "church", "community" and "labor" spheres, and serve in them, why is the state taboo?  If you are not permitted to vote for the leaders of this country, and expect "others" to vote for them, prayer is all you will do, then why is voting for your church leaders excepted?  Why not let "others" vote them in, or wait until prayer puts in who God wants in ? (I totally believe that prayer is the first thing we must do in any voting, however, the shoe leather needs to hit the road sometime.)

God may not have called you to run for the Senate nor township superviser, but He cares tremendously who is in those positions.  He also cares that we care.  Depending on the person voted into those positions, along with many other gov't leadership positions, it will effect our freedoms to worship, labor and lead our families according to how God meant it to be in that sphere. We are responsible to elect in those positions people who will honor God and lead the people according to God's principles.  We practice that in a our church sphere, don't we?  We need to fall on our knees and ask God to restore this country, raise up men who will be leaders that glorify Him and continue to allow the freedoms we enjoy each day.   Let us remove our muddy boots, lace up those clean, work boots and march into the workforce that lies ahead of us.   It is our responsibility!  Especially in the fast approaching presidential election.  It's critical!  This is the last week that you can register if you intend to vote in November.

 Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote

I cannot explain this topic as deeply as Dave can, but he didn't have time to write.  He has spent much time studying the ideas of voting vs. not voting, being involved in gov't vs. not, and non-resistance.  He would be happy to discuss what we have learned.  You may have to make an appointment with him, however. :-)

Blessings to you, as you seek to serve HIM in each sphere of your life.

Until next time........