What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flying By

I saw a bald eagle the other day, perched on a limb within the blazing fire of a soft maple.  There it sat, so large and stately- a bit of white separated by two feet of black.  I tried to sneak up on it and wasn't the least bit surprised when it didn't let me get halfway across the field before soaring majestically away.  Even still, you can't help but stand a little bit taller and smile a little bit broader after having seen one of these beauties.

Unlike the photo further up in the post of a sky filled with turkey vultures circling our house.  That is a far less majestic experience.

My heart is heavy today- reading this...about this.

It hurts to know that there are women aching with the knowledge of what they are about to do and babies dying and women pining to just be able to HAVE that baby, hold that baby, love that baby- all of these realities happening at the very same time in this very same world, maybe even in the very same towns-but without being able to connect together and work together for good.  It hurts to hear the compliments women give to women who are considering terminating a life.  Brave?  Healthy?  Beautiful?  It pains me to see the agendas and the lies and the justifications and the abhoring of life that is so prevalent in peoples' minds.  Oh- this world that we live in.  It can be so beautiful and it can be so foul.

I've tried to connect with scaredthrowingaway.   I've pleaded with her, begged her to let me have her baby instead of taking the life from her baby- oh what joy that would be!- but the moderators on the site delete all the pro-life comments and she likely won't see mine either.  I don't know her but I know there are women out there who are just like her....wishing it didn't have to happen but not thinking there is any other way.  I also know that I am here- arms empty and heart open and longing to change the fate of these precious children...ready to give them a life filled with love and beauty and to protect them from the foul.

If only our aching souls could unite to do something good for the world, her and I.

Review: Apologia iWitness Series

Well, they've done it again!  Apologia Educational Ministries is a leading producer of top-notch science curriculum for all ages and abilities, they have a wonderful Biblical worldview curriculum for young students, they have just recently releaed a book to help homeschooling moms Flourish and now... three new and exciting books for older students to learn about apologetics!  What a topnotch company.  I was given the chance to review all three of them~ iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness.

The day we got the package, Corynn ripped right into them and disappeared.  Throughout the evening she would bring them to me saying "Look at this!" and "Listen to THIS!"

Apologetics comes from the greek word Apologia which means- an apology.  But not an apology in the modern sense of the word- feeling bad or remorseful about something- rather, in ancient times it referred to a DEFENSE of something or someone. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply.  Christian apologetics, then, is about building the case for our faith...learning how to explain and defend it to others and grasp it more completely ourselves.  Apologetics is SO important for every Christian, but is often presented in such a way that it is so heady and stuffy and intimidating that one feels barely capable of or interested in pursuing it.  Not so with these books- these three resources have made even the most intimidating of topics to be interesting, enlightening, and ACCESSIBLE even to young students.

Each book is presented in an interactive format- with layers of photographs, scrolls, paintings and tags of text on two page spreads giving the reader the sense that they are sitting at a desk, resources scattered in front of them, seeking the truth wherever it is to be found.  Each is a 6" x 9" paperback book and geared for readers age 11 and up.  Each book is $14.00.

Old Testament iWitness:  Who wrote the books of the Old Testament?  Are they accurate history or myth?  What is the differences between the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament?  Why are the Jewish books ordered differently than ours?  What about the apocrypha?  All these questions are addressed in Old Testament iWitness, probably the most informative of the three books.

New Testament iWitness: Why are the books of the New Testament the ones that they are and why did some books not make the cut?  Who made those decisions and why? How do we know that the books have been passed down accurately and that they are inspired?  Is the New Testament as important as the Old Testament and why?  This book answers all these questions and more- talks about the rejected books, the Apostolic Age, the early church fathers and much information about the copying of the text throughout history~the methods of copying, the numbers of copies made, the differences in copies and textual criticism.

 iWitness Biblical Archaeology was Corynn's favorite of the three.  This book explores the many artifacts and discoveries throughout history that align and confirm the story of scripture.  It introduces to you archeological discoveries regarding the flood, Egyptian chronology, the Exodus, the siege of Jerusalem, the dead sea scrolls, Peter's house, and even addresses the shroud of Jesus.  These discoveries make scripture and history come alive.

Though I did find I disagreed with the author on how he presented two particular things, mostly I was entirely impressed with these books-and I learned quite a bit myself!  I found these books to be incredibly worthwhile in providing apologetics in a captivating and accessible way.

If you are interested, you can read more reviews here.

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Bridal Shawl (yarn along)

I finished the bridal shawl mid-summer, but who wants to wear a shawl in 80+ degree weather?  So I tucked it away until the cooler weather arrived.  And here it is!

I made it enormously long ( about 6 feet or so probably!) which wasn't really necessary but it isn't overwhelmingly so.  I like it.

For now, I am working on the calm cowl out of a creamy soft yarn (using the leftover balls I had left from the lamb hat).  It's an easy, quick and mindless pattern so it is good for working on pretty much anytime- no concentration needed.

As for books~ I have been on a Teddy Roosevelt kick for a while now and have most recently been enjoying Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Theodore Roosevelt by George Grant. What a great man that Teddy was.  I have a pile of T.R.'s books from the library waiting for their turn after I am through with this- Rough Riders, Strenuous Life , and Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail .

And for my cleaning/kitchen chores- I am listening to the audiobook of Peter Schiff's book called The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country.  It keeps my brain busy when my eyes (and hands) are occupied.  ;-)

Monday, October 13, 2014

In Between Days


.... a few moments from all of our wanderings recently...
Andrew wasn't with me for one trip so I took pictures of cows for him, thus the abundance of bovine beauties above.

When Matt and I went out of town for the weekend we had to figure out who would milk our cow while we were away.  Matt walked her to a farm over the hill to be included in his herd while we were gone.  It was quite a walk!  And when Penny came back, Skeeter came running and kicking up in joy to have his friend back home where she belongs.  It was sweet.

.Last week was bookended with me taking two weekend road trips...one with my girls and I tagging along with my Mom and her children for an overnight and the other for an overnight and visit with some good friends at their harvest party.  Almost 20 hours in the car between the two trips.  In the in between days, there was enough time only to get some cheese made, laundry washed, school done, dehydrate some apple chips for (more) road snacks and get a few things canned before repacking the suitcase.  It was fun, oh, it was fun.

The day before the first trip I spent an hour or so scouring the garden for any ripe/almost ripe/green tomatoes in good condition for one last tomato haul. I never expected it to frost- I simply told myself, after this last haul, I would declare myself "officially done" with tomatoes, no matter what. Unfortunately for me, the one night I was away, the frost came and decimated all the tender crops- the worst of which being my whole cutting garden full of beautiful cosmos and zinnias and all my basil.   I can't help but lament wasting time on TOMATOES that night when there were zinnias and basil at stake.  WHY was I picking tomatoes when I could have been picking basil and flowers?!?  I will miss the constant blooms in every room of the house- one of the dreariest parts of winter.  

Despite the flower/basil disappointments, I am thankful that the garden is beginning to wind down for the year.  There is still plenty in the garden to grab.  I have not yet harvested the potatoes, there are plenty of beets to take care of, lots of kale, swiss chard and collards.  Even some broccoli still chugging along.  And a beautiful selection of eggplants to admire...which I know not what to do with.  What does one do with eggplant (besides eggplant parmesan)?  That was an experimental crop this year and one I did only because I have always admired the loveliness of their appearance.  I suppose I should have thought ahead on that one... 

There is the clearing of garden beds and layers of mulch to add (ah- one detriment to a no-till garden is that you must work at the END of the season on the beds as well as in the beginning of the season.)  But I am thankful to feel a winding down and a certain slowing to what needs to be done.  And I am looking forward to doing those things that have needed to be set aside throughout the summer.

I've been wearing socks again.  And drinking steamy vanilla chai tea with a spot (or two) of real, heavy cream every morning.  We've been eating dinner in the dark and waking up to the dark and feeling as if we may freeze when we hop into our cold, cotton sheets every night.  (Mental note: switch to flannel sheets before bed tonight!)  I have been itching to write letters again and believe it won't be long before I have the moments needed to scratch that itch.

Matt brought in our first load of wood into the basement but we haven't yet lit it up.  I don't know how long we will last- it is a bit of a goal each year for Matt to put it off- but we have no other form of heat source other than the woodstove, so it gets cold.  Really, I would just absolutely adore a fireplace in the living room. Or small pellet stove.  Or fireplace gas insert for that matter.  So that on these chilly in between days, when we have not yet started to warm up the basement with our woodstove heat but there is just the right amount of cold in the air to get chilled- we could have a little place to go to shake off the chill and get cozy.  We'd sit there, curled up on the floor and soak up the warmth...oh, I can almost feel it.   It's a pipe dream, I know, but I dream it anyway.