Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Texans Boot Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has been shut down in the Texas panhandle.

American Life League's (ALL) Stop Planned Parenthood, or Stopp International, says it took a long time, but their campaign against Planned Parenthood finally got some results. "For 12 years in the Texas panhandle, there has been a fight against Planned Parenthood," he notes. "Planned Parenthood, in 1997, operated 19 clinics in the Texas panhandle."

Then the state reduced funding for the organization, and pro-life workers also continued in their efforts to shut Planned Parenthood's doors. "And as of December 31, there will no longer be any Planned Parenthood offices in the Texas panhandle," Sedlak explains. "They will all be gone."

The two remaining clinics in Amarillo have disaffiliated with the national organization. Sedlak says other cities can accomplish the same goal if they are determined, and information on that is available on the Stopp website.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Marriage/Love/Romance by Emily Gunn

"I fed myself a steady diet of romance movies and novels when I was growing up. I even read all those so called "Christian romance" novels. This was the sum of my knowledge about marriage and romance. Suffice it to say I was an idiot when I got married. I totally bought that you would know that you'd found the "right one" when everything clicked and you heard or at least felt the background violins. So, when Colin and I had difficulties or conflict, I not only felt the defeat of that argument in that moment, I also felt the defeat of Hollywood telling me that I'd married the wrong one. I was sure I'd made a mistake until we made up and I felt "in love" again, and then I thought maybe it wasn't a mistake. Until the next argument came along. I bet y'all are so jealous of Colin finding such a catch as me,eh?! Anyway, it's been a long time coming, but I'm starting to learn to look at marriage with a biblical perspective and not a Top Gun, Princess Bride, Sixteen Candles one. Uh-oh I think I've dated myself with those pop culture references from the eighties."
"So, now that I'm so old and a little wise, I realize that marriage is supposed to be a reflection of Christ and His church's relationship. There will be many opportunities for the husband to learn to love someone despite their total lack of love-ability, and there will be plenty of opportunities for wives to learn to honor and respect their husbands despite being absolutely sure that they're wrong. Only in this give and take and bowing the will of oneself for the other can we truly find happiness and joy. Through being considerate, patient, forgiving, we will truly know the indescribably close bond of being husband and wife. Only then will we know the depths and beauty of being truly "in love." Marriage is for happiness, but it's not through the path that Cameron Diaz or Bradd Pitt will lead you. It's through a lot of sanctification and selflessness. And it is truly a beautiful thing."
Visit Emily's Ceilidh here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Vision Forum Year End Liquidation Sale Starts Today

There's some really great buys here. I got a sneak peak (no doubt since it's 2:30 am and I am still up) and Vision Forum is being more than generous with the low prices.
And since I never did rave over one of my favorite books when it came out, what better time than now to let you know that if you haven't read, "To Have And To Hold" well....WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? It's incredible! The first copy that showed up in our congregation went through the church like wildfire as it was passed from one reader to the next. You'll love it. And now that it's 60% off, well, you have no excuses. Here listen to this:

To Have and to Hold emphasizes the sanctity of the marriage covenant in the sight of God, whereby no man or king may invalidate the union:

“[T]he King demands that the lady be sent home forthwith.... His Majesty cannot conceive it possible that she hath so far forgotten her birth, rank, and duty as to have maintained in Virginia this mad masquerade.... The ship is to bring home also — and in irons — the man who married her. If he swears to be ignorant of her quality ... then shall he be sent honorably back to Virginia with enough in his hand to get him another wife....” I interrupted fiercely. “My wife and I were married lawfully, in the sight of God and of man. What God has joined together, let not man tear asunder! She is my wife!” (Excerpt from pg. 91)

It illustrates the nobility of pure womanhood and the importance of a wife identifying with and supporting her husband’s vision:

“We drank of the same cup then, your Honor, and we will drink of it still. We twain were wedded, and the world strove to part us. We stand suffering for that which is right and true, true by the laws of England, and most of all, true before the God who ordained that a woman should follow her husband, yea an though a sovereign should command otherwise!” (Excerpt from pg. 260)

It clearly shows the role of a godly man, both as a valiant, fearless warrior, along with his duty to cherish and serve his wife:

“What is mine is yours: it’s little beside my sword and my name. The one is naturally at my wife’s service; for the other, I have had some pride in keeping it untarnished. It is now in your keeping as well as your own. I do not fear to leave it there, madam.” (Excerpt from pg. 86)

Do I need to go on?
Some other favorites? Well okay...
"The Wise Woman's Guide to Blessing Her Husband's Vision" is 70% off. Sorry, I should have told you to sit down first.
But since you're already sitting look at these other's that are a steal. They are some of my favorites.
"So Much More" at 55% off
"The Best of the Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy" 16 CDs for the price of 3 and a half!
And you know what? ....there's so many others that I am really glad I have. You can be certain that it's what you're looking for from the description. I have never been disappointed when I purchased something from Vision Forum. Happy shopping! I'd love to hear what you get!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Reader Comments: The Blessings Of Biblical Entrepreneurialism

Andrea and I received a lovely letter from a reader, in response to our LAF article, "Dig Your Well Before You Need It," originally a response to, "Bringing Home Rebecca" titled, "What If He Dies?" It is as follows:

Dear Kelly and Andrea,

This morning I read your recent article on the LAF website and wanted to comment on it.

Your article is so true! I'm sure you have heard many examples of the success of what you are recommending, since God does prosper those who follow His ways. But I still wanted to say that yes, you are right! Entrepreneurship and economical stability can succeed even when the head of the family dies.

"So what happens when your husband dies or loses his job? You then have no job skills, no recent work history, and a mortgage to pay and kids to feed. Life insurance and unemployment are never enough to last more than a year. So how, exactly, do you plan to get by when your source of financial support goes away? Husbands don't live forever. Jobs don't last forever. Unless you have a backup plan, you're stuck trying to make ends meet on welfare or church assistance--neither of which goes very far. ALL women should keep up their education and job skills in order to serve their families in times of crisis. Taking off a little time here and there to be with infants is understandable. But don't fall into the trap of letting job skills go to seed."

Here’s what happened:

My faithful father did pass away at a relatively young age, four years ago, leaving a wife and two nearly-grown children and a legacy of hard work and good planning. And we didn’t have a mortgage, didn’t run out of life insurance, didn’t use welfare or church assistance, and the women didn’t have to start working—unlike the doubtful fears expressed in the question above. Of course, there was much work to do in managing his late estate; and we always love to stay industrious—but not out of worry of where the next meal would come from, thankfully.

Here’s how we were prepared:

My parents had built several houses and sold them, enabling them to build our then-current house without a mortgage, and eventually an out-of-town ranch as well. We did a lot of work ourselves, not on the actual framing and finishing of the houses, but on the landscaping and extra improvements which added value to the properties.

My dad had established a consulting firm thirteen years before, and through working at home had been able to have low overhead and greater savings. He had invested in life insurance ever since the start of his professional career, and the resulting payment was much greater than what would “last a year.” This aided in purchasing income-producing commercial properties and in allowing my mother to never have to work.

A few lessons that were realized:

Being out of debt was key, for it freed up all of the new resources (life insurance, etc.) for their best possible use. Out of debt, you can use resources without a feeling of guilt or worry. With no debt, it’s amazing how far money can go toward real needs—with some left over to invest in property or otherwise. If a family saves money and gets out of debt, it is incredibly fulfilling to be able to pursue entrepreneurial activities together, invest in greater income-producing potential, and enjoy the blessings of life. I realize there are many variables about type of vocation and state of the economy, but being debt-free will always, always, be a step in the right direction.

Being self-employed was, I think, a major factor in having the freedom to increase profit, save money, and not have even a mortgage. Being self-employed, we (but especially my father) had the freedom to be creative with our time and efforts, and also received all of the reward from our own labor. Our family worked together on everything and supported each other’s income-making endeavors. My brother and I worked hard at everything (in the house, farm, and business) from a young age, and though we never got an allowance nor got paid by the hour at first, we were well-compensated by being given wonderful opportunities and eventually being given a stake (directly or indirectly) in the profit of those endeavors.

With no debt, income and profit can span over generations,--such as enabling my brother to be grafted into my father's business, established at an early age, and capable of now supporting a family. You can be frugal and save money from the beginning of starting a household in order to reap exponential, generation-spanning rewards later on. I am so very thankful this was the pattern in our household. A little sacrifice in the beginning really does pay off in the long-term.

God’s providence has been paramount through this whole journey—from leading my parents to be self-employed and out of debt, to enabling us to be in a good financial position when my father passed away. Being in that advantageous position, however, made all the difference between being made destitute from a hard trial, and being able to weather it more than sufficiently. Having parents who invested so much into our lives has given us a great head-start for wherever we go in life. May we always use our abilities and financial freedom to serve God and others in a powerful way!

I’d encourage you to take the step for self-employment and debt-free living! It's a matter of living for the ease and luxury of the moment versus having a vision for future success and blessing. You’ll honor God and you’ll be more prepared either to sustain a hard circumstance or to prepare your children and grandchildren to start out strongly and prosper in life. Or both, in our family’s case. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some Fine Reading: Matthew Henry On The Proverbs 31 Wife

A particular description of her and of her excellent qualifications

She is very industrious to recommend herself to her husband’s esteem and affection. Those that are good really will be good relatively. A good woman, if she be brought into the marriage state, will be a good wife, and make it her business to please her husband, 1 Co. 7:34. Though she is a woman of spirit herself, yet her desire is to her husband, to know his mind, that she may accommodate herself to it, and she is willing that he should rule over her.
(1.) She conducts herself so that he may repose an entire confidence in her. He trusts in her chastity, which she never gave him the least occasion to suspect or to entertain any jealousy of; she is not morose and reserved, but modest and grave, and has all the marks of virtue in her countenance and behaviour; her husband knows it, and therefore his heart doth safely trust in her; he is easy, and makes her so. He trusts in her conduct, that she will speak in all companies, and act in all affairs, with prudence and discretion, so as not to occasion him either damage or reproach. He trusts in her fidelity to his interests, and that she will never betray his counsels nor have any interest separate from that of his family. When he goes abroad, to attend the concerns of the public, he can confide in her to order all his affairs at home, as well as if he himself were there. She is a good wife that is fit to be trusted, and he is a good husband that will leave it to such a wife to manage for him.
(2.) She contributes so much to his content and satisfaction that he shall have no need of spoil; he needs not be griping and scraping abroad, as those must be whose wives are proud and wasteful at home. She manages his affairs so that he is always before-hand, has such plenty of his own that he is in no temptation to prey upon his neighbours. He thinks himself so happy in her that he envies not those who have most of the wealth of this world; he needs it not, he has enough, having such a wife. Happy the couple that have such a satisfaction as this in each other!
(3.) She makes it her constant business to do him good, and is afraid of doing any thing, even through inadvertency, that may turn to his prejudice, v. 12. She shows her love to him, not by a foolish fondness, but by prudent endearments, accommodating herself to his temper, and not crossing him, giving him good words, and not bad ones, no, not when he is out of humour, studying to make him easy, to provide what is fit for him both in health and sickness, and attending him with diligence and tenderness when any thing ails him; nor would she, no, not for the world, wilfully do any thing that might be a damage to his person, family, estate, or reputation. And this is her care all the days of her life; not at first only, or now and then, when she is in a good humour, but perpetually; and she is not weary of the good offices she does him: She does him good, not only all the days of his life, but of her own too; if she survive him, still she is doing him good in her care of his children, his estate, and good name, and all the concerns he left behind him. We read of kindness shown, not only to the living, but to the dead, Ruth 2:20.
(4.) She adds to his reputation in the world (v. 23): Her husband is known in the gates, known to have a good wife. By his wise counsels, and prudent management of affairs, it appears that he has a discreet companion in his bosom, by conversation with whom he improves himself. By his cheerful countenance and pleasant humour it appears that he has an agreeable wife at home; for many that have not have their tempers strangely soured by it. Nay, by his appearing clean and neat in his dress, every thing about him decent and handsome, yet not gaudy, one may know he has a good wife at home, that takes care of his clothes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Jack

Geneva Leather Bound Bible for $12.84

This just in from a reader:

"I just bought a Geneva Bible for $12.84! First, I signed up to attend the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. As soon as I signed up, Vision Forum sent me a "passport" coupon worth $25 to spend at their website catalog.

Next, I found the
Geneva Bible on sale at the Vision Forum catalog website on sale 50% off ($35.00). I selected it and put it in my electronic shopping cart.

Finally, I put my passport number in the "Redeem Passport Gift Certificate" portion of the check out. It was automatically deducted AFTER I paid the tax on $35. So the total amount (shipping being free for orders over $25) came to $12.84 (the $10 difference plus $2.84 Texas sales tax)."

Everything Is One Sale At VisionForum.com and Free Shipping

Vision Forum is offering discounts on everything in the store! The sale will last for just 3 days, ending at midnight on Wednesday, December 17.

Once again, all toys will be 20% off, and all books, audio and DVDs will be 30% off. But here's the best part: a long list of new and old favorites will be 50% off! I've highlighted some favorites.

50% off items will include:
*Thoughts for Young Men
*All-American Pop Gun
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*Teach Them To Your Children
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*Ten P's in a Pod
*Swiss Family Robinson
*Little Bear's Outdoor Adventure Guide
*True Story of Noah's Ark
*Umbrella Doll Stroller
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*Western Revolver Cap Gun
*The Coral Island
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*20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
*Gulliver's Travels
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*Frontier Tomahawk
*Air Burst Rocket System -
*Men of Science, Men of God
*(DVD) Putting on the Whole Armor of God
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*Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
*Candy Factory
*The Family
*(DVD) Measure Twice, Cut Once
*Juggling Balls A-08-204
*Ice Cream Maker
*Ping-Pong Gun (A personal favorite of Gator's)
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*Fighting the Flames
*The Book of Psalms For Singing
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*(DVD) History of the World Boxed set
*Silk Ribbon Embroidery
*Princess Ka'iulani Doll Dress
*Coming In on a Wing & a Prayer
*(CD) Bible Lessons for Manhood
*Rubik's Cube
*1599 Geneva Bible
*Prairie Bonnet Multi-Print
*Swiss Military Field Telephone
*Edison Light Bulb Kit
*John Gill's Commentaries 9-vol SET (With Free CDROM and Book)
*Jonathan Park Hat (Blue) Child's Size Adjustable

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Do You eBay?

Do you eBay? I do...now and then that is. When I get the bug. I like the fact that it's easy to use with lots of handy tools when selling and buying. I particularly like being able to make invoices and print postage right here at home and then ring in the post man with the click of a button so I don't even have to go out to mail packages. It's easy to study the market to see if your Aunt Margie's ugly favorite lamp will sell. It's predicable. So you know if you are wasting your precious time on purpose or not. There's buyer protection through PayPal. Oh, and I totally love doing my accounting and am able to download my info already itemized and organized right into my accounting software. Okay that's a lie...I hate accounting, but this feature makes it's okay.

So, I added a link to our side bar. It's all the ahthelife auctions. We arrived at a point where our 1000 sq ft loss in the last move has put the squeeze on us a little to much. Feel free to peruse. Some listings start at a penny. I'll be diving out into the garage periodically for a while...and who knows what I will find...one man's trash is well....you know...the perfect gage gift this year...I hear Santa does his shopping on eBay for all the naughty children since coal is such a no-no these days....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cast a vote for manliness...

Be sure to hurry on over to The Art of Manliness, and cast a vote in the Old Spice sponsored, "2008 Man of the year" contest.
Jennie Chancey has nominated her husband Matt Chancey and he is a finalist!
Jennie writes:
I knew my husband was a real man from the start. Not only did he wear impeccable three-piece suits and natty ties at age 19, but his favorite movies were all made before 1959, and he knew how to swing dance with verve. He loved the classic John Wayne-Maureen O’Hara movie, “The Quiet Man” (a long-time favorite of mine), and I quickly learned that Matt’s similarly quiet, calm exterior hid a multitude of talents and abilities. His genuine friendliness and loyalty have served him throughout the years and kept him in touch with everyone from the local postmaster to heads of state in foreign countries. I never cease to be amazed at what real manliness can accomplish.

In many ways, my husband is a self-made man. He has never followed a “typical” path but has eked out his own, meeting fascinating people and taking incredible detours along the way. Two years of junior college left him chomping at the bit for real life and greater opportunities, so he dove head-first into the world of law and politics as a teenager. Working as an intern for a law firm near Washington, DC, Matt lobbied for good causes and became increasingly disturbed by the lack of integrity and (yes) true manliness in the halls of government. He made another leap, starting his own business at age 22, doing research and writing while keeping chickens and hunting with black-powder rifle in the wilds of the Shenandoah Valley (he has long admired the great agrarian apologists like Richard Weaver and sought to emulate their ideals—manly men never just sit and watch the world go by).

Matt’s work branched out to include things as diverse as leading a two-week tour through Asia with 25 distinguished businessmen in 2001 and serving on the board of an organization devoted to helping refugees in Sudan. His service on that board grew with his love for Africa and the people there, and at least twice a year he can be found trekking into the wilds of Sudan and up the White Nile to bring relief to Darfurian refugees. In short, Matt is a far cry from today’s “metro-sexual” or video game addict. He is a true man’s man.

Matt reads widely, adding new volumes to our family library and constantly introducing his family to authors and ideas. Once a year, Matt hosts “The Gathering,” a much-anticipated event that honors one man for his contributions to American thought, culture, and theology. Guests of honor have included a noted historian, a principled statesman, and a great southern orator and pastor. For three days, the honoree is surrounded by men who pepper him with questions, learn from his answers, and honor him for his life. My husband’s desire to pay homage to real manhood shines through in each of these events. One year’s Gathering took place in England and Scotland, as Matt lead a tour through some of the greatest sites in Western history (and stopped in pubs that have been gathering places to greats like Cromwell and Gladstone).

He’d never sing his own praises, but, as his wife, I never tire of doing so. My husband can read G.A. Henty’s historical fiction aloud to our children at the dinner table and fix the brakes on a 1964 Ford pickup. He can deliver food and medical aid to a refugee camp on the border of Darfur and stand up in church the next week to tell about it. He can write a terse letter to the editor and compose beautiful poems to his wife. He plays piano masterfully by ear and sings with a wonderful baritone. His many facets shine in every situation, and he has never met a stranger. Because of his genuine manliness, our sons have a role model they can look up to on a daily basis, and our daughters have a hero for every bedtime story. Most of all, I have a husband I greatly admire, respect, and love passionately. He will always be my Man of the Year.

PS – The photo was taken in the upper Nile. My husband, cool as a cucumber in the 120-degree heat, demonstrates that it is possible to be well-dressed even in the far reaches of Africa. His companions are Sudanese freedom fighters.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

LAF Feature: Dig Your Well Before You Need It

Written quite a few months back, a revisit to our post on financial responsibility seems timely when with every turn of the head one reads "Economic Crisis" and "Bail Out" Jennie Chancey one of the founders of Ladies Against Feminism has linked to our post Dig Your Well Before You Need it.

God Bless,

Kelly for the Reins Dames

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Gianna - Aborted and Lived to Tell About It.

Gianna, Aborted...and Lived to Tell About It

I have been in awe of Gianna Jessen since I learned about her recently and saw her videos. I am only half way through her biography but I want to share a little about her. Gianna suffers from Cerebral Palsy due to her traumatic abortion survival. Living with this disability means therapies and surgeries along with a daily challenges it affords her, but Gianna thanks God for it.

Learn more about her by watching her testimony here.

What the videos do not contain are the trials and courageous stories of her youth. Gianna was blessed with a tenacious adoptive mother who was not intimidated by the doctor's reports that Gianna would never crawl and never walk. It was the dedication of this loving woman that has in part inspired Gianna in her Pro-Life work and ministry.

Gianna's adoptive father walked out on Gianna and her mother when Gianna was a teen. They started over and when they did, they poured out more love and help on others who were in worse shape than them. Her mother working more than one job at a time they always had more to give to those in need.

Living with cerebral palsy was challenging enough but Gianna's junior high years proved to be difficult and challenging in a whole new way. Ostracized again and again, Gianna and her mother decided to adventure into the world of homeschooling after the school counselor offered to get Gianna some "volunteer friends," and still Gianna was about to learn about the world and it's vast complexities in a greater degree than she already was acquainted with.

Gianna began public speaking at a very young age presenting herself just as she is, a radiant spunky and joyful child with a story to tell. She sang and/or spoke in many states here and countries abroad, expounding on the importance of forgiveness, telling her story and inspiring many. Hear Gianna sing "Come Gracious Spirit" here. It wasn't long before she would learn that the evil that had deceived her birth mother was still a strong hold in her country, growing larger and evolving into a many headed monster.
Gianna flew to Montgomery, Alabama to testify before a health committee meeting. After giving her testimony a Pro-Death speaker stood and fully facing Gianna rather than the committee contended that handicapped children, like little Gianna, were a burden on society. Though the animosity was a shock to little Gianna, it only strengthened her resolve.

At 14 she spoke before an Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors who was at the time one of the most powerful groups in the country. They had assembled to hear testimony for and against the controversial abortion causing pill RU-486 already banned by the FDA. As Gianna spoke she was heckled, she was shouted down, ridiculed and intimidated by members of Act Up a homosexual group. The motion passed 4-1 allowing importation of the abortion pill, Mike Antonovich casting the lone dissenting vote. Gianna received a letter from supervisor Antonovich commending her and letting her know that her testimony challenged many that day causing them to question their beliefs. "...the Lord will recognize you and all of those fighting for the sanctity of life."
Shortly after she would be in Atlanta, Ga braving the "death-scorts" or volunteers determined to help pregnant mothers into the abortion mills. Gianna and 11 other teens were attempting to shut down a 60,000 sq. ft. building dedicated solely to abortion. Posted in pairs at as many doors as they could cover it wasn't long before Gianna found herself in a face off.

"She looked up. A security guard, legs spread and arms behind his back, stood facing her. She caught his eye and tried to talk to him. 'Your clinic does late term abortions, doesn't it?' she asked.

'No,' he replied.

'I've hear that hey do, I've hear that they don't do anything but abortions here and that many of them are late-term.'

'They might do a few.'

'My birth mother aborted me,' said Gianna softly, keeping her eyes on his. 'She was seven months pregnant. But I survived.'

The guard just stood there. His eyes were troubled now. Gianna could see questions in them-doubts and uneasiness.

'I have cerebral palsy because of the abortion.'

The guard never said another word.

That day ended in arrest but her ministry took off eventually. TV producers were calling her and Gianna was able to witness to the nation via a talk show.
Gianna is truthful about her emotional struggles, her attitude towards her birth mother and the doctors, the bitterness that she has faced and the difficult realities that are hers. But you will also find that what follows is a message of God's sovereign grace and hope in the Lord. That He has mended her and that He has been her Saviour in all ways. When asked about how she found out that she had been aborted Gianna testifies to God's graciousness.
Gianna was asked by Morrie Povich, "When did you find out the real story about the abortion attempt?" the conversation follows.

"When I was 12 years old. It was on Christmas Day. We were making Christmas dinner. I said, 'Mom, why do I have cerebral palsy?'

"I had asked her that I don't know how many times. But for the first time, she said, 'Do you really want to know why?' and I said, 'Yes, I do,' and she said, 'You'd better sit down, ' Well, your mother was seven months pregnant, and she-- she--' As soon as the words were about to come out, I filled in the words. I said, 'I was aborted, right?'

"Now, don't tell e how I knew, because I didn't know for 12 years, but at that moment--But at that moment, I feel -- this is the way I really feel -- God gave me that. He told me at that right moment as that I could accept it and it just wouldn't be a big boom for me."
I highly recommend the book. I hope you'll find yourself a copy and once finished pass it on. I also hope that it will encourage clarity of vision, and resolve to see it through. Gianna is an excellent example of that to be sure. Gianna's testimony calls to mind Luke 2:49 "And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
Of which Matthew Henry says this: "Herein he hath left us an example; for it becomes the children of God, in conformity to Christ, to attend their heavenly Father’s business, and to make all other business give way to it. This word of Christ we now think we understand very well, for he hath explained it in what he hath done and said. It was his errand into the world, and his meat and drink in the world, to do his Father’s will, and finish his work"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Items Updated...3 Days Left!

Additional Items Have Been Added at 50% Off!

This special offer applies only to online orders placed at visionforum.com, and is not retroactive. Offer ends at midnight on Friday, December 5, 2008 (CST).

Who We Are In Christ

Finding Freedom From Guilt

"Crystal, it doesn't matter what others think of you. It doesn't matter what others are doing. So long as you are seeking to please the Lord and honor me--that's what matters."

Which is why playing "The Comparison Game" is neither healthy or wise. It only leads to guilt, frustration, and much time wasted. And yet, I think it's something a lot of us women struggle with. We look at other women who seem more accomplished, or more organized, or thinner, or prettier, or better at this or that, or even more Godly, and we start feeling like we don't stack up.

Now granted, there's nothing wrong with being inspired or motivated by others and I'm not advocating that we all seek after mediocrity, but there is great danger in measuring ourselves and our abilities against another. Especially if this causes us to feel discouraged or inadequate.

Our worth is not in how pretty we are, how self-disciplined we are, how well-trained or advanced our children are, how long we've been married, how many children we have, how well we can decorate, how little we spend at the grocery store, or whatever it is that we feel like we might not measure up to another.

All that truly matters is who I am in Christ.

Read Finding Freedom From Guilt in it's entirety here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Praising the Lord...

…for the safe arrival of Parker Xavier Stubbs.
Born November 19th 2008
8 lbs 20 1/2" long

We’re very excited for our covenant family members Tracy and Leah Bussard who are once again grandparents. Leah was able to travel back to the west coast to be with her daughter and welcome her new grandson into the world.

Five Minutes To Danger Mountain

Danger Mountain Mug Cake
Adapted from Life in a Shoe

-1 coffee mug (microwave-safe)
-4 T. cake flour (plain, not self-rising)
-4 T. sugar
-2 T. cocoa
-1 egg
-3 T. milk
-3 T. oil
-Splash of vanilla
-3 T. chocolate chips, optional (optional?)

Add dry ingredients to the mug; mix well with a fork. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk, oil, and vanilla, and mix well. Add chips, if using.

Put mug in the microwave, and cook for three minutes at 1,000 watts. (note: my little low-wattage microwave cooked it perfectly at 3 minutes. You might want to try less time with yours.) Cake will rise over the top of the mug — do not be alarmed. When finished, carefully remove mug from microwave and allow to cool a little. Tip onto a small plate prior to serving, if desired. Yields one generous serving or two “more virtuous” servings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meet Tom Yum

Tom Yum came to us from a frozen state finding our Texas home a fine place to warm up. ;o)

“Turkey for a Crowd”

Cook’s Illustrated, with adaptations by Rebecca Serven.

Serves 20 to 24

Introductory Comments

You can use any roasting pan to roast the turkey, even a disposable one, but make sure to use a V-rack to keep the bird elevated. Be careful to dry the skin thoroughly before brushing the bird with butter; otherwise it will have spotty brown skin. Rotating the bird helps produce moist, evenly cooked meat, but for the sake of ease, you may not opt to rotate it. In that case, skip the step of lining the V rack with foil and roast the bird breast side up for the entire cooking time. Because we do not brine the bird, we had the best results with a frozen Butterball (injected with salt and water) and a kosher bird (soaked in salt water during processing).

Turkey Brine

1. Place turkey in container large enough so water can cover it by 1 or 2 inches (if at all possible): Large stock pot, 5 gallon white bucket, etc.

2. Make room in the fridge for container.

3. Make sure turkey is completely thawed. Rinse well.

4. Make water and salt solution. Ratio is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water. Make sure salt is dissolved!! Add seasonings (I use ¼ cup dried thyme as it compliments the Turkey for a Crowd Recipe).

5. Pour solution over bird until it covers it by 1 or 2 inches. You may need to make additional solution (remember to dissolve salt).

6. Brine for 10 to 12 hours, rotating if needed (so that all parts of the turkey are evenly brined).

7. Remove from brine, rinse in sink with cold water until all traces of salt are removed.

8. Safely discard brine and cook turkey as normal (omitting salt in recipe).

Variation: Combine 1 gallon of cold water with 1 cup kosher salt in a large stockpot. Heat until salt is dissolved. Add 4 ounces of cracked black peppercorns, 6 bay leaves, 4 sprigs of rosemary, and 1 cup brown sugar. Stir until combined; cool to room temperature. Place the defrosted or fresh turkey in a large plastic bag, fill with brine to submerge turkey, and refrigerate for 12-15 hours. Rub, roast and baste as usual.

Turkey Roasting Methodology

2 medium onions, chopped coarse

2 medium carrots, chopped coarse

2 celery ribs, chopped coarse

1 lemon, quartered

2 sprigs (3 to 4 inches each) fresh thyme

1 frozen Butterball or Kosher or Fresh Brined Turkey (18 to 22 pounds gross weight) turkey rinsed and thoroughly dried with paper towels

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt (omit if you just brined the turkey)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; remove remaining racks. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line large V rack with heavy duty foil and poke holes in foil; set V rack in 15 by 12 inch roasting pan.

2. Toss onions, carrots, celery, lemon, and thyme in medium bowl; set aside. Brush turkey breast with 2 tablespoons butter, then sprinkle with half or salt (or omit) and half of black pepper. Set turkey breast side down on V rack. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with remaining salt (or omit) and black pepper. Fill cavity with half of onion mixture; scatter rest in roasting pan and pour 1 cup water into pan.

3. Roast turkey 1 hour; remove roasting pan with turkey from oven. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Using clean dishtowel or 2 potholders, turn/flip turkey breast side up (long ways works best—grab drumsticks); return to roasting pan with turkey to oven and continue to roast until legs move freely and instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 180 degrees, about 2 hours longer (usually a little longer than they say). Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest, uncovered 35 to 40 minutes. Carve and serve.

4. Make gravy from drippings and flour.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Singing back up at Cakemix in Dallas, Tx

Sam, Andrea, and I sang a small background bit for one of the songs 

Left alone in the control room, Mr. Moreland threatens to beam us up to Mars.

The Craze For Urban Poultry Farming

The New Coop de Ville
By Jessica Bennett NEWSWEEK
Published Nov 17, 2008

For Brooklyn real-estate agent Maria Mackin, the obsession started five years ago, on a trip to Pennsylvania Amish country. She, her husband and three children—now 17, 13 and 11—sat down for brunch at a local bed-and-breakfast, and suddenly the chef realized she'd run out of eggs. "She said, 'Oh goodness! I'll have to go out to the garden and get some more'," Mackin recalls. "She cooked them up and they were delicious." Mackin and her husband, Declan Walsh, looked at each other, and it didn't take long for the idea to register: Could we have chickens too? They finished their brunch and convinced the bed-and-breakfast owner, a Mennonite celery farmer, to sell them four chickens. They packed them in a little nest in the back of their Plymouth Voyager minivan and headed back to Brooklyn.

The family has been raising chickens ever since, in the backyard of their brick townhouse in an urban waterfront neighborhood called Red Hook. Every Easter, Mackin orders a new round of chicks, now from a catalog that ships the newborns in a ventilated box while they are still feeding from their yolks. When they are grown, she offers up their eggs—and occasionally extra chickens, when she decides she's got too many—to friends and neighbors, and sells a portion to a local bistro, which touts the neighborhood poultry on its Web site. She gives the chicken manure—a high-quality fertilizer—to a local community garden in exchange for hay, which she uses to pad the chickens' wire-fenced coop. Occasionally, she kills and cooks up a chicken for dinner—though, she says, her chickens are egg layers and aren't particularly tasty. "We joke and call ourselves the Red Hook Poultry Association," says the former social worker, who at one time housed 27 chicks inside her kitchen—for six weeks. "Sometimes people are like, 'This is really kind of weird'."

Meanwhile, at MadCityChickens.com, the Web site created by the Madison Chicken Underground, chat-line operator Dennis Harrison-Noonan has turned his chicken love into a mini-business: he's sold 2,000 design kits for his custom-made playhouse chicken coop, which retails for $35. "It's really not that crazy to think that people are doing this," says Owen Taylor, the urban livestock coordinator at Just Food, which operates the New York Chicken Project. "Most of the world keeps chickens, and they've been doing so for thousands of years."

Historically, he's right. During the first and second world wars, the government even encouraged urban farming by way of backyard "Victory Gardens" in an effort to lessen the pressure on the public food supply. (Until 1859, there were 50,000 hogs living in Manhattan, according to Blecha.) "It's really only been over the last 50 years or so that we've gotten the idea that modernity and success and urban spaces don't involve these productive animals," Blecha says.

Read the NewsWeek article in it's entirety here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Building A Wire Cage Floor

Today I built a floor for the cage that Snow Paws came in.
The trick is to make the square corners fit inside the round cornered tub. I made a paper pattern of the rounded corner. I eye-balled the length needed and then trimmed the runner a little long and at with couple different angles that looked about right. After that I trimmed it at a slope inward.

I cut and fit the cross braces angling the ends a little as well since the sides of the tub slope out. I had to rip a 1x4 remnant to make 2 of them. The whole project took 1-8ft 1x2 and a the 16in remnant along with the wire 6 screws and a handful of staples. Make sure that you have a Dad with a chop saw and materials before starting this project. ;o)

Next I drilled pilot holes, and then I drilled countersink holes. After that it was pretty easy to screw it together. Oh yes, and make sure you have a Dad with a drill, drill bits, and such.

Make sure that everything is flush before drilling. Since it's going in a rabbit cage floor you might want to consider sealing the wood with something that is non-toxic.

Next comes the wire floor. I used 1x1 in the event that there is ever baby rabbits in this cage. It bends pretty easy around the wood. I laid the frame on top of the wire and folded it upward. Wire snips made sizing it easy. Then I hammered it down with staples. It's the fastest way when the staple gun is missing. Dad with staple gun not necessary...

It fit snugly and I was glad because I don't want any babies falling in the cracks.

I wired the lid on along the back side. I can flip the wire top off and clean out the tray if need be. After that I put the cage door on and pinched the connection so that it won't fall off anymore. Now it's time to go pick up wifey-poo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Super Taitor Tot

Please join the Zimmerman family in expressing thankfulness to the Lord. The doctor's don't have to do surgery on Little Tait's heart. The valve is still open, but since he's so stable, they're going to let it close on its own

Thoughts from Auntie Esther:

He's doing pretty good! They're all pleased with how healthy he's been. =) Yesterday and today were a little harder and he had to have the CPAP and all that stuff cover his face again. But, he sure is adorable! Everyone says he looks like the Fitzhenry side...(YAY!)...with his dark, wavy hair and Lauren's chin and cheeks...and then Lauren says he has Tait's nose...he's just precious!! Oh, and since he was able to start eating Lauren's milk he's already up to 3 lbs 4 oz! Lauren says he's been gaining about 2 ounces a day! =) Pretty soon we're gonna' have to add "pudgo" to his already excessively long list of nicknames. Anyhow...he is doing well...he is loved, he is being held by his mommy and daddy and he is getting bigger and cuter (if that's even possible) every day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Special Offer from Trivium Pursuit and Christian Logic

This just in from the Bluedorn Family:
"Our readers have the opportunity to receive two free ebooks from Trivium Pursuit! "

1.The 73 page ebook of the entire text of Chapter Twelve: Ten Things to Do With Children Ages Ten Through Twelve from the book Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

2.The new 94 page ebook Ancient Literature: Significant Excerpts from the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum - Volume Two: Alexander the Great.

You will receive both of these ebooks when you subscribe to the Homeschooling with the Trivium newsletter. This offer is only for new subscribers to Homeschooling with the Trivium and is good only through November 30. Go here to subscribe.

In addition, if you subscribe to Christian Logic's Fallacy Detective News you will receive two lessons from the logic textbook The Thinking Toolbox by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn (Lessons 12 and 13, along with exercises and answer key). This offer is only for new subscribers to The Fallacy Detective News and is good only through November 30. Go here to subscribe.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Farm Eggs

My favorite breakfast.
Fresh Farm Eggs cooked in Garlic Rosemary oil and sprinkled with Serven Salt.

Garlic Rosemary Oil

Put a handful of rosemary sprigs in a pan with 3 sliced garlic cloves and 1/2 c olive oil. Heat gently until bubbling, then pour into a heat proof bowl, cover, and leave in a cool place over night. Strain the garlic and rosemary oil into a 1 1/4- 1 2/3 cup bottle and top up with more oil.

Oil should be left in a cool place for up to a week to let the flavors steep. Strain before storing.

Serven's Famous Season Salt

1c. salt
1/3c. granulated onion
1/3c. granulated garlic
1/3c. pepper

Mix. Store in glass jar so on moisture gets in.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tait Edward Zimmerman Jr.

Baby Z's name is Tait Edward Zimmerman Jr.

He has some clever nicknames as well that were once his father's. Taitor Tot, Totmeister and Super Tot to name a few.

Here is a recent update on Tait Jr. from his ecstatic Auntie Esther:

"Hello Everybody!

Well, all babies have holes in their hearts but, usually through the natural birthing process it closes. Since Little Z is both a preemie and a C-section his hole didn't close. So, they're giving him 3 rounds of medicine (3 doses in each round) to close it and today he gets his last round. From what the doctors say it looks like it is closing and they're hoping after today's medicine it will keep on closing...they will do an EKG to check on it. We are all anxious for him to be through with the medicine so that he can get back on mom's milk and start gaining weight and the faster he gains weight the sooner he can come home!

And, also please pray for Tait and Lauren as right now they live an hour and 20 minutes away from the hospital and they have to be there (and want to be there) as often and as long as possible. Gas prices couldn't have gone down at a better time. =P

That's all for now...I've got pictures to post from Lauren's first time holding him and she has pictures she wants me to post of him with his little mask and stuff off so we can see his precious little face. I'm told he has dark, curly hair and Tait's nose. =D

Please keep Tait Jr., Lauren and big Tait in your prayers!"

Today's update from Baby Z's mama Lauren:

"We are requesting prayer for Little Tait. They're trying to close the PDA valve in his heart with medicine; this is their last try today. Else comes surgery.... They're doing another echocardiogram tomorrow, so we'll know then whether or not the valve is closed. There's a small chance that they won't have to do surgery even if it's not closed yet. Thanks for your prayers!"

A New Fluffy Farm Addition....

Sugar has come to live with us today.
We got acquainted and made friends quite readily.
Just the mention of garden fresh lettuce and spinach makes his ears stand up straight. ;oP

Welcome to "country" living Sugar!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Believe while others ...
By William Arthur Ward

Believe while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are wasting.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are frowning.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Prayer Request Updated

Please add the Tait Zimmerman family to your prayers as Tait and Lauren's son was delivered prematurely by c-section this afternoon. Lauren was just over 6 months into her pregnancy. Baby Zimmerman weighs 2lb 9oz.

Update: This just in from Auntie Esther Zimmerman, Tait's sister.

"Baby Z doesn't have a name yet...that seems to be only thing Tait and Lauren can't agree on! =D We were commissioned to bring them their "baby name books" today so, hopefully they'll decide soon! =) We can't wait for him to have a name!

Lauren is doing fine...she was up for awhile (SUPER WOMAN!) and was visiting baby when we got here about an hour or so ago. Right now she is resting. Baby Z is AMAZING! Everyone is very thrilled with how well he is doing...his lungs were the main concern like most preemies....but, they're really pleased with how healthy his are. He is actually kind of able to breath by himself...I'm not sure exactly what's going on right now but, sounds like he's breathing some and they're helping him out once in awhile. He's so tiny!

Oh, and since baby is going to have to be in here until at least January and because Tait and Lauren will have to be here pretty much all the time...they are going to have to figure out how to get closer to the hospital (we're about an hour and 20 minutes away right now).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Looking On The Bright Side

Here is a note I received from a friend:
7 Reasons You Shouldn't Pay Attention to the Gloom and Doom

"Gloom and Doom is everywhere! In the papers, on the news, all over the internet, even in daily conversations. Many members of the general public and the investment community are getting depressed and caught up in this propaganda at a rapid pace. The attitude is even beginning to spill into personal and professional lives as people begin to buy into it. So what’s the answer? STOP immediately!

When you focus on the negative, you always multiply your problems. Instead, see your business being so busy you have to expand…the human mind has an incredible ability to accomplish whatever you focus on.
The 7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Pay Attention to Gloom and Doom are:

1. It’s simply not true.
It is possible to have the life you want. You work hard, and the media right now is making you sheepish. It’s herding you into a corner. It’s driving a stake right into the heart of the economy. You cannot create prosperity when you are fearful. In the 70’s we were told the world’s oil was running out; clearly that didn’t happen. The media predicted a mini ice age within the last 40 years; that didn’t happen either. Global warming? Chicago has had the heaviest snowfall since 1979. The media is powerful – do your own research.

2. This is a great year for commercial real estate.
If you are planning on investing in commercial real estate this year, you are in luck. There will be a fabulous inventory of product from which to choose. Interest rates are at an all-time low. Cap rates are becoming more reasonable again. Lots of OPPORTUNITY is in store for you this year.

3. Businesses that are closing should close.
You read the same newspapers I do, and you’ve seen articles about Starbucks and other retail chains closing units. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? You need to realize these units were underperforming all along and would have been closed anyway. What the paper doesn’t tell you is that there are many units being opened as well.

4. There is more money available to exchange hands than ever before.
There is more affluence in the U.S. economy than ever before. Businesses catering to the affluent are selling goods and services at record numbers. After all, people still want to spend money.

5. Plenty of businesses and people are experiencing financial growth at the moment.
The mall parking lots are full; people are walking around with shopping bags containing multiple purchases. Restaurants are still busy; you still need a reservation. Many Fortune 500’s are having banner years.

6. More money was paid into the IRS in 2007 than ever before.
This is self-explanatory. The only way this was possible is if Americans earned record amounts of income!

7. Abundance is a mindset. There are no limits to what you can create, and there are endless opportunities.

If you focus on recession, that energy follows your thought. The more you focus on abundance and prosperity, the more you get.

Remember, history has recorded that more millionaires were created during the Great Depression than in any other time because of the infamous “poor economy”. These people prospered because they believed in themselves and were willing to take calculated risks. They made tremendous amounts of money because they did not let the media control their destiny – they took charge! Take charge and get going…"

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The New Coop And Other Farm News

Today we spent some more time working on the new coop. It is just about done. I snapped a few pictures of a butterfly since there were too many "hands" for a time. Carrots comes inside in the evening to run and play and stretch his legs. This evening we found him on the couch. Seems he's getting a little more bold.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Naming the Bird Herd....

Now for the naming of our new bird herd....

There are 3 hens needing names. Two are road island reds. One is a black australorp (we think)

One of the RIRs has a flopped over comb. The other RIR has a nice stout comb that stands straight up. This is the only thing that we have been able to use as a distinguishing mark between the two.

The black hen looks like a crow and I was almost convinced she was except that she is very talkative and has convinced me she's a chicken.

So to get on with the winners.

Livvy for submitting Ruby....will be the name of one of the RIRs

Julia for submitting the idea to name it after a characteristic....Flippy Flopper will be the name of the other RIR. And...

Tori for submitting Mrs. Cluckers....The black hen has certainly earned the name.

If the winner's will submit their e-mail addresses to our blog email ahthelife@gmail.com they will each receive an ebook copy of "How To Be Beautiful and other stories," a story of a young lady that struggles to find the secret hidden in the gospel of Christ. The book dates back to 1827 (or so) I found H2BB in an antique book store in Enterprise Oregon 3 years ago.

Thanks all for the entries...They are on our animal name list in the event that in future more animals come to live on the farm....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rabbit Hutch Plans and Mystery Prizes

Mr. Harey Rabbit's home is under construction...

He is antsy with anticipation...
And so are we to see who win the current blog give-aways. I will announce the winners of the rabbit and hen naming contest on Monday the 27th. That leaves 6 days to submit as many entries as you want. Monday we will see who are the winners of the mystery prizes! We've had great submissions so far and it's gonna be tough to pick!