Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Drawing and Contest with the Wintons!

The Wintons began singing and playing together at home for fun, learning to harmonize and become strong instrumentally. What began as an interest in bluegrass music grew unexpectedly by the hand of the Lord into a family music ministry. They now perform a mix of gospel and traditional bluegrass music at venues throughout California.

The Winton boys, Cody and Jesse, have distinguished themselves as accomplished musicians on the fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and Dobro guitar. Cody and Jesse write some of their own songs, two of which are featured on the Winton's debut album, 'This World is Not My Home.' They are quickly creating quite a buzz and once you hear them you'll know exactly why.

Just this year both Jesse and Cody placed 1st and 3rd, respectively, in the California State Fiddle and Picking Championships in the 17 and under picking category! This category is comprised of all pickers; mandolin, guitar and banjo. The boys have their sights on heading to Kansas to compete in the National Picking Championships in the Fall of 2010 while the Winton family is touring. They will be competing against other young people from all over the nation on their individual instruments who share their love of picking.

Jesse with Sonya Issacs

Cody with The Issacs banjo player, trying out his Huber.

California Bluegrass Association's reviewer Joe Ross says of their first album, “As soon as it started to spin, I realized that this was not simply another family band picking around their front porch. The CD exudes a great deal of song variety, individual talent, and group dynamics...has some eclectic tastes from bluegrass to folk, with a solid contribution of Gospel songs...The Wintons' music simply emphasizes their familial bond, brotherhood, enjoyment of music, enthusiasm, and optimism...God has provided them with a path forward and some guided direction that encourages them to fully share their musical ministry far and wide."

In the Winton Family front room.

Makes you want a copy of the album for your very own doesn't it! Well, here's your chance to win one. Getting your name in the bucket is as easy as 1, 2, 3....

But, I'm also going to give you the chance to win a grand prize Winton bundle! (A little more work but it's worth it!) That's right, you have the opportunity to receive 2 CDs and 4 gift cards each for a free download of the whole album! Maybe you've got some birthday's coming up on your calendar? Or you are already thinking about Christmas! (Submitting an entry is confession to the rest of us but we do our best to deal with the guilt) Here's you're chance to wow your friends and family with some of the finest blue grass they've heard in a long time.

But first for the single album:

1. Go listen to the sample tracks on Behemoth.com and then come back here and tell us which is your favorite by leaving a comment. I know, it will be hard. If you find it impossible, which I think will be inevitable than you're free to list your top three...or rank them 1-10 if you can't handle it. ;)

2. Share the goodness with friends and family! Do you know a bluegrass enthusiast that would really enjoy this wonderful album? Tell them about this contest and opportunity to own a Copy of the CD for themselves. When they submit an entry in the contest (via step one) have them mention you told them. You'll get another name in the bucket! (There's no hole in this bucket Liza dear...)

Use this graphic on your side bar and link to the contest url.

3. Post the contest in your Facebook status, or Twitter it, or Myspace it, or Blog it, or whichever other social media you use. Leave a comment with proof and receive an entry for every re-post!

4. Finally, for the grand prize, a separate contest for a bundle of 2 "This World Is Not My Home" CDs and 4 gift cards, each for a download of the full album! Here's the contest rules:

Purchase a track from Behemoth.com and sing-a-long or play along, with one of their songs. Record it and upload it to Vimeo with the title "The Wintons - song title- your name" Send a link to your submission to ahthelife@gmail.com The winning submission will be highlighted on Ah, the Life... blog.

Both drawing and contest will run until midnight of August 14th so there's plenty of time to spread the word and put your talent and creativity to work producing your grand prize contest entries.The Winton Family will be the judges for the Grand Prize entries.

And have you heard? The Wintons will be preforming at the 2009 Vision Forum Father/Son Discipleship Retreat hosted at Crooked Creek Ranch!

Homemaking Internship

The fact is, our girls have no home education. When quite young they are sent to school where no feminine employment, no domestic habits, can be learned. . . . After this, few find any time to arrange, and make use of, the mass of elementary knowledge they have acquired; and fewer still have either leisure or taste for the inelegant, everyday duties of life. Thus prepared, they enter upon matrimony. Those early habits, which would have made domestic care a light and easy task, have never been taught, for fear it would interrupt their happiness; and the result is, that when cares come, as come they must, they find them misery. I am convinced that indifference and dislike between husband and wife are more frequently occasioned by this great error in education, than by any other cause.3

Although this author has accurately described the dismal state of education for the home today, she was actually writing in 1828. Only imagine what she would say were she alive to observe the situation now! If it's possible, girls are even less prepared now than they were two hundred years ago. Young women tend to assume that homemaking doesn't require any advanced skills or preparation. It's similar to what a sixth grader might think about a test covering first-grade material: What's there to study?

But the truth is that homemaking involves so much more than just cleaning a house. The commands in Scripture to love, follow, and help a husband; to raise children for the glory of God; and to manage a home encompass a vast responsibility. Homemaking requires an extremely diverse array of skills—everything from management abilities, to knowledge of health and nutrition, to interior decorating capabilities, to childhood development expertise. If you are to become an effective homemaker, then you must study these subjects and many more.

Read the entire CBMW article "Homemaking Internship" here.

[editor's note: we don't agree with leaving it open to develop a career outside the home]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Children of Caeser

"This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people ask home educators the “authority” questions (i.e., to whom do your report? who approves your curriculum?). These questions are the byproduct of statism. The Gramscian, neo-Marxist influence is so prevalent in our culture that we don’t even recognize it anymore. We actually believe that children are wards of the state when in fact they are not. As a result, some people have a hard time believing that they have the right to educate their children in a manner of their choosing. Well, I’m here to tell you that you are free. Your children are yours. They do not belong to Caesar. You don’t have to take them back to the local government indoctrination center next semester. And in some states (thank God for Texas), you don’t even have to tell them you’re not coming back!"

Read the rest here.

Recommended Resources:
Worldview with Hope Set
The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship
Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons & Daughters Who Walk with God

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Entrepreneurship As A Solution To The Health Care Crisis

The Heart of a Company: The birth of a seriously ill child set Kenny Kramm on a course from ordinary guy to extraordinary entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneurial family we have been encouraged by stories much like the Kramm's. Off the top of my head I can think several similar stories where entrepreneurial couples, along with their families faced medical challenges and matured rapidly. There was simply no toying around and so they grew personally, spiritually and as entrepreneurs far beyond most.

In our socialistic day in age, when it's accepted to abort, before and after birth, I find the Kramms a breath of fresh air. Their story tells us, "It's no ones responsibility but my own." And their faith is blessed tremendously far beyond what it would have been possible had this specific motivation not come into their life.

The Kramms faced what many entrepreneurs face, a dual with a family member. It's a delicate situation balancing honor and a vision or a mission. Our father has had to counsel young couples many times on the importance of maintaining honor while fulfilling one duties & obligations. Again and again, we've seen the same results. Persisting, continuing to pursue a vision or mission, holding to the truths they are seeking to live out while remaining respectful, crossing the threshold created by expectations (based on error, myth, societal standards, low aim or what have you) of well meaning family members, proves those truths to one's family members, is a witness to them, it is edifying for them, freeing them from the myths they've been clinging to far too long. It often restores broken or stressed relationships.

But on to the the Kramms.

Mr. Kramm is an example of manhood at it's finest. I have to highlight that he was not the out-going personality and entrepreneurial "type." Pitch your personality books. Sorry, but they are boxing you into a comfort zone that may very well keep you from realizing your fullest potential. He also did another important thing that contributes to the success of a business. He maintained a very narrow focus. One of the things that we've been taught and have taught is that we're to analyze our activities in light of the vision or mission we're on. If they have nothing to do with that vision than we're to have nothing to do with them. People fitter away so much time on unnecessary matters dissipating their energies and presenting a scattered view of how life is lived to those they are leading. He also, took it a phase at a time. When one phase ended and even before it ended, he had another phase and end goal insight.

Mrs. Kramm followed her husband's example and leadership. There is not doubt that the tight family unit contributed to their success.

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did. It's one that should ultimately be visited and revisited.

The Heart of a Company: The birth of a seriously ill child set Kenny Kramm on a course from ordinary guy to extraordinary entrepreneur.

Recommended Resources:
Entrepreneurial Bootcamp For Christian Families
Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family
Family Vision Conference Audio Collection
Building a Family That Will Stand

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another Quilt Give-Away!

I've been hopping around the online quilt world, looking around to see what everyone is up to. Things have changed so much since I started quilting in the late 90's. During my half-a-decade or so distraction, colors have changed, patterns have changed, creativity has flourished, and the tools and tutorials are so many. Even the way business is done is fascinating and friendly. No more waiting in long lines on combat sale day at the cutting counter.

Quilts have come along way too. I remember pouring through block books looking at all the traditional block designs and wondering who came up with them & who named them originally. Who wrote the rules?

Now I'm finding quilters that design fabrics, blocks, techniques, quilt designs and much more. It's inspiring to me because I really, really enjoy being creative...really. If you know me well, one of my most common phrases is, "I have an idea..."

So in the spirit of creativity and in light of my latest adventure back into quiltdome...I have an idea!

Go throw your name in the hat for this lovely quilt being given away on Kati Cupcake's Quilt Blog!

Recommended Resources:

101 Full-Size Quilt Blocks and Borders
The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide: From A to Z-- Hundreds of Tips and Techniques for Successful Quiltmaking
Olfa Deluxe Rotary Cutter
Olfa Gridded Cutting Mat Set
Omnigrid Value Pack

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Independence Day Quilt Update

The ladies at FPCR started this quilt on Independence Day in 2007. We pieced it together by hand. Later I died it in tea and appliqued the stars. Over the last two years, now and then we'd work on some of the hand quilting. Today the hand quilting is finally complete.

Nutritional Natural Healing Resources

You have the aches. You have a fever. You remember just how nice it really felt to have a settled stomach. You're wondering how long this one will last and what you can take to help you recover as quickly as possible.

With the flu going around we've had a couple calls from friends asking for advice. We have a few resources that we prefer for referencing nutritional healing practices that I thought I would share them with you today.

The first one is Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch. This book is our most referenced resource. I appreciate it because it's factual and not philosophical. I've come across other books that start you out with bizarre philosophies about how the full moon makes you more spiritual and the book tends to be full of advice that I have to wonder about. I like to stick to the facts and use my own biblical worldview. The nice thing about PfNH is that it will tell you what each vitamin or herb does and recommended quantities. It's just a reference book.

Earl Mindell's Herb Bible and Vitamin Bible are a couple other references that we have. I like to have several around so that I can cross reference and double check.

We also have Shonda Parker's books and use them as well. Her titles are:
For weight loss we recommend Lean For Life hands down. Our family along with hundreds of business owners were part of a trial direct to consumer L4L program. In short, you can't not loose weight on this program. It was phenomenal. Everyone (us and 100's of others) had consistent daily reliable results. Produced by the Lindora Medical clinic in California, a clinic specifically developed for the morbidly obese with 30+ years of successful history in the field, Lean For Life is not a fad diet. Just the right way to eat and the right way to think about yourself and food.

Last but not least eat Garlic. That's my advice. It's a natural antibiotic and it will force a quarantine if you eat enough.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reformation 500 Audio Has Been Released!

It only happened once, and it will never be repeated — The Reformation 500 Celebration drew Christian families from across the nation to celebrate, study, and learn from the amazing legacy of John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation. Attendees rejoiced together as they remembered the quincentenary of the birth of John Calvin and the 500-year tradition of Reformers such as Martin Luther, John Knox, and Theodore Beza as well as the countless martyrs whose courage and faith reshaped the West and birthed modern liberty. This event exceeded all expectations for its beauty and power as a testimony of the mighty hand of God in the history of the Church — the mighty acts He has done to conquer tyranny and preserve the true faith. May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised for His loving kindness and His mercies.

Save 50% on this 2-Volume Audio Collection from the Reformation 500 Celebration

Recorded live at the Reformation 500 Celebration, now you can hear these remarkable messages and performances and enjoy learning the true history of God’s unfolding plan from notable scholars, teachers, and entertainers. Vision Forum is pleased to release the special 2-volume Reformation 500 Celebration Audio Collection, featuring 34 powerful presentations on 36 CDs, plus two free bonus MP3 discs that together contain the entire collection. And, for one week only, save 50% during our introductory special — only $62!

These audio messages are “conference quality,” meaning their quality is “as recorded” during the actual conference events at the various venues, and without post-production editing. Listen to them like you were there!

Offer good through July 15, 2009.

Recommended Resources:
Reformation Study Resource Collection 43% off

The World's Greatest Reformation History Set (7 Vols.) 55% off

22-Vol. Commemorative Calvin Commentaries with Free Calvin's Institutes (23 Books) 88% off

Monday, July 06, 2009

Governor Sanford is no King David

"Governor Sanford is no King David, and the people of South Carolina -- as well as the watching world -- now observe the sad spectacle of a man who, while admitting to wrongdoing, shows no genuine repentance. As the Christian church has long recognized, true repentance is reflected in the "detestation of sin." This is a far cry from what we've heard from Governor Sanford."

Albert Mohler
Posted: Thursday, July 02, 2009 at 5:24 am ET

The sad spectacle of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford continues to dominate the headlines as further revelations add one bizarre twist after another to the governor's tale of adultery, deceit, and the consequences of sin. With every passing day, pressure mounts for the governor to resign. As the revelations unfold, his leadership credibility is further destroyed. The people of South Carolina now look to their governor's mansion with a sense of dread and embarrassment.

Governor Sanford's admission of adultery came only after he was ambushed by the media after returning from a liaison in Argentina. In a rambling confession, the governor admitted to an ongoing relationship and an extramarital affair. While the media quickly turned to ask questions about money and the affairs of state, many others immediately thought of the governor's wife and four sons and the horrible pain and embarrassment they were now forced to bear.

In his original statement, Governor Sanford seemed to acknowledge the evil of his actions and, using biblical language, he appeared to understand the sinfulness of his adultery and betrayal. Yet, his statement was rambling and disconnected and, upon reflection, his words raised more questions than they answered. How did this affair happen? Was the relationship really over?

When Governor Sanford addressed his cabinet just a few days after his confession, he offered an apology to his colleagues and promised to "carry on" as governor. “I wanted generally to apologize to every one of you all, for letting you down,” he said. Of course, "letting you down" hardly covers the behavior that brought the governor to this admission. The governor violated his marital vows, engaged in an elaborate and sickening correspondence with his mistress, abandoned his responsibility as husband and father, and forfeited his right to lead the state which twice had elected him governor.

When speaking to the Cabinet, Governor Sanford referred to the biblical story of King David. The governor spoke of "the way in which he fell mightily -- he fell in very, very significant ways --- but then picked up the pieces and built from there." The governor also suggested that remaining in office would set a good example for his four boys, teaching them to persevere after a fall. The great shame is that the governor did not have his four boys in mind as he committed adultery.

Naturally, questions emerged related to the extent and duration of the extramarital affair. The governor's initial statement was unclear about several key issues. The days following would render the situation even more unclear.

Most recently, in a lengthy interview granted to the Associated Press, Governor Sanford added what the wire service called "explosive details" that made the picture all the more troubling. In the first place, the governor admitted to having "crossed the lines" with other women. "There were a handful of instances wherein I crossed the lines that I shouldn't have crossed as a married man, but never crossed the ultimate line," said the governor.

But the most troubling words from the governor concerned the nature of his relationship with Maria Belen Chapur, the woman with whom he had the affair. "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story," he said. He added: "A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."

Speaking, not of his wife, but of his mistress, Governor Sanford declared that he would go to his grave "knowing that I had met my soul mate."

Immediately following the governor's first admission, it seemed that he might survive politically and remain in office. The nation found itself once again in a debate about the relationship between personal virtue and public responsibility. This is a question that is particularly vexing to Christian conservatives, who must simultaneously understand that all are sinners in need of redemption and, at the same time, affirm that some sins disqualify individuals from public service and influence.

America's recent political history indicates that some politicians can survive revelations of adultery. While Christians should be less concerned about the political consequences and more concerned about the spiritual consequences, it is fair to observe that those politicians who survive more often than not do so when the adulterous relationship is clearly over and in the more distant past and when the politician has given himself in a demonstrable way to the priority of rebuilding his marriage and reestablishing credibility with his family.

Put simply, Governor Sanford's most recent comments point to a worst-case scenario. His words make clear that his heart is still inclined toward his mistress, and not his wife. With tragic candor, the governor has spoken of trying to fall back in love with his wife. He refers to his mistress, not his wife, as his soul mate, and speaks wistfully of the affair as "a love story at the end of the day."

Governor Sanford may cite King David, and he may even suffer the illusion that his response is similar to that of Israel's King. Nevertheless, the difference is clear. David's adultery was mixed even with murder, but his own acknowledgment of sin came in a flood of contrition, remorse, broken heartedness, and humility. David acknowledged the reality of his sin, expressed his hatred of the sin, and became a model for us all of repentance. Governor Sanford, on the other hand, demonstrates the audacity to speak wistfully of his sin, longingly of his lover, and romantically of his descent into unfaithfulness.

Governor Sanford is no King David, and the people of South Carolina -- as well as the watching world -- now observe the sad spectacle of a man who, while admitting to wrongdoing, shows no genuine repentance. As the Christian church has long recognized, true repentance is reflected in the "detestation of sin." This is a far cry from what we've heard from Governor Sanford.

If the governor is really serious about demonstrating character to his four sons, he should resign his office and give himself unreservedly to his wife and family. He must show his sons -- and all who have eyes to see -- how a man is led by the grace and mercy of God to hate his sin, rather than to love it. Until then, the governor must be understood to indulge himself in wistfulness for his affair and in a desperate determination to maintain his office. His remaining days in office are like a Greek tragedy unfolding into farce. The whole picture is just unspeakably sad.

Recommended Resources:
Father to Son: Manly Conversations that Can Change Culture
iPod® nano: Fatherhood Collection
The Master's Plan for Fathers
Family Man, Family Leader

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independence Day Celebration

Lovely ladies

Becoming a tradition..Carwile corn cooked over an outdoor oven.

"because free men will never consent to give up the means of defending their liberties."

One year ago today my Dad and Mom were married!

Our dear friend Mary.

Waiting for a sermon and movie; another tradition, watching Johnny Tremain.

John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg

The Patriot and his daughters

Lady Smith.

Blessed [be] the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, [and] my fingers to fight
Psalm 144:1

Dale teaches martial arts.

A fine young gentleman that loaned me his mallet and ball.

Friday, July 03, 2009

And the winner is......

It's time for the drawing!!!

First we'll need a hat!

Will someone draw a name? Bethany to the rescue!

Who is it? I wonder?

Anna, we'll mail you your new wall quilt as soon as you email us your mailing address. Enjoy!

Until next time... :)