Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I hate the shedding of innocent blood

1 million red envelopes deluge White House
'This is a message to a man that God hears the cry of innocent blood'

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Over one million, empty, red envelopes

have poured into the White House mail room, symbolizing the empty promise of lives snuffed out in abortion; and with Red Envelope Day planned for tomorrow, coordinators estimate that number could more than double.

The Red Envelope Project is an idea sparked in the mind and prayers of a Massachusetts man, Christ Otto, who envisioned in January thousands of red envelopes sent to the White House, a visual expression of moral outrage over the president's position on abortion.

On the backs of the envelopes, senders write a message Otto composed: "This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception."

"We are trying to change the president's heart," Otto writes on a website explaining the project. "This is a message to a man that God hears the cry of innocent blood. It is not a political stunt, although I hope it changes policy in Washington. If the capital is flooded with so many letters that no one can deny it, I am hoping the image will be burned into Barack Obama's mind that this is about human blood, and that he lies awake at night until he cannot resist doing something about it."

The original project began small, but when Otto sent out an email to friends asking them to join him in the envelope effort, the symbolic gesture spread through the Internet like wildfire.

"I sent an email to 120 people who pray for me daily, and asked them if they wouldn't mind sending a red envelope, and if they thought it was a good idea, forwarding it on to their friends," Otto told WND. "About a week and half later, a friend told me to Google it, and I found about 30 blogs dedicated to the red envelopes."

Otto told WND a few days later, he began receiving contacts from national pro-life organizations and churches that had taken up the cause.

By February, Otto learned of a Texas man named Brian Potter, who set March 31 as Red Envelope Day, a date when supporters would drop hundreds of thousands of the envelopes in the mail, presumably being delivered to the White House near the beginning of Holy Week, just prior to the start of Passover.

Potter's Red Envelope Day website has also partnered with AmazingCauses.com to enable supporters to send the red envelopes online in one easy and coordinated effort, so that, in Potter's words, "they will send out a truckload of envelopes to the White House."

Visitors to Otto's site have testified to over 1.1 million envelopes sent so far; Potter's website records more than 125,000 envelopes waiting to be sent on March 31; and Otto told WND churches around the country are piling up envelopes, thousands at a time, preparing to mail an estimated quarter of a million tomorrow.

The Catholic News

Agency reports that a consortium of 11 different student groups at the University of Notre Dame, in protest of the university's invitation of Barack Obama to speak at graduation, plan to hand deliver a surge of the red envelopes to the pro-abortion president when he arrives to give the commencement address in May.

Christ Otto

Otto told WND the message on the backs of the envelopes was crafted in response to a previous Obama speech, his inaugural address.

"The president spoke for a long time about creating a culture of responsibility, and part of creating a culture of responsibility was not taking the lives of the innocent. He actually said that in his inaugural address," Otto said. "That was why I added the line, 'Responsibility begins with conception.'"

Otto's FAQ page about the project also explains why the color red was chosen:

"The envelopes represent the innocent blood shed through abortion, and the plea for the blood of Jesus over the sin of our nation," writes Otto. "This campaign is a symbolic act to flood the mail with red. The more we send, the more powerful this symbol will be."

Otto told WND he thought a few thousand red envelopes would simply be a statement, showing that there are still people who care about the abortion issue deeply. As more and more people have joined him, however, Otto says the red envelopes are having an effect.

"Do I think it will change the President? I don't know," Otto writes on his website. "Last week I received an unsolicited call from a senator's office. They thought that I was in Washington, and that I must have a huge PAC. This gave me indication that someone on Capitol Hill knows about these envelopes. So, I guess it is making a difference."

Otto told WND, "As I've watched this grow, it's become clearer and clearer to me that the thing I'd like people to see is that they can make a difference in whatever they do. The message of my life is to listen to God and do what he tells you. And if you listen to God and do what he tells you and live a live of prayer and obedience, you can make a difference.

"I know this has empowered many people who felt powerless before this came along," Otto continued. "I know that there are thousands of people involved – there are a quarter of a million on Facebook alone – and if people can see that they still have a voice, to me, that means it's a success."

Details on how to participate, including specific instructions to ensure envelopes aren't sent to the dead letter bin, are available at RedEnvelopeDay.com and The Red Envelope Project website.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ebay - A Household Tool

So, I mentioned I use eBay. I actually use it quite a bit. Over the last nine years I have learned a lot and become very well acquainted with the online market place and interface and have found that it's a very handy household tool.

I don't necessarily use it as a full time money-making venture like some do. But I find it a handy tool in order to be productive around the house. I have mentioned that I clean out the closets on eBay in the past but while that helps me regain some of my money spent, there is another approach I thought I'd mention today. In times when everyone is concerned about being very frugal this may come in handy for you too.

I find that I can spend the same amount of time scrimping, saving, clipping coupons and shopping sale prices, or in short cutting back as I can looking for a entrepreneurial adventure or a way to produce capital while buying what I need.

There's a contrast in the way one thinks about both approaches to providing for your household. One is "reduce" the other is "produce". Producing begins with thinking in the other direction than we're used to. It's inspiring to think this way and the lessons learned from each endeavor can become the foundation for greater production for your needs in the future. One of the benefits of thinking like a producer is that you don't actually have to give up anything. In the end, I usually come out ahead too, so that's a plus.

The boot story

Once upon a time we lived in Alaska and heard stories about the wild Texas frontier. We heard that it was covered in snakes and that one would have to walk across snakes to get from their car to their front door. Not the case, but there are plenty of snakes any how. Once we arrived in Texas and settled in we had already dealt with a number of snakes and decided it was time to outfit the family in snake boots. This is when Andrea and I were with the Moores so there were a minimum of 7 people needing boots that ran $180-$208 a piece. eBay to the rescue!

In my online search I found a sporting goods store that was liquidating 33 pairs of name brand high quality snake boots. It was also the height of snake boots selling season online so that was great. After corresponding with the sporting goods store about sizes and condition, Andrea Moore bought the inventory. We'd already run the numbers. We'd already checked to see what brands were in the inventory and what they were selling for. We knew that they would all resell. There was a variety of sizes so everyone in the Moore family was outfitted along with the Heustis family, myself, and my father. I sold the rest on eBay for less than retail at a great sale price and made enough money to cover the cost of the original lot price and all fees. In the end everyone had high quality snake boots for free!

I have done this a couple other times myself. I bought an inventory of Danskos from a woman that had a shoe store that went out of business. I sold them all in one week on eBay and freaked her out. :)

On a smaller scale we were in need of some computer parts after our laptop tried to drink a glass of water. I bought a lot of 12 key boards, tested them all in the laptop and found only one was faulty. So I kept one and installed it in the laptop and the rest I sold for a profit above what I paid for the lot. Then I used the profit to buy a new speaker for the same laptop.

Here's another angle. Buy somewhere else and bring the price down on eBay.

I recently purchased a new Canon camera from BH Photo. I had looked around the internet for the best price I could find. The lowest was around $460 for camera and 18mm-55mm lens. I purchased a package deal which included the Canon camera body, the short lens and a long lens. I didn't want the long lens, but it was only $20 more when purchased it with the package. The same lens was selling on eBay for $100. There were plenty of buyers in the marketplace and not many lenses. When all was said and done I had a new Canon Rebel XS body and short lens for $400.

A few things to consider:
What season is it?
What kind of people buy this stuff?
How do they think when they shop?
What's the profit potential?
What's the percentage of sales?
How many buyers are there in the market place?
What have their buying habits been?

Happy eBaying!!!

Recommended Resource:
Pro-Sumer Power: How to Create Wealth by Buying Smarter, Not Cheaper!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Free $50 Gift Certificates from Vision Forum

Vision Forum's Clearance Outlet is full of great homeschooling resources. Here's your chance to get more for your money! Not only will you get great savings and value for your dollar, for the next five days Vision Forum will give you a $50 Gift Certificate for every $95 dollars spent.

No need to divide up your orders either. If you need to stock up on more that $95 dollars worth, just put it all on one order and receive multiple $50 certificates.

Happy Shopping.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life On The Mini Farm - Part 1

Everything is going great on the Mini Farm. There are quite a few things growing now and we have plans for more to be put in. We've changed a few things as well. All-in-all we've been having a good time of it. Enjoying the weather, it's been very easy to work in.

The produce is all turning out wonderful. The meals we've enjoyed from our own fresh food have been incredible. They are far more flavorful and so we've been inspired to try new recipes and there's been some experimenting going on in the kitchen. What there's not been a lot of is leftovers.

Of course we're always learning as we go because we're trying new things and it makes it all very interesting. Here's a look around at what's been happening.

There's quite a variety in the seedling nursery. We've started Cantaloupe, Zucchini, Moon and Stars Watermelon, Marigold (to keeps bugs away), peppers (Bell, Jalapeno, Poblano, Pepperoncini, and Anaheim Chilis,) Heirloom Tomatoes, and herbs (Thyme, Basil, Sage, and Epazote). Epazote is a new one for us and we're looking forward to using it in some of our Mexican dishes.

The one strawberry plant that made the move from our urban micro farm is starting to bear fruit.It's hard to see them, but this is where we put in all our strawberry plants. Parallel to these rows we have three blackberry plants and one grape vine growing.

This is where the collards and cauliflower were over the winter. They've since been composted. We fed the collards to the rabbits and the chickens. They grew well we just had not planned on growing any. We accidentally picked up collard plants instead of brocholi last fall. So no loss there. I think the animals really liked it. The cauliflower didn't do well because of the aphids.

This is the new crop of lettuce. From left to right we have Mesclun, Swiss Chard, Romaine, and Leaf Lettuce. This was the herb bed over the winter.
This is a brand new row of Peas. The row runs north/south. This is our east side fence. You're looking south. :) The peas can catch the morning shade here.

The celery is looking good. Mom grew them from celery bottoms saved from grocery store celery but we've not tried this before so if you're planning on growing some you might want to try seeds. The pot was used as a cover to protect them from frost. Now that the last frost has passed we're thinking about gumbo...

The red cabbage you've seen before. It was supposed to grow last fall but it taking it's own sweet time. It's starting to form a head now and is looking really good.

The spinach is still going strong. We have a couple separate spinach patches. We pick the leaves as we need them and allow the plants to keep producing. Click the photo above to check out our organic pest control.

A garden fresh snack

We've put in 4 rows of potatoes of the russet and red varieties. We started them from store potatoes. The plants are down in the ditches and we will cover them as they grow up in order to get more potatoes off them.

Our neighbors have a couple of pear trees that will be loaded with pears. In previous years they've gone to waste. This year, if we can save them from the squirrels, we'll be canning pears for both families. We're really looking forward to it. It's been a while since we've had a pear tree.

The figgy fortress. Our little fig tree is hanging on.

The first planter box that has been built was the home of the seedlings seen above. They've been moved out and now we've planted a small bit of carrots.

Inside we have a couple sweet potatoes that we are using to create slips.

Here's a slip working on growing roots. Once it sprouts some good sized roots, we'll plant it in the potato garden.

New garden beds on the west side. The sod was removed and oak leaves will be turned into the soil. After that happens this may be where we grow the corn. We're going to plant popcorn this year; something that we've never done.
Andrea is turning the oak leaves into the soil getting it ready for the tomatoes and peppers that are in the other small seedling nursery on the front porch. The broccoli was very good better than store broccoli. It has now bolted and is going to seed. Once we've collected the seeds we'll compost the plants and save the seed for next fall. A small crop of peppers will grow where the broccoli is now.

We have one grand oak tree that we saved the leaves from when they fell in the Fall. We were able to use them for insulating the garden over the winter. They worked great. Since they are already in the garden area they are easy to turn into the soil.

More later....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Abortion chain owner's family died in MT cemetery plane crash - near Tomb of the Unborn

"We warned him, for his children's sake, to wash his hands of the innocent blood he assisted in spilling because, as Scripture warns, if 'you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you."' (Ezekiel 35:6)

Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults.

But what the news sources fail to mention is... the [cemetery] contains... the Tomb of the Unborn... erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.

What else is the mainstream news not telling you? The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim's memorial, is the family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation....

A news source states that Bud Feldkamp visited the site of the crash with his wife and their 2 surviving children on Monday. As they stood near the twisted and charred debris talking with investigators, light snow fell on the tarps that covered the remains of their children.

I don't want to turn this tragic event into some creepy spiritual "I told you so" moment, but I think of the time spent outside of Feldkamp's - Pam Feldkamp laughing at the fetal development signs, Bud Feldkamp trying not to make eye contact as he got into his car with a small child in tow - and I think of the haunting words, "Think of your children." I wonder if those words were haunting Feldkamp as well as he stood in the snow among the remains of loved ones, just feet from the Tomb of the Unborn?

I only hope and pray that in the face of this tragedy, Feldkamp recognizes his need for repentance and reformation. I pray that God will use this unfortunate catastrophe to soften the hearts of Bud and Pam and that they will draw close to the Lord and wash their hands of the blood of thousands of innocent children, each as precious and irreplaceable as their own.

"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then." (Deut. 30:19)

Feldkamp's family has gone through tragedy before. Two years ago, his 10-month-old grandson, Chase, died after he was found to have slipped between a mattress and the edge of a bed during a nap. The child was taken to a hospital and was eventually taken off life support.

Read Jill Stanek's article here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fun On The Farm

I know some people whose idea of an extreme sport is swallowing vitamins, at any rate, whether you're an extreme sport enthusiast or not you'll enjoy "Extreme Shepherding"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Sign Of The Times

On our back patio you'll find our outdoor shoes. Exciting, I know. The pair on the far right are good for kicking roosters in case you ever visit. With all the gardening going on and egg collecting too, our outdoor shoe collection multiplied quickly making it hard to get to the back door. So we added a handsome wooden shoe rack. It was build by my father years ago, stained and varnished to match the office furniture. Office furniture? Yep, it was video/cassette shelf. It's a sign of the times I guess. It works perfectly holding the toes of your shoes under each back rest.
And while we're here...it's a "must have" boot brush, because chicken yards have much more to offer than farm fresh eggs.

Frugality & Creativity in the Home

Just thought I'd give you the heads up that Vision Forum has some new resources available. We'll talk more about each item later. But right now take a look. We've got ours on order.

Review: Homestead Blessings The Art of Bread Making

Andrea and I have been bread makers for some time now. We have our disaster stories and from them came our motto: "You haven't failed at bread making until you burn the croutons." When a loaf doesn't come out right it's excellent crouton material in other words.

It's been a fun adventure through the years. Experimenting with different recipes, climates and critics. It's a challenge but it's well worth it nutritionally, for the flavors you can create and don't forget how it makes the home smell so wonderful. Bread making even affords the opportunity to be creative and artistic.

So when Andrea came across the Homestead Blessings DVD set she knew it would be right up our alley. (Follow the link above to watch a preview of the set)

So far we've had the opportunity to review "The Art of Bread Making" featuring the West Ladies Jasmine, CeCe, Vicki and Hannah; each a distinctly different and delightful personality.

Since we already know how to make bread we first analyzed their recipes and methods for accuracy. The West Ladies showed us they "more than know" how to make bread. We could tell it is a way of life for them. They are thoroughly knowledgeable and give all the essential basic information and instruction for the beginning bread baker. Their instructions were easy to follow. Their recipes were simple. The results are perfect and lovely. We were surprised to see that they didn't use a mixer. Everything was done by hand. There wasn't much kneading required with these recipes. We also appreciated how they did not over complicate things making the art of bread making relaxing and enjoyable. They inspired our creativity and artistry as well.

They offered a variety of recipes, more than how to make a standard loaf. But I have to mention, their standard loaf was amazingly light, puffy and simply incredible. You'll also learn how to make hamburger buns topped with sesame seeds, a cheesy herb pizza crust which they also turned bread sticks. At this point we were considering turning off the DVD and heading for the kitchen. But then they sprung the meal-in-a-loaf on us, which can be served as a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal, depending on what you put inside. Oh, and there was cinnamon rolls and cast iron corn bread too.

The DVD is full of tips. My personal favorite was how the West ladies continually show you how to create a variety within one recipe. If you have more than one food critic in your home you will appreciate this. They show you how easy it is to please everyone with one recipe. Andrea really liked how they used parchment paper. You can roll your dough on it or shape your meal-in-a-loaf on it and easily transfer your work of art from counter to pan with it because parchment is oven safe.

The kitchen setting was beautifully decorated with vibrant colors and was a mixture of old-fashioned, warm & cozy mixed with bits of modernity here and there. The West ladies personalities were just as vibrant and joyful as their setting, and like I said earlier, distinctly different. They are all very encouraging and I appreciated seeing them work together in different combinations, each taking turns with two on set for each recipe which was filmed from beginning to end.

All-in-all the Wests presented a friendly and light hearted atmosphere where bread making as easy to achieve, pleasant to do, with lovely results everyone in a family is going to enjoy.

The DVD also contains all the recipes presented on the film in the form of printable PDF files.

Happy Bread Making and don't forget to join The Great Homestead Blessings Contest.

Mrs. Wren

Click photo to take a peek.

Friday, March 20, 2009

From: What He Must Be If He Wants To Marry My Daughter

A quote from the opening of chapter 4:

"[My] dear son and daughter, you need not consider praying for a pious spouse a disgrace. For you do not consider it a disgrace to ask God to give you a sound hand or leg... Now a pious spouse is as necessary as a sound hand or leg. For if a husband or wife do not turn out well, you enjoy few good days or hours and would prefer to have a paralyzed hand or led instead." ~Martin Luther, What Luther Says

The Great Homestead Blessings Contest!

Andrea and I are excite to announce that Franklin Springs Family Media has just announced a fun and entertaining new contest.

Submit a video or photo slideshow of you with your family, or by yourself, making a recipe featured on one or more of the Homestead Blessings DVDs; The Art of Breadmaking, The Art of Soap Making, or The Art of Candle Making. If you do not have the DVDs, they can be rented from NETFLIX.com, or ordered with free shipping from Franklin Springs by clicking here. Use free shipping promotion code: westcontest02354

Andrea and I recently reviewed "The Art of Bread Making" and are very pleased with the DVD. More on that later!

A winner for each category will be selected from all entries received by the following deadlines:

The Art of Breadmaking
—Deadline for submission: April 10th
The Art of Soap Making
—Deadline for submission: April 17th
The Art of Candle Making
—Deadline for submission: April 24th

A Best of Contest prize of $100 will also be awarded to the best submission judged by a Franklin Springs panel.

Whether this will be your first time making one of these projects, or you are a seasoned professional, they would love to see you have fun and enjoy these good old-fashioned skills.

All video submissions should be no longer than 3 minutes. Language and attire must be appropriate for our family audience. Franklin Springs reserves the right to disqualify any submission from the contest. By entering this contest, and unless requested otherwise, all entrants grant permission for their entry to be posted on the Friends of Franklin Springs Family Media website.

Three Ways to Enter!
1. Send entry via email to: contests at franklinsprings.com (replace ‘at’ with @ sign).
2. Upload your video to Facebook, YouTube, Google Video, or any other site and send us the link.
3. Sign up at the Friends website: http://community.franklinsprings.com/,
join the Contest Group and upload your video to your profile.

Please include your name and address, and be sure to tell them you heard about the contest right here at Ah...the Life!

We look forward to seeing your entry!

The Great Homestead Blessings Contest!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Over A Week Left To Download Ten P's In A Pod For Free!

Sentimental Living From The Porch

I received a copy of Sentimental Living From The Porch for my birthday and absolutely love it. It's full of quotes, stitch patterns, recipes, crafts, table settings, outdoor decor, gift ideas, just about anything and everything you can think of to make a home warm, friendly and hospitable. Alda Ellis takes you through every season of the year, along with the parties, celebrations and holiday's they each contain, giving you fresh ideas for how to make your home that special place everyone loves to visit and wants to return to. The book is full of an array of colors, patterns, tastes, styles, and overall reflections of a joyful homemaker. If you pick yourself up a copy, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Experience Than I Care To Admit

I have to admit. These are a lot of fun when there's a house full of boys. You can shoot them, the boys that is, and watch the drama unfold. Diving barrel rolls behind couches, pillows raised that shield the incoming rounds, death scenes that look oh-so-real. :) When every boy wants to be the good guy hero, someone has to be the Red Coat. I gladly oblige.

4 and 1/2 Hours....

...Left in the Vision Forum Sale. A great chance for entrepreneurially-minded SAHers to take advantage of great prices.

40%o off

69% off

The Master Planner And What It Does For Others

I've used a Franklin Planner to organize myself and learned a lot from the Franklin Covey seminar. I've also tried to keep things together with a Palm Pilot and Palm Software. I have to admit I liked that better than the planner. I have used the compact size planner and well it's more than I wanted to lug around. I've also used the David DeLap system which consists of a yellow pad and a pen that never leave your desk. If you spill your coffee or someone borrows your yellow pad and doesn't put it back, well, you're probably not going to remember to get groceries, return a phone call, or follow through on an order. But it's the system I perfer at this point in my life.

Over the years Andrea and I have picked up tips from books, mentors, Titus 2's and from making mistakes and working out the kinks amongst other things. Are we the gurus of getting things done. No. But regardless of who you are you are just like the rest of us. You only have 24 hours in a day and you face the same question we all do: "How should I prioritize my time?"

There's much that could be said about this very important element of planning and many will pay a high price to get the facts and keep them organized, prioritized, functional and on track. But like everything else in life the Word offers much wisdom and often it's the last place people look. Perhaps that's the very reason why we're caught spinning our wheels?

I really appreciated this article by Anna Sofia especially since she highlights the principle of "redeeming the time" and what that means. I have a really difficult time NOT multitasking. I have a difficult time doing projects that accomplish one goal rather than 12 or 14. For example, why spend countless hours of your life walking the isles and standing in lines at the grocery store or post office in today's technological age? It's just not necessary. You can do it at home have it shipped to or picked up from your door step.

I also have a tendency of over doing it, I admit, making projects, schedules and life in general crazy, but hey, it adds to the adventure and challenge right?

If I could add to what Anna says, consider when working with others, younger siblings perhaps, how valuable their time is in light of what God has said. Their time is not yours to waste either. For example consider helping them see the big picture or orchestration many things, rather than working for you like a coolie with little or no understanding of where they fit in God's economy.

If you take the time to consider the value God has put on their time, it will change the way you work with them. It will change your perspective of them. And as a result, you'll find a remarkable change in your relationship with them.

When younger siblings are given tasks that are attached to an "overall" vision, tasks that employ the principle of redeeming the time, tasks that challenge their abilities, and their creativity, they receive those tasks and that vision with an attached message about your leadership and about what you think of them as their older sibling. That message says to them, "You are of value. I see you the light that God has placed on you. I see you as part of His work and the body. I believe that the Lord has the perspective that you will accomplish many things by His grace." That message invigorates them. Giving them this perspective is one way you can serve them. In short it is a way to bless them.

How would you work, feel, perform for someone who thought this of you?

Enjoy Anna Sofia's article...I did.