Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jesus paid it all....



I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots And melt the heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save” my lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Oh Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead!
Oh Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Camp Week


Whew. It has been a long, but good week. This is the first time that we’ve been away from all of our children for any length of time. It is also the first time that we have ever been responsible for 14 children of other people for any length of time. Our week was split between Nashville and a trip to the mountains in east Tennessee.

We spent the first night at Climb Nashville. This place was great! The people are extremely friendly (thanks Lance!) and patient. If you are looking for something great to do with a bunch of energetic young people, this is the place. They let you climb until 2 a.m. and do what you want after that. Some of our youth chose sleep and others chose to stay up and slide on the floor in their sleeping bags. They have a video projector, so you can watch movies. They even have showers! We definitely plan to go back. Want to find out how much someone trusts you? Offer to belay for them.

Day two was spent at Longhunter State Park in Mt. Juliet. We had hoped to canoe, but they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We’ll try that some other time. We did stay and walk around the lake. Some of the youth stayed in the shade and hung out with a group of senior citizens whose retirement home had taken them fishing. It was a very sweet site to see. We prayed together before we all ate lunch under a big covered patio. We had sandwiches and they had KFC. Some of our kids asked why didn’t we have KFC. Our response was, “You aren’t in a nursing home!” They giggled.

We began one of our “Get to know ya” sessions on Tuesday. These are where a person sits in the middle of a circle of other youth and tells their life story. I think they were the highlight of the week. I can’t convey to you how amazing some of the autobiographies are. Suffice it to say that I am continued to be humbled how the Lord has made me a part of His plan to minister to them. No one should have to endure some of the things that some of these children have. The harvest is plenty!

We went to see an evangelist named Ken Freeman on Tuesday evening. We had made plans to see him several weeks before. We knew that he was going to be at the church all week. We did not know that he was appearing as part of a youth conference at Two Rivers Baptist Church! What wonderful providence! We joined the “blue” team upon our arrival. It seems that they got points for bringing guests. We gave them 17 guests and took them from last to first place for the night. Also, one of our youth won a “Simon Says” game that gave them many points. They didn’t know that we had a “ringer”. This young boy plays “Simon Says” with many of the smaller children at church. He is the Tiger Woods of “Simon Says”.

Ken Freeman’s testimony mirrored those of some of our youth. His message was true and refreshingly blunt. He preached some about how “salvation” is more than saying a prayer. That you must “TRUST” in Jesus. Trust and obey…. Two of our rather hardened and cynical youth professed for the first time that they too wanted to trust in Christ that night. Several others recognized that they needed to trust and obey more completely.

The next day, we drove to our cabin in the mountains. 5 miles from the cabin, one of the vans broke down. We were able to make two trips with the remaining van to get all of the youth to the cabin. We were so blessed that it broke down so close to the cabin. The cabin was amazing. Many of the kids had never been anywhere that nice. It had a beautiful view, too. The people at Good Sam arranged a tow for the bad van at no charge! We have a Good Sam membership, but did not expect that it would cover a vehicle that wasn’t even ours! We fully recommend Good Sam, even to those who don’t have an RV. They also contacted a local repair shop and made sure that they could fix the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time. $500 and several hours later, we were on the way to Dollywood. Dollywood was fun, but terribly expensive. $2.50 for a bottle of water. Over $40 per person to get in….. Whew! I was surprised that they didn’t have pay toilets. Shhh…. Let’s not give them any ideas!


We gave each of the youth a laminated copy of the Sermon on the Mount. They are made to be suspended from a shower head. That way, they can read some of God’s word every day. We had a hot tub in the cabin, which we let the boys and girls enjoy separately. We found two groups reading the sermon and praying together. How amazing. It was self-led prayer and study.

God gave us a theme-song this week, too. “Jesus Paid It All” ( a contemporary version of the hymn from 1865!) was instantly loved and remembered by our entire youth group. We just happened to have it on a DVD that we brought along to ClimbNashville on Monday night. Then on Tuesday night, the church service we attended had a band that closed the evening with that song. When we returned to our hotel room, folks were humming it. On Wednesday evening, we ended our group time (just before bed) by watching the DVD recording of the song. At bedtime, our wanna-be gangster rapper asked to take the DVD up to his room to watch it before he fell asleep. Thursday night the girls got to take it to their room. Friday as we were checking out of the cabin, it was whistled by many, and sang by a few. Scott has produced a video with snapshots of the week that he will play for the church, also set to this song. Oddly enough, there was a second, less-spiritual song learned by the entire group, too. “Fleamarket Montgomery” by Sammy Stephens was an instant hit. It is a commercial for the Montgomery, Alabama fleamarket. One of the young ladies in attendance recorded it for her ring-tone on her phone. Watch it here, you’ll be glad you did!



Scott became tired of saying “no” to everyone, so he appointed one young lady to do it for him. Whenever someone said, “Can we ____?”, Scott pointed at her and she would respond, “Absolutely not!” This was broken out several times, usually involving the purchase of candy, co-ed swimming, the pursuit of strange women, and rap music. They took it in stride and by the end of the week understood why (we think).

The things that they find acceptable in music, television, & relationships are shocking. I think this week was, for some of them, the first time that anyone has ever questioned why they listen to the things they do, or use the language that they use. They were very responsive to that. Some left our week convicted about the stuff they watch and listen to. We shared a lot of the Word this week, and it does convict and illuminate. Our rapper that I mentioned earlier came downstairs and sat on the couch with his arms crossed and a grumpy look on his face. He said he was just going to sit there where there was no sinning on the tv. It was like he came to the realization that the stuff he was seeing on BET really was sin. I don’t think he even questioned it before then. On his way home, he commented to Scott that he wouldn’t be able to watch anything on tv without seeing the sin in it.

It was an amazing week. There is still much work to do, but of the kids who came with us, I think some of them are ready to sow some seeds among their peers in their community.

Here’s a challenge to you:
How far in your community do you have to look to find 14 kids who need someone to love them? 14 kids who have never had unconditional or Godly love? 14 kids who need to hear the word “No” every now and then? Someone to tell them that they’re pretty or smart. Someone to hug them over and over again. Someone to tell them that what their parents, or their uncle, or their cousin did is not their fault. Someone to share the good news of Christ with them, that Jesus paid it ALL. If you can’t find them in your community, there is plenty of need where we are. We’d love to have your help.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Evening Hike


We have yet to explore the bulk of our property. Some evenings, when we've had sufficient sleep the night before or when we're just gluttons for punishment, we strike out like "Lewis & Clark meet Nate the Great".

The past two evenings have been just such occasions.

We were able to get GPS coordinates for one of our property lines this evening. We also got plenty of ticks. Yesterday, we found wild grapes (sorry, no picture) and a good size sink-hole. We are pretty certain that something lives in the sink. We were glad that it did not come out to meet us. We also saw a huge rabbit and a couple of interesting plants that we've not seen before. We'll have to go back with a camera sometime and take some pictures for the blog.

Scott really wants to have a "foraged" dinner. Does it count as foraged, if we staple bags of meat to trees? We found passion fruit. The flowers are really amazing looking and people say that they are delicious to add to drinks.

The kids have eaten at least 12 frozen popsicles tonight. They have become a staple of our evening diet. I wonder how we'll forage for those?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Dog's Life


10:00 AM

2:00 PM

Chicken Independence


In the pursuit of independence from the folks at Tyson Chicken, Scott has begun to build a chicken tractor to house chickens of our own. A chicken tractor, for those of you who don't know, is portable housing for chickens. It allows them to "free-range" without being attacked by predators. There is no floor, so the chickens are able to scratch the ground and eat all the goodies they find there.

This photo shows the nesting box end, where the hens will lay eggs and we will collect them.

Nicholas and Dad, working together on adding the chicken net. Nicholas wasn't about to let go of that popsicle, either. It was a hot afternoon!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Christmas in July

Yesterday was the much anticipated "School supply shopping day" at the Winslow house. The children excitedly finalized their shopping list,using the Wal-Mart sales ad. The two older sons generously gave their little brother $5 so he could purchase whatever supplies he wanted.
We nearly made it through the store without a snag. The kids had picked out all the stuff they wanted, and I decided that I might as well pick up some groceries. As I was perusing the juice aisle, I heard my 2 year old daughter asking a question repeatedly. It sounded like "Made in China?, Made in China?" Sure enough, she had heard the phrase many times when we were deciding to purchase or not purchase something based on its country of origin. She was holding up her brother's plastic pencil case and asking emphatically if it was made in China. I knew this would get the boys quite upset, as we normally try to avoid Chinese products, and I tried to hush her. It didn't work. They started going through everything in the cart, and all of their "good deals" were made in China. They were faced with a tough decision. In the end, they decided that maybe all stuff made in China wasn't bad, because they didn't have enough money to purchase products made elsewhere (not to mention that some of the items did not have a non-Chinese alternative). My four year old bewailed the fact that his scissors were made in China loudly enough to draw amused looks from the largely elderly crowd that shops during our timeframe. I am still morally torn, but I left the decision to them. Even that causes a moral dilemma, though, because they are in my charge. From the mouths of babes....

Here are some pictures of the kids going through their goodies when we returned home. They had supply swapping time, organizing time, etc. Before bed, they asked if we can do it again tomorrow. I had to remind them that "School Supply day comes only once a year." Today we'll clean up all the wrappings and packages and resume life as normal.

Farming failures

Our first attempt at "farm animals" did not work out. I used quotations there because I'm not really sure that guinea fowl count as farm animals. On Saturday, we purchased 2 adult guineas. We brought them home, carefully following the instructions of the kind folks we purchased them from. We were to leave them both in a cage for a week, then let only one out for a week. This way they establish residency and don't just take off looking for other birds to hang out with.

Sunday morning before church, we noticed that one bird was dead. The other was so frightened that he just kept jumping and banging his head on the cage top. Scott decided that it would be better to just let him out of the cage than to let him break his neck. He was freed, and we were off to church. We didn't see him at all the rest of the day, until we came back from the evening service at church. He was slowly eating his way across the neighbor's yard.... and we haven't seen him since. Scott decided to commence work on the chicken tractor, which is nearing completion. We'll post some photos tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight...


I feel a little like the grinch, after his heart grew 3 sizes. Meet the newest member of our family, Penelope. The kids went to spend the night with grandma last night, and Scott and I had "date night". My children will be shocked, and very happy. Right now they don't have the slightest idea that we have a dog.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Compassion

Many nights after the kids are in bed, I stay up and browse blogs that I find interesting. They are mostly agrarian in nature, but sometimes I meander about the web just following links from blog to blog.
A couple of nights ago, this photo pricked my heart.

A small child near death, being watched by a vulture.
I repented of my sin of apathy and indifference. I went back to Compassion International. Several months back, we chose a child to sponsor, made our first payment, and never received anything back from Compassion. I called twice, but there was no record of the sponsorship. The third time I called and gave the child's number, I was told that she had been sponsored by someone else. Must have been a problem with the mail delivery. I was relieved of my $32/month burden. We talked of picking out another child, but never got around to it. Until Tuesday night. After I saw the photo, I knew I needed to do something. I know that saving one child from poverty and hopelessness isn't massive, but if all of us sponsored a child, what a difference it would make! I did an advanced search and chose the first child whose picture popped up under "longest waiting". He is Miqueias Luis Andrade da Silva from Brazil. He will be 5 at the end of July. I'll post a photo of him soon.
I hope you'll consider sponsoring a child through Compassion.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yellow-jackets

Here is an awesome example of an impromptu homeschool science lesson.
I couldn't help but share it.

Kitchen help

My children always want to help prepare dinner. Setting the table is another story. In order to squelch the squabbling at our house, we alternate weeks for these tasks. Originally, each child had a week to be the "kitchen help", which included cooking and setting the table. For those days that we don't get dinner started until 4:30, we found that both tasks were too much for one helper. (Those days are more frequent in occurance than I would like to admit.) Here is Noah working diligently at cooking green beans for last night's dinner. They were quite tasty, despite Nicholas' confession that he added a little Agave Nectar (a natural sweetener) to them when Noah asked him to take over for a minute. He likes to experiment, sometimes with horrible results. Fortunately, there wasn't enough of the sweet stuff in there to notice.

Wildlife sanctuary

Our trash has been torn open many times, usually from the bottom of the bag. Every time that we go to haul trash, it seems that we have to re-bag it. We have blamed the neighbor dog, stray cats, and just about every other animal that comes to mind. Nicholas and I finally caught the offending animal IN THE VERY ACT. Who knew turtles liked trash?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Homemade Potato Chips


I made these homemade potato chips for dinner tonight. These home-grown potatoes were fried in Red Palm Oil, which gives them that lovely orange color. The kids thought they were barbeque flavored chips. I cut the potatoes thin using a vegetable peeler. After frying them until crisp, they were drained and sprinkled with our favorite Creole seasoning.
I first read about Red Palm Oil in Above Rubies magazine, and was intrigued. Then I did an internet search and found that many folks cautioned about its flavor, saying that we most certainly would not enjoy it unless we had grown up eating it. We decided to try it anyway. I've had no complaints from the family (picky husband included). We made barley cakes and fried half in Red Palm Oil and half in Extra Virgin Olive Oil... the Red Palm Oil was our favorite. And tonight, the chips disappeared quickly. The only complaint I have had is from my 6 year old with a hypersensitive nose, but even though he detests the smell, he loves the flavor.
The photo quality is not what I had hoped for... it's hard to get a good shot when you have to keep smacking hands away.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Fourth of July


Not a single photo did I take of our Independence Day Extravaganza. The children and their friends paraded through the yard, there was a cook-out, and lots of fireworks. I missed photos of the giggling pyrotechnics team running wildly from the explosives they lit, the dog with a crepe paper bow around her neck, and just good friends having good times. I never post photos of the faces of people who don't live in my house... but I figure the fine folks who lined the street for the 1976 Independence Day Parade in Fieldon, Illinois won't mind. That's Scott riding the tricycle. His mom didn't forget to take pictures.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Personal Convictions

I was recently reminded of some of my favorite scriptures by a visit to Such Treasures in a post regarding, of all things, Harry Potter. Wardeh wrote a very good post regarding personal convictions vs. Biblical mandates, using this as the scripture to back up her views. I am in total agreement with her assessment, being careful to remember that this was written to Christians who will feel the convictions and leadings of the Holy Spirit. A non-Christian could easily use these passages to justify wrong behavior.

Romans 14
And receive him who is weak in the faith, but not to judgments of your thoughts.
For indeed one believes to eat all things; but being weak, another eats vegetables.
Do not let him who eats despise him who does not eat; and do not let him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has received him.
Who are you that judges another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. But he will stand, for God is able to make him stand.
One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind.
He who regards the day regards it to the Lord; and he not regarding the day, does not regard it to the Lord. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, does not eat to the Lord, and gives God thanks.
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
For both if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore both if we live, and if we die, we are the Lord's.
For this Christ both died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.
But why do you judge your brother? Or also why do you despise your brother? For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God.
Then let us not judge one another any more, but rather judge this, not to put a stumbling-block or an offense toward his brother.
I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing by itself is common; except to him who esteems anything to be common, it is common.
But if your brother is grieved with your food, you no longer walk according to love. Do not with your food destroy him for whom Christ died.
Then do not let your good be spoken evil of,
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
For he who serves Christ in these things is well-pleasing to God, and approved by men.
So then let us pursue the things of peace, and the things for building up one another.
Do not undo the work of God for food. Truly, all things indeed are clean, but it is bad to the man eating because of a stumbling-block.
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.
Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Blessed is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
But, the one doubting, if he eats, he has been condemned, because it is not of faith; and all that is not of faith is sin.

My husband had a conversation with our pastor (when we first began attending our current church) regarding the wrong practice of making requirements of church members that God did not make, particularly as it pertains to the accepted manner of dress for the women (long skirts). Scott, having been friends with this pastor for a few years, said to him, "Hey, watch it... my wife has taken to wearing long skirts and head-coverings." The pastor pointed out the huge difference in a church saying "you MUST" versus personal conviction of the Holy Spirit saying "YOU must". I was actually quite grateful (as the only woman with a head-covering at that time) when the pastor devoted a sermon to not judging your brothers in Christ for their personal convictions from God, based on the text of Romans 14.