Friday, June 20, 2008

A Fast-Paced Life

There are days that I wonder how we had time to do anything when we owned a tv. Thinking back, we really didn't do anything. The old me was sometimes depressed because I felt alone. Homeschooling and not working outside the house, it was difficult to not sometimes pine after my old, carefree life before children. As God brought me closer to Him, I became more patient and content with life as it was, even if it did seem a bit humdrum. I've been walking with the Lord for a few years now, and He has filled my empty, lonely, PPM* time with good work to do. Whenever I am tempted to complain of the work that needs to be done, I recall how much I wanted something productive to do. Many times I don't get a chance to update our blog because we're just too busy. I thought tonight would be a good time to update you on some things I haven't blogged about for a while- or maybe not at all.


Our new Buff Orpington chicks arrived on May 30th. We ordered 25 hens and 5 roosters, but we received 26 hens and 5 roosters. I love freebies!


These new little birds needed a place to call home, as I was quickly tiring of the fragrance of chicks in the utility room. Scott put a lot of effort into planning for the next chicken coop. The first one was a prototype. He will now build 3 more so we can split the chickens up and give them enough room to roam. Our goal is that they will be able to free range during the day and then be closed into their coop at night. We will have about 8 chicks per coop.


The plan is really well thought out. The end opens into a staircase for the hens to climb. Chicken wire covers the front, and plywood the back. The bottom is a 4x8 plastic hydroponic bed. It has some holes so that we can hose it out and catch all the good stuff that comes out in a bucket and add it easily to our compost pile. The nesting boxes are part of a plastic barrel that Scott picked up for a few dollars. He quartered it lengthwise, then attached it open side up to a hinged piece of wood in the back, so we can open it up and get eggs out.

I've primed it already, and the chicks are spending their third night outside tonight. I still need to paint it, but for now it is usable, and that is all that matters to me. I'll get some more pictures of the special features up another day.

The cabin project has taken backseat for a while. With youth camp to plan, chickens to house, and a garden to plant, it has fallen off the plate. We did finish the roof, finish the siding, and add a couple of shelves inside. We also added this to it.

We're just big kids, really. The slide is a little steep- it zings the kids off pretty fast. It is more like a controlled fall. I have banned them from sliding until the bottom is properly lifted off the ground. Someone suggested putting an air mattress at the bottom, but I am envisioning the kids hitting it and being instantly bounced into the pond. No, I don't think we'll use the air mattress.

The garden is coming along. Here's a shot of it. It's not the best, but we've been working with what we have.
We've planted tomatoes, peppers, onions, okra, ground cherries (the big leafy things), yellow squash, cucumbers, green beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, winter squash, corn, carrots, swiss chard, and brussel sprouts. My photo quality is poor here... please excuse my sub-par picture. I'll get a better one soon.

*PPM= Poor Pitiful Me

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Free Range Chickens



Happy little ladies, they are.

Nick's Pics


My oldest son has taken to referring to himself as Nick. I don't call him that, but sometimes his brothers and sister do. He has a folder on the computer called "Nic's Pics". Every now and again I look through it to see what he's taken pictures of. I found this photo of our somewhat frightened-looking little hen. It was a posed shot; Nicholas put her in the tree.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

1 Year With Miqueias

We've been sponsoring Miqueias through Compassion International for a year now. I know this because his birthday is rapidly approaching. When we received his sponsorship packet in the mail, the first thing we noticed was that his birthday was coming up soon. We put $ for a gift in the mail right away.

In honor of his birthday, I want to answer one of the questions that I have been asked by brothers and sisters in Christ about child sponsorship. If you want to know the mechanics of how it all works, you can visit www.compassion.com to learn more.

The question comes from folks whose desire to follow the Lord I do not question. I was, however, somewhat taken aback by it.
"What if the local church that Compassion is partnering with is not teaching real Biblical doctrine?"

My short answer is: Will we be paralyzed by the thought that perhaps the local church partner won't share our Biblical views on everything? Will we let a child starve and believe that he is unworthy of love because there is a possibility that the local church, which is working to feed, clothe, and teach these children might disagree with us? Compassion, in partnership with the church, does not only teach the children about Jesus, they teach them how to read and how to brush their teeth, and how to care for themselves. Most of all, they are given hope. You can be a real, living, breathing, almost touchable Christ on earth to a child. You write letters of encouragement. You send photos. You tell them that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that you serve them because you serve the Most High God.

Working with the teens at church, we get a glimpse of the hopelessness they have when Mom and Dad don't know God and act accordingly. Now add third world style poverty on top of that, and maybe, just maybe you can have some vague idea of how hopeless their lives are without Compassion. You can be a beacon of hope to a child who believes he is no better than the filth that lines the streets. Or will fear of accidentally sponsoring the Devil's work keep you closed up in a hole-shut off and unaccessible to the "least of these" who are suffering right now? Is it God's will that no one help these children, and in turn, their families? Where do you come in? How do you get involved?

God calls us all to minister in some way. How do you minister? I'd love to hear about what you do for God.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Visitor


This little fawn was cute today- especially when its mother emerged from the wood and they stood nuzzling each other. Ask me how cute it is once my garden has been invaded.


There seem to be a lot of deer this season. Over the last few days we've seen them more and more. Last night when we came in at nearly 11, there were two deer dancing about the side of the road in front of our house. I should check in on Joe and see how he's doing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Marcus, Part 2

Things down in the youth room were not as we expected. My husband often knows exactly what someone’s primary struggle is, because God lets him know. It’s not something that is contrived, but he will feel compelled to share a word or past experience with someone and it cuts right to the heart of what the problem. So I was feeling pretty confident that Marcus had opened up to him and he was providing wise counsel to Marcus.

As soon as they came back into the kitchen, I could tell something was not right. Scott and his co-laborer had spent over two hours with Marcus, and when they walked in there was a noticeable distance between them. Scott asked for another plate of food for Marcus, which we immediately provided. They sat down to talk some more. I heard enough that I knew things were not good, but I didn’t want to just stand around listening, so I left the kitchen. After Marcus left (close to the time we were dismissing kids- we were diligent in making sure that they stayed inside while waiting for rides) we were filled in on all that had transpired. Here’s some of the conversation that took place.

Scott: “So are you going to North Carolina or South Carolina?”

Marcus: “It depends. Are you talking about the Devil’s upper lip or lower lip?”

Scott: “I don’t understand.”

Marcus: “The eastern coast of the States is the Devil’s face. So are you talking about his upper lip or his lower lip?”

Scott: “Which one does your dad live in?”

Marcus: “David just made you do that thing with your arm.”

Scott: “No, he didn’t.”

Marcus: “David and Charles are the ones controlling you.”

Scott: “No, they’re not. It is true that I am a puppet. I am a puppet of the Most High God. David and Charles cannot control me.”

Marcus: “David just made you put water in that cup.”

Scott: “No, the Lord told me to put water in this cup. This cup was empty. Now it is filled with water. It can’t be filled with milk, because it is already filled with water. Just like me. I’m filled with Christ. No one else can fill me, because I am filled already.”


Scott: “Take this Bible with you.”

Marcus: “I can’t. There’s no room.”

Scott: “Here, take this,” Scott said, tearing out Matthew 5,6, and 7.

Marcus: “No. It is a sin to take anything away from or add anything to the Bible.”

Scott: “Okay, well, let that be my sin. Take this and read it.”

Marcus: “No.”

Co-Laborer: “If we could find a very small Bible that had both the Old and New Testaments, would you take that?”

Scott pulled his personal very small Bible filled with color-coded highlighting out of his back pocket. “Take this,” he said. “It’s the whole thing. You can have it.”

Still Marcus refused. He reads Harry Potter, and says that it is a lot like the Bible.

Marcus also shared that he is controlled by 4 different “people.” They pull him, make him move, tell him what to do. He believes that “God” and “Jesus” are all part of a grand charade, based on the alphabet being used in creative ways. Scott shared Yeshua with him, and he didn’t know how to make that fit into the charade the demons have told him to believe in. He believes that people’s names tell what their souls are like. All names have meanings, but some of us, according to Marcus, don’t do what our names say we should do. His father’s last name means (to Marcus, anyway) “Making My Life Hell.” This was not said in jest. He talked about Mother Africa, a large black lady, who tells him what certain things mean. Marcus lives in Illinois and goes to the Carolinas to visit his family. Always on foot. The trip takes him 1 year to make. He’s made it twice in the past. According to Marcus, his family is not expecting him and won’t be happy to see him.

The encounter with Marcus was a little un-nerving. It touched off a whole weekend of dealing with demons. God is making us more aware of the very real supernatural forces around us. Marcus is just a man. Marcus needs to be saved from his demons. We should go out of our way to bring Marcus and people like Marcus to the Lord. Marcus has heard all about Jesus. He’s rejected him thus far. He’s not under his own power right now, but we still need to reach out to him and cover him in prayer and real, practical help. The Lord deserves Marcus because he has paid a price for him. Marcus rightfully belongs to the Lord.

Marcus

My husband insists that sometimes he is used of God because he is too stupid to know when he is in over his head. I don't really think that is the case, but the kids at church like to hear him say it.

I told you all that Scott had asked me to put together a list of scriptures for our scavenger hunt. Well, while I was doing that, I kept coming back to Luke 14:12 ("Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.") This verse caught my attention several times as I was preparing a dinner for many people. I couldn't see how I could incorporate this into the scavenger hunt, so I left it off of the list, but was well aware that this dinner should be a place to invite "the least."
On the drive out to our church building from town, we saw a man walking with a duffel bag on his back. Neither of us said anything, but we both noticed him. Scott later told me that he was thinking, "That's the kind of person that we should be helping, but he's too scary-looking for anyone to pick up."
Two hours later, after feeding the teens, I began putting away the leftover food. As I turned around from the refrigerator, I saw the man from the side of the street standing in the church kitchen. He just made sense to Scott and me. It was as if God had been telling us to expect him. Another lady and I hastily made him a plate of food, and Scott & another man from our church took him to the youth room to have some time to talk with him and help him get cleaned up and pick out some new clothes (we keep a "coat & clothes closet" for this purpose). The lady who was helping with the food left to find socks, deodorant, and a razor for the vagrant, whose name was Marcus. She was so flustered when she left that she went the wrong direction and had to turn around and go back. She shared with me that all she could think of was, "Jesus is here and I get to go buy him socks"- in keeping with "whatever you do to the least of these, you do it unto me."
So the women-folk were just about giddy with excitement and anticipation of what was happening in the next building. We went ahead with the evening's movie plan for the kids and would every now and then peek out at the other building. We were excitedly waiting for good news. What exactly that good news would be, we were not sure. Things were not as cheery as we were thinking they would be. As a matter of fact, we were dead wrong. Sometimes serving God brings us face-to-face with demons.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In Shambles

Our poor little blog is, anyway. She's been sadly neglected. I can barely see you guys (the few of you who are left) over all the thistles and weeds. Nobody wants to be the neighbor who knocks on the door and says, "Wow! You guys have really let this place go." Well, nobody, that is, except Ginny. Thanks for your brutal honesty. :)

Excuse #1 for aforementioned neglect: We've been struggling to get our garden put in, without our trusty tiller. The Trusty Tiller proved to be unworthy of its title. It's back now, and maybe next week I can get the other 2/3s of the garden planted. Ahem... and stop your snickering, you hardened and learned gardeners who thumb your noses at modern conveniences like tillers.

Excuse #2 for aforementioned neglect: Standardized testing. We're finally finished. I will be sending the tests in next week for scoring. Glad it's over.

Excuse #3 for aforementioned neglect: Youth VBS is tonight and all day tomorrow. Our grandparents are out of town, so alternative arrangements had to be made for the part of the day tomorrow that my own children won't be attending. Plus there are extra meals to cook- tonight I'm feeding them risotto, homemade rolls, and dessert. Tonight's portion of VBS is easy- dinner and a movie (Facing the Giants). Tomorrow begins with breakfast, Sunday School, they will go to church w/ hubby while I shuttle my children to an aunt's house 20 minutes away and arrive back at the church in time to feed them lunch at the end of the service. Then we hit the road for a Scripture Photo Scavenger Hunt, for which I am still compiling a list. We end up back at church before evening service begins and dismiss afterward. Then my kids come back home. It's kind of a busy weekend. Did I mention that Scott is working today, too? He'll be going nonstop this weekend. Prayer support is always appreciated, more for the work than for us, though we need it, too.

Excuse #4 for aforementioned neglect: The arrival of a storage shed has caused lots of rifling through things in closets and under beds to determine what needs to go outside.

Excuse #5 for aforementioned neglect: The temps have finally changed enough to justify the seasonal wardrobe changes to be made. We have been dividing clothes into : "someone can fit into this next year" and "too small for any of us to ever wear again". And might I add, the temperatures went from slightly cool but totally comfortable to raging hot. From highs in the 70s to highs in the mid 90s for several days now.

Excuse #6 for aforementioned neglect: For three days I tried to upload a video of my happy chickens in the yard, but Blogger refuses to allow it to happen.

I could go on, but I have a lot to do. So pardon me while I power up the weed whacker and try to restore order to our little piece of the blogosphere.