Jon and Candy Summers share:
Family Covenant Ministries (formerly Christian Home Educators Fellowship) Faithfully honoring God, equipping generations, and serving the homeschooling community for the past 31 years! www.FamilyCovenantMinistries.com
Our Family’s Vision and Mission
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME February 2015 Information
Family Covenant Ministries (formerly CHEF) Information and Activities
1. FCM Activities
a. Graduation Meeting, February 27, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
b. Past Graduates’ Notes of Gratitude
c. Meeting/Fellowship, February 27, 7:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.
d. Entrepreneurial Field Trip-Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain and Grill, February 28, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
e. Heart to Heart Tea, March 19, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
f. Art Festival, April 11, 4:00-9:00 p.m.
g. Conference, May 4-6
2. FCM Conference Notes
3. FCM 2015 Conference
a. Parakeet Pete and The Battle of New Orleans
b. Southern Exposure to the Bible Belt-Southern Traditions
4. FCM 2015 Conference Surprises
a. Additional Speaker: Wesley Strackbein
b. The Making of a Creationist-Encouragement to Hear Dr. Jason Lisle
5. FCM Advocates for You Through Our Registered Lobbyist and Homeschooling Attorney David Klarich-Correspondences and Legislative Updates
6. Special Opportunities
a. Rome to Geneva Tour
b. Art Classes by Sharon Jeffus
c. The Academy of Racing Science
d. Clarinet Intensive Study Program
There’s No Place Like Home Articles
1. Notes from Subscribers
2. Covenantal Families: Always Begin Life with the End in View-Create a Legacy by Joel Salatin
3. New Homeschoolers Workshop-Part VI
4. Delightful Surprises
a. Mississippi River Unit Study
b. Some Facts about the Mississippi River
5. Come Gather at Our Table-Heirloom Recipes
6. Summers Signature-A Sacred Trust: Passing on Heirlooms Along with Their History
7. Summers on the Farm
8. The Joy of Country Living-April: A Pivotal Month
9. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made-Caught in the Web
10. The Dismantling of America-Excellent Article on Obamacare by Joel Salatin
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FCM (CHEF) 31st Annual Graduation (First) Meeting, Friday, February 27, 1:00-3:00 p.m. If you have a graduate, please email your graduate’s name, parents’ names, address, phone, and email address to
. Shortly after we receive your information, we will email our Welcome packet. Our graduation planning meetings will be held at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Conveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 between Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza. Meetings are on Fridays, February 27 and March 27. To give you an idea of the focus of our graduation you may read the godly and inspiring charge, “Destined to Make a Difference,” which was presented by Bob Wells in 2010 by going to www.familycovenantministries.com. Click on “Services” and scroll to the bottom of the page.
PAST GRADUATES’ NOTES OF GRATITUDE
Just wanted to thank you again for hosting our graduation. You both do it sooo well!! And you look like you enjoy yourselves! Your ministry to homeschoolers is so vital, and I personally have learned how to be a support group leader by watching and imitating your leadership. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you. Romans 1:8 –New Melle, MO
I just wanted to say thank you for your help with my issue [convincing a corporation to allow our homeschooled student to test for their apprenticeship program]. I was able to take the test yesterday, so it did all work out. Have a blessed day and thanks again. –Hermann, MO
Thank you so much for reissuing my diploma. I hope you and your family have been well. –Farmington, MO
FCM (CHEF) Meetings and Fellowship February 27, March 27 7:00 p.m.-Midnight at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, Mo 63131. Coveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 beteen Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza. Registration at the door is $15 per family or $5 per person to cover room rental ($125) and speakers (other than us).
HURRY! HURRY! HURRY!
FCM Entrepreneurial Field Trip Series Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain & Grille, Saturday, February 28, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at 230 West St. Louis Street, Lebanon, IL 62254. $30 Adults; $15 Children ages 9 and up; $10 Children ages 8 and under. This field trip will include a tour of the business and three hours of instructions on how to wait on customers and take orders, how to prepare food, health inspections, and running your own restaurant and bed & breakfast. A meal will be provided. Space is limited, so sign up now by sending a check payable to FCM, c/o Jon Summers, PO Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645 as soon as possible. Please include the number of adults, children ages 9 and up, and children ages 8 and under.
Adults can choose between cheeseburger and fries or cashew salad. Children can choose between cheeseburger and fries or chicken strips with applesauce or fries. Everyone gets a fountain drink and a one scoop cone or sundae of Cedar Crest Ice Cream.
For the past 15 years, Paul Krumsieg and his wife Sarah, with the help of their children, have owned and operated Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain & Grille in Lebanon, Illinois, the oldest existing soda fountain in the United States. The historic building dates back to 1850 and also houses a bed and breakfast. Paul and Sarah have 5 children and have been homeschooling for 16 years. One has graduated with 4 more to follow. Paul comes from a family of 11 children, 7 of which were homeschooled. Last year, Paul spoke at our conference on Marketplace Evangelism. Even though he had been a missionary at one time, he has told us that he never was able to evangelize and minister to people like he has with their business. Referred to as the “Metro-East” portion of the Greater Metropolitan St. Louis area, Lebanon is a scenic small town of only 3,850. It is the home of the pretty McKendree College. This is FCM’s second Entrepreneurial field trip to equip our families to own and operate their own businesses. http://www.drjazzsodafountain.com/
FCM (CHEF) 17th Annual Heart to Heart Mother/Daughter Tea (Mothers without Daughters are welcome!) Thursday, March 19, 7:00-10:00 p.m. at Hawken House Hearth Room, 1155 S. Rock Hill Road, St. Louis, MO 63119. Preregistration cost is $11 per person; $12 per person at the door. Mothers without daughters are welcome to come. Come and enjoy tea and delectable pastries with other homeschooling moms.
Online registration will be available soon. You may pay for this event online by going to http://www.familycovenantministries.com/index.php?option=com_rsform&formId=12. Choose Mother/Daughter Tea by clicking on the down arrow to the right of the Event List.
If you are unable to pay online, please send name, number of attendees, and check payable to FCM, c/o Sonia Summers, PO Box 586, Fredericktown MO 63645 by March 14 to reserve your place or call 314-920-6135 to make a reservation.
Candy’s Message for the Evening At different times in our lives, each of us has been guilty of fear, worry, and anxiety. As some say, “It goes with the territory of motherhood. After all, where would children be if it were not for mothers? Someone has to do the worrying. And we do live in such unpredictable and dangerous times!” I actually remember making some of these comments at different times in my life, presenting my “tolerable” sins with levity unbecoming of a woman of God.
Sadly, unless smacked in the face with the reality of our kinsmen’s pernicious distrust, ingratitude, and discontentment at the Red Sea, and during the forty years that followed, we don’t often make the connection with their intolerable sins to our own. More importantly, we don’t realize how our distrust in God’s omnipotent providence affects future generations.
It is true that each passing year brings far more responsibility and trials, yet a great many people throughout history experienced far worse circumstances that come with war, pestilence, and famine. To their credit, and to those who took the time to record their resolve to trust in divine Providence, we have a great cloud of witnesses that exemplified a faith few of us understand.
Thankfully none of us has gone through such perilous events, but I can testify to the struggle of finding balance between disbelief and righteous concern, nonetheless. After exploring what the Bible has to say about these sins and their remedy, we will look at the difference between self-imposed stress and stress that comes with godly responsibilities and divine trials; the steadfast faith of some of our Southern heroes in the face of losing everything; in-depth personal practices that help me deal with the stress that comes with our family’s immense responsibilities; and finally ways to solve some of your stress. My hope for the evening is to strengthen your resolve to trust in God and focus on His grace and mercy towards us. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Directions: If you take Hwy. 270 south, exit at Big Bend Road. Go east on Big Bend approximately 4 miles to S. Rock Hill Road. Go right on Rock Hill for 2 blocks. The house is just past Hawken Condominiums on the right. Barn is on right in back of Hawken House. There is no Big Bend exit if you are going north on Hwy. 270. Therefore, if you take Hwy. 270 north, go east on Hwy. 44. Exit at Big Bend Road and go east for approximately 1.5 miles to S. Rock Hill Road. Then follow above directions.
FCM (CHEF) 21st Annual Art Festival and Photography Contest, Saturday, April 11 at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63131. Conveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 between Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza.
We are pleased to continue this year the Assorted Arts category, which includes such projects as sculptures, origami, string art, fabric art, mosaics, needlepoint, knitting, macramé, etc. (no video will be accepted). The addition of this category gives more opportunities for our children to showcase their creativity.
If you are looking for thought-starters for your art projects, this year’s FCM conference theme is a great place to start. Simply go to www.familycovenantministries.com. Click on the tab for the conference, and go to the list of workshops for a wealth of ideas for your special project.
Please note: Homeschooled children ages 5 and up may submit up to 2 projects in the Fine Arts category AND up to 2 projects in the Assorted Arts category; AND ages 14 and up may also submit 2 photos in the Photography contest. Homeschool graduates are also welcome to submit projects in all 3 categories.
All of our families are cordially invited to view these artwork pieces created by our gifted children, to be displayed at Salem Methodist Church. Before the awards ceremony, admire the artwork while you enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cookies, cold drinks and classical music performed by homeschooled children and families.
Art Festival Schedule on Saturday, April 11
4:00-5:30 p.m. Viewing of artwork, voting for People’s Choice Awards (hors d’oeuvres, drinks, music and fellowship)
6:00-7:00 p.m. FCM Art Festival awards ceremony
9:00 p.m. Project retrieval and clean-up
IMPORTANT DATES FOR PROJECT SUBMISSION
Saturday, March 7 Early registration form submission - $5 per project for all registrations postmarked by this date. Early fee maximum per family: $50.
Saturday, March 21 General registration form submission (MUST be postmarked by this date) - $6 per project. General fee maximum per family: $60.
Saturday, April 4 Deadline for project drop-off
Saturday, April 11 FCM Art Festival artwork viewing and announcement of winners
(Due to increased costs to host and run the art festival, we have had to make a small increase in our project fees.)
To download the registration form and for additional details on registration procedures, drop-off locations, guidelines for acceptable artwork, etc., go to www.familycovenantministries.com under Calendar of Events, April 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Joe and Teresa Carr at 314-521-5668 or email
2015 FCM CONFERENCE
Southern Exposure of America’s Bible Belt
May 4-6 at St. Charles Convention Center, St. Charles, MO
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL, HURRY-Limited Time
Register early and save from February 23-April 7
Family Pass Regular $129, Now Just $99
(Includes unmarried children still living at home)
Couple Pass Regular $89, Now Just $69
(Husband and Wife)
Individual Pass Regular $69, Now just $49
First Time Attendee*
Exhibit Hall Free
*To get the First Time Attendee price, please enter firsttime for the Coupon Code.
Online Registration This exclusive price is now available online by going to:
If you have any trouble registering, please let us know by sending an email to
or calling 314-920-6135. Please keep in mind that it may be a few days before we are able to respond.
Look for your 2015 FCM Conference Postcard in the mail. Please pass on to another family after you have registered.
Speaker's workshops thus far will be listed online soon at: www.familycovenantministries.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=1&id=116&Itemid=4
Speakers' Pictures and Bios
FCM CONFERENCE NOTES Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email we receive deeply blesses our hearts. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.
We believe so much in the ministry of FCM/CHEF and the conference that we wanted to help support it, both in prayer and financially. We pray that God will do a mighty work through this conference (and many to come!) and that He will continue to bless you and your family and FCM/CHEF. –Calverton Park, MO
Thank you very much for the wonderful conference. Once, again, you have given the homeschoolers the gift of your time and talents in putting this together. The conference is so important to help homeschoolers prepare for the new school year. The line-up of speakers was great! We were praying that the money needed would be provided. I hope it worked out well. We appreciate you both so much. You are very generous in giving of yourselves and always thinking of others. We are enclosing a gift to show our appreciation for all that you do. –St. Louis, MO
Our family attended the Family Covenant Ministries Conference two years ago. We were very impressed. Some of us were able to attend this year, and once again we were impressed with the quality as well as quantity of speakers. We also enjoyed the extra evening activities. –Capron, IL
Thank you for all your hard work for the wonderful homeschool conference and curriculum fair. Since my oldest just turned six, it is the first I have attended, and I am already marking next year’s calendar. Your choice of a location was wonderful. It was a very hospitable place. So thank you so much. I can’t imagine all the planning and preparation you have done. It all seemed to work so well. Thanks, again, for the wonderful conference! –Columbia, MO
The Conference and speakers were awesome this year! I was so glad I brought my daughters. They were equally inspired! Thanks so much for everything. The TNPLH newsletter is always so beautiful. I am proud that it represents us. Thanks. –O’Fallon, MO
FCM 2015 CONFERENCE Unforgettable, That’s What It Is!
Parakeet Pete Ahoy, Matey, here is the fifth selection in our series on the South’s fascinating history through the eyes of that beautiful feathered fowl Parakeet Pete.
Shortly after their arrival, Mrs. Lafitte married New Orleans’s merchant Pedro Aubrey. Many naturally attributed Jean Laffite’s acclaim to have possessed “more accurate knowledge of every inlet from the Gulf than any other man” to his stepfather, but when you understand the navigational skills of Parakeet Pete, it is no wonder that Jean’s skill was so highly praised. Pete helped Jean navigate the treacherous brackish waters of the bayous and swamps.
In a labyrinth of waterways that had been known to consume men’s lives, Parakeet Pete’s inherent sense of direction and imminent danger preserved Jean’s life in the thick fogs amongst the tangle of cypress roots and hanging moss, palmettos and marsh grasses, man eating alligators, mountain lions, and poisonous snakes.
Parakeet Pete’s same inherent sense of direction also continued to play a crucial role in helping the Laffite brothers capture booties of war on the high seas. Some called his masters pirates, but Parakeet Pete preferred the honorable title of privateer. There was a difference after all, since privateers helped countries during times of war.
Privateers were private persons who were sanctioned as legitimate by letters of marquee issued by their particular governments during times of war that occurred during the period from the 16th to 19th centuries. Without tying up precious funds from the treasury, nations could quickly mobilize armed ships and their crews to attack the enemy. They were an extremely valuable component to countries who possessed smaller naval fleets because they could engage these privateers to interrupt the commerce of enemies that were dependent on trade, making it necessary for the enemy to spend monies, men, and time on deploying warships to protect their merchant ships.
Most countries used privateers to aid them in the defeat of their enemies. Queen Elizabeth’s Sea Dogs, Francis Drake, John Hawkins, Walter Raleigh, and Martin Frobisher were quite famous in their role in defeating the Spanish Armada. The Americans also used privateers during the War for Independence from Britain.
By the early 1780s, there were 500 private warships prowling for British quarry, while the fledgling Continental Navy had fewer than 10 vessels at sea. The Essex County, Mass. ports of Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, and Newburyport became hubs of privateering initiative, a point of pride for Adams. http://www.nysun.com/arts/our-privateer-history-patriot-pirates/78922/
Generally booty captured during the plunder of the ships would be distributed between the privateer, officers, crew, investors and the country for whom they operated. It was all very legitimate until European nations signed The Declaration of Paris in 1865, which abolished all privateering.
The adage that love is blind was certainly true in this case because Parakeet Pete did not realize when his masters began to engage in smuggling and piracy until the Lafitte’s fleet was captured in Barataria. Appalled and ashamed, he asked for forgiveness for his part in helping the Lafitte brothers in their smuggling operation and prayed that they would repent.
In exchange for a pardon, the Lafitte brothers helped General Andrew Jackson protect New Orleans against the British invasion in 1815. Parakeet Pete was so thankful for the pardon that he, too, gladly offered his services during the Battle of New Orleans. In fact, it was actually Parakeet Pete who first sounded the alarm of the advancing British fleet on the east bank of the Mississippi River.
You can find out more about this battle when you listen to Bill Potter’s workshop at this year’s conference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_New_Orleans.
Parakeet Pete was proud of his role in helping the Americans defend New Orleans against the British because it kept that nation from seizing not only his home town of New Orleans, but also the immense territory that the United States had acquired through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Upon hearing that the Lafitte brothers determined to move to Galveston Island, Texas to become spies for the Spanish during the Mexican War of Independence, Pete began to pray that God would make a way for him to stay with his dear friend, Captain Jack. Although Pete was truly grateful to the Lafitte brothers for their care of him, he realized that he had nothing in common with them spiritually, and so he longed for the companionship of other Christians.
In fact, he was never more at home than when Jean Lafitte allowed Pete to travel on Captain Jack’s steam driven paddle wheeler or stay in his home along the Mississippi. Because whenever he was in the presence of Captain Jack, his family, and friends, Pete learned so much about God’s Word and his nation’s Christian history. So as the Lafitte brothers prepared to depart for Galveston, Parakeet Pete fervently prayed that they would allow him to stay. However, if this was not in God’s will, Pete prayed for grace to accept God’s Providence, no matter what happened to him.
To Be Continued … Stay tuned for more adventures with Parakeet Pete and learn some of the South’s fascinating history in upcoming issues!
SOUTHERN EXPOSURE TO THE BIBLE BELT
SOUTHERN TRADITIONS Faith, Freedom, Family, Farm (Home), and Friends
From www.southern-style.com/southern_family.htm by Sharman Ramsey
We Southerners are a unique breed. Pride of place, manners bred into us from birth, the foods we eat, our bond with the land and our relationship with our family and friends make us who we are. Most practice true religion. As my great grandfather wrote: “Tis something akin to the immortals that makes us long not to be altogether unworthy of the fame of our ancestors.” –E. Burson
It must be genetic. Southern women collect traditions like some people do stamps. Even our recipes come with genealogies. No conversation passes without clarification of the antecedents of those whose names pass through the discussion. We are a people for whom our sense of place in time and history is important. People, recipes, and houses have histories, and to us they go to create the wonderful tapestry of who we are.
Those new to the South are sometimes offended by our questions. One of the first questions any newcomer is asked is, “What church do you belong to?” This question isn’t to challenge one’s morality; it’s a place question. A “who do you know that I know” question. It is the jumping off point for sharing information about people known in common. From that point the conversation may begin…to talk people.
Porches were once the gathering place for people talk. Some folks call it gossip. It is too ingrained within the Southern tradition to be belittled by such a derogatory term. Southern talk is more in the tradition of the seanachies of old Ireland. The seanachie was the historian of the tribe who passed the oral history of the tribe down from one generation to another. The Irish and their descendant Scots settled the South. The pub, the community gathering place in the old land, became the front porch where people would sit in the shade, drink tea sweet as syrup, and wait for someone to walk by and join them…to share the “news,” meaning the talk of what was happening in the lives of those they knew in common.
I sometimes think a part of the loneliness and alienation young and old alike now feel is due in part to the fact that air conditioning keeps folks inside. I wonder if the bars on the windows would be necessary if the sense of community developed on those front porches continued today. A community was like a family. Each contributed to the security of the least of them because caring was not abdicated to a government agency, but was a responsibility of those who kept up with the “news” about their neighbors.
As a young mother, it became important to establish traditions for my children as they were set for me. I started jotting things down for my children to find if suddenly I were taken from them. My horror was that they would be lost without the security of knowing what their Grandmother’s favorite foods were, who their people were, where they came from…how they fit in the world. Only a child’s mother can provide them with that unique and special sense of who they are.
To a Southerner, genealogy is not a hobby; it is a sacred trust. Who we are, why we are here in this place, and what is our purpose has meaning beyond our simple existence. We are one in a chain, a continuation of a heritage. Not to know our heritage is to dishonor those to whom honor meant everything. Like the seanachies of our Irish heritage, every generation produces one who remembers and records. We pass the torch to another generation to lift the eyes, the spirits, the ambitions of the children to aspire to lofty goals and transmit the same character and purpose to the next generation.
After the War, my ancestor, Elkanah Burson, came home, plowed his fields, and went into politics, becoming a state representative. He delivered the speech for the Memorial Day ceremonies of April 26, 1877, included in its entirety in Chapter One: Wakefield. He exhorted those assembled, saying: “Then gather around this sacred spot, when the flowers sweeten the air, and the song of the birds makes melody with the children that cluster around you, and tell them the story of their fathers and brothers. Teach them that man is noblest when he died for man, and that their fathers were heroes and patriots worthy of the admiration of the world.”
The family information I have acquired, including all those pictures that tell such a story in themselves, are too precious not to share. Since our family gatherings revolve around food, what better way to discover our ancestors than around those wonderful dishes we would have shared with them if they were here with us. www.southern-style.com/southern_family.htm
Stay tuned for further articles that are sure to bless your darlin’ Southern (Christian) hearts! Y’all come back now!
FCM (CHEF) 2015 CONFERENCE SURPRISES
Adiitional FCM Speaker: Wesley Strackbein
Wesley Strackbein has a passion to proclaim the great deeds of God in history and to pass on important lessons from the past to today’s Christians. He has lectured on John Knox in St. Andrews, Scotland; the French Huguenots in Paris, France; and has given messages on Texas and American history in various locations across the US. Wesley spent two years with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA in the middle 1990s, first as an intern and later as project manager for the Communications Department. From 1998 to 2013, he worked with Vision Forum, handling media relations, marketing, and a variety of editing responsibilities for the ministry. He has served a producer on multiple film projects, including The League of Grateful Sons, The Mysterious Islands, and D-Day and the Providence of God, and had edited numerous books, including Life is But a Vapor: The Life & Letters of Michael G. Billings and John Calvin: Man of the Millennium. Wesley’s articles have been published in Patriarch Magazine, the Patriot Update, the Schwarz Report and the Johnson City Record Courier, among other media outlets. A native Texan, Wesley was home educated by parents who are amoung the pioneers of the modern homeschool movement. His desire is to encourage families to embrace homescholling as a high calling of biblical discipleship, so that their children might advance Christ’s kingdom and be mighty in the land. He is currently involved with his father in a business pursuit in the Texas oil field.
The Making of a Creationist by Paul Weiland
A homeschool father and a scientist who has worked in the field of microbiology for many years encourages our families to hear Dr. Jason Lisle at this year’s conference.
I would like to share a part of my testimony because I believe this is going to be a help and an encouragement to some of you. Being raised in a Christian home, I was taught that God created the world and everything in it as the Bible teaches in the book of Genesis. As I grew, I heard about Darwin’s idea of evolution. At this point I wish I could say that I believed God and took Him at His Word rather than believing the word of man. However, I became what you would call a theistic evolutionist (although I didn’t know the term for it at that time). That is, I believed God used evolution to create. If you’ve not tried that position, take my word for it that it is a waste of time. It cannot be reconciled with scripture.
Anyhow, I entered college as a theistic evolutionist. I thought evolution had pretty well been proven. Maybe a few problems here and there, maybe a few “missing links,” but by and large “they” know it happened, and “they” know pretty much how it happened. As a college freshman, I recall a question on the 2nd semester biology final exam. There were not many questions on that exam, and this was going to be a long answer, so I knew it would count quite a bit toward my grade. The question asked us to explain how an animal such as an echinoderm (echinoderms include sea urchins, sand dollars, star fish, sea cucumbers) could evolve into a mammal. As I sat there writing the answer, trying to remember what the professor said, I found myself using phrases like “we think this could have happened;” “perhaps that happened;” “somehow, this happened.” Well, I must have written something the professor liked because I got an “A” for the course, BUT “WE THINK?” “PERHAPS?” “SOMEHOW?” Hmmm. That began to open my eyes. The more science courses I had, the more I began to realize that Darwinian Evolution, although cloaked with scientific terminology, was not really science at all but a made up story of the past.
There is more to the story than that, but I will stop here for now. This was at a time when we didn’t have all the creation resources we have today. There were no books that I was aware of. (The Genesis Flood by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris had been written a few years earlier, but I had not heard of it.) There were no creation groups. There was not all the creation research. There were no tapes or videos. There was no Creation Museum. There were no creation websites (there wasn’t even an Internet for that matter). Now, today, we have many good creation resources. I have listed below some of them. For those of you coming to the Family Covenant Ministries Conference in St. Charles, Missouri May 4-6, 2015, you have the opportunity to hear Dr. Jason Lisle of the Institute for Creation Research. Dr. Lisle has a Ph.D. in astrophysics. One of the topics he will be covering is the age and design of the universe and how using our “biblical glasses” enables us to see that it confirms the Bible. In the “Ultimate Proof of Creation” talk, we will see how we can demonstrate the biblical account of creation and how any deviation from that is irrational and does not make sense of the laws of logic. I have heard and read Dr. Lisle’s material and can tell you that I find him to be a good speaker as well as a good writer. I hope you will be able to take advantage of this chance to hear him.
For those of you who are local to the St. Louis area, there is the Missouri Association for Creation. Besides having monthly meetings on a creation topic at different locations in the St. Louis metro area, we provide speakers for groups, churches, and organizations. Also, we host a homeschool program at the St. Louis Zoo in the spring and fall, where you will learn some of the amazing design features God has in His creatures. Each participant will receive a booklet with facts and pictures of the animals covered. The next program will be in Spring 2015. Among some of the animals covered will be rhinos, hippos, cheetahs, and elephants. Reservations are required, so look for the announcement and make your reservation.
Institute for Creation Research www.icr.org
Answers in Genesis www.answersingenesis.org
Creation Ministries International www.creation.org
Alpha Omega Institute www.discovercreation.org
Missouri Association for Creation www.mocreation.org
FCM ADVOCATES FOR YOU THROUGH OUR REGISTERED LOBBYIST AND HOMESCHOOLING ATTORNEY DAVID KLARICH
FCM (CHEF) has advocated for home educators and parental rights since 1984, not only in Missouri, but nationwide. Being the premier Missouri-wide advocacy group, with a registered lobbyist of renown, both as a former Missouri representative and senator, and also serving as our homeschooling attorney, David Klarich works hard to help us make Missouri the best and safest state in the union for homeschooling. Our continued work with the Missouri legislature is always on behalf of family freedom. Our conventions help us continue this important work. When you come to a FCM convention, you are helping us Keep, not only Missouri Families Free, but Families Across the Nation.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE-FCM Lobbyist and Attorney, David Klarich
Jon and I receive these legislative reports each week that the Missouri legislature is in session, each year. This year we decided to share these updates with you to show you how much David Klarich works on behalf of our FCM families and our nation at large. Like us, he has faithfully worked hard these many years for our families without monetary compensation. Now that we have restructured, we hope to change that because God tells us that we are not to muzzle the ox and that a laborer is worth his wages. First we must work to fund our conference, then we must work to fund those who continue to work for us!
The House Standing Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education will convene next week and hear legislation relating to the “Student Accountability Act” that provides, in part, the following: “In order to receive a high school academic diploma issued by the department of elementary and secondary education, a public school student shall have achieved at the proficient level or higher on a comprehensive assessment or assessments taken after the student’s eighth grade year. The parent or guardian of the student, or the student if he or she is an emancipated minor or no longer a minor, may choose the ACT, the COMPASS, the ASVAB, or the GED, or an end-of-course statewide assessment in each core area of mathematics, communication arts, social sciences, and science. Neither the department nor any public high school shall issue a high school academic diploma to a student who does not achieve the required performance on the assessments as required in this section.” The bill continues: “No student who fails to meet the requirements for an academic diploma as described in subsection 2 of this section or the requirements for a diploma of local achievement as described in subsection 3 of this section shall be awarded any high school diploma.”
I am concerned that the legislation could be interpreted to prohibit our assertion that we have completed the statutory criteria sufficient to issue a diploma.
Dear David, We totally concur. Who is behind this?
Since public schools test their children every few years to determine their academic status, do you think the implementation of Common Core requirements has prompted this legislation?
Although the bill states that Neither the department nor any public high school shall issue a high school academic diploma, it certainly appears to me that the wording below must be pertaining in some manner to homeschoolers, since parents of public school children are not allowed to choose what test their student will take.
The parent or guardian of the student, or the student if he or she is an emancipated minor or no longer a minor, may choose the ACT, the COMPASS, the ASVAB, or the GED, or an end-of-course statewide assessment in each core area of mathematics, communication arts, social sciences, and science.
What direction needs to be taken at this point?
Thank you, David, for all you do! Sincerely, Jon and Candy
ONCE AGAIN, DAVID HAS PROTECTED HOME EDUCATORS’ LIBERTIES BECAUSE OF HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS.
Jon and Candy: I have attached an updated legislative report for your review.
The House and Senate committees on Education convened this week to hear matters relating to the school curriculum and student accountability. Per our conversation, I approached Rep. Bryan Spencer and requested that he amend HB 365 to apply only to institutions of public primary and secondary education. He willingly offered to make the changes that we requested.
Please note that the House of Representatives will hear HB 104 relating to the Student Freedom of Association Act (House Committee on Higher Education 02.10.2015), HB 557 relating to the right of parents to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children (House Committee on Civil and Criminal Proceedings 02.11.2015), and HB 377 relating to requirements for school districts to identify student who are at risk of not being ready for college-level work or entry level career positions, next week (House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education 02.09.2015).
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. David
[This information is communicated to you only as a service to our families. The information contained herein is not screened or verified by FCM. Please be discerning at all times.
Douglas Bond shares: The upcoming Reformation Tour, Rome to Geneva Tour, June 20-30, 2015 is shaping up to be a delightful time with previous travelers and new ones coming together to share what we trust will be an unforgettable experience of the working of God’s grace in church history. We still have some open space on the tour and would love to have you join us as we explore the Early Church, Renaissance art and architecture, and Reformation history together. But this tour is not simply about geographical starting point and ending point, Rome to Geneva. It is rather a tour that retraces the theological move from the error of the medieval church in Rome to the recovery of the Reformation gospel of free grace in Christ alone centered in Calvin’s Geneva. It is really a tour from works to grace, from law to gospel, from my perormance to Jesus’ perfect righteousness in my place. The tour will be strung around five of my books: The Betrayal, Mr. Pipes book 4, my biography of Savonarola, my non-fiction recent release Grace Works! (And Ways We Think It Works), and my forthcoming historical fiction Hammer of the Huguenots (May 2015). Let me know if I can answer any questions about the tour. Check out the tour site www.bondvoyage.webs.com/rometogeneva.com and give me a call at 253-381-1961 if I can clarify anything for you. Join us! I is more affordable than you might think, especially for families. We have a special discount for pastors and their wives as well, but not for long. Watch a short video created by and featuring folds who have traveled with us on several other tours: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkotB8LqCY4. Share the word with others you know who might not want to miss out!
Art Classes by Sharon Jeffus Do you believe some people are called to be artists and writers? Do you have a book you want to write or finish? Do you want to understand art techniques, vocabulary and history better? Do you want to know how to be an art teacher? http://www.homeschoolhope.com/009-sharon-jeffus/
See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers (Exodus 35:30-35).
Workshop 1 How to Write and Publish a Book/Write for Publications
Come for a whole day of information on writing and publishing your book. This workshop presents topics such as getting started, researching your topic, copyright, visual images ownership, ISBN numbers, publisher versus self-publish, writing AP classes or writing for publication, contracts, and more. Cost is $45 for the day on April 7 from 9:00 to 4:00 at the beautiful Montauk State Park. Lunch is included.
Workshop 2 Graphic Art and Fine Art Techniques in Media
This workshop includes three eBooks that cover all the elements and principles of art, techniques in media, and how master art reinforces these concepts. Students will complete three works of art to take home, one painting on canvas, and learn techniques in Graphic Art from several Open Source programs. A laptop is needed to do the workshop. I do have several extras if needed. Understanding how to make your work digital is included. Cost is $45 for the day on April 17 from 9:00 to 4:00 at the beautiful Montauk State Park.
Workshop 3 How to Teach Art
This workshop is a complete program on teaching art. It includes my large complete art curriculum revised and my Teaching the Core Subjects through Art eBooks. It also includes a program that incorporates teaching the art basics along with Bible principles in a fun and exciting way. You can even have a Bible school art camp. You receive the materials to use art to glorify God, and this program gives your students the highest quality of art education. Training includes students making several samples to take with them in each area. This is a two day workshop that will be offered two times (April 8-9 and May 7-8) from 9:00 to 4:00 at the beautiful Montauk State Park. Lunch is included. Cost is $95.
Sharon Jeffus has a B.S.S.E. in Art Education from John Brown University and continued on in her studies to be certified to teach English from the University of Arkansas. She studied painting at Metropolitan in Denver and sculpting at Southern Illinois University. With having written over twenty books, she also has the internationally known company Visual Manna. Sharon wrote her first book in 1992 and developed the Visual Manna teaching method where art is integrated with art appreciation, techniques, vocabulary and core subjects. Her Indian Arts and Crafts program was rated outstanding by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Sharon taught in the public schools for fourteen years in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri and also homeschooled her two sons. Other achievements include 3 AP courses approved to teach and Sharon has presented workshops at colleges and conventions all over America. For a sample lesson go to:
Alex Detmering shares: The Academy of Racing Science is a field trip unlike any you’ve experienced. Built on a racetrack and taught by professional engineers, mechanics, and racecar drivers, The Academy is four hours of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) packed into three hands-on lessons. Whether you’re looking to ignite a passion for science in your students or you just want to take them on the field trip of a lifetime, The Academy of Racing Science hits on all cylinders. Booking Info: Cost: $25 per student. Time: Scheduling is subject to availability and your schedule, but mornings are best. Curriculum Level: 5-8th grade. Group Size: 30 is the minimum. 300 is the maximum. Check us out at www.academyofracingscience.org.
Diana Haskell shares: MasterWorks Festival, a Christian festival for the performing arts, is beginning a Clarinet Intensive study program with Diana Haskell, Associate Principal Clarinet with the St. Louis Symphony. Mrs. Haskell, a Christian, says, “Clarinet Intensive is for 4-7 advanced high school and college clarinetists who want to work on clarinet skills within a Biblical Christian environment. Students receive two lessons a week, three hours of practice time daily, and master classes touching on all things clarinet!” For more information on Clarinet Intensive: www.masterworksfestival.org/clarinet-intensive.com. Bible studies on subjects like dealing with nerves from a Christian view, how art and faith are intertwined, and ego are part of daily life at MasterWorks. Devotions and prayer throughout each day are also a natural part of life at MasterWorks. Students must apply and send a video for this competitive program. For more information about MasterWorks and audition requirements, see www.MasterWorksFestival.org
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME-Celebrating 29 years of inspiration, encouragement, and biblical instruction www.theresnoplacelikehome-summers.com
NOTES FROM SUBSCRIBERS
Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email we receive deeply blesses our hearts. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.
Words cannot express adequately my appreciation for all you do. Thank you for showing me in the best way how to be a mother and woman of God. Thank you for teaching me the meaning of consistency, perfection, flexibility, compassion, forgiveness, gentleness and most of all love. Whatever you do, you pour your heart into it and do all to the best of your ability. –Maryland Heights, MO
As we begin school in earnest again after Christmas, we looked through the newsletter and were reminded that we do indeed want to send a donation. The newsletter is our “lifeline” to homeschooling. It is always a source of inspiration and information when our spirits are sagging and we feel overburdened. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. –Blue Springs, MO
In this winter season, please know that we deeply appreciate your service to homeschoolers. May the Lord richly bless you and your family. –St. Charles, MO
We were calling because we really appreciate what you put out in your emails regarding Miss Linda, and what you guys shared yesterday. We could just tell the love and support… (the message was cut off here). –Branson, MO
COVENANTAL FAMILIES-Always Begin Life with the End in View
Create a Legacy by Joel Salatin (from www.acresusa.com)
Joel Salatin is from the South—Virginia, no less. One of our former speakers, he understands the vast importance of heritage, ancestry, and raising your children with a multigenerational vision and mission.
Daniel is interested in aquaculture and fishing. So we’re building ponds that give us water pressure anywhere on the farm, a focus for Daniel’s interests. Ten years ago Teresa and I quit making major investments or changes for ourselves; we are making them to open up opportunities for our grandchildren. That’s how we need to think. We are already through with our kids; they have tons of room and salaries galore on the farm. We’re thinking about the grandchildren to come.
As a culture, we have this idea that we send kids off to school to get as smart as they can be to go 1,000 miles away from home to earn enough money to put us in nursing care when we get old. My vision is I just want to age and have the grandchildren fighting over who is going to get granddad for a day. Wouldn’t that be neat? Stephen Covey wrote the book, which next to the Bible, everybody ought to read: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the habits is that you start with the end in view. We have to think about what kind of a model the kids are going to have, not when they are 18, but when they are 2 or even before we have them. We have to think way down the line. If my end in view at 80 is grandchildren running around my feet, vying for who is going to spend the day with granddad, I don’t start that when I’m 80. I started that 20 years ago. In fact, it started a lot sooner than that with my dad and mom. It’s a rich legacy. Reprinted from June 2000 - Vol. 30, No. 6 - Cover Story
NEW HOMESCHOOLERS WORKSHOP- Part VI as presented at the Conference
Before we begin the education of our children, we must first fully understand Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” Revelation is the means by which God makes Himself and His will known to us. Knowledge is God’s interpretation of all that He created.
Romans 11:33-36 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!...For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
2 Timothy 3:16,17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
So we must ask ourselves, can anything be truly known apart from God? No, for nature, and all the laws that regulate nature, were created by God and thus can only be known through His divine revelation.
John 1:3 “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
Colossians 1:16,17 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Colossians 2:2,3 “… attaining to knowledge, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
But to come to this knowledge, we must eat meat. Hebrews 5:13,14 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
And to acquire a taste for meat, children must hear and read and study the Bible with parents. They must hear meaty conversations filled with deep and meaningful discussions. They must engage in meaningful discussions and read meaty books.
In The Philosophy of Christian Curriculum, Cornelius Van Til states: For a Christian, the task of instruction is made simpler by the fact that the Biblical, Hebrew word for instruction, Torah, means both law and instruction. For us, all things in every sphere are under an ultimate and fundamental law, God’s law, and education is instruction in that law order.
Puritan Henry Smith says, We should set the Word of God always before us, like a rule, and believe nothing but that which it teacheth, love nothing but that which it prescribeth, hate nothing but that which it forbiddeth, do nothing but that which it commandeth.
Therefore, to be truly a Christian curriculum, it must be thoroughly Christian in both content and method. Jon and I loathe historical novels that reduce God’s omniscience to mere humanity by minimizing His providential works to a few dates and irrelevant facts sandwiched between suspenseful fantasies fabricated by the author. They are the scourge of literature and the bane of education because they draw our children into falsehoods that sadly stay with them forever. Christian parents, therefore, must use biblical reasoning when choosing materials for their children’s instruction.
Quite mistakenly, parents assume far too much when it comes to the materials they feed their children. Some suppose that earlier copyrights ensure fidelity, while others believe that everything offered through Christian companies are in fact Christian in content, while still others depend wholeheartedly on their friends’ recommendations. Yet I believe all of us can attest to the contrary if we reflect on our own personal acquaintance with the materials we encountered during our own formative years.
The truth of the matter remains that unless we are actively involved in reading with our children, it is inevitable that they will learn many concepts contrary to a biblical worldview. However, if we are not also actively studying God’s Word, it is more than likely that we are leading our own children astray because a thorough knowledge of the Bible is crucial to our own discernment.
Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.”
Among the chief hindrances to truth is the suppression of truth in unrighteousness. This is the case in every instance where God’s Word is not propounded and why it makes reading with our children so very important. This not only allows us the opportunity to learn with our children, but also keeps our children from accepting lies as truth, since we are able to refute those principles that we find contrary to God’s Word.
Case in point. When the children were younger, I began reading aloud Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys by Slater Brown. Yet shortly into the book, I read: It was about this time that Ethan came under the influence of a young doctor who had moved to Amenia, just across the line in New York. Like so many free spirits of his time, Dr. Young, who had just been graduated from Yale, called himself a Deist. A Deist believed in God but refused to accept divine revelation. Deists in 1770 were regarded with horror by the devout, though many clergymen today would not find it necessary to leave the table if somebody like Dr. Young began talking. Under Dr. Young’s influence Ethan became a Deist too. But we shouldn’t let his religious convictions overshadow his other beliefs. For Dr. Young gave Ethan other ideas. They were ideas the doctor shared with the forefathers of this country—ideas that we find imbedded in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. One of Dr. Young’s favorite slogans was “Life, Liberty and Property.” This slogan, particularly its emphasis on the right of every man to own the property he lived on, made a deep impression on Ethan. All through his life he repeated it.
Such a little paragraph may appear to some as seemingly harmless, yet read in light of God’s Word, along with other historical accounts, these few sentences are highly problematic for Christian parents whose duty it is to instruct their children in truth. Knowing full well that all ideas have consequences, these several sentences pose a real threat to the sanctity of truth, as children left on their own would be corrupted by these ideas. Please consider the following points.
“Like so many free spirits of his time, Dr. Young, who had just been graduated from Yale…” Now to a child’s mind who reads this account of Ethan Allen in conjunction with the ideas of Ethan’s quest for his state’s freedom and the colonies’ freedom from Britain, a free spirit may seem quite in line with our founders’ quest for freedom. However in truth, in this context, a free spirit is one not governed by God—free in the sense of not being tethered by God’s Word. How ironic that the world calls this free when in fact this spirit is enslaved to the evil one, for only those in Christ have been freed from their bondage to sin and death.
Furthermore, “so many free spirits” gives the impression that there were many Deists at the time, when in fact they were a small minority.
It also sounds as if Deism was acceptable, when in fact it was strongly condemned by our founders, pastors, and the vast majority of people living in the Colonies.
As to the reference to Yale, let me share some information about that institution from Gary DeMar’s, America’s Christian History: “Yale in the early 1700’s stated as its primary goal that ‘every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly, sober life.’ Yale demanded the same rigorous academic concentration as Harvard as well as a religious commitment to the cause of Christ and His Word. ‘All scholars shall live religious, godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth, and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion both in public and secret.’”
“The Yale Charter of 1745 made it clear that the College, ‘…under the blessing of Almighty God has trained up many worthy persons for the service of God in the state as well as in the church.’”
Yet Dr. Young… a Deist…believed in God but refused to accept divine revelation. Knowing that Young believes in God may be enough to convince a child of his Christianity when in fact Young was a pagan. Notice that the author capitalizes God, when in fact that honor is reserved for only the One True God. This may seem insignificant to you, but it is at the very core of this author’s agenda. Furthermore, how can one believe in God if he rejects that mode in which He chose to reveal Himself to man? Without divine revelation there is only man’s speculation.
The Encyclopedia Britannica states: The Deists argued that after God’s initial work of creation, He withdrew into detached transcendence, leaving the world to operate according to rational natural rules. Borrowing upon the general prestige of Newton’s vision of the universe as a mechanism obeying stable rational laws, they propounded variations on the classic argument for design wherein the existence of a creator is inferred from the evidence of the rational ordering of the world.
The author then states, “Deists were regarded with horror by the devout, though many clergymen today would not find it necessary to leave the table if somebody like Dr. Young began talking.”
Considering that Christian men of that time did regard Deism with horror combined with the modern church’s theological apostasy, I do not deny the truth of this statement; however, I do resent the implication that those devout men who objected to this paganism were somehow unkind and unjust. This statement makes Deism, and in essence other views contrary to truth, more palatable to the budding mind and makes those who honor God seem to be intolerant and divisive.
John Eidsmoe in Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of our Founding Fathers writes: “Washington understood the national government’s responsibility to God. He also understood the role of religion in preserving the nation. A substantial portion of his farewell address identifies and confirms that role: ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instrument of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.’”
“It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric.”
Eidsmoe continues that “Washington’s words about the ‘influence of refined education’ appear to be directed to the deists, rationalists, and others who believed that man’s reason alone could guide him into virtuous conduct.”
Remember that Thomas Paine was also a Deist and was openly reviled by the Founders. So contrary to Christianity was this religious belief that many states refused to let Deists hold public office.
Don’t underestimate the far-reaching impact of the sowing of the seeds of destruction in a young child’s mind.
“Under Dr. Young’s influence, Ethan became a Deist too.” This should make every parent shudder! Just like ideas, associations have consequences. However, the point of this statement is not to warn children to stay away from heretics, but again, makes Deism less abhorrent, since many children consider Ethan a hero of liberty.
“But we shouldn’t let his religious conviction overshadow his other beliefs.” I believe this statement, more than any other, really raised my dander. First for its flagrant attempt to forge a tolerance of paganism, in this case, the Deists abject attack on God’s Deity. Secondly, for its obvious suppression of the truth that everything is viewed through a theological framework. Our presuppositions affect every thought we possess, as our theology directs each of them. Certainly this is true with Ethan.
Consider that Ethan Allen found his first wife very incompatible because of her “rigidly religious” views. Knowing that Ethan openly attacked the Bible and Christianity in a book he authored entitled Reason: The Only Oracle of Man, his incompatibility with his rigidly religious wife certainly doesn’t come as a surprise, since she probably irked his “free spirit.”
Even Wikipedia states, “The work [Reason: The Only Oracle of Man] was a typical Ethan Allen polemic, but its target was religious, not political. Specifically targeted against Christianity…it was an unbridled attack against the Bible, established churches, and the powers of the priesthood. As a replacement for organized religion, he espoused a mixture of Deism, Spinoza’s naturalist views, and precursors of Transcendentalism, with man acting as a free agent within the natural world.” (This more plainly explains that “free spirit” of his.)
Ethan then “began work on An Essay on the Universal Plenitude of Being, which he characterized as an appendix to Reason. This essay was less polemic than many of his earlier writings. He affirmed the perfection of God and His creation, and credited intuition as well as reason as a way to bring Man closer to the universe. The work was not published until long after his death, and is primarily of interest to students of Transcendentalism, a movement the work foreshadows.”
Several of our history books truthfully define Ethan as the heathen he was, but then those Christian authors understood that religious beliefs direct every thought and action. In fact, because of Ethan’s religious views and disruptive nature, the township of Northampton requested his departure. Boy, now that smacks of intolerance, doesn’t it? But then those men understood the ramifications of allowing heresy into a community; Harry Potter, anyone?
On his death, Wikipedia shares that “a number of clergymen expressed different sentiments. ‘Allen was an ignorant and profane Deist, who died with a mind replete with horror and despair’ was the opinion of Newark, New Jersey’s Reverend Uzal Ogden. Yale’s Timothy Dwight expressed satisfaction that the world no longer had to deal with a man of ‘peremptoriness and effrontery, rudeness and ribaldry.’”
Finally, when reading, “Dr. Young gave Ethan other ideas…ideas the doctor shared with the forefathers of this country—ideas that we find imbedded in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution,” it sounds as if the Deist, Dr. Young, significantly impacted our founders’ understanding to the point that they included his ideas in our Declaration and Constitution, such as “Dr. Young’s favorite slogan—‘Life, Liberty and Property.’” And yet even a casual student of American history grasps that the principles of “life, liberty and property” were continually propounded from the Puritan pulpits throughout the colonies. And to those of us who are Christian, it is quite apparent that these principles of life, liberty, and property are only possible through Christ. Again, what a travesty for a child to think otherwise!
Needless to say, this one little paragraph precipitated a lengthy discourse as I refuted each of these deplorable attempts to brainwash my children’s minds with antithetical rubbish, which I accordingly threw into the trash.
Allow me to reiterate this important truth. While it is true that “Deists in 1770 were regarded with horror by the devout, though many clergymen today would not find it necessary to leave the table if somebody like Dr. Young began talking,” what is not true or wise, but in fact is so destructive is the following idea that “we shouldn’t let his religious convictions overshadow his other beliefs.” For religious convictions drive everyone’s beliefs. In this case, Deism is a religion that came about during the Enlightenment to destroy Christianity. It espouses that a supreme being created the universe but rejects scripture as divine revelation; rejects the triune God; rejects the divinity of Christ; and rejects His providence over all creation. Ideas indeed have consequences.
Mississippi River Unit Study-As Promised: Another Unit Study to Go Along with our 2015 Conference Topics
*Create a Mississippi River Unit Study Notebook.
*Consider purchasing Dover Coloring books: Exploration of North America; Audubon’s Birds of America; Birds of Prey; North American Ducks, Geese, and Swans; Reptiles and Amphibians; Swampland Plants and Animals; The Water Cycle; and The World of Turtles.
*Make a salt relief map of the United States marking the Mississippi River in blue.
*Trace or draw a map of the United States coloring the Mississippi River blue.
*Using different colored pencils, color the states that border the Mississippi.
*Investigate the water cycle and illustrate to show from raindrop to river to evaporation to rain clouds.
*Define barge, basin, bayou, brackish, canal, channel, confluence, current, dam, delta, drainage, estuary, flood plain, gulf, hull, hurricane, inlet, levee, marsh, paddle wheeler, sediment, steamboat, swamp, tributary, watershed, wetland…
*Write facts about the river such as the Mississippi flows 2,340 miles, but ships are only able to travel 1,800 miles of it from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico; it is our nation’s preeminent inland waterway; its depth varies from 9’ to 100’; its width goes from 20-30 feet to 11 miles; it takes around 90 days for a raindrop falling in Lake Itasca to reach the Gulf of Mexico…
*Explain the difference between a wetland, bayou, and swamp.
*Draw a picture of each.
*Describe why Louisiana is the drainage basin for the lower Mississippi’s watershed, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
*On another map of the United States, color in the states that drain into Louisiana’s watershed.
*Explain how bayous and swamps protected inland areas from hurricanes.
*Read Minn of the Mississippi.
*As the children write on the following subjects, have them illustrate their research by drawing such things as a paddle steamer, fur trappers on the river, wharf depicting the trading of products transported on the river…
*Write about the Mississippi’s historical significance as a transportation and trade route.
*Write about the first inhabitants, first pioneers, and the history of the river.
*Considered by many as the opening of the Industrial Revolution, write about the person who set the stage for steamboat transportation in the 1760’s.
*Write about Robert Fulton and the paddle steamer.
*Calculate the difference in speed between the flatboats that traveled the river and the steam driven paddle wheelers.
*Write about the Clermont’s voyage up the Hudson River and show how the attention drawn to this voyage prompted the increase in steamboats on the Mississippi.
*Graph the increase in steamboats during the 19th century and then their decline with the onset of train travel.
*Explain why steamships dominated the traffic on the Mississippi but failed to capture traffic on the high seas.
*Write about the history of the clipper ships.
*Show the difference between steamboats and clipper ships.
*Draw some of the boats that traveled on the river, including a paddle steamer.
*Do a chronological pictorial of the different kinds of boats that have traveled the Mississippi.
*Cover the history of how railroads replaced steamboats.
*Write facts about each of the animals that live in or on the banks of the Mississippi. Order them by classification such as Mammals: armadillo, bat, bear, beaver, bobcat, bottle nosed dolphin, coyote, deer, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, otter, raccoon, mountain lion… Reptiles: alligator, snakes, turtles…Amphibians: frogs, salamanders, toads…Birds: cormorant, duck, eagle, egret, geese, heron, indigo bunting, ibis, pelican, scarlet tanager, spoonbill, swan, warbler, wood stork… Fish: bass, blue crab, catfish, flounder, garfish, paddlefish, redfish, shrimp, sturgeon, sucker, trout, walleye… Insects: dragonfly, grasshopper, mosquito…
*There are 260 species of fish that live in the Mississippi River. Select the most unusual and draw these on butcher paper to line the kitchen or dining room wall.
*Include a list of the North American birds (326) that use the Mississippi River as their migratory flyway.
*Write about birds’ migration.
*Draw some of these flocks flying over the Mississippi.
*Sing “All Creatures Great and Small” and “This is My Father’s World.”
*The Mississippi River is one of the busiest commercial waterways in the world. Explain why the Mississippi is so important to our country.
*List and illustrate some of the products that are transported on the river.
*List the busiest ports along the river.
*Write why the Mississippi River’s basin contains the continent’s richest farmland, which produces 92% of the nation’s agricultural exports, and how that helps our country.
*Explain why the nutrient rich soil led to farming sugar cane, cotton, and indigo.
*List crops that are grown along the river.
*Explain and illustrate how barrier islands are the first buffer in protection of Louisiana from hurricanes’ storm surge.
*Providing 33% of our nation’s seafood, Louisiana’s commercial fishery is second only to Alaska. List animals and fish indigenous to Louisiana. Explain how the animals that inhabit the wetlands influenced Louisiana’s commerce.
*Explain how the shellfish, fish, animals, grains, and spices of the regions defined the foods prepared in Louisiana.
*Prepare dishes that are common in Louisiana such as jambalaya, shrimp creole, shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, okra hushpuppies, pralines, pecan pie, beignets…
*Take a Trip Down the River: Start in Minnesota and travel down the river all the way to New Orleans by highlighting some of the important river towns including their names, locations, and historical significance. In just our own state you have Hannibal, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, and Cape Girardeau.
*Compute distances between some of these important river towns like how far is it from Dubuque, Iowa to St. Louis; how far from St. Louis to Memphis, Tennessee; to Vicksburg, Mississippi; to New Orleans, Louisiana…
*Tell how the New Madrid earthquake affected the Mississippi River.
*Visit the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.
Some Facts about the Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, it rises in northern Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico, 100 miles downstream from New Orleans. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi’s watershed drains all or parts of 31 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world.
The river served first as a barrier – forming borders for New Spain, New France, and the early United States – then as a vital transportation artery and communications link. In the 19th century, during the height of Manifest Destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for the western expansion of the United States.
Formed from thick layers of this river’s silt deposits, the Mississippi River Valley is one of the most fertile agricultural regions of the country, which resulted in the river’s storied steamboat era. During the American Civil War, the Mississippi’s capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory because of the river’s importance as a route of trade and travel, not least to the Confederacy.
The word itself comes from Messipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Misi-ziibi (Great River)
The Upper Mississippi River is home to over 119 species of fish. Some fish include walleye, sauger, large mouth bass, small mouth bass, and white bass. Northern pike, bluegill, and crappie also reside in the Upper Mississippi River. Other fish like channel catfish, flathead catfish, carp, the common shiner, freshwater drum, paddlefish, and shovelnose sturgeon also live in these upper Mississippi waters.
Hernando de Soto became the first recorded European to reach the Mississippi River, which he called Río del Espíritu Santo (“River of the Holy Spirit”), in the area of what is now Mississippi. French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi in the 17th century.
When Louis Jolliet explored the Mississippi Valley in the 17th century, natives guided him to a quicker way to return to French Canada via the Illinois River. In 1682, Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Henri de Tonti claimed the entire Mississippi River Valley for France. On March 2, 1699, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville rediscovered the mouth of the Mississippi, following the death of La Salle. The French built the small fort of La Balise there to control passage. In 1718, about 100 miles upriver, New Orleans was established along the river crescent by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. In 1762 the entire region is part of the Spanish Louisiana from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico until 1802.
Following Britain’s victory in the Seven Years War the Mississippi became the border between the British and Spanish Empires. The Treaty of Paris (1763) gave Great Britain rights to all land east of the Mississippi and Spain rights to land west of the Mississippi. Spain also ceded Florida to Britain to regain Cuba, which the British occupied during the war.
Article 8 of the Treaty of Paris (1783) which ended the American Revolution, states, “The navigation of the river Mississippi, from its source to the ocean, shall forever remain free and open to the subjects of Great Britain and the citizens of the United States.” France reacquired ‘Louisiana’ from Spain in 1800. The United States then bought the territory from France in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In 1815, the U.S. defeated Britain at the Battle of New Orleans, part of the War of 1812, securing American control of the river. So many settlers traveled westward through the Mississippi River basin, as well as settled in it, that Zadok Cramer wrote a guide book called The Navigator, detailing the features and dangers and navigable waterways of the area.
Steamboats entered trade in the 1820s, so the period 1830 – 1850 became the golden age of steamboats. As there were few roads or rails in the lands of the Louisiana Purchase, river traffic was an ideal solution. Cotton, timber and food came down the river, as did Appalachian coal. The port of New Orleans boomed as it was the trans-shipment point to deep sea ocean vessels. Steamers worked the entire route from the trickles of Montana, to the Ohio River; down the Missouri and Tennessee, to the main channel of the Mississippi. Only with the arrival of the railroads in the 1880s did steamboat traffic diminish. Steamboats remained a feature until the 1920s.
Control of the river was a strategic objective of both sides in the American Civil War. In 1862, Union forces coming down the river successfully cleared Confederate defenses at Island Number 10 and Memphis, Tennessee, while naval forces coming upriver from the Gulf of Mexico captured New Orleans, Louisiana. The remaining major Confederate stronghold was on the heights overlooking the river at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the Union’s Vicksburg Campaign (December 1862 to July 1863), and the fall of Port Hudson, completed control of the lower Mississippi River. The Union victory ending the Siege of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863 was pivotal to the Union’s final victory of the Civil War.
COME GATHER AT OUR TABLE
There is nothing quite as important to our family as visiting with one another around our dining room table over a deliciously prepared meal created from one of our family’s heirloom recipes. Although the memories of gatherings will always be cherished, the individual recipes will be prized for the stories that are passed on with them. Each one has been copied down in my children’s recipe files so that they, too, can pass them on to future generations.
Shrimp and Grits http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/new-orleans-mardi-gras-recipes/creole-shrimp-and-grits-recipe
Creole Red Beans http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/johns-creole-red-beans
Cajun Shrimp Casserole http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cajun-shrimp-casserole
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-and-sausage-gumbo-0
Shrimp and Okra Hush Puppies http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/shrimp-and-okra-hush-puppies
A Sacred Trust: Passing on Heirlooms Along with Their History
History is extremely important to our family, so I continually tell the children the history about our pieces of furniture and decorations. Since we purchase pieces with their children’s children in mind, and since we have so many pieces that both my mother and aunt gave us, it would not do to dishonor their memory or our legacy of revered tradition to keep the stories to ourselves.
The other day, a friend asked where I had acquired my red vinyl metal stepping stool. I told him that my mother had given it to me many years ago. I don’t remember my mother ever using it, but it holds special memories for me because I remember seeing it during my childhood. I use it for cutting everyone’s hair and for reaching the top of the cabinets, light fixtures, and ceiling when doing spring and fall cleaning.
My friend went on to tell me that his mother had one they used when he was a child and that it was the last thing his father gave his mother before he died in 1954. Naturally I asked him if he obtained it after his mother’s death. He did not and sadly was not even sure what happened to it. Knowing that it had sparked a fond memory, I asked if he would like for me to pick one up for him if ever I found one at an estate sale. He was interested.
Funny how pieces as simple as a stepping stool invoke warm feelings of affinity to our past. Yet it should not surprise us when as Christians we read over and over again how much importance God places on our genealogy, our heritage, and our inheritance. Over and over again, He commands us to remember and to honor our forbearers.
I loved what Sharman Ramsey says about genealogy in the prior article under Southern Traditions. It must be genetic. Southern women collect traditions like some people do stamps. Even our recipes come with genealogies. No conversation passes without clarification of the antecedents of those whose names pass through the discussion. We are a people for whom our sense of place in time and history is important. People, recipes, and houses have histories, and to us they go to create the wonderful tapestry of who we are.
To a Southerner, genealogy is not a hobby; it is a sacred trust. Who we are, why we are here in this place, and what is our purpose has meaning beyond our simple existence. We are one in a chain, a continuation of a heritage. Not to know our heritage is to dishonor those to whom honor meant everything.
The Children Did Not Want These Things
Whenever Sonia, Josiah, and I go to an estate sale, I always ask the auctioneers, “Didn’t these people have children?” The answer is always the same. “Yes, but the children did not want any of these things.” “Things” said in such a casual manner as if they meant nothing but a collection of objects that have no essential value. My response is always the same. I shake my head and say, “What a shame.”
In my mind, I think, “How can children not want their parents’ and grandparents’ belongings? It is their birthright. Has our society become so narcissistic that they reject their heritage and subsequent responsibility to pass their legacy on to their children?”
A Sacred Trust
Genealogy means family and lineage—to many, a sacred trust. Therefore, that which is bequeathed (which means entrusted and committed) is passed on to us while we live and then passed on to those who follow within our family. The word committed means devoted or faithful. For me that means to devote myself to the care of the item and to be faithful to my trust in passing on the history of each piece to my children and their children.
Faithfully I continually convey that which I know about our heirlooms including pieces of furniture, artifacts, decorations, quilts, jewelry, clothes, purses, hats, tools, recipes and even kitchen utensils—who they belonged to, how they were used, and stories related to each.
Pondering this vastly important role that we play as stewards of the past prompted me to chronicle the history of the children’s inheritance so they remember the details to pass on to their children’s children.
SUMMERS ON THE FARM Everything we do is being recorded for our posterity to know and understand the loving sacrifices we made to ensure their prosperity!
-One morning in November, I read a very easy to read book on raising chickens entitled Chickens in Five Minutes a Day: Raising, Tending and Getting Eggs from a Small Backyard Flock Made Easy from Murray McMurray Hatchery. Contributor Chris Huseman, who had been a vendor at last year’s conference, will return this year to speak to all of you on how to raise chickens.
-I thought I actually ordered 70 chickens, but when I just looked at my receipt, I see that I only have 64. I wanted 100, but when I asked the sales representative if she thought that wise, she suggested that I should order less. The biggest problem I face right now is that I don’t have 64 names for my chickens. Of course I know that they won’t come when called, but it just seems like the right thing to do since I will be with them day in and day out for the duration of their lives.
-The boys have been busy cleaning out the trash and debris from our chicken house. Constructed from solid oak on a foundation of concrete, this fine structure will work well once we attend to its apparent neglect. Years of trash, dust, dirt daubers and rats’ nests assembled in the loft above, which obviously had become the rat pack’s penthouse of choice, created more work than anticipated.
-To make the chicken house tight, the boys have screwed down every board and panel of metal roofing. Jedidiah has also reconstructed the window frames and sills—refitted for glass panes. He also reconstructed the door and latch so that it fits snugly and opens easily. He placed chicken wire on the outside of the windows to keep out critters when the windows are open for ventilation. He reset the huge rock step that sits outside the entrance and placed several smaller stones in front of it to make it easier for me to ascend. Using old wood from other structures, he just finished building 14 nesting boxes, so they blend in with the older materials.
-I have named this structure Chanticleer for two reasons. First, in honor of the rooster whose crowing absolutely thrills my heart; secondly in remembrance of the fascinating house Jon’s family once occupied, and the Chanticleer pottery we purchased from the subsequent owner.
-Many of you have inquired as to what kinds of chickens I selected. Speckled Sussex, Black Star, Araucana, Red Star, Black Australorp, Buff Rock, Delaware, Silver Laced Wyandottte, Rhode Island Red, Columbian Wyandotte, Buff Orpingtons, and Barred Rock are the ones we ordered for this year. All my life I have looked forward to hearing roosters crowing in the background while I go about my daily chores. I can hardly wait!
-The enclosure to the right of the building will house our ducks. We all like duck, but no one better than Josiah. I try to roast one for him at least once, sometimes twice a year. I suppose in the coming year we will be eating duck more regularly, if we don’t become too attached, that is, to those puddle ducks who will be waddling after us in search of food and fun.
-Talking of naming structures, I have named our barn Ironhorse (until my children are financially able to build suitable stables, which I am sure will be long after I am gone), our butcher shop will be called The Chop House, while the Creamery will be called just The Creamery.
-Every winter since the children were very young, I have read The Best of James Harriot—stories told from a country vet about his experiences on English farms. Insets of information lie along the text of the stories. These provide interesting information on different breeds of farm animals, farm tools, and such. One such inset stuck with Josiah, so that when we talked about the kind of pigs we should raise, he knew exactly the breed to purchase. As soon as I realized he wanted Berkshires, I did some investigation and ordered some piglets to arrive sometime in spring along with our chickens. They will graze with the rest of the animals.
-Berkshires apparently came from the English shire of Berks and are famous for their docile disposition, hardiness, and exceptionally tender, juicy, flavorful meat. The pigs are great grazers. They are black with white points on the feet, snout, and tail and are not prone to sunburn. The sows make excellent mothers. An average litter consists of 8-10 piglets, but the mothers can produce as many as 16.
-The boys reconstructed the farrowing structure so it is ready for mother and piglets; nothing fancy, but enough to keep them out of the weather. Josiah constructed an addition to the original structure called a creep area. This is solely for the piglets to stay safely out of the way of the sow to avoid suffocation when she lies down. Josiah built a sliding door that is opened and shut with a pulley and a hinged roof so we can inspect babies without interference from the mama.
-Josiah and I have been clearing the debris from prior timbering off the hill in front of the chicken house. We will seed it with grass for the chickens and gooseberries for us.
- Sonia and I continue to work on the entrance to the farm, pulling out old wire, debris, and fallen trees and branches. In just one year, we killed three rattlesnakes there. Hopefully clearing out innumerable hiding places will discourage them from lingering there.
-Several years ago, long after the boys had left to pick up a snowplow, I called to see what was taking so long to get home. What followed was unbelievable. Apparently the plow was connected to a truck that could not be pried loose, so the boys were compelled to bring it along. Now before you feel happy for us that we received a truck for the price of a plow, let me assure you that the truck was no bargain. Rusty to the point of being holey, the only thing left to do was pry loose the plow and take it to the junkyard. Only we found out that junkyards don’t take vehicles without titles, and the prior owner did not have one. We tried to give it away to a local mechanic who thought it could be used for parts. “Parts?” I questioned, “I did not know it had any parts left but rusty panels and doors.” I don’t think it even had a complete floor panel. It reminded me of the Flintstones’ car where they used their feet to get it rolling. The boys determined to dismantle the truck with a torch; the junkyard would take that. Down to the farm went the truck. Next thing I know, the boys had another vehicle situated against the old homestead—another one without a title; only this one ran. They told me it’s to use around the farm for working. I am not a fussy mother. After all I encourage the boys to collect knives and guns, tools and equipment, but I draw the line at dilapidated vehicles. I did not say anything, but I was beginning to feel like I lived in Haneyville near Green Acres farm. Then God, true to His Word to impart wisdom to those who ask, impressed upon me how the snowplow truck could be used. So I asked the boys if they thought the chassis of the truck might work for an egg mobile (a portable chicken house where the chickens sleep at night after grazing in the pasture after the cows). Jedidiah liked the idea. Josiah was disappointed because he had hoped to blow it up. I like to acquiesce when I can because I like to make the boys happy, but I also draw the line at having shrapnel all over the farm. Thankfully that heap of metal is now being transformed into our first egg mobile. God does provide in mysterious ways.
-The boys trenched a 400-foot line from our electric pole in our hayfield to the shed and another 200-foot trench over to the chicken house for electric and water. Jon was so impressed that we did not have any rocks in our 4-foot deep trenches that he made a special trip to get me to come and see the inside of the trenches. Of course, he did not tell me what he wanted to show me, just that I should come and see the boys’ work. But when I arrived, he told me to go up to our trenches and look inside. Then he asked what I saw. “Wow,” I said, “The boys have done a great job.” “Yes, they have,” he replied, “but did you notice anything about that trench.” Why of course, there were absolutely no rocks, just beautiful dirt! Now that is a blessing!
-After typing in loads of information on each individual vegetable from Rodale’s How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method, I poured over our seed catalogs and then ordered our vegetable, grain, and flower seeds from Seed Savers, Rare Seeds, and Seeds of Change.
-In 1999 Jon ordered spiles and hooks to tap maple trees for sap. Sadly, we could never find the time needed to tap trees and make syrup until now. So on Valentine’s Day, we all went to a maple syrup class at the conservation department in Cape Girardeau in preparation for tapping our own trees. Isn’t it truly magnificent that God provides us with all we need!
THE JOY OF COUNTRY LIVING
Apparently April Will Be a Pivotal Month
While writing to a friend last month, I realized that the beginning of my letter provided an opportunity for a good lesson. What follows, then, is part of my letter with additional content for completion of this significant lesson.
Dear Friend, I just recovered from an illness after being in bed for 11 days. I can hardly believe it, since I am so far behind on the conference because of moving, company for over a month, and then just receiving Internet access to our home two weeks ago. Needless to say, we are on the run now!
After all the tumultuous events, your note was like a breath of fresh air that put a lilt in my spirit and a smile on my face. Something greatly needed with all that is staring me in the face. Which is what, you may ask?
I have no experience with chickens, bees, pigs, huge gardens, or rotational grazing, yet I have 70 chickens coming in April, two hives coming in April, piglets coming in April, a large variety of seeds coming for April planting, 300 strawberry plants coming in April, 30 asparagus crowns coming in April, currants and gooseberries coming in April, and electric fencing coming in April, with the addition of three new businesses that we hope to start in April. Besides all this, it appears that we may have kittens soon. When you may, ask? April, of course!
Do you notice a pattern here? Apparently, April is going to be a pivotal month for us, an extremely hard month, just one month before the conference. On top of this, instead of taking care of Mom Friday through Sunday, we will soon have Mom with us here full time beginning this week. And then getting her house ready to sell for the spring market.
But before you admonish me for taking on too much, as it must seem like self-imposed stress, I must assure you that each of these endeavors is part of an overarching plan to fulfill two paramount purposes—fulfilling our duty to establish our children’s future, while also keeping us financially solvent so we are able to support our ministry.
However, I must admit that after realizing the complexity of all these new endeavors, on top of everything else, I told Jon that it would not surprise me if I finally came to the end of myself and he had to put me away somewhere; adding that I just hoped I bring the chickens through without killing too many of them before I go.
The funny thing is I worry that I don’t have 70 names for my chickens. Go figure! I hope that isn’t an omen. I better come up with some more names rather quickly!
Have you ever watched Holiday Inn at Christmas? It is not a good movie, but that is beside the point. The main character, Bing Crosby, leaves the hectic life of show business and tells his friends that they can drive themselves into lovely nervous breakdowns while he goes to the country to live on a farm so he can take it easy. Actually, the dialogue reveals that he wants to be lazy, out in the sun, with no work to be done.
The next thing you see is Bing covered with a pile of firewood, workhorses leaving him and the plow in the dust, and pigs running over him as they vie for the feed trough. Consequently, when the alarm clock awakens him at 4 a.m. to begin his chores all over again, he throws the clock out the window and then tears his feather pillow to bits. Shortly thereafter you realize the irony of the situation. He is the one who ends up with a nervous breakdown, less than a year after he moved to the farm.
Wow, what a year of upheaval for us. I pray that 2015 is a more settled year for us—one that we can look back upon with fondness. I really cannot say that of 2014. It is just a blur! Maybe I am just getting older because I have had worse years.
I am still blessed that you pointed out our Russian olives—the bushes I wanted to tear out—and ultimately saved them so that we in turn could make jelly out of their fruit. I will put that down for our posterity: Friend Saves Food Supply from Destruction! Ever since then, we have been enjoying jar upon jar of jellies from their sweet nectar.
Okay, now to the bees. I put your book and DVD in a separate packing box so that we could watch and read again, after our move. Only I am not certain of its location—the floor or the room. The box pile up is so bad that one day while Sonia was looking for her clothes, a pile of them, along with boxes, fell upon her. She was behind a screen of boxes that reached to the ceiling all the way to the door. Knowing that no one could reach her, she thought she might never be found, as even her involuntary scream after being covered was muffled. Now that I have made the dire circumstances of our dilemma obvious, I hope you will join us in prayer that I find that special box soon, as I must get a handle on bees before their arrival.
Which brings me to our orchard. At long last the ground had dried out after three months of dampness, making it the perfect week to plant our orchard. Excited to finally get our fruit trees in the ground, Jon rented an auger for digging the holes. However, as I approached our 36 apple, peach, pear, and plum trees, I quickly ascertained that only 7 of the 36 identification tags remained flying in the gentle breeze. My heart sank. Apparently, our cows, dogs, and a few strong gusts of wind found these novel objects a source of entertainment and thus removed them.
Just in case you think all is not lost, let me remind you, as I did my husband, that you cannot blindly plant fruit trees one next to the other without their proper pollinators, or for that matter position an 8’ by 10’ tree next to 12’ by 15’ tree because it will be shaded. Not knowing their identity, we do not know the kind of fruit each will bear, the height they will reach, or the special requirements for pollinators, if any.
I called the nursery to see if we might be able to at least identify the apples from the peaches from the pears from the plums. The customer service representative offered, “Well yes, that is a possibility when they leaf out, but then you cannot transplant them until fall after they are dormant again. And then they will need good-sized root balls.”
Unfortunately, since it had been so wet after they arrived, months in fact, we had to do a mass burial, which means that the trees’ roots will have grown into one another once fall appeared. And even if this were not a problem and we could tell the varieties apart, we had 6 apple tree pollinators somewhere in that bunch that cannot be more than 50 feet away from the apple trees they pollinate, which were also unidentifiable.
After the boys trenched 600 feet of ditch for burying electric and water lines and a hole for a new septic tank, they planned on laying pipe for the electric and water. While they were busy with that endeavor, Sonia and I planned on sowing pea, radish, beet, and lettuce seeds, except that it snowed ten inches, with snow and snow showers predicted for the rest of the week. You know what that means, don’t you—wet ground again—no tilling of the garden, no sowing seeds, no more digging holes for trees, and a muddy mess for laying pipe for electric and water.
Right now we are getting ready to tear out our main floor's ceiling, add additional supports to all the floor joists below our bathroom, replace the ceiling, and refinish our newly laid wood floors because of water damage from a pipe that burst during a cold spell.
With that said, fear not that I may end up like Bing. I don’t sleep on a feather pillow and am not prone to throwing things. On the contrary, I never possessed any illusions of being lazy here on the farm, but working very hard to establish sound endeavors for my children and their families, which, in fact, brings me to the most important point—that of perspective. For these two scenarios really form quite an accurate picture of the antithesis between men of the world’s perspective on their role in life and that of God’s children taking dominion of the earth for God’s glory, in His timing, according to His plan.
The world concurs with Bing Crosby’s character who sang some verses from the following song.
I see a puppy upon a summer’s day
A puppy dog at play
My heart is filled with envy
My heart is yearning to pass the time away
Like that pup
‘cause I’m all fed up
And tho’ it’s wrong to be
I long to be
I want to be lazy
I want to be out in the sun
With no work to be done
Under that awning
They call the sky
Stretching and yawning
And let the world go drifting by
I want to peep
Through the deep
‘til I sleep
Like a child would
With a great big valise full
Of books to read where it’s peaceful
Life is short
And getting shorter with each day that goes by
And how the time does fly
Before you know, it’s over
That’s why I’m
In such a hurry to pack my things and fly
To a spot
Where it’s nice and hot
And hear the birdies sing
While I’m being lazy.
For men of the world, it is off to the races, the lake, the ballgame, and finally to retirement—those activities that silence their conscience for making their time count according to God’s plan—by pleasing their flesh’s desire for self-gratification. This narcissistic, “all about me generation” that has permeated America’s soul spurns God’s mandate to take dominion, and instead, abandons their children, squanders their children’s inheritance, and wastes God’s precious gift of time on worthless activities.
Will April be a pivotal month? Absolutely! Will it be extremely hard? Absolutely! The difference between the world’s frustration with the responsibilities and trials of life and God’s children’s anxiety due to momentary lapses of faith pivots on the foundation.
Christ, the Rock on which we stand, upholds us and provides the lens through which we see life. It is not that self-consciousness never occurs, but rather that the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ, returns us to the reality, not of circumstances, which appear in time and space to the unaided eye, but that which is unseen, that working power of His Holy presence in every facet of our lives.
When Christ turned my self-consciousness back to a Christ-consciousness, all became crystal clear. It is now well with my soul. Subsequently I clearly understood that my illness provided needed rest from the move, while also giving me a jump-start for the race ahead of me for the conference. Baby chicks, bees, piglets, seeds, plants, rotational grazing, the new businesses, and the conference are all His; I am just a steward of His resources and a laborer for the Master’s work.
Snow and rain are magnificent blessings, as is learning so many new things. Even trials that appear to be failures, and in some cases, expensive losses, are to the wise a source of great gain for the lessons learned.
For His children, it is all about focusing on the author and finisher of our faith; His grace, His mercy, His might; and our duty to complete the work He has ordained for us in taking dominion for His glory. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Thankfully, I can still say that country life is the life for me!
FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE
Caught in the Web
For teens, Internet obsessions and addictions come in many forms, including blogs, gambling, social news sites, social media sites, gaming, pornography and more.
In 2012, the American Psychiatric Association officially announced that ‘Internet use disorder’ might make an appearance in the next edition of their diagnostic manual. Their studies likened the neurological effects of online addictions to the effects experienced by people addicted to cocaine, heroin or other substances. Obvious changes in the brain and its dopamine levels could be charted as online use grew into a preoccupation resulting in increased tolerance levels. Users developed a need to spend more and more time online, and when the Internet was taken away, individuals experienced withdrawal symptoms.
Dr. Hillarie Cash, co-founder of Restart, and Dr. Kimberly Young from the Center for Internet Addiction suggest that parents watch for the following warning signs of Internet addictions: craving more time on the Internet, displaying irritability when attempting to cut back, neglecting friends and family, withdrawing from other activities, and neglecting sleep to stay online.
If your teen shows signs of abuse or addiction, take it seriously. Practically speaking, consider moving the computer to a family space, adding filtering software or taking the computer away. And don’t forget the iPhones, Androids, iPads and other Internet-accessible devices.
We want our teens to become adults who are engaged in living a full life and influencing the world for Christ. Helping them to reach that goal may include commitment to monitoring Internet uses. –Jan Kern, Focus on the Family
THE DISMANTLING OF AMERICA
Excellent Article on Obamacare written by Joel Salatin