Monday, July 27, 2015

"The Making of a Man" {Book Review}

I read the book "The Making of a Man - How men and boys honor God and live with integrity" by Tim Brown. Tim Brown is a Heisman Trophy Winner and Notre Dame and then went on to be a star in the NFL. In this book Tim shares many stories of his growing up along with telling about life as a football player and then as a dad and husband. He tells of his faith and his struggles in his relationship with God and of some of the temptations he faced and some of the ones that he gave into. Tim is quite open and honest in this book.

  Mixed in with the stories are a lot of good lessons about what a man should be. Here are some of the messages he shares:
  • A Man is Thankful
  • A Man Uses His Skills
  • A Man Needs to be Humble
  • A Man Takes Responsibility
  • A Man is Mentally and Physically Strong
  • A Man Overcomes Temptation
  • A Man Knows His Priorities
  • A Father Leads His Children
  • and many more....
I enjoyed reading this book. It is written in an interesting way and gave me insight as I raise my boys. When I requested this book to review I thought it might be a good one to give my son or nephew but after reading it I did decide against it. Though there are a lot of good lessons in it one of the big things that Tim struggled with was sexual sins and so that plays a large part into the book. If I knew a young man that was already struggling in that way I would give this book to him in a heartbeat but to make a young man that doesn't have these issues read a book where it talks about it quite a bit - I didn't know if that was wise.

Disclaimer: I did receive this book for purposes of reviewing but all opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Why I Believe it is Wrong for Me to Drink Alcohol

This post is about why I believe it is wrong for me to drink alcohol. Notice I did say "for me". I don't think this is a truly black and white, wrong or right issue in the Bible but because of various verses on this subject in the Bible and various other biblical principles I am convicted personally that it is wrong for me to drink alcohol. Not knowing what my various readers believe on this subject this is just to challenge you to look deeper into what the Bible says.

Here are some various verses that do speak of alcohol....

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit," Ephesians 5:18

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." Proverbs 20:1

"Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long over wine;
    those who go to try mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a serpent
    and stings like an adder.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart utter perverse things.
34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.
35 “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
    must have another drink.” Proverbs 23:29-35

"It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble." Romans 14:21
This the main verse that decides things for me. I don't know of anyone that would stumble spiritually from my eating meat (and I don't eat meat sacrificed to idols which was one of the challenges to the people this was written too - that isn't really an option around here) but there are people all about me that could stumble from my example of drinking alcohol (if I did). I have sat in a couple of court sessions in our time (seeking to give support to a young lady I was reaching out to) and I found it very interesting that nearly all of these little cases that I heard involved alcohol. There are so many (maybe around here especially - I don't know) whose lives have been ruined partly because of their use of alcohol. I don't want to ever through my actions encourage them in something that may wreck their life.

"Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!" Isaiah 5:11

"Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain." 1 Timothy 3:8

"(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)" 1 Timothy 5:23
I didn't want to skip this one because it is one that many people like to use. Again, I don't think that drinking alcohol is forbidden I just think it is very unwise and I am convicted for me it would be wrong. To use medicine with some alcohol in it however I don't have a conviction against.

The Bible is quite clear in the message that we are not to be drunkards...

"Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:21

"Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:10

"Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags." Proverbs 23:20-21

 The Bible does have more verses than these on this topic but I think these will do for now. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Our Log Mantle is in Place

 We have a real mantlepiece now! I am pretty excited. My older brother Peter whose profession is building log homes (who also last year got to be on a reality TV show - "Cabin Fever" - and was labeled "The Artist") had offered to make our mantle for us. The biggest trees that we had to cut down on our property we had taken (in lengths that fit on a big trailer) over to my Dad's where they were cut up on his sawmill. Peter and Travis (my brother-in-law that made the fireplace) cut one piece up to make this mantle.

  Today it was plenty dry and so Peter cut it to the right length, planed it and sanded it and brought it over here.
 Once here he had to carve out areas on the underside to make it fit right on the rocks that were placed to support it.
 Doesn't it look nice?

It isn't fastened down yet. We will remove it and varnish it before long. But it doesn't move very easily - it's weight keeps it in place. After varnishing it we will plan on putting a heavy duty adhesive between it and the support rocks to make it stay on even better.

That was one of the fun happenings of the day. We also had fun burning up some of the brush and punky logs and scraps left over from building. We roasted brats and hotdogs and made s'mores and Peter and family and my sister Keren and her husband Benjamin joined us.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Wall Hanging made from Pallet Boards and Birch Bark

 I had fun making a wall hanging from old pallet boards and birch bark recently. I was wanted to put something on a fairly big wall in our living room but nothing we had already seemed quite right. I didn't want to go out and buy some expensive picture and I really liked the idea of having something homemade and original. What should we do?....

 I had made a small tree from birch bark a while back and I liked it an had received many compliments on it and so I thought it would be fun to do something of that nature just on a larger scale. As I was considered this idea I decided I wouldn't be able to get a piece of birch back as big as I would want for the base so I would need to figure out something different. I decided that old pallet boards might look neat. So this is what I did:
I found the stack of boards that we had (that had originally been pallets) in a stack from the tearing down of our outdoor shower. My first step was just to kind of lay them out and see what would work.

Then after figuring out what width and height would work I started cutting the boards to size.
Next step was to wash the boards up a little and then I nailed them together.
I had decided that it would be neat to have the first chapter of Psalms on it as it talks about being like a tree planted by streams of water. I thought it would be fun to have scripture on our walls like that and I also liked the reference to a river. My first step in putting the verse on was simply to look it over and kind of plan it out in my head and then I wrote it on (free hand) with pencil. Painting the words was the next step. I think that is rather fun - but not as fun as the next step!
This picture shows a little better how I wrote it and then painted it.
 The next step was to add a tree (or trees) made out of birch bark. I just needed to cut them to shape and then I used hot glue to stick them on. I ended up having to piece together different sections of the tree.
 Next step was to add leaves. I went out and picked a leaf to help me get the shaped right. After cutting a bunch of leaves I stopped worry to much about the shape though. I also added some lichen to the tree - especially around the base.

 The leaf placement was challenging.
 We are pretty happy with the finished product though. I am going to enter it in the fair and then hopefully we can get it hung up.

 While I worked on that Mara worked on making a picture frame from pallet wood to frame a picture she took. We plan on hanging that in another place in the living room (After it goes to the fair as well).

 Do you ever make things from pallets? I would love to hear what you do!

I will be linking this to Funky Junk Interiors.

A Story that God Brought About {and what it is causing us to learn)

I want to share with you a homeschool highlight from this past week but first I want to tell you a story. It is a story that has reminded me just how much God is working.

  First I want to start the story by sharing that one of the burdens of my heart for many years has been especially to reach out to my neighbors. To make sure that each one of them has heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. To that end I do try to get to know my neighbors to be a good neighbor with God's help and to always be on the alert for an opportunity to share about Jesus Christ. So that is a passion of my life and because of that around a month ago I did go over to some neighbors that had moved in not long ago to meet them and to share some bread and honey butter with them. I met the lady of the house and her son who was a college student and was deaf.

 What I didn't know was that this young man had been earnestly studying his Bible (I don't know what prompted him in that direction) and he had also (right around the time I met him) started calling my Dad (His phone number is listed for our church) to have over the phone Bible studies with the help of an interpreter. Last Saturday he had arranged to meet with my Dad because he had studied enough that he saw his need for baptism. So after studying a bit more in person (with an interpreter) they started to figure out the details of the baptism. This young man thought it would be neat to be baptized in a river since Jesus was baptized in one. So my mom called me up wondering if it would be okay to come and do it at our place.

Of course!

Then my Mom started giving directions to his mom (who had been the interpreter and driver) to our place and she said "That's how you get to our place too!" (they also live on the river but I guess the river there is super mucky). So they figured out that we had already met. We could just say that is is a small world or we could see God's hand in all of this. The picture above shows them just after he came up out of the water from being baptized.

  The young man rode with us to church on Sunday morning. He was a little unsure of going without an interpreter but we tried to communicate to the best of our ability with pads of paper, a tiny bit of sign language and also the preacher had a power point for his sermon and did also write up some stuff especially to give to him. But we are really feeling the need to learn sign language!

  How much nicer communication would be if we knew sign language (I will from here on say ASL which stands for American Sign Language) not only for casual visiting but also so we could interpret at church for this young man and any others that might come in the future and we could also use it throughout our lifetime with people that we might meet. It just gives us more opportunities to be able to share the gospel with others.

  All of the kids and I are now working to learn it. We have found that there are some good learning tools online and as we progress we may look into classes too. Here are some of the helpful videos that we have found:

Here is a link to a printable ASL alphabet sheet.

Do you know ASL? Do you have any tips for us as we try to learn it? I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Freezer Cooking Makes For Easy Preparations When Company Comes

 Have you ever followed one of those once a  month cooking plans before? Well my friends Lyndi and Mindy and I were at a homeschool ladies day some months back and the speaker really encouraged the idea of doing it. I have put meals in the freezer before and I really like to do that when I get organized but I had never devoted a whole day to that before. Nor have I ever gotten together with friends to do it before. But anyway - we thought it sounded like fun so we decided to give it a try.

Lyndi, me and Mindy - I look a bit tired - we all were (I'm just the one that looks that way!)

Mindy had a cookbook that had a 2 week freezer cooking plan and Lyndi got us organized and we decided to give that a try first. We decided we would do it in my kitchen.

   It was a fun but quite tiring day. There are quite a few things I would like to change (many of the recipes weren't all that healthy -I tweaked some of them- and more expensive than my normal) but over all the concept is pretty neat and I think we could come up with a plan that would be better suited to our needs. So that is still a work in progress but it was a start.

  I am loving having a lot of easy meals in the freezer. When we had company at our place and we wanted to go berry picking and had other busyness going on it was super nice to just pull a meal out of the freezer. Whatever you method of putting them in there I think have some food that is very easy to prepare (main dishes that just need to go into the oven, cookies, muffins, etc.) is really nice for when company comes and life is busy. I recommend it!

  I would love to hear about any experience you have had with freezer cooking! 


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