Sunday, June 18, 2017

Learning about the Holy Spirit

I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Spirit these last few months. I am not quite sure what got me started on it but as I read through the Bible recently those that are about the Holy Spirit have really jumped out at me. Also while at my sisters a while back she had a little book called "Practicing His Presence" that I was able to read partly through and it also spoke of that subject. Then today while visiting a church in Woodbury, MN the sermon was on the Holy Spirit. Then I came home and was wanting to write this post and the booklet that I have been going through this year and sharing parts from "52 Simple Stimulating Studies" - today's lesson was on the Holy Spirit. And then the fiction book that I started reading during our trip this weekend spoke a lot about the work of the Holy Spirit. I think it is fun. It is definitely prompting me to study and better understand the Holy Spirit and His work.

 I understand that we do have unknowns about the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives. That is true. But the Bible does also share quite a lot of information. I think it would do well for most of us to understand it better and be more aware of the Spirit working in our lives. We need to constantly working to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

This is looking to be a several part lesson on the Holy Spirit but let's go ahead and get started with some verses....

The Holy Spirit is a personality....
"And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:27

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." Romans 4:1

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you are sealed for the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:29

  That is just a few verse for tonight but I hope it might prompt you to get started thinking on the  subject. Meanwhile we have had a busy weekend and I am ready for bed!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Animals on Our Homestead

 Our little homestead has really been growing as far as animals are concerned so I thought I should do a post on that today. :-)

The animal that gets the most attention around here (though he would say it still isn't enough and he would like all the attention that we give to the others too) is our dog Kitchi. He is a golden retriever that will turn 2 in September. He has brought a lot of laughter and fun to our family and a little frustration too (when he decides to dig in flower beds). He loves to tease (Steal a glove or a shoe and play chase with you as you try to get it back) and hates to be left behind. He is in 4-H dog training which we hope will be helpful. :-) He actually is pretty good in many ways but more training will not hurt at all. His job around the homestead is to keep bear away from the bees, predators away from the other animals and deer away from my flower beds and fruit trees (the main garden is fenced). Also to provide us with entertainment.

At the same time we got Kitchi we also got Esther - a rabbit of uncertain breed. We do hope to breed her in an attempt to provide meat and fur/leather for our family. A friend is going to give us a couple of male rabbits soon. So far she has just been a pet and provide a little bit of manure for homesteading purposes.

Last month we added Ruth and Naomi to our homestead. I thought I had a better picture but I couldn't find one. They are cute bunnies that are a mix of Mini Rex and Silver Fox. We got them to use for breeding to produce meat and fur. They are also pretty cute. The kids have enjoyed holding them and playing with them.

This is the cage that the boys (mostly Jonathan) made for the rabbits. We will need to make another for the additional rabbits we hope to get soon. It goes over top of the chicken run. The Chickens make use of all the feed that gets spilled.

 Our Broiler chicks arrived last week. We got 35 this year. This is the first year to have the full production at our place. My dad has done most of the broiler raising in the past. Jonathan made this chick pen. It works great for now but Aaron and I need to get busy and make a bigger pen for them to live in soon!
 We have 5 older and 18 newer (2 month old and not laying yet) layers. The older 5 may get butchered this fall but they are laying nicely now.
 They have a nice coop and run (built mostly by Jonathan) next to the garden. I love being able to throw weeds over the fence to them when I am working in the garden.

 Besides the broiler chicks the newest addition to our place is Mr. Sippi our cute little kitten. We got him from a friend last week. He has become my gardening buddy and Megan loves taking him around all over. He has a nice little home (he is a total outside cat because of allergies and just not caring for pets in the house) in the garden shed. His job is to catch mice so they don't eat animal feed or come in our house etc. He also is in charge of keeping little animals out of my garden. I have explained his duties to him and we hope that he listened. :-)

We can't forget the bees. I picked up 2 new nucs early last month. They are doing well and multiplying like crazy. They are packing in the honey as well. Mom and Dad came over this week and helped me to finally put up a fence to protect them from bears and skunks and such. I am very thankful! Neighbors have reported bear issues/sightings so we did need to get something done.

 I am thankful that God gave us animals. And I am thankful that he provided them for food: "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." Genesis 9:3  I don't truly enjoy butchering time but I would rather eat meat from animals that were raised in a good way and fed well and had an enjoyable life. We are able to do things that way that God designed them to be done and I am grateful for that.

Do you raise animals? What do you have at your place?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Life in Pictures

It has been a while since I have done a picture post (or much of any posts) so this one is pictures from more than just the last week but rather the last little while...

 Aaron and Kitchi who has learned how to get up on the boulders that we have in our front yard.
 The pretty Clemantis that Mara gave me for Mother's Day. The next morning Kitchi had dug it up as he wanted to chew on the little trellis. I replanted it but wasn't sure if it would make it. It did! It is greening up again. Praise God!
 Whales from my Sunday School class. I love this craft. The kids enjoyed it too.
 Asparagus that we foraged from an abandoned plot.
 Regal Mara looking (unsuccessfully) for more asparagus.
 Megan when she and I spent a morning together North East of here while the boys went to a Hunter's Safety Field day.
 Above and below are pictures of the kids with some good friends who recently moved away.
 We miss them but are delighted that Ken's parents bought their house and moved here from way out West. So nice to have another set of Grandparents in town.
 Jonathan at work.
 Megan playing the "harp" at a store in town.
 Ladyslippers blooming in our woods.
 A picnic fixed by my younger two this week while their older siblings worked.

 Iris blooming in the new flower bed that I am working on in our front yard.
 My sister and nephew and their new little kitten. Stay tuned for a bit post of animal updates from our little homestead!
 Flowers for a wedding today.
A snapping turtle that was trying to lay eggs in our yard. I don't know if she got the job done before I hurried her back to the river before she and Kitchi got in a fight.

What is going on at your place?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hell is Real

 Hell isn't a very fun topic is it? But it isn't one to be ignored either. I want to share some bits from God's word on this but first I thought I would share an excerpt from a book that I have been reading just lately - "And The Angels Were Silent" by Max Lucado......

"We don't like to talk about hell, do we? In intellectual circles the topic of hell is regarded as primitive and foolish. It's not logical. "A loving God wouldn't send people to hell." So we dismiss it.

But to dismiss it is to dismiss a core teaching of Jesus. The doctrine of hell is not one developed by Paul, Peter or John. It is taught be Jesus himself.

And to dismiss it is to dismiss much more. It is to dismiss the presence of a loving God and the privilege of a free choice. Let me explain.

  We are free either to love God or not. He invites us to love him. He urges us to love him. He came that we might love him. But, in the end, the choice is yours and mine. To take that choice from each of us, for him to force us to love him, would be less than love.

  God explains the benefits, outlines the promises, and articulates very clearly the consequences. And then, in the end, he leaves the choice to us.

  Hell was not prepared for people. Hell "was prepared for the devil and his angels." FOr a person to go to hell, then, is far a person to go against God's intended destiny. "God has not destined us to the terrors of judgement, but to the full attainment of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Hell is man's choice, not God's choice." 

So let's look at some verses....

Sinners will be punished in hell.

"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:11 & 12

"... When the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" 2 Thess. 1:7-9

"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Matthew 7:19

"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire, on that palace there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:49 & 50

"Then He will also say to those on His left, "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me. Then they themselves also will answer, "Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of you? Then He will answer them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:41-46

What is Hell like? 

"Where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched." Mark 9:48

"And if anyone's name was not found, written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15

And noticing from the verses above.... It is eternal, it is away from the presence of God, it is full of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Hell is going to be a terrible place and I don't think any of us desire to go there. So let's seek our dear Lord and Savior who is the only one that can save us from that place. Let us also warn others and encourage them to follow Jesus.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Seeking to Simplify- Doing Family Activities

 One of the ways that we have tried to keep things a little simpler for our family is to as much as we can have family activities instead of individual activities. That doesn't work every time but much of the time that is the way we do it.

None of our kids are involved in traditional age categorized sports but instead we have one of our favorite family activities - Homeschool baseball. We started this around 7 years ago after we had tried out a summer of having the boys in little league. I didn't care for going during the day while Ken was working as sports is more his interest anyway and I also didn't like having to be there 2 different times in the day for my boys of different ages. So we started up this pretty informal baseball gathering that is in the evening (when dads are generally off work) and all ages of kids can play at the same time. We do divide up into older kids and younger kids (and we may soon have a middle kid group too) but every can play at the same time. Dads  help out with pitching/coaching and Moms keep score and keep kids organized and watch over little ones that are two young to play. Everybody tends to have a lot of fun and we have become good friends with many that attend. We meet just once a week throughout the summer (This year we started at the beginning of May and we tend to go through September).
Anyway - that is our current busyness on Tuesday evenings and we are enjoying this simple family time.

Concerning my clutter simplifying....

  As this year has gotten busier (Spring and Summer tend to do that) I have struggled a little to get all my goals met but we are still making a lot of progress and I am happy about that.

I haven't reported on my progress since April 5th! Oh my!
Since then....

I have gotten rid of 207 items in the last 8 weeks. A little over 25 a week which is my goal.
I decluttered/went through 35 areas (box, drawer, closet, etc). That is a little short of my 5 per week goal.
I only did 5 days worth of going through picture folders. It seems like that tends to be a better wintertime activity. Maybe I should spend a little more time working on that then messing around on Facebook.
My e-mail inbox is cleaned out now but I have been slacking on that some.
I did sell 17 items. Hooray!

How is simplifying going at your house? Do you like to make your activities family ones when possible?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Science Circus {Using What I Had in My "Hand"}

The whole circus cast sang the National Anthem to start off the show.
 Our homeschool co-op put on a science circus for our end of year program this year. It was quite a lot of fun and I really enjoyed watching the children do their various parts.
  Since this is a Thursday post I thought it would be fun to share with you ways we used things that we already had to put this production on. I headed up a group of 4 of us parents from our co-op to be in charge of the circus (other parents were in charge of other months). None of us spent much money on this event. I think I probably spent the most and I think it was less than $40. I did buy balloons, popcorn (we popped enough for over 100 people to eat), bags for the popcorn, clown make-up (our homemade recipes didn't work out), skewers and I think that is pretty much it.
I made the ringmasters' jackets using some black fabric that we had gotten free at an outlet fabric store. The gold was leftover from a wedding. I also made the hat above using the same fabric and cardboard. We had two ringmasters and our other ringmaster made his own hat. 

This ringmaster brought a long a snare drum to give some special affects now and then. We collected a bunch of boxes which we turned inside out and the decorated with colorful shapes. We had thought we would use them to make a "ring" but decided that would get in the way so we decorated the back wall with them and stored props in them.
The clowns. My mom and I had made 2 of the clown outfits some years back for a church event (using them we had on hand then as well). The other clown outfit was already owned by the clown. The rainbow wigs were owned by co-op members already. Megan preferred to make her own baldy wig with orange hair around the edges. She also make her pointed hat and put paper mache and paint on an old pair of Aaron's shoes to make fancy shoes for herself. Her very creative idea was for all of their noses. She made red clown noses out of egg carton sections, red balloons, stuffing and elastic string. They worked pretty well.
Mara did her act (kind of in a clownish way) dressed up like an old cook. She also had fun "butting" in to a lot of the circus to keep things moving and lively. Her costume came from clothes that we had one hand.

We had juggling and Hula Hooping. (This picture was taken at a rehearsal).
Another picture of clowns.
We had popcorn to give to everyone who came. I made their little boxes with straps from things we had around our house.

We made a ticket booth out of boxes. I had a whole group of little kids helping me with it one day which was quite fun! Ken had given me these tickets some time back that had been leftover from some event that he had helped with. I have been saving them for some special occasion.
Girls inside took their tickets. I made them little aprons from old t-shirts.

Our program girl. I made programs using some paper that a friend had given us in great quantities. I has a rainbowy edge on it.
Another pop-corn salesman.

I made belts for the acrobats by braiding strips of primary colored t-shirts together.
The kids had fun coming up with acrobatic acts to do. They did a good job.
I missed getting good pictures of a lot of the acts (like "tight-rope" or balance beam walking, walking on eggs, screaming balloons, the bed of nails and much more) but that gives you an idea of our circus. It was a lot of fun and I was grateful to be able to use so many things that I already had to help make it extra special.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happenings on Our Homestead

Spring has really and truly arrived and you may have noticed that blogging rather took a back seat. There are just so many other things to do too. But I do love blogging so here I am again. :-)

Here are some various things that have been happening around our homestead....
 We tried grafting a bunch of apple trees. We also moved them out of the temporary home in the garden into their permanent locations.
 The rootstock we had bought economically from the county when we first bought this property. The scions we got off of my Dad's trees. I am feeling a little pessimistic about the grafting. I don't know that I really got the hang of how I should be doing it yet.
 Our new layer hens (18 of them) are getting big. They are a lot bigger now than when I took this picture.
 Late April we got another snow. It was pretty but for some reason people were struggling to properly enjoy it. :-)
 I think Kitchi thought it was just fine.
 I moved my cherry trees too and then they bloomed beautifully.
 They are now down by the house and I could look out and enjoy them every day.
 Aaron gave the garden another tilling (Ken had earlier).
 Then we started planting the cold loving plants. We don't do anything that is sensitive to frost until June but other things are great to get going earlier.
 Mara was in charge of onions.
 Megan helped a lot with this mess of potatos.
 Aaron planted peas.
 I found a morrell mushroom in our woods. I was super excited to find one on our property! That is the only one so far. I split it into 3 pieces (for Ken, Mara and I - the ones that enjoy mushrooms) and fried it. Yummy! We have been having rain lately so I am hoping more might pop out soon.
 My brother Luke brought Dad's bobcat over and did a lot of dirt work (we had a bunch of black dirt hauled in) for us and moved some rocks as well. We now are pretty much ready to plant the yard.
 Mara got this lovely clematis plant for me for Mother's Day. Unfortunately Kitchi decided to tear up the trellis which brought the plant with it. I replanted it and am hoping it survives. I love the look or a Clematis. I am enjoying all the other plants coming up which I planted last year.
 We got the lower part of our driveway paved this week.
 It was fun to watch.
It looks so nice now! We are very excited about no longer having mud puddles, being able to get our yard planted and the reductions of dust near our house. Playing basketball and roller blading is also very exciting for the family.

I am gearing up to getting the rest of the garden planted. I have a bunch of seedlings growing on my window shelf. Spring is an exciting time of year!


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