Our Notes

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wisdom of Men vs Power of God

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Corinthian 2:5)

It’s been one of those weeks. Yes, its just Tuesday, but you know what I mean. I spend too much time on Facebook mixing with people I have little in common with, spending time with valuable friends and sharing wonderful fellowship, and discussing my failures with folks who represent perfection incarnate.

I bait. I admit it. I enjoy discussions, even those that I know will lead to nothing worthwhile and most likely cause argument when my voice isn’t changed. I’m sure I put conversations out there to attract that sort of conversation from time to time. Same as I know I have a few friends who do the exact thing aimed at my behalf. I suppose it’s a game of sorts. the discussions are mostly good ones though, no harm, no foul.

Then you get weeks like this. Out of the blue, there’s a whole bunny trail of my not banging folks over the head with “verse for every occasion” like some hallmark card with feet. Social media is best used to uplift, edify, spread the Gospel…the gospel according to the chosen prophet who shares apparently. There’s so much destruction of soul and spirit within the news, Facebook should be used as a beacon in the storm of doom and gloom. Selfies optional.

While I can’t honestly say I disagree with the thought process there, I don’t fully believe it’s a realistic plan of attack. Social media is not a beacon of anything other than the sharing of one’s self with folks you otherwise would never have conversation with. It is like an abbreviated blog…you share photos with family members, collect and share recipes, glean tips and suggestions, get inundated with masses of cute animal shots and smiling baby pictures, meet up with fellow (homeschoolers, preppers, off-grid types, weight loss pals, etc) and do it all in a more instant, less formatted venue. And perhaps across lines to far more people than the average blog. You can share edification in many forms, but just because 498.7 of your new BFFs are following and liking your Feed doesn’t mean you are shining a beacon of profound religious joy.

Another trail this week was that of the value of FAITH over that of preparing for ones self. I am a prepper by simple definition.

A prudent man forseesth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on and are punished. (Proverbs 22:3)

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8)

I believe in stocking my household against future probabilities in terms of our living needs…food for family and livestock, ammo for hunting and safety, TP…because this is a large family and TP is just one of those top of the list items, LOL. I believe in skills and knowledge the same as I believe in food and ammo. Prepping has always been a part of human existence, all the way back thru the ages of Man. You harvest and preserve in the bountiful times to sustain in the lean times. Even Joseph was forewarned of those lean years. Had he ignored the call and not shared his vision with Pharaoh, the people would have perished. Ruth gleaned the fields. Waste not, want not has been a motto for many generations of Christians, as well as non-Believers. I believe though, that it is most definitely a GOD THING.

So, by stocking up on my masses of TP, am I saying God isn’t faithful to sustain my family? Am I lacking in FAITH because I stock more than a days worth of food, or a meals worth? If I put gas in my car, am I saying God will not provide for our transportation needs?

The idea is utterly ridiculous. My Faith in the Providence of God is not based on His summary Faith to supply my everyday needs. Does that mean I believe He isn’t providing for my family every day? Of course not! When Jesus tells us to Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither has a storehouse not barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than fowls? (Luke 12:24) and similarly, a few verses later with and seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind (Luke 12:29) is He really telling me to sit back on my haunches and relax, manna will sustain me and my family daily? I believe God will provide all that I need spiritually, no argument at all, but I also believe that many of His Blessings come to us through Him by the use of our strong back as well as our feet. It is not a work against faith to put hand to plow and sow a garden to feed ourselves. We once had the blessing of food aplenty without hard, physical toil of our own. Our sin nature and free will caused that to go away from our reach in the Garden of Eden when Eve was so easily deceived by the flattery of the snake, and Adam followed her blindly.

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground …Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken (Genesis 3:19, 23)

People have long since looked for ways to avoid working toward their own survival. That is to be expected among the non-Believers, but when a professing Christian believes God will provide all to them thru the work of others, I think they’ve missed the forest for the trees. God has always provided for His Children, but He does not always provide for them thru the labor of others. He provides in many ways…with knowledge and skill to sow and reap a garden and field, with knowledge to preserve the harvest thereof against the future months where abundance is diminished, with the skills of a wife in her kitchen providing wholesome foods to her family, with the sweat of a husband who toils daily for the maintenance of his family. There are always instances where He chooses to provide these daily blessings by the works of others, bringing food to the infirmed and elderly, sharing the lessons of a Titus 2 woman, and more, but more over throughout Scripture, we are called to put our feet, our hands, to our daily work and provide for our families ourselves. God does not want us to sit idly by and wait on someone else to supply for us the needs of every day. It is our joint work so to speak…He supports our Spiritual needs, we aid in the support of our bodies sustaining needs. It is my calling as a wife, a mother, to see to all I can to provide the home needs for my family while my husband toils away.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat 2 Thess. 3:10)

But if any provide not for his own, and especially for this in his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (1 Tim 5:8)

I just can’t believe this is speaking only to the needs of the righteous widow. If a man does not work to provide for his household, he has done a huge disservice himself and has tarnished what he claims is his faith. Likewise, the single mom caring for her family alone. God wants us to trust in His Provision, but I just can’t shake the understanding that He also wants to know I am willing and able to put feet to His Direction and aid in my survival.

As usual, there was the stay-at-home mom vs working mom chatter. I don’t subscribe to the theory that it is simply a given, a must for survival, that every family has multiple income winners. There are always circumstances that will cause a mother to enter the workforce and leave her children to the care of others for that time, but it was never intended to be a constant thing.

I have not worked outside my home in over 20 years. We have been a one income household for the vast majority of our lives. I believe it is what a mother is supposed to do. I don’t say that to fault a working mom who places her child in daycare, but I won’t apologize for the belief either. We have had very lean times with that single income…a couple years we barely earned $6000 for the whole of the year!…and it has meant some times of deep sacrifice on our parts to maintain our home and family, but we have managed. We have 9 children, 6 of whom are still at home currently, and we have just one income. With that one income, we have raised our children without a want for housing, clothing, food, etc.  We have bought and paid for our home and land, our vehicle. We have maintained both children’s needs, and the needs of livestock. We have educated with a variety of materials both free and paid for. We have stocked our home with an eye to the future needs, preserved and saved in the rich times to sustain in the lean. On one income.

It can be done. There is a great amount of choice and right decision making involved over simply having a well paid job. There are families with both parents working who struggle with every bill. Higher pay is not going to help them, they have made wrong choices and followed different directions. Those types place their list of wants and comforts above their actual needs. All the income in the world will not aid that family.

The loudest cry of the working mom is that we (a stay at home mom) demean and belittle them because they are forced to work. That we (the SAHM) claim to have more love for our children than the working mom because we stay home to raise them rather than sending them off under the care of another. I suppose in some cases there is truth in that, but honestly, if I shouted the praises of the stay at home from every roof top and offended you because you work, the higher likelihood is that you yourself feel somehow less because you work rather than stay home with your children. There are great working moms, there are less than stellar stay at home moms. The ones who tend to make the most noise to their defense are feeling guilt on their own end.

I also made a remark about marriage being the basis for family, and that perhaps if a man and woman were not prepared to begin a family, maybe there was little reason for marriage. We are not called simply to marry so we can cohabitate, but to be fruitful, and multiply, bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein (Genesis 9:7). It is more a manly thought to get married just to be married, without a plan for starting a family, than it is God’s Plan for families. Yet the idea behind marriage today is one of cohabitation above anything else. There are countless couples, Christian and non-believer, who have lost the concept of what God wanted in ‘creating’ a family. He saw that it was not good that man be alone, that every beast of the field and fowl of the air had for themselves a mate, an helpmeet for himself, yet man had none. It is said in Proverbs (18:22) that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains the favor of the Lord. Adam and Eve were married and from that we are each called to leave father and mother and become one flesh with our spouse. And the call to go forth and be fruitful among the earth is right there with that first marriage.

Am I saying if you have no children you have less of a marriage? Not really, because I believe God directs the family size. Some have several children, some have none. But I believe the basis of marriage for multiplying is nonetheless still there. If you are not prepared for children, marriage isn’t necessarily atop the importance list in your life. it’s just a thought.

I twist some tails with that thinking I’m sure. No more than I do with a number of other beliefs I hold…emphasis on these simply being MY BELIEFS. I don’t call all to believe along with me. God should lead your beliefs, not me. If you feel attacked by anything I’ve stated here as my own belief, perhaps the problem lies within your own heart. Perhaps you feel a conflict with your direction vs God’s Direction. That isn’t my fault. I am not your holy spirit in Facebook or blog form. I am simply a Child of God who is comfortable in her own skin.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dreams of Autumn Past, and Project Plans

 
                              

Autumn has finally arrived here in my pocket of the Deep South. Sure, up north, autumn means chilly days and lots of color, but down here it's not quite as obvious. Our temps have finally dipped out of the mid-80s and that in itself is a harbinger of autumnal changes. Anyone who knows me even a little bit though knows I dearly miss the 'big change' of seasons. That color change in the grasses, leaves and flowering pots. The smell in the air of dried flowers, pumpkins, and apple cider. My hands-down favorite seasonal change...the harvesting of the fields. There's a true beauty in the sight of a combine rolling thru a bean field or a corn field. The dusty scent in the air as they make their rounds in the large fields, the hum of the dryers going, the blackbirds coming far and wide to glean from the fresh cut fields. I miss those scenes. 

Don't get me wrong, there is a certain amount of beauty in a southern cotton field as the cotton pops open and the leaves die back. Almost looks like a blanket of snow scattered around the fields and fence rows. And the big, block bales of compressed cotton all lined up, waiting to be collected has it's seasonal appeal. 

My northern heart is comforted by acres and acres of corn field being harvested. I long for visits across the countryside to the pumpkin farms and the apple orchards. Walking into those barns, dried flowers hanging from the beams, the scents of hot apple cider and cinnamon carried thru the air, those delicious apple cider donuts...I can't help myself this time of year as the calendar pages turn and herald in the cooler weather. My mind travels and my heart starts to long for those scenes and noises that only the north can offer. There isn't enough autumn...or winter...season down here for me. No matter how I talk it up and try to convince myself otherwise, I start getting an ache in my spirit and a bit depressed this time of year.

                                              

Around the homestead here we are planning out the pantry. No garden that reliably produces in this clay muck, so I rely on the bounty of those wonderful southern gardeners who have tamed the land. The farm markets fill my larder with white potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and more. I'm working up the next big meat order from the butcher to fill the freezer for some winter canning time. I need to revisit the pantry/kitchen binder and straighten up recipes, add in new ones, cull some older ones we haven't put into the rotation in a while, review the pantry stock and so forth. Time to review some cookbooks here and gather some new ideas. Winter is my big cooking season. I'm all about the comfort foods...big pots of thick soups simmering on the cookstove, my big roasters filled with chunky stews, pans of caramel corn, beef roasts, whole chickens, etc. With the cookstove in use daily as our only heating source, there is always something simmering or baking away. We prep baking potatoes in the morning and let them cook in a large pan in the oven until lunch time. Delicious :-)

                                                 

Another seasonal goodie here is the increase in project ideas. As the weather cools, I start planning outdoor projects like fence mending and barn repairs. The girls and I start thinking holiday projects like Chrostmas gifts, decoration ideas and crafts, special baking projects like cookie and bread baskets. I start realizing the amount of sewing I have put off and feel an urgency in finishing the piles of patterns awaiting me. 
Yes, I put off sewing for other projects like quilt making, crocheting and knitting, but let's face it, as the weather cools, you start to get that urge to be clothed, LOL. I've got a huge SEWING MUSTS list here and times a-wasting!

                                                

In my project basket right now I've got baby bonnets and booties for friends, a couple small afghan requests, slippers, and the always-in-progress hats, mittens, and scarves. There are several dresses, aprons, head coverings, and undergarments cut and ready on the sewing table, and I need to do new nightgowns and pajamas this year as the kids have certainly sprouted a good deal in the past couple years. 

                                              

Always projects waiting on a homestead, but as the weather cools, those projects really climb the ladder of importance. What's better than adding some wood to the stove, grabbing a cup of cocoa, and curling up with some yarnwork or hand stitching on your lap in the evening? I don't think you can find better than that for a cool autumn evening.

We must first see the vision in order to realize it; we must have the ideal or we cannot approach it; but when once the dream is dreamed, it is time to wake up and "get busy." We must 'do great deeds' not dream them all day long. We can work our dreams out into realities of we try, but we must be willing to make the effort. Things that seem easy of accomplishment in dreams require a lot of good common sense to put on a working basis and a great deal of energy to put through to a successful end.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, February 1918

                                            



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