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A Fruitful Relationship: Parents and Teachers

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As parents, it is with us the responsibility lies to steward into our children’s lives, regardless if we know all the answers to things or not. Leaving them off entirely, to a Sunday school teacher, a youth group leader, a mentor, etc to have them be the parent is not fruitful for anyone. We can often times convince ourselves that it is in our children’s best interest to have someone else teach them what they ought to know about Christ, as maybe we feel we don’t have time, don’t have enough knowledge, and so on. When we hand over our parental authority, and our responsibility to a teacher(s) it puts the family at risk, and it puts that teacher at risk to potentially overstep their position in your child’s life. 

Parenting Our Children is Our First Ministry

We have the time, we have the authority, and we surely have the responsibility to be teachers of the living word of God, for our kids. If we truly couldn’t handle it, would the Lord have given us this task? (1 Corinthians 10:13) Teachers are a blessing to our community, however, before we utilize the help of our church community to further speak the truth to our kids, we must first hold fast to our duties as parents and realize that our children are our first ministry! 

Teachers in the church community are here to help reinstate the Gospel outside of the home, continue the work of pointing kids to Christ, and they are also here to help keep accountability within the family of Christ (Ephesians 6:1-4, Titus 2, John 3:16). Let’s be encouraged that the Lord— by giving us children, has also given us the opportunity and responsibility to teach and steward into their lives! (Psalm 127:3)

We need to be careful about who we allow to teach our kids, because there are many who use a platform, for their own glory and not God’s. We live in a world that wants entertainment and affirmed feelings, more than Truth and knowledge of Scripture. Why are we washing the Gospel down, giving lessons and preaching on self-exaltation— doing so much just for the sake of entertainment rather than preaching the Good Word? We ought to understand the importance of spreading the Gospel and being salt and light, instead of taking advantage of the platforms the Lord has allowed us to use for speaking into people’s lives.

If we don’t truly have Faith in Christ alone, how are we going to encourage our children to have it? Ephesians 2:8 ESV “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

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Be Active

By actively working to teach our children in and out of the home, inviting questions, debate, and getting involved in what they are learning; we are sharpening their minds to think things through without our helping hand. We are getting them ready for the day they leave from under our wing and into the world to one day start their own families. 

Most importantly though, our hope and prayer should be to point them to Christ, getting them on a foundation so solid that they don’t crumble anytime someone throws a doubt at them.

A foundation built upon Christ will stand firm against every trial our kids will face, and the building process starts with us. 

The goal is not to be perfect. It is to provide a Godly example to our children in the way we parent them and live out our lives for the Lord; hoping that one day they too, will find salvation in Jesus Christ.

Keeping and Creating Fruitful Relationships:

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Just because we are to teach our kids, it does not mean no one else can! There are so many helpful teachers that the Lord has blessed our church communities with as mentioned above. So, how can we bare fruitful relationships with those who are teaching our kids, making sure no boundaries are crossed and no roles have been miscommunicated? We cannot rely on the teacher to parent our children, and our children should not rely on the teachers to be the parents. We must understand our responsibilities as the parent, and act those out accordingly.

First Steps to Take: Finding a Good Teacher

  • Get to know what they teach and how they teach, before they start teaching the kids.
  • Once you’re comfortable with this teacher, get involved and stay involved with what they are teaching.
  • Communicate your expectations, where you might be needing help with your kids, and go from there.  
  • Establish any areas where boundaries are needed.
  • Establish a pace of learning!
  • Talk with your kids about what they are learning, and find out how they are processing what is being taught.
  • A relationship between a parent and a teacher should be where both persons acknowledge the other’s role in the kids lives, and act their own out, accordingly.

By keeping clear, honest communication with a teacher and establishing any boundaries, you’ll be able to weed out most of the really bad ones. We need to be able to discuss areas we would love their helping hand, but also not become lazy allowing them to take the lead with our children. Lastly, just show your kids that you care, that it matters what they learn, what is influencing them, and what they are exposed to, because it does matter.

Children (and teenagers) don’t need entertainment, they need the Truth. They also need to be given a chance to ask questions and learn! Can we make learning fun? Sure, but don’t try to force it to be fun. Despite it being okay to try and make learning fun, we also need to do the best we can to make sure they truly understand why they are learning and the importance of it, even when it is considered “boring” in their eyes.

Before I close, I will leave scripture for some studying, but as always, I encourage you to delve deeper into the Lord’s word!

Scriptures to Study:

Titus 2:7

Proverbs 22:6

James 3

Luke 6:40

2 Peter 2

1 Timothy 1

2 Timothy 3:16

Romans 12

Proverbs 1:7

James 1:5

Colossians 3:16

Matthew 10:26-33

Ephesians 6:4

Evergreen Rabbitry

First Rabbit Pelts

So, as most of you know, we chose the Rex breed of Rabbits because they are so multi purposeful! They have such a soft, velvety fur I knew I didn’t want it go to waste whenever we did use some for meat purposes. Well, we processed a couple of our own Rabbits (with the help of a close relative), a few weeks ago and I finished the pelts!

The Method I Used

tanned, and stretched.

After doing some research, I chose to do the “egg tanning method” with salt and egg yolks. With any method, it’s a long process. So, after it sat for a few days with the salt, I scraped it and then re-salted for couple more days, as the edges needed a bit more drying out (I chose to flesh/scrape it after I salted it. Some do that beforehand). Once I got finished with that, I rubbed the (mixed) egg yolks all over the leather side of pelt (a thin layer) and put a damp towel over it, allowing it to set for 48 hours.

After it had set completely, I washed the entire pelt with dish soap and began to stretch and break the hide. This is done by pulling it every which way you can until the fibers break, revealing a nice white in color leather. This took a day to do, and the first pelt that I cut into a sample piece (the black and white one) I actually did not end up stretching. the difference between that one and the one I stretched is huge! The stretching is such an important step.

Tanned, but not stretched.

Once it was about 70% dry, I used blow dryer (light air, and cool setting) to fluff the fur up a bit! I have to say, the whole process was hard work because it was all by hand, but I really enjoyed it all the same!

Before it was washed and dried.

What I Plan to Do Next

With our next pelts, I plan to scrape and flesh it right after it comes off the Rabbit to see if that might be a little easier for me. I also plan to add an oil to the leather a bit when it is at it’s stretching step of the process, as I have heard from experienced friends that does help it become more supple! Other than that, I am just learning as I go. I hope to get better with time, and I am very glad I was able to use their fur for something!

Once I get more practice with other pelts, I will definitely be posting a more detailed blog about our pelt process (using this egg tanning method). So, more to come in the future, but for now I hope you enjoy the photos of our very first ones!

Final Result
Blog, Family

“Encouraging Women: Roles, Design, and Purpose.”

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Something I have found myself being passionate about, is the encouragement of our community of women. When it comes to the women around us; are we encouraging them to step into their God-given role, or are we actually encouraging them to walk away from it?

I touched on this topic in this blog post here, where I wrote about mothers/wives and our perspective on that, but now I want to talk more about how we can go about encouraging others when it comes to our role, design and purpose as women.

Roles, Design, Purpose:

Genesis 1:26-28

Genesis 2:18-24

Genesis 3

Proverbs 31

1 Corinthians 11 :3

1 Corinthians 11:12

1 Corinthians 7

1 Timothy 2:9-15

Titus 2 :1-5

Colossians 3

Ephesians 5

1 Peter 3

Hebrews 13:4

As always, I encourage you to read much further, but these are a few great places to dig in to when it comes to understanding our role and design as a woman.

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Women are struggling. Our sinful nature affects us and how we choose to do things more than we might like to think. This of course, has been happening since the beginning; since Adam and Eve had sinned against the Lord.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say…?”  Read Genesis 3

Instead of encouraging the women we hear that are considering stepping into their role of a helpmate, wife, mother, homemaker, caregiver, etc etc. who are considering to commit themselves to a husband who will provide for them and care for the family they make together; we discourage it because it “takes freedom away.” 

When will we start setting an example for women, when will we start lifting others up, and speaking the truth when we see another faltering against temptations to sin? We are not perfect people and we will still make sinful mistakes, but if we are truly, actively holding fast to Christ there will be no room for our sinful nature to root itself down into things any longer. (1 Corinthians 10:13 and 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Bare Fruitful Conversations, and Sow Seeds:

If we love Christ, we love people, and if we have the love of Christ for people, we will speak the Truth to them. 

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We also need to be aware and discerning of the conversations that we have, too. Have fruitful conversations, and learn when to step away from a conversation that is becoming fruitless, and no longer beneficial for anyone. We must keep things truthful, and our emotions controlled. If our temper is flaring, then we are at risk of having an emotionally controlled conversation leaving the other person with a bad taste in their mouth. If it’s His will to do so, the Lord could work through anyone to soften the heart of another! So, we must stay obedient to Him and be the salt and light of the Earth (Matthew 5:13-16 and Ephesians 5:8-14).

Lastly:

If you are considering to step into your God-given role as a woman, my encouragement to you is to go read scripture, and seek community amongst like-minded, Godly women if you haven’t already. It can be 2 or 20, it doesn’t matter how many! Just try to find those who can point you to Christ (not lead you away from Him), pray for you when necessary, and encourage you to be the woman God has intended all women to be. Being made male and female, and in the Image of God, is no small thing. This is why it is so important to understand our design as a woman and our design as people! Reading Genesis is a good place to start.

Women, and men all have a God-given role, design, and purpose in life; don’t let the world distort it. To finish this off by going back to my main points; don’t allow the world’s opinions, and fear-driving tactics to scare you away from many joys that are found in being a helpmate, a wife, a mother, a caregiver, a homemaker, etc.

Similar to what I talked about in my previous blog; Don’t be so scared of the potential struggles you might endure, that you miss the joys you will endure through these things!

Blog, Farm

New Plans For Our Backyard Homestead!

Our lovely, Butterfly bushes.

So, last time I put a blog up on this subject it was about tilling our straw bale beds, and getting ready for our Spring garden. However, many things have changed since then in our lives, and we’ve come up with a new plan!

Will There Be A Garden or Chickens?

We are not doing a garden or chickens, yet. We decided this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I can start a garden anytime, realistically, if I truly wanted to, I put in the work to do so, and I chose specific, hardy plants.
  2. We are focusing on our Rabbitry for the time being. 
  3. We spent our “garden fund” to start our Rabbitry last year. So, because we did it this way, we wanted to make back a little bit of what we spent on Rabbit start up costs, before spending all of our garden budget that we set aside; however long that takes

And lastly, the 2 bigger reasons; we are having another baby very soon, and moving soon too! (more on that to come later). As for the lovely Chickens, again, we are focusing on our Rabbits only until we know more about our moving situation.

What Happens With The Rabbitry Area?

Back to when they were first built! (can hold 2 bucks, and 3 does + their litters)
Cricket, our moveable runs, and a peek of our old straw bale garden beds.

If you follow along on our Rabbitry Facebook page, or our Instagram, you may know we have had a few litters of Rabbits, re-homed one of our breeder does, and are about to have 2 more Rabbit litters! Since we re-homed our 3rd breeder doe, we are down to 2 bucks and 2 does. We do plan to fill her spot, and eventually in the future get another buck as well, but like mentioned above, we are moving soon and don’t think it would be beneficial to focus on getting more animals just yet, until we know more on that. So, we are focusing on the ones we have currently!

New Plans For The Yard: 

Basically, at the end of last year we tilled our whole yard, mixing in our straw bale beds with the idea in mind that we would do a bigger garden bed the coming Spring with more veggies, and such. After that, I would periodically add the Rabbit fertilizer to it for a little while and then just let it settle until we came to our current time!

Current time: All tilled up and ready to grow some green!

Fast forward to our current time, with a new idea in mind my husband tilled it all up for us last weekend, revealing wonderful dirt underneath and big, happy worms! So, with the pasture seed my daughter and I just laid down, (a little late, but in this situation, better late than never I suppose) we should be getting some nice green grass for our yard soon!

The new plan is to move the Rabbit hutches straight back to the back fence instead of up by the back of our house, and have a much nicer pasture area for our Rabbits to munch on. Beforehand, we did not have very good grass for them, and I would give them hay and pellets in their runs (instead of just the hutches) to make sure they were getting enough to eat. So, we are all very glad to be getting our grass back!

Quick sketch of our plans, that are currently in progress.

A bonus thing that got done was, my husband also built our compost bin area! Any extra Rabbit droppings and hay waste can have a place to go now.

New compost area!

Hopefully this provides some backyard design inspiration to those who have similar set ups. Rabbits really are great for small spaces! When we do start our garden, even with the Rabbits we still have plenty room to make some sort of garden beds, which is so nice! A garden is still a part of our plan to have at this home (unless we are moving sooner than expected). So, if It looks to be working out that way I will have a couple, small garden designs ready for my husband to pick through later!

More updates to come when we start seeing grass pop up, and we move our hutches to their new spots, but for now that is the entire plan for our back yard area! 

Blog, Family

“Sober-Mindedness: Are We Truly Submitted To The Lord?”

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What do we think when we hear we are called, as followers of Christ, to keep “sober-minded” and “self-controlled”? I love thinking over these things in scripture, partly because of my own convictions with that, but also just seeing how much our flesh goes against these things everyday. The question that we need to be asking ourselves often is, are we truly submitting to the Lord?

Some scripture that mentions these, specifically:

I encourage you to read much further!

  • 1 Peter 1:13, then in chapter 4:7, and chapter 5:8-9
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
  • Romans 12:3
  • 1 Timothy 2:9, then in chapter 3:1-7 – & verse 11
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Titus 1:7-8, then in chapter 2:1-12
  • Philippians 4:8
  • James 4:7
  • Ephesians 5:9
  • Galatians 5:22-23

When we take a look throughout scripture the point remains the same [in this area]; stay sober-minded, and have self-control. Because why? Well to start, we have a very sinful nature, and the enemy can always tempt, trick, manipulate, plot, and destroy with that if we aren’t too careful. How will we stay clear on our path, if we cannot stay clear in our heads about what the truth is, and who we submit too? 2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

I think we too often forget, “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” Sounds to me like we ought to be thoroughly sober-minded with an adversary parading around as something he most certainly is not; something seemingly good. We would be utter fools to think we could even withstand his illusions and alluring ways, without a sober mind, without self-control. Ultimately, without the Lord.

We must stay sober-minded and self-controlled in our emotions, and in anything we allow to captivate our minds; in every way.  (Because we know this is not just about refraining from getting drunk).

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Who or what, is captivating our minds?

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-24 ESV “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Just before this in Galatians, we read about keeping in step with the Spirit, and the works of our flesh. Verse 16 (ESV)”But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” And then in Verses 19-21 (ESV) “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 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.”

This is a perfect guideline for us to go by here, in this chapter (and many other places in the Bible).

How About Those Emotions?

The Lord gave us feelings, and so they have purpose here. But don’t underestimate one more than the other, and don’t think that they are reliable. Our feelings are not trustworthy. Showing love can lead us to the gates of Hell, just as much as showing anger— IF we use our feelings in accordance to our flesh instead of in accordance to the Lord and what He has said in scripture. So, stay clear on what you’re allowing your feelings to dictate, as those shouldn’t be leading any decisions; regardless of how good an emotion can be.

James 4:7 ESV “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV “Pray the like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Psalm 23:1-6 ESV “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

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We cannot do, or be anything more than the Lord can or is. If we try to do anything in a way that we feel is good and Godly enough, instead of the way the Lord has said too, who is it we are truly submitting too? We were never promised we’d feel comfortable, good, or happy, about what the Lord asks of us. We are told to submit to His will, and bring Him the Glory, regardless of our flesh!

Stay Sober, and Encourage Those Around You To Do The Same:

If we’ve truly repented and accepted Jesus into our hearts, then we should know that we are called to lead people to Christ, to not cause our brothers/sisters in Christ to stumble, but to uplift them and encourage them, to speak the truth, and to be the salt and light of this world. 

Matthew 5:13-16 ESV “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works, and bring glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

One way to encourage sober-mindedness and self-control (aside from going to the Lord with your struggle, prayer, and continuing to read scripture), is to keep accountability! If it’s something that has become a struggle, have someone trustworthy in your family/church community help with that. Remember the fruits of the Spirit, and if you notice a friend or loved one struggling with any of this, lift them up by speaking the truth; reminding them of it, and encouraging them with it.

A common reason (for many things), for not being able to keep hold of our self-control, or our sober-mindedness, is that we do not truly submit to God. 

We are always more likely to submit to our sins, unless we can “die to self” and “resist the devil.” (Luke 9:23-24, James 4:7) It will always be our sinful nature, to want and try to resist the goodness of God. How wretched we are, should be a daily reminder of how wonderful the Lord is. His grace and mercy; a fair and just God.

Lastly, I’ll leave with this;

“If it’s according to your will Lord, let it be so.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”