Scripture of the Day

Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Quick and Crafty

I tend to put off decorating the house due to time and/or expense, but this school year, I threw a few things together very quickly to freshen up our schoolroom.  And I've learned something in the process...spray paint is my new best friend. 

 
The pictures add a nice little touch to my school desk, and my only expense was the spray paint (Krylon Fusion for plastic).  I already had on hand the cheap plastic frames, Mary Engelbreit book scraps and Proverbs, which I printed out myself.  Cheap and easy, and they make me happy!



Friday, October 11, 2013

Chicken Tips

"Everything I've learned about farming, I've learned from Raising Chickens for Dummies."  I can't tell you how many times my husband has made that quip.  And while he's a witty kind of guy, with a gift for exaggeration, when it comes to chicken farming, his statement is not far from the truth.
 
 
Raising Chickens for Dummies is one of our favorite resources for all things chicken.  The book covers a wide range of topics, including choosing and purchasing poultry, designing and building coops, flock maintenance, breeding, egg production and butchering.  It is the most tattered and torn "chicken book" in our collection.
 

 
And while we're on the subject of chickens, I can't recommend highly enough the Murray McMurray Hatchery.  If you plan to order chicks instead of buying them locally, McMurray has an excellent record.  The chicks arrive at your door as day old chicks, freshly immunized, if you choose that option.  McMurray operators are very helpful and will gladly answer any questions you may have concerning your chicks.  I should also mention that McMurray does not just offer a wide variety of chicken breeds, but they sell ducks, turkeys, geese, etc., as well.  A couple of years ago, I seriously
entertained the idea of starting my own flock of peacocks!

The Hugelkultur Experience


My family and I are relatively new to vegetable gardening.  I do not come by gardening “naturally,” although we’ve been blessed the last several years to live on a property with very good soil.  So finally having some success with raising veggies, we thought we’d venture out and try something different this year.  Enter the hugelkultur.
 
A little "weedy" after the rain...the empty spot is
where the lettuce was supposed to go
 

A hugelkultur is basically permaculture, lasagna gardening and rotting wood all rolled into one.  This is how we built ours:

1.      Lay old chicken feed bags on the ground, covering your garden area (no need to till the ground or pull up grass),

2.      Pile old trees and branches down the middle of the feed bags to begin forming your mound, stretching the length of your garden (this will form the structure of your mound), and

3.      Build out the mound by alternating soil, compost and hay until your mound is the desired height.

There are various ways of building a hugelkultur, so for a more clever, more professional and more knowledgable explanation, I suggest you visit the following site: http://www.localharvest.org/blog/50346/entry/hugelkultur_on_a_micro_farm. 

There were so many “pro’s” to gardening via hugelkultur, that my husband is sold and wants all of our future vegetable gardens to be “hugels.”  I’m also sold, since I’m the one who spends the most time tending it.  These are the things I LOVE about it:

v     Building and seeding it was much quicker than putting in a traditional garden with rows,

v     There is FAR less weeding and not as much stooping when you do need to weed,

v     As the wood rots and breaks down within the mound, it releases nitrogen into the soil, making the plants VERY happy,

v     The mound is excellent at retaining moisture, meaning considerably less watering, even in Texas,

v     The mound will continue to thrive up to 20 years if you continue to add branches, soil, compost and mulch each year,

v     It can be built up to 6 feet tall, resulting in high-density (and smaller) gardens, and

v     It’s fun to watch the chickens run up and down the hill looking for bugs.

All in all, our season with the hugelkultur has been very rewarding, and I highly recommend it.
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

There is Mercy for You

...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (Romans 10:9)


God's Word tells us in John 8 of a woman, an adultress, whom the scribes and Pharisees brought before Jesus.  Although they brought her to Jesus in the name of justice, their true purpose was to test Jesus that they might accuse Him should He give an answer contrary to the law.  When they suggested stoning the woman, Jesus revealed the state of their hearts, requesting that the man who was without sin throw the first stone.  One by one, the scribes and Pharisees examined their hearts and walked away, realizing that they, too, were sinners.  The scribes and Pharisees looked on the adultress as a homewrecker, a harlot, a scourge.  Jesus looked on her with love.  Instead of extending corporal punishment, He extended mercy and forgiveness.

The adultress was a sinner.  The scribes and Pharisees were sinners.  I am a sinner.  Even you, whether you view yourself as unredeemable or the best person you know, are a sinner.  Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  We desperately need a savior.  Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."  God has provided us with the means to escape our impending condemnation, because He loves us and desires that none of us should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
 
So how did He provide for our redemption?  We learn in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen...."  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered and died in our place, bearing the punishment for our sins.  He was holy and without sin, the ultimate substitutionary sacrifice.  And because of His perfect righteousness, He conquered sin and death and rose again from the grave.
 
Do you feel an emptiness in your life, like there must be more?  Do you long for freedom from the bondage of sin and death?  If you have broken any one of God's laws, there is mercy for you.  If you have struggled with patterns of sin in your life, there is redemption for you.  If you have committed such horrible transgressions that you cannot even face yourself in the mirror, there is forgiveness for you.  The Lord wants to draw you close to Him.  Surrender your life to Jesus right now, receiving Him as your Lord, and He will deliver you from your bondage.  Because "...if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
 
 

 
*If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior through this message, I would love to hear from you.  If you are new to the Christian faith and would like to know what's next, I can help you with that as well.  Just leave me a note in the comments section below, and I will reply to your message.
 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Springing Forth

For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11

On two prior occasions we have tried vegetable gardening, but with little to no success. I decided I just didn’t have a “green thumb.” Although the process was disheartening, and we didn’t know why the Lord continued to direct us to plant, we kept planting. Even though our goal was to actually produce something, God’s goal was to teach us something in the process.

The Lord has used me to plant other seeds as well while teaching in Children’s Ministry. For years I sowed to (what seemed like) no avail. Sure there were a few days here and there where I could see the Lord move, but for the most part, it just seemed like I was what my husband refers to as “crowd control.” The thought occurred to me on many occasions that I just wasn’t that good of a teacher. But I knew that the power to teach came from the Lord, not from my own flesh and I clung to the verse, ”And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

Through gardening, God has taught me lessons in patience, diligence and stewardship. He has taught me to trust in Him for the harvest, and He is teaching me the same things in Children’s Ministry. He has promised in the Scriptures that His word will not return void, but will accomplish what He purposes it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). And He will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.