Monday, April 28, 2014


field flowers daisies dandelions yellow wallpaper background

I think it's safe to say spring has sprung... finally!  It's wonderful to see the grass greening up and yes, even the dandelions appearing, after what felt like an interminably long and cold winter. 

As dairy farmers, spring is a bit of a mixed blessing for us, in that it's nice to feel the warmth of the sun on our faces, but it's also time for things to ramp up work-wise.  We'll soon be on our fields, ploughing and planting.  Regardless of the season, our days are bookended with milking and feeding cows, but during the spring, summer, and fall months, we have a lot to cram in between, and often work long after the barn lights are out as well.  It's a busy and exhausting time. 

Dairy farmers have to plan and pace themselves according to many variables, the weather being a biggie, they have to learn to go with the flow or they'll drive themselves crazy with worry and stress.  Everyone knows the weather isn't always exactly cooperative.  Another variable is the machinery.  A tractor or other farm implement will be working just fine one moment and be laying in a heap the next, with the farmer covered in axle grease, scratching his head, wondering what the problem is.  Of course, the breakdowns always occur when least convenient - when it's sunny and he's trying to get the crop planted or the hay off.  It can be immensely frustrating.  But really, there's no getting around it and if the farmer allows himself to become overwhelmed by the inconvenience, he'll never get his work done.  So, he just picks up the wrench, patiently removes the bolts, and looks for the problem, eventually making the necessary repair and getting back onto the field.

Homeschoolers also have to plan and pace themselves according to a number of variables.  Real life happens in our real homes, we're not living some idyllic "Little House on the Prairie" episode which sees every life problem worked out and settled within the hour.  In addition to teaching our children which is, in essence, a full-time job, we have to manage our homes, our businesses, deal with illnesses and other inconveniences, and it can feel overwhelming at times.

We've been homeschooling for twenty-five years and as our youngest is only seven, we'll be at it a good while longer, God willing.  I've learned a thing or two in those years, and one of the most important lessons has been that it's ok to scale back and just focus on the *necessaries*, the basics, "readin', writin', and 'rithmetic." 

I've also learned that it's ok that my house isn't perfect.  In fact, as much as I complain about my dimming eyesight, I laugh at the fact that when I don't have my glasses on, things look pretty good - the dust bunnies sort of morph into the woodwork.  So, when I'm feeling stressed about the grunge and grime I didn't manage to get wiped away, I just take my glasses off and everything looks so much better.  It works the same with the wrinkles on my face and the wiry grey hairs popping out all over the place.  When I'm not wearing my glasses, I can sometimes fool myself into thinking I don't look half bad!   Ha! 

I've learned it's ok to eat leftovers, in fact, I make huge meals so there'll be leftovers!  We've eaten the same thing for three or four days in a row and we've survived.  I've found paper plates to be just as effective as fine china - not that I have any of the latter - it gets the job done when there's little time for washing dishes.  When we show hospitality, it's pretty basic, no Martha Stewart decorating going on here, but we do enjoy warm fellowship. 

I say all that just to encourage you mamas out there to stop being so hard on yourselves.  Just focus on the most important things, there'll be time enough as the days go on to get to some of the less important, but for now it's enough that you're doing the best you can as you lead your little ones to Christ, as you teach them about His ways, His precepts, His promises, and as you prepare them to be productive members of their communities.  You don't need all the bells and whistles to get the job done, just perseverance and patience, with a bit of elbow grease thrown in.  Don't let the externals distract you, just put one foot in front of the other and do what you know you must, and enjoy these days which are passing so quickly.   Before you know it, summer will have come and gone, then fall, and it'll be winter again, so stop today and smell the dandelions... the Lord knows there's enough of them.

I came across a good blog post today called, "
Seasons of Life & Home".  It echoes what I've shared above.

Galations 6:9

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Apostate In A Landscape With Dragons

We’ve been thinking quite a bit about what our children read and watch lately.  When our eldest two, now 26 and 23, were younger, it seems we were more discerning in what we brought into our home. Looking at our book and movie shelves, it’s apparent we’ve grown complacent somewhat, lulled into thinking that some of the books and movies we’ve allowed to creep in aren’t *that* bad, that there are some redeeming qualities about them.  But deep down Paul and I know that isn’t the case.  We’ve just grown lazy.  The battle has been long and lonely and if truth be told, we’re weary.

In February, like countless other parents, we took our children to see Disney’s newest release, Frozen.  We’d like to be able to say that we didn’t know what we were doing, that we were blindsided by the message it ultimately portrayed, but the truth is, we knew.  We knew that it wouldn’t have passed the smell test in our home 20 years ago, but we went anyway, and we went because we were looking for “something to do”, like spoiled children who get into mischief when they have too much idle time on their hands. 

We’re not going to do a review of the movie itself, quite a bit has already been written and said about it by those in favour and against, but we are going to try to encourage you, Christian parent, to step back and ask yourself if what you’re bringing into your home and exposing your children to lines up with Psalm 101:3 and Philippians 4:8?

“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

The degeneration of the arts over the past century or more is very evident and, in exceedingly large part, has contributed to the decay of Western civilization.  In previous centuries, according to David Sloan in his Introduction to the book,
A Landscape With Dragons, written by, Michael D. O’Brien, “fiction in the Western World wrestled with the issues of life and it always did so from the experience of Christianity”. He goes on to say that, “An author may have supported or attacked the faith, but he would always have to contend with it”.  He continues, “That world is rapidly changing.  Beginning in the late nineteenth century and gaining momentum in the early part of this century, a new yet ancient force began to press in to displace Christian principles from the realm of literature.  That force is paganism.”   We couldn’t agree more, and increasingly so since “A Landscape With Dragons” was first published back in 1994. 

We Christians ought to be extremely discerning and selective concerning what we feed our minds and those of our children.  If you’re like us and have grown somewhat weary of swimming upstream, can we just encourage you to take stock of the consequences of complacency?  Our children have been entrusted to us by God, we’ve been commanded to raise them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, not under the spell of pagan deceit.  This isn’t the time to cave in to our weariness, but to renew our vision and to put feet to same.  We’re in.  How about you?

In addition to the book mentioned above, we'd also like to recommend,
Apostate, by Kevin Swanson.  "This book faces head-on the spiritual forces that levelled a full-out attack on the Christian faith in the Western World... It is the story of apostasy on a massive scale.  But it is also a story of hope and victory for the last men standing in the ashes of Western civilization.  It will be a testimony to the inevitable triumph of Jesus Christ over the great men of renown who picked the wrong fight in the history of the West."