A Beautiful Christmas Story: “Why the Chimes Rang”

Why the Chimes Rang

One December, when my children were young, and I was having a difficult time physically, I spent a lot of time reading to them, because that was about all I could manage. We read Christmas stories all month and that’s when I discovered this treasure. I’ve reprinted Why the Chimes Rang in full for you to enjoy as you celebrate the birth of Christ! So cuddle up on the couch with your loved ones and worship the Christ Child with Pedro and Little Brother.Continue Reading

Nourishment Has a Cost

Wardeh Harmon at Gnowfglins posted an article recently called Butchering Our First Grass Fed Beef. In the post, she records for us the butchering of the cow that her family raised for beef. I’m a beef eater and am aware of the processes involved in slaughtering and butchering a cow, although it is not something I have ever witnessed.  Reading her post and especially viewing her photos were difficult for me. I was especially troubled by seeing this cow alive one moment and the next …. gone. I really had to take a moment to analyze my thoughts and emotions. Is it just because I’m a city girl far removed from what is really involved with getting food on my table? I’m sure that plays into it. But what I realized is this. Death is an enemy (1Corinthians 15:26). It should always cause us to stop and pause. Because of the death of another, I live. In the physical realm, I need to be aware that another creature’s life nourishes me, and that is not to be taken lightly. More importantly, my soul lives because of the death of another. Left to myself, I wander and am lost. Jesus, that day on the cross, gave His life as a sacrifice so that I may live. I deserved punishment, but He paid the price. And I am fed and nourished. I’m grateful for Wardeh’s post because it was a physical reminder to me of a wonderful spiritual truth.

Shared at: Homesteader Blog Carnival, Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop, Fat Tuesday, Living Green, Hearth and Soul, Traditional Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Real Food Wednesday, Rural Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Freaky Friday, Homeacre Hop

Born Again Dirt: Book Review and Giveaway!

Born Again Dirt: Farming to the Glory of God by Noah Sanders was published a few months ago, and I devoured it immediately. I don’t consider myself a writer, and so it has taken me a while to review it. (Sounds like a strange thing to say for someone with a blog, but my posts are more a chronicle of what I do, that don’t require a lot of writing skill). But the book is frequently on my mind, and I thought it valuable enough to force myself to do it.

Noah is young, in his early 20′s, I presume, and is himself thinking out how to farm in a way that gives glory to God. He does this without dogma or legalism, although that is not to say that he is without opinion. He makes good observations regarding one’s worldview and how that affects one’s method of farming. (Noah defines farming as “a piece of land – regardless of size – that an individual is responsible for.”) For example, industrial farming  reflects a worldview “whose ultimate source of wisdom is science”. He sees this method as fruitful, but not sustainable. And, Noah says, environmental agriculture reflects a worldview that worships nature; this method is sustainable, but not fruitful. He wanted his farming methods to reflect his biblical worldview. His dirt needed to be “born again”. He concludes that the biblical worldview of farming is to be “sustainably fruitful”. I wholeheartedly agree that God desires our farming methods to be both fruitful and sustainable. Environmentalism, and perhaps some farming methods of the past have been unfruitful. But I’m not sure that I see the present organic farming movement as just sustainable, and not fruitful. When I think of organic farmers like Michael Phillips in New Hampshire, Eliott Coleman in Maine, Sepp Holzer in Austria, and Joel Salatin in Virginia, I see both the face of modern day organic farming and much fruitfulness.

Noah says much that I have believed, but have only recently heard other Christian writers say (ie. Joel Salatin). But he has also opened my eyes to new ideas. This young man is a breath of fresh air! I don’t know of another book on farming/gardening that has both practical, how-to information and shows us that God cares about our hearts as we farm. He says, “If we want to glorify God we must be Christian farmers, not just farmers who are Christians.” He takes 1 Corinthians 10:31 seriously and believes that “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” includes farming.

In order to be better stewards of our land, Noah recommends walking our property with the Owner. He suggests that we give the Lord a tour and an accounting of how we have cared for His possessions. During this tour, he suggests that we repent of failures, and talk to God about problems we are experiencing. Praying in my garden comes very naturally to me. Perhaps all that kneeling is just conducive to prayer? But, I have to tell you, I never once thought to show God around my yard, or even talk to him about that area that is flooded after a rain and bone dry the rest of the time. Or about the slugs that are eating my broccoli. But now I find myself asking Him if and where we should plant apple trees, or how to protect our garden from forecasted hail. Honestly, the book, to me, is worth the price for that one piece of advice alone.

I contacted Noah to ask his permission to use the cover photo image (yes, I realize that a real journalist would refer to the author as Sanders, but that’s ok, I’m not a real journalist) and he kindly offered to provide a copy to giveaway. And I’ve asked him to sign it. I’m excited since this is my first ever giveaway. Here are a few ways to enter. First, “like” Born Again Dirt on Facebook. For another chance, “like” learningandyearning on Facebook. Leave a comment below letting me know which of these you’ve done, or let me know if you’re already a fan of either of these pages. Signing up with your email to follow my blog will also give you another chance, as will leaving a thoughtful comment on Noah’s blog. Again, be sure to let me know that you’ve complied in a comment below, or your entry won’t count. So that’s 4 chances to win this great book! Contest ends on June 5th, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Open to those in the United States (due to shipping issues).

Lastly, I have two things to mention. Noah offered the free book without seeing this review and I planned to write it without knowing about his offer. One has nothing to do with the other. Secondly, if you click through to Amazon and purchase the book, I do make a few cents. Again, I would have written the review and said what I said even if I didn’t. Phew, this disclaimer stuff is tedious.

Shared at: Fat Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesday Garden Party, Living Green LinkUp, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Whole Food Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Rural Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Monday Mania, Homestead Barnhop

Winter Urns

Have you ever been asked to take on a task that you very much wanted to do, but which also made you a bit nervous? I recently had the opportunity to decorate three urns for the outside of our church building. I am a vegetable gardener. That qualifies me, right? My only previous experience working with evergreens is making a yearly Christmas wreath to hang on our chimney.

The church did not have urns, so part of my responsibility was shopping for them. The selection is limited this time of year, but I did manage to find three matching urns. I also purchased plastic pots to use as inserts. I reasoned that it would be easier to work with a smaller pot and then just place those into the urns when completed. Mike added rope handles to make lifting so much easier. I filled each of these with sand to hold the evergreens in place.

The weather has been beautiful and Mike and I had a wonderful time in the woods collecting evergreen branches, pine cones, and mountain laurel twigs. I also used some store bought white branches and red berries to add some color. I first built a “skirt” of branches at the edge of the pot, then added the white branches to give the arrangement some height. I filled in between with mountain laurel and more greens. I then attached pine cones to sticks with wire and used these to add some accent. I did the same with the purchased red berries.

I delight in God’s creation, and my hope is that the display will reflect what He has created. Hopefully, the aroma of fresh greens will refresh those in our congregation as they enter the building to worship Him!

This is My Father's World

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought

 Of rocks

and trees,

of skies

and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,

the birds their carols raise,

 The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

 This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.