Monday, December 14, 2009

Learning More About the Power of Prayer

Prayer is something one can always learn more about.

Recently, my parents went to visit an elderly couple from our church who are now in an assisted living facility. One summer day several years ago, we had this couple over for dinner (in part of an unfinished campaign to entertain all of our church family). Other than the fact that we were eating outdoors under a tree (with a table and chairs, of course), there was one specific thing I remember--the gentleman's blessing of the food. He prayed like he knew God, and I could tell he spent a lot of time on his knees. He spent around five minutes blessing our food and addressing the various needs of our families, church, area and nation. It made an impression on me. I've always aspired to pray like that--it seems to be a taste of the way Jesus prayed--intimately knowing the Father, and never uncomfortable or rushed. Their visit reminded me of his prayer, and exhorted me again to a higher level of prayer.

I have been very nervous about this past weekend for some time. Saturday morning was our first practice of the Christmas Pageant I wrote, followed closely by a piano recital with my new teacher (Mr. Cook). Then on Sunday, the Choir (which I'm leading) was performing the hardest piece of the season. In the evening, I directed the Instrumental Ensemble (playing my music) and instead of directing the choir like I usually do (Mom stepped in, thankfully), I played the piano (our regular pianist was at a concert at the Wharton Center).

If you knew me the way God knows me, you would know that when I get nervous, I start praying (like I should have been doing before I started the whole project). Any number of things could have gone wrong. However, after almost everybody arrived on Saturday morning, and we started reading through the script, I could feel God's hand on the production. We have three narrators who have the first two pages of reading. As they were reading through the scriptures and my responses, it was awe inspiring.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God...
The Word of the Lord came against the serpent...
The Word of the Lord came to Noah...
The Word of the Lord came to Abram...
The Word of the Lord came to David...
The Word of the Lord came to Isaiah...
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us..."

The reader's voices were exactly what I had envisioned, and did a beautiful job on their first time reading together. Another highlight was the choreographed falling of the shepherds around a mic. The light (the glory of the lord) flipped on and they fell like dominoes (not into each other, though!).

I admit, I was pretty enthused as we rushed home, right up until I started practicing for the recital (which was in less than an hour). My music was still fairly rough, and I knew it. Nervousness started setting in for the second time that day. But, that didn't stop the rush to the recital. I was the last to play, so I got to sit through stunning performances by three of Mr. Cook's other students. Even as Noah was playing soothingly, my heart was pumping faster and faster. Now, I've performed in front of people before--a lot. This was a new kind of music for me, and a crowd I mostly didn't know (and some people I knew and wanted to make a good impression on, like the Mayor of Charlotte), but that shouldn't have been a big deal for me. Praise the Lord that it was, though. Did I mention I had to give a speech (albeit short) about what I was going to play? Anyway, Noah couldn't play forever. Then it was my turn. I gave it all to God, and I reiterated my Key Word Outline more conversationally than I had done before, and played my pieces better than I've ever played them. Did you know that Jesus is a spectacular pianist?

Today, the choir performed their most difficult piece of the season. We started practice a little early, and nailed the hardest spot the first time. Did I mention I was nervous about this? During the performance later in the service, one of the sopranos and I (Mrs. Carrie) were cracking up at each other, which in turn kept a smile on most of choir's faces. (Choirs sing better in tune when they're all smiling, it emphasizes the words, and certainly makes the carols sound funner). We sang it the best we've ever done. The guys even (mostly) sang their part on 'Joy to the World'! Did I mention I pray when I'm nervous?

Then this afternoon, (I was coming off my praise/adrenalin high), we were looking for a light to help do a scene in the Christmas Pageant and couldn't find it. The scene is a silhouette--the first of three nativity scenes. I went out to the work bench, and when I couldn't find the desired lamp, I reevaluated my objectives. Did I want to do the scene because it'd be really cool, or because it would bring people closer to God? Once I got my priorities right I prayed, looked up, and there was the light hiding on the peg board.

It reminded me of the time (another prayer that really made an impression on me) when Mr. Butler (conductor of HSMA's symphonic band) prayed a simple request over a broken CD player, and within the second it started working.

On the radio this morning, the meteorologist was calling for freezing rain before and during my last Instrumental Ensemble practice. I got up and was reading in Mark where Jesus calms the wind and the waves--so I asked that he would calm the freezing rain. Within the minute, Mom came to tell me that the computer (including a verifiable radar map) said that the freezing rain had already passed earlier in the morning.

I think God's trying to tell me something. My guess is He either wants me to be nervous more often, or to do more praying when I'm experiencing other emotions.

Thank you, Father, for caring enough about me to teach me. Give me grace to learn from your lessons. But most of all, thank you for caring enough about me to send your Son to earth--that the communication lines with heaven could be open.

May God bless all of you as you prepare for this Christmas season.

In Christ,


Friday, December 11, 2009

November Already. Make That December Already.

To the dear and faithful readers who still peruse this blog on occasion, here's some of the recent (Editor: or not so recent) happenings at our place.

Matthew has a new (Editor: or not so new) truck! It's a dark green 1996 Ford F150 North Woods limited edition (#364 of 2500) in excellent shape. Therefore, he was able to return the old, rusty, beat up (not that any of those things are necessarily bad in a farm vehicle) brown truck to the W. family. The new truck's primary purpose will be transporting Matthew to Alpena and back (for linesman training next year--have we told you about that?), and accordingly gets better gas mileage than the brown truck. (Editor: he's got a post started about his journey to North Woods #364--knowing us, it might get published some time in the next decade)

Contrary to the assumed weather (from the last post), the weather has been quite balmy so far this season (yesterday it pushed 70!) (Editor: or at least it was...), though the sun hasn't been as prominent as we would like. Farmers here are just finishing soy bean harvest (usually done a month ago), and Matthew has planted garlic for next year.

Speaking of planting, I should mention that Matthew has secured (rented) the ~1.5 acre plot across the road for his garden and chickens next year, so we aught to be able to grow a fair amount of produce.

Have we told you that Matthew now has a part time (paying) job (Editor: we just asked you that question on the last post)? Actually, the farm he's working on is less than a half mile from our house, but since the road doesn't go through at this mile, he has to travel about 3 mi. to get there. Not bad, considering how far he travels to get to the W. family farm. He's actually working with another sheep farmer, and has learned how to shear.

In my news, I'm pretty much in charge of Christmas music at church this year. So, I have organized an instrumental ensemble (13 pieces, including pretty much every possible skill level [while we don't have a real professional musician, we've got some pro-sumer's :-) ]), and written the music for it. I called my arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High, While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night and We Three Kings with Joy to the World and the Hallelujah Chorus (the latter two as motifs): 'Joyful Visitors Cry, "Hallelujah!"' Also, I'm writing a piece for our kid's choir (Do you hear what I hear, the Birthday of a King & Go Tell It On The Mountain) which I'm calling 'Have You Heard It's The Birthday Of A King?' On top of that, I'm directing our Christmas choir and (apparently) chairing a committee of 3 who are organizing our Christmas play. This on top of two piano recitals, our Homeschool band concert, and all my regular work.

That was as far as I got in November (it was approximately the 15th). Life intervened, and now it's December 9th--deep in the heart of Christmas season. And the weather finally looks like it!

I actually ended up getting the piece for kid's choir done too late to perform this year, so it's being postponed. To make up for it, however, I had to write the Christmas Pageant script, which I finished on Sunday. Our first practice is on Saturday (the 13th), then we practice next Saturday (the 19th) and perform in the morning (the 2oth).

Here's the choir arrangement for your enjoyment:

My first piano recital was canceled--it was supposed to be at the local Medical Care Facility, but due to the H1N1 pantophobia no one under 18 was allowed into the building (which includes all mom's student's but me). The second recital (with my new teacher) is scheduled for this Saturday at 1:00. That gives me about an hour to switch gears from Christmas Pageant director to pianist.

Our Instrumental Ensemble is coming along quite well, and we definitely make a joyful noise unto the Lord! Conducting is more of a challenge than I had anticipated (Mr. Butler [who conducts the homeschool band] makes it look so easy!), but I'm getting better. We will be performing on the 20th (same day as the Christmas Pageant), which means we only have one more practice.

This video is of the computer playing the arrangement. I expect the live version to sound much more realistic and also much worse. :-)

The Choir performed their first piece last Sunday, and did very well. We had a really good turnout of guys this year, and even though most of them aren't very good musicians (in their own words), they make us sound a lot better. The hardest piece of the season is scheduled for this week (the 13th), so we should be home free at our practice on Sunday night. On the 27th, we'll be leading congregational singing for the entire service. On the 20th (the same day as the Instrumental Ensemble and the Christmas Pageant), we'll be performing a medley of angel carols (Angels From The Realms of Glory, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing), and leading the congregation in a new song that we want them to learn. The other congregational carols are all interspersed between things that I'll be directing, so I'm just going to direct that music, too.

Winter preparations are in full swing on the home front, as well. This afternoon, we're canning some carrots. Matthew has yet to bag a deer, but he only recently discovered that his sights were off about 2 feet at 100 yards. After re-sighting the gun, getting a deer shouldn't be a problem. We've moved the old, dead red Chevy out of the garage (and cleaned that side of the garage, which was a 5-day, ~15 man hour project) so we can move the second van inside. Across the road, we have ~10 cords of wood stacked, ready to be incrementally moved into the basement. While that's not enough to keep us supplied all winter, there's plenty more where it came from.

We returned home from cutting wood under a sterling blue sky (Editor: this paragraph was written on Nov. 14 after the said wood cutting)--around 4:30 the clouds began to roll in, like gold capped chariots leading an solid front of blue warriors. The energy source of life split into pastel rays passing through the atmosphere, and moved behind the clouds to light another day elsewhere. Heedlessly, the work in the field progressed. After the sun's full retreat, when only the light of the headlights from the trucks and skid-steer illumined our labors, we estimated that the stake truck bore a solid 9 cords of split wood into the barn. Additionally, many piles of unsplit wood destined for other wood burners remained in the pasture. The genial farmer (from whom we were getting the wood) and his family finished the day with us by indulging in chili and warm conversation--then it was to home. A good day. A productive day. A day of hard work. And we will appreciate our stockpile in the cold of winter (if it comes [Please Lord!!!], maybe with snow?), when a warm fire in the furnace will warm our weary bodies and sooth our battered souls. Then, we will praise the Lord and his provision.

About a week ago, Mom took really sick. It was an unusual bug, because it only immobilized her with crippling dizziness and mild nausea. Nothing major unless you had planned to do anything during the 5 day duration of the sickness. However, during her incarceration she watched a cooking show that inspired her to make a large meal tonight (Editor: 'tonight' being today, December 9). The meat is a bottom round roast, seared in a cast iron pan and slow roasted in a elevated rack to seal in the natural juices. This is accompanied with mashed potatoes, carrots, raisin brown bread, and a strained broth gravy cooked with mushrooms and vegetables. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I have big plans for January, in the way of entrepreneurship. My piano teacher (who happened to be a vice president for Family Christian Bookstores for 30 years) and his business partner (who happens to be the current mayor of Charlotte, MI) have offered to help me get a business plan, figure out financial strategy, etc., pro bono! However, I'm waiting till January because of everything I'd already committed to for the Christmas season.

(Editor: time passes, 'today' becomes December 10)(Editor: and more time passes while I'm still working, and it becomes December 11)

Of course, other things are happening, too. Both at home, at work, and at play. And, as usual, we have opinions on many, many topics of which we have only scraped the surface of here on the blog. But, I think that's most of the major things that are happening here (none of us are running for office, yet). And, since (Editor: at the time of writing) you haven't even heard the things I've enumerated above, I'm going to wrap up this post.

Thank you for your patient endurance.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." - Isaiah 26:3 [KJV]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
(John 1:1-5)

God blessed male and female, and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
(Gen 1:28, 2:17)
But at the prompting of the Serpent (Satan), Adam and Eve ate of the tree from which the Lord had commanded them not to eat. And the world was cursed.

The word of the LORD came against the Serpent:
"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
(Gen 3:15)
God promised redemption.

The word of the LORD came to Noah:
" I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. But I will establish my covenant with you."
(Gen 6:13,18)
The flood waters came, but Noah and his family were safe in the ark.

The word of the LORD came to Abram:
"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
(Gen 12:1,3)
God established his covenant with Israel through Abraham.

The word of the LORD came to David:
"When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish His kingdom. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.' "
(2 Samuel 7:12,16)
The Messiah would come from the line of David, a king after God's own heart.

The word of the LORD came to Isaiah:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7a [KJV], 7b [NIV])
" The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
(Isaiah 11:2,3 [KJV])

The word of the LORD came to Noah:
The word of the LORD came to Abram:
The word of the LORD came to David:
The word of the LORD came to Isaiah:
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
(John 1:14)

[And Christ Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(Phil 2:6,7)
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
(John 1:11-13)
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:6-11)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
(John 3:16 [KJV], 17-19 [NIV])

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
(Isaiah 9:2)

(Editor: the beginning and end of my Christmas Pageant, verses from NIV unless noted)

And now for some quick housekeeping:
As a rule, I don't participate in various pyramid information notes (as in tagged questionnaires, etc.). I was recently tagged in one such post---while I'm not going to participate, I will, however, return the referral: Man of Courage.

While I'm recommending blogs, checkout John Moore's online abode: Life, by John. He doesn't post much anymore (must have more important things to do, like Life [along with being the director of an nationally acclaimed independent film {The Widow's Might}, and trying to produce a follow-up]!). However, some of his recent archives are well worth reading.

Speaking of bloggers who post sporadically, I would like to suggest that the easiest way to keep up with PotterVilla Academy is to use an RSS reader: just look for the link about 1/4th of the way down the sidebar. I would recommend the Google Reader, as it's the only one I've had experience with. Or, you can use Blogger's built-in "follow" functionality.

We have recently started being spammed! (that means that something found us on the search engines!) In the interest of not having to spend more time deleting comments than we spend writing posts, I have disabled "do follow" (Editor: that was enabled a while back to encourage commenting). So posting a comment will no longer get you an SEO hit from our blog. However, we still like hearing back from the thoughtful people who appreciate our work (or even anybody who reads our work!). The comment section is still down there for discussion and response, and moderation is still disabled.

In Christ, Fidem Servate, Ad maiorem e Solem Dei gloriam,


Thursday, September 24, 2009


I just look at the weather report and it looks like I'd better get busy pretty darn quick!

Sep 28

Few Showers / Wind
Few Showers / Wind

High 59°
Low 41°

Sep 29

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy

High 57°
Low 30° There's the problem!

Sep 30


High 61°
Low 42°

I think I need to get those hoops up over the garden, and cover them with plastic presto. For Tuesday though I can probably just lay plastic over the plants...I thought that frost wasn't supposed to come till, like, the middle of October....

Things headed to the top of the to-do list:

Cover Garden -- Hoops up/stove in place

(First I need to pull up some stuff, knock down the corn and do a little tilling)

Cut wood -- it looks like a looong coold winter...

Find those Long Johns...

Hoping for more fall than we've had,


Friday, September 18, 2009

The ability to vote "NO" on the next millage

(Edit: this post was laying on my computer for ~4 months after the ~2 months the card was!)

I finally got my voter registration turned in (the paperwork had been sitting [filled out] on my desk for ~2 months, just needed to mail it)! Our township clerk was very prompt sending out the ID card:Now, if we only had some good people to vote for...

On an agrarian note, today (Edit: 'today' when I wrote this, not today, December 9) ( is chicken butchering day! Matthew, Mom and a couple of his farming friends are processing 50 roosters out back. I'm staying in the house to man the phones. As much as philosophically I'd like to be helping them, I still can't stomach seeing the innards ripped out of something that was alive several minutes ago. The Whizbang Chicken Plucker is impressive, though.

On a monetary note, Matthew has a new paying job with another area sheep farmer. If you ask nicely, maybe he'll divulge some details. ;-)

On a technology note, I now have my computer tower setup in the office:

Well, that's all for today (Edit: 'today' being September 18. Today, December 9, I'm currently processing a post from November ~15).

God bless and keep, Fidem Servate,

Jonathan Potter

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I was out minding my own business, mowing the lawn and it hit me. It wasn't all that painful (unlike the branch that left a sizable welt across my chest from the same mowing job) but it was a rather startling realization none the less.

Fall is here.

You see, I can tell because the light has changed. It is no longer the harsh broiling light of summer. The light has taken on a softer, cooler tint; its not the merry blush light of spring, no this is definitely an autumnal light. Which, when combined with the cooler temperatures (at least at night) begins to bring the rush of fall activity.

You might make something of a study of light at different times of the year. There are certainly days that are exceptions to the general condition of the light during the seasons, but there is something of a different quality to the light of each season--look for it if you don't already, you might be amazed at the spectrum.

But wait--you might say (as indeed, I myself d0) my tomatoes aren’t even beginning to ripen yet! However for all our wishes the fact remains...fall is here. Many farmers around here are praying for a delayed fall this year--due the the cooler summer temps and rain-delayed planting, a lot of soybeans are nearly a month behind their usual maturity. An early frost could spell disaster for many. It would not be the first time though, if we had frost in early to mid September....

Soon the holidays will be upon us--Deer Season, Thanksgiving, Christmas... Winter, with her howling winds and (hopefully) deep snows when the light will change yet again, to a pale wane glimmer. Yet the story of changing life does not end there--it has been promised that for "as long as the earth shall endure, Seedtime and Harvest, Cold and Heat, Summer and Winter, Day and Night shall never cease."


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What you might miss by taking the freeway through life: Part 4, A Multi-Generational Dream

This series is titled (obviously), what you might miss by taking the freeway through life. The freeway is the easier way, but there is a richness in God's country just like what you miss by jetting through God's life in the fast lane.

A Multi-Generational Dream

In the context of a Church where the retention rate of our youth is nearing 10%, let me tell you a story (this story has the added benefit of being true!). Recently, an elderly gentleman died, had a funeral, and was buried. Nothing was special about his death or burial. At his funeral, however, there was an extraordinary sight. This man was fairly prolific, between his children, grand kids, and great grand decedents. But that wasn't what was special. Every man, woman, child, great grand kid or son was a bible believing Christian. In the section marked 'reserved', maybe 50 human beings sat who all knew where they were going when they got to dad/grampa/great-grampa's current position. Somehow, I don't think that was a coincidence. Others wondered too, some of those who were actually at the funeral.

The man's elderly widow explained: every morning since the day they were married, her husband had prayed for all those kids. They weren't even born yet, and he prayed for them! Every day, without fail, her husband would rise early in the morning, and pray for his kids, grand kids, and great grand kids, usually for an hour. I don't know how old this man was, but say he was 85, and he got married at 20. For 65 years, he spent 1 hour each day praying for his family, and for their salvation. That's 1 hour per day X 360.25 days in a year (including leap year) X 65, which works out to 23416 hours, 1950 days @ 12 hours a day, or 3 years of praying 24/7. Per capita, that's only 468 hours, 39 days @ 12 hours a day, or just a little over a month. Which I consider a pretty good return: 475 hours to bring a soul to eternity with God. Just 23500 easy payments of 59:95!

However, heaven isn't for sale. I mock the shopping channel gimmick purely to put our selfishness and shortsightedness in prospective. Salvation is by faith alone, not by works that any man should boast. See, by God's grace are you saved, through faith. Faith that God sent his one and only Son, the Word that was with God in the beginning, into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Many people today are destined to destruction--their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame, just like it was 2000 years ago when Paul wrote Philippians, 3000 years ago when Solomon wrote 'there is nothing new under the sun', and 4000 years ago when the earth was so filled with filth that God power washed the whole thing down with a global flood. Someday in the future, He'll have to get out his flame thrower. I certainly want to be as refined as possible before that happens! In the mean time, God uses things like funerals to remind us of the real meaning of life.

My point is this: the Church is falling apart, and the remnant wants to fix it. Seeker Sensitive churches cater to the crowds, and draw 6-figure attendance, but spiritually it's like chaff in the wind. Not what would hold up in that flame thrower. Fundamentalists keep doing what they've done for the past 50 years and expect a different result, with fewer and fewer people attending every year. I've come to believe that multigenerationalism could be the solution to our problem.

See, multigenerational thinking considers effects not only you in the present, in considers you in the future, your family, and future generations. Multigenerationalism takes the golden rule to the extreme, applying it to neighbors who don't even exist yet. Multigenerationalism is what inspired the founding fathers to create a society of freedom, even though it cost them terribly. The ultimate example is Christ, who paid the ultimate price for succeeding generations. Too many individuals live for the moment, plan for pleasure, and ignore the needs of the rest of the world and the example set by their forefathers. High on the list of engraved commandments, God promises to show love to a thousand generations of those who keep His word!

Faith without action is dead, according to the apostle James. If you want good things for your future generations, but still put your own interests ahead of theirs, it does no good. For example, You can be thinking all the right multigenerational things, but if you send your kids away from your influence 8-10 hours (school + work), 8 hours of sleep and 6 hours of TV, your kids are going to inherit the (almost completely) negative legacy of TV, their peers and their school curriculum. 'But wait', you might say. 'My kids have Christian teachers!' Right. In a system which bans public prayer, Bible reading and Christian ideas while promoting materialism, evolution and disregard for God, teachers are hogtied by curriculum, regulations, and federal money. Let's face it folks, the cards are stacked against Christian kids in the public schools.

From a philosophical standpoint, these school systems were designed to mass educate for the sole purpose of manning mass-production facilities. We have robots that can perform repetitive tasks now, we really don't need humans who are capable only of doing that. What happens to individuality when you program 30 things the exact same way, and 100,000,000 things using the same method? (Sorry to keep referencing programing, but it's what I do: PotterVilla Applied Technology!) How can a personal faith with a living God flourish when it's processed by a spiritual meat grinder? God (as usual) knew what He was talking about when he told parents to educate their children, and to impress the scriptures on their minds--education by proxy just isn't cutting it.

If you're responsible for someone being in that system, consider this a challenge. If you're a kid in the system, know that I, and others, are praying for you. Know that God won't give you more than you can bear. Keep the Faith, look beyond the world and today's challenges, and God will help you. "Come near to God and he will come near to you." (James 4:8)

I'm not here to offer discouragement over the state of our world though; 10,000 news outlets exist to do that. There's a Hope--not just hope for the afterlife, but Hope for living out. I'm speaking primarily to my generation, but old dogs can still learn new tricks. We've been given a torch that's burning out. By the grace of God, we can fan it back into full flame! We can rebuild our hills and throw off our bowls! We can setup a legacy of blessing that will last for 1000 generations!

Temptation says we are alone. That's what Elijah thought. "Yet I [God] reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him." Here are a few bloggers of the 7,000 in America (I'm linking to good posts, so if this struck a nerve with you, read them! If this didn't, read them!): Promised Land, and a longer post I need to read again from Promised Land, resources at Down On The Farm, an agrarian experience from TN Farmgirl, God's provision at ND Homekeeper, and celebrating independence day at her son's blog Adventures of a Turtle Mtn. Hillbilly. As far as I'm concerned, these are the finest posts and blogs on the net.

This is my dream. I have a dream that one day my children will rise up and live as men and women of God. I have a dream that one day in these amber waves of grain, sons, fathers and grandfathers will sit together at the Christian table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the purple mountain tops will be transformed into an oasis of Godliness. I have a dream that four generations after me will live together in a nation where the character remains intact through multiple generations. I have a dream today! 'I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be maid plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."' This is our hope, and this is the faith that I live for.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, to the only God our Savior; to Him who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine; to Him who was raised from the dead so that we might bear fruit to God; to Him who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see; to Him who all things are from and whose power is at work within us; To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father; to Him be glory in the Church, majesty, power, authority, honor and might for ever and ever! Amen.

"Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the King." "Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 2:17, 1:13)

"Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Ever in His Peace,


P.S. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What you might miss by taking the freeway through life: Part 3, A Fallen World

This series is titled (obviously), what you might miss by taking the freeway through life. The freeway is the easier way, but there is a richness in God's country just like what you miss by jetting through God's life in the fast lane.

Ruminations on a fallen world

Everywhere you look while traveling those back roads, evidence of the curse abounds. An apparently pristine forest is overflowing with mosquitoes. And anyone who doesn't think that mosquitoes are results of the curse (or were horribly disfigured and terribly re-purposed after the curse) must live on the moon. Yet, they are still marvelously designed! A recent article in Answers magazine discussed poisonous snakes, and the amazing design behind them (I'd link to the article, but it's not unlocked yet). Satan doesn't have that kind of creativity. So, God must have designed animals, at some point, to kill other animals and people. Which begets the bigger question, did God create man with the intent that he could kill other men? I've thought long and hard about that question, but can only answer that God knows what he's doing. He knows best. After all, He knew enough to create everything! :-)

A corn field is withering from drought. Why does God hold back rain when He knows it will hurt a farmer (or rather a farmer's bottom line)? Come to think of it, why does God reserve control of the weather to himself? Just imagine how thrilled Al Gore would be to have the universe's thermostat (or at least earth's) handed to him! Or how enthusiastic old folks would be if they could have their yard at 85 and let the neighbor kids play in the snow at 30 degrees? But, what would happen if everyone decided they wanted 77 degree weather for a couple of months? chances are, much life on earth would die. See, the air flow depends on temperature differences (By the laws of thermodynamics, heat travels from hot to cold, and thus moves air, which then creates low and high pressure systems, which is how meteorologists predict the weather), and Humans depend on fresh air. If air stopped moving, it would grow stagnant and polluted. It would be like living inside a sealed box--our own carbon-dioxide would kill us.

Ok, you say, scientists know about that, and they wouldn't let temperatures be the same worldwide. But, wouldn't it be great to stop global warming with the turn of a dial? Um, no. If you live in the lower Michigan area, you are currently experiencing one of the coldest Julys we've had in ages. If scientists turned down the temperature another 5-10 degrees, I would be looking for my coat and snow shovel. Global warming proponents say that the poles are melting. But if that were true, why are we still getting hit with some very strong hurricanes (Katrina) in the past few years? Hurricanes and strong winds are caused by temperature differences between the equator and the poles. If the poles are getting warmer (and the equator is not getting proportionately warmer, which would mean basically unbearable temperatures at sea level), the heat transfer should be slowing down, not speeding up.

After Noah's flood, if you agree with most scientists (those who believe in Noah's flood, of course), the earth is coming out of an ice age that happened some few (~4500) thousand years ago. And there's a good chance that we're still recovering from that. Have you seen a picture of Greenland recently? Apparently, when the name was given the land was actually green. Now, it's basically a big sheet of ice. I do feel really bad for the people who live in cities built below sea level (New Orleans?), but think of all the land that's uninhabitable because of cold and ice! There would more new land gained than old land lost. Antarctica could become the new New World! Pilgrims could sail/fly there and start a new country! We could be free of American oppression! Oops, someone already tried that, which is why we have America. :-) At any rate, I think it's very fundamentalist and extremist (let's see, what other names do they call us?) to say that the lay of the land can't change. After all, isn't that the new rallying cry of the century, change? Besides, God knows what He's doing. It's very presumptuous to claim that humans have changed the climate when we can't even predict tomorrow's precipitation correctly.

I'm a big fan of lower emissions--like many environmentalist worried about climate control--but not because of their effect on the earth, because of their effect on humanity. People have died from living too close to a poultry factory farm (another reason to buy PotterVilla Pastured Poultry: they cause no waste problems! Environmentally friendly! Fresh! Local! Tasty!) God has called us to be good stewards of His creation, which is another good reason not to pollute. Creation includes other humans, though. We can't completely neglect them while being over cautious about trees or endangered hamsters or something.

Another result of the curse: as we traveled along the back road, two young men (quite young, and apparently brothers) were quarreling. Not a fight, yet (at least that I could tell). One of the first examples of the curse the Bible gives us is a story about two young men by the names of Cain and Abel. They had a small argument that turned into a big argument, which turned into an outright war, which ended with one brother dead and the other a murderer. One of the saddest things things in the world today is how families split apart and their members declare war on each other. You only have one family, you should take care of it! I see so many sons estranged from their fathers, who live to regret the trivial arguments that began the separation. The relationship between a father and son can be the most rewarding that a man can ever have (I haven't spoken of female relationships simply because I'm not a woman. [A Jew would thank God for the fact right now because of the supposed inferiority of that gender, but I'll just thank Him because that's how he made me and He knows what He's doing!]). Particularly the relationship with our Father in heaven, which is the real relationship that Cain was ignoring.

Another highly disregarded relationship is the one between a man and his wife. Not enough value is placed on the other party, and the single party that they both have become. Once divorced, both the man and the woman go through the rest of their lives missing parts of their selves. How different could our society be if we took care of our relationships? With both God and other people? I'm not talking about the whole citizenry of the world (though that would be amazing!!!!), just the citizens of heaven, who should know better! How can the Church be a lamp on a stand, a city on a hill, if we tune our light to the same frequencies the world uses? When we're supposed to be bright white visible light, why are we on invisible, radio active X ray channels?

The Church needs to wake up, look up and stand tall, instead of groveling in the world's filth. But back to the disputing brothers. No one taught these guys how to fight. Or at least, how to get on each other's nerves. It's been in every boy's system since the first parents sinned--it's an inheritance. Of a bad sort. And girls aren't exempt (I do know that much about them!). It's an inheritance from the first man, Adam. But there's another inheritance, from the Last Adam, that we can give to our children, and grand children and great-grand children: Salvation.

Which brings me to my next major subject, multigenerationalism. [For those who are wondering, I transliterated that before I inscripturated it. :-)]

Part 4: A Multi-Generational Dream, coming Wednesday @ 6:30 p.m.!

Monday, July 27, 2009

What you might miss by taking the freeway through life: Part 2, housing architecture

This series is titled (obviously), what you might miss by taking the freeway through life. The freeway is the easier way, but there is a richness in God's country just like what you miss by jetting through God's life in the fast lane.

Ruminations from examining housing architecture

You can also see God's hand in the work of his creatures; after all, man was created in the image of God. There is one particular house off road a ways that always catches my attention. It's built on a hill. Coming from the north, it appears to be three stories tall, but I think it's really only two stories tall with a walk-out basement. If you look at the roof of this building, there must be three or four sections, with valleys and ridges all over the place--it's quite pleasing to the eye. Unless you're planning on replacing the shingles on it, that is. Another feature of this house is a lovely wrap-around porch. Over all, I find it very charming.

It's empty. There's a for-sale sign by the drive. This gorgeous house (on the outside) is barren, lonely, and lifeless on the inside, waiting for people to fill it. Which is just like many of the structures built by God, the image that the house builders are based on. Humans, no matter how gorgeous, lively or fulfilled their lives appear from the outside, all have a dark chasm on the inside that howls for God whenever the wind blows, and aches for him when things are still. A chasm, that is, until God comes into the building and gives life--and life to the fullest.

Many people try to fill that chasm with things and activities and friends, which does about as much good as filling a house with dust, spiders and mice--maybe a family or two of squirrels. Nothing will really fill the chasm except a personal, faith and grace based relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The home of the family that hosted us for the evening was around 5 years old. An A-frame log cabin type home, it utilized a ton of engineering tricks to get a real log feel with the convenience of a modern home. For example, the log exterior was logs cut in half, but the ends were left whole. Inside, 1/4 logs lined the walls--you couldn't tell there was wood and concrete inside them. A plastic chicken wire net keeps the barn swallows out from under the eaves. A valley runs up to one side of the house for a nearly hidden walk out basement, letting the unfinished level can be used for equipment storage. It has a first floor laundry with a shoot from the upstairs bedroom, and a roller clothes line 10 feet from the washer. And that's just a sample of the clever conveniences. Inside, the walls are tastefully lined with trophy turkeys,
deer, pheasant, and fox. A real woodsman's palace.

Their home is a simple example of architectural ingenuity and creativity, which in turn is an example of the creativity and ingenuity of their Creator.
God created man (people) in His image. He created them to create, like their Creator. And to create creatively! But even creativity can't contain the chasm that creaks and groans for it's Creator.

Our world is fallen, in need of a Savior.

As always, comments are welcome and encouraged.

Part 3: Ruminations on a fallen world, coming Tuesday @ 4:30 p.m.!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What you might miss by taking the freeway through life: Part 1, Leaves Blowing in the Wind

This series is titled (obviously), what you might miss by taking the freeway through life. The freeway is the easier way, but there is a richness in God's country just like what you miss by jetting through God's life in the fast lane.

We went to a church event down in Calhoun county two weeks ago on a Sunday evening (when I started this behemoth). Instead of taking the freeway--which was all of one minute faster--we took a parallel road (Old US 27).

On the way, I was looking around at all the scenery and noticing the evidences of creation. And not only that, but the results of the curse--and what I can do about it.

It was worth going cross-country. As Charles Kuralt said, "The interstate highway system is a wonderful thing. It makes it possible to go from coast to coast without seeing anything or meeting anybody."

Ruminations from watching leaves blow in the wind

Allow me to begin with an interesting example of God's ingenuity. Place two green objects outside in the sun and rain (not both elements simultaneously, of course [although the resulting apparition is quite pleasing if you mix them at the correct angle {think Noah and ark}]): a piece of cloth and a small maple tree. Now, after setting in the sun for a sufficient period of time (it varies depending on how hot the sun is) the cloth will have turned a light, bleached green. However, the tree will be a darker green. Flip one of the maple leaves over, and it's a lighter color. Being in the sun increased the vibrancy of the leaf.

Consider the technological implications: what if clothes could be made that got brighter in the sun, instead of bleached? What if fabric became stronger as well as cleaner when subjected to water? What if a tear could repair itself? I can hear most of you, at least, saying that's never going to happen until Christ returns.

But, that's what the maple tree does! It gets stronger when it gets dirty and wet, and the summer sun makes its color brighter. What an amazing designer God is!

Look at the green color in plants--most of it is from Chlorophyll (some of us drink that stuff because it's so good for the body). Chlorophyll is what plants use to produce energy from the sun in the process called photosynthesis. So, more of the green stuff is needed where the energy is at than on the underside of the leaf, where there isn't as much sun. And, look at the design: the underside of the leaf isn't as green! The plant can recognize where it needs the chlorophyll and concentrate it there!

From an aspiring AI [artificial intelligence] coder's perspective, plants are extremely complicated. From the same perspective, even the simplest animal is nearly impossible to duplicate electronically. You can imagine my point by trying to predict where that annoying fly that's buzzing around your head is going to land next. You're right, it's basically impossible, as the still annoying fly can attest to. Then, consider your pet dog or cat or rabbit or hamster or ferret: try to imagine what decisions they are making right now (or the last time they were awake, in the case of our aging 18 year old cat who sleeps 16 hours a day and meows the remaining 8). It is nearly impossible for our brains to comprehend the millions of electrical signals that are received, processed, cataloged and sent in an animal's brain in just a few seconds.

Take it up another level. To the next kingdom. To those created in the image of God. Look at humans. Can you imagine a computer just managing all your sensory inputs? Let's start with graphics: a nice $200 point & shoot digital camera takes pictures at about 10 MPs. A $600 video camera can take 30 two MPs pictures in a second. That's pretty much what high-end computers display. One Megapixel (Mp) is 1,000,000 pixels, which are dots of color. Each dot of color has 256 bits (a zero or one) of information in it. So, a 10 MP digital image has 256,000,000 0's or 1's describing it.

The human eye has a resolution of approximately 600 MP ( ). Adding color and assuming 30 frames per second, our hypothetical computer would need to process 4,608,000,000,000 bits of data [a 0 or 1] every second. That works out to 576 Gigabytes of data every second (8 bits in a Byte). In 2 seconds, you would have run out of space on one of the biggest hard drive available (1 Terabyte). To record one minute of what your eyes see, you'd need 17 hard drives, which would run you about $3,400. It would take about 15 days (you couldn't even record in real time!) to transfer that data to the hard drives on a modern system. And that's going to be the cheapest part of our computer.

That's solely to process what our eyes see. Then you have to process millions and billions of touch sensors (think a swimming pool filled with tablet PC's, all wired to our hypothetical mainframe), audio, taste, and smell (taste and smell can't be captured to current computer systems, you'd have to design something specifically). Then, figure out a system to make this thing self sustaining and self replicating.

Even after you get a computer that is up to thinking like a human (forget all the other stuff, and I still can't see this happening in the next two centuries [Moore's Law--it's a computer chip speed prediction], and that's banking on the world continuing in its current semi-peaceful state), you've got to program it. Now if you gave me unlimited funds and our super-computer to work with, I'd still need about 4,000-8,000 experienced software engineers and about 40 years to get the thinking processes ready for this behemoth. In all of this, I'm neglecting the spirit of a human, because I don't have enough information to even consider how it is created--and I doubt if we could mess with that kind of stuff even if we did understand it. Ever get one of those 401 'Authentication Required' errors, where you need permission to access a web page? It's like that.

And after all that, consider that God designed his creation to run off plentiful resources. Consider that a woman (with a little jump start from her husband) can create a new one of these machines in 9 months.

And here's the kicker: evolutionists believe that this incredibly complex machine that we're replicating exists because of some mistakes in the programming. Which wasn't really programmed by anybody. And nobody designed and programed this thing without a pattern, like we had. It all just happened when nobody blew nothing up. It kind of begins to sound like the universe wasn't really made that way, doesn't it? :-)

Part 2: Ruminations from examining housing architecture coming Monday@ 2:30 p.m.!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Update and Announcing "What You Might Miss by Taking The Freeway Through Life"

Dear Visitors, Readers and Fellow Bloggers,

Thank you for your support and encouragement through this time of my graduation and birthday. I appreciate all of you immensely. I know that God will richly bless me in the coming months and years.



(The above is a modified transcript of my thank-you cards that some of you may or may not have recieved, and I believe the current record holder for the most formal language on this blog. :-)_)

And now, for what I've been doing all these months away from the blogosphere:

I've graduated. But you knew that. I had an 18th birthday, but you knew that too. Those are the major life events that have happened.

At the end of June, I went on tour with our band/orchestra/choir, and had a marvelous time. We played at some really neat places, stayed and a family's house (all 53 of us, in their old high school) for two nights, had a van (pulling our trailer of stuff) break down, had some very generous people fix it, made some new friends, learned a few new musical tricks, and encouraged a bunch of people who listened to us. Some of our contacts beforehand were quite worried that we wouldn't play very well, but by the end they were completely blown away and requested that we come back next year. Which would be a ton of fun. :-) On the bus ride, we were entertained at the microphone with various re-arrangements of songs, tales of valor and of stupor in various events from the last half hour (the time since the teller was last speaking) from all attendees, and my personal favorite, stories written by the entire bus. Once we got home, I typed them up (which was fun)(all 11 of them that I had, two more came through cyberspace later, and one is still at large). Here's a quick sample:

"Once upon a time, a DXS (Department of External Services) agent was flying an F-16 fighter jet through the starlit skies of Pakistan. Then Timothy was released from the plane to attack. He landed in a coma. When he woke up, he went to save Joseph (of the shattering violin) from Ruth, but she hit Timothy with the pillow, sending him into another coma." (names changed to protect privacy, but if you were on tour you know the real names!)

In other news, my businesses have been doing quite nicely since their inception at my graduation. Of course, printed literature is a must for a graduation, as well as for business. Thus, making friends with you local do anything printer (Carrie at Allegra Printing in Charlotte, MI) is a good idea. However, I was caught completely off guard when she offered to put an 11x17 advertisement for me on her wall. For free. All I need to do is design the flier, which means I need a logo. I have some ideas, and may use y'all as a sounding board. :-)

For anyone who is wondering what I do at PotterVilla Applied Technology and PotterVilla Accoustics, let me elaborate.

PotterVilla Technology specializes in helping you "get" technology. We can repair, replace, program, upgrade, basically whatever you need done on your computer. Websites are a specialty--check out for an example. Soon, we hope to offer data archival services, like converting VHS, VHS-C, Hi-8, Cassette Tapes, LP's and other records, Slide film and printed pictures to digital files.

PotterVilla Acoustics is here to help with all your musical needs. We can rearrange a song to fit your specific group, play for your special event (including Taps at veteran's services, funerals and weddings), or sooth and encourage with recorded music.

Sometimes, both businesses work together, like in a musical slideshow. :-)

I have started taking piano lessons from a guy who actually knows how to play the piano. He's got me working on some really cool arraingements, like Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring with 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, and Jesus Loves Me with Clair De Lune. Hopefully, I'll be playing real Gosple style hymns soon. :-)

This morning, Mom and I went to a technology sale down to one of the local public school districts, where I purchased: 3 Computers (running Windows XP Pro, and including free 17" monitors, keyboards and mice), 2 VCR's, 2 Cassette Decks, 3 Wireless access cards, 1 Wireless access point, 1 Overhead projector, and 1 automatic boundary mic, all for only $128, about the price of a new copy of Windows XP Professional Edition. Most of that will be used for my business, with some for the church.

Why this school district had the capital to purchase ~400 computers to use then sell at $25 each is a topic for another day. As is the current economic system, and why college shouldn't be necessary. As is the KJV and NIV Bible issue. As is decentralization (which I'm in favor of, by the way, just call me a independent agrarian anti-federalist). And on and on--you get my picture. Subjects abound, time does not.

The other main thing I've been doing over the past two weeks is writing a blog post. A really long one (for me). It's about 4500 words, 8 pages. It all started when we took an alternate route along the back roads (which Matthew tells me is really a main drag [It's not as main as the freeway, which we didn't take {it still used to be a major US transit, though}])...

Stay tuned: the first post in this four part series is set to publish at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Short Sunday Something

So it's not much of a title but at least it's a triple :-) (kinda an inside IEW writing joke, sorry)

Our "regular" Sunday School teacher is busy being the Swine Superintendent at the Fair this week so our Pastor filled in for him this morning. Then for the morning message he preached on Christian Baptism--appropriate since there's a baptism scheduled for this afternoon at Five. It might be in the rain, (it's raining now) since the forecast calls for a 75% chance of rain at 6pm. Although the official (constitutional) church belief is in immersion, it appears that the candidates may also be sprinkled! [One thing Pastor emphasized is that we should have a spirit of humility in presenting our beliefs, since not only are we commanded to love one another, but also that ultimately, there is only one faith and one baptism (Eph 4:5).]

I would also like to share a snippet from one of the songs:
Tho my heart grows weary,
I never will despair

which I thought was a good reminder to 'keep on keeping on.' For after all He Lives!

On another note: A few of my chickens have turned broody. And at least one downright mean. She tried to destroy my flashlight--pecked it so hard I'm surprised it didn't break the lens. Before I could reach right under no problem--seems she's a might protective now though.... So any how we've decided to let the hens be and see what happens, all we'll be out is a few eggs, and we might get some chicks. We'll have to see how it turns out.

Well in keeping with the promise of "Short" I'll sign off now,

P.S. Jonathan's 18th birthday is tomorrow, so drown him in birthday comments!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time for more Chicks

Yesterday was butchering day. The day that the broilers went from pen to freezer.

Thanks to my Whizbang Chicken Plucker (from Mr. Kimball's (over at the Deliberate Agrarian) plans) and a sharp knife processing is pretty much a breeze. Kind of a messy, slightly bloody breeze, but a breeze none the less. It gets easier once you've done a few hundred or so too.

But all that is now done. Finished. For this time.

Now I'm ready to start all over again with a new batch of chicks. So if you are in the area and would like some tasty, homegrown chicken (rather than that nasty, "plain gross" chicken from the store) please try some of our PotterVilla Pastured Poultry.

For more on the chickens check out the link above, or visit our website where we also have info about all of our other PotterVilla Associates services.

I guess you could say that this has been more or less of a infomercial post :-) [Brought to you by PotterVilla Associates!]

'Till next time,

(PotterVilla Pastured Poultry)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Graduation, A New Job, and Some Other Stuff

It seems like I always start out by saying that it's been awhile since I've posted....So I'm not gonna do that this time :-)

Instead I'm going to jump straight to the headlined news....

Jonathan has now officially graduated, and is planning on doing some Interesting Things. (For further details you'll have to beg him to post)
As you might be able to tell we had a very formal graduation ceremony! ;-) The place was packed out. It was just about standing room only--the camera man (that's me. Well actually I was substituting for the real camera man--he was graduating, and the real video camera man--he's the principle; which left only me to run both cameras. Quite dangerous really.) did get a chair, which was awfully handy because I needed all the stability I could get to keep the camera still. And I guess the dog did lay down through most of the proceedings. So it wasn't quite standing room only....

Now that I think about it there were fewer people there than at my graduation. (Grama was here for his open house (I managed to avoid that horrendus experience where droves of people decend on you like a swarm of bees [the difference being that, as I understand swarming bees {honey bees anyway} don't sting]) but had to leave before the official ceramony, where she was here for mine)

Our other big piece of newsworthy news is that Dad is officially employed again after ten months of being off work! We are thanking the Lord for this encouraging turn of events. He's had several interviews that didn't pay off, but then he had one through a certain recruiting agency (what it's called I don't remember, and it doesn't matter in the least) and the next morning they called up with a job offer. Yesterday was his first day. So far so good. {he's now been there for a week. Still so far so good. }
It is classified as an "indefinite contract position" which means, in practical terms (money) that he is an hourly employee with no benefits--however there isn't a time limit on employment. It's a very different situation than what any of us are used to. The company--Tenneco--is "one of the world's leading designers, manufacturers and distributors of emission control and ride control products and systems for the automotive original equipment market and the aftermarket."-from the tenneco website The plants Dad will be working at are in Jackson and Grass Lake, about an hours drive from here. But all and all, it seems to be something that will work, for now at the very least. The company does sometimes hire the contract workers to work directly for them.

In "Other Stuff" news....

The Chickens are doing well, they survived my method of overwintering them (portable coop with a couple of extra layers of plastic and a heat lamp for the coldest of nights) on the garden and are now happily ranging over part of the backyard. I put up a (fairly short, 39" I think) woven wire fence with a few hog panels for a gate, and that has kept them in with a very few exceptions--for which we have Baxter! We have not had to clip wings or anything. They are just happy staying in. Perhaps it's because they know Bax will get them if the get out. I had one die of unknown cause and one that needs to be butchered but were still averaging 7 eggs a day out of 9 hens (not counting the one to be stewed).
This is their current home:
I am also in the process of raising a small batch of broiler chickens. They're currently just over five weeks old. Since I was getting quite tired of filling their one gallon fount over and over and over again I bit the bullet and payed out the 4o bucks for a bell-matic poultry waterer. Those things are pretty slick. Plus it helps ensure that the birds always have a supply of water.

The garden is doing quite well these days, we've had quite a bit of rain and warm temps--not so good for the lettuce, but the corn and tomatoes are gobbling it up. The corn (which I got planted none too early) is up even to Jonathan's knees (he's 6'5") [ It's now about 4 days later and the corn has shot up to roughly waist high]. I was really late planting this year, for reasons I don't clearly remember, but it's been a fairly cool year too. Or at least up 'till now--tomorrow it's supposed to be 90 degrees. Too hot for mid June, in my humble opinion.

Following is a picture of where I hope to have a garden next year. It is just across the road from us. The spot where I plan to rent is right up to the road so it would be feasible to have a little stand if I come up with enough extra produce to make having such a thing worthwhile. I had hoped to have use of it this year but the people farming it currently had already seeded it to wheat by airplane before the soybeans were harvested (which was when the owner talked to them about letting me have it). I still want to keep some sort of garden where it is now too. Perhaps extending the hoop house and installing the wood stove I bought this spring at an auction. Another big project we've been working on is our roof. A major hail storm (golf ball sized hail) ripped through our area last summer devastating many crops (or completely wiping them out in the worst hit places) and damaging almost all of the roofs in the path of the storm--ours included. So the insurance company paid to have the house and garage roofs torn off and replaced. We thought it sounded like a good way to make/save some money so we did most of it ourselves. The second story roof is just too steep and high for us to feel comfortable working on it, so we hired a contractor to do that part.
We were able to borrow a skid steer from the W.'s (they have the farm I help on). That sure made things a lot easier....Here we're using it as a scaffolding. This roof is the same pitch as the second story, it's just about 20 feet closer to the ground!

It don't look too bad, does it.

Our neighbors to the east (they're a middle aged couple and a pug named Molly) replaced their roof and some siding last summer. Then some time this spring, (late March or early April I think; can't remember just now) their whole house burned to the ground. They barely escaped with their lives. Her hair was badly singed and his back looked like it had been badly sunburned. (The dog made too, not much the worse for the wear)

Our city has two fire departments, one on each side of the railroad tracks (their volunteer) but they still had to call in tankers from two or three other departments to get enough water to control the blaze.

Now several months afterwords, and after an excavator, bulldozer and several semis worked for a couple of days it looks like this:They asked us to mow it for them, and I ended up getting a brush hog from the farm to come in and get it all knocked down--it was just too thick for our poor mower to handle.

Speaking of the farm...We've been baling hay. About 80 acres of it. This time around it's been almost all round bales which just involves moving them with the skidsteer...for second cutting we get to square-bale almost all of it. So if you need something to do on those 80 degree days in the middle of July, let me know. Part of the reason we've round baled so much of this first cutting is that it's been so dog gone hot. The thermometer has been reading right around 120 degrees in the sun,with humidity up around 60%. I've always wanted to help put up hay someplace like, oh maybe Alaska, where you could be comfortable working in a ligh jacket while mowing away hay. Ah, well, as they say make hay while the sun shines. It sure does get hot in that sun though, even though I slather on the sun screen in the morning my face still got so burnt that my nose is starting to peel--that first time I ever remember that happening. What ever happened to the cool year that "they" were predicting?!? Must be we're back to global warming now. :-)

Well I think that's about all the interesting or important happening from around here to I'll sign off for now...


Saturday, June 27, 2009


Contrary to popular opinion, we're still alive and kicking. Though Busy.

Look for more someday when it's not 12:30 in the morning. :-)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17

God bless,


Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Price of Free Land

Today, I got paid for January work from my employer. I was calculating what I could do with it, and then the various claims began to set in. I eared approx. $300:
  • %15 manditory, off the top, for Social Security--and the government is cutting me a break. I don't have to pay income tax yet, just Social Security. If I had to give them income tax, it'd be more like %25 or %30. And there's almost no chance I'll get anything back from the SS fund. At best, I'm donating to my parent's retirement. At worst, I'm giving to some person who has no business getting my money. - $45.
  • %20 tithe and contributions--This is the least grudged of the bunch, since I'm not only depositing to my heavenly account, there are rewards down here, too. - $60.
  • %32.5 to my savings account, saving for something in the future. With the amount I'll be putting in, after a year, I might be able to buy some socks, maybe. (I'm kidding, but it wouldn't even be enough to buy a quarter acre of land or a truck that would run. Oh well, I've got to start somewhere) - $97.50
  • The remaining %32.5 will be spent sooner saved for later--things on my list include a new chair mat for my computer (the old one was nearly impossible to move around on, but it helps save the carpet.): $25; a new non-stick, 8" sandwich frying pan, which after almost twice a day use for 6 mo. is loosing a major portion of it's non-stick, and possibly killing me (you know about those things, slow, but sure): ~$10; and, a gift for Mom's up coming birthday (the 10th): $20. I can't say what it is because she reads what I write. (Hi Mom!). That leaves about $42.50. My desired next purchase would be a new 1 Terabyte (8,796,093,022,208 bits [a bits is a 0 or a 1], also known as really, really big!) hard drive, which would really help when I go to reinstall my various operating systems. I would also come in handy if and or when I start the media restoration digitization and archival service, and start working with big files (I'll spare you the bit count :)). I'll need to work this much again next month (maybe more, as my employer is re-negotiating my wage) to put with that $42.50, and I'll be able to pay the $95 for the Samsung model that I would like.
All of which brings me around to a column that I read on freedom, by Chuck Baldwin. I'm not going to paraphrase, so here's the quote:

"For example, we will work for 30 years or more to purchase our own property. After having done that, however, the property still does not belong to us. We are required to pay the State--for the rest of our lives--a property tax (to support concepts and ideas that many of us find reprehensible and detestable, no less), or armed agents will confiscate our property and throw us on the street. Pray tell me, what is the difference between this and the feudal system of old? In reality, none of us own any property. We are all serfs paying the feudal lord. Beyond that, our feudal masters even dictate to us what we can and cannot do with this property we supposedly own. We do not even have the right to manage and control our own land. And yet, we Americans put up with this illegitimacy and still have the audacity to say, "We are free." Again, we don't know the meaning of the word.

Virtually everything we do and say is monitored by the great Nanny State. Practically every service, every act is regulated by the State. Ask any independent business owner how many regulations, laws, acts, etc., demand fulfillment, and how many fees, taxes, permits, etc., are required by various government agencies and bureaucracies before he can perform a single task. For example, the federal government actually dictates how some restaurants can seat people or serve tables. Farmers are told what and how much to plant--and even to not plant. We cannot buy a gun, drive a car, marry the person we love, or even install a toilet without saying, "Pretty please?" to a dozen despots. And we still wave the flag every Independence Day and brag about how "free" we are. Again, we don't know the meaning of the word.

"America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation." - Laurence Peter

"They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." - 2 Peter 2:19

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true--even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." - 1 John 5:13-15, 19-20

May God bless you and keep you, and may He make His face shine on you and give you peace.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Piano Results

It's only been two days, which might be a record for a new post. :)

Anyway, Rachel (a local homeschool friend, as well as an accomplished musician) dropped by wondering how the congregational accompanying went, and since the last time I commented, Matthew thought it was long enough for a post, so I figured I'd do as he suggested first off.

Sunday went very well. No major blunders, no major mistakes--what more could a pianist ask? :)

As to whether I've done this before, only the occasional Sunday night when our usual pianist wasn't around, and when the group was reduced to the group of regulars who can almost completely carry a tune piano-less.

I've been putting in some good hours with the tech support job, and plan to put in a few more before the end of the month. And, today is band, so it's definitely been and being a full day, after having my first appointment at 9:00 this morning.

But supper's ready, so I'm going to sign off.

"Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him--to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen." - Romans 16:25-27

May the Lord bless and keep,