Monday, June 29, 2009

Garden 2009 - Spring - Update II - Sue-cchini


We didn't know what to expect with our 2009 Spring garden, but the Lord has seen fit to provide us with plenty of water in our cistern with which to water the garden; and He has brought the increase, and what an increase! As me and my buddies Rogers and Hammerstein always say, "Zucchini is busting out all over!"


I went out to see what was available to harvest; and, boy, there was an abundance of zucchini ready to be picked:






I looked through our book, "Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning" by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante, to see if there were ways other than canning to preserve the zucchini. The book described a very easy, lactic fermentation method. I simply washed and grated the zucchini, skin and all, and put it into canning jars with a teaspoon of salt per pint alternating layers of zucchini and salt. Then I added water to each jar leaving 1" head space, put on the lids and caps and......that's it! I put the jars down in the root cellar and within days we had a very delicious and fresh tasting zucchini kraut:





I also read that drying zucchini is a very good way to preserve it. I was excited to be able to utilize the wonderful solar food dryer that Dave had made. So I cut up the zucchini into slices, and within a couple of days they were shriveled and crispy! They say you can eat them like potato chips with dip or use them in soups and casseroles.

Here they are put out to dry on trays in our solar food dehydrator:




Here are the dried chips after 1-2 days in the dehydrator (the orange looking pieces are apricots which turned out delicious as well!):




I preserved the dried zucchini chips in glass jars. And I didn't have to use the pressure canner or a drop of propane!




I also harvested a bunch of yellow summer squash I was hoping to preserve. I read online that one woman didn't like the "mushiness" of hot packed canned squash, so she and her family started raw packing it with no water. This way it could be dipped in egg and crumbs to fry it or be used in soups and casseroles. Well, I went ahead and tried it that way, and it worked great! I'm very excited to have found this method, which opens up a wider variety of ways to use squash in meals.

In addition to canning, I also processed some of the yellow summer squash with the lactic fermentation method, as I had done with the zucchini; and it turned out fresh and tasty as well, without any freezing or canning used.

What a huge blessing to be able to capture and preserve the freshness of these garden vegetables without canning or freezing. We are careful to thank God for the bounty of this harvest as well as His many spiritual provisions.

1 Cor. 3:6 - "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."

Susan

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Susan's Musin's - Journey Into Obedience (Becoming a Help Meet, and Submission)

When Dave and I recited our wedding vows to each other, I wanted to be sure to include the words "obey" and "help meet" in mine. I was juuuust beginning to understand my ordained, Biblical role as it looked on paper; but to actually live it on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, second-by-second (you get the picture) basis would prove to be a HUGE learning curve.

Many times I had read Genesis 2:18 which states, "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him." and not thought much about it. I had recently been studying God's institutions in the Bible and learned that marriage, work, and men's and women's roles and duties, among other things, were institutions actually ordained by God, meaning this is how God set an example and precedent to show us how He wants us to live. Interestingly and in light of that, I was recently watching an episode of the old Jack Benny show, and he had Art Linkletter on as a guest. Remember this was back in the 1950's just before the women's liberation movement took hold. He had three or four young children on for one of his "Kids Say the Darndest Things" segments. He asked each child what they wanted to be when they grew up. The little girl, without hesitation, said, "I want to be a housewife," and Art Linkletter said something to the affect of, "Of course you do. You want to grow up to be just like Mommy." In essence, she was saying, "I want to be a help meet." Today, most women watching that would sit horrified and sorry for that little girl's completely wasted potential in life. Well, that is the world's opinion; however, that little girl's desire was to obediently fulfill her God-ordained role.

I read that the term "help meet" in the Bible basically means "one who helps." THAT is what God has designed for me to be as a Christian woman. Period. And if I had a daughter who wasn't married, I would do my best to prepare her to be a help meet, should God see fit to bring her a husband.

Submission goes hand in hand with being a help meet. In writing this blog post, I researched the verses that discuss God's command for wives to obey and submit to their husbands. It was startling that God pretty much hits us over the head with a hammer with all of the verses He provides; however, disobedience and rebellion among Christian wives obviously runs rampant throughout the professing church:
Eph 5:22 - "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord."

Eph 5:24 - "Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." (Uh, yes, Sue, that means EVERY thing)

Col 3:18 - "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."

Titus 2:5 - "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

1 Pet 3:1 - "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;"

1 Pet 3:5 - "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:"


Being required in the Bible to submit to my husband, I looked up the word "submission" in Webster's 1828 Dictionary and found the following:
1. The act of submitting; the act of yielding to power or authority; surrender of the person and power to the control or government of another.

2. Acknowledgment of inferiority or dependence; humble or suppliant behavior.

3. Acknowledgment of a fault; confession or error.

4. Obedience; compliance with the commands or laws of a superior. Submission of children to their parents is an indispensable duty.

5. Resignation; a yielding of one's will to the will or appointment of a superior without murmuring. Entire and cheerful submission to the will of God is a christian duty of prime excellence.


Wow! Some of those key words are pretty humbling and convicting: "yield", "surrender", "compliance", "humility", "suppliant", "without murmuring", etc...

It is clear in the Bible that Christ is our prophet, priest and king. As I have studied types and shadows in the Bible, I have learned that marriage between a man and a woman is the physical manifestation of Christ and His spiritual Church. Likewise, since Christ is declared in the Bible as the husband, prophet, priest and king over His bride, the Church, the temporal manifestation is the husband being prophet, priest and king over his wife and household. When thinking about being the bride of Christ, I would think it is inappropriate to question Christ or take on an attitude toward Him and start telling Him what to do. I am to treat my husband with the same reverence and respect. I now look at my husband as a benevolent king over me, his subject, and therefore do not have the right to disobey or disrespect him. I realize this is much easier said than done and am finding it a lifelong process to implement. HOWEVER, this is no excuse to give up or be rebellious. More and more I love serving my husband because that is what I was called and created to do. That is my honor and duty under God. And when I serve my husband properly, I am serving God properly. I cannot imagine anything to help me sleep better at night knowing I am doing God's will in fulfilling my role as a help meet. Then the worldly importance of status and accomplishments starts to lose its satisfaction and seduction. I've also learned to pray, and pray, and then pray more for my husband, so God might grant him the proper, Biblical mindset and authority perspective. It takes two to tango, but all I can do is focus on my part and trust God will handle the rest.

Our teacher has preached a couple of great series which have helped me understand better the nature of women and our role under God as well as our fleshly desire to control our husbands (Plague of Women, Part 1; Part 2; Part 3) and also God's ordained order in the world and why the ordained role of Christian women makes sense (Order, Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5). These messages are not for the faint of heart, so buckle up if you choose to listen to them and are prepared to hear truth.

Upon further study in the Bible, I believe God has very graciously shown me the grave error of my previous ways in the corporate and professing Christian world fulfilling roles that are reserved by God for men alone. I was very gung ho on climbing up the corporate ladder and taking leadership roles at church; but I cannot even begin to explain the peace and joy I have experienced by understanding my role, giving up those other things, and tending to my husband and our ranch full time. It has helped me to better comprehend the spiritual type we are living out here on earth. This is so contradictory to how our society functions and teaches that many heads of women reading this will probably start smoking and eventually explode. (ewww, gross)

There are so many subjects this topic touches. In a nutshell though, I think I'll close this post by encouraging any women reading this, single or married, to truly study the Bible concerning their role as a woman and ask God to grant them obedience regardless of what it requires. I have learned to meditate and implement the following phrase over the course of the past few years as God has shown me His truths in the Bible: "My job is to be obedient and God will handle the rest." Period. No excuses. I am to serve my husband and household and to be obedient to him as to God. Period. No excuses; no attitude. I pray that, when I am called before God to answer for my choices here on earth, He will not find me making a bunch of excuses as to why I think I was better suited to fulfill roles that He blatantly reserved for men. I look at professing Christian women in mainstream churches in roles of worldly corporate success, and teaching, preaching, and eldership in the church; and now I see them as being in disobedience to God even though they may be very talented and intelligent. God has made it clear in the Bible they are not supposed to be in these roles (1 Tim 2:11-12). God will raise the proper men for these positions if the women will simply vacate them and obey what God has told them to do.

There is a book entitled Created to be His Help Meet by Debbie Pearl that I believe has some really helpful information to women searching for how they are to fulfill this God-ordained role. I do not subscribe to some of the author's doctrinal positions but believe this book has some great guidance for Christian women.

May God be glorified as He leads us into all truth and grants us repentance, belief and obedience to His word.

Susan

Friday, June 5, 2009

A House - Update I - Kindle Care

A couple mornings after some pretty good soaking rains, with dew on the ground, vegetation being green, and only a slight southerly breeze expected (which would blow away from the wooded area behind the clearing), we decided it might be a good time to burn down the left-over wood pile collected from clearing the trees. And so, I grabbed the diesel containers, doused one end (I was hoping to have it burn very slowly from one end to the other and thus didn't pour diesel all over the pile), said a prayer asking God that we not burn the place down, and lit it. Meanwhile, Sue started filling water containers to have around the fire, and I got some shovels and rolled the generator into position next to the well and hooked up and strung out several hoses in case they were needed. Once the fire started to go, I figured there was no turning back.

There was a slight north breeze to start (which was blowing into the side where I started), and that helped burn things down a little quicker, but was also into the direction of the woods. However, the fire maintained a slow burn as I monitored it, and I would pour diesel on the edges to try to keep them going as the middle was burning out nicely. Eventually the breeze changed to southerly and (easterly and westerly at times), which at least brought a little more of a comfort level.

Here is the fire about half way done. I did have to put out a little fire that started to crawl away from the main fire, but easily did so, thankfully, with a shovel and some water:





And here it is burned down. It smoldered for a couple of days, which I was hoping would help burn down the stumps more. We could see the coals glowing at night, and we prayed they would stay put. A couple of nights later, some thunderstorms blew through bringing some heavy winds, which really whipped up the sparks and cinders from what was still hot, but it had been raining already pretty heavily, and so we weren't too worried, although we prayed some more that the fire wouldn't ignite somewhere else on the land:





We burn a lot of our garbage, and whenever I interact with a fire and how hot it is, I think of things spiritual regarding fire:

video


(It was a little hard to understand one part, and I wanted to clarify: the words are, "...how the Bible talks about the eternal torment in flame, in hell, for those who aren't saved, who don't fall at the foot of Christ for salvation, and Christ alone, and His righteousness..." Very important!)


We are thankful to God for allowing us the opportunity to burn down the wood pile and continue the house project, and we are very grateful He in His mercy kept us from making mistakes with the fire, held the wind back, and kept the fire in control.

-- David