Sunday, December 28, 2014

Prepare Practically

Hearing "prepare practically" through morning chores back in April, I realize about nine months have passed.  Gregorian April aligns "generally" with Aviv on Abba's calendar which is the beginning of the year.   I'm not trying to sound too ethereal, but there is an excitement that this year literally started with specific instructions for the homestead and Abba used the word "practically."  There's a spiritual excitement and eagerness that the next step is about to unfold.  I vacillate between knowing I've learned a lot and feeling like a "slow study."

In coming into full covenant, there was a great deal to "unlearn" and I'm thankful that took place in mostly familiar surroundings.  I don't think I could have unlearned so much, while attempting to learn all this.  As I look back at how "ready" I thought I was, and realize how much I had to learn, I'm humbled and actually a bit embarrassed at my chutzpah!

The first year on the starter homestead, I had no idea about heirloom seeds.  I planted all sorts of strangely colored and treated seeds!  I was also clueless about a Jacob's herd.  I spent quite a bit, and lost not a small sum trying to purchase the best of the best in registration and paperwork!   For those who may just be considering homesteading and livestock purchases, the paperwork has absolutely no bearing on the quality and flavor of the milk or meat, and is especially detrimental when a mixed herd is ordained.

By the end of the second year on the homestead, I'd "weathered" an ice storm with no power for a week, as well as a life altering crisis that left me changing bandages and serving as nurse, maid, and physical therapist, for a year and a half; while also surviving another power outage by winter . . . so much to learn, unlearn, and let go of!

The next year was the shemitah, which was highlighted with an E4 tornado in May.  I endured that particular storm on the wellhouse porch, as I went out to get the goats to the barn.  Once the goats were safely in the barn the wind was so strong and the debris blowing so fiercely, I could not make it back to the house.  By the end of 2008, Abba instructed me to do a radio show and by early 2009 the Voice of YHWH was beckoning me to move, again.  I remembered seeing the pillar of cloud earlier and realized He'd given me time to "prepare."

In looking back, I chuckle at how many times I thought I was ready . . .The latest instruction was a larger acreage, still with a well, and farther off the beaten path . . .  Within a month of beginning the radio show, I was led to a larger acreage . . . This direction was gaining speed!  I went east and the door was fiercely closed.  I looked south . . . then I remembered the pillar of cloud the day of the closing at the beginner homestead . . . I went west . . . now fast forward 6 years.

In the past six years there has been notable growth.  Although I'm still learning, the changes that are now taking place are further establishing the bigger picture.  There haven't been as many do overs, as there have been additions that are in place to stay.  There have also been some spiritual realities that I needed to accept without change!  Finally, as I enter the tenth year of homesteading, my life looks nothing like I thought it would ten years ago, much less twenty; and yet it's the life for which I know I was purposed.  Abba is so awesome in His Words with us.  He literally stated that I was to "prepare practically."  I have always been "comfortable" in recognizing and expressing my creativity, but He also created me to be utilitarian and practical.  My "roll-up my sleeves," "can do" practicality is a gift from Him.  It's taken all this time to be a peace with the fact that along with being creative, I am a practical woman!

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee . . . Jeremiah 1:5a

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Inheritances and trusts have been in a number of conversations I've had these past few months.  My parents have been getting their "affairs in order" for ages now, so every conversation involves more instructions, even though I'm not the executor.  It's the new phase of our interactive game . . .

My kids have all scattered like a covey of quail and to date, none have shown any real interest in country living, much less Covenant living, so my "affairs" are not yet in order.  Mr. B's mother died this past year, so all of his family conversations have involved "last wishes" and trust resolution . . .

In an attempt to divert every conversation from after death wishes and maintain my sanity, I've tried to interject a little humor.  As the instructions for what happens after death become more and more involved for everyone, I've suggested it might be easier to figure out how to take it with them . . . I'm only kidding, of course.  What I've truly taken note of, is the fact, inheritances on the American economic landscape have become sparse, and reduced to nothing more than checks in the mail.  Family farms are mostly a thing of the past.  Life insurance policies became the new inheritance a few decades ago, and now we see insurance companies are either collapsing or becoming an arm of the government.

The 80s afforded the upper Middle Class the opportunity to become stockholders and invest in mutual funds.  In the 90s, pension plans became 401Ks.  Of course we know what happened to a great deal of those investments at about the time the investors were retirement age, in the early part of this new millenium. The Biblical principles of inheritance and blessing have been lost in our religiously materialist society.

I wrote several years ago in one of my books that end of life health care would take most of what was left of American inheritances, and that's by and large what is happening.  Many folks die unconscious with tubes in every orifice.  Sadly, it is mostly unlawful for a person to simply die with dignity and their heirs gathered around them as Jacob did.  There's the added factor that most Americans have not raised children that they want to take care of them in their later years.  This is also a sad reflection of our society, dating back three and four generations.

The future of America doesn't look very promising, and there is no longer any way to deny the Scriptural reason.  I am so happy for the young families who are raising their children to love Messiah and follow Torah.  That is the inheritance of promise.

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.  a Proverb of Holy Scripture

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Cycle of Life

The other morning, I made the chore rounds chopping a thin layer of ice from the water tubs.  When I got to the calves pasture, they both came running to greet me.  August bottles should be a distant memory for them, by now.  As I petted them and showed them I didn't have any bottle for them, but had made their fresh cool water available, a thought crossed my mind.  I've raised these calves from the time they were three days old and they are destined for the freezer about this time next year.  Most of the time, I keep those two thoughts as far apart in my mind as I can, but the other morning, they collided.

The fact that I can bottle raise an animal, then serve it for dinner sometimes causes me to question my softer feminine side, as in "do I even have one?"

It's easy to be impersonal when it comes to processing Daddy's deer.  I didn't raise the deer and it's dead when it arrives.  Preparing wild game seems right for a tribal woman, even hunting is completely acceptable, although I haven't gone hunting in years.  Preparing wild game is a practical matter of honoring my father and not wasting what has been hunted, both of which are Biblical principles.  Hand raising my meat, though, is a different matter.  The land of Goshen has the perfect layout for raising different kinds of animals, so having calves in the west pasture is definitely a good use of the land.  I don't like to waste anything!  The west pasture is not goat tight, and I do not have what it takes, physically, to build fence.

For the most part, I embrace my practicality, as well as enjoy being creative and improvisational.  I am creatively practical which many find to be an annoying paradox, while others find the dichotomy to be curiously intriguing.

As I walked back toward the house that morning, I quickly set aside my collided thoughts.  Even in writing this, I feel my brain pushing these two facts to opposite portions of my awareness.  Intellectually, I know I'm raising organic grass fed, non GMO beef and I also recognize the fact that only one in 25-30 dairy bulls has a future as a herd sire, and the rest are headed to someone's dinner table.   Emotionally, on the other hand, I've raised these guys from the "get go."  I tell myself, they are just coming to see if I have a bottle, but the bottles stopped in August and they are still coming to me.  Realistically, even if they now like to be petted, they are not pets.  The day is coming, these young bulls will more than likely become aggressive and dangerous.

Throughout history, this conflict did not exist.  Until the last century, raising one's own food was just part of life.  As I continue to ponder this, I find myself sad.  Not about grass fed calves, but sad that it is no longer the way our society operates and has become, basically a part of American history.  Our food is produced and processed, rather than raised.  I still remember the morning I heard on the news, the President saying, "we are no longer an agrarian society."

And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man:  and he hasted to dress it.  And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by under the tree, and they did eat.  Torah of Holy Scripture

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Religiously Held Idolatry

Spiritually, I've been in a place of struggle for a time.  Sadly, yet victoriously, I knew I could only handle this with Abba in Moshiach.  It was so easy to discern the idolatry in allegiance to G-d and country, but when it hit G-d and family, that was difficult.  By and large, our religious society promotes G-d and family as ordained on an almost equal level and that simply is not the case.  Holding anything in our life on the same level as our Creator is idolatry.  The account of Abraham and the words of Y'hshuwah make it clear that family is not to be revered as YHWH is to be.  The sad thing in my life, is before I became a Covenant Walking believer, I hadn't handled family properly, so I spent a great many years trying to make up for that fact . . .

I didn't know where to draw the line.  My old method of not doing what was done to me and not doing what I'd done in the past was still a bit sketchy as to actual direction.  This time, however; even if I wasn't quite sure of the goal, I did have instructions.  As it turns out, I gave as many years to trying to get it right, as the years I did it wrong, and then I simply shook the dust.  I realized in my particular family, a grudge would surpass generations, and loyalty is measured by the diligence of the next generation to carry that grudge.  It was something I simply could not see for a time.  The scales had to fall from my eyes.  When the scales fell, so did the tears.

Here, I've tried to beat myself up and carry the grudges for others against me, when I was simply wrong. Abba has brought to my spirit many times, the account of Abraham, as well as the words of Messiah.  Abraham was called out from his family, literally called to relocate.  So was I.  Even walking in covenant, when Ishmael came along, Abraham had to accept that Ishmael was not part of the plan.  I wasn't walking in covenant when I became a mother, so I have no right to ask Abba to repair relationships established outside of His plan, and I certainly cannot make the proper amends in my own strength.  We see in Scripture that Abraham loved Ishmael, but accepted the truth for what it was.  Of course, we're all familiar with the account of Isaac on the altar, and El Shaddai providing the ram.

Obviously we are to take care of our children and one of the commandments definitely addresses honoring our parents, but it's not the first commandment!  I truly surprised myself a couple of years ago.  I know the commandments, all ten listed in Exodus 20, but when referencing them in an article or book, I referenced the commandments to begin at Exodus 20:12.  I made the correction before publishing, but suffice it to say, it was that ingrained!  I love my family and I do try to honor my parents, and that's all.  Condoning nonsense, and taking responsibility for blame that isn't mine is simply not part of the plan.  It truly has not been easy to remove this "plank" or "beam" in the platform of G-d, family, and country.  Ah, but it was so easy to see and identify the societal religious splinters.

We find in Matthew 19:29, the words of Messiah and Mark also included this same message in his account of the Gospel.  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children , or lands, for My Name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  Not everyone may be called to literally do this, but some of us have been and will be.  In laying down these relationships, or hearing, as I did, "the matter is settled" doesn't necessarily mean our loved ones will not come into covenant.  What it does mean, is we are to let go and walk by faith when we pray "Thy will be done . . ." we accept the answer, even if it's a painful answer.

 But seek ye first the kingdom of Elohim, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33

Monday, December 1, 2014

Black Friday

The preservation was busy this year on black Friday.  There was no trip to town, no camping on a sidewalk waiting for doors to be unlocked, and no long lines!   I've jokingly referred to the day as the "Black Friday Massive Meat Sale."  There was no assembly required but we did have to do our own packaging.  Daddy brought down a rather large deer and in less than four hours, including a lunch break, it was ready for the freezer.  The deer weighed 150 pounds after field dressing, so there was a considerable amount of meat.  As I was working on that project, I couldn't help but think of this in comparison to the now traditional "Black Friday."

Many retailers even opened their doors Thursday afternoon or evening.  I enjoyed Thursday evening just schlepping around the house in my nightgown.  Realizing from photos that some folks now go shopping in their jammies and slippers, perhaps there wasn't as much difference as I first thought, but at least I didn't go anywhere looking like that!  Although the venison required processing, it was delivered right to my front door, with several other goodies as well.

The net results of this Black Friday non shopping were walnuts and pecans for baking, crackers for the summer sausage that will be made soon, and about 45 pounds of boneless venison in the freezer, with the other 60% heading up the road with a happy man.  There are steaks, strips for stir fry or fajitas, liver, and plenty of ground venison.   All that in less than 4 hours.  I don't have a new flat screen or i phone, but I don't really have a need for those.  Fashionista that I am, I didn't need any new clothes.  Over 100 pounds of red meat for the price of a deer tag, and the hunter was more than happy to cut me a great deal for a couple hours of work.  Perhaps I sound a bit too practical, but I think I made a haul this Black Friday.

Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.  Torah of Holy Scripture