Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Better late than never...Daily Bible Readings Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2010

Dear Ladies, I sincerely apologize for my delinquency in getting the daily Bible readings posted. I have been so busy over the holiday weekend! I'll tell you about it as soon as I can get a post composed. However, it's nearly 2:30 am where I am, and it's time to hit the hay! I pray for you to have a blessed day, and I hope I haven't made anyone fall behind too badly.

"O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and wearly land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
 and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands."
(Psalm 63:1-4, NIV)


Daily Bible Readings November 29- December 5, 2010

Family
Private
29
2 Chronicles
26-27
2 Peter
1
Micah
5
Luke
13
30
2 Chronicles
28
2 Peter
2
Micah
6
Luke
14
1
2 Chronicles
29
2 Peter
3
Micah
7
Luke
15
2
2 Chronicles
1
1 John
1
Nahum
1
Luke
16
3
2 Chronicles
2
1 John
2
Nahum
2
Luke
17
4
2 Chronicles
3-4
1 John
3
Nahum
3
Luke
18
5
2 Chronicles
5
1 John
4
Habakkuk
1
Luke
19

from Robert Murray M'Cheyne's "Calendar for reading through the Word of God in a year"

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings


As the Thanksgiving holidays approach, I have been trying desperately to complete some much needed updates to our decor. I am reaching the drop-dead-line (I'm beginning to feel that literally, lol), and over the next few days I have to put in some concentrated effort in order to get all this done and the house back together. Isn't it strange how it seems you have to tear everything up in order to clean it all out??

Anyway, I will be somewhat absent over the next few days. I hope to have time to complete a few posts I have been working on, but in case I'm still tied up, I want to wish all of you a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving, and hearts filled with sincere gratitude to our heavenly Father through his Son, Jesus Christ.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy ,.,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Daily Bible Readings November 22-28, 2010

"The LORD is my strenght and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will giv thanks to him in song."
(Psalm 28:7, NIV)

Daily Bible Readings November 22-28, 2010

Family
Private
22
1 Chronicles
17
James
4
Jonah
1
Luke
6
23
1 Chronicles
18
James
5
Jonah
2
Luke
7
24
1 Chronicles
19-20
1 Peter
1
Jonah
3
Luke
8
25
1 Chronicles
21
1 Peter
2
Micah
1
Luke
9
26
1 Chronicles
22
1 Peter
3
Micah
2
Luke
10
27
1 Chronicles
23
1 Peter
4
Micah
3
Luke
11
28
1 Chronicles
24-25
1 Peter
5
Micah
4
Luke
12
from Robert Murray M'Cheyne's "Calendar for reading through the Word of God in a year"

Friday, November 19, 2010

NT in a Nutshell Part 6: Milk and Milk Products

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
We left our series on Nourishing Traditions last week with a discussion on the importance of protein in the diet. We pick back up today with a summary of the information presented in the book on Milk and Milk Products. This information is condensed from pages 33-35 of Nourishing Traditions, and is not intended as medical advice, but as an introduction to healthy eating practices.

Before I begin my summary of this section of the book, I need to state up front that after researching this topic further I have decided that I disagree with much of the information the authors present in this section. Before I discuss the information that I disagree with, I will state up front that I do agree that cultured milk products are very beneficial to overall health, especially kefir, yogurt and buttermilk, and that processed cheeses should be avoided due to the excess of preservatives and other food additives in them.

As a matter of fact, I also avoid pre-shredded cheeses as well due to the anti-caking chemicals added to them. {If you like to keep shredded cheese in the house for the convenience factor – try my quick-tip solution instead: shred an entire block (lb) of cheese, toss with just enough corn starch to keep the shreds from sticking together, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Works like a charm.}

After a brief discussion on the prevalence and possible causes of milk intolerance and milk allergies, the authors progress into a graphic description of the state of the modern dairy cow, held in confinement and selectively bred for over-active pituitary function which supposedly increases milk production by incredible proportions and which causes bovine growth hormones to spill over into the water fraction of our milk supply.

They go on to say, “The freak-pituitary cow is prone to many diseases. She almost always secretes pus into her milk and needs frequent doses of antibiotics.” (page 34) In addition, the authors also report that these cows are fed “high-protein soybean meal” (page 34) which “stimulates them to produce large quantities of milk but contributes to a high rate of mastitis and other problems…” (page 34) However, none of this information is footnoted.

They go on to discuss that modern milk production methods make pasteurization (heating at moderate temperatures for certain amounts of time in order to kill bacteria present in the milk) unnecessary and to detail how the nutrients and enzymes in milk are destroyed by the process, and to encourage the readers to use only raw (unpasteurized and not homogenized) milk and milk products from pasture-fed cows. While I do agree that milk from pasture-fed cows is preferable and healthier than that of feedlot cows, I have serious concerns over the consumption of unpasteurized milk, especially since the authors have just stated that pus (a sign of infection) is nearly always present in the modern dairy cow’s milk.

Now let’s discuss the additional research I did on this for my own benefit, and as I did not record where I found this scattered on the web, I encourage you to research this further for yourself also. First of all, let’s consider the reason why we began to pasteurize milk in the first place, and why the process was so revolutionary.

Cows are carriers of tuberculosis, which can be passed to humans through milk. As you may recall from your American history, tuberculosis was epidemic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This highly contagious disease ripped families apart as stricken members were isolated in sanitariums, where there was a very high death rate. The ability to kill the bacteria in contaminated milk was one of the ways in which the disease was finally controlled, and is one of the reasons why most of us have never known anyone with this disease.

Secondly, in many states, including my own, it is against the law to sell raw milk (except for pet consumption), specifically because of the risks to a public that has largely had no exposure to TB in modern times. Even if you live in a place where you can legally purchase raw milk, common sense would dictate that you only purchase from a farmer whose herd has been tested for TB and shown to be disease-free. In fact, this is recommended in the book on page 35:
“If you can find a farmer who will sell you raw milk from old-fashioned Jersey or Guernsey cows (or from goats), tested free of tuberculosis and brucellosis and allowed to feed on fresh pasturage, then by all means avail yourself of this source.”
I did not even research brucellosis, as I found the info on TB made me too uncomfortable to consider pursuing the dietary change to raw milk any further. Maybe it’s because I have never been around cattle, but I think that even if I had my own milk cow that I would test regularly just to make sure that she was disease free.

There are some dietary changes regarding our consumption of milk that are worth considering, however. The authors do not talk about the dangers of homogenization or of ultra-pasteurization in Nourishing Traditions, but they do go into further detail in Eat Fat, Lose Fat.

Milk is made of two fractions, a water fraction and a butterfat fraction. Normally, the butterfat (cream) portion rises and floats atop the water fraction. The cream could be skimmed for use as cream or to make butter, buttermilk or cheese. However, as it used to be done before the days of homogenization, the cream and milk could be shaken up for use as old-fashioned whole milk.

In the process of homogenization, the two fractions of the milk are subjected to extremely high pressures during which the milk is passed through screens which serve to break down the butterfat molecules into a form that will allow the fat to stay suspended in the milk instead of floating to the top (as is natural). If you remember your chemistry, you will remember that temperature increases with increasing pressure, so the milk is also subjected to another round of “cooking” in addition to the pasteurization. This significantly changes the taste of the milk, in addition to the unnatural changes to the fat in the milk.

I do believe that the process of ultra-pasteurization is detrimental to milk and its nutrients and enzymes. In this process, the milk is heated for a shorter period of time, but at a very high temperature. After this process, the milk is effectively “dead.” Nothing will grow in it, not even beneficial cultures. I can speak from personal experience on this one.

A couple of years ago I purchased some heavy whipping cream at the grocery store so I could try to make homemade butter. At that time I had never paid any attention to whether milk or cream was pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, but I have since come to notice that in most stores one has no option except to purchase ultra-pasteurized cream or half-and-half. The butter turned out fine, and I saved the liquid left from when the cream broke to make homemade buttermilk. I placed it in a sealed mason jar, just like my recipe said to do, and placed the jar in a warm place and left it undisturbed until the next afternoon. I expected to have thick, creamy buttermilk, but all I had was watery, nasty-smelling liquid. I tried this again, this time inoculating the buttermilk-to-be with a tablespoon of store-bought cultured buttermilk, but I got the same results.

Last spring I purchased a quart of heavy whipping cream at Whole Foods that was not ultra-pasteurized; it was just plain pasteurized. I tried again. Viola! Buttermilk on the first try! Therefore, it is my belief that ultra-pasteurized dairy products are best avoided in favor of products that have only been exposed to a traditional pasteurization process.

In our area, there is a small family dairy farm that has changed its farming practices to offer consumers the alternative to purchase milk and milk products from pastured cows. Their milk is not homogenized and is only put through the traditional, lower temperature pasteurization process. The difference in taste is amazing. For the first time in my life I understand why older folks call whole milk “sweet milk.” It really does have a sweet taste!

With the increase in the popularity of “organic” foods, more farmers are realizing the benefits of meeting this demand, and it is increasingly possible that there is a farmer near you who will follow similar farming practices.

I hope this information sheds some light on the use of dairy products in your diet. We will pick up our series again the week after Thanksgiving with a discussion on the role vitamins play in our diets and the proper used of vitamin supplements.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Be careful, Little Ears, what you hear, what you hear…

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
(Hebrews 5:11-14, NIV)

Dear Ladies, I understand that I am very likely preaching to the choir with today’s post, but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, and I just have to let it out.

I am continually appalled by the lack of discernment among our brothers and sisters in Christ these days. It troubles me greatly, and although I can speak with you frankly here, I am at quite a loss as to how to effectively communicate with one particular coworker and dear Christian brother about the undue influence he is allowing a non-believer to have – a very famous, influential FOXNews personality.

As you are aware, I am a Christian, and my faith influences everything about me: the way I think, to the decisions I make, to the way I interact with other people. The same goes for all of us, and the more deeply convicted we are in our belief system, the more it influences our every action.

We are admonished in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Endings…and Beginnings

In the late spring of 2007 I was introduced to the New Harvest Homestead newsletter as one of the free promo materials I received with my subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. My subscription to the magazine expired without renewal a year later, but I went on to purchase each and every back issue of the NHH newsletter as well as to continue my subscription faithfully: until now.

In late October of last year, the publisher of the NHH newsletter, Lisa Vitello, announced that she would be ending publication with the November/December 2010 issue. In a few short weeks the last issue of this newsletter will appear in my inbox…and I am left feeling like I am losing a friend.

Before I found this newsletter, I didn’t know that there were women out there who shared my values and opinions about homeschooling, wanting to be home, wanting to provide food for my family from a garden and homemade from my kitchen…certainly none of my suburban, mostly van-or-SUV-driving, epitome-of-the-southern-version-of-a-soccer-mom friends. I felt like I fit in with the ladies at the church we attended then like a dandelion fits in a bouquet of roses.

In the newsletter I learned what books and websites were good for the beginning gardener. I learned for the first time about making homemade bread. I was inspired to start line-drying nearly all of my laundry. I was blessed with many wonderful ideas for handmade, homemade Christmas presents. I learned that I really would like to have my own little flock of chickens! I learned the enough of the basics of canning to feel confident that I wouldn’t poison my family. J I became inspired to live the lifestyle that was in my heart even if no one else I knew understood – because now I knew that there were ladies out there like me, and that I really wasn’t alone.

The legacy of the newsletter will live on, however, in every heart of every woman who has been touched by Lisa’s candid and inspiring articles. The Lord has used her in a mighty way in my life – so many times her articles spoke truth to me that I desperately needed to hear. In addition, through her “Titus 2” mentoring advice and encouragement, many more ladies have been touched by those who have followed God’s directive to us in Titus 2: 3-5.

We are members of a different church now – a wonderful, vibrant, Spirit-filled church, where for the first time I have been able to join a ladies’ Sunday School class. At our Christmas party this year, about the time the last issue of the NHH is published, we will be discussing how we can implement a Titus 2 group for our young ladies (late teens and college-aged) and young wives and mothers.  The influence of the newsletter will continue to reach further, even after it’s gone.

The newsletter was my inspiration for starting this blog, as I hoped that maybe I could be an influence on ladies like me who do have to work outside the home. So many ladies out there are blessed to be at home, and for those of us who are not, I want to be a voice that says, “You are not alone – you can work and still have a stay-at-home heart!” Now, through the beauty of the blog world, I have met so many more of you wonderful ladies out there! It is wonderful to have a place where you can share your heart with people who understand your spirit, even if you never meet face to face this side of heaven. How wonderful it will be when we can all get together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

So, it’s time to say a sorrowful “adieu” to the New Harvest Homestead newsletter, and a sincere “THANK YOU” to Lisa for all her hard work and for baring her heart over the years. I know that the Lord has great things in store for her, and for us through her, and we will be watching the website with baited breath for updates.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father’s house,
Cindy <><

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simple Pleasures: "Who says you have to go to the mountains...

...to see the leaves?" my husband said when he showed me these pictures he took while in the woods with our son for the Youth Hunt on Sunday. Here in central Alabama, the fall foliage is just hitting its peak, and although it was a drizzly, foggy day, the colors are still gorgeous.






The artistry of our heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me.


Project Simple Pleasures2

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Handmade Christmas - From Your Computer!

Christmas Ideas with Digital Scrapbooking!
 
 For my regular readers, perhaps you have noticed that I have added a new page called "FREE Digital Scrapbooking Sites"  - all in preparation for today's post! I have always loved layout and design, and over the years I have overhauled our church newsletter and learned HTML to build a church website. I have designed our Christmas cards for years. However, as much as I enjoyed all this, I just never could bring myself to invest in scrapbooking materials. The whole concept seemed overwhelming - in the money required to buy all those supplies, the space for storing it all, and the time to actually put pages together.

Fortunately, all my scrapbooking dreams came true last year when I discovered digital scrapbooking. I can create at my leisure, and all I have to have is my computer and a good color printer for any projects that I decide to print. Plus, I have spent a total of less than $5.00 on digital supplies - and that only on a kit that contained baseball items as I couldn't find anything I just loved for free in the time I had before I needed to have my layouts completed to give as Christmas gifts.

I have been a faithful user of Printmaster Platinum for years. I have had at least 6 different versions and have upgraded several times with advances in operating systems and functionality of the program. However, I have found that the free Digital Scrapbook Artist Compact software from Daisy Trail to be much easier to use with more functionality for creating scrapbook pages. I hope to purchase the full version sometime - maybe with my Christmas money this year? ;)

For my sister, my two nieces, and my mom, I made and framed scrapbook pages from each of my nieces' weddings. I used the color schemes from the weddings, and I used pictures that I took while at the ceremonies and receptions. These were printed as 8x10's.
 


Also for my sister and my nieces, I made an "As for me and my house..." page personalized for each family. All three had moved into new houses in 2009, so I color-coordinated the pages with the decor in their new homes. These were printed as 5x7's.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Daily Bible Readings for November 14-20, 2010

We are a few weeks into the Robert Murray M'Cheyne's Bible-reading program - how are you doing? I have gotten a little behind during last week, but I will be trying to catch up today. Remember, if all four readings are overwhelming, just pick at least one track; the point is to read your Bible daily. The whole program will take you through the entire Bible in one year along with two trips through Psalms and the Gospels.


November Bible Readings

Family
Private
15
1 Chronicles
3-4
Hebrews
10
Amos
4
Psalm
149-150
16
1 Chronicles
5-6

Hebrews
11
Amos
5
Luke
1:1-38
17
1 Chronicles
7-8
Hebrews
12
Amos
6
Luke
1:39-end
18
1 Chronicles
9-10

Hebrews
13
Amos
7
Luke
2
19
1 Chronicles
11-12

James
1

Amos
8
Luke
3
20
1 Chronicles
13-14
James
2

Amos
9
Luke
4
21
1 Chronicles
15
James
3
Obadiah
(all)
Luke
5
from Robert Murray M'Cheyne's "Calendar for reading through the Word of God in a year"


"Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them."
(Psalm 4:5, NIV)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Evening Hymn

© Printmaster
Glory to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, O, keep me, King of kings,
Beneath thy own almighty wings!

Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done;
That with the world, myself, and thee
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed;
To die, that this vile body may
Rise glorious at the judgment day.

O, may my soul on thee repose,
And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close, -
Sleep, that may me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake!

When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No powers of darkness me molest.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

-Bishop Thomas Ken

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