Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Falling Off the Face of Cyber Earth

Ever notice that even the busiest people are never too busy to tell you just how busy they are. ~Unknown

Unfortunately that quote is not always true, at least not with blogs. Once in a while I search for bloggers having similar interests and I find an interesting blog, but the blogger had not posted in months. It causes me to wonder: What makes those of us, who blog regularly, keep doing it? Is it that we have too much free time? Are we just urged to write by something unnamed deep within? Is blogging our safe connection to the world outside? What is this impulse we have and will we someday tire of it, will I?

Will some of my favorite people in Blogland just stop writing without explanation or announce their departure? Will their blogs end up on the cyber pile of has-beens that someone might run across someday and wonder, as I do, what happened to this person?

What if I just stopped writing? Would anyone really miss me I just fell off the face of cyber earth...that is, just stopped blogging, emailing, and even calling friends and family. I know that a few people would notice, but generally, this is just one little self-indulging blog among a sea of thousands, hundreds of thousands...and of those hundreds of thousands, how many just stopped blogging and I did not notice?

Let's face it, we all rely on these forms of communication, but it is a fragile connection, really, and it could one day just stop. I think of these things when I am really busy and have little time to write about my activities. My desire to share must be balanced with my limitation of time to do so. Just so you know, my list of to-do's for this week includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Preparing outgrown clothes and toys for a consignment sale that I must drop off on Monday.
  2. Designing program covers for the spring piano recital that must be done by Thursday--two days!
  3. Having my daughter prepare a drawing and a painting, which I must mat by Saturday for a competition.
  4. Clean my house before my husband arrives home, hopefully Wednesday night...yes, tomorrow. I still have errands and the last piano lessons before the recital on Thursday, which will give my husband a day to change time zones and putter around the house on his own.

My project that I was doing while my husband was away is at a good place, not complete, but I am pleased with its resting place while these other things take priority for now.

The next three Saturdays are spoken for as well:

  1. This Saturday is the Nazarene Children's Talent in which the Princess has entered into four categories: a poem, a drawing, a painting, and piano. This is an all day event with a two-hour drive one way.
  2. Next Saturday is the piano recital and rehearsal is Friday evening.
  3. The following Saturday is the 4-H Spring Fling in which I face paint all the day.

I also have no idea where my husband will be working next week yet...if he will be driving or flying. Some things are rather concrete and others are up in the air.

And so, I am not falling off the face of the real earth if I don't write much the rest of this week...well, I hope I am not. Most likely though, I am either busy or exhausted from being busy.

~ My Lord, thank you that I am able to show through example how to commit using my talents in contribution to others, teaching my daughter to do the same with her talents. ~

Friday, March 11, 2011

Freshening My Sanctuary

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up.
~Pearl S. Buck

You may have noticed changes to my sanctuary, some font changes...at least I am hoping they are working for everyone. I found out just recently that Google, which provides eBlogger, also provides Web Fonts for free. Using a wider choice of fonts on my blog has been something I have wanted for a long time! I think it adds interest and is welcoming, hopefully others will feel the same.

You may also have noticed the newest addition to my blog on the right under my profile. I have many books to add to my list of have's and read's and want-to-read's at GoodReads, but this is a nice start.

I am not sure that I am done freshening my sanctuary. I have not changed the background since I started it two years ago. I do like its peaceful simplicity and its understated earthiness—I do so like the color green—but perhaps a few touches of change would be nice there also...?

~ My Lord, thank you for the desire to change, to better what has been, and may it always be in honor of You. ~

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Working My Way Out of the Plan

Plans get you into things, but you got to work your way out. ~Will Rogers

After blundering my last post, I felt I should explain some things that are going on "behind the screens," that is the computer screens, those flat windows connecting us through the Internet and yet masking so much of our private lives. If I give you a peek behind the screen, maybe you will be able to understand why I am not quite as focused in my writing at this time.

As you know, my husband started a new job some weeks ago now. First, he had to spend two days in Chicago to finish paperwork for the corporate credit card and to pick up his computer and cell phone. Then he came back Friday night to be home until Saturday evening when he would fly out again, because he had to travel to the United Kingdom for training. Now originally, he was supposed to be in the UK for only two weeks (Plan 1), but while he was in Chicago, he emailed his itinerary to me and I noticed that his return day was three weeks later, not two.

He was going to be trained on two machines (Plan 2): the newest one is a two-week class and the older one is a one-week class. Okay, now the other thing is that the corporate credit card was not ready for him when he left so all of his trip is going on one of our credit cards at this time. Yes, that has had me a bit worried because his hotel bill is in the thousands. It is not that I am so worried about the company not paying it as I am the limit on the card! However, I just keep thinking and reminding my Lord...and being reminded by my Lord that He saw all this before it happened and He had prepared the way for it all to work out.

We have been Skyping each other when possible, which is not a perfect way to communicate, but far better than nothing at all and it is nice to see the other person when talking. However, my husband loaned his laptop power cord to his boss, who was there a few days for some meetings, and his battery was dying off when we were talking. That is the last I heard from him for a few days. I do not do well when we are out of touch more than a couple of days...I have done it, but I just do not do as well.

We finally hooked up on Skype yesterday and he told me that he would need to stay two more days because the second class is a not a five-day class but a seven-day class and he was just waiting on confirmation from his boss about changing his travel plans and hotel stay. Later I received the itinerary with him arriving Wednesday evening (Plan 3).

So, there is good and bad in that. The bad being obvious and the good...that has been my secret (MY Plan). I have been working on a huge project (I cannot tell about here yet because once in a great while, my husband checks in on my blog and it is supposed to be a surprise) that I could use the extra days to get it further along. I am not sure if it will be completed, not sure if such a thing is ever really competed, but certainly about where I hoped it would be before he returns. And...I have to clean the house too.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I broke my fast on Monday, achieving my goal for dropping five pounds so I have the energy to all of it. (Of course, today is my regular fasting day so I am fasting today.) Now I just need to get off this chair and away from my computer right now and just do it!

~ My Lord, please keep me motivated to do what I need to do this day and every day. ~

Monday, March 7, 2011

Commercialized Christianty?

Who practices hospitality entertains God himself. ~Proverb

This was not the post I planned to write today, but then God often has His own plans...and when I am listening, I sometimes get the message. This is a topic more common at Christmas time, perhaps even Resurrection Day (notice I do not use the term "Easter"), but it is not limited any certain time of year.

I have just a few Christian touches in my home and wearable items also: prints of paintings and drawings, a small tapestry, crosses, plaques, figurines, music CD's, DVD's, screen printed T-shirts, jewelry, and so forth. Some of those things were gifts, but still as I look around, I wonder if all that money would have been better spent helping people somehow. Then, I often feel just guilty if I am shopping for a gift somewhere besides a Christian book and gift store, even though those stores are usually more expensive.

I remember when I lived in Florida, some years ago now, that there seemed to be a movement to get Christian women to consider a part of hospitality was to have lovely things in their homes to make people feel more welcome. We even had Christian women invited to our church to speak on how to decorate the home! It seemed to me that they were confusing hospitality with appearances and even commercialism.

I am not against all displays of Christianity; I think there is a balance. I readily admit that when I enter a home, I feel a connection when I see Christian "things" around and if it has nicer things, it seems more inviting, BUT...at the same time, if the children of that family are watching the Disney Channel, I cringe because of the overbearing secular commercialism of it. Perhaps, at this point of my life, I think I am less likely to appreciate the appearance of hospitality than I am the actual practice of it.

So ladies and gents, here are my questions:

  • What are the purposes of the Christian "things" in your own home?
  • Do you think Christians allow children to be too influenced by commercialization...perhaps adding to the debt problems of which many Christians have struggled even before the economy when bad?
  • Do you feel that you purposely combat secular commercialism with the use of Christian commercialism?

I would really appreciate reading your thoughts either here or, if you have much to say on the subject, place a link in a comment to your blog post. Thank you!

~ My Lord, I know you have been showing a great deal about true hospitality through those who do it so well. May I put what I have learned into better practice. ~

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Not My Typical Week

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
~John Burroughs

~ Monday ~
I went to one bank to pay our mortgage in person. For days, I had been checking our bank account online to if my husband's paycheck from the new company had been direct deposited, but it had not. However, we did get it later in the mail--YAY! I was very happy, but I would have to go back out in the afternoon to another bank to deposit it, because it would be a few days in clearing. While out, I thought I would stop into the grocery store near the bank to see if they had any markdowns in organics and specials on natural ice cream where I get an entire container for the price of a double dip of the less natural types at the shops.

While in that grocery store, after I had removed our ice cream selection from the freezer and placed them into my cart, I ran into another homeschool/4-H mother and we talked for about 30 minutes during which time she gave me her phone number...again (I think this makes the third time I have had to ask for it.) As we talked I asked if she would be feeding and caring for the horses on Friday evening at the Sweet Beulahland Farm. This is the farm owned by Miss Annette, the leader of the 4-H Horse and Pony club. I have wanted to take part in this activity for the past year, but just usually did not have a vehicle or money or time as that is near the time I am leaving to pick up my husband at the airport. She said she would be there so we finally parted, I with much softer ice cream by then, planning to see each other the next evening at the 4-H meeting. I placed the ice cream in a cooler and stopped at a dollar store on the way home to pick up baskets and candy for the 4-H community project, which only took a few minutes.

~ Tuesday ~
The March 4-H meeting is always a long one. The meeting included two presentations, which are required of participating older members, and then a tackiest prom queen and king contest where the children are judged by ages. After adjournment, the children prepared the Easter baskets to be given out at a nearby children's home.

My daughter picked out her own outfit for the contest, I only made suggestions about mismatching her footwear and fixing her hair into four ponytails and a braid with the part of one ponytail pulled over into another and lots of hair loose in various areas. Frankly, I thought there were too many others far tackier than she, but the Princess won third place for her age group!

~ Wednesday ~
I fast on Wednesdays, homeschool, and prepare for the next days errands and so this was a more typical day for this not so typical week. However, I decided to fast for a few more days as my weight had risen just above that mark that I promised myself was to be my limit from now on after losing the weight during the 40-day fast six months ago.

~ Thursday ~
Now the one thing I can say about Thursdays is that they are never typical, especially when I am fasting. Errands differ as necessary. I had looked online for all the specials in organics and checked the sales flyers. Good thing too because when I arrived at my favorite co-op grocery store they had not yet placed all the sales tags. This causes me to take more time at the register trying to be sure the sale items were in the system and then for us to try to figure out if the selected variety I wanted is in the "selected varieties" on sale as they are not listed in the flyer.

Then it is practically across the street, a very busy street, to another much larger organic/natural foods chain store for natural meat and a few items that I cannot get at the other place and fewer that are cheaper there.

After driving about forty minutes to get to those stores, I then drive another thirty minutes to Miss Trudy's for the Princess' piano lesson. On the way home I stop in at the bank to make a withdraw since my husband's paycheck cleared--YAY!

~ Friday ~
When I awoke yesterday, I tried to shake off two disturbing dreams I had during an less than restful night, which I tend to have when fasting. This the third day of the fast and it is always the worse one.

I began making another batch of granola in my slow cooker early, still trying out my own recipes. Once the Princess was up, dressed, and beds were made, we went out to feed the rabbits. It was a colder day because of the wind so I did not disturb the babies.

The Princess and I set aside the morning for her to write a poem for a children's talent contest hosted by our church's district. The Princess entered four categories: witing - poetry, solo instrumental - piano (the Bach piece she was recently judged on), visual arts - drawing, and visual arts - painting. The poem needed to be submitted with a post date no later than yesterday and so she wrote a poem that I will post later after the judging. I am now irritated with myself that I did not make a copy of it, because it was in her own handwriting with a drawing at the bottom. I only made her rewrite about three times because, although she loves to write, it is not always as neatly as I would like and I know she can do, especially for something like this.

She was sure happy to have it done at lunch time and so was I!

Because the weather report looked as if it would be raining all weekend and we had to go to the post office to send out her entry, I decided we should get our water refills at a store along the way instead of waiting until after church on Sunday.

Why not also get my raw milk because we have less than half a gallon left? We can fit that in before we go to Sweet Beulahland Farm, which is halfway on the way back home, where we will be helping with Miss Annette's horses.

Now since we are going to the farms, I should call the another homeschool/4-H mother who I ran into in a store earlier this week (when I was also out depositing my husband's first paycheck with the new company--YAY!) because I know she likes to get the milk but has not been able to afford to go out there and she will be bringing her children to feed the horses too.

I call using my headset on my phone—What a wonderful invention!—so my hands are free to break up the granola in the slow cooker and get it into a container. Yes, she would like a gallon of milk. We talked a bit and somehow she mentioned that she loves sourdough bread but lost her starter some time ago. I have some starter if you would like. "That would be wonderful! Uh-oh, Miss Annette is calling me." Call me back to let me know if there is a change about going to her place but soon as I am going to leave in just a few minutes. Poor Miss Annette has a migraine and is very sick with it, so we will have to care for the horses ourselves without her supervision. Of course, because I am a chatty person, I end up leaving half an hour later than I hoped to and feel rushed.

As we drive to our destinations, we see more things are blooming now than just daffodils, like the pear trees, forsythia, red bud tees, and pink magnolias! We make it to the store first and then the post office both not having long lines, thankfully, with plenty of time to get our milk. I see father and son, both who work the farm with a few hands. After I had gone into their little unmanned store to get the first two of eight gallons of milk and noticing there are no eggs, I see the father walking up with smiles. Last time I was here, I paid for eggs and then forgot to take them with me. He laughs..."That is how we make our money! They are cleaning eggs right now, would you like a dozen?" Thank you! The son comes out and asks when was the last time we were there. A few weeks ago at least. "We have baby sheep," he says as he is pointing to the petting barn where they have tours. The Princess is off like a shot. Hey, where's your jacket?

The wind has picked up, especially out in the open on the farms. We arrived at Sweet Beulahland Farm a bit early and have to wait about twenty minutes, so I read the beginning of a chapter book about a girl and her horse that the Princess brought with her purchased at Goodwill a few weeks ago with her own spending money. She decides to anxiously look out the window. After two other families arrive, the children fed and watered the horses, cleaned the stalls, and played in the back field while the adults retreated out of the wind into the barn. I fitted a new halter on one mare because the children were to short to do it.

Time to leave! Milk was exchanged for the cost and the sourdough starter was given. Then we came home to unpack Dragon Heart (the name of the newest vehicle) and put water on shelves in the garage and milk in the freezer. Then it is time to feed rabbits, dog, and cat. For dinner, a warming soup is appealing. Then some time to look on the Internet for a program my husband needs but I find out, after three long time-wasting attempts, it is too big to email to him.

So...after feeding and placing my sourdough starter, we are off to bed half an hour early as we are getting up a half and hour earlier to prepare for the time change next weekend.

~ Saturday ~
It is still in the works but so far....

I am still fasting but my energy has returned. I should have mentioned that except for Wednesday, my regular fast day each week and usually water only, this is a fast like I did for the forty day one so I am still drinking teas and some watered down milk.

I made and kneaded my sourdough to bake a loaf later today. Great day for baking when it is damp!

To my surprise, I was greeted by a pair of eyes in the bunny nest! They are now nine days old and typically they begin opening their eyes around the tenth day. So far only two of the larger baby rabbits have opened their eyes and are lifting those tiny ears. They are all well covered with white fur now. A few are still on the puny side, but they are healthy and active, so it all looks very good in our rabbitry.

Then I began to write a post for my blog, which is taking me longer than I hoped, as I had forgotten how much we did this week. Now I need to get pictures done yet too to post and send in an email to my husband. As soon as I am done with the pictures, I suppose you will see my post. I have a big project I have been working on also, but I do not want to give it away, just in case my husband peeks in here because it is supposed to be a surprise, but it will not be a good one if I do not get back to working on it right now. On the other hand, I have been hanging out at my computer hoping to catch a Skype call from my husband as we did not talk yesterday at all. It's time to knead some dough, too.

~ Sunday? ~
Oh, and the weather experts changed their forecast. It rained some Friday night and sprinkled Saturday morning, but Sunday is going to be mostly sunny, they are saying now, so I could have held off on a few of those errands, but Monday I need to get the plates for Dragon Heart so it is just as well that I have only church services on Sunday and rest in between...but who knows what Sunday will bring?


~ Thank you, my Lord, for kindnesses shared and this gifted child who surprises me with what she writes and draws. Help me to finish the project I started before my husband's homecoming. ~

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Secret to Homeschooling

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill

This is something I tend to forget now and then.

I knew years before my daughter was born that we would be homeschooling. Mind you, the first homeschooling family I met did not impress me, not at all. In fact, they really concerned me because they had an philosophy that literally jolted me having been raised from the school classroom perspective. They believed in the "better late than early" philosophy, so they were not planning to teach their daughter to read until she was between seven and nine years old. Even though they explained that an older child can learn to read at the expected level for his age in just a few months rather than taking years as when started with a young child, I still thought, at that time, it was just irresponsible. I have changed my perspective on that point since. It was not irresponsible, just a completely foreign concept to me. Thankfully, my own daughter was ready to read early; she was reading second grade level books at four years old.

Many of us who begin homeschooling tend to read books about it and eventually gravitate to a particular approach. For me, it was the classical approach with living books and journaling or notebooking and some unit studies in the mix. I wanted as little to do with workbooks as I could. Yes, that was the plan, but then I found my daughter had a particular interest in maps at just four years old and the next thing I knew we were using a geography workbook she really liked. She enjoyed learning geography that way and I saw it a benefit in that it limited how much she had to write, which was difficult for her at the time, yet encouraged her to do so.

Like many first-time homeschooling parents before and after me, I then fell into the curriculum trap. I enjoyed looking over curriculum probably more than actually using any of the materials. I bought more than I needed, certain that I would use it all eventually, even though much of the stuff strayed outside of my desired approach. I was convinced, however, that such things would be good supplements, not fully taking into consideration how many more hours they would add in a given week to fit them in.

I also fell into the homeschool support group trap. I joined a co-op group for the social aspect that did not really enrich our homeschool approach. In fact, it took more time away from it. The co-op expected a certain level of participation, including teaching other children than my own as they were organizing classes and that was not what I wanted to do at all.

Then I joined every homeschool message board I could find online too. I think I used more time in learning how to homeschool, how others homeschool, how I would not homeschool, and even advising others in how to homeschool than I did actually homeschooling! I guess I would say that I fell in love with idea of homeschooling, but I had not really fallen as far in love with the doing of it.

Once on a message board, I wrote something advising someone about the simplicity of homeschooling that seemed rather wise...so wise that I had to remind myself often how much wiser it would be if I had approached each day, each lesson, each moment with this simple philosophy:

The secret to homeschooling
is all in making good memories!

Think about all you have ever learned. Everything you remember is a memory, just simply a memory. Some of those memories are associated with good feelings and some are not. I wanted my daughter's memories associated with learning to be good ones and I admit that I have fallen short of that goal, but it is one worth the striving, nonetheless.

What that means is I need to really be involved with educating her, finding ways to make it enjoyable for her, and sometimes listening to how she would like to do something and seeing if it will help her learn better. In the end, all the homeschooling things I had been doing was mostly for me...not for her. Yes, I did learn some things that I use and perhaps it is a phase I needed to go through, that most homeschooling parents need to go through to discover what kind of approach and structure works for their families.

Oh, and I am sticking with my original approach, not because I am determined to do so, but because it actually was the right one for my daughter. I give the credit for that one to my Lord! (That whole thing where God somehow makes me desire what I need to desire always gets me.) She journals about everything and makes up projects on her own, usually about anything that I introduced into her head at the time. There are times I give her an assigned project with guidelines and times I do not and she just makes one up on her own. The difference:

  • The first has rules and that is not a bad thing, but the downside is that I have expectations with it and often am more critical about how she completed the project. For her, this is just another homeschool lesson she has to get through and she does not put her heart into it as well, but there are expectations in life and she needs to learn how to follow directions and meet expectations.
  • The second is far more enjoyable for me because I do not give her any assignment at all. I have no expectation so I am surprised and pleased with whatever she makes up. Often she goes off and later presents me with something far more elaborate than I would have asked her to do. For her, she is just being herself playing, drawing, or creating, and even though she is incorporating what she just learned, it is fun for her.

I have had to learn to let her process the information into a lasting memory by giving her time to do so in the quiet of our home without TV or computer games. This child who thinks she hates math, actually writes math equations on paper or tries to teach a preschooler in Sunday School how to do math. I have learned to step back from the lessons and watch my daughter. When I push her, she is not really learning. When I give her freedom, she is. The results I really wanted are not in a curriculum or highly structured lesson plan, but in my Lord's guidance of this highly-gifted child, who seems to instinctively know how to process the information so that it does become a lasting memory.

Although I know the secret to homeschooling, some days I have to remind myself of my goal: simply to make a memory.

~ Thank you, my Lord, for this reminder that I still have some things to learn myself. Please continue to guide our homeschooling adventure. ~

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Since It Was Mentioned...

Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.
~Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington (1787)

You might be wondering why we began raising rabbits and you might not like our purpose, but my husband and I have always wanted a more self-sufficient lifestyle. We do not have the land for milk and meat goats as we would like, so after much prayer and consideration we decided raising rabbits was within our means.

I grew up in small towns and rural areas. I went to school with children of farmers, some raised crops, some livestock, and some both. Even the businesses in those small towns relied on the farmers, one of which was my uncle's hardware business and another a furniture store owner, our next door neighbor when I lived with my aunt. My high school boyfriend was the boy next door, who delivered furniture for his family's business and worked on farms. His grandfather and uncle were crop farmers and he also worked regularly on the farm of one of his best friends, a hog farmer, but he would get work around any farm he could. I remember one year that his car always smelled like hog manure which was not that appealing when you are dressed up to go to a dance, but that just was the way it was.

At some point, as I grew up, I must have come to the realization that the meat bought in stores was once an animal raised on a farm for the purpose of providing meat to be stores and that every "Happy Meal" at McDonald's had some beef in it. Even if my mind would have liked to fog the details of how the cattle ended up in cellophane wrapped packages, it really could not. I must have, at some time, come to the realization that how that happened because my father loved fishing and we all observed the cleaning and filleting process of a lake bass. I do not know when these realizations happened but I found to my surprise that I was not one to shy away at dissecting frogs in biology either.

That is not to say that I am heartless or take great pleasure in carving things up, I am just rather practical about fishing, hunting, and livestock. We were concerned, though, in how the Princess would handle the situation. She has always been more curious than grossed out by anything a cat would drag up to deposit at our door. Her father had hunted deer in the fall, although they eluded him, and we all watched videos on how to field dress and process a deer, which she watched with more curiosity that disgust. Still we knew that hunting a fairly cute animal unknown to you is one thing, raising the cute furry things yourself is quite another. It would be an adjustment for all of us, and I was concerned about the Princess.

This was how we explained it to our daughter because she has been up close to Jersey cows on the farm where we get our milk and has looked into those soft cow eyes: Every hamburger you eat came from beef, which is the flesh of cattle. Most of the cattle you see grazing in fields are being bred and raised for our food. Someone somewhere had to process or butcher the animal to sell it as meat. You may not have seen it, but you are a part of that because you have chosen to eat the hamburger.

She said she understood that part, but she just did not think we would be the kind of family that would "kill things." You see, we have lived in an area that used to be farms but because of the fast growth, the farmers have been pushed out and it is mostly patches of subdivisions and woodlands. The Princess has not had the same experiences I had growing up. Most people, who live padded in populated communities away from farms, do not really want to think about from where the meat in the stores comes. Some that do, choose to be vegetarians and I appreciate their convictions; I have friends and family members who are vegetarians of varying degrees. (Honestly, most people think I am a vegetarian because I just do not eat much meat or that is what they expect because I am an health advocate.) Some meat eaters understand and accept the process as the natural course of things. However, some chose to still eat meat while shunning or even condemning those who do all the dirty work to provide it. That is one hypocrisy that I do not easily tolerate and one that obviously had been brewing in my own child.

It is not an easy thing to take a life so its flesh will be used to sustain another life, but it happens in nature every day. I don't know why the Lord chose to require animal sacrifices, except perhaps to remind people of how grievous and costly our sins are because taking the life of an innocent is a very hard thing to do. I think in Western society, we have become too far removed from all of it, but it is still there. My husband and I have taught our daughter that some Native Americans thanked "the spirits of their brothers" for giving up their lives that they should have food to sustain their own and they were not wasteful, not taking more than what was necessary for them. We have taught her life is to be revered, but also that life is taken to sustain life.

I have not told her a fallacy that I was told that all things in nature only kill what they need survive, because there are stark exceptions: the domestic cat is a prime example, as it is an animal that kills for the fun of it without need, which introduces a certain irony to the forefront of my mind when I see a vegetarian owning a cat. Actually, most things in nature thrive because they take every advantage available to do so. That is why some baby animals are pushed aside while the stronger have their fill nursing. No matter how cute they are packaged, animals are generally selfish beings.

Our first kindle of nine all died and my daughter observed the mother rabbit closely. After a while, she said with a disappointed tone, "They really do not have feelings like we do." I hated losing all the kits, but that was an important lesson for my daughter. We all tend to humanize animals, especially in children's storybooks. Do not get me wrong, I have pets that I dearly love, appreciate, enjoy, and weep over, but also I believe they are more creatures of familiarity, habit, and opportunity than emotion and higher understanding.

I have written this for the benefit of those you who are curious. I feel no need to defend what we have chosen to do because we feel it has been blessed by our Lord so it needs not to be defended. We are doing with what we have as I felt God has been telling us to do and I feel like I am working towards that homesteading woman that I have always wanted to be, even with our little plot of land. So, now you all know that we have just started our small rabbitry as part of our plan toward greater self-sufficiency with plenty of ready-to-use rabbit manure for fertilizing our gardens.

~ My Lord, thank you for blessing us with our bit of land and our home. Help us to be even more responsible in using the land and resources You have provided for us. ~