Saturday, May 23, 2009

What Cake Wreck Are You?

I used to be addicted to stupid quizzes in highschool... but when I was checking out Cake Wrecks today and saw the link to this quiz... I just couldn't help myself... I had to take it... so I did... and guess what?!

I'm the carrot jockeys cake! I have these little guys on a t-shirt... hehe...

I... wait, what? Babies with... what? You're just plain weird sometimes.

( )

You have so gotta go take the quiz now... it's too fun!

Okay... so the quizzy linky thingy isn't really working... so just scroll down and hit submit and then take the quiz... 'k?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Apologies and a Reply to a Reply

I am sorry. I really am. I know I say that a lot, that I joke about it, but today I am really truly sorry.

My spirit is grieved.

In my love for and defense of the unborn and unknown children, I have failed to love my sisters in Christ. For that I am deeply, sincerely sorry.

I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was check my email. This is nothing unusual, but today I also checked a blog written by an amazing, godly, lovely woman named Jes.

Jes had written a post about some of the effects of chemical birth control, one brand of pill in particular. I, in my usual blunt style said some things that did not agree with the majority of the women there. Naturally, I wanted to see how they responded. I read through them and as I did, I felt those familiar defenses rise. In particular, the quoting of that way over used and highly misused "Judge Not" verse upset me. It's one of my pet peeves you could say... right up there with calling Christian Rock music evil.

After reading those replies I went straight for my Bible and spent the next several hours searching the Scriptures. As I searched, God was whacking me over the head. That might be a slight exaggeration, but not much of one. Over and over again I read to love. Rebuke, yes. Correct, you'd better believe it. Speak the hard truths, we are commanded. BUT DO IT LOVINGLY, GWEN!!!

I spouted off before I prayed. Maybe God would have given me different words. Or maybe those were the right words but my heart attitude would have affected the way my words were received. I'll never know. I cannot undo what I did, but I can pray that hearts will be changed in spite of my foolishness. I pray that hearts will be changed, because this is an important thing. This is life or death. This is when we put our faith into action.

I know better now. I know that debates over the Internet rarely end well. Typed and written words simply can not convey the emotions and inflections of the human voice. It was not my intention to wound.

This next bit is something that does not bring me any satisfaction. I would rather be done with this topic as it is a source of great grief to me and yet I know that the grief I feel is minuscule in comparison to the way God grieves over these children. Perhaps in reading what I am about to say, someones heart and mind is changed. I pray that God gives me the words.

If you are not a Christian or do not believe in the sanctity of life, then you might as well leave now.

I believe that life begins at conception. I cannot think of any other point at which it would occur. If you agree with that statement than stay with me, okay?

If you are a follower of my Lord, Jesus Christ, and you do not believe that statement, than I urge you to search the scriptures and pray.

I'd like to share the story of a woman I know.
She and her husband had been praying and pleading for children and she just thought that she was having late heavy periods. When she talked to her Dr. he informed her that she was ovulating normally, her eggs were being fertilized and then simply were not implanting in her uterus or something like that... I can't remember. She said, "I've been having miscarriages all this time?" She was shocked and extremely upset. Her Dr. gave her a condecending look and replied "Well, if you want to be dramatic about it." She was horrified and justly so. Those were her children. She now has one precious miracle daughter. Her daughter asked her one day, "Mommy, I want a big brother and sister, can you make a big one for me?" and she said, "You do have big brothers and sisters, they're in heaven waiting for you."

I know I did not do that story justice but it touched me
. It made it real. Not just some abstract idea, but real, tangible. Hearing that story only reinforced the truth of what I'm about to say.

If life begins at conception than we can safely say that anytime a fertilized egg does not implant and continue living that a death has occurred. Does that make sense? If you haven't already, I suggest you read Jes' blog about birth control. Here's the link... Birth Control?

Okay, you back with me? We're going to assume that that information is indeed accurate. That when you are having sexual relations with your husband while on birth control there is a possibility of an abortion occurring.

Does this grieve you as much as it does me?

I want to reiterate that I am speaking to my sisters in Christ here. The world can do what it wants to. I do not expect unbelievers to adhere to the moral standards and principles given in Scripture. But God demands it of us. As Christians we answer to God and God alone.

I want to throw out some Scriptures I read today. I pray that you listen with an open heart.

Titus 2:12-15
It teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. These then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

James 4:4-10
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think that Scripture says without reason that the Spirit envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.

1 Peter 1:14-17
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." Since you call upon a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

2 Peter 3:11-14
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him.

1 John 3:4-6

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.

Are you seeing a trend or is it just me? We are commanded to live separate, holy, godly, and dare I say radical and fanatical lives. God is deadly serious about sin. Jesus
died for sin. We will be held accountable one day for our actions here on this earth. There is no getting around it. There will be no Dr's excuses. You can't bring your Dr. before God and say "But he said it was the only option." I know that sounds harsh, but believe me when I tell you that I am saying this in love. Agapao love is loving someone in their own best interest. When you spank your child you do it out of love. They don't like it, it hurts, but it could mean the difference between life and death someday. I love you guys. I haven't met you, I haven't read all your stories, but I love you the same.

Yes, ours is a kind, gentle, and forgiving God. But don't forget that his kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness is displayed on the cross. Yes, he is gentle and forgiving of sin, but he is by no means tolerant of sin. Sin is serious. My sin killed my Savior. I want you to know that tears are welling as I think about that things that I've done, the sin I've nurtured and tolerated in my life. If my sin grieves me, what do you think it does to my God? Yes, he will forgive you, but along with that forgiveness, he demands obedience total obedience. He demands that we love his Law that we love his commands. Do I truly love his law? If I do not than I do not truly love God. This was something I worked through just a couple weeks ago. I was convicted of not loving obedience. I was trying to see just how far I could get, just how much I could get away with. I read Romans 1:28 (Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.) It scared me to death. Why was I toeing the line. Flee from evil Gwen! Flee! Don't see how far you can get but rather how close! You bet it's hard... but do it anyway!

A common theme I was seeing was that in some cases there was no alternative. Ladies, if we believe that those fertilized eggs are living and if you are taking medicine that was designed to keep them from continuing to live, then that is a sin. There must be another way. God would not have allowed you to develop this condition if the only way out was to sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 comes to mind. (No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.) There must be another way, there must be. This is where your faith becomes action.

Just because 95% of fertilized eggs are naturally aborted does not mean it's okay to abort them purposefully. That's dangerously close to saying just because miscarriages happen naturally it's okay to abort children purposefully. (I could not confirm that number, though I admit I did not spend more than 15 minutes googling it. If someone could send me a link or something to reference that percentage, I'd appreciate it) It is this kind of thinking that has gotten us where we are today as a nation. We are a nation that sacrifices our children for convenience sake! Okay, so we're not actually tossing them in the flames before a graven image, but doesn't this scare you? It gives me goosebumps.

This is what I believe God has told me. If I am wrong, then pray that God will convict me of it. I'll be doing the same for you. I do love you all, though I do not even know your names.

If you have something to add, correct, whatever, please feel free to do so. I am not going to attack you, but do not expect to go unchallenged if what you say does not line up with Scripture. Iron sharpens Iron.

Sharpen away.

In Christ's Love,
Gwen ><>

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Hey there everyone!


I know this isn't Mother's Day... but I'm gonna show ya'll what we did to celebrate Mother's Day...

*Warning* Vegetarians go away now. Trust me. I'm sorry. Really I am...

We slaughtered chickens on Mother's Day. Yup. But we didn't make Mom help... so that totally counts for something... that was like... her present... yeah... don't you wish you were my Mom?

We woke up early...

This is Sara... my brother's fiancee... she's gorgeous... and sleepy...

Then we went out to the garage and set everything up...

Killing cones, scalder, and picker... I love the picker... the picker is my friend...

The "gutting table"... this is where Sara and I will be hanging out for the rest of the morning...

The chill buckets... they don't have the ice in them yet...

And... the most important piece of equipment of all...

The ipod and the self powered speaker... these we cannot do without... We started out with some Praise and Worship... it is Sunday after all...

These are my feet... rubber shoes are a must... have you any idea how difficult it is to clean sneakers?

Sara's feet...

I didn't take pictures of anyone else's feet... I know you are so disappointed...

Okay... so... First you go get the chickens from the pasture. *soapbox warning* We raise happy chickens. Our meat birds have had wonderful lives and die humane, painless deaths. They got to be outside, picking at bugs and eating grass and leading normal, happy chicken lives rather than being stuck in a tiny cage and never seeing the sun... *okay done with the soapboxing*

We use our old bunny cages to transport the chickens up to the garage... hey... it works...

Then you get a chicken out...

I don't know why this picture is fuzzy, but there is Sara, gently lifting a chicken out of the cage.
We don't want to traumatize the birds so everything is done as gently as possible. I don't know if chickens feel fear the way we do, but they don't make a fuss so I like to think that one minute they're hanging with their brothers and sisters and the next they are feeling lightheaded and lose consciousness.

You load the chicken, head first into the killing cone...

Travis gently lowering the bird...

Making sure the head comes out right and doesn't get twisted around up in there...

And then you just slit their throats, making sure that you don't hit anything but the artery.
If you do it correctly, the chicken doesn't feel any pain and just goes to sleep.

Here's Kenneth, he and Travis usually do the killing. I can't handle it and Dad is the best at the scalding thing.

Next we lower the deceased chickens into the scalding thing.

Dad attaching them to the "shackles"...

They have to be dunked about 6 times in order to loosen up the feathers. If you just leave them in there, they'll actually cook and the the skin will tear in the picker, but if you under-scald them
the feathers don't all come off in the picker and I have to pull them off and that makes me annoyed.

Next, we release the chickens into the picker...

The picker is an amazing thing. I love the picker. The chickens go in all feathered and come out naked... it is a thing of great wonder.

After the chickens leave the picker, they make their way over to Sara and I at the gutting table.

We cut off the feet first followed by the head and neck. This all goes in the "icky bucket". Next we cut off the tail and cut around the vent, being very very careful not to break anything open. I'm not going to go into detail about what happens when things break open... you can thank me later. The insides are then carefully pulled out. We pinch off the heart and liver, clean out the liver and then both go into the small ice buckets on the counter. We pull the lungs out and testicles, if present, and then do a final check to make sure it's all cleaned out.

These are the biggest testicles I've ever seen... on a chicken... erm... yeah... I wish we had another pair for comparison, but here they are up next to the well endowed guys heart. Crazy.

We have to keep the knives sharp. This is important.

After the chickens have been gutted, we rinse them, do a final feather and inside check and then into the chill buckets they go. The first immersion we call the pink water. You can probably figure out why.

I don't have a picture... sorry... I figured I'd better put down the camera and help poor Sara.

When we're all finished. The clean up begins. Sara transferred the chickens from the pink water in the garage to the chill tanks we had set up in the walk-in refrigerator at the horse barn.

Dad went to dig a hole with the backhoe for the chicken ickies and blood. I won't show you all that stuff...

Then he helped Kenneth and Travis finish the clean up of the equipment and garage floor.


I finally put down the camera and cleaned the knives and disinfected the sink, counters, and walls in the gutting area. Then I went inside to take a shower and order some pizza. We should be able to eat chicken again next week. For now... it's beef... lots and lots of beef...

The next day after the chickens have been soaking in salt water for 24 hours (draws out the rest of the blood, makes things more tidy...) We get to package them. Yay. In December we slaughtered 72 chickens. We were up until 7 that evening doing all the cleanup. It was ridiculous. The next day, Sara and I worked for 7 hours straight getting them packaged. It was ridiculous. This year we did 30 chickens. We were done, clean up and all, by noon. Packaging took 3 hours.

The packaging process is pretty simple. We only left 4 whole. I don't like cooking whole chickens... it annoys me. So we had 26 chickens to cut up. We sever the wings and the thighs and legs. These go in one pile. The breasts come off next, we take the skin off and butterfly them. They go in another pile. Everything that's left we call soup bones and they go in a third pile. Then everything is wrapped in plastic wrap and then butcher paper, labeled, weighed, and put in the freezer by walk-in.

The counter looks like this...

That's only half of 'em...

All in all we had about 130 lbs. of processed chicken. That my friends... is a lot of chicken...

Happy Mother's Day!