Thursday, June 29, 2006

[Poetry] Rich

by Edgar Guest

Who has a troop of romping youth
  About his parlor floor,
Who nightly hears a round of cheers,
  When he is at the door,
Who is attacked on every side
  By eager little hands
That reach to tug his grizzled mug,
  The wealth of earth commands.

Who knows the joys of girls and boys,
  His lads and lassies, too,
Who's pounced upon and bounced upon
  When his day's work is through,
Whose trousers know the gentle tug
  Of some glad little tot,
The baby of his crew of love,
  Is wealthier than a lot.

Oh, be he poor and sore distressed
  And weary with the fight,
If with a whoop his healthy troop
  Run, welcoming at night,
And kisses greet him at the end
  Of all his toiling grim,
With what is best in life he's blest
  And rich men envy him.

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Poetry at 6/29/2006 06:41:00 AM

Friday, June 16, 2006

[Thoughts] Family Meal Table

When RCJR and I had the privilege of visiting in the Phillips family home last September, I witnessed a mealtime like I'd never experienced before. Doug sat at the head of a table of 21 people: the Phillips family, the Vision Forum interns, other VF staff, a couple of young ladies who helped with the meal, and us. From this seat of honor (with children on his left and his right), Doug lead a two-hour discussion wherein he led us through a history lesson, a recap of the day's activities, a status report of upcoming events, a Bible quiz (with prizes), poetry-reading, and prayer. I know I learned a great deal during the two evening meals I enjoyed there. His children get this every day!

Which led me on a study of the family meal table... My studies aren't complete, but I have found some resources that have helped a great deal. And I've written about them on my other blog, Leading the Way, which focuses on a father's role to lead his family in every way.

[Read more...]

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Thoughts at 6/16/2006 04:45:00 AM

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Entertaining Angels

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. —Hebrews 13:2

But, you know, sometimes those who entertain strangers are the angels.

We had the unique (to us; though I'm sure it's common for them) pleasure of being guests in the home of the Ken Carpenter Family outside Nashville over the weekend. We're not strangers, but we were last month before the Generations conference. (I did have the pleasure of briefly meeting Ken and his lovely family at the 2005 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival where my boss was a judge, and Ken won the Jubilee Award for best documentary for "A Journey Home.")

What made the visit unique for us, as I told the Carpenters, is that this was the BEST vacation we've ever had! We were greeted with the utmost in hospitality: delicious food, comfortable beds and rooms, great conversation, delightful children (including ours, there were a dozen) and warm Christian charity, love and camaraderie. This family knows how to have fun together and it shows!

Mrs. C, preparing the family meal Mr. C, preparing the family meal table
Carpenter and Howard clans together again

We also got to enjoy the fellowship of our friend, Peter Serven, handsome and talented webmaster for The Serven Clan; and our new friends, Graham and Joel Fisher, who won the 2004 "Best of Festival" Jubilee Award at the SAICFF for their delightful 14-minute short, "The Art of Play."

Peter, REALLY up close and personal!

Heartthrobs of the two-year-old set,
Joel and Graham (or is it Graham and Joel?) Fisher

How encouraging to have my sons see how godly young men conduct themselves, preparing themselves to be husbands and fathers! Peter, Joel and Graham, you're each an inspiration to me!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

[Scrapbook] Like Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior...

Psalm 127:3-4
A Song of Ascents.

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
         The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Boys protect girls!

A righteous man regards his animals

4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
         So are the children of one's youth.

Sweet Little Mama

Joyful maiden

5 Happy is the man...

I shall call her... Femi-Me

...who has his quiver full of them.

Psalm 128:1-3
A Song of Ascents.

1 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
         Who walks in His ways.
2 When you eat the labor of your hands,
         You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
         In the very heart of your house,

Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.

         Your children like olive plants
         All around your table.

"Gimme that camera!"

"Da- Da- DA!"

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Scrapbook at 6/06/2006 04:34:00 AM

Saturday, June 03, 2006

...And Then There Were None (Killing Time, Part 2)

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." — Genesis 9:1-4
The world around us calls animals people, insisting that they have "rights." It then calls people animals, without purpose, accidental parasites on the planet. But God says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Gen. 1:26) The United States Constitution affirms "that all men are ... endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." In fact, it was right after God gave Noah permission to have a cook-out (see Gen. 9:1-4 above) that He established the authority of "the State."

From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man.

Whoever sheds man's blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man."
It is precisely because He created man in His image that we have the "unalienable Right" to life! But the beasts of the field, not so...

Warning: Following the wisdom of Herrick Kimball, I'll tell you that the following story is not for the squeamish and/or sissified (though it's written by someone who mostly fits that description). If you want the basic story without graphic descriptions, just read the captions.
As planned, I show up with the boys to help "process" chickens at the house of my friend, the Chicken Farmer.

process /prä'-ses/ v.t. to turn live chickens into dinners.
SYN. butcher or slaughter poultry (ex. chickens)

To be...

The boys and I arrive around 11:15 and find Farmer at the killing shed (a VERY old log building), with all the macabre apparatus assembled to do the deed: killing cones, a cleaver, a gutting knife, pots of scalding water, a trash bag for feathers, heads and feet, and one for the carcasses. Oh! and a hose, poised ready to clean dirt and dropping off the chickens, and blood off of everything else.

Farmer hasn't always had chickens... in fact this is his first flock of meat birds. And the only processing he's done before today was a reaction to an aggressive rooster. Rooster, it seems, was chasing the children and otherwise hastening his arrival at the dinner table. So Farmer called a fellow-agrarian adept in the processing arts and in true med school fashion, Farmer got to "watch one, do one, teach one." And the first one he did on his own was Chicken #1 today.

Apparently these particular chickens are eight-weekers and should be processed when they're eight weeks old. Though God's plans are never thwarted, things don't always go according to our plans: Other priorities prevented Farmer from processing these birds at the 8-week mark. During week ten, the temperatures heated up and he lost more birds than we currently have in the line up. The survivors (who soon won't be) are now ten weeks old, and a couple of them aren't looking like they've got much fight left.

"You ready?" asked Farmer.

"Sure," I said, hoping I sounded convincing.

Head-first into the cone goes Chicken #1.

[Note: Here comes the descriptive part... to squeamish, sissified suburban folks, click here] to skip it.

Still with me? Good... to read the graphic parts, you'll have to highlight all of the following...

Click here -->As he's putting Chicken #1 into the cone, Farmer asks me to hold the feet.

"Now, she doesn't want to be in here, especially once I slit her throat, so you'll have to be ready to hold her in."

"OK." I say, more resolutely than I feel.

Then, as Herrick describes, sure enough, Farmer pulls the Chicken's head down and cuts through the artery. The object is to keep the brain connected to the nervous system so it will continue to tell the heart to keep pumping blood to that artery which will now spill it on the ground. Meanwhile, Chicken is squawking only a little bit... apparently from the initial pain of the cut, but then only as she tries to fight her way out of the cone.

When it looks like she's finally done bleeding out and appears to be dead, my job is to pull her out of the cone and chop her head off with a cleaver. (No, Herrick, I didn't do it the manly way and pull the heads off with my bare hands.) Sometimes, Chicken isn't quite done dying and begins flapping furiously, making me hold on more securely. If I put her down, she'd be running around "like a chicken with her head cut off"literally.

Still holding Chicken's feet, I dip her in scalding water—about 160-170°F—for about 30-40 seconds, which loosens the feathers. I then tie her feet to a rope and begin plucking all the feathers on her legs and breast—we've decided to process them down to only breasts and leg quarters.

Once the feathers are removed, I take the cleaver again and chop the legs off at the end of the drumstick, and then give the bird to Farmer who cuts through the skin and removes the breast "filets" and cuts off the leq quarters. A thorough rinse and that bird goes into a plastic zipper bag and into the fridge. The rest of the carcass is discarded into a separate trash bag. We put the bags in the fridge for three days and then the meat is eaten or frozen.

The first two take about an hour, but then we start to get into a groove.<-- and drag to here.

Ten hours later we finally bag the last one.

...or not to be...

There is no question - homegrown chicken is the best!

Friday, June 02, 2006

[Beards] Procrastinated Pogonotrophic Progress Post

I suppose it was inevitable. Thinking back on it, I can see with 20/20 hindsight that it was a bad idea. I mean how much can one actually say about beards? Enough for an entire topic devoted to it? Not so much. My last entry in this category was in late 2004. Sheesh!

This will probably be my last post in this category, so I thought you might like to see (maybe you couldn't care less, but then... would you still be reading, if that were the case?) some pictures in the progression.

Speaking of procrastination, we have been slackers in the Getting Film Developed Department. We have a bag of rolls that need to be developed and every once in awhile, we'll grab a couple to throw in with a new roll we're developing. Today was one of those days.

Our little church community recently celebrated the baptism of a covenant child by enjoying a feast hosted by the baby's parents. There was food and drink and dancing and food and music and food and touch football and tire-swinging and food and laughter and conversation and food and dancing and joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. WHERE?! Down in m-- uh... sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah, the feast! And we got some great pictures of parents and children and babies and grandparents dancing. (Watch Every Thought Captive for the highlights.) Today we ran those two rolls to get developed and grabbed a couple from the bag to go with them.

One of the rolls was from Christmas 2002! We only had two children then, and ds#2 (now age 6) was wearing the pajamas that dd#1 (age 2) is wearing tonight. Ds#2 had curly hair back then (it didn't come back as curly after his first "real" haircut, around his third birthday). The other roll was from about the time of my last "Beard" blog entry.

So, here are a couple of pictures of the early stages of my beard:

Homeschool Dad's Breakfast - October, 2004

(BTW, the gentleman to my left in this pic, is my friend Wade Myers, one of the speakers at Vision Forum's Entrepreneurial Bootcamp. Wade is worth the price of admission!)

Feasting with our good friends after visiting Saint Peter

Celebrating the news that dd#1 was going to be a big sister

All of the above are during the VERY early stages of my beardedness. For a current view, this was recently posted by our friends, the Serven Clan, on their blog:

Enrapt in coversation with the Serven "children" — the four oldest are adults!

Posted by Jim Bob Howard to Beards at 6/02/2006 10:49:00 PM