Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our past 3 MLKJ Day weekends have been spent in a cabin. The first year it was just the 2 of us, the second year was with 3 other couples and a sister, and this year was with the Forlines Family (Dane's immediate family). We would highly recommend all three options. Technology for entertainment sake is kept to a minimum, while hiking, playing games, cooking and eating are main events. Bandu was wildly popular this year, especially with the guys (thanks for letting us borrow it Adam). One evening Mama Forlines treated all the girls to a spa treatment, while the boys played Monopoly. It was wooooonderful!

Papa Forlines playing risky with his extremely high tower

Dane and his tower using all the Bandu pieces. Quite an amazing feat!

Chris, marking his territory on one of our hikes

This past week has been chock full of culture! Cousin Samuel from France came to get the ball rolling on developing the Huguenot Restoration Society. It is still in the baby stages, but we've got it started. Samuel, in his spare time, works on restoring old Protestant Huguenot temples (churches) in southern France. He enlisted our help to try to involve some Americans in the effort. While Christianity is not very widespread in France, Samuel hopes to revive some of the the local bodies of believers that are still present and meeting in some of these old temples by restoring their place of worship.

Our office space for the week

Monday, January 10, 2011


Michelle's dad is still away, and in addition to working Big Oaks Farms in his absence, we've had the opportunity to be involved at the church he pastors. Last Wednesday night, Michelle spoke to the ladies at their church and I spoke to the men about our summer trip to Cuba. We were able to share how our mutual commitment to Christ and the common salvation we've experienced being covered by the same blood transcends any national, lingual, cultural, and all other differences. Ephesians 2:19-22 says

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you
are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the
household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles
and prophets,Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone
. . . and are being built together into a dwelling place for
God by the Spirit.

A local church we visited in Cuba

Sunday I had the honor of leading the SS class lesson. I decided to teach on unity - a topic I had thought a lot about last week after reading Howard Snyder's Community of the King. In preparing for the lesson, I began to see how welcoming and hospitable the Ephesus church here in NC has been towards us, on this visit and every visit. In this small way, I've been able to see why Jesus spent so much of His prayer to His Father while in the garden on being made perfect in one. In John chapter 17, just before He was arrested, Jesus prays that the glory He has given us from the Father would unify us so the world may see that we are one.

This means that the Church come together, in spite of national identities, ideological conflicts, doctrinal differences, race, political affiliations, denominational affiliations . . . and rally behind the name that gives us all our hope and ultimate identity.

That doesn't mean acceptance of anyone who claims to be spiritual or religious. Baal (any false doctrine) has no power to overcome the divisions of the world to bring us all together. But as Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, Christ has called us to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.

For whatever reason, God has chosen to allow for discenters and quarrelers to use compelling doctrines to cause division within the church. But praise Him that "He is our peace, and hath made us one, and hath broken down the wall of hostility between us."

Fellow Christ follower, please do not let secondary differences get in the way of our primary calling: that being gathered together as one in Christ, we be to the praise of His glory, forever and ever.

Beeswax candles

Mom and I ventured into the world of beeswax candle making on Saturday. We used a kit, but the hope is that the wax from Dad's beehives will one day be used. This was the practice run.

Melting the wax in our makeshift double boiler

The molds and wicks for the tea light candles prepped and ready to go

filling up the molds with the melted wax

The imperfect results, but we were happy with them!

baby goat is doing great!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The last couple months have been a new kind of journey for us. We found out we were pregnant in mid November. It was new and exciting, maybe a bit scary to think about, but overall we were very happy and thankful. It was fun telling family and friends, looking for maternity clothes at thrift stores, reading about the baby's development, and much more.

A couple of weeks ago we had a miscarriage at about 9 weeks. We were semi-prepared for it due to some issues with the pregnancy that made us worried that a miscarriage could happen. Despite being semi prepared, some of our hopes and dreams died with the baby. It was sad for us. We know that God is still omnipotent in our lives. God is still good. We hope and pray for another baby sometime in the future, but our first little Forlines baby is in heaven now.

Thank you to the many who have prayed us through this.

Today we did get to experience some new life. While the primary farmer is away from Big Oaks farms on a mission trip, Dane and I are in charge of the farming duties. Today we went on a bike ride and when we returned home Dane saw one of the goats in an odd position. Dane thought the goat was having some difficulty with a bowel movement and didn't think anything of it. About 30 minutes later I (Michelle) went out to check on the animals and give them some lunch. I noticed a little bundle of joy on the ground beside the black Mama goat. We knew that she was pregnant, but Dad didn't think she was due for a while. Mildly put, I got VERY excited and started yelling for Dane at the top of my lungs. We went out and marveled at the new life.

It was amazing that 1 hour after being born this little cutie was walking, bleating, and knowing exactly where to look for milk on her Mama. We think it's a girl. We are awaiting to see if a descent of the gonads proves us wrong. What a joy to experience this! I told Dane it's going to be 100% more exciting when we have a baby!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas Food

Since we've been married, we have alternated years spending Christmas with each of our families. This year, it's off to the coast of North Carolina for Christmas at the Haas House.

Food usually plays a prominent role around the holidays, and for us, 'tis no exception. The nature of our food, however, can get a bit extraordinary. For starters, take a look at the cute little goat below with the pretty eyes - since our full stomachs are worn off, the photo is the only remaining evidence that this Christmas goat ever existed.

French heritage can be found often in the Haas family, as evidenced by our night of galettes, crepes, and, thanks to Joseph, chef extraordinaire, delicious creme brulee.

From France we traveled to Italy (only culinarily), where our chef prepared homemade pasta alfredo . . . scratch factor - 8.5!

To work off all the poundage, we enjoyed a Christmas day hike through the woods, and a few days later, a stroll through quaint downtown Washington, NC.

Peaceful chapel in Washington