Thursday, March 21, 2019

Has it changed you a little or a lot?

It is one thing to believe the Bible 

but something else altogether 

to allow the Bible, 

through the ministry of the Holy Spirit,

to impact and 

change your life.

–  A. W. Tozer 
The Crucified Life

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Happy Spring!

Happy First Day of Spring
to our friends and family 
near and far, old and new
close and estranged
We love you all!

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

"Translation of the Hebrew word tsav is a matter of both contention and historical evolution, but it has absolutely nothing to do with turtle doves. The word refers to a creature that "creepeth upon the earth" (Leviticus 11:29). The specific animal is unclear, but there is evidence in such sources as the Talmud and in translations such Greek (the Septuagint) and Aramaic that the word may have referred to lizards or to frogs and/or toads. Evidence for an interpretation as "turtle" seems not to appear until the 11 century. Neither turtles nor, in general, lizards are voiced, but in the spring after the rains, frogs are extremely vocal - a perfect fit with the Solomonic context." See the fine summary by Elon GIlad at

While I agree the text is most likely referring to a group of creatures, I know of some turtles that have "voices." The Clemmys guttata, for instance, makes cute peeping sounds that are quite fitting for its size and appearance. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Bethany's Biere


Bethany found this old bottle of beer in a thrift store on an outing with her brother, Caleb. She wanted to buy it since she wants vintage items in her future kitchen. Because it was filled, and Bethany is underage, the clerk was not sure if it was legal. She held it for Bethany and researched the answer. In the meantime, Bethany came back home and told me about it. I did not have a vehicle at home, so I put out the word to her older siblings. #AsbellsAll4One1ForAll #TeamAsbell

Brandon responded first and said he would take her as soon as he got home from work. He was going to buy it and give it to her with my permission. However, the clerk learned she could not sell it with any liquid in it due to not having a liquor license, so she had Brandon open it for her and then poured it out. Bethany still got her bottle with the old label which is all that mattered to her. 

Bethany is curious about the old beer label Lutece Biere of Paris. We have been unable to find one identical to it. If anyone can help her accurately date the label and share any history around it, please write us at the email in the header of this page. Homeschoolers have curious minds that love to learn!

Interestingly enough, this beer comes from a company that dates back to 1366 which eventually became Interbrew of Brussels. Interbrew merged with a Brazilian brewery called AmBev, and together they became InBev. InBev is a common name in our household because in 2008 they bought out Anheuser Busch, where Clint works part time! That job was an answer to prayers and has been a huge blessing to our family! Bethany and Clint got a kick out of the history when I shared it with them.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Air Layering Posts

For the people coming in from Backyard Beekeeping. Welcome! For ease of locating them, here are the four posts on the pear tree/air layering experiment.

Air Layering

Air Layering Fix

Air Layering Results

Pear Tree Update

Sunday, March 17, 2019

C.S. Lewis on Intelligent Design

"Suppose there were no intelligence behind the universe. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. Thought is merely the by-product of some atoms within my skull. But if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course, I can't trust the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I can't believe in thought; so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God." 
~C.S. Lewis

Dear reader, wouldn't you agree that we clearly see intelligent design in the universe? So, shouldn't we look for an intelligent designer? 

Did you know the Bible addresses intelligent design? 

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 
Romans 1:20

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Anxiety Illustration

This was in a lesson Clint and I taught to a group:

"The point is, if you “fight” your anxiety and “try to be confident” or think to yourself, “I’m not going to be afraid this time,” you’re making things worse.
You’re putting more energy into your anxiety by thinking about it so much, even though you’re thinking how you don’t want it.
All that does is give it more power. Like a Chinese Finger Trap, the more you struggle against anxiety, the harder it squeezes." Read here for more tips.


I am always here to listen. For our group: I have extra finger traps for those who asked for more than one. 

"Jaimie, no screaming allowed (aloud)!" says Uncle Clint. 

When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:19

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friend's Grandson in Need of Prayer

Update 3/15/19: I was asked for an update on this. This boy is around 9 years old. He had the influenza virus and started losing mobility. They took him to the ER, and he was admitted. They learned he has cerebellar ataxia due to the virus he had. He was having issues breathing. He went home using a walker, but the doctors expect him to make a complete recovery in two weeks. My friend, his grandmother, came home after the weekend was over. Please keep praying for him to make a full recovery. I apologize for not updating sooner. 

3/7/19: A good friend's grandson had a medical emergency today. My friend had to leave Virginia immediately to be with him. Please pray for safe travels and healing. He is a very sick little boy.

Prayers (Updated)

3/14: Please pray for BB, a 2 year old boy with dwarfism. He is having surgery today. Surgery on people with dwarfism is always risky because of the anesthesia. His father is D, the man who was crushed under the truck. My dear friend, L, has so much on her shoulders. This family loves the Lord and is very dear to our hearts. 

3/15: BB had a procedure not surgery. 

The sedation confused me, and I apologize for my error. Between our family, homeschool, ministry, farm, and other endeavors, I am doing the best I can. My schedule is very full, and I juggle a lot of balls. I often feel like whatever I do is not good enough, but I also know God does not expect me to get it all right.

BB's procedure was to look at his brain. He was sedated which has had extremely frightening side effects in the past. Little people do not do well with sedation. He has cysts on his brain, and one is pressing on his chiari malformation. There is spinal fluid leaking into the brain, but he does not have water on the brain. They learned he has some damage to his memory lobes. This was hard news to hear. They will do more tests to see if he is having seizures that are causing this damage.

Just a week ago, another one of their children was diagnosed with something that requires a Rx. They also have another special needs child.

Please pray for:

strength, patience in suffering, wisdom, peace, guidance, and good rest every night for L. 

burdens to be lifted off of L. 

the health of L. She has a heart condition.

healing for the ones with medical issues in the family. 

provision for all of their needs.

safety as they travel hours away each time a specialist is needed to be seen. Some days are an excruciating 15 hours long. 

their vehicles to run without breaking down.

their external family, (who are loud critics, but no help), to have their hearts and minds softened and turned to Truth and for God to heal this family. My family can testify that God does heal estranged families! 

for God to strengthen and bless the oldest child who has given up a job and college to help her mother carry this load.

for D. to heal mentally and physically and be more like he use to be. Traumatic Brain Injuries are very hard on everyone in the family. 

Thank you, dear readers, for your prayers on behalf of this family we consider an extension of ours. 

Heading Out Soon

We are heading out soon for another weekend away.

To our wonderful group, "C-Dawg (aka Uncle Clint) said bring your A game and your B game 'cause it is ON!!" It's going to be another laughter filled weekend!
Bring your Bible, or lose out on the Big Breakfast! Love to all!


"Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream..."

Beware of Idus Martii!

Beware of the Ides of March!

It's another homeschooling idiosyncrasy.

Beware the Ides of March. But Why?

Happy Homeschooling!

My Favorite Child-It's a Running Joke/Truth

I often pick a day and tell all of my children they are my favorite child. I'll start by whispering it to one and then I might text it to another. I make sure I go through them all. I've been doing this long enough that they all know they are my favorite.  

Brandon is my favorite Brandon. There is no one else like him. 
Amanda is my favorite Amanda. There is no one else like her.
Joshua is my favorite Joshua. There is no one else like him.
Caleb is my favorite Caleb. There is no one else like him.
Bethany is my favorite Bethany. There is no one else like her.
Emily is my favorite Emily. There is no one else like her.
Hannah is my favorite Hannah. There is no one else like her.

Each child is a very loved, very special part of our family who fills a spot only they can fill. I make sure to tell them all often. I could not pick one over the other because they are all so unique and have different gifts and talents. I love so much about each of them. 

When they respond to my "You are my favorite." with "I know. One of seven, right?" I tell them, "No, one of 16." That reminds them our gang is larger than we see, and that we have the promise of being reunited. 

They are each my favorite child. I would readily go through hyperemesis gravidarum, as debilitating as it was, to know each of them. If they hurt, I hurt. I would give my life to save theirs. 

Did you, dear reader, know we are each the Father's favorite child?  He knows us as individuals and cares enough about each and every one of us to know the number of hair on our heads. He knows our hurts and stores our tears in a bottle. He pays attention to the details in our hearts and minds. He cares for me, and you, in such a beautiful, tender manner. His love goes far beyond our limited understanding. My prayer today is that you and I both realize the width and depth of His love for us that sets our heart on fire for serving Him by loving others.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. - John 15:9-17

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Way to Go, Brandon!

Brandon is doing the sysadmin work for a new industrial plant in 

Suzhou, China!

How exciting!

We are very proud of you, son!


Happy Pi Day!


Just chalk it up to the irrational things those in the homeschooling circle know.

Hannah in the Maggie Tree

This was taken in early Feb during a very welcomed 67° warm up.
Most of the pictures shared here are taken 
several weeks earlier than when posted.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Way to Go, Clint!

It's been so incredibly busy here and I have been pulled in so many directions that I forgot to include one of our most recent praises! 

Last week, Clint won FIVE awards for his outstanding performance at work. He was the only person there to win five! He really stood out from the crowd! He was acknowledged in front of all of his peers, and his awards will be published in the company newsletter.

We are very proud of him and the incredible example he sets! He always goes above and beyond what is expected, and it has blessed our entire family in many ways. 

Way to go, Clint! We love you and are very proud of the testimony you give the Lord through your work ethic! You are an exceptional husband and father as well as a worker. May everyone who sees your success know it comes from the Lord.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Colossians 3:23

Homeschooling Trickle Down Effect Continues into Adulthood



Mostly everyone drives, so I figure everyone needs to know the basics about how their cars work, how to maintain them, and how to repair common issues.

Joshua has mad car skills!

If he can't figure something out, 

he can ask his dad

or his mom who knows quite a bit

or his oldest brother

or his oldest sister.

Clint learned what he knows from his friends and car manuals he purchased or checked out of the library. Now he uses the internet to expand upon his knowledge. 

I have helped Clint while he worked on cars since we started dating in 1986.
He liked having me around then and still does now. You can learn a lot by hanging out and paying attention. 

Clint taught Brandon and all of our children by having them work beside him on our vehicles.

Brandon expanded on his learning since he's been an adult. He went to Clint last week for help to find a part that isn't made anymore. Clint made the part for him. Clint has many mad skills!

Clint and Brandon taught Amanda. Amanda ran with it and put a new engine in an SUV she named The Phoenix! 

Joshua has benefitted from all of their experiences and knowledge. He is still learning. 

Caleb is right there with him, and Bethany is on their heels. Emily and Hannah are just beginning their education about how cars work. 

That love of learning that homeschooling nurtures continues into adulthood and knowledge still gets "caught."

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bethany's Octopus


For those who asked to see it over the weekend:
It's not finished yet, but this is the progress on 
Bethany's octopus which is sculpted from clay.

Tad-a-pole Season


It is officially tad-a-pole season at the farm!
Emily and Hannah were happy to see the frog eggs.
There were lots of giggles over the slimey mass.
They brought some in to watch develop.
They also fed some to our outdoor goldfish.
I am thankful to once again witness the child like joy 
over something so pure and simple.

Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: 
Each year has grown better than the last. 
Lawrence Welk


2019-03-11 16.03.58

Far More Valuable

Originally shared 1/30/15:
My Vice Principal and 10th grade teacher, Mrs. Jordan, made me fall in love with the arts. I am blessed that my husband, a rugged man who works hard at his job and on our farm, does not mind going to staged performances, orchestras, art museums and galleries, wine tastings, and other cultured events. However, many husbands will not participate in those activities. Never mind, dear ladies, about what you think is their unrefined state. If their heart is for the Lord and they are serving Him through a quiet, obedient life, they are much better off than those who pridefully profess to be cultured. Be humbled and thankful for that, and kiss him hard tonight for being that kind of man!
A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride. C. S. Lewis

Monday, March 11, 2019

Family Meals


It's harder to eat as a family than it use to be, but we make an effort at least once a week. Every other Sunday, Amanda gives up sleep to be with us. 
I love her heart for our family!

You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 
Exodus 23:25

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Virginia's new state park to tell story of state's Native Americans

Virginia's new state park to tell story of state's Native Americans: More than 600 acres of Virginia land located near the home of Pocahontas and her father will be dedicated as a Virginia state park and will serve as a gateway to the Indian site.

They Wither Away Quickly

If you pay attention to current events, it can be very disheartening to see how many evil doers there are. It can also be disheartening to see how long they are allowed to do the things they do. I like to remind myself of what God's Word says about those who do evil. It reminds me that He is paying attention, has a plan, and that justice will come.

We know that we are children of God, 
and that the whole world is 
under the control of the evil one.
I John 5:19

Do not be provoked by evildoers;

do not envy those who do wrong.
Like grass they wither quickly;

like green plants they wilt away.
Psalms 37:1-2

The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. 
Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows.
Ecclesiastes 8:13

They've all become experts in evil. 
Corrupt leaders demand bribes. 
The powerful rich make sure they get what they want. 

The best and brightest are thistles. 
The top of the line is crabgrass. 
But no longer: It's exam time. 
Look at them slinking away in disgrace! 
Micah 7:3-4

As I have observed, those who plow evil and 
those who sow trouble reap it.
Job 4:8

 For God will bring every deed into judgment, 
with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:14

Affliction will slay the wicked, and 
those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
Psalm 34:21

The LORD tests the righteous, 
but his soul hates the wicked 
and the one who loves violence
Let him rain coals on the wicked; 
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind 
shall be the portion of their cup.
Psalm 11:5-6

The wicked shall return to Sheol, 
all the nations that forget God.
Psalm 9:17

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God 
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

There is therefore now no condemnation 
for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Whale, Whale, Whale

Well, well, well, what do we have here?

Whale, Whale


Our pun loving son is at it again.
He was happy I was observant and caught on!
He grinned even bigger when I grabbed the camera.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Cling to Jesus

This came from a friend going through difficulty and is for another friend going through similar:

Article: Special Challenges for Abused Women of Faith

"If not, cling to Jesus. He knows what it’s like to be betrayed by a kiss."

The encouragement and advice in this article can be applied to other relationship abuses besides marital. It's worth the read. 

This has nothing to do with my marriage or my adult daughter. It is from a friend for a friend who is not able to use her phone or computer right now.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
James 1:19

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:29

Their First Catch


Emily and Hannah set the trap on their own and caught themselves an opossum! It wasn't our target animal, but we are glad the girls got something in their trap for their efforts. They really enjoyed seeing this opossum up close and learning about its different looking back and front feet and prehensile tail

Because we often walk and look for wildlife signs in our woods, we looked at the tracks they make and looked up the scat they leave behind. Then we talked about how an opossum is the only marsupial in the US and is known for carrying young on their backs. Didelphis virginiana only live for about two years in the wild and four in captivity. 

This one was only half grown and naturally afraid, so we did not keep it long. It made quick getaway once the cage was opened. In fact, if you look at the picture, you will see its back feet aren't touching the ground. It was hauling butt!

Again, I am not going to cuddle up with an opossum. However, I challenge you, as well as myself, to look at all creatures as God's and view them the way He does. There is a purpose for everything He has made even spiders and snakes. 

We need to renew our minds with what His Word says about His creation. He knows and watches over that little opossum just as He does the sparrows. That's a very loving and attentive God we have.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. 
Genesis 1:31a 

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-31

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Heating Pad Auto Shut Off

I updated this since a lot of people are writing to see how it worked. 

Coal Road

To friends at Penn State:
I apologize for it taking me a while to get to this. 
Busy day!
Happy to help!
Enjoy your trip! 
We had no idea it was only a 5 hour ride! 
It seems like everyone is heading that way right now.
Be safe!
Please let us know how it goes and send us a picture or two.
The Asbell Gang

the beauty and the ugliness

I have five friends who have lost children to suicide. I know three women who have lost husbands that way. It is a safe bet to say most people have been affected by suicide through at least one other person. 

I lost a friend to suicide in high school in 1986. Then, a good friend I grew up with ended his life February 27, 1988.  I still miss him. I've lost more friends to suicide since that time. Most recently, my cousin ended his life on April 18, 2017. I don't want anyone else to feel that is their best or only choice. I want people to know there are people who care, many treatment options, and most importantly there is HOPE of better days. 

One of my friends, who is dealing with severe depression, has a secret support group on Facebook. She asked me and a few other ladies to be a member of her support system. The group is used as a safe place for her to reach out when she struggles. Becoming vulnerable is one of the strongest things she has done. She said the video below was helpful to her and might be helpful in understanding her. So, I am sharing it because if it helped her, maybe it can help someone else.

I have a friends who tried to commit suicide and were saved by hardworking paramedics. Some of them were helped with people reaching out to them after their attempt. They needed to give voice to their pain and know they were loved and valued. Others, suffering with suicidal thoughts and severe depression, needed counseling to examine the root cause and to change unhealthy thought patterns. A few learned they were deficient in certain nutrients and corrected that through diet and supplements which helped them a lot.

Another friend needed to get their serotonin levels higher with medication. Another learned their depression was seasonal and learned how to give better self care during those times. Some of my friends have gone through several changes in medication. Others had to completely change their routines and parts of their lives. The answer(s) can be simple or complicated, but with effort, they found things that helped.

One friend, with a long family history of mental illness and a diagnosis of severe depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety issues, and PTSD, had electroconvulsive therapy twice. In addition to that, he has been in treatment centers for weeks at a time trying to find answers that work for him. I applaud him for his commitment and great effort to find a solution. The only change in my attitude towards him is that I admire him more.  He witnessed a horrific event in childhood and has carried the weight of it his entire life. I'd wonder if he was human if he did not struggle. He's a strong, brave, incredible, beautiful, fighter. 

There is nothing wrong with seeking better health and that includes mental health. Unfortunately, there is a stubborn stigma about mental health issues so people hide their suffering and try to deal with it alone. I think if we acknowledge we are mind, body, and soul then we should also acknowledge all three parts can suffer. There is beauty in the strength it takes to reach for help to escape something ugly. There should be more dialogue to emphasize that especially in the church.

Wife of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein says she's 'heartbroken' after his suicide

"I believe people change people because people need people. We need to embrace being human and all of the beauty and ugliness that comes along with it." Sara Liberti

If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to reach out. If the first person/place you reach out to does not help, reach out to another. Repeat as necessary. You are worth the search for better mental health.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Biblical hope for Mental Illness

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Having more children slows down aging process

Having more children slows down aging process

Researchers suggest the number of children born to a woman influences the rate at which her body ages. Health sciences researchers found women who give birth to more surviving children exhibited longer telomeres. Telomeres are the protective tips at the end of each DNA strand and are indicative of cellular aging. Longer telomeres are integral to cell replication and associated with longevity. link