Loving Jesus Isn’t Enough – Why Sound Theology Matters

By M. Ashley Evans

 “If we don’t know the bible, if we don’t know doctrine, if we don’t know theology – it is virtually impossible for us to identify false prophets” is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite pastors, Voddie Baucham. It, in a nutshell, summarizes why theology and doctrine are so important.

While witnessing to others, I have had several people tell me that they are pagans and they quickly tell me that they love Jesus too, as if that statement alone will guarantee them eternity in heaven. Some professing Christians have said that they just believe that we have to love Jesus and love others – they don’t believe in going to a church that teaches doctrine, because doctrine divides. Some professing Christians have said that they love Jesus – all of that theology stuff just doesn’t matter in the end.

Frankly, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Having sound theology matters – everyone has a theological view.

Having sound doctrine matters – and it is good that doctrine divides.

If you think that Jesus just wants you to love him and NOT repent of your sins, grow in maturity, and warn others of God’s wrath…. You very well may love that Jesus, but that isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. In fact, it is simply an idol that you have created.

We cannot give people an “answer for the hope that lies within you” (1 Pet 3:15) if we do not know the answers ourselves. We have to have sound theology and doctrine

Theology Matters: Everyone’s a Theologian

Far too many people view theology as an intellectual hobby or an abstract concept with no daily applications. The very word Theology means a Word (logos) about God (Theos). Everyone is a theologian because everyone has their own belief about God and about what happens after death. What we do and how we behave flows out of what we believe in our hearts. Theology is what enables God’s people to think and live rightly. It is because of our (Bible-based) beliefs about God that we try to live according to His standards.

Even inaccurate beliefs about God essentially make that person a theologian – just a bad one. Some theologians believe that which is contradictory to what God says about Himself in the Bible. If everyone is a theologian, then obviously some of those beliefs are right and some are wrong.

That is why we cannot look to our own selves to understand God. There has to be an authority outside of ourselves in which to turn. Thankfully, God has given us His Word so that we can know Him. Jesus said that the scriptures were written about Him.

(John 5:39) “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.”

The implications of our theology (whether good theology or bad) will affect every facet of our lives. All of life – the daily minutiae, toiling at work, various emotional ups and downs, to the serious issues of death, job loss, tragedy – all of this requires a sound theological foundation in order to perceive them from a biblical worldview.

Doctrine Matters: Because Doctrine Divides

“No doctrine but Jesus “and “no creed but Christ” is a common mantra plaguing many churches in modern Christianity. And frankly, it is self-contradictory. Both of those statements are doctrines and creeds in and of themselves – the thing is, they are shallow. They either leave one ill-equipped or wanting for more, perhaps sometimes both.

The word Didachē is the Greek word commonly translated as doctrine. It comes from the verb Didaskō, “to teach.” One helpful definition of doctrine that I read in Tabletalk magazine said: “Doctrine is teaching from God about God that directs us to the glory of God.” Doctrine simply means “a teaching,” so if a church is teaching that they have no teachings…. it is just ridiculous. Further, to reject the concept and study of doctrine is dangerous. To do so is to reject Jesus’ teaching, and to reject Jesus’ teaching is to reject Him. (Luke 9:26) Jesus says “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the father and of the Holy angels.”

Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy that sound doctrine is one of the most important things for the spiritual health of the Christian and therefore of the church. Sound doctrine is like a precious treasure that we pass down from one generation to the next. (2 Tim 1:13-14) “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”

Just because all doctrine is not the Gospel doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Some doctrine may very well be “non-essential” for salvation and yet it is still important because it is God-breathed Scripture. Some doctrine, though it may not be the Gospel, is a picture of the Gospel, or a natural outflow of the Gospel. Almost all doctrine is somehow connected to the Gospel. Are there different types of importance? Yes, but the categories can be completely arbitrary. You can categorize them in as few as 4 types of importance – or 10. The most concise way is Primary (Gospel), Secondary, Tertiary, and Adiaphora (unclear, up to the individuals’ conscience).

It’s a great thing that “doctrine divides.” It divides the wheat from the chaff: children of God from false converts who need to hear the Gospel. The doctrines of God tell us how to come to know Him whereas the false doctrines of man lead people astray at the risk of their very souls, for example, false gospels. Scripture warns us that we should be “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15) so that we can “present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed”.

In Paul’s letters to Timothy he urged Timothy and the others to teach “no other doctrine” (1 Tim 1:3) than what Paul taught since solid biblical doctrine (divisional contrast to false doctrine) would save all who heard it from spiritual error “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Tim 4:16)

Division isn’t always bad since Jesus said that his doctrine would divide even family members. (Matt 10:34-37) “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Division in inevitable for the followers of Jesus. We live in a world marred by sin and full of peoples whose “father is the devil” (John 8:44). We are called to be set apart and holy. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Teaching doctrine is one of the functions of the church. Those who demand a “doctrine-less Christianity” don’t understand neither doctrine or Christianity or are purposefully misrepresenting it.

Love Matters: But What is Love?

Many people who attempt to erase theology and doctrine from Christianity claim to do so out of love for others. But in the end, it’s just love of self and hatred of others.

It is out of love for God that we pour over His Word (His theology and doctrine), carefully so that we may know Him as He has revealed Himself to be.

It is out of love for Christ that we study the Word and its doctrines so that we can become more like Him in our journey of progressive sanctification.

It is out of love for others that we divide the Word rightly and help others to do so too. The Word was given to us so that we could teach others rightly, even correcting others when needed “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim 3:16)

If we refuse to teach these things rightly – we do not love our neighbor, we hate him. If we refuse to correct our brother who teaches these things incorrectly, we are not loving him but hating him.

Love is this: Human beings are the crown of God’s creation, created in His image- Imago Dei. But we have completely rebelled against Him. We committed treason against God. We were born completely and utterly depraved in our sin. There was nothing good in us- nothing. Our sin separated us from the Holy God who created us. We could never be good enough to earn our way to heaven. Our very sin caused us to deserve an eternity in Hell. Yet God granted us grace and mercy. Christ, the Son of God (there is only ONE God, and He exists in three Persons of One substance) wrapped Himself in flesh; he forsook His throne and glory and came to Earth as a man. This God-man lived the perfect life and fulfilled His law to utter perfection. In His perfect fulfillment of the law He was hated by man, so much so that He was tried, crucified and buried. On the cross, He bore the full wrath of God for the sins of those that would believe in Him. On the third day, He rose again in accordance with the scriptures and He ascended into Heaven. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. He offers mercy to those who would believe in Him and repent of their sins. Our love for Him overflows in how we love others. We love others so that we yearn for them to know Him rightly.

Conclusion

Lifeway Research did a study in 2014 on the theological knowledge of 3,000 American adults. These statistics are from Facts and Trends Magazine. The study was to show the differences between Americans and historic Christianity. These statistics are startling.
• 55% believe that there are many ways to get to heaven.
• 55% believe that the Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses.
• 59% of evangelicals believe the Holy Spirit is a force, not a person.
• 33% of evangelicals believe that God the Father is more divine than Jesus.
• 44% of mainline Protestants don’t see sex outside of marriage as sinful.
• 39% of Americans did not believe in the Trinity.
• 43% say the Bible is helpful but not literally true.
• 56% believe that their pastors’ sermons have no authority in their life.
• 67% say that most people are basically ‘good’, even though everyone sins a little bit.

Each one of these is completely contrary to what the Bible teaches. It is imperative that we teach sound theology and doctrine. “Loving Jesus” simply is not good enough if they love a “Jesus” who isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. “Loving Jesus” simply is not good enough if they don’t understand the doctrine of Salvation.

Boldly proclaim the truth of God, out of love for Him and for others.

Women’s Best Conceal Carry Gun – Four Options Chambered in 9mm

By: M. Ashley Evans

First published here

Gun Choices: Caliber Differences

Two of the most common calibers of ammunition for concealed carry guns are 9mm and .380. Side by side, they look a lot alike. They both are the same diameter but 9mm is just a little longer.  But which one is better? That is up to debate, and there are a few other factors to consider.

The .380 ACP is also known as a 9mm Browning. It was first introduced by Colt in 1908 as a self-defense round  – hence ACP for Automatic Colt Pistol. Its also called 9mmX17, 9mm Short, etc.  It is rimless, straight walled, and designed to have less felt recoil. The .380 can hold a maximum of 5.3 grains (that’s grains of water, which is a more accurate measurement than solid grains).  Its velocity is 1050 FPS and a penetration depth of about 9 inches.

In contrast, the 9mm is known as 9mmX19 Parrabellum. It was introduced in 1902 by DWM, a German weapons manufacturer. It was designed for their Luger pistol for the military. The most popular weight is 124 grains, but there are several weight variations available. It can hold a maximum of 10 grains of water. It is rimless and tapered. The 9mm has a velocity of 950-1400 FPS and a penetration of around 13 inches.

The 9mm doesn’t penetrate a lot more than the .380, because the extra energy causes it to expand a bit more – which slows it down considerably. That expansion causes a lot of tissue damage, and that helps to stop the attacker. This isn’t to say that the .380 isn’t a qualified candidate – the differences between the .380 and the 9 are extremely small compared to the differences between a .380 and a .32.

Here is an excerpt from a great article found here

“(About the .380) A typical load carries roughly 3 grains of powder that propels a 95-grain bullet at 845 fps to produce 151 ft.-lbs. of energy from a 2.75-inch barrel. It produces about 2.76 ft.-lbs. recoil energy from a 1-pound firearm… A typical 9mm Luger load contains about 6 grains of powder used to propel a 115-grain bullet to 1,000 feet per second (fps) out of a 2.75-inch barrel. (Velocities increase along with barrel length.) This produces approximately 255 ft.-lbs. energy while generating 5.36 ft.-lbs. of recoil energy from a pistol weighing 1 pound….

“While 255 ft.-lbs. of bullet energy from the muzzle of a 9mm Luger is not a lot in the firearm world—consider that an average .30-06 deer rifle produces around 2,500 ft.-lbs. energy—a 9mm’s energy is far greater than a .22 LR’s piddly 105 ft.-lbs. and many other smaller calibers. It has about 68 percent more energy than the .380 Auto.”

So while the 9mm does have a lot more power, the .380 has 94% less felt recoil when fired from a gun of equal weight. That makes it a lot easier to accurately shoot multiple rounds. But 9mm guns are typically a little larger and heavier than .380 guns, and the extra weight helps to reduce the felt recoil. So when choosing a concealed carry gun there are a few steps to consider:

  1. Make sure it fits in your hand well
  2. Be sure you will be able to conceal it properly
  3. If it comes in multiple calibers, choose the largest one that you can rapidly fire with accuracy.

 

Gun Choices

1. Kimber Micro

kimber micro 9

This is one of my favorite carry guns. Its overall length is only 6.1″ and it has a height of 4.01″. So while it doesn’t fit into my jeans pocket, it is extremely easy to conceal in a holster. It is definitely one of the easiest 9mm to conceal in my opinion.

The Kimber Micro 9 comes in several variations. I like the stainless one. It has a weight of about 15.6 ounces unloaded. The 1911 style frame and the heft of this pistol are definitely something required – a +P round of 9mm can have a pretty steep felt recoil. But it was absolutely manageable with this gun. It isn’t my first go-to for a fun time on the range, but I can put a lot of rounds through it without any trouble.

The Kimber Micro 9’s dovetailed, dotted sights are fantastic. Its single action trigger is crisp and clean and will break between 5-6 lbs.  To safely clear a malfunction, you can still engage the safety and then pull the slide back. It can hold 6+1 and there is an optional magazine extension available.  While Kimber can be a little finicky about ammo, I have not noticed any problems with this one.

 

2. Sig P938

sig p938

This Sig and the Kimber Micro 9 are often considered the best of the mini-1911’s. The 938 looks just like a slightly larger 238.

The night sights are very nice – but there is not as much light on either side of the front sight as I prefer, but that may be because I have short arms. This too holds 6+1 unless you buy the extended magazine plate. The trigger reset is much better than many other 9mm’s and is about 7.5 lbs.

The Sig P938 weighs 16 oz unloaded. It is 5.9″ long and 3.9″ tall. It is almost identical to the Kimber Micro 9, just a TINY bit shorter. Sig uses a Nitron coating which helps to prevent the moisture from your skin from rusting it. All in all, it is a beautiful little gun that would make an excellent carry weapon.

 

3. Springfield EMP

springfield emp

This is probably one of the most enjoyable guns I have ever shot. The frame is a forged aluminum alloy and the slide is forged stainless. It is heavier than the other 9mm’s mentioned so far – weighing in at 27 oz. The EMP 9 is 6.6″ long and 5″ tall. The 3 dot Tritium sights as standard make for very easy target sighting.

The EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol) is the smallest TRUE 1911 created so far. From barrel bushings to the trigger traveling straight back and even the back strap safety – its a 1911 through and through. Everything has just been scaled down to fit the 9mm. It is a beautiful gun – the Cocobolo grips, satin finish steel slide. The trigger is very clean and only about 3.5 lbs. This gun is a bit pricier than the other two options.

The earlier models (until 2009) were prone to failure to feed problems, but all of this has been resolved. I have read a lot of reviews from people who were not very happy with it – and each review is by a man who said that the gun felt a little small. It all goes back to how the gun fits in your hand. The EMP is my first go to for a fun day at the range and definitely what I reach for when competing.

 

4. Dan Wesson Valkyrie

dan wesson 9mm

This is a gun that I can’t wait to get ahold of but have done a lot of research on. It is absolutely on my must-have list. Its price is a little more than the Springfield EMP, but everyone who has shot one that I’ve talked to says that it is worth every penny.

The Valkyrie is top quality and every part is tight fitting, which makes for some very accurate shooting. A lot of people are crazy about the finish – but the Duty Finish actually something that I’m not extremely crazy about the looks of. However, I do love the concept for a conceal carry weapon. Moisture will rust a gun extremely quickly – so a ceramic coating that will do a great job in protecting the gun from the moisture and salt in your skin is the way to go.

The Valkyrie is 8 inches long and 5 inches tall. It weighs 28 ounces unloaded. It is a little longer than the EMP, so as a short woman I would probably open carry or use a Can Can holster around my waist as opposed to an IWB holster. The trigger is shorter than a  lot of other guns of this size – which is why my small hands fit around it so well. The trigger is light, at about 4 lbs. The Tritium night sights are a little different than what is on the other guns listed. These are a stacked two dot system – you line up the dots to form a figure 8. If you’ve never shot a gun with those type of sights, takes a little getting used to, but it is really great for low light situations.

 

Women in Taxidermy – Part 2

First Published here

WOMEN IN TAXIDERMY

There have been a great many studies on the differences between the male and female brain. In general, women are much more meticulous, creative, and detail oriented. Which, when coupled with artistic talent and a love for nature it is a wonderful recipe for creating award-winning Taxidermy!

BECKY MARTINMAAS – OWNER OF MEAN WOMAN TAXIDERMY

Becky - working

Becky is in Orient South Dakota. She is a fierce competitive shooter who is equally fierce about her loyalty to family. Mrs. Martinmaas is astounding when it comes to the art of Taxidermy.

She very well may be one of the most determined women you will ever meet, “I got interested in taxidermy because of the wait times we were experiencing with the taxidermists we had been using. Often it was years before we would get our trophies back. My husband and I love to hunt and it was so frustrating to have to wait so long – sometimes we even forgot what we were waiting for!”

Becky was great at explaining how to get involved “it can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. You can be full service or specialize in one category. There is even a lot of good information you can get with self-help courses and videos, but I would highly recommend going to school or working with an experienced taxidermist. Oh, there are so many little tricks and fine points that you just can’t learn without actually seeing it done. I went to school and took all the available courses: game heads, mammals, birds, fish, and habitat. It doesn’t have to be very expensive – you can start small and work your way up.”

She, like all outdoor sportsmen, are extremely responsible and encourage that same respect for the laws and authority of your state, “I carry a state license issued by our Game and Fish Department, it must be renewed every year. I also carry a federal license issued by the US Fish and Wildlife that is required for waterfowl, etc.”

“Really, it is not surprising that Taxidermy is a predominantly male dominated field. After all, is extremely physically demanding.” Becky explained with an air of understanding. The big game carcasses are extremely heavy and many women are unable to lift that much, of literally, dead weight. “It is messy, smelly, and at times things come into your shop that is already in decomposition. It is not pretty sometimes,” Becky explained.

“It is much easier to do a good mount if you know the animals in their natural habitat, so being a hunter is a big advantage. Well, it was not hard for me to break into the boys club as I already had the reputation of being an avid hunter and shooter. I hunt and do a little range shooting also.” A little? I think she was just being modest.

Becky as talented of a marksman as she is a taxidermy artist. Her bear looks like it is about to lumber off.

becky-bear

“After being taken seriously as a hunter, being female in taxidermy was an advantage. Women tend to be more artistic and quite a bit fussier about details… Also, most men have to get permission from their wives to display their mount at home, I am a big help there by making them a work of art, not just a dead animal.”

Becky’s art is fantastic. Her crouching coyote really looks as if it is about to pounce on its prey. The male pheasants she preserved engaged in a sparring competition are just breathtaking!

“Yes, there are a lot of different styles to taxidermy. I call myself a Working-Man’s Taxidermist. That means I try to stay affordable and I keep my turnaround time as short as possible. So, I do a lot of game heads, birds, and mammals. I love doing small scenes to show off the animal in its natural state. What I love most about my business at this point is how much people trust my judgment and let me run with a project knowing that it will be something to be proud of.”

Becky - Coyote

She seems like a woman who doesn’t put up with a lot of bull surrounding wildlife management, “All I can say about those that have negative things to say about hunting and taxidermy is that they are very uninformed.” Very true Becky! There is a lot of false propaganda out there, and we have a duty to educate others about the outdoors.

“We farm for deer and pheasants because we want a healthy population. Those naysayers have never seen a pack of coyotes steal a baby calf from its mother or seen an animal starving due to overpopulation.” Yet even with such a heated topic, Becky was trying to be polite, “but everyone has their opinions and they are entitled to them.”

Becky used to enter taxidermy competitions at state conventions. “But a competition piece takes a lot of time away from my customers, and they are my main concern. People know my work and I don’t need ribbons on my wall. I am glad that there are those that do it as I have learned a lot from studying other people’s work and methods. You know, the most difficult thing in my business is getting people to come and pick up their mount in a timely fashion!”

Becky - Moose

My favorite thing she said was “I would highly encourage other women to get into taxidermy as it is a great stay at home business. You can be as big or as small as you want. You can set your own hours and goals.” What a great way for a woman to who wants to help her family financially, raise children, maintain her passion for hunting and have a creative outlet. It really sounds like a fantastic option.

“I love looking at a finished product and knowing that I made that animal come back to life and that I saved someone’s hunting memories forever.”

CHERI GUINN

OF CHERI’S TAXIDERMY

Cheri Guinn

Cheri is the daughter of her local Duck Club’s President, so she grew up hunting duck each weekend during season and even pheasant hunting too. She remembers as a teenager carefully studying one of her father’s mounts and wondering just how the taxidermist preserved it.

So, being the determined self-starter that she is, Cheri went straight to the library and got a book on taxidermy. She got started in her parents basement, and eventually her dad set up an extra garage he had for me by putting in a sink and supplying me with all my tools. Cheri hasn’t looked back these last 37 years in the business.

She didn’t have these great videos and classes then. Her excitement was tangible “Give it a try and if you are interested take a class and learn all the tips and tricks! If I were to do it all over again I would first watch videos and read magazine articles on how to mount a bird!”

Cheri explained that even after you do all that – it takes a considerable amount of practice. “If you’re lucky enough to find a taxidermist that needs help and has a lot of patience, then an apprenticeship could be an option.”

A lot of taxidermist in her area didn’t like mounting birds, so she was welcomed within this particular niche. “I like making the bird look ALIVE again! Action poses are my favorite and minimal habitat. I wasn’t trained in doing water scenes or habitat so I am limited in what I can do. Habitat is an extra cost, and most of my customers don’t like the extra expense that goes with it.”

Cheri Guinn - Wood Duck Preening

You don’t have to learn how to mount every type of animal to be successful in this field. You just have to have a passion for your art! “What I like most about my art is seeing what other taxidermist come up with – it inspires me! The best part of my work is seeing the customers’ faces when they come and pick up their bird”

Cheri is an enthusiastic supporter of Ducks Unlimited. She believes that we all have the right to hunt and it is through conservation that we are able to manage wildlife and to help keep the ecosystem in balance. “And if there wasn’t hunting, I would be out of a job!”

Cheri Guinn - Mallard Ducklings

Her Barred Owl is one of my favorites – posed as if it is swooping down to catch some prey. She also has preserved some specimens I have never seen mounted before – a flamingo and mallard ducklings. Each one looking like it is about to fly away at any moment.

Cheri Guinn - Barred Owl

“My most favorite bird I ever did was a Flamingo who was owned by a man who sold exotics. The bird was the matriarch of the flock and died when she was 42. All the scales on her legs fell off when I was wiring the legs and a lot of feathers fell out when I washed her. She ended up turning out great and I brought her along to an outdoor show I was in and boy she was a hit! The owner actually has it in his will that when he dies I get to inherit her!”

Cheri Guinn - Flamingo

 

Cheri is in this business because she loves the art, “I would encourage women to do what they are interested in and don’t listen to people that say you can’t. Nowadays you can practically learn anything online. Be patient with yourself, remember your life will constantly change, so just go with it and enjoy it!

Coming up next is Part 3!

 

Women in Taxidery part 1

Women in Taxidermy

by M. Ashley Evans

First published here: https://henoutdoors.com/blog/women-in-taxidermy-part-1/

This past week I have had the privilege of interviewing several amazing women who have beaten the odds to become some of the few female taxidermists in the country. Taxidermy is almost exclusively an art that men gravitate to – but these women have proved that their creativity and unique perspective sets them apart.

History of Women in Taxidermy

The art of preserving animal specimens has been around since animals were embalmed in Ancient Egypt. Even in the Middle Ages very crude methods of taxidermy was used in creating displays for apothecaries and astrologers. In the mid-1700’s birds were being preserved for the study of natural history.

It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that hunters began hiring upholsterers to sew up animal skins stuffed with cotton and occasionally rags. This is where the label “stuffed” originates. In the Victorian era, artists would sculpt clay, plaster and wire cages as the frames for the animal skins. Taxidermy mounts became a popular item for home decorating. Even Queen Victoria was an avid collector of taxidermy birds from all over the world. During the late 19th Century, artists would sculpt animals into anthropomorphic displays. Both the natural display, often called Classical Taxidermy, and the more whimsical displays, or Rogue Taxidermy, continue today.

Martha Maxwell

Pioneer in Taxidermy

 Martha Maxwell - this photo also from national cowboy musuem

Martha Maxwell was born in 1831. Obviously, I wasn’t able to interview her, but she is certainly worth talking about. Martha was the first female naturalist to obtain and taxidermy her own specimens. She built elaborate displays that greatly influenced some of the major figures in taxidermy, such as William Temple Hornady (hunter, zoologist, conservationist, and taxidermist – famously known as the man who saved the American Bison from extinction due to his taxidermy displays) and Carl Akeley (known as the Father of Modern Taxidermy).

Her displays set the precedent for the future of taxidermy – by arranging the mounts in lifelike poses and displayed on items from their natural environment. Martha was the first to find and identify the Colorado Screech Owl – and it was named in her honor, Scops asio maxwellae. This was the first time a woman had a subspecies named after her.

Martha attributes her love for nature to her Grandmother. They loved going on long walks with grandmother through the woods where they would identify the wildlife they encountered. Martha’s father passed away in the 1830’s and her mother remarried right away. The new family left Pennsylvania for Oregon as Christian Missionaries to the Native Americans. Much to Martha’s sadness, her grandmother did not survive the arduous journey.

The trip proved to be much more difficult, so for the sake of their health the family settled in Wisconsin. Martha was unable to finish her schooling due to finances, so in exchange for board and tuition, she agreed to be hired by a widower to chaperone his two children at a local college. Less than a year later, and despite the widower having 6 years and being 20 years her senior, Martha married James Maxwell. James soon learned that Martha was a very determined woman and a go-getter if there ever was one. Less than two months after her marriage, she was arrested for her involvement in the raid of a tavern in support of the Temperance Movement.

The Maxwell’s had a baby the year that the fell into financial ruin, so they traveled west, prompted by the Gold Rush. Young Mabel stayed behind with Martha’s mother so she could attend school. Martha was determined that she would prove to be an asset to the team – she cooked for all six and even took her turn driving the team of mules. James mined for gold in Pikes Peak and Martha baked pies and mended clothes. She soon sold enough pies that she was able to purchase a boarding house as well as some mining claims and even a one bedroom cabin on the plains outside of Denver.

Martha Maxwell - photo from national cowboy museum

But tragedy struck again in the 1860’s – Martha’s primary method of income, the boarding house burned down and a squatter was trying to lay claim to her cabin. Even after winning the lawsuit, the squatter refused to leave. So Martha watched him and when he left the cabin to run errands she removed the door from the frame so she could enter her home – and what she found was lots of crude taxidermies. She became busy and set everything outside so she could claim her home. She was mesmerized by the preserved birds that she saw – and wrote to her family asking them to send her a book so she could “learn how to preserve birds and other animal curiosities in this country.” Shortly after, while in Wisconsin again for a short stay to take care of her ill mother she found a local taxidermist and was able to learn a little about preserving from him.

Martha Maxwell - photo also from national cowboy musuem

When she returned to Colorado, Martha feverishly got to work in creating elaborate taxidermy displays. By the fall of 1868 she had over 100 mounts – including hummingbirds and eagle chicks. The Colorado Agricultural Society asked her to display her work with them. Everyone was amazed at how lifelike her taxidermy was. She was awarded a diploma for her talents.

In the 1870’s Martha opened the Rocky Mountain Museum in Boulder, Colorado to display her mounts and to educate others. Her museum later was moved to Denver. She expanded her collection to include mammals – including the Black Footed Ferret, a very elusive species that had been recorded by John James Audubon but had never been seen by scientists. Martha became an avid hunter and collected most of her specimens herself. She traveled all across the west to study and to harvest specimens – she braved poor conditions and rough weather and didn’t seem bothered by them. Martha often brought her daughter with her on hunts. By 1869, Martha had over 600 animals in her collection.

Her first step in skinning the carcass was taking very specific measurements of all aspects of the body so she could replicate it exactly. She later hired a blacksmith to craft a thin iron frame, she then would cover it with cloth and then stretch the skins over it. This approach was much more advanced than any of the taxidermy methods used at the time such as filling the skins with clay or plaster. Her collection included a six foot grizzly, a pronghorn antelope, and snakes. Many of her rare items she sent to the Smithsonian for display. Ferdinand V. Hayden of the U.S. Geological Survey said about her museum “it excelled every other in the West” but the museum struggled financially and James was not working.

Her display was featured at the Colorado’s exhibit for Philadelphia’s Centennial International Exposition. Her landscape included mountains, plains, a cave, a stream that fed a lake filled with various creatures. There was puma posed as if to kill a deer, a doe nuzzling her fawn, fox, bear, sheep, buffalo, elk, pronghorn sheep – and a postcard that read “Woman’s Work”. Everyone was amazed that this 4’11” had killed and preserved the animals and created this massive display unlike anything ever seen before.

Martha Maxwell - photo from alchetron

Unfortunately, after the display was taken down improperly in New York mold set in and every item was ruined. There is not a single specimen left from Martha’s elaborate museum. She died in 1881 of ovarian cancer. It wasn’t until after her death that Mabel came to admire and appreciate her mothers work. But now, her methods are the standard practice for taxidermy all over the world.

Kiernan Hull

Owner of Oregon Taxidermy

Kiernana - Impala

She, like Martha, is defiantly a determined lady! Kiernan also owns Phaded Acres Colt Starting and Performance. This former Miss Rodeo is talented in multiple areas! At age 17, just after high school, she and a friend dropped off a buck at a taxidermy shop. By the time she walked out she knew she was going to be a taxidermist. So the very next month Kiernan moved to Montana to begin schooling. “I have never looked back since!” she said.

There are many ways to learn to be a taxidermist – schools, internships, books, dvds, etc. Kiernan recommends working with a few good artists along the way regardless of the educational path you choose. And each state has its own licensing laws and regulations. I was amazed to learn that there was so many tools involved – each with its own special purpose. Kiernan stresses that the most important skill is actually money management –there is quite a bit of overhead with opening a taxidermy shop.

 Kiernan - Turkey

“At first no one took me seriously, especially being 17… I really started gaining respect around 20 or 21 and now I’m at 24 and I no longer deal with people not taking me seriously. Everybody around here knows who I am now and that I am not just here to mess around. Being female did hinder me at first – between that and my age, nothing was going for me. But now, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had come to me just because I am a woman and they know that gives me a natural eye for detail. I have had so many people actually tell me that they will never go to a male taxidermist again. Which is a huge compliment being in such a male-dominated industry!”

Kiernan’s passion for this art is so evident “Being female is an advantage in this industry for sure!”

Kiernan - Bird of Prey - Copy

“In the summer of 2016, I had about 50 hours into my competition piece of a life-size Badger when my candle that was about 10’ away caught the fumes from my foam just right and my table and Badger went up in flames! Poof!! It felt like an eternity – but really it all happened in about 20 seconds. After scrubbing off his black hairs and fluffing him up, my badger went on to win the Highest scoring Open in Oregon and Best of Category.” Her badger looks like it is going to walk away any moment.

kiernan badger

“I defiantly go for the Alive and Peaceful look with mine. I have the utmost respect for animals and I want them to look natural and presentable for everyone. My biggest fear is someone thinking I don’t have respect for our wildlife when it is the complete opposite. We as hunters know it is our duty to help manage wildlife and their habitat so we have them around for future generations to enjoy. Taxidermy is respectful and educational. Hunters are the #1 contributor to wildlife conservation! It is just as simple as that!”

I really enjoyed looking at a picture of an Elk she preserved. The veins and wrinkles on its muzzle were so accurate – it was mesmerizing.

“I’d say the most difficult part of Taxidermy for me is how physically demanding it is. I rarely get to sit behind a desk (thankfully) but that also means I spend most of all day every day physically hands-on with some oftentimes heavy pieces – having to wrestle them around. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a struggle occasionally and that I wasn’t sore. The most challenging piece I have worked on has to be the Kudu. They have so much extra skin and their skin is super thick. The African Kudu is built so differently from our North American deer varieties. I had to do several of them before it became any easier!”

Kiernan - Elk

Kiernan has entered many competitions and has won many awards in Oregon and Idaho. “Competing is one of the best ways to gain knowledge in this art. The judges give feedback and you are surrounded by other passionate artists” Kiernan was an absolute joy to get to know!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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Sources:

https://americacomealive.com/2014/04/05/martha-ann-maxwell-1831-18881-maturalist-taxidermist/

http://www.historynet.com/colorado-huntress-wildlife.htm

https://siarchives.si.edu/history/featured-topics/stories/william-temple-hornady-saving-american-bison

https://nationalcowboymuseum.org/explore/kill-em-all-martha-maxwell-colorado-huntress/

http://www.cogreatwomen.org/project/martha-maxwell

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxidermy

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha/Maxwell

https://alchetron.com/Martha-Maxwell

A Girl and Her Hawk

By M. Ashley Evans

First published here: https://henoutdoors.com/blog/a-girl-and-her-hawk/

I had the privilege of interviewing Sarah Molnar recently. Sarah is a sweet lady and an enthusiastic hunter. It was such a joy getting to talk to her about falconry! (Falconry: the sport of hunting with falcons or other birds of prey)

Sarah started the conversation by telling me how she got involved in falconry. “I fell in love with falconry several years ago. I have always been a hunter and fisher, but falconry has forever changed my life. My first boyfriend was just starting his journey in falconry, and it became something that we both enjoyed. I got to see him and his friends work with different birds of prey, mainly red-tails, and I fell in love with the sport. It was one of those things that on our off days, we were out hawking. Every chance we got, we were flying his bird, hunting rabbits. It was a completely different way of hunting for me, and to see the bond between the falconer and the bird was simply amazing. I began my own journey a couple years later and found a sponsor to teach me the sport, and ever since, I can’t envision my life without it. I am constantly looking forward to going out hawking and hunting with my bird, and I get sad when the season ends and we have to wait until the next season to hunt. I am always looking for birds of prey, especially red-tails as I drive from one destination to the next.”

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(Sarah’s hawk, Ella)

Sarah shared a picture of her hawk. “I have a juvenile red-tail hawk. She was born this past spring in 2017. As a falconer, we can only trap immature red-tails. Our trapping season here in Michigan starts in September, and this is when the birds have been hunting on their own for awhile, and are proof that they can be good hunting birds. My red-tails name is Ella, and she will be a year old this upcoming spring. She hunted the small game season up until March 31st, and then I began fattening her up for the molt so she can grow out her red feathers. As an immature bird, she has a brown tail, a dark brown belly band on her chest, and light eyes. As she molts into a mature red-tail this summer, she will grow a red-tail, her chest will become whiter, and her eyes will get darker. Once the hunting season starts again in September, I will re-train her some, and we will be hunting again.”

Ella is a beautiful red-tailed hawk with very large feet. Sarah explained that having large feet is a huge plus in the falconry world! Large feet are one of the signs to look for when trapping a new hunting partner. Birds with large feet can hold onto the smaller game well, and often their grasp will kill them instantly. Ella is very even-tempered and doesn’t rely on Sarah as her primary food source.

In falconry, the birds need to be taken out on a hunt about 6 times a week, weather permitting. Windy days and stormy days are generally avoided and area treated as days to recuperate. It’s very important to exercise and train your birds as much as possible. Interestingly, the female birds are larger. Immature birds are called “Passages” and the mature birds called “Haggards” Small game is hunted during the appropriate season, typically beginning in the fall and ending just before spring. Small game hunted includes squirrels, rabbits, and occasionally a pheasant. Other small animals have been harvested by birds of prey including opossums, snakes, and voles.

Sarah continued, “I grew up hunting rabbits and squirrels with my .22, but I have found more joy in hunting these animals with my red-tail. It is a more intimate bond because my bird has gained my trust, and she follows me from tree to tree as I beat brush and try to spook out rabbits or squirrels, and she is able to chase and hopefully connect, giving us a successful hunt. And if Ella doesn’t catch any game, it still is good for her to get out because it allows her to use her muscles, and get exercise as if she were out in the wild. I enjoy seeing my red-tail chase either game because she is a really good hunter. Ella follows me and is right with me if I was to spook something, but a lot of time as I’m walking through the woods, I may spook something way ahead of me that I may not see, but my bird will see it and will chase it. It is important to always make sure you know where your bird is in the woods and whether it’s down on the game or not. While hunting, our birds wear bells and a transmitter. The bells allow us to hear where our birds are, and if they go down on the game, we can hopefully locate the bird on the ground. The bird also wears a transmitter so if she was to fly further away towards an animal she saw in the distance or was to get bumped out by a resident red-tail, we would be able to track her down and locate her.”

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(Ella with a rabbitFalcon and Preybit kill)

Sarah walked me through the process of how to get started. (Although different states and regions will likely vary) “In order to get into falconry, you need to take a test through the Department of Natural Resources in your state. You must pass this test with a score of 80%. The next step is to find a sponsor. A sponsor is a person who has been a falconer for 4 years, and willing to teach you their ways of falconry and is there to answer questions. Once you find a sponsor, then you will build a mew, which is their hawk house. There are certain requirements for a mew such as windows and perches, and once the falconers’ mew is complete, the mew must be inspected by a game warden. Once the game warden passes you, then you are eligible to get your permit to trap. Here in Michigan, we have to pay $100 a year to maintain our license. Once all the big things are taken care of, then you can gather up the gear you need, and be tying nooses and making your trap, as anticipation of trapping begins. As an apprentice falconer, you are allowed to trap an immature red-tail or a kestrel (here in Michigan). Once you become a general, you are able to have different types of birds and more than one at a time. You then become a master falconer after 5 years. A lot of states require apprentices to have at least 12 months of experience (2 seasons) before they become a general. As a falconer, you can keep your bird however long you want. If your bird turns out to be a good hunter their first year, a lot of falconers will keep their bird the next season because the bird will be an even better hunter because it knows what to do. I knew a falconer who kept a bird for 21 seasons before he retired the bird back to the wild.”

Training a wild hawk sounds impressive and difficult. Sarah explained how to do it in a step by step fashion. “Like any other opening day, the start of trapping is a big day for the falconer. We have prepped all summer by locating where the immature red-tails are hanging out. As the big day finally comes, you will find all if not most of the falconers out trying to locate their bird. We create a trap called a BC, which is a style of a throw-able trap that can we throw out the window. It consists of some type of mesh that we can put gerbils or mice in, and then we tie nooses that are created from fishing line, and this traps the bird. A lot of times, the birds will be sitting on telephone poles or trees close to the high way, so this allows us to drive past them, pull our binoculars out, and identify whether an immature or a mature red-tail. Once we identify that it’s an immature bird, we throw out the trap, drive and turn around, and a lot of time once you turn around, the bird will already be on the trap. We wait for the bird to dance a little on the trap, and once it tries to fly away and can’t, that’s when we go in and get the bird off the trap. We inspect it to see if it’s healthy and if it’s a bird that we want to keep.

“Once we determine that it’s a bird we want, we then put equipment on the bird, and sit with it right away so the bird can know that we aren’t here to hurt it. The goal is for the bird to eat from us, and the earlier the better. Once the bird has eaten off the glove, we then continue this for a few days, gaining the birds’ trust. After the bird gets used to feeding off the glove, we then do jump-ups. These consist of jump ups where the bird is lower than the falconer, and the bird has to jump up to its food. A few of these, and then we move to tidbits, which is training with little bits of meat. This allows us to call our birds down to us while hunting and we reward them with tidbits, then we move on to creance training. This is where the bird is tethered to a rope and the bird flies anywhere from 50-100 yards in an instant. The goal here is for the bird to be hungry and to come to the falconer with no hesitation. Some days the bird may be too fat and may not respond to come right away, and this lets the falconer know that the bird needs to lower its weight. The whole objective for falconry is based on weight management. Our goal as Falconer is to find that weight that the bird will respond too. If the bird is too heavy, the bird will not be interested in hunting or flying and will just sit like a bump on a log. Once the bird does well with creance training by flying right to the falconer, we then know it’s time for the birds’ first free flight.” The idea of a chubby hawk made me laugh. I had no idea that a bird could eat enough to make it weigh too much to fly.

Sarah continued to explain the training, “We then train the bird to come to the lure. This is a big piece of meat that is used in an emergency. This consists of a big meal indicating that the bird will come down. Sometimes a resident bird may come into the hunting area and your bird may not like it, or the bird could be aggressive, or something else could go wrong, that the lure is our safety net. The lure is also used if the hunt was unsuccessful and we have to call our bird down after a hunt. We then throw out the lure, and our bird is rewarded for its efforts. Also, a lot of falconers birds catch game after each and every hunt, and then the lure is used for a trade off to get their bird off the kill and onto the lure so the fresh kill can be placed in our vests and stored away for a later time for food. This is when the bird is not connected to the falconer in anyway. The bird is perched and could fly away at any time, but the goal is for the bird to come instantly. This is always a scary time for the falconer because this shows whether our training has paid off or not. Once the bird comes to the falconer, with it being free, we then know we are ready for hunting.

“Training takes between 3-5 weeks, depending on the attitude of the bird. Falconry is based off rewards. Like dogs, the birds come to us because of food. We reward them for their training, their work, their trust. And there are times that we don’t reward them because of bad behavior. Myself, as a falconer, I have a whistle that I blow that indicates that I have tidbits, or that I’m calling my bird to me. I also use a whistle to indicate to my bird that I am calling her to the lure. This is a long blow, and often times the bird sees me get the lure out before I blow, and the bird is already on her way to me. Once the bird lands on the lure, I then go and clip her in and attach her back to her rope. If I wasn’t to attach to her to me, and she was to eat the lure and fly back into a tree, she would be too heavy and wouldn’t come down to me. I would have to wait overnight and try and go back and get her in the morning. Generally, red-tails stay in the same area overnight. She would burn off energy overnight, and would be hungry enough to come down to food in the morning.”

Sarah said that often landowners will ask her to come onto their land and will join in on a hunt, happy to see pest species like rabbit and squirrel numbers toned down. It’s important to hunt from several different areas and to rotate frequently. This helps to ensure that prey numbers are sufficient and that the prey doesn’t get too used to having such a skilled predator right at their doorstep. Frozen food is used also. Hunters will keep frozen food on hand to supplement during the offseason. Also, some hunters will take the kill, give the bird a reward, and save the harvested animal for food during the offseason. This provides essential nutrients that help the bird plump up and molt during the offseason.

Falconry is a beautiful partnership that is beneficial to both sides. As a hunter, you benefit from the experience and the superior hunting skills of your bird. And the bird benefits too because you are helping to train him to be a better hunter. Up to 80% of red-tails don’t make it during their first year in the wild, so keeping a bird for a couple of seasons is an excellent way of helping nurture the population and providing healthy mature birds to repopulate. Some falconers release their bird after each year, some after two, and some keep their birds up to 20 years. “Each bird has their own attitude and will react to things differently, whether towards colors, or other birds. They may pick up on things they don’t like. I have a falconry friend whose bird is extremely picky and wont hunt with men who have beards. The bird seems to fly away when he is near or when he out hunting with them.”

“The bird itself is very intelligent and it shows while out in the field. The bird follows well and stays with me as I’m pushing game, and a lot of time, the bird sees the game before I see it. As falconers, we have a game call that we say when we spook game, “Ho, Ho, Ho”. And the bird responds and moves up if needed, or chases.” Falconers listen for the squeal of the rabbit to know that the bird has managed to make a catch! “Once the bird itself has caught a rabbit or a squirrel, it’s our job as falconers to run and dispatch the game immediately. The squirrel can do damage to the birds’ talons or body so it is important that we kill it fast and humanely.”

A lot is involved in having a hawk as a hunting partner: daily weigh in, almost daily hunting, daily feeding, cleaning the mew, sitting a minimum of an hour each day with the bird to gain trust, etc. Sarah says “It’s a great hobby but it is a big, big responsibility!” It is a little pricey to begin with. Constructing the mew, the fencing for the weather yard, hoods, jesses, anklets, receiver, transmitter, permits, frozen food, etc – but the bond with the bird is priceless and is an investment into conservation and wise wildlife management.

“You do develop a bond with your bird. It is a trust bond. I am out hunting with my bird, and she is free, up in the trees following me as I am the brush beater down below trying to flush out game. She can fly away from me at any given time, but she decides and continues to stay with me because I act as her mate. We are working together. It also is amazing to see a falconer, bird and dog work together. And the sport has allowed me to gain lifelong friends, and share the sport of kings that we all love so much.”

 Sarah and Falcon
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(Sarah Molnar and her hawk, Ella)

If you would like to follow Sarah and Ella on their hawking journey, check out her Instagram and give her a follow!

Leading the Way: Five of the Best Female Hunters

By: M. Ashley Evans

My article was originally published here: https://henoutdoors.com/blog/leading-the-way-5-of-the-worlds-best-women-hunters/

Historically, hunting was a male-dominated sport. For decades, women hunters were marginalized in the Outdoorsman arena. The number of women hunters is growing rapidly – and is the top trend in hunting sports today. That is in part thanks to some amazing women who have won some of the top awards available in this sport. There are a number of awards that can be given to world-class hunters. The Weatherby Award is the world’s most coveted and prestigious hunting award because it is one of the most difficult to achieve. Not only is the quality of each animal harvested judged, the number and variety of species are considered, the more difficult-to-hunt species are a heavy consideration, and a requirement that game from every continent is included. Conservation is a majorly important factor. Not only has each nominee supported conservation by spending hundreds of thousands in purchasing the licenses/fees/taxes, etc. for each individual hunt – but there have to be large donations to specific conservation programs. These programs are focused on protection and propagation of endangered wildlife. Each nominee has to be highly involved in educating the next generation of hunters through school programs, 4-H, scouts etc.

The Weatherby Award nominees also have to show exemplary character and sportsmanship in the field – a life of integrity, commitment to fair chase, strong ethics, and a solid reputation. Each year only 6 nominees are considered, and the highest point total in all categories is chosen for the recipient of this most elite of hunting awards. The Weatherby Foundation’s newsletter once printed “What’s It Take To Win The Weatherby Award: It is easy, climb a few million feet, walk a few thousand miles, spend years away from home, family, and work, usually in a foreign land. Travel for days on icy, gravel mountain roads in old jeeps or SUV’s full of other people’s cigarette smoke. Endure hundreds of searches in airports, borders and military checkpoints. Get sick or hurt, lose luggage and suffer delays too numerous to mention. Sound like fun? It is. It is a passion and way of life for a few very fortunate people.”

These female pioneers have not only beat tremendous odds in learning and mastering their skills, but they have exhibited such a drive for conservation and for educating others that they without a doubt should be heroes, not just for women, but for everyone who has a passion for hunting.

1) Suzie Brewster

Suzie Brewster photo courtesy of NRA News

Suzie Brewster is a remarkable lady. She did not have the privilege of growing up in a family who hunted – but her husband did. As the years passed and their family grew, the Brewster’s developed Day-After-Christmas Hunting Tradition. Bill and the children hunted and Suzie enjoyed traveling with them. One year, flight schedules were rearranged, the children had to board a different plane home. Tragically, their plane crashed. Suzie realized that for her husband to heal and be able to love his beloved sport again – he would need a hunting companion. So, she jumped in with enthusiasm, determined to be her husband’s very best partner.

Suzie and Bill have traveled the world going on a total of 37 safaris. She has hunted on 6 continents, in 34 countries, and has harvested more than 220 species. She still loves to shoot turkey and quail near their home in Marietta or in the fields of Texas. Suzie became a pro in the field. She has won the Dallas Safari Club Outstanding Hunting Achievement Award – the highest award given by the organization. Suzie has also won the NRA’s Sybil Ludington Freedom Award, which honors achievements in education and promoting Second Amendment Rights at a national level as well as SCI’s Diana Award. Suzie is the only woman to have received all three of these awards. While on safari, Suzie and Bill participate in as many humanitarian activities as they can. While traveling from village to village, they love to bring clothing and toys to children. Educating the next generation of Outdoorsmen has been a primary goal for the couple. Bill served in Congress and on the NRA Board of Directors. Suzie helped found the Washington Women’s Shooting Club and co-chair of the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum since it began over 10 years ago.

2) Barbara Sackman

barbara sackman

Barbara Sackman is another woman of great renown amongst hunters. She has 191 world records in the SCI Record Book. And she won the 2015 Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award – one of only two women to ever have received it. She has also won the Diana Award, SCI Conservation Award, Magnum Villamanin Award, ORVIS 20 Award, Capra Super 20 Award, etc. Interestingly enough, her husband Alan has also won the coveted Weatherby Award – which marks the first time ever both a husband and wife have won the award.

Barbara and her husband, like many avid hunters, only harvest older specimens of each species – which is great stewardship and helps with conservation. Older males will dominate over the younger ones in their chance to mate. But in order to ensure a healthy new generation, it is wise to use younger, more vital, males with healthier genes. Barbara is passionate about conservation – she was once interviewed and said, that she was “almost embarrassed to say how much (she) paid to harvest that sheep (in Nebraska), but every red cent goes to conservation and the welfare of the sheep herd. That means an awful lot. The hunter is a huge conservationist, more so than anyone else.” Big game hunts, like sheep in Nebraska, can cost well over $100,000, which is a wonderful contribution towards the health of that sheep species. Barbara is a skilled hunter and has harvested Kudu, Roosevelt Elk, Polar Bear, Nile Crocodile, African Lion, and Leopard.

3) Caroline Pruitt

Caroline Pruitt photo courtesy of Outdoorlife

At age 12, she went on an African Safari with her father and shot an Impala – and she was hooked. On that hunt, she was able to harvest 9 animals – most of which was taken with the first shot. Only four years later, Caroline Pruitt won the 2010 Youngest Hunter Award from SCI and Cabellas. Only two teenagers in the world are chosen for this award each year. At age 14, she had 18 entries in the SCI Record Book and had harvested over 50 big game specimens including Leopard, Wildebeest, and American Bison. She hunted the American Bison with a .44 Magnum. Caroline has hunted with various other weapons including a rifle, muzzleloader, crossbow, compound bow, and longbow. She is the only woman recorded to hunt a Gredos Ibex and a Muskox with a Longbow, which has become her hunting weapon of choice since 2011.

Caroline is passionate about hunting – and strives to be a great example to others. She has not let her busy schedule in traveling across five continents neglect her education – she maintained high grades. Caroline has a heart for helping others, whether it is training new hunters at Meadow Ridge Archery and Gun or donating the meat from her hunts locally and abroad. Hunters all over the world watch in eager expectation to see what the years have in store for this prodigy.

4) Renee Snider

Renee Snider photo courtsy of the Conklin Foundation

One of the most accomplished hunters in history – who has received an astounding number of awards, is Renee. In 2006 she was the first female to win the Golden Malik Award for taking “free range and on-foot” all big game species found in the South Pacific. She won the 2012 Diana Award. 2013 was the year that Renee became the first woman to receive the OVIS Award. In 2014, the Weatherby Award had its 57th anniversary. That year Renee Snider became not only the first female recipient of the award – but she had the highest number of big game animals harvested by anyone who had ever won the Weatherby. That same year, she won the Ullman Magnum Award for collecting European big game species and she was the first woman to be inducted into the highly prestigious Mountain Hall of Fame from the Wild Sheep Foundation. In 2015, Renee won the SCI World Conservation and Hunting Award. In 2016, she was the first woman to earn the Pantheon Award from SCI and GSCO. 2017 was the year that she won the International Hunting Award from SCI, Super 40 Capra from GSCO, as well as the Super 39 Ovis from GSCO. That same year, Rene won the Conklin Award from SCI. This award is “for the dedication of pursuing big game in the most rugged terrain under the most difficult and demanding conditions while maintaining the highest standard of ethics, adhering to the rules of fair chase, and showing a true conservation stewardship for the big game animals of the world.”

Renee has raised millions to aid disabled and disadvantaged children. She has been on the board of directors for the Help-A-Child Foundation, River Oak Center for Children, Conklin Foundation and the Weatherby Foundation International. She makes every effort to use each hunt as a venture in not only conservation but in humanitarian efforts. She loves to bring medical supplies and administers first aid – in many villages she has been the only source of medical aid they had ever seen. Renee is an amazing lady who goes above and beyond when it comes to trying to make a difference in the world.

5) Brenda Valentine

Brenda Valentine photo courtesy of Tuskessee Outdoor Expo

Last but certainly not least, is Brenda Valentine, the “First Lady of Hunting.” Brenda is down to earth and passionate about conservation and introducing women and children to the sport. She is from Tennessee, where hunting and being in the woods is a way of life. She is proficient with a large number of firearms and has won dozens of national and regional 1st place awards in archery competitions. She is an award-winning speaker, author, photographer, and TV co-host. It truly seems like there is not anything that Brenda doesn’t excel at. She is the National Spokesperson for the National Wild turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors program, the only woman to receive the Knight Rifle Master Hunter Award, a member of Bass Pro Shops’ RedHead Professional Hunting Team, Paris/Henry Co. Sports Hall of Fame, Women in the Outdoors Leadership Award, AMVETS Silver Bayonet Award, etc. In 2012, she was the only woman chosen by the Department of Defense to take part in the Outdoor Legends Tour II. This was a great honor, as it is a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation to active troops in southwest Asia and in Afghanistan as well as those military members who were hospitalized in Germany.

Even with all these accomplishments, Brenda remains humble and eager to help others. She hosts hunts for the disabled, supports wounded veteran projects, and loves to teach women and children about hunting and the outdoors. Brenda has designated hundreds of acres of her land to be a part of a Mossy Oak Gamekeeping project. She stays very busy with public speaking and loves to speak on the importance of conservation, land preservation, wildlife management, and patriotism.

Anything Is Possible!

These are remarkable women who have excelled in their art. Not only have they become phenomenal outdoorswomen, proficient in marksmanship, and excellent at tracking and pursuit but they have excelled so far as to win many awards that historically only men have won. Several did so while raising a family and while making a difference in their communities – their success is amazing. These women should be held up as mentors – to show others that anything is possible, even succeeding in the most difficult of terrains and winning the most elite of hunting awards. All while using their talents to focus on the gravely important task of conservation and education.leading-the-way_

Choosing the Firearm that Fits – for Women

When it comes to choosing the right firearm, everyone has an opinion. Yet choosing a firearm that fits properly is key to a successful and enjoyable day at the range.

“Glock is the best all around pistol for every shooter!” some people have told me… but until the Glock 43, there wasn’t one that I felt was a decent fit for the shape and size of my hand.  Sure, I could shoot the Glock 26 with great accuracy – but it wasn’t the right fit.  

“Every female shooter needs to start with a revolver” … well yes and no.  I do strongly advocate all new shooters start with a revolver – especially women who are a little hesitant to conceal carry due to their concern in remembering to pull the slide to eject a stovepipe in the heat of a life or death situation.

I have shot a lot of different kinds of guns in my life.  That is one of the many blessings of being raised in a very pro-gun family.  During all the courses I have attended, there has been precious little mentioned in regards to GUN FIT – for women.

Most avid shooters say  “just go try a few and you’ll know” – yes this is true, to an extent.  This is true for people who know what they are feeling for, who have a keen grasp of bodily awareness.  But I’ve taken several women to the range who severely lacked this skill. Not because they didn’t have the intellectual capabilities – but because listening to your body is a skill that has to be taught.

This article will be the first in a series of small pistol reviews for women, and to briefly outline what the proper fit is, and why it is important. Granted, this is a subject that can have numerous books written about it – because there is so many details involved.  The physics of gun recoil,  and how it travels through the body, the positioning of your hands, the tenseness in your wrists and elbows – all of this comes into play and is absolutely fascinating!  All this, combined with the science of ballistics – each weight of powder, the shape of the powder grains, each caliber bullet all come into play in a very delicate art that has a tremendous impact (pun intended) in choosing a firearm that fits.

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When I was researching for my conceal carry weapon, I wanted the best of both worlds – I wanted a gun that was not only a JOY to shoot, but one that I could conceal easily, and still trust to be a sufficient tool to protect my loved ones. I was told such a gun didn’t exist – that you have to sacrifice less felt recoil in order to have it small enough to conceal carry.  For the most part – this is true. But after trial and error, I found a few exceptions. More on that here.

Newton said, “every action has an equal but opposite reaction.” In brief, recoil is the brief interaction of two objects, causing them to move in opposite directions.  Just like two ice skaters pushing off of each other causes them to each move backward. Felt gun recoil, is the result of momentum conservation. The exploding gunpowder propels the bullet forward.  The bullet has mass and speed – which is momentum going in the forward direction.  Felt recoil is the balance of momentum being pushed in the opposite direction.  If the gun has a larger mass, the felt recoil is much less. Now, this energy doesn’t just stop at the butt of the gun – it travels through your hand, wrist, arm, shoulder and throughout your body.  I’ve had family and friends tell me how funny it is to watch my hair fly back when shooting large caliber rifles – all because of the balancing momentum traveling backward through me.

The pistol should fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.  A good feel has a bit of heft in the grip, and balanced – not so forward leaning that it threatens to fall out of your hand. You want the grip to be centered in your palm – so that the energy flows through you in a central direction.  If the grip is so wide that the center is over the meat of your palm, it will be felt with a sharper, harsher, felt recoil.  We will discuss grip style and stance in a post about accuracy, here.

 

 

In the image above I am documenting how the pistol is sitting in my hand. The top left is a Ruger LCP .380.  The grip is narrow and centered in my palm. It feels a bit front-wards leaning – which gives it a very snappy felt recoil. The recoil doesn’t hurt in my arm, but it is front end snappy, which makes for a sharp sensation in my palm. In the top right is a Colt Pony .380. The stainless frame gives it a nice heft. It is centered in my palm and feels balanced in my hand. In the bottom left is a Springfield XDS 9mm.  Even though it is a single stack, the grip is SLIGHTLY too wide for my hand and the center of the back part of the grip is more over the meat of my hand.  So even though I can shoot it accurately, the felt recoil is MUCH harsher than the Kimber Micro 9 shown in the bottom right image. The Kimber, as you can see, is centered over my palm, has a nice heft, and a great balance.

So go head to the range – and notice how the gun fits in your palm.  This will go a long way in helping you find a gun that fits YOUR hand.

Why I Am Against Chemical Birth Control

I never knew there were options to birth control other than chemical contraceptives and barrier methods.

The concept of using chemical birth control until you & your spouse were ready to start a family is considered being responsible by many Believers – it was promoted as the RIGHT thing to do in most “Christian circles” I have been exposed to.

In a lot of cases, this can be attributed to ignorance or have been taught false information. There may even be some truth to the speculation that the reason your women’s health provider doesn’t bring up non-hormonal methods is that chemical birth control brings in a lot of money.

1)   God is the creator of all life.

  • Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
  • Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
  • Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
  • Psalm 139:13-16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
  • Job 10:8-12 “Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.”
  • Isaiah 49:1 “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.”
  • Job 31:15 “Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not fashion us in the womb?”

 

2)     Life is sacred because God created it. It should be regarded as very special.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
  • Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

 

3)     The Bible says that during the coming days of distress, as the world becomes more full of evil, people will not want to have children. Children will be considered a nuisance.

  • Luke 23:29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!”

 

4)     Our flesh pulls us towards self-centeredness. Many people do not want children because it will disrupt their current lifestyle or because they want to pursue their own self-focused goals. Children then, force us to take the focus off of our self. Self-centeredness glorifies/worships self instead of God.

  • Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”

 

5) God is at work in our life. There are no accidents. He has a plan for us. God is completely SOVEREIGN

  • Psalm 103:19 “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.”
  • Isaiah 46:8-10 “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done saying ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”
  • Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
  • Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
  • Job 12:10 “In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”
  • Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
  • Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.”
  • Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
  • Acts 2:23 “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
  • Isaiah 14:27 “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”
  • Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord when He delights in His way.”
  • Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.”

 

6)      Chemical birth control causes abortions

  • “The minipill, also known as the progestin-only birth control pill, is an oral contraceptive that contains the hormone progestin… The minipill thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus (endometrium) – preventing sperm from reaching the egg. The minipill also sometimes suppresses ovulation.” www.mayoclinic.com
  • “Progesterone-only pills are an effective method of contraception. They work by stopping ovulation, preventing sperm from reaching the egg as well as preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus…. The progesterone-only pill has a double effect on the reproductive system. The first is to cause changes to the uterus, namely thickening the mucus in the cervix (neck of the womb) making it difficult for sperm to get into the uterus. Also it thins the lining of the uterus so that it appears to be already bearing an egg, this way the newly fertilized egg could not implant itself in the uterus. The second change is to suppress ovulation…” www.dred.com
  • “Progestin-only pills suppress ovulation in about half of the menstrual cycle so the women who take them. But they prevent conception primarily by causing changes in the cervical mucus. The mucus thickens, making it difficult for sperm to get through the cervix. So even if you do ovulate, sperm won’t be able to make their way to your fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. What’s more, the progestin may prevent pregnancy by thinning the lining of your uterus, making it less likely than an egg would implant there even if one did get fertilized.” www.babycenter.com
  • “When the Pill is taken as directed, the estrogen and progestin work together to prevent pregnancy primarily by suppressing ovulation. This means they keep your ovaries from releasing any eggs. The progestin in the Pill has other contraceptive effects, too. It thickens your cervical mucus, making it hard for sperm to get through your cervix and into your fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg, if one is released. The changes in your mucus may also make it harder for sperm to penetrate the tough outer coating of the egg. Finally progestin thins the lining in your uterus, making it less likely than an egg would implant if it did get fertilized.” www.babycenter.com
  • “However, ovulation may not be consistently suppressed on POPs. Five percent of women using POPs will have an unintended pregnancy within the first year of typical use. Perfect use rate is 0.5%. The change of becoming pregnant increases with missed pills. While the overall risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy is lowered by this method, any pregnancy that does occur is more likely to be ectopic.” www.mckinley.illinoise.edu
  • Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic, said “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” www.prolife.com
  • Dr. McCarthy de Mere, a medical doctor and law professor at the University of Tennessee, testified “The exact moment of the beginning of personhood and of the human body is at the moment of conception.” www.prolife.com
  • Dr. Jerome Lejeune, The Father of Modern Genetics, testified that, “Each of us has a very precise moment which is the time at which the whole necessary and sufficient genetic information is gathered inside one cell, the fertilized egg, and this is the moment of fertilization. There is not the slightest doubt about that and we know that this information is written on a kind of ribbon we call DNA.” The late Dr. Lejeune of Paris, France, discovered the genetic cause of Down Syndrome. He received the Kennedy Prize for this discovery, as well as the Memorial Allen Award Medal, the world’s highest award for work in the field of Genetics. www.prolife.com
  • Paul L. Hayes, MD, Board Certified Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists “From medical textbooks and pharmacy references, to statements from the Pill-manufacturers themselves …. Beyond any doubt, the abortion-causing action of birth control pills.” www.prolife.com
  • All chemical birth control is either Progestin-Only or various combinations of Estrogen + Progestin. This is not just contraceptives that come in the shape of a pill, this is also how Depo shot, Mirena IUD, Implanon, NuvaRing etc work.

 

7)    In a nutshell:

  • Chemical birth control sometimes suppresses ovulation. It doesn’t guarantee that you will not ever ovulate, just that you probably won’t ovulate as often.
  • Chemical birth control creates a change in the hormone that forms the outer shell of the egg, making it harder for the sperm to fertilize. This hormone usually drops during a woman’s fertile cycle making the shell of the egg thinner and easier to for the sperm to penetrate.
  • Life begins at conception. Once the sperm fertilizes the egg it forms a Zygote. This tiny, tiny baby has ALL of its DNA that it will ever have. It is a genetically complete human. It is just so young that it hasn’t had the chance to behave in all the ways that an older human behaves.
  • Chemical birth control causes increased mucus – makes it harder for the sperm to fertilize the egg. This also makes it harder for a zygote (baby!) to swim up to the uterus. It is creating an inhospitable environment – one that can kill a tiny baby.
  • The Pill causes abortions also by interfering with the flexing motions and the cilia movement of the fallopian tubes. This changes the transportation of the newly conceived child from the fallopian tubes to the womb. The baby starves to death. www.prolife.com
  • Chemical birth control causes thinning of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), making it hard for implantation. This is the biggest deal breaker. Fertilization has already taken place. A zygote is a REAL PERSON. Since the baby can’t attach to the uterus – it can’t receive nutrients from the mother. The baby starves to death.

 

8)      Chemical birth controls can be very dangerous for women to take

  • “Some physical and emotional changes take place that is permanent while you stay on the pill…. Larger breasts; weight gain or loss; reduced or increased acne; slight nausea; emotional sensitivity right before your period; mood swings throughout your cycle; irregular bleeding or spotting; breast tenderness; decreased libido …. And even scarier than the “mild” side effects are the serious health risks that accompany taking birth control pills. These include: Increased risk of cervical and breast cancer; increased risk of heart attack and stroke; migraines; higher blood pressure; gallbladder disease; infertility; benign liver tumors; decreased bone density; yeast overgrowth and infection (because they destroy the beneficial bacteria in your intestines, which makes you more susceptible to lower immunity and infection); increased risk of blood clotting.” http://bodyecology.com/articles/dangers_birth_control_pill.php#.UdiCp_nVBzM
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women with a strong family history of breast cancer may have up to 11 times higher risk of breast cancer if they have ever taken the pill.
  •  As a side note, I have a friend who lost part of her vision due to a blood clot behind her eye as a result to chemical birth control.
  • “Since the introduction of the Pill, there’s been an explosion of women’s diseases and maladies in a scope never experienced before in the history of medicine: Migraine headaches; PMS; Breast Cancer; Heart Disease; Heart Attacks; Strokes; Blood Clots; High Blood Pressure; Uterine Cancer; Infertility; Depression; Post-Partum Depression; Uterine Fibroids; Unnecessary Hysterectomies; Anxiety Disorders.” www.myhealthiestlife.com/2011/07/how-dangerous-are-birth-control-pills-for-womens-health/
  • Dr Natasha Cambell-McBride “It causes many deficiencies, it tends to create copper/zinc imbalances, and it causes women to lose all interest in sex, which seems very counterproductive. We need to teach young women about natural family planning and about honoring our cycles! The estrogens in the pill are all synthetic, and not the same molecules that the body produces. Instead they are called, “xeno-estrogens” and are harmful to the body. The pill also causes differences in the viscosity of the blood and can cause heart disease, stroke and a long list of problems. We’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in our understanding of the complexity of hormonal balance of the human body, we are in no position to be messing with that.” kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/01/dangers-of-the-birth-control-pill.html
  • “A woman who takes the Pill for two years before she’s 25 and before she’s had a pregnancy to term increases her risk of breast cancer tenfold. Because of blocked hormone production, women who take the Pill have decreased sensitivity to smell. Because sexual interest is communicated through smell, the Pill may decrease women’s sex drives. In Solved: The Riddles of Illness, Dr Stephen Langer writes that ‘The Pill… can cause severe bodily damage in hypothyroidism.’ Oral contraceptives may aggravate insulin resistance and long-term risk of diabetes and heart disease. Many women taking the Pill have reported weight gain- a sign of estrogen dominance and/or insulin resistance – as well as depression and even psychosis. It’s worth noting that the mini-Pill, a progestin-only pill, may not suppress ovulation or conception from occurring.” kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/01/dangers-of-the-birth-control-pill.html
  • “The pill completely destroys your adrenals and once those are out of whack, every hormone in your body is out of whack.” kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/01/dangers-of-the-birth-control-pill.html
  • “This is not information that should be kept from the public. Women deserve to be told the truth. They are not being warned that birth control methods are causing breast, liver and cervical cancer. They are not being told about the “silent killer” effect which is causing them to unknowingly abort their babies. They are instead being told that they are healthier on birth control because it decreases ovarian and uterine cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, out of 100 women with cancer, 31 have breast cancer, 6 have uterine cancer, and 3 have ovarian cancer. This is not a healthy tradeoff of risks that is worth taking.” http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/giroux/120214
  • “A 1996 analysis of epidemiologic data from more than 50 studies worldwide by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer found that women who were current or recent users of birth control pills had a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who had never used the pill. The risk was highest for women who started using oral contraceptives as teenagers. However, 10 or more years after women stopped using oral contraceptives, their risk of developing breast cancer had returned to the same level as if they had never used birth control pills, regardless of family history of breast cancer, reproductive history, geographic area of residence, ethnic background, differences in study design, dose and type of hormone(s) used, or duration of use. In addition, breast cancers diagnosed in women who had stopped using oral contraceptives for 10 or more years were less advanced than breast cancers diagnosed in women who had never used oral contraceptives.” http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives

 

So for me, the decision is primarily a moral one. I believe that God is the creator of life, therefore life is sacred. I believe that life begins at conception – you have all the chromosomes you will EVER have as soon as you become a zygote. You are a genetically complete human being. Chemical birth control affects the womb, therefore it is an abortifacient. My decision is also one made for health reasons. I have had some very bad reactions to birth control, regardless of the brand, pill or device used. Some of these being: weight gain, depression, anxiety, a tumor in the liver, liver and gallbladder pain, irregular bleeding, headaches, etc. With a family history of various cancers, including breast cancer, it is not a wise thing for me to do.

God has lovingly given women a reproductive system that has very clear signs to determine when her fertile cycle is present. In the next article I write, it will be to discuss the Fertility Awareness Method.

Gallbladder Pain & My Experience with Gall Bladder Formula by Nature’s Sunshine Products

Your gallbladder is quite an amazing organ! It is located on the right side of your abdomen, close to the edge of your ribs. It is about 3-4 inches long and pear shaped. It is nestled just under your liver and connected to the liver’s bile ducts. It is one of the components of the Biliary System. Many years ago, bile used to be called Gall – hence the name Gallbladder.

gallbladder

Image from WebMD

In your body, you will have worn out red blood cells. Once they reach the spleen, they are filtered out of the blood stream. The spleen then breaks them down into bile salts and other particles. The spleen then sends these bile salts down to the liver. The gallbladder stores bile that is produced by the liver. The liver also sends waste and bile salts into the gallbladder. The bile produced by the liver helps to break down and digests fats. The gallbladder not only holds the bile – but it concentrates it. The result is a smelly greenish yellow paste that is slightly acidic. It has a strong bitter taste.

When you eat a fatty meal and the fatty lump makes it way down into the small intestine, it first reaches the Duodenum. The duodenum is the first section of the small intestines. In mammals, it is the primary location for iron absorption. This tiny segment is largely responsible for digesting foods by producing enzymes. When the fatty lump reaches the duodenum it triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin. This triggers the gallbladder to contract and release the bile into the duodenum.  The bile then helps to break down the fat so it can be further digested and passed on through the body.

Sometimes, when the gallbladder produces a stone it can become lodged. This can become painful! Some of the symptoms include:

  • thickness in the abdomen
  • fever
  • pain in the gallbladder area – dull throbbing or sharp stabbing. This pain is particularly noticeable after a fatty meal.
  • jaundice
  • nausea/vomiting
  • tenderness in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen

If gallstones are left for too long they can cause inflammation of the walls of the gallbladder and even infection. When it reaches the point of infection typically surgery is required.

There are two types of stones: Cholesterol Stones and Pigment Stones. Cholesterol stones are greenish yellow and are made primarily from hardened cholesterol. Up to 80% of all gallstones are cholesterol stones.  The pigment stones are primarily made of bilirubin. Pigment stones are usually dark in color. The cause of pigment stone is still relatively unknown. Bilirubin is another product that can be found in bile. It is the product of the breakdown of heme which is found in blood. Bilirubin is responsible for the yellow tint to some bruises and the yellow color of urine.

Several people have had luck if they are in the early stages (tenderness, mild pain) with a liver flush.  Since the gallbladder is so closely connectected to the liver, if you flush the liver it will flush out the gallbladder too.

My liver has had tenderness for quite some time. I have a small non-cancerous tumor on my liver, that is probably caused by extended exposure to chemical birth control.  By and by I have bouts of pain in my liver and it has spread to my gallbladder. A visit to the doctor produced inconclusive results.

A visit to my nutritionist and I found something that helped! It is called Gall Bladder Formula by Nature’s Sunshine.

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order Gall Bladder Formula here: mynsp.com/lifesupplements

I have taken two tablets twice a day – and by day two I noticed SIGNIFICANT relief from my pain. By significant I mean upwards to 80% of the pain.  I continued taking the product for a week – and all my pain was gone! Now I am not saying that this will cure the disease of gallstones – but it has helped me. I don’t know that I had gallstones, the doctor wasn’t sure what was causing all the pain. But based on my symptoms – it sounded like either gallstones or possibly an inflamed gallbladder.  I just wanted to find a way to help prevent it from getting worse. Several years ago my husband had to have his gallbladder removed – and I don’t want to have surgery 🙂 Yeah, I’m a wimp when it comes to IV’s and things. So far, this product has really helped!

Currently, I am studying Fertility Awareness Method so I can get off this birth control – not only for the moral reasons but also for the health of my liver.  I recently started taking taking Liver Cleanse Formula by Nature’s Sunshine too to help heal my liver. I don’t take the Gall Bladder Formula all the time – only when I have had some food that my gall bladder wants to make a fuss over. ‘

I am THRILLED with this product! The benefits came a lot faster than I was expecting. I would highly recommend this product to anyone!

This is where I purchased these products:  mynsp.com/lifesupplements

The customer service was VERY helpful. The website easy to navigate – and best of all, the shipping was VERY fast! Most often I get my products the very next business day. If I order late in the evening it can take an extra day – but MUCH faster than I expected!

Study of Davids Life – 1

My Notes – Sunday School – 5-20-12 – Bro Gary’s Homebuilders Class

1 Samuel 16:16-23  “Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.”20 And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. 21 And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. 22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.”

  • Grace = unmerited favor
  • There was grace evident in Saul’s life
  • It is easy to think that some people don’t deserve God’s grace. How often do we want to say “God is through with you, get out of my life.” Etc
  • NO ONE deserves God’s grace
  • God called Jesse
  • God is developing the inward man. We have to look inward, not on the outward appearance. God will take care of the external!!
  • Why did the Spirit of God leave Saul?
    • The Holy Spirit can’t leave Christians. This was before Pentacost. So in the Old Testament the believers weren’t actually indwelt with the Holy Spirit.
    • In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit “came upon” people, like Samson
    • The Holy Spirit works differently today. He now indwells believers. That is “being filled” with the Holy Spirit
    • Vs 15-16 –“And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.”
      • God gave permission to the demons to come upon Saul. The devil and his demons have to ask permission for everything they do. God will ALLOW us to go through some difficult times, even being tormented and tried, but if we rely on Him, He will provide the grace we need to get through it
        • Saul did not rely on the Lord. He disobeyed. He didn’t listen to Samuel
        • Saul did what he wanted to!
        • Saul ignored Samuel
  • Because of his willful disobedience God removed His anointing and allowed an evil spirit to oppress him.
  • The servants of Saul could see this. They told him to let him command them to go find someone to heal him. God used David to thwart the demonic oppression.
    • This was the grace of God in Saul’s life
    • The servants knew about David
    • It was PROVIDENTIAL – not an accident that David was chosen to play his harp for Saul
    • Be very aware of the people around you. God has placed each of them in your life for a reason. It is no accident who God puts in your life
      • We should share what God does in our life because God may be using you to bring grace to other peoples life
      • Relationships are VERY important!!
      • Be obedient to the Lord
      • Be attentive to the people around us
      • Vs 17-18 “So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”
        • God brought grace to Saul through David
        • God rejected Saul and chose David yet still urged David to show Saul Grace. This shows us that God will choose an unlikely way often to show us His Face.
        • “and the Lord was with Him”
        • A long list of characteristics (vs 18) …. And David was supposed to step into this role. We need to be preparing for developing the character of God for Him to use us.
        • Vs 21 “And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer”
          • David was prepared to minister to Saul
          • God was gracious for giving Saul a heart for David.
          • God will work in the heart of people – even when they stray, He is working in their hearts!
          • David became the armor bearer. He stayed very close to the kings presence. When Saul fled the presence and will of God, God loved Saul and said “you will not run from me” God wouldn’t let him flee. He sent David to be continuously in his presence.
          • Vs 23 the grace of God = David’s life was used to minister when the demons afflicted Saul, David played his harp and Saul was relieved. God was gracious and gave him someone to give him relief
          • Grace = unmerited favor to us from God

1)    Do not overlook the grace of God in our life

2)    We serve a God of grace

3)    Be Grateful!