Sunday, September 14, 2014

Save The Date! - November 29th

Here's your chance to dance off some of those 
Thanksgiving pounds and visit with friends both new and old.

Details to follow.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

-The Alexander Family

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Someone recently wrote asking for our family's opinion of contemporary Christian music and women wearing only skirts and dresses. Our reply follows: 

Timmy and I (Joy) have a unique perspective on this topic because we are from a denomination that encourages women to wear skirts and considers contemporary Christian music (CCM) to be undesirable for healthy Christian growth. Having been very familiar with those teachings for most of my life, I have observed some things that I'd love to share with you.

My family didn't attend church until I was 11 when my step-dad who was saved but not walking with the Lord decided we'd all go to church for the first time on Christmas morning. A friend of my sister's had been inviting us to her church so we went there. 

We went back the following Sunday and my mom, sister, and I were saved and my step-dad rededicated his life to Christ. What I observed over the next year or so in my parents' transformed lives made an indelible mark on my life. 

Instead of spending Sundays boating and being surrounded by lots of drinking, church was now the highlight of our weekend. 

My step-dad, who enjoyed fixing up cars, bought a passenger van and began a Sunday School route picking up the friends we had invited from school. 

My mom, who I would have described as sullen and borderline depressed, became so full of joy and contentment. She would hum as she worked around the house and she smiled all the time.

As I headed into my teen years, the pull of my flesh was much greater than my desire to walk with God. Although I was always very compliant and didn't ever want to cause my parents any pain, I chose a path of deception and waywardness that broke their hearts. As a result, I was sent to our denomination's Christian school when I was in the 9th grade.

Timmy, whose church it was that we attended that Christmas morning when we were both 11 years old, also appeared to be a good boy but his path was similar to mine in that his heart was more focused on pleasing his flesh than the Lord. His parents sent him to the same Christian school when he was a senior.

It's interesting that we both had very similar experiences when we arrived at the school although we came a few years apart from one another. The chapel services were convicting as the preacher would talk about what they believed turning from sin and setting ourselves apart from the world looked like. Both Timmy and I, at separate times, chose to follow the path they set out for us. We each got rid of our music and did our best to do what the pastor suggested. 

It was the most dangerous time in my entire life. 

I now know what was occurring. My ears were being tuned to the pastor's preferences and standards and deafened to the Holy Spirit and His words to me for my life.

The young adults around us were all in various stages of following the pastor and thinking it was the path to victorious Christian living, falling away from the rules, repenting, then following the rules once again. No one could hear or discern the Holy Spirit's voice. 

I believe the only thing that saved me from ruin was my parents' testimonies. They never did stray from the Holy Spirit's path for them. They would ask God if it was wrong to do this thing or that, and if the Lord said it was not an offense to Him, they would follow God instead of man. They did it with humility and quietness, never flaunting their freedom in Christ, while allowing others to adhere to dress codes and music standards that they believed helped them in their walk. They were in every way non-judgmental of their fellow believers.

Having been in the opposite position of my parents in regard to following the denomination's preferences, I couldn't help but look around, when taught that particular standards are part of victorious living, at the others who weren't abiding by the rules and wonder how they could appear to have a close walk with God. I assumed either they weren't enlightened yet to understand what God "requires" or they were walking in disobedience. 

And that is where the hook is found. In following my church's teachings that are common to my denomination but not necessarily common to the victorious-living Christian body as a whole, I subject myself to the deafening process I described while also developing a sense of pride, albeit unintentionally, because I suppose I am more enlightened than the everyday, simple-minded believer. And if Satan can cause me to be proud, even over living a more separated life, he has the foothold he needs to take me down.

Satan doesn't care what type of bondage he uses to enslave believers. Some are easy prey to the slavery of self indulgence. They can't discipline themselves to deny their flesh so Satan imprisons them in their own bodies as they serve themselves and their selfish desires.

Others aren't as susceptible to a lack of self control so Satan sends a different agent to capture the believer, leaving them just as powerless and useless for the Lord. The bondage is called legalism and it is fueled by what appears to be a fervent desire to follow God in every area of their lives.

We know a group that fit this category well. They were as zealous for the Lord as any group you'd ever want to meet. So much so that they guarded even the guardrail areas of their lives so they wouldn't even come close to falling off the edge. Unfortunately, the extra precautionary measures that they used became the focus of their lives. In time they invested more energy into following their rules than they did pursuing a relationship with Christ. An unintended consequence was that they also became judgmental of the believers who were not adhering to the extra precautionary measures. And that is when Satan took them over - when they became proud of how holy and religious they were.

You know this group of people as well as I do. They are called the Pharisees. In their narrow-minded view of how to live a godly life, they rejected the Author of Christianity. They dismissed Jesus because He didn't follow the rules they had established. Their rules blinded them to the voice of God and they eventually killed Jesus who came to give them real life.

There is a way to know if you are around believers who are leaning toward legalism. Do they accept completely and wholeheartedly someone who says they've studied the scripture, prayed, and sought the guidance of other believers and they have decided the wife and daughters will continue to wear pants and shorts and as a family they will promote CCM throughout their household?

All legalists will accept someone who they feel has not yet reached the enlightened stage. They will even reach out to the outcasts of society to evangelize and help them. But the end point must be conformance to the church's standards. To simply say that the Holy Spirit has led you to a different conclusion will not satisfy the true legalist. He will not consider you capable in your ability to hear from God and will dismiss you as an incompetent believer.

We have observed three primary types of people who are drawn into legalism above a relationship with Christ. The first is the person who truly loves God and is very appreciative for their salvation. They will do anything and everything they can to please the Lord. If they hear of this standard or that, they quickly submit to the pastor's guidelines as they see no sacrifice too big to give for the God who saved them. The second type of believer is one who struggles fiercely to bring their flesh under Christ's control. They see a legalistic church as a prison they enter voluntarily in hopes of it helping them better control their flesh. The third group that we've observed is parents who are fearful that their children will fall away from Christ. These parents are drawn to a church that promotes rule-keeping in hopes that it will come alongside them in keeping their children far from the enemy's reach.

Almost 40 years of observing Christian life in the church has caused us to notice something else recently. Dedicated believers in Christ who truly, wholeheartedly want to serve God, are searching fervently to find like-minded believers. These couples are tired of nominal Christianity and lukewarm churches and they want something more for themselves and their children. 

The families are thrilled to find a good church with high standards, sound preaching, and people who love the Lord. These moms and dads are often first generation genuinely committed Christians whose parents raised them in lukewarm churches. Having come from mediocrity, their search for a truly dedicated group of believers with which to worship is all the more urgent. 

Sadly, many of them are stumbling into the very churches we had to break free from in order to hear Jesus' voice above a man's. But they don't know it. 

This would describe the parents of most of our friends who attended the Christian school with Timmy and I. Their parents were gloriously saved and there was nothing they wouldn't do in sincere gratitude and love for the Lord. The standards didn't phase them. They gave up everything the church suggested would help them live victoriously. They gave it up gladly. Their love for the Lord was forever new and fresh as first generation committed Christians.

However, the second generation - their children - did not fare well. Not having had the dramatic salvation or rededication story of their parents but rather being subjected to the deafening of the Holy Spirit's voice, through the constant practice of equating a victorious walk with God to following man-made preferences, they were left blind and hopeless. The vast majority, actually almost all the students in our graduating class, have completely left the church - completely. No God at all. 

They never could quite measure up to the church's definition of "good" or "holy" and they finally gave up. Some gave up while at Bible college. Some gave up several years and babies into marriages. An entire wasteland of people whose ears were deafened to the Holy Spirit until the enemy's voice was loud enough to lead them into slavery.

May we be wise to the schemes of the enemy - whether they be evidenced in the obvious destruction of a godless, sin-saturated life or the subtle devastation of the legalistic church - as both smell of the pit.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

WIT Singles Conference


This has been excerpted from Elliott's blog In The Reality. Our family highly recommends this singles conference. We have seen so much fruit in our marriage and family from the path of openness and brokenness that we discovered in this seminar.

Please contact Elliott if you'd like to catch a ride to the singles conference July 10th - 13th in Indianapolis.


Posted by Elliott 

Great Conference

I have really been blessed by the testimony of Paul and Jenny Speed. Below is a conference that they have put together for singles. I went to this event last year and I learned a lot of great stuff that I have been using in my spiritual walk. Much of what I have been sharing on my blog was learned through this ministry. I am hoping to make it out to one of these events again this year. I would encourage everyone to prayerfully consider going to this conference.

Scholarships are available for those who would like to go but don't have the money. Contact me for information;

The following is copied from
WIT ALIVE Singles Conference Overview
A Life-Changing Conference for Singles!
During the past several years, Paul and Jenny have had the joy of speaking to thousands of young people across America. They have watched as many of these same young people find “Mr.” or “Miss Perfect”, but are soon sitting before them in tears, disbelief, and hurt. They are searching for answers to issues they are facing in their marriage that they never expected to encounter. As the Speeds began to counsel these young couples, they thought of how much heartache and damage could have been avoided if only these couples had learned certain truths BEFORE they married and not after. Thus, the idea of “WIT for Singles” was born!
“Whatever It Takes!” Singles Conference promises to be a life-changing, world-altering weekend! We will dig deep into our hearts and souls to expose all the hidden lies and strongholds that have kept us from becoming the person God has created us to be. The goal of this conference is to help you identify the areas of your life that need God’s wisdom and understanding applied to them. Not only will it prepare you for marriage, but it will prepare you for Life! You, by the grace of God, will never be the same!
Conference topics include:
  • Love God, Live Life!
  • Openness and brokenness
  • Exposing lies that shape your thinking
  • So, who is your “real” enemy?
  • How to throw your bags overboard!
  • Hanging on when you should be letting go!
  • Moral purity in an immoral world
  • How do you find Mr. or Mrs. Right when everything is wrong?
  • …and much more!
Attendees must be 17 years of age or older.
Click here for upcoming Conferences and to Register.

Since 2005, Paul and Jenny Speed have had the joy of speaking to thousands of young people across America. They have helped many of these young people find freedom in their lives and a deeper love for God. The Speeds hearts’ desire is to equip young people by giving them the tools they need to walk in freedom and truth, and to empower them to be world changers! Out of this desire “WIT for Singles” was born!

“I came here blaming so many people for my anger and bitterness and now realize my need for personal responsibility. I have realized that the very people I have blamed are the ones I need to ask forgiveness from.”

 “I was blown away by the honesty! I expected to meet all these “perfect” people who were holier than thou and was surprised to see people being so real and transparent.”

 “I came here knowing that there were things in my life that I needed to take care of.  I’m ready to go home and confess.  I hate my sin!”

 “Praise Jesus for all the ways I have found freedom and growth through this weekend.”
 “I have learned this week that I must be 100% open and broken to have victory. WIT has changed my life forever! You guys rock!”

“Thank you for investing in my sons this past weekend. You guys are awesome!!!
All three were so grateful to have a place to go where Christ is glorified and practical help in solving sin issues was the norm. Thank you so much for being real and relatable.”

“I want to thank you for sacrificing your time and energy to do the singles conference! My life truly has changed from living in bondage of fear and unbelief which was the root of a lot of other sin in my life. I am AMAZED over and over at God’s amazing grace and how ‘my chains are gone and I’m set free. My God my God He ransomed me, and like a flood His mercies reigns, unending love, AMAZING grace! He is Forever mine!!!!’”

“I just wanted to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! I attended the Singles Conference this past weekend and was blessed VERY much by it. It was definitely life-changing!”

“This weekend was way more than I expected. God showed me so much about how to identify and break the chains of bondage and lies. It was a HUGE encouragement to meet other singles my age who share the same beliefs and values regarding Christ and relationships! Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one, but now I know there are many more of like faith and we are continuing to keep in touch and support each other. Thank you, Paul and Jenny, for teaching us so much and bringing us together!"

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Elliott's New Blog


Elliott has a new blog that can be found in the sidebar and at this address

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Alexanders ~ 2013


Sheridan turned six! 

Harrison turned twelve!

Sullivan turned fourteen!

Oliver turned twenty.

Elliott turned twenty-two.

Meredith happened to be visiting with us for her birthday because Stephen was deployed. 


One of the things we enjoy as a family is a shared love of Christian music between the generations. Because of the way music has ministered to us, Timmy has prioritized taking all of us to concerts whenever our favorite musician-ministers are in town. 
This year was really great as we enjoyed seeing many of our favorites.

We had to do some fancy footwork with evening milking to make it to the 
Phillips, Craig, and Dean concert 3 hours away.

We dressed in our "Gomer-orange" fan club colors
 when we went to see Third Day.

Oliver usually brings along his harmonica case for the artists to sign.

We got in line several hours early to get good seats for the Steven Curtis Chapman concert. 
Some of the guys made a dinner run to Chick-fil-A and we ate while we waited in line outside. 

Performing with SCC were Jason Gray and Laura Story. 
All three of the artists ministered from a place of brokenness, evidenced in their testimonies of great loss, handicaps, and sorrow. Yet God is using their pain to spread hope into the lives of the listeners.
 It was the most powerful revival service we attended all year.  

This was our first time seeing Michael W. Smith.
 Sheridan is a big fan and loved the concert. 

Steve Green concluded a wonderful year of concerts. We absolutely loved
 hearing him sing all our Christmas favorites.  
Our family's love of music extends beyond concert attendance as it permeates our daily lives not only in the house but also on the farm.  For several years now the milking crew has filled the milking parlor with a music selection schedule that they decided upon: "Third Day Sunday", "Matthew West Monday", "SCC Tuesday" (because he is "Tuesday's Child"), and so on.

We continue to be thankful for Sullivan's namesake, Steve Riley,
 for introducing us to a world of God-honoring music.

Summer Fun


We had a great preview of summer in March when Sullivan, Harrison, Sheridan, and I accompanied Elliott to Florida where he attended a conference. After we dropped him off, we headed to Disney for a super, fun-filled mini-vacation. 

Though it was snowing back home, we were swimming and playing in the warm sunshine. 

We had fun strolling around Downtown Disney where they make the most beautiful treats. 

The kids love the Lego creations and the Lego store. 

What a neat place with fish tanks all across the ceiling and around the building. 

We had fun watching a mime perform on Disney's Boardwalk one evening. 

What a great little vacation!

Since the farm's delivery route shifted to include weekly trips to Williamsburg, we thought it was the perfect summer to get Busch Garden's season passes. 

We enjoyed bringing along Meredith, Margaret, and Oma sometimes. 

Margaret loved the preschoolers water area where they had shows throughout the day.

A teenage girl complimented Sheridan on what appeared to be a cowgirl fashion statement. However, the boots were strictly for the purpose of adding extra height so Sheridan could ride Apollo's Chariot.

Just strolling through the beautifully maintained grounds is refreshing. 

The younger kids enjoyed passes to the water park as well. What fun!

Meredith and Margaret came for a visit while Stephen was away training. 

We enjoyed a fun day at Busch Gardens, 

and plenty of fun on the farm. 

Bruster's has half-off banana splits on Thursdays if you bring a banana,
 so it is an Alexander weekly tradition to take advantage of this yummy treat!

We fit in a girls' day out and loved a trip to the Cheesecake Factory -
 complete with a shared slice of cheesecake.

Summer Projects

Sandwiched between the fun was a remodeling project on the cottage
 to prepare it to sell. 

We spent the longest days ever removing dead fall from the property,
 bushhogging, painting, and renovating.  

Everyone worked so hard.

 Timmy, as sweet as a school boy, surprised me by etching our names
 in the paint over-spray that he was scraping off the windows. 

Mission accomplished.

Summer also brings with it many hours in the pasture baling hay.

Sheridan even helps sometimes.

Sullivan has become a great tractor operator.  

Harrison is a stacker while Tim, Elliott, and Oliver throw bales.

Elliott's Farm

A neighbor asked if Elliott might be interested in buying his family's farm.  Here we are touring it for the first time.

It has a couple of dairy barns,


and several outbuildings that would serve him well.

It also has the most incredible field of organically growing mint. 

Elliott has experimented with drying it for tea.

There is a stream running along the property line. The kids have already made such happy memories swinging on a rope, at the cliff's edge, over the water and landing in the lush foliage.

The property has a house but we're not sure if it's worth fixing up. For now, the farm is home to Elliott's new duck and rabbit ventures and is a constant reminder of God's goodness to all of us.

Camp Hammer

                             Meredith's family welcomed Sullivan, Harrison, and Sheridan into their home for the second annual "Camp Hammer" while Timmy and I spent the week on a cruise.


       Just like last year, the week was packed with swimming, bowling, and many other activities. They began the week by going to the grocery store and stocking up on special treats to enjoy throughout the week. They also went out to have pizza at Sam's Club one night (a very inexpensive but fun tradition!) and on an ice cream trip to a local farm later in the week. 

 This year they were able to go to their first airborne jump. 


                                                   The kids had such fun ice skating.  

                                        Margaret enjoyed watching from the sidelines. 

            Stephen challenged Sullivan and Harrison to wrestling matches every evening 
after dinner so they could work on their "skills".

                    The kids helped Meredith with some projects needing attention around her house.

What an unspeakable blessing to have a grown daughter who enjoys spending time with her younger siblings.  Knowing that Meredith was taking as good of care of the kids as we would, Timmy and I were able to enjoy a completely carefree anniversary vacation. We couldn't be any happier with the wonderful grown girl Meredith has become. What a blessing she is to us! 

Anniversary Cruise

We celebrated our 29th anniversary with a completely relaxing cruise to the Caribbean. 


Lots of delicious food and fancy meals 

Lots of fun in the sun 

Our room attendant had a new towel creation awaiting us each evening, along with candy on the pillows, and the schedule of events for the next day.

 This anniversary trip was so special as it marked an important year of our marriage that was characterized by openness and brokenness. 


Although we school year-round, it's a tradition to kick off the start of a new year with a special outing. 
This year we opted for ice cream.  

We enjoyed including Margaret in our school day when she was visiting. 

Margaret was so cute  as she would recite words 
along with the kids during their computer Spanish lessons. 

Time for recess. 
Each start of a new school year reminds me of how very blessed we are 
to spend our days with our children homeschooling them. 

Welcome Jobby!

We rejoiced at God's goodness to bless Stephen and Meredith with another precious baby! 

Wanting for everyone to see the new baby, we drove like crazy to visit with precious John Bradford in between the farm's morning and evening milkings. 

What a gift this sweet newborn is to all of us!

Alexander Family Pictures

After a previous family picture-taking attempt failed, I was so thankful for the offer of a new friend to take the Christmas card pics for us.

Thank you, Rachel Coker, for fulfilling this mama's desire to get some updated 
family pictures!

The Annual Barn Dance

We look so forward to this event each year when we get to see our friends both old and new.

  We roasted a pig and everyone brought dishes to share

 Dancing in the barn loft is always so much fun! 

The boys constructed an obstacle course for some added fun this year. 

Harrison demonstrating the "Bale" Out Obstacle Course 

It was great watching the kids race through the course. 

The teen crowd was really competitive,  

but didn't compare to the wildly competitive dads!

 Watching the action

Catching up with friends 

 This year we also encouraged folks to bring their instruments for some pickin' around the bonfire. 

What a beautiful way to conclude an incredible day 
with voices and instruments joining together in song. 


Elliott is helping 6 year old Sheridan read a Christmas verse.

We love to visit Bass Pro Shop at Christmastime. 

 The younger kids were part of our church's Christmas play. 

We enjoyed a nice, long visit with 
Meredith, Margaret, and John Bradford since Stephen was deployed. 

Sheridan wanted her hair fixed like "Cindy Lou Who" from "The Grinch" so we braided it with a pencil in the center.


The "Eliminating Verbal Clutter Game"

We played a game for a couple of weeks where we tried to eliminate verbal clutter from our conversations. If you say things like "you know", "umm", or "like", the person who first catches you gets to take a piece of your candy. 
Included on the list of infractions were irritating and sarcasm. As one can see by looking at the containers, someone is struggling with those unwanted habits!

The  younger girls had fun making cookies with Meredith. 

The older girls had fun shopping after the little ones were tucked in for the night. 

Jobby chillin' on Uncle Elliott's shoulder.

Farmerdaddy was sweet to babysit so the mamas could go shopping.

The girls in their Christmas dresses 

We had a nice visit at PatPat and PaPa's on Christmas Eve.

Following the morning milking on Christmas Day, Sullivan read Luke 2 aloud, as is our tradition, before we began opening gifts.

Margaret was happy to get an American Girl Bitty Baby to love.

Sheridan was excited to get an American Girl wheelchair and the doll "Caroline." 


Harrison was thrilled with a new farm bike and a guitar. 

We were all excited about Sullivan's new accordion. 

We decided to do something different this year with the grown-up kids. Instead of spending money on things they don't need or can buy themselves, we chose to sponsor precious, underprivileged children in other countries. In honor of Stephen and Meredith, a little girl in Africa, born on the day they were married, will have financial assistance to meet her family's needs this year. The little boys sponsored on Elliott and Oliver's behalf share the older boys' birth month and day.

'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

Stephen calling from Afghanistan to wish his bride a "Merry Christmas."


The boys had fun on Christmas night going to a movie. 

We had such a great time visiting with the Hershbergers over the holidays.


We also enjoyed spending time at Oma's while the Hershbergers were in town, as well visiting with Granddaddy and Grandma, the Conners, and all the cousins.


The Civil War Charity Ball

 Becoming an annual tradition, we had so much fun at the Civil War Charity Ball that benefits the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. 

Sheridan is blessed to have plenty of brothers so she can enjoy many of the dances. 

Margaret was eager to have "Nana Joy" be her dance partner. 

What a sweet, sleepy-headed baby. 

And so concludes 2013 and begins 2014. 
God has been so incredibly good to our family this past year. 
He has met our needs and blessed us in more ways than we could imagine. 
May our lives be an expression in the year ahead of our gratitude and love for Him.