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Announcing Our New Favorite Blog!

Our brother Benjamin has just launched his brand new website, www.BenBotkin.com, a rich repository of commentary on the theory, philosophy, theology, history, mechanics, science, technology and future of music. You will also be able to hear samples of his latest compositions. But don’t waste time here reading about it: go here to check out the site for yourself.

If you have not yet seen our brother Isaac’s fascinating filmmaking blog www.Outside-Hollywood.com, be sure to visit there as well.

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A Wonderful Testimony

Dear Anna Sofia & Elizabeth,

I have been greatly blessed through your book, So Much More, and your film, Return of the Daughters. Thank you so much for being willing to combat the evil philosophies of today, and speak to women about their biblical roles.

Here is my story:

I was a rebellious teenager. At ages 13-15, all I could think of was having fun, being cool, and catching boys’ attention. My mother continuously prayed for a change of heart it me, but I was determined to run my own life and do what I pleased. I often got angry with my mother for trying to steer me in the right direction, and would many times try her patience to the limit. I also didn’t have a good relationship with my father. I often mocked him, and pushed him aside. I was always jealous of my two brothers; I would use my jealousy to justify my actions against my family.

Then, the Lord began to work in my heart. My family attended the Jamestown Quadricenntenial put on by Vision Forum in 2007. While there, my father bought me your book, So Much More. I really wasn’t planning on reading it, but on the trip back home, I opened it up and started reading. I couldn’t put it down! I was fascinated by the testimonies of the young women, and the biblical truths in the book. I began to feel convicted by the way I treated my family, especially my father. I started to get things right with my father, my mother and I started having a wonderful relationship, and I stopped being jealous of my brothers. Our family was finally getting along! My parents bought me Return of the Daughters for Christmas that year, and again I was inspired to be the young woman God had created me to be. The Lord was doing a marvelous work in me. Little did I know what blessings He had in store for me in 2008.

My father and I became really close in the early months of ’08. We’d go for hour long walks and just enjoy time spent together. My mom and I were becoming friends, and my brothers and I were getting along splendidly. Then, in May, our pastor’s eldest son asked my father for permission to court me. My father “grilled” him intensely, and gave his permission. We both knew that the Lord was bringing us together, so B. wasted no time in getting my dad’s blessing to marry me! (We courted for 23 days before B. asked me to marry him!) We were married on August 23, 2008, under a tent in my parents’ backyard, surrounded by family and friends.

As of now, we have been happily married for about 8 months, and we are expecting our first child in July! The Lord has showered His blessings on me! If He hadn’t prompted me to read your book, I probably wouldn’t have started to change. The clear message of embracing my God-given role as a daughter, then as a wife and mother, tugged at my heart. I turned from the world and returned to my Savior.

Thank you, again, for your book and film. I look forward to teaching my daughters about their roles, and watching them go from our home to their husbands’ homes.

May the Lord God bless you both for your faithfulness to Him.

In Christ,

L.

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Crossroads 09 — Conference Recap

Our family is praising the Lord for a wonderful “Christians at the Crossroads” conference. 700 people came from around the country — some from as far away as Washington state and the Bronx — to join us for this symposium on family relationships in tumultuous times.

Conference HQ was the Historic Columbus Ironworks, the Confederates’ largest manufacturer of naval machinery.

One cannon still held at the Ironworks was named the “Ladies’ Defender,” cast from brass collected by the city’s women.

The most popular (and most fun) talk of the conference was a panel with all seven of us siblings on Brother-Sister Relationships.

Coordinating our remarks.

Noah, 13, brought the house down trying to think of benefits to being the youngest.

Enjoying talking with girls afterward.

Our wonderful mother, Victoria Botkin, speaking from her 28 years of experience mothering and homeschooling.

Answering questions afterward.

Luke, 15, takes a turn manning the Western Conservatory table, beside our friend Martin Selbrede, representing Chalcedon.

We steal into a back corner to work on our upcoming speech.

The title of our talk was “Dominion Oriented Femininity — Ten Attributes of a Young Dominion Woman.”

Here our brothers speak on “The Difference Between a Playground and a Battleground and Why Young Men Must Live for Spiritual Warfare.”

The little girls are often the most fun to talk to.

Another panel discussion, this time on the 5th commandment, by the five eldest Botkins.

Candid camera: Caught taking a breather as the conference draws to an end.

Botkin LifeBotkin Projects
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Visionary Daughters Interviewed — 1st Installment

Here are a few questions a journalist recently posed to us, with our answers.

Interviewer: When and how did you start your blog? What role did you think you needed to fill with it, what purpose does it serve?

A&E: We began “Visionary Daughters” three years ago, upon finishing our book So Much More, as a way to inspire and encourage other young women to think and live biblically. We want to see young women break free from the smothering expectations of society, to be visionary, to think outside the box, to educate themselves more widely, and to focus on constructive family relationships. We want girls to have an attitude of victory, rather than survival, and to understand the glory and vastness of the role God created for unmarried women.

We see a particular need for girls to build better relationships with their fathers, as the effects of this relationship spill over into so many other areas of their lives — they way they view God, the way they relate to men, the way they view themselves, the decisions they make regarding family, and more. In our generation, we are seeing a fundamental disconnect between fathers and children, and daughters are suffering from this lack of fatherly guidance, involvement, affection, affirmation, and protection. We’ve also seen committed daughters win the hearts of their indifferent fathers and build a wonderful relationship that transformed the entire family. In Malachi 4:6, the Bible instructs us in the importance of “turn[ing] the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,” and that is one of the greatest goals of our ministry.

Interviewer: Who exactly are you trying to reach?

A&E: Although we’ve received overwhelming feedback from almost every demographic — young and elderly, men and women alike — our audience has always been other young women in the same stage of life as we (single). These women come from all different backgrounds, financial situations, and nationalities, but we are united in our commitment to being biblically faithful, intellectually honest, and consistent.

For those who have heard about “stay-at-home” daughterhood and are curious, we want to give an open, honest picture of how we believe and live.

Interviewer: Do you agree with other Christians who say devout, Christian womanhood and feminism are not mutually exclusive? Do you consider yourselves feminists?

A&E: Some define feminism as the belief that women have rights. We absolutely agree that women have rights — we also recognize that all rights must be bestowed by some Higher Source. Feminism is not the source of our rights — God is the author of our rights, as our founders recognized, and it was He who gave women property rights, marital rights, and divorce rights (for example), as well as laws that protect women from abuse and neglect. The feminist movement declared woman able to author her own, new rights — to be like God, determining right and wrong for herself. We stand for men’s and women’s original, biblical rights — we stand against the selfish autonomy of either.

Some define feminism as the belief that women and men are of equal value. We believe they are also. The Bible declares men’s and women’s equal standing and value before God, and teaches this more consistently than any other religious or secular doctrine. In Scripture, man’s work and woman’s work are equally valid — wifehood, motherhood, homemaking and femininity are not belittled, and women are not guilt-manipulated to live and act like men. On the contrary; woman’s distinctiveness from man is praised and honored, and her unique role is held vital.

Speaking historically as well as theologically, Christianity is the only social, spiritual and political force that gives women true freedom and power. It is the anti-Christian religions (including Marxism, Islam, and feminism) that demean, undervalue, and exploit women; throughout history, it was the Christian societies that truly valued women, protected women and honored women (insofar as those societies were faithful to the Bible’s actual teachings).

One major antithesis between us and the feminists is their insistence on egalitarianism. God is a God of order, not of anarchy, and He created spheres of sovereignty and hierarchies of authority. Thus we would define feminism as rebellion against God and His created order; a pursuit of autonomy; a fight for the right to get our own way. This is why we see feminism and Christian womanhood as mutually exclusive, and “Christian” feminism as an oxymoron.

More questions and answers coming up soon…

Ask A&E
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Testimony from the Antipodes

Here is a wonderfully encouraging testimony we recently received from a young lady in Australia. It reminds us that the efforts of one faithful daughter can make a huge impact on her family, and that God can bring incredible blessings through any situation, no matter how dark. The faith, optimism and joy expressed throughout this story should shame any of us who are tempted to lose hope in our situations.

Dear Anna Sofia & Elizabeth,

I just want to say a big thank you for the articles that you have posted on botkinsisters.com, and for the amazing DVD “The Return of the Daughters”. Both have been a real encouragement to me, since I was introduced to them earlier this year.

Over the last several years, I have been through a real transformation in the way that I think and perceive life. I became a Christian four years ago (at the age of 15) – saved from a life riddled with rebellion against God, my parents and my Christian school. Since then I have been on an amazing journey with God, and He has taught me much.

The point of this email though, is to tell you how amazed I am at the way God appears to be moving in the hearts of daughters around the world. I grew up in a “super-church” in Melbourne, Australia. Just over a year ago, I had never even heard of the concept of “help-meet”; had no knowledge of the authority of the father in the home (my mother seemed to have more authority than my father…!), had barely heard of “submission” and what that really entailed, and was generally completely unaware that I was a real feminist-at-heart.

At school I was considered to be very intelligent, and was constantly praised by teachers, friends, my family, church leaders etc. Everyone seemed to have a different idea of what I should be in life – all of them involving a career of some sort. My chem/biology teachers encouraged me to become a doctor; my history teacher a historian; my English teacher a writer and the list goes on. But I was bored. In 2006 (the year I graduated from school), I read practically every course description on every major university’s website, and balked at the thought of every single one of them. They just didn’t seem to suit who I was – I wanted adventure, variety, something different… I just didn’t know what different was!

After getting the dux of the college, there was no question in my mind that I would be going to university. In fact, there never had been. But what to do? After much prayer, stress and anxiety I finally signed up for a Law degree in one of Australia’s most prestigious universities. I got in, but felt so uncomfortable about it that I deferred for the year and did a year of Bible college with my church instead. I now see that the Lord was strongly guiding my path.

During that year of Bible college, I was struggling to pay my fees. I had a job, but it wasn’t earning me the kind of money I needed to be able to pay my way through. Every time I prayed about the issue, a thought would come to my mind: I should work for my Dad (who owned and operated his own business)! I would constantly dismiss the thought, knowing that Dad had little money to spare and that time taken to help him would mean even less opportunity to earn money for myself.

One day however, I opened my Bible and it fell open to a verse in Proverbs. Here was the verse, staring me in the face (I had never noticed that verse before): “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” I instantly knew that, in obedience to God, I had to help my father in his business, regardless of the cost. I knew from Matthew 5 that the Lord would provide me with whatever I needed, and that I should not worry. So I approached my Dad about helping him one day a week – which was all I could fit into my very busy schedule (and even that was a stretch…!).

I am so glad that I did. Obedience to God is one of the most wonderful, rewarding things one can do. Here are some of the things that happened:

1) I was able to pay all of my Bible college fees (through a small amount that Dad could pay me each week, plus receiving donations from people and getting enough work with my other job)

2) The work that I did for my Dad encouraged, inspired and motivated him so much that the business rapidly turned around (he had been doing it tough for ages). Dad felt so released by the feeling of having someone to support him that he was able to get more sales, and became much more excited and motivated about his business that he had in any preceding year. And with my help (in sales, admin, project management etc.), we were able to get a lot more done as well. One example that nearly makes me cry everytime I think about it is an expo that Dad and I attended together. The year before, Dad had exhibited there, and had felt so discouraged that he very nearly didn’t go back. He didn’t get a single client there. However, I encouraged him to go and so we went together. With God’s great blessing, we picked up more clients and potential clients that day than I think Dad ever had before in his life!! God is so good!

3) Dad also felt hugely encouraged by having someone in the family not fighting against him, but fighting with him. The majority of my family complained bitterly about his desire to run his own business – we had much more money when he just had a normal job! But I really believed in his vision, and didn’t mind not having much, and I think that meant a lot to him.

4) This is probably the most exciting and rewarding one for me: in March last year I met my (now) husband at a Business breakfast I attended with my Dad. It is a long story, but to cut it short, one of the things that attracted him to me was my support of my father, his business and his vision. My husband Jonathan runs his own business too, and he wanted a woman who would work with him. Jonathan introduced me to the concept of “help meet,” taught me about submission through the Bible, about a father’s authority and the list goes on. He introduced me to the concept of homeschooling and home-making etc. etc. I felt like my eyes had been opened! I felt so excited about the possibility of living a life that I had never even been aware that I could live!

Jonathan and I were betrothed on November 24 last year with my parents’ blessing. I happily turned down my law degree (against the wishes of almost everyone I knew except my father and my husband). We were married April 19 this year, and the last six months have been some of the most blissful in my life! I am working full-time with my husband, am NEVER bored, have variety in my work beyond what I could imagine, absolutely LOVE working in the business, working in the kitchen, and doing as many things as I can to benefit my husband. Most of the people I know say that I am “wasting my life” – but I can’t help but be incredibly joyful at the way the Lord has opened my eyes and introduced me to a most fulfilling life!

Anyway, in February this year I watched the DVD you created. By the end of it I sat there in my chair with tears in my eyes – here I was, obeying the Lord, having been completely oblivious to the fact that there was a whole movement of daughters doing the same thing! It was the most wonderful realisation.

Anyway, I have now shown your DVD to one of my friends, and plan to show it to many others. I think it is a message that needs to be heard!

May the Lord richly bless you both,

K.

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It’s Here: Father To Son — The DVD Release

fathertoson

The Botkin family is pleased to make available one of our most significant products ever: a 6-part DVD series on the father-son relationship, titled “Father to Son: Manly Conversations that can Change Culture.” Click below to watch the trailer:

Fathers need to talk to their sons in manly and specific ways about the duties of Christian fatherhood. This series of informal conversations between Geoffrey Botkin and his five sons provides fathers and future fathers with a simple example of manly discussion about the pressing issues that weigh on young minds. Each of the five episodes tackles an age-appropriate discipline of manhood and how it is developed side by side with fathers.

The set also includes the bonus DVD “How to Talk to Your Sons” and over one hundred pages of discussion material and study guides in easily-printable PDF files.

Go to FirstPacificMedia.com to order now, and take advantage of our special introductory price of $60 (save $10)!

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Jennie Chancey on “Curriculum Advice”

From Jennie Chancey’s review of our mother’s two new CDs of homeschooling advice — “At Last: The Missing Link in Home Education Is Here!”

A lot of moms I meet wish they had older mentors who could guide them as they take baby steps into home education–or who could give them a reality check a few years into the journey. For them such a mentor is the “missing link” in home education and child training. I’ve been blessed to have my mother, my mother-in-law, and one other lady whose influence had a profound impact on both my husband and me when we were newlyweds just beginning this journey of parenthood: Victoria Botkin.

Matt and I first met the Botkin family shortly after our honeymoon, as we sat starry-eyed on a pew at church. The Botkins lived 45 minutes away from us and invited us over for a meal, then another, then more and still more until they moved away two and a half years later. We got far more than food. We experienced a spiritual and intellectual feast that gave us even greater clarity of vision for our goals as a couple and as a growing family. The Botkin home became legend and still lives in our memories, colored by the warmth of their fellowship and the depths of their conversation.

I’ve often looked back on the times we spent in the Botkin home and wished I had copies of our conversations on tap so I could replay them whenever I needed a boost or a shot in the arm of practical “how-to.” Well, now I’ve got exactly that, and you can get it, too!

Yesterday evening I received previews of two new messages Victoria has recorded for home educating mothers (augmented by sections recorded by her husband and children). Titled simply “Curriculum Advice,” these two messages are absolutely chock-full of practical, simple, breathe-easy guidance to help you create an atmosphere of learning in your home and lead your children to read, think, and communicate. Victoria explains things so clearly that you might begin to think, “This sounds too simple.” Don’t be deceived: It is simple. While training and teaching children is a lot of work and requires a great deal of sacrifice, it does not have to be stressful or difficult. Victoria demonstrates that we make it so when we load ourselves and our children down with textbooks and “methods” that we haven’t carefully examined or sifted through.

Be sure to read the whole review here.

Jennie is also sponsoring a giveaway of these messages — you’ll find the details in the full review.

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Male college students weigh in on “Return of the Daughters”

An email we received this morning from three male college students:

To Anna and Elizabeth,

We just finished watching your DVD, “Return of the Daughters,” and were very impressed. Having started to watch it at midnight, we decided to just watch 10 minutes of the video to get an idea of what it was like, but now at 2:05am we’re writing to you after watching the entire video, including all of the Bonus selections.

… We ordered the DVD after noticing the problems arising from young women leaving the home to go off to college and being instructed in the ways of the ungodly, leading inevitably to a breakdown in the family. Surprisingly, there is little or no information on the internet that directly addresses the question: “should our daughters go to college?” Thankfully, your DVD answers this question very well.

We have yet to see how the girls will react to this video (as well as your book), but we pray it will be received as well as it was with the three of
us men.

May God Bless you as you serve Him faithfully in your single years,

Your brothers in Christ,

L, Y and M

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Hannah More on the Education of Women

Hannah More (1745 – 1833) was regarded by England’s intelligentsia as one of the most learned women of her time. She was a member of the original Bluestocking Society, an informal gathering of educated women, which attracted some of Great Britain’s most influential men to its discussions.

Hannah More and her sister were notable, among other things, for assisting William Wilberforce in his crusade to abolish slavery in England. An expert on the social conditions of England, Hannah devoted much of her energy to improving the conditions of the lower classes. She also wrote a great deal of instructional literature for young women.

We would like to share with you one comment she made on the education of women during her time:

…in this land of civil and religious liberty, where there is as little despotism exercised over the minds, as over the persons of women, they have every liberty of choice, and every opportunity of improvement; and how greatly does this increase their obligation to be exemplary in their general conduct, attentive to the government of their families, and instrumental to the good order of society!

She who is at a loss to find amusements at home, can no longer apologize for her dissipation abroad, by saying she is deprived of the benefit and the pleasure of books; and she who regrets being doomed to a state of dark and gloomy ignorance, by the injustice, or tyranny of the men, complains of an evil which does not exist.

Hannah More, Essays on Various Subjects Principally Designed for Young Ladies

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Testimony from Ireland

Dear Anna-Sofia and Elizabeth,

I recently read your book ‘So Much More’ and it was instrumental in changing my views on my role as a woman of God, and I am so thankful for it.

I live in the U.K. and in September 2005 I began attending a teaching college, and I actually completed my first year there. I was a Christian, however my contact with Christian education had been very limited and it never even occurred to me as an option – in my opinion I was going to teach in the State schools and act as witness there, I could see no contradiction between being a Christian and teaching what the State required. However my brother-in-law and sister had very different convictions on education (they have 5 children and are home-schooling the oldest three) and they bought me ‘The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum’ by Rushdoony. Reading that book was the beginning of a massive change in my views of education, and I began to realise how essential it is to proclaim Christ’s authority in all things, of course once I realised that, I realised that I could not (without compromise) teach in the State schools. I began to discuss my new found convictions with my parents and although they understood and agreed with many of the things that I said, it was very much their desire that I should finish college and get a degree.

It was around this time that a friend told me of an American college called the Whitefield who offered courses by correspondance, and one of those courses was in Christian education, moreover my friend’s niece was planning on doing this course and so I would have someone to talk to about it! I was delighted, and my parents were encouraged to find that I could be trained in Christian education – however they still wanted me to finish my original degree. I felt torn as I did not want to disobey my parents, but I did not desire to spend three more years being influenced in humanisim at college. Nevertheless, I finished my first year at college and applied for the Whitefield and trusted that if it were the Lord’s will, He would give my parents a change of heart.

… I ought to explain that from the time I was very young, I had always maintained that I was not going to get married, and I felt that a mother could send her children to school and go and get a job herself. My sister’s example challenged this view, and on a previous occasion when staying with them I had read ‘Praise Her in the Gates’ – this changed my view on motherhood, and I was very keen to encourage my married cousins to remain in the home, but I still refused to apply it to myself and remained stubbornly determined that I was not going to get married. In my mind, marriage was for some people, but not for me.

About a month into a recent stay at my sister’s I read ‘So Much More’. I remember the day that it arrived my sister was looking through it and her first comment was ‘I like this book’ and then she sat and giggled to herself! I asked why, and she referred to your comments regarding singleness, and how it is not a gift for us to choose (my sister and brother-in-law greatly desired to see my views on marriage and femininity change). I began reading it, and was greatly convicted by it. I had thought that I was opposed to feminism and that I did not desire independence, but I began to see that there was much I did not know of myself! By the time I was half-way through your book I realised that my thoughts on marriage and my role were unbiblical and I repented of them (much to the delight of my sister). It also caused me to view the time that I would spend helping my sister in a different light, previously I had simply thought of it as helping my sister, but then I realised what a wonderful opportunity it was for training me in the running of a home and embraced it as such.

I spent six months with my sister and brother-in-law and it was a wonderful opportunity for me and from my sister’s example, and from practice at running a home (and even a house move!) I learnt much about my role – yet if it had not been for the change in my views, I believe that I would have lost much of the blessing that that opportunity afforded me.

I am now home, and my father has read parts of ‘So Much More’ (specifically the parts regarding college) and I believe that his own attitude has been changed by reading it. I’m now seeking to use my time to help my family and develop skills that will be useful to me as a wife and mother, and will make me a blessing to others.

Thank you so much for your book, it has been a blessing to me and I am so thankful that I read it! It has been such an encouragement for me to realise (through your book and your web-site) that although I do not necessarily know many people who share this vision, yet there are others out there who are living it out daily and God honours those who honour Him.

Thank you,
your sister in Christ
Rachel (19)

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