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Should I Keep Preparing For Marriage, or is it Time to Start Preparing For a Single Life?

“I thought marriage was coming, and soon. I thought I gave up the worldly approach to womanhood in exchange for a beautiful biblical picture that included husband, children, a home to be a homemaker in. And something went wrong. I gave up the world’s picture in exchange for nothing. I have nothing to show for it. I’ve spent 8 years in a holding pattern. I pushed off education, training, work, so nothing would be in the way of my getting married. Now I’m wondering if marriage is ever coming at all. Should I keep waiting and preparing, or should I go back to my previous plan?”

This is not only one girl’s question – this is the heart-cry of many young women today. Whether we swore off higher learning and work to engage in full-time waiting for Prince Charming; chose a college based on which one was most likely to provide an MRS degree; were so distracted by boys that we couldn’t focus on a single productive thing through our whole teens and twenties; or simply let the possibility of marriage coming any day now eat up our mental CPU and distract us from moving full-speed-ahead into anything else, most of us eventually realize this is not jibing with a productive, practical Christian life, and that it’s time to choose between our current track and a different one.

If this is the way we’ve been approaching the single season, yes, something does need to change – but it may not involve either of the options “keep waiting and preparing, or … go back to my previous [‘worldly’] plan.” The reason both of these options may feel wrong is because they are – they’re both missing critical elements of God’s plan for women. And no, the critical element is not marriage. … Read more →

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The History of Womanhood That Feminists Don’t Want You to Know

The recent naming of Nancy Pelosi as the “most powerful woman in American history” has sparked national discussion on both the history of women in America and the nature of woman’s power. As Speaker of the House, Mrs. Pelosi holds the highest civic position any American woman has held to date, and her hand in putting through the recent Health Care Bill will have huge historic implications. Though we don’t see it as a great advance for women to finally be oppressed by one of our own, this is undeniably a kind of power.

But behind this recent tribute to Mrs. Pelosi is this presupposition: “Women find their power in holding the positions of men – the traditional women’s role has no power. The power traditional women exercised in the past doesn’t count.”

Americans are ready to believe this because they long ago adopted a feminist view of history. … Read more →

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Announcing Four New Audio Messages

Well, we’ve got four new audio messages in the store (two of them free! Go download now!) on four topics we’re pretty keyed up about. At the very least, go check out the two free ones, and write and tell us what you thought! (You can reach us at botkinsisters@gmail.com) We love hearing your feedback.

It'snotaboutstayingathome

If you think God’s plan for young women is all about being modest, keeping pure, staying home, preparing for marriage, and waiting for Prince Charming… you will not like this message. But…

  • If you’re tired of a small and fruitless vision for single womanhood, and are wondering if God might want more from you…
  • If you’re frustrated with a lack of fruitfulness, real-world involvement, and opportunities to grow, be stretched, and exercise your gifts…
  • If you’re sick of legalism, idolatry, formulas, movements, bandwagons, Christian-subculture trends and man-made rules, and just want to get back to God’s timeless principles for young womanhood…
  • Or if you’re just trying to figure out what you believe and why…

…take a step back with Anna Sofia and Elizabeth, away from the narrow applications and movement trends, and reexamine the baseline biblical principles that should form the foundation of our vision of single womanhood. Discover a robust vision of spreading the gospel, serving the saints, reaching out to the poor and needy, being full of good works, exercising your gifts, strengthening your arms, working with your hands, making the most of your single years, seeking first the Kingdom of God, and more!

In this message, the Botkin sisters reexamine hot button issues like a father’s authority, marriage, singleness, college, jobs, ministry, giftedness, Phariseeism, pursuing fruitfulness rather than just safety, serving our families vs. serving other people, why feminism is not the big enemy, and of course, “staying at home.” Prepare to be more excited about being a single Christian young woman than you’ve ever been before!

ProblemGuy

You’re a solid young Christian woman. You’re committed to purity and wholesome relationships. You don’t hang out with “bad” guys. And you suddenly find yourself dealing with a guy who’s trying to play you, manipulate you, use you, entice you, or even abuse you. What do you do?

It’s dangerously naïve to deny that predators, manipulators, abusers, playboys, wolves, stalkers, and creeps haunt every circle – as do good guys simply having a hard time mastering their sin nature. And though we’re never responsible for sins men commit, it’s time to know our own power to resist and rebuke evildoers.

Drawing lessons from how Abigail and Bathsheba each responded to the same godly man when he was off the path, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth clear away legalistic relationship rules and formula-based approaches to “purity,” and focus on how to become a woman with the confidence to put the fear of God into men who are in sin. Hear straight talk on self-defense, dealing with a flirt, how not to be a doormat, a woman’s rights and recourses for resisting, combating manipulation, becoming spiritually strong, and the gospel’s hope for moving on from our own past mistakes.

Howtodevelopgifts

Have you ever struggled with purpose and fruitfulness? Yearned to use your single years more fully? Wondered how God wants to see you developing your gifts and using them for Him? Questioned how principles of home-based womanhood can really work out practically in tough financial situations and a failing economy? Then this talk was given for you. In this inspiring, practical, and game-changing message by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, discover the missing keys to a vibrant, fruitful (and economically viable) family life.

Adventurousfemininity

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by a mold of “biblical” femininity that seems small, weak, mousy, or useless, maybe it’s time to re-examine what characteristics God praises in a woman, and the forgotten reason God created woman in the first place — to stand at man’s side in adventure, discovery, progress, dominion work, and spreading the gospel. In this inspiring, humorous, and life-changing message by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, get challenged to go beyond your comfort zone; be introduced to a handful of adventurous heroines from history; be encouraged to embrace a more full-orbed picture of biblical womanhood; and prepare to have all your stereotypes of femininity smashed (with a tent-peg).

Botkin ProjectsEducationGirl-Guy RelationshipsWomanhoodWork
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A Princess without a Prince

As we pointed out in our last post, Princess Merida is a pretty conventional tomboy. However, “Brave” does not present a conventional happily-ever-after: its Disney princess is the first ever to not get a prince. From the beginning to the end, she is all the man she needs. …Which is handy, because in her world, there aren’t any others she can turn to.

Merida may not have been a particularly brave new kind of princess, but we believe that “Brave” presented the newest and bravest fairytale world in Disney princess history. Castles and tiaras notwithstanding, this brave new world is actually a lot more like ours, for two reasons. … Read more →

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Can We Have a Braver Princess, Please?

Twenty years ago, our mother walked down the Walmart Pink Aisle, past all the Disney-heroine Barbies, Disney-movie-inspired vanity playsets, sequined polyester fish-tail skirts with seashells, and itchy yellow off-shoulder Belle dresses, and decided, “Not for my daughters.”

We were 4 and 6, and like most little girls, were each on our quest for the holy grail of femininity, the all-inspiring vision of who to be when we grew up.  Like many mothers, Mom realized that the entire panoply of Disney “woman” options, from Snow White to Ariel and Belle, were not it.   … Read more →

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Our Egyptian Adventure

Many of you may be waiting to hear an update on our newest book project… and you will… soon. But first we want to tell you about an adventurous endeavor that we undertook with our brother Isaac, and are now ready to unveil.

nhedvd
Navigating History: Egypt — more information here

Several months ago, Isaac (with Dad’s blessing and encouragement) conceived and developed a vision for a six-episode series about Egypt that would take viewers from the top of the mountains surrounding the Valley of the Kings into the tombs under the pyramids. His goal was to take a team with cameras to explore the darkest and most secret parts of Egypt’s history and illuminate them with the light of Scripture.

But Isaac wasn’t about to have all the fun without us. He brought us on board at the beginning to help make his vision a reality. Though we didn’t get to be on the trip this time, this was our part of the adventure: We got to help man Mission Control and the snazzy project website while he and his team were on the ground in Egypt.

nadia-anna-navigating-history1
Anna Sofia and the not-yet-Nadia-Botkin editing B-roll images

No, we didn’t get to have the boots-on-the-ground experience of actually being there and seeing and touching Egypt. But we were enjoying plenty of action on the home-front with our family; doing things we had never done before and had no idea how to do. For example, we had to learn Photoshop and basic HTML, and had to write briefings for the team on subjects like Islamic architecture and ancient Egyptian medicine.

nawelle-elizabeth-botkin-navigating-history
Elizabeth and Nawelle hashing out website details

All of us had to work around the clock, marketing, managing the live broadcasts, writing articles and designing headers. And then, when he got home, the real work began – writing content for the 220-page companion book, on everything from biblical chronology to French mysticism to Shariah law to pagan death rituals to evolutionary history-revision to pyramid-building-theories (in which we discovered that aliens didn’t do it).

anna-sofia-botkin-museum
Anna Sofia does hands-on research on Egyptian heiroglyphs

We didn’t do this because we believed we had a biblical duty to submit to Isaac, or to be his junior helpmeets. We also didn’t do it because we particularly (initially) cared about proving that aliens didn’t build the pyramids. We did this because we particularly cared about Isaac. Isaac was about to take a big step, a bold risk, a fearless stand, and we didn’t want to miss that for the world! If Isaac was going to stand inside a mosque and call Muhammed a false prophet, and denounce Statism in front of the giant pillars at Karnak, we, for one, wanted to be on his home team. It was our way of saying to him, “We think what you’re doing is important – we think it’s important enough to put our money where our mouths are.” And we did it because our time of being with Isaac, and available to help him, won’t last forever.

Saying Goodbye
Sending the Navigating History team off to Egypt with prayer.

It was an experience we wouldn’t have traded for anything. We discovered a whole new world of ideas and broadened our intellectual horizons. We learned that sisterly duties don’t have to be limited to domestic things, far removed from what the boys are doing. We discovered how much fun it is to be part of a man’s world, even if it means taking the plunge into finding world politics as fascinating as they do.

elizabeth-and-isaac-brainstorming
Multi-tasking: Elizabeth compares notes with Isaac on Islam’s view of women over dinner prep.

Most importantly, though, we became much closer to Isaac; and we helped him accomplish his dream, making big strides as a dominion man and disciplemaker.

(And we ended up having enough time left over to still be able to write our upcoming book about relationships with boys. But more news on that soon. Stay tuned!)

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Introducing “Voices From the Past”

VoiecsofthePast

When we Botkin children were little, our mother would read aloud to us for a couple of hours each day. We loved the sound of her voice, and we loved the books she chose to read. She had a knack for finding books that would be both educational and exciting — not the twaddle that insults a child’s intelligence — and dramatizing them in a way that riveted us and imprinted them on our memory.

In the last few years, Mom has had many mothers beg her for tips on good literature for girls, when so much of what’s available is fluffy, saccharine-sweet, or unrealistic — especially, they ask, books with good role models for their daughters. Where are the figures young girls are supposed to be looking to for examples? Though much of it is re-told through a feminist lens, or simply not told at all, America has a history of great stories and great heroines — you just have to know where to look. After years of collecting little-known diaries, memoirs, and letter-books of such American heroines, our mother decided to combine her cache of good stories with her love of reading aloud, in this exciting new audio book series.voices_220

Introducing “Voices from the Past”
The Historical Heroines Audio-Book series by Victoria Botkin

This summer, our family dove into making Mom’s idea a reality. She wanted to produce high-quality audio books, drawn straight from the words of the historical heroines themselves, and enhanced with period music and sound effects. We previewed dozens of book options, chose four favorites to begin with, and spent the next couple of months working on researching, editing, recording, editing audio, arranging and composing music, and designing the cover art.

Anna Sofia edits the letters of Abigail Adams, and adds historical commentary.
Anna Sofia edits the letters of Abigail Adams, and adds historical commentary.
Research.
Research.
The Voice, at work.
The Voice, at work.
17-year old Lucas placing the sound effects.
17-year old Lucas placing the sound effects.
Elizabeth takes the maestro's chair.
Elizabeth takes the maestro’s chair.

The most fun part was researching the popular tunes of each book’s era, arranging and recording them, and placing them into the most fitting places in the audio books. Our brother Ben, a gifted composer, was too busy preparing for his wedding and working on other projects to do the music, but he let us requisition his composing station for a couple of weeks. You can hear a few of our musical attempts here:


The Old Chisholm Trail


Duke of Kent’s Waltz


British Grenadiers


Johnny has Gone for a Diplomat

Projects like these always make us reflect on the diversity of opportunities that can be explored by girls that work with their families. Plugging ourselves into our family’s endeavors has opened up many new avenues and interests we’d never dreamed of. It also reminds us that femininity is not limited to the trends of generic “feminine” activities (baking muffins, knitting tea cozies), but can include any manner of activities that help and support one’s family in the context of the home. We’re inspired by our friends who, for instance, help out in the family concrete business, do bookkeeping, help run a family bakery, help research alternative energy solutions, do market gardening, and more. One of our favorite historical examples of this highly competent, dominion-oriented femininity is Eliza Lucas Pinckney, whose story made it into our audio book series (see below.)

And so — after a couple of rigorous months of family teamwork — here are the finished products.

Abigail Adams: Her Letters

abigail

The letters of Abigail Adams bear faithful and moving witness to one of the greatest epochs of world history: the American War for Independence. They also attest to the remarkable life of a wise and witty New England woman who was her husband’s chief adviser and war correspondent, who raised and educated four children, managed a farm on a war-time budget, and served her country as its ambassadress and First Lady. This spell-binding narrative takes the listener from the bustling hub of Boston, to Penn’s Hill, where Abigail stood with her son and watched the slaughter of her people and Charleston going up in flames, to the glittering courts of Europe, where she came face to face with the perpetrator of these crimes, King George III himself.

A Bride Goes West

bride

A well-bred West Virginia bride begins the adventure of her life when she marries a young Montana rancher, who takes her back with him to share his life among the cowboys. Follow Nannie’s adventures in adapting, with grace and pluck, to her new life in the Wild West — one of the few white women there, trying to bring civilization to the range, amidst a host of rowdy cowboys, Indians, and outlaws. Colorful and unforgettable characters, cattle roundups, bucking broncos, Indian attacks, and pioneer spirit, make this a thrilling Wild-West-show of a story. Nannie T. Alderson’s tale is a true story of honor, courage, resourcefulness, and faith, on the range.

The Letters of Eliza Lucas Pinckney

pinckney

When 16-year-old Eliza Lucas’s father was deployed to Antigua in 1740, he left the management of his household and three plantations in Eliza’s capable hands. In these lively letters, she describes her adventures handling her father’s affairs, cultivating and exporting indigo, educating her sister and the black children on the plantations, and helping to build up the economy of her fledgling colony through her many business schemes. Hear her words of encouragement and exhortation to four generations of men in her family, including her two sons, both Revolutionary War heroes, over the full and fruitful lifetime of this great mother of our country.

An English Family in the American Wilderness

wilderness

In 1831, Rebecca Burlend, with her husband and five small children, said goodbye to their homeland of Yorkshire, England after years of struggle to survive as tenant farmers, and emigrated to America. Through her first-hand account of moving to a new country, we can feel the anguish of standing on the deck of a ship, watching one’s homeland disappear into the distance, the experience of traveling steerage on an Atlantic voyage, and then of the pioneer’s experience in what was truly a New World — the virgin wilderness of the interior of the continent — and their family’s struggle, ultimately, to prosperity. A true picture of the stark beauty, hard work, and hope of the pioneer adventure.

We are having a 20% introductory sale on the individual audio books and a 30% sale on the entire series. Go here for more information.

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Why Sarah Palin Inspires Us

The nation is aglow over the manifold triumphs of women over the last century, reaching their climax during this years’ election. Women have never been so close to holding the “highest” position in the country, that of Chief Executive, and woman’s collective journey has been a major political theme this month. In Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, she made an impressive statement, putting a face on how far our nation has come: “My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for president.”

Powerful women on all sides are taking big strides — and will be bequeathing quite a future to their daughters. That means us. How should we see this future, and how should we respond to their example? … Read more →

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The Adventures of a Pioneer Bride Down Under

Genevieve Smith, our beloved friend and co-laborer, and one of the most visionary and devoted daughters we know, was given in marriage to Pete de Deugd of Ballarat, Australia, earlier this year.

As an unmarried girl, Genevieve was a sterling example of a joyful, creative, gung-ho girl who threw her whole heart into serving her family in their mission. Now that she’s married, she is an example of an intrepid, stalwart, and resourceful pioneer bride.

At age 20 Genevieve left her family, but after a change of heart returned home to help her family in pioneering the homeschool movement in New Zealand. (You can read her testimony here.) She is now tremendously grateful for the ways she prepared for marriage during those years at home — preparing her heart, improving her mind, and strengthening her arms for the adventure of wifehood and motherhood.

Here is a report from Genevieve on these first few months of marriage.

(more…)

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Should Girls Read Books Written for Boys?

Our friend Joshua Phillips of BallantynetheBrave.com has received many questions on whether boys’ literature is appropriate for girls to read as well. Joshua asked if we could also write something addressing this question, from our own perspective as girls.

Why Girls Should Read Boys’ Adventure Literature

By Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin … Read more →

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