Our oldest brother, Isaac, is about to spearhead an exciting online video series designed to teach history, geography, and current affairs to a young Christian audience. He and his team will be starting with a 6-episode adventure history series about an expedition to Egypt, to help viewers understand Egypt from a biblical worldview. The team departs and the adventure begins in two weeks, for an educational journey you don’t want to miss!
As the guys prepare for launch, we girls are having the time of our lives helping with the research for this amazing project. Egypt teaches us so many lessons that apply to our present day. Through our research, we’ve been seeing in whole new ways:
How God works through history
How religion externalizes itself in a nation’s culture
What bad government does to the arts
What superstition does to the world of medicine
What bad theology (Islam) does to gender roles
What a nation of ruler-gods does to law
How art shapes the world-view of a society
How God judges infanticide and racial extermination
How hydraulic empires work
How the pyramids were built
What Greek and Roman influence did in Egypt
What the Ottoman Empire did in Egypt
What British and French imperialism did in Egypt
How modern Egypt is affected by its past
And much more.
If you’ve ever wanted a crash course in historic civilizations, government, law, economics, architecture, technology, sociology, and the arts – and how religious ideas drive all of these – you will want to join the Egypt expeditionary team for this incredible learning adventure.
Discover the Egypt that Abraham sojourned to, that Joseph sustained during famine, that God judged with the Ten Plagues, that the Hebrews were delivered from, and that Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to. See the wonders of the ancient world through the lens of a biblical worldview. Learn about the big issues of the world you live in today. Go to NavigatingHistory.com to learn more.
I just turned 25. Oddly, it seems a lot more than one year older than 24. The realization that I have lived a quarter of a century brings new awareness of the preciousness of time, the reality of aging and death, and the fact that life unfolds at a speed and in a way that I can’t control. I’m past feeling like my life is stretching out endlessly before me — I’m a good third of the way into it (Lord willing) and the ticking of the clock seems to grows louder.
I think these feelings are normal; observation has taught me that it’s at some point around a young woman’s twenty fifth revolution around the sun that she experiences a messy head-on collision with certain rock-hard facts of reality. Often it’s her point of disillusionment – the point when she finds out that the world is not what she thought. That life did not deliver what she expected. That things didn’t happen according to her plans. That she didn’t get her way and that her dreams didn’t come true. And to cap it off… she doesn’t get another shot. This is the big moral test in every girl’s life, and I am no exception. … Read more →
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 herefor more information.
We’re proud to introduce an excellent new CD message by our brothers Isaac, David, and recently-engaged Benjamin.
What Our Father Taught Us About Girls How to Relate to Sisters in Christ: A Practical Guide — by Isaac, David, and Benjamin Botkin
You can tell a lot about a nation by the boys are trained to treat girls. Will boys grow up with the ability to respect, cherish, and lead women into the future, or will young men continue to exploit and degrade women? Is it possible for American boys to rediscover the ways men were created to honor women the ways God intends for women to be honored?
This message reveals the attitudes three young men learned to cultivate as they listened to their father’s instruction, studied Scripture on their own, and then interacted with the fair sex with confidence, gallantry, and manliness. Get practical advice on how to obey the command to treat young women “as sisters, with all purity”: how to view girls; how to interact with girls; how to protect girls; how to handle flirtatious girls; and how to encourage and edify your sisters in Christ. Gain a vision for how to have meaningful and edifying friendships with those who are “heirs together of the grace of life.”
“About Girls” can be purchased here. Get a discount when you buy the bundle, including the companion CD:
What Our Father Taught Us About Boys How to Relate to Brothers in Christ: A Practical Guide — By Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
Why is it hard for girls to find the balance between flirting and shunning? How can girls keep their hearts pure? What responsibilities do they have toward young men? Is it possible to be “just friends”? Hear practical advice from Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin on navigating the tricky waters of relationships with boys, and how these relationships, properly conducted, can be edifying and strengthening.
[I] highly recommend it for parents striving to help their daughters navigate what can be (but certainly don’t always have to be) the tricky waters of boy-girl friendships and young women who are seeking biblical encouragement and advice on the subject. . . . a very important disclaimer: if you’re not ready to be convicted, to alter your perception of the young men in our life, and, by extension, to alter your behavior . . . don’t purchase it. — Jasmine Baucham
Our last article, “Why Am I Not Married?!?” has brought in our most diverse range of feedback yet. We’ve received some of the most grateful, convicted, excited letters ever (with the strongest support and thanks coming from young men, interestingly, though we didn’t write it for them). We’ve also had a couple of angry or tearful reactions. Mostly, though, we’ve been sent a wide range of questions, from how to become more eligible, practically, to how to deal with unrequited love, to how to react, emotionally, to the engagements and marriages of friends, while we remain unmarried. We hope to address each of these on Visionary Daughters soon. Today, however, we would like to answer this one.
Are you saying that if I’m not married yet, it’s my fault? … Read more →
We were recently sent the link to a very humorous satirical website: No Girl Left Behind (The Solution to the Marriage Crisis). Though the website is a farce, it plays on a very real panic we have encountered: an anxiety that not enough homeschooled young people are getting married these days.
The panic is summed up in the words of the site, “There are young people of both genders who wish to be married and are not.” … Read more →
As the only two girls in our family, surrounded by five extremely manly brothers, we always dreamed of having another sister. On June 11th, 2010, our prayers were answered: our younger brother Benjamin became engaged to be married to Miss Audri Vernier. At 20 and 19 years of age, respectively, they are making big plans for all that they want to accomplish for the Lord during the rest of their lives together.
Ben and Audri are one of the most inspiring couples we know. Though their abundant talents have opened up many tempting opportunities to them, they’re both passionate about surrendering everything to “seek first the kingdom of God.” They’re united by a desire to lose their lives in order to find them. Ferociously devoted to the Word, they fell in love with the fear of the Lord that they saw in each other.
As we were getting to know Audri, the two things that struck Ben (and us) most deeply were her humility and fear of the Lord, which shone so brightly that they actually outshone the qualities closer to the surface — her exceptional musical talent, her mature intelligence, and her delightfully sincere personality. You can hear the moving testimony of the Lord’s work in her life in our recent documentary “Homeschool Dropouts.”
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You can hear their musical talents coming together in this “Pavanne for Cello,” composed by Ben and performed by Audri.
Mother preparing her notes for next Monday’s session, with some unsolicited help
Last Monday evening our mother opened her online Titus 2 series, “Evenings with Victoria Botkin.” Women tuned in from computers all over the world, getting up to listen at 3AM in some times zones. Feedback is still pouring in. A few of the notes we’ve received on last session:
“I just want to say thank you so much for making this series available to me. This morning’s session was so edifying — a perfect reminder, and so worth getting up at 3:30 a.m. to prepare! I only wish that I could get more ladies to join us.” – D
“Last night was like OUCH! Very good, very convicting, and wish it had all been shared earlier in my life. Better late than never. Thank you for opening up your life with us.” – S
“I just listened to the first session and am so grateful. I needed to hear it, and so many of the questions I’d been crying out to God were answered.” – J
“As one of the ladies mentioned in her question at the end of the session, sometimes it is nearly impossible to find godly, older women who are “qualified” to give you the Scriptural counsel and encouragement you need as you struggle through the daily issues of raising young ones. Your willingness to be used by God to teach us younger wives and mothers around the globe how to love our husbands and children the way God wants us to is a blessing that I am already treasuring. Thank you, thank you, thank you…” – S
We have decided to make the Q&A time from that session available for free download. Listen to it here.
If you haven’t already registered, we’d love to have you join us for the remaining eight sessions, plus you’ll get full mp3s of any sessions you missed. Go here to sign up!
For years our dear mother has been a faithful (but mostly behind the scenes) exhorter in the forgotten principles of biblical wifehood and motherhood. So far, she has preferred to remain in the background as the secret bulwark supporting all that our family does, but after so many years of keeping our mother and her wisdom (and her delightful personality) to ourselves, we have finally persuaded her to extend her ministry to young wives into the public realm.
Our father’s online mentoring series has been so well received that, by popular request, it will immediately be followed by a series by our mother, “Evenings with Victoria Botkin,” every Monday evening for 9 weeks. We are very excited that our mother is doing this, and encourage as many of you as possible to listen to her insights drawn from 30 years of applying Scripture to her marriage and family.
“Victoria is my beloved friend, my trusted mentor, and my wise counselor! Every young woman and mother would be wise to set aside the time to hear godly instruction from this precious woman of God. I treasure every conversation with her. . .and so should you. . .”
Beall Phillips, wife to Doug Phillips
“I recommend everyone to sit under Victoria Botkin’s instruction. She is real, practical, biblical and refreshingly frank. It was easier for me to have my daughter Kelly so far away from me during her first year of marriage because Victoria was there and she understood her role in Kelly’s life as an older woman. The same kind of life giving counsel Kelly received at that time, you will receive during these sessions.”
Deborah Brown, wife to Scott Brown
“Victoria is not just wise and kind — she is fun! Her gentle sense of humor always comes in at just the right moment to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously even as we focus on the important work at hand. I know that listening to Victoria teach online is going to be a marvelous experience. You won’t get to enjoy her delicious bread, but the savory goodness of her words and the kindness of her voice will surely bring a smile to your face and encourage your heart. I look forward to these sessions as a way to renew my own vision and learn new ways to bless my family. What a delight!”
What our Daughters Need to Know About Young Men Interview: Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
In a Eros-filled society, people hardly know how to relate to each other, and the problem is particularly difficult for our unmarried young men and women. The Botkin sisters join us again on this edition of Generations to talk about “The things our father taught us about young men.” Too many young men and women avoid each other or create odd romantic ideas about the opposite gender. This helpful interview will strengthen the guy-girl (read brother-sister) relationships in your church community. We would recommend this as an excellent teaching tool for families and churches, where young men and women, boys and girls interact.