It's (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
Engaged: Isaac Botkin and Heidi Roach!
Posted April 9, 2014
One of our favorite things about having so many brothers… is all the wonderful new sisters we keep getting! As of last week, another of our dearest friends is about to become family: Our brother Isaac just became engaged to Heidi Roach. Heidi has been a real inspiration to us over the years as an example of how a woman can be uncommonly strong, capable, sensible — one of those women who can cook for a hundred or organize a 4000-person event without breaking a sweat and then run help deliver a baby or two in the middle of the night — while also being uncommonly humble, meek, tenderhearted, funny, selfless, genuine, and sacrificial. “A virtuous woman,” says Proverbs 12:4, “is a crown to her husband,” and God has given Isaac a virtuous woman and crown indeed.
We’re so happy for you, Isaac and Heidi, and can’t wait to see what amazing things God has in store for you two!
The Top 10 Things Girls Should Study (But Rarely Do)
Posted August 21, 2013
We all want to equip ourselves to be godly women, but do we really know what that equipping should look like? A diet of books on modesty, courtship, and cake decorating will definitely fill the bill if the role we aspire to is simply one of wearing modest clothes, going through a courtship, and decorating cakes. But if we truly believe the biblical role of women is bigger and more significant than this, we need put our money where our mouths are and pursue education and training to match.
As we’re preparing for our family’s upcoming “Ready For Real Life” webinar, and thinking through the things most we believe important for Christian women to study, we thought we’d share our top ten. Not necessarily in order of importance.
The Top 10 Things Girls Should Study (But Rarely Do)
Economics and Business – In Proverbs 31, even the virtuous woman’s wisdom and kindness are not praised as frequently as her business acumen, industry, and economic profitability, which is why we believe these are some of the most feminine things a Christian woman can study. (Yes, feminine.)
It’s interesting to note that although the man is the one biblically charged with providing for his household (Gen. 3:17-19, 1 Tim. 5:8), the kind of virtuous wife he’s told to look for (Prov. 31:10,11) is one who works and produces and brings in “no lack of gain,” in the context of her household economy and her husband’s interests. Along with cooking and cleaning, being a good homemaker should require learning the Proverbs 31 skills of buying, selling, investing, producing, marketing skills, having marketable skills, and of course stretching a dollar (v. 16,24,13,18,19,22, etc). By the way, this is the missing concept that made stay-at-home womanhood make sense once, in good times and in bad.
Law – If you want to understand the world, you have to understand the legal systems that rule it and where they came from – Common Law, Natural Law, Sharia Law, Constitutional Law, and so forth. Most importantly, though, you need a thorough knowledge of God’s law, His case-by-case specifics of how to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves, the standard by which all other law systems must be evaluated. King David, the man after God’s own heart, wrote, “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”
And when we someday have to arbitrate complex disputes in our future homes (“He broke my toy truck!”), we aspiring Proverbs 31 women need to have the “law of kindness” (literally, in Hebrew, the Decalogue or Pentateuch) on our tongues. If it’s not biblical justice from the law of God that we’re teaching our children, we will be teaching them the law of something else – be it libertarianism, communism, anarchism, liberalism, Victorianism, or Santa Claus.
Political Science and Current Events – If we women knew how big the world was, we wouldn’t be content to live for things that are so small. From geopolitics to local elections, from scandals in D.C. to insurrections in Egypt, we women live in a world much bigger than our living rooms, churches, and friends. Studying current events and world politics means looking at the world beyond our social media feeds, at a reality outside of movies and novels, at events more significant than the latest great recipe/decorating idea/deal on shoes/celebrity-breakup. This is how you get the big picture view of where you, your family, your friends, your church, your community, and your nation, fit into God’s unfolding plan for the world. This is how you learn to recognize opportunity, see needs, and prepare for the future. Remember, it was because the men of Issachar “had understanding of the times,” that they knew “what Israel ought to do.” (1 Chron. 12:32)
And if we want to help our fathers, brothers, and husbands lead in the gates and raise our children to possess the gates of their enemies, our interest in world events should be bigger than checking facebook to see what our friends had for lunch.
History – And not only biographies, but the whole saga of the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. History is also the story of how women helped or hurt their men, raised villains or heroes, and helped build or tear down nations. If you really want to learn what kind of woman to be (or not to be), read more history.
The Sciences – We Christian women have been made co-stewards of a physical world that operates according to certain rules and it’s helpful to know what some of them are. It’s impossible to grow things, fix things, measure things, build things, invent things, code things, and compare prices of things without a good foundation in math, geometry, chemistry, botany, engineering, and so forth. And don’t dismiss these things as man things: The work of dominion – which involves invention, exploration, classification, cultivation, and discovery – was assigned to the man and the woman.
Health, Nutrition, and Basic Medicine – If you have a family, hope to have a family, or are ever around any people, you’ll be better equipped to serve if you’re ready to deal with burns, bites, gashes, choking, allergies, dietary problems, and women suddenly going into labor in the backseat of the car. And if you have a good basic understanding of how God designed the body to work, you’ll be able to sort between health/diet trends, to be a better steward of the kingdom resource that is your body.
Home Management – Yes, we should have the basics down by the time we’re ten, which means we should have plenty of time over the next few years to get to the next level – learning to do everything better, faster, and healthier, for less money, or how to cook for thirty on an hour’s notice. We all cook and clean every day anyway, but how many of us approach household management and hospitality as something worth studying to do with excellence?
Culture and Aesthetics – Pretend you could wipe the current cultural scene clean of all the filth, and redesign the whole thing – art, music, fashion, film, the works – to be what you think culture should be like. What would that be? This is exactly what your home, your wardrobe, and your ipod are – your own little tailor-made corners of culture. So what kind of aesthetics are you promoting? Thomas Kinkade? Picasso? Chopin? Lecrae? VeggieTales? Forever 21? If culture is religion externalized, that means these choices are not religiously neutral, and it’s time for Christian women, the creators of home culture, to start knowing the difference. Even if the biggest stand you ever take for Christian culture is the music you play around the house, the art you hang on the wall, and the way you dress your children… that will make a difference.
Communication – Knowing what to say and how to say it. It starts with having something to say, and a love for the person you’re trying to say it to, both spiritual qualities. However, assembling the tools for communicating effectively does take study and practice, whether it be in writing, editing, public speaking, or carrying on a conversation. And let’s take studying how to carry on a conversation more seriously – it means learning to be discreet (Prov. 11:22, 1 Sam. 25), gracious (Prov. 11:16), able to give an answer (1 Pet. 3:15), to “speak a word in season to him who is weary” (Isa 50:4), to speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and to “make knowledge acceptable” (Prov. 15:2). Your tongue is a weapon powerful enough to set the world on fire. Do you know how to use it?
Theology – It’s remarkable how easy it is to want to live biblically without making a priority of actually studying the Bible. Some ask how important it is for a woman to study theology if she isn’t going to be a pastor or a missionary. Answer: If she wants to know God, think His thoughts after Him, live the way He wants her to, and understand any other subject in the world, she has to start with theology.
This is because theology is more than the study of esoteric controversies like supralapsarianism vs. infralapsarianism. It is, in essence, the study of God’s mind, heart, and will regarding everything in the world (as He reveals it in His word). It’s not something we study just to make ourselves feel brainy or help us win debates – to fuel “an unhealthy craving for controversy,” “quarrels about words,” or “foolish controversies,” which are “unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9, 2 Tim. 2:23, 1 Tim. 6:4). Studying theology means becoming “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9) It means searching to find what God thinks about culture and education and bioethics and pop music and relationships and women in the military and anything else that affects your life. It means we stop using the Bible as a therapist to make us feel better, and read it instead to be challenged, convicted, commanded, and changed. How could this be optional?
And what better way to educate ourselves than to seek the mind of the One “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”? (Col. 2:3) Perhaps this is why Psalm 119:98-100 says that His statutes make us wiser than our enemies, His testimonies give us more understanding than our teachers, and His precepts make us more understanding than the ancients.
Questions on Homeschooling?
Posted July 27, 2013
What are your biggest questions about homeschooling and life preparation? Biggest fears? Biggest doubts? Biggest struggles? Though we’ll be taking live questions throughout the webinar as well as having a bonus Q&A session at the end, hearing your main questions now will help us make sure our sessions tackle all the major topics our listeners want to hear about. Just send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
A New Botkin Family Webinar
Posted July 27, 2013
What Should a 21st Century Education Look Like?
We homeschooling parents know we’re giving our children a decent academic education. But let’s face it – we sometimes wonder if we really know how to equip them to be the adults the 21st Century needs. After all, the world our children are inheriting will be more complex, uncertain, and turbulent than the one we had to face.
Will your children know how to handle business and finance in a down economy? Defend their faith to militant antagonists? Stand firm against a defiling culture? Fight for their freedoms? Take advantage of technological innovations? And see opportunity amid the chaos?
More importantly, what kind of salt and light are they prepared to be? They may be able to name every country in the world, but do they know how to disciple the nations? They may know about the Battle of Waterloo, but do they know how to fight the battles of today – to win? Homeschoolers have proven they can beat the world at geography and spelling. But can we lead in the arts? Can we lead in the gates? Do we know how to take dominion of science and technology?
If your children are going to be the leaders of the 21st Century, they need to be educated for it. And even if you feel unprepared to equip them for this… there’s no one more qualified for the job than you.
A Webinar to Help You Educate Your Children for the 21st Century
The “Ready for Real Life” webinar, hosted by the entire Botkin family, will take on the practical side of educating children for the real world, also tackling every-day issues like saving money on curriculum, teaching your children to take responsibility for their own education, dealing with different learning styles, teaching social skills and confidence, helping children who don’t like to read or write, creating an educational home environment, and helping children learn marketable skills.
Hear from each member of the Botkin family, as they talk about lessons they’ve learned along the way, books and resources they recommend, things that worked for them, and things they’ll never do again.
Six Sessions, Plus Free Bonus Q&A Session!
Webinar sessions will run every Tuesday evening, 7PM CST, from September 3-October 15. Each session will include time for Q&A, plus you’ll get a free bonus Q&A session at the end.
- Ready for What? What We Must Educate Our Children to Be and Do
- Ready to Think and Communicate: How to Have Something to Say and How to Say it – Studying Theology, Apologetics, Critical Thinking Skills, Writing, Researching, Editing, Speaking, and how to boldly give an answer.
- Ready to Lead Culture: How to Take Dominion of the Arts Without the Arts Taking Dominion of You – Studying Music, Art, Photography, Graphic Design, Fashion, and Filmmaking
- Ready to Take Dominion of the Earth: Studying Science, Math, Engineering, Medicine, Computer Sciences, Agriculture, Construction, and the basic knowledge necessary in order to participate in 21st Century progress.
- Ready to Lead in the Gates: Studying Economics, Law, Political Science, Military Studies, Geography, and History
- Ready for Anything: Figuring Out Vocation, Gifts, Real Life Skills, and the Unique Challenges of the 21st century
- Bonus: Final Questions and Answers
Webinar registration fee is $39 for all seven sessions. Join the Botkin family for a weekly whole-family event full of encouragement, challenge, and motivation! Go HERE to sign up.
About The Botkin Family
Home education pioneers and thirty-year veterans Geoffrey and Victoria Botkin homeschooled their seven children from the beginning. Geoffrey has also lectured on philosophy and history at Hillsdale College, on politics at the Heritage Foundation, on media at the Christian Filmmakers Academy, and on theology in the U.S., Germany, Central America, South Sudan, and New Zealand. He and Victoria will be joined by all seven of their grown children (two married with children), including Isaac (author of Outside Hollywood, producer of “Navigating History: Egypt,” and faculty at the Christian Filmmakers Academy), David (military historian, IT professional), Anna Sofia and Elizabeth (authors of So Much More and It’s (Not That) Complicated, producers of “Return of the Daughters”), Benjamin (musician and composer), and Lucas (volunteer firefighter, studying emergency medicine) and Noah (web developer and designer, studying alternative energy).
All I Want for Valentine’s Day
Posted February 13, 2013
Valentine’s Day may be a happy time for couples, but it’s often a painful reminder for single Christian women of what they’re still praying for, hoping for, and – sigh – waiting for. Many of us don’t have a valentine this year because we’ve been holding out for someone special. We have high standards, and we’ve stuck to them, and now we’re having to eat the fruits of this resolve (instead of Godiva chocolates).
High standards and faithful perseverance are noble things. But sometimes we need to re-examine the honesty of our standards, and the whole spirit in which we devise them. Some of us, whether we know it or not, have made lists of suitor-requirements that look like this:
I have been very good this year, and I would really like it if you would bring me a husband who:
Is working to become just like Christ
Will love me just the way I am
Speaks several languages and plays several instruments
Will look past my inadequacies to see only my inner qualities
Will not be so carnally minded that he will care about the way I look
Isn’t interested in money
Can support me in the style I would like to be accustomed to
Is completely sold out for God
Will let me be myself
I know these are very righteous things to desire, and I have been patiently waiting and have not compromised my standards, so can you please reward my faithfulness now? Thank you.
It’s good to develop noble standards for the kind of man we want to marry, but simply having a preference for good men doesn’t make us worthy of them. We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty – just that they have Jim Elliot’s heart, C. S. Lewis’s mind, William Wallace’s courage, Clark Gable’s face, Cary Grant’s clothes, Josh Groban’s voice…), but we want them to love us just the way we are. So the men we want to marry often don’t really exist – and if they did… well… why would they want to marry us?
Janey apparently hopes that her paragon of glowing character and accomplishments won’t mind that she is (apparently) shallow and materialistic, has qualities buried so deep there’s no danger of anyone ever finding them, is not-quite-sold-out for Christ herself… and is not interested in changing. But then, we don’t really want what we deserve, do we?
So, we make our wish lists and pray that we get Missionary Martyr Malibu Ken for Christmas. But what will we have to offer him? How are we preparing to be what he might need in a wife? How long are our lists of standards and requirements for ourselves?
Our aspirations to be married to fine husbands are good; but then, that’s an aspiration that the Cinderellas and the ugly stepsisters of the world have always had in common. We need to step outside of our imaginary roles as the heroines of our own personal fairy tales, and ask ourselves: Which one am I? Why would the prince choose me?
The bad news is, none of us are naturally likeable, desirable, or eligible. Because of sin, we all start out as ugly stepsisters, and we don’t automatically become Cinderella upon reaching marriageable age. The good news is, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Pet. 2:24) And the rest of the good news is, if you find yourself Valentine-less this Valentine’s Day, that means the Lord is giving you more time to die to sin and live to righteousness, more time to make yourself ready, more time to become a better gift.
Ladies, let’s decide to do our (future) husbands good on this day (Prov. 31:12), instead of moping about the good they’re not here to do for us. On a day when women all over the world will be thinking about what they want to get from a man, let’s think instead about we’re preparing to give to one.
(With excerpts from It’s (Not That) Complicated)
Two New Deals!
Posted February 12, 2013
Announcing the Reclaiming Beauty Study Course
Posted December 19, 2012
We’re delighted to announce the release of the Reclaiming Beauty Study Course! The response to our Reclaiming Beauty webinar was so tremendous that we’ve repackaged the recordings into a digital study course, which includes nine hours of video recordings (audio with image-rich power-point, plus Q&A) and a brand spanking new study guide, ideal for women’s study groups.
To be honest, we’re grateful the webinar is over. It was a fascinating glutton of time and energies that we’re now very happy to be able to devote to other things, like gearing up for future family projects and studying things that are not beauty-related. And taking a minute to organize our messy closet, like we told all our listeners to do theirs.
That said, we gained a huge amount from the experience of preparing and hosting this webinar. And most importantly to us, the webinar seems to be doing what we prayed it would: helping young women sort through the important, frustrating, confusing subject of personal image.
During the webinar, listeners signed up from all over the world, some getting up in the middle of the night to tune in. The flood of notes we received after each session, and are continuing to get, made the whole thing worth every moment of effort. Here are just a few, out of hundreds.
Finally, the help I need…thank you! — C
The webinar helped me to truly “reclaim” beauty. I felt inspired with every session! — J
There were so many times where we would say, “Wow! I’ve never thought of it that way before.” Our lives are changed (or should I say, changing) for the better – practically, physically, and most importantly, spiritually. — V
I loved how you brought everything back to Christ and the truth of His Word. — B
It is amazing how one topic can do so much to change a person’s life. … Before listening to this seminar, I would have such terrible anxiety about what I was going to wear and who I was, that it was affecting my health. I have been battling with Anorexia for 7 years and I can’t thank God enough for your obedience to Him and sharing the discoveries you have made in His word. …I no longer feel like I have no purpose, the suicidal grip Satan had on me has ceased, and my relationship with my family is beginning to blossom with healing. — S
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! It is so refreshing to hear a well-balanced view on this subject- a view that is based upon the Word of God and a love for the Lord Jesus. — A
…listening to you both was very helpful, encouraging, exciting, fun, freeing, enlightening, insightful, thought-provoking, action-provoking… It produced growth in all of us and it was a huge blessing! — V
After each session, we were amazed by the number of questions we hadn’t considered and the answers so graciously and persuasively presented from Scripture. …Your presentation was carefully researched, fiercely loyal to Scripture and yet gently and winsomely communicated, practical to everyday use and eminently vital for the cultural transformation of the world. — K, E, and A
“I encourage you to check it out because I have experienced myself what these ladies live and breath, what beauty shines forth from them.” (R.C. Sproul, Jr.)
“My daughters and I have heard the Botkin girls many times and we are always improved in our thinking as a result. I commend this experience to all those who would like to grow in their understanding of this important subject.” (Scott Brown)
Announcing Our Year-End Sale!
Posted December 15, 2012
Gratitude for “It’s (Not That) Complicated”
Posted December 7, 2012
It’s been a year now since we published It’s (Not That) Complicated, and the feedback we’re getting is incredible. God is answering our fervent prayers by using it to change lives.
A sampling of the notes we’ve been getting:
“Of all the relationship-oriented books, blog posts, and Christian magazine articles that I have read, none have been as Biblically solid or as helpful as this book. Were I to go through this book with a highlighter, the entire thing would be neon yellow.” – P.
“It totally challenged me in the way I relate to young men as brothers in Christ. I have officially made it my favorite book, and have strongly encouraged all the young ladies I am acquainted with to read it!” – Tiana
“…exactly the kind of book I have been looking for for so long! I laughed out loud and took extensive notes. There really is not any other book like it.” – Brydon
“You should know that I finished it in one afternoon. It gave me an entirely new perspective on how I should be treating my brothers in Christ, as I have always struggled with how to love them and come across the right way. I was so blessed by the comments from various young men. It put everything into a new light for me. I have been able to put much of what you shared into practice this year with both my brothers, and my sisters in Christ (encouraging them to do the same!), and the results are simply amazing. May God use this book to bless young men and women all around the world!” – Amanda
“The only book I’ve ever cried over. Every girl should read this. Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin have wisdom beyond their years, and they present biblical truth with grace, but without holding back.” – Emily
“In my opinion, every girl in America needs to read that book. No, EVERY girl needs to read that book.” – Amber
“…my highlighter was thoroughly worn out when I was done reading…and I’ve been trying to get into as many girls’ hands as I possibly can!” – Sarah
“It’s (Not That) Complicated was hysterically funny, incredibly amusing, and properly edifying all at the same time. Anna Sofia and Elizabeth wrote about the Truth of God in a way that we girls who live in the 21st century can enjoy. Their words are accurate, but they use anecdotes that we can understand and relate to. I’m already rereading the book for the second time. (Yes, it was really that good!)” -Cassandra
“I can’t thank you enough for the way you spare no punches and give us the real deal–it shows love in a way no sugar-coated “girly talk” can! It’s helped me to adjust my goals and ideals of what a good life is… Also, I’m impressed by the way you present salvation so candidly with none of the modern Christianity fluff. That’s what we need, it’s what everyone needs: a no-frills, Biblical gospel, and I admire the straight and narrow way you presented it. Keep it up!” – Alaina
Session One Finished and Available!
Posted September 28, 2012
Praise the Lord for giving us a successful first session to the Reclaiming Beauty webinar. And our very warm thanks to all of you who joined us on Tuesday night!
For those of you who didn’t, we’ve decided to make the recording of this one session available to everyone free of charge. Go here to download the session, and here if you’d like to sign up for the rest of the webinar. There are six more episodes to come!
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