All posts by Derek

Garden Mid Summer 2021

It is a hot summer with high humidity this year. I have been busy working on our new home and property. It is difficult to leave a property that we have lived on for 15 years. All of our children grew up on this piece of land and I have spent so much time and effort in building up the garden, fruit tress, vines,fences, sheds and what not.

I pray that the next owner would benefit and take good care of this land.

 

I made a mistake this year of growing the cabbages too close to each other.
But some of them turn out alright.  I love savoy cabbage.  Comparing to green cabbage, they are less prone to split.
My 3 apple trees that I have grown for years.
This is Pristine apple tree which I planted in 2007.  It did not give any blossoms (so no fruits) for 10 years!

I once wanted to chop it down and replace it with another variety,  I am glad I did not give in.  Since 2018, it has been bearing good crops of apples each year.

Pristine is an early mature apple and read to pick in August.

I think I have over 400 apples from the single Pristine apple tree this year.

About 40% were dropped prematurely, but they were not wasted: the chickens love pecking at the apples.

This is Somerset grape that I planted in 2014.  It is a table grape variety.

I am going to miss my grape vines and fruit trees.

Every time I prune my vines, it reminds me of the teaching from Jesus Christ in the Book of John.

“For any branch that does not bear fruit, God would cut it down.  For any branch that does bear fruit, God would prune it so that it would bear more fruits.” (paraphrasing)

One can certainly learn some gardening tips from the Great Gardener in Heaven.

Garden in 2021 Spring

We had a surprise cold and wet snow morning on May 28 and the snap killed some of the beans, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes seedlings already planted in the garden.  Usually it is pretty safe to transplant after Victoria Day, but nobody can control the weather and thus it reminds me that all of us, Christians or not, depend everything on God and Jesus Christ for his mercy and grace:

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  (Matthew 5:45)
Garlic is growing tall already.
Apple trees in their full blossom.
Salad greens growing in the mini greenhouse since April.
Chickens on pasture again.  They sure look happier.

Civil Disobedience of a Brave Edmonton Pastor (Now in JAIL) and His Wonderful Sermon on Romans 13

(Source from Rebel News)

In Alberta, religious services are limited to 15 per cent of a building’s fire code capacity. The restrictions on attendance are meant to mitigate COVID case counts, even though the numbers have plummeted and hospitalizations are down to less than half of what they were a month ago.

When GraceLife refused to turn away congregants to meet the arbitrary 15 per cent rule, and when the church did not force congregants to wear masks, it was put under weekly surveillance by local police and Alberta Health Services inspectors.

Pastor James received a $1,200 fine for violating a public health order, and eventually, when he continued to defy the 15 per cent capacity restriction, an executive order from the chief medical officer of health to close the church was issued.

That piece of paper meant nothing to a congregation and a pastor that are compelled by their faith to gather together to worship every week, and so they’ve continued.

On February 7 2011, Pastor James was arrested in his office for holding services. He was released and the following Sunday, February 14, he again held services while local RCMP waited outside.

However, the police did not arrest Pastor James again last Sunday. Instead they asked him to come and turn himself in on the following business day.

He turned himself in on February 18.


Finally, a brave Christian minster who has the courage to stand up and tell the government that they have overstepped their God ordained boundary in controlling worship services.  I know that some Christians have been citing Romans 13 as biblical proof that we have to obey government regulations.

However, it is clear to me that when God’s commandments are being violated by government authority, Christians are no longer under obligation to  obey human authority.  What is God’s commandment regarding worship?  To gather physically with other believers and worship the Lord together.  No, Zoom meeting cannot replace physical worship.

And what should we do if government forbids us to gather together?  According to Acts 5:29:

"But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men."

During this pandemic, Christians have failed to show the world that we are children of God.  I personally know that many Christians are afraid to attend church because of covid.  However, they have no problem going to Walmart or Costco.  By obeying government and stopping in-person gathering, we are following the world.

(James 4:4) You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

So Christians would ask “What if we catch the virus and are tested positive?”  Again, that is the very reason we need to gather in person:

(James 5:15) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

I am pretty sure your elders will not be able to lay hands and pour oil on you during Zoom meeting.

If we read history, during REAL pandemics, the Church remained open and was the social hub for the sick and despair.  Not only were the churches being opened, people were being cared for physically and spiritually.  God’s healing power was manifested when Christians acted differently than the world.

Sadly, most Christians today are too afraid to get sick or die and they forget that death is nothing to be afraid of.  It is actually better to die and be with the Lord in glory.

Of course, I don’t mean I want to be sick and drag my family down.  I would definitely practise good hygiene like washing hands but NOT wearing masks as much as possible.  I would definitely boost up my immune system by taking vitamins C & D and NOT taking vaccines.

Anyway, please pray for Pastor James Coates and watch his last sermon before he went to jail.  It is one of the best sermons I have heard regarding authority of government and church:

Civil Disobedience of a Brave Toronto Restaurant Owner

Last year, there was a Toronto barbecue restaurant owner who purposely engaged in civil disobedience.  He recently released a news statement that I think it is worthwhile for one to watch.  What he said are plain common sense, yet as I said before, the government does have a dark agenda to impose unlawful and unconstitutional lockdowns (lookup Great Reset).  The lockdowns are against our Canadian Charter.  The government’s own health statistics do not support any pandemic situation with more than 95-99% of “resolved” (meaning recovered from covid) cases.

That means in every 100 positive cases (remember 50% change of false positive AND a positive case does not mean having symptoms), 95 to 99 of people will be healthy again.  Wow!!  What kind of “pandemic” is that?

My aged father is very afraid of covid, but I don’t blame him because most people blindly listen to major media who are simply mouthpiece of the government.  Our freedom is being stripped away in front of our eyes.

Homeschooling Testimony – Part II

The following is Odelia’s testimony.  You can read Tiffany’s testimony here.


Hello,

My name is Odelia. I am eighteen years old, almost nineteen. I have been homeschooled from K-12, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2020. Here is my story.

My father and mother taught me how to think, read, and write, beginning from when I was just a young child. From there, I could teach myself anything. And once I knew how to do that, I could learn anything I wanted to. And to some extent, that’s exactly what I did!

From age seven to age seventeen, I worked through mathematics, science, history, and English, as well as several other courses that were more or less “electives,” such as horse-riding, Chinese, and art. The Bible and my study of it, either together as a family or by myself, was (and still is) a huge part of my education. I learned how to read by reading the Bible; how to write by copying the Bible; how to memorize things by putting Bible verses to memory; how to apply what I learned by doing what the Bible says, as much as I could; and how to speak in front of others, by being part of our family’s daily Bible devotions.

When I was fifteen, my family came across Lumerit, formerly CollegePlus!. Lumerit provided me with the opportunity to earn a degree from home at a cheaper price, and in less time. (At the end, the costs of all the fees and courses together wasn’t really any less than the total tuition costs of universities in Ontario, but we didn’t have to pay for anything other than the textbooks, admission/graduation fees, and the course tuition fees.) I first enrolled into a degree track that would culminate in a B.A. in English, then switched half-way to Communications.

When I was working with Lumerit and taking courses through their platform, I took twenty-three courses in one year. This was possible only because a) my parents paid for the Unlimited Plan, which allowed the student to study as many courses (from those that Lumerit offered through their platform) as he/she could or wants to in one year; b) my parents were patient with me, and allowed me to “go all out” and do as many courses as I could, and finally; c) I stressed myself out and pushed really hard. I would recommend unlimited plans for confident, fast, and experienced (at least with online courses) students who want to finish college in the least amount of time. Looking back, though, it might have been better to have started with a five-course or eight-course bundle.

Those twenty-three courses I did in one year (I ended up using twenty-two of them on my final transcript) earned me enough credits for two years, which meant that I had cut off one year of studying for my degree. (Usually, a Bachelor’s would take four years: I finished mine in three.)

After this, I took the AP Language and Composition exam, which went for university credits for English. Then, I transferred to a “real” university, and took a bunch of courses from that university until I earned the required number of credits to get a degree. Then I applied for graduation, and I was done! 

I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to learn at home and get a degree online. Though there were things I did not like and would want to have changed about my schooling journey—I didn’t like having to use the computer for long hours each day, I didn’t enjoy having to work with secular textbooks and ideas in university and to have to use them as if they were right or acceptable, and I did push myself too hard and ended up hurting my physical health during that time—overall, it was a wonderful and enlightening journey.

Now, I am a writer and teacher.

I’m not sure how I should end this narrative, so I would close with a few thoughts on education versus schooling, and what has been most useful to me as I was “schooled.”

First, pursue an education, not just schooling. Learn (and teach yourself/others) to think, read and write. Learn to teach yourself, and learn things. Learn to be hardworking, diligent, and teachable (humble). Most of the time, time spent doing “bookwork” isn’t as productive or useful as time spent actually exploring the world with our feet, hands and eyes, learning about history and science by reading real books and primary documents from people who really lived during those times, and actually doing something about what is being learned about.

Also, one never graduates. Learning never stops. I don’t plan on getting another degree (though I did earn a Diploma in Applied Nutrition, in late 2020, to become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist) but that doesn’t mean I stop educating myself or learning and doing something new every day. Learning is a life-long endeavor—learning is living. Life is not something you put on hold for “schooling,” or something that comes after schooling. Learning should be about life and how God wants us to live it, knowing what to do with what we know and have, and doing what God has called us to do.

One last thing I would like to point out is, that it is crucial to get a firm foundation in the Bible, especially if you plan on going to university or college. Become Biblically literate. Understand what worldviews are, how they work, what different worldviews are based on, and why it all matters. Much of what is taught in school and universities are not Biblical or God-honoring. The school I went promoted itself as a faith-based university, but they used textbooks and course materials that were not based on the Bible, but were based on man’s twisted ideas of right and wrong, and things like that. I am glad that my mother and father taught me to study the Bible, to trust it, and to obey it. I’m glad that I did so. I also learned about worldviews, how to counter bad arguments, and how to identify bad ideas. You need that solid foundation if you want to stay strong and steadfast in the faith during and after getting a degree from a university. The battle of ideas is real, and the devil has a lot of tricks and wiles, some that are really subtle, and hard to catch and defend one’s self from.

I think that’s all I have to share: if you have any questions or comments, feel free ask me!

God bless, Odelia


 

Homeschooling Testimony – Part I

In December 2020, our 2 oldest daughters Tiffany and Odelia had successfully completed their undergraduate degrees.  What is amazing is both of them were able to finish the bachelor degree in 3 years before they turned 20 years old.  All our children are home educated and none of them has set foot in a public school.

I thank God that we still have that kind of freedom in Ontario, although much of our liberty has been taken away since the covid restriction.

I remembered that 10+s years ago when we declared to our parents and friends that we would be homeschooling our children, the doubt and negative feedback were overwhelming.  However, we felt that God was calling us out of the public school system and to teach them based on biblical principles and values.  Academic achievement was not our main focus.  Our primary goal was to lead them to Jesus Christ and teach them to trust Him who holds all the wisdom, power, authority and riches of this world.

My wife Kay was the primary educator and she had spent countless hours in teaching our children everything she could possibly pass on:  Bible knowledge, reading, math, science, drawing, singing, piano, photography, etc….  You may ask, any Christian school teacher can teach the same subjects so why bother?

The “magic” lies in the bonding between a parent and a child, with everything done in a loving and forgiving environment.  Children thrive naturally when their parents are “there” for them every single day, watching and encouraging their every step along the way.  Homeschooling provides the opportunity for parents to tailor-made a unique curriculum for individual child; whereas it is impossible to do so in a public or even private school system.

It was a long journey that finally bears its first fruits.

As some families are interested in knowing more about the children’s homeschooling experience, my wife has asked Tiffany and Odelia to share their side of their education journey.  Here they are:


Hello, people,

I’m Tiffany, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chan, and the oldest in a family of 10 (8 children). I was homeschooled from day one and all through high school by my amazing parents. Last year, I graduated with a BA in Music and an AAS in Criminal Justice from Thomas Edison State University. Currently, I am teaching piano to local students. I am also teaching English online with a company called Home 2 Teach.

One of the most important things my parents taught me early on was how to learn by myself. In the process, they instilled in me a great love of learning, for which I am immensely grateful. My parents gave me the tools of self-learning by teaching me how to read, to write, and to think with a clear mind. They encouraged me to always press forward, even when things got hard.

In elementary and high school, I did science, English, history, and math… the usual core subjects. We used textbooks from various publishers. My mom made learning about the Bible a mandatory part of our schooling as well, and would tell me to copy Bible passages, memorize verses, and read it regularly. As I was interest in music, I also practiced (and still practice) the piano, and took violin lessons for a few years.

When I was in Grade 11, I took an AP English and Composition class from PA Homeschooler, and completed the exam as well. It was an amazing experience. Taking the class forced me to think critically, and taught me how to present arguments in an effective way. And best of all, the exam was really, really fun (well, to me, anyways).

While I was taking the AP class, I also started taking some college-level courses from Lumerit (here-it was different back then. Update: Since Pearson Education purchased Lumerit Education, the more similar program is here) . They were fully online, and self-paced. I like self-paced courses because it means I can finish a 2 month course in a week if I wanted to. I had decided to major in music, and since Lumerit did not offer any music courses, I took some online music theory courses from other universities. I then enrolled at my target university, transferred all the credits I had earned to that university, and took the rest of the courses I needed in order to fulfil the requirements of the degrees. Then I applied for graduation, and I was done! This journey took me almost 3 years to complete.

Some of you might be asking, how did I complete a music degree online? First, I got a Bachelor of Arts, and not a Bachelor in Music. A BMus would focus much more on music itself, while a BA would require more general education courses. You can find music history and music theory courses that are offered as online courses. As for the practical part of music playing, I continued to take lessons during these years from a local piano teacher with a PHD who once taught at Universities.  I also utilized local music festivals, musical, and recitals opportunities to get performing experiences.  All these helped me to create portfolios to showcase my performing abilities. This was one thing I liked about TESU; as far as I know, you can only do a completely online degree and major in music, if you go with TESU. Anyways, for every portfolio, I had to write about 5 pieces of music. For each piece, I had to write about its history, its form and key, and some key points on things to look out for when practicing and performing the piece. Then, I also included a link to a video of me playing that piece. As the purpose of the portfolios is to show the university what you have done, I was able to use videos from previous years. (If anyone is interested in pursuing this same path, I’ll always be ready to help!)

I am satisfied with the path I took in regards to higher education. Online university allowed me to be at home almost all of the time, and it also enabled me to complete in 3 years what would have probably took 4 if I had gone to university in person. With Lumerit, I was able to start taking university courses before I finished high school, thus saving me even more time and allowing me to graduate before turning 20.

I hope this narrative is beneficial for some of you. I want to encourage you to always keep learning. You never graduate. There are always more things to learn. However, I do want to caution against learning for the sake of learning; learning is not about being the smartest person on earth. Our purpose in growing our knowledge should be that doing so will allow us to serve God and others even better. For example, knowing more about the Bible will enable us to know more about God’s will for us, and thus we will be more able to live according to His will.

Odelia mentions below that it is most important to have a solid foundation in the Bible. That is true. The world is a battleground, and you must be armed with God’s Word in order to not be swayed by the ideas of the world.

Let me know if you have any questions.

In Christ,

Tiffany Chan

 

Odelia’s Homeschooling Testimony


 

Flying Blind: Governments’ hasty decisions to lock down Canadians while damaging public health and the economy

As York Region in Ontario went into another round of lockdown starting Dec 14 2020, I cannot help but think about all the small businesses and families who have been struggling since March this year.  The timing of this lockdown is just outright terrible.

Boxing Day is probably one of the most significant source of income for many businesses; yet their hope of recouping some of their earlier losses from previous restriction is now dashed.  Many families would travel and gather to celebrate Christmas and New Year together; yet most individuals would have to spend  this holiday season alone.

Why do churches have to be shut down and yet, beer stores can be opened?  Faith to believers of any religions is ESSENTIAL.  However, government officials think otherwise and I believe this is against our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms whereby we have God-given right in worshiping Him freely without government intervention.

One would argue that singing in churches could spread the virus; yet hundreds of people shopping in Costco and Walmart at the same time is not a problem?  Most churches have been diligent in following the hygiene precautions outlined by health officials so I don’t see why churches have to be shut down and treated as second-class citizen at all.

Now we have almost 9 months of data regarding covid-19, does the data justify the strict measures that are imposed on us by the government?  I came across this wonderful document Flying Blind” by Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms:

JCCF-Flying-Blind

Closing Garden for 2020

It is Thanksgiving weekend and daytime temperature starts to get below 10°C, especially early in the morning.  Light frost begins to hit, which usually signifies the end of growing season for most vegetables.

It is also the time to harvest whatever is left, clean up the debris, plant garlic and close the garden for next spring.

Overall, I have great success with tomato while disappointing result with cucumber and zucchini.  I also find out my family loves arugula  so I am sure I will continue to grow salad mix next year.

Harvesting sweet potatoes and cabbages.
Chinese daikon.   The odd shape denotes that I planted 2 seeds too close to each other.  They jointed at the top while the roots grow in separate ways.

Weird.

Tasty Potatoes.
Collard can be grown until heavy frost in November.
I am growing broccoli and kale in the mini greenhouse.

I would expect the kale to survive the winter.

This is a new garlic planting tool that I “invented”.

To help speed up digging rows of holes, I cut 1″ dowel into 4″ long and sharpen the end.

I placed 6 of these dowels 4″ apart along a wooden stick with 1″ holes pre-drilled.

I thought I can simply push the tool into the ground, but in reality, the soil and wood chips are difficult to press in.  The solution is to use a rubber mallet to hammer the dowels into the soil.

Planting garlic using the new tool.

The tool is not ideal but it did save me some time than digging a hole one by one with a trowel.

I think I have planted about 400 garlic this year, not including other family members’.

Firewood time!  I purchased 3 bush cords and my youngest 5 children volunteered to stack them for me.

They showed great team spirit in stacking all of them in less than 2 hours.  I DID NOT have to do anything this year except paying for the delivery.

Way to go Chan family!

 

Random Updates

I have done, with the help of my wonderful family, many small projects this year.  I am sharing them here as well as some harvest from the garden.

Hanging the garlic in my now empty wood shed.  Every year I would plan more since it is so easy to grow and takes up little space.

Here we have about 200 garlic heads.

Peppers did grow very well in My Greenhouse.  The plants double their sizes as compared to last year.
First time trying to grow leek.
Fragrant fresh basil!
I removed the old and rotten compost bin and rebuilt using pallets.  This time, as with newer raised beds, I lined the interior with black 6 mil plastic film.  I also reinforced the corners with steel brackets.

A hinged door was added to the front and I am hoping to get some “black gold” next year.

Looks like a new paver walkway?  Nah, we removed the old paver full of weeds between the cracks.  We then added new gravels, weed barrier and construction sand.

One by one we laid down the old paver stone and ran the compactor over multiple times.  It was a full day’s work and if it wasn’t for my family, I would never finish the task so quick.

First time trying to lay bricks and found out it takes a LOT of practice and skill.  My sons were helping me and they did a wonderful job in mixing and spreading mortar.
We rented the vibrator for the paver job.  Surprisingly it is very easy to use.

My sons were using it to compact my driveway.

Coming Crash (Again) and New high in Gold

Now that I can work remotely until January next year (announcement from our CAO, yeah!) I have been busy doing renovation around the property.  In a lot of cities and townships in Ontario, councils have passed mandatory face-covering/mask wearing by-law whenever one enters a public indoors premise.

It is hilarious because back in March, I was one of the minority who wore N95 respirator in a grocery store.  Now that I have seen more data from COVID-19, I believe that masks are useless in preventing the spread and they are simply not necessary.  If one look at the case fatality rate according to worldometers, it is extremely low at around 0.28%!

Ultimately, it is YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM that would keep you healthy.  Not vaccine or any kind of drugs.  Organic food, sunshine, exercise, rest and most importantly, a joyful heart in the Lord.

Anyway, gold and silver prices have risen dramatically in the past 2 weeks.  Gold reached all time high and has now pulled back for another leg up.  Any long term follower of this website knows that I have a precious metal “bug” (advocate) since the beginning.

With trillions of dollars continued to be printed (digitally created) by all central banks in the world out of thin air, the public will flee to hard assets for wealth preservation.  It is still not too late to get your physical gold and silver coins and bars.

If you invest in stock market, GDX and SIL with their long dated options should pay a handsome return next year.  ( disclaimer: I am not a registered financial advisor and any investment suggestion given here is my personal opinion.  Please consult your banker, financial advisor or accountant for professional advice)

Anyway, the US stock market has decoupled from the real economy with the FAANGM (big tech:  Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflex, Google, Microsoft) stocks reaching all time high day after day.  When this bubble pops, the collapse will be spectacular.

How high can gold and silver goes?  I think gold reaching $2500 and silver back to $50 by year end is very probable.