Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Your Kindness

Is that the one word people would use to describe me? 

I asked some of my children.
They had some nice answers, but "kind" was not one of them.
I am not surprised. 
I know that is something the Lord is teaching me about.
It could become the word for the year.
Kindness is one of the qualities that God cherishes in women.

  In Titus 2, the older women are to teach the younger women,
"to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home,
obedient to their own husbands,
that the word of God be not blasphemed." 

The word "good", is also translated, "kind".
I am learning about this word
and what it should look like displayed in my life.

  In Carolyn Mahaney's book, Feminine Appeal,
the vision to be kind and good is clearly stated in a way that struck me with awe.
Kindness, she says, "is a sincere desire for the happiness of others,
while goodness is the activity calculated to advance that happiness."
  She goes on to say that anger, bitterness and judging hinder our ability to be kind.  
Exhibiting one of these sinful behaviors shows that
I am choosing my way as more important than glorifying God.  

 I know for certain that if I desire to become a woman who has a reputation for being kind, 
it will need to be God at work in me. 
I need Him to take over, so that His kindness is manifested in me.
  This can only happen if I get myself out of the way. 
Less of me, more of Him.

Scripture tells women that we are to be known for our good works:  1 Timothy 2:9-10,
" In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel,
with self control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
but with what is proper for women who profess godliness, with good works."

God values our kindness
above our standard of living, our hobbies, our talents and abilities.  
The example of Edith Schaeffer stands before us,
a woman who made her homemaking a blessing to others
and used it to advance the Kingdom of God through....her cinnamon buns! 
It is said of her that, "As many people were brought to the Lord 
through Mrs. Schaeffer's cinnamon buns as through Dr. Schaeffer's sermons." 
Now that is a reputation to strive for!

It's your kindness then, as a woman,
that fills the home to the brim with nurturing and happiness,
and pours forth from the home doors in good works to the neighbors and community beyond,
giving them a taste of a little bit of heaven.

In daily living,
I see this as meaning kindly greeting, listening, encouraging
and praying for/with our family-first,
and then others,
because we desire their happiness 
and giving glory to God 
as more important than our own wants.

Kindness demands a humble, forgiving heart,
a mind thoughtful of others. 
It involves servant hearted actions that are pure,
not requiring affirmation or boosts in self significance.
A kind woman is generous and warm hearted. 
She does not grow grasping and selfish, but is a ministering angel to those about her.  
The virtue of kindness is often overlooked as not so important as say, 
an industrious, beautiful, or engaging woman, 
but, in truth, is perhaps 
The Most Important quality
a wife and mother should possess.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day Journal 4

Babies are so much fun. 
Olivia is smiling, goo-ing, and spending most of her time being adorable.
She is already 8 weeks old!  

We had a busy weekend with three of our children involved in a Bible Quiz competition, 
which Brian, myself and Olivia traveled to watch. 
If you are not familiar with Bible Quizzing, 
it is a fun and innovative way to hide God's Word in your heart. 
Designed for children 9-19, teams of 5-7 persons compete to answer questions
or quote verses in a timed match. 
This year, they are memorizing the book of John. 
Each team member learns select chapters,
so that the entire book is covered,
then, when they compete, quizzers jump to answer quickest.  
After the match, we enjoyed a fellowship dinner together with the other teams and their families.
  I took a beautiful salad, that I wish we would have taken a photo of, but didn't. 
It was such a hit, however, that I want to tell you about it. 
It is called, Chinese Chicken salad,
made for a crowd with a bag of baby spinach,
a pkg of chicken breasts- cooked with salt and pepper and chopped,
a can of mandarin oranges, drained,
water chestnuts, drained, 
a bag of Chinese noodles, 
and topped with most of a bottle of sesame ginger salad dressing.

Yesterday, Brian took Bethany on a date to the children's museum,
and afterward rode the escalator,
which was very exciting. 
Our children don't get out much.

Today was spent getting Brian and Anna ready to leave to go to Mars Hill, Seattle, 
for a week of Redemption Group training. 
I am trying not to think of how much I will miss them. 
A Redemption group  helps people who have been abused or are bound by addictions 
realize healing and hope. 
Brian and Anna will be learning how a Redemption Group functions,
and how to help the troubled souls they will encounter. 
Anna enjoys all aspects of ministry.
Her gifts of compassion and mercy have led her to
  see the great need  to know how to Biblically advise hurting girls, 
which she runs into everywhere;
be it as a camp counselor,
a joy club teacher, 
Bible study leader,
or just a friend. 

 Here at home, the rubber band war rages on.
They have even come up with a lego gun, and a  wooden rubber band gun that Gabe can fire.  
You may be a redneck if your two year old has his own gun.

  Now that the family is over all the illnesses,
I am looking forward to catching up on some visiting,
and baking bread to take to our neighbors. 
One of my new year's resolutions is to be a better neighbor. 
My plan is to initiate friendship/hospitality in some fashion once every month. 
(I have to have a plan, or else my good intentions
may very well get lost in the day to day activities of our large family.) 
 I have been inspired by a book I am reading,
Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney.
But alas, my babe is squealing and I will have to tell you all about it another time.

Until then, may the Lord richly bless you!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

A War at Home

 There has been a war going on in our home
for the last few days. 
Inclement weather will bring it on every time.  
You probably know this as well, 
if you have boys in your home.  
It had been raining for a week on our 2 plus feet of snow,
making outdoors a sloggy mess. 
By day two Joe, Jim, and Ben needed an outlet
for their boyish energy. 
Fortunately, big brother was home, 
and kept stealing away to an outbuilding
in a surreptitious manner.
  All wondered what was going on,
when he revealed, with a wicked grin,
a cache of weapons of mass destruction: 
rubber band guns.

The guns started out simple in design, 
 one for each little man in the house.
  Then the war began, little men against big brother.  Barricades and a plague of rubber bands 
now fill our 3 story home.  
Tactical maneuvers escalate
and the weapons of war continually evolving.

On day four of this crazy, all consuming war,
the latest weapon emerged; a 25 round machine gun.

(Eye protection is strongly advised,
should your sons follow suit.) 
I will say, that the boys are very motivated 
to get their school work and chores done, 
because the rest of the afternoon will be spent 
trying to figure out some way to beat their big brother,
and all efforts will be made
in attempt to win at least one battle. 
So far, John- 4, boys -0.  
Even though the weather has improved,
and they could play outside,
stories of cowboys, mountain men, 
great adventures, and heros tumble through their mind, motivating them to persist in battle till the end, 
and so, the war rages on.
Boys will be boys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

31 Days

I am most desperately in love with my husband. 
He is the love of my life, my best friend,
my knight in shining armor.

  He is a remarkable man. 

I like to do nice things for him to show him, tell him,
how I adore him.
Yesterday marked 30 days until Valentines Day. 
This year I am giving my dear, sweet husband 
30 days of love notes. 
My messages of adoration may appear anywhere,
and each note tells him one thing I cherish about him. 
The final note will come on Valentines Day.

We wives need to seek ways to prize, cherish,
and enjoy our husband. 
As we do so, our heart will be filled 
with love and affection for him.
It is also our honor to pray daily for our husband,
lifting him up before the throne of the Most Holy.

Somewhere, a long time ago,
I obtained a list of 31 days of prayer for my husband. 
I go through it every now and then. 
It seems like the perfect time to do so again.
I want to share this with you, inviting you to join me 
in 31 days of prayer for the man in your life,
if not a husband, maybe your brother,
son, son-in-law, or the husband of a friend,
perhaps your future husband.

1.  That he will become a holy man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in his knowledge of the Lord.  1 Thess. 5:23, Col. 4:12, Eph. 1:18-19,3:16-19, 6:18
2.  That he will grow into a man of integrity, who works righteousness, speaks truth, does not slander, does no evil, honors those who fear the Lord, is unchanging in these things.
3.That he might be a man of contentment as seen in Prov. 15:16, Phil 4:11, 1 Tim. 6:6-8, and Heb 13:5
4.  That he will learn to take every thought captive, to not be conformed to the world's thinking, and to think scripturally.  Rom 12:3, 2 Cor. 10:5

5.  That he might daily seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence on Him.  Psalm 119:1-2
6.  That he would be ever captivated by my love.  Prov. 5:28-29
7.  That he would be a man of courage.  Deut. 31:6, 2 Chron. 19:11
8.  That the Lord would give him wisdom to lead his family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

9.  May he always look at the plank in his own eye before seeing others' sawdust.  Matt. 7:3
10.  That he becomes a called man, not driven, with well thought through and prayed through goals in life.  1 Cor. 9:24-27
11.  That he becomes a man of prayer, guarding his heart and ind, putting into practice what he has heard, seen and learned.  Phil. 4:4-9
12.  That he will stand firm against the schemes of the devil and resist Satan in all circumstances.  Eph. 6:10-18, James 4:7

13.  That he would grow in spiritual maturity by putting away childish things, cultivating, understanding, striving after the Christ ideal, partaking of the deeper truths of the gospel and overcoming temptation.  1 Cor. 13:11, 14:20, Eph 4:13, Heb. 5:14, 1 Jn 2:14
14.  That he will make me holy, cleansing me by the washing with water throught he Word.  Eph. 5:26
15.  That he would learn to not depend on his circumstances for happiness but on God alone.  1 Tim. 6:6

16.  That he would be a man who enters into spiritual warfare.  Eph. 6:11-12, 1 Thes. 5:8
17.  That he will have new strength in the midst of his busy schedule, and that the Lord might infuse him with His strength.  Is. 40:31, Eph. 3:14-19
18.  That he would have a burden to see lost people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Matt. 28:12-20
19.  That he would be kept from strange women and evil men, and that his friends would be en and women who walk with God.  Prov. 13:20
20.  That his self image would be a reflection of the Lord's thoughts toward him.  Eph. 1:17-19, Rom. 12:3, Psalm 139

21.  That he would be a man responsible for family spiritual growth.  Prov. 4:1-14

22.  That he might not be deceived into unbelief, sin, or bitterness.  Matt. 13:8-10

23.  That he learn to love as God has commanded.  1 Cor. 13:4-7, Rom. 12:8-10, Eph. 5:25
24.  That the fruit of the Spirit might be exhibited more and more in his life.  Gal. 5:22-23, John 15:8

25.  That he would grow in humility and in being a shepherd.  1 Peter 5:2-6
26.  That he grows daily in his character.  2 Peter 1:5-8
27.  That he keep a clear conscience. 1 Peter 3:16-18
28.  That the Lord would protect him, guarding his course.  Prov. 2:8

29.  The he would manage his time well.  Eph. 5:15
30.  That the Lord would put a song in his heart.  Psalm 33:3, 40:3, Job 35:10
31.  That he may have a holy fear of God.  Psalm 111:10, Prov. 9:10

"Let me say that no wife can overestimate the influence she wields over her husband, or the measure in which his character, his career and his very destiny are laid in her hands for shaping.  The sway which she holds over him is the sway of love, but it is mighty and resistless.  ..If she has in her soul noble womanly qualities,..she will be to him an unfailing inspiration toward all that is noble, manly and Christlike."  J.R. Miller, Homemaking pg 78-79.

Friday, January 14, 2011

To Love Your Husband

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."  Titus 2:3-5

When I look at "to love their husbands" in the verses above,
I must ask, What is Love? 
I love food, tea, my cozy bed. 
I love my children, my parents, and my enemies.
I love a good game of scrabble, 
my horse, and visits with friends. 

The English language fails us when
we have only one word to describe
the many differing feelings associated with strong emotion, that which we call love.
If you have been around Biblical preaching much,
you have probably heard the Greek terms for love, 
Phileo and Agape. 
Phileo describes a tender love between close friends. 
Agape refers to a self sacrificing love. 
It is a love that gives to others even if nothing is given back.  Which do you think Paul used in this verse (4) to describe the love a wife has for her husband?

Answer: The tender, affectionate,
passionate kind of love that emphasizes 
enjoyment and respect between close friends:
Are you surprised? 
Agape is the term Paul used 
when he said for husbands to love their wives (Eph. 6).

Too often, we as wives fail to understand 
what God requires of us, and therefore love our husbands
how ever we see fit. 
We can easily become so preoccupied
with the duties and responsibilities of our homes 
that we fail to nurture tenderness and passion 
in our relationship with our beloved. 
Or, we can become so busy serving him,
that we overlook enjoying him.  
By loving our husband with a Phileo love,
we bring honor to the gospel.  
Such love is lived out regardless of his response. 
It is unconditional, and God honoring.

To "Phileo" your husband is the very reason you were made.  You are his companion first; his helper.
  Remember, it was not good for man to be alone. (Gen. 2)  What he truly needed was a best friend to share 
his life journey, his hopes and dreams, his soul.  
This is the high and noble calling of a godly wife.

"Can you imagine anything that sets forth the gospel more brilliantly before the world than the godly behavior of a woman who passionately adores her husband, tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self control, and kindness in her character and who gladly submits to her husband's leadership? " -Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal, pg 29

Thursday, January 13, 2011

life with sick children

 We have been sharing the influenza 
with each other this past week. 
It is working, slowly making it's way through the family.
I thought it might be helpful to a young mama out there 
to share how we are managing.
Rose, Joe, Jim and Ben have been sick,
and, yesterday, our toddler, Gabe, and the baby, Olivia,
became ill with a fever and aches. 
What can you do when the baby has a fever
and is only comforted by being held?

The first thing to do, is pray.  
Our heavenly Father knows, and is interested in,
even the smallest details of our lives. 
He cares that you are overwhelmed 
and need another set of hands. 
Pray for wisdom and strength. 
Give thanks that you have sick ones to care for. 
Because of sin, we have sickness. 
Because of Christ, we have restoration;
physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Praise the LORD!

Secondly, mentally plan what can be done,
so that when you have an opportunity, you can jump to it.
  Plan what you can throw in the oven or crock pot for dinner.  Something easy and quick. 
Like a chicken with salt and pepper. 
Next time you have 5 minutes, 
toss together a salad or side dish, 
so that when it is time to eat,
you have some good food to strengthen you, 
body and soul.

As you hold your little sick one,
be thankful for whatever you can think of.
Your sweet disposition will go along ways in helping you
and your family cope through the illness.
My friend, Enola Gay at Paratus Familia,
gave us they idea of hot water bottles.
So as soon as the illness first began,
we zipped into town and bought the only one we could find. 
It has been in constant use ever since, 
and is a great comfort to the aches and pains of the ill. 
 Unlike a heating pad, there are really no worries with
small children using it, and, it works for our off grid life.

Other comforts to children who are sick:
 drip a bit of warm olive oil in the ear for an earache
Gargle salt water for a sore throat, or sip honey-lemon tea 
(simply hot water with a bit of lemon juice and honey)
push fluids to avoid dehydration when your child has a fever, is vomiting or has diarrhea.

With the snow thickly falling, 
I spent hours holding Olivia in my rocker near the window,
  nursing in an effort to keep her hydrated. 
 From the window in the living room, here is what we saw,
definitely a highlight of our very quiet day:

Gabe was so lethargic that he was content to sit on the day bed
in the living room with his dinosaurs, a color book,
and some juice in between frequent naps.  Poor little fellow, my heart goes out to him for being such a good little patient.

My older children were also sick or working,
so I had no helpers save Joe, 
who had been sick first and was just starting to mend.
To occupy the other young children, 
as I had my hands full with the two littlest ones,
 I set out old magazines, scissors, and glue. 
They were happily amused to cut and paste pictures in notebooks for well over an hour. 
I kept an eye on them from my rocking chair.
  Jim and Joe tackled a bit of Math 
and did their reading on their own.

Today, I knew how it would be,
so when I had a chance, I threw in a load of laundry, 
 set a chicken  on to cook for soup later,
and washed a bit of dishes, all in about 15 minutes. 
Because I had premeditated my free moments,
I am able to keep everything running amidst several ill children sprawled all over in various levels of getting sick,
being sick, and on the mend.

Now that my chicken is cooked,  
and I have a few older helpers around, 
I am making stock for soup. 
Stock made this way gets all the good stuff from the bones and actually does help a sick person get well. 
It is also really yummy.  Here's how:

Removing the meat from the carcass, add1/2 an onion,
a head of garlic -peeled, and water to the pot. 
Simmer for another 2 hours. 
Drain the liquid into another pot. 
Add cubed chicken. Season to taste. Add noodles. 
Continue to cook on medium heat until noodles are soft.

Homemade noodles are easy to make, and oh so very good!
The children will love helping. 
The first time we made noodles, we had flour all over the place, 
and the children walking through it left floured footprints all through the house, but we had a great time! 
When I do it by myself, it takes less than 10 minutes.

Homemade Noodles
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
3 eggs
2 tsp olive oil
Mix by hand.  Roll out on floured surface.
Roll thinly.  
Cut with a pizza cutter or knife into long noodles. 
Drop into hot soup.  Cook 2 to 5 minutes. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day Journal 3

We awoke to a frigid 8 degrees outside this morning.
  With the cold, came a flu bug
slowly working it's way through the family. 
Three are down with fever and chills, 
bundled up in front of the fire. 
It is a slow, quiet day...except for a certain cow poke:

We have been reading "Down the long Hills" by Louis L'Amour,
a story about two children who survived an Indian raid
on a wagon train and are on the track to Fort Bridger
by themselves. The tail is full of cowboys, trackers, Indians, grizzlies, and mountain men.
  It has Ben imagining the glories of cowboy life. 
He looks pretty  handsome in that hat, don't ya think?

Someone thought Gabe needed some sweetening up.  
I think he is  awfully sweet already, and cute as a bugs ear. 
I may be a little biased though. 

Today we are reading, napping, 
and playing legos in front of the fire.
  I am making macaroni and cheese, sipping tea,
and cuddling with our sweet little bundle.
  She is 6 weeks old already.  
The time of newness and cradling a wee babe goes so fast! 
Therefore, I dont feel bad at all if I just take some time 
doing nothing but hold her, stroking her oh so soft hair.

I was reading in the Psalms this morning, as usual. 
I find myself returning to them over and over, 
like putting on a favored, well worn sweater 
or drinking from that special tea cup,
the psalms are my comforting portion for the day. 
I was reminded how God's love endures forever. 
He will always love, 
For every moment of forever.  
He will always lead, guide and correct.
  His love will endure through my worst and best days, 
and it is unchanging. 
This is our rest,
though life rolls pitching waves of turmoil
against us time and time again,
God's unfailing, enduring love is a safe harbor 
in which we can seek out peace to get through each day.

Ten things am thankful for today:
  God's enduring love,
a warm fire,
my family,
times of quiet,
the joy of little kids,
the Psalms,
and You.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

From our Home to Yours

 I invite you to nestle up with a cup of tea 
for down to earth chit chat, and the best photos of the week,
from our  home to yours.

We are back into school and a daily routine,
which is a very pleasant change of pace. 
Anna helps with the little ones;
Bethany and Gabe, at one end of the table,
and we tag team to help Ben.

Just in case you love this little green dress as much as I do, 
I did a search on ebay for "girls smocked dress," with her size,
and found page after page of wholesome dresses,
most unaffordable, but a few were very reasonable. 
We were able to get this one for under $15 including shipping.

John has been occupied with his trap line.
  It takes him 4-6 hours a day to run it. 
Yesterday, he got his first beaver of the season. 
This one hadn't drowned in the set, which would make it permissible to eat. 
Beaver meat is the highest protein meat available,
just so you know, in case you are ever in a survival situation. 
We did not eat it, just to clarify. :-)
   John  harvested the castor for using as lure in his traps,
and will use the meat as bait. 
Our freezer is now brimming with all kinds of odd things.

  Beautiful.  Delightful.

"The home improves happiness 
and abates misery
by doubling our joy and diving our grief."  
-Joseph Addison

January always brings me a need to clean, organize anew, and declutter.
  So, after schooling is done, I have been doing just that. 
I went through my desk and each drawer, reclaiming them as my own again. 
I also moved it's location
and am feeling much more inclined to sit at it
and get things done that I have been procrastinating, 
like thank you notes. 
I inheritied this old desk from my parents,
who have had it in their garage for years.  
I believe it was my dad's accountant's desk at one time. 
I can usually find all kinds of interesting things in the cubbies; lego men, 
rocks, pocket knives, chewed gum....

Here are some shots of my decluttering efforts:

I love waking up to a clean home.
  It is a very energizing way to start the day. 
The children are all very occupied with playing this morning, 
so while Olivia is napping, perhaps I will be off to make aprons.

Sending blessings your way.  Have a wonderful weekend!

"A house becomes a home when each room is clothed with peace,
each wall is covered with laughter, 
and each heart is filled with love."

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...