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Sunday, September 30, 2007

PERSONAL PET PEEVE: Pets Are NOT Kids

Just sharing a little "pet peeve" (pun totally, shamelessly intended) of mine.

It drives me completely batty when someone sends out an e-mail or does a blog post announcing a "new baby girl" and it turns out to be a female bulldog they've added to their home, or in some other way refers to a pet as a "child" or a "new baby". It happens all the time... you go visit a young couple who laughingly says, "here are OUR kids", while gesturing towards their two golden retrievers. I know, it's often done supposedly "in jest" or in a cutesy, wink-wink sort of way, but it is indicative of a deeper problem in our culture.

Namely, it points to the lack of maturation and willingness to accept responsibility that is a hallmark of this American generation. Pets used to be the purview of 8-12 year old boys on a farm. Now, it's "the" accessory to have, whether you're a young-married couple who just "isn't ready for kids yet" (who is?, I want to ask!), or single who isn't ready for marriage, or a married couple who has reached the max of 2.3 kids and just can't handle any more children.

Now, I'm not knocking on pets. If you want a dog, get one. If you love gerbils, by all means, fill every nook and cranny in your home with the smelly little vermin. But please, don't, at least to me, introduce said dog or gerbil as the "new baby in your home". While I get that pets are special and add a neat element of fun and relaxation to a home, and do require some level of selflessness (although not anywhere near the level of children), they are not children.

They do not have eternal souls.

They are not called "blessings" in the Word of God.

I repeat, they ARE NOT CHILDREN.


We will now return to the normal, collegial, inquisitive, analytical tone you normally find here at Making Home. I just had to get this off my chest. :) If you have anything you need to get off your chest (whether or not it involves pets), please feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

ADVICE AND ANSWERS: When a Woman Doesn't Want Children


Today's "Advice & Answers" question comes from an anonymous reader. It was actually asked as a comment to a previous post, but I thought it was an interesting question for all Making Home readers to consider, not just those who happened to read the comments of that particular post.


So here's the question:


"What about women who don't want children at all, and would rather have a career only? Maybe marriage, maybe not? Is this sinful?"


So what say you? Mind you, this situation is not asking about someone who *can't* have children, or who has medical difficulties and may not be able to have children. This question is about a woman who doesn't *want* children.

So, biblically speaking, if a woman knows she doesn't want children, is she free to marry? Any other thoughts, answers, or advice you'd have in response to a question like this? Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this interesting question!

Show & Tell: September Highlights

Here are some great links on a wide range of topics that I've found over the last month. Have fun perusing and picking out a few to read/chew on/enjoy!

Children/Pregnancy
  • How to Pray For Our Children- Amy wrote an article FULL of biblical passages we can use to pray for the children God gives to us
  • Pregnancy, Cancer, and God's Perfect Design- Why our bodies function better when we buck societal norms (as we recently discussed here @ Making Home).
  • Sallie Field doesn't speak for all moms- You may have heard about Field's crude remark at a recent awards show that if moms "ruled the world" there would be no ******* wars. This is an informed and interesting response to the thoughtless spewage that comes out of Hollywood in forms like the comment from Ms. Field.
  • New Mom Denied Extra Time in Medical Licensing Exam: She asked, and was denied, the option to have special accommodations to pump breastmilk for her infant in the middle of a medical licensing exam. There are so many subtleties and issues to examine in this one; I don't know where to start. (1) Couldn't she have postponed her taking of the test until she didn't need to pump as often?, (2) Is this discrimination against women or would it truly be unfair for her to take regular, 40-minute breaks to pump throughout the testing period?, (3) does anyone else find it ironic that, in this situation, the MEDICAL community is making it more difficult for a woman to breastfeed? I'd love to hear your thoughts about this article in the comments!
  • Children Are Bad For the Planet- The article begins: "HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour..." and on it goes. (Please note: I will now happily accept all frowns that anyone wants to send our way for our misdemeanor of loving and receiving children into our family... I'd rather have a few frowns than to disregard my own conscience as informed by the Word of God.)
  • Marketing PG/PG-13 Movies to Children- Christine presents a compelling case that reveals how the movie industry aims to draw children into higher ratings through series, trilogies, and careful target marketing.
  • Education As Discipleship- Voddie Bauchum (This is one incredible man- I had the privilege of hearing him preach in person in 1999, and have enjoyed learning from him ever since) has written a treatise for why to homeschool, particularly in the early years... here's an excerpt:
"Let me be clear; I applaud men and women whom God has called to teach in government schools. These people are front-line warriors and many of them need to be right where they are. However, there is a big difference between sending “fully trained” disciples into enemy territory and sending our recruits to our enemy’s training camp. If we do the latter, we shouldn’t be surprised when our children come home wearing the enemy’s uniform and charging the hill of our home while waving an enemy flag."
  • Meaning of Life: Monty Python's hilarious look at labor/delivery in a hospital! (Thankfully, none of my experiences have been anywhere CLOSE to this... but it is SO good for a laugh!)

Family Life
  • Christian Family Embraces Organic Farming- I had to highlight this, because we actually bought meat and cheeses from this family for the entirety of our time in America at the beginning of this year. We also got to meet them, visit with them over a potluck meal, and take a hayride tour of their farm... they're a really neat family with a great vision for how to "do" family in a totally different way than many Americans do these days.
  • How I Do It With Kids- Causabon's book (a GREAT thought-provoking resource for simplifying your life) provides a funny look at REAL life with kids vs. the perfection that's often presented online! :)
  • You CAN Stay Home! - Kelly has written a great several-part series for motivation and ideas about how you can stay at home with your children.

Food for Thought
  • Chapter One of "Jim and Caspar Go To Church"- You may find yourself buying the book once you read this online... it's a book written by a Christian and an atheist who attended a variety of denominations and kinds of churches across America and the conversations and insights they gained from each experience. An insightful look at Christianity in America.
  • Embryo Adoption: There are an estimated unwanted 100,000 babies in cold storage in deep freeze units around America. Hundreds of these babies have been adopted and born (even after being frozen as a 6-celled blastocyst for FOURTEEN years--imagine asking that kid how old he is... "well, uh, that's an interesting question..."). Seriously, though: GO and read about it. You'll be amazed, as I've been, the more I've looked into this issue. While there are over 400,000 babies currently frozen for these treatments, about 75% of those are still possibly going to be "used" by their parents in hopes of having a baby, leaving approximately 100,000 unwanted babies that will not be used and will otherwise be discarded. But some couples are electing to adopt these embryos... it's an absolutely eye-opening look into ethical issues surrounding IVF and embryo creation for fertility issues.
  • Vaccines and their ingredients: You may be surprised (as I was!) to learn that aborted human fetal tissue is an ingredient in many mainstream vaccines. Take a look and make an informed choice about these issues from now on.
  • Enamored With Skirts- Interesting ideas about not only the wearing of skirts, but the "WHY"s of dressing the way we dress as women!
  • A funny video/song about the 2008 Election
  • CLICK ON THIS ONE: Randy Alcorn on Faith in Generation X

Actual Food, for Eating
  • Twice-Baked Potatoes- YUM! I made a big batch of these and froze more than twenty of them (as she points out, no chives if you freeze em!) to have for future meals!
  • Make Your Own Spice Rub- for great grilling flavor; sounds delicious!

A final fun link, just because I like it so much:

CHECK OUT THIS FABRIC. IS IT NOT BEAUTIFUL?!?! I can just see it as the lining, collar, and trim on a cute little girl's dress, or as detailing on a beautiful purse. Or to sew into the most happy, fun skirt for Maranatha to twirl and twirl in. Ooh... if only I had tons of money to buy fun fabrics and have them shipped here! :)


And, like always, a final laugh: Mrs. Brigham originally shared this cartoon (at right) about "udderfeeding in public"!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Servanthood Paradox


"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
-Philippians 2: 3-4

As I've been reading through Philippians this month, this is the section that has most grabbed my attention. Because the world tells us to "look out for number one", to "take care of yourself", to "mind your own business", etc. And the world tells us that the way to live is to climb a ladder of success, where I/you end up on top... that THAT (being on top of everyone else) will be what brings success and joy.

But the Bible says something different, which seems paradoxical. Joy is found in counting others as more significant than myself. Do I do this?, I've been asking myself.
  • Do I count my husband as more significant than myself? Or do I take the "better" portion of dinner for myself? Do I seek to please him with what I cook and how I care for our home and children or is it my own interests I am most concerned with?
  • Do I count my children as more significant than myself? Do I meet their needs with the quickness and intensity with which I would meet my own?
  • Do I count family and friends as more significant than myself? Do I compassionately hear their concerns and diligently pray for them or am I quick to forget their hurts?
  • Do I count guests in my home as more significant than myself? Do I give them the most comfortable seat and serve them, seeing to their needs?
The amazing thing I've noticed is this: as I've begun intentionally, consistently putting others' needs ahead of my own, my own joy has increased. There is legitimate joy and pleasure in meeting the needs of others and humbly taking care of those that we love.

Feminists often deride this sort of role for a female as demeaning or humiliating. But when we act as a servant, even to those with whom we are "equal", we imitate Christ Himself. Look how the passage continues on, in verses 5-7:
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."
Did you catch that? Jesus made Himself nothing. Do I make myself nothing? Or do I complain and whine and grumble if I am treated like I am nothing? (If so, I need to see Philippians 2:14-- "Do all things without grumbling or questioning...", which is probably why Paul wrote it as part of the "therefore" to this passage.)

And did you catch the other interesting thing about that passage? The mind of JESUS- the mind that makes itself nothing and serves out of humility is MINE and YOURS if you are in Christ Jesus ("which is yours in Christ Jesus"). If you are a Christian by faith in Jesus, then this attitude is YOURS for the taking! All we must do is realize that the attitude and mind of Christ is available to us, and walk in it.

What a thrill it can be to serve the people around us... I pray that these personal musings will be helpful and challenging for you as they have been for me. Blessings~


Painting: Le lavement des pieds, Corinne Vonaesch, 2001

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Fond Farewell



I can't believe it! I am actually selling this awesome tin bathtub that I picked up in Indiana over the summer. I thought it (and it did) made an awesome prop for my bath area in the shop. I got the idea to use polyester batting to simulate soap suds. Looks like you could climb right in and soak away doesn't it? So in walks a really good customer of mine and goes gaga over it! She's actually going to install it in her home and use it! Well how could I refuse that? I think it's really awesome that she's actually going to do that. So it's leaving in a few weeks. Never thought I'd part with it, but there you go. I'll just have to find another awesome piece to put in it's place. Bad problem to have, right? By the way, a huge thanks to those of you recently discovered my blog and posted such nice comments! Warms my heart!

Blessings,

Shelley

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Two Precious People (& Baby Names Announcement)

I want to take this opportunity to share with all of you how thankful I am that I have had two little darling people to spend the last 16 days with. Though my husband and oldest son have been gone, our home has still been full of love, fun, and laughter.

You guys know I don't normally do "mom" posts. I write about issues here, and we have a family blog elsewhere where I typically share family stories, etc. But this last 16 days, I've spent all day every day with 2 little people, and I am so grateful. They are so much fun; I just have to tell you about it!!!

First, I want to tell you about my three year old son, Baxter. Oh what a funny little man he is. He is so sweet and sensitive, and if you need a snuggle, there is NO better candidate! I'm not a co-sleeping mom, never have been, and hopefully never will be (hey- I need my sleep at night in order to stay sane throughout the day!), but Baxter has slept with me over the last 16 days. The stress of Daddy and Ethan leaving would have been, I think, too much- so we have played together by day and snuggled together by night. I have, basically, had a built in back massager... his little feet and arms wiggle and flail more than I realized was possible while still being asleep. But his warm hugs and sweet "I love you so much, momma"s have been so precious. I'm so thankful we had this time together to enjoy each others' company.

The other thing I MUST tell you is what an absolute HELPER he has been around here in Daddy's absence. Doug specifically told him, "you'll be the man of the house while daddy's gone, so you'll have to take care of mommy and Maranatha while I'm gone", and that is precisely what Baxter has done. He has consistently helped take diapers to the sink to wait to be rinsed out, helped me cook, set the table, cleared dishes, hang laundry, and many other household tasks.

But the most fun thing, to me, has been seeing him love and serve his little sister. He has brought her toys just out of the kindness of his heart, fed her snacks while in the shopping cart so that I could focus on getting in, shopping, and getting out, and even pushed her around the living room in a box (mind you, they're within 10 pounds or so of each other; this is no easy feat!). She loved getting the box tour of the living room, and he was so sweet to continue pushing her even when I know he was tired. This little man LOVES... and it is so precious to see him already taking such delight in the joy he can give to others. I am so thrilled to have him as my son.

And now, onto Maranatha.

Let me just say that I used to say I wanted 5 boys, and I am so GLAD that God knew better than I did what I would need!!! This precious little girl already has such a funny sense of humor and is such a sweet companion. She watches me so carefully (truthfully, she watches everyone quite carefully) and imitates what I do. I am beginning to sense so much more strongly the importance of BEING the woman that I want her to learn from and imitate.

If I'm not in the Word, and if I don't love and joyfully serve my family and joyfully love and serve others and welcome them into our home, why would I expect for her to do any of those things? If I'm not a woman of prayer who delights in communing with God, why would I expect her to grow up with sense of dependence of God?

During this last 16 days, she has started saying some new things-- all very cute and sweet... "teh-too" for "thank you", "jee!" for "cheers!" (the boys have always like to clank their cups together and get a real kick out of it- now Maranatha does too!), and she even got to experience something new! Mommy painted her toes 2 days ago, and she sat so sweet and still the entire time. (Afterwards, she kept coming over and showing me again and again... what a little sweetheart!)

I'm telling you, this is a girl after my own heart... able to play silly and act like a goofball with her brothers, but then also ready to kick off her shoes and paint her toenails, or literally RUN to the dresser cause she's so excited to get to wear a pretty new skirt... this child is absolutely a delight to my heart. We're gonna have some good times getting pedicures and foot massages together as she gets older, I can tell you that RIGHT now.

There is just something so innocent, precious and sweet about having a little girl. Though she acts like she's tough, she is very sensitive and sweet, and I love that about her. I love the emotional vulnerability that has come with the addition of Maranatha to our family.

To those who would ask why we "keep on having babies", or "don't we know what causes that (chuckle chuckle chuckle)?", I would just say this: each precious life that God has added to our family has not only ADDED to our joy and fun as a family... it MULTIPLIES our joy and fun as a family.

Witnessing each precious child and the relationship he/she forms with older siblings is such a thrill. It not only increases my own joy in just getting to know a new little person and all that comes with that. It also increases my joy to see my children loving each other, playing together, serving each other with joy, and even encouraging each other to love Jesus, which has begun in the last year or so as Ethan and Baxter have begun praying for each other and for younger siblings to love Jesus and serve Him with their lives.

What a thrill! I cannot imagine life without one of these precious ones God has given us, and I know I will feel that way with each additional person God adds to our family. I can't wait to meet this new little person that is growing inside of me...

And speaking of that, let me joyfully announce the names we have chosen for this child, whether he's a boy or she's a girl:

VERA GRACE if she's a little girl- which means "truth and grace", two things that Jesus Himself was filled with. We want her to be filled with those two things too. Oh, and Grace is my middle name, so that makes it special for that reason too! :)

SILAS JAMES
if he's a little boy. Silas was a great servant of God who faithfully told people about Jesus, and James is a family name - it's my dad's name, my brother's middle name, and Doug's dad's dad's name (not to mention my favorite book of the Bible).

And with that joyful announcement, I'll wrap up this post with an affirmation of Psalm 127: Children TRULY ARE a blessing!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Horror of Abortion: and what we can DO about it

[Ed. note: this article is FULL of good links to excellent and informative articles about abortion. Please don't skim over the links-- check them out and take the time to read them, particularly the one with the womens' first-hand accounts of their abortions. --Jess]


Abortion is too horrific an epidemic in our culture for Christians to continue taking a silent, passive role. Some Christians have taken a "stand" for abortion, through voting, protesting, or volunteering. But "some" is not enough. We should ALL be actively involved in fighting against abortion.

We MUST speak out. We must call it what it is. We must speak out against it in our own communities. We must do what is necessary to support those who are in difficult situations (those who are more susceptible to consider abortion in a moment of panic or fear). We must be people who value life, even if it comes in unexpected packages or in ways that we might be tempted to look down upon.

Consider this:

"In order to get an idea of how many deaths [Planned Parenthood] has been responsible for - just pretend that nuclear weapons detonated in and wiped out the entire populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington DC combined. (Though you'd still come up on the short side.)"
-Kevin McCullough

Did you catch that? Go back and re-read it slowly, and let it sink in.
Nearly every major city in our nation STILL wouldn't contain enough bodies to represent all of the people who have been killed in this tax-funded genocide called abortion. This doesn't sound like the "safe, legal, and rare" aim that early pro-abortion supporters claimed as their goal. A procedure that has (so far) killed that many people could NEVER be appropriately termed a "rare" occurrence.

SO WHY IS IT STILL SO COMMON?
Regardless of what the literature says, or what some people might say, everyone knows it's a baby.

It's not because of health reasons. Even in the small percentage of cases where the "health of the baby" is given as a reason for the abortion, more healthy babies are killed than "unhealthy" ones.

It's not because of an innate respect for a baby, as some people claim... that it is much better to take the life of the baby than to give birth to an unwanted child.

First off, abortion providers make a killing, literally. Their profits are enormous, plus they get tax funding on top of their profits. Then, the babies who are killed in these gruesome procedures aren't even "just" disposed of. Their body parts are sold. There's a profit to be made, on top of the original profit they made from dismembering the baby and sucking its parts out to be counted and re-constructed to be sure that all of the baby was "successfully" removed. Finally (as if all of that weren't enough), those bodies and body parts that aren't sold can be used in cosmetics and other commercial endeavors, as well as used for experimentation.

It isn't that the abortion providers are "protecting rights" by offering the kindness of their services- they make a fortune! Their motives are clearly in line with their balance sheets. And this certainly isn't the case of some women exercising a noble "choice" and standing up for her "freedom", as it would be if they were, say, casting a vote for Senator. Most often, these women are scared, unsure of themselves, and uncertain of the morality of their choice.

SO WHY DO THEY DO IT?
I believe (and it's confirmed in a majority of the stories that are shared by women who have had abortions) that the reason why most women have abortions is because they just don't see any other way out. Here are some classic situations where an abortion is not only possible, but likely:
  • A teenage girl believes that her deacon dad and Sunday school teacher mom would disown her if she even told them she was pregnant. She pools some money with her boyfriend, stealing it if she has to, goes to Planned Parenthood and "takes care of it".
  • A young college student feels that her educational hopes would be wrecked if she carried the baby to term. She doesn't even bother to tell the father of the baby, and she doesn't give adoption a second glance because of the fear of the moment. She goes, bites back her tears, and, exercising her freedom and liberation, "terminates the pregnancy".
  • A mom of three young children feels overwhelmed that she's pregnant again, and doesn't know anyone who has four children. Her own parents live 800 miles away and her husband works all the time. Abortion seems like the only answer.

Though all are in different specific situations, they're all just looking for a little support and a way out of what they see as an impossible situation. If we, as Christians, were more prominent and intentional about showing love and REAL support to women in these situations, we might not be able to change all of their minds, but we could make a dent in the number of women who turn to Planned Parenthood, rather than the body of Christ, to help their situation.

The truth is, the on-going horror of abortion happens in the dark. Women make decisions based on fear and bad information. They often don't realize that pregnancy resource centers will offer assistance to them if they choose life. They may not know about the developmental stages of their baby. Most abortions happen without full information given to the mother about the procedure, and the baby never has a say in the matter. There are two lives at stake- one, a helpless, innocent child... and the other, who may be a not much more than a child herself. Clearly, when you look at the statistics of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide rates of women who have had abortions, her life will most likely never be the same after she exercises her "right to choose". We need to be people who offer a clear alternative choice to women. So how do we do that?

HOW CAN WE HELP?
(1) Find one or two specific ways that you can help. Here's one great article, full of ideas of how to help women in difficult situations like these: 50 Ways to Help Unborn Babies and Their Mothers ~ Randy Alcorn. This last spring, I was able to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, and it was such a blessing to me. I would encourage you to find a tangible way to stand up for life.

(2) We need to be educated on the facts about abortion. We need to be able to speak intelligently and compassionately about this difficult issue. We need to look at the hard pictures. We need to feel the horror of it ourselves, if we're going to be motivated to do anything about it.


Honestly, though, I think this last point is the most important one.

(3) We must value life IN EVERY FORM that it comes in:
  • Help support the overwhelmed parents of a young child with disabilities, financially, or with your time. Offer to buy their groceries or bring them a movie and dinner one night so they can have a refreshing night together, as they may not feel comfortable taking "date nights out" with a needy child at home.
  • Help the young mom with three young children in your neighborhood; ask if you can watch her kids one afternoon so she can have an afternoon free.
  • Work out a system to provide nursery care for children with autism or other difficulties, so that the parents can attend church services regularly. Advertise this nursery care- you may be surprised how many beleaguered parents don't come to church because they feel no one would be willing to deal with a child with disabilities.
  • Be the one voice who responds with complete excitement when a young mom with a four-month-old finds out that she's expecting another one.
  • Speak out to your church friends and family to be accepting and loving towards unwed mothers. The fear of judgment and what people might think is absolutely enough to drive some women towards abortion. Let's be people who love sinners in difficult situations, just like Jesus Himself did.
  • Consider adoption or opening your home to foster children. There are SO many children in need of a home, in need of acceptance and love, and in need of Christ's love to be real to them. OH, what an impact you could have in the life of a child who might otherwise become a statistic.

We need to be a peculiar people who clearly values life in every form. These more than 40 million babies who have already been killed (since 1973) are all image-bearers of God Himself. They were created in His image, just as we are. We have a responsibility to treasure these lives that our society does not treasure. We can do it through changing our own attitudes towards those who are most at-risk for abortions: unwed mothers, mothers of multiple children, families with limited finances, and teenagers. Pray for these women. Love them and serve them. Financially support crisis pregnancy centers.

We must foster in our hearts, and in the hearts of the people around us, a deep love for all children, even those who are not seen as valuable by our society: supposedly "unwanted" children, children with disabilities, mixed-race babies, and foster children. Be counter-cultural: love life and love women in difficult situations, and be vocal about it!


Precious Father, enable us to stand up against these cultural strongholds. Strengthen us to DO something about the abortion genocide that is happening in our midst. Help us to love and support women and men in difficult situations, and help us to serve those who feel that their children are unwanted and unloved by society at large. Teach us to "look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil 2:4). Give us a heart like Jesus' heart... to love the unlovely, to treasure that which is deemed worthy of death in a garbage can, to value life in every form that it comes in. I ask you to give each person who reads this article a specific action that he/she can take in order to stand against the horror of abortion. I pray all these things in the power of the name of Jesus, Who let all the little children come to Him, valuing each precious child. Amen.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Waterdeep Speaks to My Heart Once Again

I love the band Waterdeep. The main two musicians are married, Don & Lori Chaffer... and they write such real and interesting music. Here are the lyrics from an old song they wrote that is speaking to my heart right now- just where I am. I hope it will encourage your heart, too. It's called "Learning How to Rest"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Learning How to Rest

by Don Chaffer

I came around the corner
Of the outer edge of town
You were standin’ in the center
There were people gathered all around
I’d never get through this crowd
You know my heart went kind of numb
But You smiled when You saw me
And You beckoned me to come

So I struggled through the pressing mass
I had a thousand things to say
But I was sure Your ears were flooded
There was just too much in the way

CHORUS
But then You said to me
Come away by yourself to a lonely place for a while
Well, I’m sure you’re tired
You know, I cannot even see your smile
There’s just too many people here
Why don’t you come and be with me
Then you took my hand
And we headed out for the sea

I got here late this morning
You’ve been gone since the other day
They took You to the tomb
But I guess we all go there someday
I came out here to get away
To get some time to think
Nothing’s making sense right now
I feel like I’m on the brink

Then on the distant shore
I hear one strong voice say
That side is yielding nothing
Cast your net the other way

CHORUS
It was You- and You said to me
Come away by yourself to a lonely place for a while
Well, I’m sure you’re tired
You know, I cannot even see your smile
There’s just too much confusion here
Why don’t you come and be with me
I asked You, "where are we going?"
You simply told me that I'd be free

BRIDGE
You know things get hard and the world’s not stopping for me
But I know now what to do and I know where I need to be

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then here are the lyrics from a fairly new song Lori sings (oh, how I love her sweet voice) that is so precious for the weary soul:

Perfectly Fitted

Come to me
All who are weary and burdened
And I will give you rest
Put my yoke
Upon your shoulders
It might appear heavy at first

CHORUS
But it is perfectly fitted
But it is perfectly fitted
But it is perfectly fitted
To your curves

Learn from me
For I am gentle
And humble of heart
When you are
Yoked to me
Your weary souls will find rest

BRIDGE
For my yoke is easy my burden is light
My yoke is easy my burden is light

CHORUS
And it is perfectly fitted
And it is perfectly fitted
How it is perfectly fitted
To your curves

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love music. I especially love thought-provoking, heart-touching music... I don't want to just "jam" to a nice beat or enjoy the sound. I want something that touches me at the soul-level, and Waterdeep's music consistently does just that. Just thought I'd share.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Titus Two TODAY, Part One

Lately, I've heard many young Christian women, unmarried, wives, and mothers alike, asking a simple but profound question: "WHERE ARE THE TITUS 2 WOMEN IN MY REAL LIFE?" Yes, we see the Beth Moores and Cynthia Healds, and the Debi Pearls and Kay Arthurs of the Christian world, but somehow, this doesn't seem like what Titus 2 is calling for, does it?
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."
Titus 2:3-5 sounds more like in-person, real-life training. That's not to say that the Christian women authors and teachers aren't fulfilling a significant and important role in the body of Christ. But it's not the same as Titus 2 style mentoring. I did a poll a while back and have received many e-mails since, and have personally found that most women don't really know how to go about this. Young women don't always know how to *find* a mentor, and older women often don't know how to *be* a mentor. Some women seem really good at this, and others go about it somewhat subtly, but I think there are definitely Christian women that are falling through the cracks, on both ends of the spectrum. I have wondered in my mind for a while what I could do to change the situation.

I thought about writing a book (I'm always thinking about writing a book...) directed towards mature Christian women as a collection of testimonials and requests from young Christian women ASKING for this type of teaching in their lives. I've talked with other women about starting up mentoring ministries at my home church in America.

And lastly, I have thought about writing about it here and at least trying to make a dent in my corner of the blogosphere... and so, for now, that's what I plan to do.

Consider this the "launching" of a conversation about this issue- I want to hear your thoughts and comments as we talk through this issue of mentoring/teaching/discipling. I'd love for you to leave any questions or concerns about Titus 2-style mentoring, and I'll do my best to either find resources that speak to your particular concern or question or I'll touch on it personally in this series. Tell me what has lacked or where you struggle in terms of this kind of woman-teaching-woman discipleship. I can't wait to hear from you and learn more together about this important role for Christian women!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sign of the times

Hello everyone! Well the first day of autumn is just 9 days away~here in balmy Florida it's more like 109 days away! Will we ever feel the chill in the air, the crunch of leaves beneath our feet, the smell of fires crackling in the fireplace? Me thinks not! Oh well, I can dream! Here at the Pea, we are decked out in our fall finery and hope you can stop by soon to check it out. New merchandise is finding its way into the shop almost daily, so if its been awhile since you've been by (first of all, shame on you) then there's probably several fabulous new treasures just waiting to be discovered by you.

Is anyone else out there as in love with old signs as I am? I have several in the shop now and more coming, so if you love them like me then please stop in. I have always admired them in other people's homes but never had a source to get them for myself. Well that has changed recently and now I have a couple of awesome places to get them. Have a look at the pics I have included in this post. I know you'll think they're awesome! Blessings!


Shelley




Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Powerful Benefits of the Word of God - Psalm 119

Reading through Psalm 119 today, I thought I would take this opportunity to praise the Word of God and remind you and me of all the benefits of the Word, as found in the Psalm.

It's a long list, but well-worth the time if you, like me, are needing a kick in the pants to make time for the Word of God each day! Please take the time to prayerfully read through the list and I pray it will encourage you as it has me!

  • Those who walk in the ways of the Word are blessed. (1-3)
  • His precepts are outlined in the Word so that we can keep them. (4-5)
  • When we fix our eyes on His commandments, we will not be put to shame. (6, 31)
  • His Word helps us to praise Him with a pure heart. (7)
  • A young man can keep his way pure by following the Word. (9)
  • Storing His Word in our hearts fights sin in our lives. (11)
  • He teaches us through His Word. (12)
  • As we delight in it, His Word becomes more precious to us than money. (14, 67-72, 162)
  • It gives us righteous things to meditate on. (15)
  • The more we delight in it, the more we will remember His Word. (15-16, 48)
  • There are wondrous things to behold in God's law. (18)
  • Though we are sojourners and things may feel foreign to us or we might not understand everything in the world around us, His commandments are clear and straightforward. (19)
  • Our souls long for His rules and ways to be put in place in our lives. (20)
  • Those who wander from the Word are rebuked. (21)
  • When powerful people plot against us, we can rest in His Word. (23)
  • His Word counsels us. (24)
  • His Word brings life. (25)
  • Prayer brings understanding of His Word. (26-27)
  • When we are sorrowful, His Word strengthens and comforts us. (28, 52)
  • Truth and lies are made clear and separated by His Word. (29)
  • His Word helps us to choose rightly. (30)
  • My heart is set free by His Word. (32)
  • As we learn His Word, we we learn to follow God. (33)
  • Our hearts will turn from selfishness as we turn to His Word. (36)
  • Our eyes will turn from worthless things as we receive life from His Word. (37)
  • Hearing His promises teaches us to fear and reverence God. (38)
  • His Word brings salvation and steadfast love to us. (41)
  • His Word gives us a ready answer for those who scoff and taunt us. (42)
  • Truth will be in our mouths when our hope is in His law. (43)
  • God's promises bring life and hope when we are afflicted. (51)
  • We will see wickedness for what it is when we know God's law. (53)
  • His law puts a song in our hearts. (54, 172)
  • Meditating on God's Word motivates us to quickly obey Him! (59-60)
  • God's Word is FIRMLY FIXED FOREVER in HEAVEN. We can partake of something eternal and lasting when we read His Word. (89)
  • If we are not delighting in His Word when trials hit, we are an easy target. (92)
  • His commandments make us wise. (98-100)
  • His Word reminds us to keep our feet from evil. (101)
  • His precepts teach us to hate evil and falsehood. (104, 128, 163)
  • His Word sheds light on our path so our feet can walk surely. (105, 165)
  • His testimonies bring JOY. (111)
  • "The unfolding of Your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." (130)
  • His law teaches us to see sinners as He sees them. (136)
  • His rules show us His righteousness. (137)
  • His promises and rules are reliable, and last forever. (140, 160)
  • His Word gives us hope and confidence each morning. (114, 147-148)
  • His word gives us "great peace". (165)
  • Even when we go astray, His Word will be hidden in our hearts. (176)

What an encouraging list of reasons to get into the Word of God today, huh? I have felt my passion for His Word being revived as I've read through this Psalm this afternoon, and I hope it has done the same for you. Blessings!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

ADVICE & ANSWERS: Brand Names?

Today I bring you another question from a reader. Shannon asks about something we all deal with, but we may all deal with it in slightly (or sometimes dramatically) different ways:

I would like to know people's view of brandism. I think I made that word up, but what I mean is I want to know to what extent do we allow our children to have certain brands (i.e. Disney characters, Nick Jr. characters, etc.) My parents went to Disney World and sent a LOT of Disney stuffed animals, dishes, toys and such. I want to know if I should continue to allow my daughters to play with certain toys just because they are a certain brand. Further explaining my situation, my oldest daughter loves princesses and the most common princess characters are, of course, Disney. I'm o.k. with her liking princesses because she is a princess - her Creator is the King. I also really like what Dora the Explorer teaches my kids, but is it o.k. to allow these "brands" into my home...or a better question might be, what is allowing this brand into my home teaching my children? ~Shannon

Interesting question, I think- so what say you, readers? What advice would you give to this mom with young children trying to determine how to deal with all the characters and brand names in her home? How do you deal with it?

Some related questions you might consider when you give your answer: Are there characters/brand names you have banned from your home? If so, why? Are there characters/brand names you allow? If so, why? How do you deal with the overwhelming marketing aimed at young children? Do you deal with gifts differently than things you yourself purchase for your children?

So come out with it! Let's hear your thoughts on this interesting question!



*** Remember that if you have a question for the readers that you'd like to have featured in the "ADVICE & ANSWERS" column, you can click here & follow these instructions. This feature depends on YOU, so send in your questions! ***

Maiden Voyage

After many months of reading the blogs of all my favs, I decided to give it a whirl myself. When I finally got the formatting figured out (with help I must add) the next dilemma was what to blog about the first time out of the gate. It's fitting I guess to introduce the shop to my readers (assuming of course there are some) so here goes. Sweet Pea was born in February 2006 after spending 4 and 1/2 years as a dealer in another shop. I decided to try it on my own and never looked back. Now I have moved to a bigger location about 20 minutes away and opened my door in June here at the new place. I know, I must be nuts to take such a leap in the dead of summer but is there ever a good time to move your store? So I have survived the first few months and now I am waiting on the masses in search of great antiques and really unique fall and Halloween decor!! Keep your fingers crossed for me out there. If you're ever in the Sanford, FL area stop by and have a look! I'd love to meet you! Please have a look at the pictures of the shop and the seasonal offerings.





Tuesday, September 4, 2007

ADVICE & ANSWERS: Infertility Treatments

Here's the first of what I hope will be MANY interesting questions brought to you, the readers, by you, the readers:

My husband and I are in the midst of a struggle with unexplained infertility. We have had all the "easy" tests done and have stopped for now because the next steps become more invasive and expensive. We are considering adoption, although it will take time to save all the money. We have looked into foster to adopt and private adoption and are considering some options there.

My main question is about infertility testing and treatment. We believe the Lord opens and closes the womb. We believe that whatever options we pursue must be done in faith. We would move ahead with adoption by faith or move ahead with medical options, hoping the Lord would work that way, acknowledging him to be the one to open the womb. If I had cancer or some other illness of course I would try everything medically that I could. Infertility is another result of the fall, but it somehow seems different because it involves a life coming into being. I know we will take the path the Lord leads us on, but am interested in your thoughts. ~Anonymous


So, what say you, readers? Read her question carefully, and consider: What advice would you give? What would you tell a friend? What would be your answer if you were this woman's situation?



*** Remember that if you have a question for the readers that you'd like to have featured in the "ADVICE & ANSWERS" column, you can click here & follow these instructions. This feature depends on YOU, so send in your questions! ***

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