Saturday, May 31, 2014

Laine's Letters And Paying Off Debt, Part 8

This is the last post from Laine's Letters and getting out of debt. This post begins with buying something used. Our washer and dryer broke several years ago. Our dryer was over 40 years old! My parents passed it down to us when we were married and it worked great for many years. Our washing machine was around 20 years old. I heard they don't make them like they use to anymore so we just found old, used ones that were still in good condition and bought those for so much less. The series begins HERE.

41 ~ Don't compare yourself. I've found this can be costly. So I just stay in my budget with my man. It's cheaper and so much more peaceful.

42~ Find one used if possible. I remember when we needed a washer, for ours had finally bit the dust. I asked the LORD if anyone had a washer they didn't need just hanging around. One of my friends called that evening and told me about this washer she had on her porch that she was getting rid of. I'm still using that washer. ~Smile~ (In the picture are our used washer and dryer with my homemade laundry powder!)

43~ Wait patiently when there is a need to see how God will provide. We needed firewood for the winter. I pray about it in the summer. I asked the LORD to bring it in. He did! Art picked some of it up, and some of it was delivered right to our home, totally free of charge. We used that wood all this past winter. When I would use it, I'd think of the faithfulness of God. 

44~ We couldn't afford private, Christian school for our kids, so I homeschooled all of them. I've been doing it for the past 14 years, having graduated two of our children. This was a big savings here, and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. No, not for the savings either. But it sure did help us to pay off our house. I always had the kids helping us pay off the house. Quincy kept bees and a big garden. Brady kept the chickens and goats. Now the roles are switched, and Abbie keeps the goats, while Gabe takes care of the chickens and fruit trees. Gabe wants to make a garden with his dad this summer. I love to keep my kids motivated in helping their dad financially by all their work around here. It makes us such a good team. 

45~ Every little bit does count. Say for example, you learn as I did that you can use half as much clothing detergent and just set your washer cycle to agitate a little longer. Not more water, just more agitation to get the clothes cleaner. Or you can soak your clothes overnight in the washer, then start the load the next morning with half as much detergent than you usually use. Now say you usually spend $12 a month on clothing detergent. This is about $144 a year, or $2448 for 17 years. So, if you save half of that by cutting down your detergent to half your normal use, while still getting your clothes clean, you've saved $72 a year or $1224 in 17 years. These are the kinds of savings I would practice to pay off our home in 17 years. I was always multiplying things by 12 for the entire year's use. All those little savings do add up. 

46~ Pray, pray, pray. I pray beforehand, during, and after. I pray before I go shopping, while I'm in the store, at the cash register, and on my way home. I pray when every check comes in that the LORD will give me wisdom to use it for His will. I just need the LORD's help so much in giving, saving, and spending. It's a training going on in my home that affects us, my children, and grandchildren. The LORD is able to do above all that we ask or think. Paying off our last debt, our home, in our 40's is one of those incredible answers to prayer. 

47~ We don't change cars very often. We keep our cars for a long time. We just keep up the maintenance on them. Presently I drive a 1986 Honda. I just love it. 

48~ We do not withdraw money without the other's knowledge. So I don't have to worry about an ATM withdrawal that my husband made without my knowing, thereby putting our account into jeopardy if I was to write a check thinking that money was in there. We work together as a team. We also do not make any singular purchases over $50 without the other's prior knowledge and consent. This has served us well. So I've never had a check bounce. 

49~ Our children get one big birthday party during their growing up. Otherwise, it is a family birthday party. This saves so much money and stress. Plus that one party is a lot of fun, since we only do it once in their childhood. Quincy had his at 18, Brady had his at 16, and I think Abbie is shooting for hers at 16 as well. Gabe is still up in the air about his. We really enjoy our family parties and make a big deal about the cake. They will spend days choosing their cake, especially when they were young. Although Abbie is studying my cookbooks presently for her upcoming birthday. Our children love to buy presents for each other. I take them to the thrift shops and other inexpensive stores to shop for their siblings. My boys have their own incomes, so they really enjoy shopping for their siblings. I think we've always enjoyed our family parties. As I said before, I think the good things in life can be so simple and pleasurable. 

50~ I just thank the LORD for all I have. I am so blessed. I have a husband who works hard to take care of us. I have four children who work with me to bless their dad. We have running water, even hot running water. So many servants: a washer, a dryer, a vacuum, a toaster, a blender, a microwave, a telephone, a computer, a stove, an oven, a refrigerator with a freezer in it, a car, and an indoor toilet. I am so thankful! 

If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, 
who will entrust to you the true riches?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Is Eating Sugar Sinful?

My son, Steven, thought eating sugar was sinful while he was growing up. I admit it, I didn't like my children eating junk food AT ALL. I know I went overboard and didn't handle it in the correct way, but as more and more studies come out, it is very apparent how harmful sugar is to us.

My son-in-law's father never allowed his children to eat sugar growing up. None of his children had cavities! A movie Fed Up just came out and explained how terrible sugar is for us. I read a book years ago called Sugar Blues which explained the detrimental affect sugar has on our health, therefore, I didn't want my children to eat that "poison!"

In the movie, it tells us that over 80% of the items in the supermarket contain sugar. Sugar is responsible for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood sugar, cancer, etc. We use to think it was fats that were so bad for us, but now we have discovered it is sugar and processed foods that are killing us. If you get rid of eating sugar, you would get rid of eating most chemicals, junk fats, and other harmful things in processed foods. {By the way, eating white flour does the same thing in your body that sugar does.}

Katie Couric went on a ten day sugar fast. She said in that ten days she lost five pounds, slept better, and had more energy. Sugar is very addictive so it is difficult to give up. However, you can lose the desire for it if you stay away from it for a time.

If you are given a steak to eat, you eat until you are full and then quit. If you are given cookies, you eat and eat until you are stuffed. Junk food doesn't satisfy our nutritional needs so we continue to eat it way past the limit of how much we should eat. Many people have bodies that are starving for lack of good, nutritious food even though they are way overweight.

Sugar does nothing beneficial for our health. Everything we eat affects us one way or another. I encourage you to eat food just the way God created it: organic meat, eggs, and dairy, lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, grains, beans, etc. If God created it, it is much better than what man can do to it. He is our Creator and knows what is best for us.

And no, eating sugar is not sinful. There is no where in the Bible that says we can't eat sugar. It may not be wise, but it is not sinful!

Or do you not know that your body is a temple 
of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God,
 and that you are not your own?
I Corinthians 6:19

***Our very favorite drink is HERE. We LOVE it!!!

****I challenge you to try giving up sugar for 10 days 
and let me know how it goes!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

His Dream Comes True!

I love watching you cook, Jessa. It was a wonderful experience just walking in the door. Right away, I smelled this awesome aroma of good home cooked food but then seeing the most gorgeous girl in the world just standing there in that cute little apron and her hair all done up. It was incredible. It's like, "Is this a dream or something?"{Ben from 19 Kids and Counting}

Ben's words reminded me of an interview awhile back that I saw with Bill and Guiliana Rancic {a couple who does a reality television show}. He said, "I would love to just be able to come home after a long day of work, be given a martini, have a home cooked meal, and all the laundry done." His wife works on another television show besides their reality show and travels a lot.

Barbara Walters interviewed Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood last year. She asked them when they wanted to have children. Mike quickly answered, "Now!" Carrie replied, "Someday. Maybe in a year or two." {It is dangerous to take your fertility for granted. It is more difficult to get pregnant the older you get and all forms of birth control, except the condom, are detrimental to you health.}

I believe most men would love this; to be able to come home, see their wives in an apron and cooking a wonderful smelling dinner. My personal opinion is that this is not asking too much, contrary to popular opinion. Jessa, from the Duggar show, explained that she will most likely be home cooking meals while Ben is out working. She doesn't think she is a good cook but she wants to learn to cook the food Ben enjoys.

Wearing an apron and cooking in a home are typically feminine roles. Women are told that being "barefoot and pregnant" is completely beneath them. This is all I ever wanted to be growing up, barefoot and pregnant. This is a God given desire and today's feminists movement has so distorted women's desires that even Christian women have fallen prey to its grasp.

Although Bill Rancic and Mike Fisher will always be much wealthier money-wise than Ben, who do you think is truly wealthy? If you have a husband, take care of him. Fix him good food. Take care of his laundry. Look as good as you are able. This will most likely contribute to a very happy, "wealthy" man.

The wisest of women builds her house, 
but folly with her own hands tears it down.
Proverbs 14:1

Fellowship Fridays

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Are There Gender Differences?

Ken and I have four children. Two of them are female and two are male. The males are much taller and stronger than the females. The males are much stronger emotionally than the females. They are very different as you can see from the photo.

When I wrote my post We NEED Men In An Emergency, I received many disagreements. My only purpose was to praise the men in my life who helped me in a difficult situation. Some women thought women should learn to do everything men do in case we ever end up alone. Some tried to convince me that women are not the "weaker vessel." Others thought I probably had an anxiety disorder because of my typical female initial panic reaction to a massive wall of smoke and fire bearing down on my home!

Men have ten times the testosterone that women have. They are much stronger. Most women can't even do one pull-up. I never have been able to. Women can't play football against men! {Well, they could but they would be badly injured quickly.} The majority of firefighters, policemen, and military are men. Even the majority of car mechanics, plumbers, builders, and electricians are men. 

Women have bodies designed with unique abilities to create and nurture new life. Our bodies were created by God to be different for many reasons and we should celebrate those differences as male and female to fulfill God given roles.

I have zero problem with this. I like the fact that men are bigger and stronger. I don't want to have the burden of learning how to fix everything and lift things way beyond my ability. Even if I ever have to live alone, I am sure the men in my life will come help me when I need help. I do not have to learn all male roles "just in case," because if even if my husband dies, men will still be all around me willing to help.

Several of my neighbors have called Ken when their husbands were away and they needed help. He's helped them with their computers, televisions, water heater problems, garage doors and when they thought someone was in their home, etc. He's happy to help.

So no matter what the feminists movement {and that is who it is!} says, men and women were created differently by God. Women are the nesters and nurturers and men are the providers and protectors. Nothing anybody can say will ever convince me otherwise. It's just as plain as night and day that men and women were designed to complement each other, not compete for importance or worse yet, equality of like kind. 

No person will ever be completely equal to any other unless they are twins. Even then differences in intelligence, knowledge and talents will exist. Our society must stop trying to make a gender neutral world, but instead recognize the strengths of each gender and celebrate and honor these differences. Vive la diffĂ©rence!

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
I Peter 3:7

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Woe To Immodest Women!

Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influences to do wrong! It is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the person on whose account or by whom the temptation comes! {Matthew 18:7} This verse made me think of immodest and indecent women.

It is difficult to find family friendly shows anymore. I use to love watching American Idol. The majority of the contestants are simply regular people. However, some of the female judges dress and dance so immodestly. I could never sit comfortably with my husband watching them with their breasts hanging out and moving sensuously all over the stage. What are these women thinking? Don't they know this is suppose to be a family friendly show?

Many women have no scruples. They are immodest and indecent and they cause many men to stumble...woe to the person on whose account or by whom the temptation comes! Woe unto them! I would never want the Lord to say "Woe" to me. You never want to incur God's wrath.

Bringing this closer to home, I thought of the many Christian women who wear bikinis and dress immodestly. They are causing other men to stumble whether they know it or not. Honest men will tell you that the more flesh a woman shows, the more difficult it is for them to not lust. So, whenever I teach this, some women will retort, "Some men will lust if a woman is wearing a garbage bag. It is their problem!"

I am here to tell you that you are still responsible to do everything in your power to not cause men to lust. The majority of men will not lust after women wearing garbage bags. They lust when a woman shows a lot of flesh. God commands that we dress modestly! Not only for our protection but for the men around us.

There are many places to buy modest bathing suits now. I encourage you to go buy one. Cover up as much flesh as possible. Keep it for your husband's eyes only or for your future husband's eyes only. If you plan on never marrying, keep it in obedience to the Lord.

Never be directly responsible for a man to lust. Be careful with the clothing you wear. Ask your husband what is modest. He is a man and he knows what men today struggle with. Respect his opinion in this area. Some men want their wives to dress immodestly. Explain to them that you will dress however they want in front of them but in public, you desire to be modest as God commands. Then decide together what modesty looks like in your home.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves 
in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; 
not with braided hair, or gold or pearls, 
or costly array; But which becometh women 
professing godliness with good works.
I Timothy 2:9,10

***Shamefacedness means modest or bashful...
completely opposite of most women today.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sow Life Into Your Marriage

Her husband loved her unconditionally even when she admits she was a terrible wife with a broken past. Here are her own words describing her behavior and her husband's actions ~

God called my husband to complete me. He called him to save me from my own destruction. My husband understands charity. He never seeks after his own. No matter how badly I treated him, threatened to leave him, cussed and fumed at him, and no matter how many mind games I played against him, he just loved me. He loved me. He loved me. When I did not deserve love, he loved me. When I was selfish and prideful, he loved me. And when I ask him, even today, "How did I ever deserve you?" He looks back every time, and he says, "How did I ever deserve you?"

Their marriage became a beautiful love story as she stopped seeing the glass half empty and began being filled with joy. Soon afterwards, she was in a bad accident and was bedridden for a long time. This is what she said about her husband during this difficult time ~

I would often say to my husband, "I was created to be your help meet, not you being created to be my help meet." This man of few words would say in response, "I was created to do what ever needs doing, and right now I am going to take care of you." He encouraged me to live. He encouraged me to rise above my circumstances and choose life. Choose joy. He always wants me to be all I was created to be. While I shine and prosper, he hides in the background. He is a humble, quiet man. He never looks for glory or honor in any form. He humbly serves his family and his Lord.

Her husband was a servant who willingly washed his wife's feet even when she was very difficult. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11

Now instead of reading a beautiful love story like this and being jealous, "My husband isn't like that at all!" think about becoming a servant to your husband; one who loves him unconditionally even when he doesn't deserve it. I use to read marriage books that told stories like this and they would just make me discontent with how Ken treated me. Now, I read things and say, "I want to be like this husband is to his wife to my husband." We reap what we sow. Sow life into your marriage and you will reap life.

You can read all of Erin's story HERE.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How Big Is Your God?

Many people are afraid today, including Christians. Our economy is tenuous. Morality is sinking fast. The world is becoming a very scary place. However, how big is your God? Is He still in control? Does He own the cattle on a thousand hills? Has He promised you that He would supply all your needs?

If you can answer "Yes" to all those questions, you have a really big God. If you say you love God and that He is in control but you walk around in a state of fear all the time, what kind of God will unbelievers think that you worship? If you are fearful like them, your God is no help at all.

We are commanded to keep our minds on things above, not on this world. This world has never been a safe place. There has always been trials and tribulations but God always, ALWAYS gets His way. He loves us. He sent His Son to die for us to free us from the wrath to come. He lives inside of us. He gives us strength. He promises to be our Protector and Provider. Whom shall we fear???

Instead of spending so much time watching the news, begin reading the Word, the Living Word. Read about all of God's promises to us and begin believing them. Any trial we go through, He will be right with us comforting us and giving us strength. Fearing for the future is worthless and harmful. It may or may not happen, but when you fear for your future, you are forgetting to put God in the picture.

We should be the happiest, most joyful people around. We have a hope and a future. We have a God that promises us that ALL things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

All He wants from us is to be busy doing His will for our life. If you are a mother, be busy serving your children. If you are a wife, be busy serving your husband. If you are single, whatever your hand finds to do, do it heartily as unto the Lord. Be lights to those around you. Love them. Serve them. This is how God wants us to live.

Rejoice in the Lord always: 
and again I say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

***This one is for you, Sheila! Trust God. Trust God with your children. 
Trust Him with your future. He has it all under control.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Laine's Letter And Paying Off Debt, Part 7

We have an apple tree in full blossom right now! Anna apple trees produce wonderful tasting apples and are perfect for the climate we live in now. We also have a fig tree, citrus trees, guava trees, strawberry plants, peach and apple trees, onions, etc. I would plant a lot more if I felt up to it. Anyways, back to Laine's Letters and how they paid their home off.
 The series begins HERE

33~ We have used a credit card most of our married life, but we have never paid an interest charge on anything we've charged. We pay it off as soon as it comes in. So we charge only what we can afford. Then a sale is really a sale, no interest charges. We've never charged furniture. Rather we buy it used or use items given to us. 

34~ My wedding ring has been broken for three years now (diamond fell out). But I'd rather see the house paid off, so I've been waiting patiently. On Valentine's Day, Art bought me an old fashioned silver ring to put in place of my wedding ring until we can afford to fix it. There have been so many things like that. Our CD player has been broken for over a year. Our television was broken, so we used this little one in its place. The kids' friends used to laugh when they saw it. But we had a goal to pay off our house, so we kept working with what we had. 

35~ Last year the dentist told me that Abbie had a problematic tooth which wouldn't come out without going to an oral surgeon. As I mentioned before, we don't have dental insurance. So Art told Abbie he would give her $10 if she got that tooth out. I prayed and prayed, while she pried and poked at that tooth all summer. Finally, at the end of the summer, she got the tooth out! I'll never forget how excited we were. Now she has to have orthodontist work, but we have been praying and saving. 

36~ We wash our own cars. Or we hire our kids to wash our cars giving them some spending money for a good job done. 

37~ I love to learn, so I am always learning whenever the opportunity. I have attended many classes on different subjects over the years to help me be better at my job. Some were free or near free, but so helpful. Like my photography class. I took it at night when I had two children and was pregnant with my third. 

The Food Network shows that my uncle tapes for me are like mini cooking classes. I just feel so blessed to learn from these incredible chefs and cooking teachers. After we get done watching a program, we all head out to the kitchen to whip something up! It just puts you in the mood. ~Smile~ 

38~ I learned to plant or transplant flowers or plants. This helps in saving money in the garden. I love ivy, geranium, lavender, and rosemary for my area. They are great growers without a lot of water. I am constantly reading up on gardening, for it's an area I would like to improve on. 

39~ We have built up a family library. I love good books. I have so many wonderful books. Many of them I bought at the thrift shop. I've always got my nose in a good book. So do my children. I've taught them for years that they can learn anything if they've got a good book to learn from. And that you're never too old to learn, rather you'll be learning all your life. I never think I've got something down, rather I keep trying to learn and improve on what I do already know. 

40~ I've learned to spend according to what comes in, not what is projected. That would be like counting your chickens before they were hatched. Not good financing. 

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, 
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Proverbs 13:11

Friday, May 23, 2014

Should We Have Clean Homes?

A very interesting discussion took place on my post Extremely Messy Homemakers. I gave a way out for those who don't keep clean homes by saying it is more important to raise godly children. Some women changed my mind, however.

Your first priority should be to nurture your children in the wisdom and the knowledge of God but I also think this is very important, "She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

If we believe in Jesus and want to walk in obedience to Him, we must spend our time wisely and He commands that women be keepers at home and guide the home. This must include keeping a well-ordered home. I have often heard a cluttered home produces a cluttered mind. We must train our children to begin working hard and cleaning as soon as they are able.

God wants us to work hard. He is a God of order. We must discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness. God wants us to be disciplined. He gave us His Holy Spirit who lives inside of us and one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. Yes, we would much rather spend our free time on the computer, reading, etc. but our housework must be a priority over those things. Children should be brought up in an environment of order, not chaos.

I use to love watching Martha Stewart cook. She was always cleaning as she went whenever she cooked. It is much easier to clean things right away than let them pile up in the sink. Stuff comes off easily when pots are warm or plates have just been used. Decide one day a week to vacuum your home. Do one load of laundry a day. Find out what works best for you.

After saying all this, however, we must never let our homes become an idol; putting them ahead of our husband, children, or friends. Let your family enjoy and live in your home. Yes, they are going to make messes. Don't fret! Teach your children to clean up after themselves and if your husband doesn't clean up after himself, become a living sacrifice to him and clean up for him. Strive to make your home a place of beauty and rest for your precious family.

I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.  
Proverbs 24:30-34

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Steven's Proposal To Emily

From the moment I knew I was going to ask Emily to be my wife {about a day into dating :)}, I began to think of possible ways to propose to the love of my life. Emily had already expressed to me that she didn't want something overtly embarrassing {i.e. jumbotron} but rather something special to the both of us, and I agreed. Having wracked my mind for weeks, I finally came to what I felt was the best plan for us...and then it changed about 15 times until the night before the big day. So here it goes~

First off, a little back story to set the stage. A week and a half before the proposal, I had just finished my written orthodontic boards and asked Emily if she would like to go out to a fancy dinner in celebration. I told her that my Dad was paying for the bill {thanks Dad!} for us to celebrate and we could go somewhere super nice. What Emily didn't know was that this was all part of the set up to me asking her to be my bride. I wanted both of us dressed up and I felt this was a legitimate excuse to book a nice dinner.

On the Saturday of the proposal, I invited Emily over to hang out. When she arrived, we decided to go to the park for a time of relaxation, quiet time and devotions since the weather was beautiful. We found a nice little secluded grassy spot where we could share some time together. About half way through our afternoon bliss, I pulled out from my bag a single sheet of paper that I wanted to share with Emily. On this paper was a list entitled "Ten things I am looking for in a spouse," written by yours truly. Now this was written in September 2013, before I even met Emily. As you can imagine, Emily is exactly who I describe on this list and when I finished sharing this sheet of paper with Emily, I pulled out my guitar and wooed her with a sweet melody {no, I will not be playing this for anyone else}. I think at this point, she had a feeling that I was going to propose right then and there...But I didn't. Gotta save the suspense!

After about an hour at the park, we headed back to get ready for the epic boards accomplishment dinner. I knew the dinner was only 15 minutes away but we left 30 minutes early. Realizing that we left early, I asked Emily if she would want to see where I interviewed for the orthodontic program. Emily willingly agreed, thankfully. We parked and walked up to the building. The building was surrounded by a construction fence so we decided to walk down a little ways to see a few other parts of the medical center {all part of the plan ;)}. 

This is where we found the proposal location. This place held one of the iconic buildings of the medical center...a parking garage. Well, it is a parking garage, but a very beautiful one with waterfalls running down the side. I proceeded to walk Emily to the middle of the lawn in front of the waterfall: sun glistening, waterfall running, grass beautifully trimmed. It was the perfect time...except for the helicopter landing in the background about 200 feet away and barely being able to hear one another. Oh well, it's game time. I proceeded to share with Emily that over 2.5 years ago, the first place I stopped in this city was this exact spot and who would have known that in that time, I would meet the woman of my dreams. I dropped to one knee, pulled out a little blue box and asked Emily Jane if she would marry me. Emily was so excited she completely forgot about the ring and gave me a huge hug. I estimate I was on one knee for no more than five seconds. I had found a keeper ;).

Once the proposal was through and we got the pictures we wanted {thanks Kenner and Jamie!}, we then headed downtown to a wonderful restaurant. This restaurant is on the top floor of the Hyatt and is actually a revolving restaurant that spins at a slow pace overlooking the city. The best part is that the city is so flat you can see just about everything. We both had a great time and as the evening was wrapping up, I asked Emily if she wanted to go surprise her parents with the good news {still all part of the plan}.

As we drove out to her parent's home, we both talked about how fun it is going to be to walk into her home and surprise everyone with the engagement news. What Emily didn't know is that back at her home, I had 20 people waiting for us with decorations, champagne and cake to surprise Emily {Thanks, Janie!}. When we arrived at her home and stepped in the door, I couldn't have asked for a better way to top off the the night then to celebrate with family and friends. My parents even made it to the party all the way from California {that is they were being Skyped in through the computer.}. Both Emily and I had such a fun time that evening sharing the great news and reliving the past few hours. How blessed we both are and I am still in awe of God's goodness to me that Emily agreed to marry me. Can't wait!

I found whom my soul loves.
Song of Solomon 3:4

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Are You Married To A Judas Or A Peter?

This topic was one of the first topics I wrote about when I began this blog. I think it needs to be revisited since there are some women out there that believe that the advice I give could lead to the murder of women!

I  have been mentoring women now for over ten years. When I get a particularly tough relationship and the wife is thinking of getting out, I always ask her if she is married to a Judas or a Peter. Is he an evil man like Judas who betrayed Jesus or a man that does bad things like Peter who denied Jesus three times? Every single one has admitted their husband was a Peter. I have never had one woman tell me she was married to a Judas.

Therefore, I give them advice based upon God's Word and what I have seen work in many marriages. If a woman is married to a Judas, a truly evil man who has the ability to kill her, I would tell her to go elsewhere for counsel after I told her to call the authorities and have him locked away.

The majority of women I mentor have husbands that have addictions such as pornography, are going through difficult times in their lives or having an affair. Not one of them has ever felt physically threatened by their husbands so I have felt confident in giving them advice.

I teach them what God has to say, regardless of their situation. I know a woman personally who was married to a very difficult man for many, many years. On his deathbed, he came to know Jesus and will spend eternity in heaven because of his faithful wife.

Too many people out there, mostly unbelievers, want to discredit what I teach because of the 2% or so of women who are married to evil men. I am not suppose to teach God's Word for fear some husband will kill his wife because of my counsel?

No one is responsible for making a wife stay with her husband except herself. She has the freedom to accept counsel from someone or not. She can leave her husband and even divorce him if she wants. It is like trying to blame the Pearls for the death of several children because their book was found in the parent's home. The only blame can be put on those parents. 

I know some women are fragile and don't feel like they are strong enough to leave their husbands. So someone is suppose to go to their home and physically pull them out? No one knows truly what goes on behind closed doors. When I mentor women, I am only getting one side of the story. I never hear the man's side so I simply have to give advice according to what the wife is telling me. There have been a few women who really feel like they can not handle living with their husbands anymore. I will counsel them to seek help from an older, godly women, godly family members, or go to the elders of the church. She may even need to separate for a time for her own health and sanity.

Every marriage is different. Every situation is different. Every person is ultimately responsible for their actions and the advice they choose to receive. The Bible says that women married to disobedient husbands may win their husbands without a word. It tells us to overcome evil with good. It tells us to love our husbands and "let no man put asunder what God has joined together." God hates divorce. He tells us wives are to be submissive and obedient to their own husbands. I will continue to teach these things and each woman must decide for herself if she wants to listen and do it or not.

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
I Peter 3:5,6

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Are The Duggars Legalistic?

The Duggars wear dresses below their knees. They don't watch television. They wait to kiss until their wedding day. They believe in allowing God to decide how many children they should have. The females all wear their hair long. They don't go to public beaches or pools and wear extremely modest bathing suits. The Pearls hold to many of these convictions, also. 

We spent a week with the Pearls years ago and Michael told us he never goes to beaches or the malls. He takes the command to flee sexual immorality very literally. Is he legalistic for doing this? Are both the Duggars and Pearls legalistic because they have such stricter boundaries than most of us do?

Some people believe it is wrong to drink alcohol. Some women believe in covering their heads. Are all these convictions legalistic?  They only become legalistic if you call others a sin who do these things or don't do the things the Duggars and Pearls do.

Being legalistic is making up your own rules and believing those who don't follow your rules are in sin. The Duggars and Pearls simply have made boundaries in their lives in order to obey God. "For the grace of God...has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness and worldly desires, to live discreet, upright, devout lives in this present world."{Titus 2:11,12} They are doing everything they can in order to be pleasing to the Lord.

One thing I have noticed about the Duggars and the Pearls is the consistent smile on their faces and the joy in their lives. Placing boundaries in our life that protect us from evil are always a good thing. These boundaries actually bring joy into our lives instead of sorrow IF they are not legalistic and you are doing this in order to please the Lord, not sit in judgment of others who do not do them and aren't convicted in the same way you are.

Both of these families are busy ministering to people in their community and in missions programs. They are a light in a dark, dark world. Their mission statement in life is to love God and to love others. After they have been on programs like Good Morning America, I have heard statements from the ones interviewing them, "They have better control over their nineteen children than most couples have over their two!"

Ken and I don't have many of the convictions the Duggars and Pearls have made. I admire both of them deeply for their convictions and love for Jesus, however. Just because we don't hold to all their convictions doesn't mean we think we are better than them in any way or that they are better than us. I believe we all need to respect other's convictions and support them. We are called to love each other and not have divisions among us. This is pleasing in the sight of God.

Monday, May 19, 2014

What Concrete Submission Looks Like

What does submission look like? Very few of us have had godly role models to show us. Laine wrote a letter giving her readers concrete examples of what submission looks like ~

Before I begin sharing concrete examples, however, I must explain that my heart changed toward my husband when I began to fall in love with Jesus all over again. When I began to thirst for His Word and time alone with Him every day, I learned more about submission than I ever realized before. I learned that my eyes had to be on Christ. Not on my husband's faults, or lack of leadership, as I perceived he should be or should lead. And as I grew closer to Christ, I understood that intimacy with my husband was of the prime importance, after intimacy with my LORD. 

Now this is the interesting I fell in love with Jesus again, so also, I fell deeply in love with my honey again. That wonderful, honeymoon love that Jesus speaks about when He reminds the church in Ephesus just what they had lost ~

"Nevertheless I have this against you, 
that you have left your first love." Revelation 2:4 

Marriage is a beautiful picture of that first love. My husband is my first love on this earth. I learned that submitting to him was building him up, supporting him, helping him, and in so doing, bringing much respect to him. How could I do this unless I knew his heart? So I set it up in our home that we might have time alone together. Early in the morning we have the most wonderful talks over coffee. I stopped sleeping in and got up first with my LORD, and then I was ready with coffee for Art. This started six years ago when my children were 4 weeks old, 2 years old, 5 years old, and 8 years old. And it has continued to this morning. 

I asked the LORD to help me love him as God intended a wife to love her husband. I started to tell that man of mine two good things a day that I noticed about him. Words like these started to spill out of my mouth ~

"You are so good looking."
"You are a good father."
"I love the way you say, 'Son,' to those boys of yours."
"You are like a fine wine aging just perfectly."
"You bring such good to this family."
"You are such a good provider."
"We always have more than enough with you taking care of us."
"You are so clever with your hands."
"I know you can do it. You always do!"
"You are so generous."
"I love to be with you."

The more I practiced praising my husband, the more I saw him change. In the mean time, I worked on myself. For as I studied the Word of God concerning my job as a helpmeet, I realized that I could bring much respect and honor to my husband by my busy hands. Not my busy mouth. But my busy hands. And since I have a tendency to have a busy mouth, I had to take some drastic measures. I had to shut my phone down every morning. To this day. Why? Because the morning hours are my most productive hours. As the day wears on, I tend to get more fatigued. So it is best that I don't talk to anyone but my children in the morning, and instead get my hands busy, busy, busy.

How? Concretely...~Smile~...I started to learn how to better run my home. I began to cook more from scratch, which stretched my husband's income, and brought him much delight. I began to study ways to use our money wisely, and essentially became his financial advisor. This week we will sign a loan reducing our house payment considerably as I sought out the best loan rate for us. I have done likewise research to get us the lowest car insurance. I use a savings plan for our electricity, reducing my heavy usage to the morning hours. I learned how to do our taxes, that we might save there. 

I learned how to cut our family's hair, that we might save there. I learned how to teach our children that we might give them a private Christian education at a fraction of the cost. I learned to do a lot of writing rather than long distance calling. I learned how to make my home look "country- cozy" at minimal cost from bargain shopping at thrift shops, garage sales, and swap meets. I learned to prepare ahead for my family that I might laugh along with the Proverbs 31 woman at the future. So in the summer, I think winter. And in the winter, I think summer. I learned to shop more wisely with that kind of thinking and preparation. 

Presently I am studying herbs and learning to cook with honey and freshly ground wheat. For I have found that my job in the kitchen is so very important to this family's health. Since I began cooking healthier and learning to use herbs, we have not seen a doctor as much as we use to. I am also practicing, every now and then, a little sewing, some gardening, and some canning. My desires are to learn to knit and crochet better in the future. I would also like to learn how to quilt and make rugs. Oh, there's so much to look forward to!

For a well run, cozy home, well trained and taught children, good cooking, orderly clothing, and the income stretched to its fullest fruitfulness, brings honor to my husband. And how I have fallen in love with him and want to do just that. For I have fallen in love with my LORD, and now realize the far reaching effects for Christ just such a home has on the many loved ones it touches. 

Have I fully achieved such a home yet? No, but it is getting better and better the more I practice at it. Sometimes I get discouraged by my struggle with procrastination and disorganization from so many years of bad habits. Then I remember from where I've come. I use to spend hours on the phone talking to my friends, an hour and a half in front of the television watching soap operas, hours reading romance novels late into the night, and countless hours at the mall and other stores . I don't do any of those things anymore. The LORD has replaced them with so much more, and has blessedly taken the junk out of my mind. He has replaced it instead with His beautiful Word. 

He has been my strength and my song all along. Now when my husband comes home he sees a much more peaceful woman. Praise music is in the background, for this keeps my focus on Christ all day. Something good has been cooking, or is cooked. His children have been taught, especially in God's Word; so they are different children, as I am a different woman. Our home, to my husband, is one of the most peaceful places on earth. He says he longs to get here after a day at work. 

That, to me, is the essence of submission. It is peace in practice. It is a woman {the heart of the home} loving a man {the head of the home} as God intended. It is Proverbs 31 being played out day after day. For in Proverbs 31 the "law of kindness" is on her mouth, while her hands are very, very busy doing good for her family. And a "gentle and quiet spirit are precious in His sight." For if one "controls the tongue, one can bridle the entire body." 

It is Mary saying to Gabriel the angel, "Behold the bondslave of the LORD. Let it be done to me according to your word." 

A bondslave of the LORD. This is a woman you want to emulate. This is a woman you want to know. A woman who treasures and ponders God's Word in her heart. She is not anxious or upset about many things, that is why God put His Son with her for thirty years. She is favored because of her complete devotion to God and the desire to make herself a slave to His Will. For His great glory. Not a lot of questions about how He was going to do all this through her, rather a gentle and quiet trust in Him. 

When a woman will quietly trust God like this and build up her husband, thus building up her home, she will practice "winning him without a word" to The Word, as described in 1 Peter 3. Then he will observe "her chaste conduct accompanied by fear." For the "fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;" and this woman is personifying that very wisdom in her home. 

Concretely, what can happen? Well, I can only speak from my own home. I now see my husband studying the Word of God and leading our family as God intended. I now see my junior higher reading his Bible every night, on his own initiative. I now see my high schooler reading his Bible also every night, on his own initiative. 

Why? Well, it all started years ago when I decided to take God at His Word in 1 Peter 3:1-2 and quiet my heart each morning alone with Jesus; lay my life down as His bondslave; get my mouth praising and my hands busy; and start building my home as so beautifully described in Proverbs 31. My husband said that my changed life drew him to the Word. And my high schooler said that he wanted to commit to reading God's Word each day as I had. My junior higher wanted to be like his brother. It is truly God's incredible work. 

That is why I point to the submission of Christ to The Father when I speak about submission to women. And the godly submission of the church to Christ. This is our perfect definition of submission as wives under our husbands. This godly action is what draws others to our beautiful LORD. Can I do it on my own? No. That is why I need to be alone with my beautiful LORD and Savior every day. I need to know Him and say with Paul, "I count it all a loss at the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my LORD." 

Because then I will understand what it means to submit to Him, and... to him. 
For knowing my husband's mind is very important in submitting to him. I found that I could know his mind just the way that I did when I was dating him. How? From lots and lots of conversation together. Communication is the first thing the enemy tries to crush during war time. It is also the first thing our enemy tries to crush in a marriage. To build communication in my marriage I got up early to be alone with him. I stayed up late to wait for him. 

I made the afternoons special by having tea ready for him when he came home from work. I knew his mind after spending so much time with him. A concrete example is that I knew he liked me home when he came home from work. So I stopped going anywhere that prevented me from being home then on a regular basis. God has rewarded me far more than I have given up. My husband and I are closer than we were when we first got married. But the best part, oh, the very best part, is we are closer to Christ. 

Submission works. It is the concrete in a marriage. 

Love to you,