Saturday, May 31, 2014

Making Your Husband Seem More Spiritual Than He Is

Have you ever noticed the temptation among some Christian women to want their husbands to appear more spiritual than they actually are?

She will make mention, casually of course, of something her husband does or is that will impress others. She might fool herself into thinking that she is just praising her man, but in reality, she wants others, her friends especially, to feel that she has it all. And that her man is really Godly.  This kind of pressure is especially prevalent among wives whose husband's are in the ministry.

But a woman who does this just coveting what she perceives desirable in other women's husbands?  Of seeing something that she deems ideal and wanting it? A wife will hear how so and so's husband is such a wonderful spiritual leader in his home. He reads the Bible every night to his children and has regular family devotions. He's an elder in the church or some other position (the importance of which is often exaggerated).

But the truth is that our job as wives is not to construct an image of a picture-perfect husband or family life. It's to honor the one we've actually got. We do that by what goes on behind closed doors. If a man is truly honored in his own home, in his own car on the way to church, at the dinner table and in his own bedroom, he will typically grow more and more into the man God calls him to be. Some men more slowly than others, so patience is a virtue here. ;-)

Besides, the truth is that most "real" men are not super-spiritual men. In fact, I think that most good men (if not all) don't even want to be because by their God-given natures, men just aren't very spiritual. And they are especially resistant to toucy-feely stuff.

This is good.

Real men (mature, sincere, honest, brave, resourceful, God-fearing) are actually wary of things that smell of spirituality and piety. Meaning, that God gave them very deep instincts to be guarded, suspicious and skeptical. He made them this way for their own and our (their wives) protection.

I remember when, as a young wife, my husband's skepticism used to embarrass me a little. I was such a people pleaser and so very unfamiliar with what a real man was like, I thought that others were offended by my husband's guarded nature. By his reluctance to laugh at their jokes or smile unreservedly. I wanted him to "lighten up" and be me! How wrong I was!  I learned that not only do other men respect men who are guarded, other women find it attractive. Hmm! I soon learned to revel in it. Now I am free to be sensitive and delicate when my man is guarded and even gruff at times. I don't mind a bit. I feel secure in his skepticism knowing that he's very wise to test things and people out before (if ever) lowering his guard.

The more feminine I am, the more manly my husband gets. When I first understood this and began giving my husband the true respect that was due him several years ago, there was a natural adjustment period for both of us. We had to give one another some wiggle room to gain confidence and grace in our proper roles. I had to give him room when he was a little too aggressive in manner and resist the temptation to raise a fuss at him. He had to give me some room to reel myself back in when I succumbed to old reactions.

                       A good marriage is made up of two good forgivers.  ~ Ruth Bell Graham 

I learned that when a man finally receives the proper respect from his wife, oftentimes he'll emerge with leadership traits he never knew he had. If you were a nag type of wife and you are now cultivating a meek and quiet spirit, be prepared to get out of the way and let your man get his sea legs. Give it time.

Some men who were overbearing and over-aggressive may begin to soften a bit.  Other men who were brow beaten panty-waists may actually begin to lead and appear stronger.  But either way, a man only has the chance to be all he can be when his wife gives him respect and lots of grace.

Special note for wives in rocky marriages: 
If you don't respect your man because you feel he doesn't deserve it, you can make a conscious choice to respect his office. Show respect for the station that God has given him as a man and as your husband. If you're struggling terribly to show him any respect, try this: find a quiet place and listing every single thing you can think of that is good about him or that he does well. In other words, that you can genuinely show admiration about. To men, admiration is very, very similar to respect and it will have a huge impact on a man who is 1) not worthy and 2) destitute for his God-given need for it.

When making your list, include the smallest gestures or character traits....does he put the seat down for you? Does he remember how you like your coffee? Does he change the channel or lower the volume on inappropriate tv shows when the kids are near? Does he pay the bills on time? List it all. Make mention of something every day. Tell him you appreciate when he "__________________".

Moving on...
It was super important for me to understand that real men do act not act like women. They have different instincts and very different perspectives. Again, this is a good thing. A God thing!

When a man does something wrong, or gruff, or dumb or insensitive, don't expect a gushy apology.  It's not that he is insensitive or stupid. He just does't want to lose face. He fears being diminished in the eyes of others (especially his wife - even if he doesn't show it) so he tends to hold on to his pride and act like he does't care.  This is one of the most significant marriage building truths I've ever learned.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel. My man actually offers me the occasional apology when he is wrong. Knowing how difficult it is for him to admit fault, I am genuinely touched when he makes the effort.

A good husband does care, more than we probably could understand. Even if he doesn't show it. And  when we consistently forgive him, love him and serve him, the gruffest of men will be gruff with everyone but you.  Only a woman has the power to melt a man's heart and fill it so full of concern and passion he will fall in love with her over and over again. My constant goal is to make sure I am that woman for my husband. It is foolish for anyone to take their marriage for granted when the casualty rate for marriages is so high.

Just remember — there are plenty of women who would LOVE to have your man and mine.

I'm glad I learned these things when I did. As a kid, I watched my super-spiritual mom drive away her very unspiritual, regular, fun loving, God fearing, hardworking husband (my dad). After she divorced him, he remarried a nice woman who gave him the respect his soul needed.  And my mom ended up pining for her failed marriage to the point of claiming to prophetically believe he would one day return to her. He recently celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary with his 2nd wife and is happy. My mom's legacy is sad and one that I became determined early on to never imitate.

I don't want a super spiritual man. I don't care if my husband is not as spiritual seeming, or as good of a family leader as other women's husbands. I know I struck gold when I got him.  He may not have daily devotions or read the Bible every day to us, but when he does, it's all the more precious because it is of his own initiative and desire.

No, I don't want a spiritual man nor am I interested in promoting him as anymore than what he is. A hardworking, honest man full of integrity and simple faith.

Have you ever noticed that some men who actually do project a "super spiritual" persona wind up having some kind of secret sin exposed?  Doug Phillips is the latest calamity. I have no idea if his wife promoted him, but I doubt it. These types of men almost always promote themselves and put pressure on other men to measure up to their self-perceived status. Perhaps they overstate and over-compensate because they are trying to disguise and distract their hidden sin? Only God knows.
But there are women who see men like this and think he's ideal and wish their husband were more like him. They long for strong, godly leadership.

But ladies, the fast track for a wife to getting the kind of husband she wants, is being the kind of wife her husband needs. Resolve to stop taking offense. Be content and honor the man you chose to marry and love him just the way he is. He is your head. And God is the head of our husbands, so we can petition him for anything we need or want.

So pray for your husband every day! Pray the Lord will increase him in faith, strength, wisdom and godliness. Then get out of God's way and love your husband today just as he is.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Head Covering

I have only been familiar with the issue of head covering for a couple of years. I don't add any cloth coverings  on top of my hair nor am I an advocate.  But it seems to be a practice that is on the rise and I decided to study my Bible to see what God's word says.

First of all, every Christian must understand that there is nothing that can be done to add to the finished work of Christ on Calvary. If more people just read the bible rather than study guides and books, there would be fewer troubles in the churches of God.

I'll state my conclusion clearly right up front: wearing a head covering is a work. And an unnecessary, unbiblical one. I will back up what I say with Scripture. This article is long, so please read it all before you make any comments.

If you're ready, open your King James Bible with me and lets read.

I'm not going to allegorize, parenthesize or squish them around to say what I want. No lexicons, no Greek & Hebrew, no study guides. We'll  simply read the King James Bible, comprehend the words, understand the sentences, and believe what they say. Ready?

Beginning in 1 Corinthians 11 ~
1. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 
2. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.  
Paul instructs the Corinthian church to follow him because he is of Christ. He praises them for remembering him and keeping the ordinances he gave them. Then he gets right into the point of his letter with a "BUT"....
3. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 
Paul makes a vital point right off the bat. Establishment of headship and authority. This is key to the entire passage. He obviously has some correcting to do as he insinuates that the people had some mistaken ideas about who's the boss.  He tells them plainly.  God over Christ, Christ over Man, Man over Woman.

Pausing for a moment: I'm going to cut to the chase right here. Paul reveals the definition of the terms "cover, covered, covering" in verse 15. If you read them you will see clearly that it is hair.  It's almost as if he wrote the beginning verses as if they already knew that is what he was talking about. If you read the entire passage with that in mind, you will see that there is no other alternative meaning. With that in mind, in the next verse we see that Paul gets right down to business:
4. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 
He's already established that the head of a man is Christ. So Paul declares that a man with his head covered (with long hair, as is revealed in vs. 15) dishonors Christ.

Next comes another BUT. (There are many in this chapter!)
5. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head Uncovered (i.e. without long hair) dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
Here is the first mention of hair. A woman with her head uncovered (with long hair) dishonors her husband (her earthly boss), and is the same as if she had a shaved head.

The point I see Paul making here is that the issue of long hair is magnified for a Christian. In the spiritual realm, there are obviously some serious ramifications concerning prayer and prophesy. So here, Paul says a woman might as well have a shaved head if her head is uncovered. He is going to the extreme. Sort of like we would today if we said, well if the front part of your skirt is transparent, you may as well be not wearing a skirt at all!
6. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
The wording "let her also" trips up some women. But it's really clear that Paul's just reiterating what he said in the previous verse - if she's not covered (which vs. 15 identifies as hair), she might as well shaved.  In verses 7, 8, and 9, he is reminding them of what he began his letter with - headship. It's that important. So important, that he goes over it again and again.
7. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 
8. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
9. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
A woman's hair (vs 15) symbolizes what, if any, authority she is under AND signifies a message of POWER to the angels.  A woman needs power on her head because of the angels. The Bible calls her the "weaker vessel". This is authenticated in Genesis when Satan waits quietly until Eve comes on the scene and then targets her with his deceptive tricks. He knew Adam would be too clever and guarded.

Next, Paul clears up any confusion by stating some obvious facts about men and women and while they have different ranks, they are of equal importance.
13. Judge in yourselves:is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15. But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her:for her hair is given her for a covering.
*Note: Verse 13 says "with her head uncovered" not “without a covering”.

NOTE: Verses 14 and 15 are not parenthetical verses. When God wants to use parentheses, they will appear plainly. In this passage, there are no parenthetical verses.  In fact, these sentences seem to  illuminate verse 13 perfectly.  In verse 15 we have another BUTRemembering that the word 'but' is always used to introduce something that is contrasting with something already mentioned. What is Paul contrasting in verses 14 and 15?  Hair. 
Long hair on a man — wrong/bad/shame. 
Long hair on a woman — right/good/glory.
As I mentioned before, Paul asserts what the covering is at the bottom of verse 15. 
15b. For a woman’s hair is given her for a covering. 
Here, Paul concludes his entire teaching/argument and it ALL rests on length of HAIR. Can you see it? He could not have stated it more clearly. A woman's hair IS her covering. Nowhere in these passages of Scripture can we find instruction for a woman to add another covering on top of the covering that God has given her
To the point...

Look around in your Bible. Observe how clear Scripture is, especially concerning things so important as what God expects of his own. He is always explicit and straightforward in his commands.
God knows how to use words and I am content to accept the plain English that God chose to use in the King James Bible. They are perfect and pure, just as they are. If God wanted women to put a cloth on their head to symbolize power for the sake of the angels, he would have simply said, "For her hair is NOT given her for a covering; she must ALSO wear a cloth on top of her hair”. 

But He does not say that. When it says, “her hair is given her for a covering” — that’s precisely what it means. Her covering IS her hair. How can this have been missed? And worse, why would someone want to reinterpret (there is no private interpretation II Peter 1:20) this Scripture?

There are words for cloth all over the Bible. Why would one of them not be present here? Is God handicapped? Does he stutter? No. The word veil is used in the Bible seven times. If he wanted her to wear a veil, HE WOULD SAY SO.  Do you believe that the Word of God is inerrant? I do. God's Word is inerrant because God is inerrant. The Bible - literally the words of God - proclaims itself to be pure and perfect. Perfection is without flaw. No errors, no mistakes, no impurities. 

When people start breaking out their Lexicons, I think it's because they want to make Scripture say what they want it to say. 

But the King James Bible is sufficient for English speaking people and requires no Greek Lexicons to help us understand. Greek Lexicons were authored by corrupt men who using the corrupted Sinaiticus texts. (Read "Which Version is the Bibe?")
Verse 16 is the clincher and it wraps the whole issue. There is no need to seek an “easy” way to understand verse 16 when it's already easy and clear. Be careful when reading verse 16: it's not saying there is no church custom concerning women praying uncoveredIt's saying there's no church custom regulating the length of hair (verses 13, 14, and 15). Beginning with another but...
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

  1. Paul is addressing MEN, not women. A man is the head of his wife and his household. The head covering movement is almost all women initiated. Contrast this with Titus 2 where the instructions are clearly and unmistakably directed to women. 
  2. Paul begins with a "but" (even so, nevertheless, despite, just the same, etc). If a man is contentious (argues about it) Paul just drops the issue and stamps it "NO CUSTOM".

Bada bing, bada boom. Today it might sound like "If one of you men want to raise a fuss over this, let me just set the record straight right now - we have no custom (tradition, practice) and neither do the churches of God. It’s not a law, so don’t fall on your sword over hair.  We’re not going to throw you out of church over it. You’re not going to lose your salvation over it."

It's an open and shut case. 

Now I'm going to add my own but!  BUT we have been warned.  There are some mysterious (and serious) consequences when it comes to hair length and the angels. So much so that God gave us 16 verses of holy Scripture to warn us about it.

Further, I believe that women wear a cloth on their hair, not because God has told them to (there is NO CUSTOM), but because they WANT to. They like the feeling that they are doing something. But dead works do diddly squat. There is nothing wrong with hats and scarves, unless you start attaching spiritual connotations to them. Then you're in trouble. 
A woman's appearance, especially in public, is an outward symbol of our respect and love for God and our husbands. And according to Scripture, a woman's hair length sends a powerful sign to the angels..."Don’t mess with me!" 

This is a side note, but it is interesting that Satan was called a "covering cherub". He got prideful and profane because of his beauty. I don't have a lot of deep insights to this, I just found it interesting. 
Ezekiel 28:16-17 “...therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God:and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”

For women, God has some things to say when it comes to her apparel and appearance. Head scarves and doilies count as apparel

1 Timothy 2:9 focuses on modesty in clothing (apparel), expression (shamefacedness) and mind (sobriety). Our appearance should not draw undue attention as it would with "costly array" (expensive duds and dazzles).  We’ve all seen women with costly array. They are attention seekers. 
1 Timothy 2:9-10  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Our "adorning" should be of good works. Wearing a head cloth does not denote good works. 1 Peter 3:3 deals with apparel. Another word for apparel is garment or cloth.

1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.

The last phrase is pertinent to this particular topic.  Our adorning shouldn't be outward. It has nothing to do with putting on apparel. A head scarf is both an outward adorning and "putting on of apparel", which Paul states "let it NOT BE". This flows beautifully with I Corinthians 11 in which hair is the clear topic— not apparel.  
According to Scripture, the only outward adorning on women that God gives any instruction on is her good works and chaste conversation - not with garments. 

In conclusion, those who wear scarves/cloths on top  of their hair and consider that their covering have invented a work of the flesh. It might make them feel more Godly or holy, but God says our holiness is not of ourselves. It is the finished work of Christ. All we must do is walk in it. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Train Them While They're Young

There seems to be a few parents these days who are clueless about how teachable children are when they are very young. Many fall for the lie about the "terrible twos". They think that their kids can't learn right behavior until they are old enough to understand. This is a HUGE mistake. Infants and babies may not have the sophisticated understanding of verbal speech yet, but they are plenty teachable.

Birth to age five are very precious years to instill obedience and routines in a child. Kids are like sponges and they learn very, very quickly from ages 0-5.  But the window of time to really ingrain simple but crucial behaviors into them passes rather quickly. It requires a good measure of selflessness and forethought by the parent.

Proverbs 19:18 - Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

It may seem like forever when we're in them, but the early years really do go by fast. Having a plan is super important. It's been said, "If you don't know where you're going, you're certain to end up there." True words. Decide how you want your kids to turn out when they're grown, and then train them with that in mind when they are little.

Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Babies are innocent and adorable and the "wrong" things they do are dripping with cuteness when they are tiny. But it's not cute when they are 12. Kids are born self absorbed and need to be taught generosity, selflessness, goodness, kindness, gentleness, etc.  So we mustn't be surprised when we see selfishness rear its ugly head. Instead, train them and treat them like you'd like to be treated. And when they deliberately cross a known rule, deliver swift recompense to their seat of justice. :-)

Proverbs 22:15 - Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

There are two things that produce a mature adult faster than anything else in the world - marriage (between a man and a woman) and parenthood. Both require selfless love! For parents that means we must teach them in love and kindness and correct them appropriately when necessary.

Ephesians 6:1-4 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  

I sought to train my children in order to minimize the need for spanking. But when spanking is necessary, it's best done with all the sobriety and care possible. Never to excess and under no circumstances in anger. When they're a little older, a chart that clearly states how many swats a clear offense warranted is beneficial. Then they know in advance what to expect. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to play Monopoly without knowing all the rules? And every time you turned around you were being scolded for something?  It's the same with kids. It's vital to teach them the rules from the very beginning and then train them to obey them. In joy. It is not a sad or mad thing. You are happy to show them around planet earth. This is a hot stove, don't touch! This is a lovely flower, smell the fragrance?  Never pet someone's dog without permission. Kids need rules and consistent action when they break them.

I trained mine to not touch something by setting up an object somewhere common, like our coffee table or the middle of the living room floor.  I'd bring them close to the object, point to it and say, "No touch." To drive the point home, an older child can pretend to touch it and then recoil at a mock sting to the hand by mom, modeling the correct behavior. The object could be anything from a pair of glasses to a book. And the point wasn't to set the object as "off limits" although that worked, too. It was more to train my children to obey the command, "no touch".  If/when they deliberately touched it, I'd calmly give them a light switch on the hand and restate the command, "no touch".  On the first offense, I'd smile at them because I was training them to do right and that's a good thing. If they repeated the offense, I would give a look of caution. But I never removed the object until they were successful at leaving it alone. It would sit there for days if necessary. The entire goal was to instill obedience. The object could even be something unbreakable and desirable, like a stuffed animal.  Some parents may be tempted to think that it's a bit on the cruel side, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

Think back. Way back to Genesis. What did God place in the MIDDLE of the Garden?  The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.

The fruit of this exercise paid off for us when we visited a big city or someone's home, etc. If there was something vile, delicate or dangerous, we only had to say "no touch!" and our kids would back off. No arguments, no yelling, no anger.

Love = training = security.

I kept our training sessions lighthearted and smiled warmly when I issued a command. And no matter how many times it took, consistency was key. Parental authority rises or falls with consistency.
I wanted my kids to believe me when I said no.

No never means "maybe". No never means "if you beg enough then it's yes". No never means "if I'm too busy I'll cave in and then it's yes".  Even if it means personal inconvenience - ending a phone call, pausing a recipe, leaving a store - take care of any issues right away so they understand no means no. Not a frowning, mean, ugly no.  Make it a smiling, confident, calm, authoritative no.

Proverbs 29:15 - The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

If you give cheerful reminders before leaving the house about staying by your side, not touching things, proper traveling behavior, etc, the chances for a fun day are high. Rules are not prisons, they are freedom. They are knowledge. When you know what you can't do, it clears up what you CAN do, too. It results in secure, confident kids. You won't have to yell or spank them in public. And they always bring you great joy. Mine still do even now in their teens. God's way works. :-)

Proverbs 13:24 - He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 23:13 - Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brushes with the Past

Every once in a while, I have brushes with the past.  I'll bump into someone while I'm out and about, or see them from afar, or stumble upon them online.  And more often than not, these individuals lives look strikingly different than what they were when I knew them. 

Their appearance is different. And not just in age or typical changes. How do I say it other than ... they look like the world. Like every other person you spot on the street. Low tops, girl's hair is too short boy's hair too long, piercings, tattoos, low cut blouses, low waist jeans, etc.  But most disturbingly, a hollow sort of look in the eyes.

They are "christians" who are supposed to be salt and light, a peculiar people set apart unto a God. But the "image" I see speaks differently. At least to me. They seem more concerned with fitting in and mingling with this lost generation, than winning them to Christ. 

They say you can't judge a book by it's cover, and that's true in some instances.  But when I see/hear language that consists of casual vulgarity, mild profanity and zero praise or  acknowledgement to the Lord Jesus Christ, nor obedience to his commands, then I call a spade a spade. In the Bible this is called judging "righteous judgment".  

By all appearances, some of my former acquaintances do not appear to be honoring the Lord Jesus with their lives. Appearance is something that we can each have some measure of control over. We choose our clothing and accessories. It is the wise person who fashions their appearance to please God first and God alone. 

It's sad, but I'm actually thankful that some of these people are not in my life anymore. The Lord gives and takes away and I'm reaching a point in my life where he has taken so much away, that I've released all my old expectations for my life and replaced it with gratitude for the simple things. I am learning to praise him when he gives and praise when he takes. There's really no other way to be truly happy. 

It was the Lord's doing that took these people out of my life and at first it was painful.  But looking back to when they were in my life,  I had a strong sense that in time we'd be worlds apart because our paths were going in different directions even then. 

They would have definitely influenced my children in unsavory ways, and may have even drawn them closer to their own wayward, "selfie" lives. So I am glad and thankful that God separated us. 

I am glad my sons are not "learning the way of the heathen".  There are pros and cons to growing up near family and old friends.  And  not having to associate by familial obligation to wayward, nominal (in name only) "christians" is a good thing.  

I am astounded at the culture we are living in today where people have become grossly obsessed with taking pictures of themselves and putting their (often phony) lives on display on the internet for of few thousand of their closest 'friends' and perfect strangers to gawk at. 

I'm not inimical to communication or photographs or blogging. But I find the excess of these pastimes pretty disturbing. And I can't help but find the addiction factor alarming.

My aim for myself and my family is to be too busy living our lives to waste precious time on social media. And selfies!

OH THE SELFIES. Really?? Is this what it's come to?  

"No one wants to take my picture every day so I guess I'll have to take it myself."      


Time is something we can't manufacture. And we can't get it back. People are filling what amounts to precious years of their lives showing off meaningless activities and invented adventures and escapades — just to show online! 

All the while, ironically enough, their real lives seem empty.  How do I know? Because any life without Christ at the center of it is empty. Alternately, any life with Christ at the center is unmistakably happy.

I'm likely in the minority for thinking these practices are a bit sick and even more self centered, but one day life will present a bill to these individuals that they will find hard to pay.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Big Manly Lunches

I am married to a wonderful man who loves home cooking. He has graciously and enthusiastically eaten every creation I have ever come up with from the beginning of our marriage 18 years ago.  

In fact, if it hadn't been for his encouragement and enthusiasm, I don't know if I would've had the courage to keep up with my culinary pursuits. But I did and I've improved a lot since our early years. Ah, the love of a good man!! 

Subsequently, I've made my husband 99% of the lunches he's taken to work from then, too. But it is always challenging to think up something different and new. In other words, not boring! :)

More often than not, it's been the typical american lunch: sandwich, veggie, fruit, chips, cookies. Sometimes I make him different kinds of wraps. Every so often I would fill a hot thermos with stew or soup. But not as often as I'd have wished.

A few months ago my husband did a big hotel remodel and in the first couple of months, he commuted an 70 minutes each way. 
So he had to rise at 4:30am and leave at 5:30am and I made his lunches the night before so they would be ready and waiting for him in the fridge for breakfast. 

His first day, I made my famous Berry Cream muffins and a ham and cheese quiche for breakfast.

For his lunch, I made him Waldorf chicken salad on a bun, with a dill pickle along side and some chocolate chip cookies for dessert. He works very, very hard and I want his lunch time to be a bright spot in the day. And to remind him that he is cared for and very, very loved. 

The commute started to wear him down to much that he started coming down with colds more easily and his work was suffering. So for the last month or so he stayed in a hotel so he could work faster and get more rest in between. Commuting is a bear! 

Of course we missed him so much. But we know the drill since his work has taken him out of town a few times before. I always try to think about the positives to his times away. I take more bubble baths, have total control over the tv remote! I also have more time to read at night or catch up on projects. So it's all good and there's a plus to everything if you look for it. Ruth Bell Graham had some lovely things to say in her book, It's My Turn. One of the things that stuck with me was this quote. I find it to be true!

Let there be spaces in your togetherness. ~ Kahlil Gibran

So how about you? Do you send your husband off to work with homemade food and if so, what are your favorite ideas? I want to add some hearty lunches to my list and I'm looking for fresh ideas if anyone would care to share! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Peaceful Home

Who has the most influence in the peace of my home? I think it's me.

If I show unthankfulness or let stress take hold of me, my kids get whiny and my husband gets grouchy. When I am thankful and smiling, my home is noticeably peaceful. Did you know that your smile only works right when your heart is thankful?

I've had guests remark how peaceful my home is. Is it always peaceful? Uh, nope. :) But it's the goal I continually strive for. Not the bad kind of striving, like always worried and reaching. But the steady pacing of myself, like a runner in a marathon kind of striving. It's a goal I keep in the forefront of my mind.

Smile. Relax the forehead. Go ahead, touch your own forehead. Feel any furrowing? How often is that going on? Are you stressed? Your family can see it on your face. Take it to the Lord in prayer.

I am so limited. I am so "not good" at some things. I think some women try to be good at too many things or take on more than they can handle and then they become stressed — with a capital S. It's stressful for me to be around them.

I have found peace in accepting my limitations. I cannot, repeat cannot, do it all. (And I wouldn't want to.)  If something has to wait, or not happen, I'm okay with that. It's not always an easy pill for my husband to swallow. Sometimes he wants me to do a bunch of stuff that, in other marriages, is a shared responsibility between husband and wife. 

I have nothing but good will toward my husband and I will try with all my might to do the things that help him most. But when I fall short, I let him know and he understands and takes up the slack. That's some good team work. ;-)

So, I try, and I do my best. But at the end of the day, if I don't accomplish what it is that I'm really not good at, I move on. I ask my husband for patience.  And I trust God to accomplish what I'm not able to.

Other than that, the peaceful home has order, routine, discipline (root word: disciple) laughter and light. The light of God is within each of his children and we must shine it.  Are your expectations clear? Do you find yourself frequently upset at your kids for their failures? Having simple house rules is a major component of a peaceful home. 

When a child disappoints or fails you in some way (disobeying you and disappointing you are two very different things), it's not always wise to react on the spot. Wait for a bit and pray. You'll be in a better frame of mind to figure out the best way to resolve the issue. 

When one of my kids forgets to do something (they are teens now), I tell them to make themselves a note so they'll remember about it the next time. 

Posted schedules/routines worked well when they were younger. But since they've been in their teens, our lives have gotten more complicated and busy.  Their dad has taken them to work with him periodically and often on the spur of the moment, which would throw my nicely organized schedule right out the window! ha. So I have learned to adjust my sails to the winds of change over the years and go with the flow. 

Really, what do kids remember more - if everything on the to-do lists got checked off? Or the love and attitudes that their youth was soaked in. I'd say the latter.  My goal is to find a happy medium between being scheduled and carefree. 

When we treat our family with the same grace and love that we would a friend, all is well. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. And your home will be more peaceful because of it! 

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! I feel so blessed to be a mother. Being a mother has had the most profound impact on my life than anything else. It's my best accomplishment and my most precious investment. God has graciously given me 3 children on earth and two in heaven. 

When I was growing up, my mom was on the unstable side and she failed to give the wisdom, love and knowledge that a mom should give. She tried and I have many happy memories as a kid. But there was a lot that, looking back, I think could have been so much better, had she been more considerate of me than herself. As a result, by the time I was a teenager, I never wanted to become a mother. I was going to be a successful business woman in New York City. But God had other plans and wow, am I glad he did!  :)  

Even so, I have had to combat many insecurities from not having a good role model in my own mom.  On my toughest days as a mother, I have cried to the Lord and said, "See? I told you I wouldn't be a very good mom!" Ahh, hormones. :) It's a good thing the Lord is patient when I've conversed with him like that. 

And it's a good thing he gave me such a good husband who has given me genuine reassurance from time to time that I'm not just a good mom, but a great mom. That is always a wow to me.  And very humbling.  It's a privilege to hear my kids 'rise and call me blessed'. I cry every time! :-)

Being a wife and mother has been the most wonderful thing that's ever happened to me, for sure. 

Anyway, my husband told me a few days ago that he's taking me to this little Japanese restaurant today (our favorite) for lunch for some yummy Tokyo Sesame Chicken! I love him so much. He's so good and kind to me and such a good dad to our children. I am blessed! 

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What I'm Reading

Our family has been really enjoying Keith Green lately.  My husband and I had read the book about Keith's life, No Compromise, written by his wife Melody early in our marriage and we really enjoyed it. But it's been years and we couldn't find our copy, so we bought another, plus two more of his books.

One of the books are selected sermons by Keith (A Cry in the Wilderness) and the other is his personal journal (Make My Life a Prayer) both published posthumously. The journal is amazing. It begins from when he was searching for God and ends in blazing hot zeal as a born again Christian. A must read! Our sons devoured all three books and loved them. I, not having as much free time as they, have been slowly working my way through Make My Life a Prayer and WOW, has it been a blessing to me.  

I am so inspired and encouraged by Keith's heart and enthusiasm for serving and obeying the Lord. It is contagious! His personal reflections are so bare and honest. I have been so convicted to make MY life a prayer, too.

I'm so grateful for Keith and the short time he had on earth to spread the gospel and admonish believers to walk in truth and serve God every day.

His music is just as powerful and intense. I am really loving it. The style used to put me off, but the more I get to know the man behind the music, and more importantly his heart for God, the more his songs are music to my ears! So, so awesome!

Have a blessed day in Christ.

Friday, May 9, 2014


My desire is to please God with my conversation. I want my words seasoned with grace, patience, and discretion. The one place God has given me total control over is my mouth. I choose the words, the tone, the speed, the wisdom, the discretion. Or the lack thereof.  It's all my choice. No puppet strings here. We all know that.

The Bible has a lot to say about our conversation.  The words we speak are powerful.

The tongue is simple and tiny.  But without it we'd be unable to speak.  God says in his Word that death and life is in the power of the tongue and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof.

Words have fruit.

If you love life, your tongue will bear witness to that.  And you'll eat the fruit from the words you choose to say. We will reap what we sow with our conversation. That's good news if we put a gate at the lips and weigh our words before they spill out. But on the flip side, if we're in the habit of letting our tongue fly and thinking afterwards, we'll reap the consequences.

Death is in the power of the tongue also. And they that love it — death — will also eat the fruit thereof. Which makes you wonder —  who in the world loves death? It seems contraindicating, but the Bible actually says that some people love death. Let's see who these people are...

For whoso findeth me (wisdom) findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. Proverbs 8:34

So according to the Bible, whoever hates wisdom, loves death.

It cuts right to the chase, doesn't it?  It's like saying if you hate light, you love darkness. If you hate exercise, you love muscle atrophy.  If you hate fiber, you love constipation. You get the idea. :)

With my mouth, I have the power to bless (like Ruth) or to curse (like Job's wife, whose name was not even dignified with a record). I can use my conversation to stir up wrath or turn wrath away. I have total and complete power over what comes out of my mouth. As we all do.

How many people are faced every day with things they feel they have little to no control over? And yet here we have this one BIG area that God has given us total power of -- our mouth. We can't always control our thoughts, nor our emotions which are the predecessors of speech. But God gave us a gate - the lips. That we can control.
Psalm 19:13 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
James 1:24 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Whose heart was deceived in that last scripture? The man who doesn't watch his mouth deceives his own heart. Too many words, too little discretion, thought and wisdom.

Some research studies have indicated that women speak 20,000 words a day and men average about 7,000.  I think this indicates that men tend to weigh their words more carefully before they speak  than women do. We could take a lesson there. Who did the serpent in the garden of Eden target? Eve. She was more easily deceived. The two go hand in hand. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a woman of chaste conversation.

Luke 2:17 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

The Bible also says that a wife's chaste conversation can "win" her husband. There is nothing that will reveal who a person is faster than what comes out of their mouth and how it comes out. Chaste indicates both attitude, manner as well as words.

1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 

Chaste is the root word for chastise, chasten, chastening, chastened. It implies that a woman self-moderates her words. She weighs her words very carefully before they are permitted past the gates of her lips.

Ephesians 4:20 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 
Psalm 50:23  Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. 
I am amazed at how the dynamic of my household improves or deteriorates with the words of my mouth. I am more and more becoming slow to speak and quick to listen. Which is a must when your kids reach their teen years and suddenly think they know just about everything. *wink* ha!

I listen to them more carefully and try to sum up my thoughts in fewer words as they get older. I've noticed that our relationship is strengthened and they are more endeared to me. Which is great because I am totally bananas for my kids and it's great to get some authentic love in return. :)

Concerning my husband, guarding my conversation with and around him has had a wonderfully profound affect on our marriage over the years  And it endears me to him as well.  Instead of rattling off whatever is on my mind, I've learned to take most of my complaints and concerns to God and let him do the dirty work. He's so much better at it anyway. It is so fun to watch prayers being answered right before my eyes.

Is your husband the spiritual leader that you long for in your home? Walk uprightly before the Lord, bridle your tongue and pray for your needs. With a meek and quiet spirit, accept the circumstances of your life knowing that you have a high priest who knows all too well what you're going through and is waiting for you to put your faith where your mouth is. Ask for your needs, then wait.

If you're struggling in some area of your life, may I suggest that there may be a connection in some way to your conversation?  Internal conversations count, too!  They influence our thought patterns and the treasure of our hearts...which has the potential to eventually spill out of our mouth.

Matthew 12:34 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned

The good news is that, unlike long term projects like weight loss, bridling our tongue has instant gratification. The effects of speaking only deliberately good things is instant, too. When I'm frustrated or upset, I've learned it's best to wait till I'm calm. I want to bless God with the words I say. Remember what our mothers told us when we were little? If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. :-)  Good advice!

God bless your day today, sisters in Christ!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Precious Life

Do you ever just stop and think about how blessed we are to be living? And how blessed we are to have homes? It is good to be alive! 

Every day is a good day. If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one.  :-) 
I am so thankful for my life and constantly humbled by God's goodness to me.

I'm thankful I can breathe, pray, laugh and love. Thankful for my wonderful husband, my bright children, and our cozy home.

I have a bed to sleep in tonight.

I ate three meals yesterday and expect the same today.

I've been hugged and kissed and cared for.

I can turn the heat when it's cold, and A/C when it's hot.

I have proper clothing for every situation.

I have a wonderful van to drive and take me wherever I need to go.

I have a Bible to read and study any time I want. God's own words, right in my hands!

I have my own kitchen to make any kind of meal or snack or dessert that I fancy.

I have washing and drying machines to provide my family with fresh and clean clothes and linens.

I have computers to use for home management, budgeting, schedules, creativity, photos and more. I have television, radio, music CD's and iTunes for education and entertainment.

I have the physical faculties to walk around my neighborhood or even just out my back door any time of day for a burst of fresh air. I have eyes to gaze on God's beautiful creation of sky, creatures and landscape.

I have the ability to smile even if I wish that certain things were better or different in my life. I can smile because God is good and I will wait on him to do the things I cannot do. I will wait and be thankful.

There are many people who waste God's most precious gift - life.  Some who throw it away, which has to be the craziest lie the devil loves to tell. For all of life's difficulties and joys, it's still the most amazing thing to be here, breathing - living!  For the unrepentant sinner, earth is the only heaven they will ever know - unless they turn to Jesus and receive his free gift of salvation. For the believing redeemed, it is the only hell we'll ever know. Thank you Jesus for the free gift of salvation you have offered to all!

Each day, no matter what is going on in my life, I can praise the name of the Lord and thank him. I am his child and he is a good Father. I can trust him with my life and ask him for my needs. I can bless others with a kind word and serve them as though I'm serving the Lord Jesus himself. 

Things don't have to be perfect in our lives for us to be thankful. We don't have to wait until Thanksgiving rolls around to be consciously thankful. In fact, that is why God calls it a sacrifice of praise. It means all the more to the Lord when we bless his holy name when we're hurting. He knows all about our troubles. He knows and he has told us what to do.  

Psalm 6:5
For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? 
If you have the Lord, you are richly blessed. 
Seek to bless him back somehow today!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pardon Me :)

I have been mulling around some ideas to blog about. I have some goals and even a few plans, but have been so busy with life that I haven't known where to begin.  Then I feel I just do nothing. A definite weakness of mine, resulting in scant blog posts. To those who expect so much more from a blogger, I hope you'll pardon me for being a fickle blogger. 

I've also been writing a monthly newsletter for our homeschool group for the last year and a half. I want it to be a worthy read so I work really hard on it and give my all. Which translates to many long hours spent putting it together each month. After it's finished and published, I feel a bit drained and don't want to sit in front of a computer for a while. Thus it's dampened my blogging. But I just put the last issue to bed for the season and I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders! Yay! :) (I'm considering passing the baton next year.) 

In the meantime, if any of you have a question for me or topic you'd like to see me blog about, let me know. 

Thanks for your patience...I'll be around soon!!  :-)