Welcome

Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. Our family is no longer "quiver full," I no longer wear a headcovering, and I do not wear skirts/dresses exclusively. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Updates

Thought I would update a few of the posts I have previously made.

First of all: Our change in eating habits is going amazingly well! The kids are eager to try new foods and often like them! We are enjoying feeling better already!

Secondly: I went to my doctor today and he does not want to work with me on natural thyroid treatment (Armour or Westthroid). So, I am going to start looking for a new Dr. I still strongly believe that this is the course of action that I need to take! I need to at least try this alternative treatment! The more I research it, the more promising it becomes.

Thirdly: We had another chaotic worship service, this past Lord's Day. I had to leave the room, as my middle two children were totally out of line. I took them to a back room and I cried for the remainder of the service. And, I prayed begging God to make me patient. Begging God to change them into more obedient children. And, I cried some more. I didn't get to hear any of the sermon. On days like that, I remember why I used to like nursery facilities so much (before I saw the value of family-integration)! It's just frustrating, because I know they can do better! Some weeks they sit without making a peep - is it our breakfast? Is it Sunday School? What makes them so uncontrollable?!

Lastly: Recent blood tests show that my 2 year old, Lydia, most likely has some type of immune deficiency. (Her IGA and IGG were low) We do not know what this means yet. We will go to an immunologist at the very end of May. We will go to St.Louis and make a full day of it... the zoo and a picnic!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Family Integrated Worship

For years Paul and I rejoiced in taking the kids to nurseries to be watched by someone else while we worshiped without distraction. In fact, I will admit to thinking it was my "right" as I have always been a SAHM. We rarely entered into circles where anyone challenged our ideals about nursery. Enter my Cousin Connie... Cousin Connie and her husband Doug were the first to ever tell us about Vision Forum * and Family Integrated Worship. At the time, I didn't think much of it. But, through the following years God kept showing us passages of Scripture that mentioned children being in the midst of the crowd (and those weren't short 20 minute sermons either!) (John 8:35; 2 Chronicles 20:13) Children were in attendance when the whole book of the Law was read to the Israelites! (Ezra 8:2-3)

This is another issue I do not intend to split the church over, but our family feels strongly that children should be in training to sit through worship and listen! The problem (if you will allow me to call it such) is that this is all so new to us! Paul is behind the pulpit and I am sitting with the children. We have started sitting on the front row so that they can see how close Daddy is - (maybe he can scowl at them from time to time). I expect a lot from my children, because I know that they are capable of sitting quietly. (I am their school teacher...) Another problem is that my kids are the ONLY children in the church! So, naturally, any time that one of them speaks I turn red and assume the whole church is scorning me. (They probably aren't). This is just so new and so hard for me, I need prayer. I have left worship two weeks out of March, because my kids were simply out of control (though maybe no one else thought so).

I admit I have such high ideals because I read so much... but is that a bad thing?! Is it bad to want to emulate the good things you see in someone else? It would be so much easier if Paul could sit with me, but he can't. I have tried sitting with other folks in the church, but they don't typically share my high standards (and the kids will play and/or talk). I need to respect my elders, so I ask myself - are they right? Are my standards too high? These are the honest questions I ask myself every Sunday.



*We are not a part of a Vision Forum church, and I do not necessary agree with all of their doctrine (because each church is different). BUT, I love their homeschool catalog! And, I am encouraged by many of their bloggers!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring Is Coming

Winter is my least favorite season. One of the only pleasures it affords our family is the close study of birds. We have feeders in our yard to attract many varieties: Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, Yellow Finch. Some others we see frequently are: Cardinal, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Junco, many types of Sparrow, Titmouse, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Cow Bird, Starling/grackle, chickadee, Nuthatch, and some I am forgetting.

During the late spring and summer months we feed hummingbirds.

Living in the country has been great for the kids' nature studies. The two oldest already know most bird names and calls. And, my 2 year old has been singing "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" lately!

Biblical Modesty

Those of you who are close friends or family know that I feel very strongly about the issue of modesty! And, like most of my convictions, this has grown stronger throughout the last few years. When I first met Paul I was still wearing more closely fitting clothing and shorts. I was never immodest by most Christian/"evangelical" standards (if you grade on a curve!) But, I was being convicted by Bible reading and by the lifestyle of other believers.

Second Timothy 2:9 says women are to "adorn themselves in modest apparel." Ok - but what does that mean? See verse 10 she is to be known by "professing godliness with good works." Titus 2 is that classic passage regarding what we may call mentoring relationships. The older women are to teach the younger women to be "discreet" and "chaste" (Titus 2:3-5).

Chastity is a foreign concept to our 21st century minds! Purity and discretion are not attributes that bring fame in our culture! We have to ask ourselves honestly, "Do I want to please God or man?" The answer to that may change the way you dress! Modesty is a heart issue and not just a clothing issue. I can cover myself head to toe, but if I resent doing so, that may indicate I have an immodest heart!

So what does this mean practically? Does God grade on a curve? Should our standards be lower in the 21st century? First of all - I cannot deny that modesty probably does change from culture to culture. Paul and I have had the pleasure of knowing a lot of missionaries - and they must suit their dress for their intended country. I cannot deny that. HOWEVER, that does not give license for us to expose all in America (or parts Europe) just because it is commonly accepted! Galatians 5:20-21 gives a list of traits that are evil (of the flesh). Among those are adultery, fornication, and lasciviousness. How much adultery in our society is prompted by lust? How much lust and fornication is brought about my lasciviousness? How much of all these things could be avoided if we just kept our clothes on?!

Sisters, we need to guard our brothers' minds as much as is our responsibility to do so. If you are a Christian saving yourself for your husband only - then why do you need to expose so much?! I will not impose upon you a certain rule of dress. God says that we will be judged by the standard we use to judge (Matthew 7:1-2). My standard is the Bible. And, the Bible does not seem to say precisely what we ought to wear. But, it does make evident the need to cover ourselves enough that we are known by our good works - not our good figures!!

For me this means that I do not wear shorts outside of my house (even when I lived in Florida!). I try to be careful to wear tops that are not too revealing in their cut and fit. I personally do wear pants, but would like to wear more long skirts. I will not part company with those who wear shorts, nor should we part company with someone who only wears long skirts. (It isn't an issue to split the church over.) I am earnestly striving to "walk in a matter worthy of the calling with which I have been called" (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Better Eating Habits

As you can see in the column, I am presently reading The Family Nutrition Book, by Dr. Sears. There is a wealth of information in the book and I am sorry to say that much of it is new to me. (I slept through public school health class -really, I am NOT exaggerating). When we lived in seminary housing we were surrounded by people who were seemingly consumed with eating organic foods and whole grains. At the time I thought that was nonsense. But, NOW I see that those people were trying to be good stewards of their bodies and live as God intended.

Here are some of the things Paul and I have decided to do:
-Eat more fruits and veggies
-Eat more beans
-Eat less junk food
-Drink less caffeine until we are completely "off" of it
-Give up soda
-Drink more water
-Take more supplements (we already take 7/day)

That is not a complete list, but you get the idea. (Give up soda???!!! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, ... maybe I can)

We know that God gave us wonderful foods that are not only healthy, but taste good too! Do you have any recipes you would like to share? Post them as a comment!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Providence

I do not believe in coincidence or luck. I believe in God's Providence! I want to share a recent example of this in my life, but I need to back up.

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis at age 8, and I have now been on medicine for it for 21 years! During this time I have had good years but more recently bad years. Ever since my first pregnancy almost 7 years ago, I have been getting weaker and weaker. I ask the Dr about my fatigue on every visit and I get the answer that my TSH test is being carefully charted. In the past year, I have doubled my dose, then cut it in half, then raised it little by little - yet nothing helps my symptoms. No one knows more than Paul how debilitating my disease is! He picks up a lot of jobs because my arms are too tired to hold baby any longer, or I cannot hold my whisk to beat the eggs. I write e-mails to my best friend (best girl friend) telling her that I am tired of being sick and tired all the time. I was about to give up...

THEN, Paul started a blog recently. His site has a name that mirrors another (dailyreforming vs. reformingdaily). I stumbled upon Mrs. S's blog and read through several posts (I liked her stuff). Then, wham!, there it was - she takes natural thyroid supplements. I had never heard of such a thing! So, for days I have been researching and tonight I found a terrific site about my disease.
(Click here) I spent hours reading the articles and personal stories. I was sobbing in front of my computer as I read that people are experiencing miraculous results from natural remedies. (And have been since FDA approval in 1938).

I have hope for the first time in years that I may become well again! What a blessing it would be to my family to have a healthy mommy! What a blessing to Paul to have a healthy wife! Oh, to be able to play with the kids again, and be able to stand sunlight, and not wake up with aches and pains, etc! I am very hopeful. You are probably skeptical... But, at this point I think - what have I got to lose?! I am already praying that God will direct my steps to a Dr that will prescribe me a natural drug. Please pray with me, friends, I want to be well!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When do you have the time?

When people hear that I have 4 kids and homeschool they always ask "when do you have the time to...?" I can hear my nay-sayers now - "she shouldn't have started a blog, she should be ..." Well, I thought this would be an excellent time to address the issue of my "free time."

Perhaps the biggest reason that I have any time at all "to spare" is that I do not watch tv, listen to music, or participate in most forms of entertainment. In fact, our home is not wired in any way to watch television. We do own a television set which we use to watch movies that we have carefully chosen. BUT, the tv is on a wheeled cart and it lives in the closet! I feel so much freedom having my living room furniture being centered around conversation instead of tv! Please, don't get defensive (yet) if you like tv, I am not attacking the institution itself. I am just saying that we don't watch tv in our home. However, I cannot understand Christians who can watch hours of entertainment which break all forms of biblical commands therein. How much tv would we watch if we turned it off each time we saw one of the Ten Commandments broken, or saw someone brag about divorce, or an abusive spouse, or homosexuality, or abortion, or gossip... the list can go on.

The Bible says to "set your affection on things above" (Colossians 3:2) and to think on things that are "true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy" (Philippians 4:8). There are other verses about what you place before your eyes, but I would be up all night referencing them all!

So not only do I avoid tv in an attempt to keep my heart guarded, I also do it so that I do not waste my time away when I could be more productive.

Also, I used to write several e-mails a day that all said virtually the same thing - I am now writing just a few. I hope that my friends and fam will visit here often (and leave comments) to see how we are doing. (I am not above bribery! I plan to post a lot of pictures!)

Thirdly, I hope to teach my kids to be technologically savvy, I need to be up-to-date as well! This blog-thing has been a real challenging, learning experience for me! (That is an enormous UNDER statement!)

So, to answer your question about when I have "free time" I say - "I am going to make the most of every day." Really, this blog-thing has only taken time away from my personal e-mails and my reading books (not the Bible, still reading that just as often).

Speaking of reading, I better go get in a few minutes before my eyes start crossing with fatigue.

accomplishments

I write with a great feeling of accomplishment today. But, I better start from the beginning. About 6 weeks ago we decided to close in some walls in the basement with dry wall. Since we live in a parsonage, a man in the church did the job for us. What we did not know (until afterwards) was that drywalling leaves a HUGE mess of "mud" dust behind. Any toys, clothes, surfaces, craft supplies, etc that were exposed were covered in dust! It was a nightmare for me especially, as I suffer badly from allergies and asthma. Well, it has taken 6 weeks, but the basement floors have been swept and mopped (again and again) until they are dust free. All the clothes that were hanging or piled up have been washed (and rewashed) and sorted into the appropriate bins. (I am an organized person, and every size clothing has a bin. I was just having a post-baby birth lazy streak...) All the bins are tucked away under the stairs or hidden in the crawl space. And, the kids are now welcome to run and play in the basement again. WooHoo! This is a HUGE accomplishment! During some of the worst weeks of winter the kids had no outlet for running and romping (we have a "no-running-in-the-house" rule that applies to the upstairs living area. The basement is fair game for running, pushing baby doll strollers, and riding small bikes and scooters - as well as their noisy toys). Oh - I love my basement!!!

You may well wander - "what about the walls, she didn't mention the walls." Well - they still need wiped down and primed, then painted. But, that job does not seem nearly as challenging as everything I have already completed! Those should be conquered within the week, rather than 6 weeks!

I am a person who needs measurable results - instant gratification. Being a mother, I get very little of that. So, rejoice with me, this basement job has given me a real sense of satisfaction of a job well done!

Monday, March 24, 2008

What I believe about the Bible

In order to keep my posts short enough that you and I don't lose interest, I am going to break down my beliefs into sections. Tonight, I will start with the Bible, as it determines all my theology. So often we tremble at the word "theology," it has become faux pas even in our churches. I use the term "theology" to refer to the truths in the Bible. Likewise, I use the term "doctrine" to mean various teachings throughout the Bible.

The Bible does teach about itself -a doctrine of the Bible. We know that the Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is without error. To fully understand the truths in the Bible we need to study both the Old and New Testament. Our human nature lends to preferring one over the other, but we need to see the whole picture that God has preserved in His Book. One's views of salvation (or any other doctrine) can be very mistaken if he reads only part of his Bible. The Bible (in its original language and form) is The Authority to understanding all doctrines! We can read other books, and they may shed light onto culture and times, but the Bible is The Truth we depend on to form our thoughts!

We need to be careful to read the Bible in the right context and let "Scripture interpret Scripture." I mean that one verse can help explain another verse. And, to remove one verse from a paragraph may give it an entirely new meaning. I too am prone to mistakes. I will be the first to admit (my husband will be the second) that I don't have everything figured out! I did study Bible at a college designed for that purpose, but still I don't claim to know everything. If you see errors in what I write, I am open to discussion. But, if you think you see errors in the Bible, perhaps you ought to read more of it and let the Bible teach itself to you.

Another note on doctrine/theology: While I do love to study books, catechisms, and confessions that is no replacement for studying the Bible itself! What man writes about the Bible will never be perfect. God (through His Holy Spirit) penned the Bible using ordinary men - we call this "inspiration." Then God preserved His Word throughout time so that we can read it today.

The Bible is "living and powerful" (Hebrews 4:12) and it is relevant to all generations. So many people think that we need to somehow change God's perfect Book to make it relevant, but this is unnecessary. We should explain the Bible in terms to be understood by varying audiences, but we cannot make it any more relevant than God did when He originally inspired its writings!

I know that this short statement is not at all complete. I thought about linking some previously existing creeds or confessions. But, as much as possible, I want this blog to be in my own words. However, if you would like more information e-mail me or write a comment, maybe someone else has the same question you have.

I personally prefer the King James Version above all other English versions (the original Greek and Hebrew would be the best source of study, but I don't read those languages). I also like to refer to the New American Standard. I am not going to split the church over this issue of which Bible translation to read! We can be sisters in Christ and read differing translations - so long as it is The Bible!

Rebecca is 6!


It will take some time to assemble my post on my beliefs (during naps, at bedtime, etc)... in the meantime, I wanted to share a pic of my kids. My oldest, Rebecca, turned 6 last Saturday. Nelson is 4, Lydia is 2, and Joshua is 8 months.

This post is to focus on Rebecca. She is a precious girl! I didn't know that little girls could be such big helpers! She desires to be and do all things domestic. She learns very quickly anything to do with crafts, cooking, and sewing. In most cases, she and I are learning to cook together! I had very little practical cooking experience before I got married. Then, for too many years, Paul and I ate out a lot! Now, we are trying to be more healthy and thrifty.
This year we had a small family party. The only gift from me and Paul was a sundress I sewed last week. It was the first garment I have ever sewn in my life! (I thought it turned out well). She had been looking forward to wearing the dress all week, it was to be her new Sunday dress. Well, as it turns out, someone else bought her a fancy dress (shown above). My homemade dress was soon forgotten... I cannot convey to you how hard it was to keep my composure when she announced "Look, an Easter dress!" I am very happy that she had a lovely dress to wear, but it was oh-so-hard to swallow my pride and gulp back tears! (I NEVER told Rebecca about my inner anguish, she meant no harm!) But, let me tell you how my thoughts progressed. At first, I thought her parading around in her new store-bought dress was like pouring salt in my wounds. But, I had an epiphany! You know what salt does in a wound? It hurts, yes, but it works as a cleaning and purifying agent. God was using that episode (small though it may seem) to purify my heart. We know that God grows us and shapes us continually, we can trust His ways! The Bible says in John 15 that Jesus is a vine, and we are the branches coming out of Him. And, God is the pruner of the garden. No doubt God was using my heart-ache to prune me into what He wants me to be. I am not sad or angry as I write now. God has taken away the pain and replaced it with thanksgiving that Rebecca had such a fine dress. As it turned out, Sunday was cold and snowy - she would have been underdressed in a sundress.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Getting Acquainted

It is my assumption that everything that is worth saying has already been said. Not only that, but it was probably stated more eloquently by someone else. So, why have I created a blog? What can I add to the world? Well, in and of myself, I add nothing. BUT, I believe that God can make something of my musings! It is my fervent prayer that God will use this blog to strengthen and encourage Christian ladies. Also, if someone comes to visit who does not know God, or the work of Jesus Christ - well, I trust that God can use my humble words to teach someone about Himself. This will also be a sort of online journal for me, so just maybe I will benefit more from this endeavor than anyone else!

In our society it seems that the motto is "it's all about me." I admit to being a selfish creature (though God has given me 5 other people in my home to break me of that!), but I desire this blog to give glory to God - and not to myself!

With that said, here is a little about me. I am serious, but not stoic. I have fun, but I am not much of a jokester. I have a great passion to see women mature in their Christianity! I have been married 8 years and my chlidren are 6, 4, 2, and 8 months. I am at a stage of life where I consider myself to be in bloom! I am a new creation in Christ! I have been a Christian for several years. But, I pray that I will daily show more evidence of that change (the Bible calls it "fruit" Matt 7:16-17; Gal. 5:22). The Bible tells Christians to be transformed (Rom 12:1-2) and grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). I want to be a picture of God's Grace in bloom!!!

My next few blogs will tentatively be about:
  • What I believe about God and the Bible
  • My daughter's 6th birthday (which was last week)
  • Modesty
  • Entertainment

So, check back tomorrow - I plan to write again soon.