Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I want to say on Mother's Day...

Have you ever gone to the store before Mother's Day to pick out the perfect card and then spent 2 hours-- not finding it? My problem is that, even when I find the card that says exactly what I want it to say, I know, deep down, that my Mom would never believe it.

On Christmas Night, I had a long talk with my Mom. And, although words aren't usually a problem for me, I couldn't seem to say what I wanted. (She's going to kill me for making this a blog post, but I think this is something every Mom needs to hear.)

 When we were little, Mom stayed home with us. But as soon as my brother was in kindergarten, she started working; first in daycare, but eventually she got a nice job at a Mortgage Company where she was promoted to Supervisor, against her wishes. I remember visiting her in her HUGE office and being enthralled by her electric pencil sharpener. Wow! It made me want to burst with pride to see how important my Mommy was.

But how was I to know that she was troubled by her job? Listening to John McArthur on the radio as he talked about a woman's sacred calling, Mom knew that her place was at home. She talked to Dad and prayed, but raising a family on his teacher salary left no promise for the future.

God works in mysterious ways. And if Mom had known that her prayers would land her in an Amish community; with no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and no transportation, she may have prayed a little differently!

Imagine yourself in her shoes...

It was difficult. Mom refers to it now as her "wilderness experience". The pressures of an unknown life, and constantly comparing herself to the more-than-capable Amish women, was staggering. There were times she tried to leave, but she always came back. Always.

Today, even after raising four children and adopting three more, Mom doesn't think she has any special gifts; she doesn't enjoy cooking, sewing, baking, and all the other little "homemaker" chores. But she's faithful-- and that is more important than anything.

(S)he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.
(Luke 16:10)

 Do you ever get tired of all the mundane chores? The ones nobody sees? Laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, wiping noses and cleaning bottoms? Your Heavenly Father sees and He blesses you for your faithfulness. He never said our job would be easy, but He did promise that it would be rewarding, even if we don't see it now.

A true mother is one of the holiest secrets of home happiness. God sends many beautiful things to this world, many noble gifts; but no blessing is richer than that which He bestows in a mother who has learned love's lessons well, and has realized something of the meaning of her sacred calling. ~ J.R. Miller
 I am so blessed to have a mother that, regardless of what the world screamed at her, regardless of her own upbringing and short-comings, she understood her calling and desired to follow God-- instead of man.

Her children rise up and call her "blessed"

My parents and their nine grand-babies!




"And you mix it altogether for a happy family!"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Homeschooling Mistake #1

I've been around homeschoolers for twenty-three years and can remember when it was unusual, unheard-of, and absurd. Back then, no one asked, "How do you socialize?" They hadn't had time to come up with dumb questions like that. And forget about support groups or co-ops: there weren't enough homeschoolers in the state to fill up a conference room! (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration...)

Gradually, homeschooling became more and more popular, with parents pulling their children out of public and private schools in droves. Now, everywhere you turn, you run into these unsocialized homeschoolers. If they aren't winning the National Spelling Bee or playing quarterback at the University of Florida, then they're lawyers, doctors, or worse; they're Moms raising the next generation of homeschoolers!!!

Yep. That would be me. I know my parents weren't perfect, but I will forever bless them for their decision to homeschool before it was cool. And it is my delight to be homeschooling their grandchildren in an age when homeschooling is rampant and homeschoolers are thriving.

As a homeschooled child, the only thing I regretted was not being able to do Drama. Today, it is my delight to teach Drama to homeschooled children, through our local co-op. Most of them realize what a blessing it is to have this available to them and they throw themselves whole-heartedly into the productions.

(Some of my students in our "Lightning Larry" performance)

But I worry about some families. It seems they've forgotten that the first word in homeschool is HOME. Driving here and there for volleyball games, piano lessons, 4-H, Algebra lessons, etc, etc, etc... the poor mothers are run ragged by the crazy demands of their children. Personally, I don't know how they can afford it, and it definitely boggles my mind that anyone would assume responsibility for their child's education and then shift it to untold teachers and groups! How can you call that homeschool? It seems that we have become so busy with extra-curriculars that we have forgotten what is truly important: shaping the lives and the characters of our children-- at home.

I do love our co-op. The opportunity to get together once a week with like-minded families and to share our talents with each other is such a blessing. And I love to teach Drama! That's hard to do with a classroom of three. But I believe we should all keep things in perspective and remember that homeschooling is just that-- schooling done at home

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Supplementing His Income

As many of you know, my husband and I have been looking for a way to supplement his income. At first, I watched children in my home, and while I enjoyed many aspects of that, trying to raise two families was emotionally difficult. Blogging has been fun, but other than winning one giveaway and being rewarded for blogging about Shutterfly, my blog has not contributed financially in any way.


Recently, I've looked into different internet opportunities but was scared to try anything, afraid that I'd get knee-deep in strange waters, and have no one available to bail me out.

Then, about a month ago, Thom and I contacted Papa Don Schroeder here in Pensacola. He and his son, Michael, own the local CNN radio station and both have impeccable reputations in this community. They told us about a new organization: Monitium, which is revolutionizing network marketing. Created by reputable network marketers for the protection of others, the whole organization is top-notch and rather impressive.

Right now, from December 15-January 15, you can join Monitium for FREE! This is a value of $118! Just follow the link, add your contact info, and I'll get back with you. Or call me directly with any questions you may have. (850) 453-8071.


Thom and I joined with great excitement, and would love to share with you the opportunity to create multiple income streams within your own family.

BOOK GIVEAWAY ON LAF

Check out the book/bundle giveaway on Ladies Against Feminism! I am increasingly impressed by the quality of books being published by Master Books/New Leaf Press/Attic Books. This giveaway is really impressive, with three different packages available. But the deadline is midnight tonight EST. Hurry...


Click here and leave a comment on LAF to enter the Book Giveaway.


Package #1 Morning and Evening Devotional/Journal



Package #2: Life of Washington/For You They Signed






Package #3: Children's Illustrated Bible/Passport to the World








Monday, December 13, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Ever!

Last week, I promised to tell you about my favorite Christmas. Now that the temp has dropped here in sunny FL, I might actually be able to get into this. (Hang on a second while I grab my coffee...)

It was December of 1990 and I was 12 years old. My family was still living in the Amish community, but earlier that year we had "upgraded" to a small, drafty house with (can you believe it?) electricity and spring water! Still no bathroom, though, and the money was tight-- really tight. We were still attending the Amish church pretty regularly, even though the sermons were nothing short of depressing, and the people full of spiritual bondage. But we didn't know where else to go.

One Sunday it was announced, as was the custom, that an elderly couple was having a wood-cutting that Saturday. The husband, a proud grandfather of over 50 kids, was dying of cancer, so they scheduled his wood-cutting for him, knowing that he and his wife would need one to survive the winter.

I loved wood-cuttings! The feel of a cross-cut saw vibrating through a dry log always gave such immense satisfaction. But I think I enjoyed listening to my Dad and the other men engrossed in theological "discussions" more than anything in the world! They would get so animated that it sometimes took serious "saw-nudging" to help Dad remember what we were supposed to be doing!

"For old time's sake!" (This is a smaller version, but it still felt good to the hands.)
Well, that Saturday we dressed warm, as the Tennessee weather was rather chilly, and left for the wood-cutting. It was a blissfully busy day and after just one hour of pulling that cross-cut saw back and forth, I knew I would be doing it in my sleep that night-- again. But I didn't mind. Even the pain of sore muscles felt good after a wood-cutting.

Then, after enjoying an Amish feast for lunch, Dad discovered a small, frozen pond behind the house and encouraged us to try skating in our shoes. I'm not much of a skater. Never have been. Think I'm about as graceful as a drunk ox. But slipping and sliding over the pond was exhilarating-- even when I landed on my rump.

Once, when I bumped into my Dad and we fell laughing to the cold, wet ice, I remember him saying, in a tone filled with wonder, "What a great way to spend Christmas!"

Christmas?! Today?!

I looked at him in shock! I had forgotten about Christmas!

I know this may sound crazy to you. You're probably thinking that all children wake up, automatically knowing that it's Christmas morning. Well, obviously not. Living out there in the boonies, with no media, and among a people that do not celebrate Christmas, I didn't even realize what day it was.

Dad knew, of course. But I think he was so discouraged by our financial situation, that he hadn't even mentioned the upcoming holiday. But cutting wood for a needy family, and skating on that frozen pond, seemed to bring a renewed spirit to my Dad. I looked at him again; the worry and care that was always etched on his face had disappeared, and in that moment, it seemed that all was right with the world.

That night, after a mug of Dad's famous Egg Nog to warm us from the inside-out, he pulled out a project that he had been working on secretly. It was our Christmas gift, but it wasn't wrapped. Unfolding a simple piece of cardboard, Daddy revealed a board game that he had created, just for that night. I won't go into details, because I don't want anyone to steal the idea before he gets around to publishing it, but suffice it to say that it was incredible!

Surrounded by popcorn, hot dogs, and the first soda we'd had in a very long time, I looked around at my family and smiled. When I awoke that morning, I had no idea that it was Christmas, and therefore, would never have guessed it was destined to be the best Christmas ever! A Christmas with no presents, but a wonderful, amazing day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Cards 2010


LeBlanc Family Christmas Card 2010
(If you receive a copy in the mailbox, you must pretend you didn't see it already! =)
Create beautiful photo Christmas cards at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Family Conference 2010


Every year, our church hosts a family conference for the purpose of encouraging us in the training of our children. This year's guest speaker, Voddie Baucham, and our own pastor, Jeff Pollard, were incredible blessings as they fed us with God's Word. With topics ranging from courtship to adoption, discipline and biblical man-hood, I think we were all enriched by this series.

Since I can't even begin to do it justice, I just wanted to let you know that most of the sermons are already on Sermon Audio, where they can be downloaded for free. I would encourage anyone with children to listen to as many as you can. But especially...

The Importance of Biblically Disciplining Children

The Importance of Biblically Preparing for Marriage

I really hope they post the sermon on Adoption soon. It was incredibly thought-provoking and challenged my thinking in a lot of different ways.

You should be able to order the entire series from Mount Zion soon. It's not on their website yet, but I imagine they will offer them in CD and DVD form. 

If any of my readers were at the conference or have listened to some of the sermons, please leave a comment below with any thoughts you may have. How were you blessed and/or challenged through these messages?

My favorite (new) Christmas Tradition

This time of year, I really look forward to all the photo cards that pop out of my mailbox. Of course, I like anything that pops out of the mailbox, as long as it isn't a bill, but those photo cards just take the cake! It's wonderful to post them on the wall and remember special friends and family throughout the holidays. (Or longer, since I always procrastinate about taking them down.)

It's also wonderful to send a picture of our family to those we love as a way of remembrance during this season. At first, I would go to Walmart and create our photo cards in the kiosk, but I soon discovered that doing them online was way superior. No standing in line waiting. No hungry children climbing all over the cart, begging to go home, while you wait for the person behind the counter to get off the phone and refill the ink. You can take your time and pick the right card, edit your photos, and add text to them-- from the comfort of your computer.

With over 800 styles from which to choose, Shutterfly is definitely my favorite site for photo cards. But they also make terrific photo calendars, in various sizes. That is always a great gift for family members. You can add photos, include birth dates, and add captions to each month.

The problem is: It's really hard to choose the perfect card. There's just too many! We're running a little late on our pictures this year, but I think I found the perfect card at Shutterfly. Not only can I put a picture of each girl on the front, but there's a place inside for a picture of the whole family.

"Every good gift is from above" and we have so much to be thankful for...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Contradictions of Christmas


Do you ever chuckle to yourself about the contradictions of Christmas? The holiday that is supposed to promote Peace and Joy, rather tends to bring about controversy and frustration. Not only do we fuss over what to give or how to celebrate, but there are arguments over whether or not to celebrate.
 
Contrary to my nature, I'm not going to engage in this debate (at least not today). I think we all know that Christmas was started as a pagan holiday and that December 25 is an unlikely birth date for the Savior. What we do with that information is up to us.

"One man esteemeth one day above another: 
another esteemeth every day alike. 
Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."

"He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; 
and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it."
Romans 14:5-6 

My parents celebrated Christmas like most families (only without Santa Claus). Although Dad was a school teacher on a tight budget, the tree was somehow always surrounded by presents on Christmas morning. But we went through a period of drought where we could not afford gifts. By the time that had passed, we had stopped celebrating Christmas altogether and didn't re-start the tradition until after I left home.

Last night I was talking to my Dad about my favorite Christmas ever. Funny thing is: there were no presents that year. But my Dad made that day so special that it is indelibly marked in my memory. I'll tell you about it, next time...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From the Author...

 From Author Sheridan Claude: 

Congratulations to Victoria, and happy birthday to you!!!



By God's grace I've had two books published--one a true story, (The Long Walk Home) and the other a thriller novel, (Across Time, Across Tears) based on some of my own spiritual journey. Both books could be epitomized by a beautiful verse found in Psalms: "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me--then Thou knewest my path." Psalm 142:3

Thanks to everyone who left comments!

I'm waiting on a small order of both books. Only one copy of Across Time, Across Tears is still available. I'm asking $22.00 for it, which includes shipping. If you live locally and can pick it up, or have a friend who can get it to you, then the cost is only $20.00.

For those of you who don't mind a longer wait, and don't want to pay full price, give me your name, and the next time there is an author's discount sale, I'll get you a copy and pass the savings along.

My email address is: sheridanclaude@wmconnect.com.

This isn't meant to be a commercial. I struggled with writing it--but if you don't know, how can you make an informed decision?

God bless you all, and may the Lord keep you close to His heart!
Sheri Claude 


From Mary Jo: Thank you, Aunt Sheri! I know this offer will be appreciated! I also have 2 copies that I would be willing to sell for the same prices. $22 shipped, $20 delivered. I will be going to see Aunt Sheri in Dec and can pick up the other book for any local friends. (I can also get her to autograph any that I take with me, including Victoria's new copy.)


You can contact me at leblancmaryjo@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giveaway: Across Time, Across Tears

To celebrate 101 Facebook followers, Wisdom and the Law of Kindness is offering each of you the chance to win a copy of my favorite novel: Across Time, Across Tears by Sheridan Elaine Claude! Even if you already have this book, please don't hesitate to enroll. Valued around $30, it would make an excellent Christmas gift for someone special.

To enter the giveaway:

Simply leave a comment, with your name and e-mail address, on this blog post. Drawing will take place at midnight on Monday, November 22, 2010.

For additional entries: (Each action will produce 1 additional entry)
  1. Join WALOK on Facebook, then leave a comment on this blog post indicating that you have done so.
  2. If you are already a Facebook fan, leave a comment to that effect.
  3. Share this giveaway on Facebook, then leave a comment on this blog post saying that you did so.
  4. Read my review of Across Time, Across Tears, then leave a comment on that blog post.


Hmmm.... I wonder who will win??? 


Click the link below to read my review of this incredible, edge-of-your-seat, Christian thriller:

Across Time, Across Tears on Golden Apples.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Child of The King

Tonight, when Thom came home from his day's labors, he was met at the door by our two eldest daughters, attired as beautiful princesses. A wonderful exchange followed, in which my beloved referred to all three of his girls as "his princesses" and even included me by calling me "his queen".

With as queenly a smile as I could muster, I teasingly gave him a low curtsy; while asking the girls what that made daddy?



"A king! A king!" came the chorused response.

"So, maybe we should greet him with a curtsy when he comes home every night," I suggested. Promptly the girls acquiesced, nearly toppling over in an attempt to mimic my low bow.

By this time, Daddy had enough of the game. "No! No!" he protested. "Hi, Daddy, will be just fine."

Trying not to smirk, I went back to the kitchen, feeling like a queen in a scullery maid's body. But my mind was running a mile a minute...

Those of us who are believers in Christ, are part of His family and are called the children of God. In Jewish times, the name of God was so holy and austere, that they dared not speak it in its entirety. Yet, in the New Testament, He calls Himself our Father and gives us permission to come to Him boldly, crying "Abba, Father!" (Abba=Daddy)

Daddy-- What a thought! The Almighty God deigns to hear that word from sinful creatures, simply because they are justified by the imputed righteousness of His Beloved Son.

Yet, although we know that, why do we still pray to Him in lofty manners, with high falutin' words; some reading printed prayers and others speaking as though God could only understand King James English?

I understand that God demands our reverence. Some are far too flippant with God's Word and God's Name. And, believe me, if my daughters ever greeted their Daddy with a "Yo, dude!" or "What'sup, Pops?" they would be quickly trotted to the bedroom for a lesson in respect. But does that mean that they have to grovel in the dust before the man that they call "DADDY"? Or does he prefer them cuddling in his lap and sitting on his knee?

"Beloved, now are we the sons (children) of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him;
for we shall see Him as He is." (I John 3:2)

Are you a child of the King? Do you approach Him like a true prince or princess? Or do you come to God in fear and trepidation, like a scullery maid or common laborer?

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;
but ye have received the Spirit of adoption,
whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)

DADDY!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cherish Every Moment...

I was having a difficult day with the girls yesterday; mainly being overwhelmed by housework. When I awoke this morning, this song was stuck in my head and I wanted to share it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Teach a Kid to Cook

As a teenager, I can remember grimacing every time I heard an exasperated parent utter the phrase, "Stay out of the kitchen, until you learn to cook!"

While their children would scurry away in fear, my mind would reel with the obvious question, as I tried to bite my tongue. Once, it was too much for me. Rounding off on the astonished mother, I demanded, "How in tarnation are they going to learn to cook-- if they aren't in the kitchen?!"

AND THEN I BECAME A PARENT!!!

Finally, I understood how difficult it is to get anything accomplished with little ones under your elbows all day long! It's so much easier to pop in a DVD, or send them to the playroom; anything for some breathing-room! But one day, I stopped to consider what I was attempting to accomplish: What are my primary goals anyway?

Sure, cooking, cleaning, and laundry are important. (Did I mention dish-washing?) But these never-ending jobs aren't my primary focus. As a Mom, I am a teacher, even if I don't know half of what I should. As a teacher, what am I conveying to these little ones? Are my "chores" a burden; or do I use them to bless my family? Am I simply "doing my duty" or do I view them as teaching opportunities? Just what am I trying to accomplish?

"Give a kid some food, and you feed her for a day;
Teach a kid to cook and you feed her for a lifetime."
 
   
The above post is an excerpt from my newest article on Squidoo: Teach a Kid to Cook. It would be a huge favor if you would check it out and give it a rating, or leave a comment. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What About Public Education?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I never back down from a good debate. It's not that I'm a contentious kind of person, but the challenge of matching wits and ideas with a worthy opponent is quite stimulating, to say the least.

Lately, I've gotten involved in some on-line discussions regarding education, and government schools in particular. So, it's gotten my juices flowing.

Can I stand on a soap-box and judge parents that place their children in public schools? No. "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth." (Rom 14:4) As parents, we are given the responsibility to train our children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Eph 6:4) But is there anything in Scripture that commands us to homeschool?

And these words, which I command thee this day,
shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
Deuteronomy 6:6-8

In this passage, we see that parents are to be the spiritual teachers of their children. But does that mean that other forms of education are forbidden? Can parents give their children a secular education while training them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

I believe they can. But the risk is high. Consider Lot, Abraham's nephew. He's listed in the Hebrews Hall of Faith, and Scripture teaches that living in Sodom he, "vexed his righteous soul from day to day." (2 Peter 2:8)

The Bible does not condemn Lot, but as we read his account in Genesis, we see the natural consequences of his poor choices. When angels appeared to warn him that Sodom was to be destroyed, they had to drag him and his family out of the city by force.

Despite their warning not to look back, Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt for her disobedience. Lot's daughters were preserved; but in wicked disbelief, they tricked their father to an horrible act of fornication. Sodom may have been burned with fire from heaven, but it remained in their hearts and in their descendants.

What does this have to do with public schools? Everything. So many parents will wring their hands in despair as they see the trend of wickedness in the school system, but despite the vexation they may feel, they are unwilling to make any drastic steps. And if angels could barely drag Lot's family from Sodom, I'm well aware that all my debates are fruitless too.

"When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,'
I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already. What are you?
You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp.
In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'"
Adolf Hitler

Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's;
and unto God the things that are God's." (Matt 22:21)


To whom do your children belong?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Book Review on Golden Apples!

Click on the link to check out this delicious book at Golden Apples!




Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mission Impossible?

During his sermon on Modesty last night, Pastor Pollard sympathized with Christian women who attempt to find modest clothing in this day and age. "Wouldn't it be great," he said, "if some Christian families were to go into business making lovely, modest clothing?" (paraphrased)

Although it does feel like "Mission Impossible" sometimes, there actually are families that do just that! So, I couldn't help but chuckle this morning, when this giveaway was posted on facebook. Check it out and enter to win a fabulous skirt from "All Skirts."

(Not to be mean, but I hope I win! My dear husband was just commenting on the sad state of my wardrobe!) =`(


A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Death of Superwoman: Part 3

I know! I know! Why isn't she dead yet? Unfortunately, old habits die hard. And death itself is a life-long process!

Yesterday, I woke in discouragement and despair. Literally drained emotionally and spiritually, I started to walk out the door for my morning work-out. I usually listen to music while I drive (it helps me wake up) but I knew I was in no mood for music. Do you ever feel like that? So bummed that you don't want anything to help you feel better. (Yeah, it's called a pity-party!)

Anyway, my eyes lighted on some tapes my friend Pauline had lent me. They were from Homeschool Conferences in the past. That should help my pity-party, right? Get to listen to all the things I'm not doing right in homeschool. I picked them up and scanned their titles. The first one was on Servanthood. ~OK, I'm not that bummed! Then another title grabbed my attention, "Oops! My Cup is Empty and My Coffee Pot is Broke!"

WOW! I can relate to that! Stuffing it into my purse and grabbing my Low-fat, Protein Shake off the counter, I hit the road and popped the tape into the deck.

At first, all I could do was nit-pick; I didn't like her translation of the Bible. This statement wasn't exactly Calvinistic, you know. And the high-pitched tone reminded me of some silly schoolgirl.

I almost turned it off several times. But, not really having anything better to do, as my car drove down the deserted interstate, I let it continue to play.

Arriving at my workout, (from which I had left bawling the day previous) I mustered a smile and attacked my assignment with much more enthusiasm than I thought possible.

Cranking the car again, the sound of a woman's voice caused me to jump! It was Cindy Rushton still talking. With renewed interest, I began listening to the message again. Somehow, I didn't notice my objections anymore. The lady was speaking from her heart and somehow it felt like she was talking just to me.

Describing 10 years of infertility and miscarriage (which I can definitely understand) Cindy Rushton described her innate need to put on a facade and pretend to be "Superwoman."

I must admit, I glared at the tape deck. Has she been reading my blog posts? But no, this was taped six years ago. She continued to describe the pain that only a mother who has lost children can understand, as well as some of the very things I've been contemplating lately. Such as letting go of unfair expectations and being honest with each other. But most of all, taking our empty cups to Christ and letting Him fill them to overflowing.

Soon, tears were streaming down my cheeks and by the time my car turned into our drive, I was shaking with sobs. I tried to pray, but no words came. Then I was reminded of a precious promise:

"...the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26)

My cup was empty and my coffee pot was broke. But Christ said, "come unto Me and drink!"


"I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived
And now I live in Him."
(Horatius Bonar)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Death of Superwoman: Part Two

After a discussion today with one of the elder ladies in our church, I felt compelled to write this. Although she does not have access to e-mail, this sister got a copy of my "Death of Superwoman" post and was bothered by the contents of it. By the time we finished our discussion, she understood what I was trying to say, but it made me wonder if anyone else had the same problems with it.

In my post, I had no intention of accusing anyone of anything; no one but myself, that is. I have been blessed and ministered to by many of the ladies in our church, especially with meals after the birth of my children and after breaking my wrist last year.

What I was trying to say is that our culture has lost its sense of community. Even the Church is often treated as a social club. But if you study the Scriptures, you'll see that the Church is compared to the family. That's why we call ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ.

But if we are family, then why do we have to pretend with each other? Why do we show up at church with a plastered smile, and a "Hi, how are ya?" and then go on our merry way without thinking about each other again, until next Sunday?

When we do invite each other to our homes, we want to pull out the best china and serve up a perfect meal to exemplify our "hospitality."

But, if we are family, then why can't we just enjoy potluck meals on paper plates? Or, better yet, why can't we let others help us with the dishes?

But no, we have to be "the perfect hostess!"

It would be unthinkable to ask someone to bring a side dish or dessert! And heaven forbid we allow them to assist with the clean up. "No," we say, "Let's just visit. I'll clean this up later!"

But why can't we fellowship while we do the dishes?

Back to my frustrations: I was venting about my own stubborn pride. My refusal to ask for help. My thinking that I have to be Superwoman. I know that the women in our church would be happy to assist me, with actions or simply words of encouragement. But they don't know my struggles, because I have done everything in my power to convince everyone (even my husband) that I "have it all together."

My post was not an attack on anyone, but a personal decision to stop the facade. Despite the strong exterior that you may see when you look at me, I am full of weakness and prone to sin. I am not someone to be admired or placed on a pedestal, but someone whose pride needs to be crushed. I need help. I just have to learn how to humble myself and ask...

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves
to think any thing as of ourselves;
but our sufficiency is of God." 2 Cor 3:5


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Monday, August 23, 2010

Children and Clowns

Lately, I've spent a lot of time contemplating facades and masks, so this note from FlyLady really hit home:

"What is it about clowns that scare some children? Yesterday I figured it out along with a dear friend. Their face tells a different story than what is in their heart. To a child's instincts they may seem to be hiding something. My dear friend suffered with serious child abuse. The abuser was her mother. To the world her mother seemed to be nurturing kind person, but behind closed doors she wore another face. She has nightmares about clowns and when the clown face is removed; it is her mother."


"My mother was like that too. Everyone loved her. They didn't see the screaming rude vicious side of her. She put on a different face for them. Are you wearing a lot of different faces and your family can never tell who you are or who you are going to be. It is up to us to change this behavior and make our inside face match our outside face..."


After considering what was said, I felt the need to comment thus:

Very good analogy and application! The thing is: everyone of us is wearing some sort of mask. Since the time Adam fell, mankind has had the need to cover his/her shame. But this sort of hypocrisy is detrimental to our children. As a Mom that struggles constantly with frustrations and a quick temper, I have apologized to them repeatedly for my actions/words, trying never to place the blame on them. I think this is important. Parents aren't perfect, and children will figure that out eventually; but they need to see humble, contrition from us- so they don't internalize our faults and later churn that into bitterness.

Any thoughts on this from my readers?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Death of Super-Woman

There are some things that I miss about the Simple Life. True, it was never really simple, but life was more laid-back, there was less waste, and a sense of community. I really miss those days! I miss the wood cuttings, the barn raisings, and the quilting bees. I miss getting together with other families to butcher a deer or can vegetables. I even miss the idiocy of making ice cream in the dead of winter because that was the only time we had access to ice. But these days, I just miss community.

It seems our culture has turned from the Scriptural premise of "bearing each others burdens" to a "survival of the fittest" mode. Each of us is expected to eek out an existence while putting on a "Super Woman" facade. Inwardly, we wonder what happened to the elder women from Titus 2 and secretly long for the day when a sweet, mature voice on the other end of the line simply asks how we're doing. But when the phone does ring, it's a "less experienced" mom, timidly asking for our help. Bitterly we comply, grumbling that we should be thus imposed upon. How can we bear someone else's burden, when we're already straining under our own? Yet, we plaster on that fake smile and apply ourselves to "their" problem.

What has happened? Can it be that age-segregation in the churches and schools has fostered this mentality? The hoary head is no longer revered, so young mothers must "learn" from their peers? I can't count the number of times when a woman old enough to be my Mom has complimented my "wisdom" and commented on how much she has learned from me! That isn't the way it's supposed to be!

I'm tired of being Super Woman! So, I'm just going to be honest with you. My floor hasn't been mopped in I don't know how long. My toilets need to be scrubbed. I have days when I'd rather frit away my time in some endless dispute on facebook, than attend to the matters of my home. I raise my voice, and lose my temper, then I cry myself to sleep. When a "less experienced" mom calls for help, I'm as likely to bite off her head as to offer a word of encouragement. I wallow in self-pity and despair, but I don't know how to ask for help. And then I go to church with that plastered smile and do everything in my power to convince everyone I meet that I've "got it all together."

Oh, Lord! Would You humble my pride and teach me how to ask for help when I need it? Would You bring me to my knees that I may lift my eyes to Jesus? Teach me to cast my care upon You, that I may truly bear the burdens of others! And may Your name be glorified in all I say and do. Amen!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Great Expectations

As an eight-year-old child, I can remember my Daddy telling one of his friends, "If you only expect your children to sing songs like, "This little light of mine," then that's all they'll sing. But, if you expect them to learn all four verses of "It is Well with my Soul," then they can and will."

Up until that point, I hadn't thought too much about these things. Sure, people were always impressed by my memory of Scripture and hymns; but in my arrogance I thought, somehow, that I was responsible for it! I had no idea that other parents weren't as diligent as mine in teaching and developing memory skills.

Our school's curriculum would throw in random memory verses for us to learn, but they weren't whole passages like Dad taught us: Psalm 1:1-6, John 1:1-14, Isaiah 53:1-12, etc...

As I grew older, I became obsessed with learning the words to hymns. Dad would often catch me in the middle of the night, reading a hymnal by nightlight, to memorize the words because a song was running through my head and I couldn't go to sleep until I knew them all!

Then, teaching at a Classical Christian School was amazing! To actually be in a place that expected something of children-- and got it, was incredible! Many of the Scriptures that I had learned as a child were taught in the classroom. Not a few verses, here and there, but entire passages! For four and a half years I delighted in teaching the scriptures to little people and watching the astonishment on their parent's faces when they recited them verbatim.

Now, as a mom, I've been able to teach a total of eleven passages to my five and three year old; sixty-four verses altogether!!! And to be honest, I think they could have learned a lot more, if I was more diligent to teach them.

Using lots of hand motions and repetition, as well as taking small chunks at a time, it's amazing how fast they absorb the scriptures.

Once the passage is learned, we write the reference on a paper leaf and tape it to our "Scripture Tree" in the Dining Room. This reminds us to continually review the ones we've already learned.

Then, we all enjoy a walk to the "Bread of Life" bakery for a special, decadent treat---COOKIES!!!



Children will live up to your obvious expectations of them;
Just make sure those expectations are great!!!


Related Posts:
Mrs. Whatever-You-Say
A Nation of Appeasement
Boot Camp for Life

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Real Talk or Baby Talk?

Forgive me a small chuckle, but I'm still smiling over all the raised eyebrows from this past week. Every time someone hears my new favorite phrase, they give me this odd look. I pretend not to notice, but can't help laughing inwardly.

I've despised redundancy my whole life. And parents that use their obnoxiously nasal tone to remind their children, "Say please" or "Say thank you!" just drives me crazy! Silently, I vowed never to become a broken record.

Yeah, right!

Some days I repeat myself so often that I want to scream! "Excuse me?" is heard echoing off the walls (in my voice) almost 24/7. Here lately, I've been having a hard time with responses, not just getting the correct response, but just getting one period! The girls have been taught "Yes, ma'am/No, sir," etc... but some days you'd never know it had been drilled into them since infancy!

This is especially difficult when they're in another room. I give a command-- nothing. I don't know if they heard and are obeying; heard and are ignoring; or simply didn't hear.

So, I found my new favorite phrase, "Acknowledge, please!" (And the girls correctly respond, "Yes, ma'am!")

Despite the raised eyebrows of friends and strangers; a look which clearly express disbelief at my using an eleven-lettered word on my 3 and 5 year old, I've never discussed the definition of "acknowledge" with them, and they've never asked what it means.  Given the context, they figured it out on their own.

Since "baby-talk" drives me crazy, I talk to my children like I expect them to understand me. Everyone else is surprised when they actually do! But I have to admit that even I was stunned when, at the age of three, Joanna used the word "ingenious" correctly in a sentence. But I shouldn't have been surprised. Language must be learned, but it can't be learned, if it isn't used.

As you can imagine, living with the Amish people was culture shock for our family. (I think it was hardest on Mom!) Besides living without electricity or indoor plumbing; raising gardens and caring for animals; wearing Amish clothing and driving a horse and buggy, we also faced a language barrier. The Amish speak a brand of German known as Pennsylvania Dutch. It isn't a written language, and has many varying lingoes. Although most of the adults could speak English, the children didn't typically learn it until they started school. And the adults would talk in Dutch until we entered the room, then switch awkwardly to English.

Since we were young, and spent most of our time with the other children, my siblings and I picked up the language a lot faster than Mom and Dad. To this day, I will occasionally find myself talking Dutch in my head, or quietly whispering "Sasch still" to a fussy baby.

Today I used a Dutch phrase without thinking about it, and marveled that, after so many years, it would just pop out of my mouth like that. So it got me thinking about language and how we talk to our children.

In our community was an old lady named "Grace" who adopted a girl about my age. Her new daughter, "Becky" didn't know Dutch, but Grace didn't baby her or switch to English. From the day she brought Becky home, the girl only heard Pennsylvania Dutch from the lips of her new mother. When Grace said, "vesch du hents" Becky would be punished for not washing her hands. When the Mom said, "hoke on-na," Becky would be punished for not sitting down. As harsh as this seems, I've never known anyone that learned a language, or a new lifestyle, quite as fast as Becky did!

I'm not endorsing harshness, but at the same time I wonder how many parents are just afraid to be parents and to really talk to their children, educating them with words? Do we bring them up to our level, or just condescend to theirs? Are we too fearful to communicate with great expectations?

Do we really TALK to our children? Or do we just Baby-talk them?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Skating On The Promises

This morning's sermon was extraordinary! I don't think I could even begin to do it justice, but there was a quote that jumped out and grabbed me:

"The weakest child of God can take the smallest promise of God;
stretch it over the mouth of Hell and skate across it."

WOW! What a thought!

The Scriptures are so full of the promises of God, that none of us should ever lack comfort, assurance, or faith. Yet we do. So many times we fret and worry regarding our lives, our souls, and our futures.

So it got me to thinking...what promise can I use to skate over the mouth of Hell?

Instantly, Romans 5:9 popped in my head, "Wherefore, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."

But this promise does not always comfort me. I struggle constantly with assurance of salvation, since my heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9)

Then I thought of another favorite promise, "when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2)

Again, this failed to encourage. This is talking to the children of God. How do I know that it applies to me? Prayerfully, I bowed my head right there in the service, asking the Lord for one promise that I knew applied to me. Like a still, small voice, it came; "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Hebrews 12:6-7)

This may not seem like much of a promise, but it was the greatest encouragement I could receive at the moment. I sin often, willfully. I stumble and fall on a daily basis. Yet my Father doesn't leave me in that sin. He rebukes and chastens me. His Spirit convicts and pricks, bringing me to a state of repentance. He never gives up or lets go. And His preserving grace is no less amazing than His saving grace. What a promise! What a Father! Clinging to that promise is like holding a chain to which all the others link. If I am His child then they do apply to me and I can boldly take comfort from them.

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth
the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11)


Are you Skating on The Promises of God?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fire Away!

Five months ago today, I started this blog, not really sure where it was going to take me. My first post, Wisdom Without Kindness terrified me beyond belief! I couldn't begin to describe the heart palpitations and sweaty palms that I experienced before hitting the "Publish" button that first day! In some ways, blogging has gotten easier. But I still find it difficult to bare my soul to friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers.

Unbelievably, I've had 1,472 visits in the past five months; greatly exceeding my expectations! This may not seem like much to some bloggers, but it's definitely encouraging to me!

There have been many times that I was tempted to quit; Hope and Promise was "supposed" to be my last post, but I couldn't help myself. There's so much that I still want to share.

One thing that has always bothered me is the acute awareness of my own failings; as a mother, a wife, and a child of God. I know our fallen tendencies to place people on a pedestal and expect perfection from them; or to place ourselves on a pedestal, looking down on others. I wanted this blog to be a forum for discussion and an opportunity to throw around ideas, not a place for me to "soap-box preach." But this doesn't happen very often, so I'm not sure if it's my writing style that prohibits comments, or if most of my readers are just incredibly shy! ;-)

SO, I'm offering an automatic entry for a prize drawing of the book, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God to anyone that comments on this post. Just please let me know ways that I can improve my blog! Remember, I'm still fairly new at this and am not sure what you are experiencing when you visit. These comments can be about the topics, appearance, posting problems, facebook links, my new blog "Golden Apples",  and etc...  (You could even just list your favorite post or topic.)

Passionate Housewives Desperate for GodEvery time someone comments, I will place their name in a hat. On July 1st, a winner will be randomly selected to receive a new copy of this delightful book. (Even if you already have one, it's OK. They make excellent gifts!)

So, fire away!!!


Blog Posts with the Most Views:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: Passionate Housewives!

Passionate Housewives Desperate for GodNEW on Golden Apples!

Please check out my new book review: Passionate Housewives Desperate for God on Golden Apples!

"Ever since I can remember, I just wanted to be a Mom. No fancy career or title, no aspirations beyond the cradle. Maybe I was just deprived of all ambition, or maybe I desired the highest calling of all..." Read more...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keeping our Hearts

"But why, Mommy?" the voice of my five-year-old was full of genuine bewilderment, as she climbed onto my knee and gazed into my face searchingly. I had just informed the girls that they couldn't watch a certain movie that had been given to them by a friend. Her tone held no rebellion or defiance, and I knew that, "because I said so" was no answer for this question.

But what should I say? I could go into detail about that particular movie, criticizing the sensual way in which the main character dressed, walked, and talked. I could mention her utter disregard for authority, and the ungodly, autonomous philosophy behind the "just follow your heart" and "do what's right for you" mentality. I could bring up the unbridled witchcraft and sorcery to which they would be exposed, and the list goes on...

But Joanna's only five. I looked back into her eyes and took a deep breath. "Honey, that's not the kind of movie that Mommy and Daddy want you girls to watch..."

Before I could finish my sentence, the quivering voice of my three-year-old broke in next to my elbow, "But Mommy," she sobbed, "we like it!"

Tears filled my eyes as I gathered Felicity onto my lap. Gently, quietly, I explained, "Issy, just because we like something doesn't mean it's good for us."

"You know girls," I continued, "if we were having trouble with lots of rats in the garage, your Daddy would have to poison them. But he wouldn't put the poison in food that the rats don't like. He would put it in something that smells good, looks good, and tastes good. The rats would eat it and want more. But an hour later, they would be dead, because there was just enough poison to kill them.

My audience was listening attentively as I continued, "The people that make those movies don't worship God, and they don't love Jesus. They're going to do everything they can to poison your minds, but they know you wouldn't watch something that was really wicked, would you?" The girls shook their heads emphatically. "So these people take stories that make you feel good inside and they put things in them that don't seem very bad. But eventually, it poisons your mind and makes you distrust God and His Word. It makes you want your own way, rather than listening to your parents or following the Lord."

With wide eyes, Joanna and Felicity gazed at me. I could see their mental wheels turning, "Girls, I know you don't understand all of this right now. But someday you will. Until then, Mommy and Daddy have been given the responsibility of guarding what goes into your minds and your hearts. Can you trust us?"

Big smiles beamed from two faces as they squeezed me affectionately and ran off to play. But the rest of the day, my own words haunted me. How many times have I allowed the world's philosophies to find root in my mind and heart? How many hours have I wasted in front of a black box, feeding upon the husks of the world? I know, compared to many Christians, I'm very picky about what we watch, but we aren't told to compare ourselves by ourselves. Am I emulating my Savior?

In brokenness, I knelt by the bed. His presence seemed so far away, yet I knew that it was my heart that was far from Him.

Thankfully, He is a very gracious Father.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life."
Proverbs 4:23


Related articles:
Feeding Our Emotions
Felicity's Green Thing
Heavenly Genetics

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feeding Our Emotions

Almost eleven years ago, I moved in with a family here in Pensacola. Before long, I had become close friends with their daughter, Sarah, who had just turned sixteen. We had so much in common and enjoyed our time together immensely. But isn't it amazing how you can be so close to someone, and then completely lose contact in a few, short years? Looking back, I realize that both of us had a lot to learn; some things the hard way. Now, as we are renewing our relationship via Facebook, it's equally amazing how the Lord has been directing both of our steps all these years. Now we have even more in common: our love for Him.

Last week, Sarah tagged me in a note on Facebook, and I wanted to share excerpts of it with you. The Lord has been dealing with me regarding similar issues for some time, and I wonder how many of my readers struggle with the same?

    "This past weekend I was quite sick for several days, and during one of those days I had a chance to catch a few episodes of a new show everyone is raving about, called "Glee". I don't usually watch much TV, but many of my friends were talking about this show and how good it was, so I figured I'd check it out. I was thinking, "Hmm, high school glee club, how bad could it be?" Now, I wish I didn't know the answer to that. This entire show is based on a group of highschoolers that go around sleeping with each other, and trying to be popular. I watched the first 2 episodes of the season, and then one of the newer episodes just recently aired. So, in the first couple of episodes the teacher of this Glee Club is married, but having this emotional affair with another teacher (spending late nights with her alone at the school "cleaning", etc). In the last episode I watched, he is in the process of a divorce with his wife, has slept with multiple woman, and the teacher he had a crush on is angry because of the multiple women. The highschoolers are making a list of who's the hottest and who's the most popular, plus one of the former cheerleaders is pregnant."


     "Seriously, CHRISTIANS! Wake up! Why in the world do we watch this kind of garbage and then expect our lives to look different than the world! I will say, the sinful flesh in me was interested in the show, because us women are particularly weak to anything having to do with romance, relationships, or gossip. However, the fact that it was completely and utterly sinful left a horrible taste in my mouth and I couldn't continue watching it because there is nothing God glorifying about it, in fact quite the opposite. I knew that I couldn't watch the show, and still have peace from the Lord..."

     "I think as Christian women, we need to take a stand against these kinds of shows and as sisters in Christ we should encourage each other to seek out Godly ways of spending our time instead of wasting them on TV shows that don't glorify the Lord. I know how hard it is, and I know how I still battle against my flesh, but knowing I have sisters standing with me, helps and encourages me to no end! Watching garbage that Hollywood throws out there, produces in me a spirit of discontent, and makes me feel things I shouldn't feel as a Christian woman (and let alone, a Married Christian woman) It's not OK for Christian men to watch pornography, so why should it be OK for Christian women to watch shows (Allow me to add: or read novels) that completely feed their emotions and desires in ways that only Christ or their husbands should?" (Sarah Elizabeth Davison: Garbage In, Garbage Out)

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
Think on these things." Philippians 4:8

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Golden Apples (My new blog!)

I've been trying to come up with a way to organize the few book reviews that I've written on this blog, as well as the many others still to come. Finally, after much thought, I've begun to create a new blog, given exclusively to that purpose.

Playing on Proverbs 25:11, I've named my new blog, "Golden Apples". It can be found at this link or web address:


I've only moved one book review so far, but hope to continue soon. Please let me know what you think!





"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver" Proverbs 25:11

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Simple Life and Laundry

I've been thinking about laundry all day. Kind of hard not to think about it when you're up to your ears in it. Why is it that something so "not difficult" can be so difficult? I mean, it requires very little talent, limited strength, and minimal stress; yet it's so hard and unpopular! Maybe we dislike it because it's mundane.

It didn't used to be so mundane. I remember when it was a full day's work. We grumble about Mondays now, but to me, Monday used to mean "Laundry Day."



First, the fire was kindled under an iron cauldron which was brimming with water. Know how the water got there? Yep. You guessed it! Buckets, after buckets, were carried from the spring-fed spigot by tender, brown arms.

Once the water was finally boiling, those same arms carried buckets of the boiling liquid to a covered porch where the smell of bleach and lye, mingled with sweat, left a lasting impression.

The Amish mother that I helped frequently, thought it was her mission in life to break the spoiled, city girl. I'll never forget the moment she announced that, from then on, I was to clean all the dirty diapers-- by hand. Glancing at a 5-gallon bucket full of the week's feces, just soaking in bleach water, my sensitive stomach did a few loop-de-loops. She was joking, right? Wrong.

When the diapers were scrubbed to her satisfaction, they were dumped into the James' washer which was filled with boiling water and a bar of Lye soap. Then the torture began. Using the hand-agitator, my task master insisted on 200 strokes (one-way), per load!

Next came the hand wringer, which was conveniently located between the wash and rinse tubs.

Wringing the laundry once after washing, then again after rinsing, it was finally ready to hang on the wash-line.

Later that afternoon, a week's worth of clothing, diapers, and bedding were removed, folded, and put away before bed.

Ah, the "simple" life!
(Now why am I complaining about laundry?)


For more on our experience living with the Amish, please check out my previous post: Ah, the Simple Life!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Perplexed, but Not in Despair

I read this as a tract many years ago, and have never forgotten the words below. (I would love to hear your thoughts on this!)

"The Lord’s appointments, to those who fear Him, are not only sovereign, but wise and gracious. He has connected their good with His own glory, and is engaged, by promise, to make all things work together for their advantage.

He chooses for His people better than they could choose for themselves; if they are in heaviness, there is a need-be for it, and He withholds nothing from them but what upon the whole it is better they should be without. Thus the Scriptures teach, and thus we profess to believe.

Furnished with these principles, we are at no loss to suggest motives of patience and consolation to our brethren that are afflicted; we can assure them, without hesitation, that if they are interested in the promises, their concerns are in safe hands; that the things which at present are not joyous but grievous, shall in due season yield the peaceful fruits of righteousness, and that their trials are as certainly mercies as their comforts.



We can prove to them, from the history of Joseph, David, Job, and other instances recorded in Scriptures, that, notwithstanding any present dark appearances, it shall certainly be well with the righteous; that God can and will make crooked things straight; and that He often produces the greatest good from those events which we are apt to look upon as evil."

(John Newton: More Than a Calvinist)

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken;
cast down, but not destroyed..." 2 Cor 4:8-9