For the Love of Blue

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For a few years now, my husband’s former Lieutenant has invited us to his church every January for a special service where ALL the members honor and thank the law enforcement officers who go, and pray over them and their families and just surround them with support.  It. Is. Powerful.

This time, like every other time, the Pastor gave such a clear-minded sermon and hit a plethora of topics (not really police related, but speaking on cultural and religion decline) where churches are now failing in addressing; it blew our minds again to finally hear such sound, wonderfully True, preaching. He even several times, mentioned the word “defiled,” talking about men and women (yes, he made it a point to call out women) who are defiling people, and how much the churches have declined over the years.  ❤  This is a mostly all black church, the services last 3 hours long, and the love and presence of the Holy Spirit you feel when you’re there makes people cry.

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I remember the first time we came, it was shortly after we had lost one of the sweetest detectives that worked with my husband (pictured above).  He had just been sitting in his patrol car on a fill-in shift, when he was shot in the head for no reason by a black man.  The funeral was so devastating, and even though I was serving at it, for awhile I just couldn’t stop crying.  Hearing his family speak… it broke something inside me.  Feeling this kind of welcome and love and honesty about police deaths coming from black men and women was so needed for me at that time.  Back then our officers were 18% more likely to be murdered by a black male, now the percentage is higher I believe.  2016 was the deadliest year for police officers, but each year over 100 die on duty from a variety of job-related incidents.  I watch my husband put a black mourning band over his badge when these deaths happen, and sometimes in the past, the deaths kept coming to where he couldn’t take it off for days and days.  It was so difficult to keep hearing who the perpetrators were, the life-threatening messages they were sending to our officers and their spouses (and kids!).  Hearing how they were attacking them even in their homes, sometimes threatening their wives and children.  The Pastor spoke about all these things, and remarked on how amazing it is that no other churches talk about this (and yes, this has bothered me before in the past how even our own church would never touch the subject).

The Pastor spoke directly to us law enforcement families.  Reminded us of how they are God’s ministers, God’s Avengers who bring wrath on those who do wrong (Romans 13).  He reminded us spouses of what our calling in this marriage is as well.  He spoke of the burden we carry in being this support system, and I had a glimpse into how I’m not really letting God give me the strength I need for this particular burden as much as I thought I was.  I love being an officer’s wife, but many elements of it are hard, even when one deliberately separates themselves from the deaths and funerals.

But we are so blessed to know my husband’s former (now retired) Lieutenant ❤ and we SO blessed to know this congregation of strong, faith-filled believers.  My husband even suggested we start tentatively going to this new church (<3 !!).

Hope everyone is doing well, posting has been slow as child-raising has fully taken over 😀 ❤ !!  We are also making it a point to go to the gym most days, and I love this season of getting back in shape (we do on and off seasons to fluctuate with life and the holidays).

Stephanie

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Books for Young Minds

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One of the gifts we thought to give our oldest (8) this year for Christmas, was the gift of some really good classic books.  We both have an intense love of books and reading, one of our favorite pastimes before we had children was to take turns reading to each other at night after the work day from our favorite books.

We want our children to hopefully share this love of books, and we think the best way to help them achieve that, is to read to them, and to read to them often.

Starting our homeschooling journey recently, I’d been trying to figure out what kinds of books to read that were fitting for him.  The coursework I’d chosen was great in all other categories, except the literature suggestions unfortunately.  I mean… this boy has been reading Harry Potter since age 5 in kindergarten.  He went through all the books of Narnia with my husband two years ago – so suggestions like Winnie the Pooh or Pippi Longstocking, although we read through them and laughed… they’re more in line with what I’m reading to our 4 year old.  I could tell he really needed more.

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The first one he was super excited to dive into was The Pilgrim’s Progress.  I told him about this book as it was one I remember reading when I was about his age at the Christian school I went to.  This book was so good, and so helpful in one’s Christian journey, that even 20-something years later, I still think about it and remember parts that reflect what I’m going through in my journey as a Christian.  Even now as we’ve started reading it together (he was so excited he couldn’t wait for the break to be over 😀 ), I’m given the chance to find new treasures and meanings in it that I of course missed at such a young age.  I told him this, too, that this would be a book he’d probably love to reread over the course of his life, just to understand the journey better as he gains more life experience.  I still think it’s good for children this young to read it.  I remember reading it and of course realizing I didn’t have those kinds of life experiences yet, but still understanding the wisdom it imparted and instruction on how to navigate different things like despair and discouragement, the hills of difficulty, etc.  And I can see that even though he’s only 8, he already comprehends those things, too.

Plus it is wonderful to read it with him, stop and then explain things about life and faith.  The characters in Pilgrim’s Progess are just so necessary for children to understand!  People who are “Obstinate,” or “Pliable,” or the “Wordly Wiseman,” or the man named, “Legality.”  Each one proposes an amazing discussion we then have about who these people are, why they are the way they are, and how they derail one’s life or miss what Christianity is about.

Rereading this book also prompted us to look into the life of the author, John Bunyan, who was such an admirable man in his own right.  Learning together about his own life journey, and that he wrote this book while in prison (!) was a huge lesson in and of itself for us to talk about.  We even read through Bunyan’s “Apology,” for his book, or rather struggled through it LOL…  Because of his use of old English and speaking in riddles, every line I had to stop and explain what he was talking about.  It provided new ideas our son has never thought about deeply enough, but also great humor as every sentence rhymed and sounded so strange!  Overall it was a great lesson in not only the history behind him being imprisoned for just preaching and living out his faith, but also his steadfastness in the face of persecution (writing a book he knew would probably not be accepted – hence the lonnng apology and defense of it).  It was also interesting to learn that some of Bunyan’s harshest critics and naysayers, were of course the fellow Christians themselves.  It’s always been that way, from the Prophets of old, to the Wesley’s, to Spurgeon, etc. and that itself is another great lesson.

*

The other books we got him are as in the first picture, Gulliver’s Travels, The Swiss Family Robinson, and Treasure Island.  He already knows of The Swiss Family Robinson, as it’s one of the my husband’s favorite stories, and it has A LOT of strong Christian lessons in it, more than what the popular movies would make it seem like.  We love it because it portrays the almost insurmountable trials of a very traditional Christian family, and shows them constantly looking to their faith and the Bible, and guidance from God to understand how to overcome their barrage of struggles.  Just a wonderful book for growing and influencing a young person’s faith, in our opinion.

And of course Gulliver’s Travels and Treasure Island are more just for pure boyish fun!  Not that girls can’t enjoy these books, too, although I admit I was never interested in reading these two.  Apparently, when men read these as boys they tend to stay with them long into adulthood, which to me is a mark of a very good book worth reading!

 

More books I can’t wait to read with him:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Oliver Twist

 

If any readers have suggestions for what else would be good for children his age, please let know!  I don’t think you can ever have too many good books 😀

Stephanie

Merry Christmas Readers!

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Phew!!!!  I’m typing this as I’m making 2 tarts at the moment.  One traditional chocolate (very simplistic, with just a few ingredients that create the most decadent, yet simple taste), and a white chocolate swirled with butterscotch sauce for my husband.

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I guess it’s a let’s write between stirring the chocolate kind of night.  I am tired. 🙂  December flew by for us, and to be honest, it was a little too fast and crazy for our normal style.  Lots of things we went to, formal Christmas stuff, family outings, a few birthday parties, two that celebrated our Christmas baby.  And lots and lots of baking.

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When we needed to go to a Christmas formal, I thought it’d be fun to set up the kids and my mom (who was going to watch them that night) with a table ready for decorating Christmas cookies if they wanted to.

So the night before the formal, while doing some home-primping girly things, I was also cutting out and baking sugar cookies.  It was so much fun to do this and set up all the sprinkles (we have quite a collection!) and frostings for them to do the next day.

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I have such fond memories of doing these kinds of things with my mom, and how wonderful that she gets to repeat it with my children.  And with the exact same cookie cutters she always used with us!

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We also set the kids up like this another time when we went out to do some Christmas shopping together.  If any readers have any other ideas for what kids can do when you’re out at parties or dances and such, I’d love to hear them.  Hopefully next year’s December will calm down some, and we intend to make more so, for good measure.

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Seeing reindeer was one of the highlights!  And camels, although we didn’t get a picture of the camels 😀

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Fascinated faces… lol

Lots of fun things…

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And mesmerizing sights…

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I think we all drank our weight in hot chocolate 😉

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Our mornings have often been spent cuddling together, and squished, as all our children just have to all sit on the same couch at the same time with me LOL 🙂 it’s just one of those things where you have to take a moment.  We may go to fancy things sometimes… but on the whole, this is our reality.  And we are very, very full.

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And don’t worry, if you feel overwhelmed or stressed out this season, always remember… you’re not alone 😉

Somewhere, there is a baby being forced to see Santa…

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Merry Christmas!!!!

Stephanie

Spiritual Darkness & Sacrificing Our Children Part III

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At the Michelle Obama Library – Thanks Obama!

Give us access to your children

or We’ll Accuse You of Being Homophobic!

 

 

Or un-loving.  

Or judgmental.

Or unChristian.

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You know… just pick your choice of which they’ll try to shame you of for holding to Christian morals and values, especially if you’re “trying to protect children.”

How dare you try to protect children from the gay/trans/abcd-of-the-week agenda!  Slutty outfits worn by men pretending to be women are what our babies and children should be exposed to early in life, so that they’re not “judgmental,” like you Christians. /s

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Remember… this is all about desensitization to perversion and satanic influences (as the first photo is a self-ascribed, “satanic goddess,” and “demon,”).

It’s painful to see these little faces being exposed to this kind of societal degradation, and literally preyed upon during story time, while their parents believe it’s “good” for them.  And you know these parents probably believe it is “good,” for their children.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.”

Isaiah 5:20

It’s interesting the link between feeling “good,” or even “virtuous,” in being seen as “non-judgmental,” toward certain sins.  “No, I’m not like that Pharisee,” or “no, I would never judge a pedophile… I judge the Christians who judge pedophiles!”  It’s a strange kind of self-righteousness or pride that blinds Christians (or secular people) to what they’re instead accepting.

When there is no line drawn, when “good,” is really evil, are they still too prideful to see it?

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Children are not considered “sacred,” anymore, which is also a major reason why we are seeing parents who willingly take their children to events like these.  To me this is probably more devastating, than merely Christians refusing to judge good as good, and evil as evil.  When Children lose their sacred status in a society, they become the prey of everything evil 😥 .

It’s important to remember that nearly every biblical civilization that became evil enough to warrant massive destruction (self-induced or one could argue by the wrath of God), had to deal in the end with evil pursuing children because ultimately, that is as “far as they can go.”

Babies… toddlers… children in general, have an innocence about them that is designed by God to be protected by loving and wise parents.  They are Christians’ most valuable asset as they insure the future of the Church, and must be protected.

So therefore, evil pursues children.

Through forcing them to see what their little eyes shouldn’t see, and wouldn’t have seen several decades ago, due to morals and standards in society protecting them.

Through having them interact with adults with psychological perversions or satanic preferences and “play-acting,” all the while believing this is of course, “good,” for the children.

Desensitization.  It’s a subtle process of defilement that first happens to the mind, but can also affect the body, however it’s first battle is over the mind in what should be accepted (or judged), or normalized.

When you look at these pictures carefully, this is evidence of a battle for our children’s minds.  It is evidence of evil pursuing children so that they become slowly defiled in their thinking.

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Why else would they be insisting trans-men have access to your children and babies for story-time read alouds?

Let us be bold in showing this for what it is (or are our sense that desensitized already?), and uncover the real motivations in the aggressive targeting babies, toddlers and young children by the gay/trans/abcd-of-the-week movement.

 

Related Reading –

 

Spiritual Darkness & Sacrificing Our Children Part II

A reader sent me an email about a recent post Dalrock wrote on various people in the Christian world of influence, seemingly making the case for homosexual apologetics (for lack of a better word).  Especially, and diabolically, with a focus on sacrificing the safety of Christian children.

I wrote back in August of this year about this same topic:

I remember back when this was the motto *many* Christians were encouraging each other in order to accept homosexuals and in effort to make that particular sin not seem “so bad.”  Instead of promoting a healthy culture of giving each other grace, however, this attitude that homosexuals weren’t to be judged because we’re sinners, too, quickly devolved into accepting their behavior in the church as “just another type of sin we all commit.”  And then accepting ministry members who were openly gay, and then worship leaders, and eventually homosexual Pastors and Priests who were openly gay.  I remember seeing it all happen and thinking it very surreal that any Christian would fall for this kind of satanic deception that we were never supposed to judge homosexual behavior and separate ourselves from it.

Now it’s been happening again with pedophilia, the ironic part is that, like in this woman’s post, the exact same wording is being used as it was back in the 80’s and 90’s, in order to make Christians feel like they’re “self-righteous” if they judge these sins for what they are.  This is the systematic way Satan was able to infiltrate the church with accepting homosexuality, by telling Christians it was “just another sin,” that they “were no better” and “shouldn’t judge it or them because of their own sins.”  It is Satan using Christian forgiveness, humility and grace and twisting it to render the church unable to defend itself against diabolical evils seeking to infiltrate it.  In other words, it’s meant to “normalize” or “desensitize” Christians into accepting homosexuality, and now, like we’ve seen, pedophilia as well. 

From here

It was disturbing to see someone chastising Christians in this way, but especially when coming from a fellow believer.  It was as though she was calling us to a “higher standard” (in an iron sharpens iron kind of way), telling us that you fellow Christians shouldn’t judge pedophiles.

Here are her actual quotes:

So we put ourselves firmly in the seat of Judge, and we mete out what we would consider Justice. I have to laugh at the incongruity here, given one of the maxims of our day is “don’t judge”…

Don’t judge” – unless the person you’re judging is a paedophile.

Don’t judge” – unless it’s someone who is clearly way worse than you.

Don’t judge” – unless it’s publicly acceptable to do so.

 

Do you think you’re better than a paedophile?

That’s not a trick question.

Are you a better person than a paedophile?

What I was stuck on was that she “laughs” at the incongruity of normal people daring to judge a child molester when calling for justice to be done.  Why would a Christian laugh at a situation dealing with something so clearly evil, and something we are supposed to view with soberness (and are called to judge and expose(Eph 5)?

In the comments, when responding to a victim of child molestation, who obviously was very offended by her suggestions in her post that he was “no better,” than his molester, she defended herself and took this analogy even further to include other evil acts some humans engage in: killing a police officer – which earns people the death penalty in some states.  “Don’t judge them,” she said.  “You’re no better as a person, than a cop killer.”

Her entire blog has since then been deleted, but her post in particular can be found here from the Way Back Machine.

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What is this we’re seeing (and have been seeing/feeling for a long time now)?

It’s a classic case of Shaming and Chastisement.

The longterm goal for homosexuality was trying to get Christians to tacitly accept those sins as “normal” sins within the church body… normal sins that belong to people who are true Christ followers, people who should be accepted with open arms into the Christian community – and as Dalrock pointed out, given access to our children.

If you can breakdown a Christian’s understanding of different kinds of sins and what they do to the Body of the Church, then you can get them to eventually accept anything.

In both instances, we saw/are seeing the acceptance happen very slowly by introducing ideas that “those sins aren’t worse than your own,” and “you have no right to judge homosexuals/pedophiles because you’re a sinner, too.”  This coupled with a heavy helping of, “Christian love means accepting homosexuals/pedophiles,” shames and fools Christians into actually believing these falsehoods.

In other words, what we’re seeing is the longterm goal of shaming Christians into “not judging pedophiles,” coming from not viewing certain sins as “worse,” or “more evil,” than others.  However the effect longterm is to desensitize Christians to (incredibly) the idea of child molestation, as far fetched as it sounds.  Believe me, it sounded far fetched back in the 80’s and 90’s when the exact same language was used in regard to homosexuality.  But when you’re telling someone, shaming them even, for feeling repulsed by the sins of homosexulaity, or laughing at them for being angry at the sins of raping children as this blogger was doing, getting them to accept in their hearts that, “maybe it isn’t as bad as I thought it was,” is definitely the end goal.

Getting them to no longer feel repulsed by these sins, or getting them to feel ashamed of their natural anger at child molesters, is how it starts, though.

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Why does it work?

In general, shame works to achieve it’s end, but only to a point.  Like a scale that is tipped by one grain of rice too many, people eventually “wake up” to lies they’ve been sold, especially in regard to feeling shame where shame is not supposed to be felt.  Usually that happens long after the “point of no return,” however, because once sins like these are accepted, it takes drastic efforts to re-draw the boundary lines.

But in a broader explanation, these tactics work because the Christians using them are exploiting the Christian concepts of, “love,” and, “grace,” and, “forgiveness.”  It works in a particularly insidious way due to twisting (or torturing) of the Scriptures to claim that we are “no better” morally than these people, therefore we shouldn’t “judge” them or their sins, because that would be unChristian.

What is terrifying (but shouldn’t be because it is Satan’s goal), is that it is directed toward sacrificing our children on this altar – be it to homosexuals, or in dismissing pedophilia as an evil worth judging.

From Dalrock (emphasis mine in bold red):

Where Allberry commands that families lower the drawbridge so gay men like him can put our children to bed at night, Butterfield commands us to give gays the keys to our front doors.  From Butterfield’s ERLC article Why the gospel comes with a house key:

Take, for example, our Christian brothers and sisters who struggle with unchosen homosexual desires and longings, sensibilities and affections, temptations and capacities. Our brothers and sisters need the church to function as the Lord has called it to—as a family. Because Christian conversion always comes in exchange for the life you once loved, not in addition to it, people have much to lose in coming to Christ—and some people have more to lose than others. Some people have one cross, and others have ten to carry. People who live daily with unchosen homosexual desires also live with a host of unanswered questions and unfulfilled life dreams. What is your responsibility to those brothers and sisters who are in this position in life?

Our Christian responsibility includes a house key

One answer is this: the gospel comes with a house key.  Mark 10:28–31 reads:

Peter began to say to [Jesus], “See, we have left everything and followed you.”

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Please note what Jesus says about how to love anyone who responds to the gospel in faith and obedience and who must lose everything in order to gain the kingdom’s promises. Jesus says that he expects we will lose partners and children and houses in the process of conversion, that conversion calls everyone to lose everything. God’s people need to wake up to something. If you want to share the gospel with the LGBTQ community or anyone who will lose family and homes, the gospel must come with a house key. This hundredfold blessing promised here in these verses is not going to fall from the sky. It is going to come from the church. It is going to come from the people of God acting like the family of God. God intends this blessing to come from you.

If you watch the Allberry video embedded in my previous post, you will see that this is the same exact argument Allberry gives for Christian families to provide gay Christians with access to their children.  I encourage you to read the Butterfield quote above and then watch the beginning of the Allberry video to see what I mean.

Lest you think this isn’t a major theme of Butterfield, at the bottom of her ERLC post it says that the content is taken from her new book The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World

Butterfield writes on the same subject at Piper’s Desiring God in an article titled The Best Weapon Is an Open DoorNotice how she echoes Allberry in chastising Christian parents for seeing our homes as a fortress to protect our children, using the very same language:

If you believe that these are dangerous times, then you are right...

How tempting it is to withdraw. How easy it is to let fear rule our hearts as we shelter ourselves and our children from evil…

…Christians must be intentional about seeking the stranger. We must think of our homes as hospitals, embassies, and incubators, not castles, fortresses, or museums…

Here is what this looks like. Singles from the church and neighborhood come over after work and help get dinner going. We have fun doing this. Sometimes there is laundry on my table that needs to be folded and put away (or stuffed back in the dryer). Sometimes there is a child still struggling with a math lesson. And we all behave better when it is not just us dealing with the messiness of unfolded laundry and unfinished math sheets.

Other neighbors start to show up. People with secret lives — people with secret drug addictions or dangerous relationships — cannot make plans easily. Christians need to be sensitive to this. They don’t know if they will be sober or safe three Tuesdays from yesterday. But if the invitation is open and regular, they can make it to your table on the fly. All people — believers and unbelievers — need to see transparent, Christian lives lived out in the real-time of tears and mess.”

Eventually I believe we will see this extend to pedophiles, because they are quickly becoming the new “taboo,” that homosexuality was in regard to shaming Christians into not judging them.  I could be wrong, but I never thought I’d read what I read back in 2017 from that one Christian blogger.

The enemy within

So… we’re living in an age where Christians are expected by other Christians, to “tolerate,” even the most vile sins of others because we are “no better,” and therefore should not be allowed to have standards for our congregation or civilization we are living in.

But how do you keep a church clean and healthy when pastors, priests, and religious leadership in general has given way to what the culture demands they accept?  And how do we cope with leadership who now demands we accept and not judge this immorality?

I believe this battle would have been a lot easier to have won, if church leadership across the board would have held firm in their stance a decade or two ago.  The fact that us Christians are grappling with the theology of those who should be leading us, shows again how far down the modern church has plunged.

Our enemy is within our own fortress, it is behind our own lines in the battle against the world.  But it got there through shaming, and systematically breaking down Christians’ reactions to certain evils that should never have been accepted.

What happens when Christians don’t do what Scriptures command, which is to separate themselves from sins like these, is that corruption leads to dead churches, and more defilement of the members.

 

They’re going to win

What’s interesting to me is that the pedophilia post got little to no push-back.  In general, the Christians who saw it either agreed publicly with it in the comments section, or stayed silent.  A few Christian women I’m familiar with in the blogosphere agreed with it though, and that is saying something.

And how interesting that both the pedophile acceptance telling us not to judge them, and the various links listed above, both deal with (at least indirectly) the potentiality of defiling Christian children.

It’s a critical point that if they make gains in these diabolical plans, gaining access and ability to defile our children, then they’ve succeeded in defiling the future generation of Christians and Christianity in general.

 

Related Posts –

Sigma Frame’s Series on Biblical terms: Unclean, Defile, Consecrate, Sanctify

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Life Should Be Lived!

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Your oldest brother took these pictures, Little One ❤ he has loved trying to operate a camera since probably age 4.  With setting certain limits on timing and place etc., I think it’s important to allow kids the freedom to explore things that should be, just a little “too hard,” for them.  Like letting a little one stir a sauce that isn’t too hot, or make scrambled eggs and pancakes, or take pictures while a camera is securely fastened to them.

In short, I believe it’s important to have an attitude that, ‘life should be lived!’  To have a Joie de Vivre!  This is what your magical Nanny (my mother) taught me through the way she lived life with us, and it’s what I want to teach and show you.  And you should make the effort (it’s really in your best interest anyway), to repeat it with your own children 🙂 It just makes for a happier, more en-JOY-able life!

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That and it’s this kind of attitude that allows for your brother to take his own pictures when we’re out on family adventures… even if he does make us stop so often 😀

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Our city has what feels like endless places to visit to go see lights, this being somewhere we’ve never tried before!  We do love adventures, but I’m afraid if we gave in to our feelings, we’d probably miss out on these things just due to tiredness of having little ones (and you’re at this moment, still not sleeping through the night yet).  But we’ve both found we’re MUCH happier when we go out and do small activities like seeing Christmas lights, anyway.  The pleasure of seeing the joy reflected in yours and your brothers’ eyes is so much better than staying home, and we’ve noted how much happier we feel once we’re back!

Here is a secret recipe for developing your own Joie de Vivre:

Develop an attitude of seeking out happy things to do.

Don’t do expensive things unless it’s a rarity – most things really are free or very cheap, and you’ll get more pleasure out of being frugal anyway.

Go with the flow – have a sense of flexibility when needing to change directions when something doesn’t work or flat out fails… make it into a new adventure, or at least don’t have a bad attitude.

Expect things to be a little hard.  Traveling anywhere or even just going for a quick trip to see lights nearby, is just a harder thing to do with little ones.  Do it anyway, within reason, and you’ll more than likely be glad you did.  You’ll be able to better absorb the fact that it’s hard if you buffer it with that expectation going in.  And then you’ll find it’s usually NOT as hard as you thought it would be 😀

Do this as a single and as a married woman, and you’ll have a very joyful life.

And don’t be afraid to let your kids get messy!  Having fun baking, or making crafts, and getting messy, is part of the joy of life!

You helped make these!

 

 

Letting Children Have a Vision of Marriage

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“The parent who loves his children and takes pleasure in training them in right conduct gives the best possible testimonial to marriage.

On the other hand, the parent who constantly complains about his physical, financial or emotional burdens breaks down his youngster’s vision of marriage as a worthy state in life.”

– Rev. George A. Kelly 

~ ❤ ~

I stumbled upon this passage above a month ago when reading, and it felt like getting hit with a two-by-four upside the head!  LOL  While I do strive to be the best mom I can be to our kids, enjoying teaching them and doing life with them, the overall quote felt convicting!  The worst thing I think in my journey as a mother would be to rob my children of the hope and joy they should have at this age – by making them fear growing up and feeling like they won’t be able to handle whatever burdens or trials they’re supposed to carry later on.

But I never linked breaking a youngster’s vision of marriage as a worthy state in life, with complaining – it makes so much sense!

And of course it’s true, a complaining mother is a drain on everyone in the family, she  sucks the joy and happiness out of life.  Sure, life may be hard, but I can see how crucial it is to choose our attitudesomething my husband taught me I think in our 2nd year of marriage from a book he had read in college.

Ironically, it was a book about work-ethic mentality, meant for people in the corporate world!  But it was a great book for how to live one’s life in general, echoing sound biblical advice of doing one’s work with a cheerful attitude, putting other’s above yourself in “making their day” (making them elated!), and finding fulfillment in enjoying your work.  It was interesting… to think one can change their whole experience of even their dire circumstances, by simply changing their attitude.

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How Does a Mom Exhibit a Worthy Vision of Marriage?

Make it a point to have fun, and have fun with your children and husband often!!!

This is something that should be a given, however, I think our natural default as humans is to fall into complaining.  Therefore we have to choose our attitude, no matter what is going on.  And to tell you the truth, even if everything is going well, our sin nature masked in the temptation to complain can come out even then unfortunately.

With how busy life gets, or bogged down with various day-to-day tasks, hardships or even trials families go through, I am seeing how setting aside time for making joyous and happy memories together is a necessary engagement.

This means even if we’ve had a long week, and we had something fun scheduled at the end of it, we make sure to still do it, in lieu of staying at home and calling it an early night.  We’ve found it’s so much more fun to go out together and experience our “fun” things, rather than just giving in the passivity of tiredness or even the kids’ moods.

Love your husband well… and openly… and at every opportunity!!!

It is sad to me that this still needs to be said, but nothing makes children happier and more at peace than seeing and knowing how in love their parents are, and how much fun they have together and with them.  

I think it is the secret recipe for a blissful family life overall.  Not that hard things don’t come, or heartbreaking tragedies, but even in the midst of these in our life together, we’ve found that the love and joy between us, carries us through those times much easier than it would be if we didn’t have that in our marriage.

Complaining or bad attitudes in general just makes everything harder, less fun, and definitely less loving.  This is true whether at work, school, in friendships, but probably especially within a marriage and around one’s children, who see them as they are all the time.

One of my favorite books of the Bible is Philippians, because it is the book on how to have joy in one’s life.  This passage comes to mind whenever I find myself tempted to complain:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world as you hold forth the word of life, in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” 

Philippians 2:14-16

I want my children to have a good vision of what a worthy marriage looks like, however human we may be.

Stephanie

On Thoughts & Whims…

I love Thanksgiving, I know this is well after, but I’d wanted to post something beforehand like I’ve done in years past, but with traveling and visiting with family I just couldn’t find the time to write something that made sense lol.

Celebrating and reminding ourselves to be grateful is just so good for the soul, inspiring even, to try to live each day of the year with an abundance of gratitude for the gifts in one’s life.  What a wonderful holiday, coupled with it’s beautiful and rich history.

But I also had tons of other thoughts in my head this week I thought could be interesting to write out here… in no particular order 🙂 …

First Thought –

How on earth would us women make it without men?!?  LOL  We were in a different place for the holidays, and although I’ve been there before many times, I still relied on my man to take me to the store for a quick trip to get an item I’d forgotten.  I knew I could probably find the grocery store… at some point (LOL), and teased him about this, that I could go and be back at some point in that day due to getting mixed up and turned around 😀 , but I sweetly asked him if he’d make it simpler and take me himself 😉 ❤  It turned out to be a nice short “get away” while our kids were entertained by their grandparents, and we flirted on the drive and in the store.

But seriously, it was this scenario that made me so grateful for my husband’s amazing ability to nearly always figure out where he is, even if he’s not especially familiar with a place or how it’s changed over the years.  A normally more male-trait to be sure.  And his tendency to find my lack of navigation skills still endearing after 11 1/2 years of marriage 😀 .

Second Thought –

It boggles my mind that Christians who take their faith seriously, would  boast in the sins they “got away,” with in their younger years.  I guess I don’t usually see this, usually Christians, the serious ones, are more humble, but I recently came across just sheer boasting of getting away with “grave sins,” when younger, enthusiastically adding, “AND it worked out!”  It’s probably right to feel repulsed by such an attitude, but perhaps the more appropriate response would be sorrow that they cannot see how awful that looks to boast about getting away with your sins.  Also… is it true that consequences are escaped in situations like that where “grave sins” were committed, or do people like this pay in other (unseen even to themselves) sorts of ways?  I think it’s the latter, and boasters of course, probably lie about their real life consequences – hence the boastfulness to cover for the insecurity that they are paying in other ways, they just aren’t honest and upfront about them.  Again, I’m not sure if I should feel more sad or repulsed.  Hmm….

Final Thought –

Back to thankfulness 🙂 I do believe gratitude and joy go hand in hand.  Even in whatever trial a person may be going through, having gratitude in that trial can still miraculously bring so much happiness and joy.  It is noteworthy to say that having gratitude means one is peacefully trusting in God’s goodness, no matter what we’re going through.

I saw Nancy Campbell recently wrote on trusting in the Lord, and receiving a double portion of happiness as a result, and I’ve heard and studied that before 🙂 .  It’s interesting that bitterness seems to me to be the opposite of understanding gratitude and the blessing that comes from being thankful.  Bitterness also shows we don’t understand fully how it is to trust and rely on God.

In that vein of thought, Suzanne Titkemeyer wrote a hilarious response piece to not only my recent post on virginity, but also to Nancy’s post on trusting in the Lord here.  Color me amazed that someone who regularly criticizes Lori Alexander and Nancy Campbell and the Pearls, has looked down and thought me worthy enough to pick apart also 😀  I’m actually honored to be up there and criticized with women like this.  But… one thing that stood out the most from the Patheos response article to Nancy’s post, was that it was dripping in bitterness over the Scripture that says the man who fills his quiver (having many children), is doubly blessed (receives a double portion of happiness).

Why the bitterness over the happiness many children bring?

I think I know the answer 😉

Email Questions… Virginity is a pile of horse manure?

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It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and really sifted through various emails from readers and fellow bloggers to answer some questions publicly, so sorry for the delay!  We’ve just been b-u-s-y, and that’s been good!  Lot’s of things going on that just take a lot of mental energy, and little time for finishing up posts in draft (or the topic has gotten stale… so some things that seemed a good idea get skipped).

One of the hardest questions I’ve received (for me to answer anyway) was about Lori Alexander’s post regarding men preferring to marry women who hadn’t had sex, had no tattoos, and no debt (especially college debt).

I liked her post, it echoed a few of mine where I touched on the same subjects of virginity and tattoos.  I did think about posting my thoughts agreeing with her, however coming on the heels of her extremely popular post, it just didn’t seem right at the time – coming from someone who met all those things myself when we married.  It would have been hard to write something like that without sounding like it was coming from a place of superiority, in other words.

Concerning Lori’s post, yes, I believe many men probably do prefer the ideal maybe theoretically, but the issue seems so complicated with how so many men choose to marry the exact opposite these days, it’s confusing to me.  What they are thinking, I’m not sure, but I do know that it’s still the norm for men to not necessarily value women who meet those 3 criteria, and seem to be very happy to marry outside them.  It’s very possible to me that marrying a woman who is a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free just isn’t important to them at all, because the opposite is so acceptable in our culture.

Many men hold those personal preferences and feelings deep inside, though, so perhaps her post is correct in that most men really do desire a woman with those traits, but due to our hedonistic culture that promotes having no morals and values, they settle for what they can get.  With us in our marriage, my husband has told me more than a few times in these 12 years that he knew I was different, and cherished me because I was innocent in those things.

I did read several articles bouncing off of Lori’s initial post, where different Christian female authors completely degraded the value of being a virgin.

To me that was beyond awful, and it made me think of my daughter and how these are the women writing the books that will be in Christian circles for years to come.  So the next generation of daughters will be growing up with Christian female leadership literally teaching them their virginity on their wedding night is nothing but a pile of horse manure.  This fact was so devastating to realize and to try to come to terms with, that our religious or Christian culture has fallen so far away from biblical truth, that this is what our leadership is espousing.  A lot of my staying silent was just trying to take in all that, and accept that this is where maybe the majority of Christians seem to stand.

From Christian author and blogger, Sheila Gregorie

“is it a good idea to wait until you’re married to have sex? Yes, it is. It’s certainly what God wants, but I believe He wants that for our good, not because He’s just making a rule.

That being said, 

virginity is not the be all and end all.

And, in fact, ultimately virginity means nothing.

It’s just a pile of horse manure.”

What a condemning (and self-damning) comment.

So as I was reading the responses and attitudes of the Christians I’m at least aware of, it took me aback to see how just pointing out those truths enrages women to the point of disgracing themselves in making anti-biblical public statements as Sheila and others have done.

So…  I think I stayed silent because I knew I had met all the criteria of being a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free, and it just felt so strange seeing all the different responses (both the positive and negative) and comparing them with what we experienced in our marriage.

Yes, me being debt-free when I married was a definite plus for my husband.  Having no tattoos was a visible symbol to him of my being so young when we married, and sheltered in a sense from corruption.  It also revealed to him my growing up with lovingly protective and honorable parents who prevented me from getting one, even after I was an adult.

But by far, my being a virgin for my husband was probably the single most crucial thing to our married life and how it impacted us for the good.  There’s even been recent studies showing how important a wife’s virginity (or low partner count) is for the health and happiness of her future marriage!  This is not to say that non-virgins can’t receive grace and forgiveness from Christ or go on to have good marriages and sex lives with their husbands.  But it is just undeniable how much better it was that I didn’t have a sexual history of encounters that loomed over us as we became one flesh and started a vibrant, unencumbered sex life.  I knew this right away when we started having sex, and knew that it was good that I didn’t have prior experiences affecting me differently.  Coming to the marriage bed with a clean slate paved the way for only good, positive and loving experiences, in other words.  And it felt so freeing.  It was intense sex without any guilt.

Out of the 3 preferences Lori listed, it seemed strange to me that the most important one was the most reviled in even our *Christian* culture!

Virginity used to be something so treasured and valued.  It was a beautiful gift a woman gave to her husband, and not only a gift, but as Sigma Frame recently pointed out (that I was not aware of in this manner), was an actual blood covenant that God designed to bind two people together in a deeply supernatural way.  No wonder how it’s proven over and over again in studies that women who marry as virgins tend to have happier marriages, or be much less likely to cheat on their husbands.  In my opinion, it’s becasue the bond is sooooo strong, and that coupled with the love, attraction, and sense of building a life together helps you survive later hard times, but that’s just my opinion.

In biblical times, virginity on the wedding night, as Lori’s post encouraged, was so treasured that the couple would purposefully consummate their marriage on white sheets so that they could take them out to show the family the next day.

A young bride’s purity and innocence sexually was celebrated and something that gave her honor – honor in her marriage privately, but also honor in their community publicly because she kept something sacred for her husband and for God.

Ironically, we live in a society that actively shames virgins (especially males), and instead of our Christian brothers and sisters coming to the defense of virginity and purity, we see their real thoughts on the issue.  That “ultimately virginity means nothing… it’s just a pile of horse manure.”  What a long way we’ve come from what was biblically lived out, honored, and celebrated.

Hopefully this kind of answers the reader’s question.  I’m not sure why I stayed silent except that I felt to say something when I actively met all 3 criteria would be viewed as looking down on the women who didn’t.  At the same time, the values should be defended and upheld when anyone (but especially Christian leaders) call our values “horse manure,” which is why I’m saying something now.

The next most interesting question was “What do you think of women being in ministries?

I’ll answer that another time since this post has gotten fairly long, but it is a very good and relevant question for our times.

Thank you for reading!  I’m curious to know what readers or other bloggers think about this issue… do men actually value women with those three traits as better options for a wife?  How does one explain the prevalence of married couples who didn’t meet (especially) the virginity preference?

 

 

Blessings in the Interruptions

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My husband snapped this picture in the morning before he left for a special assignment… said it was too cute to miss.  Recently, our beautiful girl has decided waking up VERY early is just the thing to do 😉 and I’ve been letting her stay up with me so I can continue with some time to read the Bible and pray.

What I would have considered an interruption has become such a beautiful blessing of extra time to cuddle with her and enjoy alone time with her.  I usually get her some chocolate milk, and coffee for myself, and sit back down where she stays quietly reading one of her books or her little Christmas story Bible (sooo cute!!!) and gives me another 30 minutes to an hour to read and pray.  Our boys were a little too rough and rowdy to have done this (and I tried LOL) so having a sweet, gentle girl is a nice change 😀 !  I love how different they are.

In the book, The Mission of Motherhood, this quote recently stood out,

“How do we make the commitment to give the area of motherhood over to God as a sacrifice of worship to him?

We yield our personal rights into his hands.  We give up our time and expectations to him – and also our fears and worries about how we will manage.  We trust him to take care of us and our family.  We let him redirect our thinking and expectations and adjust our dreams.  And we wait in faith to see the fruit of our hard labor in the lives of our children, knowing that he will be faithful to honor our commitment to him.”

I consider that early morning time – a time of peace and a rare stillness that falls over the house when everyone else is asleep – my time to replenish and really focus on God and His Word.  I can see how it could be called my “Me-Time,” or be something a friend would say I have a “right” to.  And I get it – having that time not go as I planned due to a fussy baby means mentally or emotionally giving up this “right.”

We’re all about “rights” as women in this day and age.  Whether it’s the “right” to some alone time, the “right” to some pampering, or even the “right” to complain (yes, I’ve heard this!), it seems we live a chronic state of feeling we deserve certain circumstances or treatment.  Since mothers usually do spend a lot of time serving, I think we have this expectation that we should receive a form of “payment” in return for all our efforts.  But that’s just it – a real sacrificial love doesn’t demand (or even expect) payment or retribution for things lost like time and energy.  Is alone time or being pampered inherently bad?  Of course not 🙂 but it can be if we view them as though they’re owed to us because we “sacrifice so much.”

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Loving our children in such a way that we try to re-frame these interruptions, or messes… or accidents… into opportunities for blessings or “divine appointments,” as Clarkson calls them, is such a dramatic difference in perspective.  I admit this is something I have to routinely call myself back to in keeping in focus.

*

“Greater love has no one than this,

that one lay down his life for his friends.”

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Clarkson goes on to describe God’s design for motherhood as comparable to what Jesus described in John 15:13.  Mother’s in many ways, are called to figuratively “lay down their lives” for their children.

This means that even when we don’t feel like it, we choose to “serve” them by getting up with them or helping them get back to sleep. ❤

It means that even when it’s the millionth time that week that we’re cleaning the kitchen floors because babies and toddlers eat so messy, that we choose to do it anyway.  ❤

It may mean SO many different changes and sacrifices made toward goals, careers, dreams, or life plans in ensuring they’re getting what they all need from us.

Something I’ve been thinking about, and something that has been brought to the forefront as we’ve had more children, is the “cost” of motherhood.  How deep is that cost I don’t know.  I’m sure it differs for each family, and certainly when considering how many children a mother has, but it is a topic very interesting to me when thinking about how much a woman gives up (yet also gains) when living out the role of a mother?

If anyone has any ideas on this topic I’d love to hear them!

Stephanie