Feeling Like We Live in a Barn!

This past few weeks have flown by so fast!  So much has happened and it’s felt like a whirlwind.  Between my husband achieving a huge goal he’s set his sights on for a few years ❤ and then going to one of our beloved Lieutenant’s retirement parties *tear*, and going to a Fourth of July wedding, and making a road trip to see family… it’s been a little crazy.

And… we’ve added two new furry members of our family!

On top of that, a few weeks ago a baby dove fell out of it’s nest and onto my husband’s car.  He luckily saw it before work, came back inside to tell me to get it, and we managed to take care of it for a few weeks until it could fly.  We’ve had over TWENTY animals come through our house, obviously almost 100% we’ve rehabilitated and found homes for… but this time I wondered “how do they find us?!?!”

My husband loves to tease me that I’m like some disney character who calls to the animals and they all come to her!  I swear I’m not doing this!!!!

It was so sweet hand-feeding a baby bird, having it practice flying to all of our heads 😀 and watching it grow up so much!  The boys named him “Walle,” from the robot movie LOL, and wow did he ever have a big, funny personality.

This past week we gave it to a Wildlife Rescue Center in our city where they introduced it to other birds and allowed it to fly in an aviary until it was able to be re-released.  White winged doves usually find a mate and stick with them for life, so hopefully our little Walle finds his lifetime partner. ❤

First picture above was when we first found him, he was mostly all pin-feathers!  He was SO tiny, and seemed very fragile.  Second picture is when he’s a little older and more fluffed out.

He loved to be close and cuddle with us!  Everything I read about these birds when we were figuring out how to care for him said that they belong in the wild and not with people, but he seemed to love living the life of domestication!  Honestly, it was so much fun taking care of him.  He was sweet, bossy, funny, and affectionate 🙂 just a very cute baby dove.

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The wedding we went to was very intimate and beautiful, we felt honored to be invited.  They are both on the more introverted side, and this sweet wedding was probably the most romantic wedding I’ve ever been to.

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Then we went on a short road trip to visit family and let the boys do fireworks at night.  I never thought I’d be one of those women who carry little dogs in their purse, but this was SO much fun lol!!

I carried them around in this over-sized purse as much as I could to get them used to it, and they really seemed to like it as they were able to be close and go everywhere I went.  It was so cute, too, definitely had to get some pictures!!!

They’re cute, even if they’re blurry lol!

It was a fun trip, and the boys got to do fireworks for the first time.

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It was so exciting!!!  I loved watching their dad and Grandpa teach them how to do this.

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The sparklers were the easiest.  Our toddler did try to grab the hot end after it went out, but Grandpa managed to catch his hand before the little one grabbed it.  He did barely swipe it though and had a little pain on one tip of his finger (thank God!), but no burn or anything serious.

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It was some serious fire-power though!

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The big ones were legit scary for me!!  My husband handled those by himself and they were amazing!

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My husband shooting one of the Roman Candles (I think?) into the sky.

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It’s been a fun few weeks!  We’ve had lots of things going on, lots of animals in and out it seems… kind of feeling like we live in a barn 🙂  And that’s ok.

Stephanie

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Do Men Sometimes Submit to their Wives like God Told Abraham to?

Frequent commenter, Richard P, has given a lot of strange biblical interpretations over the past few months at a site made for women who are trying to learn truth.  From claiming that menopausal women can’t control themselves due to their hormones (which leads them to divorce), to claiming older women shouldn’t be teaching younger women Scripture (going directly against Titus 2), to now finally claiming that sometimes husbands should submit to their wives… like Abraham did.

Here’s his actual quote, “Sometimes the guy submits. Like Abraham, when God told him to do what Sarah said.

It’s hard for me to see something like this and not try to at least point out how it’s being taken out of context.  At a casual glance, Richard P is right in a way, God did tell Abraham to listen to his wife and to do whatever she tells him to.  But it was only in a very specific moment when God knew Sarah’s advice lined up with His plan and that it would still prevail, and certainly not applicable to the topic of biblical submission when applied to the span of their marriage.  There were a few times where Sarah told Abraham to do something wrong that ended up in sin and complicating God’s plan.

RP is using a very specific example from Scripture when Abraham was incredibly emotional and distraught about needing to send Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, away because together they had each 1) disrespected and mistreated Sarah and 2) were caught mocking Isaac at a celebration for him, the son God promised His blessings would come through.  I’ve heard many pastors claim they were probably sent away for Isaac’s own safety and preservation, as they both had already shown treacherous attitudes toward Sarah and Isaac at different points in time.  It may have been like a “last straw,” moment for Sarah as Isaac’s mother, having to watch their malicious attitude and actions toward him.

Here is Matthew Henry’s Commentary on that verse for more insight:

“Ishmael’s conduct was persecution, being done in profane contempt of the covenant and promise, and with malice against Isaac. God takes notice of what children say and do in their play; and will reckon with them, if they say or do amiss, though their parents do not.

Mocking is a great sin, and very provoking to God. And the children of promise must expect to be mocked. Abraham was grieved that Ishmael should misbehave, and Sarah demand so severe a punishment.

But God showed him that Isaac must be the father of the promised Seed; therefore, send Ishmael away, lest he corrupt the manners, or try to take the rights of Isaac.

The covenant seed of Abraham must be a people by themselves, not mingled with those who were out of covenant: Sarah little thought of this; but God turned aright what she said.”

In any case, God reminded Abraham of the plan of the covenant coming through Isaac, and assured Abraham that it would be “ok,” to send them away, and also that He would take care of them.  Richard P, however, applies this one very peculiar example to all men in any amount of circumstances, saying matter of fact that, well, “sometimes the guy submits.”

Richard P then argued with me for calling it out as blaspheme, which in this case would be adding to God’s Word by saying God told Abraham to submit to Sarah –

@Stephanie: The verse gets kind of lost in the multiple verses that Larry G posted, so here it is by itself. And it is this verse to which I was referring.

“Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” Genesis 21:12 (English Standard Version)

Your response to me is why I throw this verse out there every once in a while. Folks know that Sarah called Abraham “Lord” – and use that as part of their submission meme. Unfortunately, your response to me is not all that uncommon. Many folks only know those parts of the Bible that support their meme – and either don’t know, or ignore, the other parts that might suggest that things are a bit more complicated than their favored meme might suggest.

And, for that reason, I find it useful to ask from time to time: What did God actually say? It is troubling how many people are taught their favorite meme’s and then go to the Bible to find those verses that support what they’ve been taught. The reality is that it should be the opposite. The Bible admonishes believers to take in the whole counsel of God – and then from that whole counsel can meme’s be derived. Unfortunately – too often the memes are derived first, and then supported by part of the counsel of God, but not the whole counsel of God.

I don’t want to hijack this thread, so I will stop after making this one more comment.

Another issue that exists alongside what I’ve discussed in the previous paragraphs is the meme that women are not to teach men. That is spoken in support of a favorite meme – but only by folks who have no idea of how learning actually takes place. Women teach men all of the time – because men watch what women do and say and learn from it all the time (yeah, the bad parts discussed in the manosphere – but also the good parts and the neutral parts). That is how learning occurs – for boys and girls and men and women. We all watch each other and listen to each other and learn. To say nothing of the fact that part of her being to him the help that God made her to be is teaching him things that she knows and he doesn’t. So – when Paul said he didn’t permit … the meaning is much more targeted and precise than is generally presented by those who think women shouldn’t teach men.

(Emphasis mine)

I pointed out to him that I was actually taking into account the other verses from all over the Bible – from the Old to the New Testament – that have to do with direct commands or examples of wives submitting to their husbands (or rebelling and suffering the consequences), and that his verse (in light of the rest of the Bible) was still clearly taken out of context (and does not even include the word “submit” like he was claiming).

In fact, the biblical verses on wives submitting to their husbands are recorded as commands several times in the New Testament in regard to how we are supposed to be living today.

Let’s look at where it says this command in the New Testament, specifically – 

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Colossians 3:18

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“(older women should teach younger women) to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”  Titus 2:5

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“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”1Peter 3:1-6

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“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:22

I’m not even including the myriad of examples where, through the context of the story or the biblical passage, it is clear that wives submitting to their husbands’ leadership brings about what God desired and intended for marriage.  Even the way the Proverb’s 31 woman’s relationship with her husband is shown – how his heart safely trusts in her, and that because of her, he will have no lack of gain, and how it says she will bring him good and not harm, all the days of her life – we can be sure he is the confident leader in his home, and doesn’t feel emasculated by his wife’s desire to control him or rebel against his leadership.

It’s ironic that what Richard P was accusing me of doing – using “one verse” to support my “meme” of submission (which I never did), was actually what he was doing using his literal quoting of only one verse (Genesis 21:12) and applying it to husbands in general (while ignoring all the other verses and examples in the Bible that prove otherwise God’s design for marriage).  Perhaps it was projection?  I’ll let the reader decide.

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This topic of submission has been a “hot controversial topic” for close to 200 years now.  It’s never been really popular to use the good examples from Scripture, and try to apply them to our modern day lives – in fact, it’s usually opposed.  And women (and I suppose some men like RP, like to find “loopholes”).

When I wrote on the subject of the Proverbs 31 woman, I saw how even Christian women tried to say I was being a Pharisee for pointing out how beautiful verse (15) is when it says she rises early to provide food for her family and servants!  Isn’t it amazing how even Christian women regularly rebel against the simplest of biblical points – like the Proverbs 31 woman waking up early to make breakfast!  And this was Elspeth we’re talking about, not someone openly in rebellion like Joyce Meyers.  Covert rebellion or snide mocking and attacking fellow believers as “Pharisees” for simply writing out the verses of Proverbs 31 as the ideal a woman should try to eventually attain, is just as bad as Joyce Meyers being a female Pastor, because it’s still promotes an ugly attitude of rebellion against God’s Word and toward Christian women who truly are trying to honor and follow it.

 

I’m curious to see what other people think about how Richard applied this one verse in general to men submitting to their wives? Keep in mind that Richard P stuck the word “submit,” in there, when it isn’t actually in the verse itself.  Is this representative of the other verses in the Bible regarding marriage, or is it something that only happened at a certain point in time and under circumstances where God decided His plan would prevail?

 

Marriage is an Opportunity for Comfort & Peace

The Brooklyn Duo is an awesome married couple who create heartfelt music with their piano and cello.  They apparently arrange and perform all of their duets in this fashion, in order to allow viewers to see them “live.”  I can’t seem to get enough of them!

This song above is actually from a children’s movie where the male love interest is trying to comfort the usually bubbly and happy-go-lucky female character, who finally became depressed after the hardships they went through.  He hates singing, and has his own issues with loss and depression (causing him to hate being around others and lose his “light”), but when he sees her finally affected, it moves him to sing.  Totally out of character for him, he sings to her to make her feel happiness again – just so sweet!

Here are the lyrics –

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
Its hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small
But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow
Show me a smile then
Don’t be unhappy, can’t remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there
And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow
If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there
And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors
True colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow
Songwriters: Billy Steinberg / Tom Kelly
True Colors lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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We’ve had moments like this in our marriage where the trials we were going through started to really bring me down.  I’m usually optimistic and don’t have a hard time feeling happy from day to day, but in times of great loss or sadness or even depression, it’s been so nice and romantic to be able to lean on my man for comfort, and have him react in this way.

In those times where he’s comforted me after heartache, I think to myself that this is why God created marriage.  So that men and women could find someone who could love and comfort them, and build something beautiful together – despite how hard life can be.

Marriage should be a place of peace and comfort, granted it can’t always feel that way.  But when two people work together, and genuinely care about how the other is feeling, the beauty of it helps me understand why God said,

“It is not good for man to be alone.”

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My husband has a tattoo of the three strand cord mentioned in Ecclesiastes 4:12, representing our marriage composed of God, him, and me.  The context of that verse is talking about how beneficial it is to have a partner in life –

Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor;  for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up.  

Again, if two lie down together, then they keep warm; but how can one be warm alone And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Amplified Bible

Anyway, just wanted to share this couple’s work.

And here is a sweet one they did with for their newborn last year!!  Oh my gosh!!!!!!

Hope you enjoy their music!

Has anyone had any times where they felt like their partner comforted them or encouraged them?  It could be the husband OR the wife – I’d love to hear other people’s stories.

Stephanie

Look Who Just Turned 1 Year Old!!!

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This past weekend was definitely a crazy one.  With Father’s Day and celebrating our little one’s first birthday, there was just A LOT to be happy and joyful about!!!  ❤

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I went to our local grocery bakery and found her the perfect little cake.  It was white cake with fresh strawberry creamed icing (soooo delicious since it was naturally flavored!).

My mom did the honor of creating this little spread for photographing it.

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She really upped the elegance with her table settings ❤

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Le sigh… will they let me eat it? ❤

And in other news… Baby Girl is pulling up and starting to walk a little when assisted!

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That concentrating face though 😀 ❤  Aww sweet little one!!!

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We also had the incredible opportunity to dedicate our daughter to God on Father’s Day (how cool is that?!?!)!

Ugh just so much love here!

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My husband took these pics before church started Sunday… it was a sweet, tender moment

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There were more than a few tears shed this past Sunday when I heard our pastor praying over my husband and blessing him as the good, godly father he is.

I know I’ve posted before how we’ve dedicated each of our children to the Lord, but this one happening to fall on Father’s Day was just extra sweet and special.  Again… I had tears!

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Can’t resist ONE more picture of this delicious cake!!

Hope your weekend was just as beautiful and splendid!

We’re over the moon with love ❤

Stephanie

Makeup for 50+

Wow this is so cool!  What you can find on the internet… 😀

This woman, in my opinion, is so beautiful and has aged really well.  Apparently she’s used to being on TV (we don’t watch TV so I’ve never seen or even heard of her show before) but she’s either had some minor “work” down like fillers and smoothing injections OR she truly just has really taken care of her skin.  I don’t know… but her skincare routine is on-point, so it’s possible her face is naturally this beautiful due to how she’s been taking care of it.

Either way… I think she looks incredible!

Just thought her makeup tricks were something to be bookmarked here at my blog for future reference.

Families & Freedom

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Babies babies babies!!!!!!!!!!!  I love seeing pictures like this where our whole family is present that we’ve built together.  It just makes it sink in the legacy that we’re leaving behind here in this world.  I’m a firm believer that our children are our legacy, and these are the people who will carry on our beliefs and morals and work to make the world a better place, even if it is in small ways.

I’ve been wanting to write an update about our life right now for awhile, but it always seems to be on the back burner.  We’re just on the cusp of summertime 😀  I may not be blogging as much just due to how much I try to get the kids outside to do activities in nature (or just plain old swimming).  But hopefully there will be some posts that crank out.  We’ll see 😉  ❤

I cannot wait for Summer to officially start!  Each year it seems I get so excited about it – just all the possibilities and opportunities to take the kids to go see things or do different things around our city!  I like to really treat it like a 2 1/2 month long vacation with them… I want them to have these memories for a lifetime where they look back and remember how much fun they had together in our family.

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But… this is Texas and it’s already getting hot hot hot!

The Texas heat just doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to bother other people.  Thankfully my husband is the same way.  Maybe we’re just used to it, or maybe we just spend so much time in the water that we don’t notice it as much, I don’t know, but I do know it wouldn’t be Texas + Summer without that brutal Texas heat.

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Happy Memorial weekend readers.  Reflecting on being in this gorgeous country, and treasuring the beauty of the countryside, I can never express how grateful I am that so many have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be free here.

For the sake of our children, we must keep on fighting this war against our freedom.  Because yes, they are our legacy.  And they are the only thing that matters going forward.

Stephanie

Relaxing in the Shade

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Ahhhhh… this was so relaxing.  I’m amazed how wonderful God’s creation is and how peaceful just being in your own backyard can be!  The only sound we heard this lazy afternoon was all the dozens of birds making their various calls in the trees.

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It’s a great feeling when all of your littles are relaxing at the same time.  It doesn’t happen for very long LOL… but it is nice when it does happen.

I made us all homemade blue coconut icies and it was the perfect drink for being out here!  This picnic blanket is super lightweight, water resistant, and I found it for only $10 at Wal-Mart.  It’s soft and beautifully patterned, too.  That along with our pillows and the icies – well, it doesn’t take much for us to feel like we’re living in luxury 😉

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Have a Happy Mother’s Day weekend readers!!!!  Enjoy it as much as you can!

Stephanie

A Hill Country Road Trip

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The past 2 months have flown by it seems!  As a family, we’ve just been crazy busy… first leading up to Easter, and then various family-administrative stuff, and now we’re getting ready for the end of the school year.  It’s been the kind of busy where although it’s fun, it’s also been a bit stressful.

I’ve also been running 3 miles a few mornings a week with my husband ❤ and then doing pretty heavy weights, so it’s been a little exhausting, in a happy-fun kind of way at least.

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Whenever I get like this, almost on the brink of “burn-out,” for some reason I feel a strong pull to take a drive in the areas nearby our city where I grew up in the hill country.  I miss it so much… sometimes living in the city makes me feel like a “stranger in a strange land,” lol.

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The craziness of the city and fast-paced lifestyle, seems to evaporate when we’re out there.  I had the sense this last Friday when I took the kids for a nice, day-long road trip get-away, that when seeing those hills and the spacious countryside, I could finally breathe.  I wish I was exaggerating 🙂 , but it’s true that when I left with the kids, we were all tired and a little stressed out.  But on the way back from spending hours out there, the atmosphere in our little caravan was the opposite – everyone was rested, refreshed and optimistic!

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It was simply a day to roam around the country, visit places I loved going to growing up, my old church ❤ , our little town’s main street with all the old buildings and adorable shops; we visited the restaurant I used to work at as a teenager ❤ … we got food and ice cream and traveled on into even deeper, more beautiful and rural countryside.

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This church below is our town’s Catholic church, built almost 100 years ago.

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The feelings and emotions of going back there, back to where I grew up and the places that surrounded me, were sublime.  I’m just so glad that we don’t live too far away where that isn’t possible.  My children get to experience all those things in a small way, and my older son really enjoyed talking to me about growing up out there.

He sat as my co-pilot, my little man!  And when he was gazing at the hills and eating his ice cream, the sense of peace he had was so tangible.

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I don’t wish I could go back 🙂 I LOVE our life right now.  But wow is it fun to take a walk down memory lane, tell them hilarious stories about the people of that town or things my brother and I did 😀 .

It’s nice to be able to go back.

 

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: You Will Grow into Your Feminine Beauty

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I am a major book worm.  In case you haven’t noticed that I’ve NEVER changed the cover of this blog in nearly 5 years!  Because books are life!  There is so much knowledge and wisdom and beauty to be found in other people’s thoughts, that I can never get enough of reading it seems.  I had a few favorite books growing up – but Jane Eyre is hands-down one of the most memorable ones, and one that I STILL cannot get enough of!  I loved Jane Eyre because I was (what I thought of anyway) an ugly-duckingly, and she gave me hope LOL!  Growing into my femininity and beauty has been a long journey for me, and one that I hope I’ll be able to help my daughter navigate well in the future.

We were out yesterday selling some clothes for extra cash and I found a little historic novel based on a true story about a young nurse, only 16 years old (!), who tended injured men during the Civil War.  She became known and loved among the men she tended to for her gentleness and kindness to them ❤ .  Many other girls who volunteered to help had actually run away once the war came to their area, but this one girl stayed and became remembered for her character.

I had planned to buy some earrings I found for a good deal to build up our daughter’s stock, but I put them back and decided to get them next time in lieu of this awesome book!  I told my husband, “it’s for her future ❤ 😀 !!!”  I want our daughter to understand that character is what makes a woman truly beautiful.  Outward beauty shows self-respect or graciousness to those around you, but who you are as a person is what people will fall in love with and want to be around.

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She is such a little beauty already – almost strikingly so, and her happiness and joyful laughter are SO endearing!  But I want to raise her to love good books!  I want her to enjoy knowledge, and to know and understand that true beauty comes from very deep within – from the soul of a person, and that it takes time to grow and flourish… and that it can be lost if not safe-guarded against bitterness throughout life.

And I want her to know that it’s a process of becoming.

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It doesn’t usually happen all at once – being truly beautiful inside and out – for most women.  In fact, I’m not sure “most” women achieve both inner and outer beauty to their fullest personal extent, at all sadly.

Just like outer beauty takes A LOT of hard work and diligence over time to achieve and then to also maintain.  Inner beauty takes even more work, discipline, diligence, perseverance and even then if you manage to achieve it, it is MUCH harder to keep over the course of different circumstances one will face in life.  It’s a constant process of correcting your own character flaws, and that takes a TON of self-reflection, introspection, and acknowledgement of your own failings.

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Hence why I think a lot of women (and men if you’re thinking about men in that way) don’t even try to maintain inner beauty, or they may try but then give up or give in to their natural states of ugliness… since human beings all have sin natures… and our sin natures make us VERY very ugly.  That and we constantly fail.  Success in this regard requires a lot of perseverance and endurance.

So becoming a beautiful woman over time is very hard.  The inner beauty work is very difficult, and since I’m Christian, I do believe there’s a spiritual aspect to this where knowing God, having his help to get through life’s difficulties, really TRUSTING Him with EVERYTHING in your life (all those ugly emotions feelings and such), is the best or most proven way to maintain a beautiful character throughout life.

Avoiding all the vices that come so naturally to us, and working hard to develop the virtues that come from the Holy Spirit – that takes constant coming back to God to prune and develop you – to grow you and break you.  It’s painful work – which is probably why so many avoid it!  He’s molding you into a reflection of Christ, but again, that all takes a lifetime to achieve, and one has to be really working out their salvation with fear and trembling in order to achieve it at all!

But sweet, sweet, joyful little girl, you will grow into your beauty and femininity, and your daddy and I will be there every step of the way to guide you in the way you should go.

Stephanie

 

 

Labor of Love – Painting!

So… my oldest has officially inspired me to start painting again.  I think it’s been… over 10 years since I’ve actually sat down and painted anything serious on an actual canvas.  Finger painting with toddlers – yes!  But actually sit down, sketch out a portrait and landscape, do all the colors and shading and back-painting a real painting requires?  Nope.

That actually changed today, and I sat down and painted a rather large sized canvas of my oldest (because he’s the one who has inspired me to paint again 😀 ) when he was about 2 years old.

This is what happened today:

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It just took the afternoon, and it’s going to be a gift to my sweet Mom… I had to keep stopping to tend to the kids and then to make dinner 🙂  but wow was it fun to paint again.

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I used to draw portraits in high school for fun… and then my friends started actually paying me to draw them.  I could never draw (or paint) faces of people, even though I tried a lot growing up… until finally something “clicked” when I was 17, and suddenly, it made sense in my brain and I was able to draw them.

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Honestly, this felt so relaxing and was so easy tonight.  I think I’m going to make it a point to paint more LOL.  I forgot how enjoyable it was…. 🙂

All the tiny little details, the millions of leaf prints and different shades of green and blues… it does take some time, but it is so worth it to make all the little leaves.

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Stephanie