A New Perspective on Mother’s Day -Christian families 100+ Years Down the Road

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Something I’ve been thinking about off and on for a few months is the long-term effect of Christian families, really generations, throughout time.  The picture above is of my kids and I at a river where my Great Great Grandparents would let their children play.

My Great Grandfather played there as a child, as well as his daughter (my Grandmother), and cousins, etc., and now our kids, over 100+ years later on, are doing the same thing.

We recently took a short trip to their small town to look around and engage in some sentimental pondering of what we know of who they were, what their lives were like, and wonder if they ever could have imagined how important their faith was to someone as far removed from their day-to-day lives as their great-great grand-daughter?

I wonder if they realized when they were doing it, the legacy of faith they were building?

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Their house built in 1852

This coming weekend is Mother’s Day weekend, and again, like every year now, I’ve seen the regular online articles claiming how awful Mother’s Day is because women are expected to still change diapers… the regular old complaining and whining and such.  I’ve written posts to counter those articles before, but I thought I’d take a widely different approach this year.

What if we looked at Motherhood through the lens of something we’re building that is eternally glorious?  What if we really saw for the first time, how important our “invisible,” efforts are in the lives of our children and even future generations to come?

My Great great-Grandparents were in my opinion, remarkably wonderful and kind people.  They came to the US as immigrants, him being already a doctor and his wife, a happy and capable homemaker.  They had 12 children, and raised them with a fiercely strong, passionate Christian faith.  They were good parents, as two of their sons made overt gestures when adults to dedicate a Christian monument in the town  (a giant crucifix to their, “loving parents,”) and to write a long, 20 page document detailing their parents’ characters and lives.  They were clearly people who their children liked, looked up to, and respected as fellow Christians.

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After my Great great grandfather died, my GG-grandmother turned their house into an inn.  We’ve read that artists and writers stayed there, and she lived out her last days very happily.

These were just not ordinary people… their Christian faith and the way they devoted their lives to living it out in their community, and with their children, inspires me to take our own efforts in how we raise our kids that much more seriously.  To know that their faith was a critical building block to who I am today, prompts me to pray for my own children’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and so on.  To pray continual blessings over them.  To pray hedges of protection around their lives.  To pray that they will be able to withstand life’s hardships and trials or testings, and still pass on the faith that was birthed in our family probably 100’s of years ago (we’re not sure when… we’d probably have to look for genealogy records in their old country).

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Their great-great-great grandchildren visiting their church!

Going back to see in person their house, their old church, to walk where they walked and see what they saw, it gives real meaning and understanding to all the verses where God promises that He will be faithful through generations of believers.  I always thought that only meant God is the same, from generation to generation, and I’m sure that is still what it means.  But I wonder if He also may have been reminding us that His promises and faithfulness proves true through literal familial generation to generation.

“And His mercy is for those who fear Him,

from generation to generation.”

Luke 1:50

I felt a strange sadness knowing that we didn’t get to, “know,” these relatives beyond what their children wrote about them (and how sweet that their children actually did!!!).  And just an overwhelming longing for the wisdom that my great-great Grandmother would have given me about parenting her 12 children – a feat she did successfully, or her advice on supporting one’s husband, or on building up a community that is 98% full of Christians making the town and surrounding areas better.  Thinking of her and her husband made me look at my husband and long to have 12 children with him like she managed, because he’s such a good and godly man, and our children already love him so much!

It’s sad how much wisdom from past ages is, “lost,” with time when it isn’t written down and preserved.  This is why I’m working together with  my own mother (who is their great-grand-daughter) on leaving a book for my own daughter and future female descendants, that will include much of the wisdom she passed down to me, which I felt was crucial to how I now live my life as a wife and mother.  It may end up not being appreciated, but I feel like to not even try to deliver this information to future generations would be wrong!

After all, God does tell us we should care about the future generations of Christians,

So even to old age and gray hair, O God,

do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your Might to another generation,

Your Power to all those to come.”

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“We will not hide them from their children,

but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord,

and His might, and the wonders that He has done.”

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Let this be recorded for a generation to come,

so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord

Psalm 71:18, Psalm 78:4, Psalm 102:18
***

But what if you didn’t have a mother who took her role seriously?  What if you had a mother who always complained, or made life in  your house generally miserable?

My grandmother (my mom’s mom) came from this wonderful, godly lineage, but she didn’t choose this path to be a joyful, happy mother.  Yes, she had great difficulties in life, but they are no excuse for how she chose to be chronically unhappy, complaining, and verbally abusive to her children and her husband.  She’s now left a legacy of warning, an example of what NOT to emulate, that my mom passed down to me (having grown up herself in a house with a mother like that).  So I very much understand from a personal viewpoint, how this kind of mother, even if she does have reason to be upset or complaining or whining all the time (chronically unhappy), she still should make it priority number one to NOT allow herself to act on those feelings.  Acting on those feelings are tantamount to ruining her legacy, and harming her husband and children.

Even though my grandmother came from this very same family, she didn’t truly have a relationship with God until she was on her death bed when she finally accepted Christ as her savior, that’s how stubborn and bitter she was about life.  She literally lived almost an entire life wasted, and never had a good relationship with her daughter (my mom).

Even if I’m the only voice saying this out there (I’m sure I’m not, thankfully), I’m going to say it:

Don’t allow momentary afflictions to destroy

what you’re trying to build

that may last for centuries,

because YOU chose to be an unjoyful, unhappy mother.

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It’s true what us mothers are building is hard work.  We’re supposed to be helping children grow into adults who honor God with their entire life and being, in a world that wants very much to destroy everything Christianity stands for.

It’s true that our work goes largely unnoticed, in the crevices of unseen life.  I have to admit, raising children is sometimes heart-breaking work as you feel they constantly don’t, “appreciate,” you as their mother.  But the fact that it can last for generations, or that one woman can turn it back around like my mother did to redeem a family’s lost legacy, brings hope.

The Invisible Woman by Nicole Johnson –

“It started to happen gradually. I would walk into a room and say something and no one would notice. I would say, “Turn the TV down, please.” And nothing would happen. So I would get louder, “TURN THE TV DOWN PLEASE!” Finally, I would have to go over and turn the TV down myself.

And then I started to notice it elsewhere. My husband and I had been at a party for about three hours and I was ready to go. I looked over and he was talking to a friend from work and I walked over and…he kept right on talking. He didn’t even turn toward me.

That’s when I started to put it together…. He can’t see me! I’m invisible!

I’m Invisible!

Then I started to notice it more and more. I would walk my son to school and his teacher would say, “Jake, who’s that with you?” And my son would say, “Nobody.” Granted, he’s just five…but NOBODY?

One night a group of us gathered and we were celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just taken this fabulous trip and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed and I was sitting there looking around at the other women at the table. I’d put my makeup on in the car on the way there, I had on an old dress because it the only thing clean, and I had my unwashed hair pulled up in a banana clip and I was feeling pretty darn pathetic. And then Janice turned to me and she said, “I brought you this.”   It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. And then I read her inscription: “With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

You can’t name the names of the people who built the great cathedrals. Over and over again, looking at these mammoth works, you scan down to find the names and it says builder unknown. They completed things not knowing that anyone would notice. There’s a story about one of the builders who was carving a tiny bird inside a beam that would be covered over by a roof. And someone came up to him and said, “Why are you spending so much time on something no one will ever see?”

It’s reported that the builder replied, “Because God sees.”  They trusted that God saw everything.

They gave their whole lives for a work, a mammoth work, they would never see finished. They showed up day after day. Some of these cathedrals took over a 100 years to build. That was more than one working man’s lifetime. Day after day. And they made personal sacrifices for no credit. Showing up at a job they would never see finished for a building their name would never be on.

One writer even goes so far as to say, “No great cathedrals will ever be built again because so few people are willing to sacrifice to that degree.”  I closed the book and it was as if I heard God say, “I see you. You are not invisible to me. No sacrifice is too small for me to notice. I see every cupcake baked, every sequin sewn on and I smile over every one. I see every tear of disappointment when things don’t go the way you want them to go. But remember, you are building a great cathedral. It will not be finished in your lifetime. And sadly, you will never get to live there. But if you build it well, I will.”

At times, my invisibility has felt like an affliction to me, but it not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my own pride.

It’s okay that they don’t see. It’s okay that they don’t know.

I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college, “You’re not going to believe what my mom does. She gets up at four in the morning and she bakes pies and hand bastes the turkey and she presses all the linens.” Even if I do all those things, I don’t want him to say that. I want him to want to come home. And secondly, I want him to say to his friend, “You’re gonna love it there.”  It’s okay that they don’t see. We don’t work for them. We work for Him. We sacrifice for Him. They will never see. Not if we do it right, not if we do it well.   Let’s pray that our work will stand as a monument to an even Greater God.

❤️

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Things I Want My Daughter to Know: God’s Word Revives Us Daily

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We’ve been in such a busy season recently, that I’ve again come to be so grateful for having an established morning quiet time reading God’s Word and connecting to His grace.  We still have a very packed schedule, even though with homeschooling there is lots of relaxing time and outside, unstructured play… if I had to pinpoint it, the most strenuous part of our day is our workout routine (lol).  Yesterday my husband and I ran 6 miles (!!!), so I’m not kidding when I say it is intense and somewhat brutal.  So I need the peace and replenishment of morning quiet time ❤

There is something so strange and powerful that I feel when I make these morning quiet times a priority in my life.  I was reflecting as I was reading yesterday morning, yet again with our little daughter up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed sitting right next me reading along with her baby Bible book as well, just how wonderful it is to do this practice.

I came across Psalm 19 –

“The instruction from the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul;

the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,

making the inexperienced wise.

The precepts of the Lord are right,

making the heart glad;

the commandment of the Lord is radiant,

making the eyes light up.

The fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever;

the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous.

They are more desirable than gold;

and sweeter than honey -than honey dripping from the comb.

In addition, Your servant (me) is warned by them;

there is great reward in keeping them.”  Psalm 19:7-11 CSB

No wonder I’m a forever optimist!!! 😀  Look at what happens to a person when they make the time to read God’s Word with an open heart and understanding in the morning!

Let me break down all those words again in a list.  God’s Word is:

  • Perfect
  • Trustworthy
  • Right
  • Radiant
  • Pure
  • Reliable
  • Righteous
  • Rewarding

And here is how we are told it effects us when we read it:

  • Revives our soul
  • Makes us wise
  • Makes the heart glad!
  • Makes the eyes light up!
  • Gives us good warnings
  • Gives us reward in keeping His ways

Wow, right!?!?!  That is what I feel though when I make time in the morning.  I can testify that all these things talked about in Psalm 19 are true; it’s why I’ve tried to always guard this time, even when we have babies still not sleeping through the night.  It’s almost crucial to my mental strength, as you can see, His Word has the power to renew one’s faith and optimism, and it renews daily!

And… can I just say… these are MORNING words in my opinion 🙂 .  “Reviving the soul,” and, “making the heart glad,” and “making the eyes light up,” these really do sound like a daily morning renewal before one tackles their day.

And what better time to get your replenishment and renewal of faith and optimism, “making your heart glad,” and your “eyes light up,” than in the morning? 😀  It’s like your spiritual cup of coffee (jk… but seriously), just like I couldn’t imagine going without that stimulant in my morning routine, I know how I feel when I bypass this practice because I’ve slept in (been lazy) or just too busy to make the time for it (refusing to meet with God even though I could have).

All this is not to say that you can’t also read it at night and feel relief after a terrible day – that is true also – but I’ve found it to be better to do what Jesus did, and get up early in the morning to devote the first fruits of your day to Him.  But God’s Word is powerful and can’t be “boxed,” in, hence why I believe this is also true when one reads it at night.  David has many Psalms where he meditated on God’s Word in the morning AND at night, but here is main morning one that convicts me,

IN THE MORNING, oh Lord,

You hear my voice;

IN THE MORNING,

I lay my requests before You, and wait in expectation.”

Psalm 5:3

Here is what I wrote in an older post on this topic… it’s interesting to look back and see what I was describing to be found so clear in this passage of Psalm 19, again confirming what I was trying to say.  From here

Rising Early … with babies?

Throughout the years of our marriage, even with having multiple children – babies nursing at all times of the night, I still find that waking up early (5am or 5:30am) to spend that quiet time with God is so crucial to my faith longterm – and it impacts my entire day!  I’m just not the same without it.  He literally changes my perspective and helps me deal with the day ahead with a much better attitude.  I’m definitely not perfect or always want to follow through with this goal.  There are some times when I’m not able to get up early, but I do notice a difference in my heart and attitude if I miss a couple of days in a row.  I need God all day, but especially in the early mornings before anyone else has woken up, so that I can spend time alone with Him and reading and studying His Word.

There’s also the principle of giving God your “first fruits.”  For anyone who has ever seriously studied the Bible, it’s apparent that God wants our best – and yes, that usually means we are required to sacrifice in order to give it to Him.  He wants our “first fruits.”

The first 10% of your pay (the normal tithe), the firstborn of your children (an Old Testament Jewish custom), the first day of the week devoted to Him (the Sabbath), even the first of the people’s grain (their food) was to be given to the Lord – before they were allowed to harvest anything for themselves!  It makes total sense that a woman’s early morning time should probably be first devoted to God, no matter when she wakes up. 🙂

In fact, Jesus Himself spent time alone with His Father early in the morning.  There’s something just very mysterious about that early morning time that even I can’t put my finger on.

 “AND IN THE MORNING, rising up a great while before the day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” — MARK 1:35

Happy Baby Girl

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All of us were sick a week ago, and we were just getting better this week.  I’ve actually never had all three children get THIS sick with a stomach bug all at the same time.  I had to set up the living room so they were all sleeping in easily accessible places so I could get to them in time.  Every 20 minutes one of them would start vomiting, and this went on for about 5 hours, so I just stayed out there with them, trying to sleep in between those 20 minutes.  Just seeing little ones throwing up and their whole little bodies being so sick and in so much pain was horrible.  Thank goodness it only lasted that one night, and then it was easy to care for them the next few days as they were so weak and exhausted.

It was crazy hard, and yet very sweet and bonding in unexpected ways. ❤

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We’ve been finding out that homeschooling is not a very glamorous production 😀 , teaching and school work and projects get done, learning gets done thankfully, but at least for us at this time, it’s priority number one.  This is a nice way of saying the rest of the house gets tentatively put on hold at times, until I can get to it, which is very frustrating for me.  Laundry is clean, but needs to be folded and put away.  Or dishes need to be done, those kind of things are looking to go a little by the wayside at times these days.

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Hopefully I can find more balance to teaching and getting housework done, soon.  But oh how the garden is calling 😀 and Spring is coming!!!!  We are definitely going to be doing mostly outdoor classes once the weather gets warmer.  The days already look just like Spring sometimes 🙂 and our kids love being outside.

 

So… while the kids were over their sickness (and we were getting it and getting over it) right about the time the lunar eclipse happened earlier this week, and with homeschooling, something like this is a MUST, nevermind me still being a little sick… it was totally worth it!

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We didn’t let our oldest stay up for all of it of course, but we let him stay up to see the beginning of the eclipse and to try to get some pictures.  I showed him how to take moon pictures, which can be tricky 🙂

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You can really see the eclipse starting… when we first went outside, we could see the entire full moon!  This was just so much fun to do with our son!

We’re all feeling better now, and so excited for sunnier weather 😀

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Thanks for reading ❤

Stephanie

Not Quite Ready to Be Back Yet!

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We’ve been back for a little while, getting ready for the new school year.  I’m a little sad to be back in a way!!  Being out at the lake was so relaxing and just a dramatic break away from city life and noise and stress-stuff around us.

The beauty was breathtaking, and it was nice being surrounded by it day and night.

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We were camping in an RV though, so take that as you may 😀  Camping with toddlers and babies is a lot of work, even with the ease of living in an RV!  But it was a great experience and everyone had a lot of fun.  Lots of campout foods and s’mores every single night around a glowing campfire!!  What’s not to love about stuff like that?!?

One of the things I appreciated the most was getting to see the sunsets with our kids!  This may sound nuts, but as a mom with little ones who go to bed at a decent bedtime, we rarely ever get to see a sunset!!  LOL  So we were mesmerized by them… each night!

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This picture below has no filter!  The sky actually looked like this as the sun was setting!

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There’s just something about water and being next to it that gets to me.  I loved watching our kids play out there and soaked up every moment of it.

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It always strengthens my faith, too, when seeing beauty like this.  It was like living inside a painting… just surreal at times.

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Love!

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I usually would wake up super early before everyone else so I could get coffee going and try to spend some alone time reading the Bible.  The early mornings felt so fresh and glorious, it’s hard to describe just how “alive” everything all felt out there in the wilderness.

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We also explored the surrounding little country towns, we adventured through their libraries and playgrounds and parks.

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I could almost picture hobbits sitting here!

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The higher up views of the lake from on top of a hill were just incredible!  Our oldest son helped me take these pictures.

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One thing I absolutely loved was getting to indulge in “vacation foods” like lots of bacon and fluffy pancakes for breakfasts. I liked cooking things like that every morning in the RV and eating together before we headed out for the day at the lake.

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We had a couple of adventures that were pre-planned like going to a ranch for rescued or retired horses, and then seeing a history museum in a near-by country town.  Things like that are either really cheap, or even free (like the horse ranch).

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Our kids unfortunately haven’t ever been around horses, this fact actually surprised me since I grew up around cows and horses that our neighbors had.  So it was great getting to see them take in how magnificent and strong these beautiful animals are.  And since many of them were older and retired (some military horses and even one race horse!) they were calmer and seemed easy-going.

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We brought cut up carrots to feed them as treats.

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It was sweet ❤

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I think this picture was cute the way they were all poking their heads out to greet us 😀

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And then we saw dinosaurs!!!

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I wore a light cotton sundress, and thank goodness because it was SUPER hot out there!

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But with the life-sized dinosaurs on the loose in the park, these two decided to stay inside the wagon LOL

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They also got to dig for dinosaur bones.  Just really awesome stuff!

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It was hot, but well worth it!  I mean to be a kid and play like you’re really digging out dinosaur bones 😀 they really enjoyed this place!

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And little sister (kind of) tried to help 😉 LOL

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And the museum was really cool, too!

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I think my favorite part was the campfires at night and making the s’mores!

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And…. we celebrated our 11 YEAR ANNIVERSARY out there!!!!!!  We put lights up around the picnic table and eating area, it was all so very romantic, although probably not in the conventional way of thinking lol, but we had fun!

In the day, this was part of our view…

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But at night, the lights sparkled different colors!

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The fire itself was just so beautiful.  And nothing beats tasty campfire s’mores!

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I am very excited for fall, and to start up the school year, but it IS sad how fast the summer flew by.  I’m ready for the change of the seasons, but I wish time would just slow. down. at least a little!

Thank you for reading & I hope everyone else had a good end to their summer.

Stephanie

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

Adventure into Beauty

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We went on an adventure yesterday… and found a beautiful place to fall in love with.  The beauty and serenity of this place was breathtaking.

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We’re big nature lovers.  Even when we were just dating 12 years ago, my husband and I loved going for hikes and seeking out new outdoorsey adventures to embark on together.

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And now these little ones get to do that!  I have to add… this wagon is a GREAT investment for little ones who can’t walk yet or just get tired and need to sit awhile.  We’ve been having so much fun taking it everywhere.

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It’s like a little baby bus or something… just too cute!

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More baby bus… 😀

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She knows she’s emptying out that bottle upside down!!! LOL

We got to see lots of wildlife yesterday.

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We even got our ducks in a row.

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1… 2… 3…   ❤

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But again, it was just so breathtakingly beautiful.

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I think I’m going to have some of these photographs blown up and printed out for our oldest’s room.  He really loved taking it all in.

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A family of ducks learning to fish.

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So serene.

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We packed our lunches and snacks so we were actually able to picnic there.

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Well… this one picnic’d right inside her baby bus!  LOL

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Pretty little lady. ❤

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Overall it was a great adventure.

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I’m sure we’ll be back again.

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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.

 

Skincare – To Not Wear Makeup

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ZERO Makeup!!!

I don’t do very many posts on skincare, at least… not as many as I wish I could find the time to do.  There’s so many do-it-yourself ideas I’ve seen over the years that would be great to write about… especially for teen girls to start doing.  I think of beauty – a woman’s beauty – as her being a good steward over her countenance (face and the spirit of joy behind her face that shines forth), and her “crowning glory” as the Bible calls it – her hair!

“Doesn’t nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? 

For long hair is given to her as a covering.”

1 Cor. 11:15

I do think beauty is important – whether married or single, beauty is something I believe every woman has a deep deep desire to give or bring to the world. ❤

And with skincare, to me the goal should be making your skin look so healthy, that you don’t hardly need makeup at all.  Obviously I’m totally ok with makeup – I wear it almost everyday.  But lately, after using only 3 new products I’ve tried out this past month I wrote about here, I’ve actually been forgetting to put any makeup on at all!  I almost can’t tell the difference when seeing my face as to whether or not I have my foundation and concealer on, and so I just forget!

This NEVER used to happen to me!  I always felt like I had to wear my makeup, almost as part of the grooming process before being “presentable.”  So this… feeling good enough in my skin to the point where I totally forget to even put it on – I’m either getting early Alzheimer’s or my skin is looking A LOT better.

Hopefully, it’s the latter LOL 😉

The picture above is without makeup.  My skin is nice and even-toned now, it even feels so much smoother than it did just a month earlier before using these products.  My little pores have shrunk down.  My skin is baby soft again.

Side note–this isn’t a product review per say, and I’m not getting compensated to say these things LOL.  I just thought I’d do an update on them though to let y’all know that wow, these 3 simple products really do work.

So go back and read what I’m using here.

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And since it’s almost the end of the week… I thought it’d be fun to do a questionnaire thing! 🙂

  1. What is your favorite color?  Pink, the shade of ballet shoes.
  2. What are your favorite hobbies?  Dancing, playing with my babies, doing anything together with my husband, exercising, cooking, cleaning (yes – I’m OCD so it’s actually “fun” to me), painting, writing, being in nature, and especially gardening!
  3. Extrovert or Introvert?  Extrovert 100% !! And an optimist.  This combination tends to be annoying to some people 😀
  4. Meyer’s Briggs Type?  I always get the “ENFJ-A” (Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Judging Assertive) or the ENTJ-A (Thinking instead of Feeling).  I’m not sure why it changes over the years, but it does.  Most bloggers seem to be introverts, so it’s interesting to me that I’ve blogged for so long and yet am an extrovert.
  5. What is annoying you right now?  Wearing my horrible braces – but I’m almost done in a few more months!!  They hurt!!  It’s been just over a year since I had to get them, but again… almost done!  They even change the way my mouth looks lol!
  6. What’s a daily habit you can’t live without?  Um… lots of things.  Probably my morning quiet time reading the Bible and talking with God is the first thing.  But then also writing in a journal (a planner/journal).  I actually go back and re-read prior years’ journals to see how God’s gotten me through rough patches and things.
  7. What defines you in your life?  I always wanted to grow up to be a woman who had a beautiful family and had a garden.  A couple of years ago I realized that I’m actually living this, so I wrote it down in my journal as something I’m thankful for.
  8. What do you consider yourself?  Texan.  😀
  9. Parents married or divorced? Married 40 years!!
  10. How many kids do you have?  3 right now
  11. Do you want more kids? My husband wants us to stop at 4 🙂  For me… I could literally keep on making babies with him until we had 20 or something.  I hate pregnancy and being pregnant, but I love carrying his babies inside me and knowing we’re growing our family.  I never knew it would feel this joyful.
  12. Length of marriage? 10 1/2 years ❤
  13. Schooling/education or training?  Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with just one year short of a double major in Chemistry
  14. What kind of student were you growing up and in college?  Sometimes straight A’s, sometimes a few B’s.  I ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude and that was after giving birth my senior year, which was hard.  I remember being a little disappointed I missed Cum Laude (the higher honors), but considering I was a married student with a baby lol, I was ok.
  15. Favorite thing you own?  My socks.  lol  Seriously though!!  I find a ton of value in the little things like that!

 

Back to skincare… what do y’all use that you feel has really helped your face brighten up or become softer or smoother?  I’m actually amazed that retinol is working this well for me.

Stephanie

Don’t Ruin Your Husband’s Love Toward You

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Painting by Tate 1863 – Part of a 3 piece composition dedicated to a “Woman’s Mission.”  This painting was to depict a loving wife being her husband’s companion, titled, “Companion of Man.”  It was said that the woman in the paintings strongly resembled the artist’s own wife.  He honored her so much, and was so grateful for her companionship, that she became his artistic inspiration.

You may think I sound dramatic in the title of this post.  I wish it weren’t true.  I wish that humans really could love each other easily, endure each other’s faults effortlessly, but I’ve found the reality of how we treat others is reflected back in how they end up treating us.  Grace or not, Christian or not, I believe God often allows us to reap what we have sown into the hearts of others – our friends, our family members, our children, but especially our husbands.

It’s not usually talked about in our culture, especially in regard to how women treat their husbands.  But the fact and spiritual principle of reaping and sowing, affects everything we do and everyone around us – whether we want to admit to it or not.

Think about this first painting.  How the artist was said to have used his own wife as the model and inspiration for his creations, because she fulfilled his deepest needs emotionally, and therefore inspired his love to greater depths than we normally see in average marriages.

Our society pretends that women won’t reap what they sow (even people in general to a larger extent).  This overwhelming problem is why I believe we’re having so much trouble with people not taking responsibility for their actions.  Acting (really manipulating others) through pretending to be victims, has become almost like the modern-day Westerner’s hobby!

Here is an excerpt (below) from one of my favorite books on a woman’s role in a godly marriage.  It reflects on how a wife can harm her husband’s ability to love her so terribly, that it almost becomes impossible for him to feel the same feelings toward her as he once did.  Keep in mind this doesn’t usually happen within the first 10 years or so of marriage. I think it happens after a couple or more decades… it’s a slow husband-love killer.

And I think we’d be wise to have a healthy fear of this.  If we love our husbands, we must take into effect that this could be possible if we continue in sin against him, always believing that tomorrow is another chance, and yet never taking the measures to truly change for good.

Here is the story of Leo Tolstoy and his wife….

When a wife constantly pushes or nettles her husband, it is like the bite of a poisonous snake and can cause the destruction of a could-be holy marriage.  One of the most tragic cases in history is that of the Russian novelist, Count Leo Tolstoi and his wife.

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In the beginning of their marriage, Tolstoi and his wife were so blissfully happy that, kneeling together they prayed to God to continue the ecstasy that was theirs.

Tolstoi is one of the most famous novelists of all time.  Two of his masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are considered literary treasures.  He was so admired by his people that they followed him around day and night and took down in shorthand every word he uttered.

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Although he was a man of wealth and fame, after studying the teachings of Jesus, he gave away his property, worked in the fields chopping wood, and pitching hay, made his own shoes, ate out of a wooden bowl, and tried to love his enemies.  He gave away the publishing rights to his books and had the courage of his convictions to live a life he believed in.

But his wife never accepted him or his simple philosophy of life.  She loved luxury and he despised it.  She craved fame and the esteem of society, but these things meant nothing to him.  She longed for money and riches, but he thought these things a sin.  For years she made every effort to change him and his views.  She screamed at him because he insisted on giving away the publishing right to his books.  When he opposed her she threw herself into fits of hysteria, threatening to kill herself or jump down the well.

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After 48 years, this man who had adored his wife when he married her could hardly bear the sight of her.  And one of the most tragic scenes as when Countess Tolstoi, heartbroken and old and starving for affection would kneel at her husband’s feet and beg him to read aloud the exquisite love passages that he had written about her in his diary fifty years previously.  And as he read of those beautiful happy days that were now gone forever, both of them wept.

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His dying request was that she should not be permitted to come into his presence.

Wow!  I mean wow, right?!  His dying request was that she should not be allowed to be in his presence?!  They had such a perfect, blissfully happy prospect of marriage in their early days, and yet her decision to buck his convictions (which I think are beautiful and so touching he wanted to follow Jesus in that manner – how noble!), and had utterly no reverence for his deepest longings and convictions!   I think after decades of mistreatment, it makes sense logically that a wife will eventually reap what she’s sowing into the heart of her husband (or her children, friends, even enemies… it goes on and on with human behavior).  At the end of her life, she tried to make herself out to be a victim of his gruff behavior he had toward her in his old age.  But only people who were aware of how she secretly behaved toward him, truly understood she had caused his gruff behavior and grouchiness.

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Sophiya Tolstoi (his wife & children)

When I was in a marriage group some time ago, I would see women like Tolstoi’s wife come in fairly often – already usually a couple of decades into their marriage – and be desperately pleading with us on how they can turn everything around, all the while admitting that they’ve been treating their husbands horribly for the past few decades.  What motivated them to come to someone who could help them have a happier marriage?  Usually he had finally had enough, or reached some kind of “breaking point,” and he wanted out.  Or he had found another woman who treated him kind again – who admired him and loved him more than his wife seemed capable of.

It was usually apparent that it was already too late, but it was very interesting to watch these women go through psychological changes of first being extremely repentant and humbling themselves, eager to learn and read and practice trying to honor and respect him.  I often had such great hopes for them that they were truly changing in their hearts.  But when it didn’t work (and often times the husband wouldn’t believe their change was real or genuine), they would turn angry, they would get bitter, and then become very resentful even toward us as they believed our advice for happy marriages wasn’t true.

They would become indignant that their husbands’ didn’t accept their changes.  I would see these women start suddenly claiming that their husbands had really “emotionally abused them,” all this time, and that their (the wife’s) sin was in submitting to them too much.  Then they’d often blame sites like mine in creating women who submitted too much!  It was… like I said… very interesting to watch psychologically.  I talked about that here in this post a little.

Again, though, like in the Tolstoi example, this sort of behavior is actually tantamount to abusive in my opinion, toward the husband.  It falls under the “Borderline” or “Cluster B” disorders, which are extremely hard to fix, never-mind how hard it would be to live with someone with those psychological disorders.  A wife like this will usually never be able to admit she was verbally or emotionally abusive for years, until it’s almost too late, but it’s interesting how quick they are to act like they were the victim of emotional abuse, when just a few months before, they were admitting (finally) that they treated their husbands so terribly that they couldn’t believe he put up with it for so long!

If you’re a young wife reading this, I do think it’s good to have a healthy fear of ruining your marriage or your husband’s ability to love you in this way. 

I don’t think it’s healthy to have this idea that no matter how bad you mess up, no matter how many fights you start, or the terrible words you say to him, that it’s going to not have a devastating affect on him as a person longterm.  Men feel so deeply – especially when it comes to their wives’ opinions and treatment of them.  It would be like a husband abusing his wife for decades, and then expecting it not to have a diminishing effect on her ability to love him.

Can God redeem marriages like this?  I believe He can do anything.  But it’s not the norm that these marriages are ever fully repaired, so it’s best if you don’t ever fall into this pattern, as it all could have been so easily avoidable from the beginning.

And if anything, please remember Leo Tolstoi’s bitter marriage, and be on guard against women like his wife who suddenly tried to twist the truth in the end, in an effort to destroy her husband’s legacy and reputation.

Stephanie

 

Excerpt from Fascinating Womanhood