Parenting – Teaching Your Children to Use Their Gifts

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Our oldest is just amazing.  I know I’m his mom and so of course I’m biased… but oh my gosh, God has blessed him with many talents and gifts!  He’s kind… he’s gentle… he’s a strong leader and he’s only 7 years old!!!!!  Watching him is so inspiring to me to be a better mom – to be the mom he truly deserves in life (and yes, I feel like I fail constantly)!  We all deal with some amount of “Mom Guilt.”

Anyway… his school was having a city-wide art competition, and right away I was like, “You have to do this.”  He doesn’t believe in himself, just like I was growing up and still have issues with at times.  But his raw talent and gifts can’t just be shut up inside him and never used or developed!

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This is something I wish I had learned earlier in life myself – that my gifts, whatever they were, were supposed to be used and practiced and developed and strengthened!  It’s nice to have people loyally on your side, watching you with a gracious intent, gently encouraging you to use your gifts, but usually none of us really have people like that around, so we develop self-consciousnesses or neurotic beliefs that we’re always wrong or not very good.

And I see them reflected in my son.  His self-doubt, his belief that he’s actually NOT a good artist, or that he’s not funny, and not that smart (when he makes All A’s and B’s and excels in things like math!!).  It’s weird to me how we can have such a distorted view of ourselves when in reality, we are given so much more than we see.  This is what I imagine Paul was referring to when he was encouraging Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because he was young, but to set an example for other believers and to USE his gifts, and practice them and develop them.

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Practice.

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Develop

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It took him 3 days doing it a few hours at a time, and I had to keep reminding him that he probably wanted to work on it or it wouldn’t be finished in time for the contest, and he did want to finish it.  The more he painted, the more he enjoyed it, too!  As he and our other children grow older, I’m not going to be harping on them as much so that they can learn that if they don’t hustle and do their work on time – or be consistent in it – they will miss MANY opportunities in life and some that they won’t get a second chance at.

 

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But for now, I’m like the woman Jesus talked about who kept pestering a man to do what she wanted 😀  I will encourage him, remind him, love him, prod him, and “train him up in the way he should go,” according to his gifts I’ve seen God has given to him.

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His art teacher came up to me with excitement yesterday when I picked him up from school, and told me with wide eyes that he had placed in the competition… out of THOUSANDS of other kids who entered all over our city!  He won his school somewhere between $1,000-3,000 in art supplies!!!  Of course we were so proud of him!!!

And I asked him in the car when we were driving back home, if he was glad that I pushed him to enter… because he never would have known if he could win if he hadn’t even tried.

I explained to him again that when God gives us special gifts like that, He expects us to USE them for Him, and that others are BLESSED through our gifts – but only if we have enough confidence in ourselves to decide to step out in faith act.  We are also blessed when we bless others!  As he found out when he won that much money for his art teacher!  It’s a blessing to be able to bless other people!

He’s heard about the parable of the talents, but it will probably be a deeper lesson saved for when he is a little older – that if we don’t use our gifts, that God may decide to take them away.  I know it sounds harsh, but we are stewards of the things God has given us, and that includes our giftings and talents.

May we all learn to be more confident in the gifts God has given us, and to use them, practice them, develop and strengthen them for His glory.

Stephanie

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Sarah – She Did What Was Good & Did Not Give Way to Fear

I’m starting a new blog page where I will file posts on biblical women.  It should be fun and fascinating to delve into their different lives and really dig deep for what we can learn from them as women who love God.

They will be a little controversial though.  My short Abigail series took some readers by surprise, and revealed her story through a perspective that isn’t usually taken in our modern day.  Here’s a hint: Everyone likes to say she was the perfect example of the UN-submissive wife to a foolish husband, but I found God leading me to the exact opposite conclusion!  I encourage you to read it if you haven’t had a good look at why the way she treated her foolish husband Nabal made her stand out with respect and honor.  It may not be what you expect.

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I’ve been thinking though, recently, about Sarah, Abraham’s wife.  God seems to have put her on my heart for a few months now, and I’ve been quietly studying her words, reactions, as well as what other people had to say about her across the Bible.

I didn’t know it, but she is actually the most mentioned woman character in the Bible – even more so than Mary, the mother of Jesus!

I had no idea she was so important.  And it’s been odd how often she has come to my mind in these past few months, along with parts of her story, and always her actions or reactions.  It’s been weird I’ll say that much.

What makes her so interesting to me?

It’s the way she obeyed her husband without fear,

and is honored repeatedly for it in God’s Word.

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It’s taken me a long time to see her through this lens.  When I was a child growing up in a Christian school, we learned about the biblical men and women all the time.  I mostly viewed Sarah as the woman who dared to laugh at God and was shocked by her nerve.  I didn’t like, or relate, in any way to her attitude.  I understand her circumstances more now, and can see how human she was when hearing the response of her pregnancy in such old age.  To me she finds redemption in being mentioned in the New Testament as the model of the kind of woman who is beautiful in God’s eyes.  But again, it took me a long time to understand what all that meant.

Let’s look at the passage of Scripture I’m referring to specifically:

“Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.

For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.

You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so.” 1 PETER 3:3-6

I’m going to take this apart in the same way I did for the Proverbs 31 woman piece by piece (but for length’s sake – not delving into the Greek meaning of each word this time).  Here we go!

What kind of beauty is “precious in God’s sight?”

  • The beauty found in a woman’s heart – her character and inner beauty
  • The lasting beauty of a gentle and peaceful spirit
  • Beautifying (adorning) yourself by being submissive to your husband, like the holy women of old, like Sarah who obeyed her husband and called him lord
  • When you submit (subject) yourself to your husband, and have no fear in trusting him (doing so), you achieve the beauty this passage is talking about

How amazing that this passage is directing us to be like Sarah, not only in the way of disregarding showy outward beauty, but also focusing on the character and actions we are to develop if we want to have a lasting beauty that is “precious in God’s sight.”

And the key to achieving this kind of lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet (peaceful) spirit, is to fully submit to obeying our husbands, and to respect and revere them.  Like Sarah did when she called her husband “lord,” we are directed to imitate her behavior, and “become her children” when we live these things out in our day to day lives.

This is all well and good, right?  But have you looked at Sarah’s life with Abraham?  Have you studied enough to understand what this passage in 1 Peter is implying?  When it says that she obeyed him, doing what was good (submitting to him), and without fear, that is no light and ordinary statement.

This woman obeyed her husband during some of the toughest circumstances imaginable. 

And with a good attitude.

And without fear.

Her love, faith, and trust in her husband and in God are so beautiful when we closely study her story.  She has inspired me by her faith SO MUCH in the past months, constantly popping into my head at the strangest times, that I had to write this down here, hoping that it would bring joy and inspiration to someone else. ❤ 🙂

In our modern age where Christian wives seem to be constantly looking for flaws in their husbands’ leadership style so that they don’t have to submit to him (and obey him), Sarah’s story is a huge wake-up call as to how we’re really supposed to be responding.

How God expects us to respond.

I can hear the screeching of the wheels on the pavement now…

But Sarah obeyed when it was not convenient!

Yes, she definitely did.  Many times!  This woman had so much trust in her husband and in God, that yes, she willingly obeyed even when it was not just annoying, but even when it was extremely difficult.

Just the other day I was spending time with God early in the morning before anyone else in the house was awake, and suddenly a map from the back of my Bible fell out and onto the floor in front of my foot.  I expected it to just be another journey showing the different routes Paul took on his mission trips, since those are pretty much the only maps I’ve seriously studied.  But when I looked closely at it in the dim morning light, I saw it was actually Abraham’s travels when God called him and Sarai to leave Ur!  I had never really appreciated how far they had to travel, and keep in mind they had no idea where God was wanting them to end up.  It hit me again (like it has for months now) just how amazing her trust and faith in her husband and in God were – to follow her husband like that.  Away from everything she had ever known, and over such a difficult journey, through dangerous foreign lands, and not even knowing where she would end up with him in the end.  Talk about trust and faith producing a beautiful obedience in the heart of a wife toward her husband!

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This is a picture of the page of my Bible that fell out when I was doing my morning talking to God and reading His Word.  When I look at this journey, I immediately think about how ridiculously hard that would have been for a woman to travel back then, in that kind of desert and arid weather, with their shoes, and just the plain, overall discomfort she’d have and the temptation to complain or whine or ask “Are we there yet?!”  Honestly, it makes our long family trips to New Mexico from south Texas seem like a breeze in our air-conditioned and roomy van!

As Christian wives, have we behaved as well as Sarah did when she followed Abraham on a truly difficult journey, not even knowing where they were going?  How many times have we whined about little inconveniences, wanting the easy way out?

Maybe our husbands need us to get up early and help with making lunches and getting breakfast on the table before the kids leave to school or before he has to go to work.  I know in our family, it’s my job to make it as easy as possible for my husband to spend critical time with our older son in the morning, since he works most evenings.  Even if the baby wakes up several times in the night, I still want to make sure it doesn’t affect their time together – it’s the only time during the day (most days at least) when my husband does a devotion with our son and leads him into understanding the deep meanings of Scripture.  He gives him advice, listens to his problems or concerns, and it’s a truly beautiful time that would not be possible if he was having to do all the work I usually handle for them in the morning as far as getting everything ready for them to leave.   The way I see it is that I can either have a bad attitude or demand I get my own sleep (a convenience for sure, but not necessary since I can nap later on in the day), or I can serve them with a happy heart and be grateful that he’s spending this time investing godly principles into our son’s heart.   I choose to be grateful!

You can apply this to anything your husband may want you to do, but doesn’t line up with your idea of easy or convenient for yourself.  Maybe he wants you to make good, healthy meals for the family, but you’re stuck on fast food on the go, or cafeteria food so you don’t have to wash the dishes?  Maybe he’d like you to make and pack him lunches everyday, but you don’t want to spend the time serving him like that because it cuts into your time in the morning for yourself to eat?

If our husbands need us to do something that is hard or difficult, do we carry an attitude of resentment toward our task or him for asking more of us?  Maybe your husband wants you to stay home to raise your young children, even though it means living on a lesser budget that makes life more difficult.  Are you doing it with the attitude described in 1 Peter 3?  Or perhaps he wants you to work and put your young children in a daycare – something that’s heartbreaking and hard for a mother to do?  Are you trusting him and God that He will provide safety and protection over them and ultimately redeem the situation in the end?  I know this sounds a lot easier than it actually is when carrying these things out, but it was never promised that living this Christian life would be easy or convenient by any means.  Our true test of our faith in God is when we do these things, and do them not out of just a sense of duty, but with a glad and happy heart!

Obviously the best response is to do what is needed, and practice more gratitude if we’re tempted to resentment over having to endure inconveniences that come with following.

I know this sounds hard, it’s probably unlike anything you’ve ever read before when it comes to marriage and how we’re supposed to act in regard to our husbands leading us.  But the Bible talks constantly about the value of doing the difficult tasks needed to be done.  And whatever we do, we are to do it as though we are doing it for God.  When we act like Sarah and “do what is good,” and “without fear,” we are honoring God with our choice to obey our husbands, even when it is inconvenient to do so.

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But Sarah obeyed even when Abraham was making poor choices!

This is a hard one for Christian wives in this day and age.  If her husband is doing ANYTHING even the tiniest bit “wrong” in her eyes, his wife is usually quick to point it out to him and try to get him to be better in his leadership.

I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of this.  It’s common now to know or see Christian wives who refuse to fully submit to their husbands until his porn addiction is gone.  Or maybe it’s his bad eating habits that bother her that she tries to change.  Or his love of watching sports on Sundays, when she thinks he should be helping her fold the laundry.  Or his decision not to do family devotions or spend time reading God’s Word in the way she’d like to see.  There are so many things that wives want their husbands to be doing or not doing before they’ll even think of obeying and submitting to his leadership.

But that’s not the way God intended marriage to work.

A wife can’t demand her husband be perfect in her eyes and do everything the way she desires it to be before she’s supposed to actually submit to his leadership for their family!

If she’s demanding that he change, nagging him to go to counseling to fix his issues, or trying to get him to change in any way, she’s the one who is doing the leading in the marriage – and expecting him to submit to her wants, desires, and needs.

Even if a husband is leading in an imperfect way, we as wives are still called to obey.  His leadership is not contingent only on leading perfectly, and never making mistakes or bad choices.  Like Sarah, we become “her daughters” when we submit to our husbands’ leadership.

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But Sarah obeyed even when Abraham led her (and other people) into sin and deception!

Yes, she did.  Again, it speaks to her faith and trust in her husband and in God that she was able to follow Abraham even when it was not the right thing for either of them to do.  The Bible is still clear that she did what was good by obeying him and subjecting herself to his leadership.

Let’s take a look at the scriptures where these incidents occurred:

10Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.18So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

And then it happened a couple of decades later, almost exactly the same as the first time.  Abraham’s faith was still not complete in this area, but did Sarah nag him?  Did she resent him for not having more faith to not place her in another ruler’s harem (again)?

20:1 Abraham journeyed from there to the Negev region and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he lived as a temporary resident in Gerar, 2 Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her. 3 But God appeared to Abimelech in a dream at night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken, for she is someone else’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not gone near her. He said, “Lord, would you really slaughter an innocent nation? 5 Did Abraham not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I have done this with a clear conscience and with innocent hands!” 6 Then in the dream God replied to him, “Yes, I know that you have done this with a clear conscience. That is why I have kept you from sinning against me and why I did not allow you to touch her. 7 But now give back the man’s wife. Indeed he is a prophet and he will pray for you; thus you will live. But if you don’t give her back, know that you will surely die along with all who belong to you.”

8 Early in the morning Abimelech summoned all his servants. When he told them about all these things, they were terrified. 9 Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What sin did I commit against you that would cause you to bring such great guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done!” 10 Then Abimelech asked Abraham, “What prompted you to do this thing?” 11 Abraham replied, “Because I thought, ‘Surely no one fears God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 What’s more, she is indeed my sister, my father’s daughter, but not my mother’s daughter. She became my wife. 13 When God made me wander from my father’s house, I told her, ‘This is what you can do to show your loyalty to me: Every place we go, say about me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 So Abimelech gave sheep, cattle, and male and female servants to Abraham. He also gave his wife Sarah back to him. 15 Then Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you; live wherever you please.” 16 To Sarah he said, “Look, I have given a thousand pieces of silver to your ‘brother.’ This is compensation for you so that you will stand vindicated before all who are with you.” 17 Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, as well as his wife and female slaves so that they were able to have children. 18 For the Lord had caused infertility to strike every woman in the household of Abimelech because he took Sarah, Abraham’s wife. ©NET
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It’s hard to believe her amazing attitude in all of this!  Her husband expected her to show her loyalty to him by misleading (lying by omission that she really was his wife and not just his half-sister) other people!  Again, how does this compare to how we respond to our husbands’ failings or moments when he may have a lack of faith?  Do we keep our faith in him even when we see his doubts and fears, or do we demand he be better for us and lead us more to our liking?

The biblical response is to have faith in him and in our all-powerful God.  That even if our husbands make a mistake, or have their doubts, that ultimately God is still in control, and that we are safe in the palm of His hand.

Sometimes it is important to stop a man from sinning, like Abigail did, by using her gracious character and inner beauty to calm a King’s rage and murderous intent.  You can read my thoughts on Abigail’s beautiful actions here (PART 1), and here (PART 2).

But Sarah’s silence in these situations was wise and showed her heroic faith!  It wasn’t silence out of timidity or sinful “giving way to fear.”  The Bible is clear that she did not give way to fear, in fact the attitude she displayed “that of a peaceful and tranquil spirit,” is translated to controlled strength and tranquility that arises from deep within.  That kind of control, feminine strength of character, and peace in times of trouble, can only come from God and having a rock solid trust in Him.

When studying the context around these passages, I found that historically when a ruler saw a stranger’s wife that was beautiful and desirable, he was free to kill the stranger in order to take the woman for himself.  However, if she was traveling with a family member (kin) like a brother or a father, then the ruler would simply negotiate a price for taking her as his bride (or concubine), and the male family member would be spared (maybe even given a prestigious place in their society).

So Sarah and Abraham found themselves in life and death situations when they were traveling as a couple in these foreign lands.

Now stop and think about this for a minute.  Can you IMAGINE how a modern day Christian wife would handle something like that?!?!  Let’s go through some mental contrasting how wives in our age would respond to that scenario, compared with how Sarah responded and then is praised afterward for doing the right thing:

  • Modern day wives would give way to fear.  They’d panic when seeing their husband was making decisions that looked questionable, or if he was lying to ruler’s about who she really was.
  • Modern day wives would be upset that he “demand” or expect her loyalty to him to be shown in this way.
  • Modern day wives would be mad at their husbands for not “protecting” them from the ruler’s lust and desire to have sex with her because of her beauty.
  • They’d be upset that their husband didn’t stand up to the ruler and engage in a (likely deadly) fight, sacrificing his life for her honor!
  • They’d be livid that he allowed her to be placed in another man’s harem.
  • Or they’d take advantage of having the opportunity to have sex with a powerful ruler!  How many times have we heard wives admit on the radio that they’d cheat with a famous man if they had the chance?
  • Or they’d make it through like Sarah did, in one piece, but still hold on to the anger and resentment of being degraded like that.  When they got back to their Christian groups, they’d throw their husbands under a bus by complaining to other wives just what their husbands tried to do to them when they were on a trip!
  • Or MUCH WORSE in my opinion, they’d drag him to the leaders in their church to get them to “counsel” him (effectively AMOGing him or criticizing his leadership as “poor” and “ill-effective”) until he felt he had to follow her ideas and designs for their marriage.

We may be Christian wives trying to do the right thing, but we still have a sinful nature that leads us astray and into not honoring or submitting to our husbands if we aren’t careful to study these ancient texts and learn how to act in the ways God desires for us.  We want to display that kind of beauty that is so precious in God’s sight, right?  Then that means we have to take Sarah’s examples here, when she submitted to her husband’s leadership, seriously.

Go back over the bullet point list of ways modern wives would react to the situation Sarah found herself in.  Have you reacted in one of those ways in the past?  It’s never too late to repent and humble yourself, and to start honoring your husband.  Sarah doesn’t do ANY of those things!  She doesn’t even seem to hold on to any resentment, and the Bible is usually quick to point out when a man or woman has misgivings or ill-feelings.  If she was holding on to resentment or using his mistakes to hold over him later on, she wouldn’t be held up as the example we’re supposed to model in Peter 3.

No, it seems her actions are in line with how 1 Peter 3 describes her character as having inner beauty of the heart.  She loved him, she didn’t want him to die.  So she submitted to his plan to lie to the rulers of the land, and even be taken into their harems, so that she could keep her husband alive and trusted that God would make everything right.

Let’s look again at her qualities that made her character precious in God’s sight:

  • She had a peaceful and quite spirit – not a panicky, or nagging, or complaining, or bitter, or resentful spirit
  • She is called precious in God’s sight for obeying Abraham and for subjecting herself to him and his leadership.
  • She is honored for calling him “lord,” even though he subjected her to doing something that was wrong and deceptive and leading others into sin.

It cannot be understated that Sarah was honored for obeying Abraham – and not giving way to fear when she did – even though his leadership was less than perfect (1 Peter 3:5-6).

She not only was honored in the passage we have unpacked here, she is the first woman mentioned in the wonderful chapter that outlines all the “Heroes of Faith,” Hebrews chapter 11.  When I was 11 years old, our school had us memorize this entire chapter.  It was so beautiful to recite and memorize each person mentioned and honored for their courageous faith displayed in critical times of their life.  Their examples were glorified forever in God’s Holy Word because they decided to make the right choiceTo have faith even when it was extremely hard or inconvenient.  

Again, this is not something we as Christian wives can just gloss over and forget about.  Sarah, with all the mistakes or poor choices Abraham may have made in leading her, is named among the Heroes of Faith for choosing to obey him, follow him when it was hard, not complain or hold resentment against him, and even follow him into circumstances that caused others to sin!

Her heroic faith coupled with her beautiful character in choosing to obey Abraham, is an amazing testimony to her trust in God, that His will would prevail in those circumstances, and that she would be taken care of.

May we have faith like this, and seek to honor and respect our husbands with the kind of fierce commitment and obedience that Sarah had toward Abraham.

Stephanie

 

RELATED READING –

Sarah: A Woman Like Us

Sigma Frame’s Pygmalion Project vs Shared Enterprises

That Stepford Gal’s post Women Should Be Seen & Not Heard (using your beauty to influence and save people or entire countries!)

Am I Tricking Men When I use Makeup? Is Makeup Unethical?

So…

the Makeapp …

LOL….

I’m going to try to write this post with a straight face…

….

ok!  I can’t 😉  😀

I’m laughing as I type ❤

Are we women tricking men with our makeup usage?

This is a lot like the constant harpy criticism that we’re all just teaching women to manipulate men… UN-ethically at that!  Oh my!!!

Recently, as you may have seen, an app came out called the Makeapp that allows men (or anyone really) to take a picture or upload a picture of a woman, and completely simulate what she probably looks like without makeup.

It’s not a perfect app, I’ve read up on it a bit and apparently some people actually look better without makeup than this app claims (it adds pimples and acne, so if you don’t have skin problems it won’t be completely accurate).  But overall, it’s pretty correct!

Is it tricking men to use makeup?

This topic has come up before in the world of male – female issues, in fact, I’ve actually written before on women covering their acne with makeup and men responding not so pleasantly to it.

Is makeup tricking men?  Well, to be completely honest, yes, it is, in a way.  But most reasonable people understand that makeup tends to make a woman look better, so they “get it.”  It evens out skin tone, it imitates the flushes and redder lips a woman gets when she’s in ovulation – making her extremely more sexually attractive.  It lengthens her eye-lashes, another thing proven to drive men subtly insane.  Is it manipulation of some kind of form?  I guess it is… when it’s used the way it’s intended (to make men more sexually attracted to you).

I decided to do it 😀

I used this picture… and in it (below) I actually don’t have very much makeup on.  Concealer, some foundation in areas but not all over “full-coverage,” mascara, and light pink lip gloss:

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LOL… So I guess I look like I have the flu 😀 ….

But ok… so is using makeup really unethical?

I think my other older post answers this question some.  If you’re deliberately hiding major flaws and such, yes, it’s effectively tricking a man into thinking you look VERY different from how you actually look.  You could make some kind of case that doing that was “unethical,” although most women who are doing that are doing it for their own self-esteem issues and not really trying to harm anyone.  But still, men don’t like feeling tricked… even if you’re covering acne for yourself so you can feel more confident 😦  They’ll still (as we saw in the other post) react badly to it if you put yourself out there like that one girl did.  It’s a no-win situation.

If you’re a teen and you’re worried how this app will affect the way guys see you, please try not to worry and just focus on important things.  If it DOES bother you, figure out ways to take care of your skin (toners, acne scrubs, prescription medicine if need be).  The thing that will give you the most confidence without makeup, will be having beautiful skin, and that’s just the truth.

Most men totally accept knowing you’ll look better with some makeup applied.  Heavy emphasis on the “some.”   Too much and it turns them off… usually.

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But almost all men dream of a woman who looks good without makeup and doesn’t need it to be beautiful.  And that’s the truth.  

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And that’s why this new Makeapp where men now have the magical ability to SEE what you look like underneath makeup really gets to women.  To be exposed for how you really look shouldn’t be an issue (a romantic interest will certainly find out anyway!), but for many it seems to be.  “It’s unfair!” some say.  “It’s SEXIST!” others say.

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Is there any good “take away” from this new app in the hands of men? 😉

Yes!  If you have good, beautiful skin, you’ll look great even without makeup!  Does the app distort it?  Yea, it does, but if it makes men feel better lol…. *shrug*

And technically, this makeapp shouldn’t worry you if you’re using makeup correctly anyway.

On the other hand, the Makeapp can also ADD LOTS of makeup to your face LOL… this was only after adding “one application” of makeup!  LOL… more like cosemtic surgery haha!

WOW!!!

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**Tear!!**  I don’t even recognize myself!!!  What an app!

Anyway… this app is really distracting!  If you’re a single woman, any man who is interested in you will already notice when you’re not wearing much makeup, and he’ll usually like it!  I’ve read many comments and emails where a girl says she couldn’t believe how the first time her boyfriend or husband told her she was “beautiful” was actually when they had been swimming or at a water park all day and all her makeup had washed off, or when they were hiking and it melted off -and guess what?  He still adored her.

If you have beautiful skin, you’ll still look great without all the makeup.  And that’s what men love.  I do believe most men do NOT want a woman who wears too much makeup.  It’s kind of obvious when someone does (unless they’re a brilliant makeup artist, which honestly men, most women aren’t).

But for women, even if you’re married – no, especially if you’re married – your husband wants to see you without any makeup on at appropriate times – first thing when you wake up, in his T-shirt or naked (however it is you prefer to sleep) – he wants to see his bare-faced Beauty and know you are his.

Stephanie

Aren’t You Just Teaching Women to Manipulate Men?

This isn’t just a question I’ve received before via email or in a comment, it’s a criticism that many people have pointed out whenever there’s a woman teaching (in real life or online) other women how to treat their husbands better in order to have a happy marriage.  I’ve seen it time and time again throughout the 4 years of blogging at this site.  And yes, I’ve been accused of selling “snake oil” to wives – manipulative feminine behaviors and techniques to get their husbands to give them what they want.  In reality, anything considered to be “snake oil,” would prove to be false over-time.  And I’ve many men and women tell me that these things are truth.  Manipulative techniques don’t actually work long-term in a marriage for producing good.  So no, I’m not selling “snake-oil” to wives.

This accusation always comes up though… always.  Even when I’ve come across women teaching others about simple femininity (not for wives but in general, how to be a woman), there’s always a few sour women who seem to scream from the sidelines, “MANIPULATION!!!!!! You’re just manipulating your husband into doing what you want him to do!!!”

***Side note***

Here is where a woman I love and admire, and have talked to privately in the past concerning what to do over these accusations (been meaning to email her again soon for daughter advice – if you’re reading this sweet Stingray, heads up for an incoming email), Stingray, has also confronted this accusation (albeit in a totally different way of accepting these tactics as manipulation)!  I’ve emailed with her a few times in the past, and respect her opinion greatly, so I’m adding it in to give you more insight into how like-minded women view this topic.  Click the link above if you want her specific take on this accusation that we’re teaching women to “manipulate” men.

I thought it would be good to go into this on my own blog, and go ahead and answer this question and criticism I’ve had off and on, because it IS important and women have a right to know an answer.

I hope this proves to be a thought-provoking post for you, no matter which side of the fence you sit on.

The Feminine wiles

Even by definition, the feminine wiles are described as clever talk or tricks, used to persuade someone to do what you want.  I’ve seen many women say behaving in a  feminine manner that brings out the best in men (your husband, but also your dad, brother, even sons are affected by this!), is just tricking him into behaving the way you want him to behave.  Using your femininity in order to inspire masculine virtues to come out in any man, is supposed to be a beautiful and good thing.

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But yes… to answer the critics… it CAN fall into manipulation IF the woman’s heart isn’t pure, and into it for the pure motivations of loving her husband.

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Manipulation is ugly.  Manipulating men to get them to do what we want is horrible.

No.  I am not trying to teach women how to “manipulate men,” with what I write or offer up here.  I don’t believe it is even possible long-term, for a wife, or even a single girl, to keep up a manipulative act.  Eventually the act will fall away, and her real self – her terrible character – will come out and chase men (even her husband in a multitude of small ways) away.

This criticism is only looking at the ugly side, and ugly heart motives, when it comes to using these behaviors and actions.  So while yes, a woman CAN use my advice to manipulate a man into falling in love with her or marrying her even, it’s intended to help women who have a pure heart, who genuinely want to love their husbands better and build a beautiful marriage.

I can’t help a woman whose heart is bent on seeing things only through a filter of sinful thinking.  Only she can lift that veil with prayer and making the choice to ask God to give her a clean and pure heart toward her husband.  So since I can’t really help a harpy screaming from the sidelines “MANIPULATION!!!!!!” I’ve gotten used to this false accusation (like Stingray had as well back when she was blogging) that it’s all “snake oil” and “unethical.”  This used to bother me, but now that I’ve talked to more women and have had the chance to see (in real life) the difference in their attitudes when presented with this stuff, I “get it.”  It all comes down to whether or not their heart is pure in wanting to love and be good to their husbands.  The sad thing is that a lot of women really don’t have pure intentions.

I’ve also seen women try to implement these things when their husband is already divorcing them.  If they’ve treated him terribly for 20+ years, and then suddenly try to implement these behaviors and techniques, yea he’s going to have a hard time believing his wife is sincere.  Then I’ve seen the wife (after becoming divorced and getting very bitter) usually complain that applying these techniques only made things much worse for her.  These are often the ones screaming “MANIPULATION!!!” the loudest.  If it didn’t work for her, it can’t work for anyone else!  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!  

Her husband’s strong negative reactions are actually explainable in a psychological way – it’s called “The Pandora’s Box.”  Sometimes it’s salvageable, but often it’s just not.  Usually there’s just been way too much nastiness there, and for decades long.  You can’t just easily undo that kind of trauma you’ve done to your husband, by acting kind and respectful now.  Even if you are sincere now, he has to work through MAJOR forgiveness issues, trust issues, etc. and a lot of men find it too painful.  A lot of men get angry that you’ve wasted so many years treating them horribly, and are only now just “waking up,” and taking responsibility for how you’ve damaged his soul.  It’s all very ugly and dark… but it’s reality when you reap what you’ve been sowing for decades in the heart of your husband.

I may write on that more (I do love to write!), but to me that is why these things are so crucial for women to know before they even start dating!  How many marriages would have been saved if women were only taught these crucial things about what men want when they were teens?  This is why I was motivated to start writing, and why I often target the younger crowd.

 

This is why your Character is important

Your character is talked about a lot on my blog.  Who you are – if you are truly all these things women teach about (including many posts on my blog) – others will understand and take note that you’re consistent.  This is best displayed in real life – with the real life men around you – whether it’s your father, husband, sons, etc, they will be the ones who ultimately know you and your character, especially over time.

I guarantee that your husband is already aware of who you truly are, and you’re either working to have a beautiful character and implementing these behaviors in your marriage to make it flourish, or you’ve let these things slide and you live with a somewhat happy marriage – but with no idea how great it actually could be.

Either way, your “real self” will always be exposed to the people you live with, especially your husband.  I’ve written before that who you are online, when no one is looking or holding you accountable – that’s who you really are.

Having a beautiful character is what will make these teachings work.  Having a pure heart is what will make your actions not seen as manipulative, but instead, sincere and they will inspire your husband’s love for you to grow immensely.

No matter how good you look on the outside (physically and in behavior like when practicing being kind or respectful to your husband), if you don’t have it together on the inside, if your heart isn’t in it, he will know, and he will hate it.

He will hate it because he will feel manipulated by you.  Hence why if I was really selling you “snake oil,” it just wouldn’t work for the long-haul of a marriage.

Your actions will always be manipulation on your part if it’s not coupled together with your heart intentions – in other words, if you aren’t loving him with purity and sincerity, you may as well not be loving him at all.

 

Barbie Knows How to Be Fruitful & Multiply!

be fruitful multiply

This is so cute!  A fellow police wife and friend has a daughter who takes toys to the store sometimes.  Apparently the whole Barbie family had to go on this grocery outing LOL!

This is what she said —

“My children fully believe in the word of God

and know that we are to be fruitful and multiply,

this includes Barbie world.

I must say that I will miss these days

when I’m caught off guard

either by carrying around a huge stuffed animal that is a duck

or pregnant Barbies…..

it’s Saturday y’all.

That’s all I got.”

This is partly why I love Texas.  It’s the South, the Christian women are REAL.  And little girls still play with Barbie and want to have BIG families.

I know… I’m sorry you’re not Texan 😉  Feel free to move here, though.

Stephanie

Email Question: How Much Should I Chase a Guy?

This was a question I got back in 2013 or 2014 via email.  How much should a woman in college (or even in her 30’s) chase a guy that she likes?  I’ve had other email conversations about topics somewhat like this as well, such as “my boyfriend doesn’t seem to be very interested in getting married (at all) anytime soon…” or “my fiance doesn’t want to set a date, hardly ever makes an effort to see me, and just moved across the country for a great job opportunity – what do I do?”

At first glance, I’m always tempted to tell women that you shouldn’t chase men, but sometimes circumstances make it appropriate and even sensible.  It’s all about determining how much he really likes you, or if he’s just using you and “isn’t that into you.”  For most of these questions, I had to ask multiple other questions in order to get to the root of what was going on.  For instance, with a fiance that is ambiguous about an actual married life, hardly ever makes an effort to see “his girl,” and just moved across the country for a great job opportunity – there were a lot of questions needed to understand if he was serious about marrying her, if he expected her to build a life with him in their new place, if she was emasculating him with her demanding career in New York, and so on.  It ended up being that he expected her to move with him, but didn’t want her to feel pressured to leave her job, so without communicating that, he just left and tried to keep the relationship alive from cross country.  He was more into her psychologically than it looked but she didn’t know that because he didn’t tell her that.

Once she had that honest conversation with him about his expectations for their relationship or future marriage, she was able to make the hard decisions of whether or not she wanted to continue being a career girl, or give it all up to gain a marriage and family life with **this man** having and being a devoted mother to his children in the future.  I say “this man” because she also had to calculate her chances of finding another man she was that into, who would **want** her enough to ask her to marry him and give her the opportunity to be his wife, even it that meant he wanted her job/career to be second to his.

It would have made their lives and relationship a lot easier if they were both just honest with each other up front: she being honest that she wasn’t all that fulfilled with her amazing career in New York – something that made him feel like she didn’t really need or want him that much anyway – and him with his expectations for his future wife in having a career that she’s willing to sacrifice or put second to his.  Feminism and it’s lies of treating men and women’s desires as always equal has really made men and women confused about what each other wants and needs as life goals change.  She felt like her career would fulfill her as much as a family would, until it finally hit her that she’d actually like being married more.  And he felt like she really did care that much about her career (as much as he felt about his own) that he felt it would be selfish to have asked her to move with him and marrying him then, and start a real life together as a family.  Both men and women are lied to in this day and age, and told from childhood that these things are truly what women want and should feel fulfilled by (their career).  Men are constantly told that women don’t really need them or want marriage that much.  So men actually believe this now days.  That coupled together with a high value man who has found meaning in his own career (which is how it should be for men), makes everything extra complicated.  Men are told that women are just like them in how much they value their jobs, so they believe that and treat women accordingly.

Plus men are opting out

Something I’ve learned from these email questions from young women is that men are not really that interested in marriage these days.  At least, not to the degree women are taught men would be by the time they were “ready.”  These men seem to be wonderfully fine and fulfilled without a wife in their life… even if they have a great girlfriend – she’s not going to be promoted to wife very easily.

This makes it very hard to understand whether a man is with you, but not that into you, or if he truly wants you to be his wife someday.  It’s the woman’s job to make sure she’s not letting herself be used, that if he’s not that into her, that she leaves.  This is part of what makes dating so complicated, especially in this environment.  Understanding men and what they want has never been more critical.

Trust me, while a high value man won’t be falling all over himself to proclaim his devotion at every opportunity, there will still be strong signs that he values you and wants you in his life, especially if he’s considering you as his wife.

This particular email, however, had the college-aged girl describing a relationship where she was always the one pursuing him, setting up times to see each other, and he generally seemed to still have a lack of interest even after all her trying, but would go and see her anyway.

The first question I asked her was this:

Are you having sex with this guy?

I know women are supposed to be “liberated,” and “sexually free,” but having sex just makes it a million times harder to understand whether or not he’s using you.  Sex used to be the main reason WHY men got married younger, because women understood it was a valuable thing that should be kept within safe boundaries of love and marriage only.  It used to be a widely known truth that men can have sex with women they don’t really love, and will readily use a woman who puts herself in that position to be used.  Women don’t “get that” these days, and I’ve had to tell a couple of them through email what their mothers should have taught them about this truth.

Plus a woman’s sexual behavior was a pretty good indicator, although not always, of whether or not she’d be a loyal and trustworthy wife if he married her.  Being a virgin, for a woman, was something that made her more desirable for marriage because it meant a laundry list of “pluses” she’d bring to him as a wife:

  • No prior lovers to compare him with (and all that entails… both physically and emotionally)
  • No emotional baggage from past sexual relationships (for women, sex makes relationships too intense to where they really imprint on her psyche forever changing who she is)
  • No emotional baggage from horrible breakups – that ironically come from that intense bond that sex creates for a woman.  These scars seem to be very deep for women and shouldn’t be ignored by a man looking for a wife
  • No past crazy experiences with sex or being used or “feeling used” that she has to work through in order to be sexually “free” again with her husband later in life
  • No STDs he has to be worried about
  • No past STIs he has to be worried she had and “treated” that could still affect her or him later
  • No ugly and devastating secrets in her closet like abortion or miscarriages from a prior boyfriend – things that scar a woman and make it harder for her to be great wife material psychologically
  • Less chances that they’ll divorce later on in marriage… study findings have recently confirmed that the longest and happiest and best sexually fulfilled marriages are when the woman was a virgin, and that  the least chances of divorce was with women who were virgins.  Next results were for women who had very low partner counts as opposed to women who had higher partner accounts.  But EACH PARTNER dramatically seemed to affect a woman’s marriage outlook and sexual happiness.
  • Even if men don’t know these facts above consciously, humans seem to be ingrained in understanding these things subconsciously, as men have always had two types of women: the type they sleep around with before marriage, and the type they “bring home to Mama.”

Considering this list, it is really important to teach daughters how valuable their sexuality is, and try to impress on them how important it is that they try to save their virginity for their husband.  Yes, it sounds outdated for non-Christian women, but for Christian women, we’re taught this from very young.  The point is: even if you aren’t Christian, you’ll benefit greatly from keeping your sexuality for your future husband.  Can a woman still be a good wife if she’s been sexually active?  I believe so, but I also think it makes things harder – unnecessarily at that.  And if you’re Christian, you have NO BUSINESS having sex before marriage.  No if’s and’s or but’s.  Does it get complicated if you’re older or previously married, yes it does.  But always remember that historically sex was saved so that the woman wasn’t used.  It’s in the woman’s best interest, and historically always has been, to save sex for a strong, valuable and committed lifetime partner.

So in this particular email, she was having sex.  Surprise Surprise!  Thanks feminism for ruining everything and making dating a million times harder for men and women.  I suggested she stop and find Christianity and Christian counseling to find out why she’s giving her sexuality away to men (it’s seems to be usually something emotional – cue daddy issues – or just wrong rationalizations of earning love or commitment this way), and start the healing process from letting herself be used.  It’s been known scientifically for awhile now that daughters of divorced parents are typically more likely to not stay virgins long or wait to have sex until marriage.  So since so many millennials have come from divorced families, the promiscuity among them shouldn’t really be shocking.  It’s hard to believe in something you’ve seen and experienced dramatically with your emotions, fail consistently.  So while I understand that almost all millennials are having sex prior to marriage, it still doesn’t change the fact that these women having sex with their boyfriends complicates the relationship and their impending future marriage with that guy or another man later on.  It doesn’t change the consequences of it making it more likely for her to be used sexually because she’s making herself too available sexually.

So with that piece of advice, I predicted she’d probably lose the boyfriend since it would show clearly whether or not he truly loved her, or was just using her as a convenient booty call.  She found out, which she would have eventually found out sooner or later anyway, that he really was only interested in her for the sex he was getting… hence him otherwise not really being that into her.

Let’s go through the clues again just to make it easy to read here.  When a young woman is:

  • Always the one to initiate contact with the man
  • Always the one to set up times to see each other
  • Usually having sex when they have these “dates” – which aren’t really dates but sexcapades back at her or his apartment
  • The only one interested in keeping up the “relationship” where he doesn’t seem to care much
  • Has that sense that if she were to stop having sex, he’d just move on to someone else or they’d have nothing else to do together

If these things are happening to her (or you reading along), it’s time to cut your losses and move on.  In the famous words of Greg & Liz,

“He’s Just Not That Into You!”  

So no, you don’t chase this man. You let him go, because truly… you never really “had” him.

The great thing about this, is you can change and realize what you’re doing to yourself and start to value your sexuality for what it is.  Although I do strongly recommend good counseling to find out the why behind your having sex with men or boyfriends – is it just because you were never taught to save it for marriage, or is it something deeper and more worrying… like your dad leaving when you were young because your parents divorced and you don’t trust men to be good and the value of marriage?

A man who values you as a potential wife will also want to have sex with you before marriage, but he won’t use you.  All the same though, having sex before marriage will make it more likely for the relationship to turn toward him using you, because men tend to get tired of women who they’re having sex with if they’re not in a committed marriage with them.  It’s a mystery, even I’m not completely sure why a man “gets tired” of a girlfriend he’s sexually active with.  Sometimes it works out and they get married, but a lot of times it doesn’t.

 

Hope this answers any lurkers’ questions!  Keep lurking and emailing if you’re too embarrassed to ask these in the comments section.  I’m only doing this because it’s annoying that no one else seems to be, in the mainstream, for you younger people out there still stuck in the HORRIFIC dating stage of life.  It’s not fair that you didn’t have moms that guided you with this valuable information… and since mine did, I feel like it’s wrong not to write about it or answer questions like this when asked.  

And for the mentally ill nutcases who still think I should answer political questions etc…. questions like this one are fun and have a “low emotional cost” for me to answer publicly here, they also probably won’t attract more mentally ill obsessive like you 🙂 so if you want the interesting drama of political stuff, my advice remains the same.

Stephanie

 

Are there ever times you SHOULD or CAN chase a man?  Yes!!

  • If he’s too shy
  • If he’s divorced and burned (but still stable and a great catch – which a lot of frivorced men are)
  • If he doesn’t think you’d be into him (one of the most romantic examples of this Ruth & and Boaz)  Read here.

Babies Babies Babies!!!!!

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Our littlest one is getting bigger (over 11 pounds now!!!) and more beautiful with each passing day!  Oh the joy of getting to cuddle her, hear her coo as she looks up at me, and watch the boys with her… just fills my heart with so much love.

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I could seriously have 100 babies with my husband and still want more with him.

It’s ridiculous 😀

I don’t know what it is, but having his children makes me love him even more deeply and fiercely.

When I was still in the hospital after the birth, one of our friends who came to visit us joked that if we had met in high school, we would have had 10 kids by now.  😛

My husband’s comrades got together and gave us the sweetest, most thoughtful gift for our new baby.  Their card, all signed with their different hilarious messages like, “Congrats on your 12th kid!” and “Get some cable!” among some really sweet messages ❤ will forever be in my heart.

In spite of their funny card, they picked out the most elegant baby gift I could imagine: a Vera Wang silver baby cup with our daughter’s name engraved on it on the front.  Just so special and beautiful.

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Here’s to baby cuddles and chubby giggles!

Stephanie

Opening Series of Email Questions & Things We Want Our Daughter to Know

Throughout the almost 4 years of having this particular blog, I’ve received quite a few emails asking me all kinds of questions.  I think it may be interesting to put some reader questions up as their own posts, especially the ones I’ve gotten from young girls and women.  I definitely don’t have all the answers, so it’s nice to allow regular readers or even passing through commenters a chance to answer something in their own way.  If you’re a mom to young women, feel free to comment adding your own input – even if we’ve clashed in the past, these posts will be pretty much unmoderated in comments and I probably won’t argue with you because I’m too exhausted most of the time anyway. 🙂

It won’t be anything political or focusing too much on negativity (like Islam’s influence in the world…).  Those posts are just honestly way too much for me to handle with being a mom of an infant and 2 other young children that need all my mental energy and emotional stability for them.  My husband’s work also demands that I be able to hold down the fort so to speak at our home, and those kinds of posts with the kinds of people they bring here, are just NOT what or who I want to be entertaining.  Some women can handle that kind of constant online drama, and handle it really well!  For me I’d rather be doing something more constructive with my time… like getting cleaning done… or dancing around with my boys in the living room to funny music.  Or cuddling with our new baby girl.  Being so overwhelmed with gratitude that God’s given me this life and children and husband to take care of.  The beauty is beyond words….

But about the negative/dramatic posts… it just drains me too much to put my energy into arguing with someone online, even if it’s someone sincere and good-hearted.  I can’t do it at this point, my family needs all of that time and energy for them.

Keeping the house clean and organized, managing our household needs and schedules, along with watching all three of them and starting the basics of homeschool with the preschooler this fall, is about all I can do.  In my sparest of spare time, I edit and rewrite parts of our family book on the Proverbs 31 woman & the police wife version, or read funny sites that make me laugh and relax, and sometimes… I make a post here.

***

Another thing I hope to be able to do, is to write maybe one post a week (or month lol) on issues we want our daughter to learn and know about.  So these will be solely female topics, although men are very welcome to add their input, especially if they have experience in raising a daughter.  We’d love to hear your thoughts or advice.

My husband may do some posts like that for our boys, too, he has so much wisdom on this topic and has been applying these things for 7 years now.  It truly amazes me seeing his wisdom in action with our boys.  I’ve written before that he acts at least 7 years older than me in maturity, and it’s still true.  That would put him close to 40 in how he thinks and acts… it’s very different from men his age and I love it.  I am so humbled by this man and still so crazy in love, especially when I see what a great father he is.  He is even busier than I am though, and writing just isn’t something really that high of a priority for him, so we’ll see if that is able to happen or not.

So here’s my email if you want to ask us questions featured here:

angelpixiedust86@live.com

We don’t have all the answers… far from it!  But I’m hoping these posts could inspire conversations and input from other people as well.

Tragedy & Joy

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I wanted to write some kind of update awhile ago, we’ve just been so busy or I’ve been distracted – or distracting myself.  I don’t even know what to write now really… so much has happened in just one month.

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I think I’ll try to put it into bullet points what we’ve done or has happened in these past 4 weeks.  Sorry it will probably read pretty strange…

  • We had our adorable daughter, everything went well as far as the surgery.
  • The recovery had a hiccup when I started swelling in my right leg, and then the left leg… I called my doctor, and it was thought to be maybe the anesthesia.  After my milk supply came in and was pretty established, I took a couple of diuretic pills (“water pills”) to flush out the swelling fluid – and it worked well.  Apparently the “postpartum swelling” can be a big issue, and after we got home I began to look like I was 6 months pregnant again the swelling had gotten so bad.  This had never happened with our other two, but the diuretics worked fast and I ended up looking normal again.
  • Our little one wanted to breastfeed so often – every hour for 5 nights straight – that I actually ended up getting Mastitis in that very first week!!!!!  LOL  I didn’t even know you could get mastitis that quickly!  It was very painful but a bit hilarious – thank God for antibiotics!
  • In only the 2nd week of her life, 2 of our officers were shot when contacting a felon.  They were shot right when they stepped out of their vehicle.  One was shot in the face and the other in the chin, the former ended up dying and the latter dragged his partner to safety even after having been shot.  It was so traumatic, and both were about my husband’s age.
  • I’m in a wive’s group that supports our husband’s in their career, one I’ve blogged about here.  I’ve become an officer that deals with events – the coordinating and planning, and since all of the other group officials were either on vacation or unable to come, I had the task of coordinating getting donations for desserts, wives to volunteer, and serving the people at the funeral.  A police funeral is typically a devastating ordeal, but with hundreds to sometimes 1,000’s of officers from around the country showing up to pay their respects to the fallen officer.  Coming together like a family is so appreciated.  Everything about the funerals, though, is physically and emotionally draining and tortuous.  From volunteering for hours, to listening to the family pour out their hearts to us, to serving the army of Police Officers who have come who need encouragement, too… it is painful.  The last funeral before this I cried so much I had to actually go and completely redo my makeup before we had to serve the 1,000’s of guests.  We are in a war.  We lose officers almost every week or other week now.
  • Since I had to bring our 2 week old to the funeral to lead the volunteers, I kept having to disappear to breastfeed.  One time when I was tucked away in a tiny section of the ladies’ room where they provided couches to sit while you nurse, one of the officers who came to the funeral sat down next to me – exhausted – and started to talk.  She was part of the Honor Guard – which is the official name for the group of officers who go to the memorial services and funerals around the U.S.  She was a Sergeant, and from our city.  She knew the officer who had died that day 😥 .  For some reason, relaxing in the hidden corner of the restroom on the couch with me, she felt comfortable enough to let me know how tired of all this she was – how she felt she needed a break, that many of them do, from all these relentless funerals.  All these senseless assassination-style deaths.  I tried to encourage her and let her know how much we appreciate the Honor Guard and her love for these officers’ families.  But I could see it, too, when I was serving many of the officers face to face – they are so tired of seeing these decent men and women killed.  The collective Honor Guard are some of the best people, the ones who travel to show support and give encouragement to the families in need, but I’m starting to see in their faces just how hard this is on them emotionally to be constantly going to another funeral every other week or so.
  • Police deaths have spiked to 39% in 2017.  Again, it feels like we are in a war.  Like our husbands are deployed everyday that they go into their shift.  At the same time, it feels like we’re not alone.  The police community as a whole, is a safe place to show our emotions to each other.  At the last funeral when I was crying almost uncontrollably, one of the older Honor Guard officers came up to me and hugged me – it meant so much, but I felt so sorry that I knew I was making him feel pain, too.  I could tell that my tears almost made him cry 😥  and I don’t want to add more pain to these officers.  It was so touching though, that a perfect stranger would come to not only support us, but even hug one of the emotional wives there behind the counter.
  • I haven’t written about this myself before… probably because I’d have to write it in bullet points like this.  The emotions are hard for even me to put into words.
  • We had a second funeral for one of our officers who passed away from cancer.  We were thankful that he didn’t lose his life in the line of duty, but it still felt like an added insult to an injury.  The funeral was only a couple of days after the first.
  • Even in all this tragedy, my husband and I were invited to one of his favorite Police Academy instructor’s retirement party.  It was actually a wonderful time celebrating this man my husband looks up to and learned from.  We were able to get my mom to watch our boys so it was almost like a date night together with our tag along baby girl.  At the end of the night, his wife let me know they had felt almost guilty holding a celebration like this after all the recent tragedies – her husband had wondered if he should have cancelled it.  I told the wife that of course they should have had it!  It was good to celebrate something positive even in the midst of this.  Everyone there was focusing on the hilarious stories he had, looking at his adorable pictures of when he was young and in charge of the streets, and enjoying celebrating with him the end of a great career.  We needed that.  He did, but we all did in a way.

We’ve also just been enjoying time together as a family.  I’ve had my own thoughts of feeling so much joy when looking at our daughter, and then guilt that I’m feeling that way when our city (and officers) are enduring another tragedy.  It was nice having my husband off for a month… he missed his work and the excitement, but he had fun taking the boys on adventures and us all going out as a family for hikes and walks in the parks close by.

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Motherhood & Childbirth

dreams of mothering

Mother’s Day has come and gone again, and for some reason each year I just feel more and more content and happy with our life that we’re building.  I’m not sure exactly why I feel more content and happy with each year, but it may have a lot to do with the growing sense of gratitude of living this life getting to watch our children grow, love my amazing husband, and maybe just getting a little bit more mature.

I still have sin!  Definitely have to work on things at times, but in this area of mothering, even when it’s really especially hard with lots of tantrums or just stubborn behavior and lots to do, I can still see the end result in mind, especially at the end of the day (happy adults that know they were truly loved – no, adored!) and it somehow gets me through those tantrums.

Motherhood is hard at times.  Life in general has so many unexpected things come up and little struggles or trials, to me, mothering my kids just falls in line with normal everyday things to face.  There are many ups and downs with small children when they’re teething or in a tantrum phase, but I think it’s harder if you don’t really understand the fact that it is going to be hard to begin with.

There’s a new disturbing trend of moms on social media complaining about Mother’s Day, using it as an excuse to say how unfair it is that even on that day where they’re supposed to be honored, they still have to take care of their children (wipe noses or change diapers), or clean sometimes.  From reading several of these kinds of posts and videos for 2 years (posted the week before to prep women to feel jipped), it’s clear these moms don’t understand that life is just hard.  Mother’s Day doesn’t always go perfectly or smoothly, especially with small children – and it comes across as insanely immature of an adult woman who doesn’t understand this reality.  Or one who understands it, but still acts like it’s not fair and has an online virtual pity party about the duties of being a mom.

From one of my favorite books that my parents had loved when I was growing up (and got me reading before I was a teenager:

“Life is difficult.

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.  Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.

They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them….  I know about this moaning because I have done my fair share.

Life is a series of problems.  Do we want to moan about them or solve them?  Do we want to teach our children to solve them?”

                  -The Road Less Traveled

So back to motherhood… yes, it’s hard, but it’s also so beautiful and I think, really grows us as women to have to go through the struggles of mothering.  Anything hard generally (in my opinion) helps us to grow and mature.  At least it can, if we accept the struggle and go through it trying to learn from it and become better.  Unfortunately, as The Road Less Traveled points out, many people don’t allow problems and trials in their life to grow and mature them.  It’s easier to complain and have self-pity for our own struggles.

I love this quote from the 1800’s by Anne Pratt about the virtue of seeing life optimistically as a wife and mother:

“Every one must have remarked how pleasant is that household in which a cheerful spirit of energy is cultivated by the mistress and mother.

It is a pleasant thing to dwell with one who is not troubled by trifling annoyances,

who is skilled in looking at the bright side of things, and hoping for the best;

with one who believes that all the ways of the Lord are right,

and who attaches a deep importance to duty.

Such a one will work willingly, in the belief that God has appointed both her lot and her duties,

and it is surprising how many obstacles are met and overcome by such a spirit.”

~ Anne Pratt

In my life, it IS surprising how many obstacles we’ve overcome together, my husband and I, due to having such a spirit of adventure, optimism and gratitude.  In really hard times, it’d be easier to complain or fight or even blame each other, but instead we work together as a team to solve the problem and learn from it.  It really makes all the difference!

CHILDBIRTH

This is just an update on the pregnancy, but since it’s a “motherhood” post, I thought I’d squeeze it in here.

So because our first child was an emergency c-section, and afterwards we decided to not try a V-BAC, this will be my 3rd c-section.  We’re so lucky these days, even to be able to have c-sections!  I recently heard that death during childbirth affected 65% of women during the 19th century.  Obviously the risk is far less for us now, but still, having had repeated c-sections, medically we know each time the risk increases.  Then there’s always uterine rupture or tears where the scar has been cut and re-cut – these also increase with repeated pregnancies unfortunately.

Last time around I remember trying to prepare Patrick for if I was to die in childbirth during the c-section – I know it’s a slight chance, but you never know what’s going to happen and since there was that possibility, why not mentally prepare for it?  I wanted him to know that I wanted him to be happy and to remarry.  It’s been the same this time, except I’ve been having very strong pains where the old c-section scars are, which my doctor thinks is scar tissue stretching (little tears), and probably not “windows” which are where the uterus is so thin that you’re actually able to see things like the baby’s hair.  Windows are supposed to be painless, so the pain I feel at times is probably just stretching (hopefully!).  The risk of uterine rupture is still there though, even though it’s still likely very small.

Anyway, we really want at least to be able to have one more child after this, but unfortunately it depends on the state of my uterus – sometimes they can apparently become “paper thin,” or if they see windows when they open me up, or little tears, etc.  They’ll likely then advise me that I shouldn’t attempt another pregnancy.  😥  We’ll see, many women are able to have up to 5 or 6 c-sections… but it all depends on that particular woman’s genetics and her unique uterus thickness, strength, and elasticity.

Again, we’ll see.