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Friday, March 30, 2007

More Signs of Spring

Buds on Maple TreeMarch 26, 2007Mike Thomas, a reformed anti-blogger who's blog is call Brannigans Law commented on my cooking blog about a video his wife had made about gnomes. I just had to check out her video called "I Think I'm a Gnome Now". This is a must see for all gardeners unless of course you don't like gnomes. I have three of gnomes in the video: Jack, Jeff and Phillip. Thanks

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Quick Query #12: Alluring Eveningwear

And by eveningwear, yes, I'm talking about lingerie. I've had some questions lurking in my mind lately, and I'd like your thoughts on them...

Feel free to answer these anonymously, but please, write your thoughts with the understanding that we need to be clear and direct without engaging in tawdry or lewd conversation. I know that to some, this whole topic may seem lewd...but I think these are legitimate questions.

1) Are we imitating the world and cheapening the act of sexual intercourse (and possibly imitating "the forbidden woman" of Proverbs 5) if we buy into the look of Victoria's Secret/Fredericks of Hollywood lingerie?

2) Or, conversely, is it good for us to be visually pleasing to our husbands, allowing and encouraging them to delight in "drinking water from their own well" (Proverbs 5)?

3) If married, do you own racy lingerie (by that I mean, special eveningware designed for your husband's allurement, not just lacy undergarments)?

4) If your previous answer was yes, then do you regularly purchase new pieces in this area?
Is this a priority area in your marriage or just an occasional thought?

5) Is there a biblical position for/against this sort of thing, and if so, what do you think it is?


I hope that with the ability to comment anonymously, you will feel free to share your personal thoughts on this. And if you want to post non-anonymously, of course, that's welcomed too. I look forward to hearing from you!


[A word about quick queries- If you miss out on commenting the "first round", it's OK! There's no "end date" for these questions, unless it is clearly stated. These are questions I've thought up so that I can hear feedback from all different women about a variety of issues- fun & serious. So if you've just now started reading Making Home, feel free to go back and read & comment on the previous Quick Queries. Please leave your thoughts- I read them all and enjoy hearing from you!]

Proverbs in Pictures #6


All the verbs here put the impetus on us, as receivers, inclining our hearts, as callers, raising our voices, as seekers and searchers, looking for treasure ... and THEN we are promised understanding.

If we desire to know God, and to have understanding and wisdom, then we must be proactive... looking into His words, His commandments, His wisdom, His insight & understanding. We must chase Him as we are inclined to chase wealth, in the same way that we are drawn toward the adventure of a treasure hunt. Ultimately, it means we must spend time conversing with Him in prayer, and actively getting to know Him through His Word.

Getting to Know the Bible

"If I were the devil," J.I. Packer writes, "one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible."

This sentence from the forward of R.C. Sproul's Knowing Scripture begins the book I have been poring over these last few days.

"Why should we study the Bible?" asks Sproul. After debunking myths and discussing practical value, ethical importance, personal edification, educational insights, and proven benefits, he writes,
"but ultimately the main reason why we should study the Bible is because it is our duty. If the Bible were the most boring book in the world, dull, uninteresting, and seemingly irrelevant, it would still be our duty to study it. If its literary style were awkward and confusing, the duty would remain. We live as human beings under an obligation by divine mandate to study diligently God's Word."
Not the most enticing answer to hedonistic humans, is it? But lately, I have been given such a desire for the Word of God. To know it. To know how to share it. To know how to edify others with it. To know how to teach it. I don't need to "make it come alive;" it already is alive. I just need to know how to point others to it. To know it so well that I know where to go when trouble strikes, when a friend is hurting, or when one of my children has a question.

We are so blessed that it is not required that we be a celibate Priest, or a silent Himalayan-dwelling guru in order to study
and understand these Words of God. We can just be an everyday American mom, sitting in a chair each morning, and God Himself will speak to us through this living and active word.

The problem comes in our flakiness, our laziness, and our acceptance of a mediocre (at best) understanding of God's written Word.
"We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work."

As I've alluded to before, we have become too reliant on outside "study" sources; we want it to be already chewed up for us. We approach the Word of God with a consumeristic mindset, asking, "what can I get out of this? How can I get the most out of this with the least personal cost (time, effort, work)?" Though pre-packaged Bible studies can be a fine way to learn new things and encourage one-another-ing, they are not ideal for truly getting to
know Scripture. Flipping back and forth through the Bible at a quick pace, finding a verse from Romans, then a verse from Proverbs, then a verse from Colossians about a particular topic is a good way to be introduced to the overarching themes of the Bible.

But in order to get to
know the Word, we must study. "There is a great deal of difference between reading and studying. Reading is something we can do in a leisurely way, something that can be done strictly for entertainment in a casual, cavalier manner. But study suggests labor, serious and diligent work."

If I were a once-a-year Elvis impersonator, I might do a quick Google search to find a few websites or books about Elvis. I might read a little here, and a little there, and try my best to put together an outfit and "look" that was most Elvis-like. But if I was going to try to live as an Elvis impersonator, I would need to do more than glance here and there at things other people had written about him. If there was a book he himself had written, that would be my primary source for understanding how to live.

As Christians, a word meaning "little Christs," we are to live each day, letting Christ live through us. We are literally Christ-impersonators. "The Christian who is not diligently involved in a serious study of Scripture is simply inadequate as a disciple of Christ." It is not enough to read a little bit of what Bible study authors have written, and a little bit from a few blogs or challenging books. We must go to the source: we have a book breathed-out by God Himself, and we must study it diligently in order to live out the hope of glory: Christ in us.

Don't take my word for it; go see for yourself! Go to the source!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Proverbs in Pictures #5

As believers, the Bible tells us that the path we're following is narrow, while the rest of the world is walking the wide one. Not only is our path narrow, but it's also slippery, and laden with mines set to destroy us. The problem comes when we take our eyes off the path we're to follow... suddenly forbidden fruit begins looking desirable, and we begin to stumble instead of walking confidently. We are not only more likely, at that point, to step over and eat the forbidden fruit, but we're also more likely to step on the hidden mines we weren't watching out for.

But if we set our gaze, fixating it on Christ, and ponder the path of our feet, then our ways will be sure.

Signs of Spring

There have been a few signs of spring here. The temperatures reached 77ºF here on Monday and that's after our first thunderstorm of the season. Yesterday I spotted our first robin, the bluejays were back to pecking at the window and the weather was very mild. So I did a little garden work, took the solar lights out to charge in the greenhouse and take a few pictures.ChivesI have two outdoor

Show & Tell: Men, Women, and Children

This time around, I've got a little somethin' for everyone...

FOR MEN (or curious women):
  • I just came across this great website, ChurchForMen.com, that has put together a lot of research and articles examining why 61% of church attenders are women. Click on over there and poke around; there's interesting stuff to be found.

FOR WOMEN:

When I was sitting in the OB waiting room a couple of weeks ago, there was a mother with a two-year old. The mother called her daughter to come, as her name had just been called, and--miracle of miracles--the little girl quickly started throwing the toys into a basket before coming. The mother was amazed: "It's this new thing they're teaching her at daycare (she used the word school which I refuse to use). Now all of the sudden she's all about cleaning up her toys. I can't believe it!"

I got the idea that what was going through most people's minds in the waiting room was: isn't day-care such a great thing! What was going through my mind was: what a pity that mothers are so clueless about child training these days that they are in awe of a two-year-old who can pick up her toys and that childcare centers are the only ones who are doing any child training. [Continue reading here.]

FOR ANYONE:Huckabee is a political inconvenience, a destroyer of stereotypes. He is probably best known as the fellow who lost 100 lbs. in a year, and made living well through exercise and good nutrition one of his signature issues as Governor. But the real significance of Huckabee... is that he represents the introduction of a new constituency into the political process: "Second Commandment" Christians, those more interested in salvation than damnation. [Read the full article here.]

HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Proverbs in Pictures #4


If only I could get this one right. This one area is my biggest "sin" struggle... angry words and biting judgments fly out of my mouth so quickly and effortlessly. I don't have to work to be critical. It doesn't take
concerted effort for me to verbally harangue my husband or children for not doing something my way. All too often, I could easily cut someone to the bone with my judgmental words (while not everyone hears them, they resound in my ears).

For you, it may be a different verbal struggle. Perhaps you share gossip or air other people's "dirty laundry". Perhaps you are too quick to say "yes" and overcommit to things, filling your schedule with seemingly good things, but leaving you feeling haggard. Perhaps you struggle with using foul language.

If only we could be like my little girl and just shove our hands right up to our mouths whenever something awful is about to come out... But, whatever our verbal struggles, we have this to consider:
whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. And on that note, I'm going to shut up.

Quick Query #11- "You've Got a Friend"?

Today, I just have one question for you, with some "help-ya-think" follow-up questions:
How close is your closest friendship with another woman?


- Is she someone you see regularly or infrequently?

- Have you ever fought with her?
- Do you agree on most things or are there some "big-ticket" items you disagree about?
- Is she your age? Younger? Older?
- Does you both value your friendship to the same degree?


Please share about the closeness of your friendship, how "real" you are able to be, and how long you've been friends. Any other details you want to include are welcome! This is an opportunity for you to celebrate a treasured friendship in your life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Proverbs in Pictures #3


Our words are like deep waters- they can grow dank, lifeless, and stagnant without fresh insight flowing into our lives. It is very easy for us to swim around in our own words, without looking for truth and life anywhere else but in ourselves.

But the Word of God, a fountain of wisdom, gives us fresh, clean, life-giving words for us to draw from. We need to look everyday to God's Word to bring a constant flow of fresh wisdom into our lives.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Proverbs in Pictures #2


In the race of life, we are so aware of certain eyes, and completely unaware of others. We too often fall into the trap of only being concerned with how we appear in the eyes of other humans here on earth.

But in this case, the girls on the rowing team had their focus on the right person. They were keenly aware of their coach's eyes, because he was who they were close to, and he was who they were listening to. If they had been sitting on the shore, they wouldn't have heard his voice as well, and they wouldn't have been fit for racing. These girls weren't concerned with the people around them, in other boats or on the shoreline... instead, they were concerned with working hard and pleasing their coach. We, too, ought to be focused on pleasing our "coach" in the race of life, Jesus, whose eyes are always on us.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Phillip & JeffPlease welcome Phillip and Jeff, my newest gnomes checking out one of the seed trays. They arrived by gnometravel this morning. While Gnameless is still looking for help in the garden, these two don't really looking like they have their mind on garden work. But that's ok because I'm sure Gnameless already knows that a gnome village requires input from all the little folk. Gnomes

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ten Ways to Go Green in the Gardencompostuse mulchuse only organic fertilizersmanually remove pestscollect rainwater for garden watering needsuse solar powered lighting instead of electricattract beneficial insectsuse natural pesticidesuse companion plantinguse organic soil ammendmentsHappy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Skywatching

SunriseLexington Harbour, MichiganA very condensed version of this entry was first posted on my personal blog, My Journey this morning. Once I started writing it, I thought if expanded it would make a good entry here. The entry on that blog starts with a little animation I was playing with this morning but I thought for this entry, I would start out with a sunrise picture since skywatching is

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Please Wecome Jack My New Gnome

Gnameless Gnome & JackGnameless gnome was used to being the only gnome in my garden. As you can see he lost a couple of pieces off his rake so I'll have to see if I can find a way to fix that for him. He was joined by a wide variety of other garden decorations. This year I decided to use a unifying theme instead of a mish mash of decorations. Of course that theme had to be gnomes! The

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Let the Fun Begin!

It's that time of year folks! Time to get all the seed packets in order, start seedlings indoors and get your hands dirty. It's also a good time to rejuvenate and start houseplants. Let the fun begin!Seeds Everywhere!I admit it, I'm just a little behind on starting my seeds indoors but only by a few days. Yesterday was sunny and a balmy 63ºF so that spurred me into action. Unfortunately the

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Garden Goodies

Garden GoodiesI treated myself yesterday for behaving at the dentist. I hate dentists so actually bribed myself. Yes I know, I clearly stated here that I was gnomifying the garden and I am but the store I stopped at had no gnomes! I bought two new bird feeders and solar lights. I think I might pick up another set of the post solar lights and perhaps another solar rock. All are on sale until

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Balloon FlowerPlatycodon grandiflorumThe balloon flower is one of my favourites. Platycodon means like a broad bell and grandiflorum means having big flowers. The plant gets its name from the shape of the buds. They look like small pillowy balloons. I only have one balloon flower plant. It usually blooms in early to midsummer. This plant does seem to be rather hardy. A well meaning family

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