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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Loving God, Loving Others

Reading 1 Corinthians 13 does it for me. Going through Mary Kassian's study has done it. Reading & responding to the 50+ comments on the last post (that are no longer up) did it. Being around irritating or difficult people does it. Even being at home, with the people I love and treasure, does it. What is "it"?

"It" is: forcing me to really see how little I resemble God, and how little I truly LOVE God. As I read through 1 Corinthians 13, it easily becomes a checklist for self-examination:
  • Do I focus on speaking well, but lack love?
  • Do I have insight, knowledge, and even faith, but lack love?
  • Do I give generously & even live radically for God and yet lack love?
  • Am I patient and kind towards others, both the easy-to-love and the less-easy-to-love people around me?
  • Do I compare myself with others, either envying or boasting?
  • Am I arrogant or rude, essentially puffing up myself and/or putting down others?
  • Am I convinced that my way is the only right way?
  • Do I get easily irritated with others? Am I resentful?
  • Am I entertained, excited, or delighted by sin, or by the truth?
  • Do I put up with difficulties, or am I weak and whiny when it comes to suffering?
  • Do I believe and trust, or am I suspicious?
  • Do I hope, or am I shaky, anxious, and uncertain?
  • Do I endure (am I reliable?) or do I give in and give up?
Boy, do I fall short! On almost every single question, I answer the wrong way. It is painful to see just how unloving I really and truly am.

Honestly, y'all, these last few weeks have been chock-full of God's gentle, yet firm and in-my-face, showcasing of my failings. He's doing it, I'm confident, to change me. To bring me low so that I won't walk in pride or even come close to thinking that I have it all together. To show me that He loves me enough to keep softening my rough edges. But, as a form of public confession, here are some of the things He's bringing to mind:
  • I am, all too often, irritable towards my husband.
  • I'm impatient with my children.
  • I am unkind in my heart, mind, and words towards others who are different (as seen here at MH this week).
  • I care far too much about the perceptions of others... I want to be seen as smart, fun, insightful, and desirable-as-a-friend... not a critical, grumpy know-it-all.
  • I think my way is the best way, almost all the time... whether we're talking about editing a brochure or making lasagne or raising kids or folding laundry or whatever.
  • Plain and simple: I lack love.
Pretty convicting. And embarrassing. But what a precious thing to have a Father that doesn't just let me stay like I am-- but One who is willing to hurt me and wound my heart as He points out my sin so that, in the long run, I will hopefully be more and more like Him. One who is willing to break me so that I will rely on His wisdom instead of my own. One who knows--better than I do-- what I need.

And what I need is love.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Checking Your Herbs for Freshness

Even though we love our homegrown herbs, we all probably have supplemental spices in our cupboard. If you've wondered about the freshness of your dried ginger or nutmeg, you're not alone. Don't pitch those herbs before you check their freshness dates. McCormick, the spice giant, has a nifty site where you can check the freshness code on the bottom of your herb and spice bottles. Give it a try

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Harvest

When I was a little girl growing up in California, there would be times that my brother and I would get the occasional cold or flu. Being the pesky eaters that we were, my Mom was forced to administer our medicine through food. The food she chose was concord grape jelly.

It was no secret that she was doing it, in fact we often watched her mash up the pills and mix it into the dark jelly. So perhaps it was knowing that the medicine was in there or perhaps the medicine was too detectable to our pesky palettes, but either way, grape jelly eventually became associated with medicine and sickness.

Through the years and long after my brother and I began taking medicine like grown-ups, the association between concord grapes and sickness lingered. In fact, every time I found concord grape jelly or juice on the table, I was always reminded of that bad medicine taste in my mouth when I was a child.

When my husband and I first walked our property, we noticed the two twenty-foot rows of grape vines up in the south field. We would learn later that they were concord grapes. The previous owners planted and harvested them for none other than...concord grape juice and homemade concord grape jelly.

Over the past two and half years we've been here, we've nibbled on a few of the grapes around fall time but we've always been too busy with the house stuff to actually harvest them. Until now.

Walking out to check on them throughout the past month, I have been astounded by their aroma. Standing between the rows of vines, the strong smell of grapes was astounding.

So as I was plucking the grape bundles from their vines, one after another, in the beautiful fall sunshine, I thought about my childhood memory and knew that from that day forward the association of concord grapes with medicine and sickness would from then on be replaced with the memory of this beautiful fall day... plucking grapes from old vines under the soft fall sun.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Psychobabble Parenting

Maybe you've noticed it too? I've been discouraged to see a growing movement -- found among Christians -- that employs psychological nonsense in their parenting advice. They give bad advice, use long, confusing titles for various sin problems, and recommend strange methods and behaviors for parents. And then they accuse others of parenting unbiblically. I confess, it drives me bananas.

First, they give flat-out BAD advice. Advice that produces a domineering, self-centered, disobedient child. Then, once a young mom follows their advice and it yields a two-and-a-half-year-old domineering, self-centered disobedient child, these same advice givers will say something like,
"Yeah I know what you mean. Just buckle down and hang in there. That's a tough age. Remember, we're in the right because we're not being punitive like those other terrible parents whose kids only look like they're behaving and content."
They may then dispense a few methods for fending off disobedience by prevention or avoidance. Or worse, they may recommend that she see doctors so that she will have a series of letters or labels to identify what's wrong. They don't tell her that the problem is sin, and that they themselves (following their own terrible advice) are perpetually on the verge of mental break-down because of not having dealt wisely with their own children.

Just this week, I came across a random blogger's profile and I had to look up several of the concepts she used to describe her parenting style. I'm fairly well-informed about parenting methods and trends, and still some of her words were foreign and confusing. But biblically wise parenting doesn't have to be reinvented every couple of years.

As I've come across more and more absurd advice (full of big words and labels and conditions, but rarely-- if ever-- mentioning sin, discipline, and obedience), I'm convinced that we as Christian parents need to be cautious in this area of whose advice we're heeding. There are several things that get all jumbled up in modern-day parenting advice, particularly that which is whitewashed with a "Christian" veneer. Instead of trying to combat each false idea or method, I'll just try to simplify things a bit here.
  • Children are a blessing. A sweet gift from God. We ought to be thankful for our children... not only in words (like, "of course I love my children, but I don't always like them heh-heh-heh"). But we ought to be able to truthfully say and believe, "these children ARE a sweet blessing to me." When we become mothers, we have the privilege of interacting with neat, funny, unique individuals. Sure, sometimes it's tough. But, overwhelmingly, motherhood is a gift, and if we are continually frazzled, on-edge, angry, exhausted, and embarrassed because of our children and their terrible behavior, then we are doing something wrong. Children are a sweet gift from God.
  • That said, children are sinful. Children don't learn sin. It is inherent, and must be dealt with. The longer it goes unchecked, the more it will run rampant and unchecked in their hearts and minds. If your parenting advice doesn't deal with the sin problem, or tries to postpone the facing of it, it's lousy advice. Go straight to the Word and see what it says about foolishness and children.
  • Sin is sin. Disobedience, and disrespect are not justified simply because there's a reason for them. Children need to be taught self-control and obedience. Yes, sometimes they're sick or extra-tired (and, lemme tell ya, I know about this one, having moved around the world multiple times with preschoolers) and we need to wisely take these things into account, but we need to quit coming up with more and more labels and conditions to describe plain, old, run-of-the-mill sin.
  • Children should listen to and obey their mom and dad. It's sad to me that this needs to be spelled out these days, but since I virtually never see this actually said in the forums and blogs that dispense this bad parenting advice, I'll come out and say it here.

    Children are not smarter or wiser than their parents, even when it comes to assessing their own "needs". Much of what's doled out in modern advice is a bunch of hooey. Toddlers are inherently foolish and want all sorts of things that are not good for them. They need parents to wisely guide them and teach them. Giving them latitude and "freedom" to display horrible attitudes and further turn their little hearts towards sin is not wise or loving.

    Choices come later, once they've been carefully discipled and display wisdom in their choices. But in the beginning, with little ones, the basic thing that kids need is a loving mom and dad who will teach them to obey. Pretty simple, really.
Passing these basic principles of child rearing along to younger women is a bit of my part in the Titus 2 chain of women.

We moms need to get our advice from the One who made humans. If we have to resort to ridiculous behavior, newly-created labels, and psychological methodologies just to deal with a sinful and/or foolish child, we're not dealing with him/her correctly. Go to the Word of God, discipline your child accordingly, and you will have rest and delight in your soul.

[An explanation about why comments were closed: Messages, forum posts, and blogs from young moms who are floundering following worldly philosophies aren't difficult to find, and oftentimes, the most that they get is a pat on the back, a cutesy parenting "tip", and perhaps an, "I'm struggling with the same thing." That's not Titus-2-ing. That's commiserating.

I get letters and e-mails and comments fairly regularly asking for me to share what our parenting philosophies are... how we raise our kids, what we do with tantrums, whether we spank, how we handle x, y, or z... and this post is my certainly imperfect but honest attempt to answer part of that question.

And with that, I'm closing comments. This isn't an "I'm packing up my toys and going home" closing of the comments, but rather, because I think this post stands on its own and doesn't need to be picked apart word by word. If you have something to say to me (as many of you already have), you can always e-mail me at

Thanks for the dialogue... it is both difficult and wonderful to talk through these things. Even when it feels very personal (both to me and to some readers), I think it's worth it to work through that feeling and get to the root issues of the matter. So, thanks!

Blessings & may God teach us all more and more of how to be like Him and like He intends for us to be as parents as we walk the adventure of life with the precious children He entrusts to our care and teaching. ~Jess]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Evolution of the Exterior


This is the front of the house. Notice that you step down into porch.

This is the west side of the house. The future wraparound porch will come to the exterior door seen in this picture.

This is the east end of the house. You can see quite clearly all of the quirky additions that were made over the years.

The farmhouse was built in 1923. It's a simple one and a half story farmhouse that endured a little neglect, some quirky additions, and a very 1970's style 'remodel.' The previous owners were a lovely couple who adored nature. Mr. Winklebleck was a local school teacher and many folks who've come to work on our house, tell us stories about him. He was a very kind man. We've also heard lots of stories about dear sweet Mrs. Winklebleck. She had quite the reputation for feeding any wildlife that came knocking at her door. This included deer, skunk, raccoon, opossum and BEAR. That's right, she fed bear. Right off that back deck.

The home is nestled on 7-acres of land. The serene country setting offers everything we were looking for in a country home...privacy, peace and quiet, oodles of opportunities for long walks just outside our font door and spectacular views of rolling farmland with Mt. Adams as a backdrop.

Although we hadn't set out to necessarily buy a fixer upper, this house had so much potential and offered such a lovely spot in the country, that we decided that it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. Upon taking ownership of the property in June of 2006, we immediately began working on our vision for the house.

From the beginning, we knew we'd do the following: 1. Add a shed dormer to make half story into master bedroom, bath, walk-in closet and home office, 2. Add a wraparound porch, 3. New windows and doors throughout, and 4. Spruce up existing kitchen, bath and other rooms. We did in fact accomplish all of these things, but as the blog explains, there was a bit more to it than we anticipated (there always is).

Just to give you an idea of how much more involved our little remodel was, I've included a few of my favorite "During" photos.

The benefit of having a civil engineer for a husband is their ability to survey your property so that it you can properly dig out your house. Notice now that the porch, which you originally stepped down into, is now several feet above ground. The ditch is for underground water drainage. By this time, we had already remodeled most of the downstairs. So at this point, we were waiting for the contractor we hired to begin the second half of the remodel.

Here's the kick-off to the second half of the remodel several months later. A large support beam gets lifted into ridge line by crane. This will support new dormer.

Dormer goes in.

Quirky additions get torn down.

Sagging is found and fixed.

And finally the after...

With new wraparound porch, new dormer and new dining room addition, the front looks much better.

The Marvin windows and Simpson doors create a whole new look to the house.

I love the Emtek door hardware. Amazingly, it's very similar to the original.

This is the east end of the house. It shows the new dining room addition, the removal of dated deck and new dining patio. 

This is the west end of the house after new wraparound porch. The window in the half story is the master bathroom window.

This the west end entrance. It offers a great view of Mt. Adams and farmland.

Go here to see west end post. 
Go here to see east end post. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sweet Pea Home Sale

Please mark your calenders to attend our sale on Sat. November 1st from 9am til 2pm! The cottage will feature a Christmas theme and will be filled to the brim with treasures from our recent trip to Texas. We will also have a bottom dollar table loaded with great stuff that needs a good home at fabulous mark-downs. Great way to finish or start your holiday shopping! Hope to see you there! for more info or directions

Saturday Nov. 1st
Sale starts at 9am
No early sales please
Cash or checks accepted

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Meaning of Pro-Choice

Randy Alcorn has some words worth considering...
Believing what I do that the unborn are human beings in the fullest sense, to be pro-legalized-abortion is exactly equivalent to being pro-legalized-killing-of-three-year-olds. Or pro-legalized-killing-of-teenagers. Or pro-legalized-killing-of-women. Or pro-legalized-killing-of-Jews.

What would you think if a politician said "I'm not pro-rape, I'm simply prochoice about rape. And though I would not choose to rape a woman, I believe that every man should be free to rape a woman if that is his personal choice." And what would you do if that politician promised the rape lobby that if he is elected president, the "first thing I would do" is to sign legislation that would invalidate all the state laws that restrict rape in any way?

Well, I think I would say that man is pro-rape, wouldn't you? But technically, no, he is simply prochoice about rape. Read the article here.

God, help us to stand up for the innocent. Those who are dying every day in America at abortionists' hands can not speak up for themselves. They cannot write letters to Congressmen, they cannot give to a PAC, and they cannot vote.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves..." (Proverbs 31:8)

"A person's a person no matter how small." ~Horton

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:40)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Facing the "Slag"

As I've shared here before, these last few months (and really, the last couple of years, off and on) have been some of the hardest hitting times I've ever faced. Many changes have come into our lives, unexpected ones. Things we didn't anticipate and wouldn't have chosen or signed up for. And it seems as though just about the time I get "content" with whatever situation God has put us in, He shakes things up on me, and I am once again left gasping for air.

At times, I have felt utterly forgotten. Unvindicated. Left in limbo. Uncertain. In some of the deepest despair. Even when I've shared with friends, because we have only walked this path together (Doug & I), there's really no one else that fully "gets it" except our Lord.


For the last month or so, I've been in a small group going through Mary Kassian's "Vertically Inclined" Bible study. Today's study started out with an example of wildfires in the forest... how the purging fires actually, over time, allow for new growth for the pine forests. Though the fire threatens to kill, it actually revitalizes the forest. It clears out dead undergrowth and makes way for fresh seeds and strong new trees to grow. And then she reminded us of 1 Peter 4:12 that tells us,
"Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you!"
And then she said this... which is the reason why I'm writing:
"In the crucible of suffering, we must hold on to God, follow Him, and deal with any 'slag' we see rising to the surface of our hearts".
I have to tell you... up until these last few months, I'd have completely been able to nod my head and move right past the weight and significance of that last part... "deal with any SLAG...". But right now, there's a whole lotta slag rising up to the surface:
  • Bitterness.
  • Frustration.
  • Impatience.
  • Pride.
  • Judgments.
  • Attitudes of entitlement.
  • Mad grabs for control.
  • Despair.
  • Asking, time and time again, "How long, O Lord?"
Normally in adult life, I have tried to take the approach that if God has something to teach me, I want to be moldable. I want to learn the lessons He wants me to learn the first time... so that I don't have to keep on going back and back again to the same. old. lessons. But these are hard ones... and there are so doggone many of them. Where to start? Honestly, I just feel broken... like the only way to deal with all these issues is just to lay myself bare before the Lord. And yet, the scales of my heart are so battle-worn. It feels so vulnerable and at-risk to face all of these things at once. And there's a rebellious heart underlying it all that just, frankly, doesn't want to deal with all of that. It feels so much easier to just go on with the status quo.

Up until this time, whenever I've faced trials, I've been pretty strong. I typically get more calm, more patient, more resilient, in the face of difficulties... my health, family health issues, huge transitions in our lives, whatever. But this series of events & changes has left me grasping for "Serenity now!" (just a joke; I don't actually believe in psychorelaxation techniques) and made me very, very aware of strong and serious deficiencies in my character. There's so much work to do, I honestly don't know where to start... so I'll just echo David's words for now:

Psalm 51- Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow...
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you...
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

So that's where I'm at. It's so sweet to be cherished by God... to know that He wants to change me... that He desires to sanctify me over time, through hard situations. That He burns up old deadwood that's gathered on the "forest floor" of my life in order to bring new vitality into this heart and allow new growth to take place. But it's not easy. It's not easy to change, but it wouldn't be easy to stay the same either. I don't want to stagnate, and I don't want to let the dross melt back into the metal that He's refining. This Christian life is not a joke or a cakewalk... it's hard. And worth it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oh, How I Love Toy Sets! Let Me Count the Ways...

In our house, this means:
  • matchbox-size cars with fold-up cloth roads
  • people with houses/cars/etc.
  • animals with fold-up ranch & rodeo
  • Thomas the Tank Engine and friends w/ traintracks & accessories
  • Wood blocks/Duplos/Legos
  • Dress-up outfits -- firefighters, "Bible men" (cotton tunics w/ headwraps), policemen, cowboys, doctors, football players, ballerina skirts for Maranatha, etc.

Here are some reasons why. They:
  1. Are easy to keep cleaned up. -- We only allow two "sets" out at a time-- one on the enclosed balcony and one in the boys' room... that way, sets generally stay separate.
  2. Are great for longevity. -- Essentially, this allows you to reintroduce the same toys over and over again, because each time you pull it out it "feels" new and exciting.
  3. Facilitate group play. -- Enough for everyone, even when friends come over!
  4. Are easy to add to. -- Which makes for an easier time at birthdays & Christmas
  5. Help the kids to keep things organized. -- Like the "kindergarten room" set-up... everyone knows where various components belong.
  6. Encourage group decision making. -- We have the rule that they have to agree in order to trade in one "set" for another, so they learn to give in sometimes, and learn how to make a compelling "case" for persuading others.

Yes, I realize that when they're 10, 12, 14, & 16, this stuff won't matter so much. But right now, it makes things FAR less complicated, keeps things far more tidy than they would otherwise be, and has many advantages.

So, if you like our system, borrow whatever parts you like.
And if you have a great system for keeping up with toys, please feel free to share it here!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby"?

The True Woman '08 conference was held last weekend in Chicago, and WOW, have you listened to Mary Kassian's session on Feminism yet?

If not, well then WHAT are you waiting for? :-) She gives a phenomenally accurate and insightful (and relatively quick) overview of how feminism's lies have affected and infected marriage, womanhood, and culture. Click on the link and let it play while you fold a load of laundry... it's very interesting and certainly worth your time! Enjoy!

p.s. Here's a short interview with Mary Kassian to whet your appetite.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Over-wintering Plants

Our ADFF was October 12th this year meaning on that date there was a 50/50 chance of a damaging or hard frost. Unfortunately it came earlier than predicted spelling disaster to local tomato farmers. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars lost due to the early frost. Our property is water front so tends to be a bit protected from frost longer into the season still it is time to bring in

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bits and Pieces

We have the best time when we are in Texas! We start off at the party at Leftover's in Brenham. This time they had a book signing with Mary Emmerling who was plugging her book "Beach Cottages". She was kind enough to pose with for a pic...

On Sunday, Theresa Cano of the famed Garden Antiques Vintage blog hosted her second blog party at her booth in Warrenton. Fun was had by all...

Check out Craigy-poo looking all suave and debonair in his combination cowboy/hard hat. Hey you never know when you'll need to protect your cranium...

Judy Hill's booth at Marburger. Always one of my favs...

My pal Teresa Smith's booth at Marburger. She's of Time Worn Interiors fame and my new neighbor.

Franklin and Donna's booth at Marburger. They are the nicest couple and we love them both!

Peg and John aka French Vanilla's booth. Always a show stopper!

Fresh from a little retail therapy at Magnolia Pearl~~me and Teresa...

So I saved the best for last. Craigy-poo and Mr. Sweet Pea. Aka poo-poo and pp, two peas in a pod, partners in crime, the "real Marburger boys"~~I could go on and on....

Happy Thanksgiving-----Happy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2006-2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SHOW & TELL: Holiday Hoopla

OK, so maybe today's not a holiday to you. But today's my birthday (my 29th... yes I'm actually 29, not just saying so to coyly lie about my age), and tomorrow's our anniversary (our 8th!). [And yes-- I pre-scheduled this post, so I didn't have to even think about blogging this week.] So, as a weird backwards-day sort of "Birthiversary" present, you get a motherlode of wonderfully interesting links to peruse and enjoy. Hope you like reading 'em as much as I have.

Thoughts on... BEING A GODLY WOMAN
  • What do we do when facing problems with other people? C.S. Lewis offers wise, challenging advice.
  • Are you a bitter woman?
  • Never "get much" out of Leviticus? Or are you looking for ways to enrich your Bible study time? Check out Melissa's thoughts about reverence for God, and how she structures her Bible studies in order to better understand God's message.
  • Taming The Tongue: Desiring God's recent conference messages are all online... for me, and most women I know, this issue of our words is a particularly relevant challenge.
  • A woman's "highest calling"? In case you missed it, Amy's thoughts here are SO worth reading. I see this phrase thrown around a lot... I highly encourage you to read and consider what she writes.

Thoughts on... MARRIAGE

Thoughts on... CHILDREN

  • Wise words on how to overcome irritation with children
  • Beautiful perspective: What I'd Like You To Know (from a mom of many)... consider this link as a hearty "Amen!" from me.
  • Do kids NEED mom to play with them? Brenda shares some interesting thoughts about this often guilt-inducing subject.
  • When a friend miscarries: Wise words from my friend Tanya in her article, "Tanya, I just don't know what to DO."
  • Speak kindly to your children.
  • Having three children really isn't SO difficult.
  • An easy way to teach children to tie their own shoes.
  • When is a family TOO BIG? Whoopi Goldberg and others in an interesting (and, in many ways, scary) conversation.
  • PLEASE protect your kids online!!! Christine reminds us of what's at risk.
  • Lunch ideas for busy moms- here's a running list I've put together of potential, EASY meals for mid-day with kids-- I'd love to have you add your ideas!
  • Shaping Your Child's Sexuality: Mary Flo Ridley seems to have a thoughtful perspective on having "THE talk"... I've enjoyed all I've read/heard from her so far.
  • When Your Quiver Overflows- Stacy McDonald... a thoughtful perspective on the fruit of the womb
  • Scroll down this article until you see the headline "The Cost of Motherhood", and then read it. It's's an excerpt:

    There is a cost of motherhood. And the price is no small sum. And if you are not willing to pay this price, no amount of encouragement about the joys of motherhood will satisfy.

    But the price of motherhood is not fundamentally different from the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christian mothers see their duty as mothers flowing from their calling to Jesus Christ. And what is this cost?

    Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others.


Thoughts on... HOMESCHOOLING

Thoughts on... ABORTION


Thoughts on... FOOD

Random MISCELLANY that's potentially WORTH YOUR TIME

  • Do Christians in China still suffer persecution?
  • First Graders attend same-sex wedding- as a public school field trip. Since liberals aren't having their own children, they'll just take control of the consciences of everyone else's children through government schools. At the same time that American education is tanking in virtually every academic area, THIS is the stuff they want 5- and 6-year-olds to learn. Ugh.
  • How to fold a t-shirt in 2 seconds
  • Adjusting to life overseas... good advice for any ex-pat wife.
  • Mark Driscoll is, chapter by chapter, releasing his book-- "Porn-Again Christian" -- online, for FREE. Publishers have turned down the option of publishing this book because of Driscoll's straightforward handling of these issues-- I'm guessing this is one interesting book, relative to our culture, honoring to God, and offensive to the rigidly religious among us. But wasn't Jesus all of those things?
  • TV-free living? An article about us kooks.
  • In his new documentary, Religulous, Bill Maher clearly thinks that anyone who believes in God is a fool. Here's the preview-- you be the judge.
  • Answering Lottie Moon's Cry: an interesting article that at least raises worthwhile questions about complementarianism & women in overseas missions
  • Do you pop your neck? Is the temporary relief worth it? I confess that I have for more than a decade... but reading this article has caused me to re-think my habit.
  • Regardless of your thoughts on Palin, this article examining Palin's wardrobe is an interesting one. [For one thing, no such article would EVER be written about a male politician (unless he was effeminate). For another, I've really appreciated seeing a woman who's not afraid to be feminine. Mother, wife, long hair, skirts... finally, there's a prominent woman who's not afraid to overtly be, well, a woman.]
  • If you don't read ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES blog, you should. Some of the most thought-provoking blogging around paired with book giveaways. Does it get better than this?
  • Human sexual trafficking: Inform yourself... this interview (called, "They Could Kill You & Noone Would Ever Know") with a Central Asian woman gives an insightful view to this horrible, modern-day practice.


  • How to punish a cheating husband? Make him wear this! This website of crochet-gone-wrong cracks me up!
  • Cake Wrecks-- always good for a laugh... this blogger finds the BEST (read: worst) cakes to highlight!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Home Again

Mr. Sweet Pea and I arrived home safely on Monday from our second Marburger Farms whirlwind. I am happy to report that this trip was much smoother than the first, with only one glitch on the way there~~no hotel rooms from Louisiana to Texas due to Ike. So Mr. Sweet Pea stepped up and drove the entire trip there, over one thousand miles, with no worries at all. If there's one thing Mr. Pea can do it's drive for hours on end with no problem~~me, not so much... We had a blast, spent lots of time with our fab friends, and came home with lots less inventory. I hope you enjoy the pics of our booth!

This table was sold to Rachel Ashwell!

One of my fav vignettes~~this table sold to Rachel Ashwell also.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Saved, but Struggling"

I recently got a comment and the lady signed off, saying she was "saved but struggling".

As I read her comment, I couldn't help but think how much that sums up the Christian life. Saved. But struggling.

Aren't all of us Christians "saved but struggling?" If we're not currently struggling, a struggle is undoubtedly JUST around the corner. And that's the whole point. Contrary to some of the errant doctrines that are SO popular and SO winsome and attract SO many people, God's AIM is not to make us happy. Nor does He aim to makes us comfortable. Nor does He promise to make life easy.

As Christians, His purposes for us include sanctification (the process of being made holy) and teaching us to identify with Christ through humility, submission to the Father's will, and suffering. If those things were items on a menu, do you think any of us would choose them? They're HARD things. But they are GOOD things. There are things that are hard and are struggles because we have made stupid decisions and are being foolish. But then there are things that are hard that are GOOD because God is using this fallen world with all of its corruption and pain and hurt and shame to shape us and sharpen us according to His will. And that is what I want. And it's what the believers path looks like. Hard things that all work together for good.

Praise God! I'm struggling and saved!

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