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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Intimate Deprivation

"The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come back together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
~1 Corinthians 7:3-5~

As Beth Moore said today, when releasing her thoughts about the results from a survey of married Christian men,
"Now, let's just go ahead and get it over with. You knew to expect it. They want more intimacy. ... And don't act like they're making you do it either. God agrees with them on this one. He's the very one who inspired the Apostle Paul to tell us not to withhold ourselves from one another except for brief seasons of prayer. (Apparently, some of you have been in prayer a LONG TIME.) [Admin. note: Yes, I bolded that comment- it just cracks me up-- some women consistently withhold intimacy for long periods of time, and it's just not biblical- but Beth says it in such a disarming way-- I love that!]

My beloved Sisters, take it from a woman who's been married a long time and seen a whole lot of marriages go down the drain. PHYSICAL INTIMACY IS PROFOUNDLY IMPORTANT TO A DECENT MARRIAGE. ... You can say "no" or act miserable and disinterested so many times that you teach your man not to want you. But you can't teach him not to want. My man is going to want. That's the way he's wired. SO, I want him to want ME. Want yours to want you, too."

I've written about this before... we ought not deprive our husbands of physical intimacy and delight! I don't know how else to say it. I am the only godly outlet for intimacy that my husband has- and if you are married, you are the only godly outlet for that area of your husband's life. We need to be not only willing- but excited- to meet this desire in our husbands!

I would be furious if my husband wanted to go long stretches of time without even talking to me, without being willing to hear my heart or know my thoughts. I would feel so hurt and saddened-- because communication is one of the important ways that we as women connect. And I know many of you may be there, married to a husband who does not communicate and connect with you in this important way, and that certainly is worth addressing with your husband, and perhaps a counselor.

But God knew this physical intimacy thing would be an issue for many married couples; He wrote it into His Word. Physical intimacy can be for our husbands, like communication is for us, one of the most important ways that we connect as couples. We need to hear, receive, and act on this theme from the Word- "the wife does not have authority over her own body" - "do not deprive". Just something to think about (and act on!).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Show & Tell: Of Femininity & Family

  • I've been meaning to write about this for a while, and kept putting it off... but I want to know what you ladies think about extrabiblical lists/rules for 'ladylikeness'. Here's an example. You may want to contrast it with this article. I'd just be interested to hear your thoughts...
  • Mrs. Brigham wrote an interesting post about women's hairlength and how it may/may not correspond to our spiritual state... What say you ladies?


(Just a little cartoon to lighten the mood! Even fairy tale marriages aren't perfect!)
  • The, Ahem, Easier Thing- Crunchy Con rebuts Linda Hirschman's attacks on stay-at-home wives & mothers
  • Children Are a Blessing - A working mother shares some insights from her workplace about cultural attitudes towards children
  • Is Family a Valid Feminist Choice? - This question has prompted women like the aforementioned Hirschman (and other historical feminists) to assert that women ought not have the option of staying at home, lest they exercise that option out of feelings of obligation or cultural expectation.
  • SUBMISSION - Amy has written an excellent post about what biblical submission means, particularly in the face of disagreement. Go read it.


As always, HAPPY READING! (And let me hear your comments/feedback!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Final Goodbye to this Garden

My garden here as I knew is is no more and may cease to exist entirely after the new owners take possession of the house. This garden gave me much more than I could even begin to put into words. It was such a learning experience in all aspects. I have so many memories and pictures of this garden so it will live on in my mind, in our family discussion and in the scrapbooks. It will also live

Quick Query #19: TEN BOOKS?

If you've been around here for awhile, you know how much I love to read. If you haven't, just take a gander over at my reading list on the sidebar over to the right... yes, I'm reading all of those simultaneously, and for the record, I've added about 3-4 books since updating that list! :)

So today I'd like to hear from you:
  4. NAME ONE BOOK (different from those listed in #1 & #3, if possible) YOU'VE READ THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO ANY CHRISTIAN WOMAN
Can't wait to hear from you ladies; I always enjoy reading through the answers to these Quick Queries. (And yes, if you can't think of three in each of the first three categories, well, then, just list the one or two that you CAN think of!) Just like all of the quick queries, there are no "right" answers here- just answer!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bee Balm

Bee Balm(Monarda didyma)Bee Balm (Monarda didyma ) is a hardy perennial herb that is unsurpassed for attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees to the garden. It is a member of the mint family. I will be taking a portion of the clump to the new house. M. didyma is a hybrid so is best grown from clump division rather than seeds collected from the plant as plants grown from the seeds will

Friday, June 22, 2007

Another Reason to Love U2

Adam, Larry, Bono, and Edge, my hat's off to you. This song is spiritually deeper than many of the so-called-Christian bands' tunes out there.

Check out these lyrics to
"Window In The Skies":

The shackles are undone
The bullets quit the gun
The heat that's in the sun (maybe a play on words with Son?)
Will keep us when there's none

The rule has been disproved
The stone has been moved
The grave is now a groove
All debts are removed, ooh

Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
What it's doing to me?
Oh can't you see what love has done to every broken heart?
Oh can't you see what love has done for every heart that cries?
Love left a window in the skies
And to love I rhapsodize

Oh can't you see?

Listen to it here. (you may have to click on "Window In The Skies")

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley(Convallaria majalis)Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is one of my favourite garden flowers. It evokes pleasant childhood memories and has been in every garden I've created since we were wed. I can remember laying on the cool grass gazing into the glass rocks my mom had surrounded by the heavenly smell of Lily of the Valley. I have a nice sized patch of Lily of the

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Overvaluing of "Leadership" in Parenting

American society has long placed a high premium on being a leader. Leadership skills are hot commodities on transcripts and resumes. Leaders of companies and organizations are revered. Even within the church, there is often a strict division between leaders and laity (aka, those of us in the pews).

So as parents, we are often led to believe that our aim is to produce
leaders. That the goal of parenting is to produce strong individuals. However, not every child is naturally a leader. Should we then, in an attempt to produce a future CEO or President of An Important Community Club, mold that child against his/her grain to have "leadership" skills? In considering this question, this is what I've come up with. (As always, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.)

Our aim ought not be to make a "leader", but rather to help our sons and daughters have discretion enough to know what things to follow. Our society has a bad connotation with the word "follow"- but really following is an EXCELLENT thing- if we're following the right thing.

If a daughter is falling prey to the materialism rampant in American society (even in children and teens), and following her friends in a desire for more and more toys, rather than training in leadership skills, we should begin training her in discretion. This can happen by watching the commercials on TV and asking questions- "what are they trying to get you to believe when they say '_________' about those dolls?" Or "what do you think about _______?" When we're watching a TV show, we ask questions like, "Why did Laura follow Nellie and end up doing that bad thing?" "What do you think you would have done?" "What's the right thing to do?" We can also find examples of someone following someone in a good way... and ask questions about that. Begin getting those kinds of questions to roll around in her heads... so that when she encounters something wrong (whether or not you've talked about it before), she will have a built-in system of evaluation about whatever it is that others are doing, playing with, or saying. Whether or not she is a leader, she will then be equipped to evaluate what others are saying, even those peers she would normally be swayed by. (Of course, just as most things in child rearing, this will need to be continually taught and reinforced.)

To me, teaching discretion is a more important parenting task than teaching leadership... and you can do that while walking down the aisle in Target, you can do it by looking through catalogs, you can do it by looking through Proverbs and finding applicable verses about lust for things, etc... you can do it by watching commercials, and you can do it by pre-game and post-game commentary before and after playing with friends.

Frankly, I think we ought to be all training our children to be better followers- but
we just need to make sure they know what to follow. Our society highly prizes "leaders"- but not many people actually get to be full-out leaders... whether at a job, or in government, or at home or whatever, there's always a chain of command and an authority placed over us. And some people may never get to be the 'leader'- but ALL of us get to be followers at one point or another.

And of course, as Christian parents, we want our children to willingly submit their lives to God's leadership. This all may just be semantics, but I'm just trying to raise a different way of looking at this situation.... In so many ways, if you have a son or daughter who is a "follower", it can be a GREAT thing... I would just spend time shaping his/her view of what is worth following, a la Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
In my mind, it should not be our aim to raise all of our children to be "leaders", without regard to who God made them to be. Instead, we should help our sons and daughters know how to discern what is worthy of following after. Thoughts or comments?

English Ivy

English Ivy(Hedera helix)I have a somewhat small patch of English Ivy (Hedera helix) growing along the south side of the house originally planted to hide a gas line. I'm taking several clippings of this plant to our new house. This versatile evergreen ivy can be grown as a houseplant or outdoors. When grown outdoors, English Ivy can be used as a maintenance free ground cover, climbing vine or

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ponder This: Campolo on Consumerism

"Consider this," author and speaker Tony Campolo says.
"The typical size of an American house has increased 40 percent in the last 25 years. It's not because we're having more children; we're having fewer children! We need bigger and bigger houses simply to hold all the stuff we don't need. What's even worse is that we're renting out space in storage bins because we can't contain all the stuff we have in the huge houses we have at our dispoal. It has become an insane society as far as surplus is concerned."

- - Taken from "Laying it Down: Learning to Live With Less In a Culture of Excess", by Jesse Carey, in the May-June 2007 edition of Relevant Magazine

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine(Campsis radicans)Years ago when we bought our second house there was a vine growing up the south side of the house. This was an old, turn of the century, wood sided, two storey house in need of tender loving care. We were young and naive so tackled the job that ended up being an almost 12 year project. We did everything from designing a huge kitchen, re-roofing, siding, new wiring

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Snow-in-Summer(Cerastium tomentosum)My mother-in-law introduced me to Snow-in-Summer when we bought our first house over twenty years ago. Since then I've grown this low growing ground cover with dusty green foliage and pretty white flowers at every house we've owned. This move will be no different.Snow-in-Summer is a very easy to grow, low maintenance perennial. It is undemanding and will

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Show & Tell: While I'm Gone

We're about halfway through what will hopefully be a "farewell" tour to see family and friends. We just spent the last two days at my in-law's home, where my mother in law taught me how to sew. What a wonderful thing it is to craft a dress for a wonderful daughter! So for show and tell today, I want to show you pictures of the "firstfruits" of my sewing endeavors. Here's the one we made together (front and back views as best I could get pictures of them on my wiggly one-year-old!):

It's a size 2, so that she can get a lot of wear out of it.

Then I made this one all by myself last night between the hours of 7pm and 1am:
The colors are brighter in person than they are in this picture- it's a really fun dress... and though I made a few mistakes, I learned from 'em and that's what counts! (ETA: In case you're interested, here's the pattern for both dresses.)

Now, here are a few links for you to peruse and enjoy while I'm gone for a few days.
And one remaining but very important thing: in case you haven't heard or noticed, Mike Huckabee has impressed media and regular Joes alike with his performance in the Republican debates. He's gaining momentum, and it's not because he's a friend-of-celebrities. Even hardened media writers have started to notice Huckabee's genuine likability, talent for speaking, and a new-ness that no one else in the Republican field is offering. It's because he's an impressive man with authentic faith, and a fresh perspective that this country needs. Take a look at Mike Huckabee; you'll be glad you did!

Happy reading and have a great week!

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Garden - What I Will Miss

Sunrise on GreenhouseMay 30, 2007One of my readers asked what I would miss about this house when we moved. Aside of the fact that I love the charm of the inside of the house of which I will think of fondly, I won't miss the lack of privacy the property has. What I will miss the most is my garden. The way the greenhouse glows in the early morning as the sun rises always brings a smile. I love

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Incredible, Edible Egg

I don't think I've told you ladies just how much I like the egg. Scrambled, fried, or on a sandwich. Omelets, french toast, dutch puffs. Used for extra filling inside lasagne & casseroles, or for a good coating on a pastry, eggs are SO versatile, so full of protein, and so delicious!

Here are some of my favorite delicious and easy egg-y recipes: Oven-Baked French Toast & Dutch Puff, and here's an article about controlling your appetite by eating the incredible, edible egg!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Strawberries and Moving Plants

StrawberriesJune 2, 2007My strawberries have just started producing. These were the first of the season so I had to share them. The technique used on the photo is called selective colouring, combining black and white with colour done in Photoshop. I will be taking a few of these June bearing strawberry plants to the new house. Unfortunately I do not know the variety but they are very

Monday, June 4, 2007

Friendships of Women, Part 4- Transparency is Vital

This post will seem obvious to some people. And to others, it will seem completely foreign, like learning a new language. Perhaps some might even see this as a fearful thing to be avoided. But I feel compelled to share this: I believe that transparency is vital for a friendship to grow beyond surface-level interactions.

If we are going to have authentic friendships, others have to know us. We have to open up; we must let others see us for who we really are. Without pride and pretense, but without false humility either. Others won't be able to speak into our lives if they don't know where we are, nor will there every be anything beyond shallow conversation if they don't know about the things that make our hearts soar. Basically, we will not have any genuine friends if we don't let the door of our hearts open up to allow others inside.

It can be a difficult thing, yes. It requires risk, yes. It may even mean rejection, yes. At times, we will have to be very wise and use discretion as to
who we share our hearts with. But the rewards infinitely outweigh the risks. Opening up to others not only ministers to you- but it will minister to them.

Now I'm not talking about telling your deepest, darkest secrets to a lady you've just met at a luncheon. But I AM saying that when we are in a friendship and the opportunity comes to share, then more often than not, we will be blessed if we opt to share transparently with the other woman. Yes, there are gossips who will nibble up morsels and tidbits and consume our lives as they would a romance novel, but that concern is really addressed in the initial discussion of how to choose a godly friend.

Honestly, I find that my life is more effectively used by God in the lives of others, and that my friendships have grown deeper when I treat my life as an open book. I hate having secrets or trying to remember who knows what. It is just easier for me to love others and minister to others if I am open about my own life- the good, the bad, and the ugly things that have happened to me, that I have done to others, and that have been part of the shaping of who I am today.

That's not to say that I go around blabbing my most personal and intimate details to any stranger on the street, but I am not going to keep a closet full of hidden away facts about myself. Instead, I'm going to try to shed the light of Christ into every area of my life, confess those things that are unattractive and ugly, and share my story--even my failures and hurts-- with anyone I can, in hopes that God can use my good, bad, and ugly to encourage others towards Himself.

I want my whole life to count for Him- and I want to have friendships with all kinds of women that will draw more and more women deeper and deeper in their relationship with Jesus. If it takes me being open about my life in order to help others walk more closely with Him, then YES- it is ABSOLUTELY worth the risk, the potential rejection, the possible shame, and anything else the enemy might try to use against me as a result of my openness.

Here's what I'm trying to get at: THIS is your real life. Your past, present, and future all make up the story He's weaving in your life... there's no re-do. This is the one crack you get at this thing called life. Whether it's ugly or painful, boring, or embarrassing, it's your story. And the same goes for my life - THIS is my real life... so, for my part, I want Him to be glorified from all of it. I want every single drop of my life to be squeezed out and used for His potential glory. I want even the pain and shame of my past to encourage my friends and the women I know towards godliness.

We all like to be around someone who is REAL- who has flaws and isn't afraid to admit it, but who is fully and intentionally running after God. I want to be that kind of woman, so that I can be useful, so that I might have deep friendships, and ultimately, so that my life will glorify the God Who made me. And I want to encourage
you to be that kind of woman, too.

The Modern Makeover of the Gospel

In this modern and self-seeking and all-accomodating age, we have muddied the waters of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Christians talk about a "Sinner's prayer" and use extrabiblical (and perhaps even unbiblical) phrases like "a God-shaped hole in your soul" and "ask Jesus into your heart" to describe the miracle of salvation.

Contrast our simplistic and self-focused terminology with the simple yet radical description given by Peter when he was asked about what one should do with the truth about Christ:
"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself." -Acts 2:28-29
The focus is on repentance. Forgiveness. Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God Himself.

Just some food for thought that jumped off the page at me when I was reading Acts this morning, and I felt compelled to share.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Beloved Books

Here is a list of top-tier EXCELLENT books I would classify as "must reads" for the thinking Christian woman. While it is not a comprehensive list, and I will continue to add to it as I find noteworthy books, these are all books that have been critical in shaping my heart, life, and mind. I pray they will be a blessing in your life as well.

NON-FICTION: Christianity

Knowing Scripture- R.C. Sproul
An excellent book that puts the study of Scripture into terms the average Christian can understand, while motivating and encouraging a love for the Word

Don't Waste Your Life- John Piper
A challenge for each Christian to life a life that matters

Heaven- Randy Alcorn
Don't know what to expect on the other side? This is a balanced and well-written view of what the BIBLE says about Heaven. I loved this book.

Have We No Rights?- Mabel Williamson
This book examines "demanding our rights" in light of Biblical submission, obedience, and sacrifice

Humility- Andrew Murray
A classic Christian work on a much needed topic

Discipline- Elisabeth Elliot
A challenging book, in so many ways. Highly recommended! I wrote about it here.

Mere Christianity- C.S. Lewis
A Christian apologetics course for the layperson. In this classic Christian book, Lewis lays out the basic whats, whys, and hows of the Christian faith.

NON-FICTION: Womanhood

For Women Only- Shaunti Feldhahn

This easy-to-read book lays out some basic but eye-opening facts about men in a fascinating way. Feldhahn uses studies and research to teach women about six myths and mysteries about men.

Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman- Anne Ortlund
Anne Ortlund gives very practical and biblical advice without being shallow or dull. This collection of three books ranges from discussing your beauty routine to your daily Bible reading, from your dayplanner to your evenings as a family. I love her candor and her wisdom; I think you will too.

Friendships of Women- Dee Brestin
This book is an excellent look at how friendships between women work, how they fail, and what they should look like. I found myself nodding so many times while reading this book- and yet learning so much from her examination of Biblical examples of friendship.

Does Christianity Squash Women?- Rebecca Jones (* currently reading)
So far, this book is the best look at Christian womanhood from a conservative perspective that I've ever read. Highly insightful and intellegent, though thoroughly readable, I am enjoying and giving an early recommendation to this book.

NON-FICTION: Parenting

The Most Important Place on Earth- Robert Wolgemuth
This easy-to-read book gives a glimpse into what a Christian home looks like. Whether you grew up in a Christian home, or grew up in a secular home but are now a Christian parent having to learn as you go, I think anyone can be challenged by the picture presented in this book. Practical and engaging, insightful and full of implementable ideas, this book is a great motivator for any Christian parent!

Hints on Child Training- H. Clay Trumbull (* currently reading)
A father and grandfather of many wrote this book in the 1890's. Humble and immensely practical, it is challenging me towards consistency in the overall aim and themes of parenting.

Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle: Arterburn, Stoeker, & Yorkey
This is an excellent book that offers up an alternative to the dreaded "the talk"... a method of discipling one's son in the area of Christian sexuality. (FYI: I thought that the companion book for girls was poorly written and not nearly as helpful as this one written for sons- so I would recommend that every mom - even those moms of daughters- read the book written for sons- to see a practical method for discussing sexuality as children grow older.)


Safely Home- Randy Alcorn
A casual American Christian encounters Christianity overseas and it challenges an examination of everything he believes. Aside from the Bible, this is quite possibly the best book I've ever read.

Stepping Heavenward- Elizabeth Prentiss
Recently read this book- the first post of my two-part review is here. The book is a great story, written through diary entries, of the "working out" of one woman's Christian faith. From her teenage years through marriage, motherhood, and into the final years of life, this book is motivating and insightful.

Redeeming Love- Francine Rivers
A re-telling of the bibical book, Hosea, set in the time of the California gold-rush.

Screwtape Letters- C.S. Lewis
A look at spiritual warfare through the eyes of the enemy- a head demon writes letters to an underling who is assigned to tempt and torment a new Christian. Classic Christian work.

Chronicles of Narnia- C. S. Lewis
These fictional books, recently featured on the silver screen, are a great allegory of the Christian story. Highly recommended for reading aloud to the children! (But you'll love them too- we read these out loud to each other while we were dating... they are very special to us!)

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Lemon Balm

Update: We have sold our house and will be moving in 27 days so my gardens aside of maintenance are on hold. I am taking plants I started here from plants I know I will want at the new house especially herbs and strawberries. There should be time for a late garden after we move. The gardens there are mainly floral, trees and shrubs in a mature landscape. Some of that will need to be cleaned

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