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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Produce Department Herb Plants

The next time you head off to your local produce department, take another look at the fresh herb plants. Usually tucked in an out of the way corner, often by the sacks of peanuts and dried fruits, the culinary herb plants will usually be sitting in black moulded plastic trays. They're green and hardy, or at least they start out that way.They make me a little sad every time I walk by, and I

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Show & Tell: The Mother "Load" of Links

Goodness gracious, ladies. I have a HEAP of links to share with you. You'll just have to browse and pick from them because there are just too many (I think I must've been compiling them from the past month, er, um... year). But do pick some. They're all so good.

First up, Heather wrote this post: My (Mis) Perceptions which aptly sums up some things I've been thinking and feeling lately... about the way we get settled in our opinions and views.

*** Also, I've updated my songs down at the bottom of this page, so there are some great new songs (I kept some of the same ones though!) and a couple of mini-sermons for you to listen to as you browse! ***

BEING WIFE & MOMMY: links on wifelihood and motherhood--
  • The modern view of motherhood: Kelly sounds off after reading this celebrity quote: "After three months with a newborn and a toddler I was happy to go back to work."
  • "Yes, He's Still Nursing": breastfeeding facts and encouragement (I'm about four weeks away from re-joining the ranks of nursing moms!)
  • The Cost of Raising Children: The problem with these sorts of figures (which are actually lower than what is often quoted in parenting magazines) is that they don't take into account the fact that my 3.5 year-old son is now wearing clothes that his big brother wore two years ago and that his soon-to-be-born brother will wear in another two years or so. My 21-month old daughter is reading books that have already been enjoyed (and continue to be enjoyed) by her older siblings. These types of costs are one-time costs, no matter HOW many kids you have. If you have two, they can be used twice (even if you have one boy and one girl, there are many toys and things like strollers that can be used by both genders), and if you have seventeen children (like the Duggars), there's no telling how many times things can be used!
  • The Business of Being Born- a new documentary that's coming out about childbirth and modern hospitals-- really seems like an interesting film (headed up by Ricki Lake-- remember her?! ) Read one blogger's review of the movie.
  • Cultivating Wise Habits- Amy reminds us to be careful with what we do and don't do, and particularly in the habits we form.
  • Life With Boys- Renee always has such fun insights from her life with 11 children. Here's a fun and right-on post about life as a mommy with little guys running around.
  • Marriage: An Idol?- Is it wrong for a single woman to desperately WANT marriage?
  • Bible Story Books: Al Mohler's recommendations for children's Bible books.
  • WORDS OF LIFE: Gina shares some penetrating questions about how to measure our words against Scripture, as we speak to our children, to our husbands, and to the world around us.
  • Adopt Or Have My Own?- Candace @ Boundless thinks through this question posed by a reader.
  • Watching Your Child Grow Up... on the Internet: "modern" moms and their technological dilemnas (what a sad commentary this is on how feminism has changed families in America!)

THE BODY OF CHRIST: links on faith & Christianity--

ABORTION: links on the murder of babies--
  • TERM-inology: examining late-term abortion & partial birth abortion
  • KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT ABORTION: John Piper encourages us to be informed about abortion and gives some helpful links so that you can "get informed"!
  • How I Became Pro-Life- This former pro-choice athiest shares her VERY interesting story.
  • When Abortion Is Just "A Choice"- many abortionists would have you believe that most or all abortions are out of desperation (and many are), but there are those who abort simply because they can.
  • How much of America has been aborted? Sallie shared a great visual that gives you a picture of how BIG abortion is... how many of "us" we've murdered carrying out this "right" called abortion.
  • What CAN unborn babies feel? This is a FASCINATING article about fetal pain, and it has strong implications for abortion "rights".

POTUS 2008: links about the Presidential election (potus= President Of The United States)
  • The Five Stages of McCain- an interesting analysis of the changes many have gone through in the last month or so, when considering McCain as a candidate
  • What Has Obama Done? Chris Matthews asks this not-so-difficult question to someone who ought to have had a ready answer... it's almost painful to watch.
  • Election '08: Idealism Vs. Pragmatism- Terry gives some great analysis to the choices we'll all have to make, both now and in November in the voting booth.

MISCELLANEOUS: links that are totally random & totally (in my view) worth your time--
LEVITY: links to make you laugh--
As always, happy reading! This may or may not be the last one I do for a while, seeing as how I've got a baby due in, oh, about three and a half weeks. ;-) We'll see. Regardless, these links should keep you nice and busy!

Being "Sexy" For Your Husband? (part four)

This is #4 in a 5-part series examining if and in what ways Christian wives should be "sexy" towards their husbands. Click below to read previous installments:

PART ONE: Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?
PART TWO: Where does the standard of "sexiness" come from?
PART THREE: What is definitely off-limits for Christian marriages?

So then today, we'll look at question #4:

Should there be a difference in our attitude, countenance, and the way we carry our body in public and in private?

The short answer is, "Yes!" But, more specifically, we must consider in what ways we should be distinctive in public and in private.
  • In our attitude. As Christian wives, our husbands should never have any reason to question our faithfulness or commitment to them. Nor should they doubt our love and respect. So, in that, our attitude about our husbands (respectful, loving, and supportive) should be the same whether we are out in public or at home. More on the point of being sexy though, I think we need to be careful that we only have a flirtatious and enticing attitude towards our husbands. Some women exude confidence and vivacity and friendliness towards other men can be perceived as flirtation. As Christian women, we need to be aware of those tendencies, and be careful to (as far as it lies within our power) not come across as inviting attention from other men.

  • In our appearance. We're to be attractive and seductive for one man only-- the husband God gave us. That doesn't mean that we go to the store or church looking like a frump and only wear makeup when we're in the bedroom. But I think it SHOULD mean that it's not the reverse-- others shouldn't be the only ones who see us at our best. I'm definitely not saying that we never are allowed to wear sweats in our homes or have a ponytail or an "off" day. But what I am saying is that we need to be certain that we DO give our husband reason to find us attractive and beautiful. In the Song of Solomon, the young woman has clearly tried to do things (for example, wear jewelry, and use her eyes) to captivate her husband. It is good to work to be beautiful and captivating towards our own husbands. That doesn't mean the same thing for all of us-- some husbands couldn't care less about make up, or wearing certain styled clothes, or lingerie, or whatever... but some do- and we need to be aware of those preferences and be appealing towards our own husband.

  • In the clothes that we wear. We shouldn't dress in public in ways that are tantalizing towards men in general. If your husband likes a particular color on you, or a particular outfit, I don't see any problem with wearing it... with this caveat: we are not to be tempting towards other men. I have experienced this a few different times in the past, where I've noticed that a Christian married woman will dress in ways that are clearly inappropriate, and her husband seems to derive pride from that, as though he WANTS other men to notice his wife in a sexual way.

    We are specifically told in the Word not to be a stumbling block for others, so I'll put it this way: I don't see ANY problem with dressing however you want to, for your husband's eyes alone. When we're in public settings, it is fine to be pretty and intentionally keep ones' self up. And it's not wrong to wear clothes that look nice or show that you are, in fact, a woman. :-) But as Christian women, we need to put the needs and struggles of our brothers in the Body of Christ ahead of our own desires to look chic or hot or sexy or whatever else our culture (or sometimes, even our own husbands or friends) may tell us to shoot for.

  • In the way that we talk. Some things are only for husbands and wives to discuss. Some things, I believe, are OK for us to talk about with same-sex friends as we work through issues that come up or have questions that we need to talk through. But most things of the sexual realm aren't to be opened up as conversation with just any old person. Our culture has blurred a lot of the lines of what's acceptable, but we need to be cautious in the way that we talk and the subjects we discuss, particularly in mixed company.

  • In the way we carry our bodies. Privately, between you and your husband, your body is not your own-- it was made for him, and God called that union good. So, I believe you can do whatever you please as far as fabrics, dancing, outfits, lotions and other accessories, and whatever else you and your husband desire. Publicly, however, we need to be aware of the people around us, and not be seductive towards others (intentionally or unintentionally).
    A few examples:
    -when wearing a blouse, be aware of the neckline, and if it would be revealing, use a free hand to hold it to your collarbone if you bend over with men around you.

    -be aware of your pants/underwear line and don't sit or bend in ways that reveal to others what you have on underneath!
    -ask your husband what parts of your body or the way you carry yourself might be a struggle for other men (for some of us, it's hips; for some, it's the chest; for others it might be the way you walk), and strive to not entice others with that particular attribute.

  • In our interactions with our husbands. Candidly, I'm of the opinion that far too little snuggling and hand-holding happens between Christian married couples. We're the ones who have the God-ordained right to do these things, and yet our culture tells us that only hot young singles kiss in public, or only teenagers hold hands and lean on each other lovingly.

    We've got it BACKWARDS! !! We shouldn't be afraid to hold hands and look at each other with joy and appreciation for each other. (Particularly in our homes in front of our children, so that they see a living example of a loving marriage, but that's another topic for another day...). Yes, we need to be careful to keep private things private. There's definitely balance needed. My feeling on this, though, is that our Christian culture leans far too heavily towards the "No PDA" rule among married couples than to need to be reined in. And our young people are suffering for it-- they're buying the lie-- that Christian couples don't have any fun and certainly don't know about "the s word" (sex). I believe that the healthiest way for our culture and our children to learn about God's REAL intentions for sex is to see us enjoying our marriages and the physical oneness God has given us. And how better than for them to see us acting like we REALLY DO like each other?!?!?!
So, for my part, I am convinced that private behavior and interactions between a man and his wife that do not violate Scripture (we talked about that in PART THREE) are fully permissible and can be a wonderful part of the marriage relationship. But we must be careful, as Christian women, not to act, dress, or speak in public in ways that tantalize others in the ways that we entice and delight our husbands.

I'd love to hear your input on these, because many of these really are my subjective views... so far, all of the "opinions" expressed in the posts of this series have come from Scripture. But this one is really just my thoughts on the issue, so I'd love to hear yours.


Graphic ("Dusk" by Alphonse Mucha) from

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Plant Tea This Spring

There are many herbal teas that are made from ingredients that you can grow in your garden easily: sage, ginger, apple mint, saffron, chamomile flowers, peppermint, dandelion, lemon balm, fennel, and lemon thyme among others, all make good teas that can be blended for their unique flavor and restorative properties. When planning your herb garden this year, don't forget to make a spot for tea

Random Thoughts on Pre-Baby Preparations

So, we're gearing up for Silas' arrival (he's due Easter Sunday, in less than 4 weeks- YIPPEE!!!). Here are some things that I'm doing to get ready...

* I've washed and put away all the cloth diapers we'll be using, so they're ready to be pulled out and used whenever he comes. (Incidentally, I didn't use cloth with Maranatha until she was 9 months old, so I haven't yet used the itty-bitty ones... and let me just say: they are ABSOLUTELY adorable!)

* Yesterday, I purchased a soft-armed plush chair for nursing privately in our bedroom... I've been browsing used furniture shops here near where I take language lessons, and my language tutor went out with me yesterday and helped me find a great used chair that is not the prettiest or newest thing in the world, but is quite comfortable and will fit the bill quite nicely. We have large groups that meet here at least twice a week, so having a private, comfy place to escape to (especially in those early days of getting used to each other) will be a blessing!

* I've already sorted through the kids' dressers so that I won't have to deal with changing out their clothing sizes for at least a few months after Silas is born. (Packing away things that are too small, shifting in the new sizes, making sure everything fits and is fairly organized.)

* One thing I haven't yet done that I'm going to do is to return to a system I used when Ethan (now 5.5 years old) was 2 and 3 years old... whenever I fold laundry for toddlers, I put pre-matched/chosen outfits into gallon-sized Ziplock bags, complete with shirt, shorts/pants, undies, socks, and whatever else they need to get ready. Then I just loaded those baggies into their drawers. That way, in the morning, I didn't have to go through drawers, searching for matching socks, hoping there were pants that went with a particular shirt, etc.

So, now that I have two little people (Baxter- 3.5 years old, and Maranatha- 21 months) who are certainly old enough to grab a bag, but not old enough to choose (or consistently choose) well-matched outfits, I've decided to re-implement this great system to get through the next year or so. It will be helpful while Silas is little, to keep me from having to think so hard about what three little people will wear. Instead, I'll just pick out Silas' outfit, and Baxter and Maranatha can decide for themselves what to wear (but it will be from pre-approved choices). ;) Anyway, I'll get to work on this a few weeks after Silas is born, since my mom is bringing gallon-sized Ziplocks to me when she comes for his birth! :)

* Pre-made, frozen meal options- Here's my list of what I've started making this week:
  • 60 frozen chicken pocket sandwiches (little pastry squares filled with a seasoned chicken and cheese mixture)
  • 2 servings of pre-made spaghetti sauce (no Prego or Ragu on the store shelves here!)- finished 3/5/08
  • 4 meals' worth of marinated chicken breasts and thighs- DONE!
  • 20+ breaded chicken breasts and thighs
  • 60-80 breaded chicken nuggets
  • 2 servings of pre-cooked/flavored taco meat- DONE!
  • 40 taco pockets (pastry squares filled with taco meat and cheddar cheese)- DONE!
  • 2 batches of frozen oatmeal cookie dough- finished 3/3/08
  • bagged soup mixes (pre-portioned for 9x13 casserole dishes, for chicken spaghetti-type casseroles)
  • 2 servings sesame chicken sauce
  • 10 baggies of bread mix (so I can just add water, yeast, and butter to the bread machine)
  • 20 breakfast burritos (can't get pork products here, so these will just be egg & cheese)
  • a few baggies of prepared cornbread mix
So, these are my pre-delivery preparations! Got any other ideas for me? Anything you've done (or seen others do) that could make that post-partum time a little easier for a new mom? Please share!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dried Herb Ideas – Useful Decoration

When I bring in my chili pepper crop, I always dry a batch on the dehydrator (after blanching them in boiling water for about five seconds), and string them on heavy twine with an upholstery needle. This long garland of bright red peppers decorates my kitchen, and pinch-hits as a last minute source of chili peppers for homemade burritos and chimichangas. I will usually take the season end peppers

Growing Herbs - A Natural Way to Go Green

Going green is the latest trend, and thank heavens, but herb gardeners have been doing it for ages. What better way to stay healthy, season your food, decorate your home, deal with pests, and treat your minor ailments than with home grown herbs.Growing Herbs is a Natural way to Begin a Greener LifestyleGrowing herbs is a great start on becoming a gardener and an environmentalist. Herbs generally

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Being "Sexy" For Your Husband? (part three)

What is definitely off-limits for Christian marriages? That's the topic of consideration today in this series about Christian wives being "sexy" for their husbands.

So far in this series, we've addressed two questions:
(1) Should a Christian wife be enticing and seductive towards her husband? (To put it simply, the answer is "YES!!!")
(2) Where does the standard for what is "sexy" come from? (The basic answer is ultimately from God, and specifically from your spouse.)

This third question will help us define the ways that we can go about enticing and seductive towards our husbands.

Biblically speaking, there are three clear areas that are off-limits, and we'll talk about each one individually:
  1. Anything that involves anyone else outside of the marriage relationship is clearly off-limits.
    The Bible makes it clear that the two people in a marriage become one flesh. There are no others included in this union. Marriage is explicitly between one man and one woman for life. (Mt 19:4-5, 1 Ti 3:2 & 12)

    So, with that in mind, adultery, homosexuality, incest, orgies, and pornography all fall clearly outside the boundaries of what is acceptable in a Christian marriage. Anything that in any way involves other people outside of the husband-wife relationship is off-limits for believers.

    [***Some may ask why pornography is not acceptable, if both husband and wife are open to it or willing to view it... but the question is not whether or not we as humans find something OK or not, but whether God Himself finds it acceptable or not. There is an abundance of Scripture that speaks to the issue of pornography, and lust (1 Co 6:12 & 10:23, Job 31:1, Matt. 5:28-29, and more), and the Word makes it clear that this is not an option for a Christian marriage. ***]

  2. Anything that demeans one of the partners or violates personal convictions is off-limits.
    Christian husbands and wives are told to love and respect each other (Eph 5), so we know that we are not to do anything that causes either party to feel unloved or disrespected. We are also clearly told not to do anything that violates the conscience of another believer (Ro 14:1 & 14 & 23).

    At the same time, we also need to be certain that our consciences and convictions are biblically-informed and not based merely on prudish or unbiblical ideas that sex is icky, dirty, or in any way wrong. Sadly, this is something I have seen a LOT among Christian women. I have heard women tell how they were taught that a good Christian woman would never enjoy intimacy with her husband, because it's naughty, sinful, or just something bad girls do. Perhaps her mother taught her (through words or actions) that sex was dirty and only to be used as a bargaining chip with her husband. Others have been taught that sex should only rarely be "granted" to a needy husband.

    I cannot state plainly enough how all of these ideas are lies.

    I'm convinced that our enemy, the devil, has planted these ideas in Christian homes over recent decades at the precise time that the world was getting more and more sexually explicit and "liberated", so that Christian families could increasingly be successfully attacked by him in this area of intimacy, lust, and sexual issues. We must heed biblical convictions, but we must discard unbiblical ideas that would undermine this precious gift of intimacy in the marriage relationship.

    1 Cor 6:12 says that all things are permissible for us as believers but not all things are beneficial, nor are we to be mastered by anything. According to Dr. Lewis Smedes, "The Christian word on trying out a sexual practice that is not prohibited in Scripture is 'Try it. If you like it, it is morally good for you. And it may well be that in providing new delight to each other; you will be adventuring into deeper experiences of love.'"

  3. Not "doing it" is not an option in a Christian marriage.
    1 Cor. 7:3-5 tells us outright that we are not to deprive one another of intimacy. (We've discussed this in greater detail in previous posts here at Making Home: Intimate Deprivation, Exhausted of Excuses, and Sex in a Christian Marriage).

    What this looks like in one couple may look different from what it looks like in one couple. For example, a military couple who may be separated for a time will not have the same kinds of intimacy as a couple where the husband is home 7 nights a week. Nor will that couple's love life look the same as a couple where the husband drives trucks 5 days a week and is home on the weekends. And some couples, as a unit, have greater drives and desires for intimacy than others.

    But for all of us, the key is to "not deprive". Which means that we need to ask our spouses what their needs are and let them know what our needs are. It also means that we are to meet each other's needs, not begrudgingly or with strings attached-- but as part of our obedience to the Lord. We are not given the option of merely living as roommates or buddies... we are to lovingly and regularly meet those needs that God has given to our spouse.

So, aside from these three things (anything that would involve other people, anything that would violate one's conscience or be demeaning, and avoiding sex), I believe we are free within marriage to delight in each other. What that will mean for each couple will look different. Some are more active than others, some are more spontaneous than others, some will try and do new and different things all the time, and some will primarily delight in a few favorite ways of being together. None of this is wrong, and all of it can be absolutely wonderful and God-honoring.

Indeed, aside from these specific prohibitions, "all things are permissible", and we can, without shame, enjoy freedom in the marriage relationship. Studies show that Christians have better and more satisfying sex lives than those in the culture around us, so there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! God has given us a beautiful gift in the gift of intimacy and we can enjoy it to the full!

*** READER DISCRETION ADVISED: None of the following sites contain pornographic or offensive images, but all of these are intended for Christian married adults only.***

Here are some additional resources and sites you may want to browse for more information:

  • GrowthTrac: What's OKAY in bed?
  • Passions Lingerie and Gifts- a porn-free Christian website to safely browse and shop for Christian intimacy aids/gifts. They explain their intentions this way: "We came to do this business because we feel that we need to change the current trend of lingerie stores by bringing it back to the way it was supposed to be... marriage-friendly." (Note from Jess: this is extremely rare-- in fact, this is the only website I know of that does not use real, human models to display lingerie options, but instead uses mannequins.)
  • Covenant Spice- another porn-free Christian website intended for marital intimacy. They have this belief statement: "Covenant Spice is dedicated to strengthening marriages and increasing playfulness and intimacy in your sex life. We believe God created marriage to be a lifelong passionate romance."
  • Faithful Loving Romance Products- candles, bath & massage products, oils and lotions all designed for marital intimacy.
As always, let me know what you think... I'm always interested in your thoughts and comments!


Graphic ("Le Soir" by Alphonse Mucha) from

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's In The Details

If there is one thing I truly appreciate when going to a shop, restaurant, or other public place it's a great bathroom. There's just something special about places that take care to provide really nice facilities. A clean place to put your purse and hang your jacket, nice soap to use at the sink, and special touches that let you know they care about the details. When I opened my new shop I knew I wanted a really great bathroom not just for myself but for my customers as well. So I took great care to make it warm and inviting, and I actually have people come in and say someone told them to be sure and use the bathroom while at my shop! So I decided to give you all a peek inside. Enjoy!

Pages from old books of insects and botanicals that I decoupaged on the walls.

Wire dress form that was a gift from my Mom.

Old frames, 1928 communion pic and old mirrors on wall.

Old stool I covered with a grain sack. Great place to sit your purse.

Looking into the bathroom at the sink area.

Close-up of 1928 communion pic in old frame.

Great old mirror above the sink.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Being "Sexy" For Your Husband? (part two)

So, earlier in the week, when we visited this subject, we considered the question, "Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?" This is part two of the series examining the wife's role in intimacy in a Christian marriage. Today, we'll consider:

Where does the standard of "sexiness" come from?
The answer to this question is in two parts:
  1. From God, which leads us to #2...
  2. From your spouse
God Himself explicitly draws the boundaries for sexual gazes, thoughts, and actions within marriage. God made sex. Therefore, He gets to tell us what it's for, who gets to do it, and what the appropriate boundaries are for it. Let's look at a few Scriptures that reveal God's ideas about sexiness:
  • Matthew 5:26- "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Our standards for what is "sexy" and desirable do not come from anyone outside the marriage covenant (as adultery would be).
  • Job 31:1- "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?" This is Job talking, a man God describes in Job 1 as "blameless and upright... who turns away from evil". Our standards for what is "sexy" do not come from the young and beautiful people around us. (Contrary to what People magazine, Oprah, and myriad TV shows, movies, and websites would have us believe!)
  • Proverbs 5:18-19, 21- "Rejoice in the wife of your youth, ...Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love... For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD." It is in one's spouse that "intoxicating" love should spring up. God-honoring men are instructed by God to rejoice in, delight in, and be intoxicated in their wives. As their wives, we need to see this and enjoy it, and be willing to walk in that, as God's design. To say it outright, we need to allow our husbands to "be intoxicated" with our love. We need to be willing to let them delight in us!
  • Song of Solomon... we examined it last time. In every way, this book of the Bible points towards mutual delight and satisfaction between marriage partners and in no way do outside sources come into play in their intimate life. Though neither spouse is perfect, and certainly could be found to have defects when compared to others in particular areas, you would never know that from reading this book. These two lovers find themselves wrapped up only in each other. They aren't taking cues from people outside the relationship; they are fully intoxicated, seduced, and enraptured by each other.
By God's design then, what we find "sexy" is to be defined by who we marry.

We need to recognize that we will desire what we have developed an appetite for
... and ladies, this affects both us and our husbands as we come to the marriage bed.

To me (and I've had people argue with me about this, but I firmly believe this to be true) this means that we, as Christian wives, are not to spend time focusing on the "People's Sexiest Men", or the movie star everyone's talking about, or the construction men we pass on the road (or whatever you've been trained by your environment, society, and culture to find "attractive"). We shouldn't be dwelling on "which actor is the sexiest" or "did you see ______ in ______?" And we need to be cautious in what we take in, particularly examining what we're reading and what we're viewing.

We shouldn't allow our minds to dwell on anything outside of the boundaries of what God has called "good" (Phil. 4:8), which means (as we noted above) that we will derive our standards of "sexiness" from our husbands. Whoever you married, THAT'S your standard of what is attractive. THAT'S what you need to dwell on. Just as you are not entirely without fault ;) , I'm certain that your husband is also going to have areas that aren't as "perfect" as all the images we've seen on TV and movies, or as romantic and completely sensitive and thoughtful in every way as the "heroes" we see in movies and books, BUT-- we must delight in those things that ARE pleasing. The more we do that, the more (I believe) we will be able to say, as Solomon's bride did, "he is altogether desirable" (Song of Solomon 5:16).

And a wife who is attracted to her husband will undoubtedly be more attractive to her husband than if she were frigid and unresponsive and focused on critically comparing him to Hollywood's latest "hunk".

One more thought: We as Christian women need to be careful about what outside sources WE listen to and let define what we think of as sexy. If our husbands find something sexy, we need to take THAT to heart. Forget what Victoria and her "TV specials" have to say about it! Ignore the messages from the world that would tell you that you are not enough. If need be, turn off the fashion shows and talk shows that would make you think that you have to look a certain way or wear a certain size in order to be attractive (and this cuts both ways-- thin women are often made to feel bad for not being curvy and those of us who aren't the thinnest ones in every room we walk into are made to feel bad for not looking like a Swedish woman who is 6 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds)!

If something is offending you and/or undermining you in your marital joy, CUT IT OUT! Quit listening to the world's messages about what you have to be in order to be delightful for your husband!
GOD MADE YOU-- He knew who you would marry, He knew you'd live in this time and place. Be what you can be for your husband, but don't feel bad about what you can not be, and don't let outside sources make you feel like you're not enough!

Our husbands have been inundated with images and messages from the world that tell them what they should have an appetite for. Even the most pure and restrained man has been exposed to thousands of images of beautiful, seductive women. And for those who have been repeatedly exposed to or addicted to pornography, the battle within them rages even stronger. Knowing this, we need to be proactive about giving them delightful, God-honoring things to think about (which means US!). :)

I'd encourage you to read through Song of Solomon and notice all the body parts Solomon mentions about his bride. Consider the ways that you can actively encourage your husband to delight in the "choicest fruits" (Song of Solomon 4:16) that God has given you. For some of us, that may be very graceful neck and shoulders. For some, it will be a beautiful and seductive head of hair. Some of us have curves, some of us are thin, some of us are voluptuous, and some of us are dainty. But as women, we ALL have beautiful areas of our body, by God's design, and if we are married, it is good and right for us to (1) be available to our husbands, and (2) share our "choice fruits" with our husbands without shame or embarrassment. When we withhold our bodies from our husbands, even due to our own self-consciousness, we are making it difficult for them to obey scripture (delighting in the wife of their youth, keeping themselves from lust, etc.). We must be careful, as wives, to be open to them and to BE the standard of sexiness for them.

Biblically, our standards for what is "sexy" should come from our spouse. No one else, and nothing else. So if you find yourself dissatisfied, look at what you've been "intaking", and rid yourself of anything that encourages you to look outside of your marriage. Take delight in your husband or wife. And encourage and allow your spouse to take delight in YOU! Look to the one that God has made you one with for the "intoxicating" love He designed for you to experience. "REJOICE" in the lover He has given you, and don't let anything rob you of that joy in your husband or wife!

What are your thoughts and/or struggles with these ideas? Are there things that you've been "intaking" that need to be pitched? What could you do today to delight in your husband? What could you do today that would encourage (or allow) your husband to delight in you?


Graphic ("Morning" by Alphonse Mucha) from

Headache Remedy - Accupressure, Aromatherapy, and a Foot Bath

If you suffer from headaches and are reluctant to take conventional painkillers, there's a fast and easy way to get relief. Take a footbath.Soaking your feet and applying gentle acupressure to the base of your toes while you're doing it will be as effective a many other methods, maybe more so. Include the relaxing benefits of aromatherapy by adding some lavender to the water. If you've made a

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just Had to Share...

... and knew you guys would understand. Check out my precious daughter getting all political:
That's right, folks! She's sporting a little "I Like Mike" shirt! :)

Oh, and check out our matching pink Converse:

How fun is that? I love having a daughter!!! :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Being "Sexy" For Your Husband? (part one)

Q: Got this question from a reader (Annie):
Have you considered [writing about] "being sexy", or the idea that married, Christian women ought to make an effort to be attractive to their husbands, whose emotional well-being is so centered in visual gratification (of his wife) and physical intimacy?
A: Absolutely! This is a very important issue for all women, particularly in our generation (when men and women alike are being fed such WRONG images of beauty/sexiness), and particularly in our culture of Christianity (which has taken cues from Victorian-era ethics which greatly undermine the joy & satisfaction in the marriage relationship). So, let's just do a series about it, shall we? ;)

There are several aspects we should consider when looking at this question:
  1. Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?
  2. Where does the standard of "sexiness" come from?
  3. What is definitely off-limits for Christian marriages?
  4. Should there be a difference in our attitude, countenance, and the way we carry our body in public and in private?
  5. How important is this in a Christian marriage?
I will attempt to unpack these in future segments (and I'm open to any other suggestions or aspects you all may want to think through... e-mail me @ , or leave a comment here), but today, let's just look at aspect #1:

"Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?"

For this, there is one very obvious place to look, nearly smack-dab in the center of the Bible: the Song of Solomon. I'll highlight some verses from this book and take them, one at a time, and try to glean some things from them about marital intimacy and seduction. (For the purposes of our discussion, let me clarify that I am defining seducing as "seeking to be attractive to" one's spouse.)

First, let's look at some of what Solomon has to say to his bride:
  • "Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with a string of jewels" (1:10) - She decorates her face and body to attract him.
  • "Behold, you are beautiful, my love" (1:15) - He finds her attractive. There is no shame or sin in this.
  • He notices (one by one) her eyes, hair, teeth, lips, mouth, cheeks, neck, and breasts and then says, "You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." (4:1-7) - Two things to observe about this: (1) He notices her. He sees her face and body and takes pleasure in seeing it, and there is no shame or sin in that. (2) She lets him notice her. She's not hiding herself from him, and she's not ashamed of her body (though Chapter 1 tells us that she doesn't look like every other woman). I have heard so many women who are so embarrassed or self-conscious about their body that they never enjoy intimacy in daylight or any light at all... they have taken to heart the world's messages about what beauty looks like, and it is negatively affecting their marital intimacy. (As I've said before, we're the only godly outlet for our husband's sexual needs and desires!!! God MADE YOU to fulfill your husband's needs in this area!) It is perfectly OK and normal (and even "GOOD", as God declared of His creation in Genesis) for a husband to take visual pleasure in his wife!
  • "You have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace" (4:9) - She is captivating him, enticing him with her eyes... she's not begrudgingly agreeing to intimacy... she's captivating him!
  • "How much better is your love than wine" (4:10) - He finds her addictive and, one could say, "delicious"!
  • He notices (one by one) her feet, thighs, navel, belly, breasts, neck, eyes, nose, and head and then says, "How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights!" (7:1-6) - This time, he's noticing the rest of her body. He's taking delight in every part of her. And she's letting him. Once again, she's not hiding or holding back... she is open towards him in every way, and he takes great pleasure in this!
And let's look at what this bride has to say about her interactions with Solomon:
  • "While [he] was on his couch, my nard (a fragrant herb) gave forth its fragrance" (1:12) - She's prepared for intimacy with him... she has put effort into making a pleasant environment for their time together.
  • "On my bed by night I sought him who my soul loves." (3:1) - This is not just responding or reacting to a husband's desires for intimacy... it reveals a wife who seeks out her husband, who makes intimacy a priority, and who rightly sees intimacy as connected to her love for her husband.
  • "I held him, and would not let him go" (3:4) - This bride wants her husband's physical attentions.
  • "Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits" (4:16) - However you read this (and there are a variety of interpretations), she offers all that she has and the best of what she has to her husband. She's not withholding anything good from him.
  • "My beloved put his hand to the latch, and my heart was thrilled within me." (5:4) - She eagerly awaits the time she'll spend with her beloved.
  • "He is altogether desirable" (5:16) - Not only does she allow him to take delight in her, but she delights herself in him.
  • "Choice fruits... I have laid up for you, O my beloved" (7:13) Again, she prepares the best for him. And she prepares for him.
I can't speak for you, but after reading just these select verses, it is abundantly clear to me that it is not only acceptable, but it is right and good for a wife to be enticing towards her husband.

Our society and Christian culture (which, as I mentioned, has derived a lot of its sexual "morality" from the rigidity and frigidity of Victorian-era morals) have combined forces to heap shame and guilt and self-consciousness on top of Christian women today, and we have not effectively responded to these assaults. Too often, we allow body image to keep us from opening ourselves up to our husband's visual delight. Too often, we allow the truly sinful aspects of our culture's overt seduction (on display 24/7 on TV, movies, and in malls) to lead us to believe that visual and physical seduction is, in itself, sinful.

We need to stand up and rightly stake claim on what can be ours: pure delight and freedom in intimacy within our marriages! On this first aspect, I must answer this: that, opposed to what our pious "Christian" culture might have instilled in us, it is GOOD for a Christian wife to strive to be enticing and seductive towards her husband.

What say you? How do you see this issue? Is it a struggle for you to see physical and visual pleasure in this way? (As always, since this is a sensitive and personal subject, I will publish anonymous comments so that we can speak more honestly.)

Graphic ("Spring", by Alphonse Mucha) from

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Family Devotions Play-By-Play

Someone recently asked me how to structure family devotions, so I thought I'd share the step-by-step version of how my husband leads in ours... it's not rigid, but this is the general way it happens in our home.

And we don't do it every night (for example, we usually don't do it Sunday nights because we've already worshiped together as a family on that day), and occasionally we miss a night, but more nights than not, this is what you'd find if you peeked into our home, just before bedtime:

  1. Have a short Bible story time. (We shoot for no more than 10 minutes, at the ages our kids are--currently 5, 3, and 1!) Sometimes that's from the adult Bible (sometimes a simple-to-understand version like the NLT, sometimes from the ESV so that they get used to hearing the actual accurate Word of God), sometimes from the kids' version, sometimes from a devotion book. Doug reads it, sometimes with intermittent questions, then does a little application or explanation as necessary. (Sometimes it's just a story focus, oftentimes a character-quality focus, and occasionally a specific attitude/behavior focus-- if we're trying to target a particular undesirable/desirable behavior.)

  2. Occasionally sing a song or act out the story we talked about.

  3. Scripture Memorization, if we're learning something together as a family. So far, we've memorized Psalm 1 and the Beatitudes together. Sometimes we take a break, but we try to be either reviewing or learning something new.

    Specifically, when we're learning something new, we work on one new phrase every night. We take one phrase, sentence or thought, and repeat it about 10 different times (we do this in different voices to make it fun-- say it in cowboy voice, now in a deep MAN's voice, now in a little bitty lady's voice, now in a child's voice, now in a really happy voice, now VERY LOUD, now very soft, etc.). Then we all say it together (with the rest of the passage if it's adding on to something we've already learned).

  4. Prayer time. We each pick someone/thing to pray about (sometimes the kids don't select something, and that's OK- we don't force them to pray)... with a different focus each night of the week, so we're learning to pray for different things:

    • Sunday: SAINTS (other Christians)
    • Monday: MISSIONARIES (by name, we have friends in various countries with kids, so we encourage the kids to pray for their MK friends in other countries)
    • Tuesday: TEACHERS (which, in our house, means I get prayed for a lot!) ;\)
    • Wednesday: WISDOM (in our decisions/lives), WIDOWS (that we know, by name), and WITNESS (for us and people around us)
    • Thursday: THOSE IN AUTHORITY (could be Daddy, Daddy's boss, Pastor Dan, President Bush, Presidential elections, the person making the decision about ____ that will affect our family, etc.)
    • Friday: FRIENDS & FAMILY
    • Saturday: SINNERS (people we know that need to become disciples of Jesus)
Then the kiddos are off to bed.

That's how we structure ours-- and it's usually less than 15 minutes. I could definitely see how as they get older it could get longer, with discussions about what passages mean, memorizing longer things, and praying more intensely together as a family... but for right now it is really GREAT for us, and it's just the right length of time to keep little ones engaged and learning about the Word, and getting to know God.

Perhaps this will help someone else looking for more "definition" about what a family Bible time would look like. Blessings!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone the Happiest Most Romantic Valentine's Day! I will be posting some new shop pics soon so stay tuned. Tomorrow the shop will be closed as I am going shopping for treasures at Renninger's Extravaganza in Mt. Dora FL! Love a shopping day!

Until Next Time,


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Making Lavender Scented Candles

Candle making is inexpensive, and once you've done it a few times, it's easy too. Whether you are going in for the more expensive beeswax candles, are opting for parafin, or are thinking about recycling old candles that are lying around the house, combining candle making and aromatherapy can be a great way to enhance your environment, your mood, and your sense of accomplishment.Herb Scented

Planting Spring Seeds Indoors

I wrote an article a few days ago and have posted a link to it at the bottom of this page. It will give you some good tips and tricks for starting seeds indoors in February or March. I have thought of an additional tip that can be fun.I've started seeds between sheets of paper towels. Check it out: Starting Seeds Between the SheetsSmall peat coins can be a useful starting medium for seeds, but I

Monday, February 11, 2008

Herb Gardening in the Desert

Keeping herbs in the desert can be challenging, but they provide so much value to your home and garden that they are worth some extra effort.Herbs and Desert SoilHerbs are often native to poor soils, but desert dirt has special problems when it comes to sustaining plants. The presence of salts and acidic minerals makes gardening herbs and other temperate plants more difficult. Raised beds that

Why I Love Him

In honor of the special day this week (no, not Valentine's Day, although that may be a special day for you... I'm talking about the 8th anniversary of the day Doug asked me to marry him... February 11th, 2000), I'd like to list out some of the reasons why I love this incredible man God gave me. It's not a complete list, but it's representative of the amazing man he is.

  • He teaches them about God and leads in spiritual things (Bible reading, prayer, and memorization).
  • He gives extra-long snuggles to our kids when they are sad or sick.
  • He gets down on the floor and plays cars or trains and is totally silly with our boys.
  • He admires and is ultra-sweet to our daughter, telling her she's pretty and that he loves her, and he takes interest in the things she's doing.
  • He knows how to use and wash cloth diapers (amazing!), and doesn't resent it or gripe about it (even MORE amazing!).
  • He loves EACH child we have, as an individual, and like me, is open to having more.
  • I love that he's always had a heart for adoption. Even if we never get to adopt, I love that he tears up when he hears an adoption story, just like me.
  • He teaches the kids to respect me, in words and action.
  • He can act totally silly and dance crazy or play games with the kids.
  • I love that he gets emotional about our children.
  • He is a man of measured words... when he says something, it's worth hearing.
  • He loves to read and we talk about what we're reading together.
  • He studies and memorizes the Word of God (seriously, y'all, he's amazing at this. He has so much scripture memorized, and he leads us in family memorization, too).
  • He can make a MEAN jug of sweet tea. :)
  • I love that he leads in family "Bible Time", nearly every night.
  • I love that he really, really loves me. (This may seem self-focused, but the truth is, it's actually a biblical picture of love-- we love Christ because He loved us first... the same is true for Doug & I.)
  • Though neither of us had perfect pasts, we both saved ourselves for each other, and I LOVE that we aren't worried about comparing each other to other people.
  • He is very intentional about being faithful to me-- in action, word, and thought.
  • He'll rub my feet whenever I ask, and has offered many, many times when I haven't asked.
  • I love that he will watch the movies I like and actually interact with me about them (like Jane Austen kind of stuff-- WHAT a guy!).
  • I love that he is willing to do things around the house too, so that we can have time together in the evenings once the kids go to bed.
  • I love that we both crack each other up. I don't know if anyone else would find either of us very funny, but we each can make each other laugh in ways that no one else can.
  • I love that he's a good surpriser... big and small, he's surprised me so many times!
  • I know that he loves me, because he apparently talks about me a lot when we're not together and other people tell me so.
  • I love that he remembers special days and consistently does special things to celebrate.
  • I love that he is willing to wash out the poopy cloth diapers (reminds me of Martin Luther) because I'm Mrs. Pregnant "Bionic Nose" right now (yes, that's what he calls me).
  • He communicates with me about our relationship-- what's going well, if there are any struggles, etc., and then is willing to make changes with me so that we can improve our marriage.
  • He truly wants to and strives to love me like Christ loves the church.
  • He's the most fun, most interesting, most attractive, most kind man I've ever known.

And honestly, there's so much more. But this gives a glimpse into our marriage and life together. Like Solomon's bride described her husband in Song of Solomon 3, this is "him whom my soul loves"... and I will always be grateful to God for this incredible man that I get to be one with. :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Altered Art For Sale

Hi everyone! I am offering for sale here on my blog the work of California artist Linda Keene. Linda uses old paper and ephemera to craft one-of-a-kind pieces that are charming and fabulous. I have had the pleasure of selling her work in my shop over the past year and am now sharing them here with you. All pieces are on a first come first serve basis and are one of a kind. Please contact me if you'd like to purchase something and I will send you a final total with shipping. I can accept a money order, check or you can pay via paypal. Happy shopping!

Garden Girl~13 and 1/2" tall. Made from old paper on miniature dress from. $95 plus shipping.

Heart In Hand Altered Art Sketch Book. 6 and 1/2" by 5". Made of old papers and ephemera. There are pages to sketch, journal and places to put found objects. Beautifully done, you will treasure it forever! $85 plus shipping.

Keeper Of The Nest Altered Art Book~6 and 1/2" by 5". Keepsake book to journal, sketch or tuck in found objects. Exquisitely hand made from old paper and ephemera. One of a kind. $85 plus shipping.

Victorian Puzzle Blocks~6 blocks covered in old ephemera. Rearrange to make a new picture as you change the blocks. Charming and very vintage. Blocks are 1 and 3/4" square. $50 plus shipping.

Please contact me via phone at 407-619-2099 or via email at to purchase.

Make Lavender Water

Lavender water is a good way to add the fragrance of lavender to your linens, general cleaning, and crafts.Lavender Water Recipe4 Cups Distilled Water5 Tablespoons of Vodka (Cheap Vodka is okay)30 Drops of Essential Oil of LavenderMix thoroughly and decant into decorative bottles, atomizers, or all-purpose spritzer bottles.You can also use it in spritzer bottle when ironing clothes, or pour it

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Snuggle up With Lavender in Your Bed Pillow

Put your dried lavender flowers to good use in helping you get a restful night's sleep. Just tuck a muslin bag filled with a tablespoon or two of dried lavender flowers into your pillow or under your sheets near the top of the mattress. The essential oil in the lavender will help your body relax by helping to slow your central nervous system.Just try it once and you'll be hooked. If you suffer

Big News

Well everyone, I have some really awesome news to share! About a year ago, I got the bug to go to Texas and see what the buzz is all about. I love to read all the blogs that my friend Theresa from Garden Antiques posts about Canton and Round Top. It was definitely on my radar to go there someday and see it firsthand. Well lately I have been getting encouragement from some customers in my shop to venture outside of Florida and try my hand at selling in Texas. And since I have made some really awesome new friends lately who sell there as well, I decided to quit thinking about it and do it.

Long story short, I applied to become a dealer at the Marburger Farms show at Round Top in April and have been accepted! Woohoo! I am extremely excited and will definitely give you all a full report of the experience when I return. And lest I forget, a big thank you goes out to Theresa Smith for her recommendation to Marburger on my behalf, and to Judy Hill for her patience in answering all my questions. Both of these awesome friends are Marburger dealers as well and always do a fab job at bringing really cutting edge antiques to the show and displaying them beautifully!

A final shout-out goes to my friend Theresa Cano for her encouragement, for hooking me up with Theresa and Judy, and for helping me with questions and "concerns" about the show. You are an awesome person "T"! Can't wait to meet you in person!

If you are planning to go to the show in April, please stop by tent H and say hello! I'd love to meet you!


I've Been Tagged

Gosh I feel like it's been forever since I posted to my blog, so I decided to get with it again. My friend Theresa at Garden Antiques tagged me with an award so now I am to share 7 facts about myself and then tag 7 friends as well. So here goes:

1. I am about to become a grandmother (thought I would make it to 50) for the first time this spring. In March I am getting a granddaughter and in May a grandson!!!!!! Pretty cool huh?

2. I love candy. But most of all I LOVE Peeps! And if they are just a little stale, that's even better!

3. I live in Florida but I own twice as many winter clothes as summer.

4. I must always clean the house before we go on a trip. Drives Mr. Sweet Pea bonkers.

5. I hate driving on bridges over water, but every day I do just that on my way to my shop. AND in the water are lots and lots of alligators. Creepy!

6. I love to watch shows about Bigfoot and haunted houses.

7. I have never tasted shrimp. I think they look totally creepy and I can't bring myself to try one.

Well there you have it. 7 facts about me you never knew. So now I must tag 7 friends to share their secrets too. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Dawn from The Feathered Nest
2. Margo aka Robolady
3. Sherry from Prairie Home
4. Lidy from Little French Garden House
5. Sara from Sadie Olive
6. Heather from PresentPast Collection
7. Lisa from The White Cottage

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Make Lavender Facial Scrub

Lavender facial scrub uses the antibacterial properties of lavender and the soothing qualities of almonds to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin. It smells wonderful, and can be a great overall relaxing agent if you apply the scrub while you are still in the bath or shower. Consider it a small aromatherapy benefit to the process.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, the almonds are particularly

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

History of the Wild Mustard Plant and the Conquistadors

One of my favorite stories about herbs involves the Conquistadors. The mustard plant was introduced to the Americas by the conquistadors or their attendant Padres (depending on who you're listening to), who planted the fast sprouting seeds to mark their trails. The fast-flowering plants were seeded to show them a golden road back along their route (the yellow brick road?).An annual, wild mustard

Monday, February 4, 2008

Make Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gayo is a refreshing summer salsa made from fresh ingredients. An uncooked chow-chow, pico de gayo is easy to make and is full of vitamins and minerals. Use it as a dip, condiment, or as an ingredient in more complex dishes like chimichangas, omelets, or rice dishes.What Types of Herbs are in Pico de GalloPico de Gallo uses some herb favorites like cumin, cinnamon, garlic, cilantro,

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Noteworthy & Quoteworthy

Lately, many of my posts have been just passing on things that others have written or said that I've found meaningful... but I hope that you find these things helpful or encouraging too. So much of these are things that I would say or have felt or thought, but then I find it in print or blog form from someone else, and so it's pointless for me to try to re-write the same thing when I happen upon someone else who has put my heart into words.

(By the way, yes, I changed my photo to the one you see here. My hair has gotten longer- pregnancy always seems to do that- and it feels dishonest to me to have a photo that isn't what I really look like. So this one is more reflective of what I look like these days.)

Here are some noteworthy quotes I've found recently:

BETH MOORE, in a Q&A post on her blog:
Q: If you could live your life all over again, what is the one thing you would do differently?

A: The tears are stinging in my eyes and I’ll have to try hard to keep from sobbing on this one. The list of things I’d do differently is so long, I couldn’t pick one out and the worst of it so appalling that I wouldn’t share it anyway. I have been so stupid. I was so messed up and clueless that my healing took a long danged time. I am as true a testimony of the forgiveness and grace of God of anyone you could know. He has been utterly unreasonable in His love and patience for me and I will love Him forever for it. To love much after I’ve been forgiven much is my hope. ...He is such a Redeemer. His sovereignty is my only peace.
Susan Hunt, in Biblical Womanhood in the Home, in her chapter called, "Older Women Mentoring Younger Women":
"Everywhere I go I meet young women who long for spiritual mothers. Some express a sense of loneliness, and yet they do not even realize that the disconnection they feel is because they do not have nurturing relationships with older women... It is time for Christian women to step into this vacuum and show and tell the truth about womanhood.

But where are the older women?

In recent years, I have observed a troubling phenomenon. Many women of my generation have relinquished this high calling of nurturing younger women. My generation has abandoned this calling for many reasons. Some simply do not know this biblical mandate. ...Some think they have nothing to offer. Some are intimidated by the intelligence and giftedness of younger women. Some have decided this is the season to indulge themselves. Some want to share their life experiences, but they feel isolated from the younger women and don't know how to bridge that gap.

I plead with the church to call and equip women for this ministry. God is gifting His church with incredible young women. ... We must be good stewards of this gift. We must exemplify the faith to them, and we must teach them how to show and tell the truths of biblical womanhood to the next generation."

Megan, at My Heart, My Home, wrote about her "Titus 2 Woman":
"God knew what He was doing when He created the gift of relationship. The idea of older and younger women coming together to share life, wisdom, laughs, and so much more is brilliant. Every woman needs a friend who's a safety net that will gently catch her and help her back up on her feet when she falls. If you don't have a Titus 2 woman in your life, I encourage you to take the risk and initiative in asking someone who's caught your eye. And consider this, if you're already older, there may be a younger woman who's looking at you! I hope that I won't forget the cycle of the Titus 2 woman; that it's not always being the younger woman who's taught, but also the older woman who passes down wisdom."

Joe Carter, at Evangelical Outpost, on Pre-Marital Adultery:

Consider this thought experiment. Imagine a man is to be married on February 14th and has sexual relations with a woman who is not his fiancé on:

(a) The night before his wedding.
(b) The day of his wedding.
(c) The day after his wedding.

The action in each instance is the same but the term we’d use to describe the man would depend on when the event occurred: (a) would make the man a cheating cad, (c) and adulterer, and (b) either a cheating cad or an adulterer, depending on the time of day. Regardless of what we choose to call it, the consequence of the action is the same – the man has been unfaithful to the woman. Notice that though the “temporal perspective” changes the semantics, it doesn’t change the fact that the action is immoral.*

Under this view, pre-marital sexual relations become a form of “pre-marital adultery.” We are, in essence, being unfaithful to the one we will eventually pledge emotional and sexual allegiance. Why then do we not honor this obligation? As with most things in life, what we claim to believe is betrayed by our actions. Although unmarried people often claim to believe that they are waiting for their "true love" their actions show that they don’t really believe that to be true. If they seriously believed that their true love existed then how could they be sexually unfaithful to the one person who God has chosen for them?

H. Clay Trumbull, in "Hints on Child Training":
"Every home has its atmosphere, good or bad, health-promoting or disease-breeding. And parents are, in every case, directly responsible for the nature of the atmosphere in their home; whether they have acted in recognition of this fact, or have gone on without a thought of it. In order to secure a right home atmosphere for their children, parents themselves must be right. They must guard against poisoning the air of the home with unloving words or thoughts...

Parents must, as it were, keep their eyes on the barometer and the thermometer of the social life of the home, and see to it that its temperature is safely moderated, and that it is guarded against the effect of sudden storms. Only as such care is taken by wise parents, can the atmosphere in their home be what the needs of their children require it to be."

Jeremiah Burroughs, in "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment":
"We are usually apt to think that any condition is better than that condition in which God has placed us. ...God, it may be, strikes you in your child--'Oh, if it had been in my possessions' you say, 'I would be content.' Perhaps he strikes you in your marriage. 'Oh,' you say, 'I would rather have been stricken in my health.' And if he had struck you in your health- 'Oh, then, if it had been in my [business], I would not have cared.' But we must not be our own carvers. Whatever particular afflictions God may place us in, we must be content in them."

I hope these challenge and encourage you, as they have me. Blessings as you begin this week!

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