Thursday, August 30, 2007

Homemaking: Uses Time Wisely

This is one of the items usually found on the conduct section of a report card. I know because I have not only issued hundreds of report cards, I also had this item checked on my own report card when I was in school. Meaning, of course, that I needed to make improvements in that area. (More often it was "controls talking" that got checked! :) Teachers are to report on whether or not the student makes good use of the time given them to complete assignments and what they choose to do with any spare time they might have. (Read a book: good. Talk to neighbor: not good.)

As a homemaker, a wife, a mom, and a homeschool "teacher", I have SO many opportunities to bless others! When I worked full-time, and even part-time for that matter, I did not have nearly the opportunities I have now. Any time that was not spent at work was used up before I even got started. There was laundry to do, housework, grocery shopping, bills to be paid, phone calls to be made, appointments to be squeezed in, homework, volunteer work for church, and oh yeah, my family. I fell into bed every night knowing I didn't finish and woke up every morning going over a "to do" list in my head.

I am still amazed at the amount of extra time I have during the day! I feel like we have been given so much freedom! I am available to do tasks my husband needs me to handle, take care of the housekeeping, teach my girls, spend time with my children during the day, and still do special projects that make our home nicer. Not that I get every single thing done every single day, but there is always time tomorrow.

It would be easy to listen to the world and say, "I need to take some time for myself." "My husband needs to understand that I am busy ALL day!" "I'm home all day with my kids, isn't that enough?" "I deserve_________..."

But God's Word has this to say:

24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:24)

How are we seeking the good of others? Sometimes I am just sure I am doing the things that bless my husband the most, when in reality he would much rather me concentrate on other things. I encourage you to ask the Lord what things you need to concentrate on. Of course, His Word already lines some of that out for us! As a wife, mother, and homemaker, I have awesome opportunity to bless my family as well as those outside of our house. I pray that the Lord would show me what things He would have me do each day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Homeschool Realization #2

Homeschooling is messy!

Oh, and here is a post written by KeriMae on reasons to homeschool. Why is everyone saying everything better than me lately?

I Promise...

...I will not always post about homeschooling. It's just new and novel and wonderful and it's the main thing going on in our family right now. BUT, I still have much to say about marriage, the Bible, parenting, women's roles, church, and all the other things I usually write about. So, for those of you who are not homeschoolers...bear with me. However, this IS one of the biggest revisions God has made with our family so far. It's worth posting about!

By the way, Jess over at Making Home put into words what I was trying to say when I posted this and also this. The last 2 paragraphs that she wrote was what I have been thinking for a few months. She said it very well. Please go read the post (it's a good one), but here is the part that put my recent thoughts into words:

"As a peculiar people (1 Pet 2:9), as aliens (1 Pet 2:11), as strangers in this land (1 Pet 1:1), as pilgrims (Heb 11:13), as people who are called to be separate (1 Pet 2: 9-10) and different from the world in which we live, our lives should look different from the world. People ought to see the differences in how we live and ask, "what is the reason for the hope that is within you?" (1 Pet 3:15) But as John Piper has said, all too often, they aren't asking, because "we look like we're hoping in the same things THEY'RE hoping in!"We need to consider the advice that we give, whether to other Christians or to our children, and examine whether it lines up with the Bible or with society. The two are not always at odds, but in this instance, and on many of these issues, our ideals and "dreams" ought to look different than the world's. It should be clear that our goals for our children are not the same as theirs. It should be clear that our methods for raising our children are not the same as theirs. It should be clear that our hope is in something other than the "American Dream". It should be clear that we differ from the society around us in meaningful ways- that we are not self-focused, that we do not look down on marriage, children, or the family in any way, and that we are not willing to sacrifice all things at the altar of self-promotion and career."

Good job, Jess.

But NONE of this is what I intended to post today! What I intended to write about is one thing I learned from homeschooling this morning. Here: I'll give it a new title.

Today I Learned...
...that I affect my children's attitude towards learning. I kind of knew that, but today it really hit me. Sweetheart was trying to write her name in cursive. I wrote her name at the top of the paper for her to look at while she tried this new thing.
She said, "I can't write that part. This is going to be hard. Mom, you write this part for me and I'll do the rest."
I said, "Yeah, my 3rd graders used to crack up the first time they tried writing in cursive because it was so bad and it didn't look right at all. I told them not to worry, I would teach them how."
A few minutes later I hear her cracking up. She tried, it didn't look right, and she cracked up. Just like I said. Now, she could have gotten really frustrated and decided cursive is too hard, etc. But she didn't. A few minutes later, Little Bit ran to get paper and "wrote cursive" all over it and also cracked up.
Isn't learning fun?
And don't I have a big responsibility in how I approach every new thing we do? Every. Thing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


First day down...a success! I love this and I am so thankful that God made it possible for me to be doing this!

I will have to post later--but our first day went great! What a difference than previous years!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

NOW Summer Can Be Over...

Whew! We have been busy here at the Revised house! Sweetheart celebrated her birthday last week, and then tonight we rocked out with Little Bit at the best concert ever!

OK, we can start school now. And honestly, I'm ready. Fall means getting back on a good schedule, staying home a bit more, and less keeping the girls busy. I can't wait to spend the fall at home with my daughters--and all the holidays and special times that go with it.

A friend told me about a homeschool group she heard about in our area. I was thankful for the information because I've had a bit of trouble finding a group. I know some homeschoolers don't need a group, but since we only have 2 kiddos at home, and live on a street full of retired people, I think it's important for us. So, I looked at the website for this group and quickly clicked off! AACK! It was a co-op with lots of rules and times and schedules and requirements...ok, it all actually looked pretty good. It's just that we don't really need that right now and it made me realize how much I am looking forward to the freedom we will have this year! Later, I found some other options. One of them meets on Monday mornings. I told Sweetheart about it and her face just fell, "But that means..." (She thought we couldn't go.) I said, "So we'll go to that and then finish our lessons in the afternoon." You could just see the wheels turning as it dawned on her what that meant. Yeah, she's not used to this freedom either.

I am truly excited. Tomorrow will be a whirlwind of trying to get everything ready. I know it's not a big deal if every little thing is not done, but I would like to be as organized as possible. So, tomorrow will be teacher inservice day around here. And, if you were wondering why the late start...our local district starts Tuesday as well. We decided to do the same.

As for summer? I feel about the same way Little Bit did on the way home from the concert...
...tired! Bring on the school year!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Homemaking: Living in the Living Room

Today I am thinking about our living room. Do you have a living room? Our current house is not large by some standards. But from what I've learned by watching HGTV, it's pretty medium-sized compared to some other places in this country! I think your house plan also depends on the age of your house. Our house was built in 1967 so there is no "parlor" or "sitting room." Older or fancier houses might be more likely to have those kind of rooms. Some homes I have seen have a "formal living room" and also a "den" or "family room." And then there are all those houses with finished basements that serve as entertainment rooms for the whole family.

We just have a plain old living room. It consists of a couch, recliner, a rocker, side table with a lamp, our computer perched on an antique sewing machine cabinet (ironic combination, I know. What would my grandmother think?), a fireplace, and a TV armoire. (Which I LOVE because you can close the doors and the TV is less likely to be thought about.)
So I was thinking today...what is the purpose of this room? Well, it is a place where our whole family can "live." Now that my girls are no longer babies, we have managed to purge all the large, plastic, brightly colored baby items from this room. (Swings, block tables, play pens, exersaucers, etc. etc.) Those things are necessary for a time, and joyful to have. BUT, I do think our living room looks better without them!

I have tried very hard to keep this room looking like an adult space. All the girls' toys are stored in their rooms. Things that go together, such as Littlest Pet Shops, Little People sets, or blocks, are stored in plastic tubs that can be brought into the living room to play, and then carried back to their room to put away. All the tubs are labeled, with pictures added for Little Bit. This keeps the toys from becoming a permanent fixture in the living room, but still allows the girls to spend their time in here with us. Which is where we want them.

Our living room is mainly for our family. It is the one room I insist is picked up before Daddy gets home in the evenings. Getting out the vacuum cleaner is a pretty quick way to get those toys picked up!!! The girls scramble to pick up their stuff before the vacuum eats it--screaming the entire time! And this way we can spend a relaxing evening together minus a bunch of clutter. The one thing that stays in this room for the girls are coloring books (stored in a pretty basket by the computer) and library books (stored in a basked on the fireplace). These are the kind of quiet activities we like them to do before bedtime after all the other toys are put away.

Our living room is important not only for our family, but also for guests. This is the room people first see when they walk in our door, this is where we will soon have Bible studies with a couple from our church, and this is where we sit and visit with our guests. It is very important that this space be clean, simple, and comfortable.

I'd love to see your living room! How do you make this space wonderful for your family and guests?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Does This Line Up?

I saw these words on a church sign today on the way home from the library:

"No perfect people allowed. Come just as you are."

But what about these words found in Matthew 5:48...

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Perhaps the church sign is a message for non-believers, letting them know they are welcome. But I go to church every Sunday. Do I need to stay un-perfect so I will be "allowed" in? If I remain un-perfect, then visitors will feel more welcome. Is that the point?

Is church for believers or unbelievers?

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Pattern of the World

I spent some time the other night on MySpace. If you are not familiar with My Space, here is some basic information about this website. MySpace has become increasingly popular and a very real part of growing up these days. As with most popular things in our culture...Christians will soon be on board en masse.
Maybe I'm being harsh. Or making too broad of an assumption. Is it safe to say that a significant number of Christians are involved in nearly everything that is pop culture?

Music? We listen to it. Download it. Buy tickets for concerts.
Clothing? We buy it. Worry over it. Work towards getting it.
Television shows? We watch them. Set our schedules around them. Talk about them the next day.
Attitudes? We pick up on them. Imitate them. Agree with them.
Expected roles? We accept them. Live within them. Teach them to our children.
I don't have a global perspective on these things, folks. All I know is the little part of the world I live in. But in our youth group there are teens with My Space accounts. What's wrong with that?
Maybe nothing. It bothers me though because there are all sorts of people you can "meet" on My Space. People I wouldn't want my daughters to meet. Thoughts to read that I don't want them thinking or accepting as truth. Influences that I don't want shaping them.
So what is our response as Christians to the things that are popular in our world? Do you know?
That's right!!! Just make a Christian alternative!!! Teens NEED to have My Space accounts, but we are concerned about who they might meet online. So, we will just copy the same idea, but clean it up a little. Make it a bit more acceptable to Jesus and all.

Enter Ditty Talk! Here is a Christian alternative to MySpace. Nevermind that anyone can get personal information about the teens on this site. Nevermind that any pervert can just lie and post a picture of a clean cut teenager and claim it's them...and chat with our kids. Nevermind that I saw a lot of pictures of teens looking far too (um, provacative) I think they would say "beautiful." Our Christian children MUST have an alternative so they can participate in pop culture in an acceptable manner. They deserve that, right?

This is called defensive parenting. I'm just not convinced that our children, or us for that matter, need participate in the world the way non-Christians do.

Romans 12:2 says: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Yep, I'm still thinking about what I wrote the other day. Still thinking...any thoughts out there on following the pattern of the world?

Dean's Not Coming and Thankfully, Neither Are the Parents!

We have been spared. Where I was expecting to be headed out of town today, we have put the hurricane right out of our heads. Mexico will need our prayers because that storm is a doozy. I am grateful that we are home today with no storm headed our way. Some folks we know flooded during Erin, however. That includes the folks who bought our old home (which also flooded during Allison 6 or 7 years ago). I feel very badly for them. I remember all too well the clean up from flood waters.

All storms aside, I am also thankful that no parents will be coming to my "classroom" this year to meet me and drop off their child's supplies. We always had "supply drop off" in the middle of a workday before school started. So for the hour before parents began arriving all teachers were busy stashing piles of stuff all over the room in an attempt to look prepared and organized for the upcoming year. Those piles, folks, they are like rabbits!!! I think I may do a bit of stashing myself if it will mean the room will look better. I am tired of going through stuff! (It used to be our home office--papers everywhere!)

The girls and I are excited about this new school year with all it's freedom. Recess? Breaks? Snacks? Projects? Art? These things are endagered species in public schools. In some places they are extinct. I am so ready for school to feel more like life and less like a job. I am so ready to make learning fun again. I am so ready to enjoy being with my daughters and watching them learn new things instead of hounding them for information after school every day. I am ready to fold towels while my daughter reads to me. I am ready to get out the glue and markers and yes, even glitter and make something wonderful with them. I am ready to decorate the house for Christmas and then be home to enjoy it!

Home and school. I think they are going to go together very nicely.

Friday, August 17, 2007

We Now Interrupt Your Well-Made Plans to Bring You Hurricane Season...

Well. I had everything all planned out from now until the end of the month. I have a certain number of things I want to get done before we begin the homeschool year and another certain number of things I need to get done before then.

Enter Tropical Storm Erin.
Soon to enter: Hurricane Dean.

So today instead of working on the classroom or making lesson plans, I find myself the proud owner of a to-do list. My husband is extremely good at making sure we are taken care of. While they make preparations at his work, he has given me the task of preparing some things here at home. This is an opportunity to put my talk into action, folks. Will I jump in enthusiastically and lay aside all of my plans to help him? God intends for me to be S.'s helper, so I can't think of a job or task more important than those my husband has asked me to do.

Sweetheart's birthday plans have also been altered. Going to the beach tomorrow suddenly doesn't seem all sunny and wonderful (we might still be able to go). And her intended family party is scheduled for the day the hurricane will probably make land. Will I be flexible and trust God when my plans are messed up?

I am reminded of this verse. It's been going through my head all morning.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Here's another:

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Will I get all stressed out when things don't go as planned? Or will I remember Who is in charge always? This is why God's plan for the family (as opposed to the feminist world-view) is so refreshing and gives peace. I have no doubt that I am to do what my husband asks of me. I have no doubt that God is in control. All that is needed from me is to rest in this place. I am not in charge of the family. It's not too much further to jump to the conclusion that I am also not in charge of everything else. I am in charge of how I will follow those who lead me. I'm telling you, if you haven't tried giving up control yet, you should. There is peace here.

Here is a pic of our street yesterday, thanks to Erin!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Effects of Inspiration!

1. Inspired by my earlier success sewing dresses for my girls, I sewed this skirt for Sweetheart last week. (Love the pose. Thank you, dear). Now you know I can only sew squares and rectangles, but that's basically what this consists of. They are just gathered. My mom did have to help me pin everything together, but I think it came out really cute. I even made a purse from the leg part of the jeans. I got the directions for the skirt for free here.

2. Inspired by all those who have already begun the homeschool year, I have continued to plug away working on our classroom. (We start end of August) The shelves DID come in from IKEA, so my husband did not have to spend the weekend making them. I'm not nearly finished in there yet, but here is a sneak peek. Oh who am I kidding--you're looking at 1/3 of the room! It's not that big!

3. Inspired by the way rooms look on Designed to Sell when they are staged, some pictures my sister found in Country Home magazine, and Sara's pictures (and these) of her old apartments...I am simplifying our home. I have come to realize that "decorating" is not what is needed. Less STUFF is what is needed. I have been concerned about how I will homeschool and keep up with housework, etc. Getting rid of stuff is the answer. Then I can enjoy the people in my life and not have to be constantly dealing with stuff all the time. Moving it, picking it up, cleaning it, etc. I don't think our home will ever look like Sara's apartments (one of which was 325 square feet!) although our house is not huge. That's not what I'm after. But here are pictures of what I've done so far. Sorry, no before pictures but just wanted you to see that they look simple. At least more than they did. I hope. Maybe this will help me keep up with things.

4. Inspired by my friend Karly over at Indescribable Life (which I could have never named my blog b/c then I would have to learn to spell it!) I will be digging into scripture on the topics of godly wives, godly women, godly mothers, godly homes, and followers of Jesus. Want to join us? Here is the post to get you started.

Got lots more to do today! Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Is Your Mind Starting To Go?

It had better! If you want a new life, if you want to become a godly person, if you desire to be more like Christ...then your mind has to go.

I don't mean that your mind has to go the way of senility or insanity. I mean that your current mind--and the way you think--has to go. Let me explain.

God began transforming our family in a big way several years ago. We began studying the Bible very hard, and were convicted of many things in our lives that needed to change. Let us take, for want of a better example, me helping my husband. Now, I've told you before about my former attitude toward helping my husband. It was not so good. I grew up believing that marriage was to be 50/50. I truly did. That was one of those lies that we hear so much from the world we believe it. So now I read and understand that I am to be my husband's helper.

Fine. I will go implement that now, Lord.

Yeah, it doesn't work like that, come to find out.

You can try to just "implement" what you read in scripture. Go ahead. Put it on your "to do" list. Make it a "goal." It is not going to happen. You may have some success at first--but this new thing will not become a part of who you are. When stress hits--you will more than likely return to your old attitudes.

How do I know this? Experience. Pure experience, folks.

So how do you change? How do you become more godly or more Christ like? Well, my first response a few years ago would have been, "I can't. God has to change me." That is true, you know. But I don't think we are just puppets for Him to move around and change. We play a part in this, too. Check out this verse...

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2-NIV)

Be transformed (changed) by the renewing of your mind. Your mind must be made new. Really, you must get rid of your old mind and start thinking with a new mind. When S. and I were in high school we heard a speaker talking about this passage. He said, (now don't laugh, I'm about to show my age), "you must take out the old tape and put in a new one." Yes folks, he meant CASSETTE tapes. OK, I know. If you are too young for that one, feel free to substitute "CD" if it makes you feel better.

The point was good. Whenever you come across a situation, your mind starts working. With my old mind the situation would go like this:

Husband: Can you come outside and help me for a minute?
Wife: Sure.
Wife's mind: GAAH! Does he think I'm just sitting around? It's not like I'M not in the middle of something! You know, I could use some help here too. But NOOOOO, let me drop everything and run to help you. No problem!

Not pretty, huh? I'm ashamed to say those used to be my thoughts. That is NOT the mind of Christ. How can I change that? By the renewal of my mind.

Great. So how do we renew our minds? How do we make them new? Well, I'm still thinking about that one. All this just "came together" for me today. I haven't had much time to study it. I suspect it is a mixture of prayer, time spent in His word, and the power of the Holy Spirit. But this much I know--I have to be transformed and it does not happen by my effort to be a better person--but by the renewing of my mind. We must renew our minds in order to truly change.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Teaching Purpose

At church last Sunday we watched this video. This "man on the street" style video poses the question, "What is your purpose in life?"

The answers were not so good. Most people just said something like, "to be happy." Many people had never thought about it. They said they just are going day to day, living life. Still, there were a variety of answers.

I've thought about that video several times this week. I am concerned about so much more than just being happy! Daily I'm thinking about how to help my husband better, how to make my home more orderly/peaceful/beautiful/etc., how to train my children better and what the outcome of each parenting decision might be, what things I need to work on (more Bible study, having a gentle and quiet spirit, my attire, etc.). I'm tired just writing all this!!!

I suspect I'm not alone. I think there are many Christian women who spend a lot of thinking time on these types of things. Our concerns are: our relationship with the Lord, helping and loving our husbands, training our children, and keeping our homes. These are good concerns--found in scripture even. So why does the "man on the street" seem to be so unconcerned about anything, while I am concerned about many things?

In truth, a short question in front of a microphone does not tell us that person's heart. Or their fears and worries. When faced with a tragedy or troubles, then a non-Christian's light-hearted response to life would change.

Even though I have been a Christian for years, I have not always been concerned about these things. I used to just live my life day to day and try to be happy. Even as a "Christian" I did not know what my purpose was and had not even thought that out. Before we had children I found my identity not in being a wife, but in my career. I hung out with friends, my husband, my family, and went to work. Oh yeah, and church. Growing up in church had not made me live my life much differently than the folks in that video. I would have probably said something like, "My purpose is to be a good teacher and enjoy being married to my husband and to do what's right." Oh and I would have also probably said something about using my talents for the Lord. Because I was taught that one very well.

I am thankful that I understand more about biblical womanhood than I did when we were first married. I'm glad that the one guy in the video answered that his purpose was to glorify God in all that he did. As a woman, a wife, a mother--I want to glorify God as well.

Here is my question: Do you think our young people in church today are growing up understanding what their purpose is or will be? Are our young men learning about being husbands/fathers? Are our young women learning about being wives/mothers? What are they learning?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

August for Me

If I were still a teacher, I would be back at work now. We usually had to be back at work by about the 5th of August. Kids usually started back by the 15th. This year in our state, the loophole where districts could apply for a waiver is gone and they cannot start before the 3rd week in August or something like that. So for the first time in forever, school does not start around here until August 28. Our summer has been extended. We have August back.

My brain did not get that message.

I have been feeling like I need to be doing something. Like maybe I'm forgetting something important. OH! I know! I'm supposed to be getting my classroom ready right now. I'm supposed to be making big plans for bulletin boards and room organization and lesson plans and wonderful school type things. I haven't taught in 3 years, but this is what my body is used to. August is for getting ready for school.

Now, every year I have one big nightmare before school starts. One year it was that I forgot to get my classroom ready. I showed up and there they were--a whole room full of students (of all ages, some former students, some strangers, no one went together...) all waiting on me. And there I stand. No plans. No copies. Nothing ready. Because I forgot. Boy, was I ever glad to wake up from that one! One year it was that I accidentaly sent the kids home at midday. Waved goodbye to them on the front porch of the school, got in my car and left. Then, I looked at the clock in my car and realized it was only 11:30am and I was supposed to send them to P.E.--NOT HOME!!! I race back to school and frantically run around trying to find the children I am responsible for. Not a happy dream.

The best thing about August? It's the month I became a Mommy. Sweetheart was due to arrive on August 17--the 2nd day of school that year. Imagine the parents' surprise when they walked their children to class on the first day of school and were met by a 10 month pregnant teacher who was just about ready to explode! I actually made it through the whole first week of work before she arrived. When we were home from the hospital I stashed my work ID badge in the dresser. I didn't even want to LOOK at it! I was a Mommy. For 3 glorious months I only needed to concern myself with that. No more worrying with other people's kids.

And now I find myself at home again with this wonderful little girl who is about to turn 8. She really does have one of the sweetest hearts that I know. I cannot wait to be her teacher each and every day. (I know, I know, I've been teaching her since she was born--but now I won't be sharing the job!)

So this August I will happily be preparing for my students (I just know I'm going to like them!). I will be getting all our supplies ready, making lesson plans, and getting excited about all the cool things we are going to do.

Just like every August--but this year without the nightmares.

Monday, August 6, 2007

So, What About These Differences?

A few days ago I posted about how we are pressured, no matter how subtly, to accept differences among people. You can read the first post here. Children are taught in school to accept those who are different. We even praise these differences. Schools host multicultural fairs where each person's heritage and culture are taught, experienced, and held in high esteem. Hand in hand with accepting differences in culture is accepting differences in religious beliefs. It's not that much farther down the road to accept differences in "lifestyle choices." Lots of acceptance falls under this umbrella. Pretty soon there is no right or wrong--just different.

Since I have been hanging out in the blogging world (mostly among Christian women blogs) I have seen glimpses of this practice within our Christian circles. Christian women can be very different. On one hand you have very conservative ladies who wear head coverings over their long hair and plain clothing. On the other hand, you have a short-haired, fancy-dressed, wealthy women preaching on TV. Both claim to be Christians.

There are lots of differences in us. Some work, others stay home. Some homeschool, others send their children to public school. Some wear dresses only, others live in jeans. Some cook occasionally, while others grow their own food and bake their own bread. Some receive children as a blessing from the Lord, and others use birth control. Some are quiet and others are very outspoken. The list could go on and on.

And I hear women saying, "We just need to have more grace for each other." "This is they way the Lord has led me." "I felt called to __________, He may have other plans for your life."

Surely there will always be differences among Christian women. We are not cookie cutters stamped out to live our lives completely identical to one another. God has made a variety of women--and that is good! But...

I just can't help but feel that we are letting some things slide. I can't help but feel that some of the things we "accept" from one another are not good. But we've been taught to accept and praise differences, and so we do. But there is a right and wrong. God has set a standard. It's not up to us to decide which parts of the Bible we will apply to our lives.

So what should a Christian woman look like? How should her life be? The answer is found in scripture. I'm not about to act like I can tell you the answer to that in a blog post! God has given us His word. He gives wisdom to those who ask for it.

All I'm saying is, have you asked God how He intends for a Christian woman's life to be? We often pray about things in OUR lives (is this what you want for my life, Lord?), but what things should be the same for all women who belong the the Lord? Let's stop looking at each other (except for encouragement) and look to God and His word. It's not all up to us and our individual tastes and decisions. Living our life for God requires that we consult Him.
So, (I don't think I'm saying all this very well), I appreciate our differences. Really, I do! But, I want to make sure that I'm sticking to the things God wants me to. Instead of just saying, "Oh, I'm just not like that!" I want to be a godly woman--whatever that may look like. And I'm just not sure it can look as many ways as we sometimes think it can.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Girls...

...this article really hit home. Not because we struggle with these things personally, but because I have daughters.

Sweetheart, you will be 8 this month.

May you wear pony tails in your hair. And bows.
May you enjoy the doll I am getting you for your birthday.
May you love the dresses your Grandma sews for you.
May you want to go to the park, the library, church, McDonalds, and the toy store. All of these more than the beauty salon.
May you be happy if you are clean and your teeth are brushed.
May you sometimes not care if you are dirty and your hair is crazy-looking. Because you are too busy playing to notice.
May you learn what true beauty is from the Lord. Not your friends. Not a magazine. Not celebrities.
May you look forward to the day when you will wear make-up, fix your own hair, paint your nails, or shave your legs. May you look forward to these things as being far in your future.
May you enjoy being a little girl right now.
May you be more protected than the little girls in the article. They need prayer and protection.

You are my first-born. I need God's help to raise you in a way that pleases Him. Especially when these examples are all around. And godly examples seem to be so few.

Friday, August 3, 2007

School Can't Start Yet--I'm Not Ready!!!

I know I promised the sequel to this post today, but really...WHAT WAS I THINKING? It's Friday, for heaven's sake. My head hurts, I need a nap, and who wants to think about such deep things just before the weekend? So, sadly, I am writing this post instead.

I always pictured us "doing school" at our kitchen table, but it really bugged me that there was no storage in there. Everything would have to be carried in and out each day as we needed it. Also, I wouldn't be able to hang anything on the walls because really, I don't want our kitchen to look like that. SO, I began re-thinking our "home office." I say that in finger quotes because it was supposed to be an office, but was basically functioning as a drop station. I had really good intentions of making it an office for my husband. He spends hours each week working on Bible lessons for youth ministry. But, since he has a laptop he really ends up just sitting in his recliner and working.

Now that I was super motivated to create a schoolroom, I got right to work! I pulled everything out of the desk and off the old bookshelf. I pulled the old furniture out and now....

...we have a huge mess all over the floor. I will NOT, however, be posting pictures of the mess like some people. Mainly because that would take a whole lot of engery and I would have to pry the 3 year old away from the Wiggles website (they have games, you know) long enough to download the pictures.

It's all because these wonderful shelves from IKEA are out of stock right now. It's really throwing my whole plan off. So, my dear husband is going to spend his Saturday building some for me. I can't wait to get them in the room! I'll post pictures of our schoolroom when I'm done.

The other reason why I'm not ready for school to start is that I have so many home projects to finish up around here. We moved into this house last September and we've painted almost every room since then. However, I have so many more plans and I know when school starts all that will slow way down! I am so ready for my home to look finished and be beautiful. I don't spend a lot of money on decorating, but it's important to me how it looks.

So, the lesson plans will have to wait a while longer--I'm busy watching HGTV and getting inspired! I'm busy sewing and painting and organizing. Thank goodness school is starting later this year!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Praising Our Differences?

It is very politically correct to praise "diversity." We are pressured to acknowledge that we are all different, created differently even. We teach small children to appreciate all the skin colors, eye colors, and hair colors that there are. It's not just looks, either. We praise differences in likes and dislikes. I'm not sure you realize how much this appreciation and acceptance of diversity is preached in public schools.

Of course, on the surface there is nothing wrong with pointing out to children all the beautiful ways God made them different. It is amazing, after all, that our Lord thought of so many ways to make people look. It is so interesting to see that Johnny is good at art and Emma loves to read or dance. And children are truly all created beautifully--and many of them need to hear that.

There is another aspect of this acceptance of diversity that is not as easy to recognize. It is so prevalant in today's society that we, as Christians, hardly notice it. After accepting that we were all created to be different in looks--it's not really that big of a jump to accept that we were all created differently in other ways. Here falls the argument that some people were "just made that way." Under this umbrella falls many excuses. And yet, we are to celebrate that diversity, not tell people that they are living wrong!

So, by the time a child has graduated from high school...where does their thinking fall? Do they think it's wrong that the girl in their 7th grade Reading class was pregnant? Of course not--because the teacher is not allowed to even mention the pregnancy or act like she is pregnant. Do they think it's wrong...or just different...that their friend has 2 moms? Is there a wrong and right? Or just, you know, "like me" and "different from me."

Of course, you teach your children at home what is right and wrong. I know you do, BUT they certainly hear another message loud and clear from the media, songs, movies, their teachers, and other adults in their life. Who wouldn't want their child to grow up accepting of differences when you are talking about their friend with autism, or the child in class with epilepsy? We want our children to be accepting of these differences....but not ALL differences. So we have phrases to help out such as "WWJD?" and "hate the sin, but love the sinner."

This is an area we have to be very careful in. Moms, as keeper of your home (and Dads, as the head of your home), you have to do everything you can to teach your children what God's ways and God's standards are. They are found in the Bible. They are not found very many other places. We must guard our children against the thinking of this world.

Tomorrow: How does this acceptance of diversity affect us as women?