Our Very First Giveaway!

October 31, 2008 at 1:15 pm (Announcements) (, , , , )

If you’re like us, you like free stuff–especially books!

And if you’re like us, you’ll love a chance to win one of our favorites:  The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Check out our review of the book and then leave us a comment (on this post) to get your name entered in a drawing for this excellent book!  In fact, if you mention this giveaway on your personal site and let us know, we’ll enter your name twice.  The deadline for entry into the drawing is November 14, 2008–at midnight.  Not that we’ll be up then counting.  😉

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O to be a godly woman!

October 28, 2008 at 10:24 am (A Slice of Life, Attitudes, Godly Living, Homemaking, Love) (, , , , , , , , )

There’s a verse I’ve been meditating on for quite some time now, and I’m seeking to apply it to my life. I want to be a godly woman who represents Jesus Christ my Savior and my God in all that I do and in all that I am. Here’s the verse:

Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. ~1 Timothy 3:11

It’s a simple verse, really, and based on context, it is probably referring to qualifications for the wife of a “deacon” (the Gk means “servant”). Questions come to my mind: What does it mean to be dignified? The original meaning of the word is more easily understood in my opinion; it means to be “venerable”, or respectable/honorable. The Strong’s definition also says “serious”. I take this to mean that my character ought to be appropriate and honorable–in and of itself, as well as unto the Lord–and show that I take life and following God seriously. Do my words and deeds bring honor to the name of Christ? Or does my immaturity reflect poorly on Him? Do I take His word seriously and apply it to my life? Or do I read it and move on without seriously considering how what God says affects me? Do I realize how my actions affect those around me–and even generations to come? Do I consider these things enough to live for something more serious and more worthwhile than seeking my own pleasure in this world or simply living from day to day without serious, godly purposefulness? These are some searching questions that have helped me to look before I leap. (Be sure of this though: serious living is anything but drudgery and boredom. When we truly begin to live serious lives for God, we know the greatest joy that there is! And that is further motivation for taking God seriously–the fact that HE is the source of TRUE JOY for a believer! ~Psalm 16:11) 🙂

The next phrase is pretty self-explanatory: “not malicious gossips.” Now, it’s easy to say, No! Of course I’m not a malicious gossip! But we ladies need to watch what is in our nature–talking about others in such a way as to make them look worse and/or ourselves look better comes quite naturally! And we especially need to watch out for this in light of the prevalence of “prayer-request gossip”. Honestly examine your words. Does what I say give grace to those who hear? (Ephesians 4:29) Or does it tear others down? No matter what someone else may have done, do I honor them as having been created in God’s image, or do I cut them down by my words (whether they are present or not)? (James 3:9-10) This is a good way to identify if we are truly loving others, for “out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Jesus in Matthew 15:18-19).

“But temperate…” Some of you may have guessed that this word means “sober” if you thought of the temperance movement early in the 1900s. This understanding is consistent throughout Scripture–that we ought not to be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Since I don’t drink, this isn’t an area of struggle for me, but the principle can apply to other aspects of life–Do I allow God’s Holy Spirit to control me? Or do I allow things in this world to intoxicate me to the point that I don’t listen to His Word? Be watchful of distractions that might steal your heart from the Lord Jesus. I know I need to be watchful for them in my own life.

And FINALLY, this is the part of the verse that hits me the hardest: FAITHFUL IN ALL THINGS. That’s no small task! In fact, that makes a big deal out of every task! That I would be faithful, dependable, consistent…even in the small things or the monotonous things–that I would truly do everything with all my heart as unto the Lord, with the aim of bringing Him glory (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:15-16). Oh that everything I set out to do I would do so as to present it as a love offering to my King! In my own conviction, this doesn’t seem to leave room for lazy procrastination. Nor does it mean I must be a workaholic, either. But that I would seek to glorify God in all that I do, pray and choose wisely what things to commit myself to, and then do those few things with all of the energy and grace that God supplies. WOW! I struggle to do that! I pray that God would shape me into a faithful woman–faithful to Him IN ALL THINGS–in obedience to His word first of all, and then in applying myself to the responsibilities and good deeds He has prepared for me. What amazing grace it is that God would concern Himself with the affairs of men! That He takes pleasure in His children learning to follow Him faithfully–OH! and that He gives them the grace and guidance through His word to do just that! What an amazing God!

Grace and Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus the Lord!

laurens-sig1

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Sliced Tomatoe Pie

October 26, 2008 at 7:08 am (Counter Culture) (, , , , )

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Crust:

Combine:  3/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp cornmeal and a pinch of salt.  Remove 2 heaping tbsp of mixture and combine with 2 tbsp of water to make a paste.  Cut 6 tbsp butter into remaining flour.  Mix in paste.  Press crust into 9” pie dish.  Bake for five minutes.

FIlling:

Slice 6-8 medium sized tomatoes and layer inside crust.  Combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper to taste.  Pour over tomatoes.

Topping:

Melt 2 tbsp butter and saute’ 1/2 cup chopped green onions in it.  Stir in 1/2 cup soft bread or cracker crumbs.  Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and 1/4 cup grated cheese.  Crumble over top of tomatoes.

Reduce heat to 375.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until cheese is melted and topping is crisp.

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Homeschool Blog awards, and a makeover…for blogs!

October 23, 2008 at 5:28 am (Announcements) (, , , , , )

For those of you who are homeschooled, have been homeschooled, will homeschool or simply know some awesome homeschooling bloggers, the contest is open!  Visit the Homeschool Blog Awards to nominate your favorite blogs!

And that’s not all, folks.  Designer G is giving away a free blog makeover.  Check it out here!

We’re still moving slowly…Abigail’s computer is still in the shop but will hopefully be done soon and Lauren’s been super busy…well, being a wife and homemaker.  But we’re at work on some articles we hope to have finished and posted soon!  And keep your eyes peeled for our very first giveaway…any day now.

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That Dip

October 19, 2008 at 7:02 am (Counter Culture) (, , , , , )

Ingredients:

8 oz package of cream cheese, softened

1 cup chili (canned or homemade)

1 small bunch of green onions, chopped

1 small can green chilies or Rotel tomatoes

8 oz package of cheese (colby, colby/jack or cheddar)

Olives, sliced (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Layer items in the above order in a glass baking dish.  Bake until cheese is melted and dip is heated through.  Serve hot with tortilla chips.  Perfect for parties, gatherings, church dinners and family nights.  So good everyone knows exactly what “that dip” is!

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They Say…

October 17, 2008 at 1:35 pm (Flowers of Thought) (, , , , , , , , )

flowers-of-thought-2

While studying for his Master’s Degree, Jonathan Edwards scribbled this sparkling tribute in the front page of a Greek textbook:

“They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is beloved of that almighty Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him–that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her actions; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after those seasons in which this great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, and to wander in the fields and on the mountains, and seems to have someone invisible always conversing with her.”

He spoke of thirteen-year-old Sarah Pierrepont, a young lady whom he had come to know and admire. Others recount her as attractive, but the beauty that bubbled up from within caught the heart of a man who loved God, and earned his praise. Four years later, in 1727, Jonathan and Sarah were united in an uncommon union to the glory of God.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Oh to be such a woman as to earn such a tribute, and yet to be such a woman as to never notice the tribute had been given.

Lord, to be in love with Thee,
As to be so consumed with Thee,
That, unaware of others’ eyes
I would be so in tune with Thee

That they would say I knew Thee, Lord
That they would see I so adored
The One who so loved that He gave
His life to save me from my grave

That offering the world to me
Would prove a waste of energy
For Thou art of such perfect grace
As to be all, before my face

To capture every thought and word
To be all that my Spirit heard.
That I’d be praised for seeking Thee
And yet, that praise, not even see.

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A Review for Treasure Seekers

October 12, 2008 at 7:27 am (The Book Shelf) (, , , , , , , , , )

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

Book Type: Financial, Motivational, Christian Living

Rating: 10 out of 10

Recommended? For everyone who loves Jesus and desires to be a good steward

Overview: Most of us realize the truth of the statement, “You can’t take it with you.”  Few understand the impact of the truth:  “BUT you CAN send it on ahead.”  There’s nothing wrong with storing up treasure–as long as our investment is an eternal one.  From Jesus’ simple command to store up treasure in heaven, Randy takes us through six scriptural principles to guide our giving.  Forget the Old Testament notion of the tithe–as if only ten percent belongs to God!  Randy reminds us that EVERYTHING belongs to God and we are only His managers.  We should understand how our Boss wants us using His money.  God Himself proved Himself to be the greatest giver of all–first giving us life, then giving us His Son, and also giving us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness. God loves a cheerful giver!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

This book is brief, to the point and jam packed with gospel truth.  For me the only bad and ugly I discovered lay in my own heart, riddled with greed.

Praises:

Randy writes about what he knows personally.  After being taken to court over his pro-life literature and being told all his income exceeding a certain amount would go to support pro-choice organizations, he made a radical decision–took a minimum wage job and set up all of his writing profits to go directly to the Lord’s work.  After reading “The Treasure Principle” several years ago, I wrote in my journal, “As children of the King, we are not to live like princes, but to give like princes.”  It’s a challenge!  But the results are enormous joy–and peace in a secure investment.  Paul thanked the Macedonians for their gift, “Not because I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that increases to your account!”  Randy does an excellent job of realigning our financial understanding with scripture.

Concerns:

Rarely do I recommend a book this highly.  No concerns.

Tips for getting the most out of this book:

At a time when the United States is facing a financial crisis, at a record low and politicians are sweating

and debating about ways to bail out Wall Street, we find ourselves reassessing our pocket books.  In the midst of tightening our belts and budgeting, don’t be quick to nip and tuck your giving!  Get out your Bible, get out your bank statements and a pen and paper and check your priorities against God’s Word.  Where is your treasure?  Where is your heart?

Visit Eternal Perspective Ministries, home of Randy Alcorn.

Buy the Treasure Principle at Amazon.com–it’s a worthwhile investment.

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Pita Pockets

October 11, 2008 at 7:07 am (Counter Culture) (, , , )

Ingredients:

1 cup water (warm)

1 tbsp dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, completely dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Stir in salt and flour. Knead on a lightly floured board for 6 minutes, until elastic. Devide into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball and cover with a towel to prevent drying. Roll each ball inot a flat disk, about 5” in diameter and 1/4” thick. Let rise 30 mintues, covered.

Preheat oven and pans (or baking stones) to 500 degrees. Place risen pitas on preheated pans and bake for four minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Cut in half. If not rolled too thinly, pitas should make a pocket, perfect for stuffing with sandwich fillings! For pitas that don’t pocket, cut into wedges and toast for pita chips!

Serve with your favorite sandwich fillings. We like to eat them with our Tithing Chicken Salad!

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Lessons Learned…And Still Learning!

October 7, 2008 at 7:36 pm (A Slice of Life, Attitudes, God's Will, Godly Living, Homemaking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

As many of you have probably noticed, I have taken a break from blogging for, well, nearly a month now!  I’m sorry that I pulled away while in the middle of the series on situational modesty-I didn’t want to quit after dealing with only one situation!  I didn’t want to leave our readers hanging!

That said, I do not regret the decision to stop writing for a while.  My life had become rather disorderly and discouraging because of some wrong thinking and wrong actions that I had allowed to creep in.  So after talking with Nathaniel about my need for focusing on the basics, he agreed that I should put down the pen and take care of my top priorities.

And really, that’s what this has been all about-priorities.  God has created me and saved me to be first and foremost His daughter, His maidservant, His worshiper.  And He has given me in marriage to my husband Nathaniel, to be his wife, his helper, his home-maker.  My job, my career as it were, is to serve my God by serving my husband.  It’s incredible the way even good things can turn into major distractions when we set them up as more important than simple obedience to what God has clearly commanded in His word.  And such has been the case with writing for this blog.  I had begun to view it as my job, and I approached it in a professional manner, seeking to do my best, meet deadlines, etc.  And with the same mentality as the modern feminist, I eagerly threw myself into the task, the “ministry”, and allowed that to become more important to me than my wifely duties.

Having something else-something more visible to the rest of the world-made me feel important.  When people asked what I do, I could now say that I’m more than just a housewife-I’m a writer, too!  But why do I want more?  Why is serving God and my husband not enough?  Because I was seeking the praise of man, and I was allowing humanistic, feminist ideas to influence both my thinking and my actions!

It played out something like this:

Week one: I love being at home serving my husband.  I’m so glad that he supports me in staying home and not having a career-it’s such a blessing to be able to focus on serving God in our home.  With that in mind, Nathaniel has encouraged me in my decision to start a blog with Abigail-we really want to share a vision for biblical womanhood with young ladies, challenging them to obey what God has commanded us as women.  It’ll be a good outlet for my many ideas and writing.  God has done so much in my life to conform me to what He desires, and it has brought great blessing!  I want to share this with others.

Week two: Blogging is going well, we’re growing; it’s fun and challenging.  Spent too much time online reading and commenting on other blogs…I’ve neglected the laundry for a few days…I really need to get that done!  All in all, though, I’m managing things pretty well.

Week three: God seems to really be using our blog to encourage other girls in their walk with Christ!  There’s so much I want to write about!  I think I’ll write a series on situational modesty!  And I need to set deadlines…be really professional about this…other bloggers seem to be doing well by doing this or that…I think I’ll try that.  Might take a little more time, but the more people know about our blog, the more God can reach with our message about biblical womanhood!

Week four: Got up and saw Nathaniel off to work.  Then logged on to the computer.  I’ve got a lot to do today, and I wanted to get going on my writing.  Oh, dear.  I ended up spending three hours in front of the computer-writing and surfing blogs.  I’m such an information junkie.  Sigh…end of the day, what have I gotten done…whoa, I hardly got anything done that I intended to do.  And…well, I guess I’ll read a Psalm before I go to bed.

Week five: Three articles into the series on situational modesty.  It’s really been a blessing to see how ladies have responded-kinda calmed my fears that I’d be stepping on people’s toes.  My morning Bible study has been anything but consistent lately…and usually I end up reading God’s word for my writing more than to spend time with him…that’s not quite best, but at least I’m in the word each day!  I think I’ll go to the coffee shop to write and study…I feel more professional there than at home.

Week six: UGG…I do NOT want to write this next article.  The swimsuit thing was a lot of work, and people seemed to appreciate it…but this next article might really stir things up…I am dreading writing it!  Sigh…and there’s so much piled up here around the house…and I’ve been so emotional lately-it’s like I’m driven by my emotions.  What’s up with that?

Week seven: Ok, this article is not writing itself, so I’d better get started on it.  I’ll do an outline.  There, my notes are done.  Wow, that’s a lot to cover.  Oh, I want to write it now, but there is a huge stack of dishes to be washed!  Good grief!  I wish those dishes would just do themselves!  This takes so long.  How am I supposed to keep up with a decent writing schedule when it takes so long to keep up with things around the house?  And I just have to do it all over again the next day?!?!  I’m a writer, why should I have to deal with this stuff?  I’ll just get Nathaniel to help me clean up this evening…

Breaking point: Wow, I used to love serving and cleaning and organizing.  I love being at home, and I love being a home-maker for my husband.  So why have I not enjoyed it lately?  Gasp!  I’ve placed other things above the things that are most important!  I’m just like the career-minded woman-even though I’m not getting paid and I’m not even leaving my home, I have sought to escape my most basic responsibilities, neglecting them to pursue something else!  If I have as my highest daily priority something other than worshiping the Lord and serving my husband, if I am more eager to do that new priority than the other two, then I have 1) created an idol, 2) begun to embrace the feminist mindset that values personal fulfillment and achievement more than God and family, and 3) I’ve robbed myself of any joy in doing what I have been called to do, because I have come to see something else as a higher calling.

The major indicator of this problem that became most evident to my dear husband was my attitude of discontentment.  I simply wasn’t happy and couldn’t figure out why.  I would talk to Nathaniel about how I felt, and he gently and wisely alerted me to what I was saying-I wasn’t content.  I was looking for the things around me to be just right in order for me to be able to function, to be disciplined, to be happy.  Instead of being satisfied in my Savior, and thankful for all He’s done for me and given me, and instead of thriving where He’s planted me, I had neglected to give thanks, neglected to stay put, and I sought affirmation from other people and comfort from doing whatever I felt like doing at the moment.  Living to please yourself really is the short cut to emptiness.

And when I’m empty I have nothing to give to others.  I cannot teach others to do what I am not doing.  I cannot spiritually encourage others when I am downtrodden.  I cannot serve my husband to the best of my ability when I’m worried about serving my readers (most of whom I’ve never even met).  I cannot glorify God in my writing if I am not glorifying God in my daily life!

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can fall into wrong thinking and allow everything to be turned on its head?  Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can allow something like “ministry” to get in the way of what God really wants us to be doing?  This was hard to take in once I realized what I’d been doing.  In brokenness I confessed my wrong thinking and wrong priorities and attitudes to my husband, and expressed to him what I saw to be a very clear solution (or part of the solution):  pull away from blogging.

If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it far from you…Let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us…All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable…All things are lawful, but I will not be mastered by anything.  Scripture is clear.  I knew what I had to do.  I had to cut out the idol-and for an undetermined amount of time.  And this was best anyway, since I didn’t have anything to offer-no wonder I dreaded writing my next article!  I was running on empty!

I’ve had a lot to learn in the area of personal discipline over the past several weeks-my unwarranted loyalty to blogging was only the most obvious problem.  It seemed that everything was in disarray when I finally hit my breaking point.  And now things are looking up, so I’m slowly getting back to writing, though now with a new focus.  I’d like to share more of what I’ve learned in my “time off” in future posts, but I think what I’ve written here will suffice to bring you up to speed for now.  Just please learn from my mistakes.  Don’t allow ANYTHING to get in the way of simple, joyful obedience to the things God has clearly called you to in His word.

May we keep in mind lessons learned, and may we continue learning to please the Lord in everything we think, say, and do!  Grace and peace!

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You’re a Temple

October 2, 2008 at 1:53 pm (Modesty, Poetry) (, , , , , )

What can I say or do to change your mind?
Your body is not a gift for all mankind.

You’re a temple of the Living God.
Your heart should be His altar stone.
Your life should be the sacrifice
Offered to God alone.

The beauty God gives is not meant to be shared
With each wandering eye by the outfits that you wear.

God clothed His whole temple
In linen and hangings of blue
In velvet and scarlet.
You should be covered, too.

The figure you have is not your light to share.
You will not turn eyes to God by tempting stares.

Your body is a sacred thing
Holy vessels are covered
In reverence and honor,
Because they are beloved.

Keep the abode of God unstained by sin
So the glory of God may be contained within.

You’re a temple of the Living God.
Your heart should be His altar stone.
Your life should be the sacrifice
Offered to God alone.

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Mocha Smoothie

October 1, 2008 at 9:57 am (Counter Culture) (, , , , , , , )

Ingredients:

1 cup fat-free milk

1 medium banana, peeled and frozen

2 tablespoons sugar or honey (I use brown sugar)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup ice cubes

Directions:

Combine all ingredients (except ice) in blender.  Cover and blend until smooth.  Add the ice, cover, and blend until nearly smooth.  Pour into glasses and enjoy!  Makes two servings.  (Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.)

Why go out and pay $4 for something you can make at home?  This is a great alternative to buying fancy coffee drinks out–It’s cheaper, oh-so-tasty and fun to make–and it’s much healthier!  If you want a stronger coffee flavor, just add more coffee!

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