And Who Are You?

January 18, 2010 at 1:28 am (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Our stats reveal to us many interesting things:

Popular searches for our blog include all things itchy (due to Lauren’s pemphigoid), the simple word “pretty” (any explanation?), and questions about waiting for a godly husband (What Are You Waiting For?), rebellion (The Root of Rebellion), modesty (Situational modesty) and Elijah’s depression (The Elijah Syndrome).  Thankfully they’ve left off on the “Lauren is beautiful…I want to marry Lauren” vein.

Our top referring site is the Young Ladies Christian Fellowship–due to Lauren and Nathaniel’s betrothal story.

We receive close to  a hundred hits a day (more if we post a hot topic…)

And…

Our two most popular posts ever are the pages “The Lauren and Nathaniel Story” and “About Lauren and Abigail.”

Which means that we’ve got some lurkers who know plenty about us…and we’d like the chance to meet you.  🙂

Don’t be shy!  Just step up and leave us a comment telling us your name (or a nickname), your blog address (if you have one), how you found us/how long you’ve been visiting and a favorite book…or something else about yourself!  Are you married or single?  Christian or something else?  Do you prefer tuna or spam? Feel free to make it long or short!

Looking forward to meeting you!

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Mean Texas Chili

January 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm (Counter Culture) (, , , , , , , , , , )

It’s that time of year–cold, overcast days are upon us–which means it’s the perfect time to eat chili!  This is my family’s recipe.  I’ve lived outside of Texas for about 6 years now, and though I’ve tried some very good chili since my exodus, I can honestly say that “cain’t nobody make it like them Texans can make it!”  And especially my parents.

Just a warning:  The title is quite accurate.  This is a mean Texas chili.  If you don’t like spicy food and would rather eat “wimpy” Texas chili, omit the cayenne pepper.  😉

Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons oil

2 onions, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or about a tablespoon minced garlic from a jar)

3 lbs. any (or any combination) of the following:  sliced steak, chili meat, or ground beef

3 cans diced tomatoes

1 small can of tomato paste

3 tsp salt

8 Tbs good quality chili powder–I find mine in the Hispanic/Latino section of the store

3 Tbs ground cumin

1 Tbs cayenne pepper

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp oregano

1 cup of water

2 cans of beans (pinto, red, or kidney work well)

Directions:

Heat oil in pan.   Saute onions and garlic.  Add meat and cook until done.  Pour into slow cooker.

Add diced tomatoes and all seasonings.  Stir in one cup of water.  Cook on low for about 4 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving time add drained beans.

My family always ate this over rice with canned pears on the side to cut the heat.  You can also eat it on its own or with Frito’s, as Nathaniel likes it.  It’s great topped with sour cream and cheese.  This batch should make at LEAST ten servings (filled my 5 quart Crock Pot to the brim!).  🙂

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A Law Unto Himself

January 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm (Food for Thought) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

The very throne of the eternal God rests upon the inviolability of His own law which is the expression of His divine nature. There can be no tampering with that law, not even by God Himself, in the interest of men who have broken the law. If the salvation of the sinner lies in this direction, as some men suppose, there can be no salvation for anyone. ~Alva J. McClain, Law and Grace, 1967

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

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Totally Dependent Emily

January 5, 2010 at 1:18 am (interviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

When Nathaniel and Lauren started college at Tech half a dozen years ago, they met an upperclassman named Tedd. Everyone knew Tedd. Tedd sang with United Voices, the gospel choir, wore traditional garb from India and no shoes, was always ready for the next mission opportunity and never grew tired. He was passionate about Jesus. By the time Lauren and Nathaniel were upperclassmen themselves, Tedd had graduated and was working Missions full-time. But he kept coming back to Tech–not just to see his friends, but also to spend time with Emily, Lauren’s RA. We smiled as Emily balanced Tedd out in some ways and fueled him in others.  As we watched Tedd and Emily’s relationship unfold, we watched the Lord bring two passionate lives together and unite them in one purpose: His service.

Tedd and Emily currently serve as missionaries with LEI and have recently produced their own CD, called “Quiet Places” which you can order or download from Emily’s website. Since their marriage, we’ve gotten to know Emily a bit better, and are excited to be able to share with you the ways the Lord has been shaping her, using her talents and even her weaknesses as she depends totally on Him, for His glory.

Pearls and Diamonds: How would you currently describe yourself if someone asked “so, what do you do?”

Emily: I’m still working on my in-a-nutshell version :-). My job description is “missionary” with an organization called Literacy & Evangelism International. My responsibilities include graphic design and general assisting of my husband on the field.

P&D: Would you tell us how you fell in love with Jesus?

Em: Hmmm…when I think of the definition of “falling in love,” I think of how I fell in love, and still fall in love, with my husband Tedd. It was a process, and the love grows, matures, and strengthens over time. Similarly, I began falling in love with Jesus when I was maybe five. My grandmother talked about him and, even at that age, I recognized that I really needed him. Then there were the teenage years; that’s when I really learned how much of a sinner I was and how dependent I am on Christ. Then there was college; I learned a lot about trusting Jesus, surrendering to him, and how beautiful grace really is. Now an official “grown-up,” I’m experiencing Jesus’ love and provision on new levels, so my heart naturally responds with a greater and deeper love for him as the years go by…

P & D: How do you see the Lord’s preparation of you for the life you are leading (or perhaps the life that is leading you) now?

Em: Yes, “the life that is leading you” works more appropriately in my case :-), lol. As far as being a missionary goes, I always liked roughing it as a kid, French classes were full at my new high school and I was forced to take Spanish, and then my church youth group offered lots of short-term trips. These are just a few ways I can see that God was preparing me in a practical sense. Spiritually, I was always convicted by messages about surrendering, giving our life for Christ, leaving everything behind to follow Him, etc, which caused me to reflect on my willingness to die to myself and subsequently ask for the Lord’s help to do it.

P & D: How did you and Tedd meet and marry? What drew you to Tedd? Did you always share his vision for missions?

Em: Tedd and I went to school together and he’d seen me around campus, so when he saw a demo cd I’d made lying in his friend’s cd wallet, he asked, “do I know this girl?” He read my testimony on the back of the cd and said he felt like he would have written it the same way, so he felt a sort of kindred-spirit connection. He prayed for me and we eventually met and started to hang out with mutual friends. It’s a long story, but after only about a month of spending time around each other, he told me, very nonchalantly, that he loved me. I liked him too, but I was trying not to 🙂 – that was, providentially, a time in my life, when I was trying hard to surrender my relationships to God and steer clear of boy-craziness. Nonetheless, I was drawn to Tedd’s maturity and his sincere and authentic love for Jesus and people from all backgrounds…the way he served, loved, and lived. A couple weeks after he told me he loved me, we decided to “date” with marriage fully in mind. Nine months later, Tedd and I sat down on a campus bench to pray, and with many tears, we were committing ourselves to the Lord and praying for each other and our future together. After we finished praying, Tedd asked me to marry him. I said yes wholeheartedly and we got married eleven months later (he was out of the country about 6+ months during that time).

I prayed a lot during the nine months before we were engaged about whether or not I would be a missionary. I practically wanted God to write it in the clouds for me, almost to the point where I made my “calling” my idol. It finally dawned on me, thanks to a godly woman in my life, that I was called to serve Jesus no matter what, and that part of my role as a Christ-follower would be to serve my husband in whatever he does for the Lord. So finally I had a peace…I would fulfill my noble calling to serve my husband, doing my best to serve the Lord faithfully at his side. In this case, that means serving a missionary, and in the meantime, I believe the Lord has given me more and more of a missionary’s heart.

P & D: Tell us about LEI and the work you and Tedd do with them. What are the highlights for you? What are the challenges? How do you feel about being a homemaker helper to a gung-ho missionary (as you once described Tedd)?

Em: Literacy Evangelism International (LEI) is a non-profit, evangelical organization that teaches people all over the world to read and write in their native tongue using Bible content; LEI’s goals are to expose non-believers to the Bible and to encourage believers to read the Word for themselves. Tedd is the director of Latin America and I travel with him wherever he goes. Our goals in Latin America are to multiply national trainers so the work can spread more quickly and effectively.

Highlights: working in poor areas expands my Biblical-world-view significantly; I learn so much!

Challenges: living with other people constantly, being submerged in other languages, cultural frustrations, lack of feeling rooted somewhere (hard to nest!)

Hmmm…being married to my “gung-ho missionary” guy?…it’s really exhausting at times because he has very high levels of energy – his maxed-out point is far beyond mine (I know, because I’ve still never actually seen him maxed-out). It’s a huge blessing, however…we experience great moments of teamwork, emotional & spiritual support, and seeing how the Lord fit us together with a purpose.

P & D: What inspired your love of music? What inspired “Quiet Places” and what are your hopes with the CD? How did you and Tedd go about recording/producing “Quiet Places“? Any more projects on the radar?

Em: When I was a little girl, before I had any siblings to play with, I would wander off into the yard to pretend and play and I would sing all the while… “Someday my prince will come…” (Jesus!) and “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream…” I guess you could say Disney inspired my love of music? Nah…surely not! I think maybe it was my mom and my grandmother always singing to me and playing music for me. Music has always been in me and as I grew in my relationship with God, both during good and bad times, music has been an expression for me. Often it’s easier for me to pray to God in song than it is for me to pray in words.

Because of the burning desire Tedd and I had to express the love of God, and also authentic human emotions towards God, in song, we had handfuls of songs that we tweaked together and decided to share with others. We spent 2 full years, between trips overseas, recording the CD, “Quiet Places,” in a home recording studio in Russellville, AR. The CD was accompanied by several prayers; two that were often repeated were that it would glorify God and then be relevant to listeners so that they would feel as if our songs to God were their own.

Songs keep pouring out of us. We have even more that are inspired by Scripture and we already have enough to record another CD. We’re just waiting on God’s timing for the next one…

P  & D:  Would you share with us some of your personal learning experiences of dependence on God?

Why I’m Happy I Had Appendicitis Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard it before:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) but when you’re a child of God and you’re hurting so much, whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or whatever, it’s hard to believe this.

On Being Pretty–Are you pretty enough?  (Originally written to challenge and encourage friends of Facebook.)

A Pretty Good Poo Story: A Tale of God’s Goodness–Before I get started, I should mention that diarrhea is such a common ailment when traveling to the third world, that to most missionaries, and to most third-worlders, talking about it seems as natural as talking about a cough or a sore throat…so you’ll have to forgive me ’cause I’m pretty de-sensitized.  Use caution when reading if you are offended by this.

Misscarriage–So I feel older and wiser now.  I’ve had a miscarriage.  It’s made my soul stronger and it’s drawn me closer to the Creator of Life.

P & D: What does it mean to you to be a woman seeking the Lord?

Em: A woman seeking the Lord…she would be one who places the Lord above everything else. Seeking Him would mean to pursue Him with all her heart and mind and soul, reading His Word, talking with Him, worshiping Him in word and deed…making desperate efforts to see life and the world through the lens of Christ, and to live in obedience accordingly, while finding rest in His sufficient grace. That, to me, is a woman seeking the Lord…

One of Emily’s songs is titled “Totally Dependent“–which is what we all should be.  Following Jesus isn’t always easy–Jesus doesn’t promise ease.   But Jesus is faithful to guard our souls as we depend on Him–first for His saving grace and then every day for His sanctifying power and His empowering love.  You can visit Tedd and Emily’s missionary blog and Emily’s personal blog and their music website to learn more about their work with LEI and the Lord’s work in their lives as they depend on Him!

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New Year, New Things

January 1, 2010 at 1:24 am (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Happy New Year, Ladies!

We look back on the past year and are blown away by the grace of the Lord on our lives.  So many changes!  So much to be thankful for!  We’re excited to see what the new year holds.

For the blog, we hope it holds some changes, as well.  We’ve wondered some about the reality of trying to run a blog and keep up with our home lives but, Lord willing, we will keep blogging for a while yet.  And here’s some of what we hope to get going this year:

We now have a domain name! You can point all your friends to us at our new home www.pearlsanddiamondsblog.com And for those of you with links saved, don’t worry—the WordPress address will still land you here.

We’re planning a blog makeover—hopefully this month, so bear with us as we slowly try to redesign and redecorate.  If you have any HTML or CSS shortcuts or tricks, we’d love to hear them!

We’ll be including interviews from women we know who are trying to live lifestyles of obedient worship.  We’re pretty excited about some of the diversity among the godly ladies we know, and we’d love to share with you how the Lord works in the lives of other women, always creatively, always uniquely, always for His glory.  You can expect the first installment next week!

We’re planning to add a page with a bit of clarity on our beliefs. As always, feel free to ask us about anything!

We also hope to get our series on Finding God’s Will rolling—and we’d love to have some interaction as we try to put what we learn into action.  We want to know how you’re working out God’s will in your own lives!  After all, what difference does it make?

And the big news for February is that, if everything goes as planned, we’ll be hosting “Purity and the Greatest Commandment”—a month focused on Purity.  The goal is a new post every day (which will be pretty impressive for us.)  We’ll be including several articles, our personal testimonies as well as the experiences of some godly women we know.  And we’ll incorporate some entirely new content—anyone up for an audio drama?  We’d also love to hear from you, so start now by sharing your own personal purity convictions and how you came to them on your own blog, and toward the end of February we’ll have a linking party to exchange stories!  We’re also planning to wrap the whole month up with a giveaway—of a purity ring.  We’ll get some more details up soon, and provide you with a bumper sticker in case you want to help spread the word.  And if you know of any excellent purity articles, books or blogs that deserve to be spotlighted, send us an e-mail (pearlsanddiamondsblog@gmail.com) and let us know!

Looking forward to worshiping and growing with you in 2010!

Blessings,

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