Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Swimming in a Sea of Boxes

In case you're wondering about this picture, we just got a new computer that takes pictures.  We were playing around with it and came up with this!  Just wanted to pop in and let you all know that we are now officially swimming in a sea of boxes!  We had a very successful yard sale on Saturday, which is why I didn't get my health segment post up on Friday.  Unfortunately, my posts may be a little sporadic until we finally get settled in our new home.  But, I will try to post when I am able.  We will be doing a partial move of our things this next Friday, so we will be moving some things into our new home next weekend.  This week we will be frantically trying to get as many things done before then as possible.  After that, we will be weeding out and paring down to prepare for the packers and movers.   We greatly appreciate your prayers during this time as moving is always a potentially stressful time.  I look forward to catching up with you all again real soon.  God bless!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Are Your Standards for Modesty?

Continuing our discussion on the topic of modesty, I want to encourage you to come up with a standard for your family.  It is important to identify what you believe is appropriate for you Biblically and to remain faithful to that standard.  When we decided as a family to define what modesty would look like for us, it made clothes shopping and many other things easier because there was no longer an issue of holding up a piece of clothing and saying, "Mom, is this okay?"  We had already defined what was appropriate and what was not.  I hesitate to state our modesty standards however because I do not want anyone to feel bound by what we have done.  On the other hand, I think it could help someone who may be wondering how to go about making these decisions.  So, before I even begin, please realize that the standards for our family may not be the standards for yours.  You must decide that through prayer and discussions with your spouse.  It is amazing that many times Christian men have a much higher standard for modesty than we as women do. Maybe because they understand the temptation that is placed upon men by being so visually oriented.  So, I definitely encourage you to talk with your husbands and find out what they think about this issue.  This issue can get very personal when a father starts thinking of young men who may be looking at his daughter!
One of the things we can see throughout time is that our standards of modesty have dropped exponentially!  When we look at what women were wearing 100 years ago and then today, we can certainly see a great difference.  Now, I think some of those areas were improvements.  I cannot imagine all the layered clothes in 100 degree weather!  But, many were definitely not an improvement and cultures throughout the ages have shown that the more morally bankrupt a society gets the more blatantly immodest they become.  Our society is no different.  There is a wonderful book that I highly recommend on this subject by Jeff Pollard, called "The Public Undressing of America."   It is a quick read but packed full of documentation of how America has declined in their modesty standards.  One of those areas where he spends a great amount of time is on swimsuits.  The question on swimwear that I would ask is, "Why is it okay to wear nothing more than undergarments on the beach, but not acceptable at other places?"  Does God differentiate when it comes to places?  Are our bodies a temple of the Holy Spirit everywhere we go?  When God tells us not to cause our brothers to stumble because of our attire...did He mean to include the beach?  Or is it just because we have become so desensitized to this issue that we really don't think much about it anymore?  I know for years that is how I felt.  Everyone else was doing it.  Somehow it was okay to be immodest at the beach...that was acceptable, but it wouldn't be okay to walk into a department store like that.  I began to wonder what message I might be sending to my children?  Without meaning to, was I desensitizing them to immodest dress?  If we get them comfortable in little more than undergarments on the beach, isn't the natural progression to that being a little more lenient with what they wear other places? Swimsuits are not limited to the beach anymore.  I have driven down our neighborhood and seen teenage girls sunbathing on the front lawn.   I began to think...would I give my son a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition to peruse?  Well, of course not.  Then I started to think...well, if I would not do that because I didn't want him to stumble, why would I take him to the beach with scantily clad girls everywhere he turns and then tell him not to have lust in his heart?  So, we made a radical decision for our family...we do not go to the beach during peak seasons.  We go during the fall and winter months when we can still enjoy God's beauty, but not subject our children to the immodest apparel.  I know that may seem radical to some, and that is okay.  That is OUR modesty standard.  We debated about modest swimwear.  I am very thankful that there is such a thing. But, what we could not control is all the other people at the beach who were dressed that way.  So, our first standard for modesty may seem radical, but once we defined our barriers, it has not been an issue.  Our children do not ask to try on the latest swimwear, they already know that swimwear does not meet our standard.  We would rather our children err on the side of being overly modest than the alternative.  We did not want our girls to be seen in anything that would put a focus on their bodies rather than their Godly character, and we did not want our sons in overwhelming temptation to look at the bodies of girls rather than who they are in Christ.  Next week, I will try and cover our standards for everyday dress.  I hope if you do not have a modesty standard for your home, you will prayerfully consider getting one.  Defining this important issue will save you a lot of grief in the long run.  May the Lord bless you as you seek to put Him first in all things!  God bless you my friends!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Praising the Lord for His Bountiful Goodness!

It has been a while since my last post, but I wanted to write and let you all know what has been going on here at home.  There are so many things to praise the Lord for right now that I truly do not know where to start.  First of all, the Lord provided a home for us to rent!  What a relief that was for us!  The owners accepted our offer of 15 months and we should be moving sometime mid-May.  Secondly, one of my husband's favorite uncles was in the hospital and the prognosis did not look good.  We got a call just the other day that he was doing better.  Also, as many of you know I suffer from a degenerative back problem from my atlas bone at the base of my skull being out of line for over 15 years.  Because it has been out so long, it has been a long, arduous road to recovery and it does not like to stay in place.  When it is out, I experience migraine headaches, upset stomach, horrible aches and pain, etc.  I was out of line on Thursday of last week...went to the chiropractor, he put me back in and the next morning, I was out again.  That is nothing new with me.  I have been dealing with that for over two years.  Last night, not being able to sleep, I just cried out to the Lord to put me back in line.  I knew He has healed others and knew He could do the same for me.  This morning I woke line!!!  This is the third time the Lord has done this for me.  I do not know why He allows me to go out and then chooses to put me back in.  Maybe to show me my utter need and reliance on Him, to put me in a place of total dependence upon Him, (which I am all the time anyway) and to get me to a point of fervent prayer.  I am awed by His goodness to me.  And if that were not enough to be thankful for, we were just about 3-4 miles from the terrible tornadoes that ripped through our state.  We were huddled up in the bathroom for about 40 minutes.  We prayed for God to spare us and turn the tornado away from our direction.  We were in its direct line and the tornado turned.  Only God can do that.  The children were so frightened so we began singing, "When I am afraid I will trust in You, I will trust in You, I will trust in You.  When I am afraid I will trust in You, in God whose word I pray."  They began to calm and the Lord was so gracious to us.  Please pray for all those struck by these storms.  The devastation is great and many people have lost everything.  I will try to post more frequently, but am in the middle of packing boxes, so bear with me during this transition time.  Thank you all for your prayers for me during this time.  God has answered them.  May the Lord show His mercy and lovingkindness to you my friends!  God bless!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Moment of Explanation

I wanted to write a post to explain my little absence as of late.  As I told you earlier, we are preparing for a move.  What was once three months away has now been suddenly pushed up to a little over five weeks!  We went to look at seminary housing thinking that this was where we should be.  However, after seeing the layout of the place, we just don't see how we can feasibly get the essentials in, school books and our food storage as we keep several large bins of grains on hand for cooking.  So, we are spending time trying to find a home.  Our time is running short and it may be a week or more before I will be able to post again.  We are having a large yard sale this Saturday and as soon as that is over we begin packing for our move.  We will do a portion of the move ourselves.  Please pray for us as we seek to know God's mind on a home and so many other things involved in this very short time.  I miss visiting your blogs and writing my posts, but hopefully will be able to get back to those very soon, Lord willing.  Until then...God bless!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Health Segment ~ A Plant for Your Kitchen

I have learned over the years how freeing it is to handle health issues naturally.  One of the first experiences with this newfound discovery of natural methods came in the form of the Aloe Vera plant.  Now, I would not want a kitchen without this handy plant.  Sometimes called the burn plant, it has helped me and other members of our family instantly when we get a burn from a mishap in the kitchen.  It is soothing and begins to take affect within a short period of time.  Just pinch off a small portion of an outer leaf and then squeeze the inside gel out right onto the burn.  Aloe is also very good at stopping bleeding.  When my husband got a knick from shaving one day, he kept trying to get it to stop before heading off to work.  Nothing he did seemed to help.  I broke off a piece of Aloe and applied the gel and it congealed the blood.  I have several children with dry, itchy skin problems.  Aloe is a wonderful treatment for that.  It acts as a moisturizer and hydrates the skin.  After being absorbed in the skin, it actually helps regenerate new skin cells.  When my children get ant bites or mosquito bites, it has helped soothe the itching from those.  You can apply as needed.  With burns, I allow my children to apply whenever the sting comes back.  Aloe also works wonders on cold and mouth sores.  The drawback is that Aloe tastes pretty bad, but it is not harmful to ingest.  My mother became sold on this plant because she develops frequent fever blisters and she will apply it straight to the blister at the first sign.  When she has done this, it has never festered very big and has gone away within a short amount of time.  The great thing about Aloe is it can be grown easily indoors.  It doesn't like a lot of water since it is a succulent, which makes it even easier to care for it.  If you haven't already, give this little plant a try.  I think you will be amazed and very pleased with all the health benefits you will gain from it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Training Children in Godliness ~ More Thoughts on Modesty

Since posting the you tube video on young men's thoughts on modesty, I thought this would be a good time to expand this theme.  Over the next few Wednesday posts, I would like to share some general thoughts on modesty, give you a glimpse into how our family has dealt with this issue personally and then how we go about dressing our children modestly when I do not sew and the stores are full of outfits that I have no desire to buy!  The issue of how one dresses is a very personal one.  My desire to brook this subject is not intended to offend anyone, but only to share what I believe God has shown me on this subject over the years. The final decision for what modesty looks like in your home should rest with much prayer and deliberation with your spouse.  The purpose of any Christian should be to glorify God in all aspects of life and that should not just be internally, but will also be evident even in what is seen on us externally.

I Timothy 2:9 says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety..."  Sadly today if you attend your average evangelical church, you are bombarded with women who claim Christ as Lord, but dress more like the world they are supposed to be called out of.  If you ask most young women about this, they take the notion that there is liberty in Christ and therefore, the Bible does not really speak about this issue so they are free to dress in any manner that they wish.  Unfortunately, the term "liberty" when speaking of our relationship with Christ has been so misused over the years, I almost cringe when I hear it.  Yes, we have liberty in Christ...but it is liberty from our sin, not liberty to trample underfoot the very commands He says His children should be obeying. Our very love and appreciation for what He has given us in salvation should provoke us to question everything we do in light of scripture, and that includes the subject of modesty.

 Noah Webster said this about modesty it is "that lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one's own worth and importance.  In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners.  In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle.  Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor."

Modesty begins first and foremost as a heart issue.  Modesty is not just merely what we put on our bodies.  It is so much more.  Is it possible for a young lady to be fully covered and still not be modest?  Yes, absolutely.  Where is her heart?  Does she desire most of all to bring attention to her Christian character...or does she desire to be noticed for her beauty or her fashion?  We must be careful that we do not allow our children to believe that modesty is only an issue of how we dress.  Our hearts must be directed to glorifying God in this area, seeking His approval, loving Him so much that we hate the thought of doing anything that would bring disgrace to His name.  Modesty starts with the heart...and it is the outpouring of a desire to be pure before God that causes a change in our wardrobe.  So today, ask yourselves if you are teaching your children to have a modest heart.  That is always the first step.  Next week, I hope to get into how that plays out in our clothing choices.  May the Lord illuminate His will for us in this area.  God bless!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Is Modesty?

This is such a wonderful video.  I wanted to share it with you.  I will say however, I don't care for the music at the very beginning and ending of the video, but thought it was such a good link, I decided to share it anyway.  We need to think as women how we are dressing.  We need to think as mothers how we are training our daughters to dress and to know that modesty is not just about what you put on, but ultimately what is in your heart.  We need to love Christ and our fellow brothers enough not to cause them to stumble because of how we dress and act in their presence.  I heard Paul Washer say one time that modesty can be described as something like this:  If what you wear draws attention to your face and thereby is a way to point others to Christ through your spirit, then you are modest.  If, however, how you dress draws attention to your body and away from you face, then that is not modesty.  I hope to write more about this later as I continue with my Training Children in Godliness series.  Pray about your dress...your daughter's dress.  Let your husbands critic your daughter's attire.  Most godly fathers know what men struggle with and will not allow their daughters to be such a temptation.  Let's be shining examples Christ for the world inwardly and outwardly.  God bless you!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Great Natural Cough Medicine

Bronchial Soothe
Since today is my health segment, I wanted to tell all of you about a natural cough medicine I found a few years ago.  It is all natural and works better than Robitussin for our family.  I am prone to getting bronchitis when I get any kind of viral infection that includes a stuffy head and congestion.  I start taking this Ivy Leaf Syrup as soon as I feel my chest beginning to tighten.  When I have taken this faithfully, at the first sign of congestion in my chest, I have not gotten bronchitis.  This is good for the whole family...ages three and up.  I give it to my children and within just a short amount of time we can hear their coughs breaking up.  You can get this on Amazon, or your nearest health food store may carry it also.  Most of my children do not like the I will warn you about that.  But, I have taken lots of cough medicine in my life and I have never tasted any that I would deem good!  The taste is mild to me, but I grew up taking Robitussin.  My five year old takes it and doesn't even chase it down with a drink, so it really depends on the tastes buds of your children.  But, it is well worth using when you have a cough.