Wednesday, December 24, 2008

PTGW Part Four: Learning To Cook (Healthfully)

Proverbs 31:15 says "She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household"
Of course, Proverbs 31 is a guideline for what a man should look for in a wife, not a list of what it means to be a godly woman. However, it does give us girls a pretty good idea of some of the practical and useful skills needed to run a home well.
Today I'm going to be focusing on the very practical and needed skill of cooking healthfully. (And, really, eating is one of the most basic needs of every human, so whether you learn to cook or not, someday you will have to feed your children and you can either keep them healthy or give them quick and easy garbage.)
I know that there are a lot of people who believe that there is one all perfect diet, whether it is the south beach diet, the 'why Christians get sick' diet, or the average American diet. I believe that we should stay as close as we can to "God's diet" that He gave us in Leviticus and other places. Aside from religious reasons, there are very good, scientifically proven reasons to follow His food laws.
So the best thing would be to completely avoid things like white flour, sugar, ham, and stuff like that, right? (That is a rhetorical question, don't bother answering it)
But are most of us going to be able (or willing) to do the best thing all the time? No. We are going to want our chocolate-covered-cherries, cheesecake, pizza, bacon, pepperoni, etc. (at least once in a while)
But you know what? That's ok. It's alright to have a treat once in a while. We just shouldn't have our regular diet be freezer pizza and milky-way bars. So we need to find a good healthy balance between the best and what we can actually do.
The first thing, of course, is to learn how to cook. If you don't know anything about cooking, you can either get a home economics course (like one that we have from Christian Light Education called "Cooking, Sewing, and More..."), or you can ask your Mom or some other lady to teach you to cook.
Of course, each family has to decide for themselves what is the right balance for them, but here are a couple of good basic ideas.

1. Cut down the white flour. If you can't handle the taste of whole wheat, do half and half or something and then work your way up to using all whole wheat. And if you have a hard time with the bitter taste of whole wheat, than look for "White whole wheat" which is simply made from a golden wheat instead of a red wheat and has less of a bitter taste.

2. Instead of having dessert every night, have it once a week. (The rest of the time you can make yummy treats like German Apple Pancake with no sugar... you'd be surprised how good it can taste with no sugar) Or if you need to have dessert every day make something like Whole Wheat Ginger Snaps (simply use whole wheat flour... you won't be able to tell the difference).

3. Try to have more than one vegetable a day. We usually have something like baby carrots (quick and easy! Just wash them and they're ready) and broccoli or spinach.

4. Don't have ginger ale or sprite or any other soda for that matter. Just don't have it. Instead go to your healthfood store and look for a healthy alternative (around here we have "spritzers" and "izzies" which are made with fruit juice and sparkling water instead of sugar syrup).

5. Fruit makes a very appealing alternative to a candy bar as a midmorning snack.

6. Try to avoid processed foods. A good guide is that if you can't read the ingredients, just don't eat it.

7. NEVER eat artificial sweeteners. Things like Aspartame not only prevent you from losing weight (contrary to what we have heard about 'diet' sodas and stuff that are sweetened with it), but they also have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer's. If you do not want to use regular white sugar, try something like Sucanat, Stevia, Honey, or maple syrup.

So that's a good start. But don't take my word for all of this, go look it up for yourself. Just make sure that what you are reading is based on facts, not on opinions.
Now, what if your father or husband still wants his white bread and brownies? Well, God has put you under the man that He wants you under, and you have to honor and obey that man. But as long as he approves, there is nothing wrong with feeding the children whole-wheat bread during the day when he is not home wanting white bread. :-)

At least for now I do not eat sugar or white flour (I haven't for six months) because of my health. It wasn't until I went off of sugar that my health truly started improving. Our family cooks with all whole wheat flour (not the red whole wheat, we don't like that bitter taste), and we use Sucanat (sugar cane natural) or honey in our baking.

Ok, well, I guess that's about it for now. Have a good day! :-)

(If you are interested in organic food, but don't have enough money to buy all organic, Amanda Dixon did a really good post a while back and I thought it was very helpful.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

PTGW Part Three B: Brothers

Yes, the last post was on brothers in Christ, and this one is on brothers. Of course, provided that your brother is a Christian too, he is not only your biological brother, he is your brother in Christ just like any other man. But as his biological sister (and as you live in the same household with him), you should know that you can 'make or break' your brother. And you should be careful because the way you treat your brother is often the way that you will treat your future husband (at least, judging from my observations of married couples that seems to be the case).
The "Golden Rule" (Matthew 7:12) is an excellent place to begin for any relationship. You don't want your siblings to be rude to you, do you? Or call you names? Or laugh at you? Or take your things? Or order you around? Well then, start with not doing that to them.
Here are a few particular things that we need to make sure to avoid as sisters.

1. Never call him a sissy or a girly-boy or anything like that. In most cases boys will let you know that it hurts them (i.e. they will yell at you or stomp off), but some boys simply laugh it off or just get a little red and shrug (especially if there is company present). Even if they don't react, this is a very serious thing that will and does hurt them. You don't want your brother to grow up to be a great big over-grown boy, do you? You want him to grow up to be a real man (at least I hope you do). Well, start off by not treating him like a sissy.

2. Don't laugh or scoff at his plans. Even if they involve making a real boat out of tin foil and hoping that it will float with him in it next year.

3. Let your parents be the 'bad guys'. Unless you are the one in charge, or your brother is seriously endangering himself or another person, let your parents tell him to stop sticking his fingers in that tempting soft wax on the top of the candle. If you become 'motherly' about that, it's just bossing him because you aren't his mother. (And if your mother does not tell him to stop, leave the room if it really bothers you. *or you can whisper to your mom, just don't make it look like you are tattling because that builds resentment*) Remember: you are not the police. You are his sister, someone who is supposed to encourage, not discourage or boss.

4. If he starts to tell you that he is having a really hard day, don't tell him not to complain or role your eyes and tell him not to be a baby. He shouldn't complain, but I know that sometimes I need to get a little comfort if I am having a bad day and really feel rotten about myself and everyone else. Nothing makes a person feel less loved than when you won't listen to them.

5. Act respectfully to your brother (and everyone else in your family for that matter). Now I know that this is an odd thing to say or do, especially if your brother is younger than you (like mine is). If you don't know how to respect him, than start by simply treating him with the same courtesy you would show a stranger. If you had a guest over and they told you of this great idea they had, would you smirk and say how stupid it was? Well I hope not! And I sure hope that you wouldn't do that to your brother (or sister for that matter) either.

6. Try to think of something good about him. This might be a challenge at first. A couple of years ago, I was having a very hard time with my siblings and decided that I would make a list of 10 things that I liked about each of them (for me that was 3 lists of 10 since I have 3 siblings). It took me an extremely long time, but it was worth it and it helped me to see them as people and to focus on their good points. It doesn't have to be anything personal. The first thing I thought of for my brother was that he is good at building things, from Legos to tree houses. The next thing that came to mind was that when I was upset he would come and give me a hug (he was only 5 or 6 at the time, but he still does it even to this day). So wrack your mind and come up with something, at least 2 things, good about each of your siblings.

7. Pray for him... pray for all of your siblings, making sure to give thanks for something about them. This is what a sister is for!

Well, that is just the beginning, but I hope that it made sense and was helpful. :-) As always, if you have any other tips just leave them in the comment section (and remember to read in the comments to see any tips left by other girls).

Oh yes, and by the way, Hannah L. brought up a very important point that I forgot...

8. Allow your brother to open doors or carry things for you... My relationship with my brother improved dramatically when I started appreciating his efforts to help in that way. It is interesting to me how cut down he felt when I would just jump out of the car and run to the door instead of waiting for him to get me an umbrella.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PTGW Part Three A: Brothers in Christ

How you treat your brothers in Christ is important, whether you are married or not. Right now I want to just focus on friendships with guys.
Being friends with guys can help you to see them less as a potential husband and more as a person. At least, for a while. Then suddenly the attention that you get as his friend starts making you think that maybe you just might be just a little bit more than a friend to him. You start to want a closer friendship and when it gets closer (as it almost always does), you can't seem to stop thinking about it. You think about him all the time, wondering if he notices you. Suddenly you have a full fledged crush on your hands (yes, I know all about it, I had this happen when I was twelve). (I wrote a post about crushes if you are interested in reading it.)
But it is possible to have a casually friendly friendship with a boy without getting a serious crush on him (and, yes, I know from experience that this is possible). However, it does take some self discipline. Here are a few rules that I came up with for myself, some of them are based on my own experience, and some on the experiences of my (female) friends.

1. Never let the friendship get beyond a casual acquaintance. No telling secrets, and no making him your best friend.

2. No letting him tell you secrets. If he begins to do that, the red light should go on and you should kindly stop him. (Sometimes you can say something like "Thank you for your confidence, but I have a very open relationship with my parents, so please do not tell me anything that you do not want them to know." or if it is in an e-mail, you can remind him that your little sister reads your e-mails and so if he does not want her to know something he shouldn't tell you.)

3. Do not ever sit next to him and look into his eyes... this just doesn't do either of you any favors.

4. If you are upset about something or are insecure about something, do not tell him. Go to your parents instead.

5. If you aren't sure if you should say something, imagine telling your boy cousins... (Of course, most of the time, if you aren't sure that you should say something it means that you definitely shouldn't.)

6. Do not ever 'day dream'. No thinking about what your children would look like if he were their father (green eyes, blue eyes, brown eyes), no imagining yourself in danger and then imagining him coming and rescuing you (this one is important, a lot of young ladies have perfectly innocent friendships that suddenly turn romantic when they pretend that they were rescued or whatever). If you find yourself day dreaming get up and start doing some math, really hard math (No sewing or knitting, it is too uninteresting). ;-)

7. Even if your family is the huggy type, no hugging every week. Quick 'side hugs' are ok if it's someone's birthday. (But now that I think of it, the only hugs I give out are to my relatives, young ladies that I am friends with, and people that I only see once a year.)

8. Never fish for compliments by asking how you look or saying that you think you are ugly (that should go without saying, but I think that it is important to be reminded of).
With all of these rules you might wonder if it is even worth while to try being friends with boys at all. It is definitely worth it, and if you kind of are friends with the whole family and not just one person it makes everything a lot easier.
By now you might be wondering why this is important for preparing to be a good wife. If you are going to be a good wife shouldn't you be friends with boys? I mean, after all, how are they going to know if they like you if you aren't (close) friends with them?
Of course it is good to be (casual) friends with boys (especially in a family setting), and in some cases guys do decide to marry someone in their circle of friends at church. But this is where trusting God comes in. If God wants you to marry someone, it will happen. YOU CAN NEVER MARRY THE WRONG PERSON!!! You might end up with the right person after having done things the wrong way, but never the wrong person. And guess what? It isn't up to you to get emotionally close to boys just to see if they are the right one; that is a dating mentality.
You need to protect your purity, not just physical, but emotional and mental as well. If you have to compromise your emotional purity to 'get the guy', he's not worth it. You want someone that will be thankful that you are committed to keeping yourself pure, not someone that just wants to get the short term enjoyment of emotional closeness.
Also, if you get in the habit of getting close to one boy, and then growing apart and getting close to another boy and then growing apart (even if you have been friends for several years), it is not going to change after you get married. Oh sure, you will be close to your husband for a while, but then you will go through a time of disillusionment and suddenly you will see someone that understands you and if you aren't careful you could end up having an emotional affair with someone.

Now, some ways that you can tell if your friendship is getting too close. (Obviously I am not a guy, so I don't know exactly what these things would mean to a guy, but I do know that in a friendship they are a bad sign.)

1. If he starts telling you secrets (I know I already said this, but it bears saying again), you are getting too close.

2. If he wants to give you a hug every time you say goodbye, your friendship is too close.

3. If he starts e-mailing you every day or wanting to talk to you on the phone (phone is a big no-no... It's too easy to get close when you don't have to look at the person)

Ok, I'm sure that there are more but my mind is going blank. Now I'm going to give you a list of things that are fine in most cases.

1. Chatting (not online), or rather light hearted conversation is fine. Debating points is fine as long as it doesn't get personal.

2. E-mailing, now some families have different rules, but for me I decided that e-mails are alright as long as they're not every day and they're not too personal.

3. Being interested in what the other person is talking about (this is just common politeness as long as you're not hanging on every word).

4. Enjoying physical activities, such as freeze tag with the two families, can be fine. (But no playing "Sardines" or "Telephone Booth".) ;-)

Miss Jocelyn had a letter in her weekly section that said this.
"Dear Jocelyn,

I have a best friend who is a guy. He really likes to talk to me and is
very open with me, treats me really nice too. I’m glad that I can be a good
friend to him and encourage him in his walk with the Lord. The hard part is
knowing if the Lord will eventually make us more than “just friends.” I
know it’s all up to God and his timing but I wonder sometimes. Is this “the
one” or is there someone else? I know the best thing is just be a true friend to him but sometimes it’s hard!

He will be leaving soon to go to a cooking academy in South Africa and I’m
trying to act like that’s fine but inside I don’t want him to leave. What
do you think I should do? I know praying but anything else that might help?

Please keep me in your prayers"

Now, obviously, there is nothing wrong with this young lady. She is simply caught in the dilemma that faces every young lady that has a nice guy friend that treats her kindly and wants to talk to her. However, there are a few red flags that I saw in this letter and I'm going to show you a few of them...

1. "A best friend", you should never have a best friend that is a guy

2. "He really likes to talk to me and is very open with me". There is nothing wrong with talking, but being 'very open' doesn't sound good.

3. "I'm glad that I can be a good friend to him and encourage him in his walk with the Lord", yes it is good to encourage each other, but this should not be her job. This is for his parents and guy friends to do for him. This leads to too much closeness

4. "Is this 'the one' or is there someone else? I know the best thing is just be a true friend to him but sometimes it’s hard!" Don't try to be a true friend if you are wondering if he is one or is there someone else. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be friends, but a 'true friend' implies too much closeness. Back of a little on the friendship if it is getting too close.

5. "He will be leaving soon to go to a cooking academy in South Africa and I’m trying to act like that’s fine but inside I don’t want him to leave." This is perfectly normal; everyone hates it when people go away. But be careful that you don't start obsessing about him going away and making it up in your head that if he does go away you will never get married to him. (Well, maybe you won't, but that might mean that it is part of God's plan to take away your dependence on this boy and move it to God.)

The thing that I think is the most difficult for us is to depend on God instead of on man (literally). As women we want to be rescued, we want to be close to a man, we want him to desire us, we want his attention. And if we are not careful, we can end up in the position of never being able to be content where we are because we are always longing for something that we don't have. But I want to tell you something very important. No man on earth can fill that hole in our hearts. Oh sure, we might think that it is gone for a while, but after a little while suddenly it'll pop up again and we'll have to face the fact that this man is not a savior.
But if we can learn to allow God to fill that ache in our hearts, than when He does give us a husband we won't be devastated and think that we've married the wrong man if he can't fill that gap sometimes.

Hmm, I think that's about all I have to say for now. This was quite a long post, I hope it was clear!

Now, I want you to pray about your friendships with guys, and ask God if they are honoring to him, and if they're not then just back off a notch or two and bring it down to a more casual level. Also, look around at your friends (not to judge them) and pray for them and their friendships.

And lastly, pray that God would help you to be dependent on him and not on anyone else.

I hope that this was helpful, I'm always interested in what thoughts you have, so leave comments! :-) (And don't forget to check the comment section; often others will bring up very helpful and important points that I have forgotten.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

PTGW Part Two: Learn to Show Respect

Did you know that having respect for your husband and showing it is one of the most important and loving things that a wife can do? Unless he feels that you respect him, he won't feel that you love him. Now, obviously, I haven't had much experience with this in my own life, right? But that's what I've read and heard numerous places, and while I haven't had a chance to try it out on a husband of my own, I have learned that showing respect to the men in my life (especially my dad, but also my brother, uncle, and grandfather) makes a world of difference.
One thing that we should get straight though, is that while you should show respect to the men in your life, you do not have to obey them all. The only men that you will ever have to obey are your father and someday your husband. (Of course, if they ever told you to do something evil like murder someone you couldn't do it... but that's a different topic.) But respect, when shown correctly, can make any relationship you have better.
A while back I posted some ideas on how you can be treated with respect, so I'm not going to bother talking about that again, I'm just going to give some tips and hints of how to treat your Dad, brother, and someday husband, with respect. (If any of the ladies with more experience in this area have any ideas go ahead and put them in the comment section, I'd appreciate it!)

1. Listen when they talk. Pay attention. (I told you that the different posts were going to overlap!) This, more than anything, seems to communicate respect to my Dad, brother, grandfather, etc.

2. Don't correct silly little mistakes. If they say it was on Monday that you saw an eagle, when it was actually Wednesday, does it really matter?

3. When you ask where they would like you to put something, don't put it somewhere else if you think of a better place. (Of course, you can ask if they mind if you put it somewhere else, but don't just say "No, this place is better")

4. Don't ever roll your eyes when he is talking.

5. Don't participate if other women or girls are making fun of their male family members.

6. Don't make him out to be worse than he is. We all have a tendency to exaggerate (illustrated in this sentence by me saying "We all"), but don't exaggerate his faults.

7. Don't tell the world about your problems with him. If you're having trouble and you really need to talk about it, choose someone you know can be trusted (I will often talk to my Mom if some guy in our family is driving me crazy) and will give you good advice or help you see that it's actually YOU that has the problem, not him. Anyone would be hurt if they found that someone was complaining about them to everyone, this is just common courtesy.

8. If you're having trouble communicating respect, ASK the poor guy if there is something specific that you're doing that is disrespectful. (But be prepared to humbly accept anything he says.) Then try to change what is causing the problem.

9. Pray for him, don't tell him his problems, ask God to convict him. Your dad is not going to appreciate it if you tell him that he always leaves his slippers in the middle of the floor. He is the king of the house. But if it truly is bothering you, pray and ask God to either change him or change your attitude about the problem.

10. Don't try to change him. God made him to be the loudmouth, or the quiet thinker, or the motivated doer that he is, and that is how he can bring glory to God. So don't change him, change the way you look at him. (This also can release you of the huge burden you might feel when you think of yourself as responsible for his actions. You are NOT responsible when he says something you don't think is appropriate to the situation.)

The bottom line in any relationship (excluding parent/child) is that, for the most part, we should change ourselves, not the other person.
If we put God first in our life, others second, and us last, we will have the right order.
(A quick note to the older girls: remember, respect is one of the most attractive qualities in a prospective wife. So practice on your father, brother, and other men in your life so that you'll be really good at it by the time someone special notices you!) ;-)
Any thoughts? (Don't forget to check the comment section to see what people have to say!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Winners!

Yes, I wrote down all the names on tiny pieces of paper (all the same size), threw them into the hat, and then had my younger sisters and brother pick out five winners.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, the winners are (in the order picked):

Margaret (comment 18)
Jane (comment 20)
Lindsey (comment 10)
Janna (comment 6)
Darby Maeve (comment 15)

If the winning ladies would please e-mail me their addresses that would be great! (If I do not hear from you in two weeks I will pick a different name and you will not receive a book.)

Thank you to everyone that participated! :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two Reminders

Just a quick reminder that there are only three days left to sign up for the giveaway!

And one more reminder... I found a quote that I wanted to share with you all just to kind of give an idea of why being a Home Maker (as a mother, wife, daughter... whatever role God has you in right now) is so important.
This quote is from Mary LaGrand Bouma in "The Creative Homemaker", but I found it in "God's Priceless Woman" by Wanda Kennedy Sanseri. (It's not a poem, so I'm not sure why it's in this format.)

"If we choose not to do this very special job [home making],
it will simply not get done;
the mothering, the nurturing, the comforting and caring
that fills the committed homemaker's day
will simply be lost,
and society will be impoverished.
Children will not get the spiritual guidance they need.
Lonely teenagers will not be listened to.
Many people with problems will not be ministered to,
many sick folk will go unvisited.
A special human quality will disappear from our culture.

Women can give up their jobs
as clerks, engineers, sales people, doctors-
other people will step in
and the world will go on as smoothly as before.
It will be business as usual.
The groceries will still be sold,
Trucks loaded with merchandise will still roll across our highways,
and Wall Street will carry on.

Not so with homemaking.
We are the special people into whose hands
the country and the world have been entrusted.
When we leave this job the world does not go on as before.
It falters and begins to lose it's way.
We homemakers are indispensable."

I thought that summarized pretty nicely the view that we should have of our lives and purpose. :-)

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Pure" Review and Giveaway


Yesterday I finished reading a book named "Pure" by Rebecca St. James. "Pure" is written as a 90-day devotional, but I couldn't wait the entire 90 days and read it in 30 instead. This book was written to help Christian girls get their lives in order. It is very helpful in the way that it walks you through some tough issues including forgiveness, fear, loneliness, thankfulness, sexual purity, a healthy body image, a submissive heart, love... and that's just the beginning! I found that God used it to shine a light on some things that I hadn't released to Him yet. Whether you think that you have everything together, you're struggling with where your life is going, or you feel like you can't go on anymore, this book will help you as it lovingly teaches through Scripture and personal experiences.

As much as I enjoyed "Pure", the fact that Rebecca St. James used the "Message" Bible paraphrase for most of her scripture readings took something away from the daily reading. The "Message" is not a translation, and therefore should not be quoted as scripture. I would definitely still read "Pure" (and I am planning to read it again), but if you look up the scriptures she quotes in your KJV (or NIV) I think that it will add greatly to the enjoyment and meaning of the book.

This book will be helpful to any Christian girl, whether she is homeschooled, public schooled, or private schooled. Because "Pure" is based on Scripture, it is relevant to all of our lives as it speaks about Purity of Mind, Purity of Body, and Purity of Spirit. The best thing about "Pure" is that even while it deals with some hard things, it reminds us that "We are valuable because we belong to the King" (Day 41 of "Pure").

Because I enjoyed this book so much, I have decided to host a "Pure" Giveaway (courtesy of Hachette book group).
In order to enter the drawing, here are the rules...

1. Please get permission from your parents before you enter this free drawing (This only applies if you are still part of your parents' household, if you no longer live with them you don't need their permission).

You must be a resident of the US or of Canada, (and you must have an address, no PO boxes).

3. Post the rules of the giveaway and link to this post on your blog. (If you do not have a blog please tell at least one person OUTSIDE of your family)

4. Leave me a comment telling me that you'd like to enter.

The drawing will end on October 31st (2008) at midnight (that's exactly three weeks from today). Please remember to visit when it ends to find out if you've won.

But you know what is the best thing about this giveaway? THERE WILL BE FIVE WINNERS!!!

So go ahead and post about it! This book really is worth it! :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Part One B: Learn to Listen

Now we're going to talk about listening and being teachable.
The last time I read Proverbs I noticed how often the word "Listen" is used. But the interesting thing is that the majority of the time it is used in the context of putting into practice. If we listen when our parents tell us that we need to clean up our books, and then we go away do something else, we weren't really listening.
Or if our parents tell us that we have a problem with anger, and instead of agreeing, praying that God would cleanse us of that, and then working on it, if we get angry that they DARE tell us that something is wrong with us... We're obviously not very teachable.
Proverbs 8:32 says “ Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways." I'd say that it's pretty obvious that listening and doing go hand in hand.
But I think that we all know that we should be teachable. That when our parents tell us some character flaw that we have that we should listen to them and seek Jesus's help to correct that issue. But it can be really hard, and no matter how teachable we appear, we all go through times when we can still feel that little start of rebellion when the Holy Spirit or our parents show us something.
Being unteachable goes hand-in-hand with being insecure. If you find yourself getting overly upset about your parents talking to you about something you need to change, it might help if you prayed that God would give you security in who you are through Jesus.
I prayed for years that God would give me a teachable spirit, and do you know how He responded? By helping my parents to notice what I needed to work on!
"Practice makes perfect" is especially true for being teachable. If you are able to practice it on a day to day basis it will become easier and easier over time.

Now, how is being teachable going to help us to be good wives someday?
If we can learn not to be offended when our parents notice that we're not perfect or even when they prefer that we do something in a different way, than it will give us a head start on not being offended when our husband wants us to do something in a different way or points out something that we need to work on.
I have to confess that what bugs me the most is when someone tells me that I should do something a different way. Whether it's how I hold a pencil or how I sweep the kitchen, I can feel the annoyance pop up as soon as someone says that I'm doing it the wrong way or it would be better if I did it a different way.
Of course, that doesn't always bother me, but that is what annoys me the most often.
(Yeah, that pencil thing... it's amazing the silly little things that bother us, isn't it?!)

Obviously you're not going to marry someone that hates the way you do everything, so hopefully you won't have to seriously worry about changing your little odd habits, (like how you hold a pencil) but it's good to practice not getting annoyed or offended if someone does tease you about how you do something.
And if your Mom tells you that you need to hold the paintbrush differently because the walls are going to be all bumpy if you don't, you need to learn to change your ways without getting offended.

Ok, enough of all that... here are a few practical ideas of how you can practice being teachable.

1. Learn to talk to yourself silently... if you just learn to tell yourself to relax (And then do it), it will go a long way towards preventing your rebellious feelings.

2. Pray that God would give you a teachable heart. You're going to need it sooner or later (probably sooner).

3. Don't pick on others about little things that they do that annoy you, and if you see a character issue pray that God would show it too them, don't point it out yourself (unless someone asks you, or you are in a friendship where you have already agreed that you would help each other like that). Surprisingly, it will help you to be teachable if you learn not to be critical of others.

4. Ask your parents if there are any areas in your life that you particularly need to work on. This is great practice for being teachable.

5. If you can discipline yourself to read a little bit of the Bible everyday and to pray for a few minutes, it will make a huge difference in EVERY area of your life.

6. Interpret people in the best light possible. If someone has told you of a problem you have, assume that they are doing this to help you and only because they care about you. This is probably one of the hardest things because (especially with a peer or someone younger than you) it's easy to feel like they're just picking on you or that they don't like you. If it is a peer you are not under any obligation to change the way you hold that pencil, but you MUST be kind about it and forgive them if you need to.

7. Often when it is someone other than our parents that is pointing out things that they think we need to change we will have to forgive them whether there is or is not any truth in what they say. If you have been hurt in that way, don't pretend that it is ok, or say "Oh I'm just being stupid". If you pray and acknowledge that it was hurtful, and then forgive them it will help you learn to be teachable, and it might just save your friendship.

I hope that was clear, I have a cold and feel all muddled! If you have any practical ideas of how to learn to be teachable I'd love to hear them! :-)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Part One A: Learn to Listen

There are two types of listening that I will talk about, the first one is basically giving someone your attention, and the second has to to with being teachable.

Have you ever noticed how everyone wants to be listened to at one time or another? When someone is upset, often the best thing to do is to just sit down and listen to them (at least, that seems to work really well in our family).
In fact, if someone doesn't get listened to enough, it will cause them to feel anxious and depressed.
For a man, the best thing is to have a wife that really listens to him and vice versa. For a child, the best thing is to have their parents listen to them. And no one wants a friend that won't listen to them.
You never know who you have blessed just by listening to them (or who you may be able to bless by listening to them).
If you're naturally a more talkative person this may come a little harder for you, but it's worth while.
Of course, the best place to practice this is at home, since most of us older siblings have multiple opportunities to listen in the course of a day. We can't listen intently to every interruption because we'd never get any work done, but learn to pick and choose. The most important time to listen is when someone is having a hard day.
This will not only prepare you to be a good wife, it will help you be a good mother as well.
Here are a few ideas to help you learn to listen.

1. Make eye contact. When someone starts talking to you, turn around or put down your book and make eye contact. If you are doing something active, like making supper, you won't be able to look at them the whole time, but if you make eye contact every few minutes it will reassure the person that you are listening to them.

2. Listen to one person a day. Pick one person in your family (preferably a sibling) and choose a time of day that is less hectic than other times, go and find them and ask them how they're doing, how their day went etc. And don't listen to the first sentence and then start telling them how you're doing. This is your time to LISTEN.

3. If you are in the middle of school work, just stop what you are doing for about ten seconds and look at the person. After a little while say something like, "Hey, you know what? I have to finish my school work. But thanks for coming in and saying hi! Maybe you can tell me about your Legos later!" (Of course, I sometimes announce that I will be working hard on something for an hour and cannot be interrupted. That way if someone comes in you can just say "Tell me about it later, ok?" or make sure that your door is locked... Note: This rarely keeps interruptions from happening.)

4. If someone is having a crisis and they come to you, don't ask them to tell you about it later. Take 10 minutes and listen to them.

5. If your brother tells you about how excited he is about a new tree house that he's going to build, don't tell him all the reasons why it won't work. Instead listen and be excited with him. If it doesn't work, he'll find out for himself. (From what I hear, this is especially important when you are a wife... so practice now!)

6. People will be able to tell when you are not really listening. You know how exasperating and slightly embarressing it is when you are talking to someone and they get a glazed over look in their eyes as they look out the window while they nod and say "Uh huh, mmm, how interesting"? Don't do that to others!

7. If someone asks your advice, make sure that you know what you are giving advice about. That goes for giving your opinion as well. Remember Proverbs 18:13 "He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him."

8. Ask your Dad how work went today and really listen to his answer. When you get married your husband will want to talk about work with you so you should start learning to listen to work related talk now. :-)

So start listening to your siblings now! You might be surprised at what you didn't know about the members of your family.
Good listening skills are key to being a good wife, but they are also key in every other relationship you will ever have.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Preparing to be a Good Wife Introduction

I am going to start writing a series of posts about different skills and character traits that we will need to have to be a true 'Help-meet' to our future husband. I'm not saying that if you don't have all of these traits that you cannot be a good wife, but I am saying that they will be helpful.
I will be writing about what the skills and traits are and how we can practice them every day with our family (but especially our brothers and fathers).
This series of posts will include things like Learning to Listen, Learning to Show Respect, Learning to Request, Learning to be Modest, Learning to be a Friend, Learn to follow a Routine, and things like that.
If you have an idea of something that you think would be good to talk about that is not on the list, let me know and I will try to add it to the list. (I would especially like any input from Moms on subjects that should be covered.) Obviously I'm not promising to post about any subjects... but I would like suggestions that fit into the theme of preparing to be a good wife. :-)

Now you might be wondering why you should have to change, I mean, after all people should like you just the way you are, right?
Well, let's get something straight. I am not saying that you have to change your PERSONALITY. Your personality is the beautiful way that God has chosen to allow you to be unique and different from everyone else.
What I am saying is that even though we might feel (for example) love and respect for our Dads or brothers, we might need to change the way we show it.
Every personality has strengths and weaknesses, and we all have flaws that we need to work on in order to become more like Jesus. Hopefully this series of posts will help point you in the right direction while still allowing you to be yourself.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This is just a short post (I may say more about this subject later), but I think that it is something important that we need to keep in our minds as we follow Christ.

Here is the deal... It is soooo important that we follow the laws and principles given in the Bible. If we are Christians I believe that we will naturally want to follow God's law. The FRUIT of the Spirit is what will come when the Spirit is in us.
But I look around and I see that people take general principles from the Bible and turn them into specific rules that are very oppressive, and then they will treat people that don't follow their specific rules as if they are not Christians or are in rebellion against God.
It is nearly impossible to be friends with people that are insistent that the people they know must follow THEIR rules or else they're not acceptable or not Christians.
But what since we are following Jesus, and since He is the only One that is perfect, we must look at what He says in Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
When we come to Him because we are 'heavy laden', He doesn't heap on more and more weight. His burden is easy and His burden is light.

Please don't hear me saying that we don't need to follow the Bible. WE NEED TO FOLLOW THE LAWS OF GOD. But if we are weighting others down with OUR rules than that is a problem.

If you feel yourself weighted down, depressed, or feeling trapped, think about whether you are actually under the Lord's yoke or your own. Remember, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (emphasis added)

So please think about it. If you have a friend that is under the oppression of man-made laws and rules, than pray for their release and show them the love of Christ. If you find that you have been being legalistic (I know, that is a very over-used word) than confess it to the Lord and pray that He will give you the joy and the love that is supposed to make us stand out from others. :-)

Friday, August 29, 2008


Yes, today I'm going to talk about being 'shy'. I have noticed a disturbing trend among girls in their early to mid teens where they are either extremely bold, or they are painfully shy.
Before I begin I would like to say that I'm not talking about people who are naturally more quiet or more loud. It is only when a personality trait becomes rude that it is a problem.
Right now I'm going to be focusing on the 'Shy Trend' because that seems to be much more prevalent among Homeschoolers. There seems to be an idea that some people have that you have to be very quiet and shy in order to be a Christian. That obviously isn't true because when you read (anywhere in the New Testament) about Jesus, He wasn't shy at all. And He is the One that we are to be like as Christians.
There is nothing wrong with not being boisterous, but there's a big difference between being friendly and being boisterous.
Ok, first I'm going to give a little example of what shyness can look like...

Let's say that you go to church and you notice that there is a new family there with a girl about your age or younger that is standing by herself off to the side. You feel a little hesitant but you make the effort and walk over, give a friendly smile and say hi. Her face gets slightly red, but she gives a little smile and a very quiet hello before turning her head to look at the rest of the people. You feel a bit awkward, almost as if you're not welcome, but ask where she's from, and did she have to travel far to get here? After only getting a short sentence in reply you start to turn red yourself as you ask how many siblings she has, does she have any pets, does she like hiking etc. After carrying on a conversation by yourself for a couple of minutes you suffer through a long uncomfortable silence and then finally excuse yourself.

Has that ever happened to you? If it hasn't, let me tell you it's very very difficult to carry on a conversation when the other person only gives a curt one-syllable answer to any questions you are able to come up with.

Or maybe you would be the one standing quietly off in a corner feeling very out of place and awkward. If that would be the case, I have a couple of ideas of how to help you to 'come out of yourself' a little more so that anyone trying to be friendly doesn't feel rebuffed. :-)

1. Smile... a nice friendly smile can work wonders when you can't think of anything to say

2. Talk to your Mom and ask her to help you practice questions to ask and subjects to talk about. (A little tip here: if you can get someone to start talking about themselves you've won half the battle and will probably just have to listen for a while.)

3. Practice on safe people, say a friend that you know but you don't see very often, or even your Grandma or cousin. Practice makes a big difference in being a good conversationalist.

4. Stop thinking so much about what others think of you. If you are able to concentrate on being friendly instead of worrying why this or that person is looking at you, it will not only help you to win friends, it will help you to enjoy your life more. I know that it's no fun going around worrying what everyone thinks of you.

5. Branch out. Next time you are in company, look around and see if there is anyone that looks as shy as you feel and try to make them feel at home.

6. If you have invited someone to your home or to do something with you, make sure that you are willing to make an effort to talk to them because otherwise they will just feel like they are intruding. (My sister is really good at talking to people so sometimes I'll make sure that she's around if I can't think of something to say)

And if you are the person who is trying to be friendly to a shy person here are a few tips.

1. Always have a subject that you can chat about basically by yourself (i.e. your cat, what you have in your garden...) that way if you go up and talk to someone you can actually talk for a few minutes without feeling too out of place.

2. Sometimes shy people don't want to talk for a long time, but a friendly smile and "Welcome!" will make them feel more at ease and cared for. If you try to talk for too long they will be able to tell that it is a strain on you and they will just draw back into themselves more.

3. Don't take it personally if they don't respond right away. Sometimes a good way to get people to open up at a church dinner or something is to invite them to sit next to you. Sometimes people feel more at ease after they sit with you for a while. (Besides, when you're eating you don't have to talk as much)

4. Sometimes inviting the shy person to come stand with you in a little group (after introducing them to your friends) is a good idea because then you can just listen to everyone else talk. (In cases like this I usually invite my sister to come join us because she is really good at drawing people out of themselves.)

5. You never know how or when you can bless someone by being interested in them even if they don't appear to respond right away. I remember when I was younger and very shy I used to feel really happy when someone would just come up and say hi even if they didn't stay and chat.

Now, to all of the shy people out there... Go slow. Pray about it. It can be really hard to change the way you do things, but it is totally worth it! If you can learn to enjoy being in company not think about yourself it will really help. :-)

Does anyone that either is shy now or used to be shy have any other suggestions or tips?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Joyful, Thankful Heart

"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones." Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)
"Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife." Proverbs 17:1
"Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman." Proverbs 21:19

Did you ever notice how many verses there are in Proverbs that talk about how horrible it is to live with a quarrelsome, contentious, or angry woman? I was actually surprised when I was reading through Proverbs again how often it repeats that it's better to live in the wilderness or on the corner of a roof than to share a house with an angry woman.

It is very easy to fall into complaining... it seems to come naturally. But while complaining may feel like a release at the time, but it only makes you more discontent and unhappy. (This isn't to say that you can never talk to anyone about what bothers you, just don't make a habit of remarking on things that you don't like! Save it for the bigger things so that people will take you seriously.)

Here is my favorite passage in the Bible... Philippians 4:4-8 " Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." (NKJV)

So, looking at these verses, what are a few principles that we can take out of it to help us not complain?

1. Don't wait until you are consumed by your anxiety... pray right away when something happens to bother you

2. when you pray, give thanks for as much as you can. Try to think of something to be thankful for in the worrisome thing that has happened. If you had a fight with your sister, tell God how thankful you are that He has blessed you with a sister. Think about what you like about her and give thanks for that too. This gets your mind started on an upward slant instead of downward.

3. "Let your requests be made known to God". Tell God what you want!

-Now, what about in everyday life when nothing big and upsetting has happened?
Well, still do what the verse says. It doesn't matter whether the discontent in your heart springs from having something really bad happen or from just not wanting to do the dishes.
I have found that if your request to God is not that the other person would change but that YOU would change, it often is granted. (ie "Thank you so much that we have food to eat so that the dishes are dirty. Please help me to enjoy serving my family.")-

4. Try to see the positive side of whatever is bothering you (Like dirty dishes... if there were no dirty dishes it might mean that you didn't have any food!)

5. Make it a point to say at least five positive things a day out loud about your chores (or whatever you usually complain about)

6. Smile at everyone... offer sympathy when needed, but do it cheerfully. Going around with a frown on your face does not present a very attractive picture of young womanhood.

Remember, most of us have little siblings (or young children of our own) watching our every move. You may not realize it, but whatever you do will have a huge influence over the ones that watch you.

For a long time I was cheerful most of the time, but when I had to clean out the dish drainer I would kind of shake my head and sigh as I went sloooowly to put away the dishes. Not too long ago one of my siblings did the EXACT SAME THING before going to do their chore.
I haven't done that in a really long time, so it really struck me how careful I need to be to model a thankful and joyful heart even when I don't feel like it.
Now this isn't to say that you have to be perfect. I'm far from perfect (big surprise, right?). But it is saying that it is important to realize that you are in a position of leadership whether you like it or not.
Sometimes I get worried about the fact that I am not always a good example of cheerfulness, but then I just have to put the principles in Philippians 4 to work again! :-)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

That Annoying Feeling (Or 'Crushes')

Ah yes, you can see it now... that pre-teen girl who giggles and blushes whenever that cute little boy walks by... the ridiculous things she will do to get his attention... Is that ok or is it really wrong?
Some of us have been raised to think that to have a 'Crush on someone' is perfectly normal and right, and some of us have been raised to think that to have a 'Crush' is just about the worst thing in the world. But guess what? Neither of those views are completely correct.

First of all, I'd better say that I'm defining "Crush" as a feeling of attraction towards someone of the opposite sex. It can be a physical or emotional attraction, but it means that you are just attracted to someone and do not share any physical intimacy with them.

Now, God created us to have these feelings. It is a good thing when we find some one of the opposite sex attractive. So we can't say that it is sinful to 'like' a boy. But since humans are never perfect we need to know when we are abusing God's gift.

1. I believe that it is wrong to train children from infancy to think that if someone is kind to you, or if you are kind to someone else that makes you their girlfriend. (You know what I mean... Billy and Gracie are only 2, but when Gracie starts to cry and Billy gives her a hug the Moms say "Oh how cute! She's his little girlfriend!" That kind of stuff makes me sick.)

2. When you get to a certain age you will be attracted to boys. That is a good thing and there is nothing you can do about it.

3. Feelings are just feelings! When you feel attracted to someone, just say "Oh, huh, look at that. I'm attracted to them. So?" And don't get freaked out and worried.
It is silly to make this emotion more important than any other emotion. I feel angry sometimes. So? No big deal as long as I don't focus on it and become obsessive about it.

4. It is not the temptation that is wrong, it is what you do with the temptation. Ok, so you might be tempted to steal a cookie... if you shrug your shoulders and walk away it's not a problem. If you keep thinking about the cookie after you've walked away and keep going back and smelling the cookie, imagining eating the cookie, that's wrong.
So you might have a desire to have a physical relationship with someone. It's not a problem if you shrug your shoulders and walk away. But don't keep thinking about it and imagining what it would be like to have it.

5. Everyone has these feelings. So it's not something to be ashamed of. It might be something you want to talk to your Mom about, or maybe your sister, but on the other hand, it's not something you should talk about all the time.

6. You can think that someone is nice without having a crush on them.

Ok, so now, we have these feelings, and we know that God created us to feel like this, but it's easy to slip into focusing on this or that guy... WHAT CAN WE DO???

1. Don't think about it. If thoughts of him keep coming into your mind just say "Nope, I'm going to think about that" and then think of something else. (You may have to do that several hundred times a minute until you get used to it.)
Tell your mind that it's not high on your 'thought priority list'.

2. When you are in company with him, try to look at what his brothers and sisters seem to think of him because if they don't like him, chances are he's not a very nice person.
I personally am rarely or never attracted to someone's looks, but rather to their character. However, I do know that this is not the case for everyone (and there's nothing wrong with that).

3. Pray about it. (These obviously aren't in order of importance because this is the most important.) Pray that if it is not of God (and to be honest with ourselves, unless we're of marriageable age, most of the time it's not of God) that He would take the feeling away.
It may be a while (sometimes even months or years), but God will take away the feeling if it is not in His plan.

4. If you are of marriageable age, compare his character next to what the Bible says is a godly man. Sometimes this in and of itself can get rid of the attraction entirely. ;-)

5. Avoid things that foster the attraction and desire. Things like Romance novels, movies, and songs can all be VERY unhelpful.

6. Sometimes just talking to your Mom or sister makes it go away... secrets tend to be more binding than non-secrets. If you don't have a great relationship with your Mom try to improve it before you talk to her, but if you don't have a Mom or a sister, you may want to find an older sister type of girl to talk to. But preferably not someone who will either encourage your attraction or be horrified by it. ;-)

7. Don't put yourself in 'alone situations' with the object of your attraction. In fact, avoiding alone situations with any boy is probably a good idea.

8. Don't ever EVER talk about to the guy you like about the fact that you especially like him.

9. Keep it away from the physical level... no holding hands or kissing or hugging.

10. Be modest... this will help your thoughts to stay pure. Dress modestly, act modestly, and no long glances. A look can be as sensual as a touch, so 'watch your eyes'. :-)

And once again, Don't be freaked out by it! Most of the stuff I've mentioned will come naturally if you don't worry about it. :-)

Well, that's about all I have to say for now... Any thoughts?

The Results of the last Poll

The last poll was "What does the word "Respectful" mean to you?"
Here are the results

Lip service, it's ok to roll your eyes when they aren't looking
4 (12%)
Always being polite
3 (9%)
A face you put on when listening to an adult
2 (6%)
A behavior
7 (22%)
To honor God by honoring those around you
25 (80%)

I'm not really going to comment on this poll, but I would like to say that I believe that Respect is an attitude of your heart, and not a face that you should put on and take off.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Modest Swimwear

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As it gets warmer here in New England, our family does a lot of swimming in the lake right down the road from us.
During the past couple of years us girls have been trying out different types of modest bathing suits... don't get me wrong, we never wore bikinis, but it sure is nice to be a little more covered than your typical tank bathing suit.
I realize that some families do not allow boys and girls to swim at the same time, but whether you are swimming alone or with friends or family, there are some great swim suits out there that you actually can swim in.

Here is are a few bathing suit sites that we've found. I've also listed what suits are suitable to what body-types because we don't all look good and modest in the same suits. ;-)
(At the end there is a section for girls who don't want to be that covered but they still want to be more modest than the 'normal' suit.)

Swim modest bathing suits

This first one is my favorite... These suits are great for active swimmers because they really aren't any harder to swim in than normal suits, and they are all one piece so you don't have the problem of the skirt floating up. They're also really cute on. (They also don't need separate undergarments which is a big plus)
The site doesn't always have many fabric choices, but it's well worth checking back if you don't like the fabric they do have right now.
These suits are good for slender, average, or even slightly heavy girls... but if you have a heavier build you may want to consider a different suit.

Modest Swimwear

These bathing suits are harder to swim in, they do tend to slow you down a bit but won't make a difference if you are not a dedicated swimmer. (Another words, if you're not doing ten laps every day this bathing suit is fine.)
But they do need proper under garments... the capris tend to be see through, and the top clings A LOT when it is wet. Even if it is modest when it is dry, the top will be very immodest when wet if you don't wear something under it.
You want this bathing suit to be more tight than loose because it does tend to float up (And be more clinging) if it's loose.
A darker or more patterned fabric is best for these bathing suits. (You can also make them yourself... you can buy swim fabric online.)
These suits work best for average girls, and those who 'fill them out' more. Very slender girls have much more trouble with the suits wanting to float away.

Wholesome Swimwear

Ok, these suits are not the greatest for actually swimming... they're more for just hanging around in the water. I mean, you can swim in them, but they slow you down and somewhat restrict your movement.
These suits don't need undergarments, and are perfectly modest whether you are in or out of the water.
I notice that Moms particularly like these suits.
These suits are good for any shape, and can be a good choice for heavy girls who want to 'hide' more.

Fashionably Modest

This is a pattern, and I've never used it, but it looks as if it would be good for girls who enjoy wearing normal 'tank' bathing suits.

Ok, for those of you who want a more modest alternative to the normal bikini or tankini, but you also want to fit in, here are a few sites that seem to have good bathing suits.

Lime Riki

This site has several pretty and modest suits

And I was going to do several other sites, but I found this blog post that already has them listed so here you go.

The little Window shoppe

Ok, I hope that was helpful! Enjoy swimming! And let me know what bathing suits you like. :-)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Personality Differences

In my last post, I talked about differences of opinions, but there are lots of different personalities out there, and sometimes the reason we have a problem with someone isn't that we disagree, but simply that we don't know how to understand how to 'interpret' the other person.

For instance, when one person is upset about something you did, they will just ignore it or suggest shyly that they don't like it when someone does such and so. While the next person will come right out and tell you that you did this, this and this, that they didn't like it and that you have to change your ways.
Now neither one of these approaches is the best way, one may be more offensive than the other, but neither of them are truly sinful... they're just different.

Of course, us Homeschoolers get a chance to deal with many different personalities on a daily basis with our brothers and sisters, but our particular family has boundaries that other families don't. We may think that it is rude to say something that a different family has no problem with.
That is why what my Mom calls 'Interpretation' is so important. (It's also called thinking the best of people.)

Let's say that your best friend at church has a tendency to speak their mind a little too forcefully and doesn't always have the best discretion about what to say, but you know that they really care about you. So on Sunday, this friend walks up to you and tells you, point blank, that your dress is ugly and immodest. Then they walk away and the next time you talk to them they seem to have forgotten all about it. Ok, now you can either look at it as your friend being a jerk, or think about it in context of their character. It may not have been right of them to handle the situation like they did, but maybe it wasn't them trying to be hurtful, it was just them not thinking before they spoke.

Or maybe someone is very quiet and when you walk over and try to be friendly, they kind of just smile shyly and then look away.

A while ago I realized that I wasn't 'interpreting' someone I love correctly. Now this person has a VERY different personality from me, and often would say something that was meant to be firm, but I would interpret it as anger.
After talking to my Mom about it, I realized that it wasn't the person's fault that I had a problem with them... it was my fault because I wasn't thinking about them in the context of their character, which is very 'definite', but I was interpreting them by MY character. If I had spoken the way they did, I would have been very angry, but I was supposed to look at THEIR personality, not MINE!

So, yeah, try it out with the person that bugs you the most, in your family or anywhere. ;-)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Differences of Opinions and Christian Liberty (Plus some tired rambling!)

Hi! We're back from our trip! If you want to read about it go to my other blog (listed in my profile). I'll be posting more about it soon.

Well, I keep thinking of things that I want to write about on here, but I think that the one that I want to talk about today is the fact/issue of Christian Liberty.

Now, in an age where 'tolerance' of evil things is considered good, Christian Liberty can get a kind of bad name from us 'intolerant' homeschoolers. Let me say that we should never tolerate wicked things. Christian Liberty should imply that we would be 'tolerating' minor differences within the Christian faith.

You know, we all have the same reaction when someone disagrees with us... we want to convince them that we are right! And we are sure that if we only talk enough, or put it the right way, or give them enough Bible verses, that they will see that we are right and admit that they were wrong!
The truth is that only God can convince anyone of anything. (Of course, some of you may not agree with this! Haha, time for Christian Liberty I guess!)

Actually, I've never been convinced of anything by someone arguing with me. It just makes me feel anxious (and, when someone is rude about it, disrespected and hurt).

Last year, after thinking and praying about something for a long time, I was convicted about a certain issue, and decided to change my ways. It wasn't anything big, just what could be called personal preference. But you should have seen the reaction I got when I said something about it on my blog! People that I had never even heard of before left not-so-nice comments about why I was wrong.

Now I actually didn't say that anyone was doing anything wrong, I just made an offhanded remark that I wasn't sure that such-and-so was a good thing for me to read. It was amazing how people seemed to feel that they were being personally attacked.

Ok, I guess that I'm rambling a bit, (I'm really tired!) but basically, if you can simply not get upset when someone doesn't agree with you (on things from Headcoverings to Lord of the Rings), than you and your friends and family will have a much easier time of things!

So yeah, just being quiet is sometimes the kindest thing that you can do. Especially if someone has made a decided to change something in their life. As long as it's not sinful, we should let them just be them.

Ok, I hope that made sense, I'm going to go crawl into bed now! G'night all! :-)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An graphic for this blog!

A friend of mine made an ad for this blog! If anyone wants the code, leave me a comment and a way to contact you and I'll be happy to send it to you. :-)

Thanks so much Miss Jocelyn! :-)

I won't be posting again for a while because our family is going on a trip.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When Dealing with Boys In Youth Group

Now, I bet that title got your attention, didn't it? This is just going to be a short post with a few tips in it.
The reason I decided to write this is because I have seen or been in groups of Christian teens (youth group types of groups), where the kids are way too familiar with each other. I call it "Christian" flirting. Another words, it's an 'underground' type of flirting (of course, sometimes it's more obvious) that they justify by saying "We're brothers and sisters... In Christ."
Now I'm not sure if they actually think that what they are doing is fine, or if they know that they're being flirtatious. But regardless of that, when you are in a group like that it is important that you don't just do the easy thing and follow the lead of the crowd.
Here are a few things that definitely give the wrong idea...

1. Sitting on a boy's lap is never EVER appropriate for ANY reason. (I have noticed that teens like to do things like squishing everyone in the group onto one couch. I never was the type of person who liked being that close to anyone, but, if you must do this, you could always sit on one of your *female* friend's lap instead.)

2. "Making eyes" at someone. This is a very flirtatious thing. I think that we all know what it looks like because we've noticed other girls doing it.

3. Holding hands with a boy... Not a good idea.

4. Most people are fine hugging people goodbye, but if you can't keep your emotions pure when hugging boys, than don't do it. I know that a lot of people are not raised in a "I hug people goodbye" kind of home, and I have noticed that some girls develop feelings for young men when they hug them goodbye every Sunday. If someone is coming to give you a hug and you don't wish to hug them, my Grandpa says that you should just extend your hand and wait for them to realize that you wish to shake hands instead.

5. Games like "Telephone Booth" or games where you crawl around in the dark are NEVER appropriate.

6. I never liked it when girls and boys would push each other around, it seems very flirtatious to me.

Ok, here are a few things that are fine...

1. If a girl is hurt(ie: she can't walk) and has to get to a car or whatever, it is entirely appropriate for one of the stronger people in the group (presumably a guy), to carry or help her in some way. Although when I hurt my ankle and couldn't walk on it, I didn't need to be carried, I just needed someone to hold my arm so that I would fall over.

2. In most cases hugging someone goodbye is just fine.

3. It is not a problem to joke around as long as the jokes don't become inappropriate.

Basically, if you feel fine doing it, it's usually fine (unless it's something wrong, of course), if you get a thrill from it or feel funny about it, don't do it! ;-)
Hope that was helpful! Have a nice day ladies!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Just a note

This past March I had the honor of being asked to be the 'cover girl' for Growing in Grace Magazine.
If you're interested you can read my interview here

Friday, April 4, 2008

Disagreements (And a new Poll)

Lately I've been thinking about how we should respond when we have a minor disagreement with someone, or when someone is critical of us.
It is always slightly disturbing to find that someone has misunderstood us or disagrees with how we act or think, but how can we respond in a godly way?

1. Think before you speak or act in response to criticism or disagreement. Proverbs 15:28 says "The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil."

2. Make sure that you really understand what the person is saying. "He who answers before listening- that is his folly and his shame." Proverbs 18:13

3. Respond politely and with humility. Even if they are in the wrong, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

4. Never respond out of annoyance, or by saying something rude about the other person, even if it is true. "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult." Proverbs 12:16

5. If you have been falsely 'accused' of something, Proverbs 12:19 says "Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment."

6. If you are the one who sees something wrong in someone else, pray about it before you say anything. You never know how you can hurt someone. "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18. "The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful." Proverbs 12:22.
For the most part, God is the one who must convict someone of their sin, and your part is to pray, not accuse. If you think that you must say something, be very, very, sure that you love the person as Jesus would have you, and that what you are going to tell them is the truth.

7. Never gossip about something that someone did wrong to you. It is ok to talk to your parents, or to a close friend if you need to talk about it, but don't just go 'blabbing it' to anyone you meet. "A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly." Proverbs 12:23

8. And lastly, if someone has showed you something in yourself that you see is a problem, change it! :-) "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored." Proverbs 13:18

Here are a few more verses that have been helpful to me. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Proverbs 27:6
"Anger is cruel and fury is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" Proverbs 27:4
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19-20

(Have you noticed that I love the book of Proverbs?) :-)

I also have a new poll up, so feel free to vote. Here are the results from the last one.

What do you think when you hear the word "Modesty"?
It's interchangeable with "Frumpy"
2 (8%)
It's just an attitude
3 (13%)
Beautiful skirts and dresses
14 (60%)
A way of moving
7 (30%)
2 (8%)
Other (leave a comment and explain)
6 (26%)

Perhaps I should do a post on why modesty and what it is sometime. ;-)

Monday, March 10, 2008


Everyone wants to be treated with respect, but not everyone knows how to be. Today I'm just going to give you a few ideas on how to be treated with respect.

1. Act respectable. No one is going to respect you if you always lose your temper, or act flirtatiously, or act disrespectfully to someone else.

2. Always treat Adults with respect, whether they deserve it or not.

3. Good posture is very helpful.

4. Do not allow people to treat you in an ungodly way. It is not wrong to walk away, and go stand by your parents.

5. Do not act ashamed of what you believe or ashamed of your family.

6. Always admit when you acted wrongfully and apologize for it.

While these ideas can help, they are not going to do you any good unless you have the Fruit of the Spirit in your life. So once again, prayer and Bible reading are just about the most important things. :-)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Responding in Love

My apologies for not posting in so long! I started this post back in February, and then couldn't seem to get anywhere with it. But I finally sat down and said, "I'm going to finish this post TONIGHT!" So here it is. :-)

The Free Online Dictionary ( defines "Character" as
1. The combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another. See Synonyms at disposition.
2. A distinguishing feature or attribute, as of an individual, group, or category. See Synonyms at quality.
4. Moral or ethical strength.
5. A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities. (Emphasis added)

Your character defines who you are, how and why you react to different things, your reputation, your good and bad qualities, whether you are trustworthy or not, etc.

There are many aspects to a person's character, but right now let's focus on how we should respond to people who are rude, who disagree with us, who treat us badly, and who slander (0r talk bad about) us.

Ephesians 4:31-32 says "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Now there are many, many verses that tell us "a soft answer turns away wrath" "Be slow to become angry" etc. But the one above is my favorite. (If you wish to read the rest of chapter 4, it's very good and can be found here. Just type in Ephesians 4.)

So now we know how we're supposed to respond, but easier said than done, right?
Here are a few ideas of how to keep from responding in an ungodly way.

1. Pray and read your Bible. If your mind is filled with Christ, your automatic response to conflict will slowly change to be more Biblical.

2. Take a moment to cool down before replying. You can keep yourself from doing something really stupid if you don't react immediately.

3. If the rudeness is in an e-mail, wait a few days to respond. Sometimes it helps to show it to your parents, who will probably have some good ideas of what to write back.

4. If you know that some subjects trigger anger or conflict in you or the person you are interacting with, avoid those subjects.

5. Love is not a feeling. It is a choice, and a way of life. If you are having a hard time with a person, pray about it and then treat them in a godly way whether you feel like it or not.

6. Be differentiated. This means that, although you love the person, you are not dependent on their opinion of you, or their emotional state. If they accuse you of something that is not true, don't allow yourself to be devastated. You can listen politely, and it's always good to apologize if you have done anything wrong, but don't allow things to 'get inside you'.

If you know that a certain person has a problem with you, talk to your parents about it. There is nothing wrong with staying away from someone you don't like as long as it is polite to do so, but you must treat them in a Christ-like manner. This means all the time, whether you are with them or not.
It is not wrong to talk to a parent or trusted friend about how someone has hurt you, but don't get into 'people bashing', or making something bigger than it is. Another important thing, if you are sharing it with a friend, is to make sure that your friend can handle it emotionally. If you start to get the sense that they are getting overwhelmed, stop talking about it, you can apologize for making them uncomfortable, and change the subject to something different. Don't forget to talk to your parents when you get home.
Parents and friends are not there to feed your dislike of someone, so do not talk to someone who will not give you godly counsel.

As usual, I'd love to hear what you think as well as any tips or hints. :-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Staying Toasty While Wearing Skirts

Here in New England it can get really chilly during the winter. I love wearing skirts, but for a long time I would only wear them on Sunday to church because I would get SO COLD with the wintery air breezing around my legs... especially since the tights I wore were really only colored nylons and didn't do much to keep the warmth in.
Over time we did come up with a few ideas on how to keep warm in the winter.

1. DON'T WEAR SUMMER WEIGHT SKIRTS!!! Make sure that the skirts you are planning on wearing are a nice thick material. (Corduroys are great, so are some cottons.)

2. Taper leg stretch pants go great under skirts, don't add much bulk, and look fine. I like wearing black ones because my shoes are black and most of my winter skirts are dark. You may prefer to wear them around the house but put on something prettier (like tights) when you go out.

3. Tights (Not Nylons) are a great way to stay warm. Vermont Country Store sells some really comfortable and very warm cotton tights.

4. If you are going to be wearing a mid-calf length skirt, but it's really cold out, stretch capris (made out of stretch pant material) over tights can go a long way to keeping you toasty.

5. Warm shoes are important too. Sneakers look fine with jean skirts, K-mart has some shoes that look great with skirts, but aren't very warm... Sometimes I like to wear my winter boots to where I'm going, and then put on my other shoes when I get there. That way I don't get snow in my shoes, but I can still wear my favorite flats.

6. Leggings also work really good under skirts.

If you do get capris or stretch pants to wear under your skirts, make sure that they have elastic waistbands, because if they have a button and zipper, or pockets, they can end up making you look a little more heavy.

Long (ankle length skirts) are usually warmer than pants because they keep all that nice warm air next to your body.

So just a short post today, but I hope that it was helpful. :-)

A few people left comments with some really helpful hints!

Kate Marie left me a comment with this helpful hint: "if you are long waisted, like I am, your shirts sometimes like to fly up in the back. This problem can be fixed by buying a couple long white tanks to wear underneath! That way if you bend over there is no problem."

Thanks Kate! :-)

Meghan said: "Some things that I do, almost every day, is to wear
a thick, warm, pair of socks OVER my tights. Also, leg-warmers can be cosy. They go on the heel-half of your foot, and go on up your calf to your knees."

Great idea!

Thanks for sharing the hints, girls!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tips for Mental Purity

Girls are emotional... big surprise, right? What we fill our minds with will determine the way we see the world and the way we react emotionally.
Have you ever concentrated on really learning something for a few weeks in a row? Or playing a game? Your mind creates a pattern, and you start seeing things through that pattern.
My grandparents gave me two books of Sudoku (a numbers game) last Christmas. Now, I didn't know much about it, but it looked like fun, so I started putting my mind to work learning the pattern of the game.
After a while, I would find myself subconsciously seeing things in rows and boxes even when I wasn't playing the game.
I'm going to give you a few examples of the most common things that affect our minds and emotions in a romantic way as girls.

1. Romance Novels (yes, even Christian ones)

2. Chick flicks and Romantic Comedies (also of course any other movies with not-so-cute sexual stuff in them)

3. Wearing tight (or 'sexy') clothing and some kinds of high heels (your guess is as good as mine as to why these affect us, but they do)

4. Looking at those bikini-type magazines at the end of the checkout line

5. Allowing a friendship with a young man to get deeper and deeper and deeper

I'm sure that there are more, and that they vary from person to person, but these were a few of the most common.

Now, what do these things do?
I'm not sure what it is about Romance novels, chick flicks, and Romantic comedies, but they tend to make us dissatisfied with what we have, and the men in our lives (i.e. our Dad, older brothers etc). This leads to rebellion and disrespect. The men in the books are created by a woman's imagination. Our fathers were created by God. Though they aren't perfect, God requires that we respect and obey them in the Lord.
Romance Novels also (obviously) make us impatient for a romantic relationship. The kind of desire it gives us, is one that no man can or will ever fulfill.
Tight clothing tempts us to flaunt our bodies. High heeled shoes can make us walk in a 'sexy' way.
Those magazines with the pictures of the perfect model in the bikini make us dissatisfied with our bodies and with being modest. The message is that you have to be immodest to be attractive.
A deep friendship with a young man encourages you to lean on him for your emotional needs instead of on God and your parents. (This isn't saying that you can't be friends with young men... just don't let it go too far. Don't ever tell him, or write him something that you wouldn't want your parents to read with the knowledge that you were sending it to him.)

There are obviously other, different effects from the ones that I've mentioned.

The most serious thing that happens, is that all of this stuff fills our mind and we start thinking in the patterns that were created by the author, the director, or the screen writer. Often, we're so anxious to finish those last few chapter to find out whether so-and-so gets together with what's-his-name, that we stay up late to read it and forget about reading the Bible (or else rush through our Bible chapter and never remember what it said).
Only when you fill your mind with God's word can you see things His way, and react the way Jesus would want you to.

Now this isn't to say that you can never enjoy another mindless chick flick, or read another happy ending. But there are a few things that you can do to undermine the effect they have on you.

1. DON'T FORGET TO READ YOUR BIBLE!!! And I don't just mean skimming a chapter a day. Set aside a time (I usually do my Bible reading at night before bed) and pray that the Lord would give you wisdom to see what He wants to show you that day. Then read however much you want, it doesn't have to be a set amount, but let it shape your mind. Soon you'll start seeing things 'through' the Bible

2. Don't be afraid to skip those parts in the book that give you that naughty feeling thrill

3. Fast-forward any inappropriate parts in the movies. And feel free to avoid this or that movie that you know is a problem.

4. Dress modestly ;-)

5. Guard your eyes. Yes I know, 'girls don't have to guard their eyes'. But we do, really. Sexual images may not affect us in the same way that they affect men, but they DO affect us. Don't look at those magazines; even at the covers. Look at your shopping cart if you have to.

6. Don't think of young men as potential husbands, and DON'T tell them secrets and stuff. If you wouldn't tell your boy cousins, than why in the world would you tell a completely unconnected boy?

7. Do not EVER allow your thought to linger on a young man, and don't think about what it might be like to hug or kiss or whatever. If we can take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (easier said than done; it takes lots of prayer and diversion) than we're on our way to emotional purity

Now, I, personally, don't read romance novels. I started to read them when I was about thirteen, but my Mom made me stop and I'm really VERY VERY thankful that she did.

But don't focus on 'fighting the bad', focus on being more like Jesus. Don't be legalistic, but strive for purity!

I hope this was helpful. As always, if you have any thoughts you'd like to share, please feel free.