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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why Art Thou Cast Down O My Soul?

You ever have one of those days where you wake up and you feel all down and out? Yesterday you were doing fine, you were happy, life was good, the future looked promising and then today for some reason you're in despair? Today was one of those days for me. Yesterday everything was fine, I was basking in God's goodness, the sun was shining in my soul, and I was ready to face life. Today,  I look at myself and I see all of my flaws. I look at my agenda for the day and feel discouraged. I look out at the future and it looks bleak. I look at my past and I see wasted years that I will never get back again. Everywhere I turn, I'm confronted with my failures, my weaknesses, and things I have no control over. Perhaps I feel this way because I woke up feeling physically not well. Perhaps I feel this way because the sun isn't shining and it's kinda gloomy out. Or maybe I feel this way because I'm reminded of circumstances I can't change. Maybe it is a combination of all three.
  Let's face it, girls do:
 * get discouraged,
 * have down times,
 *deal with strong emotions,
 *face the unknown,
 *long to be loved, and
 *need affirmation.


They:
 *cry when their hearts are broken,
 *ache when their dreams look hopeless,
 *give way to doubt when all looks lost, and
 * succumb to despair when they see their own failures


These things are natural and we will face them from time to time. And though we go through times of despair, sadness, rejection, hopelessness, or whatever else it is we are facing, we need not stay there. It is in those very times we need to trust.


*Trust the One Who knows the beginning to the end.  (Rev.1:8)
*Trust the One Who has a plan and purpose for our lives. (Jer.29:11)
*Trust the One Who with Whom our way is not hid and there is no searching of His
  understanding. (Isa 40:28)
*Trust the One Whose ways are higher than our ways and thoughts than our thoughts. (Isa 55:8)
*Trust the One Who has begun a good work in us and will perform it to the end. (Phil.1:6)
*Trust the One Who worketh all things together for good to us who love Him.  (Rom.8:28)
*Trust the One Who will hold no good thing from them that walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)
*Trust the One Who has loved us and hath given Himself for us. (Rom.8:32)


As we begin to put our trust in the Lord, we will be able to say with the Psalmist "Why art thou cast down O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Ps.42:11)


I feel better already! How about you?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For Thirsty Souls Blog

 I am happy and excited to announce a brand new blog to you called "For Thirsty Souls". You can find it at:  www.forthirstysouls.blogspot.com. The author is a good friend of mine and  I can personally testify that her everyday life reflects the Lord Jesus living in her as she serves her husband and children. I believe you will be richly blessed through Marcia's writings. 
If you are longing to:
*draw closer to the Lord,
*grow in His Word,
*be encouraged, challenged, and edified in your daily walk with God,
 then take a moment and visit "For Thirsty Souls".


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ornaments of Grace: A Yielded Heart



    I don't know that I have seen anything so beautiful as yielded heart, a heart given up to God and a spirit preferring others better than oneself. There are two people that come directly to my mind when I think of Paul's words in Phil. 2:3 "let each esteem the other better than themselves." and that is my sweet sister, Hannah and a dear friend of mine, Marcia.
  I don't know how many times our Hannah, at such a young age, has yielded up her own desires for that of another such as staying home in order that her sister could go, opting out of a game that another may play, or offering to do a job that others would rather not do. What a heart she has!
 Not too long ago, a family in our little fellowship had a traumatic accident in which their two little daughters were both severely burned on 25 - 30% of their bodies. It was an exhausting and painful ordeal for the parents to watch their little girls suffer in such pain. Though it was an awful thing that happened, and one that would not want to be encountered again, God's hand was clearly evident in protecting the girls from receiving burns on their hands and faces and for providing some of the most excellent care and treatments - right in their own home! It was so amazing to see the many people that gave of their time, energy, money, and so much else to bless this family during that time. One that stood out to me most was Marcia and her family. Even though Marcia had a home and family to look after, she committed herself to driving the 20 minutes to their house twice a day for days on end to help with changing the dressing and bandages, which was close to a 3 hour ordeal each time. Certainly there were things she felt were important to get done in her own home, or  have preferred to have a quiet evening with her family. Her family probably felt the strain of not having Mama home as usual and having to take on more responsibilities with her away so much. Something like that may be easy to deal with for a few days, but when it becomes a few weeks, there is no doubt in my mind that it becomes wearisome to the flesh. Yet, with yielded hearts and preferring others above themselves, they were able to minister in a beautiful way to this family. And I would like to add right here for young daughters, that if it were not for Marcia's girls helping to sustain the home, their family would not have been able to be used to bless and minister in the way they had. Her daughters may not have been ministering in the front lines, but their ministry was just as important their mother's. 
  It is not always convenient, joyous, or easy to have a yielded heart. With yielding, comes sacrifice, surrender and compliance. Many times yielding comes in the form of submitting to authority. It may mean giving up a certain activity to stay home at your parent's request even if the activity itself is not wrong. It may mean laying aside a sewing project to help a sibling with their schoolwork or giving some of your free time to help around the house. Sometimes it gets hard when we're asked to give up our time or what we may feel is our "rights". One thing to keep in mind when trying to cultivate a yielded heart is that we are not our own because we belong to Christ, therefore, whatever we have belongs to Him, including our time and "rights".  One thing I have learned to do when asked to give up something that maybe isn't necessarily wrong and I find myself "bulking" inwardly, is to examine my heart. Often times I find that my values were not where they should have been. Use those incidents in your own life to examine your heart, purify your motives, and if need be, repent of temporal values. You will find yourself drawing nearer to God when doing so, and becoming more like Christ as you cultivate this ornament of grace in your life!
   

Friday, December 2, 2011

Others

By Charles D. Meigs (written sometime between 1890 and 1902)

Lord help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for – Others.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for you
Must needs be done for – Others.

Let “Self” be crucified and slain
And buried deep; and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again
Unless to live for – Others.

And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven’s begun
May I forget the crown I’ve won
While thinking still of – Others.

Others, Lord, yes others
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Truth Shall Set You Free

                                                                                                           By Marcia Zimmerman

The words of Jesus in Jn. 8:32 are very often quoted by many. They are words of hope in a sea of anguish and darkness.

  To understand Jesus words, we need to notice His declaration in Jn. 8:28-29of how He speaks and acts only as the Father directs. After He said those words, according to verses 30-31, many Jewish leaders believed Him and followed Him. Then Jesus says that His true disciples are those who live as He tells them to. Only then does He say that those who follow Him will know the truth and that shall set them free.

  As daughters and wives in the home, how does truth set us free? What do we need to be freed from?

  We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23). As wives and daughters, if we are not in Christ living the new life He gives all who truly repent and believe, there is no possible way we are bringing glory to God. The main thing we need to be set free from is our own sinful selves.

  When Christ gives us new life, noticeable changes begin to occur. We have a changed heart that desires Truth  and we begin to follow that truth as Christ reveals it to us. When Jesus was being interrogated by Pilate (Jn. 18:37  ) He told him that He was sent to bring truth to the earth and that all who love truth are His followers.

  Do we love truth? As women, perhaps we need to routinely ask ourselves questions such as the following:

   ~ As a women, God intends  for me to be under the authority of my father or husband if at all possible. How am I doing? Do I value his advice and desires for me? Do I love to serve him and fulfill God's plan for me to help him?

   ~ According to the Word of God, if I love Jesus I will be keeping His commandments. Am I? Do I love God with all my whole heart? Do I love my neighbor as myself? Am I careful to speak only words that are profitable? Do I lay up treasures in heaven or does my lifestyle reflect a love of temporal possessions?

  ~ Am I a willing vessel to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus? Or do I fritter away endless hours with shopping, surfing the internet, and gossiping with my friends?

   My answers reveal whether I love the truth or not - If we love the truth, then we will act upon it and Then we are set free.

  Being free does not take years and years, as those who mix humanism into their doctrine like to propose. No - this freedom comes as soon as we repent and allow the Holy Spirit to fill and guide our lives - Jn. 16:35 tells us that when the Spirit comes, He will guide us into all Truth. With this thought, I propose to you that true freedom in a woman's life will reflect the glory of God.

  ~ She will have a meek and quiet spirit, desiring to let the beauty of Jesus be seen in her words and actions.

  ~ She will be an asset to the kingdom of God in the proper role of Biblical womanhood where God has assigned her. This may be cheerfully blessing her parents and siblings in family life, being the joyful mother of children, a grandma who blesses the sisters in the congregation as needs arise, or a young woman who sets a positive example to the younger girls in her life by being careful to live soberly in step with Jesus.

  This is true freedom. It is God's gift, available to each one He has created no matter who we are or what we have done or what evil has been done to us. If we walk in the Light and take the Name of Jesus with us by living in reverence to Him in every word and deed, we shall be free indeed.

  Maybe it it take awhile for us to feel free. We do remember wickedness, whether manifested by us or by others, but I encourage us to love the truth and live lives according to the Father's will He left in His Word. This increases our our faith and helps us to realize with former conviction our freedom in Christ... freedom  - not to live as I want to live, but to live to show forth the praises of Christ - the Source of Freedom.
 
  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:16-18

When this is the reality of our lives, then the words of this song will be our testimony:

    Once I was bound by sin's galling fetters,
    Chained like a slave I struggled in vain;
    But I received a glorious freedom,
    When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.
          
    Freedom from all the carnal affections,
    Freedom from envy, hatred and strife;
    Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions.
    Freedom from all that saddened my life.
   
    Freedom from pride and all sinful follies,
    Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
    Freedom from evil temper and anger,
    Glorious freedom, rapture untold.
   
    Freedom from fear with all of its torments,
    Freedom from care with all of its pain;
    Freedom in Christ my blessed Redeemer,
    He who has rent my fetters in twain.

      Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom,
        No more in chains of sin I repine!
        Jesus the glorious Emancipator,
          Now and forever He shall be mine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Abounding with Thanksgiving

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him:
 Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  Col. 2:7

 As Christians, we are exhorted not only to give thanks, but to abound in thanksgiving. And why shouldn't we? We have so much to thank our Lord for. Our hearts should be overflowing with thanksgiving to Him who gave Himself to redeem us when we were yet in our sins headed for a lost eternity. Think of it, we were at enmity with God,  full of sin and self and totally worthless. We were Satan's slaves ready at any moment to face God's holy wrath and indignation. But then God in His great love and mercy, not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance, redeemed us by the shed blood of His own dear Son, or in other words, bought us back. Think of it, we were sold to God. He had every right to make us His slaves, but no, He made us His sons and daughters. We our heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. That in itself should compel us to abound with thanksgiving. But God didn't stop there. He gave us His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, He made a way for us to live victoriously over sin, and is continually working His perfect work in us that we might be changed from glory to glory that we might show forth His praise.
  That does not include all the physical provisions He provides for us: the food we eat, the homes we live in, and the clothes we wear, and that is not to mention all the extras we have. Think, too about the precious freedoms we have in this land of ours where we can freely worship our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and read our Bibles without being persecuted. It was just for these reasons (and to protect their children from worldly influences) that the pilgrims sacrificed everything they had to come to a bare wilderness and start a new life over in this land.
  Let's not take these things for granted. Let's rejoice in our redemption by and to our Lord who has given us all these things, and not just today, but everyday.

                           Happy Thanksgiving!


                                                PSALM 111
1Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
 2The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
 3His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
 4He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
 5He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
 6He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.
 7The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
 8They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
 9He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
 10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scripture Memorization

 The Lord has really impressed it upon me to commit myself to truly get into His Word, to read it, to study it, to memorize it, and to hide it my heart. Right now, I'm working on memorizing The Sermon on the Mount. I had begun memorizing it over a year ago and got through the first chapter, but then got busy with other things and weary of memorizing, too. Thankfully it's coming back to me quickly as I'm going back over it.

I came across this link that might be helpful to others trying to memorize Scripture.  http://www.pursuinglife.com/biblememory.php#   It gives some good tips on memorization, especially for when you're memorizing long portions, and reasons for hiding God's Word in our hearts.

What I have found to be helpful is:
  Start young! The older you get, the harder it becomes to retain things. I find that it is the verses that I memorized as a child are the ones that that I know the best. This is actually one of those things you can encourage your younger siblings in and to do it with them.
  If you're not memorizing long portions, select one verse a day to memorize and write it down on a small index card - the verse on one side and reference on the other. This way you will connect the reference with the verse. I used 3 x 5 index cards and cut them in half, that way they were small enough to fit in my pocket comfortably. Number the top corner on the reference side and go over it throughout the day.  At the end the the week, shuffle the cards and review.  At the end of the month, you will have memorized 30 verses! I tried this method before and found it to work great, but then again, what might work good for one person may not work as well for another. The only way to know is to try and see!
  Something my siblings and I will do once in a while is go back and forth quoting memory verses until we run dry. It makes it nicer to share what we have been learning. It is also helpful to learn with someone or at least find someone to be accountable to when memorizing.
  If you know of some good tips for memorizing, I would be glad to hear of them. And if you are working on memorizing some verses or a portion of Scripture, let me know! May we be an encouragement to each other as we seek to hide God's Word in our hearts!

Blessings on your day,
Jenna    

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Have You A Barley Field?

                                 1 Chronicles 11:13-14
He was with David at Pasdammin, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where there was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance.

There are many battles to be fought in this day and age, whether it be the mass holocaust of abortion, humanistic psychology, evolution, myriads of false doctrines, feminism, and you name it. It's all out there. However, we could never fight them all. Time, energy, and money would never allow us to. However, we can and must find the plot of ground that God would have us fight for just as David and his men fought for that barley field. Where is that plot of ground God has for you to fight for, to defend, and to win? I know where my barley field is. It is my family, my calling as a daughter, a sister, and perhaps someday a wife and mother. It is being a cornerstone or pillar in my father's house ~ supporting my dad, helping my mom, being there for my siblings in every way possible, blessing them and by love and example pointing them to Jesus. It is not a little thing and Satan knows this. He has every device and way imaginable to call us and draw us away from our homes and families, to make us discontent and undermine our sphere of power and influence we have in our homes.       Believe me, Satan knew that if he could get women out of the home, he would have the coming generations. Look around, ever since woman entered the wok force, home and family life went to shambles. Schools began to see an increase in juvenile delinquents, marriages began falling apart, crime and violence went up, and in short, society has been on a downward spiral. In all honesty, how will children learn and value the core values of their parents if they are constantly being shuffled off to the babysitter's or daycare and school from little up? It isn't going to happen. Most importantly, think of their eternal souls. Do you expect them to learn to have a love for the Lord and heart's desire for spiritual things when sending them out to be taught by the Canaanites?
  Dear sisters, the care and responsibility of the eternal souls of our little ones sets upon us. Though I am not a mother, I do feel responsible to be there for my younger siblings, to help guide and direct their footsteps. If I or you as a sister or a mother are not investing in their lives, if they sense other things are of more value than our relationship with them, then where will they turn? Where to will they look for approval, for acceptance, and for something to fill the void in their lives? Is this not the plot of ground God has given us to fight for, to defend, and to win?
  It isn't always easy, I know; the way will get rough, and we may find ourselves weary, but we can't expect a battle to be easy street. However, when we do find ourselves at loss or weary, we have refreshing springs to turn to. We were not meant to fight this battle by ourselves. Our Lord Jesus goes before us and as we get alone with Him we will find ourselves ready to face each new day in the strength and grace He alone can give.
  "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."  2 Cor. 4:16        

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Journey of Waiting on God

Dear sisters,
  I was reflecting today on the path God has taken me on over the last year. I then wondered if my journey of learning to wait on God while single would be of any encouragement to other young ladies. So I share it with you. It was a painful journey, yet one I'm thankful for.
  As a single young woman in my mid twenties, I have gone through those times that many of us unmarried women face, wondering if the right man is ever to come. Ever since I was little, it was my dream to marry and have my own family. As I reached my teen years, I came to the conviction that marriage, home and family is God's design and place for women, and therefore, I would not take the common route of college or career mindedness. I would use my single years to prepare for my life calling as wife, mother, and homemaker. I also believed that waiting on God for the "right one" instead of dating this one and that one was definitely the way to go. I was certain I would be married at 18 as my mother was, and the thought that some girls would make commitments to wait til they were 21 to marry, even if  the right one came around before then, was totally unthinkable, in my point of view. During this time, I had three little sisters to help care for, which gave me much training and kept me busy. I also learned to cook, learned several household duties, and listened to all the tapes and read all books on godly womanhood I could lay my hands on. Certainly I would be ready when "he" came around. Well, I turned 18 and knew no one, but did not give up hope in the slightest. He would come, I was sure... but then a year rolled by and nothing.
  At 19, I seriously looked at my life in light of God's Word and saw areas that needed repenting of. Though I had said the sinners prayer when I was 8, I'm not sure that I was aware of all that it meant to be a Christian, that salvation isn't just a one time deal, it's a relationship with the Lord Himself. 19 was the best year of my life. Never had I felt freer after getting up off my knees before the Lord. After that, I dug into His Word, spent hours in prayer, and fed on messages on tape by the hour. I learned true surrender and consecration to Jesus Christ. Never had I experienced such peace and unspeakable joy as I did that year!
  Well, time went on, the years slipped by and I was still waiting. I would meet different young men, but time and again, the Lord made it clear that none of them were for me. I started getting anxious about it. I couldn't understand why the Lord was working it out for others, but not for me. I was happy for the young ladies that found the 'right one', but inside my heart ached and I began questioning God of when my turn would come. This is what I dreamed of, it was what I wanted more than anything, and I was so certain it was God's will for my life. So why wasn't it happening?  
  Last year around this time, I came to a breaking point. I couldn't understand why, after all these years of waiting and keeping myself, of staying at home and preparing myself, rather than getting a job, was I still waiting. All around me, young people were getting married and here I was...still waiting.
  The day was rainy, dark and dreary, just as I was feeling. It was everything to keep the tears from coming all day long. At last I went to my room and buried my face in my pillow and just let the tears flow. Why? Why me? I could only cry out to God.To be perfectly honest, my future never felt so bleak in all the years of waiting, wondering, and hoping. I clung to the verses "I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me." (Micah 7:7-8) and "They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me." (Is. 49:23). I truly felt in the dark. My future dream looked hopeless. But as I sat there, clinging to those verses, I began to let go. The dream, the deepest desire of my heart I had clenched onto all those years, I began to let go. And as I did, a peace swept over me and I began to see that that dark valley was good for me. It was not only good, it was necessary for me to go through it in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that I could either continue to cling to those dreams and grope my way through the darkness in turmoil, or I could give it all to God and allow Him to lead me through the darkness. I chose the latter.
 A couple days later, I wrote in my journal: "My heart rejoices as I walk through this valley of darkness knowing that I can trust my Father's hand! I am surrendered to His will and the joy I experience is unspeakable! My heart is truly thankful to Him for bringing me to this place of hopelessness and coming to the end of myself."
  A week later, I wrote: "An entire week has passed since I took hold of God's hand that He might lead me through this night season and I have no regrets; my heart is still rejoicing that He, in His lovingkindness, has ordered my steps so wisely and wondrously! Letting go of the things that I grasped onto the most was the best thing I ever did and trusting them to my heavenly Father has brought about the most joy in my life!".
  Dear sister, if you are are struggling with giving something up in your life, that deepest dream or highest ambition, whatever it is, if you are anything, but at peace while holding onto it, may I encourage you to give it to our all knowing Father. I sit here a year later with no regrets of giving over my deepest longings and desires to Him that doeth all things well. Looking back over the years of my restless waiting, I can truly see God's wisdom of holding that very thing back from me. Has it all been easy? No. I have still had my struggles, but not near to the intensity of what it was a year ago. And when I am feeling extra low, I go back over my journal and recount the victory I had then and it reaffirms it in my heart that there is nothing comparable to leaving it in my wise Father's hands.
 To close, I think I'll share another little excerpt from my journal dated the 1st of January. " One year has gone and another has come. As I look back over 2010, I find it was a year of ups and downs, joys and heartaches, trials and victories. I do rejoice in the victory wherewith I stand with heart surrendered to my Lord's leading. Still no sign of marriage on the horizon, yet I step out into 2011 with hope for my future and peace with God's beautiful timing."
  Of course, I didn't have any idea how much more work the Lord would do in my heart in just a few weeks of writing that. I was soon to find out just how patient He had been and still is with me. That is one thing that just amazes me, God's patience with His willful children, especially me. Perhaps I'll share more of that another time. For now, I'll just say, I'm thankful He didn't answer all the pleas and cries of my heart from all those years, because otherwise I would have entered marriage with a lot of baggage. I can testify whole heartedly that God does do all things beautiful in His time, even if I don't see marriage on the horizon!
  Well, I hope this was an encouragement to you. I would love to hear your thoughts, testimonies, etc. on learning to wait on God. May God bless each of you as you wait on Him that doeth all things well.

Still waiting on Him,
Jenna
 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Three Questions

Here is a something that I really appreciate from Leslie Ludy. Hope it will be a blessing to you in walk with the Lord.

Happenings

Well, my dear friends, I thought I would update you on some of what I have been up to since it has been awhile since I last posted. Sadly, our camera broke so I don't have any pictures to display for now.
 It's the season to extract honey before it gets too cold, (had I mentioned before that my brother is a beekeeper) so I have been helping quite a bit with that. It's a very sticky process, but oh! so sweet! ;) Ronnie has about forty hives that he tends to while keeping up with a full time job, so as you can imagine, he tries getting the extracting in whenever he can. I generally try to be available to help him as much as I can. So far, we have extracted about 500 lbs.
 Besides trying to get all the extracting done, he also has had a roof to replace on his house so I've been learning to pound shingles. It has been an interesting experience over all. The most challenging was trying to climb a ladder in a dress, but I did manage to make it up and down several times quite safely! It is a ranch style house and we have the first half pretty well done and the other half all felted off. I don't think it should take us very long to finish up with the shingling now.
 We've had a fair amount of rainy days, sunny days and cloudy days here. I like to get out on the nice days and enjoy the weather while I can. The other week, a friend and I went to the park, along with her children, and took a lovely walk. The trees were so beautiful. All around us the beauty of God's creation was displayed.
 Last night, we went to the 40 Days for Life candlelight prayer vigil in front of  a local Planned Parenthood Center. We had very special time praying for the unborn and for those considering abortion, and all involved in abortions. We heard touching testimonies of those who have had abortions and now regret it. Praise God, these women have found forgiveness through the blood of Jesus and are able to go on with their lives in the freedom that He has given them. 
 So that it some of what I have been up to this past month. Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful autumn season and are finding joy and strength in place the Lord has you.
Blessings,
Jenna   

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Influence of a Sister

The following are portions of a chapter by J. R. Miller titled "Brothers and Sisters."

To every young man, life is specially hard. As he goes into it he needs the sympathy of all who love him; he needs the prayers and the help of all his friends. For lack of the strong support of love, many a young man goes down in the battle and many who come through victorious, owe their victories to the holy affection of truly loyal hearts that inspired them with hope and courage in all their hours of struggle. The value of strong friendships never can be known in this world.
Next to mother and father, there is no one who can do so much to help a young man to live nobly, as his own sister. She cannot always go with him. Her weak arm could not always shield him if she were beside him. But there is a help which she can give him that will prove mightier than her presence. It is not the help of good advice and earnest words—these should have power, too—but the help rather of silent and holy influence, gained in the home by a life of unselfishness and beauty, and then held as a potent charm outside and beyond the home walls. There is a power over her brother possible to every true sister, which would be like the very hand of God to guide him and restrain him in all the paths of life. All sisters, however, do not have this power over their brothers, and alas! Sometimes the power is for evil rather than for good.
May I try to tell you, dear girls, how you can indeed be your brothers' guardian angels? Show them in your own lives at home—the perfect grace and beauty of a true, noble and lofty womanhood. Strive after all that is delicate, all that is pure, all that is tender, all that is holy and sacred in the divine ideal of womanhood. Show them in yourselves such perfect loveliness that they will turn away ever after from everything that is unlovely. Make virtue so attractive to them, as they see it embodied in you, that they will always be repelled by vice. Let them see in you such purity of soul, such sweetness of spirit, such divine sanctity, that wherever they go your influence will hang about them like an armor of defense, or, like an angle, hover above their heads in perpetual blessing. Be as nearly a perfect woman, each one of you, through Christ's help, as it is possible for you to be. Then when temptations come to your brother, there will rise up before his eyes such visions of purity and love. that he will turn away from the tempter with loathing.
But oh! If you are not such angels of true womanhood to your brothers, if you do not fill their souls with visions of purity and sweetness, what help do you hope to be to them when they stand in the face of sore temptations? If you are deceitful, if you are selfish, if you are false, if you violate the holy proprieties of modesty and true refinement; if you are frivolous and trifling; if you follow pleasure, turning away from everything serious; if you are careless or heartless—do not deceive yourselves with the vain hope that you can be in any high sense your brothers' guardians in the day of danger. You may advise, you may persuade, you may implore with tears and every token of tender love, when they begin to yield—but your entreaties will avail nothing because your own life has failed to stand the test, and to exhibit before them a lofty ideal of womanhood. But if you will only be true, noble, unselfish, gentle, womanly, in the highest, purest sense; if you only are thoughtful and considerate and live for a purpose, making your character decided and strong, you will throw over your brothers a silent, imperceptible yet mighty influence, which will be a shield to them in danger, a panoply in temptation, and which will fill their hearts with the purest, loftiest aspirations and aims.
A writer has truthfully said in speaking of a sister's influence upon her brother: "Woman is to him an object of respect or contempt, according to what he sees of his sister's mind and heart. She cannot therefore be too careful in teaching him to respect as well as love her. She cannot confer on him a greater kindness than by giving him an exalted idea of womanhood. She cannot inflict a greater injury than by leading him to think that all women are trifling and heartless, indolent except in the pursuit of pleasure, and greed of admiration." ....

...It must be said also that young ladies should accept, and even seek, the counsel of their brothers with regard to their companions. Let the brothers be true to their sisters, setting before them a lofty example; let them be ready to shield them from danger and to be their wise, faithful counselors; then let sisters look to their brothers for protections and for advice, and be quick to heed the warnings they give and to shun the dangers they point out. Are young women always wise in this regard? Do they desire or receive the counsel of their brothers with regard to companions? Are they always careful enough even when they know young men to be immoral?

...Indeed, there is not phase of his life into which a young man will not be the better, and his life the cleaner and richer—for the influence and the help of his sister. Washington Irving wrote these moving words concerning the loss he had sustained in his life from having no sisters: "Often have I lamented that Providence denied me the companionship of sisters. Often have I thought that had I been thus favored I should have been a better man." There is many a man who would have been better if he had been blessed with sisters. Every brother who has a sister should cherish her and let his heart go out to her in loyal, manly love. He should prize her love for him as one of the sweetest flowers in the earth's garden, one of the most sacred and precious things in life, and he should love her with an affection deep, tender and strong.
Since so much has been said in this chapter of the sister's influence and of the wondrous and subtle charm of her power over her brothers; it ought also to be said that not every sister possesses this power. There are many who throw it away. No sister can keep this powerful influence, and be frivolous and trifling. No one can keep it and be a silly butterfly of fashion. To retain it, she must be a true, thoughtful, noble woman. She must have a character that shines like crystal in its purity, its sincerity, its simplicity. The power she has and retains, must be the power of true womanliness, whose strength is gentleness and whose inspiration is purity of soul.
There is no better place than this, to say a few earnest words to young girls on the cultivation of their own hearts. Among all the elements of beauty in the character of a young woman—none is more essential than purity of mind and heart, and none gives such grace to the whole life and spirit. Here are a few sentences taken from a private letter: "True refinement is not mere outside polish. It goes deeper and penetrates to the very foundation of character. It is purity, gentleness and grace in the heart, which, like the perfume of flowers, breathe out and bathes all the life in sweetness. It is not merely mental culture; there is true refinement often where education has been limited, where in the speech you may detect faults and errors. On the other hand, there is sometimes high intellectual furnishing, without any true refinement. That which really refines—is purity of mind and heart."
These words are very true. It is not possible even to think of true womanhood, without purity. It was as easy to think of a rose without beauty—or of a lily without whiteness. Amid the wreck of this world, wrought by sin, there are still some fragments of the beauty of Eden, and among these, none is lovelier than the unsullied delicacy of a true woman's heart. It is possible, too, to preserve this holy purity even amid all this world's sin and foulness. I have seen a lily floating in the black waters of a bog. All about it lay stagnation and vileness, but in the midst of all this, the lily remained pure as the robes of an angel. It lay on the dark pond, rocked on the bosom of every ripple, yet never receiving a stain. It held up its unsullied face toward God's blue heaven, and poured its fragrance all about it. So it is possible, even in this world of moral evil, for a young woman to grow up, keeping her soul unstained in the midst of it all—and ever breathing out the perfume of holy, unselfish love.
"Keep me pure; make others great." This is a fit prayer for every young girl. She should prize nothing in this world so highly as her purity of heart, of thought, of soul. She should be willing to lose anything else—pleasure, wealth, reward, rather than lose this richest jewel. She should guard her imagination, her heart, and her affections, that no breath which would sully, may ever blow over her life.
There is need here for earnest warning. There are dangers to which every young girl is exposed. There are indications in society of the lowering of the tone of girlhood. There are things in some circles that are painful to every sensitive heart. There are magazines and books offered everywhere, and read by too many, which leave a trail of stain on the fair flowers of maidenly refinement. When on a winter's morning you breathe upon the exquisite tracery of frostwork on a window pane, it melts down, and no human hand can ever restore it. Still less is it possible to restore the charm of purity to the soul that has lost it. If a young girl would grow into the most spotless womanhood, radiant in every feature with the loveliness of Christ's own image—she must from her earliest youth, through all the experiences of her life, maintain unsullied purity of heart.
So far the duty only of brothers to sisters and sisters to brothers has been considered. It ought to make a young man's heart exult to have a beautiful and noble sister to lean upon his arm and look up to him for protection, for counsel, for strong, holy friendship. And a sister ought to be proud and happy to have a brother growing into a manly strength, to stand by her side, to bear her upon his arm, and to shelter her from life's storms. Between brother and sister there should be a friendship, which is deep, strong, close, confiding and faithful.

....In like manner, the sisters in a home should maintain their friendship for each other, through all the changes and all the varied experiences of life. This they do, more frequently than their brothers. There are many very beautiful sisterly attachments. Their life within the home holds them together more closely, than brothers are held in their outside life. They have better opportunities for the cultivation of friendship among themselves, in the many hours they sit together at their household work. The interests of their lives, are less likely to separate them or start differences between them. Nothing is lovelier than the picture of sisters locked in each other's arms, their lives blending in holy love, the one helping the other, giving comfort in sorrow, strength in weakness and help in trial.
Are the brothers and sisters who read these pages realizing in their own lives, the ideals which have here been even so imperfectly sketched? Are they living together in tender love in their own home? If they are, Heaven's blessing will fall upon their hearts and lives, like a baptism of holy peace. If they are not, where is the fault? What can be done to correct it? Too many blessed possibilities of joy, of love and of helpfulness lie in these sacred relationships, to be neglected, or ruthlessly tossed into the dust. Life is too short to be spent in strife and discord anywhere, especially in the holy circle of the home. Strifes and alienations here, are the seeds for a harvest of sorrow. Sad, sad will it be to stand by the coffin of a brother or a sister, and while we look at the cold, silent clay, remember that we were ever unkind to one who stood so near, that we ever failed in acts of love, or that we ever allowed anything to estrange us or make our fellowship cold and formal.
Have you brothers or sisters living anywhere in this great world? Have you allowed the friendship to grow cold—or the ties to be forgotten? Have you permitted all fellowship to be broken off? Lose not a day until you have done the first thing, taken the first step, to gather up the shattered links—and reunite them in a holy chain. If they are far away, write to them in words of love. If they are within reach, go to them in person. If you are still living side by side in the old home, and if your life together has not been close, intimate, confiding and helpful—seek at once by all the wise arts of a loving heart to make it what it ought to be.
Then, not matter how plain, simple or old fashioned your home may be—the sacred friendships beneath its roof will transfigure it all. Poverty is a light cross—if there is love at home. Toil, hardships, care sacrifice and even sorrow lose their ruggedness, bleakness and severity—when tender affection entwines over them—as cold, bare, rugged rocks are changed into beauty, when green and gentle smiling flowers, grow from every crevice, and fill every black nook and fissure.
"Dear moss," said the thatched roof on an old ruin, "I am so worn, so patched, so ragged; really I am quite unsightly. I wish you would come and cheer me up a little; you will hide all my infirmities and defects, and, through your loving sympathy, no danger of contempt or dislike will be pointed at me." "I will do this," said the moss; and it crept up and around and in and out, until every flaw was hidden and all was smooth and fair. Presently the sun shone out and the old thatched roof looked bright and fair, a picture of rare beauty in the golden rays. "How beautiful that roof looks!" cried one who saw it. "How beautiful that roof looks!" said another. "Ah!" said the old roof, "rather let them say, 'How beautiful is the loving moss which spends itself in covering up all my faults, keeping the knowledge of them all to herself, and by her own grace making my age and poverty wear the garb of youth and luxuriance!"
Is your home plain and bare? Must you meet hardships and endure toil? Have you cares and privations? Do you sigh for something finer, more beautiful, less hard? Call up love to wreathe itself over all your home-life. Cultivate home friendships! Bind up the broken home ties. Plant the flowers of affection in every corner. Then soon all will be transfigured! You will forget care, hardships and toil, for they will all be hidden under lovely garments of affection. Your eye will see no more the troubles, the hardness, the anxieties, the toils—but will be charmed with the luxuriance of love that shall cover every blemish!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Letter To Girls I Know (on Modesty) (author’s name removed at his request)

 (I found this on the web and thought it was too good not to share.)

Dear Girls,
There are two kinds of men: Godly men, and worldly men. What kind of man do you want? I’m betting most of you said “a Godly man.” Someday, you want to marry a man who loves God with every fiber of his being because he will be an excellent husband and father. He will honor and be true only to you. Most women want a Godly man or at least think they do. Well, I think I have found a way to tell you exactly what kind of guy you will get. I don’t even have to know you! All I have to do is look at you. The kind of guy you want or will get is advertised by the clothing you wear. I know what men want. Trust me, I am a guy. I know more guys than you do and I know them better. I know what we think, what we talk about, what we want, and what we look for, and it is different for each one of us depending on our relationship with God. I’m sure you already know this, but men were created differently than you. We have different desires and priorities. Our eyes and minds react very differently to some things than yours do. It isn’t disgusting, perverted, or wrong; it is wonderful and good! It is how God made us. It’s how we handle these differences that separate a Godly man from a worldly man.
A worldly man doesn’t control himself, rather, he looks at anything that attracts his attention or gets him excited. A worldly guy has no problem when girls wear clothes that show off skin, like boxers, high or low-cut shirts, low-rise jeans, and “cute” little swim-suits. He’s a fan of tight-fitting shirts and pants that show off your form, he thinks they’re fine! Worldly guy watches a lot of TV and R-rated movies, isn’t really offended by sexual content or nudity and secretly dabbles in pornography. He’s a “Christian” and makes up a significant portion of your church and youth group. He’s a really nice guy and sees you mainly for your body. If you were to marry worldly guy, he’d bring lots of baggage into the relationship, have intimacy problems, entertain thoughts of other women, and possibly cheat on you.
A Godly man is in control of his drives and desires. He constantly seeks God and reads his Bible. He “walks in the Spirit” and isn’t set off by everything he sees. When immodestly-dressed girls, magazine covers, or risqué advertisements come into view, Godly guy quickly “bounces his eyes” away from the image. He’s constantly guarding his thoughts and what he allows into his mind. He hates being around girls that disrespect him and his struggles by wearing inappropriate attire. Godly guy doesn’t watch much TV and is selective about the movies he sees. He views you as a person, knows you and respects you. He has your best interests in mind and guards against inappropriate thoughts of you. If you were to marry Godly guy, he would give you the emotional attention you need, he would ignore other women and remain faithful to you no matter what.
Unfortunately, there are more worldly men than Godly men. And to make matters worse, to the untrained eye, a worldly man can look a lot like a Godly man. So what can you do to only attract a Godly man? An important way of delineating between them lies in how you dress. As mentioned before, the clothes you wear advertise what kind of guy you are looking for. If you dress immodestly, you will attract worldly guys and scare away the Godly ones. It all comes down to the kind of man you want to spend your time around and eventually marry. You cannot afford to be complacent in this area of your life! You will pay the price someday.
This issue isn’t limited strictly to you and your future relationship. The way you dress directly affects other men and women and their relationships. You don’t see the struggles, the pain, the tears and the sin that you cause, but I can promise that you would be shocked if you did! Ask any Christian young man; we’ve all seen it. It’s kept hidden but it is definitely there. By dressing immodestly, you effectually spit on the struggles of our weaker ranks, appearing to care more about toying with us than helping us. You’ll never know how many broken relationships and lifestyles of sin you’ve contributed to simply by the way you dress. You want to marry a Godly man someday, well so do many other women. Don’t just help yourself and your future, help all women and their relationships by showing discretion in your dress.
Of course, I understand the desire to look stylish, attractive, and “cute.” It’s important to fit in and get attention. Trust me, it can be done modestly! I also understand that it is easier for some girls to find stylish and well-fitting clothes than it is for others. This is an area where guys really don’t understand what you are up against. But just remember, for every sacrifice you make to honor God with your image, Godly men are making sacrifices in their lives that are just as hard, if not harder! They will and do respect you so much for choosing to be modest! A real lady is conscientious of the image she presents, and real men want a real lady. And you can forget about any guys missing out on how attractive you are because you don’t wear revealing clothing. You could wear a circus tent and we would still know; it’s a gift we have.
And so the question still remains: What kind of man do you want? Answer me with your clothes.

http://annawood.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/a-letter-to-girls-i-know-on-modesty/

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn!!!

  I love this time of year. There is nothing like breathing in the fresh, crisp air, watching the leaves change color, hear the geese flying overhead, or reaching down to pick up a woolly bear caterpillar!
 Autumn brings back many happy, childhood memories of  raking leaves and jumping in the huge piles we created, or hauling firewood up to the house in our little wagon, of Dad showing us how to stack neat, sturdy rows of wood, and of going on hay rides. I remember going with friends to pick apples one time. The apple orchard was apart of a cow pasture and every so often we would have to chase the cows away from us! After collecting all the apples we wanted, we took them to the mill where they were pressed into cider.
  Every year at this time, our family would head to the pumpkin farm. Sometimes we would get a pumpkin or two, but that was not the highlight of going. What we most enjoyed was going around the farmyard and seeing all the animals from the miniature goats, ponies, and pigs to the chickens, peacocks, and rabbits (the goats were my favorite).
  Then there is the memory of growing gigantic pumpkins for 4H. Ronnie and Wendy were the ones into that (I was too young at the time to enter), but I still had fun helping where I could and going to the auction at the end of the season. I still remember feeling bad that I couldn't participate in it, so the one year Ronnie  helped me grow a pumpkin. Though the pumpkin was registered under his name, it was considered mine and at the end of the year I received the profit after selling it. I'm sure I wasn't that big of a help, and maybe I was in the way more than anything else, though he never let on that I was. Looking back, I see the sacrifice he made to make his little sister happy and give her a fun memory.
 You know, that is part of what life is about, making memories. So this fall, why not take some time with a little brother or sister and make memories together! It could be jumping in the leaves, going for a walk in the woods, going apple picking, or even baking a pumpkin pie together!
 By the way, what are your favorite things about autumn? Do you have any fond memories of this time of year? I'd love to hear, so please share!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Power of Prayer

The other night, I was listening to a message by Keith Daniel that was so good. It was titled "A Warning to America" and can be found on You Tube. I personally believe that every Christian needs to hear that message. I needed to hear it! He says some pretty strong things, but if we're truly honest and desperate enough for God and for His revival in this land then our hearts, I believe, will be open to what this man has to say.
  You know, I think it is so neat how God brings things our way at just the right time! After hearing that message, I came across some notes I had taken when reading some of Leonard Ravenhill's writings. So much of what Leonard Ravenhill wrote parallels so beautifully with the message Keith Daniel had brought forth. I thought I would take the time and share some of his writings with you. Below are some excerpts from his book "Why Revival Tarries".

 "The two prerequisites to successful Christian living are vision and passion, both of which are born in and maintained by prayer. The ministry of preaching is open to few; the ministry of prayer - the highest ministry of all human offices - is open to all. Spiritual adolescents say, 'I'll not go tonight, it's only the prayer meeting.' It may be that Satan has little cause to fear most preaching. Yet past experiences sting him to rally all his infernal army to fight against God's people praying. Modern Christians know little of  'binding and loosing', though the onus is on us - 'Whatsoever ye shall bind...' Have you done any of this lately? God is not prodigal with His power; but to be much for God, we must be much with God."

"The secret of praying is praying in secret."

"Prayer is profoundly simple and simply profound."

"Prayer is to the believer what capital is to the business man."

"Someone now warns us lest we become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. Brother, this generation of believers is not, by and large, suffering from such a complex. The brutal, soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use." 

  Dear sisters, the time to get on our knees and cry out to God for our nation and for our loved ones is now. Let's not wait until it is too late.

 For anyone interested in Keith Daniel's message, the link to it is  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_25FtH1Lfrg&list=FLnqxlCQc0OODpaxs4GDf1rA&index=21

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Day of Refreshment



  Several months ago, the Lord impressed it upon my heart to have a ladies luncheon with words of encouragement and inspiration for young ladies in their calling as daughters. I had been reading the book 'So Much More' when I was inspired with this idea. I was struck with the realization of how vital our roles as daughters and mothers in the home are. Never before did I realize to what an extent a high calling that is. It is far more than "Oh! It would be so sweet to have a baby" or "It would be so fun to have my own home and decorate it just so!" I have come to see more than ever that all of civilization is brought forth out of our homes and that our society is only as strong and Christian as our homes are strong and Christian. Satan is on a war path out to destroy the home and family. We live in a society that has believed the lie that women's greatest success lies outside the home in the workforce, teaching Sunday School, or volunteering at some mission. There could be nothing farther from the truth. As women, whether we are a daughter, a wife, or a mother, we have the opportunity to be a sanctifying influence in our homes through our faithful prayers, our unwavering confidence in our menfolk, and our gentle, guiding hand in the lives of the young ones. We have the ability to make our homes the most blessed places on earth. Not only that, but all that comes forth from our homes, good or bad, will effect future generations. For example, do we ever give the impression to our children or siblings that they are an annoyance, that we can't wait to get away from them, or that other things are more important than spending time with them? Do we convey to them that they are of value, that we do love them and the things that are important to them are important to us? Believe me, this is a challenge for myself when I feel that I must get something done or when one of my own siblings seems extra cranky. How about the ways we treat our fathers, brothers, or for some of you, husbands? Do we admire them, show them respect, give them our hearts, support them, and submit to their leadership? Do we allow them to lead out? These our areas in which we can help create a stable enviroment, and that brings unity into our homes. Remember, what is in our homes will flow out into society.  
 Anyway, I was deeply impressed to share these truths with others thru a ladies luncheon. I shared these thoughts with my dear friend, Marcia, knowing that she, too, would have such a heart to encourage girls and young ladies in this high calling. (She was the one who gave me the book to read to begin with). As I had suspected, she too, had thought of doing something like this in the past. We began praying and planning as the Lord led and by August we had a daughterhood retreat scheduled for the end of the month.
 Marcia found a lovely secluded spot at a nearby state park with a pavilion and beautiful walking trails. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for it either! It ended up being just a small group of us, I think 18 altogether, which probably was just as well for it being our first time doing something like this. We decorated the tables vintage style and played soft music in the background. Marcia began with a talk on "It All Begins With God". She reflected on Psalm 16 and Rev. 4:11, pointing out that when we are walking in the path that God intended for us we receive fullness of joy, and most importantly, God receives the glory. After that, I did a talk on "Lessons from History". I focused on America's past, considered her at present, and then gave hope and vision for the future of our nation and for the generations to come. Later, we listened to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin's CD "Strength and Dignity for Daughters" and after that we had a prayer and share time. In between sessions we would take walks along the trails and even waded in the running water nearby.
 I think it turned out to be a refreshing day for all of us. I praise God for making it happen. My prayer is that the message we brought forth to these girls will go into their hearts and that they will get a vision to bless their fathers and families, and that through their families they can have an impact on the world around them for the glory of God.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Story Behind "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus"

My brother came across this and shared it with me. It gives a whole new meaning to the song. May it bless you as it has blessed me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hope Chest Inspirations



The hope chest ~ where the anticipations of every girls' dream of having a home of her own are kept alive. If you are a young maiden and have not started a hope chest of yet, may this be an inspiration to you. It is so much fun to begin planning the color schemes and themes of how you want each room to be from the kitchen to the bedroom. I will say this though, if you start collecting at 13 or 14 years of age, your tastes are likely to change and you may find yourself getting rid of a bunch of stuff as I did. At the same time, I don't regret those years of buying things only to replace them; it gave me so much pleasure at the time and I'm sure it helped to keep me focused on becoming a keeper at home. If you have already begun a hope chest, perhaps this list will give you more ideas of what else you can collect.
  ...Of course, this list is by no means exhausted.

Kitchen                     Linens                       Bathroom       
towels                       bedspreads               bath towels
washcloths                sheets                        hand towels
pot holders                pillow cases              washcloths
oven mitt                   curtains                     shower curtain
hot pads                    dresser scarves         toothbrush holder
spoon jar                   doilies                       soap dish/dispenser
canisters                    tablecloths
utensils
measuring cups          Sewing Room             Miscellaneous
measuring spoons      thread                         clocks
knives                       thread rack                  wall hangings
cutting board             pin cushion w/pins        oil lamps
rolling pin                  needles                        candles
cheese grater            measuring tape             knick knacks
casserole dishes        seam ripper                  florals
pie plates                  scissors                        heirlooms
pots & pans              patterns                       pictures
cookie sheets            sewing machine            vases
muffin pans                                                   mirror                                     
bread pans                                                   baskets
oven rack push pull                                      lamps
cookie cutters                                              favorite child-
paper towel dispenser                                       hood toys
napkin holder                                               clothes pin bag
salt & pepper shakers                                  plastic bag holder        
bread box                                                 
recipe box
recipe books
aprons
dinnerware set
glass pitcher


              And whatever else you can think of !






Most everything I have in my hope chest was either given me or I bought used. Second hand stores and yard sales are great places to find most anything from dinnerware sets, casserole dishes, and muffin pans to linens, florals, and wall hangings at really good prices. Also be sure to check out clearance sections and discounted stores like Marshall's. Take time to decide what colors and themes you would like for each room and shop accordingly.  Most of all, enjoy yourself and keep your dreams of having a family and home of your own  alive!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peter Marshall on Godly Womanhood

"Godly womanhood ... the very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other type of women: beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women. But so seldom do we hear of a godly woman - or of a godly man either, for that matter.We believe women come nearer to fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife, than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realms of morals to be old-fashioned, than to be ultra-modern. The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct."
Peter Marshall

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Watermelon Days

We had a watermelon the other day and Esther, always ready to do some creative thing with food, made this watermelon basket.



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monarch Butterfly

The butterfly in its chrysalis. 
Shortly after it came out. Unfortunately, we missed the exciting event.



I wish I had thought to take a picture of it in its caterpillar stage. It is a beautiful representation of Christ taking us sinful, selfish, ugly creatures and making us beautiful in Him. I had to think of how the caterpillar had to "die to self" in order to become the beauty it did. Isn't that the way it is with us? Once we die to self, Christ can give us a beautiful spirit that can't be compared to outward beauty! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

We started using homemade laundry detergent recently and found significant savings in doing so, and our clothes are just as clean as ever. The consistency is way different than store bought, but believe me, it works great!

1 quart water (boiling)
2 cups bar soap, grated (I use Fels-Napha)
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda

Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until melted.
Pour the soap into a large, clean pail and add the borax and washing soda. Stir well until all dissolved.
Add two gallons of water, stir until well mixed. Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it as it will gel.
You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil (per two gal.) to your laundry detergent.
grated Fels-Napha

melting down the soap on the stove top

adding Borax and washing soap to mixture in pail

finished product

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Can This Be Said About Me?

~ Even when others wrong her, she turns it over to God and doesn't seek revenge. Self is the last thing on her mind. God's love gives her patience.
~She believes that jealousy is disastrous, and that all are made wonderfully by God - including herself.
~She desires the best for others, and never brags or takes credit for abilities or gifts. Her greatness is revealed in what she doesn't say. (she is humble)
~She is not arrogant or intellectually puffed up. She believes that our opinions should be from the Word of God. (genuine humility)
~She is never boorish, inattentive, rude, inconsiderate. She says things the right way at the right time - always. (temperance)
~She doesn't grasp for her own rights.
~She doesn't become irritated or touchy. She never loses her temper.
~She is never vindictive or retaliatory. She never keeps a record of wrongs.
~She doesn't delight in exposing others weaknesses.
~She's not gullible, but charitable.
~She's always active, never passive.
~She never views failure as final, because God is pruning us for the future.
~She knows that she can't be conquered by evil because she lives in Christ.
~She has a calming presence in all circumstances; not leaving a trail of tension.
~She is gentle and kind.
~She counts on God in every situation.
~She is committed to doing what is good.
~She approaches discipline and conflicts with gentleness and God's Word.
~She is not thrown by the remarks of others, but seeks only God's praise.
~Her face reflects Love, Joy, and Hope; and her whole being shines with the truth that our future is with Jesus.
~Her character and high standards are above reproach - she has God's standards.
~Others can see Jesus in her eyes.
                                                        Author Unknown


Can you imagine the blessed influence and sanctification every daughter would have in her home if she could live her life just like that? It has definitely been a real challenge in my own life, and by no means have I obtained to it, but is something I continue to strive for. Perhaps this list here would seem impossible to live up to, but I believe that the more we are living in Christ Jesus, the more we will become like Him; it is a sanctification process. Will we make mistakes along the way? Of course we will, we are human, but let's be like Paul who has said:
    Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after... I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil.3:12&13)
    God's blessings to you as you strive to become more like Him.

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. 
                                                                                          Louisa May Alcott