Tuesday, 28 July 2009

True Woman Tuesday - Week 7

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to Week 7 of the True Woman Makeover hosted by my cousin Tammi at Valleygirl. Check out her blog for her thoughts, as well as those of others doing this study with us.

Lessons 19 and 20wrap up the Attractive Christian Women series.

One point that caught my eye was how to explain to our children how different Christians have different levels of maturity and how that is reflected in their behaviour. I loved this quote...
So you're responsible to live up to the truth that you know, and then you're also responsible to pray that God will teach their hearts those same truths that you know. If God brings you into relationship with them, then you may have the privilege of being one of the people that helps share truth with them.
Along with the benefit of growing up in a Christian home and being taught the Word, comes the responsibility to live out the truth we've been taught, to pray for those around us, to be an example to them and to teach them in love and in truth.

Keeping an open dialogue about everything with our children when they are young, will leave the door open for those important discussions in their formative teen years.

And, once again, continuing to live out the truth we've been taught is just so important in modeling integrity.

Lesson 21 is titled "Applying Sound Doctrine" and is based on Titus 2:1 As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. (NLT)

In order to be a beacon of light in a dark world, we need to have a solid doctrine (wholesome teaching), our lives need to be grounded in biblical truth. And then we need to live our lives to match this doctrine.

Doctrine is always connected, in the Scripture, to duty. It’s connected to life. It’s not just some vague abstract stuff up there. It’s real-life applications connected to doctrine.

  • Sound doctrine requires us to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
  • Sound doctrine motivates us to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
  • Sound doctrine enables us to do that which we want to do, and that is to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
We need to have that solid foundation of truth (doctrine) and then we need to apply it to real life. We need both - it's not either/or.

We need to make a conscious decision to transfer this head knowledge and make it heart knowledge, because the heart is the wellspring of life (Prov 4:23)

We need to know what we believe, and live what we believe.
There’s no more powerful tool of evangelism. There’s no more powerful tool of social and structural change in our world than for Christians to believe and live out the doctrine and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You may be wondering - does it really make a difference if I live out a godly life?
You know what? Your life, your family, may be one tiny island of godliness in a sea of wickedness. But that’s how the kingdom of God spreads.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a life that is based on sound doctrines and lives out the implications of the gospel, because the day is coming when the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea [see Habakkuk 2:14].

Every life makes a difference. My life makes a difference. Your life makes a difference.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Mom 2 Mom Giveaway Winner

Thank you to those who participate in my Mom 2 Mom Carnival. I've really been encouraged and inspired with new ideas from reading your posts. And isn't encouraging each other exactly what we're supposed to be doing as sisters in the Lord? Thank you ladies! I have learned from each of you.

I used the random number generator to pick the winner of this Carnival Giveaway, using the order of participants in the comments, and it picked participant/commentor #3 which is Nic from Australia!!

So, Nic - take a look at the 3 cd's I purchased (if you click on each album you can listen to a short clip of each song) and pick your favourite, email me your selection and address and I will mail it to you in short order! Congratulations!!!

And thanks again to all who participated. Anybody else who was thinking of posting on the same topic, feel free to still do so anytime and link it back to my carnival (and post a comment so I get notified). I'd still LOVE to hear your thoughts - there's no such thing as too much encouragement!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Mom 2 Mom - Encouraging our children's relationship with Jesus

Welcome to the Mom 2 Mom Carnival - Encouraging our children's relationship with Jesus.

Don't forget that all participants are eligible to win a giveaway (more on that at the end of this post!), so get started on writing your own post ASAP!

First of all, I'd like to admit that I completely stole this idea from Missy at It's Almost Naptime. Over a month ago she did a post about this exact same topic and I personally think it's one of the best posts I've read on the topic and it really got me excited about sharing more ideas with each other and encouraging each other.

So - these are some of my thoughts on how we can encourage our children to have a better, deeper and personal relationship with Jesus.

Disclaimer - these are some of the ideas we've used in the past, use presently and might use in the future, but we obviously don't do them every day or perfectly - not at all. Just keeping it real.

1) First of all, we can't teach something we don't have. We obviously need to have a relationship with Jesus ourselves, but even that in itself is not enough. We have to make this relationship a priority in our lives. It needs to be authentic. Our children are not stupid. They see us at our worst and at our best. They know what is really important to us. At least, they know what we're showing them. So, if we're not showing them, we need to start. They need to see us spending time in the Word (or at the very minimum they have to know that we have this Quiet Time).

2) We also need to show them that not only is this relationship a priority, living out our faith and living to give glory to God is the most wonderful way to live. They need to see our joy! This is something we talked about in our last True Woman Tuesday lessons. If we don't find it joyful to be a follower of Christ, why would they want to?

3) This is just an extension of #1, but in order to direct our children to Jesus, in order to describe Him accurately to them, in order to live in a way that reflects Him - we need to know what we're talking about. And the only way to know that is to be in the Word and to connect with God in prayer.

I have absolutely failed at this for probably most of my life. This year I made a commitment to myself (and to God) to read through the entire Bible for, embarrassingly, the first time in my life. Since then I have been using the One Year Bible reading plan and discovered the somewhat sad fact that it really only takes me 10 - 15 minutes to read each day's reading. That's right. I have never consistently taken 10 - 15 minutes of my time to read through the Bible before. I admit that I have skipped days, but I always catch up! I am now over half way done. And this is a great start. But next year I want to go deeper. I will probably get the Life Journal which also has it's own One Year Bible reading plan but also provides space to journal about each day's reading - digging deeper into the Word, studying it instead of just reading it.

Don't let this discourage or overwhelm you. I know how hard it is to set aside time consistently when there just doesn't seem to be any extra time between diaper changes and sibling disputes, laundry and dishes, cooking and cleaning. But know that ANY time that you spend in the Word or in prayer is time well-invested.

4) We gotta walk the talk for our children to see. Fairly obvious point, but such an important one. We need to admit to them when we fail - their respect for us will not diminish by acknowledging our weaknesses. To the contrary, it will increase it!

5) Nathan reads the Bible with the girls and prays with them before bed every day. We have numerous Bibles that we use for this. Our church gives out bibles to every child who is dedicated by their parents, plus we have a few of our own, so we have quite the stash that we rotate through. From our church we have The Early Reader's Bible, The Beginner's Bible and the Young Reader's Bible (we got a 2nd copy of The Beginner's Bible when Jacob was dedicated). I picked up the Little Girl's Bible Storybook at a garage sale one year - it tells the Bible stories from the viewpoint of the women in the story, and has a bit of a devotional and discussion after each story as well. We also have a devotional for little kids that we got from Costco called God and Me. Nathan usually reads one day's devotional from God and Me, followed by one Bible story from one of the numerous Bibles we have available! (We basically take turns going through each one). My absolute favourite kids Bible storybook is the Jesus Storybook Bible and you can find my detailed review of it here. It is absolutely incredible how the author weaves the ultimate story of Jesus into every OT story.

6) I also want to teach our children how to study the Bible for themselves. Emma has started using the Children's Life Journal (see my full review here) and I think this is just an excellent way to help get kids started in Bible study. My parents gave the kids a Bible in the New International Reader Version for Christmas one year, and this is fabulous for this purpose. It's written in easier to understand English which makes it easier for them to understand what the verses are saying. As they get older I plan to order the How to Study Your Bible for Kids by Kay Arthur. Emma would be ready for that right about now, so I may do that soon.

7) Instilling the Word of God in the hearts of our children is invaluable! Obviously they get a lot of this in Sunday School and any kids club programs they're involved in, but really, you can't memorize too much scripture. I've always found it hard to find time for scripture memory, until I came up with this time saving tip. I work on their memory verse while I comb their hair! This is something I have to do every day, so I may as well make the most of it! Mondays through Wednesdays we work on their Kids Club verse (clubs is Wednesday evenings) and then Thursdays through Sundays we work on their SS verses.

Awhile back I purchased My ABC Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt. Each letter of the alphabet has a corresponding Bible verse, and each verse has a story to illustrate the meaning of the verse. It doesn't help a whole lot to memorize verses you don't understand, and this is an excellent way to do it! The girls really like this book, even though I haven't used it as much as I'd like to say I have. My plan is to read it to them during breakfast and then go over the verse with them once their done eating (you know - so the manners we taught them don't go out the window by talking with their mouths full!).

Another very cool idea for memorizing verses is one I just got from Missy. There are some amazing cd's out there called Seeds Family Worship that are simply awesome. And the best part is that the music is actually fun to listen to - even for adults! Don't believe it's possible? Well, then - check out the following tunes on YouTube... Do Not Be Anxious (Phil 4:6-7) and Cast Your Cares (Psalm 55:22) or Young (1 Timothy 4:12). Yep, loving it! I ordered 3 of the cd's (Seeds of Courage, Seeds of Faith and The Power of Encouragement), just got them this past week and so far am loving them!!

8) Shaping our children's worldview to reflect a biblical worldview instead of a cultural worldview is pretty crucial. There are several to go about this.

His Little Princess is a wonderful book for those with princesses of your own in your house. Since our girls love princesses, I thought this would be perfect. It's a series of letters written from God (the King) to His princesses (yes, our daughters!). Each letter has a Bible verse to go with it, and a prayer as well. Here is a sample letter...

My Chosen Daughter...
You are not a pretend princess, my child. You are a real princess, and I am your God, the King of all kings. I chose you before you were even born to be my princess. You are very important in my kingdom. I have chosen you to do something special that only you can do. I have amazing plans for you, both now and for when you grow up. Remember, a crown and a palace do not make you a true princess - it is your love for me and for others that will make you special. If you read my words every day in the Bible, I will teach you all you need to know about living like a daughter of the King.
Love,
Your King and Father in Heaven
"You didn't choose me, I chose you." John 15:16

And here's the prayer to go with it...
Dear God, thank you for choosing me to be your princess. I feel so special knowing I belong to You. Help me to remember to act like I am yours, because I need help. I'm glad you are my King who can make me shine for You! I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Even though we are not Catholic, I bought another book (after reading Missy's post) by Susan Hunt called Big Truths for Little Kids which teaches children the basic truths of faith using catechism questions and stories to illustrate them. Basically, theology that kids can understand! I realized this was lacking when I found out our kids didn't know about the Trinity - they thought there was God and Jesus and had no clue about the Holy Spirit. We don't always think of all the things we need to explain to them, this is a perfect way to make sure we're not missing any big blanks that need filling in!

If (likely when!) they start to question their faith - a process every child needs to go through really to make their faith truly their own (and not just their parents), some more great books that I already have and will go through with them are a series by Lee Strobel - the Case for Christ for Kids, the Case for Faith for Kids, the Case for a Creator for Kids and Off My Case for Kids.

Another huge part of shaping their worldview is monitoring their entertainment choices. I have recently made some changes to our kids tv viewing habits. They are now only allowed to watch one show per day. The more of a cultural worldview you are exposed to, the more it affects (ie changes) the way you view things. I also cut out some of the shows that they watch - not necesarrily because they were bad, but because they deal with topics that are simply too old for them, or encourage a worldview that we don't agree with. Garbage in, garbage out as the saying goes. And really - if they're completely immersed in our culture's worldview (through tv, video games, magazines, etc), can we really expect them to form a worldview that's any different?

9) Teachable moments. Take advantage of them and if they don't come up - create them! Especially when it comes to sex education. And, yes, I have a few good books for you about this too! A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey with Your Kids About Sex by Dr. Kevin Leman is an excellent way to prepare yourself, pretty much from the birth of your kids, the healthy way to discuss sexuality. God's Design for Sex Series is really good too - it has 4 books for you to read with your kids at different ages. This is an area where parents have to really step up. If you don't teach them about sex, they're going to learn it in school - and they're likely going to learn it wrong, and they're for sure going to learn it in the wrong context.

10) Be plugged in. Know what's going on, know who your kids friends are, know what's happening in school, get to know their teachers, volunteer in school, be genuinely interested in their interests. Spend time with your kids! I really think quantity rules over quality. Truly. I mean when do you think quality time happens anyway? It happens when you're spending time with your kids. You can't force it, you can't plan it, you can't schedule it, you can't add it to a list. If you're not around, it's not going to happen. Quality time happens in the middle of quantity time.

11) Invest in your marriage. Nothing gives children more security than knowing their mom and dad love each other and will always be together. Make your marriage a priority, second only to God.

12) Talk about Jesus in everyday conversation, all the time.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Whew! I think that's all I got for now. I can't wait to read what you guys come up with.

Oh yeah - the giveaway! Bet you thought I forgot after all that typing. :)

One amazing things about the Seeds Family Worship cd's is that they actually come with 2 cd's in each package - one to keep for yourself and one to give away to a friend. So, I am going to be giving away one of the cd's! Simply make a post (or comment or email) with your ideas of how to encourage your children's relationship with Christ before Monday morning and you are entered! Everyone is eligible to win - Canadian, American, Australian, whatever.

Oh, and here's the link to Missy's post that started this all! I'm taking the liberty of adding her post to the Mr. Linky below.

And, please - link up directly to your own Mom 2 Mom post so we can all be encouraged. Thanks!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Mom to Mom on Friday!

Friday is when I'm planning to host a Mom to Mom carnival. I'd like to hear how you encourage your children's relationship with Jesus.

Whether it's something you currently do, want to start doing, should be doing, an idea you heard, a book you read - you name it! It doesn't have to be a long sermon. Anything you can share with us would be great.

All participants (those without blogs can simply comment on my post, or email me) will be eligible to win a pretty awesome giveaway. If there are a lot of participants I will increase the number of giveaways - up to a maximum of 3.

I will be posting on Friday, but the opportunity to participate/win will be yours until Monday morning.

So, let's help each other out, give each other some ideas, simply encourage each other - as we strive to raise children to become men and women after God's own heart!

True Woman Tuesday - Week 6

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to Week 6 of the True Woman Makeover hosted by my cousin Tammi at Valleygirl. Check out her blog for her thoughts, as well as those of others doing this study with us.

Lessons 16 (Training our Daughters), 17 (Modeling Modesty) and 18 (More Than a List) all deal with teaching modesty to our children.

first your children need to sense that you believe that walking with God and living life for the glory of God is the most wonderful way to live.
If we don't show our children that living for Christ and His glory is joyful and the best way to live life - why in the world would they want that for themselves?

The issue is not strictly obedience (though of course that's important too - hot stove anyone?!). It's a heart issue.

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (NLT)

What is in our heart is what comes out in our attitudes, actions and words. So, we need to instill in our children's very core the values that we believe in.

How do we do that?
So make sure that you’re communicating to your children what it means to live for the glory of God, and why there’s joy in that. Then ask God to help you set a godly example in every area of your life, to be an example of what it means to love God and to obey God.
First, we have to be consistent with walking our talk in all areas of our lives. If our children see us being inconsistent in one area - why should they listen to us in another? It's being hypocritical and children are smart enough to see this. Let's be honest - our children see us at our worst. This doesn't mean we have to be perfect - kids don't expect that. But they expect authenticity - and I think that will only become more of an expectation the older they get. So, that means that when we do mess up (and we will!) that we need to admit our mistakes to our kids, apologize and ask their forgiveness. I know parents often think that we need to be perfect for our kids and not admit our mistakes - but truly it is the opposite. Children will respect you far more when you own up to the mistakes they already know you make!
Entertainment is an area today where we are so influenced in subtle ways by a culture that is contrary to God’s ways. It’s more subtle because we laugh at entertainment; we’re amused by entertainment. It’s fun, so we don’t think of how dangerous some of what we’re being exposed to might be in its philosophy, in its behavior, in what it’s promoting as a worldview.

There’s inconsistency there for parents who profess to believe the gospel and then let their kids watch sexually explicit movies, movies that promote philosophies that are violent or unbiblical.

One rule in our home will definitely be that we need to see the movie first before our kids can see it. This won't be a problem because we love going to movies!

Now, I may be the odd man out, but I don't necessarily feel it would be hypocritical of me to see a movie I wouldn't want my kids to see. First off, none of the movies we watch are appropriate for young children to see, but they're not kid movies, they're adult movies. Not that entertainment has no effect on me as an adult, but I have already formed my worldview, I already know what I believe and it will not affect me as much as a teen who is going through all those crazy thought processes and is really forming their worldview. Now, I still need to use discernment and think about what I've just seen.

And that is what I want to teach our children. If we do allow them to watch a movie that has some objectionable points but is overall ok, then we will discuss it with them after. We will explore together what was wrong and why, what was realistic and what was not, etc.

However, that is when they are old enough to process things that way. When they are young, I really believe we need to guard their minds. We need to be careful what things we allowing to go into their minds, even subconsciously.

To that end, we have recently cut back on both the amount of TV our children watch (only one show per day) and which shows they are watching. Some of the shows that we cut out aren't even necessarily bad shows. They just reinforce a worldview that I don't want them focusing on right now.

This also goes for magazines - especially if you have sons in the house.
Listen, you would not allow a voluptuous woman who was half-dressed to come in and sit on your coffee table and say, “I’ll just be here for a month, and then I’ll be gone.” But isn’t that what we do with magazines?
We don't need to be on pins and needles about every little thing, but we have control over what comes into our house and there's no point in playing with fire. Again, we don't need to make a big deal over everything (the lure of forbidden fruit and everything), we need to consistently model modesty as a way of life.

And no double standards. If casual wear has to be modest, so does formal wear and so does swimwear. Swimwear - that's a tough one for me. I'm not sure where to draw the line on that one.

Now, setting a good example, modeling modesty - is very important. Without it, anything you say will be ignored. But even with it - we still need to verbally teach it. They're not just going to absorb our values through osmosis.

I love the list she gives....
  • The principle of ownership: Your body is not your own; it belongs to God once you’re a child of God.
  • The principle of Lordship: Jesus is Lord over all.
  • The principle of citizenship: If you’re a child of God, you belong to a different kingdom; you don’t belong to this world.
  • The principle of stewardship: God has entrusted some things to you, like a body. He’s entrusted beauty to you, and you have to use that in ways that are pleasing to the Lord

And generally, everyday teachable moments are the best way to teach values to our children. Discuss the billboard you just passed, the show you just watched, etc. Ask them questions - get them to reason it out themselves as to why it is right or wrong, or what such an action portrays. They will be much more likely to "own" things and opinions they figure out on their own under your guidance and through study of God's Word. What does God have to say about it? Help them look it up. Teach them to be students of the Word.

Wow - so much to think about again this week. Looking foward to next week and reading everyone else's thoughts again.

Blog Hop - Favourite Recipe

I have lots of favourite recipes, but here's a really simple and delicious brownie recipe....

Decadent Brownies
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt

Melt butter in the microwave and stir in cocoa. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, then add sugar, flour, salt and cocoa mixture - stir all together. Scrape batter into greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes.

Icing
1 1/3 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
3 tbsp softened butter or margarine
1 1/2 tbsp hot prepared coffee or water

Beat all ingredients together, adding more water if mixture is too firm to spread easily or more icing sugar if too soft. Spread over warm brownies. Allow to set before cutting.


Friday I will be hosting a Mom to Mom post where we share ideas on how to encourage our children's relationship with Jesus. All participants will be eligible for a giveaway. Please join me Friday!


MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, 20 July 2009

Song Special

Here is a video of Emma & Sophia singing special music in church yesterday. Sorry for the brutal quality, Nathan was just using our regular camera which is awesome for still photos, not so awesome for video - especially zoomed in as much as he had to. But the sound came out pretty good and that's the important part, so....

Enjoy!

video


video

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

True Woman Tuesday - Week 5

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to Week 5 of the True Woman Makeover hosted by my cousin Tammi at Valleygirl. Check out her blog for her thoughts, as well as those of others doing this study with us.

We're continuing in the Attractive Christian Woman Series. Lessons 13, titled A Woman's Great Loveliness, and 14, Self-Control, focus in on two specific words of the 1 Timothy 2 passage we discussed last week - modesty (Lesson 13) and self-control (Lesson 14).

From the ESV - "women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control"
A woman's greatest loveliness comes through a modest heart; and a modest heart expresses itself in modest behavior, modest dress, modest reactions, and modest attitudes.
Modesty is not just about dress (though of course it covers that too - pun intended!).

Modesty involves humility.

It's seeing yourself as you are - having a realistic and humble view of your own talents and abilities.

It's about being discreet, and feeling appropriately embarrassed when other people are not being discreet - when private and intimate things are discussed publicly.

It's the opposite of vanity and showiness, of self-centredness, of bossiness, of arrogance.

It's taking the focus off yourself. You don't need to be the star of the show or the centre of attention.

And if that isn't counter-cultural I don't know what is!!

Self-control is another word practically foreign to society today. We live in a society that not only completely legitimizes the desire to simply take what we want without thought for others, it encourages it! Do what feels right to you. If you want it, do it. You have the right to be happy. It's your body.

This is such a natural temptation of the flesh, and there's no way we can be self-controlled in all areas of our lives without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Self-control covers soooo much. Our sexual passions - as women it is very easy to abuse the power we know we wield over men, visually and suggestively. Exciting the passions of your husband - absolutely!! But that's where the line has to be drawn. Even mild flirtation is playing with fire.

We need to have a spiritual radar. We need to listen to the tug of the Holy Spirit within us.

Are we moderate in other areas as well - eating, exercise, in our speech, in our temper, how we spend our time and money. So many areas. I know I need to work on some of those that's for sure!

Let me tell you, the greatest freedom in life comes when we're under the control of the Holy Spirit. That's when you can really enjoy life. That's when you can enjoy healthy and wholesome relationships in the Body of Christ.

It's the women who have no self-control who are the ones who end up with their lives in a million pieces, sitting in a therapist's office
The world tries to tell us that we'll only gain happiness by focusing on ourselves. We've been sold a bill of goods!

Lesson 15 is called Reflecting God's Glory.
“Let your external appearance reflect why you’ve come to church.”
A woman who is going to church to worship God will have a heart that is reflected in the way she dresses. Instead of dressing to attract attention, we should clothe ourselves with good works.
When you extend yourself, your heart, and your hands in good works, you know what you’re doing? You’re adorning the gospel. You’re making Jesus believable. You’re reflecting a heart that is modest and pure and self-controlled. You’re reflecting the heart of Jesus.
I need to remember that. Every day, every action, every attitude, every word I speak is a reflection of my Saviour. If I claim Christ, I am a mirror of Him to a watching world. And make no doubt about it - they are watching.

Are they getting an accurate portrait?

Blog Hop - 3 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Wow - it feels pretty neat to have my idea used on one of the first blog hops!

These will likely only be new to you if you're new to my blog, but here goes....

1) I went on a Teen Missions trip when I was 17, for 2 months. It was one of the hardest and best summers of my life!
2) I am very thankful that so far we've been an accident-and-sick-free family! None of us have allergies, none of us have ever broken a bone, I have been stung by a bee only once. In the past 8 years I have had to buy antibiotics for our 4 kids only 6 times in total! (1 for some kind of cold infection, 2 for thrush, 2 for one bad case of UTI, and only 1 for ear infection)
3) Nathan and I LOVE cruising. We've been to Mexico twice and we've been on two cruises - and though we thoroughly enjoyed all our trips, we prefer cruising hands down and can't wait to go again!!

Click on the links above for the full stories.

Check out some new blogs below!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Mom to Mom - postponed

I'm still planning to do a Mom to Mom post on what we can do to encourage our children's relationship with God. I have postponed it to next week - partially because I've been too busy to get my post written up. Also - Pam (the lone responder to my initial post) is starting a screen free week this week, so she won't be able to participate till next week. AND, I'm hoping MckLinky creator Brent will have come up with a way to do my own blog hop by then. MckLinky is a new Mr.Linky type widget (only totally free and way better). Each week Brent hosts a Blog Hop where everyone who wishes to participate puts up a post on the same topic on the same day and everyone will have the MckLinky list show up on their blog, making it easy to hop from one blog to another. I emailed him asking if he could make a way for anybody to host their own blog hop, and he said he'd work on it. Hopefully it'll be done by then, but if not, we'll still do it.

Of course, feel free to type up your post already, and just save it as a draft till then.

Also - he had asked for ideas for future blog hops and I sent one in and it will be featured this Tuesday and my post will be close to the top of the list - cool eh?

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

True Woman Tuesday - Week 4

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to Week 4 of the True Woman Makeover hosted by my cousin Tammi at Valleygirl.

Lesson 10 is called The Fruit of Her Hands and finishes off Proverbs 31.

Nancy points out that with this passage (as with any other Bible passage) we can choose to reject the message, we can try and do it on our own strength (and then fail), or we can acknowledge that, just like God's law, we cannot do it on our own strength and rely on God to live through us.

Rejecting the message isn't really an option for Christians. A Christian's belief in the inerrancy of the Bible is integral to our faith, and therefore makes rejecting the message a virtual impossibility. You cannot claim Christ and not the Word.

Trying to do it on our own, however, is a trap virtually everyone falls into. It is impossible to do everything the Proverbs 31 woman does, all the time, on our own. We simply can't do it. And if we try, we're going to crash and burn.

Proverbs 31 shows us that as Christian women, we need to live our lives dependant on the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Proverbs 31, we have a pattern for the kind of women that God created us to be. We’ve said over and over again through this series that it’s not all the domestic abilities and things that this woman can do that are what make her great. It’s the fact that she’s a woman who has a love for God and a love for people. We’re really seeing here a portrait of the Lord Jesus, and ultimately we are called to be like Him.
Proverbs 31 is a pattern of what a godly woman looks like, it's a guide, it's where we're headed, it's a picture of the person God is conforming us to be - IF we allow Him to.

I found this to be an encouraging lesson, and an excellent reminder to be humble. To admit that we cannot do everything ourselves. This is a lesson I've learned in the past, but for some reason it's one I need to learn over and over again.

But there is an outcome of this way of life that makes it all worth while.

Proverbs 31:30-31 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Living like the Proverbs 31 woman is a sacrificial way of living. But we reap what we sow. If we live selfishly we will receive the fruits of that, if we live sacrificial we will receive the fruits of that work and it will be worth it! How wonderful it will be to hear the words from our Saviour "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21)

Lesson 11, titled Women in the Church, begins to discuss a passage in 1 Timothy.

In this book, Paul is giving instruction to Timothy who was a pastor of a church in Ephesus, on how men and women are to behave, what they ought to do, and what their attitude should be in church (and out of church).

1 Timothy 2:9-10
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (NIV)
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. (NASB)
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. (NLT)

I really like the NLT translation of these verses.

This is what jumps out at me - "women who profess to worship God", "women making a claim to godliness", "women who claim to be devoted to God". If we claim to worship God, claim to be devoted to Him - then our attitudes and our actions and our attire all need to reflect that. How we dress is a reflection of our hearts.
Who you are and what you are will come out in the way that you look, the way that you act, and the attitudes that you demonstrate toward other people.
Lesson 12 is called Affirming our Faith and continues to focus on the same passage in Timothy.

We said that it's so important that our appearance and our attitudes and our actions confirm and affirm our profession of faith.

Ladies, it’s not enough to claim to be a Christian. There are millions and millions of people in this country who claim to be Christians and whose names are on the role of some church membership, but they are no more Christians than the "man in the moon." They don't have a relationship with Christ and the evidence is in their appearance, in their attitudes, and in their actions.

Listen, your appearance and your actions and your attitudes will never make you a Christian. They cannot earn you salvation. You can't say, "I am a good Christian because I dress like a good Christian; I act like a good Christian, and I have good Christian attitudes." That won't make you a Christian. But if you are a Christian, you absolutely will have appearance, attitudes, and actions that confirm your profession of faith.

I'm not a Christian because I dress and act like one. I dress and act like a Christian because I am one.

It's a challenge to every Christian woman out there - here is the standard for someone who claims Christ, how do you measure up?

This lesson was a great reminder that as Christian women we cannot be a stumbling block to any man, especially our Christian brothers. Yes, men are responsible for their actions (not lusting), but we are responsible for ours (dressing modestly). Our Christian brothers know they have to fight this battle in the world - they should not have to fight it in church. If the church can't be a safe haven - we have fallen too far indeed!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Not Me! Monday


Today I did not whack Jacob's head into the thermostat while I was carrying him down the hallway. Nope, not me! I'm never the cause of injuries to my children. And I most certainly have not done the exact same thing to all our MSC at one point or another. And absolutely never when I was walking down the hallway quickly because I was upset. Which of course means, I never suffered from mommy guilt as a result of said collisions. Nope, not me!

I also did not allow my children to wear completely mis-matched outfits as we walked/biked to the local ice cream shop with 3 other moms (and a total of 13 children!) Nope not me! Besides, striped shorts and flowery tank tops totally go together anyway. Which also means I did not feel the need to defend myself to the other moms for said children's clothing selections. After all, I never allow my children to even play outside in less than perfectly matching and perfectly clean clothes, nevermind to go out in public like that! Gasp - what would people think?! Nope, not me!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday - this blog carnival was created by MckMama. Head on over to her blog to see what everyone else has not been up to!

Friday, 3 July 2009

I feel good - da na na na na na na!

Having recently felt convicted about doing a better job keeping my house in order consistently, I have to say that I had a very productive day today! Even though I slept in and only got up just before 9 o'clock!! Ahhh, summer holidays! I love me my beauty sleep.

So, what did I all accomplish today?

I obviously fed (and cleaned up after) all my MSC - Many Small Children (awesome acronym stolen from MckMama)

I exercised - as in dripping-with-sweat exercised.

I baked about 7 dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (see recipe below) - 5 dozen of which are for this week's day camp at our church. I even let my kids help!

I got at least 1 and a 1/2 hrs of bookwork done while my MSC played outside or napped (Jacob).

I read my Bible reading plan for today (and only had to read today's as I was all caught up!)

I read devotions with the girls on the deck in the afternoon (more details on this to come next week!)

I played with the girls outside. Even though she finally learned how to pump, Olivia could still be pushed on the swing all day long I think.

I set up the sprinkler under the trampoline AND the slip n' slide for my MSC and their friends to play in.

I had 3 of my MSC's friends over for lunch - at the last minute!

I went for a walk with all my MSC, meeting my MIL to bring Nathan and his dad some cold drinks on this fairly hot day.

Made a delicious supper - bbq'd chicken breasts, whole wheat rice, potatoes (for Nathan and Emma - I do NOT eat potatoes), corn and garlic bread.

I made Sophia and Olivia banana splits (but did NOT have any myself - woohoo!) while Jacob was shopping with my wonderful husband, and Emma was at her first pyjama party(not sleepover!) with her friend. OK, I do admit to having at least 3 strawberries (we used strawberries instead of cherries) dipped in whipping cream. OK, ok, I also ate 3 (yes three!) of those delicious cookies fresh out of the oven - well, 2 right away, and then one later warmed up in the microwave. Just keeping it real. Cause I'm all about honesty. Even it when it works against me and my image. :)

I read Sophia & Olivia a Bible story and prayed with them before bedtime (while the other 2 were still gone - it's not like they were being grounded from Bible storytime or anything!).

And I blogged....twice today!

And then there was obviously the just normal, everyday stuff like changing diapers, sweeping floors (after every meal - due to our lovely dark hardwood floors - ok, our MSC have something to do with this as well), swiping bathrooms, washing feet, settling arguments - well, you know!

So - mission accomplished for today. And I feel grrrrrreat!

OK - here's the recipe as promised. This is the fake Neiman Marcus oatmeal chocolate chip cookies recipe. Neiman Marcus actually developed a chocolate chip cookie recipe in response to this hoax - but I'm actually using the hoax recipe itself cause it's really good!

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups blended oatmeal (yup, put 5 cups of oatmeal in a blender and blend away!)
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
24oz chocolate chips
3 cups chopped nuts (optional)

The recipe also calls for 8oz Hershey bar grated - but I don't usually do this, normally because I don't stock that in my pantry! I have sometimes added some chocolate chips to the oatmeal while blending, but I didn't today. I needed to save some to make Mocha Banana Chocolate Chips Muffins (maybe tomorrow's project?) - I've got ripening bananas going on in a big way right now.

Beat together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Add oatmeal, flour, bp, bs, salt and mix. Add chocolate chips and nuts (we don't do nuts). Love me my KitchenAid mixer!!

Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. Makes about 7 dozen cookies using my medium Pampered Chef scoop.

Mom to Mom - coming up!

I've been thinking a lot lately of what we can do to encourage our children's relationship with the Lord.

I figure if we all pool our ideas together it could be a huge benefit to all of us!

So, I'd like to have a carnival on the topic - sometime next week. So, think of ways you already do encourage your children in this area, brainstorm some new ideas - and get ready to share!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Imitators

I was really struck by one verse of my One Year Bible reading the other day and I wanted to expand on it here a little.

2 Kings 17:15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the Lord had forbidden them to do.

Is there a difference in the way we (as Christians) live compared to the way the world lives? Or have we become imitators of the "nations" surrounding us?

Do we live according to the world or according to the Word?

Can people tell we are different by the words we speak? I don't just mean cursing (though of course that applies as well!). Are we building each other up or tearing each other down?

1 Thess 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

The following passage is long, but it is beautiful, and challenging!
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

We certainly should be living differently from the world!

1 John 2:15&16 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

The first step is, of course, to become a Christian. But sometimes, even after accepting Jesus Christ as a Saviour, it is hard to let him be Lord of our lives. To allow Him to work in our hearts, changing us to be more like Him, to finding out what His plan is for our lives and to follow it (sometimes we're scared He'll call us to the jungle of Africa as a missionary if we do that!). For every decision in our lives to be influenced by the fact that we belong to Christ, and we reflect Him (by both our words and our actions) to a watching world.

I've heard it said that you can tell a person's priorities by 2 things - how they spend their time and how they spend their money.

If we truly love Christ, we will want to obey Him, we will want to glorify Him in all we do and say, we will want to live for Him alone.

If we are truly living out our faith, it will show in the things we say, the movies and shows that we watch, the way we interact with our friends and family, in every. single. aspect. of our lives.

And, yes, that will mean being different.

Is there a difference in your life?

Who are you imitating? The world or the Word?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

O Canada - do you know ALL the words?

There is quite the history of Canada's national anthem.

It was originally commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste ceremony - Calixa Lavallée wrote the music to a poem by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French.

Robert Stanley Weir wrote the English version in 1908, and it is not a translation of the French version. The words were revised slightly, and only officially became Canada's national anthem in 1980!

Weird wrote 4 verses in total! Only verse 1 is the official lyrics - but I will post the others as well. I love how they reflect our Christian heritage.

Here are a few interesting facts from Canada's Christian Heritage website....

Canada’s coat of arms, adopted in 1921, stands upon the Latin phrase “A Mari Usque Ad Mare,” which when translated means “from sea to sea” a reference to Psalms 72:8.

Canada’s official motto comes from Psalms 72:8, “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.” The full verse reads: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”

Before the fall of 1983, July 1 was called “Dominion Day” which was a recognition of the sovereignty of God. On October 27, 1982 the Canadian Parliament changed the name to “Canada Day.”

In 1533, Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montréal. To commemorate the founding of Montréal, Cartier wrote in his diary “…we all kneeled down in the company of the Indians and with our hands raised toward heaven yielded our thanks to God.”



Here are the official lyrics to O Canada...

English
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

French
Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

See here for 3 more verses of French lyrics and their translations.

Translation of French Lyrics
O Canada!
Land of our forefathers
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As is thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.


Here are the additional 3 stanzas...

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow.
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow.
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western sea.
Thou land of hope for all who toil!
Thou True North, strong and free!
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies
May stalwart sons, and gentle maidens rise,
To keep thee steadfast through the years
From East to Western sea.
Our own beloved native land!
Our True North, strong and free!
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion in thy loving care;
Help us to find, O God, in thee
A lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the better Day,
We ever stand on guard.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.



There is also a hymnal version!

Lord of the lands, beneath Thy bending skies,
On field and flood, where’er our banner flies,
Thy people lift their hearts to Thee,
Their grateful voices raise:
May our dominion ever be
A temple to Thy praise.
Thy will alone let all enthrone;
Lord of the lands, make Canada Thine own:
Lord of the lands, make Canada Thine own!

Almighty Love, by Thy mysterious power,
In wisdom guide, with faith and freedom dower;
Be ours a nation evermore
That no oppression blights,
Where justice rules from shore to shore,
From lakes to northern lights.
May love alone for wrong atone;
Lord of the lands, make Canada Thine own:
Lord of the lands, make Canada Thine own!

Lord of the worlds, with strong eternal hand,
Hold us in honor, truth and self-command;
The loyal heart, the constant mind,
The courage to be true,
Our wide extending empire bind,
And all the earth renew.
Thy Name be known through every zone;
Lord of the lands, make Canada Thine own:
Lord of the lands, make Canada Thine own!

Hope you learned something new today and....

Happy Canada Day!!!

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