Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Woman You Should Know

        I have just completed a class at the University on the Holocaust-very powerful.  As part of my assignment I was to write and present a biography of a Holocaust survivor.  I chose Corrie ten Boom.    The story of her life and devotion to the Lord is one of the most remarkable that I have ever heard.
        I count Corrie ten Boom as one of the most remarkable women to have ever lived because of her childlike faith in Jesus and her tenacious spirit to grab the work that He had prepared for her before the foundation of the world.  Read a snippet of her story and please pursue the other resources that I have mentioned.  Her story will put perspective in your day, in your life.


                      "Happiness isn't' something that depends on our surroundings, Corrie.
                          It's something we make inside ourselves." - 'The Hiding Place'



The story of Corrie ten Boom cannot be told without speaking of the faith that ingrained her very being. A Christian faith that was tested in her mind, lived in her heart, and projected in her every action. The entire ten Boom family shared this faith, breathing and living in a circle of faith in Christ Jesus. They gave of themselves, even the sacrifice of their lives, because Christ gave his life for them.

Corrie’s home, affectionately called the Beje, for was first lived in by Willem ten Boom who had opened a clock shop, in 1837. Dedicated Christians, the family home above the shop was always a welcoming place for anyone in need. After an inspiring Dutch Reformed worship service in 1844, Willem started a weekly prayer service to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). This loving dedication for the Jews was transferred to Casper ten Boom and his family. Casper with his family continued the tradition of this prayer. These meetings continued for over one hundred years until February 28, 1944.

The Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1942. Corrie was fifty years old. Now living in Nazi occupied Haarlem, the ten Booms lived out their Christian faith by keeping their home a refuge. Only this time, their home became a hiding place for Jews and members of the Dutch underground who were being hunted by the Nazis. The ten Booms hid, fed, and transported refugees. It is estimated that they helped save the lives of 800 Jews and numerous other underground workers. Every moment of every day, these courageous individuals chose to put their possessions and lives on the line.

Several years passed. On February 28, 1944, Casper ten Boom and his family were betrayed and the Nazi Gestapo burst into the Beje. Even after systematic searching, the Hiding Place was never located. The refugees were able to escape two days later by crawling on the roof tops. All of them, but one of the underground workers who died later in the war, were delivered to safety.

Corrie and her sister Betsie were taken into custody and transported by train to Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, fifty miles north of Berlin. After four endless days packed into dark, hot train cars without food or drink, they arrived. Corrie and Betsy experienced all of the hate and atrocities that were within the deaths camps. However, they also experienced God’s miraculous hand again and again. Upon entrance to the camp, all women had to lay aside all of their possessions, strip naked before a line of Nazi soldiers, followed by an icy shower, then redress into a given dress. Corrie saw that she must take an opportunity to smuggle her small bible and bottle of liquid vitamins with her. After a silent prayer, she asked the guard if she and Betsie could go the restroom. After being directed in to the shower room, they were told to use the drain holes. There she saw a line of moldy, benches infested with cockroaches sitting at the side. She wrapped her precious things in a sweater where she later retrieved them and placed them from a string around her neck. Still, the bulge was quite apparent and she continued to pray as she saw that each prisoner was getting frisked twice before they were allowed to leave the building. Miracuously, the woman in front of her was frisked three times and her sister behind her once, but Corrie was not!

The conditions at Ravensbruck were unfathomably difficult: back-breaking work, lack of food, constant weariness and sickness. Yet, as the torture grew, so did the love that Betsie showed. She would tell her bewildered sister, Corrie, “I feel so sorry for them” or “God forgive them”. It took a few moments for Corrie to realize that Betsie had been talking about their perpetrators. Corrie was learning, through the testament of her sister, the love of Christ. The sisters would pray daily and have services as well. Many ladies so emaciated in physical form but were filled as they ate vigorously of the Word.

Betsie had grown quite sick. Corrie attempted in vain to get any help for her sister. It was in this time that Betsie would vocalize a vision that she saw, a dream that seemed real to her. She told Corrie that she saw a beautiful huge home with very tall windows, inside were inlaid wooden floors and relief sculptures, on the outside were colorful gardens. This place was to be a place of healing where survivors of this tragedy would be welcome. She said that the horrible place of the concentration camp should be used in the same manner –a place of light. “There is not so much darkness in all of the world that God’s love is not deeper still. You must tell people what we have learned here Corrie.” Betsie said that they would both be free in the New Year.

She was right. In December of 1944, Betsie ten Boom left Ravensbruck to be at home with her Lord. A few days later, Corrie’s name was called by the guards. She had not been referred by her given name in years; she had become “Prisoner 66730.” Corrie was told that she would be released. She was given train passes, three days of ration cards, a fresh silk blouse, clean skirt, and incredibly the belongings she had left aside when she entered the camp: some Dutch money and her mother’s ring.

Corrie made it home to Haarlem and recuperated. She was greeted by her sister Nollie, Peter, and her brother Willhem who died soon after from developing spinal tuberculosis in a concentration camp. Her nephew Christiaan, who had been twenty-four when taken into custody, did not return.

Corrie had made it home safely but she no longer felt at home. Betsie’s proclamation burned in her heart. She needed to tell people about the forgiveness and love of Jesus. At age fifty-three Corrie began a worldwide ministry that would take her into more than sixty countries over the next thirty-two years. She would share her story with whomever would listen. She always said that in all of her travels the Germany people were the most desolate in need of love. It would be ten years after she left Ravensbruck, that she would return to learn that her release had been a clerical error and only one week after she had left, all women her age had been put to death.

The vision that Betsie saw did come to pass. A wealthy Dutch woman who had come to hear Corrie speak, told her afterward that she had three sons at home, one was still in the war. The Lord had told her that her son would indeed return home and as a “thank-you” she would give her home to Corrie for her use. It was a mansion with fifty-six room, wooden floors, picturesque statues, colorful gardens, and windows so tall that sunlight poured in. The home, Bloemendal, became a place of healing and rest, just as Betsie had spoken of.

Corrie has written many books about her life and faith. In the 1970s a movie was made of her book “The Hiding Place” with the help of Billy Graham.

Corrie ten Boom and her family were faithful advocates of God’s love. Corrie died on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983. Corrie's passing occurred on her birthday. In the Jewish tradition, it is only very blessed people who are allowed the special privilege of dying on their birthday!


"There is no pit so dark that the love of Jesus cannot reach deaper still." -Corrie ten Boom



Sources:

Carlson, Carole C. Corrie ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith. Fleming H. Revell Company. Old

      Tappan, New Jersey. 1983.


The Beje was converted into a museum.Their web site has a wondrful interactive tour of the home inside and out.

This is an interview with Corrie from 1974.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=038cuYe3Nis


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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What was I Thinking?


What was I thinking?  I thought that I would only be away from LOV for a few weeks...but that has turned into over two months!  I miss you Ladies!

Can someone tell me how summer time can be more busy than the routine of the schoolyear?  I am taking summer college classes full time this summer, that is keeping me busy.  But I am making time to catch some sunshine in the swimming pool with the girls and to lick plenty of icecream! 

The last time I wrote I had just been preparing for a presentation on the Tudor-Stuart female...then I was heading off to London and Paris!  Thought that I would  show you some pictures.

This is me dressed for the presentation.
I felt like Queen Elizabeth for a moment.
 

This is some food-faire that I made from Olde English recipes.
It was surprising to me to learn
how many various spices went into their baked goods. 
The crackers below had allspice and nutmeg.


Yes, everything in this salad is edible!  Isn't it beautiful?

If you look at the derriere, you will notice the emphasis. 
Also, the wide expanse of hips was to emulate fertility of the female.  

 
 The Reformation that grabbu Martin Luthed ahold in western Europe
set the premise for a new way of thinking about the autonomy
of the individual.  Thank you Martin Luther.
 
This is a short excerpt from my paper, "The Female of EarlyModern England." 
Read and see if you recognize her in today's world.

. . . "The Virtuous Woman"

Above all things a female was to pursue virtue of character. The biblical precepts quoted in the marriage service and in the Homily were expanded into books for exhorting the behavior and etiquette of women. Authors such as Thomas Becon followed the teachings of St. Peter and St. Paul is stressing the subjection of wives to husbands. . . Gouge emphasized that the wife was “joint governor with her husband” over their children and servants, but she was to be subordinate to the husband and ruled others only as long as she was in submission to him (Eales 25).


The ideals for female behavior as purported in the advice books were passive: chastity, modesty, humility, sweetness simplicity, peaceableness, kindness, piety, temperance, beauty, sometimes learning, and always patience, charity, constancy, and obedience. “Between 1475 and 1640 approximately 170 different books in some 500 editions were specifically addressed to emales or dealt with subjects of direct concern to women, such as midwery, household recipes, and how-to-live guides (Hull 24).

And in conclusion . . .
 Some historians argue, understandably, that in the Early Modern Era, English females were (I repeat again) “mere housewives, secluded in their homes to protect their reputations for chastity, their sole useful function the production of heirs for their husbands’ family lineages” (Fairchild 3).  I argue that this thought is too narrow.  There were housewives who made a sustainable influence with their husbands, mothers who influenced their families, influenced their communities, influenced their country.  Whether housewife or reigning monarch, women were not “silent” in a society that sought not the voice of women.  Commanded to be submissive; yes, confined to strict boundaries of law and deportment; yes, pressed and thwarted in their life circumstance; perhaps, but suppsressed to the point of non-expression; no. The female of Early Modern England speaks in the voice of that culture, and thus she still speaks to us today. 
What are your thoughts?


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 To find the recipe for the crackers above and other tasty Olde English food go to-
http://www.godecookery.com/nboke/neweboke.htm

 Sources:
Eales, Jacqueline. Women in early Modern England: 1500-1700. London, UCL Press. 1998.
Fairchilds, Cissie. Women in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700. Harlow, England: Pearson Education, 2007.
Hull, Suzanne W. Women According to Men: The World of Tudor-Stuart Women. London, UK: AltaMira Press, 1996.


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Friday, April 27, 2012

A Spring Pause for LOV


Hello dear Ladies.  You are missed.  I am grabbing a moment to post you a note letting you know why the LOV page has not changed in the last few weeks; I have been (am) swapped with semester's end papers -next week is finals.  Today, I am giving a presentation concerning "The Female of Early Modern England."  It should fun and I will try to post some pics of the food I am serving and the costume I am wearing.

My posts will be thin for the next couple of weeks as well, the week following -I am going to London and Paris with a group from he university to study (poor me!).  Again, I will try my utmost to post pics (so you can be there with me!)

Hope your Spring is blossoming with all sorts of fresh opportunities and ideas and happenings.

Enjoy.


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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Eternal Encouragement Review

The little magazine pictured below has been with me for weeks -in my kitchen, the bathroom, the living room, and in bed with me.  Wherever I take a few moments to gather encouragement from its pages, I have had this little magazine.  I love being encouraged, don't you?  Hopefully that is why you have stopped a moment here at LOV -to receive some uplifting thoughts that will take you through your day. 

I have favorite blogs that I stop at with a cup of coffee in hand and visit a while.  But sometimes I like to read in strange places (well, I guess the bathroom isn't STRANGE, but that is not somewhere that I would not take my lap-top with me, nor the bathtub).  That is why I still enjoy magazines and books (the kind with real paper).  The sensual person in me likes the tactile feel of the pages.

As a Gabby Mom I had the opportunity to preview the Eternal Encouragement Magazine delivered to my home mailbox. Did I also say that I love when the mailbox has something delivered to me that I actually want?  Smaller in size than a regular magazine, it is jammed packed with helpful articles written by women that I would love to have in my kitchen for tea.

Each quarter the magazine has a theme and this one was CHAOS. Yes, a menace that we all fight in our lives and homes.  Its subject was discussed concerning spiritual life, marriage, parenting, homeschooling, house management, and relationships.  You name an area of interest to a woman and it is in there!  One of the columns that I enjoyed most was "Daughter of the King" defining and describing the sweet relationship with our heavenly Father.  I am humbled and excited to be featured as the column's author beginning the next publication.

I encourage YOU to subscribe to encouragement with eternal benefits!  Did I tell you that there are bonus gifts?  To find out about all of it, click on the magazine cover above.  Hope you enjoy as I have!


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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the magazine for my honest review and I will receive no other compensation either for my review or for any subscriptions as a result of my review.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

LOUD Courage

 
"Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
We finger paint with words. We try to remember what it was like to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not," spoken from The Gypsy Mama.

Today her prompt is LOUD-
GO.

The images-
the horrors
their atrocities that I cannot bear
to hear
or think about
and yet
they are theirs
molding and forming
the woman they lost
inside of themselves
shame, lost dignity-
rings loud
in their head
ears pound
at times they wish they were dead.

A phoenix rises
from their center core
they live on-
and become so much more
more of a woman
beauty radiating from within
strength
endurance
perseverance
to win.

To triumph o'er
their foes
who would have them ripped from Life
from peace and fulfillment,
wanting them content
with never-ending strife.

But clay becomes iron
as they live on with grace
choosing to live
with a smile
forsaking the shame-
that was not theirs
to uphold.

LIFE speaks LOUD
in these women.
Compassion for them
rings loud in my heart.


Please become aware of these most courageous women
Read and learn about their stories~     http://panzifoundation.org/Congo.aspx


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hope Deferred

  It's here!  Spring!  Arriving full gusto-  The Spring design for LOV had been finished weeks ago.  I had wanted save posting it for first day of Spring, but with the very warm weather, grass turning green, and daffodils already in bloom, it was all I could do to have patience!  Isn't it worth the wait!!  I love the freshness it brings.

I've said before that this weather (Spring actually arriving with its calendar date) is very uncharacteristic for Pennsylvania.  Phil told us on Ground Hog Day that we would have 6 more weeks of winter.  No one really listens to him but- he is usually right.  As we make slashes on our calendars here, the first day of Spring usually arrives with 40 degree temperatures and cold rain, frost, or snow. Just two years ago my daughters searched for Easter eggs in the snow while donning pastel, flowing dresses and white "Easter" shoes!  Spring arrives on the calendar and for all of you enviable Southerners but for us "snow birds" it is with hope that the warm weather prevail.

But this year!  As my husband reminded me, it is like the year of our betrothal.  We became engaged February 19th and wed June the 16th.  The four short months between were full of glorious Spring days wrapped in Love.  This year the warm breeze, bright sun's rays, and colorful flowers have put us in mind of that memorable Spring twenty-two years ago.

Are you experiencing a blossoming Spring?



"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
~Proverbs 13:12 NIV


What are you hoping for today?  Has it become "deferred"?  That is to say has the arrival of your heart been so delayed that its no longer expected?  Is your heart sick because despair and melancholy have replaced hopeful belief?

Remember, dear sister, that when your desire is realized, a tree of hope grows within that cannot help but branch out its limbs into every area of your life and entwine with those of others.

If our faith should fail in the day of adversity, then it is small. (Provers 24:10)  The New International Version explains it this way: "If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"  It is not about having faith in our faith -but having faith in our Source of faith, our source of Strength.  If you feel your faith failing, cry out, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!"  He will meet you.  He will HELP you. 

Do not give up HOPE. Take that tiny mustard seed of faith that was planted with hope and cultivate it. Recall former situations when your hope blossomed into reality. Recall other times when His faithfulness met you at the perfect intersection. Let faith rain upon your seed, the Word shine until it germs into a tree.

Your desire will be realized. Your life will blossom for others to swing upon its branches.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Traversing the Mountains

So sorry that the screen has been in want of a new post this week- I have been reading chapters upon chapters of a Victorian novel, studying Baroque painting, trying to wrap math theorems round my brain as I am sure I will never use this stuff in "real life", and best of all drinking in the unusual (for this time of year up north) wall-to-wall warm sunshine (I am sure that I now have enough vitamin D to make a milkshake!)  But I wanted to do some stream writing before the week is over, so here goes, using the prompt form The Gypsy Mama.

BRAVE.

go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mountains high and valleys low
you trudged through the marsh and falling snow
on paths uncut-
you paved the way
for others to follow in the shadow
of your bravery.

At your husband's side
you embarked to the West
surely full of uncertainties
and questions that would not give your heart rest.
Would the savages have ears
for the saving Word?

You made it through
unbelievably impossible to do
thousands of miles of terrain
transversed on horse and foot
but through the Rockies you came
like the mountains of the spiritual task
now before you.

You and your loved one gave
your life, your words, your dreams, your days
poured forth to a red people
who did not yet know
that before them was served the words of Life
instead they took yours.

What of this bravery should I know?


~The life story of Narcissa Whitman                

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Expecting Good Things

What are you hoping for today?  a spouse to know our Saving Lord?  teens to turn back to Him?  for a sickness to go away for good?  for income for your family? for an open door for you to use your gifts?

For me there have always been different stages of hope.  Maybe they did not fall into this consecutive order but something like-

"I wish..."
"I hope that..."
"God, you know I need this..."
"God, this would be for Your glory!..."
"God, why haven't you given me this yet?"
"I'm still here God- waiting. (!)"

"I know God is good."

"He will give to me according to His will."

"He will give to me in His perfect timing."

"I can wait patiently because I know that His promises are true."

"I hope for -."
"I am expecting with a patient heart."

Does any of that prayer-conversation sound familiar? 

Some of the things that we are hoping for we have some control over.  (I am hoping to go through graduate school - LORD WILLING.)  Some things that I am hoping for are not under my control.  (When my husband did not have work, I could support him, but I could not make it appear for him.  I could only pray with hope.)

I find encouragement today in these words and I hope that you do as well-

"Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You."
"For I hope in You, O Lord;
You will answer, O Lord my God."
-Psalm 38: 9,15 NAS
  
The word for "answer" is synonymous with "hear."  You see, our God is not like me who listens to my nine-year-old's expressive babblings with one ear.  Nor like me when I sometimes "hear" the word of God and do not do it.  Our God hears and answers.  He always hears and He always answers.

I believe that.

I will tarry and wait patiently with expectant hope. 


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Expectancy

This MARCH I am thinking about EXPECTANCY. 

When Winter has had a long visit and the daffodils are anxiously bursting forth through the earth, it is hard not to be anxious for Spring to come.  I expect Spring to arrive soon.


Do you know that "hope" and "EXPECTING" have a comingled biblical definition?  There are three main meanings of "hope" used in scripture and all have their definition intertwined with "expectancy."  However, there is one particular use for "hope" I want to share with you today.

"For You are my Hope;
O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth."
-Psalm 71:5 NAS
 This "Hope" is the Hebrew word tiqvah meaning quite literally an attachment cord that is twisted and bound together, expectation, the thing that I long for.

Does "umbilical cord" come to anyone's mind?  This is what this "hope" is.  A developing baby inside the womb is attached to its life-giver by a cord, an entwined cord that gives every needed nutrient to that thriving baby.  So we, as children of God, are attached to our Life-giving Father.  He has made the cord of faith and we respond back to Him with hope, an expectant hope, a longing.

There are many good things for which I hope, but as I read this scripture today, I am reminded to place my hope upon our God.  He is the thing that I long for, and I ask Him that I would long for Him so much more than I do.  He gives us that, the desire to want to know Him better.  He gives us the faith.

Dear sister, what are you expecting today?  What cord is attached to you heart and is yanking with expectation?

Is it something for which God also longs to give you?  Is it for Him Himself?  Cultivate it.  And let that expectancy grow into something beautiful.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Guest post for Homemaker's Challenge

  Hi Ladies- I have the privilege of writing for Homemaker's Challenge.  My post "The Art of Homemaking: Keeping a Cleaning Schedule" is up today.  Please take a stroll over there to visit. 
If you are visiting FROM Homaker's Challenge- you will find the printables HERE and HERE and read more about them HERE.
See you here back tomorrow as we'll discuss "expectancy."

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

March's Theme & Free Planner Sheets

MARCH is here!  YEAH!!!  It is a month of change -the unpredictable.

This is the month of transition.  When frozen earth softens and allows the anxious shoots of daffodils to burst forth their cadmium yellow like a sleeping sun that has just awakened.  So this month we are awakened out of winter slumber and enlivened by the stirrings of Spring.

The theme for LOV this month is EXPECTING.

You may not be expecting a baby, but surely you are expecting something.  What is it?  Think about it and come visit again this week as I write more about hopeful expecting.


Now time for the FREE planner pages!
If you would like to download the printables for yourself just click on the titles below.  I only ask that you say "thank you" by clicking the "Like" button for the LadiesOfVirtue FaceBook page and pass the word on to your friends.  If you would like to read how I use my planner sheets in my Home Manager Notebook -read here.  For the "Manager of the Home" bible study that I wrote -click here.

Here are the planner sheets for MARCH; I hope that you like the vintage art work as much as I do.

Enjoy and as always -Happy Homemaking!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Eternal Encouragement Review- 12 Super Simple Time-Saving Tips for Moms

One of the constant battles that we continually fight as women of this 21st century is our schedules!  How do we fit everything in when we only have twenty-four hours in a day?

This month's product for review from Eternal Encouragement is a CD or MP3 from Lorrie Flem entitled 12 Super Simple Time Saving Tips.  What a gold mine of encouraging advice!  Whether you consider yourself organized-challenged or just need a refreshing boost -you will find something for YOU in this talk.

I will not surprise the fun and list all twelve of the tips that Lorrie shares; I will just share a few that spoke directly to me.

 #1 Make it my priority to look like Jesus.  In following with the theme for LOV this month -I can have a perfectly clean home, laundry all caught up, children happy and obedient, but if I have not LOVE then all is vanity.  I want to love Jesus more.  I want to be like Him.  The only way that I know to do that is to spend time with Him.  Much of my time can be wasted because not just of poor organizing but of sour, ugly attitudes.  I need a continual readjustment.  I need to constantly be with Him.

#6 Love something by giving it away.  Are you overwhelmed by work?  Give it away!  Lorrie reminded me that I am NOT loving my children when I am doing everything for them.  They are not learning how to keep house, be a part of the family, and grow in discipline.  Delegate the chores.  Work together.  I need reminded of this, because for me it is often easier do it myself rather than deal with complaining.  But am I loving them by allowing that?

#7 Be like a grape!  Grapes grow in clusters and so do tasks.  One way I do this is by setting items that need taken upstairs in a basket at the bottom of the steps, then I will take the basket up and put everything away at once.  Another suggestion by Lorrie was to make all of the phone calls that you have to make together and while doing another task if possible (like folding clothes).  This will greatly cut down on time and work effort.

And beautifully, Lorrie points us to JESUS at the beginning and end. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, is He not?  All of the tips that she shares fall under this heading.
   Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?    Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
~from Matthew 6


C
lick on the image and you will be connected to this great product that will offer you spiritual and practical advice to help you stay kingdom focused and sane.
12 Super Simple Time Saving Tips


*As a member of the Gabby Moms, I received this mp3 free in exchange for my honest review*

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love transforms...

I am sitting here with a blank computer screen waiting to be filled with words.  Sometimes words are ready to tumble out of my brain falling onto each other.  This morning I am contemplating LOV's monthly theme -LOVE- and I am just sitting here pondering just what to write about.

Love has been the muse of poets and painters throughout the ages.  Do we ever get tired of love?  Can the books to fill all of the book shelves in the world express all that there is to say about love?

Love transforms.  He takes a vile murderer and removes the evil. 

Love washes the perverse white as snow.

Love touches the tongue of the liar and cauterizes the member with fire.

Love elevates a life to have eternal purpose.

Love gives passion with a continual flame.
 
What does Love do to you TODAY? 
Is Love transforming you?
Is Love adding purpose to your days of mundane routines and dreams not yet realized?

Ponder on LOVE.

"Love is enough, though the world is awaning."
~William Morris (1872)



God is Love.  Is Love enough for you today?

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Brushing His Hair

I am learning much these days- 22 credits full of the Tudor lineage of the British monarchy, symbolic analysis of Keats' poems, what is a poly carp, the painting techniques of Lorenzetti, and how to calculate a Cartesian product.  I love it.  I love learning and I can feel my brain cells growing fat and the synapses stronger.

This morning these words shouted at me as though in big, bold red letters-
"...as for knowledge, it will pass away.....but LOVE never ends."

All of the reading, studying, and harboring of knowledge -Knowledge WILL PASS away. What is left?  Only LOVE.

And then in His Providence, I was led to read this story.  I have read it before and it still brings tears to my eyes.....Oh, the great, great Love of Jesus!  So simple, so pure.  So upside down in this world.   Read on  and you will understand what I mean.

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters. This is one of her experiences: April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville.
 
     I was waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons, not the least of which is your ego.
     I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt.. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face.
     As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport... An impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
     I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. 'Oh, no, God, please, no.' I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, 'Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!' There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, 'Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane.' Then I heard it...'I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.' The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top.
     Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, 'God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! ;You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.' Again, as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. 'That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.' I looked up at God and quipped, 'I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?' God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: 'I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.' (2 Timothy 3:17)

     Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, 'Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush.' 'I have one in my bag,' he responded. I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing.
     I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.   
  A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.
     I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said, 'Sir, do you know my Jesus?' He said, 'Yes, I do' Well, that figures, I thought. He explained, 'I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior.' He said, 'You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.'
    
     Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
     I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, 'That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?' I said, 'Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!' And we got to share.

     I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need! I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way... all because I didn't want people to think I was strange.
      God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me. Please share this wonderful story. 'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meeting All My Needs and Desires

It has been many years since I have learned the life-changing truth that my husband cannot meet all of my needs...The need for happiness, security, purpose, value, peace, and contentment. I have learned and continue to experience, "My God shall supply all (my) needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phillipians 4:19) He is the perfect Lover of my soul. Relieving my husband of this role, which employed an endeavor impossible to actualize, changed my marriage. I could then begin to ENJOY my husband, not focusing on his short comings in meeting my needs. Really, if every woman could "get" this, I think that our culture would be elevated! How many marriages are stressed because the wife unconsciously or not manipulates her husband to get him to meet her needs and ends up angry and frustrated.

However, after reading and pondering Day 21 in The Love Dare, I became aware of present desires that I have for my husband to fulfill. I want more- more depth of love in our relationship, more intimacy, more comraderie. Are these desires wrong or misplaced? In this case, no, I do not think so. I did not endeavor to take the "Dare" because my marriage was bad or falling apart. Rather, I wanted more! to have the ultimate marriage experience on this earth and I would do my utmost to make that happen! I felt a push to strive to have an exceptional marriage as a testimony of God's handiwork and for my pleasure and satisfaction! But what about just having a "good marriage" to a "good man"? What is wrong with that? Is that not enough? My husband is thoughtful, loving, a great provider, friend, and a wonderful father. I sense the Holy Spirit leading me to gain a new perspective. One that confidently knows that all of my needs are met through Christ Jesus, and enjoys my marriage completely at this moment, accepts my husband at this moment.

Will I stop praying that our hearts would continue to bond and experience the depth, breadth, and height of the love of God? No. But my intent is to pray and live from the postition that we are "joint heirs of the grace of life". (1Peter 3:7) If today is as good as my marriage ever gets, I will be most blessed. And I do have a great marriage now!

How about you ? What is your perspective today?

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Monday, February 13, 2012

We All Want To Get Flowers

Many of you will be receiving flowers tomorrow from the man in your life as a symbol of his love for you.

Many of you will not receive flowers -and will probably be pining that you didn't.   We are women.  We want our loved one to acknowledge US, to tell us that we matter to them.  We want pretty petals to look at, to remind us that we are loved.  Nothing says it more deeply than the velvety petals of the rose.

Do any of you watch the television show "The Middle?"  The episode this week showed the Heck couple dining out with friends.  A flower lady approached their table and asked each husband if he would like to buy a rose for the love of his life. The husbands of the two other couples purchased the lovely single rose and in handling the love token to their wives, received the crowds, "Aaaaahs."  Mike Heck simply continued his monologue and dismissed the flower lady with a "No, thank you."  Frankie (his wife) is left flowerless and grabs a bread stick to munch on while her two friends gaze at the velvety petals.  The next morning Mike is awakened by a very upset Frankie who berates him, "Why didn't you buy me a flower?"  He replies, "I thought we agreed that that is a scam and that flowers are a waste of money?"  "Yes,of course it is.  But I still wanted a rose!!"

Doesn't that speak for the woman in all of us?  I know for me it does.  Yes, Hallmark is making millions from the propaganda of your love.  So is the flower industry, and diamond.  We KNOW that it is propaganda.  But don't we still want the flowers?

How will YOU react if your hubby comes home empty handed Tuesday evening?

Can you get over your disappointment?

In twenty years of a marriage relationship, I would like to think that I have grown and learned something.  There have been a few Valentine's that I went flowerless.  I have been disappointed. I have cried.  I have yelled . . . And I have learned to not depend on my husband so much for fulfillment and happiness.  My husband will be away this Valentine's Day.  He is working 2,000 miles from our front door.  That speaks his love to me.  He will not be able to bring me flowers.  I knew that.  So when I saw this beautiful bouquet at Sam's Club -I bought them for myself.  And I love to see them open more each day.
The other day my daughters and I made cookies.  I tried out the new cookie mold I had bought for the purpose of making heart-shaped coolies for Valentine's Day.  Making my husband's favorite, chocolate chip, I filled the mold.  The cookie turned out perfectly.  I took a picture of the tasty treat with my phone and sent it to my husband with the message, "Here is your Valentine's gift.  I guess we will have to eat it for you."  I also sent him a picture of the flowers with the message, "Here are the flowers you bought me, thank you."

He replied, "Bon appetit.  And I hope that you like the flowers."

We both smiled inside.

It is freedom to know that I can buy myself flowers....and enjoy them.

Can you?

Have a Valentine's Day filled with joy and love.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Makin' Valentines

Originally posted February 12, 2011. We plan on doing the same this Saturday.

My daughters and I spent a sunny, cold afternoon creating Valentine's for our sweet ones.

This is our breakfast room. If you look closely you can see my sweet, shy daughter hiding from the lens behind a book. The table is nice and neat awaiting all of the ephemera (I am always looking for ways to use that neat word. I just "googled" it and discovered that there is actually an Ephemera Society! interesting...well, if you need a little help with its definition the dictionary says that ephemeron {the plural} is transitory written or printed material not intended for long time use such as postcards or tickets...the etymology is the Greek meaning "mayfly" {have you ever seen one of THOSE?}....interesting ...well. since we DO want our Valentine's to be preserved, remembered, and cherished may be this is not the correct context for this word. However, since little decorative things for scrapbooking like stickers are culturally described as "ephemera" {see all of the internet scrap book with "ephemra" in their name} then I will still use it. Also, ephemera such as notes and cards are now considered collectible- though completely contradictory to the very definition of being temporary- then there is another confirmation that I can indeed express that the breakfast room table was waiting to be covered with ephemera- otherwise known as colorful paper, stickers, ribbons, bobbles and such. Did I loose most of you? I am trying to write as goes the conversation in my head....may be that the general populace cannot follow my sporadic thoughts? But I DID get to use the word about 5 times!

Here the girls are creatively concentrating.
Between taking pictures I read Little Town on the Prairie. Presently we read about Laura's autograph book that she shared with her friends and the rage of calling cards. Even then pretty ephemera was exchanged and appreciated. This is a poem that Laura's friend wrote in her autograph book. We thought that it was perfect for inside a Valentine.
                                     "The rose of the valley may wither,
The pleasures of youth pass away,
But friendship will blossom forever
While all other flowers decay."

Isn't that sweet?


                       Here is my "little" one happy with her creation.
So if you have some ephemera lying around your house, maybe you can gather it together, sit and relax, and make some collectible ephemera for your loved ones.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sending Love

This month at LOV we are celebrating LOVE.  How wonderful!  Each month I would like like to share with you, ideas for family activities to celebrate a monthly holiday or theme.  These activities are meant to bring your family closer, add joy to your home, and a deeper appreciation for sentiment.  They could very will become beloved family traditions.

February 14th is known as the hallmark of Love.  Today it has been made to be quite an indelible mark in our lives by the card company  Hallmark.  Howver, the holiday first had its roots proliferate in the time of the Victorians.  In that era most middle-class and upper class women enjoyed the hobby of scrapbooking and letter writing.  These ladies of romance combined with their love of aesthetic beauty and the sharing of sentiment; the idea of sending valentines became popular at once.  These first valentines were hand-made with an ephemera of colored paper, fabrics, feathers, tinsel, and glitter. Until the nineteenth century, what we think of valentine's were handwritten love letters.  As the techniques of printing became more advanced in the 1800s, commercial valentines were produced, then becoming the rage of sending love. 

Still enamoured with love and sending it to others- valentine's today can be a cute rhyme for a class mate or the deepest of emotions shared to the one we love.  Bought or hand-made, valentine's remain a token of our well wishes, friendship, and appreciation of love.  A friend gave the idea of sending out cards for Valentine's Day to her friends that she is unable to communicate much with throughout the year, a perfect time to say, "I think of you often and still mean so much to me."  I have taken up this tradition and look forward to finding the prettiest appropriate cards for each one that I mail.

My daughters enjoy making their own valentine's, which I do as well if I am feeling creative.  I get excited by gathering our ephemera of colored card stock, stickers, trimmings, markers, colored pencils, glitter, ribbons, buttons, and anything else that might add to our pretty creation.


"Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good fame,
Plans, credit and the Muse,
Nothing refuse.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Poems. Give ALL to Love st. 1


Will you blow warm wishes of kindness, friendship, and love to those in your circle?

~I would love to get one. (o;

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