Why Tears Are Shedding All Over The Place

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Mommas all over (and even a few dads) are sniffling and reaching for kleenex. It’s that season where mailboxes fill with cards and photographs, and vehicles all around town loudly yell “Congratulations!” or “Class of 2015”.

For a small group of kids they are reaching one of their first milestones, Pre-school graduation. These tiny imps are running around with high pitched laughter and careless dreams while hearts are breaking all around them. This morning, as I dropped Hila Fay off for her last day of Wee School, I was reminded of her first. There were as many red eyes and glistening cheeks today as there were that day nine months ago: only this time it was the mommas and not the kiddos.

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Today is a first of many lasts and, honestly, I’m just not ready for it. Time is going by so quickly and I find myself constantly questioning and second guessing the moments I have had with her. I wonder if I was loving enough or if I should have been stronger. Have I given in too many times when I’ve seen that puckering lip or, perhaps, do I need to ease up more? Am I teaching her the right things, investing enough time, and leading by example? Did I pack enough snacks? Am I ruining her teeth by not insisting strongly enough that she stop sucking her thumb?

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I imagine that these are questions that never really go away. I reckon I’ll worry her entire life and continue to tear up at every milestone big and small. I’m not sure that there really is a cure or “sure fire fix” for a momma’s fear, but I know one thing. From the moment that I found out I was pregnant I prayed to God for one thing, consistently. I prayed that God would give my baby a heart for Him.

I thought about my prayer long and hard and came up with one conclusion; if Hila Fay has a heart for God then everything else will come out in the wash. All my other fears and worries will come to naught and she will be the woman that God intends for her to be.

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And with this newfound confidence I dry me eyes. ..

Just joking, I’m still bawling. 

So, here’s to all the parents out there who are spending the next few days weepy while their little one rolls their eyes and say, “*Ugh* Momma, are you crying, again?”  For this moment we are all united in our heartache, doubts, pride,  and tears.  We will, as one, snap picture after picture and flood all forms of social media with them. We will tell anyone who will listen that our baby is graduating. We will fret over their hair and outfits as we prepare them for the big event, and we will commiserate with the other parents about how fast this year flew by and how it only seemed like yesterday when …

We will, also (eventually), be ok. We will continue to do our best and to try and be the parents that our pride and joy deserves. But, most importantly, we will know that our God is in control and loves our babies even more than we do. We can be confident that even when we fail, He will not.

With Love and Tears,
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Mother’s Day Legacy

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When Chuck and I were planning our wedding we made a conscious effort to include both of our families. We never understood the concept of the wedding being a day JUST for the bride and groom. In our minds our marriage was uniting not just us, but our families as well. Whether they liked it or not our families would now be linked forever.

In some ways, Mother’s Day is like that. Yes. it’s a day for me to celebrate all the good things that go along with motherhood and to show HF the joy of doing something for others, but it is also a day to celebrate my relationship with my mother and hers before her. It’s a day that links all mothers together and allows us to share our legacies.

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I see HF now and I marvel at the little lady she’s so quickly becoming.  I think back to myself and remember my mother when I was HF’s age. Momma has always had the softest hands and most gentle touch. She never panicked when I hurt myself but rather, I think, watched me to see how I would react. She said something once (and once only) and expected me to obey. She gave me responsibilities and consequences but took plenty of time to take me to the library and park and teach me to pray.

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I look at HF again, so content in her dreams, and wonder if I’m going to do half as good as my mom. I make a conscious effort to invest in mine and HF’s relationship, now, in the hopes that (after she has passed through the dreaded teenage years) she will think of me with the same adoration that I do my mother and her hers’.

We are all linked in a line of genetics and love that each new daughter passes on to their daughter and on and on for many more generations to come. Perhaps, one day in the future, HF will sit, holding her child and think back to her memories of me. This thought is one of the reasons that I try so hard to be active in her life. I work to make every moment count and her life full of tangent moments.

I’ve realized that we don’t have to be doing something BIG to have a lasting moment. It could be as simple as putting together a puzzle or taking silly selfies.

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How do you make your moments last? How will your children carry on your legacy?

Love,
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Life on the farm

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Just before Christmas my mother-in-law was in a single car accident. Thankfully she survived, but as a result has some partial paralysis in her arms. Chuck, Hila Fay, and I have temporarily moved in with her until we can get a double-wide moved to the farm.

When you arrive at the farm it is almost as if you’ve stepped back in time. The meals are all homemade and ate together with the family all piled up around the solid wood kitchen table. The only internet access is what we get on our phones and the TV is a mere decoration. When there’s a big job to do it’s “all hands on deck”. Everyone pitches in all the while laughing and joking around.

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Our evenings are spent sitting in the living room sharing personal (most of the time humorous) stories, visiting, and playing games (charades is a favorite). I have found that many of the modern day appliances, knick-knacks, & gadgets that I thought I HAD to have are not even missed. What really surprised me, though, was how well Hila Fay adjusted. Instead of whining for a movie or fussing because she can’t play on abcmouse.com, she plays outside, creates amazing crafts (I’m not biased at all), and performs musical numbers to entertain us.

The whole situating reminds me just how much God loves us. He has taken a heart-wrenching situating and used it to teach me innumerable lessons: like the importance of family, the benefits of slowing life down, and where real happiness comes from.

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Though times are tough right now, and it seems like every time we turn around something else (or someone else) has broken, God reminds me every day that He Is in control. Because of that I know that we can keep trekking along!

Psalms 29:11 HCSB

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.

Love,
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My Top 10 Rules/Mottos for life (as I see it now)

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1. Life is about the choices you make and the perspectives you take.

2. Break it, buy it

3. Pot/Kettle

4. Dancing in the rain is better than pouting in the dry.

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5. Family is forever; never forget them or push them aside.

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6. Real friendships take as much work as real relationships; neither of which should be cast aside lightly.

7. Divorce is not an option. Never let the thought enter your mind. Just go in the other room, chill out, and then work it out. People don’t go around divorcing their siblings or parents every time they get ticked off. That is proof enough that crap can be worked out….in due time (and with lots of prayer).

8. The moment that your first instinct, when dramatic news comes your way, is to text/call your sweety (instead of your bff or mom) is when junk just hot serious!

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9. If your instinct to call/text your spouse first ever changes you might want to re-evaluate your relationships.

10. Faith in God is not saying that He WILL do something but rather that He can. Praying with faith does not mean praying with the belief that God will answer how you want. It is praying knowing that God can and asking if He would. Jesus showed us this when He asked His Father to take His cup.

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Hila Fay’s Sunday Conversations

Daddy (talking to me): Man, I got a crick in my neck!
Hila Fay: Me, too, Daddy! I gots a cricket in MY neck! It’s right here (points to the back of her neck)! See, Daddy? See da cricket in my neck?

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(Daddy is outside weed-eating around her swing-set and Hila Fay is standing on a small cooler watching him)
Hila Fay: YAY DADDY! GO DADDY! You can do it, Daddy! You can win da boo (blue) wibbon (ribbon)! I BELIEVE in you, Daddy!

Failure to persuade my kid

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You know those moments when you try to influence a kid’s decision by the inflection in your voice?

Me (as dull, flat and quickly as I can make it): Hila Fay, you-wanna-go-to-the-farm-with-you-daddy…

OR

(As excited and happy as I can be)
You wanna go for a WALK with MOMMY!?!?!?!

Hila Fay (puts a finger to her chin to emphasize her thinking): Uhm, I go to farm with DADDY!!!!

I have NO chance of winning in a contest with her dad!

Oh, well. At least she ate two more of my homemade brownies and told me “Dees are NUMMY, Momma!”

I reckon that’s what I get for having a Daddy’s girl. Perhaps next time I’ll bribe her with a promise of popcorn when we return.

At least my nephew, Zander, refused to go to his Momma today when I was holding him! Gotta take my victories where I can.

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World View vs Biblical View: Marriage

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I just read a post by a fellow blogger entitled, “Role Confusion and the Modern Woman” and started writing a comment but as I kept writing and writing (and writing) I thought that maybe this was getting a tad long for a mere comment. Since the questions that she raises are good, thought-provoking ones I thought that instead of commenting I would write my own post in response.

In order to fully appreciate where I am now, one must understand where I came from. Before I met Chuck and got married I led the “ideal” feminist life. While still in my early twenties I worked for a Fortune 500 company jet-setting and leaving my mark on the world. (For the complete story on my transformation take a look at my three-part series: The Farm: Part 1, The Farm: Part 2, and The Farm: Part 3). Now I am a part-time stay-stay-at-home wife; going to work two days a week, selling Pampered Chef on the side, and relishing every moment at home with my baby girl.

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(Our “duck faces”)

I think that part of the confusion of a woman’s/wife’s role, like Lindsey touched on, is the “feminist” view that our generations tend to be indoctrinated with. The denotations and connotations of words like submissive and housewife have become completely garbled up. I touched on this in my Submission is Strength post but, since I am on a role expressing unpopular views (like about modesty) I figure I’ll go ahead and expound a bit.

In Genesis 2:18 we are clearly told the reason of woman’s creation. It says, “Then The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'” (ESV, italics added). First, we were created to be a “helper”, second we were “fit”-we were expressly made and customized (like a pair of couture pants) for our husband! What attention and detail our God gave us!

The problem that seems to grate most is that pesky word “helper”, or “help-meet” in some translations. Before that spur under your saddle digs too deeply, pause for a moment and read Proverbs 31:10-31. REALLY read it, don’t get overwhelmed at all that she does but rather look at the woman that she is; at her qualities or characteristics. Here we have a woman who could easily put all those “feminist” views to rest.

The P31 woman is business-savy (what!?!): vs 16a, “She considers a field and buys it; …]”. She is compassionate (vs 20) and fashionable (vs 21-22). She is hard-working (vs 15) and dignified (vs 25). She has a sense of humor (vs 25) and is well thought of by everyone (vs 31). She is loved by her family (vs 28) and known for her kindness (vs 26).

Now, tell me, exactly what part of this woman is weak? Yes, we are called to submit to our husbands but this does not equal “lesser than”. Is an employee “less than” their boss because they submit to authority? Uhm, no. Each is an equally important member of the organization. The feminist view has contorted the true image of a godly wife and turned her into a voiceless pansy when in reality she is anything but.

So why, then, do we tend shun the biblical role of wife? I think that, at least for me initially, it was a culmination of multiple factors. First, I didn’t truly understand who this P31 woman was. Second, part of me dreaded the responses and looks that I would (and still) get from those who equate choosing to be a housewife (in the capacity that I can) with “wasting” my degree or life. Third, self-doubt; how can I be a “productive member of society” while sitting at home making muffins (even if they ARE really good)?

I wish I knew an instant cure to helping women feel confident in their role as a “helper”. Unfortunately, there are moments when I will see the world’s view of myself, remember who I was, and begin to doubt. But, it is during those moments that God will show me the rightness of His plan. It may be something simple, like the freedom of my schedule allowing me to pick up feed for the mules saving my weary, hard-working man an extra trip to town.

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Or, on one of the days that I do work, Hila Fay wrapping her arms tightly around my neck telling me that I’m “‘posed” (supposed) to stay home with her. Sometimes, it’s the way Chuck wraps his strong arms around me when I’m there to greet him after a long day at work, or the way Hila Fay will shout out, “BEST. DAY. EVER!” when we go for a walk.

I may not get paid in monetary terms or promotions for the work I do around the house, and my voice may be a minority-a whisper in the midst of a roaring gale. But I KNOW that the only way for my marriage to buck the growing trends of divorce and to truly be a happy one, is to follow His way. God has allowed our marriage to overcome odds that in this world’s view should have torn us apart. Yet, here we are. We celebrated our eighth anniversary this past February, Chuck really is my best friend, my face still lights up when I think, write or talk about him AND I still get butterflies when he steals a kiss.

Now, if you’ll forgive me it’s my day off and I have some coloring to do…and then maybe I’ll make some muffins.

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Protecting Your Marriage from the Devil’s Lies: Part 1

March 4, 2013 501 For several months the ladies at my church have been talking about doing a Women’s Bible Study.  Finally, last month we decided that we would start on April 20th and that it would last for four weeks.  I was terribly excited, and extremely nervous because it was deemed that I would be the one not only to lead the Bible Study but, to write it as well.  We had the idea to do our study on protecting our marriages.

I have read  Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets You Free, at least five times (check out my review of her book if you’re interested in learning more about it) and am greatly influenced by it.  In her book, Ms. DeMoss points out how we let lies influence us and, sometimes, control us.  She points out that every sin begins with us believing lie.  When our church’s women’s leader suggested that I somehow incorporate some of Nancy’s teaching into our study I started pondering and throwing things around in my head.  How could I possibly tie together exposing lies with protecting marriage and still keep the material completely original so that my sense of writer’s honor is not bruised?  For several weeks I made notes of thoughts that came to me, scripture I read that had ANYTHING to do with marriage, wives, and/or husbands.  I also listened to podcasts from influential preachers (John Piper has some GREAT apps that allow one to read/listen to his sermons, read past article and search through his blog posts) and read their blogs and sermons they had posted on their websites and jotted down relevant thoughts.  Then, in my typical procrastinating fashion, the night before our first class I began to gather my notes and attempt to turn them into something that the women could both enjoy and benefit from.  As I started writing God showed me the direction that he wanted me to take, and honestly, I didn’t fully understand just how intricately He wove everything together until the study yesterday.  God has given me a clear message to share and I am giddy with anticipation to see it all come to light!

Since not all of our ladies were able to attend the Bible Study, and in case they miss a week or some people would like to attend virtually, I decided that each week I would post a summary (Note the use of the word SUMMARY. These posts will in no way be totally inclusive.  I’ll not be able to accurately communicate the discussions that spurred as a result of a thought or verse, or the movement of the Holy Spirit that causes a speaker/teacher to digress) of what was discussed.  So, without further ado, here it is:

Protecting Your Marriage from the Devil’s Lies: Introduction

In order to create an impenetrable defense one must first understand the adversary.  Sports teams spend countless hours reviewing tapes of opposing teams so they can create the most effective game plan possible.  In times of war, military leaders and top political figures gather in their war rooms digging up every iota of information on their enemy in order to make the most effect tactical decisions.  Armies continually adapt their methods as warfare evolves.  There is a reason that modern day soldiers no longer ride gallantly out to battle wearing full coats of shining mail and sitting astride fierce destriers.   War has changed, dramatically.  Our armies have to make adjustments if they want to survive or to have any hope of winning.

The expression “The best offense is a good defense” is often attributed to 19th century Prussian military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz.  The saying is genius is its simplicity.  If one’s enemy cannot ever wound them, then the enemy has no hope of winning.  On the other hand, a country could have the most sophisticated weaponry money can buy, but if their adversary is able to overwhelm them the game is lost.

Corrie Ten Boom stated, “The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy.”  Our enemy is all around us.  His weapon is deceptively simple and yet far more powerful than we could possibly fathom.  He does not herald his presence with giant flashing arrows or update his status on a social media site.  No.  He captures us with his lies. He has had plenty of time to hone his skills and is quite effective at it.  We know our enemy: he is the oldest enemy of mankind.  He has had many names throughout history: Beelzebub, Lucifer, Angel of Light, Murderer, Satan, Devil.  His name may vary, but his weapon is always the same.  Sometimes it is used in a quiet whisper.  Sometimes it is shouted out-loud. It does not matter what the method of delivery is the result is the same: a lie has been told.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, in her book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free says that, “Every problem, every war, every wound, every broken relationship, every heartache-it all goes back to one simple lie.”

John 8:44b (ESV)  “[… [Satan] has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan’s weapon is part of him; it both defines and describes him.  In truth, our only real hope of victory lies not in direct battle, but rather in protecting ourselves with the best armor possible.  Our armor is more than just carrying around God’s Word, it is using it in our DAILY lives.  As Christians we are God’s soldiers.  God does not force His ways on us but rather lets us choose.  However, He despises those that ride the fence.

Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (some versions say “spew” or “vomit”) you out of my mouth.” (ESV)

In my mind, there are three types of Christian warriors:

The “Someday Soldier”

-This soldier leads their life according to their own rules.  They know of God, and believe in Him, but are “not ready” to live for Him.  They think they have plenty of time to “get things right” and are quite content as they are.

The “Sunday Soldier”

-This soldier puts on a very good show.  They go to church every Sunday.  Oftentimes they even teach a Sunday School class or hold an office.  Whenever they are in the presence of their fellow church members they behave impeccably.  However, when they are at work or a ballgame or surrounded by their “unchurched” friends they turn into a different creature.  They cuss, gossip, and have even been know to throw temper tantrums when things don’t go their way.  They participate in conversations that are crude and demeaning.  In fact, many people that know the “Sunday Soldier” would be surprised to find out that they even attend church.

*In my opinion, the “Sunday Soldier” is one of the most destructive things to Christianity.  Outsiders view them as hypocrites and often use these type of Christians as their excuse for not attending church.

The “Saintly Soldier”

-This is the type of soldier that we should all strive to be.  Most of us know people that fit into this category.  Usually they are  the members at church that exude a quiet confidence in their life.  They may not be the most outspoken but they are often-times the most respected.  They are the ones picking up the slack when everyone else disappears, and most times do it without even letting anyone else know.  They begin their days absorbed in God’s Word and kneeling to Him in prayer.  They don’t talk about how much they love God, they show it.

As a high school English teacher I was shocked to discover that the students who came from “broken families” or single parents were quickly out-numbering those that come from parents that had been married their entire lives.  Divorce and/or having children before marriage was/is quickly becoming the norm.  According to studies, about 75% of Americans claim to be Christian.  That’s around 234 million people.  Of those millions of people identifying themselves as Christian, approximately 45 million are married couples.  If we take just the “Christian” Couples who both claim Christianity AND attend church on a regular basis (according to a study conducted by Professor Bradley of the University of Connecticut) then there are 17 million of those couples divorced and/or in the process of divorcing.  To put that in an understandable perspective that would be about the populations of Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas all added together!

*Note, there is a VERY distinct reason that I became an English Major-it is as far away from Math as I could get! When I originally taught the class I underestimated the total number of divorced Christians and, to save anyone from making my mistake again, I’d just like to remind everyone that 17 million couples means 34 million individuals.  Just sayin’.

Through God, with God and because of God-we can buck this trend!

Ephesians 2:1-7:

1 And you were dead in trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-3-among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-6-and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Christ Jesus gives us the power and the tools to protect our marriages, but His armor does no good if we rarely (if ever) wear it; and in the same way, there is no use wearing protective gear on our chest if we leave our head exposed.  We need to look at any area that may be unprotected and shield it from our enemy’s attacks.

There are four essential areas that need to be protected.  I ask that you think and pray about these as we get ready to delve into the “meat” of things.

1. Protect Yourself

2. Protect Your Husband

3. Protect Your Relationship (bond, marriage…however you want to word it)

4. Protect Your “Next”-this will be the legacy that we leave behind and what we do to help stop the divorce trend. This could be your children, your sister, your youth group…however the Lord leads you.  I’ll explain this more later.

Please pray for us as we continue through this journey!

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Modesty Rules

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Image from promgirl.com

Earlier I read an article on Yahoo! that talked about a school district where parents were all in a tiff because the school was choosing to enforce its school hours dress code at its EIGHTH GRADE Spring Fling dance and therefore strapless gowns were not going to be allowed. This blog post may make me extremely unpopular, and may prove me to be a prudish mom-BUT, I’m gonna say it anyway. GOOD!

There are PLENTY of beautiful, modest dresses available for those young ladies. In fact, as long as my daughter lives in my house she will cover up all of her “assets”. I will, though, do my best to help her understand that her body is a gift from God meant only to be seen by her husband. I will be willing to spend countless hours helping her find a dress that makes her beam in delight, twirl like a princess and STILL honor our Heavenly Father.

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Related Post:
A VERY good post about modesty from my friend over at Faith and Madness (highly recommend following her)