Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

No, we don't celebrate this holiday. In fact, my children often say, "It's the devil's holiday!" I don't remember ever saying those words. I do remember teaching them years ago about the history of Halloween. I read to them from secular books which gave the many traditions of the beginning of this day. It was the children who realized whose "Holy Day" it really is.

Anyway, we had a very happy day today. It began by having the children's pictures taken. First time in years that we've done a group shot. The best part about it is, the photographer is designing the annual Christmas card with the photo I choose. That's it. No tears, no stress, nothing. You can read about what usually occurs during these lovely Christmas photo shoots here. But, not this year. It's done - hallelujah!

The best part of today began on Sunday. Our oldest son, Michael, mentioned that he wanted to go into town and pass out tracts on Halloween. From there, the idea developed and we began packing candy into ziplock bags along with one Chic Tract (Li'l Suzy) and a "God Loves You" tract from Fellowship Tract League, and hand written cards with "A treat for YOU" written on them. This afternoon found 7 eager children and their mom walking along the Main Street giving bags of candy to whoever was outside. As we still had some left, I had a great time pulling into the driveways of several of our neighbors and watching my children (we sent groups of 3 at a time) run up to knock on the door and give a treat to the people at home. Whenever they were offered candy, they said "no thank you" with the biggest smiles on their faces!

Working together, having fun, and getting the gospel out. All coming from the idea of my 11 year old. Can anyone say they had a happier Halloween?

Halloween - in our house, the day belonged to God!:)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Women's Suffrage Part 2

Please visit Sarah's blog especially if you think that women who vote according to their husbands are just not using the brains God gave us. Even if you agree with my last post, Sarah's thoughts are written very clearly and are quite and encouragement (or admonishment).

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Women's Suffrage

I hesitated writing about this subject as I know it may ruffle some feathers. However, I read my "cousin's" blog last night and about fell off my chair realizing that she holds the same beliefs I do in this area. I thought I was the ONLY one. So, her writing gave me encouragement to let you all know how I feel about women voting.

I think we should vote...according to how our husbands (or fathers, for single women) vote. The reason women fought for their right to vote was mainly because they lost confidence in their husbands and fathers. Women didn't trust the votes of the men. So, they took matters into their own hands - usurping authority over a man. They no longer reverenced their husbands (or fathers) by allowing him to lead his home in the voting decision.

Many Christians women who are against feminism will support it as they vote for whomever THEY want at the polls - with no consideration of how their husbands are going to vote.

We women have the right to vote, therefore, I believe it is our responsibility to vote and allow our voice to be heard - as long as our voice is ringing in unison with our husband's.

We have the right to vote. We have the responsibility to vote. We are commanded by God to reverence, obey, and honor our husbands. Is it honoring him when you say, "Well, I don't think your choice is a good one, so I will make my own decision in this election"?

"Would you vote for Obama, if your husband did? How could you, as a Christian, live with that?" you may ask. For the record, my husband isn't voting for Obama - I don't even know if he's voting for McCain. He may choose a 3rd party - a throw away vote. I will vote the same. Why? Because I don't have to answer for whom I vote for. I have to answer to God for how I have reverenced my husband and how I've lived my life as a Christian woman.

Get out there and vote...all the while honoring your husband.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beautiful Moms - No "Just" About It



Due to shortage of time, I give you one short thought this week.

There's nothing "just" about being a stay-at-home mom and/or housewife.

In God's eyes, it's far above running for Vice President of the United States.

It's far above being CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

It's far above being the Most Beautiful Woman of 2008.

"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."

"...To be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

When the Lord looks at you and you tell Him, "I was just a mom" He will say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Is there any higher praise? Is there any higher calling? You're not just another Vice Presidential candidate. You're not just another actress. YOU are a Beautiful Mom.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Newly-Wed Tale


As I have friends who are soon to be married and others who are still considered newly weds, I often take time to look back on my newly-wed years. Most of my memories are sweet and happy, while some I'd rather forget. Mainly, because of my immaturity at 21 years of age. Fortunately, some of those rather-I'd-forget moments have at least become memories at which I can laugh - and so can my husband.

Such as the night I locked myself out of our apartment.

We were married only a few months. All during my growing up years I heard how a good and loving husband showed his love - remained faithful, brought home a paycheck, and, most importantly, showered his bride with love notes and flowers. Any man who did not do those things was taking his wife completely for granted.

I must say, I'm not sure if there really was a class on all of this, but the ideas were formed over many years of listening to various marriage seminars, reading "Christian romance" novels, and, of course, from the opinion of a bunch of fairy-tale minded teenagers.

Anyway, the fact that Eric only bought me flowers once or twice during the 4 years we dated never seemed to bother me. However, when we were married for a few months and nary a blossom appeared, I just knew he didn't love me!

So, one night, I was going to let him know just how hurt I was. This, of course, would make him realize how he was taking me for granted and he would run to the closest flower shop and bring home a dozen of the prettiest roses ever grown.

Unfortunately, I never had the knack for bringing up these discussions at just the right time. See, he always was so kind to me that I never had the nerve to tell him where he was completely taking me for granted. So, I'd keep my mouth shut until we went to bed. Then, I couldn't sleep as I just had to let him know how I felt. Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath, right?

So, this particular night, we went to bed and I began my routine.

*Sigh*

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," I'd say a bit pitifully.

Silence.

*Sigh*

"Something's wrong. What is it?" asks the exhausted man.

"Nothing, really."

Now is where I would make my ingenious move. He was bound to ask me one more time what was wrong and then I'd tell him.

*Sigh*

Silence.

*Sigh*

More silence. This wasn't going according to plan.

So, I wait. I begin to toss and turn. Then, I lay still waiting for some sort of response.

Soft snoring.

Great. More tossing and turning along with strategically placed sighs.

Eventually, this does rouse him. Just enough for him to leave to go lay down on the couch.

"WHAT?!!! There. That proves it. He just doesn't care about me. Not only does he neglect to spend $80 a week on flowers that will die, he doesn't care that I can't sleep because he's breaking my heart!"

Mature, I know. The things they don't cover in pre-marital counselling.

So, after some louder tossing and turning to see if he'll crawl back to me (which - surprise - he didn't ), I go out to the living room.

Sound asleep and snoring. Mr. Romantic.

Then, a brilliant plan began to form in my vengeful brain. I would leave the apartment. He was bound to hear the door close and come running after me to see where he had so carelessly let me down. Brilliant! (Please, does anyone else have a story remotely like this?)

So, I get dressed and open the door. I shut it behind me - I didn't slam it, but I wasn't extremely quiet about it, either.

As soon as I heard the click of the latch I realized my terrible mistake. Our door was one of those where you could turn the knob even when it was locked (on the inside). I had forgotten to unlock the door.

As I said, brilliant.

So, now I'm outside without any keys. Not to panic - he's awake waiting to see if I'll come back in. When I don't, he'll come find me.

So, I sit outside of our door on the only place possible - the ground. Did I mention that our door was directly at the top of the stairs? Yeah, the couple who walked up the stairs a half hour later are probably still talking about the crazy lady sitting on the ground near their apartment.

It soon became obvious that my sleeping husband never heard the door close. But, that's ok. He was bound to wake up and return to our bed only to find me missing and he'd immediately come looking for me to make sure I was safe and ok.

Did I ever tell you that my husband is one of the soundest sleepers ever to live?

After a while, the hard ground got a bit uncomfortable. As it was past mid-night, going for a walk didn't seem like the safest idea. Notice, none of my plans thus far turned out well. With the way things were going, I'd end up dead and no one would ever find my body.

Of course, then my husband would feel bad. But, I wasn't willing to make that kind of sacrifice for a little pity.

So, I'm tired and the evening is getting cooler (good thing it was already springtime in the South). So, my last resort is our 1976 Oldsmobile Delta '88. Roomy is an understatement - the car is monstrous. More importantly, it's unlocked.

So, I climb into the back seat. No blanket. No key to listen to the radio. Just me - awake, locked out of my house, and feeling really stupid.

For hours.

At last, my husband came bounding down the stairs with a look of panic, found me and apologized all over the place for his indescribable inconsideration.

Wait. No. I'm mistaking. That wasn't quite the way it happened.

A little while after the sun rose - I think it was around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m., my husband came outside with a bit of a puzzled look on his face. He opened the car door and asks, "Have you been out here all night?"

"Um, yeah."

"Why?"

"Didn't you hear me leave?"

"No. I slept really well. I just woke up."

Again - brilliant.

Shamefully, I finally explained how I had been feeling and, as the words were spoken aloud, I realized how idiotic my self-pity really was. He was very kind, but not in the least apologetic. I didn't marry a wimpy guy. I married a compassionate man who stands by me as I learn my lessons. We took a walk and I walked back into our home with much more humility than when I left.

It took me a while to realize that my husband isn't the kind to buy me roses or write me love notes. He's the kind that will wash the dishes after supper so that I can take care of other things. He's the kind that will find a wildflower in the woods and bring it back to me because he knows I'll like it. He's the kind that will bring home a "Dove" chocolate bar after picking up some things I need from the store. He's the kind that will go out into the freezing snowstorm and bring in a stack of wood so our family can be warm and comfortable. He's the kind that will sit with our children in the E.R. for hours on end without complaint. He's the kind that showers me with gifts from his heart - not from a box the rest of the world wants to put him in.

He's also the kind of husband who doesn't tell the embarrassing tales of the immature young bride he married and I love him for it!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Look and a New Blog

Ok - I guess I don't need to announce I've changed the look of Love & Rewards yet again. Hope you like it. Or get used to it!:)

I also am announcing a new blog. I realize that there may be some readers that may not be all that interested in my home-school ventures, so I have begun the Teaching Mommy blog for those who may be interested in what is going on in our school day. I will continue to focus on the fun and lessons in marriage and raising children here at Love & Rewards.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Beautiful Moms - Beauty Rest



It is late. I'm afraid my Beautiful Moms post will not be very profound this week, but I thought I should post rather than miss two weeks in a row.

Based on my sleepiness, this is my thought: A Beautiful Mom gets sleep - and plenty of it. I realize that Proverbs 31 says, "She riseth also while it is yet night..." and "...her candle goeth not out by night."

I believe for sure that we are to rise early in the morning - yes, before the sun is up. Do I follow through with this everyday? Unfortunately, no. I am amazed at how much I am able to accomplish when I get up at 5 or 5:30 a.m. The true miracle is that I'm more awake and full of energy on the days I rise early. Yes, I'm tired by the time 9 or 10:00 p.m. rolls around, but this is my point -

Go to bed early enough to be able to rise up early.

"But, what about my candle no going out by night?" you ask. I don't know if this means to burn the midnight oil EVERY night. I think there are times when we must stay up late to get some work done. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I stayed up all night to can peaches. Why? Because I was able to do it without interruption. If you've ever canned, you know that there are several times during the process that things have to be done quickly and in order. Try doing that with 7 children roaming the house and pulling at your skirt. So, that night, my lights did not go out until 5:00 a.m. No kidding. I left a note for the children near their cereal bowls letting them know why I would not be up for breakfast, but letting them know that I'd be up by 9:00 - when I would get the baby out of bed. I left them instructions and they followed them beautifully.

But, do I make a habit of this? No way. Why? I'd be miserable with only 4 hours of sleep every night. Oh, I love to stay up late. I'm a night-owl by nature. I have to force myself to get to bed at a decent hour (notice the time of this post - I'm hurrying to finish it up!). But, I have noticed that when I get 7 hours sleep at night and still am able to rise up early, those days go so much more smoothly than the days when I'm struggling to get out of bed at the same time as my children after staying up late the night before.

"It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late...for so he giveth his beloved sleep." We like to focus on the "vain to rise up early" part. However, this verse is telling us how useless it is to get up early enough to worship the Lord after staying up until the late hours of the night.

It's tempting to enjoy and relish in the quiet night-time hours. But, it's not worth it when mommy wakes up grumpy and red-eyed in the morning. Beautiful Moms get sleep at night.

That said, I'm going to try to get my beauty sleep.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Counting my Blessings

It's been a long time since I've counted them on this blog, but it's about time to give thanks to the Lord and tell what He has done.

1. I spent 9 hours alone with my oldest son today. Appointments, errands, and a classical concert. We talked. We enjoyed being together. We didn't argue. I saw a glimpse of the man he's becoming.

2. I hugged my husband for a long time today. In this day and age, I feel a peace and security in his arms. I am thankful I have a husband to hug.

3. I stopped in the middle of cleaning up the house to play Sesame Street dominoes with my 4 and 6 year olds. It was fun.

4. I got to talk about my college days with a young girl from church. A girl who comes once a week to do ALL of our ironing. Can we say "BLESSED"?!

5. Even after being gone most of the day and playing that rousing game of dominoes, my house is neat and orderly. And, so is my mind.

6. What time I am afraid, I can trust in God. He gives me the peace that passeth all understanding.

7. Major Dave is coming up next week and I get to see him and his fiancee together again.

8. I talked with my mom on the phone. I have a mom to talk on the phone with - on an almost daily basis.

9. I saw my older brother and his family today. I have a brother whom I love and can look up to. I have a sister-in-law who is so loving and giving - I could never repay her for all she has done for us and the love she's shared. Their children are probably my children's best friends.

10. I have a younger brother. I'm thankful that he hasn't dis-owned me for my lack of phone calls. I love him to pieces. His wife? Truly an example to me of a mom who truly loves spending time with her children.

11. I am loved and I love. Too often, I take this for granted. Tonight, I am grateful.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs - Snacks

Homeschool Memoirs!

I've skipped the last couple of assignments as they either didn't pertain to my life very much or I just didn't have a whole lot of time. This week, I'm supposed to write about snacks my kids like to, well, snack on.

At first I wondered what was so interesting about the snacks homeschool children consume. But, as I thought about it, I realize that healthy snacks or home-made treats from mom are a novelty in this age of after-school programs and day care. I have the precious blessing to make lasting memories with providing a simple thing such as an afternoon snack for my children.

We don't have snacks every day and when we do, it's often "on the go" - i.e. take an apple and go on outside. My kids would snack all day if I let them. You would think I never fed them with all the begging for food they do. When I do give in to their pleas for nourishment, they are often happy to fill up on apples, bananas, carrots, or some crackers. If I get a chance to make cookies, they love getting a chance to test one as soon as it cools down enough.

We are beginning the best season for snacking. During the late fall and throughout the winter,
I use the fresh cow's milk from a farmer friend of ours and we make the best home-made hot chocolate in the world. Munching on some home-made cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip, pumpkin chocolate chip, or just your basic chocolate chip), apples, or our favorite popcorn along with the warm beverage is a loved tradition at our house on cold winter afternoons.

Snacks. A simple thing. Something we see as ordinary. But, it's one of those little things that bring a sparkle to our children's eyes and I'm grateful to be home to see those sparkles!