Monday, March 2, 2015

Marriage Monday: Project P31 - Doing Your Husband Good {Link up}




Welcome back to Marriage Monday!  I'm so glad you've joined me as we focus on strengthening and promoting godly marriages, both in our nation and in our own backyards. 

Recently, I introduced a new series for wives (and future wives) based on the ideal wife of Proverbs 31. It is both fun and challenging to look at this passage verse by verse and then examine our own lives and look for practical ways to apply these timeless principles. Please join me each Monday for the next 19 weeks as we examine the character and wisdom of this noble woman and learn how we can each become a Model P31! 

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  ~ Proverbs 31:12

I encourage you to read this verse a few times and let it sink in. The P31 will do her husband good all the days of her life! There are so many treasures to dig out of this verse!  I can't wait to get started!  :)

First of all, I love reading verses I'm trying to understand in the Amplified Bible. The meaning is so . . . amplified!  ;)

She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her. ~ Proverbs 31:12 (Amplified Bible)

So, she does her husband good. What does that mean? Good is such an over-used word that we read it without any emotion or illumination.  What does it mean to be a good wife?  I have blogged about the Good Wife in the past, so you might enjoy reading that post here.

I love what author Elizabeth George says about the good wife in her book, Beautiful in God's Eyes:  
Hers is a heart of goodness! How refreshing in this day of selfishness -- of self-centeredness, self-esteem, self-image and self-assertion -- to come across a selfless spring of goodness. No wonder this woman is beautiful in God's eyes! But how is her heart of goodness demonstrated?  . . . She operates her life and his home in a way that routinely benefits him with good. Her waking prayer each day is to do her dear husband good -- to love him, serve him, honor him, advance him, spoil him, and ease his life.
Wow! If we could just live that out in our homes, there would be no further need for blog posts on marriage!  :)  Just think what marriages and homes all across our land would look like if every wife had that vision for her husband and her home?  Yes, I know there would still be a few scoundrels out there, but for the most part, men can't resist a wife like that!! That kind of goodness inspires them to treasure such a woman!  And isn't that what we want? To be treasured and spoiled by our husbands??  We hold the key to such a relationship when we focus on loving, serving, honoring, and spoiling our own husbands!! 

So, the model P31 should do her husband good, which is a challenge in itself, but there's more.  This verse specifically states, "and not evil."  What does that mean?  According to blueletterbible.org, the Hebrew word means, "bad, disagreeable, malignant."  Malignant?  That sounds like cancer!  That immediately makes me think of this verse:

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband; but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. ~ Proverbs 12:4

What a horrible thought -- that we as wives can be like a cancer eating away at our husbands!!

I quote once again from author Elizabeth George:
God's beautiful woman of Proverbs 31 experiences the same temptations toward evil that you and I do, but -- by God's grace -- she stands strong against them. At every opportunity to give in to selfishness, resentment, anger, disapproval, or disagreement, she perseveres against evil and instead chooses to follow after God's plan to do her husband good -- not evil.
Wow!  Isn't that a beautiful challenge??

I think we all desire to do our husbands good when we first join our hearts and lives together, and yet selfishness often gets in the way!  I've discovered that Satan sets traps for us.  I call these traps the 4 C's:  Comparison, Criticism, Covetousness, and Contention.  

This is what happens -- we start comparing our husbands, our homes, our lives with others we know.  This creates a critical spirit toward our own husbands, and a spirit of covetousness towards others.  The result is we become a contentious wife!

It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and an angry woman.  ~ Proverbs 21:19

When we fall into the trap of being contentious and angry women, we are doing our husbands evil and not good, which is as rottenness in their bones, and we are tearing down our homes as the Bible warns against!

Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  ~ Proverbs 14:1

So, it is imperative that we focus on doing our husbands good, and not evil. The next part of our verse says, "all the days of her life."

We don't just do our husbands good for the first ten years of our marriage, or as long he is treating us well, or as long as our needs are being met.  We don't even do our husbands good as long as he is alive.  We are instructed to do good to our husbands as long as we are alive!!! 

Wow! How is that even possible?  By continuing to build his reputation and honor by our good works and the positive way we speak of him all the days of our lives!!

There is a lot more to this verse than first meets the eye, don't you think??  I don't know about you, but I have a few things to work on!  ;)

Especially for Single P31s:

If you are still waiting and longing for a husband that you can do good to, did you know that this verse totally applies to you now?  As we just examined, this verse says to do good to your husband all the days of your life.

If you are alive right now, you can be doing good to your future husband by saving yourself for him, physically and emotionally, and by preparing yourself to be a virtuous wife! The fact that you are reading this post as a single woman shows you are on the right track!

You will find many opportunities to practice good works in your home, church and community.  You can also practice dying to self, learning the art of contentment, and avoiding those deadly 4 C's!  Even as a single young woman, you can become ensnared by comparison, criticism, covetousness and contentiousness!  If you conquer those deadly C's now, you'll be in a great position to do your future husband good all the days of your life!


Project P31, Mission #3:

Our mission for this week to examine our actions and attitudes to determine if we are doing our husbands good or evil?  Are we practicing contentment and unselfishness or are we letting ourselves be ensnared by comparison, criticism, covetousness and contentiousness?  Are we building up our husbands and our homes or tearing them down? What good works characterize our lives? What about the words we speak?  Do our words do good or evil to our husband's reputation?

Wow!  There's a lot to work on from just one verse!  What areas do you need to work on as you strive to be a Model P31 who does her husband good, and not evil, all the days or your life?


Your Turn to Share:

I hope you'll take time to complete your mission for this week and share your thoughts here!  Please leave a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at elizabeth@yestheyareallours.com if you wish to share a private testimony or a guest post.



If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!



Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



marriage mondays



NOTE:  Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post.  Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name!  Thanks!





Monday, February 23, 2015

Marriage Monday: Project P31 - A Trustworthy Woman {Link up}




Welcome back to Marriage Monday!  I'm so glad you've joined me as we focus on strengthening and promoting godly marriages, both in our nation and in our own backyards. 

Recently, I introduced a new series for wives (and future wives) based on the ideal wife of Proverbs 31. Two weeks ago, we started this journey together by exploring the incredible value of this virtuous woman. Last week, I was visiting with my Mom and Dad and took an unplanned blogging break, but I'm glad to be back with you today learning from this amazing woman of the Bible! 

Please join me each Monday for the next 20 weeks as we examine the character and wisdom of this noble woman and learn how we can each become a Model P31! 



The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have 
no need of spoil.  ~ Proverbs 31:11

What a beautiful picture this is!  This woman is so trustworthy that her husband's mind and heart are totally at rest. He can safely trust his wife to conduct herself with wisdom and discretion, and he is assured that she has his best interests in mind! The excellent wife has earned her husband's complete trust through her wise handling of the daily affairs of life. From daily duties, such as getting meals on the table or making sure he has clean underwear, to major decisions and purchases, this woman demonstrates her loyalty to her husband and children and her ability to act with wisdom and prudence.

"Our calling as God's women is to live life in such a solid way that our husband never worries or wonders about our character or our management of our home, our finances, or our time."  ~ Elizabeth George, Beautiful in God's Eyes.

A Model P31 demonstrates loyalty, faithfulness, trustworthiness, responsibility, thriftiness, wisdom, and discretion.  

If you are a wife, evaluate your life and ask yourself if you husband is at rest, able to safely trust in you in the following areas:

1. Money - Can your husband safely trust you to wisely spend money, to stay on budget, to be thrifty and to use resources wisely?  Or do you overspend and hide purchases from your husband?  Do you purpose to live within your means, or do you run up credit card debt?

2. Children - Can your husband rest in the fact that you are attentive to the needs of your children and raising them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?  Or does he have to worry that you've set them in front of the TV so you can take a nap or do your own thing?

3. Home - Is your husband able to rest in the fact that he will have clean laundry and a meal to eat when he gets home from work?  Is he confident that your house will be reasonably clean and orderly?  Or is your home so chaotic that no one wants to be there?

4. Reputation - Is your husband's heart at rest knowing that his reputation is safe with you, because you will do him good and not evil all the days of your life?  Or does he have to worry about where you are going, what you are doing, and what you are saying about him to your friends?

5. Purity - Can your husband trust that you are keeping your mind, heart, and body pure and the marriage bed undefiled?  Or does he have to worry about the trash you might be reading or watching?  (Fifty Shades of Grey perhaps?)  Is he confident of your faithfulness to your marriage vows, or does your flirtatious manner make him worry about your loyalty to him?

Especially for Single P31s:

If you are an unmarried woman, you can still evaluate yourself in these same areas. You may not realize this, but becoming a wife does not suddenly transform your character!  How you manage yourself now reflects how you will manage yourself when you are married!

1. Money - how do you handle your own financial resources or those that your father has entrusted you with?  Do you spend money wisely and carefully manage your resources or are you extravagant and wasteful?

2. Children - how do you treat your siblings or other children in your life?  Do you treat them with disdain or do you consider them worthy of time and investment?

3. Home - how do you manage your apartment, house or bedroom?  Do you keep it reasonably clean and neat or is it a pigpen? Do you demonstrate respect for your property and the property of others?

4. Reputation - Do you guard your reputation and the reputation of your earthly parents and your heavenly Father through prudent choices and wise living?  Do you avoid even the appearances of evil?

5. Purity - Do you keep your mind, heart and body pure, saving yourself for your future husband? Or do you "wallow in the mud with the pigs" and wonder why no worthwhile man seems interested in you?

These are just a few areas that deserve your attention, if you are aspiring to be a Model P31! 



Project P31, Mission #2:

Our mission for this week to examine our character and conduct and determine if we are trustworthy in every area of our lives. Can others trust you to be a woman of your word?  Can they trust you to fulfill your responsibilities? Can you be trusted to govern yourself and live wisely in this age of "anything goes"? What areas do you need to work on as you strive to be a Model P31 who is worthy of trust?


Your Turn to Share:

I hope you'll take time to complete your mission for this week and share your thoughts here!  Please leave a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at elizabeth@yestheyareallours.com if you wish to share a private testimony or a guest post.



If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!



Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



marriage mondays



NOTE:  Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post.  Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name!  Thanks!




Monday, February 9, 2015

Marriage Monday: Project P31 - A Rare and Valuable Jewel {Link up}





Welcome back to Marriage Monday!  I'm so glad you've joined me as we focus on strengthening and promoting godly marriages, both in our nation and in our own backyards. 

Last week I introduced a new series for wives (and future wives) based on the ideal wife of Proverbs 31. If you missed last week's post, you'll want to click over and read it first, so we'll be on the same page as we go into this series together. 

Often women are intimidated by this exemplary woman and refuse to learn from her, but I want to encourage you that while the standard may be high, it's not out of reach!  When we allow God to work in our lives, He can be trusted to mold us and make us into women of great value!  That means that you (yes, you!) can become a woman of excellence and virtue, just like the highly esteemed woman of Proverbs 31!  

Please join me each Monday for the next 21 weeks as we examine the character and wisdom of this noble woman and learn how we can each become a Model P31! 






Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  ~ Proverbs 31:10

The adjective describing this woman has been translated virtuous, excellent, noble in character, capable, and good in various translations of the Bible. The actual Hebrew word chayil means strength, might, wealth, or army, and when used elsewhere in Scripture is most often translated as army or men of valor. 
So, when I think of this woman, I think of a woman who is strong, capable, courageous and worth an entire army to her family and her nation!  In fact, her value is priceless!

I've always wondered why the virtuous woman was not compared to a diamond, instead of a ruby.  But a little research taught me that a top quality 1-carat ruby is worth twice as much as a 1-carat diamond!  In fact, I learned that a clear, transparent, and faultless ruby of a uniform deep-red color is the most valuable precious stone known to man!  Such rubies are the rarest of the most precious gemstones and a large (5 carats or more) translucent ruby is worth millions of dollars!

In a price survey done by the International Gem Society, top color gems in the 1/2 to 1 carat size are being sold, retail, on the Internet with a range of $1000 to $3000/ct.  A synthetic replica may sell for around $30. 

Like a ruby, a woman can take on the outer appearance of a godly woman, but unless God is forming her inner character, she is a counterfeit!  

Through our own effort, we may be able to become a sparkly, man-made, discount-store "ruby" -- but only God can create a truly valuable gem!  In addition, if you know anything about gem formation, these precious stones are generally formed below the earth's surface as a result of extreme heat and pressure.  A model P31 is formed in the same way -- beneath the surface, deep in her heart that God is shaping, and through the daily trials and pressures that He is orchestrating to help fashion her into His likeness!

That's why we are instructed to count it all joy when we encounter various trials, knowing that God is using them to shape us and perfect us. He wants to present us faultless and without spot or blemish!

Hopefully, learning about the rarity and value of a high quality natural ruby will help you grasp what a treasure the virtuous woman is!  

Project P31, Mission #1:

Our mission for this week to focus on what's going on "beneath the surface" of our lives.  Are we spending time with the Lord and in His Word, learning to think His thoughts and value what He values?  Are we carefully monitoring what we allowing to enter our minds and hearts, so that we can be pure and blameless in His sight?  Are we submitting ourselves to the pressures He brings into our lives, knowing that He is using them for a purpose -- to fashion us into a rare and priceless "ruby?" 



Your Turn to Share:

I hope you'll take time to complete your mission for this week and share your thoughts here!  Please leave a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at elizabeth@yestheyareallours.com if you wish to share a private testimony or a guest post.



If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!



Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



marriage mondays




NOTE:  Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post.  Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name!  Thanks!





Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blanket Training 101



Yesterday, for my Tuesday's Tip {from a Mom of 10} I shared one of my secrets to maintaining my sanity with ten children -- blanket training my babies!  :)  Since I've received several requests for more information on how I actually accomplished that task, I thought I'd do a follow up post today.


As I shared yesterday, blanket training offers many advantages for baby, including keeping the curious child safe, teaching her obedience and self-control, and providing a sense of security in a strange environment. It also offers many advantages for Mom, including giving her a way to keep baby contained and safe while she cooks dinner or homeschools, teaching a very young child to respect boundaries, and providing a way to keep a baby or toddler protected and constructively occupied when away from home.  (Blanket Training is like having "a playpen in your purse!")  

Here is a suggested procedure for blanket training a baby:

Young infants should spend some time each day on the floor on a baby quilt.  I hear the current generation of moms referring to that as "tummy time," since their babies sleep on their backs.  (I always find that somewhat amusing, since I did it the other way around with my crew!)  This gets baby used to being on a blanket on the floor.

There's no need to start training a baby to a blanket until they begin to become mobile. The exact age will vary widely, due to differences in development.  I started training most of my babies to a blanket at around 7 to 9 months of age.

Place baby on the blanket on the floor with a few toys. Then take something like a rubber spatula (the kind you scrape a bowl with), and tap the floor or carpet all around the edges of the blanket and say firmly, "No Touch, No Touch."  Then, everytime the baby begins to crawl or scoot off the blanket, say something like, "No Touch the floor.  Stay on your blanket," while placing him or her back on the blanket. 

Baby will cry. Your heart will want to rescue your little one. That's why blanket training requires determination and diligence on your part! Keep putting baby back on the blanket!  Keep showing baby the boundaries.  Be patient and loving  . . . but determined.

Most babies resist having to adhere to the boundaries you set, so they will keep trying to crawl off!  Eventually, you will have to give the offending little hand a small pop with the rubber spatula, while repeating, "No Touch the floor. Stay on your blanket."  Try to always use the same commands when speaking to baby.  Be kind and gentle, but firm and unwavering.

You must be consistent or baby will become confused and the training process will be extended, making it harder on both of you!!

Start with 5 minutes at a time two or three times a day, and gradually increase the time on the blanket.  An older baby or toddler should be able to stay on the blanket for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, especially if you rotate toys.

At one point of my life, I was homeschooling 5 children, and had three babies/preschoolers who were each 18 months apart.  I put all three of them on blankets during our homeschool morning and rotated toys every 30 minutes!  I had little baskets of duplo blocks, little cars and trucks, Fisher Price Little People sets, stacking cups, a Lauri shape and color sorter, toddler puzzles, cardboard books, etc.  I also utilized nap time, play time with an older sibling, high chair time, etc. to make it through our school day -- but that's another post for another day!  :)

Let me know how your blanket training adventure goes.  Oh, and one more thing, make sure you praise your baby when he or she is playing nicely on the blanket!  Smile brightly and say, "Good Boy (or Good Girl) to stay on your blanket!"  :)


A note to grandmothers:  You aren't doing your grandchild (or your daughter or daughter-in-law) any favors by not enforcing blanket training when baby is at your house or under your care!  When baby is placed on the blanket, he or she needs to be required to stay on the blanket!  But, baby should NOT be expected to stay on a blanket all day!!  When blanket time is up, you'll have plenty of time to hold or love on that sweet grandbaby!  :)  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Blanket Training for Babies



One of the most helpful tips I can give to mothers of little ones is to implement blanket training.

Blanket Training is the art of teaching an older baby or toddler to sit quietly and play on a baby quilt or other defined area for a certain amount of time.  While the training process requires determination and consistency, the rewards are definitely worth it!

This practice offers many advantages for baby, including keeping the curious child safe, teaching her obedience and self-control, and providing a sense of security in a strange environment.

It also offers many advantages for Mom, including giving her a way to keep baby contained and safe while she cooks dinner or tends to another child, teaching a very young child to respect boundaries, and providing a way to keep an older baby or young child protected and constructively occupied when away from home.

A blanket-trained baby is a blessing to be around, because when the blanket comes out, the young child knows how to play contentedly with a basket of toys for a reasonable amount of time, whether at home, at a friend's house, at church, at a doctor's office or at a business meeting.

It is easy to throw a blanket and a few toys into a diaper bag or purse, which is why blanket training has been called "a playpen in a purse."



Sarah's Mommy, Kristi, has wisely taught her to play on a blanket for a few minutes each day.

To learn how you can blanket train your baby, refer to my post, Blanket Training 101.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Marriage Monday: Aspiring to Become a Model P31 {Link up}





Welcome back to Marriage Monday!  I'm so glad you've joined me as we focus on strengthening and promoting godly marriages, both in our nation and in our own backyards. 

If you missed last week's post, you may want to click over and read it.  I shared a valuable guest post from a lovely newlywed on the hardest lesson she had to learn as a new wife!

Today I want to introduce a new series for wives (and future wives) based on the ideal wife of Proverbs 31. Often men talk about models of cars they admire and long to possess. You may hear them kick around terms like F15, MX-5, Z4, or 280Z.  So, we are going to kick around our own model number -- P31!  That's going to be our code name for the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, which I hope we are all aspiring to become!  :)

Wait! Don't roll your eyes or close your browser! I know it seems that the Proverbs 31 woman is too perfect and too out of reach for the average woman today!  But, I want to show you that it is possible with God's help for each of us to become a Model P31! 

Perhaps it will help if you realize that it wasn't a man who gave us this description of the ideal wife -- it was a woman! This woman was the wise mother of a young prince who would one day be king!  After teaching him some important lessons about leadership in verses 1-9, she taught him the characteristics of the type of wife he should seek in verses 10-31. Because he was still a lad, she organized the list of qualities to look for in a wife into an acrostic poem based on the Hebrew alphabet. That means that each line of this section of Scripture begins with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This format made it easier to memorize and recite these instructions.  So, in other words, what we have here are the ABC's of Godly Womanhood!

While the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 may seem larger than life and impossible to live out, God made sure that the Scriptures prove otherwise.  First of all, we have a real life example of the virtuous woman in Ruth (Ruth 3:11).  Secondly, we are told that a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband (Proverbs 12:4), and that many daughters have lived virtuously (Proverbs 31:29). So, we can be assured that the virtuous life of the Model P31 is not a photo-shopped image that we can never reach, but a real life goal to shoot for!

Perhaps the secret to understanding this excellent wife is that realizing while our day to day lives may not look exactly like hers, we can all learn from her spiritual and practical wisdom and her strength of character.  It's not so much what she does, but who she is!

There is no need to feel defeated when we look at the description of her life in this passage, because this is not a page torn out of her planner!  Most certainly this was not a description of one day's activity, but  more an overview of her life through many seasons.  I love what Edith Schaeffer says about the Proverbs 31 woman, "Certainly all the admirable things written about this woman did not take place in one year. It seems to me it is a summary of the great diversity of accomplishments and results of her work and imagination and talents over a long period of time." (from Common Sense Christian Living, by Edith Schaeffer)

Hopefully, this introduction to the virtuous wife has reassured you that you (yes, you!) can become a woman of excellence and virtue, just like the highly esteemed woman of Proverbs 31!  Please join me each Monday for the next 22 weeks as we examine the character and wisdom of this noble woman and learn how we, too, can become a Model P31!


Your Turn to Share:

Are you intimidated by the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31?  What about her scares you?  Are you willing to put these fears and preconceived ideas behind and aspire to become a P31?  Please leave a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at elizabeth@yestheyareallours.com if you wish to share a private testimony or a guest post.



If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!



Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



marriage mondays




NOTE:  Please link up your blog post on marriage below by entering the url of your specific post.  Where it says "Your Name" enter the title of your blog post, not your personal name!  Thanks!





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars

If you ask me, the most irresistible flavor combination in the world is sweet and salty, especially peanut butter and chocolate. That's why these bars are dangerous for me to have around -- I  can't leave them alone!  

So, consider yourself forewarned!  These little bars may be hazardous to your waistline!  ;)






Because they are so easy and delicious, they are perfect to take to a church fellowship, to satisfy a group of hungry teens, or to serve at your next Super Bowl party.

Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
2 cups pretzel rods, crushed into crumbs (in food processor!)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup plus 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Directions:
In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, pretzel crumbs, confectioner's sugar and 1 cup of the peanut butter. Mix together until well combined. 

Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13" baking dish.  

Combine the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate and peanut butter are melted and smooth (about 1 minute). Then spread over the peanut butter-pretzel layer.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares and serving.

Don't blame me if you can't leave these alone!  :)


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