Friday, May 22, 2015

From my Front Porch ~ May 22, 2015



Welcome back to my {supposed to be!} weekly series, From my Front Porch, where I share updates from my home and family. My hope is that you'll fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea and imagine us sitting together on my front porch, chatting about life and catching up on the latest news!  I hope you'll join me each Friday on My Front Porch!  





Thank you for all your positive feedback after last week's post!  I enjoyed reading the comments and emails from several of you!  You sure know how to motivate a person to keep up with blogging!  :)

I realized after last week's post that I didn't mention Chris at all.  He is going to the local tech school where he is studying Computer Networking and working at a nearby grocery store.  He also makes time to see this girl every chance he gets!  :)





During the year we are very involved with our homeschool co-op, which meets at our church every Thursday, plus has other activities, field trips and community service projects. Yesterday was our end-of-the-year picnic at the beach.  One of the fathers brought a seining net, which not only enthralled our children, but some tourists who were at the beach as well! See all of those little balls?  They are Jellyballs! Each time they brought the net in, it held hundreds of them! The kids threw them all back into the ocean and then filled the net again!  I've heard they are a popular food in Japan, China and Thailand . . . but not so much in these parts!  :)

Here are some pictures of their fun:





Back in April our group took a field trip to The Holy Land Experience in Orlando and to the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, FL.  Here are some pictures of that adventure:
















  
Well, Tiffany just arrived home from SC and we are off to spend the day with her!  It's another beautiful beach day, so maybe we will end up there!  See you next week!









Thanks for stopping by my front porch for a visit! I'd love for you to take a moment to "sign my guest book" (leave a comment!) so I can know that you stopped by and enjoyed your visit!  Please join me again next Friday on my front porch!  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Marriage Monday: Project P31: She Lays Her Hands to the Spindle




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. 

Today I am continuing my 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 as we continue to examine the character and wisdom of this noble woman and learn how we can each become a Model P31! 


She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. ~ Proverbs 31:19

As we've already seen, the virtuous wife was an extremely diligent woman, who was willing to work hard from early in the morning until late at night!  In this verse and verse 20 (which we will study next week), her hands are mentioned four times!  She was not afraid to "get her hands dirty" and was in fact, always busy working, serving and creating with her hands.  

This reminds me of my Mom, who even to this day when her physical abilities are greatly impaired, keeps her hands constantly busy knitting and crocheting gifts for her family and friends.  After pushing herself to make full-size, extravagantly beautiful afghans for all 15 of her grandchildren and many other people, she turned to smaller projects and started making hats, scarves, doilies, baby items, etc.  Why?  Because she can't stand to be idle!  She always taught us that "idle hands are the devil's workshop!"  :)

Most of my childhood memories of my Mom involve her working with her hands to keep her house immaculately clean, cooking both simple and elaborate meals totally from scratch, making homemade bread and pizza, expertly sewing most of the clothes that she and my sister and me wore, and serving others in any way she could. On top of that, in the evenings or weekends when my Dad would watch something on TV, my mom would sit beside him and either do her handwork from her latest sewing project or knit or crochet baby gifts, sweaters, afghans, doilies, etc!

If you can picture my Mom, who was never idle, always keeping her hands busy in productive pursuits, you will have a perfect picture of the Proverbs 31 woman!!  Not only was this woman busy all day meeting the needs of her family, giving her servants their work, buying and managing her fields, and running her own profitable home businesses, but she used her evenings productively, too!!

If you remember our study of verse 13, the virtuous woman sought wool and flax. Then, as today's verse states, she skillfully used the distaff and the spindle to convert the processed wool and flax into yarn and thread, which she would have used to weave cloth for garments for her family and to trade to the merchants. I've heard women say that spinning is very relaxing, and it was probably the perfect job for the P31 to do to wind up her busy days.

One of the ways we can become more productive is by learning to wisely use our evenings. Most of us begin to grow weary by evening time and we are tempted to just plop down on the couch and watch some questionable junk on TV or mindlessly surf the Internet. The challenge is to figure out how to wisely redeem our evenings based on the mental and physical energy we have available at that time of day. 

Elizabeth George in Beautiful in God's Eyes shared what a struggle it was for her when she first traded watching TV with a bowl of Cheetos and a Coke in the evenings for productive activities that helped develop herself, her family and her ministry. But as she learned to utilize her evenings in productive and creative ways, she discovered a hidden treasure that greatly multiplied her productivity! Now she loves using her evenings to assemble Bible study workbooks, autograph her books for Bible Study groups, answer correspondence, balance the checkbook, sort mail and flip through magazines, fold laundry, and sift through books of quotations and illustrations, looking for things she can use in her teaching, speaking and writing.

One of the top leaders in my company shares how she traded out watching shows such as American Idol in the evenings after her kids were tucked into bed for investing in her own personal growth. She started reading books and listening to audios that helped her grow as a person, business woman and leader, and her business skyrocketed as a result!

I find that my mind shuts down at night, and I simply can't write a blog post or read a deep, theological book.  And if I get still for too long, I'm pretty likely to start dozing!  So, I have to choose my evening activites accordingly.  What about you?  How do you use your evenings?



Especially for Single P31s:

If you are a single woman, I encourage you to form habits now of wisely using your time, including your evenings. How this might look will be different based on your season of life, what time of day you work, and whether you are more of a morning person or more of a night person.  If you are still young, it might seem that you have plenty of time with your whole life before you, but let me warn you that your life is just a vapor . . . and if you don't live intentionally, it will evaporate before you know it without you having accomplished anything of value.


Project P31, Mission #9:

How are you doing on our mission assignments each week?  Your mission for this week is to evalute how you use your evening hours and discern if there are better ways to invest that time. Are your hands busy, even when your body grows tired? What do your hands reach for at night? A snack? A romance novel? The remote control?  What activities can you plan for the evening hours that will be the best use of your time?? 



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!






Friday, May 15, 2015

From my Front Porch ~ May 15, 2015



Welcome back to my {supposed to be!} weekly series, From my Front Porch, where I share updates from my home and family. My hope is that you'll fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea and imagine us sitting together on my front porch, chatting about life and catching up on the latest news!  I hope you'll join me each Friday on My Front Porch!  




Well, well, well  . . . . it has been quite awhile, hasn't it??  So many of you have messaged me telling me that you missed my weekly updates from my front porch!  Thank you for caring!  I appreciate your interest in my life and my family's life!  :)

I'm sorry that I dropped the ball!  So many Fridays we had other things going on and I just didn't have the time to upload pictures and craft a post, and there were so many things to share . . . so I soon fell behind.  And the farther behind I fell, the more I felt a need to not just share from the previous week but to "catch up."  Then I kept getting busier and busier and "behinder" and "behinder" . . . And that's when I just gave up altogether!

Thanks to your care and concern, I'm determined to make this happen this morning!  I won't be able to cover everything we've been up to around here for the past few months, but I will share the highlights!  With a family my size, there are always so many things going on!  Here are a few family updates:


Yesterday, my hubby and I celebrated 32 years of marriage!  I'm so grateful for my faithful husband and our faithful God, who has enabled us to keep our marriage vows to one another!  :)



My family thoroughly spoiled me for Mother's Day, and here are a couple pictures to prove it:




The week before Mother's Day, I spent in South Carolina with my Mom and Dad.  My Mom is doing pretty well, and was able to sit on the porch for a few minutes while I was there to savor the beautiful spring days!  For those of you who pray for her, please continue to do so.  She has now been on Hospice for an unbelievable 2 1/2 years!!!!!




Tiffany, our oldest daughter, has just finished her first year of grad school at Converse College with a 4.0!  This picture was taken at her Chamber Concert performance in March. She is happy and thriving, doing what she loves!  :)




Speaking of a 4.0, my amazing daughter through marriage, Abby, just graduated with her masters in Education from the University of Florida, and she maintained a perfect 4.0 through all 5 years!!!!  She is one smart cookie!!  And Joe is pretty smart too -- he just pulled off an "A" in Calculus 3 while also working full-time!!!!! WOW!  (Aren't Joe and Abby the absolute cutest couple??)



And speaking of cute couples, check out this collage of Josh and Kristi (who celebrated three years of marriage this week) and their precious daughter, Sarah!! I love this adorable little family!!  :)


And because I'm sure you want more Sarah sweetness -- here is my favorite pic of sweet little Sarah with her "Marmee!"  :)  This picture was taken on Easter Sunday!





My winter was consumed with basketball practices and games!  Matt and Bethany played on rec leagues and Luke played varsity basketball for Heritage Christian Academy, where Taylor was the head coach!!  This was a very rewarding experience for both of them!  Luke practices basketball every day, in addition to lifting weights, jumping rope, etc!  This past week at the Athletic Awards Banquet, Luke was recognized for his dedication and being the most improved player during the course of the season!  :)











Back in late February, Alan enjoyed a trip-of-a-lifetime to New Zealand for an ICMA board meeting, and our daughter Ashlyn was able to fly out and join him for an adventurous 4-day hiking trip on the Queen Charlotte Track!  They came home with some Amazing pictures of this beautiful country!! Here is one of them:




  

Well folks, I'm out of time for today!  I hope you enjoyed the "patchwork-quilt" update from my family's life the past few months!  I hope to see you here on my front porch next Friday!  :)







Thanks for stopping by my front porch for a visit! I'd love for you to take a moment to "sign my guest book" (leave a comment!) so I can know that you stopped by and enjoyed your visit!  Please join me again next Friday on my front porch!  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Marriage Monday: Project P31: Her Lamp Does Not Go Out by Night {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've dropped by and wondered where I was the last couple weeks, I've been out of town a lot lately, and I just got back in town from a nice long visit with my Mom and Dad!  :)  

Today I am glad to be back and continuing my 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 as we continue to examine the character and wisdom of this noble woman and learn how we can each become a Model P31! 


She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  ~ Proverbs 31:18

As we've already seen, the virtuous wife was an enterprising woman. She used her time wisely and scouted out the best possible deals, so she could provide the highest quality merchandise for her household.  Also, as we will see when we get to verse 24, she not only made fine linen garments for herself and her family, she made extra to sell to the merchants.

She perceived (same Hebrew word as "tasted") that her work was good and profitable.  

This woman was truly amazing!  She was a hard worker who did everything with excellence! She knew the secret of meeting her family's needs first and foremost, while also managing a profitable home business!

How on earth did she did it all???  Are we to understand this verse to say that she stayed up all night working?  We know she didn't sleep until noon, because we discovered in verse 15 that her habit was to rise early in the morning while it was still dark!!  So, did this woman "burn the candle at both ends??" Was she some kind of super woman that didn't need sleep??

While it may seem otherwise, she was flesh and blood just like you and me, and she needed a good night of sleep each night, just like we do, in order to function at her best!  So, let's look at the second part of this verse a bit more closely. 

The word "candle" is translated "lamp" in other versions of the Bible and refers to the oil lamps which were commonly used in those days.  After doing some study, I think the primary meaning of this verse is that this virtuous wife had planned ahead and had plenty of oil on hand so that her oil lamp would not go out at night. (Contrast that to the foolish virgins of Matthew 25, who did not have oil for their lamps.) 

Also, because Psalm 119:105 teaches that, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," I think that this verse has deeper spiritual implications.  I think this woman who feared the Lord relied on God's Word to direct her life and fuel her ability to shine His light into her home and community.

Let's take a look at this passage in the Amplified version of the Bible:

She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].  ~ Proverbs 31:18 (Amp)

According to Elizabeth George in her book, Beautiful in God's Eyes, the lighting of the lamp in a home signified several things:


  • First of all, a lighted lamp meant that work was going on so light was needed. 
  • Hospitality was another reason the lamp was used. Its light signaled to needy travelers that comfort and refreshment were available.
  • A light -- shining because precious oil was being burned -- also meant prosperity (Proverbs 21:20)
  • Finally, a lighted lamp meant wisdom. Someone inside had the practical wisdom to keep a lamp burning so that the kitchen fire could be lighted in the morning. 

To pull it all together, the virtuous woman is a diligent worker, and because of God's direction and blessing, her work is good and profitable and benefits herself, her husband and children, her home and her community. 


Especially for Single P31s:

If you are a single woman, you can prepare yourself to be a virtuous wife by learning to be a diligent worker and by redeeming the time to develop and expand many useful skills. You can also start exploring possibilities for home businesses, something that you could do from home without neglecting your husband and children, if the Lord so blesses someday. If you are at the point of choosing a college major or future career, do so with the needs of your future family in mind. I've always encouraged my daughters to consider career fields where they could work part time or preferably from home, so that they could fulfill their God-given callings and priorities of serving their husbands and children and managing their homes.


Project P31, Mission #8:

Your mission for this week is to begin to consider some possibilities for a cottage industry.  Think about what you enjoy doing, what you are good at, the amount of time and energy you have, and the needs you see around you. What "Proverbs 31 Project" could you start that might grow into a profitable home business?  What business could you run that would bless your husband and children and your community??

(If you are interested in health and wellness and in offering hope to those who are suffering, please contact me.  I'd love to tell you about an opportunity I've discovered that is blessing numerous people with improved health, energy and vitality while offering financial freedom!!)


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!





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