Friday, February 15, 2008

That Basket, Jambalaya, And Hope

Winter 2008 032 There's a crack in the bottom these days, so fear compels me to write quickly. In a blink the crack will grow into the irreparable breech that will sentence it to the rubbish for good. If I do not tell you this now, my Kathy-Girl, my chance will be gone as the basket will no longer be here to remind me. Experience tells me that my motivation to share this with you again will fade without this constant visual aid. I hurry before it is gone.

For ten full years, its service has lightened my loads and its memories have lightened my countenance. The day I first laid eyes upon it is forever etched in my memory. It had been a hard winter. I had given birth to my third child in the Fall, the third in twenty-seven months... without insurance. We made thirteen thousand dollars that year. To say that we were struggling to put food on the table would understate the situation. Lots of folks commented about how thin I was, not knowing that it was because we were hungry.

Feverish with mastitis, it was all I could do to take care of my two toddlers and the baby with an ear infection. It had been weeks since we had any money for groceries, and years since we could afford meat. There was no food in the house, no car available, and we were all too sick to go out anyway. I was desperate for help, for someone to care, or even just someone to know. No one did. We were new enough at the church that no one knew what our life was like, how lonely we were, or how poor. All we knew is that it felt like no one cared. I remember my first time ever trying what Mr. Visionary calls "pulling a Hudson Taylor". There was no one to tell anyway, so I simply prayed, begging Father to show me that He cared, that He could really hear me.

I opened the door to find you, loaded basket in hand, smiling and saying that you happened to be in the area, but I knew full well that folks from your side of town didn't visit our drug-infested neighborhood without a good reason. As you unloaded Cheerios and milk, lasagna and jambalaya, fruit and cheese... manna... I was beginning to realize that you didn't just come, you were sent. "You can keep the basket if you want. My laundry room is upstairs now, and I don't need it!" Every. Little. Detail. I could not believe He told you about that, too. I had been toting diapers to the line in soggy cardboard boxes for months. A new laundry basket was low on the priority list, but still desired.

How I held it together long enough for your quick visit, I will never understand. After you left, and the reality and the Cheerios settled, I experienced a hope that I had not in many years. Life was hard, but my Father was good. I knew it for sure now. He heard me. I know He did because I told no one else.

And I know you heard Him, too.

I have remembered that day innumerable times in the last ten years. Every time I was encouraged. Every time I longed for the day I could be the one with the basket. Every time I thanked my Father for you.

...And for the hope you delivered in an overflowing basket.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Un-Sweet Husband

It really makes me cringe. I know it isn't all that huge in the grand scheme of things. I mean really, what with global warming and all (right Mr. Gore?), it just doesn't rank up there in the top list of world issues. Being aware of this, I still reserve the right to vent a bit. On behalf of husbands (and sons over ten) everywhere, I am about to do just that.

Maybe I just have a warped sense of masculinity, or perhaps I have too much free time on my hands for thinking about gnats in eyes and all things irrelevant, but it sends a creepy fingernails-on-chalkboard tingle down my spine to hear women call their husbands sweet. We've all read the blogs with something like this in the bio, or seen e-mail signature lines proclaiming it - they're everywhere:

"I am a mother of three and wife to the bestest and sweetest hubby in the whole world!"

I am almost sure, if this were real life, that her next move would be to start coochie-cooing under his chin and making lipstick marks on his cheek. Now, we have all seen this process happen with Barney Fife, and as amusing as it was to watch on The Andy Griffith Show, (and as apparently effective as it was on Old Barney), it just isn't good ladies. Barney not being the picture of masculinity, we wouldn't want to use him as an example of what to do with real-life, real-men hubbies husbands.

I recognize that this is purely opinion, but I also suspect that, in a moment that includes no fear of repercussion in the form of wifely pouting, most husbands would agree that they do not appreciate being called sweet. Praise, appreciation, encouragement and affirmation... are all good and necessary. Done properly it can truly minister to a man, and they need this type of ministry from their wives above all people. I am not arguing the principle, just the method.

Especially these days, our culture is female dominated. Everything is focused on the woman in a relationship. When the relationship is faltering the perception and, indeed, proclamation is that it is because he doesn't communicate enough, he isn't loving enough, or he isn't meeting her needs. It it enough to make me sick on behalf of husbands in this country. For just once, in at least this once instance, girls, can we care about their side? (Yikes... I was trying so hard to make this a cute post.) I'm not busting anyone's chops, I just want to encourage us to think about our words, and realize that the wrong ones can be not just ineffective, but deleterious to our man's self image.

If we desire to compliment our husbands let's do it in a way that will actually touch his heart, not make him roll his eyes. You know how your older sons behave when you tell them they are "so cute" or "such a sweet boy"? Their opinions of such "compliments" do not change as they get older, they are just more subdued in their response. A word fitly spoken that honors his masculinity (and I'm not just talking muscles here) can be balm to his soul. Especially when it comes from his wife.

So, please compliment your husband. Respect him! Encourage him! Admire him! But whatever you do... please don't call him sweet.
Proverbs 25:11 "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Restoring The Early Church ~ Lesson 14

This was the lesson that really started turning on light bulbs for me. I realize that not everyone has had the same experiences and upbringing as myself, but from where I have come...this lesson struck a nerve. I came from a family who told me that black people had evolved from apes, white people were created by "god" and the biggest insult one could fling was to call someone a "Jew"... and all this came from folks who prayed the rosary.

It was the beginning of a serious work of repentance ~ repentance for sins I did not even commit myself, for the most part. (For more information on the topic of repentance for the sins of our ancestors, please study Demolishing Strongholds, as this concept is only covered briefly in this lesson.) I did a lot of homework to see if these things were truly so... because I had never heard of this information before. Never. I remember a brief mention of the Spanish Inquisition in public school (where I was a straight A student, and loved History no less), but I could not have told you that it had anything to do with Jews.

Not only do I now understand the plight of the Jews throughout history, I can see the progression of how exactly we lost our Hebraic grounding in the first place. It makes perfect sense now. It is an accurate picture of that analogy of a ship being a fraction of a degree off-course at the beginning of a voyage and end up way off course by the end... and nowhere near their intended destination. Replacement Theology was not an overnight development (except possibly in the mind of Satan) evolved over time through an unfortunate series of evil events which began by being a wee bit off course. Satan has played this game well, and has deceived many, many people.


The Hebraic-Christians/Judaism Divide

The Church Encounters A Curse — The Plight of the Jews

Israel: What Is God Doing? What Should It Mean To Me?


Here's the link for Lesson 14.


Here are extra references for some of the books or articles mentioned in this lesson, in case you desire to do some more homework:

Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Civilita Cattolica

Justin Martyr: Dialogue With Trypho, A Jew

John Chrysostom

Origen (see #5 and #8)

"Concerning Jews and Their Lies" by Martin Luther

I am eager to hear your response to this lesson. Especially your answers to the questions Mike and Sue ask at the end...

1) Is the information we've shared here new to you? Yes or No? How does it make you feel when you read about the historic persecution by Christians of the Jewish people?

2) Has you attitude toward the Jewish people changed after reading this lesson? Yes or No? If yes, describe the changes.

And their last sentence...

"Please consider your own responsibility to God and to the Jewish people and respond accordingly. "

And one more thing... please, especially if some of the things we have been discussing throughout this study are foreign or totally new to you, go back and re-read ~slowly ~ the beginning of this lesson: Introduction to Section 2 (pages 1-3). Contained therein are concepts that were not just "not what I was taught", but truly opposed to that which I had always been told in my Christian walk. But when I studied, and finally learned what it was to be a Berean ~ not just believing without a question, but digging ~ I was shocked... and grateful that the Holy Spirit had led me to study on my own. My life will never be the same, and blessed be the name of Yahweh for that!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tag Schmag

****Post edited ~ drastically. Please read the bottom paragraph.****

I’ve been tagged by Cheri. This is the first time I’ve ever “played” internet tag so this will could be fun. I am to list 7 random facts about myself. Let the record show that had this come from anyone else, I probably wouldn't have done it. I'm a stick in the mud like that.

1. I was captain of the PowderPuff (girls play, boys are cheerleaders) football teams my Junior and Senior year of highschool...and I didn't even know how to play football.

2. I'm scared of Holstein cows (and we even have one)...those ladies are HUGE!

3. I cried every single day while Mr. Visionary was away in Israel this Summer.

4. When we got married, I swore I would not be having children.

5. I don't know how to type.

6. I would give large quantities of cash for a good Reuben sandwich right now.

7. I'm a very good shot with a .45 caliber handgun. Just ask Mr. Raccoon who was after my chickens last year... well, I guess you can't ask him now.

Game of Blog Tag Rules:
*Link to the person that tagged you.
*Post the rules on your blog.
*Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
*Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
*Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Edited: I have removed the list of folks I tagged out of a sense of guilt. I cringe when these things are going around, and hate the time involved and the frivolousness of it all. (I told you I was a stick in the you know I wasn't joking.) I have removed the links so that no one feels pressured to actually do this thing. My apologies to the ladies I "tagged". Looking back at my day and seeing the amount of time I spent on this one post with no redeeming value makes me cringe. I have repented of ever doing it in the first place, and am making this public confession lest I ever feel tempted to do it again. You may wonder what the big deal is... it is... that I can't find anything in the Word that would justify my time spent in this activity...however innocent.

Ephesians 5:15-17

15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of YHWH is.

The truth is, I really need to go back and read this post: Blogging Without Obligation.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

On Backlogs And Blog Business

During the last month or so of barfdom, I let a lot of things in blogdom slide. But, being on the mend (right, Father?) I am endeavoring to catch up a bit. Bear with me.


The Mathetes Award was created to honor those who are about YHWH's Word, have a heart to share YHWH's Word, and further His Kingdom. The role of a disciple of Christ is to carry His message to the ends of the earth ~ even using the internet. Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples.

My girlfriends Carla Lynne and Holly each honored me with the Mathetes Award, each accusing me of being a Disciple-Maker. To that I can only assert that YHWH's Word has definitely not returned void in this girl...He truly has used the foolish. I am blessed to call each of these women friends and mentors. I am honored to be considered the same.

I am hesitant to say, these are the women from whom I learn, as I really don't travel much in the blogosphere. Holly was brave enough to resist the unspoken, but real pressure to give the award to all new folks from the ones from whom she received it.
She said, "I have struggled with who to send this to… the ones who disciple me are the ones who already have this award. I have wanted to avoid the appearance of a little cycle, or a popularity contest. It’s just not that. So - I have chosen, simply to say, “these are the people who are teaching me, cycles be hanged.”

I agree. But I have struggled with the other hand, that Carla Lynne mentioned,
"...a friend convinced me it's a way to introduce folks to each other. I also realized I have found some supreme writers, acquaintances,... fellow sojourners and friends, through something as simple as a link."

That said, I'll do a little of both. Following are the women at whose feet blogs I sit to learn and be a disciple. They are Christ-Followers that I believe are endeavoring purposely, or even accidentally, to be Disciple-Makers.

Carla Lynne ~ I have followed since her days at HomesteadBlogger. As much as I learn from her regarding all things naturally healthy and crunchy, I learn far more from her heart for YHWH. This chick is completely sold out, and following YHWH wholeheartedly, despite the flack that being a true follower draws. Brave, resourceful, wise and unashamed...she is one of my heroes.

Cheri ~ Oh, her excitement regarding studying the Word is contagious! I love to hear the joy in her "voice" as she tells about some new thing she has learned. She began studying in a new way this year, and her life (and her boys' life) will never be the same. This gal inspires me to never think of any part of life as too hard, but to keep plugging along.

Holly ~ Grace in the midst of trials is her specialty. She is always, always looking for the good in situations, in people, in life... I truly am inspired to seek faithfulness because of her example. Those tiny, fleeting moments that make up motherhood, each of those choices we make in a day, all add up, and Holly is so diligent to record them...and teach us that faithfulness is a moment-by-moment decision.

Lisa ~ One of the first women I ever "met" who was brave enough to examine Scripture in a new light. She shares a love for the Word, and for truth. The questions mulling around in her heart often lead to blog posts that really get you thinking...and studying.

Keri Mae ~ A quiet, simple Momma who encourages through her posts. She is endeavoring to be productive at home, not wasting time gadding about, all the while sharing life and heart issues with the blogoshpere in her "spare" time. I am currently reading a book she recommended called _War On The Saints_. Look for her recent post about it.


Robin Sampson at Heart at Home has also awarded me the Excellent Blog Award. According to the rules of the Excellent Blog award:
By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people who’s blog’s you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10. Thank you out there for having such great blogs and being such great friends! You deserve this! Feel free to award people who have already been awarded…

Again, I don't have much time to blog hop, but when I *do* get a chance to meander about, these are some of the ladies I visit. Remembering our instructions to redeem the time, don't feel that you need to check these out all at once. Okay?

  1. Amy @ Blessed Motherhood

  2. Beth @ Brew*Crew Adventure

  3. Deanna @ Abundant Blessings Homestead

  4. Katie @ Team Bettendorf

  5. Stephanie @ Sojourner In A Strange Land

  6. Plain Jane @ Prairie Girls

  7. Beth @ Hebrew Hearth

  8. Annette @ Hinds Feet On High Places

  9. Robyn @ Lentils and Rice

  10. Elise @ A Path Made Straight

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A New Normal

As much as I'd love to say that things are back to normal now that Momma has left the couch, I am realizing that is not quite accurate. There does seems to be a new normal developing, though. It seems to be the usual plan after any season of crisis-mode living, and with my fickle nature, it is good. I kinda like change.

During my time of being less than 100% available, the children have stepped into new roles of greater responsibility. That is not the kind of thing I want to un-do by jumping back into my old role too quickly or too fully. The mention by others of relieving the children from some of their added responsibilities during this season was only momentarily tempting, as I would not dare relieve them of all of the self-respect and healthy pride in what they learned to accomplish. I realize that contrary to what my opinions may have been early in parenting (about other folks' children, of course), my children, rather than being burdened by the added responsibilities, have been freed. They are now walking in beaming confidences that would not have been theirs outside of this opportunity to grow under pressure.

The children have benefited through their own amazement of what they could actually do, and Mr. Visionary and I have benefited through knowing our children better. It has helped tremendously for Mr. Visionary and I to remember what the learning curve looked like in our own lives. I learned to time meals properly so that it all came out ready at the same time by having cold vegetables while still waiting for the meat to cook. Mr. Visionary learned to manage the woodstove properly by waking up cold many mornings. There is always a learning curve, and always a bit of pain (to varying degrees) in the learning. The larger the lesson, the worse the pain. We learned that debt is a curse by losing our home and filing for bankruptcy many, many years ago. How much kinder to our children to allow them this season of learning while still at home.

Mr. Visionary was 14 when he got his first pocket knife ~ our oldest sons were each 8. I was 18 when I touched a sewing machine for the first time ~ our oldest girls were each 6. Were these hard and fast rules that guaranteed when a privilege would be granted? To the consternation of the children younger than the eldest of each sex, the answer is, "No." We studied each child and judged when was the right time for each of them, for each opportunity. Do we know better than our parents did? Maybe not, but we sure know our kids better. Our giving them plenty of chances to grow or to fail while at home is evidence of not only our love for them, but our love for them that is greater than our love for perfect results. Lessons learned when you are 10 are not as traumatic as the ones you learn at 25 while you already have a family to support. Ask us how we know.

Not only can our ten-year-old Engineer run the log splitter and load the woodstove, he has learned to keep the porch wood box filled at all times so he will not have to fill it during a freezing monsoon cold rain. Not only can our big girls plan prepare a meal from scratch without any assistance, they have learned to begin preparations early enough to have dinner before breakfast bedtime. All this without telling, without nagging and with far better results. Mr. Visionary and I do not as much telling these days. We explain and encourage, we supervise and watch from a distance, but we allow the children to learn the lessons for themselves. They are allowed to do things at their ages that we would never have been allowed to do. They are learning lessons early on that we desperately wish we had been allowed to learn early. They are allowed to fall flat on their faces...and with more explanation and encouragement, to rise again.

Because the security of home is a good place to learn.

Note to my Children: You guys did well. You rose to the occasion, took on the challenge, brought glory to YHWH and made Mom and Dad incredibly proud. May what you learned during this season stay with you forever, and may you use it to honor YHWH as you bless your families in the future.