Monday’s Musings

You know how sometimes you just have random thoughts bouncing around in your brain? Well, that’s one of the reasons I have a blog, because sometimes I need to make room by putting stuff somewhere.

One thing I am thinking about in particular since I am going to start up the photography business is exactly what services I will offer. Specifically, my niece is due any time now with her second baby and I am delighted to be on call to photograph the birth, a genre of photography that I absolutely love and want to do more of. But I have had more than a few moments of what-would-I do-if-she-goes-into-labor-while-I-am-doing-such-and-such and wonder how in the world you handle that if you do birth photography on a regular basis. (Total side note…all of the births I have photographed have been in the hospital. Would love love love to have the opportunity to do a home birth so if y’all know of anybody doing a home birth who’d be open to pictures hook a sister up.)

IMG_0043 (1)

 

Also, related to those thoughts I am doing a product shoot of sorts today that I am pretty excited about. A friend of mine makes these incredibly lovely hats and sells them in her Etsy shop. I have photographed some of her hats before but today we will be working with her model and I think it will be so much fun!

 

 

Sarah is also coming home today from a four day cruise to Cozumel. I can’t wait to hear all about it and hopefully see some pictures. She was seriously hoping to see sea turtles and sea horses. While she has been floating on a big boat with friends, Emily has been apartment/cat sitting. I can say without any hesitation that I am not ready for another child to move out and I am glad Em isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Also, can I just say that I am soooo over this summer heat. I have a friend living in Oregon and she got snow over the weekend, people. Snow. We had such a lovely spring and June was so mild but man, the heat showed up in July and has made itself way too comfortable. I’m just ready for a bit of cooler temperatures but that sounds a bit whiny, doesn’t it? Sorry about that.

All righty then, moving on.

So we watched Back To The Future with our kids over the weekend and all I can say is man, do we have selective memories! I think the story got caught up in the nostalgia of being part of our teenage years or something because I sure didn’t remember the language being so salty. Nor did I recall the thing with his mom being such a major theme in the story. Our children were properly appalled and took great delight in ribbing us for watching such a movie. They were also quite amused by the rather dated special effects and overly dramatic acting. Rob decided that if we want to share a movie from our childhood with our kids again we better watch it first.

Some parenting stuff I have been thinking about and piecing together starts in chapter 6 of Ephesians:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places and 2 Corinthians 10:3–4 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (Emphasis is mine.)

I also keep noodling on all the times in the OT that we were told so and so was a righteous king but he failed to tear down the high places, that is the worship places of the Canaanites.  And how our weapons of choice are prayer and worship. Intangible things that have a very concrete impact and literal affect in real time.

If we confess that our battle is not of flesh and blood, and we do, and if we confess that we fight with things that are not made of metal and stone, and we do, what does that mean about other intangible things in our lives? Our secret thoughts, hidden feelings, and tucked away sins?

I contend that those secret sins that take up that dusty dark corner of our heart will somehow manifest itself in our life in a way that is passed on to our children. We want our children to want the right things, to make the right decisions, to choose the right things, and for the most part we want the same thing for ourselves. Except for those little hidden things that no one knows about but God and we like to walk around as if they’re not there. I guess I am wondering how those insidious weeds in my own life spread their roots out to my children and others in my life.

May we have the courage to confront our high places, the desire to bring to light what we want to keep hidden and be humble enough to destroy them.

Lastly, something not quite as deep and heavy. We live in a world where words of affirmation are everywhere. Random vandalism tells us we’re beautiful. Graphic tee’s remind us to let nothing dull our sparkle. But this I saw and knew it to be the best of all encouragement ever.

FullSizeRender

Have a great Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

Well That Was Easy And Doing Things Again

I have been blogging off and on for many many years. The blog before this one is the first one that I got really serious about and paid for the domain name and everything. It was for a season of my life though and when I took my two year hiatus I closed it down so it was no longer visible to people. When I wanted to start blogging again I created this blog but under a different name and I think I posted about 15 times in 2018. So, when I wanted to start blogging again again I wanted this to be my home…my online space.

What to do with the old blog? The one with hundreds of posts, some of which I am pretty fond of, hundreds of recipes, and pictures galore. I didn’t know so it has just been sitting there all tucked away. Until this morning. With the click of a button over 6000 posts, pages, and pictures were backed up to my computer and then magically exported here, to this place.

That’s right. If you are curious about what the children were up to in 2012 or what I was thinking about in 2014 all you have to do is click on the little archive button to the right, select the year and the month and bam! there it is in all my incorrect grammatical glory.  It’s a bit daunting like suddenly finding your old diaries in a box of old pictures. A wee bit embarrassing but full of bits and pieces of my life and lots of nostalgia.

Now, I guess I just keep going with this new place and it’s two extra rooms. I like the feel of all three spaces and I think I will keep She Feeds Her Family for all things food related as it’s own place. But that third room? Just A Glimpse may get a bit of an upgrade because I am going to start taking pictures again. Seriously, as an actual structured business.

I got started in photography because I loved it and also because I couldn’t afford the prices of real photographers. I wanted to take good pictures of my kids. I wanted to create something. I got good enough that people started asking me to take their pictures. And they were willing to pay me something for it. But I applied what I could and could not afford to the process of charging and it wasn’t long before I was plenty busy with not much to show for it except time spent away from my family and stress.

It happened over time though and I wasn’t even aware of how much joy in actual picture taking I had lost until one day I was editing a bunch of pictures with a bunch more to be edited ahead of me and I realized I just wanted to be done. I just didn’t care. So I finished up the projects I had and then set my camera down.

IMG_0015 (1)For almost two years I rarely picked up the camera and this was a big deal. For fifteen years it was a rare day that I didn’t pick up my camera and shoot something. Fifteen years to nothing.

And I haven’t regretted it at all. It was good for me.

Lately things have started shifting again. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot a few things and the love for photography has been stirring. But the time off has helped me learn some things. I am blessed in that my life is not dependent upon that income but it does make a contribution and at this point in our lives photography is a low impact way to supplement things.

However, what I learned from before is it is okay to let money be a part of it.  I can take what I love doing and what I am good at and let it be more than a hobby or a little side hustle. To that end I have been doing some research and I will be pricing my services competitively for our area and that means I will not be as cheap as I was before. And I am going to not feel bad about that. Well, I am working on not feeling bad or apologetic about that. Because I really do want you to have beautiful pictures of the people in your life that matter to you or a lovely reminder of a beautiful and special event in your life and I love being part of that. But I don’t want that desire for you to eat me alive like it did before.

I am getting good with realizing I do not have to shoot everything and everyone no matter how much I might love the people involved. But here is the other part of that. I’m not going to feel bad about charging a fair price for my time and skill and if you think it is more than you want to invest in pictures I’m not going to be mad at you. It’s okay for you to say no thank you too. Seriously.

Honestly, I have this fear that this venture is going to fall flat on its face, that I’m going to fall flat on my face. What if no one hires me? What if I am putting this effort into putting myself out there and nothing happens?

Well, I just have to be okay with that, don’t I? Because what I am learning, what I have learned as I stepped into the blog world again and now into photography, is that life cannot be lived mired in fear. I don’t want to live afraid to try things or do things I enjoy and love because I’m afraid of it not working out. Or worse, actually working out and now being responsible for something.

The way I see it my task is to keep my priorities straight, be wise about what I am doing, and do it to the glory of the One who gives me life and let Him bless it as He sees fit.

Practically speaking I still have some things to do like settle on a business name, solidify my pricing structure, overhaul that online space, and get back into the groove of shooting again, etc. To that last point I am going to be doing some Christmas mini sessions next month so watch for more information about that.

But also, pray for me. I want to do this and do it well and sometimes that is not easy because things can loom large or stuff begins to get busy and I can get panicky. Above all, I want to go forward being mindful of what is truly important, the people I love and the community I am a part of and knowing that these are just things I do but not who I am. I want to joyfully and fully image forth the Creator by living creatively.

And I would love to have you join me in this adventure.

 

 

 

Gleanings from Galatians

Yesterday the Bible Reading Challenge had me reading the entire letter of Galatians which sounds like a lot but it’s six relatively short chapters that are just jammed packed with rich truth. As usual, no matter how many times I have read something before there is always something to glean…sometimes not even brand new truths but something that just adds to the fullness of my understanding. Here are a few gems and the ponderings they produced.

Chapter 1:15-16 ~

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult anyone.

Paul goes on to say he actually waited three years before returning to Jerusalem to meet Cephas and it would be another fourteen years before he would return and really get into the thick of things with the other Apostles and believers.

My take home was a gentle reminder to not blurt out every thought and rush off willy nilly and get busy but to take some time and stew on what God is doing and what He would have me do.

Chapter 2:11–14

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.  For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.  But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” 

Emphasis is mine and I cannot tell you how heavy that landed on me. If we are living lives that look no different than the unbelieving neighbor beside us then how can we dare ask them to live any differently and why should they?

Everything we do should be different because everything we do is done to the glory of God and with an eternal purpose. Our marriages, our child rearing, the way we are educated and educating, the life we live must be lived in such a way that Christ is revealed. I mean at first glance we may look the same but as we enter into relationships with people, as they get to know us, they ought to become curious about why we seem just a bit different, why there is something they may not quite be able to put their finger on but they know we aren’t the same. It will be something about the means to the end of disciplining our children, the way we love and honor each other, the way our Sabbath is enjoyed, the way we handle our money, the way we forgive, the way we deal with stress, the way we help others. There should be a thousand different ways we live out our ordinary lives that will show we believe Christ is King over all.

Chapter 4:9

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be know by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Just a good solid reminder to keep guard over my thoughts and not allow old habits and ways of thinking to creep in.

Chapter 5

Seriously, the whole chapter. But this little verse…

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Have you ever been out of step with someone you were supposed to be in step with? Stumbling around and so clumsy. It’s not easy to fix without coming to a complete stop and starting again. So that is my prayer; when I realize I am out of step then I want to stop what I am doing and get in step with the Spirit. I don’t want to fumble around tripping over myself trying to make our steps align. I just want to match my stride with His.

Chapter  6:1–3

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 

It is so very easy to have a higher opinion of ourselves than we ought, isn’t it? I don’t think we deliberately set out to think better of ourselves than other people but it is just so much easier to assess those over there, to make judgement calls on their behaviors and actions. Assumptions are second nature to us, assuming that we would never ever do what so and so has done but shifting their sins through our perspectives and coming to a conclusion that we know their story.

In I Corinthians 10 we are told take to heed when we think we are standing lest we fall and then moving in to chapter six of Galatians we are told to restore a fallen brother with a spirit of gentleness lest we be tempted. That spirit of gentleness only comes through the humility of understanding the darkness of our own sin, of using God’s perspective on sin as opposed to our own sliding scale of right and wrong.

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Oh Lord may I put pride far from me!

Chapter 6:9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 

And lastly, this little gem. Don’t give up but keep persevering in the faith, keep loving each other, keep doing the right thing even when it seems that no one else is or no one is benefitting from it or seems grateful for it.

Serve each other. Love one another. Seek forgiveness. Forgive each other. Encourage. Laugh with the one who laughs and weep with the one who weeps. Do all the things you can do for the good of those around you and don’t stop, keep loving them in thought and deed. God promises to grow something that gives an eternal harvest when we stay faithful in this way.

Chapter 6:16

And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 

cropped-302650_363435700406707_2090500355_n.jpg

 

Think On These Things

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!

Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me! 

                                                                                                                                         ~ Psalm 31:1-2

 

Seasonal Liturgies and A Trip To Walmart

 

6525612571_04e292f96b_oAre you as ready for autumn as I am? Man I cannot wait for the occasional cool day we’ve had to be the crisp all the time weather of fall. It is my all time favorite season with, oddly enough for this beach loving girl, winter a close second. I know I live in Florida where the rhythm of the seasons, such as they are, are a bit different from other parts of the country but my heart knows when it’s time to bust out the long sleeves and hot cocoa even if the weather report says otherwise. Methinks it is time. 

I love how we mark time by seasons. Not just the four mind you, but other seasons. Like the way my grandmother marked the time between Labor Day and Memorial Day by not wearing white shoes. Ever. Grannie Ree was a genteel southern lady who was a stickler for observing certain seasonal rites. I don’t hold to that one as much anymore but I guess I do have my own seasonal dos and don’ts. Like not wearing those little woolen beanie hats in the summer because you know, you live in Florida where there are maybe three days out of the year when it is actually cold enough for such attire and they aren’t in July.

But you know who gets the seasonal liturgy all wrong? Walmart.

I noticed last year that small packs of various Easter candy were popping up along the Valentine shelves but this year they have really messed with things. Certain things belong to certain seasons. Like the little chocolate candy coated Cadbury eggs belong to the season of  spring.  And my kids have longed been miffed by my insistence that eggnog not be consumed until November. But come on people, it is a holiday beverage! If I were really hardcore it would be December but I am willing to give thanks with a delicious cup of that creamy frothy goodness in my hand.

But what has Walmart gone and done? They. Have. Eggnog. Now. In. September.

IMG-1559

What is wrong with these people? You don’t sell eggnog, clearly a winter holiday drink, in the middle of September. It’s just wrong. Part of the joy of eggnog in my opinion is the fact that it is only a once a year limited time beverage. It’s special because you can’t just have a glass whenever you want one willy nilly. It’s like the foods that are just served only at those special meals.

 

 

IMG-1368

(Hobby Lobby also gets it really wrong. I took this picture because I was highly amused by the irony of the words as they were unpacking their Christmas stock in August.)

 

 

But back to my recent trip to Walmart.

Occasionally I will come across a product of some sort and really like it to the point that I find it worth sharing. I may be new to the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser game because I was surprised recently  to see one devoted specifically for bathrooms. (My only previous experience with magic eraser involved paint coming off the walls and one very upset husband.)

IMG-1558As a person who grew up in a family of six with one bathroom I realize how very spoiled my family of seven is to have a home with not one, not two, but three bathrooms. It is wonderful to have that kind of availability especially when we have company over but keeping that many showers clean can be a trick. I have tried all sorts of stuff to remove soap scum and what have you, even the vinegar and Dawn dish soap concoction, but I’ve never really been completely satisfied with the results. It may very well be that I just dislike cleaning tubs and want a real magic eraser to just poof it done so I don’t have to worry with it. But I tried Mr. Clean and was relatively pleased by it so I guess he can be my magic genie for now.

I have mentioned before that Sam likes going to the grocery store with me each week. He barely walks in with me before he is off doing his own thing and right now with all the Halloween paraphernalia out he has plenty to occupy his time. I passed him in that area on my way to grab shampoo and he greeted me and we both carried on. About thirty seconds later I hear the sound of someones feet running up behind me and this odd voice saying, “Why so serious?” I am not going to lie, I was completely freaked out when I turned around and saw my son which he found to be hilarious.

IMG-1554

I snapped a quick picture (barely looking at him) just so I could share the creepiness with y’all then I strongly suggested he take the mask off before he freaked out anyone else in the store. I just really think these kinds of masks ought not be allowed, you know? (I actually started this post with this story but changed things up when I remembered that Facebook will grab the first picture and use it in your link. Uhm, no.)

 

We are having the difficult conversation with Sam that he is too old to go trick or treating this year. Despite the picture to the contrary he isn’t into the scary stuff but loves the fun of it and the dressing up, visiting with all sorts of people, and candy. We might compromise on some sort of costume-ish outfit (he is currently trying to figure out a Batman costume that won’t cost him all his money) and let him help walk with some of the kids that usually join us around the neighborhood.

Sometime next week I will share a bit about how we interact with this day that can be such a point of contention amongst so many of us. Suffice it to say for now that it took us a few years to figure out where we stand and how we do things but I look forward to it every year.

IMG-1555 (1)The trip to the Walmarts (don’t ask me why Rob and I have started saying it that way…we just have) was strange between the too soon to sell eggnog and Sam’s creepy clown mask. But it ended on a cute note. While I was grocery shopping I had their automotive department fix a slow leak in one of the van tires. When I went to pay for it one of the workers came inside with an itty bitty kitten they had found in one of the car pits. I sent a picture to Rob of said kitten and got a hard no. Good thing I was just kidding, huh? I did find our that they called a no kill shelter that was going to come pick the little guy up.

So that pretty much sums up last week’s trip to the store. Not sure what to expect today but hopefully I can withstand the temptation of the eggnog (my waistline needs me to resist) and no creepy clown shenanigans from Sam.

Happy Monday to you though!

 

A Call to Confession

Our church follows a covenant renewal liturgy for our worship service. This means, among other things, that there is a call to repentance in response to our call to worship.

This week’s call to repentance was particularly beautiful to me in it’s reminder that we need to set our sin down. To leave it at the feet of Christ, confess it and believe that it has been forgiven and our lives are rescued in Him, to believe it and rejoice.

“Sin is a burden. And it is a burden that causes us to labor; the weight of it is more than we can bear. It keeps us from joy. It keeps us from peace. It keeps us from freedom. Which is to say, it keeps us from God.

But our Lord says, “Come to me, you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Bring your burden to Christ. He has borne it for you.”

What a beautiful truth that we can bring our sin, our dark ugly heavy burdens, and He takes those dark heavy burdens away from us and gives us joy…peace…freedom.

Confess your sin, dear one, and rejoice because your life has indeed been rescued in Him.

 

528060_344572642293013_1826751248_n

Feasting on the Word daily, consuming it so that it can get deep into our bones, so that we are well versed in our Story, so that we know who our God is and who we are, is a gift beyond measure.

Have you heard of the Keep the Feast Bible Reading Challenge?   It is a reading plan that enables you to read through the entire Bible in nine months along with thousands of other Christians literally all over the world. This is my second time participating in the challenge and I love it. It seeps into my bones and strengthens and nourishes me in ways that I can’t even explain.

70387830_2453130351420952_2798455533063897088_nRecently, we were having a conversation with Emily,  our second oldest child who is just learning to spread her wings in the adult world. She is trying to figure out how to do life as an adult, school, work, friends, etc. We reminded her that it was good for her to have that perspective, to recognize that she isn’t a child anymore, but to remember that she wasn’t called to do life on her own. That God had placed her in a family within a community. There is a benefit to reading Scripture with literally thousands of people around the world. There is a connectedness and a reminder that we are part of the Church universal, that God’s people are our people. If you have facebook you can join a very active group of women from everywhere and glean from them or if you do not have FB go here and find the reading plan and just follow along or maybe get your mother, sister, or best friend to join you. We all like having company when we feast, right? I will usually plug my phone into the van with an aux cord and when I am doing my carpooling or running errands I listen to the day’s readings. And it is always interesting and encouraging when I am at church or with other ladies in my life who are doing the challenge and a conversation will just spark based on something that we have read recently.

One of the greta things about the challenge is the admonishing to just pick up on whatever day it is so don’t worry about just jumping in. Just do it. You’ll be so glad you did.

Think On These Things

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

~Philippians 2:1–11

Since We Talked About Wifery

Rob will also be speaking on children this weekend so I figured I might as well share something on parenting.

It’s really hard.

How’s that for parental wisdom worth sharing? I jest (Though it is true!) but I do have  some thoughts to offer on the topic. Back in May I shared a post on five gifts to give your children and I have thought of a few more gifts worth considering.

1.) The gift of denial.

Seriously, tell your child no. It won’t kill them. It will actually be good for them. You don’t even have to have a particularly great reason to say no, just do it. No one should always get whatever they want or ask for. It makes them think they deserve to have whatever they want just because they want it. I would even go so far as to say that delaying a yes to something they need is good for them too. They will appreciate having what they need a whole lot more if they understand on some level what it is to go without. I’m not saying deny them food, clothing, and shelter long term or anything. But it’s not going to hurt little Johnny to wait an extra 45 minutes for lunch if you have errands that need to happen beforehand. And denying the use of a dishwasher so that a child can learn the joys of washing, drying, and putting away dishes will make them way less whiny about having to load or unload one.

I get it though. We love these tiny little human beings and we want to make them happy and give them stuff and opportunities. But I promise that if your child sees you always moving heaven and earth to give them whatever they want or every opportunity to do something then you will be raising up ungrateful wretched adults who lack consideration for the wants and needs of those around them and they will have no idea how to work for something.

2.) The gift of exclusion.

This is kind of the cousin to the gift of no. Do not include your child in everything you do. There is a world of difference between child centered and child friendly. One caters to the immature whims of a child and the other teaches them how to participate in the life of community in a manner that is healthy and contributes to the wellbeing of others.

Do not directly include them in every celebration. If it is not his birthday then he really ought not get a gift because it is his sister’s birthday. Your child must learn how to function as a spectator sometimes because when he grows up the odds are he will not be asked to every party or event nor will every party and event be for him. It makes it incredibly difficult to truly learn how to rejoice with those who rejoice if he always has to be part of the spotlight. You do not want to cultivate in your child a need to always be made much of. It may seem kinda funny and cute as a preschooler but in older children, especially teenagers, it can lead to dangerous look at me behaviors that do not go anywhere good.

3.) The gift of ordinary.

This one can be hard because we have a tendency to think our child is the cutest, smartest, and greatest child to have ever been born. But do you know how many people have been born and lived just in the United States alone? Millions upon millions.

Do you know how many presidents we have had? 45

Do you know how many athletes competed for the US in the 2018 winter olympics? 244

How many Americans have received the Nobel Peace Prize? 21

I’m not saying your child can’t grow up to be president or cure cancer or win the superbowl. But I am saying the odds are rather significantly against the majority of us for such feats and heights of glory.

25731182937_a6aca7c0da_oWe need to stop trying to convince our children of how wonderful and special they are and focus on teaching them more about the amazing God who created everything out of nothing who knows their name. Who formed and shaped them in our wombs and knows down to the smallest detail who they are, how many hairs are on their head, and exactly how many times their heart will beat in their lifetime. The truth is that your kid is just a normal kid like mine is just a normal kid. But when we teach them, and show them how to love and honor the God who has poured out His extraordinary grace on His people, then they are transformed into glory givers that will literally change the world.

Ordinary is more than okay when it is surrendered in faithfulness and obedience and it is far more beautiful and glorious than any talent or skill or ability to make something. Praise the obedience. Praise the diligence to keep at the hard things. Encourage the pursuit of kindness. Nurture the attitude that looks to serve others, to befriend the lonely. Teach him to walk humbly with His God and understanding his smallness in relation to the greatness and bigness of God is the right way to cultivate humbleness.

Our children are special. But they are special because they bear the image of God. Raising kids that understand that, that really get it, prepares a heart, soul, and mind to love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind. An that is the greatest gift you can give your child.

A Prayer For Our Nation

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us – sinners all.

We confess that you are rarely what we most desire, though your desire for us led you to a cross atop Golgotha. We want cleaner homes, better clothes, spouses more attentive to our needs. We want children who will sit still in church, and hymns that suit our tastes. We want our pastors to speak to our needs, rather than lead us in worshipping you. We want the driver in front of us to go faster, and the one behind us to slow down. We want jobs we enjoy, and family who won’t ask us for money.

Sometimes we want more righteousness, or more personal purity, or a better prayer life. We seek religious virtue, Lord, but we do not seek your Cross. We are afraid of what you will ask of us should we seek that Cross, and so we make you smaller and tamer. We make you an intellectual puzzle, or an emotional experience. You are an all-consuming Fire, and we have turned you into a Bic lighter.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Forgive us that we approach your Holy Word like we already understand you.

Forgive us that we pray when it’s convenient, that we talk too much and listen too little.

Forgive us when we seek the company of those who please us, rather than those who need us.

Forgive us that we have sullied your name by attaching it to political ideologies and national pride.

Forgive us when we hold ourselves above our brothers and sisters because they are Baptists, or Catholics, or Orthodox; because of who they vote for; because their children are in public schools; because they do trick-or-treat or they don’t trick-or-treat or because they only pass out those butterscotch candies that nobody really likes.

Forgive us that we see unrighteousness everywhere but in our own mirrors.

2076202679_bb37dfce49_o

Oh Lord, we are a country founded in rebellion, and we have fallen into grave sin. We have made greed a virtue. We have borrowed until there is no grain left in the storehouse, and now we throw the costs onto our children and grandchildren.

 

We have cultivated a hyper-sexualized culture. We allow our children to reach their teens without knowing how to behave like men and women.

We have sanctioned the murder of millions of unborn children.

Amidst all this, we have the gall to proclaim this God’s most favored nation. We boast, oh Lord, when we should tremble.

If you, oh Lord, would count our iniquities against us, who could stand? We are shot through with sin, as a nation, a city, a church, as individuals.

But you are faithful where we are faithless, and you have promised that when we confess, and repent, and lay hold of your Cross, that you will cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

So we praise you, Lord.

Thine, oh Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Thine.

Thine, oh Lord, is the kingdom, and Thou art exalted above all.

We praise you and we beg your mercy, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Tony Woodlief

Think On These Things

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

~Genesis 2:18–25

 

35777270953_82893e0fea_o