Sunday, June 12, 2022

A State of Prayer

Recently I saw this question posted in a group I am a part of; basically: How are you able to get in time with the Lord - doing bible study and praying - with small children? 

I have touched on this in the past, but I believe it's good to bring it up again. First I'd like to say: there was no bible 2,000+ years ago. Second I'd like to say: praying can [and should!] happen at ANY TIME during the day. 

I believe the MOST IMPORTANT THING is to actually be LIVING OUT what you know to be true. Usually these truths are very, very easy to understand, yet sometimes the simplicity gets lost in the routine / ho-hum of life. We might be able to "fit in" a specific time dedicated to bible reading and prayer, however what are we doing the rest of the day?? Are we grateful? Loving? Kind? In our proper place as women? Attentive mothers? NO ONE would argue with me when I say these things are very precious to the Father. He LOVES a grateful heart. He LOVES a meek and quiet spirit. He LOVES a woman who is mindful of the needs of her husband and seeks to be the best helper she can be. (and so on)
Or maybe you have your specific time for prayer and bible reading, but then the rest of the day you are ungrateful, grumpy, not attentive to the needs of your children / husband / household, etc. If that's the case, then your bible reading and prayer time has actually become a WORK that the Father hates. 

Anyone can read the bible and pray, however only a true believer will actually walk out the truth in their daily lives REGARDLESS of whether or not they had  a specific time to read and pray that day.

If you are at a season in your life where you do not have time for [what you believe is] the ideal bible study and prayer, consider approaching it in a more natural way. When you wake up in the morning, make it a habit to talk with the Father before you even get out of bed. Something as simple as, "Thank you, Father, for another day. Please help me live this day out in a way that is pleasing to you." If there is something specific you are working on, include that in your prayer. Say, for example, you have a problem getting irritated ... before your feet even hit the ground, ask the Father to help you have a "meek and quiet spirit" today. This takes less than a minute, but it puts your mind and heart in the right place and is a great foundation for the rest of the day. 

If you are the type that needs a reminder for prayer, set yourself up for success by designating certain tasks as "cues". Certain prayers can be set for each task, or just pray whatever comes to your heart. I'll try to give a few examples. When you are doing laundry, make that your "cue" to pray for your family. When you are washing the dishes, make that your "cue" to pray for your life as a wife [or sister] and mother. When you are in the garden, make that your "cue" to pray for your fellowship. When you are sweeping the floor, make that your "cue" to meditate on all the things you have to be thankful for. And so on ... OR ... just pray anything! 

Each "cue" should also include seeking the Father's will / wisdom. What areas in your life need improvement? How can you better serve your family? How can you better run your household? How can you be a better wife? Actively seek these things daily, and that will benefit you so much more than fitting in reading the bible. 

Something I personally do: whenever I'm at a stop sign or stoplight, I pray for the people I see driving or walking by. When I'm at the store, I pray for whoever the Father brings to my attention. Not too long ago I was thinking about how a lot of those people might not have ANYONE praying for them!!! Can you imagine? How sad! 

Am I clear enough? This post feels really scattered, but I think it's understandable. It's more important to LIVE the bible out than to read it. But by all means, do both if you can!! And learn how to be in a near-constant state of prayer ... being sure to include GRATEFULNESS and also always seek for wisdom and help aligning yourself to the Father's will.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

You're Grounded

I would like to share my thoughts on this. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong - I'm open for the thoughts of others. Here is a picture I saw the other day. Look at it carefully and then read what I have to say. (NOTE: I started this post about 8 years ago!!!)

Ok. Did you read it? What was this child's offense? "Playing on the phone AFTER bed time." This child obviously broke some before-stated rule: no phone after bed. While we do not have this issue in our home, if we did I would make the punishment fit the crime.

So you want to break my rule and play on your phone after bed? Fine. Give me your phone for xxx days/weeks. No phone, no playing.

But what is the punishment for this child? Write a nice letter to a family member. Why is that considered a punishment? It should be considered a blessing and a privilege, but this child is being taught otherwise by having it as a punishment.
Make dinner. A punishment??? No!!! A blessing! And FUN too (but maybe not for this person since it has become a punishment).
Do laundry. Do the dishes. Vacuum. Water the plants. Clean bathroom. Take out the trash. Clean the litter box. Really? These are things that need to be done every day. They are not 'punishments', they are just normal, daily things that have to be done whether we like it or not. What is this child being taught by having these as a punishment?

I don't know how to word what all is in my head about this. It's just not right. I'm sure the parents had nothing but good intentions, but what are they unknowingly teaching here? I can just imagine said teenager (I assume it was a teen anyway?) moping around the house, ho-humming over all the things he/she has to do in order to earn enough points to get his/her phone back. OR, maybe he/she is like, "HEY, I'll just do xyandz really fast so I can hurry up and get my phone back." Let's think about this.

Ok, 500 points. Let's see.
Get laundry going first. 100 points. Total hands-on time from start to finish, including folding and putting away, maybe 15 minutes.
Clean the bathroom. 50 points. 20 minutes of work maybe.
Clean and organize a few kitchen cupboards (we'll pick the easy ones of course). 50 points each x 3 cupboards 150 points total. Easy ones in my house would take about 10 minutes each to unload, scrub and reload. So that's maybe 30 minutes.

Ok, now that's 300 points. We need 200 more.
Empty AND load dishwasher - 100 points. It's been a while since I've had a dishwasher, but when I did, Corban was about 10 years old and part of his morning routine was unloading the dishwasher. It took him about 5 minutes (and was full). I loaded it throughout the day, but it couldn't have taken me more than 10 minutes total. So that's 15 minutes.

Up to 400 points now. 100 more to earn.
We'll have our imaginary unruly child dust the living room and clean and wash the kitchen counters for another 50 points. It takes about 2 minutes to dust my living room, but I do not like stuff sitting around so there's not much to dust. I've been cleaning houses professionally for many years and I cannot think of very many living rooms that took me more than 15 minutes to dust.
And cleaning and washing the kitchen counters, again, this is not very time consuming at all. I cannot see why it would take more than 10 minutes, but we'll say 15 just in case.

For the final 50 points, our child is going to prepare and cook dinner. What kind of dinner? I don't know. How about spaghetti. A jar of store sauce, a package of pasta and a bag of frozen vegetables. Done. Easy. Healthy enough. Preparing AND cooking this would take about 15 minutes if you have good pans that bring water to a boil relatively quickly.

500 points. Roughly 2 hours of work. Cell phone is back in said child's hands the very next day after the offense.

Well, I'm glad I did all of that because I CAN see how the child MIGHT learn SOMETHING from this, however I still do not believe it is right to punish a child with normal, daily house duties and being kind to family. PLEASE make the punishment fit the crime. And what is a child doing with a cellphone anyway? Another subject for another time, perhaps. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Angels of Light

Something I think about on occasion is how baffling it is that [for some ... or maybe for many?] as long as someone looks right and/or sounds right and/or talks right, they are acceptable. But then get an honest person who is just trying to do their best - maybe they are a bit rough around the edges or they don't quite dress or talk or act the way "you" think they should - and they are not acceptable. 
Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. Give me the honest but "rough around the edges" person any day over a smooth talking person who can say / look / do all of the right things but is dark on the inside. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Obituary - a bit of humor mixed in with reality


This is mean to be funny, of course, but I believe it also can and should be thought-provoking. What are we holding on to? I could get really philosophical here, but my brain does not work that way, so I'll just talk about the more practical side and leave the philosophical stuff to your own imagination. 

I have a few favorite 'decluttering' and/or 'minimalism' channels that I watch on YT: The Minimal Mom, Clutterbug, and A Slob Comes Clean. These girls talk a lot about letting go of things, and give you strategies to take the emotion out of it. 

One thing they talk about is clutter that is attached to "your fantasy self". We all have it, right?? I mean, those boxes stored under my bed that contain several sewing projects that have been "needing" to be done for the past 5 or so years ...  UGH! It's time for me to either DO THEM, or just get rid of them. AND ... once they are either DONE or GONE, I need to be diligent to not add any more sewing projects to my to do list because obviously that is something only my fantasy self does.

Dawn - the Minimal Mom - also shares the idea of the "silent to do list". That concept really speaks to me [no pun intended] because my brain is already going 500 million miles a second, and all of the stuff sitting around that I have NOT done yet is really just screaming at me, making more noise in my already scattered brain. I guess this works hand-in-hand with the fantasy self, because lots of the things that are on my silent to-do list are actually associated with my fantasy self. 

Well, I guess that's where I will leave this post. :) 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas.

An image I found online; no clue about the website reference.

Well. It's that time of year again. I'm not sure that I ever really shared the backstory of why I do not celebrate Christmas, so here it is. 

I was raised by my atheist dad. We celebrated Christmas [well, we kind of celebrated Christmas ... we usually had a tree but that was it. No other decorations around the house or yard - just a tree with a few lights and bulbs ... sharing that because I really don't remember my dad ever caring much about Christmas], but it never had anything to do with Jesus. My grandma was the one that made a big deal out of it, and she was a professing believer, so her celebrations included things about the birth of Jesus, but also had all the traditional things like Santa, elves, greenery, mistletoe, lights, decorative ceramic scenes sitting around the house, etc. Side note - Santa always creeped me out. 

I was a little bit different than most children [last year I learned I have ASD, so now of course it all makes sense]; I was incapable of pretending, so toys seemed really stupid to me. Two of my most favorite "toys" were maps and an old encyclopedia set. With the latter, I'd choose a volume at random, flip through it, and then read whatever caught my attention. 

On one particular occasion I was flipping through "C" - pictures of Christmas stuff caught my attention so I stopped to read it. I am not sure exactly how old I was right at that moment, but 7 or 8 sounds about right?? Obviously I was old enough to be reading, but I was young enough to still be home all day instead of out running the streets with my brother [I was about 9 or 10 when I started doing that]. The encyclopedia shared all sorts of traditions / rituals / festivals in history from around the world, and then showed how they were incorporated into modern Christmas celebrations. I can't remember if it said anything about any of it being "right" or "wrong" ... as far as I remember, it just stated the historical facts. [Incidentally, I looked up Easter / Sunrise Service at that time, too.]

I found it all so fascinating and it stuck with me. I'm sure I did not really understand all of it at the time, but it did plant a seed that grew and grew. That seed was that [basically] Christmas [and Easter] was a bunch of pagan holidays / celebrations / traditions all mixed together and called Christian. And this, among several other things, was what helped me stay atheist longer ... I mean, to see all of the professing Christians I knew celebrating Christmas [and Easter ... and Halloween for that matter] ... and me knowing it all came from pagan roots ... it was just one big joke to me. If you are going to believe something, then BELIEVE IT!! Don't just mix it all up with other stuff and say you believe when it's really just a matter of you picking, choosing, and creating your own thing. 

Again, that was my mindset, and that was the same mindset I had when I started reading the bible. All of the sudden I realized that IT'S ALL RIGHT THERE!!!!! It was not God's fault that his professing believers SAID they loved him but totally ignored his words. The truth is out there for all to see. He is not hiding anything, and if we love him we will seek to do what pleases him ... in all areas of our lives, not just in what suits us.

For many, Christmas is this warm and fuzzy time filled with lots of fond memories of family being together. When some discover that Christmas has pagan roots, they usually choose to ignore that because they personally do not "mean it" that way. But what does God say? I mean, seriously, how many times did he admonish and caution us in his word to NOT worship him the way the nations worshipped their gods???? We should be all about what pleases him, not what pleases us. Loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

So, anyway, at the time I was seeking truth and reading the bible and growing and learning, naturally I chose to STOP recognizing Christmas in any way. Up until that point, I was keeping Christmas in MY OWN WAY and was very sure to keep Christ OUT of it. When a professing Christian would say, "Keep Christ in Christmas!" I'd say, "He was never meant to be in it!" As an atheist (and then later as a converted atheist), I genuinely tried to tell professing Christians that Christmas was totally pagan, but of course I was usually met with lots of opposition. Some might have even known a little about the pagan roots, but would just choose tradition over truth. And when I started trying to do what was right, any celebration of Christmas was stopped because I knew it was all pagan. 

We must be all about doing what is pleasing to God, and mixing in a bunch of pagan traditions is not pleasing to him. Things like gift giving, greenery in the home [such as holly, branches of evergreens, and mistletoe], caroling, bringing in a tree and decorating it, Christmas lights ... etc. ... all pagan. I challenge you to find any of it spoken of in a positive way in the scriptures. I believe it is vitally important for us to seriously consider why we are doing what we are doing, and if our answer is something along the lines of, "Well, it does not mean that any more" or "I don't mean it in that way" or "it's not a salvation issue", then we must consider what God "really meant" when he cautioned us over and over again to NOT worship him in the same way the nations do ["really meant" said in quotes because do we really have to wonder what he "really meant" when he said things so clearly? Besides all of the times he said directly to not worship him in any way except what he commands, there are also so many accounts of people and/or groups being punished for worshipping him in a way he did not command]. 

The separation of time does not magically make pagan practices all ok. If it was not ordained by the Father in the scriptures as a way to worship and honor and love HIM, then we are totally wrong if we participate in it and say it's for Him. Simply put, we have made up our own religion and are not worshipping him in Spirit and in Truth.  

Well, there you have it. My 2 cents. :)

Here's a documentary to get you started, if you wish ... but please DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!!!!  I don't agree with the producers / channel in everything [I have NEVER believed that we have to agree with something 100% to learn from it.], but I think they did a pretty good job presenting a timeline and appreciate them having people from all opinions and whatnot. Some believers that are for it, against it, some atheists, some professors, historians, and even witches. It's just kind of all sides of the coin I guess. So, I'm not sharing it to point you to --their channel-- but just to point you to this specific thing that they produced. Make sense? I hope so. And, in my opinion, they are much too soft. I understand that they are trying to be careful, but I would have been a lot more harsh about it. But, that's also my personality ... just give it to me straight. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

God loves atheists, too.

My mind has been focused a lot lately on how GOOD God is to all of us. Not just to those of us who love him [I mean, REALLY, ACTUALLY love him), but also to those of us who don't. Yes, he's even good to atheists! 

I've been in "reflection mode" more frequently lately. I'm not sure why, but maybe it has something to do with another grandchild being born? For all of you grandparents out there, maybe you can relate when I say: I look at my grandbabies and think, "Those are my babies." I don't see them as grandchildren; I see them as MY children. I love them as much as if they came from my own body, because in a way, they did! It's been a blessing for me to be able to watch them grow, learn, explore, hit milestones, etc. 

But back to my reflection mode thought. If you did not know, I was raised atheist and remained that way until some time in my early 30s. Looking back I can see all of the times when things "should have went wrong" ... even all of the times when it seems like I should not have survived one situation or another [I can think of at least 5 situations where I just marvel that I made it out alive], and see God's hand in all of it. He cared for me even when I was rebellious and totally doing my own thing. Even when I was speaking directly against him. He has been so good to me.

He really does not want ANY of us to perish in our sins! He'd much rather ALL of us come to repentance. He loves us all ... but that's never been up for debate. The real question is, Do we love him in return? 

He's good to all of us, because he IS good. But only those who love him back are worthy to be called his children. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Keepers at Home

The Creator gave us women a job to do!! Yes ... a JOB! We are to be the keepers of our homes, and that comes with great responsibility. If done well and with gratefulness, the house will be in order, the family will be fed properly, the husband will be happy, the children will be secure, and the home will be a haven of rest for all who enter. What a blessing to have such a place of refuge in this otherwise mostly dark and frustrating world!

We've drifted so far away from where we were designed to be. So far, in fact, that many of us will never even know or realize that we are totally lost. I've already shared that I'm listening to the Little House series again ... it has a ton of food for thought. The women of history would not even recognize the women of today. That's about 6,000 years of history compared with about 100 years of modern-day living. That's not even 2% of the whole of our existence ... and all of the sudden WE think we have it right. To quote Joel Salatin, "Folks, this ain't normal!!" [this is the second post lately where I've mentioned that book :) ]

We keep ourselves busy and entertained checking social media, watching television and movies, having lots of "me time", going to town on a whim whenever we want. But for more than 98% of history none of those things would have been possible or even conceivable. I know there has always been opportunities to be idle, however for most of history too much idleness meant you would starve and possibly die. 

The bible says, "If a man does not work, neither should he eat" ... and why do you think that is? Because for more than 98% of history man has HAD to work in order to eat. 

We live in a day and age where most people do not even know where their food came from, let alone how to grow it for themselves. Long gone are the days [the 98% of our existence] when food was grown right out your door, tended to daily, harvested, and put up ... all by YOU and your loved ones. Long gone are the days when a trip to town was a rare occasion, saved for once or twice a year. We no longer need each other for bartering goods and services; no one really knows their neighbors, knows their needs, knows their skills. No quiet evenings around the fire or the oil lamp, sewing, mending, reading, oiling boots, TALKING TO EACH OTHER, and so on. 

Folks had to PLAN CAREFULLY and WORK HARD. They needed each other and their very lives depended on everyone doing their part. Food, clothing, and basic possessions were cherished and respected. Now so much of what we have is disposable and we don't know or care where it came from or where it's going. 

[I realize times have changed, but I believe our relationships with each other not.]

Am I making my point clear enough? I feel like this is a bit rambling and scattered. 

Being a "KEEPER AT HOME" is not a title to be taken lightly or flippantly. It is a huge responsibility ... more so than ANY OTHER JOB you might be able to find outside of the home. Sculpting the souls of your children and helping your husband be a better man ... wow! I can't believe today's women actually shun these thoughts! I say: EMBRACE IT! LOVE IT!! DO AN EXCELLENT JOB AT IT!! :) :) :) And most of all, just be thankful for where the Father has put you. If you are truly thankful, everything else should naturally fall in to place. 

I might share a few practical tips another time, but feel free to post your questions and comments.