True Woman Makeover: week 3

>> Tuesday, June 30, 2009

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to Week 3 of the True Woman online Bible study!!!

Did you listen to or read through lessons 7, 8, and 9? What did you think? I don't know about you, but I find the more I listen to this study, the more I really, truly desire to be the Proverbs 31 kind of woman! I find her so encouraging, so inspiring, so motivating in her quiet wisdom ~ and, of course, Nancy's insights and gentle voice help, too! I love how it's making me want to be a better woman, wife, and mother ~ are you finding the same thing? I hope so.

How did you feel about the idea of running a little recorder in your home for a week and then playing it back for an audience?! Yikes. But it's true what she says: GOD records all our words.

Isn't it sad how we measure our words when we're outside the home (or when someone is visiting our home), but the moment we're alone with our husbands or children, we sound completely different? I know I do that, and I've CAUGHT myself doing it, but I fall into that pattern so very easily. To practise kindness, we need to not only watch what we say, but HOW we say it. Our tone of voice is so important, especially to our children.

I like that Nancy points out that just because we're thinking or feeling something doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be said. We do live in a day and age where it’s encouraged to just be open, be "authentic;" just say your feelings ~ but that is certainly not a godly way to speak. Another way this woman is HIGHLY counter-cultural!

I gotta tell ya, lesson 9 really bothered me. You know why? Because I'm lazy. I'm extremely idle.

My biggest time-waster? Sitting right here, doing what I'm doing right now. I can easily spend an entire day tucked away in my office in the back corner of my house while my 5- and 7-yr olds fend for themselves and fill their mind with useless television shows. All day.

Oh sure, I emerge briefly several times during the day to do this and that ~ it's not like I never get ANYTHING done ~ but what tears me away from the computer is not my children. It's only the few housecleaning tasks that will take the shortest amount of time.

I found this lesson to be incredibly convicting and uncomfortable!

Being a virtuous woman is a lot of work. It’s a hard job. It doesn’t come easily or naturally. It requires constantly being on call, constantly on the job, constantly being alert.

Because, you see, if a woman is not doing what God called her to do in the managing of her household, if she’s not busy doing the work God has assigned to her, then she will be idle and her household, whatever that is at that season of her life, is going to be out of order. Then the enemy can point a finger and say, “That’s a Christian?”

It won’t just be a negative reflection on her, it will reflect negatively on her husband, on her children, and most importantly, on Christ.
OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!!

Thankfully, Nancy softens it a bit, and like she says, God's grace is specifically for failures. We are so fortunate we serve a God who forgives over and over and over again!

Now, I don’t want to put you on a guilt trip with that. I just want to say that’s why a lot is at stake when we talk about becoming women who reflect the beauty and the heart of Christ.

It’s not just so we can be happier. It’s because there’s a gospel that’s involved here. The way that we live and the way we function and the way our homes look all reflect on the gospel of Christ.

What you’re doing in that home may not seem very important. It may not seem very meaningful. It may not seem very fulfilling. Where did we get that word? Fulfilling— everything today has to be fulfilling. That is so selfish!

The question is: Are you fulfilling God’s purpose and God’s plan for your life? Not: Are you fulfilling what you want to do with your life? If you want ultimate joy and ultimate happiness, then set yourself to do the will of God, and you will find there is, long-term, nothing more fulfilling. Joy is knowing and doing the will of God for my life for this season of my life.

Remember that as you serve in the context of your home, that is your supreme service to God. When you keep that home clean, when you are mending those clothes, when you are packing those lunches for your kids’ school and you’re picking up after family, and when you’re training your children and you’re watching over the ways of your household, you’re not just serving your husband and your children—you’re serving God.

You know, I've known all along that my life is supposed to be a testament to Christ, but I think it has only been in the last few months that I've really begun to understand what that means and how each and every aspect of my life counts. Whether it's my approach to losing weight or housekeeping or raising kids, it all speaks to how much control of it all I'm giving to God. (or how much I'm not!)

As I listened to lesson 9 last week, when Nancy mentioned that we're never more like Christ than when we're serving, washing the feet of the disciples, immediately, my mind went to bathtime.

Man, I HATE bathtime!! I'm not sure why, because all I do at this point is wash and rinse hair. Maybe it's because my knees have never tolerated kneeling, maybe it's because my back always hurts after kneeling beside the tub and leaning over it, maybe it's just because it's not something I feel like doing. I don't know exactly what it is that I hate, but I just hate it.

But those are my li'l disciples in there, I realized. If I'm "training them up in the way that they should go," I'm raising disciples for Jesus. I'm washing the feet hair of two little disciples.

Dang it, I hate realizing those kinds of things ~ they make continuing to live the way I have been so stinkin' difficult!!!

What was your take on this study? What struck a particular chord ~ or nerve! ~ with you this week? Write your own blog post and then paste the direct link to that post here in the Mr. Linky below and be sure to visit and encourage the others who've joined in. Remember, we're all sitting out on my lovely (imaginary!) front porch together!!

Dear God, we really, really, really need Your help in this. It’s not so hard for us to speak wisdom and kindness when we're outside of our home setting or when we've got visitors. It’s not hard to speak words of wisdom and kindness here in the blogosphere, but when we go back to our families, our homes ~ back to the people who push our buttons the most ~ we don't always watch that we speak with wisdom and with kindness. We tend to say things that aren't really necessary, or in a tone that isn't kind.

Father, we ask you for forgiveness and thank you for grace. If it weren’t for your grace, we would have no hope. Thank you that there is hope ~ hope as big as you are. I pray that you would speak hope and encouragement into the hearts of all the woman gathered here today ~ maybe they're discouraged, overwhelmed, frustrated. I pray we'll make the decision to stop in our tracks, turn to you, repent of any wrongdoing, and allow the power of Your Holy Spirit to fill us, and make us truly excellent, virtuous women, joyfully doing ALL the work you've commissioned us to do. Using our hands, our hearts, and our homes to be a testament to your power in our lives.

I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.


If you're just discovering this study now, but would like to join in, leave me a comment, making sure your email address is available, and I can promptly send you the first several lessons so that even if you only sign up today for the True Woman Makeover, you'll have lessons #10, 11, and 12 to join the discussion next week.

See you next Tuesday, ladies! Thanks so much for coming!

Simply Seleta

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schoooool's out... for summer! (finally)

>> Monday, June 29, 2009

Wednesday was Peanut's school's year-end concert and awards ceremony. Here she is, getting her report card from her teacher and shaking hands with the principal. Woo-hoo, she gets to move on to Grade 2 in September!

Thursday was HOT. I don't remember what I was busy with when Peanut got off the school bus and walked inside, but moments later, this is what I found in the front porch:

And the girls were here:

Friday night, after the last LAST day of school, after supper, after the girls were already asleep, some very special guests arrived. So on Saturday, the very first official day of summer vacation, the weekend fun kicked off with shrieks and squeals and cousins reuniting and birthday gifts...

and storytime...

and movie time...

...and more fun than can be crammed in to ANY two days during the school year!




All too soon, the weekend was over, and my brother-in-law, his wife (who is also my cousin!), and their girls were driving away.

And today, the very first summer vacation WEEKDAY ~ though there was less sleeping in than I'd hoped for! ~ we are definitely enjoying a really lazy day.

I do love summer.


Hammock 1

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Mennonite Girls Can Cook!

>> Saturday, June 27, 2009

Please, please PLEASE check out this site!!!

Mennonite Girls Can CookOur former pastor and his wife were out visiting our congregation over the weekend and she asked me if I was familiar with it. I said no. But now that I AM, I'd love for you all to be familiar with it too!

I am a Mennonite by heritage and many of the recipes they have listed are wonderful, homey, delicious meals I grew up with because my mom and dad and grandparents also grew up with them.

But you know what I love even more than tasty recipes and beautiful pictures of tasty recipes?
I love this, hiding at the very bottom of the site:

"Mennnonite Girls Can Cook" .. . is more than just recipes.

It is about HOSPITALITY versus entertaining.
It is about BLESSING versus impressing.

It is about taking God's Bounty, and co-creating the goodness from God's creation into something that we can bless our family and friends with, to help sustain our health and energy. From a simple and rustic recipe, to everyday ingredients made into a thing of beauty.

No matter which way you look at it, wonderful things happen when given the opportunity to gather around the table.

A chance to nurture and build relationships,
to fellowship and encourage one another.
To create a place of refuge for those
who have had a stressful day.


Isn't that beautiful?! Please go check it out! You won't be sorry.


Cooking Dinner

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just too much fun

>> Thursday, June 25, 2009

The girls played HARD at the lake on Sunday.

Fidget was talking a mile a minute (like usual) for about the first ten minutes of the drive home, but suddenly, this happened...

...which made for a very peaceful trip home!


Hammock 1

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily & MamaGeek

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True Woman Tuesday: week 2

>> Tuesday, June 23, 2009

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to Week 2 of the True Woman online Bible study!!!

I'm so glad you could make it! I hope a lawn chair is okay ~ all my beautiful (pretend) wicker and wrought iron chairs are already full! Can I get you some iced tea or coffee?

So? Did you listen to or read through lessons 4, 5, and 6? What did you think? How many times have you read through Proverbs 31 in the last week? I think I managed four times this past week, so I'm improving!

I hope you don't mind if I focus a fair bit on lesson #4 today. I feel very strongly about a certain portion.

Could you identify with Nancy when she said we all probably know what being a "dripping faucet" feels like? I don't really think I know how that feels. I determined in my heart LONG before I ever got married that I would NEVER whine at, nag, or coerce my future husband to get my way. (and sometimes I've regretted taking such a hard line on this!!) I've seen a lot of men crumble under that kind of wife, tired of suffering the consequences, and more interested in keeping the peace than being godly, masculine leaders. Being NICE instead of GOOD.

Quite honestly, I find it absolutely repulsive how our modern, post-Christian society has rather successfully campaigned to extinguish true, God-given masculinity. Everywhere we turn, we get the message, "female = goddess; male = buffoon." I really firmly believe that Christian women need to make a SUPREME effort to live counter-culture in this area particularly. It's our job to make our husbands feel like men. REAL men. Which invariably leads to a discussion of s*x and the absolute polar differences in the way men and women view it.

Ever since we read No More Christian Nice Guy by Paul Coughlin (Reluctant Entertainer's husband), my husband and I have spent a lot of time discussing this issue and determining in our hearts to embrace our God-given roles in the home. What Nancy says about s*x is true: if he ain't gettin' it from you, sister, he's gonna be tempted to get it elsewhere. And these days, it takes no more than a click of the mouse button or remote control.

You see, we women find worth in WHO we are ~ our personalities, our gifts, our relationships. S*x has nothing to do with that. But men find worth in WHAT they do and how well they do it ~ their jobs, providing for their family, and satisifying their women. For a man, WHAT he does is a direct reflection of who he is. So a mutually satisfying physical relationship will make him feel like a man. Having to BEG for it just doesn't. And you can bet, like Nancy says, if you are not making your husband feel desired, there is a woman somewhere who will, whether in reality or virtually. All bloggers know how easy it is to form relationships online.

Now this is not to say men aren't responsible for keeping their end of the marriage vows and trying to keep their minds and hearts pure and devoted to their wives, but what so many women simply don't realize is that s*x IS an emotional experience for men, just not the same way it is for us, and constant rejection in the boudoir is askin' for trouble.

Physical intimacy in marriage is not a bonus to be handed out to the buffoons when the goddesses feel like they've earned it, my friends. It's part of our calling to be wives of excellence.

Okay, rant over! Movin' right along....

"A godly woman works HARD," Nancy says at the beginning of the second study; not just at physically pleasing her husband, but at everything she does. And the FIRST place a godly woman works hard is in her home. Meaning, her FIRST priority ~ whether she is a stay-at-home mom or holds a paying part- or full-time job outside the home ~ is her husband and her children. Geez, I'm a stay-at-home mom and I'm ashamed to have to admit that my family is STILL not always my first priority. I am generally on the top of my priorities list. ME. (Not exactly counter-cultural, am I?!)

A godly woman works diligently, delighting in serving her family, delighting in using her hands to be a blessing to her home. I love that verse in 2 Corinthians Nancy quotes: "I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me." (2 Cor. 12:15, NLT) Does this not seem like a fitting verse for mothers?! Does the second half of this verse not describe our position perfectly ~ the more we do, the less the family seems to notice and appreciate? And yet, looking back to last week and the verse that seemed to stick out for all of us, we need to determine to serve DESPITE a lack of praise and gratitude. Because our purpose as godly, virtuous, excellent women is to SERVE. And to be a blessing to our families by serving God whole-heartedly, seeking only His reward.

Have you made it your purpose in life to be "spent" for your family? Have you willingly accepted God's calling to be a goldy, excellent, hard-working woman? Whew, that's definitely something I need to work on!

Let me borrow Nancy's verse of encouragement to conclude and spur you on in your goals this week: So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Gal. 6:9, NLT)

Oh God,
please help us to see working in our homes as worship and love and devotion to you. Help us to see work from your point of view; give us a sense of biblical and godly priorities. And may the virtue and excellence that you’re developing in our hearts manifest itself in very practical ways as we tend to physical, material and temporal needs of those that you’ve put into our homes and our hearts.

Lord, give us hearts that delight to serve, that delight to work, that delight to be spent on behalf of others. Help us to work willingly and diligently with our hands. Show us the work you want us to do, and through our attitudes, your glory to those we serve.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.


So what were your thoughts about this week's study? Anything strike a particular chord ~ or nerve?! Write your own blog post and then paste the direct link to that post here in the Mr. Linky and be sure to visit and encourage the others who've joined in. Remember, we're all sitting out on my lovely (imaginary!) front porch together!! Oh, that reminds me, more iced tea anyone?

If you're just discovering this study now, but would like to join in, leave me a comment, making sure your email address is available, and I can promptly send you the first several lessons so that even if you only sign up today for the True Woman Makeover, you'll have these lessons, plus #7, 8, and 9, which you'll need to join the discussion next week.

See you next Tuesday, ladies! Thanks so much for coming!

Fallen Tree Farm Bed & Breakfast








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a fun father's day

>> Monday, June 22, 2009

Every year, our church has a lakeside service. It's usually in June and often on Fathers Day. It's also often cool and cloudy! This year, it looked like that's the kind of day we'd be in for, but even before the service was over, it was getting hot.

The Bushman was initially quite sorry he hadn't brought a sweater along, but by the time he was cooking up our burgers for the potluck picnic lunch, he didn't need one anyway.

The girls couldn't wait for the burgers, so they just ate from the salads and chips that were out on the potluck tables. I waited for burgers.

After lunch, we all headed down to the lake because it was downright hot! If the lake hadn't just thawed out last week, I might even have gone for a swim. (Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but the water is still too cold for my liking!!)

By mid-afternoon, the clouds had started rolling in. Here's The Bushman waiting for one last turn behind the boat before we pack up and head home.

Wheeee!

He loves wakeboarding and water-skiing. I wish he could do it more often.

By this time, as you can see in the picture, it was raining on the other side of the lake, and it was really time to pack up and head home, anyway. There was lawn-mowing and garden tilling to be done yet.

The girls and their daddy.

It was too short a weekend. The Bushman had made it home for supper on Friday, but had spent all day Saturday at first a church board breakfast meeting (that lasted till lunch) and then working at the shop until 7 in the evening, so I really didn't want to share him with anyone yesterday. I almost campaigned to stay home.

But I'm glad I didn't. It really was a beautiful day. Our church family experienced some wonderful community living, had a lot of fun together, and my husband got to do something he really loves, but rarely has the chance or time to do anymore.

It really was the best way we could have spent Father's Day.


Water Skier

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my dad

>> Sunday, June 21, 2009

Always a man of humour and great wisdom. Slow to make important decisions and frustratingly silent when I want help with mine. Judicious with praise for his daughter and granddaughters, but the pride just oozes out anyway.

I don't know that I ever felt distant from my dad, but I know while growing up I never really got the praise and affirmation that I thought I deserved from him. And yet now, when I watch him with my daughters ~ who VERY obviously mean the world to him ~ I understand better and appreciate so much more how he was with me when I was younger.

We joke about the rest of us not even existing while the girls are awake and around because they have his undivided attention all. day. long. I know I had his all those years I lived at home.

I love the unique way my dad chose to teach me respect ~ with one sound spanking that he claimed would never need to be repeated. I was too young to remember the punishment, but I do know it turned out just like he said: he never had to do it again. And before some pervert jumps to the conclusion that it was obviously because I was afraid of my dad, I WAS NOT. EVER.

But I did want to make him proud. One of the biggest reasons I didn't do so many of the things my teenage friends were doing back in high school was because I knew the sad look in his eyes if he ever found out, would kill me.

I desired to honour my father. I still do.

When The Bushman and I were dating, he started working for my dad and as nervous as that made me in some ways, it turned out really well. I love how well my husband and my dad get along. I love how they make each other laugh until they're both wiping their eyes. I love how my dad has changed since a second male joined the family!

Somehow it seems he's more his real self since The Bushman became a part of our lives. I was shocked the first time my dad said anything bordering on crass at the dinner table because in ALL my growing up years, I'd never heard anything like that from him. He'd always been very proper and respectful of the delicate feminine ears in the home.

But when The Bushman came along, well....

It was so great to see him thoroughly enjoying some "guy" humour, sometimes an obvious carry-over from something they'd joked about at work. I think my mom was embarrassed about it sometimes, but having watched The Bushman together with his brother and their dad, I enjoyed seeing my dad have this kind of a relationship.

I like to think The Bushman came as a fresh breath of testosterone to my dad! (Not that my dad was lacking it, of course, but let's face it, he was the only one in the family who HAD it until then!!)

I have had a wonderful relationship with my dad all my life and he's the inspiration behind many of the decisions that I make and the way I do things. He's the reason I'm curious about EVERYTHING, the reason I make Google work overtime, and the reason I love reading the dictionary. He's the reason I have bird feeders in front of my dining room window and that I recognize (or at least look up and read about!) all the birds we see.

He's the reason I love being a parent.

Imagine what I'd be missing out on if I couldn't watch him play tirelessly (or seemingly so, anyway!) for hours and hours with my girls. I love seeing my past in their present when they're with you, dad.

Happy Father's Day!

I love you.


Father's Day Hammock

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in search of the ever-elusive PERFECT time to mow lawn...

>> Friday, June 19, 2009

It's been 30 outside all week. (86F for the Celsius-challenged)

** THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT!! **

I'm just sayin'.

It's been a WONDERFUL change from what we've experienced right up till now, but it's been tough to find a "good" time to get some lawn-mowing in, which is finally growing at the same speed the weeds are.

In the morning, the dew is too heavy, and during the day, it's simply too hot. So it pretty much has to happen in the evenings.

I should have done it Monday night, but because I'd done some mowing on Saturday, I really didn't feel it was necessary. (Even though I'd split up the task last week and the mowing right around the house hadn't been done for 5 days by this point! It could really have used another trimming by Monday night, but it just didn't happen.)

Tuesday I couldn't because I had three lovely young ladies from our church and community over for supper and the evening, so I decided to tackle it Wednesday evening. Because I didn't want to miss So You Think You Can Dance, I opted to make my girls a quick, early supper, mow lawn while they ate and watched some TV, so I could come in, shower, eat, and enjoy the rest of my evening relaxing.

Pushing the lawn-mower around in thick grass overdue for a mowing for an hour on a 30-degree late afternoon is brutal.

It's worse when you haven't eaten any solid food all day.

I'm so used to my eating routine, that consuming only liquids for a day doesn't phase me, but, as I discovered, it DOES make a difference if you're doing yardwork in high heat!

I would not recommend it.

But I did manage to do 2/3 of the job before I collapsed. Well, I didn't really collapse, but I just couldn't give any more, so I quit.

So yesterday around the same time ~ after a day that included real food! ~ I decided to tackle the last half-hour of the job.

I made two passes around the garden shed and noticed this coming over the trees:

Accompanied by some ominous-sounding rumbling. Leaving the mower running, I raced inside to get my camera and ran through our shelterbelt to the field behind our house to snap some pictures.

Here we are looking almost directly east:

Straight south:

And looking west-southwest, we see the source of the rumbling sound:

I tried to get some lightning shots, but they're rather elusive. Not to mention I didn't think it particularly prudent to be standing amongst a single row of 70 ft. poplar trees with a storm epicenter rapidly approaching.

But I did venture even further out into the field ~ further away from the house ~ to snap one more:

...before high-tailin' it like a gazelle through the ancient barbed wire fences, overgrown fallen trees, and miscellaneous antique farm equipment that resides in our windbreak to get back to the house.

A gazelle, I tell ya. (stop laughing)

We didn't get much of a storm; it passed just south of us. But it's been drizzling on and off all night.

So the mowing will once again just have to wait.


Rain Cloud

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