Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Proverbs 31 Ponderings - Are we trustworthy?

"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil."
Proverbs 31:11  

It seems to me, that the  essence of a successful and happy marriage hinges upon this verse. 

It says so very much, in one small  word.


A primitive root; properly to hide for refuge (but not so precipitately as H2620); figuratively to trust, be confident or sure: - be bold (confident, secure, sure), careless (one, woman), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust.

That first part of the definition really struck my heart.  

Does my husband come to me as a place of refuge, when things are tough for him?  Am I the kind of wife that endears her husband, or makes him reluctant to come to me as a place of refuge?  

Does my whining, complaining, moaniness...

my inability to listen, critical spirit, my judgemental heart...

prevent him form coming to me as place of refuge?

Would he sooner immerse himself in empty pursuits, than come to me, snuggled up, to share his heart?

How else can I prove myself to be a trustworthy wife?

We shall shortly see, in the verse to come,  the many ways in which a wife ought to be virtuous - in the many tasks of life that we ought to busying ourselves.  Does our husband have confidence in our ability to willingly undertake these duties with delight?  Does he trust that when he asks us to do something for him, that it will be done, or at least an attempt be made, without excuses?
So, in which areas should we be endeavouring to earn the trust of our husband?


How to do we behave towards our husband and family?  

We ought to treat our husband with love and respect. 
We ought to be patient with his imperfections.
We ought to speak of him with kindness and never let him down in what we say to others. 
We ought to be discreet about what we talk about to others, regarding the affairs of our home - especially regarding intimate matters, or any disagreements we have. 
We must be a mother who is loving, patient and gentle with our children - not behaving rashly.

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." 
Proverbs 25:11  

"love...Doth not behave itself unseemly"
I Corinthians 13:5

"to love their husbands, to love their children, 
 To be discreet," 
Titus 2:4-5


If we are committed to out marriage, we will not be tempted to go off and seek love and affection from any other men.  We should be content with the husband that God has blessed us with, and our husband should be able to trust us not to go off to anyone else.

This aspect of our marriage is related to the issue of refuge that we have already considered.

SO ciritically, does he find ME as place of refuge to meet his intimate needs, in the God-given way that he was made?  

Or, by my lack of interest in him, could I be pushing him away to find refuge elsewhere?  Does he feel satisfied with my affection?

Our commitment to our husband, will ensure that we are the refuge that he seeks for physical satisfaction, and not anyone else.

"Charity never faileth"
1Corinthians 13:8  


As a mother, it our duty and responsibility to train our children in the ways of the Lord.  We are, generally, with our children for more hours of the day than our husband.  Does our husband trust us to train up our children in the ways of the Lord?  To diligently teach them God's truths?  To rebuke them and discipline them when they err?  To be consistent in our admonition, and follow through with punishment?

It is one of the most solemn areas that our husband needs to be able to trust us with.  If we are not diligently training our children, they will simply NOT be able to train themselves!

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
Deutermonomy 6:7  

As a  very quick aside, this is one verse that particularly spoke to us regarding home-schooling.  If it is the parents's responsibility to train up their children in the ways of the Lord, how can this be done when the best part of their waking hours are spent under the care and tutelage of unbelieving school staff?  When they are at home with us all day, we KNOW that we have at least tried to instill in them the truths of God's Word at every moment that is available to us, rather than having regrets about what they have been taught in school, and how they have been influenced by their peers and teachers around them.  These children are such tender, and valuable plants that are growing up, and we need to do all we can to protect and train them up to have strong roots and healthy growth, in the spiritual realm. 

Also, this may seem like an insane thing to mention, but we are commanded in Titus 2 to love our children.

Love them.

Surely we don't have to be TOLD to do this?

However, love is not just an empty word.  It's an action.  It's a demonstration in our words and deeds that we love and care for them.  It's making a decided effort to connect with them - to know them - to appreciate them - to value them...because God has given them to us. 

As a mother, that starts right from the moment we know they are ours...from the womb.  To accept them as a gift, despite how awful we can feel.  When they are a new-born, crying for some unknown reason that we cannot seem to ease.  When they are toddlers, attempting to get one over on us.  When they are older and pushing boundaries.  No matter what the stage, as their mother, we are required to love them, unconditionally.  

Does our husband trust us to do all of this?


Here's a biggie!  

Does our husband trust us to care for money wisely??

There are endless websites and blogs available filled with money saving tips.  You could spend all day reading them!!!

However, it comes down to this.

Do I spend money when I shouldn't?  

Do I spend what I need to spend wisely?  What I buy and when I buy it?

Our husband should be able to trust us to spend money, on a day to day basis, without us having to constantly check with him if it's ok!  An evidence of our husband trusting us, is that we are able to spend money without phoning him for permission.  If we can't do this, our husband is either a control freak, or he doesn't trust us!

It may mean you sitting down together, and setting a budget. 

It may mean, like us, that certain money goes into an account that you use, and if it's gone, it's gone!  But, don't go back asking for extra! *grin*

It may mean that you have to ask him to trust you in this area, and that you prove that you are able to manage money, if you have never been given the responsibility before.

But, as a Biblical woman, we ought to have responsibility for spending, and caring for our home, as we will see in verses further on.

I am NOT suggesting that you never consult your husband AT ALL.  Some purchases are more than "every day" type things, and it would be wise to check with your husband first!  I wouldn't go out and purchase a 3-piece suite, just because I knew we needed one, and I saw one for a good price!

However, my husband would be driven INSANE if I kept asking him for permission to spend every single penny! I know how much we have.  I know what our family needs.  I get it, and therefore relieve him from the constant pressure and responsibility of buying things that we need for every day.  He has enough on his plate!

Are we wise money spenders?

Care of the home

This is an area that you first of all need to establish just what your husbands expectation are!

If you don't know what he wants, you simply cannot do it!

Some husbands want a spotless house, with nothing out of place ALL THE TIME.  I know that my husband would LIKE this, just as I would.  But, he has realised that it cannot always be achieved (hang on, it can NEVER be achieved...) all the time, with 7 children in the home!  

However, I know that he likes the hall to be clear and tidy at all times, and for the lounge to be reasonable all the time and tidied by the time he gets home.  We live in a manse, and in theory, someone could wish to visit at any time.  If the lounge is kept as a toy-free and mess-free area, any odds and ends could be quickly cleared up if someone came unexpectedly. Because I have talked to him about this, I know what he expects.  Does he trust me to do it?

Do you know what your husband expects of your home?  You may be surprised - it could be more than you already do, or it may actually be less!  

Maybe you don't keep up with the washing and your husband forever has to ask you to iron his shirts?

Maybe there is always clutter piled up on every horizontal surface?

Whatever it is, find out the desires of his heart in this issue, and make sure that he can trust you to do it!

What of the last phrase?

If our husband trusts us, he has no need of "spoil".

What's spoil?

It's plunder.  Going elsewhere to get something, usually by not so good means.

If our husband doesn't trust us with our conduct, he'll attempt to gain it by harsh words, withdrawal of responsibility or discontent.  None of which are the ways in which this should come about.

If our husband doesn't trust us in our commitment to him, he will go elsewhere for it - whether to his mates for moral support, or to another woman for physical needs.  Not good.

If our husband doesn't trust us with our children, our CHILDREN will GET spoiled...or ruined!

If our husband cannot trust us in money matters, he may feel he needs to borrow money unnecessarily, or be forced to spend less money on the things that matter, such as a new car or new furniture, because we have not managed our money well.

If he cannot trust us in matters of the home, he will eat out instead of at home, or not even want to spend time at home at all, because it's not a restful place to be!!

We can also think of it in the way we now think of something being "spoilt" - ruined!  We will ruin our marriage if our husband cannot trust us!

Endless examples of "spoil" could be thought of, if we consider the consequences of our behaviour not being worthy of our husband's trust. 

I really didn't expect to cover so much at once, but I felt it all needed to be dealt with under one topic! 

A lot to think about...and my heart has been convicted, as so often it is, whilst I type!

I pray that our husbands will safely trust in us!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Hannah - Part 1....consideration and contentment

Oh, where do I begin with this lady?

So much to think about - so much to learn from - so much to ponder.

I simply cannot deal with it in one post, so I will split it up.

As a mother, this story speaks to me in a very profound way.

I challenge any mother not to be deeply affected by the emotions portrayed in this account.

As a mother blessed with 7 children, in some ways I cannot fully understand the grief felt by this dear woman.

"and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children."
I Samuel 1:2

Hannah was barren.  She watched on as her husband's other wife was blessed with children, and she had none.

The heartache as she saw her being blessed with child after child.  As she longed for just ONE of her own.

And yet, the Lord saw fit for her to remain childless.

How hard that must have been for her.  Her arms empty.  Her heart sad.  That deep desire to be blessed.

And nothing.

If "only" it had been that she could not bear children.  That was a hard enough thing all on its own.


She had to contend with a woman who could not just be happy with the blessings she had.

She had to endure the mocking and provoking of Peninah.

"HA!  God has blessed me with all these children....and you have NONE..."

Elkanah sought to pour out his love to her by giving  her gifts, and lavishing his love upon her in material ways.

But this was not enough to satisfy the saddened soul of Hannah.

Before we even move into the crux of this story, there are lessons to be gleaned.

Once again, we see that God's design for marriage has good cause - one man - one woman.  2 women just doesn't work!

But on a more spiritual note, there are two things to be considered that apply more to our lives as women.

Consideration and contentment.

This applies to many areas of life, but let's just consider it with regard to child-bearing first of all.

There are truths in scripture, that are undeniable. 

Children are a blessing.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. "
Psalm 127:3  

We should be kind and considerate.

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 
 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted..."

Eph 4:31 & 32 

God is sovereign.  He is in control over all things.

"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
Genesis 18:25

"Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 
 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
Deuternomy  32 :3&4

We should be content.

 "But godliness with contentment is great gain." 

I Timothy 6:6 

"and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. "
Hebrews 13:5

If all of this is true - and it is - then we can see how being considerate and content apply in this situation.

Peninah had been blessed with children.  It was not right of her to boast about it to Hannah.  To brag about it and to intentionally cause pain and heartache for her.  Her heart was wrong.  SO wrong.

The same applies to us.  If we are blessed with children, it is not out place to brag and boast about them, when it could cause sadness to others, who have not been blessed in the same way.  I know of very dear, sweet ladies who cannot have children.  People may look on and think that they choose to have no children, for their own benefit or to further their career.  This is so wrong to judge someone in that way.  SO wrong.  To make a judgement on the heart of another, who may be saddened that they cannot have a child of their own.

I know of lovely ladies that may have one or two, but would DEARLY love more, and in God's will, it simply has not happened. 

Some have suffered ill health, and physically cannot have any more.

They have to battle with their spirits, not to look on others with more and be bitter about it. 

So, we come around to the contentment aspect.  

Peninah was not the only one in the wrong.  So was Hannah!  

I am not suggesting that it is wrong to feel a sadness, when we do not receive something that we desire from the Lord.  Especially children - because I think that God gives us a maternal desire for children.    

However, from what we are told, it appears that Hannah became despondent and miserable.  She wept and refused to eat.  Yes, Peninah agitated and provoked her, but she chose to respond in this way.  She could have chosen to graciously respond, and accept God's plan for her.  But, she chose to be miserable and discontent.

In this, and in ANY area of life where we do not have something that we desire, we MUST be content. And, it applies to more than children.  Our home.  Our circumstances.  Our financial situation.  Our family.

Ah! But it's easy for you to say all of this when you already have seven children!!

When others ask me about my big family, and "will you have any more then?"...I reply the same as I always have.  

"I never take anything for granted - if God gives me more, I would be thrilled, but I am very blessed to have the children that He has given me."

It was not in my power to conceive and have the children I have.  God is in control, and it is His plan.

You simply cannot say that I should not have had them...that it's "too many" - because it quite obviously is God's plan that I should!  (If you believe in God's sovereignty, that is!...)

Equally, if God has chosen to withhold that particular blessing from another, then that is equally His plan for them.  His perfect plan.

And, you cannot argue with scripture.  I didn't write it - God inspired it. 

I think that the second scripture I quoted about contentment really sums up how we should view our lives, above all else.  My lovely friend Heidi dealt with this in her talk about marriage myths, that I heard last week.

 "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"

Where should our satisfaction come from - day after day - moment by moment?

It should come from the fact that we have a relationship with the Lord.  That He is with us.  That we are joined with Him.  In our walk with Him.  In our completion in Him.

We do not need children or a husband to be truly complete and satisfied.

Only Christ provides true satisfaction.

Bragging about our blessings will not make us complete and satisfied.

Mourning about the things that we do not have will certainly not give us satisfaction.

"And ye are complete in him,"
Colossians 2:10  

If we look to any temporal sources to meet our needs and desires, we will be sorely disappointed, and they will fail us.  

"they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
Jeremiah 2:13

Are we trying to find contentment in the vessels of temporal pleasures?  Are we seeking satisfaction in what we have, or in Whom we trust?

Are we remembering to...

"seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:33

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

God knows exactly what we need, and He is able to supply it, if it is His will to do so.

And, as a final consideration, we need to remember...

"for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11

Not "I am immediately able to be content"...but, I have LEARNED.  

It takes time - it takes commitment - it takes patience - it takes trust.

And, this verse is swiftly followed by the encouragement...

 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13

Before we go on any further with Hannah, let's learn these lessons 

- of our completion in Christ

- to be considerate to others

- to be content with God's plan for our life.

May the Lord grant us the grace and strength to do all these things. 


Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Old Schoolhouse

I was slightly insane on Tuesday night.

Insane with a good motivation.

I decided to stay up late and listen in to the free Expo provided by The Old Schoolhouse online team.

REALLY  late!

It started at 10.30pm our time, and I stayed up until 2am!!!

It was on the subject "Rejuvenate your marriage".

Who doesn't need to take THAT advice on board? *smiles*

The lovely Heidi and Jay St John, were 2 of the speakers!  It was a joy to hear their dulcet tones once again, and hear their wise words about marriage myths!

Robert and I laughed a lot, and learnt a lot.  It was a blessing.

Until recently, I didn't know much about The Old Schoolhouse.

I knew it was a magazine, to encourage home schooling families.  I knew it wasn't easy to get your hands on in the UK.

But, when Heidi announced on Facebook that she would be speaking at it, and it was FREE, I couldn't resist!

Part of the evening's programme was a "plug" for their website, and more specifically for their new section.  It's called schoolhouseteachers.

So, what is it?  It's an online resource, with TONS of different subject areas covered.

They have monthly lessons on different subject areas, such as history, geography and home economics.

They have daily lesson prompts on areas covering writing, math and grammar, as well as others such as art.

You have, for free, all of their home school planners, that usually cost a lot of money!

You have all of the MP3's of their free expo's, to download and listen to at your leisure. (coming soon)

A free e-book every month - loads of free articles on a variety of topics, such as "spring cleaning for slackers"!

You get backdated issues of their online magazine.

The best part, is the price!  For the first month, it is only $1!! ONE DOLLAR!  So, you get to try it out and see if it beneficial, for $1! For us Brit's, that's excellent value at 60p! *grin*

After that, it is only $5.95 a month...about £3.80 our money.  So, for less than £1 a week, you get all of these resources at your finger tips!

Whether it's encouragement for you as the parent, inspiration for you as the teacher, or variety for your children, it's all there!

You will receive great teacher inspiration from well-known specialists in their field such as Diana Waring and Kim Kautzer.

So, go on over and sign up for your $1 month, and see if it inspires you!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Birthday fun...and lessons from a cake

Today my lovely, oldest girl turned 9.

NINE.  how did THAT happen so fast?

She got lots of lovely presents, and enjoyed her day.

One special moment I captured, and it brought joy to my heart.

We got her a new Bible - on her request.  I got her a pink one!!!  But, it was filled with lovely study prompts, useful information, summaries of each book of the Bible and many other useful snippets!  She got a blanket out, and went and read her Bible in the sunny garden.  How to make your Mother's heart glad!

So, the joy of homeschooling - no school on your birthday! *grin* Teacher gives a day off!

For the benefit of the child, obviously.....*whistles*

Actually, so I can make a Birthday Cake.

Well, I came up with a new concept - well, not TOTALLY to me!

I had seen one like this...

But decided I didn't quite have the time - or patience - for that many colours!

So, I decided to go simple, and just do two colours - pink and purple.  I simply added my food paste colouring to the cake batter.

Out of the oven, it looked like this...

Well, doesn't look very special, does it?

Until you cut it open...

THAT looks better!

Swinging back to the first, if anyone can tell this amateur baker WHY she has big bubbles in her cake, feedback would be greatly appreciated.  Thank-you.

So, to the cake.  I cut each one in half, and layered them up alternately, with raspberry jam in between each layer.

In between, it is also important to make sure you get suitably tied up in knots, by doing too many things at one.  I was simultaneously making the white sauce for the lasagne that Beth had requested as her Birthday dinner.

The white sauce then got burnt, whilst I was sorting out the mess made by Elijah deciding to stick his finger in the rather soft butter that I left sitting on the kitchen table - it got all over himself, and all over the floor. Yikes!

So, back to cake - please note - to get the desired effect, it is VITAL that your layers are as uneven and skew whiff as mine.

Got it?

Again, from the sides, you only see the odd colour...not the true colour.

Then, it was on to the buttercream icing. Nyom nyom.

I LOVE butter cream.

Well, that was interesting. I used the recipe that I was kindly given by my friend, Dawn.  The first whoopsie happened, when I decided to increase the quantity, without checking how much icing sugar I had.  So, the icing  ended up being a bit too soft.  Having no icing sugar left, I was madly thinking what I could use to thicken it.  Ta-da!  Custard powder.  Of course.  Because that's what we all use custard powder for, right?  BUT, it then made my icing rather yellow.  Which isn't a good base colour to start off with, before atempting to make it the desired colour.  I started with pink.  It looked pink.  Fantastic.  But, then I decided to make it purple.  When I did the purple cake, I just added some blue colouring.  It worked for the cake.  It, erm, DIDN'T work for the icing.



Putty shaded icing.  Great.

So, the pink got whipped out once again, and I managed to get the icing to a lovely shade of mauve!

Not quite what I planned, but one has to make the best of such things!

So, the icing went on the cake.

At this point, Elijah got tired in the heat, and decided to fall asleep RIGHT where I was trying to ice a cake!!

So, I quickly finished icing the cake, and then woke him up (mean mother, who wanted to make sure he went to sleep at NIGHT!).

I added come silver and white dragees in the shape of a 9, and then darkened the remaining icing, and piped it round the edge, finishing with some sparkly sprinkles.

And, voila!  Cake!

I think Beth was happy with it!

It wouldn't win any awards, but so long as it pleased the Birthday girl, then I am a happy Mummy!

I love how the Lord can shows us truth from every day events.  Not that I make a Birthday cake EVERY day! *smile*

Firstly, when you think about how odd my cake looked at various stages - the odd colouring of the outside, the wobbly layers, the bubbles in the sponge.  It really didn't seem like it could amount to anything much.  But yet, at the end of the process, there was a lovely (well, I thought it was!.....) cake.

So many days, I feel like that.  There is really nothing beautiful in me.  Imperfections as far more noticeable above anything else.

Wobbly bits?  Check.  In more ways than one....

Plans go awry, and the things that should turn out the right way, go the wrong way.

Good intentions end up in disaster.

But, the hand of the Master is at work.  He moulds, and shapes and the result is HIS workmanship, which looks far better than how things look in the middle of the process.  With His hand at work in my life, there CAN be beauty!  It may be ugly on the way through, but it WILL happen, even if the process is hard and not always enjoyable.

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:"
Ecclesiastes 3:11  

"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." 
Isaiah 64:8  

It also made me think of the old "whitened sepulchre" illustration.  Something may look nice from the outside, but the inside isn't quite an equal reflection of what everyone else sees. I know the inside of my cake wasn't quite the same description of the inside of the whitened sepulchre, but it still wasn't as pretty as the outside.

How easy it is for us to pretty up our outward we can appear to others as women who have it "all together", and things are just merry and bright.  But, inside our lives - the REAL life - it's not quite as perfect as it seems.

Things ARE uneven.  We do have wobbly days, when our plans just don't, well, go to plan! But, we smooth it over, and cover it up, so no-one sees those cracks and imperfections.  We don't want people to think we can't "do it all", so we cover everything up with a sugary sweet coating.

I'm not sure that it's a good idea to be like that.  To give the impression that life is perfect, and we are managing just fine, when we are not.

Personally, my motivation has often been that I don't want people to judge me as "not coping", if they see that I have bad days.  I try so hard to appear "in control" and "managing just fine, thanks", lest anyone think that I "obviously had 1 child too many", or I should have my children in school, as they OBVIOUSLY have a mother who can't get it right.  So, that sugary coating gets smoothed over, and no-one gets to see the bad days.  Of which there are a few...ok...more than a few.

But, is that pride?  Is that me worrying more about what others think, than knowing that GOD understands my heart, my life, my circumstances - He understand because it's HIS plan, and HE knows that I am frail, and remembers that I am dust, so THAT is what counts?  If others judge my abilities to be a capable mother, based on a bad day that they may witness, then THEY are in the wrong?  I need to spend less time worrying about slapping on the outward appearance of "icing and sprinkles", and keep it real.

So, a Happy birthday for my girl.

And, a lesson for me at the same time.  Always good!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Part 6 - Ruth

I am going to come to an end on my ponderings from the lovely book of Ruth.

I KNOW I didn't cover many things...I just shared the things that the Lord spoke to my heart.

And, what of the last part?  What do I see to finish?

God's perfect plan.

I see that despite not understanding the ways of God, His ways are always perfect.

I see that even when we don't follow God's ways, He can still turn things around and He is always glorified.  

I see that God is gracious in His sovereignty...that His ways are beyond understanding.

I see that we sometimes have to go through trials and struggles in order to see God's hand in our lives.

In what way do I see all these things?

Naomi went to Moab, with her husband.  They left the land of God's people, and went to a land where people did not love the Lord. Their sons married ungodly women, which was a defined "no-no".  The men all died, and yet Ruth followed after the Lord.  She CHOSE to follow Him, and not stay where she was.  They came back to the place they should have been, and God blessed Ruth.  He provided a godly husband for her, to care for her and Naomi and to carry on the family name.  And, wonder of wonders...where did their family line go on to?  Their son was the grandfather of King David!!!  A Moabitish woman, who becomes great-grandmother to the King of Israel.  And, more than that...she is part of the lineage of the Lord Jesus himself! What a privilege!

What courage I take today.  

I fail the Lord so often.  My walk with Him is far from "perfect".  I sometimes stray away from the ways that I should go.  I don't honour Him the way I ought to.  I am not the wife and mother I should be.

But, God is sovereign.  

In all my imperfections, God will work "all things together for good".  I need to keep my eyes and heart toward Him.  I need to take courage on days when things fall apart, and I feel disheartened.  Why?... because God IS able to do exceeding abundantly above what I can ask or think.  

In all my "failures", I need to see that God is able to turn them into situations that will glorify Him...I may need to wait to see them, or they may not happen in my lifetime, but God is working out His purposes through my life.

What a thrilling thought! 

What might the Lord have planned for MY family...for my generations that are to come??  Mighty men and women for HIS kingdom!? 

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. "
Romans 8:28  

Monday, 14 May 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Ruth - Part 5...and, my own "Matriarch"

I really, truly hope you are not fed up with Ruth?!  I just keep seeing new challenges from this book, that are a help to my heart, and a joy to share.

This week's is two-fold - insofar as it applies both to Naomi and Ruth, and with an added element at the end!...

We find here an attribute that is sadly lacking in the lives of many.

An attribute that is actually promoted in it's OPPOSITE, in the the society that surrounds us.

Which attribute could possibly be the best for us, and yet be the opposite in the world at large?


Thinking about others before ourselves.

Firstly, we see it in Naomi.  In verse 1 of chapter 3.

"My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?"

Naomi seeks to find a husband for Ruth, so that she is well taken care of.  She didn't want her widowed daughter-in-law to be stuck with her for the rest of her days!

Ruth was caring for Naomi...caring for her VERY well.  She worked hard in the fields, to bring back food for herself and Naomi.  To make sure that they were well cared for, and didn't suffer want.  She lovingly and considerately, had returned with her from Moab.  To be with her.  To make sure she wasn't left alone.  It may have been tempting for her to keep Ruth for herself!  It may have been tempting to cinsider that they were content and managing on their own.

So, we then see Ruth's selfessness as well.  She could have stayed in Moab...amongst her own people.  Well-provided for by the family of her birth.

But, no....she felt a commitment and a bond with her mother-in-law.  To consider the family ties to which she had married into.  To show love to her mother-in-law, who was so deeply saddened by her circumstances that she changed her name to Mara....bitterness.

We see a mutual desire to show love and concern toward each other - to consider each other to be more important than themselves.

The world in which we live has it's priorities set upon fulfilling of self.  Of attaining everything they possibly can for themselves, to make life "better".  People clamour and climb over each other, in an attempt to make sure that their desires are fulfilled.  A bigger home.  A flashier car.  The best holiday's that money can buy.  Clothes. Spa days. Expensive jewellery.

I am not saying that these things are, in themselves, bad.  God may bless some with the wealth to purchase and do such things.

But, I am talking about motivation, more than the gain itself.  The motivation of fulfilling self.  Of obtaining these things in order to gain some sort of satisfaction and happiness. To put ourselves and our own desires before the need of others.  To be so anxiously looking to gain such things, that we do not see the needs of others around us.

And, let's just hang on one moment.

It doesn't have to be about getting THINGS.

It can be time.

It can be efforts.

It can be priorities.

It can be commitments.

It can be the difference between doing things out of duty, and doing things out of love and concern for others before ourselves.

Do I spend my time looking for ways to please myself, before pleasing my husband and children?

Do I put more effort into activities that I enjoy, than those that I do out of necessity in my role as wife and mother?

Do I put my own wants and desires before the needs of my husband and family?

Do I jump at the chance to get out, and have "me time", when my husband and family need "me" at home?

Even in the Christian community, there is this push for Mum's to have "me time".  To put our needs above all else.

I am not saying that having the treats is not lovely.  The chance to do things child-free, or even "people free"! It's the motivation that I am referring to.  WHY do I seek these things?  Because I somehow feel entitled to it?  That I have "earned" it?  To escape the responsibilities of the home? Because I am dissatisfied with my lot in life?  All of these reasons are grounded in self...selfishness, rather than selflessness.

When we feel overwhelmed with our responsibilities, we need to lift our eyes from self and onto the Lord.  Onto the God-given task that we have been given, and the way that we are instructed to live out our life.

"but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
Philippians 2:3

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,"

Titus 2:4  

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind;...seeketh not her own"
1Corinthians 13:4&5

Oh, how I need to think less about self, and more about others!
So, onto the second part of my post.  

I was reading, as I often do, an article by Ann Voskamp, on her website, A Holy Experience.  She is running the "1000 Mom's Project", where they are giving much needed gifts to Mum's and children in Haiti.  By me simply doing this, in my blog, they will help support a Mum in Haiti! And, if 1000 ladies do the same thing, they will sponsor a maternity/child survival centre in Haiti for a whole year!!! And, what am I going to do?....say....

"Thank-you, Mum"

Mum, I wanted to publicly thank you for being such a special mum.  I don't think it could be demonstrated better, than when you so willingly came to stay with us, on the run up to Simeon's birth.  I naively thought that he would arrive about the same stage of "lateness" as all the others.  Never thinking that 4 days late would actually be TWELVE DAYS LATE!!!

You did SO much, so that I could rest.  It was an incredible luxury, that I rarely experience, to have everything done for me. And yet, you did it for me. You endured the mad house, with all our imperfections, because you are a Mum, who loves her daughter, her son-in-law and her grandchildren.  A true act of selflessness, with a huge measure of love, patience and kindness thrown in as well.

I appreciate all that you did, more than words can say.

I am sure you are probably still not recovered from the exhaustion! *grin*

I love you.  I appreciate you.  I am so thankful for a Mum, who is an example of a godly wife and mother in so many ways.

May you know God's blessing, from the blessing that you have been to us.

(Mum, with Joshua only a few days old!)

(Dad, Mum and us siblings....2 years ago)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

99 things...

One of the girls from my Good Morning Girls group, shared this on her blog, from ANOTHER girl on our GMG group!

You know how these things go around! :-D

So, the things on the list that I have done, are in italics.  41 of them...some are very American....I think they need to be changed to more British ones! :-D

99 Things (those I've done in italics)

1. Started your own blog 
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland 

8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped (not on yer nelly)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm (this one I have many memories of - the best I have ever seen, was in Indiana, USA...seeing a storm in the distance, towards Chicago.  Am-a-zing.  Plus, the one I sat and watched with Robert, the year our eyes locked and our hearts connected....)

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child 

16. Had food poisoning (not nice)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (I saw it from Battery Park, but we didn't go over to it)
18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (I was very young, and remember being very was in the days where you drove your CAR onto the train, and brought it with you...we were going to Cornwall!!)
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort 
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (another "not on yer nelly" ones)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (again, memories of early days in my courtship with Robert...*sighs*)

31. Hit a home run (in rounders though, not baseball)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (close to it...up near Nairn/Lossiemouth)
35. Seen an Amish community (fascinating...would love to go back)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (after writing my car off...wearing a neck collar, on a spinal board HURTS....)

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (don't have them over here)
55. Been in a movie 

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (erm, my body decided it needed it more than someone else....)
65. Gone sky diving (not on get the idea)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial 
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle (not to be repeated, thanks...and it was only up the side of the nursery my in-laws have...and I didn't even let Robert drive me...I trusted his brother more!....oops)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (I have had a paraphrase and a hymn tune published...does that count?)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life (Joshua choked on the top of a lollipop when he was about 20 months...I had to do the Heimlich...I think that i am sure he would have died otherwise...he couldn't breathe! :-/ )
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby (just the 7.... :-D )
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

(edited to italicise the things I have done - the bold wasn't showing up for some reason....)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Your attitude meter

I love it when my husband tells us something new.

Sometimes I sit listening, not entirely sure whether he is making something up, or maybe got it a little bit wrong.

That's not entirely unfounded, but he often gives us a little gem, that really strikes a chord.

Last night, in family worship, he shared with us about the instruments on an aeroplane.

I knew about the altimeter...that tells them how high the plane is, in it's altitude.

But, did you know a plane has an ATTITUDE meter?!!

Is it to check and see if the plane is a tad grumpy?...or having a happy day?

It sounds a bit strange, when you think about how WE consider attitude.

But, not when you start to think about it.

The instrument it to tell if the plane is keeping it's nose on a horizontal plane, or if it is rising up, or heading down.

Robert asked the children why they thought the plane needed such a thing. And, Josh correctly identified that if the nose was heading down, they would end up crashing.


Does THAT ring true?

If we don't have our attitude right, we crash.

And, I am not talking about the children here.  Well.  Not exclusively.

I'm talking about ME!  About YOU!

Are we keeping our attitude on an even keel?  Are we taking a nose-dive into a crash situation, because our attitude is wrong?







I'm sure there are more that I have missed, but you get the picture?

When our attitude starts to head in a downward direction, we need to keep our eye on OUR attitude meter.

What else, of course, other than God's Word.

"for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11

"Do all things without murmurings and disputings: "
Philippians 2:14

"But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
James 1:4

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
Philippians 4:4

For every wrong attitude, there is a scripture that keeps our attitude on an even keel, and sets our sights heavenward..


Away from the crashing and burning that is bound to happen with a downward attitude.

May my sights be set upon the Lord - lifted high above circumstances, and set toward the One who can raise me to the heights of His glory and grace.

And, may I encourage my children to have THEIR attitude being a good example of how to live.

Monday, 7 May 2012

My new li'l man...and a WINNER!

I know, I's 2 weeks since i last posted.  You are all sitting there with baited breath, waiting to hear about my new arrival....well, all of you who don't know me in real life, or are not friends on FB, because YOU already know!!

But, more pictures are always good.

And, I like to tell people about my lovely little boy, that we have been richly blessed with!

Simeon John arrived on the 25th of April, at 7.59pm. He weighed 8lb on the button.

I had to be induced.

It was NOT the nicest experience of my life...I had heard so many good stories about having your waters broken..."it's no worse than a stretch and sweep" said one.

"aye, right......"  says I.  (you have to imagine a really broad Scottish accent along with that comment, because that's how I am saying it...with the emphasis on the "right", and a major hint of sarcasm thrown in....)

Having had my waters broken, we then lost contact with Simeon's hear rate.  The room quickly filled with lots of people planning to whisk me off for a c-section, with "moi" sobbing silently, thinking that a) I would have to endure the recovery from a c-section once again, and b) was my baby actually ok, and WHY were they taking so long to get me in there for the surgery, when my baby's heart rate seemed to have gone?!

Thankfully, in God's goodness, I had a super registrar?...consultant?....(not sure which)*laughs*...who calmed everything down, got the scanner in, and SHOWED me that his heart was beating, and beating fine, and that a c-section was not, in fact, necessary.

HUGE sigh of relief.

Labour toddled on gently all day, and at about 6pm it all kicked in for real, and he was born an hour and 45 minutes later, with no adverse effects (read, nothing requiring stitches!...) upon Mummy!

Once again, gas and air was my bestest friend! And, you will NOT even TRY and take that stuff away from sir-eeeeee! Do so, and you run the risk of my snarling at you and threatening injury! *oops*

I had the joy of a Christian MW on the first shift, and I know that she was praying for me when everything was going a bit loo-la after they broke my waters!

So, you wanna see him?....

So, there we have it.

My new little boy!

He's feeding well, and sleeping as well as I would expect....only waking a couple of times in the night, and sometimes only once! *big smile*

Life starts back for real tomorrow - school resumes!!!  I had my Mum staying whilst I was overdue, until a couple days after he was born  - then my mother-in-law came from Monday  to Saturday last week.  They did SOOOOO much, and I got to rest.  But. life must resume, with an extra baby thrown into the mix!

Thankfully, I feel so much better now - the end of pregnancy is tiring, but once the baby is born, I feel so refreshed and ready to get life back into shape.

Ok, so let's not ACTUALLY talk about ME getting into shape JUST yet......



So, to announce the winner of the wall lettering.  Sorry I didn't do it, but I was distracted by end of pregnancy weariness!!! *blush*

Using, the winner is.........



Coming your way as soon as possible!

Right, my Monday beckons.  Normal posting will hopefully return this week, with my life HOPEFULLY returning to some sort of semblance of normality!