Thursday, 30 April 2015

Dancing the dance of the home {the virtuous wife}

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband"
Proverbs 12:4  

Can I tell you a secret?

Sometimes, when we have music playing in the kitchen, I will dance with my children. 

I twirl around, with a small person in my arms, and they LOVE it! Music playing away, and the joy that we both feel is tangible! It's not a very Scottish-conservative-Baptist type thing to do, but it's a lot of fun! 

Imagine my surprise, when I was looking into another "woman" in Proverbs, to find out the root of the word "virtuous" is

khool - "A primitive root; properly to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), that is, (specifically) to dance"

To me, it was just like that twirling and whirling around I do in the kitchen! I wouldn't have considered that activity to relate to being virtuous, but when I stopped and thought about my life, there WAS a connection.

The word that "khool" is the root of is "khah-yil".  Its meaning  - "probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valour, strength".

Think about your role, as a wife and a mother.

If you are anything like me, your day is filled with jobs. You rush about, from one duty to another.  At your disposal is a wealth of resources that you utilise to the specifics of the job you have in hand.  Planning, working, and achieving a numerous host of tasks.

In fact, when you are at your busiest, you are probably whirling, twirling and whizzing from one thing to another, like someone waltzing around a room.

To be fair, most mothers are less ballerina or Viennese waltzer, and more of a jiving and jitterbugging mother! Less graceful and more energetic! We get the job done, but it may look like something from a comedy sketch - you bend down to pick something up, only to notice there is something a couple of feet away which you deftly hop over to rescue. You then notice that there are some cobwebs gathering and stretch up to remove them, only to trip up over a stray toy, which you pick up and toss, more accurately than any professional sportsman, into the toybox in the corner.  (Seriously, I can accurately pitch a toy in to the box, nearly every time, from quite a distance!). 

We cook, clean, and organise, in one, seemingly endless, dance sequence.  

You need only to look at Proverbs 31 to see the list of tasks that one woman can accomplish, if she sets her mind to it. THAT is virtue.  Being a force that accomplishes all she needs to do, to keep her home running efficiently.

That kind of woman - the one, dancing around with energy, joy and strength - whirling, twirling around in her dance of life, caring for her home - she's a crown to her husband. We adorn him, and place him in the highest position, by being everything we should be.  It brings him honour, strength and respect, when we are everything we need to be. It makes him feel like royalty, when we are working hard to make our home a place of industry and God-glorifying accomplishments.

Like an invigorating dance, this busy life makes us breathless, tired and glad for a rest.  But, it also fills us with energy, satisfaction and joy.  No less so, because we know it's a crown to our precious husbands, to BE that dancing" wife and mother.

Next time I am twirling around my kitchen with the children, I will remember that everything I am doing as a virtuous wife and mother, is making my husband feel like a king.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Top 3 Audio Adventure Resources {ready for a road trip!}

(this post contains affiliate links)

This year, we are going on a road trip.

We've done road trips before.

We've driven to Cornwall. Approximately 300 miles.

We've driven to Dumfrieshire.  Approximately 300  miles.

We've driven to Aviemore, in the north of Scotland.  Approximatley 500 miles.

Big stuff, eh?

What? No?

I know, I know, to folks in the USA that's a DAY trip, right?

Well, this year, we're going even further.

Duh, duh, duuuuuuuuh.

We are going to ITALY!


Erm, approximately 1150 miles.

Ohhhhhh yeah. NOW we're talking road trip!

Now, the thing is, we get massively barraged by little people asking "Are we nearly there" on the SHORTER road trips.

NFC.  (Normal for children)

With such a long journey ahead, I need to be prepared.  That means, entertain the kiddos.

We have been blessed with the gift of in-car DVD players, plus the gift of wireless headsets so we don't have to listen to the sound track of movies and other shows on DVD. Genius!

However, we also love audio resources. We listen to all sorts of audio books, but we paraticularly love adventure themes, and more specifically, Christian themes.  I adore classic, fictional stories, and have many of them as audio books, but having Biblical themes, and character building truths woven in, is brilliant.

I want to share with you about three different ones you can purchase, which have been family favourites of ours for YEARS!

First off is one that involves two of my favourite things.  Stories, and singing.  The best part is, it's something I have been listening to since *I* was a child!

It's "Patch the Pirate".

These stories began when Ron Hamilton lost one eye to cancer, in the 70's, I believe? He then had to wear an eye patch, and it was observed he looked like a pirate.  Instead of bemoaning his physical loss, he went about putting it to spiritual gain.  He invented the character Patch the pirate, who sails the seas (and the skies!) having adventures, with a spiritual lesson in each.  The songs are terrific, with GREAT Christian truths woven in, and the story lines are fun, yet challenging. There is a whole crew of "ship mates", and there are various characters they meet on their travels, as well as Sissy Seagull who is a permanent crew-mate (and acted by his precious wife, Shelly!).  All my children enjoy these, as do I - especially the ones I have cherished for 30 years myself! They are making new ones all the time, and there are MANY we have never heard.  My kind SIL bought us a new one for our holiday, which we can't wait to listen to - International Spy Academy. It's main theme is the importance of the Bible.

I am certain we will be quickly learning the songs, and singing them to each other around the house! We regularly spout forth various lines from other songs, like "the poochie lip will get you if you don't watch out", when they stick out their lower lip,  or "If you have a sister or brother, be kind to each other", when they are less than loving. There are SO many brilliant song lyrics, if you haven't listened before, you should get yourself an album.  You can listen to samples of all the tracks on Amazon, and there are HUNDREDS of tracks on there, for numerous albums available to digitally download. It used to be you could only get them shipped, in CD format, from the USA, but they have partnered with Amazon to make them more easily availble! Yay!

I would say that this is suitable for any age.  The little ones will enjoy it, and even the older ones enjoy listening over and over (though they may not always admit it!).  For me, it's nostalgia, and the joy of having my OWN children listen to something that I have loved my whole life.

Follow this link to find all the Patch the Pirate tracks available on Amazon.  You can find the whole albums, or just individual tracks there.

You can also learn more about Patch the Pirate and his crew at Find out more about Patch's story, and the stories available. As an added bonus, you can listen, for free, to their latest story that has been broadcast on radio!

Our next family favourite is another "Long time" running show.  It is aired in the USA, produced by Focus on the Family, as a radio show.  They have, however, compiled it into CD format.

It's "Adventures in Odyssey". 

We LOVE these stories! They are set in the fictional town of Odyssey, centred around the enterprises of John Avery Whittaker, known as "Whit".  There are key characters that are in nearly every episode - all very fun and amusing. Woven through it all is Biblical truth, paired up with brilliant story lines. Some of the story lines are more suited to older children, but most are appropriate for all ages.  Being produced by Christians, none of it is "dodgy", it's more that some stories may be beyond a small child's interest. Ones that are particularly good are the special discs that focus on character traits - friendship, loyalty, diligence, and so on. They only cost about £5 each.  Personally, I have enjoyed some of the "sagas", which are story lines that originally were spread out in between other episodes, but they have compiled them onto one set of discs.  The Blackguard Chronicles, The Green Ring Conspiracy, and the Novacom Saga are three of those.  They pack a "value for money" punch of over 5 hours of listening.  There prices vary, and are mostly over £20, but I think they are TOTALLY worth the spend, and the children listen over and over.  Those sets are more geared toward an older audience, but my younger ones have enjoyed them, as well.  The other super set is the "Bible Eyewitness" series. These have the listeners transported back into Bible Stories, via "The Imagination Station". The characters in the story get to live through some of the well known, and lesser known, Bible stories, and learn important truths on the way. My children have been able to tell me numerous obscure Bible facts from listening to this set!

Our new one for this journey is "Wish You Were Here", when the lovable characters of Eugene and Bernard take a road trip together.  Do you see the connection? See it? See it?

I'm clever, I am.

You can find many Adventures in Odyssey albums as digital downloads, though there are more available as Audio CDs. Like Patch the Pirate, having them available as audio downloads is a recent thing, and super handy in this day and age. The CDs are available in the UK, too, if that is your preference. If you want it on tape?.... you are living in the wrong century....

For those in the 21st Century, find out lots more about Odyssey over at  Information about where to hear radio broadcasts of episodes, facts about the cast, and lots more fun stuff, can be found there. There is also a club you can subscribe to ($5 per month) that gives you access to much more.

Our final favourite is "Jonathan Park".

This is a favourite choice, for several reasons, which I will get to in a moment.

Jonathan Park is the young son of a Christian palaeontologist.  The story begins when they stumble upon an ancient cave with evidence that points towards creation truths.  The adventures go on from there, over ten series, so far.  There are hours worth of story time on each set, all with creation truths and science facts woven into the dramatic story lines.  They visit all four corners of the globe, finding creation evidence as they go. They cover everything from space, to dinosaurs, to "UFO" sightings. They even have actual scientists - real life ones - who are also believers, who chip in on the way through. I cannot express in words, just how much we have learned from these, whilst also listening to gripping and dramatic stories.  These are less favoured by my younger children, but they listen along if it's on. I, and the older children, have learnt a lot about God's created world, from a scientific perspective, through these brilliant stories.

Our most recent set is called "The Whispering Sphinx", and it weaves history, geography, archaeology and creation science together, in one big Egyptian based adventure. Having studied Egyptian history, fairly recently, I think we will love this one as much as the others.

Once again, Amazon is coming up trumps, and has them available both as digital downloads and
audio CDs.  You can also purchase them, in the UK, from the Answers in Genesis store.

Oh, how I love the age of digital downloads! In our little United Kingdom, when for SO long things have been hard to get a hold of, without exorbitant shipping and import charges, the digital age has made things so much more readily available.

Once again, more fascinating information can be found over at

So, there you have it.  Our Top 3 Audio Adventure Series. They really are all well worth a listen in to the free samples, and purchasing for your family.  You children will have hours of good quality, and sound character based stories, which they will happily listen to over and over. Faith building, and firmly planted in God's Word - they are all excellent resources.

That's us set, then.  Over 11 hours of new stories to listen to, from these three titles, with other new ones that we have tucked away, too.   I hope you perhaps enjoy them as much as we have!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Parenting Tips {A Complete Guide for SAHMs}

(this post contains affiliate links)

Hands up - who feels they have it all together as a parent?


No hands raised?

Phew.  I'm NOT the only one who feels like a failure on so many days, and is the ultimate "work in progress"?!?!  I regularly notice my flaws, and call out to the Lord for His wisdom, grace and strength.

It's great to also have suggestions - practical ones - from other Mums who know what it's like.  Spiritual support is vital, but wisdom from others who are in the fight, right there with ya', is wonderful.

There is a whole list of posts on parenting tips on the Complete Guide for SAHMs. (Look out on Thursday for the topic on "activities to do with children", too!) They cover a multitude of parenting topics, all very practical and helpful.

Today, I am featuring a great post from Katelyn, at "Whats Up Fagans".

Katelyn blogs about raising her children, penny-pinching and faith.  I chose her post to share because it's a treasure trove! It's a collection of 138 - yes, ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY EIGHT - posts that are great for training your children to have good moral, Biblical values.  There are links about serving, empathy, gratitude, honesty, kindness, manners, and MANY more topics. It's a mine of information, that you will enjoy reading through, and gleaning information from.  It's a veritable rabbit trail from the Complete Guide! 

She begins the post by saying...

"A long time ago I started a series on this blog called Instilling Values in Children.  The point of this series was to guide parents on their journey of teaching moral values to their kids, which is of more importance than raising academically capable children, or, at least, it should be...."

I couldn't agree more! As parents, we can so easily get caught up with academics, when there is so much that is important. This post is the ultimate round up of posts that will help you on your way to training up your children in "the way that they should go".

Read more here.

My own post is one that features music and harmony.  I LOVE music! I love listening to music, singing along to music, and playing musical instruments. Something that is a key (Ha! No pun intended!) to good music is HARMONY.  It's all about the notes blending together to sound best.  This post connects music and parenting!

"One day, I took my children through a local town, and there was a play area. It had big "stepping stone" type things, which if you stepped on them, played a kind of whistled "note".  They realised it was musical, and all hopped on one and jumped up and down.  A whole rabble of noise ensued, with the children quickly saying "What are these FOR Mum?  They don't even play a tune!"

Mother, with her musical background, begged to differ.

I lined them up on a "stone" each, and directed who should hop when. After a few practices, this is what we got..."

Read on here.

I hope you find these two posts encouraging and useful. Hop on over to the Complete Guide for SAHMs to read many more practical posts on parenting.

Monday, 20 April 2015

A Complete Guide for SAHMS {the place to go for inspiration, resources and connection}

Today is the start of new thing.

Did you know that life as a SAHM can be challenging?  Trying?  Lonely? Wearying?

If you are a SAHM, you will KNOW it's true. No hiding from it. It's a fact. 

Where do you go if you are feeling the strain? You may find you don't have many friends to call on, or you try ringing them all and they are not in? (Yes, I have had that happen!) 

How would you like to be able to go to ONE place, and find all sorts of articles and resources to help you in your situation? 


A few months ago, Jaimi Erikson asked, on a bloggers groups I am on, for fellow SAHM bloggers to join in with a new venture.  A page filled with resources for fellow SAHMs!

Around 50 bloggers have collaborated their posts, fitting in with the topics covered, as a "go-to" for other SAHMs, looking for inspiration, resources, and a way to connect with others who just GET it!

If you click on the image below, you will go to the main page for the guide, and find the new posts as they are put up.

Today is the first day of THREE whole weeks of topics! Every day, there will be a new topic launched, with a whole list of relevant posts.  You will be inspired and uplifted, as you connect with these bloggers.  All they want to do is encourage other Mums, just like themselves.  Just like ME! 

So, today is a topic that I am passionate about.  It was the one that fitted most closely to my "niche".  It's funny, because Jaimi asked us to submit posts that related to the suggested topics, and I had OODLES I could have put in here. I actually had to remove some, because I had TOO MANY! lol

One of the main aims of my blog IS to encourage.  It's something we all need, because often life is just plain  DIS-couraging.  

So, now there are a whole list of other bloggers, who are seeking to encourage SAHMs in their journey, and day to day walk.

I am going to do a couple of things, as each topic that I have contributed to comes up.  I will link back to one of my own old posts on the same topic, NOT contributed to the list, as yet.  Plus, I will direct you to one of my favourite contributions from another blogger.  There you go - two, for a start, on each topic, with many more to help you out, on the main landing page.

So, today.

My "share" from another blogger, is from Lauren at "Heart of Deborah".  

Her post is about "How to Live in the Moment".  This is something I constantly am guilty of.  I am so busy looking forward to the next thing, or thinking about what I have to do, that I forget to enjoy the NOW! I so easily miss out in the small joys - the everyday miracles of God's grace and generosity - because my mind and heart is rattling ahead to something else.  We aren't promised anything more than RIGHT NOW.  To set our hearts on anything else, to the point of missing out on what God has given us TODAY, is not right. Her post gives some great ideas about how to enjoy the "right here, right now", that God has gifted to us.  It was exactly what I needed to read, when I found the post, and it challenged me.  I hope it's a blessing to you, too.

"As a somewhat new stay at home and work at home mom I’ve found different challenges along the way. A while ago I talked about my occasional “I’ll be happy when…” mentality. There are periods in my life where I struggle to live in the moment. During these times I find myself wishing for the next big thing. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to new and exciting things in life, but I believe it’s important to appreciate today. We can’t predict the future and when our ‘wishes’ finally do come true will we be happy? I’ve been thinking about ways to live in the moment and how I can appreciate life right now!..."

Click on the image below to read more about the wonderful suggestions Lauren makes, to live in the moment.

My own post is one from a couple of years ago.  Do you find that it's easier to see the trials, and forget to see the good in your circumstances? This post reminded me that we need to look to the eternal, and the glory that awaits.

"It's not every day you will find me suggesting that you need to put on weight.  Taking it off?  Yup. 

But, I was thinking today about difficult times as a wife and especially as a mother.  Undoubtedly, my most challenging moments come when dealing with my children.  Every. Day.

The word "affliction" in the verse above, can actually be translated as "pressure".  As wives and mothers, (and particularly home-schooling Mum's) we have moments EVERY day, when we feel under  pressure..."

Read more by clicking the image below, and it will take you to the post.

Both these posts are a timely reminder for me -  I have an ill child to care for, when I had other plans for today.  I need to see be thankful for the moment, and find joy, even in  these trying circumstances. Likewise, I need to remember that trials are but for a moment, and I looking for the spiritual and eternal is far more important on days like today.

So, what are some of the topics that are going to be included in the SAHM survival guide, which will I be contributing in? (Some topics I have WAY more than others!)

April 25- Parenting Tips (I will share my post on Monday the 27th)

May 5- Marriage

May 6- Connect in Faith

I plan to blog on some of the topics in the guide - looking at them has inspired me to write posts that fit. They are topics that are relevant to me, but I have never blogged about! So, I am looking forward to sharing some of my own experiences about parenting and life. 

I hope this resource is an encouragement and blessing to MANY SAHMs. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Mother {the most important person in the home}

Years ago, I felt the Lord leading me into service for Him.  I remember the sermon, and the preacher, as clear as day.  An appeal was made, for those wishing to commit their lives to service for God.  It's not in my nature to do something so bold, but I went forward at that service.  I was broken, and I was willing to go wherever God sent me.

I had visions of the mission field.  I was particularly interested in children's ministry. Maybe somewhere far away - I was particularly challenged about Cote d'Ivoire.

I had NO idea that God was leading me into one of the most full-on, tear-inducing, and tiring works for Him.

He called me into the ministry of motherhood.

The mission field of the hearts in my home.

For a start, I never expected to have this number of souls in my mission field. I thought maybe 4 or 5, but I now have EIGHT precious souls that it is my job to minister to.

MY job.

What an enormous responsibility.

We have taken things a step further than many, and I minister full time to my children.

An even greater burden and responsibility.

It's huge.

It truly is.

Being a Stay-at-home-Mum is not just a choice, for me, it's a calling of God.  That may sound rather radical, but it's the truth.  If I was following my own heart and interests, I would NOT be at home with my children. I'd have fewer children, and I would be out doing something quite different.

But, my life is not about myself.  When I went forward at that meeting, I opened up my heart and life to the leading of God.  Primarily, that means I simply follow His Word. Home schooling aside, the reason why I am a SAHM is because God's Word leads me here.

Robert has been preaching through I Timothy.  Last Lord's Day he spoke about chapter 5.  To me, that passage was always about widows, but he drew out an important truth, and it's not just about widows.

So, what does it say?

"Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 
Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 
But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 
Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 
For some are already turned aside after Satan."
I Timothy 5:9-15

Absolutely, and undoubtedly, there is instruction here for widows. 

However, it's also instruction for ANY young women.  There is a general principle that can be applied to all younger women.  (Yes, there are sometimes exceptions, but there is a general principle).

What is it?

Paul teaches that the younger women should NOT be something, and SHOULD BE something else.

Young women should NOT be....

going to other people's houses to gossip and interfere in the affairs of others
speak unwisely

Young women SHOULD be...

bearing children
guiding the house
living a life that is above reproach

Paul tells us that it is good and right to get married, have children, be in charge of the home, and live a life that is honouring to God.

It's not just Paul's words, of course, it's GOD'S inspired word.

God has laid out, as a pattern that is good, right and honourable to follow, that we should serve Him in the home.  

Do you sometimes feel that you are belittled and undermined because of your life? 

You settled down, got married, had children, and stay at home, guiding the household (because it's kinda' hard to guide it if you are not there. Not impossible, but hard). You can be made to feel that you have chosen the lesser part - that there is something bigger and better you are missing out on.  That children are a burden, not a blessing.  That you should be out working, because God can't provide unless you get out there and work.

Ladies, you are doing a God-given task, if you are choosing to marry, raise a family, and stay at home! Whatever God calls you to, He provides for.  He won't leave you without EVERYTHING you need, if you stay at home to raise your children, and care for your home.  He is no man's debtor.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

What's more, it's not just a menial thing.  It's not somehow "lesser" than what we could be doing -  missing out and not reaching our potential. 

Neither is it something that doesn't equal what men do - something we should cast aside to have "equal opportunities".  It's a HIGH calling, because God has honoured us with that task! To try and follow after what men do is not gaining a higher calling. It's stepping down from the honoured task of being the one who guides and cares for the most privileged possession we could ever own. Our children.  There IS not higher, greater, or more honourable role that we can fill.  Not a one.

Robert said something that thrilled my heart, and reminded me that my role is not "just" a Mum.  He said that the wife and mum is "the most important person in the home"! We are there, day upon day, labouring for the Lord.  Working to raise the next generation to His glory.  Labouring, often through exhaustion and pain, to run the home, and guide the household.  It's our God-given role to be in charge of the home.  Not just some under-dog, instructed and "controlled" by the husband.  No, God has given us the role of guiding, or being in charge, of the house, under the headship, care and support of our husbands.  It's a HUGELY important job, and God has designed us to fulfil it!

I also often feel like I am somehow letting down the Church.  I am so busy with my children, that I can't do everything I would like to do, or that others are able to do.  It's like I need to apologise for being busy with my family.


I'm right here doing what GOD wants me to do, which is a ministry all of its own.

It doesn't mean we don't participate, as a family, in all we can.  That will look different for each family, and each situation.  However, the family is my FIRST and HIGHEST calling, as a wife and Mum. 


The things that need to be done in a Church should first and foremost be done by those without the responsibility of caring for their God-given family. Mothers shouldn't be made to feel that what is outside of the home is more important than what's INSIDE the home.  God ordained family and the home.  It came before any other ministry and commitment, and nowhere does He backtrack on that duty and responsibility.

My children will grow up.

ARE growing up.

My two oldest have made profession of faith, and my oldest is being baptised on Saturday.  They are starting to do their own work, and also able to help me with their siblings.  That is allowing me to do things I haven't been able to do when they were all really little. I recently started playing the organ again, which, despite a few "teething problems" (I didn't know how to properly "use" the lovely organ our Church now has, and had a few incidents of dubious playing!), I have enjoyed doing again, after years of not being to help out with.   The children will grow up, and I will be free to help out more.  It will come TOO quickly.

In the mean time, I am busy doing exactly what is a God-led calling and privilege.

I am ministering in motherhood, and reaching out to the mission field of my home.

I am using the gifts and talents that God has given me to raise my children. I'm not "missing out" in something better.  I'm not "wasting" my abilities.  I'm tapping into the skills that I have been given, to embrace my calling into the home.

It's not a lesser role.

It's not menial and unfulfilling.

I am the "most important person in the home", and I intend to take on that huge responsibility and blessing with every ounce of my being, for God's glory.

Don't be ashamed or despise your roles, sweet, hard-working mothers.  More than anything, be very careful to seek prayerful guidance in stepping away from the God-given role that is yours to keep. God WILL provide for your needs, if you realise your awesome responsibility to be at home with your children. It won't be easy, and it may come at a price, humanly speaking, but the treasure that you will be storing up in heaven, is worth so much more than anything the world can offer.

God led you into it, and it's the most important thing you can do.

Friday, 10 April 2015

God - the only life-giver {when things look dead}

I have been back out into my garden again.  For those who are relatively new to the blog, I LOVE my garden.  I used to think I didn't like gardening, but that was when I had no garden to work with!  Now?  I love it! I am no expert, and I don't spend every waking hour in there, but I love seeing colour appear, and the satisfaction of encouraging life into my little corner of God's creation.

Another thing you will quickly observe, is how my garden is God's lesson book for me.  Time after time, He teaches me valuable lessons from what I see in my garden.

This week has been no exception.

Always - ALWAYS - it's perfect timing.

I have always LOVED clematis.  (How do YOU say it? CLEM-a-tis? clem-AH-tis? clem-AY-tis?....)

I already had one growing up the side of the house, intertwined as it grows, with the scents mingling together, with wisteria and jasmine. The thing is, it grew at the SIDE of my house.  The only thing that is there is a path and the BINS! So, I decided we needed one somewhere more obvious.  By the front door.  I went to the garden centre and carefully examined all the pictures and descriptions, and chose the one I liked the most.  It was purple (no surprise to those who know me well!), with  pretty, double-headed flower.

The first summer I got ONE flower.


I was a bit disappointed, but it was a start.

Then, winter came.

And, my clematis looked like it had died.

It was brown, withered, and dried up.  It spanned the space it had grown, but any signs of life had GONE!

I consulted my more experienced mother, and she reassured me that clematis DOES that! It looks dead, but life will return.

Sure enough, spring came, and life returned.  It didn't require me to prune, water, or feed.  The life came back with no input from me at all, whatsoever.

This spring, the same thing is happening again, but as it starts to send out flowers, there is also growth, and MORE FLOWERS are appearing! I can't wait to see how it turns out this year, with more blooms to cheer up the wall it grows along.

I have had a challenging week, in many ways.  Life can be like that - did you know?

Yep, you know, don't you?  Those weeks when the challenges pull you into a sense of despair, and you need to call out to the Holy Spirit to renew you and give you the strength you need.

That plant, and the re-emergence of "life", drew my mind to my children.  I have struggles with them, as they exhibit challenging behaviour. They push all the wrong buttons, and stretch me to the very limit of my patience and grace.  They sin.  They "fail".  Sometimes, there just seems to be so little life, in a spiritual sense.

Then it dawned on me, as I gazed at my clematis.  I lovingly planted it.  I watered it as it grew. I made sure it had a trellis to grow up, and I gently encouraged it to grow up in the right direction.  I learnt about how it grows and  I covered its roots to protect them, as I knew it needed. I did all I could, but ultimately, I can't give that plant any life.  Only GOD gives life.  Only He can give "the increase".

"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
I Corinthians 3:7

Oh, how I needed to remember that, with my children.  God, so very kindly, and graciously, has entrusted my children into my care.  I have to look after them, nourish them, and train them up. I, however, cannot breathe spiritual life into their souls.


They may look "dead", as I go through different seasons.  The evidence of spiritual life may be absent, or very faint, but I can't create it in their hearts and souls.  God can.  He is able, and I just need to trust Him, and wait for the "spring-time" to come, in their lives.  I need to keep training, watering and caring for them, and patiently wait for the signs of life to come, in HIS time.

"It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."
Lamentations 3:26

We need to keep our hope in the Lord, and quietly wait for Him to do the work in their hearts.

It's so easy to become "weary in well doing".  We keep labouring, and pouring our energy into the lives of our precious children.  Growth and development may seem scarce. But, the promise is there..

"for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not"

Galatians 6:9

It's hard to wait for the blooming to happen, but the patience is worth it.  We WILL reap, if we don't give up, and keep on sowing in faith.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Women of the Word {pigs with piercings - being beautifully discreet}

As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion."
Proverbs 11:22  "

Today's "Woman" is another one from the Proverbs.  It's speaking to any, and every, woman.  No specifics given.  No special story or incident.  Just a Biblical principle - GOD'S principle - for how a woman should behave.

How she should use her tongue.

I love it when God uses imagery to help us understand a concept.  This one doesn't disappoint.

We have a pig, and an attractive woman.  Not your usual compatriots, right?

The topic is about the tongue.  It's about speaking when we shouldn't - more specifically, having no discretion in what we say.

We have had to deal with this issue, quite recently, with our children.  They seem to find it incredibly easy to say things they shouldn't say.  I know - they are children.  They naturally lack discretion, and need to be TAUGHT when to say things, and when to keep silence.

Of course, adults don't need such instruction, right?....


Boysa dear, wrong, wrong and wrong.

Far too often, women speak when they shouldn't.  This  Proverb is more specifically about lacking discretion.  That's about saying things when we shouldn't, in a more general sense.

There are several things that we can apply to the lacking of discretion.

1. A wise woman thinks before she speaks.

There's a proverb for this one...

"Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him."
Proverbs 29:20  

When we speak before we think, we are plain unwise.

Openin' yer mouth and lettin' yer belly rumble.

Is that something non-UK folks say?   It sums it up nicely, hmmm, descriptively.

We need to engage our brains before we say anything.  Not doing o is indiscreet.  It's not being wise, rather it's foolish.  It will plain old get yo into trouble.  Impetuous words.

Ummmm, *raising her hand*.

This has been me.

2. A wise woman doesn't say things she shouldn't.

"A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter."
Proverbs 11:13 

This one is more to do with gossip.  Now, this KJV word "Talebearer", can be misunderstood. I know, for sure, that I have to tell my children, over and over, what it is.  It's NOT a liar! It's going to someone and telling them about another's mis-demeanour, just to get them in "trouble".  Now, with a child, it's usually "grassing up" a sibling, just to get them in trouble with a parent.  Not to tell a parent that danger is imminent, or someone has been hurt.  Those are things I WANT my children to tell me, for the sake of safety.  However, just telling me something because they know it will land their sibling in a heap load of trouble, just to be malicious, IS talebearing. I can't STAND a grassbag, and so we teach our children what the Bible says "Be sure your sin will find you out", and God will make it clear to us, if He wants us to know, and it's NOT their job!

When it comes to adults, a talebearer is one who goes to others with stories about everyone and anyone, just to spread nastiness.  Sometimes that's not even the motive, but the telling of the information is certainly not a help to them, and may even be breaking of a confidence. That's both lacking in discretion AND a talebearer.

That little acrostic should help us to decide if something should be said, or not.

Now, going to someone for advice, if you need to deal with a friend who in in error is NOT always wrong.  But, I would caution that you be VERY sure that the person to whom you speak is wise and discreet.  As a Pastor's wife, I have needed to go to other's for wisdom and advice on matters, but I don't then tell the whole world. Every other person should apply that same principle, not just those in positions of respect and regard.

3.  A wise woman is careful about what she DOES say.

"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
Proverbs 29:11  

Just because you think something, know something, or have an opinion on something, doesn't mean you SHOULD say it! Often, it's better to just keep your counsel, and say nothing.

It's hard.  Trust me, I know.  It's hard to say nothing, sometimes, when you know something, or think something.  It's just not always wise, in every situation, to reveal it.  It's not being deceitful, or twisted - it's being wise.

In my marriage, there have been times when I have wanted to discuss things, and my husband has kept silent.  It used to frustrate me.  I learnt WHY, for myself.  Sometimes, the realisation dawns upon you, that SAYING something can be harmful, and unnecessary.  It's a simple case of using self control, and just saying nothing at all, to help a situation.  Saying something can simply light a fire - as truthful as it may be! It DOESN'T always need to be said.

In some situations, it's not even telling other things that are a secret, but things that are already in the open.

This verse deals with that.

"The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness."
Proverbs 15:2

As women, we need to wisely consider if it's a beneficial thing to share that with others, or just to leave it well alone.  In THAT situation, we need to be extra careful not to be one who keeps passing information on that someone ELSE has said. Make sure that rumours and unwise words STOP with you.  Also, we need to be wise, again, about who we speak to. If you can't trust someone, just don't say anything at all.

The verse at the start is incredibly descriptive, as I said.

A woman who has no discretion is like a pig with a jewel in its snout.  How insane would THAT look?  A dirty old pig, with something pretty in its wet, snotty nose? An enigma, right? A "fair woman" - someone who is normally attractive, whether in personality or in outward appearance - is affected by a lack of discretion.  You see it DOESN'T say "A beautiful peacock with a muddy tail".  The beautiful thing doesn't just become somewhat tarnished by the behaviour.  No.  Not at all.  The beautiful becomes mostly UGLY, with a TINY hint of something beautiful, and artificial at that.


I SO don't want to be that piggy with a nose stud.

Yet, our sinful hearts are soooooo easily drawn into being indiscreet with our words.  Far too easily.  It's something we need to guard our lips about, every day.  Honesty here - I've shared things I shouldn't have, or been unwise in what I have said.  I know it. Shameful, but true. I need to guard my heart, and control my lips.

The verse about talebearers, although not specifically directed to women, tells us how we ARE to behave.

"he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter"

Zip it.

That's what we need to do.  If our spirits want to be faithful to God, we need to conceal matters, not bring them into the open for the world and her husband to hear about.

"he that refraineth his lips is wise."
Proverbs 10:19

This New Testament verse sums it up.

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
I Peter 4:8

Not just love - FERVENT love.  If we love those with whom we have connections with, we will "cover" their sins, not spread them about.  It doesn't mean you neglect to speak to the person, if they are truly walking in error.  It means you don't uncover it - tell it to the world.

Having discretion comes into the list of requirements of "young women", taught by the "elder women".

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 
 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
Titus 2:4-5

And do you see the serious admonition? That the word of God be not blasphemed.

*slow, deep breath in, and exhale*

A woman who is not discreet, blasphemes God's Word.

It's serious stuff, ladies.


What comes out of our mouth can do so much harm, is we don't show discretion.

It's not just about other women, here.  It's not just gossiping about your friends and acquaintances.  It can be talking about your marriage, and your own home.  Your OWN life.  You don't have to tell everyone everything.  It's not being dishonest to withhold information that people simply don't need to hear!

Giving away intimate details about your marriage.  Parading the failings of your husband in front of your friends.  Letting your husband down to others.  Criticising and moaning about his imperfections.

Dirty pig.  Nose ring.

Next time you - next time *I* - am/are tempted to speak about a matter that you just don't NEED to be sharing about - next time you even THINK about sharing something about your husband, or anyone else, that you plain shouldn't - remember....

Dirty pig.  Nose ring.

Just don't go there.