Wednesday, October 31, 2007

To Be a Keeper *AT HOME*

I am heartsick. Listening to the radio, I just heard about a mother who, after getting off work, got into her car to "discover" her 17 month old baby, dead in his carseat. She had forgotten to take him to daycare, and the heat of the car killed him, while she was blissfully unaware at work.

I cannot hardly think about this without my Mama's heart crying out at the injustice, and the fear and frustration that baby must have gone through~ being stuck in his car seat, no one coming to help him when he cried... But my heart breaks for this family, I don't know the reason the mama was working, perhaps she just wants to, perhaps she has to, maybe she has bought into the lie that as women we can have it all. But, intentionally or not, she has killed her baby.

Sadly, this story is repeated far too often in our society. I believe it to be one more evidence that we are to be keepers at home, loving our husbands, cherishing our children. What kind of a society do we live in that encourages women to be so busy outside their homes, to be so obsessed with "having it all", that our minds are so full of "stuff", that we can't even remember what we've done with our children?

We have buried a child. There is nothing more traumatic and horrendous for a parent to have to live through than the death of a child. I cannot even imagine how much worse it would be if you carried the blame for the child's death.

Wives, Mamas, please, please understand how wonderful, how sacred a calling you have! Stay home, provide sanctuary for your Beloved, cherish your children and hold them close.

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train theyoung women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." Titus 2:3-5 (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Are We To Be About? Part 1

"Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work." 1 Timothy 5:9-10

Paul, in instructing Timothy on the qualifications of a widow to be enrolled, gives wives invaluable instruction on what we are to be about as godly women.

As I read this, the one word that comes to mind is "busy!" But the qualified widow has spent her life in more than just busy-ness, she has spent it industriously, doing good works. This is a distinction that I believe needs to be made. I know that it is extremely easy for me to be busy day after day, but that does not mean that I have filled my days with good works or activities of eternal value. The qualified widow hasn't just been "busy"; she has been devoted to "every good work". She has been a wife to one husband; she has been a submissive helpmeet, devoting herself to keeping his home, raising his children, and providing a sanctuary for him (Eph. 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1, Titus 2:3-5).

She has brought up children ~ as I looked to my concordance for further clarification on "brought up", the immediate meaning is to fulfil the duties of a female parent. But when we look further into the meaning, it is a word partially derived from another word that means to fatten ~ to cherish(with food, etc), pamper, rear ~ bring up, feed, nourish.

I get a picture of a Mama who is *there* for her children. A Mama who has enjoyed the season of childbearing/raising, taking joy in the children God has graciously blessed her with and nourishing them; with food, yes, but also with the "food" of the Word. It makes me pause and consider if I have "fattened" my children with the bread of life. I also thought of the contrast picture of children who are malnourished ~ what do we think of their mother? What of the spiritually malnourished child? A Mama needs to be *home* and engaged to nourish or bring up her children.

The qualified widow has also shown hospitality. The King James says she has "lodged strangers". She has opened her home and made others feel welcome (1 Peter 4:9). I don't remember who said it, but I have a quote that I wrote in my Bible that says, "The true art of hospitality is making people feel at home when you wish they were." I love that quote because it is a reminder to me that hospitality isn't something to be practised only when I feel like it, or when it's convenient, but it is something that God calls me to ~ on of the characteristics of my life should be joyful hospitality.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Recipe Share Friday ~ Roast Meat Sandwiches

This has quickly become one of the favorites around here.

Roast Meat Sandwiches
Take a roast ~ pork, beef, venison ~ place it in a roaster or dutch oven ~ I usually use the dutch oven for our family, however if we're having company, I pull out the roaster! I slice an onion, add some diced garlic, soy sauce (sorry, no measurements, I just pour it in!), and a little water. I then put the cover on and let it cook at about 350* or 375* for several hours. I have done this with a frozen roast, and I just let it cook most of the day. Do check on it periodically, and make sure that it's not too dry.

Once the roast is cooked to falling apart status, you take it out and pull the meat apart. The onions will be cooked to a point where they will pretty much dissolve once you start stirring the meat. Put all the pulled meat back into the dutch oven, and then either add your choice of BBQ sauce, or you can make a gravy on it with cornstarch and water. If you choose the gravy, don't make it soupy, just make enough that it's nice and moist.

While the meat is cooking, I make hoagie rolls. I use my ~

French Bread Recipe~this recipe came from my dear friend, Tiffani
4 C warm water
3 T sugar
2 T yeast
2 T salt
11 C flour (sifted)

*Dissolve yeast in water, with sugar. Add 1/2 of flour and salt, begin mixing. I also add oil, but it's not measured, I just pour it in. Pour about a count of 2 or 3, and that should be plenty. Add the rest of the flour and knead until smooth. (You may have to adjust the amount of flour, you want the dough pulling clean off the sides of your bowl).

*Put into greased bowl, let rise until double. Punch down, let rise again.

*For hoagie rolls, divide into 16 equal parts, and shape into oval loaves. Cut a couple of diagonal slits into the top of each roll. Let rise until double. Bake @ 425* for 10 min. then turn down your oven to 375* and bake for another 10 min. Loaves should have a hollow sound when thumped ~ then they are done! ~ ~ For french bread, you'll just divide the dough into 3 parts, but follow the rest of the directions the same ~ EXCEPT after turning down the oven you will bake for about 20 minutes instead of just 10.

To serve, we slice the hoagies lengthwise, and pile on the meat. These are also great with Pepper Jack cheese. Our friends also eat Pepperochinis (sp) on them. Warning!! These are filling! I usually can't eat a whole one (I share with the baby). The boys often will get two down, but I've had company go away complaining that I fed them too much food! LOL I guess that's a *good* complaint for a hostess to deal with? This has quickly become one of the favorites around here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Please Pray for Noah

Little Noah, whom I've introduced you to before is in desperate need of your prayers today. He has an infection in his blood stream, and the *gold standard* for treating it is not possible for him right now. He is being given IV antibiotics, but this is an antibiotic resistant bug. Please pray for him.

For full details, you can go to the Estes family blog, and read today's update. Thank you for your prayers.

In Christ,

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pear Gingerbread Cobbler

Well, part of being a good and godly wife, is filling our beloveds up with good food, right? :-) I have decided that it would be fun to share recipes as well as my thoughts, so here is the first one. This came from one of those little recipe magazines (which I am somewhat addicted to!). It was a fall baking magazine, I think put out by Land O Lakes ~ but I can't remember for sure, and I can't find it right now. I have tripled this recipe with good results, and it disappears at potlucks and at home! If you use large pears instead of med, it takes less, as you'll see in my note within the recipe. While it never would have occurred to me to combine pears with gingerbread, it is a wonderful flavor combination!

Pear Gingerbread Cobbler
1/3 C sugar
1 T cornstarch
6 C 1/2" slices of peeled pears (5 med.) ~ NOTE: When I tripled this, I just used 9 large pears in an 11x15?
3 T water
1 T lemon juice
Gingerbread Topping (below)

1. Heat oven to 375*. Mix sugar and cornstarch in large bowl. Add pears; toss to coat. Gently stir in water and lemon juice. Spread in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 11x7x11/2".

2. Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbly around edges.

3. Meanwhile, make Gingerbread Topping. Drop tablespoonfuls of topping onto hot pear mixture.

4. Bake 15 - 20 minutes longer or until toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean and pear mixture is bubbly in center. Cool 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Gingerbread Topping
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I've just been using Nutmeg)
3 T packed brown sugar
1/4 C butter, melted
1/4 C molasses
1 egg, slightly beaten

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar in med. bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients just until mixed.

We have served this warm with whipped cream. Yummy!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Allowing for Change

In recent conversations I have been a part of (both in real time and online), I have noticed (or re-noticed) the tendancy for us as wives to believe that our husband's are stuck. Especially when we are in a disagreement with them, or at odds over something, our tendancy is to think that "They have always believed this way and they always will."

I submit that not only is this unfair, but it's unrealistic. While it's true that in my frustration, everything becomes absolute, it's also true that my husband is not the same man today that he was 18 years ago when we married. God has changed him dramatically over the years ~ although some sins seem to be more "besetting" than others. Why then, would I assume that he will always be or always think the way he is today? Why wouldn't God continue to change him? He will of course. Just as He continues to change me. As we grow in our walk with the Lord, He changes us, making us further into the image of His Son. He does the same for our husbands.

If today, you are in disagreement with your husband, don't go to the corner of absolutes. Be joyful, submit, and pray and pray. Pray for your attitude, pray for his heart. Trust God to lead you and your family through your husband.

"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." 1Cor. 11:2

If your husband doesn't want you to wear a dress, but you want to be modest, then find a way to be modest in pants. It is possible. Wear colors and styles he finds attractive. Modest can be a wide range of things, but most of all it should be beautiful and feminine. Modest doesn't necessarily mean a jumper or a sack of a dress. You can be attractive and modest.

If your husband wants your daughter to attend college, but is willing to let you homeschool; homeschool joyfully, and give her an academically superior education. Make it as good an experience for her that you can so that someday, when she is blessed with children, she will want to homeschool. Pray for your husband's heart to be softened to allowing your daughter to remain at home, under his protection; but don't fuss or nag at him, let the Holy Spirit be the Holy Spirit. Don't assume that because today he believes she should go to college that in 2 or 5 or 10 years he will feel the same ~ God may turn his ideals on their head!

I could go on and on with examples, but in reality, I don't need to. Unless your husband is outright asking you to sin, determine to be submissive to him, joyfully honor him, and pray that God will strengthen him and draw him ever closer to Himself. We can do wonders within our homes and for our children if we would just do that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Living My Life

This may seem like a "duh" thing to write about, but it's something that my mind has been on a lot recently. Do I worry more about *looking* like my ideals or *living* my ideals? Am I more concerned about having the *appearance* of submission, or actually *being* submissive to my Beloved? Am I more concerned with what I believe modest to look like, or am I more concerned with *being* modest?

Sometimes the *looking* and the *living* overlap. As I live out submission, it should *look* like submission. As I live modestly, my clothing will reflect that. But, I can look submissive, or modest, or any number of things, and not *be* that. The other trap I can fall into is assuming that so and so isn't modest or submissive, or whatever, because their life doesn't look like *I* think it should! However, though there are probably markers of each of our "benchmarks", it is going to look different from couple to couple, and family to family.

Often we fall into the *looking* rather than the *living* because we *know* what we should be doing, but that would require change ~ which can be and often is, painful. It would require stepping out of our comfort zone and willingly allowing the Potter to mold this stiff clay. It's much easier to put on an act of submission or honor than to actually live it. Eventually people will figure out that I am not who I am pretending to be.

I want to be known as a woman who is who she is. Sometimes it's not very pretty! But I want to live my life in an honest, transparent way. I want to be molded by the Potter, even though it's painful, because the alternative is too horrible to think about. Do I really want to stay where I'm at, content in my sinful ways? No! I want to be someone who looks at others with a gracious eye, who always extends the benefit of the doubt, who always assumes the best ~ especially when dealing with a brother or sister in Christ.

I desire to be a Titus 2 Woman and all that entails not because it looks good or right, but because my Lord says that is what I am to be. This is a short rambling :-), but I pray that it strikes a chord with you.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Make Me A Servant

Make me a servant, humble and meek,
Lord, let me lift up those who are weak.
And may the prayer of my heart always be:
Make me a servant, make me a servant,
make me a servant today.
Kelly Willard

I woke up this morning, thinking about this song. May this truely be the prayer of our hearts! As wives, we have a unique opportunity to put servanthood into practice everyday.

"Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things." 1Timothy 6:1-2

While these verses speak directly to slaves, they are very applicable to us as wives. As daughters of Sarah, we are to submit to and obey our husbands (1Peter 3:6). They are our head, our "master". Sometimes I think it is easy for us to let this slide, especially if our husband is also a believer. After all, we are all equal in Christ, right? Let him do the dishes, let him change the baby, etc. But these verses say that it is all the better for us to serve those who are our brothers, since they are believers and beloved. As you all know, I refer to my husband as my Beloved. So, do I think that it's coincidence that I use that word to refer to him and that God has used that word in this verse? No. I have never really paid that close of attention to these verses before, but as I read them this morning, I thought, "What a wonderful reminder to me to be a servant to my Beloved ~ for he is a believer and beloved."

As a wive, I am the person *best* suited to serve my Beloved. Surely if I am slacking in my duties, someone could come along and do a better job, but if I truely desire to honor not only my husband, but my Lord, no one can serve my Beloved better than I can. God designed me specifically for this one man. What a precious thought! Before the foundations of the earth, God knew He would knit me together to one day be the helpmeet of my Beloved husband. The same is true of you. Stop for a moment and just let that sink in. He chose you to be His child, He chose you to be the helpmeet and lover to your husband, He chose the blessings He would give you.

I was reading an article in the current issue of Homeschooling Today, by Lorraine Pintus. I was reminded once again that serving is not a matter of obedience, but a matter of love. If I love someone, what better way to show them, than to serve them? To take care of their needs ~ maybe even needs they don't know they have.

Today I challenge you to serve your husband! Maybe do something for him that you know he's been wanting done, but you've just put it off. Maybe do something for him that you just know would bless him ~ make a favorite dessert, give him a back rub, wash his feet, initiate making love to him ~ be creative, but be a servant today!

Oh Lord God,
I lift my readers and myself before Your throne this morning. Lord I pray that You would give each of us a deep desire to serve our husband. Show us ways to love and serve him that would bless him deeply today. May our lives be marked not only by our love and devotion to You, but by our servant hearts toward those you have given us to minister.
In the precious Name of Jesus, Amen.