Thursday, August 28, 2008

Song of Solomon Devotion #7

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 2:7

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 3:5

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 8:4

We’ve already talked about some of the ways that we awaken love before it should be. We are willing to take a cheap imitation, that is attractively packaged, rather than waiting for the most beautiful, holy gift of married love. We also talked about regaining a position of purity before Christ.

Perhaps, you’re thinking, “No, it’s too late, you don’t understand.” Maybe you lived with your husband before you were married. Maybe you lived with more than one man before you were married, or you’ve been married more than once. Maybe you had one or more children out of wedlock, or had an abortion. It doesn’tmatter. Are you a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? Romans 8:1 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” that means that Christ’s blood covers those sins. If you have asked for forgiveness, you have it! (I John 1:9) Does that mean you won’t have to live with the consequences of those decisions? No. God never promises to spare us the consequences of sin, but, we can live free from the guilt and condemnation.

Maybe you’re reading this and realize that you do not know Jesus as your Savior. You desire forgiveness. You are grieved by the sin in your life. You try hard to live a good life, but your past haunts you. First off, know that you can never do enough good to get you to heaven. Romans 3:10 says, “as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one;”

You have to realize that you are a sinner, and that there is nothing you can do to earn entrance to heaven. But, there is good news! Romans 5:8 tells us, “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross ~ as a perfect sacrifice for your sins. But, it doesn’t end there. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead! He conquered sin and death, so you can have eternal life. His sacrifice on the cross, is a free gift. It’s being offered to you, will you take it?

Ask Jesus to come into your heart and to be your Lord and Savior. Tell him you know you’re a sinner and ask forgiveness for those sins.You now need to tell someone you’ve received Christ as your Savior. Romans10:9-10 states, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Now, according to scripture, you are a new creation, the old has passed away! (2Corinthians 5:17)

Congratulations, and welcome to the family!


Father God,
I am awed by how deeply You love me. That You would love me and pursue me even when I was dead in sin and Your enemy is unbelievable to me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for me. I praise You that He was raised from the dead. Thank You, Father, for choosing me to be Your child. Enable me to learn from Your Word, and bless me with godly women to mentor me.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Song of Solomon Devotion #6

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 2:7

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 3:5

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.
Song of Solomon 8:4

Three times within the Song, the Shulamite warns against awakening love too soon. This is a real danger within the society that we live. Many things can ‘awaken’ love too soon, and, as a result, pervert our view of true love.

We live in a society full of pornographic or near-pornographic images used to sell everything from toothpaste to auto parts. Although it is true that men in particular are targeted with this type of advertising, women are not immune to it. Women are also susceptible to other forms of ‘awakenings’, through the written word, and through relationships. We fall prey to images and ideas put forth in movies and on television. We wait in vain for our knight in shining armor, and when a good, and decent man comes our way, we don’t recognize him for what he is, because of what we have filled our minds with. We are bombarded by thoughts and images of what our society deems to be sensual, and because of that, we have a view of marriage and sex that is far from God’s design.

Some of us have had relationships before our marriage that were sinful. We thought God’s order was ‘old fashioned’ and we knew better. Living together seemed like a good idea at the time, and besides, everyone else was doing it. Maybe the man we lived with is the one we married, and yet, there are consequences to live with because we stepped outside of God’s will. We took His good and perfect gift of sexual love and contorted it into something it was never meant to be.

Emotional purity is just as important as physical purity, and yet, we often overlook it. Emotional purity is what we damage when we take in ideas about love and sex that are unbiblical. Emotional purity is destroyed when we look at other men, real or fiction, and desire for our husband to be more like that, instead of being satisfied with who he is. Emotional purity is damaged when we have unreal expectations for our marriage that come from books we read, or shows or movies we watch, or radio programs we listen to.

As a married woman, it may be that it’s too late for you to come to the marriage bed pure, but you can take steps to regain a position of purity and maintain it. Remember, emotional purity is damaged by what we choose to read, watch, and listen to. Do these things meet the requirements of Philippians 4:8? “Finally,brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever ispure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence,if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

What are you reading? Do you read romance novels? Do you realize what they do to your emotional purity? Secular romance novels, in particular, are little more than pornography for women. Many describe sexual scenes in detail. You may think, “Yes, but I’m just reading.” Would you walk into someone’s bedroom or stand at their window and watch while they were making love? Then why is reading about it okay? Romance magazines and the like are little better. Even some Christian novels set us up for emotional impurity, causing us to want our husband to be something he’s not, or to be someone that God never intended him to be. Evaluate your reading material against biblical principles and if what you’re reading doesn’t match up, toss it.

What do you watch? What kind of television programs? Soap operas? Once again,they are little more than pornography. Even if they weren’t, they are full of ungodly attitudes and relationships. Do you watch sitcoms? Do they show wives that are submissive and respectful? If not, beware your own attitude. What kind of movies do you watch? Are they full of adulterous relationships? Do they show marriage relations in an ungodly or unrealistic way? One other thingto be aware of, if you have a problem with body image, it is not going to be helped by watching any of the above.

Finally, what are you listening to? Do you listen to secular music that speaksof love gone wrong or of love outside the bounds of marriage? Maybe you listen to talk radio. What are they saying? Are you being encouraged to be a loving, respectful wife or to be the one who runs the show? Once again, I will give caution. Even listening to Christian radio will not ensure that what you’re hearing is biblical. How can you know? By opening up your Bible and being familiar with what it has to say.

You need to come to a place where you expect the Lord to fulfill your needs, and not expect your husband to be the be-all and end-all for you. You need to be satisfied with the husband God has given you, and you need to be content in your role as wife and, if God blesses you with children, as mother.

It is necessary to recognize the importance of emotional purity. I have spoken to women over the years who have been grieved by the fact that they were virgins only in the physical sense when they met their husband. All purity and innocence had been lost. If we have daughters, we need to jealously guard their purity, so that years from now they will not be filled with regrets. For ourselves, God is more than capable of renewing our minds and restoring us to purity.
Father God, I come before You, a holy and righteous God, and I ask Your forgiveness. Father, I realize that I have not kept my heart pure, and I know that grieves You. I see the effect that my sin has had on my marriage relationship, and it breaks my heart. Father, I ask that You would restore my heart to purity. I pray that You would enable me to be ever diligent over the things I read and watch and listen to. Help me Father, to avoid that which is damaging to my spiritual well-being and that which is displeasing to You.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't Take It Personal!

How else can I be a "cool" thermostat? By learning to not take things personally.

What do I mean by that? Well, when your beloved leaves his dirty socks laying around instead of putting them in the dirty laundry, don't assume he's done it just to make your day more difficult. If your 5 year old spills milk on hte floor, don't react like she did it to mess up your freshly mopped kitchen. Get the idea?

Pick up that dirty laundry, mop that floor (again!) as though you were doing it for the Lord Jesus. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17

Remember that it's a joy and a priviledge to be a wife and mama! While it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and take what we do for granted, we have a high and holy calling. As I allow the Lord to work in and through me, speaking in a loving and gracious way to my family, and as I serve them, I set the tone, and I teach them. Your beloved will be affected by the way you live. "Likewise, wives, be submissive to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives - when they see your respectful and pure conduct." 1 Peter 3:1-2

Your children will learn from how you live before them. The saying that more is caught than taught is true. You can teach them all you want about love and servanthood, but if you don't live it out (joyfully) before them, you are talking into the wind.

May God bless you as you go through your day, seeking to glorify Him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Be A Cool Thermostat

"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention." Proverbs 15:18

This verse describes a relational thermostat. In most homes, that is the wife/mother. Which are you? Are you hot-tempered, stirring up strife in your home, or are you slow to anger, quieting things?

We need to be slow to anger. Our husbands and family need for us to be the quieting influence in the home. I have noticed more and more lately that if I get angry, the children are either uncomfortable, or they join in on picking at whoever I'm upset with. God has been making me more and more aware of the "temperature" I set in our home, and it hasn't been a pleasant experience. Too often I am reactionary, instead of being deliberate in my home. Being reactionary means that I tend to be loud and stir up strife. God is really starting to drive it home to me that I am not quiet enough. Ezra, who just turned 3 months does not handle noise very well ~ unfortunate for him in our household! Although the children's noise bothers him, he really does not deal well with me raising my voice. If he is crying and fussing, I have to take a moment, a deep breath, and as I pick him up, talk to him in a quiet, gentle voice. I feel like God is forcing the issue with me!

He desires for His daughters to be a calming influence. "But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit." 1 Peter 3:4 (emphasis mine). This does not mean that we have to speak in a quiet monotone without expression, but rather that we should be deliberate in how we communicate. We need to purpose ahead of time how we are going to respond to our beloved, or our children. Instead of storming through my day, I'm going to decide ahead of time to be the quiet center, the calm in the midst of the storm.

Some of us have a more temperate personality, so it's much easier to have a handle on it, while others are more mercurial in temperment. The only way we can truely live in a deliberate, calming way is to be rooted in the Scriptures and to spend time in prayer. It is only through the enabling of the Holy Spirit that we can live as godly wives.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pray For Your Beloved ~ Turning His Heart Toward His Children

"And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." Malachi 4:6

God's desire is for a father's heart to be turned toward his children. I wondered what that meant exactly, and as I looked through the Scriptures, I found that fathers are told to instruct (Deut. 6:5; Eph. 6:4), give testimony to the workings of God (Ps. 78:1-8), and to discipline their children (Pr. 13:24, 29:17; Eph. 6:4). While they are doing this, they are to avoid provoking their children and causing discouragement (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21).

I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds like a full-time job! Some fathers are in the blessed position of owning their own business and being able to allow their children to work alongside of them. Many more work for others and don't have that freedom. Making it more difficult to do what God requires of them. Often we Moms will step in and take care of these things. While we obviously have a role in the training of our children, we need to be careful that we don't usurp our husband's responsibilities. We need to be in prayer that our husband's heart will be turned toward his children. We need to pray that God would inspire him in how best to fulfill his role when he is home. And then we need to step out of the way and let him.

Perhaps your children are grown. You can still pray for his heart to be turned toward his children. Adult children are still in need of love and support from their parents! If you have grandchildren, Grandpa can be a tremendous blessing in their lives. I am so thankful for the relationship that my children have with their "Pak" (Grandpa to the rest the world. ;-) ). He has so much that he is able to teach them, from hunting and trapping to public relations. I value the time they are able to spend with him.

Even if Dad or Grandpa are not believers they still have important things to impart. While being an unbeliever would make it difficult, if not impossible for him to fulfill some of the responsibilities mentioned, he is still responsible for instructing and disciplining.

One last reminder: don't nag, but pray! Let the Holy Spirit do His work in your beloved's life.

Some verses for meditating on as you pray for your beloved this week:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:5-7

"Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God." Psalm 78:1-8

"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Proverbs 13:24

"Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart." Proverbs 29:17

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." Colossians 3:21

Friday, August 15, 2008

Recipe Share Friday ~ Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Since yesterday was our anniversary, I thought I would share a recipe that my Beloved developed. He's a pretty good cook, and enjoys baking cookies, he even considers himself something of an oatmeal cookie expert. So, here is his oatmeal cookie recipe ~ Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 C shortening
1/2 C butter
1 1/4 C peanut butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1C flour
2 C oatmeal
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream together shortening and butter. Add sugars, vanilla, peanut butter and eggs, blending well. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop in small balls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375* for 7-9 minutes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From This Day Forward ~ 19 Years Ago

Today my Beloved and I have been married for 19 years. I have been married for half of my life. I remember being terrified before the wedding. I had never been a big "finisher" in my life, and I was almost overwhelmed with the thought of making a lifetime commitment. We had both come from homes of divorce, and I knew that that was *not* what I wanted.

Now, 19 years later, I can't imagine my life without this precious man walking by my side. Most days I can't believe that he loves me, and longs to be with me ~ though admittedly there are days when I wonder that I haven't killed him yet! ;-) We are human after all. LOL

God has used our marriage to stretch me, and grow me, and sanctify me. He has abundantly blessed our marriage with children, with mutual love and respect, and with a deep friendship. I enjoy spending time with my Beloved more than anyone else. God has grown him and changed him so much ~ brought him so far from who he was ~ and I stand in awe of my Creator God that loves us so much.

We have walked along the easy path, and we have hiked narrower, more precipitous paths; full of joys and the deepest of sorrows. Through it all, we have walked together, giving the grace to walk at a different pace, in a different way. And God has drawn us closer ~ to Himself and to each other.

Thank You, Lord; for blessing my life with Mike. I never could have chosen so well for myself.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Song of Solomon Devotion #5

"As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the youngmen. With great delight I sat in his shadow and his fruit was sweet to mytaste, he brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love. Hisleft hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me!" Song of Solomon 2:3-6

Do I praise my lover? Not to others, but to him? Do I let him know how attractive I find him? Do I tell him what pleases me when we’re making love? Now, you may be thinking, “What?! Talk during S-E-X?” or “Talk about ‘it’?” But, how is your lover to know what you find most pleasurable if you won’t tell him? Your husband should be your closest, most intimate friend, and so, you should be able to talk to him about things that are most intimate. God created the sexual relationship to be a wonderful, enjoyable experience between a husband and wife. It is the physical aspect of the ‘one flesh’ mandate in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fastto his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Often, for a variety of reasons, a wife cheats herself of much of the enjoyment in lovemaking. We feel inhibited, because of sexual messages from our society, or our body image, or because of what we ‘think’ God says about sex, or because of past sexual sin. Now though, you are in a marriage relationship, the very place God designed sex for and the very place He intends for you to enjoy yourself. Once again, this is a place where we must renew our thinking. For some it will be a fairly easy process, for others it might take a long time. I have spent about eight years on the journey of renewing my mind about sex. It has not been an easy road. There have been times when it seemed for every step toward God’s ideal, there were two or three steps back. But, my desire has been to become a more godly wife and lover to my husband. As I have communicated this to him and been open about my struggles, he has been able to be supportive, and when necessary, patient with my progress.

As you make love to your husband, and discover what is pleasurable to you, and to him, you also need to praise his skill as a lover. God created men in such away that, for most of them, their feelings of being an adequate man and husband are closely tied to their prowess as a lover. So, lavish praise on him! If you are willing to be open with your husband about lovemaking, and you are willing to praise him as you make love, he will become a better lover. Remember too, that part of your enjoyment should be to make sure that he is getting as much pleasure as he can out of your lovemaking. There are times when I’m particularly tired, or I don’t feel good, or whatever, that lovemaking isn’t #1 on my list of things to do. But, when I get to bed, my Beloved is feeling amorous. At those times it is enough for me to know that I have filled a need for him, while giving him pleasure ~ joyfully. Remember ~ in the bedroom, attitude counts! Your husband knows whether or not your heart’s in it.

Finally, are you lovesick? When we look to the Hebrew, we see that the idea is of being weak and incurable. Do you have a case of incurable love that leaves you weak? If the answer is ‘no’, then why? Don’t look at your husband. Look to yourself. If you are not lovesick, it is because of choices you have made, not because of things your husband has or has not done. Choose today to let go of hurts you may be carrying around. Forgive ~ as often as you need to, and act in a loving way.

Practice the things we’ve already discussed. Think about your husband as your lover throughout the day, praise qualities you know others find admirable, tend to your ‘vineyard’ and in so doing, honor your husband. Listen to him and believe him when he compliments you, and compliment him in return. Create a romantic sanctuary in your bedroom ~ and take advantage of it! Most importantly, pray, pray, pray! Ask God to renew your mind. Ask Him to enable you to fully enjoy lovemaking. Ask Him to let you see your beloved through the eyes of the Father and to love him with the Father’s love. These are prayers God will answer, because they are within His will.

Father God,I am amazed by the beautiful gift of sex. Father, I do want to truly be ‘oneflesh’ with my husband. I pray Father, that You would renew my mind so that I can fully enjoy making love to my husband. Enable me to be open with him. I ask Father, that You would help me to be lovesick for the man You have given me. Amen

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pray for Your Beloved ~ Addendum

After posting this morning, I got to thinking about those of you who may have a husband that is so good at giving his time elsewhere, you never see him! You, his wife and family may be the ones in need. I just wanted to encourage you that it's okay for you to pray that he would see the need at home, and be generous with his time there. I do believe that our families are to be our highest priority after God, and that our family should be our first mission field.

Don't hesitate to make your needs known to your beloved, but don't nag! Mention to him the needs of your family, but then take them to the Lord, and let Him take care of the rest.

Pray For Your Beloved ~ Generosity, Part 2

I wanted to add some thoughts on generosity. Yesterday was more from a monetary perspective, and I think that when we think of generosity, money is often where our thoughts automatically go. However, we can be generous with more than just our money. We can be generous with other resources ~ fire wood, hay for animals, food out of our pantry, clothing, the list goes on. Another thing we can be generous with is our time. Either helping someone with projects they may have, meeting needs, or just spending time visiting. We can even be generous with our children ~ sending them in our stead to minister to folks in need.

As I mentioned yesterday, I think that it can be easy for wives to be stingy. Especially if we place family time/activities as a high priority. I can be extremely protective of the time we have with my Beloved. There have been times when he worked long hours, or when he's working two jobs, and when he's not working, I want him with us! Certainly there are many times when we can minister as a family, but there are also times when it is not possible, and our husband may need to go by himself, or just take a son or two. We need to give them the freedom to do that. While we certainly don't want to give up all our family time, or drop family as a priority, we need to be flexible and allow for time to minister - be generous as well. Sometimes, that may mean a whole day away ~ perhaps cutting wood for a family in need, or helping to rebuild a shed that's burned in a fire, or any number of things.

I think of the Apostles, who freely shared the two most valuable things they had ~ their time and the gospel. Do we encourage our husbands toward that kind of generosity? Do we encourage them to go and help? To take food to a hungry family? To spend time with the elderly gentleman who has no family near by?

Pray for your beloved to be generous, in all things, to all men.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pray for Your Beloved ~ Generosity

Generosity is not an option for a believer. Time and again, in both the Old and New Testaments we are told to lend, to give, to be generous. God, Himself, sets the bar, “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8 God gave His only begotten Son.

In Psalm 112:5 we are told, “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.” That Psalm goes on to say in verse 9, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his horn is exalted in honor.” This entire Psalm talks about the righteous man, and being generous is mentioned twice in the 10 verses that make up the Psalm.

A righteous man does not hold tightly to his possessions, but freely gives of them to those that have need. “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” Proverbs 14:31 A righteous man desires to honor God with his actions.

I often find at our house, that my Beloved is the one who is truly has the generous spirit. I love to give, and often am generous, but my tendency is to look at the checkbook and decide that we can’t afford it. But my Beloved would give the shirt off of his back if someone was in need of it. When he worked at our local grocery store, he often would loan money or pay for someone’s groceries if they were short on cash. People knew that if they were in need, they could go to him and if able, he would help them. As wives, we should be careful not to curb the generosity of our husbands.

We need to lift our husbands before the Throne and pray that they would be godly, righteous men. We need to pray that they will be generous. That they would give joyfully. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And god is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” II Cor. 6-11

Some other verses that deal with generosity are:

“It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.” Psalm 112:5

“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” Proverbs 25:21

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35

Use these verses as inspiration as you pray for your beloved this week.


Father God,
I lift my Beloved before You today. I ask Father that You would give him a generous spirit. I pray that he would honor You in all his actions, but especially as he reaches out to those in need. May others see You through him.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Recipe Share Friday ~ Savory Grilled Pork Chops

I thought it was time to get back to being regular about something! So, here is Recipe Share Friday, once again. ;-)

I found this recipe in one of those little recipe magazines you find at the check out stand. I don't remember if it was a Taste of Home, or Pillsbury, or what, but this recipe is YUMMY!!

Savory Grilled Pork Chops with Fruit Salsa
1 (8oz) can pineapple tidbits in unsweetened juice
1/3 C lite soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 center-cut pork chops

Reserved pineapple tidbits
1/2 C chopped fresh strawberries
1 med. Nectarine
2 Tbls sliced green onions
2 Tbls chopped cilantro
1 Tbls sugar
1 Tbls vinegar
1 Tbls lite soy sauce

1. GRILL DIRECTIONS: Drain pineapple, reserving liquid; set pineapple aside. In a 9x13 glass dish, combine pineapple juice, 1/3 C soy sauce and garlic; blend well. Add pork chops; turn to coat. Cover; refrigerate 2-3 hours to marinate, turning occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, in med. bowl, combine pineapple tidbits and all remaining salsa ingredients; mix well. Cover, refrigerate while pork chops are marinating.

3. Heat grill. When ready to grill, remove pork chops from marinade; discard marinade. Place pork chops on gas grill over med-high heat or on charcoal grill 4-6 inches from med-high coals. Cook 5-7 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in center. Serve salsa with pork chops.

Serves 6

This recipe quickly became one of our summer favorites! Once in a while in the winter, if I can get the fruit, we'll do it for a treat; cooking the pork chops under the broiler in the oven.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Being a Joyful, Intoxicating Wife

"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always with her love."
Proverbs 5:19

Although written to a man, I thought the above verse to be instructive to us as wives as well.

"Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth..." I am the wife of my Beloved's youth, am I a wife he can rejoice in? According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, rejoice is "to experience joy and gladness in a high degree, to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations; to exult." Sounds like something that should be happening in a marriage relationship, doesn't it? ;-) Shamefully, I know there are times that my Beloved doesn't rejoice in me. My behavior toward him or in general creates anything but joy and gladness. However, it is my goal to be the wife that he can rejoice in. I desire for our home to be full of joy and gladness.

"a lovely deer, a graceful doe..." When I think of a deer, I think of slender, quiet grace. Now, obviously, we're not all slender! Some of us are quieter than others, some more graceful. But, think of the overall impression. I *can* be gentle, quiet and graceful; it just might take some effort. My desire is that when people think of me, they aren't thinking of me per se. But they have such an impression of me that they think of my Beloved, and that he is blessed. It is another way of honoring him. I want my attitudes and actions to be complimentary to my Beloved, but more importantly, I want them to reflect my Heavenly Father.

"let her breasts fill you at all times with delight..." 'Nuff said? LOL At our house, this is more instructive to me than my Beloved. *I* need to remember that my body is for his pleasure. For me, as a woman who is often pregnant and/or nursing, it is so easy to be in Mama-mode. Which means that I get "touched out" during the day, and that I view parts of my body in a more, shall we say, utilitarian way than my Beloved does. I need to remind myself often that I am not *just* a Mama, I am a lover as well. I need to allow myself the freedom to let my breasts fill my Beloved with delight.

"be intoxicated always in her love." Do I love my Beloved in such a way that it's intoxicating to him? It seems that recently I have heard and seen a lot about the effects of certain sinful behaviors. Pornography and other sexual sins in particular create a "need" for more. I am *not* suggesting ungodliness in our marriages. However, am I doing my best to satisy him and love him in such a way that he desires more? Am I intoxicating to him? We can't always be in an "emotional high" in our marriages. That just isn't reality. But do I make an effort toward those times? Do I look for opportunities to show him how much I love and admire him? Do I make time to spend with him, to show interest in the things that interest him? Is our love relationship one that even when we're not in a "high" time, we do still "hunger" for each other? It goes back to being best friends.

Father God,
I lift up the woman reading this now. I pray Father, that You would encourage and inspire her toward being the wife You would have her be. I ask that where ever she's at in her marriage today, that You would draw her and her beloved closer to You, and in so doing, draw them closer to each other. I pray that her beloved would, truely rejoice in her and be intoxicated by her love. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Look

You may have noticed that my blog has a new look! I really liked the template I started out with, however, I wanted something that looked a little different from everyone else. :-)

My niece has started playing around with her blog templates, and she uses LeeLou Blogs. So, I clicked on through from her blog, and found this beautiful template! The colors are very "me", and I think they look welcoming. The gal over at LeeLou Blogs has lots of fun and funky templates over at her site, they are easy to install, and best of all, they're free!

If you are interested in what she has to offer, you can scroll down and on the left is a button that you can use to click through to her site.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Romantic Hideaway

I have already shared about making our bedroom a retreat. You can view my post on that here.
When I posted that devotion, I intended on getting some pictures of our bedroom up so that you could see what I was talking about. Well, several months later, I am finally getting around to it! These are pictures taken while we were waiting for labor to begin with Ezra, so there are a few things that are not typical to our bedroom in the pictures.

Here is our bed. While this doesn't show the whole thing, you can get an idea of what it's like. I have a double layered bed skirt on it ~ which does not match the quilt. However, it goes well with the coloring in our bedroom, and it was a bargain! The netting you see is a canopy of mosquito netting that hangs from hooks in the ceiling ~ our ceiling is a bit low for a true 4 poster or canopy bed. Around the top of the canopy, I have the small Christmas tree lights. They are amber colored ~ we found the clear ones were too bright. To the majority of the lights I have added roses and or leaves (the light is the center of the rose or leaf set), so it appears that our bed is garlanded by flowers. The bed is set cross-wise in the corner, and behind the headboard, I have a fairly rough pedestal that Mike made (which I have covered with a floral fabric), and that is what the candelabra is sitting on. I have multiple pillows on the bed, and in the winter there is also a brown plaid blanket that lays across the foot of the bed.

This is the corner opposite the bed. Normally next to the rocking chair there is a small black kidney shaped table. On the other side of the little table sits another chair. This gives us an intimate little spot for a quiet cup of tea and conversation. The little shelves you see are a recent addition and are holding layette items. My plan is to paint the shelves black (my "shabby chic" color), and use them in some other way when Ezra's clothing is too large for the little baskets. On the wall, you can see just the lower part of one of our pictures, and then next to that is a 5 arm candelabra ~ for a little added romance!
You can see that I use fairly bold colors in our bedroom, and I do try to accent with plaids because they are more masculine. I decorate our room with things that are meaningful to us. The rocking chair was my great-grandmother's, there are portraits of our children on the walls and dresser tops. I have heard different people recommend not having pictures of your children in your bedroom; after all, it's supposed to be a retreat! However, part of who we are is our children's parents. God has blessed us tremendously with our children ~ why would we want to keep our bedroom devoid of reminders of them? You will also find in our bedroom ~ for the majority of our 19 years of marriage, a bassinet or cradle or a crib. This does not diminish the romance or retreat "feeling" of our room. Rather, for us, it is a reminder of how abundantly blessed we are; and for me, it brings feelings of joy and contentment to see them.
I hope you enjoy the pictures, and perhaps gain some inspiration if you're struggling with infusing your room with romance.