affirmation- because she does him good, not evil all the days of her life

Criticism, not encouragement- comes forth so easily from our mouths. Negativism and discouragement flow freely from us- and is, more often than not, directed at ourselves.

Criticism tears down, the opposite of building up. Keeping up a constant flow of negative speak in our thoughts- is damaging to ourselves. Negative speak to others- is a blight.

I'm going to be blunt and say that the tearing down/ criticism/ negative thoughts and speech towards the person who is not only your "other half" but who really is the other evil. The Bible says that "the two shall be made one"- he's not just your other half, or your spouse- he's part of you. He is the other you.

"Every wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands"
-Proverbs 14:1

I think that the very common practice of treating husbands and fathers like grown up children and idiots is appalling. Dear reader, our thoughts and speech are father to our actions and beliefs- think of your husband as an idiot, make fun of and speak of him as an idiot to your friends- you will soon believe it and show it in your actions.

We all do dumb or careless things- you would like mercy shown to you in your mistakes- give it without measure to the other you.

I am not wise- but occasionally I've lucked into wisdom..or I've been showered with more mercy than I deserve. Here's a story of a newlywed's act of affirmation and the blessings she's reaped in response:


Years ago, in my newlywed- starving student years; my husband, who was more skilled at the time with a shovel and pick...became interested in woodworking. He decided to build us an entertainment center for our house. I cheered him on.

Friends, it was awful. I don't even have a photo to share with you, because I hated it so much that I never took a picture of it. He made it out of cheap plywood. It was huge, somehow his "vision" was really on a bigger scale than he realized. It was too big for our tiny house, it took up a whole wall. It was so rough that I could not really dust it, I had to pat it with a cloth- rubbing would get you splinters.

I stood in front of that finished monstrosity, dumb-struck. And then, God must have graced me with mercy I did not deserve- because the thought came to me: I used to paint before I was married- what if I had set out to paint something for our living room, finished it, proudly showed it to my husband...and then, what if he had told me it was awful and not good enough to go into the house? I would have been crushed and most likely never picked up a paint brush again.

I realized in that moment of God's grace (to me) that I could not wound my other self like that. So, instead I praised it- praised the clever magnetic glass doors he had put on it. I truthfully exclaimed that I could not imagine how to put doors on like that, and that I was so impressed that he was clever enough to do it. I praised the color of the wood stain. I told him how proud I was that he could make something like that, how he saved us money by not having to go buy one.

And then, I smothered my real thoughts- and for several years praised it in front of stunned friends.

I realized I was onto a truth-

"who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts he; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life." -Proverbs 31:10-12

Sky has once again immersed himself into woodworking. This is what he proudly
showed to me recently.

much wisdom is found in the verse:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." -Matthew 7:12

Husbands are people, too - and they have feelings just like us. They are not idiots, or overgrown little boys. Making fun of them to your girlfriends is wrong. Imagine the hurt you would feel if more often than not, as you approached your husband and friends- dumb wife jokes flowed freely...

Do him good, not evil all the days of his life- and his heart will safely trust you.

Welcome home you! What does your tail-tell?

My dog's tail-wag tells me she is happy to see me.

I walk into a room, and I know I've made her day, just because I am present.

The wag of her tail- tells me, "I see you! I'm happy to see you!"

Even if she is too tired to stand and greet me, the thumping sound of her tail against the ground marks the moment her eyes catch sight of me...and I know, I am welcomed.

I know, without a doubt,

I am a special person. I am special to her.
The day got brighter, because I appeared.

She's not too busy to acknowledge my presence with at least this herald.

She physically says hello.

"How are you?" her eyes ask...

"I can tell you are fine", her nose probes and confirms.

In our busy day-to-day busyness

do our children feel as welcomed by us?

"I am happy you are here!"

I distinctly remember, as a teen, a few homes that enthusiastically welcomed their children and friends daily. Parents in these homes were happy, not put-out, to see us. Parents in these homes always had a welcome and smile to greet us with, wanted to know about our day, did not treat us like we were in the way...and most often greeted us with a yummy snack or a cold drink.

I remember those homes still, and I loved visiting.

I want my kids to know, without a doubt, how special they are to me

and I know, I want them to want to be home. I want their friends to want to be in our home.

Wag more moms, Bark less.

Welcome Home, you
I know you by name
How do you do?
I shine because of you today
So come and sit down
Tell me how you are
I know son, it's good just to see your face

-Welcome Home (You) song by Brian Littrell

Welcome Home (You) on Youtube *here

"Every wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her own hands."
-Proverbs 14:1

"Behold, children are a blessing from the Lord,..."
-Psalm 127:3a

"Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever."
-Daniel 12:3

Let's wag and shine moms.

A Family garden project

Gardening with kids is an exciting thing. So much to look forward to, so much to plan, so much dirt!

Gardening with my children is a journey of optimistical planning. Here begins the planning and hopeful visions of a fruitful harvest.

A lesson on sowing now and reaping later; on planning, care and steadfastness.

Here are the lessons lived out for us, before our very eyes;

"Slow and Steady finishes the race" -Aesop's fable


"Behold, the sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell beside the way, and the birds came and devoured it. And other seed fell on the rocky place, where it did not have much earth, and immediately it sprang up because it had not depth of earth." -Mark 4:2-5

and this living lesson-picture:

"Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes, That ruin the vineyards While our vineyards are in blossom." -Song of Songs 2:15

a lesson to my children to be aware of the peculiarities, habits, and introspections (teen angst, anyone??) - the little foxes, that ruin the bright living out of Christ in the Churches and in ourselves.

why here's one of those little foxes, er- hens- now...looking for a way back into the garden...

Favorite gardening with children books at our house:

How about you, are you planning a garden this year?

First Love

I so enjoy this journey, walking my children through childhood. I enjoy watching them becoming, watching them work out who they are and what they believe, and how much they believe it.

My world used to be so much more black/white, wrong/ much more sure in absolutes. I'm finding as I am becoming older, my world is more and more filled with shades of gray.

My world used to be bigger, more vast. Now my universe is our home. Dreams of far away places and ministering in a far-off land, suffering for the Lord perhaps, have faded to the practical, the more immediate. I minister, now, the mission field at my feet. I feed the Bible school boys far from home. I serve my local church, my children and their friends.

But oh, how I love, love, love...the possibilities in the lives of my children. I can't go out right now, ...but maybe they will.

Meg played her fiddle again at the antique district...playing for dollars again.
She set out a stack of Bible study tracts.

I never would have thought it or suggested it. My gray world has become a little more timid of sharing my beliefs so boldly. My world is not black and white anymore.
But for my Meg, it is.
I love she is bold to feel out the boundaries of who she is and what she believes and what she has to say to others.

I love to be reminded to step out of the way.

Lesson one - do not hide
Lesson two - there are right ways to fight
And if you have questions
We can talk through the night

So you know who you are
And you know what you want
I've been where you're going
And it's not that far
It's too far to walk
But you don't have to run
You'll get there in time....
-Jars of Clay

St. Patrick

*re-post from March 17, 2007

According to legend, St. Patrick's cathedral in Dublin, Ireland was built on the site of a well that St. Patrick used to baptize converts in the 5th century. It is thought that a small wooden church existed on the site as early as 450 A.D., and a stone church was built in 1191 by the Normans. It is Dublin's second great Protestant cathedral, the largest church in Ireland and the national church.

St. Patrick is thought to have lived around 385-460 A.D. His father was a Roman government official. His family's name was Succat. When Patrick was 16, he was kidnapped and carried away to northern Ireland and sold as a slave. He lived the hard life of a shepherd-slave on the slopes of Slemish mountain in what is now Ulster.

"The life of a shepherd-slave could not have been a happy one...The work of such shepherds was bitterly isolated, months at a time spent alone in the hills. Deprived of intercourse with other humans, Patricus must have taken a long time to master the language and customs of his exile, so that the approach of strangers over the hills may have held special terror. We know that he did have two constant companions, hunger and nakedness, and the gnawing in his belly and the chill on his exposed skin were his worst sufferings, acutely painful presences that could not be shaken off... Like many another in impossible circumstances, he began to pray... ...Patricus endured six years of this woeful isolation, and by the end of it he had grown from a careless boy to something he would surely never otherwise become-a holy man..." -How the Irish saved civilization by Thomas Cahill page 101

Patrick heard God's voice in a dream telling him a ship was waiting for him, and so he headed for the sea coast-200 miles away. Patrick studied several years in Europe to attempt to make up for the education he had missed and then returned to Ireland a bishop to convert the people who had once held him slave. It is very striking to me that Patrick returned to Ireland, at the time they were a very wild, violent, pagan people. The Romans in their first encounters with the Irish, were afraid of them. "The Irish, like all the Celts, stripped before battle and rushed their enemy n*ked, carrying sword and shield but wearing only sandals and torc...The Romans, in their first encounters with these exposed, insane warriors, were shocked and frightened. Not only were the men n*ked, they were howling and,it seemed, possessed by demons..." -Cahil page 83

Irish society at that time was ruled by different tribal kings, they were a people of war and offered up human sacrifices. Patrick, in returning there to preach the gospel was a real life portrait of one loving his enemy. Cahil writes,..."Nor was he blind to his dangers, for even in his last years "every day I am ready to be murdered, betrayed, enslaved-whatever may come my way. But I am not afraid of any of these things, because of the promises of heaven; for I have put myself in the hands of God Almighty.".. His love for his adopted people shines through his writings...the horror of slavery was never lost on him...In his last years, he could probably look out over an Ireland transformed by his teaching...Within his lifetime or soon after his death, the Irish slave trade came to a halt, and other forms of violence, such as murder and inter-tribal warfare, decreased." -Cahil page 108-110

"In becoming an Irishman, Patrick wedded his world to theirs, his faith to their life...Patrick found a way of swimming down to the depths of the Irish psyche and warming and transforming Irish imagination-making it more humane and more noble while keeping it Irish..." -Cahil page 115

"Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!" Acts 28:28

Brilliant, -links you've got to read

I am currently browsing through some posts over at Conversion Diary- mainly her posts on prayer.

But first, if you are mom to younger children, and feeling overwhelmed and under par- you have to go read her post right here**admitting I can't do it all...
I really wish I would have had this insight when mine were little. I did mostly (by default)tend towards letting things go, but I lived with the guilt and feelings of being found wanting.- Actually, I go to bed many days feeling weighed and found lacking, still. But, I digress- if this sounds familiar to you, be kind to yourself and go read this post- and then chew on it for a few days...

The post that grabbed me was this one-The danger of being overloaded*, which I found linked to over at Rocks in my dryer.

I am going to briefly quote Jennifer over at Conversion Diary, she writes;

...when someone asked St. Francis de Sales how much one should pray, the Doctor of the Church replied that you should pray a half hour each day, unless you're busy. If you're busy, you should pray an hour.

"What a pithy quote!" I thought. "You should pray more if you're busy -- love it. That St. Francis de Sales, he sure does have some great sayings!" And then I promptly forgot about it. Or I tried to, anyway....

This is from her post AREWP day 11, which I found by linking around from the first post ...By the way, "AREWP" stands for "A reckless experiment with prayer"- gotta love it!

My prayer tonight is to not be someone who just files "pithy", truth-filled quotes or advice away in a box...