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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TUNING IN TO GOD'S VOICE

Women are hard on themselves.  They put other women on pedestals and think they don't come close to the talent that she has, the beauty that she has, the amazing abilities that she has.  They think she has it all together.  Compared to her, they fall short.

Why can't I do that?  Why can't I be like her?  Why doesn't God bless me with such talent?

It's hard to attend a gathering of women and not feel the tension in the air.  Women compare.  They watch.  Their eyes go up and down.  They long to be fabulous, like her.  But what they don't realize is that they are fabulous, just in a different way than she is.

Why doesn't a mother who takes care of her family think she's doing something worthwhile?  Why isn't it enough?   Why does she need to be more?  Because the voices of our culture tell her that if she wants to be somebody, she must forget what's at home and make her mark on the world.  Those voices need to be silenced.  Yet every time someone asks her, "What do you do?" she hears faint whispers that she's not enough.  So she strives to be more.  She needs to prove herself.

Perhaps there is a calling in her heart to do more, but maybe it's not the right season.  Why is it so hard for her to focus on being a wife and mother and be satisfied with that?  Why does she compare herself to others and feel she doesn't measure up? 

Because she doesn't realize she's an artist.  Everything she does at home requires strength, creativity, and talent.  But who notices her efforts?  God does.  But because the world isn't praising her, she feels insignificant.  So she vows to do more.  She wants to be amazing beyond her home.  She wants to be seen as fabulous in the world.

I wrote a speech about finding our identity in Christ instead of seeking acceptance in today's culture.  It's titled, Worldy Woman, Godly Woman: Which One Are You?  Whether you're a career woman or a stay-at-home mom, you'll be inspired to find your security in the only One who can make you feel secure.
I'll be sharing this speech on Saturday May 21 at Grace Community Church, Herndon, PA, below Line Mountain High School.  If you'll be in the area on that day, please plan to attend.  Call Dianne Smeltz at 570-758-8404 and make reservations by Saturday, May 14.

And if you can't attend, please check out the blog below called Chatting At the Sky: A Place For Your Soul to Breathe.  Here you'll be convinced that you are an artist and what you do has purpose, importance and meaning.  It's time to stop comparing and see yourself as fabulous.  Because you are in so many ways.


http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2011/01/24/in-which-i-convince-you-that-you-are-an-artist/

Sunday, April 24, 2011

THERE WILL BE SCOFFERS

Many people who call themselves Christians know little or nothing about what Christ said.  Many Christians who are supposed to be filled with the blessed hope of the rapture of the church refuse to believe that event may be near (the bible calls them scoffers).  The book of Hebrews says that the hope we have is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.

Why would anyone who calls himself a Christian want to crush another Christian's hope?  Yet this happens every day when Christians refuse to see the warnings Jesus gave us about the last days.  They say everything is the same as it always was and they refuse to see the signs Jesus warned about, signs that are increasing in both frequency and intensity, just like labor pains before a baby is born.

Not believing doesn't make anything untrue.  Truth will come to pass no matter what a scoffer believes.  Christ predicted there would be scoffers in the last days.  What's amazing is that many of these scoffers call themselves Christians.  And they crush the hope of other Christians who take the Bible literally.

As In The Days Of Noah
From Now The End Begins blog 
http://www.nowtheendbegins.com

What does it mean to say we are in the “days of Noah?” This phrase means one thing to you, and something else to others. The truth is, it means many things. One large portion of comparing today to the days of Noah is the old phrase, “eat drink and be merry.” Try for a moment to name one other person in the Bible story that was preparing along with Noah for that flood……..got one? You can’t name any person outside of Noah’s family that took his warnings seriously.

When Jesus returns, on which side of the boat will you be on?
They were all going about their lives, not concerned in the least of the coming flood. Noah continuously warned the people, and they continuously ignored. Maybe in your own life you’ve experienced the deaf ears your warnings fall on. Those without faith in God do not take these warnings seriously…nor the people God uses to warn them.  Does this sound familiar? Recent? This leads to the next point about Noah. Scoffers.
Noah trusted God, and knew the flood was coming. People, get ready, it’s about to rain.
When Noah did warn others, they “scoffed” at him. They made fun of him, made him the butt of their jokes and did nothing to prepare themselves for the coming disaster. They went about their lives, laughing at Noah the whole time. This is why only Noah and his family were saved. For Christians, we are the “Noah’s family” in our current scenario…but the coming rapture is no disaster. It will be horrendous, however, for those left behind. This leads to another point in describing the current days of Noah, the state of the world.
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
This world has pushed God out of everything. He is not allowed in schools, courts, TV, books, radio…In the days of Noah, the book of Genesis tells us, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Again, sound familiar? Abortion kills approximately 3000 babies PER DAY. The institution of marriage is under attack. Violence is extremely high. Pornography is one of the highest money makers of any entertainment field. Pedophiles are luring children in on the internet so much that TV shows showcase it on a weekly basis….this could go on, but you probably get the point. We are a wicked world, and each day, we make the wrong things into totally acceptable behavior. Tolerance is starting to really mean allowance. To speak against Biblically unacceptable behavior means you are filled with hate. This is exactly what God saw during the days of Noah.

WOMEN NEED FACE TO FACE CHATTING

Happy Easter!  And congratulations to Kim Hawkins of San Antonio Texas for winning the Easter Giveaway.  She'll be receiving my print Summer Harvest.  Kim said her favorite flower is a daisy. 

My tulips opened up today and with the warm weather, I'm feeling like the gloomy cold winter is finally behind us.  I spent the day with my family yesterday and enjoyed chatting with the women in our family, My mom, my sister, my sister-in-law and my brother's girlfriend who just got engaged, so she'll be my sister-in-law some day.  We decided that we need to have these chats more often.

"This is what women did years ago," my sister said.  And I replied that this is what's missing from many women's lives.  They have no connection to other women and no one to talk to about their lives and daily struggles.  Many women are isolated and living without the safety net of a circle of friends and family.  I"m grateful that I have caring women in my family.  They've helped me and encouraged me in so many ways.

Women need to talk and they need to do it face to face.  Without that real physical connection to other women, I feel like something is missing from my life.  There's an emptiness.  No amount of chatting on facebook can fill the void.  I believe God created women to need each other.  It's too bad that women aren't more sociable and supportive of one another as a whole.  Maybe we need to start up quilting parties again.

I remember sitting under the quilt frame as a child and listening to the conversations of the older women.  Those women were my mother, my grandmother, as well as relatives and friends of the family.  There was a comfort in that room when those women got together.  It seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do.  Yet how many women today actually schedule time to have a good conversation and enjoy each other's company?

As I sat around that table yesterday, sharing the joys and sorrows of life with the women in my family, I felt so grateful to be blessed with their company.  I thanked God for the gift of them.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

BOY CAN I RELATE TO THAT!

Boy can I relate to this article below.  I recently took a break from blogging because I felt it was consuming my life.  At one point I put so much pressure on myself to post a blog every day and in doing so, I was neglecting people and things that needed my attention.  I enjoy blogging and I'm not sure where I'm going from here.  But I do know that I won't allow it to consume me again.  I'll post new blogs when I have time.  My husband may have a topic to share now and then.  But I won't be putting pressure on myself to have something new to share each day.   

This isn't goodbye, but boy can I relate to the article below. 

 My Kids Have Taught Me That It’s Time To Stop Blogging

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***
What you are about to read is the hardest post I’ve ever written in the 2 years I’ve been blogging.

My kids have taught me a brutal lesson in reality. It’s something I’ve known for a very long time, but instead of doing something about it I’ve been happily burying my head in something else. What? My blog. Why? Because when I started blogging two years ago I had finally found a hobby worth pursuing. My blog has been a place where I could come and write and say things that actually make a difference in other people’s lives. Where I get immediate feedback for my efforts no less. It has also been my place of solace – where I get away from it all – the place where I get to stretch my brain cells for a little while and socialize with women whom with I have enough in common to create our own crunchy mama commune! But in the two years I’ve been blogging I’ve been letting a lot of things in my personal life slide. Rules about TV time for one, spending more quality one-to-one time with my kids for two. When I have a self-imposed blog deadline or find myself busy with other “blog things” I am low of patience. Everyone suffers when I can’t cope with all the people I’m trying to please. My kids, my husband, my friends, my readers and myself. What I have learned from my kids is that I can’t do it all, and in order to be the kind of mom I want to be I need to reorganize my priorities.
Let’s be honest. Blogging takes up tons of time. As any blogger knows, blogging isn’t just about writing your own post, it’s about reading other people’s posts, socializing on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media, replying to comments, and if you do giveaways, advertising your giveaways on other sites everyday. I’m also not one of those people who can whip out a post in 15 minutes and call it a day. I’m not a speed reader either. In the past year or so I have tried to cut back on blogs I read and comment on, but not socializing gives me a guilty conscience. The people who read and comment on my blog feel like friends so when I just can’t acknowledge them or comment on one of their posts I feel like I’m letting them down. Every once in awhile I decide to do more to promote my blog too, so I go around finding new blogs to make an appearance at and the hours tick away.
I don’t make a lot of money from blogging. The money I do receive doesn’t even pay for blog upkeep. So I’m not blogging to make a living. If I was I wouldn’t even be writing this. Jobs take us away from our kids and that’s just the way it is. But my writing is a hobby. So every time I blog, unless I do it while the kids are in bed, it is taking time away from them. I think it is important for a parent to have a hobby, even more than one! But most hobbies don’t take 5-8 hours a day and don’t include sitting in front of a computer. My time at the computer makes it look like so much screen time is okay, and that’s just not something I am okay with. This is not the type of role model I wanted to be. There are numerous many reasons why I think screen time is bad for young children. For a comprehensive list go here.
And yet….

I currently submit my children to approximately five hours of television a day (that includes when they spend time at other people’s houses). This is well beyond the national average and breaks my heart that I have strayed so far from my values. I used to pride myself that when my oldest was 2 1/2 she still didn’t know who Dora The Explorer was. Now they know all the names of the Disney princesses and have watched Snow White and Aladdin more times than I have ever watched anything. Sometimes I don’t even know what they are watching and find out later that they have been exposed to things that I would never let them watch at 3 and 6 years old. This just makes me want to cry.
Guess when I introduced screens as a babysitter? Yep, right around the time I started blogging. It became a convenient way to get posts written. My oldest would watch a video while I nursed my baby at the computer. I knew better, but I excused it away with the fact that three hundred pairs of breastfeeding eyes per day were counting on me to come through for them. A little bit of Backyardigans or Wonder Pets couldn’t hurt my kids too much.
But oh, they have.
My kids would rather stay home and watch Disney re-runs than go to the beach with me. Instead of the fun adventure it used to be, a walk in the forest is now boring and met with tantrums and tears. My kids regularly engage in bad behaviours (i.e., not listening to me, teasing and/or hurting each other) and I think it’s partly because they think they can get away with it because over time they’ve worn me down and now I don’t react as fast as I used to. I usually finish typing my sentence before I come and deal with them. Walking to town is fun for my youngest who literally runs the entire way but my oldest cries the whole way whining that we’re supposed to drive to town because that’s what cars are for. Somewhere along the way, I’ve stopped being able to teach my kids about my values. Or rather, I haven’t stopped talking about them, but I have certainly stopped showing them. There is never enough time in the day because I allow my spare time to be taken up by the computer. Instead of riding bikes or walking to yoga lessons or the library, we drive because I leave things to the last minute. When I did daycare I used to get up early with the kids and have no TV all day. Now that I start work early in the mornings they get up and watch cartoons for two hours before their dad gets up.
Some of you know that I’ve been grappling with what I should do about my blog. I have really loved writing here, but I put so much pressure on myself to try to be a “good blogger,” and I just don’t feel good about doing things in a half-a&& fashion. So I’ve decided to use this carnival as my jumping off platform to say farewell. Instead of just cutting back on posts (because that doesn’t work for me) I’ve decided to make a clean break. If I’m really itching to write something I’ll post as a guest somewhere. I plan to follow up this announcement post with one or two more posts to close up shop, but after that I will be done.
Why did I just push myself under the bus? Why did I just share all of my failings as a mother? Because I think it’s important for everyone who reads blogs to know that none of us are perfect, plus if I didn’t write down my shortcomings for the world to see it wouldn’t be out there in black and white reminding me why I have decided to do this in the first place. I chose this blog carnival as my platform because a) it makes me liable for my decision (when I send this to the moderators a week early), b) it gives me a week to digest my new reality, and c) the carnival topic was too perfect to pass up.
It’s a New Year, and I want to spend more time with my kids and get back to living my values. I want to learn to knit and take long walks in the forest. I want to try hot yoga (because I need to lose the 30 pounds that I have gained while blogging – not to say they go hand in hand, but blogging certainly doesn’t give me time to do anything about it) and play board games with my family in the evenings. In the Spring I want to build and plant a garden and in the Fall learn to can vegetables. Right now, blogging doesn’t give me enough time to do these things. And one thing that’s been reinforced by reading and writing so many blog posts is that childhoods fly by and life is short.
I am comforted by the fact that all the breastfeeding posts I’ve written will remain on line. I get 50% of my traffic from Google, which means that approximately 6000 people per month will still be able to benefit from them. I will also stay on Facebook and Twitter because it doesn’t take much much of my time and I am looking forward to sharing old posts with new followers. But for the rest of it, you and they are just going to have to go through the categories or learn to love my search bar. Having helped numerous women and having made some amazing connections along the way I am ready to embrace what I have accomplished here and move forward.
Deep breath. So here I go.
Epilogue:
I wrote this a little over a week ago and finished up my last post (coming in a few days) a couple days later. I just felt like sharing that after two years of writing an average 3-4 posts per week, this “not blogging” thing is hard. At first I seriously didn’t know what to do with myself in my spare time. I would turn on the computer and just stare at the screen, hopping from Facebook to Twitter to my emails and my Reader, wondering what the heck my life would look like without this daily routine.
But the past few days have been wonderful. I took my kids for a walk in the woods by the beach and they went from whining that walks are boring to skipping along the trails yelling back at me what fun they were having. We went to the museum and spent almost three hours there. Not once did I get that anxious feeling that in the past has told me “I have to get back to check my emails and finish editing that blog post!” I haven’t yet turned off the TV completely. After the number of hours they’ve had everyday I am cutting back slowly. But I’ve been able to sit down, monitor, and watch TV with them, cuddled in a blanket on the couch. I have more patience and the kids seem happier too. I will miss telling all of you about my life and my thoughts on breastfeeding, natural parenting, bed sharing, vegetarianism and my homeschooling experiences, but I look forward to this new chapter. Life is good.
***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

MAYBE IT'S THE TOXINS?

Today as I was organizing paper clutter, I came across an article about toxins in the products we use everyday.  Research links five of the most commonly used chemicals in the world to a host of ailments, including cancer, sexual problems, and behavioral issues.  

Did you know that plastic with a number 7 on the bottom probably contains Bisphenol A unless it explicitly says otherwise.  Bisphenol A poses a potential cancer risk and may disrupt the extremely sensitive chemical signals in your body called the endocrine system.  

Avoid shampoos, conditioners, and other personal care products that list "fragrance" as an ingredient.  This means the product contains Phthalates, chemicals that soften plastic.  They also disrupt reproductive development and are considered endocrine disruptors.  

Did you know that overheating nonstick cookware releases a toxic gas? This is why I got a headache when I used Teflon coated pans or grills.  I've since thrown them out.  Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also called C8) is used to make Teflon nonstick and stain or water-repellent products.  PFOA causes cancer and developmental problems.

Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of pressed wood products.  It is a known human carcinogen, causing cancers of the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract.  Buying furniture free of formaldehyde eliminates much of the exposure you face from this checmical.

Then we have PBDE's a group of chemicals used as flame retardants. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers may damage your liver and kidneys and affect your brain and behavior.  Look for products made without PBDE flame retardants.  

Below is the second article I came across today about toxins.  Someone must be trying to tell me something.  Or maybe it's you that needs to start reading labels.  This stuff could be making you or someone you know sick.  Read on.

http://simpleorganic.net/identifying-and-avoiding-toxins-in-beauty-and-personal-care-products/

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

THE FLIPSIDE OF FEMINISM

Feminism's legacy: 'Heartache, STDs, abortion'

'It turns out human nature cannot be repealed by judicial fiat'



Posted: March 08, 2011
9:12 pm Eastern
By Anita Crane
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

"The truth is that feminism is the single worst thing that happened to American women."
So wrote Suzanne Venker and her aunt, Phyllis Schlafly, in "The Flipside of Feminism" What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can't Say."
And if that doesn’t elicit feminist fury or bewilderment, what will? But it's more reason for feminists and non-feminists to read this new title published by WND Books.

After all, you'll see people you know, people you love – maybe even yourself – in "The Flipside of Feminism," the authors say.  "My hope is that any person between the ages of 18 and 50, male or female, who feels as though they've absorbed feminist ideology, will read this book," said Venker, who describes herself first and foremost as a wife and mom, even though she's authored a previous book and numerous articles.

Schlafly, author or editor of 20 books, founder of the Eagle Forum, and Supreme Court attorney most famous for leading the Equal Rights Amendment defeat, hopes that the young will read "Flipside" before they make "too many mistakes.  "I want them to understand that everything the feminists are telling us is really a lie," said the widow, and proud mother and grandmother. "Feminism teaches young women to think of themselves as victims of the patriarchy. That's so unfortunate because American women are the most fortunate who have ever lived – we can make anything we want of our lives."

What, then, is this thing that Venker and Schlafly call the "F word"?  In brief, feminism is the radical agenda of what they dubbed "the Feminine Left."




For example, typically feminists seek all the powers of men while hating men and ultimately despising their own feminine nature. This is but one contradiction in feminist agenda. And once feminists declared men unnecessary, they engineered big government to take the place of husbands and fathers, the authors say.

"The animus against men is very evident in what they're doing," said Schlafly. "They look upon marriage as a dreary life. Betty Friedan called the housewife 'a parasite who lives in a concentration camp.' Gloria Steinem said you become a 'semi-nonperson' when you get married. A lot of these feminist leaders came out of dysfunctional families and they're projecting their personal problems onto society."

As the authors explain, "feminism is in the air." Liberal or unwitting parents indoctrinate their children at home, teachers push it in school and college, then in college or work, young women are taught to think only of themselves, chasing careers rather than love and family. As a result, many women resort to casual sex, spend long hours at work, and wake up in midlife realizing their lives are empty.  Other women marry, concentrate on their careers, and abandon their families with no-fault divorce, they write.

Nevertheless, Schlafly and Venker, who write in a scholarly but fluid, tough-love and maternal way, found that most women want to be married and even more want to have children.  "Heartache, broken relationships, failed marriages, sexually-transmitted diseases, abortion, and skyrocketing rates of emotionally wounded children have been the real legacy of feminism. It turns out – no surprise – that human nature cannot be repealed, overturned by judicial fiat, or reshaped by media messages," said Schlafly.

For these authors, the wreckage of feminism isn't just some study. Like many American men, it seems Venker's first husband had taken feminism to heart. "In our chapter on marriage, and in the last chapter with our roadmap, I talk about how geography is an issue for women today," said Venker. "Because so many women go away to school and get degrees so far away from home, their chances of meeting someone from out of state and then staying away are great. It's making motherhood stressful because mothers don't have support and help from their own moms. That's what happened in my case.

"We were living in New York and I wanted to come back to St. Louis, but my husband was a New Yorker and I just couldn't get him to do that," she said. "When I explained to him that family, specifically motherhood, was going to be the focus of my life and I wanted to be near my family, it just didn't work with him because he had absorbed feminist ideology: He was fine with abortion, casual sex and then he wasn't willing to move so that we could have family at the center of our lives."

Heartache isn't the only expense of feminism. Schlafly stressed that because of broken families, especially single mothers, 40 percent of Americans now depend on government for all or part of their living expenses, and that cost to taxpayers is about $1 trillion per year.  Considering today's turbulent times and tea party activism, one of the best parts of "Flipside" tells how and why the Equal Rights Amendment failed.

Yes, years after Betty Freidan told Phyllis Schlafly, "I'd like to burn you at the stake," left-wing tactics are just as ugly and violent today.  While Venker said that "feminism has sabotaged women's happiness," she wrote the book because she believes it's never too late for women and men to change.

"It's my hope that people get charged – a renewed hopefulness – from having someone open up the door to a completely different way of viewing women in society, marriage, motherhood, work and sex and all things," said Venker. "I hope that women – and men – realize that the [natural] things they're thinking are good and they're tired of having to follow the path set forth by all the feminists they've known, maybe feminist mothers or feminist professors. I hope they use this book to chart a new course."
"The Flipside of Feminism," by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly will be available March 15.

Read more: Feminism's legacy: 'Heartache, STDs, abortion' http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=272353#ixzz1GSSv4Sk9

The Third Jihad: IslamBerg