Friday, September 23, 2011

Mental health day

Whiney kids with colds, multiple grey rainy days, and to top it all off a power outage this morning.  Yup, today is a mental health day. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Playlist songs

I keep saying that I am going to create a playlist/CD for my kids to listen to if anything should happen to me.  My father died when I was very young and his letters are so precious to me; so this idea of leaving something to lift my kids up if I was gone is close to my heart.  This song would definitely make the list!  I also really want Britt Nicole's headphones from this video.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dagny O'Hara

At first glance you might not see many similarities between the girly, man-obsessed Scarlett O’Hara, from Gone with the Wind, and the no-nonsense business woman Dagny Taggart of Atlas Shrugged.  Both books are incredibly long by modern day standards.  Despite the length of each book I think it would make an excellent study to compare the two. 
Today I wanted to put forward similarities between these two strong female leads.  There are some similarities that differ in the details; for example, both women love married men but both do not have affairs with them.  Dagny has a physical relationship with Henry Rearden.  Scarlett loves and pines after Ashley Wilkes.  The circumstances of each woman’s relationship with a married man are different but the consequent themes of love and marriage within each book become quite analogous.  That two characters can be so alike and yet so opposing is a testament to the core values that each book puts forward.
Both are:
  • Confident in their gifts/abilities.
  • Not afraid to do what it takes to get the job done.
  • Not typically beautiful but stunning anyway. 
  • High interest in making money.
  • Neither one is able to understand the men around her who can actually see reality and who truly understand her (Dagny-John Galt/Francisco d’Anconia, Scarlett-Rhett Butler).
  • Neither understands or agrees with the ruling class’s philosophy.
  • Are rebels.
  • Are seen as doing a man’s work (and doing it too well for a woman).
  • Don’t stay where society tries to make them stay.
  • Don’t find true love until the end of the story.
  • Are vocal about their views of the world.
  • Reject God and rely on self.
  • Are able to shrug off society’s disapproval (self-confidence).
  • More interested in work then children (reject the traditional female role).
  • Feel a connection to a certain part of land.
  • Measures success by productivity.
  • Has a funny name by today’s standards. J
  • Misunderstood by their sibling/s even though they are taking care of them.
  • Neither feels a need to hide their distaste with pretty speech, they say what they mean or don’t speak at all.
  • Have “impure” relations with married men who turn out not to be their true love.
  • Both their True Loves are just as outspoken and “anti-society” as they are.

Next week:  The themes of love and romance in both books.  Yes, there is romance in Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breaking the rules

Rules were made to be broken.  God made the law knowing we couldn’t keep it.  To be human is to sin, which means breaking the rules.  God expected this when he handed them down. The rules, or more to the point, our propensity to break them was designed to point us back to the fact that we can’t be good enough.  We can’t get to heaven on our own.  We need God, not just to give us grace when we sin but also to give us strength to obey.
            “Barriers alone can not suppress the heart,” said our pastor this Sunday.  Our heart is our best and worst asset.  We want to obey God; our hearts long to please Him.  But it is also our heart that betrays us when the desire to be distracted or entertained by the world is stronger than our desire to be right with God.  God already set limits, or barriers to sin, for us.  We set them for ourselves too.  “After this one time, I won’t do that anymore.”  “Just this once, it isn’t like I watch/listen/read this stuff all the time.”  We tell ourselves we are going on a diet (sometimes food and sometimes from media, electronics, etc) and right away temptation finds us.  Barriers alone can not suppress our hearts.
            I shouldn’t be surprised then that rules and limits are not enough to assure obedience from my daughters.  I have to continue to work on their hearts.  Character issues are frequently called heart issues, I like that.  It gets to the root of the problem.  What are ways you reach your daughters’ hearts? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gone with Atlas?

I just finished reading Gone with the Wind, and it gave me a lot to think about.  The strangest thought was to wonder if Ayn Rand ever read Gone with the Wind?  I need to think more about it but I will let you know more by next Friday. 
My first thought is that Gone with the Wind takes the Lord's name in vain at least 15-20 times.  That is enough for me to hesitate recommending it to young teens. 

Let you know more next Friday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Did you know?

This is a great video clip on the current culture and technology.  It gets very interesting in relation to how we parent at about 2:30 and 3:14 into the clip.  It is about 5 minutes long.

Can you imagine the amount of information that our daughters will be exposed to in the coming years?  Will they be prepared to process that information from a Godly perspective?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Twitter Grace

Have you become so use to certain words that they have lost their meaning?  I have noticed that I have a real aversion to using some decidedly churchy type words simply because they just don’t seem to carry any weight anymore.  I have become so desensitized to words like salvation, saved, born again, grace, Christians, sin, moral, and many others.  These poor words get thrown around left and right to the point where it gets hard to remember to take them seriously.  I can see why translations like The Message have found a niche in modern times as we struggle to reconnect with ideas that have become lost in a sea of misuse or over-use.  Christians can certainly talk the talk without walking the walk.

How do your daughters define these words?  How do we help them connect to the ideas that these important words represent?

Could you text salvation?
“God luvs u.  OMG[oodness] sinned again.  BTW He paid price 4 u 2 b rite w/Him.”

How do you twitter grace?
“So didn’t deserve it, but Big Guy came through 4 me again.Can’t believe He doesn’t hold it over my head when I sin big.So grateful 4 His luv.”

I am all for reaching out to our daughters in a language they can readily access and understand, but I hope we are still getting the message across.  I had an interesting battle of words with one of my girls yesterday.  I said she was worth the time and effort on my part to get things right; I won more of our “fights” because I worked hard to do right by her.  What she heard was me saying how great I was…hmm, nope, not what I meant.  So I asked her to look at it another way.  She is a treasure of gold to me and I don’t want to tarnish her or bend her into a shape that is not what God intended to be best for her.  She is worth so much that she deserves the best I have to offer.  I had to break her out of her pattern of thinking in order for her to hear what I truly said.

Sometimes I spell out a simple word and think that it couldn’t possibly be correct, but it is (usually).  It is the everyday stuff that we really should know and see that can become blurry and out of focus without us even realizing it.  It pays off big to check in with our daughters on what they understand about all the church-speak that gets thrown around in Sunday school or during the sermon.  Do they really get it?  I’ll be asking my kids this weekend what they think some of these words mean.  I would love to hear what faith-based words you think have lost their meanings.  Do your daughters have the same understanding of these words that you do?  Let me know in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Risking the Impossible

I love readingOne Thousand Gifts just to get a taste of the voice and tone that Ann uses.  Here is my own take on themes found in her writing.

            What do I risk?  What do I lay out, palms open and stretched forward?  Risk means love and that I care about the consequences of loss, hurt, and pain.  Risking means giving it up and being vulnerable.  Open and undefended.
            I risk very little.  I tuck a hope in my deepest pocket.  I stash a yearning in the farthest recesses of dusty closet corners.  I hold tight, arms crossed and bound around what I love.  It’s mine.  So I hoard it, never allowing anyone else to touch it.  I’m a petulant child who won’t share her toys. 
            God calls me to give.  He wants me palms out and up, arms thrown wide, face up lit.  He wants joy in my grateful smile of vulnerability.  He wants wild abandoned trust like a child from me.  I only tentatively allow Him a glimpse into my cupped hands before snapping them closed tight to my chest.
            I risk little.  I’ll do it.  “What do I do, Lord?  What do you want me to do, God?”  His simple answer, “Let it go.  Risk losing,” is ignored while I continue to plea for something I can do to make it better.  Make it all go away.
            I refuse the cool evening breeze for fear of mosquitoes buzzing and feeding.  Though his blood was shed for me.
            I look away from young sweet faces framed after my own and focus instead on a lifeless world of intangible.  Yet he gave up being God to become on of these for me.
            What do I risk compared to God?

            Release.  Let it go.  Surrender it.  Risk it all.  He can handle the responsibility so much better than I can.  Perhaps, like Satan I am jealous of God’s ability to do all things perfectly.  Well, perfectly for Him.   But I want it to revolve around me.  Perfect becomes relative, fluid, and flowing.  I know what’s best for me.  I know my own mind, don’t I?
            But I only know the present.  The past becomes cloudy and the future is a thick fog.  I only know my place, right here where I am standing with my hand on my hips and my hips cocked to one side.  I only see what’s in front of me, through my glass frames in the spectrum of visible light.  And it goes on. My hearing, touch, smell: all of it fragmented and weak in comparison.
            My idea of best is easy and sunny and warm and joyful, and, and.  My idea of best is limited.  I am confined by “possible.”  Limited by human fault and discord.  If only I could remember that I risk so much more by holding on to my life.  Who am I and what am I capable of that I would risk not giving it all to Him who loves me more than I love myself?
            Why do I drown out His loving offers with a steady, “mine, mine, mine”?  I can claim my fragile human faults or I can embrace them.  One makes excuses then keeps on doing what I was doing before.  The other, embracing…oh, that means dropping everything I have clung to and harbored.  I have to let it all fall in order to open my arms wide and instead hold tightly to my Savior.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fantasy Fiction

     I happen to be a Fantasy Fiction buff, and it seems that I have passed this on to at least one of my children.  My youngest will sit relatively still for an hour if I read any Sherlock Holmes aloud.  I don’t think he gets it all because I read the original text, but we found his fiction niche.  It’s nice that I can enjoy the book too.  I don’t mind Babar or George or Madeline; but I appreciate getting to read something with words I occasionally have to look up. 
            It can be difficult to find Fantasy books that do not conflict with Christian values.  C.S. Lewis and Tolkien are two masters of creating a world with different laws of nature and reality yet still operating within a framework of God’s sovereign existence.  There are some modern day authors who have done a great job of this also. 

Madeleine L’Engle:  Ok, so she’s a contemporary of Lewis and Tolkien.  But I can’t tell you how often I mention this amazing woman to be met with, “I completely forgot about her!”  Her Wrinkle in Time series can get a bit emotionally and spiritually dark in places.  The science of worm-holes and travel around the universe could possibly make a young reader’s head spin, but she is absolutely a must read if you have a daughter who likes science!  The only book of hers that I offer up with a caution is Many Waters; intimate relationships and hormonal chemistry might be better left for older audiences.

Chuck Black:  The Kingdom Series is a great read and the bonus is that the series parallels the Bible from Genesis through to Revelation.  My biggest complaint with Black is that he only has one book featuring a female lead, Lady Carliss.  The books are probably written for boys, but I know plenty of girls who have enjoyed his strong female characters throughout the books.

R.K. Mortenson:  While The Landon Snow series is probably my least favorite that I am listing today, it is my eldest’s favorite.  The characters are quirky and very off-the-wall.  The books are an easy read and can be found at our local library.  Each book uses character lessons to bring main character Landon closer in his relationship with the “Auctor.”

Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry:  The Wormling series is my favorite on this list.  The authors manage to create a character who grows from boyhood into adulthood, with plenty of conflict that doesn’t hinge on the usual teenage angst.  The Biblical parallels are pretty obvious but very well written.

G.P. Taylor: The Dopple Ganger Chronicles is a graphic novel series up to three books now.  All my kids love them.  These beautiful books center around identical twin girls and their side-kick friend.  The girls are real trouble-makers but also have good hearts.  Some people might not like that angels (some female) appear to the girls to deliver the spiritual morals in a ghost-like form. 

The Miller Brothers:  When I first starting The Codebreaker series featuring Hunter Brown I was not impressed, but the ending really redeemed what worried me.  My original thought was that the authors were glorifying the main character’s typical teenage attitude and behaviors.  In the end of the first book though, there is a very nice twist that shows Hunter the problems with the path he has been walking.  This series is not finished yet either, but my daughter is so excited with each new one that comes out.

Christopher Paolini:  The final book of the Eragon series will be out this November!  The eldest and I are very excited to read it.  In fact, I think that she has re-read the series as it stands more than she has re-read any other book.  Hmm, maybe this one is her favorite?  Words have power in these books; magical power if that is a problem for you.  The question of a Higher Power is raised in the books by some of the characters, and the origins of these words of power are discussed but no real answers are offered up as truth by the author.  This series would be good for a child that enjoys discussing such things with you. 

I also recommend the websites:

Next week we can look at some classic books that definitely don’t take place in our world.  What genre of fiction do you enjoy and does your daughter enjoy the same?  Let me know in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spiritual Conditions

The ladies in my wonderful bible study/book club have come up with some very funny ways of looking at our human behaviors.  We all admit to having Spiritual Alzheimer’s, but the rest are my own creation (not to be confused with an admittance of guilt by any other parties).  What spiritual conditions do you have?  Leave me your ideas in the comments section.

I have spiritual Alzheimer’s.  I read my Bible or a great and uplifting book about my walk with God.  Then I put the book down and switch the laundry over, stop the kids from fighting, cook dinner, make the kids share, maybe get some writing done, and…completely forget the wonderful and energizing lesson I had just learned and was so excited about.  In fact, I probably won’t remember anything more about it until I pick up the book the next time, and by then I will feel so bad about forgetting that I might even avoid reading the book again for a while.

I am spiritually deaf.  I pray and pray for God to just tell me what to do about any given situation.  I’m sure He is right there beside me, calmly repeating Himself yet again.  Yet I feel unheard and unanswered.

I am spiritually menopausal.  I go from lukewarm in my faith to red hot in an instant, just to cool off once the mood changes.  Don’t even get me started on my irregular commitment to reading my Bible or praying.

I am spiritual anemic.  I get too busy to read my Bible or even pray.  I am tired and worn out from my lack of connection to God.  Something in me is missing, something that only God can provide.

I am spiritually lice infested.  From a distance, all appears normal.  I look and sound just fine.  But if you get out the magnifying glass you can see the worries and doubts just crawling around in my mind.  Watch me long enough and you will see me twitch and repeated scratch the itch of those doubts.

I am spiritually malnourished.  Ok, so that music wasn’t very “Christian.”  And perhaps, the book I just read was kind of romanticizing some very non-Christ-like behaviors.  These things were filling at the time, but my spirit is withering in cultural-junk-food.

I have spiritual heartburn.  I read that passage about not frustrating my children.  The more I digest it the more my heart aches with conviction.  Honor my husband?  No idols?  I need a Tums!

Friday, August 19, 2011


For those of you who don’t know, I am in the process of writing a book with the same title and topic of this blog.  In fact, the blog came about because of the book.  I was able to get away to a writing retreat this week at The Convent.  It has been such a great week!  I got 21 pages done which covers roughly the first four chapters.  I realize those are some short chapters but it was good just to get that bare bones down on paper, now I get to start fleshing it out.  Because I am so excited it is hard not to start posting excerpts from what I have to the blog.  But I have been reading all over the place that this is not a smart thing to do, so I’ll have to stick to bribing friends to read it over for me. J

I’ve been learning a lot about platforms, blogging, and publishing lately.  If you are a writer mom like me, here are some of my favorite agent/writer blogs:

If you are interested in social media and all the various uses and/or programs, even if you aren’t a writer, you will probably like these blogs.

I am heading home today so this post is short.  I do want to make a shameless plea for you to become either a follower in the column on the right à or to sign up for email alerts when I post something new ß over here on the left.  I really appreciate you taking the time to read here and to comment.  Thank you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I had to post this. It is so funny and so true. I love it when someone can convict me and make me laugh at the same time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sophia Wisdom

God the Father, Jesus the Bridegroom, and Holy Spirit the… role model for mothers? 
The Holy Spirit is described in the Bible as an Advocate, comforter in suffering, encourager, witness, teacher, and God’s gift to believers.  The Holy Spirit is closely associated with words, both written and spoken.  The Holy Spirit is among us and in us.  We are a temple filled with the Holy Spirit if we obey God.  You can speak against many things, but it is not forgiven if you speak against the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:10, Matt. 12:32, Mark 3:29, Acts 5:3).  Though the Holy Spirit is often used when talking about baptism, it would seem that it is also present when people hear the gospel and believe (Acts 10:44, 11:15) or when men of faith pray over believers (Acts 8: 15-17, 8:19, 19:6). 
How does any of that equate to being a role model for moms?  Sure we could go the way of the High School English paper and say something poetic about birth and water being feminine attributes.  I would like to shy away from that though because as cool as that might sound it really doesn’t help us in our daily struggle to parent. 
God has the sometimes annoying habit of being perfect.  He doesn’t say anything He doesn’t mean and He doesn’t mince words.  God gives us a clear picture of Himself as triune.  He is the Father and the bridge-groom, that much is not really up for debate.  But what to do with the Holy Spirit?  The Holy Spirit has several very feminine qualities.  “She” likes to: talk, listen, comfort, fill us with love, and bring hope.  The Holy Spirit is a nurturer who excels in interpreting the prayers we can only groan b/c we can’t find the words ourselves.  Every time the Bible says the Spirit testifies I have this image of a strong southern woman belting out, “Preach it honey, cause you know I saw it,” with her hand raised up in the air. 
There are a number of lessons we can learn from this Advocate.  I want to look at one of those today.  The Holy Spirit comes as a gift from God.  Those who are “filled with the spirit” are directly plugged in (as much as a human can be) to the Truth and Love of God.  Those are some mighty big shoes to fill.  As mothers we are the nurturers; relationships are important to us.  Connections matter and we cultivate them.  We want our daughters to get along with their siblings, their father, and especially with us.  We also need to nurture our daughters’ relationships with God, her Father in Heaven, and Jesus, her future groom.  Do we fill our daughters with a sense of dread in their obligations to religious rules and doctrine?  Or do we help “the God of hope fill [our daughters] with all joy and peace as [they] trust in him, so that [they] may overflow with hope by the power of the [our example and teaching].”

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.      Luke 10:21

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.      Romans 5:5

Friday, August 12, 2011

just a touch of Fahrenheit 451

I had a very vivid nightmare the other night.  The plot of the dream was strikingly similar to that of the Hunger Games, but it involved my own children. 
I have to admit that I really do not care for the Hunger Games Trilogy.  All this time, I have tried so hard not to be biased against the books.  Many people liked the series and I wanted to give them a chance.  In truth, I can’t wait to have them out of my house. 
Not many books can affect me enough to give me nightmares.  I use to have reoccurring nightmares as a child.  If I wrote them out I could put Stephen King out of business.  So I consider myself pretty tough in the nightmare department.  This particular dream had me in tears.  Needless to say, I have decided that I need to officially let go of the books and stop writing about them.  
I am looking for a new series of books to begin writing about and I am open to suggestions.  Though I would appreciate no suggestions that involve children sacrificing themselves for each other or for the sport of others. 

For those of you who were so anxious for me to write about this series, I am very sorry. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Modern Day Proverbs

Benjamin Franklin probably had the book of Proverbs in mind when he added his “wit and wisdom” to Poor Richard’s Almanac.  Today these “sound bytes” of wisdom are just as well known, if not more so, than the book of the Bible they appear to mimic.  What have you heard lately that you would compile into a modern day book of Proverbs?  Here are some of my favorites (paraphrased and from various sources):

  • Stop trying to be good enough on your own power.  Don’t say, “I will try harder, I will…”  A tree doesn’t try harder to make fruit.  Be obsessed with Jesus and you will become more like him.  –Dr. Mark Brown
  • Be motivated by Love not by the Law.  Live with joy and freedom enough to make dour Christians question your salvation.  –Dr. Mark Brown
  • Who is the first person you turn to at times of trouble?  Who is your shepherd?  Who is in control of your life?
  • God can use the daily grind of life to shape us for him.
  • God is so big that to grasp Him we have to see Him in three parts.
  • I take my humanness with me where ever I go so how can I ever be at peace with things or places if I am not at peace with God?
  • Actions sometimes need to precede emotions.  We might need to go through the motions of something and eventually the feelings will follow.  If we always wait for the feelings first we might never do the right thing (i.e. forgive, show love, show respect).
  • If I focus on my children’s behavior instead of their hearts or if I “lord” over them with rules, then I teach them about power not humility.

What are some of the gems you have heard or collected over the years?

Friday, August 5, 2011

If Wisdom be the Food of Love...

Our world doesn’t usually equate love with wisdom.  Love makes us fools.  But a lot of that has to do with the fact that our world defines love based on feelings and emotions; not commitments or choices.  The world would have you believe that we don’t choose to fall in love.  We have no say in who we are attracted to and why; it is a chemical mystery.  I don’t agree.

Love doesn’t start with emotions.  Love starts with a choice.  I am madly, head-over-heels in love with my children.  Unconditional love.  And I chose it.  I chose them when I became pregnant and when I carried them in my womb until they were ready to be born.  I truly love my husband.  The night we met I thought he had a great smile (still does) and he could dance, but those things didn’t create an irresistible emotion that I couldn’t fight.  I choose to commit myself to him for a number of reasons, and I am very glad I did.

Wisdom and love go extremely well together.  Wisdom gives us perspective in love.  It helps us to see the choices and to love well.  I can love someone poorly.  Enmeshment, co-dependence, promiscuity, abusive relationships.  All these are examples of love without wisdom.  God is all loving.  God is all knowing. (He is all powerful too, but that is another post on another day.) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (I John 4:7-9).  God is holy, righteous, merciful, … and love.
In the Bible, you can find plenty of examples of wise and unwise ways to love.  For practicality let’s stick with the examples of God’s love for us. 
Because God loves us:
  • He disciples us (Proverbs 3:11-12 if you don’t believe disciple comes from love)
  • He protects us
  • He allows us free will
  • He sacrifices for us
  • He forgives and has mercy on us through Christ
Love makes us into fools?  Well, the world was told that the wisdom of God would seem foolish to those who chose not to believe.  God is love.  I chose God.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7-9

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
Matthew 22:36-38

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mastermind Yaya

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.                   Philippians 4:8

            The Bible is pretty clear that we are to distance ourselves from sin while at the same time draw nearer to God.  These days, I feel like I would have to drag my family off to live in a cave in some remote corner of the world in order to escape worldly influences.  Even then I would probably get some salesman on my door trying to sign me up for their cable/internet package.   Steering clear of sin is hard.  And that isn’t even taking into account the weakness of my own flesh and desires; greed, jealousy, anger, etc. 
            But the Bible offers hope too.  We are not without our weapons (Eph. 6:13-17).  We are not fighting alone (Luke 11:13).  We do not have to listen to what the world says either.  Philippians 4:8 can be applied to many areas of our life, but let’s take a look at what it has to offer when it comes to our menstrual cycle. 
            I heard a statistic some time ago (and I can not for the life of me remember where) that found that young girls who were raised to call their private parts by “silly” or nonsensical names, as opposed to their proper names, were more likely to be abused or taken advantage of sexually.  They theorized that the use of nonsensical names carried with it the idea of a joke or something funny.  After all, it’s so cute when little kids say “yaya” or “woohoo.”  The purpose of jokes is to share them and make others laugh.  The girls who grew up hearing and using the proper names for their private parts did not view them as funny or something to be shared; therefore it was reasoned, they were less likely to feel comfortable with situations or people that treated their bodies in this regard.  If they felt uncomfortable they were more likely to tell a trusted adult or simply walk away very early on.  What does this have to do with Philippians 4:8?  Well, how do you talk about your feminine nature, menstrual cycle, and God-created body?
            God calls us to master our thoughts, something MbHD does a wonderful job of addressing.  Many of us grown women did not receive a comprehensive education on our reproductive organs.  We know the basics.  We know that hormones are involved and the names of most of the organs involved.  Human beings have a tendency to fear or make fun of what we don’t understand.  If we don’t know the names for individual parts of our body, or we fear saying them in public, we might make up nonsensical names for them.  But if we continue on that path of ignorance/fear then we will quickly buy into the idea that our feminine nature, and body, is a curse.  It is a very short step from being cursed to being the victim. 
            Satan would love for us to see ourselves as victims of God’s cruel creation.  We are cursed with femininity.  It breaks my heart just to type those sentences.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139: 14).  We are blessed with these bodies.  We are blessed in our femininity.  True, there will be pain and suffering in life and that includes our menstrual cycle (some of us more than others).  But if we see ourselves as being cursed then we miss out on these opportunities to draw closer to God.  We miss out on seeing His strength in our weakness.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blood and Guts

            “Just the facts, ma’am.”  What do our daughters need to hear from us about their menstrual cycle?  Simple facts of chemistry and biology, yes.  Well, what does the world tell our daughters about their maturing body?  If you simply Google you will find lots of cold hard fact mixed with all the “what-if’s,” pain relief options, and possible complications.  You won’t find anything that ties a woman’s femininity to her cycle.  Only women get periods yet there is this glaring omission in the information that is presented. 
One of the key reasons for this omission is that God is left out of the discussion.  God created our bodies and He created this process.  He didn’t create the menstrual cycle to frustrate us or hinder us (from swimming, wearing white pants, etc.).  God created this intricate process as a fundamental part of what makes us different from men; our femininity.  Women, not men, have babies.  God created our menstrual cycle for a purpose, to conceive and bear children.  “Be fruitful and multiply..” 
This is a blessing!  We get to take part with God in creating new life.  Even Christ had an earthly mother.  Our menstrual cycles are not a curse we are forced to endure.  You don’t have to have a lengthily discussion on the birds-and-bees to share with your daughter the blessings that her womb was designed for.  One of the things I really liked about the MbHD curriculum was the video that talked about how detailed God was in creating the process of conception that goes on within just the woman’s body. 
Our daughters need to hear from us that blood is not gross.  Ok, that one might take some work for some of us.  Try looking up all references to blood in the Bible.  Blood is cleansing.  We were bought out of slavery by the blood of Christ.  Blood is life. How do you react to blood around your daughter?  Fearful and squeamish over gushing head wounds?  Yea, me too.  But when it comes to the slow and gentle welling of blood in a deep scrap it might help if we take the time to explain that blood is cleaning the wound and delivering all kinds of good stuff to the troubled area.  We have been conditioned to see blood as gross and a sign of danger.  Our daughters will not learn any different if we do not lead the way.
One of the topics that all the moms in my class commented on was how often options they had never thought of before were discussed; like cloth pads, Keepers, Cups, and sponges.  We discussed the roles of proper nutrition and simple herbs like red raspberry leaf tea.  We also discussed charting.  Everyone, mom and daughter, walked out of class knowing how to chart their cycle.  This might seem like something only those trying to conceive might be interested in, but there is more value to it then just that.  There are some very handy apps these days for charting and predicting when your next period will start, but they are computer programs that are capable of error just like humans.  If you have a good understanding of the phases of your cycle and can chart them out, you can plan not just for when your period will start but also when to consume more iron, water, or that tea we talked about.  I admit, I like tea.

Next week: The Fear-Curse-Victim approach

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Many women remember their first period.  I know, I’ve asked a lot of them.  Mind you, I don’t ask complete strangers…at least I don’t accost people in dressing rooms or on the bus.  Many women were able to tell me how old they were and what they were doing that day.  Some stories are traumatic, “I thought I was dying,” and some are blasé, “I knew what was going on and it wasn’t a big deal.”  I fall somewhere in the middle; it was memorable but not a big deal. 

However, it wasn’t long before I started to feel like my period was more of a curse than a blessing; cramps, pads vs. tampons, no white pants, etc.  The word “coverage” no longer had anything to do with sports.  There was no one factor that lead me down the Cursed path; life, education (or lack of anything but one point of view), and the attitudes of those around me all had an impact.  I continued down that path until just a couple years ago.

            My eldest daughter was coming to an age that made me realize I had to figure out how to describe body changes…even the reason for them. *sigh* Well, the latter part of that is a discussion for another day.  For today we will stick with maturing bodies. 

            I wanted a curriculum set because I am not really into reinventing the wheel if I don’t have to.   It took some looking around, some curriculums try to tackle too much and others just cover one particular aspect.  The information had to be Bible-based.  There are some good resources put out by American Girl, but they were too big on self-esteem and not big enough on a body created by God for a purpose.  Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel…(no, I’m not getting paid for this) I found what I was looking for; all the body changes with none of the, ahem, more mature topics.

            A group class was definitely a plus for this topic.  Perhaps I was lucky but we had a wonderful range of ethnicities, ages, and family traditions.  I confess that I tweaked just the tiniest bit at the curriculum.  If you ever watch me cook, I just can not leave a recipe well enough alone.  We had a ball!  And best of all, the girls were excited to some day get their period.  It is the solemn truth that every mom in that class came up to me at some point to say how much they were enjoying the material and shared something new they had learned from the class.  We scrapbooked about the uterus.  Can you get more girlie than that?

            What I really appreciated, as the teacher, was that each girl sat next to her mom.  If a young girl had a question she was encouraged to ask her mom first and then they could both ask me if mom decided it was ok.  This way some of the silly or simple questions got screened by mom and the girls got into the habit of asking their mom instead of an “expert.” 

            Another great aspect was the conversations the moms had while the daughters were listening. There were several opportunities to share stories about our first periods, shaving, buying our first bra, and other coming of age stuff.  My daughter got to hear other moms give tips and advice instead of the “mom lecture” that our daughters can smell coming from a mile away and just makes everyone feel uncomfortable.  There were certainly lots of reminders to the girls that information shared in the class was only to be talked about with other members of the class, and preferably with mom first.

            While the birds and the bees were not discussed we did watch a video that talked about the intricate details that all have to click into place within her body in order for conception to occur.  The goal wasn’t to inform the girls how pregnancy occurs so much as it was to convey why they had a menstrual cycle and how absolutely detailed and complicated God was in designing their bodies. I did check with the moms before showing the video to make sure all were comfortable with the potential questions they might get asked at home.  They all agreed and I think the moms actually got more out of the video then the girls did.

            We set up the class to run for four Thursday evenings in a row.  There was a sign up for snacks.  We had a menstrual party.  Too bad I couldn’t have had it in a red tent.

Next week, what do our daughters need to hear from us about their menstrual cycle?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tuitty Fruitty


            The fruits of the Spirit have nothing to do with apples, peaches, or even tomatoes (yes, they are a fruit).  The above list from Paul, in Galatians 5:22, is made to contrast our preference for our human desires; which Paul lists as the “acts of the flesh,” (Galatians 5:19).  The evidence of good fruits in our lives is supposed to be a confirmation of our appreciation of Christ’s sacrifice for us.  Human beings can not read each others’ minds.  We have to rely on some outward actions and attitudes to understand where a person’s heart is at.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance [says John the Baptist].    Matthew 3:8

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.    Matthew 7:16-20

            So if we are to be recognized by our fruit, I thought it would be appropriate to see what fruit I could find some of the fiction I have been going through on the blog.  Since I have been avoiding writing about The Hunger Games series I should start with that one first.  I’ll give you my take on the first four this week.  Please feel free to leave comments disagreeing with me.  I would love to hear if you see more to this story than I do!

            Lots of unrequited love in this series, as well as, doomed lovers who are pulled apart or killed.  But this is a dystopia novel, there is bond to be more hurt, anger, and sadness than love.  Does love win out in the end?  Are there any good role models for Love?  Peeta could be argued as a good role model for Love, but even he is twisted and broken in this department by the last book.

Ok, dystopia novel…joy is pretty slim here too.  Most joyful situations are bittersweet; such as when Peeta and Katniss try to honor Rue’s district and it only ends up getting many people in the district killed. 

            Peace-makers are nonexistent is a story whose plot is driven by fighting.  We don’t even know if Katniss’s final act of violence produced a government of peace.

            As far as a “peace that passes all understanding” there is a lot of waiting, a sort of hunter’s patience, if you will.  Peeta demonstrates patience in his love for Katniss.  Haymitch shows patience in his strategy. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When does Aunt Flo visit?

Menstrual cycle, there I said it.  Period.  Aunt Flo.  “That time of the month.”  The Curse.  How, when, and where do you discuss this with your darling little girl?  If you wait too long she could hear about it from friends or worse yet, start her menstrual cycle and think something is seriously wrong.  But you don’t want to jump the gun and give her the information so soon that she can’t really understand it or appreciate what you are sharing with her. 

The average age for a young lady to begin her period has been decreasing over time; it seems to be anywhere between 11-14 at this point.  Body mass and heredity can both effect when our daughters get their first period.  Our pediatrician shared with us that when a girl gets breast buds, the clock starts ticking for her first menstrual cycle to appear; within 18 months.  Even before breast buds your daughter might need to start using deodorant when she is active, or not, if you prefer eau de armpit in scaring the boys away.

While it might be awfully tempting to leave this lovely life lesson until the last minute, please think about what this communicates to your daughter. 
  • Menstrual Cycles are shameful (because we don’t talk about them unless we have to and only in whispers when we do.)
  • Your body is broken/gross (because you have “shameful” menstrual cycles.)
  • The time of your menstrual cycle typically called your “period” is not positive or feminine (because we hide it even from other women if we can and only talk about it negatively when we do share about it.)
  • You have no control of this negative process (therefore I had nothing to educate you about concerning it) so just grab a pad/tampon, a Midol, and wait it out.

Obviously, I don’t believe these things to be true or I wouldn’t be writing about it.  So I want to encourage you to check out Maidens by His Design (MbHD).  I loved this curriculum and have even taught it as a group class once.  I wanted to give you a chance to look up this resource before talking more about educating our daughters on this topic next week.  We did use the Passport to Purity curriculum, but we used it after going through MbHD.  Take a look.  Share what you used with your daughters, if you dare [insert evil laugh here], because we need to talk about this together in order to undo the negative influences that we have been bombarded with over the years.