Friday, January 30, 2009

Food on Fridays: Pineapple Perfection

Pineapples are one of my favorite fruits! We can get them fresh and ripe all year 'round; they are shipped here from the coast.

We usually eat it fresh, but we also put it on homemade pizza, or in smoothies. During the colder months here in Guatemala, the locals make a delicious hot punch from pineapple! The "cold season" is a good time to do that, and here is why:

Besides being packed with vitamin C, pineapples also contain bromelain, which is known to relieve coughs and loosen mucus. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help relieve arthritis, gout and other inflammatory ailments. Pretty great!

One of the lesser-known benefits of pineapple is that it helps relieve nausea. Yes, even nausea caused by pregnancy. (Try it, next time you have opportunity ;o) It is also good for preventing motion- and air-sickness.

You can benefit the most from these properties of the pineapple by eating the fresh fruit or drinking fresh juice. (It loses a lot of it nutritional value in the canning process.)

...Just another wonderful fruit God made!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is Modesty? Part III

Modesty in Apparel: Does it really matter to God what I wear?

There are all sorts of groups and sects out there who have many different ideas of what modest apparel is. And some dismiss the issue altogether, quoting the passage in I Samuel that says, "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." But those who believe that God does not care about how we cover our bodies have apparently not considered what the rest of the Bible has to say on the subject. (There will be more about that in the next post.)

Today, I hope to consider why it matters what Christian women wear. Have you ever seen students in a private school dressed in uniforms? Or identified a policeman or military officer simply by what he was wearing? If you are lost in a hospital, who can you approach in the hallway to ask directions to the right ward? The ones who identify themselves as employees by their uniforms, of course.

The clothing that a person wears is very telling; in fact, it speaks long before that person ever opens the mouth. If I see a guy wearing a jersey, helmet and football pads, no one has to tell me that he is a football player. His clothes say it for him.

Likewise, a Christian's attire should identify him or her as a Christian, a follower of Christ. When a stranger looks at me, there should be no doubt in their mind that I am not a woman of the world. I am not saying that Christian ladies should literally wear uniforms, but that we should wear what is becoming of a Christian lady.

A Christian woman who wears clothing that identifies her as worldly is wearing the uniform of the enemy. Have you read James 4:4? "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

God expects us to look and act differently than the world at large. II Corinthians 6:

14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

God wants us to be distinctly different, so that we will be light in a dark world. How can our light shine, if we look just like the ungodly?

It is true that clothing does not tell what is in the heart, but the fact is that man does look on the outward appearance. And that is why it matters.

(Read Part IV HERE.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

What is Modesty? Part II

Modesty is an attitude.

I Timothy 2:9-10 "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."

Today's society encourages women to be bold, brazen, and self-confident. I remember years ago seeing teen magazine articles that actually explained how to be a flirt! That is the opposite of how a lady should be.

Modest dress must go hand-in-hand with a modest attitude, which the above scripture calls shamefacedness and sobriety.

Shamefaced means bashful or blushing. A true lady has a sense of propriety that keeps her from gazing into the eyes of a man who is not her husband, or from carrying herself in a way that draws attention. She is mindful of how she sits and stands, and is careful not to incite the curiosities or desires of men. Her attitude is shamefacedness, not boldness.

Sobriety means calmness, coolness. I know a pastor's wife whose face is the picture of sobriety: her expression is habitually sweet, and her serenity influences everyone around her. She does not get ruffled when things do not go the way she planned. She is never boisterous and loud, but carries herself with an attitude of sobriety.

An attitude of modesty is so important! A woman may try to make an outward show of modesty, but if the attitude of her heart is not modest, it will certainly show. Here is how God sees it:

"As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion." Proverbs 11:22

Let us examine our hearts before we examine our wardrobes. Do we enjoy drawing attention to ourselves? Is our attitude modest?

(Read Part III HERE.)

This is a beautiful sight... a homeschool mom.

Johanna is four and a half years old, just about ready to start school, and she loves books (just like her big sisters). She will sit down with her younger brothers and "read" books to them, partly reciting from memory what the book says, and partly drawing the story from the pictures.

Children have a natural enthusiasm for learning! I think the key to real education is to encourage that natural enthusiasm, and not squelch it with rigid, textbook education (unless the child likes to learn that way).

I'm trying to discern what each of my children need, and how to balance order with spontaneous learning. I would love to hear your ideas, and any good books you know of on that subject. How do you encourage the love for learning in your children, so that they don't lose it as they get older?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Why Can't I Change??"

Have you ever struggled with a particular sin, a bad habit, and found yourself unable to make a change? I think most everyone has, and it is no wonder...

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23)

The fact is that we cannot make permanent changes for the better, of our own power.

"...There is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalm 53:5)

The root of the problem is a natural tendency to do wrong. Every son of Adam and daughter of Eve has it...

"Behold I was shapen in iniquity..." (Psalm 51:5)
"All we like sheep have gone astray." (Isaiah 53:6)

The GOOD NEWS is that God is not willing to leave us defeated in our sins! All the way back in the Garden of Eden He promised to send Messiah (Genesis 3:15), the Redeemer who would proclaim liberty to the captives of sin, and heal us, and restore our broken relationship to God!

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives...To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD..." (Isaiah 61:1-2)

Jesus Christ is Messiah, sent by God. He became the Lamb of God, sacrificed on our behalf so that we might go free (like Abraham's son Isaac!). He received the punishment that we deserve for our sin.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

God promised to send a Redeemer, and his promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ! But we must approach God on his terms, and not on our own terms.

"Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8)
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12

Jesus Christ is the only way to approach God the Father; the blood He shed is what can cleanse us of our sins and set us free from that bondage. Only Jesus can bridge the huge gap that sin puts between you and God.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

Jesus demonstrated his power over sin by his impeccable life (Luke 23:4); his power over selfishness by his self-sacrificial death (John 10:15); his power over death by his resurrection! (John 10:17-18)

Through Jesus Christ you can become a new creature! Can a leopard change his spots? Can a sinner be made clean?

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

Pray to God in Heaven, confessing your sins to him. Claim the blood Jesus shed on your behalf, and he will wash you clean!

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Food on Fridays

Today's food post is not nearly as healthy as the above button implies. HA! No sir, today we are talking sweets.

The girls and I recently made Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies using this RECIPE.

I didn't get a photo of the finished product, which had a glazey chocolate frosting on top, but you get the idea. They were irresistably delicious, and also pretty and would make a special little gift for my Sweetie for Valentine's Day. Oh, hey! That's coming up. :o)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is Modesty? Part I

As I look around on the internet, I see that modesty seems to be the new fad -- what's "hot". (These photos are from just one site, Modbe, which claims to make "modest clothing for Christian women, kids and pre-teens.")

And I laugh to myself, because wearing what's "hot" seems to go against the very essence of what modesty is. First century Christians would be shocked to see fashions like these.

This is a painting from the Catacombs, where first century Christians hid themselves from persecution. How did Christian women cover their bodies back then?

So what is modesty, really? Is it just covering the body from "here" to "there"? Here is what the word "modest" means, according to Webster's dictionary (1828):

modest, a. 1. Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful. 2. Not bold or forward; as a modest maid. 3. Not loose; not lewd. 4. Moderate; not excessive or extreme; not extravagant.

Now in light of these definitions, this scripture takes on new dimensions for me:

I Timothy 2:9-10 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

I would like to open a discussion about Biblical modesty here, hoping that many of you readers will feel free to comment. I want to take an honest look at how God truly expects modern women to dress, and what He does not expect.

Are you ready to grow? I know I am!

(Read Part II HERE.)

Sanctity of Human Life Week

Sanctity of Human Life Week (January 18 - 25)

This week is also the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the court decision that brought a huge, bloody blot on our country's history. Rita over at Jungle Hut has a very good post written from the perspective of her unforgettable experience. Go check it out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Food on Fridays

Food on Fridays is hosted over at Ann Kroeker's blog, which I really enjoy reading. Join us each Friday as we discuss something we really like: FOOD. :o)

My long search for a source of raw honey ended this week!

A while back, a girl came to my door, offering honey for sale. I bought some, partly to be friendly with the neighbors, and partly to see if she would help me get to her source so I could have some of the raw stuff.

It turns out that her papa is the beekeeper, and while he usually heats all of the honey (to make it clear and easier to pour), he was happy to save me some raw honey. I bought half a gallon for Q60. (That's about $8. Not bad!)

I told her she could come by about once a month, and she would have a regular customer. She said she would bring us some honeycomb next time, too.


In case you are wondering what is so great about raw honey, here are a few facts:

* Raw honey is an excellent source of energy, and has a milder effect on blood sugar levels than cane sugar.

* Raw honey contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and amino acids. It also contains enzymes which aid digestion.

* It's antimicrobial properties make it great for sore throats and stomach ailments. (Try stirring a tbsp raw honey and a tbsp apple cider vinegar into a cup of warm water.) You can even dress wounds with honey, and it will reduce scarring.

* Unlike cane sugar, raw honey is an alkaline food, and contributes to the body's proper acid/alkaline balance. (I posted more about that HERE.)

"Eat thou honey, because it is good..."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Does this ever happen at your church?...

Last night during the church meeting in La Esperanza we had a stranger come in during the singing. He asked our pardon for interrupting, but said he and his wife (and their two little ones with them) needed some assistance.

He said that they had been pulled over in Alaska (about two hours' drive from us), and their truck was stolen. They had hitched rides this far, he said, and still needed to get to San Marcos, which is another hour down the road.

My husband talked with him about that for a minute, and then proceeded to share the gospel with him. He listened intently, and Daniel did his best to show the man that his need for Jesus was greater than any other need. The man said he wanted to be saved, but his wife didn't.

Well, my husband offered to drive his family to San Marcos, and the man refused. There were also some inconsistencies with his story and what his wife said while I chatted with her. So we were pretty sure the story was completely fabricated.

So, do you think we gave the couple some money, or not? What would you have done?


Actually, we did give them some money. We didn't have much, but what we gave them would have paid their bus fare to San Marcos. Call us fools, but we just can't get around, "Give to him that asketh thee." And who knows if there really was a need, even if the story was fabricated? Only the Lord knows, and it's in His hands.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A new schedule

That word schedule is used loosely here, mind you. Plan sounds more flexible, doesn't it? In my quest to balance the responsibilities of housekeeping, childrearing, and homeschooling, I've tried a few things, including

I chose to unsubscribe from Flylady after a year, but I've come away with some good ideas: Shine your sink each night (the clean tends to spread to the rest of the kitchen). Babysteps (breaking monumental tasks into more manageable, bite-sized pieces). Clutter can't be organized, it can only be thrown out. Routines. (This is great for cleaning, but is necessary for school.) I'm now working these ideas into a family schedule that works for us.

Flylady divides the house into zones, and you work in one zone all week. I like the zones, but need to work in each of them every week. So here's the rundown:

Monday: Livingroom & floors (Because this is the first thing you see when you walk into my house, and it's typically a bit disastrous after the weekend and no housework done on the Lord's Day.)

Tuesday: Master bedroom (If I don't make it a zone, it might get neglected. Sad, but true.)

Wednesday: Sewing/Music room (Creativity all over this place. Enough said.)

Thursday: Bathrooms & floors (These get attention every day, but get a more thorough cleaning once a week.)

Friday: Schoolroom (Desks cleaned out, floors done, teacher's desk decluttered.)

Saturday: Children's rooms & Family closet (Is there any explanation needed here? :o)

The zone cleaning is done in the afternoon, after school and lunch.

Somebody gave me the book Managers of Their Homes, by Steven & Teri Maxwell. Have any of you read it? I've flipped through it, and must admit the charts and things look intimidating to me. If you have read it, please tell me if it was helpful to you. I plan to read it soon, and will post my opinions as well.

I also have a Daily Plan (the word schedule carefully avoided here, hee hee), which outlines my day by the hour. It is working a lot better than the "Fly By the Seat of Your (proverbial) Pants" Method.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Capable woman, Graceful lady

Sometimes it seems that these two ideals are in direct opposition. We read about the industriousness of the Proverbs 31 woman, and there is also the New-Testament exhortation for wives to be submissive, meek and quiet. Can one woman be both capable and lady-like?

Once my sweet hubby was gone to the States for a month. Our drinking water comes in these big, heavy bottles that must be lifted and set, upside-down, onto the dispenser. While he was gone, I had to figure out how to do this by myself without spilling water all over the kitchen! I did it daily for weeks.

When he returned, I tended to continue my new habit, but my sweet husband insisted, "Here, let me do that," so of course I let him. With his big strong arms, it's a lot easier a task for him than it is for me! And he loves it that I depend on him.

While it is sometimes necessary for a woman to do heavy-duty jobs around the house, I think the norm should be that she allow her man to do it, assuming he is capable and willing to. (And I've never met a man who wouldn't be more than willing, given a little praise and gratitude :o)

On the other hand, it is right for a woman to think about her hard-working husband, and provide him a peaceful, orderly atmosphere to come home to, instead of greeting him at the door with a "Honey-Do" list. There are many repairs and such that she can learn to do herself.

While we women are certainly capable of doing many things that might be considered "man's work", it is feminine and lady-like to allow the man to do them when he is present, and only flex our muscles around the house when he's not home.

And thus we find the balance between Capable Woman, and Graceful Lady.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I recently ran into an old friend that I don't get to see very often. I commented on how her four handsome little boys and one beautiful daughter are all growing. Her answer has been bugging me ever since. She said she was glad they were growing in height, but not in number.

While that seemed at first to be a witty response, the more I thought about it the sadder it was to me.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I love handmade stuff!

Doesn't Joel's name puzzle look like fun?

My Uncle Bill and Aunt Rita created these wonderful name puzzles. (These days, they travel to fairs and expos to sell them, and their daughter makes them at home.)

Each of my children has one. Bill and Rita also make personalized wooden stepping stools, and other handmade goodies you can see HERE.

Unfortunately, Uncle Bill and Aunt Rita might be put out of business by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), a law passed last year that places a heavy burden on small businesses that produce handmade toys, clothes, and educational items for children, as well as on all businesses that sell children's items used. (Heads up, fellow thriftstore shoppers!!) CPSIA will force all of these businesses to fork out thousands of dollars for testing and approving each item.

This law was drawn up for the purpose of protecting American children from the harmful lead-based paints and other toxic chemicals found on certain imported toys. While I certainly don't want "toxic toys" being sold in the U.S. (or anywhere else), I don't think the answer is legislation. (At least not this kind of sweeping, all-inclusive, small-business-crushing legislation.)

Personally, I think Americans are smart enough to avoid purchasing the toys that are likely to be problematic... You know, the ones stamped, "Made in China".

If you would like to help save handmade toys, click HERE or HERE.

And don't forget to visit Bill & Rita's site. :o)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anniversary blessings

My Sweetheart and I are celebrating 13 years of marriage!

We met at a summer camp when we were teenagers, and over the next few years kept in touch long-distance through letter writing and occasional phone calls.

After high school, the Lord led each of us to the same Bible College. Three semesters later we married, and through all the ups and downs since then, it has been wonderful to be the wife of my Love.

This song that was sung at our wedding was just perfect for us:

"Yours Forever", by Ron Hamilton

When the sun is shining bright,
I'll be yours forever!
When you face the darkest night,
We will face it together.

Through the good times I'll be there,
Clinging warmly to your hand.
When there's no one else to care,
I'll be there to understand.

Yours forever, Only yours,
I'll be yours forever!
Yours forever, Only yours,
God has brought us together.

On the wings of love you came,
Then you taught me how to fly.
Through the years it will be the same,
I'll be Yours Forever.


When I look into your eyes,
I can see us together.
There will be no sad goodbyes,
As our love blossoms sweeter.

There's a place inside my heart
I know only you can fill.
Until death we'll never part.
You're the keeper of my heart.

(Copied here with permission from Majesty Music.)


Happy Anniversary, Honey! I love you forever!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On reading the Bible

I know a lot of you have set goals for your Bible reading this year. Personally, I would like to read through the Bible in Spanish! It will be a challenge, since I read a lot slower in Spanish, but I think I can do it.

Have you ever set out to read the entire Bible in a year, only to fizzle out somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers? Been there! And I have no advice to offer except to press on, because the geneologies do end, and it does get exciting again, LOL.

One thing I've come across that could be a help is the audio at Who doesn't like to be read to? Just choose the version (I only recommend the King James), set the book and chapters you want to listen to, click "play audio", and follow along in your Bible. If you keep a little chart in your Bible, you can check off the chapters as you go, or you can just keep a marker on the page where you left off.

I would love to hear your goals for this year, as well as any ideas on how to stick with it!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Remembering Christ

The "holiday season" is now over, and I always breathe a sigh of relief when it is! At Christmas time, traffic is horrible in town, the stores are overcrowded (as are the parking lots), people are pushy, children are greedy, and the parties are raucous. Well, not for Christians. Their parties aren't quite as raucous. We just try to stock up on groceries and hunker down at home until the two weeks have passed, only venturing out for ministry-related stuff.

All the busy-ness of the season has got me thinking: Is this really what Jesus would have people do? Did he ever ask his disciples to remember his birth? Did his disciples even know his birthdate? I doubt it, and if it were important to remember it, I believe it would have been recorded in Scripture for us.

The circumstances under which Christ was born were humble. The loud crowds were in the inns, and there had been no room for him there. Instead, he was born in a smelly stable among the animals. Glorious angels announced the whom? Humble shepherds.

What was Mary's response to the wonder of all that had happened? She "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." I think Mary had the right idea about the whole thing.

I think what Christ would have believers do is just ponder the wonder of his miraculous birth, and thank God for sending a Saviour! The only thing he tells us to remember is his death, which we do every time we observe the Lord's Supper.

"This do remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." I Cor 11:25,26

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Things

Have you ever noticed in your Bible reading how that God is very interested in first things? Look in a Bible Concordance, and see how many times first, firstborn and firstfruit(s) are mentioned.

In Old Testament law, the firstborn child is God's, as well as the firstborn of certain animals. The firstfruits of the land were to be offered to Lord. The tithe is the firstfruits of all increase, and belonged to God. In the Psalms, how many times did the writer approach his God early in the morning? He gave the first part of the day to the Lord!

As we are beginning a new year, I've pondered what first things I can give to the Lord, to honor Him. First part of each day? Yes. First day of each week? It's His. First part of our increase? Definitely.

A friend of mine is writing out her experiences with fasting, and it was in my communications with her that I first heard about fasting the first day of each month. What a great way to prepare for a new month, setting a regular time to "reboot" our perspective, refresh our bodies, and reset our feet to walk in His ways! An excellent idea.

It is God who has given us all things richly to enjoy. I want to honor Him with everything I have (time, talents & abilities, money & worldly goods, children), but especially with the first things. He is Worthy!

What first things do you honor the Lord with?