Blog, Family

“Encouraging Women: Roles, Design, and Purpose.”

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

Something I have found myself being passionate about, is the encouragement of our community of women. When it comes to the women around us; are we encouraging them to step into their God-given role, or are we actually encouraging them to walk away from it?

I touched on this topic in this blog post here, where I wrote about mothers/wives and our perspective on that, but now I want to talk more about how we can go about encouraging others when it comes to our role, design and purpose as women.

Roles, Design, Purpose:

Genesis 1:26-28

Genesis 2:18-24

Genesis 3

Proverbs 31

1 Corinthians 11 :3

1 Corinthians 11:12

1 Corinthians 7

1 Timothy 2:9-15

Titus 2 :1-5

Colossians 3

Ephesians 5

1 Peter 3

Hebrews 13:4

As always, I encourage you to read much further, but these are a few great places to dig in to when it comes to understanding our role and design as a woman.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Women are struggling. Our sinful nature affects us and how we choose to do things more than we might like to think. This of course, has been happening since the beginning; since Adam and Eve had sinned against the Lord.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say…?”  Read Genesis 3

Instead of encouraging the women we hear that are considering stepping into their role of a helpmate, wife, mother, homemaker, caregiver, etc etc. who are considering to commit themselves to a husband who will provide for them and care for the family they make together; we discourage it because it “takes freedom away.” 

When will we start setting an example for women, when will we start lifting others up, and speaking the truth when we see another faltering against temptations to sin? We are not perfect people and we will still make sinful mistakes, but if we are truly, actively holding fast to Christ there will be no room for our sinful nature to root itself down into things any longer. (1 Corinthians 10:13 and 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Bare Fruitful Conversations, and Sow Seeds:

If we love Christ, we love people, and if we have the love of Christ for people, we will speak the Truth to them. 

Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

We also need to be aware and discerning of the conversations that we have, too. Have fruitful conversations, and learn when to step away from a conversation that is becoming fruitless, and no longer beneficial for anyone. We must keep things truthful, and our emotions controlled. If our temper is flaring, then we are at risk of having an emotionally controlled conversation leaving the other person with a bad taste in their mouth. If it’s His will to do so, the Lord could work through anyone to soften the heart of another! So, we must stay obedient to Him and be the salt and light of the Earth (Matthew 5:13-16 and Ephesians 5:8-14).

Lastly:

If you are considering to step into your God-given role as a woman, my encouragement to you is to go read scripture, and seek community amongst like-minded, Godly women if you haven’t already. It can be 2 or 20, it doesn’t matter how many! Just try to find those who can point you to Christ (not lead you away from Him), pray for you when necessary, and encourage you to be the woman God has intended all women to be. Being made male and female, and in the Image of God, is no small thing. This is why it is so important to understand our design as a woman and our design as people! Reading Genesis is a good place to start.

Women, and men all have a God-given role, design, and purpose in life; don’t let the world distort it. To finish this off by going back to my main points; don’t allow the world’s opinions, and fear-driving tactics to scare you away from many joys that are found in being a helpmate, a wife, a mother, a caregiver, a homemaker, etc.

Similar to what I talked about in my previous blog; Don’t be so scared of the potential struggles you might endure, that you miss the joys you will endure through these things!

Blog, Farm

New Plans For Our Backyard Homestead!

Our lovely, Butterfly bushes.

So, last time I put a blog up on this subject it was about tilling our straw bale beds, and getting ready for our Spring garden. However, many things have changed since then in our lives, and we’ve come up with a new plan!

Will There Be A Garden or Chickens?

We are not doing a garden or chickens, yet. We decided this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I can start a garden anytime, realistically, if I truly wanted to, I put in the work to do so, and I chose specific, hardy plants.
  2. We are focusing on our Rabbitry for the time being. 
  3. We spent our “garden fund” to start our Rabbitry last year. So, because we did it this way, we wanted to make back a little bit of what we spent on Rabbit start up costs, before spending all of our garden budget that we set aside; however long that takes

And lastly, the 2 bigger reasons; we are having another baby very soon, and moving soon too! (more on that to come later). As for the lovely Chickens, again, we are focusing on our Rabbits only until we know more about our moving situation.

What Happens With The Rabbitry Area?

Back to when they were first built! (can hold 2 bucks, and 3 does + their litters)
Cricket, our moveable runs, and a peek of our old straw bale garden beds.

If you follow along on our Rabbitry Facebook page, or our Instagram, you may know we have had a few litters of Rabbits, re-homed one of our breeder does, and are about to have 2 more Rabbit litters! Since we re-homed our 3rd breeder doe, we are down to 2 bucks and 2 does. We do plan to fill her spot, and eventually in the future get another buck as well, but like mentioned above, we are moving soon and don’t think it would be beneficial to focus on getting more animals just yet, until we know more on that. So, we are focusing on the ones we have currently!

New Plans For The Yard: 

Basically, at the end of last year we tilled our whole yard, mixing in our straw bale beds with the idea in mind that we would do a bigger garden bed the coming Spring with more veggies, and such. After that, I would periodically add the Rabbit fertilizer to it for a little while and then just let it settle until we came to our current time!

Current time: All tilled up and ready to grow some green!

Fast forward to our current time, with a new idea in mind my husband tilled it all up for us last weekend, revealing wonderful dirt underneath and big, happy worms! So, with the pasture seed my daughter and I just laid down, (a little late, but in this situation, better late than never I suppose) we should be getting some nice green grass for our yard soon!

The new plan is to move the Rabbit hutches straight back to the back fence instead of up by the back of our house, and have a much nicer pasture area for our Rabbits to munch on. Beforehand, we did not have very good grass for them, and I would give them hay and pellets in their runs (instead of just the hutches) to make sure they were getting enough to eat. So, we are all very glad to be getting our grass back!

Quick sketch of our plans, that are currently in progress.

A bonus thing that got done was, my husband also built our compost bin area! Any extra Rabbit droppings and hay waste can have a place to go now.

New compost area!

Hopefully this provides some backyard design inspiration to those who have similar set ups. Rabbits really are great for small spaces! When we do start our garden, even with the Rabbits we still have plenty room to make some sort of garden beds, which is so nice! A garden is still a part of our plan to have at this home (unless we are moving sooner than expected). So, if It looks to be working out that way I will have a couple, small garden designs ready for my husband to pick through later!

More updates to come when we start seeing grass pop up, and we move our hutches to their new spots, but for now that is the entire plan for our back yard area! 

Blog, Family

“Sober-Mindedness: Are We Truly Submitted To The Lord?”

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

What do we think when we hear we are called, as followers of Christ, to keep “sober-minded” and “self-controlled”? I love thinking over these things in scripture, partly because of my own convictions with that, but also just seeing how much our flesh goes against these things everyday. The question that we need to be asking ourselves often is, are we truly submitting to the Lord?

Some scripture that mentions these, specifically:

I encourage you to read much further!

  • 1 Peter 1:13, then in chapter 4:7, and chapter 5:8-9
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
  • Romans 12:3
  • 1 Timothy 2:9, then in chapter 3:1-7 – & verse 11
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Titus 1:7-8, then in chapter 2:1-12
  • Philippians 4:8
  • James 4:7
  • Ephesians 5:9
  • Galatians 5:22-23

When we take a look throughout scripture the point remains the same [in this area]; stay sober-minded, and have self-control. Because why? Well to start, we have a very sinful nature, and the enemy can always tempt, trick, manipulate, plot, and destroy with that if we aren’t too careful. How will we stay clear on our path, if we cannot stay clear in our heads about what the truth is, and who we submit too? 2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

I think we too often forget, “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” Sounds to me like we ought to be thoroughly sober-minded with an adversary parading around as something he most certainly is not; something seemingly good. We would be utter fools to think we could even withstand his illusions and alluring ways, without a sober mind, without self-control. Ultimately, without the Lord.

We must stay sober-minded and self-controlled in our emotions, and in anything we allow to captivate our minds; in every way.  (Because we know this is not just about refraining from getting drunk).

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Who or what, is captivating our minds?

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-24 ESV “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Just before this in Galatians, we read about keeping in step with the Spirit, and the works of our flesh. Verse 16 (ESV)”But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” And then in Verses 19-21 (ESV) “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

This is a perfect guideline for us to go by here, in this chapter (and many other places in the Bible).

How About Those Emotions?

The Lord gave us feelings, and so they have purpose here. But don’t underestimate one more than the other, and don’t think that they are reliable. Our feelings are not trustworthy. Showing love can lead us to the gates of Hell, just as much as showing anger— IF we use our feelings in accordance to our flesh instead of in accordance to the Lord and what He has said in scripture. So, stay clear on what you’re allowing your feelings to dictate, as those shouldn’t be leading any decisions; regardless of how good an emotion can be.

James 4:7 ESV “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV “Pray the like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Psalm 23:1-6 ESV “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

We cannot do, or be anything more than the Lord can or is. If we try to do anything in a way that we feel is good and Godly enough, instead of the way the Lord has said too, who is it we are truly submitting too? We were never promised we’d feel comfortable, good, or happy, about what the Lord asks of us. We are told to submit to His will, and bring Him the Glory, regardless of our flesh!

Stay Sober, and Encourage Those Around You To Do The Same:

If we’ve truly repented and accepted Jesus into our hearts, then we should know that we are called to lead people to Christ, to not cause our brothers/sisters in Christ to stumble, but to uplift them and encourage them, to speak the truth, and to be the salt and light of this world. 

Matthew 5:13-16 ESV “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works, and bring glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

One way to encourage sober-mindedness and self-control (aside from going to the Lord with your struggle, prayer, and continuing to read scripture), is to keep accountability! If it’s something that has become a struggle, have someone trustworthy in your family/church community help with that. Remember the fruits of the Spirit, and if you notice a friend or loved one struggling with any of this, lift them up by speaking the truth; reminding them of it, and encouraging them with it.

A common reason (for many things), for not being able to keep hold of our self-control, or our sober-mindedness, is that we do not truly submit to God. 

We are always more likely to submit to our sins, unless we can “die to self” and “resist the devil.” (Luke 9:23-24, James 4:7) It will always be our sinful nature, to want and try to resist the goodness of God. How wretched we are, should be a daily reminder of how wonderful the Lord is. His grace and mercy; a fair and just God.

Lastly, I’ll leave with this;

“If it’s according to your will Lord, let it be so.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Blog, Family

“Being a Wife and Mother: Our Perspective and Mindset”

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I think we can all agree that most people (including myself) find it difficult to find the joy in certain aspects of their lives. For some, it’s the certain joys that come with being a wife and/or mother. We all have weak spots, and some of us have the same weaknesses, while others don’t. As a wife, I’ve personally struggled with patience and that results in a quick temper at times, because of the mindset I have had on my wifely responsibilities.

Too often, I have or hear other conversations where the comments one makes about being a mother, or being a wife are negative. It makes me wonder why I don’t hear more positive remarks when there is so much joy to be found! The topic, and question I’ve had heavily on my thoughts lately is; What is our perspective of being a wife/mother and do we have a healthy mindset about the responsibilities that come with being one or both of those things?

Some of the negative comments I hear and maybe you’ve heard before are:

Mother’s Comments:

  • “Just you wait for more kids, you’ll see how hard it is sometimes!”
  • “Just you wait, when you start having kids you’ll see how hard it is!”
  • “You’ll have days when you give up and let things slide too. That’s just how it goes with us veteran moms [who have years of experience]”
  • “I just don’t have the time and they just don’t listen; You’ll see when your kid gets older”
  • “The more kids you have, the less time you have!”

And because our two children will be a year and a half apart in age, I’ve now had other moms mention to me; 

“Oh, that’s going to be so difficult having two so close like that! It’s a struggle”

“Once the baby gets here you won’t have any time! You’ll just be chasing babies all day, you’ll see!”

Wive’s Comments: Some of these next ones have, regrettably, been my own thoughts/comments as a wife, and some of them I’ve heard from others.

  • “Why can’t you just pick up your own messes sometimes? It’s not that hard”
  • “All I do, is clean up everyone’s junk everyday, because everyone in here is too lazy.”
  • “I let my house go a long time ago, I’m too tired from taking care of all these kids to deal with it.”
  • “I made you dinner and I didn’t have to, so the least you could do is clean your mess for me.”
  • “I’m just too tired to do anything, so they’re his kids now while I get a break.”
  • “I just hate cooking! Why can’t you make your own food?”

Is this the kind of perspective we should have— let alone encourage others to have over our responsibilities as a wife/mother?

That the faults of our husbands (big or little) are and will be a burden to us, that our husbands actually owe us for being a wife to them, or for being the mother to their children. To immediately put the blame on anything/anyone else for our priorities being unorganized, or for our attitude over something. Are we forgetting we have faults of our own and that (most times) is it us who needs the attitude adjustment / perspective change first?

When we get into the habit of making motherhood/wifehood as a whole, out to be a drag, a burden, a weight on our shoulders, that it takes away from other joyful things, that it constantly drains you physically/emotionally, and we continue talking about it like that often; we should really re-evaluate our perspective, because unless I missed it somewhere, that’s definitely not what the Lord says.

Is it really worth it, to (purposely or not) point out the struggles a mother and/or wife could endure more than you point out the joys she will endure? Yes, there are certain challenging responsibilities for everyone, of course, but the gift itself of having a child, or the blessing of having a loving husband is just that; something to praise the Lord for.

The Lord is going to challenge us, this is one of the many ways we will grow and learn; by allowing Him to shape us. (read Jeremiah 18:1-6)

The habit of thinking you deserve a reward because you made a good dinner, or you deserve X Y and Z because you were doing a nice job with something is not a good habit to make, because ultimately, we don’t really deserve anything. If we first, fix our perspective to doing our work as a mom/wife to glorify the Lord, we can then evaluate where the actual issues are occurring in those places, if there are issues.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Let’s Question Our “Wife” and Our “Mother” Perspective: Do we have a healthy mindset?

1. Is your mindset on the responsibilities that come with being a wife negative?

  • Are you primarily focusing on struggles?

  i.e All the mundane inconveniences, how tired you are while doing these responsibilities, the day’s time frame not working in your favor, focusing on what you could be doing instead, and so on…

Do the all the responsibilities you have as a wife make you joyful, or are you often wishing you could be doing some other joy-fulfilling thing instead?

2. If our mindset on our wifely responsibilities is struggling, how can we fix this?

  • Read scripture; Proverbs 31, Genesis 2:18-24, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3, and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 are good places to start!
  • Pray for the Lord to open your eyes to the joys and blessings He has given you through being a wife, and for peace knowing it’s His will to be done, not yours. 
  • Ask your husband what he sees, what he thinks you could do better with, and ask for some ideas on how to do better. Maybe even find counsel amongst others in your church community if necessary, who will pray with you!
  • A lot of times we don’t even know how often we make comments like these, so maybe even ask your husband if, or how often he hears you say these things or anything similar.
  • Expect to put in the work, as things don’t often happen over night. Don’t just stop at praying.

3. Do we have a negative mindset when it comes to our motherly duties?

  • Are you primarily focused on struggles?

i.e All the mundane inconveniences, how tired you are while doing these responsibilities, the day’s time frame not working in your favor, focusing on what you could be doing instead, and so on…

Do the all responsibilities you have as a mother make you joyful, or are you often wishing you could be doing some other joy-fulfilling thing instead?

4. How can we fix this? It’s quite the same as before really:

  • Read scripture; Proverbs 31, Psalm 139:13-16, Psalm 127:1-5, Titus 2:3-8, Proverbs 14:1-2, Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:4-7, are good places to start!
  • Pray for the Lord to open your eyes to the joys and blessings He has given you through being a mother, and for peace knowing it’s His will to be done, not yours.
  • Ask your husband what he sees, and what he thinks you could do better with. If you can, ask your kid(s) if, or how often they hear you say these things or similar things, just in case it is done more subconsciously than you think. You could also again, find counsel amongst people in your church community, if necessary, who will pray with you!

Even if we’ve read the scriptures before, and feel like we’ve got a Godly perspective on being a wife/mother, we can still have an unhealthy view of our day-to-day responsibilities that come with being one; unless we keep ourselves in check with that and start truly taking in what scripture says, and not just skim over the top of it.

If you’re struggling with something as a mother or as a wife, I highly encourage you to seek your help from the Lord; rely on Him, communicate with your husband, and find counsel amongst your church community, if necessary. However– and I will be blunt– do not use a struggle you have as a reason to go complain and make jokes, because you’re seeking people’s attention and for them to validate/affirm your feelings on the matter.

I encourage you to refresh your memory on what the Lord says about wives and mothers, and reset your mindset. Especially, if you find you have often said similar things as mentioned above or created a habit to think along these lines!

Then take a look at all the issues and struggles you have. Are they all still there? Are you still getting irritated with your loved ones often, and are you still playing the blame game? The running theme for moms and wives I’ve heard for forever it seems, is “The wife is always right.” Then on the flip side, “The mom is always burnt out.”

Guess what, we will never always be right. No one is right 100% of the time, so throw that theme away, right now. Also, if you find that you’re always a “burnt out mom” is it actually because of the responsibilities of motherhood (or wifehood) draining you and putting weight on your shoulders, or is it because of your mindset and how you view those responsibilities that’s burning you out and weighing you down? Have you been trying to take things on without relying on the Lord? Where do your priorities lie, and what are you allowing to use up your time?

I disagree with the common assumption that kids = less time. We have the same amount of time with or without children; It’s what you’re doing with your time, and where you’re setting your priorities. If you’re struggling with getting priorities in the right places; read scripture, pray, and discuss how to prioritize your family with your husband!

Priorities being in order and a perspective change goes a long way if you’re burnt out 24/7 and unable to find joy in where the Lord has brought you– this is a great place to start when you find you are struggling and having issues in some places of your life.

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

In scripture and what the Lord says, is where we can find the best encouragement and peace in our times of struggle, but I encourage you to look into more. Don’t stop with what I’ve added to this post! and if you’ve said these things or even feel guilty/defensive after reading this because you’ve been in some of these habits; I just encourage you to pray, repent, forgive, move on.

Blog, Family

“Holiday Recipes From My Family, To Yours”

Juliets, Almond Tea, and a wonderful Christmas candle.

With Christmas being here in the next few days, I wanted to do something fun and post some recipes my family has thoroughly enjoyed for a long while! Originally, my Grandma would make these things during the holidays, but I do it for my family now, after she showed me how to make everything! With having my own family now, I get to bring that tradition here at home for my little ones to enjoy, as well. I hope you can take these and enjoy them as much as we have, with your loved ones!

Almond Tea: 

Almond Tea (the cold version; the hot version is in first picture, above).

Servings: 7 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tea bags of Black Tea (Red Rose Brand)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 6 cups Water

Directions:

In a pot, Steep tea bags in 2 cups water for 10 min. Remove tea bags after.

In a separate larger pot, Boil sugar in 4 cups water for 5 min.

In a bowl, combine fresh lemon juice, the vanilla, and almond extract. 

Last, combine everything into larger pot; mix together.

Enjoy hot or cold! 

Notes

  • Can be served hot or cold.
  • Keeps for about 2 wks in fridge.
  • I always recommend making a double batch! It’s delicious!

Juliet Cookies (aka Juliets):

Juliet Cookies

Bake Temp + Time: Bake at 350*F Degrees for 20min (or until lightly golden on edges).

Servings: Makes about 36 cookies total

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Butter
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Almond Extract
  • 2 Eggs, separated (yolks from whites— set aside whites in a bowl for later)
  • 2 1/2 cups Finely chopped Walnuts.
  • Jar of Maraschino Cherries, halved (I usually just grab a 16oz jar).

Directions:

Cream Together butter, and sugar. 

Add egg yolks. 

Add all dry ingredients.

Add almond extract.

Gently roll dough into small balls.

Dip and cover them in the beaten egg whites, then roll in and cover with finely chopped walnuts.

Place them on baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, then press a cherry half in the middle of dough ball, flattening the cookie a little bit (much like thumbprint cookies!)

Bake 20 min, or until lightly golden on edges. Cool 2min on sheets, before transfer to racks. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Always handle the dough, and the cookies gently.
  • Don’t chop walnuts into a powder; needs to be fine, but still coarse enough to be sort of flaky on cookies. 
  • Cookies need to be completely covered in the chopped walnuts as well!

Again, I hope you enjoy these delicious family recipes!

Merry Christmas, to you all!