{Semi} Wordless Wednesday



Why I'm Not Raising A Feminist Daughter


I'm a wife, Mama, daughter, sister, friend, blogger, business owner and former feminist.

My Dad always told me I could do anything, whether it be putting shingles on a roof, putting a universal joint in his '69 Chevy or dragging out the acetylene tanks and welding. I don't blame this on my Daddy, he had GREAT intentions. And I'm so thankful of the knowledge he taught me.

I'm the one who took it and turned it into a heart issue.

I grew up thinking I could do anything that a man could do. And if a man told me I couldn't do it, I would make sure to prove him wrong. I wanted to be viewed as strong and independent. I even took the words "honor and obey" out of my vows. No one was going to control me, especially not my husband.

And then I became a Mama.

As my babies were growing up, I realized I couldn't align myself with feminism anymore. Their message is the opposite of what I'm teaching my kids.

I'm teaching my daughter modesty, they feel it's patriarchy. I'm teaching my son to be a gentleman, they feel it's benevolent sexism. I'm teaching my daughter to be submissive to her husband, they feel that's degrading. I'm teaching my son to be hard-working and provide for his family, they feel that they can provide for themselves. I'm teaching my daughter purity, they feel your body is yours to do with what you please. I'm teaching my son to treat his wife like a princess, they feel that's offensive.

I simply cannot align myself with a message that has morphed into something accusatory, degrading, offensive and opposed to the morals and messages I am teaching my kids.

I'm actually super excited we are raising our littles the way we are, the opposite of how the world would have them raised. I want my son to be chivalrous, to open doors and carry heavy loads. I want my daughter to be told she's beautiful. I want my son to take his fiance out on a date and pay the bill without expecting anything in return. I want my daughter to know she can depend on her husband. I want my littles to know the beauty of a Christ-centered marriage.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

The recent feminist campaigns are so degrading, I can't help but feel they lost their direction amongst the shuffle of finding issues to fight for. Their messages come across so crass and offensive, it actually muddies the water and their direction is no longer clear.

With God, we have clear direction. We have a perfect owners manual for life in the Bible. And in the Bible we see that while we are created equal, we were given specific roles.

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:23-25

I recently came across something that baffled me and shook me to my core, feminist Christians.  Their strong opinions left my head reeling.  They don't believe in biblical gender roles, submission or mamas staying at home.  If you support any of those things and speak out in support, you're labeled as legalistic.  I was shocked, to say the least, at the disrespect they showed towards men and how easily they belittled them.  

I just caution you to beware of the teachings you follow.  It's so easy to be lead astray by ministries that seem to be flashy and pretty on the outside.  It's not until you delve deeper that you find their core belief system is skewed. 

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Peter 2:1-3

And that my friends is why we are teaching submission, headship and living a Christ-centered marriage. While it might not be the worlds opinion, we are following Gods word. That will bring joy, peace, contentment, fulfillment and freedom! And in turn, your life will bring glory to God. Isn’t that what it's all about?

Walking Through Valleys


I’m scared to write this piece.

I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I don’t want to make a mistake and offend anyone. I don't want my words skewed into something I don't mean. I don't want to make assumptions of others hearts.  And I don't want to cause a problem where there isn't one.

So, I've staid quiet. Well, semi-quiet. But today, I'm taking a step and laying it on the line.

As most of my mornings start, I grabbed my cup of pumpkin spice coffee and sat at my desk. Quiet early mornings are my favorite. I logged into Facebook and looked at the screen. Staring at the screen for a moment, I mumbled to myself: Doesn’t God care about my feelings?

To be honest, I am walking in a wilderness right now. A wilderness full of friends walking hand-in-hand, while I walk alone.

I knew my heart had been churning and aching. I knew tears had been flowing. But this was the first day these words bubbled to the surface: God owes me this.

After all the years I have worked for the Lord and been faithful, and this is what I get? I deserve better than this. I deserve more.

God, why did you give me a heart for friendship and fellowship but then not give me anyone to share it with?

Where was God when I needed Him the most? When I sat at home, tearful and lonely, while others enjoyed lunch dates and laughter?

This has been a hard and messy time in my life. Throughout all my surgeries, I never questioned God. Throughout my ongoing health issues, I've never questioned God. Throughout every trial, I've known He had my best interest at heart.

Until now.

Those words leaving my mouth shocked me. I sat there with my head in my hands, tears rolling down my face.

To be honest, I'm lonely. 

And nothing reinforces that loneliness more than social media. A quick scroll through Facebook can make me easily feel lonely, discouraged and empty.

I have 875 friends I'm connected to, yet I feel lonelier than I ever have. My hearts desire is to to be loved and treasured by friends.  I have a heart that has an overflowing craving for friendship and fellowship.  

How is it even possible to be a lonely believer? Sounds like such an oxymoron, doesn't it? I know that Jesus is my best friend, so how am I still lonely? I have my husband and children. I have my parents next door. I have a Mama I talk to daily. I have two dogs, two cats and 42 chickens. I have a life that boarders on crazy from time to time. How is it possible among all of that for me to feel lonely? Why does it make me feel guilty to even admit loneliness? 

David, “a man after God’s own heart”, was lonely. In Psalm 25:16 he said to the Lord, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” David was lonely! Wow, so a man after God's own heart, a man who clearly wasn't afraid of anything, was lonely and felt isolated.

I'm not sure exactly what my soul is craving, but God knows. And in that gap between my longing and Him fulfilling the fellowship I desire, I'm choosing to trust His timing. It might possibly be the hardest thing I've done y'all.

At that exact moment I did the only thing my heart would, I went directly to sit at my Fathers feet.

Through my tears, I heard a still-small voice saying Fellowship with me, give me your heart and your troubles. I will never abandon you even when others do.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I'm going to be honest, It’s tough to hope and trust in God when life looks bleak.

I know the devil uses our emptiness against us.  And the words that so easily left my mouth are a perfect example of that. It's so easy to feel self pity, self-centeredness, bitterness, anger and jealousy. And it's so easy to put a band aid on the pain. I am reminded now more than ever that I need to find my comfort through God and trust Him and His timing. 

As I write this post through tears, many tears, my heart is calm knowing I'm allowing Him to fill the gap. I'm choosing to trust in Him, delight in His timing and allow Him to fill the hole inside of me.

Reflecting On 40

Today is my thirty-something-kinda-ish-but-not-really birthday and I want y'all to come along with me as I take a glance back at the past year. Thinking of what all this past year has held blows my mind. Honestly, it's been one of the most blessed years ever! Though trying at times, I am overwhelmed with joy to see all that I experienced in the last 12 months! So let's go for a little time-travel and reflect on my journey.

August was filled with lots of canning. Visiting a few Amish farms. School shopping. Visiting the wound clinic insane amounts for my leg. Spending as much time with my littles as I could before school started. Excitedly watching my oldest start college and my littlest start her junior year. And finally becoming tired of the Not Enoughs.

In September I participated in Blogtember by Brave Love Blog, and I enjoyed every day of it! We went to the truck pulls and Harvestfest, had some yummy food and bought some cute crafts.  In the aftermath of the Ashley Madison hack, while widespread heartache was happening, I wrote a post the To The Wife That Just Found Out.  And I wrote to My Future Son-In-Law.

October held 2 weddings, 13 senior sessions and 4 family sessions.  Whew, what a busy month! I wrote to my Future Daughter-In-Law. Lotsa photo editing. Yeah, October was a bit ridic. It also held a sweet, sweet weekend away with my love! And of course, pumpkin everything!

My November was spent being thankful for oh so many blessings in my life. It also held 5 more sessions, including a wedding.  Putting our tree up. Black Friday shopping. Christmas crafting began.  An amazing trip to NY to visit my birth-family, visiting a cider mill and a family photoshoot with them! And amidst all the chaos, I wrote about Quieting The World.

In December I was over-the-moon to have my Christmas spirit back, it felt magical! But I felt it important to tell others it's okay if Christmas makes you sad. Baking cookies with some sweet girls. Christmas caroling. Making our Christmas cards {one of my fav things!}. We had an amazing, blessed Christmas.  I was reminded of my sweet Grandma while using Her Bowl.  I spent some time reflecting on my sweet Dad, a Man of Gentle Kindness.  And I wrote an open letter to those that have Walked Out of My Life.

This January was my busiest to date with 1 maternity session, 1 boudoir session, wrestling pictures and a newborn session. I shared about the hardest doctors appointment I've ever had, that was so difficult to share.  We had dinner and reconnected with sweet friends.  And I wrote a letter to my body.

Oh February, the month of love. I was blessed and honored to shoot my very first birth session.  I wrote a healing post, Piece by Piece.  Newborn session.  The sickest I've been in years.  We started prom dress shopping for my youngest little.  And my oldest little graduated college and started his first job.  It's been a sweet journey watching him learn how to adult.

March was when I was first introduced to LuLaRoe, and quickly became an addict.  More eggs set in the incubator.  Celebrating my parents Love.  Lots of medical tests.  Easter.  And having my own LuLaRoe party!

In April we hatched out our polish babies.  Volunteering a food bank with the teen group. Looking back on how we've always tried to be that house.  I spent the day with my sweet childhood bests.  And spent another weekend away with my love!

May was full of fun! Celebrating Mother's Day.  Prom x 2.  Three birthdays.  A big birthday shrimp boil with a fun family.  Lots of pictures.  And our own big family photoshoot swapped with another sweet-as-pie photog.  I did a lot of loving on my sweet girl as she walked through a hard valley in her life.  And I wrote a hard post about parenting a child with anxiety.

In June I had 2 weddings. School was over, and my littlest was home with me daily.  Also my youngest got her first job, babysitting 3 sweet kids each Monday.  Joe and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, which prompted me to write a Open Letter to my Husband. My sweet Dad turned 80, and lots of people sent him cards!  A week of Bible school, and taking on the task of puppets. Father's Day. I wrote about Walking Through Friendship.  And my love and I had yet another weekend away, we've been blessed this year with lots of time reconnecting!  I have a sneaking suspicion God is training us for when we have an empty nest.

July held the best family vacation ever. EVER. It was epic. My oldest proposed to the sweetest girl ever while on vacation.  I did a weekly blog series on Love, Respect and Godly Submission. Being eternally thankful for my God-scripted love story. And lotsa lotsa lotsa pictures.

{SEMI} WORDLESS WEDNESDAY




My 5 Favorite Canning Recipes


When I was growing up I was blessed to not only have a Mama that grew her own food, but canned it as well.  Not only my Mama, but all the women in my family.  Many family gatherings would include a circle of women chatting about their recent crops and what they were planning on canning with them.  It was a given that once I had a household of my own, I would follow in all their footsteps.  And proudly, I have.

Once the end of summer draws near, I know it's time to bring out the pressure canner and jars.  I couldn't feel more in my element than I do in my kitchen with a pot of sauce simmering on the stove.

Throughout the years I've ventured a bit further than the basics my Mama canned, and I've found some new favorites of my own.  That is exactly what I want to share with you today, my top five favorite canning recipes!


Hot Pepper Dip
  • 7 green peppers
  • 7 hungarian wax peppers
  • 24 ounces ketchup
  • 8 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups oil
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large onions

INSTRUCTIONS:

Chop the peppers, onion and garlic; set aside.  {I put mine through a grinder}

Mix all ingredients except peppers and bring to a boil.

Boil for 10 minute stirring occasionally.  Be careful the bottom of the pan doesn't scorch.  Add peppers, bring to a boil again.

To can, pour into jars.  Place rings and lids on jars, making it fingertip-tight. Place on a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. 


Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1⁄2 bushel tomatoes
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 4 hot peppers
  • 3 lb. onions
  • 1⁄2 cup salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 8 cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put everything into a blender and puree.  I cut the stem part off the tomatoes, quarter them and put skins and all into the blender.  I also leave the seeds in two of the hot peppers to add some heat.
  
Bring it to a boil and cook until thick.  I cook mine for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.

To can, pour into jars.  Place rings and lids on jars, making it fingertip-tight. Place on a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. 


Zucchini Relish
  • 12 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini {I throw a cucumber or two in as well}
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 5 tablespoons canning salt
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cups white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

I put my zucchini, cucumber, onion and pepper through a grinder.  After ground, place the items in a large, non-metallic bowl, and sprinkle the salt over-top. Use your hands to evenly mix the salt throughout. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, drain and rinse well with cool water. Squeeze out excess water and set aside. Place the sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch into a large pot. Add the nutmeg, turmeric, celery seed and pepper. Stir to combine, then add the drained zucchini mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, sterilize 7 one-pint jars and lids to hold relish. Pack hot relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars all the way to top. Place rings and lids on jars, making it fingertip-tight.

Hot-Packing Method: Because the relish is hot when you pack it, I don't put it through a water bath.  Mine is always fine and has always sealed.  You can always put yours in a water bath just to be sure. 

Water-Bath Method: Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.

Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. 


Sweet Pickled Beets
  • fresh beets (any size will do)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Wash the beets, cleaning all the dirt off.  Cut the leaves off the beet about 3” off the beet to prevent the beet from bleeding out. 

Separate into sizes so little ones don’t get over cooked and big ones are not under cooked.  I like 3 kettles they boil faster that way.  Boil beets till tender, can be checked using a fork (like a potato).

Drain and discard cooking liquid; let beets cool so they can be easily peeled.  Hold the beet in your hand and squeeze it, it should pop right out of the skin.  Cut beets into 1/2” pieces, leaving very small beets whole.

Combine brine ingredients in a kettle.  Bring brine to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Depending on the amount of beets you have, you may need to make more brine.

Fill jars within 1/2” from the top with beets.  Fill jar with boiling brine to 1/2” from top.  Place rings and lids on jars, making it fingertip-tight.

Hot-Packing Method: Because the brine is hot when you pour it in, I don't put it through a water bath.  Mine is always fine and has always sealed.  You can always put yours in a water bath just to be sure. 

Water-Bath Method: Process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes at up to 1000 feet in elevation.

Place on a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool.  Any leftover brine can be stored in the refrigerator till the next time you can.


Canned Peaches

2 lbs peaches, per quart (up to 3 lbs)
5 cups sugar
10 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS:

To prepare peaches: Wash peaches; dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drop in ice water to loosen skins. Remove skins. Cut in half; remove pits and scrape away the red fibers around the pit, which can darken during storage. Set aside.

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Keep syrup hot. Drain peaches. Pack peach halves, cut-side down, into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot syrup to within 1/2 inch of rim. Remove air bubbles with a nonmetallic spatula and add additional syrup, as needed.

Wipe jar rims and threads. Place lids and bands on jars.

Hot-Packing Method: Because the syrup is hot when you pour it in, I don't put it through a water bath.  Mine is always fine and has always sealed.  You can always put yours in a water bath just to be sure. 

Water-Bath Method: Process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts. 

Place on a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool.  Any leftover brine can be stored in the refrigerator till the next time you can.

Five Ways To Prepare For Canning Season


Every year, as summer draws to a close I start gearing up for canning season. If you're new to the canning world, or an old pro, hopefully these tips help you enter preservation season calm.  It's super easy to get overwhelmed, believe me.  Hopefully this helps you be prepared to tackle those bushels of tomatoes, cucumbers and corn.

1. Set Goals

What are your goals for canning? You may want to save your family money or you may just enjoy the craft of it. You may have a garden and want to enjoy reaping the benefits of it all year long. You may enjoy canning because you have control over what goes into it (like no chemicals and preservatives).

You may have only one goal, or a few that I listed above. Think about your goals. Why do you want to do this and what do you want to get out of it?

I can for a few different reasons. I love that it saves our family money, it's super yummy, it's convenient and honestly I just really love canning. I love knowing that I can run downstairs and grab a jar of spaghetti sauce or chicken broth.

2.  Understand Canning Styles {there are two}

-Hot water bath canning: submerge canned foods in hot water and boil the jars for a certain length of time

-Pressure cooker canning: enclose canned foods in a pressure cooker and process them for a certain length of time. The temperature inside a pressure cooker is higher than is possible in a pot of boiling water.

3. Check Your Equipment

Even if you are a seasoned canner, you normally find that first canning session awkward.  Finding your rhythm takes a bit. Preparing ahead of time can make the process so much easier. An important step is taking the time to evaluate your canning equipment.

-Canning Tools: Gather together all your canning utensils including spoons {I prefer wooden}, your jar rack, magnetic lid lifter {a tool for picking up and placing just one lid at a time}, canning funnel {to get liquids into the jars without spilling all over} and jar lifter {essential for getting hot jars out of hot water safely}. WalMart carries a canning starter kit and a canning utensil kit.  I purchased a medium sized plastic tote also.  That is what I store all my canning items in.  I can just pull that tote out and know all my canning supplies are in it rather than searching all over for them.  Not to mention they are easier lost if they aren't stored together.

-Canners: If you're planning on canning anything that requires the water bath method, you'll need a pot tall enough to accommodate your jars. Make sure your pot has enough room for a couple inches of boiling water and a couple inches of head room above that is fine for boiling water bath canning. Your pot will also need to have a canning rack in it.

Some of the items you're planning to can may require pressure canning {green beans is one example}.  Wash and rinse your canner to start with.  Check the sealing rings and over-pressure plug. Replace if needed. These should be replaced every two to three years. Review your canner’s manual to refresh your memory of the canning procedure.

-Lids and Rings: Check over all your rings and discard the ones that are distorted, dented, or rusty as they could cause your jars not to seal properly.  If you're like me, you always have way more rings than you'll ever use. I'm not quite sure how that happens honestly. If you are buying new jars, a lot of times they will come with lids and rings.  Purchase plenty of new lids early in the season. You don’t want to run out when elbow deep in sauce.  

-Canning Jars: Check your jars carefully for cracks and chips. Hold on to the original boxes for storage. Let me say that again, hold on to the original boxes. When this girl started canning, she threw those boxes away. Big mistake! I store my canned food in the basement, and those boxes make life so much easier when you're carrying precious jars of amazingness down flights of stairs. Take inventory of your empty canning jars so you have an idea of how many you have on hand. Watch the local sale flyers, normally around canning season stores will have sales. The jars will need washed before use. I fill my dishwasher up and start the cycle when I start my canning. Not only are the jars clean, but they're normally still warm when I'm ready for them.

4. Buy Your Basics

Pull out all those recipes, read over them and make sure you have the ingredients on hand. Trust me, this is important. You don't want to get your spaghetti sauce nearly done and realize you're out of tomato paste. Been there, done that. 

There are some items that I already know I will use a ton of throughout canning season. Tomato paste, vinegar, salt, sugar and ketchup are my must-haves for canning season. Your basics might also include pectin and bottled lemon juice.

Stocking up also means you must sort out your recipes first and decide what you're canning. So before you begin, search out recipes in your favorite cookbook or look on Pinterest. Here is a link to my Pinterest board all about canning. There are so many amazing canning recipes there!

Check through your spices, too, and make sure you’re good for italian seasonings, cinnamon, pickling spice, or whatever spices you know will be used. I highly recommend buying your spices in bulk. Fresh spices mean tastier preserves!

5. Invite Your Girls Over

An important part of this process is not overwhelming yourself. And if this is your first time canning, trust me, you'll want all the help you can get. Especially if it's someone who has canned prior. Plus it's just more fun to do this kind of work with another person.  Chatting and laughing make the day go faster!

And there you have it. You're all ready for a fun-filled day of canning. And listening for that ping ping coming from your kitchen later in the day. 

Watch my blog for an upcoming post, my top 5 favorite canning recipes!



The Look and Tell Bible {Book Review}


The Look and Tell Bible
Published by Thomas Nelson

About the book:
Looking for a way to engage little ones in learning Bible stories? 
The Look and Tell Bible gives preschoolers and toddlers the opportunity to use creative, charming illustrations to interact with you in an innovative way. Rebus format allows little ones to read along and become a part of the experience while learning important Bible stories. 
Parents will love teaching their children these enduring stories while offering their children the opportunity to grow as a believer. Bible stories include: Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Joseph, Moses, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions’ Den, the Nativity, the Feeding of the 5,000, the Good Samaritan, and the Easter Story.
When I saw this book up for review, I knew it was going to be something the little guys in my Sunday School class would love!

First, lets talk about the amazing cover.  The cover is so great, I knew it would draw them right in.  I mean, hello, what boy doesn't love the story of David and Goliath!  They knew straight away that the "big guy" was bad, and the smaller boy was the good guy.

The illustrations are absolutely adorable. The cartoon character version of people are especially cute
for kids.

Each Bible story is condensed to only 5 or 6 sentences, with the main thoughts presented in a way children can understand. On the left page is a key, with pictures and the words of them. The right page has the story. The kids loved shouting out the words when I pointed to the pictures! I was so excited that the very first story was Creation, which coincided with exactly what we're learning about in class!

Another plus, this book is extremely durable for those who may get a little rougher than others.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Book Look in return for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday




An Open Letter To The Anonymous Commenter


Dear Anonymous Commenter:

For nearly 3 years, I've sat idly by while you've left demeaning, rude comments hidden behind a facade of niceness. Although the sugar dripping out of your mouth might have fooled others, it never fooled me. The comments were intentionally left to hurt me.  I know that and so do you.  They were also craftily written to seem as if they were from a friend, to make me doubt her.  While I could have easily said oh-so-many things in return, I've erred on the side of silence. Until today.

What you may not realize, even though I shared it numerous times, on this blog I have hidden trackers. So the people that comment and think it's anonymous, I know exactly who you are. I have your IP address, your location, your computer make and model and even what system you're browsing on. 

A little info on this little blog of mine. I started this blog in 2006 {wow, it's been 10 years}. It was started as an outlet, a way to share my scrapbook pages and a way to keep in touch with family. But then something happened. As time went on, more and more people started reading.

A while back, I glanced at my site meter. I saw something that was beyond anything I could have imagined. I have readers from Russia, Canada, China, United Kingdom, Germany, Philippines, France and Malaysia. And I realized, in that moment, that this blog was my Ministry. God has done something I never, in a million years, would have imagined this country girl from a tiny town in central Pennsylvania doing. I have actually "went into the world" from my living room.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Every day I write blog posts to inspire others and make them smile; to share hope, grace and truth; to share my own mistakes and sins; to share my heart; and to share Jesus and His amazing love with others around the world.

I absolutely want my blog to be a happy, positive place. A place where you know, even on your worst day, you can leave it with a smile on your face and feel refreshed. A place where the heart of Jesus shines through.

I know you feel directly connected to some of my posts, especially the ones on friendship. I can see how many times you read them. I can see how you go back, time after time, and read ones I've written nearly two years ago. I can see how many times you go back and read the comments you've left, no doubt hoping to see a response from me.

I've decided to give one response for all the past and future comments you've made here...

If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all.
~ Thumper's Mama

I'm choosing silence rather than allowing my emotions to respond. I know that my responses should always be to reach out in grace and mercy. Even though you may have bad intentions, I should have forgiveness in my heart. It's simply not necessary for me to publicly ridicule you. And I refuse to do it.

You can feel welcome to continue to read my blog, that's what it's here for. That's why I write it. But if you're leaving comments hoping to receive an unkind response from me, you're wasting your time. You won't find that heart attitude here.

HELLO. GOODBYE.


Hello August, goodbye July {Seriously, where did summer go?}
Hello Birthday, goodbye feeling young {I am not even kidding...yeow was this year a hard one}
Hello school, goodbye days spent with my youngest little
Hello whirlwind weekend of seeing my NY family, and my youngest brother marry his love


Hello to my baby being a senior, goodbye having babies {again, where does time go?}
Hello canning season, goodbye bare cupboards
Hello pictures nearly every single day, and editing my life away
Hello to a long, stressful day in the hospital during my Dads surgery {would love y'alls prayers}


Hello end of summer 4wheeler rides with this gorgeous man
Hello resisting the urge to decorate for fall as soon as the kids go to school {that's a hard one}
Hello to my new coop being done, and having the most amazing hardworking husband!
What are YOU saying hello and goodbye to?

LOVE, RESPECT AND GODLY SUBMISSION {TO THE MEN}


It’s not very often I write a blog post specifically for men. It’s kinda strange but I’m actually super excited {and a little nervous} to share Gods marriage design with you as well!

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:25-33

Three times in this passage of Scripture God commands you as a husband to do something specific: love your wife.

While your wife is instructed to submit, you are instructed to love your wife. Not just kinda sorta love her, but love your wife as Christ loved the church. Paul does not tell you in this passage to rule over your wife. You are never told, “make sure your wife knows you’re in authority over her or show her who’s in charge.” Instead God tells you three times to love your wife.

Love her.

God’s command to love your wife involves more than just acting in love when you feel emotionally or physically close to your wife. God doesn't tell you to love your wife just when she is being affectionate and loving to you. He doesn't say to love your wife only when you feel she is deserving of it. And it doesn't say to withhold love when she's sassy {thank goodness}. God commands: cherish your wife. Have affection for your wife. Love her.

Guys, let your wife know how much she means to you. Tell her. Tell her over and over again. Write her a note to tell her and hide it in a place she'll find it. Believe me, she'll appreciate that more than you know. And she'll more than likely shed a few tears. Give her a big hug and kiss when you walk in the door after work. Just hold her in your arms. From a woman's perspective, this little act of kindness can wash away the negative things that happened during the day and change the tone of the evening. And I betcha this would also be a good step towards getting that smokin' hot marriage we all want!

How did Jesus ultimately show His love the church? He died to establish it. Wow... I know, right. Are you willing to do that? You are also to love your wife more than you love yourself. In reality, Christ is asking you to put your wife's needs before your own. What makes that difficult is our own selfish hearts. It doesn't help that you have the world in your ear, telling you that you are entitled to put your own needs first. And if you don't...well then you’re either a sissy, hen-pecked or really foolish.

Submission can't be forced, ever. Trying to control others (including your wife) is prideful, selfish and sinful. It doesn't honor God or others. And it certainly won't make for a very happy marriage. Being controlling isn't loving at all. If your wife isn't submitting, ask yourself "Am I loving my wife as Christ loved the church?” If the answer is no, then I’d say that is something you need to work on. Work on your part and don't worry about her part. Once your heart is in the right place, then the two of you can work on submission together.

A truly Christian marriage will mirror the relationship between Christ and his church. This mirroring will involve both the husband loving his wife as Christ loves the church, and the wife gladly submitting to her husband. The two elements, love and submission, are non-negotiable within the relationship. Both elements, love and submission are required for our marriages to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church.

So this week...guys, love on your wife. Hug her, kiss her, hold her, listen to her and just spend genuine quality time loving her.