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How big is your brave?


This is adapted from my ladies’ class with the same title. It is about equipping godly women with strength and courage. Dare I say, empower? It is rather long, I know, but it is meant to be a thorough and careful examination of a serious topic.

Recognizing someone else’s power does not diminish your own. ~ Joss Whedon

What this is and isn’t and a woman’s role in the church

Many months ago, I was approached by a young woman interested in studying attitudes toward women in the church. Interestingly, my four daughters and I have an ongoing dialogue about topics related to women. Knowing that others were also concerned encouraged me to begin an in-depth period of thought, prayer, observation, and study. more »

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Once more with thankfulness and an abundance of words…

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition~ Graham Greene

Over the past six months I’ve learned an abundance of lessons. One thing I know for certain is that, for me, writing and sharing are exceptionally therapeutic. Though knowing my words have meaning to others is encouraging, the writing itself—the words that come from my heart, the healing that happens in the sharing, the blessings in the lessons learned, the thankfulness expressed—is an exercise in coming to terms with the reality that in one moment my life changed forever. So, whether these five thousand words are buried in a blog post virtually unread or find a willing audience, they have been well worth the time it’s taken to me to write them. They are a mixture of even the smallest details of a huge struggle and my thoughts during and after the darkest days. more »

Never grow weary, there is hope…

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 1-5

Jesus was tempted, Jesus grew weary…but His love for us was greater still. He followed the will of His Father, He made the choice for love and salvation for man. He did the hardest thing…He made the greatest sacrifice. He sacrificed himself while men sinned and forsook Him. He walked the road to the cross for the worst of us. He asks us only to follow Him. Sure, that’s not really an ‘only’—it’s a journey wrought with struggles, fears, and daily choices to stay on the path. Pray for faith for ourselves and intercede for others. He is faithful.  more »

To tell His wondrous works. That’s why…

img_2897Why do I believe in telling my stories? I have always loved to tell the story of my salvation, from enjoying the sinful pleasures of the world to enjoying the pleasures and blessings of life as a follower of Christ. I have recently been blessed with another story, the story of my safekeeping, from a near fatal accident to complete healing. I have realized one common thing: both of these stories have a greater purpose in my life—they give glory to God. more »

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You can be amazing…

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Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary–it’s an act of infinite optimism.
~ Gilda Radner

Some might say my mother was ‘just a housewife’ … She was a faithful, supportive wife and mother for over 63 years. She supported my father through decades of service in the Army and the Sheriff’s Department. She loved, nurtured and guided five children through various interests and stages. She studied, she gardened, she served, she cared for family. She was never idle, always learning and ever encouraging.

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She was never unfulfilled, discontent or weak minded. She built her life on her faith and lived accordingly.

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There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. ~ Jill Churchill

She never sought to raise modern women who abandoned the roles of wife and mother entirely, neither did she seek to raise automatons who thought small and lived within the confines of a preconceived ideal. She was an example of submission and service, yet she stood firm by her convictions and ideals. She encouraged me to reach for the stars. She believed in me. She wanted the best for me. She always sees the best in me. more »

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A line of gold thread

Sally - me and daddy

During the summer of 1969, a middle age man held his new born baby day in and day out knowing that he was leaving for Vietnam and understanding the very real possibility that he’d never see that baby grow up. He held that baby when she slept and cooed at her when she was awake. When she was six weeks old, he left for his tour of duty.

Thankfully, that father returned to his family safely. Even more wonderful than that, he was there to watch his five children grow up! That man has held my heart for the past 46 years! His love and devotion to his family have been a constant source of security in my life. I can honestly say, from my earliest memories, that I felt truly cherished. I have never once doubted that, no matter what happened, my daddy would take care of me.

There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~John Gregory Brown more »

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One wrong bite…

Sally - julia and me

Sally - a mother's love

As I searched for quotes about protecting children from harm, I found a shocking number of absolutely hate-filled comments directed toward nut allergic children and their parents. The quote that I found most fitting after reading news articles and interviews was this:

The ugliest thing that I have ever seen is a human being without compassion. ~h. milne p.

I once wrote a blog post about protecting our children called: Better a thousand times careful than once dead. As I was pondering titles I couldn’t help but think that one was also fitting for this!

While all children need protection from maniacs (‘nuts’ if you will), there are many children who need the same diligent protection from certain kinds of ‘nuts.’ I am only qualified to write this as a mom of a child who suffers from an anaphylactic allergy. I am writing specifically about anaphylactic allergies and how our family and loved ones have handled this issue. Parents of children with deadly allergies are called a whole lot of ugly things! The general consensus of the masses is that we are bent on ruining everyone’s childhood, banning all the nuts, and demanding that the entire world revolve around our nut allergic child. We really ought to just remove them from society and ‘raise them in a bubble.’ How dare we insist on education and caution? more »

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At the scent of water

Sally - weed florida

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Disclaimer: Though I have nearly 23 years of experience raising plants and children, I am neither an expert on child rearing, nor a botanist. It is my job to plant, water and nurture but ultimately I put my trust in God because only He gives increase!

1 Corinthians 3:77 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

With as many plants as I’ve tried to grow over the years – experiencing great success and frustrating disappointment – I cannot help but ponder the similarities between my efforts with my plants and my efforts with my children. more »

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I know just what’s wrong with your baby

Sally - modern art

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Last fall I was blessed with the opportunity to teach (and learn!) at a ladies’ retreat in Pennsylvania. One of my favorite times was spending a few hours with the whole group of women—divided up into younger woman and older women. A lovely friend and I were on the borderline of the suggested age between young and old (we are both mid-forties), so we opted to sit with the younger group before the entire group spoke together (not without a bit of teasing!). I learned so much about my role as an older woman by listening to these young women: hearing what was helpful, hearing what was hurtful, hearing what was needed, hearing what they desired most. One thing I know, just having been a young woman once doesn’t mean that I understand all the feelings other women face, we are all individuals and we can’t always know what others need unless we communicate openly. I can guess, I can teach, but unless I am asked or observe a clear need, I don’t always know what others need. No matter the situation, careful speech is critical. This should be a given.  If you haven’t ever done a detailed study on the power of words, please consider reading through this blog post: Sweet to the soul and healthy to the bones.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

I know just what’s wrong with your baby was a comment spoken to a young mom, struggling to overcome some issues with her newborn. This young mom shared this in tears while trying to articulate why hearing it was so discouraging to her and how it could have been handled differently. She understood that the motive was to help, but also acknowledged that the comment wasn’t helpful. While that idea sparked my blog post, many things I’ve seen and heard since have prompted me to finally take the plunge. Present blog included, there is no shortage of advice on just about any topic you want to study. For every opinion and conclusion drawn on one blog, one might find another vehemently disagreeing and promoting an entirely different perspective. No matter how successful you deem your parenting, someone disagrees with you and sees you as a supreme failure. On the other hand, no matter how badly you may be parenting, you will find validation aplenty! Everyone has an opinion and is free to share it. Everyone else is free to rake them across the coals for holding it and sharing it. more »

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Refresh my heart

Sally - Be Still Sad Heart

1 Corinthians 16:17–18 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.

Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~Chinese Proverb

Encourage. Edify. Inspire. Refresh. Support. Uplift. Most human beings, whether they acknowledge it or not, are affected by various forms of encouragement. Several scientific studies have been done over the past few years that show how encouragement actually affects brain chemistry. For those who don’t give much weight to scientific studies (unless they happen to prove a personal conviction), in the very least, it’s generally agreed that discouragement is discouraging! Only a select few (and I’ve never met any) are absolutely unaffected by encouragement or discouragement.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I have tried to encourage others and I have sought encouragement. I have been a babe in Christ craving encouragement and I have been a Christian of decades craving encouragement. I have been edified in my attempts to encourage and my attempts to seek encouragement and I have been rejected at my attempts to do both. I have repeatedly seen both the strong and the weak craving encouragement. One thing I know: encouragement is desperately needed by humans of all ages and stages! more »

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