Love Notes

loveI know the world and our nation and what calls itself “Christianity” are all in bad shape. I get that. Believe me. But that’s why appreciating the good things is so important. That’s a common theme here at the Hope Blog.

Little moments make up our lives. Lots of them. Some are tragic, some are filled with grief or anger or sadness, but the ones I want to write about are filled with the best life has to offer.

One such moment happened two nights ago. In a rare evening of free time, my husband crashed on the couch, feet up, just relaxing. He was wearing my favorite fleece shirt, because up here in Wisconsin, it’s still chilly. Emmy calls it his “huggy” shirt. That’s exactly what it is. Seeing him, I could not resist joining him, and then Emmy did.

“I want to share Daddy, too,” she said.

“Nope, He’s all mine right now,” I teasingly said.

“Mama, we need to get a Double Daddy then. Because I want to have him, too!”

Yes, we need a Double Daddy in this house, or even a Triple Daddy, as Will wants a piece of him when he gets home as well. In that little moment of family life on the couch, it was a reminder of what matters most to me.

Last night it was raining out and around dinner time, Emmy came running. “Daddy’s home! Come quick!”

So we went downstairs and at Em’s suggestion, we hid behind the door to “surprise” him. (He always expects something is coming when he gets home.)

Tom entered, tired and wet with the rain on his jacket and hair, after a day of working to provide for us. He set down his bag and Em grabbed his legs in an enthusiastic embrace. I gave my dear man a hug for a mutual recharging of batteries. Over dinner, in our small and cozy kitchen, we all heard about each others day. Just another fleeting and precious moment in our lives.

This afternoon the phone rang. It was Will calling from school. I thought something was wrong.

“I need to talk to Emmy,” said my high school senior.

“Why?”

“Oh, I just had some time and wanted to say hi to her.”

His four-year-old sister put him on speaker phone and a very cute conversation followed. A call from her big brother, just because. Because he loves her and she loves him. (And he knows he is leaving for college in August.)

Flowers are nice, roses are grand on special occasions, but the best of life and love is in those brief moments when heart touches heart, and the why of all the work we do in our families comes into sharper focus. Scattering those love notes throughout our days is what makes life sweet. Living it in front of our children gives them a template for their own love notes, both now and in their own homes someday.

We can change the world best by loving our families first. Without that, it’s all just noise.

 

 

 

Women for Sale – Cheap

Explaining modesty, as the report says, as being ‘no longer a virtue in contemporary society’ the annual Romance Report by publisher Harlequin showed a clear focus on technology’s involvement in romance today in both the survey’s themed questions and results. From the article, New Study Reveals Increasing Number of Women ‘Sexting’

What`s love got to do, got to do with it
What`s love but a sweet old fashioned notion
What`s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken…

~Tina Turner, pop song from the 80′s

The continuing collapse of Western culture is nowhere more evident than in the shambolic state of women today. There is a UK newspaper that reports continually on the new breed of female teacher/predators who target young boys for sexual thrills, leaving damaged and ruined lives in their wake. There are so many stories like this that it feels surreal to scan headlines anymore. It’s like a tidal wave of debauchery has swept over our country, with women at the leading edge.

Women are now, according to a new study, sending naked photos of themselves, over their cell phones at a startling rate. We’re not talking about 15-year-olds here, we’re talking about grown women. (Perhaps that’s where the teen girls got the idea?) Whether you are 60 or 6, the mantra of the New Millennium Woman is “work it, baby!”

As a member of Generation X, I stare around in bewilderment sometimes. The Baby Boomer females were the women who were declaring their total liberation from male “oppression”, getting abortions when they conceived children in their newly liberated state, burning their female undergarments and claiming the ultimate triumph of women over men. They were women, they said, and everyone was supposed to hear them roar.They were no longer just going to be toys for boys, no more staying at home to rear children, it was all going to be a new world with she-warriors über alles.

I once babysit for a very strange household of liberal academics. There were 3 adults in the house, and only later did my innocent teen mind slowly realize that the dynamics were not normal, to put it kindly. One night I was browsing the bookshelves of the house for reading material when I pulled out a black  book of feminist poetry.

“Eve stands for evil,
God stands for good,
So much for male, patriarchal authority…”

The poetry went downhill from there. The hippies I was babysitting for were the archetypal feminists, shunning make-up, with long stringy hair, the radical UK magazine Prime Rib on the burlap covered coffee table. There wouldn’t have been any sexting in that household.

My generation of females seemed to have lost that feminist vision somewhere in the 80′s. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was on the radio, pink hair and florescent gel wrist bands were in. Madonna showed up on the scene, and flaunted sexuality became the norm in teen music and film. The Prime Rib crowd seemed a long ways away.

Fast forward to today’s young girls who are sending naked photos of themselves in middle school, while their 40 and 50-something mothers are getting injected with toxins and having surgery to maintain their “hot” looks, Their mothers have, after all, their own provocative photos to send to their latest “boyfriends.”

The term “cougar” was coined to describe older women going after young men in movies. The idea has now been applied at a very local level like the Christian school rocked by the pervert female charged with sex abuse of her young male student. Cougars. Real progress, women.

It isn’t hard to diagnose the problem. Erase God and His laws from the homes of America, deny His image stamped on humanity, take His gift of sexuality and tear it away from the marriage covenant, descend to the level of beasts of the field in living by your glands, and you will achieve the smoking ruins around us.

I don’t care if I offend any feminist reading this post. What has happened to womanhood is a tragedy and an outrage. I admire men and the masculine traits that set them apart. But I love being female, because I believe that we bring something unique and equally special to the world. By nature, God made us more nurturing, more gentle, and those emotions females are often criticized for are what make the world a habitable place. We have the “feel” of a situation that men often lack. That’s because God gave that intuitive gift to women. The world would be a bleak, utilitarian place without it.

The protective instincts, the tenderness and love of a woman is something that make a home what God intended. Whether or not you have children or a husband, a woman brings beauty and love and care to others that men simply cannot duplicate. Because they are men.

To see a nation of girls and grown women turn themselves into sleazy p-rno pin-ups, aborting the children of their wombs for convenience, surgically altering their bodies to suit some fake celebrity ideal, spending hours texting and tweeting sexy pics and behaving like empty-headed bimbos is sickening. It’s a perversion of God’s design, and our society is paying an enormous and unaffordable price for it–because our daughters are watching and emulating what we do. And one glance at the headlines will show how well they are doing with this brave new world.

Girls are led to believe being loved, the word so cheaply thrown around by teens today, is provoking a lustful response in males. They are being lied to by every aspect of our culture, and often in their own homes by parents who fail to truly love each other. Girls are used up and discarded like trash, many arriving at Tina Turner’s jaded conclusion by the time they are in high school. (“What’s love got to do with it?) Being a sexual provocateur is considered arriving at your female destiny, and God help the girl who isn’t considered “hot” enough to be “loved.”

I tremble to be raising daughters in this climate. We mothers and also fathers need to do whatever we can to protect our girls from the mindset of the age. One of the best ways to do that is to model for our children true love in our marriages that allows us to find the full and healthy expression of our gender according to God’s perfect plan.

I intend to write more on this in the near future.

The Family that Eats Together…

The picture at left hangs on our kitchen wall. It is an inexpensive print we found at a discount store, but it’s a cheery country scene, and I like it. It provides things to talk about with Emmy, and when she gets older, I’ll make up stories about the little characters therein.

While we’ve made our share of mistakes as parents over the years, one thing I think we’ve done right can be summed up in two words: family dinner.

Several studies have revealed the importance of this simple family ritual in the lives of young people. I read about one study in 2005 and more recently, one released this summer that underscored how important family meals are, not only for the physical heath of young people, but emotional health as well.

For some families, work schedules don’t always make this possible every night. But it is worth it when you can. It is a rare evening when we don’t all sit down, even if it’s just fish sticks and tater tots on the table. It isn’t the food involved as much as it is the conversation, the emotional connection and the sharing of our lives for that window of time. (Although good food certainly helps.)

Family meals are also a training ground for good manners (we’re still working on that one with a certain teenager.) No, don’t make a boarding house reach for the ketchup, no, don’t talk with your mouth full, use your napkin, etc. Dinner time together is the primary place to teach gratefulness for our daily bread. Emmy is learning her first prayers. She folds her hands and says, “Thank you, God for EVERYTHING. Amen.” The older children learned this prayer:

The eyes of all look to You, 0 Lord, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen

Best of all is the conversation. William has a challenging physics class this year, and he filled up the conversation last night holding forth on some physics concepts that went right over my head, something about why rocket engines work in a vacuum, and something to do with “point of reference.” I didn’t catch it all in between helping Emily with her pasta, but it was very interesting and went down well with our chicken parmesan and garlic bread.

Some of the biggest laughs have taken place at the table. Some of it, admittedly, has gone overboard. I’ll never forget one memorable dinner when all five children were arrayed around the table. One of the toddlers took a sudden, violent dislike to the bean and ham soup, some chaos ensued, and good-natured Tom had to restore order amid lots of humor. The scene was hardly out of Miss Manners, but a rollicking good time was had by all. I hope my children remember some of these times, I sure will!

More than anything, family meals are about nurture and relationships. Even if it’s only a frozen pizza (I’m letting all my culinary shortcomings be known here, sigh) the familiar faces around the table, together again after a day, either a good one or a bad one, are a great comfort in this ever changing world. Here’s a recipe everyone should have. You can serve this one up anytime at a family meal!

A pound of patience, you must find
Mixed well with loving words, so kind
Drop in 2 pounds of helpful deeds
And thoughts of other people’s needs.

A pack of smiles, to make the crust,
Then stir and bake it well you must.
And now, I ask that you may try,
The recipe of Sunshine Pie.

~Unknown

God bless my little kitchen
I love its every nook
And bless me as I do my work
Wash pots and pans and cook.
And may the meals that I prepare
Be seasoned from above
With Thy great blessing and Thy grace
But most of all Thy love.
As we partake our earthly food
The table before us spread
We’ll not forget to thank Thee, Lord
Who gives us daily bread.
So bless my little kitchen, Lord
And those who enter in
May they find naught but joy and peace
And happiness therein.

Be Joyful. Satan Has Been Defeated!

The enemy of souls hates it when families laugh.

So we will laugh and be happy, knowing that joy comes from knowing Jesus who defeated that enemy.

The enemy hates it when families forgive each other, so we will reach out to those we have hurt or who have hurt us and forgive them even if they reject us, knowing that we can do this in the power of Jesus Christ who forgave us.

The enemy hates it when those in pain refuse to curse God and instead trust Him in the dark of suffering. So we will trust God in the dark of suffering and hold tight to the hand of the One who never will leave us or forsake us.

The enemy hates when God turns what he meant for evil into good that praises and exalts the Lord’s holy name. So we will watch expectantly for God to take what is consummately evil and turn even that to accomplish His perfect purposes.

The enemy hates joyful, loving, healthy families, so we will be joyful, love each other and reject anything that is not healthy in relationships. We will praise God that He destroys strongholds of the enemy and vanquishes Apollyon.

God is not the author of confusion, of conflict, of hatred, of vengefulness and of fear. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace and life and sound minds.

Wherever there is conflict, hatred, slander, dishonesty, paranoia, fear and betrayal, there is Satan. Reject him in your life. Look to Jesus and sing joyfully like Miriam did on the other side of the Red Sea. Pharaoh had sent out his chariots to destroy God’s people. But God stopped them, and his people were brought to safety on dry land on the other side.

“Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously! The horse and his rider, hath He thrown into the sea. The Lord shall reign forever and ever.” 

Exodus 15