Friday, October 30, 2009

You NEED to see this.

Okay everyone needs to see this. http://agodlyhomemaker.blogspot.com/2009/10/you-need-to-know-this.html  This puts our children in danger from sexual predators and we need to know what these people are trying to do!

The Heart Of Christmas ♥ #1

Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!

Homemade:
I just finished up a knitted cotton burp cloth for my new nephew "Jellybean" who is 2 months old. :) Of course it's really for his mama since 8 week old babies aren't really interested in gifts. ;) And for his daddy, and anyone else that happens to be burping the little fellow. (Shhh! He's a spitter. But he's so cute you can't even mind!)
It's a variegated yarn in greens and blues. I really am a horrible knitter so I'm not sure, really, why I took this project on. Maybe because little Jellybean is just so stinkin' cute I just look at a picture of him and get the urge to make him crafty gifts! It took about 2 weeks to finish. And so I've proudly set aside one homemade gift in the "finished" pile! Woohoo! I just love that feeling of accomplishment from finishing something you lovingly made for someone you care about, don't you?

Gift:
I need ideas for a homemade project for a 5 year old boy - my other nephew who is Jellybean's big brother. Any ideas? I was thinking maybe THIS. I'm not sure if he'll like it. What do you think?

Focus:
The other day it hit me that it's almost November already and I felt that rising dread... You know the one. The dread you get when you think about all the people you "have to" get Christmas gifts for and how are you going to afford it, make it fair, get everyone something they like... STOP! Seriously I had to give myself a mental shake! This is not what it's about. Of course I have to find a way to show everyone I love and appreciate them, but dreading it and stressing over it is not going to express anything positive to them at all. How would you feel if you could hear someone's thoughts as they looked at you and thought, "Oh crud! I have to get you something for Christmas and I don't know what to get! This is going to cost too much money. I hate Christmas shopping." How would that make you feel? UNappreciated, that's what! Like the person thought you are costing them too much time, money, and effort. So instead of focusing on spending limits and making sure everyone has the expensive toy of their choice, let's remember the greatest gifts are LOVE-based and not guilt, money, calendar date, wishlist, or responsibility based. The gift of a new My Little Pony or Transformer will last 3 weeks if you're lucky. The gift of quality time together, treasured memories, and kind words will last a lifetime.
And lets not ever let ourselves forget the Greatest Gift... When we try to make Him revolve around our holliday instead of revolving our holliday around Him, it's like saying to Him that He costs too much time, money, and effort so we'll add Him in as an afterthought. He should be the reason and motivation for all that we do, not just at Christmas but always.
"Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You! Help me to deal with my worrying and stressing and to focus instead on the gifts of love. Amen!"


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If you want to share how you're keeping the heart of CHRISTmas where it belongs this year, please click the button at the top of this post to see how you can link up! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Heart Of Christmas ♥ PLAY ALONG!

Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!

Last year, before I was a blogger, THIS blogger did something so wonderfully fun for Christmas! She is apparently not doing it this year, much to my extreme dissappointment! :( *sniffles* Well who says that has to spoil my fun? Every year I want to make homemade things but get distracted and then don't get anything finished in time. What better way to keep me motivated and focused on the TRUE heart of CHRISTmas than a fun interactive bloggy carnival with all of you! What do you say? Want to join the fun?

What to put in your posts (you can use any one, several, or all of these ideas in each post):
-Something about how you stay focused on Jesus.
-Something you have bought/made as a gift for someone, or a link to an idea for a project you would LIKE to make for a gift.
-A Christmas recipe.
-Talk about one of your family traditions, why you do it and what it means.
-A sweet Christmas memory.
-Anything else that is related to the HEART of Christmas, having a sweet and thankful spirit, handmade with love, giving, helping the needy, avoiding getting stressed out, avoiding focus on money and gifts, seeing Jesus as the bringer of every good and perfect gift, etc.

We want to avoid posts that encourage complaining and stressing, focus on money/Santa/gifts (commercialism), and keeping up with the Jones'.

INSTRUCTIONS:
I will try to post a Heart of CHRISTmas post at least once a week and link it. You may link a post every week, or every day, or just once or twice. You know I'd love it if you linked often of course... Lol! But I know you can't post if you don't have something you feel like posting about. ;) So just join in when you want to. :) There is not a specific day of the week to do this. Just come here and link up each time you have a qualifying post.
1. Write a post that falls within the guidelines above. (Or you can use an old post of like a Christmas craft or recipe or gift idea.)
2. Include this button in the post. If you would like, you can put it in your blog's sidebar too to draw more people to this meme. Use the code provided which links the button back here so people can browse the other participating blogs.
Click to see other posts in this blog carnival or add your own!
3. Link your post to the MckLinky below so others can find it! :) Please include the name of your blog and most importantly the title of your post in the "Name" field when linking. LINK DIRECTLY TO THE SPECIFIC POST, not just to your blog in general. For example my first link will not go merely to http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/ - it will instead be a specific link to a specific post; http://everypreciousjoy.blogspot.com/2009/10/heart-of-christmas-1.html. Make sense? Link to the post, not the whole blog.
4. Browse the other posts in the MckLinky list to see what others are doing for CHRISTmas. We all love comments so if you'd like to leave some love for the other participants we'd be ever so excited! :D

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Keepers at Home"

Before you read the rest of this you should go read THIS POST because my post here is in agreement with that one and reading that one first will compliment and clarify what I'm talking about here.

I think that in the Bible in Titus 2, the phrase "keepers at home," the part that people aren't tracking with is not the HOME part. It's pretty much agreed that the meaning of that is that women need to make sure their house is kept up. I think it's the KEEPERS part that people don't understand... at least it was for me at one point. People see "keepers at home" and think "housekeeper" as in maid, servant, whose duty is to cook and clean and carry out orders. Well if that's all a woman's good for then count me out! Who would sign on for that? It sounds like some sort of mindless slave. The thing people can't see is that "keepers at home" doesn't mean a maid. It means a gatekeeper of the home. A guardian of the environment which we call home. Being a keeper at home is a high calling indeed. It's not a maid, it's so much more beautiful than that! The Keeping part means guiding, guarding, and tending. It doesn't mean merely cleaning. We are to guide our children as they learn and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. We are to guard against bad things coming into our home- like a gatekeeper keeps the enemy out of the city, so we should keep the ultimate enemy from entering our homes. We are to guard our home environment and our children from evil influences. And we are to tend our family like a gardener tends his vegetables. We are to nurture and encourage our little sprouts, and fertilize our relationships, prune out bad attitudes/clutter/anything that chokes the life out of a family like weeds, and cultivate good soil for a family to grow and thrive in by blessing our families with our attitudes and the work of our hands. The work of a keeper at home is not mindless servitude. It's an exciting and challenging daily adventure, a challenge to guard and bless those that we love. Being a keeper at home would seem to me to be more focused on being a spiritual thing, and is not just a physical do-the-dishes thing. Of course having a tidy house and dinner planned out will improve the spiritual atmosphere of the home, but that's not the whole package. It's just the icing on the cake.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween - Part 4: My personal beliefs

If you have not yet read the preceeding 3 parts of this 4-part series, then I must request that you do so before continuing. It is a series for a reason and is in the order which I have presented it for a reason - it will make the most sense if you read it as it was meant to be read.

Part 1: Jack-O-Lantern, Stingy Jack, Jack the Smith
Part 2: Origins - All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day
Part 3: How it all ties in, Christian response

PART 4:
I would like to open this post where I left off in Part 3- with the scriptures I noted there. They may help you to understand why I believe what I do.

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1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.

Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

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And if it seems offensive to you to serve the LORD, choose once and for all whom you will serve; the gods of your ancestors, or the gods of those in whose land you reside... but as for me and my lineage, we will serve the LORD.
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What are my personal beliefs regarding Halloween?
Well, I believe that it is a celebration that pleases Satan. I think that children dressed as demonic creatures pleases Satan. I think that carrying out the pagan religious ceremonies of setting out Jack-O-Lanterns and acting out the distribution of sweets to bribe the evil spirits to move along is pleasing to Satan. I think the fact that Christians don't know what what they are doing represents when they take their children Trick Or Treating gives the devil a big ol' ROFL. I think that when children act out being an unholy being it is spiritually unhealthy, even harmfull to them. I think that even if a child is dressed as an angel or Superman they are still acting out the story of demons visiting homes to threaten tricks if not presented with a treat.

How were my husband and I raised regarding celebrating or not celebrating Halloween?
When I was a child my family did not celebrate Halloween. We would lock up our animals and pray that some cult or prankster wouldn't get ahold of them and torture them for the glory of the evil one. We would sometimes leave the house and go eat dinner out to avoid the bombardment of costumed kids incessantly beating at the door demanding candy. Sometimes we would turn out all the lights and watch a movie, but they would come anyway and shine flashlights in our windows and beat on the door for a long time. It scared us kids to have our home assaulted that way. I never slept well that night.
When my husband was a child his family did celebrate Halloween. He has two older brothers. They dressed as scary and evil things and went trick or treating. His family never gave any thought to it, just thought of it as harmless and did it because they'd always done it and it was fun. My husband was raised in church, good Christian boys from a good Christian family. His family still thinks of it as harmless fun but my husband has now, as an adult, been convicted against celebrating it.

Did I ever feel deprived by not being allowed to go Trick or Treating?
Yes and no. Not really. I felt deprived of the chance to dress up in a way and at a time that was not glorifying to Satan. This deprivation would have still been there even had I been out trick or treating. I would still have felt like I would have been more proud of my costume if it were done somewhere, somehow, that would glorify my LORD. I also felt deprived of the chance to glutton myself on free candy. Lol! A very shallow and childlike thing to pout over of course, so I got over it after just a few Halloweens. My family was too poor to buy candy. I imagine my kids will not have this problem since my husband and I are not so poor we can't afford some sweets. ;) And even if they do feel deprived of treats, that is not a sufficient reason to participate in something we don't feel right about.

What about Church Harvest Parties or Trunk-or-treats?
Well, I went to a Church Harvest Party (Church costume event for Halloween to keep kids off the streets) when I was about 11. I felt so betrayed when I stepped inside this house of GOD and saw little witches and demons running around with Jack-O-lantern buckets! In the CHURCH! My little 11 year old heart broke and I felt positively sick to my stomach. I had been under the impression that the purpose of the Harvest Party was to have something for the Christian kids to do on Halloween that would be glorifying to God instead of Satan and when I saw that it was just a big trick or treat party in the Church I started crying and wanted to go home. I told my parents I didn't ever want to go to another Church Harvest Party. I felt morally raped.
My husband tells me that a trunk-or-treat was what his childhood Church did. People would park in the Church parking lot and open their candy-filled car trunks and the kids would go from car to car trick-or-treating. Basically still trick or treating in the pagan traditional manner except with cars instead of houses.
I think that Christians should pray carefully about these alternative activities just as they should pray carefully about the traditional ones. See what God tell you. IMO if the Church Harvest Party had turned out to be what my hopeful little 11 year old heart had expected, it would be a great alternative. If you can find an alternative in your church or group that is truely glorifying to God then I would be all over it!
We won't allow our children to participate in anything where there are children and/or adults dressed up as evil things so this would eliminate Church Harvest Parties like the one I attended as an alternative for my kids. I would love to have a Harvest Party where the children could dress up in wholesome costumes and the focus would be on something other than candy. I wouldn't mind in the least if it were not even ON Halloween. Perhaps when my kids are older I will host such a thing for other Christian families looking for an alternative fall activity. Hmmm the possibilities! Of course I will have to discuss it with the hubby and do some praying... I was browsing a blog just this morning and the blogger just did a Harvest Party and I thought it looked wonderful and like so much fun! The kids dressed as historical characters and gave a presentation on their character. What a terrific idea! Do any of you host or attend a wholesome alternative to Halloween? I'd love to hear about it!

What do I think about other Christians celebrating Halloween?
Frankly I think that it would be wrong of me not to present my fellow believers with the truth of the origins of Halloween in case they do not know. I have a very difficult time conversing in public. I'm the oldest of 3 siblings and, strangely, the only one who is cripplingly shy in public. My brother is not going to win any socialite awards but he gets along more than passably well with other humans. My sister could win socialite of the century; she is chipper and witty and friendly. I seem to be the only one who did not inherrit any one-on-one communication skills! So when I get asked by friends and family, "Why don't you celebrate Halloween? It's just harmless fun, right?" I can't seem to express clearly what I'm trying to say. I have a whole speech ready the instant they are out of sight but when conversing one on one it's like I revert back to the vocabulary level of my 3 year old. That is one reason why I decided to write this blog series on Halloween. I am so much better at expressing myself in the written word when I have the time to do so. So now when I get disbelief, scorn, dirty looks, or questions or whatever I will be able to direct people to my blog to answer the burning question, Why don't we celebrate Halloween? The other reason I wrote this is because there are alot of dear friends with whom the subject has never come up. Like I said before, I believe it would be wrong of me to not present the origins of Halloween so that people know. If I believe God wants me to do something and I do not do it, it would be a sin. As for what other people do with it after I tell it... that is between them and GOD.

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Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. -James 4:17
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What should I do on Halloween?
Well, you know, I just don't know. I will admit I'm still in prayer and pondering on this one. Should I hand out tracts and candy? That kind of makes me uneasy because then I'm opening the door of my home to 'monsters/ghosts/demons/witches' in front of my vulnerable children. Even if the babies are in bed, the whole symbolism of trying to evangelize kids dressed as scary evil things by playing along with something I believe is wrong seems to be contrary to scripture. Be ye IN the world but not OF it? But is hiding from them or avoiding them the right choice? I don't know. I really don't. If you have any thoughts on this dilemma I would love to read them and add them to my ponderings. ;) We have lived in town 4 years now. The first Halloween I think we went out to eat, the next year we handed out tracts and candy and the trick or treaters were almost all dressed as hellish things or chopped up murder victims and they scared the poor dog half out of her mind which led to barking which scared baby Chicklet half out of HER mind and the poor little boy dressed as a demon whom my 50-pound pit bull was barking at was scared about out of HIS mind too. The last two Halloweens we have just watched a movie with the lights out but the kids here are awfully rude and foolish and beat on the door anyway even with the porch light and inside lights out. Year before last they were throwing things at our house because we wouldn't answer the door. But if we go out to eat everyone is dressed up in the restaurant with gory dead body parts and skeletons hanging around the food. Not what I want my kids to be seeing, and not what I like to view with my dinner. *sigh* I really am not sure what we will do this year.

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Respectful, calm comments, spoken with Christ's love, are welcome. Any comment that comes across as rude, disrespectful, evil, mean spirited, or playing 'devil's advocate' literally, will be deleted at my discretion. It's my blog and I reserve the right to delete as I see fit.

Featured Bloggy Friend! ;)

Do you see at the top of this blog just under the banner there are some new buttons? See the one that says "Featured Blogger?" Well, every so often you should click that while you're visiting! It will open up a new blog that I think you should check out. Who knows, maybe you'll make a new friend or find a new blog you want to follow! :) And maybe someday it will be you! You know if it were you you'd love some fresh sweet comments so don't forget to show love to the featured blogger on their turn. :)
So go on, click that button and see who it is this week! You know you wanna... ;)


For my first week I'm featuring Georgiann from The Garden Gate. Click the button to visit her blog!
Click to visit Georgiann @ The Garden Gate!
While you're there, check out her post about how she canned her own pumpkin for holliday baking when the store ran out. :)

Georgiann, What was your main reason for beginning to blog? What is your greatest inspiration for what you write? What is one thing you know alot about? Do you have any hobbies other than blogging? If you get a chance to answer in the comments we'd love to learn more about you! :)

Would you like to be my featured friend someday? Remember that I prefer to feature blogger friends who
-follow me
-have commented recently on my blog
-update their blog frequently
-blog things that are inspirational/relevant to me personally
-do not endorse things on their blog that I'm strongly against.