2006 at 12:31 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Birth Day Diaries
still 2 cm dilated, 80 percent effaced
We got here at around 8:30 a.m. and after checking in, we met Janelle’s entertaining nurse, Barbara. She’s wearing an Eeyore nurse’s jacket and matching Eeyore socks. However, her personality doesn’t match her favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character; she’s more a cross between Tigger and Rabbit—Tigger’s enthusiasm and Rabbit’s efficiency. Perfect.
After bravely enduring the first needle of the day (her fluid IV) Janelle gave us a little scare when she became faint and her blood pressure dropped. But everything has stabilized now and the doctor just broke Janelle’s water. The good news is that all the back pain she’s been experiencing has actually been contractions!
Surprisingly, Janelle hasn’t demanded an epidural. Although maybe that’s because she hasn’t actually been induced yet.
2006 at 7:40 am | by Janelle Bradshaw
Fun Stuff Birth Day Diaries
Good morning, everyone! I hardly know what to write. The day that I have been praying and thinking about for nine months is finally here. I’m doing well. Sleep last night was pretty fitful, but my heart is at peace. I’m very aware of the Lord’s nearness and promise to help me. I just can’t wait to hold my little girl in my arms. Mike and I lay awake last night, as we have on so many occasions, trying to guess who she might look like. It’s hard to imagine that all of our wondering is quickly approaching an end.
Nicole will take over the posting from here. Thank you so much to all of you who are praying for me! Would you do me this great kindness for one more day?
Here’s the first picture of the day, fresh out of bed. Don’t worry I’m going to hit the shower and the makeup now.
2006 at 6:00 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
A much loved part of my life is about to fade away any day now…SLEEP! It reminds me of what the nurse told my grandmother right after the birth of her first child: “Congratulations, Mrs. Layman, your sleeping days are over.”
You might find me in a similar pose once sleep deprivation sets in!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone. We will see you on Monday—the BIG DAY—unless baby decides to make an appearance sooner.
for Carolyn, Nicole, and Kristin
2006 at 4:03 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
When an interviewer once asked Barbara Bush what advice she gave to her daughter-in-law Laura Bush, her answer was simple: “Don’t criticize your husband.” The elder Mrs. Bush recalled a remark she made about one of George Bush Sr.’s speeches: “I think you’re tired, and you mumbled your words.” The effect of this seemingly innocent comment? “When I criticized George, he remembered it for months afterwards.”
“So I really took her advice to heart,” Laura Bush said. “I knew there were plenty of other critics [of my husband] without me being one of them. Until one night we were driving into our driveway and he said, ‘Tell me the truth, how was my speech?’ And I said, ‘Well, it wasn’t that good.’ And with that, he drove into the garage wall!”
Although our president might be the only man to have driven into a garage wall upon hearing his wife’s criticism, the fact remains: our critical words can have a debilitating effect on our husbands! I imagine that many men, like the first President Bush, remember their wife’s critical words for months or even years.
My mom has observed that, of all the criticism our husbands may receive—from their boss or their family or even an enemy—a wife’s disparaging remarks can often do the most damage. To me, this is a sobering thought. I regret many a hasty, critical comment that I’ve made to Brian.
This doesn’t mean there is not a place for gentle correction at times. As wives, it is our responsibility to help our husbands in their pursuit of godliness. However, there is a big difference between gentle correction motivated out of a heart of love and sinful, unkind criticism.
However, as detrimental as our criticism is, our words of encouragement carry a unique, life-giving potential for our husbands. Recently, I sat down with my husband and asked him what he experiences when I encourage him. He said that my encouraging words sustain him, and help him to persevere in life and godliness. He said they help him to be aware of God’s grace at work in his life, changing him to be more like the Savior. And my encouragement makes him feel prized and appreciated. What a stunning effect my words can have!
Now, please don’t assume I’m the world’s most encouraging wife. Far from it! As Brian described the effect of my encouragement I was saddened by how little I do encourage him, but freshly inspired to make this a greater priority.
If your husband, like mine, would list “encouragement” in his “Top Three,” consider making small but specific changes. Seek to refrain from critical remarks, and instead, look for creative ways to express encouragement.
For example, put a sticky note somewhere telling him that you love him. Hide a card and his favorite candy in his bag when he goes on a business trip (this is my husband’s favorite). Or think about one character trait where he really shines, and tell him so!
Our husband may never be President of the United States, but when we refrain from criticism and cultivate encouragement, we can give them confidence in our love, inspire them to persevere, and point them to the Savior.
2006 at 6:39 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Fun Stuff Baby Watch
Baby Bradshaw is going to hold out for as long as possible! I went for my weekly doctor’s visit this afternoon and heard an identical report as last time - 2 cm. dilated and almost 80% effaced. My doctor still thinks I could go any day, but mommy isn’t holding her breath. If I don’t go on my own this weekend they will induce me on Monday morning at 9 a.m. It was funny leaving the doctor’s office today and not making an appointment for next week. Girly only has four more days to make up her little mind to come on her own accord.
Thank you to all those who have sent me such encouraging e-mails. I have been so blessed by your care and prayers. Pray that baby decides to join us sometime before Monday’s hospital visit. We will keep you updated…
2006 at 4:03 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
The first topic in our mini-series—“Top Three”—is marital intimacy. By “top three,” we don’t mean a wife’s top three priorities as outlined in Scripture, but rather, the top three ways in which we can best fulfill the scriptural command to love our husbands—which will be different for everyone. But for my husband (and I suspect for many others), intimacy holds an unrivaled position at #1.
This topic of intimacy however, is only appropriate for married women to consider. Single women and young girls are, in the eloquent words of Solomon, not to “stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (S of S 2:7). For this reason, we are providing today’s post in a downloadable document and ask that unmarried women refrain from reading it. Married women, you can continue reading here.
2006 at 12:18 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
This royal title was bestowed upon the GirlTalk blog by blogger Tim Challies. Each week Challies chooses a new recipient of this honor and features their posts on the sidebar of his blog.
Now, Mr. Challies, the GirlTalkers are honored to be awarded this prestigious title, and we were just wondering—does this come with anything? Given the designation “King” found in the title of your award, we thought that you might accompany this honor with, let’s say, a royal feast of some kind. Just in case you were wondering, my favorite restaurants are Outback and Houston’s. Although, we GirlTalkers also love to shop, and we would accept any and all donations toward a shopping spree. If these sound too low key, a cruise would work. I’m thinking the Bahamas or Hawaii. We would also be fine with Disney World if you are looking to simplify things. I leave this decision entirely up to you.
All joking aside, we do want to sincerely thank Mr. Challies for his kind words and encouragement. We feel as though we are barely keeping our heads above water with this blog thing, and being chosen “King for a Week” blessed each one of us. We also want to say a big “hello” to those of you visiting us for the first time from Mr. Challies blog. We hope you enjoy your visit!
For all of our regulars, take a moment and check out Tim Challies blog. While you are there, you can also read his recent review of Mom’s book, Feminine Appeal.
Once again, thank you to Tim Challies from all of us here at GirlTalk!
2006 at 6:34 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
After posting last week’s Q&A on Guy/Girl Relationships, we received the following e-mail from a reader named Amy. She wrote to tell us her love story, which, besides being a fun read, beautifully illustrates the principles we laid out in that post. Amy’s story is full of the peaceful wisdom that comes from learning to trust in the Lord. And while no two love stories are the same, we can all be encouraged by this striking example of God’s sovereignty, which graciously rules over all our lives.
When I was a senior in high school, I developed a great friendship with two Christian guys, and I ended up falling for one of them. Although I never let on about my feelings, I had a terrible habit of overanalyzing his every move, hoping to find evidence that he was secretly in love with me. But I had no real reason to believe he was. And I didn’t know if he ever WOULD be interested in me. I think all I did was make myself crazy!
I also knew that the timing was off—having read and loved good old I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was proudly (sometimes militantly ?) single, and I knew neither of us was ready for a serious, marriage-focused relationship. (I actually confided in my best friend at one point: “I don’t want to date Steve now. I just want to marry him later!”) Yet in spite of my confidence in a purpose-filled, focused season of singleness, I longed for God to just tell me in advance whether Steve and I would ever be together. I can’t tell you how many times I begged Him to give me some clarity one way or the other.
I knew that any sort of relationship might still be a few years away, but I foolishly reasoned that if God would just tell me, then I could let it go. I could either move on and forget about Steve if the answer was no, or if the answer was yes, I could rest in the knowledge that it would happen in a few years, and stop obsessing over it. What I didn’t yet understand was that God wanted me to learn to rest in HIM—not in the specifics of a plan concerning my love life. So of course I got no such clear answer. [Read More…]
2006 at 6:08 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Suffering
This morning I received a joyous email from Noel Piper, telling me that her husband John’s prostate cancer surgery yesterday was a success. The Pipers are truly grateful for everyone’s prayers, and we ask that you continue to pray for a full recovery. You can read an update on the surgery at the Desiring God Ministries website. But I also want to encourage each of you to carefully consider John Piper’s article “Don’t Waste Your Cancer,” written on the eve of his surgery. Whether or not you are experiencing a physical trial right now, we will all experience suffering at some time in our lives. As a wise pastor in the furnace of his own personal trial, John Piper counsels us how to think about pain in light of God’s Word, and instructs us how not to waste it.
2006 at 1:01 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons
Hey y’all, you thought that these Valentine’s ideas were over, but we had to throw one more at you. A few people (thanks to Rachel for this particular one) sent us ideas which involved a 14 day countdown leading up to the big day. We didn’t start the contest early enough for you to actually use these ideas this year, but we wanted to begin sparking that creativity for next year…
I decided to do 14 Days of Valentine’s Day (similar to 12 Days of Christmas). Starting February 1 and continuing each day until February 14, I do something special to show my husband how much I love and appreciate him. This takes a bit of pre-planning (I collect ideas all year), but it’s well worth it! This year, things I’ve done include personalizing the lyrics of a song and putting them somewhere unexpected for him to find, baking heart-shaped cookies for him to find in his lunch box, filling his car with pink, red & white balloons and leaving a huge love note on the steering wheel for him to find after work, and creating a special evening for us after the kids were in bed, complete with candles, chocolate and a romantic board game. I can make the gifts as elaborate and expensive or as simple and inexpensive to fit my budget and time. This tradition helps me to focus on showing my husband my love in a way that I don’t often get to do as a busy mother of 2 toddlers, and makes Valentine’s Day itself extra special.
2006 at 2:34 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
In my “study” of my husband (see Nicole’s post), I have found it handy to discover the three things that please him the most. This helps me in two ways. One, it enables me to do a quick evaluation in my mind as to how I’m doing in my marriage or what area I need to shore up. Secondly, it serves me in those “crazy busy” times when I am trying to juggle many different balls – and dropping some. Yet, if I can only keep a few balls in the air, I know which ones to choose.
Now, I know it is intimacy, encouragement and affection that top the “most pleasing to my husband” list. Consequently, if I give priority attention to these 3 areas, my husband’s happy, and often doesn’t even notice areas in which I might be doing poorly.
For instance, I’ve been doing a lousy job with meal preparation lately. My dinner meals have looked something like this: A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store with a couple of side dishes thrown together; hot dogs and coleslaw from KFC (my husband’s favorite coleslaw); peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and popcorn; frozen pizzas…. You get the picture. Pathetic, I know. However, I don’t think my husband has even paid attention (I just need to keep him from reading the blog today!).
What are the top three for your husband? Obviously, only you can figure that out. My guess, however, is that many husbands would list at least one of my husband’s top three in their top three as well. So, we’re going to do a little series on these three topics over the next few days. But in the meantime, why not quiz your husband over Valentine’s Day dinner? Find out what are three ways you can most please him.
2006 at 11:06 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Our little contest has come to an end. We only wish we were able to post more of your great suggestions. However, the time has come to announce the winner. Drum roll please…
The winner of the first official GirlTalk Valentine’s Day Contest is…Kathy! This woman’s ideas for expressing her love for her husband and children all day long is no doubt a memory they will always cherish. Congratulations, Kathy! We’ll be sending you a gift certificate good for one romantic dinner. And thanks again to all of you for your creative ideas. May our husbands, children, family members, friends, and even the unbelievers in our lives, know we cherish them today!
2006 at 8:46 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
In previous posts, Mom and Kristin reminded us of the importance of prizing our husbands. How do we do this?
I think we can take a bit of wifely advice from two eighteenth-century women. Sarah Edwards (pictured left) was the wife of the uniquely brilliant theologian and pastor Jonathan Edwards, and Eliza Pinckney was wife to Charles Pinckney, a prominent South Carolinian lawyer. Sarah, it has been said, made it her goal to “study to suit” her husband. Eliza echoed these sentiments when she resolved, “To make a good wife to my dear husband…to make it my study to please him.” Cokie Roberts, Founding Mothers (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2004), p. 7.
Study to suit, study to please. This mentality runs contrary to the modern idea of a wife as an independent creature who should be free to pursue her own ambitions. And it goes against my natural, selfish tendency—which is to study to suit none other than myself. However, we should all strive to imitate these women’s godly model.
What are words we can say to our husband that would most bless and encourage him? How can we shape our lives, our priorities, and schedules around serving them? What are little preferences—about our appearance, the home, our life-style—which we can adjust to their liking? What is one way we can change to please them most?
Whether we’ve been married for thirty years or thirty days, let’s not assume we have achieved wifely perfection. Let’s go back to school if you will. Let’s study to please our husbands. Let’s closely observe them, take notes, and even ask them: “how can I suit you better?”
The result: our husbands will feel, and know that they are the most important person on this earth to us. And we will follow in the godly footsteps of wives such as Sarah and Eliza.
2006 at 1:46 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons
A reader wrote to ask if we: “had any bright ideas for all of us single girls on Valentine’s Day. I am trying to avoid sitting at home (or at a friends) and watching ‘chick flicks’ all night.” Good thinking!
Actually, another reader, Emily, wrote in with an idea. She and some friends, “had a Valentine’s dinner party where all the guests came wearing pink, the table was beautifully decorated with rose petals and individual boxes of chocolates, and we enjoyed a lovely meal together. It was such an encouragement for us to have fun and celebrate doing life with each other! It certainly showed us that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. So I’d challenge single girls to plan something exciting as well.”
Also, we recommend you take a peek at Solo Femininity before Tuesday. Carolyn McCulley has survival tips for “National Singles Awareness Day” but more importantly, several of her recent posts provide God-centered thoughts for singles. She writes:
“My dear single friends, as much as we do wear this label about our marital status, this is not our true definition. In view of eternity, our current singleness is not very important. What is priceless is that we’ve been found by perfect love. Having been captured by perfect love, our hearts are His to keep and His to define. That’s why we can joyfully accept this gift of grace in being single today.”
2006 at 10:14 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons
Well, you ladies have simply buried us under a mountain of creative Valentine’s ideas! There are too many for us to post on the main page of the blog. However we’ve included some of our favorites in a document (for wives only) to download.
We did want to share Kathy’s idea for blessing her entire family on Valentine’s Day. And don’t forget, we’ll announce the winner tomorrow!
As for Valentines Day itself, I do have some traditions that my husband and children USED to think were silly, but now look forward to. The day starts with heart shaped pancakes. My mom started the pancake tradition when I was a little girl, and STILL makes them for my dad…they just celebrated their 53rd anniversary!! Place settings for breakfast and dinner from dishes to glassware to table linens are combinations of pink and red. Each person in the family gets a some little gift from me at both breakfast and dinner: a card, a small nosegay of flowers, a tulle wrapped bundle of candy, homemade heart-shaped cookies, a stuffed animal with a Valentine theme, some type of “heart” jewelry for my daughter—you just never know what might appear on the table. Of course, there are surprises in everyone’s lunch: notes from me telling them how much I love them, napkins in a heart theme, a heart-shaped muffin perhaps. I’ve even been known to cut sandwiches into heart shapes. I also try to do something special for each person. This year, I will surprise each family member by doing a chore that usually belongs to them. I’ll try to pick the chore that each person MOST DISLIKES, and enjoy the looks on their faces when they go to do the chore and discover the chore is already done. Let’s not forget ending the day by sneaking some red foil wrapped Hershey’s Kisses onto each person’s pillow.