Oct 16

Friday Funnies

2009 at 8:03 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

Today’s Friday Funnies is a Covenant Life Church original. Ben Wikner recently joined the pastoral staff of CLC and Mike and I have the wonderful privilege of being in the same small group with him and his wife Erin. Our church is blessed to have them.

Ben recently found himself in one of those “if only I could take back what I just said” situations. It made for a perfect Friday Funny and Ben kindly agreed for us to tell you about his little slip-up. Thanks, Ben!

Ben and Erin recently bought a house and were at a flooring store, owned by another CLC member, looking for an area rug. They were examining large rolls of rectangle carpets. Ben wanted an oval rug and (I’m assuming without thinking) asked, “Is there any way to ovulate these carpets?” Oops! Wrong word I think. Did the fact that he goes to church with the store owner make it worse? Hmmm…I think so.

Ben, thanks for being a good sport! Keep the Friday Funnies coming.

The girltalkers will return on Monday!
Janelle for Mother, Nic and Kess

Oct 15

Book Club Chapter 10

2009 at 3:47 pm   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Book and Music Reviews | Marriage

womanly dominion“Feelings of love follow acts of love…. A woman of dominion is not pushed around and bullied by her feelings and emotions. On the basis of her solemn covenantal commitment to her husband, she loves him.” p. 164-165

On October 15 of the year 1998, it was a few short weeks before my wedding. Brian had already moved to Chicago in September of that year and I remained in Maryland until our wedding day (November 7). I remember how much I missed him those nine weeks we were apart. But I was busy packing up my room, finalizing our wedding plans, attending my bridal shower and excitedly anticipating our new life together.

November 7 was a wonderful day—everything I had hoped it would be. We went on a glorious week-long honeymoon to Florida, before flying back to Chicago to begin our new life together.

Then “real life” blew in with the harsh Chicago weather. I was still deeply in love with Brian, but I also began to realize the magnitude of the decision I had made. I had left my family, friends, and the only church I’d ever known to follow my husband. Everything was new and unfamiliar: my home, friends, job, grocery store, and especially the weather!

Brian has joked that we should have bought stock in Kleenex, given how much I cried that first winter. Eleven years later, I am more grateful than ever for the godly, patient, man I am married too.

My experience as a new bride, missing home, was a helpful lesson: feelings are unreliable! But chapter ten of Womanly Dominion was a great reminder of what’s important for us as wives: to respect, be grateful for, and passionately love our husband—regardless of how we may feel at times. When, by the grace of God, we choose to love our husband, we will reap the sweet rewards of ever-growing affections.

I was freshly challenged by this chapter. I want to continue to grow in showing love to my husband. I’m inspired to thank Brian once again for his faithful love and care for me. And I am going to ask him: what is one way I can grow in expressing my love for you?

So will you join me? Whether you are a new bride or celebrating your fiftieth anniversary, let me encourage you to ask your husband this question, and do one thing to show him your love today (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Oct 14

Carolyn McCulley on Focus on the Family

2009 at 2:01 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Singleness

carolyn mcculleyFor the past three days, our friend Carolyn McCulley has been on Focus on the Family. She’s been talking with Dr. James Dobson and Candice Watters on the topic of “Singleness: Living with a Hope Deferred.”

Please take time to listen to these broadcasts—no matter what your season of life. As Carolyn’s friend I have been encouraged and inspired by her teaching and example. And these broadcasts are Carolyn at her best—speaking out of a life of passionate service to the church and tenacious trust in our gracious God.

Here are some behind the scenes thoughts from her blog:

What’s most important to me is if you encounter a great and glorious God when you listen to my experience. Because that’s been what I’ve gleaned in these years: His faithfulness is what I have to reassure anyone who is panicking that they might end up in a similar position.

As Dr. Grudem said on Sunday morning at my church, he doesn’t know anyone over 50 who has not had a significant trial or affliction. If you live long enough, you will encounter difficulty because it’s what happens in a fallen world. But this is not the end of the story. Not only will we experience God’s redemptive activity in this life, we have the promise of sin-free, pain-free life everlasting with Him in eternity. So if I am called by God to glorify Him as a single woman, even though I desire marriage, I know He is not wasting that desire or my small sacrifice in the years I have lived in that tension. He is weaving that into His plan to rescue, redeem, and reclaim His children.

And that’s my confidence in extended singleness.

Dr. Dobson calls Carolyn “a very impressive woman,” and we agree.

Oct 13

Grand Prize Winner

2009 at 11:57 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

The winner of our Fall Decorating Contest is….Renee B.!

Instructions w/ pictures

Thank you, Renee, for your simple, lovely idea to add “surprise and beauty” to my home.

Yesterday, with the help of Janelle and four of my grandchildren, I purchased supplies from Michaels and picked six pumpkins from a local farm market. We followed Renee’s instructions, and now two beautiful pumpkin topiaries adorn my front entry.

I think Edith Schaeffer would be pleased. More importantly, my family is blessed.

Thanks to every one who participated—I can’t wait to try many of your ideas!

Oct 12

Decorating Contest Runners Up

2009 at 4:36 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

Well, once again, y’all have outdone yourselves with another girltalk contest!

On a personal note, we are really grateful for your help. This pumpkin is the extent of Nicole’s fall decorating at the moment.

pumpkin

Sad, I know. But not for long! Thanks to you gals, we have more ideas than we know what to do with. We have three runners up to feature today:

Talitha C.

pumpkin1pumpkin 2

Instructions w/ pictures

Carol S.

centerpiece 1centerpiece 2

Instructions w/ pictures

Christina G.

arrangement

Instructions w/ picture

Ladies, these were fabulous ideas. You will each receive a copy of Edith Schaeffer’s book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking.

Check back tomorrow for our grand-prize winner!

Oct 9

(A Double) Friday Funnies

2009 at 12:44 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

My friend Christy (who is a super-talented artist and decorater) sent us today’s Friday Funny. It reminded me of something that might happen to Nicole.

Back here on Monday,

Janelle for my mom and sisters

I don’t have any great decorating ideas that come to mind, but I do have a funny story that immediately came to mind at the mention of ‘centerpieces’ and ‘fall.’

Last fall, on a particularly lovely fall day, I took my kids outside on a walk. As we passed under the oak trees, my kids started picking up acorns and of course asked if they could bring some home. Inspiration struck—I had this large glass votive urn that I had been wanting to fill with something for fall. Why of course…acorns! Why hadn’t I thought of that? So the kids and I gathered up a whole bunch of acorns and brought them home. We filled the glass urn about half-way up with acorns and then nestled a pillar candle inside. To finish off the centerpiece we surrounded the urn with several small gourds. Perfect! We lit the candle for dinner that night and told Daddy about how we made it together. The kids loved it, and I loved it too…until about 2 or 3 days later. We sat down to dinner, I reached to light the candle and nearly screamed. The votive was FILLED with tiny maggoty worms! And I mean filled. Talk about a nasty dinner time experience! Braden had pity on me and emptied it outside for me. I think I let bleach-water sit in that urn for about 3 days afterwards before I washed it clean. Happy fall decorating! But whatever you do to decorate, just a warning: don’t use acorns from off the ground.

Update: 3:01 P.M. Received this e-mail in response to today’s Friday Funny. Believe it or not, her name is Nicole! (not our Nicole)

Friday Funny - NOT funny, but definitely appreciated!
It WOULD have been funny, if it had not made me think, Huh, maybe I should go check my own vase full of acorns sitting on my dining room table AND HAS BEEN FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS. Since it’s in the dining room, we don’t sit there for dinner often. I was thinking, surely I won’t see anything - it’s been there for two weeks. WRONG. Right off I spotted a maggot worm crawling across the top of the acorn pile. GAG. Rinsed it out, and several “passed on” worms were at the bottom. So while I did not currently find HUMOR in today’s post due to my own subsequent experience, I VERY MUCH appreciate it - because otherwise I would have discovered it the next time we DID sit at that table…most likely with COMPANY! (give me a couple of days… I’m sure I’ll laugh then!)

Oct 8

Womanly Dominion.The Gospel.Our Children.

2009 at 10:10 am   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Book and Music Reviews | Resource Recommendations | Motherhood | Parenting Young Children

Your mission, dear mother, is not to make your children happy, but to prepare them for eternity…You must relentlessly evangelize their never-dying souls.” (Womanly Dominion p. 127-128)

In chapter eight of Womanly Dominion, Mark Chanski highlights the most important job we have as mothers: to preach the gospel to our children. This passion should infuse every part of our daily lives, whether in word or action. God has graciously provided many tools to help us evangelize our children. Here are a few age appropriate ideas:

For Parents:

Your Child’s Profession of Faith

Newborn (and up):

“The Gospel Song” (I sing this as a lullaby to my two girlies every night)

Toddlers (and up):

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

Children:

The Gospel for Children: A Simple, Yet Complete Guide to Help Parents Teach Their Children the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Of course we can’t save our children or force them to turn to Christ: “Salvation belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9). But we must intercede for their never-dying souls, and daily, passionately, tell them the good news:

Holy God in love became

Perfect man to bear my blame

On the cross he took my sin

By his death I live again

(“The Gospel Song”)

Oct 7

Hospitality Incentive

2009 at 12:00 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Hospitality

Today we return to a question we’ve left hanging for a few weeks: How do we practice hospitality cheerfully instead of begrudgingly?

We remember the why: We practice hospitality because we have first received hospitality.

“Grace is the hospitality of God to welcome sinners not because of their goodness but because of his glory,” explains John Piper:

“The ultimate act of hospitality was when Jesus Christ died for sinners to make everyone who believes a member of the household of God. We are no longer strangers and sojourners. We have come home to God. Everybody who trusts in Jesus finds a home in God.”

If we have trusted in Jesus, we have found a home in God. We were once strangers, alienated from God because of our sin. But through the suffering of Jesus Christ, we have been brought near to God. We are not strangers anymore.

We have received the ultimate act of hospitality! How can we not, in turn, show grace and love to others by extending hospitality to strangers?

When we truly understand the gospel, the amazing, undeserved love that has been shown to us, we will find a powerful incentive to show hospitality that will conquer every hindrance or reluctance. Reflecting upon Christ’s lavish hospitality will compel us to joyfully show hospitality to one another.

Oct 6

How to Tell Time

2009 at 12:49 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Book and Music Reviews

“There’s a time for a woman to resignedly sit back and wait for the Lord to change her husband’s mind. And there’s a time for a woman to assertively rise up and take matters into her own hands. Abigail knew how to tell time.” Womanly Dominion, p. 77

Elizabeth asked on facebook: How did Abigail know that this was the time to take matters into her own hands? Great question!

Abigail was a “discerning” woman (1 Sam. 25:3). How can we become such a woman? How can we learn to “tell time”? How can we know when to humbly speak up and when to wait?

1. Know God. “Discernment comes from sound doctrine, not subjective impressions” is a phrase my dad often repeats. The better you know God’s Word, the better you will understand His ways, and the more discerning you will be. Abigail knew what was important (the protection of her family), but also how to act (decisively, humbly, boldly). The Bible is not a reference manual that we pull off the shelf only when we have a question. It is God’s revelation of Himself and His ways. We must read it daily to grow in wisdom. This is the only way to learn how to accurately “tell time” (Ps. 25:12, all of Psalm 119).
2. Know your heart. Abigail “wasn’t motivated by pride or vanity” explains Matthew Henry. These two sins throw off our time-telling ability. For some of us, self-protecting pride causes us to shrink in fear from conflict or to excuse inaction for the sake of “peace.” Pride also fuels the desire for “control” that lashes out in anger; it is the source of the slow drip of a nagging, critical spirit. We must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal how “pride and vanity” are warping our ability to “tell time.” We must seek Him for power to change, and wisdom to know how to respond to our husband in a manner pleasing to God (James 4:1-10 and Cravings & Conflicts).
3. Know your husband. We must be a faithful friend to our husband. We must study him: learn his strengths and weaknesses so that we can give timely help. Abigail knew her husband, so she knew she had to take matters into her own hands. But maybe your husband only needs a gentle word and a few days to pray and read God’s Word. Maybe he needs a chance to get it wrong in small ways so he can learn big lessons. If we fail to know our husband we may get it wrong—by waiting indefinitely or cowering before our husband when he needs the faithful wounds of a friend; or by giving into manipulation and bitterness when our husband needs a patient, forbearing (and not a self-righteous) wife. If you are interested in more on this important topic, I highly recommend Mom’s message “Watch Your Man” which you can download in our resource section or from Sovereign Grace Ministries (Prov. 27:9).

Abigail acted after Nabal refused to act. We need to give our husband a chance to act, and we must appeal to him to act, if need be. But if he won’t act, we shouldn’t give up. We may need to wait—prayerfully and prudently—but always with an eye toward the next step.

We’re glad Womanly Dominion is raising questions like Elizabeth’s (that’s one of the reasons we like this book). Questions like these don’t have easy answers—they throw us back on the wisdom of godly counsel and most of all, God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Blogs and books (ours included!) cannot replace the local church, pastoral care and counseling, and godly friends. Let’s pursue these conduits of grace to help us tell time in our marriage.

Oct 5

Our Little Spot

2009 at 12:19 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking

pumpkinsYou’ve sent us a bunch of great fall decorating ideas already. Keep ‘em coming! To inspire you, here’s a thought from Edith Schaeffer on the grand effect of simple creativity in the home:

“I feel very strongly that this modern fear of the home becoming non-existent can be countered only if those of us who want to be sure our little spot is really a home take very practical measures to be sure that it is just that, and not a collection of furniture sitting in some sort of enclosure being protected from wind and storm. Of course, human relationships make a house into a home: either the relationships within the house, or the welcome and understanding that guests find. Human relationships depend on communication. But this communication takes time. It is also helped by atmosphere, and the atmosphere is helped by the ‘things’ which are arranged with love and with an expression of creativity in a visible form.” p. 99

Little touches of creativity in our home can create an atmosphere of beauty, worship, love, and care. This God-glorifying atmosphere can promote a shared joy and conversation. And that communication can strengthen our relationships.

It might be going a bit far to say that a vase of flowers on the kitchen table will save the home. But, by the grace of God, it’s nothing less than a start.

Hmmm…I feel a trip to Michaels coming on!