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!)
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:
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
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.
“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.
2009 at 11:19 am | by Nicole Whitacre
You’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.
As a new bride, I was inspired by Edith Schaeffer’s The Hidden Art of Homemakingto create a centerpiece every night for dinner—“transforming [our] ordinary meal-table into a place of surprise and beauty.”
I tried to conjure up in my mind original centerpiece ideas, but nothing ever came. I tried collecting stuff from around the house to create a centerpiece, but my efforts left a lot to be desired. Wildflowers in a vase were as imaginative as I got.
Finally, I had to accept that I am inept when it comes to centerpieces. I abandoned my nightly goal and settled for a candle, which I occasionally remember to light.
Each new season, however, I still get inspired to freshly decorate my table, front door, and entire home with appropriate colors and ornaments. With the arrival of fall, I have the urge to fill my house with pumpkins, apples, dried leaves and gourds. But I’m as incompetent as ever when it comes to creating decorations.
I need help and so I’ve decided to run a contest. Please send us your fall decorating ideas—centerpieces, wreaths, or any kind of fall-themed home decoration. All craft ideas must be simple enough for someone like me to assemble, and if you can send a picture along with your instructions, that is preferred.
Help me bring surprise and beauty to my home this fall!