Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Where is the Difference?

So by now most of my readers know that I'm a skirts-only lady. I don't judge those who don't wear only skirts, but ask that they not judge me for my stand.

It does, though, get a little discouraging when I realize girls and ladies who share my conviction are far and few between. I don't mean that there is anything wrong with having friends who wear skirts and pants if you're skirts-only (Some of my best friends wear pants and skirts!), and it is a conviction between each woman and God what she wears or doesn't wear.

But sometimes we just need that one person to come along side us and say, "Hey! You're like me! I thought I was the only one!"

But you know, that applies to at lot of things, not just skirts-only girls. As Christians, it's getting harder and harder to find like minded believers, even in churches and our circles! Finding believers who take a stand and stick with it is getting harder and harder. Ten years ago, I probably could have found two dozen families who share my family's beliefs and convictions. Now? I might be doing well to find two.

The sad thing is, Christians are growing more and more like the world. Standards are slipping. Convictions are criticized and discarded. Beliefs and stands are altered to fit liberal and worldly views.
There just isn't a difference between the church going families and the lost families anymore.
And that's a heartbreaking thought.

Years ago, a phrase passed through churches. "You can't win the world if you're not like the world. You have to be like them to win them."

Suddenly, it seemed, churches began to change.

Members dressed down, being told to come as you are and as you are comfortable coming, and they started looking more appropriate for going to the beach or to a picnic, instead of dressing in a way to honor the King of kings they were going to worship and learn about. After all, I'm sure any earthly president or royalty wouldn't mind if you came to see them in some baggy shorts, flip flops or sweatpants!

Music began to sound more and more like the music of the lost, with only vague references to God and Jesus, and absolutely no mention of the blood or the suffering He went through for our salvation.
Nix that hymn, we have a new chorus to repeat fifteen times with little to no mention of anything relating to God and that you can easily sing to your significant other tomorrow without changing any words! Don't forget to throw in some nature and metaphorical references to make the lyrics catchy, and make sure that melody is easy to dance and sway to!

Church services went from being a time to praise God and then hear sound doctrine preached to entertainment time, with dimmed lights, bands on stage, and a pep talk that made you feel good the way you are rather than challenging you to search yourself for sin and be rid of it. The old come as you are, leave as you came approach is, after all, a no fail way to draw a younger generation who need their ears tickled.

Program after program was rolled out, separating families and providing (basically) free babysitting for parents while they talked to their friends and listened to their concert and pep talk. Because, you know, families can't worship together and goodness knows, those parents don't get a break all week when their kids come home from school!

Coffee shops, donuts and snacks, and social time took precedence over seeking God with your whole heart and keeping Him as the focus of why we gather each week.

Preaching was toned down and touchy subjects smoothed past so as to not offend anyone. Goodness knows, you don't even consider preaching on alcohol, tithing, modesty, using God's Name in vain, music, entertainment, fornication, or anything that might cause someone to be offended- no, no, you must allow them to continue in their sin to keep them coming! Don't you dare preach against that specific sin, because we might have members living in that sin right now and what will we do without the tithe they occasionally give?

And Sunday and Wednesday night services became all but extinct. After all, sporting events and other activities (that could easily be on weekdays or Saturdays) that 'were can't-miss-this' were more important than gathering with fellow believers. Sunday night church over baseball or soccer, coming to Wednesday night prayer after working all day- are you even human to suggest that???

As much 'church' was taken out of services to make the lost 'more comfortable' and make the church seem 'welcoming' to them.

Even back then, as a young teen, I knew better than that. After all, wasn't that a direct contradiction to God's Word?

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2 KJV

Why would the lost choose salvation now? After all, it took no change from their present lifestyle. They could live exactly as they were and be no different than those professing to be believers. If Christians could live, act and dress just like them, why would they need Jesus to save them?

I have heard sermon after sermon on this topic, yes. But yet there's no change? We still conform to the world in our worship and become more and more like the world on an almost daily basis. You can't even tell the difference between Christians and the lost because we walk, talk and act just like them.

"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20

You can't tell them by their fruit as the Bible says we can, because they aren't bearing any, because they aren't living any different than the world!

I wonder why Jesus would speak again and again about believers be separate from the world and how He came to save the world if He wanted us to live just like them? I mean, are these verses just there to fill pages of a Book that we only read on Sundays or special occasions?

Why would they choose Jesus now? Why ask forgiveness for the sins, that are dooming them to a real and literal hell, that they watch Christians commit, who claim to be on their way to Heaven?

Is it any surprise then that it's harder and harder to find fellow believers? Is it some great surprise that we no longer can tell when a person is a Christian without their saying it? Does the Bible speak of knowing believers by their fruit just to make a nice cliché little quote?

Where is the difference?

Where are the Christians who aren't afraid to say no to conforming to this world? Where are the Christians who will dress and talk like they know God and a lost world is watching and listening to them? Where are the believers who know that their lives may be the only Bible a lost soul may read and therefore strive to be different from the world? Where are the Christians who guard their tongue from using the Lord's Name- the Name by which we are saved!- because they honor and love that precious Name? Where are the Christians who refuse to live in sin because they know that one day they will answer for being in sin and for ruining the testimony of their Lord and Savior?

The world loves the fact that Christians no longer are separate from them. Christians can no longer be picked out of a crowd. There's a rare few who the world will take a stand against, because they know that for the most part, all professing believers are acting no different than the world is.

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:9

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be separate from the world, whether it hate me or not. I'm not living to please or conform to the world. I'm living in such a way that I hope the world looks at me and says there is something different between my life and theirs. I'm not acting like the lost world because there should be a noticeable difference between my life and theirs.

I'm striving to honor my God, not the temporary place He placed me to try to win the lost to Him.

And you know what? I may end up walking alone because of this. I may end up seeing all other believers give in to living just like the lost around them and give up trying to adhere to God's Word about being separate in our lifestyles from them. But it doesn't change the fact that God has given a clear command and I can't with a clear conscience as a Christian live like the world in the sins He is trying to save them from.










Saturday, August 26, 2017

Just Saturday Chatting Again

Hello readers!

I don't have any particular topic to cover today. It's been a long time, or at least felt like it has, since I did a chatty post so I figured it was time!

There's been a lot going on in my household. School started back, so trying to get back into the swing of the school year has been fun. The youngest sibling is starting some kindergarten work, even though she's still a bit young. Her letters are a bit crooked and sometimes backwards, but it's awfully cute watching her learn!

One of my best friends is across the country and that is making it very difficult to get to talk with her. We FINALLY got to FaceTime the other day and it was great! I'll be so glad when she's back in the proper time zone and we don't have that two hour gap between us!

While I'm thrilled my zinnias are blooming wildly, I think they're causing this perpetual headache I'm keeping and I know they're not helping my family's allergies. They're just too pretty to pull up!

Did you know you can get a bruise from crocheting? Yeah, me either. But here I am, with a bruised finger from crocheting so much in the last couple weeks. Making pot holders and dishcloths nonstop is proving just how much stress my hands and eyes can take, haha!

So about, oh, I guess a couple months ago... I went to get a can of soda out of the box for my brother, and in the process of opening the cardboard box, I pulled too hard and hit my elbow against the corner of a wooden chest (don't ask). My elbow is STILL bruised. Guess who isn't living down the fact that I was injured to bring him a soda....

Anyone who knows me even the slightest knows I love weddings. I mean, I have more wedding boards on Pinterest than any normal human being should have. My latest wedding planning decision was to have a plum purple wedding, no matter the groom's dislike of the color. GUESS WHAT I FOUND ON CLEARANC AT HOBBY LOBBY! Plum purple thread! GUESS WHAT I AM MAKING WITH IT! As much as I can get from it! Sadly, it was the last one or I would have cleaned them out of it! So now, I'll have a bouquet holder and possible some sort of earrings or headband from it, I'm still deciding on what to do with any thread left after the bouquet holder. Perhaps a boutonniere?

Told my brother that I was going to name my first son after him but call him little J-
Brother was not thrilled.
I don't know why. I mean, what would be cuter than having your little nephew named after you??

If anyone knows anyone looking to give away old 1950s patterns, dresses or wedding/evening gowns, please send them this way! I'm dying to study some patterns or dresses from that era so I can practice sewing some styles that are similar. I'm also looking for any information I can find on 1950s wedding veils, hats and hair accessories (Pinterest proved unusually useless in that!)

It amazes me how strong mothers are. Think about it. They raise this child for 18+ years and sacrifice so much for their child's sake. The things they deal with, what they go thru emotionally and mentally for their children... it's amazing. They honestly give up their life for their child. Moms are awesome.

I tried learning to knit. Worst experience of my life. My younger sister (who learned to knit 30 minutes before me) tried teaching me, but I'm not a fast learner. She, on the other hand, is amazing at it and I can't wait to see what she accomplishes. I'll just stick to my crochet hook, thankyouverymuch.

I can't wait for winter. Mostly because I do most of my writing when the weather turns cold. But also because I love winter best of all the seasons. Also because my boots are waiting and it is still too warm to wear them.

Please, please, please- don't underestimate how good it makes a writer feel when you compliment their work. You can make their day just by saying you appreciated the effort they put into what they've written.

I created one of those Sarahah accounts, you know the anonymous messenger thingy? Other than a few possibly low key insults (still not sure on that one...) it's been hilarious. One person said Jesus loved me, but they were His favorite (Not sure I understood). Another sent a message saying they ran out of characters and for me to figure out who wrote it and then message them- which has been impossible. I mean, honestly impossible. And the compliments I got were really sweet. If you want to leave me a note, then here's the link:
https://sunteachermonwriter.sarahah.com
 Just keep it clean and kind, of course!

My family has been getting a LOT of advertisement calls and letters. I received one that tried to make me believe my car insurance was needing updating (Can you say scam?) so I answered. Wrote them the funniest, loveliest note on purple paper and sent it back. Strange, I didn't get a reply??? I mean, sure, I left no return address but still, they sent the first letter, so they know my address. Could be that asking them to pay me to help them come up with better advertising was why they didn't reply. Who knows.

Well, I've chatted enough for today. My chores are waiting and there's things to be done- including more crocheting. I hope you got some chuckles or a smile out of this post!

Melissa





Saturday, August 19, 2017

Little Bitty People- A Short Story by Me

Little hands tugged at Anne's skirt as she set the mixing bowl on the counter. A little voice begged her, 'Up!' as Anne tried to stir the cake batter. Little feet stomped impatiently when Anne didn't stop what she was doing and give the little person attention.
"Yes, Abbie, I heard you the first time. Just hold on." Anne sighed, looking down at two big blue eyes and hoping her little friend could wait just a minute more for her to pour the batter into the cake pan.
This was Anne's life. A constant little shadow following her around, interrupting her work and feeling like all Anne's attention belong to that little person alone. Did it get annoying? Sometimes, but Anne was so used to her shadow that she rarely thought about it anymore. In fact, Anne actually liked the fact that someone thought she was the best thing since sliced bread.
For the past year and a half, Anne had been babysitting two year old Abbie and her older siblings while their parents were at work. It had been a long year and a half, with Anne learning more about children than she had ever been taught in all her twenty-one years. She had learned that:
Little people don't like vegetables more now than they had when she was little (Or maybe she just had forgotten how yucky green beans were when she was a child.)
Little people didn't understand that crayons and markers weren't made for the exclusive use of decorating walls, furniture, carpet, other little people....
Little people couldn't understand the phrase, 'One cookie at a time' any more than she could understand 'I say I nee' one mooooore'.
Little people didn't like being ignored.
It was the last one that had been the biggest lesson for Anne. When she was a child, she had always hated being ignored by grown ups, or her need to talk pushed aside by adults who didn't want to listen to her chattering. Now that she was an adult, she had tried her best to never ignore any child because she knew what that felt like. So when Abbie begged for a book to be read to her, or any of the other four children had a story, dream or joke to tell her, Anne never said no. The only downside? She didn't get much of a chance to get her work done. Like today.
The Wilsons were having company flying in and Anne had barely had time to get the house tidied up by noon. Mrs. Wilson rarely asked Anne to help with household chores- she knew five children kept Anne busy- but her job allowed her little time to get home and clean up before the company arrived. Anne didn't mind helping, and even offered to bake the cake Mrs. Wilson would have otherwise had to rush to make when she got home.
"Hannah, can you bring me some old rags?" Anne called to the oldest Wilson child.
She picked Abbie up and carefully poured the batter into the pan, balancing the bowl with one hand and hoped the two boys, Lane and Lee, didn't run into the kitchen and cause her to drop it.
"Eat dat?" Abbie asked, pointing to the chocolate batter.
"No, not yet." Anne laughed. "We have to bake it first."
Hopefully she could at least get the kitchen clean, and the living room straightened up before the company arrived at four o'clock. Anne hurried to get the cake in the oven, fix the children's lunch and started emptying the dishwasher. She had just put the last dish away when the doorbell rang.
"Oh no, I don't have time..." Anne groaned. "Please don't let it be a salesman or robber."
The Wilson children ran to answer it but Anne sent them to the playroom, just in case.
She opened the front door cautiously, seeing a tall young man standing on the porch.
"Can I help you?"
"Package delivery for Mary Wilson?"
Anne took the package and hurried back to the kitchen. Abbie was in the middle of emptying the canned goods.
She had just finished sliding the last pan into the oven when there was a knock on the door. Anne ran back to answer it, expecting the delivery man to have returned. Instead a elderly couple stood with suitcases in hand.
"Oh, you must be Anne! Mary said she might not be here when we arrived." The woman said cheerfully.
Anne frowned. "You must be the company Mrs. Wilson told me about." She smiled. "Come on in. We're, ah, still trying to get things done here."
"I'm Alice, and this is Fred. We're Mary's aunt and uncle." The woman explained as they came in.
"Please, excuse the floor. The kids were playing games while I finished the kitchen." Anne blushed and knelt down, scooping up puzzle pieces and board games.
Abbie came running to Anne and climbed onto her back, making her task that much more difficult.
"Mama said to take your suit cases to your room," Hannah said, taking the aunt's bag and showing them the way to the guest room.
Anne moved as quickly as she could with Abbie in her arms and had the living room clean before the aunt and uncle returned. Abbie chattered away, and Anne did her best to answer.
"Something smells really good." Fred said, smiling as they took a seat in the living room.
"Oh, that's the cake," Anne smiled. "It'll be ready for dinner."
"You sure do have your hands full." Alice commented with a smile. "Mary is fortunate to have found such good help."
"Well, I try my best. The children are sweet and that makes the job much easier." Anne answered.
Thankfully, she spotted the Wilsons pulling in the driveway and sighed in relief. If nothing else, they could entertain their company while she finished in the kitchen.
Anne ended up staying for dinner, and helping serve and then clean up. The Wilsons were able to sit and relax with their company while she cleaned, then Mrs. Wilson took Abbie to put her to bed after dessert.
"So," Fred said, "I have a notion that you children like story books."
The children agreed.
"Well, I just happen to have this little note book which I've been sketching in while I've been here, being a writer and all..." He produced a little book from his jacket pocket. "Now, I had some idea of what to write, seeing as your mother had told us all about you. But I wrote up this little story and I'll read it to you, if you want."
With unanimous agreement, he began to read.
"There once was a village of little bitty people. There weren't a great many of them, just enough." He showed them a pencil sketch of the Wilson children. "There was a tall one, who loved talking about horses."
Hannah giggled.
"There was a almost as tall one who loved his dessert but knew when to stop- especially when his mother said to."
Peter grinned.
"There was a quiet one who had the biggest brown eyes anyone had ever seen."
Penny wiggled and her face lit up.
"There was a little one who was fast and believe he could catch a star to keep in his pocket if it fell just right."
James giggled.
"And there was a tiny one who talked almost nonstop. These little bitty people knew their king and queen had important work to do most days, and so a fair maiden was chosen to be their princess. Now, she had a great many tasks assigned to her by the king and queen. She had to keep the village feed, keep the village neat and tidy, and keep the village happy. She worked very hard, and almost didn't have enough time in a day to get all her tasks done. The little bitty people tried to help, but they had their own chores to do.
"The little bitty people loved their princess. She always listened to them, and never banished them away with an angry word. She played games with them, although she might have to play and work at the same time. She was patient with them and made them feel like they were the most important people in all the world, because she knew to the king and queen they were.
"One day, the king and queen asked the princess to do something special. They were having ambassadors from a far off village coming to their home. They wouldn't be able to greet them when they arrived at the village, but they trusted the princess and the little bitty people to do the job for them. And they did. The ambassadors felt very welcome in the village and they were made comfortable. Then they were fed delicious food and a special cake that they wished they could have the princess make all the time.
"Now, the ambassadors were very pleased with the princess. They told the king and the queen that they were so impressed by her hard work that they wanted to reward her for her service to the king and queen. They wanted to give her a leather pouch with several gold coins in it, but they didn't feel that was enough. They wanted to give her a gold box of rubies, but they didn't think that was enough, either. So they had an idea.
"You see, one of the ambassadors was famous storyteller. He had told hundreds of people stories, and he had been looking for a new story to tell. He decided that the best reward he could give the princess was to tell of her faithfulness to her duties and her excellent care of the little bitty people. He wrote her story and drew pictures."
He held up a sketch of Anne, with Abbie in her arms and a cake in her hand, with the other children pressed close to her sides.
"Now the whole world would know about Princess Anne and never forget her. The end."

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Let Them Be Children

What was your childhood like? I remember mine being filled with days of running around the yard, using my imagination and toys to create adventures with my siblings and our friend who lived around the corner from us. I probably spent 8 hours a day outside, playing and enjoying the sunshine during the summer. During winter, I spent my days playing dolls, making crafts or reading after school hours were over. It was a great childhood.

My mom did a great job raising my siblings and me. Our childhood was filled with encouragement in the right places, and careful discouragement in areas that would harm us if we went down those paths. Our TV shows were monitored, and if you got caught trying to watch something that was trash, you had better be prepared for a week of no TV privileges. Music was carefully selected, and there were even Veggie Tales songs we didn't listen to! Certain toys weren't allowed to cross the threshold of our home, because they were (and still are, in my opinion) trash. We had a bedtime and chores. The girls weren't allowed to pierce their ears until we were 12, and no makeup until 15- we were taught we were beautiful as God created us and didn't need artificial beauty. Didn't need a curfew because my mom had enough common sense to know that children shouldn't be allowed to go out on their own!

Things you would never find in our home were:
Bratz dolls and fashion dolls that dressed indecently (Which I'm still trying to understand why any parent would allow their daughter to have these, I mean, what kind of impression do they make on young girls about their appearance?!)
Anything that had to do with Halloween.
Harry Potter, or any kind of magic (And yes, we watched Disney movies but had to fast forward the magic parts when watching our video cassettes. And this is something that still goes for my young siblings)
90% of TV shows and movies that were for 'kids' (especially when we had satellite TV for a brief time). Most of them would be considered clean compared to the shows now days, but they were no good back then and still aren't.
Games and movies that encouraged excessive violence and destruction. The worst you could have found as far as violence was my brother had a cap gun, a GI Joe (which he threw away because we girls made him marry our Barbie dolls, and, as you know, girl toys have cooties) and he watched the old Ninja Turtles.
Pop music. Still a no and for good reason.
Anything that encouraged the need for boyfriends/girlfriends at young ages. I remember there was this one board game with a phone and had something to do with crushes or whatever? Yeah, that was a no.

You might be thinking, well, your family was probably Amish or something, that's so strict. Eh, no. We are Independent Baptist, and conservative, but we're not so strict we couldn't have or do anything.

See, my family believes childhood should be just that: childhood. Not 'getting ready to be a teenager'-hood. We were encouraged to play and use our imagination and have toys for as long as we wanted to, because we were children. It's bad enough that you only have about 15-16 years of being a child. Why would we make that time any shorter?

Nothing makes me more upset or sick than to see parents allowing their children be bombarded by the world during their childhood. Not just allowed, but it is encouraged.

Young girls are put in bikini's and skimpy clothes as soon as they are born now days (Babies in bikinis?!?!?! No one should be in one, but certainly not anyone under the age of 18)
They're encouraged to dress in styles that would be indecent on adults, and is perverted for children when they're only 8 years old.
By the time they hit 10, they are taught they need makeup and allowed to go out with faces painted.
By 13 they think they need to look like every model out there to be considered pretty, with as much skin showing as possible, and the tighter the clothes the better.
They're given fashion dolls that dress, in a word, trashy and encouraged to try to look like them.
They're taught to look up to singers like Arianna Grande and Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber who are some of the most ungodly role models a child could find, and walk around singing lyrics to songs that an adult should be ashamed to sing- all when they're under 15 years old!
Boys are taught that they need to dress like a gang member, and walk around eying every girl they come across in a vulgar way.
They're given violent video games and encouraged to spend all their time playing them (and then parents wonder why they are violent!)
Children are allowed to watch movies of kids and teens 'falling in love' and worrying so much about their crushes/boyfriend/girlfriend instead of their education, and the idea that if you don't have a relationship by the time you're 16, you are an outcast is pushed on children.

Parents think it's funny and cute that their 10 year old has a crush or a boyfriend/girlfriend. It's NOT! This is a child we are talking about! The farthest thing from their minds should be crushes and relationships, people! Teach them to focus on their education and relationship with God!

It's time to stop taking baby dolls out of little girls' hands and cramming a cellphone in them.
It's time to stop taking toy cars from little boys' and putting a video game in them.
It's time to stop pumping music that You should be ashamed to listen to into young ears and minds.
It's time to stop dressing children like adults, in clothes that even adults shouldn't be wearing.
It's time to stop encouraging children to have crushes and have boyfriends/girlfriends.
It's time to stop letting our kids look to the world for their guidance in how they look, act and think.
It's time to stop cramming the influences of the world into children's minds.

Why can't children be children anymore? Why can't they have toys that don't require a charger or batteries? Why can't they play outside and use their imagination instead of sitting in front of a computer playing on Facebook? Why can't they spend time playing games with friends instead of watching shows that will do thing but encourage them to act in a worldly manner? Why can't we teach them that while they are growing up, there's no need for boyfriends and girlfriends and crushes? Why can't we teach our kids to be proud of their appearance enough to keep themselves well kept, and teach them to rejoice in how God created them to look without artificial beauty? Why can't we teach them to respect the Bible and the commands God has given us regarding our separation from the way the world lives?

They only get to be children once, and then they have the difficult task of being an adult for the rest of their lives. Don't take that time of childhood away from their prematurely, and don't let the world steal it either.

I know all this isn't something that can be fixed in a day. But godly men and women who are raising children should see what is going on and stop their children from having their childhood ruined by what the world says children should be.
God gave parents the responsibility of raising their children according to His Word, and it's something they need to take seriously because what they teach and allow is what the next generation will believe and teach. Childhood seems to be growing shorter and shorter with each generation, and that breaks my heart.

I wish every child could have the simple, uncomplicated childhood I had. I was allowed to be a child until I grew up at the proper time.

Yes, I am a bit passionate about this topic. I love working with children and so it breaks my heart when I see the world stealing away what should be the happiest time of their lives. I don't care to see parents let their children's lives be molded by the world and then hear the complaints when the kids fall into sin that they were encouraged to go towards while they were growing up.

So, I beg you...

Let them be children.