Valentine’s Freebies Added!

In just a few minutes, there will be a new section on my site called “Freebies.” I’m ridiculously excited to be offering them. I think I had free downloads before, when the site was hosted elsewhere. Then I moved it and somehow lost the files, along with some images (that is why, if you dig farther back, some are missing).

ANYWAY. The files are: 

A set of 4 bible verses you can print out and use or give away. (You can print them over and over — so do both! *smiles)

And a set of 4 bookmarks, 2 with lines for writing and 2 with no lines.

Hint: The bookmarks are just exactly the width of a 2-inch Bible margin — so use them for Bibling! Squeeee!

*Bibling: Bible Journaling, but where it is about the Bible. Not about art, coloring, etc.

The. Bible.

This is something I have been wanting to do with you FOREVER and now I’m finally starting. It feels so good. I had 30,000 vsiitors to my blog last year. Thirty thousand.

That’s as much as some of you get in a day, I know. But imagine how many people we can reach if we really try? Right?

So I hope you are with me on this journey, and please DO enjoy the cards and bookmarks.

You wouldn’t Quote “Spare the Rod” If You Knew Where it Really Came From

Spare the Rod…

I’m long past the age where parenting is a part of my day. So I was surprised when I visited a message board and found a parent struggling with her choices and the “spare the rod, spoil the child” quote was thrown in her face. Surprised, because this argument was around when I was parenting. You’d think its legs would have worn off by now. Surprised, because Christian parents are still being encouraged brainwashed into believing they have to hit their children in order for them to become responsible/normal/loving adults. Surprised, because I wouldn’t think today’s enlightened young adults would entertain the idea for one moment.

The saying is attributed to the Bible, but that isn’t quite true. The attributed verse is found in Proverbs, and in the New International Version it reads like this:

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” (Prov 13:24)

Note that it’s not quite the quote we use.

The actual sentence is, instead taken from a poem written in the 1600s by Samuel Butler. It is a mock heroic narrative, and the sentence reads: “Love is a boy by poets stil’d /Then spare the rod and spoil the child. “

Wikepedia states, In the context of Hudibras the phrase is a bawdy metaphor suggesting the best way to curtail amorous passions or, through double entendre, to prevent conception.

Still want to quote it?

Back to Proverbs 13, or the perversion of it, many fundamentalist churches use to encourage spanking (“the rod”) as part of parenting. It’s part of the reason so many people struggle with who God is and what he wants from us. Corporal punishment is difficult to align with grace and love, isn’t it?

And since when does careful to discipline equate to hitting? But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself…

If we’re going to follow Christ, and be Disciples of Christ, we need to approach parenting in a Christ-like manner.

The overriding theme of Proverbs as it relates to parenting might be described as creating a culture of accountability, of culpability. God wants parents to give children the duty, the burden, of being responsible for their actions. Not beat them. Not verbally beat them, either; just teach them to bear the responsibility.

That’s a long way from hitting.

‘The Rod’ Defined

Thing is, the aforementioned “rod” didn’t have anything to do with spanking. A rod, in ancient times, was what a shepherd carried to care for his sheep. The Hebrew word used in Proverbs is “shabat.” A shabat had several purposes: it could be tossed past the errant sheep to startle him back to the flock, it could be used to fend off potential attackers, it was used to count the sheep (as they went under the rod), and it was used physically to pull back the wool in order to look at wounds or other defects on the sheep’s skin.

The rod would be pretty useless for these purposes if it were used as a weapon, wouldn’t it? I don’t think even a sheep would trust the rod being pushed against its wool for examination if it had been beaten with it!

At any rate, the rod is not a weapon, but rather a symbol for discipline. Sue Hille, in The Rod of Guidance, suggests the shabat has 5 symbolic uses in parenting:

Security—the child knows he/she is loved, cared for, accepted; 2) Guidance—the loving parent will teach the child and keep him/her from going astray; 3) Protection—the parent will not let outsiders hurt the child; 4) Evaluation—the child will be ʺcountedʺ and progress will be monitored; 5) Diagnosis—the parent will look for signs of anxiety or pain in the child and seek out treatment and healing.

These are solid principles, and they embrace the Word of God in the sense that they embrace grace and love – and forgiveness. I can’t imagine Christ raising a stick to beat a child, can you? If we’re going to follow Christ, and be Disciples of Christ, we need to approach parenting in a Christ-like manner. The Bible can help us do that.

My Story

I admit I did buy into the theory, for a number of years, that children needed to be spanked. You can only teach what you know, and I did come from a family that spanked. I gave fewer spankings than they did, and I really wanted to be able to align my parenting methods with God’s. A swat on a diaper when they ran toward true danger, like a busy road felt okay to me. But spanking didn’t seem to resolve anything, and as mentioned earlier it did not align with my idea of God as a giver of grace and love. Instead I searched for a gentler way…my kids are grown now and don’t seem to have suffered from the few spankings they got, though I am sure they’d tell you different.

Christian communities will suck you in and continually hammer you with what’s “best” for your child. It’s really difficult for new parents who are trying so, SO hard to do the right thing. Depending on your church family, you might be pushed to breastfeed, homeschool, use corporal punishment, and so on. Or you might be pushed in the other direction: bottle feed, use public schools, use time out for punishment. Going against either is like swimming upstream in a hard current. I know; I homeschooled and breastfed (in public – gasp!) and was from the “other” train of thought.

The one thing I know for sure is that God has a plan for you, the exact right plan that’s tailor-made for your child. His plan fits the child who is oversensitive, ADD, an introvert, and extrovert, and more. He already knows which of those labels fits the child, and He’s already worked out what to do. Getting into the Bible and knowing it will help to resolve the problem as well as the pressures that come along with belonging to a group.

By the way, if you started this article knowing that “spare the rod and spoil the child” was a distortion of the Proverb, kudos to you!

 

References:

The Never-Ending Quest for God

We are all seekers. Whether you believe in God as Father, Mother, Earth, Universe, or some other entity, you’ve placed yourself in that boat with all the rest of us. We want truth. We want our lives to have meaning. We want to improve ourselves, our marriage, our homes and our lives. The list goes on and on.

So what is it we’re searching for, exactly? And why does it take a lifetime, and then some, to actually get there?

Jesus said “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

But why?

To Stand Solid in a Storm

As I have gotten to *cough cough* a certain age, I am watching friends go through many types of hardship and pain. The stress of losing their beloved parents has happened to some. Finding out a spouse or loved one has cancer is another. And a few have been completely let down by the ones they loved the most. Through it all, what I have noticed is that those with a solid, godly foundation are better in the storm. Those without faith waver and falter. The Christians may question, but in the end they feel rooted, secure — unshakable.

God is knowable, touchable, hearable, seeable, with the mind, the hands, the ears and the eyes of…

And ooh, the guilt! Christians feel sure about their future and that of their loved ones. Others, not so much; they are burdened with sadness and guilt. They self-medicate. They look for answers, and believe they find them in books like     Guided by Stars The Secret , or  Spiritual Astrology: A Path to Divine Awakening .

To Be His Friend

Believe it or not, God pursued us first. Is that hard to believe? He has handed you a blanket invitation to come and get to know Him. In fact, He created us just so we could be his companions; he wants us to find Him.

Knowing God is a privilege like no other. By seeking God, we get to know him better (much like spending time with your circle of friends). Furthermore, through our pursuit of God, when we admire Him, He is lifted up.

To Find Soul-Deep Satisfaction

Seeking God gives us the ability to find purpose in our lives. God’s presence gives us deep fulfillment like no one else can, like no thing or position or feeling can. Even when we are just beginning to look for him, we can feel little snippets of that deep contentment. We can grasp them and hold on until the next one….and the next one…and so on.

To Change for the Better

He wanted us to seek Him out in order for us to change. By trying to get to  know Him and spend time with Him, we begin to take on His own Holy character, His goodness, His gentle way of loving others. He wanted us to change our lives. The awareness we develop about God and who He really is enables us to start changing right away.

I’ll leave you with this thought from A.W. Tozer:

God is knowable, touchable, hearable,  seeable,

with the mind, the hands, the ears and the eyes

of the inner man.







Books by A.W. Tozer

Just a Small Favor

Hi,
As the year draws to a close and planning for 2017 has begun, I’m just hopping online with a quick request. I’d like to know why you read my blog. Do you love it? Do you love to hate it?

Do you wish you could see more of something? What would that be?

Just drop a quick line on the blog, on Facebook, on twitter….wherever it’s most comfortable and easy for you.

Thank you!

Be Blessed!

 

small-question

24 Hours Only — One Step Closer

one_step_closer_1Hi!
I know that in this season of busyness, many of us LONG FOR GOD. We are working hard to celebrate Jesus’ birth and yet…and yet. We’re lonely.

We miss Him.

We feel disconnected. Even all the contact with people as we work/shop/order/phone does not fulfill that basic need.

So for the next 24 or so hours, you can purchase my One Step Closer workbook for the amount of “Pay What You Like.” Normally $20, this is a book and workbook in one that will guide you through 7 steps to get closer to God — right now.

 

Order HERE, without leaving this site. The sale link is through Sellfy, a very safe and popular ordering site (safer than the P one, that is why I chose it.)

If you don’t do anything else for yourself this Christmas season, do this one thing.

xoxo

Tanya

5 Tips for Ministering to the Homeless

Friday Five (on Tuesday!): 5 Tips for Ministering to the Homeless.

Doing a homeless ministry was something I never imagined myself doing. I didn’t feel a special calling, and I suspected I lacked the appropriate skill set. But when a friend invited me to go with her to a local park one summer, I went along – to keep her from going alone. Imagine my surprise when the one who got the most out of the experience was *me.*

We parked near a picnic shelter where ten or twelve people hung out every day. They sat playing cards, talking, and one even had two dogs with him. We put our heads together and prayed just before our feet hit the concrete of the picnic area. My plan would’ve been to get to know them a little, break the ice as it were. Maybe the ministry part would come later.

Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ – Matt 25:40

My friend, though, jumped right in. “Does anybody here need Jesus?” she asked. Within minutes, we were praying the sinner’s prayer with two people, and a third was professing her need to rededicate. I stood back and watched in awe. God is so awesome!

If you’re thinking of undertaking a homeless ministry, or if you find that God has thrust you into one, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Bring the very basics. Bottled water and hard-boiled eggs are some of the easiest and most appreciated food items. Both can be consumed without utensils or preparation (or a can opener).
  2. Prepare to be hugged. The first time a smelly homeless man wraps his sweaty arms around you, brushing your cheek with his whiskers, you might shudder. But these people are hungry for human touch and will reach for you often. Just remember, you’re washable.
  3. Not everyone will respond to you, and that’s okay. They might on another day. Or maybe not. You’re doing what God called you to do, and that is what’s important.
  4. Try to listen more and talk less. These people lead chaotic and uncomfortable lives; they need to feel heard.
  5. Be safe at all times – and just because you feel comfortable, doesn’t mean you’re safe.

I still don’t feel like a homeless ministry is my forte. But I’ve learned a valuable lesson: there is no “us” and “them.” The people I’ve met are simply down on their luck, but they are parents, grandparents, pet owners, card players, art lovers, and just plain people. They have hopes and dreams and successes and failures. And Jesus loves them as much as He does you or me.

Photo Courtesy Garry Knight/cc/flickr

Simplify, Simplify

 

I was talking to my 30-year-old daughter a few months back about 2 habits I always made sure I kept doing. One is putting on makeup before going out. That one is probably not so important, but it is ingrained so I don’t know at this point if I could give it up or not (I said). I’m Southern, plus it goes way back to a beauty pageant, one of the Miss America prelims (yes, really) when we were told never go out without your face in place.

I’m good at following the rules, so I always put my face on. I mean, everybody else did too. We’re Southern. This is probably not so important here in South Florida, which is not the South but is, perhaps, a suburb of New Jersey, and where (1) it is hot and humid and (2) nobody else wears any and (3) did I mention hot? And Humid?

So – a couple weeks after our talk, I decided to quit wearing makeup. By “makeup” I mean foundation and / or powder. Not even Bare Minerals – have you ever actually seen what Bare Minerals looks like with a few drops of sweat running through it? Sort of like a sandy riverbed. Not pretty!

Besides the heat, my shoulder has been frozen all of 2016. Which means I can’t move my left (dominant) arm. I finally gave in and started taking pain pills the week they told me it was not frozen, but rather torn all the way through. Multiple tears on multiple muscles. The point of this is the pain pills make me sweat, as in hair-dripping-down-my-back sweat.

So I quit wearing makeup.

It was freeing; after all, I never wanted to bother with that stuff. It was the people who said things like “you need to put your best face forward,”  “you look soooo much better without it,” and so on. Superficial. I let go. (I also will probably save a bunch of money. Some months the bill for that stuff has been over $300).

It would be a great segue here to discuss why we teach our daughters that kind of rule, but perhaps I’ll save that one for another day.

Anyway. Enough about that. The other habit I like to keep in my routine is making the bed first thing in the morning. Not first-first, but somewhere in the getting dressed part of my day. Making the bed causes your room to look instantly cleaned up. It is a big part of the room, so if it isn’t made the bedroom will feel messy no matter what is going on around it. Plus, making the bed usually leads to more household chores like doing laundry or picking up the puppy’s toys. Anything that pushes me toward chores is a good thing.  So I like to keep my bed made. Except…my shoulder froze. I still made the bed, some, but then they told me it (the shoulder, not the bed) was torn. I quit making the bed in case it injured my shoulder more.

Now I am totally out of must-have routines. There’s nothing like a little pain to show you what matters. Makeup? No more. Fix my hair? Fuggedaboutit. I can’t reach it. The bed? Well, Mighty Man mentioned how he likes it made, and I explained that it takes about 15 minutes now, as I have to go from side to side dragging things with one arm. [Actually I might have said two hours…] So now he does it. So sweet!

Now that the musts are gone and a lot of the hacat-abed ve-tos are being ignored, I’m free to completely re-design my routines. I have to have some, otherwise chaos abounds. So I’m going to put a lot of thought into it and share it with you here on the blog. To follow these posts, use the category or tag Home Organization.

 

Photos Courtesy Someecards and Original-Cards

Organizing Your Home Slowly Vs the Tidying Up Way

 

I recently ran across this blog which offers a 52-week challenge for organizing your home.

“You cannot expect to get your home completely organized over night [sic], even though that would be wonderful. It just won’t realistically happen for most of us because we have too many areas in our homes that we need to address,” it reads.

On the other hand, we have The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book is so popular that people refer to decluttering as “Kondoing,” a play on the author’s last name.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Kondo claims that we don’t need to take an entire year to de-clutter our homes (I breathed a sigh of relief!  Really, my counters are cluttered again after a day—a year would kill me!). She says that if we follow her method of decluttering, and believe me it is drastic; we would never have to do it again. Imagine never going to the store for more storage containers, boxes, and sweater bins.

Usually my declutter lasts about one afternoon, and looks like this:

Piper helping Sort Magazines
Piper helping Sort Magazines

You will notice that I’ve read the book. Twice, in fact. You will also notice that I am here telling you what ‘she says,’ not ‘what worked for me.’

Yeah. There’s a reason for that.

It’s because I’m still trying to figure it out: Is it better to declutter over a short span of time, like two weeks, or over an entire year?

I’m a third-generation hoarder married to a 30+year antiques dealer, so we know clutter – intimately. Hubby says neither of us knows how to put our toys away.

Store front image
Our former stores, Fiddlesticks and Trace of Time.

 

Sadly, he is right, at least about me. I craft, paint, groom my own dogs, and write books, leaving all my related tools/parts/scraps/stacks wherever I was working last. Recently I had to set up a 6-foot table beside my desk because my desk is too cluttered to write.

My Desk :(
My Desk 🙁

Hanging my head in shame.

 

Handmade gemstone necklace
My favorite type of jewelry to make, a chunky gemstone beaded collar necklace.

 

Pendant
Handmade Pendant

 

 

 

 

 

Then I remember the two parts of the Life Changing Magic book that I did implement. One was to place a small box near my purse hang-out (for me that is the back of the walk-in closet) and empty the contents of your purse, using the box for your ‘have-to’ items. You can put away the lipstick, toss receipts, and store loose change. This gives you an empty purse to put away, and makes choosing one so much easier the next morning –grab the contents of the box, dump them in, and you’re ready to go. Well. With a lipstick and a car key.

Suddenly, I change purses all the time. And they look so orderly there in the back of the closet. None of them fall off the shelf from the weight of mystery items inside. I don’t carry around 5 pounds of stuff I don’t need. I feel…organized.

The other change was the way she folds and stores clothing in dresser drawers. Rather than folding more or less in half and stacking them, Kondo suggests folding shirts (for example) into thirds, then into a little package and stacking them endwise. The drawer holds way more shirts that way, and you can see what you’ve got without digging around wrinkling them. I did that, and loved it… and changed around another drawer, then another…

Courtney Carver, who I have followed online for a long time, says there is no such thing as overnight decluttering. I participated in her Project 333 (you choose 33 items of clothing for the current season and put away the rest; presumably you’ll decide you don’t actually need the rest). It really worked, and 33 items were plenty for my lifestyle, as long as I kept as much jewelry as I wanted. But I gained and gained and gained weight since then – so now my closet bulges with sizes from 8 on the left, to 10 and 12 in the center, up to size, yep you guessed it, 16. Booo!

I guess I could redo the Project 333, but honestly the closet door can be closed, and there’s clutter everywhere else…

So what do you think? Declutter fast or declutter slowly?