Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Real manhood

this blog is devoted to biblical femininity.  most of my readers (i'm guessing) are women.  so why would i write a post about biblical manhood?  because far too many women don't understand biblical manhood.  biblical womanhood cannot be practiced well without the complementary role of biblical manhood.  furthermore, a misunderstanding of biblical manhood by women leads to unbiblical expectations in marriage and settling for dating and marrying weak men, as well as the desire to take over when men aren't leading in the home or church.

a basic place to start in understanding biblical manhood is with the acronym "R.E.A.L. manhood" and explain how jesus perfectly embodied these things and how men should (by God's grace) live these things out.

a real man...

rejects passivity.  jesus actively pursues his bride, the church.  he is not passive, waiting for others to act.  he initiates salvation, he actively paid the price through his death on the cross so that we can be saved.

passivity was the first sin that the first man committed.  adam sat idly by while he let his wife eat the forbidden fruit.  he did not protect her or try to stop her from sinning.

real men imitate jesus when they reject passivity.  they don't sit around and wait for their wife to discipline the kids, they take the initiative and do it without hesitation.  real men initiate the pursuit of women they are interested in, not waiting to be asked out by her (or even waiting for her to "give signals").

embraces integrity jesus was perfectly holy and committed no sin.  he always chose to do good.

real men choose holiness over sin.  real men never lie to their wives or girlfriends.  real men live a life worthy of being imitated by others.  real men work hard and never put halfway effort into something important.  real men are faithful to their wives.

accepts responsibility  jesus took responsibility for his bride, the church.  he did not cause her to sin, but took responsibility to pay for that sin and rescue her.  he also gladly takes on the burden of leading and empowering the church to do his will.

real men shoulder the burden they are given and don't try to heap those responsibilities onto others.  real men accept the responsibility to provide for their family, serve in the church and grow in their relationship with God. real men joyfully and humbly serve in even the smallest ways at church. real men do not let women take over roles in the church and family they weren't designed to take.  they work hard at this with joy and without complaining.

leads courageously jesus leads his bride the church without fear.  he forages ahead in the face of hardship.  he looked squarely ahead when he faced the cross and didn't look back.  he never lets his bride lead, but leads her perfectly, tenderly and courageously.

real men lead courageously in church and at home.  real men lead out in difficult family decisions, including the wife on the decision process but not leaving her to do it herself.  real men know that they were designed to fulfill leadership roles at church and gladly serve in this way.  real men lead the family in seeking God.

the men in your life will fail in some of these areas, because they are sinful, just as you women reading this will also fail at times in fulfilling your biblical role as a woman (and praise God that there is forgiveness in jesus when we repent of this sin and bring it to him).  my hope in writing this is that women will have a better understanding of biblical manhood so that they can pray for and encourage (and not nag) the men in their lives.  moreover, this is especially applicable to single women, so that you choose to marry a real man and not just someone who goes to church and maybe even reads the bible sometimes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

an older child(ren?) in our future

as i mentioned a few weeks ago, our time with baby girl is coming to an end even though it just started.  it may be a few more weeks, or a few months, we are not sure.  she has been a unique blessing in our lives for this time: not what we expected, but certainly a gift from God in many ways.

a picture of Messther (an apt nickname for her when she
looks like this).  not related to the topic of this post, but
just because...
and so alex and i have talked a bit about what our next placement will be like.

first of all, we are going to probably have to hold out for a child(ren) whose parental rights have been terminated.  this means a child whose parents are no longer in the picture, when we get them we will know they are adoptable (or at least something like a 90% or more chance).  we have put in our time with two emergency placements.  there is a big need to take emergency placements, and sometimes these work out to be adoptable children.  this hasn't been our experience, unfortunately, so i doubt we will be doing another emergency placement (the only exception is if we got a call for a baby whose mother has had 5 or 6 other babies taken away.  we might consider that child since it is unlikely that the birth mother will get her life together for baby #7.  and yes, that does actually happen sometimes, sadly).

second of all, i feel God drawing out hearts to an older child(ren) rather than a baby.  to clarify, by older i mean 3 or 4 years old, which is not very old for foster kids (where the critical need is to adopt teens), but that is as old as we feel like we can do right now.  

there are a number of reasons for this shift.  the main reason is because there is a big need to take in older kids.  everyone wants babies.  there is still a pretty high desire for 3-4 year olds, but less so that the babies.  previously we had limited our range to children younger than esther because we have heard that it is not good to adopt older than the kids you already have since it messes with birth order dynamics, but we are starting to feel like this might be ok for us in this situation.  first of all, esther is so young still that she will be able to flex and fit this new family dynamic (i'm sure there will be some adjustment on her part, but easier for her now than if she was like 2 for example). secondly, esther loves playing with older children and does well with them.  it seems like an older child could be really great for her.  and since there is a need for older, and it seems like we could do it, then we want to be open to it.

another reason is the fact that i have been a mom for two and a half years, but only have one 14 month old child.  i love little ones, but they are a LOT of work.  now make no mistake, i have been the mother of 3 and 4 year olds and know that they are a lot of work in a different way (even more so in the foster care system where there is no guarantee that a 3 or 4 year old is even potty trained, and possibly still tantruming frequently).

another reason for an older child is because i would like to get pregnant again sometime soon (not like soon as in the next few weeks soon, but maybe in the next year soon).  if we got another baby i would likely be breastfeeding him/her, which would make it harder to get pregnant for a while.  also, i don't think i would have the capacity to care for esther and a baby while being pregnant.  i tend to be a bit ambitious, but even i know that that is probably not the best idea.

another reason is that with an older child, there is likely to be more clarity on his/her parental situation.  with babies straight out of the hospital, you never know.  our current baby girl seemed like a good candidate for adoption when we first got the call.  but by the time she was two weeks old, it was pretty clear that she would probably go back to her mom.  the more time that passes, the more that these things become clear.

of course its exciting to think about our next placement.  also a little bit scary, as there are many unknowns.  but i know that jesus knows, and i know that he is tender and gracious.  and i know that he will prepare an equip us for that work.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the diva awards

we affectionately call our chickens "the divas" for a few reasons:

1. they are all named after famous divas (tina turner, diana ross, etta james, etc)

2. they act like divas.  especially the older ones... always complaining unless they get their way.  super catty and always picking on each other.

i have decided to give them awards based one what i have noticed so far.

most dominant - tina turner!!  she is definitely at the TOP of the pecking order. don't even think about eating some food if she wants it too.  she will definitely peck you if you try.  she is also the lead aggressor against the pullets (younger chickens).

most difficult - minnie riperton.  she literally does the exact opposite of whatever i want her to do.  for this reason she has spent the night outside of the coop many nights when she wont go in like i try to get her to.  she also spends most days in the yard and not in the chicken run.  in the yard she has no access to food and water, but yet she persists to go there instead of where the food is.  lastly, she is constantly getting in the older chickens' way, which has gotten her injured on many occasions and she STILL hasn't learned!

dumbest - jessica simpson.  when i open the coop to let them out, she just stands there and stares.  when i try to help her out she walks the opposite direction.  she is the last one in the coop at night (unless minnie is still rebelliously running around).  she just doesn't get it.  slow to move and slow in the  head.

congratulations to the winners!

Monday, November 12, 2012

he is tender

this past week God had been pointing out my prayerless and rekindling a desire in me to pray about everything.  i am a busy mom of two babies and prayer often goes on the back burner and i tend to "more important" things.

i have been repenting of this lack of faith and praying for more dependance on God and a deeper desire to pray.  today God was very tender and gracious to me and did just that, through another prayer of mine.

you see on saturday our washing machine died.  i sent our landlords a text message about it, not being sure if they would want to try to get it fixed (but its a very old machine... i think its really dead dead) or expect us to get another one or what.

i have been worrying about it since then.  if we have to pay for it, how will we fit it in our budget?  what is a good brand to buy?  should we get new or used?  alex's back is hurt... who will move it?  whose truck will we borrow to get it here?  and on and on, such fruitless worrying thoughts.

but this morning i prayed that God would provide us a new washer with no cost or work on our part.  as i was praying He gave me the faith to stop worrying and just trust him with it.

and a couple hours later i got a text from our land lords saying they will get a new one and have it delivered hopefully some time this week!  not only is this a huge relief, but a reminder to bring all things to my Father, and to not try to handle life (even the mundane things) on my own.

what a tender and gracious God i serve!

"a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;"  matthew 12:20

Friday, November 9, 2012

fight for your food rights

prop 37, a measure to require GMO foods in california to be labeled, was defeated but i will keep fighting back.  one day GMO labeling will be mandatory here as it is in 60 other countries, and i will be a part of making that change.

one of the reasons prop 37 failed was because of the $45 million raised by the opposition, nearly entirely  funded by food and pesticide companies.  the pro 37 side only had about $7 million, funded by concerned moms, dads, small farmers and small organic food companies.

today i decided to write letters to many of the large companies that helped fund the opposition to 37 and make my voice heard by them.  and i want to share that info with you so that you can fight back and make your voice heard too.

the following links should take you directly to each company's "contact us" page.  you will see that I only contacted food companies and none of the pesticide companies such as monsanto.  i figured that this is more effective because the only way pesticide companies are going to stop producing GMO seeds is if food companies stop purchasing GMO food crops for ingredients for their food.  pesticide companies won't be affected by my opinion as much as a food company will:


Coca Cola Company

Pepsi Company

General Mills


Kraft Foods

here is the basic letter i used, but i changed it a bit for each company depending on a few different things like how much they donated.  feel free to use this as a model or to copy it if you agree with everything i wrote:

I am writing to let you know that I am extremely disappointed about your financial support against Prop 37 in California this election season.  I also want to inform you that I will no longer be buying any of your products unless you change your stance on genetically engineered ingredients.

I find it curious that you are proud of your products but won't let your consumers know what is inside of them. I hope your company will choose to tell the truth and start labeling what is in your products.

I am not sure if you are aware of what your $1 million+ went to.  It funded the dissemination of  deception and outright lies about the proposition.  The campaign you were a part of falsely claimed that the San Francisco Examiner endorsed no on Prop 37, when in fact they endorsed yes.  They also funded deceptive mailers that claimed the Democratic party endorsed no on 37 when in fact they endorsed yes.  They aired commercials with a scientist falsely identified as being employed by Stanford University when in fact he was not. They claimed that this prop would raise food prices when the only studies that showed this were from biased sources funded by the opposition.

If your company opposes GMO labeling, that is one thing.  But it is shameful of you to fund lying to your consumers in order to get what you want.

If you truly cared about your consumers, you would have used this money to offer your products at a lower price.  Instead it seems that you decided to use the money to protect your own interests, which is why I will no longer be contributing my money to this cause.

most of the food i purchase is bulk from our food co-op or csa and rarely branded processed foods like these companies sell, but i am going to have to be intentional to completely avoid supporting these companies. but you can be sure i will work hard not to buy these products again (like the nestle cocoa powder i just bought last week... dang it!).