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Friday, November 30, 2012

Hard Questions – Modesty: What Does Our Clothing Say About Jesus?


A guest post from our pastor’s wife -

Watching the Olympics

For the first time in a long time, I found myself watching the Olympics and of course, pulling for the Americans.  My enthusiasm was dampened though by all of the athletes who were so scantily clad.  It seemed that the lady athletes were often wearing much less than the men who were in the same kind of sport.

I was surprised to even hear a discussion on the radio about the subject as I was driving home from work one day. [Editor’s note: She is also the church secretary. :-) ]  Even those who don’t claim to be Christians were talking about how scantily dressed the ladies were.

I must say that in recent years, I have been shocked at the laxity of Christian ladies and girls in the area of modesty.  So many seem to just follow the fashion trends whatever they may be.  I Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…”  1 Thessalonians 5:22 says,  “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

One of the worst influences on modesty in women’s fashion came from a woman whose name has been in the news lately since she died August 13.  Her name was Helen Gurley Brown, and she was the editor of “Cosmopolitan Magazine” for years and was a proponent of displaying the female body in such a way as the entice the opposite sex.  Models wearing the most risqué clothing were featured on Cosmopolitan’s covers under her direction.  Sad to say, one can see girls dressed in like fashion even attending church services today, or perhaps dressing appropriately for church but in their every day life dressing like the world.

Many fathers and mothers are not teaching their girls to be modest at young ages.  So many think the trend of showing more and more of their little girl’s bodies is cute.  Pictures are posted on Facebook in bathing suits and short shorts for all the world to see.

Little girls are being paraded in a very alarming way as they compete in the little girl beauty pageants looking like miniature street walkers.

Yes, it will be going against the world and not an easy battle, but Christian fathers and mothers need to be prepared to say no to the types of clothing that would bring reproach on the name of Christ.  Christian parents should not be encouraging or allowing dress that is provocative.  Parents shouldn’t be deceived into thinking they can allow the wrong kind of clothing when the child is little and correct the kind of thinking that has bee instilled in the young child when she is older.  Barriers to modesty are often broken down when the child is young.  Those who have gotten used to wearing immodest clothing often do not feel any shame in continuing to dress in the same fashion when they mature.

We don’t allow children to lie when they’re young and think that is cute.  We don’t allow them to do other sinful things and think we’ll correct it when they are teens.  At least, we shouldn’t, so why do we become so lax in the area of modesty?

Of course, I’m not talking about the dress of babies and very young toddlers, but I do think when the child is around 2 years old even teaching on modesty can begin.

Last but not least, moms should be good role models in this area.


Editor’s Note: 

As a foot note to this article I’d like to make a further comment on the idea of our dress being a reproach to the name of Christ. 

In Titus 2:9-10, the Bible says,  Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;  Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.  This passage is speaking to servants regarding the service to those over them, however I think that last part of verse 10 is an important point for all areas of life.  We ought to live, speak, and dress in a way that will adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in All Things.  One could write a whole book on that concept alone. 

But, in relation to this article, what about your dress?  What about the dress of your daughters, and even sons?  Is your clothing such that you are an adornment to the holy and righteous doctrines of Jesus Christ?  Or, are you a reproach to His name because your apparel is so immodest, sensual and worldly?  While it is true that clothing is an outward appearance and that God looketh on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7, it is also true that man does look on the outward appearance.  For many people our outward appearance is all the Bible they will ever “read”.  What does your clothing say about Jesus Christ?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apron Patterns


My mom in her old kitchen back in Tennessee.

One of the important services that aprons provide is to protect our clothing.  This is a matter of economy for those of us who do a lot of our own cooking. 

Here are some apron patterns for those who might like to make their own.  When you make an apron think of using heavier cotton fabric, or perhaps lining the apron.  This keeps splatters from soaking through, or at least gives you the time you need to pull the apron off if you get a bad splash.  I don’t know how easy it would be to line some of the aprons linked below.  Some of the fuller skirt patterns may not need it simply because the added fullness acts as an extra barrier.

By the way, watch SewingPatterns.com for sales.  They offer their patterns at significant discounts sometimes.  Sign up for their email to find out when the brand you are looking for is on sale.  Plus, they offer downloads of patterns, which could be really helpful to our overseas readers.  I’ve never used that method myself, but it might be worth a try.


This pattern looks quite easy and also includes some cute kitchen accessories – a table runner and placemats.

A super simple pattern from the “for Dummies” series – mother/daughter.  This is very similar to the style that most of ours are made in.

These look like fairly easy ones – mother/daughter.

Learning to sew for little girls – skirts, aprons and hot pads.

Cute mother/daughter and dolly aprons.

Also, sew your own kitchen accessories.

Dining room accessories.

Medium to Hard

A variety of easy to medium aprons in slim to full styles.  There’s a garden apron in this one.

More modern looking mother/daughter set.

Quite modern.  The styles are simple, but the detail work pushes them into this category as I think they’d be harder to make.

Modern, detail intensive half aprons.

Both everyday and “costume” styles.

Cute novelty half aprons – mother/daughter.

Playful novelty aprons for kids.

A full artists apron. This one will really cover you up! If you need to wear slacks for something such as gardening, but you still want to be modestly covered around the hips and upper legs, this apron might be a good option.

Vintage style

’60s – ‘70s style? 

Ruffled and full plus interesting details.

Nice assortment of styles here.  I like these.

‘30s style aprons.

This collection may be my favorite so far. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thoughts from the Past – A False Gift


Somehow this thought from the past seemed especially appropriate this month. :-)

Sept. 25, 2008
A False Gift

Earlier this month Hurricane Ike hit the coast of Texas near Houston. At first they were predicting all kinds of possible "weather" around Austin. We might get rain, high wind, and whatever other things a hurricane might throw our way. Excitement! Speculation! Preparations! As it turned out, we had clouds and some mild wind, but we didn't get a drop of much-needed rain.

Pondering on this I thought of the verse that speaks of "clouds and wind without rain." It reminded me of how people will make a big deal over some evangelist or speaker and we will come to expect something extraordinary from them, yet how often when we finally get the "delivery" it is as empty of anything life-giving or of refreshment as "Ike" was for us.

The verse turned out to be Proverbs 25:14, Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain. In thinking of this, let us be cautious not to boast for ourselves, our family or others, indicating that we or they have gifts and abilities that are not there. It is very disappointing to people when one says, "Oh yes, I can do this or that...." or; "This is a wonderful preacher...." or; "My family always blah, blah, blah;" and they then find out it is not true.

In the end we were very thankful that we didn't get the kind of "weather" that a lot of people received from Ike! But for me, here in a place that remained dry, the lesson held true. In my experience, the two most graphic examples in our culture of false boasting are among politicians and religious/Christian leaders. Beware when people boast that they or that someone else has a special gift from God. Beware when politicians boast of what they will do or what they are.

Psalms 34:2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving In the Face of Hard Things


1 Thessalonians 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Ephesians 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Personally I think that these are two of the hardest verses in the Bible.  When you feel like your life is a wreck it can be such a challenge to still thank God.  Giving thanks in all things is tough.  Giving thanks for all things is even harder.

A few thoughts to encourage those who may be struggling to thank the Lord this week:

A Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving for Hard Things


The Blessings that Remain

Friday, November 16, 2012

A New Holiday Challenge


Some of my readers may remember that we do not celebrate Christmas.  A couple years ago I put up a post on this blog with a link to a page on the Home Maker’s Corner where I explained why we don’t celebrate Christmas.  Partly this was to help readers understand why there wasn’t any “Christmas cheer” on this blog. :-)

Last December I felt compelled to start something a little different, namely a challenge to those who do celebrate Christmas to start putting their actions where their claims are and really transform their celebrations into something that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  The challenges include a variety of difficulty levels to help people at least make a start.

This year I wanted to address the Christmas tree – that sacred cow of all Christmas traditions.  It seems like it’s one of the hardest things to get rid of for many people.  It was for my own family, in fact.  I’m posting this before Thanksgiving for obvious reasons.  :-)

So, here is the new Holiday Challenge – Challenge Number Four: Get Rid of the Tree.

I realize that some people will refuse to read this simply because of the title.  The very idea of not having a Christmas tree is so stressful or appalling to them that they can’t even deal with the thought, let alone the information.  Sadly, this attitude sound more like idolatry than true love for the Lord Jesus Christ.  I hope there will be those who are strong enough to at least read it and consider what I have to say, even if they don’t at first agree with the idea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Short Thoughts: On the Power and Word of God


Another guest post from my sister-in-law Clara V.:

I cannot comprehend how a person could believe that the LORD God who created the entire universe and every living thing and person who has ever lived, could not preserve His Word for us to read and learn and grow from. His Word is not just some scribbles on a scroll... His Word IS His Son. To say His Word is not true is to say His Son is not true - which as we know, is rejection of the Saviour, and results in eternal damnation.
What kind of God would create all living things but yet be unable to keep His Word, or show the discerning person who truly seeks Him with and pure heart what His truth is? Would you even want to worship such a "weak" God as one who could not preserve His Word?

Let's not detract from His mighty power, His supremacy over religion and people, or destroy His Holy name by casting aside His Living Word which was and is embodied in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not".
(John 1:1-5)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taking Part - The Simple Woman’s Day Book


I haven’t done anything like this before, so this will be something a bit different. :-)  I decided to participate this month in this writing/sharing project just to give you a little window into my life.


Outside my window...is warm sunshine, goldy-brown leaves, dry dirt and kind of dry grass…welcome to Texas.

I am thinking...about all the things I want to write and the projects I need to get done.  I’ve been particularly focused on preparing for our upcoming trip.

I am thankful...for an abundant garden this year.  We have been so blessed to be able to eat our own fresh produce and, even more, to preserve so much of our own food.  I’m so thankful that my dad has worked so hard at this project, and that the Lord has blessed his efforts so abundantly.

In the kitchen...are tomatoes – both red and green – needing to be made into sauces.

I am wearing...a denim skirt, stained pink sweatshirt, old socks and slightly scruffy sneakers.  This is work day wear.  I hope to work on canning which is sometimes quite messy.

I am creating...calendars for our family.  I’m also hoping to make some scripture calendars to sell this year.  I have numerous sewing projects under way or in mind.

I am going...to New Mexico this month, Lord willing.  We are planning to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s parents.  Since they just retired from the missionfield this year and settled into their own house, this is the first family holiday that we will have together.  My husband’s brother and his family also plan to be there.  We’re hoping for a blessed time. :-)

I am wondering...how I’m going to get it all done.

I am reading...the book of Psalms, and I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby (which I bought at a second-hand book store).

I am hoping...to finish some projects before we leave on our trip this month, and to get some writing done this winter.

I am looking forward to...the end of canning season – does it ever end in Texas?  I’m so thankful for the food, but it is a lot of work.

I am learning…T-Tapp.  My mom and I have started this exercise program together and it has been really good for both of us.  We have a long ways to go yet, but it’s helping.  We have both improved already.  :-)

Around the house...my husband is working from home today.  It’s a blessing that he has a job that makes that possible! :-)  Otherwise – there are several packages waiting to be opened, and there’s a little disorder, but it’s not too bad really.

I am pondering...how many amazing things are happening in the world right now that could easily be setting the stage for the fulfillment of prophesy during the time of Jacob’s Trouble.  And, will America fall before or after the Lord’s church is taken out?  What is really important and how should we live during this time?

A favorite quote for today...Isaiah 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

One of my favorite things...is crisp autumn weather bathed in golden sunshine. :-)  [Limited supply in Texas.]

A few plans for the rest of the week:  I’m hoping to get some more green tomato enchilada sauce done and all of it canned, and to make some pizza sauce and can it too.  I also want to make more progress on getting things ready for our trip.

A peek into my day...

This picture was taken last month, but my husband is working from home today, and he and our cat are part of every day for me.  (Except when we’re away.  We don’t travel with our cat!)  :-)

Note: Some of these things changed slightly before I even got this posted. :-)  The packages are now open and the red tomatoes are slowly turning into pizza sauce on the stove. ;-)  And, I changed to a short sleeved shirt – yes, we’re still getting warm in Texas!


As with most sites I link to, there’s a disclaimer on this page. You will find links there to a variety of blogs, many of which you will realize are not at all on the “same page” with me and mine.  Use discretion.  Join the fun if you wish.  :-)

The Simple Woman’s Daybook home page.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Laying Aside Weights – Suffering for 15 Minutes Demo


In the second post of this series I put up a link and briefly discussed the idea of “suffering for 15 minutes”.  The idea is to set a timer and work for just 15 minutes at a time on some project that is overwhelming you and seems too large to complete.  By limiting your “suffering” to 15 minutes at a time, you can eventually get the job done.  As some people have put it, “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”  Instead of having it hanging over your head and frustrating you in the background of life, you can actually get through the job, or at least make some movement toward that end.  This has some very practical applications and can actually help to reduce stress! :-)

Awhile back I decided to tackle my small-but-stuffed sewing room.  It was a mess and discouraging.  Of course, due to it’s size and content the results are not as stunning as some other area of work might have been, but I certainly felt better about it! :-)  I took photos so that I could share the results.

I did the job in several “installments” of 15 minutes.  The first time, just as I was starting, my sister-in-law showed up and kindly offered to help me.  So, I had the added blessing of extra hands and someone to talk to while I spent the first 15 minutes on this project!  What a blessing! :-)  Once I saw some results I decided to push on, but I was interrupted at some point, so I just turned the timer off and came back to it later.  I did a second and a third installment of 15 minutes each (not all on the same day!) to finish the project to my satisfaction.


This was the view looking straight into the sewing room door.


This is quite an improvement and probably the best feeling area in the room.


Half way

All that fabric that was draped all over the pace got gathered up and folded nicely. :-)



It’s hard to get an appreciation for the size of this pile here, but it was really way too big!


You can see on the left that that huge mountain has disappeared. :-) Yes, there was actually an “L” of the desk over there holding it up!


That is the same pile on the right as is shown above.

Half way


Well, I had a new pile on the left of the machine, as you can see.  This pile was things that I wanted to get done sooner rather than later.  Some of them did get done, or discarded. :-)  [Remember that sometimes it’s good to get rid of an unfinished project.]

I needed to spend another 15 minutes on the top shelf of the desk, but that didn’t happen.  Since I do use this room, it has reverted to some extent and is probably ready to be tackled again, though it’s not as bad as it was. 

This picture cracked me up when I took it.  I just had to laugh when I saw that denim bag (unfinished) actually hanging off the top shelf.  You know sometimes it’s better to laugh at ourselves than to stress over it. ;-)  Too bad I didn’t take an “after” shot.  [Yes, that is water on the top shelf.  We’ve had ours go out more than once, so we keep several gallons on hand, and strangely enough, somehow it ended up there.  Weird, I know.]

As you can see, my sewing room is far from being a model room, and there’s no way I’ll ever appear on any organizing show with the “after” results.  Ha.  But, I was happy with the results and it was good enough for me to be able to work in there again without feeling like it was going to cave in on me! :-)  And, after all, that’s what really counts.  [Remember our discussion of “good enough” in the Perfectionism “chapter”? :-)  ]

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Breakfast Rambling - God Can Grow His Own Kids

1 Corinthians 1:3-5  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

Paul was about to rebuke the church at Corinth soundly on more than one count.  Yet, in spite of that he thanked God on their behalf and believed that they were enriched by God in all utterance and knowledge.  If the Apostle Paul had this confidence in this group, we ought not to be despising and condemning people for far less “offenses” and “faults”.  I have noticed a tendency to think that if someone is living in a way that we see is biblically wrong, we are inclined to judge them as incapable of understanding anything in the Lord.  This is not what scripture teaches here.

In addition to this, it’s interesting that Paul said they were enriched by Jesus Christ in all utterance and all knowledge.  He does not make them dependent upon the “preacher”, pastor, bishop or apostle.  Even though he’s writing to correct some things through his authority as an apostle, he does not make them beholding to himself, but to the Lord.  In the big picture, I think this is because Paul’s confidence was in the Lord Himself and the grace He gave them in Jesus Christ.  His confidence was not in man – either the church as a whole, the elders/leaders, or individuals.  When we can grasp the greatness of God’s giving to His children, we can know that every believer has access to all the utterance and knowledge that he or she needs.  Now, with the complete revelation of scripture, we each have so much more than they did even then.

For my own part I want to trust the Lord’s ability to lead and instruct His children where and how they need it.  While pastors and teachers are good and useful blessings to the church, as we’re told elsewhere, ultimately we need to put our confidence in the Lord to teach other believers what they need to know in their walk with Him.  Yes, Paul needed to rebuke the Corinthian church at this point, but he also had confidence that the Lord would give them grace and enrich them.

Psalms 118:8  It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Favorite Kitchen Things – Erasable Boards


Erasable white boards are useful additions to the kitchen.  They can be used for a variety of things – lists, chores, reminders, prayer requests, praises, memory verses, phone numbers, etc.  I have the one pictured above hanging where I will see it often and have used it to post  scripture.  It’s empty now, but I’ve thought about putting names of people I especially want to remember in prayer up there.

I also have one on the fridge that has reminders of things that need to be done – either on a repeated basis or things that are more urgent than my regular “To Do List”.  It also sports a few doodles and decorations. :-)

I got the idea of a kitchen white board from my dad who put this one up in my Mom’s kitchen years ago:

Note: Beriberi in this case is referring to an Ethiopian spice blend, not the disease, just in case you wondered. :-)