Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

     Today, there are so many Americans who do not realize that the United States has a specifically Christian foundation.  Many founding fathers are incorrectly painted as deists, and we are all to unfamiliar with their own words that prove otherwise.  Let us recommit to knowing our history, and passing that history on through our families. 
     On this Independence Day, I leave you with these quotes from some of the great men who helped to found our nation and who played important roles in its early days. 

“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and the attributes of God.” -John Adams, June 28, 1813
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambitn, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."    -John Adams, October 11, 179
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel” –Benjamin Franklin,1787
“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” -Patrick Henry, May 1765
“ Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”        -John Jay, October 12, 1816.
“It [the Bible] is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus." -Thomas Jefferson, Jan 9, 1816
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event." -Thomas Jefferson, July 1774
"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” -James Madison, 1778
"To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them." -Jedediah Morse, April 25, 1799,

“ It has been the error of the schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences, and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles: he can only discover them; and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author."
  -Thomas Paine, January 16, 1797(from a speech on French schools)
"To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian" -George Washington, 1778
 “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” George Washington, May 12, 1779
"In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed...No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” -Noah Webster, 1828

"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."                                       2 Chronicles 7:14

Monday, June 28, 2010

A prayer request...

     Hello, everyone!  I just found out that my soon-to-be-husband has an interview with Verizon tomorrow!  (It's a corporate phone interview, which comes before a local interview.)  We've been waiting and praying for a job for him.  Currently, he has a job in a town about half an hour from where I live, and where our apartment is waiting for us.  So any job here is more economical than there, where he would have to make the trip to each day.  But a Verizon job, which has much higher pay and even benefits, would be such an amazing blessing to our new marriage that would eliminate so much financial struggle.  We would appreciate your prayers!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ahh, Summer...The Season of Swimwear

     For those thinking of modesty this summer, deciding what swimwear to choose can be a bit tricky.  The "modest" suits produced by the fashion industry are often a far-cry from what many of us consider modest, and the specially-made modest suits can be rather expensive(though I think that's acceptable in such a niche market).  I, as of yet, have only the tankini and board shorts I purchased previously, and would like to purchase a new, more modest outfit for time in the water.
“Would you feel naked wearing your nightgown or undergarments into a courtroom or church? What would your pastor and his wife think if you invited them over to supper, then answered the door in your underwear? Would they be shocked? Why do many of us think it is acceptable then   to invite fellow Christians over for a pool party where everyone is wearing ‘colored underwear’?”
                                                                                       -Stacy McDonald

     Some of the swimwear resources I have found include the following.  These tend to have a bit more coverage.  If you are looking for something with less, just google modest swimwear and you will find all kinds of resources.

Cute dresses with a variety of fabrics to choose from, and leggings underneath

Lots of cute separates, both shorts and skirts...also recommend their outfits for athletics

Culottes, skirted, and slimming options...a few color choices.  Skirted suits snap between legs for greater coverage in water.

“[N]udity is not supposed to move us. We are asked to behold without shock, without even surprise, the nearly total exposure of every conceivable shape and size of physique. But I don’t want to look at nudity without emotion. I want it reserved to enhance, not exhibited to destroy, the depth of individual experience. Modesty was a system of protection. But the alarms have all been disconnected. The house is wide open to plunder.”
                                                                                         -Elisabeth Elliot
     Good luck to all of you still searching for a swimsuit this summer!  Have any favorite online stores I didn't mention?  Tell us!  What do you wear swimming to stay modest in the water?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"It's Not Enough"

     In Titus 2:4-5, Paul writes what the older Christian women should teach the younger women:
"...they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."
     It is my strong conviction that two of the primary aspects of the biblical role of women are to be a helper to their husbands and a trainer of their children.  In times of weakness, however, it is easy to be shaken by the messages our society sends us:  You're smart, you're capable: why don't you go for this degree or chase after that career?  Those things will give you value.  Devoting your energy to your family and home is not enough.  When we begin to second-guess our biblical desires and convictions, we need to be refreshed by God's perspective.  One of the places I recently went for such a perspective was Anna and Sofia Botkin's book So Much More.  They write,
Women were designed by God to be the happiest, most fulfilled, most appreciated, and most honored as homemakers.  No other career can come close to the importance of homemaking.  Most other careers actually undermine God's order by cheating women of their first and best calling and taking civilization in the wrong direction.  This is because homemakers are so central to guiding and shaping civil society.
     In the classic portrayal of a biblical woman in Proverbs 31, we see that though her work is very centered around her home, her works may very well "bring her praise at the city gate." (Pr 31:31)  How encouraging it is to hear biblical principles affirmed and encouraged, as in the passage above, and  for women who embrace God's Word to be honored!  May we not be so bombarded by the world that we forget that living out God's calling is the most noble pursuit we could choose.  That, by staying within God's boundaries, we are influential in a distinctively feminine way. 

     I am willing to pour all of my energy into my God-given calling because... it is enough.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Coming Soon...and you can take part too!

   Revive Our Hearts is a ministry by Nancy Leigh Demoss, which reaches out to women through their website and radio show and teaches about biblical womanhood.  I love reading transcripts of the radio show online, and you can also listen to the show's audio online.  The True Woman Movement is a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, and is a movement of women who are determined to be as counter-cultural as necessary to embrace womanhood as God designed it. 
   The True Woman website currently has an offer out to us bloggers:  they will send us a free copy of the book Voices of the True Woman Movement, a compilation of nine chapters by nine different authors, if we will do a series on our blog giving our thoughts on each of the nine chapters by September 1.  I'm hoping to do this, and it would be neat to see what others wrote about the same topics!  To sign up, just head over to the True Woman website and follow the directions there by June 1.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An Engagement

     I have some exciting news!  Sunday, April 25, Rob asked me to marry him and....I said yes! 

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame."    Song of Songs 8:6

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Declare...

   I have experienced negative emotions and behaviors that would, in the field of psychology, be considered symptoms of "Generalized Anxiety Disorder" or "Pure-O Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder."  They have interfered significantly in my life, and for some time, I clung to the popular beliefs about these issues as my only answers.  The following are my passionate declarations about a topic that is very important to me, based on a series of discoveries that I feel are groundbreaking in my life.  I think they could be the same for so many others with experiences similar to mine.

* A mental illness is a condition that is known to have a biological cause, that must be treated medicinally. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the case for many issues currently being categorized and diagnosed as mental illness.

                                          My Declarations
  • I am an individual with a unique personality: there is nothing wrong with me.  I am the product, in part, of cognition, biological factors, and environmental factors. The presence of certain biological factors have combined with environmental factors to result in my unique personality, making me the obsessive, analytical, introspective, sensitive, conscientious person I am. Here's the thing: the obsessive, analytical part of me has at times responded to anxiety-producing thoughts with hours of analysis to prove to myself that everything was okay. This, as defined by me, is a negative behavior. But that same trait causes me to take great enjoyment from thinking things over deeply, to take notice of subtleties that others might miss, and to be driven to find answers to my questions. There is no biological cause present causing these personality traits collectively as some kind of illness. I am simply a complex human being, and when I do experience anxiety, it is experienced and manifested through the lens of who I am as a person.
  • I have the freedom to define my own experiences. I adopted this one from  In the last declaration, I differentiated between a behavior I am displeased with(torturing myself by trying to make sure everything is okay) and behaviors I am pleased with(thinking analytically, etc). Just because the DSM-IV decides to say that obsessive behavior, for instance, is a "symptom" of something does not mean that me being obsessive is always a bad thing.  I am the one who decides, according to own values, what is good and bad in my life.  The popular lists of symptoms have caused me to try to fit many of my own behaviors under certain labels.  The problem with this is that a) such disorders are not quantifiable as such and b) many of the behaviors I was coming to think there was something wrong with weren't negative in any way.  I did this because I had bought into the idea that everything the manual listed was, in fact, an illness and that the symptoms listed could help determine them.  Realizing that this is not scientifically supported makes such categorization senseless and even harmful.
  • The negative behaviors I sometimes get caught up in are caused by cognitive habits fueled by anxiety.  Here's how it works:  you think something scary, and you feel anxious.  The anxious feelings may cause you to think more about the scary things, thus causing you to feel more anxious, and well, can you see the beginning of a viscious cycle?  One answer to dealing with bad habits of thinking is found in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT).  The great thing about CBT is that it can be done on your own(one study found that doing it solo was just as effective as having a therapist to help).  CBT simply helps you to recognize thought patterns that cause unnecesarily destructive emotions and to deal with your thinking more constructively, thereby reducing the effects of emotions such as anxiety.
  • I may need to take extra care of myself.  If a sensitive nervous system is one factor that causes me to be overwhelmed easily, it will be extremely important for me to do all those common sense things that will make it easier to live the life I want: get enough sleep, eat right, limit caffeine, etc.
  When I stopped thinking that my feelings of anxiety were simply there because of a chemical imbalance, some interesting things began happening.  I had a greater feeling of control over my emotions.  I lost what had become a crutch and found a sense of empowerment.  I have begun identifying simple causes of anxiety I never knew existed because of my past readiness to attribute an unfounded chemical imbalance to my anxiety.  The tremendous shift in perspective was extremely freeing, making me feel beautiful.  The question Why did God make me like this?  turned to Wow, God made me so amazing!  I began to recognize the ways I am uniquely gifted, and I began to wonder if The Icharus Project might not be onto something when they call them "dangerous gifts."