Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pursuing Purity in Marriage

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If you are single and reading this, then I hope you will take this to heart and remember it for later. If you are married and reading this, I hope you can find encouragement and inspiration.

Simply put: purity isn't a "singleness thing," it's a lifetime thing.

Yes, that's right.

I remember when I was single, I worked hard to remain pure while I waited to be married! It was difficult. Our sex-saturated society mocks abstinence and pushes every temptation imaginable into our view. It is only by God's grace and His strength that we can walk through our single years and remain pure in body and heart. But this post isn't about purity while single. It is about purity while married. I know some of you singles reading this might be shocked and wonder how purity can be a challenge after marriage! I mean, doesn't the struggle end once you walk the aisle and say your vows?? Far from it, I'm afraid. 

Before marriage, the struggle is to keep our body and heart pure, saved for our spouse. So what's the struggle AFTER marriage? Actually, it is exactly the same! - to keep our body and heart pure, saved for our spouse. And the battle is fierce.

Take a look around. Do you see the divorce rate? Have you noticed that affairs and infidelity is at an all-time high? Have you seen the ads, commercials, and TV shows that mock a happy, fulfilled marriage and parade lust and adultery like it's something we should be engaging in? I have. The other day I saw a yogurt commercial where two women gulped down spoonfuls of Greek yogurt because, magically, the more they ate, the more their husbands turned into a celebrity look-a-like. Hmm. A subtle point to lust? Looks like it.

Satan is sharp and is, indeed, roaming around like a hungry lion anxious to devour our marriages. It is up to us to build up walls of protection and guard against his devices.

So what are some practical ways we can have purity in our marriage?

  1. First, delve into the Word of God. We are like sponges. If we are full of Jesus, there will be no room for anything else. It is not just important, it's VITAL, to soak ourselves in the Bible. Memorize scripture. Learn more of Who God is. Study. In so doing, we will grow and soak in all that He is. And the more of Him we have, the less of the world we will want.
  2. PRAY. It is important to saturate our marriage and our husband in prayer. Pray for your husband to be strong, to be courageous, to be the leader that God has called him to be. Pray for strength for him when temptation arises. Remember that just as Satan is after you, he is also going to come against your husband. Pray. It's powerful.
  3. Have an accountability partner. It can be your husband. It can be a friend (of the same gender). Whomever you chose, make sure that they are strong in their faith and passionate about purity. Pray together. Lift one another up with encouragement. I am thankful that I have a few select women in my life that I can call on and say, "Hey, Satan is trying to fill my mind with impurity. Pray for me right now, will you?" We need each other. It is important to have someone cheering you on, running the race with you, and lifting you up in prayer.
  4. Remove the bait. Satan will come at us in different ways. What tempts you may not tempt me. So it is important to search our hearts and lives and find whatever our "thing" is that is enticing and remove it. If your computer is a problem, put in a filter, get rid of it, or appoint someone to keep you accountable. There are websites that link your net history to another's computer for better accountability. If it is a TV show or HBO blockbuster, consider turning off your satellite or cable or removing your TV from your home altogether. It isn't extreme to obey the Lord.
  5. Steer clear of the devil's pawns. Impurity is everywhere. TV shows like "Sex and the City" and "Friends" where fornication and adultery is praised, should not be considered. Movies like "Magic Mike" where women are encouraged to gawk and giggle over male strippers, we should stay away from. Romance novels like "Fifty Shades of Grey" that explicitly describe what should be private and sacred, should be tossed in the garbage. Music that approves what God calls a sin, we shouldn't let our ears hear. Do not give place to anything that is unholy. If you compromise in the name of entertainment, don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself unsatisfied in your marriage and far from the Lord.

God is pure, therefore Satan is on the attack against the purity and sacredness of marriage. It doesn't end at the wedding. Purity is a lifestyle. It is a direction. It is an attribute of Christ and, therefore, should be pursued forever.

Cheering you on!

Sidewalk Paint

With the temperatures becoming a little less unbearably hot, I have been looking forward to playing outside with Nathan a lot more. Soon, it will be too cool for him to splash in his kiddie pool, so I have been brainstorming and trying to find fun activities for him to do - both inside AND outside. I hit the bulls-eye when I discovered and tried the idea of sidewalk paint yesterday. WHAT FUN!

Nathan LOVED it but, to be honest, I think I had more fun than he did! Here is the recipe that I used for our sidewalk paint:

  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 6-8 drops of food coloring

Put the cornstarch in a small plastic bowl and slowly mix in the water. Then add your chosen color of food coloring and stir together. Then pour into your choice of paint holder (I used a muffin pan). Repeat with each color.

Being my first time to try this, I only used about 4-5 drops of food coloring instead of the suggested 6-8. I was curious about it staining Nathan's skin and the sidewalk, so I watered it down a bit. As it dried, it lightened up considerably and had a chalk-like texture. It easily washed off of him and my muffin tin. Next time, I plan to use more food coloring so the paint will be more vibrant.

the paint in my muffin tin

Nathan getting ready to check it out


He got it on his face and thought it was funny

Our finished product. I'll let you guess which artwork
belongs to Nathan and which belongs to me. :p

This was a fun project that we will be doing again and again in the near future! And it was so cheap!

Cornstarch - $1.00
One box of assorted food coloring - $1.95

Water - free!
Muffin tin - already mine
The memories and fun made - TOTALLY priceless! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Baked Oatmeal Casserole

This morning I decided to try a new recipe find from my favorite web spot, Pinterest. I chose the baked oatmeal casserole. In the original recipe, it is gluten-free and includes nuts. Below is my tweaked version. As one who isn't fond of oatmeal, I loved this and so did Nathan. Give it a go and enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal Casserole
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6

2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup berries {I used a package of mixed berries}
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

Preheat oven to 375° and generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the berries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of berries and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.

Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining berries and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. And then sink your teeth into the yumminess. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Recommended Books for Little Boys

There are few things I love as much as books and the memories that I have in reading through my most cherished ones growing up. Below is a list I have compiled of my current favorites that I think are very beneficial and precious for little boys. Of course, most of these can be read to girls too (some are among my childhood favorites!), but I also find them very good picks for those with little snips, snails, and puppy dog tails, too!
I bought this book only yesterday for Nathan that I am going to give him for Christmas. I plan to begin reading it to him while he is young to instill the powerful message of this book into his heart at an early age. You may have heard of the popular (and HIGHLY recommended) book for girls, The Princess & the Kiss. This book, The Squire & the Scroll, is written by the same author with the same principle in mind: teaching purity. This story is about a young squire who travels a long distance beside a brave knight. Through dangers and perils, he learns what it takes to flee temptation and to guard the heart from impurity. In this age, that message needs to be deeply rooted into our children's hearts.

Barney Wigglesworth is a cute little collection of books about a mouse named Barney. In each book, he learns valuable and moral life lessons such as: cooperating with others, perseverance, caring for those in need, etc. My mom used to read me the Barney Wigglesworth books as a child and now I am taking great delight in reading them to Nathan. They are so very cute.

Adam Raccoon is probably my favorite to read to Nathan right now. I love the strong Christian parables in this series and he likes to look at the pictures. Each book is a treasure trove of spiritual lessons. In Adam Raccoon in the Lost Woods, he learns to follow Jesus, In Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master, he learns about forgiveness. This is, yet another, series I had as a child and I will always have these books in my home.

My mom began collecting the "Building Christian Character" books when I was little. This is probably my family's favorite series that we read growing up. There are so many books in this collection! The above book, Max and the Big Fat Lie, is about telling the truth. Buzzle Billy is about sharing. Sir Maggie the Mighty is about obedience, Handy-Dandy Helpful Hal is about helping. Cheating, greediness, thankfulness - there are so many topics that these books hit and the creative way they illustrate those messages are great! I definitely recommend this series!

Do you have any recommended reads for little boys? Feel free to share!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Pregnancy Files | Week 12 | Baby #2

I can't believe I am 12 weeks already! Here is the latest on baby #2:

  • Baby is about the size of a lime.
  • The tissues and organs in his/her body is growing and maturing. Baby is swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. His/her organs — including the kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver — are in place and starting to function. Reflexes are the newest development! 
  • Tiny nails are formed on fingers and toes and peach-fuzz hair is growing!

Incredible, isn't it? As for me....

  • My nausea comes and goes, but it is significantly better.
  • I am more tired than I was three weeks ago. I do have days full of energy, but I can get exhausted very quickly.
  • I have a small bump. That's been hard for me because I didn't show at all until well after 14 weeks, but I have heard that you show quicker with each pregnancy. So, 'tis fine. 

There's a little update on me and baby #2. I cannot wait to find out the gender! It won't be long now!

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