Modesty, Daddies, and Freedom: It’s not a burden

Last night at the Women of Worth Rally in Colonial Heights the theme was “modesty”. From scripture, to video, to Bible study, to speaker, we learned the importance of modesty in the eyes of God. (I Timothy 2:9)

Girl Defined is a great resource for teenage girls and women on how to stay pure in the counter-culture that opposes God’s truth.

Here is a great video on how to wear fashion and still be modest:

The girls in my group are in 6th grade and some of the topics discussed in Bible study are not head on struggles for them. They are influenced, but it seems they are preparing and making sure they know truth for the potential battle to come.

We discussed how the women we see portrayed as “objects” of unrealistic beauty in magazines, movies, and music videos create feelings of anger, disappointment, sadness that someone would think that’s okay, and conviction.  We know the truth and stand against the image, but we also realize we are human and wonder, “Why don’t I look like that?”  Even though we discussed how most models in print are drastically altered using technology to make them smaller, taller, or more alluring to the world standards, we admitted we still feel “inadequate” at times.

Mrs. Becton of Precious to God ministries spoke on human trafficking, and how the ministry seeks to help restore oppressed and exploited women by inviting others to share their pain through prayer, awareness, mentoring, and networking.  Within her talk she made it crystal clear the differences between the goodness of God, and the lies of the enemy. God is for us, and He is faithful.  He keeps no record of wrongs, and He wants to redeem us.  The enemy is darkness, confusion, and is against us.

One thing she said that stood out to me was the following:

“Sexuality should not be a burden.”

God created sexuality and is the authority on it.  Everything He made, He stood back and said, “This is good!”

When we step into a place as a young lady, or seasoned married woman of our sexuality being a burden, we need to seek God’s truth.  If we feel inadequate, abused, oppressed, frustrated, worried, unattractive, not good enough, fearful, apathetic, angry, or confused something good has become a burden and that is not what God desires for us.

Single women and teenage girls embrace God’s truth and know you are precious in His sight.  Get to know Him as your perfect heavenly Father who is for you. (Psalm 139)

Married women, no matter your age, size, or season in marriage celebrate the beautiful union between a man and woman –one flesh, created by God, and His gift for marriage.

Fathers–Daddy

Your role is of utmost importance in the development of your daughter’s sexuality. When Mrs. Becton works with women who have been exploited and oppressed, many of them talk openly about their relationship with men as little girls, and especially their father, or lack of father. You are the first male role model they witness loving the females in their lives. How you show affection to your wife and to them is their example of how they should be treated by a man.

Fathers who intentionally show affection, love, and engage in the molding of their daughter’s self-worth will reap a harvest of confident and courageous daughters.

If I have a daddy telling me I’m beautiful and worthy, why would I seek that elsewhere? I am satisfied and filled.

The simplest of actions such as love notes, date nights, small gifts just because, taking interest in their hobbies, and leading them in prayer and Bible study will speak volumes to their worth! Time tells them “I must be valuable!” The time you invest says to them “You matter to me!”  Research says that most little girls grow up to marry someone that is like their father–the role model they’ve come accustomed to.

Sometimes showing affection is easier when they are smaller and more difficult when they become teenagers.  Don’t stop.  Don’t pull away.  They need you more than ever to guide them, laugh with them, and spend time with them.  It may mean a sacrifice of your time, your comfort, or personality, but it’s your God give responsibility to connect and protect.

  • Engage
  • Pray
  • Lead

Daily….

Ask: How will I engage with my daughter in a positive way, and what does she need from me?

Pray: Be on your knees and in God’s Word praying for her.

Lead: Seek to be the visionary for your family, and lead your family in the way of God’s truth.  Do not leave this job/role solely to your wife.  As a father, God has equipped you to lead and love:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

The greatest love gift you can give your family is to learn to lead and love like Christ loved the church.  His Word will guide you.

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do. – John Mayer

 

Sushi: You really can make this at home!

Our family has embraced the blizzard of 2016 with lots of cooking.  My sweet Vivian challenged us to make sushi, one of her favorite dishes.  We took the challenge. We recommend opening Pandora, type in “traditional Japanese music” to set the mood.

Blizzard fun!  The play time made us hungry!

The recipe we used but had to make some adaptations was from The Food Network.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/shrimp-sushi-rolls-recipe.html

Shrimp Sushi Rolls

Ingredients
Sushi:
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup short-grained sushi rice (We used long grain rice. We used the directions on the bag of rice.)
1 1/2 cups water
4 sheets toasted nori (We purchased this at Kroger, but check your local grocery first before heading out. Of course, an Asian market, or international market would carry nori: an edible seaweed, eaten either fresh or dried in sheets, especially by the Japanese.)

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Fillings:
1 kirby cucumber or 1/2 regular cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks (We used the “no name” cucumber that was in our refrigerator. We used a mandolin slicer to make sushi sized sticks of cucumber.)
1/2 firm-ripe Hass avocado, peeled, thinly sliced lengthwise, sprinkled with lemon juice (I wished we would have had an avocado, but we did not.  We used creamed cheese, cucumber, and we used a bag of frozen shrimp that we thawed and steamed.)
8 large cooked shrimp, peeled and cut in 1/2, lengthwise
Soy Sauce
Equipment: Bamboo sushi mat (We used parchment paper because we did not have a mat.  I went on Amazon that same night and ordered one to be shipped for next time for only 5.00. While one was rolling, Vivian would take the parchment paper and tug on the other end to help get a tighter roll.)

Sushi Mat from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sushi-3155-Green-Bamboo-Mat/dp/B000216T8Y

Directions
For the rice: (Remember we stated that we made the rice by the directions on the bag/box versus the below directions.  We did add the vinegar, sugar, and salt.)

Mix together vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Rinse the rice with cool water in a colander; drain. Put the rice and water in a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to very low and simmer, tightly covered, (For a good seal, wrap the pan’s lid tightly with a small kitchen towel and cover the saucepan. Make sure the towel’s edges are folded up well away from the heat.) Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat (don’t uncover), and set aside for 10 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Add the vinegar mixture and toss with a wooden spoon. Spread the rice out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fan the rice continuously with a fan or magazine until cooled. Cover the rice with a damp towel.

To assemble rolls:

Place the sushi mat (or parchment paper) with the slats running crosswise directly in front of you on a clean work space. Lay a sheet of nori shiny-side down and lined up with the closest edge of the mat. Light moisten fingers with water, and evenly press about 1/4 of the rice onto the nori, with 1 1/2-inches uncovered at the far edge. Line up the fillings about an inch from the closest near edge, evenly across the rice. Leave 1 inch of rice uncovered at the far edge. (Keep a little bowl of water handy so you can keep your fingers moist while putting the rice on the nori. This will keep the rice from sticking to your hands.)

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Here are some pictures of our fillings:

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Beginning with the near edge of the mat, tightly roll up the nori, rice, and fillings into a cylinder. Firmly tug on the rounded mat over the roll as you pull on the far edge of the mat to tighten the roll.

“On a roll” video:

Open the mat, dab unsealed edge of nori with a bit of water and roll the sushi forward to seal. Transfer the sushi to a plate and cover with damp paper towels. Repeat with remaining rice and fillings.

Cut each sushi roll, crosswise, into 8 pieces with a sharp wet knife. (Keeping your sharp knife wet is helpful in cutting the roll.  Don’t exclude this step.)

Serve with bowl of soy sauce for dipping.

If you would like to take a sushi making class, I noticed today (1/25/2016) Groupon Richmond has a Sushi-Making Class for two at Kabuto Japenese House of Steaks and Sushi for only 49.00.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/shrimp-sushi-rolls-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Our Lavender Bathroom

We “lived” with a leak in our upstairs bathroom that found its way down to the kitchen for many years.  We did everything possible to fix the leak ourselves; we hired someone to fix it, but in the end they didn’t (frustrating); and we ultimately put a board up over the “hole” for years until we could attend to the frustration.  After many years, here is the result of patience, or insanity! 🙂

Before Pictures

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Blue and brown striped wallpaper that was peeling from the walls.

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Older glass door from the 70s

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The leak was occurring in the pan underneath all this tile!

I am not a professional home decorator, so picking out tile, colors, and a theme was difficult because I’m very practical; yet, there is a whimsical side to me as well.  We bought our tile from Mosaic Tile Company 10911 Trade Rd, Richmond, VA 23236; (804) 794-2700.

Because of the blue floor tile, I felt beholding to that color scheme.  I began picking out blue shades when my daughter announced that was boring, and I should try something exciting!  I looked to my left on the counter and saw a beautiful orchid with the colors of purple (flower) and green (the leaves).  Nothing is more exotic than an orchid!  I told the clerk I wanted this color scheme found in nature!

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I happened home one day to check on the contractors and asked to see the tile.  I wanted to make sure that what I ordered was what he had in his van. I’m a re-checker to a fault, but this time the re-check proved important.  They had the wrong tile and color! Mosaic Tile graciously admitted their mistake and fixed the error in a timely fashion.

The Work Begins:

We used Knickerbocker Contractors (http://knickerbockercontractors.com/)

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They used a special pan that is guaranteed. I highly recommend them!

Getting ready for the new tile…

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All Done!

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Once they were completed with the shower, we went to work on stripping wall paper.

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This took weeks here and there because of jobs and other commitments.  We had to work on the walls a bit because of the length of time the wall paper was on the walls, and the high quality installation of the paper–lots of glue!  There are many products out there that will help you with this task.  Lowe’s will have them.  Also, you must get a steamer to remove the paper.  I can’t imagine doing it by hand without the steamer.  If you can afford it, it’s best to have multiple folks working and steaming.

This became a family project.  Valentina picked out many color combinations and brought them home for Vivian to have the final say.  So my colors are from the girls, which I love.  The orchid was from my oldest, and prior to the work she gave me a white vase of lavender for “inspiration”, she said.  That was so precious to me.  I’ve always loved lavender and green together. And, of course, lavender is one of my favorite scents and soothing aromas.

Once the walls were all done,

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we began to decorate.  I decided to research on Amazon and Google unique items.  It’s amazing what you can find if you type in the right words for a Google search, like “unique knobs for the bathroom”, or “unique light switch plates”.  I also utilized Great Big Canvas (http://www.greatbigcanvas.com/) to purchase a wall peel of lavender.  It goes on the wall easy, and when you are tired of it, you can peel it off to save.  No glue, no mess, no trouble.

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parishplate

switchplate switchplate2

cabinetopenners

I love my sweet knobs!

What to do with the floor?  We could not afford to redo the tile on the floor, so we decided to add pretty rugs from Kohl’s and Tuesday Morning.

rugs rugs2

A little busy perhaps, but that is my whimsical side.

Victoria found on Pinterest an excellent use of an old door for shelving and decoration. We had old doors from my grandmother’s home place.  Parish took the time to make my shelving utilizing the idea from Pinterest.  The hardware was purchased from Lowe’s, and due to the door’s weight, we had to purchase special hanging equipment.  That, too, was purchased at Lowe’s.

door door2

There are treasures from friends and family on my shelf.  I also went to World Market (http://www.worldmarket.com/) in the Short Pump area to purchase some treasures.

shelf

bathroomitems

I wanted a special place for my lavender robe.

hook

mirror

The mirror was purchased from World Market

 

The window treatment was my last decision.  The curtain was from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and I ordered them online!  The curtain is called “Chelsea Window Curtain”. Bed, Bath, and Beyond often sends members great coupons for ordering online.  I took advantage of the coupon.

curtain

Our contractor for the job was Charles Felts, Jr.  He oversaw many necessary projects completed during this time.  We highly recommend him for his professionalism, efficiency, and most of all trustworthiness.  With any project, challenges occur; however, Charles and his crew were always professional and filled with joy.  I never saw Charles that I did not see a patient and joyful expression on his face.

Riverside Builders LLC
14413 Clearcreek Pl
South Chesterfield, VA 23834
Charles J Felts Jr
804-530-1109
I thank God for our beautiful bathroom, and enjoy getting ready in the mornings among the lavender and beauty.  I recently went to the drug store to find lavender tablets for the shower!  I do miss my garden tub from my previous home.  Anytime I go away on vacation, I’m constantly taking a bath versus a shower–catching up on missed tub time.  The tablets have turned my shower into bath time fun!
lavendertabs

Reader’s Thoughts on Love Never Dies

Hi Anna,

I was reading your blog and a few scriptures came to mind that I wanted to share with you. My heart goes out to you and your loved one. I’m praying for you.

In speaking of death and our heavenly dwelling, Paul wrote……

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:5

I find that strikingly beautiful and assuring. As believers in Christ, when the moment of our death comes, nothing will be left to chance. God, in Jesus Christ, has prepared a place for us AND Christ, by His Spirit, has prepared us for that place 🙂. He began preparing even before the creation of the world, before we were even born. When He sent Jesus, He was preparing for our death. When Jesus hung on the cross, He was preparing for our death. When He sent His Spirit and began to turn us around in repentance and continued to work in our lives…..HE was preparing us for our death. Praise God.

Also, this is one of my favorite sermons on death…..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaeLaqwJ5_c

I pray it will be a blessing to you.

Love and miss you!!

Jen

This same day, I was watching Narnia with my girls.  God is good to speak to us through all things.

Love never dies

The snow had not arrived, but the forecast was imminent. I drove to my destination with anticipation.  The Holy Spirit was already there. Her room was peaceful with cards from little ones strung on a twine in the window, notes of encouragement taped to the walls, and a plaque that reminded her and all visitors that “With God all things are possible”.

She was so peaceful at rest. I did not want to wake her.  As I touched her small hand and gently spoke her name, she opened her eyes and smiled. Our exchange reminded me of running into a loved one or long awaited friend. Her smile was sweet, and her face glowing.  I told her that Jesus was glowing from the inside out of her.  Thank you.

She talked about her situation in short, fragmented sentences and teared up. We agreed that being sad was okay, and she handed me her tissue “filled with tears” she said.  “Keep my tissue with tears.”  I realized how sacred the moment was, even if it seemed odd, or confusing.  Reasoning in these types of situations doesn’t seem right, but engaging and loving a holy experience.

Love never dies.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. I Corinthians 13:8

When you sit at the side of someone not long for this world, you realize the sacred knowledge that all things in their season will cease.  All your striving, accomplishments, misunderstandings, and work will come to an end.  We will reach our limit this side of heaven and all things will be completed when we see Jesus face-to-face.

As the snow began to fall and accumulate, it was time to go home.

nanaplace

These moments are not to be worshiped in such a way that we can’t live in the now. In fact, it can make the now a richer experience. Jesus tried so hard to explain this to his disciples in John 10:

Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

I think of the thief who selfishly desires to take what is inherently ours. Every day there is a battle.  Will we turn our thoughts towards Jesus, or will we try to reason with a lie, or perversion of His truth?

One of the last things she shared with me was a desire to “go home”. She could not explain “home” past the simple request.  I told her if I could put her in my pocket we would go.  With a great sense of humor, she said, “That would have to be a pretty big pocket!”

“Anyone who goes through me…..”

Jesus put us in your pocket!  Help us go through you.  Help me see YOU as my home, and help me to live in this world knowing you desire more for me than I could ever dream up.

Jesus help me to not reason with the lies of the world, but trust that You are all powerful, loving, and gracious to defend and carry us in the palm of your hand (Isaiah 49:16).  Like John, Lord help us to recline next to you and know you are our best friend, Savior, and true Father (John 13:23).

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Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath