I love you, but I don't have to love what you do...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I recently watched TLC's "Breaking Amish" series on Netflix. I'm not sure why it intrigued me. Most of it kind of irritated me...way too much drama and bad attitudes. But it spurred on some interesting thoughts, hence this blog post.

"Breaking Amish" chronicles the story of five young Amish/Mennonite people that leave their communities and set off into the outside world. Their journey takes them to New York City as a start, where they get a huge culture shock and dive head first into all that the "English" lifestyle has to offer.

The series is not without plenty of drama, and I found myself fast forwarding a lot. But I think the thing that intrigued me most was the interactions with their families before and after their escapades.

Before they left for the big city, each one was spoken to by one or more family members. They were all told that if they went out and did the things they were planning to, that they would be shunned. When they returned, they were shocked to find that their families would no longer speak to them. One girl's friends even ran from her with their hands on their faces like blinders when they saw her approach in her English clothing. She was heartbroken.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not in any way saying that the Amish lifestyle is right. I disagree with their biblical beliefs entirely, and if I ever had the chance to become friends with someone from that community, I would greatly encourage them to leave.

But the attitudes of  those kids with their families had me shaking my head.

Dude...what did you think was going to happen?

They told you they were not okay with what you were doing. You knew it was against everything they believed in, and you still went on your merry way and did whatever the heck you wanted. Sure, you should be able to make a life for yourself and make decisions on your own. But then to come home and demand that the people who gave you a good and fair warning be tolerant of your new lifestyle? Sorry. It doesn't work that way.

Here is where I believe we have the biggest problem in society today. Everyone wants acceptance and believes that it shouldn't matter what anyone does, you should love and accept them anyways. Maybe some people are okay with this sort of mindset. Heaven knows the media and all the liberal/feminist/feel good junkies of the country are all about just accepting people for "who they are" (aka what they decide to do with their lives). But for me, that's not how it works.

May this be a declaration to my friends and family.

I love you. I will always love you.

But I do not have to love what you do.

I do not have to accept the lifestyles, habits, addictions, choices, or sexual partners you choose to associate with.
I do not have to be okay with the words you use, the friends you hang out with, or your lack of Biblical influence and devotion.
I don't have to tolerate your attitude.
I don't have to act like everything is okay when you are blatantly being disrespectful, partaking in things I don't agree with or living in a way that is opposite of everything I hold dear and important to me.

Love does not equal acceptance. I can love you, the person I have always loved and will continue to. But that doesn't mean I have to accept that you are doing all the things I am against.

Where does grace fit in, you ask? Grace does not gloss over wrong. Grace loves and encourages to do the right thing. Grace does not just leave a person in their pit, afraid to say anything contrary because that person might be offended. Grace loves in spite of wrong, but is not tolerant of it. Grace encourages change and restoration.

So while you are out there finding yourself, remember that I am here with a willing ear and warm hug. I will always love you, but I will never stop praying for you, encouraging you to do the right thing, and hating all the horrid things that are trapping you and keeping you from a rich, fulfilling life in Christ.

My Undue Dislike of the Duggar Family

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
I'll admit. I haven't really been fair to the Duggar family. My friend Janet knows this better than anyone. She knows that whenever she mentions the Duggar family, or any "big-christian-homeschool-family-especially-ones-that-sing-together"...I get an attitude. A bitterness, as it were, rises up in my heart and I try to change the subject. She has put up with many of my rants about the Patriarchal system, betrothal, courtship, the having-as-many-kids-as-you-can thing...all of it.

(Off topic plug: Janet is the best friend I have ever had. For nearly 13 years, she has stuck by me through thick and thin. We have grown up together while separated by many miles. She has put up with my rantings and ravings like no one else. No matter what, even if she doesn't agree with me, we still get along. She has never huffed off all offended by anything I've said, and is the most faithful friend I have ever known. <3 )

This morning I read an article about the latest Duggar romance. Actually there are posts all over the place about Jill's courtship with her missionary man and how she met him via Skype and started their relationship before they met. Google anything about Duggar courtships and you get an onslaught of post and interviews and videos talking about their courtship rules and whatnot. Needless to say...they're pretty popular.

But this morning's post made me realize something.

I've been bitter against these people unjustly.

I'm not being sarcastic here. I'm truly honest. I've disliked them unfairly. Am I still kind of weirded out by how famous they have become? Yeah, it still irritates me, but whatever...its their life.

But this is what has made me realize how unfair I have been: they are raising good kids.

One son married with three kids and very successful. Two daughters in relationships with good, strong Christian men. The others well on their way.

They are doing something right!

So what I've realized is that maybe instead of being resentful against them for being so famous for their over-sized family and strict conservative rules...maybe instead of watching and waiting for one of them to mess up...maybe I should be cheering them on!

Sure I don't agree with their biblical doctrine, but that's not the issue here. The issue is that they are raising, good, pure, successful, happy, polite, drug-free people that value marriage, family and God. What is so wrong with that?

There is nothing wrong with a couple "dating with the intent of marriage" (aka courting), saving sex for marriage, saving 99% of physical contact for marriage and focusing on their spiritual and emotional growth together first. What a foundation to have! Maybe if more people valued marriage like that, there would be less heartache and divorce in this world.

There is nothing wrong with the family being involved in that process. People young and in love need good counsel and eyes other than their own to see the red flags that we miss through our rose-colored-glasses.Yes, of course, they are adults, and not every couple is blessed with Godly, reasonable, understanding parents. But there is always someone out there, even if its just your friends, that can give counsel, wisdom and accountability.

I could go on and on, but the point is this. There is nothing wrong with the way the Duggar family, or any of these families live. They aren't perfect...but then again they never make that claim. They do the best that they know how and strive to raise their families to be honorable in the sight of God and man. Some may fall, yes. But so far the odds are for them. They are doing alright here! So why hate them for raising the bar and releasing some beautiful, God-fearing people into the world?

In closing, I'm sorry, Duggars. And everyone else. Keep doing what you are doing. Thank you for valuing marriage and family and giving your kids an amazing foundation.

Friendship Lasts...Forever?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I've been pondering the words on this Facebook ad for the last few days. The video shows a girl crying and texting her friend, saying she and (presumably) her boyfriend just broke up. The next scene shows the two friends hugging and crying together, wiping each others' tears. Aww.

So the video is cute and touching and all, but its the caption that got me. Love can be tough, but friendship lasts forever. The first part is ok, even true, because love is tough sometimes.

But "friendship lasts forever." What? 

Clearly whoever wrote that is about ten years old and did so while having a sleepover and making friendship bracelets. Actually, I take that back. Most kids I've known have a far better handle on what it means to be a friend than some adults.

People take friendships for granted, as if they are just always going to be there. If you have a friend that you honestly, without putting any thought into it, can know that they will always and forever be there, then lucky you. But most of the time it just doesn't work that way.

Friendships take work. Sure you can hit it off and be best of friends right off the bat. But at one point or another, you are going to hit a rough point. You are going to be at odds about something, argue, get frustrated, not understand each other. Its what people do. And it takes effort and work to get through those points.

But guess what? That's life.

Things hurt. People say things they don't think about. Arguments happen. So do we just pack up our toys and run home crying? I guess some people do. But where do we get this "friendship lasts forever" fantasy?

The simple fact is this: friendship doesn't last forever unless you want it to, and unless you put the work into it. Just like a marriage isn't going to last unless you value it, work at it, and keep it alive, so friendship is the same. It takes time and effort, forgiveness and having the courage to pick things up when they fall apart.

I admit I'm not always the best friend I could be. I say the wrong things. I forget about writing to you, and then just pop up out of the blue. I will probably offend you, and I will say hard things. But I will be honest with you. I will try my hardest to fix things that break. I will be open and real. And if its my honesty, openness and realness that causes you not to be able to trust me...then we've got bigger problems.

Everyone wants a friend that will be there forever.

But not everyone wants to do what it takes to make that possible.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014
And again. And again.

When will this circle end?

I keep trying. I keep putting myself out there for you. Giving you chance after chance to break my heart all over again. Why?

You've pushed me away again. How many more times do I let myself get disappointed and hurt?

My initial fighting response wants to rise up in my heart.

Fine. Be that way. Whatever.

I want to be angry at you. I want to give up and forever delete you from life somehow. I feel like that is exactly the attitude you have towards me.

But that's not who I am. 

Believe what you like about me. Form your own conclusions of my life, my choices, my thoughts, because your assumptions will be all you have of me since you care not to find out who I really am.

Funny...I thought you already knew.

I keep trying. I will keep putting myself out there, hoping maybe someday you'll reach back.

Why? Because some part of me still believes you're worth it.

The Happy Medium

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Everything is an extreme.
Black and white.
There are no grey areas. And if you think its a grey area, its probably sin.
You can't walk the fence. You're either all in or all out.

Or at least that's what we've believed.

We had good intentions. We started out well. We saw what we didn't want and decided that the best thing to do was to run in the opposite direction. Logically, biblically, morally...that's what you're supposed to do, right?
Because who would ever think that extreme goo could in any was be wrong? That's like saying that extreme wrong can in some way be good. Right?

Oh yes. We had good intentions. But how did we get so messed up along the way?

We just went too far.

We took beautiful things and pushed them to a limit that made them sickening. We took things that should have been admirable and made them in to something people scoff at and are disgusted by.

We made a heart into something that could be given away in bits, never to be restored, and we were warned to avoid any emotional romantic attachments until we found "the one".

We turned homeschooling into something that sheltered and cloistered our children from the world, in an attempt to protect them from the world instead of a way to teach them how to deal with it.

We took sex and made it scary. We took any type of physical contact with the opposite sex and made it so forbidden that many of us were pretty freaked out when our wedding night rolled around.

We took "honor thy father and mother" and made it into "thou shalt not make any big decisions, especially concerning relationships, without our permission until you are married, at which point you will suddenly be forced to make all big decisions."

We turned modesty into an obnoxious declaration of holiness.

These are just a few examples.

We made things into sin that never should have been, and turned our lives into one big guilt trip.

This is what we did.
Now look at where we are.

Articles are popping up all over the internet, refuting the practices and beliefs we worked so long to define. Whole websites have been devoted to telling the stories of the young men and women who now bear the scars inflicted by the extremes of the homeschool/conservative/quiverful/ATI/etc., movements. Kids that grew up in our little worlds are now adults, facing a whole new set of extremes. We are either falling apart, washing away our guilt with various addictions and/or turning so far in the opposite direction that we are nearly unrecognizable. Or we are standing as if frozen, wondering what to do with ourselves. As I recently related to a friend, we know that we can't repeat the past, but we aren't sure what to do with our futures.

We need a happy medium.

We need a way to go back to our original intentions without screwing them up. We need to find a place in our hearts that views homeschooling as a better education option, not a cult lifestyle...a place that is comfortable talking about sex and communicating it as the beautiful marriage thing it really is...a place where modesty really is a heart issue...a place where there are grey areas, and where grace is applied. 

We must learn to be real.

We have to stop freaking out, calm down, give ourselves a break and see if we can make these things beautiful again.

For the sake of future generations, its worth a shot.

Dear World

Monday, November 18, 2013
Dear Music, Magazines, Celebrities, Advertisements, Movies, and anything having to do with American culture...

Dear World-as-we-know-it...

Please stop.

Please stop telling people, especially the young ones, that drugs, tobacco and alcohol are okay. Because they aren't. I'm so tired of seeing the lives of the people I love ruined, or at the very least, damaged by these addictive substances. You keep playing it all up as the cool thing to do. You give them a sparkling fantasy, a fun way to bond with friends, something to numb whatever feelings they don't want at the moment. You give them an answer, but you don't even know the question.

Please stop telling people that its okay to have sex with whomever suits your fancy. Stop saying that its okay to do it casually, that its just a natural part of life and should be treated with no more reverence than a handshake. You are ruining the real beauty, and leaving people even more heartbroken than they were. Quit making beautiful things like sex so common.

Why do you hurt everything that is good? You take something good and innocent, and you twist it into a dark, perverted mass that can no longer enjoy the real beauty.

All you do is lie. You tell them that its all okay, its all good, enjoy, have fun. And then they tell me that I have to be okay with their choices. I'm not. I will never stop loving them, but I will never be okay with your lies which they have accepted as truth.

My heart is breaking. And its all your fault.

Fudgy No-Bakes {my version}

Saturday, November 16, 2013
One of my favorite things is Almond Flour. Thankfully its not hard to make if you have some sort of food processor, because the already processed stuff tends to be super expensive. 

Recently, though, I wondered how other nuts would work, since I had seen Hazelnut flour someplace. What about Cashews? Usually I'm too too protective over my Cashews to want to pulverize them, unless they are for some thing I really want to make. So I decided to try Peanuts.

It didn't take more a few pulses in my Magic Bullet...

...and it worked perfectly!!

Pretty coarse, but perfect for what I wanted it for.

Fudgy No-Bakes!

No-Bake cookies are pretty ingenious in general, so I was very pleased to come up with these. I took my freshly pulverized Peanut Flour (about 1-1/2 cups), added about 1/2-3/4 cup of coconut oil (not melted, just soft), sweetened with stevia and added enough carob powder to thicken it and make it a gloppy consistency. I then dropped spoonfuls on a plate (note to self: put a sheet of parchment paper on the plate first.) and froze for about an hour or so. YUMMY! Perfect little treat.

While I'm Waiting

Thursday, November 14, 2013
To my friend.

I'm waiting.

Remember that scene in Fireproof when all he can do is wait? He's done everything, and now all he can do is pray, hope and wait for some kind of a response from his wife. He knows he may never get one. But still he waits. Patient. Aching. Hopeful.

I know how that feels.

I remember doing a lot of waiting during my single years. Waiting to meet someone. Waiting and hoping to see if that person reciprocated interest. Waiting to see if this was the right person. Getting let down when it wasn't. I cannot explain the relief I felt on my wedding day. That's right. I was relieved. I had found my love, and he was truly and completely mine. I didn't have to wait to have him anymore.

But that's not the kind of waiting I'm doing right now.

I'm waiting for you.

I've reached out again, attempting to reenter your world. Inviting you back into mine.

Perhaps its just my personality. But I am having a hard time letting you go. I've been told I should. People come and go in our lives all the time, and we have to learn to let people go. But I'm not ready to do that with you. I thought I was. But the ache in my heart won't go away, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that I'm over it.

You were my friend. My sister. We shared such a sweet bond. How can I just let that go?

If you tell me that this is futile, that you can never and will never forgive me, then I will let go once and for all. But I need something. Anything.

So for now...

...I'm waiting.

Hannah's Special Pumpkin Pie

Saturday, November 9, 2013
You really have no idea how ecstatically excited I am about this. I mean, literally, I almost cried when it was finished, and I jumped and danced around the kitchen for a good fifteen minutes after taking the first bite.

I am just elated over this.

I have not had pumpkin pie for over four years.

This year, I was determined to figure out how to make it so I could eat it.

It started with putting some pumpkin puree in a smoothie. Hey that was pretty good...with some pumpkin pie spice, it tasted like pie. The hankering has begun.

I read up on some other recipes for super vegan pies based with nuts and coconut milk/butter/oil. So I took bits and pieces of different ideas, plus one or two of my own...and this happened.

I soaked 1 cup of raw cashews overnight, and then pulverized them in my Magic Bullet.

Then I added about 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 1-2 TBSP of warm, melty coconut butter, and sweetened with stevia.

That's the filling.

The Crust: I pulverized some almonds (enough to make about 1/2-3/4 cup of course flour), added stevia to sweeten and 1-2 TBSP of warm coconut oil and a little scoop of coconut oil to help it harden up better.

I smooshed the crust mixture into the bottom of my springform pan. So really, this is more of a pumpkin cheesecake than a pie. But anyways. That's what I did.

Poured in the filling...

...and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours. Really, because of the nature of coconut butter/oil, only an hour or so of refrigeration is needed. Its awesome. So quick and easy!!

And there you have it. The best, most happiest thing I have tasted in my whole life. Well, at least in the past four years. Well, one of the best... :)

My Food Life {and what I really think}

Monday, November 4, 2013
{Warning: This is a rant. This is not pointed at anyone in particular. This is simply how I feel and what I am never able to say to people.)

It would be a gross understatement to say that food is a big part of my life. Sometimes I feel that food IS my life. Figuring out what to eat, shopping for it, preparing, learning new ways to make the best of what I have. And having a good attitude about it.

For those that may not know, I live on a diet made up of vegetables, nuts, beans and a small bit of fruit. And that’s it. I’ve been working on this diet for over four years. I have eliminated all of the following: wheat, gluten, grains of any sort (including rice and oats), caffeine, corn, sugar, all artificial colorings and sweeteners, potatoes, squash (with the exception of pumpkin), chocolate, soy and most vinegars.

It’s part of my journey to cure myself from a form of what I have come to call hormonal and diet-related epilepsy.

Its always interesting to tell people about my food life and what I do or don’t eat. They tend to stare at me, jaw dropped and eyes blinking, as if they can’t possibly imagine how someone could eat like I do. Then the questions come and unbelief deepens, especially when I tell then I never, ever cheat.

I think a lot more than I say, most of the time. I bite my tongue a lot, and simply just shake my head or shrug my shoulders.

I try so hard not to be a “food snob”, or get irritated with people. But sometimes…

This is what I’m really thinking.

“So, you’re like a celiac? My {insert random family member} is celiac and its so hard knowing what to feed her!”

Yes and no. I don’t label myself that because its so much more than that. I don’t have the common symptoms a true celiac does.

I also do not follow the popular “gluten free” diet. That diet is based on the common gluten free grain: CORN. Which in most cases is genetically modified. And even if it is organic, its still going to cause a ton of inflammation. AND odds are your awesome gluten free food is laced with extra sugar to make it taste better. Going gluten free the way a lot of people do it is a lose-lose situation.

You don’t know what to feed your celiac friend? Hello. Get out of the mindset that every meal has to have some sort of pasta, bread, muffin, cookie or other grain based object in it! Get some veggies, even potatoes and rice, and you’ll all be better off.

“You can’t eat bread or pasta or potatoes??? What do you eat??”

Man. You say that like there literally is nothing else to eat in the world. I hope you realize there are other foods than that!

And didn’t I just tell you? I eat VEGETABLES (lots of them), NUTS, BEANS and some fruit. Its really amazing how full you can get from those foods, and how many things you can do with them. Quit thinking of a salad as a side dish. Quit thinking of nuts as a snack. The difference between you and me is that I don’t fill my stomach with empty calories. My body benefits from every single bite of food I eat. There is nothing I eat that I can’t tell you has some sort of nutritional health benefit. Unlike your bowl of cheesy pasta, which has very little value and is probably just going to give you inflammation…which in turn will make you go to your doctor and he’ll diagnose you with arthritis and give you a whole lotta blah-blah-blah unless he’s smart and he’ll tell you to just back off the pasta. Simple.

I eat more and better food than you likely will ever imagine eating. I am not lacking. I am not hungry. I don’t struggle with excessive weight gain like you do. On top of that I have better willpower and self control than you will probably ever have because I have to. I CHOOSE TO.

“I don’t think I could ever eat like that! I couldn’t give up {insert favorite fatty food}!!”

Get over yourself. You could eat like that. People don’t die from a lack of pizza, potato chips and ice cream. Actually people would live longer and have much better quality of life if they did eliminate those foods!

How about this…just don’t even go here with me. Don’t tell me you “can’t” give up or live without some favorite food. You’re just being a big whiny child. If you’re going to say anything to me about this, just come out and admit you just have bad willpower and just don’t want to not eat what you want to eat. I’ll have more respect for that than  “I can’t live without…”

There are only a few things in this world necessary to your survival. Water, nourishment, a way to keep warm, a roof over your head. Everything else is a luxury. Everything you say you couldn’t live without is purely for your enjoyment and has nothing to do with your survival.

“You should go to an allergist and get checked out and find out what you’re allergic to. Then maybe you could have some of those foods again!”

Um…I had seizures. And when I eliminated foods, I stopped having them. When I eat certain things, especially during certain times of the month, I am prone to having seizures. Don’t you think that’s test enough??

Just because I’ve never gone to a doctor doesn’t mean I don’t know how to heal myself. Quit treating your doctor like a god. He is not the be-all-end-all of health. Maybe if you quit depending on him so much and started learning and studying for yourself, you wouldn’t be in his office as much.

And do I LOOK like I’m lacking? I am a well proportioned twenty-four year old woman whose only health need at this point is to exercise a little more (there I’ll admit that one). I’m definitely not malnourished. I never go hungry. The food I eat is amazing. So tell me again how I’m suffering from not eating the foods you think are so important?

“Here, you want a {insert food}? Oh wait…sorry…you can’t have that.”

Yeah. Thanks for reminding me again of how I can no longer participate in the world-wide tradition of bonding with my loved ones over all our favorite foods.

Thanks for reminding me that smell is now my only connection with all the seasonal favorites such as hot cocoa, pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies, and Thanksgiving turkey.

Thanks for reminding me of the nervousness that comes from serving someone food I’ve made for them because I can’t taste it to know if its good or not.

Thanks for reminding me that I have to stand on the sidelines and watch everyone else eat my birthday cake.

Thanks for reminding me that I can’t go out for ice cream with my husband, or meet a friend for coffee, or eat at most of the restaurants in town.

Thanks for reminding me that this is my life.

Yeah. That’s sarcasm.

This has turned into a longer rant than I expected. If you’ve actually made it through all that, then I applaud you.

Despite my generally positive attitude about my food life, I have days just like the rest of you where I get frustrated and discouraged. I have literally blocked most food options from my brain and only ever allow myself to think about eating what I know is good for me. That is how I get through cooking for my husband or anyone else. I don’t give myself the option of eating “normal” food. My only choice…the only one I give myself…is what is on my short list. Period.

But then there are the days. Someone makes a comment, whether uneducated, unfeeling, or just out of the embarrassment of not being able to feed me whatever they’ve prepared. And those comments pile up in my heart and remind me of what I’m missing. While everyone else is gushing over how wonderful something tastes, I just have to stand and smile. While everyone is celebrating with a birthday cake or holiday meal, I just have to sit there and wait, wishing everyone would eat faster so this meal would be over sooner.

But I’m fine. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it absolutely doesn’t bother me. Because of the food life I have come to claim as mine, I’m strong enough to handle people and their half-thought-out comments and actions. Because of what I go through on a daily basis, I choose not to let it bother me. But everyone needs to vent sometimes.

Stop feeling sorry for me. Eat your food, enjoy it, be happy, whatever. And let me do the same. Try being happy for me, giving me a pat on the back, instead of mourning over the food I can’t eat. I don’t sit around moping and whining because I can‘t eat the same food as everyone else…so why should you?

Quit pitying me. I need your encouragement, not your pity. I’m better off and healthier than you are anyways.

Love is (not) all we need

Monday, October 21, 2013

Marriage is about love. Love and family and equality. Love, love, love. All we need is love.

Or so they say.

You know who ‘they’ are. They are the ones whose ‘pride’ we are forced to tolerate, meanwhile anything that offends them is quickly silenced or sentenced. That’s pretty irritating, but what’s worse is the ideas they are sugar coating and hand feeding to the emotions of anyone that will listen.

Love is all you need, they say.

They’re wrong. And there will never come a time when they will cease being wrong.

If love was all we needed, then life would be easy. Loving would be easier. Love wouldn’t die or fade. Love would be more than a feeling, and would be way more trustworthy.

Relationships based solely on love fail. Daily. People fall in love, marry without any other foundation, and when life falls apart and love had died in their hearts, they have nothing to fall back on. Living on love is selfish unless it has the right foundation.

Sure, love is great. But love by itself is shaky. Love needs other things in order to work properly.

I will love my husband for as long as I live. But if I can’t show him grace when he irritates me, be a servant to him when he tracks mud through my kitchen, satisfy and pleasure him even if I get nothing out of it, or be kind and patient with him through all the foibles of life…then my love means nothing.

The other side of this is that without love, my grace, patience, servitude, and kindness mean nothing if my heart is bitter against him. Without a right and loving attitude, those actions mean nothing.

Each thing by itself is shallow if the attitude and motive behind it is wrongly placed. It all works together, and together builds a beautiful foundation…one that God designed to last through the ages.

We need love. We need grace. We need forgiveness, kindness, patience, longsuffering. We need all of it.

Skirt Refashion

Sunday, October 20, 2013
I basically love anything Old Navy makes. Such comfy, stylish clothing! So I was really excited about the short grey tiered skirt I found in my bag of clothes to refashion.

Refashioned from size XL to size S.

I used one of my other skirts to figure out how much to cut off from each side.

The waistband ended up still being too big for I just took it in a another inch or so on each side of the waistband.

Lastly, when it was all finished, I discovered a small hole in the back. So I added some lace to cover it!

I <3 Refashions!

Refashion Adventure {part 1}

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
So I recently discovered a bag of clothes in my parents' basement. My mom had been given them by a friend, but they were too big for her. She was just going to get rid of them. But I couldn't let them go that easily!

So many pretty things...and all about 3-4 sizes too big for me.

So began the refashioning.

Old Navy sundress. Size XXL.

I cut about two inches off each side and resewed the seams. 

Refashioned to approximately a size medium.
I actually think I may have to work on this one a little more...I'm not quite happy with the way it lays in the front. but it looks pretty cute with a wide white belt and a cardigan!

There were 4 of these plain white shirts! I think they are supposed to be athletic tops, because they are styled kind of as a fitted shirt. So I took one of them...

And made a cool tank-top-shrug-sorta-thing.
Cut the sleeves off, sliced it up the center and around the neck, cut and retied the shoulders.

Next up...my favorite thing so far! 
Merona halter top. Size XXL. Refashioned to a size small.

This one was tricky, because I lost the elastic going around the middle at one point. I had to dig it back out and then make a mental note not to do that again!

Cut about two inches off each side and resewed the seams.

And then made an outfit with it on Sunday!

(Props to my hubby for taking the picture)

More refashioning adventure to come soon!

Courtship: I think we've messed it up

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let me start out by clarifying a few things.

With all my heart, I believe that marriage is a wonderful, beautiful and God-ordained institution. I believe it should be treasured, protected and fought for at all costs. I believe that relationships leading up to marriage should be held with a high level of importance, and that those who are not ready to enter into a marriage should really not be involving themselves in romantic relationships.

So yes. I have some high standards.

But something I’ve noticed keeps bugging me.

The courtship versus dating battle keeps on raging, although it seems with not quite as much rage as in years past. The conservative Christian community insists that courtship is the Biblical alternative to dating, and in many ways, they are still right. For all of the reasons I stated before, courtship appears, on the outside, to be what every Christian should be striving for in their romantic conquests. At its basic definition, courtship is the way to go. No doubt.

But like so many other things that we conservative Christian people, especially in the home school community, have taken and run with…we’ve messed it up. So badly that many of our peers are turning away from it with a holy vengeance, swearing that it ruined their lives. Why?

I think its because of how courtship is presented nowadays, and how we’ve got it stuck in our minds.

What I’ve noticed is that there is far too much hype over courtship. Someone who is adamant about courtship and preaches it faithfully, when they finally do enter into it themselves, make the biggest deal out of it. A celebration is called for! Blessings abound! Pictures are taken! Oh, but don’t get too close cause you’re not married yet, even though with all the fluff and fuss, you’d think they were! And so begins your time of getting to know each other, odds are with complete parental supervision (including all messages and conversations), and so much rejoicing over this wonderful relationship.

And then…something happens.

Maybe it’s a truth that comes out, a reality that sinks in, or a personality trait that one didn’t see before. Maybe it’s a belief system, or an opinion about child rearing. Whatever the reason, the relationship goes south, and subsequently ends.

Everyone, but especially the girl in this party, is brokenhearted. Here’s just hoping it didn’t end badly and that the couple can still be friends afterward. All in all, there are still hurt feelings and place in your heart that you pray will be healed so you can move on. Everyone is so surprised. They never saw it coming. Heck, your parents and siblings probably had their wedding outfits picked out already, and were wondering what you were going to name your kids. And odds are, if more than a couple months had passed, you were already wondering the same thing…when and how is he gonna propose?!?

Hold on.

I think this is where we messed it up.

This is COURTSHIP, people. Not a wedding.

Courtship is time when two people who are actively pursuing a marriage relationship can get to know each other on a personal basis to determine whether they are a good fit for each other or not. They can discuss beliefs, opinions, desires, dreams, and ultimately learn as much as they can about each other before taking the step into getting married.

That’s what courtship is.

Courtship is NOT a guarantee for an engagement ring.

Courtship is NOT an assurance that you’ve found the one with whom you want to be with for the rest of your life.

Courtship is NOT a free ticket to a wedding.

But we sure do treat it like it is!

Yes, I do believe that entering a relationship with someone should be taken seriously. I mean, this is someone’s life you are messing with, so you want to be sure that, if everything checks out, this relationship could be something that you would be willing to consummate. It is an exciting time. I mean, its not every day that you find someone whom you genuinely admire and can see yourself (ohmygosh) marrying! And the falling in love part is a-stinkin-mazing, just for the record.

But I think we would do well to tone down the excitement and hype just a tad, so that we are not so shocked and devastated when these things end.

Being in a relationship with someone does not instantly mean that you are going to be planning a wedding in a year or two. We females, especially, have this stuck in our brains. Its no surprise since it is ingrained in our very nature to be relational beings, to crave that sort of relationship and long so deeply for a man to fall in love with us. Its not a bad thing. Really. Its just bad when we make such a big deal about it.

You know what would be really great? To see a meshing of two worlds. To see the serious and the chill coming together. What do you think would happen if we placed the seriousness of courtship with the relaxed, at ease attitude of dating? Probably a culture clash that would result in a full-scale war carried out in vehement Facebook comments and blog posts. But I think you get what I’m saying here.

People in the dating realm spend so much time getting to know each other with very little commitment and a relationship that can easily be broken off. People in the courtship realm spend far less time getting to know each other, but in a setting that demands full commitment and reaps horrid heart consequences if ends without a wedding.

It would just be kinda neat to see a little bit of both.

Call it dating, call it courtship. Call it betrothal for all I care. Whatever label you put on it, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing (did ya get that? That was one of the many things my husband told me during our pre-marriage phase). Relationships are important, so make sure you are doing it for the right reason. If you’re doing it for fun and cause you’re attracted to someone, then maybe you need to step back and grow up some more. But if you are doing it because you genuinely desire to find out if this person is the one you want to marry, then my suggestion would be to just…


I Got Kissed and I Like Harry Potter: Things I Said I'd Never Do

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Some time ago (over two and a half years ago, in fact), I posted about saving my first kiss for marriage. This post came about three months before I met the man who would become my husband and ultimately change my life forever. It is very interesting to now step back and see just how much I have changed since then…and how my personal experiences have played out compared to how I planned them as a teenager.

At the time of that posting, my friend Jason challenged me that people who made such a declaration were being prideful. In a bad way. I’ll admit I was a little more than a bit offended and came back with a cunning explanation that my declaration of saving my first kiss for my wedding day was a matter of conviction, not pride.


A year prior to my kissing post, I wrote a very poignant article on the subject of avoiding certain popular books and movies due to their content. It was mostly about Twilight, but I touched on others such as Harry Potter and High School Musical. I must admit…I was brilliant. It was a really good article. This part in particular hit me when I went back to read it again:
“…The last point I mentioned is one particular reason that I refuse to be a part of any Twilight camp. It’s the same reason I’ve never watched High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Harry Potter, or any of the other popular secular infatuations. Obsession with anything but God is wrong. Passion about anything that does not somehow bring glory to God is dangerous. And indulging in something so demonic and so far from God as Twilight is sickening.
“I believe this with my whole heart, and am cautioning my dear brothers and sisters in Christ to think and pray very hard, and to examine the true motives of their hearts before reading or watching Twilight. We are called to be lights in this world and reflections of our Savior. Is Twilight so beneficial to this calling? Is it so necessary to fill our hearts with such a vile concoction, merely for the ability to discredit it or argue about it?”
Wow. I know, right? For a twenty year old, I really had it going! I’m only being just slightly sarcastic here, because in truth, you gotta at least give me the credit of being firm in what I believed, standing my ground, and speaking out for what I thought was right.

I’m not here to bash my past self and say how stupid I was and how my eyes have been opened to the real world and all that blah-blah that usually happens when a homeschooled, Christian kid gets out into life and has a taste of (dare I say?) rebellion.

I am here to say that I’ve learned a lot over the past 3-4 years.

I’m also here to say that the reasons behind my convictions at those points in the past are still the same.

I did get kissed. By my fiancee. Before we were married. Only my brother and his dad knew about it until after the wedding, and it was the sweetest thing in the entire world. Its literally how we got engaged. We had been talking about getting engaged, and when the night finally came that we made the decision, Kyle whispered to me, “If I kiss you, you’ll know its official.” You see, our kiss was important. It was so important that we wanted it to be between us, and only us. We were adults, and we had already gone through a lot as a couple. Most importantly, we wanted to be together. So we made it official with our first kiss. No fanfare or public display. It was just so perfectly us.

The reason behind that kiss was no different than if we had done it for the first time on our wedding day. The specialness and importance was still so evidently there. The timing and experience was all that was different.

I have watched Harry Potter, and am planning on reading the books. I have also watched High School Musical. The latter was simply for fun, and I have to admit I enjoyed the trilogy a whole lot. I have a weird weakness for that type of music. I still have not watched Twilight, and currently have no desire to, simply because I have better things to watch and it just doesn’t interest me right now. But I have a few things to say about Harry Potter.

I was just a little more than super impressed.

The story was brilliant, if a little strange at times. The characters were unique and lovable, and portrayed traits that we could all do well to learn from. They were courageous, undying loyal to those close to them, with real emotions, hopes and dreams. They stood up for what was right, and knew that some things were more important than even their own lives. They were admirable. And unforgettable. Just like a story should be.

And yet again…my reasoning is the same, though perhaps a little more well thought out than before. And perhaps some will call me a hypocrite for this, and for the kissing thing, but it wouldn’t be the first time, so it is what it is. I watched Harry Potter and High School Musical at a point in my life where I could handle it. I still don’t think young kids and even early teenagers should be allowed to pour over such fandoms, because it is too easy to get sucked in. I remembering being 12 years old and so obsessed with Anne of Green Gables that I could hardly think straight. Talk about being impressionable! The thing I liked most about being introduced to them at a later age was the fact that my days of mooning over and dreaming about such stories are over. Sure I will get emotional over stories…(like who didn’t cry when the Doctor says goodbye to Rose? Or what about that feeling when Ron and Hermoine FINALLY kiss? Or when Flynn Rider saves Rapunzel by cutting off her hair?!?!)…but I will cry over them like a normal girl, mop up my face and move on. The end. I’ve enjoyed it and appreciated it, and now there are other stories.

That’s called maturity people. Ok, well maybe sobbing over a Disney movie isn’t maturity. But knowing how to enjoy a story for what it is, pick out the good stuff and leave the rest…that’s maturity.

I’m still na├»ve. I will still continue to stick my foot in my mouth about seemingly everything that ever comes out of it. But by golly I will defend what I say to the death until something comes along that proves me otherwise! Oh the burden of being a stubborn little know-it-all. I may not know a thing about what I’m talking about, but at least I think I do and I will hold that stance till kingdom come. And there lies my biggest fault. Now you know.

And yet…maybe its not a fault. Maybe I’m just overly passionate. Maybe I just say things about what I believe and about my preferences in life that I should just keep to myself. For instance, just recently I got into a big Facebook married-women-group argument over a post I made about how I irritated I was with mothers who let their kids run rampant around stores and gave their kids a three-count option of obedience. Oh man…did I take some flack for that! A-hundred-and-sixty-some comments later, I was still the bad, judgmental, childless woman that had no idea what I was talking about and should learn to be more humble. Yeah…maybe I should have just kept that one to myself and spared myself the trouble.

The bottom line is this: I learn, but I learn slowly. So odds are I’ll keep saying things that I later will have to revisit because my experiences have given me a better perspective. Just bear with me.

I’ll get it eventually.