Wednesday, February 13, 2013


By the time you read this post, which was written on Monday and posted today using blogger's cool "Schedule" option, I will have given up all social media (facebook, blogging, proteacher, etc..).  Why?  Lent.

No, I haven't suddenly converted to Catholicism.  Still a Reformed, Southern-Baptist Evangelical girl.

So why celebrate lent?  To prepare.  Ultimately it is a time of preparation.  Prepare for what? Easter.  Resurrection Sunday. 

Advent is the preparation for Christmas.  It's easy to prepare for Christmas.  Walk into any store around Halloween and you'll see Christmas.  Everywhere.  There are Christmas songs on the radio, Christmas movies on TV, Christmas cards in the mail, Christmas decorations, etc... but Resurrection Sunday?  Other than the bunnies, baskets, and chocolate covered eggs - there's not a lot out there to remind you of the season at hand.  People don't decorate their yards with crosses and tombs like they do with the nativity. 

Resurrection Sunday is the pinnacle of the gospel.  Why do we not prepare our hearts for it?  That is where Lent enters.  Fasting is not simply a catholic idea - it is biblical and sadly neglected in the Protestant world.  Why fast?  Check out what these people who are way smarter than me say about it:

A fast creates a margin for God to move.  Temporarily changing our routine of comfort jars us off high center.  A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.
Jen Hatmaker in 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that controls us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Christ. We cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David writes, 'I humbled my soul with fasting' (Ps. 69:10). Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear — if they are within us, they will surface during fasting ... Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them ... Our human cravings and desires are like rivers that tend to overflow their banks; fasting helps keep them in proper channels. 'I pommel my body and subdue it,' says Paul (1 Cor. 9:27)."
Richard Foster in Celebration of Disciplines

Fasting expresses in a God-ordained way our belief that we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Ps. 34:8) — so good that there are times we’re satisfied to feast on Him instead of the food that the Lord made for us to live on. Fasting is a temporary physical demonstration that we believe the truth declared by the gospel, namely that, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Do you believe that? Do you fast?
Donald Whitney in Spirirual Disciplines for the Christian Life

and of course, Jesus said

Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance.  For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  Matthew 6:16-18

If you notice, Jesus doesn't say "If you fast" but "When you fast."  The assumption is that this is something you will do.  Now, I know some of you are thinking: "Jesus to do this privately and you're airing it on social meda.  Way to follow Jesus, Melissa."  Yes, you are right but I am doing this simply for accountability purposes.  And because I take the Parable of the Empty House seriously, I'm not simply going to give up social media, but replace it with something else. Prayer.  Seven Sacred Pauses to be exact.  I'm shamelessly borrowing (read: stealing) this idea from Jen Hatmaker's book and while it seems a tad on the mystic side (I am so not a mystic) I think it will be good for my soul to intentionally set aside times to pray.  That said, see you in 40 days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Hudson is so handsome. 

Those eyes and lashes!  Be still my heart!

What? I'm biased you say.  In my defense complete strangers tell us how handsome he is and they don't have any motivation to lie. :) 

A comment we hear often is "Oh, he's going to be a heartbreaker!"  We understand the intent of that comment, and at the risk of sounding hyperspiritual - we really hope not.

In honor of the upcoming Valentine holiday, let me explain. 

In today's society there is a ton of pressure put on guys and gals to date.  Just a quick perusal of the magazines in the grocery check-out line makes that clear.  While most of these magazines are targeted to women, men are not ignored in this matter.  Think of the comments made (in secret usually) about boys who aren't yet dating - questions of his sexuality, questions of his manhood, etc...  People expect their boys to be heartbreakers, or atleast try to break some hearts.

Lecrae, a rapper who recently won a Grammy (Congrats Lecrae!), briefly speaks to this issue in his song "Just Like You".  He raps " love a wife like the church without seeing how many hearts you can break first."  This is our hope and prayer for Hudson.  Now, in defense of heartbreakers, I'm not 100% sure every heartbreaker intentionally seeks out to break hearts on purpose.  However whether on purpose or not, dating with no intentionality - dating just for dating's sake does hurt at least one of the partners.  Ultimately, I could argue that even the one who is cavalier about the relationship is hurt in the long run but that's a post for another day. This is not the biblical picture of dating/courtship. 


Saving all his kisses for Mama!
We would love for Hudson to enter into his future marriage with as little baggage as possible from previous relationships.  Can we guarantee this? Of course not.  All we can do is pray for him, teach him how men are to treat women, discipline him when necessary, forgive him when he fails, and trust the Lord.  Crazy? Radical? Yes and we're OK with that.  So just know that if you compliment our sweet boy with "He's going to be a heartbreaker!" we'll probably respond with a "Thank you, we hope not."

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you do not stir up love or awaken love until it pleases.
Song of Solomon 8:4 esv

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ragamuffin Heart Wreath

We had a sad lack of Valentine's Day decor around our home.  I once had a "Happy Valentine's Day" banner I had made for my classroom but where that is, who knows?  So after scourering Pinterest, I found this - a cute Ragamuffin Heart Wreath.  It had no tutorial, but was easy enough to figure out.

Materials Needed
Wire Clothes Hanger
Paper clip

Step One:  Bend Wire Hanger into a heart shape.

Don't worry if it's not perfect, the fabric will cover up any bumps.  I used a paper clip to secure the two ends because my usually strong hands weren't quite strong enough to twist the ends secure.
Step Two: Cut your fabric into strips
I have a fairly large supply of random fabrics thanks to my friend gifting me it from her late mother-in-law's stash so I picked a red velvet and pink terry cloth.  I had two old pillowcases: the mini-dot striped cream and lilac that I also used.  My strips were about an inch wide and about six inches long; though there was some variance (I didn't use a ruler) which I think adds to the ragamuffin charm.
Step Three: Tie
I used a pattern: red, red, striped, pink, lilac, lilac and repeat.  When finished, I turned some of the ties so they weren't all facing the same direction.
Step Four:  Use ribbon to hang on door.
Viola!  All in all, from step one to step four this project took me only 45 minutes.  Which was good because I was able to complete the whole thing during Hudson's mid-morning nap.  He woke up about 10 minutes after I hung it on the door.  Now to wait until the husband gets home and see if/how he likes it.