Monday, September 29, 2014

Come Out of Your Comfort Zone for Christ

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Something I have thought about lately is comfort.  We sure do like to be comfortable.  We live a pretty plush life here in the western world as they would say.  We know comforts many would kill for.

Our society constantly reminds us to live how we want.  Don't do things you don't want to do.  Be happy!   Go out there and get the life you want, no matter what.  Don't let anyone get in your way!  A lot of folks even seem to have a martyr complex and often say things like we should "Finally serve ourselves."   "Think of yourself.".   They act as though it is a first time and all they have done is take care of everyone else.  Yet, their fruit has shown otherwise.

I also hear reminders that we should sever ties that "don't serve you" any more.  Marriage is treated that way today.  Tossed aside as casually as a disposable pop can.  Not even because of real and deep problems, but for reasons like, "Well...he just didn't understand me".  Many aren't even bothering to marry.  It doesn't serve them to make a long term commitment with someone who may or may not 'work out' or they might cease to bring them happiness.

There is much promotion of self.  Most of us have comfortable homes, apartments, or places to stay with access to clean water.  Most are temperature controlled to suit our comforts.  Most of us rarely have empty tummies.  Granted, there certainly are exceptions to these rules.

My point is we are a very self serving, happiness-seeking, and comfortable people.  Is that what scripture calls us to do?  Most definitely not!  Scripture repeatedly encourages us to serve others, treat others as you wish to be treated, die to self, don't worry about your own comfort, etc.  We are admonished to get out there and serve over and over!

Many of us object.  Shyness is a big excuse we use not to serve.  Perhaps witnessing takes us out of our comfort zones.  This woman who is speaking/writing to you right now has a big struggle with shyness.  I DO NOT like to draw attention to myself in any way.  I don't like to speak up when there are more than a couple people present.  I feel awkward with strangers.  I despise telephones unless it is someone I know very, very well.  They make me a nervous wreck.  The ring makes my heart pound in fear.  Public speaking= complete torture.  Doing youtube videos is extremely hard for me.  Especially at first, in time it gets a little easier on some level.  It is still not within my comfort at all.

Writing/blogging especially about "religious things" that folks don't approve of.... then going on social networking and sharing so everyone can see it.... is more difficult than anyone will ever know.  Knowing I am frequently exposing my heart to people who think badly is so hard sometimes.  That is just one example of how shyness can make something difficult.  (I don't share my struggle to get any pats on the back.  I share it to make a point.)

I read a long time ago that shyness is selfishness.  I rejected that for a while.  The thought didn't make me feel warm and fuzzy.  It made me feel GUILTY.  Then eventually I realized it was truth.  Yes, there is a level of shyness that is being quiet and introspective.  Nothing wrong with holding your tongue in a crowd when it is appropriate.  You don't always have to put your thoughts in.  However, if you are shy to the detriment of others.  If folks feel like you ignored them, if you missed witness opportunities, if you put your comfort above someone else's....then yes, shyness is selfishness.  

It may sound harsh.  I know it still does to me.  I TRY to make myself deal with it and open up.  I still mess this up more than I wished.  I hesitate in situations to speak or act, then an hour later I am totally kicking myself for letting my shyness cause the hesitation.  The ways I might have been able to help others or witness opportunities I missed...all because I was too shy.  Ultimately it is a point of pride to I suppose.  Why are we shy?  I think often it amounts to we are afraid others will get the wrong idea about us.  We are afraid of looking foolish.  We are concerned we might not know what to say.  They will think badly about us.  Many variations.  It brings the point back to one of an issue with pride too.

I am seeing many folks who refuse to pray publicly.  They don't like to speak up in a group of other believers to lead prayer.  I understand.  It makes me feel embarrassed too, for fear I will mis-speak.  In a group of women, I will do it.  I am not comfortable, but I do it if asked.

As a woman, I don't feel good about leading a prayer when it is a mixed group of men and women because I feel like that is not how it ought to be.  I feel like it is the Christan man's place to lead such things.  Nowadays, many won't.  They give in to their personal comfort and stay quiet.  That leaves the women in a very awkward spot!  A void to fill.  (This isn't a correction to the men, remember, this entire blog is written to women.)  I am just pointing out the awkward position we might end up in as women.  Mercy, if believers can't pray together without such sad is that!  The older I get, the more I notice less and less folks willing to simply lead prayer!  Why?  Comfort zones.

I feel like I am starting to rabbit trail here.  Back to my main point.  Maybe your issue is not shyness.  Maybe something else hinders you from serving others as you should??  Examine yourself.  Are you putting your issue and yourself above others?  If so, then it might be a problem you need to address.  It isn't good to stay in our comfort zones when it is to the detriment of others.  Is surely isn't good when it is a detriment to our witness as believers in Jesus Christ.

So what do we do?  Well shyness is something I am still working on.  I may never get over it completely.  You have to decide something isn't okay and work to fix it.  One step, one word, and one day at a time.  A favorite expression of mine lately, (and I tell myself a lot)...."suck it up buttercup".  This isn't about you, it's about others.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Watch out for container damage on broth boxes!

First watch the is very short.

Okay, home canned broth is awesome and better for you and LOADS cheaper.  However, I admit I try to keep a few store bought ones around too.   I often run out of home canned or I just don't have time to run the pressure canner.  I know I can freeze it, and I do freeze a limited amount.

Anyway, you get the point, I took the easy way out and I bought a couple today.  The last few times I have bought broth I pick the new cardboard coated vacuum sealed containers.  They seem a better value a lot of the times for store bought.  I just got some new containers home from shopping and I happened to discover an issue. (Thank you to God for opening my eyes to it!)

The corner has been grazed by something.  It is hard to tell if it happened during my handling on the way home or if it happened in the store.  I suspect it was already like that.  Anyway, I could return it and get my money back and Aldi even will replace the product.  Their double guarantee.   I don't blame them as a store at all.  It could have been ANY store as many places sell broth in these containers.   I am also not 100% sure it came like that.  I neglected to check it because I hadn't encountered that before.

I wanted to share it so you all can see and know to make certain yourself.  It is a big concern really.  From my canning experience this is the sort of thing you want to be careful about.  With the seal broken anything can happen making you and your family sick.  Botulism is typically anaerobic needing the seal to be present for an oxygen-less environment in order to grow.  Still yet, with that broken seal, (and if it was broken for a long time) any monster critter could be lurking in that broth.  Some things are not killed by boiling and it isn't worth the chance of using it.  I will toss this container.  I am out a little shy of a $1.50.  No big deal.  I am blessed to have seen it.

It DOES concern me for these containers.  If a bumped corner can be broken easily as it appears, are they truly as safe as I had previously assumed?  How easy would it have been for me to have missed this?  Extremely easy.  I could have stashed this in my pantry and not used this container for a long while.  Then one day I might have grabbed it and used the product never noticing the tiny corner damage.

I think I will go back to cans when I do buy store bought broth.  Better yet, I really need to dust my canner back off and do the homemade.  Broth is pretty easy to do so I should make the time.  It is worth it.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tips on Jammed Sewing Machines or Correcting Improper Stitching

Because I have been asked this many times over the years, I figured a write up is in order.  Has your sewing machine jammed or is stitching a mess suddenly?

Stop!  Don’t keep sewing messy seams.  They will just fall apart most likely.  

Stop and take the time to get it right.  Besides you can do a lot more damage trying to force it to sew when something isn’t right.  You can damage the item you are sewing, or even worse your machine.

Don’t panic and call the repair people yet.  Odds are good you can fix it.  Don’t give up on sewing either.  Consider it a learning experience.  Every seamstress will wrestle with her machine once in a while.  Talk nice to it, it helps keep your mood civil while you tinker.  ;-) The more you do it, the better you learn your machine and eventually you will be an expert on that machine.

Resist the urge to go messing with your tensions if it was sewing properly the last time you used it.   Smack your own hands away if you have to!!  Odds are you will just mess that up.

Look for obvious improper threading.  Check both the upper thread and the bobbin.

Rethread the machine.  Upper and bobbin.  Don’t partially do it fully and completely.  Sometimes the silliest things will be solved by a re-thread and you will never really “see” what the issue was.  Be sure when you un-thread, you pull only in the direction the thread normally goes.  To do otherwise will mess your tensions up.  There is an exception when you get REALLY desperate.  More on that later.

Clean the machine well with a brush.  Avoid compressed air unless absolutely necessary.  A brush is always better so you don’t blow fuzzies back into the depths of the machine.  Not to mention canned compressed air kicks off chemical sometimes instead of just air.  Not healthy for you or your machine.

When you clean it, remove the throat plate too. (The area your needle goes down into)  You will be shocked at what accumulates there.  Never underestimated the ability for fuzzies to ruin your tension and stitching.  Clean it meticulously. 

Re-thread the machine properly again for good measure.  (seriously, I have re-thread what felt like a million times before..LOL)

Change your needle.  Many people sew on needles too old.  I am guilty of it too.  Sometimes a needle will have lost it’s point or be bent to where your eye doesn't see it well visually.  A bent needle will kill your stitching line and be messy.  It can also damage your machine.  For that matter, avoid sewing over pins.  Many a lady has ruined her machine’s timing from doing that.  At very least, only sew over them when you REALLY have to in a tight spot on something hard to hold.  If you chose to sew over pins, don’t get mad at anyone but yourself if you kill your machine.  If your needle hits a pin, assume at very lest it is probably bent with a dull point now.

Oil the machine, but only in the proper places and just a little as necessary.  (see your manual)  Make sure you sew on a scrap for a while after oiling.  If you get too heavy handed with the oil, it can come up into your stitching and kill whatever you are sewing.

Re-thread it again.  (You might be laughing...but I am serious :-))  For that matter, get a new bobbin and wind a new one.  I have also had bad bobbin winding cause poor stitching.  Make sure your bobbin is in it’s case properly and spinning in the proper direction (if you have a bobbin case for your machine).  If you have a drop in bobbin, you still need to be sure you are putting in down there properly and in the right direction.

Then and only then go playing with your tensions if it still isn’t right.  One exception to this rule.  If you have small children always make a mental note of your normal tensions so you can see at a glance if they decided to play with the knobs and buttons.  (guess what happened to me today!!!)

At your own risk on this one....but you can try flossing your machine.  Not with dental floss, but your thread.  Unthread the needle.  Take ahold of the bottom and then grab the thread from behind the machine coming off of the spool.  Gently and firmly move it back and forth just a little bit.  You might find you dislodge a big ol’ piece of lint in your tension discs if your machine has those.  Again, GENTLE!!!  It is a risky thing.  I was most prone to do this with my older serger where things would lodge in the tension discs regularly.  More modern machines with computerized tensions, it is a really bad idea.  So this one is very much at your own risk.

Finally re-thread your machine.  ;-)

Hopefully one of these solves your issue.  One final tip that has nothing to do with your threading or stitching...just a sewing PSA.  Please, I beg of you, stomp not on thy foot pedal.  Your seams are not a race!  Sew at a reasonable speed limit.  As my husband once counseled me, enjoy the process of sewing not just the result.

Do you have any tips to share?  Feel free to share in the comments!  I know some of seamstresses can be a bit opinionated on the matter.  I would love to hear others thoughts on this one.

Add on tips from others:

Baby Lock recommends the "unwaxed" dental floss (never ever waxed floss) running it down like your thread would go.  I know you didn't recommend floss, but I have seen it recommended and I am sure it was Baby Lock since I use it for that one.  Bernina folks say to use a dollar bill.
Also, if you get a new needle or esp. two or more out and put in the machine and it is still bad, try one from another new package.  You can get whole packs of bad needles and I know that for a fact, it happened over at a local shop, they got a whole batch of them and had to have them replaced...I bought some of them....and still run into some of them.....

You can also get a burr (sp.) on the throat plate from a broken needle that will cause havoc.  They recommend an emory cloth for that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Examine Yourself: Are you doing what you condemn?

Fair warning....I don’t feel very good and this might be a bit more blunt than I usually am.  I am not saying it to be mean however, but hopefully to inspire some self examination.

You get upset and frazzled about men looking at your body, yet at the same time you have shirtless pictures of muscular men on your FB wall?  Witty sayings on the pics don't make them any cleaner.  You don't think those are as stumblingblock to other women?  I am here to tell you they absolutely are.  

Even more, do you not see the overall disconnect in your logic?  You are choosing to do the same thing you condemn and dislike.   You call men names and moan of the the way they are.  You feel they see women inappropriately.  You don't want to be a piece of meat to be devoured.  They look at you, call to you, smile at you and you become angry.  You feel used and like an object.  However, how is that picture of the sweaty dude you giggled at and maybe thought of him as "eye candy" any different?  Are you not treating him the same way you DON'T want to be treated?!  It is a fool who mocks another's sin when they are doing the same thing!
It is very much like those who knock a man for looking at porn, then fail to abstain from romance novels that have the same content.  Written format can create just as much sin as visual format.  If you are going to chastise and mock others for sin, make sure you aren't doing the same thing just in a sugar coated form.  Please don’t sugar coat abomination.  Women like to make things sound sweet, thus the term "eye candy"...but come it for what it is.

Here is the next line of thought.  I know there is a degree of subjectivity of the word modesty.  I get that.   The Bible does require modesty in no uncertain terms.  Humans and believers will argue what constitutes modesty until we are blue in the face.  Some of us just see things differently there.  

Ultimately it is between each person and God.  Here is a thought though, make sure that your own opinion of your modesty standards meet the Biblical one.  You don't want to compare it to the cultural standard.  Compare only to the Biblical one.  That is the best advice I know of.  Don’t worry over anyone else’s standard, just make sure you meet God’s.  

Getting too much unwanted attention can be a sign that you might be showing too much for free.  Don’t show off the goods, then get upset if someone window shopped.  Now I realize it is possible to be extremely modest and still get a little unwanted attention.  I am not saying it means you are for certain dressing inappropriately.  It is simply something that needs checked and examined if you are having this happen on a regular basis.
Finally, make sure you are approachable for other sisters in Christ to talk to you about these things.  Do you have a tendency to get highly upset anytime someone suggests you might want to watch your walk and witness.  When is the last time you listened to and weighed a correction examining yourself to see if the person might a point?  Do you start making posts about “how dare anyone judge me”...etc...  Resistance to even the hint of correction is a FLAMING sign that you aren’t walking the narrow path you should be!!!  

Is it politically correct to admonish someone else.  No.  

Should we care about what is popular in such matters?  Nope.  

It is however Biblical to correct to help one another along the narrow path.  That is a GOOD thing.  Not something we just bristle at and scorn.  

Yes, at one time or another I have been guilty of the same stuff.  It has opened my eyes to some of this stuff though.   Perfection I will likely never attain in the time I have left on this ol' earth.  Shucks most humans couldn't agree on what even defines perfection.  

God is perfect!!! Study Him and try to be like Him!!!!  Walk the narrow path He laid out for us in His Word.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?  ~2 Corinthians 13:5

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. ~ Matthew 7:5

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Submission, Blessing or Curse?

The few of you who read this blog should know how I feel.  :-)  If you do not,  I will save you the suspense.

Submission is no doubt a wonderful blessing to my life.  The day my eyes were opened to the concept, my marriage was forever changed.  Not in that one day, but over the course of the years...a little at a time.  I have ZERO regrets.  It has many times over been a huge help to our marriage and our individual walks.

I know, I know it isn't popular today.  In fact, my attempts to talk about it all in internet land usually lead to people name calling me or anyone who dares defend my words.  I have been called lots of unkind things over my videos that reference this topic.

It is something I stand behind 100%.  It is God's Word and it is pretty black and white on the topic.  If you claim Christ, you need to wake up and read the scriptures that call for wives to submit to their husband.  Folks make arguments against it often, but most are pretty baseless in my thoughts.  I don't mean to just outright dismiss them.  It is just that back when I was on the other side of the fence on this topic...I was a pretty adamant, independent, feminist myself.  However, one day God kindly opened my eyes and I see the passages so clearly I can't fathom how I ever made excuse otherwise.

I do not claim to have all of the scriptural understanding of all the Bible..  This is a topic I still learn daily on.  It is something that is a radical thought in this day and age.  It is so hated.  Our culture is growing to be nearly matriarchal.  Most decisions, especially buying decisions are made by women nowadays.  Women are often the real source of leadership in marriages, unless it is an older traditional-type couple.  Most younger couples have submissive men and dominant women.  They might not admit it, but they are.

Yes, I knew there are a few exceptions....but there sure don't seem to be a lot.  We don't have cable tv anymore, but when I get a glimpse of it and the commercials see it obviously.  Look how wise the ladies are portrayed.  Look at what idiots the men are made out to be.  It is just a reflection of our current culture.  It is not a reflection of Biblical values at all.

Do I hate women as I was once asked?  Hardly.  Of course I am one.  I love my sisters.  I only wish for them to experience the blessing of submission in marriage.  It truly is beautiful if you are open to how God can make it into a wonderful thing.  It is hard to learn a Bible based concept, if you have nothing but hate for it.  Don't hate it, embrace it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Headship Order is Not to be Mocked

A while back I made this picture in correction to one I had seen online.  There were two versions of the same umbrella concept floating about facebook land.  Which is correct?

Read I Corinthians 11: 1-16
1Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.
Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

This passage covers the "Headship Order".  It is primarily where the Christian Headcovering (or veiling) stuff comes from.  The veil aside, the root of the passage is the headship order.  God, Christ, Husband, Wife.  It is a chain of command.  It is structure.  It is actually a beautifully functioning dynamic when taken in a humble spirit.  It is not to be mocked or misrepresented.  If you share one of the umbrella illustrations....please share the correct one.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Edify Your Beloved

Once, long ago, I read The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martin.  While I might not agree with everything in the book, one of my big takeaways......edify your husband always.

Never speak badly of him to anyone.  Sometimes we wives have a tendency to want to "unload" with our sisters.  We like to "share" or have girl talk.  There is a point when you betray the trust of your beloved.

The most simple test is this....

Are you sharing something that is negative about him?  If so, shut your mouth or think of something nice to say.  You know that saying... If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it.  How much more should it apply to marriage.

Are you sharing something that you would be offended or feel betrayed that he shared it with his friends?  If so, again, shut your mouth.  Wanting to have "sharing" time is no excuse to sin and betray trust.

Never EVER tale-bear about your husband!!  God forbid we have a false witness about the very one we love!!

Pray for him daily in specific ways.  Pray his name be respected by others. Likewise, show him respect as scripture COMMANDS of you.  These are just a few things, but they have stayed with me a long time.  They have served exceedingly well in our marriage.  I would recommend them for anyone who is married.