Monday, September 29, 2008

Meditations: A Gentle Spirit

Some time ago, someone made a comment that stuck with me. My friend (you'll know who you are!) is an outgoing young lady with a vibrant smile, an uninhibited laugh and an excellent stage voice when she needs it. If she were a flower, she'd be something bright, tropical and fragrant, not one of those demure little blossoms nestled shyly in it's leaves.

Well, in the flow of our conversation one day, my friend mentioned how she used to feel uncomfortable with the verse about women adorning themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. I don't remember where our conversation went from there, but her comment got me thinking.

It's interesting what that verse doesn't say. It doesn't say we should have a gentle and quiet demeanor. It says nothing about a gentle voice, or a quiet laugh. In fact, nothing is said about our appearance, tastes or personality at all! The whole verse focuses on our heart and spirit. This is what it says:

Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. - 1 Peter 3:3-4

The things that are described as precious to God have nothing to do with our outside. They are hidden in the inner person of our hearts. Perhaps our minds can quickly focus on external things with this verse because of the word gentle. We know what it means to have a gentle voice or a gentle touch. But what in the world does it mean to have a gentle spirit?

When I did a word study on "gentle", I wasn't expecting to get hit on the head by a two by four. But that's about what I felt like. Praus - the Greek word translated as gentle or meek - is an inwrought grace of the soul; the attitude of spirit in which we accept God's dealings with us as good, and do not dispute or resist. A gentle spirit doesn't resist when God allows disappointment or says no to our desires. It still says "Lord, you are good" in the face of trial and pain. A gentle spirit doesn't dispute with God when He asks for surrender in an area which will require more death-to-self than we wanted to experience.

Ouch. I had thought this was going to be easy.

I looked it up, and that same concept is there in the English word as well. Gentle (definition #5) means easy to be handled, tame, docile. I can have a well modulated voice, a soft touch, and be as demure and ladylike as can be, and still be nowhere near having that gentle spirit. Scripture gets right down to the attitude and reactions of my heart towards God in what He does and allows.

It's no mistake that while God was dealing with me on my personal application of this verse, He brought to mind Jesus' words in Matthew 11:29:

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

There it is again, that accepting gentleness. Not only is it a precious adornment in God's sight, it is the only way in which we will find inner rest. It's true, I am never at rest when I am resisting and disputing with God. But when I have surrendered, accepted and acknowledged Him as good, my soul finds rest even in the most tempestuous circumstances.

I don't have a gentle spirit yet, not all the time. I can only say "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner" and pray that God will work in me "to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Phil 2:13).
But for those of you who feel more like sunflowers and zinnias than shrinking violets, go ahead and take root, bloom brightly and make yourselves at home in the garden of godly femininity. Whether you're a bird-of-paradise or a lily-of-the-valley doesn't matter. A gentle spirit is found in the attitude of the heart.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Weeknight Surprise

Last night, out of the blue, Kyle and I decided to go out for supper - to Walnut Point! We won't have warm evenings all that much longer, so it's a good time for dinner in the out-of-doors.

The view was so pretty. I can't wait to see it at the height of it's color!

After our yummy burger and fries, we took the scenic route home. It made me realize that there really are a lot of trees in this area.

It was fun to drive such pretty roads, and to see what lies behind our tree line at Nitchfield. Hooray for spontaneity!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Settling In

Things are slowly coming together here at the home front. My latest sewing project has been making curtains for our living room.






This "After" is still a work in progress. I need to figure out how I want to actually cover the window! When I get that done and finish painting the Living Room, we'll be in good shape.

I'm also enjoying an early birthday gift from my hubby - a bedside table! Now my fifteen or so bedside books (Bible, concordance, spiritual journal, regular journal, devotional books and what ever else I happen to be reading) have a happy home, instead of piling up on the floor!

Every step accomplished makes Nitchfield more homey!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Baby Names?

A couple of you have asked us about baby names. Fortunately, it's going to be easier for us than it was for my folks. ;-) Yes, we have been talking about it and we have some options. Here's what we're thinking:

For a Girl:

For a Boy:

We think it's wise to have a boy's name picked out, just in case of human error. ;-P
So, what do you all think? Feel free to leave your votes in the comment section.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

By Request

Here is an updated mommy-picture. Now that Matthew has taught me how to use the timer on my camera, it makes it a little easier to do presentable self portraits. Yesterday on my lunch break I went out on the deck and snapped a picture.

Later in the day I started having fun. Anyone who knows photography could tell you that I'm not particularly good, but I like to look at what others have done for inspiration beyond my normal snapshot. They may not quite achieve the artistic look, but at least they're more interesting! And while they're definitely not professional quality, my Budget loves them. ;-)

Kyle says this doesn't look like me, but it's the best shot of my "baby bump".

We're at 24 weeks, or thereabouts. Little Miss seems to be quite energetic, she usually engages in some aerobic activity around bedtime - or maybe that's just when I'm still enough to really notice it! He movement has been pronounced enough for Kyle to feel though. What a treat that is!

P. S. My Hubby made the frame, and he says I'm holding it backwards! I liked that side too. ;-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spice It Up!

Thanks to Kyle's green thumb, we've had a good crop of tomatoes this year. They've been great on sandwiches and salad, but in order to keep up with our supply, Kyle made salsa.

Peeling and chopping. Just look at the line-up ripening on the windowsill! It's been my summertime window decoration in place of flowers. ;-)

For easy peeling you boil your tomatoes for 3 minutes, then pop them in ice water. I've done it before while canning tomatoes, so that's the part that I helped with.

The rest of the work was all Kyle! He has his own special ingredients to impart his signature tangy/sweet flavor.

Early this morning he had to test his second batch, which cooled in the fridge overnight. For this year, he froze it in zip-locks. Maybe next year we'll can it. Yummy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Summer Pie

Sometime last week Kyle said to me, "You know what? Summer is almost over and we haven't had any Key Lime Pie!" So I added limes to my grocery list and dug out my recipe.

It seems like each season has a food or two that simply must be eaten at that particular time, or else it just doesn't feel like you've had a real summer, or fall, or winter. Growing up, we always had pumpkin ice cream in the fall, and it looks like Key Lime Pie might become a summer tradition!

Does your family have any traditional summer foods? - GJ

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


We've had a standing invitation from the local Domino Players to join their monthly game, and last Saturday night, we finally made it! We had a blast - good company, good food and good fun.

The Men's table - Mike, John, Kyle, John 6th, Jeff, Andy and Ruben

My camera batteries died before I got a picture of the ladies table or the snack table (Which was quite impressive! German Forrest cake, Pecan Pie, gigantic strawberries, maybe it's good I didn't get a picture. ;-). We ladies were much less intense than the guys, and got in lots of talking with our game. I did fairly well, but my beginner's luck wasn't quite enough to beat the local champs. Thanks, all, for a fun evening!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meditations: Don't Loose Your Beauty

Knowing that a number of ladies and girls check the blog from time to time, I want to share a little bit of encouragement with you! But first, I have to share a story. Not long ago, Kyle and I bumped into a girl we hadn't seen in a while. It took me a second glance to recognize her. Kyle didn't know her at all until I mentioned her name. It had not been long since we saw her last, yet it was obvious that her life had recently undergone some changes.

This young lady had always had an eye for fashion, and dressed in stylish, modest and feminine outfits. She had always looked well put together, with gorgeous hair and just enough make-up to highlight her natural beauty. Now, what a change. Her hair was cut in a new, harsh style. Her faddish clothing made no pretense at modesty. Her eyes were obscured by thick gobs of flashy make-up and heavy eye liner; they wore a new, restless expression.

That night, I remarked to Kyle that I had almost walked by this acquaintance without recognizing her. He then made a comment that took me totally by surprise. "All the light has gone out of her eyes," he said sadly. "She's lost her beauty."

Photo by Andrew Sisson

Now, to really understand the impact of his comment, you need to know that this young woman is, by any standard, a beautiful girl. Not just pretty, beautiful. She has a perfect figure and the kind of face you see in classy make-up advertisements. She's the kind of person who makes her clothes and hair look good, not the other way around. So why did my husband think that she had "lost her beauty?" Her physical attractions were just the same, in fact more prominently displayed, and yet he was disappointed. She had lost those intangible qualities which were her most attractive features.

I don't share this to be discouraging or critical, but to point out something that I hope will be encouraging; contrary to what our culture tells us, there are men who notice and treasure true beauty! The clear eyes of a good conscience. A modest femininity. A joyful smile. They won't get you the leering attention of every male you pass, but these rare and priceless qualities are noticed and appreciated by the kind of men that are worth impressing. They set you apart and make you stand out from the ordinary. They are intriguing, showing that there is more to you than what can be seen in a glance. They encourage and refresh.

So ladies, don't loose your beauty! Someone will be disappointed if you do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Worker Bee

Here are a few last pictures from Matthew's visit. Even though we don't have photographic proof, he was a huge help! Washing dishes, vacuuming, chopping veggies and lending me his muscles - it was great to have a guy around the house!

Matthew was also a big help when he went out on the job with Kyle. Having an assistant got jobs done in record time. I sent the camera along with him once, but I think he was too busy to use it much! Above: the hazards of outdoor jobs.

Here is the "Before" of the job they were working on. I think they were too tired to remember the "After"! ;-)

Kyle, who is quite a good cook, took some time to introduce Matthew to the fine art of grilling.

Matthew, who is getting to be a good photographer, took this photo to introduce Kyle to the fine art of making your viewer's mouths water.

Good job, Worker Bees!