Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thrifty tip!

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With my husband’s birthday coming up, I wanted to do something really special for him. The problem- I’m on a budget. So one of the money saving tips I employed: I wrapped his gift in the Sunday Comics! By doing this you aren’t spending money on what’s wrapping the gift so you are free to spend more on the gift itself. Plus, it’s colorful and often times funny!

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Update

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Hello readers. I added a couple new things to my blog today.

1.) There is now a Short Story tab. Look for updated additions to the story entitled, The Rain, as I will be working to add to it regularly.

2.) I added a new tip to the Tips/Fun Facts tab. Check it out before your big Memorial Day BBQ!

3.) As May draws to a close, I will be announcing the winner of the autographed copy of Her Name is Grace, by my aunt, Shidorr Myrick Gayer! Keep reading and liking my posts for more chances to win. Now that life is settling down somewhat, you can be sure to look for more give-aways.

4.) I’m working on a few DIY projects that will be unveiled as the summer months unfold, so be watching for tips, tricks, and cute home decor projects that are both appealing to your eye and your wallet!

5.) I’m digging deep into a biblical study of marriage, and I have some excellent resources of which I will be making you aware, as well as some potential giveaways.

Thank you readers for your continued encouragement and support in all my blogging endeavors, and I urge you to “Stay tuned” for more from A Cord of 3 Strands.

A Royal Wedding

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“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

I had planned on doing a marriage post all weekend but now it sort of has a new twist since my mother got engaged. Congratulations, and I wish you the best, Ma.

I’m still going to write about marriage today.

I am in the habit of buying the Sunday paper each week, mostly for its coupons since the written news is basically obsolete as soon as it’s printed, but I’m old-fashioned and enjoy reading my Sunday news just the same. Well, the latest news here in North Carolina is still centered around the passing of the law that bans same-sex marriage in the state. I couldn’t even recount to you the number of letters to the editor that stated how, “Christians use the Bible as an excuse to discriminate and hate homosexuals…” or “No truly religious person should ever endorse an act that would deny the human right to select a person as a life partner without enjoined benefits, regardless of gender,” and “No truly religious person should ever endorse discrimination…To do so is definitely being judgemental and that runs counter to the religious teaching.” My personal favorite line from that specific letter to the editor, entitled ‘Maybe a new definition of freedom in order’ is this:

 “The same book that tells one not to do these things [be judgmental] also provides a reprieve for those who do. ‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.’ Do we need a new definition of hypocrites? Definitely not; however, we do need a new definition for freedom.”- Huey J. Gaines, Hubert, NC

I’m sorry, Huey, but you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried… But what upset me more than Huey’s letter was the fact that it’s “counter letter” to the editor made the Christian viewpoint look ignorant! Come on, people, if you’re going to be passionate about your faith and your beliefs, you need to be able to defend it in a way that is solid and factual, not wishy-washy and confusing. As I’ve said before, our biggest downfall in the field of apologetics is not knowing why we believe the things we do. So, I thought I’d do my best in this post to stamp out the ignorance.

I came up with the following illustration this weekend as I was wandering around Sears.

This …..

Kate’s engagement ring

is the engagement ring of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, given to her by her husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. The ring belonged to William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. It is an 18-carat white gold ring with a 12-carat oval sapphire and 14 round diamonds. At the time Diana wore it in 1981, it was valued at £30,000, or $47,365.65. Needless to say, it is very valuable and highly prized not only because of its monetary worth, but because it is a royal family heirloom.

This…

is a Sears knock-off of Kate’s sapphire engagement ring. It is “lab created blue and white sapphire ring in sterling silver. It is currently priced at $124.99 (£79.16) per ring” and comes in ladies’ sizes 5-9. And if you order it online at Sears.com, you save 50% and get free shipping!

Marriage in its Biblical sense is a lot like Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s ring; it is a priceless gift, handed down to us from our Heavenly Father to his chosen people. It is Holy. It is Sanctified. It is righteous, and it is an illustration of Christ’s love for the church.

Same-sex marriage and civil unions are a lot like the Sears knock-off ring… It’s around because people want something that looks like the real thing, but when you get right down to it, there is not the same intrinsic value. It is existential, it is self-satisfying, it is worldly, it is not sanctified by God, it is forbidden in scripture (Not just Genesis, Leviticus or Deuteronomy like most non-believers seem to think when they try to “prove our hypocrisy,” and in-so-doing merely prove their ignorance.) Above all, it is not sanctified by God. It is therefore not and can not be Holy matrimony.

Let’s talk about my marriage for a moment. I was not married in a church. My husband and I were wedded in the basement of the county courthouse by a justice of the peace. The lighting was poor, there were paper signs concerning wanted criminals and various fines posted around the room. I was not wearing a designer dress, but a cotton, jersey-knit top and skirt which belonged to my mother-in-law. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the judge said during the ceremony because it was so brief, I had no chance to take it in. The only pictures we have were taken in my in-law’s living room, by my mother, mother-in-law, and grandfather. There is not a single photograph in which we don’t have crazy red-eye, or someone’s head or arm cut off in the shot. And none of us were ever looking at the same camera. My wedding, as unglamorous and untraditional as it was, was still based on a mutual love of Christ and his teachings. My marriage was and still is worshipful, and my goal is to make it a perfect illustration of Christ’s love of the church. You see, it’s not the legal documentation that defines my marriage, nor is it the tax breaks, or the health insurance benefits that define it. What gives my marriage its meaning, its definition, its worth is its foundation built upon Almighty God, the root and cornerstone of our relationship.

I realize that I may not reach more than 15 consistent blog followers with my message, but that’s okay. My goal is not to change the world, or even the hearts of the wicked, but to light a spark within the hearts of other married (and single) Christians to take a stand for their marriages’ Biblical value and sanctity, that we might be the light of the world that God calls each of us to be.

“Too Much *Clap Clap* Time On My Hands”

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Naturally, with all this “free” time I have, I’ve made quite a few to-do lists, including, but not limited to:

1.) Mow the lawn (if it would go a single day without raining…)

2.) Finish all the laundry

3.) Organize/throw away all the extra clutter we should never have packed up and moved with us

4.) Decorate rooms

5.) Re-finish my writing desk/sewing table

6.) Exercise (mainly just remaining consistent)

7.) Apply for school

8.) Goodwill shopping

9.) Blog

10.) Make my way through Heroes

So That’s just the stuff I’ve been able to come up with today… I’m sure there is more that needs to be done around the house. But I’m limiting it to my top 10 for now. As you can see, I’ve already completed number 7. Huzzahs are in order.

My plan for today, before bell choir and chancel choir rehearsals, is to sort through the junk in the addition and put all the empty boxes in the attic for storage. There will more than likely be a follow-up blog on my progress, because I lack confidence in my ability to focus enough to get it all finished today. But, I’m being intentional about getting started, so that has to count for something. Here’s to a productive day and minimal procrastination!

Fun Stuff

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There is a lot of change forthcoming in my life:

1.) return to school after a year-long hiatus

2.) absence of my marine husband for the duration of his deployment

3.) new responsibilities of being a homeowner

4.)… I can’t think of anymore at the moment… except the potential return to part-time work after a year-long hiatus…

I don’t feel overwhelmed. And I won’t, until I’m in the middle of things and have to stop and remember that God is taking care of everything.

This will be my 3rd attempt at returning to school… I’m praying that God is saying, okay, go ahead this time. I’ve been pretty discouraged about the whole thing, not being able to finish a major in music performance due to its impracticability… But I’ve decided to put on my big girl pants and do what needs to be done. At this point, I’ve decided to take the remaining classes for my English Education Associates degree and then transfer to UNC Wilmington for my bachelor’s degree in English Education. I feel that choice fitting for a number of reasons:

1.) Teachers get paid summers off… ballin’!

2.) It enables me to be able to work in an occupation that is mon-fri, 8-3p and still be able to see my husband on nights and weekends

3.) It will allow me the privilege and honor of being able to support my husband financially when he returns to school after he gets out of the USMC.

4.) I’ve been told on multiple occasions recently that I have a certain proclivity for literature and writing, and I couldn’t help taking that as little nudges from the “Big Guy” to make my move on the English Ed. degree…

5.) My husband wants to teach music. and that would be difficult for both of us to do in the same district at the high school level in our home town… So this way, there stands a possibility that we’ll get to work within the same city/surrounding area with one another, Which I would find cool. Idk what my husband would think of that, but seeing as he’s about to spend 7 months in a foreign country away from all his family, I’m thinking he’ll be fond of more time with the wifey and family.

6.) I would be the world’s most awesome English teacher ever. Why? Because I have a passion for the subject. It’s not quite as fervent as my passion for music, but it’s passion none the less. And a steady paying job, covering material with which I’m both familiar and in love, makes dealing with the public school system and teachers unions seem more bearable… Plus, if I can make an impact on a student’s life, that would be pretty cool; definitely a plus.

So there you have it… I’m becoming my father… but you know what? I’m sort of okay with that. I know I can be happy in any occupation as long as I’m able to worship God and be content in any situation. I think that’s what He’s working on teaching me through this military experience; contentment in all situations. And home and happiness to me depend on the people that surround you; the ones who make your life full and worth living. That being said, I could totally be a teacher…

I know what you must be thinking; for an aspiring English teacher, you sometimes miss typos and grammatical errors… I apologise… I’m only human…Which is probably just another reason my students would love me…

My 40 Days

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“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Yesterday, I was feeling the strain of my husband being away.The first few days are always the most difficult; the dogs start acting out and refuse to leave my side for any reason, and it sinks in that there is still quite a way to go before he’ll return.

Well, I pulled out my calendar and crossed off Sunday and thought to myself, “One more day down.” out of curiosity, I counted up the remaining days until his projected return, longest case scenario. 40 days… Instantly a plethora of Biblical references popped into my head, 3 in particular:

1.) Genesis 7:17– God flooded the earth. He chose to deliver Noah and his family on the ark, protecting them as the flood waters raged for 40 days and 40 nights. God did not abandon them. Noah was faithful to the Lord, and he was rescued from destruction.

2.) Exodus 34:28– Moses went to the mountain where he spent 40 days and 40 nights in fasting and meditation with God. It was there that God sealed his covenant with Moses (the 2nd time around) with the 2 tablets: the 10 commandments.

3.) Matthew 4:2– Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights in preparation for his ministry. While fasting and spending time with his Heavenly Father, Jesus was tempted by satan. He did not succumb to temptation, and remained steadfast and pure, a perfect living sacrifice.

In each of these instances, God used the time span of 40 days and nights for periods of spiritual growth. He was present, guarding his faithful servants, protecting them from harm, leading them in His truth, and preparing them for what was yet to come.

In my devotion this morning, Psalm 56:8 was referenced:

“Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll– are they not in your record?”

It went on to say in the devotion that God knows our every struggle. He is present and with us through all the things that make us weep, and he is moved by what moves us to tears. It said that God comes close to us in our times of distress and he knows and is aware of our every tear….

For whatever reason, last night a few friends and I decided to watch the movie,  Brothers, starring Toby McGuire, Jake Gyllenhall and Natalie Portman. **For those of you who don’t know the movie, the following sentences may be considered spoiler alerts… Skip down to the next set of green asterisks. Anyway, Toby McGuire plays a Marine who deploys to Afghanistan in 2007, where his helicopter is shot down. Everyone assumes him dead, but the audience later discovers he survived the crash with one of his other Marines, and they were taken POW.  Anyway, the point of my ramblings is that the whole “deployed spouse” thing in the movie, and watching Natalie Portman’s character try to carry on with her life, assuming her husband is dead while he’s in a prison camp being tortured really struck a nerve. **I feel blessed that my husband will not be facing a combat situation (assuming nothing breaks out in Korea while he is there) when he goes to Okinawa; he’ll be on a military base, a lot like the one here, just…over there… But I still really felt the twinge of loneliness for my husband. The fact that he deals with cannons and explosives for a living was unsettling. As I continued watching the movie, I began to cry…

God knew exactly what was on my heart and He spoke to me through his word this morning as I read that devotion. He knows my tears and doesn’t see them as insignificant, or petty. We worship a God who is present in our lives; fully alive and working, who cares about our ever tear. Every pain. Every struggle. He sees, and He is moved to comfort us as His children. I know the next 40 days are a period of preparation not only for me, but for Mitch as well. We are both being tempered like steel, molded and prepared for the obstacles to come. We are being strengthened and empowered in the Lord to serve and worship Him through our trials. I feel that being able to see just that much of the “big picture” is enough to keep me going, seeking God and craving to know his wisdom in this time of spiritual growth.

I’m not alone. I have been blessed with other military spouses in the same boat who are sympathetic; we are here to help each other through the lonely times, and encourage one another. I have been blessed with a beautiful and caring church family, who are constantly offering their assistance and prayers on behalf of me and Mitch. I have been blessed with good friends who love me enough to distract me with good food and companionship 😉 I feel so loved, so blessed. In the scheme of things, this is a tiny, miniscule season that both my husband and I must go through. I pray that it brings spiritual growth, strength, maturity, and prepares us for what lies in our future, both in the Marine Corps, as well as our marriage. Amen.

Soap Box Time…

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I have a few opinions I would like to make known/clarify.

1.) I am a follower of Christ. I accept the gift of grace and mercy that God the father has offered me through the sacrifice and crucifixion of Christ Jesus, the one true Son of God.

1.A.) I am not perfect. I am not an ideal Christian and I stumble and fall just as easily as everyone else. The difference is that I humbly acknowledge my faults, my weaknesses, my failures, and short comings and look to God to cover me with his unfailing grace, love and mercy to overshadow my past mistakes and purify me from sin, and lead me in his truth toward righteousness.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

2.) I vote on principle, not party. It just so happens that the vast majority of principles and beliefs I hold lean toward the more conservative party. Am I in support of the ban on gay marriage in the state of North Carolina? Yes.

3.) I believe that a moral conscience of right and wrong stems from the knowledge of God’s perfection, and our strivings to leave behind humanity’s imperfection. To not know God is to not know morality. I also believe that in denying the absolution or supremacy of God, one is affirming either existentialism, or hedonism in its stead, and thereby exalting the imperfect over the perfect, contradicting their own worth and value in this life.

4.) I believe that marriage, or holy matrimony, is precisely that- Holy, and sacred. It is not a commitment to be entered into lightly, or conditionally, or contradictory to its definition in scripture.

5.) I believe that to encourage or advocate same-sex marriage is a direct contradiction of the Holy Bible, the word of God.

6.) I believe that Christians who divorce for any reason other than infidelity or abuse are breaking the covenant of marriage, and are equally guilty of sinning against God’s holy covenant of marriage.

7.) I believe that by making foolish and uneducated comments, and blindly quoting scripture makes protestors and non-believers cynical of the credibility and validity of the Christian faith. To quote Ravi Zacharias*, “Any belief, no matter how sincere, if not reflected in reality is not a belief; it’s a delusion.” If you claim Christianity as your foundation of beliefs yet your life does not directly reflect said declaration, you are delusional. You can not choose the bits and pieces of scripture you want to believe. The Bible must be taken in its entirety, and not a la carte.

8.) I hold fast to the belief stated in 1 Timothy 3:16-17, that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Again, all scripture, not simply bits and pieces as we see fit.

9.) If declared Christians do not understand why it is they believe what they claim to believe, it is worse than not believing at all. We, united as one in Christ, will never be taken seriously as Christ followers by non-believers as long as we continue to make blind, foolish, and thoughtless statements and declarations that we attribute to our “faith.”

10.) “But to the wicked, God says: ‘What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face. Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue: He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:16-23

What right do non-believers have to blindly, mistakenly, and out of context quote scripture to confirm or validate their non-Christian beliefs? The Bible says quite clearly, they have none. In James chapter 4, James states that what causes our quarrels in this life is our selfish desires, vein conceit, and backward motives. You can not sin in the name of God and call it righteous. You just can not. James goes on to call his audience an “adulterous people.” Does he mean literally, people guilty of marital infidelity? At first I thought so. But now I realize that he meant mankind as a whole as he goes on in verse 4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend to the world becomes an enemy of God.”

James was saying that mankind was being unfaithful to God. I believe that we have largely turned our backs to this passage because it elicits discomfort, and wrong-doing on our behalf. But that’s what James was trying to point out- that when we become hypocritical in our faith, we cheat on God; we dishonor the most important and sacred relationship of all.

So while I’d like to point out to non-believers their twisting and manipulating the words of God in scripture to justify their sinful and worldly desires, pleasures, beliefs or ideals, I would also like to call out all the Christians who are denying non-believers the chance to see God’s glory in your lives, through practicing your faith through your daily routines, words, and actions, and instead portraying hypocrisy.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly,  ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:21-23

This is a call for a reflection into your faith. These are simply my beliefs and opinions. If you don’t like them, that’s too bad. I will not apologize for standing firm in what I believe. I do not intend any disrespect. At the same time, I’d ask any commenters to please be respectful in your responses and take into consideration the points I’ve made previously.

* Also, my notes on the quote from Ravi had gotten dripped on by coffee and were slightly unclear, so if I am mistaken in my quotation, please, correct me.