9/12/14

Why I don't Plan on Teaching My Daughters "True Love Waits"




I want to preface this post by saying I am all for purity and modesty. I in no way want to communicate that I am against these things, or that I am encouraging girls to run around in skimpy clothes and make poor choices. That being said, I am not sure I will make a point to teach“modesty” or “purity” to my daughters. 

I grew up when the “True Love Waits” movement was really gaining momentum. I read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (begrudgingly) and Secret Keeper. I even worked at a Rebecca St. James concert on her “Wait for Me” tour. I have, very literally, been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. 

I think the intent behind all of these movements, conferences, and seminars is great. The parents, youth workers, and Christian leaders of the time had firsthand experience with the results of the sexual revolution. They wanted to protect the young people they loved from making painful mistakes.

The intent was great. The message was good. The delivery was flawed. 

Satan has a way of taking good intentions and messages and twisting them, and the minds of young women can be fertile ground for lies.

See, when the message we heard over, and over, and over was to cover up and “save ourselves,” a little lie crept in. Some girls were able to combat that lie with truth, but others weren’t so lucky. Many began to believe our value and worth laid in our closets and behavior. We may have had the right actions, but they were motivated by fear of being rejected rather than out of an understanding of God and His desires for us. 

We found our identity not in Christ, but in our virginity. We found our worth not in being a Child of the King but in what we wore.

I have had this conversation with dozens and dozens of women. So many times I have seen girls who “made the right choices” left feeling confused and hurting. A generation unsure of who they were anymore, after losing what had become their identity.

Focusing on one aspect of a holy life style can lead to disastrous results.
 
I’m not sure what we were actually taught, but as a group what we heard was, “Wait,” not, “Honor God.” So when the waiting was over, we had no idea what came next. 
I don’t blame our churches, our leaders, or our parents. We live in a fallen world. Truth gets twisted and Satan takes pleasure in planting confusion.

I want to teach my daughters that they are sinners, but God loves them any ways. 
 
I want to teach them that He made them, and that He has an amazing plan for their life. 

I want my girls to see the big picture. 

The fact is true love DIDN’T wait. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
He didn’t wait for us to change how we dress, or talk, or spend our weekends. 

That is what I want my daughters to understand. I want them to see Christ and all He did for us in the center. When we have an accurate understanding of who we are, and who God is, obedience flows out of gratitude. 
 
When our hearts are inclined toward God, our wardrobes and actions will be too.

9/8/14

Day 8: My Soundtack Lately

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall. 

Oh my! Did I really miss so many days? Being sick took it out of me and I have been stumbling around for a few days but I am back and will hopefully stay on target from here on out!

Today's prompt: Music that moves you. Are you a Spotify addict or a Pandora guru? Tell us your favorite artists/stations!

Truthfully music isn't as big a part of my life as it used to be. Growing up music was almost always on at my parents house. Even know when we are all together my dad constantly has the iPod going with some sort of mix.

James Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Peter Paul and Mary make up so many of my childhood music memories.

Lately JJ Heller has been one of my favorite go to artists.  I have spent quiet a bit of time sewing and listening to my JJ Heller Pandor station as well.

Her songs "In the End" and "Who You Are" seem to be my favorites right now.

9/3/14

When I Grow Up.

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall. 


Today's prompt: "When I grow up I want to be..." Answer as your 5-year-old self or as you are now.


I don't even know how to answer this to be honest. I have wanted to be so many thing over the years. But one of the things that has arisen over and over again is writer. As a little girl I wanted to write songs and poems. As a middle school student I wanted to write fiction. In college I study print journalism and had dreams of starting a Christian magazine (real original I know). 

There were other things sprinkled in here and there. College professor. Full time ministry. Pretty normal dreams for a girl growing up in the evangelical church culture. I was pretty confident I was going to do something big and change the world.

I love that Bailey Jean included a life mission statement. Josh and I have sort of done that. A few years ago we sat down and asked ourselves where we wanted to be when we were 50. This is what we came up with.

1. A vibrant walk with God both personally and as a couple.
2. Enjoy each other's company and be even more in love than we are now.  
3. Strong relationships with our children. (As much as in our power to do so) 
4. Actively involved in a local church community. 

As a couple we also adopted Acts 2:24 as our family verse.

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."

When I grow up I want to be smack dab in the middle of God's will for me. 

9/2/14

Day Two: I'm So Happy!

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall.

Today's prompt: Write about what makes you happy, from the little joys to the huge game-changers.


Lists make me happy. So I am going to keep this simple and simply stick to a stream of thought list format. 

My family. Cuddles with one year old. Reading my Bible. Praying. Walks with my husband. Hot tea. Hot coffee. Hot chocolate. Hot baths. Good books. Pretty fabrics. Nice yarn. Time with friends. Notebooks. Office supplies. Planners. Lists. Pens. Stickers. Washi tape. The beach. Snow. Fall. Chocolate. Homemade quilts. Baking bread. My church. My small group. Amazing neighbors. Snail mail. Care packages. Tinted chapstick. Seasonal candles (scentsy). Writing. Sewing. Talking to my sister on the phone. Reality cooking shows.

What makes YOU happy?

9/1/14

ONE: About the Author

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall. 


Today's prompt: "Imagine the front sleeve of a hard cover novel. Give us your "About the Author" so we can get to know one another, and for fun tell us what your imaginary novel would be about."

 Formal introduction:
Joy moved to the South over ten years ago for college and after meeting her amazing husband settled in a quiet little suburb. She spends her days with her three amazing little girls and her ferocious cat, Slightly.  She fills her time freelance writing, sewing for a local boutique shop, and spending time with her church small group.

Informal introduction: I moved from "The North" to "The South" to go to college, met my husband my senior year of college and just sorta stayed. We have three girls in 1st grade, Kindergarten and One. My cat is super small but things he is a massive panther and kills any rodent, snake, or bird that dares come into our yard. I write for my blog, a few other local blogs, and a local magazine. I am a self taught creative and make Waldorf Inspired dolls that I sell online and locally. My family and friends are very important to me. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and love that I can give my daughters that same start.

My Novel: I am slowly work on a novel. You can read snippets of it here.

8/25/14

Favorite Read-Aloud Books: Classic Series



I love reading. I always have. Or at least as long as I can remember. One of my favorite things about the girls getting older is that they are finally old enough to read chapter books too. Over the past 6 years I have been slowly collecting favorite books from my childhood to read to my kids once they were old enough. We are currently in the processes of redecorating our basement and that included moving all of our books off of the bookshelves. I spent my afternoon sorting through books and got to look over some old favorites. Now that school is back in session and the girls are doing Book-It we will definitely be reading some of these books.

For a long time a lot of these books were out of print but I found out today that many of them have come back into print. (Cue my happy dance!) So, I thought I would take a few minutes to share some of my favorites with you all. I started working on a list and realized I would probably need to break it down. So consider this part one.

Classic Series

The Shoe Books
These aren't technically a series as each story is stand alone. But, since they are all written by the same person a long similar plot lines I figured they counted as a series. These books all take place roughly around WWII in England and follow various orphaned children as they discover their talents in dancing and theater.
 Theater Shoes (The Shoe Books)
Dancing Shoes (The Shoe Books)
Ballet Shoes (The Shoe Books)

All Of a Kind Family
Sydney Taylor did something ground breaking when she wrote this beautiful series about a family of Jewish children growing up in New York City around WWI. More than historical fiction these books exposed me to a brand new culture as a child. I loved learning about the religious traditions and culture around different Jewish holidays and can't wait to share that with my kids.
All-of-a-Kind Family
All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown
More All-Of-A-Kind Family
All-Of-A-Kind Family Uptown
Ella Of All-Of-A-Kind Family

Betsy Tacy Books 
Growing up I LOVED the older Betsy/Tacy books but I have to admit I never actually had the chance to read books about my favorite characters as children becuase they were out of print. They were re-printed a few years ago and my sisters have given me the complete set to read to my little girls. We are all loving them. 
The Betsy-Tacy Treasury: The First Four Betsy-Tacy Books

Little House Books
These American classics really don't need and review or description. As a child and an adult I enjoyed the later books most but my kids have really gotten into Little House in the Big Woods.

Little House Nine-Book Box Set

The Chronicles of Narnia
If I could only pick one set of books from my childhood to carry with me into adulthood it would be these. I have read and re-read these books more times than I can count. I have them all on CD and my kids and I listen to them over and over when we drive to my parents in MD. 
Chronicles of Narnia Box Set

Grandma's Attic 
A fun lighthearted set of books about a little girl who finds things in her grandma's attic and convinces her to tell her stories about her childhood. Full of anecdotes about hoop skirts and trying to remove freckles with lemon juice these are sure to make your kids giggle.
In Grandma's Attic (Grandma's Attic Series)
More Stories from Grandma's Attic (Grandma's Attic Series Book 2)
Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic (Grandma's Attic Series)
Treasures from Grandma's Attic (Grandma's Attic Series)





8/21/14

Making Room for Grace and the Middle Ground: reflections on my social media newsfeed.

My news feed has been full of links to articles this summer. Links to articles telling me how I should feel or think about things. Things like yoga pants and modesty. Things like depression and suicide. Things like silly/fun fundraisers and stem cell research and hashtag activism.

And I want to shake my head and throw up my hands and say "YOU PEOPLE!"

Because there seems to be no room for a middle ground.

Because my position as a Godly woman seems to come down to what kind of pants I wear and either I agree with you or I am an attention-seeking harlot. Because there seems to be no grace for a tired mom whose weight fluctuations are equaled only by her one-year-old’s mood swings and who can't seem to find time to do laundry.

Because there seems to be no respect for the grieving. Or the dead. Or those struggling with unspeakable pain. Or those who misspeak and say something with truth but maybe not love. Because one man couldn’t see past his pain and one man couldn’t see past his pride and both men needed the same thing. Grace.  

Because we are easily irritated by a fad on our news feed and don't bother to look deeper to the story behind it. Because it is easier to point out the negative than look for the positive.  Because sometimes we forget that being "pro-life" is just as much about loving and supporting and seeking healing for the living in whatever broken place we find it as it is protecting the yet to be born. Because judgment is easier than grace.

Because there is a bigger picture we are missing.

And then I read this post. And my heart sings YES!

God didn’t stand back and point out all of our mistakes. He sent his son and got dirty up to his elbows. He surrounded himself with flawed, broken people and loved them. He looked past their superficial needs to the heart of what they needed. Grace.

What if we, what if I took Romans 12:10 to heart.
 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

What if we stopped pointing fingers, stopped rolling our eyes, stopped arguing our side and put that same energy into loving one another?
 
What if, rather than proving we were right, we sought to outdo one another in showing honor? 
What if we took time to sit down and listen to each other's stories? Listening to the whys and lifting each other up in prayer. What if we withheld judgment till we know the whole story. Or maybe withheld judgment all together and simply pointed each other toward grace.

What if we were really daring and shared our own stories: of loss, of pain, of failure, of sin, of questioning. Not to glorify these things, but to take away their power. It is the things that remain unspoken that drive the biggest wedge between us. It is the illusion of perfection and knowing all that answers that keeps others quiet. 

Maybe it's time we take the conversation further than social media and into our homes, across our tables, in real relationships with community and genuine accountability.  What if we stopped vaugebooking and spoke loving truth into each other's lives. 

Yes, this is hard, yes, this is invasive, yes this is wildly uncomfortable.  

But what if we took the chance? 

What would that look like? I would love to hear from you. How do you find the balance between truth and grace. Is there a way to stand up for what you believe in on social media with out coming across as condescending and self righteous? What does real community and accountability look like?