Christian…When Convenient

Praying-David Castillo Dominici

(Image by David Castillo Dominici, courtesy of

On Facebook the other day, someone shared a blog post (sorry, don’t remember the blog) by a lady who was explaining why her family chose not to make Santa Claus a part of their Christmas celebration. (I’m sure a number of blogs have weighed in about that topic lately.) Although my children are big now, they believed in Santa when they were little, as did I. However, this lady’s blog post was so well-considered and thoughtful that I found myself thinking “Whew…glad it’s too late for me to have to examine my conscience about THAT issue!” Quite frankly, I couldn’t disagree with a thing she said. For example, she wanted Jesus to be the focus of Christmas, and she also felt that by tricking her children about Santa, they might doubt her veracity on more important issues later. That’s very true. But dang it, it’s just not very much FUN! It conflicts with my fondness and nostalgia for the magic of Santa.

Do you see what I’m getting at, here? I do NOT wish to start a comment war, or even have any discussion at all, really, about whether or not your family does the Santa thing. That’s not my point at all. My point is that I was convicted by this woman’s post to wonder how many OTHER truths we might avoid, discard, or gloss over, because, well, they just interfere with our normal life and the things we enjoy doing. Boy, we hate when faith gets pushy, don’t we? It’s easy to be Suzie Church-girl on Sunday morning, but the rest of the week is tougher. We hate when truth sticks its nose into our non-church-related business.

I knew a lady once–true story, y’all–who was so very religious that she would not refer to a deviled egg as a DEVILED egg. She called it a “dressed egg.” LOL. She would bow her head to bless her food in a business meeting or whatever, she didn’t care, because that was what she felt was right. And I could give many other examples of her careful Christian conduct. Yet she lived with a man she was not married to! (Well, he wouldn’t marry her and she couldn’t afford to live alone…what was she supposed to do, move back in with her parents? ANSWER: Yes.)

I know another lady who went to Bible college and was at church every time the doors opened, yet her husband came home early from a trip and caught her with a fellow church member. (Well, her husband was a jerk and her love for him had died, while this other man was so nice and kind to her. She just couldn’t help herself! ANSWER: Yes, she could have.)

I know a businesswoman who is very devout, yet that does not stop her from capitalizing on the misfortunes of her customers and accepting a payment for sending them to a collections attorney, instead of making every pocket option register effort to contact them herself. (But that’s just business, isn’t it? ANSWER: No.)

As for me (I’m sure I’m guilty of a multitude, but this is the first thing that came to mind) I know that I had a long-term, deep-seated longing to wear dresses only, for years and years before I actually did it. I felt drawn to that and wanted to do it, but dang it, y’all, I didn’t want people to think I was a weirdo! Who goes to the grocery store or does outdoor activities in a DRESS?! (That’s just good fashion sense, right? Answer: No. Not for me, anyway.) (P.S. When I did finally switch to dresses-only, even my OWN HUSBAND didn’t notice…for TEN MONTHS. Ha! Just think of how much time and energy we spend worrying about what other people think of us and how we look and what we do, when the truth is, they’re worrying about their own selves!)

I think most of us can be ever-so-Christian, until Christian standards of conduct conflict with something we really want to do, or how we’re perceived by those whose opinions we care about. And I don’t necessarily think that’s being an intentional hypocrite, it’s just being an imperfect person, still under construction, still growing…as long as we are willing to examine our hearts.

Although my children are too old for me to have to reconsider the Santa question, this idea of being Christian-when-convenient reminds me of a line from a secular song, “One of Us.” You may remember it goes, “What if God was one of us?” The line I’m thinking of is one that says, “If God had a face, what would it look like? And would you want to see, if seeing meant that YOU WOULD HAVE TO BELIEVE, (capitals are mine) in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets…” The line always struck me rather funny…when you consider all the atheists and agnostics in the world…if they could suddenly have absolute physical proof that God was real, wouldn’t they be awfully bummed out to know that they could no longer go through life disregarding Him?! Talk about a lifestyle changer!

And what about us? Are there certain faith-based things that we do consistently, not so much because they are right but because we love to do them anyway? Then how about the opposite? Are there areas in our lives that we keep securely set aside in the “not-faith-related” box? Things we wouldn’t say/do/drink/participate in/watch/listen to…if our pastor or our church friends could see us? God sees us, though. We already know that, but sometimes we live as though we don’t. This is probably something we could all give some prayerful thought to.  And then, some action.


My Heart Was Hurting Today

awake 2

The painting you see is called Awakening, by an artist named Bessie Pease Gutmann. I found a little framed print of this painting long ago, and ever since, I have used it as a symbol of my first little boy, Alex. He was born on December 5th, 1990, and died on December 16th. This was due to a car accident that occurred at the very end of my pregnancy, and I wrote more about it in the post If Your Tragedy Had Never Happened. I have some pictures of him, but from the moment he was born, he was intubated and hooked up to all manner of wires and monitors which would only distract you from the beautiful, dark-haired boy that he was. So I keep those private.

It has been a long time and I have two beautiful living children, but I think of Alex every day. I visited his resting place over Thanksgiving and told him that very thing.

Others who have lost a loved one around the holidays will understand how hard it is when everything that reminds you of Christmas reminds you of grief. Some years, for one reason or another, I get through it alright. This doesn’t appear to be one of those years, but I had not mentioned anything to my husband or anyone else.

This morning I was sitting at work, trying to concentrate, but my mind kept leading me down paths I didn’t want to travel. I remember a thousand little flashes…things I saw, things people said, how it felt to kiss a baby’s head for the first time. Sometimes I find myself just staring into space and I’m back at the accident scene, or back home in those cold days when it was all over, or in the places between; hospitals, the funeral home. Sometimes whole conversations come back to me. So I was having a bad morning, quietly, all to myself with my back turned to my coworkers,  I found myself in tears over and over.

Then the phone rang and it was my husband, calling a couple of hours earlier than normal. “Hi!”  he said. “I just took an ornament off the tree at work, with the name of a little fella who needs some gifts this Christmas. He’s two years old and the list says he wants some race cars and a football.We’ll go shopping this weekend.”

I had no idea there was a needy children’s donation drive happening at his work, and he had no idea I was sitting there with tears in my eyes, missing a little boy who never had a Christmas.

But God knew, and I felt my pain was acknowledged at that moment. I wouldn’t have said a word–I tend to hold it all inside–but God sent me a way to let my husband know I was having a hard time this year, so that he can support https://pocketoption,in/ and care for me.

There’s no fancy ending to this post. I just wanted to share that.


Holiday Happenings

Family Thanksgiving 2014Hello there! You might think I’ve expired, but actually, like most folks around this time of year  I’ve just been very busy! The photo above is my family (Brian, Bliss, me, and Brandon) taken in front of my in-laws’ house on the day after Thanksgiving. We traveled to Georgia to visit, and there was no time to write any new posts for this week. Anyway I noticed that blog traffic was dead so I figured we were ALL out shopping and traveling and such, and we would meet again when life settles back down. I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!

To those who read my post about making money with Fiverr, I had to set my Fiverr profile to “on vacation” just to get a minute to breathe while I was out of town! I turned it back on yesterday and have already had two inquiries. Plus, I finally heard back from Textbroker (another place to make money writing content) and was rated a four-star writer. (Yay! Five is the best but four is OK. I admit I am not a textbook grammarian, I just kinda play it by ear.) Tonight I’m going to get my profile filled out over there, because reportedly one can make enough money that I might eventually fulfill my dream and not have to go to an office every day. We shall see!


Lilla Rose is going strong and I am selling clips to everybody I know! Normally I don’t push this aspect of it, but would YOU be interested in being a Lilla Rose consultant? All it takes to get started is around $50, and for that they will send you five hairclips (which would cost you more than $50 if you ordered retail) PLUS all the catalogs and various supplies you’ll need to sell to your friends. Trust me, it is NOT HARD to get people to buy. I sent a catalog to work with my husband and he brought home $75 worth of orders just from putting the catalog on the table in the break room last week. Email me if you’re interested.

Finally, I’ll just mention that I’m on the launch team for a new book entitled Choosing Him All Over Again, by Juana Mikels. I’m reading it now and will tell you more about it in January. For now, you might want to visit Juana’s blog to get to know her and a little more about the book. As you might glean from the title, it’s a story about leaving her husband…the same husband she’s now been married to for 33 years! I’m sure a lot of us have been at that point or close to it, and need to share our stories with younger wives.

I wish you all the joy of the holiday season, included a belated Happy Thanksgiving! Let me know what you all have been up to!



How I’m Making Money with FIVERR



(Image by Gualberto107, courtesy of

If you’ve ever read my Dreams, Schemes, and Income Streams page, you know that I have a goal of leaving my full-time job and working from home. So I’m always trying one thing and another as a way to earn money. Before I forget to mention it, I want to share that I was recently inspired and interested by a great post over at Equipping Godly Women, entitled “How I Make Real Money from Home Writing for Textbroker.” You should check it out. Thanks to this post, I’ve already sent my writing sample to Textbroker and I’m waiting for their reply, but Fiverr is a different thing altogether.

Basically, Fiverr is a website where people can go and list all sorts of things they would be willing to do for five dollars. Their main categories of service are graphics and design, online marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, programming and tech, advertising, and business. There’s also a “more” category, where people often offer to do silly things such as dress up as a character and sing happy birthday to you, or dance in the street while holding a sign to promote your business, or maybe draw a cartoon that resembles you. I have to wonder if some of these people are making decent money doing something so simple and silly! I kinda hope so.

My husband has a friend who set up a profile offering to do voiceover work, and he began to get requests. Since he already had the equipment, it was quite simple for him to record himself reading a script and then send the recording to the buyer. Naturally he hopes this will lead to a relationship with one of these clients and increased money at some point, but for now he’s having a little fun. I thought about that and realized how many documents I proofread at my job, so I thought I would put up a profile offering to edit or proofread. While I was at it, I put one up offering to write 500 words on any topic. (500 words is one typed page, single-spaced.) I got my first order right away, and it was just what I was hoping for–something extremely simple. A man was launching a website dedicated to matching people with appropriate pets for them and their families, and he needed to fill it up with content about people who had had certain types of pets. So he asked me to choose two pets I’d had in my life and just write a little bit about the positives and negatives of owning that particular animal. Easy as pie, so I was excited!

Then, strangely, for about two weeks I had NOTHING. No order, no message, no inquiry. I told my husband I was just going to delete Fiverr from my bookmarks and forget about it as I was just tired of looking at it. But before that day was over, for some unknown reason, my email started BLOWING UP. Every day since, I have received multiple Fiverr orders or messages. Many I decline to do, just because the subject matter is not something I’m comfortable with (I don’t mean it’s inappropriate, I just mean it’s usually some technical or business area that I’m sure somebody else could do a better job with). Also, many times I’ve been asked about something that would not be a good use of my time. For example, a man asked me if I would take his 2000 word document full of meeting notes and organize it into something understandable. I said no thanks, because I would have to first READ his 2000 words of notes before I could even make a decision about writing them up, and five dollars just doesn’t buy that much of my time.

But some of my assignments (Fiverr refers to them as “gigs”) have been easy and fun, and the buyers were very pleased. I wrote one article about female empowerment (Seeking Empowerment? Try Modesty)  that I was so happy with, I wish I could use it here! I can’t, I sold it and it no longer belongs to me, but once the buyer gets her blog up and running I might be able to link to it. I wrote one about toxic materials in toys. I wrote a sort of a social media advertisement about a credit repair company, and then a “testimonial” which one of their customers had authorized them to write on his behalf. So there is a lot of variety in the assignments, and plenty of demand allows me to choose what sounds interesting and decline the rest. Payment is via Paypal. For now, the money I’ve made is just sitting there…they keep track of every completed order and you can see your sales and revenues every time you log in. Whenever I feel like it, I can transfer the balance to my bank account. (You can also use your earnings to buy things from other Fiverr sellers, if you want to.)

You may be saying to yourself, HA! I wouldn’t write a grocery list for five bucks, much less a 500 word article. Well, that’s a good point, but here is the good news. After only 30 days of being a seller in good standing, Fiverr advised me that I’m now a Level One seller, so I can offer “Gig multiples” or “Gig Extras.” This means that I have the option of telling a seller that I would not care to do their assignment for $5, but if they would like to add a Gig Extra and make it, say, $25 or whatever I think it’s worth, then we have a deal.

I’m just a beginner at this myself, so if you have questions you’d probably do better exploring the Fiverr site than asking me. But I am excited about the results so far and wanted to share them with you. If you have any gifts or abilities in the categories Fiverr offers, I encourage you to check them out and see if you too can boost your income doing http:/ something you enjoy.

Can I EVER Leave the House By Myself?

Stuart Miles

 (Image by Stuart Miles, courtesy of

Oh, my friends, I feel like I have so much to do lately. At the end of my day at the office, I come home and I have blog stuff to catch up on, I have freelance writing assignments, I have to make the house nice for my husband to come home to and we have to have a meal. Somewhere in there I have to take a bath, and by then I’ve about run out of energy. There are errands that I truly need to do, but they just never seem to happen!

For instance: our boss ASSIGNED us to participate in a Secret Santa thing at work…please note that this was not optional, it was required. (Are you saying “She can’t do that!” ?? That’s what we said, too. But she did!) This entails giving two gifts per week to a coworker. Another thing: we’re going to Georgia over Thanksgiving and my son does not have sufficient warm clothes. Kids in FL (where we live) are still wearing shorts to school some days. He owns nothing warmer than a T-shirt and a light knit sweat jacket, but my husband mistakenly thinks that’s sufficient, so I need to shop for warmer clothes on my own. It ain’t happ’nin! I also had about five garments that I needed to get hemmed. Four I’ve been wearing anyway, I’d just be happier if they were shorter, but the other (my nice new corduroy jumper that would have been great for Thanksgiving) can’t be worn as-is. I rode around for a week with these things in my car, but did I ever make it to an alteration shop? No! I also need to shop for something to wear to my office Christmas party (which can also be used for the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church and the matinee performance of the Nutcracker). And I have to take a white elephant gift to that party–something in a $20 range that most anybody, male or female, might like to have. And  I’m a good week or probably more past needing to get my hair done. Stuff is piling up on my to-do list!

But the thing is…after working all day–and incidentally I do not get a lunch hour–I’m tired and hungry and I just want to hurry home before the traffic builds up. And then on the weekends, my hubby–BLESS HIS HEART (lol)–wants us to be together every second, plus, he generally has scheduled so many errands for ME to accompany HIM on that once we’re finished, I’m pooped all over again and never get around to the things I needed to do.(Like yesterday, we had lunch with friends, but after that he had a whole list: we went to Walmart–where I was looking around wistfully thinking “Gee, I wish I could pick out that white elephant gift,”  but instead, I was getting dragged along by his momentum..(“Four items and then we’re outta here and on to the next stop!”); then we were on to buy gas…then to a different place to put air in the tires…then to Walgreen’s…then to a restaurant to get something for our son…by then it was nearly dark! To me this seems like a very unusual marriage situation. My friend was telling me the other day that when she was a teenager, a boyfriend who wanted to go everywhere and do everything with a girl was jokingly referred to as her “backpack.” But I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard a wife mention having a backpack husband!

For a long time, I ASSUMED my husband was like most guys who would take it in stride when I announced that I wanted to do things unaccompanied, but eventually I realized that it actually hurts his feelings. Seems crazy, but it’s true. He hates to be left at home. So, in order to cope with this, I play a few mind games with myself. For one, I imagine what if he–at the very moment when I just want to go to the dang store by myself–were no longer with me. What if I were a widow today, and could go anywhere I wanted without him to “bother” me? Obviously I would be devastated if he were gone, so that tends to improve my attitude. My other mind game is to imagine: What if, instead of wanting to go everywhere with me, he was constantly making up flimsy stories to get away from me, and home, and go off someplace to meet up with another woman? THAT thought never fails to get my attitude adjusted very quickly. And finally, I think of a dear friend of mine who never married and who has spent so many years living all alone. She would give anything for a “backpack.”

So, to sum it up, my errands are not done, but my husband is happy. I guess I’ll just have to take a day off sometime soon, if I’m ever going to cross anything off of MY list!


By the way…one of those blog-related things I keep working on is that I’m trying to get a Facebook page set up for the blog. I didn’t want to link it to my personal page so I had to create a new personal page and then add the blog page to it. I ‘m quite familiar with Facebook and yet this little project never seems to get finished. I keep thinking it will take five minutes and then it takes longer so I have to set it aside and do something else. However, please be on the lookout for an announcement when I finally do get it ready. Facebook will be a fun way for us to talk to each other more and I’m looking forward to it.

At Home by CHOICE?


(Image by Stockimages, courtesy of

You may have seen the articles that have been making the rounds for a while, showcasing a collection of vintage print advertisements from the 1970’s and earlier. They’re considered shocking and sexist. You can view an example of one such article here.

I understand why people find at least some of them offensive. They’re not a reflection of the world we live in. We don’t have to turn back the calendar very far to encounter women who can’t even fathom the changes the world has been through. My daughter, for example, is a young adult, and she could look at my life history and see nothing so different from what she’s familiar with. My own mother finished high school in 1955, but even her life was not like these ads would suggest. She never had the chance to be Betty Crocker or Susie Homemaker. While she had no strong political leanings that I ever heard of, nor any serious desire for a career, she always worked outside the home because nobody offered her an alternative. I wonder, now, how she felt about that. Did she grow up just naturally expecting to marry a man who would work to support her while she kept the house and raised the children? Did she go through life feeling she got cheated out of that?

My father is not the man my mother spent most of her life married to. (They divorced when I was still a baby.) But my father believes that feminists messed up the whole order of things by flooding the job market with women. There were then twice as many people competing for jobs, so everybody’s paycheck got smaller, and consequently we wound up with a world where many women HAVE to work. That may be a little simplistic, but I see some logic in it. I can sort of see a woman like my mother, who probably wanted to be a homemaker, saying, “Thanks a lot, feminists. I had to work in crappy jobs all my life because you didn’t want to stay home.” Through no fault of her own, she never got to live the life she was led to expect.

Here’s all I’m saying. A lot of feminist-bashing goes on among Christian women. You’ll read about it on a lot of blogs–heck, you can read whole books about it if you look for them. And meanwhile, SAHMs  share that they set aside their careers to raise their children and care for their husbands and homes. There is no job more important, they tell us, and I happen to AGREE with them. So, summing up: philosophically, many of us agree that home is a good place for wives and mothers to be.

I’ll invite you to consider just one other possibility, though.

Suppose you’d never had a choice? It’s one thing to prove to the world that you can graduate from the finest university and excel in your chosen field and then decide to take up the profession of homemaking. You’ve already proven you can stand on your own two feet, you can paddle your own canoe! But suppose your parents had laughed at your silly desire to go to college? What if they had patted your pretty head and said, “College is for boys, dear. You don’t need that kind of education to change diapers!” What if no scholarships or financial assistance had been available for you? What if the field you were interested in working in was something other than being a teacher or a nurse, and everyone had ridiculed you? Imagine going to a job interview at a place where you had amazing skills to fit the job, and a burning ambition to work, and being summarily told that they were looking for a man to fill the position.

Suppose you had wound up exactly where you are right now: keeping house and caring for your husband and children…but you’d never had a choice. Suppose you had the same capable hands and brilliant mind that you do right now, but had never been afforded the chance to prove it to anyone. Would you feel as confident as you do today? Or let’s go briefly down another road…what if your husband mistreated you, but the law still regarded you as his property? What if he died and you had no choice but to fall on the mercy of relatives who would support you? That happened all the time, and not so long ago.

It’s very easy to condemn the wicked feminists who messed up the world. I wouldn’t even totally disagree, since some of the world’s most famous feminists were clearly not fighting on God’s side. But it wouldn’t hurt to remember that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought hard to get us the rights we have today, partly because they knew something most of us will never know: what it was like to be at home because you had no choice.

Helen Keller and Your Marriage


We all know who Helen Keller was, and what she became: a brilliant writer, lecturer, and inspiration to millions. But do you recall her beginning?

If you’ve ever read her biography or seen a movie or play about her life, you must remember the famous breakfast-table scene that took place when her parents brought in Annie Sullivan, the woman who would become Helen’s teacher and friend for life.

Helen, the object of her parents’ sympathy (and no doubt, their feelings of helplessness) had been allowed to grow into an uncivilized little tyrant, doing absolutely as she pleased. Her own will was all that existed in her mind.

When her new teacher, Annie, refused to allow Helen to grab food off of Annie’s plate with her grubby little fingers, a brawl ensued that lasted all day, and changed the world for Helen Keller.

She didn’t understand the words Annie was trying to spell into her palm—not yet—but the beginning of all her knowledge was the realization that there were other people in the world whose feelings mattered, and that she could not always have her own way.

To have a happy marriage, we all need to learn to reign in that selfish child who screams, “I want, I want… and I want it MY way.” Our husbands, much like Helen’s parents, may give us our way because they are soft-hearted, because they love us, or maybe just for the joy of making us smile for a moment. And in response, rather than being grateful and seeking to bring happiness to them in return, we may come to expect indulgence, and grow ever more demanding, ever more convinced that our own selfish will is the only thing worth considering.

How easy an existence would that be? “I do what I please and nobody dares to question me or stop me.”

And yet it would not exactly be a good thing for us to be allowed to go on that way. Suppose Helen Keller’s parents had never brought in Annie Sullivan? And what if Annie Sullivan had never fought that battle over breakfast with her little student?  A frustrating six-year-old would have become an incorrigible twelve-year-old, and the twelve-year-old would have eventually become a large, strong, overpowering adult woman…miserable in her complete isolation, screeching and muttering, eating with her hands, having no conception of hygiene, much less manners. Let’s face it; she would have wound up in an early 1900’s mental institution, suffering brutality and neglect, her brilliant mind wasted.

Instead, she became the first blind and deaf person to earn a bachelor’s degree. She read books and wrote them. She met authors and presidents. She campaigned for causes she believed in. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame…and all because she learned, little by little, that other people mattered, too. That there was more to living than being given whatever she craved at any particular moment.

So consider that, and then tell me, ladies, which will you choose to be? A childish brat, ferociously battling to prevail over someone who loves you and wants life’s best for you? Or a wise, graceful, dignified lady who knows what deeper victories may come from working with him, not against him, and from loving him even more than you love yourself?


A Teacher of Modesty


Today I am excited to introduce you to a lady and family that I have “known” (that is, been aware of) for most of my life, yet I never see them mentioned or referred to on anyone’s blog. Their teachings and views are in line with traditional  views of femininity and biblical womanhood, but for whatever reason, the current generation doesn’t seem to have discovered them. So readers, please allow me to present a very humble Christian lady whose books have taught much to many. (Click titles for more information on the books mentioned.)

HandfordThis is Elizabeth (“Libby”) Rice Handford, pictured here with her husband Walt Handford. I’ll tell you more about her famous family tree in a moment, but for now please know that she is the author of some very direct and touching books that women today would do well to read; among them, Me? Obey Him?  and Your Clothes Say It For YouI mentioned one of these books in a recent post and it was clicked on many times. But just so you know–I do not happen to be affiliated with the Rice/Handford family nor any booksellers or publishers as of right now. I just want you to know about them because I love them! I believe you will, too.

Mrs. Handford is one of six daughters of the famous evangelist, Dr.  John R. Rice (pictured below).


He had a dynamic life story and while we may not all agree with everything he espoused, he clearly had a huge, pressing burden to win souls, and dedicated his life to it. He was the founder of Sword of the Lord, which was originally a newspaper and is now a ministry which includes a publishing house.  You can visit their website to peruse a wealth of interesting products, especially the books, which are searchable by author or subject.

The thing I love best about Elizabeth Rice Handford‘s writing is her voice. There is nothing preachy or judgmental about her. Her books read as though a very kind, loving, and very devout friend has stopped by to have a cup of coffee and share with you. Sprinkled with stories from her youth and her days as a mother raising seven children, she comes across as so warm and personable that while you may, in the end, have differing opinions about certain matters, you cannot help but respect her sincerity and her testimony. Her sharp intelligence shines through her plain-spoken style as well, just in case you’re tempted to dismiss her words as those of a Bible-belt bumpkin from another era. As strongly as I possibly can, I urge you to check out these books. They are quite inexpensive, by the way.

Mrs. Handford’s sister, Jessie Rice Sandberg, is the author of several books as well. One that I have a immense fondness for is With Love…And A Pinch of Salt. When I was nineteen or so, this book was placed as a decoration on the mantelpiece of the old Victorian house where I worked as a waitress. I picked it up and leafed through it when I was not busy, and was instantly hooked. It’s a unique book, rather like a scrapbook of odds and ends that a mother might give to a daughter as a wedding gift. I believe it was frequently given as a shower gift in its day, and it’s still full of useful, homespun information…everything from “How to Make a White Sauce” to checklists for a Christian bride, to poems and articles about family life, to reminders of small daily things to take joy in. Sadly it does not seem to be available at Sword of the Lord! However I checked Amazon and a few other places, and you should be able to locate a used copy.

Now, to check out a different limb on the Rice family tree, let’s look at Bill and Cathy Rice. (It took me years, by the way, in the days before Google, to figure out exactly how these people were related.) Dr. Bill Rice was the brother of John R. Rice, and also an evangelist. In the 1930’s, his and wife Cathy’s baby daughter was struck with spinal meningitis. While the baby survived, the illness left her deaf. Afterward, realizing how challenging it was to communicate the gospel to a deaf child, her parents then felt led to begin a ministry for the deaf. The Bill Rice Ranch is still going strong today in Murfreesboro, TN. They host FREE camps for the deaf, and camps and conferences for hearing people as well. Cathy authored a number of books about sign language and ministry to the deaf. Their website,, has many helpful resources you might like to check out. billrice_founder


But she didn’t always write about the deaf. Cathy Rice was, for me, a little pebble the Lord dropped into my path when I was in high school in the 1980’s. Would you expect a regular old unchurched perm-headed 80’s teenager, the daughter of a smoking, drinking, partying divorced mother, to be eagerly lapping up a 1966 book on Christian submission? Probably not, and yet as I have gotten older, I have marveled at the many such books that found their way into my hands and formed the foundation of my beliefs. It was no coincidence! Anyway…in the school library (this would never happen today, huh?!) I ran across a book entitled The Right Way in Marriage for Women, which was part love letter to Bill Rice (not literally, I’m just saying that Cathy’s adoration for him was quite evident) and partly a guidebook for Christian wives. I believe that this same book now goes by the title of The Right Romance in Marriage, and this one is available at Sword and through Amazon. Cathy’s tone is different from that of her nieces, the Rice sisters…she’s a little more June Cleaver-ish, but I still admire this lovely book from a time when submission was more the norm instead of a radical departure.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Rice family and will check out the books and resources. Come back and let me know what you thought!


Standard of Loving


photostock couple

(Image by Photostock, courtesy of

Occasionally we all hear stories of young married couples who are simply unrealistic about the standard of living they will have when they first start out. Sometimes they are spoiled and have a sense of entitlement, but more often they probably just haven’t stopped to consider all the years it took their parents to achieve the lifestyle they’re enjoying by middle age. When young adults have lived all their lives in a comfortable, well-appointed home in a good neighborhood (heck, lots of us have home gyms and maybe a pool)… when they’ve had late-model cars to drive and plenty of new clothes and access to the latest technology…when they’ve been on nice vacations and kicked back on nice furniture and never had to worry about much of anything in the way of material goods, getting married and surviving on entry-level paychecks must feel a lot like a step down.

A young wife and husband might look around at their humble abode and their meager bank balance and feel that something is very wrong; something must be corrected as soon as possible, because this is failure! They got married expecting to be free and happy, not to be less free and less happy than they were back home. Sometimes they are unable to tolerate a period of relative austerity, and they foolishly go into debt to keep up the style to which they’re accustomed. They may blame one another for overspending and under-earning. A wife, especially, may come to feel that her husband’s inability to give her all the things her parents gave her translates into an actual lack of love or dedication.

We should probably all prepare our children from the cradle to expect to start at the bottom of the ladder economically, so that while it may not be fun, at least it won’t be a shock to their systems.

But it occurs to me that young adults may also be failing to realize the years of work it took their parents to find happiness, comfort, and stability in their relationship. My daughter looks at my husband and me and knows that for all of our ups and downs (some of which she witnessed) we have a permanent bond. We’ve been united for as long as she can remember, and she has watched us reaching goals together, spending time together, and now finally settling in for the second half of life together. Meanwhile, though she has a long-term boyfriend, her future is still to be determined.

And my young work-friends in their twenties…they overhear the pleasant phone chats I have with my husband when he calls me during his lunch hour to ask about my day and discuss what we have planned for the evening. I often tell these young ladies funny stories about happenings at home, or mention our comfortable, well-worn marriage routines. Now  I know twenty-somethings never envy the middle-aged; I’m not flattering myself that much! But I do suspect that when their relationships are rocky, or just poorly defined (“Am I his girlfriend or just a casual date?” “Is this marriage really what I wanted?”)…they might be casting a slightly-wistful eye over at me, living in the land of Security.

But, oh, there is so much about us they don’t know! So much they will never be told about the trials we’ve gone through..the temper tantrums, the bad habits and attitudes that were eventually adjusted. I will never tell them some of the detrimental things we blithely did in pursuit of excitement, and I may not ever share the selfish, callous, mean-spirited things we did to break each other’s hearts. Incidents have occurred between my husband and me that were so painful, recovering from them took years.YEARS, I’m telling you, when there were no pleasant giggly lunchtime phone calls. YEARS when we went through the motions, but the love between us had gone underground.  

Thankfully, we’ve forgotten some of it ourselves, now that we’ve gotten the hang of marriage. All of us who have been blessed to be married a long time may get so comfortable that we forget what it was like to be otherwise, and neglect to tell our grown children or our younger sisters or friends that a happy marriage can take a very long time to finally solidify.

I hope these words will give encouragement to any young person reading them in the midst of a marriage struggle.  Don’t assume that your marriage is a failure because you and your husband don’t have the bond and camaraderie that your mom and dad may have. Don’t assume that because things seem to be in a million pieces today, the Lord can’t glue them back together tomorrow. In exactly the way that it takes years to earn material assets, it might take your marriage a while to find its groove. Persevere, pray, and determine to show your husband the same kind of love you did on your wedding day! Don’t worry right now what he’s giving you in return. You are responsible before God for  your OWN behavior, not his. So start there. (I feel compelled to say that if your husband is actually harming your or endangering your life, however, you should seek help.)

  To the more “seasoned” ladies, let’s make it a point this week to share with younger women that our marriages were not always well-oiled machines, but the rewards of staying together make the struggles so worthwhile.


(PS–If you never have, go to my “About Me” page for two pictures that might just make you smile. :-) )

How to Stay Warm in a Dress


Are you new to wearing dresses, and wondering how you’ll manage your first winter as a beautiful, feminine, modest dress-wearer? First of all, congratulations on your decision to dress with modesty. You will never regret looking classy and respectable, and  you will soon appreciate the very significant differences in the treatment you  receive by presenting yourself  as a lovely lady instead of a hot chick. I want to encourage you to make it through the upcoming winter without “growing weary in well-doing,” so I offer you some tips.

First of all, know that YOU CAN DO THIS. There is no question about it! Generations of our ancestors managed their lives wearing dresses in all sorts of weather, without the benefit of central heat, by the way. Most of the time, the adjustment to be made here is psychological in that a dress is not actually impeding your functionality, you simply feel funny wearing one to do certain things. This may be because you don’t own the most suitable type of dresses or skirts for every activity yet, but that will come with time and perseverance. You can do it, and you’ll be so glad you did.

If you work in an office or other indoor setting, please FORGET the idea of wearing dress shoes such as pumps, and leaving your calves bare or covered only by pantyhose (if anybody wears those anymore!). You will be just like some of my silly coworkers, who walk in the door daily in skimpy dress and immediately start complaining that they’re freezing. Be wise about this! The weather won’t change to accommodate your clothes, so you must change your clothes to fit the weather. What you need are some BOOTS. I myself can hardly wait to start wearing boots each year, because for one thing, you can wear your favorite comfortable socks and nobody will ever know, plus you don’t need to be concerned with how your legs look! If your boots seem to look funny, chances are that there is a wrong-sized gap between the top of them and the bottom of your skirt. I think it’s best if there is either NO gap (so your skirt comes down over your boots) or a gap of several inches (if you have that much leg). Just a slight gap looks like a mistake, similar to the look of “high-water” pants. I would caution you, though, when leaving a gap, that “sexy” is not the look you are going for. Keep your skirt at a decent length, and please avoid blatantly sexy stiletto heels. You do realize, my dear innocents, that when you wear shoes like that, it tempts men to picture you wearing ONLY the shoes? I would love to have a man comment and back me up on that, because I am absolutely sure of it.

You are going to want to have skirts or dresses of thicker, sturdier material, that the wind will not cut through. In hot weather, I tend to wear very lightweight, flowing skirts, but winter is the time to change to khaki, corduroy, or thick knits, and denim for casual wear. Obviously, longer is warmer.

Your secret weapon is what you wear on your legs. You will need some or all of the following: tights, leggings, and thermal underwear! Tights are nice when the weather is not biting cold but just a bit chilly, and bare legs would look oddly summery. They are also nice when you don’t feel like boots and would rather wear a mary-jane or some other style of shoe. Leggings are warm and come in all sorts of colors and patterns, but be careful with those patterns if you’re a mature lady. Not all are becoming to us. A benefit to leggings is that they are footless, and since we’ve already decided you’ll be wearing your favorite socks, you don’t want your feet to get all overheated indoors. Thermal underwear is for SERIOUS cold! In the past I owned some actual “long-john” style with the sort of checked-looking pattern. I actually prefer those, because they have a band at the ankle that keeps them from moving around. (Thermal sets are great to sleep in, too, because they stay rather close to your body so they keep drafts from going up your clothes, and don’t get all twisted around as you toss and turn.) Now that I live in Florida where it’s not very cold for very long, I have not been able to find that style, but I have some “Cud’l Duds,” purchased at Walmart, that serve the same purpose.

Finally, if you run low on ideas or have no modest dressers in your daily life that you’d like to emulate, PINTEREST IS A GOLD MINE! Approximately one bazillion people (just kidding) have Pinterest boards labeled “modesty” or “modest clothes” and so forth. I’m sure you could even search “modest winter” or “skirts and boots” or whatever it is you’re trying to work with.

I wish you a wonderful winter and a delightful holiday season…Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year! Be beautiful be festive, be WARM, and be modest and classy, too!



Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers