Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Free Camera Giveaway

Ok, so BarrowLenses is doing this drawing for a free Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800. I would LOVE to get a one of these. And the more people who click on the link associated with my name, the more chances I have of winning and also of winning a bonus prize! So please

GO HERE! to enter.

Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's a Brand New Day... and Year...

I woke up with the KJ-52 song "Brand New Day" in my head this morning. Not usually a KJ fan, but I think it's a happy song, and I just find myself really excited whenever I hear it start to play on the radio. And anyway, I thought it was appropriate, although certainly unplanned, that that was the song in my head on the morning of January 1st.

Happy 2013! I wonder how many times I'm going to catch myself writing 2012 or '12 on checks, letters, lists, and the like. I'd say it's in the ballpark of about a zillion.

Ok, so if you're wondering if I met the four goals I had set a few months ago, the answer is... sort of. Hey, it's better than no. :-)


  • Memorize a Chapter of the Bible: YES! Psalm 138. :-) Now, I've decided I want to memorize 1 chapter a month. 12 chapters this year! I think I can do it!
  • Finish Writing My Book: YES! It will take a lot of tweaking, but I feel good with where it is. It's a short book - probably falling under the novella category. But I wanted it to be short, sweet, and to-the-point, while hopefully still interesting.
  • Sew a Skirt: NO. :-( I have done little bitty sewing projects here and there with a needle & thread, but have not used my sewing machine yet. To be honest, it intimidates me. But I'm determined to get over that and start sewing!
  • Make a concentrated effort to give verbal encouragement to my husband: YES! I guess I should ask him if I really did a good job at this. But I found myself being much more deliberate about communicating with him and being more verbal than what comes naturally to me. He said he did notice I'm opening up more and am verbally making him feel affirmed, so I think that counts. :-) I don't want to stop here though. I want to keep going in showing him how much I love and appreciate him.

There you have it. I haven't really set any New Year's resolutions for this year, but I have asked the Lord to help me grow and improve in some areas. And I will be making short-term goals. I work better with deadlines and can tend to be a teensy bit of a procrastinator, so if 2014 is my deadline for a lot of things, I would be in trouble. I look forward to all this year has in store for me & my husband, our church, our families, our close friends (P.S. My closest childhood friend just announced that she and her husband are going to have their first child! Woohoo!!!) But more than anything, I look forward to drawing closer to the Lord this year. May I give Him all the glory every day of this year, and every day of my life.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hope this Christmas

About 10 years ago, I asked the Lord to help me see Christmas in a new way each year. I didn't want to get so excited about the decorations, and food, and presents that I just included Jesus' birth as a small part of it all. Each year since then, the Lord has helped me see something new and beautiful about Christ's birth. This year, I have discovered the importance of the hope that Christ brought to us all.

G.K Chesterton said, “Hope means hoping when everything is hopeless.”

The view of this dark world – with its violence, anger, confusion, and outright blindness – makes everything appear to be hopeless. During what is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” many families face the reality that hurt and devastation can find us no matter what the calendar says. We are never exempt from pain. But we are also never exempt from hope. If things were hopeless, the statement “I'm praying for you” would mean nothing, and the Bible really could be filed as an ancient and irrelevant document. If things were hopeless, Jesus would be just another infant, and the Cross would be just a block of wood. But Jesus came to bring hope to a hopeless world!

This Christmas, the word hope means more to me than just four, pretty letters that we use in our festive decorations. Hope means that in the midst of chaos we have something to hold onto. And we have something to hold onto because Jesus didn't want to let go of us. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Can I Hold Your Hand?"

I LOVE Despicable Me! What a cute, fun movie! As the youngest of three girls, I have a special appreciation for movies, shows, books, or practically anything that tells a story of sisters, especially three sisters. And yes, I have a soft spot for the baby of the family!

Besides the fact that Agnes is the youngest of three girls, I love her innocence. Some of my favorite moments are the times when she is walking along holding her eldest sister Margo's hand. But my favorite of all favorite parts?

She sees Gru's hand, looks up, and says, "Can I hold your hand?" I have to stifle an "Awwwwww!!!" every time! Sure, she's cute. But how can you not love what is represented in that seemingly simple question?

I have always felt so special when a little child feels comfortable enough to reach up and hold my without MY asking. Often, I have needed to instruct a child to hold my hand while walking through a crowd or crossing a street. But how nice it is to not have to tell a child to hold your hand! I remember several years ago, I was helping to take care of a little girl, who was probably about 5 years old. I'll never forget when we had to walk somewhere unfamiliar to her, and she instinctively reached up to hold my hand. It was wonderful to feel that little hand voluntarily slip into mine. Why? Because it showed that she trusted me. I didn't have to force her to trust me. It was a trust demonstrated by choice.

Many a time, the Lord has had to tell me to hold His hand. Often, I would go through a place where I could not make it on my own, and the Lord had to remind me that He knew the way and that He could lead me. My typical response was to comply, because I knew He knew what was best for me. But what if I didn't wait until the Lord told me to place my hand in His? Just as I feel good when a child trusts me enough to take my hand without my giving instructions to do so, I am sure the Lord is even more pleased when His child voluntarily slips her hand into His.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why Men Hate Going to Church, and What Women Can Do About It

My husband has been reading a book by David Murrow entitled Why Men Hate Going to Church. And when my husband reads a book that he enjoys, I hear enough about it to feel like I have read the whole thing myself, cover to cover! And he really, really enjoyed this book and has also talked to many other people about it. Needless to say, I've heard his abridged version more times than I can count. So I feel pretty well-informed. Here is what I know...

It has fascinating insight on why many men see church as something for women and children. At the beginning of the book, the author offers two lists of words. The first list contains several words such as power, competence, authority. The other list contains several words such as love, gentleness, relating. He asks readers to identify which list best reflects Christ and Christianity. Then, he reveals that the two lists actually reflect male and female attributes respectively. He goes on to explain that in the church world, God's “feminine” attributes are heavily emphasized, making men feel like church is irrelevant or uninteresting to them. After all, men appreciate those qualities in women, but in order to see their need for God, they must see God as more than just a gentle lover of their souls. Conclusively, pastors and church leaders must remember that while reflecting on God's love, grace, and compassion is vital in Christianity, equally vital is the acknowledgment of God's power, judgment, and authority. My husband David has been challenged to include the “masculine” attributes of God in his preaching as well as the “feminine.” This Sunday, David will preach his last sermon in a three sermon series he titled “Be a Man!” In the series, he has shared stories of three manly conquerors who trusted in God's power and who were able to overcome unbelievable odds. These, my friends, were real men. And God's Word is full of them. But I believe that manly conquerors are not a thing of the past. I believe God still wants to use real men for His Kingdom.

Ministers and church leaders have a responsibility to be aware of this, but women also have a responsibility. So what can we do to help men see church as more than just a warm home-away-from-home for women and children? Here are some of my humble suggestions.

  1. Praise God for His “masculine” attributes. God's love and mercy are beautiful and absolutely necessary. But try to go two or three days simply praising God for His power, might, justice, protection, and qualities like these. And always remember to keep a balance in praising God. With every attribute you appreciate that tends to be soft and sweet, try to think of an attribute that is strong and rugged. Reflecting on these attributes of God will help you appreciate your husband and the male leadership roles in your church.
  2. Encourage your husband to be a man. Be thankful for the fact that your husband is a man! And let him know that you appreciate his initiative and hard work. Encourage him to use those attributes in leading your family. Once your husband knows you believe in him as the leader in your home, he will more likely want to become involved in the church. Remember, nagging and encouraging are entirely different. If you constantly remind your husband what he should and should not do, then he will not feel like the spiritual leader in your home. That will translate into a hesitancy to become a leader in the church. Encourage him towards godliness, and respect his decisions.
  3. Pray! Pray! Pray! God is all-powerful, isn't He? There is nothing too big for God, is there? Then the most important thing you can do is ask God to help your husband be the man of God he should be. Ask God to speak to and lead your husband, and pray that your husband will be obedient. Pray specifically, and pray consistently. For a guide on how to pray for your husband, try this Praying for Your Husband from the Psalms from Titus Women's Ministry. I also highly recommend the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. Praying for your husband will benefit him, you, your marriage, your family, and your church. You can never go wrong with prayer!

So, according to David Murrow and all of his research, men hate going to church.* And what can we do about it? Well, leaders in the church have a responsibility to create an atmosphere that makes women, children, AND men feel welcome. They also have a responsibility to communicate God's Word in a way that fully reflects God, not just one side of Him. And men have the responsibility to obey God and become the spiritual leaders in their homes. But women also have a responsibility to encourage the men in their lives to be real men of God. If your husband is already a strong spiritual leader in your home and is involved in your church, he still needs to know that you support him. And these could be ways to express your continued support for him. These ideas could also prove helpful in rearing your sons to become real men of God. The bottom line is this: God wants to use both men and women in His kingdom, and He has equipped both sexes to serve Him in effective and God-glorifying ways. One very important way He has equipped you as a woman is with the responsibility to support, encourage, and pray for your husband. Don't shirk that responsibility. Keep at it. And by God's grace (and power, and might!), you will see your husband be a man.

*I did not include in this post any proof supporting the statement that men hate going to church, and I do realize it is a very broad and general statement. However, if you read David Murrow's book, you will see that he sufficiently backs up his claims. The information in the book is thorough, and Mr. Murrow's writing is very interesting. Ok, I am done with my plug. :-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Caroline's 4 Simple Goals (edited: 11/08)

Originally posted 9/18
I have had this blog for a while now, and I have yet to actually post something. I guess I've been waiting for some brilliant idea to strike me, so I can write a post that is deep and moving or at least witty and amusing. If I wait around for those kinds of posts, I may never end up writing on my blog!

So here's a better idea (I hope).

A dear childhood friend and extremely popular blogger, Megan, just posted her 4 Goals Before 2013, and I would like to do the same!

1. Memorize one chapter in the Bible. Since graduating from Bible college, I have not been memorizing Scripture like I wanted to. And I actually haven't memorized an entire chapter since I was 8! That was Isaiah 53, and I am so glad I memorized that one. But 16 years later, I am ready to do it again, with another chapter. Now, I just have to figure out which one...
Update (11/08): I have decided on Psalm 138, and I am getting there...

2. Sew a skirt. A very sweet lady in my church has had a sewing machine for a few years, and she never could figure out how to use it. I told her I wanted to learn how to sew, and I asked if I could buy the machine from her. She said no! She wanted to give it to me. Now, if I can figure out how to use it, or find some kind of directions from Google, I can get started!! I'm SEW excited. :-)
Update (11/08): I am thinking perhaps my first sewing project will not be a skirt. Maybe something a little more simple to begin with. But I definitely want to sew something before the end of the year! 

3. Finish writing my book. I have been writing a simple book targeted to preteen/teen girls, and I think it is totally doable to finish it before 2013. I may try to pursue having it published, but before I count my chickens, I gotta let 'em hatch!
Update (11/08): I joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so that I could do further work on my novel. I haven't been writing as many words each day as I should be, but since it was going to be a small book, I think I'm making pretty good progress!

4. Make a concentrated effort to give verbal encouragement to my husband. His love language is definitely words of affirmation, and it is not my native tongue (I'm a quality time girl). I really want to communicate with him in a way that he can deeply know and feel that he is loved!
Update (11/08): I feel like I am doing well in this, but I want to continue to do better!

Woohoo! I'm ready to (continue to) tackle these goals, and I can't wait to report on December 31st that I have completed them all!