Monthly Archives: July 2013

Building Up

I often wonder what the homes of yesteryear looked like…… I am intrigued with the simplicity of the homes.

I realize that homes back then may have been simple but the work required to support the household was hard.

There wasn’t time to pick out color schemes for painting, cabinet design, and new age appliances that do everything but cook for us.

There had to be bread to bake, animals to be skinned, and fruits to be gathered.  Cooking didn’t require a freezer and a microwave.  Instead, milling of grains, milking, and gathering were the prerequisites to prepare a meal.  Oh and let’s not forget the forging to the nearest water hole to draw the day’s water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking.

There wasn’t any fancy stores to help design your kitchen.  Your design was what was necessary to provide food on the table.  And we are not talking an 8 course meal….. or take out.

Not to mention, there were only a few utensils most likely made by the women who ran the kitchen.  No Rachel Ray or Paula Deen cookware…….No Mr. Coffee or the latest kitchen gadget……  Just basic pots and plates.

Yesteryear homes may have been simple but every square inch held a useful purpose.  Just think about the kitchens of those homes.  The clay jars had a purpose….. carrying water.  Pots and pans were for cooking.  The ceiling often times had bundles of  herbs drying.  Yea, the decor of the room may not be found in Better Homes and Garden but they were clean and comfortable for the family.

ANCIENT HOUSES,HOUSING,TENTS:BIBLE ARCHITECTURE: Model of interior of a four-roomed house

In Proverbs 14:1 Solomon urged his son to find a wise woman…….

Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

Okay, so imagine this…… a house is going to be built.  A contractor gathers blueprints, financial backing, and his team of builders.  The contractor follows the blueprints and guides his workers until the job is finished.  It is safe to say that the he will encounter financial conflicts, rebelling workers, mistakes in the blueprints, and a headache or two.  But, in the end a home is built for a family.

The same can be applied to a household. Generally women have taken the role of the contractor in a household.  It takes planning, learning, and working hard.  The family calendar, cleaning checklists, and menu charts become the blueprints of our daily lives.  The contractor of the household encounters financial problems, stubborn children who eventually develop deaf ears to the Barney Cleanup Song, hiccups in the schedules that throw off that day’s cleaning and cooking duties, and yes, a headache or two.

What if Solomon wasn’t talking just running the household or actually building a house……  Perhaps, he could have meant a supportive wife and mother who loves and builds up her family with her kind words, encouragement and love.  A wise woman who is an example, a role model if you please, of Christ-like living.  She continually seeks counsel and guidance from God and His Word as well as other Christ following women.  And a wise woman’s blueprints can be found in Proverbs 31.  Without that blueprint, it would be nearly impossible to build or maintain even a home.

I may be old fashioned but I don’t want to be the foolish woman who tears down her family or her home with reckless planning, thinking, or living.  Sounds to me that the foolish woman can be self-centered and self-focused.  That is something that was supposed to be given up the moment she said “I do” and started a family.

No, if wearing the label of old-fashioned means a love driven home, then so be it.

 

Clear Path

On a whim, we decided to go to Lake Catherine State Park. We enjoy this park. It is one of the few in Arkansas that doesn’t charge a fee to swim. The bathrooms are clean and so is the beach. The lake and its surroundings are absolutely beautiful.

In the past, we only swam. But recently, my daily walks have become a little….. well, let’s say…… not so challenging. So, not only were we going to swim, but hike. We did our research…. thanks to Google….. and found three hiking trails.   And since we walk over 2 miles each day, a 3.5 mile hike sounded just what we needed.

Ahem…..

Well, let me just say we should have taken notice of the trail’s name….”Horseshoe Mountain Trail.”  Um…. MOUNTAIN should have given us a clue as to what we were about to face.  Oh, and then there was the description….. “Steep and Rugged.”  Two adjectives that should have flags flying and sirens blaring.  But, we had been walking and thought it would be a nice challenge.

Okay, so the climb wasn’t so bad.  Well, at least, I wasn’t on my hands and knees crawling up the mountain side.  And who knew, steep’s definition is “straight up.”  I think we climbed up 2 of the 3 miles.

Here’s the tough part….. our kids climbed like it was just a slight inclination.  They were way ahead of Mark and I.  Every once in a while, they stopped just to see if we were still standing.  Our son kept asking, “What’s wrong?  You old or something?”  Ha!  Duh, yeah!  Mark and I huffed and puffed.  We were a little deflated with the realization that yes, our not so challenging walks in the evening should be enough to satisfy.

So as the kids were trail blazing ahead of us, my daughter shouts “LeLLO” every time she approached a yellow trail marker painted on a tree.  It amazes me how I looked forward to the next yellow marker.  Without them, this delirious, over exhausted, mountain woman wannabe would be as lost as a goose.  I never appreciated yellow paint until then.

Early on the adventure, Mark and I had an in depth discussion about how heroic a park ranger would be along the trail if something would have happened…… ahem….. see, I am graceful and I love to fall all over myself….. UM…. well, more like trip and bust it!  From that insightful point, we discussed how the rangers must maintain the trails by hiking most likely everyday and making sure the paths are clear from fallen trees, unruly brush, and poison ivy!!  I gained more respect for park rangers just thinking that someone walked this trail daily.

Which brings me to a Proverb I read this morning……

The righteousness of the blameless clears his path, but the wicked person will fall because of his wickedness.  Proverbs 11:5

Clearing a path means you make it easy to walk on by making appropriate modifications and improvements.  As you know, the wilderness likes to over grow and cover our efforts especially if we neglect our path.

Consider this, when we continually work on the clearing of our path called life, we study God’s Word, fellowship with fellow believers, and we live a model life as a Christ-follower.  We clip back the wilderness on a regular basis.  And this path called life will be easier to walk along.  Yes, there may be a stumbling stone or two, but they are much easier seen without ground coverings.  And on the other hand……. if we chose to do nothing, our path can become a mangled mess and stumbling stones are well hidden just so we can trip and fall.

Likewise, if we stay on the well marked trail we won’t become lost.  We continue to move forward looking ahead for those brightly painted markers we will reach our destination.  So, in other words, if we stay focused and continually look for guidance from Christ, confusion and being lost are two things we can not worry about.

All in all, we had a wonderful time.  Two big blisters on my feet, a stiff back, and sore muscles spoke to how much farther I need to go in order to be “fit.”  But, I feel stronger knowing that I can conquer the wilderness and reach the end of the trail.

A Bone to Chew On

My friend has a saying, “I’m like a dog with a new bone.”  Having 4 dogs myself, I know whenever they receive a brand new bone they can not stop chewing on it.  The canines don’t let them go until they are all gone or hide them for another day.

As I am going through this thing…… my journey to a healthier me, I am discovering all the emotional bones I have buried.  It floors me when I overcome one battle-bone then I discover yet another one.  And sometimes, I go looking for the bones to dig up and chew on again.

If something is said or even not said, the scenario plays and replays and all the while I am like that little dog happy as can be chewing away on it.  Sometimes I chew to the point to where I am angry…..which just causes me to just to chew harder and meaner.  Of course there are those days when I am poking around in my emotional graveyard and unearth a new bone that I must have quickly buried without even getting a taste of it.  Then, I just sit and gnaw on it for a while.

But here something new to chew on…….

In the Bible we are told to forget the past and to move forward.  Which I believe is very true….. it is hard to walk forward when you are constantly looking back over your shoulder.  Trust me, I’ve done it.  Just to see if I could walk a straight line….. ahem, I always veered to the left.  Funny.

So when I unearth the buried stuff, I am looking back.  I’ve noticed I focus solely on that one thing.  I unearth raw feelings of pain and hurt when I dig up the past.  It is like I am wrestling with personal demons that just won’t go away.  But it was I who went to visit those demons by choice.  See it is kinda…..well, to be frank….. it is like I have created this inner occult.  I sometimes get brainwashed and only see the yuck I’ve experienced.

Now look what the Bible says……

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity,  idolatry, sorcery,hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions,dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.   Galatians 5:19-21


There is my personal occult being described.  Those are the bones I chew on sometimes.  I may not be literally practicing some of those but I am revisiting some when I dig up my past.  So, now what……

I wonder if the Holy Spirit buries those old bones of mine for a reason.  Maybe it isn’t me doing the burying after all.  Perhaps, they are buried so I can move forward.  Here’s a thought….. maybe I’ve robbing graves that God, Himself, buried so I wouldn’t have to suffer.  Could it be that when I unearth something… that may be the trigger to overeating?  I wouldn’t have to stuff something down that was already once buried by the Holy Spirit.  I am unleashing the demons just so I can eat them away again.  Now that doesn’t make a bit of sense does it??

Why would I want this personal occult to be the driving force in my life?  Maybe, it is best to keep things buried.  Obviously when I think I’m fixing something I am only affixing my energy and thought on it and well….. no fixing, no solution, nothing is done to improve upon it.  I am just left feeling raw, unprotected, and well….. sicker.

Maybe Paul had something there in Philippians 3:13-14

Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,  I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.  

Ya, know maybe the inner healing isn’t what I need to focus on…….  Perhaps, healing will come when I reach forward.

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:8

If I focus on the good things, I won’t be tempted to dig up so many unhealthy bones.  Maybe, I should just leave the emotional graveyard alone and let the Holy Spirit be the grounds keeper.  I mean when I look for the past to explain my current behavior, I am doing nothing but more damage and even going against what the scripture teaches:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past….. what does matter is the relationship I build with Christ and with those in my life now.  What matters is that I become unstuck and find the spiritual freedom that becomes my chew toy.  You know that toy that lights up a puppies eyes.

Yeah, I’ve kinda had it backwards.  Time to move forward.

This Little Piggy

For our VBS this year, a petting zoo visited.  Oh. My. Goodness.  If this Dettra family wasn’t going on vacation the very next day, I would have brought home a farm……  baby goats!  rabbits!  AND Little Piggies!!!!  Trust me, Mark sighed with relief when I told him that I did NOT make any purchases.

Tempting, though.

and the pig, though it has hooves, it does not chew the cud—
it is unclean for you.You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses. Deuteronomy 14:8

In the Old Testament we find that pigs are unclean.   Hmmmm, maybe that’s where my mother got the whole, “Regina, your room is a pig sty!”  And if you have ever seen a pig on a farm, you know they are filthy.  They wallow in mud and eat slop.  They are unclean!

Now back in the old days, pigs were not kept as pets like some people today.  I sometimes enjoy putting a warm sweater on my little spaniels during the winter.  And of course, a red and green collar for Christmas.  Plus the famous go to….. bandanna.  So, I could see why pig as pets owners would want to deck their piggies in ribbons, pearls and golden rings.

But in practicality …… adorning such cute creatures isn’t….. well….. practical.  If you take a pig on a farm like in the Old Testament times and dress it up with pearls and a golden ring…. I think you know where I am going with this…..  it wouldn’t be of good sense.  The pearls would break and scatter in the mud.  The golden ring wouldn’t be taken care of….. it would be covered in muck, slop and earth.  The farmer who did such a thing would be talked about among the members of his/her community.  The whispers would be laced with “got no common sense” and “what kind of responsible farmer is that?”

No, dressing up farming pigs wouldn’t be the brightest idea.

Which leads me into Proverbs 11:22…..

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. (NKJV)
A beautiful woman who rejects good sense
is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout. (Holman Version)
Ouch.  That kinda hits below the belt.  Discretion is defined as 1. The quality of being discreet; circumspection 2. Ability or power to decide responsibly.  And Good Sense is best defined as common sense or sound practical judgement.
Ahem….. and I believe that this can be applied to men as well.  I don’t think the lack of good judgement or responsibility can just be limited to the female population.  I think God frowns on those actions regardless of gender.
But, the proverb clearly paints a picture worth tucking in our minds and hearts.  The beauty within us becomes soiled sometimes beyond recognition under our poor decisions or actions.  Sometimes we aren’t using our common sense and on other occasions we are not so discreet or responsible.
And sadly, no amount of adornment can make up for it.  We can’t dress it up.  We can’t hide it under beauty.  It is there no matter what.
Kinda disheartening.  But, thank God for Jesus.  Whenever, I mess up…. not using my common sense or behaving irresponsible.  I don’t have to hide behind bling.  I ask for forgiveness from Jesus….. and from those whom I have acted against.  I kinda get a second chance….. a “Do Over.”  I might feel a bit embarrassed about it but the shame attached to it has been lifted.
I guess next time I am tempted with such poor  actions or decisions, I need to think of this picture…..

Sometimes playing dress up is just that…. PLAYING dress up.