Happy Mother’s Day

Instead of doing two Mother’s Day posts—one about my Moms and one about being a childless wife—I’m going to only talk about how blessed I am by the mothers that surround me. I’m going to do this for three reasons. One, I feel like all of life has turned into excessive inclusiveness. We can’t possible honor one type of person anymore because it excludes others. (sarcasm) I don’t want to be in that band wagon. It adheres to the wrong type of equality. I think it’s wonderful to honor Moms a little more one day of the year. Two, I don’t want any Moms out there feeling like they have to walk on pins and needles around me when it comes to this holiday, or their children, births, or general motherhood. They should be free to express their delight without worrying about ‘Trigger Warnings’. Being a mom is amazing and hard. It is the best job a woman can do. Enjoy it and embrace it! Third, I’m overloaded with writing projects this year as I move closer every day to publishing. I basically do not have time to write two articles. Truth.

So, Moms. When I think of Mother’s Day and Moms, I don’t just think of my own Mother and Mother-in-law, who I dearly love and who are some of my dearest friends. I also think about how many other moms surround me and are part of my daily life. My sisters are some of the best Moms I know. They are kind, wise, and have kids I want to be around. Many, not all, but many of my closest friends are Moms. We have to finagle life a little more to enjoy a cup of coffee, but we make it work. I’m honored to be loved by these women. I’m touched by the room they make in their lives for me. I’m thankful to see their children growing up. The longer I think about the list of women I admire who are mothers, the longer that list becomes. I’m not going to name names here for fear of leaving someone out, but please know that if you’re a mom and you’re my friend, I admire, love, respect, and treasure you more than you can imagine. I treasure any second you give to me: be it our paths crossing in church, a quick hug, smile, or greeting, or a quick text or Facebook comment. Thank you.

I pray for the Moms I know all the time. I pray you have wisdom to see every moment you need to see. I pray you have courage to keep correcting. I pray you have consistency in discipline. I pray you have grace to witness of Christ to these dear little ones. I pray you have strength to carry on when it seems redundant and useless. I pray you cling to Christ more than your children. They will grow up and leave someday. You will always have Christ. I pray you have just a little more energy to share with your husband in the evening. I pray you have wisdom in educational choices and in everyday educational moments. I pray for you as you seek to submit to your husbands where your children are concerned. I pray for you as your children grow and your work changes.

Please know Moms that I love you, cherish you, and admire the work you do. You are in my heart always.

To my dear Mother-in-Law: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m so blessed to have you as my extra Mom. I hear other women complaining about their mother-in-laws and I smile. You’re not my arch nemesis, but one of my dearest friends. You’re someone I love to be with. Your home is a place I love to be. And, honestly, your food is food I love to eat.

Here we are, at 15 years as a family, having gone through many ups and downs, having had times we could spend lots of time together, and times when we really have to plan to see each other, but I’ve loved every minute. I’m glad to be a Jones. I don’t think there are better people in the world. Thank you for welcoming me into your home and your heart so many years ago. Thank you for making space for me where I could grow and thrive. Thank you for making me a daughter, and not just your son’s wife. Thank you for all the times you have answered my questions about homemaking. Thank you for all the times you have generously feed us, shared tools, helped with chores, and been a neighbor in so many ways. I know change is coming as Dad gets older, but I’m glad we have each other to lean on. I think a special bond forms between women married to Jones men. J All that to say, when God sovereignly brought me into the Jones circle, He blessed me beyond belief with a wonderful family, a wonderful extra mom, and more than that, a woman—you—who is one of my dearest friends and favorite people to be with. I love you more than I can ever say. I’m glad you’re my extra Mom!

 

To my Mom: I always loved it growing up when my birthday fell on Mother’s Day. It was an expression of the special bond I always felt towards you. There are many ways we are very different people, but there are many more ways we are not. I have always had the great joy of looking like you, which I count as a highlight in life because if I’m going to look like someone, it’s going to be you. But, there are so many ways we think and act alike. We both struggle with many of the same issues in our home management. We both have many of the same loves and dislikes. I’ve always enjoyed this bond we share.

When I look at my life, I see your mark on so much of it. I see the love of reading you instilled in me manifested in every word I type. I see the types of stories you read to us in every story I pick out. I see the times we had no money echoing in what I consider comfort food and what I consider a treat. Every flower I grow is an echo of my daughter-ness. At the oddest times my country girl raising manifests itself, and I remember that I once collected eggs, milked goats, butchered chickens, and worked gardens. That is and always will be part of who I am, just like the ocean is part of who I am, and just like Texas is part of who I am. You instilled in me a desire to find the magic in every place we lived. Because of you, this Southern girl has a love of winter that won’t die and is a bit particular about her maple syrup.

Some of the big parts of who I am are also because of you. I love WW2 history…because you read the Hiding Place to us as children. The same goes for Lord of the Rings. I will always cherish the memory of you taking a year to read that to us. But, more than all of that, you showed me day in and day out a consistent and strong faith in the Lord. You always brought the situations of our lives back to God and His Word. I remember at times being frustrated by that when I was an unbeliever or very immature. As I grew in grace, I grew to admire that. The Lord was your life and I could see it. Oh how I longed for that same all-encompassing infusing of God in my own life. Thank you for modelling that for us every day. Thank you for teaching us the ways of the Lord.

I love you Mom, more than these feeble words can every express. I never ever get to spend enough time with you. I always miss you.

Happy Mother’s Day ladies. Happy Mother’s Day Mom and Wanda! 

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Aging

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Me and my Mom about 3.5 years ago.

 

I’d always knew I would get old.

I always promised myself I’d age gracefully.

Working in retail, I saw my fair share of women willingly augmenting their physical bodies in a vain effort to stay young-ish. I saw plenty of examples of plastic surgery gone wrong. I really didn’t have any interest in going that route, nor do I now, but I understand the fear that drives women to want facelifts, tummy tucks, boob jobs, and such. I do understand.

Getting old is . . . interesting.

It’s odd to realize I’m middle aged. It’s odd to realize there are lots of people younger than me, not in the nursery, but in my workplace. (Be that out in the world, or at home.) I’m no longer the new generation full of hope and promise. I’m the generation thought of as strange and boring by the new generation. It’s odd how much I still feel eighteen in my head. And it’s odd how much I deny, subconsciously, that I’m middle aged until something makes me realize it like telling a story about myself from twenty years ago, or talking about my favorite movies or music, or when my celebrities start dying off.

Fashion becomes an even bigger challenge. I see other women who work to keep up with the trends and it makes them appear as‘current’ older woman. I like that. They look awesome. Then I pick up a fashion magazine and it makes me feel tired. I just don’t want to fight to stay trendy anymore. I see something that says “such and such is right out” and I think, “but I like my such and such.” Oh. I see why there are so many people who aren’t trendy. They liked ponchos. They liked flared jeans. They just don’t feel like keeping up with what is the newest and greatest anymore.

Not to mention, as I get older and seek to age graciously, covering up becomes the better part of valor. The realization that older women like pearls and sweater sets makes sense. Sigh. Getting old is . . . interesting.

Have you ever laughed at your parents’ complaints about technology? Or maybe you complained about your grandparents not keeping up with texting? I’m here to tell you that it’s hard to keep up. You want to see what all the young people in your life are up to, but that means learning something new. Learning something new, with it’s own lingo, it’s own rules, isn’t nearly as much fun as it used to be. It’s seems much nicer to just stay where you’re comfortable and confident. I had my first experience asking a young person how to make something work on my phone the other day. See, old age is setting in. lol.

Life gets scary as I get older. My skin isn’t what it was. I’ve twice now looked in the mirror early in the morning and wondered why my Mom is over. Even my phone mistakes my mother for me.

There are health problems to face. If I’m this tired at 35, what is 65 going to be like?

I know more and have seen more and that only frightens me more. I’ve read history and can see what happens to a country on the path we’re on. Teens are just crazy. This generation’s music is bad.

Many rainbows have been polished off this life by sin and suffering. Dreams have been set aside. And on top of all of that, comes the realization that it won’t get easier only harder.

For the first time in my life, I considered coloring my hair for age reasons. I’ve thought about coloring my hair blue for fun, but the other day I thought about it due to gray hair. Passing on that idea, I felt a sudden pity for all those plastic surgery women.

I understood.

As a woman seeking Christ, it’s very intimidating to realize visually that yes, physical beauty is fleeting. If you have done nothing to build your character you have nothing to stand on. Growing old gracefully isn’t about accepting your gray hairs and wrinkles. It’s about developing a godly character that continues to grow in spiritual beauty as your body continues to sag towards death. And trust me, that’s a much more taxing challenge than keeping up with a proper beauty regiment. No wonder women would rather just get a facelift and pretend they’re young. Without character, old age is only scary and ugly.

So what do I do? As a woman who realizes she’s no longer a young lady, but is now a middle-aged, what do I do? The same thing I did as a young lady! I look to older women. I watch my Moms. I watch the older women in my church. I see how they dress, carry themselves, tend to their older relatives, love their husbands, and keep their homes. I ask questions. I get help.

This makes me thankful for Christ’s work, for prayer, and for all the wonderful women in my church that are walking this road ahead of me. What would I do without them?

Facing middle-age when I’ve been a young woman for the last 15+ years is a bit terrifying. The hard work of growing my godly character to stand strong, by God’s grace alone, as my physical body crumbles feels overwhelming. Where do I find hope? God is good and generous. He feeds us, chastises us, and guides us. He will never leave us or forsake us. And this life isn’t my goal. Staying young and fit and trendy and up-to-date isn’t the path God has set me on. He has promised to resurrect my body after death and promised that I may dwell with Him forever in heaven. That’s my goal. Not staying physically attractive.

(I feel I should put a disclaimer here: I know plenty of godly women who color their hair, keep up with trends, and maybe even get some work done on their faces and bodies. I don’t think those things are inherently sinful. I believe they fall under Christian Liberty and if you enjoy them to God’s glory and with a clear conscience, I have no problem with them. I’m more looking at it personally. I may color my hair someday, but I want it to be because I think it’ll be fun, not because I’m trying to make up for a lack of character or out of fear.)

Thanksgiving 7: Dear Woman of the Lord

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

Mom: How does one describe the blessing of having a wise and loving mother? I think every year, I appreciate more and more your efforts to raise us right. I’m truly blessed to have a mother who disciplined me, taught me a strong work ethic, gave me a solid education, and witnessed to me every day. Even more amazing is the fact that after your hands-on work was finished, you continued to work to be my friend. I count you as one of my dearest friends. I love you so much Mom and I’m so thankful for you and I’m honored to be so much like you! Also, thank you thank you for teaching me to read. I will always be thankful for that! What a gift. I never get to spend enough time with you, but cherish every moment! Love you Mom!

Wanda: I hear MIL horror stories all the time and all I think is, “Not me!” You are the most wonderful extra mom a girl could have. You have welcomed me with open arms, treated me as a daughter and friend, spent hours and hours and hours talking and giggling and I’m pretty sure crying. We share a love of a good TV show and a comfy back porch. Thank you for all that you do for me every day, every month, and every year. I wouldn’t want to be any other woman’s daughter-in-law. Love you!

Liz: I’m pretty lucky cause not only are you my best friend, you’re also my sister. I’m blessed by our years of shenanigans, our shared love of a schedule, Christmas music, Harry Potter, and Holocaust History (which sounds really strange). I’m so thankful for all the time you let me spend with your daughters and your dog. What would I do without you to text when I’m frustrated, annoyed, or feeling silly? What would I do without you to vent at? Thank you for all your care for me this year. Thank you for being willing to help me. Thank you for years and years of loving me even when I’m weird. I count on you. I pray for you. I’m always blessed by your wisdom and honesty in the small things like decorating and the big things like relationships and marriage. Love you Liz!

Emily: It’s not everyone who is blessed enough to live across the street from their sister, to have little boys pounding on their front door, and sharing food processors. I love you so much and am so glad to have you nearby. It is one of my great delights in life. I’m so thankful for you, for years of talks, shared recipes, and general silliness. Thank you for loving me and sharing your boys with me!

Joy: You are a blessing to me, dear sister. Thank you for all the liver pate you made for me this year. Thank you for texting me pictures of the girls and sharing all their busy comings and goings! Thank you for loving our family and always working to be involved with us. Thank you for your hospitality, courage, and faithful perseverance when life isn’t easy. I love you so much and are glad you are part of the Vincent Clan!

Ruth: My dear sister, what would I do without you? I love you so much and it’s such a joy to have someone to share all the geekiness, all the excitement of good stories, all the love of creativity with. Thank you for the honor, this year, of Shannon being my name sake! It just means so much to me. I’m so glad you are closer and that I get to see you at least once a month. I love you!

Denise: My dear sister you are a delight. I’m so glad you came on vacation with us this year and not just because you cooked breakfast and made coffee every morning. 😉 I love you so much, love your heart, love talking with you and spending time with you. I have been so blessed to watch your trust the Lord through many trials. I love how much you love your family. I love your faithfulness. I love you! Thank you for being my friend!

Rachel: You were once just one of the little girls who played baby dolls with my sister and now you are one of my dearest friends. I love you so much and have missed our adventures this year while I’ve been sick. Thank you for sharing your many talents with me, planning vacations, opening your home to us, and just being such a good friend. I love you so much and am so thankful for you!

Elayne: You are right near the top of the list of people I don’t get to spend enough time with. You are forging a path ahead of me, thank you so much for answering all my questions and sharing with me. Thank you for always giving me a heads up when you have a few minutes and we can grab a quick cup of coffee. I pray for you often both physically, spiritually, and as a mom. I love your artistic talents, your children, and your wisdom. Thank you for being my friend! Love you!

Deanna: You have been such a true friend for so many years, I don’t know what I would do without you. Really. I don’t. The trials you have born have only made you sweeter and dearer to me even though we haven’t gotten to spend as much time together as we would like. Your support of my writing is a balm to my soul. Your swift kicks in the rear, sense of humor, and willingness to always be available is a blessing and a wonderful example of how I want to be…though I don’t think I can match your sense of humor. I pray for you, love you, miss you, and am thankful the Lord put you in my life.

Leslie: Hey! I’m your soul mate and you and I both know why! I love you dearly girl and can’t imagine life without you! You always make me laugh but I also love your love of HBC. Thank you for serving us. Thank you for loving us weird Vincent girls for years. I’m glad we share a particular brand of humor!

Deanell: For years now you have invested in me. You have taken the time to talk with me, welcoming me into your heart. I love you dearly and count you as one of my extra spiritual Moms. Thank you for checking up on me, for sweet text messages, and for being a dear friend. I love you!

Brenda: I don’t know anybody as encouraging as you! You are so good at listening and investing in people. It just floors me. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Thank you for listening to all my silly stories and caring. Thank you for just being a good friend. I never feel like I get to spend enough time with you dear sister! Love you lots.

Anita: I love you so much my dear! What a treasure you are. I’m so glad Rockey married you! 😉 Thank you for all your help this year, all your encouragement, all your support of my writing, and for welcoming us into your home. I love you, pray for you, and am so thankful you’re my friend!

Stephanie: My dear dear friend, what can I say for all of your support, encouragement, and you even coming to clean my house! I love you so much. I’m so thankful the Lord put you in my life and that we eventually got to talking about writing and how our friendship has bloomed. You are a real blessing to me! I love our conversations, our shared passion for Tolkien, and your beautiful way with words. I pray the Lord blesses you and look forward to many many years as friends! Love you!

 

These women are a special joy to me, but I love each and every woman at my church:

Patricia: You make me laugh! I love the way you see all the funny elements of life. Thank you for being my friend!

Rachel Naomi, and Arianna: Your enthusiasm and creative is inspirational. I love you all so much and I’m glad you’re my friends! I love the way you embrace fandoms, how willing y’all are to listen to a critique, and your every little expression of love. Your girls are just the best.

Heidy: I love your little family. You are such a sweet woman.

Lisa: Thank you thank you for your faithfulness to Heritage for so many years and for sharing your musical gifts with all of us!

Pauline: I pray for you daily and love your wild bunch of kids!

Cindy: Thank you for always making me smile and sharing a deep and profound love of coffee.

Jeanette: You are such a dear and wonderful example of a godly woman. May I be like you!

Jeni: I never get to spend enough time with you! Thank you for your love!

Sami: I pray for your protection while you’re gone and your growth!

Gabi: I’ve watched you grow into such a beautiful young woman. What a joy!

Maria: Thank you for sharing your wisdom and for your graceful, calm, and faithful love of our church.

Amy Dawn: Thank you for many meals, and your friendship for so many years! I love to listen to you sing!

Aletheia: You have grown into such a beautiful young woman! I love you dearly!

Abigail: Don’t let my food touch! Lol. Thank you for serving so faithfully. You are regularly in my prayers.

Lily: I love you so much Lily. Thank you for your steadfast love of your family, caring for Eddie, and loving all of us!

Jenny: You have grown into such a beautiful young woman. I keep you in my prayers and love you!

Jan: I can’t say enough how much I love you! Thank you for all your labors, friendship, and love over the years.

Michelle Hammond: It’s been quite a year for you. I pray for you all the time. Thank you for being part of our church family.

Andrea, Christina, and Bethany: I don’t know y’all as well as I would like, but I’m thankful to have you in our family and pray for you!

Joy: I’m so thankful for your friendship, your advice, and your love! You are a dear!

Bethany: Thank you so much for loving me and your friendship! Thank you for coffee and including me in your life. Love you!

Raelea: One can never have enough friends with shared geekiness. I never get to spend enough time with you, but I’m glad you’re my sister in Christ and friend.

Michelle Hodson: I love you so much Michelle and am glad to count you as one of my oldest friends!

Jean J.: This year has been hard, health-wise, I know. You’ve been in my prayers and I love you!

Jean K.: the Lord blessed us greatly by bringing you to us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and for serving so diligently! I love you so much!

Laura: How often you are in my heart! I love your crazy family and can’t imagine HBC without you! I pray for you often!

Kim: Thank you for so many years of service and hospitality to HBC! I can’t believe how long I’ve know you! What a blessing! Love you!

Christy: You have grown into such a delightful young woman! I love you and count it a great joy to have you as a sister in the Lord!

Melissa: Thank you for many years of friendship! It’s so wonderful to see your delight in your grandson! Makes me so happy!

Lydia: I’m so happy to have you back in my life. The little Lydia shaped hole is now filled. I love you so much dear sister!

Sumer: What a joy it is to get to know you. Continue to love all things geeky!

Maria: I don’t know you hardly at all yet Maria, but I’m constantly blessed by your faithfulness and joy!

Julie: Thank you for your friendship, your love for all the mothers and little ones, and for having such wonderful shoes! 😉

Katie: Your service through music is such a blessing from the Lord and so is your friendship!

Hannah: Thank you for being so willing to serve! I love your sweet and quiet nature!

Amy: You’ve been my friend for years and I love you dearly and pray for you!!! Thank you for loving me!

Bobbie: You’re like an extra Mom to me, and even more, a very dear friend. Thank you for being here for me for so many years!

Amy: I love you so dearly and delight in your wonderful family! Thank you for all you do!

Sarah: You have grown into such a beautiful young woman! Thank you for serving us all at HBC!

Rachel: I love how game you are for everything and your heart for children!

Emily: Thank you for loving and caring for Imogene! We love you!

Grandma: I love that you’re not just my Grandma, but my dear, beloved sister in the Lord. I love you!!!

Michelle S.: From friend to cousin! How wonderful! I pray for you often and miss you!

Sue T.: Thank you so much for your love and friendship and care and concern! You are such a dear!

Susan: I love you so much and am so thankful you keep the church building clean. Really! I am!

Jordan: You are such a dear and I love you and miss you always!

Glyn: You do so much at church and for each of us individually, I don’t know what we would do without you! Love you!

Rachel W: Thank you for your love of all the moms at HBC and for having such great kids! 🙂

Mary Ellen: I pray for you all the time. May your faith be strong dear sister! I love you and am thankful for you!

Sue W.: Thank you for your sweet and tender love of all of us for so many years! You are such a blessing

Jeanie: I love you so much and count it a blessing to have gotten to work on so many projects with you!

Flo: I pray for you often and am thankful beyond words for your years and years of love for HBC!

Outside of Heritage, there are some special friends:

Heather: I’m so excited for you and your book! It’s been an honor to get to watch you and help you as I can. Thank you for all your advice, help, and encouragement this year. Thank you for early morning text! I love you so much! Deanna did us a great service when she said we needed to be friends!

Emily Shiflet: I have loved getting to know you over the last few years. You have been a huge encouragement to me both as a writer, and as a sister in Christ. I appreciate your insight, your love of your family, your love of theology, and your love for our church. Thank you for all that you said about my book. I still go back and read your words when I’m feeling unsure. Thank you for being my friend. I love you!

Kathy Bebout: Even after all these years, Kathy, I still count you as a dear friend. Thank you for teaching me to play the piano and helping to encourage my love of music. Thank you for being my friend after all the years. I love you so much!

Leah Marley: I just want you to know how much I love you and how glad I am to have you in my life. I’m so thankful you and Liz are so close, and I’m so thankful for your encouragement, silly texts, love of coffee, crazy kids who are amazing, and just love the continuing love between our families! God know the Marleys and Vincents would need each other even into the second, and Lord willing, third generations! What a blessed friendship!

Lynne Renihan: I have loved getting to know you, Lynne, and I have loved sharing our love of books. I’m so glad to have you in my life! Thank you for being my friend!

Kim Renihan: Thank you Kim, for all your encouragement this year as I’ve struggled with my health. You have no idea how helpful you have been. I pray for you and hope someday we can spend more time together in person as opposed to Facebook! Love you!

Dana Goad: You are such an encouragement to me! I love you and really appreciate your friendship!

Sarah Smith: It was so wonderful to hang out with you during the ARBCA-GA and to email you this year! I love you cousin and appreciated you so much!

Aunt Becky: Thank you for all your love, encouragement, and prayers this year. I’m so glad you got to visit so often. I love you so much!

Aunt Claudia: Thank you for loving me, always supporting me, and for your care and concern! Love you

Ann McCormick: All these long years you have been my friend! I’m thankful for you and for all the years you’ve been there for me! I love you and miss you!

Bethany Jennings: I’m so thankful  for you! Your gentle heart is a blessing and you are a huge encouragement to me in the writing/blogging world. I’m so glad we’re friends. I am praying diligently for you and your daughter. Love you!

RJ Conte: Thank you for including me in all the fun things you’ve done for your books, for long message conversations about our personalities and writing, and for your love and support of so many people. I really appreciate you!

Tawna W.: I love you so much and your sweet family! I’m so glad that you are in my life. Thank you for working to stay involved and coming to see me so many times this year! You are a dear sister in Christ from a dear sister Church!

Her Husband’s Crown by Sara Leone

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0851519466/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0851519466&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=L5OVGFD3A2WPLODU

This was an excellent book. The chapters were short, to the point, easy to follow, encouraging and convicting. I loved her regular inclusion of hymns.

While it was a great blessing to have a book specifically aimed at a pastor’s wife, this book would bless any Christian woman. Just as the requirements for elder are the aim for every godly man, so these are for every godly women.  I highly recommend this book and plan to read it again just to be reminded of what a godly women looks like.

The specific application to having a husband who is a pastor was very helpful to me since my husband has recently become a licensed teacher in our church. Contemplating being a pastor’s wife can be very overwhelming. Sara Leone helped me take it down off it’s high shelf and realize it’s no different than being a good wife, just with a few applicational specifics. I was thankful to have the “wise older woman” come along side me and point out areas that I’m going to struggle with as she talked about being a pastor’s wife. And, even if I never get there, I’m far more equipped to pray for these dear women because now I have a better feel for their struggles.

It is my aim to be a holy woman of God, to be Christ-like in my life. This book, shortly and sweetly, served as a good reminder of what that means practically within the church body. Any woman in any walk of life would profit from this book.