I Look Exotic?????????

I thought that title might get your attention.  But you’ll have to wait to find out what it’s all about.    (this is my second time attempting this as the dogs were playing earlier and turned off the computer and I lost my work– drats)

First, if you don’t get the Above Rubies magazine.  GO NOW and sign up for it.  It is a free resource (although they do accept donations) and it will encourage you in your walk as a wife and mother. 

The retreat was wonderful!!! Serene and Pearl were there with several of their children and Nancy had her 4 new daughters from Liberia there too.  They sang for us and it was so fun.  They are precious children and I’m so glad they are here.  Serene and Pearl had fun singing to us and even sang a couple of songs Nancy hadn’t even heard yet.  If you can buy their music, it will also encourage you in your mothering role. 

My friend and I decided that we couldn’t have handpicked better roommates.  We had Tracy’s new baby 4 months old boy.  Nicole’s husband had a reversal and they are waiting for baby, so she got her baby fix.  They live on a mini farm with chickens and goats, and we have chickens and land.   Her sil is adopting from Ethiopia soon and even though Nicole lives in Arkansas, her sil lives right down the road from us!  Becky is a sweetheart, with a wealth of information about herbs and living healthy. We visited about everything under the sun.  Precious ladies.  I was able to spend time with Sara Shepard who is 18 now? and organized the retreat in Oklahoma last year.  She is courting a young man with hopes of a future marriage.  Yippee Sara!!!!!!  I just love Sara dearly and am so thrilled for her!!!!  I also met her friend Victoria (I hope that’s right?).  It was wonderful to meet so many young ladies with goals to be Godly wives and mothers. The fellowship alone was worth the trip.  And of course, I took pictures of my crew with me, especially Sweet Cheeks, and showed them off and shared our story to whoever would listen.  In fact, I stalked Nancy Friday evening and Saturday until there was a time when she was free to tell her all about it. 

Nancy spoke about Powerful Parenting.  She had 8 points, but only expounded on 5 of them. It was so good and encouraging.  Here they are:

1.  Purposeful Parenting.  My notes for this inadvertantly got taken my my friend that went with me, she’s going to mail my folder up, so look for info on this later. 

2.  Positive Parenting.  Yes, we’ve all heard how important this is but it was nice to be reminded that we need to say "yes more than no" and speak faith building encouraging words.  One thing Nancy suggested is to make a checklist for encouraging everyone every day.  That way no one is forgotten.  We need to make encouragement a habit.  She reminded us of several scriptures that speak of pleasant words. 

3.  Principled Parenting.  We must have principles that we will stick to in our family lives.   We must also have a spirit of life in our homes, not of legalism.  Two suggestions here.  Always go to church, whether in a building or homechurch with other families, fellowship with believers is Biblical, and it shows our children that it is important.   She said her and Colin even took the children when they were sick.  (I don’t know about that myself, but I admire them for doing it).  Also, she talked about the "family meal table"  and how this is the most important time of the day.  After the meal, a short reading of Scripture and a time where everyone prays. 

4.  Prayerful Parenting.   I’m just going to confess that I don’t do this enough.  Nancy said that prayer is the greatest way to put our enemies to flight.  She used the tabernacle’s description that the emblems were attended to "morning and evening" to teach us that we should be in prayer at least 2 times a day.  She talked about the fire being tended to "morning and evening" the incense was lit "morning and evening" the lamp was lit "morning and evening" the lambs were sacrificed "morning and evening" 

5.  Patient Parenting.  Nancy discussed how we need to live "above the graft"  She talked about how seeded orange trees become navel trees.  That a graft is grown in and then the tree produces navel oranges.  The tree is even called a navel tree after that time.  But that branches below the graft will sometimes grow and they are cut off because they are seeded starts.  She likened these orange trees to us.  Before we are believers, we are seeded orange trees, (in the world) then Christ is grafted in and we become navel orange trees (Christians).  Sometimes shoots grow below the graft and we need to cut them off and live above the graft.  (this was a tremendous revelation to me, as not growing up in the church, I tend to live below the graft oftentimes)

She also talked about parenting is not about how I feel as a mother, but it’s a commitment.  Like marriage– you don’t always feeeel in love with your husband, but you are committed and chose to love your husband.  We must choose to love our children sometimes when they are unloveable. 

6.  Protective Parenting.  She talked about Proverbs 31:27 we "look well" to the ways of our household.  Nancy said that the Hebrew here for "look well" means we are watchmen.  So we are to be the "watch-woman" of our home. 

7.  Permanent Parenting.   We need a good marriage and should build our house up. 

8.  Perservering Parenting.  I can only imagine where she would have gone with this as Nancy did not get to expound on this point. 

Now, as for me looking exotic.  I was able to visit with Serene some Saturday evening and Sunday before lunch–what a darling lady.  Anyway while we were talking she told me that she had been staring at me– that I looked exotic and that I had a beautiful face and high cheek bones, and she was just drawn to stare at me.  I am blown away by this.  I remember being a teenager with the latest teen magazine in tow trying to figure out if I had high cheek bones and deciding that I in fact did not.  Now I’m told not only do I have high cheek bones, but that I look exotic– this coming from Serene Allison who is VERY exotic looking with her beautiful long black hair and stunning features.  I feel frumpy next to her tall, lean beautiful body– and that after birthing how many babies?????  So I sit, still in wonder at thinking of myself as "exotic looking"