I love flowers. Any kind, including the weedy ones. Whether I get them from the store, a florist shop, the hands of children, or friends. I like having them in our home because they add so much cheer and beauty.

Recently some friends were over for  dinner and they gifted me a lovely pink gladioli grown in their own yard. We've been enjoying it for well over a week now but since I know it won't live forever I took a few minutes the other day and photographed it. In the midst of a crazy photography season it was a sweet respite from editing. I did a few of the pictures using the reverse lens macro and they are rather delicate looking abstracts.


I wanted to know a little bit more about the flower itself so I looked it up. I learned that it is actually native to south Africa and it's name is derived from the Latin word for sword and literally means "little sword".  Because of this it often symbolizes strength. It is also an extremely feminine looking flower with it's delicate, sometimes ruffled, petals.


I think because of the close connection between beauty and strength it will symbolize the virtuous woman for me.


Originally there were only seven varieties but now there are over 10,000 cultivated kinds in just about any color you can think of.  They can range in size from two to five feet.


Whether growing in a garden or gracing a vase they are quite lovely, aren't they?


An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.

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She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.


She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.


She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

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She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.

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She puts her hand to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.


She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.


She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.


Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to merchant.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.


She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household 
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women have done excellently, 
but you surpass them all." 

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.


Have you ever considered how amazing the process is by which we learn language?

Somehow, just by the process of hearing, we learn to speak.

As parents we talked to our children from the time they were born. (Actually, we talked to ours the moment we found out they existed.)  Those cute little disruptive balls of humanity had no idea what we were saying but we talked to them anyway.


We told them who we were.

Mama loves you.

We told them who they were.

There's Daddy's little man.

We introduced them to people.

Go see Grandma.

Not a word was understood by Daddy's lil' man but we sure wanted them to know of our love and we
wanted them to know who their grandparents were, along with the countless other family and friends we named.

And what did our babies do?

They soaked it all in. It didn't mean much in the beginning but it didn't take long before the weird sounds we made got connected to real tangible things and understanding began to dawn.

The process happened almost unbidden, with no noticeable effort made to learn the ins and outs of language, the subtle nuances of the tongue growing up unconscious with the maturity of the child.


We don't question talking to our children or question this way of learning speech. And we don't dumb it down. I mean we don't require them to give us the chemical break down of water just because they're thirsty and in need of a drink, but they do ask for water and they know it will quench their thirst. And at some point down the road they're going to learn about the chemical make up of water.

The language of the Church, what they are called to believe should be taught to them in the same unbidden fashion.

The liturgy of worship, it's call to come before God, to realize we can't go before Him unclean, the answering confession of our need for forgiveness, the way the Word and sacraments nourish us...this is where the foundation is laid for a righteous vocabulary. 

No, the infant or toddler or child in the pew may not fully understand what is being said on Sunday morning. But they are learning who their people are. More importantly they are learning who their God is and what He expects of them.

We shouldn't underestimate children's capacity to learn, to be shaped and formed, by our church services anymore than we should underestimate their ability to learn and speak language. They are perfectly designed for the task.


In the very beginning of my Pinterest Test Kitchen posts I merely linked to the recipe and shared any changes I made and what our overall reaction was to the recipe. Then for some reason I started typing them completely out and only linking to the original source. Actually I think the reason was because I hate clicking on a link expecting a recipe but then having to click through to another site just to get to it. Terribly lazy of me I know and somewhat hypercritical because I am going to probably start including more of those kinds of posts again.  Why reinvent the wheel, right? I'm sure that upon occasion I will still type out the whole thing but for today I am going to link to a delicious homemade pie from Pioneer Woman.

The only real thing I would change would be not using my large pie plate. As you can see it made for a thinner pie and pie should never be thin.


That homemade chocolate pudding filling?

So.Good.

I've actually bought the stuff to make a white chocolate version. Doesn't that sound just delicious with raspberries on top? I'll let you know how it turns out when I make it!


A few weeks ago we spent a Saturday morning downtown. I didn't carry my big camera with me but when we walked past a place where I had taken the kids pictures before we did a sort of re-create picture. It didn't turn out nearly as good as some other recreations we've done but it was still fun to try and squish them into the same little spot they had all fit into before.

I am going to assume by the lack of coordination in clothing that we hadn't planned on taking pictures that day.


Obviously we hadn't planned to do pictures this Saturday either.


My goodness, how they have grown! Pardon me while I go have a good cry.


A few weeks ago our oldest daughter was accepted into the nursing program she had applied to. There were more than a few tears of thankfulness and great rejoicing all around. The weeks of waiting ended in a pleasant and longed for result. But what if she hadn't been accepted? She had not one but two different contingency plans in place and more importantly she had her head and mind in the right place. She was prepared to submit to a different outcome.


In her book, Virtuous, Nancy Wilson shares that her mother-in-law defined Christian contentment as a deep satisfaction with the will of God. This is more, far more, than a grin and bear it attitude. It is much more than a waiting for my ship to come in outlook. True contentment is more than a Pollyanna-esque belief that if God closes one door He will open a window.

Deep satisfaction.

A complete acceptance of circumstances. 

An abiding trust when it just doesn't make sense.

It's the bloom of faith in the midst of hard disappointing circumstances. And that sort of faith doesn't just happen. I mean it's easy for us to be content and fine when the lines are falling for us in pleasant places. And that's okay. We should be happy and thankful when God is pouring a blessing upon our head.

But true contentment isn't the lovely wildflowers that spring up across a field. They're the flower on the cactus blooming among the sharps points and barbs.

That kind of contentment hard fought and won and often times we are even unwilling to see and accept it in others. If a young mother never complains about difficulties with her little ones we assume she doesn't have any. Or we assign some kind of super next level faith to her.

The woman who never speaks ill of her husband is looked upon as being married to a perfect man and having a perfect life. In actuality she has learned that complaining and whining doesn't make her burdens any lighter but rather heavier.


That deep satisfaction with God's will grows in the soil of submission, watered by prayer and fertilized with God's word.

We have to be willing to wrestle through our own discontentment, pain and hurt, plans and agenda. We have to dig in and believe that His timing is perfect and that what He designs for us is far more perfect and good for us than anything we could come up with on our own.

Only then can we say along with Paul that no matter what situation we find ourselves in we are content.


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