A Word for Anxious and Uncertain Days...



Please feel free to share this post (or any others here) with others.  It's easy with the share buttons below, or the Pin-It button above.  
And to make sure you don't miss anything, be sure to sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.


My Heart is Still at Home

Ever have those weeks when the world seems to be just spinning completely out of control?  The last few weeks have been filled with one death after another, cancer diagnoses and hospice admissions for people we care deeply about, and a host of other concerns.  Our hearts are just so burdened at times that it feels like they would burst.

Yesterday I realized I needed a simple offertory for this morning in the absence of Rachel, our usual pianist. As I flipped through the hymnal, this hymn caught my eye.  The words stuck in my mind and have cycled through over and over in the intervening hours.

This is my Father's world!  No matter how out of control things seem, no matter how deeply we may be grieving, not matter how anxious our hearts may become...He is in control, and our hearts can be at home.

Creation reminds us of His glory in the most wonderful of times, and in the darkest.  I am so thankful for those visual reminders when my mind just doesn't seem to be able to process much else.

It is said that Maltbie Babcock was inspired to write the words of this hymn by the hikes he would take in "The Escarpment", a beautiful area of New York.  As he would leave to walk, he would say, "I'm going out to see my Father's world."  I love that!

But what an incredible thought is this (from my Facebook status earlier this week):

Beautiful cool breeze in my backyard this morning, a massive bird choir singing their hearts out, Hadyn's "The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God" playing through my head (and remembering my dad "directing" as it played on the stereo *so* many times over the years :))...couldn't help but think of Bro. Gary's sermon last night on Psalm 19. It's amazing to think that while creation declares the glory of God in such awesome ways...creation is flawed, left imperfect by the fall. God's Word, however, is the perfect and sufficient revelation of God to man. *That* is awesome truth.

So thankful for His creation that shows His glory in such obvious, unmistakeable ways.  So thankful for His Word, that gives us perfect and sufficient truth.  And so thankful that this is my Father's world, and that there is rest and peace in the midst of the swirling storms of life.


Please feel free to share this post (or any others here) with others.  It's easy with the share buttons below, or the Pin-It button above.  
And to make sure you don't miss anything, be sure to sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.  


Creative Ways to Fill Summer Days

Looking for some creative ways to fill the last few weeks of summer?  I shared a while back that I am not a "fun mom" (but I'm working on it!)  My friend Tauna, however, is all about fun, and I asked her a while back to share some of her ideas for creative, inexpensive fun.  (She has a super-fun blog, too...be sure to check out her Summer Iced Tea Party post!) I'm so excited to have her guest posting here today! 

It’s the middle of summer and you are running out of ideas to keep everyone occupied. “Go play outside,” doesn’t work like it did when we were kids, and one more, “I’m bored,” and you’re likely to jump from the roof. 

Take heart. There’s a lot you can do to supplement your summertime library visits, which are a must!  

Summer Arts Schedule -  Several cities, large and small, offer concerts and movies in the park for free.  Just be sure to take your bug repellant if you plan on an evening outside.

Movies – Obvious but fun, especially if it’s a $1.00 movie. These movies are usually on their second run, but they’re good for a re-watch if it was a good show or it could be a chance to catch one you missed. If your city doesn’t have a cheapo theater there’s always the matinee option. This is an economical choice, especially if you belong to a loyalty club that earns free treats and tickets. Check out the Regal Crown Club for an example. 

Wax Lips & Moustaches - If you don’t have definite plans, you can still make any afternoon more exciting by adding a little silliness to your day. One thing that my niece, Caitie, and I like is to don silly facial attachments as we drive to wherever it is we’re going.

We get a kick out of people’s reaction when they see us. Of course we act as if nothing is out of the ordinary. 

Shopping – Not your typical style of shopping. Find a fun store and try on unusual items.

Accessory stores are perfect for this type of shopping. Try on hats, and ridiculous high heels or boots. Discount stores are great too. We have a contest in which we find the ugliest outfit for the other person to try on and take pictures! We typically end up gasping for air because we laugh so much. 

Umbrellas & Crazy Straws - Simple ways to ratchet up the fun factor during a meal. Caitie and I love to eat at one spot where the dishes are large, sharing is encouraged, and $10 feeds us both! We add to our experience by adding drink umbrellas and crazy straws to our water glasses. How fun is that?

Web Cams - During Spring break, Caitie and I went to Eureka Springs, AR. As we researched places to visit, we discovered the town had several webcams! It took all of 10 minutes to find the exact locations of the cameras using Google Earth.  We got up early one morning, before the shops were open, and stood in front of a camera. My sister, Mary, was waiting in front of her computer with the camera website streaming live. She captured a screen shot of the two of us acting goofy. It’s a grainy picture, but it represents a vivid memory of a great trip. 

Maybe your town has a webcam, so you can strike a pose. If not, be sure to look for any live streaming cameras in towns you plan to visit. There’s a great site that lets you look up webcams around the world. If you plan to visit Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Boothbay Harbor, Maine, or the St. Louis capitol building, you could wave hello to someone back home. Don’t forget to take a silly sign or ridiculous paper faces like we did.

Speaking of paper faces… 

 The faces were made for a long ago TaterBug Day. (Tauna=Tater, Caitie=Bug) We spent the day using sidewalk chalk and putting the silly faces in unusual places. If you want to read more you can link to that post  HERE

(NOTE: The paper faces, wax lips, sticker moustaches, drink umbrellas, and crazy straws are kept in a gift bag we’ve named The Frivolous Bag-o-Fun. Most items cost $2 or under!)

Treasure Boxes - Most recently, Caitie and I decided to spread a little cheer on a hot summer day. We stuffed notes into small boxes and dropped them around downtown. You can find the story HERE.

As you can tell, boredom isn’t a big issue for us. My mom, sister, niece and I make it a practice to come up with creative ways to make average activities extraordinary. Give it a try. Let your imagination take form and enjoy!


Tauna is a Southern girl who loves sweet tea with lime, dark chocolate, all things creative, and Jesus. creative confetti is her miscellaneous musing on family, friends, photography, faith and fun.  Share in the stories of her cah-razy family, watch as she tries to learn how to use her first big-girl camera, learn a new craft trick or share a prayer request. Join her on her clumsy trip through life as she chases God's whisper.


Do you have some great ideas for creative, inexpensive summer fun?  Please share them with us in the comments!   And speaking of sharing...we'd love for you to share this post (or any others here) with your friends.  It's super-easy with the share buttons below, or the Pin-It buttons above.  

And to make sure you don't miss anything, be sure to sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.  

Ponderings of an Elect Exile is currently doing a series of Creativity Thursdays.  Check out Teaching Creativity When You Don't Feel Creative (Or Why Do I Need to Teach Creativity, Anyway?) and Teaching Creativity: Where Do We Start?, and then come back Thursday for a new post on resources for teaching creativity! 


Linking up with Family Fun Friday today! 


Teaching Creativity: Where Do We Start?

Last week we talked about the “why” of teaching creativity to our children. Creativity, we said, is not necessarily something we are born with; it is a character quality that we need to develop in ourselves and in our children. We are made in the image of God, the ultimate Creator. The more we exercise our creative muscles, the more creative we will be.
So how do we exercise our creative muscles? How do we teach creativity to our children?
We'll answer these questions in more detail in the coming weeks, but here are a few ideas to get  things started:
1.  Encourage imaginative play. Certain toys lend themselves to imaginative play more than others. Building sets of all kinds, dollhouses,baby dolls, play kitchens/workbenches/etc., cars/trucks, housekeeping or gardening sets, child-sized tools, musical instruments, playdoh, animal figurines – all of these encourage imaginative, creative play. Toys that tend to squelch creative/imaginative play include branded/licensed toys, single-action toys, electronic toys, and passive toys (those that are watched more than played with).

Of course, imaginative play doesn’t have to involve toys at all! How many times does a child play with the box more than the toy it contained?  Boxes, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, and fabric scraps are just a few of the “non-toy” items that can stimulate creative play. Some of my children’s favorites are aluminum foil, string, various types of paper, any kind of tape, and rubber bands.
2.  Provide easy access to art supplies.  Each family will have different parameters as to what “easy access” involves. For our family, things like paint do require permission from mom. We don’t have a good place for a permanent painting station, and there are times mom just frankly isn’t up to the mess! The point is to have a variety of art supplies available: colored pencils, paper, tape, glue, paint/paintbrushes, markers, etc. Then encourage their use!

3.  Encourage your child’s creative flair.  I mentioned last week that I’ve been teaching scrapbooking and craft classes to adults and children for over ten years now. Although there are certain times when I may use a craft kit for a specific reason, I much prefer more open-ended projects. Even with craft kits, I try to encourage children to add their own touch to their creations.

Open-ended projects, however, are the best. My favorite thing to do, especially with children, is to provide a variety of supplies, give them some general parameters for the project, and then let them have at it. It’s amazing what they can come up with! We did this last year in Vacation Bible School.  The lesson was on God creating birds, so we gathered up a huge amount of somewhat random supplies and instructed them to design their own bird. Oh, my!! What amazing creations they came up with! It was fantastic!

4.  Limit unnecessary rules.  This primarily applies to creative projects, but can extend to other areas as well. For instance, there are times when children need to do chores in a certain prescribed way.  There are other times, however, that we can give some leeway for them to be innovative. Encouraging children to come up with more efficient, effective ways to do a job is a great way to cultivate creative thinking. (This is probably a good time for me to insert that I have not by any means “arrived” in this or any other area!  his particular point is one I definitely need to work on!)

One of the saddest experiences I ever had in teaching involved, ironically enough, another crafting teacher. I was teaching scrapbooking classes at a local store, and one of the other teachers there shared with me one day that she really wanted to scrapbook, but a consultant for a large scrapbooking company had told her that before she started scrapbooking, she needed to organize all her photos, and then start with the oldest and move forward.  “I just want to scrapbook the pictures of the vacation we took with our grand-daughter last summer,” she said sadly.

I explained that there are no “rules” in scrapbooking; the “scrapbook police” were not going to show up at her door to accuse her of non-chronological scrapbooking. I encouraged her to grab a stack of vacation photos, gather some supplies, and start scrapping her amazing trip while the memories were fresh, and she was motivated to begin.

5.  Don’t expect perfection. One of the greatest enemies of creativity, in my experience, is the desire for perfection. We can strive for (and encourage our children to strive for) excellence without expecting perfection.  Praise hard work, improvement, and creative thinking.  There will always be someone who is better at things than we are.  Our focus needs to be on doing our best, finishing what we start, and making progress.

6.  Provide opportunities to use creativity to bless others.  Making cards for far-away relatives, drawing a picture to take to a shut-in, singing or playing a musical instrument at a nursing home, helping plan and prepare a meal for a family with a new baby – all of these are ways that creativity can have meaning.  Creativity isn’t just about doing something beautifully or in a new way.  It is about making the lives of those around us richer and fuller.

What are some ways that you encourage creativity in your children?  I'd love to hear ideas in the comments!  I'd also love to hear any suggestions you have for future posts in this series.

Next week:  Resources for Teaching Creativity


Don't want to miss anything?  Please sign up in the box in the sidebar to receive posts by email, or take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.

You can also share this post using the share buttons below or the Pin It button above.
Thank you!!  

 Hip Homeschool Hop Button  



Moralistic Therapeutic WHAT? Chilling Words on Young People and the Church

Protection from a False Gospel
Several months before originally writing this article in 2010, I began a series of posts on "Protecting Children".   (Protecting Children, part 1;  Protecting Children, part 2, Child Protection Resources)  That series is by no means finished...in fact, it will probably be ongoing for as long as I am blogging. That series focuses on issues such as child pornography, child trafficking, protection from predators, etc....issues about which I am very passionate.  

However, as important as I think those issues are, and as heavy as they are on my heart, there is another area of "child protection" that is even more important...and that is the spiritual protection of our children's hearts and minds...protection from the dangers of a false gospel.  

When we think of the term "false gospel", we generally tend to think of cults and false religions: Mormonism, Islam, etc.  However, the "false gospel" that seems to be overtaking us now is a different one: one which is much more insidious, much more subtle, and so very, very dangerous.  

I spent several years teaching the youth girls Sunday School class at our former church.  I LOVED teaching this class...I loved the girls, I loved the discussions, I loved everything about it (except the pesky clock that told me my time was up each week...ugh! ;-))  Most of all, I loved the lessons and the things God taught me through them.  At the time of the original writing of this article, we were in 1 and 2 Samuel, learning from the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David.  So much good stuff there!

That particular week, we were in 2 Samuel 6...the account of David's decision to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, and the tragic death of Uzzah as a result of disobedience in transporting the Ark.   There was so much good in this lesson, but the most important point was this:  

We can be totally sincere, our intentions can be wonderful, but if we are not careful to see what God says about what we are doing, and obey Him in that, we may find ourselves in sin and in grave danger.   

The girls and I had an excellent discussion about this that Sunday morning, particularly as it relates to people who say,

 "It doesn't matter what someone believes, or what they call their god, as long as they are sincere."  

We've long heard that philosophy from the world.  However, it is increasingly seeping into the church and the Christian publishing world.  At that time, I had in fact just read a book asserting that very thing which was published by a major Christian publisher and glowingly reviewed all over the blogosphere.

A New American Religion? 
In his article "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism--The New American Religion", Al Mohler discusses the National Study of Youth and Religion.  As a parent and youth Sunday School teacher, I find the  results of the study, and Mohler's article, quite chilling.

According to Christian Smith and his fellow researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill, authors of the study, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism includes the following beliefs:

  1. "A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth." 
  2. "God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions." 
  3. "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself."
  4. "God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem." 
  5. "Good people go to heaven when they die."

Sound familiar?  None of these beliefs are new.  They are thoughts we've seen in the "lost" for years. However, this study indicates that they now form the belief system of "most religiously affiliated U.S. teens."

The Mohler article is long, but it is "must" reading as far as I'm concerned, especially for parents, children's/youth workers, and church leadership.  I can't address the entire article here, but there are a couple of things that I feel are worth particular note.

Most Disturbing

Perhaps the most disturbing thing in Mohler's article was this:
"The researchers, who conducted thousands of hours of interviews with a carefully identified spectrum of teenagers, discovered that for many of these teens, the interview itself was the first time they had ever discussed a theological question with an adult. What does this say about our churches? What does this say about this generation of parents?" (emphasis mine)
What does it say, indeed?   I pray that no teen with whom I come into any sort of regular contact...and particularly my own children...would never be able to say such a thing.  This causes me to treasure even more the time carved out in our school schedule for this very thing...not to mention the day-to-day opportunities.  I am strongly convicted to make those times even more of a priority.   

I am also thankful that our family has been blessed with churches in which I believe it would be difficult (if not impossible) for a young adult to go through their childhood and teen years and say such a thing.  I'm thankful that my children (and their parents :)) have had and continue to have the privilege of sitting under preaching each week that is solid "meaty" Biblical truth. 

Colonizing the Church

Another deeply disturbing finding of this study is that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is "colonizing" the church itself today. It "seduces converts who never have to leave their congregations and Christian identification as they embrace this new faith and all of its undemanding dimensions."  

According to the researchers, "...we have come with some confidence to believe that a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually [only] tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition, but is rather substantially morphed into Christianity's misbegotten step-cousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism."

Whereas we have heard for years that America is becoming a more secular nation, Mohler's article says this: "These researchers assert that Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith."

What does that mean for us as Bible-believing Christians?  According to Mohler:

"We must now look at the United States of America as missiologists once viewed nations that had never heard the gospel. Indeed, our missiological challenge may be even greater than the confrontation with paganism, for we face a succession of generations who have transformed Christianity into something that bears no resemblance to the faith revealed in the Bible."

More and more over the past few years, I've been convinced and convicted that as a parent and as a homeschooler, I need to be very careful in my priorities...both on paper, and subconsciously.  As I said in a previous blog post...

"My primary goal is not for my children to excel academically...although I do want them to excel academically. My primary goal is not for my children to be well-behaved in public...although I certainly want them to be well-behaved in public! :) My primary goal is not even first-time obedience with a respectful attitude...although that is a crucial foundation stone and a vital goal.
"My primary goal is for my children to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Only if they truly love Him and have a personal walk with Him as not only Savior, but also Lord of their lives, will they truly be the successes that He...and I...want them to be. No matter what they look like on the outside, no matter how intelligent, polite, and "successful" they appear to be...if they haven't given their hearts to Him completely, it is all for naught."

  • Our children must be firmly grounded in the Word.
  • Our children must know the true gospel so that they will be equipped to recognize and reject a false one.
  • Our children must know what they believe and why they believe it, but that must go beyond head knowledge to heart knowledge. They must take that as truly their own, and not just what their parents have passed down to them.  

What a challenge to us as parents.  We cannot make the "heart stuff" happen.  There is no formula to produce that in our children.  Our responsibility is to teach them according to God's Word, to diligently pray for them, and most importantly, to truly "live it" ourselves, and to show true repentance and humility when we fail.  Then we have to trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in them, just as He does in us.

What a challenge also to any of us who work with youth or children.  Fellowship is a good thing.  Fun is fine and definitely has its place.   But we must never lose our focus on *why* we are there.   Grounding our children and youth in the truth...and not a watered down version...is crucial.  

What a challenge, really, to any of us who call ourselves Christians.  We need to be sure that we are grounded in truth ourselves.  We need to be sure that we are involved in a solid Bible-teaching church.  We need to support and encourage pastors who are committed to teaching the truth of God's Word.   

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.~2 Peter 2:1

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  ~Deuteronomy 6:6-7

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  ~John 8:31-32

How and where have you encountered the "false gospel" of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism?  Do you agree that it is infiltrating our churches?   How are you living out the command to "teach them diligently" to your children?  

I'd love to hear in the comments, or via the "contact me" box in the sidebar.  

Author's Note: Long-time readers may recognize much of the content of this post.  It was originally written and published in 2010.  In the process of preparing to share it from the archives, I decided to edit and update it a bit and completely republish it instead.  

Don't want to miss anything?  Please sign up in the box in the sidebar to receive posts by email, or take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.

You can also share this post using the share buttons below or the Pin It button above.

Thank  you! 


Intentional Blogger's Networking Blog Hop

I'm participating in the Networking Blog Hop at The Intentional Blogger today.  Hop over and see what it's all about!



And Finally, Without Further Ado...From Courtroom to ER to 17 Years and Counting, Part 2

"...right in the middle of bowling..."BEEP. BEEP. {pause}BEEP.BEEP.{pause}BEEP.BEEP."

That's where I left you hanging almost a month ago.  Ack!  Sorry about that.  We had talked about Billy and I meeting in court, and then we'd started our first real date, a bowling outing with friends. 

Trouble is, we were both on call, with a whole passel of pagers and "car phones" as we called them in those days.  They were actually bag phones...remember those?  Almost no one in those days had personal cell phones; we'd just gotten the amazing bag phones that were passed from on-call worker to on-call worker, which made dealing with after-hours, away-from-the-office issues so much easier.

Except when one was in the middle of a first date. A first date in which both parties were carrying said phones. 

The Best-Laid Plans...

As the beepers began wailing, we realized that we were probably finished bowling for the evening. Sure enough, we were both paged to the hospital on the same case...Billy to begin the abuse investigation, and me to begin the process of finding a foster home for the tiny girl involved. 
It was not to be our last date to end in the ER, meeting the police for an investigation, or transporting a child across the state to a foster care or facility placement. in fact, Billy once literally saved my life when the teen boy I was transporting attempted to choke me on the dark drive down the mountain (pre-540 Bypass days) after he'd been kicked out of a shelter.  (Sadly, that boy is now in prison for multiple murders. :-( )

Hours in the ER was not the world's best ending to a first date, but it was somewhat indicative of the pattern of our lives from that point on.  Not much has gone as planned in the 20+ years since!  We learned early on to be flexible and roll with the punches. (And we're still learning!)

As we began to talk about marriage, we made one decision very early on...neither of us would work for DHS/SCAN once we were married. Our joke was that we would make that part of the wedding vows.  We didn't...but it was tempting.  Child Protective Service careers don't tend to be conducive to long, healthy marriages.

The Crystal and the Kitten

When Billy and I met, I was living with my Granny Kitty.  All of my extended family liked Billy immediately, but Granny Kitty just pretty much took him in as one of the family long before we were engaged.

I've laughed for years that I had to marry Billy to get my crystal back. :)  Years before, Granny had parceled out all the things in her china cabinet to the grandchildren.  The crystal was to be mine.  One day, Billy was making conversation with Granny and remarked on how beautiful the crystal was.  She said, "Well, you can have it.  I'll give it to you."   No, we weren't engaged yet at the time.  She'd just adopted Billy as one of her own. :)

Even before that, though, I knew that Billy had won her heart when "Alex" came along. Although the story was that Granny's original "Katherine" had been shortened to "Kitty" by her family because she loved the barn kittens so much, Granny had never had an indoor cat.  In fact, for all of my lifetime, she had been adamantly against pets of any kind.

Then Billy and his sister Sheryl found a tiny kitten at their apartment complex.  They weren't allowed to have pets, so they were frantically trying to find it a home.  I had just come home from an out-of-town trip, and Billy was in the living room telling me about the kitten.  "I really wanted to give it to Jen..." he said.

I waited for Granny to launch into her usual "inside pets are evil" speech.  Instead, she turned to me and said, "Well, I guess you need to go get your cat!"

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I think my eyeballs popped out and scraped the floor for a minute.

And so I brought Alex home.  Granny loved that cat and spoiled it rotten.  Craziest thing I ever saw!  Even crazier because Granny had poked so much fun at my Great-Aunt Jessie just a few years before.  When Daddy's cousin Anna Beth got a tiny teacup poodle, Aunt Jessie threatened to move out of the house.  She refused to have anything to do with the dog for the longest time.

When Anna Beth died of cancer several years later, though, Aunt Jessie took the dog as her own.  I never will forget the day we took Aunt Jessie to lunch, and then went back to her house to visit for a while.  Not long after we got to the house, I was quite curious to hear the microwave running.  We'd just had a substantial meal, and I couldn't imagine what Aunt Jessie was cooking.

Then she brought out a plate and put it down for the dog.  She'd been warming it's lunch in the microwave!

Granny thought Aunt Jessie had lost her mind.  And now I was sure Granny had lost hers.

But it turned out, she hadn't lost her mind, but her heart....both to the tiny little kitten and the Italian guy who'd brought him home.

What's In a Name?

Speaking of Italian...Billy is half Italian.  He looks and acts just like the Italian side of his family.   (Bayley does, too...I've always known that she strongly favored Billy and his mom, but when I saw his mom's younger sister, his Aunt Rosie, for the first time, it was as though I was seeing into the future, and seeing what Bayley would look like in 40 years. Wow.)

Billy got the Italian genes, but not the Italian name, a fact I'm still trying not to be bitter over.  His mom's maiden name is a really cool Italian surname.  Her mom's maiden name was an even cooler Italian surname.

I grew up not only having the most common first name of my generation (hence my children's less-than-common given names), but the 5th most common surname in America.  Growing up with the last name "Brown", I dreamed of marrying someone with a really fabulous last name.  Both my aunts had married into great names...one a strong German surname, and one a totally wonderful Italian one.

So what do I do?  Marry an Italian with the last name "Harris".  At least I did marry into a less common surname...went from the 5th most common surname in the country to the 15th most common.  Sometimes life is just funny. ;-)

Winter Wedding Wonderland

Billy and I were engaged in April.  The immediate question became when the wedding would take place.  Billy suggested fall.  Way too soon, with our crazy schedules, to put together a wedding in a town two hours away from home.  Then he suggested December.  Absolutely no way!  My birthday being so close to Christmas had caused me to decide as a young girl that I would under no circumstances get married in December. 

I had always wanted to get married in the spring.  But Billy didn't want to wait a year.  Neither of us wanted to do February, for a variety of reasons.

That left January. We were actually both happy about January.  For nine months, though, we heard dire predictions about our choice.  A lady in our office kept assuring us it was going to snow.  The weather would be bad and we'd have to cancel the wedding, or no one would be able to get there.  January was just not a good month for a wedding.

A week before our wedding, it seemed the weather might agree with her.

The ladies of my home church gave me a shower the Saturday before the wedding.  We got to Conway without issue, but Saturday morning we woke up to several inches of not only snow, but ice, on the ground, with more pouring out of the sky.  It was beastly.

The shower went on, however, and many brave ladies made it to my former boss's house for what turned out to be a beautiful shower.  My maid of honor, who was traveling from out of town, even made it, albeit a bit late. :)

The following Saturday, however, was sunny, unseasonably warm, and beautiful.  There could not have been more perfect "wedding weather" if we'd ordered it.

It certainly hasn't been all sunny weather since, but through all the "storms of life" that have come in these 17+ years, God has continually shown His faithfulness in every area.  I'm thankful for a husband who is not perfect (which is good, because the gal he married sure isn't!), but who is an example to his family of loving his wife as Christ loves the Church, who spoils his wife rotten, and who is a loving, attentive, godly Daddy to his children.


You've heard some of our story now...now I want to hear yours!  Tell me how you and your spouse met in the comments.  Or share about a memorable date.  I'd love to hear your stories!


Don't want to miss anything?  Please sign up in the box in the sidebar to receive posts by email, or take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.

You can also share this post using the share buttons below or the Pin It button above.
Thank  you! 


{Meet and Greet Friday} Please Come See Me!!


I'm over at the Intentional Blogger today for Meet and Greet Friday. I'd love to see you there!!  (And while you're there, leave me a comment so we can get to know each other better! 

(And be sure to come back by here later today for today's "real" post. :))