Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Daughter's Heart

Not long ago I received a very welcome gift. My friend Patty gave me new Pfaltzgraff pottery!
It is a setting for eight. I needed two bread plates to complete it, but checking online, (Ebay, Amazon, etc...) it was pretty expensive, especially when you combine shipping! So I waited... and waited, thinking I'd find an auction that no one else would bid on and I'd get them cheap. But that didn't happen. And, I recently was laid off from my job, so it was just an expense I couldn't consider.
So yesterday I realize I have a Goodwill card worth $10.00 in my purse. I decide to go up there and see what I might see. Walking around the corner of the china isle, what do I spy? My Pfaltgraff Folkware Pottery! It took a moment to compose myself. I was so thrilled that it MUST have be evident. A older woman saw me counting the pieces with a big smile on my face. She asked me if this was my pattern? I told her YES and this will bring my setting up from 8 to 12 for only $5.00!!! Her response: "Honey, you just TITHE, and God will see that your needs are met". I shook my head in agreement. Her response floored me because it echoes what my husband and I are always reminding each other of; Be generous to others, and let God see to your needs.

Now, I'm not quite finished with my story... I want to tell you have much I value pretty pottery, and china, and WHY;
I worked for 3 years at Dillards in Bridal Registry in my 20's. I helped young brides-to-be select their china patterns, pottery, silver, and stemware. I ooohhhed and aaaahhhed all day long with them. But I never had any china myself. Just mix-matched hodge-podge stuff from yard sales. Well, my Daddy knew I wanted real china. He's an antique dealer. One day he comes over with a big box of the prettiest china service you can imagine! He found it at an estate sale.
It was white with pink flowers and silver trim. I thought that was the kindest thing a father could do! So I finally had my own china. I kept that china for years, and finally passed it on to someone else because I just didn't have room, but I kept a couple of larger bowls, to remember it by.
Later on, I bought my Grandmothers china. (She knew she was getting older, and offered it to me at a bargain)My uncle brought it home from Japan over 50 years ago. It is the china I remember eating off of, and it sat in her china cabinet my whole life. It's my special occasion china.
In my late twenties, I bought *Blue Willow* because it was my Mothers first china. I was very nostalgic about it. She had the original Johnson Brothers and SOLD IT in a yard sale! Mine was pieced together a bit at a time from Tom Thumb Grocery Stores. Not the real thing, but that's what my children at off of. It seemed so *busy* a pattern to me now.
I want to simplify...So when Patty offered me her Pfaltzgraff- I was so happy! It's JUST the type of pattern I am naturally attracted to. I love the salt-glazed look.I gave my Blue Willow to my son Ryan.
Funny how it all works out. I mean- none of this is really important in the big scheme of things. I don't put value on material goods, but I DO appreciate good craftsmanship and artwork. I can eat off plain ol' Corelle Ware and it would be fine with me. I think my affection for china is something that not only my earthly father recognized, but my Heavenly Father as well.
God knows my heart indeed!

Friday, August 13, 2010

VICTORY!!! (Library Update)

Jesus loves the little children. And apparently some local librarians too.

My call to the library kind of fell on deaf ears, because the book with the obscenities on it had been checked out already. I'm thinking the person I spoke with thought *problem solved* and didn't pursue it any further.
However, I have been down this road before and know to follow up complaints with something in writing. I choose to e-mail the Director Of the Burleson Public Library, and also included his entire staff.

Let me say this; within 20 minutes of my e-mail, my phone rang and it was the Director, Mr. Rodney Bland. Mr. Bland was extremely apologetic and went on to say that he will have a full staff meeting Monday to discuss the issue. He understood that I was not trying to censor any author or reading material, but wanted blatant adult content placed in the very adult section that is no where near children. He agreed that this book had no business where it was placed. He also said some of his staff are of *the next generation*, and it's no excuse, but they simply do not exercise discretion the way they should. That will be the topic of the meeting.
We had a nice chat and he told me he was a very *hands on Father* and expected his grown children to instill the same values in his grandchildren. I almost stood up to applaud!
Burleson is once again a safe little hamlet and I can rest a little easier knowing my work here is done. (Sorry for the seemed fitting!)

Burleson Public Library - FOR SHAME!!

Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

How is it possible that Jackie Collin's book "Poor Little #itch Girl" is literally SHOWCASED at the circulation desk at the Burleson Public Library, and I am the only person to notice? It seems impossible to me, because as I waited my turn in line today, I was rather horrified that I couldn't escape it! It was right there, as you walk up to the counter, at about chest level. That's pretty much the same as a 10 year olds eye-level. Now, I wasn't sure how to handle this? I asked myself; "What is the appropriate thing to do?" How many little children stared at this today???
I'm not a prude and I don't care if adults read this sort of thing. I am not their judge. But I feel strongly about issues that impact children. This is one of them. I decided to go home and make some phone calls since I do not know who is in charge at the library.
This is a PUBLIC library, and I asked myself- *What stops them from putting porn on the shelves?" Probably public opinion. Many things in society have been socially accepted at one point in time, only to become taboo later. Smoking is an example of something that people 30 years ago were indifferent to. I remember my Mother smoking in a grocery store. But because the potential harm was made known, and public opinion changed, laws have been put into place that make it illegal to smoke in certain places. So opinion matters and we have a voice. I'm just dumbfounded that I am having to put effort into voicing my opinion on something so obviously offensive.
This is public service funded by our tax money. Would we tolerate this elsewhere? We have other public services: Schools for instance. A student would not be allowed to wear a T-shirt with the word "#itch" across it, because it would be considered obscene and offensive and people cannot help but see it. I realize that there are books with offensive words in them in public schools. However, there is a massive difference in what subject matter is placed in elementary schools versus high schools. We would not want our children in 3rd grade to have full access to book that high school students can access. Yet, there it is, right in your face! If the title didn't have a curse word and the cover didn't look like it was XXX rated, I wouldn't have take issue with it. I realize trashy romance novels exhist. This is just another example of how deteriorated our society has become.
I'm not even upset that they carry the book. I have no doubt that there are books in THE ADULT SECTION that may be in conflict with my morality. But they are not purposely set out like a trap to snare the attention of minors. To find them you have to purposely be seeking them out.
I have made a two phone calls; one to the City of Burleson and another directly to the library. I expect the book to be placed among adult books and out of the direct line of vision of children.

Burleson Public Library- if you were my child I'd take you to the woodshed!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To Veil Or Not To Veil...That Is The Question

Let me  happily promote one of my favorite Headcovering Sites: Joyces Coverings & Veils:
Joyce offers something rare: Truly affordable coverings that you can design yourself. You pick the material, design, width, length, and trim, and she makes it and mails it to you.
For those of you with small or large heads, this will be a blessing! For those on a tight budget- even better!
Now, on to my rant: Recentley, one of my precious sisters in Christ gave me a couple of *kapp* style coverings in black. Now she knows I like my coverings to be dark as they blend with my hair, which pleases my husband. I've stayed away from Kapps as they tend to be associated with a particular church district, but these did not appear to be from any church locally, and they are small, so I can wear them at home. I'm digging them!
But this brought up a conversation about whether Kapp's or Veils? Well, for those who are not familiar with the Anabaptist traditions; each church sets it's own standards for it's MEMBERS.
At the church I attend, the woman veil, but are allowed to choose their own style. Most wear opaque, but some wear lace. No specific demension's are required that I am aware of, as they members have a good reputation for excercising common sense.
This particular afternoon we discussed the merits of both. Now I can go on all day about the merits of covering in general. I am treated with 100 times more respect in public than without a veil, and it is a witness, along with decent modest dress that tells people * I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ*. Of course dressing this way doesn't do anyone any good if you don't have good behavior to compliment it. It often is a means to evoke conversations with people who feel drawn to lead a simpler life, or talk about their relationship with God. All my headcovering sisters can attest to this.
As the conversation progressed, my friend made a statement about her preference of the veil. She said; "People of all means should be able to afford to veil. But when fabric for the kapp costs $20.00 a yard, plus the cost and difficulty making it to church standards (X number of pleats all going the same direction,), it makes it difficult for all to afford". She went on to say that even the poorest of the poor can make a triangle of a piece of a remnant of fabric. That can't be said of a kapp.
Wow, what a point! It was at that moment I realized I'll veil, even though I like the smaller kapps, because they are light and breath. In all honesty; I have bandana's, lace rounds, strawberry shaped lace, solid dove-shaped, and white d-shaped. And of course my 2 new black kapps. I wear them all at different times for different reasons, and seasons. I also have hats that I don't mind wearing on occasion.
So, what is your preference? Why? Where have you been on your headcovering journey?

And to answer the question: VEIL. lol. The Bible says to. 1 Cor 11.
Bless you as you ponder...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

He Saved Me Too!

If you've been following along with the previous posts, and even if you haven't, I want to stress this: Jesus saved me. Not the church, not the Mennonites, and not religion.

All the details of a lot of my posts are to explain how I got to where I am *spiritually*, and what propegated, cultivated, and instigated my spiritual decisions that lead me to this awkward place that I now thrive in.

Many of my friends don't really *get it* and chalk it up to my quirky nature. My family doesn't really understand it either, but they all make impressive attempts to accept me as I am, which is all anyone really wants. What's not to love about that???

But the bottom line is; I came to Jesus as a broken, outcast, arrogant, opinionated sinner who knew her way of doing things was getting her nowhere. I knew what the final outcome was. I knew what would happen if I died without repentance and acceptance of Christ as my Savior. I had a LOT to repent of too, but trusted God was bigger than any poor choice I could possibly make, and was eager to forgive me. God is always eager to pick you up, dust you off, and set you on your feet agian... no matter how many times He has to do it.

So, while my roadmap to Jesus may be a little off the beaten path, and may even seem peculiar to many, it's how I got here. Isn't being here all that matters?

For those who are curious about *Plain Living*, I have thought long and hard about what I would do differently, if given the chance. Here's what I suggest: PRAY ABOUT IT. Ask God to show you every step of the way, and to open your husbands heart as well about any lifestyle changes. GO SLOW. Do not try to emulate others because you've read all the Titus 2, & Proverbs 31 material, you can get your hands on. Maybe your the one who wants to leave everything worldly behind and start a new life? Well, it's still important to let the Holy Spirit lead you in all your decisions, and not get caught up in simply *being plain*. It's too easy to loose sight of why your doing what your doing if you do it all at once. Really, get on your knees, and ask God to guide your every choice. Start with modesty and then God will lead you to the place where you, your family and God are most happy!

God plucked me out of some pretty murky waters and set me on dry land. A good, firm land with a strong foundation. I am confidant he'll do the same for you and those you love. Just ask Him. But He wants an obedient child, and He honors obedience. Too much of this world's message is about pleasing self. That isn't what The Bible teaches. We are to die to *self*. Being obedient isn't easy. And staying humble is key.

If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me [to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying] and wherever I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12: 26

It is through Him that we have received grace (God's unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name's sake among all the nations. Romans 1: 5

For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man's obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him). Romans 5: 19

Continually surrender yourself and your carnal nature to God and let Him show you what He desires for you.

I hope this is a help for the seeker and confirmation for those who follow Christ selflessly.

In the meantime, Reading Resources for those who are seeking:
Primitive Christan's
The Anabaptist Bookstore Online
The Seekers Refuge (A good place to ask questions and get genuine answers to all things Anabaptist)
Anabaptist History

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or need prayer.

Your Sister In Christ,


Variations On A Theme Part 2

Part 2:

I often get the question; "How did you become Mennonite"? This is a tricky question because the average person thinks of Mennonites in the same context that they think of the Amish; as if they are all pretty much the same. Well, this just isn't true, but it's hard to articulate the differences without taking up someones entire afternoon.

I was befriended many years ago by a Mennonite lady in Ohio.. I went to visit her church and what I found was the fellowship I'd been seeking for years. That's it in a nutshell. I didn't start out trying to be plain, or be like the Amish or Mennonites. I knew nothing about them.

I am not a member of a conservative Mennonite Church, but I do worship with the conservative Mennonites. I am still retain membership with the Mennonite Central Committee, which is not a conservative church. This all happened after I developed a relationship with my Mennonite friend in Ohio, and had moved to Texas. I wanted to find that same kind of fellowship here. So, I cracked open the phone book and started looking. I found a listing nearby for *Hope Fellowship Church* under ; Mennonite. I called and they invited my family to a pot-luck dinner they were having that evening. Up until that moment- I ALSO thought there was pretty much one, garden variety Mennonite. But when we arrived, we were greeted at the door by a beardless gentleman, and his lovely short-haired wife. I was confused. Was I in the right place??? The look of confusion must have been written all over my face with Pastor Stolzphus introduced himself. He assured me they were Mennonite and to come, make myself comfortable.

The evening was filled with a brief reading from the Bible and short commentary. Much food was brought out and served, then tables were set up in small groups where we all played various games from Scrabble to Dutch Blitz! The evening was concluded with another Bible reading and prayer. This was the beginning of many similar fellowships that over several years, and countless good memories...So we joined the church.

This also began the beginning of my journey. When I join a church, I join the body of believers. I have never put too much thought into how they came to be, or what branch of believers they might have stemmed from? I figure the here and now is what's important.
But this time it was difficult to ignore. It seems that most of the church came from Conservative Mennonite beginnings, and for various reasons, they desired a less restrictive congregation. I can understand the desire to not be micro-managed, so I didn't think a lot about it. However it did present a lot of questions and pique my curiosity.

As time went on, I was trying to comprehend WHY anyone would dress plain, as my friends in Ohio did, or cover their head? What was the difference and why would one group under the same name be comfortable in modern dress and lifestyle and the other is the exact polar opposite??

I heard stories of Martyrs. I heard people speak of their families Mennonite History going back as far as the reformation. People spoke in whispers of their *plain* relatives not approving of this type of Mennonite Church and how it really isn't *true* Mennonite.

So, I began spending a lot of time at the library researching the Reformation, Mennonites, Amish, and Hutterites trying to understand what made each group unique? This has turned into a 15 year journey that probably doesn't have a concrete answer, or a predictable end.
Nothing is cut and dry. Every single group of Anabaptists are who they are, and practice their faith the way they do, for a variety of reasons. I found a lot of answers and just as many new questions in the process.

I don't care what someone wears to church, but what I learned from these self-imposed studies was; it needs to be modest. The Bible says so. I can't find an supporting argument that says you should be otherwise. I also don't judge people who choose to wear other styles of clothing. Frankly I think you should be able to wear what you want within reason.
BUT, this is my journey and I'm the one who has to answer for it. So, when my husband and I arrived at Saturday Night Church gathering (at a members home) to find 2 Sisters in string bikini's in the pool...we knew there was a problem. See, you can throw the baby out with the bathwater in either direction.

1 Timothy 2:9-10... “In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls or costly array, but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” Here we are given instruction in how to dress as godly women... in “modest apparel.”

Well, now I've opened a can of worms. The Church I was attending WAS very loving and kind, but some of the women and young teen girls were coming to church in spaghetti-string dresses, tight, tight TIGHT jeans, and mini-skirts on a regular basis IN church...not just at home. If a skirt is so short you can't bend over without exposing your naught-bits... your nor professing godliness, (see scripture above).

I also found 1 Corinthians 11 to explain in very clear detail that women should veil their heads during worship services. No one did at my church.

Now, you can look into this yourself and decide. Many scholars have worked hard to say that this was Jewish Custom only and Paul was only trying to pass it on. But the Early Church up until Vatican II required that women cover in Church/Mass.
While I do not press anyone I know to cover, I do encourage all to investigate for themselves.

SO, you can imagine what happened next: I began covering my head with a veil at church and in private prayer, and also paying attention to how I dressed. Did it line up with 1 Timothy???

This quickly became a sore spot for the Pastor's wife, who told me that she had been forced to wear ridiculous garb as a child in an Amish home. Same story for her husband. They did not want me challenging them on this issue. It was not welcome to them or anyone else in the church. This is what most had left behind. Yet...there it is on the pages of my Bible. What to do?

I did what I am supposed to do according to The Bible: I followed my convictions and didn't challenge the people there on any level. I found joy in my new manner of dressing and the feeling that I was pleasing God with my sincerity. I wanted no attention from this, and to this day- that is the hardest thing about it; setting yourself apart from Pop-Culture, friends and family. Actually your friends and family are likely to be either your greatest source of encouragement or your greatest source of despair regarding modest dress and the headcovering. It is either something they can wrap their minds around, or it makes them very uncomfortable.

So, back to my research; as I read about the history of the Mennonites, I realized that I there was most likely a conservative church somewhere on the outskirts of my city, so I hit the internet to find it. After visiting several churches, I began to think I was caught in the middle of two cultures, and one denomination. Luckily, through the internet, I have been united with hundreds of women who have very similar stories. We all seem to be displaced a bit. Some are in progressive churches, yet remain faithful to their call to modesty. Others are in conservative congregations, but struggle as they go through the conversion process. Regardless, we are all here for each other.

So, that is my story. This is how I came to the place where I currently am, where I currently serve Our Lord. It is a story that is often repeated in a more condensed version. Many short stories are gleaned from this experience. Some very comical, and others very spiritually intense. But all part of the learning curve. And goodness, it's a BIG curve! I am neither *PLAIN* in the traditional sense, nor do I fit into a modern, pop-culture mold. I am who I am, which is: Modest, but not frumpy on most days, reserved in behavior, because I am desire to please my Heavenly Father, but honest with myself and my friends because they would know otherwise:-) I am still Kelly. I am happy, funny, curious, eager, and willing to be a friend, and share the love of Christ. This is me at the very core. I pray this part of me never changes. God is working on the less desireable parts of my personality, and I trust Him to take me where He needs me, even if I go kicking and screaming. For the most part, I do so willingly.

Let me encourage you; dig a little deeper if you are interested in knowing WHY one group has practices that differ from another. You won't be disappointed- you'll be amazed to know the history and have a better comprehension of a special group of people. You might just broaden your mind and have a better outlook towards those who don't *fit in*. Blinders come in all sizes for all ages. Sometimes it's good to take them off and get a feel for the world without them.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Variations On A Theme

Recently I have approached by some young women who are trying to *be plain*. There is nothing wrong with simplicity, as long as the motive is pure, and nothing wrong with wanting to be separate from the world, as long as you understand the scripture and God has lead you to this conviction. But it makes me ask; "what drives someone to be plain"??

The Conservative Anabaptists take these following scriptures literally:

Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (I Corinthians 6:14)

"Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord" (II Corinthians 6:17)

“And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

These are the scriptures that they hinge their clothing, lifestyle choices such as cars, electricity, and fellowship with.

Many women read Amish Novels, (I am no exception), Mennonite Autobiographies and Memoirs, or come into contact with local Amish or Mennonites where they live, or read about them on-line, and find the lifestyle so intriguing that they decide to persue it in a way that is unhealthy. Many, throw the baby out with the bathwater by ditching every pair of pants they own, and donning the frumpiest garb they can either sew or buy in a thrift store. The stop wearing any make-up, and let their hair grow. This usually happens in a matter of months and along with the change of exterior dressings, their attitudes become as pleasant as their appearance. They become sour. Opinionated. Obcessed with being *plain* they spend an unreasonable amount of time focused on their church and the women who do NOT cover (in accordance to 1 Corinthians 11), and who are not *PLAIN*. They are no longer happy in their church because they are *the only one* who viels.. and friction soon developes between this woman, and: her husband, her friends, her church fellowship, and anyone she thinks isn't *like-minded*.

I've only been there-done that for a period of time. It didn't take me long to realize there is a difference between PLAIN and MODEST. And that you CAN be MODEST without being PLAIN. But try telling this to someone who has just caught the fever? Basically, it has to run it's course, and there is no amount of reasoning that will ever sink in for most. Being their friend while they go through this, and loving them dispite themselves is taxing, but for most, it will level out in time.

Women who are PLAIN usually have their dress dictated from a church standard that says the dress needs to be a certain length, what styles, double-covering, etc.... There are exceptions. I choose to be modest... Plain? I prefer a classic style in dressing over a plain one. I do have some rather plain dresses. I also have some snazzy skirts and blouses that I bought in department stores. Both are modest. I wear what I *feel* like wearing any particular day, because I am not a member of a church that tells me otherwise. I have to excercise my own common sense here. My husband wants me to be modest, but not frumpy. Mission accomplished. Harmony maintained between God, my husband and my conscience.

Believe it or not, modesty was a fairly new concept for me in my 30's. I had been raised to believe that my body was to more or less show off, and all clothing should accentuate my figure to it's fullest. Now, I think it's pretty awful to wear clothing that makes you look ugly, because your job is to be a joy to your husband. Who wants a butt-ugly wife??? Especially when you know she could make herself more presentable, but chooses otherwise.

Ladies- You can wear clothing that is modest and attractive for you figure, but doesn't reveal your entire figure. No need for sackclothe and ashes here. And it's our responsibility to be everything we can be to our husbands, including: Attractive. The problem is in how you define attractiveness. Do we go buy the worlds standards? I hope not. A clean face, and bright smile go a long way. Does your attitude make you look harsh? Lets keep joy at the forefront, and you'll find it's infectious to our husbands and children.

I would go so far as to ask our husbands what they would *like* to see in us? For example: My husband likes me to wear a little make-up. I have some skin discoloration, and for me, a little is a lot. So, a bit of cover-up, powder that nose, and a splash of blush make me look more radiant to him. And, you can barely tell I have any on.
Now, if you don't need it, don't bother. But look like the bride of his dreams every day you have the strength! I realize we all have our moments with a red sore nose and a scratchy throat... or the baby has been up all night. Those are exceptions.
Maybe he doesn't want you to wear any makeup at all? So be it! Fulfill your husbands desires as they line up Biblically...I am not suggesting we go to extremes.

So, you want to be plain? Plain is good but it takes a bit of trial and error for the first time user. Be reasonable about what you do and why you do it. Your choices have an impact on your family.

Prov. 11:22 – “Like a gold ring in a swine’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” That is, a woman’s true beauty is her inner beauty, the sacred and mysterious creature that God has made.

So, if you really want to join a church that has a certain criteria, there is nothing wrong with adhering to it once your a member. But be cautious that we don't romanticize certain lifestyles, and think that dressing plain MAKES us anything, other than modest. As we say in Texas: "You can put your boots in the oven- That don't make 'em biscuits."

Sis Kelly

Friday, March 5, 2010


As I was putting the dishes up this evening, I took note of my silverware. It's not actual silver, it's stainless steel, but I became keenly aware of the pains it took me to aquire it. We married in 1995, and had only a mis-matched lot of various forks, spoons, and knives. I don't recall how many patterns were present in this accumulation, but they were the cheap, easily bent variety that were probably purchased in lots at Goodwill.

Before I married my husband I had worked at a department store in Bridal Registry and took great pride in helping each bride-to-be in selecting the perfect china, crystal stemware, and silverware. I had delusions of grandure apparently, and would lazily dream of my table with every place setting in perfect order around a table of plenty.

Well, that didn't happen. In the beginning of our marraige, I can't say we were poor. Perhaps strapped for cash frequently, frugal because we had no other choice, but poor? No. We were content. We managed. But I'll openly admit I look forward to the day, joy oh joy, when I would have a matching set of silverware! I never said a word about it to my husband who worked so hard to provide for our family and childrens needs. He probably never gave it a thought...

We had not one but TWO older model cars, a 3 bedroom apartment, and the ability to have a garden in the back behind a shed. All our children were healthy, we had all the hamburger and balogna we could eat, and there wasn't a thing to complain about.

Time passed, and over the next eleven years, we stayed content in our little apartment, but began dreaming of home ownership. In 2006 we applied for a loan with a great interest rate, and had saved enough to put a down payment on the home we had dreamed for. And of course- I ran out and bought my matching silverware, and gave my old utensils to Goodwill, in a sort of utilitarian reincarnation of sorts.

Over the past few years I've bought curtains, and a sofa and loveseat... a new bed. .. But mostly, the majority of our furniture is still the odds and ends we had in our apartment! Aren't I supposed to want more? I've oddly become attached to it over time and dont really see a need to purchase furniture that will probably be out of style in 7 or 8 years. Yet I see ads in the paper for very trendy decor, and I see people who actually RENT televisions, livingroom furniture, etc... and the trendy advertising seems to suggest that we somehow deserve THE BEST, and will be happy with 50" flatscreen. Happy? No, I don't think so.
Of course there is nothing wrong with quality. I try very hard to put thought into the purchases I do make, and keep myself informed of the what brand is better than another, and which shampoo REALLY works the best. Consumer Reports is a great publication to help you make wise descisions. Honestly, noone wants to own junk... and noone wants to constantly be repairing a car or appliance. But don't you think we can get by on a lot less if we put our mind to it?

A content person makes the choice to be content. Contentedment IS happiness. Happiness is not having newer, shinier, trendy furnishings or even cars to drive. All will eventually loose their shine, and find themselves in a second hand shop, or used auto lot. All of it.

So as I stare at my silverware, I laugh because I am no happier with the place setting for 8 (minus one spoon eaten by a garbage disposal), than I was with my hodge-podge set I had before! Nothing I buy will make me content. I am content with what I have. So as I close with this topic, I ask you to look around you own home, and just be grateful for what we do have, which in THIS country, is more than enough.

Be content.


Sister Kelly

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How Plain Is Plain?

First, let me clarify and take ownership for the statements I'm about to make: This is about me, my experiences, and observations.
It is not in any way a judgement, or ridicule of anyone who is convicted differently than myself.
With that being proclaimed, I would like to ask you; how plain is plain? Every single Anabaptist congregation has a set of standards that they believe is correct, even if they have no set standards at all. This varies from every other Anabaptist congregation in the free world. How does one figure out what appropriate dress is, if say they don't belong to a plain church, but feel convicted to dress plainly, or at least unembelished and modestly?
Everyone has their own set of personal circumstances, and I'm no different. My husband has absolutely no desire to be plain. He likes the fellowship with the Mennonites... but the dress just doesn't make sense to him and that's okay too. He's not one of these husbands that wants his wife to dress provocatively... no not at all. He just thinks it's really more cultural and a bit overboard on the modesty side, since you can wear a sweater, vest or jacket and get the same effect without the LHOP look. (I personally LIKE the LHOP look *smile*) But, I like to please my husband, and living to please him is biblical. If God takes issue with it, He will deal with Scott's heart first and then Scott can address it with me.
Recently, my husband and I had a heart to heart about the plain dress issue. He explained that it is an unflattering look for me (to him) and he would rather I wear a modest, but more mainstream look. Classic is ok with him and he's still ok with my jumpers, and denim skirts. It's the 1800's prairie look that just throws him for a loop apparently.
I believe in my quest to please God, I might have inadvertently overlooked my husband and his thoughts on attractiveness. There certainly is a way to dress appropriately, minus the cape. Right?
So, I am giving my cape dresses back to the friend who gave them to me. I am putting my effots into cute, denim skirts and double pocket blouses (gives double coverage), vests, and any other classic, modest style that doesn't scream: AMISH. lol.
By doing this, I hope to please my husband and by pleasing my husband in a non-compromising way, I trust I'll please God as well.
This journey of 14 years has been unbelievable. I still will continue to persue Anabaptism as my spiritual center, even if we join another church of another denomination. I still have the option of making my own personal choices of things like: Submission, modesty, non-oath-swearing, and non-resistance. I can be a unique symbol of godly womanhood and a candle on the hill for whatever church we decide on. I will continue to fellowship with my Mennonite friends on weekends that either Scott is away or when he wants to go. He loves the church and the friends he's making. I'm keeping an positive outlook and an open mind. But the concept of *plain* seems to be less and less relavent to me. Modest and feminine seem to be taking priority. Of course I am not a fashion maven. I don't follow fashion trends to stroke my own ego. I keep it simple and simplicity seems to never go out of fashion.
So what do you consider PLAIN? How has God lead you to dress? Do you buy into the idea that dress doesn't matter at all? What would you do if you were in my posistion (that's a hard one, I know!) Do you struggle with this at all? I'd like to hear your story:-)
Blessings In Christ
Sis Kelly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heading In The Right Direction

My husband and I love to travel through the Ozarks. We simply enjoy finding a county map, and driving those old dirt roads across the back of a mountain, down in a holler, and back up many hills, only to find ourselves lost, but content there for the time being.
That is how I would describe our current situation; "Lost but content".
Now, before anyone takes this out of content; our souls are not lost. Just our way. We have been looking for a church for a while now. But your talking about two very different people with different concepts of how a church should be. So many churches are divided over issues that would have never been considered a line of division, even 30 years ago. Many churches are catering to the commercial desires of their congregation with Starbucks available beside bookstores. And some churches are catering to a type of Christian, such as *Cowboy's*.
I don't think any of these churches are much of a fit for Scott and I. We don't fit the profile well.
The best fit for us is; a smaller congregation of balanced Christians and a Preacher who preaches the whole Word of God. I'm not coming to hear what I want to hear. I am there to hear about what is important for me to learn and accept, and lastly; practice. Sometimes this is an uncomfortable sermon, but needed none-the-less. I want fellowship with people who feel like family. But I also want to be accepted not only for who we are, but who we *were* before we knew Christ. We hope to be able to reach out to those who feel unreachable someday when the situation arises. But before we can get there, we have to find the right church.
So far here is the consensus between Scott and I:
Baptist: Problem with *just saying that prayer and then it's all good*... OSAS, not so sure of.

Evangelical Lutheran: We do not want to be members of a church that supports actively gay ministers.
Mennonite: Neither of us are comfortable with uniform dress, and do not see this as a biblical requirement. It is a bigger distraction for Scott, but it seems to create confusion for us as a couple. Additionally, we have the whole D&R business that puts me on pins and needles. But we love the fellowship.
AOG/Pentecostal: Neither of us see tongues as a requirement for salvation, or even something that should ever happen in church without an interpretation. We do like the groups conservative nature, and the fact that modesty is practiced.
Non-Denominational: Lack of structure and accountability. Many (not all) just sort of make up the rules as they grow. I prefer a doctrinal statement to be established.
Now, this is what we've investigated so far. I know at some point you just have to go and serve and let God deal with the details, and that's what we are doing so far. We have several churches in our area that we frequent. But it sometimes feels like we are not gaining a foothold spiritually and seem to only be treading water.
And like everyone else; we are limited to what is available in our area.
So, how did you and your spouse come to the agreement over which church to join?? How long did you search? What was your criteria?
I am open to any suggestions. I am also considering not covering at church, but only in personal prayer time. This is just something I'm kicking around. It seems that since I've started covering (13 years ago) that this puts a wedge between us and the congregation, unless of course I'm in an Anabaptist Church. I do not see it as a salvational issue, but more one of reverence and obediance. It is a desire of mine to cover...but in the end, I can't let that stand in the way of us worshipping as a couple.

And I want to add that we do have several nice congregations that we visit. We have no complaints, just trying to come to terms with the finer details that seem to keep us from commiting to just one church.
I'd like to hear some thoughts on this and others experiences. Seems we've all bee there at one time or another.