Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Happiness -- and a few flubs along the way.


Thanksgiving is very special to our family. It was doubly so this year, as we will not be all together for Christmas. So, I had set my heart on accomplishing several things to help make it a happy time for all of us.

Well, wouldn't you know that I struggled along at half-mast with a cold the week before Thanksgiving. That failed to dampen my enthusiasm. However, I got sicker just on the day our married children were arriving in town, and, for some reason, along with getting worse physically, I became overly sensitive emotionally. I continued to get worse and worse physically through the weekend. My husband was in recovery from the same illness, and our married daughter also struggled with the same cold?/flu? bug.

I learned some things in the process:

1) I was trying too intensely for everything to be perfect, I became upset with little things, such as not having saran wrap on hand to carry the several dishes of food my daughters and I had prepared for an extended family weekend. Yes, I should have made sure that I had some on hand instead of taking my store of wrappings for granted. However, this little thing was a minor annoyance and not the dramatic failure as a wife and mother that my cold-ravaged brain took it to be. I kid you not -- I had a day and a half when my emotions would go there for a few seconds whenever anything happened that wasn't according to how I had pictured things would be.
2) I have a great husband who helped me see that I was striving too hard in my own power to try to make the holiday fun for everyone instead of just trusting the Lord and being who I am in the Lord. After all, my children traveled many hours to see us and family and friends, and they needed my happy company more than we all needed Saran wrap.
3) I also have great kids, who did notice little changes I have made in the household in order to bring them comfort. Also, they were great to be around and really did come to enjoy my company rather than to seek the perfect holiday. They jumped in and helped out when I was sick.
4) I have a great God, who is not only perfect, but full of grace and mercy.

So, I relaxed, and we had a wonderful holiday together, despite the fact that a good portion of the household was sneezing, coughing, and trying to communicate with hoarse voices. It was just plain old wonderful to be around each other, no matter what the circumstances.

Hope you had a wonderful time, as well.

Enjoy!
Elizabeth

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Monday on Tuesday -- Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...It's gotten dark. I'm happy to be inside where it's warm and light.
I am thankful for...my home and family.
From the learning rooms...I am teaching myself home economics.
From the kitchen...I brought in a bounty today to get ready for the Thanksgiving holidays. I really need to reorganize my pantry and clean out my fridge.
I am wearing...matching T-shirt, flannel pants, and knit slipper/socks. I am not feeling well, and I'm resting in an effort to not be sick over the holiday.
I am creating...living room curtains
I am going...to bed early
I am reading...Luke -- very slowly.
I am hoping...to be well when my kids come home for the holiday.
I am hearing...a plane overhead.
One of my favorite things...the movie "A Christmas Carol".
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Our cat thinks the only way out of the front door is over the top of this entryway dresser and over the candlesticks and flowers. She's a sweetie, though.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Monday! A Wedding, the Flu, a blustery and wet fall day, a wonderful quote, and a report on bathroom re-do!

I hope everyone's having a happy Monday. I hope to jump over to the Simple Woman's Daybook and do the exercise and read everyone else's exercises soon. I may end up doing the Monday exercise on Tuesday, though.

We had a wonderful time at a family wedding this weekend. The older I get, the sappier I am about weddings, and I can really relax and enjoy them now that all my children are married and all I have to do at extended family weddings is just show up!

On the way home, however, DH came down with the flu. I am having some respiratory issues, but I don't think it's the same thing that DH has, and I'm getting around better than he is. So, I've had the opportunity to take care of him as best as I can. He's managing to work from home -- albeit at a slow, slow pace.

I'm so thankful we can both be warm inside on this blustery, wet, fall day. Don't you just enjoy your home on a chilly day when you get to stay inside and be snug? I do.

I've been thinking a lot about sharing our blessings with others who do not have homes. Serving this way is really on dear daughter's and her husband's hearts, and they are bubbling over with excitement as they tell what they are learning with us. Both they and my son and his wife are volunteering at shelters. I am finding that their age group at our church are very interested in actively serving, and I am happy to see young people so occupied. (Now, that just made me sound really, really old -- the way older people used to talk about my group when we were young!! I'm actually young youngish in my prime.)

Our cat was cooped up inside while we were gone, and she has tried twice to go outside today. Once, she made it as far as underneath my husband's car, which was parked in our driveway. I have had cats who are very in tune with the weather outside and who know when to stay in and when to go out. I do not think this particular poor kitty realizes that if it was wet just thirty minutes ago, it is probably still wet and cold. So, she mournfully checks the front door from time to time, hoping that at any moment to discover sunshine and warmth.

So, what does all this have to do with our bathroom redo? Our dear daughter flew down from her home and spent the night with us before riding with us to the wedding. She was my test case for the "Spa feel" bathroom! She noticed it right away and especially appreciated the shelves with all of the little necessary do-dads that one might forget to pack.

So far, I've put in the said shelves, covered the shelves with old embroidered hand towels of my late mother's, placed the items on the shelves, covered the blue shower curtain with white eyelet, replaced the old blue bathmat (which I did not realize was falling apart on the other side) with white ones with a blue and pink flower, and have taken down my old light house wallies and a few pictures.

Still left to do: paint walls a light blue, move my prints from France that advertise old French soaps into the bathroom -- more appropriate place than the bedroom where they are now, and come up with one more piece of art from around the house or something that I make myself.

Those of you who have been kindly indulging me by pretending to be interested in my little project will remember that I was committed to doing this on a budget, and, so far, I've spent very little. Someone pointed out that the white bathmats might not wear well and, thus, might end up in having to invest more later on. I agreed and actually intended to change them out with some fluffy and bright blue mats I had seen in Wal-Mart. However, I left the white mats in place so long that I just ended up keeping them. I have found that that type of mat, which has no plastic backing, is very washable, but I've also found that white objects attracts dirt and can look dingy. So, we'll see how they do.

And, as promised, here's a wonderful sight that came from Caryn's site.

One of the secrets of a happy life is to dwell much upon your likes and to ignore your dislikes. If your mind tends to criticism, fault-finding, and disapproval, it will readily find occasion every hour of the day. There are unfortunate temperaments which dwell habitually upon the disagreeable aspects of life. The result is a mental condition of perpetual fretfulness and unrest. It is possible for you to form the habit of directing your thoughts to pleasant, agreeable, helpful subjects, so that our mind will be in a uniform condition of peace, poise, and healthy optimism. As you dwell upon the best aspects of life, you will find your own life becoming happier, better, and more productive. Dwell upon your mercies, not upon your miseries.

This fits in so well with Julieann's wonderful post on my companion blog. She's a great example of someone who dwells upon her mercies and not upon her miseries. I always enjoy reading her blog, because her enthusiasm always shines through.

Did you notice this sentence in the quote from Caryn's lovely site:If your mind tends to criticism, fault-finding, and disapproval, it will readily find occasion ever hour of the day. Ouch! (I might add that this is all to easy for those of us who tend to worry if we are not disicplined in our thoughts, keeping them focused on the Lord who promises perfect peace if our thoughts are stayed on him.)

And, this one: There are unfortunate temperaments which dwell habitually upon the disagreeable aspects of life. Double ouch!!

Yet, I like the conclusion. As you dwell upon the best aspects of life, you will find your own life becoming happier, better, and more producdtive. Dwell upon your mercies and not upon your miseries.

Good thought for the day!

enjoy!
Elizabeth

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kelli's got a very thoughtful and important post on her blog about the decision for young ladies to go to college or not. I, on the other hand, am going to be silly and blog about a skirt -- a RED skirt. Stacy and Clinton are probably somewhere moaning over my choice of cheap and red, but here goes:

I usually don't wear bright red, but this skirt called my name from the racks of Wal-Mart clothing. Since it obviously didn't cost much and since it is made in the shape that is most flattering for my figure and since it called my name rather loudly, I succumbed to a bit of holiday madness and said what could be more feminine and festive than a RED skirt.

Usually, red wears me rather than me wearing it. However, since this RED is in the skirt I can pair it with a color that is more flattering to my skin.

I have a lovely friend who wears red as her signature color. I think she's actually considered not wearing so much red, but people so identify her with the color that they gift her with purses, scarves, lipsticks, etc., in her special red.

Pink is more my style, with green becoming a fast favorite, as well. But, once in a while, a woman just needs a RED skirt.

Enjoy!
Elizabeth

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish woman tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

If a man pays back evil for good, trouble will never leave his house. Proverbs 17:13

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD Proverbs 19:14

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9

In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. Proverbs 21:20

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established. Proverbs 24:3

Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1

The LORD tears down the proud man's house but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact. Proverbs 15:25

The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings them trouble. Proverbs 15:6

The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. Proverbs 14:11

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. Proverbs 12:4

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22.

Proverbs 9: Wisdom and foolishness illustrated as two women, each in her house.

He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. Proverbs 14:26.

Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6

The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. Proverbs 20:7

A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15

These are just a few things that the book of Proverbs has to say about the house and the family. It makes an interesting study, don't you think?

Enjoy!
elizabeth

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Calling all knitters or crocheters:

On my companion blog: Project Economics -- A one year course, I am planning to do a tutorial for a fabric apron in December. This project would be suitable for women of all sewing skills -- from beginner to advanced.

However, I also came across these two free patterns for knitted and crocheted aprons:

Party apron
Daisy apron

I thought one of our more advanced knitters and crocheters might like to do a tutorial for an apron like this and walk us through the steps. You could do it on your own blog, and I'll link to you on the days you post about your progress with the apron. If you can take pictures of the steps and post them, that would be great.

How about it? Any volunteers?

If no one's up fo it, I may tackle it in the New Year. But, if you think this would be fun, and you'd like to show us how, please leave a comment and let us know.

Enjoy!
Elizabeth

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008



http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Outside my window: It's a blustery fall day, the kind of day when you enjoy being cozy inside. The sky was crisp and clear this morning, though.
I am thinking...that it will be dark so soon. I am looking forward to January, when the days will begin to lengthen. Of course, I don't want to rush there, for life is not to be wished away and there are many wonderful things that, if the Lord wills, will happen between now and the longer days.
I am thankful for...being near enough to my father to be with him in his old age. He was such a wonderful father to me. My mother has already passed away, and I am an only child, so this is extra important to me. I'm also glad he has gotten to see my children grow up and become happily married.
From the learning rooms...I know this means a home school room, but God seems to be teaching me lessons in all of my rooms!
From the kitchen...It will just be moi, as dear hubby is off to a meeting tonight. So, haven't decided what I will do. P.B. and honey is sounding good to me. Or, maybe banana and cottage cheese.
I am wearing...black short sleeved sweater, red top, black jeans, and did have on pointy-toe flats but now have on sneakers.
I am creating...a home economics blog
I am going...to either work on my home and home business tonight or go over to a friend's for coffee.
I am reading...Amish Grace, The Prayer of Jesus, the book of Luke
I am hoping...to finish sewing living room curtains
I am hearing...weaves blowing in the breeze.
Around the house...We're cutting out TV, except for a very few select things. Even if we do manage to find something decent to watch, we're uneasy with many of the commercials.
One of my favorite things...is cuddling on the sofa and watching good movies with dear hubby. Any suggestions for wholesome ones?

Can't wait to see our newest newlyweds this weekend.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South

Philadelphia

The Northeast

The Inland North

The West

Boston

North Central

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


I feel cheated. As someone who has lived her whole life below the Mason Dixon line, I think I should speak with a beautiful Southern drawl -- like many of my relatives do. But, while I do use southern and southern country expressions, I really do have a neutral accent. This is partly due to teachers who drummed into me the importance of pronouncing "pen" differently from "pin" and not pronouncing either one as "pe-un". It's also due to going to a high school where a good many of the students came from families that had transferred to the South from all over the country. And, I think it's also from majoring in journalism and English lit. Alas, no beautiful drawl for me.

What about you? What's your accent?

Enjoy!
elizabeth

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Feminine Friday again!

Kelly blogged about purse love, since she found a lovely and reasonably priced purse that will double as a diaper bag. Having just the right purse is a delight! However, I don't have any pictures on short notice of my favorite bags.

So, instead, here's a favorite quote of mine:

A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'
Maya Angelou

Enjoy!
Elizabeth

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just dreaming!! I love the layout of this little home office, which is located in the kitchen of the sample house.

We don't have space in our kitchen to have a desk, but I can't complain as we do have other spaces for our desks. For more examples of home offices, check out this article: This old House.


Enjoy!

Elizabeth

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

He that is blessed with a good wife is as happy as if he were upon the throne, for she is no less than a crown to him. A virtuous woman, that is pious and prudent, ingenious and industrious, that is active for the good of her family and looks well to the ways of her household, that makes conscience of her duty in every relation, a woman of spirit, that can bear crosses without disturbance, such a one owns her husband for her head, and therefore she is a crown to him, not only a credit and honour to him, as a crown is an ornament, but supports and keeps up his authority in his family, as a crown is an ensign of power. She is submissive and faithful to him and by her example teaches his children and servants to be so too.

Matthew Henry

Monday, November 10, 2008

Doing my homework...

On my companion blog, "Project Home Economics: A One Year Course," I suggested an exercise: Think about a home -- other than your own -- where you feel (felt) welcomed and comfortable. What was it about that home that felt so beckoning? Do you or did you have a woman in your life (other than your own mother) who loved her family and kept her home in such a way that it inspired you? If so, what do you see in her that made her a special keeper of her home?

So often, I've admired a home without realizing the effort of the homemaker to make it inviting. Or, if I did recognize the effort, I wanted the same effect without all of the labor she put into it.
Yet, when I really think about what makes a home welcoming and commit myself to working towards that goal, it inspires me. Having a positive example in your mind, as well as a positive role model, focuses your mental and physical energy toward reaching your own goals.

One of my favorite homes was an old farm house belonging to two late relatives of mine. It stood at the top of a long, sloping rise. There was a large pond at the bottom of the rise, where cattle used to water. I used to love to sit in the porch swing and rock and look down at the pond. The house, which I think was antebellum, was furnished with antiques. Yet, I don't remember there being anything special about the way the home was decorated. It was just a simple, old rural American house. These particular relatives were not ones to keep up with styles or trends. They were just happy to live a simple farming life. I think the things that made their house special to me were a feeling of quiet and peace, as well as my relatives' warm, kind, happy way of making me feel special.

Another house I loved was a labor of love on the part of the husband and the wife. The wife was an excellent seamstress, and she made her own curtains, bedspreads, and cushions. She also added to her home through cross-stitch. I loved one bedroom in that house, because it was decorated in warm peaches and blues -- which is right up my alley. The qualities I saw in this homemaker were her industry, her organization, her creativity and thriftiness, and her love for her home. She also had a knack for setting every object in her home just so, so that you really felt that everything in her home had a place and that everything in her home was in its proper place. She was constantly working about her home. I also loved the sun room, which was done in warm pinks and greens and had -- you guessed it -- a wicker porch-type swing in it.

Another home keeper I remember used to "read cookbooks like other people read novels", she always said. She cooked wonderful meals that always had some nice touches. She was so organized ahead of time that you never realized how much work went into those meals. She was also warm and welcoming. She visited the sick or other people who were shut in and took them little gifts.

Finally, another home keeper I admire really involved herself in helping her husband's career. She loved and did kind things for the people who worked for him. She made a wonderful, restful feeling home. I am quite sure that she worked hard at it, yet, again, you never felt that she was frantically bustling about. She was welcoming, kind, and calm.

Now, three of these home keepers that I'm talking about had already raised their children or, in one case, had not been able to have children when I knew them. Yet, from hearing their stories, I know that they had made a wonderful home for their children, as well.

That reminds me of homes in which the sound of happy children playing is delightful. In such homes, you see a few toys here and there, but, unless it gets out of hand, it adds to the cheerful feeling of home.

So, what did I learn from a study of my favorite homes?

a) This is just my personal taste: Though I don't like clutter that is out of control, my style is not minimalist or modern. I like houses that have a "homey" feeling to them.
b) Having a place for everything and putting everything in its place really does pay off in creating a peaceful, restful home atmosphere. Plus, you can find things when you need them.
c) I want to work hard behind the scenes, but to be welcoming and relaxed around family and friends. People first, things second. This requires a lot of work, much of which may go unnoticed, but it's worth it.

How about you? Tell us about a home you enjoy or an inspiring home keeper in your life.

Enjoy!
elizabeth


Simple Woman's Daybook


FOR November 10, 2008.
Outside My Window...There is frost on the green grass. The leaves are brilliant and breathtaking.
I am thinking...How much I enjoy reading everyone's Daybook.
I am thankful for...quilts to snuggle under.
From the kitchen...I'm soaking some white beans to have with cornbread, a favorite dish of Dear Hubby's
I am creating...new routines for my home.
I am going...to the store.
I am reading...Amish Grace. It's a study of how the Amish view forgiveness, especially in relation to the school shooting tragedy. It's Very heart wrenching and convicting, as well.
I am hoping...to feel better today; not up to snuff.
I am hearing...the hum of the heating.
Around the house...I have important work to do, and I'm looking forward to it.
One of my favorite things...making macaroni and cheese using half whole-wheat macaroni and half regular macaroni.

Picture thought for the Day:



Dear hubby lost our camera on a business trip. Since I am usually the loser of things, I cannot complain. At any rate, I thought I'd share this little bit of Victorian clip art.

Enjoy!
Elizabeth

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Tomorrow (Monday) I'm starting Project Home Economics: A One Year Course. If you like, follow along with me as I give myself a refresher course in how to manage a home well. Whether you're a future keeper at home or whether you've been keeping a home for fifty years, we'll all learn something together.

I'm going to leave the blog up for a while even after the year is finished -- if the Lord wills -- so you can jump in any time.

I'm going to make suggestions for things we can do to improve our home keeping. I'll try to include some basic exercises for beginners and some more challenging things for those of us who have been keeping a home for a while. Do as much or as little as you like -- or simply read along.

Remember, I'm not an expert, but a fellow student of the art and science of home keeping along with you. We're taking this journey together. So, feel free to leave your comments so that all of us can have the benefit of your home keeping experiences. I will also ask some to be "guest" bloggers.

I'll try to include lots of free reference material from the Internet, as all as suggest some books you might find in the library.

In preparation, you might consider starting two notebooks:

1) A simple notebook to jot down your progress and also to save any information you want to keep. This could be a three ring binder or a plain spiral notebook.

2) A notebook we shall call, "My Book of Days". This can also be a plain spiral notebook. Or, it could be a pretty journal or even a scrapbook. In this notebook, we're going to jot down encouraging thoughts and also record the happy memories that we are building in our home. This is the type of notebook you'll want to pull out on those days when you wonder if you're making a difference or if you're lagging in motivation. So, feel free to make it as lovely and delightful as you'd like it to be.

We'll also keep things rolling along at the Merry Rose!

Enjoy!
Elizabeth

Thursday, November 06, 2008



I'm starting a companion blog to this one: Home Economics Project: A One Year Course. Basically, I'm giving myself a refresher course in being a Home Manager with lessons and exercises in various subjects related to the home. I will be sewing, cooking, organizing, managing money and time, etc.

I'm inviting anyone who's interested in improving or reviewing their home management skills to follow along with me, whether you're a seasoned home keeper or a young girl wanting to study home economics. I will offer items for the young girl learning at home as well as for those seasoned home keepers who would like to participate in some "graduate study".

Please understand that I am not a teacher by trade, and this course will not be a "credit" course. We will, though, have a printable certificate at the end of a years, which you may use to remind you of what we've all accomplished. I do hope that mothers who are either home schooling their daughters or are otherwise teaching them the skills needed to run a home will find this to be a useful program to do with their daughters. Please also, understand that I am not an expert despite almost three decades of home keeping, but will consider myself to be a student along with you.

I plan to make as much use as I can of materials available on the Internet and in most libraries, as well as draw up some lessons from materials that I have on hand. I will probably ask some guest bloggers to do a few lessons in their particular area of expertise, as well.

The format will be somewhat similar to the Online Finishing School, which I will keep updating, as well.

Anyone interested? Let me know.

I will let you know when the blog is up and ready to go.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Last night we had the easiest dinner ever....


Flour tortillas spread with just a smidgen of pizza sauce --(You could use more sauce if you like.)
Olives, mushrooms. (or whatever toppings you like)
Mozarella cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes -- Keep your eye on it as it bakes. I have an oven with several rack positions, so I had mine about the third rack down -- higher than in the middle but not so high as you would if you were broiling something.

That's it. I borrowed the idea from my mother-in-law.

Enjoy!
Elizabeth

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Check out this post from Choosing Voluntary Simplicity about Sensible Frugality. She talks about choosing a frugal lifestyle, yet not going to such an extreme that you burn out and give up.

Also, Hadias is doing a series on Meal Planning.

Contentment on Election Day...

I suppose all presidential elections stir strong convictions in us. As we all know, this year's decision process has been particularly intense.

I managed to make it almost through the entire campaign without getting drawn into a political disagreement. The other day, however, I was at a luncheon, and I went over to hug two friends. As I drew near, I realized that they were having an emotional exchange about the candidates.

Wouldn't you know it? I jumped in with my two cents. I spoke impulsively, without taking the time to pray or think about what I was going to say.

As soon as I opened my mouth, I regretted it. All three of us had already voted early, so it wasn't as if we were engaged in helping each other make a good decision. The conversation was going nowhere, and it wasn't bearing good fruit. My contribution only made one of the women feel ganged up on. We all love each other, and we resolved things quickly and peacefully. Still, I realized that of the "times to speak" and the "times to be silent" mentioned in Ecclesiastes, this would have been a great time for me to "be silent" -- or, even better, to have been a peacemaker.

Well, the campaign comes to an end today, and the time of debating is over. I'm glad. Aren't you? Isn't it great to know that no matter what happens today, it will be in alignment with God's direct or allowed will?

As the Bible tells us: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by the Lord." Romans 13:1 "...for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations." Psalm 22:28. "..."He...sets up kings and deposes them." Daniel 2:21. "He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him." Acts 17:26-27.

When Jesus was on this earth, a crowd came to forcibly make him a political king. John 6:14-15. Jesus withdrew from them, because he knew they had misunderstood his mission. He had not come to take charge of the earthly government right then. He had come to die for us, to be raised to life again, and to offer us admittance into the eternal heavenly kingdom.

Later on, he told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." John 18:36. During his earthly ministry, Jesus spoke often of this kingdom. "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." Matthew 9:35. There are roughly 116 references to this kingdom in the four gospels alone.

If we are disciples of Jesus, our true citizenship is in this heavenly kingdom. Phil. 3:20. As wonderful as our country is, our first and total allegiance is to the rule of God. Matthew 5:1-10, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 6:10.

So, what does our Heavenly King ask of us in terms of participation in our earthly government?

1) To submit to the governing authorities, unless they ask us to disobey the Lord. Romans 13:1-5, Acts 5:29.
2) To pay taxes. Romans 12:6-7
3) To give honor to whom honor is due. Romans 12:6-7
4) To pray for those in authority so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I Timothy 2:1-3.

As far as I can tell, that's about it. This, of course, is in the context of loving our neighbors as ourselves, helping the poor and suffering among us among us, and spreading the good news of the eternal kingdom and of God's grace. God asks that we do these things personally and through the church. We impact hearts and lives one by one as we make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything. Matthew 28:18-28. We do this by depending wholly on the Lord and not on human wisdom or power.

The early church lived this way, and they revolutionized their world. Descriptions from early writings tell us that, among other things, the Christians of the first three centuries were known for adopting abandoned babies, for caring for the elderly, for being the only ones to take care of plague victims during a third-century epidemic, for founding the first hospitals, for forsaking ungodly entertainments, for sharing their possessions so that no one amongst them would go needy, and for loving those who persecuted them. They amazed others with their willingness to be martyred for their faith. They made an impact on their society even though the government and large segments of their society were antagonistic toward them. They changed the world not through politics, but through their devotion to the Lord.

Today, many people live in countries, such as the U.S., where we do have some say about how our government is run. This has not generally been the case in history, nor is it true for all people even now. So, it's a privilege to be able to cast our vote if it is our conviction to do so.

It's an even greater comfort to know that we can trust the Lord with the outcome. Christians rejoice, knowing that God works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his promise. We are grateful, because we know that no matter what happens in earthly politics, we are "receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken." Hebrews 12:28. We do not let civilian affairs distract us from our desire to please our Lord. 2 Timothy 2:3-6

Because of this confidence, we can give our new president -- whomever he might be -- the honor that is due him. We can pray for him. We can do this even if he is not our personal choice. We can shine by keeping a contented spirit and by not complaining. Phil. 2:14-16.

Earthly regimes come and go; Christ is our Lord forever. That's good news!

Enjoy!
Elizabeth