A Review–“Shopping For God”

This is one of those books that I’m not really sure why I picked up. It’s “Shopping for God–How Christianity went from in your heart to in your face” by James Twitchell. I think it was the second part of the title that caught my eye. I was thinking it would be from a Christian perspective, but I guess I should have known better.

Twitchell describes himself as an “apatheist,” which he says basically means “a disinclination to care all that much about one’s own religion and an even stronger disclination to care about other people’s.” Other than that, I’m not quite sure what he believes. He definitely does not consider himself a born-again Christian and that’s clear from the book. That perspective colored the whole book. He is very negative towards most Christian demoninations. It’s like studying Christianity is a hobby to him, the way studying baseball or sewing would be a hobby to someone else.

There were many times I got mad at this book and thought about putting it down. I didn’t, because it is a fascinating look at what unbelievers really think of us. It’s sad. You can tell Twitchell’s eyes have been closed. I think reading it is a good way to figure out how we can take some steps to reach unbelievers. I was raised in the Bible Belt, with Christian parents, friends, etc. It’s hard for me to see how the world looks at us. I guess I’ve been sheltered that way.

For instance, the author states that “The New Testament says nothing in favor of tithing.” I guess he forgot to read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4. He also describes Ananias and Sapphira as being struck dead for failing to give 100% to the church. This is not true. They were struck dead because they lied to the Holy Spirit, not because of failure to give.

He does make some good points about the feminization of the Church and why a lot of men are uncomfortable with church. It’s interesting to me that even an unbeliever can see that. If you’re a Christian, this book may make you mad, like it did me. But it was worth seeing how deceived unbelievers can be. I was especially troubled by the way the author only went to various churches to ridicule them. He claims he was studying them, but it comes across more like ridicule in the book. I don’t want to run down this author, but he is clearly greatly deceived. I’m sure M. Twitchell’s intelligence and skills would be a great asset to the Kingdom and I hope one day the Message he’s hearing during his “God shopping” will get through.

Published in: on April 5, 2008 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Frugal Friday–Cheap Beginner Sewing

frugalfridays-754123-778598.jpgSewing can be a very expensive hobby, especially if you’re just starting out. Here’s some ways I’ve saved money as I learn to sew:

*Borrow a machine. Often a friend or relative will have one they no longer use. If you’re lucky, they might give it to you. If you do buy, try the machine out at the store to be sure you’re getting what you want.

*Buy pattern paper for tracing and “share” patterns with friends or relatives. That way, you won’t have to cut the pattern. Just trace off the size you need.

*Hobby Lobby has patterns for $1 or $2 pretty often. Check and see. Sometimes it’s an unadvertised sale.

*Use remnants when you can. Our local Wal-Mart still carries fabric, so I go through the remnant bins every time I’m there. For small projects, it’s great. Often there will be up to a yard of fabric in each remnant.

*Some community or extension centers offer free or low-cost classes. Sometimes a tech school will do the same. Or if you have a friend who sews, trade off and teach her a skill in exchange for sewing lessons.

*Check out the library for books before you buy.

 Frugal Fridays are sponsored by Crystal at Biblicalwomanhood.

Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 7:45 pm  Comments (2)  

Modesty–A lost art

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of modesty today. I’m sick of this. I’m sick of seeing body parts that only one’s spouse used to see. I’m sick of the “hooker” clothes for little girls. I’m sick of moms trying to out-dress their teenagers. I do not want to see anyone’s navel ring, bra straps, underwear or lack of underwear.

As Christians, the Bible says we’re called to be different. It says women are to dress modestly. Note, it says modestly, not frumpy. We don’t have to look bad just because we’re modestly dressed. I’ll admit, it’s hard to find the right balance. I’m not sure I’ve found it yet.

In some cases, church is last place one finds modesty. This is truly sad. We were members of a church where status was very important and every Sunday was like a fashion competition. (One reason we’re no longer there…) I often saw more immodestly dressed women (and yes, it’s usually women) there than the mall. Even the little girls were too “adult” in their dress. After one particular Sunday, Curly Haired Husband remarked, “No one told me it was Cleavage Day.” 

So, for those of us who appreciate modesty, I’ll be blogging about the issue as it comes up and hopefully offering some helpful links. This one, by Mrs. Lauren Christine, is very well-written and expresses her convictions on modesty. (She also has a great site, by the way. Check it out.)

And for the record, I’m not “dresses only”, though some members of my family are. I think dresses/skirts are more feminine and ladylike, but I also think there are situations where modest pants are appropriate. I’m not talking low-rise jeans here, but there are situations that make dress-wearing very difficult. We need to look very carefully at what we’re revealing no matter what we’re wearing.

Published in: on April 3, 2008 at 8:17 pm  Comments (1)  

A Review–“Sew Everything Workshop”

First off, let me say that I’ve only been sewing for about a year. And my practice comes in between caring for a toddler, so I usually have to sew in short bursts of time. This book is great for that. It’s got tons of info and is very user-friendly. I was able to sew several of her projects right away, with no trouble and they came out looking great. I’ve tried several do-it-yourself sewing books and most were boring or unhelpful. “Sew Everything Workshop” by Diana Rupp is not.

This book comes with pattern pieces which are supposed to have more info that the usual patterns, but honestly, I haven’t made it that far yet. (Sorry.) I’ve just been doing the non-pattern projects. If you’ve never used a machine, this might be a little too advanced, but I’ve only had a few classes and felt it was right at my level. (For reference, I can easily read and follow a pattern, do buttonholes, and put in a zipper. Sleeves and collars give me more trouble. What does that make me, intermediate beginner, maybe?)

I will warn you, though, the author is a little unorthodox. I’m not wild about the “What Would Martha Do?” references, and some of the language could be cleaned up. The project names aren’t exactly to my liking, either. (Naughty Secretary Skirt, for example.) So be aware of this. That said, the info and explanations of projects are excellent.

Published in: on April 3, 2008 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

WFMW– Prolong a dying dishwasher


I now have something I never thought I’d own. A stainless steel dishwasher. I know, aren’t you jealous?! Thanks to a closeout sale and our tax refund, I no longer have to wash all the dishes by hand. (This is sad. Next I’ll be excited about an iron.)

We had a dishwasher. It just didn’t work. It died slowly, over a period of several months and I did learn how to help prolong it. So if you’re in the same boat, here’s what worked (for a while, at least.)

*Use the best detergent you can afford. It really did make a difference. I like Electrasol tabs.

*Run the hot water a minute or two before starting the dishwasher. This way your dishes will get hot water immediately.

*Be sure to load the dishes so they face the water spray.

*Rinse before loading. (I know, this totally defeats the purpose, but it’s better than handwashing.)

*Use vinegar in the little liquid bin.

These things worked for me! Check out more tips at Rocks in my dryer.

Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 11:31 am  Comments (4)  

Kids bring lots of joy…

and vomit. Lots and lots of vomit. I think that’s all the detail I need to give. The past 4 days have been a complete blur. I don’t think my house has ever been so messy. We had to miss a family wedding that I really wanted to attend (though I am glad we didn’t infect the whole wedding party.) Curly Haired Husband didn’t exactly have a great birthday. But here’s what I did learn from all three of us being sick at the same time:

–We can never be sick at the same time again. We only have two bathrooms.

–I’m not sure I’m ready for another child. Maybe in about 8 years.

–A ham and cheese sandwich when you’re sick will set your recovery back a good 6 hours.

–Curly Haired Husband is pretty good at housework.

–I have really nice parents.

–Kids bounce back a lot quicker. She’s climbing on the kitchen table again and I’m barely functioning.

–I think I’m going back to bed.

Published in: on April 1, 2008 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Review of “What Would Jesus Eat?”

I just finished reading “What Would Jesus Eat?” by Don Colbert. I gotta say, the title really turned me off.  I don’t like all the “WWJD” stuff. It’s one thing to think about what Jesus would do in a situation, but to market it so is what bothers me. And it’s so easy for nonbelievers to make fun of. I’ve seen “What Would Scooby Do” and “What Would Martha (Stewart) Do” stuff. All the WWJD stuff was popular when I was in youth group and, invariably, it was worn by kids who definitely weren’t thinking or practicing what Jesus would do.

But I digress…I’m not totally sure why I picked up this book. I’m trying to focus on eating healthier and someone recommended it to me as being more “doable” than “The Maker’s Diet.” I did not see this to be the case, though. While this book has a lot of good info if you’re completely ignorant of healthy eating, it didn’t offer much if you already knew the  bascis. Also, there was very little info about the science behind things and some of it was faulty. For instance, the author states that aerobic exercise is the best of all. Well, I have a degree in exercise physiology and I know that is not the case. Aerobic exercise is great and necessary, but so is strength training. One is not better than the other.

And just because Jesus ate something, does that mean we should automatically eat it? Jesus wore sandals; does that mean we should wear sandals, too? I also don’t know how Colbert can say what Jesus’ favorite food was. How does he know? And again, I think that’s like saying what Jesus’ favorite day of the week was. Interesting, but not really relevant.

The thing that bothered me the most was the lack of info on how to follow the diet. It could have used some recipes and some realistic lifestyle changes. I understand his point; maybe this is ideal. But we can’t all afford this diet and you have to work with people where they are. It would be great if everyone in America had a gym membership and worked out regularly. But we don’t. So we need to find strategies that work where we are. I wish there’d been a little more of these in the book.

I can’t really recommend this book because I didn’t like it. I think there are far better diet books on the market. It’s an interesting read if you approach it from the perspective of what did Jesus really eat, but as a realistic diet, I think “The Maker’s Diet” is better.

Published in: on March 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm  Comments (2)  

Frugal Fridays—Just Ask!

frugalfridays-754123-778598.jpgOne thing I’ve found is that if you ask, you will receive. Let family and friends know what you are in need (or want) of. Just by letting our family know that we were willing to take unwanted items off their hands, we’re received tons of items for yard sales; a huge playhouse, picnic table, tricycle, and rocking horse for our daughter; clothes, shoes, furniture, and books.

Most of these items were in great or even new condition. The original owners just didn’t want them. For example, my cousin lost some weight and wanted her “fat” clothes out of her sight. I was happy to take them off her hands. We try to pass on the favor by giving things we don’t want or can’t use to others who can. We also sell items very cheaply at our yard sales (like 5 or 10 cent clothes). We may not make a lot of money off them, but I know I’m helping someone else get nice clothes for very little money.

It never hurts to let people know what you want! My sister in law had always wanted a piano and received one for free; she just had to pick it up. (So far, this hasn’t worked for me with receiving a new car, but hey! You know never!)

Check out more Frugal Fridays at Biblical Womanhood!

Published in: on March 28, 2008 at 11:39 am  Comments (1)  

Works for Me Wednesday–Sneaky Exercise

wfmwsmall2.jpgI have a hard time fitting exercise in, even though I do like to work out. (I know, I’m a weirdo.) I try to get in ten minutes each morning so that I feel like I’m off to a good start. Then if that’s all I can do that day, at least I did something. Usually that motivates me to do more exercise later in the day. For the ten minutes, I usually do crunches and other ab work, pushups, and some stretching.

If I missed my morning ten minutes, or if I don’t have time to do more later, I’ll try to sneak in some exercise during the day. While I’m waiting for water to boil, I’ll do squats. If I get time to watch some TV in the evening, I’ll try to stretch or do crunches during the commercials. While my daughter plays in the tub, I’ll do standing leg lifts and pushups against the sink. I’d do something while I brush my teeth, but I’m not that coordinated!

You could also try having an exercise “trigger.” Like at every stop light, you’ll hold in your abs for 30 seconds. Or you can only talk on the phone if you walk around while talking.  I have a thing where, when we go to get the mail, I have to push my daughter in her little toy car 2 laps around the yard. She enjoys it and I get some easy exercise (and we usually end up doing about 5 laps!). While these things might not get you in marathon-shape, it’s a good way to fit in some sneaky exercise!

Check out more WFMW tips at Rocks in my Dryer!

Published in: on March 26, 2008 at 11:46 am  Comments (10)  

You are being watched….

Curly Haired Husband and I have been attending a new church the past few months. We’ve really enjoyed it, but one lady in particular has caught my attention. She’s everywhere; working in the nursery, singing solos, greeting people. She’s very friendly and seems very nice. However, that’s what made me realize how important it is as Christians to be polite in all situations, not just church. I knew this, but this lady brought the point home to me.

A couple of years ago, before I had Curly Haired Baby, I was the manager of a local business. My first day on the job, this lady from church called and blessed me out about something the previous manager had done. Then she hung up on me. I was polite to her (it was my first day!) but I had no idea what she was even talking about. She called back, wanting preferential treatment and for me to pull some strings for her. I explained it was my first day and I’d have to talk with the owners because I lacked that authority. This made her so mad she came down to the shop and tried to intimidate me in person. (It didn’t work.) After that, she wasn’t too friendly each time she was in. I dreaded her coming in because I was kind of scared of her.

Then I see her at our new church and she’s the star soloist, the happy teacher, etc. This is kind of amusing to me, but it also makes me mad. So she can be nice and friendly at church, but not to service people? She was downright rude and ugly to me, but she can be nice at church? This aggravates me, but how would this look to a nonbeliever? If I wasn’t a Christian, this episode wouldn’t make me think too highly of them.

Yes, I realize that she may have changed in the past couple of years, and maybe she was just hormonal or something. But my point is valid. We need to be aware of Who we represent at all times. We’re not just Christians on Sunday. We’re Christians every day. And yes, I’ve done things and said things that were rude, too. (More than I should have!) I’m not trying to pick on this lady. She’s just a good example of how we’re always being watched. Others are always watching to see how we handle tough situations. We need to be different from the world. This was a reminder I needed!

Published in: on March 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment