Guy/Girl Relationships: An Aha! Moment

These last few days, I’ve been really wondering what a Biblical perspective for guy/girl relationships is. How are we girls supposed to treat guys? Is it possible to be friends with a guy, and yet not have to worry about coming across as romantically interested when all you intend to do is simply be a friend? For me, it hasn’t been that hard to be friends with other girls. Yes, I’m always nervous when I meet new people, and am generally pretty quiet until I get to know them better. But I’ve never really had the chance to be friends with guys, probably at least partly due to the fact that I’m always worried that I’ll come across in a different way than I intend to.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about this, and while I’m sure I don’t have the entire answer yet, I think I’ve found the key to the solution.

My problem is that I’ve always imagined friendships with guys with the view of them being possible future marriage partners. Never simply as “friends”.

Guy/Girl Relationships

From what I can see, these are two completely different friendships—the one with my girlfriends is mostly about being a blessing to them, listening when they have struggles, sharing struggles of your own, being together and talking about everything under the sun. However, what I’ve always imagined in a guy’s friendship is mostly stuff centered around romance and marriage. How selfish and pointless is that?

I think what’s happened is that I’ve unconsciously bought into a lie—and I’ll explain that in a moment.

I’ve got an older friend (and I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this!) that made a bad decision in her younger years. She went against the advice of her friends and family, and many years later realized her mistake and tried to correct it. However, from what I read in the Bible, her method of correcting the situation was wrong. That fact aside, she’s since told me that in effect, you should do what you deem is right, no matter what others say. That you should follow your heart no matter what the outcome will be, instead of leading your heart.

From what I’ve heard from modern music, TV, blogs, movies, the internet, and other sources (intentionally or not), I believe this is a modern worldly view. Modern media is pushing the thought that girls’ relationships with guys (and vice versa) can never be simply friendships. It’s okay to have lots of friends in your own gender, but if you cross over into the other gender, that most likely means that you’re interested in dating or going out with them.

The sad thing is, it’s so prevalent that I have unconsciously accepted that as truth. That I can’t have simple friendships with guys without having a “purpose” behind that friendship.

This is not only a lie, but it’s dangerous. And completely unbiblical.

A pertinent verse that comes to mind on this subject is one from 1 Timothy 5:1-2: “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethrenThe elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” (emphasis mine)

Taken at face value, this literally means we girls should treat younger men as if they were our brothers, and for the guys to treat younger women as if they are their sisters. Note that nothing is said like “but it’s best if you’re only friends with those of your own gender.” The only stipulation is that you treat them “with all purity”. That would apply to both parties, I believe.

For me, this is revolutionary—that it is okay to simply be friends. Of course, we still have to be careful in our friendships. We still have to be aware that others may see and interpret our words and actions differently than we do. But if we keep to treating everyone “with all purity”, in Christ’s love, be sober minded (yes, I’m talking to myself), and continually commit every friendship to the Lord—whether it be within our own gender or not—we should be alright.

Oh, and sober minded? Different definitions could include self-controlled, wise, discreet, or sensible.

Here are two other helpful passages as well:

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” —1 Timothy 4:12–16

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”—Titus 2:4–8

The Mystery Object: Can You Help?

One evening this week, my ten year old brother was searching through my sixteen year old brother’s things, trying to find a lost wallet. I don’t know if he ended up finding the wallet or not, but he did discover something fascinating—an old metal thing, with the name “Nat” inscribed on the outside, and a tiny picture of a man on the inside. It is about 15 mm in diameter, so pretty tiny!

Mystery Object 01

There is nothing on the outside edge that would have made it possible to put on a necklace (no little loops or anything), and it wasn’t made to snap onto clothing as a button—we tried that out, and it didn’t work.

Mystery Object 02

I asked my brothers how they had found it, and the older brother said he had seen something shiny in the garden while he was cultivating, and picked it up. It was covered in dirt, so he soaked it in water and then cleaned it off. Afterward, he put it in with his other odds and ends, and forgot about it.

Then our younger brother was looking for his wallet, and found it—and seeing that it was made up of two different pieces, tried to open it! After prying it apart, this is what he found. In an attempt to find out who the man was, the boys popped his picture out to see if there were words underneath, but there were none—and in the process of putting it back in, some of the picture flaked off. They decided we ought to take a photograph of it before it gets any worse!

Mystery Object 03

Have you seen anything like this before? Do you know what it could be? None of us can figure any more out than what has already been stated.


In other news, I’m working on writing a guest post for my cousin Kendra Stamy at A Proverbs 31 Wife. So far, the task has proven challenging, but I’m enjoying it. Lots of interesting thoughts coming out about books and why we read what we read. Praying that I’ll be able to encourage someone through this opportunity! I’ll share the link on here once the post is published.

Also, I’ve been working on memorizing Psalm 67 the last two weeks. So far, so good—almost through the chapter now. I did get a little stuck on verse four, but I think I’m getting it. Just need to remember that verses three and five are exactly the same, and get six and seven down pat yet. I’m getting there!

Memorising Psalm 67:4

I decided to put the verse on my computer desktop until I get it memorized, so I won’t forget to practice it.

I also need to get this month’s newsletter written and sent. AFTER the guest post is written! I need to send out the last giveaway prize today—just heard back from the last winner this morning—and then that job will be done. 🙂 There are a couple other emails related to the giveaway that need replies yet, but they’ll be taken care of soon.

And along with all of that, I’m trying to ignore the insistent summons from a recent fascinating story, The Destiny of a Few by Sarah Holman, to finish reading it. Hey, I just got on Amazon to get a link for you, and I see that the Kindle version is currently free! Get it now if you can! I’m about halfway through the book, and thoroughly enjoying the adventure, even though I don’t completely agree with some of the views put forward in the book. If I can hold out until my work for today is done, then I can indulge in reading. I think.

Hope you’re having a great day, and if you have any ideas about what this mystery object is, my brothers and I would be glad to hear your thoughts.

Learning to Love

This month, I’m participating in a study on love, based on 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve had different ideas on the topic over the years—back when I was 5 or 6 and couldn’t write much, the most common phrase in my letters was “God is love”.

Back then, those words were security to me. That is who God is. But my idea of love—God’s love—never went far beyond that. That is who God is, but I never applied it to my life as “God is love, so therefore I should be . . . .”

Learning to Love

Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:2-3)

The study so far has been challenging and enlightening. Seeing how without love we are practically useless has made me wonder how love is shown in my life.

  • Am I showing love to my coworker when she offers to do the last little bit of cleaning, that can only be done by one person, and I let her do it? Especially when I know she’s tired and would rather go home to rest?
  • Am I showing love to my brother when he has an exciting experiment and I’m feeling tired and grumpy, so I tell him I’m not interested?
  • Am I showing love to my friend when I tell her of my troubles, but never care to ask her about hers?
  • Am I showing love to my neighbor when she stops by, and since I don’t really like her I take the option to duck out to my room and let Mom talk rather than carry on a conversation?

Truthfully, I have to answer no to all those questions. I’m pretty terrible at showing love. So this next week, I’m challenging myself to do at least one thing each day to show love to someone—whether it’s speak a word of encouragement, do something for someone, or simply listen to my brother’s idea and practice some patience.

This week, I want to be proactive about learning to love those around me. I do love and appreciate a lot of people, but usually that isn’t shown.

Will you join me? Can we have a positive influence on the world and the people around us this next week?

And if this aspect of love is a little easier for you than for some of us, do you have any practical tips for how to actively show our love to others?

The Three Little Monkeys and the Big Bad Bull (Video) | Khemists in the Kitchen, Episode 5

Or in other words, season finale! Although we weren’t planning to have a season at all, and we probably aren’t going to do this again.

This particular movie was fun to make. As a family, we children had been kicking around the idea of doing a twist on the traditional Three Little Pigs story, but we hadn’t been able to figure out exactly what we should do or how we should go about it. But since I wanted a nice wrap-up to these recipe videos, and since everyone wanted to make another family movie (it’s becoming a tradition around here), we decided we’d give this a go.

The Three Little Monkeys and the Big Bad Bull video

It took a lot of work, much more than any of us ever imagined at first, but I think it’s ended up worth it. They still enjoy watching it, which means it can’t be too bad!

As my brothers and I were planning the movie—figuring out which part each of us would play, deciding on the final plot, etc, one thing I wanted was to make sure we were all in it somewhere. With eight children in the family, that has the potential to be difficult to do! However, we all have an appearance somewhere, and even little sister managed to get in—she was playing on the floor for 2-3 seconds in one scene.

This is by no means a professional movie, but I hope you enjoy it at least as much as we did creating it and watching it together!

There is a short recipe in the video, showing you how to make ants on a log if you didn’t already know:

Take prewashed slices of celery, liberally spread with peanut butter, and put raisins on top for the “ants”. This makes a quick, easy, yet deliciously healthy snack!

Have you ever been an actor in a video? If not, have you ever wanted to?

–Esther

(Depending on your answer, I have an idea for another post about how we make movies and some things we’ve learned along the way!)

How to Make Eggnog (Recipe Video) | Khemists in the Kitchen, Episode 3

There’s a bit of a story behind this one…my brother came up with the idea for sharing how to make eggnog one day, but for several days we couldn’t make it because I was working. Finally, we were able to do it—but due to poor planning, and acting-as-you-go, the first take turned out pretty terrible. (I laughed while videoing at one stage! Bad, bad videographer!)

For a while, he was okay with the result, but then decided it should be better if we were going to share it with anyone. Below is the second version, much better than the first.

Be warned: The first 4 min, 40 sec is slightly gross, so if you have a weak stomach I suggest you skip it. It’s not bad, but it does contain rotten eggs and other like disgusting stuff. Bear in mind that the first half is and was supposed to be a spoof, and you should be okay.

Eggnog Recipe (the good kind):

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (as fresh as possible—we use our own eggs, preferably laid that day)
  • pour in milk up to the 1 cup mark on your blender
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • a couple (slight) shakes of nutmeg

Directions:
Add together in blender, and blend well. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

We make this occasionally now that the boys have discovered how simple it is to make and how yummy it tastes! Usually, we replace the sugar with stevia, because that’s better for us. However, sugar works well too.

Have you had eggnog before? What was your impression of the drink?

Our Favorite Snacks (Recipe Video) | Khemists in the Kitchen, Episode 2

Hello, again! Today, I’d like to share our family’s two most favorite snacks. These are eaten a lot around here—as in, almost everyone has one kind or the other each day.

Our Favorite Snacks Recipe (Video)

The nice thing about these is that they’re simple enough that with a little supervision, my six-year-old brother can make them himself! He thought he’d like to show you how to do it, too.

First, he shows how to make Cheese Bread.

Ingredients:

  • A piece of toast (can be untoasted—works either way)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Slice of cheese
  • Optional: Prepared mustard

Directions:
Take a piece of toast, spread on a thin layer of mayonnaise, lay a slice of cheese on top, and grill for a minute or two until the cheese has melted. Optionally serve it with prepared mustard—some of us like it that way, and others don’t.

Then, he shows how to make Cinnamon Toast.

Ingredients:

  • A piece of toast (can be untoasted—works either way)
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon sugar (we usually mix ¼ part cinnamon with ¾ parts sugar)

Directions:
Take a piece of toast, spread on a layer of butter (thickness depends on preference), sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top, and grill for a minute or two until the butter has melted.

These two are super-easy, but very yummy! Sometimes, instead of putting cheese on the cheese bread, we’ll slice fresh tomatoes onto the mayonnaise and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. That, too, is a delicious, easy snack!

Over to you: Do you usually have a mid-afternoon snack? What are some of your favorite snacks?

Rice and Tomato Soup Recipe (Video) | Khemists in the Kitchen, Episode 1

Want a  quick and easy, but fairly filling soup? This rice and tomato soup recipe is a great choice—and one our family loves!

A few months ago, a friend of mine reminded me of the attempted recipe video series I started about two years ago (in total, I made three videos). Since then, I’ve learned a little more about how I do things, and creating a recipe video every week is not one of those things I can continue very long.

However, since at the time I was planning a trip, I decided this would be fun to schedule while I was gone. The videoing was completed fairly quickly, the videos made—but I didn’t have time to write the blog posts. Sigh.

Here is the first installment now, made by yours truly with the help of my wonderful brothers.

Rice and Tomato Soup Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 2 cups of whole tomatoes, with the juice (we use canned tomatoes)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • several good shakes of black pepper
  • slight sprinkle of cayenne powder (or chili powder, if you have it—please don’t do as much as in the film, unless you like things very spicy!)
  • crushed medium-sized clove of garlic

Directions:
Add everything together in a pot, and stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and serve with grated cheese. Enjoy! (And don’t burn your tongue!)

For our family (9 people, but some small children), we usually use about 6–8 cups of cooked rice, and about 2–3 quarts of tomatoes. The rest of the ingredients are put in according to the mood of the cook—some like it spicy, some don’t, some like a lot of garlic, some don’t, etc. It’s always a popular choice, often chosen for birthday meals around here!

As a way to add some quick protein to the meal, we’ll often bake sausages to go along with this. Maybe add a lettuce salad as well—usually does the trick to fill everyone up.

One interesting note on the origin of this recipe: We’re at least the third generation in our family to be making this. I showed this video to my grandma a while ago, and she said this is quite changed from when she had it as a girl. Her mom used to pull cold rice from the fridge, and dump some tinned tomatoes on top. So for her, simply heating it up is an improvement to the recipe! I’m not sure if I’ve even ever had it cold.

Hope your family will enjoy this simple, but delicious dish! And next week I’ll share another favorite family food!

Over to you: Have you ever had rice and tomato soup? If you have, was it made about the same way? If you haven’t, do you think you’d enjoy it?

Reading, Art, and Guilt — a Guest Post

Twice in the past two months I have had an “ah-ha!” moment. Both times, I suddenly had an answer to something that I had been feeling guilty about for years.

I was reading by the time I was three years old. When I was a baby, someone gave my mom a book, something about “Teach Your Baby to Read.” I was the first baby, so she had time, and she made flashcards to put on objects all over the house. I can’t remember not being able to read, and I’m guessing maybe she eventually regretted teaching me that young, as I quickly developed an addiction to reading! I remember being excited to start first grade, but then being very disappointed because the first day of first grade the reading lesson was simply, “God.” I was reading whole books by then! I spent hours and hours reading thousands of books as I grew up, and put that love of books to good use when I started a bookstore in my late teens. However, after I got married, little by little I started feeling guilty for loving to read, and guilty for taking time to read when there were other things to do, as there always are. Comments some people made such as, “I only ever read the Bible and ___________(church paper),” or, “Reading is a waste of time for me,” added to that feeling of guilt. I still read, because I can’t make myself stop reading, but always with a slight feeling of guilt.

Reading, Art, and Guilt

One of my son’s art projects.

Last year, my daughter came in from her bedroom one morning saying that she felt like the Lord had given her an idea. She wondered what I thought of a website devoted to book reviews. She would include warnings with the reviews of anything that parents might want to know about the book before giving it to their child, and build a search function to help parents find books about a particular area they were studying. After we all prayed about it, she built the website, and soon I started writing some reviews for her of books I read to myself or aloud to the other children. Still, I felt somewhat guilty about loving to read!

A couple of months ago, a couple of my children and I went to a book fair. As usual, we came away with a large stack of books, including a few that we already owned. We had to stop at a friend’s house to drop something off on our way home, and offered her the duplicate books. She was happy to take them, thanking me for the recommendations for her children, since she has a hard time knowing if a book will be worth reading or not. I was thinking about that little exchange after we left her house, and suddenly the thought came to me that part of my ministry to other people is to be able to recommend books for them and their children! God gave me the gift of being able to read exceptionally fast, and therefore I am able to read a lot more books than most people, which means I can help people by pointing them to the books they need! What a revelation. I still have to be careful not to let myself read when there are other jobs that really need doing (after all, I have a husband and eight children who like to eat three meals a day), but I no longer feel guilty about reading while I rock the baby.

My other revelation came just a few weeks ago. I have been homeschooling our children for 11 or 12 years now. Somewhere around 10 years ago, I picked up an art course at a book fair, and decided that we would do art classes—doesn’t everyone do art classes? Don’t children need to learn art? I decided that once a week, while the youngest two (I think) napped, I would do an art lessons with the three oldest children. We did—a grand total of three lessons! After that, until I ended up selling the art course when we moved overseas six years ago, I kept intending to get back to it, but life was constantly in the way. Anyway, I have very little interest in art or crafts of any kind. There was always a guilty feeling in the back of my mind, though, that my children were missing out because I was not making time to teach them any drawing or modeling or any kind of crafts.

A few weeks ago, my middle sons spent two days holed up in their workshop every spare minute, building something. When I finally got to see it, I was astounded. Those boys had cut a large circle out of a piece of plywood, and painted a railroad track around the edge. They painted roads and fields on the board, and built tiny houses. They unwrapped copper wire from the motor of a defunct washing machine, and built fences by drilling holes through twigs that they glued into holes they drilled in the board. They strung telegraph wires around the track the same way. They glued tiny trees into place, and made stick figures out of copper wire to put in various places. They even made little wooden cars and a train engine. What is all that, but art? And I had nothing to do with it! I don’t have to teach art to my children! If they are interested, they will learn by themselves. All I have to do is give them free time and allow them to use the materials and tools they find and want to use.

Believe it or not, a great weight has lifted from my mind since I realized these two simple things. Guilt has a way of dragging us down, and other people’s expectations can make moms feel very guilty. At least, that is the effect on me. When I don’t do or believe the same as the people I am around, I tend to feel guilty about that, as if I am wrong—but guess what! God didn’t make us all the same! I have a unique ministry—and so do you. It would have been nice not to have to wait so long to find mine, but I am thankful to not feel guilty anymore about reading and art!

Emma-BioEmma Filbrun is a stay-at-home homeschooling mother of eight children, and in between chasing toddlers and keeping the tribe fed you can usually find her reading a story to several of the children or directing operations from her rocking chair (where her baby puts mommy time high on the agenda). She shares the mishaps and adventures of a large family on her blog, Lots of Helpers.

Why Purposeful Families are Important

Recently, while reading part of my school work, I came across an interesting quote that reinforced the thought for me that purposeful families are important. By “purposeful”, I mean purposefully teaching children the skills they will need as they grow up—intentionally helping them learn the things that will make or break them as adults.

Why Purposeful Families are Important

Photo courtesy of Pixabay/Bessi | License: CC0 1.0

Here’s the quote:

“Families that have lost their knowledge of God’s dictated authority channels will not raise their children with the sense of honoring others that they should have. Children that grow up without learning to honor authorities will not know how to honor and follow church leaders or government authorities, and subsequently the nation will have many troubles in trying to retain order within its borders.” (That’s the quote in my own words. It originated in The Westminster Shorter Catechism: For Study Classes.)

To think that it all starts in the home—in the family—that discipline affects all areas of life, not only just disappointing parents if the children aren’t taught right, but also causing problems for the church and the nation besides!

All goes to prove how seriously I, as an older sister, should take my responsibility toward my younger siblings. Yes, I need to be fun and be a good friend, but when it comes to teaching them that they need to respect my wishes, I need to learn to not give in so much.

Do you ever have a problem with not being firm enough? Please tell me—it’d be a comfort to know I’m not the only one!


Update:

I just heard about this book, and thought I’d pass the word along. I’ve read two of Elisha Press’ books (including the prequel to this one—it was very good!), and really appreciate the values that are presented through them.

Flight School BookWin a Copy of “Flight School,” a 12-to-adult Christian Novel by Jason McIntire

Do you like Christian novels—especially ones with substance? Do you like free things? Head over to Elisha Press, and enter to win a copy of the latest release from Jason McIntire: Flight School: One Summer, Many Choices. It’s a sequel to The Sparrow Found A House, which starts the story of the newly-blended and newly-homeschooling Rivera-Sparrows. The kids are back in the new release, which follows them to the start of their adult lives. Flight School is full of interesting characters, realistic situations, and biblical truth. Don’t miss it! You can order the book on Amazon right now—$2.99 for the Kindle version, or $9.99 for the 256-page print edition.

I’m thinking now that it might be a good idea to re-read their books, so I can include them in this website. The McIntire’s have written books that are very worthwhile to read. (By the way—you can read several of Elisha Press’ books for free. Go here to check that out!)

Why Your Children’s Homemade Videos are Important

Over the years, my siblings and I have made several short videos. Some were serious, others were goofy, and some were a combination. Those videos are precious memories for us to look back on.

One of the short “movies” my brothers and I have made.

I think the main reason homemade videos are important is that they are like time capsules—we were just watching one of the ones we took a year ago, and noticed that the one boy’s voice is a lot deeper now. Not only that, but many of the actors’ personalities show through—which will be fun to see in years to come.

There’s something about capturing the sounds, looks and individualities of our family now—when it seems so ordinary—and re-watching it down the road a bit. We can enjoy the present and each other’s company more, knowing that in a few more years it will probably be completely different again.

Videos are important ways to keep alive memories of the past. I hope my brothers and I can make many more in the years to come.

Take time, if you possibly can, to video your children. Or—better yet—let them get behind the lenses and do it themselves. Even if the results are shaky and of not much substance, they’re still priceless.

Hold tight to the sound of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play,
Hold them near, while they’re here, and don’t wait for tomorrow,
To look back and wish for today….

How do you preserve your homemade videos? An online service, your hard drive, cds, or something else?