Thursday, August 16, 2018

My Unpopular Opinion on Self-Love

I'm taking a one-post break from pictures and updates on our family to post regarding a philosophy that is becoming prevalent in today's Christians.  I honestly thought that this was a new teaching, but Dan said that it's been around for a long time now. 

I have several friends from going to two conservative Bible Colleges who are now strongly promoting this teaching of "self-love".  In just the past three weeks, I've been invited to four different social media groups related to loving yourself, all run by different Independent Baptists.  I was appalled; for real.  This is the sort of thing this group type promotes. 

The first moment I heard about one of these groups, I thought it was a joke or something.  But it wasn't!  The leader of this group was a girl I knew from college.  A conservative, Christian girl who was taught the same Bible I was taught as a child.

The basis for these groups are the same.  The philosophy is that "you can't pour from a cup that's empty."  I get that!  But if you are a Christian, and you have Christ, why would your "cup" ever BE empty?

I watched the promotional/introduction video for each of these groups and they all said the same thing.  They all said that we as Christians spend so much time loving and caring for others that we forget about ourselves, and that we sometimes need to just step back and love ourselves for a change. 

I've tried finding verses in the Bible to back up this theory that we need to love ourselves before we can love others.  I couldn't find any.  In fact, I found the opposite.  I guess I just really don't understand this philosophy coming from Christians, because the Bible literally says many times that we love ourselves innately, without even trying.  In fact, it often commands that we love GOD first, and then love our neighbor, AS OURSELVES.  Ephesians 5:29 says that there's never been a man who didn't love himself. 
I understand that these groups are all started by women and that they're speaking primarily about their appearance and self-esteem.  Coming from a woman who struggled with "self-esteem" (same as everyone) to some extent, when I was going through a phase in highschool of wanting to please people, have people like me, want to look attractive and so on, I was NOT struggling with thoughts of hatred towards myself.  If anything, I was SO focused on loving myself and thinking about myself that I wasn't thinking of anyone else.  Often, we hide behind a false-modesty of "I'm ugly" thoughts and attitudes that we REALLY don't believe.  I speak from experience.  Though I may have struggled with hoping that OTHER people thought I was attractive, there was never a time when I stopped loving myself.  Pride taught me self-love from an early age.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I don't support self-deprecation or putting yourself down in any form, but bolstering oneself up just to feel affirmed is utterly wrong.  Most of these self-love programs consist of posting memes and quotes that say things like "You are beautiful, you are unique, you are strong, you are the best you you can be" and "Don't change a thing; you're beautiful." 
While those quotes may sound good to me, they aren't truthful to me at all.  I'm by no means perfect, and I absolutely need to change many things about myself.   

I know it isn't a popular opinion to have in today's society (hence, the title of this post), but I don't need to teach myself self-love.  Love of self is something we are born with. Self- love is why we pout as children when we don't get our way.  Self- love is why we get angry when others call us out for being wrong.  Self- love is why we decide to buy something for ourselves (even if it's a coffee) that isn't necessary.  Self- love is why I often will get annoyed when things don't go my way.  Self- love is a part of our sin nature.  We were born with it.  It certainly is not something we need to teach ourselves. 

I was told by someone recently that I ought to feel self- love towards myself at every point in my life, no matter what I've done, and no matter how I look.  I disagree.  If I convince myself that I am an awesome person when I've just done something wrong, I've contributed to searing my conscience just a bit more. 

So no, I won't participate in any "self-love" programs.  I already love myself more than I ought to, and if you're honest with yourself, you'll say the same.  Let's all work a little more at loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.  Then we can focus on loving our neighbors as much as we already love ourselves (Matt 22:37-39). 


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Baby Growth!

It's hard to believe that in a few days, Gwendolyn will be three months old! She has grown so much and is such a good baby.  Back in the beginning of June, my midwives threw a big picnic/party for all of the families who have used their services over the years.  There were hundreds of people there.  We went, though it was only 2 weeks after having the baby. 
I was able to get photos with the two midwives who assisted in my homebirth, although I wasn't able to get a photo with the owner of the business.  She was the one I had almost all of my appointments with. 

This was taken two weeks ago.  We went on one of the cruise boats on Lake George. 


And this was last Sunday after church. 

I took these the other day when Gwen was being particularly cute.

And this was three Sunday's ago.  We matched accidentally.  So many people commented on our matching outfits though, that we ended up taking some pictures. 

She's over 12 lb.'s now and still growing!
She really is a very content baby and is getting better at sleeping much of the night.   

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Vacation Bible School

 The month of July was so full of activities and events.  We decided that this year we would do a Vacation Bible School at our church for the first time. 
Since I am very familiar with the curriculum put out by Quality Speech, we settled on doing their VBS theme "It's a Jungle Out There."
One of the ladies in the church volunteered to be in charge of decorating the auditorium to look like a jungle.  That's no easy task, but she did a marvelous job of it!  The only thing she wasn't able to find was a box big enough to pass as a tiki hut.  Dan and I went and found these two boxes in the dumpster of a furniture store.   
They worked perfectly!!

I love how it turned out!!

The first night of VBS was a success!  Since this is the very first VBS this church has ever done, and since just one year ago when we arrived, there were no children at all, I wasn't setting my hopes too high.  I set a goal to have 10 children there.  I told the workers that if 10 children came each night, that would be an amazing feat. 
But the first night, 20 children came!  God doubled what I hoped for. 
Since I was in charge of everything, Gwen was looked after each night by so many kind people.  I think she enjoyed all of the extra attention.

Miss Peggy did an amazing job with the snacks each night.  She stepped in and volunteered to do them right before VBS, and I appreciated her help so much.

I told Dan that we needed two team captains- one for the red team and one for the blue team.  Since we had no volunteers for those jobs, we took them.  The week consisted of lots of good-natured ribbing and contests to see who would win. 
I had an inspirational idea to have the children put their handprints on white tee shirts for us to wear on the final night of VBS when we would see whose team won.  As you can  see, I was quite confident that I would come out the victor. 

See, each night, my team brought more pennies for the offering, my team sang nice and loud, my team said their memory verses, and also won more games.  BUT I wasn't anticipating that Dan would go to the bank the last day and get $25 worth of pennies and have workers distribute them to his team.  The little sneak.  So, I ended up with the pie in the face.


It worked out perfectly though that the workers who made the pie (out of whipped topping), made a second pie just for Dan. 


It was a great week of Bible School.  Several of the children begged us to please have Bible school every week of the summer. Although that's definitely not going to happen, it's exciting that five of the children who came to VBS are now coming to Sunday school each Sunday.
In other side news, our chickens are AWESOME!  They lay double yolks all the time, and finally (today being the first day) they are all 20 laying.  So exciting.   
I hope you all are having as awesome a summer as we are!  Today we are headed off to New Hampshire to attend the wedding of one of Dan's childhood friends. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

My favorite holiday: Dan's Birthday

We celebrated Dan's birthday this past month.  His birthday falls on 7/11 and if we were near a 7Eleven, we would celebrate it by getting free slurpies...but alas, there aren't any nearby. 
We woke up and found some birthday presents for Dan in the chicken coop.  Our chickens started laying!  The first day we started out with only two, but one was a double yolk. 

Dan went and worked on the house for a little while, while I made him a cake (which turned out to be pretty rough...).  I know how much he loves oatmeal raisin cookies, so I had the grand idea to make an oatmeal raisin cheesecake.  It wasn't so bad, but then when he came home, I tried to light 31 candles (the trick kind, that keep coming back after being blown out).  Basically, the cake was covered with ashes and wax by the time Dan blew them out.  Oh, and the kitchen smelled like smoke.  You can't have everything turn out perfectly...that's the lesson I learned.  haha.  We went out to a late lunch at a place nearby called the Log Jam. 
Then we decided we'd try out the boat we just bought.  We got a good price on this jon boat and I bought two lifejackets for us.  We tried her out on the canal, since the water is smooth there, and nothing unexpected would happen. 

Dan has rowed a boat before but it was a long time ago.  After a bit, he got the hang of it. 

He finally convinced me to get in.  I was a little nervous because the boat leaks a tiny bit of water. 

It was very relaxing- for me.  Maybe not so much for Dan. 
On our way home, Dan took us the long way on the scenic route which is a dirt road. 
When we came to a sharp turn, I saw that there was an old cemetery there.  We stopped and looked around. 

Quite a few of the markers were revolutionary war soldiers.  Dan walked through this brush and section of trees and saw that there was a back part of the cemetery hidden from the road.  We found that these were the markers of prisoners who had died in the prison right down the road.  Most of them just have numbers, no names. 

It was a nice day, besides the cake mishap.  Forgive me, because I am behind in my posts.  I need to catch up, so I'll be making a few posts in these next few days. Bear with me! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fourth of July family Celebration

It's so hard to believe how the summer is just flying by!
My sister had a Fourth of July celebration and we were able to drive down for that. 
It was perfect because nobody in my family had been able to see Gwendolyn yet, so it was the perfect chance to introduce her to them.  On our way to my parents house, we stopped to see my sister Sarah at her restaurant.  She was able to hold Gwen while we ate some delicious burgers from her establishment.  Yum yum!
Then we went to my parents house where Gwen got to meet her grandma and grandpa for the first time.  She was a little bit fussy after the long car ride; but not too bad. 

The next morning, on July 4th, we made quick plans to take my grandparents out to lunch.  So Gwen also got a chance to meet her great grandparents! 

We had a nice time being able to visit with them. 
Usually when we come to visit my family, we stay at my parents house.  But this time we decided to stay at a motel, firstly because this time we have a baby (and she wakes up crying at night sometimes), and the second reason was because it was SO hot that week.  My parents do not have air conditioning, so we decided to live in comfort in the motel for two nights.  😀

On the evening of the fourth, we went to my sisters house where we were able to see everyone except for Oliver and Lizzie.  I took a few pictures.

Dan and Dan with their babies.  Of course, Dan (my brother-in-law) has TWIN babies.  He is holding Felicity in this picture. 

My dad and Mark

Dan, holding Willie

We were able to get some neat photos of the cousins all lined up by age.  This is the "older kids" picture.  R to L: Tabitha, Abigail, Hudson, Eleazar, Reuben, Ella, Sawyer, Jochebed, Willie.

And the babies!  We are only missing one baby in this picture. 
L to R: Charlotte, Caroline, Lillian, Felicity, Benjamin, Gwendolyn.

It was so nice to be able to see everyone.  I'm already looking forward to the next time- probably in the fall! 
My next post will be of some neat family photos we were able to get taken a few weeks ago.  So keep your eyes out for that post! Thanks for reading!