October 25, 2014

Exciting News & A Good-bye

Hi friends!  It's no shock that I haven't written in a while.  I have written on and off here on this little blog for the last four years.  As some of you may know, I have a pretty GREAT excuse this time! :)

Yay!  We are expecting our third little baby this upcoming Spring!  We found out about the time I stopped blogging.  I forgot how Completely and Utterly ExAuStEd the first trimester always leaves me!  Pair afternoon naps and early bedtimes with plenty of pictures to edit from fully booked fall sessions, and you have a momma who simply didn't have time to do much of anything extra.  I am just now getting my house in order from the past two months of being in survival mode. 

That being said, I have actually enjoyed the break.  I think sometimes God uses life situations to slow us down, and cause us to listen more closely to His direction.  As I've spent time reflecting and thinking about what the future holds, I have come to the realization that as our family continues to grow, I need to be even more intentional as to my priorities and how I spend my days. 

God has been showing me so much lately, and the more I am learning . . . the more I realize I don't know much of anything!  I have so much more to learn, and right now I am simply soaking it all in. 
I am also learning and praying that I can be the very best wife and momma I can.  I want to always be looking for ways to bless my family, and create a home that is peaceful, FuN, and full of love.

You may also remember that I launched a part-time photography business back in the spring.  I really had no idea how well it would take off!  I had lots of creative ideas for growing the business and really blessing others through it, however, when my fall schedule became completely booked I didn't have time for any promotions, giveaways, etc. 

So, the time has come for me to become more focused.  It is so easy to get going on a variety of different projects that only end up mediocre.  I am not the type of person that likes to settle for mediocrity.  However, I often find myself overextended to the point that I seem to be "just getting by" with everything.  If I am going to do something, I want it to be the best it can!  I am not all that great at multitasking, and really need lots of  . . . FOCUS. 

That being said, I have really fallen in love with photography!  I am looking forward to learning more, and spending time practicing (on a few incredibly cute subjects I might add), in order to develop as a photographer.  Plus, I want to get better at keeping day to day memories for our family.  Therefore,  I have decided to step away from writing here at A Blossoming Homestead.  God has our family in a new season of life, and although it will be FuN to look back on pictures and what I have written these last few years, I have decided to begin keeping memories for our family using a different avenue.   Even though I enjoy writing, I know that this time in my life is not one in which I will have adequate time to write the kind of articles I would want.  I thought about keeping the blog and simply posting family happenings as I have done in the past.  However, it seems I could streamline, and do this very thing along with my photography business.  Therefore,  I will now be keeping up with our family's weekly adventures by posting them to my photography blog once a week (Lord willing)!  If you would like to follow along, please "like" my photography Facebook page so you don't miss out! :) I think this will be a great way to make my little business a bit more personable as well! :)  Plus it will force me to really practice on capturing quality photos throughout the week! :)

Finally, I want to say Thank You to all of you who have been so incredibly supportive over the years!  I have been touched by so many of you who have shared your hearts with me, and offered encouragement as well!  It is not easy to think of leaving you . . . However, it's not really leaving I suppose.  After all, I'm just a CLiCk away!  I sure hope you'll hop over to my website; meganpowersphotography.com and say hello every now and then! :) 

It also should be noted, that at times I have expressed thoughts and opinions on this blog as I'm working through them.  It has always been my heart's desire that some of you would be encouraged by watching me work through what it looks like to follow God, while learning to be an excellent wife and mother.  I realize that for some of you, my posts might not always have been encouraging.  Perhaps they were even a burden to you at times.  It's easy to look at someone else's life and think they must have it all together, or they have discovered some secret to holiness.  The problem with that is we start trying to be like other people, or we make a list of rules for ourselves to follow in order to be "better".  Don't get me wrong it is great to find inspiration from others, but when it comes down to it . . . hear me on this . . . God has made you unique and you won't discover all you were meant to be by looking at other people as your standard.  I think the best we can do is dive into the Word, and pray that the Lord will search our hearts and continue to transform us into who He wants us to be.  It probably won't look exactly like that lady you admire, or that family that seems so great, or even the way you had envisioned . . . but it will be EVEN BETTER!!  God is in the business of doing miraculous things! :)

I will be switching this site to a "private" setting a week from today!  Feel free to snag anything you need until then, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask! 

Thank you, again!  God bless each and every one of you! 


August 28, 2014

Searching Scripture ~ Last Days of Summer

Wow!  This week has been so busy!  A couple photography sessions, editing, FuN with family, and this momma is just worn out!  Last night I seriously went to sleep at 9!  I am paying for it tonight!  Having finally finished a blog post for one of my sessions, I am moving onto this here blog!  I have good intentions, but there is just not time enough in the day to keep up with it the way I wish I could.  I'm sure you understand!  God is doing so much in my life, and I have been incredibly encouraged by so many of you who have asked that I keep up this blogging bit!  Thanks for the support! I'll try not to let you down!  Better late than never  . . . right? 

Here are a few outfits falling in the {modest. feminine. fun.} category this week . . . I've been trying to grab summery stuff from my closet since I only have a few more days left.
(By the way I feel I ought to let you know, lest any of you begin to think legalistically or feel I am falling into that category. . . My heart in these posts is to encourage us ladies.  I hope to inspire you and myself to respect our role as momma/wife, honor the Lord with our apparel, show others it is possible to be modest and fashionable, and be proud of/bring back that touch of femininity which is often lost in ladies fashions today.  You should know that this week I have opted out of a shower first thing in the morning followed by getting dressed for the day.  Instead, I sported shorts and a t-shirt for our morning walks.  It's been hot, I've been practical, AND THAT's OK!  This isn't about a list of rules from the modest fashion police!  It's about wanting to please the Lord, honoring Him in the way we dress, and displaying the transformation Christ has done in our lives.)

Purple Dress/Tunic:  Banana Republic thrift store find - 5.99
White T-shirt:  Wal-Mart - 3.99
Black Cardigan: ?
Skinny Jeans (cuffed): Old Navy - ?
Bracelet:  Maurices (from 5.5 years ago) - ?
Necklace:  same as bracelet
Shoes:  Not sure, had them for that long too!?
(sorry I wasn't very helpful!)

V-Neck:  Target - $6
Gray Tank: Target -$7
White Skirt: Thrift Store - $4.99
White Shoes:  Gift
Bird Nest Necklace:   Made It
V-Neck: Target  - $10
Tank: Target  - $7
Skirt: Target a couple years ago (this is actually a dress I just rolled it down) - $25.00
Necklace:  Lisa Leonard Designs - $45.00
Cuff: Lisa Leonard Designs - $40.00
Earrings:  ?
Bracelet:  American Eagle -$7? (can't really remember)
Blouse:  Thrift Store - $2.99
White T-shirt:  Wal-Mart - 3.99
Skirt:  JCrew thrift store find -4.99
Pearl Earrings:  American Eagle -?
Neckalce: Gift
Wedges:  Khols - $30?
Headband/covering:  Target - $6
So there's a few outfits, and as for what I've been learning, being challenged with, and transformed by this week . . . Ahhhh, there's too much to pick just one thing!!!  So I'm going to give a brief little list, and maybe I'll expand more later . . .
1) Opinions are fine, but Searching Scripture is where it's at.
2) . . . if I have not LOVE I am but clanging cymbals.
3) If I am not the biggest sinner I know, I probably won't be too effective at evangelism.
4) The Gospel isn't "Love God, Love People" - that would actually be the law.
5) The Gospel isn't my testimony.
6) We can not "live" the Gospel.  What we live is a reaction/ response to the Gospel.
7) The main role of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin.  If we aren't preaching/talking about sin, could it be the Holy Spirit is no where near?  Ouch!
8) Headcoverings could very well be cultural.  Excited to hear a well-thought out perspective on this.
9) The purpose of the church is to glorify God, and take the Gospel to a lost and dying world. 
10)  Sleep is good! 
and on that note . . .
It is WAY too late for me to still be up . . . Goodnight!

August 25, 2014

August 2014 Week 3

I'm posting this little recap a few days late.  I've been one busy gal this weekend!  More on that next week . . . for now let me try to remember what we were up to last week  . . . .

Saturday we headed to the library to turn in some overdue books, and get Kyria some reading material to go along with our camping theme.  We were happy to discover we came on just the right day!  It was Doggie Day!  Yay!

That night we had "Green Eggs & Ham" per Kyria's request.  Even though Brielle couldn't eat the eggs, she DID chew on the green strap from her swing.  She seem satisfied with this arrangement! :)

Sunday mornings usually seem a little rushed, but we decided to go to second service instead of both this week.  This gave us a little more time, and we snapped some shots before heading to Carthage.

This seems to be the hottest week of the summer, and we have taken every opportunity to play in the water and keep cool! 

Kyria had FuN helping Daddy set up the tent for her camping theme.

And Friday her and I went on a nature walk with her homemade "binoculars"! 

That was pretty much our week.  I'll share more of her nature walk at the end of the week, Lord willing! :)

August 21, 2014

Thinking Thrifty: The Library

As some of you know, this summer we've been doing different themes with Kyria for learning FuN and activities.  I found lots of good stuff from hubbardscupboard.org.  Such a great site.  It also lists books that can go with each unit!  Since it would be WAY too expensive to buy 4-5 books every couple week, Skyler and I finally bought a library card.  Yes, we had to pay a $20 or $25 fee (I can't remember), since we don't live in the city limits.  However, it has been well worth it!

 Sometimes our library doesn't have the books we need, but if I plan in advance I can get them sent through the courier.  I can usually find something that will go with the theme even if I don't find exactly what I'm looking for.  Plus, they have special events for the kids such as story time.  This past weekend, Kyria was able to play, brush, and read to a little puppy!

I'd say this is a great way to save money.  We are a family of readers.  Kyria must get her love for reading from momma & daddy. She will sit quietly next to me and let me read book after book for at least thirty minutes a day.  I've been told this isn't typical for a toddler!:S  Hoping Brielle will like it as much as Kyria!  I LOVE the cuddle time! :)

We usually just buy books at the local Christian book store, Mardel's in Springfield, or we'll buy them with an order from Amazon.  I like being able to try books out at the library first, and then I can buy the ones I know we will really want. 

Do you utilize the library?  Does it help your family save money? 

We have some local homeschool groups on facebook that sell books sometimes.  I might look on there occasionally for preschool resources.  What other ways do you get books/resources for your children to read?

Any other tips for saving money on reading material?

August 20, 2014

Black & White ~ Hard Question of Headcovering

Hi there!  Hope you all are having a blessed day! 

Yesterday, I was telling you how I would be posting more outfits throughout the week in addition to Wednesdays.  The more I've thought about it, the more I'm realizing it would probably be better to long-term keep all outfits from the week on Wednesday.  However, for now, I will keep this little series going, and post a couple more at the end of the week.  Hopefully you won't mind too much!? 

Anyway here's the Black & White I wore to church on Sunday . . .

Shirt - I've had this so long I can't remember? Maybe Khol's - ?
Under Tank - Motherhood - $10
Long Skirt - BCBGMax from Thirft Store - $4.99
Belt - Came with a dress. -
Bracelet - Maurices - ?
Wedges - NY&Co. - $16
Hat - Garage Sale - $0.50
As for what I've been learning as I am being transformed from the inside/out . . . well, there is really so much, but since I wore a hat to church I guess I'll tell you why: 
Head coverings?
You know that verse from 1 Corinthians Chapter 11.
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.  For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.  For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.  Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.  For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.  Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?  Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?  But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

Ironically, this passage is NOT Black & White.  This portion of Scripture has always caused me to wrestle, because it seems to be saying women should be wearing head coverings as a symbol of their husband's authority.  Yet, for the most part this doesn't take place in the church today (with the exception of some denominations such as Mennonites, and a few other random ladies and churches who have decided to look into it a little deeper).   I've kind of been on a hunt to have some questions answered . . .
How is the modern church interpreting this passage?
How come ladies wore hats up until the sexual revolution of the 60s & 70s?
What did some of our church father's have to say about head coverings?
Is this passage demonstrating a custom or principal?
If one is to wear a head covering, what does that look like?
Should one be worn everyday, only at church, or anytime a women is going to pray?
I'm still on the hunt for clarification.  I realize this isn't a salvation issue, or even something everyone needs to wrestle with. Personally, I have just found this to be a hard question every time I read it.  I don't think it would be very honoring to God for me to simply ignore it.  If God would have me as a martyr for my faith in Him, it is my prayer that I would follow through and not deny Him before men.  I believe a response of great faith such as that, would require faithful practice in the small things now.  I want to take the time to look at the intention of this passage because even if it isn't practiced in our culture, and might even be seen as weird, it really is a rather small act of obedience if it IS something God is calling us to.  If I'd be willing to die for the Lord, surely I can wear a head covering if that is what He is really asking me to do according to this passage.
So here are some initial thoughts I have, and why I wore a hat on Sunday.
From what I understand about this passage, Paul is addressing practices/traditions in the church meeting.  For this reason, I don't think it is necessary to wear the head covering at all times.  Although, it certainly wouldn't be bad to wear a "symbol of authority" on your head everyday.  I just feel like if it were talking about outside of the church, then technically men shouldn't wear hats, since their heads should be uncovered.  As for women wearing them while they pray . . . I guess it seems to me that if it is to be, again, a "symbol of authority" then to wear one in the privacy of your own home wouldn't be necessary.  However, one of Paul's reasonings is "because of the angels".  I don't think anyone really knows exactly what this means, but I can see why it would lead some women to wear head coverings anytime they pray.  As of now I personally feel that IF a head covering is to be worn the passage seems to mean to wear them at the church meeting.
I think for the most part evangelical churches today would say this passage is strictly custom, and does not apply to us today.  I have heard it said that prostitutes of the time went around with their head uncovered, thus Christian women were told, "for goodness sakes, don't come to our meeting times with your heads uncovered".  This is a valid point, and I'm sure that might have had something to do with it.  However, Paul gives specific reasons why women are to wear head coverings, and he said nothing about their culture.  His reasoning were, 1) creation order 2) the angels 3) nature 4) church practice. I am not saying this passage absolutely can not be custom, but it seems that it COULD be a principle that was meant for all churches of all times.  Either way, I guess it makes sense to err on the side of principle if we aren't for sure.  Up until the sexual revolution most women continued to wear hats as head coverings to church.  It makes me a little uneasy to see this "symbol of authority" disappear, just as the feminist movement began to take off.  Also, nearly every church father I have looked at does not interpret this passage as merely custom, but encouraged women to wear head coverings to church. Hmmmm.  Plus, I think we have to be careful calling this "custom" because to many the idea of a wife's submissiveness, or a husband's authority was simply a custom for that time, but is now outdated. 
So if I am beginning to see that wearing a head covering to church might be a small act of obedience prescribed in the Bible, AND it is a way I can display my submissiveness to my husband . . . what does the head covering look like.
I think this is where we have to be careful.  It is meant to be a symbol, and symbols DO have different meanings for different times and cultures.  If a women wears a full out head covering today, I assume she is a Muslim. That would obviously NOT be the appropriate symbol for a Christian woman.  Some have even suggested that elders of the local church should get together, and decide what an appropriate symbol would be for their congregation.  Ideas have included, wedding rings and modest skirts.  Although these might symbolize a wife's submissiveness to her husband, it seems like the picture of Christ as the "head" of man, and a husband as the "head" of his wife would mean this symbol should have something to do with the head.  Some denominations believe a woman's long hair is what this passage is referring to.  When you break it down, I'm pretty sure Paul was actually just saying that a woman's "hair" was given to her as a covering in order to appeal to nature.  A woman's long hair is a covering of sorts, but if you look back up at the beginning of the passage he says, "but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head [her husband], since it is the same as if her head were shaven.  For if a wife will not cover her head then she should cut her hair short.  but since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head."  It makes the most sense to me that a woman's long(er) hair is a glory to her, thus she wears a covering as a symbol that she is under the authority of her husband, who is under the authority of Christ. Still, I suppose if a church were trying to come up with an appropriate symbol for today, perhaps long hair could be a valid option.  What then would women who simply CAN NOT grow long hair, or those who are undergoing cancer treatments do?  My husband prefers my hair short (not short short, but medium short).  Who decides what "long" means?
 . . . Sorry, I kind of got on a tangent there with the long hair bit.  I think we also have to be careful because since this "symbol" is supposed to be a way we can display our husbands God-given authority in his family, a headcovering probably shouldn't be worn to draw attention to ourselves.  I believe we can err both ways on this.  A flamboyant hat could very easily be immodest & thus the purpose of the symbol would be lost.  At the same time, as I mentioned above a veil might also be inappropriate if it draws undue attention to oneself, or represents something other than it's purpose. 
All that being said, I feel that an appropriate symbol I could wear today to display my joyful and loving support of my husband's authority would be a hat, or a wide headband/scarf.  I honestly don't feel like this is a big deal, and most people probably wouldn't even notice.  If someone asked why I'm wearing hats or headbands to church every week, I would just point them to the passage and tell them it is a symbol I can joyfully wear to show my husband's leadership in our family.
What are your thoughts? I would LOVE to hear some insight as to the conclusions you have come to concerning these passages. I certainly don't have it all figured out, and perhaps I will be enlightened, and come to a different conclusion soon.  This is just where I'm kind of at on the topic after looking into it this week.  Honestly I don't love headbands and I don't have a ton of hats.  It isn't going to be easy breezy for me, but I can't say it's a huge sacrifice either.  Just a simple way that Scripture says I can honor my husband. 
Again, thoughts?