April – Week 2

April – Week 2

12 Baskets Full

A Tabitha Basket April 2021

I was deeply touched by a conversation between a pastor and an active layman, on the topic of giving the other day.  The pastor was challenged with, “You preachers talk a lot about giving, but when you get right down to it, it all comes down to basin theology.”

“Basin theology?  What’s that?” the pastor wanted to know.

The layman replied, “Remember what Pilate did when he had the chance to acquit Jesus?  He called for a basin and washed his hands of the whole thing.  But Jesus, the night before his death, called for a basin and proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. It all comes down to basin theology: Which one will you use?”[1]

I have always liked people who ask hard, honest questions – not rude questions! There is a big difference.  Cutting through all the fluff, they get to the heart of the matter and the truth is, we all need honest confrontations from time to time.  Thus, my two questions to you today: Who are you serving?  Who are you strengthening?

Let’s get practical

Jesus shared in our humanity, suffered in the body and broke the power of sin forever. While on earth, He ministered emotionally, spiritually and physically to both men and women. This week we will focus on the basic physical needs of others.

While I will make some suggestions, the idea is that you will adapt your basket according to the needs of the family you are reaching out to – whether a single Mum, a family with a baby or an elderly couple. 

Food: Jesus was hungry.[2]

When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, he mentioned that we should ask for our daily bread. As a friend likes to point out, there was no mention of butter, jam and cheese!  Thus, I too will try to keep my suggestions as basic as possible.  

I would start with staples like rice, pasta, flour (wheat and/or maize), baking powder, oil, salt and dry milk.  Next, I would add proteins like tinned tuna, a variety of tinned beans, lentils and veggies – also tinned to ensure a longer shelve life in case the family does not have a refrigerator.  Mayonnaise, chicken stock, sugar, coffee and tea, as well as veggies like pumpkin, potatoes and sweet potatoes, are other food items I would add.  As are a treat – a tin of condensed milk, jam and peanut butter, cool drink, and definitely some fresh fruit.  A gift card from a local grocery store close to them is another practical way to bless a family – allowing them the freedom to do their own shopping. That will allow for more fresh items, too. 

I believe this section is not complete without adding some veggie seeds. The idea of growing your own garden – even if in pots or old tyres, fills me with hope, while the potential to care and nurture, both empowers and educates. 

MedicineIs there no balm in Gilead?[3]

Jesus did not only heal us of a sickness called sin, but He ceaselessly cared for people’s physical pains and ailments.  He sent John’s disciples back with this reassuring news:  the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. [4]

As you collect a box of plasters, some paracetamol and a few sachets of rehydrate, I want to challenge you to address some of the underlying issues people with low-income, battle.

While clean water is something people in the West take for granted, it is not so elsewhere in the world.  Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to a number of preventable diseases, like cholera, diarrhoea, hepatitis A, and many more.  How do we help? 

Support projects run by NGO’s and missionaries, both at home and abroad. These can vary from providing filters and chlorine tablets to building wells and better sewage systems at schools and in villages. 

Back to our Tabitha basket.  Please add both personal care items and household cleaning supplies: laundry detergent, disinfectant, surface cleaner, dishwashing gel; deodorant, shampoo, soap, body lotion, toilet paper, toothpaste, baby products or tampons – as is applicable for your basket. 

Clothing: Why do you worry about clothes? [5]

With the onset of Autumn and significantly cooler days, many will be worried about warm clothes and blankets. Let us not get tired of doing good, but step up to the plate.  Often our cupboards are full of clothes we hardly wear and spare bedding we seldom use.  This should not stop you from adding new underwear and socks to your basket.  Let’s live generously.  I believe it is Anne Frank who said, “No one has ever become poor by giving!” I believe it is true.     

 

 

[1] 750 Engaging Illustrations, number 625

[2] Mark 11:12

[3] Jeremiah 8:22

[4] Matthew 11: 4,5

[5] Matthew 6:28

April – Week 1

April – Week 1

12 Baskets Full

A Tabitha Basket

Tabitha, called Dorcas in Greek, was known for her good works and acts of kindness to those in need.[1]  At her death, many widows, overcome with grief, showed Peter various items of clothing she sewed for them.  In our language, her name means ‘gazelle’ and recalls an animal with lightness of step, beauty and grace.  Interestingly Joppa, the harbour city she called home, also means beautiful.[2]

While the Bible does not tell us whether she was single, married or widowed, if she was rich or poor or whether she had children, we do know that this disciple of Jesus actively cared for the poor. She willingly gave of her time and talent to help others in need.  An ordinary woman, with an ordinary skill, Tabitha did something simple yet beautiful with her life. 

Covid19 has added 500 million people to global poverty, which means 8% of the global population.[3] Imagine the challenge and opportunity this brings to the church and missionaries around the world. While we can easily feel overwhelmed and do nothing, my plea is that the ordinary woman of today with her ordinary skills, will do something beautiful for a sister or a stranger – someone stretched and challenged, weary and drained, someone who needs encouragement.

Let’s get practical!

Poverty has many faces as there are different types of poverty, different causes of poverty and also different solutions to poverty – making it a complex problem that can easily overwhelm us.  Yet, our priorities should remain steadfast as we tackle this basket. 

A Bible:  For man does not live by bread alone!

The Message explains it well – “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”[4]  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega and the reality of His presence makes all the difference to our circumstances. Thus, when we give someone a Bible, we put into their hands the most powerful tool for transformation that exists in the world.  Unique in its message, it is a life-giving force that brings hope.  It has the power to convict, regenerate, to produce faith, build up, make wise and bring peace[5] – reminding us that the Word is not only with God, but that the Word is God.  

While many people can read, it is important to remember that to communicate with non-readers, illiterate, visually impaired and blind people, the solar powered audio Bible is an invaluable tool. Easily available and affordable, it will speak comfort to everyone in need. 

Tissues:  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.[6]

God sees our tears. He knows about our loneliness.  Close to the brokenhearted, Jesus reminds us that a bruised reed he will not break and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.

When a slave girl with no rights or opinions and mistreated by her mistress, flees into the desert because she can take the abuse no more, she finds herself alone without shelter or food.  On top of everything, she is pregnant with her master’s child.  Hagar’ story [7]

may be unique, but many can relate to the emotions of rejection, fear and loneliness she experienced.  It is here that God calls her by name and reveals himself as El Roi – the God who sees. 

Abandoned by a husband, laid off at work, neglected by parents, betrayed by a friend or abused as a child – too many women can relate to Hagar’s story. To bring them comfort, it is important that we too call them by name, take time to listen to their stories, wipe their tears and remind them that God is intimately acquainted with the details of their situations. Wonderfully and fearfully made and worth far more than many sparrows, the very hairs on their heads are numbered. 

Hand & Nail Cream: The Aroma of Christ

In the Old Testament, aromatic incense was continually burnt on the golden altar inside the Holy of Holies, representing the constant prayers of God’s people.  Adding any type of cream to this week’s basket, will remind us to pray for the person or family we are blessing.  First prize is to lavishly apply it to the hands of these beautiful individuals ourselves and then bless them in their own homes.  If they are comfortable to share their specific requests, it is a bonus.  Otherwise, we can trust the Holy Spirit to show us what to pray for.

So pleasant are these precious prayers that God lovingly collects them in golden bowls.[8]‘ By keeping them close, he can continually enjoy their blessed bouquet,’ writes Denise Kohlmeyer. [9] What a beautiful incentive to spread the fragrance of God’s grace as we walk in love and keep praying for those in need. 

 

[1] Acts 9:40–43

[2] https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Joppa.html

[3] https://dialogos.co.za/seven-tipping-points-in-2021/

[4] Matthew 4:4

[5] https://www.biblesprout.com/articles/bible/power/

[6] Revelations 21:4

[7] Genesis 16: 1- 13

[8] Revelations 5:8

[9] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/four-aromas-god-loves-most

March – Week 4

March – Week 4

12 Baskets Full

A Heritage Basket March 2021

Thank you for supporting the next generation this month.  Thank you for praying for them. Thank you for spending quality and quantity time with them. Thank you for spending money on them.  Thank you for being a resource and a friend to a tired Mum, a single Mum or a GrandMum!  Living beyond our own families and investing in the lives of other families is a privilege and a challenge.  As you bless others, it is my sincere prayer, that you and your family too will be blessed! 

Let’s Get Practical

Many of the books I am listing below can nowadays be found on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.  YouTube channels abound and most Christian based organisations and Christian authors, like Focus on the Family, Charlotte Mason groups, Ann Voskamp and Sally Clarkson, have excellent blogs and websites. 

  • Raising Your Children For Christ – Andrew Murray
  • Charlotte Mason Companion, Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola,
  • The Lifegiving Table, Girls Club, and others by Sally Clarkson
  • Book girl – Sarah Clarkson
  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • Bringing up girls, Bringing up Boys, The New Strong-willed Child, all by dr. James Dobson
  • Life Skills for Kids, Equipping your Child for the Real World, by Christine M. Field
  • The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis
  • Mothers & Daughters, Learning to be friends, by Marie Chaplan
  • Going Home Grown Up, A Relationship Handbook for Family Visits, by Anne F. Grizzle
  • Raising Resilient MKs, Resources for Caregivers, Parents and Teachers by Joys M. Bowers, Editor
  • Third Culture Kids, The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds by David C. Pollok and Ruth E. Van Reken. The latter two books are both highly recommended for missionary families.
  • JumpStart3 Youtube Kids Music Channlehttps://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialJumpStart3 
  • Erich & Lizette Posthumus Aanlynlessehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbKS-FWl0XbuF3KAUlLl92g 
  • PursueGOD Kids Resourceshttps://www.youtube.com/user/pursueGODkids 
  • PursueGOD Video Resourceshttps://www.youtube.com/user/pursuegodvideo 
  • PursueGOD Youth Resourceshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1maBE6dGi3lmtnMs_4PCNg 
  • Roadtrip247, Afr or Eng Websitehttps://roadtrip.247.org.za/ 

 

day.net/what-love-looks-like/

March – Week 3

March – Week 3

12 Baskets Full

A Heritage Basket March 2021

A little girl was invited for dinner at the home of her first-grade friend.  The vegetable was buttered broccoli and the mother asked if she liked it.  “Oh, yes,” the child replied politely, “I love it!”

But when the bowl of broccoli was passed, she declined to take any.  The hostess said, “I thought you said you loved broccoli.” The girl replied sweetly, “Oh, yes ma’am, I do, but not enough to eat it!”[1]

As you add more items to your basket each week, it is my prayer that you will keep in mind the personality, spiritual gifts, talents and interests of the child(ren) who will receive this encouragement.  More importantly, it is my prayer that each gift will celebrate their individual design and purpose. In other words, that they will love their gifts enough to use and enjoy them, or in the words of the above – to love them enough to eat them

Let’s Get Practical

‘Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things,’ I was told many moons ago.  A nugget of truth I think we should all keep in mind as we are adding finishing touches to this month’s basket.  

A Hobby Horse:  Play! Play! Play!

Play should be one of the most important aspects of a child’s development, for fun fosters emotional intelligence, while risk and adventure help them grow in confidence. Play also reinforces memory and promotes critical thinking skills, helps develop fine and gross motor skills as well as teaches children how to interact with others. Yet, for play to be effective, we will have to undo the bubble wrap society demands we constantly put around our kids.  

Your gifts can vary from rattles and rag dolls for babies to cars, building blocks, Lego’s and puzzles for older kids. While board games were already mentioned last week, I need to emphasize that I am also a great proponent of make-believe play. I still have vivid memories of a box filled with a variety of handbags, ancient hats, gloves, old tweed jackets, outdated evening gowns and princess dresses, all kinds of scarfs and even broken jewelry pieces I kept in the girls’ bedroom.  It ensured many happy hours of play, fueled their imaginations and resulted in hilarious photoshoots.

Wonder & Work:  The Balancing Act

Once resolved to see a task through and determined to conquer the challenge – whether in woodwork, baking skills or mastering a musical instrument – they will soon discover the beauty of routines and the happiness of habit.  Children like promotion and the idea of successfully completing a task brings great joy and holds numerous benefits for later in life.  You can play an important role in this journey.  An encouraging gift to reward their efforts, can go a long way in recognizing their accomplishment and applauding their discipline.  Whether that is a cook book from a beloved master chef, or a new CD from a favourite artist – it can add to the triumph and inspire them to keep the momentum. 

Which brings me to wonder – a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar, as my Apple dictionary expounds. I cannot be excited enough about this last gift – the gift of wonder. Bogged down with responsibility, continuously stressed – right or wrong and grappling with the many changes covid19 brought about, we urgently need to set the example. 

At the heart of this gift, is the art of noticing beauty.  Appreciating dewdrops on cobwebs and sprouting seedlings, forwarding a video about animal antics, or opening a discussion on black swans and white rainbows are ways in which we can take the lead on this. As are blessing girls with imported lace, beautiful material with gorgeous patterns and colours or a delicate old teacup from a secondhand store. Inviting boys and girls to attend the annual vintage car show in your town or a neighbouring town is another way we can show them how to pause and applaud the handiwork of God and others!  

Which almost wraps up this month’s basket.  Next week we will post various resources to help you during this exciting season of your life. 

 

 

 

[1] https://www.moretolifetoday.net/what-love-looks-like/

March – Week 2

March – Week 2

12 Baskets Full

A Heritage Basket March 2021

God is concerned with the heart and tells us to guard it, as everything we do flows from it. [1]  Therefore, as parents and grandparents, teachers and caretakers, we should understand the grave importance of shepherding the heart of the next generation.  As such a burden can weigh heavy on especially young mothers, it is wonderful to remember that God does not call the equipped, but equips the called. 

One way in which He equips us, is by helping us cultivate a sense of humour, for it will be needed at each stage of development – theirs and ours! Remember when you taught your children to say the Lord’s Prayer and one prayed: “Our Father, who art in heaven, how’d you know my name.” Or when one came home and announced: “I am the generator in the school play.” I really did not know what to make of that, until she came home with the script a few days later.  She was the narrator! Well, we all have a story or two or three like the above. 

Not taking yourself too seriously is a wonderful skill to develop, both in yourself and in your kids.  Seeing the lighter side of things, will help them interact more easily with others, improve your health and defuse difficult situations. [2]

Let’s get practical!

Children are inspired by relationships — other people in their lives that they come to know, admire and love. As this helps form their personalities, we must intentionally connect them with persons, places and things. The reason why we must be sure our kids each day have:

  • Something or someone to love
  • Something to do
  • Something to think about[3]

Which brings me to the content of our basket this week! 

The Outdoors:  Pets, Gardening & Sports

As raising children in a digital world is becoming increasingly more complex, I have decided to explore green and blue spaces first. Woods, parks and ponds; meadows, rivers and lakes are all ideal locations for adventure and carefree playing at any age!  As always, it is the inexpensive gifts that kids enjoy most, so feel free to ignore the more ‘pricy’ items on my list.  All I am asking is that you think beyond sand art and water paint for now! 

For a younger generation there is sidewalk chalk, an outdoor playhouse, jump rope, a kite, trampoline, a soccer or rugby ball, a sandbox or a treehouse.  For the middle school kids and older, we can think of a tent, camping gear or hiking shoes, a backpack or a water bottle; surfing gear, roller blades, a skateboard, or a bicycle. Other gifts can be a fitness tracker, a camera, frisbee or a body board.  I am sure you can come up with even better ideas. But if you are thinking to add a puppy, a kitten or a hamster, it may be wise to talk to the parents first. 

 The Indoors:   Books, Board Games & Movies

One of the lifelong gifts I wanted to give my children was the love of books – living books, whole books, that would shape their story and our family culture.  Our decision to homeschool helped me stay on course and ushered us into a world of thought-provoking stories, noble ideas, eternal truths and brave heroes.  Whether you are choosing fables or myths, a biography or some historical fiction, a book of poetry or a collection of fairy tales – remember all forms of good literature should plant seeds of courage and hope. 

 As much as my kids love movies, and as much as we enjoyed various excellent stories, like all the seasons of Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables, a variety of musicals and Disney classics, playing a board game was often preferred. A wonderful way to interact as a family and a group of friends, educational benefits abound.  While losing will help them deal with disappointment and grief, winning will build their confidence and develop their identity.  Our family enjoy a variety of games, like Ticket to Ride, Catan, Clue(do), 30 Seconds, Qwirkle, Chinese Checkers, Abalone and some card games like Monopoly, Dutch Blitz, and others. 

 While I am tempted to also make specific suggestions when it comes to books, as I did with the board games, I have decided to create a separate resource you can download for free. (available at our free tools page)

 

 

[1] Proverbs 4:23

[2] https://www.wikihow.com/Have-a-Sense-of-Humor

[3] Charlotte Mason Companion:  Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola, pg 23, 24

March – Week 1

March – Week 1

12 Baskets Full

A Heritage Basket March 2021

Can you still remember your BC years?  No, not Before Christ, or Before Corona, but Before Children!  A blessing from the Lord, a blessing to a marriage, these angels certainly change your life – profoundly and forever!  The very reason why some couples have a pre-kid bucket list. 

In the beginning you deal mostly with interrupted schedules and little sleep as you dash around between dishes and diapers and deadlines – as one mum puts it.[1]  Then comes potty training, play dates and the first day of school.  After driving your kids to their 500th piano lesson or soccer practice, you suddenly realize that your Tween is no longer a child.  Then, before you know it, they borrow your car and go off to College. 

In the process we are changed, our marriages are changed and our outlook on life is changed. And while kids certainly add stress and responsibility, they also add a whole new dimension to joy, fun and adventure. 

Let’s get practical!

What a privilege to bless the next generation with gifts of life and love this month!  Whether you fill a basket for a godchild, a friend’s child, your sister’s children, grandkids, or your own children, I trust you will have lots of fun. 

Worship:  The Chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely!

Christian resources abound. Choosing from a variety of beautifully illustrated Kids Bibles, worship CD’s, colouring books and Bibles for all ages, interactive Christian apps, living books filled with fun activities and art projects, cool devotionals for Tweens and Teens, online resources from a variety of Christian websites and Mommy bloggers, can be an expensive and overwhelming experience.  It is therefore important to prayerfully consider the ONE gift that will be most impactful and bear lasting fruit. 

Time:  Children spell love T.I.M.E.

Whether you build sandcastles on the beach with a toddler or take a Tween/Teen to see a  stage production, is mostly irrelevant.  Whether you do Macdonald take-aways or teach them how to make baked Alaska, it will only be half the memory.  You taking time and initiative to be with them, will not only make you a friend, but soon, a confidante. 

The privilege to have the ear of the next generation is both a serious responsibility and a wonderful opportunity – as you know.  Please make the most of it. Therefore, adding an invitation to ‘a special event’ or regular date, will certainly elevate this basket.  And if that has to be an online one for now, don’t fret – this too shall pass! 

 

 

[1] The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis

February – Week 4

February – Week 4

12 Baskets Full

A Couple’s Basket January 2021

 

Our domestic love story is a reflection of God’s cosmic love story with the church the bride and Christ the Groom. It foreshadows His second coming and the marriage of the Lamb.

Yet, confusion reigns – even in the church, for in the last 100 years, the battle to destroy this truth, has intensified. Unless we go back to God’s blueprint for marriage, we will not be able to withstand the fiery darts the enemy is relentlessly shooting our way.  It is therefore imperative that we arm ourselves with knowledge and lead the next generation to a better understanding of God’s divine design for men and women.

I believe you will find the following books, websites, and video’s helpful as you equip yourselves to equip others. 

On these website : Revive Our Heart RSA https://reviveourhearts.co.za/ & Revive Our Heart USA https://www.reviveourhearts.com/, you will find the following books and Bible Studies. May I just add that these Bible Studies are steeped in Biblical truth and therefore transformational. 

  • True Women 101
  • True Women 201
  • Lies Women Believe
  • Lies Men Believe
  • Lies Young Women Believe

Women @ Work Ministries https://womenatwork.online/  also run the same online Bible Studies as Revive Our Heart, as well as daily online Prayer Groups between 13:00 and 13:15

Laugh your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor, is a most excellent marriage course and freely available in most Christian bookstores.

I already mentioned the Five Love Languages in Week 2, but in case you have missed it, please visit: http://www.fivelovelanguages.com

 

 

 

 

February – Week 3

February – Week 3

12 Baskets Full

A Couple’s Basket February 2021

The other day my pastor’s wife shared her kidney translate journey at age 19 with us.  Thinking about her three grown-up sons, I realized just how big her miracle really is. It reminded me of another transplant I read about some time ago.

Randy Curlee and Victoria Ingram, both from California, became engaged in February 1994.  A short time later, Randy was diagnosed with severe kidney failure. He had suffered from diabetes since age twelve and now, at age forty-six, his kidneys were ruined.

Randy took Victoria to hear what the doctor was saying, and better understand how his condition would affect their future.  While a kidney transplant was the obvious answer, none of Randy’s family matched his profile well.

That’s when Victoria asked to be tested.  To everybody’s surprise, their immune systems were an identical match.  One month after becoming man and wife, in a five-and-a-half-hour operation, Victoria gave Randy, her left kidney.  It was believed to be the first organ swap between husband and wife in the United States.[1]

Randy and Victoria’s marriage literally depended on her sacrifice for its survival. In a sense, so does every marriage!  If we want our marriages to survive, even thrive, we need to focus on what we can give our partners more than what we can get from them.

 

Let’s Get Practical

In our first post of this month, we put 28 date ideas into your basket.  This week we are going to teach you five new languages, coined by dr. Gary Chapman, the five love languages. While I am sure most of you are familiar with them, I know that we become lax in speaking them, especially if they are ones that do not come naturally to us – as often is the case.   Identifying and learning to speak our spouse’s primary emotional love language,[2]is often the key to a long-lasting and loving marriage.

  1. Words of Affirmation: Encouraging words, kind words, humble words together with a variety of dialects, like expressing appreciation and complimenting, all help to express love.
  2. Quality Time: Togetherness and quality conversations (making eye contact, listening well, and not interrupting) are important skills to hone. The 28 date ideas of the first week may proof to be very helpful here.
  3. Receiving Gifts: Gifts are visual symbols of love and powerfully communicates, “She was thinking of me” or “She remembered me.” It is almost certain that if this is a primary love language, it will matter little if the gift was purchased, found or made.  Yet, in this case, we must understand that in a time of crises, your physical presence will be the most powerful gift you can give your spouse.
  4. Acts of Service: This language can best be described as doing something that you know your husband or wife would appreciate, like feeding the dogs, buying electricity or taking out the trash. When this is a primary love language, it is important to note that the acts done spontaneously (without asking) will be most powerful in communicating love.
  5. Physical Touch: Emotionally people whose primary love language is physical touch yearn for their spouse to reach out and touch them physically. Sexual intercourse is only one dialect of the language, with hugging, kissing, holding hands, sitting side by side, rubbing his back or feet will all communicate that you love and prefer him.

As we focus on our significant other and on what we can give rather than we can get, we will quickly notice a change for the better.  A tenderness will enter your relationship and your efforts will be appreciated and rewarded.  Let’s go and love well!

 

 

 

[1]https://apnews.com/article/092d5e93e87e9dd99e124da1d2d2de61

[2]For free on-line couple or group studies and discussion groups, please visit: http://www.fivelovelanguages.com

 

February – Week 2

February – Week 2

Renew your marriage vows

by Suria Scholtz

12 February – Basket B

A Couple’s Basket February 2021

Married for 63 years, Billy and Ruth Graham’s marriage has always fascinated me. Real and honest about their challenging moments, I find their advice refreshing and their anecdotes humorous.  Like when she was asked if she’d ever consider divorcing her husband, Ruth is said to have answered, “Divorce, no, murder yes!”

Then there is the time she wrecked the family car. Billy, who was away from home at the time, unsuccessfully tried to put a stop to her driving. When Ruth refused, he said, “I don’t recall reading in Scripture that Sarah ever talked to Abraham like this.”  She responded: “Well, I don’t recall reading in Scripture that Abraham ever tried to take Sarah’s camel away from her.” [1]

Billy uses this to explain that marriage does not have to be perfect to be great, for perfection is unrealistic – and we all agree. Rather, he opts for what he terms, “happily incompatible!”  Ruth describes it like this, “If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.” Rather, she believes that the sooner a couple can adjust to each other, the faster they will be able to enjoy their togetherness. [2]

Let’s get practical!

International Marriage Day (14th):  Restore your Vows

As the 14th falls on a Sunday this year, it is really a perfect opportunity to renew your marriage vows and celebrate all that God has done through the ups and downs of your union. You can either use your old vows with a few minor changes, or you can rewrite them completely, for love certainly deepens and matures with time and you may want to give expression to such growth.

My gut says keep it personal and intimate, and therefore only invite a few close family and friends – but as your heart and your spouse dictates.  For me it is a definite yes to:

  • an elegant dress
  • a small bouquet of your favourite flowers
  • wedding bands, regardless if they are old or new
  • allowing your kids to partake, even preside over some of the events.
  • members of the original wedding party
  • asking guests to share sweet memories and pray a blessing over you
  • a special venue
  • a wedding cake – YUM!

Personally, I think it is a bit unrealistic to pull this off by the end of the week. But do keep it in mind for your next wedding anniversary or another significant and even more perfect date.Most important, make sure your event is memorable and meaningful, for you are once again standing before God and each other – as a couple, a family and a circle of friend.

The Marriage Triangle:  Closer to God = Closer to each other

The Grahams believed a good marriage consisted of three persons: the husband, the wife and God. A sentiment echoed by many. Some years ago, one of my mentors, Ina Vermaak, approached a South African artist, Marisa de Lange, to do a visual of this marriage triangle.  Marisa prayerfully approached her commission and it is such a privilege for me to share this beautiful work of art with you this month.  Keep this free download in your Bible or prayer journal and use it to pray into your own marriage, the marriage of a child or friend – as the Holy Spirit prompts.

Foundation: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:11

God:  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  2 Corinthians 13:14

Man:  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.  Genesis 2:24

Woman:  Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18.

Children:  Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labour, blessings and prosperity will be yours.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Psalm 128: 1 – 3

Frame:  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body.  Ephesians 5: 22 – 33

 

 

[1]ifstudies.org › blog › billy-grahams-legacy-includes-a-l..

[2]ifstudies.org › blog › billy-grahams-legacy-includes-a-l..

 

February – Week 1

February – Week 1

12 Baskets Full

A Couple’s Basket February 2021

We all dream of true love, we all applaud brave heroes who save pretty damsels, we all like happy endings — and not just when we walk out of the cinema or turn the last page of a novel, but especially in real life.  In matters of the heart, I find there are more believers than cynics, more dreamers than realists!

Fairy tales, love poems and stirring ballads, romance novels and chick flicks have at various times, all stirred my heart. Therefore, I find it interesting that when I had to choose an inspirational extract, it is this song from Fiddler on the Roof, that won.

As Tevye and Golde grapple with the challenges a fast-changing world is bringing to their faith and family, they are confronted among other things, with the concept of love.   While the notion that it plays a role in marriage seems preposterous to two people who were raised in the tradition of arranged marriages, Tevye’s heart will not rest.

 

Tevye:  “Golde, I have decided to give Perchik permission to become engaged to our daughter, Hodel.”

Golde: “What??? He’s poor! He has nothing, absolutely nothing!”

Tevye:  “He’s a good man, Golde. I like him. And what’s more important, Hodel likes him. Hodel loves him.  So, what can we do? It’s a new world… A new world. Love. Golde…Do you love me?”

Golde: Do I what?

Tevye: Do you love me? 

Golde: Do I love you?

With our daughters getting married

And this trouble in the town

You’re upset, you’re worn out

Go inside, go lie down!

Maybe it’s indigestion

 

Tevye:  “Golde I’m asking you a question…Do you love me?”

Golde:  You’re a fool

Tevye: “I know…But do you love me?”

Golde: Do I love you? 

For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes

Cooked your meals, cleaned your house

Given you children, milked the cow

After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

 

Tevye:  Golde, the first time I met you was on our wedding day…I was scared

Golde: I was shy

Tevye: I was nervous

Golde: So was I

Tevye: But my father and my mother

Said we’d learn to love each other

And now I’m asking, Golde

Do you love me?

 

Golde:  I’m your wife

Tevye: “I know…” But do you love me?

Golde: Do I love him?

For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him

Fought him, starved with him

Twenty-five years my bed is his

If that’s not love, what is?

 

Tevye:  Then you love me?

Golde:  I suppose I do

Tevye:  And I suppose I love you too

 

Both: It doesn’t change a thing

But even so

After twenty-five years

It’s nice to know. [1]

Let’s get practical!

Whether you are dating, engaged or married, whether you are a teenager or have embraced your grey hair long time ago, I believe it is important to keep the romance alive.  Therefore, Zea and I put our heads together and came up with some affordable and not so affordable date ideas.  This will either come naturally or not!  Regardless, the idea is that you relax, have fun, enjoy each other’s company, and explore new ways to connect this month and every other month for as long as you shall live.

  1. Daily connect with God as a couple and pray together. This month we have compiled a special study and meditation on 1 Corinthians 13. Enjoy!
  2. Enjoy a picnic in your living room or your back yard, at the beach or on a hillside. Enjoy the change of food and scenery.
  3. Try a recipe together – whether an old family favourite or a new challenge, whether mere sandwiches or a three-course meal. I hope there will be enough leftovers for a lunch box the next day.
  4. Go berry picking, find a moonlight maze, do a parkrun or visit your local botanical gardens – as long as you breathe out technology and breathe in some fresh air.
  5. Visit your favourite restaurant or a fancy new one — even if you can only afford dessert and coffee.
  6. Explore a neighbouring town or farming community close to you.
  7. Visit a Farmer’s market.
  8. Support your local arts theatre.
  9. Camp out in your back yard, star gaze from your front yard.
  10. Watch both the sunrise and sunset in one 24 hours.
  11. Play board games. Invite another couple or two to join in the fun.
  12. Go to a drive-in movie theater – an old trend that is becoming popular again or do a movie night/marathon at home.
  13. Read a book together.
  14. Create a bucket list for the remainder of the year, for when the kids leave the house, for marriage, for life!
  15. Sign up for a fun class: pottery, painting, snorkeling, dancing, shooting range – the possibilities are endless.
  16. Visit a plant nursery and/or start a herb garden.
  17. Wander through the mall, and then get stuck at a cup-cake/chocolate/cheese shop.
  18. Have a photoshoot.
  19. Attend a night market.
  20. Go bowling.
  21. Clean out the garage, a cupboard or two or three and bless a charity with your ‘treasures’.
  22. Spend the day at the beach.
  23. Do a day hike with a local hiking club and make new friends.
  24. Listen to some golden oldies from the time you dated, while you page through family albums! Crafters may want to turn this into a scrapbooking project.
  25. Rent canoes and escape to the great outdoors where conversation is superfluous.
  26. Take a road trip.
  27. Go house hunting
  28. Go on a virtual adventure – the internet is brimming with opportunities to take you places.

 

[1] www.stlyrics.com › F › Fiddler on the Roof

 

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