Coconut Oil Giveaway!

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Remember the post I shared last week about the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil?  Well, here is your opportunity to win this product for your very own!  Tropical Traditions will be giving one quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to one of our readers.

This giveaway is open to USA and Canada.

For more information about this product, you can visit: what is virgin coconut oil and how to use coconut oil!

Do you want a chance to win a quart?  Enter here!

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Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. But since I liked it so much, I thought you might too!  If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Finding The Balance

personal discoveries

(You might like to read:
Part One: Why Would I Want To Leave Home?,
Part Two: Biblical Reasons For Being At Home,
Part Three: What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?)

scalesThe other aspect that I want to address is that of swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction and being totally focused on preparing for marriage that you lose touch with reality.  As I mentioned before, I totally believe that young ladies should spend time learning how to love their husbands and children and be keepers at home.  But I have heard people complain about girls who can only talk about their hope chests and what they want in a husband!  Some young ladies are so focused on marriage that they are not content with living their lives in the here and now.  This is not being a successful daughter at home!  As important as it is to prepare for marriage and motherhood, we must also be honest with ourselves and admit that some people are not created for that role.  Granted, these people are few and far between, but we have to be willing to lay down our hopes and dreams and goals, and be content that our heavenly Father knows what is best.

For some people, that means marriage at eighteen and a dozen children over a period of twenty years.  For others, that means not finding a spouse until upper twenties or even thirties or forties, and maybe not being able to have children at all.  And for a few people, that means never marrying at all.  If we are not completely surrendered to our heavenly Father’s will and plan, we will find it impossible to be content in our circumstances.

Several years ago, I was frightened by the idea that I might never get married!  I saw these wonderful young ladies who were unmarried and in their upper twenties, and I worried about how I would respond if that was YHWH’s will for me.  Then somehow my heart was changed, to the point that I can honestly say … as much as I would like to be married and have a family, I believe I could be joyful and content if that was not the Father’s plan for me.  And I want to encourage all young ladies to seek that place of contentment if you have not already found it.  I know that may be a scary thought, but we must realize that we serve a God who desires the very best for us and if we can whole-heartedly submit to His plan, we will find peace and joy and contentment.

So while I believe each young lady should practice and learn how to be a wife and mother, I also want to remind you not to view marriage as a cure-all or think that you’re really not living life to its fullest until you are married. We should be focused on serving and glorifying the heavenly Father each day of our lives … which brings me to the last aspect I would like to address.

woman-praying-with-bible-w350x2321 Corinthians 7:34 says “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.”  I think that sometimes we focus so much on the physical aspects of preparing for marriage and motherhood, that we forget about the spiritual aspects.  Learning how to change diapers, prepare meals and balance a checkbook are all good things to know, but the most important thing we can be doing with our unmarried years, is caring about the things of the Lord.  In looking back at the Titus 2 passage, we see that the young women were to learn to be discreet, chaste and good, in addition to loving their husbands and children and being homemakers.  But it seems that we often focus on the husbands, children and homemaking part, and forget about the characteristics that we are supposed to be learning and accomplishing!

An unmarried daughter has so many opportunities, whether that be ministry, or cottage industries, or learning new skills, or hobbies – there are so many things we can do with our time!  But I believe it is imperative that we focus on the opportunities to strengthen and develop our spiritual lives and learn to be holy both in body and spirit.  Again, this may look different for different people.  Some young ladies may devote their time and energies to memorizing large quantities of Scripture, while others may find their calling in intercessory prayer.  Still others may have opportunities to be the hands and feet of our Savior, ministering to those in need.  Each of us must seek the heavenly Father to know how He would have us serve Him.  In order for us to be successful as daughters at home, our focus must be in the right place … our number one goal must be to care about the things that are important to our Creator.  If we can accomplish that, then everything else will fall into place!

There are so many things that I have learned through this journey of Godly womanhood and I know that I have a lot more to learn, but I hope that what I have shared will be a blessing and encouragement to some of you.  In closing, I want to emphasize that when dedicate our lives to serving the heavenly Father and following His plans and purposes, we will experience His blessings in a wonderful way.

All throughout Scripture there is a recurring theme … when His people follow Him and obey Him, He pours out showers of blessings.  When they do not surrender their lives to Him, there are negative consequences.  YHWH makes a promise in His Word that He will honor those that honor Him.  That is such a beautiful promise and it is wonderful to know that we can trust Him to do just that.  Sure, honoring Him in our choices and decisions may not always be the easiest thing to do, but we know that in the difficult moments we can turn to our Savior who was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  And we also know, as it says in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

I have many favorite Bible verses, but there is one that is a constant inspiration and sums the way that I desire to live my life, and I would like to leave you with it.  Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Questions and Answers

I received the following comment on The Higher Calling Part Two and am sharing the answers in a new post.

“Please don’t stop!  I hope there is more for me to learn, and ponder, and do like you; I really have learned quite a bit from your two posts, thank you.  How do you keep the feasts, exactly?  What does that look like if you are missing pieces?  How does a typical day look?  Since my children are young, could you answer from the preschool age? And current ages, as well?”

Thank you Brittany, for your kind encouragement.  As for how to keep the Feasts exactly … there is no answer.  When the Israelites were commanded to keep the Feast, they were coming into the Land (except for the first Passover).  We also do not have a sacrificial system as they did, so we cannot keep the Feasts as written in Leviticus.  My suggestion is that you and your husband read the passages relating to the Feast … read other books in relation to the Feasts … then pray for the leading of the Heavenly Father in how He wants your family to “keep the Feasts”.

Keeping the Feasts is a living relationship with the Heavenly Father.  It is a time to commune with Him.  Seek Him for the plan.  We have been doing this for 20+ years and each year is a different experience.  Yes, some things stay consistent through the years, like having lamb for Passover or camping for Sukkot, but each year the Heavenly Father reveals Himself in a new and deeper way.

As for a typical day, my goal is to “live to praise the heavenly Father and restore order to His creation, through the leading of His Son”.  From a young age, I taught the children to rise, make their beds, bring order to their room, get dressed, brush hair, etc.  They would then take care of animal chores.  We would eat breakfast together, clean up food, dishes, tidy the house, clean the bathroom, etc.  We then gather together for praise and worship, bible time and prayer.  After this we do homeschooling, play outside, eat lunch, I read an inspirational book to the children, then naps for those who need them or more school work.  There is free time after school, dinner, then family time.

34With preschool children, things may not flow as smoothly because diapers need to be changed, attitudes need to be adjusted, sometimes discipline needs to be given and messes need to be cleaned up.  But your goal can be to instruct them to bring order into your home with a right heart and sweet spirit.  My young children were with me regardless of what I was doing and, at a young age, learned many skills.

With preschoolers, some days don’t end up looking like we thought they should, but that is okay.  What is important is trying to keep the fruits of Spirit flowing in your home.  This is not an easy task because we each have our own personal struggles in the flesh against sin and temptations.  Then you mix together a variety of personality types that may not mesh easily … and what do you get??  The home is an excellent microcosm of what life will be like as we try to “live at peace with all men”.  If there is just one thing you accomplish in a day, let it be “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – Luke 11:2.  Or in your home … let it be filled with shalom!

If you are training up preschoolers, the most important way to keep shalom (peace) in your home is to train them to obey with right hearts.  If you discipline wrong attitudes, the children are happy and the home stays happy.  If you allow wrong attitudes, even if every thing is clean and orderly in the house, the spirit of the home will not be peaceful or joyful.

With little ones, after you have encouraged them into having sweet spirits (and it is important to note here that children mirror you … if you don’t have a sweet spirit, they won’t), the goal that needs to be met is to make your home a haven.

This includes proper nutrition for the family to keep all of you healthy … make the effort to give your husband a good breakfast and lunch also.  Don’t make his only option for lunch a fast food restaurant or gas station that serves pizza and greasy stuff, with an old lady (or smiley young one) handing him a bag saying “Here ya go sweetie”.  Make provision for your sweetie to have a better option.

Do your best to keep up with the laundry being washed and put away to alleviate the stress of needing something clean to wear.  Even little children can help fold and put away laundry.   Also, a clean orderly home gives all the family members  a place to relax and does not make you uncomfortable to have people “drop in”.  If you accomplish these things and have time for other activities, then enjoy yourself.  If these basics are not met, I highly encourage you to not do other activities that take you away from accomplishing the basics, because they will add stress and disorder in your home.

Wow, I have written a long answer to  short questions!  I hope my insights will be helpful.  Shalom to your home!  ~ Annie

We Like Virgin Coconut Oil!

Do you like coconut oil?  Are you familiar with it?

Tropical Traditions recently sent us a quart of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to use and review.  What can I say?  It’s good stuff!  Coconut oil has so many health benefits that I cannot begin to detail all of them here but I will share a few.

gold_label_virgin_coconut_oil_32ozVirgin coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a nutrient that supports the body’s immune system.  Lauric acid is also found in human mother’s milk.  It is suggested that the average adult include about 3.5 tablespoons of coconut oil per day in their diet to take in an equivalent amount of lauric acid that a nursing infant would receive from breast milk.

Research shows that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil kill candida yeast.  I had personal experience with this when I went on a candida cleanse/diet a year ago … I tried to eat at least a couple tablespoons of coconut oil per day and noticed the difference that it made.

Virgin Coconut Oil is one of the best cooking oils you can use.  It has been a staple cooking oil for thousands of years in tropical climates.  We love to make stovetop popcorn with coconut oil! Even in high heat, its chemical structure is kept in tact and therefore is resistant to mutations of fatty acid chains even when used in higher cooking temperatures, unlike most vegetable oils. Research shows that the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil boosts the body’s metabolism, raises body temperatures, and helps provide greater energy which can lead to weight loss.

Coconut oil can be used for sautéing veggies or meat, just like butter or oil.  We often substitute it in any recipes that call for butter or oil, especially baked goods.  Mama makes some wonderful biscuits that contain coconut oil and butter!  My new favorite way to use coconut oil is in a coffee drink that I just discovered and I will definitely be sharing the recipe in another post.  I know, I know … you’re probably wondering “coconut oil in coffee???”  Believe me, I thought the same thing until I tried it.  I could not believe the results!  Even my little sisters’ verdict was … “it tastes like Starbucks!”  More on that later!

The main thing that makes Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil special is the way that it is processed:

Coconuts are used fresh (within 24-48 hours of harvest) from small family farms on Mt. Banahaw and other rural places in Quezon Province, the coconut capital of the Philippines. Only the highest quality coconuts are hand-picked from each harvest. The volcanic soil of Mt. Banahaw makes these organic coconuts some of the most nutritionally rich coconuts in the world! Testing done in independent laboratories on coconut oil antioxidants reveals higher levels of phenolic antioxidants than other coconut oils.  The fresh coconut meat is shredded (wet milled), and then cold-pressed using the water from inside the coconuts to make coconut milk. The milk is then allowed to sit for about half a day, while the oil naturally separates from the heavier water. The oil is then filtered from the curds (coconut solids). No chemical or high-heat treatment is used, and this oil contains no trans fatty acids. We do NOT mass produce this oil. It is made by families who are coconut farmers using old-fashioned traditional methods that have been used in the Philippines for hundreds of years. Our coconut trees and family producers are certified organic according to strict USDA standards. The families who produce the oil are also trained according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards and re-certified each year. This high-grade Virgin Coconut Oil has a long shelf life due to the high antioxidant properties.

So what do you think?  Ready to try some coconut oil?  Stay tuned because Tropical Traditions will be giving away a quart, just like the one they sent us, to our readers!  We will host the giveaway within the next couple weeks.  You can also purchase this product through their website.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. But since I liked it so much, I thought you might too!  If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Modest Outfit Contest – Please Vote!

Hello Friends,

Caroline over at The Modest Mom Blog hosted a Modest Monday Contest for the last Monday of the year … yes, that is today!  Last week she invited people to send in their pictures and she posted them today.  The person with the most votes by midnight on Thursday (1/2/14) wins.  That being said, Hannah and I both have outfits in this contest (#1 & #2) so if you would like to, please go on over and leave a comment to vote!  You can do so by clicking HERE.  Thank you, ladies!

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NOTE: these outfits will also be featured in more details in our upcoming Bargain Bin Modesty column here on Radical Femininity … stay tuned!

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

(You might like to read Part One: Why Would I Want To Leave Home? and Part Two: Biblical Reasons For Being At Home)

Many daughters feel the criticism from skeptics who wonder, “what do you do with yourself all day?”  Some people view stay-at-home daughters as prisoners and slaves to abusive, authoritative parents, while others view them as lazy, irresponsible and a financial drain on their families.  While I am sure there may be some girls out there that would fit either of these descriptions, my personal experience and those that I have observed in other families, has been much different!

There are several things that I have learned, and am still learning, that I believe are vital aspects of a unmarried daughter’s role and I would like to share some thoughts about these aspects in the hope that it will be helpful to someone else.

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

The first aspect is the incorrect perception of what it means to be a successful daughter at home.  I think we, as unmarried daughters, often feel the need to perform and prove ourselves … to show people that we can be just as successful at home as outside of it.  In talking with other young women, I believe there is a common misnomer among daughters at home that we have to be “doing something”.  There is a mindset out there that if you aren’t working in your father’s business, or running your own home business, or taking college courses at home, or blogging, or teaching a girl’s Bible study class, or helping young mothers, etc etc, the list could go on and on … if you only spend your days at home cooking, cleaning, running errands for your parents and taking care of younger siblings … then you’re not really being successful at home.

Personally, I have been blessed with many different opportunities and projects, including the magazine and running several home businesses.  These things keep me extremely busy.  And although I am grateful for these opportunities and I know the heavenly Father has given them to me, it is often difficult to find the proper balance between handling the responsibilities and devoting my time and energy to serving my family.  When we start focusing on other responsibilities and placing more importance on them rather than our families, we have lost the key to being successful daughters at home.  Sure, we may live in our father’s house and be under his authority, but if our projects get in the way of serving our families and learning the character traits described in Titus 2, we need to reevaluate our priorities.

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

I think one of the most amazing things about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she was not only an incredible entrepreneur and she ministered to the poor and needy, but she took care of her household as well.  That is pretty incredible!  I know from personal experience that it is difficult to keep family first when you have business and ministry opportunities.

There are times when I am trying to prepare a meal for the family and someone calls, wanting to buy one of our puppies.  Half an hour later I am still listening to them reminisce about the dog they had for fifteen years, or answering questions that have already been discussed on our website!  There are other times when I have magazine emails to respond to, or hours of work on design and layout, and my little sister wants to play a game or go walk in the woods.  Business phone calls and magazine emails are important, but my family is more important.  This is something I have to constantly remind myself of.

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

So my desire is to encourage young ladies … know that you do not have to perform and prove yourself in the eyes of the world!  While I am a proponent for running businesses from home and being involved in home-based ministries, I also know that the most important thing an unmarried daughter can focus on is serving her family.  If your whole day is centered around taking care of your family and you find joy and contentment in doing that, you are successful!

In a way, it’s similar to how people view stay-at-home moms.  Everyone commends women who can be successful wives and mothers and run a business or ministry.  But what about the mothers who spend their days changing diapers, wiping spills and rocking babies?  Their “ministry” is not as public, but it is still as worthy and commendable.  In the same way, if you are a young lady who doesn’t have opportunities for public ministry or entrepreneurial endeavors and feel like you are “only” serving your family, don’t be discouraged.  Your family is your mission field and your influence in their lives is just as important as anywhere else!

What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?

(stay tuned for the last post in the series – Part Four: Finding The Balance)

Biblical Reasons For Being At Home

personal discoveries

(You might like to read Part One: Why Would I Want To Leave Home?)

In looking for Biblical instruction about the unmarried daughter’s role, something that really got my attention were verses like Colossians 3:20, which says “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord,” and verse 18 of the same chapter which says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”

Obviously there is a principle here that a daughter who is a child is supposed to be in obedience and submission to her parents and a wife is supposed to be in obedience and submission to her husband.  So then does it make sense that a young lady who is no longer a child and not yet married, should be independent and submitted to no one?  According to Scripture, the answer is no.  In Numbers 30 we find that a father has spiritual authority over his unmarried daughter and can protect her from making a foolish vow or commitment, just as a husband has authority to protect his wife from doing the same.

We find several references to an unmarried daughter being in her father’s house in that same chapter, and in Leviticus 22, we also read that if a woman was divorced or widowed, she was to return to her father’s house as she was in her youth.  While these passages would seem to be a clear indication that an unmarried daughter remained in her father’s house, I think it is also important to look at the Scriptural examples that we have.  Here are some of the unmarried daughters that I discovered:

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  • Genesis 19; we find Lot’s daughters were in his house.
  •  Genesis 24; we find Rebekah serving her family and in so doing, she ended up serving the man who was to introduce her to her husband.
  • Genesis 29; we find Rachel caring for her father’s flocks.
  • Exodus 2; Zipporah and her sisters were also caring for their father’s flocks.
  • Judges 11; we find Jepthah’s daughter in his house.

I also found that the only Biblical examples we have of unmarried women living on their own, was Rahab in Jericho and the two harlots that brought the baby to King Solomon.  In saying that, I have to add the disclaimer that I am not accusing a woman who lives on her own of being a harlot!  Far from it!  But I do find it interesting that the only Scriptural examples of unmarried women who were not in their father’s homes were those of ungodly women.

But I think the most convincing passage is Titus 2:3-5, which says, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Everyone is familiar with these verses, they are probably quoted more often than any other verses relating to a woman’s Biblical role.  I always understood them to mean that the older women are to teach the young wives how to love their husbands and children and keep their homes, etc.  But a brief study of that passage will reveal that the word for “young women” simply means “young, youthful, or recently born” … it does not indicate wifehood at all.

Our family came to realize that these things the young women were to learn, are things that must be practiced.  They are not accomplished overnight.  How can we expect a woman to train herself for a career, to practice being independent and self-sufficient … and then suddenly she is married and must submit to her husband and be a keeper of her home?  Personally, I feel that this verse is referring to the unmarried young women.  They are the ones that should be learning to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good and obedient to their husbands … so that once they reach that stage of life, they will have the necessary training and practice for a smooth transition into the role of wife, mother and homemaker.

The exciting thing is – these are things that can be learned at home!  You won’t accomplish these traits by paying thousands of dollars of tuition for four years on a college campus.  And you can’t practice being a homemaker while working a regular, eight hour a day job.  But most young women are provided with the ideal circumstances for learning and practicing these aspects of Godly womanhood … and that is their homes and families.  What better way to learn to love and obey your future husband, than to treat your father in this way?  What better way is there to prepare to love your children, than to practice this with your own siblings?  What better place is there to learn how to take care of a home?  And think about all the things that you can learn and study, whether it be character traits, special skills, etc!

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This is why I am convinced that my place as an unmarried daughter is in my parents’ home, under their authority, serving my family.  It is the perfect training ground to prepare me for my own home and family one day.  Some people may think that I have a very narrow vision for the future, and in some ways, I do.  I believe that a woman should be a keeper at home, whether married or unmarried.  It is common to hear people say that you can be anything you want to be.  Just believe in yourself, dream big, and you can do whatever you want to do.  But this is not a Scriptural mindset.  Titus 2:5 says that the young women are to learn these things so that the word of God is not blasphemed.  I do not believe that it is pleasing to the heavenly Father when women do not fulfill the role for which He created them.  When we do not fulfill the roles for which we were created, we cannot expect positive results.

In saying all that, I must add that while I feel very strongly about what I believe to be right, I also know that there are many exceptions to the rule.  We live in an imperfect world and are surrounded by imperfect people and imperfect situations.  I know there are some girls who do not have fathers to provide for them, and there are other girls whose fathers want them to work or go to college.  I believe that each family and individual must decide how to walk out the convictions the heavenly Father has given them and it is not our place to judge whether they are doing it correctly or not.  This path is going to look different for each family, which brings me to the next topic I want to address … what does a daughter at home do?

(stay tuned for Part Three: What Do You Do With Yourself All Day?)