Friday, August 31, 2012


This summer, lots of adventure with Grandma and a cousin, here, there and everywhere.

Sea World with the family.
Disney World with big sister, who works there.
Family reunion in Pennsylvania (with Mom, too).
Hanging out in Maryland, staying up late.
San Francisco and Muir Woods for their Grandma Trip (a treat between ages 11-13ish).
  (I spent six years in northern California as a child.  Wish I could have gone with them!)
Six Flags, another amusement park!?!
Lots of ice cream.

An eleven year old's memories to last a lifetime.

What a charming summer for a charming girl.

Another version of this post, with a whole lot more photos, is here: Charming in California

P52 Photo Project Week #35 on September 1: Endless Summer
P52 with Kent Weakley

Friday, August 17, 2012


Cherries and Strawberries, Summer Fresh
Kids added lemon juice and ice and sugar,
crushed it all in the blender.
A cup for Mom, too, of course!

All gone!  Can I have some more?
I'm having fun playing with the color red with light and shadow in these pictures.  More fun enjoying treats my children make from me that I never taught them.  I think this particular one was passed down from sibling to sibling several times over, with endless variety along the way depending on what flavors we have in the house.   Sometimes it is chocolate!  Yes! I love when they experiment in the kitchen and I get to enjoy the results.

More about kids and cooking? Read here: Your Children Can Help with Meal Times

If you're visiting from another blog, please take the time to browse through other posts, here at Come Weary Moms and at my other blogs listed in the sidebar.  And leave a comment! Thanks!

The middle photo in this post was taken for the P52 photo project (linked below) with the week's theme of "Ice."  I wish the theme had been "cloud" or "sky" because my favorite photo of the week is here: One Sky

Have fun!

Food on Fridays


 P52 Photo Project Week #33 on August 18, theme "Ice"

P52 with Kent Weakley

Raising Homemakers 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just a Simple Meal: Soup, Salad, Strawberries

Dear friends,

P.S. (PreScript):  If you are looking for my post on Cherry Strawberry Drink, click here. I linked it wrong on a blog carnival!)  Now, back to our "Just a Simple Meal" post:

Just a simple meal...

On Sunday afternoon we found that our kids (8 still living at home) wouldn't be home for dinner -- one of their married sisters was ordering pizza for them.

So it would be just the two of us!  We could have gone out to dinner, but our budget was tight and we'd just been out for dessert the night before.  I have a hand injury which has made cooking a bit difficult. We were both exhausted.  Simple sounded just right.


A can of chicken dumpling soup, with a little milk added to make it stretch.
A box of woven wheat crackers with Garlic Lovers hummus to dip it on.
A tossed salad that my husband had made at lunch time.
Fresh sliced strawberries and vanilla yogurt.

Yes, that will do nicely.
A relaxing dinner.
Just the two of us.
Just a simple meal.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. All of the food is from the Aldi grocery store.   

This post linked at:

Raising Homemakers on August 15


Food on Fridays on August 17 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Words of Promise, Comfort and Encouragement

Dear friends,

Yesterday, in my post Weekend Gratitude: In Every Situation on one of my other blogs, I mentioned that I had compiled a box of Scripture encouragement cards as a gift for my cousin Jean.  These are some of the passages I included.  I can think of many others that I would like to have copied out for her but I have an injured writing hand just now.  It's even been a little hard just to copy and paste today from I'll try to make a list of them later. :-)  These verses are all NIV, most of them from the 1984 edition that I prefer.

What are your favorite Bible verses?  Share them in a comment below!

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever. Isaiah 55:12-13 

Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever. Psalm 30:4-5, 10-13 

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:5-6 

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4 

But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.  To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. Selah  Psalm 3:3-5, 8 

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6b 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:56-58 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:2-3, 29, 32 

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men,that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope,patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:9-18 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:5-7  

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:13, 17-18 

Grace and peace to your and your family today,
Virginia Knowles

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Between the Burqa and the Bikini: A Call to Moderate Modesty

Between the Burqa and Bikini: A Call to Moderate Modesty

Burqas. Bikinis. I see them both in one sweeping glance at Sea World here in Orlando. What a juxtaposition! I should clarify and say that most of the “burqa” wearers (if that is even the correct term) were not completely covered. Instead of wearing the toe length flowing black robes and veils that showed only slivers of skin with a slit or a translucent panel for the eyes, most of them were wearing loose fitting, thigh length, long sleeve tunics over trousers, and white or colored head scarves. And the bikini wearers? A mix of “If you've got it flaunt it!” and “I've still got some sense of decency.”

I keep my eyes on the culture & theology debates on-line, and one that has come up repeatedly in the Christian (especially home school) crowd is the issue of modesty. You might think this would be pretty straightforward and everyone would agree. But what modesty is can by quite nuanced already, and when it is tied in with related opinions on myriad other topics (as it should, being that our lives are integrated rather than compartmentalized), then you get a whole mess load of controversy, some of it rather sharp.

Those on the conservative end of the spectrum believe that a Christian woman should always wear calf length (or longer) skirts, loose fitting shirts with at least elbow length sleeves, the more layers the better, with muted solid colors so as not to draw any attention to themselves, and extra points for home sewn. If they lean even more toward Mennonite-like standards, they will also wear some sort of head covering to show that they are properly submissive to their husbands.  

On the liberal end of the spectrum, pretty much anything goes. Like bikinis.

As a mother of seven daughters and three sons, most of whom are either teens or adults (two already married, one with two children), I have some opinions of my own. I tend to fall somewhere in the moderate zone, having loosened up quite a bit from 10 years ago when I pretty much only wore calf length dresses and the “home school mommy uniform” of denim jumpers.  Some of them looked pretty hideous, especially the ones I made.  Now I usually wear capris or loose walking shorts in warm weather, loose pants or blue jeans in the winter, and V-neck or scoop neck shirts. Maybe it's because I'm out of the perpetually pregnant stage, and despite my excess weight, I am getting more comfortable with the shape of my own body. Still, my swimsuit has a nearly knee length skirt, and I wear a black camisole under it to raise the neck-line. No bikinis for me. That's an act of mercy on my part, as much as it is an attempt at moderate modesty.  

Body shape aside, if I had to choose to wear either a bikini or a tunic and a veil, I know I'd go with the latter for modesty's sake, even if it seems a bit extreme for the American culture. But that would be my choice in a false dichotomy. In the real world, I don't have to wear either a burqa or a bikini, and I don't. While I am still pretty careful to be modest in what I wear, I am not hung up on picky rules or fears, nor do I strictly enforce particular standards on my daughters.

What bothers me is not how some conservative folks dress ultra modestly. I respect and admire that, if that is what is really in their hearts to do as an expression of who they are. The problem is when it becomes another self-righteous standard to check off on a list of “If You Want to Be Truly Godly” behaviors. Often, the women in these groups are exhorted to dress a certain way to conform to the expectations of others, and they in turn exercise the same kind of pressure on their own peers. It can become a form of strident one-upmanship and cliquishness. Worse, it can cause alienation and hostility toward (and from) non-compliant newcomers or teens who are learning to evaluate for themselves what they have always been taught. These kinds of rules love company, so it's not just the modesty. It's all the other baggage that can come with it, much of it based on fear: of messing up, causing others to stumble, or appearing to be worldly. Or it may be based on pride: of being the elite ones who get it right, being holier and homier than thou. Please don't hear me saying that all people who dress modestly are self-righteous or legalistic! That is far from the truth! It's just tragic when a church or Christian movement becomes centered more on the outward rules and less about worshiping Jesus with our hearts.

On the other hand, while I am not about to call a girl a whore if I see more cleavage than I personally think is appropriate, I think too many who identify themselves as Christ-followers throw off common decency in the way they dress. They might think: “If a guy has a problem with my body hanging out all over the place, that's his fault, not mine.” While we should live under liberty instead of law, we shouldn't trade in our liberty for licentiousness. I do not think a man should ever sexually harass a woman no matter what she is wearing, but let's get real. If you dress provocatively, you are advertising that you are cheap goods. It might be false advertising if you really aren't loose with sexual activity, but you are appearing that way. Like it or not, you shouldn't be surprised if men – even Christian ones - don't treat you with respect. 

I think modesty is mostly just learning what is appropriate for each situation and dressing accordingly. I could write a whole lot more, and I haven't said much about the closely related issue of femininity, but I've pretty much said my piece for now. Instead, I'd like to share several web links about the topic of modesty. Please note that these links are “all over the place” on what they endorse, and I do not agree with everything in them! I'm just trying to present a fair balance, starting with pro-more-modesty links. Also keep in mind that several of these links specifically address the issue of whether lust, sexual harrassment, or rape can be blamed on immodesty.

Pro-Modesty Blogs (Nice Ones!)
  • Teaching Modesty to Our Daughters at Raising Homemakers -- This is a single post but you will find many more on this site.  They also have a weekly link up party and many of the linked posts are about modesty. I regularly link there.
  • The Modest Mom blog by Caroline – she sponsors regular link-ups to other blog posts about modesty as well
Other Links

Modesty: A Heart Issue by Rachel Miller at the Aquila Report “To seek to adorn ourselves with a “gentle and quiet spirit” is something to aspire to for all of our lives. When we focus on developing an inner beauty that does not fade with time, we will find that our priorities and goals in life will change. Dressing “sexy” or “provocatively” to get attention will not hold the same allure. Our sons, too, will learn to value women not simply for their outward appearance, if we teach them look for the qualities that God finds precious.”

Mixed-Messages of Modesty by Rachel Ramer: “While immodest apparel focuses attention on women as sexual objects, obsessive teaching on dress codes creates the same focus. Preachers and other spiritual leaders reinforce the destructive message that women and girls are so distracting sexually that they must be covered up beyond cultural sensibilities.”

Excellent series on modesty by Becky at Created to Be His:

Five Problems I Have with Slutwalk Marches by Mary Kassian – be sure to read the comments! Then read responses at the Emotional Abuse and Your Faith blog: Adventures in Missing The Point and Slutwalk Myths Encouraged By CBMW

My Prayer for Christian Fundamentalist Leaders by Wendy Horger Alsup at Practical Theology for Women

A Legalist Goes Shopping at Recovering Grace, a web site for those negatively affected by the teachings of Bill Gothard, ATI, and IBLP

Finally, a little poem/song I wrote many years ago.  You can see my comments about it here: A Woman of Beauty.

A Woman of Beauty
by Virginia Knowles

A beautiful woman is quiet in spirit 
Gentle in all that she does. 
Adorning the inward part
She trusts the Lord with all her heart. 
She is a woman of beauty! 
She is a woman of beauty! 

She does not need ornaments of fancy gold
And it's not in how she fixes her hair.
As long as she's clothed in strength and dignity,
It doesn't matter what else she wears.

A beautiful woman is quiet in spirit
Gentle in all that she does. 
Adorning the inward part
She trusts the Lord with all her heart. 
She is a woman of beauty! 
She is a woman of beauty! 

What do you think?  Leave a comment!  If you have strong feelings on this subject either way, please remember that I would like to keep this as a cordial dialogue!

Virginia Knowles

P.S. Hello again! I just wrote a follow up article "My Thoughts on the Sexualization of the Church (And Other Problems)"  Please take a look and tell me what you think!

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