Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Be Chaste: Part I

I've come to the realization that far too FEW women understand and realize the affect that their clothing has on men. Or more appropriately they do actually know but they choose to disregard it or they simply just don't care. Men are visual by nature. THEY WERE CREATED THAT WAY. Yet, most women (75%) are NOT visual and we don't really ever understand what that means, or we don't take the time to try to understand.
Frankly, I'm tired of this "shame on him for looking" mentality that excuses immodesty and let's women keep their consciouses clean for the inappropriate choices they make with their clothing.

I'm going to use a chapter from a great book to expand this topic in better words than I have.

Why it's so Natural for Him to Look and So Hard to Forget What He's Seen

Scene One:
Doug, a successful businessman with a wife and kids, has traveled to California for a business deal. The conference room fills with top executives, so each one can give him a presentation. The first executive, a very attractive woman, walks to the whiteboard. She has a great figure, Doug notices, and her well-fitted suit shows it off tastefully. As she begins her presentation, the woman is friendly but all business.

Scene Two:
I'm talking to a series of randomly selected Christian men who are serious about their faith and (if they're married) genuinely devoted to their wives. I describe Scene One above and tell them it is straight out of my novel The Lights of Tenth Street. Then I ask each man a question: "If you were Doug, what would be going through your mind as the female executive makes her presentation?"
Here are some of their answers:
- "Great body ... Stop it! What am I thinking?"
- "I check to see if she's wearing a wedding ring."
- "I wonder if she finds me attractive."
- "I feel an instant tightening in my gut."
- "I bet she's using those curves to sell this deal."
- "Look at her face, look at her face, look at her face ..."
- "It is hard for me to concentrate on her presentations because I'm trying so hard to look at her face and not her body."
- "I have to be ruthless about pushing back these images - and they keep intruding."
- "I wonder what's under that suit? Stop it. Concentrate on the presentation."
- "About two minutes into her talk, I'd be remembering a scene from a porn video I saw when I was fifteen."
- "If I'm not careful, a few minutes later I might be wondering what she's like in bed."

If you had been with me, listening to those men, what would you be thinking? I confess that their answers both amazed and dismayed me. Yet as I heard men I trusted reveal similar reactions over and over, I realized that this must be normal.
Although I'd always heard that men are visual, I had never really understood what that actually meant. I had been totally oblivious.


Here's the insight I stumbled on by accident, which had radically reshaped my understanding of men:
Even happily married men are instinctively pulled to visually "consume" attractive women, and these images can be just as alluring whether they are live or recollected.

Two areas of this "men are visual" thing surfaced that I, at least, didn't really get before:

- First, a woman with a great body is an "eye magnet" that is incredibly difficult to avoid, and even if a man forces himself not to look, he is acutely aware of her presence.

- Second, even when no such eye magnet is present, each man has a "mental Rolodex" of stored images that can intrude into his thoughts without warning or can be called up at will.

If you're among the 25 percent of women who describe themselves as "visual," this "revelation" may not seem surprising. But for the rest of us, it may seem a mystery - or worse. We might even experience it as a personal failure on our part (for not being enough woman to keep his attention) or as a personal betrayal on his (why would a loving and committed husband have to push back images of other women at all?)
Thankfully, as we delve deeper, discovering how hardwired this compulsion is - and how little it has to do with us - is oddly encouraging. Actually, it is two separate but related compulsions. Let's keep an open mind and look at them, together.

Compulsion #1: A man can't not want to look.
In the survey, we created a scene similar to Doug's and asked men to predict their responses. Consider the results:

Imagine you are sitting alone in a train station and a woman with a great body walks in and stands in a nearby line. What is your reaction to the woman? [Choose one answer.]

- I openly stare at her, and drool forms on my lower lip: 4%
- I'm drawn to look at her, and I sneak a peek or glance at her from the corner of my eye: 76%
- It is impossible not to be aware that she is there, but I try to stop myself from looking: 18%
- Nothing happens; it doesn't affect me:

The first fact is that a whopping 98 percent of men put their response to an eye-catching woman in "can't not be attracted" categories (only 2 percent were unaffected by a woman with a great body). Interestingly, the results were essentially the same for men who described themselves as happily married believers.
Many men explained the power of this desire to look, even when they tried not to or when the attractive woman in question left their line of sight. One faithful husband whom I highly trust confessed, "If I see a woman with a great body walk into Home Depot and I close my eyes or turn away until she passes, for the next half hour I'm keenly aware that she's in there somewhere. I'm ashamed to say that, more than once, I've gone looking down the aisles, hoping to catch a glimpse."
I'd love to think that this man was an aberration - except that all the men I shared his quote with said, "That's exactly right!"
Another husband with a happy twenty-year marriage described another typical scenario: "My wife and I recently went out to dinner at a nice restaurant with some friends. The hostess was extremely attractive with a great figure and that spark that reaches out and grabs a man's attention. For the rest of the night, it was impossible not to be aware that she was across the restaurant, walking around. Our group had a great time with our lovely wives, but I gaurantee you that our wives didn't know that every man at that table was acutely aware of that woman's presence and was doing his utmost not to look in that direction."
Now, think back to the opening of this book. These examples clarify why Jeff would suddenly turn his head as we walked the streets of New York: He was choosing to honor me. He had just seem an attractive woman and was forcing himself to look away so the image would not linger.
And that brings us to the second fact.

Compulsion #2: A man has a mental Rolodex of sensual images.
We've all heard that the male half of the population thinks about sex a lot. What I didn't realize was that they aren't exactly thinking about sex (as in, I wonder if my wife will be in the mood tonight). Rather, they're picturing it, or picturing a sexual image. And those pictures aren't necessrarily of their wives. They are often images that have been involuntarily burned in their brains just by living in today's culture - images that can arise without warning.
You might be wondering, What kinds of images? Apparently just about anything: the memory of an intimate time with you (good) or the memory of a Playboy magazine (bad). It could be a recollection of the shapely woman who walked through the parking lot two minutes ago or an online porn site he saw two years ago. These images often arise without warning, even if the guy doesn't want them. Or specific images can be recalled on purpose. As several men put it, "I have an unending supply of images in my head, stretching back to my teens."

The survey results were clear:

Many men have a mental set of sensual images that rise up or can be conjured up in their minds. Does this apply to you? [Choose One Answer]

- Yes, and these images are regularly changing; for example, the great body I just saw in the train station could be recalled hours or days later: 62%
- Yes, but they are mostly images from years gone by: 25%
- No, I don't have a mental set of sensual images:

In total, 87 percent of men say these images pop up in their heads. When you break down the demographics, it is roughly the same across the board - whether men are old or young, happily married or single, religious or not.

[We women tend to not understand this because in the same situation we wouldn't have the same response. When we see a movie with an attractive leading man it's safe to assume that for most of us the image of him will not pop up in our minds the next day, especially not involuntarily!]

It's a minefield out there ...
For those who aren't visual, it's hard to imagine that a man could have no control over something popping up in his head. We also may not recognize that in our sex-saturated culture, the very act of living is a minefield of possible triggers and potential images that could recalled days or years later.
To use a common example, prime-time television commercials often flash sensual two-second images - say, of woman undressing - that are up on the screen and gone before the man can look away. Nothing he can do. Boom, it's added to the mental Rolodex, whether he wants it or not.

Mental Rolodexes on speed-dial
When I asked men how often a sensual thought or image barged into their consciousness, many of them said something like "all the time." Of course, I wanted to know what "all the time" mean!
"If you're talking about a teenage boy, 'all the time' means all the time," one forty-year-old man explained. "It would be fairly unusual for a teenage guy to go a couple of hours without an involuntary image - and then when he does, he could spend half an hour straight on the subject. A twenty-something man also has a pretty difficult time. Once you reach your thirties and forties, you're a little more settled and those thoughts are more often triggered by something."
But once those thoughts are triggered, he and others clarified, an image could rise up two or three times a minute! And they also said that if the man is highly visually oriented, and if that temptation is entertained at all, it is even more difficult to get rid of.

Okay, let's take a deep breath for a second. For some of us, this is a lot to take in. For others, it's no big deal. Also, if you are "visual," you may more readily understand your husband's struggle. And don't worry - you're normal. But it's important for the rest of us to realize that our men are normal too. As the national survey showed, this temptation is common to every man. And as my interviewees emphasized, it has no bearing on their devotion to their wives.
Before we go any further, we should make a critical distinction: Temptations are not sins. (The Bible states that "Jesus was tempted in every way.") What we do with those temptations is the issue, and we'll get to that in a moment.
For now, let's sort out the progression of male responses to see which are involuntary and which most definitely are not.
... ... ...

So, are you still ok with laying all the blame on the man whose eyes are stuck to you? Or even the man's eyes who glance but who is desperately trying to erase the image of you in your micro-mini and low-cut shirt?
I'm not. And I'm not ok with my husband or other men who are desperately trying to honor their wives being blamed for having roving eyes!

... ... ... ... ... ... ...

I will edit and add more later. :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stolen Thoughts on The Election

Since I can't seem to organize my own thoughts in an accurate, cohesive manner I'm copying the writibgs if two people who have expressed my sentiment on the Election results.

The first is a friend of Mike's: Chris D.

It's becoming increasingly clear that what divides our country is not merely a matter of policy or party but distinctive worldview and ideological differences. That said I think it's completely unrealistic to think the majority of our elected officials can work together in any meaningful way. McCain's gracious concession speech and Obama's lofty victory speech with all their platitudes may sound nice, but the American left and right are by and large too polarized to find any common ground. The secular left and the Judeo-Christian right (what's left of it) are from different planets and will never come together—nor should they. I think if people on both sides were honest they'd agree with me. One side must be wrong and one side must be right. Take your pick.

While I'm sure this will be terribly difficult, I'm going to do my absolute damndest to do exactly what the Left of this country did not do for the majority of the last 8 years—extend courtesy to the President of the United States even if I didn't vote for or agree with him. I'm not much a George W. Bush fan but the venom, vitriol and disrespect shown to this man has been without comparison. You will not find the equivalent of a "Buck Fush" bumper sticker on the back of my car ("Ouck Fbama?"). You will not hear me make asinine statements like "He's not my President." There is nothing wrong with critique or even a little sarcastic mockery but the kind of attitude outlined above does far more damage to the American political system than somebody's bad policy.

The second is from Jasmine Baucham, thanks to Natalie K:

Blog Post by Jasmine Baucham

This post was written by Voddie Baucham's daughter. She expresses my sentiments exactly! Since I do not have time to write, the Lord faithfully provides others who can say what I'd like to say just as well, or better, than I ever could!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
A "Change" We Can Be Thrilled About
Thank you, first, for all of your sweet comments on last night's post! You were all so encouraging and understanding; how grateful I am for the diverse and loving body of Christ.

I woke up this morning, not filled with dread or disappointment at Barack Obama's election; no, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to face a new day. I woke up, unsurprised to find that God is still on His throne, holy, just, righteous, omnipotent, sovereign, and loving, and that we are His children, bought with a price, sealed for that marvelous day when the King of Kings will come to reign here on earth as He reigns in our lives, and sovereignly over all things.

America has fallen for Obama's promises of change... and change I'm sure we'll receive; President Obama is sure to provide is with ample opportunity for change, sliding on a downhill slope towards Marxist socialism. As one friend joked via email this morning, New Zealand's looking better and better to me each day. :-)

Reflect, however, on Romans 13:1-7... is Barack Obama's administration as unsavory as the administration that the Apostle Paul was submitting to when he wrote those words?

The Lord gave me peace this morning as I was able to reflect on a different type of change that can occur over the next four years under our new administration. I don't mean the change that means our troops perhaps coming home to soon, abortions being easier and easier to come by, taxes raising painfully high, and welfare spreading our money painfully thin...

I mean the change that could come within the lives of God's people. As we are forced to transfer our hope from a fallen human candidate, and into the hands of our all-wise God, perhaps He will quicken our hearts, soften our consciences, and give us a renewed passion for His Kingdom; He will sanctify us, He will strengthen us, and through that sanctification process, He will make us more and more able to carry out His glorious plan.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:3-5)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
(James 1:2-3)

The Lord has placed us in this time in history, in this country, for a reason; we are here on earth in this window of time to bring Him glory and honor, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, to leave a legacy for those that come after us, that they may continue this work long after we're gone. Obama's presidency cannot stop us from carrying out this mission; he can make it difficult, he can make it painful, but he cannot stop us.

In light of our present circumstances, I do have hope that a change will come; a revival, starting in the hearts of the children of God as they learn to trust and revere their might Maker. And I have a hope that thischange will inspire us to do great and wonderful things for the Kingdom of God, through our submission to Him in all things.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Wyatt James

Wyatt James finally arrived - but it was a while ago and I haven't updated this blog in forever!
Wyatt James
Born April 28, 2008
02:09 am
7 lbs 30z
19.5 inches
He came rather quickly. Contractions started Sunday night around 10:30pm but we waited until 12:30am to leave for the hospital and didn't get admitted until 1:00am. We got into the Labor & Delivery ward at 1:30am and he was born at 2:09am! I have opted to have an epidural but he came so quickly that I never received any of it - so it was pretty much a drug free delievery!
He came so quickly that the doctor didn't even make it in time. The nurses delivered him and the doctor came in about 30 seconds after he was out! Wow!
He was 4.5 weeks early but was perfectly healthy and came home with us the following Wednesday when we were released. After that he ended up having to go into the doctor everyday for the first week because his bilirubin (jaundice level) was high and he wasn't getting down, plus he was losing weight. He dropped about a pound in the first 4 days home so we had to start supplimenting. Once we did, he put that weight back on quickly and got rid of the jaundice!
He is now almost 6 weeks old and doing wonderful! He has been blessing me with over 8 hours of sleep almost every night. Woot! He is growing too - finally fitting into his newborn clothes and almost into those 0-3 month outfits!
Emma loves him and wants to help in whatever way she can. She is always asking about the baby, "Baby White," as she calls him! She helps change him, feed him, and burp him.
George ignores him for the most part unless he can help burp him - which equates to whacking him on the back! Fun!
We've been adjusting to life with 3 children under the age of 2.5 and it's been interesting! It's been good and fun though. We don't venture out of the home very often because it is a rather taxing adventure. But, it's better that way anyways! We need that time home as a family!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Baby Peanut Update!

So, I just realized that I haven't updated this blog in a long, long time!
Baby Peanut is doing well. I have been on bedrest since February 29th and we stayed with Mike's parents until about 2 weeks ago. Being home with the kids by myself during the day obviously makes bedrest a little harder but it's been going really well!
This last Friday when I was checked I measured at 3+ cm dilated which was a slight change from the Tuesday before but not enough to be too worried about. It's actually kind of amazing to me because by this time with George I was already at 4 cm - and I haven't gotten there yet this time!
I did go into Labor and Delivery on Tuesday because I was having some contractions but they weren't enough to change anything so I was able to go home.
I will be 35 weeks on Wednesday and the doctor said that I could go off my Terbutaline (contraction medication) at 36 weeks. So just over a week until that which is exciting to me! MY doctor has also been doing a test called a Fetal Fibernectin Test that determines whether or not you're going to go into labor within 2 weeks. The one that I had done just over a week ago came back positive! That would put me at having the baby by this coming Friday. :) Although, when the test produces positive results it's about 50% accurate. So, we'll see!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Baby Bedrest

So, I had another doctor appointment last Friday - the 14th. My doctor checked my cervix and I had progressed to 2cm. So, she put me on Terbutaline to stop the contractions and I am continuing the Progesterone shots to stop pre-term labor. I am also on rather strict bedrest - meaning I am supposed to be mainly on my side, not sitting higher than a 45 degree angle and I can go to the bathroom and take a 10 minute shower!
I will be going back to the doctor weekly now too. She wants me to make it to 32 weeks for sure (I am 30 weeks tomorrow) and then idealy to 34 weeks. She told me the goal is to get to the middle of April and that would put me at almost 34 weeks.
We are continuing to stay with the Kapala's - bless them! We will probably end up being here until Mike is recovered from his hernia surgery or I am off bedrest - whichever comes first!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Home Again

Just wanted to let everyone know we (the kids and I) are back in MN! We fly home last Friday with Mike's aunt Libby and the kids did incredible considering everything. (We had to leave for the airport at 4:30am and missed our connecting flight!)
It was such a wonderful blessing to have been in NC as long as we were! Both Mike and I are so thankful for his aunt and uncle and their willingness to share their home with us. The kids and I did end up coming back early because I was finally able to see a doctor down there and it turns out that at just over 27 weeks I had started to dilate. So I flew home early with Libby and I see my doctor here on Friday! I'll know more about the bedrest situation then but until then I am on bedrest.
We are staying at the Kapala's right now because of that and they are helping with the kids. It's a HUGE help!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Here are some pictures from North Carolina!

Emma & Daddy

George & Daddy

Aunt Libby & George

Uncle Brad & Emma

Emma & George in the bath!
My baby #3 belly!! (27 weeks today)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

North Carolina - here we are!

So, some of you may know but many may not. The kids and I have left the blinding cold of Minnesota to be closer to Mike in balmy North Carolina!!
We are staying with Mike's uncle and aunt which is about 3 hours from the base but Mike comes up to their house each weekend to see us. It's a huge blessing for us to even be able to be down here in the first place! We are so thankful for how Mike's uncle and aunt have taken us in and cared for us. 
Mike is a couple months into his training now and it has been going alright. It's a  lot of stuff he already knows from going to school for mechanics and there's not a lot of hands-on, so he gets a little bored sometimes! But temporary bordem is a welcome trade for hearing that this is the happiest he's ever been at any job he's ever had. He's told me more than once that he loves his job now - that he's found his niche! 
He is over half-way done with school and we are looking forward to graduation and going back home to warmer weather than it is currently! 
We've been spoiled by having a few days in the 70s and a number in the 60s! I can't believe that I have been out walking with the kids in early February. :) 

Most exciting - today is George's FIRST BIRTHDAY!! I can't believe he was born a year ago already! It seems like just yesterday - which I know is cliche - but it really does go that fast. He was a little 7lb 3oz, 20 inch, blue-eyed, jaundice baby! Now - he's almost walking and eating table food and starting to give up his bottle. Not to mention, he has 7 teeth and is getting another one. :) We had a small celebration last night with us and the Thompson's with cupcakes and a couple small presents - both he and Emma were covered in red frosting! 

Well ... when I am able I will try to get a video or some pics of last night and our fun! Hope you are all well. 

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mike's Christmas Leave

So, we were blessed to have Mike home for almost two weeks for Christmas! He got back to MN on the 20th and was here through January 1st. It went WAY too fast and was a little too busy but it was wonderful!
Here's some pictures from his time home with us!

Mike & Emma

Mike & Emma on the way home from Duluth

Mike & George :)

George - he's getting SO big!

We're missing one - but us at the Jone's family Christmas

Emma on Christmas morning

My favorite pic of us!