Thursday, October 29, 2009
I took all my quilt blocks to my friend's house on Tuesday so we could lay them out together (she's good at that balancing thing, thank you, C.)
After getting them all out I decided not to include the ones with the dark green. Even though they don't look too bad in the pictures the green leans toward the blue rather than the yellow like all the rest of the greens. So we eliminated those, thus creating a need for more shopping. Oh, too bad. ;-)
You can see the dark green a little better in this pic.
Here are a couple pictures of the piles of blocks. It's amazing to me how a pile of blocks can become a whole queen size quilt.
Today I was able to stop at a quilting shop (35 minutes from home) to get that additional fabric for the strip sets. It will also be for the quilt binding.
Some sad news...my local quilt shop closed on Monday. I got the email about it on Tuesday, so there was no saying goodbye. Although I did reply to her email with good wishes. Now to go find another shop closer than 35 minutes. I think I have a lead, however. Happy quilting.
Monday, October 26, 2009
By Gary DeMar
First-century believers could have offered tangible evidence that there was little chance for the gospel to have an impact on the status quo of religious and civil oppression in their day. How could a small band of men—led by a fisherman (Peter) and a tentmaker (Paul)—living under Roman occupation ever conceive that their circumstances would change enough so that the gospel message would lead to the transformation of the world? To add to the improbability of a world-wide impact, soon after the victorious ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on His disciples, one of their own was killed by the religious establishment (Acts 7:54–60). What did God do? He converted the man who led the persecution and made him a missionary to the Roman Empire! (9:1–31). After Stephen’s death, James, the brother of John, was executed by the local civil governor (12:1–2) and Peter was arrested and thrown in prison. What did God do? Herod “was eaten by worms and died” (12:23). Through tradition we learn that every apostle, with the exception of John, died a martyr.
The Roman Empire was the major kingdom force in the first century, and the church was relegated to footnote status by the historians of the day. How times have changed. The historians are footnotes, time is still measured by the birth of Christ—even with the use of BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) by the academic establishment)—the Roman Empire is a memory and its remaining buildings a tourist attraction, and the church of Jesus Christ circles the globe. If God accomplished all of this with a few disciples with little or no social influence and no political connections, why does it seem incredible to accomplish something similar with hundreds of millions of believers today? Is the gospel any less effective?
In his book The Vanishing Conscience, John MacArthur tries to argue that “‘Reclaiming’ the culture is a pointless, futile exercise. “I am convinced,” he writes, “we are living in a post-Christian society—a civilization that exists under God’s judgment.” MacArthur and other Christians believe that such conditions serve as immovable impediments to reformation. Scripture and history are not on his side. The gospel entered a non-Christian society and transformed it. We may live in a post-Christian world, but it wouldn’t take much time or effort to reverse the trend. Even Tim LaHaye, co-author of the popular Left Behind series that presents a pessimistic view of the future, thinks MacArthur is off base. “Personally,” Tim and Beverly LaHaye write, “we have serious problems with that kind of thinking. . . . If we just give up on our country, America may be sentenced to an unnecessary hundred or so years living without the freedom to preach the gospel here or around the world—simply because we gave up on our culture too soon.” In their book Mind Siege, co-authors David Noebel and LaHaye write the following:
The Christian life should never be dull or boring. There is plenty to do in all spheres of life. The importance of Christians entering the cultural sphere (art, music, popular entertainment, theater, media, law, religion, education) cannot be overlooked or underestimated. As Robert Bork makes very clear in his work, conservatives who hold a pro-moral point of view might control the White House and the Congress, but still “they cannot attack modern liberalism in its fortress . . . Hollywood, the network evening news, universities, church bureaucracies, the New York Times and the Washington Post.” Modern liberals, says Bork, “captured the government and its bureaucracies because they captured the culture.” Christians need to ponder this point carefully.
Christian parents need to prepare their sons and daughters to invade the fortress of the left. Someday the major newscasters will retire, and there is nothing amiss in believing that well-prepared Christians can replace them.
America could be reduced to a burned out cinder, and God’s Church will still go on. Even world-wide disasters (plagues and world wars) did not mark “the end.” As history shows, there have been many who have been premature in writing the obituary of the Church and Christian civilization. The doctrine of Church is bigger than our nationalist limitations, and it is more powerful and resilient than the most demanding evils. “Over the past five centuries or so, the story of Christianity has been inextricably bound up with that of Europe and the European-driven civilizations overseas, above all in North America. Until recently, the overwhelming majority of Christians have lived in White nations, allowing theorists to speak smugly, arrogantly, of ‘European Christian’ civilization. . . . Already, today, the largest Christian communities on the planet are to be found in Africa and Latin America,” and we can add, China. The struggles of these third-world nations far outweigh the moral and political struggles we are facing in the United States. They have none of our evangelical infrastructure (a church on every corner), but they seem to be making remarkable evangelical progress. Only time will tell what type of evangelicalism is sprouting and how it will be maintained.
The structures are in place to turn our nation around. What do we lack? It’s not money, people, organization, or skills. We lack motivation, knowledge, and vision. Modern-day American Christianity is not what I bought into when I became a Christian. The first light of the gospel brought a dramatic change in my life. Paul’s words about being a “new creature in Christ” (2 Tim. 5:17) were and are real. I believed that what was true for me as an individual was also true for the whole body of Christ. But as I’ve traveled around the United States, watched and listened to what passes for Christianity on “Christian” television and radio, frequented Christian bookstores and had to endure passing bookshelves filled with countless books on “relational” Christianity (“What can Jesus do for me?”), Christian fiction, end-time novels, Veggie Tales  and Bible Man videos, before I could find the few dusty works of theological substance tucked away at the back of the store, I have often wondered if Christians really understand the true power of the gospel.
I realize politics is a dirty business (what isn’t?), but it wouldn’t take much to reshape the face of Congress and the Senate. With this accomplished, the make-up of the Supreme Court and the lower courts could also be affected. What would it take? One way would to get Christians to vote to limit the power and jurisdiction of civil governments. The few conservative Christian voices that are struggling in Washington need help. A five to ten percent shift in the balance of power is possible in upcoming elections if Christians will take advantage of the opportunity. LaHaye and Noebel point out that “only 48 percent of Christians bother to vote, even in presidential elections.” The goal, of course, is not to use politics as a club to impose a top-down moral regime on America. Christians must understand that civil government has a very narrow focus and limited jurisdiction. The goal is to get the welfare genie back in its bottle and the activist court back in Pandora’s Box and close the lid down tight. Politics is not a reforming agent, but it is something that needs reforming. It certainly can be an inhibitor of reform by creating draconian laws designed to relativize public discourse on any issue.
We are told that there are no simple answers. As New York University president John Sexton stated: “Our [secular] universities are committed to the deep and nuanced study of humanity. The more sophisticated you are, the more you tolerate ambiguity.” The goal of secularism is ambiguity, intellectual as well as moral. That’s why when Christians proscribe placing the Ten Commandments in a court house, and in granite no less, the political establishment faints in disbelief and awakens in outrage. There is a fear that people might actually obey the Ten Commandments and begin to believe that there is a God, and He’s not any of the justices who sit on the Supreme Court. Am I exaggerating? In Stone v. Graham (1980), the court wrote, “If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause.” The fear is that people might actually believe that there is a God who demands something of His creatures. What a shocking assertion. How can Christians remain silent and sit still when such nonsense passes as a Supreme Court decision? In 1965, Rousas J. Rushdoony spotted the logic of a court that sees itself as the foundation of law:
If there is no God and no divinely ordained law, then not only does perversion have equal rights with morality, but actually truer rights, because Christian morality is seen as an imposition on and a dehumanization of man, whereas perversion is an act of liberty and autonomy for this school of thought.
As the courts mumble about toleration and diversity, we are beginning to see a pattern: If any law is based on religious assumptions, in particular, Christian religious assumptions, they cannot be by definition part of America’s legal discourse. So what do we do about this? According to MacArthur, not much. Preach the gospel, to be sure, and hope that this will have a leavening effect on the culture. But even if the country were 80 percent Christian, and this majority decided not to involve themselves in the broader culture, the remaining 20 percent would rule us and in the end deny Christians and everyone else their freedoms.
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 John F. MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience: Drawing the Line in a No-Fault, Guilt-Free World (Dallas, TX: Word, 1994), 12.
 Tim and Beverly LaHaye, A Nation Without a Conscience: Where Have All the Values Gone? (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1994), 243.
 Tim LaHaye and David Noebel, Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millennium (Nashville: Word, 2000), 228.
 Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 1–2.
 Gary DeMar, MeatyTales: Should Talking Vegetables be Used to Teach the Bible? (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2009): http://www.americanvision.com/meatytalesebook.aspx
 LaHaye and Noebel, The Mind Siege, 279.
 Rousas J. Rushdoony, The Religion of Revolution (Victoria, TX: Trinity Episcopal Church, 1965), .
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thanks to Flickr for changing things it's made it more difficult to post my pictures from there. :(
Anyway here's the latest puzzle. I'm still piecing the quilt for my bed and wishing I had a little more I want to blog about. However, maybe I should be thankful I don't.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Here are six of the eight Seekers (formerly Keepers at Home) girls. These are all lovely young ladies.
The "Anonymous String Band" accompanied the dancers on Civil War style dances which were done in sets, circles and couples. (Amy would be able to explain this in much greater detail.)
Fathers were invited to join their daughters (or moms and sons) on the last dance--the waltz. Here they are together.
Amy, was really nervous about going to the ball, but she had a great time and wants to go back next year. We bought a picture cd, so we should be able to post more pictures later.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Here is the stack of strips waiting to be sewn together.
A couple days ago I was looking at the reading pile. (Amazing all the kinds of piles there are.) I discovered that I've got seven books going. "A Jack of all trades and a master of none" came to mind. The one I'm most actively reading is Christian Modesty The Public Undressing of America. It's a fascinating book about the theology modesty and the history of immodesty.
The others in progress are Last Days Madness by Gary DeMar (it's very long, but very good); The Establishment and Limits of Civil Government by James Willson; Desiring God by John Piper; Saving Freedom by Jim DeMint; End the Fed by Ron Paul; and Savanna from Savannah by Denise Hildreth (I've already read this one.). Three of them are library books, so I need to concentrate on those. Then I need to try not to do this again. I need to read one at a time. Or maybe two. ;-)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Next task is to quilt the Avalon quilt. I'm thinking about hand-quilting it, but I haven't decided yet. I've got a design in mind that could lend itself to doing it by hand. I'm not sure what my hand will be able to do, therefore the hesitancy. I'll post pictures when I'm done--in about a year. ;-)
I've also got a couple doll things to make, a blouse Amy asked me to do and a dress for Kit. The dress is from a pattern a fellow blogger made. I'm also currently cutting strips for the quilt for my bed. Busy, busy.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Here's a copy of her article. If you go to the link above you'll see pretty pictures to go with it.
In Which I Wax Philosophical...Why Study Historical Costume?—By Jenny Chancey
While we were in
Naturally, I beg to differ. And so allow me to give you the philosophical underpinnings of my lifelong passion for the study of historical fashion (particularly women’s clothing) through the centuries.
This topic actually came up the first full day of our
These post-modern times hold out a schizophrenic approach to dress. On the one hand, we’re told that no one should judge a book by its cover and that clothing really doesn’t matter at all — if I want to wear torn jeans and a wrinkled tee-shirt with bed-head, that’s just fine, and please don’t even think about calling me a slacker. On the other hand, our checkout lanes are stuffed to overflowing with celebrity-soaked fashion magazines full of headlines screaming about the latest “must-haves” and what is “in” this season (and so yesterday from last spring)–the clear implication being that clothes make the man, and you’d better not be left out of the constantly changing parade of style. So how you dress either shouldn’t matter in the least, or it is of utmost importance and should consume your pop-culture-bound life. But what’s reality?
Let’s get back to our Globe tour, because history has a lot to tell us about ourselves. During Shakespeare’s time, there were “sumptuary laws” dictating exactly who could wear what type of fabric, trimming, lace, jewels, etc. To boil it down to a short synopsis, there was a runaway problem of young men spending themselves into debt to dress “above their station” — trying to imitate the fashions of the nobility whether or not they could afford the expense. And clothing was very expensive for centuries before the industrial revolution brought us giant looms and mills full of laborers (which is another subject entirely, so don’t get me on that bunny trail!). In order to rein in the excesses of expensive fashion, the Elizabethans came up with sumptuary statutes spelling out exactly who could wear what types of finery (even specifying particular colors for certain officials, royalty, etc.). We might scratch our heads at this and wonder what all the fuss was about, but here’s where I think our Elizabethan forebears showed a greater understanding of what clothing communicates than we do–even if their response to it went overboard legislatively.
And this is the seat of reality, however we may congratulate ourselves on how “advanced” we are when it comes to not judging books by their covers. The truth is (and always will be as long as humans are humans) that clothes do communicate, and we do read (and misread) the messages they are sending. The fact that we do this comes up for comment in the New Testament, where James admonishes believers not to judge based on appearances:
For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? ~ James 2:2-4
The point is clear: Because clothes communicate something about the wearer, we do have a tendency to judge based on appearances, and we have to work to overcome a judgmental or preferential attitude. If we were angels instead of humans, we wouldn’t need the exhortation. Some take this a step too far and insist that clothing should be merely functional and not at all ornamental. If we have a tendency to judge, then we should just eliminate the possibility by having rigid rules that force everyone to dress the same — or we should create a legalistic code of dress that ensures no one will be tempted to dress to impress. But such approaches miss the mark as much as Elizabethan sumptuary laws did. Top-down approaches to uniformity will never get to the heart of the matter.
Clothing always has and always will communicate a message. For the most part, men’s clothing has told the viewer exactly what kind of occupation the wearer held. In Colonial times, if someone was called a “leather apron man,” you knew he was in a trade like soap-making, printing, iron work, or another job requiring manual labor. Occupational clothing goes all the way back to ancient times when men wore short tunics coming to the knees to keep their legs unhindered for hard manual labor in the fields or on horseback — or for fighting and marching, as soldiers did. Even today, we have terms like “blue-collar” and “white-collar” to describe the different fields of work — phrases which had their birth in clothing styles worn by men in particular trades.
For centuries upon centuries, women’s clothing has said, “I am feminine. I am different.” Seeing how this plays out (and how fashion repeats itself over and over again) is utterly fascinating. I love to study timelines of fashion from ancient days forward and across cultural lines (for a good starter timeline, click here — for more, go to this link). You think the bikini was new and shocking in 1946? Think again. Truly, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Bikinis show up in Greco-Roman frescos dating back to 1400 B.C. What has been will be again, and understanding what our clothing says about us is important if we desire to communicate a clear message in confused times.
No one who has visited my website can doubt that I am a huge fan of femininity and feminine dress. I think it is a tremendous privilege to be female, and I love to dress the part. I love studying how our foremothers clothed themselves in distinctly feminine ways. Yes, there have been excesses and ridiculous turns for the worse in fashion — as much as I may love to look at them, I’m glad I don’t have to live in those over-the-top bustle dresses of the 1880s. But I do love the unabashed celebration of femininity that has persisted down through the centuries, even with all the foibles and fripperies thrown into the mix. How dull would fashion history be if our foremothers had all slopped around in sweats and shapeless tee-shirts? The past century has represented a dramatic and unprecedented shift in the way women clothe themselves. And I’ll be frank here: I don’t think the change has been for the better. You can gripe ’til you’re blue in the face about the “restrictive” corsets and beruffled skirts of the Victorian Era, but you can’t convince me that a woman sweating on an elliptical trainer to be a size two isn’t just as restricted, despite her “freeing” Lycra workout suit. We’re trying way too hard to convince ourselves that we’ve outgrown our ancestors, only to come back around full circle and let pop culture dictate the shape of our bodies and the drape of our clothes.
The study of clothing isn’t therefore just a frivolous hobby for me or something I do for the sheer fun of it. It is fun, but I take it as seriously as I take the study of any other facet of history or literature. Clothing has told a story from the Garden of Eden onward, and to ignore the story or pretend it doesn’t matter is to become bound up in our own age as the be-all and end-all of civilization–which it most certainly is not. When I study portraits of my foremothers, I see character leap from the canvas. I gain a better understanding of biography, of place, of historical antecedents. It’s why I’m so grateful I have photographs of my ancestors dating back to the 1840s. It’s why I absolutely love the fact that the Proverbs 31 woman is represented as clothed with feminine dignity:
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come. (verses 22, 24-25)
I believe this is our heritage as women–our birthright, so to speak. Femininity is an amazing privilege, and to see it shrugged off as insignificant or unimportant just strikes me as oddly ironic in this age of “equality.” Why does menswear get the upper hand? Why is it the default when it comes to casual Friday or slouching around the house? Do we not see the inheritance we’ve sold for a mess of unisex “style” in our day? Call me old-fashioned, but I think we could learn an awful lot from the unabashedly feminine women who have gone before us. We can glean from what they did right and thoughtfully archive what they did wrong. The key lies in searching out and preserving the timeless feminine style that transcends.
So I design historical patterns. And I take women to museums and art galleries to ponder the fashions of ages past. And I teach my girls to climb trees and swing from branches in sturdy pantaloons and girly dresses because it is absolutely delightful to glory in and enjoy our feminine heritage in a modern context. Restrictive? Far from it. Feminine adornment is freeing. It says I am proud to be a woman; that I tip my hat to my foremothers; that I embrace my place in history without pushing aside its feminine context. Study historical costume? You betcha. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me — and for letting me wax philosophical today.
Thankfully, summer, along with its various ways of undress, is almost over.
I started consciously paying attention to modesty when Amy was in the girls’ sizes and the styles for that group were very “adult” looking. Somewhere in there those tops with the teeny straps came into fashion. I call them strappy tops, others call them camisoles or camis for short.
Also during that time we were in a “seeker-friendly” church, so the levels of modesty were varied, but leaning toward more immodesty than the opposite. It was difficult to go to church during the summer, because I didn’t want my husband forced to have to look at all the scantily clad women. Times of worship should not include such hindrances.
In that church setting I figured the “unchurched” just hadn’t learned how to dress appropriately. Now I’m discovering that even the “churched” are dressing that way.
What is “that way?”
--Short skirts (above the knee)
--Strappy tops (plenty of bare shoulder and often cleavage showing)
--Short shirts in combination with low-rise pants (plenty of belly showing)
--Tight fitting clothing of all types (showing all the curves everywhere)
--Plunging neck lines, either scoop neck or v-neck (showing cleavage and the chest area)
As Amy got older it became more and more difficult to find appropriate clothes, but not only that, those around her were wearing inappropriate clothes. I want my daughter covered up and happy about it. I think she just wanted to fit in.
Because I’ve had to teach Amy about this issue I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Here are some things I’d like you to consider:
- Does the way you dress reflect Christ? Or do you look indistinguishable from the world?
- Could the way you dress cause men including your brother in Christ to lust after you?
- Does the way you dress cause your sister to stumble by wanting to be like you?
The following questions/statements are from Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy McDonald.
- Have you ever thought about what you look like from behind—how tight or sheer your clothing is?
- When you walk up a flight of stairs what do men behind you see?
- Do you wear skirts that have slits that are cut higher than you would wear your skirt?
- Is your clothing modest to the people who are sitting behind you?
- Raise your hands high about your head. Does your tummy show?
- How low is your neckline? Look in the mirror while holding onto your knees. Do you see cleavage?
- Be aware of where others’ eyes may be drawn. You want them to look at your face, not other parts of your body, while they are talking to you.
What does God’s word say about this?
1 Timothy 2:9-10…in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing…
1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart.
1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. (See entire chapter for context.)
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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.
While all of the above do not directly speak to modesty issues they do tell us how to conduct ourselves.
One more thing I’d like to mention is the Modesty Survey. The following is from their website.
TheRebelution.com has launched the results of their massive Modesty Survey! Over 1,600 Christian guys have answered questions on everything from glitter lotion and lip gloss to swimsuits and skirt slits! It's everything girls have ever wanted to ask guys about modesty, but were afraid to ask! For guys, it's really interesting to see what other Christian guys think!
Most importantly, the survey is presented as a resource to help Christian girls (and guys), not a list of legalistic rules, and it is accompanied by the Modesty Survey Petition (which tons of guys have signed) which encourage young women to focus on the heart, not the hemline, to honor their parents, etc.
The results were released on St. Valentine's Day as a gift from 1,600 Christian guys to all Christian girls -- and I can't think of a better one! Now the survey is being endorsed by people like Shaunti Feldhahn ("For Women Only") Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Revive Our Hearts), CJ Mahaney (Sovereign Grace Ministries) and Shannon Ethridge ("Every Woman's
Go check it out: www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey