This is not a war against men.

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If you are a returning reader, you will notice that not only has it been nearly a year since my last post (so sorry!), but the tone of this post is much different than my previous posts. Honestly, I struggled with even writing this. With so many opinions, and voices, and commentaries in the media today on the subject of femininity, the concept is becoming clouded at best. Will one more voice only make it worse?

But then I realized that any voice speaking the word of God, words of truth, needs to be heard. And that’s what I felt lead to do today, simply share what God has put on my heart. Lord knows, I do not have all the answers. I struggle with understanding God’s design for femininity everyday. But one thing I do know, is that the way women are viewed today, and the boxes our culture has locked women into, are not God’s intentions.

For the past year or so, the mental struggle between feminism and godly characteristics of women has been weighing heavy on my mind. And that struggle was brought to the forefront of my mind today, once again, when I watched the documentary, “Miss Representation”. This documentary shows how the over-sexualization of women in our media is counterproductive to the empowerment of women. And I fully support that realization. However, while watching (and feeling) this realization unfold throughout the documentary, I felt a slightly unhealthy backlash begin to unfold as well in the ending of this film, through the little comments and quips coming from women supporting our empowerment. And while I truly believe these women have good, honorable intentions, and their words are not meant to be destructive in any way, it added a little more hurt to an already heartbreaking situation. Mainly, in hearing what one woman said,

“If women don’t stand up for each other, then no one else will. No ones going to look out for the interests of women, except other women.”
– Lisa Ling
Executive Producer & Host
OWN’s Our America

That quote was meant to be inspiring, and I’m sure it left a feeling of empowerment with many women. But for me it was disheartening. Lisa Ling voices the thought that so many girls and women think every day. And it leads me to wonder, When did this become a battle between men and women?

Women’s beauty is being attacked, and no doubt, someone needs to stand up. Women were inherently created to be beautiful, their beauty reflects one of the greatest attributes of God. As John and Staci Eldridge say in their book, Captivating, “Beauty is without question, the most essential and the most misunderstood of all God’s qualities – of all feminine qualities too.” And yet, it is being used against women – to violate women. Women are objectified for their good looks, or rather patronized for their lack of good looks. On the other side of the spectrum, they are recognized only for how they present themselves physically, and their actual deeds and qualifications are being overlooked. I won’t dive headfirst into this argument today. I think “Miss Representation” actually did an incredible job of exposing this problem, and I highly recommend watching it. But it leads me on to my point by saying that in reality, God created Eve to be essential. “She has an irreplaceable role to play. And so you’ll see that women are endowed with fierce devotion, an ability to suffer great hardships, a vision to make the world a better place” (Eldridge, 33). Women were not created to stand quietly in the background. So many times people (sadly, sometimes, especially Christians) misunderstand the traditional, “helper”, role of women to mean that they are lesser in God’s eyes, and less capable than a man. When in reality, nothing stands farther from the truth. The core truth of Christianity empowers women more than any other religion in the world. And yet women who stand up, and voice this truth are mocked and ridiculed, and silenced – leaving them to feel as if they are fighting this battle on their own – that not even their Christian brothers will stand beside them and recognize their value.

When did the burden fall completely upon us, as women, to make this essential role known? When did this role become seen as a threat to masculinity, rather than full-fledged support, that masculinity and femininity should actually stand hand in hand? God created men and women to work together, not to be at war with one another. Men do not need a women by their side to succeed, God is able to lead them to succeed. But men are blessed with the support and motivation of women around them when women choose to represent the attributes of God. Likewise, women do not need to be protected or need to be enabled by a man in order to be strong. God provides our strength. But yet, a godly man will protect and stand for the daughters of Christ, because that is what they are called to do.

What a brilliantly executed scheme the devil has devised to make us think that we are enemies, that only one of us can be in control, or that we have to be the exact same to be equal. To make us feel that we are fighting this battle alone.

I want to be clear in saying that I am well aware of the godly men out there fighting for the representation of women, and I am so thankful for them. Thank you for recognizing the potential God has given us, and for standing beside us, and not seeing it as a threat to the role God has bestowed upon you. I also recognize that there are godly women out there who live with a healthy balance of strength and power in their lives and at the same time hold a respect for the men around them, not feeling that men are the enemy, but that rather we are counterparts, each designed by God to be powerful in different ways.

IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE, PLEASE READ THIS:

My intention with this post is to provoke thought, and much prayer. That we as a people, especially Christians, will make it our goal to bring humanity back to what God intended it to be. That men and women’s qualities complement each other rather than stand in each others ways.
Women, please do not confuse the empowerment of woman with the fight to overpower a man. And men, please do not confuse our struggle to be honored as an attempt to dishonor you.

Ladies, take in the words you hear in media sources like “Miss Representation”. Repect youself and honor the other women around you. Demand to be respected as a woman. Create a world in which we want our daughters to be raised in. Keep fighting for the cause of women. However, fight knowing that you are not alone. God has been pushing for our honor and protection and respect all along. This is not a war against men, this is a war against evil. And Satan is fighting against men as well in his battle against femininity. Please be patient with them as God opens their eyes to the truth, and opens our eyes as well.

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Our Bedroom Makeover

We finally did it! Our bedroom is no longer a clean slate.

Unfortunately, I do not have a “before” picture to show you. (The room was so boring and awful that I never felt inclined to take a picture of it) However, I now wish I had, because the transformation is incredible.

So instead, just picture a white, boring room with nothing but a mattress on the floor. Got it? Okay now….

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Lamps and Throw – T.J.Maxx, Handmade Cacti – from old display at Anthropologie

Our new bedroom :)

The theme of it is centered around the blanket hanging behind our bed. It was a wedding present from my husband’s aunt, who is a missionary in Kazakhstan.
It is an antique called a “Bride’s Bed”. From what I understood from what she told us, in Kazakhstan, when a woman is about to get married, she and the other women in her family sit down and create this beautiful tapestry for the bride to hang over her new marriage bed. The bottom is left unfinished and un-hemmed, as it is meant to hang behind the headboard.

It was such a special, unique, beautiful and generous gift that we wanted it to make it the focal point of our bedroom.

Since I didn’t want the colors in our bedroom to be too loud or over stated, we went with solid white bedding. (Duvet & Duvet cover – Target. Sheets – T.J.Maxx)

I then made the throw pillow to match. I bought other material to make more, but I kind of like it with just the one. What do you think?

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The furniture set was a wedding gift from my husband’s parents. (awesome, right?) It’s great because not only do we not have to sleep on a mattress on the floor and keep our clothes in cardboard boxes, but it has a ton of awesome features. I especially love the cubbies on the headboard (which light up!), and the shallow top drawers on all the furniture. (A perfect place to keep my jewelry!)

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Now, the only thing left to do is decorate the walls. Luckily, it won’t take much since the Bride’s Bed brightens up the room quite a bit already. But here are a few things I am hoping to do:

-Hang some of our wedding pictures in a collage on the wall facing our bed. Or maybe behind an old window like this:

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– Make some hanging vases for flowers to hang on the wall. I have lots of mason jars left over from my wedding – I’ll probably use those.

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 Also, I really want a new chandelier for that room. I was planning on making one, but that is proving rather difficult from attempting to do so for our living room, like I mentioned here. Don’t worry though, I haven’t given up. It is just taking more effort than I originally anticipated. So we’ll see about the bedroom. I may just have to splurge….

And lastly – I want a few more eclectic touches, but nothing too crazy. Just a few little things to make it fun. Any ideas?

As always, I hope you enjoyed this post! I certainly enjoyed sharing it with you. If you like what you have seen so far, please subscribe to my blog! You’ll get an email with each new post, and then are also eligible for giveaways. (ONLY those who sign the emails are eligible!)

I’ve taken a little trip to the UK..

I had the awesome opportunity to be the first one featured in Speaker’s Five’s Take Five feature on their blog. It was a lot of fun and so great to be featured on such an awesome blog. So check it out, and while you’re at it, head on over and take a look at Speaker’s Five’s blog as well!

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Well, here it is, the first of the Take Five features. Also, the first of the Take Five to come from overseas (to us that is). So without further ado, in we go.

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Kara Lynn Jurgensen is a Graphic Design Degree student studying at the fine arts school in Alburquerque, New Mexico. Kara made the unfortunate mistake of liking the Take Five post and has been roped in to doing it herself.

Kara has a love of art, design, and all things creative. In her words she is ‘blessed with this passion to create’.  She feels her goal as a designer is to put focus on the beauty of a product, business, or event.

She describes her style as simplistic, while still having a fun, unique, and artistic flair. I think it is clear looking at her work that the passion to create offscreen is an intrinsic element to her…

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Burlap Pleated Pillow Tutorial

So we bought new pillows for our living room. We saw them at TJMaxx and they were the perfect color and a great price. But when we brought them home, they were just a little too boring. So I spiced them up a little bit….

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Enter: Burlap Pleated Pillow

I think it adds a great touch to the room. (Take a peek at how it looks in the room here) It’s a little more structured than your typical ruffled pillow, which is why I have called it the pleated pillow.

If you would like to make a pillow of your own, here’s how to do it.  It’s very simple, a great beginner’s project. You don’t even need a sewing machine. (Although, I would recommend using one if you have one in order to save time)

Here’s what you need:

Pillow (mine was 17″x17″)

52″ Burlap Ribbon*

52″ Lace Ribbon*

Needle and thread

Pins

Scissors

Measuring Tape

*Note: This length depends on the size of the pillow. If you are using a different size pillow, I would recommend pinning the ribbon to the pillow as you are planning on sewing it before cutting the length.

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Roadrunner scissors are also a plus

Step 1: Sew the lace along the center of the burlap strip.

First pin the lace along the center of the burlap all the way down the length. Then sew them together down the center of the lace.You can do this either by hand or on a sewing machine. I used a sewing machine the second time around, and did it by hand the first time. The sewing machine will be much quicker and more secure, but doing it by hand will definitely get the job done.

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Step 2:  Begin pinning the burlap in place.

Begin by folding under about 1″ of the one end of the burlap and securing it to the edge of the pillow with pins. Pin the edge as close to the pillow trim as possible, and make sure the rough edge of the burlap is tucked under where it is not visible.

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Step Three: Pin in place the ruffles/pleats.

Pinch about a 1″ pleat together and fold backwards toward the edge of the pillow, overlapping a small amount of the burlap between the pleat and the edge. Pin in place on both edges of the burlap. Repeat this until you reach the center of the pillow. (This is where the tape measure comes in handy – use it to determine the center of the pillow)

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I think its time for a new manicure

 Step 4: Create the Center Pleat.

I thought it would look best to have symmetrical pleats – as having each side of pleats face the closest edge. So, once you get to the center, it is time to create the center pleat. Begin by creating the pleat as normal, but instead of creating a new one after it as you have been, fold it so that it is a double sided pleat as shown below.

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Step 5: Continue pleating until the edge of the pillow.

Continue creating pleats as you have been. But this time the pleats should be going the other way – towards the other end of the pillow. Make sure the width of each pleat is consistent – that will give it the best look. Continue until you reach the edge of the pillow. Once you reach the end, fold the edge under as you did before and secure.

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Step 6: Sew the burlap in place.

Sew along all four edges of the burlap, looping the thread around the outside edge as shown below. (Unfortunately, even if you have a machine this part needs to be done by hand since you are working on an already formed pillow. However, if you are making the pillow from scratch, you can sew the burlap onto the front face of the pillow with your sewing machine before sewing it all together and stuffing it.)
Make sure to sew through all the layers of the pleat to keep them down on the edges. This will give it the structured look I mentioned earlier.

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Once you have sewn around all four edges you are finished! You now have a gorgeous pleated pillow to display oh so proudly!

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Keep in mind that you can use this technique with various materials – it doesn’t have to be burlap and lace. (I just happened to be obsessed with those two) It would work great with ribbon and fabric as well – in fact that may even be easier to begin with, seeing as burlap can be tricky when it starts to unravel.

I hope this tutorial was helpful! Let me know if you try it and how your pillow turns out. I would love to see the results. If you have any questions or need clarification, please don’t hesitate to comment below.

Also, if you like what you’ve seen on my blog so far, I would recommend subscribing through the link on the sidebar. That will allow you to receive an email with each new post – to keep you up to date!

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What else would you like to see? If there is anything you would like to learn how to make that you have seen in my pictures, please let me know!