Friday, January 31, 2014

Can Single People And Married Couples Be Friends?

Friendships | Ministry127

     In some circles, the newly married couple will get the advice to loose their single friends once they say their wedding vows.  In other circles, the newly married couple will get the advice to keep their single friends because they have been with them through the years.  In my personal opinion (and my husband's opinion also), I would say that single people and married couples can be friends.  In fact, I think that they should. My opinion comes from having been on both sides of the equation.  During a great majority of my time as a single person, I had two great friends who were married.  This could have been a prime opportunity for either of them or I to dissolve the friendship because of the differences of priorities, but I valued our friendships and more importantly I respected their marriages and I respect marriages as a whole. I never felt a sense that I was less than or beneath them because I did not share the same marital status that they did.  In fact, I felt included in their lives and although I could not fully understand their sometimes hectic schedules, being friends with them felt no less than beneficial.  I was able to see some of the inner workings of marriage and was able to learn some of the good and some of the challenging points of marriage and what I needed to prepare for before it was my turn to jump the broom. 

      On the other hand, many people feel that single people can not offer the married couple much of anything, but that belief could not be farther from the truth.  As long as the single person is rooted in biblical principles, has a respect for marriages, and can offer biblical accountability to the couple,  the friendship would be nothing more than a blessing.  Sometimes that Christian single friend may see something that you don't. When I was single and one of those friends that I mentioned earlier started having a tough time with her husband and their relationship, I could see how she was a big part of the messy confusion.  However, I never saw it as an opportunity to say the "I told you so" and "Forget him" lines.  I saw it as an opportunity to offer an ear, a shoulder, an honest word, and lots of prayer for the needless division that was happening.  I believed that God had brought them together and I continued to pray with her and for them.   Now that I am married, I have the same expectations for any friend that we do let get a glimpse into our marriage.  With this I also hope that Mr. Awesome and I are biblical examples for others who may want to get married as we both had examples before we got married.

     Of course, I must put in the disclaimer that I am in no way condoning ANY friendships between the married and the singles that involves a lack of respect on either of their part.  Nor am I condoning any friendship that is not founded on biblical principles, because we have all seen the effects that that has had on marriages and pure single lifestyles.  With that being said, I do believe in the biblical version of these friendships and have been blessed to have these in my life.  Singles can definately be a blessing to those that are married.  And if done the right way, the married couple can be a blessing by being the ultimate examples of what God wants in marriage and restore faith to a union that this society often mocks.



Friday, January 24, 2014

How Much Does Is REALLY Cost To Raise A Child?

                                How much will it cost to raise your child? Click on the image above to find out. NEW YORK (CNNMoney) From day care to the monthly grocery bill, the

      I was having a conversation with a coworker recently who was thinking about having another child, but was afraid of the massive expense that he says comes with raising children. Yes raising children does cost, but I was wondering why he seemed to be so concerned.  Some of his opinions came from raising his own daughter, but most of it came from the many statistical reports that suggest that raising children will financially bankrupt a family. According to CNN, it will currently cost a middle class family over $240,000 to raise a child to the age of 18 [1].  Just a few days ago, the Huffington Post reported the same statistical numbers, citing that the majority of the costs were coming from things like housing, food, transportation, and health care [2]. These things sound standard when it comes to what parents generally provide for children and based on the statistical data, I can see why my co-worker would be shaking in his boots.  However, me being me, I felt the need to explain why I felt that the statistics were a bit skewed. 

     Yeah, sure there has been considerable inflation over the last several decades and cultural standards have changed, but does raising children have to be as financially taxing as we are being made to believe?  For one, the stats only include the children that are raised in middle-class families.  So does that mean that lower income children need less food?  Does that mean that those children who are raised inside of gated mansions, never hungry?  Concerning housing, if we take a look at the family of yesteryear (or maybe even our own upbringing), was it standard for families to have the a house with enough bedrooms and bathrooms for each individual child as it is more common today?  Speaking of transportation, is it necessary for a family to have the most expensive auto loan sitting in their driveway, while saving to purchase their child the latest model car for their first vehicle?  When we look at the families of yesteryear, did mom and dad spend buckets of money to support a childhood sport that lasted all year and left their child with very little time to bond with anyone other than the coach?  With regards to education, did our ancestors spend top dollar for the best private daycare, primary school, or after-school care program while underestimating the value of  education at home? When we take a look at some of these things, it is no wonder that the statistical data looks like it does.  Over the last several decades, there has been a rise of needless cultural suggestions given to parents to make them feel worthless as parents unless Little Johnny gets the top notch pair of shoes or Little Suzy gets into that world renowned ballet program.  What happened to the day when kids were just happy to get outside to exercise and play their childhood sports with the neighborhood kids? Some of these kids did go on to play for professional teams. What happened to the day when it was OK to buy your children nice yet inexpensive clothing without having to compromise your "social integrity."  What happened to the time when one income was the norm and the family of yesteryear (which usually included at least seven children) was able to eat heartily from that one income? Has the inflated standards for raising children caused the stats that we see today? 

     If we look at what is really needed to raise a child, we can surely say that a lot of the things that parents feel that they have to provide for their child in order for them to have a great life is completely unnecessary.  Although being able to take your child on a Disney vacation is nice, does that act show an expression of love to them or is it just a filler for all of the hours that they spend away at the day care?  Does giving a child a pair of expensive Jordan shoes show an expression of caring or is it just a cover-up for the lack of time that you spend with them.  If parents would just re prioritize (myself included) and really reevaluate what is really necessary to love and raise a child, I would imagine that the $240,000 child-rearing bill would drop drastically.



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy News Year!!!

     It is always exciting when a new year begins.  It gives us a feeling that the slate is clean and we get a new chance to do things differently.  For this year, I have made no resolutions, because I feel that resolutions don't need to wait until the beginning of the year to happen.  I feel that if you really want to make a change, then you should just do it.  However, there are some things that I do look forward to for this year.  To be alive to serve God is the ultimate blessing and with it I want to increase in a way that will bring him glory.  I am not talking about anything material, but spiritual.  I want to learn to completely surrender my life to the causes that are Christ based.  I want to continue to let him lead me in those ministries that he has blessed me with such as my marriage, my role in the lives of my Bonus daughter and niece, and the various other ministries in my life.  I want my life to further reflect his presence.  I know that I can only do these things with his help and as it says in  Psalm 48:14, For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.  Amen.

They Want It All

         I am sitting down to a moment of peace and quiet.  In front of me is a yellow package of my favorite cookies that my husband o...