Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankful Thanksgiving!

Sorry this is late... what a day to miss posting my thankful thoughts, huh? The day that is nationally set aside to give thanks, haha! It seems that four weeks of Thankful Thursdays on time is my absolute limit, and holidays are the hardest days for me to blog on... plus, given the fact that this is a mega post, it took longer than expected. But here are some of the most important things I am thankful for...
~Christ's paying for my sins on the cross, though I was undeserving.
~The word of God, so that we may grow in His likeness, and that we are still allowed to proclaim him openly in America.
~The grace the Lord gives us when we fail to live up to His commandments.
~My family... Daddy, who, no matter how busy he is, or how long a day he works, makes time to help us in everything that we need him for. Whether leading bible time, helping with math, or teaching us photography (or how to make our coffee ;)!), I am so thankful to have a Daddy that invests in his children!
~Mommy, and all that she does for us. Putting aside her own preferences to give each of us what we need whenever possible, for her patience, and for always having a listening ear while I yak on and on and on and... haha :).
~Tori. Though we are so very different -possibly more different from each other than from any one of our six other siblings- we are best friends, and I am so thankful for her!
~Bethi. She has been really growing lately. She has become "little mother hen" to Josiah, and it is sweet to see :). It is also fun because it brings back memories of when Andrew and I where Bethi and Josiah's ages :).
~Andrew. This guy loves to build and repair things, and wants to build his own house in the future, which I can definitely see him doing!
~Abbi. Abbi is probably the most like me, just a little more spontaneous, haha :). She is a ball of energy, and so funny! But she has a serious side too, and loves to organize and clean for us often :).
~Emmi, my special little buddy, I love how we've been really close since she was tiny :). It was really sweet, a couple weeks ago she just starts crying because "she doesn't want me to ever marry and leave, who will she sleep with?!". Not sure where that came from, but it made me smile :).
~Peter... his strong hugs, and cozy snuggles. And though he can come off as quiet to people who see him around Abbi and Emmi, he is a chatterbox when you talk to him one-on-one!
~Josiah. Have I mentioned that he is trying to cruise the furniture? He's gotten the pulling up down pat, just working on getting anywhere after that, haha :).
~And my extended family... Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Tessa and Aunt Amber, Gramma and Papa Nate, Aunt Heather and her family (and our first cousins :)!), Aunt Donna and her "tribe", and Granny :). I love you all soooo much :)!!!!
~The many friends that God has lovingly put into my life. Church family, Daddy's employees, some of Daddy's costumers who have become friends, neighbors, pen pals... I can think of sooo many names right now that make me smile, young and old alike :). Although I don't have the room to include every name I can think of, I would especially like to say "thank you" to Miss Mary and Miss Mary, Katie, Kaitlyn, Katie, and Cameron for your friendship :). (And yes, both sets of double names were intentional. Haha :).)
~A house, that, though it may not be our "forever" ideal, is warm, dry, has running water and lots of windows, and gives us a place to live together rather than states apart.

Some of the things that stick out the most to me as something to be deeply grateful for that are specific to this year are...
~The gift of Josiah, and the Lord's protection of him and Mommy. Oh how thankful I am to have him, and Mommy, here this Thanksgiving!!!
~Miss Mary and Mr. Joe. I am so thankful for the ways that they have invested in us this year. They have really become like grandparents to us :).
~My Mama, Tori, and several friends, who have joined me in studying the Word of God this year. Especially the book of Ruth. That one will forever be a special memory I think :).
~Our church. I am so thankful that the Lord has given us a church family here in VA! After it took us so long in SC to find a church that we felt was the one the Lord was leading us to, I was so very worried that it would take years again. I am so thankful to the Lord that he blessed us with one here so soon :). 
~Our trip to SC last month. It was such a blessing :). Many precious memories made, and lots of laughter shared :). And all the other times that we have gotten to see family this year, as well. Another big answer to pray, that we are still able to connect with family often even though we now live six hours away.
~Getting to meet Penny at the Maxwell conference earlier this year. Something that could only have happened living here in VA. God loves to give you surprises that make you realize he has had it all planned for years, doesn't he ;)?

And, during this last week, I have been especially thankful for...
~New jackets
~Todd Agnew's "Do You See What I See" CD.
~Hot chocolate.
~Gold ribbon.
~Our Christ-themed Christmas tree, and all the thought and lessons that Mommy and Daddy have put into it.
~Finding Josiah black socks (even if they aren't as dressy as they could be). Why don't little boys wear normal socks anymore?
~My glasses. This Sunday was exactly a year since I first wore them. Truly, you don't know how much of a blessing they are!
~Gift wrap earrings.
~Abbi and Emmi playing dress up in some Frozen dresses my Aunt Donna got them.
~An afternoon outside in the cool temperatures.And Josiah sitting quietly on my lap as we swung :).
~A clean house.
~Our once again working dishwasher!
~Space heaters. 
~Tacos... very necessary piece of our life... hahaha.
~Wintergreen toothpaste. Haha :).
~Daddy's cleverness in fixing the washer.
~Hair clips.
~All of our holiday traditions :).
~That we have more than five kernels of corn to eat each day (the Pilgrims, after the first thanksgiving, went through this ordeal after a ship brought more pilgrims and no food!)
~For our nation's founding on God's word.
~Mommy's excitement over Thanksgiving project ideas on Pinterest. And she used them, much as others think that Pinterest users never use the ideas they pin. Haha :).

Many blessings to you all :)! 


"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his
courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!" 
                                                ~Psalms 100:4

Monday, November 24, 2014

26 Books for Young Women


 Mama and I were requested to put this list of character-building books for teenage girls together, and I'll share it here. I've mentioned half of these titles before on my blog, but half of them are new. My Mom has put a * out beside all the titles that she finds appropriate for younger readers (Bethi's age- 9) as well.

"Will Our Generation Speak" -Grace Mally…/will-our-ge…/

* "Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends" -Mally…/making-brot…/

"One Thing I Desire" -Sarah Bryant

"The Family Daughter" -Sarah Bryant

"Letters to a Daughter" -W.B. Sprague…/letters-to-a-daughter-o…

"Growing Up Duggar" -Duggar girls

"Esther & Ruth" -Ian M. Duguid…

"A Young Woman After God's own Heart" -Elizabeth George…/a-young-woman-after-gods-own-heart…

"A Chance to Die" -Elizabeth Elliot…/elis…/9780800730895/pd/730895

"The Hiding Place" -Corrie ten Boom…/the-hiding-place-the-triumphant-tr…

"No More Wasted Years" -Olivia Bradock…/no-more-wasted-years-olivi…/

"Joyfully at Home" -Jasmine Baucham…

"Its (not that) Complicated" -Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin

"Before You Meet Prince Charming" -Sarah Mally…/before-you-…/

“So Much More" -Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin…

"Fathers and Daughters" –Barret…/fathers-and-daughters-r…

* “Beautiful Girlhood”-Karen Andreola

* “How To Be a Lady” –Harvey Newcomb…/how-to-be-a-lady-useful…

* ”Raising Maidens of Virtue” –McDonald…/raising-maidens-of-virt…


"Stepping Heavenward" -Elizabeth Prentiss…/stepping-heavenward-P005536376

* "The Basket of Flowers" -Christopher von Schmid…/basket-of-flowers-the

"The Princess Adelina" -Julia Sutter (this on is rather an in-between book. All the happenings are historical, and most of the characters, but it is written in the style of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, with lots of added dialogue :).)…/the-princess-adelina-an…

"Mother" -Kathleen Norris…

* "Flower of the Family" -Elizabeth Prentiss…/newflower-of-the-family

* Mildred Keith series (7 books) -Martha Finley…/mildred-keith-book-one

* Elsie Dinsmore series -Martha Finely
A list of the Elsie books in order can be found if you scroll down at this link...

There are so many good books, and though we should always read looking through the lens of scripture, I think all of these will be a big encouragement to those who read them :). Are there any that you would add?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors", by Voddie Baucham

I read this book a while back, and have been planning on reviewing it ever since. So here it is! It won't be as fresh in my mind as I prefer when writing a review on a book, but it was such a good one, I couldn't not share it :).

What have you been taught about the story of Joseph? Maybe, like many people, it was used when you were little tell you that you shouldn't brag to your brothers. I mean, look at all the trouble that it brought to Joseph when he told his brothers his dreams about being royal! But was it also explained to you that Joseph's family had been known for their dreams (his father was the one who saw the staircase to heaven, after all!!!), and it probably wasn't Joseph's fault that he was the first family member who had bad consequences for sharing the things that the Lord showed him in a dream?

Did you know that to become second in command was not a blessing from the Lord, but a necessary trial to save his family? He was a Jew, chosen seed of God, ruling a pagan land while not being high enough to change the pagan laws, and given a pagan priest's daughter as wife!

And what does Joseph have to do with the gospel? A whole lot! You will be amazed at all the ways that Joseph's trials worked to bring about the events that worked in the background of the life of our Savior!

Mr. Voddie Baucham does a wonderful job holding your attention, making you think, and giving you details that you don't usually hear! This book really showed what significance this often told story holds, and how God's works are mysterious but perfect, and he uses some of the most unlikely people to carry out his will. One of my favorite parts of the book is where Mr. Baucham explains the tests that Joseph gives his un-expecting brothers.

This book was so good, and it will change the way that you look at the story of Joseph!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 136

~Josiah's adorable little crawl... on his hands and on the tips of his toes, he is hilarious!
~Apple cider vinegar to make tea with! We couldn't find it for a while, but Daddy finally was able to pick some up :). 
~Proverbs 30. I've loved this chapter for years :).
~A meal dropped off by our church family. So sweet! And maybe I should rephrase that, because it wasn't just one meal... haha! Leftover ham, and turkey and potatoes and rolls and other sides enough for several meals! They made up a lunch for the choir, and when they were packing up the leftovers, they decided to give them to us. They were so yummy, and very appreciated!
~Chasing Tori around the kitchen with a handful of bubbles, heeheehee :)! And, obviously, given that this is Tori I am talking about, being chased back. Actually, I was hit with bubbles first. But anyway... haha!
~Those who fought in World War 2... including our neighbor several houses back. He had some fascinating stories, but even if he hadn't, he was a really neat guy, and we are all thankful for him :). We watched a documentary the other day and got to talking about him :).
~Tori telling us facts she has learned. She learns some of the strangest things- I wouldn't even think to wonder about some of the stuff she finds answers to, haha! While we were watching said documentary, she explained to us that we wouldn't be eating m&ms if it weren't for the spanish civil war. She learned this reading a cookbook...?
~Hearing from my Grandma.
~Fellowship with an older couple from church over lunch.
~Getting to observe "Nemos!" with Peter at the italian restaurant. He loved it :). 
~Our neighbor's thoughtful act clearing our yard of leaves :).
~That we've got most of the winter clothes out of the attic.
~Rocking Josiah to sleep :)... he is sooo sweet!
 ~Popcorn and hot chocolate. Yummy!
~Christmas lights, bows, pinecones, and whatnot. So pretty :)! We started Christmas decorating the other day :)!
~A clean bedroom! I love relaxing with a book in bed when the room is clean, haha :).
 ~Eloise Wiliken's children's books. I love her illustrations so much!
~Lots of colored-on paper laying around the house... because that means I have lots of artist siblings!
~Abbi's excitement about her math. More power to her! Haha ;). She is good at it, though!
~Peter all excited about getting bacon for breakfast :). (He thought he was going to get a hamburger to go with it :P... but he was happy anyway :).)
~That we should have a working dishwasher in just a couple hours :)! Yay!

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
                               ~I Thessalonians 5:18


Monday, November 17, 2014

"The heavens declare the glory of God...

...and the sky above proclaims his handiwork", Psalms 19:1.

Did you know... that the sun is becoming brighter as it ages? And that, if the universe were really millions of years old, the sun would be 25% dimmer than it is now, making earth so cold and dark that nothing would survive?

And the moon is spiraling outward each year? If the earth and moon were millions of years old, the moon would have started out touching the earth!

And that, if the earth were millions of years old, the space dust which is constantly falling to earth would be so voluminous that it would be noticeable in the ocean?

Many people do not want to believe that the earth is young and made by God, because acknowledging that there is a God and that he is so powerful, they would have to give him their allegiance. But the universe has no problem doing what it was designed to do- to give glory to God, and to do it well, whether it is noticed or not!

It amazes me how even the stars and planets prove that, as the bible claims, the world is not millions of years old. Truly, even if  we "were silent, the very stones would cry out"!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"Through Gates of Splendor", by Elizabeth Elliot

After watching a children's animation by the Voice of the Martyrs on Jim Elliot, I picked up this book and began to read it. It was so good, I finished it in just a few days, which is unusual for me lately, as I don't read as much as I used to!

The story of five young couples who came from different backgrounds and came together to use their strengths, the book shares how each couple was called to the mission field, how they learned to minister to the Indians, and how they found the "hidden" home of the Aucas, an Indian tribe so filled with fear that frequently lead to killings that nobody dared to interact with them. These five young couples - Nate and Marj Saint, Roger and Barbara Yuoderian, Ed and Marilou McCully, Pete and Olive Fleming, and Jim and Elizabeth Elliot- felt a burden to witness to them, and started Operation Auca. At first it was dropping gifts out of an airplane, then, after receiving gifts in return, they thought it was time to drop photos of themselves to familiarize the Indians with their faces. The men then set up a camp near the Auca's site, and tried several tactics to lure the Aucas to them, including calling out Auca phrases that an escaped Auca women, named Dayuma, had taught them. They had a visit from three Aucas, and felt that it went so well that they were sure to have a visit from the rest of the tribe quickly.

Two days later, they did have a visit from seven Auca men. Nate Saint informed his wife by radio that they had company, and he would call back later. That was the last time the women ever heard from them.

A rescue mission was set up, in hopes that at least some of the men were still alive, and just couldn't make contact. It was soon clear that this was not so. All five men were speared, and their plane was destroyed.

Though all five women had lost their husbands for the Aucas, and several of them were left with very small children to raise, they worked with another pilot to continue the gift flights with no thought of revenge. Their efforts were rewarded when one day the two Auca women who had been in the party of three on that one encouraging day when the missionaries thought that their fear was over, ended up in the village where Dayuma lived. She talked to them of the incident, went home with them, and soon they came back with seven other Aucas to ask for the missionaries to talk to them of God's word. Elizabeth Elliot, her daughter, and Nate Saint's sister Rachel went and worked with them for several years.

This story was so touching. One of the things that impressed me while I was reading it was that, while written by Jim Elliot's wife, she humbly did not give any more account of her and her husband's work then she did the other missionaries- or even just of her husband. She obviously saw their work and results as a whole, and would not be biased just by being closer to one of the members of "Operation Auca".

There are pictures (at least in our copy) included in the book... some of the pics of the Indians had already been colored over in our book when I got to it. Just throwing that out there, haha :).

This was Elizabeth Elliot's first book. She has written several others, including "A Chance to Die".

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 135

This week I'm thankful for...

~Josiah's second tooth :)!
~Peter going around the house singing about obedience :). So sweet!
~Elizabeth Elliot's "Through Gates of Splendor". It was so good :)! (On a side note, Lord willing I plan to start a bi-weekly, perhaps weekly, we'll see how it goes, book review on Saturdays. What do y'all think?)
~Tori's art. She is so talented :)!

~Sitting at the table working on bible study while Tori works on the other side. I might not have got as much study done as I planned ;), but the fellowship was wonderful :).
~Gingersnap cookies. Yummy :)!!!
~Andrew's finishing his first chapter book that he read on his own :).

~Glitter. I hate how it sticks to you if you touch it, haha :), But the glitter on stuff is so pretty!
~Colors. I love colors :)! But even more, I love this comment from Abbi: "When I get big and get my own house, I'm going to take the fan down, color each part a different color, and put it back up so when it spins it will make a rainbow!" Oh Abbi, haha :). Actually, it sounds pretty... hmm... ;).
~Boxes. Lots of boxes! We helped Daddy set up product at the state convention, and I am very glad we didn't have to carry things in a few at a time ;)!
~The Nye-Ham debate earlier this year. It is still getting out to people, through the book on it now, and that is exciting :)!
~The way Peter calls the rice crispy treats the neighbor gave us "Christmas trees", heehee :). (I'm not sure whether he remembers Emmi doing that, or if it just sounds that much alike!
~Mommy and Daddy's dedication in gathering us for family bible time every night.
~The character quality sheets my Mom keeps hanging up on our fridge.
~The reminder of how very important it is that we keep our lips from evil, and use our words to encourage; " A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly." (Proverbs 15:1-2)
~My water tumbler... I love those things, haha :).
~Peter beginning to pick out colors and shapes.
~A giraffe-shaped leaf. (Several people thought it was just the coolest thing, haha :).)
~Josiah banging on the piano... heehee :).
~Peter's announcing that his pjs, which say "Don't let the bed bugs bite", say "Don't eat Peter!". Haha :)!
~The sound of Tori making coffee, the "Piano Guys" Christmas cd, Josiah playing, and little ones doing their schoolwork :).

"Giving thanks always and for everything to God 
the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
                               ~Ephesians 5:20 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Week 134

This week I am especially thankful for...
~The Reformation.
~That two days worth of work last week has resulted in a yarn chest that is NOT full of tangled yarn, but separate balls, and that I found the knitting needle I have been looking for for a week :).
~Cloud shaped slices of french bread (okay, I'm odd. But sometimes it's the little things, and it just made me smile. Haha :).)
~Time change. More specifically the falling back of fall time. I could do without the jumping ahead in the spring, but I love when we fall back, haha :). My internal clock runs on fall time, so it's always great for me to get back to that :).
~Being able to help Daddy with some of his work projects as a family last Sunday.
 ~Proverbs, and the many truths it teaches. And the wonderful group, consisting of my Mom, sister, and some friends, who have been studying through different books of the bible with me this year :).
~"Orphan Awareness Sunday" this week. Though I didn't get around to sharing it on my blog like I meant to, it was on my heart, and I am so thankful for all the ways God has put in place to bring families for orphans :).
~Pumpkin muffins... yummy :)! One of my favorite fall breakfasts :)!
~The hand mixer that Mommy got as a wedding gift... it was the one I learned to cook with, the one that we have used for all Christmas baking... it finally gave out.  That part is sad, but I'm glad for the baking memories that we made with it!
~Josiah's new tooth :)! Toothy baby grins are just around the corner as it gets quickly bigger, I love those smiles :)!
~Christmas music playing in the kitchen as I type this out... the "Piano Guys" Christmas cd, none the less, one of my top five :). It's making me want to get started on Christmas projects :)!
~Hebrews 13:15 :).
~Emmi excitedly making our bed because, as she puts it I "must be EXHAUSTED doing it every time!". Haha! No, not really... but thank you anyway, Emmi ;).
~A Daddy who knows how to grill. And a brother who likes to help. I still have never patted out hamburgers. And I'm okay with that. Heehee :). Daddy is still trying to get me to do it... he asked "What would you do if I was gone and you wanted a hamburger?". To which I answer... um, Andrew! Or just wait until Daddy gets home, haha!
~Abbi's love for the "Theo" shows.
~The shower of leaves and acorns that have been coming down all morning! A beautiful sight, and a reminder that "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24). We can be so thankful that God did that very thing for us... he, the bread of life, wheat of our existence, died, that we might have life!
~Seeing Andrew diligently reading his Bible and history books. 
~Abbi's excitement when Tori told her that they would read a chapter book together :).
~Tori in the living room playing Christmas hymns :). "How great our joy... how great our joy... joy, joy, joy!!!"
~Peter's comment last night "I love brownies!". So do we, Peter... perfectly cute excuse for some ;).

"Through him then let us continually 
offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is,  
the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."
                                        ~Hebrews 13:15 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Out doing others... in humility

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

I love these verses. While doing a study on Romans with my friend last year (it was only last year?!), this paragraph pulled at my attention every time I read it. I've talked about a couple of these verses before but I also wanted to share some thoughts on verse ten; "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."

Typically when I think about "outdoing" someone, what comes to my mind is a proud, selfish way of doing things; to shove someone out of the way to show that you are better than them or to get all the praise. Or maybe getting permission to do something because you know that a sibling wants to do it and you want to annoy them. Before I noticed this verse, I really hated the mindset of "outdoing others" as I thought of it, of doing things just to get noticed rather than because you saw a need and wanted to fill it. Given that I realize that it is slightly ironic that these five verses have since become one of my life passages ;).

But when I first studied these verses, I read that section, "outdo each other in showing honor", and it made me stop and think about what I shared above. I wondered, why would we be told to out do others? Then I backed up and carefully read the verses proceeding it, all about holding to good and doing things through love. And I realized what this verse was trying to point out.

We are not being asked to out do each other in ways that will place temptation to be angry, or with the intent of pointing back at it later as "look what I did". 

We are being told to out do "in honor" "through love". Which is NOT sin! This kind of out doing would be things like being the first to say "I'm sorry"; being the first to give up your chair for an elderly person; being the first to offer encouragement.

There is out doing each other in a sinful way that hurts others for your own pride. But then there is out doing others *in honor*. And this truly means, doing all things in humility. Because when you do everything with humility, you will rejoice with those who accomplish great things; not put an emphasis on *what* you are doing, but *why* you are doing it; and bring glory to our Savior through his blessings.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

"Do Not Quarrel on the Way"

One of the things you are almost certain to hear or say when around children is "Don't fight". Arguing is most certainly not only acted out by little ones, though, as I'm sure you can attest to! We all, no matter how old, end up arguing about something often, as much as we know that it not "pure and noble", especially given the things that we tend to fight most about. We can get so caught up in the here and now that we never think "will this matter next year- or even tomorrow?". We just want to prove our point, even though it is not affecting any of us in a bad way to disagree. We in our pride feel like we must give the other party all the reasons that they are wrong, and get the last word in.

Given this, arguing is one of the biggest things that can get in the way when two or more people are trying to accomplish something together. It wastes time as they stop everything to hold a battle of ideas, and often gets in the way of their relationship. When Joseph revealed to his brothers that he was Jacob's son and sent them back to get their father to come to Canaan, "he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way." (Genesis 45:24). He knew that they would be inclined to point fingers and argue over who's fault it was that Joseph was taken to Canaan in the first place, and who should have to tell their father that he was alive- and that they had lied about what happened to him. He knew that the journey wouldn't be easy for them, and breaking the news would be even harder, but he didn't want any more relationship issues started in the family, and warned them to control themselves.

That's so much easier to say than do, isn't it?! I fall so many times in the area of controlling my emotions instead of letting them show in my words and tones to those I interact with. If someone criticizes, we jump on the defense, and if somebody uses a harsh tone, we bristle up, myself especially. It's an area that I've notice lately that I really struggle in.

What starts a argument? Not the humorous "battle of wits" that we particularly enjoy to hold around here (at which Tori can beat us all despite how silent she appears!), but real quarrels? A change in tone, a word spoken during stress, saying something a little too loudly to someone about someone else (which is gossip anyway- but totally different topic), not explaining or apologizing for something that you know would be offensive to someone. When those things happen, our flesh desires to let everyone know how we feel about the situation, either through our words, or, for others, through our silence. But what does the Lord teach us to do? "Repay evil with good" and "turn the other cheek".

Some practical ways to do this would be to answer with kind words said in a respectful, loving tone. To try to understand from the other person's perspective, and to listen without interrupting. I'm talking to myself just as much (more accurately, more) as any of you. I fail so often- especially in the area of answer in a loving tone. I know that this can only be done with the Lord's help, and I believe that it is very important to pray for the humility that aids you in laying down your arms and being used as a sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17) rather than a destroying fire (James 3:6). And pray that when you feel like doing anything that might start a quarrel, the Lord would remind you that not only is your obedience in responding correctly in question, but to respond wrongly would be putting a stumbling block in the other person's way, as well!