Dating or Courtship?

For our family we consider this topic very seriously. Dating is when a young man and lady spend time together without a commitment and often sensual pleasure and emotion is the basis of the relationship. Two disastrous examples of dating in the Bible occurred with Samson and his first betrothed and with Delilah. 

Courting is when a young man and woman become acquainted with the specific purpose of marriage in mind and with the guidance of parents or spiritual counselors. The arrangements are made so as to preserve the purity of both and to develop a foundation upon spiritual and mental commonalities which is a basis for lasting love and true appreciation upon which the emotional and physical can be added as God blesses. Two examples of biblical courtship are the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah and between Boaz and Ruth. 

In my mind our young people as a whole enjoy too much familiarity with the opposite sex generally and it’s not really appropriate for teenagers to hangout together casually. It sets the stage for temptation and emotional attachment which is not healthy at the age when hormones are raging and judgment is immature. 

We believe there are three most important life decisions a young person must make and that they should be done in this order:

1. Developing a personal walk with God. 

2. Discovering the life calling. 

3. The choice of a companion. 

We would not encourage any young person in a relationship unless the first two are understood and being practically demonstrated in the life. 

We believe in traditional Biblical roles of men and women as is enumerated in 1Cor. 11. God has given men the role of being the head of the home: the priest, provider, and protector. Women are to be the help meet of their husband and to flourish in the care of the home, and in training the children. Unless a young man has a faith in God which will help him spiritually lead a family, and a career by which to support them, he has no business seeking a relationship with a young lady. Conversely, unless a young lady has a spiritual walk with the Lord, and the training to be able to care for a home and family, she has no business receiving the attentions of a young man. Now she may still acquire education for nursing or teaching, etc and as a young lady may work but once married the primary priority and duty is to her home and family first. Our views are very countercultural but what we believe the Bible enjoins upon Christians. 

Parents and/or other spiritual counselors can often see things about a young person that they cannot discern and so it is important for young people to have someone they can counsel with who can help them through this time in their life. Also, daughters are under the protection of their father prior to marriage and it is important that the father assist in determining the character of the young man who desires his daughter’s company. It is his duty as a father, especially a Christian father to make sure his daughter will be in good hands. 

We believe chaperoning to be appropriate in a developing relationship and that physical contact should be kept to an absolute minimum during courtship and should rather be saved for the years of marriage. 

For my husband and I, our parents were out of the picture but we looked to spiritual counselors whom we respected and could see had good marriages themselves. We knew each other for a year and a half before my husband asked my father for permission to court me (that was a sign to me that God was leading that he asked my father first-although my father wasn’t much more involved than that) and it was a bout six months courting/engagement before marriage. We had a courtship package we went through together which helped us to discuss important topics before marriage: children, career, finances, health, family issues…we were in a long distance relationship during most of our courtship but we talked daily on the phone and prayed together. Communication was established early on and we still love talking together. We will be up until 3 am just talking about different things. We are individuals and have differences of opinion but there is not one issue we have not worked out. Sometimes it is necessary for me to give the decision making power to my husband to do as he feels best, but he is always willing to hear any concerns I may have about an issue. Our first kiss was at the altar and we both determined in Christ to find the right one and to wait until it was clear that God was leading. We have had a very happy marriage for almost 12 years now and we have no regrets. The Lord brought us together and He has sustained us through the years. 

If Christians took this seriously I believe we would see a whole lot more happy marriages and the divorce rate in the church would be much lower. 

That’s my ten cents for the day! 😀

– Celina Richards

The Creation Sabbath

“The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Eden bloomed on earth. Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of life. No taint of sin or shadow of death marred the fair creation. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. 

The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty and had filled it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had been accomplished. And God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory. 

After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker. 

In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was committed to Adam, the father and representative of the whole human family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledgment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the earth, that God was their Creator and their rightful Sovereign; that they were the work of His hands and the subjects of His authority. Thus the institution was wholly commemorative, and given to all mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy or of restricted application to any people. 

God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator. 

God designs that the Sabbath shall direct the minds of men to the contemplation of His created works. Nature speaks to their senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the Supreme Ruler of all. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” Psalm 19:1, 2. The beauty that clothes the earth is token of God’s love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love of the Creator. 

– “Patriarchs and Prophets”, pages 47-48. 

Delicious Gluten-free Vegan Waffles

By Celina Richards

You may know someone like me who does not digest grains well. Even many of the “gluten-free” grains cause me a few days of joint pain and general malaise after eating them. However, as a mother of 6 (right now) young children and with a country home, I get hungry and desire something like bread. The commercial products available often have ingredients I can’t eat and are too expensive to purchase with a limited budget. This recipe is affordable. I can use buckwheat and rice so I made this recipe with those two grains and a few other wholesome ingredients. Here’s a recipe the whole family can enjoy!

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 6 tbsp brown rice flour 
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 tsp salt of choice
  • 1 tbsp honey (this gives the lovely color–a tbsp of apple juice concentrate or raisins does the same thing)
  • 2 cups water

Blend all ingredients together. Pour in hot waffle iron (with a little nonstick spray first). Sprinkle with a mix of sesame, sunflower, and flax seeds, if desired. Cook until golden brown. Top with favorite toppings such as a mixed fruit salad and maple syrup, nut butter and applesauce, or Kodiac syrup, and enjoy! This can also be used as a replacement for sandwich bread if you have a thinner style waffle maker. I found my Oster “Gold and Crispy” waffle maker at a thrift store and love it!

This recipe is child approved. When I first made them, my son Josiah (8), had 7, the next three had 4 each, and the baby even put away 1 1/2! I’m sure your family will like them too. 😊

Treasures of the Snow

By Celina Richards


     Recently I was describing the change in  weather to snowfall to my mother, who is blind and has never seen it. I remember the first time the beauty of the snow first hit me. Our eldest daughter was only a couple months old and we were house sitting for a friend. I took a walk outside with Sarah and noticed that the snow was sparkling like a million diamonds. It was lovely. Breathtaking. I also love when the sun shines through the snow on pine or fir branches, showing millions of little rainbows. 

     As I was sharing this description with my mother, my mind went to the verse in Isaiah: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. As I began to meditate upon this verse, the beauty of the plan of salvation stood out to me. When God cleanses us from the filthiness of sin, He does a thorough and complete job. He makes us sparkling clean like the snow. 

     In Job 38:22, the snow is described as some of the “treasures” of God. Each flake comes forth from the Creator’s hand uniquely designed and beautifully formed. So we also, as we repent of our sins and look to Christ at the foot of the cross, we become His treasures: “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” Malachi 3:17. Also, we are given this promise: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4: 6,7. 

     When we behold His face as we study the Scriptures, we are changed into His image, or character: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. What does the glory of the Lord look like? The prophet Ezekiel describes what he saw: “And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.” Ezekiel 1:27, 28 I thought this was such a beautiful object lesson and one that could easily be lost in the busyness of the day. When we are washed from our filthiness and sin by the “washing of regeneration by the Word” Christ makes us new creatures. He makes us white as the snow. Sparkling. Clean. He makes us His jewels. He writes his new covenant promise in our hearts: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 10:16-17. As we look at the snow we can remember the work that Christ is doing and has done in our lives and that one day we can have the privilege to “awake with [His] likeness.” Psalm 17:15. May these thoughts encourage you today as you think of the worth and value you have in Christ and what He is doing for you. May we be like the snow: as the Son of righteousness shines in our hearts, may His reflection shine through us as the sun through a snowflake. May we sparkle and shine for Him who has done so much for us!

Fall Dressmaking


     One thing about children is that they grow. I am finding that my oldest daughter has very little to wear these days and so in the midst of winter preparation and home schooling I am taking some moments here and there to make some dresses for her. This is one I made a couple weeks ago.

     This summer we moved to an area where a lot of Mennonites live and I have been able to observe the many different styles of dresses they make with a modified cape. As my daughter is approaching the age where she is developing as a young lady I thought it important to make sure her clothing is becoming and modest. This was my first attempt at adding a modified cape to the front of the dress and I think it turned out well. 

After this picture, according to her request, I also added ties to the back at the waist and she is happy with it. It is a satisfying feeling to complete such a project! I thank God who gives wisdom to do the many things we must do as mothers in the home. 

–Celina Richards

Pancakes


Sometimes simple healthy recipes are difficult to find. I made these pancakes this morning with just four ingredients. With some fruit salad, applesauce, or maple syrup these make a healthy and tasty breakfast. 

4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup applesauce

1 quart seltzer water*
Mix all ingredients together. Ladle onto a hot griddle or frying pan sprayed with a little oil. Cook on one side until bubbly. 


Flip and cook on the other side. 

Cover with a towel until ready to serve. Put your favorite toppings on and enjoy!

*Baking soda is not good for the digestion. Instead, I used carbonated water which puts little bubbles in the pancakes and makes them light. The carbon dioxide simply burns off and there are no toxic residues in the pancakes. 
–by Celina Richards

Character development for children – part 2

This short blog is meant to emphasize the importance of manual training for children. In the training of our youth it is of the utmost importance to remember that we are preparing them for life’s practical duties, to be men and women of skill and talent, and to lend their knowledge of practical life in order to aid their fellow man. Here in our home we teach our daughters how to cook and sew, to care for their younger siblings, to be keepers at home, and to develop their talents and interests in various productive enterprises and mission work. Our boys learn how to work with their hands and to gain knowledge and skill in different trades so that they can learn what it means to develop a good, honest work ethic and to provide for their family at home. These are life skills that are too often taken for granted and almost wholly ignored by modern day society: and the lack of moral restraint; the shiftless, aimless, and drifting youth; and a growing welfare society today, all go to show the sad results of this neglect. 
Here is a good quote from the book “Education”, by Mrs. Ellen White:
“For every child the first industrial school should be the home. And, so far as possible, facilities for manual training should be connected with every school. To a great degree such training would supply the place of the gymnasium, with the additional benefit of affording valuable discipline. 

“Manual training is deserving of far more attention than it has received. Schools should be established that, in addition to the highest mental and moral culture, shall provide the best possible facilities for physical development and industrial training. Instruction should be given in agriculture, manufactures,—covering as many as possible of the most useful trades,—also in household economy, healthful cookery, sewing, hygienic dressmaking, the treatment of the sick, and kindred lines. Gardens, workshops, and treatment rooms should be provided, and the work in every line should be under the direction of skilled instructors. 

“The work should have a definite aim and should be thorough. While every person needs some knowledge of different handicrafts, it is indispensable that he become proficient in at least one. Every youth, on leaving school, should have acquired a knowledge of some trade or occupation by which, if need be, he may earn a livelihood.” – {Ed 217-218}
“An education derived chiefly from books leads to superficial thinking. Practical work encourages close observation and independent thought. Rightly performed, it tends to develop that practical wisdom which we call common sense. It develops ability to plan and execute, strengthens courage and perseverance, and calls for the exercise of tact and skill.” – {Ed 220.2}
So, while we certainly do not neglect the training of our childrens’ minds through bookwork and education, the importance of manual training and good old fashioned work can hardly be underestimated or overemphasized. Enjoy the photos below of our children at work in the home and shop!
God bless!