What Copperswife Has Been Pondering

     I mentioned recently that I’ve been pondering and praying over quite a few things.  The Lord has been so faithful in leading me in several areas by lovingly and tenderly shepherding.  I’m so thankful for His tenderness and kindness to me, all the more because they are so undeserved. 
     One thing that has been in the forefront of my pondering is the idea of “engaging the culture” and how the Lord would have me respond in this season of my life. 
Close friends know the history from an experience within my extended family that began this adventure for me a couple of years ago.  It’s been so amazing seeing how the Lord has orchestrated events in my life as I’ve chewed on this issue. Circumstances of everyday life.  Conversations.  Blog posts from folks I know and respect.  Stories like this one  (Hat Tip to Fletch for the link)
     So how do I respond?  Do I follow the lead of the gal in the story?  How far do I go in reaching out to those around me?  I live in California, so the sky is rather the limit when it comes to how far a gal might go in reaching out, in love, to those around her.  Tattoos and piercings of all sorts are the norm here. 


     No, I didn’t really have my nose pierced!  The kids and grandbabies were working on a craft the other day and I glued a pretty jewel onto my nose just for the fun of it.  However, this idea of trying to reach out to a world that I’m in, though not of, is a serious pursuit. 
     Tim Challies is a blogger that I follow regularly.  I love his insight, am inspired by the incredible number of books he reads, and am appreciative of his many book reviews.  I was so pleased this week to see that he is starting a second blog. 
     Mr. Challies plans to read every non-fiction, hard cover book that reaches the New York Times best seller list during the year 2010.  He’s actually already begun!  His purpose in this undertaking is what caught my interest.  He realizes that by reading the books from this list, he will be given “a snapshot of the people, of what they are thinking about, of what they are learning, of whom they are learning it from.”  Culture.  Worldview.  Understanding!

     I’m realistic enough to know that I will never be able to keep up with Mr. Challies incredible reading lists, but I will be following along as he reviews each of these books at 10 Million Words; and I’ll certainly be picking up titles to read myself from time to time, too. 


     My friend Kendra often mentions “tomato staking” her younger ones, keeping them close by during times of intense child training.  I used to call this shortening the reins, but the principle is the same.  While this is a great principle for younger children, and one I heartily endorse, I’ve been thinking lately about the application with older kids, too.

     Think about it more in terms of young trees.  We stake our newly planted trees, giving their roots an opportunity to sink in deep and protecting them from the strong winds that might blow them over before their root system is well established.  However, once the roots are deep enough, keeping that tree staked might cause it to become weak, relying too much on the stake for its support.  But…..you knew there would be a “but”, didn’t you?  Of course!

     Sometimes a young tree becomes weakened and needs a little help to recover.  Maybe that tree has undergone a season of phenomenal growth above ground, but its root system has not quite kept up, and it is in danger of being damaged by high winds.  Are you following me here?

     In those situations, giving that tree……not quite a sapling, but not yet a mature oak……a bit of extra support by staking it for a season is the very best thing you can do as you continue to nurture, prune and otherwise encourage it to full maturity.  My tall, growing oak and I are enjoying spending a lot of time together every day staked at the dining room table.  He with his school work, and me with whatever is at hand.  Areas of weakness are being strengthened.  Roots are being encouraged to grow and deepen.  Bad fruit and ill-placed shoots can be nipped before they have the chance to grow and drain the tree of too much energy.  It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding!

     A few of you have asked for recommendations for Thanksgiving books.  I posted
this list a couple of years ago.  I may have a book or two to add to that list, in the next day or two;  but I wanted to give you the link to the old list now so that you could order them from your public library or purchase them, if you are so inclined, in time for Thanksgiving.


     It’s a busy time here as I continue homeschooling my two youngest, keeping my home and enjoying time with Corin and the grandbabies as often as we can.  Busy yes, but blessedly so!

     Oh!  Just one more thing.  Mentioning the grandbabies made me think of it!  We were quite a sight as both sets of grandparents joined Rob and Corin and the grandbabies at the pumpkin farm a couple of weeks ago.  The picture is all five of my grandbabies, with Grandma Pam (my dear friend and my grandbabies’ other grandma) holding the two year old.  There were fifteen of us making our way from attraction to attraction – wee little ones; children, big and small;  young adults, and four “old” folks. We were three families, and yet one, having the time of our lives!  We always have such a grand time together!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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11 comments to What Copperswife Has Been Pondering

  • wonderful post!  and yes, you really had me going with your nose jewelry! 

    i love the “staking” idea…makes me think of how Elijah kept Elisha very closely “under his wing” when he was beginning to minister to others.  very good practice!

    and ADORABLE pic of all of your little grandbabies!


  • Good, good stuff, my wise friend.  Love the piercing, too ;D

    I just listened to an interesting and excellent podcast from the 10/4 Family Life Today broadcast about teens and freedom.  Seems they know they can’t handle the freedom but a taste of it is like a drug, and addicting.   Personally, we allow a little freedom in an area and when we find the teen can’t handle it, we then have to go back and “stake”.  It’s tricky, and the line is never definitive.  Where’s that blueprint for parenting that comes with birth?

  • Enjoyed your post, as I always do.  Now I’m hopping over to all the links you provided.  🙂

    My 17 yr old daughter is trying to “branch out” and I am being “to protective” as she states.  How little she knows of the world I am trying to protect her from.  Oh, she THINKS she knows…

  • Thank you so much for the link on “tomato staking”  :o)

  • Great post!  It is one I will return to later today and follow links.  I just LOVE reading your posts.  🙂

    We have such an opportunity to influence the culture as we live in the shadow of a major world world class University.  With 40,000 students (many are from other countries), one not only has an opportunity to meet with the students but Christopher grew up with friends who are very different than him because their parents came to our area to either teach or do research at the University.

    When Steph was still in elementary school, I remember talking to a school counselor about how my faith affects my parenting (he was anti-Christian).  I told him I saw raising children as making a wonderful gourmet sauce… one adds the thickener only a little at a time or the sauce will curdle and be ruined.  I held my kids quite close up to middle school age and slowly (as slow as possible in this world) increased that which could “curdle the sauce”.

    The counselor accused me of being too conservative and protective (this was in rural Iowa!) but both kids were as able to handle real life as possible by the time they reached college age.  The sauce was as good as it could be before both had to jump into the heat entirely.  🙂

  • Even after my wordy comment, I forgot to tell you what I originally wanted to comment about.

    Francis Schaeffer talks a lot about the need to use “culture” to reach people.  He would have students at L’abri view the latest movies everyone was talking about, books, works of art, etc.  Ravi Zacharisus’s (I know that is not spelled right) ministry does the same.

    Christopher and I have had so much fun discussing the various Star Wars movies, the Matrix, etc.  Although I differ from some as I would not allow my children to watch anything I consider defiling (and what is defiling is different with each family), there are also movies like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe which are “safer” movies.

    We’ve also discussed great art like The Last Supper, how it is beautiful but completely from a Western European perspective (as opposed to the Eastern culture one would actually have in the real Last Supper).

  • Hi Cheryl,

    What a wonderful post. I am often looked down on by my Christian friends because I socialize with people from all walks of life. One day Dave and I was at the park with his grandchildren. While he was enjoying the grandkids I saw a homeless man that I have seen many times sleeping there. So I went over and sat down and visited with him. I wanted to hear his story. What an interesting man he was.I love being open minded to people. That is what real love is all about. I love to listen to Mark at Mars Hill Church.He is so open minded to everyone. As always a wonderful post.


  • So I wondered why readership at theMangoTimes increased today…thanks for the link…I had a good chuckle over the timing and content of this post.  Where should I get the “love thy neighbor” tattoo?

  • Hi Cheryl,

    I have been checking in as I can and hoping and praying for you guys that all is well. Glad to see you are leaning on the Lord and I hope you all feel better soon.

    I followed your links and read them. Interesting posts. However, I have a caution with them that will most likely not sit well with most people…I disagree…heartily. I grew up in a family that was highly dysfunctional and turned from witchcraft and new age religions and practices to “christianity” when I was young. They did this by being “cool” Christians. You know, they were proud that no one could TELL by looking at them, talking to them or socializing with them that they were Christians. They had piercings, dressed like everyone else, encouraged tattoos and spoke and acted like everyone else. Here is the thing…..they LOST their Chrisitianity and became…LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

    We are commanded in the Bible to obstain from these things for a reason. One of those things is a tattoo and I thank God I never got one even though my Father practically insisted for years that I get several. No, if you have a tattoo it doesn’t mean God won’t accept you…but IF you are serving Him…HE is your priority…nothing else. Just as if you take a jug of clean water and add just a DROP of dirty water…ALL the clean becomes dirty…yet you cannot do the same in the opposite. You can add GALLONS of clean water to dirty and it stays DIRTY.

    What made me reserach the Bible for how we are commanded to act and look is that I didn’t see ANY difference between the “christians” I knew and the lost…and NEITHER DID THE LOST. They did check out what I was saying, they did look up things in the Bible and they would then point out to me what I WAS DOING wrong along with them.

    Jesus had no problem ministering to the lost, but he never became one. He never joined in their sin, He called them out of it. He never “came down to their level” or joined in with them in the sinful things of the world…He called them away from these things.

    What is the point of calling the lost to Him…if we look and act the same way?

    Funny, no other “religion” finds the need to do this. Other religions have no problem with standing strong in persecution, standing out like a sore thumb in look and dress and even being in very restrictive religions.

    I realized how far I had gone to be relevent to the culture to attract them (or not offend them) when I was at a restaurant. I had stopped praying out loud when I ate out so I didn’t offend anyone. I walked into the restaurant past a Muslim man (this was RIGHT after 9/11) who was praying in front of everyone going into the restaurant…including those standing around to watch. He didn’t give a flying walrus what I or anyone else thought…he ONLY cared what his god thought and obeyed him even if it offended others. It was a powerful testimony for islam.

    Now how can I possibly NOT do the same. By choising to offend my God so as not to offend my neighbor..I am making the WRONG choice.

    Many Blessings 🙂


  • @Ace – Long time, no hear from you Ace!!  You raise some good points, and I understand what you are saying.  I am not advocating that we all become “cool Christians”.  I’m not advocating anything, really, at this point.  I did, however, want to share a bit about what sorts of things I’ve been pondering and why, at least in part, I have been so quiet.  Perhaps I should share a bit more fully and personally how and why the Lord has led me on this path, and why I am so intent on finding just where HE would have me be on his issue.  I’ll need to pray about it, and ask the favor of extended family members, before I can share specifically how this all started for me.  Until then, I ask that you bear with me and not think that I’m in any danger of falling into some sort of sin or that I am following any sort of wayward path.  On the contrary, I am seeking only Him and His perfect will for me, determined to yield myself wholly to the Potter’s hands. 

  • Hi Cheryl,

    Oh, I ididn’t think you were about to get a Tatoo and piercings or anything….maybe dye your hair blue but all in good fun LOL. Just kidding. I understand what you are saying and just was jumping in, as I am apt to do (and should be working on that…it goes on my list now officially 🙂

    I so enjoy your blog and what you do share, please do. Thanks so much for being transparent and I hope I did not offend. I am very, very Irish and we think everything is a “discussion” 😉

    Many Blesings 🙂