Seven Election Day Quizzes {Midterm 2014}

I Voted Sticker 2014 | LydiaGlick.com

You’ve voted, you have the sticker, and now you’re keeping an eye on the 2014 mid-term election results. Here are a few quizzes to test your general knowledge about the great United Sates of America and voting practices around the world. Simply click on the links to get started. Have fun!

How Do People Vote Around the World? 

Who Do You Side With Politically? 

How Much Do You Know About Elections and Voting?

What Is Your Current News & Affairs IQ?

How Well Do You Know Your American History?

Constitutional Knowledge Quiz

Citizenship Quiz for American Government, American History and Civics

 

 

On Making Butter…and Memories {Lessons from My Amish Family}

Butter Churn by Lehman's

Butter Churn by Lehman’s

One day I was driving down the road and a random commercial about butter played on the radio.

Waves of memories crashed over me, as I suddenly remembered a time my Grandma Lydia taught me how to make butter. I recalled standing on a stool beside her, as she explained the process, and showed me just how to turn the little handle on her glass churn.

As I remembered the sweet time with my Grandma, tears welled up in my eyes, began leaking down my cheeks and suddenly I was crying so hard I had to pull off the road till I could compose myself.

I realized something that day. My Amish family taught me that beautiful memories are not made of superficial stuff. The best memories are formed from simple and meaningful experiences.

Cousins having fun at Grandma & Grandpa's house

Cousins having fun at Grandma & Grandpa’s house

My grandparents never took me on fancy vacations, bought me clothes at the mall, or gave me the latest electronics. They never sat me in front of a television, or put the remote control for a gaming device in my hand.

Instead they invested time and love into the lives of those they cared about, just by being with us and living life alongside us. The memories I have with them are humble and modest, but powerful just the same. They were fully engaged and attentive in the everyday moments, creating meaningful, rich, and significant experiential memories that last and shine on for lifetimes.

Grandpa Jonas & Grandma Lydia's House in Churchtown, PA

Grandpa Jonas & Grandma Lydia’s House in Churchtown, PA where my parents live today

“In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.”
― Marge Kennedy

I have many precious memories of times with family in the dear old house pictured above. Experiential memories. The kind money can’t buy. Memories that formed the way I see the world today. I’m thankful for my grandparents. They were rich in the things that matter. Character, wisdom and love. And they took the time to share it all with me.

~ Justina Dee

This is post number 21 of a series I’m sharing about my Amish family. Click here to read more! 

To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward. ~Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender

 

 

The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Amish Mailboxes

The mailboxes of my grandpa & great-grandfather (across the street from each other) in beautiful Churchtown, PA

“…I longed to know him again, the lonely writer of those letters who never heard of such things as e-mails, twitter and who lived in an age not so long ago, but that might as well belong to another era. It is one where the mailman still played the troubadour of sorts for star-crossed lovers, and not what he is now: The carrier of bills and junk mail.” – Andrew Lamb

I grew up in a little town in Texas, far away from my Amish grandparents in Lancaster County, PA. We rarely spoke on the phone. And only saw each other a handful of times per year. There was no Facebook, Skype,  or even email. But I felt beautifully connected with them thanks to the treasures called letters that were often delivered to our mailbox at the end of our long country lane.

There’s something incredibly special about opening the mailbox and discovering an envelope addressed to one’s self. I’m nearly forty years old and I still get every bit as excited to receive a handwritten letter now, as I did when I was six years old.

I’m not alone in my sentiments. We all love getting a letter in the mail. A little note, a lengthy letter or anything in-between brings joy to anyone – anywhere, at any time!

Both of my Amish grandmothers were wonderful letter writers. They filled their stationery with things like news of the weather, family updates, local happenings, celebrations, unusual tidbits of information, and what was happening in the garden, or on the farm. I particularly love this letter my mother saved – written by my Grandma Esh in the form of a poem, and sent to her children and grandchildren in the family “Circle Letter”:

Grandma's Letter

Grandma's Letter 2

So what makes a good letter? I love this explanation:

“What makes a good letter? For me, a good letter is personal and personalized. A good letter takes time to write. The thing about writing a letter is that no one can multitask while doing so, unlike e-mails or telephone calls. A letter represents undivided attention and is precious as a consequence. Oh yes, a good letter is handwritten, not a cut-and-pasted, global searched-and-replaced bit of faux intimacy. It need not be written on fancy stationary or an expensive card — the three letters I have been cherishing were written on plain notebook paper! And a good letter is one that required the writer to find a stamp and an envelope and a postbox!” – Christopher Peterson, Ph.D.

In this age of sterile, digital correspondence, I think it’s time we all pick up a bona-fide pen and paper, to script a few meaningful words to those we hold dear, just as our grandmothers did for us in days gone by. I daresay it will bring some well-received sunshine to someone’s day!

~ Justina Dee

This is a post from the series I’m sharing called “31 Lessons from My Amish Family. Click here to read more! 

Interesting Links:

Scholars Mourn the Lost Art of Letterwriting

The Wall Street Journal on Letterwriting

The Joy of Receiving a Letter – written by a Postman in 1886

Emily Post on Letterwriting

 

Ten Unique Items Found in an Amish Household

Last week I shared some unusual foods found in Amish homes, and today I’m listing (in no particular order) some interesting items commonly found in Amish homes. Each of these items takes me on a walk down nostalgia lane!

Amish Foot Stool

Amish Foot Stool | by Amish Furniture Factory

1.  A “Mummy Schtool” is a small foot stool my grandparents kept in the general area of the kitchen. (“Mummy” is the affectionate nickname given to Grandmothers  -or “Grussmommies”.) Since grandmas often needed help reaching into high cupboards, the stool was kept nearby. Somewhere along the line of Amish history, any small stool in the kitchen was given this title.

Dutch Blitz

Dutch Blitz | Photo by Lehmans

2. Dutch Blitz is a card game often found in Amish homes. It gets so intense that chairs are taken away from around the table being used, so that players can stand up. I have great memories of playing this game with my cousins for hours on end! Be sure to click on the video link to see how the game is played.

Amish Hope Chest

Amish Hope Chest | by Amish Furniture Factory

3. A Hope Chest is given to Amish girls as they become young women. Items like handmade quilts, special dishes given as Christmas gifts, silverware, and treasured family linens are stored inside, to someday be used in their own household after they are married.

Inside Amish House

Photo by Amish Farm & House, Lancaster PA

4. Green Window Shades – My sister reminded me of this uniquely Amish household item. There were no curtains in traditional Amish houses, but instead many used green utilitarian roller shades such seen as the photo. It’s a signature sign of an Old Order Amish home.

Vintage Tupperware Tumbler | Photo from Ebay

Vintage Tupperware Tumbler | Photo from Ebay

5. Community Cup – My father came from a family of 14 children. Imagine for a moment the buildup of dirty dishes if each child used a clean cup every time they got a drink of water! Instead, Amish homes typically have a cup sitting at the kitchen sink (the one at Grussmommy’s house looked kind of like the one in the photo), and everyone shared that cup between meals. At mealtime each person had their own water-glass, but the rest of the day you simply filled up the designated cup, and then rinsed it out after use.

Good's Store, East Earl PA

Good’s Store East Earl, PA | Photo by Lancaster Online

6. Hardware or Feed Store Calendar – Some of the most interesting places to shop in Lancaster County, PA. are Amish & Mennonite general or hardware stores. One of my favorites is “Good’s Store” in East Earl. Every year these stores print calendars, usually depicting nature scenes with Bible verses. I can’t remember visiting an Amish home that didn’t have one hanging in a useful spot.

Amish Family Record

Jacob & Annie Glick Family Record | Artist David Hoke, circa 1930’s

7. Beautiful Family Records such as these are another item often found in Amish homes. As they do not have photographs, this is a special way of remembering and displaying loved ones. This photo shows my grandmother Barbara Glick’s family. (See her name right there on the bottom?)

8. The Amish people were making Scrap Books for years before the craze hit American craft stores. As children we always enjoyed going to the drawer or cupboard where our grandmothers stored them, sitting down with the scrap books and gently leafing through the pages. Their scrapbooks contained postcards, cards, newspaper clippings and other memorebelia.

Amish Drawing Salve

Amish Draw Salve | from Vermont Country Store

9. Drawing Salve was in both Grussmommy & Grandma’s medicine cabinets. When we had an insect sting, a splinter or small wound, they would first clean the area and then apply the salve. Of course it always felt much better after their TLC!

Amber Teething Necklace

Baby Teething Necklace | Photo by Amber Artisans

10. Amish babies are often seen playing with a string of colorful Beads. Recently “teething necklaces” such as the one pictured above have been making waves in the natural wellness scene. I smiled when I first saw them, when I realized that Amish mothers have used them to comfort their teething babies for generations.

If you think of something I have not put on this list, I’d love for you to take time to comment below! Thank you for following along with my Amish Family blogging project. It’s truly an honor to have you read the posts.

~ Justina Dee

This is number 16 in my “31 Lessons I Learned From My Amish Family” blogging series. Click here to read more! 

Link:

Video demonstrating a family game of Dutch Blitz

Wellness Mama’s Drawing Salve Recipe

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with companies or individuals whose links I’ve provided, and am not receiving compensation for featuring their products here, and their views may not reflect my own. 

 

Books in the Amish Home

The soft glow of the gas lamp spilled into the room. It was a bitter cold winter night. Moonlight glistened on the fresh snow outside. But my grandparent’s living room was cozy and warm with love. And I was happy and content. Because as the day came to an end, it was time to open the pages of comfortable and familiar books  – or equally as wonderful, fill the evening with the adventure of an intriguing new read.

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.                                       ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sitting on the landing of Grussdaudy & Grussmommy’s stairs, was the bookshelf. As a young girl my favorites were the illustrated children’s Bible story books found there. When I grew older I was fond of reading their historical fiction collections. The selection of books found in the guest room of my other grandparent’s house never disappointed anyone searching for something to read. There were children’s story books, classic young readers, devotionals and many more. As a teenager, my favorite book from their shelf was called “Christy“.

Family Life Magazine

In addition to books, my grandparents read the Budget (“a weekly newspaper written for and by members of the Amish, Amish Mennonite, Beachy Amish, and Mennonite communities from 1890 to the present.” – The Budget) and Family Life Magazine (” it contains articles on Christian living, parenting, and homemaking. It also contains editorials, letters from Amish readers, medical advice, poems, recipes, and children’s stories.” – Scroll Christian Publishing.) My Grandpa read Lancaster’s Intelligencer Journal newspaper every day, and often shared stories from The Guidepost with us.

The Ausbund

At the heart of every Amish home’s book collection you can find a German family Bible and the Ausbund (the oldest hymnal in continuous use in the world, with hymns dating back to 1525). Many also have a copy of Martyr’s Mirror. (“In 1660, Dutch Mennonite Thieleman J. van Braght published this immense and beautifully crafted collection of the stories and testimonies of Christian martyrs from the preceding seventeen centuries, focusing mostly on Anabaptists, or Christians who practiced nonresistance.”)

Something magnificent happens when you remove television from the environment of a home. Instead of families staring blankly at a box, you find them engaged in things like mindful activities, nourishing conversations and reading. I have to agree with Jane Austen when she says,

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!”                     ~ Jane Austen

I cherish this lesson from my Amish family: Reading a bonafide book with exquisite pages you turn in your hand is not a lost art. It nourishes the soul, stretches the imagination and trains the mind. We should all devise a plan of action and set aside some time in our busy lives where we sit down in a comfortable room with our family, and allow the wondrous words on the pages of books to come alive in our homes.

~ Justina Dee

Thank you for joining me on this #write31days project, as I share lessons I’ve learned from my Amish family! You can read more of my posts on the Amish way of life by clicking here.

Link:

Wall Street Journal’s Article: Amish Newspapers Thrive in Digital Age

Read Martyr’s Mirror Online Here

 

Amish and the Land

Farming is a profession of hope. | www.LydiaGlick.com #write31days #31AmishDays

Photo credit Julie Lea Walron

We’re all well aware of the disconnect our modern society has with the land. Our culture has created an epidemic of nature-starved children. But the Amish people have effectively and conscientiously conserved a lifestyle centered around agriculture.

In the Field | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

In the Field, Photo Credit Julia Lea Waldron

There are many reports and research studies to be found about the Amish farming success. Based on these, we know they have maintained a connection with the land, and that their farms produce some of the highest yields per acre with the least amount of resources. Today’s agricultural society can learn much from the Amish practices!

In the Fields with Dad | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

Amish children grow up with an appreciation and understanding of the land. How to work the fields, enjoy playing outdoors in the fresh air , and most importantly, how to treasure and care for the creation around them.

Playing on the Farm | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

Playing on the Farm, Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

Some of my fondest childhood memories are those made in the great outdoors, on my Grandpa’s farmland.

My Grandpa's Farm | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

My Grandpa’s Farm in Morgantown, PA | circa 1960

My cousins and I spent hours cavorting in the meadow, pretending the large rocks on the land were our houses. We waded barefoot in the creek, catching crayfish and building dams. We rolled down the hillside, unwillingly gathering grass stains on our clothes as we laughed and raced to see who could reach the bottom of the green slopes first. We held up barbed wire fences for each other to climb through, looking for a new adventure in the pasture.

We lounged beside the pond, keeping watch for fish and turtles. We picked dandelions and blew them into the wind. We played on hay bales. We slid down massive piles of grain. And joy of all joys, I still remember how it felt when we stepped smack dab on the middle of a cow patty, just to feel it squish up through our toes. We walked down the cowpath as the sun set on the horizon of the beautiful fields.

Grandma loved her garden, and it was always fun to work alongside her. The earthy smell of tomatoes, the feel of the rich earth in my hands, the sounds of plants rustled by the soft breeze…being on that little plot of land with Grandma was a tantalizing experience for the senses. She showed us how to tell when the corn was ready to pick from its stalk, and when to dig up potatoes. I still remember the delightful experience of picking a pod of peas off the vine, opening it up, and eating those little green treasures, right there in the garden.

“These memories are part of my heritage, the fabric of my personality, and as real to me as the land itself.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, Farm Girl

Amish Boy and His Dog | www.LydiaGlick.com | #write31days #31AmishDays

A Boy & His Dog, Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

I wish for my children and countless more to experience the outdoors in the way as I did. Technology isn’t the problem. The answer lies in the choices we make, and the way we decide to let today’s and tomorrow’s advances affect or control our lives.  There’s no better place to be than cultivating something meaningful together, whether it be the land or a mission close to a family’s heart! George Washington said it well;

“I can truly say I had rather be at Mount Vernon than to be attended at the Seat of Government by the Officers of State and the Representatives of every Power in Europe.” ― George Washington

Amish Farm Wagon | www.lydiaglick.com | #write31days #31Amish Days

Amish Farm Wagon, Photo Credit Julie Lea Waldron

Let’s be good stewards and caretakers of the precious land we’ve been given charge of. Whether it’s a few garden pots on the patio, some raised beds in the backyard, or 100 acres of fertile farmland. And for at least 20 minutes a day, let’s get outside and move as a family! It will make the world a better place for all of us, and even more importantly, for our children and the generations to come.

~ Justina Dee

This post is part of a series called 31 Lessons I Learned From My Amish Family. Click here to read more.

Heartfelt thanks to Julie Lea Waldron, street photographer from Lancaster County, PA for the beautiful snapshots of Amish life on the farm!

A few great quotes and links:

“Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.” – Wendell Berry

“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” ― Wendell Berry

In Defense of the Family Farm by Wendall Berry

A New York Times article about Amish farming

Last Child in the Woods – A Children & Nature Movement

Beyond Buggies and Bonnets {Inside My Amish Family’s Home}

"Grussdaudy's House" - The home of my Amish grandparents | LydiaGlick.com #write31days #31AmishDays

“Grussdaudy’s House” – The home of my Amish grandparents

Turn off Route 340 in Gap, PA, pull into the gravel driveway, exit your car and walk up the path to the side entrance of a big, white plastered house. Open the door of a spotless mudroom where warm sunshine is beaming through the windows, black boots are lined up inside the door and a wringer washing machine and tub stands in the corner. You’ve just entered “Grussdaudy’s House”, the place where my Amish-Preacher Grandfather and his sweet bride (my grandmother) lived and raised my father – along with his thirteen siblings. I remember my grandfather’s salt and pepper beard tickling my cheeks as he wrapped me in his big hug, and my grandmother’s warm smile and hello, as she welcomed us inside their home.

Our family visited the house pictured above as often as we could. I treasure the busy mornings spent in the kitchen with Grussmommy, making breakfast of eggs and toast with her delectable homemade bread & jellies, along with fried oatmeal or scrapple. With no microwave or modern appliances in sight, it was essential to plan meals ahead of time. As a result, dinner and supper preparations often began in the morning. Grussmommy sent us children to the cellar to fetch canned goods, like a jar of peaches to serve with her delicious homemade chocolate cake for dessert. Sometimes we went outside to hang clothes on the line to dry. Being without the usual amenities was never boring, but instead a delightful and unforgettable adventure.

I loved the smell of fresh wood shavings that greeted anyone entering my Grussdaudy’s cabinet making shop. The fruit of his skilled craftsmanship filled the room. Tables, chairs, benches, hutches, shelves and specially ordered pieces were everywhere. Beside his shop was the phone shanty, used for business calls and emergencies. Sometimes Grussdaudy would take us for a short buggy ride. I can still hear the clip-clop of horse shoes on those Lancaster County roads, and feel the sway of the buggy as the horses turned a corner.

My favorite time at Grussdaudy’s house was in the evening after supper was finished. When the dishes were washed, dried and put away, and all the chores were completed for the day, Grussdaudy lit the kerosene lamps. Their faint hum and soft yellow light flooded the darkening house. We sat together in the great room, playing games, reading books in the soft light, talking and laughing. Grussdaudy sat in his special chair and read the Bible in German. Grussmommy would do needlework or other quiet projects. When it was time for bed, Grussmommy led us up the wooden stairs by the light of a small lamp, where we were tucked into bed with feather pillows and homemade quilts.

I’m thankful to have learned from my grandparents that the Amish are real, loving, gentle and hardworking people, not simply a novelty or quaint show for the rest of us who don’t live in their communities. Their lives are full of much deeper meaning than simply buggies and bonnets. And I thank God for the gift of the beautiful heritage given to me by Grussdaudy & Grussmommy, which I have the privilege of sharing with my children and grandchildren.

Thank you for joining me on this journey called #write31days.

~ Justina Dee

The homestead of my Amish ancestors in France | LydiaGlick.com #write31days #31AmishDays

The homestead of my Amish ancestors in France

My father’s Anabaptist ancestors left France and came to America in the 1800’s and settled in Lancaster County, PA, where thousands of my relatives still live today. You can visit Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society’s website here to learn some reliable facts about the history of the Mennonite and Amish people. 

Click here to read more posts from my Amish series 

Orphans & Human Trafficking – Is There More I Can Do?

Not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act The stories make my stomach lurch. Girls sent away from the orphanages of Eastern Europe at sixteen years old with nowhere to go. Predators prey like vultures, and mercilessly snatch them up. Kidnap them. Sell them. Abuse them. Buy them. Use them. Beat them. Even kill them. They are trapped in rooms and broken down. And horrible, atrocious acts are inflicted upon them. They contract HIV. They suffer. They die. And where am I? I never even glance their way. I have MY very busy life to live. My spouse, my children, my family and friends, my job. My health. My goals.  And on top of all my responsibilities and problems I’m too busy catching up on my favorite Netflix show. Pinning on Pinterest. Tweeting on Twitter. Deciding where we should vacation. Organizing my bathroom shelf. Getting my oil changed. Perfecting my life plan and mission statement. Reading a book to help alleviate the stress of it all. You know, important things. Oh, I’ve attended fundraisers. I’ve studied up on the matters of human trafficking. I’ve even shared videos and Facebook statuses about it all. I refuse to live in naivety and bury my head in the sand. Yes, I’m aware. But is it enough to be aware?

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hold on! I’ve done more than just educated myself! I’ve prayed. I’ve interceded on behalf of these victims, and asked God to bring freedom, justice, healing and restoration. I’ve prayed for those in law enforcement and human trafficking ministries and organizations who are in the dangerous and life-threatening trenches – bringing comfort, rescue and a future to these precious souls. I know that awareness and prayer are vital! I have seen the powerful effect of our fervent prayers directed towards the human trafficking issue. I believe that it is during those times of prayer that the complacency in my heart began to melt, and my eyes were opened to the truth that I’m not helpless to the issue.

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” –  Samuel Chadwick

But then there’s this:

…be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

The next step is to be a “doer”.  As my heart impacted by the things that stir God’s heart, my feet and my hands cannot help but move in response. I will begin to live in such a way that as the Spirit moves in my heart I become a vessel of God’s love and mercy through my actions. God has gone to great lengths to rescue me, and as a result of my overflowing gratefulness for what He has done for me, I cannot help but to the same for others.

Praying men are the vice-regents of God; they do His work and carry out His plans.” E.M. Bounds

Our family has long talked about the injustice of human trafficking. And faithfully prayed about this issue. We’ve met and been inspired by brave people who are taking action in this area. And now we have decided the next thing we must do is to find one girl who is about to leave an orphanage, has no family, no support system, no protector, and is headed to the street to survive, and welcome her into to our home to give her a chance to say yes to the invitation our family is extending to her, and find love, safety, healing, and most important of all: meet Jesus. To be frank, the thought of adopting a girl who has grown up in an orphanage, doesn’t speak our language, and has all sorts of emotional scars and psychological damage is scary. It’s unknown territory. It’s a downright crazy thing for our comfortable, most-of-the-time happy family to do. But it’s what God has asked us to do. And we’ve committed to doing it. And we know that He will sustain us, give us the tools, surround us with the people we need, and that she will be an unimaginable gift to us. And we believe that we will see beauty rise from the ashes. And that we can literally prevent at least one child from becoming another human trafficking statistic.

 “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Church: if we are truly concerned about the issue of women and children bound in the unspeakable horror of modern-day slavery, there are many ways to take action. It’s going to look different in each of our lives. And all of the things we do must be done with wisdom and in God’s timing. But let’s at least do something. We can begin by becoming aware of the issue of human trafficking. Then pray for all parties involved, ask God how he wants us to help, be obedient to His call and become a “doer”. If you (or someone you know) have responded to this great need in some way, be it seemingly tiny or quite large, I’d love to hear about it! Please share it with us in a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you. May you be challenged to answer the stirring in your heart. And be blessed. ~ Justina Dee

“If God sends us on strong paths, we are provided strong shoes.”  – Corrie ten Boom

Links: International Justice Mission Fact Sheet  | Stella’s Voice : Watch this video to learn about what is happening to girls in Moldova  | 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Slavery, Human Trafficking, (& What You Can Do About It) | End It Movement Ukrainian Resource Center Hosting Program – Consider hosting an orphan! | The A21 Campaign | Love146

In Defense of Pinterest

Pinterest_Birds

I am a colossal fan of Pinterest. I don’t go there often, because it has a tendency to suck me into an abyss of bewitching decor, a slew of delectable recipes I’ll never use, and oodles of parapherlnalia I never knew I needed. I consider myself a “power-pinner”. When I do spend some time on Pinterest, I can pin with the best of them. In fact, if there was such a thing as Pinterest-Olympics, I’m sure I’d medal.

I believe Pinterest can be a dangerous and risky place for women, as precious, irrevocable moments can easily be squandered on empty fantasies and vain imaginations, spending time looking at ideas we’ll never use. I love this post called “10 of the Craziest Pinterest Ideas Ever“. There are some ridiculous things to be found there, including wreaths made of thumbtacks, and “unicorn-poop-cookies”! Social media constantly vies for our attention, and rapidly takes our focus off the most important items at hand – including people who desperately need our love and affection, and the real-life homes we live in.

Pinterest began with 5000 users in 2010, and in January of 2012 “comScore” reported it had nearly 12 million users, of which (reportedly) up to 80% are women. It’s unquestionably hitting a chord with many of us! Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”, and they’re certainly doing just that!

All that said, here’s my little Pinterest-theory.

In “the good old days”, women shared recipes, practical housekeeping tips and homemaking skills with other women in their community. They met for quilting days. They helped each other grow beautiful gardens and then preserve their harvests. They shared tried-and-true recipes on special index cards. They gave younger women tremendous, practical advice on marriage, babies, and anything else under the sun.

Of course this still happens in some rare circles, but in my observation, I (sadly) believe a vast majority of women feel detached and isolated, with no one around them to share the information they need, in order to make the lives they long to create for themselves and their family. Many of us live far away from mothers, aunts, and other nurturing figures, and have not found (and plugged-in) to a network of women with more experience and life-wisdom.

It may not be ideal, and it certainly isn’t as romantic as the pictures one can imagine when thinking of “get-togethers” in days gone by, but Pinterest extends a chance to connect with others, filling a niche need of so many women. I love to scan my friends boards to find recipes for our family dinner. I turned to Pinterest when I was teaching our daughter how to sew, and found a host of brilliant, beginner patterns. I could go on, and on, with the ideas I’ve found and USED, from this extensive resource. The photo about shows some birds our family crafted, using a free template from Pinterest. The inspiration seems infinite! I know people who are now hosting Pinterest parties; where they meet and share the recipes and skills they’ve acquired. It seems to be making a full circle!

In conclusion, there is a challenge here for us who are Christians. Titus 2:3-5 tells us that older women should teach and train younger women in matters of marriage, family and home. I deeply admire women who are taking the time to mentor those around them, and investing into the lives of others. We need real-life examples, guidance and encouragement, in order to become a Proverbs 31 woman. I encourage all of us to share the unique wisdom God has graciously given us, and to find women who will help us learn the skills we need for a beautiful life, of inspired living. We all have something to give, and something to learn, from the women God has placed in our lives.