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Lydia's blog

Visit Lydia's blog to find out about . . .

1. Her Candid reflections on getting married. Find out how Lydia abandoned "the faulty notion that a person should assume he or she has been given the gift of celibacy (life-long state of remaining unmarried) unless God calls him or her to marriage." Crystal's comments on this post, about being content whilst desiring marriage, are gems.

2. Her
inspiring younger sister! It was such a blessing to read about Susanna's godly character. I wish I could meet her! I am sure that she could teach me a lot about homemaking. We live in a time when, even in the church, it is commonly expected that teenagers will behave badly. It is wonderfully refreshing to read about young people who are examples of God's way to spend your youth. I would be much better prepared for marriage now if I'd choosen to work productively and love God as a teen, instead of grumbling and feeling sorry for myself!


Getting Serious About Getting Married: Part 3

If you would like some context for this book review, please read parts 1 and 2 which are included under my books category.

Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness reinforced my feeling that Christians should not glibly suggest to people that they are called to be single all their lives, as they commonly do. Such glib references to a lifetime alone fail to recognise the gravity of this outcome. Only a culture as individualistic as our own could refer to the loss of companionship and children without a sense of gravity. They are also suggesting a lifetime without sex. This is also no small thing, as Debbie Maken so ably points out. What they are suggesting is a lifetime of struggling against our God-given sexual natures, with no lawful outlet. I explored this in
part 2 of my review of the book.

Stories about person x who got married at 50 are also unhelpful. Such stories glibly skim over all that is lost through such a late marriage. Those who marry late forgo the gift of children, for a start. It is unsurprising that worldly people who do not consider children to be important would overlook this, but Christians who value the Bible’s teaching about children should not consider the loss of them a small thing. Suggesting that people who never have their own children can make up for it by volunteering in the church nursery is offensive and ridiculous in the extreme. Sometimes God chooses that people will not have children, but this is a matter for grief and not for suggestions of Sunday School teaching. Christians need to re-learn the concept of “weep with those who weep”. Yes, it is helpful to serve in the church. Singles and childless people should look for such outlets. However, there should be no pretense that this can take up the place one’s own children would have.

While I am grateful that Getting Serious About Getting Married raised these kinds of issues, and critiqued common tendencies to trivialise singleness, I also have some concerns with the approach that was taken. While it is important not to gloss over the losses prolonged singleness brings, it is also important to encourage people to live happy and contented lives as singles and to make the best of a less than ideal situation. I would not give this book to some friends. Debbie Maken is perhaps too sympathetic with discontent singles. The approach she takes may fuel discontent in young women.

Due to this concern, I cannot quite agree with Albert Mohler that “This book should be a must-read for all Christian young adults – and all who love them.” It is a must-read for mature Christians, but perhaps not for those who would be unable to place it in its appropriate Biblical context. It should, at the least, help Christians to re-think their ungodly responses to singleness. Too often, Christian responses to singleness resemble the ugliness described in Proverbs 25:20. “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Christians need to stop singing songs to heavy hearts, and admit that in most cases prolonged singleness is not good. It was not good at the beginning of creation, and it is not good now.


Engagement party - take 2

One benefit to Dave and I living in different states is that we could have two engagement parties! Our party in Melbourne also celebrated Dave's 30th birthday.

At the party, John Dekker quickly found the most beautiful company in the room . . .

It was great to have one of "my" friends at the party, a friend I knew before meeting Dave. It is great to meet Dave's Melbourne friends, and they are all very friendly, but I don't know any of them well yet.

We had a small bonfire, which stayed alive for a long time considering the fact that we had little to put on it! We enjoyed sitting around the fire.

To finish up the evening, we opened presents with some of our guests. Present opening is ever so much more fun when there are people to share it with! We had different guests arriving at different times throughout the evening, and we appreciated the fact that so many came to celebrate with us.


Fun in Melbourne

On my first night in Melbourne, our friends Christina, Margaret and Peirce stayed at Dave's. It was fun to talk and laugh with them again! We appreciated the opportunity to get to know Peirce better as he is from the USA and we had only met him once before. Christina and I are going to be bridesmaids at each others' weddings.

On Sunday Dave and I went into the city center (at least 1 hour's drive from Dave's home). We enjoyed the parks, the river, and the Art Gallery.

We were also able to visit our friend John Dekker's church in the evening. We especially enjoyed the singing.


Dave's home

I enjoyed spending several days at Dave's home last weekend. It looks very run down on the outside, but it is quite cosy within! Dave has enjoyed renting this property because of its beautiful rural location. It also has very low rent, which is a bonus!

We spent some lovely time on the front porch, reading Lord of the Rings and discussing everything financial from how many toys children should be given to whether or not to take out a loan for a home and how much debt for a home would be too much. We really want to always maintain a grateful attitude for what God has given, rather than overcommiting outselves and then feeling stretched and complaining that we "can't afford" things.

I was blessed to stay with a friend of Dave's a few minutes drive away. She was an example of hospitality. When I arrived, there were lots of chocolates on the towel near my bed, as well as hand cream, soap and shower gel. This was a lovely surprise! She also took the trouble to find out that I liked fruit, and bought me some even though she doesn't like it. I love it when I stay at people's houses and gain more tips for hospitality through observing their actions!

I hope to post more pictures of my time in Melbourne soon.



My friend Shiloh asked what haystacks were in the context of food, since I listed them as part of Week 2 of my sample menu plan. Haystacks are corn chips with different toppings on them. Usually, many bowls are set up along a counter. The first bowl will contain corn chips. The second will contain beans or mince with tomato, which is one of the main things to put on the haystack. There is usually also shredded lettuce, chopped fresh tomato, perhaps some beetroot, olives, grated carrot, spring onion, or whatever else takes your fancy! To finish off, you put cheese on the top. I have never actually made this, but I've had it several times at other people's houses, and it looks easy enough. It seems like an easy thing to have when guests come over.


A new creation

One of the most amazing parts of the Christian faith is that those who are saved are “born again” or made “new creations” in Jesus Christ. I have recently been studying this through the book The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace and also through The Excellent Wife Study Guide. I hope to write more about these in another post, as I highly recommend them. One of the studies is about putting off old ways and putting on the new man (or in this case, woman).

As Christians, our old selves were crucified with Christ. This means we are no longer trapped in wrongdoing. Sin no longer has dominion over us. (See Romans 6:6,7, 14). We do not have to sin. While before conversion we were trapped in sin, now we can be free! We are to put off the old man, and put on the new man (Ephesians 4: 22, 24).

I find it an incredible blessing to think about the way God has re-created me. I was once captive to all kinds of characteristics of the old man: selfish anger, corrupt words, lying, fellowship with unfruitful deeds of darkness, filthiness, stealing, coarse joking, drunkenness, lust, malice, strife, filthy language, blasphemy and revelry (see Ephesians 4 & 5, Romans 13:12-14 and Colossians 3 for the Biblical references to these traits).

I have been completely set free from many of these, such as drunkenness. Some traits surface very occasionally, such as filthy language. Other traits of the old man, such as anxiety, are a continual struggle. While there is a moment at which I was born again, and my heart was changed from rebelling against God to loving and following him, putting off the old and putting on the new is a continual process.

The Excellent Wife book and study guide encourage readers to choose each day to put on what is good and put off what is not. For example, instead of being anxious we are to pray and give thanks (Philippians 4:6). Giving thanks is also the antidote to filthiness, foolish talking and coarse joking (Ephesians 5:4). It is wonderful that God doesn’t just tell us what to give up, he tells us what to embrace.

As I consider my “old man”, I am amazed at God’s grace to me in preparing me to be where I am now. God has brought both Dave and I in to his family, and enabled us to base our relationship upon him. As the “old man” it is doubtful that I would have wanted to marry. I was quite hostile to the idea. Now, due to the work of Christ’s death and resurrection, Dave and I are able to make this step. God's miraculous work in our lives to bring us to this point is a reminder to us that he will continue to work in our lives to help us and to glorify himself. It is a reminder that we can trust him.


Ready to have a baby?

I once read an editorial in a scrapbooking magazine where a childless woman shared her sister's advice to her about having children. Her sister told her: "Wait until you are really, really ready. I thought I was ready and they turned my world upside down".

My thought after reading this was that I wondered if her sister thought that if she'd been really, really ready the children wouldn't have turned her world upside down. I don't know how anyone can be ready to have children if that is her definition! Children will always change your life.

Often, the things people think make you "ready" probably actually make you the opposite. For example, people think it is important to do things you really want to do - perhaps travel the world, develop an enjoyable career, or decorate the house just the way you like.

Living for yourself, and making sure you do everything you want to do, is no way to prepare for 24 hours a day of serving tiny, demanding human beings.

I often hear Christians saying things like "she wasn't ready to have a baby", or "I'm not ready to have a baby" and I wonder what constitutes readiness to them. I wonder if they have unconsciously and unquestioningly taken on worldly ideas about having children, which don't even necessarily make sense.

How would one discern readiness? Perhaps you would wake up one morning with a sudden overwhelming desire to have a baby. If this is all there is to it, you'd better hope your husband or wife feels the same thing at the same time! Or perhaps having the house and job in perfect order would qualify. A fabulous relationship with your husband or wife? A sense of inner peace . . .

Personally, I think we'd be best to give up the idea of "readiness". God tells us it is good to prepare to do a good job of raising the next generation. A starting point for doing this well is to be married before having children, of course! Thinking about how to marry someone who will be a good parent is also very helpful. After marriage, being ready to raise children only depends upon one main thing: a willingness and desire to do God's will in training children to serve and glorify him. As usual, God's ways are simpler than the world's.

We don't need to buy a house, have a perfectly new car, have travelled Europe, or wait for a sudden rush of maternal or fatherly hormones. We just need to trust God that children really are blessings, and that he will provide all we need physically, economically, spiritually and emotionally in order to do a good job of raising them. Phew, that means all of us can be qualified! It simply requires a choice to believe God!


Meal plan

After I posted Week 1 of a potential menu plan in this post, Dave seemed a little concerned that I was going to have him making sausages and mash every Saturday night for the rest of his life. In case anyone else was labouring under that mistaken idea, here is Week 2 of a sample menu plan! Again, I'd love to hear from anyone who has any tips to give me! I've been asking ladies at church, and I am grateful to have learnt quite a bit about freezing food. I can imagine that freezing food could be very handy when there are only two of you and every recipe serves 4! It would be great to have a variety of things in the freezer for difficult days. If any of my readers have tips on freezing food, I'd love to hear about them!

Week 2

Sunday lunch: Potato and bean pies, Fruit salad

Sunday dinner: Pumpkin soup and corn bread

Monday: Rice with chicken and vegetables

Tuesday: Chicken wraps and potato salad

Wednesday: Macaroni and cheese, Baked pumpkin

Thursday: Potatoes with sour cream topping

Friday: Haystacks, Chocolate pudding

Saturday: Risotto - Dave


The ring

I realised that I haven't posted a picture of "the ring" on my blog, so here is one . . .

Dave gave me the ring on a log in a forrest, amongst some of the tallest eucalypts in the world.

I was reminded to post this picture because one of my blog readers wrote a poem for Dave and I for our engagement. Here it is:

A Prayer For Your Engagement

May the brilliance of the diamond
You wear on your hand
Forever captivate you
As together you stand
Delighting in each other
And pledging to be true,
Dreaming of the day
That one life is made of two.
May this ring remind you
It’s your own love’s special token,
Declaring your love so strongly
No words need be spoken.
May its many beautiful facets
Be a delight to behold,
And may time just like the diamond,
Help you both unfold
The many beautiful facets
That make up your beloved’s life
As you prayerfully plan this journey
Of becoming man and wife.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Thanks, Glenys, for taking the time to write us this sweet message!



I have heard a couple of reports that my reference to succotash in a recent post was mystifying to readers! I have written about succotash on my blog once before, in my post about the first time Dave came to lunch at my house: lunch with friends.

Succotash is an original Native American dish.

Here is the recipe:

250g (8 oz) prepared pumpkin flesh

50g (2 oz) butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

Half a red pepper (otherwise called capsicum), finely chopped

100g (4 oz) dried beans, soaked and pre-cooked - I usually use a can of beans instead of dried beans, but if this is done they must be added at the end or they will go mushy. The recipe recommends white skinned beans for their colour.

250g (8 oz) sweetcorn - I use canned corn.

salt & pepper

Cut the pumpkin in to walnut-sized chunks. In a saucepan, melt the butter and fry the onion and pepper until the onion is translucent. Add the pumpkin, beans, sweetcorn and water, bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Season and simmer a further 5 minutes. (If using canned beans, add them in the last five minutes rather than at the beginning).

I gained the recipe from Pumpkins and Squashes by Janet Macdonald.


Getting Serious About Getting Married: Part 2

Last week I posted part one of my review of Getting Serious About Getting Married. This is part two.

After exploring the biblical and historical teaching about marriage, and the lack of male leadership in our society, Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness tackles some frequent statements about singleness in the church today. Debbie attempts to demolish false arguments. Overall, I appreciated Debbie’s stand against common Christian arguments for singleness. She argues that God has created us with a desire for marriage because it is his will for us. This is why it is misguided to instruct singles to just “focus on God” or throw themselves into ministry, work, friendships or hobbies. God did not create these things to make up for the lack of a spouse. In the Garden of Eden, Adam had a wonderful work situation and intimate communion with God. It is impossible to think of a more perfect situation. Yet it was still not good for him to be alone. Why would God cause human beings to be entirely satisfied without a relationship he intended for them to have?

While it is good to be content with a less than ideal circumstance, singleness, it is not good to pretend that this circumstance is ideal. For those who do not have a gift of celibacy, it is not ideal. Paul was content whether well fed or hungry, imprisoned or free, but he was not required to say that he thought these situations were equally pleasant. Currently in the church, it seems to be expected that singles should pretend their situation is great. This is often conveyed through presenting all the negatives of marriage. Singles are encouraged to be content because marriage is apparently so much worse than they imagine. Such teaching distorts God’s portrayal of marriage. Debbie Maken presents the many benefits of marriage in an attempt to restore readers to God’s perspective.

A negative portrayal of marriage, and the encouragement to ignore or delay a desire to be married, may have another unintended effect. Debbie argues that one reason sexual immorality is rife amongst Christian young people is that they do not have a clear hope of marriage. She writes: “there was a time when children were raised so that their emotional and physical development coincided. As their sexuality began to develop, marriage was just around the corner” (p. 129). Now, with protracted singleness the norm, young people find themselves dealing with desires that have little hope of timely outlet. To wait for what is good, young people must have hope. This hope is reduced when marriage is portrayed negatively or unduly delayed. Abstinence education will only be successful when young people are encouraged to pursue marriage, not indefinite singleness.

Part 3 is coming soon.



Today is the first day for months where I have not had any study to do! I handed in the last of 20 assignments for this trimester yesterday. I can actually have a look at some of my unfinished projects, including last year's scrapbook.

I can also get more excited, instead of stressed, about planning for my wedding and marriage. There are bridesmaids dresses to organise, invitations to write, and churches to see.

While I've been studying, I've also been procrastinating through creating things like meal plans for my future married life. I don't want to be scrambling around at 5 or 6pm every day trying to find something for us to eat! The usual results of that in my life currently are baked beans on toast. That could get a bit tiresome after a while.

I am thinking of having a rotating three weekly meal plan. Below I have posted one week that I've come up with - subject to change without notice! I also think that perhaps I will slot Dave into at least one more night of cooking duty, depending upon what our schedules are. After all, he has developed all these culinary talents after years of singleness and I wouldn't want to see them go to waste :).

Meal Plan Week 1
Sunday lunch: Spinach pies, Apple crumble
Sunday dinner: Bean soup and bread
Monday: Jacket potatoes with mushroom & feta
Tuesday: Succotash
Wednesday: Chicken skewers with green salad
Thursday: Quiche, Pea and Celery medley
Friday: Pizza and green salad, Coconut impossible pie
Saturday Sausages and mashed potatoes - Dave

I would appreciate any meal planning tips or ideas for easy meals that anyone has.


Anonymous comments

I have recently had a couple more anonymous comments about contraception. I will not be publishing these for several reasons. The first is that I don't feel like engaging in debate with people on personal topics if those people will not do me the courtesy of even telling me their names. The second is that these comments were posted on my propsal and engagement posts, which (as far as I can tell!) have nothing to do with contraception. If you want me to engage with you on this topic, you are going to have to demonstrate some kindness and grace through commenting on appropriate posts. Alternatively, you could email me.


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