ASK ALYSA

For some reason, I attract people who have questions. Some odd questions, opinion questions, serious questions… about religion, books, movies, politics, parenting, marriage, and so many other topics. I enjoy answering questions. I enjoy researching various topics when I do not know the answers. Recently, a good friend suggested that I should write a book about all the advice that I give! While writing a published book is definitely a life goal and dream of mine, I know that it is not going to happen right now because I have so many other priorities at the moment. Still, I had a brilliant idea of answering questions on my blog!

I have no idea how my readers will respond to this idea… so I figure that as long as people send me questions, I will continue to answer them! Click “Submit Your Question” below to submit your question. If you have more than one question, please submit separate surveys for each question (feel free to submit as many as you would like)!

Disclaimer: If you send a question, there is no guarantee that I will answer it on my blog. I will choose questions that I know that I can answer well and I will post questions that I feel will be the most relevant to my readers. I may invite a guest writer to answer questions on occasion. Some questions may require research which may delay posting an answer. If I answer your question, I will only post your first name and first initial of last name. I will also send you an email with the blog link.

How To Be A Noble Woman

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:13-31 NIV

*****

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REMINDER: I am an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 14 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc. Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

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Character: Courage

66022_1_ftc_dpI attend Community Bible Study during the school year but I was missing the fellowship and in-depth study this summer. So, in an effort to meet some new neighbors and spend quality time with some friends, I started a summer Bible study in my home for a few ladies and myself. We are reading and discussing:

Character: Reclaiming Six Endangered Qualities, InterActions Series
By Bill Hybels / Zondervan

Yesterday, we met for the first time and discussed Session 1: Character. I thought that I would share each week what I have learned here on my blog. This study was written for men and women. However, I am facilitating this study for ladies so I will be using female terms.

The courage session focuses on courage in every day life versus the big once in a lifetime acts of heroism that we hear about in the media. The type of courage that it takes to be a wife, mother, and friend. The Bible passage for this session is:

1 Timothy 1:7-12 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”

The author uses Paul as a Biblical example. Through his trials, suffering, imprisonment, etc., Paul is someone who exhibited every day courage because of his faith in Jesus Christ. I want to point out here (even though it is not mentioned in the book we are reading), that it is a pet peeve of mine when Christians say “God will not give us more than we can handle.” This is not Biblically based at all. It is misconstrued with God not allowing us to be tempted beyond what we can handle and that there is always a way out of temptation. However, Paul is the example time and time again that a Christian can and will go through trials, suffering, pain, hardship… even to the point of death. Paul says in

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Through our hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us. God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him. And he can always use our testimonies to impact other people and draw them into His kingdom. It takes great every day courage to keep our faith as we go through hardship.

This session is divided into three sections: Spiritual Courage, Moral Courage, and Relational Courage.

Spiritual Courage:

The author points out that we often hear from non-believers that Christianity is for weak people, cowards, and is a crutch. He uses the example of non-believers who are confronted with their sin but who do not have the courage to admit their sins before a Holy God. They justify themselves by saying that they are a good person and the sins they have committed are just little mistakes. They falsely assume that God will allow all “good” people into heaven. He says that it takes much courage for someone to become a Christian, admit that they are a sinner, and follow Christ in a secular world.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [emphasis mine]

When speaking of a non-believer deciding to follow Christ or a Christian continuing to follow Christ in a secular world, YES, it does take great courage. However, I went a different direction with my thoughts on this. I AM weak but because of Christ, I am made strong in spite of my weakness. Without Christ, I am nothing and can do nothing of value. With Christ, I have the ability to do great things and stand strong in a fallen world.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Moral Courage:

The author gives several examples of areas where it might be easy to fall into temptation… even as a Christian. Income taxes, sexual purity, bending truth to avoid conflict, etc. How do we handle the temptation when it comes knocking at our door? How do we react after giving into temptation and being caught?

Christ calls us to have integrity and courage even when no one else cares or notices. We should have the courage to be truthful in all things, to have integrity behind closed doors, and to exhibit Christ to all people we encounter (in person or on the internet).

Relational Courage:

The author focuses on marriage and parenting but this also applies to friendships. It takes courage to be vulnerable in marriage and admit when things are not going well. Sometimes counseling, meeting with accountability partners, and/or sitting down to have a serious discussion are important to help repair a marriage. It takes courage to discipline children when they need correction and to train them in the way of Christ even if it is not popular to do so in our entitled, government knows what is best society.

Have you seen a marriage fall apart because of adultery, pornography, alcohol, abuse, or just plain selfishness? Many marriages end in divorce because one or both parties just give up and go their own way with out consideration of the effects their decisions have on their children and future.

On the flip side, have you seen marriages recover from any of the above circumstances? My marriage has recovered from extreme circumstances and I have witnessed other marriages recover as well. Almost always, the common denominator is Christ. When both spouses are willing to admit that they are wrong, when both spouses are willing to forgive each other the way Christ forgave us, when both spouses are willing to get the outside help needed, then there is a good chance that a marriage can recover from extreme brokenness. This takes courage because most often it is a long road to recovery. It takes courage to stand strong when society says to just take the “easy road” out.

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Overall, I have learned to be more aware of areas I can exhibit courage on a daily basis… even if it is not recognized by others. One of my group members said that sometimes it takes courage just to get out of bed in the morning! I want to be like Paul and show courage in the midst of trials and suffering but I also want to be able to show courage in all things even when everything is going well.

How can you show courage in your every day life this week?

Christian Book Distributors Affiliate

REMINDER: I am an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 13 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc.  Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

*****

Affiliate Link:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/home?event=AFF&p=1181662

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Thank you for your continued support!
*****

How does my site get credit for referring a customer to Christianbook.com?

“When a customer clicks to Christianbook.com via an affiliate link, the browsing session is activated. Each time that the customer clicks on the web site the session is reactivated. The Christianbook Group will track merchandise purchases that a customer makes during the browsing session so that we can credit your account appropriately.

The browsing session will remain active for four (4) hours after the last link is clicked on the Christianbook.com website. If the customer leaves the Christianbook.com website and returns within this four (4) hour period their browsing session will be reset and the customer will still be deemed a referral of Affiliate unless they returned through the links of another Affiliate, co- branded site or other source tracked by The Christianbook Group.

All items placed into the customer’s shopping cart during an active affiliate browsing session will be credited to Affiliate if items are purchased before the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date an item was placed in the shopping cart.

However, if they leave the site for more than 4 hours, do not click on the Christianbook.com site to reactivate the clock, do not order books placed within an active browsing session within their book bag and order within the 30 day limit or leave the site and place the order from another computer, then any order placed will not be credited to your account.”

Talking To My Daughter About Marriage & Sex

Earlier today, I saw a Jimmy Kimmel clip where they went to the streets to ask kids about gay marriage. A few of the kids clearly had no clue about traditional marriage, let alone gay marriage. Others obviously had been exposed to the concept before. It made me wonder how my daughter (age 8) would respond to similar questions. We really have not officially talked about what it means to be married, sex, homosexuality, etc. so I did not think that she would be able to answer the questions. Still, I was curious enough to find out.

First, I want to explain my background so that you understand my mindset as I went into the conversation…

I used to work as a nurse and for year I worked at an OBGYN office. I have never had a problem with using proper terminology when it comes to private body parts (and I will use proper terminology here in this post). During my time at the OBGYN office, I worked with teenagers who were sexually active and some who were pregnant. The youngest pregnant girl I saw during my time there was 12 years old.

My mom started talking to me about sex when I was 10 years old. My first exposure to public school sex education was 6th grade. I started my cycle at age 14 but most of my friends started between ages 11-13. I also understand that girls are going into puberty at younger ages these days.

I have already talked to both of my girls (now 8 & 6) about inappropriate touching since they were about 3 years old. I have already explained to them how a baby is born (without explaining sex) either through the vagina or by cutting the abdomen (cesarean section) in response to my sister having a baby last year.

I am a Christian and I believe the Biblical teachings about marriage and homosexuality. For a detailed description of my political and religious beliefs, please read my response to the SCOTUS ruling:

A Conservative Perspective

I started asking her basic questions like “What is marriage?” and “Why do we get married?” I was actually surprised at how little she could answer about traditional marriage in general. I wrongly assumed that she would at least have a basic understanding of it. So, I had to do some explaining. When I asked her, “Who made marriage?” she said, “God.” I explained that God intended marriage to be a picture of Jesus and the church. That it represents how Jesus loves us. We then talked about Genesis and how God created Adam and Eve so that they could make a family.

bible-verses-about-marriage

After we talked about traditional marriage, I asked her if she thought two men or two women could get married. She said, “No.” I asked her why and she said, “Well, they couldn’t have any babies. They would have to adopt a baby.” I told her that was true. I also told her that our country has made it legal (and   explained what legal means in a way she could understand) for two men or two women to get married. I explained that it was called “gay marriage” and explained that gay is the term used for two men and lesbian is the term used for two women. I also told her that it is both gay and lesbians are called homosexuals. She was stuck on the whole baby thing… I asked her if she knew how a baby was made (Here we go! Whether I like it or not she is growing up!)

So, without going into too much detail (I assume if you are reading this you already know how this works), I did a quick sex talk. We talked about how boys and girls are different (she already knew this but I wanted to start with that basic knowledge). I explained how God made a man and woman to fit together and how that leads to making a baby. I explained why 2 men or 2 women cannot fit together for that purpose.

I also reiterated the fact that it is not ok for other people to touch her in her private areas because they belong to us and should be saved for the man she marries someday. We talked about God’s plan is for a man and woman to only have sex after they get married. We talked about how it is a sin to have sex before marriage and that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin also.

Then, I asked her how we should treat people who think differently than we do or who live a lifestyle such as homosexuality. She was quiet so I asked her how Jesus would treat them. I could tell that she was thinking but she did not want to say the wrong answer so she stayed quiet. So I told her that Jesus would love them just like He loves us when we sin. We talked about some of the sins that her and I struggle with and reminded her that Jesus loves us and forgives us when we sin so we should do the same for others.

To finish the conversation, I told her that she should not talk about our conversation with her sister (because she is too young) or other kids (because it is their parent’s responsibility) but that she can come to me any time she wants to talk about anything related to our conversation. She asked if she could talk to daddy too. Laughing, I said, “Yes! But he will probably just tell you to come talk to me!”

image_thumb[2]

In conclusion, I think that the conversation went well. I think that she was old enough to handle the basic conversation. We have not even started talking about puberty, menstruation, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. so there are many more conversations to be had in the future. I feel that it is important for me to have these talks with her (and in the future my other daughter) before they are necessary. By the time they are necessary, she will know that she can feel comfortable talking to me about these things when questions arise.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

What ages do you start talking to your kids about sex?

Feel free to voice your opinions and engage in respectful debate in the comments. However, any comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language, etc. will be deleted.

Love Without Limits- Free Book Giveaway!

UPDATE:

CONGRATULATIONS TO EMMA

WINNER OF THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

PLEASE E-MAIL ME WITH YOUR MAILING ADDRESS WITHIN 5 DAYS AT:

hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com

*****

RESULTS FROM RANDOM.ORG:

There were 2 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. Emma
2. Shannon

Timestamp: 2015-01-27 19:00:41 UTC

*****

This book by: Nick Vujicic with Kanae Vujicic is labeled as “A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All.” Many people are already familiar with Nick Vujicic’s testimony of being born without limbs. He is an inspirational and motivational speaker and is not shy about sharing his life story and how God has used him. This book shares the story of how he met his wife Kanae, about the birth of their son Kiyoshi, and the ups and downs that they have faced managing life in the public’s eye. It shares Nick and Kanae’s personal perspective, insight, and advice on a number of topics. They focus on how Christ has influenced their dating, marriage, and family life.

Although I knew about Nick Vujicic’s story from news articles and you-tube videos, I have not read any of his other books. He did a good job of sharing parts of his testimony, before meeting Kanae, that I assume were written in previous books. There were still times that I felt like I didn’t know the full story. This book is absolutely a stand alone book, I just found myself interested in knowing more about his life before meeting his wife. Both Nick and Kanae write throughout the book and the transitions from one person to the other are clear. The authors write as if they are speaking directly to the reader which makes you feel like you are having a conversation with them. I felt that this book was geared toward singles or newly married couples. I do not feel like I gained any new information or applicable advice for my personal life since I have already lived the dating life, have been married for almost 13 years, and have 2 elementary age children (as well as 2 teenaged foreign exchange students). Still their story was an interesting read and definitely inspirational. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a real life love story that has overcome the odds.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that WaterBrook Press provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. 

426178_1_ftc

Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Love Without Limits: A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All

By Nick & Kanae Vujicic / WaterBrook Press

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 *****

FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY

To be entered in the giveaway:

1. Post a link to my blog to your blog, facebook, etc.  

This post:  https://alysasawyer.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/love-without-limits-free-book-giveaway/

or Home Page:  https://alysasawyer.wordpress.com

2. Comment on this blog post to let me know 1. where you posted my blog link! 2. Why you want to win this book! (Only one comment per person please.)

3. Entries will be accepted until midnight Sunday, January 25, 2015. I will insert all entries into http://www.random.org and whoever randomly gets the #1 spot will win the book!

4. On Monday, January 26, 2015 the top of this post will be updated with the announcement of the winner.

5. Winner must e-mail me with mailing address within 5 days of announcement otherwise the book will be sent to a new winner. hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Remember this is a free giveaway at my expense, therefore, Heart Treasures Blog is not responsible for loss or damage of the giveaway item(s). Giveaway open only to residents of the United States (unless you have a US Military address such as APO, FPO, etc. -OR- I know you personally.)

Christian Book Distributors Affiliate!

ANNOUNCEMENT:

I am now an affiliate with Christian Book Distributors! Anytime someone clicks on any of my affiliate links and purchases from CBD, I get credit for their purchase! This is a great benefit for me because it will help compensate me for my time when I do book reviews for the 4 publishers that I review for! CBD has been my go to website for the past 12 years when I want to purchase Christian books, resources, gifts, music, etc. for great prices!

I have consistently posted links to CBD whenever I do book reviews or mention books, music, movies, etc. I am currently in the process of replacing all of the old links with new ones attached to my affiliate information. Along with the direct links to the books and other products that I mention, I will also be placing a CBD graphic for you to click on which will send you to the CBD home page.

*****

Affiliate Link:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/home?event=AFF&p=1181662

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Thank you for your continued support!

*****

How does my site get credit for referring a customer to Christianbook.com?

“When a customer clicks to Christianbook.com via an affiliate link, the browsing session is activated. Each time that the customer clicks on the web site the session is reactivated. The Christianbook Group will track merchandise purchases that a customer makes during the browsing session so that we can credit your account appropriately.

The browsing session will remain active for four (4) hours after the last link is clicked on the Christianbook.com website. If the customer leaves the Christianbook.com website and returns within this four (4) hour period their browsing session will be reset and the customer will still be deemed a referral of Affiliate unless they returned through the links of another Affiliate, co- branded site or other source tracked by The Christianbook Group.

All items placed into the customer’s shopping cart during an active affiliate browsing session will be credited to Affiliate if items are purchased before the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date an item was placed in the shopping cart.

However, if they leave the site for more than 4 hours, do not click on the Christianbook.com site to reactivate the clock, do not order books placed within an active browsing session within their book bag and order within the 30 day limit or leave the site and place the order from another computer, then any order placed will not be credited to your account.”