It’s so great when a plan comes together. When I awoke this morning/last night? at 1:45 a.m. I didn’t know what today’s show was about. But just a bit of prayer (and because I went to bed after John prayed with me about it) I knew! Perseverance and patience.
And everything I listened to, read, and experienced told me I was right on track – Dave Ramsey in Entreleaders, Sheila Walsh’s joy infusions (Rebekah will be sharing from that on the show today), The Home School Mom’s Devotional Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe, two sermons I caught in the middle of the night, and just the beautiful, wonderful Word of God – patience, perseverance, power. They go together, so let’s get together on the show today and celebrate!
Also, I have a special giveaway today – a book by a famous movie star/homeschooling couple, who are also the stars of “Let There Be Light”!
I picked up Alice Hoffman’s The Third Angel because it was recommended in Fearless Writing.
I have a like/dislike relationship with this book, but I’m keeping on with it because it keeps redeeming itself, keeps pulling me along with unexpected delights.
I am not delighted with a woman who is marrying a man she knows to be selfish and flawed, but I am carried away with the answer to her own question: How do you love such a person? You just do it.
I am delighted when a book reminds me of the truths in my own life, how love is an act, a sacrifice, a looking like God. Love is God and I am becoming more transformed into His image when I “just do it.”
Like the character in The Third Angel, I find myself unmoved by the flaws in those I love, even blind to them, when I get on that love train and we both start going places. Life becomes an adventure of raw discovery, flaws become idiosyncrasies, differences become intriguing – even delightful, and life is good.
There is language in The Third Angel. If not, the editors would probably say to the author, “This is London, you must have language, no one will believe it otherwise.” But if I write a book, the strongest language will begin with “sh” and end with “it” even if the plane is crashing.
Wait. No planes crashing in my book. I will, as they say, write what I know. Spaghetti sauce in a favorite antique bowl slipping out of my hand as I swipe it out of the fridge, breaking and splattering spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen. Living and moving and breathing spaghetti sauce. Everywhere. Little faces astounded at the crash and even more at Mommy saying that word.
But then I would forget about a broken bowl and a messy kitchen because there is a much larger issue: tender and bare feet. I would shoo them away and clean every last speck – not perhaps every last speck of spaghetti sauce, which I will be finding this time next year, but every single last speck of glass.
Because I know these feet are going to be with me forever. I know what is real and good, and that is the life of my children. Life.
I don’t know if Alice Hoffman knows life is good, if her book will end as a good book must, with a satisfactory and victorious ending (a love ending). I do know if I write a book, it will be filled top to bottom, end to end, and side to side with “Just do it” love.
P.S. Don’t miss The Homefront Show Fridays at 2:00 MTN. Go to 1360am.co and join the fun!
I wrote a poem for my own therapy this morning after thinking over a women’s meeting I attended earlier this week. The group leader suggested that Mother’s Day is not a happy day for most women. She said something to this effect: they either have a terrible mother, a mother who recently passed away, aren’t a mother and want to be, are estranged from their children, have children far away they miss terribly, were a mother and blew it, etc.
I felt, sitting there among women who appeared to agree with this, that I wouldn’t answer the question of the night entirely truthfully. The question was this: What annual holiday, event or occasion is your favorite?
There was some bah-humbugging, and answers such as, “Memorial Day because I don’t have to do a thing” (because someone else’s sacrifice made such a society and therefore such a day possible?); and “I don’t like Christmas, it’s too much work” (rejoicing and celebrating and giving and showing love and looking at lights and listening to beautiful music and thanking God for Jesus is work????); and of course there were positive answers as well, but no one mentioned Mother’s Day as their favorite..
And so, to the question of the evening I answered, “Christmas.” I wanted to say “Mother’s Day and Christmas and my birthday and my anniversary and violent thunderstorms rolling down the canyons and deep fog settling over the peaks. I wanted to say my favorite time is early morning when the sun shines on the rocks on the cliff behind my house, and Fall, and really October through December when we have birthdays and our anniversary, and Thanksgiving (Yay!!!) and then gift shopping and gift making, decorating, caroling, wearing red sweaters, getting the tree out of the woods and making a popcorn garland (last year was the first time we did this – so cool!), Christmas music and movies, driving through town to look at the lights, reading Christmas stories like The Night Before Christmas and looking at the art in The Legend of Holly Claus and anything by Jan Brett, packages in the mail, and on and on. Then comes the after-Christmas party, and my birthday and New Year’s and then the glorious quiet of January.
And the winter rest.
Then Spring hints and pushes at winter’s slackening hold with the first crocuses peeping through the snow. And robins venture out. Thank you, God, for Robin Redbreast.
And there’s this morning, when I said to John, “It’s truly springtime! The ground is absolutely saturated, and the redworms are crawling all over the drive, and the aspen leaves are growing by the minute and the dandelions are here!”
And my thoughts go to my children, hoping for springtime in their hearts, and I pray for one’s salvation, for one’s answering God’s call to preach, for one’s owning his own business and excelling therein. And for the one at Fort Benning, Georgia – as I write he’s nearing the end of a 12-hour ruck march – I pray for strength and protection for his spine, for a second (or third) wind, and most of all, that he will give God all the glory for His unmerited grace and favor.
This is the glory of motherhood – being used by God to fight for our children, God’s children, all children, and to never give up until the victory is won. And God is so marvelous as to bless the childless with spiritual children. Many are the children needing a surrogate mother, a spiritual mother. Whether we have natural children or not, whatever our mothering situation and status may be, we are women, and therefore uniquely qualified to nurture and to fight. And to win. In Him.
And so, even with great sorrow and a history of prayers for women regarding children – aborted, lost, wayward, rebellious, sick, sorrowing, never conceived – I nevertheless reserve the right to glory in this day, and in the hope of His calling.
LAST WEEK THE RAIN AND FOG AND THE CHILL CAME IN – AND THE BARELY GREEN ASPEN TREES WERE SHROUDED IN CLOUD. MY DAUGHTER REBEKAH RIGHTLY DISCERNED IT WAS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A TEA PARTY AND SOME GOOD CONVERSATION, WITH SOME LOVELY MUSIC. I HAD BEEN PLANNING TO DO SOME PAINT PREPPING, BUT IT WOULD KEEP.
WEDNESDAY MORNING WAS MUCH THE SAME AND WHEN I ASKED JOHN IF HE WAS STILL SURE HE WANTED A SMOOTHIE FOR BREAKFAST IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, HE WASN’T SO SURE.
SO HERE’S WHAT WENT DOWN:
I PUT SPROUTED AND BUTTERED BREAD IN THE OVEN ON LOW, AND THE SERVING BOWLS AS WELL – PUT COLD BOWLS INTO THE OVEN BEFORE TURNING IT ON, NOT AFTER IT’S HOT. (IF I HAD BEEN GOING TO SERVE FRIED EGGS, I WOULD HAVE ALSO HEATED THE PLATES – FOR FOUR PEOPLE I HEAT SIX PLATES, THEN I HAVE ONE EXTRA ON TOP AND ON BOTTOM, AND WRAP IN DISH TOWELS WHEN I TAKE THEM OUT AND THERE’S NO STRESS ABOUT THE HORROR COLD EGGS!).
THEN THERE’S ALSO A PLATE TO PUT THE EGGS ON AS THEY’RE FINISHED FRYING, WITH A LID OR COVERING OF SOME SORT TO KEEP THEM WARM UNTIL SERVING. WE CALL THESE EGGS “DIPPIES”, AS YOU HAVE DONE WHITES, BUT YOLKS NICELY RUNNY AND GOLDEN FOR DIPPING TOAST INTO! (I LEARNED TO CALL THEM “DIPPIES” FROM JANE BROCKET IN “THE GENTLE ART OF DOMESTICITY – EXCELLENT, JANE IS!)
I DUMPED HALF A JAR OF CHUNKY CINNAMON APPLESAUCE INTO A PAN AND ADDED WALNUTS AND RAISINS AND BEGAN HEATING. THE TEA KETTLE WAS FILLED AND HEATING AS REBEKAH SET THE TABLE WITH MILK IN A CREAM PITCHER, HONEY, ETC.
I HEATED THE TEAPOT WITH HOT WATER THEN EMPTIED IT AND SET IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STOVE ON THE WARMING ZONE, ADDED FOUR BAGS OF ROOIBOS TEA AND COVERED IT WITH A TEA COZY ( I WOULD MUCH PREFER A NICE ENGLISH BLACK TEA, ACTUALLY) – ALL READY FOR BREWING. ANOTHER THING I WOULD HAVE DONE IF IT WERE REALLY A COLD DAY IS USE STURDY THICK MUGS AND RUN HOT WATER INTO THEM FOR A BIT BEFORE SERVING TIME.
A PACKAGE OF THIN PORK CHOPS CAME OUT OF THE FREEZER AND WENT INTO A SKILLET WITH WATER TO BEGIN STEAMING APART AND COOKING (I COOKED THEM UNTIL THEY CARMELIZED AND MADE LOVELY BROWN GRAVY, OR AU JUS).
WE HAD LEFTOVER MASHED POTATOES SO I MADE THEM INTO BALLS AND PUT THEM IN THAT SAME SKILLET AFTER REMOVING THE PORK CHOPS INTO A SMALL SKILLET AND PUTTING ON A BACK BURNER ON LOW. ONCE THE POTATO BALLS WERE BROWN ON BOTH SIDES, I PLACED THE PAN ATOP THE PORK CHOP PAN AND PUT A LID ON TOP.
WHEN THINGS LOOKED TO BE NEARLY READY, I DUMPED LEFTOVER HOMEMADE SOURCREAM DIP AND A CUP OF LEFTOVER CHOPPED ONIONS AND SAUTEED THEM GENTLY IN A MIXTURE OF BUTTER AND OLIVE AND COCONUT OILS.
I WHIPPED UP SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH PEPPER AND SEA SALT, POURED THE STEAMING WATER INTO THE TEA POT.
NOTE: I HAVE A SAUCER READY TO DUMP THE TEA BAGS ONTO BEFORE SERVING, AND A SAUCER OR POT HOLDER TO PLACE THE TEA POT ONTO FOR TABLE PROTECTION (THIS IS ALSO A POSSIBLE ISSUE WITH HOT PLATES, IN WHICH CASE THE TABLE SETTER PUTS A NAPKIN OR A PLACEMAT AT EACH SETTING.
YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS COMPLICATED, BUT IT’S SIMPLY A MATTER OF DOING THINGS IN ORDER, AND GETTING INTO GOOD HABITS.
HAVING A LITTLE HELP IS NICE, TOO. IF YOU DON’T HAVE HELP, THOUGH, YOU JUST PREP AHEAD OF TIME AND THINK THINGS THROUGH. SET THE TABLE, FILL THE CREAM PITCHER, PUT THE HONEY AND STRAWBERRY JAM ON THE TABLE (NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN THAT JAM!), WHIP YOUR EGGS AHEAD OF TIME, AND THAW THAT MEAT AHEAD OF TIME!
WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IS READY OR JUST ABOUT, POUR THE EGGS IN TO SCRAMBLE AND WHEN THEY’RE NEARLY DONE RING THE BREAKFAST BELL (YES, I DO HAVE ONE!)
OH, AND IF YOUR LOVELY DAUGHTER PUT ON MUSIC FOR YOU, AS DID REBEKAH WITH COLD PLAY’S “SOMETHING LIKE THIS” BE SURE TO DANCE ABOUT AND SING A BIT. WHAT A GIFT TO YOUR FAMILY: A HOT, DELICOUS BREAKFAST WITH A DANCING, SINGING, SMILING MUM.
HMMM. MIGHT THIS BEAR PONDERING WITH REGARD TO MOTHER’S DAY, AND ALL MY FAMILY’S SO HOPING I LIKE THIER GIFTS, AND THAT MY DAY IS TRULY SPECIAL? COULD IT BE THAT I SHOULD SIMPLY FOCUS ON REJOICING IN GOD FOR MOTHER’S DAY AND ALL IT MEANS?
I AM INCAPABLE OF PUTTING WORDS TO WHAT’S IN MY HEART, BUT I ASK GOD DAILY TO CLEANSE IT FROM ALL SELFISHNESS, SO THAT IT MAY BE FULL OF PRAISE AND SONG. YES, THAT’S IT, OR AT LEAST A GLIMMER – I WANT MY FAMILY TO HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INKLING OF THEIR WORTH AND VALUE TO ME. AND I WANT THEM TO SEE ME SMILE. AND HEAR ME SING. AND DANCE WITH ME.
THIS MOTHER’S DAY DON’T LAMENT A SINGLE THING. JUST ENJOY, AND GIVE, AND RECEIVE!
My daughter Hannah was home yesterday, and she followed me around as I cleaned closets and drawers, chatting. What fun. What a joy to know she still likes to talk to me.
“How can I help, Mom?” she asked. I had forgotten to eat, and knew sustenance would be good, so I requested a bit of a tea party. We were soon sitting on the balcony, joined by Rebekah, and enjoying fruit, nuts and herbal tea. Better still, we were enjoying conversation.
When I said I had to be gone for a minute and would be right back (putting another load of laundry on) they said, “You’d better be.” How lovely to be wanted, popular, loved. And what better way to achieve this exalted state than by loving listening.
This morning I was all set to return to the balcony alone for breakfast and research, but I couldn’t get away from Seth’s conversation. I wanted to get on with my thing, but I remembered I don’t have anything on earth more important to do than to listen to my children.
“Follow me,” I told him, “and talk to me while I eat my breakfast.” He joined me and discussed a book he’d read as a child, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy. Marveling at what was expected and duly performed by kids back then, and discussing the differences in farming then and now, Seth was much more interesting, intriguing, and gratifying than anything I had on my precious agenda.
He left the balcony to be about his business and out popped Rebekah. “I’ve been praying and searching for answers about my writing and my time management, Mom, (haven’t we all?) and let me show you this.” She showed me passages from The Founder’s Bible about black American John Marrant, captive and then missionary to the Cherokees, and about his dealings with evangelist George Whitfield. In listening closely I marveled at how God was reaching Rebekah and how she was receiving from Him.
Conversation with kids. There’s very little kinder or more worthwhile that we can do with our time. I’ll never forget the day I was, as usual, regaling my dad with every detail of my day at school. “And then I go, and then she went, and then I went, and she goes . . . blah, blah, blah.” Nothing like the beautiful thoughts of my children this morning. And yet, my dad listened as though completely enthralled.
My older brother, who was waiting to go hunting with my dad, stood holding his deer rifle and tapping his foot. Finally he could take it no longer. “Did it ever occur to you,” he asked, “that Dad has anything better to do with his time than listen to you yak?”
I was horrified and embarrassed and suddenly acutely aware of the banality of my conversation. But before I could answer, Dad answered for me. “I don’t have a thing in the world more important to do than listen to Bev.”
Wow. No wonderI pray lots. No wonderI have every confidence God hears me. No wonderI have done this great and good thing for my own children. I converse with them, not at them. I listen to them.
And they talk to me. Glory Hallelujah!
P.S. The Proverbs 31 Woman “watches over the ways of her household.” How better to watch over the ways of our households, to know what’s really happening in the precious hearts with which we’re entrusted, than to converse, to listen.
Just as I predicted, with the election of Donald Trump, the American economy is exploding. And I believe that will mean fewer marriages ravaged by financial stress, more opportunities on all fronts, and most of all, I hope it means more moms will be able to be at home. Homemakers, homekeepers, hearthtenders.
I not only hope, I earnestly and diligently pray that we are about to, once again, become a society where people are nurtured in the most excellent place of all – home. And by the most blessed and privileged of all people – homemakers.
I wasn’t so privileged when I got the “education”, bought the Italian pumps and sported the chic haircut. I had a fancy office all my own and a degree – a piece of paper – to prove I was somebody.
But now I have “medals”. “You and John have medals,” a lady at church recently said to me after we stood together as a family before the congregation. The pastor had asked our oldest son to come forward for prayer, along with John and me, before leaving for officer training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Our other three joined us as well. The pastor prayed, John prayed, and I managed to pray through the tears of an utterly full heart.
There were other words spoken and joys shared and then those words from a lady I didn’t know. “You and John have medals.” She paused and I waited as she gazed at our children. “Your children are medals.”
Indeed. And we fought for them. We fought financial fears when I chucked that fancy job to stay home with Benjamin. “It’s an opportunity to trust,” I said to John when the doctor said if I didn’t abort Hannah I would not survive. Told I would miscarry Rebekah, again we donned the full armor of God and we fought. Recovering from the C-section that brought us Seth, I battled for my health and vitality, and John prayed me through those wearying days.
Attempting to hear God and not our own insecurities or preferences, or the opinions of others, we stood our ground when we decided to home school. John prayed as I sought self-discipline, self-control and patience.
Always, we suited up for battle with the Word of God in our mouths, saying what He said about our children, rather than what we wanted to spew out of our mouths. This child is impossibly strong-willed, stubborn, willful, and I am at my wit’s end with her! was the thought. The words were prayers and positive scriptural confessions: “This child is my great and glorious gift, fearfully and wonderfully made for God’s purposes and she will live in the light and bring blessings all the days of her life.”
And so on. Through the years I have made the most powerful and eternally profitable investment a woman ever has the privilege to make: I have raised my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have been a homemaker.
For John, the husband who supported my determination to do whatever it took to raise my children (for a time we took all four of them with us on our trim and tile jobs) I am grateful beyond all measure.
Because I raised my older children as a single mother, or rather they were raised by the daycare center and the public school system, I know the immeasurably high cost of a “real” job, of a society-sanctioned career. I know the ever-diminishing returns on that kind of investment – investment in the world’s ways.
“I simply can’t go through that again,” I said to John when we talked about my returning to work and finding childcare for Benjamin. It wasn’t just about my baby, it was about me, and my peace of mind. It was about that deepest of needs in my heart, the need to make a home for my family, to be a homemaker.
A homemaker who is also a homeschooler has it made in the shade, especially if she has a strong and good husband. Her life in no way resembles the stereotype of the harried and frantic chicken-with-her-head-cut-off mommy. Rather, if she seeks the impartation of wisdom freely given via simply asking the Holy Spirit and reading God’s Word each and every single morning, she grows ever more skillful in battle, ever more confident and in full receipt of her rewards. Her life is lived in rhythms of grace, rather than in sorrow and regret.
If I had it to do over in what I call my “first life” I would have cleaned houses and taken my babies with me, or lived in a tent by the river, or moved in with family. But I would not have sacrificed my children on the altar of career, I would not have bought the line that I “couldn’t afford” to do otherwise.
I would have said, “What I can’t afford is the breaking of the little hearts and spirits of my children by leaving them in the care of, at best, indifferent workers while I go and chase the almighty dollar.
I am eternally grateful for this second chance, but regarding my older children, there are no overs. I urge and exhort you, if you have young children being raised by others as your heart yearns for them, pray and believe God for the highest of callings and privileges, that He will make the way, that He will be the author and the finisher of your parenting, your marriage, your family. Your home.
Then say joyously to all who ask who you are and what you do: I AM A HOMEMAKER.
” . . . there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained as in the home. There are no hearts that hunger so for the expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love that so needs its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest. There is no place where rudeness or incivility is so unpardonable as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved.” – Rev. J. R. Miller, D.D. in Home-Making
Rude and disrespectful children were not taught at home the example of kindness and consideration. They were not shown by their parents the value of respecting the hearts of others.
From the time our kids were small we praised them for their kindnesses to others, and actively taught them how to bring light to the lives of others via small kindnesses. And it began at home.
“Your sister is a gift from God, one that you will always have. When you’re a very old man and have a sad day you will call her and tell her your troubles and she will pray for you and tell you she loves you,” we told the boys more than once.
“Some girls don’t have brothers,” I remember telling one of the girls. “Your brother will grow up to be a good, strong, kind man just like your dad, and he will always care about you and always help you and always love you.”
And so forth. And then, we would tell them to spend just a little time alone to pray (it’s never too early to teach a child to take their burdens to Jesus) and later they were required to give each other hugs and say, “I love you.”
To this day we have four kids who love each other and show it. They are kind and courteous almost all of the time. And if they slip up we are quick to check them. As I said to our oldest son not long ago, “You will never have a truer friend, you will never know a more quality person, than your brother. He’s a 17-year-old male right now, and if you’ll think back to when you were a 17-year-old male . . .”
He got the point: Courtesy begins at home.
“The tenderer the love and the truer, the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart.”– Rev. J. R. Miller, D.D. in Home-Making