What do you do?

I was asked this question by a “working” woman and I didn’t answer.  I knew she didn’t have time.

But I’m going to give it a try, as it’s early still, and by day’s end I’ll have done so much I won’t recall it all.

I awoke around 6:00, thinking of yesterday’s blessings and thinking of God.  I “slept in” until 6:20, which is 7:20 in Texas.  After a quick face wash teeth brushing, it was time to pull on my warm robe and to call my daughter, who was on her way to class at Kenneth Copeland Bible College, and to thank her for sending to me some of her class notes on prayer, as well as a lovely scripture.

She was, as always, happy to hear my voice.  I shared devotionals with her, and talked about revelations from the day before, what was on her agenda, and then prayed with her before she left her car and started her classes.

It was then time for my early morning “encouragement cuddle” with John, which he seems to think is necessary to give him strength to get out of the warm and cozy covers.  Next came the fun job of picking warm clothes for this bright and chilly Rocky Mountain day – black jeans and thick black socks with a black, pink, and blue plaid Betsy Johnson flannel shirt (nice and long and flattering).

This accomplished I returned to my Quiet Time with God, listening first to Joel Osteen’s timely words which were direct answers to questions I had about a few of my endeavors, including writing.

I went from Joel to Audrey Mack, whose thoughts about the joining of the Spirit and the Word gave me more prayer fodder.  And somewhere in there the complicated became simple, and I knew exactly how to solve a writing problem that had been vexing me for some time.

Wow, wow, wow.  I didn’t waste time.  I wrote.  An entire chapter.

I then awoke Seth with a coffee promise, put the heavy whipping cream into a warmed Mary Engelbreit cream jug, heated cups and put on the percolator.  Such a joy, the soon gurgling coffee rising up and showing off through the glass atop the percolator.

John had already told me he didn’t want breakfast (we ate late last night), so I talked food talk with Seth as we satisfied our tummies with very creamy coffee.  We also covered a bit of history – things like the amazing tonnage of steel the US produced in peacetime Depression years, when various automakers went from steel to aluminum, then “after-market” work on less than stellar truck engines, and finally, comparisons of 20th-century world dictators.

Next we went through the fridge freezer and found nothing for lasagne, which Seth thinks is the thing for dinner tonight.  He took off to my writing cabin, where there’s a freezer full of meat (he is very fond of coming home with sausages, bacon, deer, and various other treasures).

Somewhere in all this I wrote a letter to our son, Benjamin, who is overseas in the Military, and tucked it into a card.  John found a lovely verse to add (Psalm 139:9-10 NIV) and Seth added a couple of words as well.

We will make a special trip to the post office soon to mail this along with a letter to a loved one in prison, and I’m about to write a short letter to Rebekah, as well.  Don’t we all love to get real mail?

Sending real mail is one of the lost arts of this age of “working” women, but I am determined to do my part to keep it alive.  That’s what homemaking is about, keeping the worthwhile alive.  That’s what home is:  Life.

“What do you do?” she asked, truly curious about how I spend my time.

So far this morning I have also washed the sheets and a white blanket, and put in a load of jeans and dark T-shirts.  I have resisted the urge to fold the whites done last night, as there are major things I want to get to today, and I can fold the whites later, perhaps when my daughter Jane calls me back (I called her as well this morning, but she was at work early and couldn’t talk).

Back to the utility room:  Ignoring the whites, I filled a pot with hot water, vinegar, and a little bit of Dawn, because I’m about to scrub the trim and railing in the stairwell, as it is high time it was painted to match the trim at the top and at the bottom of the stairs.

My first plan for today was to deal with apples.  I have a big box completely full (given to me yesterday at church) that I plan to turn into apple sauce, pie fixins, etc., but that will wait until afternoon.  The stairs must be done first, while the motivation to scrub is living (which is why I must stop blogging – I have already written a blog post this morning about homeschooling!).

I am no doubt leaving things out – like the skimming of a magazine, straightening the living room, sweeping under the table, and in the foyer, checking mousetraps, the underlining of a favorite verse in The Passion Bible, with a mental note to share it with Hannah, the daughter who gave me this Bible for Christmas last year.

I hear the truck – Seth has returned.  It’s time to do something.

Praise the Lord, first of all, for the endlessly rewarding, challenging, and beautiful gift of Home.

Blessings all over you, Dear Reader!

Bev

Courtesy Begins at Home

heart-in-gate” . . . 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

Just a Little Spanking for You, Mommy, Should You Choose to Accept it

For kinder, gentler parenting advice and admonitions, go directly to the end of this post and read about Sally Clarkson’s book, The Mission of Motherhood.

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Counting to three.  Counting to three loudly.  Counting to three with threats (or rather, promises about to be broken). Is there anything sadder, sillier, more tiresome, or less effectual than a counting mommy?  I think not.

I ask myself, “Why?”  I ponder the questions, “Why can’t they see it doesn’t work?” and “Who is responsible for this parental drivel?”

Hell.  Hell holds the reason, the source, the blindness, and the responsibility.  Worst of all, the outcome is Hell–the Hell on earth of frustrated and angry parents living with bratty kids, and frustrated and angry kids living with witless parenting.

And books from Hell, written I surmise by:  men, or women who have nannies, or perhaps women who have never had a child, and yet, unbelievably, think they have the tiniest clue what they’re talking about.

What are the clues for me, the reader, that such authors have no clue?  A listing of some of the most glaring offenders begins with “The Fairness Doctrine,” reminding me that yes, there is something more tiresome than counting.  It’s grown-ups (well, in age at least) whining, “It’s not fair,” and teaching their children that fairness is their birthright, that everything and everyone should bend over backward to make sure they get their “fair” share.

Perversely, Fairness advocates, having taught their children greed, and disrespect, will insist they share and even give away favorite treasures to the neighbor’s even greedier get, or a whiny sibling. The child with the strongest will and weakest mother will win (and lose) in such encounters.

Fairness Doctrine devotees are also often proponents of “reasoning” with their little geniuses, and vehemently opposed to spanking.  I can hear it now, echoed by more than one lily-livered mommy, “Spanking is violence,” she says with pious horror and superiority.  “We don’t hit,” she adds in that valley girl affectation which makes real women squirm.  And yet, these children are often violent–screaming at and hitting their parents and siblings, without the slightest beginnings of the self-discipline necessary for life.  I submit to you where there is no natural order (that would be parents, rather than children, in charge) the most tyrannical and least qualified will rule.  Yes, there are households where two-year-olds reign.  Could anything be more ridiculous?

Yes.  We progress!  There is yet a further level of ridiculousness in today’s anti-logic parenting mantras.  They don’t spank, but they whine, wheedle, gripe, groan, endlessly and mindlessly repeat themselves, raise their voices, scream, and even cry.  “You made Mommy cry,” she blubbers.  PA-THET-IC!  Very probably she isn’t smart enough to spank.  Indeed, if she thinks spanking is violence, if that is what it is when she does it, perhaps she’s at least right in this one thing–she should not spank.

“Boys will be boys,” she smirks.  And criminals will be criminals, Mommy Idiotica.  Anything, it seems, is preferable to training your son that the world wasn’t expressly created for his amusement and debasement.

 “Safety first!” she mimes to justify keeping her listless, pasty-faced children indoors just because it’s nippy outside, as though it is actually good parenting (or even doable) to protect kids from any and all possibility of physical harm, even as she parks them in front of the TV at every opportunity, paying little or no attention to the mind-numbing and soul-bending messages bombarding their malleable psyches.

“Oh, kids are tough,” she explains as though she actually believes this lie, and also believes she possesses the wisdom of the ages.  Kids are humans, and therefore complex and beautifully fragile and sensitive beings, affected for good or bad by every single moment of their lives, and even more so, by every thought, word and deed of their parents.

These are a few of my (non) favorite things, and I have the credentials to talk about them–I have successfully raised world-changing (as opposed to weak, whiny, selfish, indecisive, crowd-following, world-destroying) children, and I have loved (almost) every minute of it.

P.S.  Villages are nice addendums, perhaps, but they cannot make up for ignorant, lazy, and irresponsible parenting.  Effective parenting is very hard work, so just accept that and get on with it. Prepare yourself for the long, long, long haul of teaching, re-teaching, training, praying, searching, paying attention, reading that same book over and over and over, praying, reading the Words of Jesus, and did I mention praying?  You don’t get overs on this, so live in the now–you have NOTHING more important to do than getting to know your child’s heart. Know that this parent/child training is ongoing and rigorous, and will stretch and grow you like nothing else on earth. Know also that the rewards are beyond compare and comprehension.  They are, as my daughter Hannah used to finish each night as we said her prayers, “peace and love and joy!”

P.P.S.  Should I write a book, entitled perhaps, “No One Loves a Brat, Be She Mother or Child”???  Speaking of books, the very best book on parenting I’ve ever read was by a woman raising world-changing children:  Sally Clarkson, bringer of great light via her masterpiece, The Mission of Motherhood