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

What Homeschoolers Need Most is What We All Need Most

There are so many excellent resources for homeschooling parents, but how to choose?  So many opportunities, but which ones to forgo?  This is a big deal, and it must be done right!  Right?

Know your child via time with your child’s Maker.  You MUST pray for and receive the wisdom of God for each child.  Individually.  You have birthed an individual, unique in all the world, indeed, in all the history of the world.  One of your many excellent reasons for homeschooling is to train this child up into the fullness and wonder of that uniqueness.

So, get to know your child.  This, dear parent, is a lifelong process, and you are called to it.  As a parent, we partner with God to create and give and nurture life.  It is a lovely process of discovery, and today is the day to begin!

Seek God’s face and His grace.  Ask Him and He will answer.  My experience homeschooling taught me that He really likes to get involved in this marvelous escapade!  He wants you to know Him, and He wants to reveal the heart of your child unto you.  Blessed, so blessed are you.

What do we all need?  To know and to be known.  Give yourself and your child a gift so far beyond curriculum, field trips, and co-op activities.  Give yourself up to the wonderful journey of getting to know God, who will reveal to you yourself, and the heart of your child as well.

OK!  Yay!

Swiss Family Robinson, John and Rebekah Parker, and Pastor Mark Williams

What do the above listed books/folks have in common?  They’ll all be featured on the Homefront Show in less than two hours!!!   http://www.1360am.co is where you want to go at 2:00 PM Mountain Time today.  That’s 2:00 Friday, January 26.

John and I will discuss what makes a good book and using books for family unity, and Rebekah will share an almost unbelievable story of forgiveness which will put our petty grievances in perspective.

I have more treats, such as the bizarre behavior that coexists with a “not my fault” mentality, and Pastor Mark Williams talking about honor, and how giving honor honors the giver.

Lots of good, inspiring, uplifting words today, including words about the power of words both for building and for destruction.  So contact anyone who needs a lift today, and just say this:

2:00 PM Mountain Time, 1360am.co.

Thanks for being with us!

Bev

Proverbs 31 Truth or Consequences?

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We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

I used the C.O.D. (Child of the Day) plan as a truth vehicle in raising our kids, and even today, as I am creating yet another variation of it, I marvel at its inherent genius.

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Born of necessity when each of the kids chimed in during breakfast prayers, the C.O.D. has become my good buddy through the years.  As we (John and I) repeatedly picked up and put our forks back down to the tune of yet another prayer request, I decided we would simply take turns praying.

“Thank you, Father for this beautiful day and for each other and for this delicious food.  Please bless it to our bodies and protect us from anything harmful in it.  In Jesus Name we pray.  Amen.”

That was the beginning.  Then came, “And please help me find my hungry lizard,” which sparked another creature-in-distress thought in another little mind.  “And pweez help Grandpa’s cow that’s sick.”  Now Grandpa thoughts.  “And please, Jesus, help Grandpa remember to bring gum next time.”  Fork up, fork down.

“And Lord, please . . . .”

“OK, that’s enough.  Let’s eat.”

I quickly wrote up a COD list:  The Child of the Day gets to ride in the front, stay up 15 minutes late in bed with Mom and Dad, pick the readaloud story at bedtime, and have other privileges as determined by Mom and Dad issue by issue, day by day.

pen and paper

Benjamin would be the C.O.D on Monday, Hannah Tuesday, Rebekah Wednesday, and Seth Thursday.  Rarely has an idea garnered such immediate support and enthusiasm.  Not only were they all about the day for themselves, but they staunchly supported the rights of their siblings.  “It’s your day.  You get to choose.”

And what a blessing for me.  “Mom, can you sew my doll’s arm back on?” went from being another unneeded interruption, to something I enjoyed doing because I said, “Tomorrow is your day.  Bring her to me tomorrow and we’ll have a sewing lesson.”  Meanwhile I could round up the sewing box, determine if I had acceptably colored thread, and simply prepare myself to do that thing that wasn’t on my “want-to-do” list.

The C.O.D. concept would have been a success if it had never evolved, and if it had simply solved who was praying at mealtimes.  I was thinking recently when we had guests over and got ready to pray, how nice it was to hear the kids ask, “Whose day is it?”  The guests were blessed and it blesses me that my kids are absolutely unfazed about leading prayer in front of anyone and everyone.

“Whose day is it?”  The C.O.D. program would have been a success simply for the memory of Seth climbing into his high chair with a big grin as he asked, “Whose days is its to pway?”

Seth’s questions lately are about yet another change in the program, which is now less a program of daily privileges and more of a weekly responsibility list.  Thursday is still Seth’s day to pray, or to say, “Hey, Mom.  There’s one piece of pie left and it’s my day.  Can I have it?”  That’s an easy “yes”.  But other questions of late, such as, “Hey, Mom, I think with Hannah gone and Benjamin working for Dad and Rebekah doing Mary Kay all the time, maybe we could take another look here.”

He didn’t actually say those words, and being Seth, he never actually complained that more and more of the load was coming his way, with little appreciation or remuneration to show for it.  (Aside:  Beware of piling more on that child who doesn’t complain and who will do a good job, just because that’s the easy road.  Not good.  Not fair.  And the biggest losers are the kids who are being taught irresponsibility and laziness).

Because the Proverbs 31 Woman “watches over the ways of her household” I know changes need to be made.  I’ve made a few preliminary steps:  asking other kids to do extra, doing extra myself, getting John’s input.  But this morning as I was reading Laurie Beth Jones’ Jesus, Enrepreneur , I realized that this is a matter of, for starters, two things:  1) making a list; and 2) stewardship.

Laurie Jones says, regarding a confused young man, “Doesn’t he realize that how we handle small matters will determine how and if we handle great ones?”  Stewardship.

I realize as I’m pondering how well things C.O.D. have worked in times past, that it was at least in part because everything was clearly understood, discussed, explained, illustrated, and written out.  Time for a new and improved chore list.

Through the years we’ve gone from one day a week on dish duty, to a week on dish duty, to rotating per month, and then back to weekly stints.  The division of labor went as follows for several fairly harmonious years:  Dishes, Floors, Laundry, Miscellaneous.  Four kids, four categories, continually rotating, per a list on the fridge.

John has always been on board, especially if he sees something that will interfere with my peace, i.e. dirty dishes in the sink right before I’m about to start cooking.  “Who’s on dishes?” he’ll call on a Monday, when everything switches.  If there’s any confusion, we simply look at the list.  “Let’s see.  Benjamin was on dishes last week, so it’s Hannah.”

But then Benjamin went away to college and we consolidated things.  Then Hannah went away to Fort Collins and we came to two categories:  1) /Laundry and Floors; and 2) Dishes and Miscellaneous.

“Dishes” (or Kitchen) has always meant you do the dishes as soon as the meal is over, with each diner bringing their dishes to the sink.  Also included is occasional fridge cleaning, and a weekly checklist (which has somehow been misplaced) including clearing and wiping down all counters, the fridge, cabinet doors, baseboards and walls, and putting every single thing in its place, on the last day of the week (to be modified per interfering events).

“Miscellaneous” includes taking out the trash, building fires and bringing in firewood, running errands, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, straightening, and whatever else needs doing.

“Floors” means sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and once per week cleaning all baseboards.

It’s all pretty straightforward, and except for laundry, everyone seems to clearly understand.  Well, there is that one little thing which in the minds of all parties except myself, seems quite difficult.  And that one thing is this so very often repeated instruction:  Don’t take the trash out before you put a new trash sack in the can.  This is particularly important when I am cooking and you’re off to get on your coat and boots and traipse to the dumpster and leave me trashcan-less for a good ten minutes.  It’s the little things, it surely is.  But I don’t and won’t give up on this one.  Don’t leave me trashcan-less!

Back to laundry.  It’s my favorite job.  I won’t call it a chore because I simply love throwing nasty whites into a lovely machine, filling it with wonder ingredients, pushing buttons, and then walking away while its wonders are performed.  Now it’s time to throw bright and lovely-smelling whites into the dryer with a lavender sachet, and again, to walk away!

And then for the putting away.  I only do my and John’s laundry, and when I hear the beep I make every effort, especially now that it’s chilly weather, to get in there and snuggle my face into the towels and get them folded and put away while they’re still warm.  I would happily do all the laundry, time permitting, but time does not permit, and it’s important that everyone contributes.  People need to know they’re needed (those helping) and people need to know they’re appreciated (those being helped).

Kids, such as Seth, who are getting plenty of chances to help, need to know they’re appreciated, both by parents who see and take action, and by siblings who step up to the plate.

This is all truth.  If I don’t teach the truth- it’s important to know how to do basic life tasks; it’s important to do your part and then some; it’s important to live in a nice, clean, orderly home – then I’m teaching lies, and I’m leaving them to a life of unpleasant consequences.

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I have to get off here and make a new C.O.D. list.  Benjamin (Lt. Parker) is here for a very short while, as he changes from the Montana National Guard to the Kansas Guard and then deployment in March.  So, for that time, I must make changes.

Maybe I’ll combine Dishes with more cooking (I don’t need any cooking lessons and they do!); put Miscellaneous with Floors, and let Laundry stand alone.  We’ll have a family meeting tonight to discuss all these things.  I’ll make the most coveted and begged-for of cookies:  chocolate peanut butter no-bakes (make with heavy whipping cream and half-n-half and salt as well as vanilla and almond flavorings).  I’ll encourage input after I set out some reminder truths:  We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

 

It’s a New Day in the Good Ol’ USA

Today on the Home Front Show we’re gonna rant happy, give God glory, get in the face (gently) of those “Christian” conservatives who can only see the negative, who give what Satan’s up to way more facetime than the new mercies of God in this new day!

We’ll begin with Helen Keller’s assertion that, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing,” then discuss the adventure of home schooling, and end with John Parker’s thoughts on the adventure of turning what Satan intends for evil to good via instantaneous, weapons-grade forgiveness. 

And of course, much more, like the Domestic Bliss of becoming a Fermentista, and the Three P’s of Power, and a really tough Challenge of the Week for us all.

Make a plan and call a friend – and be blessed. 

Go to:  1360am.co and click on “Live Radio”

2:00 PM Mountain Time, Friday, May 19!

 

Dominion with Charm and Grace

radio

First:  Tune in tomorrow, Friday, April 28 at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time to:

1360am.co

Next:  Wait for the page to load.

Finally:  Click on the “Live Radio” button

and, voila!  You are listening to Bev and John and who knows who else on The Home Front Radio Show!

Threaded through topics such as conversation skills, creative decorating solutions, prayer that builds faith, the Founder’s Bible and the founding fathers, and wise men and brave women, will be tomorrow’s theme:  Boldly taking dominion, and with charm and grace!

Thanks for being there!

I Did Not Need My Economics Degree to Figure this One Out

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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.