Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An excellent woman, who can find?

I was talking to a friend recently about the importance of finding creative ways to help "pad" the family income by working from home. As I've been thinking about it since then, I've come to the conclusion that I believe that women, no matter what the family income situation might be, ought to be involved in some way, no matter how small, in bringing home a little bacon on the side. Now, hear me out. I'm not talking about a big career, or hours spent away from home and children. I'm talking about using your God-given gifts in the context of your home and family to make a little money.

For starters, it's a great way to involve your children in the whole "bring money in, sending it back out" thing. Obviously Dad is the primary provider, but they don't actually get to see that in motion. You know what I mean? Children can learn a lot about the value of money when they actually see what it takes to bring it in and then see how quickly it can be spent. And I think they can participate and be paid appropriately for their participation.

In addition, there's something to be said for a little nest egg in your top drawer. Maybe it's only ten dollars, but I know that when I have ten dollars of babysitting money in my Paypal account, I don't have to feel guilty about taking a little to use for the extras-- a new blouse for the Christmas Party, for example :) It keeps me from feeling sorry for myself when things are a little tight. Or at least, it ought too!

As I was thinking about all this, I decided perhaps I ought to consult the Scriptures before solidifying my opinion, so I did. Voila! Good old Proverbs 31! Read it and tell me what you think of my ideas :)


10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.


Man! I just love that passage! What more can you say? Isn't that the woman we all want to be? The woman we want our sons to marry? It covers pretty much everything.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Well, I am still here, in case you were wondering. But I've just been doing other things than blogging. Obviously. I haven't even been READING blogs, which is highly unusual. Most of the time, even when I'm not writing on my own blog, I'm at least reading all of yours. But this time I've completely dropped out of the blogging world. I've no intention of quitting altogether, but people keep having babies and birthdays and then there's this thing called Christmas and I've been sewing and crafting like a mad-woman for the past month now and I still haven't caught up.

I've been wanting to show pictures of what I've been making, but I keep finishing them only just as we're about to run out the door to the birthday party, while shoving the thing (whatever it may be) into the gift bag. Hence, no pictures. I really have been quite productive, though. I promise.

And there's no end in sight, either, since we're having friends from college this week for a Christmas Party/game night and I've got a few house projects to finish up first. We see these people on a fairly regular basis, about every...say... four to six months and I have this compulsion to have a little something more done on the house every time they come lest they think we've given up on the thing. So far I've managed to keep it up for..what? Five year now? Don't know how much longer I can hold out! This time I intend to finish up the last of the trim painting in the dining room and (hopefully. possibly.) paint and replace hardware on the final bank of cabinets in the kitchen. I canNOT believe this is the week Susi decides to conveniently be "out of town". Blah.

Plus, going back for a moment to my excuses for not blogging lately, I've got a lot of serious stuff on my mind right now that I'm not yet at liberty to mention here. The fact that I can't talk about them here yet has the effect of making those topics the only thing I can think of when I sit down to write. On that note, you can be praying for our family. We have some major life decisions to make in the next few months.

Be assured, as soon as I can I will reveal all here on the blog, but in the meantime I may not be as regular with my posting. But please keep checking in on me! You never know when I might post some pics of the cutest kids in the world ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My children are OCD

I have spent the last hour trying to get Judah to ignore the fact that his pants are too short and his sweater keeps riding up a little and GO TO SLEEEEEEP already. What am I doing wrong??

It's been a long day. Already. And it's only 2:00.


Monday, December 7, 2009

I Heart Faces: Sweet Dreams



It's been a while since I participated at I Heart Faces. I've been so busy and somewhat unmotivated to take pics for a while. But this week's theme just sucked me in and I couldn't resist sharing one of my favorite pictures of Sofi. It's not the best shot I've ever gotten, but it's precious to me :)

This shot is of her on my sister's wedding day! The festivities of the day had kept this tired little flower girl from her nap, but she curled up on the ring pillow, under a tablecloth to catch some zzzz's right before the big march down the aisle. Look at that golden hair! Remember those days????

Photobucket


Friday, December 4, 2009

Apparently Seven is the new Thirteen

Those of you who know me on Facebook have seen me recently complaining that Sofi has entered the teenage years waaaaaaaaaay ahead of schedule. My sister (who is all Conspiracy Theory these days) says it's from all the Rbst in the milk we drink. I suspect it's just being an only child for so long has accelerated her development. I imagine my mother would call it Karma. Except she might be more tactful about it than that.

All that aside, what I really need to know right now is how the HECK am I going to survive the next eleven years? Or let's be optimistic and assume that I can continue to home school and she graduates at sixteen and we'll say nine years.

Oh Lord have Mercy.

Going back to my mother for a moment... She was really great during the teenage years. I look back now and I honestly don't know how she was able to keep a straight face during most of it. Or a sound mind either, for that matter. I wrote poetry as a teenager, people. And I cried. Every day. For different reasons-- none of them very good, really.

And now I find myself having passed on the Extreme Teen Gene, but without having inherited the Dealing with Teens Gene from my mother and I'm in deep do-do.

Last weekend, in an attempt to build bridges, we went to get a "grow-up haircut". She's getting too "old" for pigtails and braids, so I helped her pick out a nice layer cut, chin length and then we bonded over a soft pretzel. It looked nice, we were happy, the pretzel was tasty.

And now. Now she spends a majority of her free time in front of a mirror brushing it as flat against her head as she can, wetting it down with water and plastering it to her scull because she doesn't like "all the fluffy and the curly-- it needs to be straight and smooth, Mom."

This morning I curled the ends under for her and she wept WEPT afterwards when she saw all that luscious volume-- volume that grown women go to extreme lengths to procure for themselves. And all wasted on a seven-year-old teenager who thinks smooth and straight is It. And then, as she flounced around the bathroom bemoaning her "poofy" hair, she whacked her head into a shelf and BAWLED. Real tears pouring down her face. And I just laughed so hard!

I know. Bad mommy. I tried, really I did!

And now I realize how hard it is going to be to let her grow up into her own person, with her own likes and dislikes and opinions and preferences. Very hard. I want her to be me. Me, but better. Me with all the parts I don't like about myself ironed carefully out and replaced with the parts I like about J. But she isn't me. Not at all. She's Her-- something new and different and beautiful that God has wrought. It's very sweet and very hard to have a daughter.

So, Mom, in case you're reading, I want to apologize for the bright purple pansy pantsuit in ninth grade. I now know how much it must have cost you to let me go out in public wearing that and I appreciate it. And thanks for reading all my poems and not laughing at me. And if you want to do it all again, you can have Sofi for the next nine years....


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Friends rock

The Lord has blessed me with an amazing network of friends. I tell you what, sometimes I am just amazed. Tonight, for example, I had a difficult decision to make and an email to write. But between my sister and a friend thousands of miles away, I got the email written and the matter resolved.

I just don't know what I'd do without y'all.

Y'all are like Hur the handholder. Remember that Bible story? As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites prevailed, but when he tired and his hands dropped, the battle went to the enemy. So Aaron and Hur stood on either side and held up Moses' hands and the Israelites won the day.

Not that I'm Moses, or anything. But like Moses, I have a role to play and responsibilities I must fulfill and I have, by God's mercy, a group of women in my life that I know I can call on to uphold my failing hands when times get tough or I need advice or counsel. I can also count on them to hold me accountable in my roles as wife and mother. I even have the confidence to complain to them, knowing that, when appropriate, they'll call me out and set me straight :)

I wish for all of you friends like I have!

Thank you so much, it means the world to me.

I give you....

Cousinball




Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Candlelight, Scrabble and a lovely glass of the Buble: or "How We Almost Burned Down the House Accompanied by Some Light Jazz"

One of my favorite blogs on my blogroll is Ordinary Days. Sarah is an ex-Marine (I think. Forgive me if I got the wrong branch of the military-- which, I understand, is a cardinal sin) and mom who writes with humor and pep. I kinda borrowed some of her ideas here...

Those of you with kids know that keeping a marriage...interesting, let's say...can be something of a challenge and requires effort, planning and creativity. Am I right? Yes, I am. I like to think that in our marriage we implement all of the above and have maintained just the right mixture of sugar and spice.

A short while ago, in the interest of maintaining said interesting marriage, I put the kids to bed and prepared to greet J (coming home late from teaching the night class) with some candles, wine, a little Michael Buble and the suggestion of a nice, romantic evening of... Scrabble. (go on, check it out, i'll wait. the rest of this won't make any sense unless you go and read. ready now? ok)

It was really nice. I pulled out all the stops. I had candles on the tables, the bookshelves, the floor and a roaring fire in the stove. We had wine and music and appropriate Scrabble-playing attire. Very appropriate. The children were asleep in their beds. J arrived home. The game was on.

I don't think I mentioned that this whole episode occurred during our bout with the flu, did I? Children don't sleep very soundly when they have the flu.

"Mama. Why are there blankets and candles all over the living room?"

"Oh, well. Mama and Daddy are having a little... picnic. Go back to bed."

(thank God for robes)

A little while later, sounds of coughing and choking and lack of breathing swing us into action with the steamy shower treatment for that croupy cough-- you know how it goes.

A little while after that, once the wine and the jazz have RE-worked their magic, just as the Scrabble game is getting veeery interesting... the candlelight is soft, the comforter is cushy, the... whaaa?? What is up with that candle over there on the floor... uh oh. Wow. Hey, it looks like maybe... yep. The floor is on fire. Lookee there.

I really wish I had pictures of that fire. I mean, how often do you get to see pictures of the very beginnings of a house burning down, right? Usually it's all....

Photobucket

But who ever photographs the first few flames, right? But, while I am not above postponing the dousing of a kitchen fire for the purposes of photographing it for the blog, I draw the line at a flaming living room floor. Beside, I tend to try and keep the camera as far away from our games of Scrabble as I can.

We went on to put out the floor fire and Scrabble was resumed. It was a good game and nothing was lost due to the frequent and traumatic interruptions. Like I said, it takes Effort, Planning and Creativity. And also a sense of humor and some perseverance.

From Floor Fire


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Well, lookee there...

I have a new article up at Blissfully Domestic! Come over and listen in to a F Family Christmas favorite and tell us all about what you're reading this Holiday season!

In other news, My carpel tunnel is doing a little better, but I'm still restricting my keyboard use. If you're just visiting from BD, hi there! Sorry you're coming by while things are a little bare around here. Things were really cracking a week ago, what with suggestions for raising your children in the Faith and the story of how J and I met. But now with the carpel tunnel thing... well, I'm just taking it easy for now. But hey! Click on the "Follow" button over there and you'll be sure to catch the next wave of Interesting! :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and some bad-ish news

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving! We did :)

The bad-ish news is that I have a whopping case of carpel tunnel and have to take a break from typing (and therefore blogging) for a good while until it clears up. I will certainly be reading all y'all's blogs, but I may not be commenting, since even typing this short post is making my tendons scream at me :( S'okay. You can all leave sympathetic comments here. I'll be fine in a week or two.

Till then!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday




1) I really love the Quick Takes meme, but so seldom have a chance to write on Fridays. If there's a post up here on Fridays, it's usually because I've written it earlier in the week and set it to autopost. But today I've decided to postpone my workout time till the kids wake up and we're going to do a Denise Austin Kid's Fit video together. It's all in the interest of mentoring the kids in a healthy lifestyle. I'll let you know how that goes...

2) I really do intend to finish up The Story of Us and I'm really not on a power trip. It just takes a while to dredge up a coherent story out of all the bits and pieces of my memories. I've already remembered stuff that I should have included earlier in the story... Such as a famous platter of shrimp that J and I shared when our families went out to dinner (we eat shrimp on every anniversary now). Also, I did find a few diary entries that were low enough on the embarrassment scale to actually share, but now they're moot. All that to say, I will finish the story, I promise, just let me take my time and do all the quality control needed to produce a series worthy of this most excellent blog. (*snort, choke, giggle*)

3) The Holiday Crazies are about to begin in the house of F. This weekend we take off for my parent's house to see my sister (this one) perform in a local production of Fiddler on the Roof. There's something about that show... It's like a family tradition. Or kinda. J and I sang selections from that show for our first public appearance together "after it all went down". You'll hear more about that later-- see number two, above. Anyway, we'll be back for two days and then off again for J's family's place for Thanksgiving. Can I express publicly just how grateful I am to be spending this holiday with J's family? Remember last year's harrowing experience?? Yeeeeah....

4) I've been coming to a depressing realization recently. I want to write more fully about it later, but for now I'll say it looks like I'm going to have to give up my precious nap time writing/reading/relaxing time in favor of giving Sofi more undivided attention during her school work. I am NOT looking forward to this. Advice and encouragement from moms who have survived the transition to No Naps would be appreciated... (Sofi isn't napping, she just has free reading time while Judah naps)

5) I am conducting an experiment in my bathroom to discover how long a shower can go un-scrubbed before the tub ring spontaneously generates life. So far, so good. I'll let you know how that goes, too.

6) I finally put up my button from Dawn! It's over there in my sidebar and you can click on it and read all about our big cross-country adventure with Two Mommies, Two Toddlers and a Princess. I have every intention of continuing to edit the pictures that never made it up (due to crappy hotel internet) and add them to fill in the holes in the story, so check back in a few weeks and see if there's anything new :)

7) If I don't go right now and wake up my children, Judah will not nap today. That would be bad. I must go. I will talk to all y'all later!



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The conversation with Kristin

I mentioned in the comments of a previous post About Us a conversation I had with a friend that I still remember vividly. She asked me to remind her of it...

J. was still a year or two away for me, but K. had recently begun courting her future husband and she and I were discussing courtship, marriage and other such things that occupy the minds of teen-age girls. There was a several year (can't remember exactly?) age difference between K and her young man and we were talking about how people might view that and whether or not that was socially acceptable in our time. I mentioned to her my grandparents marriage of (at the time) nearly fifty years and the 18 years age gap between them. I expressed my intention of marrying a man at least three years older than myself, as I thought that would ensure a stable and mature relationship. K was skeptical, however...

But how are you so sure you'll marry someone older?

I just know it's the best thing for me.

But what if you meet a godly young man who's just perfect for you but a few years younger than you or something like that?

Oh, that won't happen.

But what if it does and what if you fall in love??

Well.... I just won't fall in love with someone younger than me. I just won't. That's all there is to it.

Haha, the joke's on me! There was more to the conversation, but the part that looms largest in my mind is that-- for obvious reasons.




P.S. For those of you who don't know us well, J isn't 30 yet ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

He did what??!!!???

Where we left off...

But unfortunately for me, J could not read my mind. All this time things weren't traveling at quite the same light speed for him that they were for me. He was still just adjusting to the dawning realization that there might be something in this talkative, weird-ish, opinionated young woman that he just might not be able to do without. And so, you know what he, in all ignorance of what it might mean to me, went and did?



So, as we said our goodbyes in the parking lot of the lodge. Souvenirs had been purchased, final pictures had been taken, all the gear was packed. Just before we hopped into the van, J handed me a brown paper bag rolled up in a bundle.

"Here, I bought you this"

"What is it?"

"Open it on the way home."

I scuttled to the back of the van and secured a seat away from the prying and curious eyes of my siblings. After it got dark enough on our evening drive, I slowly unrolled the paper bag and pulled out a beautiful silver and malachite ring.

A WHAAAAAT???? Hoooold the phone....

A ring.

*pop*

I blew a gasket.

A here-I-bought-this-for-you-in-a-paper-bag RING.

Of course, in his mind, it was simply a sentimental memento of a memorable weekend spent in the delightful company of one another, but for me!! It was a Ring. I mean, I'm only a woman. Rings mean one thing and one thing only. Am I right? Back me up here, sistahs. And here is a will-you-marry-me without the GUY and wrapped up in a paper bag and opened in the back seat of a van with all my siblings oogling at me over the backseat.

I think I may have cried for a week. Maybe two. I cried because I was confused and in love and only seventeen. I cried because I had hoped for a kiss and a promise with my ring and somehow I felt a little cheated. And then I cried because I heard that J was going to the prom that weekend. With someone else.

Head's up to you men (both of you) reading. Neverevereverever give a woman a ring and then take someone else to the prom. It sends mixed messages.

Of course, to do him justice, making me cry in those days was fairly easy. So don't think too badly of J. I mean, really. What's a man to do? He saw me admiring the rings in the gift shop, so he bought me one. Logical and thoughtful, right? Of course, right.

But in the meantime, here I was with this ring and no proposal, no prom, nothing. What's a girl to do? If only I was brave enough to read you the journal entries of the next several looong excruciating weeks!






P.S. J says it never occurred to him that going to the prom with another girl would upset me, since both of us knew my dad would NEVER have let me go with him. And he says "our relationship wasn't really at the point where we were technically "exclusive".

Saturday, November 14, 2009

...And I'd also like to thank....

I just wanted to drop a quick post in here are thank all y'all for your encouraging comments on the last few posts about child-training. It's such a great motivater to hear that y'all think I'm on the right track! I'm greatly inspired to keep on working to bring my children up in the Lord and I do hope that the Lord continues to show me the way to do that. I will happily share with you what I learn along the way and I'm sure some of that will come from all y'all's blogs as well. I thank the Lord for all of you who encourage me in my mothering-- both bloggy friends and those IRL. It's such a blessing to have a community of like-minded women (and a few men, too) to provide support and encouragement.

THANK YOU!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Read, Pray, Worship, Indoctrinate

READ THE BIBLE:

I know this sounds so trite and elementary, right? I mean, read the Bible-- it's so obvious. But. Do you actually read your Bible to your toddlers every day? How about your infant? The four-month-old? If so, kudos to you! I wish I'd thought to start that young.

I am not the type of person to be easily swayed by superstitious rituals and mysticism, but I tell you what, even a child who has no sense of what is being read to them (example; the four-month-old, as I mentioned before) benefits from the word of God spoken out loud in your living room (or wherever). Not just a toddler or children's Bible (although I have nothing against them), but the actual, straight up Word. I do not know whether it is the actual sound of the Words of God that affect the child in some Spiritual way, or simply that God honors the obedience of the parent by blessing the child. But I know for certain that I see a different in my children (at a very young age) between days when we meet with the Lord to read His word before our day begins, and days when we simply rush headlong into our work and mutter a hurried prayer for Grace along the way.

I have recently realized that we'd gotten out of the habit of daily devotions (with the kids) over the summer. I'm so thick-headed about these things. It sometimes takes me WEEKS to realize I've bumped the Lord down my ladder of daily activities in favor of Accomplishing Things. Isn't that sad?? Anyway, we're back into it now. And during our morning devotions (first thing! before school or anything!), we are also teaching the children to

PRAY:

Now this one is easy. How do you teach a child to pray? The same way you taught them to smile! You smiled at them, right? That's how they learned, by imitating you. So pray for them, and let them imitate you in that as well:

"Judah, say 'Jesus, thank you for this day.'"

"Deedus, tant you for dis daaaayuh"

"Thank you for the sunshine and the warm weather"

"Tant you for da shunshine and the wever"

"Help me to obey mommy today and kind to Sofi"

"Hep me to obey mommy and be tind to Seezee"

Etc.

Do this every day! Before you know it, they'll be motivated to pray on their own. Sofi does. She sometimes asks me to pray for things, but she will often bring up something that's important to her in prayer all on her own.

Remember, your job, as the parent, is to establish the habit. God will bring Spiritual reality into those prayers as your children get older. The same way you make them brush their teeth every day even though they have no concept of germs or cavities and they certainly wouldn't do it if you didn't make them. They may not understand exactly what prayer is right now, and they might only be doing it because you're making them and sounding out every word for them, but if they are in the habit of going to the Lord on a regular basis, it will stand them in good stead as they get older.

WORSHIP (I just wrote this whole section and then Firefox crashed and the internet ATE my post. So here's my best attempt to re-create the thought process...)

This is another one of those annoying areas where I realize that poor Judah, the second child, has gotten short-changed. When Sofi was his age we were already teaching her worship songs and simple hymns. I just realized this school year that I'd gotten out of the habit of including singing time in our daily devotions, so.... Have to play catch-up with Judah. He's now learned the Gloria Patri and is working on Amazing Grace.

Let me say again, this is about establishing habit in your child. It may not be the same amazing spiritual high of a Steve Whatsizname concert. Your child may not have the faintest idea of what he or she is doing or saying. The point is, they're doing it. And they'll learn the significance as the get older. When you first start teaching your child to sign "please", they have no idea what's going on. But soon they learn! Right? You don't wait till you can explain what please is before you start teaching them to say it. When Judah sings the Gloria Patri, he has no sense of participating with the saints in a tradition of hundreds of years, but he is doing it. There's a reality to the act outside of his limited comprehension.

The Bible commands us over and over to lift up our voices in praise and by worshiping daily with your children, even before they have any idea what's going on, you're leading them in obedience to Christ.

And now my favorite;

DELIBERATE INDOCTRINATION

My favorite because it sounds so... wrong *evil grin* I mean "indoctrination" is one of those no-no words in our day and age. Right? It's what the bad guy does the helpless dude tied to the chair. It's also what I deliberately do to my children. Mwahahaha.

In all seriousness, though. Look at the word. Dictionary.com defines it this way:

in·doc·tri·nate (n-dktr-nt)
tr.v. in·doc·tri·nat·ed, in·doc·tri·nat·ing, in·doc·tri·nates
1. To instruct in a body of doctrine or principles.
2. To imbue with a partisan or ideological point of view: a generation of children who had been indoctrinated against the values of their parents.

I find it fascinating that they use the example of children being indoctrinated against their parents values as a sample phrase! How perfect! It makes my point for me. The whole entire world around you is working day and night to teach your children their set of values (or "non-values"). You better be working pretty hard to get yours in there first while you have the majority voice! Take every opportunity! Be corny and exaggerated, if you have to! No one cares.

You see a Hannah Montana poster in Wally World with her outfit leaving little to the imagination? Stop! Turn around! Show the picture to your seven-year-old! Say, "Wow, look at that poor girl! She thinks it's cool to show off her belly. Isn't that sad that know one ever taught her to be modest with her body? Wouldn't she look much prettier and more comfortable if she was wearing a longer t-shirt that covered her belly button?"

You hear your son say "I want to be the bad guy, I want to hit you!" (true story) Don't freak out (talkin' to myself, here, ladies)! Just stop him and say, "No, Judah, you don't want to be the bad guy, you want to be the good guy! You're the Hero, you're gonna rescue Sofi, not hit her!" Create reality for your children with your words.

It's so important. Sooo important. It's the most important part of your job. You can get through eighteen years without teaching them sign language, or co-sleeping or early potty training, home-made baby foods or cloth diapers. You can send them to public school or home-school them. You can teach them five languages or neglect to teach them proper English. They might read at age four, or still not ride a bike by age seven. But I tell you, you've got to deliberately set out to teach and model for them what it means to follow Christ. You've got to do it every day. You cannot just go about your business and expect them to pick it up through osmosis. You cannot leave it to the Sunday School Teachers (poor souls). It's got to be you and you've got to keep it in the forefront of your mind, you've got to...

... teach (these things) diligently to your sons and talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as signs on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord the God of your fathers has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.


P.S. As always, the last three or four posts have been directed at myself, primarily. I need stern injunctions and reminders OFTEN. If any of you benefit from what I've written here, praise God, but I'm not trying to preach to you-- only share a little of what God's working on in me :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In the nurture and admonition of the Lord

Soo, we:

1) Read the bible
2)Pray
3) Worship
4) Deliberately Indoctrinate

I'm concerned that writing a post with four bullet points might make this whole thing seem a lot more complicated than I think it really is, so I want to start out by pointing out to you all the things you teach your children on a daily basis without really thinking too hard about it.

Let's take Judah, for example, a normal two-year-old (although slightly cuter than average...). So far J and I (with Sofi's help) have taught him to eat, sleep, walk, talk, laugh, smile, reason, argue, whine, color, count to ten, the names of around fifty different people, the first Catechism question, the beginning of the Lord's Prayer, and a few basic principles of manhood such as; don't hit girls, protect the women, fight BAD guys, not good guys, etc.

Most of you with kids that age or older have taught them most of the things in that list. You may not have though about it that way before. I mean, who thinks of themselves as teaching their children to smile, right? But the truth is, children are little learning machines, they are learning constantly and what they're learning is whatever you're teaching and the way you're teaching is by your every interaction with them. Scary, huh?

Notice I mentioned that we "taught" Judah to whine and argue? Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that I whine. I do it in a more socially acceptable manner than Judah does (he's too young for a blog), but it's definitely one of my character flaws. Ask any one in my family. They'd be glad to tell you. And I'm certain that both my children learned how to whine from me. Sad, but true. I'm telling you, you might not like the idea, but you are teaching your children SOMETHING every minute of the day. It's just the way God made them.

So my point is, teaching your children Godly ways and training them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is merely a matter of deliberately creating around them an environment that is saturated with the Grace of God. A daily schedule that pulls them into the presence of God first thing in the morning. A habit in your conversation of bringing up the Lord at every opportunity and of explaining why you do things the way you do.

"Judah, you may not hit Sofi. You must be kind to your sister. God says "Love your Sister". That was not a loving thing to do."

There. A seed planted.

Now on to how we do that-- on a practical level.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More about Us

I have to say that there were several sets of circumstances that served to accelerate the development of our relationship into something more than friendship. For starters, I don't know that it's possible to play a French Maid to someone's Rapscallion Count and not fall in love.

Photobucket

Photobucket

I was not responsible for that bit of type-casting there. Ah no. It was my mother. I am actually going to "out" my mother here and tell y'all her deep dark secret. That is, she'd already decided she wanted J for a son-in-law and she was obviously casting this show with an eye to the future.

And while I'm at it, let me go ahead and implicate my in-laws, too. Sandy? Henry? Y'all know you helped out. Don't try to deny it. Poor us. We were the victims of a major parental conspiracy, is what. Albeit, quite willing victims.

As an aside, do you notice that cute couple in the background in the picture above? Yeeeeah. That is who you think it is. That young fox-- the dangerous one. You'll notice Sue and Ben in the background a lot in all these pictures of J and me. While all the parental contingency was getting all involved and picketty about the two of us, they were in the background, flying low, under the radar.... I have the pictorial proof. Stinkers.

So, it's not possible to play a French Maid to a Rapscallion Count and not fall in love. Nor is it possible to go on vacation with said Count's entire family and not at least entertain thoughts of this type of thing;



Especially since we were going up into the mountains. PhotobucketAnd we stayed in the honeymoon suite! Photobucket

Can you really blame a girl for dreaming? Really...

So I did. I dreamed. I imagined my first kiss on the summit of Sharp Top. I imagined long talks as we strolled through the verdant forest. I imagined all manner of things. Matter of fact, in re-reading through my diary of the time just now in preparation for this post, I quite embarrassed myself a with the blatant romanticism of those imaginings. When I die, someone better come get those diaries and burn them before my kids read them...

I did not, however, imagine carrying these two little Turkeys **:

Photobucket

Up this:

Photobucket

Yes, carrying. We carried them up Sharp Top. Almost the entire way. Matter of fact, those two Turkeys (for lack a better, but still polite term) dogged our trail pretty much the whole three days. I don't know whose plan that was, but I have my suspicions.... Needless to say, there wasn't any of this:



...or first kisses, or private talks. There was plenty of walking, though. And a little platonic cuddling-- although Susi shoved him out of the blanket and took his place right before Henry took this shot:

Photobucket

My siblings. Always looking out for my romance.

There were also some sweet moments like this:

Photobucket

J took that picture. He asked me to climb out onto the rock so he could take my picture. *swoon*

All in all, it was a beautiful time. I fell solidly in love. I admitted it to myself. I loved this young, absent-minded dreamer with the beautiful hair and the elegant fingers. I loved his way of thinking about things, I loved the plans he had. And once? I almost kissed that curl in the back of his neck. Right in front of God and everybody.

But unfortunately for me, J could not read my mind. All this time things weren't traveling at quite the same light speed for him that they were for me. He was still just adjusting to the dawning realization that there might be something in this talkative, weird-ish, opinionated young woman that he just might not be able to do without. And so, you know what he, in all ignorance of what it might mean to me, went and did?



**for those of you who do not recognize those two little turkeys, they are my sister, and J's brother-- about four or five years old at the time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Train them up...

A few days ago I asked for some suggestions for posting topics. A friend asked;

I am requesting a post on training children. Not discipline as much as raising children in a Christian home and teaching them certain biblical principles like.... abstinence, honoring father and mother, learning to worship and walk with God etc. I've had lots of conversations, and it's really been on my heart lately how many people (and shockingly, even how many Christians) think that many of these ideas are outdated or unrealistic for their children.

This concerns me and I already worry about how to teach my kids these things in a way that is effective. It scares me even more to think that most parents out their won't be teaching their kids the same things. It scares me even MORE that I have to, then, send my children out into the world with people who profess to believe the same thing, but now think we are in an age where what you profess can be different than what you actually do.


Hmm. This intrigued me. It's something I think about and pray over on a daily basis, and definitely not something I consider myself to be anything like an expert on. BUT. I would love to share some thoughts and hear yours in response.

First of all, I don't think any of those ideas-- or the concept of deliberately teaching them to your children-- is at all outdated. The Scripture is pretty clear on that:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear Oh Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord He is one! You shall love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as signs on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


That seems pretty clear to me. I think we can lay to rest the idea that there's any room in the Christian faith for parents to let their children "find their own way" or "experience life without bias" or any other crap like that (pardon my french). The Christian parent clearly bears a burden of responsibility to pass on the faith to the next generation. In fact, a large portion of the Old Testament-- all the history of Israel from the death of Joshua to the captivity of Judah-- is a repetition of the cycle of repentance, redemption, blessing and then neglecting to pass it on to the next generation. Again and again the Lord says "And a generation arose that did not know the Lord..." (Judges 2:10-23)

So, that said, what's a parent to do in order to fulfill this awesome charge to pass the faith on to the next generation? Aye, there's the rub.

Again, I don't have all the answers, but there are four basic ways we try to do this in our home. Here they are;

1) Read the Bible
2) Pray
3) Worship
4) Deliberately Indoctrinate

To be perfectly honest, I actually just analyzed what we do and came up with those four nifty headings just now :) We're soooo not organized enough to have that pre-planned!

Because I'm lazy and would like to "work" this blog material for as many posts as I can, I plan to write another post in a little while to explain those four points and how we put them to work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

You've GOT to see this :D

And show it to your husbands! The truth is out! Women DO have a higher pain threshold than men. *grin*




Sunday, November 8, 2009

You only have to ask once...

ETA: I think I fixed the commenting problem...if not, would someone email me and let me know? Thanks Hos, for alerting me :)


I love my husband-- I've loved him for nearly fifteen years and I love talking about him and us and our story. You asked for it-- I shall deliver!


Jeremiah and I first met when his family (homeschooling at the time) attended a performance of our chorale, which must have been Christmas, 1995-- the year I was sixteen.We were doing a show called "All Is Well". I was, at the time, sporting this look:

That's me, second from the left, with the weird smirk)
Photobucket

Needless to say, I didn't exactly knock his socks off initially. Matter of fact, he may not even remember this encounter. He swears he does, but I have my doubts...

The fall of 1995, J's family (four brothers) joined our home school Music Club-- The Storysingers. Ohhh my. I wonder if Mrs M. knew what she was doing. She just walked right into a chicken house full of hormonal teenage hens and set down not one, not two, but THREE fine young foxes :D Granted, Ben was pretty young at the time, but you all know how that turned out. Young foxes are the most dangerous kind, apparently.

Basically every girl in our group had a crush on those boys at one point or another that first year. (Do NOT try to deny it, girls, you know the truth. I was there, and I was watching...) I took my turn like the rest, but it was short-lived. I was turning 17, after all. It was time to get serious about marriage and such. I wasn't getting any younger. And I was determined to find an Older Man.

But there was something about that young man. He was quiet. Shy-ish. Intellectual. Boyishly handsome. And oh! be still my heart! His hair curled all up around his ears and there was this one perfect curl right in the middle of the back of his neck that just made me swoon. And his hands... I have a thing about hands, have I mentioned that? He has long thin fingers and squared off, manly nails. *swoon again*

Ahem.

Anyway. He also read Tolkein and Lewis, loved fantasy novels, was a math whiz and an excellent writer as well. It proved to be an irresistible package. Friendship and long conversations about books and our Faith gradually turned into something special-- something more than friendship. Something new... something exciting.

Or at least, for me it did. Unfortunately J is one of those endearing people who suddenly looks up and realizes they are in the middle of a forest and have no idea how they came to be there. All the way up through the winter of '97-'98-- his senior year at a private high-school, J did not look up. He did not notice he was standing in the middle of the forest, nor did he notice that there was a lovesick...let's go with hen, since I'm using up my quota of metaphors pretty quick here... trailing after him through that forest. Things did not look good for me. Not good at all, folks.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November 5th

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's mercy he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!


I've always loved the story of the Guy Fawkes Plot. Have you told your kids this famous story of intrigue and daring?? They'll love it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wow

It was fun to see that a couple of you actually had some great ideas for posts :) I'm saving Laurie's for later, 'cause it takes a little more work, but I've been cogitating over it...

Septembermom, about helping you son's reading comprehension... You say he's very visual and has trouble keeping his mind on his reading? Is this only with school related material, or also with "free reading" type things-- ie, fiction? If it's reading of all kinds, I'd recommend that you try out some graphic novels. Obviously he does eventually have to learn to read regular books, but perhaps motivating him with a more graphically exciting genre will lead to more proficiency and interest in reading in general. And you might be surprised just how much great stuff there is out there in graphic novel format. For example, did you know that the classic Boxcar Children Series is now available in graphic novel form? There's even a graphic version of Cinderella!

If he reads fiction fine and only has trouble keeping focused when he's working on non-fiction reading, then my solution would be to try having him read out loud. Not as much fun, but will certainly help him stay in touch mentally with what his eyes are seeing. This is the problem I have. I love to read fiction! As long as the word pictures are flowing through my (also very visually oriented) brain, I'm good, but as soon as things start to get technical... whoo baby. I'm gone! :) Any time I have to follow directions or memorize facts, I HAVE to either say it out loud or graph/outline it with a four-color pen. A Bic Four-Color pen is the only reason I survived freshman history. And economics. And calculus. Blech.

Hosanna asked about our trip pictures... Well, I did post as many of them as I could. Crappy hotel internet and all... I have tons more as well as a super cute little button that Dawn made me (thanks, Dawn!) and I'd planned to post all the pics and link up all the posts to that button in my sidebar, but.... I just got un-motivated (sorry, Dawn...:( ) Perhaps your request will motivate me once again! Who else is interested in seeing more pictures?? Anyone?


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We're over the flu...

... but I still have the blogging blahs. I'm still reading and commenting here and there and I'll be back eventually, but... meh. I got nothing to say. Anything y'all want to know? Stories you want to hear? Questions you've been dying to ask me if I'd only just shut up long enough to hear them?


Now's your chance :)


Friday, October 30, 2009

"Judah asserts his male autonomy in the face of female manipulativism": or, "It's even harder out here if you refuse to be a pimp"

Sofi, screaming: Aaaah! He's drinking out of my water bottle with his germy flu mouth!!! Stooooop!! Moo-ooom!

Judah: No!

Me: Judah, you must ask your sister nicely if you want to use her water bottle.

Judah: Sofi, puhyiy use you wadah boddle?

Sofi: Ewww, noooo, that's gross, you have GERMS!! Noooo!!!

Me: Judah say 'may I please use your water bottle deeear sister?' You have to charm her.

Judah: Puhyiy use you waddah boddle deee sister?

Me: How can you resist that, Sofi?

Sofi: You have to charm me Judah, you have to make me feel sorry for you...

me: Judah, say 'I love you, dear sister, may I please use your water bottle?'

Judah, thinking about it: Ummm. No.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Way Better Than Oatmeal Recipe

I really hate oatmeal. Really. Hate. Oatmeal. So does J. In fact, we just pretty much didn't eat it ever until we had kids. But then, oatmeal just seems like one of those things you feed kids. Like pbjs. What kind of parent lets their kids grow up without pbj or oatmeal? I ask you.

So I began to fix oatmeal. And found it wasn't quite as bad as I had remembered, but still not my favorite. J still hated it. Then enter my mother, with all the new research on soaking your grains to get better nutrition and all that. So I started soaking my oatmeal over night. Definitely made it taste better. And then. Last week. My sister revealed to me a whole new world of oatmeal. An Oatmeal Nirvana, if you will. Oatmeal from Heaven. Here is that recipe--complete with some minor changes to make it my own:


Way Better than Oatmeal

Soak oatmeal overnight in enough liquid to cover. You can use 1) water with a tablespoon of vinegar, 2) whey, 3) yogurt, or 4) kefir (my personal favorite).

In the morning, heat up about 1/4 stick of butter in a large frying pan (cast iron works great) till sizzling. Add sloppy, soaked oatmeal. Smoosh it up around the pan till the bottom of the pan is covered and sprinkle with salt. Stir and flip occasionally, adding more butter when needed, until the oatmeal is cooked into small, crispy chunks. Basically, you want to treat it like scrambled eggs.

Serve hot, plain or with a trickle of maple syrup.

You will never think about oatmeal the same way again!

Oh brother, here we go again

I suppose I shouldn't get so negative so quickly, but after last winter, who can blame me? Judah appears to have the flu. Which is totally bogus, since he's the only one we decided-- after weeks of research, discussion and indecision-- to vaccinate! It just goes to show you... Although exactly what it goes to show, I have no idea.

A sick toddler is a sight to behold. His eyes are all droopy and bloodshot and he has this awful, hacking cough. For the moment he's fairly cheerful, though, reveling in the novelty of Daddy-home-from-work-early-to-play-"fight da ba-guys". He's also getting quite a kick out of the squeaky, cracked voice he's sporting at the moment. :D It's sooo pitiful and he knows I'll give him pretty much anything he wants when he asks me in that orphan-child-from-Africa tone of voice. What can I say? I'm a sucker.

I read a cool birth story today (part one, part two, part three) Birth stories are my drug of choice. When I'm down I go find some and they make me feel better :) I guess y'all recognize the name Dooce-- the original mommy-blogger. Having her speak up about natural childbirth is great. She's so articulate and poetic. I just loved her story! Have to give this one a language warning though, just in case it bothers some of you. Enjoy!

I'm off to enjoy some fresh pumpernickel bread.