Monday, November 4, 2019

When the Homemaker Must Travel


My wheels will be rolling over hundreds of miles of pavement later this week as I head to northwest Montana.  I'm needed.  It isn't a vacation or a chosen time of year for travel, but my whole heart goes; ready, willing and able. 

I think that is what I love about this "Homemaker" gig: I'm always needed!  Not that I rely on some sort of emotional prop of being "needed", rather, I am a caregiver by nature... I like love taking care of people.  Whatever the need, give me a ring... I will be there.

As a housewife, though, it is easy (and natural) for the whole of household affairs to rest on my shoulders.  It is a happy burden I carry, but what happens when I am also needed elsewhere?  Somewhere hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, and I must go?

Running a home is much like running a business or managing a department inside of a corporation.  It requires time management skills, delegation power and crafty juggling of tasks which are your responsibility... tasks which keep the family fed, cleanly clothed and living in a sanitary environment.  Who takes over when the Homemaker must travel?

In the past 5 years I have had to travel away from the home for others' needs more than I have in the whole of the 27 years since I started this gig.  However, my first (mostly) solo trip leaving my family without their homemaker for a short period of time was 17 years ago when a sudden and unexpected call prompted a suitcase packed with black and somber maneuvering through a string of airports 24 hours later.  Each excursion since has been measurably easier with ample time to plan and pack. 

Now, my children are mostly grown but the two middles live at home with the youngest and still look to me as master conductor of the household.  My 16 year old was lady of the house on my last trip but she will be accompanying me on this latest one, leaving my husband and the middles to fend. In some measures it is getting easier... but it requires some planning.  As I prep to head out later this week, here are just nine things which came to mind

Organizing is key.  If you are generally an unorganized person, now is not the time to start from scratch!!  Pick up where you are and go forward.  As for me, I have a system of lists which we use for checking off chores and watching everyone's schedules.  I am currently planning to be away for about a month so I have modified our weekly checklist into a month-long chart with recommended frequencies printed into the check-boxes. 

Staying strong has also been helpful.  Remembering that my trip will be short and encouraging the family who are staying behind, helps everyone mentally prepare for the shift in authority.

Letting go of how I think things should go and realizing that the family needs to alter HOW things are done to fit the change in flow and hierarchy.  As long as pets are fed (and not starved) and plants are watered, I make no other requirements of them.  I do leave the a fore mentioned lists, but I don't harp on them.  Their dad will have different expectations than I and the last thing everyone needs is to feel like they are competing to satisfy someone who isn't even under the roof at the moment!!

Leave them ready to take over.  I will do as much of the deep cleaning as I can before I go, leaving them to maintenance mode while I am gone.  I will also sit down with all of them and discuss the checklists and needs of the home which are non-negotiable as well as recommendations and tips for the areas which are more flexible.  I will encourage and remind them of how capable they are and how proud I am of them.  Kids can often feel insecure when mom is gone... and, surprisingly, so can some husbands!  Reflective positive confidence will make them feel capable of holding the reins while I am gone.

Pack the fridge and pantry with easy meals and snacks.  If you have time before you go, you can also make a few nutritious dinners and freeze them for reheating.  This will make it easier on hubby who will have plenty to adjust to with you gone as it is.  And if your husband is anything like mine... I do NOT want him in a grocery store with a debit card... we will have no money left and a freezer full of ice-cream, burgers and jalapeno poppers!!!  (When my mom passed away, the church blessed my family with the first few nights of dinners while we all adjusted.  It meant so much and I highly recommend it if you know someone who looses a loved one!)

Make necessary arrangements before you leave.  If kids are younger and need to get to and from school or activities, be sure to have plans clearly drawn out and arrangements made before departure.  Even this simple step can help your family feel as though part of you is still there.

If you homeschool don't feel bad if books need to be set aside until you return.  If you feel some form of gap studies are necessary you can encourage or assign books for reading, math facts for reviewing and copy work to maintain penmanship and grammar skills in your absence.  Regular academics can easily be caught up when you return.

Allow indulgences.  It is difficult for the family to be without us.  Setting extra restrictions while we are gone will only exasperate everyone and make the separation worse.  I usually allow extra t.v. time and even an eat-out night once a week.  I will also bake certain treats for them before I leave so they can enjoy some form of sweet goodness in my absence!

Pray together before you go.  Unifying the family under the cloak of prayer will help you feel stronger through the days ahead.  It also acknowledges your trust and strength in God to guard the time apart.


Traveling as a Homemaker is no different then when a boss must be away: leaving instructions and tying up loose ends before they go.  Being a homemaker is a blessing and a call... but it is also a responsibility.... one we should all treasure and take seriously because others are depending on us.

Having to be apart from the home and family comes for many reasons but, most often, if we are going alone, it is because a loved one needs our help.  Often hospital hallways and nursing home bedsides become our temporary home during these 'excursions'.  But even if the travel is for a more light-hearted event, worrying about how the home runs while we are gone should be the least of our concerns, and good planning ahead (when possible) can relieve many worries.

If you are reading this I assume you are not prepping to leave the household behind for needed travel, BUT, it is always good to be prepared.  As with a fire drill or 'just in case' scenario your family is accustomed to prepare for, it is wise to set up a tentative list and order of operations just in case the Homemaker must travel.  Consider:
  • necessary chores (just the basics, don't overwhelm them!!) and list them out
  • people to call for help to transport kids
  • basic operations of the home and how to transfer charge while you are gone.  
When the Homemaker must travel the house can survive!  Go where you are needed but remember to be prepared for the needs of those who must stay!

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:27

Blessings,












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  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Is a Housewife Less Than?



Why does housewifery matter so much?  What is the big deal?  I mean, as women, aren't we suppose to want the corporate job, the important position, scraping for the bacon and finding our name among those who made something of themselves?  I am all for a woman's ability to do and be what she wants, but has the feminist movement devalued the simple desire of being a housewife?

What if what I want is to be a housewife?  Not a scientist or doctor or CEO.

What if I find my position as caretaker and manager of my home important?  What if the bacon I am scraping for is the pieces sizzling in my pan?  What if the only place I really care about seeing my name is on the points list for coupons at my grocery store?  When did housewifery become so remedial?

In Courtney Reissig's books, "The Accidental Feminist" and "Glory in the Ordinary" she explores the history of feminism and the repercussion and implications to today's housewife... it is startling. (For links to her books visit my "Store" tab above).  Honestly, I didn't need her books to tell me what I was already seeing... but her books helped me to understand I was not alone... what I see is not an isolated experience.  Her books, I felt, gave me a voice in unison instead of ashamedly letting go silent in my suffering of self-devaluing and inundated struggles with condemnation from the women and men who want to say:

"Oh, you're JUST a housewife...
when are you going to get a 'real' job...
when are you going to actually contribute to your household...
you are just lazy, you don't want to work."
[insert heart-break emoji here]

That's real.  That's truth.  Do you get it too?

But while these statements may really and truthfully happen... they are not truthful reality to the position and demands of a housewife.

I'm old/young enough to have intimately known the 1940s and 50s housewives... they were my grandparents and great-aunts.  I watched them tie their aprons as I sat on their raised chrome and vinyl kitchen chairs with flip-down step-stools, peeling potatoes with a pairing knife onto Formica counters and chatting about chores and baking secrets.  I watched my grandfathers scuffle in with their metal Stanley lunch pails, thermoses clasped in the top, pecking their grinning wives on the cheeks before exiting to wash up and change for dinner.

Balance.

That is what I think of when I see housewifery in its truest form. 

My grandfathers and great-uncles delighted in their day-to-day jobs.  None of them had the luxury of suit and tie office work, all were blue-color blokes providing for nice homes, vacations fishing on the rivers and lakes of the Midwest, modest well running cars and gifts for the grandkids, nieces and nephews when occasions arose. 

The women of this generation toiled about the home, keeping it tidy, the bills paid, the decor in line and nutritious meals wrapped in wax for the daily lunch and piping hot dishes of roast beef or meatloaf with mashed potatoes, real mashed potatoes, on plates each evening.  It was a time of fresh butter on a bowl of warm cream of wheat and small juice glasses filled each morning with sweet orange goodness. A time where "inequality" wasn't shouted when little girls pulled out small wooden ironing boards to mimic mother's while Johnny hauled the trash and played with metal pick-up trucks in the dirt.

There were times when this generation of women took in sewing for cash or learned her way around an Avon case to present to neighborhood women who were always quick to support each others pursuits in order to pad the bank account a bit or take care of a short-term wayward bill.  They may take odd-jobs in and out of the home, but the home was most important.  Community work and volunteering made a close second.  Volunteer work many organizations now have to do additional fundraisers for in order to hire the same help which came abundantly for free from the heart only a few decades ago.  Less money and resources for those they are trying to help.

How is this less-than?

If we don't clean our homes, who will?
If we spend all day at the office, where is our energy for much more beyond the basics in the evenings?
If we aren't home to do prep work, how are nutritious meals able to make a mainstay on household menus?

I'm not saying that women who work outside of the home are any less.... rather, I am pointing out that woman who work inside the home are just as much.

Is a man who collects garbage each week any less necessary to society than the banker who dons his suit and sits at his desk each day?  Is the maid any less necessary to the function of a corporation than the management working there?

Think about it, we pay housekeepers and daycare providers and food industry workers and bus drivers and laundresses and gardeners and landscapers and home designers separately to do the tasks ONE housewife does each and every day... not to mention the planning, management and bill-paying aspect many of us also take on.

So tell me again, how is a housewife less-than?  How is her roll any less accomplished then a woman in an office job or corporate space?

I read recently that it boils down to priorities.  If we see "accomplishment" as advancement in position and pay, than our priority rests with the worldly concept of what we can attain.  But if we view "accomplishment" as what we contribute irregardless of pay, then any position can vie for value. 

It could be that our grand contribution in a given day is keeping our children out of danger... it could be having the time and taking the time to help a neighbor or aging/ill family member... it can even be that nutritious meal you put on the table, aiding your family's health and ability to do what they need to do. 

Perhaps, in simplest terms, it is the human element we housewives contribute to the greater good of society: home.  A body who is always there, always available, always loving and always willing.  In an age of momentary pleasantries, kiosk ordering and UPS drivers who ring and run, I think our society is grossly lacking in the love of human care and connection.

We may not feel "connected" as we dust and vacuum in solitary fashion but, in fact, we are more connected than the grocery store clerk who quickly rushes each next patron through the line.  Our children know our arms are ready to embrace.  Our husband knows the home is being made ready for his arrival at the end of a long day.  Family and friends know our voice will warmly welcome their calls at any time of the day.

We matter.

YOU matter.

Don't think you are just a housewife, you are so much more and, even if the only ladder you climb is the one you've placed to change a bulb or paint a wall, as long as you do it with your whole heart, focused on the glory of the Lord and the care of those you serve, then you are accomplished.

Ignore the nay-sayers... you know the truth.  Jesus had nay-sayers, but He knew the ultimate Truth.  He wasn't swayed, he plugged on, for the glory of the Lord. 

I have said these things to you, that in me you  may have peace.  
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

It isn't about whether you have children in the home or not.
It isn't about whether you are young or older.
It isn't about whether or not your family can afford the latest greatest [fill in the blank here].
It isn't about 'what are you doing with your time'... (you know what you are doing with your time!!!)
Even on the tough days when you feel like you have accomplished nothing or gotten everything wrong.. cling.

You are NOT less than.
You are more than enough.

Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:29-30

Blessings, sweet housewife.












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  • Encouraging articles
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  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Dust in the Hands of a Mighty God


I'm at a cross-roads.

We all are sometimes, aren't we?  The path bends and winds... it rises and falls... sometimes there are steep climbs and others are easy strolls.  Always, eventually, we come upon a crossroads in the path.

One thing about crossroads: there rarely seem to be signs.

Wouldn't signs me handy?  Like, "Go this way for certain success" or "This way is going to be long and difficult".  Oh, occasionally there may be hints, suggestions as to what we might find.  Sometimes what we think will be there, in fact, is not.  But the hardest crossroads are the ones where the choice you make is so monumental, it takes you in a direction you may not be able to return from.

That is my crossroad.

Writing is a daily battle for me.  I have noticed that many good authors I read have the exact same struggle.  When God gives us words and a Call to share them, well, the enemy does all he can to discourage us and send us off-track.

However, recently, the attacks hit way to close to home.  Encouragement I had become assured of from sources I had always relied on and trusted, suddenly disintegrated to dust.  Plans which had been in the works for nearly a decade and actions progressing toward their end... dashed.  HUGE things I had thought and come to rely on for over 20 years have suddenly been yanked away from me and thrown into the flaming pile of unbelief and confusion.  I'm not even sure what I am looking at right now.

I promised raw truths on the blog in my most recent newsletter!  Bet you didn't expect that.

I don't know what to do with the dust.  Hence my crossroads.  I picked up all the charcoaled cinders, crammed them into a bag and here I stand, holding my heavy load.  Questioning.  Wondering.  What do you want me to do Lord?  Not my will, but His alone.

In the midst of my contemplations God is sending little messages... which are often followed by another attack from the enemy.  It is a cycle... at times it is crippling.  One message, though, he sent as I have been reading "It's Not Suppose to Be This Way" by Lysa Terkeurst.  I'm only on chapter 3 but so far she is striking every chord needed to hit just the right melody.  I guess you could say, it is traveling music!  My favorite part so far?

Dust.

Dust doesn't have to signify the end.  
Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin.

She goes on to share how, Biblically, God does amazing things with dust.  To begin with... he made man.  In Isaiah and Jeremiah He speaks of us in terms of clay in the potter's hands... clay = dust + water.  And Jesus used dust with a bit of spit to heal a man who was blind.  Dust isn't merely a remnant of what was, rather, it is the base of what is to come.

I began to see how, standing at these crossroads holding a sack full of dust is actually a good thing.  Suddenly I'm not mourning what I've been loosing, but rather, I'm beginning to anticipate, with deep curiosity, what God is planning if He has allowed hopes and dreams and plans to be scorched to dust like this.

My idea of what is good is nothing compared to His idea of what is better.

In the mean time, I'm meandering about the intersection, doing each next thing until I am certain which turn to take.  At times I pause and contemplate some more.  I believe, though, now that I am beginning to understand the purpose of my load of dust, it may be time to set it down... it isn't my load to carry, rather, it is the Lord's to take up and begin working with.  I think I will put a tall pitcher of water there on the ground beside my sack as well, I have a feeling the potter's hands are preparing to work.  I can't wait to see what He forms!

Do you have a sack of dust you are carrying today?  I pray you can find a place to lay it down, with a pitcher of water, and step back to see what the Lord is planning to form.

Blessings,








*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each month with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.