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,












*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
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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.












*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.  

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.  




Friday, September 27, 2019

FMF: The Truth of SUCCESS


"Oh, that's right, you're just a housewife..." those words have echoed in my mind for the past 20 years.  Said by a "successful" restaurant owner my husband had done some contract work for at the time, this middle-aged man had his sites set on the tangibleness of a "job" being based in the money we make or the education applied.  I smiled gracefully, though bruised inwardly.  Here my husband and I sat, enjoying a rare dinner alone in this cozy lake side restaurant, soaking up the gorgeous mountain view, feeling complete in our roles as husband and wife, when Mr. Owner invited himself to sit with us and shoot the breeze on life and work and his pride in the newly remodeled oppulant restaurant we were dining in.

It was that moment which has become the pinpoint of my passion to BE more than just a housewife and make it known: we are not just anything.

When did success begin to hinge on the bank-roll or degree hanging on the wall?  Who determined that raising children, caring for a home, and administering the plethora of dailies wasn't enough to "count" as viable work?  Even now, after 27 years of caring for home and family, with my youngest peering into graduation and adult life, she isn't the only one being asked, "What are going to do after graduation."  Only, for me, I'm having a hard time understand how my work just stops when her diploma is in hand.

Won't there still be floors to scrub?  Laundry to wash? Dinners to cook?  Life to manage?  Is housewifery somehow lacking a key ingredient to be considered "success"?  What if, for just a moment, everyone took a step back from the bustle of money and degree drives and actually saw and acknowledged where success starts.... it isn't at the teller counter as you cash in your paycheck, nor is it with college degree in hand. 

Success starts in the home with women who have successfully nurtured their family and made the house somewhere people long and love to come back to.

***
She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her: 
 “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.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

This has been a Five Minute Friday post, please visit link in text to see other great authors as they write about CHALLENGE!  


Blessings,


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

When Marriage Peace is Broken


Oh, where to begin?  I have less than an hour to tap out these thoughts and so many to nail down.... ah, how about the beginning?!

Actually, that isn't so easy either since the "beginning" is sorta muddled up in all that has been flying about the place here.  So let us just grab....

Summer offered a reprieve.

If you have been following me here or in the newsletter on on Instagram, you know what a bang-up year at has been... one of those trial by fire kinds! 

The chaos of home gave way to health and relational issues this summer.  But at least my repair budget had a rest.
Health of some family members, one of which called for me to take my first long-distance solo road-trip since before I was a mother of 4!
Relational as far as my "kids" (I use that term loosely since they are all adults or nearly so) having difficulties with special people in their lives... affecting me because mama is always near to help and encourage.

But we fared well.

School has started with a pretty good launch over all.  Senior year.  Just.wow. 

And then... as if out of nowhere.... WHAM.

Ladies... it doesn't matter how long you have been married... don't take your husband for granted.

Words have power.

God used words to create all of existence and if we were created in His image than it stands to reason our words have power as well.  We can create and destroy with them.

Cozy, I was, relieved that nothing new was breaking and all that had been fixed so far was working.  We have money enough coming to get the furnace fixed just in time for cold weather BUT, even in these cozy reliefs, there was an undercurrent of fear brewing.

Fear which made its way into little corners of conversation with my husband, who is typically pretty chill about finances and trusting me to manage it all well.  Yet, as each week passed and I lamented over just barely enough and we need the overtime so badly... inception happened and he snapped.

Maybe your worries aren't money.  Maybe they are kids or schedules or managing it all... and I am not saying we can't vent on life's concern with our hubbies... we are in a partnership where an exchange of information is critical to keep the machinery of a healthy marriage oiled.

BUT

Yes, there is always a but... as precious and important as our spouses are, God is immeasurably more so. 

My mistake was in taking the worry and ticking away at my husband with it.  Oh, I didn't nag or complain at him, I wasn't frantic or bumbling... but I did fumble on in my fear without any glimpse of Trust.

What I should have done was pray.  I promise, it isn't a cliche` statement.  As these concerns mounted I should have been lifting them, from the heart, to God and TRUSTING Him to take control.  As I collected my peace I could have then discussed my concerns with my husband from an angle of problem solving and resolution rather than unsettled fear and dissolution.  We could then join our prayers, thanking God ahead of time for the work we know and trust He is doing, and peace could have been what reined in each and every conversation on the topic.

I know, there are likely many of you out there who will read this and feel relief in victory you have long since had over a problem like this one... or perhaps your husband is good and faithful to point you heavenward when your heart trembles... I praise God with you for such blessings as these.

But as for me... if I have learned anything this year... it is that it is time I wrote through the mess... sharing it as real and authentic me because I have a feeling that a good number of you struggle in similar ways.  Whether it is trust because you are still figuring it out or trust because, like me, you know you should but you are in a really rough patch and you have grown weary... or perhaps your husband forgets to look up too.  Mine went from secular to saved to... struggling just now.  His heart is still with the Lord but, like me, I think he is overwhelmed by much right now.


Like I said, it is all sorta muddled up.  But here is what I know I am suppose to share... the hard things I have been needing to remember:

1. Don't be continually dripping (Proverbs 27:15)
Yes, talk with your husband, go to him with concerns, depend on him... but if something is troubling you to the point that you are always discussing it or sneaking innuendos into discussions, it will eventually wear him down and the results will be much worse than the struggle.

2. Go to God first and find your confidence in Him (Proverbs 3:26)  
Both you and your husband should always take your cares to the Lord first and foremost and then, with a heart lightened by Trust in God's handling of the situation, come to each other in a solutions-based Christ Confidence mindset... even if you don't have (and are far from) the answers! 

I know what you might say: "But Amanda, my husband isn't going to the Lord so what can I do?"  A quote which became my mantra last year might help:

Resolution One: I will follow the Lord
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will

Your peace and trust in the Lord can be a blessing to your husband, even if he is not walking that same trust with you at the moment.  I can testify on that!!

3. Your husband needs your respect  (1 Peter 3)
If your family is struggling financially and you are always complaining about money or his pay not being enough... he will begin to feel like he isn't providing well for his family.  It will cause job dissatisfaction along with other secondary impacts.  The best path is to be realistic but positive about the finances and encourage him as a hard worker and supporter of the family.
  • Thank him often for working hard.
  • Thank him for his love and affection.
  • Thank him for his care for the children.
  • Do for him, even little things which can remind him of your love.
Don't wait till he does those things for you.... translation: Don't wait until he "deserves" it... after all, if Christ waited for us to "deserve" His sacrifice for us, we never would have gotten it. (Oh how glad I am He didn't wait!!)

4. Repent (Psalm 139:23-24)
EVERY argument between a couple has TWO parts... hers and his.  Sometimes one part is bigger than the other, but there are always two.  It could be you lost your cool and yelled, walling off all reasonable conversation after that point.  It could be you had unreasonable expectations.  It could be one of any number of things... some obvious and some, not so much so.  We should speak up as wives and share our ideas and opinions BUT, at the end of the day, the Bible calls us to submit*... even when we are certain "our way" is better, God does have a plan and, like it or not, it pours through our husbands first.  So, as hard as it might be, ask God to search you and then humbly submit whatever He shows you (and choke back your pride in order to apologize to your husband if it is needed).


I'm not saying this is the perfect recipe to absolute resolution... but it is a great start for finding peace with God, even if the peace in your marriage is shaken for the time being.  I know.  I am there right now!! So many other factors can and do come into play.  As for now, it has taken a number of days to come to a place of peace with my situation BUT I do feel the presence of the Lord and I am certain He is doing a good work in all of this!

I pray you are enjoying a blissful marriage... but if you are not, you are not alone.  Don't give up but do surrender, God has a good plan if you allow Him to work, especially in the mess.

Blessings,






* Please note, if you are in a physically abusive relationship you may possibly need to consider removing yourself from the situation while both of you seek professional help.  Also, husbands should never ask their wives to do something illegal or unbiblical.  Always follow God's Word first. And, finally, if your marriage has continued to suffer over a long period of time, you both may benefit from seeking counsel with your pastor or another trusted Christian counseling service to help with productive conflict resolution.  The thoughts in this article are in no way meant to take the place of professional help when it is needed.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Five Minute Friday: Challenge


As leaves begin their slow fade from luscious shades of green into hues of yellow, orange, red and brown, my soul feels the eclipse of time... the weight of yesterdays and shoulda-coulda-wouldas and change.  My children, now grown, adults and nearly, puzzle and comment at the challenges and struggles they watch me face: "But isn't this degrading?"... the unspoken implication: why don't you quit... why do you allow such challenges when you could be happier, freer, more full of hope?  

But God doesn't promise us a life devoid of challenge.  As a matter of fact, both the Bible and church history are replete with examples of challenges, both small and large, faced by each devout follower.  These same messages are often also full of inspiration as each challenged individual is strengthened, encouraged and, at times, even overcoming the walls which threaten to stand in their way.

Challenge.  

It isn't the end, rather, it is a call to rise and grow and be strengthened. 

The challenge for a leafing tree isn't letting go.... it is holding on when winter sets in, full of hope, and rising again.  It can take strength to let go... but even more so does our strength and ambition grow when we rise to the challenge and keep going.

***

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, 
lacking in nothing.  
James 1:2-4

This has been a Five Minute Friday post, please visit link in text to see other great authors as they write about CHALLENGE!  


Blessings,


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Five Minute Friday: Start


12 years in the planning.  When school started for my pudgy, stringy-haired, academic loving youngest, "the end" was a mere acknowledgement, nothing more.

12 years.

Now, here we stand, 7 months from G-day (Graduation) and I can't help but marvel at the speed with which life runs in the midst of "blinking".

It is bitter sweet.  Truly.  I have watched so many moms suffer deep heartbreak when that last one collected their diploma and stepped over the threshold of academia into the great beyond of LIFE.

A new start.

An aching heart.

I determined, early-on, to try a different approach; pouring into my children while also allowing God to pour alternate purpose into me.  I can't promise the transition will sail perfectly after "the end" but I can admit I am growing more and more excited for this new START.

It will be a start for my daughter, my fourth, my youngest.  Adventuring out into life and all the possibilities it holds.

It will be a start for me as I explore life, for the first time in 25 years, without educating kids and worrying over their rearing at its center. I've had glimpses of this pending start, mixed with potential good and hard... I believe, as long as the Lord's hand is guiding the days of this new fresh start on the future, good will persist to encourage me along it's crisp path.

***
This has been a Five Minute Friday post, please visit link in text to see other great authors as they write about START!  


Blessings,







Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Summer's Wind-down to What's Ahead

Hey everyone!  My planned July hiatus turned into an all-summer un-plug!  First our trip west to visit my mother-in-law, then a busy July trying to knock out as much of my summer bucket list as I could. Just as I was about ready to sit down, lesson plan and resume blog posts, a pressing medical test required my return to northwest Montana in order to further assist my mother-in-law.  She is doing ok now, though one more test will shed more light on what the next few months hold.  As it stands; planning Brooke's graduation for next May just might also include preparing for a BIG move for my mother-in-law so she can be closer to us for more direct assistance when needed.

Phew.


So, with the unexpected extra trip, lesson plans which would normally have been completed in July are only just now in their final stages. 1 1/2 classes left to write up and we will be prepared for our last first day of school on September 3rd!  I'm not too worried though, all the other classes came together in about one-a-day... I just need to wrap my brain around how we are going to tackle English and then I will be able to knock that one out in no time!


Did I mention newsletter deadline approaching as well?!  (Are you signed up btw? If not, see how at the bottom of this article.)  I actually had August's almost ready when everything went down so, sadly, the blog wasn't the only platform neglected for the past 2.5 months!  It is coming together though.  Mostly in my brain and perhaps also in 1s-and-0s-land when I am done with this post!!!

More than just traveling and bucket lists and lesson planning, this summer has also opened doors of QUIET to really hear the Lord on certain issues.  As a result, elements of the newsletter, and this blog, will be going through a transformational stage.

Years ago I was reading an article written to encourage housewives and stay-at-homes... the author shared how we should look at our 'job' as we would any other.... what we lack in confidence, knowledge and understanding, we ought to gain through study and seeking peer leadership.  We should look at our various roles in the home and consider opportunities to further educate ourselves on how to fulfill each role in their ever-transforming ways.  This advice has never left me.


On the in-betweens this summer I read about discipleship as well as about the blessed role of housewife.  I soaked up an inspirational fiction series which covered the scope of a life.  I also dug into the Word and prayer to seek Peace and Guidance.  I've stood in awe inspiring places and soaked up silence... I've bowed my head in noisy places where the bustle of brokenness was nearly deafening... and in it all, these short 2.5 months, I have seen areas in my life and heart which needed some shoring up.  Places where I knew I could and should be doing more as a Voice.


I've struggled and triumphed.
I've cried and laughed.
And as I sit here today tapping away at these keys I can't say that I have all the answers still, but I can say I have a lot to say.

In the weeks and months ahead I know I will continue to wrestle with the overwhelming concepts God has been unfolding, yet, one thing has been made clear to me: I need to write and share in the process.

Expect articles of raw brokenness.
Expect ideas for success in light of many failures.
Expect passion on issues of some debate.

Expect, too, more inside glimpses to this mysterious life of a stay-at-home and the all-so important tedious jobs we perform.
Expect reflection and projection as a teacher preparing to graduate her last.
Expect revelation as new seasons of life open.

Expect hope.

Biblically, if I were to sum up, in one verse, what God has been showing me, it would have to be:

Do not be conformed to this world...
Romans 12:2a

As a writer, a housewife, a mother, a daughter of aging parents, a middle-aged woman (yes, I said it!), but most importantly, as a Titus 2 servant of my King, I must constantly be mindful not just of the world around me but also of my role (every Christian's role) to be a light in the darkness which threatens us at every turn in today's culture.

I hope and pray you will join me in the light, sharing hard truths, exploring important places in heart and home, and growing together as sword sharpens sword.

I'm excited for all that lies ahead.  Please forgive me as I get the hang of new content amidst a new school year schedule starting up!  A rhythm will be re-established soon!

Some parting shots from the last few months...
FINALLY made it out to see Shakespeare in the Park!
Cotton candy sky right after a storm.
Re-vamping menu plans
Went to a painting class with Brooke, Brenden and my mother-in-law during our visit.


SENIOR pictures by the lake Brooke grew up on!!!!  What do you think? 1st or 2nd?
 
 
 
Breathtaking views on our trip back through the Rockies
Another play, this one indoors, to see one of Brooke's friends perform.
This may not look like much but visit my Instagram stories to see my big Bucket-list check: Attic clean-out! Complete with CRAZY before and after pictures and tips for the process.
This simple tip is mentioned in my Instagram stories on the attic clean-out process

New cookbook I found at the Farmer's Market along with some Zucchini which baked up into these delicious and healthy muffins!
Chores, more chores, and a needy cat during break time!
Fair time
Major storm with hail wreaked havoc on our trees and destroyed most of my garden, BUT the good Lord protected our home in the process and no major property damage occurred!!  Have had to spend a lot of extra time on clean-up though.
How was your summer?  I pray you had moments to better connect with family, friends and, most importantly, with the Good Lord who sustains it all.

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 last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • 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.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Go Ahead, Disciple Her

I've been taking some time off from the blog through June and July to just unplug (if you don't count an abundance of Instagram posting!), craft, garden, clean, travel and, best of all, READ!  On that note, I had to take a break from my break to share this amazing book with all of you....


Disciple Her: Using the Word, Work, & Wonder of God to Invest in Women by Kandi Gallaty kept me turning pages.  I am pretty particular about "advice" on discipleship because there seems to be so many misunderstandings and down-right unGodly discipleship practices out there.  In all honesty, I initially dove in as a skeptic!  But I came out SOLD on her message and method.

I began to suspect I was in for something a bit different as I browsed the table of contents where a synopsis of each chapter was included with the chapter headings and page numbers!  Kandi doesn't try to drive her readers with suspense or mystery, no, she dives in, gets to the point and maintains interest and attention simply by filling you with Truth and easy to understand perspective and advice you plow through to soak up more and more of!

Moving on, the first few chapters lay ground-work for defining Biblical discipleship and the importance of each key element of a Christian life: Bible Study, Prayer and Fellowship.  She shares a GREAT Bible read-thru plan and her method of study.  Yet, as she shares these details she also encourages women to not feel obligated to her style, but rather, she implores exploration into other methods which may work best as a given situation requires.

The remainder of the book unpacks the model of discipleship via D-Group settings.  She thinks of EVERYTHING and while she shares examples from her own D-Group meetings, she iterates the importance of making discipleship your own.  The pages in these sections will discuss everything from rogue attendees to inspiration for a typical meeting layout to discerning spiritual maturity to handling deliberate sinful behavior.  No stone is un-turned as she imparts years of wisdom and experience!

My favorite part of this book is Kandi's passion!  I know that isn't a "part" but it permeates every page.  Years ago, when God called me to learn and teach the Bible, I was driven by the idea that every woman should be able to pick up their Bible, open it, and read it meaningfully.  Not that pre-packaged Bible studies are bad... but that I knew we were Called to not use them as a crutch.  Kandi not only breathes mounds of grace and compassion into the overall idea of discipleship but she also animately encourages and equips the reader (like the women in her D-groups) to study the Bible in a more impactful way for themselves... and to invite other women in to join the journey.

This book has easily shot to the top of my list for Book recommendations every woman should read!!  If you aren't sure if YOU are ready to disciple others.... read Disciple Her and you will see how applicable and attainable a process it is.  Before you know it, you will find yourself praying over who God would desire you to begin discipling!!  If you are like me and already actively discipling others, you will find this book to be an encouragement as Kandi equips you with additional tools for your discipleship tool box!

What great books are YOU reading this summer?


Blessings,






I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lifeway in exchange for my review. This review is my opinion alone.


I may be blog-breaking this summer but my Instagram account is VERY active as we putter around the house... and around the region!!  Be sure to pop over and give a follow.  Regular blog posts will be back in August.  Oh, and.......

Would you like to be entered into a drawing for FREE stuff?!  My newsletter for June/July not only contained some inspirational articles for summertime but also an opportunity to be entered for some FREE loot.  If you are interested in checking out my monthly newsletter, Faith and Home Times, read below on how to subscribe.  I will send the current issue along to your inbox and you can learn more on how to enter the latest drawing!

*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 last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • 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.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!