Mothering, Old Wisdom, Wifehood

The Duty of Wives

Julie / November 24, 2012

John Bunyan’s Christian Behavior is a marvelously useful little work.  Unfortunately, it is also hundreds of years old and difficult to read.  Here I attempt to modernize the most immediately relevant part, and I hope to continue and add on some of the other parts.  I have had to add phrases here and there and try to simplify some things, because I think Bunyan’s assumptions of his audience’s foreknoweledge is different and inaccurate for today’s audience, and I have also changed the Scripture text to the modern ESV (modernizing the old English seemed pointless when we have our own even more accurate translation available).  But I’ve tried to understand and put forth what Bunyan intended to communicate as accurately as my grasp of English allows, without adding or taking away anything on my own.  Let me only add that there is some very useful advice hiding in the “Objections” section even for us whose situation is far from objectionable.

First, let me speak to the wives.  The wife is bound by Scripture to her husband, as long as he lives (Romans 7:2).  Therefore her work and place is in the family.

Let me discuss the things which the wife should conscientiously observe in the way she treats her husband.

She must look upon him as her head and lord.

“The head of a wife is her husband” (1 Corinthians 11:3), and so Sarah called Abraham lord (1 Peter 3:6).

She should therefore be subject to him, as is fit in the Lord.

Paul says, “wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:1; Colossians 3:18).  As I said earlier [in a different section of the book], if the husband walks toward his wife in a becoming manner, he will be an ordinance of God to her, in addition to the relation of a husband, that will show her how Christ loves His church.  Similarly, if the wife walks with her husband in a becoming manner, she will preach the obedience of the church to her husband. “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:24).

Run away from these evil tendencies:

A wandering and gossiping spirit.

      This is evil in the church, and it is also evil in a wife, because she is the figure of a church.  Christ loves to have his spouse keep at home, i.e. to be with him in the faith and practice of His things – not to be ranging and meddling with the things of Satan.  So, too, wives should not be prone to wandering and gossiping outside their home.  Proverbs 7:11 says, “She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home.”  Wives should be about their husbands’ business at home, as Paul says, let them “be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands.”  Why?  So “that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:5).

An idle, talking, or squabbling tongue.

      This is an odious habit in all women, married or not, if they behave like parrots and do not control their tongues.  But the wife, who knows that her husband is her lord and over her just as Christ is over the church, should control her tongue.  Do you think it is good for the church to ramble and repeat nonsense against Christ rather than being silent before Him, looking to His laws, rather than inventing its own fictions?  Why should the wife behave any differently toward her husband? “Let a woman,” Paul writes, “learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12).  It is a horrifying thing to see a woman so much as once in her life to strive to be over her husband; she ought in everything to be in subjection to him, and to do everything she does as if her ability, license, and authority is from her husband.  This is her glory, to be under him, just as the church is under Christ; “she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26).

Taking on immodest apparel or behavior.

      This is evil both outside the home and inside.  Outside, it not only gives a poor example, but tempts others to lust and vulgar behavior.  In the home, it offends a godly husband, and encourages ungodliness in children.  So, “women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,” (1 Timothy 2:9-10), and, “do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands” (1 Peter 3:3-5).

Do not think, however, that because of the subjection I have just discussed, that I intend women should be their husbands’ slaves.  Women are their husbands’ yoke fellows, their flesh and their bones, and he is not a man that hates his own flesh or is bitter against it (Ephesians 5:29).  Let every man “however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).  The wife is master of the house next to her husband, and is to rule all in his absence: in his presence, she is to guide the house, to bring up the children, provided she does it so that no adversary can reproach her (1 Timothy 5:10, 13).  “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. A gracious woman gets honor, and an excellent wife is the crown of her husband,” (Proverbs 31: 10, 11:16, 12:4).

Objection: But my husband is an unbeliever. What can I do?

In that case, what I have said is even more important for you.  Your husband as an unbeliever will be even more watchful to take your mistakes and weaknesses and throw them as dirt in the face of God and your Savior.  He will be apt to make the worst of each of your words, actions, and gestures, and all this will harden his heart even further and prejudice him and cause opposition to his own salvation.  So Peter said, “wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1-2).  Your husband’s salvation or damnation is strongly influenced by your manner and behavior before him.  So, if there is any fear of God in you, or any love for your husband, seek to win him to the love of his own salvation by your behavior full of meekness, modesty, holiness, and humble behavior toward your husband.  By doing this, “how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband” (1 Corinthians 7:16).

Objection: But my husband is not just an unbeliever, he is very prone to be contrary to God, to be easily irritated, and quick to anger. I don’t know how to speak to him, or behave in front of him.

Indeed, there are some wives in great slavery because of their ungodly husbands, and we should always pity and pray for them so that they may be even more watchful and careful in all their ways.

1. Be very faithful to him in all the things of this life.

2. Patiently bear his unruly and sinful behavior: remember that you are alive in Christ and he is dead in sin; you are principled by grace, he is principled by sin.  But, seeing grace is stronger than sin, and virtue is stronger than vice, do not be overcome by his vileness, but overcome it with your virtues (Romans 12:21).  It is a shame for those who are filled with grace to be as careless with their words as those who do not have that grace: “whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29).

3. A wise woman will observe convenient times and seasons, if at any time you want to speak to your husband for his conviction, concerning anything, whether good or evil. There is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).  Now for the right timing for your intentions, here are some thoughts:

  • Consider his disposition, and approach him when he is the least in the thrall of those sins that are so bothersome to you.  Abigail would not speak a word to her disagreeable husband until he was no longer under the influence of alcohol, and was in a sober temper (1 Samuel 25:36-37).  If you don’t take heed of his disposition, that’s why so much of what you say seems to be ineffectual.
  • Talk to him when he’s being loving and friendly toward you, and when he proves his love and delight in you.  This is what Esther did with her husband the king, and she prevailed (Esther 5:3,6; 7:1,2).
  • Notice when he is seized by conviction, and follow his conviction up with sound and serious words from Scripture.  This is similar to how Manoah’s wife dealt with her husband (Judges 13:22,23).  Even then, a) let your words be few, and b) let nothing you say be domineering over him, but still take care to speak to him respectfully as your head and lord, pleading and entreating him, and c) speak in such a sympathetic spirit, with deep and obvious affection for his well-being, that the entire manner of your speech and behavior toward him is itself an argument that you are speaking in love as one who is aware of his misery, and enflamed with the desire in your soul for him to be converted to Christ.  Further, d) follow your words and your behavior with prayer for his soul, and e) continue to keep your behavior holy, pure, and modest before him.

Objection: But my husband is an addict, a fool, and can’t even hold down a stable job.

Still, you must know he is your head, your lord, and your husband.You must take great care that you don’t want to steal his authority.  He was not made for you, for you to rule over him, but he was made to be your husband, and rule over you (1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 8).So, even though you may have more discretion and ability than he does, you have to keep in mind that you, and all that is yours, is to be used under his authority.  Even “everything” (Ephesians 5:24).  Be careful that what you do is not done to your name and your credit, but to his; not to your praise but to his; arranging everything so that by your hard work and wisdom, no one may discover your husband’s weaknesses due to your actions.  “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones” and, “she does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 12:4, 31:12).

Therefore act, and behave, as one who is under the power and authority of your husband.

Conclusion

As far as your behavior to your children and your servants: you are a parent and an employer, and so you ought to consider yourself.  Because the believing wife is a figure of the church, she ought, as the church, to nourish and instruct her children and her servants, just as the church.  And, actually, the wife being always at home, has a great advantage in this task – so do it, and may the Lord prosper your obedience.

Mothering, Time Management

The worst version of myself.

Julie / September 2, 2012

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On one of my favorite chick flicks, You’ve Got Mail, at one point Tom Hanks’s character asks, “Do you ever feel you become the worst version of yourself?”

Oh, boy, Joe, do I ever.

I am exhausted much of the time.  I am pregnant quite a bit, too.  Even on a good day, my brain has four separate threads dedicated to each one of my four-and-under children, making sure they aren’t drowning in the toilet or secretly acquiring diaper rash.  If you’re lucky, my kids are elsewhere or amusing themselves happily so that I can sit down and have a nice conversation with you… more likely, though, my kids are crawling all over the place (and probably in cahoots with your kids, should you have any), and 75% of my mental powers at any given moment are completely dedicated to watching them.  But even if they’re being little angels (or absent!), my brain is just not used to grown-up conversation anymore. I’ve gotten really good at repeating myself, and my memory has officially gone on vacation.

In other words: I am one of those horribly rude Mommy-people who occasionally leave off in the middle of sentence, and never return; who talk a lot about poop and throw-up, regardless of whether or not you are also a Mommy who likes to talk about such things; who struggles to talk about current events (what are they and why on earth should I even care?); who struggles to talk theology because right now I’m clinging to all my might with the nitty-gritty of the Gospel that even a five-year-old can recite… and that’s probably not what you were hoping I’d contribute to your Bible study.

In short, I think I probably come off really self-absorbed, because I probably talk a lot about myself, my family, and whatever current child-rearing adventure has reared its head, and because I have an almost complete inability at this point to actually pay attention to any kind of real, linear conversation.

I feel like I have become the worst version of myself.

At least I hope this is the worst.  I’m forever plumbing new depths of how fallen I can be.

Exhaustion, in particular, has been a really profound learning experience.  I can even be kind of psycho, at the end of week of stomach-bug-induced sleeplessness followed by a week of trying to restore some kind of order to our house.  Or at the end of two months of relentless morning sickness surrounded by toddlers watching my every heave.  I didn’t know I could be such an unreasonable person—surprise!  Sleeplessness is the mirror that shows us our wretched selves.

I’ve begun to look at it like this is when I am having trouble not sinning.  This is when I have trouble not being quick to anger.  This is when I have trouble keeping my mouth shut.  This is also when I have trouble stringing together a coherent sentence.  This is when I have trouble listening sympathetically.  This tiredness, this distractedness… this is making my sin real.  It makes it come out to play.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
(Romans 7:21-24 ESV)

It’s always good to be thrown helplessly into the arms of grace.  I appreciate that it makes me appreciate my Savior, appreciate my own inability.  It’s pretty easy to pass for a nice person when we’re refreshed and happy all the time, isn’t it?  It’s hard to be a nice person when we’re grumpy and tired.  It’s hard to be kind.  It’s hard to be a good friend, even; it’s much harder still to be a good wife and a good mother.  It’s like a pot with tiny flaws being constantly held up to the light so they can’t escape notice.

Maybe one day I won’t be tired and distracted anymore, and I’ll be able to do a better job of hiding away all these flaws that are magnified right now.  In the meantime, I’ll keep struggling with them, and struggling to improve them, to “depart from iniquity” and become “useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Tim 2).

And feel free to tell me I’ve talked enough about poopy diapers for the day, and help me talk more about the things that matter.  My brain might relearn old paths and I might be able to speak intelligibly again. Smile

Homemaking

January Angel Food Meal Plan & Recipes

Julie / January 26, 2011

It’s finally finished, almost two weeks earlier than last month’s! My goal is to have the February plan up before the ordering deadline, so you can order the boxes after you get a good look at the plan. But this is what it is, for January:

January Angel Food Meal Plan and Recipes (single page, much better formatting)

Ordering: This plan uses the 2 Bountiful Blessing boxes and 1 S3 (premium fresh fruit and veggies) box.  Total $105.  The only thing I’m using that’s not in the 2 BB boxes is some of the vegetables, so you could just buy the 2 BB boxes (total $82) and buy the produce at the grocery store for probably less than $10.

 

Comments:

  1. If you’re only going to the grocery store once, at the beginning of the plan, cook the recipes with celery, bananas, and/or fresh bread first.  
  2. I’m using some of the same recipes as last month, because I didn’t actually get to cook them thanks to the arrival of number 3.  I won’t usually repeat recipes that fast.  Exceptions are the Sausage & Potatoes recipe and the Blackeyed Pea Soup recipe, which are just really good (hearty, healthy, yummy, and inexpensive) recipes that we actually want to eat as often as I want to cook them!
  3. I divvied up some vegetables, but a couple meals still need the addition of a can of green beans or something.

 

Goal: As usual, to feed my family of five (including three little people) 30 meals, while buying little from the grocery store.  I’m not using the hot dogs, the fruit, or the meat box in the plan, and we’ll give away one of the bags of fries.  This also doesn’t use nearly all the breaded chicken–I’m still learning what to do with it.  This plan feeds 28 meals.  I’ve been trying to find somewhere to squeeze out the extra meals, but the truth is that we don’t eat that many meals a month at home, that there will be some leftovers anyway, and that I really don’t want to squeeze out the extra meals this month–I like the recipes I’ve picked!

 

Meal

from box

from pantry

from store

Spaghetti

1/2 Fully-Cooked Meatballs

Pasta

Pasta Sauce

parmesan cheese

bread

 

Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

quick oatmeal

milk

eggs

butter

baking powder

salt

vanilla

peanut butter

 

Crockpot Black Eyed Pea Soup

*freeze half*

Sweet Italian Sausage

1 onion

1 cup diced carrots

6c chicken broth

italian seasoning

1 c diced celery

1lb dried black eyed peas

Stuffing-topped Pork Apple Skillet with Sweet Potatoes

Bone-In Pork Chops

onion

apple

sweet potatoes

Balsamic Vinaigrette

brown sugar

 

stuffing

Sausage and Potatoes

Breakfast Link Sausage

potatoes

onions

 

 

French Dip Sandwiches

and Fries

*reserve leftovers*

Choice Beef Netted Roast

Fries

soy sauce

bouillion cube

bay leaf

rosemary

thyme

garlic

french bread

Beef & Barley Soup

leftovers from French Dip

carrots

onion

butter

beef broth

1can diced tomatoes

basil

oregano

1c quick-cooking barley

celery

frozen peas

Meatball Orzo Soup

1/2 Fully Cooked Meatballs

½ bag yellow squash and zucchini

2 eggs

chicken broth

parsley

lemon juice

3/4c orzo pasta

Minestrone

Minestrone

 

 

Stir-Fry with Sauce and Rice

Breaded Chicken Breast Assorted Pieces

onion

carrots

cabbage

Beef-Flavored Rice & Vermicelli

assorted vegetables

stir-fry sauce (e.g. La Choi sweet & sour)

 

White Chili and Cornbread

1lb Lean Ground Beef

Northern Beans

Jiffy Cornbread Mix

 

1c medium salsa

1c frozen corn

8oz jalapeno pepper cheddar cheese

Spaghetti

1/2 Fully-Cooked Meatballs

Pasta

Pasta Sauce

Bread

Parmesan cheese

 

Italian Sausage Soup

Sweet Italian Sausage

carrots

northern beans

½ bag yellow squash and zucchini

garlic

beef broth

1 can stewed tomatoes

2c spinach

Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Onions

*save leftovers*

Choice Beef Netted Roast

onions

carrots

potatoes

 

 

Roast Beef Hash

eggs

oil

garlic

thyme

cayenne

nutmeg

heavy cream

Lasagna and Green Beans

Lasagna

Green Beans

 

 

Moist Cheddar Garlic Oven-Fried Chicken and Peas and Carrots

Split Chicken Breast

 

Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots

butter

garlic

seasoning salt

dry bread crumbs

cheddar cheese

parmesan cheese

Herbed Chicken and Tomatoes and Yellow Squash and Zucchini

Split Chicken Breast

 

Yellow Squash and Zucchini

2 cans italian diced tomatoes

pasta

sugar

1 envelope savory herb with garlic soup mix

parmesan cheese

Chicken Nuggets Parmesan and Green Beans

Breaded Chicken Breast Assorted Pieces

Green Beans

 

1 jar pasta sauce

parmesan cheese

mozzarella cheese

Pork Chops with a Maple-Mustard Glaze and Cornbread

Bone-In Pork Chops

Jiffy Cornmeal Mix

butter

chicken broth

maple syrup

dijon mustard

sage

thyme

2tsp heavy cream

Sausage and Eggs

Breakfast Link Sausage

Eggs

 

 

Meatloaf and Rice

1lb Ground Beef

Oatmeal

Onions

Egg

Beef-Flavored Rice & Vermicelli

Ketchup

 

Minestrone

Minestrone

 

 

Crockpot Black Eyed Pea Soup

*from freezer*

 

 

 

Hearty Harvest and Ham Stew

onion

cabbage

potatoes

carrots

olive oil

garlic

celery seed

caraway seed

paprika

1lb ham steak

3c greens

Lasagna and Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots

Lasagna

Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots

 

 

Baked Banana Oatmeal

Quick oats

2 eggs

milk

brown sugar

butter

baking powder

vanilla

chocolate chips

3 bananas

Meatball Subs and Fries

1/2 of Fully-Cooked Meatballs

Fries

pasta sauce

rolls

 

Grocery List:

  1. rolls
  2. french bread
  3. 3 bananas
  4. celery
  5. 1lb ham steak
  6. 1 jar pasta sauce
  7. 1 envelope savory herb with garlic soup mix
  8. 1pk chicken stuffing
  9. 1c medium salsa
  10. orzo pasta
  11. quick-cooking barley
  12. 1lb dried black-eyed peas
  13. pint heavy cream
  14. mozzarella cheese
  15. parmesan cheese
  16. cheddar cheese
  17. 8oz jalapeno pepper cheddar cheese
  18. frozen corn
  19. frozen peas
  20. 3c + 2c greens (spinach)

 

Cost-cutting tips:

  1. both the recipes that call for heavy cream could be substituted with milk
  2. making your own sandwich rolls and french bread is much cheaper than buying them
  3. you can find a recipe for the soup mix here
  4. I will probably substitute regular cheddar cheese for the jalapeno pepper cheese, since we buy cheddar in bulk
  5. the recipe comments have instructions for substituting regular barley for the quick-cooking kind

Happy eating!

Homemaking

December Angel Food Meal Plan & Recipes

Julie / December 18, 2010

So, I had great plans of publishing this weeks ago–it was complete in the particulars–but I wanted to finish/polish a few things and life has not exactly cooperated!  Hopefully this will be better (and earlier) in future months.

Here’s the plan (DOC), based on two Bountiful Blessing boxes and one fresh fruit and veggie box:

Download a PDF.
The main thing I had hoped to accomplish before publishing it was to come up with a good ordering to the meal plan in order to use the fresh ingredients (celery, onions, potatoes) before they went bad.  Instead, just keep that in mind and pick the meals off in the order that makes your family happy!  I’ll try to get this all straightened out by next month. Edit: just FYI, I’m beginning with the chicken fried rice tonight and the slow-cooker black-eyed pea soup tomorrow to use up a good chunk of the produce without going to the grocery store yet.

Unlinked recipes:

  • Mom’s Sausage Stovetop Casserole — this is my mom’s recipe. Basically… if the sausage/hamburger is raw (it’s supposed to be, but I’m using cooked this month because that’s what’s in the AF box, just going to dice it and toss it in), then you cook it, drain it, and mix all the ingredients together on the stove. (It’s also supposed to be made with noodles and Velveeta, not mac-n-cheese packages, but I think this will turn out to be quite good and use lots of the mac-n-cheese which is otherwise a bit of a mammoth on this month’s menu.) Adjust proportions according to whimsy; the recipe also handles substitutions well. Onions are good too.
  • Chicken de Provence — My recipe. Rip up / dice the chicken, season quite heavily with herbs de provence, cook it on the stove in lots of olive oil, then add alfredo sauce (1/2 a jar or so), a dash (1/3 c) of tomato sauce, and maybe 3 oz of cream cheese. Stir till all melty and bubbly, serve over rice. This is not a giant recipe, but it’s very easy and yummy and we almost always have all the ingredients on hand–this is one of my what-am-I-going-to-make-in-10-minutes recipes.

January Angel Food boxes:

I’m very excited about next month’s boxes; they look like they rely even less on pre-prepared food and are generally healthier.  My current plan is to order:

  • 2 Bountiful Blessing boxes ($41)
  • 1 S2 box (steak and chicken, $23)
  • 1 S3 box (fruit and veggie, $23)

That’s probably more than we can eat in a month, but the S2 box is too much in line with what we like to have on hand in the freezer to pass up!  Maybe I’ll shift some of that to dinners and use some of the more lunch-like items in the Bountiful Blessing boxes for lunch and extras!

Homemaking, Wifehood

This is my job. And it’s a job.

Julie / September 24, 2010

Seth is a little quicker than I am to jump in and proclaim that I do work a “full-time job,” which I appreciate, even as I feel a little sheepish about it myself.  Although if I was doing all the cleaning and housework and 24-hour-a-day nannying for any other family but my own, I’d definitely think it was a job!

Part of my problem is that I feel like home-work is a calling and duty in itself.  Outside jobs may be the way husbands fulfill their own duties to provide for their families, but the actual job itself isn’t the duty–it’s the means to the end.  My “job,” on the other hand, is the end.  (Not the ultimate end; home-work is just my first line in the grand scheme of serving God, but it’s still a specific and direct calling.)

Anyway, all of this has hindered me a bit from realizing one important truth until it completely hit me upside of the head last week: this is a job.

I mean that in a “negative” sense.  This is a job, in the sense that it’s a lot of work.  It’s hours and hours of work, every day.  It’s just like life at the office: some days you watch the clock and die for a break.  Some days you’re exhausted or sick and all you want to do is go back to bed.

Maybe because I used to work outside the home, or maybe because even my inside-the-home work used to be so much simpler, I’ve really struggled with the occasional monotony and unavoidableness of this job of mine.  This is motherhood, after all; noble and divine calling and all that.  This is supposed to be fun!  I’m supposed to be enjoying every second, right?  If it’s not all joy all the time, then either I’m doing something wrong, or somebody’s asking too much of me!

And no.  In all seriousness, I can’t compare working at home-work to the office work I used to do–home-work is much much much much more demanding, but it also has a lot of joys and giggles and very deep rewards that the best office job in the world could never offer.  But sometimes, however rarely or commonly, sometimes it’s hard.  Sometimes I just gotta suck it up and get it done because it is my job.  Just because the delirious joy of changing poopy diapers isn’t happening doesn’t mean I get to stop working.

Home-work is a discipline, just like so many other aspects of serving God.  Sometimes we pray because we’re just outflowing with delight to talk to our Creator but sometimes we pray because we’re told to.  Sometimes we open our Bibles with glee and sometimes we open them and read with frustration at our total lack of connection to the text.  I’ve always struggled with doing any of these things that are “supposed” to be a joy at times that the joy just isn’t coming, and home-work is another one I’m adding to that list.  Put another way, I’m learning that sometimes, home-work is something I do because I have to, because it glorifies God and serves my family, even when I’d rather be tucked under the covers snoozing away. 

It’s better to enjoy the work, but it’s necessary to do it whether I enjoy it or not.  It is a job, and sometimes you have to go to work and do your best even when you’d much rather be on vacation.  And in that sense, I desperately need to see it as a job, and not just a very busy activity of leisure!

Home-Centered

Weighing outside activities.

Julie / September 17, 2010

I really like this blog post: When It’s Time to Just Say No

I recently joined a morning Bible study–biweekly–and it was a really big decision for me, one I’d never had to make before because we didn’t have a car and so I was “stuck” at home.  And I struggled pretty deeply over what this two-hours-every-other-week would mean for my kids.  I don’t like putting them in nursery; I’d be much happier if everyone met in a giant room and the kids could play in the background while the moms fellowshipped and studied.  Since that isn’t the format, though, I had to think though the implications of putting them in the nursery, away from Mommy (and Mommy away from her first job as homemaker).

After talking to Seth, I decided to give it a shot.  I hope it will be good for the girls to have some exposure to kids near their age, and two hours every other week doesn’t sound like an unreasonable amount of time.  Maybe they’ll start learning about social expectations and obeying adults other than us!  At any rate, E seemed to enjoy it, and R clearly wasn’t traumatized–although when I came back after the study, the girls were standing (just standing), right next to each other, doing absolutely nothing besides silently watching the other kids!

And for me, it’s mainly about trying to be involved with church.  I feel like there are a lot of activities that I can’t be a part of, because of our home responsibilities, and so I’m sure it seems to many people that we’re “fringe” people.  But our biggest problem is that our kids go to bed waaaay early and everything goes haywire if they can’t.  So when the study came up, and it’s during the day and minimally disruptive to our home, it seemed good to participate.

But my point here is that it wasn’t a decision I made lightly.  I was really concerned about the impact it would have on my first responsibility as a homemaker and mother, which is the whole point of the post I linked above, although for her family and home, she decided it wasn’t good to do a very similar outside activity.  I think our morning starts very early, comparatively, and so it is neither hard to get out the door on time, nor does it blow our whole day–we have a nice long morning far before 9:30 ever rolls around!

I couldn’t agree more with the author, though, that it all boils down to making intentional choices about the ways we spend our time, especially our time outside the home.  I’m learning that a lot of life in general, actually, boils down to being intentional and purposeful–this is just one more little area.

Homemaking

Works for Me Wednesday: Microfiber Cloths!

Julie / September 8, 2010

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I know I’m way late to the gate on this one, but I’d never really tried microfiber cloths before.  I was very confused about the whole safe-to-use-with-cleaning-fluids issue, and I don’t like the feel of them on my hand–they’re just so sticky and they get caught and pulled in microscopic fingernail tears I didn’t even know I had–and they remind me of nothing so much as pantyhose.  Just, ewwwww.

But I kept reading about how they were literally the best thing to happen to 41y83ukPHXL._SL160_a housekeeping since sliced bread, and with the whole cloth diaper thing, it just seemed to make a whole lot of sense to try to reduce our astounding trash pile of paper towels.  So I ordered a great big pile of microfiber cloths and chomped at the bit until they finally came in and I could see for myself if all the hype was true.

It is.  The most amazing thing about microfiber cloths is to clean off semi-solid messes, like tomato sauce or peanut butter from R’s highchair; there is no comparison between these cloths and anything else I’ve ever tried.  They’re really good about not just pushing messes around, but actually picking them up.  They’re also more than competent at cleaning up liquid spills: one cloth, wrung out once, cleaned up about 10oz of spilt milk, which means they’re as efficient as most sponges and less work–and less leave-behind smearing.  They’re obviously good at dusting and picking up very small particles (like crumbs), but they’ve surprised me with their grippiness and ability to de-stickyfy surfaces as well.  Honey, for instance, is no match for the microfiber.

I’ve also been surprised by how often it’s efficient for me to simply rinse them, wring them, and keep using them.  I bought 36, and expected to have to buy more (or do laundry all the time) because we easily were going through that many paper towels in a day just cleaning the counters, the floors, and various other kid-dirtied surfaces.  And it is nice to have enough of them so that if one gets too grody, I can toss it in the laundry without worrying about whether or not it’ll make me run out too soon, but I definitely don’t anticipate buying any more.  I keep one on our paper towel rack for drying hands, one on the counter for cleaning counters, and one on another towel rack in the kitchen for getting little drips off the floor as they happen.  The floor and counter ones end up getting replaced at least a couple of times each day, but they still last a lot longer than paper towels did.

The only thing I really regret is that I didn’t know about microfiber cloths sooner!

works for me wednesday at we are that family