Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Break Time

Last night two of my dear friends and I met for coffee and talk. Or, I should say, talk and coffee. It was great to share struggles, joys, advice, and laughter and get a few hours of uninterrupted adult conversation. How great, you ask? Well, let me just say that between the three of us, we have 17 children!

"Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another..." 1 Thess 5:11

Monday, April 21, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Toys R Us? Naaahh. Target? No, thanks. Borders? Yes, Please!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nate Saint

I finished reading the YWAM biography of Nate Saint to the kids on Sunday. I really love reading these as much as the kids love to listen to them...maybe more! This series presents the missionaries as real people who love(d) God, not 'spiritual giants' who we can never attain to. I hope and pray that God will move in the hearts of my children to give them a passion to serve God wherever He calls them; be it in the home or in a 'normal' vocation, or in the mission field of a suburban neighborhood...or overseas. In high school I remember singing a song in a summer singing/touring group called, 'Please Don't Send me to Africa'. It was a funny song, and I am positive that the message ended up being about being willing to serve Christ wherever He calls. But all I remember is 'Please don't send me to Africa. I don't like lions, or tigers, or bears....' This is not the picture I want the kids to have--a negative and resistant attitude to anything that threatens our personal comfort. God tells us that loving Him equals obedience to His Word. We can say we love Him, but our disobedience shows Him that really, we don't. Convicting.

Once again I wasn't able to get through the ending of the Nate Saint book without tears. The kids always look at me kind of funny when I cry over a book (be it about a martyr or Laura Ingalls!), so I tried to help them understand that this man was somebody's real Daddy, somebody's real son and brother.

I think next we'll read The Hiding Place, one of my all-time favorite books.

Happy Wednesday

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. -Jane Austen

Monday, April 14, 2008

Helpmeet Book, Part 2

Well, I finished reading Created to be His Help Meet yesterday. Here are my thoughts. Understand that I don't have the time or energy to go through page by page and dissect specific examples. But I'll give you my overarching impressions after one read-through of the book.

As I said in the last post, there were many things that I was initially excited about. I am a person who loves practical application, so I was energized by the things Debi suggested to do to bless your husband. Take care of yourself, think about ways to serve and make him comfortable, be careful to respect him with your speech, initiate intimacy and be 'into' it. That said, when I closed the book, I had a weird feeling that took me some time to put my finger on. After talking to Kevin and thinking some more, I think what bothered me is that Debi's 'straight talk' can come across as extremely unloving and ungracious toward struggling women. Which comes across as pride. The tone of the book was at times, unsettling.

Another problematic 'tone' of the book is how much of the responsibility she puts on the wife to create that 'heavenly marriage'. One example is the advise she gives a lady who is at her wits' end with her husband. This woman bemoans the fact that her house is basically falling down around her ears: trash in the yard, broken and leaky plumbing, screens with holes in them, toilets that need replacing. The woman says her husband has put off doing any work on these problems for months, but runs out to help every other person who calls for help with their handy-man needs. Perhaps this woman could handle picking up the trash herself, and maybe fixing a screen door, but that's really beside the point. Debi Pearl calls this woman a 'dumb cluck' and advises her to learn how to do all the fixing herself! In another part of the book, she says that we should 'paint the hall and cut the grass' so our husbands can go golfing. I completely agree that we should look for ways to serve and bless our husbands, but after reading this book, I can't help but think that women are being a bit devalued here.

There is a lot of good encouragement contained here, but surely there is a similar book out there that has the diamonds without all the rocks.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Other Side

Okay, I do know that jokes should usually be taken 'lightly', and don't want to be a big stick-in-the-mud, but I have to confess that my conscience has been bothering me a bit about my recent "Survivor" post. We all know that humor always contains a grain of truth, and I keep wondering if the 'grain' contained in that funny story is subtle male-bashing? I asked Kevin to read it and tell me what he thought, and he didn't laugh. He smiled, but didn't think it was really all that cute. So, in an effort to present 'the other side' of the coin, here's what the ladies' "Survivor" series would entail.

The women would have to rise early every day and get themselves to work, on time, knowing that difficult coworkers, bosses, and customers await, as well as competition amongst the ranks. Often they are under-appreciated. The full weight of providing for a spouse and children is always on their minds. Savings? Retirement? College? Making the monthly budget stretch? It's all up to them, and they bear the burden of this pressure.

After being away all day at work and emotionally exhausted, the ladies will be met at home with even more responsibility. The kids will need disciplining, the husband will demand help and relief as he too is tired after his day with the kids.

The ladies will be ultimately responsible for the spiritual training, nurturing, and growth of the kids. Before the Lord. (Wow.) They are also held accountable for the behavior and reputation of their husbands before the Lord and others.

When there is a strange noise downstairs at two o'clock in the morning, the husband will huddle under the covers while the ladies must don their robes and bravely check things out. Bravely.

The ladies will be responsible to pay close attention to the care and maintenance of all family vehicles. This includes oil changes and tire rotations, as well as being alert to strange noises. the ladies must research and locate the most honest and reasonably-priced mechanic available, or do the work themselves. And figure out how to fit the cost of parts and labor into the budget.

All rodent and insect elimination is the sole responsibility of the wives.

I don't know about you, girls, but I am soo glad to be a woman, with a woman's job of keeping my home! I can't imagine all the pressure and responsibility that men must face! I could have added a description about all the sexu@l temptation men must deal with at every turn, but couldn't quite figure how to equivocate that one. That issue alone must be exhausting to a godly man who is fighting against it and who strives to be a 'one-woman man'. And I know that this little list doesn't begin to cover the struggles, pressures, and responsibilities that men face on a daily basis.

Just as the image of a man wearing make-up and polishing his nails is weird and disgusting, so is the thought of the woman creeping downstairs in the middle of the night to check out a scary noise, while her husband cowers in bed.

Forgive me for my un-funny little post. I am so glad that men are created to be manly, and different, than women. Aren't you?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Helpmeet Book, Part 1

My friend Kathy loaned me a book by Debi Pearl called Created to be His Help Meet. I've seen this book advertised in homeschool and Christian publications, and have always been curious to check it out, partly because the book To Train Up a Child, by Michael and Debi Pearl, was instrumental to Kevin and I as we formulated a philosophy about raising children. (On a quick side note, people either love or hate this child-training book, it seems. My friend Beth calls it 'the horse-whipping book'. If you google it you'll find all kinds of claims that it promotes child abuse and such. While Kevin and I don't agree with everything in the book, we did find it to be very helpful, mainly by showing us that kids don't have to understand to be expected to obey. Okay, not such a quick side note...) So far, I am about a fourth of the way through.

Initially, I was really excited and inspired by the encouragement to really be the kind of woman your husband wants to come home to. Lots of good and very practical advise. Debi has a very feisty, straightforward style that's refreshing in a day when lots of writing geared toward women can come across as fluffy and so gentle as to not plainly state hard truths. Not the case here. Pretty in-your-face, like one example when she answers a letter and paints a bleak picture of what will happen if this woman continues to drive her husband away: poverty, loneliness, and stress of being a single mother.

A couple of things have given me pause, though. She asserts that there are three types of men, based on the three main attributes of God. This seems a bit unfounded, in my opinion. I don't know, I just get kind of wary when bold assertions can't be clearly backed up with scripture...The point she's making is a good one, I think: learn what your husband needs so you can be his 'perfect' fit. However, the descriptions of the types of husbands seem a little weird to me. I can't quite put my finger on it...so maybe it's too early to blog about my opinion. I will be getting back to this book in more posts as I progress.

Have any of you read this book? Any thoughts?

Moms, Need a Laugh?

I don't know who wrote this, so unfortunately I don't know who to give credit for this little funny...


The next "Survivor" series:

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up. The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called Mother!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why I Should Avoid the Mall Like the Plague

It started with an innocent little coupon. Not just any ol' coupon, but one for a free pair of, um, unmentionables from a particular unmentionable store that I normally do not buy from. And, no purchase was required to use this thing. Anyone who knows me is probably aware that I am a sucker for any kind of money-saving bargain. I was obviously going to have to venture to the nicer mall in town, and on the way there, I was giving myself a little talk in my head. (Does anyone else do this? Just humor me and pretend you do so I won't feel weird.) It went like this: "In, and out. Get the free stuff and run. Lots of bright and shiny store displays. Temptation will be everywhere. Be aware that they want to take your money. Don't fall for it!"

My first mistake was going into one of my favorite stores, just to look, mind you.

The picture here tells what happened. Thankfully, I had somewhere to be by 3:15 that forced me to get out of the evil hypnotizing place. I am still trying to figure out what category I will need to steal money from to make this work.