Monthly Archives: October 2014

For Such a Time as This

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Good things vs. God things”?

I’ve wanted a lot of good things in my life.  Truly good things.  Things straight off of the “perfect Christian life” page.   I’ve passed a lot of them on the freeway of life, but there’s one that sticks.  It’s the daydream of getting away from it all – living somewhere more rural, somewhere I could have more than a few sad tomato plants, where my long skirts and slight hair coverings wouldn’t leave folks wondering if I was Amish, somewhere I wouldn’t have to fight traffic at 7pm or wonder about my safety and that of my kids.

It’s not a bad daydream, as daydreams go.

You know, most of the “perfect Christian” stuff isn’t bad.  Most of it is valuable and good and worthy.  It’s worth pursuing, if we’re allowed to do so.

But we take those good things and we make them into gods.   We’re in flesh-tents, it’s not weird to want to “win” at mortal life.  It’s not weird to compare ourselves to the “perfect Christian” – however imaginary that person is.   It’s *not* weird.  But it’s fleshly.

James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

The questions we should be asking ourselves are, “What am I here for?”  “How can I serve?”  “How can I bless the people around me – today?”

None of us has been promised a perfect life.  None of us has been promised a tomorrow.  And it’s not as if this world is all there is – not for any of us.   Someday I’ll have a mansion… and maybe our Lord will put it on a windswept moor where I can stomp ’round the heather with my faithful dog rampaging somewhere in the distance…. or maybe He has something better.  I’m not tied to a life that is merely mortal, and “as good as it gets” is not up to me.

If I were to die tonight…. the regrets I would have are the times I totally flubbed my Christian witness.  The people I left thinking, “Hypocrite”.  I would care about the work left undone in my children’s lives, and leaving my husband to mourn.  I would be sad about those folks that I hadn’t yet witnessed to, and those I had somehow offended.*   But that’s it.  The last breath in this world is the last breath I take in hell.   I’m looking forward to the rest of eternity.

So – today I’m here to remind you (and me) that our purpose is for today.  To do the good work that is before us with the strength in our hands and the joy that is in our hearts.  I’m here to remind you that pursuing “perfection” is fine if it’s God sending you on the errand because something lacks in your heart – and isn’t fine if it’s something that you’re doing so you can make *yourself* good enough.

I won’t regret a moment of kindness, I won’t regret the opportunities to refresh people’s minds about Scary Christian Ladies.   (Okay, I like being a very confusing Scary Christian Lady).

So – while I’ll enjoy every bit of good that God brings into my life, I’m not going to cry too hard about not getting to stomp ’round those moors.  I’ll get to them someday, and when I do, maybe I won’t be walking on a crippled foot.

* Don’t worry, I’m in my usual robust state of health.  Have some kale?

Shades of Grey

I was talking to a Pagan friend the other day and she said that there is no white without black, no black without white.  That was bad enough, and then I started reading some books written by another Pagan (Neil Gaiman) and an atheist (Anthony Bourdain) and opened my eyes a bit to the world (sometimes I try hard to not pay attention to the dominant paradigm).

The books were well-written, and my friend is beloved.  But they caused me to open my eyes and start seeing what is around me.  I read that letter purported to be by a woman planning to abort her child, saying that this is just not the time to meet.  I listened to the way things are phrased in the world about me.

My dear mist-dwellers.  You have won.  No, you haven’t won the war, but you’ve won the hearts of those bound away from God.  No one believes in white anymore.  Maybe they believe in black – but probably not.  This makes my heart weep, and rage and grieve.  No wonder you think I’m a simple sweet girl, as I see nearly everything as white or black.  How silly of me, to fail to see the subtleties.

And I weep.  Because you do not see God.  You do not see the God, so bright and shining that no mortal may see His glory and live.  Whose merest reflection on Moses’ face caused it to shine.  That a coal from His altar could cleanse the lips of His prophet, as if by fire.  Oh blessed cleansing fire, my Lord, they will not see You!

If I hated them, I would not care.  It is just that those who turn from the Light live in a world of shadow.  But I don’t hate them.  I wonder, and I ask myself, “Why, Lord – can you not make my face like Moses’ face, that they will see Your light in me?  If they will not look to You, can you not reflect yourself in a thousand thousand eager Christian eyes?”  How, how can I make them see God?

I cannot.  So I will pray.  And I will pray with fierceness and fire and heart.  Let the Lord’s Light so shine before men that they cannot say that there is no White in this world, that there is no purity, that there is no good without the stain of evil.  *I* am stained, but He is not.

The whispering, clinging, sneaking tendrils of swamp mist? Those are fit only for the torch, to be burned away and revealed for what they are – lies.

Verses on my mind:

John 3:19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Romans 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Once upon a time, our stories and myths were written about those who followed Right to the end, no matter what stood in their way.  We wrote about those who would not compromise with evil, simply because it was evil.  Our imaginations were filled with knights and paladins … and even simple hobbits, willing to go to the end of the World.

And now we have compromised with evil for so long, that we no longer see what is good, and righteous, and true.  And if you cannot see your goal, how can you walk towards it?

This world grieves me.  But I can pray.  And you can pray.  And we can stand firm in the gospel of Christ, stand for what is right.

It’s our turn to subvert the dominant paradigm.  Are you with me?


The possible audiences to address:

1) Those who are not Christians, they don’t know Jesus yet.  I hope to bring some Light to these folks and show them even the teeniest part of how wonderful it is to belong to the Lord.  I hope to start the questions in their hearts that the Light can inspire, to give them a craving for Jesus.

2)  Those who are Christians, who love Jesus and want to please Him.  I want to walk with these folks and share our journeys together.  “When you go through the swamps, watch out for the mosquitoes!”  We have good stuff to offer one another – I’m here to offer my life, my walk, to be transparent so maybe it makes some part of your walk a little easier.

3)  To folks who are nominally Christians but don’t care about pleasing Jesus.  I hope I can inspire them to fall in love with our Lord and obey Him with all joy.  He’s where it’s at.  Sometimes we can get so mixed up and think that doing stuff on the outside will fix our insides.

Why isn’t my blog about “how to be a good Christian housewife”?  I have a homemakingish blog – although mostly I talk about sewing, but it’s not like, “here’s how to be a good wife”.  Other women do it, and they do it well.  It’s their calling.

I don’t want to argue with folks.  Either you love Jesus and you want to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and body… and we can compare notes and learn from one another along that path – or you don’t.  If you don’t, maybe I can change your mind about Jesus.  But if you don’t have a soft heart to our Lord, all my arguments are useless… because that’s what they’re based on.  My worst rebuke is, “Do you think what you’re doing/saying is bringing glory to God?”

See, I don’t think you can build a good house without the right foundation.  I tried.  I tried that Sunday Christian dreck… and it was lousy.  I tried the outer righteousness bit, where I worked really hard on my outsides and “if I can just get this right, my world will be okay” … and that crumbled too.  The *only* foundation is Jesus.  So get your relationship with our Lord right and tight, and everything else will follow.  You’ll want to be good at being a good wife or husband – because you’ll want to please Jesus.  Love Jesus, then follow His commandments.   That’s the order He put it in, there’s probably a reason.

It’s not that the following part is unimportant.  It’s just that you have to have a reason to follow Him.  You have to be utterly sold out to Jesus, with the determination that NOTHING will pull you away from Him.  If you are… well, the rest *will* follow.

And I’m not pretending I’m there, that I’m perfect or I don’t have stuff to deal with.  I am far from perfect and I have lots of stuff.  But the thing is – I know it, I’m working on it, and the reason I’m *doing that* is because I want to please my Lord and Savior.

(I know there are people who take this as a reason to not work, and I don’t get that.  If you love Him, your actions will show it.  Generally I take those folks not-very-seriously.  If you care, put your money where your mouth is … or shut up.  One or the other, thanks).

So.  That’s why I write what I write – and don’t write.


Hat tip to BB… whose comment: in regards to marriage purpose statements gave me some great stuff to mull over in the back of my head for the past week or two.

Another hat-tip… I was just taking a mental break and went over to Jess’ place and SLAM!  Here you go.

I am someone who is continually sanding herself down, continually working to find the right balance.   I work to think up good schedules and priorities, and then I let those run along while I get on with the rest of my life.   Give things a month or two, and see what needs tightening up.   I’m also a person whose unofficial priorities (the emotional ones) sneak in and have to be defended against.

My goal is to become a Proverbs 31 wife.  When I picture the Prov 31 lady, I see a lady in her 50s.  She’s still strong, still capable of taking just about everything life can dish out – but she also has a lifetime of skills to draw on, and is far enough along that she is reaping the benefits of the investments made.  She has grown children, she has handmaidens, she has a husband who is hanging out at the gates of the city.  This woman is a woman in her full maturity.

The season of life that I find myself in (see “week in the life of me”) is primarily concerned with maintenance and supervision.  My children are older – 10 and 14 – and well able to keep up with their own work as long as I provide guidance and an occasional prod.   It is time for me to – having gotten the most important things going – to start work on the other parts of my life.  (Without letting my primaries slip).  (I’m 41, fwiw).

I spent the last year doing an internship at church, so I can be part of serving the Body in a more organized fashion.  And I’ve been trying to get my sewing skills off the ground – make a bit of a business of it.  But I find that I still have the mentality that my sewing is a “me thing” – and so is my physical activity.  Even though a long walk in what will have to do as the woods does me no *end* of good psychologically and physically… I feel a bit guilty.

So, since making intelligent investments in the future is a big part of being a Proverbs 31, it’s time for me to look very carefully at my life and see where I’m being nibbled to death by ducks, and it’s time for me to ruthlessly squash guilt when it rears its ugly head.   There are times when I’m being a lazy-bug, but more times when I’m just spread too thin and suffering for it.

It’s all putting theory into action!

A week in the life of me…-

A week in the life of a housewife was started by SuperSlavisWife and continued by Elspeth  Usually I post housewife stuff over at To Be Lovely (my blogspot address) but because most of y’all are WP users, I’m posting it here.   Hope you enjoy.

A little explanation…………..

My life is mostly about keeping all the plates spinning.  I do a tremendous amount of “touch this and keep it going”.  That’s how I work with the kids… I “touch in” and make sure they understand the work they’re doing, I make sure they’re on task, staying on target with their project completion, etc.    I “touch in” with the house.  I clean… but rarely do I sit down and do a big cleaning session.  But if the phone rings, magically I’m on my feet, and I have busy hands for the whole phone call.   So my house is always reasonably clean.  Seldom sparkly, never disgusting, often cluttered of a Monday morning with weekend debris.

And I get interrupted constantly!  Well, Wednesday afternoon was a great example of that.  I wanted to work on a sleeve.  I worked for five minutes, I got interrupted.  I worked for 10 minutes, I got interrupted.  Argh!  Sometimes I find that extended time to do what I’m doing is luxury indeed.   Saturday afternoon … it just says “sewing”.  I had three hours to sew, uninterrupted (well, mostly.  I stopped and made tea for my husband, I wandered in and out of the kitchen turning off the potatoes and eggs when they were done… I’m pretty sure I let the dog out….) and I made the sleeve.  Sunday I had some uninterrupted time in the garden.  (I interrupted myself on that one – it was hot out there!  So I popped in to drink water and cool down before heading back out to beat on the greenery some more.)

When I was logging the times, I stopped feeling like this was an exercise, and started getting stressed out (it’s not a long journey right now) and feeling like the Internet Universe as a whole was watching me.  So I went to a list. That and the moment when I was walking around my bedroom in putting away laundry and deciding on my dress for dinner.  Should that log as “getting dressed for dinner” or “putting away laundry”?  Hm.  Am I the fastest dresser in the world or biggest procrastinator about hanging up my skirts?

And yes, I do spend a lot of time on the ‘net.  Most of it is five minutes or less, as I take a mini-break in between chores.  Sometimes I take a longer time, either because I’m waking up or waiting for someone!    I have a high-speed connection and my computer is in the main traffic pattern through the house – it’s very easy to take 30 seconds and see if anyone is up to anything.  Also, I only connect with my husband during the day via email, so I’m constantly checking that to see if he’s written me.   It can get obsessive.  I know that SuperSlavisWife originally set this up to prove that we really DON’T spend all day on boards and whatevs… and you know?  I don’t.  I have in other seasons in my life (I’ve been down for the count medically a time or two) and … yeah, I’ve got RL stuff to do, thanks.

Feel free to ask questions about any of this stuff that doesn’t make sense.

Wednesday, October 1

630am:  Up.  Let dog out.  Feed him.  Check water in dish to see if it requires refilling or changing.  (It does).  Make a cup of tea, turn on computer.  Do devotions (2chp Acts, 1 chp Proverbs, 1 chp Psalms) and pray.

700am:  Computer on.  Check email, check “usual places”.  Send morning email to husband at work.  Drink tea and wake up.

730am:  Wake kids up.  Hang laundry from last night.  Refill washing machine, turn on.  Put away dry dishes from last night.

800am:  Kids start school.  I work out – Ttapp today.

830am:  Shower

845am:  Discuss writing assignment with 14yo.

900am:  Discuss writing assignment with 10yo.

915am:  Dress for day, including corset, put up hair.  Web surf, answer email.

940am:  Hang second load of laundry, reload washer.

10am:  Cheese and apricot snack.

1010am:  Errands – Target and chiropractor

1115am:  Put away groceries.

1130am:  Make lunch for all (fried rice – mostly I don’t make lunch, but I had a bunch of little bits of             food that needed eating up).

1145am:  Ate lunch.

1200pm:  BFF calls, take down load #1, hang load #3.  (Load #1 was sheets)

1230pm:  Take nap

2pm:  check on kids.  Check on email/boards.

215pm:  Sewing

245pm:  School stuff.

300pm:  Sewing

320pm:  Mom picks up kids for afternoon/evening

330pm:  Take in all laundry.  Shut down sewing area.  Put laundry away.

400pm:  Get dressed for dinner, including makeup.

420pm:  Goof off and wait for husband to come home.

500pm:  Out with husband.

600pm:  Pick up son, take him to Jr. High mid-week service.  Go home and hang out with husband.

745pm:  Pick up 14yo

820pm:  Chat to Mom, who dropped off 10yo.

900pm: Send 10yo to bed.  Call cats inside, feed them.  Let dog out for the last time.

945pm:  Bed

Thursday, October 2…

I got sick of writing down times about noon on this day.  So this is the list of the stuff I did.  You should assume random interruptions to do school stuff with my kids throughout the day.

–  Morning routine.  See yesterday.  I do the same stuff every morning.

–  Didn’t have to wake up daughter today, she had insomnia and woke up at 3am.   Woke up son though.  😉

– Sheet changing day… I start by stripping my bed, then I take the feather mattress outside and flop it over the cross bar on the end of my clothesline.   I leave it there until at least mid-afternoon, when I take it inside, fluff it up, and make my bed with fresh sheets.  Yes, it’s heavy/unwieldy.   But this is totally worth doing, it smells *wonderful*.

-Swept all the floors.  I don’t have carpet… so that’s my whole house.  I sweep the kitchen every night and the other rooms as needed.  Sprayed them with vinegar/water solution and damp-mopped them too.

– Worked out.  T-Tapp again.

–  Washed the rugs and the dog beds today – two loads worth of stuff I keep on the floors.

– Discussed school stuff with my kids, variously.

– Went to the grocery store for our weekend stuff.  Ended up being a fairly big run.  Obviously then I come home and put it away… :p

–  Drove up to BFF’s house with two heavy bags of books for her 3yo, picked up our folding table that was up there from this weekend.  Chatted to BFF’s MIL who was there doing some dishes and cleaning up while BFF is at chemo.

– put the rugs back down and reassembled the dog beds.

– made a big batch of guac from a pile of ripe avocados I had that were about to go over-ripe.  (Guac freezes, avocados don’t).

– Cooked the rest of dinner.  Pollo asada, rice, pineapple, salsa (I bought it this time), guac, snacking carrots

– Evening chores:  Tidied up kitchen, loaded dishwasher, start laundry (I generally put a load on before I go to bed at night).

– Went to bed.

Friday, October 3

  • Morning stuff.
  • Flipped the laundry
  • Took daughter to beach to collect shells. Very bad shell collecting time of year.   Boy walking with his grandfather.  We walked for about 30 min.
  • Dropped 10yo off with grandmother to hang out because I had to go to meeting
  • Went to a Bible study meeting.
  • Picked up kids
  • Had lunch
  • Harassed children about their schoolwork
  • Put roast in the crockpot
  • Hung laundry
  • Took a nap
  • Hung out with BFF
  • Made dinner (crock pot pot roast, Italian fryup with kale, fennel, carrots, onion; baked potatoes)
  • Took 14yo to his youth theater
  • Took dinner up to BFF
  • Brought in the laundry
  • Cleaned kitchen up for the night
  • Picked son up from theater
  • Took a bath
  • Went to bed

Saturday, October 4

  • Up @8, morning stuff.
  • Snuggles with husband. Yes, I go back to bed with my husband to snuggle if he’s not working.  He gets up at 5am for work, so this is a nice treat.
  • Make big breakfast (GF pancakes, bacon, OJ, coffee)
  • Go to an estate sale. Briefly – total bust.  (I was hoping for some patio furniture).
  • Make sweet tea for husband, who has decided to potter around and clean up garage.
  • Put potatoes and eggs on to boil
  • Dishes
  • Harassed children about their writing projects, gave daughter a language arts test.
  • Sewed – made embroidered sleeve (three hoursish)
  • Made dinner (hamburgers, potato salad, fixins, carrots w/ranch dressing)
  • Went to church
  • Cleaned up the kitchen
  • Did the dishes

Sunday, October 5

  • Up @8, morning stuff.
  • Snuggles with husband.
  • Make breakfast (chorizo w/scrambled eggs and cheese, OJ, pineapple l/o, salsa, coffee)
  • Put chicken in the crockpot for dinner with dry seasonings
  • Researched monkey grass (creeping liriope/lilyturf).   (Anything that takes multiple doses of round-up to kill **after mowing** or which should have RU applied *with a sponge* is a nasty evil brat).
  • Spent a couple of hours in the garden, tidying up plot by front door, weeding, clipping rosebushes, that sort of thing.
  • Shower
  • Loaded dishwasher, got kitchen ready for work. Flipped chicken over, added bbq sauce.
  • Made jicama slaw
  • Cleaned kitchen back up a bit
  • Blogged recipe for slaw
  • Nap!
  • Called Mom while making the squash and rice for supper.
  • (Crockpot BBQ chicken, chicken-rice, jicama slaw, butternut squash)
  • Packed up dinner for BFF, put away food. Took dinner “upstairs”.
  • Was sad, because 10yo and I were the only ones who really LIKED the slaw/dinner as a whole. Sweet-spicy-main dishes aren’t DH’s thing. Oh well.
  • Emptied/filled dishwasher.
  • Made after-dinner coffee.
  • Made schedule for week/menu/grocery list
  • Plugged in kids’ PE and reading logs for first unit
  • Printed out schedules for second unit for kids
  • Sorted laundry, started load for tomorrow
  • Cleaned kitchen for night – inc stovetop/sides, floors, reloaded dishwasher
  • Put out DH’s clothes for tomorrow work
  • Gave pill to dog
  • Put 10yo to bed
  • Got cats in (with 14yo)
  • Went to bed

Monday, October 6

  • 630am… Morning stuff.
  • Wake kids up. Hang laundry from last night.  Refill washing machine, turn on.
  • Kids start school. I work out – Ttapp today  Had to find a book for 10yo to read for her free-reading time.  (I gave her “Wrinkle in Time”)
  • Briefly discuss biography with 10yo. She’s sleepy.  “Go do your grammar then”.
  • Hang second load of laundry
  • Brush hair and get dressed to go out.
  • Gave 10yo spelling test
  • Went grocery shopping (three stores)
  • Lunch, brunch, whatever.
  • Allergy meds and a quick nap. Or not.  (I laid down for a few minutes.  Stress and meds got me back up).
  • Called Mom and put away drygoods.
  • Called BFF, went upstairs and combed her hair out and put a scarf in it. (Her hair is starting to fall out, so I was … um… combing out her hair more than combing it out. Does that make more sense?)
  • Called Pagan Mom, cleaned litter boxes & cat area
  • Brought in laundry, put away
  • Ate some potato salad l/o. (lunch? Snack?)
  • Emptied dishwasher, ran cleaning cycle
  • Washed some by hand (dishwasher getting cranky)
  • Started supper (Spaghetti w/homemade sauce, brown rice pasta, salad, homemade ranch)
  • Paid bills, did monthly financial report for husband
  • Reloaded dishwasher, made salad (10yo made ranch)
  • Made tapioca pudding and mango sauce (scratch)
  • Chatted to DH on the phone while he came home from work
  • Collected BFF and her son, all ate supper. (Sent food home for her DH and her son, who didn’t actually eat, because he’s 3 and would rather run circles).
  • They left.   Ate dessert.  Nomnomnom.
  • Put dinner away neatly, portioning half of the dessert out for tomorrow night, plus all the mango sauce (we had “plain” warm tapioca tonight. The horror).
  • Mopped the bathroom floor. Apparently my oldest cat doesn’t like screaming 3yo.  –sigh-
  • Put rug in washing machine.
  • Swept/mopped family room (mostly). (Bowl got broken).
  • Put 10yo to bed.
  • Filled the dishwasher (yes, again).
  • Put DH’s clothes out.
  • Called in cats, gave dog his pills.
  • Made a cup of chamomile/lavender tea. Took some Advil.  Went to bed.

Tuesday, October 7

  • 630 up. Morning things.  Same bat time, same bat channel
  • Sort laundry, start a load of whites (forgot to last night)
  • Wake kiddos up
  • Big breakfast, cup of cocoa (yes, unusual – today I need the energy)
  • Put together paperwork for unit 1 (charter school meeting)
  • Phone w Pagan Mom
  • Dust
  • Ironed two girldresses and a husband shirt
  • Hang first load laundry, reboot, hang second load of laundry
  • Clean both bathrooms, change rugs
  • Cheese snack
  • Meeting w/charter school counselor prep – getting all papers together, put label on box for cousin J’s baby.
  • Mtg @ charter school
  • Post office to mail package, get stamps, mail bills
  • Home (it’s almost 3pm now). Eat some granola and chill out a few
  • Have a bath
  • Kids do chores, 10yo heads upstairs to tire out BFF’s 3yo a bit
  • Put chicken on to boil, flip dishwasher, make peanut sauce
  • Put extra PB sauce in freezer
  • Brought in/put away laundry
  • Made dinner, called BFF to bring 10yo down so she’d not get too tired/so they could all eat supper
  • Dinner (Rice-wrapped chicken rolls w/PB sauce, chicken rice)
  • Tidied up after dinner
  • Served dessert (tapioca w/mango sauce) (wasn’t very good, I didn’t eat mine)
  • Followed DH around like a puppy for a while
  • Put a load of laundry on
  • Loaded dishwasher, handwashed some dishes, swept/mopped kitchen floor
  • Made a cup of sleepy tea, took some Advil
  • Put 10yo to bed, went to bed. (Gave dog pill, let 14yo get cats in).