Aug 252012
 

We each have different days based on the type of family we have, the make up of that family, our responses to situations and more. Are they all happy homes? We hope that these glimpses into our authors’ homes will encourage you on your road.

 

This the the day the Lord has made… Psalm 118:24

Aug 222012
 

I hear my friends talk about the joys of housekeeping, organizing their pantries, doling out chores to their kids, looking at the home with a regimented eye. I’m sorry, that’s just not me.

On a daily basis (or as needed), I do the household tasks but it doesn’t give me a sense of pride. Most of the time, I do them simply because they have to be done. I mean, I guess deep down I do them because I love my family. But that’s not really how I show my love for them.

Proverbs 31:27 says: She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. I’ve said it before. I’m not June Cleaver. But don’t get me wrong. I do keep a clean house. I do the dishes and the pots and pans. I wash the clothes. I clean, dust, organize, clean the bathrooms and vacuum. But I do it so I can move on to other things.

In the morning I grab the dirty clothes hamper out of the bathroom and go to the kitchen to turn on my coffee water. While waiting on it to boil, I go downstairs and start a load of laundry. I unload and load the dishwasher and then fix my coffee. I read my Bible and check my emails and start my writing tasks for the day. After lunch I put the clothes in the dryer and then get back to my writing or working my part-time bookkeeping job. Soon it’s time for dinner. Afterwards I wash the dishes and pots and pans and settle down for an evening with my hubby and son (if he’s home) and daughter (when she visits). The other biggie household things get done when company is coming or on a semi-annual or annual schedule.

I think it’s kind of easy to keep a house in order. Or maybe I’m just not doing it right. Perhaps I just have a small home. I certainly don’t have an army to help me keep it clean. Of course, I don’t have an army living here either to mess it up. There are no toys or other clutter or homeschool books stacking up around the place anymore.

The conclusion I have come to in my twenty-four years of marriage is that there are some things that are more important than a clean house. If I have the choice between visiting with my daughter or doing the dishes or folding clothes, you better bet I’m going to choose the visit. If my husband wants to watch a movie, I may fold clothes while doing it but I certainly will make time for him. If my son wants me to listen to his latest song he’s written, I’m going to put the tasks aside and do it.

They say “cleanliness is next to godliness” but I’m not so sure that’s true. However, having a clean and orderly environment for your family does honor the Lord. It’s part of being the Proverbs 31 woman. But when I feel guilty for not doing everything the way my friends do them or feel terrible because I don’t take joy in the menial tasks of housekeeping, I remind myself that “home is where the heart is” and it’s all about what you make it. It’s the love that flows throughout the walls of the house. It’s the feelings your kids get when you bake brownies. It’s the joy that occurs when you sit and watch a favorite show on TV together and laugh until you cry.

It’s the comfy feeling that takes over when everyone is in their beds at night and you close your eyes to thank the Lord for the day.

I am a mediocre housewife.

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/734842

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1394979

A Day in Your Prayer Life

 Posted by on August 20, 2012  No Responses »
Aug 202012
 

“Knock, Knock, Who’s There?”

I have written about our little friend the squirrel before. I’ve told you how it comes right up to the door, looks in and waits for us to get up and get it some bread.  Well you will never believe what happened the other day. We had been gone from the house for a couple of hours, doing the grocery thing.  This day we did the big three: Wal-Mart, Publix and Kroger.  You can imagine how tired we were.

We came in the back door and were busy putting everything away. All of a sudden I hear this sound, like something hit the front door.  I didn’t really think anything about it and went back to putting away the groceries.  It hadn’t been more than a minute and I heard the noise again. So I asked Bob what it could be.  He started looking around and when he opened the front door, there was the squirrel just waiting for us to open the door and give it some food. He came expecting and he was going to keep on knocking till he got what he came for.

How persistent are you, when it comes to prayer?  Matthew 7:7-8 encourages us to…

“…Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The key words there are “keep on.”   Sometimes our prayers are answered right away, but most of the time the answer seems to be delayed.  It seems to be delayed because we don’t immediately see anything happening in the physical realm. I believe that as soon as you make your request, God begins the process of answering you.  You may never know what keeps the answer from coming right away, but God always has a reason.

Sometimes it is to make us exercise our faith so that it will grow.  Sometimes God has to move people and situations around to fulfill what we need. Sometimes the answer is “no,” because God knows it would not be good for us. But sometimes the answer is delayed because of warfare that is going on in the spirit realm (check out Daniel 10).  When we pray, God moves. So let me encourage you to be like our little squirrel, “keep on knocking.”

Whatever your need is today, don’t give up. Your answer is on the way. It may be a long wait or it may be just a heartbeat away.  Remember the promise: the one who asks, receives; the one who seeks, finds and when you knock, the door will be opened.

~ Written by Beth, “My husband of 46 years and I recently retired from full time ministry and we are looking forward to discovering what God has in store for the next part of our journey.  I am a very proud mother and grandmother and I love to encourage others through the word and my life experiences.  My life verse is Psalm 118:24 – This is the day that the Lord has made; I choose to rejoice and be glad in it.”

Aug 162012
 

Home schooling…. the very term strikes terror in people’s hearts.

“I could never do that!” exclaims one woman.  

“You must have so much patience!” cries another.  

“How DO you do it?” asks a third.  

So, from this very normal, not necessarily patient person, comes a description of my home school day…

My day begins with my coffee.  Usually, my telecommuter husband brings it to me in bed.  (If you don’t have a telecommuter husband, you could bring your own cup back to your bed.  It’s a wonderful habit.)  This is my time of reflection. I drink, look out the window, talk to the Lord, and read my Bible and/or my home decorating magazines (no computer). Basically, it’s the only time of day I’m alone and relaxed.  The important thing is, I get that time.  When I don’t, things don’t go as smoothly or as peacefully.

I rise, and hopefully, the girls are up!  This year, I am determined not to wake anyone. Each girl will use her own cell phone or alarm clock and wake up on her own.  One of our family’s main issues is being late, and this is the year we will change that!  My girls are old enough to remember to get dressed and brush their teeth.  Somehow, certain ones still need to be reminded to make their bed and pick up their clothes from the bathroom floor.  Reasonable neatness is our morning goal, not perfection.

To get everyone going, I might prop their bedroom doors open and turn on some peppy music.  I either put out cereal or make a hot breakfast, depending on how busy our day is.

I put on an outfit I like (even if it’s a workout outfit), and fix my hair and makeup.  None of that takes a long time, but if I feel I look good, I will be in a better mood, and we all know our moods are passed on to our families! I put on a squirt of perfume or body spray, too.  Now I feel like a together mom, and can face the day!

We eat breakfast together and then begin story time.  I have done story time on and off through the years, and I find that as long as you read from an exciting, age-appropriate book, the children do not tire of it. One way I plan to get the girls downstairs on time this year is to begin reading exactly at 9:00. If one is late, she misses that day’s installment in the story (and yes, I will be hiding the book in-between so no one can peek!)  Some of our favorites have been Farmer Boy, Hitty:  Her First Hundred Years, and Mama’s Bank Account.

My husband has “gone to the office” (at the front of our house). Depending on our level of noise, has inserted headphones into his ears and turned up his music volume, and sat down to work.  We will be in and out of the office all day, and he is very patient.  The desktop computer is right next to Dad’s, so he can monitor whether teenagers are checking their advanced math problems or peeking at Facebook. (He’s not that great at noticing… after all, he is concentrating on his own work!)  Still, it’s nice to have him there.  Life with all girls can get dramatic at times, and he is the voice of calm.

We do any subjects that we have to do together first. We really don’t have that many, but this year, my senior and my freshman are doing Bible together.  We will be going through the Epistles, with assignments given by my husband.  All three girls are attending or plan to attend Christian colleges, so we try to do structured Bible courses that also count as high school credit.  Hubby helps with Bible and art.  We use our children’s interests for electives… eldest (now in college) counted her piano and guitar lessons as high school credit. Middle girl spends as many hours at the ballet studio as she does in school, so ballet will be on her high school transcript.  Youngest girl is an aspiring artist as well as horseback rider.  More electives, plus P.E.  We also plan to do a course I’m calling “Appreciation of Fine Arts” this year, using Harmony Fine Arts as a starting point, and adding art and drama for the youngest and ballet for the middle, along with field trips to a play, art museum, and/or professional ballet.

Next, the girls work independently.  Each has a list. I use the inexpensive “Cat in the Hat” lesson plan book from Michael’s.  With my 40% off coupon, it’s about $6.00.  Middle girls’ lessons are at the top, and youngest at the bottom.  (When I had three in school, I divided it into three sections).  There is a grade book in the back, too.

This is for week one, where we’ll be starting “slow and steady.”

I have tried having set times for each subject.  With older girls working mostly independently, this simply does not work and ends with frustration.  Better to let them work at their own pace, especially when we add in activities for each child.  This year will be a challenge, as middle girl’s ballet lessons will be M-Th at 2:00.  If she gets a job as planned, that will also complicate our day (see why I can’t have a set hourly schedule?).  While they work, I am doing housework, checking e-mail, or exercising… returning often to the school room to check progress and be available for questions.

We have done school at the kitchen or dining room table, but I love the set up we have now.  My husband made the girls each a beautiful desk from plywood.  These desks can be set up in our guest room (which is a school room when we have no guests).  As you can see, the different personalities of my two school-age children are reflected in their desk organization!

He painted the desks to match our living room as well as our dining room, so in the summer or when Grandma comes to visit, we simply move the desks around.  

When school work is finished, the girls check the day’s chore list. I have the days’ chores written out, such as “vacuum downstairs… unload dishwasher… empty wastebaskets” etc.  The girls divide the chore list by two or three (depending on whether eldest is home from college) and choose the chores they want.  Eldest usually helps on her own, without being told.  (Ah, the blessings of adult children!)  The chore list is such a habit that the girls hardly even think about it.  I put it in the same place each day, with a pen to check off jobs once they are finished.

When we have something to do during school hours, such as drama club or ballet class, things are changed up a bit.  Youngest may bring her math in the car and do it on the half-hour drive to drama.  Or she may do all her work when she gets home.  Middle girl may accompany me and, after we drop youngest off at drama, we may drink coffee at Barnes and Noble while she does her work.  I look for little ways such as this that I can “treat” my children and give them a break from the daily routine.

Our afternoons consist of free time if there are no scheduled lessons.  I do have one that will stretch to fill the time she is given.  Sometimes her school work is not finished until dinner time, or even later.  However, if she has an activity to look forward to, such as ballet class, she gets it done sooner.   Can you tell our day often revolves around ballet?  Middle girl has a goal to be accepted into a dance ministry.   This requires much sacrifice of her time and ours, but we do the best we can to encourage our girls in their God-given dreams.  All of them want to go into fine arts… one into music, one into dance, one into art.  I wonder why we do geometry and pre-calculus when the only math they’ll need as musician or dancer is to count to 8!

In the afternoon, I catch up on phone calls or housework, take a shower if I have exercised that morning, and once in a while take a blessed nap or just rest on my bed with those home decorating magazines and a glass of iced coffee.  I may plan my lessons out further (never more than 2 weeks at a time).  One of us starts dinner.   My husband and I (and that wonderful eldest, when she’s home) take turns driving middle girl to ballet until she gets her license, and with this year’s schedule, the parent staying home will cook dinner.  I don’t know if I’d rather stay home and cook, or make the eighty-minute round trip drive and be cooked for.  Both sound good!  When it’s my turn to drive, I use the time middle girl is in ballet class to grocery shop, since we live so far out of town.  Almost all my errands are done while carting the girls around and waiting for them.  This gives me more time to stay in my favorite place… home.

Evenings this year will be different, as we’ll commute to ballet before dinner, not after.  We may have some more leisure time on our hands!  We have a couple of tv shows our family likes to watch on one of those channels that shows pre-recorded episodes.  My favorites are the “fifties tv” shows.   (Hubby is often still in his office, working on grad school or his second job, a personal web design business… but sometimes he will bring his laptop into the living room while he works on homework.  After all, it is art school! =).  Youngest and I also like to read together.  Right now we’re reading Millie’s Reluctant Sacrifice from the character-building Life of Faith Series.  We get into our pajamas and cuddle up and get into the story.  Since our girls are older, they usually go to bed around the same time we do.  Our goal is to have youngest in bed by 9:30 (she’s 13), and the rest of us by 10.  Rarely do we make it… but we try.  Since we avoid the school bus and morning commute, we usually get a good night’s sleep anyway.

As you can see, most often, we school at home with books to read, papers to write, and math problems to compute.  I keep a traditional grade book and our girls get report cards at the end of the year.  We take just a couple field trips a year, and they consist mostly of an art museum or a performance.  Sometimes we do something just for fun, like the zoo.  I keep it simple and low maintenance as much as I can, and it suits our family just right.

~Written by Kim A., The Daisy Muse

Aug 132012
 

This past summer would have looked different only a few years ago. With the oldest married, the second born going away to college and two of the children being in high school this year it brings many changes around our home.

The first half of our summer was spent preparing for a wedding. The month leading up to the wedding we pretty much ate, and slept wedding details. At this point, I was wondering why the Lord saw fit to give me six girls and only two boys. I think I would much rather be on the boy planning side of a wedding.

I also became weary of having to utter the words, “Wait until after the wedding” to my other children who wanted to do things besides plan a wedding.  Then after the wedding, we spent the next week recovering and getting things back in order from the event. I still have things sitting around I don’t know what to do with.

On a side note, it was a wonderful day filled with lots of happiness and beautiful memories.

Now that the oldest is married and we had an extra bedroom in the house, the other children were eyeing to make good use of this new room. So, the painting and room swapping began. We had six children in the upstairs of our house all sharing one bathroom. This was not too terrible when the kids were little, but as they have gotten older, the two boys have not been a big fan of sharing the bathroom with four girls, two of which were in middle school.

So, I have spent a week moving the two middle girls downstairs into their now-married sister’s room.  I moved the two little girls into the middle girls’ old room and my younger boy into the little girls’ room. I then brought the married daughter’s stuff upstairs to the younger boy’s old room.  The younger boy’s bedroom was actually a bonus room, so it does not have a closet. He has been sharing a closet with his brother across the hall his whole life. He was quite excited to place his clothes in his very own closet. Who would have known someone could get so excited over a closet.  Now his old room is our guest bedroom, which works out very nicely.

The younger boy’s old room is now the guest room, or my daughter and son-in-law’s room when they come home.

During this time, I have been getting ready to make the transition for six of my children to attend a small private school, and me taking on a resource teacher position. That means I was able to spend three days driving across Atlanta for a training workshop and many other days consignment shopping trying to find school uniforms for the kids. Six kids equal many uniforms.

The next few weeks hold lots of back-to-school shopping, cheerleading practice, football practice, a six-hour trip to see my oldest and her husband in their new home. It also involves dropping the second born off at her college that is six hours away in a different direction, and driving two hours to pick my older son up from a Summit Ministries camp.

Then the school year begins…and that I am sure will be a completely new world for us. Many changes around our house.

Well, that is about it for a summer in the life of a mom whose oldest just got married.

~ Written by littlesanctuary