A Woman’s Function in Society From Home (G.K. Chesterton)

And here, Chesterton makes a profoundly important point, almost completely lost in our society, to our detriment. Oh where are the voices who will keep proclaiming the infinitely important work to do at home that cannot be done by another?

“Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” -G.K. Chesterton


God is Just Using Us

One of my greatest epiphanies as a mother who often feels overwhelmed was reading about Moses.  I shared my epiphany in the post, Moses and Motherhood:  The Beauty of Broken Vessels.

Today I had to rally up that same courage again so I gave myself a shot in the arm with a condensed version. Maybe you need one too:

“Moses, I want you to go tell Pharaoh to let My people go.”

(chuckles) “Lord, in case you haven’t noticed, I am one man and Pharaoh has thousands, and I don’t think he’s in the mood to just “let Your people go”…besides that, I have a speech impediment.  Not qualified–too hard–can’t do it.”

“Moses, how smug of you to think I’m depending on YOU to do it.  I AM that I AM.  I will do it, I’m just using you as an instrument.”

When we understand that we are instruments in His hand and when we fully grasp that He is doing something really big through us–through our children, through our husbands, through our families, churches and communities–we can march ahead with confidence. He chose us! Full of impediments. Full of fear and weakness and fully human.

He knows our limitations and He still says, “Go, and I’ll work miracles through you.”

Sometimes I need to stop arguing with God about how inadequate I am and start facing my challenges with the unstoppable resolve of having I Am at my side.

 


There IS Something We Can Do For Our Fellow Persecuted Christians (The ISIS Crisis)

Alone we are just a single voice but together we can be the collective voice of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria telling the world what is happening and how we can help!”

 

I will be honest with you: I’ve seen the headlines about the unthinkable atrocities going on in Iraq and Syria and I have avoided them as much as I’ve been able. I haven’t read the stories and I have even averted my eyes from the pictures.

It’s not because I don’t care deeply. It’s because I care too deeply and up until now, I have thought there is absolutely nothing I can do to change the situation; so to keep myself from being mentally and emotionally tortured by the internalization I tend to do of tragedy, I have avoided it.

But that’s not what Scripture commands: “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9

And thanks to the joint efforts put together by some fellow bloggers, there is something we can do now–all of us, including you.

We can be their voice. It’s one of the huge blessings of the Internet. We can give money and encourage others to do the same, raising awareness and using the power of social media to fund the mission efforts in these countries seeking to provide food, shelter and other necessities to Christians fleeing from the brutal persecution.

This is what the Food for the Hungry campaign is about:

FH campaign is focused specifically on helping refugees fleeing the fighting in Iraq and Syria. FH is partnering with Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) which works with the local church in the Middle East to help those fleeing the ISIS onslaught to find safety and shelter.

$125 – Provides one week of emergency food rations to 10 people to guard against malnutrition
$65 – Ensures that three families receive essential hygiene items, including a bucket, jerry can, soap, and disinfectant
$22 – for one family for hygiene items

For a real-life peek into what many of these families are going through as they flee for their lives:

There are 2 ways I’m asking you to consider helping:

1. You can give here now.

2. You can share this post, the video, and the link for giving as often and in as many places as possible over the Internet.

All our voices, united together, helping our brothers and sisters. This is what it means to “visit those in affliction.” Will you be a voice?


Mom Life Hack: Teaching Diligence

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Moms freak out. I know, I am one. Some days it feels like there are 5,350 important things to do, all at one time. And homeschooling moms can feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders just carrying around the burden of educating their children, besides all the other stuff to do in life.

Sometimes I have to regroup and remind myself of the really important things in life. And there are quite a few. But when it comes to preparing my children for the future, I can simplify my efforts by going back to a few basic things, one of which is teaching diligence.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29

In a word, Scripture says that a diligent man will be successful.

Diligence is concentration, thoroughness and persistence. And in a culture where instant, fast and easy prevails, diligence is hard to find, and harder to attain.

But we can be deliberate about diligence in our homes and put our children far ahead.

Encouraging them when they face a difficult task, requring them to redo a careless job and praising them for their perseverance are ways we can help them grow in diligence.

Also, begining early is important. Not only can we expect our young children to be diligent in an age-appropriate task, but they thrive on the realization that they are a meanginful part of the family.

My 3 year old wanted to help me with supper last night and cut up tomatoes. I first told him he would have to wait until he’s older because he’s too young to use the knife. But I remembered a dull point knife with just enough serrated edge to cut a tomato that would be safe for him and told him he could try. He sawed away, announcing to all his big brothers and sisters that he was helping make dinner. A small thing for sure, but I praised him for seeing the job through to the end and for his willingness to help and serve.

Limiting their entertainment has important consequences. First, it forces them to do things with their hands–an opportunity to perservere and to find reward in work and productivity. Also, it helps them develop a stronger and longer attention span. They will read more, imagine more, think more, create more and relate more when their access to entertainment is limited.

Teaching diligence doesn’t just set our children up for success though; it is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. If you take the time (and it does take time) to teach your children to be thorough and persistent, it will pay off for you down the road.

Little by little, daily reminders and encouragment and purposeful parenting will grow into big rewards for them and you.


 


Teaching Vocabulary is a Waste of Time

When I taught high school English I couldn’t understand why my students didn’t love their vocabulary workbooks. I mean here it was: WORDS and LISTS all on in place. How could you not love that? And so I would make up games to pique interests but in the end, some of them memorized enough words to pass the test and most of them forgot all the words afterwards.

“Teaching” vocabulary is a waste of time, in my opinion. Learning vocabulary isn’t. I’m a huge fan. But our understanding of the way words are learned is crucial if we want to make the best use of our time.

Vocabulary is learned the same whether you are 2 or 24. We learn words by hearing them and reading them in context. Even when the words are too hard to understand, over time, they become a natural part of our vocabulary if they are a regular part of it. (Conversely, trying to memorize words that are not used regularly will be forgotten. Ask anyone who has tried to learn a foreign language without practicing it regularly.)

We would do well to continually revisit the way a baby learns. It’s so natural and none of us stresses about it (until the latest hogwash propaganda about “learning readiness”). Then someone convinces us that even though we were brilliant at learning when we were babies and toddlers, we lose that ability at 5 or 6 then someone has to come in and rescue us to keep us from becoming idiots.

Language builds upon itself. With a rich environment of reading and mature conversation, the formal study of vocabulary pales as a rival.

This is fantastic news for homeschooling parents. Vocabulary doesn’t need to be a separate subject. Instead, we need to grow our own vocabularies, use them in our daily conversations, and make sure our children are reading rich literature instead of twaddle.

Because we learn vocabulary through what we hear the most, other things that profoundly affect a child’s language development are peers and media. Most children are with peers for the majority of the day and so their vocabulary reflects that. As a homeschooling parent, be aware of the numerous opportunities in the day that you are teaching just through dialogue.

And make sure those opportunities aren’t being robbed by the constant distraction of media. Conversation will not take place unless it is given space to happen.

If your own vocabulary is lacking, I would suggest learning a new word each day as a family. Write it on a chalk board or prominent place in the house and then challenge everyone to use it as often as they can.

Learning language is phenomenal and yet quite simple. Save your time and put away the unrelated lists of words. Instead, weave them into the fabric of your life.


Raw, Uncensored Thoughts of a Mother With 10 Children

I’m an (almost) 42-year-old mom with 10 kids, including a one year old. There are days I open my eyes in the morning, stare at the ceiling, and know that people think I’m crazy even though I feel pretty normal.

And I don’t blame them.

I could have not had 10 children. It’s easy to prevent them. Even with Natural Family Planning (which we’ve used before–and it didn’t seem natural at all), once you’ve resumed your cycle from breast feeding. People think I chose to have this many children and I didn’t. Choosing not to prevent them isn’t the same as “seeing how many you can have.”

Sometimes I still get up at night with the baby. I’ve been getting up with babies for twenty years. I still can’t eat a meal without regular interruptions. Yes, some days I do just want to eat my food and that’s all. (What if meal time was just a quiet event with no noodles to scrape off the floor afterwards?)

I still have toddlers who are very needy. And wonderful. I have teenagers who are even more needy. And complicated. And also wonderful. Some days, quiet would be nice. But our house is full and bustling and always with needs.

I do, in fact, have my hands full. And I am human. I wonder sometimes what it would have been like.

And right now, in the thick of it, I think I know why birth control is such a popular invention, and so vehemently defended. Because this very full-time job of mothering is, well, very full-time.

But…

But…..

But……..

All the things in my life like being interrupted at meals or being tired of hearing “Mommy” or being tired of changing diapers or maybe just being ready to “be done” with all the busyness of motherhood–

I keep coming back to this: all those things are self-centered things that completely disregard the eternal hand of God in my family, in this, my short life. And I am called to not set my mind on things of the earth so much.

I could have chosen to be less tired. I could. I could have chosen to have more free time or a firmer tummy. I could be living a whole different life right now, with just two almost-grown children.

But it would have been what I chose. And I can make really bad choices. Instead, I have what God chose for me. And there is an indescribable amount of peace in that.

(Yes, this post is partly just a talk to myself, a reminder to this very flesh-covered woman.)

So on the days when I’m tempted to feel overworked or when I’m tempted to look at another mother with a bit of envy, I don’t have to give in to that. In fact, I can rejoice. I do rejoice.

I carried my little year-old fellow up the stairs tonight to change his diaper. His face was like staring into the face of God. I don’t always have those kinds of moments, but tonight I did. This little, sweet creature, (demanding as he can be at times) a new person half me, half my husband, all himself. A miracle. I know people who don’t have 10 kids don’t believe I can feel the same for mine as they do for theirs (I used to be that mother), or marvel anymore or feel my heart will burst in two with love, but I do.

And here’s another bit of truth: I will likely have another baby if I don’t choose to prevent one. Most people think it’s crazy to have 10, much less another one. Sometimes even I do. I mean, 10! It’s not like I need anymore children. But that’s never been the point. That’s what no one ever gets. They think I chose (or tried?) to have this number the same way they have their “perfect” number. But that’s never how it’s been.

I simply look at each of my children with more love than I can believe my heart will hold, and I know that I didn’t choose them and I’m so glad God gave them to me anyway. And I think the thought of missing one–even now–if I decided to stop for the sake of not having to endure anymore criticism, or another sleepless night, or whatever thing–breaks my heart.

Yes I am busy with this many children. But I’ve given them my life–all of me so that I don’t think any one of them feels neglected in the least way. They still tell me they hope we have another baby. So the people who say that I’m spreading myself too thin, they must be wrong.

I don’t like the idea of announcing another pregnancy because I know it seems bizarre. I even fear it. But I can’t stand the thoughts of just waking up tomorrow and saying “no” to God for the rest of my short child-bearing years. I can’t stand the thought of missing the rest of my children.

In the course of our lives, we are being spent doing something. I don’t see why being spent into the lives of my precious children is such a bad thing.

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