I wish I had a magic recipe I could give to my friends that they could spray around the house to make their joy come back; kind of like the lavender counter spray that makes me feel happy every time I clean my kitchen!
If this happens to you a lot you may have a physical reason for feeling so lousy. We women are a marvelous mixture of hormones. We are biological beings but we can forget that about ourselves!
My husband had a friend who used to say, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing a woman can do is get a good nights sleep.” I would look at him and wonder what in the world is he talking about?
Then, one night my husband and I had a heated argument that we couldn’t resolve, so I decided to go to bed. I was so sad and upset and angry that I thought it would be easier to face the reality of our horrible marriage in the morning.
You can guess what happened. I sobbed myself to sleep, slept deeply and woke up rested. I sat up and yawned and thought, what a beautiful day and look at that cute man I married!
Yes, sometimes the most spiritual thing a woman can do is to tell herself that maybe she’d better not do anything until she rests, eats less sugar or takes a walk in the fresh air!
Simple decisions can make a huge difference in this busy life we live. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. If you need to confess a sin and repent of it, then do it knowing that God who is faithful and just will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. But, if you keep making poor choices because you are exhausted…give yourself permission to breathe deep, eat right and take a nap.
Listen to your Auntie Jill :-)!
Hebrews 4:10, “…for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
Celebrating or reverencing the Lord’s Day has fallen out of favor among professing believers. In a misguided effort to avoid legalism, many Christians don’t think that keeping Sunday as a special day is an important issue. Is it? Yes it is!
As our family has made a weekly day of worship a priority, we have discovered rich blessing. “Losing” a day of work for a day of rest and worship has not hurt us at all. Instead, we find that the God has redeemed the remaining six days of the week and stretched our time so that we get more accomplished!
Here’s what has worked for our family (and, more specifically, for me since I manage the practical details of running our home). I want to give a round of hearty applause to Karen Burton Mains and her book Making Sunday Special which helped transform the way I approached Sunday many years ago.
1. We recognize that it is a day set apart for worshiping together with God’s people. Christianity is not just “me and my Jesus.” We cannot read the whole counsel of the Holy Scriptures without understanding that it is a message to the church! It goes without saying that to commit to a church you must be willing to be under the leadership of other Christian men.
So plan ahead to meet with other believers, take communion, worship and be taught by the word of God.
2. We prepare ahead of time. For a large family this may mean starting early in the week. For our family with the never-shrinking laundry pile, I try to have Sunday clothes washed, ironed and ready to wear by Wednesday. Yes, that’s early, but time flies after the middle of the week and I often forget. I really hate that frantic late night Saturday night feeling as I paw wildly through the laundry pile trying to find some clean clothes!
Having the Sunday clothes clean and ironed early works for us. Preparing ahead also means making sure to get to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night. Everyone wants to have fun on Saturday night but staying awake and alert during Sunday worship is high on our priority list so…we get to bed!
3. Plan to break bread together as a family (and, if possible, with other believers). The meal doesn’t have to be fancy but it should be satisfying and (if possible) something a little special.
a.For a family with small children or one who travels a distance to church, a hearty stew put in the crockpot to cook during church makes a nice meal to come home to. It is wonderful to walk into the house and smell the aroma of something yummy. Make (or buy) special muffins or dessert to accompany the meal.
b. For a family who is heavily involved in the church (and exhausted after a day at church), a Saturday night meal may be the kick-off to your day of rest on Sunday. You can enjoy a special meal, clean it all up on Saturday night and arrive home to a clean house and a simple meal of cheese and fruit after church on Sunday.
c. For an morning celebratory meal, enjoy a “Sabbath breakfast” before church.
d. For a family with young children, make Sunday special by serving simple finger foods on paper plates and letting your family eat on a blanket on the floor. Keep it simple but make it special!
Whatever you choose to do don’t do what I have done; skip planning any meal at all! When my family comes in the door after church everyone is hungry (and on their way to cranky!). It’s a big let-down to have to scrounge through the fridge to find something to eat!
I must add that for Sunday to be a day of rest for me, I really love to come home from church to a decently clean house. So, for our family, that means grabbing as many children as I can on a Friday or Saturday and cleaning hard for several hours. If we happen to get the van cleaned and vacuumed as well, I feel that I have reached the pinnacle of preparation! Boy Howdy!
4. Keep treats and surprises to a minimum during the week so that they can be enjoyed on Sunday. Some folks eat chocolate only on Sunday or keep a “Sabbath box” of special toys just for Sunday. This creates a sense of anticipation and joy for the day of worship.
We want our children to grow up with sweet memories of Sundays. All the preparation in the world is for nought if your family’s day of worship is permeated with the smelly aroma of an angry and impatient mother. Of course, those days happen but don’t let them happen on a regular basis!
Oh, that we may make the Lord’s Day a day of joy and thanksgiving and sweet fellowship with other believers.
I’m a meddler. When I read something profound that changes my life, I almost immediately think of you. I think, wow! reading this would greatly encourage you! (I meddle but my heart’s in the right place).
If you want to fill your mind with romance novels, tabloid news and sad country songs, that’s certainly your choice but I’m here to tell you that you’re feeding your mind with marshmallows for the brain; they’re sweet and delicious but, ultimately, there’s no nourishment there.
(Is there anything stupider looking than a goat? I love those little airheads!)
So,The Chicken or the Egg? will be my occasional foray into different blogs, books and food-for-thought. You certainly don’t have to explore my recommendations but, here’s the thing, you were created to think deep, profound thoughts even while wiping poop off a cute little baby’s bottom! Before you know it, that poopy baby will be a rough and tumble five-year-old asking you profound and perplexing questions such as,
You don’t want to look like this all the time, do you? No, you want to be the amazingly smart mama who is always prepared with a profoundly deep reply such as,
“Hummmm, great question, son, let me think about that one!”
I guess you could say that the following links are my way of helping you battle that inevitable inertia that comes from having to remember things like,
Is there gas in the car?
Should I run to the store for milk now instead of tomorrow morning when the kids need it?
If I pretend I’m asleep when the kids knock on the door at 6 a.m., will it work?
Where oh where did I leave my car keys?
So, here you go. Generational Womanhood’s version of Lumosity!:
A father writes about his profoundly disabled autistic son and the body of Christ.
Catholic blogger, Laura Wood, at The Thinking Housewife is a former journalist who critiques culture wars. She often makes me uncomfortable which is why I need to read her.
Another Pro Life Catholic site is Life Site News. It’s been an amazing year of victory for those who defend the unborn so I subscribe to their regular updates in order to keep on top of all the news. They’ll also fill you in on much more.
Life Site News has shared a long-term study revealing that children who grow up in large families have a lower risk of future divorce! Turns out, all the squabbles and borrowing each others clothes and sharing a bedroom that goes on in a large family really does benefit the children.
Feeling a little mom guilt today? This post by Jen Hatmaker is worth bookmarking and rereading when you need a laugh. Scroll down and take a look at the picture of her son in his homemade “costume!”
Finally, I had this beet salad at a friend’s home (also known as the mother-of-Vogue-models). Because this post is about developing our intellects (and convictions), I must add that every one of her stunning children is also articulate, opinionated and smart. Anyway, mother-of-gorgeous-children served the beet salad on Sunday and I went home and dreamed about it and woke up wanting it for breakfast! Really good. Really, really good.
I’ve posted this list before…what would you add to it? Share your wisdom in the comment section!
1. Be a learner, a questioner, a mom who can be heard saying things like “Hmm…I wonder why they have to put so much gravel down on the road before they pave it?” or “You know, God sure did make a wonderful world!”
When your child asks a question you can’t answer that’s o.k. Wondering about something for awhile without the answer is part of the learning process.
A study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that just having books in the home (even if they weren’t being read!) has a greater impact on children than the education of the parents. Imagine the even greater influence of parents who read those books they have in the home. Mind-boggling!
3. Look your child in the eyes and talk to him. Listen, ask questions and converse! This means looking up from the electronic devices.
4. Give your child the life-changing experience of quiet time with nothing to do.
Let him hear the sound of his own breathing and the beat of his heart.
6. Eat meals together regularly. Studies have shown that your family will be closer, your children will be more secure, less peer-dependent and smarter! Who knew?
7. Worship Jesus Christ together. Here are some Helpful Hints for a Holy Day. His peace is vital in this broken world.
Tell your child, “Who knows what great things you are going to do to change the world?” Raise a world-changer.
…”And so, Lord, if we get to pick what age we’ll be in heaven, I choose nine years old, because I’m havin’ the best year of my life. I know I say that every year, but this time I mean it. And next year, if I change my mind, don’t believe me. I promise it will always be nine.”
Saving Sailor is the fictional version of the author’s own experience growing up in a large Italian family who spent summers on an Idaho lake. Ready to experience life through the inquisitive mind of an imaginative nine-year old? Join A.J. (Angelina Juliana Degulio) as she explores the island and lake with her beloved dog Sailor.
Authentic dialogue, sensitive writing and quirky humor combine to make a story worth reading,
“…Mama and Daddy are out on the porch swing and I can hear every word they are sayin’ through my open window, ‘Sonny, tell me how that child of yours comes off speaking with a Southern accent? Why can’t she speak a normal kid lingo, like Pig Latin?'”
Set in the 1960’s, Baby Boomers will enjoy a nostalgic look back at that era but Saving Sailor is a book for everyone. A.J. shares her thoughts about God and life as learned from the nuns at school yet the author doesn’t preach. It’s a touching, profound and laugh-out-loud book which also contains a delightful romance.
I loved this book!
Author Renee Riva is generously giving a copy of this wonderful book to one of my readers. To be entered to win, please share a favorite summertime memory from your childhood. Don’t forget to leave a contact email. The drawing will be one week from today (July 22nd)!
“When I get home, I tell Mama that Sister Abigail said speakin’ with a Southern accent is not a sin.
‘Listen up, toots,’ she says, ‘If you want to play hardball with me, I will go to the pope in Rome if I have to in order to prove that a full-blooded Italian, Roman Catholic nine-year-old girl, born and raised in the Northwest, who insists on speaking with a Southern accent and driving her mother to the brink of insanity, is dishonoring to the family. Which, in my book, makes it a sin.’
I’ve decided to just let it go for now.”
To learn more about Renee Riva and her award-winning writing as well as other books she has written visit her website.
Published by David C. Cook publishers, Saving Sailor is the first book of a trilogy. I received a free copy of this book for review purposes only.
Available at all major retailers in both Kindle and hardcopy version!
I’d read the missionary stories (God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom are two that come to mind) and those people made prayer seem vital, real and exciting.
But for me? Not so much.
Yet over the years I’ve prayed a lot and seen God work. I would pray when I was in great pain, pray for others who were experiencing sorrow and sickness and pray for my children when that middle-of-the-night-anxious-worry hit me.
In other words, I was good at crisis praying.
Almost two years ago I began praying weekly with an acquaintance who was going through struggles similar to ones I had experienced. I prayed to encourage her. I marked a date on the calendar and drove to her house just to keep her going. I didn’t want her to quit.
Together, we prayed.
Honestly, in the beginning, our commitment to a regular time of prayer wavered. We
shared prayer requests talked too much before we got around to a short time of prayer.
It was a struggle but we kept meeting.
We had been praying together for a year when I moved to a new city with my family and our prayer time had to become a once-a-week phone call at an awkward time of day.
Strange to say, Thursday afternoons at 3 p.m. became the only time that mutually worked for us.
One hour…once a week.
Life is busy when you are middle-aged and the parents of adults, teens, in-betweens and an almost eight-year-old but, believe it or not, one year after my move, we are still praying.
Each week I feel like I’ve gotten a deep, wonderful gulp of life-giving oxygen as I lay my burdens down.
Life is so busy that we don’t want to use up our time together with small talk so we email our requests to each other beforehand. We fight hard to keep our commitment to pray together and it… is… hard.
Life goes on, you know?
Each week we both give all glory to God that we have remained faithful to this one hour of prayer.
It is our life-blood, our oxygen, our giving back to God our worries, fears and problems.
We’ve seen answers and we praise Him for that but, mostly, we’ve found peace and rest in realizing that prayer is not complicated. It is (like a simple budget) not just for the “experts”.
We simply join our voices and our hearts in giving glory to our Great God. We lay our burdens down and we lift up the weak hands of others as we pray.
A faithful prayer partner is a gift from God. You might find one (like I did) through a shared trial. Ask God to bring you a sister in Christ with whom you can come to God in prayer.
“Come let us know, let us press on to know the Lord, for His coming is like the rains, like the spring rains watering the earth.” Hosea 6:9
How do you get enough oxygen for your soul?
Who are you? You are a beloved creation of God who loved you while you were still in your mother’s womb. You are accepted by Him simply because of who He is; a loving, sacrificial God who wants you to know that He sent His son to pay the price for Your sins. You are loved. You are accepted. You have worth.
Repeat that truth to yourself throughout the day!
I confess that I miss those days of having a new baby when I could let go of many commitments because I had the ultimate excuse; a tiny little life to nurse and care for around the clock!
Still having trouble letting go of busy? Here are some more reasons why it’s important to fill your day with extra breathing room.
First, you and I need time to think. If we’re feeling sad and antsy and anxious and hurried, it is time to say, “No….I can’t do that today, Auntie Jill says it’s bad for my health” or, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m suffering from MDAD (Modern Day Anxiety Disease).
Did you play with dolls when you were little? I did. I was a dolly-playing kind of girl, much to the consternation of my feministic mother and my very feministic older sister.
Part of the joy of playing dolls was feeling like I had all the time in the world to fold the little clothes and straighten the kitchen set and make sure the baby was well-wrapped. There wasn’t any pressure!
I just enjoyed the process of being a mommy. Sure, I didn’t have to recover from childbirth or suffer from sleep deprivation or worry about my milk supply but I did have to fold the baby clothes and check the baby!
Every once in a while, I get a long period of time to deep clean an area of my house or carefully sort through paperwork. I put on music and enjoy the process! Part of the pleasure is knowing that I’ve got the time! I feel a little bit like that little girl lost in the little tasks of make-believe.
Feminism has stolen the simple pleasures of mothering and marriage. Feminism teaches that the only thing that is really valuable is the end product and a woman who has no “proof” of her productivity has no value.
I’m here to say, that’s a lie.
There is great profit in taking pleasure in the simple tasks of life, in recognizing the value of simply “being there” in your home; watching, listening, teaching, encouraging, enjoying… because life is, after all, made up of moments!
Child-rearing is one of those areas of life which has no end “product” for the world to see…at least not for a very long time. A mother who has gotten to the bottom of a lie, guarded her children from exposure to violent videos, talked with her children about the price of groceries, and clapped for her children as they called out to her at the playground has accomplished vital and valuable work; the work of loving her children by being there.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard women say, “Well, I didn’t really do anything today.”
Open your eyes, precious mama!! Savor the moments. They are real life.
Pictures by Abby Sue Farris (age 11) and Janie Grant
To make a goodie like the one in the picture above just cut the top off an orange, clean out the orange (leaving the peel intact) and fill with a chocolate cake mix or a gingerbread mix. Leave room for the batter to expand as it bakes. Put the “top” on, cover with foil and bake in coals in the fire. Cool and peel off the orange peel to eat! I plan to make those with the kids for a fun summertime dessert. I also plan to…
Light a fire in our little patio burner at least once a week and sit around it with something good to eat…maybe hot dogs or s’mores or something more exotic.
Let the kids sleep in interesting places like homemade tents or the treehouse in the backyard (although it’s infested with bugs so they’ll probably pass on that one).
Watch a free movie outside in the park (compliments of a local business).
Let a friend spend the night.
Take day trips with picnics to the gazillion parks around our area and “discover” new zip lines, tunnels, swing sets and wading pools.
Make something messy and crafty…tie-die maybe?
Let the younger kids play “hot lava” with the neighbor kids on a rainy day. Lay cushions and pillows on the floor all over the house and hop from pillow to pillow trying to avoid the floor or the “hot lava.” Don’t ask me why, this game is a Farris family tradition!
Worship God together on a warm summer day with the sound of the fans overhead and the murmur of the pastor’s voice as he holds forth the word of God.
And (here I go again) read together wonderful books so that, somewhere in the deep recesses of my adult children’s minds, they will have wonderful summer memories of warm summer sunshine and tales of adventure and joy.
“For a long time they kept to the backbone of the wild tangled ridge but at last started zig-zagging down the farther side. They found a dead tree with funguses sticking out of it in balconies and terraces. Julian cut off the largest one to keep; and a little later he caught a Catocala moth, whose dowdy upper wings concealed a beautiful scarlet pair beneath, like two geranium petals. When he popped it into the killing jar, Portia had to look away. She hated to see it killed, but it was dead in less than a second, and then she didn’t mind any more.
At the foot of the hill the woods kept on going. Portia and Julian kept on going, too.
“Man, am I lost!” Julian said. “So are you. I don’t know where we are at all!” He sounded very happy about this. Portia didn’t mind herself; it was daytime and summertime and she was with him.” Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
Summer is the time to s l o w dowwwn! I am officially giving you permission to take some time and savor the hours and minutes of each day. If well-intentioned friends try to tempt you with endless activities and outings just smile and say,
“Oh, I’m sorry but my Auntie Jill says I need to slow down.”
See, there, how easy it is?
Summer should be a time of laziness with a little bit of boredom mixed in. Read some good books, drink ice cold lemonade and smile at your children as they traipse in and out sucking on popsicles and running through the sprinkler.
When your children look back on the summers of their childhood they might recall the trip to Disney Land and the expensive summer camp but I’ll lay you money that their happiest memories will be the simplest ones; long summer evenings playing cards and sucking on ice, getting “lost” somewhere they’ve never been before (even if it’s around the corner), playing in water, getting hot and cooling off, visiting the cool interior of the public library on a scorching day, grilling something, charring sticks in a campfire, sunshine.
Do you have happy memories of slow summer days? Then you are fortunate, indeed!
Give your children the gift of a long summer days spent outside playing capture the flag and hide-n-seek. They will never have this kind of time again.