Monday, February 28, 2005

Hippie Conservatives?

I just read a great article that someone recommended on another site and I really identified with it. It so nice to know that I'm not the only Conservative Christian who buys (and is trying to grow) organic produce to make her own baby food:) The fact is I like food that still tastes like food and not the cardboard box it's been sitting in. I like things that are beautiful just for the sake of being beautiful. I like country living where you have your own little plot of land and neighbors know and help one another instead of nodding in the morning as they leave the subdivision. I like old homes and got genuinely upset when "they" paved the road to my Grandma's house. I can see the beauty in handmade and hand-me-down. I'm big into breastfeeding (ha - big being the opperative word!) and would've been big into homebirthing (although that ship has sailed for me now). I'm extremely interested in herbal medicine. All these things are not exactly normal in traditional conservative society:) But I think they make perfect sense for a Christian. God gave us this earth to live in and intended for us to be good stewards of it. To me that means making the best possible use of our resources. And I'm not being at all legalistic about it, but I think the way God designed things to work is the best way. God designed me to nurse my kids so I do and it's the best thing for them and for me. In general man-made falls pretty short. Yes, thanks to man, we have tomatoes in January. If you can call them tomatoes. But wait on God till June and he'll give you tomato perfection:)
Now as far as being a hippie goes - I'm not about to burn my bra, stop shaving, forego makeup, etc. I'm not rejecting traditional medicine or supermarkets (although Walmart SuperCenters really get on my nerves). But it seems to me that Christians and "hippies" should have a lot in common - even if it's just the common enemy of "new is better" and "chemicals for a better life" kind of thinking.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Me and Hubby Posted by Hello

Jordan's Baptism

I just have to write a few lines about this because it had such a great affect on me today. I got to see my dear friend's daughter, Jordan, who was in my Sunday School class until just a few months ago, baptized this morning and it was just such a beautiful joyous occasion. I need to fill in a little bit of background here - my dh and I just recently started going to a new church because he has a disagreement about a particular theological teaching in our old denomination. It's one of those not-all-Christians-agree kind of things. As a matter of fact, he and I disagree about it. This was especially hard for me because I love our old church. We'd been there since shortly after we got married and this was truly my family - closer to me even than some of my real family. So when he decided it was time to go somewhere else...wll, let's just say I was put to the test. Do I follow him even though I disagree? Or do I stay at the church I believe is right? By the way this is strictly an issue of doctrine and, while important, doesn't involve either of us sinning or anything like that. He wanted to find a new church, not join a cult or start hitting the clubs:) So after much heartache and prayer I finally was able to say "whither thou goest..." and we found a new church. But I have been missing my old church so much and having to deal with my son who's also missing it. But God is so good to me! Dh woke up too sick to venture out this morning (that's not the good part!) and since I had to take the kids by myself he was just fine with us going back to our old church for a visit. I didn't know about Jordan being baptized until I got there because no one wanted to tell me and make me sad about having to miss it. I was so thrilled to be there and it just did my heart so much good. I drove home just thanking God the whole way for knowing just what I needed. It's almost more than I can comprehend that the God of the universe cares whether I'm happy or sad. And I know some will say that I'm making a big deal out of what is essentially a coincidence. I'm certain that's what I'd have said just a couple of years ago, but I just can't believe that anymore. It's too much, too personal, too often, too exact. I'm so thankful.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Does it matter how I look?

Let me start by saying that I hardly ever watch Oprah. I know, I know you're thinking "yeah, right - all she does is watch Oprah and eat bonbons." But, seriously, I really don't care for her so I don't watch much at all. However, I did turn her on the other day when she was doing a show with Trinny and Susanna from "What not to wear" because I think they're hysterical and I'm always trying to figure out how to look 10 (or 40) lbs lighter without actual exercise or a diet. So they're being very critical of all these poorly dressed women and giving them makeovers and I'm wishing they'd redo me because my worn out maternity pants (the baby's 8 months old now), husband's t-shirt and nursing bra that doesn't fit are looking pretty shabby. But then I excuse myself by ranting to anyone who'll listen (mostly just the baby - Levi was busy playing blocks) that it's incredibly shallow to be putting that much time, effort and money into looks. And besides, who is going to see me anyway - I wasn't going anywhere. That's when I had my lightbulb moment. My kids and MY HUSBAND see me looking like this. Aren't they worth getting dressed for? Doesn't my husband deserve to come home to a clean, good smelling wife. In other words, I shouldn't expect a homecoming kiss if I haven't brushed my teeth:)
And what about the other people who do see me - at the grocery store or in Walmart? Those places are my mission field (the only one I have time for!). If they see another frazzled, disheveled mom who clearly isn't fixing herself up for anyone, then how are they supposed to suspect that I adore my husband and my kids (almost all the time -haha)? That I think being a mom is a worthy "career" and calling. How are they going to see the joy I've found in Christ if I look like barely bothered to switch out of my jammies?
Now I know there are a lot of opinions out there about what Christian women should wear. Dresses only, headcoverings, modesty, dressy or casual at church...We have a lot to consider on all those topics. But my main thought today is that we should try to look appealing. Not sexually, not in a way that draws attention. But nice. In a way that makes other people glad to see us coming. I don't mean that we should focus on outward adornment, but I think as we represent Christ to the world we should comb our hair and put on a smile. I know that no one will reject Christianity because I didn't do my nails. But I do want to be a good ambassador. So does anyone else have any thoughts on this? How important is how we look?

Levi is addicted to candy!

He got a lot of candy for Valentine's Day. I mean a lot. From his Grandma and from his Granny and from his Dad (who also bought me some candy - still my valentine!). So I collected all the crack - I mean candy - and put it well out of reach so that I could dole it out slowly. I did let him indulge a little on Valentine's. I'm not scrooge or anything:) But after that I figured a couple of pieces a day until it was gone. I mean this is a kid who usually gets candy once a week or so at most. I thought he'd be thrilled with his two little chocolate hearts. Well he isn't. He wants it all and he wants it now. "I am hungry of that candy" is all I ever hear. And no that isn't a typo - we aren't sure why he says of instead of for. So what to do? Eat all the candy so I can honestly say that there isn't any more? Sounds like a plan!

Friday, February 18, 2005

A mommy victory!

Brenna went to sleep tonight on time and in her bed! It's been such a struggle with her since Casey went to night shift to get her to sleep anywhere but in my arms. I'm thinking that might possibly have a little something to do with a mommy who likes to sit on the couch and hold a sleeping baby girl:) But that wasn't going to work so I had to "retrain" her (for lack of a better word) to sleep on her own. I'm actually a big believer in nursing to sleep and cosleeping and all that good attatchment parenting kind of stuff - to a point. But there comes a time when they need to learn to sleep in their own beds and with Brenna that time is now! We had a couple of rough nights when I stayed with her for a loooong (so it seemed) time before she fell asleep. But tonight I nursed her, said prayers and laid her in her bed. Then she smiled and fell asleep:) This is the kind of thing that the Newsweek article we've all been taking about failed to mention. The times that your heart just swells with absolute joy at this little person in your life. The times when you feel like you're doing something, by the grace of God, that is so right.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Will being a stay at home mom really make you crazy?

After I read Molly's post on this newsweek article, I just had to read it for myself. Mommie Madness is the author's term for what's wrong with the women of my generation. Apparently, as we attempt to "have it all" we turning ourselves into desperate, exhausted shells of our former selves - unable to string three or four words together into a sentence. We've "surrendered their (our) better selves—and their (our) sanity—to motherhood." Well, first let me say I take offense. I'll admit I might be a little sleep-deprived some days and maybe that makes me a tad slower on the uptake. And, okay, I might say "good job" more times a day than is really neccessary. I also say things like..."let's not pick our nose" and "please take some of that out of your mouth." But come on. This is motherhood, right? What did we think we were signing up for? Being a mom is hard work and sometimes it's dull work and sometimes it's even messy and gross. But along the way somewhere we've forgotten that it's important. Neccessary. Vital. Incredible work. Women not only need to do this job, we need to do it well. And it shouldn't mean that we stop being adult women in our own right. The words "mommy" and "woman" aren't opposites. We should be both. There isn't some mommy mold that won't fit if you dress nice and don't eat sandwich crusts for lunch. So many of the problems this article addresses are caused by our preconceived ideas and our own selfishness (talking about me here). We're so concerned with being "fulfilled" and trying to find "balance" that we've lost sight of our priorities all together. It's supposed to look like this - God, Husband, Children, Home and Church with everything else falling in line after that including ourselves. Now does this mean we have to fall apart so we can take care of others? No. It's just like they tell you on an airplane - you put on your own oxygen mask first so you can stay concious to help everyone else. We have to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. But we're wasting all our energy chasing the wrong things and not sacrificing where it really counts. I'm speaking to myself here, too. I mean come important was it that I bake and decorate my babies birthday cake from scratch when it meant I didn't get to sit on the floor and play with him and his new dumptruck? They sell birthday cakes at Kroger now:) And since when do kids need every afterschool activity known to man? We're mothers, not chauffers. Not personal shoppers.
I guess I'm just tired of hearing us whine about how hard our lives are when we're the ones holding the cards. Everything is a choice, no one can have it all. Although the author thinks we're all being too hard on ourselves and should look for help (in the form of more and better child care - even for stay at home moms), I think we're not asking enough of ourselves. We need to find out what's important and then get it done. And in the process we need to help one another. If your not enjoying being a mom, figure out why not and fix it or fix your attitude about it. We weren't trained to do this job, much less do it well, but there's not much we can do about that now. So we need to learn (we're smart, we can do it!) and pass the knowledge around. With some good friends in the trenches with us we can lean on one another while we get it all together. And, hopefully, teach our daughters as we go so that they don't think of motherhood as another depressing chore.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why we're going to homeschool...

We decided to homeschool Levi and Brenna and any other blessings that God sends our way quite some time ago. I started researching it well before Levi was even born. But I've always been very nervous about telling people because a lot of our family and friends don't approve. Having said that, let me also say "Thank You, God" for the ones who have been very supportive. Since Levi is still only 3 we haven't really hit a time when we have to make a big sweeping declaration so I've been avoiding confrontation with zeal. Almost to the point of being dishonest with phrases like "we're thinking about..." and "If everything goes well..." But no more. Here's the plan.
We are going to homeschool all our children through high school and possibly into college. That means that I will be their primary teacher and that we, their parents, will make all the decisions about their education. We may use a purchased curriculum. We may enroll in a satellite school. We may even let them enroll in a class here or there when that's an option. But we'll decide and they won't "go to school" like everyone is expected to these days.
Having said all that, bear with me while I try to explain why. We believe with all our hearts that God gave parents the command to teach their children. We need to be the ones deciding what they learn and when. There may have been a time when a parent could send a child to school to learn the three r's - no more, no less - and trust that they would still be the ones to teach their children about God and morals and what we now call a worldview. But that's not true now. Schools are no longer neutral. They are socializing our children to be part of a culture that is decidedly anti-Christian. I don't want to have to de-program my kids every afternoon. "No, it isn't okay if Heather has two mommies." "No, we didn't all rise up out of the 60 billion year old sludge." "Yes it is okay for you to pray before you eat." "No it's not all right for you to have sex with whomever you please as long as you use protection." I'm not going to sign my child up to be fed these lies for eight hours a day until they 18.
And what about those 3 r's? Does anyone even talk about them anymore? American schools are failing at their actual job. Our young men and women are graduating without basic knowledge. I know because I did. I was a "smart" kid - took the advance courses, got decent grades - and I am still astounded by just how little I know compared to what was standard knowledge 100 years ago. I want the best possible education for my children. I want them to have a teacher who will pour her heart and soul into making sure that they are well equipped to go out in the world and do whatever God calls them to do. A teacher whose focus will be entirely on them. Who else is going to be that teacher?
I know that so far this post has just been one long ramble, but my essential point is this...We've decided that homeschooling is the best thing for our family and, the bottom line is, we get to decide. So I'm not going to change the subject anymore when friends ask which preschool we're signing up for. And I'm not going to be nervous about answering questions. Fire away:) I'm ready.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Things I'm Thankful for Today

1. My Valentine, Casey, who brought me candy this morning and a beautiful card, plus cards and candy for Levi and Brenna.
2. Levi seems to be just about over his cold.
3. Brenna is napping in my arms.
4. My mom, who sent 2 big valentine boxes full of candy and fun stff, clothes for Brenna, toys for Levi, cards, and so much stuff to "doctor" me. She is so thoughtful and sweet. And it is so wonderful to be "mothered" a little!
5. Listening to Levi count all by himself.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Creating a "Perfect" Christian Home

I'm a little stressed. That's what happens when what I want to be (the perfect Christian wife, mother, homemaker, witness, etc.) comes face to face with what I am (often stubborn, sometimes cranky, killer-of-houseplants). With two sick babies these last few days I've fallen off the housekeeping wagon and, boy, can you tell it. I have a pretty good picture of how things "should" be - sort of a gospel according to Donna Reed - sparkling house, live plants, table set in anticipation of the gourmet meal on the stove, delicious homemade cookies in the cookie jar made with freshly milled wheat and raw honey - no evil white sugar in this perfect home! - all while wearing pearls and heels:) So is there something wrong with me if I actually like this picture? Even as I sit here amidst the cookie crumbs (which aren't my three year old's, by the way) and stacks of junk mail, I'm dreaming about the day when my little corner of God's creation will look more like this. Which keeps me going when my feet stick to the kitchen floor:)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Brenna's checkup

Brenna's checkup went really well last week. She's still growing like a weed:) 17 lbs and 3.5 oz. 27.5 inches long. She starting to slim up just a little. At 7 months she's only a smidge smaller than Levi was at nine months. She's really trying to pull up and will take a few steps holding on to our fingers. I'd never want to hold her back, of course, but I can wait for awhile on the whole walking thing! She's really so much fun. I've said from the beginning that she's high maintainance:) But she's growing out of some of that and she's so sweet. Very loving and happy and playful. Levi taught her to play peek-a-boo as soon as she could sit up and it's still her favorite game. She loves anything he plays with her. As I was cooking supper tonight I heard her cackling laughing at him as he crawled around and around her on the floor. It's so wonderful to watch them play together.