Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Finding My Selah -- The Homemaking Party


The word Selah is a Hebraic praise term that means, "pause and reflect on God." I first chose that name for our second baby girl when I drove through the town of Selah, Washington one day on my way to Seattle. I remembered my mom telling me they bottled Tree Top Apple Juice there and, as a kid, I always imagined the town smelled like apples (even though it's in a not-so-forested part of the state and actually smells a little sulphuric to me now). Anyway, as I was telling Jamie all this one day and said the name out loud, I realized how pretty it was. In the Pacific Northwest we pronounce it, "see-luh". A pretty name for our new baby---Selah Elizabeth---as Elizabeth is my middle name, too.

Several years later, when we got our baby girl after three boys, I was preparing for her birth and looked into the meaning of her name, Selah Elizabeth. Together the name means, "to pause and reflect on the God of plenty."


I've spent the last few Christmases redirecting the expectations of my family---and myself. We no longer try to hit every party available, bringing along fancy treats that I skipped making meals to perfect. We no longer lavish each kid with tons of expensive presents that I had to skip paying utility bills to afford. I no longer feel the need to keep up with all the fun and excitement the world wants to inundate me with at Christmas time. All these things are great until they start interfering with my ability to run my home well, stay on budget, or stay sane.

As I've felt a draw to holiness in other areas of my life, I'm feeling a draw to holiness in Christmas. For us, that looks like simplicity. Calm. Thoughtfulness. Focusing on relationships. We want to let God show us who he is in this season, just as we do in every season.

God is not different during Christmas, but sometimes we are different toward him. We make such a big deal about "Keeping Christ in Christmas"---we try to balance that with all the other fun of the season. But if we had been keeping Christ in everything we did the entire year before, that same mindset would carry right into Christmas.

When we have been living in a place of simple calm all year long, it's not hard for that same spirit of peace to translate into our Christmas celebrations. You can't live an overwhelmed, too-busy life all year and expect Christmas time to magically calm down for you.

This morning I sat down in my library to look through yesterday's mail and prepare for today. I sat at my desk and began to get my thoughts together to ask God to direct my day. Before I could say a word, he said to me, "Selah."

Just stop. Just think of me. Pause and reflect. I am the God of Plenty. I have all you need for life and godliness. What do I require of you but to do justly, walk humbly, and love mercy? Just be still and remember me.

Noel, noel, come and see what God has done.
Noel, noel, the story of amazing love. 
The Light of the World, given for us.

Risen for us. We have all we need.

Thanks for linking up at The Homemaking Party. Have a beautiful week!

 Linking with:
Oh My Heartsie Girls

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Call to Mothers of Daughters

Kynthia (7) recently made us a delicious pie!
Ladies, today I want to talk to you about how you're training your daughters.

This post has been brewing in my heart for awhile, but I wanted to be careful about how I went about writing it because this topic hits a nerve with so many.

One day I was in the meat section at Aldi and a couple of women in their 20s were looking at all the different cuts of meat. They were trying to decide what to cook for a get together and one of them said, "Steak sounds so good right now!" The other said, "Yeah, I know. I wish I knew how to cook it." The first girl agreed that she, also, didn't know how to cook it. They then had the same conversation about fish and when I was finished picking out the meat I needed, they were still trying to decide on something to buy. Not because they weren't sure what sounded best, but because they weren't sure how to cook any of it.

So many moms are doing a huge disservice to their daughters without ever meaning to. We teach our daughters that they should focus more on their brains than their looks, we tell them they can be anything they want to be. Some moms encourage their daughters to pursue a college degree and a career. Many who are stay at home moms themselves set their daughters on a track for employment outside the home and think they will have a better life. I'm not here to debate the pros and cons of stay at home moms vs. employed career women. Not today, anyway.

Avalon (9) had an idea for individual meatloaf balls one day so she experimented in the kitchen and they were fantastic!
What I do want to talk to you about is homemaking skills. Here's where things can get kind of judgy judgy so please hear my heart---because some of the women I'm about to describe are some of you readers. This is not an admonition---just an encouragement and something to think and pray about.

In the pursuit to grow their daughters' academic brains, many moms are missing out on the opportunity to train them in basic household management. Whether or not your daughter goes on to be a career woman or a full time homemaker, she is going to need basic life skills. Does your daughter know how to prepare a meal, or even a portion of one, from scratch, with any combination of ingredients available to her? Can she shop for a week's worth of groceries on a budget? Does she know how to change a diaper, check a temperature, or recognize the signs of a baby in distress? Is she familiar with using a toilet plunger? Can she recognize mold and mildew growing on a shower curtain? Does she know when food is spoiled and can she recognize when a cut of meat is cooked enough to eat safely? Would she be able to tell if her house was infested with fleas from her dog or with cockroaches?

Here's a bigger question moms: do you know how to do these things?

These are all basic life skills that everyone will need---whether they work outside the home or decide to stay home. Many parents are concerned about preparing their daughters for a life without a man, should they be abandoned by their partner or not marry at all; however, they mistakenly focus on her education too heavily, at the expense of her life skills. I can't tell you how many women my age have their husbands change the flat tire, fix the leaky faucet, change the moldy shower curtain---I do too, honestly. But if the argument is that they're training daughters for a potential life of singleness, why are they not focusing on the things she'll actually need to know to get through life?

Guys need kitchen skills, too. Our 14 year old son, Cainan, makes fabulous dinner rolls!
Feminism has done such a massive disservice to women, to the home. Again, that's a post (or a nine volume saga) for another day. In pushing their girls out into, what many of us still call a "man's world", mothers have somehow thrown out the baby with the bath water. I don't want to call out specifics because we all have different lifestyles that necessitate certain conveniences at certain times. I just want to give you a general encouragement to pray about how you can be better training your children to do the basic life things that we all encounter day by day. If you feel inadequate, ask someone for help! If you are local, ask ME for help! There are many tutorials and videos online and on blogs for anything you'd ever want to learn.

Family traditions, cozy homes, simple life pleasures---these are not things of the past. They carry on from generation to generation through us women, working outside the home or full time homemakers---all of us who are the hearts of our homes.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Michael Turns 17 Today...

Michael turning 17 feels different than Lynzie turning 17. The older Lynzie gets, the closer she becomes my friend. The more she relates to me, the more she understands me. Our closeness grows, the older she gets.

The older Michael gets, the more independent he becomes. When he turned 16, that gave him the freedom to drive and to get a job. It took him away for several hours, several days a week. This summer, he began serving as the youth worship team leader at church and took on more responsibility on the adult worship team. Now he's gone more than he's home and school lessons feel more like a formality than the interactive, inventive explorations they once were.

Michael turns 17 today. Ever since I got on Facebook in 2009, I have posted a birthday collage of past photos and a message to the special person of the day. This morning I got up to do it and found that his sweet girlfriend, Emily---a Godsend to Michael and to me---had already hit Facebook and Instagram with fantastic photos and special words that are meaningful to them in the beautiful life they're beginning to make for themselves.

I was a little surprised to find that I wasn't a bit jealous---only thankful that she's just as sentimental as I am. I trust this Godly girl with his heart.

Michael turns 17 today and my year of letting go has begun.

In our family, we train our boys for manhood before they hit the "official" age. We want them to be ready to take on all the responsibilities of work, providing, leadership, and ministry that God has designed men to carry. Michael has been going after this dream of manhood since he was about eight years old. It couldn't come fast enough for him; and so I, too, am excited for him to fulfill his dreams.

Michael turns 17 today, but I know I'll still catch glimpses of my child that remind me of all our happy times of the past. He still leaves his clothes lying around---but now, instead of it being his blue bathrobe, it's his blue jacket and I charge him $5.00 for leaving it out...again. He still requests a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and Reese's on top---only now, me and Emily's stepmom look forward to eating it more than he does. And he still loves these birthday pancakes I'm making for him right now, and will continue to make whenever he brings his family to visit Grandma. I sure hope Emily likes chocolate chip pancakes.
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