Going to the City

We live a 12-minute-drive from the closest city.  The word city is relative in people’s minds.  Folks like me who spent years in places like Vancouver, San Diego County, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, New York or any other big city… well, we might call this a very, very small town, indeed.  However, its articles of incorporation as a city were filed in 1855.  So, a city it is.  (As a point of reference, the entire population of our little city, according to the latest census, is equal to the membership of the church I attended in San Diego County.)  For the purposes of this little post, I shall call this a “town” and the closest bigger city a “city”.

Our little town has its own charm, but it is missing the conveniences of the city.  Many of the people I know go to the city to see a doctor, go to stores like Costco, drop off at the Good Will or Salvation Army, go shopping in a mall, go to organic food stores, or to even have a choice of restaurants at which to eat.   (The selection in our town is very small, although slowly growing.)

The closest larger city from our house is 45 minutes away… driving to where we want to go in that city takes longer.  Most of the big shopping we need to do is done there and certainly, if we want to do a good deal of organic shopping, we need to go in to the city.  So, we have to save up and combine all errands that are city-related to do in one day.  Unfortunately, it is often an all-day proposition.  Today was a “going to the city” day.

It’s been a LONG day.  I’m so tired right now.  So, tonight we’ll simply have polish sausage and potato soup with toast for dinner.  It’s the easiest thing I can think of with the ingredients I have on hand.  (It’s simmering right now… potatoes and polish sausage cut into bite sized pieces and thrown into chicken stock with diced carrots, diced onions, peas and corn.  I also added a bit of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  The stock I’m using has no gluten or MSG in it, but has big flavor and doesn’t need a lot of seasoning.  The sausage and veggies will flavor it up nicely.  In the meantime, as soon as I’ve finished writing this I’m going to sit down and start watching a Christmas movie.  I’m not going to do one more thing tonight… except dishes.

Your Value

This morning I couldn’t sleep.  I woke up at 2 am and have laid there for almost two hours.  I got up, took some medication for a headache and now here I am, sitting at my desk, reading blogs and enjoying the creativity and perspectives of other people.  It has been a while since I’ve written.  Between the things that must be done and the headaches I’ve been experiencing, I haven’t had much time or motivation to spend at the computer writing.  But, I miss it.

Taken for Granted….?

One of the comments I read this morning was, “I gave up the corporate ladder for diapers, and yes, I gave up the prestige of position as defined by our culture to one defined by my God.”  This insightful comment came from The Respect Dare, written by Nina Roesner.  Another comment in this blog entry (Taken For Granted….?) states, “You can have a beautiful marriage, too.  But it won’t happen if you allow yourself to model what you see on secular culture’s tv or in the magazine stand at grocery checkout.   Those are lies.  We’re also buying Christian-culture lies if we subscribe to the notion that women are to be doormats and second-class citizens in a marriage.”

This life we Christians have available to us as we grow in Christ is a life of fulfillment, partnership with our spouses, joy, peace, relationship and so much more.  God wants us to live a vibrant life filled with purpose.  He wants us to grow and develop and be all that He created us to be.   If we’re not living this kind of fulfilling life, then we’re falling short of the potential God created in us.

So, how do we reach this potential?  Well, first and foremost, God created in each and every one of us a need for Him.  As vast as His creation truly is (and we’re still learning new things about our cosmos from the most incredible discoveries in outer space to the tiniest subparticles here on earth), He created, loves, and knows each and every one of us.  He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.  And He wants us to know Him.  He gave us revelation about Himself through nature and through His Word.

Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”  (NASB)

In order to maintain friendships we need to spend time with our friends and get to know them.  Correct?  How can we have valuable relationships with people if we don’t spend time getting to know them?  The same goes for our relationship with God.  We need to spend time daily in His Word.  The more effort and time we spend getting to know God through His Word and praying, the more we learn about ourselves and our purpose.  So, do you spend some time getting to know Him daily?  The Bible isn’t a book that is a drudgery to read.  It is a book in which God reveals Himself and His plan and purpose for us.

Jeremiah 29:11  “‘For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope.'”

Relationships always impact each other in one way or another.  Getting to know God inevitably means that we will change.  The more we get to know Him, the more we’ll change.  And, personally, I do want to continue to grow and change and develop.  I want God to use me to have an impact on this world.  And “this world” in each and every one of our lives starts at home.

As a parent what kind of impact are you having on your children?  What kind of impact do you have on your spouse?  Please… be sure that you do not ever underestimate how you affect your family whether negative or positive.   (There is no such things as a “neutral impact”.)

Psalm 127:3(a)  “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.”

So, as a mother, I want to speak to mothers for a moment.  God has defined your role to be one of incredible value.  You and your husband are rearing children who will have an impact on this world and on those around them.  The time you spend praying for your children, teaching them to know and love God, and raising them to have a positive impact on their world is far more important than any position in the corporate world.   Regardless of whether you work full-time, part-time or whether are an at-home-Mom, your family should always be the first priority that you have.   The way you raise your children will have an impact on their lives and the future.

Proverbs 31:10-12  “An excellent wife who can find, for her worth is far above jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

As a wife, I want to encourage wives.  The roll you have and the impact you can have on the life of your husband is immense.  Don’t take it lightly.  With a word, you can tear him down or build him up.  You can encourage or discourage him.  There is so much to write about this and I will do so in another blog.  But, I encourage you to work to be the kind of wife that adds to your marriage regardless of whether you think your husband is doing the same or not.   As a Christian, part of that “adding to the marriage” is relying on God to change you over time, spending time with Him so that you are refreshed and able to give to your marriage selflessly, and then working on being the best wife that you can possibly be to your husband.

In her blog entry, Nina Roesner so eloquently stated that we cannot emulate what we see on TV or follow the advice about marriage that we may read in magazines.  She’s right. Our culture has lowered the standard tremendously and the divorce statistics indicate that the lower standard just isn’t working.  God’s Word and His Holy Spirit show us what we need to know in order to have a really vibrant, loving marriage.

Let’s pray for our marriages and our husbands.  Let’s work on becoming the wives that seek to live by God’s standard and leave it up to God to work in our husband’s lives so that we can have an amazing, loving, wonderful marriage.

Have a blessed day.

Blueberries and Other Goodies

I LOVE blueberries. 

Breakfast of rasperries, blueberries and oatmeal.
Image via Wikipedia

We put them in breakfast shakes, homemade icecream, pancakes, cereal and baked goods .  I really enjoy having a pile of fresh fruit (like blueberries and strawberries) over a waffle for breakfast.  Even though the rest of my family doesn’t like oatmeal, I even like to have blueberries over oatmeal as a different way of preparing it.  One of my favorite breakfasts is just a big fruit salad.  I could live on fruit of all kinds, I enjoy it so much.

Guava, photographed in Bangalore
Image via Wikipedia

My parents worked overseas and so I grew up there before they retired and came home.  We were at a place where we could grow mangoes, papayas, guavas, passion fruit, pineapple, gooseberries and other wonderful things.  To this day, when I eat a papaya, I would consider it to be a comfort food.

Guava anything is delicious to me… fresh guavas, guava jam, guava juice, guava smoothies, etc., …love it, love it, love it.

My husband has planted a number of different fruit trees and bushes on our property and we had a number of pear trees, wild raspberries, and black walnut trees already growing there when we bought the place.  Eventually we’ll have a whole orchard, vineyard, and fruit garden.  My dream…  apricots, pears, bing cherries, peaches, several kinds of apples, plums, permissons (well, this is my husband’s choice), kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries,  strawberries, both muscadine (for him) and concord (for me) grapes, watermelon, canteloupe and figs.  And, while I’m dreaming… almonds, english walnuts and pecans.  The really tropical fruits will still have to come from the store.

I know… it’s a lot of work to plant, nurture, harvest and prepare (can, freeze, dry, etc.).  But, we’ll eat fresh fruits as long as we can and all year-round we’ll be happy campers.

The last time we tried to grow watermelon and canteloupe, the deer came and stomped every one of them, eating the ripe ones and leaving the rest.  So, we’ll have to find a way to avoid that, if at all possible.

A friend just gave us blueberry bushes so my husband is planting them even as I write this (hence the title of my blog today since that’s on my mind).  I can’t wait until they start producing fruit.  (We realize that we’ll have to compete with the birds, rabbits and deer.)

Home

I have been a career girl all of my adult life.  Going off to work, I’ve kept myself extremely busy… and away from home a lot.   What I discovered is that a person can give their lives to their jobs.  They can end up working overtime, missing out on family activities because the boss said a hour before end of day that he needs something on his desk in the morning, traveling whenever and where ever is required, taking work home, and doing everything possible to make sure that the company does well.  But, the company doesn’t have the same commitment to you as you have to it.  That’s just a fact of life.   In my case, I was laid off because our parent company moved the business outside the US.

You know what?  Hearing that I had been laid off was the most freeing moment.  I was free!  I could do with my life what I wanted to do with it.   I drove home with a smile on my face.  Yes, I was concerned because a big chunk of income had just been taken away.  But, money is not everything!!!  I was a smart girl and could do whatever I wanted to do.  We could learn to simplify.  I could start my own business from home.  The possibilities were endless.

And what did I want to do?  I wanted to be a Homemaker… the COO of our family.  This was one career I had anyway, but one to which I hadn’t been giving everything.  Think about it.  The people I worked with and the company I worked for got the best of my energy, time, effort, and creativity.  I was exhausted by the time I came home.

The problem is that the people I loved most lived at home.  But, I was spending 10 – 12 hours a day away from them.  I put my best into my job and everything else got second best, what was left over when I was exhausted.  Yes, I took care of them.  But, I couldn’t give them my best.

Home is the most important place I know.  My husband happens to be the CEO of our home, but I am the COO and my job is to keep everything operating smoothly.  Working with my hubby, I have a number of responsibilities.  Among those things are:

  • Finance Manager – working on the budget, paying the bills, balancing the check book, keeping track of family assets (everything from clothing to equipment), and helping keep financial goals on track.
  • Office Manager – managing the “home” office, buying supplies for our home, working within the budget that was set, handling correspondance, and so much more.
  • Nurse – taking care of boo boos, making trips to the doctor and dentist, administering medications whenever necessary, making sure my family is healthy and safe.
  • Activities Director – making sure that everyone is where they should be, coordinating family activities and vacations, thinking of fun family night activities… and so much more.
  • Teacher – homeschooling / teaching my precious kids.
  • Master Chef – well… at least I wish it were “master” chef.  But, alas, I’m a chief cook and bottle washer.  At least my family loves my meals.  This includes planning, preparing and serving healthy meals and snacks to my family.
  • Chief Encourager – spreading love and effection around to all members of the family, encouraging, listening, cheering, helping.
  • House Manager – cleaning, organizing, coordinating family members’ chores, doing laundry and other general house work.

Other things that I can’t think of off the top of my head can be added to that list.  Homemaking is not a demeaning job.  It’s not a job to be looked down on.  One shouldn’t be embarrassed to say, “I’m a Homemaker.”  There’s joy, not shame in investing our best into the people we love most.  Any wife and mother wears many hats.  But, that keeps it challenging.  Being the Chief Operating Officer in our home means that I have an incredibly important career right here at home.

I love it.  I love being with my kids.  I love being able to spend more time with my husband and invest more into our relationship.

So if there is anyone out there who is debating whether they want to be an At-Home-Mom or a Homemaker… I would say, “Go for it!”  Invest your time and effort in what is most important to you.  My encouragement to you is to let you know that this is the best thing I’ve done, the most important investment in lives that I’ve had.  I’m investing in the lives of the people who are the most precious to me.  With regard to my children, the investment I put into them now will have life-long impact on their lives.   Don’t take Homemaking lightly.  It’s not just something you have to do.  It’s a career that impacts those around you.