Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Lacking homeward diligence: the background November 30, 2009

Filed under: Household — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 7:00 pm

As described in recent posts, I’ve lately realized a problematic lack of homeward diligence which I’ve been working to rectify.  Diligent at-home moms abound (like Lindsay of Passionate Homemaking or my friend Courtney who helped launch my diligence regimen and now blogs at Whole Diligence ), as do people who are naturally tidy and domestically attentive.  [If you’re one of these, feel free to stop reading now.]  It feels to me, though that I’m in decent company among at-home moms who feel they’re floundering in their domestic efforts and can’t put their finger on why.  One fellow-mom friend said, “I feel like I’m always trying to get organized;” another said, “I lack focus;” a third said, “I understand there’s a better way; I’m just not doing it.”  There’s a shared sense of flailing, of now knowing quite how to get a handle on things in our households. I don’t know if these women struggle with diligence as I do; I’m just noting that their words resonated greatly with how I felt.

It all made me wonder: is there more to a lack of homeward diligence?  Cultural factors, corporate mindset? So I reflected on the circumstances that contributed to my own lack of homeward diligence and came up with these (not an exhaustive list, just my own top 6): (more…)

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Diligence: the big “E” on the eye chart November 28, 2009

Filed under: For moms,Household,The heart — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 6:08 pm

Since I put myself on a “diligence” regimen a few months ago, I’ve been met with immediate and radical results.  Transformational, even.  The results have been so profound, in fact, that I’ve found it slightly annoying along the lines of – why on earth didn’t I do this before?  Turns out that for me, diligence is the big “E” on the eye chart at the doctor’s office – so huge and obvious, right there at the top, and I’ve been missing it all along. (Credit to my favorite Mark Driscoll, who has used that analogy more than once, and which I love.)

You see, it’s not that I hadn’t been making efforts to improve my under-functional household. I’d been doing so all year: I sat through a presentation on home organization; after that I put a mini-file system in my kitchen.  After hearing about the Fly Lady, I tried her keep-your-kitchen-sink-clean idea.  I heard a talk on crockpot cooking and started using mine on occasion in hopes of  improving the dinner-time-rush scenario.  I’ve been meal planning for nearly a year now.  But none of this stuff made a difference, big picture. (more…)

 

Thankfulness November 26, 2009

Filed under: Bible — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:42 pm

 “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
     and extol him with music and song.

 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.

 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.

 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:1-7)

 

Do hard things: raise expectations November 25, 2009

Filed under: Behaviors,Books,Culture,For moms,Parenting,Training — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:42 pm

Back in April I mentioned my interest in reading a book that’s received a far amount of buzz this year called Do Hard Things, written to a teen audience by twin Christian teenagers.  Last week while visiting family in the northeast, I discovered that my 13-year old nephew had a copy so I perused it.  I found it inspiring both in its content and in the family behind the book’s authors, a large Christian family that’s clearly intentional and God-focused in its parenting.  (The twins’ older brother is the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, another thought-provoking and influential book, so clearly this family is raising leaders in the next generation).

The two big takeaways for me that I’ve been pondering since reading it are both related to expectations, and they’re these: (more…)

 

What? You want MORE kids? November 23, 2009

Filed under: Books,Culture,Parenting — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 11:42 pm

I’m one of three kids and my husband is one of two.  When we got married ten years ago at the ages of 23 and 25, we both knew we eventually wanted to have at least three kids.  Beyond that we didn’t give it too much thought.  We know several people who forego all birth control so God may give them as many children as he chooses, though I didn’t learn of the quiverfull movement till I’d been married for years (and am not a participant).  That children are blessings from the Lord to be gladly received – and that our practical response to this truth matters – is important and requires more reflection, I think, than many evangelical Protestants are willing to give it.

Equally important, though, is a topic about childbearing I hear discussed even less frequently.  I don’t think I encountered it myself till last year. It’s this: bearing children and raising them to love God is an act through which we collaborate with God in ruling and “subduing” the earth (Gen 1:28). We Christian parents get to raise the next generation of Christ-following kids, who will work alongside us to help His kingdom come. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we should all have as many children as we can, but it does mean that the more children we have – the more opportunities we get to participate in what God’s doing on the earth, if we raise them to love and serve Him. (more…)

 

The two-part home November 21, 2009

Filed under: Books,Culture,Household — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:53 pm

My parents have lived in a suburban Boston town for 25 years; over the past decade it’s become among the area’s wealthier towns.  When my kids and I visited my family last week I observed a crop of newly erected McMansions since we were last there a year earlier- palatial houses that occupied nearly every square inch of their lots.  Huge houses like these have been on the rise for years but this batch was the most outrageous I’ve seen.  Some were perhaps 8000 square feet – yet likely housed a family with the average 2.5 kids.  Illogical. 

I think the reason the McMansions so struck me is that I’ve been pondering home life since my recent diligence revelation last month; what, I’ve been wondering, is “home” really all about?  For the past year God’s been working hard on me about the crucial importance of parenting intentionally every day; I’ve been focusing intently on all facets of childrearing ever since. (It’s why I started this blog.)  And I fully relate to Elizabeth Krueger (of Raising Gody Tomatoes)’s viewpoint when she wrote, “I set my mind diligently and consistently on training my children. I continued with the normal mandatory tasks of life such as basic housekeeping, laundry, and cooking, but ever as I did those things, I kept in mind that my children were my top priority, not a fancy dinner or a spotless house.”  Kids more important than household issues: check.  I’ve called this to mind a number of times.  But recently it occurred to me that attending well to childrearing is really not an excuse for a disastrous house or subpar cooking. (more…)

 

Kids and toys November 20, 2009

Filed under: Culture,Household,Materialism and entitlement — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 5:04 am

Something amazing happened last night – something so subtle that I didn’t even notice it till hours later.   I told my kids, after bathing them and putting them into their PJ’s, that they had five minutes till bedtime.  My 2-year old daughter asked my 4-year old son if he wanted to play blocks and he responded with these words: “No, let’s read books instead because I don’t want to have to clean them up before bed.” 

What’s the big deal, you wonder? Simply this: he’s actually internalizing that he’s responsible for cleaning up his own messes.  He gets it – at least he got it in that moment.  Taking ownership for his actions and his items.  My husband’s and my efforts to teach him to take responsibility for his things is beginning to work.  Thank you Jesus.

My household is like virtually every household in America in which little people reside: we spend a lot of time dealing with toys and clutter and squabbling over putting things away.  It takes a lot of time and emotional energy for all of us  to deal with a) the stuff and b) the effort to involve kids in caring for the stuff.  Some basic observations: (more…)