Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

New site! October 11, 2011

Filed under: Blogging — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 3:50 am

I’ve moved!

My new blog is called “Souls in the Sandbox” and can be found here. I hope you’ll come join in the conversation over there!


“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isa 43:19) September 29, 2011

Filed under: Blogging — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 5:34 am

Lately I’ve been reading Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, a fruitful read. She writes:

“(Writing) is life at its most free…, because you select your materials, invent your task, and pace yourself… The obverse of this freedom, of course, is that your work is so meaningless, so fully for yourself alone, and so worthless to the world , that no one except you cares whether you do it well, or ever…

A shoe salesman – who is doing others’ tasks, who must answer to two or three bosses, who must do his job their way-is nevertheless working usefully. Further, if the shoe salesman fails to apear one morning, someone will notice and miss him. Your manuscript, on which you lavish such care, has no needs or wishes. Nor does anyone need your manuscript; everyone needs shoes more. There are many manuscripts already – worthy ones, edifying and moving ones, intelligent and powerful ones.”

Indeed. And if there are many manuscripts out there, how many more blogs are out there in the world today? Somewhere upwards of 133 million, evidently. It’s insane. The world is flooded to choking with blogs, and we all need shoes more.

And yet I blog. I’ve been blogging here now for well over two years, and on I go. Thousands of Christian moms blog on parenting, and oodles of them do it way better than me. But after wondering about it and praying through what the heck I’m doing here exactly, and if it’s worth it (1 woman among 133 million), I’m still here. God’s given me ideas and the words to express them, and I’m a better person and mom when I do that. Truth crystalizes at the keyboard. The blurry comes into focus. It’s how He made me and a huge part of how He shows up in my life, so on I go.

The surprising part is the New Beginning part. After blogging here for two plus years about the young lives that reside here – new beginnings in the form of our four sweet faces – the blog itself is getting ready for a new beginning. I wasn’t looking for that and didn’t expect it, most of all in a season of having just added a fourth child and a homeschooled kid to the mix. But our God is a surprising God at times, isn’t He? And He’s been pretty clear about this, so off I go. New name, new look, new level of web-engagement, searchability, and potential exposure… Though same topics, same tone, same me. It’s a bit exciting, to be honest.

So here’s to a different kind of new life being born within the next week or two. Kind of interested to see where God might go with this in His time. I sure hope you’ll come with me to find out.


Month in review January 10, 2011

Filed under: Blogging,Holidays,Mary,Materialism and entitlement — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 6:31 am

Over the past month we have…

…Been privileged to spend a week across the country, visiting with my husband’s elderly grandfather during what turned out to be the final month of his life.B He died ten days after we left.  It was a gift, both for my husband and me, to know this man well and for our children to be the focus and delight of his countenance whenever we visited.  In his passing, my husband and I have discussed the gift of connection to the partriarchs of our families, and too we’ve discussed the import of Psalm 39:4: “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”  Even to a man of nearly 92 years, life on this earth must feel fleeting.  Thank you, Lord, that Grandpa is with you now.

…Spent our at-home Christmas abed with the stomach flu, which paid a visit to two of the five of us starting on Christmas Eve.  My churning stomach caused me to reflect on Mary and the real events of Jesus’ birth…  The first Christmas was, for her, much more similar to my laid-up and subdued holiday experience than anything that modern America puts on today by way of celebration.  Joy and wonder, yes, but also inconvenience, awkward circumstances she wouldn’t have chosen, and bodily pain.  I thought of Mary as I sat on the bathroom floor, thankful for the reminder to step away from the entitlement mindset that can often pervade the American Christmas experience (my own included) – the notion that the holiday ought to be special and warming and perfect. Mary’s wasn’t.

“While they were (in Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

…Hosted my beloved sister and her family of four for a week over New Year’s, a few days after the stomach flu had moved on (all but one of us, it turned out).  We are very close, and it’s difficult to be across the country from her – as with my whole family – especially in this season of raising young children.  The week was a joy and also brought many ponderings about the realities and challenges of living far from family, about cousins being with cousins so seldom over the course of a year.  I thought, as I have so many times before, of Paul’s words to his dear brother Timothy: “I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”

A full month, to be sure, and one in which the Lord’s words are as present and relevant as ever. Thank you Jesus for ever walking through this life with us and shining your light upon the paths our feet walk. May we be closer to you in this coming year than we were in the last.


Thoughts on mothering love June 13, 2010

Filed under: Blogging — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:11 pm

A few weeks back I posted about a mother’s love – what it is and what it’s supposed to be.  Today I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Jess of Making Home, who rarely blogs anymore but offers gems when she does.  Her latest post, Labeling vs. Loving, was certainly that… inspiring and convicting.  Full of truth.  

Hope it encourages you too.


Getting away: trips and Sabbath May 26, 2010

Filed under: Bible,Blogging,Books,For moms — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 6:13 pm

Last night my husband and I pulled into our driveway after 11 hours on the road with a van full of tired kids, dirty laundry, and a back windshield void of glass and elaborately covered in duct tape due to a rock our 4-year old put through the window two days prior.  We’d spent three days and four nights in the beautiful, lake-side woods of northern CA in unseasonably cold weather – combining our first multi-night camping trip as a family of five with practice in winter-tenting. (Photo-disclosure: it snowed near but not at our campsite.) It was a huge adventure and well worth it; more details from the trip will no doubt follow in upcoming posts.

This morning I saw that a post I’d written for Christianity Today about Sabbath-keeping called Our Restless Lives came out last week, just before we left.  This timing seems especially fitting because Wendy Mogul’s analogy of Sabbath-keeping with a trip to the wilderness resonates with me and our family’s experience.  As I quoted in my last post about the Sabbath, “What? Day of Rest?”, Mogul:

“cites a rabbi who compares the Sabbath’s ‘sense of timelessness to river rafting or being in the wilderness.  Preparing for such a trip – finding the right maps, inspecting equipment, packing the car – is so much trouble you wonder if it’s worth the effort.  You have to work so hard to prepare to stop. But once on the river, with no watches or other obligations, time can unfold and expand in a natural rhythm.’  You can’t get into the natural rhythm – stop and enjoy life – till you’ve done the work to get away (literally, figuratively, or both) from the daily grind.”

It was a lot of work to prepare for that trip. There were a lot of hours in the car with our kids to reach our destination. But the experience there was one we could never have recreated at home, and it was fabulous.  Our trip was a Sabbath from our regular life… just as our day of rest should be a Sabbath from our regular week and mindset.  There is catch-up to do on the flip side sometimes (as the mounds of laundry around me attest), but who cares?  I’ll take refreshment, widened perspective, deepened relationships with my family members, and a renewed sense of the adventure of life over the annoyances of prep and clean-up any day.


Mothering through the Panic Room phase March 26, 2010

Filed under: Blogging,Culture,For moms,Mothering role — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 2:34 pm

Today I am guest-posting over at Abundant Life in the Making, participating in a blog series Aimee is hosting called “The Imperfect Mamas Club.” I love Aimee’s idea and series (first post here) which aims, in her words, to “share the good and the bad, in order give balm to the hurt, to feel less alone, to accept the hard and savor the great.”  My post, “Mothering through the Panic Room phase,” also follows here.

We moved into a new neighborhood when our kids were nearly 3 and nearly 1. Our household was busy and we were encountering some significant parenting challenges…. but big picture, things still felt relatively manageable. Our new next-door neighbors, whose four children were 2 to 8 years old, were among the best parents my husband and I had ever met; we loved their kids and parenting style. My neighbor friend described the intensity of having four preschoolers. “My bedroom was like a ‘panic room,'” she told me. “When I felt like I was about to lose it, I’d go into my room, close the door, and scream into a pillow.”

At the time, I hadn’t hit that stage yet in my mothering. Now, with three kids under 5, I have. There are definitely days when I feel I could lose my mind at any moment.  Days when I can’t believe it’s only 11 AM and have eight more hours till bed-time. Days when I desperately wish I could be somewhere – anywhere – else.  Sometimes I find myself in a whole week of panic-room-style days. (more…)


Blogging on blogging February 8, 2010

Filed under: Blogging,For moms — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 11:53 pm

Lately I’ve been kicking around some thoughts about my involvement in the blogging world. I’ve been reading blogs regularly since late 2008 and blogging here for almost a year; the blogosphere has been a gift to me  and my family in many ways. Today I have the honor of being the featured mama for “Mama Monday” over at the Flourishing Mother  (one of my favorite blogs), so I thought I’d jot some blog-related thoughts here.  Current top 7 thoughts on blogging:

1. I read blogs for vision, inspiration, and practical ideas in life and mothering.  The bloggers I follow lift my eyes from myself, speak into my heart, and foster thankfulness in me.  Several bloggers (Andrea of the Flourishing Mother is one) feel like e-mentors to me. If I run into a parenting challenge or seek inspiration, I’ll search these mamas’ blogs to gain perspective and/or wisdom.

2. My Google reader is my friend and makes following blogs easier and less overwhelming. I don’t read blogs any other way.

3. I choose blogs carefully and don’t follow too many.  When I find a blog I think I like, I add it to my reader with a ‘trial’ mindset and follow it for a few weeks.  If I find myself unenthusiastic about reading new posts, I unsubscribe. No guilt!  Time is precious. I try to choose wisely, and I even pray through which blogs I should follow.  

4. I almost never follow blogs that post daily. It’s too much content for me and works against my efforts to discipline myself in time online.

5. I aim to limit my blog reading to two to three times per week for no longer than 20 ish minutes at a time.  More than that and I find that I a) feel overwhelmed, b) get addicted, and/or c) see a spike in feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, or e-jealousy (or any combination of those three!).

6. Akin to #5, my mantra is “books more than blogs.” Blogs are helpful and important to my life, but books – their weight, their permanence , the quiet they speak through their pages – are more important. I try to make sure that my time goes first to books (with the Bible of course being the most important).

7.  Before I write a post, I avoid reading others’ blogs and pray through my topic and thoughts, that I would honor God and He’d use the time and effort to bless me (and others as He chooses).  I’m learning to give over the words, their reach, and “what happens to them afterwards” to Him. 

Any blog-related guidelines you follow? Related thoughts? I’d love to hear them.