Reflecting on Year Three of Homemaking

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been three years already! Today marks my third anniversary of becoming a full-time homemaker. Around my 2-year anniversary last June, I posted four goals for the upcoming year:

  1. Homeschooling
  2. Potty Training
  3. Balance
  4. Vegetables

Whelp! Let’s start off with total transparency: I completely forgot that there were four goals until just right now, when I looked up my old post. I thought there were three. Oops! And to make it worse, even though I thought there were three, I couldn’t remember what #3 was! You might think this means I didn’t take my goals very seriously, but that’s actually not the case.

Homeschooling and potty training were the two I remembered, and they were definitely my two “biggies” this year. While I didn’t remember that balance and vegetables were also on the “official” list, I was still actively working on them! God is so gracious. So, here’s how it went:

Homeschooling…
is difficult. BUT! Worth it! I predicted last summer that this would be my biggest undertaking of the year, and I was right. It was a major change, but it taught me so much about my boy. We had a lot of struggles, because our curriculum ended up not being the best fit, which made me THROW a fit, because I did not want to do heavy lesson planning! Once I got over that, though, and just buckled down and did what I already know how to do — since I was a school teacher in a past life — it got crazy awesome. Turns out, Bennett L-O-V-E-S school! He doesn’t care if we’re learning about the letter y or about ankylosauruses, about AABB patterns or Scripture, he just LOVES it. Every day, he asks if we’re going to “learn about school” today. It’s just about the only thing he will drop everything for, besides ice cream or Daddy coming home. Once I pressed in and found some supplementary things that worked for us, it just got beautiful. My kid memorizes entire passages of Scripture, and loves it! What an eternal work we’re doing here, sowing seeds for the future, planting truth deep in his heart. This is the best, and I might just homeschool forever. Except I totally don’t want to, except that I totally do. I’ll keep you posted on what God wants, since that’s a bit more important.

Potty Training…
was just about the worst time in my life. It’s worse than having a newborn. BUT! We’re through it. He’s potty trained. Still in pull-ups at night, but that’s an awfully long time for a little bladder. He makes it through naps, but not through the night yet. That will come. I’m choosing not to stress about it. I’m choosing to call this a victory!!! Potty training is a battlefield, and I may have scars, but I am victorious. Poop and pee are defeated and banished to the potty!

Balance…
is elusive. I’m learning. My word this calendar year is Simplicity. I have to let some things go, and choose to focus on the right things — The Things God points out.

THIS is important.
THIS is eternal.
THIS will be remembered.
THIS is the Lord’s work.

THAT is nice, but it is lesser.
THAT is temporal.
THAT, despite all your hard work, will be forgotten in a week.
THAT is just busy work.

♥ I’m working on it. ♥

Vegetables…
are becoming my friends! I didn’t actually keep a log of vegetable-serving frequency, but it *feels* like more. So, I can’t really quantify that and call it a victory. I can, however, say that my attitude has changed. Instead of, “Oh, I guess there should be a vegetable,” I’m all, “We need to have a salad night,” and, “I feel gross if I haven’t had any vegetables in a day or two.” MAJOR victory for me! Major. Still working on this one, too, but I can only go up from here. Even more telling is that my child loves carrots, green beans, broccoli, and peas! Like, he will eat them before anything else on his plate. I’ve made it a normal part of eating since he started solids, and so it’s normal to him. Let’s pray his taste buds don’t rebel in the next few years!

In conclusion: It’s been a year of much learning, growing, and victory! Stay tuned for my new goals for year four, which I’ll hopefully post soonish. Since I have no idea what these goals will be, I don’t know how long it will be before I post about them. But I *would* like to hear about *your* last year or so. How are things going for you? Have you had any victories and/or learning experiences in homemaking/parenting/life? I’d love to know, and be encouraged with you.

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More Advice from Mom

(Maybe.) Because my Bible titles Proverbs 31:1-9 “The Words of Lemuel” and then verses 10-31 “Description of a Worthy Woman,” I treated only those first few verses as the oracle from Lemuel’s mom (it seems that’s a pretty common approach). Well, that may not be so. It could be that the entire chapter is the oracle!

That’s pretty awesome if it is. First of all, it just makes Lemuel’s mother even more special. She didn’t just model for her son what a virtuous woman looked like, but she intentionally wrote out examples — according to a Hebrew acrostic for “easy” memorization — and painstakingly taught it to her child! Acrostic or no, that’s still a lot to memorize, which is the second reason I think it’s awesome if it’s part of the mother’s oracle. Lemuel memorized all of it! I hope he found himself the kind of wife his mother would approve of! I hope that both for Lemuel, who would have to hear it from his mom if she was still alive, and I also hope it for his wife, who might have had to wake to these little verses whispered in her ear if she stayed in bed past dawn. Sheesh!

Whether it’s part of the oracle or not is unclear, but I like the idea. I will be studying, meditating, and blogging through the remainder of this chapter verse by verse in the coming days and weeks. While I have no specific timetable for this, I would think I will publish no fewer than one or two posts per week. As I examine each verse, I will be keeping these ideas in mind:

  1. Lemuel’s mother was intentional about teaching her son how to select a spouse.
    How can I be intentional about teaching my son the same thing?
  2. This is not a list of absolute standards, but a beautiful example of a very valuable and cherished wife.
    What steps can I take to move closer to this excellent goal?
  3. The Bible presents Christian marriage as a symbol of Christ’s relationship with the Church.
    (Christ : Bridegroom :: Church : Bride)
    How can these verses be translated into the Christian life and relationship with the Lord?

I’m excited about this journey, and I would love to read your thoughts as you read along! Blessings!

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

My Oracle for Bennett

In my last post, I asked you what would be in your oracle, if you made one, for your child(ren). Well, I wrote one.

Now before some of you get excited, (“Oh! She’s a writer! I’ve never read one of her poems before!), let me caution you: I am not a poet. I don’t try to be a poet. My “poems” are ALWAYS totally free verse. It will be immediately obvious that any attempt at discovering meter or rhyme in this oracle is futile. So, this is just my oracle, so shaped to look like a poem at first glance. 😉

(And I plagiarized the first stanza.)

What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?

Do not waste your life!
Do not squander your gifts and talents!
Give yourself to the Lord God Almighty;
Serve Him and love Him with all that you are.
There is no god beside Him,
And in Jesus alone is your salvation.

Be courageous in living and sharing your faith.
Do not be timid, but open your mouth!
Speak the truth, that more might be rescued!

Have integrity.
Do not speak and act so as to be seen and respected by mere man.

Love the Lord.
Be His faithful servant in the farthest corners of your heart.

Honor God.
Remember him even through the darkest watches of the night.

Be merciful.
Remember who you are and Who gives you your strength.

Again I say, do not waste your life!
Discover your gifts, and be a blessing to others.
As your name is Blessed, so be a blessing.

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

Wishes and Warnings

I like King Lemuel’s mom. She wasn’t lazy.

Parenting is hard! And my little one is only (almost) seven months old. I know the days are coming when I will be ceaselessly guiding, instructing, correcting, disciplining, repeating. Oh, those toddlers, with their wills and ways and wonderful whining! A mom has to be so diligent, so intentional, and willing to persevere for decades! This mom with the oracle in Proverbs 31 sure sounds like that kind of mom!

I mean, this lady made her son, the heir to a throne, memorize this poem of her wishes and her warnings concerning his future. And what a collection of wisdom!

Do not give your strength to women,
Or your ways to that which destroys kings.

Don’t be stupid. Think with your BRAIN. Don’t take lightly your high position. Be wise and discreet, choosing wisely with whom you associate. This is not a game.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,
For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.
Let him drink and forget his poverty
And remember his trouble no more.

Be a leader. Take this seriously, because it is serious! Don’t waste your life partying and thinking only of yourself; you do not have that luxury.

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

You have great responsibility and can do so much good. Serve the poor. Seek their good. You are not better than they are. You are their mouth, you are their hope, you can make your life make a difference.

That was the burden on the heart of King Lemuel’s mother. Don’t we all have a similar burden for our children? Wishes and warnings, hopes and dreams? This mother carefully taught this oracle to her son, word for word, so that its words reverberated in his mind. I bet you could just start the first words of it — “What, O my son? — and then he’d be off! The rest of the oracle would come spilling out of his mouth with very little effort because she took the time to teach him the reality of his responsibility as not just a king, but as a human being.

What a great lesson for us moms. Persevere. Your children hear more than you think they hear, and remember more than you think they remember, for sure. (So keep a song in your heart and train yourself to have a pleasant reaction when you stub your toe!) But don’t think that this general acquisition of your home’s cultural climate will translate into your child truly knowing right from wrong, or truly valuing what you value. You’ve got to teach him. As the ancient Proverb goes,

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

So what are your wishes and warnings for your child(ren)? What would you include in your oracle, whether you have children yet or not?

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

What, O My Son?

I have decided to start a series on Proverbs 31 because I am a woman, I am a wife, and I am a mother. The 31st chapter of Proverbs has a lot to say about women in general, and wives and mothers in particular! It’s been a while since I looked at this chapter closely, and it has been never since I really savored each verse, meditating and evaluating my heart in light of them. What better time than now?

Although most Proverbs 31 studies seem to begin at the tenth verse — “An excellent wife, who can find?” — I am starting at the very beginning, with King Lemuel’s wise mother. You see, she had an oracle — a burden, a longing, a yearning — for her son. So much so that she taught it to him. And that word translated as “taught” in verse one carries with it the connotation of reproof, discipline, and careful instruction. She was very serious about it, and very serious about making sure he remembered her words. If she lived to see his kingship, then I’m sure she was pleased to learn that he had remembered (of course whether or not he heeded her advice is unknown).

Her words begin:

What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?

I love that.

He was her son. He came from her body. She cherishes that physical connection right from the start, reminding little Lemuel of her tenderness and love for him because he is forever a part of her. Even more, she shares with him her commitment to the Lord concerning him. Lemuel’s mother had apparently made some sort of spiritual vows regarding him, perhaps reminiscent of sweet, barren Hannah‘s, who had been rewarded with a son after years of yearning. Maybe Lemuel’s mom had a similar story, but we’re not told here; we can only speculate. One cool thing I found out is that the name Lemuel means “to God” or “belonging to God,” so it seems that in addition to the wisdom imparted in Proverbs 31:1-9, she wanted his identity to be as one who serves the Lord and who knows well who his Heavenly Father is.

Oh, me too, Mother of King Lemuel. Me too! I prayed for years and years before we were ready to start having kids. I prayed for my children by name, and I begged God for their salvation. I asked that He deny me motherhood, making me barren, if my children would only be destined for wrath by refusing to choose Life. Time will only tell what His complete answer to that prayer will be, but I’m still praying!

I now pray constantly for my little, almost seven-month-old boy, and for his younger brother or sister who is yet to be conceived. (Hopefully, there’s a little egg in there somewhere just waiting for its time!) Lifting up all the normal things a momma lifts up in prayer, I also really harp on that salvation and faithfulness part. It’s part of my vow to God for my children.

Now that I’m a mother, so much of my purpose is wrapped up in my son. May he know well that he is deeply cherished, that he’s forever a part of me, that he is fervently and constantly prayed for, and that he has a purpose!

More on this oracle soon!

 

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)