Friday, June 19, 2015

A Happy Father's Day Indeed

My dad and me at my sister's 25th anniversary
wedding vow renewal service in 2014.
A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the 
widows, is God in his holy habitation.
God setteth the solitary in families:
he bringeth out those which are bound with
chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
Psalm 68:5-6

A few years ago I wrote a blog post regarding my struggles at the card counter when choosing a Father's Day card for my dad called When a Father Falls Short of the Ideal: Father's Day Ponderings of an Adult Child of Divorce. I mentioned at the end how God had begun the healing between Dad and I after his coming to know Christ.

I just want to say with great joy in my heart and soul that it occurred to me this year that the struggle at the card counter was completely GONE. I still passed over the sentiments which didn't fit out relationship, but the subject matter narrowed down to something religious, which had not been an option those many years ago.

Dad called the minute he got the card. After gushing over the 20 or so pictures of his great grandchildren I had included, he said, "Marcia, I just want you to know that card -- O, that card! -- really blessed me."

What more can I say? My heart is full. God has brought it all full circle with His Son square in the middle of it all. I know this may never happen for some people who struggle with their relationships with their parents, but I must return to give thanks and glory to God for what He has done in our hearts and lives. If you read the post I mentioned above, you will see it began even before Dad came to know Christ or even considered he might have a daughter who was struggling at the Father's Day card counter.

Yet, even if your situation never changes, there is still hope for the hurting heart. There is an ever-loving Heavenly Father who cares for us even to the point of giving His own Son to pay the debt of our sins against His love. You will find Him in the pages of His Holy Word, the Bible. May you seek to know Him more today and find in Him your all in all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Your Spring Cleaning Personality

The Dreaded Spring Cleaning

Along about March I start getting e-newsletters from all my favorite homekeeping buddies regarding spring cleaning.
 I know they have good intentions. But, they don't know me. I am what is termed as a "relaxed homemaker." I realized I had this disorder (please, pardon the pun) about the same time I figured out I was also a "relaxed homeschooler." "Relaxed" is a vital part of my personality and is my modus operandi of survival. I refuse to let house work or school schedules determine my peace of mind or lack thereof.

Your Best Way

However, through home educating our children, I discovered each of us has a best way of getting things done. My way may not be the best way for you. I have found even difficult or mundane tasks may be tackled and conquered in a short period of time by first determining the personality of the player.

Show & Tell

For instance, our oldest child had no problem following orders. If it was clearly spelled out for him what to do next, he simply got down to it and got it out of the way. It was important, however, that he had all the tools necessary and had a good understanding of what was expected. 

If you are this type of person, your cleaning will go more smoothly if you have all the right tools for the job ready at hand. These tools, along with a cleaning schedule with clear instructions for how to go about it, are all you really need to motivate you to start. Knowing what to do next keeps you on course and, before you know it, your cleaning is done and you feel free to go on to more relaxing tasks.

Baby Steps

Our second child, on the other hand, would panic at the sight of a new workbook. It looked huge to him, insurmountable. He could not see how he could ever get it all done, so he avoided starting it at all. I found that, if I told him he only had to complete one page before leaving the table, he quickly got busy and was out the door. In a few minutes, I would call  him back in and give him another page to complete before allowing him to be free again. Once he got into it, however, he found he could do two, five, or even ten pages at a time without taking off. By that point, he would rather get it all done while he was already working on it and it was fresh in his mind than have to restart the task again after running about outdoors.

This type of personality is immobilized by the magnitude of the chore of spring cleaning. It's too much, too difficult, impossible! So, (this is me) you keep putting it off until it's summer. So, -- oh, well, -- you might as well wait until fall. Then, fall is gone, and winter sets in, and -- oh, well, -- you might as well wait until spring. And on it goes.

Therefore, the best way to get anything done is to take it in baby steps. Begin by assessing one room at a time, concentrating only on that room until it is done. It often helps to write out the steps and just do one step at a time. If you need to get out of the room for a few minutes, do it. Maybe set a timer for five minutes or half an hour, then go back to the room and complete the next step. Before you know it, you will find you can complete two or more steps at once without leaving the wreckage. Then, before you know it, it will be done.

Now, give yourself a gold star.

 gold star
Martha Stewart

Our third child, our daughter, has always been the Martha Stewart type: organized and self-motivated. She learned to read the year I was experiencing my fifth-year home school burnout, but I don't know how. Again, she's a self-starter. 

If you are naturally organized and have no problem getting your spring cleaning done, you don't need me. You should be writing your own blog! 

Spell It Out For Me

Our youngest, however, got bogged down with indecision. He was only a self-starter when he had it all written out what was expected of him. Then, he would grab the bull by the horns right away, conquer it quickly, and enjoy his freedom the rest of the day.

If this sounds like you, then you would do best to organize your action plan the night before, then get an early start the next morning. Marking off each task as it is accomplished will speed you on your way through to the end. Just be sure to have something fun and/or relaxing to do at the end of the To Do list. You will have deserved it.

What Cleaning Personality Are You?

So, did you see yourself in any of these four cleaning personalities? Perhaps you are none of these. Therefore, before you even think about spring cleaning, it might be wise to first evaluate what helps you to get things done. What difficult tasks have you accomplished, and how did you go about them? Applying those same strategies to your annual deep cleaning will be the key to actually getting it all done.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Correcting the Errors of False Nostalgia in Godly Homes

After reading the newly released "Pioneer Girl," Jennifer Grant in an article in Christianity Today online concludes:
And, so as delicious as it’s been to bask in feelings of (false) nostalgia about Laura Ingalls’s childhood, Pioneer Girl oddly emboldens me to face the brokenness of the present and no longer to pine for a time that, in fact, never actually was.[1]
I am afraid many ultra-conservative Christians are guilty of living their lives in a separatist fashion striving to create a world for their children based on false assumptions about how good it used to be in America. I was one of those, and I can tell you from experience it is better to "face the brokenness of the present" than to "pine for a time that...never actually was.

There is a false assumption that America was somehow more holy than it is today. Yet, the truth is we have only "sought out many inventions" for acting out what has always been in the hearts of all of mankind. Furthermore, not only do we have fewer restraints and more opportunities than our forefathers, we also live in a time when the Gospel influence is at a very low ebb.

Consequently, when we were rearing our children, we did all we could to protect them from the influences of "the world." While that is a sober responsibility of Christian parents, there must be some point at which our children will see the world they live in. Our job is to not only establish standards of holy living in our homes, but to also instruct our children in the right way to view those who do not adopt those standards.

First of all, our own children need to see themselves as being in no wise "better than they." (Romans 3:9) This is the greatest danger to our children's souls when striving to establish a godly home. They begin to see themselves as being somewhat in better standing with God than their "worldly" counterparts. If they are ever to come to Christ in reality, they must first see the sinfulness of their own hearts and how justly God must condemn them outside of Christ as He does those who are not reared in Christ-honoring homes. They must be taught that self-righteousness is as filthy in God's eyes as any sin of debauchery.

Consequently, how we parents react to those who are immodestly dressed or who are indulging in fleshly lusts can unfortunately be the very planting of the seeds of self-righteousness in the hearts of our children. Thus, if we want our children to have a right view of the world in which they live and a right view of their own souls, we must first have that right view in our own hearts. Compassion rather than condemnation must be what they hear from us, and pity for their souls the predominant emotion.

For instance, when a child notices a person who is being immodest, their natural reaction might be one of condemnation. But, a wise parent will respond with compassion that perhaps the person was not taught by loving parents to keep their bodies covered. Some parents could even share with the child that they used to dress that way before they knew Jesus.

It is a huge mistake to take a posture of offense against that person. Directing ourselves and our children to how Christ Himself responded to people who were acting in an ungodly manner should help us get a better perspective. Only those who are without sin may cast stones. (John 8:7) Loving compassion is a more profitable response both for our children and the world in which they must live and with which they must interact. It is imperative, therefore, that parents continually remind their children of their own need of Christ as well as those who live in the world around them.

The answer, therefore, is not to hide, but to THRIVE! We must let our lights shine even brighter to our lost and dying world. And I don't mean by appearing at Walmart in our "modest apparel." How can we be effective in sharing Christ when we are hidden out somewhere trembling in fear of "the world?" This is something we must all seriously consider.

[1] Jennifer Grant, "'Pioneer Girl' Laura Ingalls Wilder's Real Memoir Overturns Our False Nostalgia," Christianity Today, March 9, 2015, accessed March 18, 2015,