On Sexual Morality, by C. S. Lewis

Even C. S. Lewis probably had no inkling of the depths to which our “right” to sexual fulfillment would be taken, but this is certainly pertinent to gay mirage as well as adultery, or any other fornication:

I like the Doodles. Watch them all here.

Links on Modesty

I didn’t have time to add links to my last post (had to scoot for an early midwife appointment), but I didn’t want to pass up a chance to promote a few good reads on the subject of modesty.

The Naked Truth: Revealing Things We Hide Behind, by Tony Robinson (Kindly sent to me by the author. I intended to review it more fully, but then I quit blogging. Again. And I will probably quit tomorrow, too. Just get used to it. I making it a permanent feature of the blog.)

Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America (free download), by Jeff Pollard. This was recommended by my friend Rebecca, who only quits blogging about half as often as I do.

More Than Rules: Exploring the Heart of Beauty and Modesty, by Bambi Moore. This is my favorite of the three books listed here, written from a woman’s perspective, and very practical in its application. That one is an affiliate link, but if you object to my profiting from your click, just google it and buy it that way.

The Evolution of the Swimsuit, Jessica Rey (youtube video)

Bathing Beauties, Boys, and Modesty That’s an old blog post of mine. “The Lord loves a fuddy-duddy.” Yes, He does.

 

Modesty and Double Standards

Even though I haven’t spent a lot of time on the topic of modesty here on this blog, I’ve recently been approached by half a dozen people with book suggestions, questions, and comments on modesty. It’s not a topic that I’ve handled very often, but it’s something no mother of growing children can ignore. Or should ignore, anyway. Thanks to a tangentially related email from a reader, I’ve been thinking about the “double standards” supposedly held by men. I’m sure many of us remember quite a tempest in the internet teapot about yoga pants not too long ago. A number of women, bloggers and commenters alike, came down on the “well, just don’t look!” side of things. While a number of men said “I love yoga pants. Makes it so much easier to be a dirty old man.” (That’s an actual quote from a political blogger I read, if I could only remember which one.)

What I didn’t see was a lot of concern on the part of women for their own souls. So busy are they, worrying about whether the rest of us ought to police our own eyes that they ignore the fact that the way a person dresses both affects and reflects her own thoughts.

Does my butt look good in this, you dirty-minded old man? How about you, ugly, over-the-hill church lady?

The argument, ad absurdum, (which is less a fallacy in this case than a useful way of exposing the heart of an issue) is that women should be able to walk around as naked as the day they were born, and if men weren’t such horrible people, they wouldn’t even notice. Therefore, it’s all the men’s fault–not the men who enjoy it, who I think we can safely dismiss from this discussion as non-complaining participants in the behaviors, but the ones who look away, and would very much like not to have to relate to her that way. They’re engaging in “shaming” by making these women aware of their shame!

It’s a pretty glaring double standard, isn’t it, that women think they should be able to call attention to whatever body parts they like, and the rest of us, men and women alike, have to pretend not to see it? Somehow men are the ones to blame for the fact that light bouncing off the derriere of the chick in hot-pants enters their wicked pupils, completely unbidden.

It is not, however, only women who do this. Male joggers and athletes come to mind as an example of the other sex failing to cover up properly. I don’t allow my sons to go without shirts, or even sleeves, and it is because I do not have a double standard. Most people who insist on feminine modesty also insist on masculine modesty. So I’m still not seeing this alleged double standard.

Out of respect for the truths that sight is a passive sense, that light is totally indiscriminate, falling everywhere and bouncing into every unimpaired eyeball, and that people can’t unsee things once seen, we–men and women–ought to take care about what we force others to look at. Indecency is an assault on the privacy of the mind of the viewer, not the viewed, and I think the immodest person, male or female, knows it. Let’s go with the feminine for the rest of this post, though, both for ease of reading, and for the fact that women are much more likely to engage in this kind of passive-aggressive sartorial choice.

The immodest person is an aggressor. She may be able to stuff her conscience into a deep, unexamined closet in that deceitful heart of hers, as all humans are so practiced at doing, but she does know on some level that she is being provocative. (This post is not to include naive girls who are simply unaware because their parents aren’t paying enough attention.) The sexually aware woman who dresses immodestly enjoys the power trip, frankly, even when she hides that fact from herself. Even if the woman in question is quite comfortable being seen nearly, or suggestively, naked, she has no right to expect others to be unaffected by it, whether by becoming aroused or (and this is the real sin in the eyes of those enraged by the yoga pants thing) embarrassed. It’s really only the embarrassed person that is making her feel ashamed. She doesn’t expect others not to notice. She simply expects them to like it. It’s the same as shouting in a person’s ear and then blaming them for nursing the subsequent pain in their head.

Yes, it’s true that unholy men, even self-proclaimed Christians, like immodest dress, and encourage it. But then the good men (and women), the ones we should want to encourage in fellowship, are forced to look in a different direction and limit social contact because they can’t unsee the cleavage or the tight pants. They can try all day to keep their eyes riveted to the top of your head instead of your chest, but (quick, don’t think of a pink elephant!) they are having to struggle mightily to remember that there is a limited area in which their eyes and thoughts are safe from your visual assault.

It is truly unfair to blame the viewer for the picture you’ve painted. 

As a visually stimulated female, maybe a great deal more than most women, or maybe just more honest about it, I get the problem immodesty presents for even good men. There have have been women and men that I have to work very hard to keep my eyes off of, and it is thoroughly embarrassing. I don’t look with sin in my heart. I’m not seeking stimulation. I’m just looking for a place to rest my eyes.

Just this Sunday there was this woman (ok, more than one, and I am seeking a new church with a culture of modesty at this point so I can worship without this difficulty) in the worship service who seemed to have forgotten her pants. Suddenly I’m completely yanked out of the thoughts I should be thinking and looking for something, anything to do with my eyes that will get her out of my line of sight. But if I let myself forget that she’s there, my eyes are going to be assaulted again, and so I now have to focus on her presence in order to avoid seeing her. And making people–at least young men–see her was, I’m certain, her motive in dressing that way, whatever she may say to the contrary.

There is a double standard, but it’s not mine. All of those, men and women, who indulge the temptation to either look at nakedness or expose themselves, have that double standard. The men, some of them, do pretend that it’s solely the fault of the woman so that they won’t have to confess their own sin. And the women who defend that form of dress have a double standard of their own. They want the attention, but hold the men solely responsible for their thoughts. In short, both parties are participating in the sin.

Further, these women who clearly are working hard to be seen looking gooooood, place blame on the men (and women) who turn away from them. How dare they not be hardened to these sexual displays! It’s the person turning away, reminding them of their shame, that they’re angry about, not any double standard on the part of the objector.

The truth is that the good men and women are policing their thoughts and eyes, just as they should. Because they are doing that, they have to flee temptation, limiting contact with people they’d rather be able to treat as brothers and sisters. Even people who think themselves Christians are pursuing the eyes and thought of others, even when we are supposed to be focusing on the things of God.

If your heart is tender, admitting and avoiding your own sinful nature, you will avert your eyes. Then, in the world’s view, you are the wrong-doer. They (men and women, don’t forget) want to be sexy everywhere, all the time, and they demand that we not be embarrassed.

This requires you, Christian, to harden your heart with a great deal of lecherous thinking, frankly, but they’re OK with that. There’s tons of stuff on the internet that can help desensitize you to all that skin. Go, you prude, and acclimate yourself to the Cosmopolitan worldview.

Jesus couldn’t possibly object.

Too Busy To Know God Intimately?

Yes, kids are demanding, but God is more demanding. Not more needy, but definitely more needful. More important. Jealous, even. No other Gods, remember? Go read Bambi’s good words on finding time for God.

Support Ethical Vaccines

Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute is a great place to spend whatever funds you have in the “giving” envelope. They do the Lord’s work in a very tangible way, so chip in if you can.

Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts

If they were giving them away, that would be fine?

Video evidence just released shows that Planned Parenthood not only murders babies, but carefully hand-selects the best specimens to sell them for medical research and development. I can barely type that without feeling faint, and I am not given to swooning. I am not surprised, and I doubt many of my seventeen or so readers are, either. What else can you expect from people who do murder for a living? But I read a lot of liberal, leftist, and libertarian blogs, and I see quite a few expressions of dismay from supporters of abortion. That, I find amusing. What did they think was going to happen?

Who else benefits from these murders? 

Here’s something that might surprise you as much as it surprised me when I found out, though: Do you know, Christians, that you are the unwitting participants in the use of murdered bodies? That several of the mandatory vaccines you are having put into your children are manufactured using the uniquely self-perpetuating cells of babies of very specific gestational age? That aborted tissue is pretty much the only way to collect those particular kinds of cells? Well, no, they don’t tell you that. You would never realize it on your own, so they keep from informing you so you won’t get your sweet little head all bothered about ridiculous notions of ethics. It takes a heavily educated doctor to understand why this is not really a sin problem.

Given the lectures on vaccination that I get from willfully ignorant doctors every time I take my children in for anything, I’d say that they are probably among the naive who actually believed that, while abortionists and mothers conspire to murder babies, and sure that’s bad, they wouldn’t dare to then furtively sell them for research. They say that such things are not ongoing, so we need not worry about the fact that pharmaceutical companies are profiting from just that one little murder.

After all, they tell me, it was only that one baby, and that was more than fifty years ago, and a lot of people have been saved by his poor, murdered frame. Besides, the baby would have been killed anyway, so what’s the harm?

It’s totes OK, you religious throwback!

No, doc. The only person whose death was to benefit all mankind is Christ, and his is the only broken body and blood from which I will gain life.

Aside from the fact that it was not just one baby, or even just one baby per vaccine, and leaving out the truth that having the murderer’s permission to take her victim’s tissue is hardly the kind of informed consent you expect a tissue donor to give, you actually are, contrary to what the pro-vaccine “Christians” and lying scientists will tell you, likely to get DNA and other cell fragments from these children injected into your bloodstream when you receive these vaccines. All to keep you safe from the measles.

As I told one of my vaccine-loving friends (and I would love them, too, if I could trust the people who make them not to sneak these enormities into my unsuspecting body), I fear God more than I fear measles. You should, too, Christians.

Back to the reasoning of those shocked by the video, which I do not recommend actually watching if you just had breakfast: People who are hardened enough to murder must surely have some standards still, right? And we’re not complicit as a “pro-life” body of believers, are we?

No way does our continuing to buy vaccines made of murdered babies encourage them to kill even more, right? PP doesn’t do this for the money, or for the love of doing evil, but out of the goodness of their professionally-distanced (read: sin-seared) hearts, so you just put that fear right out of your head. Murder isn’t, after all, the worst thing a person can do. Breaking the law is!

I like to read Victorian-era novels. Not modern novels about Victorian times, but the ones written back then. I find they insult my Father in Heaven a great deal less. Though they do have the sins of their own times to account for, at least blasphemy wasn’t one of them. In one of these novels, the vehemence with which a character insisted that the villain of the story, blackhearted as he was in every other way, could never stoop to such wickedness as murder further awakened my moral sense on this. Being a well-versed believer, I understood the progression of thought she expressed. Murder is certainly the worst sin one person can commit against another. But I admit to being taken aback by hearing it expressed in such a strong way. In our day, murder, as long as it is “legal”, is just a distasteful thing that has to be done, while a dozen other, lesser sins are considered to be utterly unconscionable. It’s not the deaths of the babies that are outrageous, but the subsequent selling of the parts. After all, that is illegal.

That’s like saying the Jews probably needed to go in a lot of cases, and maybe just a few were unnecessarily killed, but the real horror was in the theft of their property and making lampshades of their skin. Yes, the Nazis were bad for murdering so many Jews, but if it had been illegal to then use the remains for lamps, surely they wouldn’t have done that. They only go as far as they’re legally allowed! When what they are legally allowed is the absolute worst they could do to a person, we certainly can’t expect them to behave in an “ethical” way afterwards, can we?

Why shouldn’t they, and we, benefit further? The babies are dead anyway, aren’t they?

And we wonder why God is rapidly dismantling our nation. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

…er…I mean children of God. Yeah. That’s what I meant.

I’m not a scrapbooking kind of mom. Break out the albums, stickers, and fancy-edging scissors for a little quality time with the gals, and I begin to feel vaguely nauseous, headachy, and…well, maybe I’ll just come visit another time. Call me when there’s just coffee and a book (full of words, please) to discuss. This induces not a little mommy-guilt, because I’m pretty sure that we can’t really be said to be treasuring these times if we haven’t glorified them in high-gloss, non-acidic frippery. More power to those who have the knack for beautifying things that way, and there’s not a thing wrong with it if you do. But I do not.

I do, however, have a hard drive or two full of candid shots, and recently, after years of ignoring them, I got enough gumption to have a few of them printed. I even framed some of my favorites, thusly:

20150712_174237

Then I started feeling all crafty, and I thought “Maybe I could dress it up with a silver pen. I could do that! I could write a beautiful verse or thought on the frame between all those sweet faces! Wonder what would be best…”

And then I hit on just the right thing.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

That might be a little unusual, right on the wall like that. My calligraphy skills are such that I would most likely just ruin the frame, so I came to my senses fairly quickly. I put the frame back on the wall and—wisely, I think–forgot all about getting fancy.

The thought hasn’t left me, though. It is so easy, when you’re raising your children “by hand”, as the saying goes, to get a little too attached to them, isn’t it? Day in, day out, you’re with them, you’re focused on them, you’re winning them to Christ, you’re learning all of their sweetnesses and talents, they are truly a joy. We can become so attached, in fact, that we can start to give them the wrong place in our hearts.

Here’s an example I see a lot in the homeschooling world: My well-reared, Christian-worldviewing, homeschooled children are going to save the world!

We may be in danger of forgetting that it is Jesus who must save our little sinners. No matter how well they know their catechism, our children are not the salvation for which this world groans.

Or another, more common one: I don’t want my child to miss out on the culture by doing things too differently. Choosing a mate, feminism, modesty, entertainments, evolution, issues ad infinitum. I know the world’s way is not the best way–it’s downright wrong, actually–but he might resent me for raising him to be so culturally “irrelevant” later. 

I have had this trepidation before, and written about it. Believe me, I know. But basing choices on the child’s potential future rejection of the faith is giving them veto power over what you know the Scriptures expect of you as a parent. Deciding to compromise on the “little things” because you don’t want them to be bitter should they choose not to follow Christ, is not “choosing your battles.” Though I do like the phrase in other contexts, this is not “grace-based parenting,” either. It is compromising the truth so that your unbelieving adult children will have a high opinion of you. You love them. You don’t want to lose them. I get that. But this is idolatry. It’s also a really good way to ensure that they become unbelieving adults. But at least they’ll still call you on Mother’s Day!

How about this one?: I know I should speak out on certain topics, that I should share the gospel freely and with love, even in the face of a mob; but that kind of stuff will get you crucified, or at the very least cost you your livelihood. My children are so small that I don’t want to see them persecuted. 

No. Other. Gods.

I should correct that sarcastic, disrespectful mouth before it develops into habitual unholy cynicism, but he’s just so clever with words. He could be a famous comedian someday!

God surely understands when we allow our children to sit in the seat of mockers just because he’s so good at it. Right?

So, yeah, writing the the first commandment on the picture frame in my living room might raise a few visitors’ eyebrows. I’d have to explain it every time someone comes to dinner. Besides, I’m terrible at decorating things, and my handwriting is awful, and it would be kinda tacky done by somebody as artistically inept as I.

Hmmmmm.

Maybe I could use a stencil.

But the funeral sure was grand!

I don’t blog to make myself feel better, but to think things through, and hopefully shine a little light in the process. I usually keep my feelings to myself, because emoting is a sure way to bore people out of existence. But, this time, I’m going to share. I had been feeling incredibly discouraged about blogging for months, just wondering if it was any use to anybody. Because I don’t have the emotional bandwidth for it, I stopped reading incoming links, counting subscriptions, and tracking traffic. I have no idea who, if anyone, is reading anymore. That is in many ways a good thing, and I’m going to continue it. But it had led me to think that maybe only a half-dozen or so kind souls were still reading, and maybe just because they didn’t want me to feel all alone on this great big internet. I thought I was wasting my time, and I’ve agonized over the idea of quitting for at least a year.

And then I wrote a couple of posts that left me feeling all kinds of…unwomanly. You see, I have an absolute horror of becoming something like a Joyce Meyer or an Anne Graham Lotz. Seriously, watch this woman teach other women to take on authority within the church, then tell me the thought of becoming like that wouldn’t keep you up at night. I wouldn’t dream of attempting to lead men and women in a more formal way, and I just started wondering if I was going to end up there, rather than (as my friend Rebecca sees it) sitting off by the side, more like a Deborah, speaking in a less public manner.

It seems no one else, including my very wise husband, saw it the same way I did. I know you gals. You’d tell me if I was out of line. It’s one of the reasons I keep blogging. You keep me very, very humble. You’re a gifted bunch of dissenters. So, I guess I didn’t step out as far as I’d feared I had. I do take this as a serious warning from the Holy Spirit that I’d better be more mindful of who my proper audience is. But maybe that one mistake doesn’t mean I’m a complete disgrace, right?

I am incredibly humbled by the knowledge that there are actually people still reading this dusty old pile of pixels because they want to. The mind boggles. If you’ll forgive me for all the drama (I mean, really, what kind of person throws her own funeral and then shows up to hear the eulogies? Ugh!), I’d like to write a little while longer. Mea culpa.

I will try not to do that again.

I Think That’s All

I’ve been thinking about my writing. Most of it until now has been written just to help myself sort out my thoughts. I hope that it has, in some way, been useful to others. But I feel like I’ve stepped over a line in the last few posts (I have deleted edited the ones of which I speak, and I think they’re fine now I’m sorry if you had linked to them). I spoke where a woman ought to be silent. I will never stop telling people the good news of Christ. I may come back to this site sometime. But I will be more careful in the future about speaking directly to “the Church” as if I had authority to do so.

Observation is good. I don’t think I’m wrong in any of the particulars. But I regret some of my tone and direction. This is not the task I’ve been given. I’ve always known that, and tried to be careful to write as a student, not a teacher. I might very well be finished with writing entirely, given the weight of my mistake here. One of the reasons blogging has been so light is that I’m just finished thinking through most of the things that I started blogging for.

I think I’m finished, at least until I see some use for my gifts in the areas in which I do have authority. My domain doesn’t expire for a while. This will sit here until I have to pay someone to keep it up, and then I will decide what to do from there. I don’t want to waste my work. I’m kind of attached to it. But by then I may be ready to disappear. (Or, I might be back tomorrow with news of what kind of baby I’m having. I’ve always been flighty like that. But I truly have to get a new direction, so…well…you know. Whatever. 😉 )

As if to confirm my reticence to continue in this direction, this was in my feed reader this morning. Gurnall on stepping out of your place:

“I dare not say, that every private Christian who hath in these times taken upon him the minister’s work, did intend to make such a combustion in the church as hath been, and still sadly is among us. God forbid I should think so! But, O that I could clear them from being accessory to it, in that they have fired the hedge which God hath set between the minister’s calling and people’s. If we will acknowledge the ministry a particular office in the church of Christ,—and this I think the word will compel us to do,—then we must also confess it is not any one’s work, though never so able, except called to the office. There are many in a kingdom to be found, that could do the prince’s errand, it is like, as well as his ambassador, but none takes the place but he that is sent, and can shew his letters credential.”

A Sad Prediction

You know what makes me really sad? With gay marriage enshrined in law, it is going to be very difficult for a repentant person to extract himself from that lifestyle. Now the law itself will endeavor to keep men and women in contact with the “spouse” they’ve left behind, via custody disputes over the children they’ve had “together.” As if such a thing were even possible. And the children, of course, mean nothing whatsoever. Marriage is, after all, just about two people. Until it isn’t.

God help us. There are going to be a lot of bleeding souls to bandage up.

I’m Not One to Say “I Told You So”

But…actually, I am. I told you so. 

(Note: I have edited this post somewhat after realizing that I was too angry, and (I do think) too direct for a layperson, and a woman with no authority to speak to the Church as a whole. This message does seem too needed to leave in the trash bin, so here it is, slightly humbled. Sorry about that.)

I am, thankfully, not using any social media anymore, so I can only imagine the glee on one side and the anguished ranting on the other about the SCOTUS’s shiny “new” definition of marriage. I have, however, spent enough time on social media in the past to be able to pretty well guess how the reactions went. I doubt many on either side acquitted themselves with dignity and intelligence. I’m certain I wouldn’t have. Social media has a way of erasing actual thought in favor of emotive soap-boxing. It’s why I quit.

Naturally, I had my own reaction: a profound and silent sadness descended on me. What I’ve always known was coming has finally arrived. Not just a tyrannical government legislating away reality (they’ve been doing that for a while, but most people somehow failed to notice), but a “Christian” community still sitting around vehemently blaming teh gays for what they, themselves have done to marriage. Some self-reflection and repentance is in order, and I’ve waited for the actual Christian leaders to call for it so I could link to them. No dice. It seems a two-bit mommy-blogger with little time and even less credibility for such things is the only one who’s noticing (quel surprise). Maybe it’s because I’m a crackpot, like most of the Christians say, but maybe it’s because I’m right and the sickness in Christianity is so far advanced that all of the doctors are sick, too. When there are no doctors, you call a mama for advice, right? (Actually, here’s one linked to by a commenter,  so I stand corrected. Listen to this guy.)

I have a sneaking suspicion that if the majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy had been about, say, the right of a (no-fault, of course) divorced woman and her upgrade to tie the knot, despite the weeping of the children who have been torn from their father, is there any part of that reasoning that most church-goers would have disagreed with? Truly, this was no legal opinion, but a manifesto of selfish love, with a veneer of legal language scraped ever so lightly across the top. A schmear, really. A scant glaze. We’d lap that stuff up with a spoon if it wasn’t about icky homosexuals.

But it’s the entire purpose of marriage that is warped in this definition, not just the idea of who can reasonably be said to be marriageable.

You see, Christians, this was decided this a long time ago, back when protestants decided that birth control was a great idea, that there could be no sin whatsoever in the choosing of it. This was the social signal that proclaimed what we all now affirm: marriage is about two people and their love for one another. Everything else is just “if you want it.”

Kids, if you want them. Raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, if you can carve out time for that between the dual incomes and extracurricular activities. Forever, if you want to. Till death do us part, if he’s good enough, and if she keeps herself attractive. Married in the sight of God by a minister, if you care for that sort of thing. When staying together “for the sake of the kids” (if you had any) became a socially unacceptable reason to remain married, the last nail was driven into the coffin. But that wasn’t the first one. The first one was the acceptance of the idea that children are a limited blessing, not an unmitigated one, and certainly not a mandate for married couples from very lips of the Almighty.

In the chapter of my, er, e-pamphlet entitled “But Marriage Isn’t Just for Making Babies“, and also in my post “Why Are We Trying to Save Marriage?” I laid out my view that the current definition of marriage used by supposedly traditional Christians is actually a great deal closer to “gay” marriage than it is to natural marriage as described in the Bible. Much lip service is paid to the sanctity of marriage, but in truth Feminism is the guiding light of the modern church, and birth control is its enabler. The Focus on the Family model of marriage is much closer to that mandated by the Too-Supreme Court last week than it is to the Biblical understanding of the natural family. As Andrew Sullivan likes to say, “We are all Sodomites now.”

Motes…beams.

Christians, as the salt of the Earth, we had the responsibility to be salty, to reject the “me, me, me” model of marriage in favor of that set forth by the Creator of the family, and we did not do that. The Light of the World left everyone else in darkness, but somehow it’s the World’s fault that they can’t see how hideous their relationships have become. We can put a spiritual mirror right in front of them, but they can’t see the reflection without the Light!

Most of those who were directly responsible for the cultural change that we’re belatedly mourning are either dead or extremely old by now. This “sudden” redefinition of marriage has been a long time coming. Those of us who lived out that erroneous model of the family because we were raised in ignorance don’t get ourselves off the hook for perpetuating it just because we didn’t know. We still have our own selfishness to account for. We can still repent of what our fathers have taught us about marriage and family.

While we’re calling gays to repentance, don’t we have some repenting of our own to do? While we’re rightly demanding the government to restore marriage, don’t we need to restore it in our own understanding, as well?

Or do we prefer to continue treating marriage as if it were ours, to be entered, enjoyed, and disposed of in whatever fashion makes us happy? If so (and I sadly suspect it is so, given the number of Christians who have called me a fool for saying this utterly unsurprising and thoroughly biblical stuff), then I suggest you line up behind those confused, degenerate, hell-bound gays and affirm their marriages along with the government. If we’re not as a people going to get back to treating marriage as a sacred covenant, rather than a personally beneficial economic and sexual arrangement, then we might as well put the rainbow on our own Facebook profiles, because they only want the same thing so many professing Christians already have, and that is not traditional marriage, no matter what we want to call it.

 

Mother of Many, Used Up, Worn Out

“You poor thing!”

While I have a few times evoked this gasp of pity from passersby, it is much more often that my husband hears it: “Your wife is pregnant with your seventh child? That poor thing!

I get the impression (and occasionally I have heard it bluntly asserted) that, because he is outside the home all day doing something “fulfilling”, and I’m the one bearing the offspring and putting in most of the face time with them, he is putting too much on me. Kind of a cad, actually. It seems he is deeply harming me by…well, by sleeping with me, I guess. He should be more considerate than to keep knocking me up like this. While he’s going about his wonderful, liberated life, I’m stuck here at home, barefoot, pregnant (yes, I am, due in November), and wallowing in constant boredom, drudgery, and misery.

Well, I don’t know about you, but nine or ten hours a day of irate customers, bosses on the one hand and employees on the other, all needing something from you, broken computers with large businesses hanging on their being fixed, personnel problems to solve, maybe the occasional scarfed down lunch or walk (gotta choose one or the other, though) between calls and meetings, and then usually a splitting headache by dinnertime to top it all off sounds like paradise to me!

Considering how many times a day I have to engage in the grueling labor of cuddling a toddler, eating a lunch that can take just as long as I need it to, reading during nap time, communing with six truly adorable people, coming and going as I please, and just generally running things my own way, with only the kindest of masters (that would be my husband, if you couldn’t tell) to answer to at the end of the day…well, I can totally see how people have concluded that I am the one to be pitied.

Now, Jesse is not a complainer, so I really don’t know if he feels burdened by this accusation so many seem to hurl at him: that somehow the mother of his many children is being harmed and enslaved by her boorish husband, rather than living out an exalted calling while being supported with both her husband’s full paycheck and his whole heart. What about the burden Jesse bears? Does anybody ever say “You poor man! You must have nothing but wife and children to think of! Where’s the fun in that?”

I don’t know. Maybe they do. If so, he’s never told me about it. He probably wouldn’t. Maybe all the married men stand around grousing about the demands their families make on them all day. Certainly I’ve witnessed enough women doing that, or I wouldn’t have much to write about some days. How awful it must be for Jesse to have that many people to think of before himself!

But to judge by the reactions that I see, it seems to be primarily the female who is to be pitied in the traditional family life. I’m guessing it’s the practiced, targeted whining of feminism that has made it so. Men just aren’t as good at the woe is me shtick, it seems. Women’s “liberation” implies some slavery from which to liberate the poor dears, right? Even though the poor man never seems to have enough money to buy the sports car he is almost certainly hoping to obtain before he’s too old to actually drive it. And he never gets to go to Hooters with the boys (not that we actually know any men who do that), or go to the bar after work instead of home, or spend his evening hours with porn in place of demanding bride.

He does get to play his fair share of video games, though, so I guess there’s that.

So what about that poor fella? Doesn’t he get a little sympathy, being yoked to a barefoot, pregnant (again), uneducated hillbilly who “never had a thought in her head except to say yes, and no, and raise a passel of mealy-mouthed brats just like her”?

And of course, I kid to make a point. It’s all in how you spin things, isn’t it? Jesse’s life is not that hard, and mine is not (quite) that easy.

Jesse is actually living a pretty good, though mockably (by the lights of this sin-tarnished age) squeaky-clean life. He’s got a reasonably well-behaved brood of children who always shout “Daddy!” and rush to meet him as soon as his car hits the driveway. He has a wife to whom he is happy to come home, and who is then sorry to see him leave. She is also (let us hope) an asset to him in the running of his household.

In spite of the pitiful description I gave, he actually has a really great job at a company he loves to be part of. He earns (as opposed to merely receiving) his income, and even if he isn’t yet wealthy enough to buy both the 12 passenger van and the gaming rig he has been pining for, he deserves the respect due a man who pulls his own weight and that of 8 other people. And that is a really cool van he bought me.

Instead of pitying me for being married to such a neanderthal, how about showing some respect for this good man? His wife is neither put-upon, nor used up. I do hope to be used up by the end of my life, though, so don’t misunderstand that. I’m not trying to make my life as easy and pleasant as possible. I’ve been given a few womanly talents, and I’m not going to leave them just lying around doing nothing, lest I spoil my precious hands. I’m going to turn them into something for my Master (that would be Jesus, if you weren’t sure).

Neither husband nor wife in this model of the family is being unfairly used to the other’s advantage. Neither of us is a slave-owner, a parasite, or a moocher living off the labor of the other. We are yoke-mates, headed in the same direction, with the same goal. Yes, he is the head of the family, and I do defer to him. He’s the boss of me. If I didn’t obey him, we’d be plowing a very crooked furrow, wouldn’t we? But in no way does that mean that I am being treated cruelly. He is still, after all, pulling both first and hardest, giving honor (status, special care, pride of place) to me as to the weaker vessel.

 What a meanie.

 

A Thing or Two

  • Browsing Amazon for a new Bible. They all come with a lifetime guarantee. Should be an eternal guarantee, dontcha think?
  • Every time I eat ice cream I update Mark Twain’s dictum in my head “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and serving sizes.”
  • As Samaritan Ministries, International members, we pay our own medical bills and scrutinize them very closely. Consequently, we are all too aware of the shenanigans that hospitals and doctors can try to pull on you. You have to be vigilant, and even when you are, you could still be shafted by a system that is nothing short of predatory, and yet protected by law in its skullduggery. My father, also a member, was recently billed for a full panel of blood tests, though he had only given consent for cholesterol screening. I’ve had a problem with a doctor I’d never met or heard of being “consulted” and billing me as well. Anesthesiologist for a woman who gave birth naturally? This stuff happens. Pay attention to your bills and ask questions, even if you have insurance.
  • What if you knew that people often cannot get a quote on a procedure before it is performed and even if they do hospitals and other medical centers will frequently bill for other things without consent, even when it could have been provided, and then demand payment? Such a practice in virtually any other business, such as auto repair, air conditioning and heating work and similar is a criminal act under state consumer protection laws, incidentally. That happens literally every single day in medical centers and hospitals as well. Read the whole thing here.

  • I read this post of Dan’s while drinking coffee, and still thought it was spot on, so I guess I’m not a hyper-caffeinated Calvinist. Just caffeinated.
  • And finally, if you’re not reading Matt Moore, you’re missing a blessing. This post of his made me cry for joy and gratitude. When I was a new Christian, I relapsed into my old habits and nearly destroyed myself, and certainly did a great deal of damage to the gospel with my hypocrisy. But God is good, and he is constant, without a shadow of turning, so here I am in spite of me. Praise Him! Matt’s failure, like mine, was threefold, with this being the real hangup for me:

    …the believer’s need to be in community with other believers. The reason I am so passionate about this is because I’ve learned, through painful error, how valuable Christian community is. The third massive change in my life post-relapse is that I no longer walk this walk independently and flee from the family-lifestyle God has called me to. I now view myself not as an individual but as part of a body and I passionately embrace the believers around me with my whole heart.

    Go read Matt Moore. What a lovely witness.

In Case You Were Trying to Reach Me

I’m not on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any other social media anymore. I also turn blog comments off after a scant ten days per post. So if you’ve gone looking for a way to contact me recently, you’ve probably been disappointed. Or possibly you were relieved, depending on why you were looking for me. I guess I owe some explanation for disappearing when I had spent so long building these (two-dimensional, but still fun) relationships. Really, the disappearance has been so gradual that very few have probably noticed the final closing of the doors. But humor me. Pretend you care a little.

It’s not easy to confess faults that most people probably don’t share or understand, but I can’t be the only one with this problem, so I reluctantly share this.

As I’ve intimated before in this space, social media has been a stumbling block in my life. It is, frankly, too compelling for me. People I don’t even know, let alone owe anything to, attract far more attention than my actual neighbors, starting with the ones nearest me, my children. In the past several years, I have repeatedly had to repent of my inattention to these little ones, and to the people down the street who deserve a face-to-face smile rather than an emoticon. For the last little while, I have pulled back from social media in favor of real society. I didn’t quit it entirely (though I have done that a few times and come back). I just started to see it for the hindrance that it was. I finally reached a point where the idea of leaving the social media for good, especially Facebook, became a relief, so that’s what I did.

I repent.

I don’t know what social media does to every brain, but I can’t possibly be the only one for whom interacting with a screen can easily supplant real human interaction. I’ve come to see social media as a similar danger to pornography, in the sense that it rewires the brain to seek a different, non-commital kind of social gratification. It is not inherently wrong in the way that pornography is, but anything can become a sin. Anything can be addictive, especially when there are hordes of programmers designing algorithms to intentionally addict you, keep you on the page, click, click, clicking away, not only for the sake of advertisers, but likely for political and social reasons that one might be called paranoid for suspecting.

When you enjoy the written word the way I do, the danger of addiction is, I’m guessing, far stronger than for most people. I connect with written words. So I made even the people I care about into nothing but collections of words. Like pornography does with sexual relationships, those interactions then bear little resemblance to the real relationships when we are face to face.

While my children and husband have, thankfully, not been literally neglected beyond the occasional “just a minute, sweetie”, they have been subjected to my moods, incomprehensible to them because they were irrelevant to anything they could see going on in our home. They’ve often had to deal with my disorganization (something that is not a natural fault of mine) because some political controversy or parenting discussion has driven me to distraction.

The impact in my home has, hopefully, been minor. But my neighbors have been neglected. My church family has been neglected. My extended family has been neglected, though it didn’t feel that way to me because “they” were right there on the screen in front of me. But that’s not really them. Like I’ve said before somewhere, humans need to be able to touch and smell each other to have real relationships. (I would, of course, not advise going around literally touching and sniffing everyone just to be sure they’re really real. That would be odd.)

Social media causes misallocation of resources.

I have given money to people in far away places only because social media got to me first, and later found that someone close to me has needed it far worse. There have been times when I’ve spent too much emotional energy on strangers and withdrawn from my family because I no longer have the focus to even notice their needs. I have spent time counseling people who might very well be lying about their situations just to get a damning quote to paste into some hateful anti-Christian forum where I am the unsuspecting topic of the day. This happens more often than a blog this obscure warrants, and I doubt I’ve been clever enough to never give such a quote, though I’m always aware of the possibility of that kind of trolling. I could have been counseling people in the flesh whose lives and motives I am capable of knowing for certain, but I spent my time online instead. My neighbors are people who, admittedly, might be able to hurt me far worse than an internet troll, but they also might benefit from godly counsel in a way that people on the web most likely cannot. And, more importantly, I could have been receiving counsel myself, from people who are capable of knowing me.

I’m going local.

I’m all about supporting local agriculture and business, even though it costs me more, because I consider it to be part of loving my neighbor, encouraging their strengths and feeding their families in a way that utilizes their gifts and instills dignity in their work. It also ensures that I’m not getting ground up sawdust in my food or supporting harmful business practices. I’m not always able to buy local, for a lot of reasons, but when I can, I like to look right into the eyes of the person who produced my goods when I pay for them.

Local relationships should, one would think, take that kind of precedence as well. The trouble with that is that both business and relationships cost more when you conduct them locally, face to face. So be it. Chinese products are cheap. So are social media relationships. Keeping it local is a way to make sure that not only my neighbor, but the people halfway across the world that I can’t truly know, are treated the way they should be, at least as far as I am able to discern.

Of course, where relationships are concerned, my sister in Singapore and many of my friends in other states are still to be considered local. 😉

Blogging is, depending on how you do it, also a form of social media, but it is one that I can turn off and on when appropriate. I’m still here, and I don’t currently have plans to go away, so the contact form and comments are still a way to reach me.

If you want to.

 

A reader recently emailed with his concerns about supporting a large family. Slightly edited for the sake of privacy and making the thing more generally applicable, here is his question:

“My dream would be to have a large family, and my girlfriend (whom I would love to marry one day) wishes to stay at home and homeschool, which I think is awesome. I’ll be getting a…{degree and going into a useful but not overly lucrative career}. The field pays more than minimum wage, but we certainly wouldn’t be rich.
Is it possible to have, say, 5 or more kids if you’re only making (insert reasonable salary and subtract a few thousand) a year?”

I love that this man is asking these questions before the wedding, which is the right time to ask them. So my first thought is to commend him for actually expecting and hoping that the marriage will produce children, and that he will be the person upon whose shoulders the financial responsibility rests. Most people don’t seem to get past the thought that “I’m going to have an awesome sexual partner in the same house with me all the time! Yay!” Our culture really doesn’t raise them to think any harder than that. (Marriage is, after all, just about two awesome, sexually attracted people loving each other, awesomely, sexually, for the rest of their awesome, sexually-involved lives, or however long they decide that this person is still awesome and sexy, right? But that’s a different blog post. Right now, we’re talking about the money thing, so I’ll get back to that. Sorry.)

Now, the reason I left out the specifics is that, depending on where you live and what you expect to be able to buy for your family, what seems like a reasonable salary for the large family lifestyle is going to be very different for each person. Suffice it to say that where I come from, it was a nice amount of money for one person to bring in. Most American families would probably consider it to be a paltry amount for a large household. My friend also went on to mention his willingness to switch careers, or find a better-paying private-sector equivalent to the job he was expecting to pursue. So this is a young man with his head screwed on straight, who knows the heaviness of the responsibilities of biblical marriage. Praise the Lord, there are still men like that in the next generation! If that girl doesn’t snap him up, she’s nuts!

But is it enough?

There are many ways to answer this question, and I will probably write a few posts on how to actually survive on one income, as time permits. My own experience to this point has been that living on a single income–even a smallish one–is a reasonable expectation for any size family. Jesse and I have lived by that expectation, and until very recently the amount mentioned by this reader’s note seemed like quite a lot to us. (Then Jesse got a raise and some bonuses and it suddenly seemed pretty modest. But we like modest. Modesty is good for the soul.)

We’ve never really expected or even prayed for more income than what we’ve had, to tell the truth, though there is always that hope for more success. When you care as much about your work as Jesse does, and have as unique and useful a skill-set, you certainly hope to see hard work pay off in mo’ money. Of course we do!

But we have never really considered Jesse’s income to be our means of support. We consider God–or to put in a more old-fashioned way, Providence–to be our means of support. Our income, however many K’s a year that happens to be, and whether I am personally able to supplement it (which happens from time to time), will always be simply what God has chosen to provide for us at that time.

Here’s the truth about that American dream: Jesse could lose his income tomorrow. I could become ill and be unable to do the frugal things I do that stretch it farther. One or both of us could die. Our banks could fold and leave us without a dime of all that we’ve saved. In this idiot culture, we could get the pants sued off of us or be jailed for merely hurting someone’s feelings by pointing out that they’re living in sin. I can think of a million things that might reduce us to poverty.

Likewise, my email correspondent could find upon graduation that the only job he can get in this economy, for the moment anyway, is flipping burgers.

Hardship happens, folks! In fact, I believe that it is through hardship that God makes us and molds us into fit members of the Bride of Christ. So hardship is nothing to either embrace or avoid, but to accept and endure for the sake of the One who loves and guides us through it.

Sounds like it might suck, doesn’t it?

I think the real question in the back of the mind of those who ask this question is, “Am I going to be comfortable?” And I’m sorry to tell you this, but whether you have one child, or twelve, or none at all, I can’t promise you comfort. One thing I have not been tempted to do, probably because I was raised by a poor, “tent-maker” pastor and his equally hard-working wife, is wonder if my children deserve to exist based on some arbitrary middle-class expectation of lifestyle. The fact is that this is not a Christian concern, but a pagan one.

Do not fear what the pagans fear.

Young people, Jesus has given us such greater hope than that of a financially comfortable lifestyle. If you want to marry, do so, and with the same blessing that God gave the first marriage. Cling to each other, trust Providence, work hard, be modest in your expectations, and don’t look too far down the road. You cannot know what God has in store for you, but you can be pretty certain that life will not end up at all like you expect it to right now.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

–Matthew 6:25-34

 

Children Are A Blessing DVDChildren are a blessing. That’s something we believe in this home, not just because we’ve experienced it, but because God himself has told us so. He has blessed us, in fact, with an unequivocal command to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth with bearers of the Imago Dei. If we want to fill the Earth with His glory, making new voices to sing His praises is the absolute best place to start!

Before I started writing about it myself, I had never heard much from other Christians on the topic of family planning. Sometimes I’ve felt a little bit lonely, living this way in a world where even the pastors I consider to be brave on most topics won’t touch our culture’s phobia of parenthood with a ten-foot pole, foolishly allowing the secular culture to teach families how to order themselves. Many of you who read this blog have recounted to me some of the same experiences. It’s just lonely out there sometimes, even within the family of believers.

Of course, we are emphatically not alone, since we didn’t make any of this up out of the clear blue sky, but got it from God’s word. A correct understanding of God’s purpose for the family is sadly not (yet) a mainstream evangelical thing, so it’s easy to miss out on the fact that there are lots of Christians who have figured out that God’s will is the only kind of family planning they need.

I am glad that Moore Family Films contacted me to see if I’d review Children Are a Blessing, because their little film blessed my heart. Not only does it make me feel a little less alone, but as it takes us through the birth of one of their own new blessings, it does the double duty of being a winsome revelation for those who don’t already understand the deception that the contraceptive culture has perpetrated on the church.

Really, just a few Margaret Sanger quotes shine enough light on the faded whitewash covering the “family planning” facade to call into question everything we’ve been taught about marriage and family. But when the Moore family further reveals their own difficult journey from secular to Christian thinking on the subject, there’s really not a lot left to say except “God, forgive and save our selfish culture!”

So many Christians just don’t know.

Several times the word “deceived” is used in the film, to describe how “choice” has become part of church culture. I have been accused of all sorts of hatefulness for noticing the worldly words that Christians use to talk of their “choices”, but the truth is that we have been deceived. We’ve been robbed of our heritage from the Lord by deceitful words that are intended to make us afraid of large families.

But I am not accusing anyone of a particular sin, and neither do the Moores in this film. There may be sin in some cases, but there can also be simple ignorance. Many young Christians have been shocked to find that our faith has anything to say on the subject of childbearing at all. It is not always abundantly clear even to the faithful in such a poorly taught generation. But there is a grave sin behind the deception itself, and it threatens to destroy our homes, our churches, and finally, our nation.

Buy: You can buy Children Are a Blessing, starting at $10 for a downloadable copy. It is very encouraging, and well worth the watch.

Win: Moore Family Films is offering one Get Along Home reader their choice of a free DVD or download of their film, Children Are a Blessing.

How to enter: Just say anything you like in the comments. Leave as many comments as you like, but only the first one counts as an entry.

Details: This giveaway is open to anyone in the US. This giveaway will be open until midnight, April 17, 2015. The winner will be chosen by And the Winner Is… WordPress plugin. If you have been flagged as a troll in the past, I will rescue this comment, and this comment only, from the spam folder. We don’t want to be unfair, even if you are. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email. If there is no response after 48 hours, I’ll have to choose another winner. Please use a valid email address in your comments so that I can contact you if you win! Please use one email address per entrant, per household, per IP address. The giveaway provider (not Get Along Home) will be responsible for prize fulfillment. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a free download of the film for review. No compensation has changed hands, nor are there any affiliate links in this post. Opinions stated here are, of course, my own, and not that of the Moore Family. 

Future headline: Western woman found dead in posh office, choked on own hubris.

A reader tipped me off to this deceptively warm-sounding lament that western women are just not doing enough to save the world, which needs Our Special, Western Wisdom far more than our offspring need so much focused mothering. I say “deceptively warm” because while this woman speaks the language of human kindness, I can’t think of anything much colder than a woman who thinks the needs of her own children pale in comparison to the needs of NGO’s and charitable organizations (and, for Christian women, parachurch “ministries”).

As nice as her “save the world” rhetoric sounds, this woman is not talking about taking any actual risks, like moving in with indigenous people for the long term, kids and all, and teaching them the Gospel by loving them where they are. Or going down to the homeless shelter and helping treat an outbreak of lice. That, I could get behind. There’s a lot we can do for those around us without leaving our dead-weight children behind.

Obviously, she’s not speaking as a Christian, so I’m going to veer away from addressing her exact words. Sadly, I’ve heard plenty of Christian woman say the same things. They talk about working for massive corporations disguised as social services. They talk about entrepreneurship and government involvement. They talk about drawing a first-world salary while the nations and peoples perish (as they are already doing under the loving care of so many such organizations) to justify their paychecks. In short, they talk in glowing terms about the worst kind of liberal do-gooding: the kind that perpetuates itself by never really solving anything.

They say, “Moms, because we are women–nay, not mere women but Wise Western Women–we can change the world, but we need to take up our crosses, and deny our children in order to do it.”

Where I come from, there’s a name for this kind of woman: Busybody.

Ms. Busybody runs to and fro, seeking whom she may enlighten, while leaving her children behind in the loving care of…well, whoever, really. Her own children are so dull, so unimportant, so easy to fit into the spaces of time between all the real work, and the real church, and the real social life. Thankfully, children are so inexperienced and malleable in their thinking that we can ignore them ten hours a day and convince their unquestioning minds that this is a historically, socially, and biologically normal way to raise human beings. While our own homes and neighborhoods burn, we’ll be teaching the third world how to live this way, as well! What could be better?

Christians, let the World’s women do whatever mental gymnastics they require to convince themselves that charity begins halfway across the world. We have an Example set for us, for all time. Jesus didn’t save his children by leaving them. He saved them by joining them in their muck, their diseases, and finally their deaths. If we want to do real charity, we have to do the same. Missions are wonderful. Anyone who feels the need to do missions should do as Jesus did and go to them, live like them, and be willing to die for them. We who have children should take either them along, or not go at all. Those left at home should support that with prayer and finances.

But this thoroughly secular idea that we can adequately serve other peoples without first keeping our own homes in order is a lie, for while we’re off saving the world, Satan is devouring the next generation. How are we going to save Haiti when we can’t even understand the vulnerability of the souls in our very own homes?

Christians, we know better than to fall for this worldly understanding of charity and social good. Charity begins at home. If we don’t have all-out, totally devoted, sacrificial (even to the point of making ourselves as nothing to the rest of the world) love of those in our own homes, whatever we do in the rest of the world will end up being an exercise in self-aggrandizement.

Milton Friedman said “There are no values, no “social” responsibilities in any sense other than the shared values and responsibilities of individuals. Society is a collection of individuals and of the various groups they voluntarily form.”

We can’t save whole nations. We can only save the individuals of which the nations are made. Jesus came to save individuals, and in that way to save the world. Knowing that, how can we believe that we can effect any change in the “world” while neglecting our closest neighbors? Our nation has disintegrated before our very eyes. Freedom and Christendom lie in ashes around our feet in no small part because generations of western women have been convinced by exactly this kind of reasoning that our children’s upbringing could be outsourced to free us up to do real good. Do we really have anything to teach other nations, when we can’t even take care of the individuals who make up our own?

If we want our children who know how to love others into the Kingdom, we have to first love them into the Kingdom. If we want children who are interested in the well-being of others, we have to teach them to see individuals, not people-groups, pet projects or, God forbid, a warm fuzzy way of drawing a more socially acceptable paycheck. It means raising them as individuals, not as numbers in a system, not as so many pets to be kenneled when not in use, not as members of a limited age- or affinity-group, and certainly not as stumbling blocks to real change in the world.

The friend who sent me the link to this article already knew the correct answer to the question “Am I doing enough?” But I suspect there are a lot of weak-willed women who might be easily blown about by these worldly doctrines. Be on your guard, mothers. The world sees its most important goal as luring jealous, watchful, caring mothers away from their offspring so that they may have those young bodies and souls for themselves.

Why is it so easy to forget our explicit instructions in Titus 2 that we can be fooled by this kind of reasoning? Do we believe that God would instruct us through his apostles and prophets to do unimportant things? Do we not believe that God is also in the small, private things that women must do for their families and neighbors every day?

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  –Titus 2:1-5

Women, that doesn’t let us off the social hook. We certainly do have a great deal to do for the people around us who are not our children. I’m not saying we must never help others. We must reach out to the poor where we are. We must reach out to the wealthy unsaved, as well. (And that can be even riskier in this culture, frankly.) We might even have a controversial blog post or two to write! And, yes, we may need to earn some money.

There is plenty of work to be done in our own homes and communities. But our realm is meant to be the realm of the private, of the small in stature, but great in the Kingdom. We have one lowly task before us that must always, always come first: that of nurturing souls.

Jesus did the lowest work of all. He let children sit on his knee. Those children didn’t seem very important to the disciples who knew exactly Who their master was, but he said “let them”If western women worry this much about being seen to be doing something important, they will (and already do in many cases) miss out on their true calling.

Beef or Turkey Sweet Potato Hash

Turkey Sweet Potato Hash

Here’s another recipe I improvised a few weeks ago. I made it again last night to test the instructions, and it’s still really yummy. I like my food a little on the spicy side, but this is pretty tame, for the children’s sake. Add all the cayenne you think you can stand. It can handle it!

Getting the bottom a little burnt is crucial. It’s a little hard to pry up from the pan, but so delicious! Don’t be afraid to let it sit on the heat for a little bit.

Beef or Turkey Sweet Potato Hash
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or other oil
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, diced fairly small
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp corriander
  • ½ tsp ground ginger (1/2 Tablespoon freshly grated)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 lb ground turkey or very lean beef
Instructions
  1. Sautee the sweet potatoes in butter for about 5 minutes, until beginning to soften.
  2. Add green pepper and onion, and continue to saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Add garlic and spices (except salt) to the pan, and stir well. Cook for a minute or so, then push all the stuff in the pan to one side.
  4. Add the ground turkey to the empty side of the pan, salt it, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink.
  5. Mix turkey and vegetables well and then pat down tight into the pan.
  6. Continue cooking, without stirring, for at least 10 minutes, until the bottom begins to crisp.
Notes
Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, if desired.
This recipe will not crisp very welll in a non-stick pan, so use a big cast iron skillet (#8 or bigger) if you have one.
I like to serve this over wilted spinach. Brown rice is also good in a pinch.

 

 

Keeping House While Homeschooling

A while back I wrote a series of posts tackling some of the questions readers had asked of a group of completely unqualified (I mean, as far as you know), but happy-to-opine-anyway bloggers. That effort fizzled out fairly quickly, because all of the bloggers turned out to be too busy with our own lives to comment much on yours. But I want to revisit one of those posts today, not to praise it, but to bury it. It keeps rearing its head in internet searches and I’m sick of it. A reader had asked:

How do I teach each child their lessons AND cook 3 nutritious meals a day AND nurse the baby AND keep everyone in clean clothes AND keep the dust bunnies at bay, all on very little sleep?! Did I mention that right now I’m only teaching 3 out of my 6 and we are focusing just on phonics and math?

My answer, you can read here. For the time-impaired, I’ll sum it up thisaway: Relax. Really. Just chill. You’re probably doing fine, and if you’re not, you will do better in the very near future, when you’ve had more sleep.

Now, I do think I was absolutely correct in telling the questioner to relax. No actually homeschooling mother of six children was going to misunderstand my intent, so my target audience heard exactly what I wanted them to hear. I don’t take back a word of that. But I do need to clarify a little bit for the sake of non-homeschoolers.

I ended up having to delete several comments because they all turned out to be the same person. That’s not terribly interesting. That’s just how sane people deal with trolls. What’s interesting is that I traced her back to an article’s comment section where I was being rather bizarrely portrayed as the laziest, dumbest moo ever to have babies for the sake of Jesusland.

But, well…”only a numbskull thinks he knows things about things he knows nothing about.” Right? (Slap) So I didn’t think much of it, except as a lesson in human nature and malicious gossip.

I realize, though, that the way I wrote my post might–did, in fact—lead the uninitiated to the erroneous conclusion that I think it’s a grand idea to do a whole lot o’ nuthin’ all day long, just as long as you can find a baby or two under those piles of trash to blame your laziness on. Since there is a small but extremely loud and delusionally confident online army of people whose psychotic mission is bully all homeschoolers everywhere into believing that they are inadequate to the task of raising their own children, my post did us all a disservice by accidentally reinforcing a stereotype, and not one of the harmless kinds, which I think we all ought to embrace out of love for our fellow homeschoolers, even if they do dance to an even weirder drum than most.

I was thinking about that post as I washed the breakfast dishes this morning, well into the time when I would have preferred to be well into doing our lessons. I was practicing what I preach and feeling quite relaxed about everything being completely wonky so early in the week. First things have to come first, and nobody (except maybe those who lie to themselves about how truly brilliant people are just too darn free-spirited to clean up after themselves) can expect children to do quality work in a messy environment. So the dishes came first. Even if they make us late, they still have to come first.

But the dishes did actually get done, and the lessons did actually get started. My point was not to let it all go and let squalor take hold in your home, but to simply stuff the stress down a deep, dark hole somewhere in Siberia. That way, you can focus on actually fixing the thing that needs fixing, and then you can move on to the other, more homeschoolish things. It might be next week before you figure out how to recover, but you will move on, and it will get easier with practice.

All of which the homeschoolers around here already knew, of course, because you live this way, too. But some readers (and some who obviously did not read a single word) did not understand in the slightest, probably because they didn’t really want to.

But just in case they do want to, here it is for their information.

How’s your Monday going, moms? Mine has been very Monday-like.

Captain Jim thought women were delightful creatures, who ought to have the vote, and everything else they wanted, bless their hearts; but he did not believe they could write.

“Jest look at A Mad Love,” he would protest. “A woman wrote that and jest look at it–one hundred and three chapters when it could have all been told in ten. A writing woman never knows when to stop; that’s the trouble. The p’int of good writing is to know when to stop.”

–L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

Stay At Home Parents are Moochers

In November, I wrote a post about how Leftism and the Family Cannot Coexist. I said then:

When a leftist speaks about making someone a “full participant in the economy” he reveals his willful ignorance of economics. When I bake bread myself, and eat it with my neighbor, that is an economic activity, just as much as if I had bought my bread from a baker instead. But if I simply grow my own wheat, grind it, bake it, and give half to my needy neighbor, there is no way that the IRS can get its grubby hands on it.
Since the government can’t quantify your loaf of homemade bread, that loaf simply does not exist for the leftist. He imagines that you are hungry, and tries to convince you of that fiction. Though you can sense that your tummy is full, simply because that bread didn’t cost any dollars, the leftist believes you are lying to yourself. You’re starving, you fool!

I thought it was a pretty good post to have been written by a hillbilly mommy blogger, but Rourke, our house dissenter, begged to differ. You see, my (totally imaginary and not at all provable by the actual works of leftist ideologues) idea that the Left, which thinks that the State is entitled to every ounce of our productive labor, and to the just redistribution of the fruits thereof, also seeks to tear down family, church, and community in order to usher us all into taxable work is nothing but right-wing paranoia, curable by (and I quote the man) “nothing short of bloodshed.”

And I’m the bloodthirsty extremist, Rourke? I trashed that comment because it was longer than my post, and I really think a person ought to do that kind of spewing on his own blog instead of bothering me with it. I realize too late that I could have left that comment there, since it proved my point almost better than I myself did, but I was in “ain’t nobody got time for that” mode, and really didn’t care very much if I was being fair or not. Lesson learned. But I do have time now, so I want to take a moment to point out some leftists saying that surprise! all your labor are belong to us.

You see, it is a bonus to you that you don’t have to pay taxes when you wipe down your own counters and watch your own kids. You’re a moocher if you don’t send your kids to daycare and get taxable.

Twitchy calls it unbelievable, but if you’ve been paying attention, and possibly reading books by the thinkers that either come up with this junk or seek to counter it, it is all too believable. They are greedy, and they are materialists, and I will probably delete your reply to the contrary this time as well, Rourke, but knock yourself out. Don’t forget to wipe the spittle off your screen afterwards.

Go do some unpaid, untaxable, God-honoring mothering today, ladies. Our nation’s freedom depends on you.

Teach Them Diligently 2015

I just registered!

Teach Them Diligently 728X180

See you in Atlanta?

Origami Owl (Giveaway)

Update: Congratulations, Melissa! Our winner has been contacted and will receive her prize soon. This party is still going, though, and anyone interested can still place an order through my party link until Friday, January 16.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day (so send this link to your husbands, ladies!)

My friend Holly is an Origami Owl consultant. Meet Holly:

holly

She’s the one on the right. The lack of noticeable facial hair might be a clue.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Origami Owl’s living lockets, so here’s a pretty picture of one. You choose from a huge variety of charms to fancy it up, choose your favorite locket, add a dangle or two, and stand back and sigh with contentment when it is just right:


necklace

But I really want to show some non-necklace options because I can’t wear necklaces. Maybe you can. If so, go choose some charms and get started. Necklaces make my skin hurt and turn red, so let’s look at some pretty bracelets, instead. These wraps are leather, and I love them:

wraps

I will probably buy this next one. I suspect my children would have a higher opinion of me if I had a bracelet that would shame me into taking a deep breath before acting on whatever nonsense I think they’re up to at any given moment. They’re pretty good kids. I should simmer down a minute and think about that:

patient

And Origami Owl has earrings:

lobes

 

I can’t wear those, either. But this ain’t about me. It’s about you, and what you might win.

Buy: The Origami Owl party of which I am your completely virtual (sorry, you’ll have to buy your own chips and dip) hostess will go on for another week or so–at least until you all have your chance to buy gifts for Valentine’s Day and finish spending your Christmas money.

Win: Everyone who leaves a comment below will be entered to win 2 Origami Owl charms of your choice.

Win more (participants in the online party only): Everyone who buys something during my Origami Owl party will be entered to win….something. I don’t know what. The more people who buy through my link, the more awesome the Grand Prize will be. Fun, huh?

How to enter: Leave a comment. What do you want for Valentine’s Day?

Details: This giveaway is open to anyone in the US. This giveaway will be open until midnight, January 8, 2015. The winner will be chosen by And the Winner Is… WordPress plugin. You can leave as many comments as you like, but only the first comment will be considered a valid entry. If you have been flagged as a troll in the past, I will rescue this comment, and this comment only, from the spam folder. We don’t want to be unfair, even if you are. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email. If there is no response after 48 hours, I’ll have to choose another winner. Please use a valid email address in your comments so that I can contact you if you win! Please use one email address per entrant, per household, per IP address. The giveaway provider (not Get Along Home) will be responsible for prize fulfillment. Good luck! – 

Disclosure: As hostess of this party, I will receive something from Holly. I’m not entirely sure what, except a chain. My opinions are, as always, my own. Here’s your grain of salt

 

A Thought on Chores and Consequences

Something I’m seeing a lot of lately in social media is parents using chores as consequences for misbehavior. Not only do these “grounded” kids have to do extra housework to get back to their video games, but I’ve even seen some pretty elaborate systems worked out, where a child has to do a number of chores from a list to get back on Mom’s good side. This, the provenance of which is untraceable after being shared so many times on Pinterest and Facebook, is among the worst of them.:

 

grounded

 

Now, before I say what I want to say, I’m obliged to say that if you do this sort of thing, and you are unconvinced by what I have to say about it, I don’t think you’re necessarily a bad parent, nor are your kids necessarily destined for jail or rehab due to your (I do think) less than stellar choice of training tools. I’ve seen this idea from a lot of people who read this blog, so I apologize for seeming to speak to anyone in particular. It’s really not any one person who made me notice this, but some of you will just have to take this personally, since parenting is such a personal thing. Sorry about that. Let’s be friends anyway, OK? 😉

Think for a moment about the message you’re sending to your children, you who have used this idea in some form.

Cleaning your room is punishment.

Emptying the dishwasher is punishment.

Taking care of the family pet is punishment.

Write something nice to a family member. This is a punishment?

I’ll bet little sister will be ever so thrilled to know that brother’s affection is only obtained by this kind of arm-twisting. I really would not want to be married to a man whose parents had taught him that compliments are to be administered grudgingly and for the ulterior purpose of getting out of the doghouse. Would you?

Parents, if you want children who whine about every chore, give them a chore every time they need to be corrected. If you want your children to never ask how they can help around the house, make asking how they can help around the house into a groveling apology for having a bad attitude.

If you want your kids to be sincere friends and lovers, and honest workers, you cannot teach them that some things are beneath well-behaved people.

I’ve heard this method described as rehab. This is not an effective means of rehab, any more than prison work details are. Have you seen the recidivism rates in our penal system? Not good! You’re teaching kids that only people who have screwed up should have to do “extra” housework.

Housework is a lot like money. There’s no such thing as extra. We all pitch in until the work is done. It’s part of loving one another.

One thing that this list might be good for does occur to me, though. This might be pretty good way to raise a whining, entitled feminist, if you happen to be raising girls, or a domineering and unappreciative husband, if you’re raising boys. Most of the things on this list are things for which I, as the mother of the house, am responsible. I don’t necessarily do them myself. Since I am training my children to take care of themselves and each other as well, they do a large amount of housework. But these things are certainly my business to oversee, and they are also the part of my job that feminists find demeaning and beneath them. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I think most of today’s entitled grownups were probably raised this same way. You talked back to me? Clean out the garage!

I do all of these things and more, and feel grateful, not unfairly used, in my position as the keeper of all this. Why do you think that is? I wonder, if my parents had punished me with work, rather than just expecting me to work because that is what self-respecting people do, would I feel the same way about laundry now? Or would I have had to learn the right attitude about housework to become a decent wife and mother? Would I feel trapped, rather than useful, if dishes were a disagreeable way to earn the favor of my family, rather than a way to restore order after a meal with the people I love?

I do realize that this method of child training seems like a great way to get a little extra work out of a kid who is obviously not pulling his weight (or he wouldn’t have very much time to get into trouble, right?), but a little bit of redirection into the right kinds of work before the difficulty crops up might be of more spiritual use than such a wrong-headed punishment after the fact.

If you want your kid to feed the dog, tell him to feed the dog. If you want to correct him, speak to his heart–or to the seat of his pants, depending on his age and the infraction.

Happy New Year!

I don’t do resolutions. Not for New Year’s Day, anyway. I resolve things all the time, with mixed results. Why wait until the first of the year to set myself up for failure? I can do that any time I want!

There are several things I would like to resolve to do at some point this year, though I won’t resolve to do them today, because that would be too much like New Year’s resolutions, which I don’t do. (Fellow underachievers, you see what I’m doing here, don’t you? I’m resolving things in a non-committal way, because I might not be so resolute if I don’t sneak up on myself with my own goals. Sigh.)

  • I would like to get the kids some of the many kinds of lessons that they are so sweetly asking for. To be brutally honest, running to and fro and interrupting my days with appointments is the part of motherhood that I kinda hate. But I shouldn’t do that. It’s unfair for me to be so stingy with my energy. So we will do the lessons, despite my fear of becoming a van-schooling mom instead of a homeschooling one. Violin, dancing, swimming, and skiing. I hope we get to stay home some days.
  • I want to blog more often. I have lots to blog about, but only a few minutes a day to sit down and type. Tell me, would you hate it if I blogged about things that I don’t usually blog about, just to let off steam? I’m afraid you’ll all go away if you found out what I’m really like. 😉
  • I want to get my social media use under control. My trouble is that when I sit down to write, I check Facebook and Twitter, my brain turns off. And then I text somebody. And then I have to check my rss feed. And before I know it, I’ve lost an hour. Hours are precious. I would like to reclaim them for usefulness.
  • I want to save 30% of our income this year, and 100% of my piddly little blog earnings. We have been saving for a house for a long time, and we thought we were going to be ready to buy this spring, but we’ve set our sights higher after looking at what we can afford with our current funds. As long as we’re doing it this way, instead of the go-into-way-too-much-debt way, why not go crazy? So we’re going to save for one more year, and get something that we can be really excited to own.

I just did a search of my blog to see how many times I’ve done non-resolutions like this because it felt like I’d done this before. Yep. I did ’11, and made some worthwhile goals. Let’s see how I did, though that was three years ago. How could it be three years already?

  • I wanted to make the blog pay for itself. It has done that, barely, but consistently. I stopped accepting paid ads and reviews, so I’m scraping by on Google ads and a very few active affiliate links, but it is still paying for itself. Somebody told me I should sell my ebook instead of giving it away, but I’m really a terrible businesswoman. Awful. Abysmal. Not such a great writer, either.
  • I also wanted to get into size 8 jeans without lubricants or fainting. Success! I am, as we speak, wearing a size 8, though that didn’t happen until just this week. It certainly didn’t happen in 2011, 2012, or 2013.
  • I wanted more friends. Yes, I now have more friends. My heart had been pretty thoroughly crushed and spoiled for friendship for a while, but I have several wonderful ladies in my life to whom I don’t feel remotely strange saying “love ya.” I still miss the friend to whom I referred in that other post. She was a good sort. (Sadly, I was not. The whole dust-up was pretty much all me, frankly. Jesus had a lot of work to do. Still does. But we’re getting there.)

Thank you, readers, and skimmers, and non-reading, comment-hijacking soap-boxers, and dissenters, and trolls (OK, maybe not the trolls), for hanging out with me this year. I hope you’ll stick around for the next one.